4/30/12

The Renningers Flea Market, Kutztown, PA

We saw lots of cool old signs on the trip. And no, we did not eat here. 
Last weekend, the family and I headed up to Kutztown, PA for the Renninger's big outdoor flea/antique market. It was a strangely cold day and I think that kept the crowds at bay. The vendors weren't too happy with the lack of traffic; most were packing up three hours before the show was supposed to close.

Love the packaging of these jiggers!

Indoor vendors selling everything from furniture to vintage clothing.
The flea market turned out to be more of antiques dealers displaying their goods outdoors than a true flea market. Lots of cool things to look at, but no deals. I found tons of Pyrex, vintage 1950s linens and tea towels, old maps... all at prices way more than I would charge in my shop.

Coffee, tea or me?

Thank goodness those peas aren't run of the mill.
Even if we didn't buy anything, at least I had my camera to capture some of the more interesting finds. Here's some vintage stenciled lettering to inspire future Scissors and Spice secondary logos.

I love the kitschiness of Holt Howard. Look at the jam and jelly jar!
This vendor had such a great collection of chatskis like these rare Holt Howard fixin's pots. $145 a piece!

The birdies look like they could be Mexican, Polish, or German.
 I've always loved Pennyslvania Dutch folk art and there was plenty to be had like this blanket chest. Those birds are beautiful.

This lovely Tom Thumb typewriter made me think of this Being Quirky SNL skit.

4/29/12

Back in the Haus


The family and I trekked around Penna Dutch country this past weekend. We visited Renningers thrift/antique fair, Vegan Treats, Crystal Cave, and Roadside America. More pics to come!

What did you do this weekend?

4/27/12

The Finns Invade New York!


If you are lucky enough to be New York this weekend and just happen to love comic book art, please stop by the MoCCA Fest and say hello to our dear friends from Finland, Kaisa and Christoffer Leka, who will be presenting their newest graphic novel about their bike trip around Iceland.

4/26/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Rich, Dense, & Fudgy Vegan Brownies


Back when the Whole Foods near me opened, they carried a nice variety of Sticky Fingers Bakery sweets, like brownies, cookie sandwiches, whole cakes, etc. Now, for some odd reason, they just have their cupcakes available. I was so excited to buy a whole SF cake for a special occasion too! I'm disappointed to say the least.

In any case, I was able to indulge in the Sticky Fingers brownies while they were still in stock (and I saw quite a few customers also munching on them in the Whole Foods cafe!). Delicious. Fudgy, rich chocolate flavor, and dense. Just like I need a brownie to be.

When I grabbed a copy of the the Sticky Fingers cookbook, I knew I had to bake a batch of the brownies first. While I sent the majority of the batch to work with my husband for fear I would eat them all, I did indulge in one or two. Though probably from some mismeasurement on my part, they were a tad drier than the store's version, but equally delicious. I love that they have coffee in them, but instead of making it a mocha flavored brownie, the brew simply acts to enhance the chocolate flavor. This will be my new go-to recipe for future batches of brownies!

You can get a copy of the recipe by winning a copy of "Sticky Fingers' Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes" by entering today. Just comment on the giveaway post and you are entered to win! Good luck! Contest open until Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

4/25/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Enter here to win a copy of this cookbook. Giveaway open until Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

While my tendency in muffin making tends to basically take a yellow cake batter and add berries to it, I don't feel that great serving that to my children for breakfast. They're already sweet enough without all that extra sugar surging through their veins! I wanted to find a recipe that was more wholesome, so I grabbed my copy of "Sticky Fingers' Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes" to see if there is a recipe for blueberry muffins. Sure enough, there is!

The recipe was fairly easy to follow and I made sure to read the tips and tricks in preface to the muffins section to obtain the best results. Do not overbeat. Check. Lumpy batter is good. Check. And the end product? Sweet without being overly sweet. Moist without being wet. The addition of whole wheat pastry flour made for a more nutritious muffin with a toothy texture that felt more healthy than desserty. I did add a bit a lemon zest as I like a lemony blueberry muffin. Overall, I give the recipe a big thumbs up! A great way to start your mornings off right.

If you'd like to try the muffin recipe for yourself, win your own copy of  "Sticky Fingers' Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes"! Contest open until Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

What recipe to try next? Want me to review another recipe from the cookbook?

4/24/12

Giveaway: Sticky Fingers' Sweets Vegan Cookbook--CLOSED!


I've long been an admirer of Sticky Fingers Bakery ever since my first visit to the bakery eons ago, so when I found out that Doron Petersan, the mastermind behind Sticky Fingers, authored a cookbook of one-hundred of her "secret" vegan recipes, I was the first in line waving my credit card ready to buy!


I was very excited to meet Doron at a meet and greet at my local Whole Foods Market. We chatted about exciting topics like adjusting sugars in recipes and the significance of baking times as my children happily gorged themselves on Sticky Fingers' delicious, moist and fudgy brownies (recipe is in the cookbook!). For me, I felt like the equivalent of a comic book nerd talking to my favorite author at Comic-Con.

Luckily for you, she happily suggested that we do a giveaway on the blog and I excitedly said "YES!" Now, here's the best part, you can win one of two cookbooks courtesy of the publisher, Avery/Penguin Group!


"100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes" is brimming not only with wonderful and accessible recipes but is also chocked-full of great baking tips and techniques and tons of important nutrition information, a detail I really dig. The color photos also make picking a sweet to make pretty simple; you just want to make them all!

Follow the directions below to enter the contest, and if you are an over-acheiver like me, there are some extra credit entries that will allow you to up your chances of winning!


To enter to win one of the two copies of "Sticky Fingers' Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes" cookbook,  follow the simple steps below! Just remember, you have to leave a comment on this post EVERY TIME you do complete one of the "tasks." There are eight possible entries! Good luck!


To enter:
Please leave a comment below letting everyone know what your favorite vegan dessert is to make or which one you would like to learn how to bake.

Extra credit:
Like Sticky Fingers Bakery on Facebook and leave a comment on this post
Follow Sticky Fingers on Twitter and leave a comment on this post
Like Scissors & Spice on Facebook and leave a comment on this post
Follow  Scissors & Spice on Twitter and leave a comment on this post
Pin the top "Giveaway" photo on Pinterest and leave a comment on this post
Tweet about the contest using this url: www.scissorsandspice.com/2012/04/giveaway-sticky-fingers-sweets-vegan.html and leave a comment on this post
Post about the contest on your Facebook page and tag @scissorsandspice and leave a comment on this post

Details:
The contest will end at midnight, Tuesday, May 1, 2012. The winners will be announced on the Scissors & Spice Twitter and Facebook pages on Wednesday, May 2, so make sure you sign up for both. Anyone can enter, just as long as you have an address that I can mail to! Two winners will be picked by randomizer. NOTE: Winners must claim their prize by Friday, May 4, 2012 or I will chose another winner!

Special thanks to Doron and Avery/Penguin Group!

4/23/12

Cooking Vegan for A Crowd: Chili Rice Bowls!


There is nothing that sends me into a deer-caught-in-headlights sorta daze than figuring out a menu for company. Do you go fancy or keep it simple? And then what style? Asian? Mexican? American? Indian? Healthy? Comfort? And, does anyone have allergies or food aversions? And then let's not even talk about quantities and the amount of ingredients for those quantities. Where do you start?

Well, when I can't figure it out, I always revert to chili (recipe here), made a bit more healthy with the addition of spinach. It's easy to make in bulk, keeps well, and is loved by mostly everyone.

Here's my lunch from today. Rice topped with chili, baked sweet potatoes, fresh grape tomatoes, guac, a few tortilla chips, and for good measure, a squeeze of fresh lime. Mr. Scissors and our guests went off to work with a burrito version of this dish. Perfect day to eat warm comfort food because the temps dropped from the highs of the mid-80s last week to low-50s this week. Brrr!

What are your go-tos when cooking for a crowd?

4/22/12

Now Conveniently Located on Instagram!


Now there are more ways to stay in touch! I'm on Instagram. Come join me: scissorsandspice

Be Back Soon!


Sorry for the brief absence, but I have been a bit busy! Stay tuned though, because on Tuesday, I will be hosting a super sweet giveaway. You're going to really like this one!

4/19/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Baked Tofu with Fried Cashews Rice Bowl

You can never have too many rice bowls!

While I continue on with my cleanse, the cruel fact of the matter is, even though I have been drinking green juices and soups (with the occasional sneaking of raw nuts--shhh!), I still have three other people for which I need to cook! Sigh...

So, while I pureed most of the veggies you see in this bowl for my vegan cleansing soup (I'll post a pic of that later when I figure out a creative way of photographing it), I decided to saute them with tons of ginger, red pepper and a dash of Chinese Five Spice and topped a bowl of basmati rice with the finished product. Some fried slices of Trader Joe's baked tofu and cashews covered the other half of the bowl. (Fried cashews are where it is at, plus they give the bowl some needed crunch and texture.) Next, I topped it off with some Genji ginger miso dressing (Philly, represent!), Bragg's, and Sriracha. The kids were served a less complicated version of it. I doubt they would be too happy with the cashews or the spicy sauce! Mr. Scissors loved it and I think he's actually having it for lunch as we speak!

4/18/12

New in the Etsy Shop: Vintage Pyrex Bowls & Casseroles & A Lamp!

I've been working on tons of updates to the Scissors & Spice vintage Etsy shop. Dansk Kobesntyle, Pyrex and that awesome Tiki-ish lamp! Some of these are live now or will be in the next few days. Please check them out; I'm sure you'll find something you'll love!

Spotted: Vintage Recipe Pie Plates

I keep seeing these pie plates with recipes printed on them while I am out thrifting. Though they have no real value, I still think they are kitschy-cute.

4/17/12

Restaurant Review: Govinda's Gourmet to Go & Sweet Freedom

This past Sunday, my friend Kara and I went out for a little ladies' luncheon. Originally, we were going to Northern Liberties for some veg Mex food, but we decided at the last minute to head over to Govinda's Gourmet to Go for one of our favorites, the Chk'n Cheesesteak! No matter how many different vegan cheesesteaks I have had, Gourmet to Go's is by the far the best, in my opinion. It's pure comfort food. The restaurant is lacto-veg, but anything can be made vegan by choosing the veg cheese option. They also carry Vegan Treats, so if you need something sweet after your meal, they've got you covered.

Speaking of which, if you need something sweet, but want to stay away from gluten, allergens or refined sweeteners, Sweet Freedom happens to be a few doors down from Govinda's. I love their cookies, but this time I decided to try a petite cake ball. It was delicious and chocolatey!

If you are in the area of South and Broad, swing by and check out both!

Govinda's Gourmet to Go
1408 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 985-9303
www.govindasvegetarian.com

Sweet Freedom Bakery
1424 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-1899
www.sweetfreedombakery.com

4/16/12

Great News! A New Vegan Take-Out in Philly--HipCityVeg

Photo credit: Philly.com
Get this, philly.com just reported that a new vegan sandwich take-out restaurant is opening in Philadelphia! HipCityVeg, a new venture by Nicole Marquis (night manager at the former Horizon's) is slated to open today, April 16! Isn't that exciting? There are just so many vegan and vegetarian options in Philly now. This is wonderful news. I can't wait to make it up there!

Thanks, ├ůsa for the tip. Lunch date!

4/15/12

Sweetness

Nothing is sweeter than a little three-year-old boy running into the house to his momma, with a big smile on his face, as he exclaims, "Mommy! I picked you some flowers!"

4/13/12

Friday Favorites: Juicing, Azaleas, and Seeds!

My little ones have been on spring break this week, so I have not much time for anything but them and shipping Etsy orders out. But, despite that, I managed to find a few note-worthy things that have made me happy this week!

1) The azaleas in front of my house are just starting to bloom!


2) I haven't been feeling so healthy or full of life lately, so I did a two-day juice fast to put some zoom in my chi. This particular concoction was super yummy. Kale, pineapple, granny smith apples, carrot, celery, ginger, grapefruit, and lemon. There was tons of kale in it, so I was shocked that it was not all green!


3) Bullet planter basil. I normally plant flowers in the planters around the house, but this year I decided to make the plantings edible. The one behind my juice (in the pic above) is all organic genovese basil that the kids and I planted. After we finished, I wrapped the planter in plastic wrap to act as a mini-greenhouse until the seeds sprout. This is a great way to teach the kids about water cycles too!

4/11/12

A Scissors & Spice and House Industries at Anthropologie Video!

Still from the "Scissors & Spice and House Industries at Anthropologie" video

Watch the new video here on Vimeo: Scissors & Spice and House Industries at Anthropologie

Back in December, my husband, Ken Barber (a type designer and letterer at House Industries) and I took part in a spectacular event hosted by the Brinton Lakes Anthropologie store in Glen Mills, PA. This video (shot and directed by Andrew Larason and assisted by Justin Weber and Karen DeMaio, with music by one of my all time favorite bands, Plushgun) was recently released to highlight that fantastic day.

Video still. Don't my cookies look so purty on Anthropologie?

At the event, I happily served out over 400 vegan cookies to the enthusiastic crowd (all personally made by me!), talked about vegan and vegetarian cooking, and just over-all had a really great time meeting so many people. I don't know how many times I heard, "I can't believe these are vegan!" As any vegan baker can attest, that is one of the best compliments you can receive!

Ken was busy for three hours, hand-lettering dozens upon dozens of personalized gift tags to help attendees give that special touch to their holiday presents. Several groups travelled from as far as New Jersey and Maryland just to have him wield his pen for a personalized creation.

We both had a really great time and the staff at Anthropologie was so unbelievably friendly, sweet, and accommodating. They really went out of their way to make sure we were happy and that we had everything we needed.  I was even supplied with vegan creamer for the coffee that was served with the cookies! See, that is really great, right?

Now enough about food and letters! Let's talk about clothes! Of course, I just had to wear an Anthropologie dress for the occasion (good excuse to go shopping, right?)! I felt so fantabulous and stylish! Several shoppers remarked that after they talked to me, they also bought the same dress to wear at their holiday soirees! (Oh, yeah, and guess what, the Obamas also have great taste too, because Malia Obama was wearing the same dress, but in blue, in the family's 2011 Christmas portrait!)

Thank you to everyone at the Brinton Lakes store, especially Emily and Karen, for inviting Ken and I to take part in your holiday season! I especially have to thank Karen for coordinating so many details back and forth with me and for initially coming up with the idea. We all really had such a great time!

And I have to really, really thank our good friends Karen and Pete for enthusiastically watching out two little ones for the day--we really could not have done it without their help!

I also have professional photos from the event that I will post. For now, please take a look at the video and let me know what you think! xo!

BTW: The new Plushgun album, featuring the song "Montreal" used in the video, is being released on May 15 on iTunes! Be sure to check it out!

4/9/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Tempeh and Kale Rice Bowl

Busy nights = simple meals! Plus, rice bowls always hit the spot.


No need for a recipe for this lovely dish. Simply top cooked basmati or jasmine rice with finely chopped steamed kale that has been sauteed with lots of fresh ginger, a touch of sesame oil and tamari, and sweet bell peppers. Then take pre-marinated tempeh strips (I used a sesame flavored one), fry, and top your kale mixture with it. If you are feeling sassy, give the whole bowl a good squirt of Sriracha and a generous sprinkling of Gomasio. Dig in!

This Weekend: Releasing Photos...

...from my phone!

Don't you just love that gingham crockpot, vintage map of the USA sleeping bag (would have bought that, but honestly, old blankets skeeve me out!), birdie pillow from Urban, and lady scientist paintings? The Cooper's store sign is in Downtown Wilmington, DE. I figured I better get a shot of it before they tear it down. (That always happens!) I would love to get my hands on those letters! Oh, and that is me in the collage looking all emo (I was just really tired) on our way home from the in-laws.

4/6/12

#FF: Theo Chocolate, BBQ Tofu, ModCloth, Tegan & Sara



1) Theo Dark Chocolate Orange: I did a taste testing of Theo Chocolate at Whole Foods and was very impressed with this flavor combo. The orange is subtle and and brings a nice sharp note to the earthy flavor of the dark chocolate. Theo also gets a big thumbs up for being a big proponent of fair trade chocolate, and if you are vegan or vegetarian, it just makes sense to not only be careful that the food you eat isn't causing animals distress, but that the humans involved with the production of your food are also being treated, well, humanely. (Now that is about as political as I will ever get!)


2) BBQ Sauerkraut Bowls: Quick and easy: Shred baked tofu (I like Fresh Tofu Inc.'s Organic Baked Tofu) and fry. Coat with BBQ sauce (I love Robbie's Hickory BBQ sauce. Low cal, low fat, high in flavor!). Serve on a bowl of sauerkraut (I love Whole Food's Organic Sauerkraut). A satisfying lunch for very low calories! Plus, sauerkraut is great for digestive health. If gluten and calories aren't an issue for you, this would also be excellent on a hoagie roll with a little schmear of Veganaise.


3) ModCloth's Dresses: Anyone who knows me knows that I hardly ever wear pants. Any of these cute little dresses from ModCloth would certainly put a spring in my step.

Photo source: ModCloth




4) Tegan and Sara: This isn't an new song be any means, but the song"Hell" off of the album "Sainthood" by Tegan and Sara has been in heavy rotation in my car. Thankfully, Tegan and Sara is also a favorite of my six-year-old daughter; she just hates when I sing along.

4/5/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Vegan Alfredo Pasta w/ Tomatoes & Asparagus

That looks good right? It's so good you'll want to eat bowls and bowls and bowls of it! But no sweat--it's not the nasty high cholesterol 800 cups of cream and butter version of alfredo--it's made with tofu, olive oil, fresh herbs, and cashews! Not exactly fat free, but lower in fat, for sure. And healthy fats at that! I'm not down for no-fat because our bodies need fat, healthy fat. Can I say fat one more time? Phat!



So, you made my version of vegan ricotta and you still have tons left over from your Friday night ricotta pizza (It was good, right?)? Well, rebrand it as alfredo and you've got yourself a totally different meal!

Directions for Making Vegan Ricotta into Vegan Alfredo Sauce:

  1. Take your leftover ricotta out of the fridge to let it warm up a bit since it does set when chilled. 
  2. Prepare some fettucine (or any other type of pasta) according to package directions. 
  3. Bake grape tomatoes and asparagus in the oven while your pasta is boiling (oven at 400, spray pan, toss veggie on, spray again, salt pepper and bake for about 10-15 minutes). You could also just saute them, but I prefer to bake as much as possible. Less hands-on time!
  4. When the pasta is still hot, scoop a good amount of ricotta on top. Add a bit more olive oil, or melted vegan butter (to thin out ricotta), and salt and pepper. Voila! Vegan alfredo. Mix with tongs until the pasta is coated. 
  5. Plate your pasta, top with veggies. Add vegan parm if you would like.


TIP: After I shot this photo, I added some steamed broccoli and it totally made this meal!

4/3/12

New in the Etsy Shop: Vintage 1982 Owl Tea Towel Calendar

Who-who-who is turning 30 this year? This vintage, unused (NOS! New Old Stock) calendar tea towel featuring four super handsome owls is a perfect birthday present for your favorite old timer! More than one is available.

4/2/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Vegan Ricotta Pizza Bites & Calzones

Stuffed vegan ricotta pizza bites served with extra ricotta for dipping. Raw asparagus is so good!




The other day, Mr. Scissors came home with a big bag of brussels sprouts and I just knew that I had to do something interesting with them. Somehow the idea of brussels with bacon sounded good, but with what else? Ricotta! Ok, and how would that all come together? Whole wheat pizza! My original plan was to just make a large pie, but since I endeavored on this experiment at lunch time, I decided to make mini-muffin sized pizza bites and to also play with other ideas on how to combine these flavors.

Use this recipe as a rough guide for making your own pizzas. I personally found the calzones to have the best taste and texture since the cauliflower retained its moisture when baked. The mini flat pizzas were also great! The stuffed bites were hard to assemble and hard to remove from the pan, but they looked super fancy--great appetizer for a party.

Vegan Ricotta, Cauliflower, & Tempeh Bacon Pizza (and Calzones!) Recipe 

Ingredients

  • Premade whole wheat pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 1 recipe for vegan alfredo (using the substitutions below)
  • 2-3 cups shredded cauliflower
  • 1 package tempeh bacon
  • olive oil
  • salt
Assembly of the stuffed, muffin pan pizza bites. This was the most complicated version to make!



Directions
There are lots of steps, but it is fairly simple to prepare, so don't be dismayed.

1) If using premade pizza dough (both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods sells unbaked pizza dough), bring it to room temp by letting it sit out for about a half hour.

2) Prepare ricotta. I used this recipe from Veganicom with some slight changes:

  • First, I used extra firm organic tofu and pressed it using my handy dandy TofuXpress.
  • Next, I soaked the cashew for 15 minutes in very warm water. I find soaking the cashews when making vegan chese helps break them down and assists in getting rid of that granular texture if you use then dry.
  • I also subbed out 1/8 cup of the lemon juice with 1/8 cup of alcohol-free white wine and a 1/4 tsp of sage, 1/4 tsp of oregano, fresh thyme, fresh basil and some fresh parsley (thanks to our herb garden that never really died over the winter!) because I thought this flavor combo would compliment the flavors of the brussels and the tempeh bacon. Plus, I have authority issues and totally have the inability to follow non-baked good recipes exactly. ; )

3) While the cashew and tofu are doing their thing, shred your package of tempeh bacon and shred your brussels (you'll need about 2-3 cups once you do this). Fry the bacon and a dash of red pepper flakes in olive oil until crispy and then add the brussels. Sautee them together with a squirt of brown mustard until the brussels soften and turn bright green. Remove from flame and set aside.

4) Now drain the excess water from the cashews and tofu and prepare the ricotta according to the directions. If you chose, using the subs I listed above (I really think the wine makes it awesome!). Set aside.

5) Preheat your oven to 450.

1) Stuffing a mini-calzone before baking. 2) Mini pizzas, itty ricotta stuffed bites, calzone. 3) All three baked and yummy!


6) Now, you can decide if you will make pizza, calzones, pizza bites.

  • If you would like to make pizza: roll out your dough, top with some of the ricotta (you'll have extra) and your brussels and tempeh mixture. Bake on a greased baking pan for about 10-15 minutes or until the dough is properly cooked. You can also make smaller, bite-sized pizzas using this method as well.
  • If you would like pizza bites baked in a mini muffin tin: spray the muffin tin very, very well with oil. Pinch of 1" round pieces of dough and line each indentation with it. Fill with ricotta and your tempeh mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the dough is properly cooked.
  • For calzones: Divide your pizza dough into even sections. Roll each section into a circle, top with ricotta and brussels and bacon. Fold in half, keeping filling away from the sides. Pinch the edges closed. Place on an oiled baking pan and spray tops with oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve with extra ricotta for dipping.