1/31/13

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate & Felt Hearts




Two Sundays ago, I felt my throat getting sore, but didn't think much of it. By Wednesday, I knew something was up when I could also feel it in my chest, and by Thursday, I was down for the count... with the flu! I seriously don't remember the last time I was that sick. Total knock-down delirium for several days with high fever and all the trimmings. A week later, I am somewhat back on my feet, but not totally. 

Right before I was taken out of commission, however, I had the inspiration to come up with a new recipe for a nutty-nana oatmeal cookie. It worked out splendidly! The peanut butter and banana flavors are subtle and are complemented by the sweetness of the chocolate chips and the earthiness of the oats. The unexpected addition of wheat germ gives it just a little bit of a health boost. I think Elvis would approve!

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips Recipe
(eggless, veganizable)
makes 18-48 cookies (depending on size)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 wheat germ
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter (or vegan margarine)
  • 1/4 cup unrefined organic coconut oil (the solid kind!)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 very ripe banana (mashed)
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, wheat germ, and cinnamon.
  3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix butter, oil, peanut butter, and sugar until well combined. Next, add banana, cornstarch, and vanilla. Beat.
  4. Combine wet ingredients with dry mixture. Add oats until just combined.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. For super large cookies, use a 1/4 cup scoop (bake for about 14 minutes); for large cookies, use a 1/8 cup scoop (bake about 12 minutes); for politely sized cookies, 1 TB scoop (bake about 10 minutes). Flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch thick and shape. Cookies do not spread very much.
  7. Cookies will be very soft when removed from oven. Let cool on sheet and then transfer to cookie rack with a spatula.
By the way, right around the time I made these cookies, I saw this cute felt Valentine's heart garland at Target and thought, "Oh. I'm totally going to make one of those!" The I realized I probably would not, so I just bought one. Seven bucks! You can't go wrong! I would probably spend more on materials. :)

1/23/13

Crochet Graffiti: Yarn Bombing & Craft as Protest

L'UNIVERS en ganchillo #grĂ cia #RotulistasAnonimo via Laura Meseguer's Instagram



Our friend Laura posted this picture on Facebook awhile ago and I fell in love with this example of delicate yarn bombing (most of the time you see knitting graffiti and not the crocheted variety)!

The tree is located in Carrer Verdi, Barcelona and is a protest by parents and grandparents on behalf of their children. The students in this neighborhood have been in temporary barrack-style buildings for the past four years with no hopes that they will be moving into more permanent facilities. So, to literally air their grievances, the families banded together and wrapped trees in bright yellow yarn. What a brilliant way to bring attention to their plight!

To see more pictures and to read more about it, check out this link: http://mmmpbcn.com/lunivers-i-punt/. To translate it, copy that url and pop into Google search and hit "translate this page."

1/22/13

American Multigrain Kichari with Hippy Bread

American style kichari with spelt, buckwheat, whole wheat, quinoa and oat bread.
Kichari, a stew of lentils and rice, was one of the first Indian foods I learned how to make. When I lived in an asrama for a year, one of my responsibilities was to make breakfast for about 25 people a few mornings per week, and this comforting stew was in my repetoire, along with fresh chapatis, upma, muffins, pancakes, and a few other preparations. I really loved this service; it was really peaceful and meditative cooking by myself in a quite kitchen before the sun rose. After years of eating countless bowls of kichari, I grew tired of it and stopped cooking it for quite some time.

My non-yeasted "hippy bread." Still working on the recipe. Tea towel by Vera Neuman from Crate & Barrel.
A couple of months ago, I started seeing and Ayurvedic doctor and she recommends that all her vegetarian patients eat boat loads of kichari for it's health benefits, so I have been having it quite often, but I'm really starting to overdose. Seems like everything I have been making is spiced with tons of turmeric, cumin, and coriander. So, the other day, I decided to mix it up a bit and halve the amount of the usual rice with some quinoa and change the flavor profile by using Bell's Seasoning (a mixture of spices like sage, marjoram, rosemary), thyme, crushed black pepper, red pepper, and potatoes, carrots and kale. It turned out so awesome!

You can see the basic recipe here and suit the making of it according to your taste!

1/20/13

This Weekend: One Pancake/Year & A Nature Wish


This weekend, was all about my daughter's 7th birthday. She was awoken to a birthday breakfast of silver dollar pancakes. One per year, of course.

Being sweet, thoughtful and an aspiring environmental scientist, her birthday wish was not to jump around a noisy bounce house, but, rather to trek around Longwood Gardens. She was super excited to get up close and personal with some docile Canadian geese, climb, not one, but three treehouses, and the icing on the cake, she made friends with a very chubby black feral cat (the most exciting part of the day for her!). It was a beautifully warm and sunny day.

We gathered after the sun set for pizza, cupcakes, and TJ's chocolate chip cherry Soy Cream ice cream (I topped mine with dry roasted pecans--so good!) and, of course, gifts! Before she went to bed, she ran up to me, hugged me tightly and thank me for the nice day. See, she is sweet!










1/19/13

Blog Lust: Famille Summerbelle Le Blog

Le Blog, merci beaucoup!

Famille Summerbelle Wallpaper, oui, j'adore!

Cut paper illustrations of different cities (above, New York), mais oui!
Frame worthy tea towels, le swoon!
I just found thee most absolutely inspiring and happy blog on the web, Famille Summerbelle Le Blog. It's chock full of colorful ideas, bright cheerfulness, cute kids, scenes of Paris, and the best part, a shop full of handmade beautiful objects. Please check it out over a cup of hot chocolate and a croissant. It will bring a smile to your face and get your creative energies flowing (they even have a book to help you out!)

All images via Famille Summerbelle

1/17/13

Around the House: Unhung Artwork

My husband and I love collecting art, but we're so bad about putting it up! I just discovered a pile of prints (yikes--we even have more that are not pictured here!) that are just waiting patiently for us to get our act together. Take a look!

A lovely Seonna Hong A/P print given to me by her when I worked at House Industries. It was in my daughter's room, but we lost some wall space. When I redo her room (soon!) it will go back up.


Folkdance print by Roddy & Ginger. Will probably go in my daughter's room as well.


A pretty vintage Japanese print I bought at Goodwill. Totally forgot I had this, will probably go in my bedroom.


A painting I did for my husband before our kids were born. This was in our hallway for the longest time. I'll probably hang in our bedroom.


A Paul Klee print bought at a used bookstore in New Bedford, MA for $3. It's not framed, so who knows if we will ever hang it.



I had an idea to collect lots of "Bless this House" type cross stitch and hang them all together. If not, these will go in the shop.

Paint by number? Holland? In any case, this will probably go in my son's room, but I would kind of like it in my room!


I bought this at Art Star and I believe it is by Jen Corace. I really want the "Too Soon" print by her, but I think we really need to hang the art we have first!

1/15/13

Friends with Benefits in the Kitchen


Check out the tea towels my friend Deva from Fresh Pastry Stand sent to me for my birthday! Gracias, amiga!

I also received my backer reward from The Lotus and The Artichoke Kickstarter campaign--my pal Justin's new vegan cookbook! It looks so awesome; there photos for every recipe, the design is clean, the directions are easy to follow/understand, and there is a lovely assortment of recipes. I can't wait to dive in and make a dish. I'll let you know when I do, but, in the meantime, you can order your own copy of The Lotus and The Artichoke from his site!

1/14/13

This Weekend: NYC, Friends, Soy & Sake, Kids' Museum, Cafe Blossom



This past weekend, our dear friends from Finland, Kaisa and Cristoffer, were in in New York City, so we came up to the city to spend time with them. My husband and I always have the best intentions to be on time, but leaving the house with two young kids for an overnight always messes us up, and we undoubtedly end up late. (This time, it was two hours late!) A 1 o'clock lunch, ended up being a 3 o'clock early dinner!

Despite, our tardiness, our leisurely gathering at Soy and Sake in the West Village was fun and relaxing and filled with crayon illustrations and lettering on the paper covering over the tablecloths. The restaurant is casual, so it is a great place to bring kids.


After our lunch/dinner, we headed up to our next destination, The High Line, but we were too late (a theme, you see!).  The attendant was pulling down the gate just as we got there. Oh well, there was plenty of shopping to do as we made our way over to the Doughnut Plant in Chelsea and a kirtana program at Yoga Maya.

The yoga studio is pretty close to a vegan sandwich shop/juice bar, Terri, so we picked up a late dinner and I grabbed a juice for the next morning to make up for all of Saturday's indulgences!

On Sunday, I woke up in our Jersey City hotel with no voice (I've been sick with a vague cold/flu type virus for the past week) and pretty tired from the constant stream of ambulance/police sirens zooming past starting at 5:00 am, so I was ready to go home. I felt bad about not wanting to do anything, so conceded to taking the kids to the Children's Museum of Manhattan. I've been wanting to take them there forever, but haven't been able to since when we're in NYC, we are in the lower part of Manhattan, and my husband (the one who can navigate the subway system) is usually teaching design workshops during the day (one reason we are often in New York!).

We loved the museum! It's a great place for kids 12 months to about 5-6 years. It was little toddler-ish for my almost 7-year-old, but great for my 4-year-old. Our favorite part was the huge Lite Brite set up in the art room. The whole family had fun with that installation!

When we left the museum, our son was acting really whiny, so we knew, he was either tired or getting sick, but my daughter was really hungry. I did a search on my phone for "vegan restaurants" nearby and it turned out we were only a few blocks from Cafe Blossom Upper West Side.

I was pretty excited because we love the original Blossom, but we can never bring the kids there because it is way, way too fancy and "cozy" for children (it, however does set the scene for a romantic vegan date night!). Cafe Blossom, on the other hand, is way more laid back and spacious. There were lots of families having brunch so we felt comfortable bringing the kids.

As soon as we sat down, my son fell asleep on me like a big, feverish, sack of potatoes. We ordered the black eyed pea cakes, tofu benedict, a seitan sandwich, and, for my daughter,  chocolate chip pancakes. We enjoyed everything and the service was friendly and attentive. It is a perfect place for the whole family, so we will certainly be going back.

After brunch, we headed back to our car parked in New Jersey all while holding a hot, tired (and heavy!) little boy who slept the whole way home. He's doing much better today, thank goodness! Now back to normal weekday life and light eating!

1/9/13

Apricot Saffron Oatmeal Porridge with Walnuts


As much as I would love to do a juice fast right now to make up for those holiday sins, I just can't mentally and physically handle drinking cold juice while the temps are low. So, I am trying to eat whole, unprocessed. warm cooked foods in an attempt to eat more healthy. Plus, I am seeing an Ayurvedic doctor who is coaching me through eating foods that are right for my constitution. It turns out anything cold or uncooked could just totally knock me out of balance, specially at this time of year.

One of my favorite cold-weather breakfasts is oatmeal porridge. Make the oats according to package directions, but instead of making the oatmeal with water, use the milk of your choice (I use half water, half milk). Add spices to the milk while it is being heated (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, turmeric, dash sea salt and saffron) and add your oatmeal. Once you add the oatmeal, add chopped dried apricots and walnuts. Cook until the oatmeal is soft. Add real maple syrup and top with more cinnamon, apricots and walnuts. So perfect for a winter morning!

1/6/13

Gonna Party Like It's My Birthday





































Wow! My husband is so sweet! Somehow, without me finding out, he managed to throw me surprise birthday party at Su Tao Vegan cafe in Malvern, PA. I thought I was just meeting my dear friend Kara for some ladies' talkin' time, but when she guided me to the large private dining room in the back, I knew something was up. Surprise a big group of friends! I was really touched.

Here is a pic of the vegan cookies and cream cake he picked up for me at Whole Foods. More pics to come of the past few days, but I had to share this one from Kara's Instagram.

1/2/13

10 Realistic New Year's Resolutions

Do less dumb stuff like taking pictures of myself with my husband's iPad. :)

1) Make time to be creative. 
I was constantly painting, making collages, and journalling until I graduated from college. Then I stopped. I recently started collaging again, and I love it. I want to explore more painting and crafts in the new year.

2) Blog less.
I've already started calming down. I know this blog really has no set category, and I never intended it have one, but somewhere after doing Vegan Mofo, I got really heavily into recipes, and I want to get slightly away from that. More me. More designy topics, more craft tutorials; just on a slower editorial schedule. Once or twice a week or whatever makes me happy.

3) Chill on the shop.
The Scissors and Spice Etsy shop in now one year old! I reached several goals through the shop, this is true. I paid off my last student loan. I surpassed 200 sales. However, it takes a ton of time to buy, photograph, list, and ship each item. It was/is taking up way, way too much of space in my life. Like every available minute and it was starting to cut into my time with my children. Too much stress for too little. So, I'm only going to put things up that I am absolutely in love with. Speaking of which, I'm going to be focusing on more high-end mid-century pieces and less kitsch.

4) Take care of myself.
This includes many things. Cooking more nourishing food. Meditating. Getting back into yoga. Less stress inducing people/places/things. Exercising more consistently. Going to bed earlier (seriously, I can't keep going to bed at 1 am every night!). Growing my own food (for 3 years I have been meaning to start a garden!).

5) Focus less on the little things.
Yes, I get hung up on details and things I just shouldn't be concerned with.

6) Make more quality time for my kids.
Read #4 and #10.

7) Shop/hoard less.
Consumerism. Ugg. Too much crap in my house. Ugg. Let go, let go!

8) Get rid of/donate stuff
That sweatshirt that I loved in college? Yeah, get rid of it. Those Vans that no longer fit me but are oh so cute. Get thee to the Goodwill!

9) Work on the house.
We have a ton of work to do in our house. Our bathroom needs to be redone. We need landscaping. I want to redo some rooms.

10) Spend less time on the freaking computer.
And with that... I will publish this post and close my laptop. :)

1/1/13

Hot Lemon Water in the Morning, The Cure for What Ails You

Pic from Instagram, tea cup by Molly Hatch from Anthropologie




































Did you party too hard last night at your New Year's Eve shindig and now need fixing? Hot lemon water in the morning is a great way to detox the liver. Fill a tea cup with hot water and add the juice of 1/4 to 1/2 of an organic lemon and drink. This is actually a great way to start every morning just for the sake of maintaining your liver/gallbladder health.