2/28/13

Getting Ready to Go with Cathrineholm!


I've been spending the last few days gathering all the merchandise I have collected for the Scissors and Spice Vinatge Etsy shop over the past couple months. Yesterday, these lovely Norwegian Cathrineholm bowls got a good detailing (thanks Goof Off!), a good bath, and prettied up for their photo shoot this weekend. I've got lots of great stock like tons of Danish teak candle holders, bowls, trays, ice buckets and other vintage Scandinavian ready to go. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news on updates. It's been a great taking some time off, but time to get back to work! Wish me luck!

2/27/13

Vegan Banana Chocolate Fudge Brownies Topped w/ Ganache & Pecans

After a month of kinda eating anything in sight, I've pulled in the reins and quit sugar. But before I fully dove into the depths of responsible eating, I had one last recipe milling around in my mind. There was some left over ganache in the fridge (from a birthday cake I made for a friend) and a browning banana on the counter, and, of course, those two things added up to one recipe fudgey chocolate banana brownie topped with ganache and pecans!

Note, this is not a brownie for cakey brownie lovers! It is filled with some major ooey-gooey fudginess with a slight sweet hint of banana. Due to their irresistibility, I kept one and sent the rest to work with my husband. Sigh... maybe I'll have a faster metabolism in my next life.

Vegan Banana Chocolate Fudge Brownie Recipe (vegan, eggless)

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like Trader Joe's chips!)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TB finely ground coffee grinds (or instant espresso)
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 TB cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (The thicker the better. I like coconut yogurt the best!)
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1/2 of a large banana)
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate ganache
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans

Tip: Let brownies cool fully in pan on wire rack on your counter and then place in fridge.
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray an 8x8 pan with spray oil, line it with parchment paper, and give it another light spray with oil.
  2. In a heavy bottom saucepan, melt margarine and chocolate chips together over low heat stirring every minute or so. Add sugars, vanilla, salt, coffee, and cinnamon. Whisk together. When combined, remove from heat.
  3. Whisk in cornstarch, yogurt, and mashed banana and then stir in flour. 
  4. Place brownie mixture in parchment lined pan and level out the dough with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes. The top will be crackly, and the brownies will be bubbling. They look uncooked, but they are done!
  6. Let cool fully. Actually, let cool overnight. It's best if you let the pan cool on then counter on a wire rack. Then, once cooled, lift the brownies out of the pan by the parchment paper and place on a couple of layers of paper towels. This will absorb any melted margarine that is on the bottom of the brownies. Gently put the uncut brownies back in the pan and place in fridge overnight to let them set completely.
  7. Remove brownies from fridge. Spread warmed chocolate ganache on top and sprinkle with pecans. Return pan to fridge to let ganache set. Cut into squares and serve.



2/22/13

Around the House: All In the Details

Indian-style matryoshka nesting doll set. Perfect combo of two of my folk art obsessions.

The bell & birdie end of an Indian-style drop-garland on our front door. Always make me smile.

Bowls! Dansk Ice bucket, Cathrineholm bowl, Nate Berkus brass bowl, acacia wood three-sided bowl, and teak Danish salad bowl with pinecones on top of a Paul McCobb Directional Series for Calvin marble top & brass side table. Mod meets earthy.

2/21/13

Design Inspiration: Tegan & Sara at The Beacon, NYC




Set design by Tobias Rylander.

A long story longer: My friend Kara and I finally, finally, finally saw one of our favorite bands, Tegan and Sara (and yes, I will acknowdge you, Mr. Scissors, for getting me into them despite my unfavorable first listenings). It's been a long arduous journey to see them live. 

The first time we wanted to see them in Philly a few years ago, Kara was about, oh, 300 months pregnant and being outside in the crazy humid heat of the summer at a show just wasn't a smart idea. 

Fast forward to the end of 2012, we had tickets to see them in New Jersey with the Killers. Someone in the Killers got sick, so that show got cancelled. A few days after that, a Tegan and Sara headlining show was announced and was set to take place in New York at The Beacon Theater. Kara jumped right on the tickets and scored awesome seats (hello 3rd row!). A few days before the show, however, I came down with the flu. There was no way I was going to be able to go and still be able to keep body and soul together. Well, as fate had it, Sara was pretty sick too and the two Beacon shows were cancelled and then later rescheduled for the end of February. 

Fast forward again... I get sick, have to go to the hospital THE DAY BEFORE THE RESCHEDULED SHOW (turns out nothing serious, no worries)! AND Kara GETS SICK on top of all that madness. It just seemed like we were destined to not see them. We joked that we had been inflicted with "The Tegan and Sara Curse." Miraculously, we all managed to pull it together, the stars aligned and we finally saw Tegan and Sara and their band perform an awesome set. Ahhh... finally. Well worth the wait. The opening band, Diana, was pretty spectacular to boot.

In any case, after I looked at a few of the photos I took at the show, I was awed by vibrance of the stage lighting, the set/projections and how my camera captured the whole scene. Beautiful colors and shapes. I'm totally inspired to create another round of collages based on these photos. The red, orange, and pink photo was totally not photoshopped. No levels boosted, nothing!  Isn't that cool? That one needs to be turned into painting. 

Now that you've finished reading that crazy rambling story, go buy their new album, Heartthrob!

2/18/13

Roasted Walnut, Garlic, & Black Pepper Pasta Sauce


Another nut-based, easy-to-make pasta sauce that will wow your socks off! I used mine on corkscrew pasta and topped it with steamed broccolini and more roasted walnuts. A nutritious dinner on the table in about 20 minutes and you'll seem oh-so-fancy gourmet-ish to boot!

Roasted Walnut, Garlic, & Black Pepper Pasta Sauce Recipe (vegan)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 TB sesame seeds
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • garlic (or hing) (to taste, but less is more!)
  • 1 TB (or to taste) nutritional yeast or vegan parm
  • 1/8 cup raisins
  • hot water from the pasta water

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Toast walnuts and sesame seeds on a baking sheet until fragrant, but not overly brown. About 8-10 minutes.
  2. In a small food processor, chop up walnuts and sesame seeds. Add remaining ingredients except water. 
  3. Add water 1/4 cup at a time and blend until sauce is smooth, but still somewhat thick.
  4. Mix in with your pasta while pasta is still hot. Top the pasta with greens of your choice.
Tip: Add less water and use this a crostini spread!

2/16/13

30% off Presidents' Day Sale in The Scissors & Spice Etsy Shop


Help me clear off ye olde shoppe shelves before my next big restocking in the next few weeks (and there is some good stuff coming, y'all!). 30% off The Scissors & Spice Etsy shop. Use code PRESIDENT at checkout!

2/12/13

Vintage Cookbooks: Baker's Animal Cut-Up Cakes, 1959







Every Easter, my sisters and I would make an Easter bunny cake that we would make by cutting two cake rounds. One round would be shaped as ears, and the negative space in between the ears would become the bunny's bow tie. We decorated him with coconut flakes, gum drops and licorice.

When I saw this cookbook, I just had to pick it up for nostalgia's sake. My kids have been studying it for the past few weeks and they think it is the most magical of books in the world.

The cookbook includes animal shapes like a butterfly, a bunny, a dog, a tortoise, a swan, a lion, a duck, a fish, and a giraffe, and other clever ideas like the "Cut-Up Kids," and helpful cut-up cake hints. The illustrations, lettering, and illustrations are to die for!

Now available in the Scissors and Spice Etsy shop here! Makes a great gift for a baker friend or one of those designers that likes to hoard "inspiration."

"Baker's Coconut Animal Cut-Up Cakes," published by General Food Kitchens, 1959.

2/11/13

Easy Valentine's Day Beaded Card Ornament Craft Tutorial

My son REALLY wanted to make beaded snowflake ornaments this morning, but I thought we could do a Valentine's craft together instead. I had so many pipe cleaners and red and pink beads left over from our Christmas craft, so I had the brilliant idea to make beaded pipe cleaner heart ornaments instead! It's an easy and fun craft for kids and for those that are a little craft-challenged.

Each heart only takes a few minutes to make, so you could whip up a bunch and attach a little tag to it that reads something clever like "Valentine, you'd beadazaling!" and you've got a cute and unique Valentine card for your children to hand out at school. Just place each in an envelope so they don't get banged up and twisted on the way to the party! Or, you could string a few together for a cute window or door decoration. Make a smaller one and hang it on the end of a necklace. the possibilities are endless.

Below is a quick tutorial on how to make your own Valentine's gifts, cards or decorations. If you make some, please send me a picture of what you come up with! XO! Happy Valentine's Day!



Easy Valentine's Day Beaded Card Ornament Craft Tutorial

Materials: 
  1. Red and pink beads
  2. Pipe cleaners
  3. Ribbon or heavy duty string
Step One:
Bend pipe cleaners in half into a "V" shape.


Step Two:
Slide beads on! Tip: Have kids work on a rimmed tray to prevent beads from rolling everywhere.


Step Three:
Leave about three or four beads length of the pipe cleaner ends uncovered.

Step Four:
Shape pipe cleaner like a heart and twist ends to secure shape and beads. (Leave a smidgen of wiggle room in the beads; if they are too tight, the heart is hard to shape.)

Step Five:
Take the twisted ends and wrap around the center of your heart. This will ensure that the beads don't fall off an unraveled pipe cleaner.

Step Six:
Tie a loop in about 12-16" of string.

Step Seven:
Place heart on top of loop and bring the tied end through the bottom of the loop. Center the tie on the top of the heart so it hangs properly. And you're done!

Ideas:
You could now tie Valentine-themed tags to it, or you could even slide the tag on before you tie the knot, and place in pre-addressed envelopes. Or, to make the Valentine garland, just keep tying hearts to hearts with the same length of thread between each. Careful though, the weight of the heart below it may cause the hearts to get lose their shape.

So proud! This heart is being gifted to his big sister. So sweet!

2/8/13

Fusilli with Spicy Butternut Squash and Pepita Sauce & Bacon


I've said this before, when my husband travels, I don't cook. I subside on snacks, coffee, and fruit and then I start feeling guilty and gross, so I make a declaration that I will eat veggies and actually cook a real, hot, healthy meal! This dish was a result of that particular situation. Thank goodness for the Whole Foods near me, because I was able to buy pre-cut organic veggies which forced me to cook them right away to prevent their inevitable and quick deliquescence (don't you love that word?).

I wan't planning on making a blog post about this prep, but holy schmoly, it was so incredibly good, I had to share. Sorry for the indoor lighting on the photos; it was around 8 pm before I was able to sit down to have dinner. I can also imagine that this would be really good baked as a casserole. I'm going to have to try that next!


Fusilli with Spicy Butternut Squash and Pepita Sauce & Bacon Recipe
serves 1-2; vegan, vegetarian, sauce is gluten-free (use GF pasta or even rice and omit gluten bacon)

(Note: Since I was not planning on making a recipe, all measurement are approximate, but as always, I suggest you tailor recipes to suit your tastes anyway!)

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 cups of chopped butternut squash
  • olive oil for the baking pan
  • 1 TB sesame seeds
  • 1/8 cup raw, green pepitas (walnuts would also be acceptable)
  • 1/2 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional: I use a little organic turmeric in everything for its health benefits.)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt
  • few dashes of cracked black pepper
  • pinch or more of red pepper flakes (Adjust this to your tastes.)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of nutritional yeast or couple of dashes of faux-parmesan (optional)
  • 1 cup of cooked pasta (Fusilli is perfect for a recipe with a thick sauce like this. Whole wheat works great as well!)
  • Toppings: Chopped, fried veggie bacon (I used Lightlife Smart Bacon) and finely chopped, steam collard greens. (You could use kale, spinach or chard as well.)


Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425. In a small baking dish, drizzle olive oil over butternut squash. Cover with foil, and place in oven for about 30 minutes or until squash is soft. Alternatively, you cold steam the squash, but roasting really enhances the sweetness and flavor.
  • In the meantime, cook your pasta of choice in salted water, steam collards, and fry bacon in the meantime.
  • Place your pepitas (set a a few aside for the garnish of your final plating) and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and in the last 5 minutes of the squash baking, place them in the oven. Remove both when done. The seeds should be fragrant, but not overly cooked. They should start to brown, but not get dark.
  • In a small food processor, add olive oil, rosemary, turmeric, salt, black and red pepper, nooch, sugar, parm, and cooked and still warm squash. Purée until the sauce is well combined. I liked mine a bit chunky, so I did not blend until it was smooth. If you like it smooth, blend until your hearts content!
  • Mix pasta with sauce and plate. Top with fried bacon and greens and sprinkle extra pepitas on top. Perfectly healthy comfort food!

2/5/13

Easy Quinoa Bowl with Kale, Carrots and Chickpeas (Vegan)

All this goodness in under 30 minutes!

Do you know how much I love kale? Do you know how much I love quinoa? Lots! I also love being able to make easy, quick and nutritious lunches. This quinoa bowl took only about 20 minutes to make, was delish, and was so incredibly simple! Perfection.

To make: Prepare quinoa according to package directions, but add about 1/2 cup more water. Add two chopped carrots, about 1 cup of finely chopped kale, seasonings of your choice (I used thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano), salt, pepper, and about 2 tsp. of olive oil. Cook until quinoa is soft. Add one can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, mix, and serve.

2/4/13

You're Just My Type Valentine's Day Letterpress Mini-print Card



Now in the S&S Etsy shop, a Valentine's Day letter-pressed limited edition and signed mini-print/card designed by Ken Barber of Type and Lettering. Order it from the shop or via Type and Lettering. Order now for Valentine's Day delivery!

Note: Shipping is via Priority Mail to get it there in time for Valentine's! If you don't need fast shipping, just message me for a first class mail quote.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, Stewed Apples, Quicksand, & Kate Spade


Two dozen vegan cupcakes for my daughter's birthday party at school. I used the wacky chocolate cake recipe and added one ripe banana (so moist!) and white frosting decorated with crushed and halved Trader Joe's chocolate/chocolate Jo Jo's. The girls in her class said, "Your mom is the world's best cupcake baker!" Why thank you, ladies!


Purple tulips for my little lady's birthday. All girls should get flowers on their birthday; in their favorite color, of course!


A weird mix of weather has brought a few crazy warm days and the kids were excited to play outside to soak up every drop of warmth before the cold really set in. February is the cruelest month! Brrrrr! May, where are you?


My Ayurvedic doctor recommends eating a stewed apple mixed with turmeric in the morning as a liver detox. Sometimes I add a little but more to make it a meal, like walnuts, cinnamon, saffron, and raisins. It's a surprisingly filling breakfast and I have little room for the oatmeal she also suggests that I should be eating. I've never been big breakfast person.

Even though I am done with the flu, I noticed the other day that my face hurt and it felt like someone hit me in the face with a board. Turns out that fun flu led to a sinus infection. Great... In any case, I have always loved the clean look of a classic doctor's office. Wish we had room in our bathroom for this aesthetic.


I love the fact that my daughter fully believes that if you make someone a get-well card, it magically has the ability to do just that. (Note my fancy shoes!)


I wasn't about to let "the sickness" get me down anymore, so I dragged myself to the Quicksand reunion tour last Monday. They were one of my favorite bands in my youth and I saw them several times in the 90s. Don't worry, I was fever free for a few days and made sure to stay away from people as much as possible. Great show; glad I made it!



My dear friend, Kaisa, was on the cover of this Finnish magazine and she's sporting the mittens I got for her at Kate Spade for Christmas. So cute! (No fears, she follows and ahimsa lifestyle; the fur is fake!)

2/2/13

From Philly with Love


"Valentine, you got me all tied up in knots!" Heart pretzel from the Philadelphia Pretzel Factory.