3/31/13

3/25/13

This Weekend: Vegan Buffets, Farmland, Kale, Puzzles, & Spring Snow


How was your weekend? Ours was pretty weird. We actually had two weird weekends in a row, and now we're ready for some better vibes to descend upon us. Good things happened despite this bizzaro world we feel like we have entered. Here are a few snapshots of this weekends' better moments.

This dish didn't happen this weekend, but noteworthy nonetheless. A lunchtime meeting with a good friend at Su Tao Vegan Cafe in Malvern, PA mid-week. One of my favorite places. It's comforting buffet-tyle vegan Asian food. Nothing fancy, but it always does you right.

We passed this vintage sign on Route 13 in Delaware on the way to a friend's new place that he just bought. You probably wouldn't want to stay at that motel, but the sign is cool.


His new house is in farm land territory. It's amazing that there are still so many open spaces, yet people pay out the wah-zoo to live on top of one another in New York City.


After a not-so-great encounter with a not-so-nice person, we decided we needed nourishment so I had my usual gigantic salad with roasted veggies from Whole Foods. I ate about 1/4 of that salad. Eyes bigger than my stomach, for sure.

I found this beauty at a local flea market. She reminds me of mix of 1960's church stained glass window and a Vitra/Girard doll my husband gave me on my first Mother's Day as a mom.


Lunch on Sunday. Sauteed kale and broccoli rabe. So good.


Good old-fashioned quality family time. Gets you back to center.

Woke up on Monday morning to see this. A spring snow storm. It barely even snowed this winter. Temps so mild. Barely felt like winter. The first day of spring comes and the temps plummet. And plummet. It finally snows! See, bizzaro world. I think this is a good sign to stay home, cuddle with the kids, and make soup.

3/23/13

The Early Bird Gets the Worm (or Not!)




I never get up before the sun rises. My Ayurvedic doctor says I should for my health. I. Just. Can't. I'm so not a morning person and I never have been. My son even has a pretty good impression of my eyes-half-closed puffy morning face. I am at my best at night: alert, creative, and awake!

In any case, there have been some large community garage sales over the past few days that have had me up with the rising sun and man, these mornings have been supremely beautiful! The dawn skies are painted with the warmest hues and the little pops of concentrated sunlight grace the living room's still-dark walls like fleeting moments of geometrical and magical artwork. Too bad I haven't found anything worthwhile for the shop, but these rare sites help make it worth losing a few hours of precious sleep.

3/22/13

The Moomins are on Netflix (AND in English!)






You have no idea how excited I was to find out yesterday that The Moomins (the beloved Finnish cartoon characters by illustrator and writer Tove Jansson) are now available on Netflix! Two very dear friends of ours are from Finland and introduced the Moomin series to us around the time our daughter was born. Our kids have been reading the Moomin books for years, so they were so happy to finally watch them in action. If you have Netflix, check out the animated series (and *swoon* in cut paper/fabric stop animation) available on instant streaming. Best thing is--it's entirely in English!

3/20/13

Back in Business!

My Etsy shop was starting to look pretty bare! I will slowly be stocking it in the next few weeks. I listed a bunch of Cathrineholm bowls this morning that sold within a few hours. As of this afternoon, the small yellow lotus bowl (pictured above) is still available, but will probably sell soon. (Get crackin'!) Above is a small preview of a few of the other items being listed.

Want first dibs? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to be notified when new items are listed! If you are an Etsy-savy person, favorite my shop/put me in your circle for instant notification of new items.

3/15/13

Daily Chow: Corned Tofu & Cabbage & BBQ Tofu w/ Mashed Cauliflower


I have been eating lowish-carb over the past week. As a lacto-vegetarian it is nearly impossible to eat low or no carb, but I have been doing my best. No grains, no sweet fruits, no starches, no beans, no sugar. I feel great! I've been eating tons of veggies, salads, and snacking on nuts and celery.

Above is a pic of a super simple vegan dinner: sauteed asparagus, bok choy, and kale cooked with ginger, olive and sesame oils, hot pepper, pinch of Chinese 5 spice, and tamari. So good!


I've been sprinkling this super mix on everything: Ground sesame seeds, flax, pepitas, chia, sunflower seeds, raw cacao powder, and cinnamon. Great on everything from unsweetened yogurt to salads. Loaded with omega fatty acids, minerals and magnesium.


In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I made corned tofu and steamed cabbage. I marinated 1/4" thick slices of the tofu in red wine vinegar, tamari, sage, thyme, olive oil and sea salt and then fried it. I have no idea if it tasted anything like corned beef, but it was freaking tasty. Probably my favorite dinner this week.


Thursday night, we had baked BBQ tofu, mashed baked cauliflower (so gooood!), and stewed greens (a mix of kale, mustard and spinach greens--all chopped finely--and sauteed in coconut oil, thyme, turmeric, smoked paprika, TJ's 21 seasoning salute, sea salt, black pepper, red pepper and Bragg's).


I baked the tofu (seen here sprinkled in smoked paprika, cumin and sea salt) before simmering it in the BBQ sauce. Gives it a nice chewy, and dare I say, meaty texture. I took a cooking class once with Christina Pirello  and she said she likes to cut her tofu thinly and in uneven pieces to make it seem more, again, meaty. It really works! Cubes and triangles of tofu are so old school!


Baking the cauliflower (at 425 for about 20-20 minutes) before mashing it gives it a nice smokey-sweet and more complex flavor than steaming. Plus, I could bake the tofu and cook the cauliflower at the same time! I love when the oven does the work for me.


Ahhh! A low-carb night cap. I used my milk frother to steam me up some almond milk, mixed with raw cacao powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and stevia. It was really satisfying for my deprived sweet tooth.


And not to bore you with this sugar-less post: I came up with a new recipe for a meyer lemon-blueberry-pecan cookie for my children's teachers last week. I made sure to package them all up before I ate them all, so I didn't get a picture of the final product. I will, however, make them again and post the recipe. The flavor combo got rave reviews!

3/14/13

Yarn Bombing in My Hometown!

Photo by New Bedford Guide on Facebook. Yarnin' by Art Works.

Look what popped up in my (historic, I might add!) hometown of New Bedford, MA. Some pretty artsy yarn bombing by ArtWorks!

3/10/13

Can't Get Enough of Justin Timberlake as a Block of Tofu


Bring it on down to Vegan Ville! Ok, I'm sure you have seen this skit performed by one of my all time favs, Justin Timberlake, on SNL last night. I seriously can't stop watching it. It's never too late to change! Drink a vegan shake! One of the best Saturday Night Live skits in ages! Thanks, Justin!

3/8/13

Texas is the Reason for Awesome Vegan Buffalo Wings


Looking through some photos on my phone, I realized I forgot to post about these AWESOME buffalo wings at The Abbaye in Philadelphia. We were headed to a Texas is the Reason show at The Union Transfer and had just seen an article about all the vegan/vegetarian cheesesteaks on philly.com. We had had already tried most of them, but had never been to The Abbaye (which is just down the street from Union Trasnfer) so we just had to check it out.

They make their own seitan, and they really know what they are doing, because these wings were so tender and so good. The sauce was hot without being overly crazy spicy.  There was a vegan option of using Veganaise as a dip instead of ranch. Now, If they could get these bad boys in some sort of vegan sandwich, it would be heaven on earth in a bun.


Now for the reason we originally went, the cheesesteak. It was really tasty, but it wasn't quite a traditional cheesesteak. I think it tasted more like a lamb kabob sandwich. Mr. Scissors agreed. He got the vegetarian meatball (a special). The meatballs seemed like they were made from mostly grains and I appreciated that they just didn't use some off-the-shelf frozen tofu balls. Their thin fries are the best!

All the staff at The Abbaye were really nice and super efficient; as a former waitress I appreciate good service.


The Texas is the Reason show was a dream. So fun to reminisce. And The Union Transfer is such a great venue too boot.

3/6/13

I Do Not like Green Eggs and Ham

I do like green tofu and veggie ham, Sam I Am!

Green tofu and veggie ham! My daughter's class has been celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday this week and today's festivities includes eating green eggs and ham. Since that is a no-go for us, I made her an equivalent substitute so she could partake with her classmates.

People often as me if it is hard raising a veggie kid and my answer is always, "No." It just requires a rare additional bit of cooking like this. My daughter is very proud of being a vegetarian and find the thought of killing animals to eat “really sad.” She is not resentful of our choices, but rather wears them with pride. I do know, however, how important it is for kids to feel included in the group of their peers so I try my best to always make this sort of accommodation for her.


Anytime I prepare tofu, I always press it first to drain out any water. Tofu fries, bakes, and takes marinades so much better when it is dry. My handy dandy TofuXpress makes this process quick and easy.


I didn't use my usual recipe for making the scrambled tofu, instead, I just added a bit of salt, pepper, and spices that my daughter would like. The usual turmeric was left out so that when the green dye was added, it wouldn't look as nauseating. The green dye was pretty icky on its lonesome!

Tip: I don't crumble up the tofu before adding it to the pan, I just use a potato masher. I love the way it crumbles the tofu into even, but uneven, pieces.

3/4/13

Vegan Asparagus Soup, Phila Flea Markets, Hindu Gods & Husker Du


This weekend was the first in a long time that we did not have any scheduled trips or other obligations so, on Saturday, we took advantage of that blessing to spend some time tooling around Philadelphia. Our fist stop was to the Philadelphia Flea Market at 9th and Spring Garden.




Lots of interesting goods and friendly vendors; there is tons of industrial vintage if that's your thing. We didn't buy much, but we had a fun time browsing and meeting people. Our children were especially well behaved (meaning neither one of them broke anything) which always makes for a pleasant thrifting experience for everyone!


The flea is inside an old warehouse that also hosts a roller derby league and most of the vendors encircled the embanked track. The cheeky wallpaper in the women's bathroom made gave me a giggle.



The next stop on our trip was to the Please Touch Museum. The grand Beaux Arts style building, called Memorial Hall, which houses the museum was formerly a part of the 1876 Centennial Exposition. Sadly, it was abandoned after the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art left and it was not in use until Please Touch took residence. Amazing! Read more about the Memorial Hall building here.


Our next stop was to the antique furniture store, Material Culture. We've been looking for an Indian-style armoire for some time now, and this spot boasts a large and interesting curated selection of vintage Indian, Asian, and African furnishings. Though we did not find what we were looking for, we were thoroughly entertained just perusing. I think the table above would be a nice set up in my secret lair, you know, for clandestine meetings with my cohorts.


Me and my best friend in an antique Indian mirror.  Selfies, so dorky, but so fun.



If you need a life-sized deity of Sita, Hanuman, and Laksmana or Radha and Krishna, or even a Siva lingam, you'll find many at Material Culture.


All that shopping and museuming made us pretty hungry, so after stopping off to see some friends in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, we stopped off at Earth Bread and Brewery for dinner. They have an impressive wood fired pizza oven and seriously make some of the best pizza (or as they called them, flatbreads) I have had in a long time. Since I am trying to be good, I had the vegan asparagus soup. Nom! Even though I thought it would have an Italian flavor, it actually had more of Asian profile. I detected a base of pumpkin or sunflower seeds; so I'm going to have to give making it at home a try!

And I have to say, a restaurant that offers a kids' appetizer of celery, apple, grapes and apples with natural peanut butter gets a thumbs up in my book. It is a super child-frienly operation and was packed with large groups of families with very well-behaved little ones.

After a full Saturday, we took it easy on Sunday and went up to visit my in-laws in Reading. The kids enjoyed their craft day with Grandmom and loved playing board games with her, like this vintage 70s Husker Du memory game!