Vegan Gingerbread Waffles (A Cheater Recipe!)

I'm always one for a hey-why-not when cooking. I mean, you know that is what the person who  dipped a pretzel in chocolate for the first time thought. All good inventions start with curiosity.

So, on a Sunday morning, I saw the Trader Joe's gingerbread box mix on the shelf, I thought, "Hey! Why not! Let's try making it into waffles!" Voila! Worked out perfectly! The mix makes a very gingery, moist and yummy breakfast delight. Just use the appropriate vegan substitutions (which is the equivalent of an egg replacement) and you've got yourself an easy, festive treat for holiday mornings! For serving, I sprinkled mine with organic powdered sugar (available at Whole Foods).

Late Fall


Where does the time go? I have all these recipes that I started to post, but never finished. Since I hate loose ends, I had it in my mind that I couldn't post anything until I posted those recipes. You know what, I probably will never complete them, so let's move on! I've also been super busy with my shop, New Sweden Vintage, and honestly, don't have as much time to spend here. I do, however, have a few ideas for crafts and some cookie recipes for the holidays, so I'll make sure not to ignore Scissors and Spice. I promise!

Here are a handful of random shots from the last few weeks. In between packing orders and 3rd-grade homework, there's been lots of walks in the woods, baking (yay! cold weather!), coffee dates, and trips to New York.


Pumpkin cinnamon rolls from Trader Joe's.


Baked cauliflower curries, pre-baking.


Coffee dates at Philter in Kennet Square, PA. Seriously, the best mocha lattes this side of the Mississippi!


One of my favorite parts of going to New York City is taking the kids to the playgrounds. This one is right on the Hudson in Battery Park City.


My kids exploring the Irish Hunger Memorial.


I don't know why, but I was seriously geeking out over the colors of fall this year (I probably have about a thousand photos of foliage alone). We've been spending lots of time out in nature as a family, exploring the woods, and going for long walks along the Brandywine River.






Easy Mole Three-Bean Chili Recipe (Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free)


The weather is cooling! The leaves are starting to change color! Fall is here! To me, fall means one thing: warm cozy afternoons in the kitchen baking and making soups and stews. Making the latter, however, can be really time consuming. So what do you do when you want a warm, steaming bowl of something on a cool night, but you only have a half-hour? Bean chili is an extremely easy and yummy way to add some warmth to your dinner time without stressing yourself out. This version uses the richness of chocolate mole sauce to give the dish an unexpected smoky and sweet depth.

Serve with toppings of your choice like (vegan) cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, etc. or use it to top cornbread, rice, or even a baked sweet potato!


Easy Mole Three-Bean Chili Recipe (Vegetarian and Vegan)
serves 4; gluten-free 

Ingredients

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 1/2 TB coriander powder
  • 1/4 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes (to your desired level of heat)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup finely diced bell peppers (Vary it according to your tastes.)
  • 1 cup prepared mole sauce (Do yourself a favor and make it yourself the day before. Use my easy mole sauce recipe here!)
  • 1 15-ounce can of organic petite diced tomatoes (crushed tomato sauce works as well)
  • 3 15-ounce cans of organic beans, rinsed and drained (I used black beans, pinto beans, and red kidney beans)


Directions

  1. In a large sauce pan, sauté spices and the peppers for a few minutes until peppers have softened.
  2. Add mole sauce and tomato sauce to pan and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add rinsed and drained beans. Let simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. (The longer you can let the flavors marinade, the better the final dish will be. It's even better the next day, so make enough for leftovers!)
  4. When finished, add salt and pepper to taste. If you like it spicy, then add hot sauce to taste. Serve piping hot!

Avocado Toast with Arugula, Jersey Tomatoes, & Balsamic Reduction

I'm usually not one for food trends. I've got too much of an "authority issue" that if you tell me something is trendy, I will go in the opposite direction. Macaroons, cronuts, "artisanal" anything, $10 toast... all send shivers up my spine (and not in a good way).

So, when my husband told me he had "avocado toast" at a lunch in NYC with a colleague (one of the only vegetarian things on the brunch menu), I gave him one of those "oh no you di'int" blank stares. (It's a look I am semi-famous for!). He assured me at how great it was and how he couldn't stop thinking about it. "It's crave-able! Trust me." I'm sure I gave him one of my patented Marge Simpson guttural moans.

When we returned home from our trip, with few ingredients on hand to make dinner, I ran over to the farm stand near our house. Tons of Jersey tomatoes, great for sandwiches. "Hmmm... there are some avocados too. Hmmm... alright, I'll make him some friggin' avocado toast!" I caved. Truth-be-told, I have grown to love avocados over the past few years and their health benefits make me love them even more. That week, we had avocado toast every night for dinner. Totally caved. It's so easy to make and so good. Ok, I can see why it is a trend now. I give.

I made it so much in the past few weeks that I started experimenting with fancier ways to prepare it. With tons of basil and other herbs in the garden, I decided to make a Mediterranean version with some balsamic reduction that I picked up at Trader Joe's. If you don't have a TJs near you, balsamic reductions are pretty easy to make, you just need a bit of time and patience. The result is a thick, sweet sauce that has hardly any lingering vinegar flavor.

Mashing the avocado is a great way to involve kids in the kitchen. Mine always seem to fight over who gets to stir whatever I am making. My daughter loves avocados. My son, not so convinced.

You can use whatever bread you have on hand. Since these "artisinal toasts" are essentially just a trendy way of saying "opened-faced sandwich" you may want chose a hearty type that can stand the weight of your toppings. My favorites are the Tuscan Pane from Trader Joe's (pictured above) and Ezekiel bread. You can toast the bread in a plain ol' toaster, or get very chichi, and grill your bread using a little bit of olive oil and a cast iron pan.

Avocado Toast with Arugula, Jersey Tomatoes, & Balsamic Reduction (vegan)
Makes 2-4 (depending on your hunger and the size of the bread)

The recipe is for the avocado mash.

Ingredients
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 TB vegan mayo
  • 1 TB freshly minced basil
  • 1 tsp freshly minced thyme
  • 1/2 TB olive oil
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp good quality sea salt

Method
  • Mash all ingredients in a bowl, leaving some small chunks. Set aside in fridge.
  • Toast or grill bread.
  • Take one piece of toast, spread a thin layer of vegan mayo on the bread. Take a healthy sized scoop of the avocado mixture and spread over the mayo layer. Drizzle with a small amount of balsamic reduction. Add thinly sliced tomatoes (makes sure they are really good, juicy tomatoes-- not those pink and white kind from the off-season). Add more cracked sea salt. Top with arugula (I like a generous amount!) and then finish off with a drizzle of olive oil and cracked black pepper. 
  • Serve with a ton of napkins (or if you are super fancy, you can eat it with a knife and fork. I'm sure that would make your mom proud at how cultured you have become!)

Shredded Cabbage Salad with Coconut Peanut Dressing Recipe (Vegan)


Craving something raw, crunchy and savory, I whipped up this Asian-inspired salad for dinner. The recipe that follows is for the peanut-coconut salad dressing. Toss it with a salad of shredded cabbage, red peppers, shredded carrots, celery, sliced persian cucumbers, slightly steamed broccoli, and diced and fried baked flavored tofu. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or peanuts before serving.

Coconut Peanut Dressing for Salad or Noodles
Makes about 3/4 of a cup

Note: Measurements are approximate. Always adjust to make a dish your own or to suit the ingredients in your pantry.

In a small food processor, combine:

  • 1 TB peanut butter (For a thicker sauce, add 1-2 TB more.)
  • 2 TB tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup coconut milk (From a can or carton.)
  • 1 TB coconut oil
  • 1 TB rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 TB mirin
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (If you like a sweet dressing, add more)
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1-2 tsp of fresh, minced ginger (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic (suit to your tatste or omit)
Toss with salad and garnish each plate. Makes enough dressing for about 4 servings of salad..

Brunch with The Table at Brandywine at Point Lookout Farms


This past weekend, the family and I partook in lovely brunch served at Wilmington, Delaware's Point Lookout Farm (a privately owned organic garden) and hosted by our friends at The Table at Brandywine.

The farm offers views of rolling hills, woods, wildflowers. The casual brunch was served at the base of the hills on a crushed stone patio flanked by old stone barn ruins and a wood-fired oven and stone island which made the perfect spot to serve the buffet. Sheltered, peaceful, and idyllic, you would never guess that the city is just a few miles away.


The Table at Brandywine creates events to showcase local talent in the Delaware Valley. They bring the community together with local artisans, chefs, and musicians who may have otherwise gone undiscovered. Participants can also get to know others in their area through the shared tables experience. Each event is also held at a different locations throughout the area which acts as a way to highlight places that could have gone unnoticed by the attendees. Like for instance, I had driven by Point Lookout for at least a decade and didn't know it was there! Great discoveries!



A local artist is also featured at each Table at Brandywine event. Saturday's brunch featured ceramicist, and University of Delaware graduate, Haley Harmon. And yes, both my friend and I could not resist buying one of her simple, yet bold, necklaces.



Before brunch was served, we all took a tour of the farm and fell in love with, seriously, the most friendly goats you have ever met in your life. The colorful and diverse chickens and roosters entertained the kids (and we even got to witness that little brown and white striped lady laying an egg!).


Our hosts from The Table at Brandywine, Karen Weber, Rebecca Porter, and Becca Manning, welcomed the group, talked about their mission, and then invited us to dig in!


There were a few items on the menu for vegans and vegetarians, and this little cutie was quite happy with his vegan apple spiced muffins!



The quiche that was served was cooked in this beautiful wood-fired oven. I really, really want to cook pizza here. So much so that I can't stop thinking about how much I want one of these ovens in my backyard. All that wood chopping would be a great upper-body work out to boot!


If you are interested in finding out more about The Table at Brandywine and/or getting involved, like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and follow them on Instagram.

Strawberry Lime Margarita Smoothie Recipe (Vegan)

Dreamy tropical summer breakfast!

I am a smoothie addict! While I tend to opt for heavier flavors using things like raw cacoa, peanut butter, cinnamon, and sweet potatoes in the colder months, in the summer I tend to use more fresh fruit and flavors. This strawberry lime margarita smoothie is a perfect way to begin the day when the temperature is blazing.

Strawberry Lime Margarita Smoothie Recipe (vegan) 
serves 1-2 (makes about 16-18 ounces)

In a blender combine:

  • 1 cup coconut milk (The carton kind, not from a can! I used unsweetened.)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 small lime (Add the zest and juice.)
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh organic strawberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • sweetener (I tend not to use any, but if you like your smoothies sweet, options are: 1 TB agave, two dates, 1/2 TB coconut sugar, or 1/2 TB maple syrup. Add to your taste!)
  • Your favorite smoothie add-ons: I used 1/2 TB of raw coconut oil, 1 TB flax, 1 TB hemp protein powder. 
  • A few ice cubes


Blend until well combined and enjoy!

Clover Market: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, Pour Overs, & Vintage Maps

Clover Market
This past Sunday, we were granted a rare opportunity to have an actual, and increasingly rare, weekend-day free of any scheduled events or engagements. Seizing that chance, the family headed over to Ardmore, PA to check out a handmade and vintage fair put on by Clover Market.

Operating for the past four years, "the Clover Market is a seasonal open-air market featuring 100+ vendors with antiques & collectibles, vintage jewelry & clothing, finely crafted handmade items, and original art."

I seriously think it has taken us three of those years to finally be able to attend! The wait was worth it, however. I completely adored the entire event!
 

Clover Market is composed of an eclectic mix of vendors that sell anywhere from letterpress prints, to vintage clothing, to silk screened art, to handmade jewelry, to curiosities, to mid-century furniture... and there are plenty of, my favorite, food trucks! I loved how there wasn't a separate section for handmade and vintage; they all happily co-mingled in retail and aesthetic bliss.

Sweet Box


Of course, I made a bee-line over to Sweet Box Cupcakes for their outrageously moist vegan cupcakes. They didn't have my favorite flavor this time, but they did have a chocolate ganche and sprinkles confection of which my children did not let me take more than two bites. They happily walked around with chocolate smeared across their faces for the rest of our visit.

ReAnimator Coffee Roasters
The "pour over"

Having been robbed of my cupcake, I went straight over to ReAnimator Coffe Roasters for a "pour over." I'm not so sure the pour over technique makes a huge difference in the way the coffee tatstes (I'm not that much a bean snob to notice) but the masterful technique is both beautiful and fascinating to watch. The slow process is also a welcome pause in a increasingly too-rushed world.

PS: I need a ReAnimator T-shirt!

Hoof and Antler
Hoof and Antler
Hoof and Antler
My favorite vintage booth (I loved them all, but this one "spoke" to me!) was Hoof & Antler.  They offered a great collection of vintage maps, medical/anatomical charts, wabi sabi, books, clothing, signage, letterpress blocks, and more. I could have gone broke, but I restrained myself. They are on Etsy, so you can also shop them conveniently from your laptop!



It was a great Sunday spent at the Clover Market. I am very happy that we were finally able to attend. If you are in the Philly area, check out their next market. Like Clover on Facebook for updates and notifications! Happy shopping (and eating!).


Well, Hello There, Lemon Blueberry Quick Bread! (Recipe Review)


Truth be told, I have not been creating recipes. I've working out, riding my bike, and eating simply and healthfully; there are only so many recipes for quinoa, sweet potatoes, and steamed kale that you probably want to hear about.

But, the other day, there was a huge deal on a gigantic amount of blueberries at TJs that was too good to pass up. My kids love them, but I knew that we would not go through them quickly enough before they started to shrivel and mold. I was going to make blueberry muffins with them, but then the idea for a blueberry lemon bread came to mind. Searching for recipes I found this one from All Recipes (a site I love!) and it seemed doable to de-egg. I used sour cream to replace the eggs, but you can use your favorite vegan yogurt or sour cream; about 1/4 cup/ egg seemed to do the trick. I left out the glaze because who needs all that sugar? The result was moist, dense, and not too sweet. Thumbs up! I will definitely revisit it again.

With the summer berry season upon us, this recipe would be as equally great with raspberries or strawberries!

Getting Ready...

Image from The Betty Crocker Party Book

...to re-open the Scissors and Spice Etsy shop! I'm going back to vintage. Fun vintage that doesn't take itself too seriously with a focus on handmade, craft & cook books, and decor that brings a smile. Stay tuned! I'll have a bunch of listing live in the next week.

Twice Baked, Lentil Shepherd's Pie Stuffed Potatoes (vegan, GF)


My most pinned recipe is for Lentil Shepherd's pie. (It's also one of my first food photography forays and one of early blog pictures I wish I could redo!) I had an idea to do a different version of the recipe by stuffing baked potatoes with the filling instead of layering all the ingredients in a baking pan. The results were quite good and would make an excellent dish for a vegan potluck or an excellent way to cook for a dinner party beforehand. Just par-bake the stuffed potatoes beforehand, and finish the baking before your guests arrive!

Twice Baked, Lentil & Quinoa Shepherd's Pie Stuffed Potatoes
Serves 6-12; vegan, gluten free

Ingredients 

  • 1 cups of lentils
  • 1.2 cup quinoa  
  • 5 cups of water 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 6 medium potatoes 
  • 1/4 cup +/- vegan margarine 
  • 3/4 cup +/- non-dairy milk 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1/2 cup of diced celery 
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrots 
  • 3 TB olive oil 
  • garlic and onions to taste 
  • 1 tsp dried powdered sage 
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary (crush it) 
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme 
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 3 TB soy sauce (use GF tamari if you want to make it gluten free!)
  •  3 TB tomato paste (you can also use ketchup!) 
  • 2 cups frozen corn and/or peas
  • paprika
  • spray oil


Directions

1) Bake potatoes at 425 for 50-60 minutes. Remove form oven and let cool slightly (or are cool enough for your to handle.
2) While the potatoes are baking, bowl water with bay leaf and a dash of olive oil, add lentils, cook for ten minutes, add quinoa, and simmer, covered, for another 20 minutes or until lentils are soft. Set aside when done. You may need to drain any excess water, but if you let the lentils sit, the extra water will be absorbed.
3) Cut potatoes in half and scoop out middle of each section and transfer all extra potato to a flat bottomed, medium-sized bowl.
4) Mash scooped-out potatoes with margarine, milk, salt and pepper. Alternately, you can just use your favorite way of making mashed potatoes. Leave them a little on the wet side, though, or your final product will be too dry.
5) In a large saute pan, add olive oil and garlic and onions (if using), celery, carrots and herbs/spices and cook until the veggies are tender, then add cooked lentil/quinoa mixture stirring until everything is well incorporated. Add salt and pepper, tamari or soy sauce, and tomato paste and mix well. remove from heat.


Assembly

1) Heat oven to 350.
2) In your scooped out potato shells, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of lentils (don't over stuff or it will be a huge mess). Pat down the lentils.
3) Top lentils with a few tablespoons of corn or peas. Pat down.
4) Top potatoes with the mashed potato mixture. (You will have to use your hands!) Sprinkle with paprika. Repeat with the remaining shells.

Option: Mix all the fillings together and just stuff instead of layering.


Second Baking

1) Place stuffed potatoes on a baking pan or dish lined with parchment paper. You can leave room in between them or have them touch.
2) Spray the tops of each potato with spray oil.
3) Bake for about 20-30 minutes. In the last few minutes, stick them under the broiler to brown the stops.
4) Serve with gravy, ketchup,  top with cheese, or whatever you fancy!


Tofu Dogs baked in Cornbread... in a Twinkie Pan!

Baked, easy, corn dogs!

You know, I don't know how I came upon this idea. I saw Wilton Twinkie pan on clearance at Michael's and the idea to bake tofu dogs in cornbread just popped into my head. I don't even think I even ever had a corn dog in my life, actually. The kids love anything hand held and these puppies will certainly make it into our lunch rotation.

I used Trader Joe's cornbread mixture (which is vegan, and you can easily make the appropriate substitutions to bake it vegan) and Lightlife hot dogs. Next time,  however, I will try it with a corn dog batter and see how it turns out.


Even if you don't have a pan with Twinkie molds, you can still make cornbread with veggie dogs baked in. Top with cheese, jalapenos, or even with chili!