Weekend: Fresh Air, Burnt Banana Bread, & General Tao's Seitan

On Friday, we kicked the weekend off with an early morning bike ride by the Delaware River . The fog was so thick and the path still so covered with slushy snow that we had to move the party to a nearby state park. I have to say, the weird pockets of warm air coupled with cool air, mixed with the fog and the advancing thaw made the ride, dare I say, magical. The fresh air and vistas were just what I needed.

I also added some retail therapy into the mix by heading over to the local antique shop where I found these little ladies to add to my matryoshka collection. I love how the little ones are almost completely unadorned.

Continuing on with the need to be in nature, the family and I went for a long bike ride on the Chester Valley Trail, which is conveniently located next to Su Tao Vegan Cafe! Bonus!

The trail at sunset. It was completely beautiful and full of the sounds of birds and water trickling off the mounds of melting snow. No better therapy than nature!

The Mister and I goofing off in silhouette while taking a short break off the bikes.

Rocked the Trader Joe's Cinnabuns for the kids on Sunday morning. You may have seen them on Instagram. And well, if you're not already there with me, let's meet up! Instagram handle: scissorsandspice

You know, sometimes accidents happen. Like this burnt banana bread. I was making it for some friends, had the timer on and everything and, well. It totally burnt. Sorry guys!

The view out of my kitchen window... grass! You see grass! The grass! The two feet of snow in my backyard is finally melting! Hallelujah! I can feel it! Spring is coming.

I was also able to slip in a little girl time and get in a much needed mani with a friend on Sunday. Probably the best manicure I've gotten in a long time!

The weekend ended on a great note, when we returned back to our friends' house after our pampering, her husband had made, seriously, the most incredible General Tao's seitan, fried rice, and steamed veggies for us for dinner. I really hope he opens a restaurant at some point, because his cooking is incredible. I'm getting hungry just looking this picture!

This is Not a Recipe for Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie

I can't even look at this without wanting more.
I had a recipe brewing in my mind and I had to get it out! Valentine's Day was coming and I had house guests also approaching, so I decided to use those events as a reason to manifest my ideas. It kind of came organically, so I never wrote down a tested recipe, but if you are brave, and you can wing it, then you have to piece together this fabulous chocolate mousse pie. It's like dessert crack.

I used a stencil that I had cut out for a Valentine's project to dust the pie with cocoa powder.

This is Not a Recipe for Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie
serves about 12-18

Bottom layer: In a spring form pan if you have one, a chocolate cookie layer mixed with nuts. To do that, follow a cookie crust recipe for pies and then cut about 1/4 of the cookies for toasted almonds and walnuts. Let it set in the fridge.

Next layer: Your favorite chocolate ganache recipe. Let it set in fridge before adding the next ingredient. This ganache has to be thick, not runny, so you may want to eliminate a bit of the liquid (soy creamer, almond milk, etc.) from the recipe you are using.

Third layer: Dark cherry preserves. A whole jar, don't be shy. Let it set again.

Second layer: Chocolate tofu mousse with espresso powder. Melt a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips in a double broiler. Let cool somewhat. In a food processor, add a block of silken tofu, 1-2 TB maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener), 2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, and add 1 TB espresso powder. Blend until smooth, scrape down sides, blend again. Add melted chocolate and blend again until fully combined. Pour into the spring form. Let set for at least 3 hours in fridge.

Serve slices with whipped cream, chocolate sauce/melted ganache, sprinkle with toasted almonds, and/or more cherries.

Snowday-Schmoday Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Seriously, I've had enough snow in my life. I don't need you anymore, Winter! I've got such bad cabin fever that I don't even feel like cooking. I just want to eat energy nuggets (you know, those kind they sell in bulk at Whole Foods), bananas, nuts, and anything salty that comes out of a bag. So, when my husband asked me if I could make lunch while he went out to shovel the 10 inches of snow in our crazy long driveway, I sighed (hey now, I'm kind of sick on top of it!), but then took it is a challenge to get out of my cooking doldrums and make something new.

Oh my goodness! I'm so glad I got off my lazy behind and made these balsamic glazed Brussels with Lightlife bacon! So flippin' good! You can follow this recipe (click here) and make the appropriate substitutions. You'll be glad you did. Feels so good to have something warm and cooked in my belly!

My New favorite: Easy Gluten-free, Vegan, Raw Breakfast

I have been making so, so, so many smoothies. I was a whirled and liquified burn-out. So, one day, I decided to make my smoothie "whole" but chopping the ingredients up and eating it out of a bowl instead. Turns out, it was pretty yummy and is now my new favorite breakfast.

Chop a banana and top it with cinnamon, cacoa nibs, (roasted) almonds, walnuts, hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, and raisins. Eat! Super simple, super good! Makes a great mid-afternoon snack too! If you need more sweetness, drizzle maple syrup or agave on top.