October 25, 2012

Vegan Treats

★ How do you rate perfection?  With five stars, natch.   

It is no secret that birthday cake is my all-time favorite guilty pleasure food.  So it was no surprise that the celebration of my beloved's birthday led us on a pilgrimage to Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, PA to find the perfect cake.  Although we didn't see Jesus during our brief stay in Bethlehem, I am pretty sure we heard angels singing while enjoying our tasty treats. 

So many selections.  All treats were vegan, but the third row was also gluten-free, which made Justin super happy.  Check out their latest menu HERE.

Vegan Treats also has vegan soft-serve ice cream, to the delight of Lauren and Justin who can't have dairy.  Vegan Treats, if you are reading this, please BRING BACK PUMPKIN!  And, a cook book would be terrific.  Thank you.

Lauren preparing to dive into her chocolate peanut butter cake.

Justin and Lauren, getting busy.

 Here is a close-up of Lauren's luscious cake.  She let me try it.  Deelish!

Justin selected a pumpkin parfait.  It was gone lickety split!

Here is my supernaturally delicious chocolate cake.  Yum!  I had to take half of it home in a box, it was so rich and delightful.  Justin, who has autism, later dropped the box in our driveway spilling its contents.  This made me sad, so we went back a few days later for more treats! 

Boo treats for Halloween.  Too cute!

If you plan to be anywhere near Bethlehem, do yourself a favor and visit Vegan Treats.  It is worth the drive.  Vegan or not, your tastebuds will do the happy dance. <pinkie swear>

Vegan Treats
1444 Linden Street
Bethlehem, PA  18018

For a list of retail locations that carry Vegan Treats, click HERE.

Happy, happy, joy, joy!


October 18, 2012

True Love :: Gangnam Style

When my daughter asked that I draw a mountain hawk dancing Gangnam Style, how could I say no?  True Love. She and her honor fraternity wanted to have T-shirts printed for a fundraiser that incorporated their mascot, the mountain hawk, dancing Lehigh Style

Gangnam Style is a hugely popular single by South Korean rapper Psy and at last count the music video had 483,277,743 hits on YouTube.  On September 20, 2012, Gangnam Style was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most 'liked' video in YouTube history. 

Here is the making of:

Oppa Gangnam Style.


October 15, 2012

Meatless Monday: Sweet Potato Quinoa Quesadillas

We recently made a commitment to eat more healthfully.  For my beloved, it has meant adhering to a plant-based diet.  He has dropped 30 lbs. and feels (and looks) super duper! We as a society tend to opt for convenience.  For the vegans out there, I salute you.  For me, finding delicious plant-based recipes has proven to be a butt-kicker ... which is why I did cartwheels (mentally) when I first tasted these sweet potato quinoa quesadillas.  They are truly delicious, and packed with lots of protein and fiber.  Kids love them, too!  And, they make a great lunch on the go.  No need to reheat. 


  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 c. cooked quinoa [Two tips:  1.  Rinse your quinoa before cooking it, even if the directions don't mention this step.  2.  Keep a big container of cooked quinoa in your refrigerator, that way you can easily add it to salads, cereal, Chinese food ... whatever strikes your fancy!]
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 7 oz. can diced green chilies
  • Tortillas (I use corn for the GF gang, and multi-grain for the gluten eaters)
  • Shredded pepper jack or cheddar - or a combo! (dairy or nondairy) [Tip:  Try Daiya brand shredded nondairy cheese.  It melts beautifully and is tasty]
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream (dairy or nondairy)
  • Avocados, peeled and sliced  


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  [Tip:  I use nonstick foil from Reynolds.  Magical stuff!]  

Peel sweet potatoes and cut them into chunks.  Place on lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Place beans in a bowl and mash with immersion blender or blend in food processor.  This step is optional.  I usually mash half of the beans.

Once cooked, place the sweet potato chunks in a bowl and mash with immersion blender, or allow to cool and blend in food processor.  

Heat olive oil in large skillet.  Add onions and cook for 4 minutes.  Add garlic and spices and cook for one minute.

Add beans, green chilies and tomatoes.  Mix together and then add cooked quinoa and mushed sweet potatoes.  Mix thoroughly.  Remove from heat.

Preheat a large skillet or griddle.  

Place as many tortillas as will fit in the pan/on the griddle.  Flip after two minutes.

After they are flipped, use a spatula to spread your yummy mixture on each of the tortillas.  Pack them!  Sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Top with another tortilla and flip.  Grill until cheese is melted.

Use a rotary pizza cutter to slice your quesadillas.  Top with a dollop of sour cream, salsa and sliced avocado.  Yum!  



October 12, 2012

Make Hand-Painted Tile Coasters for Only 16¢

What happens when I combine my love of doodling with a night spent on Pinterest?  Hand-painted tiles, of course!  Pinterest showed mugs from Anthropologie.  I opted for personalized tiles.  Inexpensive and super easy!  Two of my favorite things.

If you like to doodle, this is the craft for you!  Embellishing plain tile coasters, or most any dollar store ceramic, would be a great birthday party craft for kids, although adults would no doubt want to jump in and play. 

I picked up a bunch of tiles for only 16¢ each during a quick trip to our local Home DepotI chose 4 1/4" x 4 1/4" tiles as they are the perfect size for coasters.  

The guy at Home Depot who was helping me showed me his pink flamingo underpants so, of course, I had to take a picture. <winkie face>

Here is what you will need to make hand-painted tile coasters:


  • Tile
  • Pebeo porcelaine paint pen (Available HERE)
  • Window cleaner and a paper towel
  • Nail polish remover with acetone
  • Q-Tips
  • Carbon paper (available at office supply stores), optional
  • Felt feet (or a square of felt, scissors and glue), optional

Clean your tile using window cleaner. 

Shake pen well before use.  Press tip against a hard surface repeatedly to start ink flow.  I freehanded my design, but feel free to transfer a picture using carbon paper.  If using the carbon paper transfer method, just sandwich the carbon paper between the tile and your picture.  Using a pencil, trace the picture and it will transfer to the tile.  Or, just start drawing!

The nail polish remover and Q-Tips are in case you make a mistake that you would like to erase.  I used nail polish remover then followed up with a quick wipe with window cleaner.

After you have painted your tile, allow it to air dry for 24 hours.  After 24 hours, place tile directly on the middle rack of a cold oven.  Set oven to 300 degrees and bake tile directly on rack for 30 minutes once oven has come up to temp.  Allow tile to cool in oven.  You want to avoid cracking which can be caused by a sudden change in temperature.  

Adding felt feet (found at Home Depot for 2¢ each) is optional, but I like that the coaster won't scratch a wood surface.  If you don't add feet, you can safely wash your coaster in the dishwasher after baking. 

This little tile will be a Christmas gift for my sister who lives in San Francisco.   I hope that she will like it!

If you make hand-painted tile coasters, let me know!


October 10, 2012

Mother/Daughter Halloween Craft Project

Halloween means pumpkins, costumes and candy - but also rainy day CRAFTS!  Our mother/daughter craft project involved assembling a 3D haunted house from a bazillion foam pieces with instructions that stated only "follow the picture on package."  Okay, there were 131 pieces, but it felt like a bazillion.  It was a fun project requiring a lot of patience and a lot of glue.  The kit is by Creatology and is available at Michaels stores.  [Tip:  Always check their site for a printable coupon before you go.  And, sign up for their mailing list as they email coupons regularly.  I used a 50% off coupon for our haunted house project.]


October 8, 2012

A Birthday Tea Party

There is nothing like royal tea for two to celebrate a gal pal's birthday.  Robin and I met when our girls were young and would ride their scooters up and down the street.  The scooters are long gone, but we have remained close friends.  Robin is kind, supportive and always game to taste test any of my latest creations.  She is coming over tonight for slow cooker chicken tikka masala.  When I learned that my matchbox goodies were featured in Brides Magazine, Robin shared in my excitement by helping me find the first available copy in town.    

Royal Tea for Two at Simpson House Tea Room included two pots of tea, soup, salad, tea sandwiches, scones and dessert.  Yum!

There were so many teas from which to choose.  After much discussion, it was Georgia peach for me and orange for Robin.  Pictured below are the pink sparkly glasses (I love them!) my beloved bought me at a street fair during my birthday trip to New York City

The soup and salads were just the right size.

Why don't I make tea sandwiches at home?  They're delightful!  The chicken salad on a croissant was scrumptious.

A tower of treats!  We asked that the scones be wrapped to take home so we could save room for dessert.

We finished our tea party with lemon pound cake, and also vanilla ice cream topped with a fresh strawberry sauce.  I'm pretty sure that most everything goes better with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

The proprietor was lovely.

Robin and I thoroughly enjoyed her birthday tea party.

For a special treat, we highly recommend Simpson House Tea Room



October 5, 2012

My Favorite Things: Everyday Comfy Outfit

What is your favorite thing to wear?  For me, hands down, it's my black yoga pants that I first received as a gift from my sweet pea daughter, topped with a boyfriend T-shirt in white (white boyfriend T-shirt sounded, well, wrong).  I now own five pairs of these pants and an equal number of white tees.  My Tiffany bracelet from my beloved, black Champion socks and black New Balances finish off the outfit.  Comfort heaven!

Here is the 4-1-1 on where I found this sampling of my favorite things:

1.  White boyfriend T-shirt from Target.  Mine has a little pocket and is a tad fuller, but is pretty close to the one pictured.  It must be a seasonal item.

2.  Tiffany heart bracelet that I received from my sweetheart for my birthday.

3.  Black shorty Adidas socks.  I buy mine in the multi-pack from Costco.

4.  New Balance 490 black running shoes.  Most comfortable kicks EVER!  They've been discontinued, so if you can find them in your size, buy them asap, and please let me know! 

5.  Black yoga pants from Target.  They come in different lengths.  [TIP:  Wash these in Woolite for darks - really known as Woolite Extra Dark Care - on the delicate or hand wash cycle of your washer, and throw them over your shower rod to try.  Never put them in the dryer.  They will stay dark for years and years and you will be a happy girl.]

I would love to hear about your favorite comfy outfit.



October 1, 2012

Meatless Monday: Chana Masala

Chana Masala is a healthy and hearty delicious dish.  New to Indian cooking?  No problem!  This simple recipe is the perfect introduction and will make your kitchen smell like heaven!  It's a family favorite.     



1 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
2 medium onions, diced 
1 clove garlic, minced 
2 t. fresh ginger, grated 
1 fresh jalapeno, minced 
1 Tbsp. ground coriander 
2 t. ground cumin 
1/2 t. ground cayenne pepper  
1 t. ground turmeric
2 t. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2 t. paprika
1 t. garam masala
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with their juices
2/3 c. water
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 t. salt 
1/2 lemon, juiced


Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika and garam masala.  Cook onion mixture with spices for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes with their juices, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan.  Add the water and chickpeas.  Simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Chana Masala is often eaten with a type of fried bread called chole bhature that is on my list of recipes to try.  We serve ours with rice and naan and/or gluten-free cornbread.