It’s not Monday yet, is it? At least we’ve got cookies!

Today marks the end of our first holiday of the school year, and that means back to work for Guppy and I (well, until tomorrow, which is another holiday – woo hoo!). We decided to get the most of our last holiday weekend :

rain-puddles1

…walking in the “rain puddles” as Guppy calls them. So much more poetic than “mud puddles” if you ask me.

raking“Swishing” the leaves (I asked her what she was doing, and she told me plainly, “swishing the leaves!”). We’re between the rows of trees on the left of my header photo, FYI. It’s called le parc du château, because it’s part of the castle domain here in Fontainebleau.

drumsolo

What walk in the park would be complete without the spontaneous drum solos!

After our lovely promenade, kicking up leaves with our feet – I *love* that sound! – we headed back home for a delicious snack of tea, hot chocolate and cookies!

pb-cookie

and not just any cookies, these are the “Classic Peanutbutter Cookies” from Ricki’s much-awaited cookbook Sweet Freedom due out in early 2009. It’s not difficult to win over a family of self-described cookie monsters, I admit it, but holy yum! It will never cease to amaze me how something so easy can be so good! And the sprinkles? Ask the Guppy, who was in charge of criss-crossing & decorating. She helps remind me to pay attention to the details of happiness. Cookies = good. Sprinkles on cookies = fantastic! I have to remember to think like a 3-year-old. I think that the majority of the time, it’s the right way to go. Knowing there are cookies waiting for your afternoon snack makes the day so much more exciting, don’t you think?

bibsinprogress2

I finished up the embroidery for my new niece’s bibs this weekend, too. Hopefully I’ll get them assembled today or tomorrow. They are just begging to be drooled upon!

The beautiful & inspiring and the delicious & nutritious!

marieclaireidees

collage du site Marie Claire Idées

I’m always rather thrilled when my new copy of “Marie Claire Idées” arrives. There are so many amazing-cute-crafty-stylish things to ooh and awe at, and it’s just loaded with creative ideas and crafty inspiration. The Salon Marie Claire Idées is happening November 14, 15 & 16 at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris and I’m feeling rather excited about attending. Anyone in the area want to come with me?

My little package of love for my new niece (and her Mumma, my sister) is almost ready. If the sun would just shine a little I’d take some pictures. I’m finishing up a few details today (I hope) and will share that with you soon.

A CrafyFish needs sustenance, and lucky little ole’ me was able to nibble on some of the most tasty scones ever!

pearscone1

Pear and Pecan Scone from Sweet Freedom

This photo is so hideous I wasn’t even going to post about these super-scones, but I decided it would be an injustice to you, my readers, to not share such deliciousness just because of my slap-dash photography job. (I really will make a light box one of these days, probably around the time that we change time in April again…). I made these succulent scones for our quatre heures or afternoon tea, and for some reason the Fish Family was particularly affaimée (starving) and we just started feasting away once they were cool enough to eat…and luckily M. Fish, crumbs flying from his mouth (but in a really cute way) exclaimed “attends! tu as pas pris de photo!” (wait, you didn’t take a picture yet!) and I quickly snapped a picture in my already very dark kitchen. I must say I was really proud of my husband, because he generally teases me for taking pictures of food. It was sweet.

I feel like I need to briefly qualify the “nutritious” part of today’s title. See, the Sweet Freedom treats are not your typical AP flour & 300g non-dairy margarine type treats. I don’t ever tell M. Fish what’s in (or what’s not in) the scones or cookies or bars he’s drooling over, but he sure doesn’t think things taste too *healthy*. And I need to be clear – he’s lucky he’s cute, because he is one picky fishy in the food department!

These scones were like everything I’ve had the opportunity to make from Ricki’s up-coming book – DELICIOUS! And pears and pecans? Together at last is all I have to say! I am so looking forward to seeing the book in early 2009…I want to get my hands on all those recipes that we’re *not* testing! Please visit the Sween Freedom blog to see other examples of the delicious treats to come!

Vegan MoFo Day 26 – Halloween Treats, BBQ Treats, Blondie Treats! (No tricks, kids).

BOO!

Are these not the cutest ever? Originating with the Celts around 2000 years ago, Halloween has remained a mostly anglo-saxon holiday, moving to some of the various colonised countries with the colonizers. Despite various marketing attempts, it is not really celebrated in France. In Paris and in some more anglophone cities you can find stores selling decorations and goodies, but they are more and more the exception and not the rule. Imagine my joy when walking in front of my favorite little chocolaterie with Guppy the other day…the front window was decorated with Halloween treats galore! The ghosts and pumpkins really caught my eye, and when we walked in and I told the owner how I loved the window display she offered right away, “You know, I’m pretty sure the ghosts and pumpkins are dairy-free!” She then swiftly went in the back to consult her notes and confirmed with glee, “They are made with an almond paste, but it’s no dairy.” Yeah. Ok lady, twist my arm.

I’ve decided to dedicate Vegan MoFo to trying yet untried recipes in my (small) collection of cookbooks. I came across the “BBQ Seitan and Crispy Coleslaw Sandwich” in VCON and thought, hey, I can swing this, I even have tempeh in the fridge! Yes, that’s right, I said tempeh. We’ve been eating a great deal of seitan around here lately, so I decided that this sandwich would be just as yummy with tempeh, and by golly it was! (Says the Shellyfish channeling a 1950’s teen). I never buy vegan mayo, so I just sort of fudged the dressing for the slaw with plain soy yogurt (which I usually do for slaw dressing and it’s just fine), but I did make the “Backyard BBQ Sauce” from VCON. My stand-by sauce is the BBQ from New Farm, so I felt a little guilty, but it was worth the infidelity because this sauce was rather scrummy. I just put the pre-fried tempeh in a baking dish with the BBQ sauce for about half an hour. Ding. We piled the sandwich goodness on some fresh baguette and dinner was served!

These beauties are the “Butterscotch Blondies” from Ricki’s soon-to-be-published Sweet Freedom. They are some of the best blondies I’ve ever tasted – decadent, rich…

All this Sweet Freedom deliciousness is really spoiling me! Luckily I’m a bit of a distance runner, otherwise I would have to make some new pants! Ricki, you are a recipe-writing genius.

Vegan MoFo Day 24 – More Delicious Vegan Cookies & An Award!

EDITED TO ADD:

Please don’t worry if you don’t see your blog on the links list. As you can see I’m changing things up a little and I’m re-organizing the links. I still love you all – just give me a day to get you’re names back up! :)

I’m feeling rather thankful for happening upon a little blog called Diet, Dessert & Dogs back in February of this year. I have since read many an eloquent and entertaining post, tried a veritable plethora of delicious recipes, and am now being spoiled as a tester for Ricki’s vegan dessert book Sweet Freedom, due out in early 2009 (hey, my birthday is in January, did she plan that on purpose?!?). Ricki’s blog has become one of my favourites for her wit and prose, and I am grateful to count her amongst one of my friends in the true sense. Through comments and emails I’ve gotten to know this rockin’ woman from the great, white north that I would never have meet had it not been for this beautiful vegan blogosphere I hold so dear in my heart…and, er, stomach…wooot!

These are the “Easiest Almond Cookies” from Sweet Freedom. A self-proclaimed cookie-snob, I can tell you that these babies are a cookie-lover’s dream : a light crunch on the outside, paired with a soft and chewy centre. Oh, and they are, get this, Gluten Free! They are a snap to make, a trait terribly important in cookie land, because since they’re quick and easy, you’ll find yourself making them often! So many of the Fish Family’s new favorite recipes are from Sweet Freedom…you’re gonna love this book!

And in other news…look what I received :

I am sincerely touched by this thoughtful gesture! Thank you dear Cheryl of the wonderful Gluten Free Goodness blog. I began following Cheryl’s blog after “meeting” her through the Daring Bakers. Her GF & whole foods approach to eating is refreshing in the oft buttercream and sugar-laden food blogging world (don’t get me wrong, I like the sweets, but it’s all about balance people!). I especially like her “Menu Plan Monday” feature which has helped inspire me to plan my meals further into the future than tonight and tomorrow, and to see the bigger picture nutritionally over the coarse of a week. If you’re not familiar with Cheryl’s blog, you really should check it out! Merci Cheryl!

Vegan MoFo Day 14 – Tea Cakes, anyone?

Make that Orange Raisin Tea Cakes, kids. Being a recipe tester for Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs is one of the most fun “jobs” I’ve ever had in my entire life! She’s hip, she vegan, and her recipes somehow defy all scientific logic and allow for the creation of decadant “this is a treat” goodies with humble, healthy ingredients.

These Tea Cakes are moist, rich, delicious, and have this aeromatic Orangey-Raisin thing happening. M. Fish was napping his afternoon away when the aroma roused him from our room and drew him to the kitchen where he asked eyebrows raised, expectantly, “qu’est-ce que tu fais?” , “What ‘ca doin’?”

This was one of the fastest “baked goods” type recipes I have ever put together. These would be just the right thing for a last minute brunch or breakfast treat, or for to have with your quatre heures or afternoon tea. I drizzeled a little orange glaze on some, but kept some plain. These were all gobbled down in mere moments.

I already have these on my “to make” list for next weekend…a nice, fresh from the oven Saturday morning wake-up treat. Gives a girl something to look forward to!

You can check out Sweet Freedom – the blog – for a peek at all the mouth-watering VEGAN treats to come!

Vegan MoFo Day 3 – We Have Our Winners! We Have Cookies!

VeganMoFo is rocking the blogosphere, people! I can see it’s going to be hard to keep up with all this MoFo love… but hey, that’s a good thing, right? We need to take over the Web with our Vegan Loving Kindness the way that an Evil Imperialst Empire would take over and occupy another country…but, you know, we come bearing cupcakes, cookies and seitan, not bombs, guns and god.

So first, the cookies :

I’m thrilled to be a test baker for the ever-classy Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs, who is publishing a delicious cook book Sweet Freedom. These cookies were amazing! They smelled so good I hardly was able to get a picture of them! Why? Remember me mentioning my in-laws being chez nous for a visit last week? After I took these beauties out of the oven, my adorable brother-in-law was standing on one side of the table with the serving platter, and M. Fish on the other side, and they were both snatching cookies to bring out to the living room to serve – making a photo-op nearly impossible!

The CMCC Cookies were deep, decadent, rich, and GONE after our goûter – I’d hoped to freeze some for later, but there was nothing left but some lonely little crumbs. My brother & sister-in-law are generally not big on sweets, but they asked me to make another batch before they left! I of course obliged (twist my arm). They also loved the lasagne I made from VCON. Let’s not forget, these people gave me carte blanche in their kitchen when we stayed with them near Toulouse last Spring – they weren’t really sure how to cook for a vegan, so they let me run the cuisine. They are très cool.

And now, for the winners of the cute felty-love pouches…

I wrote down everyone’s first name and put them in a hat – M. Fish pulled out the following 3 lucky winners (I know I initially said only 2, but I’m such a softie) :

Liz aka Veggie Girl and Mihl from Seitan Is My Motor and the aforementioned Ricki! (The fact that he loved your cookies had no sway. He didn’t know your name or anything like that!). I’m so excited for you! I wish I had more time (and more of a fabric stash) to make more gifts for everyone. I’m so glad M. Fish accepted to help me, because I’m so lame when it comes to choosing “winners” (and grading, too…). I’ll be doing another gift-away before the holidays because it just makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside – and because I wuv you all so much!

So ladies email me your addresses post haste…well, you can take your time. I’m in bed, slammed with another evil sinus infection, so, I won’t be getting these off to you for a few days… and if you have any suggestions for dealing with the sinus infections, please please share! I don’t eat dairy for pete’s sake, this shouldn’t be happening! I never, ever had sinus infections, then last fall I had about three or four (or just the same one) from September till late December. Any help/suggestions would be appreciated!