Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Made It Herself Scarf!

The girls took a knitting class at the local library. It was taught by the children's librarian (whom they already know very well!). They met three times and got to keep all their materials. Best of all, the class was free! It really puzzles me that not more people showed up for it. All in all there were about 6 kids there, two of which were my own. Since we don't have a lot of money to spend on activities for the kids, I am always on the lookout for free things to do, and fortunately in Philly there are lots of them! Some work out better than others, but this one was definitely a hit! I had taught the girls a little bit of knitting before, but since 1) I only know how to knit the European way, and 2) I am already their teacher of most other things, this was a nice change, and they had a lot of fun. Here is Sarasvati showing off the circle scarf she made!

Friday, February 24, 2012

In the Shower

I showered today. There are a few things I like to do on my own, shower being one of them, but as soon as I had wet my hair Rasika walked into the bathroom.

"Where's Daddy?"
"At the university."
"Where's Daddy?"
"At the university."
"Is Daddy at the university?"
This is what he does when he is bored.

"Why don't you go play in your room for a while?"
"Can I play with my train?"

Five seconds later he is back in the bathroom, with his train-shaped pop-up tent, blowing his wooden train-whistle. Awesome!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Swedish Semla

Here is a Swedish Fat Tuesday treat: Semla. A sweet cardamom bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream! At home these are probably the most popular treat between Christmas and Easter. It is one of the foods I really miss living abroad. I usually make at least one batch of these every year. The buns keep well in the freezer and are then (too) easy to thaw and assemble when you need them. The old-fashioned thing to do is to serve these in a bowl of hot milk, but they are great either way!

1/2 cup butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup milk (any kind will do)
2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cardamom
1/2 cup sugar
3-4 cups flour

4 oz almond paste
1 cup heavy cream, whipped (we like Mimiccreme)
powdered sugar

Melt butter, add milk, and heat until warm. Add the yeast, salt, cardamom, sugar, and most of the flour, and mix until the dough is somewhat firm and not too sticky. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for at least half an hour. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll them. Alternatively you could make 24 mini buns. Cover and rise again, at least 30 minutes, a little longer is even better. Brush buns with milk, then bake at 400 F. Allow to cool completely before assembling.

Cut the tops off the buns, then scoop out about a tablespoon from the inside of each bun. Mix the scooped out crumbs well with the almond paste, adding a small amount of milk to get a smooth, but not runny filling. Distribute evenly in the hollow of the buns, then top with whipped cream. Replace the top of the buns, and dust with powdered sugar. PS. If you want to try these but don't feel like baking, IKEA has them in their restaurants this time of the year (not vegan of course).

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Yesterday the kids were invited to a birthday party in Delaware. It was at one of those inflatable-bouncy-fun places, and the kids were very excited. I had ordered a gift online, and not realizing that it was shipped from abroad, I waited and waited as the days and weeks passed. Well, the package didn't turn up, so we left early to pick something up on the way there. While at the store, we got a call from the gas company, saying they needed to get into our basement immediately as there was a gas leak on our street. This may sound very alarming, but considering that most of Philly's gas lines are about 100 years old, we are used to having gas company people come out to check up on minor leaks every so often. Still, our dog was at home, and we did hurry back. Fortunately the leak was minor, and not in our home, but we still had to stay around for a while. By the time we could leave, I guess there wasn't really much point in going, but we did anyway, hoping the kids would get a chance to play a little (they didn't). The party was 1 hr 2 min away, according to navigation, and we made it there just in time to sing Happy Birthday and have cupcakes. I guess if you are going to travel that far just for a cupcake, it might as well be for a Scissors and spice raspberry filled chocolate cupcake topped with ganache and chocolate mousse! 

The package was in our mailbox when we got home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's a bit late at night, but I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

I had a great day!
I got flowers!

I had sunshine in my eyes!

And though it was our long day away from home, we still managed a nice (late) family dinner. What more could I ask for? 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

This is one of my favorite desserts, and it is so easy to make!

1 pack of silken tofu (I used Trader Joe's which is 19 oz)
1 bag of chocolate chips (again, I used TJ's - 12 oz)
non-dairy milk

Just melt the chocolate and then mix with the tofu until smooth. This could be done in a food processor or with a stick blender. Add a little bit of non-dairy milk if it is too thick, and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Serve with berries. You really do not taste the tofu in this.

Tip: The chocolate and tofu will mix easier if the tofu is at room temperature.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


My laptop crashed last week and I ended up replacing it with a tablet. It is good enough for most things I used the computer for, but far more convenient when it comes to portability, battery life and such. (It is especially great for playing angry birds, the whole family discovered, though that is not really why I got it.)

I am surprized with how much I like the Kindle reader. I didn't think I would like it very much, but between the number of old books available to download for free, and the built-in dictionary that I need to understand them, it is great! I downloaded Great Expectations, in honor of Dickens' birthday, and now know such fancy words as "pollards," "wittles," and "gibbet."

There are, however a few things that work very differently, the blog being one of them, so it is going to take some time getting used to it.

In the meantime, here's a picture of a cute puppy for you!