22 November 2009


While in Target the other day, I had a brownie craving. The only vegan brownies they had in their baking aisle were the Ghiradelli Double Chocolate (the BEST brownies, in my opinion).

Last night, I dumped the mix into a large bowl and, instead of oil, water, and eggs, I added 1 heaping cup of pureed pumpkin. I then put this heavenly mix into a dark 9x11 pan and baked at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes (instead of the 45 the box called for)

They didn't rise quite as much as a normal brownie, but they certainly weren't flat either. They were very moist, and I couldn't really even tell there was pumpkin in them.


17 November 2009

Raw Brownie Balls of Delicious

1.5C raw walnut halves
12 Dates
1/3C raw cocoa powder
1/4 vanilla bean (or less than a tsp vanilla extract)
optional: ginger, shredded coconut

in food processor, process walnuts until you get very tiny chunks. add dates. mix until mixture sticks together. add cocoa powder, optional ginger and vanilla - mix well.

If you like, put mixture in separate bowl and stir in walnut chunks

I rolled the brownies into 11 balls, then rolled them in dried, shredded coconut. I recommend keeping these in the fridge.

14 November 2009

Featured Seller: Kendra Renee

Today's featured seller is Kendra of Kendra Renee Jewelry Design on Etsy.
 My name is Kendra Lawrence and my business is called Kendra Renee Jewelry Design. I think of myself as an artist, jeweler, and businesswoman. You could say I am completely obsessed with jewelry. I have always loved jewelry, and have made my own as long as I can remember. About two years ago I was introduced to metalsmithing and knew that I had found my passion. I can play with metal all day, every day and never become bored. I delight in creation and the physical realization of an idea. I just can’t seem to get enough.

I started selling on etsy about a year ago, although I joined long before. Etsy is an amazing tool, and I am so grateful to its creators and administrators. They make it possible for so many artists, myself included, to do what they love. I am learning new things from the online craft community every day, and this helps to fuel my excitement and inspiration.
When I am designing, I think about how my work will interact with the body. I try to incorporate motion into all my pieces, so that they move with the wearer. I develop contrast between textures, colors, and shapes within each piece to maximize their dramatic impact. I am not afraid of asymmetry! I find myself taking inspiration from mechanical objects as well as natural phenomenon.
Each piece is completely handcrafted. I begin the process with flat sheets of metal and wire, and carefully shape, forge, and solder each component of the design. I strive to make works of the highest quality that enhance the personality of the wearer. I am kind of a shy person, and so for me, wearing my own bold creations is the way I express my inner strength and creativity to the world. My hope is that others can see this in my work and feel it when they wear my pieces.
Facebook Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kendra-Renee-Jewelry-Design/89092182689?ref=ts
Twitter: http://twitter.com/kendrareneejd
Etsy: www.KendraRenee.etsy.com
Personal Website: www.KendraReneeJewelry.com

11 November 2009

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

I have officially signed up for Avon's Two Day Walk for Breast Cancer in San Fransisco on July 10 and 11th 2010. I started training yesterday, and as of today, I have 242 days to train and to raise $1800. **eek!**

If you would like to help me out, you can donate here:

10 November 2009

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

The other day, I bought three baking (sugar) pumpkins for pies, breads, soups, cookies, etc. Today, I roasted and pureed all three. I put the puree into freezer bags - two cups per bag to throw in the freezer for later use.

I kept one bag out for soup tonight.

2C roasted pumpkin puree
1 medium butternut squash
1 leek, sliced - white and light green part
4 garlic cloves (I like it garlicky)
1 container So Delicious Coconut Yogurt - plain
a bit of So Delicious Coconut Milk (this can be found in the refrigerator section with the "alternative" milks at Whole Foods -- you can also use soy milk) I like my soup thick, so I didn't use too much, but if you like your soup thinner, add more
cinnamon - to taste
chili powder - to taste
sea salt/pepper - to taste

Combine all ingredients in saucepan. heat for about 20 minutes - stir occasionally to make sure nothing is burning.
Use an immersion blender to blend butternut squash into puree. If you don't have an immersion blender pour into standing blender -- very carefully! -- and blend until smooth.
Enjoy with your favourite sourdough bread.

07 November 2009

Friday's Featured Seller: customdesigns4ubynan

My featured seller this week is Nancy of customdesigns4ubynan on Etsy. She lives and works in her studio apartment on Long Island, New York. Nancy has been collecting fabric pieces for a few years, now, and with them, she makes aprons, table-cloths, pillows, bedspreads, quilts and throws.

In January 2009, she was laid off from her full time job, and someone suggested she start selling her work on Etsy. Since March of this year, Nancy has spent her days "slaving over a hot computer on the etsy promotion forum, and sew[ing] in the evening [while] watching Yankees games."

Nancy can be found on Etsy at www.customdesigns4ubynan.etsy.com
She also has a blog at http://customdesigns4ubynan-myheartandmind.blogspot.com/

05 November 2009

Almond butter and Jelly sandwiches

No photos for you tonight.

For lunch today, I had a hankering for peanut butter and jelly. I haven't wanted peanut butter in quite a while, and I had a handful of almonds in my cupboard, waiting to be eaten.

I made almond butter with about 1/3C of almonds, a drizzle of honey, and a splash of water - threw it in my magic bullet and had almond butter - delicious!

I then made my own jelly (store-bought has been too sweet for me lately) with four or five strawberries, about 1/3 of a really big mango, and a few dates. It was too runny to be jelly, so I added some chia seeds. I'm hoping tonight, when I get home from work it will be a little thicker. It was delicious.

AB&J for lunch tomorrow!

02 November 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole

Dinner tonight was sweet potato casserole courtesy of Cake_or_Death (thank you!)

I planned on being the only one at the table eating this, my family had chicken salad. They tasted it, and loved it! I think I've only got about 1/3C leftover for lunch this week.

The photo isn't great, but its a casserole - honestly not the prettiest of dishes.

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 can black beans
two cloves garlic, sliced, chopped, halved, its up to you (I used my garlic press)
1 can creamed corn

peel your sweet potatoes. Cut them into smallish chunks so they cook quickly. Boil for 15-20 minutes (until soft enough to mash). Mash. Set aside.

In large pan, cook black beans, garlic, onion, cumin and oregano. Place in casserole dish.

Layer corn on top of beans

Layer mashed sweet potatoes on top of corn.

Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes.

I ate mine with a slice of some delicious Italian bread from the local market.

31 October 2009

Friday's Featured Seller (a day late!) Haptree

My featured seller this week is Hillary of haptree. She makes adorable bead kits and wristlets to sell on Etsy and on Folksy.

Tell me a little about yourself:
I studied architecture at university although I never went back to do the extra 3 years needed to become qualified, so I just have the degree. Instead I got a job in an advertising and design agency which really suited me much more, I really enjoy the marketing side and I could use all those design skills without having to do the maths! I'm really happy being a stay at home mother now, especially as I have haptree to keep my brain functioning!

How, when, and why did you start selling online?
I started haptree early on this summer although I've been making bags and gifts for family and friends ever since I gave up work when my daughter came along 5 years ago. I started off stitching everything by hand until my mother took pity and bought me a sewing machine for christmas and then I just got hooked!

My daughter is my inspiration for the bead kits with wristlets that I make. Last christmas I bought a selction of beads for her and with a little help she made all the girls in the family beautiful jewellery sets, everyone was delighted. This was when I first had the idea, I wanted to make something that would make a beautiful gift but also be something to keep little girls occupied, not just another bag!

Is there anything else you would like to share?
I also love to knit although I'm not technically that good, I find it impossible to follow patterns as I hate the idea of making something someone else has already made - I want my stuff to be unique. I end up spending hours trying to make them up, sometimes with great results but mostly they're disasters! I doubt my knitting will be making it into my shop anytime soon, although you never know...

Where can we find you on the internet?
I started my blog shortly before opening the shop. Almost as soon as I'd got half way down the first paragraph of my first blog post I realised that I was going to enjoy being a blogger, I've never stopped! I don't blog too much about my own stuff instead I offer advice and tips to other bloggers and crafters, mostly on the subjects of photography and blogging itself. I'm learning as I go along but so far my blog is doing great and my little business is slowly beginning to take off.

Please take a look at my main shop over at Folksy which is the UK version of etsy where you can find lots of images of my work and my bead kits to use, my etsy shop isn't stocked up at the moment!`

Hillary is wrapping up a giveaway for a month's free advertising right now. To enter, simply go here. If you don't make this month's drawing, no worries, she holds one every month for a free advertising space on her blog.

She also has a great giveaway page, listing the giveaways of others (and who doesn't love that?) check it out here:
Click here

On December 5th, if you are in Stanmore North London, you can find Hillary at her first ever winter fair; the Bentley Priory Winter Fair

28 October 2009

Quick olive update

Monday was spent putting olives into jars (many, many jars), and filling those jars with brine.

Our beautiful brine consists of organic olive oil, red and white wine vinegar (and for the last few jars, apple cider vinegar), organic orange peels, organic peppercorns, fresh organic rosemary, fresh organic oregano, garlic and dried chilies.

I filled fourteen pint jars and three quart jars with sea salt, garlic, chilies, peppercorns, oregano, and our scrumptious-smelling brine.

We now have to wait (again) for at least ten days before we can taste them. Let me tell you, I can not wait.

23 October 2009

Featured Seller: Parami Panda

Today's featured seller is Alix of Parami Panda. She has been crocheting amigurumi for about a year. She started making them for her friends as gifts and they suggested she try her hand at selling them. She has been on Etsy early November of 2008.
Alix started selling on Etsy pretty early on in her amigurumi adventure. The sales started coming almost immediately - without having to do too much promoting! She was blown away. They weren't too many sales - maybe one a week - but that was just fine because at the time, Alix was a full-time student. At about the same time, she started selling her plushies in local stores and in craft fairs. Now that she has graduated, she is spending a lot more time on Parami Panda. She has started with taking better photos of her items and overhauling a lot of the descriptions. She is working on creating a completely organic/natural/naturally dyed line of amigurumi and she has started to dabble in the art of cloth doll making, so expect some adorably emo dolls up in the shop soon.

Check Alix out on her awesome blog: http://paramipanda.blogspot.com .
And if you want to become her fan on facebook, go here: http://www.facebook.com/paramipanda .
And of course, check out her etsy shop here: http://paramipanda.etsy.com .

22 October 2009

Olive Adventure Part One

A few weeks ago, I picked up some fresh, organic olives from a local farm.

Their minimum purchase requirement? Twenty five pounds.  So now I have twenty five pounds of olives curing in my living room.

The process:
I had to process these over two nights. It took about two hours each night. I cut two slits on each olive, then lightly beat them with a rolling pin. After I had done that, I threw them in a 2.5 gallon glass jar and filled it with water.

After an hour of beating and stabbing olives:

Two hours in:


After about two weeks of sitting in plain water, on Tuesday, I changed it to brine (2/3C salt to 4C - 1quart - water).

Next week, I will be putting them in quart jars filled with olive oil, orange peel, garlic, peppercorns, dried chili peppers, fresh oregano, rosemary and some red wine vinegar.

Then, I will let them ferment for about ten days, and I happily be eating home-cured olives. . . . and probably giving them to everyone for Christmas.

I will post more after I've put them into individual jars.

16 October 2009

Friday's featured seller: digicute

 Today's featured seller is Teresa of digicute. Theresa is a computer programmer and designs digital illustrations. She is constantly designing, and honing her skills, and thought Etsy would be a great way to share her designs with others.

Digicute is Teresa's second shop. Her first is www.teresa770718.etsy.com, where she sells scrapbook paper and scrapbooking bundles. She is in the process of combining the two shops, so everything in the first is on sale for $1.

10 October 2009

Featured Seller: Itz Fitz!

My featured seller this week is Jen of Itz Fitz on Etsy. Jen creates whimsical hand-painted, personalized keepsakes.

Jen lives in Long Island, NY and has been painting since she was a little girl.  For her niece's first birthday, Jen painted her name on tiles, one letter to a tile, each letter decorated with flowers, and attached a ribbon to hang it by. Her sister did not believe this beautiful gift was handmade, and once she was finally convinced, she told Jen about Etsy. Jen looked into it, and, two months ago, joined the Etsy community.

You can find Jen on Etsy at www.ItzFitz.etsy.com.  She is offering free shipping until Saturday, October 17. Just type kellycrochets in the message to seller at checkout.

03 October 2009

Featured Seller: Electric Penguin

My featured seller this week is Electric Penguin, who has a very fun jewelry shop up on Etsy at http://www.electricpenguin.etsy.com/. Last year, Electric Penguin was searching for a style necklace she couldn't find anywhere, and decided, "I might be able to make that!" She grew up crafting and sewing, so she made the trip to her local craft store, gathered supplies, and made exactly what she wanted.
The necklace was so successful, she moved on to stretchy bracelets and earrings. So many stretchy bracelets and earrings she decided to start selling to friends, which led to her discovery of Etsy.
When she found Etsy, it was love at first sight. Last month she opened up shop after much inventory and shop information preparation. So far, it has been much more work than she expected, but she loves every minute of it.

Electric Penguin - It has been well worth your hard work!

25 September 2009

JustineJustine - my first featured seller

My featured seller this week is Justine of JustineJustine's etsy shop. She makes funky jewelry and fun bags. She has been selling jewelry since she was 14 years old.  One day she decided she had to do something with all of the jewelry she was making, so she just stepped into a local store and asked them if they were interested. Because of her age, she didn’t expect them to take her seriously, they did, and they sold her jewelry there for four years.

Justine was born in Belgium but fell in love with Mexico when she visited on an exchange program when she was 18. She stayed for a year, and went back to Belgium to study Jewelry Design in Antwerp and later went to Spain to study in La Escola Massana in Barcelona.

After her studies she moved back to Mexico and began selling her jewelry in local shops. Last year she decided running around to all the shops to check inventory too time consuming so she began to search for a place to sell online. She found Etsy, and loved that she could control the whole selling process and the customer experience.

Justine is a part-time Etsy seller. When she is not making jewelry and handbags, she is coordinating an exchange program for American Students who want to learn Spanish.

Justine lives in Oaxaca wither boyfriend and her cat Maru.

Justine's 1 year Etsy anniversary is next week, in celebration, she is having a great giveaway. to enter visit http://www.justine-justine-justine.blogspot.com/ for a chance at winning a pair of great bottlecap earrings.

24 September 2009


Congratulations Janine on winning my very first giveaway.

I hope to do these more often once I get 100 followers on Facebook. I have 88 now, so not many more to go!

Thank you, to all who entered!