Friday, October 28, 2011

Fabulous Ideas For Fall

There are so many wonderful ideas posted on the Internet and Pinterest. I found 5 fabulous finds that are especially good for the fall season. I hope you like some of these ideas! 

Fabulous Find #1 comes from a blog called
The Little Round Table.
Her table settings are fabulous. Instead of roses in the glass, you could use mini pumpkins and orange candles.

Fabulous Find #2
Strawberries and whipped cream for a fast easy delcious dessert. The recipe, directions, and video are onJoy of Baking
Photo from Joy of Baking 

Fabulous Find # 3
This is such a great idea. Keep prepackaged healthy snack trays in the refrigerator for kids. Healthy snacks are all ready for the taking. 
This idea, directions, and  photo are from a blog 
called Real SimpleThere are lots of other great ideas on the blog as well.

Fabulous Find # 4 and photo are from a wonderful blog that I follow called Oh She Glows. Angela says her blog is, "healthy vegan recipe blog chronicling my life" Isn't that the cutest idea for a Thanksgiving place setting.

The vegetable crudite with dips in the presentation of a pumpkin is a great healthy Halloween snack. 
Fabulous Find #5 This fabulous Entertaining  comes from a low carb, sugar free and grain free blog called,The Rogue Cookie 
photo from Rouge Cookie)

Which Idea do you like best? Please leave a comment. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegan Hot & Sour Soup

Vegetarian Hot ad Sour soup
Hot and sour soup is one of my favorite soups 

There is a vegetarian Chinese restaurant in Philadelphia Chinatown that makes an awesome gluten free Hot and Sour Soup ( I bring my own gluten free soy sauce)! But, it takes me a 1/2 hour to drive to Philly and an additional 1/2 hour to find a parking space near Chinatown!

For years I have been searching for a good gluten free hot and sour soup recipe that I can make at home; I think I finally found one.

Me (in black) and My Cousin Harriet (in red)
 Ready to Eat a Beautiful Dinner at Her House In Naples, Florida during Xmas Vacation 

I teach at a prestigious private prep high school near Princeton, NJ which has 40% boarding students from all over the United States and the world. We have a beautiful formal dining hall that serves fabulous lunches to the staff and students daily. They use fresh wholesome ingredients, nothing is fried, and they make many ethnic specialties. 

Lunch is a buffet and it's like eating at a wedding with all kinds of stations for stir fry, deli stations, soup stations, salad bar, main courses and dessert stations. It is amazing because they serve over 700 people/day and this wonderful lunch is included in our contract. (Tuition, room, and board is over $40,000 a year to attend this high school.Tuition for local non-boarding students is $28,000 year for high school) 

Last week the chefs made a Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup .
Truthfully, I didn't expect it to taste authentic, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was so good, I did something I never thought of doing in the fourteen years I have been eating lunches in our school dining hall.
  I asked for the recipe!

The following recipe was given to me by the head chef,  "Joe" . So I'm calling the recipe what else, but-

Joe's Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

4 cups of flavorful vegetable broth
4 cups boiling water
2 TBSP gluten free soy sauce
1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
1-2 TBSP hot sauce to taste
1/2 cup green onion , chopped
1 pound tofu, drained and sliced in matchsticks
2 containers fresh white mushrooms, sliced in half and then thin
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP non GMO cornstarch
1/2 cup water


In an 8 qt soup pan, saute green onions, mushrooms, and tofu for a few minutes in olive oil spray. Add hot vegetable broth, boiling water, gluten free soy sauce, and hot sauce, Cook for 10 minutes . When soup is done, mix 1 tablespoon of organic non GMO cornstarch in 1/2 cup water in a separate bowl. Next, slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the cooked soup and stir the soup until it is slightly thickened. Season with toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper.

Step by Step Pictures

Get some fresh green onions or scallions ( These were beauties at the Asian Market)

Chop scallions
Cut mushrooms in half and slice ( you can mix other varieties of mushrooms as well)

Add chopped scallions, mushrooms, and tofu to a large skillet

Saute mushrooms, scallions, and tofu

Add broth,  boiling water, sesame oil, hot sauce, gluten free soy sauce, and bamboo shoots if desired.  Cook covered on low simmer for about 10 minutes. Add cornstarch and water, stir and allow to sit for about 1/2 hour before serving for flavors to mingle. Tastes good the next day too.


My Notes: The tuition prices reflect 2011 prices for the school. This recipe published on 10/24/11

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fabulous Finds Friday # 2

Fabulous Find # 1 from Martha Stewart
Trying to keep your sheet sets together?
Guess what is inside of each of those pillow cases: The entire set of sheets!

Picture from Martha Stewart
I love the idea and think it is a great fabulous find!  Go to her website to see how she folds her sheets to fit into its pillow case and everything is together neatly on the shelf. 
Pick up a pillow case and the matching sheet is inside!

Fabulous Finds # 2 from Muffin Tin Mom
Think twice before sending that Starbucks Cup to the recycle bin! Preferably in the "tall" size makes a great no-spill paint holder. The benefit is of course two-fold in that you are re-using (as in "reduce, reuse, recycle") and you are preventing spills at the same time! and because of the dome, it doen't tip easily.

Picture from Muffin Tin Mom

FFabulous Find idea and picture # 5 is from a blog called Living In The Woods
I love the idea of a pumpkin holding my mums! How much better can it get for the fall season.
Check out her step by step tutorials

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin seeds in 3 easy steps

Got a pumpkin? Make pumpkin seeds!

It's pumpkin season in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where I live ( and everywhere??)  and families are enjoying the  yearly ritual of  flocking to local farms to pick out their Halloween pumpkin

One of the things my kids always looked forward to was carving their Halloween pumpkins. It was such a fun family ritual. Living in Bucks County farmland, we always went to a local farm, took a hayride out to the pumpkin fields and each of my boys selected his very own pumpkin. 

Carving was another story. Those beautiful orange pumpkins are filled with a messy glob of seeds intertwined with sticky gooey pulp. In the beginning, we used to throw the seeds away, but over the years, I learned that pumpkin seeds are not only edible, but are highly delicious and nutritious.
Why throw away the seeds when you can make pumpkin seeds in 3 easy steps and  provide a healthy snack  the entire family will enjoy?

How to make pumpkin seeds in 3 easy steps!

1. Slice the top off of the pumpkin and scoop out the inner seeds. Place the seeds in a colander and wash and remove strings.  Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray and spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer. Then respray the seeds.

3. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, checking and moving them around after 10 minutes.

   Cool and store in an air-tight container.

Variations: Spray seeds with oil and then choose one of the following seasonings to use before baking at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.
  • sprinkle seeds with cinnamon
  • Sprinkle seeds with garlic powder and salt
  • Sprinkle seeds with Cajun seasoning
Here some other uses for the inside and outside of your pumpkin: Use it all!

Pumpkin Muffins

From the blog  Living In The Woods
I love the idea of a pumpkin holding my mums! How much better can it get for the fall season.
Check out her step by step tutorials

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Banana Roll Ups for Kids

                             banana and peanut butter in a tortilla roll

Sometimes you just want to make something that is easy . 
These banana roll ups are perfect.
I love this idea because it's ideal for a quick, yet healthy snack that even kids can make. 
 It also can serve as a light lunch . 

This delicious combination of bananas and peanut butter is already outrageous.. But don't stop there, the possibilities in this tortilla are endless.

Today is reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. Secret Recipe Club'I couldn't resist making these kid friendly banana roll ups for my October Secret Recipe Club selection from my assigned blog, " Connor's Cooking".  

Here is my version of banana roll ups from Raina's blog, Connor's Cooking
2 gluten free tortillas or brown rice wraps ( I get them at Trader Joe or health store)
4 TBSP of nut butter ( I like organic peanut butter or organic almond butter)
1-2  bananas (depending on the size of your wrap and what it will hold)
4 TBSP whole fruit no sugar preserves (  any supermarket)

Spread wraps with nut butter and preserves. Place a whole or 1/2 of banana in center of each wrap. Roll up , hold it together with a toothpick and enjoy.

Dip bananas in melted chocolate and chill in refrigerator before adding to the wrap ( now we are talking)

Step by Step Pictures

Buy a package of gluten free tortillas at your health food store. If you are not gluten free use regular tortillas!

Take tortilla from the package and warm it up in the toaster over on 200 till soft
Spread with nut butter and fruit only jelly or jam
Add 1/2 a banana to the center depending on the size of your tortilla or wrap

Roll up and enjoy!

I would love to know that you stopped by, so scroll down  at the end of this post, look for the word comments and click. Then leave me a comment. Have a wonderful day.

May be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

I  love bananas, but I don't love the pesky little fruit flies that frequently accompany them. 
Have you ever had those tiny little flies invade your kitchen? They can be very difficult to eliminate. However, I have found a natural way!

Where do these little tiny flies come from? 
I am probably bringing the potential pests into my kitchen as larvae which has already been laid on the fruit in the store.

Adult fruit flies have a very short life span and will usually die in about a day. 
However, they do lay eggs on fruit. Especially on soft fruit like bananas, peaches, tomatoes, pineapple, berries, and cherry tomatoes. 

How can you get rid of them naturally? 
You  need to eliminate the breeding grounds in order to eliminate the fruit flies or you will have a continuous problem.

They are ready for slicing and freezing for smoothies

I keep a large bowl of  bananas on my kitchen counter. Sometimes, we forget to eat them, and they get overly ripe. ( When fruit becomes overly ripe,  I then peel, slice, and freeze them to use in smoothies or just mash them and use them in baking)  

Lately, I've noticed that I've been getting invaded with fruit flies. They have been driving me crazy, and I decided it's war.

Do they do any harm? 
Don't think that those little buggers are harmless. 
Fruit flies multiply quickly, and they actually lay their precious little eggs all over your ripened fruit that you intend to eat. Unfortunately, they can carry disease and bacteria that can make you sick. I know- gross !! 

Therefore if you have fruit flies buzzing around, be sure to wash you fruit very well and if some of the fruit is cracked or open, consider discarding it

Here are two solutions that I found to help get rid of them 

1. How to Prevent larvae from hatching
When you get home from the store with your fruit, soak your bananas or other fruit in a bowl or tub full of water and 2 TBSP vinegar or liquid soap for about 5 minutes. Rinse well and towel dry. This helps remove any larvae that might already be on your fruit and thus prevent eggs from hatching and producing the adult fruit flies. ( don't buy any cracked or bruised fruit)

2.  How to Trap the ones you already have. 
I found this amazing little trap on Pinterest. This is genius.
You can read how to make it at  The Idea Room

Delicious Recipes to use up ripe bananas

Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies  ( made with mashed ripe banana, no sugar)

Banana Peanut Butter Spread ( Delicious whipped spread to use on pancakes, crackers, etc.)

Banana Loaf with Coconut Flour ( my favorite- a moist grain free sliceable loaf)

13 Convincing Reasons to Eat Bananas  

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