Friday, October 28, 2011

Fabulous Finds Friday Week #3

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!

I love the idea of a flower in a wine glass and use the base for a candle holder on a dinner table. 
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.

How about this simple but really tasty dessert? 
Fabulous Find #2
Strawberries and whipped cream for a fast easy delcious dessert. This recipe and picture is from Joy of Baking

Every mother needs this idea. It is so helpful
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. There are lots of other great ideas on the blog as well.
This idea and picture is from a blog called Real Simple

Snack container veggies

This idea is simple but makes a great place setting for any fall party or dinner.
Fabulous Find # 4 is 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 cutist 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 Crudite and Dip  Pumpkin for Halloween Entertaining  comes from a low carb, sugar free and grain free blog called,The Rogue Cookie

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegetarian Hot & Sour Soup is My Favorite Soup

Vegetarian Hot ad Sour soup
 Hot and sour soup is my favorite soup

Philadelphia has a vegetarian Chinese restaurant in 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 in 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 Florida
I teach at a private boarding prep school that serves fabulous lunches. They use fresh wholesome ingredients, nothing is fried, and they make many ethnic specialties. It is amazing because they serve over 700 people/day. Last week they made 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 ( or use Braggs Amino Acids from the health food store)
1 TBSP toasted sesame oil - I bought a brand made in USA , not Japan ( radiation fallout??)
1-2 TBSP hot sauce to taste
1/2 cup green onion , chopped
1 pound tofu, drained and sliced in matchsticks
2 containers fresh mushrooms, sliced in half and then thin
1 small container of bamboo shoots , sliced in matchsticks ( I skipped it)
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP non GMO cornstarch
1/2 cup water


Saute green onions, mushrooms, and tofu for a few minutes in olive oil spray to mingle flavors. Add hot vegetable broth, boiling water, gluten free soy sauce, hot sauce, and optional bamboo shoots. Cook for 10 minutes . When soup is done, mix 1 TBSP of cornstarch in 1/2 cup water in a separate bowl. Next, slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the cookd 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.


Quick Homemade Vegetarian Broth:
I made a vegetarian broth from parsnips, parsley, carrots, and celery, parsley, 5 russet potatoes, and salt and pepper. Cooked them all up until soft, strained and used the broth.

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

Faulous Find #3  from Thrifty and Fabulous
 Whatever kind of herbs you are growing , it's time to harvest it and dry them. Thrifty and Fabulous gives a step by step tutorial for very fast and easy method. I love this fabulous find!

Picture from Thifty and Fabulous

Fabulous Find # 4 from Kotori. Life Inspired blog
You know that plastic twist-tie thing? The one you get on that package of bagels or hamburger buns? The one that you toss into recycling? Why not actually use it next time on a roll of tape to keep the tape from sticking to itself? It peels off easily and can be reused each time you use the tape. Genius. Right?

Picture from Kotori Life Inspired Blog

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!

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

 You can get rid of fruit flies for good.

There is nothing worse than having pesky little flies invading your kitchen because they are so hard to eliminate.

I like to leave a fresh bowl of fruit out on the kitchen counter. But ripe fruit tends to attract fruit flies- which seem to appear from no-where. In reality, you are probably bringing the potential pests in as larvae on the fruit that you buy or even grow.

Adult fruit flies have a very short life span and will probably be 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. 

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. ( I then peel, slice, and freeze them in baggies 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. You know, those pesky little flies that swarm around the fruit and then venture out around your kitchen. They have been driving me crazy, and I decided it's war.

 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 eat, and they can carry disease. I know , gross .

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

1. 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.  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

Recipes for using 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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