Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Wordless Wednesday- 50 Shades of Pink

Spring is the most beautiful time of the year in Bucks County, Pa.
The weather is finally warmer, the flowers are budding everywhere, and people are out and abound.

I took some beautiful shots of the colorful flowers all around my neighborhood. 
These peonies are in front of my house

This is a neighbor's house- the rhododendrons almost cover the house 

close up of a peony

That's my Wordless Wednesday for the end of May- 

Sharing on the following Wordless Wednesday blog linky's  : Lamamarazzi , Beth Fish Reads, Life at Rossmont where you can find lots of WW interesting shares about travel , communities, nature etc. 

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Yard Sales are Relaxing and Therapeutic

I like to shop at yard and garage sales. I find it therapeutic and so relaxing. Why?

beautiful yard

Yard and garage sales take me into close-by neighborhoods where the flowers, shrubs, trees, and landscaping are in full bloom. Everything is colorful, prolific, and so fragrant. It's simply beautiful to just take the time to ride through the neighborhoods and take in the beauty as a locate my destination.

statue of two children on a bench

Believe it or not garage sales take us back to the days when neighbors actually interacted- I look around for a bargain, chit chat a little,  and relax. No one seems to be in a hurry- the sellers are outside for the entire morning, the buyers are browsing and everyone is socializing. The sellers get rid of unwanted stuff and the buyers get a real bargain.

People are so friendly

Usually our interaction goes like this-

As soon as I walk in the driveway- the sellers give me a big "good morning"!

Next, as I look around  and notice thatwhoever is there is talking and sharing -

"oh where do you live"? -" "oh do you know so and so?"- "my daughter's coach lives there", -

" my mother had a vase just like this one"

"this is so cute my grandkids would love it"-

"How much?"- "oh just take it for $5" - "Really? " the entire Barbie Doll House"

"Yes, my daughter enjoyed it for years and I just want to get rid of it"- it's in perfect condition.

"I'll take it..and my grand kids will love it!!" What a deal for $5

Of course if I weren't going to garage sales, I would never just ride around looking at all the beauty- so my bargain hunting has a bright side to it too...I was happy with my finds this week.

herbs in clay pots
all three stands for $2

I Found Plant Stands and Planters for My Herbs
 It's a real money saver when I need something for the garden ( tools, planters, outdoor furniture) .  I find that people like to get rid of things that are in great shape, very reusable, and a reasonable price. This past week was no exception. 

I was looking for a bench, table or some kind of  plant stand to hold my pots of  herbs that I planted on my deck last week. I didn't find exactly what I was looking for , but I did find a good enough solution.

mint in a clay potlemon balm in a planter

Plant stands $2 for all three- Clay planter $2  Ceramic Mexican planter $2  Total: $6

I found someone selling 3 small metal plant stands that were perfect for some of my plants. The seller wanted $2 for all three- It was so reasonable, I didn't even try to bargain.

herbs in clay pots

They were all in great condition. If I bought them new, they would be about $10-$12 each.
I felt very satisfied with my $6 purchase, brought them home, set them up and me and my plants and me are very happy.

There is something satisfying about getting a deal and value for your money!

I look forward to enjoying some time browsing, getting a bargain, and enjoying nature. Sometimes I even get some ideas for landscaping by seeing what others have done!

wild flowes

YGup- I find yard sales enjoyable, therapeutic, and relaxing!! Of course I live in the suburbs and I visit beautiful neighborhoods!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Best Roasted Carrot Hot Dogs

roasted carrot hot dog - vegan

It looks like a hot dog- but is it really  a roasted carrot ? 

Looking for a vegan and gluten free hot dog alternative for your next BBQ?
Well first look in your refrigerator for a bag of carrots. 

roasted whole carrots in a glass plate

Yes, marinated roasted whole carrots look like hot dogsand fit perfectly on a hot dog roll ( gluten free of course). Add some ketchup, mustard and even a little sauerkraut and you now have the star of the BBQ- 

Healthy, tasty, easy, gluten free and vegan!

patriotic napkin with roasted carrot hot dog

Easy Recipe
All you need to do is marinate some carrots in a roasting pan. Then roast until tender and serve.

The result really looks like hot dogs and they taste good.

My son and his family were visiting for dinner, and I made these cute little hot dogs ( along with a full meal) just to see their reaction.

two roasted carrot hot dogs in hot dog buns

Kid Approved

My two granddaughters ( ages 10 and 7) couldn't wait to taste them. We put them on a hot dog roll, added some sauerkraut ( which they both love) and they took their first bite.

Surprisingly they were both pleased! I asked the 10 year old if it tasted like a hot dog.
She gave me the rolled eyes and said , "No" - but then added it still tasted good and she liked it!

So there you have it for your next BBQ- If you have a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free guest ( and who doesn't?) you don't have to run out and search for a vegan hot dog ( that is also gluten free for me) !!! Try these marinated carrots topped with sauerkraut, ketchup, or mustard. If you really want to be nice, open a can of black beans to serve on the side or make my incredibly delicious black beans in your Instant Pot. ( no soaking of beans and cooks at 45 minutes) 

I used Udi GLUTEN FREE Hot dog rolls which they stock in the freezer section of a local supermarket. I you can't find gluten free hot dog rolls, they sell other brands of gluten free hot dogs rolls on Amazon gluten free hot dog rolls .

8 organic carrots
1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave syrup
3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of smoky paprika
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
** I used a Pyrex pie plate to roast

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Steam organic carrots for 10-15 minutes until they begin to be a little soft. While steaming-  mix the honey, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and smoky paprika and place in a small pyrex roasting dish. Remove the carrots from the steamer ( do not over cook- just slightly soft)  and add hot whole carrots to the small roasting dish and mix well. Allow to sit for half hour and then cover and roast at 425 for 15 minutes. Remove cover (or foil) and roast another 5 minutes.

Happy Memorial Day- How will you be celebrating?? 

Sharing on Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click on a link on my site that takes you to Amazon and make a purchase, I will receive a very small compensation at no cost to you. This affiliation helps me cover the costs of running a blog and I do appreciate your purchases !

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Wordless Wednesday- Carole King Musical - Beautiful

The Carole King Musical, Beautiful, was nothing short of beautifull.

Carole King Playbill
I enjoyed every minute of the story, the songs, and the fabulous cast. 

It is a play worth seeing!

BThe musical

Carole King Musical Photo

Some of Carole King's Songs

And don't forget to stop by the famous Sardis Restaurant for lunch while you are in the neighborhood- you might see a celebrity!!

Bud vase with lilacs
Flowers from my garden in a bud vase that belonged to my mother
Shared on Wordless Wednesday at Beth Fish Reads Wordless Wednesday blog carnivals:
  Wordless Wed on Tuesdays wordless on tuesday http://thesimpleyear.com/, image in ing, ClaireJustine linky  and Saturday snapshot hosted by West Metro Mommy  Create with Joy bethere2day nanahood

Brie with a Fruity Topping


Brie is one of those appetizers that everyone seems to love and can be bought gluten free.
I don't know about you, but when I entertain I like to make delicious food that is as easy as possible to prepare and serve. It doesn't get easier than brie and a delicious fruit topping! 

Brie requires very little preparation and can be made at the last minute.
It tastes great with fresh fruit, jams, and nuts.

wheel of brie and slice of brie

Did you know there are two kinds of brie? 

Both kinds are French but the one made from goats milk is the creamiest type of brie. It has a somewhat salty taste. 

The other is made from cows milk and has a mushroom kind of taste.

Brie is delicious on its own, but a fruit topping can enhance the flavor even more.

Whole Foods Makes a Great Brie Topping - that I made myself

chopped figs, walnuts and cranberry topping for brie
Fig Jam, walnuts, dried cranberries

The other day I was in Whole Foods checking out their brie for my husband's birthday party.
I noticed that in the prepared food case near the big display of olives was some prepared brie appetizer. It was made with fig preserves, chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries. It looked amazing.

I was about to buy a good size expensive piece for the party when my frugal guardian angel whispered in my ear - " you can make it yourself and it will save you money" -

I realized he / she was right- Sitting right out in the open was a jar of fig preserves for $4.99. I had some walnuts and dried cranberries at home.

organic jar of fig jam

I made the beautiful topping for the brie myself and it came out great!

two bags_ walnuts and dried cranberries

It was an easy appetizer that could be served at room temperature with a simple gluten free cracker.

I actually forgot to take a photo of the finished product. This is all I had from a table shot at the end of the pary.
I put a few raspberries on top too- it was after all was cleaned up and a friend was taking it hone the brie who was not gluten free and threw some bread and her shot glass on the plate

bowl of fruit topping for brie

This sophisticated appetizer ( which I forgot to photograph) looked amazing, tasted great, and was totally no fuss and of course vegetarian and gluten free- Perfect for your next party!

Look for Brie that is labeled Gluten Free
It's a great gluten free choice! However, I usually look for brands like  Alouette brie that are labeled gluten free. 

The cheese part of the brie is no question gluten free- it's the rind very remotely may be grown on spores from wheat. A friend called President Brand and they say their brand is also gluten free although it is not labeled- but check for yourself.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: None
Serves : one who brie + 

1 small jar of fig spread ( I bought it at Whole Foods)
1/4-1/2  cup of chopped walnuts
1/4-1/2 cup of dried cranberries

Mix the walnuts and dried cranberries into the fig spread. Spread the mixture over the Brie ( depending on the size of your brie, you may have some spread left over. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spring Salad with Orange Cashew Dressing

salad with strawberry slices and sunflower seeds

This colorful spring salad calls for seasonal dark greens and sweet strawberries and the citrus dressing adds an interesting touch- all naturally gluten free of course!

Fresh Greens are prevalent in the spring and fall. If you belong to a CSA ( Community Agriculture) or frequent the farmer's markets, a variety of fresh greens should be available right now. 
Otherwise, local supermarkets are usually well stocked.

field of lettuce

I like to eat a raw salad for lunch. This salad has great eye appeal, lots of crunch, and interesting flavors. It has a wide variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, it adds a nice fiber boost to your day to help you detoxify a little.

plate of salad with tomato and strawberries

I eat this salad with a variety of dressings, but I particularly like the orange cashew dressing with this salad. It is light and  delicious and just a tablespoon or two dresses the salad perfectly!

As with any salad, you can add or eliminate ingredients to your liking or use what you have available in the refrigerator. 

plate of salad and bowl of dip

Out of strawberries? Substitute grapes, blackberries, or blueberries
Don't have sunflower seeds? Try pumpkin or sesame seeds. 
Can't find dandelion greens? Use baby spinach

A good salad enhances a gluten free meal. Salads don't have to be boring!!

Author: Judee Algazi of Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: None
Serves : One ( double or triple depending on who you are feeding)

Ingredients: Salad for one

1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/2 cup of broccoli slaw ( I bought this in the supermarket and it was mixed with carrot and cabbage)
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 large or 2 medium strawberries sliced
1/4 or 1/2 of an avocado, diced
1 tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of chopped dark greens ( I used dandelion greens- or substitute spinach, kale, or endive)

Ingredients for orange Cashew  Dressing

2  seedless oranges, peeled and squeezed for the juice
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least half hour or more and drained well
1/4 cup of rice vinegar

Directions for the dressing:

Combine the three ingredients in a blender until smooth. Use a Tablespoon on each salad

spring salad with strawberries

Linking to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post. 

Also Linking to Souper Sundays where anyone can link a soup, salad, or sammie

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Anti Aging Morning Routine with Qi Gong

My Anti Aging Morning Routine

Looking for a way to energize and feel better?

Qi Gong is a wonderful exercise to help relax, center, ground, and rejuvenate - I find it much less strenuous to do than yoga or pilates and according to many sources a daily practice of Qi Gong provides amazing anti aging benefits to the body.

According to the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance ( see their article)  Qi Gong can help loosen muscles , build bone density, reduce stress, balance emotions, improve circulation, improve posture, flexibility, balance, memory, and help with better digestion.

I found a variety of Youtube videos that I like to do for a morning routine.  I've posted three of the videos below that I found that I enjoy doing. I had posted other Qi Gong videos on a previous post.  There are a good amount of free videos available on Youtube and by many different teachers.

I read that the best way to relieve stress is to have a daily routine that you do automatically without having to think about it and make decisions.

I feel so good after doing just 10 minutes of Qi Gong- 
#2 Video is my favorite

Here are some of my favorites

This one below is a good simple wakeup routine that is good for circulation. 

#2  love this one for relaxation- I feel so peaceful and relaxed after just 15-20 minutes
She explains the reasoning behind everything and how it affects the body- Love it
She is also very easy to follow 


Here is a Qi Facial using Essential Oils -
 I love doing it and love using my essential oils 


The Happy Liver is a more advanced routine but well worth looking at- 

It seems to incorporate more yoga poses along with the Qi Gong

mood elevator 
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and am not endorsing these videos or recommending these exercises and Youtube videos. I am simply sharing what I do and like. Always check with your medical doctor before trying any exercise or essential oils. 

I Found this one to improve the muscles for better eyesight

Linking to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Broccoli Raab and Potato Soup-vegan and healthy

broccoli raab and potato soup

Broccoli raab, small red or white potatoes, and carrots make an unusual yet interesting soup that is naturally gluten free and vegan.  The rich green vegetable can be a tad bitter, but the potato and sweet carrot balance out the flavors making this an excellent way to enjoy eating your greens.

bunch of broccoli raab with flowerettes
Broccoli raab
Fast, Easy, Delicious
I love the creamy texture, the vibrant color, and the pungent flavor of this easy seasonal soup. It's soothing and satisfying.

I consider it one of my " in a hurry soups" because it takes only about 10-15 minutes to prep and about15 minutes to cook.  When the soup is finished cooking, I then blend and serve. It's highly nutritious and yet can be prepped and cooked in less than a half hour. It's that easy. 

Additionally, it's packed with fiber from the veggies.
Fiber plays a key role in helping our bodies get rid of waste, while the nutrients and antioxidants in the vegetables nourish us.

Soup is a great way to eat more vegetables because plant based soups are easy to digest and easy to enjoy.

If You are not a fan of broccoli raab? Substitute another green

If you are not a fan or can't find Broccoli raab, then substitute regular broccoli, broccolini or even spinach. It will be a less pungent taste but equally delicious flavor.


This vegan soup meets dairy free, gluten free, soy free and nut free standards making it a great choice when having guests with a variety of eating needs. Since broccoli raab can be strong, try using regular broccoli when serving guests.

I have to meet dairy free, gluten free , and soy free when I have extended family- How about you? Does your extended family have special eating needs? 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes


1 store size bunch of fresh broccoli raab, washed and chopped ( or substitute broccoli, broccolini or a pound of spinach)
1 medium onion sliced in half moons or 1 leek sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil spray or 2 teaspoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped parsely
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium red potatoes or small white potatoes, diced ( leave on the peel if using organic potatoes)
4 cups of vegetable broth ( check that it is gluten free and nut free)
5 cups water
Seasoning: Himalayan salt, fresh cracked pepper to taste
optional : 2 Tablespoons of unflavored coconut milk or almond milk added to each bowl of soup upon serving.

Directions ( see alternate direction for the Instant Pot below)
Fill a medium soup pot with 5 cups of water. Add chopped potato and carrots. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer covered until vegetables are tender about 15 minutes. While your vegetables are simmering, spray a large skillet with olive oil spray. Sautee the onions, garlic and broccoli raab (or spinach) in  skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the sauteed vegetables to the soup pot and puree with an immersion blender ( or remove and blend in batches in a regular blender)
Upon serving: add 2 Tablespoons of coconut or almond milk to each bowl

Directions for the Instant Pot
Spray the Instant Pot pan with olive oil spray or olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, broccoli raab or spinach and sautee for about 3-4 minutes stirring frequently so it doesn't burn. Turn off the sautee and add red potatoes, carrots, broth and only 3 cups water. Turn on manual to cook for 10  minutes.  ( make sure seal knob is sealed for steam) and allow to cook. When done, allow to self cool for 5 minutes and then release steam according to directions on your Instant Pot.  When steam has released, remove lid and use an immersion blender or blend in blender until creamy and smooth.

broccoli raab and potato soup
Add caption

Linking to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post. 

This post is also linked to Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sammie recipe. Check out this week's recipes.