I Brake for Pumpkins

by carko on November 15, 2016

I can’t quite decide which season I like best. I am always super sad at the end of summer and I still feel like a school kid savoring my last days before it’s over and back to reality. Luckily, living in the Northeast affords us the beautiful pleasures all four seasons bring. There is something about the Fall crisp air that makes me want to light up the fire and make some hot soup. One of my personal favorites is pumpkin soup. I always make sure to get a few large pumpkins for Halloween.

While most people just toss them to the curb; pumpkins are well worth keeping. My children and I have been know to rescue one or two healthy ones from the curb… literally yelling to me in the car “Mom, STOP there’s a good one!” This year I made pumpkin soup and pumpkin oatmeal cookies with my children – and even had a few extra bags to store for future use in the freezer. One of my most appreciated gifts was a ziploc bag of cut up pumpkin pieces brought over to an older neighbor.

Now, you could enlist the help of a well known cookbook, or simply use your imagination (and anything you have in the house). Cut the insides of the pumpkin into medium sized pieces, cover with water and boil for a while. Add any ingredient that tempts your palate… I use lots of garlic, a sweet potato, sometimes butternut squash, sometimes an apple or two. Season with salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon or anything in your spice rack. I blend it all up with a hand blender and it’s easy as pie – yes, you could also make pumpkin pie! And don’t forget to cook the seeds or the pepitas, which are loaded with minerals and seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect. I use olive oil and sea salt for a tasty snack anytime.

Not only does pumpkin taste good, it is chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. It’s loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, particularly alpha and beta-carotenes, it’s a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron.

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Natural Ways to Dye Eggs!

by carko on April 2, 2015

As a child, I loved dyeing Easter eggs with my siblings. Last year we took a shot at Natural Easter Egg dyeing. While it takes a bit more time and patience, I love the colors you get from dyeing eggs with ingredients commonly found in your kitchen such as: WINE, COFFEE, BEETS, PAPRIKA, GRAPE JUICE, TUMERIC, RED CABBAGE, YELLOW ONION, CHILI POWDER.

All recipes include 1 quart of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, plus the dyeing agent of your choice.  Simply add the coloring agent to a pot of boiling water and let simmer for 30 minutes. Be sure to strain to remove solids. Here are the color options and what to add to the water:

Soak in Lukewarm solution for 30 minutes * except where indicated:

YELLOW: Turmeric or yellow onion skin solution
ORANGE: Chili Powder solution
BLUE: * Grape juice concentrate, red cabbage solution
DARK BLUE: Soak eggs overnight red-cabbage solution.
RED: Beets, paprika solution
GREEN: Spinach or Kale solution
LIGHT GREEN:  Turmeric solution,  then red-cabbage solution for just 15 seconds.
BROWN: *Boil eggs in black coffee for 30 minutes.
PINK: Beet solution or * Cranberry Juice Concentrate
LIGHT PURPLE: Beet solution, then red-cabbage solution for just 30 seconds.
DEEP PURPLE: Soak eggs in wine solution overnight
BRIGHT GOLD:  Turmeric solution

 

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Fiber: Why It Matters More Than You Think

February 13, 2015

Fiber is famous for improving regularity and helping lower cholesterol. But dietary fiber also performs other key roles that might surprise you, affecting everything from your skin to your gallbladder, heart and immunity. Fiber-rich foods work wonders in the body including regulating blood-sugar levels, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, […]

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Cracking the Code on Plastics

January 21, 2015

I was at Softball Opening Day last Saturday and the girls had a great time; parade through town, scrimmage, team photos…. free water bottles from Models! Who Hoo! Although, I am not a big fan of plastic water bottles, they do have their purpose. After all, it’s difficult to maneuver a stainless steel screw- top […]

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Cheers to Water: Bottled Water or Tap? and the winnner is…

January 12, 2015

I’ve never been super big on coming up with a list of short term New Year’s resolutions. I believe in keeping a long list of attainable Life Goals that I work at all year round. Having said that, when pressed by numerous people to come up with one New Year’s goal . . . the […]

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The Foot Path to Peace

December 4, 2014

I stumbled across a print of the following poem by Henry Van Dyke while cleaning out my office. I’ll take it as a message from the past that seems appropriate for me and many others now. I hope you enjoy it!     To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to […]

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It’s a Good Day for a Guinness!

March 17, 2014

It’s official! I got the formal documentation from the Fed Ex man yesterday . . . I am an Irish Citizen! Whoo Hoo! Perfect timing for Saint Patrick’s Day. On my first of many trips to Ireland: October 1996. My sister and I decided to forgo the more tourist heavy attractions like kissing the germ […]

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Chocolate cures all. Whether it’s a broken heart or a heart not running quite well, chocolate can save the day!

January 28, 2014

My sister recently gave me two boxes of the most delicious dark chocolate from Venezuela and I always feel a bit guilty dipping into it in the afternoon. After all, like red wine, it’s good for you right? Well let’s take a look. Chocolate is made from plants. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants (nearly […]

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A quick Guide to buying Organic Produce

January 15, 2014

I am a huge proponent for buying organic but try not to be a fanatic when it comes to the realities that may not always make it possible. If 80% of what I buy is organic, or from a locally grown low pesticide farm, I am happy. Here’s a quick and easy guide to follow […]

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Gifts of Charity

December 30, 2013

My Mom has always had a knack for finding unique Christmas gifts that we all seem to use such as hand crank emergency radios, vacuum sealed storage bags, roadside emergency kits to name a few. In struggling to find Christmas gifts for her 5 children and spouses this year, my Mom came up with a […]

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