Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

One of the lovely houses in town that makes Halloween a treat!

Apple Cider Press

Last weekend my husband's family uncovered a 100 year old cider press. So, we pressed apples for cider. End result: 100 lbs of hand-picked apples yields about 6 gallons of Rich Cider. I think the smiling face at the end of the photos says it all - delicious!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Roasted Root Vegetables!

Among the Harvest season, root vegetables are a favorite. Root vegetables are plants that are used as vegetables. My dad would always chop up the root vegetables into the same size pieces and roasted them with a little salt, peeper, and olive oil. Roast in an oven 375 for about 30-35 minutes or until the edges are brown and caramelized. You can always add flavor with spices-and remember to garnish with some fresh chopped herbs! Here are some great varieties to choose from:

Turnips or Rutabaga
Parsnips (looks like a white carrot)
Sweet potatoes

Monday, October 20, 2008

Carving Pumpkins...or Squash!

Carving pumpkins always promises fun…but don't limit yourself to the traditional orange Jack O’ Lantern. For a change, other squash will lend themselves to carving and décor just as well. Try carving acorn squash and use them as hanging luminaria. Carving has never been easier since adults and children can now select from a broad range of stencils and carving tools on the market to yield spectacular results. Many are even optimized for safe use by the very young so almost everyone can participate.

Your family’s decorating efforts don’t need to be limited to carving. Try painting pumpkins and squash using painter’s tape along with craft paint, antiquing stain, and water-based varnish. For those of you that live in colder climates, try using an assortment of cut up vegetables to attach to your pumpkin or squash with toothpicks to create your own Halloween character! Decorative dried gourds can be used all year…and they are often used as part of fall displays with dried corn and greens both inside and outside the home.

Whether you’re going to use them for décor or for a special addition to seasonal menus, enjoy the season and have fun exploring the markets and discovering new squash favorites!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Healthier Alternatives to Hand Out on Halloween

Halloween and candy seems to go hand in hand these days….but it doesn’t have to! There are alternatives to what you hand out to those trick or treaters this Halloween. Here are few different options to what you could consider handing out
• 100% All Fruit Leathers or Fruit Snacks
• Organic Granola Bars
• Organic Raisins
• Organic Peanuts in the Shell
• Pretzels
• Organic Trail Mix
• Organic Pre-Packaged Apple Slices and Baby Carrots

Try your local dollar store for some alternatives, like Halloween pencils, stickers, rulers, erasers, and other festive items/toys to avoid the sugar!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fair Trade Chocolates!

In efforts to help raise awareness of Fair Trade, I thought it would be nice to share with all of you the various types of chocolates you can purchase, online and in your local grocery store. See what selections they have to offer and consider handing out these special goodies on Halloween!
• Endangered Species Chocolates
• Dagoba Chocolates
• Sweet Earth Chocolates
• Greens & Blacks Chocolate
• Lake Champlain Chocolates
• Newmans Own Chocolates
• Cost Plus World Market

Let us know what you find!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pumpkin Bread-Half Moon Bay Style

I stumbled across this recipe and had to include it because when I lived in the Bay Area, it was always a tradition to go to Half Moon Bay to pick out our pumpkins. I make a pumpkin bread that is similar to this recipe and it is gone before I can try some-its that good! I like to add additional ingredients in some-one or two loaves…cranberries, currants, pecans, walnuts, and chocolate chips. I also use a full tablespoon of cinnamon and nutmeg and add ½ teaspoon of cloves. Try and make it organic by using all organic ingredients! Let us know how what you think!

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Bread - Half Moon Bay, CA. Bake-off Winner
Makes 3 loaves

3 c Sugar, granulated
3 1/2 c Flour, all-purpose
1/2 t Salt
2 t Baking soda
1 t Cinnamon
1 t Nutmeg
4 lg. Eggs
1 c Vegetable oil
2 c Pumpkin (cooked)
2/3 c Water
1 1/2 c Walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter your containers well. Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the eggs, oil, pumpkin and water. Beat thoroughly. It's easier to get all the lumps out if you use an electric mixer. Stir in the walnuts with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into the containers, filling each only half to two-thirds full. Bake for 60-90 minutes, depending on the sizes of your containers. If you're using a very small container, start checking much sooner. The bread is done when a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Cool about ten minutes, then loosen the edges of the bread with a knife, and turn out of the pans to cool the rest of the way on a rack. For baking containers, you can use a loaf pan, metal cans, or whatever. If you use 1-pound coffee cans, it takes three of them. For tiny loaves, use soup cans or mini loaf pans.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Roasted Cauliflower

Now that Fall is here, I am happy to turn my oven on since it's getting colder! Roasted Cauliflower is one of my favorite things to make during the Fall and Winter season. It's easy and delicious! My dad shared this recipe with me a couple years ago and I made it for the family I nannied for weekly-and they loved it too! Here's how you make it:

1. Take a head of cauliflower, wash and remove the stem.
2. Slice the cauliflower long-wise in ¼ inch slices
3. Arrange on a lightly greased cookie sheet, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Bake in a 350 oven for 20-30 minutes till the edges are golden brown.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pangea Organics-Ecocentric Bodycare

What makes this product even more unique than the organic product itself IS the package design. The boxes that all of pangea products boxed in are made from recycled paper and laced with organic seeds that go in the ground and grow, so there is no waste! Packages come in either sweet basil or amaranth varieties. There are easy directions to follow-soak the empty package in water for a few minutes before planting in the soil-pot or ground.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pumpkin Fest for Bay Area Locals

Pumpkins a plenty! Its time again for Half Moon Bay’s 38th Annual Art and Pumpkin Festival. Half Moon Bay is also known as the World Pumpkin Capital! The Festival kicks off with the Great Pumpkin Parade and special guests, the San Francisco Giants! The streets of Main are filled with activities for the kids, adults, and families. Take a tour in the Haunted House, taste the different local micro brew and wines, stroll through the streets to admire the artwork, and enjoy some home-made pumpkin pies! In efforts to support the ‘green’ lifestyle, there will be more awareness of recycling during the festival that will take place on the weekend of October 18-19, 2008. For more information on the green take of the festival, log onto

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe

When I visit the grocery stores these days, I have noticed they have pumpkins! I get really excited cause really, this is the only time my family and I make my favorite pumpkin pie...and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share it all with you! I hope you all will enjoy this as much as I do!

For the Crust, You will Need:

1/4 Cup Melted Butter
1 1/4 Cups Crushed Gingersnap Cookies

Mix those together and press into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 10 minutes at 325º.

For the Filling, You will Need:
Blend 1 Tablespoon Gelatin with 1/4 Cup Cold Water and set aside.

Mix Together in a Saucepan:
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1 1/3 Cups Mashed Cooked Pumpkin
3 Large Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Milk

3 Large Egg Whites
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
6 Tablespoons Sugar

Cook over low heat stirring until the mixture boils. Boil 1 minute. remove from heat. Stir in the gelatin. Cool. When partially set, beat until smooth. Carefully fold in the meringue. Pile into the ginger cookie crust. Chill until set, about 2 hours. Garnish with fresh whipped cream.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Buying Organic in Bulk

Organic is getting easier to find and purchase, and in BULK! Costco offers a large variety of organic products ranging from your typical organic soy milks and milks to coffees, frozen meats, fruits, and veggies…even shampoo and conditioners! For a complete list of organic items, please feel free to contact your local Costco for a detail item list.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Bag of Green

A great way to inspire those to loose the plastic is to give them a canvas bag for all those groceries or simply to run errands around town with! has a great bag to offer that is made from biodegradable cotton canvas and printed with environmentally safe inks as well. To purchase or want more information, simply log onto!