fall

See You In the Pumpkin Patch

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Posted by Judy Moon

As much as I LOVE my beach time and I have been doing my best to keep the summer vibes going (I just recently broke down and put socks on to go to work, that means fall is officially here when I pull the socks out), I soooo love fall as well.

I love the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, the little chill that’s in the air in the morning when I am on my morning walk with my dog Murphy, and my favorite part is of course pumpkins! My mantle becomes a literal shrine/altar to all that is pumpkin. Just for fun – here are nine of the best quotes from It’s Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown – because Linus is a miniature Philosopher and it’s time we revisit his quotes from this Halloween Classic.

I like to experiment with different pumpkin recipes and I recently tried one that is a keeper. It’s quick, easy, healthy and tasty – that ticks all of the boxes for me!

It was a recent post from Dr. Axe – he rocks!

I followed the recipe exactly, which is not always easy for me to do. My creative mind always wants to do something just a tad different, but with baking, you can’t be as flexible or sometimes things go terribly wrong.

This pumpkin bread got a thumbs-up from the hubby. It’s not super spicy, which we both liked but if you like that screaming pumpkin spice taste – you might want to up the spices a bit. It was also not quite sweet enough for our taste, so next batch, I will add some more sweetener. My advice would be taste the batter before it goes in the pan.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Total Time: 85 minutes Serves: 8-10

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl
  • Combine all dry ingredients in another bowl
  • Mix both bowls together until well incorporated
  • Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes.

 

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The (Not So) Fading Beauties

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Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

My nephew and I were driving on a recent autumn day, admiring the still fabulous but beginning to wane colors of the leaves. He said that soon everything would look drab and depressing with winter and wouldn’t’t it be cool if the trees kept their colors until the new leaves arrived in spring. I agreed that it would be cool but it might make spring less exciting as we would have nothing to look forward to after all of that dark and cold. Those first few electric green leaves spark our spirits and get us up and moving!

As we continued to talk I thought about our yearly trips to upstate New York for the winter holidays and the long ride when I have plenty of time to gaze out the window. Fields of burnt orange and sandy colored grasses, icy purple and brownish red raspberry canes and brambles, mountains covered in as many shades of green, gray and blue as you can imagine. I always feel inspired by these wild colors and it often spurs a drawing or sewing project once I get back home.

I was glad to be reminded that even though the skies may be heavy and the deciduous trees seem so skeletal in winter, there is still so much color to be seen all season long (even before the witch hazels, hellebores and snow drops show up!). And if we can’t make it out to the woods, maybe it’s the red brick building that glows in the late day sun or the pattern on the moss green and gray bark of the sycamore trees that brightens our spirits.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of looking a little longer and allowing that spark of color to find you.

Enjoy the colors of winter!

 

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Are You As Passionate for Pumpkin As I Am?

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Posted by Judy Moon

This is the time of year when it’s all about pumpkin. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin latte, Great Pumpkin Smoothie, pumpkin body scrubs, pumpkin pie – you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, this girl loves her pumpkin, as my mantle shows, but sometimes I prefer it in a more savory way.

I was super excited to find this recipe a while ago on the Food in Jars website. Marisa McClellan is a local Philly gal and makes canning seem easy and fun! I’ve done a workshop with her and consult her book Food in Jars, Preserving in Small Batches from time to time.

I LOVE this soup and it couldn’t be easier. I always have the ingredients on hand in my pantry and you can have tasty soup in a flash. True confession – I often use canned pumpkin from the grocery store and I think it works just fine when I don’t have any fresh pumpkin to play with.

Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (use your favorite)*
  • 2 pints pressure canned pumpkin (with their canning liquid)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions
Combine onion and coconut oil in a small soup pot. Cook until onion softens and browns. Add curry powder and cook until it is fragrant.

Add pumpkin cubes, their canning liquid and the coconut milk. Stir to combine. Add up to one coconut milk can of water should it need a bit of thinning.

Bring to a bubble, reduce to a simmer and place a lid on the pot. Cook until onions are tender.

When soup is done, blitz it with an immersion blender. Taste and add salt as necessary.

Eat and enjoy.

Notes
*If you don’t have any home canned pumpkin, use 1-15 ounce can of commercial pumpkin and one can of water.

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It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

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Posted by Judy Moon

When October rolls around, it means one thing to me…Pumpkins!!

And of course the switch from a martini to a Manhattan before dinner. I’m not sure how that personal rule of mine started but so it is.

Back to pumpkins.

I LOVE pumpkins. I love the shapes, I love the colors, I love the process of picking them out, (my husband Joe is a patient man, the only thing longer and requires more patience from him is my picking out the Christmas tree), I love the cider donuts they sell at Duffields Farm, where we go for our pumpkins. I secretly want to go through the corn field maze they have there – but it’s kind of for kids and there is a part of me that doesn’t want to be the adult in there freaking out if I got lost. Not worth the stress!

They have all of the cool varieties of pumpkins and gourds like you see in Martha Stewart – the blue ones, the white ones. They just make me smile.

Another cool thing about pumpkin is that it’s a Super Food- a real nutritional super star.

Pumpkin contains:
*Alpha-carotene
*Beta-carotene
*High fiber
*Low calories
*Vitamin C and E
*Potassium
*Magnesium
*Pantothenic Acid

Check out Super Foods- Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life by Steven Pratt, M.D., and Kathy Matthews for even more fun facts about the benefits of pumpkin.

Here is a great pumpkin smoothie recipe that I make. It’s loosely based on the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe from Oh She Glows.

Great Pumpkin Smoothie
(serves one)
1 c unsweetened almond milk
1Tbs flax seed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned but you can use fresh if you are that organized) *I have been known to use a little more since I like it really “pumpkiney” if that’s a word
1/2 banana
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg ( I use 9 grates of nutmeg, I like nutmeg and the number 9- that’s my logic)
1tbl molasses
1 tsp maple syrup or agave
ice if desired

Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix, Magic Bullet, Montel Williams Health Master or whatever machine you blend your shakes in and the most important part is… enjoy the flavor of fall!

Cheers!

Photo Credits // 1 Flickr // 2 Martha Stewart // 3 Oh She Glows // 4 Two Peas and Their Pod // 5 Tumblr

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Yin and Yang: Fade into Autumn

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Posted by Debi Phillpotts

Here on the east coast, summer is winding down its final moments with some days resembling summer weather while others are a chilly preview of what lies ahead. Visually we see the changes occurring in our external world with the leaves changing colors and falling off trees. It makes for a beautiful backdrop mirroring what you’re most likely experiencing within your own internal landscape.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Chinese adopt the Yin and Yang philosophy along with the Five Element Theory as it’s most fundamental concept. The Five Element theory was developed centuries ago (about 500-200 BC) in The Warring States Period by Tsou Yen, founder of The School of Naturalists aka The School of Yin and Yang, which promoted the idea of living in harmony with the natural laws. In short, Yin and Yang are constant opposites striving for balance in relation to our ever-changing cycles of seasons.  Yin constantly changes into Yang and back to Yin again. One might ask how does that translate to our state of being?

Autumn is a three-month period of harvesting, reaping the fruits of the summer, a time to prepare for the protection of winter when energy reaches a state of yin (dark, dense, cold, and rest are characteristic of yin energy). This is a time when Soul and Spirit should be gathered together in order to make the breath of Autumn tranquil. As it is true in nature, it is also true within each of us, a kind of harvesting takes place in our own energies. Consolidation and strengths as well as fragmentations and weaknesses become clear. When the leaves turn vibrant colors that is the signifying point of a cycle where all things begin to conserve and store themselves inside for nourishment while externally life seems to be fading.

Autumn represents the metal element in the Five Element Theory, which tends to be a difficult transition to experience as metal gives the impression of being cold and hard, and not very nourishing. Metal provides us with strength, structure, substance and is the basis for communication. An imbalance in any one of these aspects of metal in the human body could translate as problems in structure itself and the strength within the body-mind-spirit, rigidity of the vertebral column, rheumatic pains, frozen neck or shoulder, specific kinds of headaches, spasms of throat, the esophagus, the limbs, or lack of emotional strength. With that in mind its no wonder that most of us naturally seek out therapies and certain foods and colors in order to ground ourselves during seasonal changes. So be kind to yourself, take notice and acknowledge these changes, align yourself by spending time in nature, calm the mind and spirit with conscious breaths, get more rest and schedule a “tune up” with massage or energy work so you too may enjoy the celebration of Harvest time!

Sources:
* Excerpts from The Law of the Five Elements/Dianne Connelly, Ph.D.
http://www.sacredlotus.com/theory/yinyang.cfm

Photo Credits // 1 Bodi Science // 2 Body Devine Yoga // 3 Blue Butterflies and Me

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Mini Meditation Technique for Autumn

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Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

Autumn has arrived! I’m not sure what I love the most about this time of year. Is it the cool nights, brilliant blue skies or the riot of foliage color? Maybe it’s the glorious squash, brussel sprouts and quince that begin to show up at the farmer’s market. It all makes me happy, really!

But the one thing I truly relish at this time of year is walking beneath the changing leaves.

It’s a bit of a mini meditation for me and I invite you to try my technique. This is especially helpful after a stressful day or a quick way to ground yourself before going to work. Only takes a moment.

As you walk, keep an eye out for trees in full color. My favorites are the sweet gum (star shaped leaves that turn brilliant yellow to orange to red) and the ginko (ELECTRIC yellow!).  Step up close to the tree (say “hello” if you’d like) and close your eyes just long enough for a DEEP inhale. As you exhale, look up into the tree branches. Then look out to the area surrounding the tree. Are you immersed in the glow of that trees’ autumn extravaganza?  The world is bathed in vibrant color, just for a bit. How’s that for rose colored glasses! Sounds silly, but it boosts my mood in a flash. I hope it does the same for you.

Happy color hunting!

P.S. Let us know what your favorite “autumn color” tree turns out to be!

Photo Credits // 1 Autumn by George // 2 De Show // 3 HD Wallpaper // 4 Reformed Musings

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