Tag Archives: local

Vitamin C – Where You’d Least Expect

With doctors and news reporters claiming 2013 is the worst seasonal flu outbreak in ten years, how should one prepare? As many know, the flu shot won’t prevent the flu altogether, just lessen the blow. And often times when people detect the slightest onset of illness they stock up on quick fixes like Airborne, or Vitamin C tablets. But by that time, it’s too late.

As a person who loves food, I like to impart not only the most decadent tips and advice for preparing and finding delicious meals, but also how to use food to our advantage.

Food is the most natural source of vitamins and minerals we can feed our body. It is the most natural way to prevent illness and chronic diseases from diabetes to heart disease. If you think about it, back in the day, people didn’t have a million varieties of Advil and Tylenol, or steroids or antibiotics. They self-healed. Don’t get me wrong, medicine has come a long way and has made tremendous advancements in saving lives. But Imagesomething like the common cold, and even the flu epidemic of 2013 can be easily combated or at best avoided altogether with some simple dietary alterations.

To start, Vitamin C is our best friend when it comes to boosting immunity and injecting antioxidants into our system. Most people immediately reach for the OJ. But, here are some all-star Vitamin C rich foods that far surpass the orange.

A few things to keep in mind when reviewing the list:

  • Guys – your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C is 90mg
  • Chicas – we need about 75mg
  • If you go over your daily allowance, no fear, your body with flush it out
  • To obtain maximum vitamin capacity eat these foods raw

1. Guavas

377mg (628% DV) per cup

These exotic tropical jewels are in season from November through April, a perfect addition to your winter fruit bowl. Try and find ones that don’t have a stamp in their passport. Farms on the west coast and Florida have started distribution.

2. Hot Chili Peppers

Green – 181.88mg (303% DV) per half cup, chopped

Red – 108mg (180% DV) per half cup, chopped

Don’t have to tell me twice! Most common chili peppers are jalapenos, Thai chili peppers, poblanos, and fresnos. These guys might be tough to eat raw, so considering they already have a massive amount of Vitamin C, a cooked chili pepper will still have a pretty healthy dose.

3. Strawberry

98mg (163% DV) per cup, sliced

I might add a qualifying note of consideration when consuming strawberries. Their season doesn’t come until May/June and the winter months are really tough on strawberry distribution. If you have your heart set on those big, perfectly red, all similar in shape and size strawberries you see in the markets now, save them to dip in chocolate. Chances are they will need an extra boost in flavor.

4. Bell Peppers

Yellow- 95mg (159% DV) 10 sliced strips

Green- 22mg (36% DV) 10 sliced strips

Sweet, delicious and easy to eat raw. You can also find orange and red bell peppers which carry more Vitamin C than the green.

5. Papaya

87mg (144% DV) per cup, cubed

Another exotic beauty, maybe we should just move to the tropics! When selecting one to take home with you, look for skin that is turning from green to yellow and you should be able to press your thumb into the flesh. If it’s too soft or mushy, or if it has a sweet smell to it, the papaya is overripe. Like avocados you want to buy when they’re firm and allow about 2-3 days to ripe on the counter.

6. Kiwi

84mg (141% DV) per fruit

These guys are also great sources of magnesium which supports nerve function, strong bones and regulate blood sugar. A real super food!

7. The crucifers or the cabbage family

Broccoli – 81mg (135% DV) per cup, chopped

Brussels Sprouts 75mg (125% DV) per cup, chopped

Cauliflower – 46mg (77% DV) per cup, chopped

Enjoy these raw veggies with some hummus dip or light dressing. Even raw Brussels Sprouts shaved thin is delicious in salads.

8. Fresh Herbs

Thyme – 1.6mg (3% DV) per teaspoon

Parsley – 5mg (9% DV) per tablespoon

Fresh herbs are great for garnish and flavoring agents. Most often they are used to build flavor in stews or sautes, but again, do your best to find ways to eat them in their natural form. (In comparison, they technically have the least amount of Vitamin C in this article, but they also have the smallest measured value. One cup of parsley is close to 80mg)

9. Kale

80mg (134% DV) per cup, chopped

Dark, leafy greens are full of Vitamin C and easy to use in salads.

10. Citrus

Grapefruit – 85.1mg (142% DV) 1 cup, sections

Oranges – 83.25 mg (139% DV) 1 cup, sections

Clementine – 36.11mg (60% DV) 1 fruit

So here we are at #10 and to be fair, 1 cup of raw orange does have just about the appropriate amount of daily recommended intake.  The point is, there are 9 other foods that have super Vitamin C values (not to mention a whole host of other vitamins and minerals) so change it up every now and then, and be well!

Reference here: click


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Some Pretty Fancy Food

A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to attend the NASFT Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C.  A mecca trade-show for all artisan and ‘fancy food’ products.  What it really comes down to is a huge networking event for people in the industry and a bunch of free samples!  On a more serious note, I did have a moment of realization that no matter what is going on in the world, no matter the differences, people come to the NASFT Fancy Food Show on the same platform and with the same spirit and curiosity to learn and support what others are doing in the specialty food industry.  Industries cross as cheese people meet the cookie people, BBQ people meet pasta people.  And international countries who are millions of miles apart from each other share a reserved sense of pride and specialty food items close to their culture.

Every corner showcases originality, creativity and perseverance to educate participants of the show.  There is a divine entrepreneurial spirit behind each booth, a story that led then to where they are today and a common goal to share their labors of love.

Many of the participants are just starting out, some have been around for a very long time and are launching new products.  And it is also fun to spot celebrity chefs promoting their product lines.  Lydia was serving pasta, Duff Goldman was promoting fun decorating supplies like cake tattoos, Richard Bayless  was at his Frontera Mexican food product booth.  And the lovely Cat Cora was promoting a variety of tapenades, olive oils and kitchen utensils.

Cat was also the Keynote speaker at the Sofi awards which stands for specialty outstanding food innovation.  There are more than 2,600 entries which are narrowed down to 125 silver finalists and then 33 gold winners in each category.  Cat’s keynote speech was a rally call for all of us who have made sacrifices and believed in ourselves to do what we love.  Her advice was to push yourself to obtain the best possible education in your field, to give back to your community, to reach and develop your sense of self, and to know at everyday is a series of small steps that will get you to your goal.  “Have fun, and keep cooking!”

The show itself was definitely like the Academy Awards of specialty food.  However in this case the acceptance speeches are much shorter and thanks is given to key family members, employees and even the cows! People were truly gracious, touched and confirmed that their hard work has been recognized by industry leaders.

Here are links to some vendors and winners that caught my attention:

Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Scooping Ketchup – Awesome packaging, and a delicious  product!  They’ve also done a really great job with branding their product.  The website is so well designed and gives Sir Kensington a real personality!

The Brooklyn Salsa Company – Again, great package design, delicious and they’re from Brooklyn!!!  Bonus they use as much direct trade, local, and organic ingredients as possible.

Theo Chocolate – Ghost Chile Caramels was a Gold winner in the Confection category of the Sofi Awards.  They say the Ghost Chile is one of the hottest peppers in the world combined with silky caramel, sounds right up  my alley!

Ajiri Tea – Kenyan Black Tea – The word ajiri means “to employ” in Swahili, and that’s the goal of Ajiri Tea: to create employment for women in western Kenya.  They were also the Sofi Gold winner in the innovation in Packaging Design or Function category.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company – This family won the Sofi Award and literally thanked the cows.  Gotta try this!

To see all the Sofi Gold Winner Click Here

One of my favorite parts of the show is the is the International ‘pavilions.’  Each country gets several devoted rows of booths to showcase their products.  It is clear that the Italians had the most robust set of showcases and most likely the first pioneers of getting their products to the United States.  I’d walk by and over-hear the Italian business transactions like the melody of an Italian love song.  That and anything to snatch another sample of cured meats and mozzarella cheese.  You know you’re in love with food when you can look at a hunk of cured meat and admire it’s beauty.

I had a really great time, and hopefully next year I will have more time to play around and visit more booths!  I’m sure I’ll be low on my free samples by then!

Isn't she beautiful!

Isn't she beautiful!

This was a great campaign for Principe Prosciutto, and I just love the pig.

Harry Potter made out of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. Great branding for their Bertie Bott`s Brand.

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My First CSA Meal!

In my attempts to eat more locally grown food, I bought a fruit and vegetable share from the StoneLedge Farm CSA (Community Sourced Agriculture).  CSA’s are fun because every week you are brought something different and you’re kind of forced to work with what you have which inspires much creativity!  In this week’s order I recieved:

Rhubarb – a spring time favorite that has a sour flavor (I’m planning on using if for a strawberry rhubarb pie)


Red Sail Lettuce

Buttercrunch Lettue – very smooth and creamy

Mizuna – an oriental green

Suehlihung Mustard

Garlic Scapes- These are the young seed head of the garlic plant.  The farmer remove it to help the plant put more energy toward producing the actual bulb.  Amazing garlic flavor and use as you would regular garlic.

Sage with edible flowers

So here’s what I did.  I saw that I had half of a potato left over in my fridge so I thought this would serve as a good base for the dish.  I have never cooked with garlic scapes before but as mentioned, you can use like regular garlic.  So like any good culinary student I started my pan heating up with a little vegetable oil and started to saute the garlic.  Just as they were browning I added thin slices of the potato to cook through and crisp up.  Next I saw the mizuna.  It tasted pretty mild so I added it in at the end and sauted lightly.  I finished it off with some sage and garnished with the flowers.  Oh and because I’m Italian and I can’t have a meal with out cheese I had some Ricotta Salata in my fridge and crumbled that on top too.
The results were supurb!  I was worried that the garlic scapes were starting to burn but they actually ended up being a great crispy texture.  The potato and mizuna worked really well together as they are both mild flavors and I liked how the potato was the foundation for the dish and helped fill me up.  The cheese was also a nice touch with it’s unique gummy texture and still fairly mild.  The sage leaves and flowers were the perfect added punch to end the show and the flowers were so pretty to look at.

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What I’ve been Up To


Butter: Celebrity Chef Alex Guarnaschelli has a gorgeous dining space and her restaurant week menu was very impressive and delicious.  I peeked into the kitchen and saw Ashley from Top Chef Season 6.  We asked the waiter if she could come out and say hi.  (I told him I was a famous food blogger.)  Apparently she was too slammed in the kitchen so we were denied.  Funny that the kitchen was slammed because she didn’t look busy when I peeked in earlier, and our dessert took so long to come out that the waiter gave us a free glass of wine.

Ciano: After my Meatball Madness event I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Shae Gallante’s new place, the name taken from one of my favorite wine’s Montepulciano. I became friendly with the Sous Chef Tyler who I’ll always remember re-instated a famous lesson to me (in reference to plating the meatballs) Fingers were meant for burning. Ciano was amazing, rich Italian food with a dining room designed by Vogue.  Tyler also gave us a tour of the upstairs private dining area and wine tasting room.  Reminded me of how the Lion restaurant has these secrete little private dining room spaces.  Of course try the meatball appetizer but don’t get the Tiramisu.  The pastry chef isn’t Italian.  Go for the Pistachio Cake with cherries, butternut squash and farmer’s cheese gelato.

James: A seriously delayed attempt at me getting to Brooklyn.  Named after the owner’s grandfather this charming little spot was participating in Brooklyn’s restaurant week.  I know a place is good when I’m desperately torn between the pre-fix and ordering off the regular menu.   But the spinach and escarole soup with garlic chips and ricotta mousse was a fine first course followed by a roast pork loin with mushroom fennel stuffing and a been stew.



Is Local Agriculture Good for the Environment: The Hidden Costs of Food in New York City at the Museum of the City of NY

First of all I hate getting up to this place, dam you upper east side.  You have to walk through this seedy neighborhood on 106th street until you finally see Central Park in the distance.  Anyway, the lecture was packed.  The panel included:

Gabrielle Langholtz, editor of Edible Manhattan, and moderator

Peter Hoffman, chef and owner of Savoy

James E. McWilliams, author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (Little, Brown, 2009)

David Owen, author of Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability (Riverhead, 2009);

Jennifer Small, owner and farmer from Flying Pigs

The main point was the debate between using more land to raise better product and feed fewer people, or use less land (factories) to produce more food of a lesser, cheaper quality.   Moderator Gabrielle Langholtz, to me is a trusted news source of publishing and advertising wholesome and sustainable food.  Edible Magazine,  is a place I go for advice on trying to live locally and greener.  With all her might she tried to get hard answers out of the panel.  What do we do?  What is the answer?  All seemed to say, ‘It’s a complicated question’ and I’m not sure we really got anywhere.  There were a lot of environmental terms that got thrown around that went over my head.  But I did relate to Peter Hoffman when he said, (paraphrased) I can buy the local trout from Brooklyn, but it won’t taste as good as the salmon I could get shipped from Alaska.  But ya know what, I have a good relationship with that salmon fisherman, he comes from a long line of responsible fisherman and while the carbon footprint might be greater, I’m getting a better product with a responsible undertone.

It seemed on more than one occasion the answer was to eat more vegetables.  The pig farmer even chimed in and said after years of raising pigs she has found herself eating less meat.  Mostly because she savors it more.  And on a little tangent, there was an episode of the Fabulous Beekman Boys where they slaughtered two pigs.  It was obvious that they developed a personal relationship with Porky and Bess and have more respect for the meat and meals provided by them.  

Hopefully one of these days I’ll finish Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and move on to James McWilliam’s Just Food as there were multiple questions from the audience that seemed to be easily answered by reading a passage from the book.

Personally, I go half and half.  I look for cage-free eggs, but in these cold winter months I’ll buy produce from Mexico.  I support local farmers not only for the mission but for their entrepreneurial spirit.  I’m looking into joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and maybe buying some meat from the farmers market this summer.


An Evening With Amanda Hesser

Amanda Hesser was a food writer for the NY Times and has now started a new food blog called Food52. She is most noted for a piece she wrote where she bashed the food of Emeril.  Somehow I’m not surprised.  She’s been working hard at Food52 which is a place for people to share recipes.  The best community recipes are tested, awarded and then eventually made into a cookbook.  The first book was recently published The Essential New York Times Cookbook. I was able to get some answers out of her as an aspiring food writer.  She said the best writing samples to submit is your own original work.  Which would be my blog.  Also, she recommended reading material that is outside of your category to help you become a better writer.       


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An Education in Caribbean Cusine

Whenever I travel I always try and take in the local cuisine, but on my recent trip to St. Thomas I was caught off guard by how much I would fall in love with the flavors of the Caribbean.  Aside from the Jamaican beef patty I had out of an NYC food truck, I don’t recall ever having real authentic Caribbean food.

After securing our red Jeep rental car we were headed straight to the beach.  I was traveling with my boyfriend Scott, who was familiar with the local St. Thomas hot spots including the beef pates of Highroon’s Mobile Truck along Brewer’s Bay.  Scott braced me for potential idea of eating out of a raunchy truck, how soon I reminded him that eating out of trucks in NY is part of a foodie initiation.

From the pictures you can see that the truck isn’t exactly up to health code standards but it didn’t bother me.  Once I took that first bite into the meat pate nothing seemed to matter except the juicy, meaty goodness tucked inside the deep fried dough pocket.  Highroon gave us each a chicken and and meat, both were delicious but the meat was clearly our favorite.

On the island of St. John right along North Shore Road, a popular tourist area sits Uncle Joe’s BBQ hut.  One man and about 4 or 5 other women (probably all family) run this roadside goldmine.   I’m not much of a rib girl, but this was fall-off the bone, sweet, tangy deliciousness that should not be missed.

While cruising the islands I picked up an abnormal amount of local hot sauces, a bottle of banana ketchup (which I’m still not sure what I’m going to use it for) and a bottle of spiced vinegar from Glady’s Cafe which I found purely on a whim from a tourist guidebook I got from the airport.  By the last day of our trip I was eager to get one last bite of some local flavor and Glady’s stewed chicken was the perfect send off.

At the airport newstand I was able to find a small recipe book which include both the pate, and stewed chicken.  I was happy to see that there were no foreign spices I needed to make these dishes at home, in fact they were everyday ingredients I already cook with!

Stay tuned as the little Italian girl gets her spice on, and re-creates these dishes at home.


Highroon's Mobile Truck

Chicken pate

Stewed chicken, spicy rice, mac and cheese and that little white potato is actually a sweet potato!

Me doing a taste test of Glady's hot sauces

Inside Glady's cafe, where the waitresses walk around singing Frank Sinatra

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New Years Eating Resolutions

Rather than go for the old January stand-by article on ‘Healthy New Years Eating’ and ‘Get Yourself in Shape for the New Year!’ I’ve decided to share my eleven eating and drinking hopes for 2011.

1.  Eat seasonal – I’ve always realized the importance of this but it wasn’t until recently when I just bought some frozen berries at Trader Joe’s and canned tomatoes over the summer, that I’ve actually acted on this mantra.  In the long run I’ll save money for not being a victim of a high mark up, and save the environment by reducing a potential high carbon footprint on food shipped from Chili.

2.  Host a ‘perfect pairing’ dinner party – By early 2011 I will have completed my culinary studies including a six week wine studies course.  This year I will make a strong effort to apply my knowledge to really understanding how wine and food were meant for each other.  This task will be completed by creating a three course ‘perfect pairing’ menu for some friends and myself.

3.  Eat at a foreign restaurant – At this point, there aren’t too many cuisines I haven’t tried.  But I think Turkish and Ethiopian are still on the list.

4.  Give myself recipe freedom – One of the things my school keeps reinforcing is, ‘don’t be so recipe driven.’  I hope to use recipes as a springboard for my own creativity rather than an instructional guide.

5.  Visit a working farm – There is nothing like seeing first hand where food comes from and getting an appreciation for the people who work hard to bring it to us.  

6.  Make a carbonated beverage – Soda makers were the absolute IT gift this year, once they’re back in stock I’m buying one on sale and making some healthy carbonated experiments.

7.  Read a book on food science – While I was never very good at science in school, I always found it interesting.  I think being a great chef requires knowing a little more about the scientific reason behind how food reacts to cooking elements.

8.  Use my new Kitchen Aide Mixer at least once a month – This will include making fresh pasta with the attachment, grinding my own meat (another attachment), and if I get really ambitions try and use it to bake some bread.

9.  Organize my food magazines – Yes I’m one of those people who have piles and piles of food magazines from 2009.  I have some great recipe organizers and hope to find time to consolidate and archive.

10.  Support artisan food makers – To me, these people express the highest level of creativity and bravery.  They are also usually pretty cool people.  This past year I met a beekeeper from Brooklyn, bought artisan ice cream from a farm in Ohio and got hooked on chili mango ice pops.

11.  To continue to appreciate the vast culinary universe, to never feel like cooking is a chore; to never lose the sense of joy I get from setting a plate down in front of a guest, and try and live each day for the love of food.

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Crack the Whisk

A friend of mine from my building so graciously invited me to take part in a charity dinner for Farming Concrete.  On top of enjoying a delicious dinner (which I’ll get into in a bit) I was able to contribute to a very worthy and much needed cause in NYC.  Farming Concrete is an organization out to measure food production in local community gardens throughout the city.   By calculating the area, and monetary value of this food, it will enhance the perceived value and legitimacy of these public spaces. 

In short they are looking to complete this formula:

“We at ___ Community Garden grew ___ pounds of food in ____ square feet, which is worth $___, served approximately ___ people, and prevented approximately __ pounds of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.”


Chef Alejandro Alcocer from green, brown, orange who does catering and owns a cafe on the Lower East Side is dedicated to sourcing organic produce and free range, grass fed meats.  He prepared a delicious dinner on the rooftop of St. Paul’s – Fordham University which is one of the gardens participating in the the Farming Concrete program.


Summer squid salad – Montauk, NY

Marinated roasted summer beets and carrots with sweet onions and garrotxa cheese – Satur Farms (Long Island), cheese from Spain

Mixed greens with strawberry vinaigrette – Satur Farms, Berried Treasures (upstate, NY)

Roasted Vermont lamb loins with heirloom fingerling potatoes, green beans, and roasted peppers with yogurt sauce – Jamison Farms (VT), Satur and Migliorelli Farms, Evans Farmhouse (upstate NY)

Grilled peach tarts – Migliorelli Farms

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Eating in Union Square

I’m not sure if I’m the only one who has trouble finding good quick eats in Union Square.   Last year I was introduced to Maoz Vegetarian’s falafal bar and even impressed my picky mother!  And now I’m happy to add Dos Toros Taqueria the hidden hideaway for burrito and taco heaven!  Two brothers from San Francisco’s Bay area, Leo and Oliver Kremer, conjured up the hideaway after being homesick for their native comfort food.  And part of the reason why it’s so good is their devotion to local, fresh, high quality products.  AND as a bonus they practice sustainability from their antibiotic free chicken to the tables which were recycled from an old barn. 

I had the steak and carnitas soft taco with chips and guacamole.  Washed it down with a Dos Equis and lime.  Delicious!


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Great Food, Good Hearts

City Harvest has posted their 2010 Edition of Great Food, Good Hearts, a guide to New York’s most generous restaurants.  One of the great things about food culture in New York is that sucessful chef’s and restauronteours are so generous to those in need.

Download the full list here: http://www.cityharvest.org/restaurant-guide/Picture 1

Some of my personal favorites on the list:

Hearth – 403 East 12th St.  Great ambiance and focus on season, and locally sourced ingredients.

Scarpetta– 355 West 14th St.  Based on previous posts one can gather my slight obsession with this place.  A portion of the famous spaghetti dish goes to charity!

The Stanton Social– 99 Stanton St.  Creative menu with a great ambiance.  Awesome for sharing and big groups.

Rickshaw Dumpling Bar– 61 West 23rd St.  A neighborhood favorite, Anita Lo took a great product and adapted it to modern face-paced living.  And the truck is fun to follow on Twitter!

Tabla – 11 Madison Ave.  Solid Indian food (even my plane jane mother loves this place!) with awesome service and ambiance.

Dawat Haute Cusine of India – 201 East 58th St.  Another Indian classic.  Some Indian friends took me here and I was widly impressed!

Hudson Cafeteria – 356 West 58th St. I also feel so NY posh when I go into the Hudson Hotel.  And this restaurant has great food and the open kitchen pit makes for great entertainment.

Honorable Mentions that are on my hit-list:

Aldea – 31 West 17th St.  Has been getting great reviews and Mediterranean flavors sound great!

Annisa– Anita Lo is an awesome chef and contributor to the community.  Would love to patron her place!

Blue Hill– 75 Washington Place.  One day when the gods of reservations work in my favor!

Dirt Candy – 430 East 9th St.  Such an interesting concept on modern vegetarian, and always on the food blogs

The Little Owl – 90 Bedford St.  Joey Campanaro is another great contributor to the community.  Would love to stop in for the famous meatball sliders!

Locanda Verde – 377 Greenwhich St.  Right up there with Blue Hill and the gods of reservations.

Market Table – 54 Carmine St.  I met Mikey Price at the New York Wine and Food Festival Chef’s panel.  I real believer in educating kids about healthy eating.  My kinda guy!

Any of the Momofuku’s

Spice Market – 403 West 13th St.  I can’t believe I haven’t made it there yet!


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Oktoberfest, Fall Harvest, Halloween Mash-Up


Bacon for the German Potato Salad


Cutting squash and more squash for the soup

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year especialy when it comes to flavors.  To celebrate the coming of this magnificent season I decided to have a traditional German Oktober Fest complete with sausage, kraut, pretzels and beer.  It ended up being a mash-up with some butternut squash soup, pumpkin pie and rigatoni.  Searching for as many local ingredients as possible and with the help of  my trusty Fresh Direct delivery man I devised a pretty solid menu with all the trimings and party planning details.  I manged to take some preperaption photos but have included some beauty shots with links to the recipies.  Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread from Serious EatsGerman Sausages with Apples and Sour KrautRiatoni with Roasted Pumpkin from Martha Homemade Pretzles were a big hit and soo easy!And the finale! Pumpkin Pie Jello ShotsIMG_5605IMG_5613

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