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Pumpkins Galore!

October 4, 2011

By Brianne Harrison Moore

Fall is here! Why not celebrate the new season at the South Jersey Pumpkin Show, which will be held October 8-9 at the Atlantic County 4-H Fairground in Egg Harbor City?

This year’s festival will feature live music, over 100 artists and craftsmen, a dog parade, a farm market, scarecrow exhibit, and, of course, pumpkins galore! Growers from any state are invited to enter their biggest pumpkin in the Big Pumpkin Weigh Off (pumpkins must be at least 100 pounds to participate), which will be held at noon on Saturday. First place takes home a $600 prize.

Pet owners can enter their pooches in the All Breed Fun Dog Parade and Contest, which will hand out prizes for biggest dog, smallest dog, best breed, longest and shortest tail and legs, owner lookalike, best costume, best fall costume, and most spots. Winners receive free gifts and a trophy, and all entrants get a bag of treats and a ribbon. Entry fee is a donation of one pet product, which will be given to local animal shelters. The pet parade will be held on Sunday at noon.

Gather family and friends to create a scarecrow for the Scarecrows Galore Contest, which will award a $100 first prize to the best family-friendly scarecrow. Families can also join in the Decorated Baby Stroller, Wagon, or Float contest, which will award first through third place with a gift bag. First place winner gets a $100 gift card.

If you’re more in the mood to shop, there are plenty of options to choose from. Craftsmen specializing in pottery, ceramics, primitives, candles, handmade soaps and lotions, glass art, blacksmithing, floral wreaths, furniture, quilts, paintings, and photography will be on hand selling their wares, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Atlantic County 4-H Fair Association and ScottBaileyTrust.

Admission is $2, children 4 and under are free. For more information, visit

Pumpkin Lasagna

October 3, 2011

By Brianne Harrison Moore

October has arrived, bringing with it cooler weather that begs for comfort food. I don’t know about you, but when I need a warming dinner, I tend to turn to pasta, and in the fall, I love cooking with seasonal squash like acorn, butternut, and, of course, pumpkins. This recipe combines one of fall’s most famous gourds with a guaranteed crowd pleaser: lasagna. It’s fast, easy, and can keep your family fed for days!

Pumpkin Lasagna

Adapted from Taste of Home

½ lb sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

1 small onion, chopped

½ tsp salt, divided

2 tsp olive oil

1 15-oz can solid-pack pumpkin (make sure you don’t get pumpkin pie filling by mistake)

½ cup half and half

1 tsp sage leaves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Dash pepper

9 no-cook lasagna noodles (or 9 regular lasagna noodles, cooked and drained)

1 cup reduced-fat ricotta

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

¼ cup shredded Parmesan

Saute the mushrooms, onion, and ¼ tsp salt in oil until tender. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, cream, sage, cinnamon, pepper, and remaining salt.

Spread ½ cup pumpkin sauce in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray or oil. Lay three noodles, overlapping them slightly, over the top of the sauce. Spread ½ cup pumpkin sauce over the noodles, top with half the mushroom mixture, ½ cup ricotta, ½ cup mozzarella, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and sauce.

Cover with tinfoil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese, and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Clothes for a Cause

September 30, 2011

courtesy of

By Brianne Harrison Moore

Quick: What’s cuter (or at least as cute as) a puppy? Perhaps an adorable toddler wearing a puppy-themed onesie? And what if that onesie also helped support homeless animals? Pretty great deal, right?

Realizing the potential, Hoboken resident Pamela Pinta and her cousin, Laurene Parlatore, combined their love of children and animals and their desire to give back to create, an online children’s boutique with a mission. A portion of every sale is donated to animal shelters in need all over the country. The company has even recently stepped up and sponsored a dog that became ill shortly after being rescued and needed medical treatment.

The plight of homeless animals is one very near and dear to Pinta’s and Parlatore’s hearts: the “Annie” in the name is a golden retriever Parlatore and her husband adopted from Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary. The cousins have been adopting rescue animals for years (Pinta tends to focus on cats while Parlatore leans towards canines). Aside from donating money to rescues, Anniewear regularly posts stories of animals in need and adoption success stories on the site’s blog.

And in case you were wondering—the items for sale on are adorable. Pinta and Parlatore are committed to selling unique, high-quality items that also all happen to be animal themed. There’s a wide range to choose from: cute PJs, daywear, footwear, blankets, bath towels, toys, bibs, hats, pacifier and bottle holders, diaper bags, and books. So, if you have a new baby or a toddler in your life and love animals, I recommend you check out Anniewear and do some good while you shop!

I’m Still Enjoying the Flowers

September 29, 2011

By John Markowski

OK everyone, slow down please. I know the Fall has arrived and all you want to talk about are pumpkins, mums, fall foliage, and decorating for Halloween. I get it. But today, we will not be discussing any of those topics because I’m emotionally not ready. You cool with that? Good.

I am afflicted with “seasonal denial” and for at least one more day, I want to pretend that it is still summer. I want to listen to the symphony of bees on the flowers. I want to walk outside and sweat within three minutes. I want to not have to think about planting bulbs. I want to anticipate the hot air balloons that fly directly over my home around 6:30 each night. And selfishly, I want to share flower photos I recently snapped with all of you. Won’t you join me and forget the impending cold weather, even if it is only for thirty seven seconds?


Rose of Sharon


Swamp Milkweed

Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’

Spiderwort ‘Sweet Kate’

Didn’t that feel good?

If you want to read more about me whining about Fall or complaining about my kids or creepily obsessing over my gardens, click on the About link above to get to my blog.

T-Stabilization Push Ups

September 28, 2011

By Gerard Bochese

T- stabilization push-ups are an advanced push-up requiring excellent core strength as well as strength and stability through the shoulder complex.  This exercise is excellent for anyone who wants to work their shoulders, and it also serves as a training tool for teaching the deceleration mechanics involved with breaking a fall.  Another benefit of the exercise is the lateral stabilization component that occurs through the trunk.  This is the aspect of the exercise which calls upon and increases core strength.

To perform the exercise:

1)   Begin in the push-up position

2)   Lower your body towards the floor, then push up explosively while rotating onto one arm. At the top of the movement, the down arm should be straight and the torso should be straight with no leaning forward or backward and no sagging in the middle. If there is excessive sway in the torso, this denotes instability in the core or shoulder complex.

3)   Hold for a moment and return to the starting position

4)   Repeat the sequence on the alternate arm.

T-stabilization push-ups can be loaded with light dumbbells to increase the stabilization demands on both the core and shoulder complex.

Note: The basic version of the push-up must be performed flawlessly before beginning the T-stabilization push-up.

Get Moving!

September 27, 2011

By Brianne Harrison Moore

The heat of the summer has passed, and fall is in the air. It’s time to get out and get moving for some good causes!

On October 1, join the annual Harvest Hustle 5K, benefiting the renovations to Mountain View Middle School gymnasium in honor of police sergeant Richard V. Morales. The top three finishers in each age group will take home awards, and the first 500 registrants will receive a race shirt. Get the youngest members of your family involved by entering them in the Kids’ Fun Run—medals will be awarded to all participants. Registration for the 5K is $25; the Fun Run is $15. Registration starts at 7 a.m. at Mendham Borough Park. To register in advance, visit

Head to Harry Dunham Park in Basking Ridge on Sunday, October 2 for the Keeping Babies Safe Run/Walk. Keeping Babies Safe is dedicated to educating parents in how to keep their children safe from dangerous products. They also provide new cribs to families in need. The 5K run is USATF sanctioned and certified, and the first three finishers in each age group will receive prizes. Strollers are permitted during the run/walk, and there will be kids’ activities on race day. Registration is $25 and begins at 8:30 a.m. The race/walk starts at 9:30 a.m. Learn more and register online at

Also on Sunday, Summit Medical Group will host the Live Well Sports and Health Festival, featuring indoor and outdoor activities, demonstrations on eating well, lectures from top sports and orthopedic doctors, a rock climbing wall, a hay maze, and more. The event runs from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Summit Medical Group Campus, 1 Diamond Hill Rd., Berkeley Heights. For more information, visit

Duo of Dips

September 26, 2011

By Mona Laru

These recipes is great for football season and puts a different spin on your ‘typical’ game day foods. Buy local, organic ingredients for optimal nutrition and to support our local people.


Creamy Artichoke Pesto and Spicy White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Spreads

Serving Size: 4 slices of bread w/ ¼ cup of dip



Whole wheat baguette (cut into 2″ slices) or baked blue chips

Creamy Artichoke Pesto Spread:
1–8 oz bag frozen artichoke hearts (defrosted)
1 cup basil
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ cup fat free sour cream

Spicy White Bean-Roasted Red Pepper Spread:
1–15½ oz can no-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup roasted red pepper (no salt added, store-bought)
2 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tbsp fresh oregano)
½ tsp red pepper flakes (eliminate if you don’t like spicy food)
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp lemon juice

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yields: 4 Servings



Toast bread and set aside. In food processor, add all ingredients for the Creamy Artichoke Pesto Spread and pulse until mixed thoroughly. Remove from food processor and put in a bowl. After washing food processor, add Spicy White Bean-Roasted Red Pepper Spread ingredients and blend to a creamy consistency.

To serve, put ¼ cup of each dip into individual bowls and serve with baguette slices.


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