Steaming Thai Vegetable Gyoza in the Joie Veggie Steamer


Steamed Thai Vegetable Gyoza from Trader Joe's, cooking in the Joie Veggie Steamer.

Steamed Thai Vegetable Gyoza from Trader Joe’s

This is my absolute favorite thing to make from the frozen isle, but I never had a steamer to make it with before!

It includes pre-use instructions. It is dishwasher safe, but if you don’t have one, like me, it tells you how to boil the steamer two times before its first use.

To steam your own, it is best to use a recipe.  I followed the instructions for setting up the steamer for cooking on it’s packaging and then the stove top directions for the dumplings on the back of the Gyoza package.

For steaming vegetables, dumplings and other foods, I recommend the Joie Veggie Steamer.


Joie Veggie Steamer

Vegetable Soup in Chickenless Chicken Broth



This vegetable soup will warm your soul this season. It’s vegan friendly!


First of all, I have to say that this is an amazing, tasty and wholesome recipe. If you are in an area where you can get to a farmers market, then do it. Potatoes have a great shelf life, so if you have some from the last trip you made in the early Fall, then use them.

I think this is a great recipe that people will love because of that fact that it is a VEGAN recipe. You can, however, add your own chicken into the broth to make it an actual chicken soup.

Osem Consomme is labeled as kosher and pareve. This means that it has no meat and no dairy products in it.

The Osem Company is an Israeli based company that is in partnership with Nestle.  I’m sure that there are some people who are boycotting these companies because of it, but to me, food is food, products are products, and yes, human beings are human beings. None of this is why I am posting this recipe!

If you make this soup, I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.



Before you begin:

I don’t recall how long it actually took to make. This all depends on how small you cut your vegetables and how long you are cooking your noodles or pasta for. It is important to follow the cooking instructions for the consomme as that should be added towards the end.

There really isn’t a need for salt, but if you must, I’d recommend sea salt.


Vegetable Soup in Chickenless Chicken Broth


6 or 7 halved, then quartered locally grown, baby gold or cut up gold potatoes (more skin means more nutrients – leave it on)

1 – 14.5 oz (411 g) Trader Joe’s Mirepoix: celery, carrots and onions (These come chopped up in the package.)

A tablespoon (or more, as necessary) of Osem Consomme

1 cup elbow pasta (I used Barilla.)
Pepper to taste


  1. put water, potatoes, and veggies into a large pot
  2. Bring this to a boil.

  3. Add pasta. Cook pasta until desired tenderness is reached.

  4. While pasta is still boiling, add soup mix. Bring to boil while stirring. Reduce heat to a simmer for 3 minutes.



*I do not work for, nor am I in any way affiliated with Osem. I just like their products.

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.  While you do not have to buy these products from Amazon, it can help to have a visual reference if you’d like to see what something looks like.

The Snowstorm Before Thanksgiving of 2014


It really stuck this time! To be honest, I have doubted the New Jersey weatherman for the last fifteen years when it came to the snow forecast.  It was always as if they said “snow” and people ran with it like chickens with their heads cut off, only to wake up to rain the next morning.

I took this while it was still coming down.


Snow in the New Jersey Woods

Many storms have names or titles. Hurricanes are given first names. I like to give snowstorms titles too.

In the winter of 1995-1996, we had a storm so big that my whole neighborhood lost its power.  I was about twelve years old at the time, but I remember what happened quite clearly because my mother had been cooking all afternoon.  She had a nice bird all seasoned and ready to go into the oven, when the power went out!  So she made some calls and we ended up bunking at another family’s house for the weekend.  That was fun, especially since their kids were friends from school.  That storm is called ‘The Storm of ’96’.

This one would be ‘The Snowstorm Before Thanksgiving’ (of 2014).  It works because winter came extremely early this year.  The meteorologists are calling it Cato.

(shĕ•leg) means ‘snow’ in Hebrew

Stay warm this Thanksgiving all you Northerners!

Ready for it? “The Hunger Games” will go on stage…by 360°!


On November 7th, 2014, Lionsgate Entertainment, Inc., Imagine Nation, and Triangular Entertainment announced that they will be taking Suzanne Collins‘ “The Hunger Games” to a whole new viewing experience: the stage.

A 360° rotating auditorium, that is!

AMSTERDAM and SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Continuing the expansion of its global blockbuster Hunger Games franchise into new businesses, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a premier next generation global content leader, is teaming with Dutch media company Imagine Nation and U.S. based Triangular Entertainment to bring The Hunger Games to the stage using innovative and immersive staging techniques, the companies announced today. The Hunger Games theatrical experience will launch in summer 2016 in a brand new purpose-built theater next to Wembley Stadium in London, UK.

Click below for the full press release.


Another business venture for “The Hunger Games” is “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition,” which is set to launch in the Summer before the November 20, 2015 release of “Mockingjay – Part 2″.

The state-of-the-art exhibition, which will include interactive displays of authentic costumes, props and other elements of the world of The Hunger Games, will be designed in conjunction with Thinkwell Group, one of the world’s leading theme park and location-based entertainment companies.

Click below for more on that press release from May 30, 2014 here:


Take a look at some of the incredible things Thinkwell has been involved with:

At any rate, I know where I want to travel the next time I decide to break my bank!  It’s time to start saving up every penny I have!

Now for the questions.  What do you think of Lionsgate’s ventures?  Do you think they are taking their Hunger Games franchise a little too over the top, or do you think this will work?  Would you go to the US exhibition tour or see the live show?  Weigh in below!

Image: Twitter

Let’s just put EVERYTHING in our coffee now!


So many creamers to try!

I see Dunkin Donuts, Heath Bar, Almond Joy, Cinnabon, Cold Stone Creamery, Abuelita, Nestlé (okay, so Nestlé already had Coffee Mate), Girl Scouts cookies, Hershey’s and BAILEYS for goodness sakes!

Let’s just put EVERYTHING in our coffee now!

I took one look at this part of the dairy section and exclaimed “What will they think of next?”

Hummus is an Arabic word, but it’s loved so much by Jews and Arabs alike.

“Hummus is an Arabic word (حمّص ḥummuṣ) meaning “chickpeas,” and the complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is حمّص بطحينة ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna, which means “chickpeas with tahini”.”

It is an Arabic dish that became so loved by both Jews and Arabs alike in the Middle Eastern area that it became an Israeli national food staple. According to the article, Jews would go into the Arab quarters for a bite of authentic hummus.

So if you’re boycotting your Tribe, Sabra or other favorite hummus brands, you might want to keep this in mind: most likely, the brand you’re buying is certified kosher, has Jews, Muslims, or people of Middle Eastern nationalities on it’s staff. Then consider this: I have read that the dietary laws of Halal ALLOW for the consumption of Kosher food.

Finally, think about whom all these anti-Israel boycotts are really affecting. I believe that this would have little to no affect on their army or reserves. Israel has one of the finest armies in the world and the kids over there look forward to the draft.

Then there are the employees of these companies that you’re boycotting. There are both Israelis and Arabs making the products side by side; hummus, Ahava beauty products, and more; and it is the food from their mouths that you are taking because you don’t like what you are seeing in the media.

If you don’t like what you’re seeing on the news or reading about in the papers and online and you REALLY want to make a change, then go go to Israel and petition the government yourself. Don’t plaster the streets with your stickers and propaganda, because impressing your beliefs on the rest of us is the last thing that people want to see.

Nestlé owns about 51% of Osem, an Israeli company that owns Sabra. Maybe you’ll want to boycott them too?

I bought Sabra guacamole yesterday because I wanted guacamole, NOT because it is made by an Israeli company.

It’s That Time of Year Again!

There’s a bite in the air.

The nights are chilled,

but the days can’t decide whether to become cold or stay warm.

The leaves are turning colors.

Jackets and boots are making their annual return.

Grills and outdoor stove tops are canvassed.

The children are in school…again.

Daily outdoor adventures slowly return to indoor family fun nights.

It’s that time of year again, everybody.

Oh, yes…

It’s Fall.

Now go make some delicious hot cider.


Homemade Mulled Apple Cider

Homemade Mulled Apple Cider

Get your recipe for Homemade Mulled Apple Cider here!

This idea has been submitted to‘s Fall & Halloween Living Creative Thursday Link Party