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The Tantalizing Tomato: History and Facts

Posted by Wenona Napolitano on Apr.30, 2011.

The tomato is the perfect blend of sweet and tart, sugar and acidity. It goes so well with so many things. The tomato could possibly be one of the most versatile foods. So many tasty meals are made with tomatoes.
I couldn’t imagine life without spaghetti sauce, pizza, or chili. French fries wouldn’t be the same without ketchup and a grilled cheese would not be complete without a bowl of tomato soup.
A BLT wouldn’t even exist without the all important slice of tomato.

Too many delicious dinners wouldn’t be the same without the tomato. Especially delectable dishes from the Mediterranean area, could you imagine French, Greek or Italian food without the touch of the tomato?

Today the tomato grows all over the world, yet it is only native to areas of Mexico and South America. The Spanish explorer, Cortez, discovered the tomato growing in the gardens of the Aztecs in the early 1500’s and brought seeds back to Europe with him, yet the tomato still took over 100 years to become a food source. Southern Italians were the first to embrace the golden globes (early tomatoes were yellow not red) and incorporate them into their cuisine. By 1758 the tomato was mentioned in “The Art of Cookery” by Hannah Glass in England. (continue reading…)

Posted under Food Facts, Food, Nutrition & Recipes

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How to Grow Great Tomatoes

Posted by Wenona Napolitano on Apr.28, 2011.

tomatoNothing beats the taste of a vine ripened tomato, except the taste of a vine ripened tomato harvested from your own garden. Growing great tomatoes is relatively easy and a small garden can produce a lot of tomatoes.

The tomato originates from South America and Mexico. The Spanish explorer Cortez took the seeds to Europe after discovering the tomato being grown in Mexico in Aztec gardens. Italians were the first to eat the golden apple (early tomatoes were yellow not red) in the 1500’s but it still took more than 100 years for Italians to fully accept tomatoes and integrate them into their food. Can you imagine Italian cuisine without tomatoes?

The tomato is classified as a vegetable thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in 1893 that subjected vegetables to import taxes, however technically a tomato is a fruit and part of the berry family. This vegetable/fruit is actually a perennial if left to continuously grow in a warm climate, however most areas do not stay warm enough so it is treated as an annual that has to be replanted every year. (continue reading…)

Posted under Home Environment, Organic Garden

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Home Gardening

Posted by Wenona Napolitano on Apr.26, 2011.

In life, as in a garden, you reap what you sow.
~Nancilee Wydra- Feng Shui in the Garden

Nothing makes me feel better than being outside on a warm, sunny day working in my garden. I relax and have time to think. The stress melts away as I pull weeds and dig my hands into the soil. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when the flowers bloom and the fruits and vegetables bear fruit.

When harvest time comes I enjoy sharing my bounty with friends and family.

Gardening is a wonderful way to relax, enjoy nature, live green and save money. Growing your own fruit or vegetables can dramatically slash your grocery bill.

Just a few plants can keep you stocked for months. (continue reading…)

Posted under Eco-Friendly Ideas, Health & Fitness, Home Environment, Information & Resources, Living, Money Savers, Nature and Environment, Organic Garden

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Fill Your Easter Baskets with Eco-Friendly Art Supplies from Stubby Pencil Studio

Posted by Wenona Napolitano on Apr.20, 2011.

Art supplies are wonderful and versatile. What other items offer fun play, creative expression, and learning all in one…for very inexpensive prices?

With art supplies children have the world at their fingertips. There is so much that can be done, be made, be transformed…but with toxic ingredients like lead showing up in kids’ products you want to be sure that the creative supplies are not only fun but safe for the little ones.

Stubby Pencil Studio offers the biggest selection around that I have found, of eco-friendly, non-toxic art supplies and old fashioned games and toys.

Perfect items to stuff in Easter baskets. I have a crafty family. All of us are DIY handmade type people, so craft supplies are always on hand; however because we are so crafty we tend to go through them pretty fast. Or they mysteriously disappear.

That is either thanks to my budding magician toddler whose disappearing sippy cup act beats anything Copperfield could offer, or it could be the invisible troll that also loves socks, not sure.

Anyway, we always need new crayons, paints and sketchbooks that rapidly get filled with wonderful ideas and beautiful works of art. (continue reading…)

Posted under Family, GDM Kids, Tweens, Teens, Home Environment, Information & Resources, Product Reviews

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Ideas for a Simple Eco-Easter

Posted by Wenona Napolitano on Apr.11, 2011.

I never go all out for Easter. I always keep it simple, a few things in the baskets, a little bit of candy and goodies.

I have friends that treat it like it is Christmas all over again. I think that’s crazy.

I usually toss a few things in the baskets that the kids will need for the upcoming Spring and summer seasons- like a summer outfit or two and some outdoor toys: balls, garden gloves, sandbox toys, etc.

Simple stuff.

This year I am putting forth a little extra effort to make sure Easter is both simple and sustainable. Some Easter things I’ve always done in an eco-friendly manner. The kids baskets get used year after year. Sometimes they even get pulled out and used for other purposes. (continue reading…)

Posted under Family

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Simply Green: Easy Things You Can Do to Be Green and Save Money

Posted by Wenona Napolitano on Apr.04, 2011.

©iStockphoto.com - Patryk Galka

©iStockphoto.com - Patryk Galka

The biggest thing right now is being green, everybody’s doing it from celebrities to your neighbor on the corner. You may be wondering though, what can you really do to live a greener life that doesn’t cost a fortune or have you munching on granola.

Trying to wade through all the green information floating around out there can be difficult. Everyone’s popping up with green tag lines and green products, but is throwing out all your old stuff and buying new eco-friendly products going to solve anything? No, it just leads more stuff in the landfill which defeats the purpose of going green.

Here are simple ways you can go green without going broke or changing your lifestyle very much. These simple things can even save you money. (continue reading…)

Posted under Family, Food, Nutrition & Recipes, Health & Fitness, Home Environment, Information & Resources, Living

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A Review of The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green by Terra Wellington

Posted by Wenona Napolitano on Apr.01, 2011.

ⓒ iStockPhoto - Knape

ⓒ iStockPhoto - Knape

Terra Wellington has written a great guide for any mom (or dad) interested in going green. From energy savings to green vacations you’ll get information, tips and ideas to help green your family in this detailed and well written green family guide, The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home.

Wellington doesn’t preach, instead she offers useful advice, green ideas, helpful tips and much needed information that will break through all the confusion and greenwashing going on today. She even includes handy little icons that let you know how beneficial the green aspect is and how much it is going to cost. Icons include those for health benefits, time savings, money savings, free stuff, and expenses that range from under $50 to over $1,000. (continue reading…)

Posted under About Mom, Book Reviews, Family, Food, Nutrition & Recipes, GDM Books, GDM Kids, Tweens, Teens

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