Tag: autumn

Mulling Spices for Apple Cider

Mulling Spices for Apple Cider from katienormalgirl.com #thanksgiving #fall #autumn #partyplanning #beverages

This is a great last-minute Thanksgiving idea and a fantastic way to naturally scent your home with the smell of Fall. You can buy pre-made mulling spice mixes but they can be a bit pricy, so I just make my own and save it in a mason jar.

Autumn. Lovely, lovely Autumn.

Autumn pinterest board from katienormalgirl.com #autumn #fall #seasons

It’s mid-November and you’d never know it down here in Florida. The approaching cold snap is expected to lower temperatures down to 60°F …for one night. Many of our trees are still flush with green and the orange and yellows of Fall never quite make it down this way. So when the weather outside doesn’t quite say “Autumn” (in the same way that it does up north), I need a little inspiration. This week’s Pin-Picks are all about my favorite season, Autumn. Join me over on Pinterest, I’d love to see your Fall picks!

katie: normal girl



P.S. Poll: Do you refer to the season as Fall, Autumn, or do you use the terms interchangeably, like me? Let me know in the comments!

Mushroom and Green Bean Soup with Gremolata

This week’s recipe was inspired by a recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine.

was in the mood for soup this week so I went combing through all of my recipes and found this great one with noodles, mushrooms and green beans…some of my favorite foods.  This is another recipe that is easy to whip up if you have a last minute vegetarian or vegan guest coming for dinner.  It also makes a great, low-calorie, low-sodium meal for anyone who’s trying to watch their waist line before the holiday eating season begins!

From the Pantry:

  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 6 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 c. no-egg wide-ribbon noodles (these are similar to egg noodles which are vegetarian friendly but not vegan friendly, feel free to substitute with your favorite noodle)
  • ¾ tsp. dried Herbs de Provence seasoning mix (if you can’t find a premade mix, use any combination of earthy flavored herbs like, sage, rosemary, thyme and savory)
  • kosher salt to taste

From the Garden

  • 2 ½ c. (6 oz.) portabella mushrooms, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 ½ c.  green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ c. fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest

Use a large soup pot to saute the onion and mushrooms in the olive oil until the onion is soft and slightly browned.  Add the Herbs de Provence and the green beans and allow them to cook for 1-2 minutes.  Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Add the uncooked noodles and allow them to boil gently for 7-8 minutes (or the time according to the package directions for the noodles that you have selected).  While waiting for the noodles to cook in the soup, make the gremolata by finely chopping together the parsley, garlic and lemon zest.

Once the soup is ready, serve hot and top each serving with 1-2 tsp. of the gremolata.  The original recipe called for a scoop of mascarpone cheese to be stirred in just before serving but I wanted to keep the recipe vegan and low-cal.  You could top the soup with a bit of shaved parmesan cheese but then you’re not vegan anymore (but still vegetarian).  It’s up to you how if you’d like the cheese but I thought it was quite tasty without it.  Just a bit of kosher salt sprinkled on top and I was happy!


Care to learn more about being a vegetarian?  Click here to read my mini-series: When Veggies Come to Dinner

Moisturizing Pumpkin Body Whip

I have studied herbalism for many years and enjoy using the knowledge that I have gained to create both simple and complex herbal remedies, delicious teas, tisanes and brews, and to make natural skin and hair care products.  I get to share a lot of this knowledge in my weekly column on hellogiggles.com as The 21st Century Herbalist.  Once a week I like to repost the column here, just in case you missed it!

Original publish date: September 27, 2012

or those of us in the northern hemisphere, Autumn is officially here!  Bring on the pumpkin flavored lattes, bagels, cream cheese, muffins and any other food we can flavor with delicious pumpkin and spice flavors!  Mmmm…I love it all.  Along with all of those yummy foods it’s also pumpkin season for your skin.  Yup, pumpkin for your skin.  It is so moisturizing and packed with nutrients that help bring out the subtle glow of your skin.

Next time you’re in the grocery store or at the farmer’s market pick up a pie pumpkin and give this great body whip treatment a try.  It’s a great way to pamper yourself after a long week of studying, working or before a big date. Later, as winter weather sets in and your skin starts to get a little dry, use this recipe to rehydrate your skin and even your hair.

This recipe is part of this month’s celebration of the multi-generational traditions of women.  It is a classic recipe that goes back generations and uses simple, natural ingredients to soothe and moisturize your skin.


  • A small to medium sized pie pumpkin
  • 1 c. full-fat, unflavored yogurt
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil

…read more (you’ll be redirected to my column on hellogiggles.com)

A Year of Full Moons – October

he moon has reset and will soon start to wane.  This is your monthly reminder that now is the time to release any bad habits or negative thoughts you might be holding onto.  As our view of the moon shrinks, sliver by sliver, let it take that which you wish to release.  Allow yourself the freedom to let go.  It’s during this lunar phase that the growth of leaves on plants and trees starts to slow, because as the moonlight fades, the plants push their energy down to the their root systems.  Focus on strengthening your own roots, the part of you from which everything else grows and flourishes.

The quote on the photo above is from one of my favorite books, The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. The story is enchanting and always inspires me to go out and chase the moon.  I took the above photograph during our full October moon in Orlando, Florida, United States on October 28, 2012 at 9:14 p.m. EST, using my iphone.




Check out more from A Year of Full Moons