Category Archives: Eco-Friendly

But Canned Pumpkins Are So Much Easier…aren’t they?

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I am a recycling nut. When I was a teacher, I started a paper recycling program for the whole school. At home, we have separate bins for food waste, paper and plastics/cans. Because of my neurotic tendencies, I cringe when Halloween is over and there is a perfectly good pumpkin drooping on my front porch. Even though canned pumpkin is so affordable and convenient, would it be possible to recycle the pumpkin that I already have?

Here is the scoop (forgive the pun!):

There are special “Pie Pumpkins”, which are smaller, sweeter and smoother in texture than the one you purchased or harvested this Halloween. They are about 8-inches in diameter and are typically available from September through the early part of December. If you wish to purchase one of these specifically for cooking, look for one that is bright orange in color, firm and has no bruises or soft spots.

However, if you are eager to recycle your Halloween pumpkins and make them a part of your culinary festivities, you can easily do so! You may simply need to add some additional brown sugar or maple syrup to your recipe to compensate for its lack of sweetness.

How To Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree:

  1. Cut out top of your pumpkin and clean out all seeds and strings from inside.
  2. Slice pumpkin vertically into 3 inch wide strips.
  3. Place strips onto a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour.
  5. Once done, scrape the pumpkin from the skins, then beat with a mixer or puree in a food processor until smooth.

Save The Seeds:

  1. The seeds can be used either to plant pumpkins next year, or roasted to eat this year!
  2. Place them in a bowl of water and rub them between your hands. Pick out the orange pieces that are floating, and discard them.
  3. Drain the water.
  4. Spread the seeds on a dish towel or paper towel to dry…and voila! They are ready for next year’s planting or to roast.

Give It A Try:
Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bread

2 cups flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup mashed cooked fresh pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
6 (1 ounce) squares BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices until well blended; set aside.
  2. Beat eggs, pumpkin, sugars, milk and oil in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended.
  3. Add dry ingredients; stir just until moistened.
  4. Stir in chopped chocolate.
  5. Pour into greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  6. Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Cut into slices to serve.

Servings: 15


  • Measure cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Crack eggs (in a separate bowl, so it is easier to fish out stray egg shells)
  • Measure sugar, brown sugar, milk and oil
  • Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices
  • With adult supervision, use a hand mixer to blend eggs, pumpkin, sugars milk and oil
  • Fold wet and dry ingredients together until combined

Nutrition (per serving): 253.6 calories; 28% calories from fat; 8.6g total fat; 35.5mg cholesterol; 239.9mg sodium; 141.7mg potassium; 41.8g carbohydrates; 0.8g fiber; 20.8g sugar; 41.0g net carbs; 4.4g protein.



Filed under Cooking with Kids, Eco-Friendly, Recipes

Organics – How to Prioritize

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Fabkins – Cloth Napkins for Kids!


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Fabkins - Cloth Napkins for Kids!

Fabkins - Cloth Napkins for Kids!

New Eco-friendly Company, Fabkins, Introduces Cloth Napkins for Kids
Themed, Colorful Designs Make Saving the Environment Fun for Kids

Just in time for back to school shoppers, Fabkins, a provider of cloth napkins for kids, announces their products are now available online at Fabkins was created out of the desire to offer kids a fun and easy way to be a part of saving the environment.

Founders Joyce Raffo and Paige Rodgers were committed to packing “waste-free” lunches for their school-aged children, but had trouble finding cute cloth napkins that weren’t too formal or too big. Ultimately they decided to create their own, and Fabkins was born.

Fabkins are soft and durable everyday cloth napkins for kids available in an array of bright colors and playful designs. Sized for kids’ laps and lunchboxes, Fabkins come in packs of five in six different themes that reflect kids’ interests, such as “Sports Fan,” “African Safari,” “Prima Ballerina,” “Fruit Salad,” “Beach Bound,” and “Garden Friends.” Fabkins make school lunches and meals at home more fun and encourage good table manners. Fabkins can also be used as a placemat, and make a great, unique gift.

“My son’s school asked parents to pack waste-free lunches,” explains co-founder Joyce Raffo. “I shopped all over town trying to find a cloth napkin that was soft and absorbent but also ‘cool’ and expressed his interests.” She never did find what she was looking for, and Raffo soon learned that other parents, like Rodgers, had the same experience. The two began discussing ideas for a line of everyday cloth napkins for kids.


Soon after, on a nationally recognized daytime television show, guest Elizabeth Rogers, co-author of The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time, was asked to give one tip from the book that America could implement immediately. Elizabeth’s response was “If we all gave up one [paper] napkin a day, we could save a billion pounds of paper waste from going to landfills [each] year.” This discussion highlighted the environmental importance of using cloth napkins and introduced everyday cloth napkin use to a national audience.

“My daughter gets excited every morning to find out which Fabkin I’m going to put into her lunchbox for school,” said co-founder Paige Rodgers. “I now hear her explaining to friends how she uses cloth napkins to cut down on paper waste and save trees. I love seeing her so excited about helping the environment.”

About Fabkins

Fabkins was launched in August 2007 by two women who wanted to make saving the environment fun for kids with a line of colorful, unique cloth napkins. Fabkins are made just for kids in designs and themes that represent their interests. Fabkins make mealtime more fun and inspire children to help save the environment.

Stay Tuned: What’s Cooking hopes to add these re-usable cloth napkins to our online store, where we will enhance our supply of eco-friendly, reusable and sustainable products!

More information on Fabkins can be found at

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