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Fall decorations: Scarecrows always draw crowds to Cranford 

Selfiecrow was among the favorites at last year's Scarecrow Stroll in CranfordCranford is gearing up for its 7th annual Scarecrow Stroll.


From Oct. 23 through 31, residents and visitors will see fun and creative scarecrows decorating street lamps and many other areas downtown.  Families, school groups and business owners will all be competing this year to have their scarecrow voted a favorite.


There will be several special activities at this year’s event, according to organizers at the Cranford Downtown Business & Economic Development Office. Mommies 24/7, a women's group with members from Cranford, Westfield and other nearby towns, will run a Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt.  Trick or Treat Day downtown will be held Friday, Oct. 31.


Visitors can expect to find wild and crazy creations on every street and in store windows, according to  organizers. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in the following categories: 12 and under, 13 and over, and business owner.


“We look forward to seeing what people come up with, and every year we are impressed,” Downtown Director Kathleen Miller Prunty said in a written statement about the event. “Of course, the best part is seeing people walking throughout the downtown enjoying the scarecrows and voting for their favorites. Every year, we count thousands of votes.”


Need ideas for your own fall decorating at home? See some of the Cranford scarecrows from previous years on the Scarecrow Stroll Facebook page.  


 Cranford residents and business owners can register by Oct. 4 and get entry guidelines at


Our lighter take: Steven Raichlen's baked chiles rellenos

Steven Raichlen's chiles rellenos are baked, but we found they could be made even lighter and not lose on taste. Classic Mexican chiles rellenos typically involves large, cheese-filled peppers battered and fried. Steven Raichlen's cumin-infused stuffed peppers from his new cookbook “Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys” have raisins and pine nuts, adding Moroccan flair.

We were exceptionally impressed with the flavor and novelty of this baked version of the dish. We decided to try lightening it a bit more and the result was also delicious. And since Raichlen is a barbecue master, it would also be great to try cooking these peppers on the grill.


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Punkin' Treat Pouch template from "Felt-o-Ween"



1. Make a digital copy of the template below (Right click on the image and select "Save Image As..." from the pull-down menu).

2. Using saved file, make a paper copy of the template at your desired size. You can print it at 100 percent, or enlarge as desired for larger pouches.

3. Cut out pumpkins, decorate and stitch according to project instructions.

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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' star Teresa Giudice promotes Fabellini, meets fans in Westfield at Gallery U Boutique 

Teresa Giudice with Gallery U Boutique owner Lisa Lasso and Robert Grecco, direcor of programming for Universal Institute (Photo by Kimberly L. Jackson)“Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice was in Westfield yesterday evening, chatting and posing for photos with about 100 fans who lined up at Gallery U Boutique awaiting the appearance of the table-turning TV mom from Montville.

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Whip this up: Evaporated milk makes a fluffy dessert topping

Whipped evaporated milk on fruit cups. From Meals.comEvaporated milk can be whipped into a stand-up topping for fruit salad, pie, cake and other desserts. Apparently grandmothers have been doing it since the Depression days.

We like to think of it as a lighter option that can always be conveniently on hand in cans or powdered form. gives the following instructions to make about 3 cups of this whipped cream alternative. The recipe should be halved if needed, so all the topping will be used the same day.

1. Pour a cup of NESTLÉ® CARNATION® evaporated milk into a small mixing bowl. Place mixer blades or a whisk in bowl. Freeze for about 30 minutes, or until ice crystals form.

2. Meanwhile, plate up each serving of your chosen dessert. Fruit can go into pretty crystal or glass dessert bowls, as shown. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Using a mixer (or a whisk twisted rapidly between both palms), whip the chilled evaporated milk on high speed for one minute or until it's very frothy. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of lime juice, beating for two minutes or until the mixture is stiff. Immediately spoon topping onto fruit or other cold dessert. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired. 

Note: You can also whip vigorously with a chilled whisk. Play around as we did, adding drops of food color and even cocoa powder to extend the options for this lighter-than-cream whipped topping.

Vanilla whip: Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract (or another flavor) instead of the lime juice.

Cocoa whip: Sift the powdered sugar with two tablespoons of cocoa powder for a chocolatey twist.

If you need the topping to hold up longer, gelatin powder can help it stay in shape for about 30 minutes. Instructions at The topping can be made with ice water, nonfat dry milk powder, gelatin powder and sugar.

And, it can be blended into puréed fruit. Try the mango mousse recipe, which can be easily adapted to use blueberries, strawberries and other juicy seasonal fruits.