Being proactive!

I had the pleasure of taking part in an amazing seminar this past Sunday put on by Park Avenue Wellness’s Roberta Mittman and Amanda Goldfarb from Cake and Carrots – a mother and daughter team that are forming a very special niche and taking over the nutrition, health and wellness world. The first annual “Love Your Body Day” included 20 fabulous guests ranging from health and nutrition to fashion and styling. What an incredible concept and a fun, informative day of inspiring and refreshing guests. I am sure I will share much of what I took away from the day but one of the most important things I would like to touch upon today is being PROACTIVE.

Proactive is tending to initiate change rather than reacting to an event

Think about it! What do you need to be proactive about it order live your life to its fullest?

Stay tuned tomorrow…lots more to come!

The smell of pumpkin is in the air

With Halloween right around the corner many of us are visiting the orchards to pick pumpkins and apples. There are so many fantastic recipes to experiment with this time of year. My husband and I love taking our son, Skyler to the Orchard. We have started doing this more often as other fruits and vegetables are in season. It is the best way we have found to have the benefits of gardening without the outdoor space to accommodate it. Nothing like the crisp air, and running around to find the best specimen too!

When removing your pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin roast them on a cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes. Your temperature should be set at 160-170. By roasting them at a low temperature it helps preserve the good oils found in the seeds.

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients
1 large onion, minced
2 cups defatted chicken stock or vegetable broth
1 ½ cups pureed cooked pumpkin
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions
In a two quart saucepan, cook the onions in 2 tablespoons of the stock or broth until limp.

Add the remaining stock, pumpkin, oregano and hot pepper sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.

Exploring the Farmer’s Markets

I feel very fortunate to have several great Farmer’s Markets within close proximity to where we live. I visit the markets several times a week and look forward to get fresh seasonal produce. I make an effort to try new things and experiment with new recipes. With the weather changing it is a great time to try new soups and stews too. Last night I made a fresh chicken and vegetable soup. I came home with an over abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Several different types of apples, mango, pear, fresh mint and cilantro, leeks, eggplant, squash, Jerusalem artichokes, fennel, spinach, collard greens, etc…now, what to make?!

Here is a french recipe that sounds delicious. I will report back with my new techniques.

Potato, Celery Root, and Jerusalem Artichoke Purée

1/2 lemon
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
12 ounces (375 grams) Jerusalem artichokes, peeled
1 medium celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut in half, then cut into thick slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prep

1. Fill a large bowl with water, squeeze the half lemon into it, and then add the lemon half as well, Peel the potatoes and the Jerusalem artichokes, placing them directly in the acidulated water.

2. Bring plain water to a boil in the bottom of a vegetable steamer. Place the celery root in the top and cook until it begins to turn tender, 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook until the celery root is nearly tender through, 10 minutes. Then add the Jerusalem artichokes and cook until they are tender through, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl, of to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough blade, and blend to a consistent but slightly chunky purée (do not puré them in a food processor or they will turn to glue). Add the butter and continue mixing until it is incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve piping hot.

A Letter to my Daughter – With Permission from Vicky Bell

I had to share this post I read recently – very touching and important to share!

Letter to my daughter (in the wake of senseless tragedy)
Hello my girl,
I wanted to say hi and tell you how much I miss you and that I hope your classes are going well and that you are having fun too.
But I also have to have a mommy moment – bear with me here. I won’t take long, and I won’t be saying anything I haven’t already said in one form or another, but it is important.

You may or may not have heard about the NJ college student who killed himself last week because his room-mate had posted videotape of him having sex with another guy. A terrible, senseless tragedy.

My mommy job requires that I remind you of two essential things:
One:
Nothing ruins your life forever. NOTHING.
Two:
Nothing ruins your life forever. NOTHING.

If that young man had only waited a couple of weeks nobody would have cared- he’d have gotten past it. People have short memories- life would have gotten better, much better. His parents and friends? They loved him prior to the tape- they would have loved him afterward too. A few awkward moments and then life goes on.

But when you are young you don’t know that even the awkward moments are fleeting. On this, you just have to trust the old people. Remember when you were really small and cried and cried over something? Well, it didn’t last. That’s kind of what it’s like- awful things happen, you feel like there’s a rock in the pit of your stomach, somehow time goes by and it gets better. I promise you, it ALWAYS gets better.

The students, a girl and boy, who were involved in the taping and posting– they are being charged with bias crime, invasion of privacy and possibly other things. Their college life is over. They will have to live with this death the rest of their lives– and their families are devastated. What they did was so wrong- but also so kid-stupid. Not to mention mean. And so their lives will be different forever- but even so- their families will love them and they will have time enough to hopefully live in such a way as to make meaning from their mistake.

So, my beautiful girl, never, ever think something is unfixable. NOTHING you do will ever keep us from loving you. NOTHING you do could be so awful you can’t get past it.

And if someone is mean to you, and it isn’t something you can ignore– seek out people to talk to about it. Surround yourself with people who are supportive. If you ever need help and don’t know how to ask- try writing a letter instead. And right now- before you might need such help- think about who you would talk to if needed. In the midst of turmoil sometimes we don’t always think as clearly- having a plan makes it easier to find help in crisis. And remember there are always alternatives. Always.

Finally, don’t be mean. Don’t let other people be mean.
Stand up for the underdog, protect those who aren’t as smart or confident or easygoing as yourself.
Treat people’s feelings like fragile little puppies- if you play with them- be gentle.

I love you so much and I know you really don’t need me to tell you this stuff…. but it’s my job.
Love and hugs,
Mommy

Keeping a safer home…

The next time you open your kitchen or medicine cabinet, take a close look at the items stored inside. If you are like me, you will find a variety of products from household cleaners, to personal care products and medicines. You depend on these items and are so used to having them in your home, but have you thought about how harmful and toxic they can be to your child or pet?

Lets take a look at some potential harmful products and strategize how to keep healthier, safer products in our homes.

I have come across an amazing line of home products that I now use exclusively in my home. They are more affordable than most brands your finding at the supermarket, costco, etc. and more importantly they actually work! I will share more about these soon…but for now…back to prevention.

Make sure ingredients are clearly listed
Whether you contact a poison control center or a doctor during an emergency, a list of ingredients is important for quick assessment and assistance. If you don’t know the contents, treatment may be delayed until the contents are identified.

Wouldn’t t be nice to eliminate these products from your household entirely!?

Choose the right product packaging
Many products are available in spray-pump, aerosol or twist-off cap containers. Select the spray or aerosol container because a child may be exposed to larger quantities of potentially harmful substances if the contents can be poured, rather than sprayed. If using harmful products always make sure they are in child-resistant packaging!

Can you imagine not having to be concerned with safety caps because the products your using are not toxic?!

Give your children vitamins without iron
Unless specifically recommended by your pediatrician, choose a multivitamin without iron for your child. Children’s vitamins account for a large number of childhood poisonings because the vitamins are designed to attract children (usually chewable tasting like candy). Vitamins with iron can cause serious reactions in children.

Use an non-alcoholic mouthwash
Unless your dentist recommends otherwise, switch to a non-alcoholic mouthwash. Mouthwash attracts children because of its bright color and sweet minty taste. When swallowed by your child, alcohol can produce serious toxic effects, requiring medical treatment for children.

Mothballs/flakes
Mothballs/flakes contain either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Naphthalene is three times as poisonous as paradichlorobenzene and may cause dangerous blood problems in children.

Prevention is crucial!

Baby powder
Use pure cornstarch baby powder rather than powder containing talc. When dust particles of talc enter the lungs, either through inhalation or swallowing, serious chemical pneumonia may result.

Nail polish remover
Choose a non-acetone nail polish remover. The active ingredient in non-acetone nail polish removers is ethyl acetate which is much less toxic to children than acetone.

Rubbing alcohol
I was no aware of this, but there are several types of rubbing alcohol preparations. Some are clear and contain isopropyl alcohol. Some are green and contain oil of winter green and isopropyl alcohol. The addition of the oil of wintergreen not only gives the alcohol its green color, but masks the smell with an attractive wintergreen aroma — much like candy. Both preparations are dangerous, but clear rubbing alcohol is the safer alternative. The green preparation is much more attractive to children and much more toxic if swallowed.

Insecticides
All insecticides contain potentially poisonous substances. However, the safest choice to make is a product containing pyrethrins. The side effects from exposure to pyrethins may be less dangerous than exposure to other commonly used insecticide ingredients.

Remember, even the “safer alternatives” are not completely harmless, and any exposure to these products should be taken seriously. Call the Poison Control Center if you have any concerns: 1-800-222-1222.

Morning…

I have cut down my coffee intake, but on a morning such as this…I really need it. Likely just a cup, but just something to keep my eyes open. I had a rough night sleeping and was up early to a dog who had to go out. One thing I enjoy in my morning cup is a dash of cinnamon. I add it to the beans so it brews into the coffee. And really coffee has never tasted so good. There are health benefits to cinnamon too. Think about adding it to your coffee or steel cut oats in the morning.

Favorite (cilantro) green smoothie

Green smoothie

There are so many different recipes to experiment with when you are looking for a healthy, engergizing boost. Here is a favorite of mine. I also like to keep Kale and spinach on hand. They are great addition in green smoothies.

•Pink Grapefruit
•Cucumber
•Cilantro
•Lime
•Pineapple
•Vanilla Extract
•BIG pinch of Cinnamon
•Pinch of salt

Directions
In a blender, (Vitamix if you have one) throw a pink peeled grapefruit, peeled cucumber, lots and lots and lots of cilantro – like half a bunch, a lime, some pineapple, vanilla extract, BIG pinch of cinnamon, and pinch of salt.

Keeping fruits and vegetables on hand I will often use whatever I have available. I always keep bananas in the freezer too. They are a great way to chill your smoothie.

If I lost you a little with the smoothie try this great cilantro pesto recipe adapted from epicurious.com:

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch fresh chives, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeño chile
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon (scant) coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Add the first nine ingredients into a blender or food processor until smooth. Whisk the lime in last.

This tastes great in a salad, over chicken or tofu. A favorite salad would include field mixed greens, goat cheese, beets, pistachios or walnuts and maybe some dried fruit (apricots and dried cranberries). Enjoy!