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Potato and Celery Root Mash

After learning about all the vitamins and nutrients that are in celery root we wanted to share this delicious mash recipe that is a perfect side dish the kids will enjoy!

Potato and Celery Root Mash

Ingredients:

• 3 pounds of potatoes, peeled and quartered

• 1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

• kosher salt and black pepper

• 1 1/2 cups half-and-half

• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions

1. Place the potatoes and celery root in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and add 2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain and return the vegetables to the pot.

2. Add the half-and-half, butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and mash to the desired consistency. Sprinkle with the chives.

Source: realsimple.com

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Health Benefits of Celery Root

Celery Root, also known as “celeriac”, is a winter root vegetable with celery and parsley-like flavor and the texture of a potato. Not the most desirable looking root, but this vegetable is a low-calorie and high-volume vegetable filled with these vitamins and nutrients: Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin K Dietary Fiber Potassium Calcium Riboflavin Vitamin B6 Magnesium Phosphorus Iron

Buying Tips:

-Celery Root will be dirty looking. In fact, the dirtier the better! It’s probably fresher if it still has good earth clinging.

-It should also feel heavy and not hollow.

– If buying with stems and leaves attached, look for lively and bright green stems.

– We recommend purchasing organic so your celery root is healthier and tastier.

Cooking Tips:

– Peel and soak briefly with a little of vinegar or lemon juice

– Try it mashed with potatoes, in a soup, or raw.

Source: OrganicAuthority.com Source: Livestrong.com

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Snowman Craft Project

Having a hard time letting your little ones go outside in the snow to make a snowman out of fear of them catching a cold?!?  Here is the perfect craft project to do with them that is easy to make, uses everyday items you already have and they can build their perfect snowman indoors!!

Heavy blue card stock paper
Shaving Cream
White Elmer’s glue
Black and orange card stock for the nose, eyes, hat, and pieces of coal
Markers

Directions:

1.  Mix equal parts of the shaving cream and glue. Mix well.

2.  Have the kids draw an outline of a snowman with a pencil first and then gave them foam paint brushes to fill it in with the mixture.

3.  Then cut out black hats and orange noses.

4.  Use a hole punch for the eyes and pieces of coal. After the mixture dried they glued on the hat, eyes, pieces of coal and nose.

5.  Then let them decorate their pictures with markers.

Source:

http://www.kraftykid.com

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Roasted Squash Veggie Bowl

Looking for a hearty meal that is both nutritious and a crowd pleaser?  This recipe is one of my favorites.  Not only is it easy to make, but it is a perfect meatless meal and you can also swap out the veggies based on what you already have in the house!

Roasted Squash Veggie Bowl

Ginger Miso Gravy
1 delicata squash, sliced into approx. 1/4 inch slices
1/2 package tofu, cubed
1 cup crimini mushrooms, if you don’t have these, other varieties work well also
splashes of rice vinegar
1 bunch kale (6 leaves or so), you can also use spinach
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 cup (or so) cooked brown rice
pinches of red pepper flakes
toasted almonds and sesame seeds
a few scallions, chopped

Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Drizzle squash slices with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for approx 20-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. (the time in your oven may vary). I also roasted my tofu cubes (with olive oil, salt & pepper) at the same time on a second baking sheet.

3.  Make the gravy recipe. Reserve the leftover bits of garlic, etc, after you strain it.

4.  Heat a bit of olive oil in a medium sized skillet. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper and the reserved bits from straining your gravy. Cook stirring occasionally until they’re golden and soft, about 8-10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a splash of rice vinegar (or white or red wine), and continue cooking for another few minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

5.  You can either chop and cook your kale in the pan with your mushrooms or roast it in the oven. I have this new lazy technique where I take the whole bunch, drizzle it with a little olive oil and salt, and put the whole thing (bunched up) in the oven during the last few minutes of my roasted squash (for 5-8 minutes or so). Watch it and take it out when it’s wilted and the edges are just a bit crispy. Remove from the oven and chop it.

6.  Assemble your bowls with rice, veggies, tofu, and toss with some of the gravy. Top with almonds, sesame seeds & scallions and serve with the rest of the gravy on the side.

Source:

http://www.loveandlemons.com

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Pssssst…..PFCs – These Sneaky Chemicals and Their Existence in Our Homes and Bodies

With all of the cooking you were most likely engaging in last week due to Thanksgiving and the kick-off of the holiday season, were you aware of all of the chemicals you and your food came into contact with? Most of us don’t, which is why I, for one, was shocked when I first learned that something as basic as my non-stick cook pan was potentially emitting dangerous chemicals into the air that I breathed and food that I ate. Lovely, right? Well, it pretty much boils down to a three-letter acronym PFC that stands for perflurochemical. I won’t put you to sleep by explaining the chemical-breakdown of PFCs, but you should know what they are, what they do, and where you can find them.

According to the Environment Working Group, in regards to PFCs, “A flood of disturbing scientific findings since the late 1990s has abruptly elevated PFCs to the rogues gallery of highly toxic, extraordinarily persistent chemicals that pervasively contaminate human blood and wildlife the world over. As more studies pour in, PFCs seem destined to supplant DDT, PCBs, dioxin and other chemicals as the most notorious, global chemical contaminants ever produced. Government scientists are especially concerned because unlike any other toxic chemicals, the most pervasive and toxic members of the PFC family never degrade in the environment.”

Hmmm…..so these things exist in my home?!?! My kitchen?!? My food packaging!??! Unfortunately, yes. “Consumers instantly recognize them as household miracles of modern chemistry, a family of substances that keeps food from sticking to pots and pans, repels stains on furniture and rugs, and makes the rain roll off raincoats. Industry makes use of the slippery, heat-stable properties of these same chemicals to manufacture everything from airplanes and computers to cosmetics and household cleaners.”

Within this lovely family of chemicals are notable ones named PTFEs (a.k.a. Teflon) and PFOAs (used widely in non-stick cookware, coated paper plates, microwave popcorn bags, and food packaging). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, these chemicals are not easily broken down, and have caused cancer, developmental problems, and other negative effects in laboratory animals. I was in horror thinking about how each time I cooked a “healthy” dish in my non-stick pans, I was essentially causing more harm to my body.

What happens with non-stick cookware made from PFOAs and/or PTFEs is the coating begins to break down and release toxins into the air at only 446 degrees Fahrenheit. After about three to five minutes of heating, the pans reach about 680 degrees and they release at least six toxic gasses. So….why are people still cooking with this?!? There is even something called “fume fever” that describes illness symptoms related to exposure these fumes, including chest tightness, shortness of breath, headache, cough, chills, and sore throat.

Shockingly, at least 90% of Americans have PFOA in their blood! The potentially harmful effects of PFCs in general are heightened because exposure is so widespread. Even if all new exposures to PFOA were stopped, it would take over 4 years for the human body to rid itself of only half the PFOA that’s accumulated in the organs and tissues, according to the Environment Working Group.

So, where should you start eliminating this exposure if you are concerned about this issue?

• First is non-stick cookware and many food wraps. I got rid of my non-stick cookware and purchased a set of Green Pan non-stick pans. These are made out of recycled and PTFE/PFOA-free materials. Other safer options include cast-iron (thought of to be the safest alternative), stainless-steel, glass dishes, Corningware, or copper. Now I know this may not be an easy solution for many individuals right now, so perhaps keep your eye out for perhaps one piece at a time you can start to use to reduce exposure. If you do get rid of your non-stick pans, you can turn them in to be recycled. See here how to do so.

• Reduce/eliminate use of products designed to repel soil, grease and water, such as carpet and furniture treatments/stain guards.

• Food wraps (microwave popcorn bags are some of the worst offenders! The FDA found that microwave popcorn bags are treated with more PFC coating than any other food wrappers). Try using parchment paper, aluminum foil (recycled is better), glass containers, or even layered cheese cloths to cover food rather than plastic wrap. Be aware of purchased foods, too – many of these come in chemical-laden packaging (fast foods are big offenders; another reason to avoid them).

• Protective sprays for leather, shoes, and clothing (yes, some stains are more worth it!)

• Paint (look for new alternatives that limit use of harmful fumes/chemicals)

• Cleaning products (using “green”/environmentally-friendly options are best… and they are comparable in price and effectiveness!) I could actually write a book on this topic, but will leave you with what I’ve provided and some additional websites that offer more in-depth explanation on the issue. I highly recommend following-up on this issue and learning more about the dangers to the exposure of PFCs:

www.ewg.org/reports/pfcworld

www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/pubs/faq.html www.ewg.org/healthyhometips/dangersofteflon

www.ewg.org/pfcdictionary

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5 Tips To Keep Kids Healthy During The Holidays

With childhood overweight and obesity on the rise, the holiday season can be particularly problematic for kids. However, not indulging in the occasional holiday treat is no fun for anyone. How does a parent walk the fine line between looking out for your child’s health while not being a Grinch?

1. Make Healthy Substitutions:  Try these easy switches to increase nutrients while decreasing calories, sugar, fat and salt:

Instead of potato chips or other fried chips, try baked whole-grain pita chips or other whole grain chips

Instead of adding butter and salt for flavoring to foods such as mashed potatoes or rice, try cooking in chicken broth and adding herbs and spices for additional flavor.

Sugary drinks, including fruit juices, can be a major source of extra calories. Try seltzer water flavored with a splash of juice or a non-calorie flavored drink.

2.  Don’t Single Kids Out
If you are concerned about the weight of just one child in your family, make sure that you do not single the child out and restrict that child’s eating. Healthy eating should be practiced by all family members, regardless of size. Instead of forbidding certain foods, focus on portion sizes and make sure everyone’s eating is as healthy as it can be.

3.  Watch Portion Sizes
One of the easiest things anyone can do to reduce calories is to simply reduce portion sizes. An easy trick to encourage smaller portions is to use smaller plates and bowls, that way you can fill up your whole plate with less food and are more likely to feel satisfied.

4.  Get Moving
The long winter break can be an easy excuse for kids to sit around in front of the tv or video games all day. Plan time each day to get some physical activity. Plan a hike, go ice skating, play laser tag, walk around the neighborhood and look at the lights and decorations!

5.  Get involved – Cook Together
Cooking with your children is one of the best ways to get them involved in taking charge of their nutrition. Children are much more likely to try foods that they have helped to cook. Learning to cook and understand the ingredients that go into foods is a lifelong skill that will help your children to become healthy eaters.

Source:

http://www.towson.patch.com

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Tips On Bundling Up Your Little Ones This Winter

With the temperatures slowing getting cooler, it is important to make sure the little ones are bundled up to help them avoid becoming sick.  Here are a few easy tips to follow when sending them outside to play this winter!

FIRST LAYER: AVOID COTTON
When layering for cold temperatures, you can’t simply grab a few items from the drawer and put them on. On the contrary, the fabrics you choose are really important since some can benefit and others can actually make the cold worse.  Natural fibers aren’t a good choice for a first layer. The first layer should be a synthetic fabric, like polypropylene next to your skin. This wicks the moisture away from your body. Avoid cotton as the first layer next to the skin. If there is any moisture, it will hold it in the cotton and will keep you cold.

SECOND LAYER: WARMTH

While the first layer keeps your body’s moisture at bay, the second layer’s purpose is to keep your body’s natural heat in. Much like a house, you need a fiber that will keep the cold out and the warmth in. This is either a fleece or synthetic layer. Light weight down jackets can go in place of a fleece as well.

TOP LAYER: SHIELDING
The top layer has a different function. It acts like a shield, reflecting the elements away from the body. This outer shell helps protect against elements such as wind, rain, or snow.

KEEP YOUR HEAD WARM
Your mom probably told you to keep your hat on so you don’t get cold. She wasn’t kidding around. Children and adults can lose a lot of body heat by not properly covering their feet, hands and head. About 10% of heat is lost through our heads.

Source:

http://www.sheknows.com

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A Creative Way To Reinvent Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Is your fridge filled to the brim with leftovers from yesterday?  Here is a great recipe to use a lot of the leftovers in nontraditional ways!!

Turkey Empanadas

2 cups diced cooked turkey (white and dark meat)
1/2 cup chilled gravy
1 1/2 17.3-ounce packages frozen puff pastry (3 sheets), thawed
1 cup mashed potatoes, divided
1 cup stuffing, divided
1 egg white, beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon cold water (for glaze)
Cranberry sauce

Preparation:

1.  Mix turkey with chilled gravy in small bowl. Roll out 3 pastry sheets to 12-inch long rectangles on floured work surface.

2.  Cut out 2 six-inch rounds from each pastry sheet, using small plate as guide (6 rounds total). Place each round on one 8- to 9-inch parchment square.

3.  Spoon 2 1/2 tablespoons mashed potatoes onto half of each pastry round; press lightly to flatten, leaving 1/2-inch border.

4.  Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons stuffing, then about 1/3 cup turkey mixture.

5.  Brush glaze around filling on 1 pastry half. Fold plain pastry half over filling, stretching dough to cover. Seal edges with fork tines. Repeat to form 5 more empanadas. Transfer empanadas (still on parchment squares) to 2 rimmed baking sheets (3 on each sheet), spacing 2 inches apart. Chill empanadas 20 minutes.

6.  Preheat oven to 425°F. Press edges of empanadas again with fork tines. Brush empanadas with egg-white glaze and cut small slits in top to allow steam to escape. Bake empanadas 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake empanadas until puffed and golden, 25 to 35 minutes longer. Serve empanadas, passing cranberry sauce alongside.

Source:

http://www.epicurious.com

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Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing all of our friends a Happy Thanksgiving!!  We hope everyone enjoys this day with family and friends!!

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Fruit Cornucopia Platter

Looking for a creative way to add a fruit platter to your holiday buffet?  Why not try these adorable fruit cornucopias.  All you need are waffle cones and your favorite fruits to stuff inside.  Then arrange on a platter, gently stacking them so they do not break.  Enjoy!!

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