Why Are We Painting Our Pumpkin Teal?

Teal Pumpkin Project

Halloween is a great time of year.  All the kids get so excited about their costumes, going to a Halloween party, marching in their school Halloween Parade and of course eating all the Halloween candy.  But what about those kids that can’t eat halloween candy.  What about them?  Many kids may have to abstain from Trick or Treating because they can not eat the candy safely.  It can be for a variety of reasons.  They may suffer from celiac disease, have a nut allergy,  diabetes, other food allergies and intolerances or they may need to follow a special diet. Why should these children not be able to enjoy the festivities?

But for many years to protect their children from a possible anaphylactic reaction or severe allergic reaction parents would keep them away from this celebrated tradition. Then the campaign called #THETEALPUMPKINPROJECT started.

Last year I saw only 1-2 Teal pumpkins painted in my neighborhood.  It piqued everyone’s curiosity. Many just thought “oh how pretty.”  But what is the purpose?  In 2014 the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)  launched a national campaign called the Teal Pumpkin Project™.  The Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.  This nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!  This year they have even started an interactive map for houses that are participating in this project offering Non Food items to kids on Halloween.  Teal Pumpkin Project

It seems a daunting task at first.  Many say, “I don’t want to be the house not giving out candy or chocolate, the kids will hate us and egg our front door!”  In reality there are many really cool fun nonfood items that you can hand out.  Kids would love to get glow sticks or glow bracelets.  They will undoubtedly put them on immediately and use them the rest of the night.  Bouncy balls, stickers, tattoos are all great options.  You can find a list of recommended Non Food Halloween Treats here

TPP-Treats-Infographic-Download

To let the neighborhood now that you are participating in this event you can paint your pumpkin teal and also put up one of the FAREs downloadable signs on your window or front door. And YES you can still give out candy if you choose too.

Teal Pumpkin

tppprintposterthumb

 

Here are a few of the FAQ’s about Teal Pumpkin Project:

Can I still pass out candy?
Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project™ is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.

If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.

For more info on this go to FARES website for Teal Pumpkin Project at TealPumpkinProject.org

So who is going to join me this year in painting their pumpkins Teal?  Please help spread the word about this!!  Share this post and make Halloween a fun experience for every child!!

#TealPumpkinProject #KidsTummyTroubles #FARE #foodallergies

 

A Chicken and Black Bean Stew Even Your Kids Will Love

img_8998-1

Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

I have been experimenting alot with my Instant Pot lately.  For those not familiar with this kitchen device, an Instant Pot is a pressure cooker with super human powers, it can do so many things and makes dinner so easy.  I dedicated an entire post to it awhile back titled Meet My New BFF, which shows how much I love it.

I have discovered that when I cook chicken in my Instant Pot my kids will actually eat it. Let me clarfify that, my kids will eat chicken that is not in NUGGET FORM!!! This was amazing to me.  They will actually eat it because it comes out so tender and it is so moist and delicious they can’t even deny the yumminess!!

So now I throw everything in this.  When I get home late from work or after the kids gymnastics class and realize that I forgot to defrost something for dinner- AGHHHHH… wait that’s what I used to do.  Now I can throw frozen meat in the instant pot with whatever else I have laying around and it will be done in 20-30 minutes while I do everything else.  For me the fact that I can throw in frozen meat and it will still cook it is the saving grace.  I still love to cook other things in my slow cooker or oven or grill, and i don’t do Instant Pot every night but it definitely is one of my meals every week now.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces chorizo or to make it more kid friendly you can substitute kielbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch disks
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chilies
  • 8 ounces dried black beans
  • 12 stems cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
  • boneless chicken breasts and thighs ( about 2 lbs)
  • 1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat oil in your Instant Pot on saute setting until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook until starting to crisp around edges, about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes longer. Add cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chilies, dried black beans, cilantro stems, chicken, and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  2. Seal pressure cooker and press Stew function and bring to high pressure. Cook for 40 minutes. Do a quick release and open. Using tongs, transfer chicken pieces to a bowl. Return beans to high heat and continue cooking, stirring, until reduced to a thick, stew-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, shred chicken.
  3. Stir chicken into beans, season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in half of chopped cilantro, and serve, passing sour cream, lime wedges, and remaining cilantro at the table.

Hint: if stew is not as thick as you would like and you are short on time you can add cornstarch to thicken.  Using some of the stew liquid with 1:1 ratio of cornstarch to liquid in small bowl. Start with 1 tbsp.  Add back to stew and mix in and wait a few minutes to thicken. Repeat til your desired thickness.

Enjoy and Be Well!!

#kidstummytroubles

Chicken Dinner Even Your Kids Will Love

bbqchicken

Honestly, if my kids will eat something then it has to be good because they are the pickiest eaters EVER!!  A few posts ago I wrote about my Instant Pot.  So here is a dish I made that the whole family will absolutely love and that you can easily add into your weekly dinner routine.   You can vary the spice level by adding more red pepper flakes and smoked paprika at the current amounts it has great flavor but not too much of a kick so safe for the kids.

image (2)

 

What I also do with this recipe is make double the portion of the sauce and freeze the chicken thighs and the sauce in a ziplock bag and stick it in the freezer.  I pull it out and just have to put it in my Instant Pot and you are good to go.

Oh and of course it is Gluten Free, Dairy Free.  Serve with your favorite sides and veggies.  I serve it with brown rice and veggies.  This sauce is yummy on top of the rice!

Easy Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs ( fresh or forzen)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • chicken stock concentrate
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh crushed or minced garlic

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set the Instant Pot to saute and add olive oil.  Let it heat until oil shimmers then add chicken thighs to pot.  Brown on each side for 3 minutes.  Don’t overcrowd make sure each thigh contacts the bottom, depending on size of your chicken thighs you may need to do this step in two batches.
  2. While chicken is browning chop onion and garlic and set aside.
  3. Mix together all remaining ingredients. add garlic to sauce and mix.
  4. Scatter the onions over the chicken in the Instant Pot and cover with sauce.
  5. Set the Instant Pot to manual mode- high pressure.  Adjust time to 25 minutes, make your sure Instant Pot  is in sealing mode.
  6. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray or coat with olive oil, set Broiler to high.
  7. When chicken is done, switch steam release handle to venting.  Once pressure is released, take lid off.  Carefully move chicken with tongs to sheet pan ( the chicken will be very tender and falling apart).  Place under broiler for 3 minutes per side.
  8. While chicken is browning, switch pot back to saute mode to reduce and thicken sauce.  Pour the thickened sauce over the chicken and serve with your favorite sides.

Enjoy!! Stay health and Be well.

#kidstummytroubles #GlutenFree #InstantPot #celiac

Meet My New BFF

image (2)

I don’t know how I lived without her in my life for so long.  She has made my life so much easier, she is now one of my new best friends.  I would like to introduce everyone to my Instant Pot.  This new addition to my kitchen is a huge time saver at the end of a busy day.  And it gets rid of multiple different kitchen devices if you want to declutter your life a bit.  It is a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker and so much more all in one.  You can even make your own yogurt if that is something you typically like to do.

It cuts my dinner cooking time in more than half.  I can put in frozen meat, some spices and veggies and have a healthy meal cooked up in 30 minutes while I am doing homework with my kids.  I have joined many different Facebook groups that have helped me to obtain a recipe collection for my Instant Pot.  There are tons of recipes on Pinterest and many cookbooks dedicated to this also.  For those living Gluten Free and Paleo I recommend this because for the poultry and meat settings alone it keeps the meats moist.

IMG_6787

Picture Courtesy Of Tempe Chen Sahara

If any of you have the old pressure cooker that always scared the heck out of me when it was used you can finally retire it.  And they even have one that is Bluetooth capable that links to your phone! So Cool!!  I will admit I am still a rookie myself with my Instant Pot but it is so easy to use and Amazon just had a sale on them where they were 50% off.  Just keep an eye out for bargains on these.

I am a member of a Pediatrician Mommy group on Facebook.  We all work long hours and are exhausted after work.  And on this group we are always looking for ways to cut down the dinner prep time but not compromise the health of the meals we offer to our families.  This groups feeds are now overflowing with everyone praising their InstantPots and the meals that have been made.

Healthy living and cooking are something we all have to make the time and effort to commit to.  When I find something that can make this easier for me I like to share it with all of you.   If you have an Instant Pot already share your experiences with it, if you decide to take the plunge and get one let me know what you think.

Live Healthy and Be Well!

#InstantPot #kidstummytroubles

Remember When Breastfeeding Was Featured On Sesame Street?

This was a great article that I read by Kristen Tea on mothering.com. Definitely makes me wonder what happened in society in the past 35 years that now makes us feel so ashamed of breastfeeding in public.

http://www.mothering.com/articles/remember-breastfeeding-featured-sesame-street/

#kidstummytroubles #breastfeeding

A Guide on Starting a Gluten Free Diet

fruit rainbow

When you realize that you need to make the change to Gluten Free it can be very overwhelming.  My patients start to search the internet and they get bombarded with info.  I always try to reassure them and say just start slowly and keep it simple.  I recommend starting by giving them a few reliable sources, such as the Gluten Free Diet Guide for Families provided by CDHNF and NASPGHAN. Look for the key words- wheat, barley or rye in the ingredient list of your packaged foods and in the beginning just stick to whole, unprocessed foods.  This means keep the diet simple initially – eat fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein.

Also a good starting point is to look for the labels on food that state Gluten Free.  There are many quality gluten free options that you can find  in most grocery stores. That being said, realize you may not like the gluten free food the first time you eat it.

More importantly, if you are changing to a gluten free diet due to an illness such as celiac disease, you may feel awful from being sick for a long time. Many people don’t have much of an appetite and have lost weight prior to their diagnosis. They may be suffering from stomach pain and no food tastes really good at this point.  Gluten free food is different. It takes time for your taste buds to change. I still remember the first time I ate gluten free pasta. My kids did not like the taste of it, it is a bit heavier than white pasta.  Start with some of the simple tested and true good gluten free unprocessed food and give yourself time to feel better and time for your taste buds to adjust.

For the first few weeks when you are learning, try some of these easy Gluten Free options.

Breakfast Ideas:

  • Yogurt, Smoothies and Parfaits – Chobani and Stonyfield yogurts are certified GF by the Gluten Intolerant Group. Top with fresh fruit for a great start to your day.
  • Eggs – scrambled, fried, or hard boiled
  • Gluten free cereal – there are several GF cereals.  General Mills and Van’s Cereals have a few Gluten free options.
  • Pocono Cream of Buckwheat – Buckwheat is good for you and naturally sweet.  Top with milk, sugar and cinnamon!
  • Certified Gluten Free Oats – only consume certified GF oats such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats.


Lunch and Dinner Ideas:

  • Any natural unprocessed meat
  • Baked potato
  • A sandwich on Udi Bread – you can go gluten free and still eat your favorite GF sandwich toppings on Udi bread.
  • Lunchmeat – Boar’s Head cold cuts and Hormel Natural Choice lunchmeats. For an easy lunch, roll some lunchmeat and cheese together and stick a toothpick in it.
  • Brown rice and risotto.
  • Nachos – Tostitos tortilla chips with melted cheese on top. Click on the Tostitos link to see a list of Frito Lay products that are gluten free!
  • Peanut butter on some toasted Gluten Free bread or with some Snyder’s of Hanover GF Pretzels.

Snacks:

  • Fruit and vegetables. Do not underestimate the value of fruit and veggies. We eat more of these than anything else.
  • Cheese is a great option for anyone on a gluten free diet. Gluten is not included in the standard ingredients in cheese that include milk, enzymes and sometimes salt. Most processed cheese is also likely though not guaranteed to be gluten free. You might find wheat in the seasoning  and noncaking ingredients used for some shredded cheeses, but anytime wheat is used it must be clearly labeled. I recommend shredding your own cheese if that is how you prefer to eat it.  Also blue cheese is also considered safe for those on a gluten free diet.
  • Chips are not necessarily healthy but many are gluten free. Click this link for Frito Lay Gluten Free List. Eat them with hummus, GF salsa or GF guacamole.
  • Real popcorn. Most microwave popcorn is gluten free but save yourself the worry and time and make your own popcorn.
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Kozy Shack pudding
  • Nuts
  • Kind bars.  My kids favorite GF snack bar!
  • Make your own fresh fruit smoothies as a great snack. (and you can sneak veggies in the smoothies and your kids won’t even notice, I always try to sneak in either carrots or kale to ours at home)

Desserts:

Ice Cream itself is gluten free but may contain products which are made from gluten so avoid ice cream sandwiches, cone products, cookie and ice cream flavors such as Oreo, and flavors which contain brownie pieces, cookie dough and cheese cake etc.

 

Stay Healthy and Be Well. Please share your thoughts and comments.

#GlutenFree #KidsTummyTroubles #Celiac #Glutenfreeliving #GlutenFreeGuide

Why Are We Painting Our Pumpkin Teal?

Teal Pumpkin Project

Halloween is a great time of year.  All the kids get so excited about their costumes, going to a Halloween party, marching in their school Halloween Parade and of course eating all the Halloween candy.  But what about those kids that can’t eat halloween candy.  What about them?  Many kids may have to abstain from Trick or Treating because they can not eat the candy safely.  It can be for a variety of reasons.  They may suffer from celiac disease, have a nut allergy,  diabetes, other food allergies and intolerances or they may need to follow a special diet. Why should these children not be able to enjoy the festivities?

But for many years to protect their children from a possible anaphylactic reaction or severe allergic reaction parents would keep them away from this celebrated tradition.  Then the campaign called #THETEALPUMPKINPROJECT started.

Last year I saw only 1-2 Teal pumpkins painted in my neighborhood.  It piqued everyone’s curiosity. Many just thought “oh how pretty.”  But what is the purpose?  In 2014 the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)  launched a national campaign called the Teal Pumpkin Project™.  The Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.  This nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!Teal Pumpkin Project

It seems a daunting task at first.  Many say, “I don’t want to be the house not giving out candy or chocolate, the kids will hate us and egg our front door!”  In reality there are many really cool fun nonfood items that you can hand out.  Kids would love to get glow sticks or glow bracelets.  They will undoubtedly put them on immediately and use them the rest of the night.  Bouncy balls, stickers, tattoos are all great options.  You can find a list of recommended Non Gift Treats here at FARE’s website.

To let the neighborhood now that you are participating in this event you can paint your pumpkin teal and also put up one of the FAREs downloadable signs on your window or front door. And YES you can still give out candy if you choose too.

Teal Pumpkin

tppprintposterthumb

 

They have some FAQ‘s on their site. Here are a few:

Can I still pass out candy?
Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project™ is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.

If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.

So who is going to join me this year in painting their pumpkins Teal?  Please help spread the read about this!!  Share this post and make Halloween a fun experience for every child!!

#TealPumpkinProject #KidsTummyTroubles #FARE #foodallergies

 

It’s Fall, that means it’s time for Pumpkin!! Delicious Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Pasta

This weekend was beautiful.  We are finally done with the 90 degree weather and it’s starting to feel like Fall!  So of course that put me in the mood to start decorating.  I pulled out all my Halloween and Fall decor.  The girls had a blast putting the clings on the windows and helping me put out the decorations on the table.  I tend to keep my decorating on the kid friendly side still. Big, bright colors and happy looking figures.  Can’t wait til the girls get older and we can go a bit more scary but for now they love it.

My Fall Table

Once Autumn comes around I also start thinking of all the great things I can make with pumpkin.  I have tried many different sauces to go with my favorite fall dishes.  Many of them include a brown butter sage sauce.  This however is definitely not great for cholesterol with the large amounts of butter they typically call for.  This recipe I love uses pumpkin puree and coconut oil.  It is delicious over your pasta of choice, whether it’s spaghetti or your favorite seasonal ravioli.  And this recipe is Dairy & Gluten free!!

Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Pasta

Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 15 oz can of pumpkin puree or 1 3/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1.5 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped finely
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound of your favorite gluten free pasta

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Saute onions until they begin to turn translucent, approximately 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat and place onion and garlic mixture in a high speed blender.  Add the pumpkin puree, almond milk, sage, pepper and salt.  Blend until smooth.
  5. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, drain and return pasta to pot.
  6. Add the pumpkin sauce and stir well over medium heat until hot.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

#KidsTummyTroubles #GlutenFree #Celiac #GlutenFreeLiving #Glutendairyfree #Recipes

Potato Pizza Crust

As promised here is the Potato Pizza Crust for the previous recipe that was a hit – Gluten Free Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza.  This crust is super easy, especially if you use the Simply Potatoes shredded potatoes.  They do all the hard work for you by pre shredding it!!

simply potatoes

Potato Pizza Crust

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of shredded potatoes for hash browns (Simply Potatoes is Gluten Free)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together. 
  3. Grease bottom and sides of a large skillet.
  4. Press potatoes mixture evenly on bottom of pan and up to about 1 inch high on the sides of pan.  Spray potatoes with cooking spray.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F until browned or for about 20 minutes.

#KidsTummyTroubles #Celiac #GlutenFree #GlutenFreePizza ##Recipes #GlutenFreeLiving

What’s for Breakfast? Pizza Anyone! Delicious Gluten Free Bacon & Egg Breakfast Pizza

It’s been a busy week with getting the girls ready for school.  They are in 2 different schools this year and surprisingly my older one is more upset about it than my baby.  She said she is going to miss seeing her in the hallways at school.  By the way they are only in Pre-K and Second Grade.  But I love that they are so close and that my older one feels protective over her.  We went back to school last week and then had our last summer weekend to enjoy.  So this weekend we wanted it to be the perfect summer weekend.  We had a pool day.  The girls had a blast jumping in the pool over and over again.

Jumping

After the pool they basked in the sun to dry off in the company of the family dog.  It looks like they were conspiring something, not sure what but definitely deep in conversation.

pool

The next day we were invited to a Labor Day BBQ but not until the late afternoon.  My BIG MISTAKE, which I am sure every mom has done is that I actually told my children about these plans. They were bothering me about it from the second they woke up!! They couldn’t wait to get there to play with their friends.  But we had to wait until after lunch.  This is when I realized my kids were a captive audience so I decided to try out a new recipe for breakfast for the family.

Morning bliss

The girls are “Pizza Lovers” so who wouldn’t love Pizza for breakfast.  My girls consider pizza its own food group so just calling this pizza to them makes it enticing.  This recipe is Gluten Free.  To make it Dairy Free substitute milk for Almond Milk and omit the cheese at the end.  This recipe is easy to make, not time consuming and delicious. image

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk (may use almond milk if desired)
  • 6 oz gluten free bacon, cooked and crumbled (select a gluten free brand such as Jones or Applegate Farms)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, mozzarella and cheddar (shred your own to ensure no wheat ingredients are added to prevent caking; omit completely if desire a Dairy Free recipe)
  • Potato Pizza Crust (recipe to follow)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook the onions in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat till translucent.  Add garlic and decrease to low heat for 30-45 seconds.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Combine the eggs and milk and beat.  Add to the skillet.  Cook until eggs are just set, stirring occasionally.  Add the crumbled bacon and add in the onion and garlic back to the eggs.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon the mixture onto the previously prepare Pizza Crust and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees F until the cheese is melted for approximately 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

#KidsTummyTroubles #GlutenFree #celiac #Glutenfreeliving #Glutenfreepizza