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

When Should I Call and When Can It Wait??

Answers to Your Questions About Your Child’s Tummy Aches

littleboybellypain

It’s been a busy week for everyone.  My Facebook feed is flooded with back to school pics of their kids holding the cute back to school signs.  So of course I posted my pic also.  My oldest daughter went back last Thursday.  Here she is holding up her sign.  She started the 2nd Grade this year. She was looking forward to seeing all her friends again.  The summer was great but after multiple trips to the pool, swim lessons, music lessons, vacations and staycations I think we were all ready to start this school year.  It is a bittersweet time.  I loved spending those lazy summer days with my girls, but they DEFINITELY need to get back to school for everyone’s sake.  The amount of fights I have broken up between these 2 sweet little girls is now in the DOZENS!!  So the school grind will do them both some good.
Back to School

This is her second year in this school, she knows the principal, all her teachers from last year, this year should be a stroll in the park for her.  Yet not even one week in and I have already had 2 phone calls from the school nurse and 5 visits to the nurse’s office. Living in the Northeast, this has been a brutal week hitting temps of 90s every day, no AC in the school (except the nurses office…..hmmmm I maybe onto something here).  The classrooms are very hot, but when should I be worried??  It is way too early in the school year to start a precedent of running to pick her up with every phone call and visit to the nurse.  But my inner mommy doesn’t want to neglect her pain and leave my baby in school if she is sick.

In my practice the start of school year is a busy time, especially for kids complaining of “tummy aches.”   As a “Kids Tummy Doc” I am going to share with you when to be alarmed with your child’s complaint and when it’s ok to wait and watch before calling your doctor. 

When should I call and when can it wait??

A Guide to your Kids Tummy Aches

  • Is it only after she eats? If so I would keep a careful eye on frequency and try to keep a record of what foods cause her to have the belly ache (fatty foods, spicy foods, dairy, etc)
  • Is it when she wakes in the morning prior to school? Make note if it only occurs weekdays, if she is symptom free on weekends this may be school related and due to stress or anxiety. I recommend talking to your child about her classmates, reach out to the teacher if this occurs excessively and always ask your child about bullying.
  • Is it after physical activity? Make note of when last meal was prior to onset of pain.  Send your child to school with water daily to avoid dehydration.
  • Does the pain wake your child from a sound sleep?  If this occurs there may be some organic etiology occurring.  Call for an appointment immediately with your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI
  • Is it occurring more than 2-3 times a week?  Call for an appointment with your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI
  • Where is the location of your child’s pain?  Think of the stomach as having 4 sections with the belly button at the center.  Each area helps the doctor narrow down the source of your child’s pain.  An example is that most commonly pain in the Left Lower Quadrant indicates issues with stooling or bowel movements and this patient may be suffering from constipation. Make sure to ask your child where the pain is and report this to your doctor.Quadrants
  • Does the pain radiate or spread to any other areas?  Many times it may start right around or above the belly button or in the Left Upper Quadrant and can radiate up to their chest.  This indicates gastroesophageal reflux and occasionally occurs with gastritis, and YES even kids can get stomach ulcers.  This child needs medication and a strict reflux diet to be followed.  Call for an appointment with your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI.
  • Does the pain improve with eating? This may indicate gastritis or possibly a gastric ulcer, contact your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI.
  • Has your child lost weight since the onset of these symptoms?  Unintentional weight loss should always indicate an immediate appointment with your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI. 

Children are commonly not able to completely explain their pain to us.  I usually feel like a detective trying to get info from my patients regardless if its a 4 yo or a 16 yo (but it’s way easier to get info out of the little ones than the teenagers, believe me…. the teenagers require me to go into interrogation mode).  However, if you keep a watchful eye on their symptoms and think about these questions you will definitely know when to call for that appointment.

Now that school is back and I am trying to schedule all my kids after school activities, I think to myself that I don’t want to overload their schedules. I want them to have time to focus on school work and still have playdates with friends.   As parents we all want to offer our kids the world, but what we forget sometimes is that too many activities for children can lead to stress about their school work, their inability to keep up academically and the first way they may exhibit this, before even telling mom and dad, is by having GI complaints.  Be mindful when putting together their schedules and even with your high school kids look over how many times the teams and groups they want to join meet for practices and games each week.

Please let me know your thoughts regarding today’s post.  Did I miss any questions that your kids always complain of?  Is there something you would like me to add to this list?  Leave it below. Stay Healthy & Be!

For Dr Simons all natural line of baby and mommy products check out Dr Simons Remedy at http://www.drsimonsremedy.com

#KidsTummyTroubles #bellyaches #whenshouldicall #abdominalpain

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

Anyone Want Some Ice Cream?? Delicious Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

In the hot summer weather I began experimenting with ice cream recipes.  My girls love ice cream and always wanted to go to the local town ice cream shoppe. There were a few issues with that.  I didn’t want them constantly eating all that ice cream, I didn’t want to keep spending money on it and my own will power can only last for so long!!  Then finally I found a few recipes on pinterest and modified them removing the heavy cream they called for and not adding the sugar.  This recipe doesn’t make me feel guilty making it for them.  And they love eating it!

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

Prep Time: Overnight

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe bananas- frozen
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons Nutella (this is gluten free not dairy free) or other chocolate hazelnut spread

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Freeze bananas overnight.
  2. Add all ingredients to blender or food processor, blend until creamy.  (Hint: You may need to use a spatula to bring ingredients down towards blades.  Do this while processor is OFF.)
  3. Serve and enjoy immediately.  This is not meant to be prepared ahead or frozen.

#KidsTummyTroubles #Celiac #GlutenFree #GlutenFreeliving #nutellaicecream

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This recipe is great to be used as a meal for dinner or sometimes I use it as an appetizer for everyone to enjoy with toothpicks. It is super easy and you just toss everything in the crockpot and your prep is done.  The sweetness added with the pineapples are always a hit with the kids.  There are also many options for Gluten Free Frozen meatballs if you want to cut down on your prep time.  Farmrich has frozen turkey and original meatballs that are gluten free, however if you want to ensure this is also dairy free I recommend prepping the meatballs yourself.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 6 hours

Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 28 ounce package of frozen meatballs (gluten free, dairy free) or make your favorite meatballs into cocktail size balls
  • 15 ounce can of pineapple tidbits, drained and reserve juice
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (I prefer Simply Heinz due to no added High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Gluten Free grape jam
  • 2 tablespoons Gluten Free Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place meatballs in crockpot.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl, mix and pour over meatballs
  3. Cover and cook on low setting for 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve with brown rice or your favorite Gluten Free pasta.

FullSizeRender (4)

 

#KidsTummyTroubles #GlutenFree #Celiac #Glutendairyfree #Crockpot

Helpful Tips for Dry, Itchy Skin

Tips for Dry Skin

Although I am a pediatric gastroenterologist, which means a “Kids Tummy Doctor”,  many of my patients with chronic diseases suffer from dry, itchy skin.  This, if left untreated, can be painful, make children cranky and frustrated and can lead to excessive scratching.  The excessive scratching worsens the problem and can lead to cuts and possible skin infections.  Patients that suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, Short Gut Syndrome or Small Bowel syndrome, Celiac disease, Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy or other allergic colitis conditions can experience this.  It is a multifactorial problem that can stem from poor nutrition and the bodies immune system reacting to the food allergen or is an additional manifestation of their chronic condition.

It is heartbreaking when I see one of my patients, especially the little babies,  so itchy and scratching their legs together to try to get a bit of relief.  Over the years I have compiled a list of helpful hints that I give to my patients and I have found that used together they work.

  • Avoid soap.  Use a non-soap cleanser such as Cetaphil, Cerave or similar products
  • Try Rubbing, vibration or applying pressure instead of scratching.  A good thing to “scratch” with is an ice cube
  • Drink plenty of water or other clear fluids to keep hydrated.  Remember although milk is nutritious it does not count as a hydrating fluid.
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after a shower or bath and do not rub dry with a towel.  Only use the towel to pat dry and take excess water off.
  • Creams are more effective than lotions
  • Apply moisturizer twice a day.  Good options are Aveeno, Eucerin, Lubriderm, or Aquaphor
  • Use only non-perfumed and unscented bath and personal care products
  • Avoid extremely hot showers and baths
  • Take an oatmeal bath to relieve itching and help with relaxation
  • Try baking soda or unscented bath oils for bathing
  • Apply cold packs, wrapped in a cloth to the skin
  • Whenever possible wear loose fitting clothing made from natural products.  This allows the skin to breathe
  • Protect your skin from the sun – wear sunscreen
  • Don’t forget your lips – wear lipbalm with SPF
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Keep room temperature at 60-70 degrees and keep air circulating and ventilated

Hope these are useful and provide some relief for those who need it.  Let me know your thoughts and comments below.

#KidsTummyTroubles #DrySkin #Healthtips #ItchySkin

Strawberry- Banana French Toast Casserole

Breakfast is always a rushed endeavor on weekdays but when I have time on the weekends I love making something that is yummy and doesn’t make me feel bad giving to my kids.  This recipe is a favorite.  It is loaded with strawberries and bananas. You use your favorite bread (this recipe is with gluten free bread) and the almond milk makes it dairy free also.

Strawberry-Banana-French-Toast-Casserole

Strawberry – Banana French Toast Casserole

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings

(Adapted from Jeanette Chen’s Jeanette’s Healthy Living.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of your favorite gluten free bread, crusts trimmed, cut into cubes
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 6 strawberries, diced
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • maple syrup for serving

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a small baking dish or individual ramekins with cooking spray.  Place cubed bread into baking dish or ramekins.
  2. Mix mashed bananas, strawberries, milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla together in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour mixture over bread cubes and toss gently until bread is evenly coated.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes  or until cooked through.  Top should be golden brown and crisp.
  5. Serve with maple syrup.

#KidsTummyTroubles #Glutenfree #Glutendairyfree #Celiac #Recipes

Refreshing Strawberry Lemonade

In the summer I am always looking for a different option besides juice boxes for my kids.  This is a great option and the kids love to help make it with me.  And I notice when they help me make the recipes they are more likely to try new things because they are so proud of their work.

I have also used this recipe for brunches.  For the adults it is delicious if you add champagne to change this into a Strawberry Lemonade Mimosa, you can add Moscato wine for a delicious wine spritzer or just Vodka for a delicious cocktail. Relax and enjoy!

Refreshing Strawberry-Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients:
  • I bottle (59 oz) of Simply Pink Lemonade or plain Simply Lemonade
  • 1 pint of strawberries, cut and hulled.
  • 1 lemon
  • Agave nectar or simple syrup (1 cup sugar with 1 cup water boiled until dissolved and cooled) for sweetening
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a magic bullet or blender fill with strawberries and add Simply Lemonade about 3/4 way up and blend.
  2. Repeat step 1 until all strawberries are blended.
  3. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into blended mixture
  4. May sweeten as desired with agave nectar or simple syrup if agave not available.

*If a frozen lemonade is desired freeze strawberries night before preparing and use the frozen strawberries in above recipe, serve immediately.

#KidsTummyTroubles #Celiac #Glutenfree #Glutendairyfree #Glutenfreeliving #recipes

Coconut Breaded Chicken Nuggets – Gluten Free and Dairy Free

I can not tell a lie.  My kids prefer to eat the typical toddler foods.  They love pizza, hot dogs, french fries and chicken nuggets. I had to spend ALOT of time to find a recipe for chicken nuggets that taste as good as their favorite frozen nuggets.  I played around and came up with a recipe that my kids love and that is also gluten and dairy free, YAY!  Hope you like it and let me know what you think.

Coconut Chicken Nuggets

Coconut Breaded Chicken Nuggets

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour mixture  (may use recipe provided for Gluten free flour or coconut or almond flour)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut ( I get it from Whole Foods Markets)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper ( may substitute with regular back pepper if not available)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash and cut chicken into bite size pieces.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together and place in a large zip-lock bag.
  3. Beat the egg in a medium bowl.
  4. Add chicken to egg mixture and coat all chicken pieces with egg.
  5. Add chicken and egg mixture to the dry ingredients in bag and close.  Gently shake the bag to coat all chicken pieces with flour mixture. 
  6. Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add chicken to pan.
  7. Keep moving chicken in pan until it is cooked through to a golden brown.  May need to add more coconut oil to pan as the chicken soaks up the oil.  However do not place too much oil as it will make chicken soggy and won’t allow them to brown.
  8. Allow to cool and serve.

IMG_0546

Sophia gives this a THUMBS UP!!  Let me know what your family thinks!!

#KidsTummyTroubles #GlutenFree #Celiac #Glutenfreeliving #GlutenfreeCoconutchickennuggets #Kidapproved