Gluten Free Lifestyle

About six months ago, I made the decision for my family and I to go gluten-free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. For some people, gluten cannot be tolerated in their digestive system and can develop adverse reactions with many side effects that can be harmful. The hardest obstacle most face with gluten sensitivities face is having to deal with the struggles of possible cross-contamination when eating out.

While no one in my family actually have an allergy to gluten, I did find that after eating meals containing it, I felt sluggish and even bloated afterwards. I also read that by eliminating gluten from children’s diets, some benefits can help with focusing and attention spans, something I definitely wanted to try for my son who has some trouble paying attention in school.

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Even though the best treatment for gluten sensitivity is to live a gluten free lifestyle, it is sometimes hard to achieve especially when dining out or away on vacation. I recently discovered, Glutagest, a dietary supplement that supports digestion of gluten-containing foods. Glutagest is a non-GMO, non dairy, animal and gluten free supplement that contains a probiotic strain. Their unique and patented Bifidobacterium longum ES1 targets and breaks down undigested gluten peptides as well as boosts your immune system to maintain a healthy balance in your gut.

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When I know there is no way of avoiding gluten, I simply take 1-2 capsules of Glutagest 5 minutes before eating and then 1-2 capsules following your meal. When using Glutagest before and after a meal containing gluten, I get the same effects as if I were eating something gluten-free. I even tried the supplements with the ultimate meal containing gluten, pizza, and felt completely fine afterwards.

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I also found Glutagest super helpful when we were traveling outside the country and could not avoid Gluten in any way. The one thing I suggest is that you must plan ahead when using Glutagest, as you need to take the supplements before you have something with gluten in it. Glutagest is a great alternative for those trying to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle and sometimes want to have the gluten without the side effects.

Glutagest is available without prescription and can be purchased online at www.Glutagest.com

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Peanut Butter Lovers Day: Kid Snack Edition

Peanut butter has gotten a bad wrap in recent years, but if you’re not allergic to this delicious nut, it can be great source of protein, fiber, magnesium and potassium. In celebration of Peanut Butter Lovers Day today, we’re sharing some of our favorite peanut buttery snacks we love for our kids. Oh, and who are we kidding – we love them too!

Peanut Butter Snacks

[Note: We know that peanut allergies are real and can be life-threatening. As much as we love our peanut butter, many of these snacks and treats may best be enjoyed at home where you can be assured of who you are impacting.]


Did you know?

  • One acre of peanuts will make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
  • It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
  • The average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he or she graduates from high school.
  • Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter.
  • Peanut butter even has its own phobia.  Archibutyrophobia (pronounced A’-ra-kid-bu-ti-ro-pho-bi-a) is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.

Peanut Butter Snacks Buy It1Buy It: Quick, convenient and equal parts healthy and indulgent, we love to throw these peanut buttery snack foods into sport bags and for an afternoon protein kick. We are big fans of KIND which has lots of tasty peanut butter snack options. Choose the KIND PLUS Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein for 7g of protein, KIND Healthy Grains Bars for a full serving of healthy grains like oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat or Kind Healthy Snacks Peanut Butter Whole Grain Cluster for snacking by the handful or a yogurt topping. If you don’t eat them all yourself, your kids will love Good Health’s Whole Wheat Pretzels filled with Peanut Butter. If your kids like their peanut butter snacks more chewy than crunchy, try Kashi’s TLC Peanut Butter Chewy Granola Bar with 11g of whole grains, 4g of fiber and 7g of protein or the CharmedBar Peanut Butter Cherry-licious with a yummy salty/sweet combo created without any gluten, grains, dairy, soy or refined sugars. True PB fans will love our favorite squeezable peanut butter packs – Justine’s Classic Peanut Butter and Earth’s Balance Creamy Coconut and Peanut Butter - to eat however they like!

Peanut Butter Snack Make ItMake It: If you have a bit of time, there are lot of delicious and easy peanut buttery snacks you can make, bake or blend at home. For a classic snack, spread some PB on celery and add some raisins for a time-tested Ants on a Log or this easy peanut butter dip for apples, carrots or banana. Our kids love helping to make and eat no-bake energy balls that blend oats, coconut, honey, peanut butter and chocolate chips for a yummy treat. Try a recipe or customize it with your own favorite add-ins (Chia seeds? Raisins? Flax?) This Peanut Butter Banana Bread made our house smell amazing, but our kids are definitely partial to a peanut butter smoothie made with bananas, PB, a bit of honey, and your milk of choice. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but a little bit of cocoa powder thrown in is pretty amazing too!

What’s your favorite peanut buttery snack?

 

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3 Easy Valentine’s Day Cocktails

Valentine’s Day is on Saturday this year which means you have no excuse for not having enough time to cook dinner at home. True, you could try to grab a reservation at a swanky restaurant with a zillion other people, choke down an over-priced prix fixe menu, and listen in on awkward conversations of the newly coupled (“So where did you grow up again?”) and the tensely married (“So are you saying you think my sister is pretty??!”) Orrrrrr….you could stay home. And save money. And cook a delicious meal for two just the way you like it. A dinner that begins, of course, with a fabulous and flirty (and simple) Valentine’s Day inspired cocktail. Read on…..

Valentine's Day Cocktails Main

First, here are my rules for a fabulous Valentine’s Day at home:

1) Make it kid-less. Do a late dinner for two after the kids go down. Or swap some babysitting with some friends (you take them Friday, she takes them Saturday). Or put on a movie in another room and pay your oldest $5 to get his or her siblings to bed after the movie without bothering you. In other words, WHATEVER WORKS. As you likely well know, romance is easily killed by kids spilling milk, in-depth conversations about Minecraft or American Girl dolls, and tantrums that the chicken (wah!) is touching the carrots (wah!). Find a creative way to make dinner kid-less.

2) Divide and conquer: It’s no fun having one person do all the work – even if that person likes cooking. Instead enjoy the journey as much as the destination by cooking Valentine’s Day dinner together. Put the man of your dreams in charge of something he’s excited to take on (an interesting app? A fun cocktail? Lobster tail on the grill?) Cooking together provides lots of great opportunity for conversation, flirty banter, and suggestive looks while you cross paths across the kitchen.

3) Make an effort: Eating at home may seem like an excuse to dine in your yoga pants. Avoid this if at all possible. You can do that on Friday. Or Sunday.  If you’re not going to get dressed to the nines just to stay in, do still make an effort in one area. Throw on a pair of heels or that dress he likes. Add a few extra dashes of perfume or those earrings he bought you last Christmas.

3) One wowzer dish – and keep the rest simple. Here’s a surefire recipe for a Valentine’s disaster:

Four new, super complicated recipes you’ve never made before + the stress of creating a perfect Valentine’s Day = a hot, stressed mess

Instead of trying to become Ina and Giada and Martha all rolled into one for one glorious night, choose one wowzer element (a show-stopping entree? A night-to-remember dessert? An amazing tablescape?) and keep the rest simple. Remember, no one looks sexy when they are stressed.

So in the spirit of a stress-free Valentine’s Day, I present you with three easy cocktails right on theme for this holiday of love: they are red, made with pomegranate juice (good for your heart), and (surprise, surprise) made with liquor which, in moderate doses, can enhance a romantic evening with that special someone. Plus, they each have ONE STEP, making them a win for getting your at-home, stress-free Valentine’s Day underway.
Kate’s Pomtini (serves 1)
  • 3 vodka
  • 2 pomegranate juice
  • 1 simple syrup
  • splash of lime/orange
Pour first three ingredients into a shaker and add a squeeze of lime and ice. Shake until chilled and pour into a chilled martini glass.
 Pomegranate Aperitif (serves 6)
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  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons saba (can’t find it? Sub in aged balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 cups Lillet Blanc
  • 4 dashes celery bitters
  • Club soda

Whisk pomegranate juice and saba in a large pitcher, then stir in Lillet and bitters. Pour into rocks glasses filled with ice; top off with club soda. (via Bon Appetit)

Lady in Red

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  • 1.5 ounce Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1 ounce POM Pomegranate Juice
  • .5 ounce lemon juice
  • Ginger Beer (chilled)

Combine lemon juice, pomegranate juice and bourbon in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.Shake vigorously for a minute then pour over ice in a rocks glass and top off with ginger beer. (via Creative Culinary)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Healthy Smoothie Recipes

Healthy Smoothie Recipes

We are ending 2014 on a healthy note after sampling some delicious smoothies from Tess Masters, aka the The Blender Girl and her new app “The Blender Girl Smoothies App.”

This includes an amazing assortment of high-quality, delicious recipes with gorgeous photography, and includes user-friendly features right your fingertips. One of our favorites is the interactive function that allows the user to consider what they “Feel, Need, and Crave” to “find their perfect blend” and visual cues that indicate specific benefits and attributes of each recipes (e.g. detox, weight management, alkaline, anti-inflammatory, protein rich, immunity boost, energizing, unsweetened, contains nuts).

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Recipes found in the Blender Girl Smoothies App are accessible to all audiences, and each also offers educational and step-by-step “how-to” information about incorporating “super foods,” health boosts, unique ingredients and unexpected flavor additions profiles.

This includes recipes that incorporate natural flavors and sweeteners, while many recipes are also raw, nut-free, soy-free, corn-free and/or sugar-free. They also include different and fun smoothie recipes that incorporates fresh, unexpected and vibrant ingredients for incredible, exciting flavor combinations.

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Check out some of these delicious recipes from Tess to inspire your healthy habits for 2015.

Green Mojito

green mojito

This is a cold-and-flu buster and potent detoxifier, all in one zesty cocktail! The bromelain in pineapple suppresses coughs and loosens mucus, while mint clears respiratory congestion, soothes sore throats, and alleviates nausea. The vitamin C in limes has antibiotic power, anti-inflammatories in kale and pineapple combat arthritis, and ginger boosts immunity, aids digestion, and adds a powerful zing.

Serves 2

1 cup (240ml) coconut water or water
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
3 limes, peeled and quartered
1 cup (25g) torn-up curly green kale leaves (1 or 2 large leaves with stalk removed)
1/2 cup (18g) firmly packed mint
2 cups (320g) frozen pineapple
5 drops alcohol-free liquid stevia, plus more to taste

Throw all of the ingredients into your blender and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.

Boosters
1 teaspoon wheatgrass powder
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Chai Tai

chai tai

If the world were ending, I’d make this decadent treat my finale. The incredible creaminess and blend of warm spices will make you weak in the knees. The boosters add an injection of protein and omega-3s—so you may feel a tad less cheeky as you head to heaven.

Serves 2

1 cup (240ml) unsweetened almond milk or other nut, grain, or seed milk (strained if homemade)
1 cup (240ml) coconut water
1/4 cup (43g) chopped pitted dates (soaked, if using a conventional blender)
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of natural salt (optional, to bring out flavors)
2 medium frozen sliced bananas
1 cup (125g) ice cubes (optional)

Throw all of the ingredients into your blender and puree on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.

Boosters
1 tablespoon blanched raw almonds, soaked
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

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Dinner Made Easy with Eat Smart

shrimp stir fry recipes

After the end of a long day of school and work and all of those activities in-between, I love the time to stop all of the busyness and have a delicious dinner with my family.

It isn’t always easy to make intricate meals though with exhaustion and time constraints   where I like to serve the freshest and most healthiest food with quick shortcuts. One of our favorite quick and healthy meals is sautéed shrimp with whole wheat pasta and veggies. This quick the veggie part got even easier when I used the Kale & Red Chard gourmet vegetable salad kit from Eat Smart.

Essentially, this involved boiling the pasta water as I made a simple, yet flavorful sauté of olive oil, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper and the Kale & Red Chard gourmet vegetable salad kit and its stir fry sauce. This also included an incredible way for the kids to get a burst of veggies in the meal as the kit contained a delicious and unique combination of vegetables including  broccoli florets, red chard, kale, snow peas and carrots.

Wild-greens-quinoa-salad-kit-6

In addition to this kit, the New Eat Smart Gourmet Salad and Stir Fry Kits also include other delicious varities like Sesame Bok Choy, Wild Greens & Quinoa, Roasted Yam Salad, Beets & Greens and more – all of which are packed with five to seven delicious and beneficial superfoods.

Stir fy kit

After the meal was done, we all loved how fresh, flavorful, and simply delicious the vegetables were as they enhanced the shrimp and pasta. Not only that but this is a super convenient and easy way to get a huge dose of veggies as well as a fun way to create new recipes using their sophisticated combinations of ingredients.

Stir Fry Shrimp1

Shrimp Whole Wheat Stir Fry with Kale & Red Chard 

Ingredients:
1 box of pasta of your choice (I usually use a whole-grain one)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon
1 pound of shrimp, cleaned
1 bag of Kale & Red Chard from Eat Smart
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese, optional

Directions:
Cook pasta as directed on the box. While the pasta is cooking, start preparing the vegetable and shrimp medley. Drizzle some olive oil on a pan, along with 1 fresh lemon and the garlic. Add in the kale and red chard kit. Let cook for 10 minutes and then add in the shrimp. Cover and let cook for another 10 minutes, stirring the combination periodically. When the pasta is done, mix in the veggie shrimp mixture and add parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and serve!

 

For more information including a grocery store locator and quick and healthy recipe ideas, visit www.EatSmart.net

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New Mac N Cheese Recipe and Clean Up Tips

better mac and cheese recipe

 

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I’m not supermom. Our mac ‘n’ cheese usually comes out of a box. Though the kids love it, I’m not a huge fan. Thanks to a little inspiration from American Express’ two new web series “My Everyday Dish” and “Everyday Genius”, I now have a few new kitchen tricks up my sleeve to make my everyday life a little bit easier.

The idea is to get out of your comfort zone a little, just a little. Now through the end of the year, I want to make the season special for me and the family in meaningful way. Not big splashy gifts. I’m talking experiences. For this #EveryDayMoment it was all about turning a basic into something special. This delish dish involved four different cheeses and a little bit of elbow grease.

Homemade Mac ’N Cheese w/ Caroline MiLi Artiss | My EveryDay Dish
click photo to watch the video on YouTube

Homemade Mac ’N Cheese w/ Caroline MiLi Artiss | My EveryDay Dish

Caroline’s recipe was a huge hit. Especially with the grown upe who usually turn their noses up at the cheezy yellow mess. This looked and smelled divine. But the dirty pots and pans were not so pretty! Thanks to “Everyday Genius’ with Kari Byron, which offers simple solutions to life’s everyday problems, I had a fix for that too.

How to Unstick a Dirty Pan | Everyday Genius with Kari Byron
click photo to watch video on YouTube

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I hope you try this special Mac ‘N’ Cheese that I made AND the clean up tip. Turns out you’re never too old to try a new trick in the kitchen. Check out even more “My Everyday Dish” delicious recipes and great “Everyday Genius” lifehacks on the American Express YouTube page. Like the Amex EveryDay Credit Card, American Express is on a mission to celebrate #EveryDayMoments and make your life just a little bit easier!

kitchen cleaning tip

Learn more about the Every Day Card here www.americanexpress.com/gabm/everydaycard

This is a sponsored post through American Express. All opinions are my own. As is the mac ‘n’ cheese–but I’d share!

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Thanksgiving-Inspired Cocktails

Thanksgiving Cocktails

Thanksgiving is usually all about the over-indulgent food, but we tend to forget that the perfect cocktail can make all the difference. For all of your entertaining needs, we are excited to share a variety of Thanksgiving-inspired cocktail recipes from Sparkling ICE and VOGA Italia Wines.

Check out these fun recipes that feature popular Thanksgiving flavors including spiced pumpkin, tart cranberry, and cinnamon apples.

SPICED APPLE HONEY CIDER

Ingredients:

3 oz. Sparkling ICE Crisp Apple
1 ½ oz. Whiskey or Brandy
1 teaspoon honey
Cinnamon stick and allspice cloves for garnish
Directions:

Coat the bottom of a glass coffee cup with honey. Add whiskey or brandy
Heat Sparkling ICE Crisp Apple in a small sauce pot
Pour hot Sparkling ICE Crisp Apple into glass and stir to combine ingredients
Garnish with cinnamon stick and allspice clove

ORANGE SPICED PUMPKIN MARTINI

Ingredients:

2 oz VOGA Prosecco
2 oz Pumpkin flavored vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1 dash orange zest
1 dash of cinnamon
Directions:

Pour vodka, triple sec and orange zest into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice
Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Top with VOGA Prosecco
Garnish with an orange twist, a dash of cinnamon and serve

POM-BLUEBERRY FROSTED SANGRIA

Ingredients (makes 10 servings):

1 cup Sparkling ICE Pomegranate Blueberry
½ cup orange juice
1 cup lime juice
1 bottle of dry red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup frozen apples
1 cup frozen oranges
Directions:

In a large glass pitcher stir together the Sparkling ICE Pomegranate Blueberry, orange juice and lime juice
Add wine and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves
Add frozen apples and oranges
Cover and chill for 3 to 24 hours before serving
Garnish with orange peel

CRANBERRY WINE DELIGHT

Ingredients:

Frozen Cranberries
1½ oz. VOGA Dolce Rosso
1 oz. Cranberry Juice
1 oz. Vodka
Directions:

Crush cranberries into bottom of a glass
Shake VOGA Dolce Rosso, Cranberry Juice and Vodka with ice
Pour over crushed cranberries and add more cranberries for garnish

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10 Recipes To Celebrate the Cappuccino

Today ladies, we join the nation in celebrating the cappuccino. That delicious, foamy cup of caffeine that starts our day and warms our bellies. Did you know that the cappuccino dates back to the Viennese coffee houses of the 1700s, known then as a “Kapuziner”? If you want to make your own cappuccino at home, head on over to The Shopping Mama for step-by-step directions from an Italian barista, but today, we are looking at other delicious ways to enjoy the cappuccino flavor beyond the cafe. Cappuccino muffins? Cappuccino cheesecake? Cappuccino tiramisu? Yes, please!

  Cappuccino Recipes

Without further delay, here are ten of our favorite cappuccino-flavored treats to celebrate the day. And yes, most of them are desserts – you’re welcome.

tiramisu-with-cappuccino-yogurt-final-600-with-text11. Cappuccino Yogurt Tiramisu – who said cappuccinos are just for breakfast? We love this sweet treat made with Liberté cappuccino yogurt.

cappuccino-icebox-cake-w2. Cappuccino Icebox Cake – Airy, light and delicious. Perfect for dessert. Or breakfast.

DSC_6213. Cappuccino Cupcakes – What better way to celebrate a national holiday then with these festive cupcakes?

cappuccino-714x10244. Cappuccino Cookie Dip – I know the name alone has sold you on this. You can dip just about anything into this – simple sugar cookies, pretzels, bread. Also, I’m pretty sure, a spoon. A perfect addition to your next girls’ night.

6561024797_104467c36d5. Cappuccino Biscotti – You know what would go great with these? Yep, a big cappuccino.

Cappuccino Fudge6. Cappuccino Fudge – We won’t lie. These aren’t healthy. But we were pretty much sold when the first ingredient was marshmallow cream.

DSC_7568-620x8267. Cappuccino Muffins – Another excellent choice to go with your morning cappuccino.

6853920599_2ea5559868_b8. Cappuccino Pancakes – Cappuccino pancakes with mocha syrup? We’ll be right over for weekend dessert….I mean, breakfast.

Cappuccino-Chip-Granola-Bars-title9. Cappuccino Granola Bars – While we’d love to sit and enjoy a hot cap, we are always on the go which makes these portable bars a great choice to get that cappuccino flavor on the run.

chocolate-cappuccino-cheesecake_923110. Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake – Cheese, coffee and chocolate??! Now that you’ve drooled all over your keyboard, put this trifecta of goodness on your “To Make” list for this week.

 

Happy National Cappuccino Day!

 

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(Video): Vegan Homemade Chili Recipe

Vegan Homemade Chili Recipe

While we are loving the cooler weather as an excuse to rock our favorite fall fashions, it is also an incredible time to enjoy the comforts of staying in. With that comes more cooking and baking with one of our favorite recipes being a Vegan Homemade Chili. A healthy addition for the whole family, this easy recipe was made in a slow cooker where you essentially combine the ingredients, set the timer and enjoy a hearty fall staple in a few hours. Be sure to check out this food video below, and discover even more tasty recipes by visiting our YouTube channel.

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Cooking Fun With Foodstirs

cooking with kidsCooking is the perfect way to spend quality time with your kids, teach them valuable life skills and end up with a delicious reward at the end! This weekend, my boys and I tried out Foodstirs, a monthly subscription box delivered to your doorstep.

cooking with kidsOne of the best ways to teach your kids about healthy eating is to help them learn to cook, and Foodstirs provides a monthly opportunity to do this. Whether you’re a novice cook yourself or an experienced chef, you’ll love the fun recipes, cooking tips and time with your child.

cooking with kidsEach box comes with a progressive cooking lesson – our first one was on measuring and mixing – two recipes (a sweet treat and a healthy dinner recipe) with related cooking skills, all dry ingredients for one of the recipes, and a kid-sized cooking tool (we scored those cute green measuring spoons).

FoodstirsMy 6 and 4 year old had a blast mixing and measuring the ingredients for our Gooey Brownie Cupcakes. While we worked, I read them the included tips on measuring (dry ingredients vs. wet) and mixing (beating vs. stirring) as well as the fun facts on cocoa (It takes around 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate!). The boys checked off the skills they used as we went through the recipe.

FoodstirsBaking with kids is always a messy task, but for kids, the mess is part of the fun! I loved how the Foodstirs kit was put together with simple, kid-friendly instructions and blended learning about cooking skills with kid fun.

FoodstirsFoodstirsfoodstirsSuccess!

Now my boys are ready to tackle the second recipe – the Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes for dinner.

You can choose from Foodstirs’ 3- or 6-month series including a special gift once your child has completed the series or specialty one-time kits like a Popsicle Kit or Celebration Cake Kit. Foodstirs also donates a percent of proceeds to notable organizations focused on fighting world hunger with their Foodstirs Bake It Forward program.

Visit Foodstirs to select your own kit – the perfect way to spend an afternoon with your kids or a great gift idea for a budding chef! (And by the way, the end results were delicious!)

Foodstirs

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