Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Food Allergies in Schools

      A picture is worth a thousand words.

       This photo was taken by a mom from a food allergy group I'm also in.  Since I am saving my almost a thousand (or more) words about this for tomorrow's post, I would like to ask a question to all of you.  

        "What can you say about this picture?" 

- Roz

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Today's Freebies: Healthy Living Ebooks

      It's never to late to start having a healthy lifestyle.  I'm sharing with you three ebooks filled with tips and yes, healthy recipes to try.  The best part is that they are all free to download today. 

       Enjoy your day!

-  Roz


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Food Allergy Friendly Snack: Chow Chow Recipe

       Have you ever been in this scenario?  Your children have begged you for days or weeks to buy  a certain brand of cereal.  Then when you finally gave in and bought a box or two, each would excitedly eat about a cup.  After that initial tasting, the coveted product will find its way in the cupboard where it will join the rest of  the half finished containers of cereals.   

      I confess,  no matter how I try to be strict about this issue,  I always end up with a collection of cereal containers.  Though many would tell me, if nobody wants to eat it, just get rid of it.  The frugal in me often prevails.  How can I possible throw away food especially if I know that it is still good? Don't forget too that we are buying food allergy friendly and organic as possible.  So, those are prime commodities baby! 

       Before the food allergies, whenever I have the urge to clean the pantry,  I often crush those unwanted cereal into tiny pieces.  Depending on the kind, I add some to cookie batters, use it as muffin toppings and even crust chicken tenders with it. Since I started buying the more expensive types of cereal, I realized that I don't even have the courage to break those crunchy stuff into smaller pieces.  

       One day, while trying to bribe my Child #1 to eat some of these "forgotten" cereals, she asked me why I'm not making Chow Chow anymore.   It was one of her favorite snacks when she was younger. Also, the primary reason that kept her eczema from popping all over her body though.  

    Since I'm more confident now in making traditional recipes, allergy friendly, I immediately looked for my treasured recipe binder.  I know for a fact that the recipe isn't complicated.  Plus, I'm sure I have my reliable and tested product substitutes on hand.  Then the experiment began.

      To my surprise, the first try was a huge success.  Everybody not only gave the new Chow Chow recipe two but four thumbs up each.  Can you guess where they got the other two thumbs?  Anyway, this treat has become a staple in our monthly menu.  The new challenge for me is to make a batch last for at least 3 days.  

      How about you?  What do you usually do with those half eaten open bags of cereal?  Do you have any interesting recipes you would like to share?  I love to hear from you.  

- Roz


     9 cups cereal (gluten free of course!)
     1 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels (I used Enjoy Life Foods Mini Chocolate Chips)
     1/2 cup Peanut free butter (I use No Nuts Golden Peabutter )
     1/4 cup non dairy butter substitute
     2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
     1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Put the powdered sugar in a gallon size ziploc bag.  Set aside.
2. In the big microwavable bowl, combine chocolate, peanut butter substitute, non dairy butter and vanilla.
3. Heat the bowl in the microwave just until the chocolate chips are melted.  It usually takes about 40 seconds on high.
4.  Mix until well combined.
5.  Add the cereal and mix until the everything is coated with the chocolate mixture.
6. Immediately put the cereal mix in the bag with the powdered sugar.  Close and shake until the cereal is coated.
7. Pour the mixture on a flat tray and let it cool.
8. Transfer into containers with lid and store in the refrigerator.
9. Serve cold or at room temperature.

( I am a member of Amazon's affiliate program and the links I've included in this post will direct you to that site.)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fun Travel Tips for Family Fitness

        I just booked our yearly mini vacation at Wildwood today.  As I was scanning the different hotel websites, I can't help but notice how many are now offering free use of exercise rooms as part of their amenities.  Who on earth goes to the gym during vacations?  

       Then it hit me.  Many (including me) are making a big effort to be fit and healthy the whole year. After so much hard work, discipline and happy dances, isn't it so disappointing to gain back all the pounds lost (and add more) in just few days?  I know what you'll say, "but it's VACATION!"  

      Is there a way to find a balance between fitness and vacation?  Thanks to my new mom friend  Kendra Thornton, I was able to learn practical and budget friendly ways to stay fit and have fun at the same time.   Check out the tips she shared below.  I'm sure the number of excuses we (I) have will be equal to zero.  

        Happy Monday!

- Roz

Fitness Motivation - Fitness Inspiration - Get Fit - Health and Fitness - Blue Sign - Exercise - Dazzling Blue - Word of the Year Resolution
Photo courtesy of ThreeLittleBirds333
       Family fitness is important to me. At home, the kids participate in sports, and we all exercise regularly. Vacation time presents challenges because our routine is different, but we can have plenty of fun together while still staying fit and active. Here are a few tips that you might like to incorporate on your next family vacation:
1. Use Hotel Amenities
More and more travelers are requiring fitness amenities, and many hotels have complied. I always try to book a hotel with a well-equipped gym and actually did so for our upcoming trip to Orlando. With so many hotels in Orlando, sites like Gogobot can be a huge resource. My kids like to spend time splashing in the hotel pool, so I check for a well-maintained pool as well. Amenities such as fitness classes or in-room fitness videos are an added bonus. To avoid high-calorie dangers, I also make a point of refusing the key to the minibar at my hotel.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Water is essential for overall health and fitness. My family never goes anywhere without water bottles. Each family member has their own. If our vacation activities involve spending time in the hot sun, I often chill the full bottles in the freezer before we head out on out adventure. Drinking enough water can actually help you avoid heat-related issues such as heat exhaustion.
3. Pick Your Restaurants
Do some research concerning local restaurants before you go on vacation. Try to choose places that serve food made from fresh, locally produced ingredients. Restaurants that include vegetarian options on the menu are usually good choices. At a restaurant, make healthy decisions by choosing fresh fruit or salads instead of greasy, fried options as sides. Cut calories by ordering entrées without sauces or cheese.
4. Get Active
Vacationers can always find active things to do together. Play games in a local park to get your blood pumping. Enjoy a round of horseshoes or shuffleboard together. On the beach, enjoy a game of volleyball or play catch with a football. Bring along some Nerf items to add to the active fun.
        There are dozens of ways to help your family enjoy a fun, fit vacation together. When you take the time to incorporate healthy habits into vacation time, you’ll enjoy yourself even more. Additionally, these healthy habits will make it easier to fall back into your normal routine once you return home.


      Kendra Thornton is a mother of three.  Before being promoted to the position as full time mom, she was the Director for Communications at Orbitz.  She and her family now lives in Chicago.  According to her, family is my number one priority in everyday life.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gluten Free and Vegan Cranberry Oat Muffins

       It's the first day of Spring break in our home.  Do you know what that means? There will be non stop cooking, baking and entertainment for the kids.  Are we having a party?  Not really.  It just so happens that when my school age children have no school, all the food seem to fly off the pantry and fridge.  Have you experienced that too?

        Anyway, I realized that it has been a while since I posted a recipe.  So today, I'm sharing with you one of the family's new favorite snack and weekend breakfast treat.  These easy to make muffins are very light, it can pass as a delicious cupcake base.  It's also filled with healthy dried cranberries (kids' new fruit to try) which give that sweet and tangy flavor we all love.

        If you are looking for something new to serve for Easter brunch or just a healthier lunch box treat, I suggest you give this one a try. Even those who aren't vegan or in a gluten filled diet will never know the difference.  As my kids' say "It's 4 thumbs up!"

       Have a great week my friends.

- Roz


1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup avocado oil (you can also use canola, coconut or sunflower oil)
2/3 cup raw organic sugar
2 Tbs. flax meal
6 Tbs. lukewarm water
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup dried cranberries

1. Combine the flax meal and water in a small bowl to make a flax goo.  Set aside for at least 5 minutes before using.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line muffin tins with paper baking cups.  This recipe makes about 16 - 18 standard sized muffins.
3.In a bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients (flours, starches, salt, baking powder, baking soda and salt).
4. In another bowl, with the help of a stand up or handheld mixer, cream the oil, sugar, flax goo, applesauce and vanilla extract.  This takes about a 1-2 minutes.
5. Withe the mixer running, slowly add the flour mixture.  Mix until the flour is well incorporated and there are no lumps.
6. Stir in 1/3 cup of dried cranberries.
7. Fill the muffin tins 2/3's full with the batter.  Top with dried remaining cranberries.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
9. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with powdered sugar before serving.

Tip: If you can have white chocolate, melt some in the microwave and drizzle on top of the muffins before serving.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Freebies: Healthy Ideas to Keep your Child Busy

      Spring break is here.   If you're one of the lucky ones who still have some vacation days left after the mass snow days, this treat is for you. I just found some free downloadable ebooks filled with great ideas on how to keep your little ones occupied at home.  

      Turn off those electronic devices and have some quality, budget friendly family time. 

       Happy Friday!

- Roz

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