Comfort Food Gone Clean: Chop Suey

Comfort food. I know there has to be more people out there like me that crave it after a bad day! Or how about just any day for that matter? Comfort food is, well comforting. It does something to our insides. That is GOOD & BAD. It tastes delicious and can actually make us feel better when we treat ourselves to our favorite food. However, chances are the food in question is full of fat, sodium and carbs and really has no nutritious value to it. Fear not, I am determined to makeover some of the most well-loved comfort food dishes out there! Comfort Food Gone Clean. I will turn them into delicious, lean & nutritionally valued meals for all to enjoy! First up- Joys Chop Suey.

Chop suey is usually filled with sodium and carbs, and really no amount of veggies that go into it matter much. Other than the protein of choice, chop suey is not something you want to consume on a weekly basis. I, however have come up with a dish that you can eat daily (if you wish) and is PACKED with nutrition. Not only is it delicious, it is so easy to make! I challenge you to try the recipe and let me know your thoughts! Remember, it will never taste “exactly the same” as traditional chop suey, but it comes pretty darn close and definitely will satisfy your craving!

Ingredients:
99% lean ground turkey (or chicken)
1 large organic yellow pepper
1  organic Vidalia onion
1 package of organic mushrooms
1 cup of Butternut squash noodles (I bought them already made at Whole Foods)
1 15oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
Spices to taste preference:
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp Himalayan sea salt
1/2 tbsp black pepper
4 long stems of basil (diced)

Recipe:
Dice up the pepper, onion, mushrooms and saute in oil of your choice. When that combination is almost done cooking, add the butternut squash noodles to the same skillet. Once the noodles have cooked (about 5-7 minutes), remove the veggies from the skillet. Add a small bit of oil back to the pan and place the ground turkey in. Top with all the seasonings (minus the basil) and cook until browned. Once the turkey is cooked, add the can of tomatoes and bring to a slight boil. Push the turkey mixture to the sides of the skillet, creating a empty circle in the middle of the pan. Add the veggies back to the skillet and reheat for a few minutes. Once you feel the veggies have reheated enough, mix all the ingredients together. Portion out 4 servings and top with fresh basil.

Comfort Food Gone Clean

Super easy, one pan and so good! I don’t know what else to say other than you have go to try this! Be creative with it. Add different chopped veggies, your favorite seasonings etc. Maybe try it with zucchini noodles as well? This was packed full of protein and fiber and ZERO carbs! It was so satisfying, it is on the menu weekly from now on. Try it and let me know what you think! For those friends who are following the 21 day fix meal plan, you’re in luck! It is 21 day fix approved! It’s time to make mealtime delicious & nutritious!

Namaste~
joy

 

New York Hall of Science- Family Fun is Awaiting

Family Fun is awaiting you.   New York Hall of Science offers a hands-on approach that explains science, technology, engineering and math programming to children of all ages. NYSCILogo150

Their permanent exhibit, Connected Worlds, is a fully immersive, digitally rendered, interactive display. Visitors explore the interdependence of six environments and interact with creatures, trees and plants within each atmosphere. Through gestures and movements, visitors learn the core principles of sustainability and see the impact of human decisions on the environment. Visit today for an immersive experience!

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My husband has been eagerly awaiting taking our son here. He is at the perfect age and just loves science! My husband grew up not far from here and spent many days with his own family (and school trips) here. I am excited to be able to watch him happily reminisce about how it was like when he was younger, while having a completely new experience with our son!

We are ready to learn and make memories at the New York Hall of Science!

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Reduce Your Child’s Stress With SELF-REG By Dr. Stuart Shanker

If you are a parent, chances are there are times when things can get pretty stressful with this parenting gig. Whether it is you or your child, sometimes our emotional responses are not what we would say is appropriate! Fear not, there is something that can help alleviate the stress! SELF-REG is a new book written by Dr. Stuart Shanker, that aims to help parents and caregivers (and their children) break the stress cycle and successfully engage in life. This book resonated with me more than I thought it would. And, I think it could do the same for you.

13512009_1369642833052803_7513924312647813087_nAt the start of the book, you learn about the discovery of the limbic system, often referred to as the “emotional brain” and how it’s connected to our emotions. Each one of our memories is stored here and is associated with an emotional response, whether it be good or bad. Now I know why I am still afraid of the dentist at 33 years old! The ability for our emotional response to be rational and precise, largely is affected by one’s stress level. Each person has an individual level of stress that their limbic system values as a threat. When a threat is seen, our ability to control our responses is lessened.

“Self-control is important but not the central organizing feature of a strong, healthy mind and life success. Self-regulation is.” Dr. Stuart Shanker 

Right from the beginning of the book I felt at ease about my son and I. As most are aware, we both have been diagnosed with Anxiety Disorders and Sensory Processing Disorder. We are usually playing out a “fight or flight” scenario in our minds weekly, even when nothing seems to really be bothering us. When we are anxious, we tend to be more emotional. Overly happy or terribly sad and agitated. It all seemed to make sense. Dr. Stuart Shanker explained it in a way that was easy to understand. I always knew our anxiety was something that we couldn’t control, but it is always nice to hear that we are not alone.

SELF-REG: 5 Core Steps for Transforming Behavior

  1. Read the signs and reframe the behavior
  2. Identify the stressors
  3. Reduce the stressors
  4. Become aware of when you’re overstressed
  5. Figure out what helps you calm, rest and recover

How simple do these steps sound?  While it may take time to learn ALL the signs and stressors, you can start putting these to use immediately. Think about a time when your child was acting fresh or rude. Was there something bothering them? Was there a large crowd, noise, light bothering them? Were they not feeling their best? I ran these steps in my head a few times and was able to determine a few stressors of my son’s that I wasn’t aware of before. We can help our kids navigate their emotions on a healthier level with these steps. Society sometimes tells us that having emotions is a bad thing. That we need to keep them bottled up and repress them. With these steps, kids (and adults alike) will also learn the importance of emotional openness and safety. Holding our emotions in can actually lead to more stress in our lives.

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I highly suggest this book for anyone who has a tough time recognizing their child’s behavior.  These steps for transforming behavior are not to control our children. It is to help them understand “why this” behavior and to help them self-regulate. It is never too early or late to start learning this technique. And remember, these steps can help us understand our own signs and stressors. A little understanding can go a long way, especially when we can understand ourselves on a deeper level. We not only become better parents, but better people for it.

I was given an advance digital copy to facilitate my own opinion. You have a chance to win a hardcopy of SELF-REG by entering the giveaway below. I hope you enter~there is much to learn from this book!
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The Great Escape Room: A Brain Busting Experience

A few weeks ago, a small group of us Rhody Bloggers got to try out The Great Escape Room in Providence and boy was it AH-MAY-ZING! However, it does do a little something to your ego if you do NOT escape! Kidding, but we were shy of escaping by about 5 minutes!  I thought I was pretty clever, but boy were the clues wicked tricky! I think that’s what made it so enjoyable. It wasn’t your average clue. You had to think and really use your mind! They were out-of-the-box clever and challenging! I think I can safely speak for the bloggers in attendance and say it was a great experience, one we will surely take part in again.IMG_3473

Picture this,  you are locked in a room. You have 1 hour to solve a bunch of clues in order to solve a bigger puzzle that unlocks the doors to said room. Problem is, you don’t know what you are solving or looking for. It is a riddle? Is it a numeric code? Are you looking for words? Are you looking for numbers? At the beginning, it was quite confusing. You just start tearing the room apart piece by piece. Literally. Our in room guide Andy (who was so great),  kept telling us to just make a mess and search anything and everything.  So we did! We started finding clues (can’t tell you what) and started to put them in the right order (or so we thought). Nothing is as it seems and yet everything was. Don’t over-think. That’s a hint I can give you!

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This is great activity for the whole family, a bunch of friends, team building and even private parties! The location is perfect for anyone looking for some fun in Providence. After you ESCAPE, you are surrounded by tons or yummy restaurants and cool shops. Perfect summer afternoon in the city.  This could be a great rainy day activity this summer as well!  Tickets are $28 with a $1.80 processing fee. They also offer Student and Military discounts and 10% off a group of 10 or more.

The Great Escape Room Providence is a real-life room escape game based on the popular computer and mobile phone escape games. Escape the room games are the newest craze sweeping the nation! After entering a room with your team, the door is locked behind you. 60 minutes are on the clock! You must work together in order to find clues and solve puzzles that will lead you to your escape. It is part scavenger hunt and part puzzle game. 

Are you ready to become a Master Sleuth?  Get ready to Escape The Room!

 

AllerMates: Why Is It So Important To Wear An Allergy ID?

I have a wonderful guest writer today on my blog!  Iris Shamus Wife, mother to three awesome kids and founder/CEO of AllerMates. Based in New York, Iris and her team create helpful content, answer emails, ship their products and obsess every day about keeping kids safe. Please read below to learn why wearing allergy/medical ID is so important! I have had AllerMates products for my son since he was diagnosed with food allergies many years ago. I truly love them! I know you will too! 

I started AllerMates after an incident with my food allergic son’s preschool. One of his buddies, who had multiple food allergies including a dairy allergy, was given a dairy snack by his teacher. He had a severe allergic reaction, and I started to think about how easily that could have been my son.  I set out to look for something I could slap on him to help remind his teachers and caregivers of his health concerns.

To be honest at the time I was completely unfamiliar with medical alert accessories. I think I sort of associated them with elderly people who were at risk of heart attacks or something! Who knew that I would become such an advocate of medical alert IDs… although I was determined to create a much more modern version of one that my son would think was “cool” and fun to wear!

But first, what is a medical ID?
Medical IDs are pieces of jewelry that could one day save your life. Adults typically wear metal bracelets with their allergies, prescribed medications and medical conditions engraved on the surface. However, these metal bracelets aren’t always too kid-friendly, so if your kiddo has a food allergy or health condition, try a kid-friendly medical alert bracelet or dog tag.

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At AllerMates, we refer to our bracelets as allergy bracelets or health bracelets as opposed to medical alert bracelets, since most of our products are designed for kids. In fact, we like to think of ourselves as pioneers in the industry considering that no one used the term “allergy bracelets” until AllerMates came around!

 Why are they so important?
As parents or caretakers, it’s tough to imagine that your kid will ever be in an emergency medical situation, however, it’s important to be prepared for them. More than 95% of emergency responders state that they check for a medical ID when they’re called for emergencies. And they’re not the only ones. Teachers, day care workers, camp counselors and other caretakers are also trained to look for allergy bracelets or necklaces on kids. If your child is ever involved in a medical emergency, having allergy bracelets or necklace that identifies his or her health concerns is essential in preventing a tragedy.

To be honest, when I created the original AllerMates bracelet, I was more concerned with having a communication tool to teachers and caregivers to help PREVENT an incident. Some medical alert accessories have the information inscribed on the BACK of the accessory and I thought, why not have a fun visual for all to see? Why are we hiding this critical information instead of making it bright and noticeable?

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If you have a kid with a food allergy, you’re probably all too familiar with the stress that comes along with sending kids to birthday parties and play dates. What if your child accidentally eats a food with his or her allergen? Because kids’ medical alert bracelets and dog tags are so brightly colored and noticeable, caretakers will immediately recognize that they need to look out for allergens when serving your child. Think of these bracelets and dog tags as a way to ease your concerns and give you a little peace of mind.

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Living proof that my dream came true and that kids could actually be excited to wear their allergy bracelets. Here is Britney Spears’ stylish son photographed with his AllerMates bracelets.

When should you wear a medical ID?

Kids should keep their medical alert jewelry on at all times. Why can’t kids take it off at home? Let’s say Uncle Bill, who just so happens to stop by over the weekend, doesn’t remember that your son has a peanut allergy, and feeds him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every. Parent’s. Nightmare. Avoid this situation by keeping the medical alert jewelry on at all times so that caretakers are always informed of your child’s health concerns.

What options are there for kids?
Luckily, there are tons of options that parents will love and kids will love wearing! AllerMates makes medical alert bracelets for a variety of kids’ health concerns, as well as dog tags and charms. If your kiddo has multiple allergies or health conditions, you can purchase the charms and attach them to a multi-charm bracelet. That way, kids don’t have to wear multiple allergy bracelets to keep caretakers informed of their many health concerns.

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With all of these fun options for kids, there’s no excuse to NOT wear medical alert jewelry!

Be sure to visit our website, www.allermates.com, and sign up for our newsletter to always stay in-the-know with allergy news!

xo, Iris

Love & Marriage

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Love & Marriage. It just hit me. On this day exactly one year ago, my husband and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary with a vow renewal. So, technically we just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary, but who’s counting! We have been together for 15 years, since we were just babies at 18 years old. It was a magical day, one that I can’t wait to do again at our 20 year vow renewal!

Anyone who says that the longer you love that person the easier it gets, is just full of shit. Plain and simple. It’s just not true, and I will tell you why. Things happen in 10 years. Shit, that’s a decade. Trends can come & go all within a decade. You might be loving those crop top shirts at the beginning and as time moves on, baggy shirts are in. You’re screwed and now need a whole new wardrobe. Fuck. That’s hard-work and expensive. Just like being in a marriage takes hard-work (and can sometimes get quite expensive)…

Just as trends change, people do too. They grow up. Literally, they get taller. It’s just what happens with time. Time is the burden on marriages these days. New situations and new feelings only occur and arise because time passes. You are put into new scenarios and the world is changing around you. You are always racing against time. It’s life. Once you realize that time is of the essence and can recognize that you need to proactively work on your marriage, only then can you truly have a chance at being happy. I can say this without reservations because time has changed me. It has changed my husband.  What I wanted at 18, is not quite the same as what I want now. Same for my husband. We’ve learned to embrace the change that time has brought us.

Don’t be mad at someone for wanting something different than before. Embrace it. Challenge it. Allow it to become a new part of your lives. Understanding and being open to change is what will help you grow together, appreciate each other and will allow you to continuously fall in love with your significant other all over again.  I don’t know why this hit me like a ton of bricks tonight at 9pm on a not-so random Wednesday evening, but it did. Sure my soul and spirit might be the same, but I am not the same naive girl I was at 18. My husband knows this. He values the change we have done together. Value what you had, what you have and what you will become; together.

 

Namaste~

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Photography Credit: Midnight Shift Photography  I have talented friends!

No Sugar Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bites

Let’s be honest for a minute. When you see a recipe called, No Sugar Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bites do you really think they are going to be good? I mean, sure sugar is the devil since it makes you crave more of it throughout the day. And let’s not forget the sugar crash and belly bloat! But, alas sugar makes those sweets you love even sweeter! And if you are anything like me, I love me some sweets! I was so skeptical about this recipe. I decided to make it one night when I really wasn’t even in the mood for sweets. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and still be stuck with a craving after all the work! But, I was so wrong! These are really, really, really (did I say really) good! And simple. Good. And. Simple.

Ingredients:
3 Ripe Bananas
1/3 cup Apple Sauce (no-sugar added/natural)
2 cups of Oats
1/4 cup Rice Milk (Almond, Flax, Coconut)
1/2 cup Chocolate chips (I use dairy free chips)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Cinnamon

As you can see, the ingredients are all very easy to find and most might even have it already in your pantry! Also, notice, these cookies are egg free, dairy free, nut free, no oil, no sugar and are Vegan! Great allergy friendly recipe!

Directions:

The directions are simple. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together. Spoon onto cookie sheet (I sprayed with a coconut oil spray) into small mounds. Press in the center to flatten a bit. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. The shape stays the same as how you placed on the cookie sheet. Watch for a little color to show on the bottoms or cut one open to see how it looks! If you want these to come out with a smoother texture, place your oats into a food processor then add to the mix. I like mine a little heartier, so I keep the oats as is! You can add raisins, dried cranberries or a dollop of nut butter to the batter as well! The possibilities are endless!

No sugar chocolate chip banana bread bites

*Tip: After they have cooled, store in an air tight container in the fridge. They keep longer and you can place in the microwave for a few seconds to enjoy some warm, gooey goodness whenever your craving hits. Enjoy!

Namaste~
joy