Natural Teething Remedies

As if being a baby isn’t hard enough! Lets throw agonizing pain into the mix. On average it seems that most babies start teething around 3-4 months (some as early as  2 and some take longer) So just a few short months after being taken out of your warm, comforting, safe home inside of your mothers womb you now have to deal with sharp teeth busting through your gums. How sad and confusing. No wonder teething is a dreaded phase that all moms would like to skip over!! Babies are fussy, don’t sleep, are sometimes inconsolable, they can run a fever and  they are constantly drooling all over the place and chewing on their hands. I don’t mind the drooling so much its the not sleeping that gets me.  It can make a mom feel a little helpless.

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My children all started around 3 months. My toddler got all of his teeth pretty fast. So it was hard core teething all crammed into a short period of time. I am pretty sure my first babe was the same so we will see how this plays out for baby number three. He is now 4 months and has been teething for month.

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Now comes the questions of remedies. Its becomes a little more difficult the younger they are since most people use over the counter medicines and most of those are not to be administered under 6 months of age. Tylenol is said to be safe in a smaller dosage but absolutely no Ibuprofen until 6 months.

I myself am not a fan of giving my baby tylenol, not to say that you shouldn’t, we just choose to stay on the more natural side of things.I prefer to stay away from medicine unless absolutely necessary and since there are other options when dealing with teething, we turn to those first.

Here are a few natural teething remedies:

  • a frozen washcloth works great. I prefer the wash cloth to frozen veggies at this age. Just soak a cloth and stick it in the freezer. Its not as harsh as a teething toy and softens as they chew on it.
  • I have also used a baby mesh feeder like this one and rather than put food in it, I used an ice cube or frozen breastmilk/formula. If you are concerned with the material these are made of, I have yet to find an organic/natural version (if you know of any comment and let me know!) but I am sure organic cotton or maybe cheese cloth would work just as well.
  • My finger with clean hands of course!! I give him a little gum massage and Ive even used a very small amount of coconut oil on my finger. He chews away and loves it.
  • There are homeopathic teething gels/tablets like the Hylands brand sold here. I don’t use these that often and haven’t given them to my littlest just yet because I haven’t felt the need to although that could change at any moment. They did help when I used them on my other children and I have friends that swear by them!
  • amber teething necklaces… here are my thoughts on them. yes we have one. I was given one as a gift for my second child who is now 3. I loved it. They are beautiful. I think they look  adorable on my boys and may have even helped ease some of that teething discomfort but it is not our main go to method for relief.
  • natural rubber pacifiers are great!!! My son chews on his all day long and since they are made with nontoxic material… I am more than okay with it. We use one by Natursutten and they make teething toys as well.
  • My most recent find and current favorite remedy are these Little Biting Tree  raw wooden teething/nursing necklaces. I love these for so many reasons but the first being that it is worn by the mother not the baby. These mala inspired mama necklaces are free of any dyes, toxins, chemicals and synthetics and they are threaded with pure white cotton. My baby loves chomping on ours and the tassel acts as a sensory toy. I wave it in front of him and he follows it back and forth, reaching to grab it before letting out a cute little giggle. I think these are a must have for every new mom!!

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Rhode Island chicken salad

There are certain foods that transport me to another time and place. Most of these foods are very specific to Rhode Island, where I was born and raised. There are so many things that I can only get on trips back home. The second the plane lands I am thinking about 4 things. NY systems hot wieners, Del’s lemonade, clam cakes and of course….Willow Tree Chicken salad.(among many other things but there are just too many to list them all) Willow tree is usually what I request when my family asks “what can we have ready for you when you get here?” The second I bite into a Willow tree chicken salad sandwich, I am a child again.

With hot wieners, Dels and even my childhood favorite Autocrat coffee syrup, I can have my family mail the ingredients to me. Chicken salad on the other hand does not travel well :/

I had to figure out a way to make it at home. For the days when I am missing my family and craving some Rhode Island favorites. I had a pretty good idea of what the main ingredients are so I had to attempt to make my own.By no means is this exact but I think I came pretty close and with only 4 ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cooked and cooled chicken
  • 2/3 cup mayo (not miracle whip! sorry)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

I started with 2 cups of cooked chicken and chopped it as small as I could get it.

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place in a mixing bowl and add the mayo, brown sugar and Old Bay

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add salt and pepper. Thats it!

How you choose to serve it is up to you. Growing up we ate it on a bun with nothing else on it. It doesn’t really need anything else because it delicious!! Or eat it straight out of the bowl!!

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And if you are ever in Rhode Island, make sure you try all of my favorite foods!

 

Herby Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

If you are anything like me, you would often have visions of diving into a large swimming pool filled with ranch dressing. No? Just me? Ok maybe a slight exaggeration, very slight, but I do have an overwhelming addiction to ranch dressing. In fact I may or may not have been deemed a “ranch snob” after refusing to use any store bought ranch dressings. They just never taste the same to me. Whenever I eat out, I always have to try the restaurants ranch. As if this one item determines whether a restaurant is acceptable haha. So i figured it was time to find the perfect combination of ingredients to create what I look for in a really good ranch. I like mine tangy and with tons of herb flavor and I think I have managed to achieve that with this recipe. Here is what I used.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayo (not miracle whip)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4-1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp (maybe more) apple cider vinegar
  • a handful (not so specific measurement :/) of parsley, chives and dill
  • 3/4 tsp mustard
  • salt and pepper

I start by mixing the mayo and sour cream.

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I then add the other wet ingredients.(buttermilk, vinegar and mustard) start with 1/4 cup of buttermilk and taste at this point. You may want to add more and you might think its fine the way it is. Same with the vinegar.Start with a tbsp. you can always add a splash later. Like I said, I like mine tangy so I usually add a bit more vinegar but thats up to you. Once you are satisfied with your base, then add the herbs. I used a large handful of chives and dill. parsley can be a bit over powering so you can add it a little bit at a time since you can always add more but once its in.. its in!

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Mix and then add your salt and pepper.

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I then transfer mine to a cute little mason jar. (everything is better in a mason jar) and let it sit for at least a half hour in the fridge so all of those flavors can become friends, soak and do their thing.

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Then serve it on some veggies, a burger, drink it, whatever your heart desires! Enjoy!!

Strawberry Freezer Jam

For those of you that wanted to know how we make our delicious jam, here it is:

Ingredients for one jar:

1 container of fresh strawberries

1 cup of sugar (more or less to personal taste)

1/2-3/4 packet of sure jell fruit pectin

*Some people like a sweeter jam and some like it more sour so its totally up to you! Start with a cup of sugar and you can always add more if you want it sweeter.

Hull and cut the strawberries into quarters. We then threw them into our nutri bullet (or any blender) and pulsed them until slightly pureed. We leave ours a little chunky.

Mix in the sugar and pectin and stick it in a jar! Its as simple as that. Leave it in the refrigerator for about an hour before eating to allow the sugar to dissolve.

We always use ours right away which is why we make such a small batch. Your jam will keep in the refrigerator for a week. Maybe a little longer.

If you choose to make more and  freeze it make sure to put it in a plastic container. Not glass. The jam will keep up to one year in the freezer.

This is a summer staple in our house! Nothing beats fresh Jam!!

 

 

BBQ Chicken Meatballs

Last night I went to bed craving BBQ chicken pizza. As I slept I dreamt of making these meatballs. No this is not a joke. This is actually what I dream about people!! So tonight I went to the store grabbing what I thought I might need. Totally improvised and voila! Dinner was served. Glad my family loved it because I definitely didn’t have a back up plan. Here is how I made them

Meatball Ingredients :

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt and pepper

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BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • a splash of liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin

Pre Heat your oven to 400

Add all BBQ sauce ingredients to a small pot. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer while you prepare and cook the meat balls.

Mix all meatball ingredients in a bowl. Form into balls and place to the side. Heat some butter and olive oil in a skillet. Once thats hot, add meatballs and brown evenly all around. Remove them from the skillet and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 min until cooked through.

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Once they were done I just spooned some of the bbq sauce over the top and served them with a side of corn and arugula with a mustard vinaigrette (Appel vinegar, honey, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper).

These were really easy to make and everyone loved them. Hope you guys do too!

Curry Chicken Salad

So delicious and refreshing. This recipe reminds me of trips to Lake Powell and lunch on the houseboat.Its cool, light and healthy!!!  My Mother In Law makes this every year. Its easy and feeds a lot of people. Plus its light enough that you aren’t left with that horrible stuffed feeling  and can go out water skiing after you eat 🙂 I am posting the amounts I used to feed my family of 4 (soon to be 5!) Here is what you will need:

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 3/4 cup of honey flavored yogurt (not honey vanilla. big difference)
  • 1/4 cup mayo (optional) or you can use all yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder to start. you can always add more. this is a personal thing. some people like a hint of curry and some like a ton!
  • 1/4 tsp cumin to start
  • plenty of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup red grapes
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 cup scallionsn(optional)

start by prepping your ingredients. Cut your grapes, celery and scallions.

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Add all ingredients to a large bowl. I start with the yogurt, mix to combine with chicken, then add spices. Spice measurements are usually never exact in my kitchen. Sometimes I am happy with what I start with and other times I feel like adding more. I just taste as I go and make adjustments. Really all depends on my mood. 🙂 Then add every thing else. Mix well and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 min. This is so much better once it sits and chills for a bit.

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We like to eat ours on fresh croissants but you can serve this however you would like! It definitely has enough flavor to stand on its own.

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Enjoy!!

Valentine’s Day Rice Kripsie Treats

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Happy Valentines Day!!

Rice krispie treats are probably one of the easiest and quickest treats to make. I just added a few extra fun ingredients to make them cute and festive for Valenitnes Day but you can leave out the extra if you just want to make plain old Rice Kripsie Treats. You can also swap out the ingredients for ones that correlate with any holiday.

Here is what I used:

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 4 cups of mini marshmallows
  • 6 Cups of Rice Cereal
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of Valentines sprinkles
  • 13×9 baking dish (spray or cover with foil)

Start by melting the butter in a pot over low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the marshmallows. Keep your heat on low and slowly stir you marshmallows until they are all melted. Once that happens you can add your Rice Krispies. Stir until combined. Then I added any  extra ingredients you may be using. I removed my pot from the heat at this point because I wanted my white chocolate chips to stay whole and not melt. Stir all ingredients until combined and then transfer to a 13×9 baking pan. Spread out your treats evenly and let them cool before cutting them into squares! Thats it! Quick, Easy and Adorable!!

*I used the Envirokidz chocolate Koala crisp cereal

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cilantro lime chicken tacos

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These tacos absolutely need to come with a warning! Here it is: May become extremely addicted and have the desire to eat multiple times in a week. That is what happened in our home anyway and the homes of anyone else I have ever shared this recipe with. I have found that is usually the case with recipes I come up with on the spot. They usually (not always) become our favorites. This recipe came about on a summer night when I wanted something refreshing and just so happened to have these ingredients  in our house. I am happy I did because this is now a staple in our home.

Ingredients:

for the chicken/marinade

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • handful of cilantro (chopped)
  • salt and pepper

for the cilantro lime sour cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • handful of cilantro (chopped)
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper

other ingredients:

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 cup of cotija cheese (if you can’t find cotija, feta also works but cotija is best!)
  • corn tortillas
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil (separated)

Start by adding your honey, lime zest and  juice to a mixing bowl big enough to fit your chicken in. Whisk those ingredients together and add your chicken. Add the cilantro, chicken, salt and pepper. toss your chicken around to coat then let this sit while you prep everything else.

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next i would prepare the cream because it only tastes better the longer it sits. In a bowl mix sour cream, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper. mix until combined. Taste to make sure you have enough lime flavor. If not, add more lime juice. Store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

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peel and dice your mango. I have found that the easiest way to do this is to use a small knife, cut off the top and bottom of the mango and then slice from top to bottom down the mango until you have removed all of the skin.

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now you can add 2 tbsp of coconut oil to a pan and cook your chicken. normally I would say use whatever cooking oil you would like but in this case its kind of non negotiable 😉 the coconut oil adds more sweetness to the chicken which tastes amazing with the rest of the flavors in this recipe. You want to cook your chicken until it is golden brown on the outside. The honey gives it the most amazing caramel color. should take about 3-4 minutes on each side depending on how big you chicken pieces are. just cut through the fattest part of one breast to make sure they are fully cooked before removing them from the pan. once you remove them from the pan let them rest on your cutting board while you fry your tortillas.

add the remaining coconut oil to a clean pan. Heat until melted and then you can start frying  your corn tortillas. cook the tortillas on each side until golden

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With a pair of tongs, fold your tortilla in half and hold it there for a few seconds. That way when you remove it from the pan, it will hold its shape.

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as soon as you remove them form the oil set aside and sprinkle with salt. From here you are practically done!! You just need to Cut your chicken into strips, or shred it and put your crumbled cotija into a serving dish.

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I like to set up a little assembly line so my kids  feel like they are preparing their own food.

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The finished product!!  you have now successfully created the worlds most amazing taco!!! This is by far one of my families favorite meals. I hope you guys enjoy as mush as we do.

 

 

Turmeric scrambled eggs

I started really hearing about turmeric a few years ago when I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease. I read some posts about how it helped with this, that, and pretty much everything under the sun. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I really started to do some in depth research and started using it in my everyday cooking. It would take an entire post for me explain all of the magical benefits of turmeric ( maybe that will come at a later date).  Here is a link with some helpful facts. http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/ It really deserves its own separate write up. I will say that after using it once, I was hooked. Has it positively effected my health? Yes I believe it has but not only that… I Love the taste. Especially in eggs! I will never eat my scrambled eggs again without turmeric. You can use this recipe straight up or add any veggies or topping your little heart desires. Here is how I make them.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon of milk (or any milk sub. you can even use water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

I usually end up using 4 eggs because this will feed myself and my 2 year old son. This is our go to brunch meal most days of the week while big brother is at school and dad is at work.

IMG_4626crack your eggs into a bowl for mixing. Add your milk and whisk! Whisk until you feell like your arm is going to fall off! Then keep whisking!! This incorporates air into your eggs which creates fluffier eggs!

IMG_4627 Add the turmeric and mix until combined. I like adding the turmeric in while the eggs are still in the mixing bowl because I feel they are more evenly distributed that way rather than when they are already in the pan and cooking.

IMG_4628 Get out your pan and melt your coconut oil. You can use butter or another type of oil if you choose. Coconut oil, in my opinion is the best to cook with and its another one of those things that contain endless health  benefits. http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

IMG_4631 once the oil is melted you can add your eggs! Make sure to cook your eggs on a low heat. Cooking them at a high temperature will dry them out and they will have the texture of rubber. Cook them low and slow for nice fluffy, moist eggs. I like to add my salt and pepper during the cooking process that way it gets all folded into the mix! you can always add ore when the eggs are done so don’t add too much to begin with. Eggs continue cooking after you take them away from the heat so make sure not to over cook them in the pan. Once you no longer see a liquid consistency, take them off of the heat.

IMG_4635 Today I felt like adding some diced tomato and fresh basil. I added the tomato when the eggs were pretty much done. They do not require much cooking. I just wanted them to be heated through. once they were done, I plated them (some for me and some for the little dude) and topped with some fresh basil. You could also top with some grated cheese. Whatever you are feeling at that moment! Go for it!! The tomato and basil were delicious. My son said his scrambled eggs tasted like pizza?I guess anything that contains tomato and basil is considered pizza! I don’t know but he said yummy and thats all that matters 🙂

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