Stir crazy for the great outdoors, but worried that winter isn’t entirely over? With YardStash II Outdoor Storage, you can go ahead and dust off your bikes, gardening tools, and kids’ toys because the space-saving unit will keep you gear dry and accessible. And did we mention that it’s portable with it’s own carrying bag?
Whenever there’s a crowd gathering in the kitchen, you can bet there’s layered bean dip nearby. However, the classic bean dip that is often the highlight of BBQs, sports gatherings, and more isn’t always the best nutritional option. Here’s the same crowd-pleaser made over with equally tasty and healthy ingredients. Enjoy at your next party. We know your guests will!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with non-stick baking spray.
2. Layer ingredients into the baking dish starting with the black beans.
3. Mix the seasonings and yeast together and sprinkle over the dish.
4. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling and warm.
5. Serve warm with gluten-free tortilla chips.
- Amie Valpone
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, Editor-in-Chief of TheHealthyApple.com is a Manhattan based Culinary Nutritionist, Personal Chef, Professional Recipe Developer, and Food Writer specializing in simple Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
As a father of two daughters and now a 15-day-old son, I thought I knew everything about how dad can be as helpful as possible when mom has just given birth. Well, I was wrong. There’s always something new to learn. So, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks for other dads, which I’ve figured out from my experience helping my wife and family at the maternity ward (times three).
1. Bring a folder so you can organize all the information and forms you get from the hospital (a brightly colored one is great, so you won’t forget it in the haze of everything).
2. Decide on the baby’s name (and spelling) as soon as you can. My wife and I were torn throughout her entire pregnancy about what middle name to give our new son, but I knew we had a self-imposed deadline—leaving the hospital! Not deciding early can delay your discharge process. Not to mention, if you name your baby after leaving the hospital or decide to change it after submitting the birth certificate and social security application, I hear the paperwork process can be very time consuming.
3. Research Feeding Options. Breastfeeding gives your baby a great start, but for many health and personal reasons nursing exclusively isn’t always an option. If you’re concerned about what formula you may feed your new baby, call the hospital ahead of time to see what they offer and then do your research to find one that your family is comfortable with—we recommend organic. Then, you can bring a small amount of your preferred choice if they don’t offer it. Also consider taking advantage of the hospital’s lactation specialist before, during, and after your stay at the hospital. They are very helpful since each baby is different. One more suggestion, dads: Try to refrain from giving the mom breastfeeding tips. Trust me.
4. Take everything! There are so many little mementos you can take with you and cherish for years. Examples include: your baby’s nametag (ankle bracelet), the name card on the baby bassinet, pictures (and names) of your nurses, the baby cap, and more pictures! You can also take supplies, which you pay for as part of your hospital stay. I know when there are free products for the taking, it’s hard to be selective and you end up grabbing everything. My advice is to check the ingredients and make sure that it’s the best, safest product for your baby before taking it home. My pick? The dry gauze wipes!
5. Ask your nurses questions! Even though I’ve done this before, there are always things you forget and new ways of doing things. The nurses know everything, so ask them whatever is on your mind from diapering to caring for the umbilical cord to giving the first bath to new swaddling techniques. Because labor and delivery can leave you exhausted (making it hard to process and remember everything), ask if it’s okay to take videos of the nurses teaching you these things. It’s a great reference tool once you get home.
6. Pamper your wife. After the baby arrives, consider getting your wife a special gift. Pamper her. Treat her to a spa day once she’s ready for it and invite her close friends to keep her company. Hire a family photographer to take photos of your children together and capture their first moments as siblings. Give commemorative jewelry. A colleague at Honest suggested these great necklace pendants personalized with a monogram. Since we have girls, I chose the first initials of each of our girls. An “L” for Lauren and an “M” for Madeline. Now that our son Max is here, I’ll be getting my wife another pendant with an “M” for Max!
7. Buy a big sister or big brother gift for your baby’s siblings. Given the new addition around the house, some kids may feel deprived of mom and dad’s love and attention. Big bro or sis gifts go a long way. FYI: Your work is definitely not over…making sure older siblings (especially the middle children) adjust well to their new baby bro/sis will take some time.
Enjoy your growing family!
~ Honest Eugene (aka Max Daddy)
It’s March and you know what that means! Every year, since 1973, March has been designated as National Nutrition Month®. It started as a week-long event and became a month-long observance in 1980. This year’s theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.”
How exactly do you “eat right”? We all have very specific and unique health, nutrition, and fitness goals. For many of us, we made resolutions a few months ago to improve our health—eat more veggies, be more physically active, drink more water, buy less processed foods, no more food dyes, and the list goes on and on. No matter what the underlying motivation is (weight loss, lowering cholesterol, improving your running time), you want to be a healthier and more fit YOU and that is fantastic.
The question is usually how do you make these changes and how to keep it up for the long haul? This month to help celebrate National Nutrition Month® and to help you reach your personal goal, I will post a series of blogs that will feature several different types of lifestyles and the challenges that might interfere with reaching and sustaining your health/fitness resolutions. Have no fear, I will also provide realistic and easy to implement strategies that you can you try to get you on your way to your NEW YOU! You might find yourself in one category or maybe even more than one (for all of you overachievers out there). So get ready all of you busy students, working professionals, fitness enthusiasts, and parents. Throughout all of these posts, keep in mind that small achievable goals are always the key to success!
Let’s start with all the parents out there…
Whether you are a stay-at-home or working parent, you know that this is the best, most rewarding, exciting, (fill in the blank) yet difficult job on the planet. As parents, we often juggle many different things at once and end up putting physical activity, grocery shopping, or packing our own lunch aside. We’re also typically tired. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that between work and my kids, I’m pretty exhausted at the end of the day.
The biggest pitfall for parents (without getting into the nitty-gritty of eating off their kids’ plates, dining out too often, drinking soda, etc.) is their lack of time. I hear over and over again whenever I make a suggestion: “How will I find the time to do that?” Whether it is bringing lunch to work, making dinners at home, exercising, or packing more healthful lunches for the kids, it seems like it might involve extra time. With the tips below, however, you will find that you might actually save time AND reach your health goals!
1. Plan your week’s menu, including all meals and snacks. Find recipes and shop accordingly. This will save you both time and money.
2. Enjoy the cooking process. For your health and your wallet you should try to learn (or re-learn) the pleasure of cooking. Not to mention, you might be surprised about how much fun you have. Try reading blogs, taking a cooking class, or buying a few good cookbooks.
3. Cook for more than one meal at a time by making extras. For example, if you prepare chicken breasts, make a few extras to cut up for sandwiches or a salad the next day. This doesn’t take extra time in the kitchen and just gave you another meal! While you are at it, you could also try cooking a double portion and freezing it for another night. This works really well with soups and stews.
4. Prepare the night before. It’s a fact. We’re all rushed in the morning. Take a few minutes after cleaning up dinner and pack lunches/snacks for everyone for the following day. This way they are already ready in the morning. There is no excuse not to bring a healthy meal to school/work!
5. Delegate! Depending on the age of your child, engage them in the shopping/preparation/cooking process. Not only will this be a big help to you (especially when they are over 10 and can really lend a hand in the kitchen) but research shows that when kids are involved in the cooking process, they tend to make healthier choices.
Remember, set small achievable goals for yourself and tackle them one by one. Change is a process, not an end result. Be proud of yourself along the way for your accomplishments. You can do it! Stay tuned for more tips and tricks throughout the month.
Be Well, Be NutritionWise.
~ Nicole Meadow, MPN, RD of NutritionWise
This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.
As adults, we know the value of vegetables. Yet, we find ourselves in rut when it comes to the healthy stuff. It’s a salad on Monday, sweet potato on Tuesday, broccoli on Wednesday, and repeat. And while we have dreams of rainbow colored produce, the variety just overwhelms us once we’re actually at the grocery store and we go back to the usual suspects.
So in an effort to eat better this year, especially to protect our long-term health and hearts, we decided to simplify our lives by trying out Spud.com. Spud is a free delivery service that will drop off organic, fresh, and locally grown and produced foods to your door. And it offers you the option to buy pre-selected boxes of veggies and fruits. We tried this because it took the guesswork out of it for us, saving us time, money, gas, and worry over what to pick. (It remains a mystery on how to choose the best produce!). You can find similar services in your area through community supported agriculture programs (CSAs) by visiting LocalHarvest.org.
Want to know how our quest to make small, healthy changes went? Read our stories below.
I have to admit, I do not cook much. My husband and I eat out most meals because we don’t know how to cook and we never have food in our house. Our refrigerator usually looks like it belongs on an episode of MTV’s Cribs: all beverages, no sustenance. We joke that one day we might become “real adults” with a kitchen full of fresh food. In the meanwhile, boxed pasta and a jar of tomato sauce have become the usual dinner suspects because those 2 things never go bad and anyone who can boil water can throw them together and call it a meal. It is not the healthiest or the most exciting option, but we never seem to have the energy to do anything about it.
When I learned about Spud, an organic grocery delivery service that supports local farmers and works to reduce their carbon footprint through responsible business practices, I was intrigued. Not only did I appreciate their socially responsible initiatives, but I was motivated by the idea of having a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables hand-chosen for me. By simply arriving on my doorstep, these vegetables would be staring me in the face and daring me to try to cook them. I would have no choice but to branch out from my plain noodles and jar of Ragu sauce. Visions of my professional chef-hood danced in my head. A sautéed snow pea here and a roasted broccoli floret there – the possibilities in my head were endless.
I signed up for the “Fresh Harvest” box right then and there. An assortment of locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables were just a click away; and guaranteed to be fresh and ripe when they arrived – taking out that squeeze and sniff guessing game that usually occurs in the grocery store produce aisle. I set my taste preferences (likes and dislikes) and eagerly waited for my delivery a few days later.
That Thursday, my Fresh Harvest box arrived! The Spud delivery man hid the box on my front porch behind my hydrangea bush just like I requested – I didn’t want to worry about someone stealing my box of freshness before I got home! Inside the box was an even larger variety of produce than I could have imagined: broccoli, string beans, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, apples, watermelon, and so much more. I was nervous about whether I could cook and eat so much, but the food looked so fresh and amazing that I quickly forgot about that possibility. It was time to cook.
[DISCLAIMER: My chef skills did not magically appear when I opened my SPUD box. I guess that was a little too much to expect. However, my refrigerator quickly went from looking like it belonged in a college dorm to looking like it came straight out of a healthy living magazine ad. Baby steps. That is all it takes.]
For months, I talked about juicing. I seriously liked the idea and benefits of juicing—an extra nutritional boost to jump start my days and supplement my sometimes imperfect diet. But I only knew how to make three recipes, and I truly wanted to reap the rewards of juicing smartly with veggies, other greens, and not just sweet fruits.
Like Ashley, though, I was never sure of which combination of ingredients to buy or how much I needed to create enough juice for my family of three. I would buy too little and someone would miss out on a glass. Or I would buy too much and it would go bad before I could use it all. So, I never acted on my desire to incorporate green juices into my morning routine.
I was thrilled to give the Spud Juicing Club a try. The program is designed to make juicing convenient and easy to commit to. You can select a “Juicing Box” based on your preferences and the Spud team delivers the perfect amount of produce to make juice for a week. They even include recipes to accompany the specific veggies in the box. And if I was ever in need of inspiration, I could check out the juicing videos on their site.
The juicing boxes proved perfect for our family. We spent Sunday morning chopping all the veggies and fruits for our weekly juices. My toddler really had a blast helping and thought it was fantastic to drop the produce into the machine and watch it transformed into a liquid. Even better, he thought the vibrant colors of the juices—green, deep red, and a marbled orange—made them all worth drinking. I can’t beat that!