Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy New Year!







As 2015 comes to a close, I find myself, like many people, reflecting on what the past year has taught me. 

I have so much to be grateful for. Many accomplishments have been made as well as amazing connections with wonderful people. 

My children have blossomed both academically and socially. They are both healthy and happy, therefore I am happy. What more could a mother ask for?!

My personal relationships with friends and loved ones are built on love, trust, honesty and laughter. Surrounding myself with those who bring me such joy, as I hope I bring to them, is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

Towards the end of this year, I wasn't the healthiest health coach. THIS was very difficult for me to understand, at first. However, just like the highlights of my year, the darker times also taught me something. I AM ENOUGH. There is no way I can be everything to everyone and have what I need for myself. I learned this as my health suffered. I pushed myself to the point of physical exhaustion. 

Taking time for myself to heal has not only been good for my health, but also good for my soul. I stepped away from social media, a bit. I slept, I ate meals s-l-o-w-l-y, drank water in abundance and heck, watched movies just because I could.  I came to terms with all is as it should be. I AM ENOUGH.

It was particularly difficult for my health to take a nose dive right in time for the holidays. And as my wonderful friends offered their help, I could only say "Thank you! But what is done ( the shopping, the presents, the cards etc.) is going to have to be good enough." I surrendered! And it felt good!

So as we come to the end of 2015, I ask you, How are you feeling? Are you ready to take on the new year? Or are holding onto things that may not be benefiting you anymore? 

Only you know.  Remember this, I AM ENOUGH!

Thank you all so very much for being a part of the Healthy Appetites community. I'm looking forward to what 2016 has in store!

See you in the New Year!

Much love,
Alyssa



Monday, October 26, 2015

Keeping Halloween fun for everyone and Mummy Pizzas!

Halloween is a time full of imagination and fun.  It can also be a time of anxiety and sensory overload for some.  I recently read an article written by a Special Ed teacher in PA who also works with children with ADHD and other disabilities and it really put the night into perspective.

HALLOWEEN FACT: Sugary treats do not cause hyperactivity, but the exciting environment of tricking and other holiday experiences may contribute to an increased level of activity

While I'm all about healthy eating and not a huge fan of the overabundance of candy that goes along with Halloween, it makes sense that the over excitement of the night in general is what makes the experience difficult for children.

Jonathan Brush, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, succinctly sums up how many children with ADHD experience Halloween. “When a child has ADHD, we know that there is a tendency towards impulsivity and over activity in the best of circumstances, and this is exacerbated in new and unfamiliar situations. In the case of Halloween, we add the experience of dressing up in costumes, going out at night, seeing other groups of children around the neighborhood. This is a recipe for the child with ADHD to become overwhelmed with stimuli, leading to less self-control and increased overactivity.”

Here are some helpful tips for school and home:

  • Create a social skill story detailing the adventure to foster familiarity.
  • Plan a costume dress rehearsal…beware of sensory and safety costume issues.
  • Take a test run of your treating route…surprises create stress.
  • Preset candy rules… schedule a donation! ( we do the "Switch Witch" at our home. Kids keep 5-10 pieces of candy,depending on size, the rest is left for the Switch Witch who takes the candy and leaves a small, non candy gift. LOVE IT!)
  • Safe Costume = Safe Trick-or-Treating
  • Try to stick to your regular bedtime routine!
  • Fill up on a healthy dinner before treating!
  • Collaborate with teacher & preview school celebration plans!
  • Take calming breaks using hard impact exercises…20 jumping jacks!
  • Schedule daylight trick-or-treating vs. night time.
  • Less is more…fewer houses, more control!
Remember, Trick or Treat is NOT a required activity. If your child really doesn't like it, skip it!  Do something else that's fun as a family. 

Mummy Pizza Recipe

A Halloween tradition in our house is having friends over for dinner before we all head out Trick or Treating.  I always like to fill the kids bellies with something fun and healthy before the onslaught of candy and shenanigans.  It wouldn't be Trick or Treat without Mummy Pizzas





What are some of your Halloween traditions?  What do you do that helps have a fun and safe night for all?






Thursday, October 15, 2015

Deliciously Fall


The crisp New England air is upon us once again. This time of year I instantly want to get cozy and start cooking hearty soups and baking delicious treats!  



I love the simple beauty of fall!

After our most recent visit to the apple orchard, and there have been a couple trips, I made a delicious apple crisp before my kids devoured the entire peck!
  Warm apples and pears (they're also in season) cinnamon, honey and brain boosting flax seed meal; this is a healthy twist to a fall favorite!




Ingredients
For the filling
6 medium anjou pears
4 medium macintosh apples
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour ( I used Gluten Free flour with xanthum gum already in it)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the topping:
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (again, I used Gluten Free)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats ( I used Gluten Free Oats)
2 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks ( I used Earth's Balance vegan butter)
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 cup light brown sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. To make the filling, peel and core the pears and apples, then cut them into large chunks.
3. In a large bowl, combine the chopped fruit, cranberries, lemon juice, flour, honey and spices.  Using a large spoon, mix gently to combine.  Set aside.
4. To make the topping, in a separate large bowl, combine the flour, oats, butter, flax meal, and sugar.  Using your hands, mix the dough together until it looks like large crumbles.
5. Pour apples and pear mixture into a 9 x 13" pan.  Top with crumble topping.
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the fruit is tender and bubbling.
7. Serve warm.

This recipe is forgiving and flexible.  Add more or less fruit depending on your tastes.  As always I give you options to tailor recipes according to you and your family's particular needs.
I absolutely love this recipe and hope you and your family does too!










Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thank you!

\

On Sunday, September 20th, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Horne Street School 5K and Family Fun Run.   This was a Dover Community event, encouraging fitness in our schools; how awesome is that!?!  Not only did my family and I run, I was also available to speak with families about the importance of good nutrition and moving our bodies every day.  I thank all who stopped by my table and said hello and sampled a healthy treat. 




As promised, I'm sharing the recipe for the sunbutter balls I had there that day.  These make a delicious and healthy snack or dessert.  Let the kids help roll them into balls.


Sunbutter Balls

Makes 30 bite-sized balls
1/2 cup raw cacoa powder (I use Navitas brand.)
1/2 cup local honey
1/2 cup sunbutter (you can use peanut butter instead)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 chia seeds
1/2 cup gluten free oats
shredded, unsweetened coconut

Mix all ingredients by hand, except the coconut. Form the batter into bite-sized balls and roll them in the coconut.

Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Brainy Breakfast

Back to School time!  I can hardly believe it myself!  Where did the summer go?  I know for our family, we had an amazing summer spending time with friends and family.  Long, lazy days at the beach, camping adventures and peaceful time spent on the lake, just to name a few of our activities.  

Now it's back to reality.....  

This back to school season, I want to educate parents about the importance of brainy breakfasts, nutrient-dense lunch and dinners and healthy after school snacks. 

In my first installment of Back to School tips; Begin the Day with a Brainy Breakfast!

Above all other organs, the brain is most affected – for better or worse – by what you eat. You put junk food into a child’s brain, you get junk behavior and junk learning. Scientific studies show that children who begin the day with a brainy breakfast:

Made higher grades
Were more attentive and participated better in class
Were less likely to be diagnosed with A.D.D. or learning disabilities
Handled complex learning tasks better
Missed fewer school days because of illness
The main ingredients of a brainy breakfast are:

Protein, which perks up the brain
Fiber-filled carbs, which provide a steady supply of fuel
Omega-3 fats, which build smart brain cells
Minerals, such as calcium and iron, which help brain biochemistry work better
Here are some tips for brainy back-to-school breakfasts from the Sears’ family kitchen:

Whole-grain waffles or pancakes topped with blueberries and peanut butter
Oatmeal with blueberries and yogurt
Whole-wheat banana nut bread and yogurt
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese in a scooped-out cantaloupe half
Whole-wheat tortilla wrapped around scrambled eggs and diced tomatoes
Veggie omelet, whole-wheat toast, and fruit
Peanut butter and banana slices on a whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat milk
Almond-strawberry yogurt cup. Layer the yogurt and strawberries (or another fruit, such as blueberries or chopped apple, peaches, or pineapple) in a small bowl. Drizzle honey over the top if plain yogurt is used. Sprinkle with almonds and/or flax-seed meal.
Zucchini pancakes. This is a long-standing Sears’ favorite that even our toddlers enjoyed. Add a cup of shredded zucchini to whole-wheat pancakes.
A fruit and yogurt smoothie

Besides a brainy breakfast, send your child to school with a healthy snack. Those busy little bodies and brains run out of fuel mid-morning and mid-afternoon, the times when learning and behavioral problems are most likely to appear. Our favorite snack: Go nuts! Nuts are the perfect snack because they provide the perfect balance of healthy fats, healthy carbs, and protein. Make your own trail mix: let your children pick out their favorite nuts and add dried fruit. For school snacks, be safe and avoid peanuts because of possible peanut allergy. A handful of nuts for a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack is just what the school-doctor orders.

*Information from Dr.Sears Wellness Institute  


I hope this information was helpful to you.  There are lots of great suggestions to start your child's day of right.

A favorite breakfast in our house is pancakes or waffles with a side of fresh berries.  Both my children also take an Omega fish oil supplement to boost their brain power.  

I wish you all much luck and love as we all transition into this new school year!  May we enter it with a refreshed mind, a light heart and a sense of humor.

Stay tuned for the next Back to School installment!

Much love,
Alyssa


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back to School


As kids head back to class, it's time for parents to restock the kitchen pantry with healthy meal and after school snack options to support their children's growing bodies.

This back-to-school season, I want to educate parents about the importance of brainy breakfasts, nutrient-dense lunch and dinners and healthy after school snacks.

I will be sending out Newsletter "Blasts" to help you get back into the groove. Full of tips, science-based nutrition information and recipes straight to your email inbox! 

Haven't signed up for my newsletter yet? Sign up now and you will also receive:

  • A quick lunchbox lesson with the Savvy School Lunch Guide. 
  • Healthy after school snack recipes. 
Simply go to Join My List at the top of my website, enter your name and email address and that's it! As always your information is safe and will never be shared with anyone! 

Let's start the school year off on the right foot! I'm here to help you!

Much Love,
Alyssa 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Food shopping...with the kids?

"Mom. Can we get gummies?"

Whenever my kids want to tag along with me to the grocery store, it's inevitable there will be requests that will make me cringe. It's not at total nightmare; things are great when we shop the perimeter. Picking out favorite "Banilla" yogurt, cheese sticks, hummus, fruits ("Don't forget the green apples Mom!) and veggies.  It's when we enter the middle of the store. The place where boxes covered in characters of T.V. shows or movies live. This is where things go bad pretty fast! 

"Mom, can we get gummies?" My son asks picking up a box with Spider-Man's big head plastered on the front. (Insert cringe here)

My first reaction is to say "Good grief, No!" For I know what's in these things....but my son doesn't! So instead of my knee-jerk reaction of No, I decide to make this trip into a little learning lesson. 

"Well, let's read the label and see what's inside the box." 

Ingredients : Corn Syrup, Sugar, Apple Puree Concentrate, Water, Modified Corn Starch, Gelatin, contains two percent or less of Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Natural and Artificial Flavor , Coconut Oil*, Carnauba Wax, Red #40, Yellow #5, Sodium Citrate, Blue #1.
*Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat.

I explained to him that corn syrup and the food dye is unhealthy for him; "Yucky Stuff".  This was met with a groan. "Let's find a healthier alternative."  I tell him. Not only do I not want to be the No Monster, but I realize that if I meet him half way, getting a gummy I'm ok with him having as a treat only, we both leave the store happy. So we settled on an organic brand that uses fruit juices, cane sugar and turmeric and other veggies for color. It's still a gummy, but I can be ok with this particular one. 

We read many more labels during our shopping trip, because he's 9. And I'm a mom and want what's best for him. It's not uncommon for me to hear "Mom, I really wish you weren't a health coach!" To this I reply, "One day you will thank me. It won't be today but someday you will."

Someday my kids will understand why I'm so stricked about the food they nourish themselves with. My hopes are that when they have their own kids they will do the same thing as me. I have a feeling they will and that makes me smile!

Until we get home and I hear him tell his sister; "Mom won't buy Gatorade because there's too much "sugar" in it!" (Enter air quotes and groaning voice here.)

To this I laugh! ­čść


Thursday, July 30, 2015

July in the kitchen











July in the kitchen.....a time when there's so much cooking to do and so much garden goodness to be had but man, it can be just too stinkin hot to be in there! The last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove or oven in this heat!  That's when you get creative and make delicious dishes like:

- Three Bean Salad. Really it's just two beans (I have an over abundance of wax beans at the moment). Feel free to add a third if you like. Delicious, tangy and slightly sweet, this salad is delicious chilled or at room temp. No appliances were used in the making!

- Carrots. Ok so there's really nothing involved in the preparation of this. Especially if you don't peel them. But there's nothing like a carrot from your garden. Serve it up with hummus, bean dip or ranch and you've got snack time all set!

- Crooked neck squash crust less quiche. I obviously needed the stove and oven for this one. But here's the trick; I assembled the quiche, popped it in the oven and went for a run, leaving the husband to set the timer on his phone while he waited for it outside. Win-win if you ask me!

- Pickles and pickled wax beans.  Oh these are going to taste delicious in a few weeks. Vinegar, pickling spices and a bit of heat from our jalape├▒os, these are a family favorite!

What are some of your favorite Summer eats that get you out of the kitchen?


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

In the garden this week, Kale and Garlic Scape Pesto recipe


In The Garden 



Remember when I said soon the veggies would be ready all.at.once? Yeah.... Here it comes!




Right now the cucumbers, jalape├▒os and wax beans are ready for picking. There are tons of tomatoes on the vines but haven't turned red yet. Our honey bees are loving all the flowers on the squash plants! 


As I look at the corn.... 'Children of the Corn' comes to mind.


I am so grateful to have such a healthy, bursting at the seams garden. There is nothing quite like walking out your door and into your own "farmacy" , picking for your next snack or meal. I know that once those cherry tomatoes are ripe, the kids will be plucking them from the vine. Now that will be some great pictures to share!

Kale and Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

Last week we harvested our first garlic crop. I think this was the most exciting for me. I use garlic in my cooking almost daily and to not have to buy any was going to amazing! We did really great for our first time!




One part of the garlic I was also excited to use was the scape. 



  1. Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. The bud is removed in late June to encourage the bulbs to thicken up.  Scapes are delicious to eat! Scapes taste just like garlic. They can be used in exactly the same way as garlic in any recipe.
    I went to my local Farmers Market and a farmer had Scapes and told me I should try making pesto with mine. Pesto? Brilliant! This family LOVES basil pesto, let's try it.  For my variation I also used Kale, boosting the nutritional value and making sure it wasn't too garlicky for my children to eat.  Everyone LOVED it!  You must try it!


    2 cups of kale ( I used Tuscan Kale)
    3/4 cup Garlic Scapes, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup toasted walnuts
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    1 cup olive oil
    Salt and Pepper to taste.

    Add Scapes, Kale and walnuts into a food processor and mix until finely chopped. With the processor still running, slowly add the olive oil. Remove pesto to a bowl and mix in the cheese. 

    Presto your Pesto is done! (Ok, that was cheesy but funny.) I served mine over whole wheat pasta.




    This was a quick and easy dinner to get on the table. Pesto is a go to staple in our house. I hope you try this recipe and it becomes one of yours too!

    Much love,
    Alyssa
    Ox 




Sunday, July 19, 2015

Power Green Smoothie



It's Sunday Funday friends! After an early morning run, I'm fueling up with my favorite smoothie. It's so delicious and jam packed with good for your ingredients I want to share it with you. I was mindful of the measurements this time, usually it's a little bit of this and a whole lotta green so please excuse some of that! ­čśë


Power Green Smoothie

2 big handfuls of organic spinach
1 cup frozen fruit ( I love this one from Trader Joes)
1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1 scoop Green Vibrance Powder ( great for the gut with 25 billion probiotics)
1 scoop Mega Food Daily Maca Plus Women Over 40 ( because I'm only as young as I feel! Supports the changing needs of women's reproductive system.)
1/4 tsp Turmeric (good for my joints)
Dash ground black pepper (enhances the efficacy of the Turmeric - food synergy)
16 oz water

Blend until smooth. Makes 32 oz of smoothie. Great start to your day or sip for breakfast and morning snack.




So good! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Get out there and have a Funday Sunday!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Garden Happenings and Couscous Salad recipe!

Garden Happenings!

So much has been happening in the garden.... all the veggies are exploding! Well not literally but geez a Lou, everything is huge! I know from experience that all the tomatoes, squash (oh the squash), beans and cucumbers will be ready all at the same time and I will be flipping through my recipes, old and new, in search of ways to nourish ourselves with all the over abundance of it all. I'll have to remember to breathe as well.









We LOVE growing a garden.  It's a family affair really.  It all starts when the snow is flying outside with the seed catalogs and the layout planning.  Just when we think winter Will.Never.End.... our chance to get dirty comes.  The kids help in the tilling of the soil, digging of the holes and planting of the seeds.  It's very rewarding to them once they see the fruits of their labor. 
 Do you have a garden?  What do you plant?


Mama Mingle Event!

Are you a new mama?  Are you expecting?  This is an amazing event just for you!
Come meet the best resources all in one place, meet other new and expectant mamas, eat delicious food and have fun!  I'm so excited to be a part of this event, I hope I see you there!



Couscous Salad Recipe!




This is my new favorite summer salad.  Remember the abundance I talked about earlier?  This is a great recipe to you some of that up!  Fresh veggies, pearled couscous and a smoked paprika dressing that's to die for.  Seriously, I'd put this dressing on everything it's that good!  I originally got this recipe from a cookbook but revamped it to make it my own. 
 Ask me how I can revamp a recipe of yours!

Dressing
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Couscous
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cup whole wheat pearl couscous (I used tri color, it's what I had on hand)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Salad
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained and coarsely chopped (Trader Joe's has a red and yellow roasted red pepper jar that I love!)
2 packed cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup garlic chives, diced
5 oz capers, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup slivered almonds

For the dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and pepper until smooth.

For the couscous:
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the couscous and cook, stirring frequently, until the couscous is golden, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups of water and the salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer until the couscous is just tender and the liquid is absorbed, 9 to 10 minutes.  Uncover and set aside to cool slightly.

For the salad:
In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, chives, capers and almonds.  Add the couscous and the dressing.  Toss until all the ingredients are coated.

Enjoy!

I hope you and your family enjoy this hearty salad, it's seriously good!  You can serve it at room temperature or chilled, making it the perfect dish for your next BBQ or picnic.


So my friends, thanks so much for stopping by.  Check back often for updates, more recipes and maybe some giveaways! 





Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mommy Mingles - July 21st


I'm so excited to be a part of  a fun event for new and expecting mamas!  Come and check out other local businesses and hear the latest information geared just for you!  This is a fantastic chance to connect with other mamas and it's FREE!  Plus you have a chance to win fabulous prizes!

I hope to see you there!





Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Later days of summer

Everything seems to happen later during summer.  Wake ups, meal times and bed times.  Why wouldn't they?  There's far too much fun to be had!  Bike riding, playing catch, street hockey, fires with smores and of course swimming.  So much swimming!  We surround ourselves with those who bring us joy and laugh until the sun sets and the sky turns a beautiful shade of pink.  Ahhh....summer!

Who cares that we take bites of dinner in between epic cannon balls?!  Or that our growing up, oh so fast daughter wakes a bit later to make popovers for everyone for breakfast?!
Memories are being made!  We will over indulge in this time and enjoy every bit of it!







Garden Happenings!


I get so excited when our garden starts popping!
Garlic, spinach, arugula, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn and squash.  Oh, did I mention I love summer?

The bees are doing well too.  Busy buzzing around.  We'll keep an eye on things as my husband is a bit concerned the queen isn't laying as many eggs as she should.  For such a small creature, they sure are complex!




Right now we have an over abundance of Arugula.  I absolutely love arugula!  This peppery green is a wonderful addition to salads and I've also made pesto with it.  Delicious!  I have the recipe for you this week.....

Healthy Recipe of the Week!




Arugula Pesto

2 packed cups of fresh arugula
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese ( I used a dairy free option)
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste.

In a food processor, blend the arugula and garlic until finely chopped.  With the machine running, gradually add the oil, processing until well blended.  Transfer the pesto to a large bowl, and stir in the Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Season the pesto with more salt and pepper to taste.
The pesto can be made up to 2 days ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.
*Adapted from Everyday Italian cookbook

I served this over whole wheat pasta and was eaten outside, in between an epic cannon ball contest at 8:30 at night.  Yup.....It's summer time!

Healthy Happenings!

Mamas Mingle

July 21st 6:30-8:30

Seacoast Birth and Family Connection
165 Lafayette Rd North Hampton, NH

Join me for a night just for you mamas!  
Connect with other mamas as you enjoy virgin cocktails and snacks, visit various professionals who are here to guide and nurture you on your parenting journey.

I will be speaking about the ways pregnant and nursing moms can have a healthier pregnancy and baby, experience a smoother delivery and recovery and how you can implement optimal pre and post-natal nutrition practices.




Wishing all of you a fantastic week that's filled with memories being made!

Much love,
Alyssa
OX