All posts by mgosser

Side Dish – Acorn Squash Sweet or Savory

Need a last minute side dish for Thanksgiving?  Try one of these 2 acorn squash recipes…or make both.  I made a sweet dish & a savory dish.  I can’t choose which one I like better.

Direction for cooking acorn squash:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut acorn squach in halves and scoop out seeds.
  3. Fill a glass Pyrex pan 1/2 way up with water and place squash halves with insides face down.
  4. Cover with tin foil and bake in oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour, until tender.
  5. Let cool, then scoop out insides of squash and put in a bowl, making sure to drain out any extra water.

Sweet Squash:

Ingredients:
-Squash
-Butter
-Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Add butter and cinnamon and mix into bowl with squash.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and serve.

 

Savory Squash:

Ingredients:
-Grated Parmesan Cheese
-Olive Oil
-Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Add cheese, olive oil, and black pepper and mix into bowl with squash.
  2. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve.

5 Minute Protein Packed Banana Pancakes

Sunday mornings call for panacakes!  These 5 minute, 5 ingredient pancakes are so easy and delicious.

Ingredients:

-2 medium ripe bananas
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup oats
-1/4 tsp. cinnamon
-*1/4 cup Amazing Grass Protein Superfood, peanut butter flavor
-Dark chocolate chips optional (my kids love chocolate chip pancakes and this is a healthy version you can feel good about!).

*protein powder is optional if you want extra protein packed pancakes!

Directions:

1. Put oats in blender and blend until fine.
2. In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork.
3. Add blended oats, eggs, cinnamon and protein powder (optional) to the mashed bananas and blend together.
4. Heat skillet over medium heat and spray with Pam Spray.
5. To make heart shapes, spray a heat friendly, heart shape pancake/egg ring with pam spray, put on skillet.
6. Pour mixture into heart shape, cook for 1-2 minutes on one side, then turn and cook on the other side for 1-1.5 minutes, until golden brown.
7. Serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Greek Inspired Meatballs & Tzatziki


I make meatballs a lot!  One, because they are super easy to make and two, because my kids LOVE them.  I wanted to make them a little different from my usual meatballs so I decided to pick up some fresh ground lamb and go with a Mediterranean theme.  I had a ton of cucumbers  in my refrigerator so I decided to make some fresh tzatziki dip and just have a spread of yummy foods that when all combined make a delicious meal (that is quick and easy of course!).

Tzatziki Dip

Ingredients:
Chobani Greek Yogurt
-2 medium cucumbers, finely chopped
-1/2 cup fresh dill, minced
-2-3 cloves garlic, minced
-Juice of freshly squeezed lemons (2-3 lemons, add more at end to taste)
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Add more more of any of the ingredients to get desired taste.
2. Refrigerate for one hour before serving, I find it sets all of the ingredients together to give the best taste.

Lamb Meatballs

I usually just eyeball the ingredients but here are some guidelines to follow.
Ingredients:
-1lb ground lamb
-1 egg
-1 garlic clove, finely chopped
-1/2 cup whole grain breadcrumbs
-1/2 cup quick oats
-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
-spices – I use premixed spices from a Greek Restaurant where I grew up, but it is just salt, pepper, oregano & paprika
-1/4 cup water (this is what keeps the meatballs moist!)

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine all ingredients together and mix with hands.
3. Form into medium size balls and place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for 25-30 min. until golden brown. Flip halfway through baking.

Serve with warm pita, olives, cucumbers, tomato, olive oil, balsamic glaze, avocado, fresh lemon, baby spinach leaves and whatever other items you desire!

Power Lunch: 10 minute Protein Packed Spinach Pasta

Power lunch 💥 If you haven’t tried Banza Pasta you are missing out! This bright orange box is packed full of nutrition: 25g Protein, 13g Fiber and it tastes delicious. Even my Italian 🍝 mama gave it her seal of approval ✅.


Ingredients:
1.Banza Pasta, One 8oz box Rotini
2.Olive Oil, a drizzle
3.One Shallot, finely chopped
4.Two Garlic Cloves, minced
5.1/2 Cup Edamame steamed and shelled
6.1 1/2 Cups Baby Spinach
7.Juice of a fresh squeezed Clementine 🍊
8.Hudson Valley Harvest Raw Honey, a drizzle
9.Parmesan Cheese, a sprinkle

Recipe:
1. Cook pasta- follow directions on the box. I only cook for 7 minutes to avoid pasta being mushy.
2. While pasta is cooking, sauté shallots and garlic in some olive oil in a pan for 2 minutes on medium heat.
3. Add cooked, drained pasta to pan with shallots and garlic.
4. Add baby spinach, edamame, Clementine juice🍊, and a drizzle of raw honey.
5. Cover pan on low heat for 1-2 minutes or until spinach wilts.
6.Serve topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Avocado Chicken Salad

Yummy and nutritious lunch today! Only 4 ingredients: leftover chicken from dinner (chop or shred it up), , avocado (great substitute for mayo), cilantro and fresh squeezed lime. Mix together and eat . You can put it on top of fresh spinach leaves, on a a piece of whole grain @daveskillerbread or on a GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbread Crackers (find them on @amazon). #healthy #lifestyle #nutrition #wellness #dietitian #eathealthy #avocado #ggcrackers #realfood #greekyogurt #healthylunchideas #iloveavocado

Prenatal Workout with Renee Peel of CRUNCH

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Whether you’re a workout buff or just starting out, exercising while pregnant is a whole new ball game. Staying fit and active is important during pregnancy. I attribute all of my smooth pregnancies and deliveries on the fact that I worked out. However, many modifications are necessary, therefore attending a prenatal class, letting an instructor of a regular class know you are pregnant so they can show you modifications or working with a personal trainer that specializes in prenatal exercise is extremely important.

I was lucky enough to have a workout session with Renee Peel, certified personal trainer, at CRUNCH gym in Hoboken, New Jersey. Renee is a mom of two so she knows what it’s like to be pregnant and workout. She is very knowledgeable on prenatal exercise and the one-on-one training was so amazing. Not only was she able to show me modifications that worked for me and were at my fitness level, she was also very helpful in correcting my form and making sure I used proper technique. Below are some tips from Renee along with a great prenatal workout that you can try on your own or with the help of a trainer.

“Working out while pregnant has so many benefits….too many to name! The best for me was that it made me feel sexy and energetic at a time where both those things are tough to feel! And, my recovery was so much better as a strong mom!” – Renee Peel

But you need to remember a few very important things:

1. Slow and Steady. This is not the time to overdue anything.

2. Stay hydrated and take breaks as needed. You should be able to hold conversation when exercising.

3. Increased relaxin hormone during pregnancy makes your joints more prone to injury. Avoid High impact exercises

4. Blood volume and cardiac output increases- avoid holding your breath!

5. After the 1st trimester Avoid exercises lying on your back. Work on standing core strengthening exercises instead.

6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Keeping yourself and baby healthy are the most important things!

Prenatal Exercise Routine designed by Renee Peel of Crunch:

During my session Renee noted reps and sets to use as a good pregnancy total body workout. She said that she would typically start with foam rolling and some kind of light warm up (a 5 minute walk on the treadmill).

We started with Tail wags (sitting on a stability ball and moving hips from left to right – like a dog – see image) and Pelvic Clocks (moving hips in a circular motion – 10 in each direction) on stability ball – 1 set of 20 each – work these in between Exercise Groups 1 and 2, see below…

When using a stability ball make sure it is the proper size.  Renee said that when sitting on the ball, legs should be at a 90 degree angle.
When using a stability ball make sure it is the proper size. Renee said when sitting on the ball, legs should be at a 90 degree angle.

Tail wag to the right
Tail wag to the right
Tail wag to the left
Tail wag to the left

GROUP 1

Pelvic Clocks and Tail Wags- 1 set of 20 each

1a. Bilateral and Unilateral TRX Rows- 2 sets of 12 reps Bilateral and 1 set of 12reps unilateral- 6 each side

Bilateral TRX Rows
Bilateral TRX Rows
Unilateral TRX Rows
Unilateral TRX rows

1b. Unilateral Horizontal Cable Row- 3 sets of 20- 10 each arm
Unilateral Horizontal Cable Row
Unilateral Horizontal Cable Row

1c. Body Weight Squats- 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps – sorry no image, these are standard squats, legs should be shoulder width apart. Toes should face forward, however as your bump gets bigger, turning your toes out on a slight angle will feel more comfortable.

Pelvic Clocks and Tail Wags- 1 set of 20 each

GROUP 2

2a. Single Leg Hip hinge and static hold- work up to balance and hinge on one leg for 45s to 1 min- 3 sets

Single Leg Hip hinge and static hold
Single Leg Hip hinge and static hold

2b. Split Squats- 20 reps- 10 each leg
Split Squats
Split Squats

2c. Modified Side Plank- 30s hold on each side
Modified Side Plank
Modified Side Plank
Modified Side Plank
Modified Side Plank

Pelvic Clocks and Tail Wags- 1 set of 20 each

This was an amazing workout. It may look easy, but believe me it wasn’t. It was very challenging, but I never did anything that made me feel uncomfortable. Renee was able to evaluate my personal fitness level to make a routine that works for me. If you want to try a Personal Training Session at Crunch click HERE

Flourless Banana Pancakes

pancakes

I LOVE pancakes, but they aren’t always the healthiest option. My kids love them too, so my husband came up with a healthier version allowing us to eat what we love without the guilt! They are SO delicious!

Ingredients:
-2 medium size bananas, chopped
-2 eggs
-2 tablespoons PB2
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-fresh melon and berries (for top of pancakes)

Directions:
1. Blend banana, eggs, PB2, oats, and baking powder until smooth.
2. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes to allow to thicken.
3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, add batter (spoonful size) and cook until golden brown on both sides.
4. Top with fruit and serve!

Two Girls & A…

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Whenever I tell someone I’m pregnant the first question is “Are you going to find out what you are having?” I found out for my first two. With my first it was amazing. We had the dr. write the sex of the baby and put it in an envelope. My husband and I went on a babymoon to Antiqua and sat on a quiet dock on the beach and opened the envelope. It was so exciting and we couldn’t have been happier to learn we were having a baby girl. It made it all seem so real. I felt like I was really able to bond with my baby. For number two we had a lot of issues and found out what we were having on not such a good note. I saw it on the paper when they were going over our test results and I actually was upset to know because in case anything was wrong or happened now I felt attached. I had two totally opposite experiences. I always said if I had a girl and a boy I would let number three be a surprise. However since that is not the case my type A personality wants to know because I like being prepared. If it’s a girl I already have most of the things I need, however if it’s a boy it’s a whole new ball game. I also know that my husband would really like a boy. After all we went through, we obviously just want a healthy baby, but I know deep down he is wishing for a boy. I don’t ever want him to have even a minute where he is upset in the delivery room if the baby comes out and it is another girl. I want the experience to be complete joy!

From the moment I told my oldest daughter I was pregnant she said it was a boy. I told her that we didn’t know and if it is a girl she still has to love her. She insisted it was a boy and I was actually a little concerned because if we were having a girl I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be. It’s a 50/50 chance either way. I have read some statistics that say if you have two of one sex already your chances increase of having the same sex for the third, but how do they really know? I was convinced I was having a girl, so we had two conflicting opinions in my household. My pregnancy has been very similar to my first two, which were girls. I looked that up too and some people had different pregnancies with girls and boys and some felt the same. I also saw that some people were really sick while pregnant with a girl and I have friends who were really ill with a boy. I think everyone is different. Of course we look for signs and symptoms and their are old wives tales, it just makes it more fun and ineresteing. So my husband and I decided that we were going to find out. One of our friends had a gender reveal party, that seems to be the thing to do these days. So we said maybe we would have a few close friends come over and get some cupcakes and have our girls bite into the cupcakes to reveal the gender. We had our 13 week sonogram and the tech asked us what we had at home and we said two girls. She said do you want to know what you are having? I was shocked because it was only 13 weeks, how could she tell. She said she was 90% sure what it was as she could see it very clearly on the sonogram. I looked at my husband and was like do you want to know. We were both very anxious. So we said lets just find out! We are so excited to announce that baby number three is a…

A BOY!
A BOY!

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How To Pack A Lunch Box

image from www.laptoplunches.com
image from www.laptoplunches.com

My daughter’s last day of school is today (sob!). I can’t believe how fast this year went. By the end of the year I think we are all out of new ideas. With camp starting next week, I want to start fresh and that includes new improved lunch box ideas. I feel like at the beginning of the year I am all creative and by the end I’m lucky if I can get out of the door on time. I put together a list of some tips and a link to some amazing ideas so that you don’t have to think and your kids will think you are the best mom ever!

1. Keep foods simple – simple and easy-to-eat foods interest young children. Packaging children can open and food they can easily eat help develop confidence and independence when eating their meals.

2. Add contrast and variety – by using lots of colors, flavors, textures and shapes lunches become more appealing.
-Color: Include foods with at least two colors from the rainbow along with neutral colors from dairy, meats and grains
-Flavors: Children tend to prefer mild-tasting foods. Think of different foods your child might like and select a variety of flavors each week. It can be different sandwich fillings, breads, vegetables, fruits, and cheeses, just try to add variety.
-Texture: Combine crunchy/crispy foods such as fresh veggies, fruits, nuts and crackers with soft textures like bread, pasta, and lunchmeat.
-Shapes: Make lunch look more interesting and therefore more tempting by cutting foods into circles, triangles or other fun shapes. Use a cookie cutter to transform a sandwich and add foods that come in interesting shapes naturally such as broccoli trees or sliced bell pepper rings.

3. Create balance – Include a variety of foods from all the food groups including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains.

4. Don’t use the lunch box as a testing ground for new foods. Have your child try new foods at home first. If they like the new food, then include it in their lunch box.

5. Serving size – Small children have small stomachs that can only hold small amounts of food. Sending too much food for lunch will most likely result in food waste and may encourage your child to overeat.

6. Don’t forget about breakfast – Start the day by serving your child a healthy breakfast at home. A healthy breakfast and snacks along with a lunch that includes child-sized servings should keep you child satisfied throughout the day.

7. Ask your child – let your child help pack their lunch or ask they what their favorite fruits, vegetables, sandwich, foods are. By letting them give input they are more likely to enjoy their lunch.

8. Add something special – an occasional surprise in your child’s lunch that is a non-food item will be welcomed by your child. Let them know they are special by adding something such as a note, colorful napkin, sticker or a picture of family or a pet.

9. Be safe – pack lunches in insulated containers with a frozen ice pack.

For inspiration check out this gallery of lunch box ideas from Laptop Lunches

Three is the New Two

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It seems like everyone I know these days is having a third child. For years it felt like everyone was having two. Two seems like a good number; There is one child for each parent to manage, everything you book from vacations and hotels seems to be accomodating for 4 (two adults and two kids); it just seems like the perfect number. I have been reading a lot about the transistion from two to three kids. The message seems to be consistant that three just kind of puts you over the edge. Some say, now the parents are outnumbered, trips, traveling, cars, become more difficult to do and purchase and overall it’s just a lot of work. I can totally see how that can be an issue. I myself think the hardest transition was from no kids to one kid; talk about shock, I had no clue what so ever! Going from one to two seemed manageable because I was already in it and I kind of new what I was doing. Obviously it was chaotic at first, but once we settled into a routine and the sleep deprivation wore off all seemed good and normal. My husband and I always said that we wanted three kids. Three weeks into my second being born, my sleep deprived husband said he may have changed his mind about having a third. We went through a lot of drama before we had our second and that kind of sucked the life out of us, but I always knew in the back of my head he would change his mind. I was content, I had my two girls, my best buddies. I know he always wanted a boy and the only way he may ever get one is if we went for a third. However, there was a 50% chance that we could end up with a girl, actually, I think if you already have two girls the chance of having a third is more like 85%, but who really knows for sure, I always say it’s a 50/50 shot.

Just as I predicted, my husband got back on the three train. So we went for it and I am now pregnant with my third, due September 2015. I know we are crazy. We have an almost 4 year-old and a 15 month-old. While the next several years are going to be completely chaotic (and that is an understatement), I am so happy we did. I always think of the future and having a big family at holidays and gatherings. It just seems right. While I am a little scared (ok, petrified) of how I’m going to manage 3 kids 4 and under, I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last. Being a parent is a tough job and sometimes (ok, most of the time) I am frustrated and hectic and a complete disaster, but when I get those special moments, the kisses, the hugs, holding their little hands, being their hero, witnessing them accomplish milestones, rocking them to sleep, being the most important person in their lives, it is so worth it. This time goes by all too fast. My oldest is going to be four and I swear I just blinked. All too soon I will be driving them off to college. For now I am going to enjoy the emotional rollercoaster called parenthood and get ready for my third round!

Me and my little ladies. Someone doesn't look too excited about becoming the middle child!
Me and my little ladies. Someone doesn’t look too excited about becoming the middle child!