Toothpaste Batik

batik

What is batik?

Batik is both an art and a craft, which is becoming more popular and well known in the West as a wonderfully creative medium. The art of decorating cloth in this way, using wax and dye, has been practised for centuries. In Java, Indonesia, batik is part of an ancient tradition, and some of the finest batik cloth in the world is still made there. The word batik originates from the Javanese tik and means to dot. batikguild.org.uk

Supplies:

Scrap paper
Embroidery hoop
Pencil
Sharpie pen
White toothpaste
Hand lotion
White fabric or
muslin
Squeeze bottle
Paint brush
Permanent tempera or acrylic paint
Colored Sharpies


final

Instructions:

1: Select your embroidery hoop size and trace your circle. Then kids can begin drawing their ideas on to scrap paper. Tape your picture to a piece of cardboard or hard surface and trace with a black Sharpie marker. Make sure there is something under your art in case the Sharpie bleeds through.

2: Then, tape a piece of white fabric over the drawing. The Sharpie lines should be visible through the fabric. Doing it this way, means there are no pencil lines on the fabric.

3: Mix toothpaste and aloe hand lotion together in squeeze bottles. The ratio is 1-to-1. It doesn't have to be exact, you just don't want it runny. I found the lotion and toothpaste at Dollar Tree and used glue bottles for squeeze bottles. You can use glue instead of the toothpaste-lotion mix, but it is less precise and the glue lines can seep together making it blobby looking. Right before use, shake your bottle, then trace over your lines beginning at the top so you don't smudge your work.

4: It takes about 24 hours to dry and will feel rubbery when dry.

5: Paint directly onto your fabric. Tempera paint is best because it drys soft while acrylic dries hard. Try your favorite brand, but remember: DO NOT USE WASHABLE PAINT!  You can paint right over the toothpaste/lotion lines.

6: Let the paint dry. To remove the toothpaste mix, run the fabric under warm water and rub gently. If you used glue instead of the toothpaste mix, soak in warm water for about an hour.

7: Add additional details as desired with Sharpie markers. Insert into the embroidery hoops, hang and enjoy.

Back to (cooking) School

Making cookies and treats with your kids is fun, but teaching them recipes they can use to actually feed themselves, is giving them an important life skill. That's what sisters, Esme and Calista Washburn, did in their new cookbook, 20 Recipes Kids Should Know. With tips, techniques and recipes written by kids and for kids, this cookbook will give your children the basics they need to be proficient in the kitchen.

CRISPIEST BREADED CHICKEN

PREP TIME 5 MINUTES    COOKING TIME 6 MINUTES SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

1/2 CUP(65 g) all-purpose flour

1 large egg

3/4 CUP (60 g) panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs

1 TEASPOON fine sea salt

1/2 TEASPOON ground black
pepper

4 pieces thin-cut boneless, skinless chicken breast or cutlets

2 TABLESPOONS canola or vegetable oil, plus more if needed

NOTE: You can substitute the chicken with a white fish, such as cod, tilapia, or sole. The cooking time is about the same.

DIRECTIONS

1Put the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow bowls.

2 Whisk the egg until it is a uniform yellow color with no streaks of egg white or yolk.

3 Add the salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs and stir until mixed thoroughly.

4 Place each piece of chicken in the flour and turn to coat in a thin layer of flour.

5 Dip and flip each flour-coated piece of chicken in the egg mixture so that it is completely covered with egg.

6 Place each egg-coated piece of chicken in the breadcrumb mixture and turn to completely coat in breadcrumbs.

7Heat a cast-iron skillet or any heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.

8 Add the oil and heat until a drop of egg sizzles when added to the pan. If you are using a large pan, you might need to use extra oil.

9Add the chicken and cook, flipping once, until golden brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes per side. If you use thicker pieces of chicken, you will need to cook it for longer. Add extra oil to the pan between batches as needed.

10 Remove the chicken from the pan and let it sit in a paper towel to remove
excess oil.

 

 

 

PERFECT PIZZA

PREP TIME FOR PIZZA DOUGH 15 MINUTES RISING TIME FOR DOUGH 45 MINUTES PREP TIME 5 MINUTES PER PIZZA COOKING TIME 3 TO 5 MINUTES PER PIZZA MAKES 6 (8- TO 10-INCH / 20 TO 25 CM) PIZZAS

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE DOUGH

2 (1/4-ounce / 7 g) packages active-dry yeast

1 1/2CUPS plus 2 tablespoons (385 ml) warm water

4CUPS (520 g) all-purpose flour

3TABLESPOONS extra-virgin olive oil

1TABLESPOON coarse sea or kosher salt

2TEASPOONS sugar

2TABLESPOONS cornmeal for dusting (optional)

FOR THE TOPPINGS

3/4 to11/4 CUPS (180 to 295 ml) Tomato Sauce or Pesto

15OUNCES (425 g) mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh

2TABLESPOONS (30 ml) extra- virgin olive oil

1 1/2cups (85 g) grated Parmigiano- Reggiano
cheese
(optional)

Coarse sea salt or kosher salt to taste

Fresh basil leaves, for serving (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

MAKE THE DOUGH

1 In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, or in a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water then add the flour, olive oil, salt, and sugar.

2Using the dough hook, mix the ingredients on low for 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 1 to 2 minutes. Form the dough into a ball. You can also knead the dough by hand; see step 5 in the recipe for Back to Basics Bread (page 45) for kneading instructions.

3 Put the dough in a clean medium bowl that's been lightly oiled with vegetable or canola oil. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel (or plastic wrap). This prevents the dough from getting a hard crust while it rises. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

4Divide the dough into six equal portions and shape each portion into a round ball. Place the balls of dough on a lightly floured work surface, cover with the damp tea towel, and let sit for 15 minutes.

 

 

MAKE THE PIZZA

1Preheat the oven to its highest setting, usually 550oF (285oC). Place a pizza stone or baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and let it heat up for 5 minutes.

2Dust a pizza peel or large cutting board with cornmeal or flour. Using your fingers and knuckles, gently stretch a ball of dough into an 8- to 10-inch (20 to 25 cm)  circle and place on the prepared pizza peel.

3Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce or pesto evenly on the dough using the back of a spoon. Tear 2 1⁄2 ounces (70 grams) of mozzarella into small (roughly 1-inch / 2.5 cm) pieces and scatter over the tomato sauce. Add toppings, if desired. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt to taste.

4With the help of an adult, slide the dough onto the pizza stone in the oven. Bake until the crust is lightly brown and the cheese is bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes.

5Remove the pizza from the oven and cool for 1 minute. Top with Parmigiano- Reggiano and basil, if using, and serve whole or cut into quarters.

 

Excerpts from 20 Recipes Kids Should Know (Prestel, 2019), recipes and text by Esme Washburn, Photographs by Calista Washburn.


Back to school gear guide

back to school

 

Give back.
Those long school supply lists can be a burden for families, so remember those in need. Many schools and districts collect surplus supplies for those who need a helping hand. Some retailers also allow you to purchase supplies to be donated to local schools. Explore give-back programs in your community or start one of your own.

Shop local.
Online shopping is a busy mom's best friend. How else can you manage a 2 a.m. feeding while ticking items off of your back-to-school list? But it can be isolating, so don't forget about your neighborhood retailers when buying your back-to-school supplies this year. Supporting local businesses helps your local economy, builds your community and gets you out of the house!

Team up.
You don't have to do this alone. Get together with friends to buy items in bulk (at a cheaper price), then split the supplies. Or tap into social media groups to swap extra items with other moms-you might have unused notebooks from last year while they have unopened boxes of crayons to trade.

Don't break the bank.
While it's fun to splurge on one or two choice items like the ones featured here, save your wallet by purchasing bulk items for the remaining supplies: pencils, erasers, notebooks, etc. And before you do any shopping, be sure to take an inventory of what you already have. You might be surprised to find unused or barely used paints, pencils, folders and other supplies left over from last year. Thrift stores and garage sales can also be great places to find unique supplies like backpacks, pencil pouches and more.

Lunch Box Love Notes

At the beginning of the new school year it's easy to feel ambitious about our ability to get the kids up early, eat breakfast, pack healthy lunches, check homework and get everyone out the door on time every morning (bonus if both socks match). But let's be honest, as the year progresses we're lucky if a comb passes over their hair once a week. So if you've got grand ideas about slipping a loving note into your child's lunch box every day, or even once in awhile (we recommend the once-in-awhile approach), you need to be armed with some tools to make it easy.

Tips

Stock up. Keep notecards, Post it® notes, or scratch paper on hand in the kitchen so you can quickly scribble a message as you're packing all those healthy lunches. Heck, you can even jot down a little note on a paper napkin as you slip it into their lunchbox.
Get inspired. Raid your books or the internet for quotes, riddles and poems that will put a smile on your child's face during their school day.
Print it. The internet is full of free printable lunch notes like these.
Interact. Ask a question that your child can answer after school.

Get Started!

Click the photo to get our Lunch Box Love Notes Printable file, then Cut them out and add your own personal message on the back.

LunchBoxLoveNotes_MOM_Magazine-1

 

 

Travel Advice

map

If you're thinking about planning your own family train trip, take some advice from the Evans family

Set the tone. Attitude is everything. You the parents set the tone for the trip.

Study up. We spent weeks reading books about American History so that what we saw on our trip would mean more. We also watched National Treasure since it visits each of the main cities we were planning to visit. This helped the boys appreciate the importance of the museums and artifacts we visited. Lastly, and probably the most helpful and by complete accident, we had been watching The Amazing Race leading up to our trip. The boys not only gained an appreciation of travel, but they also observed what works well when traveling together and what doesn't. I really believe that this had a tremendous effect on their attitudes throughout the trip.

Scenario plan. Talk through potential situations with your kids beforehand so they know what to do in different circumstances.

Empower your kids. Whenever possible, let them make choices and allow them to handle their own ticket. The more you allow them to feel grown up on a trip like this, the more mature and easy-going the trip will be.

Keep something up your sleeve. Don't show your whole hand at once. Introduce new activities (and snacks) throughout the trip.

Feed them. Often!

Laugh a lot. Be able to laugh at the bumps in the road (or on the train) that are bound to happen.

Praise. Tell them frequently that you are so glad you have kids that can travel like this. Remind them that you can take a trip like this because you have kids that can handle it. Set the bar realistically high and they will reach it.


Pick up a magzine to read the full article.


Summer time in the blueberry patch

One of the sure signs of summer in the Northwest is blueberries. They're delicious all on their own, or try mixing things up with some of these blueberry-inspired recipes.

 

When mom needs a cocktail, this refreshing spritzer is just the thing.
Or forego the alcohol and make it a mocktail everyone can enjoy.

 

Ingredients:

3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

1 cup simple syrup:

½ cup lime juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 cup mint leaves, torn

4 cups club soda

8 fluid ounces vodka (optional)

1 cup blueberries, fresh

Directions:

To make the blueberry base combine the first four ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from the heat and add the mint leaves, then stir with a wooden spoon to release the mint aromas. Chill completely and strain out solids into a container by pushing on the blueberries to extract as much juice as possible.

For each drink combine 3 ounces of the chilled blueberry base in a shaker with ½ cup ice cubes; 1 fluid ounce vodka, if using, and shake to muddle and strain into a chilled glass. Add 4 ounces club soda and garnish with a few blueberries and a mint leaf.

 

 

Blueberry_slice

 

 

As if blueberries weren't good enough, this cheesecake recipe pairs the sweet-tart flavor of fresh blueberries with savory cream cheese for a decadent-tasting dessert.

Ingredients:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons honey, divided

1 container (8 ounces) nonfat orange or tangerine yogurt

4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, from an 8-ounce package

¾ cup nonfat cottage cheese

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 eggs

2 cups fresh blueberries

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons of the honey, then transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. With the back of a spoon, press mixture onto bottom and halfway up sides of plate.

In a food processor container, place yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese and cornstarch. Whirl until smooth, about 1 minute. Add eggs, whirl until blended.

Pour about half of the cheese mixture onto the crust. Top with ½ cup of the blueberries, then cover with remaining cheese mixture.

Bake until firm, about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

In a microwaveable dish, microwave the remaining 1 tablespoon honey just until liquefied, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining 1 ½ cups blueberries and toss to coat. Top pie with berries.

Loosely cover pie and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

No Foolin'

 

Did you know that April Fools' Day was started by an exhausted mom who wanted to play a trick on her family by resetting all of the clocks in the house so that she could stay in bed? Just fooling!
The actual origins of April Fools' Day are unknown, but History.com tells us that historians speculate the holiday dates back to 1582. That's when France switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. People who failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as poisson d'avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, "easily hooked" fish and a gullible person.
Kid-friendly April Fools' Day pranks
Don't be an April fish. If you want to get in on the joke, think Elf-on-the-Shelf meets a mischievous leprechaun and you'll be in the right mindset for some fun April Fools' Day pranks. Here are a few ideas to fool your family.
* Set the clocks forward an hour, then wake the kids up by frantically announcing that you're late. After they scramble to get ready, surprise them with a breakfast treat.
* Tell your kids you're having cupcakes for dinner. Then serve meatloaf "cupcakes" topped with mashed potatoes colored to look like frosting.
* Surprise your kids with a bowl of frozen cereal. The night before, pour cereal in a bowl and about half the milk, then freeze. In the morning top up with a little fresh milk before serving.
* Stuff the inside tips of your children's shoes with tissue or cotton balls. They'll be confused as to why their shoes suddenly don't fit. Throw in some casual comments about how their feet look like they've grown.
* Put a small drop of food coloring inside the bristles of your children's toothbrushes. If the drops are little, they won't even realize they're there until they begin brushing their teeth and discover a yuck mouth.
* Pour some baking soda in the toilet. Then, when your little ones go potty in the morning, it will fizz up and surprise them.
Keep it fun
April Fool's Day is a time for jokes and pranks, but kids sometimes lack the maturity to distinguish between a fun-loving joke and a hurtful one. Teach your child about "laughing with, not at someone." Emphasize that a good joke includes everyone laughing together, not picking on someone or leaving them out.

april_fish_490px.jpg

Did you know that April Fools' Day was started by an exhausted mom who wanted to play a trick on her family by resetting all of the clocks in the house so that she could stay in bed? Just fooling!

The actual origins of April Fools' Day are unknown, but History.com tells us that historians speculate the holiday dates back to 1582. That's when France switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. People who failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as poisson d'avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, "easily hooked" fish and a gullible person.

Kid-friendly April Fools' Day pranks

Don't be an April fish. If you want to get in on the joke, think Elf-on-the-Shelf meets a mischievous leprechaun and you'll be in the right mindset for some fun April Fools' Day pranks. Here are a few ideas to fool your family.

  • Set the clocks forward an hour, then wake the kids up by frantically announcing that you're late. After they scramble to get ready, surprise them with a breakfast treat.
  • Tell your kids you're having cupcakes for dinner. Then serve meatloaf "cupcakes" topped with mashed potatoes colored to look like frosting.
  • Surprise your kids with a bowl of frozen cereal. The night before, pour cereal in a bowl and about half the milk, then freeze. In the morning top up with a little fresh milk before serving.
  • Stuff the inside tips of your children's shoes with tissue or cotton balls. They'll be confused as to why their shoes suddenly don't fit. Throw in some casual comments about how their feet look like they've grown.
  • Put a small drop of food coloring inside the bristles of your children's toothbrushes. If the drops are little, they won't even realize they're there until they begin brushing their teeth and discover a yuck mouth.
  • Pour some baking soda in the toilet. Then, when your little ones go potty in the morning, it will fizz up and surprise them.

Keep it fun

April Fool's Day is a time for jokes and pranks, but kids sometimes lack the maturity to distinguish between a fun-loving joke and a hurtful one. Teach your child about "laughing with, not at someone." Emphasize that a good joke includes everyone laughing together, not picking on someone or leaving them out.

 

 

How Sweet It Is

cookie_bars_490px.jpg

HOW SWEET IT IS
For most of us, a birthday just wouldn't be a celebration without a sweet treat. But who wants a dozen toddlers running around their house jacked up on sugar? So try these tasty recipes using natural sweeteners.
Brown rice trail bars
From the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN
Ingredients
2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup brown rice syrup or coconut nectar
? cup almond butter or peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups Erewhon Brown Rice Crispy Cereal (gluten-free)
? cup sesame seeds
? cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
? cup chopped nuts, optional
? cup raisins or dried cranberries
Directions
Grease a 9x13-inch glass baking pan with coconut oil and set aside.
Heat coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown rice syrup and nut butter and heat until tiny bubbles form, stirring constantly, but gently, with a wire whisk. Immediately take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Place remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Pour the hot syrup mixture over it and immediately mix together with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press the mixture flat with a rubber spatula.
Almond cookies
From Dr. Virginia Shapiro
Ingredients
1? cups raw almonds (organic are best)
? teaspoon sea salt
? teaspoon baking powder
? cup cocoa powder, optional
? cup maple syrup
Directions
Blend almonds in a food processor into a thick paste (this takes time, so be patient).
Blend in the salt, baking powder and cocoa. Add maple syrup and a ball of dough will form in the processor. Remove the dough and finish mixing by hand, if needed.
Form 1" balls, flatten well and place on a baking sheet that has been greased with coconut oil.
Bake at 350°F about 10-13 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool.
Chocolate banana "ice cream"
From the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN
Ingredients
? cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons water
3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 large frozen bananas, sliced
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Directions
Process cashews, water and maple syrup in a food processor until creamy and smooth. Add frozen banana slices and the cacao powder and process until smooth, thick and creamy.
Serve immediately or freeze for later use.
4-6 servings
Let them eat cake!
If you're making a birthday cake, cut calories and reduce fat with these healthy substitutions.
Applesauce instead of oil. Substitute 1/4 cup of the oil in your favorite cake recipe with the same amount of applesauce and you will remove 490 calories without cutting the flavor.
Cream cheese instead of shortening. For a healthier frosting simply substitute cream cheese or whipped cream-based frosting for fattier shortening-based ones. Dairy-based spreads can cut 1,000 calories or more from a recipe while also lowering the fat. And, as a bonus, you'll be getting some protein, which helps balance out the blood sugar. It's like getting a present from your cake!
The hierarchy of sweeteners
When choosing a sweetener, consider these options listed in order from best to worst:
(graphic)
A note about alcohol sugars (xylitol, erythritol): The primary issue with alcohol sugars, often found in "sugar-free" foods, is that they are hard on the gastrointestinal tract. They cause indigestion in most people and can disturb the microbiome. They should be consumed in small amounts intermittently-not in substantial amounts or used daily in any amount.
Recipes and content provided by First Alternative Co-op (https://firstalt.coop).

For most of us, a birthday just wouldn't be a celebration without a sweet treat. But who wants a dozen toddlers running around their house jacked up on sugar? So try these tasty recipes using natural sweeteners.

Brown rice trail bars

From the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan

1 cup brown rice syrup or coconut nectar

3/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 cups Erewhon Brown Rice Crispy Cereal (gluten-free)

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds

1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

3/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Directions

Grease a 9x13-inch glass baking pan with coconut oil and set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown rice syrup and nut butter and heat until tiny bubbles form, stirring constantly, but gently, with a wire whisk. Immediately take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Place remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Pour the hot syrup mixture over it and immediately mix together with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press the mixture flat with a rubber spatula.

 

Almond cookies

From Dr. Virginia Shapiro

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups raw almonds (organic are best)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup cocoa powder, optional

1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions

Blend almonds in a food processor into a thick paste (this takes time, so be patient).

Blend in the salt, baking powder and cocoa. Add maple syrup and a ball of dough will form in the processor. Remove the dough and finish mixing by hand, if needed.

Form 1" balls, flatten well and place on a baking sheet that has been greased with coconut oil.

Bake at 350°F about 10-13 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool.

 

Chocolate banana "ice cream"

From the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN

Ingredients

1/2 cup raw cashews

2 tablespoons water

3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup

3 large frozen bananas, sliced

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Directions

Process cashews, water and maple syrup in a food processor until creamy and smooth. Add frozen banana slices and the cacao powder and process until smooth, thick and creamy.

Serve immediately or freeze for later use.

4-6 servings

 

Let them eat cake!

If you're making a birthday cake, cut calories and reduce fat with these healthy substitutions.

Applesauce instead of oil. Substitute 1/4 cup of the oil in your favorite cake recipe with the same amount of applesauce and you will remove 490 calories without cutting the flavor.

Cream cheese instead of shortening. For a healthier frosting simply substitute cream cheese or whipped cream-based frosting for fattier shortening-based ones. Dairy-based spreads can cut 1,000 calories or more from a recipe while also lowering the fat. And, as a bonus, you'll be getting some protein, which helps balance out the blood sugar. It's like getting a present from your cake!

 

The hierarchy of sweeteners

When choosing a sweetener, consider these options listed in order from best to worst:

sweeteners_300px.jpg

A note about alcohol sugars (xylitol, erythritol): The primary issue with alcohol sugars, often found in "sugar-free" foods, is that they are hard on the gastrointestinal tract. They cause indigestion in most people and can disturb the microbiome. They should be consumed in small amounts intermittently-not in substantial amounts or used daily in any amount.

Recipes and content provided by First Alternative Co-op (https://firstalt.coop).

 

How Sweet It Is

 

For most of us, a birthday just wouldn't be a celebration without a sweet treat. But who wants a dozen toddlers running around their house jacked up on sugar? So try these tasty recipes using natural sweeteners.
Brown rice trail bars
From the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN
Ingredients
2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup brown rice syrup or coconut nectar
? cup almond butter or peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups Erewhon Brown Rice Crispy Cereal (gluten-free)
? cup sesame seeds
? cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
? cup chopped nuts, optional
? cup raisins or dried cranberries
Directions
Grease a 9x13-inch glass baking pan with coconut oil and set aside.
Heat coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown rice syrup and nut butter and heat until tiny bubbles form, stirring constantly, but gently, with a wire whisk. Immediately take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Place remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Pour the hot syrup mixture over it and immediately mix together with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press the mixture flat with a rubber spatula.
Almond cookies
From Dr. Virginia Shapiro
Ingredients
1? cups raw almonds (organic are best)
? teaspoon sea salt
? teaspoon baking powder
? cup cocoa powder, optional
? cup maple syrup
Directions
Blend almonds in a food processor into a thick paste (this takes time, so be patient).
Blend in the salt, baking powder and cocoa. Add maple syrup and a ball of dough will form in the processor. Remove the dough and finish mixing by hand, if needed.
Form 1" balls, flatten well and place on a baking sheet that has been greased with coconut oil.
Bake at 350°F about 10-13 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool.
Chocolate banana "ice cream"
From the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN
Ingredients
? cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons water
3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 large frozen bananas, sliced
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Directions
Process cashews, water and maple syrup in a food processor until creamy and smooth. Add frozen banana slices and the cacao powder and process until smooth, thick and creamy.
Serve immediately or freeze for later use.
4-6 servings
Let them eat cake!
If you're making a birthday cake, cut calories and reduce fat with these healthy substitutions.
Applesauce instead of oil. Substitute 1/4 cup of the oil in your favorite cake recipe with the same amount of applesauce and you will remove 490 calories without cutting the flavor.
Cream cheese instead of shortening. For a healthier frosting simply substitute cream cheese or whipped cream-based frosting for fattier shortening-based ones. Dairy-based spreads can cut 1,000 calories or more from a recipe while also lowering the fat. And, as a bonus, you'll be getting some protein, which helps balance out the blood sugar. It's like getting a present from your cake!
The hierarchy of sweeteners
When choosing a sweetener, consider these options listed in order from best to worst:
(graphic)
A note about alcohol sugars (xylitol, erythritol): The primary issue with alcohol sugars, often found in "sugar-free" foods, is that they are hard on the gastrointestinal tract. They cause indigestion in most people and can disturb the microbiome. They should be consumed in small amounts intermittently-not in substantial amounts or used daily in any amount.
Recipes and content provided by First Alternative Co-op (https://firstalt.coop).

cookie_bars_490px

For most of us, a birthday just wouldn't be a celebration without a sweet treat. But who wants a dozen toddlers running around their house jacked up on sugar? So try these tasty recipes using natural sweeteners.

 

Brown rice trail bars

From the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup brown rice syrup or coconut nectar
3/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups Erewhon Brown Rice Crispy Cereal (gluten-free)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
3/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Directions

Grease a 9x13-inch glass baking pan with coconut oil and set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown rice syrup and nut butter and heat until tiny bubbles form, stirring constantly, but gently, with a wire whisk. Immediately take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Place remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Pour the hot syrup mixture over it and immediately mix together with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press the mixture flat with a rubber spatula.

 

Almond cookies

From Dr. Virginia Shapiro

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups raw almonds (organic are best)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder, optional
1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions

Blend almonds in a food processor into a thick paste (this takes time, so be patient).

Blend in the salt, baking powder and cocoa. Add maple syrup and a ball of dough will form in the processor. Remove the dough and finish mixing by hand, if needed.

Form 1" balls, flatten well and place on a baking sheet that has been greased with coconut oil.

Bake at 350°F about 10-13 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool.

 

Chocolate banana "ice cream"

From the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN

Ingredients

1/2 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons water
3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 large frozen bananas, sliced
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Directions

Process cashews, water and maple syrup in a food processor until creamy and smooth. Add frozen banana slices and the cacao powder and process until smooth, thick and creamy.

Serve immediately or freeze for later use.

4-6 servings

 

Recipes and content provided by First Alternative Co-op (https://firstalt.coop).

 

Birthday Party Survival Guide

 

BIRTHDAY PARTY SURVIVAL GUIDE
We love a good party, but birthday party planning can get a little out of hand. Here are some tips for throwing a great party without losing your mind.
Theme:
No theme, no problem. You don't need a clever theme to pull together a great party. Simply ask your child to pick their favorite color, shape or animal and run with it. Whether it's stripes and polka dots, blue and green, or ladybugs, you've got yourself a theme.
The internet is a party-planning mom's best friend. Whatever your theme, you'll find free printables you can use online. You just need to search.
Invitations:
Your friend the internet will likely have some free invitation templates that work with your theme. Or you can purchase a digital design from an online merchant like etsy for $5- $15. Better yet, make your own design using canva.com
Location:
We don't care what it takes, just keep the party out of your house. Even if weather prevents you from hosting the party outside, devote your garage or basement to the cause. Setup and cleanup will be easier and your house won't take a beating. Better yet, get out of your house all together. Often the cost of hosting a party at an outside venue like a pizza parlor or bowling alley is justified when you factor in the cost savings from not decorating your house, planning activities, etc.
Entertainment:
Keeping kids engaged is key to a low stress party. Hire high school students or older cousins to lead kids in games. Professional entertainment like a face painter, balloon artist or character can really make a party. If you don't want to hire a professional, ask a family member to do the job.
Food:
2 P.M. is the magic hour: it's not lunch, it's not dinner, it's perfect. Simply put out a few snacks, serve cake and you're set. All birthday parties should be at 2 P.M.
Cake:
You kids won't spend a fortune on future therapy because they didn't have a homemade birthday cake. There are some great store-bought cakes and they don't have to be expensive. A simple sheet or round cake from the baker can easily be enhanced with the addition of toys, ribbon, candies, flowers or other items that tie in your theme.
Gifts:
If you're concerned about present overload, give your guests some direction like "Small gifts under $5, please." Or provide a theme "Contribute to Johnny's art supply collection." Or ask guests to bring a gently-used copy of their favorite book to help grow your child's library.
Thank yous:
When it comes to birthdays, the one place you don't want to cut corners is the thank you notes. An important part of birthday parties is learning to be a gracious host and appreciative gift recipient. I doesn't matter how you get it done, the important thing is that your child sends a thank you note for every gift, not a text message, not an email, not a voicemail, a note.
We love this idea from MOM reader Kim Duce. She takes a picture of every guest with the birthday girl and their gift, prints out the picture, mounts it to card stock and has her daughter write a thank you message on it. Her guests are appreciated and they get a treasured photo.

birthday_490px.jpg

We love a good party, but birthday party planning can get a little out of hand. Here are some tips for throwing a great party without losing your mind.

Theme:

No theme, no problem. You don't need a clever theme to pull together a great party. Simply ask your child to pick their favorite color, shape or animal and run with it. Whether it's stripes and polka dots, blue and green, or ladybugs, you've got yourself a theme.

The internet is a party-planning mom's best friend. Whatever your theme, you'll find free printables you can use online. You just need to search.

Invitations:

Your friend the internet will likely have some free invitation templates that work with your theme. Or you can purchase a digital design from an online merchant like etsy for $5- $15. Better yet, make your own design using canva.com

Location:

We don't care what it takes, just keep the party out of your house. Even if weather prevents you from hosting the party outside, devote your garage or basement to the cause. Setup and cleanup will be easier and your house won't take a beating. Better yet, get out of your house all together. Often the cost of hosting a party at an outside venue like a pizza parlor or bowling alley is justified when you factor in the cost savings from not decorating your house, planning activities, etc.

Entertainment:

Keeping kids engaged is key to a low stress party. Hire high school students or older cousins to lead kids in games. Professional entertainment like a face painter, balloon artist or character can really make a party. If you don't want to hire a professional, ask a family member to do the job.

Food:

2 P.M. is the magic hour: it's not lunch, it's not dinner, it's perfect. Simply put out a few snacks, serve cake and you're set. All birthday parties should be at 2 P.M.

Cake:

You kids won't spend a fortune on future therapy because they didn't have a homemade birthday cake. There are some great store-bought cakes and they don't have to be expensive. A simple sheet or round cake from the baker can easily be enhanced with the addition of toys, ribbon, candies, flowers or other items that tie in your theme.

Gifts:

If you're concerned about present overload, give your guests some direction like "Small gifts under $5, please." Or provide a theme "Contribute to Johnny's art supply collection." Or ask guests to bring a gently-used copy of their favorite book to help grow your child's library.

Thank yous:

When it comes to birthdays, the one place you don't want to cut corners is the thank you notes. An important part of birthday parties is learning to be a gracious host and appreciative gift recipient. I doesn't matter how you get it done, the important thing is that your child sends a thank you note for every gift, not a text message, not an email, not a voicemail, a note.

We love this idea from MOM reader Kim Duce. She takes a picture of every guest with the birthday girl and their gift, prints out the picture, mounts it to card stock and has her daughter write a thank you message on it. Her guests are appreciated and they get a treasured photo.