You won’t miss the gluten in this delightful Apple Crisp!

Mary’s Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

Ingredients

Apples

5 Organic Granny Smith apples (should be very crisp and tart)
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 small lemon

Topping:

½ cup quinoa flakes
½ cup walnuts or almonds (chopped well)
½ cup Mary’s Gone Crackers Original Crumbs
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup* melted butter (or substitute with ghee coconut oil or other light tasting oil)

*enough fat to ensure all topping ingredients are coated but crumbly enough to sprinkle on top of the apples

Preparation

1. Peel, core and slice the apples
2. Put apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in a large bowl, mix well and pour into an ungreased baking dish
3. Shake the pan to distribute the apples well
4. Combine all topping ingredients and mix well
5. Evenly distribute the topping on the apples and pat down
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until apples are tender and bubbly. If topping begins to brown too much, turn the heat down to 325 degrees and cover with foil.
7. ENJOY!

*Recipe courtesy of Mary’s Gone Crackers.*

Keep colds and flu at bay this winter easily and effectively with BabyGanics ‘The Germinator’ Alcohol Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer! Yes, it is alcohol-free! “Mom” is loving the tangerine-scented hand sanitizer as a fabulous way to quickly sanitize hands on-the-go, after diaper changes and more – it leaves hands smelling refreshed and clean! Plus, because it does not contain alcohol, your hands will not become dry, which happens especially in the frigid winter months!

You will want to keep a bottle of this by the sink, in the car, in your diaper bag or purse, and by the changing table for those times when good old soap and water are not available. It is safe for use by both adults and children.

BabyGanics ‘The Germinator’ Alcohol Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer effectively kills 99.9% of germs without the harsh side effects of alcohol and other synthetic chemicals. This new hand sanitizer instead utilizes benzalkonium chloride, a naturally safe and effective substance which makes The Germinator not only fast acting, but allows for use without water or towels! In addition, it is non-flammable, non-toxic, will not stain your clothing, and will moisturize rather than dry out your hands.

BabyGanics ‘The Germinator’ Alcohol Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer is available in a fresh tangerine scent (“Mom’s” favorite!) as well as a fragrance-free variety and retails for $6.99. Hand sanitizing wipes are also available.

This product can be purchased online at www.babyganics.com and nationwide at all Babies R Us, Bed Bath & Beyond and Buy Buy Baby locations.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Acupuncture and Self Improvement – Replacing the Old With the New

Flip on the television and you’ll see a lot of home improvement shows. People are ripping down their old paneling and installing new, clean drywall. They’re chipping away at peeling, vinyl flooring and putting down shiny ceramic tile. They’re renovating their basements and raising their attic roofs and increasing their home’s curb appeal. That’s home improvement.

What’s self-improvement?

It’s the same thing, but replace the old, pine paneling with an addictive personality, while the new drywall is a twelve step program. Substitute the cracked vinyl flooring for high blood pressure, and the colorful ceramic is a new exercise regimen. Swap out the leaky basement for self-esteem, and the attic roof for depression, and curb appeal for obesity. Instead of a plumber, turn to an acupuncturist. Instead of an electrician, seek a therapist.

We can see the cracks, the damage, the aging, and the flaws in ourselves as easily as we can in a house. Self-improvement focuses on ways to get the most out of our lives, so we’re healthy and able to enjoy all the days we have left. We focus on ourselves – we identify our own problems, we research and experiment with solutions, and when we’re successful, we share with others what has worked for us.

Self-help books have their own section in the book store and the library, specifically designed to help us diagnose what ails us and seek alternate solutions.

It’s exactly these alternate solutions that have so many people hoping that they can take charge of their own physical and mental health. Most of us have gotten from a doctor exactly what we need, medically – we turn to something deeper for the rest. For true and deep spiritual health and happiness, we usually need more than our yearly physical and our prescribed medication.

Alternative therapies range from “breath therapy,” which is a form of hypnosis that can regress patients into past lives; to the tried-and-true yoga classes for physical strength and mental clarity and peace; to acupuncture, an Eastern practice pre-dating written history, which mends ailments by stimulating strategic and highly specific parts of the body.

More specifically, and interestingly microcosmic of self-improvement itself, it’s not the acupuncture which does the mending. It’s your own body that does the mending, needled into awareness by the probing, hair-thin… well, needles. Some acupuncture practitioners believe that the immune system wakes up and heals itself, while others believe that the needling helps to bring a natural flow of energy back into balance.

It’s kind of a “potato-potahto” argument. The body is healing and becoming re-energized and rejuvenated. Patients have even claimed that acupuncture has worked in place of plastic surgery to tighten their facial skin for a more youthful appearance. Other patients have found relief from chronic pain, depression, and infertility.

In addition to alternate therapies, alternates to medications can sometimes be effective. Natural supplements, like essential oils, herbal extracts and decoctions, and aromatherapy have proven effective for health, mood, and cognitive function. Aromatherapy is used to treat anxiety, memory problems, hair loss and eczema.

About the Author

Article courtesy of the Acupuncture Center of Baltimore, an upcoming leader in Maryland Acupuncture.

*Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

This delicious, succulent chicken dish by Chef Andrew Zimmern is simply divine, and pairs well with Cascal Crisp White Fermented Soda.

Chicken Marbella

Ingredients

• 2 chickens, quartered
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 shallots, minced
• 2 tbsp dried oregano
• 1 tsp coarse salt
• 1 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 cup pitted prunes
• 1 cup dried apricots
• 1/2 cup pitted green olives (I like to use Green Lucques)
• 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
• 3 fresh bay leaves
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup white wine
• 1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup Cascal Dry White

Preparation

Marinate chicken in oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, shallots and vinegar for 24 hours.

Heat oil in a large pan, and working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides saving the marinade. Place chicken in a single layer in a big lasagna pan. Deglaze the pan with the wine and Cascal, reducing by about half. Add reserved marinade and all remaining ingredients to pan, swirl, bring to a boil again and pour mixture over chicken.

Bake at 375 degrees for an hour or so until done.

Season and serve.

Serves 6.

*Recipe courtesy of Cascal. Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

There are few things more distressing to a parent then getting a call from the school nurse reporting that their child has head lice. This is a particularly timely topic now as winter is finally here and children are storing coats and hats in tight spaces. Adie Horowitz, founder of Licenders, offers her tips for timely, all-natural, and safe lice prevention.

Adie’s Tips for Lice Prevention

Know the “Lice” Time of Year

Winter: Travel time, clothing layers, hats, gloves, scarves, etc.

Summer: Camp, play dates, travel, hats, road trips, helmets.

  1. For prevention, try peppermint. Peppermint is a deterrent scent to the bug, and many shampoos/conditioners contain this ingredient.
  2. Repellent with Citronella base. Citronella repels bugs – just like your scented candles that you use in the summertime to repel mosquitos.
  3. Once per week throw backpacks, hats and jackets in the dryer on heat for 20 minutes.
  4. Educate children on the importance of not sharing hats, hair-bows, jackets and gloves.
  5. Teach your kids to get in the habit of keeping their heads apart from each other. Children tend to play by leaning their heads into each other (over video games and dolls).
  6. Check your children frequently for head lice, it’s much easier to get rid of if you discover it at an early stage!
  7. Take your children for haircuts by a hair salon that checks for lice before they give kids haircuts!
  8. If your child has lice, make sure that the school schedules a screening so that all the classmates are checked for lice. Otherwise, the kids that have it, will just keep passing it back to your child.
  9. Send your girls to school with their hair back. Braids and buns are best. Head lice don’t jump or fly. They are crawling insects that crawl from one head to another. So long, loose, swingy hair is easy for them to transfer on to immediately.
  10. Always use an enzyme cleaner to clean the headrests on airplanes before you sit down and lean back.
  11. Give your kids a plastic bag to take to school to bag up their coats and jackets.

About the Author

Adie Horowitz, the founder of Licenders, is a mother who felt like she had nowhere to turn when her children were diagnosed as “having lice.” As an informed mother, Adie insisted that there must indeed be alternative methods for removing lice without using highly toxic products that were in the marketplace. With significant research, Adie created her own lice removal process and product to handle her household problem. Within the next three months, Adie’s services were in such high demand by mothers that had heard of her lice removal process and its success that she was faced with the need to open an official business to help others in need.

 

Serve this cheesy, dreamy dish with hearty country bread and enjoy with Cascal Ripe Rouge!

Roasted Pepper & Cheese Gratin

Ingredients

• 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 red bell peppers
• 1 poblano pepper
• 2/3 cup fresh goat cheese
• 2/3 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
• 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
• 2 tsps fresh oregano, chopped
• 1 1/2 cups low-sodium, tomato based pasta sauce, at room temperature
• 30 Nicoise or brine-cured black olives, pitted
• Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Position over rack about 5 inches below broiler and preheat (on broil). Brush medium gratin dish with olive oil.
Place all peppers directly on a gas burner over high heat (or on a grill). As each side becomes puffy and black, turn peppers over with tongs. When peppers char on all sides, transfer to large bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap (steam will help loosen skin). Let peppers sweat until cool, about 10 minutes.

Transfer peppers to clean cutting board. Peel off blackened skin and discard. Halve peppers and lay open flat. Remove seeds, hard seed cluster, stem and whitish ribs. Slice cleaned peppers lengthwise into strips, about 1 inch wide. Wipe peppers clean with paper towels. If using jarred peppers, rinse and cut into strips.

Spoon both cheeses onto bottom of prepared gratin dish. Scatter roasted pepper strips in gratin dish and sprinkle half of herbs over peppers. Spoon pasta sauce over peppers to evenly coat. Top with olives and remaining herbs. Season with black pepper. Transfer gratin to oven. Broil until bubbling hot, about 5 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

*Recipe courtesy of Cascal.*

If one of your resolutions at the beginning of January was to create more nutritious, healthier dishes for the whole family in the New Year, look no further than the Magimix by Robot-Coupe 3200XL Food Processor to be the extra hand you need in the kitchen! “Mom” received the 40th Anniversary edition of the Magimix Food Processor which is available exclusively at Williams-Sonoma, and wow – what a time saver! From making delicious salsas and guacamole for meals with a decidedly Mexican flair to perfectly pureeing tomatoes for soups and chili to making homemade pesto – the Magimix Food Processor has been a dream come true!

Mom” has been whipping up her very own version of pesto weekly with her daughter, who LOVES pesto (or “peto,” as her little one calls it!). In fact, it is requested all on its own, eaten with a spoon, instead of placed on whole wheat pasta, cous cous, or grilled salmon!

Tiny Green Mom’s Homemade Pesto

Ingredients

1/3 – 1/2 cup of fresh organic basil (washed, rinsed & dried)

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (“Mom” prefers organic)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (for extra flavor, try DEVO Roasted California Garlic Olive Oil)

2 cloves of garlic

2 T. pine nuts (or almonds, walnuts or pecans)

Handful of fresh parsley (optional)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

Place all ingredients in the Magimix Food Processor and blend until desired consistency. “Mom” prefers her pesto slightly chunky.

The features of the 12 Cup Magimix by Robot-Coupe Food Processor include:

1. Extremely powerful, extra-quiet motor.
2. Trio of work bowls allows you to carry out multiple tasks in rapid succession, without stopping to wash a bowl.
3. Small bowl is perfect for mincing herbs, chopping nuts or blending a sauce.
4. Medium bowl is ideal for slicing and grating.
5. Large bowl handles prep jobs like mixing batters, kneading dough and slicing a large batch of vegetables.
6. Motor automatically adjusts power and speed to suit job at hand.
7. Razor-sharp Sabatier stainless-steel blades and stainless-steel discs, strong enough for a variety of tasks including crushing ice.
8. Extra-large feed tube eliminates need to precut most ingredients.

Like most “must-have” kitchen appliances, such as the Kitchen Aid Mixer, the Magimix by Robot-Coupe 3200XL Food Processor will be a welcome gift at any bridal shower, anniversary, birthday, or just because you deserve a high-quality food processor that will stand the test of time!

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, another fabulous recipe to whip up using the Magimix Food processor is Magimix by Robot-Coupe’s Simple Recipe for Delicious & Festive French Macaroons! Whether for a homemade gift for a loved one, an elegant item to serve at a luncheon with girlfriends, or an afternoon of baking with your children, these macaroons can be filled with any manner of filling to fit the occasion! YUM!

Delicious & Festive French Macaroons

Ingredients

150 grams slivered almonds
200 grams powdered sugar
115 grams egg whites at room temperature
Pinch of salt
25 grams granulated sugar
Food coloring, optional

Filling

Select a delicious jam of your choice that matches the color of the macaroons, or simply mix and match.

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 280 degrees Farenheit.

Using your Magimix by Robot-Coupe Food Processor, process the almonds in the Mini Bowl for approximately one minute, or until reduced to a powder. Be careful not to over-process as this will bring up oil from the almonds.
In the Large Bowl, using the master metal blade, add the powdered sugar and almond powder and process until thoroughly blended but not over-processed. The mixture should remain cool. Remove the Large Bowl and pass combined powdered sugar and almond powder through a sieve. Set aside.

Wipe the Large Bowl with a clean cloth and insert the Egg Whisk; remove the small pusher from the feed tube to allow for aeration of the mixture while you process (this is very important as it will determine the volume and lightness of your Macaroons). Add in the egg whites and the pinch of salt. Turn on the Magimix by Robot-Coupe Food Processor and slowly add in the granulated sugar through the feed tube. Continue whipping until egg whites begin to stiffen. Be careful not to over process.

Transfer the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and delicately fold in the combined powdered sugar and almond powder*. Optional: Insert a few drops of food coloring and delicately fold in the color.

Using a pastry bag, pipe out the Macaroons on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper, making round dots the diameter of a quarter. Leave room between these dots as they will expand during baking. Spray with a light mist of water; this will add a beautiful shine to the finished crust. Bake at 280 degrees Farenheit for twenty minutes. Let cool to room temperature**. Once cooled, spread the filling between two cookies and sandwich them together.

Makes 30 -40 cookies.

*Recipe courtesy of Magimix by Robot-Coupe. Image: Sayan Samana / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

The Magimix by Robot-Coupe 3200XL Food Processor is available in white and chrome, both of which will look wonderful in any kitchen! This is an appliance that is meant to be seen, not tucked away, that is for sure! The best part? All of the removable parts are dishwasher-safe, making clean up a breeze!

To learn more about the features, use and care of the Magimix by Robot-Coupe 3200XL Food Processor, visit Williams Sonoma.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Wheat-free, gluten-free, vegan, and organic – what’s NOT to love about Just the Crumbs from Mary’s Gone Crackers? Whether you are coating range-free, organic chicken breasts to make a chicken parmesan dish, or baking your family’s favorite meat loaf – Just the Crumbs is an excellent alternative to the traditional store bought brands that have partially hydrogenated oil or high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. It is a challenge to find a brand that does not have one or two undesirable ingredients rather than you guessed it – just the crumbs!

Made from flax, quinoa, brown rice and sesame, Mary’s Gone Crackers’ Just the Crumbs are available in 3 delicious varieties for your cooking and baking needs, including Original, Caraway, and Savory. “Mom” loves all three – each one is distinct!

To learn more about Mary’s Gone Crackers various products, or to locate a retailer near you that carries Just the Crumbs, visit marysgonecrackers.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

New Year, New Start

If like thousands of other people across the country your New Year’s resolution was to get fitter and lose a few pounds in the New Year, but you have still not managed to make a start implementing your fitness regime, then check out these tips on how to be successful:

• Goal setting – in order to achieve success in any fitness plan there must be clear aims and goals. You can use the SMART term to help you organize these goals and make sure they are effective.

• Specific – They need to be clear and simple, such as ‘I want to lose 2 stone by the end of the year’.

• Measured – you need to be able to quantify them, so that you can accurately track your success. ‘I want to be fitter’ is not very useful.

• Achievable – there is no point in setting goals that are not possible.

• Realistic – you have to be realistic about what you will be able to complete. If your goals are too hard, you will feel like you have failed when you do not have success.

• Time Specific – making the goals time specific ensures that you are working to a timetable, and this will help to motivate you. Saying ‘I want to lose 2 stone’ is not very helpful unless you state when you hope to achieve this goal.

• Time management – time management is the most important thing to plan for each day. The best way of doing this is by setting goals for each day at the start of each week. This way you can focus on what needs to be done and you will have a clear idea of what you are doing each day. This subsequently prevents a lot of wasted time each day. It is important to have a purpose.

• Discipline and attitude – for success when following a fitness program, it is very important that you are self motivated and maintain a positive attitude; otherwise you will quickly lose interest in your goals making them a lot harder to attain. If you have a bad day or week, it is important to draw a line underneath it and try to regain a positive attitude as soon as possible. You are doing it for your own benefit and focusing on this will help you to eventually achieve your end goal.

• Fun – enjoying your fitness activities is essential to long term success. When planning your fitness regime, try to include activities that you really enjoy doing as then it will not seem like hard work.

About the Author

Abigail is a freelance writer and has written on many different subjects including Gold Prices and Britania Gold Coin.

*Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Get rid of all the dirt and sand found in fresh leafy greens like spinach, collards, and kale by making a bath for it in your kitchen sink. Submerge the greens in a large bowl of water and allow it to soak for a few minutes. Drain. Repeat the process until the water is clear.

Popeye’s Spinach Meal

Ingredients

1 medium-sized baking potato
½ small onion (optional)
Unsalted butter (optional)
½ cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen spinach

Preparation

1. Wash, peel, and chop potato into small chunks.
2. Peel and slice the onion into thin pieces. Sauté in a deep nonstick pan until soft and translucent. If the onion sticks, use some unsalted butter in the pan. Avoid using cooking oil.
3. Add the diced potato and water to the pan. Bring to a boil; then turn down the heat and simmer until the
potato is tender, about 25–30 minutes. Add more water if the potato sticks to the pan.
4. If using fresh spinach, wash the leaves thoroughly, chop, and remove all stems. Boil in a pan of shallow water for about 10 minutes. If using frozen spinach, defrost and cook according to the package directions.
5. Combine the cooked potatoes, onion, and spinach in a blender.
6. Purée until smooth, adding as much water as necessary for age-appropriate consistency.

Tip: If the flavor of spinach seems too strong for baby, adding it with the potatoes will make it more acceptable.

Makes 6 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of 201 Organic Baby Purees by Tamika L. Gardner.*