Eat Right: Healthy Holiday Recipes for the Whole Family

Holiday meals are full of New Jammies’ traditional favorites, from turkey and stuffing to pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream. With many of these holiday appetizers, entrees and desserts loaded with fat and calories, we like to discover some of the more healthier options for families, especially those with kiddos to please.

One way to start thinking healthy for the holidays is to consider switching out traditional ingredients for less sugar- and calorie-heavy items. Everyday Health healthy living newsletter offers these options, featured in its “11 Healthy Holiday Food Swaps” article. These include skipping:

• Full-fat dips, and eat yogurt dips (hummus with yogurt and lemon recipe)

• Some alcohol calories, drink wine spritzer instead (8 ‘skinny’ holiday cocktails)

• Candied yams, eat roasted sweet potatoes (low-calorie candied yams recipe)

• Store-bought, eat homemade stuffing (low-calorie stuffing)

• Traditional gravy, eat low-fat gravy (click here for recipe from the Mayo Clinic)

These recipes will be a hit with the family this holiday, and help with staying healthy:

Spinach Parmesan White Bean Dip

Found on Pinterest, one of our favorite resources for ideas for healthy recipes and fun holiday do-it-yourself projects, this simple, vegetarian, five-ingredient, gluten-free dip is “packed with protein and veggies, and tons of cheesy flavor.” Sounds great to us!

Ingredients
1 cup baby spinach, packed
1 15 oz. can white beans, small
2 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Blend in food processor; salt and pepper to taste.

2. Serve with carrots, celery, cauliflower, pita chips or any healthy chip or veggie stick that goes great with dips.

 

Wild Rice with Cranberries & Almonds

This low-calorie (120 per 1/2 cup), low-cholesterol (0 mg) side dish, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association’s Recipes for Living, is a healthful holiday option that can be made for a big dinner, or a small get-together with lots of leftovers, as it serves 11. According to the ADA, wild rice takes longer to cook than other rice, but it has a lower glycemic index of 45 compared to white rice with a glycemic index of 70. This is important for those holiday guests with diabetes or other special diet considerations. The toasted almond slices and dried cranberries are a nice touch for any holiday spread.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
2 (4-ounce) boxes wild rice
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the water and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil.

3. Add the rice; cover and cook according to package directions; usually about 50-60 minutes.

4. Remove the lid and add in the toasted almonds and cranberries; use a fork to mix together.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm all ingredients are gluten-free, including the chicken broth, and this can be made gluten-free.

 

Orange Glazed Turkey with Potatoes & Carrots

The American Heart Association offers many healthy options for traditional recipes on its website at recipes.heart.org. This citrus-roasted recipe for a turkey breast, to make holiday prep easier, caught our eye for a healthy take on festive meals.

”Try this new Simple Cooking with Heart take on traditional turkey. Its seasoning gives the dish a base of flavor, and orange marmalade adds tangy sweetness. Serve with potatoes and carrots. Enjoy the taste of Thanksgiving year-round!”

Ingredients
6 Servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1.5-1.75 lb. boneless, skinless turkey breast (all visible fat discarded)
2 tsp. dried mixed herbs (mix a combination of any/all – rosemary, basil, parsley, tarragon, chives, thyme, sage)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 lb. washed potatoes (can use any type of potatoes), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 medium carrots (peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Place turkey in the dish.

3. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients (herbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder). Rub half of mixture over the turkey.

4. Spread marmalade over turkey.

5. Stir potatoes, carrots and oil in to remaining herb mixture. Place vegetables in dish around the turkey. Bake for 1 hour.

6. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

 

Spiced Caramel Apples

Better Homes and Gardens knows a little something about entertaining, and has spent decades being one of the foremost experts on food. So it’s no surprise they’ve put together a list of Healthy Apple Desserts that includes this easy recipe that slow cooks while everyone is visiting.

“Instead of serving caramel apples on a stick, we cut apples in half, topped them with a sprinkle of cinnamon and cloves, and cooked them in a slow cooker. We added a drizzle of caramel topping later, along with a few chopped pecans, to create a healthy apple dessert that wows.”

Ingredients

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
5 medium red-skinned cooking apples (such as Rome or Jonathan), cored, and halved
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar-free caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Instructions
1. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and cloves. Core and halve the apples.

2. Place 1/2 of the apple halves in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with some of the cinnamon mixture. Add remaining apples and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.

3. Pour apple juice and lemon juice over apples. Stir to coat apples evenly.

4. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring gently halfway through cooking time.

5. Spoon apples and cooking liquid to individual serving dishes. Drizzle with caramel topping and sprinkle with pecans.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Family Game Night Fun

Personalized New JammiesNew Jammies knows the benefits of kids and their loved ones gathering around a board game on Family Game Night to encourage good sportsmanship, creativity, and problem solving. Parents can bond with their kids over games they used to play in their youth, and children can introduce new games that can challenge the mind and promote team spirit.

ParentingScience.com, a website that provides evidence-based information about parenting and child development, says games may encourage kids to consider the concept of rules, practice following rules, and reason about moral problems. Citing a 2004 study by researchers Gobet and Retschitzki, titled, “Moves in mind: The psychology of board games,” published in Psychology Press, evidence has shown that when kids play with older role models, they can learn something else, too.

“How to win — and lose — with grace and good manners,” the reports stated.
Also, there are the possible intellectual benefits. “Many board games, including the classics like chess and Mancala, encourage players to detect patterns, says ParentingScience.com.

Personalized PJsThe Child Development Institute suggests board games teach planning, taking turns, handling winning and losing, problem solving, and other spatial skills.

“When played as a family, board games facilitate bonding and improve communication,” says Dr. Bob Myers, a licensed child and adolescent psychologist, in his article, “Toys That Help Develop Spatial Skills, Creativity, and Social Skills.” “Parents can use board games as an opportunity to teach social skills and frustration tolerance.”

Dr. Meyers says parents should select toys that are appropriate for your child, and look for ones with a fairly wide age-range so that your child will be able to enjoy them for a long period of time.

“Spend time building things and solving puzzles together with your child as well as encourage them to create on their own,” he suggests.

Jenga, Connect 4, Scrabble, and Clue are all classic games that can help with problem solving and helps kids use their analytical skills. For parents seeking options to make Family Game Night fun and educational, there’s a website at familygamenightsideas.com. The online community site is a resource to help parents and kids create successful Family Game Nights.

Ticket to RideA few board game ideas as holiday gifts include the popular Ticket to Ride. Players draw cards that offer perspective routes to complete on the map in order to score points at the end of the game. “Then you draw and play cards throughout the game to place your trains on the map in order to achieve your route goals,” says familygamenightsideas.com. “This can be very challenging especially when other players are competing for similar routes to you. You can also draw for new routes throughout the game, but beware that uncompleted routes will cost you points so plan carefully!”

Beat the ParentsThe game Beat The Parents is fun for kids ages 6 and older, and entails each team starting on one side and racing past the other to victory.

“This game is kids versus parents in a mad dash of trivia. It is designed for the parents to answer questions about kid’s stuff, while the kids have to answer things the parents should know. All the while you are trying to be the first to move your pieces across the board to win,” says the game’s review.

“One value that this game can really help with is teamwork. It was quite fun to watch the kids discuss what they thought was the right answer and why the team should take one over the other.”

HedbanzAnother favorite for kids and parents is the game Hedbanz, which gets both the parents and the kids laughing for hours. Amazon describes the award-winning game as a “goofy guessing ‘What am I? game. In the game, kids use their heads in more ways than one while asking yes or no questions to figure out if the cartoon on their head. The first player to guess what you are wins. Fun for all ages.


New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes

Holiday New JammiesAt New Jammies, we love the holidays and all that make them special. Kids make the memories especially sweet as they handcraft cute holiday ornaments for the tree and help in the kitchen to bake and decorate cookies.

We like to eat healthy during the holidays when we can, so these cookie recipes are cute, fun, festive and nutritious.

Happy holidays!

Boot TracksBoot Tracks cookies, courtesy of Eating Well Magazine, are perfect to leave out for Santa the night before Christmas, or to package in holiday tins for homemade gift-giving. The recipe is from Eating Well reader Patti Anderson, a professional quilter, who had never entered a cooking contest before she won with this quick, no-fuss, chewy chocolate cookie made using a waffle iron. Best of all, Eating Well says kids love them.

Ingredients
1/2 cup salted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions
1. Preheat a nonstick (not Belgian) waffle iron.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, oil and espresso powder (if using). Beat until thoroughly combined.
3. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto the preheated ungreased waffle iron. (To avoid burnt fingers, use two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape dough onto the waffle iron.) Close and cook until the cookies are puffed and cooked through, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Waffle irons vary, so watch closely and don’t let the cookies get too dark. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until just warm. Dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while still slightly warm (see Variations).

Variations: Instead of confectioners’ sugar, drizzle cooled cookies with melted bittersweet and/or white chocolate. Or make a peppermint drizzle: Mix 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 4 teaspoons water and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract; add natural green food coloring, if desired.

Make-ahead tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Dust with additional confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Decorate on parchment: When adding finishing touches to your cookies or cakes, place them on a large sheet of parchment paper before you decorate. The paper catches the excess, making cleanup a breeze.

 

img_2099These Oatmeal Jam Bars from Better Homes and Gardens feature fiber-rich oats to add nutritional value. A sweet raspberry filling is sandwiched between two layers of warm, crumbly cream cheese crust. For heart-healthy options, use low-sugar or sugar-free jam and low-fat cream cheese.

Ingredients
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup seedless blackberry or red or black raspberry jam
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in oats, brown sugar, and lemon peel. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until mixture is crumbly. Remove 1 cup of the crumb mixture for topping; set aside.
3. Press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the jam and lemon juice. Carefully spread jam mixture over hot crust. Sprinkle with the reserved 1 cup crumb mixture. Bake about 15 minutes more or until top is golden. Cool bars in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Place bars in box; close box.

Make-ahead tip: Layer bars between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

 

Cranberry CookiesCranberry cooperative Ocean Spray has declared the beloved red berry as the “official unofficial fruit of the holidays,” and we can’t think of a better way to eat it than in cookie form. The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association (see more healthy recipes at cranberries.org) offers this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies using dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and old-fashioned oats.

Ingredients
⅔ cup butter or margarine, softened
⅔ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 bag of sweetened dried cranberries (6 oz.)
⅔ cup chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Using an electric mixer beat butter or margarine and brown sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix well.
3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition.
4. Stir in sweetened dried cranberries, chocolate chips and walnuts.
5. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until gold brown.

Blueberry White Chocolate Ginger CookieBlueberries, ginger, white chocolate, oh my! These three ingredients combine to make a magical Blueberry White Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookie that Eating Well Recipe Contributor Anna Ginsberg says are “a real snap to make — just stir and bake.” Package in a pretty blue holiday tin, and these cookies will be a big gift hit, thanks to this Eating Well recipe.

Ingredients
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup oats, quick-cooking or old-fashioned (not instant)
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup dried blueberries, (see Tip)
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped (see Tip)

Directions
1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 375°F.
2. Whisk flour, wheat germ, baking soda, salt and ground ginger in a small bowl.
3. Whisk egg, brown sugar, oil and vanilla in a large bowl.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; stir to combine. Add oats, chocolate, blueberries and crystallized ginger; stir just to combine.
5. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto 2 ungreased baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until puffed and barely golden around the edges, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Cool on the pans for 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make-ahead tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Tip: Dried cranberries or cherries will also work in place of blueberries; all can be found, along with crystallized ginger, in the baking, dried fruit or produce sections of many supermarkets and natural-foods stores.

Storage smarts: To extend the life of your baked goods, store them in an airtight container in a single layer or between layers of parchment paper to prevent sticking.

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Personalized New JammiesPersonalized PJs for December!

New Jammies is now offering Personalized PJs. Embroider your child’s name on our soft organic cotton New Jammies for the perfect holiday gift!

www.newjammies.com/Personalized-Kids-Organic-Cotton-Pajamas


New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Tips for Turning Off Technology Before Bedtime

Kids and TechnologyIn today’s tech-savvy society, it’s hard to remember life before smartphones, tablets and social media. The Pew Research Center estimates that 68% of Americans have smartphones and 45% own tablets. With electronics all around us, it’s no surprise our kids are affected.

The National Sleep Foundation says when it comes to children, electronics and sleep, there’s an increasing prevalence of electronics in kid’s bedrooms. New Jammies agrees this can present some challenges.

“That creates a culture of evening engagement and light exposure that negatively impacts sleep time, sleep quality and daytime alertness,” says the NSF. “Many children are not fulfilling basic sleep requirements and adequate sleep is essential for growth, learning, mood, creativity and weight control. Understanding the influence of light and evening engagement on sleep is the first step in helping parents address the dilemma of electronics in the bedroom.”

There are several results of mixing electrics and bedtime for kids of all ages. The Foundation says children using electronic media as a sleep aid to relax at night have been shown to have later weekday bedtimes. They also experience fewer hours of sleep per week and report more daytime sleepiness.

“Adolescents with a bedroom television have later bedtimes, more difficulty initiating sleep and shorter total sleep times,” says the NSF. “Texting and emailing after lights outs, even once per week, dramatically increases self-reported daytime sleepiness among teens.”

Increased academic demands, busy social and extracurricular schedules, and the lure of entertainment keep our children electronically engaged at night, according to the Foundation.

“Not all electronic usage is recreational as the burden of homework is great for many of our children and their work is often completed on the computer, a significant light source late in the evening,” the NSF says.
Liraz Margalit, Ph.D., who analyzes online consumer behavior, recently penned an article for “Psychology Today” discussing kid’s exposure to electronic media. She suggested to tread carefully on the topic because technology isn’t always a bad thing.

“Educational apps and TV shows are great ways for children to sharpen their developing brains and hone their communication skills — not to mention the break these gadgets provide harried parents,” she says. “But tread carefully: A number of troubling studies connect delayed cognitive development in kids with extended exposure to electronic media.”

Dr. Margalit says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates American children spend a whopping seven hours a day in front of electronic media.
“Other statistics reveal that kids as young as two regularly play iPad games and have playroom toys that involve touch screens,” the article says.

The key is to wait and introduce kids to electronics until at least the age of two. And to power off regularly to establish clear boundaries between the virtual world and the real one.

“Despite the danger that overexposure to smartphones can pose for young brains, there are a lot of benefits to letting little ones use technology. Once a child is over the age of two, feel free to allow limited screen time — think an hour, max, of playing with tablets and iPhones each day— to help develop coordination, hone quick reactions, and even sharpen language skills,” Dr. Margalit says. “As with all the other toys and tools available to your developing child, smartphone use should stay in moderation, and never stand in for human interaction or real-world face time.”

The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe) is an international alliance of more than 100 policy leaders, educators, law enforcement members, technology experts, public health experts and advocates established in 2005. The nonprofit says for both kids and adults, the time for a technology curfew is always right, and are essential for a healthy life and family. Establishing a nightly digital wind-down ritual, benefit us in many ways, says iKeepSafe, and these tips can help you and your family:

• “Unplug” two hours before bed. This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.

• Create a schedule and stick to it. Confusion and arguments will be kept to a minimum once your kids understand that the technology curfew is a nightly event that’s here to stay.

• Make family fun time a part of the nightly ritual. Idea: Assign a night to each family member and make him or her in charge of choosing the activity.

• Don’t forget to add some invaluable me-time to the mix. This could include, reading, writing, pampering or meditating.

• Store all digital devices (e.g., smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) in an area of the house other than the bedrooms.

• Use an alarm clock rather than your smartphone or tablet as a wakeup device.

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Personalized PJsSleep tight this holiday with Personalized PJs!

New Jammies is now offering Personalized PJs. Embroider your child’s name on our soft organic cotton New Jammies for the perfect holiday gift!

www.newjammies.com/Personalized-Kids-Organic-Cotton-Pajamas

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids to Create

Happy HolidaysAt New Jammies, we love the idea of kids learning and playing in the kitchen to help make gifts for their loved ones with found objects and fresh-from-the-pantry ingredients. From homemade pine cone bird feeders to a healthy vegetarian bean soup mix, these kid-friendly ideas for gift-giving help us inspire creativity and nurture imagination. They can be gifted during the holidays or year-round for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Happy holidays from our family to yours!

Homemade Bird FeederBirds of a Feather
The Outdoor Parent, online at theoutdoorparent.com, is a useful website for moms, dads and caregivers with a message we love featuring content from “surfers, climbers and skiers who have embarked the greatest adventure — parenthood.” They offer their stories, perspective and reflections on parenting, children and the outdoor lifestyle. One holiday or birthday gift idea great for bird watchers and nature lovers that attracts a wide range of winged species winter through fall is Outdoor Parent contributor Becca Cahall’s Pinecone Bird Feeder project for kids.

Materials
Pinecones (preferably opened)
String or ribbon
Peanut butter/suet/vegetable shortening
Oatmeal and/or cornmeal
Birdseed (make it high-energy with sunflower seeds and or chopped nuts)
Plate or pie tin

Directions
1.Tie ribbon or string around the pine cone.
2. Mix ½ cup peanut butter/suet/shortening with ½ cup oats/cornmeal.
3. Use a spoon (or fingers!) to spread the mixture onto the pinecone. Make sure to get the mixture into the open areas of the pinecone. It’s easier if the mixture is warm.
4. Place birdseed in pie tin. Roll and press seed onto pinecone until well covered.
5. Hang your pinecone feeder in a tree just outside you window. Try to place it away from the tree trunk so it’s more difficult for squirrels to get to it.

Reindeer ChowAll Santa’s Reindeer
The birds won’t be the only creatures enjoying homemade treats when you and the kids whip together easy-to-make Reindeer Chow, also called Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies. This favorite holiday snack can be given out as gifts in cute treat bags, decorated mason jars or plastic containers with red, green or blue lids adorned with ribbon. The recipe is easier than pie, and kids can join along in the fun of making homemade gifts that everyone loves to receive.

Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
12 ounces chocolate or butterscotch chips
1 large box Chex or Crispix
2 ½ cups confectioners sugar

Directions
1. Melt peanut butter, margarine and chocolate or butterscotch chips in a saucepan.
2. Pour mixture over Chex or Crispix; coat well on a baking sheet.
3. Place confectioner sugar in a paper or Ziploc bag.
4. Add coated cereal.
5. Shake well and place in gift containers.

Tip: Add red-and-green holiday-colored M&Ms to the mix for a splash of color. Make this treat anytime of the year by adding M&Ms in seasonal colors on Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July and during the fall.

 

Courtesy Hello Natural

Courtesy Hello Natural

So Minty Fresh and So Clean
The kids may not know what a mojito is, but Grandma Sue or Aunt Patty, and maybe even Grandpa Jim and Uncle Bob, will enjoy the idea of a rejuvenating soak in a cool minty bath. On her site Hello Natural, at hellonatural.co, writer and mom-of-three Stephanie Gerber offers up this Mint Mojto DIY Bath Salts recipe. It’s fast and perfect for homemade holidays gifts that kids can take part in mixing up since all the ingredients are fresh and safe. This gift can be especially fun for those who love mojtos by adding a drink recipe and spirits components so cocktails can accompany that refreshing, minty soak.

Materials
2 cups Epsom salt, sea salt or kosher salt
Fresh mint, finely diced
Juice and zest of one lime
Mint essential oil
Green food coloring (optional)

Directions
In a small bowl, add salt, mint and lime juice and zest. Stir everything together. Then add 3-5 drops of mint essential oil. You can also add 1-2 drops of food coloring to give it a hint of green. Mix together until fragrance and color are well combined. Add 1/2 cup of salt to your bath. Enjoying while sipping a fresh mojito is highly recommended.

Tip: Package in cute mason jars with a burlap bow and a spring of pine tied to the center.

 

Hortus Ltd./Mark Fonville

Hortus Ltd./Mark Fonville

Just Like Mom Used to Make
Soup’s on this winter as HGTV lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith shares his recipe for a savory, healthy, and cost-effective Vegetarian 5 Bean Soup Mix on hgtv.com. Smith suggests this easy gift idea for kids as a way for them to help out at the kitchen table, sorting the dry beans and filling up the mason jars. According to Smith, the recipes makes 4 jars, but feel free to double and triple as needed. And make sure to save a few for your own pantry for those cold winter evenings by the fire. These also make great housewarming or get well gifts Bon appetite!

Ingredients
1 lb. pinto beans
1 lb. split green peas
1 lb. great northern beans
1 lb. black beans
1 lb. kidney beans
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons dehydrated onions
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
8 bay leaves
4 vegetable bouillon cubes

Materials
4 clean quart-sized mason jars with lids and rings
Parchment paper
Decorative twine
Fabric to cover top (optional)
Paper for cooking instructions

Directions
1. In each of the mason jars, layer 2/3 cup of each bean, shaking gently after each layer to even out. Set jars aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine all spices except bay leaves and bouillon cubes.
3. On a 10-by-10-inch piece of parchment paper, spoon 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the center and top with 2 bay leaves and one bouillon cube. Fold paper around the spices to make a spice envelope and seal with tape.
4. Place spice envelope on top of the layered beans, cover with a square piece of decorative fabric and seal jar.
5. Decorate as desired. On a piece of cardstock or decorative paper, write:

Preparation directions for labels
Rinse beans and place in large stockpot, cover in 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, remove from heat and let soak for one hour. Drain and rinse. Return beans to the pot and add in spice envelope, one 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours until beans are tender and soup is thick. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Play Right: Eco-friendly kids toys for the holidays

169457_471059246265576_1802608079_oFrom perching elves on shelves to building train tracks around the tree, the holidays are a perfect time to share in the fun of kids’ toys. At New Jammies, we love toy manufacturers, specialty shops and online retailers whose goals are to improve our communities and the lives of our children.

Play time is an important part of a child’s development and we love that we can help make it a little better. As the holidays draw near, we’ve found these eco-friendly products that help us meet our mission of developing a healthy lifestyle for our most precious resource – children.

happy_hybridWe start off with one of our New Jammies founder’s son’s favorite toys. He loves this little car, which she purchased at an arts festival in New Jammies Colorado hometown, the Carbondale Mountain Fair. From North Star Toys, the Happy Hybrid all-natural toy car  is made with alder and birch and non-toxic paint is five inches long. The toy features a compact, easy-rolling design with five rainbow passengers (also comes in natural).

North Star Toys, based in New Mexico, has hand-crafted quality, non-toxic wooden toys out of walnut, oak, alder and other fine woods at affordable prices since 1979. With a commitment to environmental sustainability, the company’s durable designs feature non-toxic oils paints and oils to allow the wood’s natural beauty to shine and recycled materials when possible.

We also love North Star Toys’ Baby’s First Animals and Creative Play Sets, perfect for dollhouses, sandboxes, bathtub, car or anywhere. Learn more and shop online at www.northstartoys.com.

From wooden toys including oversized domino sets and horse rockers to train sets and stencil kits, the Magic Cabin, found online at www.magiccabin.com, encourages open-ended, creative, imaginative play with simple, natural toys an135952_471059472932220_556832310_od crafts.  Popular holiday toys include a 100% pure Holiday Beeswax Candle Rolling Kit for fun gift-making with the kids and the Margaret Wise Brown Treasury by the beloved “Goodnight Moon” author.

Educational and eco-friendly kids’ toys can also be found at growingtreetoys.com, where the store’s goal is to teach children the importance of environmental consciousness while providing the same fun and play as other toys. The company discovers products constructed in ways gentler to the environment and from manufacturers committed to helping the earth. The Green Toys Tea Set is a cute 17-piece pretend play toy with made from eco-friendly materials in the U.S. for two years and up.

Kids three and up can learn about gardening and the environment with DuneCraft’s Desert Biodome Terrarium on growingtreetoys.com. The kit recycles water and thrives with minimal care, showing curious kids how to grow 25 varieties of unusual cacti and succulents in a biodome terrarium with natural gravel, sand, and stones.

Arts and crafts, early learning toys, fantasy and dress-up clothes, youth musical instruments, and old-fahioned toys are a few of the popular natural organic toys available at ourgreenhouse.com. A few of our favorites are the Natural Finger Painting 5-Piece Set, great for bath time, and Eco-friendly Stocking Stuffers including aromatherapy bubble bath, wool finger puppets, and felted coin purses.

My Little Green Shop is a hip e-boutique geared for eco-conscious families offering online shopping for eco-conscious toys, puzzles, and games we love. Maple Landmark Environment Memory Tiles  are made in the USA and feature images for recycling, renewable power sources, the seasons and even a hybrid car to exercise kids’ memory skills in a green way. There are also wooden matching,  alphabet, and peg puzzles perfect for fun and education with the kids.

Bunnies Picnica family-owned e-boutique specializing in iteme for babies, girls, and tweens, has a variety of cute toys and doll clothing, donating a percentage of their profits to buy new clothing for foster children in the United States. Bunnies Picnic toys that kids will love to unwrap this holiday season include Hazel Village organic ragdolls such as Annicke the Mouse BallerinaOwen the Fox in Green Waistcoat and Ragtalew Primrose the Pig Mini Ragdoll.

We know Santa would approve.

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46462_471058762932291_1055129273_nVote for New Jammies!

New Jammies is being nominated for the Cribsie Awards here at cribsieawards.com/nominate.

Founded in 2010 and hosted by StrollerTraffic.com, the Cribsie Awards recognize the best products, services, and websites for babies and tots. The Cribsies offer a secure voting platform that limits users to one unique vote per email address, meaning the Cribsies are a true, untainted measure of the public’s opinion on the top parenting brands. With hundreds of thousands of votes cast and a reach in the millions, the Cribsies have quickly become the definitive awards for parents.

You nominate. They select. Parents vote. Support New Jammies today!

Eat Right: Whole Foods for the Holidays

46462_471058762932291_1055129273_nIt’s no secret that when it comes to the holidays, food takes center stage for New Jammies families. So there’s no better time than now to establish healthy habits for kids with whole food recipes. Whole food is defined as “food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances.”

These food types include fresh fruits and vegetables, local, grass-fed meats, fish, eggs, dairy and cheese, whole-wheat and whole-grains, local- and home-baked goods, seeds and nuts. A whole food diet avoids refined grains and sugars, high-fructose syrups, food loaded with fillers and preservatives, and junk and fast food, especially.

During the holidays, hearty meals can be made fresh with all-natural ingredients grown in the garden and frozen after harvest or, in warmer climates, local farmer’s markets. Traditional dishes such as roasted turkey and squash, sweet potatoes and yams, Brussels sprouts, cooked carrots, creamed spinach, quinoa with mushrooms, corn casserole, green beans with almonds, cranberry salad, whole-grain rolls, baked apples, and gluten-free pumpkin pie.

These recipes from Whole Foods, located online at wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes, can help families plan for a healthy whole food turkey dinner this holiday:

Roast Turkey with Apples and Onions
Serves 12 with leftovers

Ingredients:

· 1 (14-pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
· 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
· 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
· 1 tablespoon kosher salt
· 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
· 5 crisp apples, such as Pink Lady or Fuji, peeled, cored and quartered
· 5 red onions, quartered

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Pat turkey dry inside and out with paper towels; brush skin with butter. In a small bowl, combine sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Loosen skin over the turkey breast meat with your fingers and work a little of the sage mixture under the skin and over the meat. Sprinkle remaining mixture over skin and in the cavity of the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body; place in a large roasting pan fitted with a rack and roast 20 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 350°F, tent breast loosely with a piece of foil and roast 1 hour longer. Remove turkey from oven, remove foil and baste with pan juices. Arrange apples and onions around turkey and continue to roast (without foil covering) until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F or juices run clear (not pink) when you poke thigh with a paring knife, about 2 hours more.

Transfer turkey to a platter and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Cover pan with foil to keep apples and onions warm and serve alongside turkey.

Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms
Serves 6

Ingredients:

· 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
· 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
· 1 pear, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
· 1 garlic clove, halved
· 2 pounds Portobello mushrooms, stemmed and gills scraped out
· 1 cup red or white quinoa
· 3 cups tightly packed fresh spinach, chopped
· 4 green onions, thinly sliced
· 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
· 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
· 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Put vinegar, mustard, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute, to make the dressing.

Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, green onions, almonds, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup more dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Chestnuts
Serves 6

Ingredients:

· 10 chestnuts
· 1 large or 2 small red bell peppers, diced
· 1 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
· 1 tablespoon olive oil or safflower oil
· 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Slash an “X” through chestnuts; on the flat side of nut. Place them, cut side up on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove husk. Cut chestnuts into small pieces and set aside.

Clean and trim sprouts. If sprouts are large, cut in half vertically. Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté red pepper for 3 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and sauté 3 more minutes.

Add water, cover, and steam about 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir in chestnuts, and cook, uncovered, until chestnuts are warmed through and sprouts are tender, being careful not to overcook sprouts. Serve immediately.

This rec12060_481840848520749_1695193353_nipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Greek Yogurt, contributed to Food and Wine at foodandwine.com, by Todd Porter and Diane Cu, is a great option for a whole food side that babies eating solids and toddlers can enjoy, as well as the whole family:

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Greek Yogurt
Serves 4

Ingredients:

· 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
· 1 tablespoon unrefined brown sugar
· 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
· 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Drain the sweet potatoes in a colander, shaking the colander to help remove excess water. Pour the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and Greek yogurt to the sweet potatoes. Mash to your desired texture and serve warm.

Healthy and homemade recipes from food blogger the Wellness Mama, online at wellnessmama.com, offer whole food-friendly options for traditional holiday fare that will have the family asking for seconds:

Healthy Grain-free Paleo Green Bean Casserole
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

Onion Topping

· 2-3 medium onions, very thinly sliced
· 2 eggs
· 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or coconut milk
· 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour
· ½ cup coconut oil or tallow for frying (I use tallow)

Healthy Cream of Mushroom Sauce

· ½ cup butter
· ½ cup cream or coconut milk
· ⅓ of onion mix above
· 8-10 mushrooms, finely diced
· ½ tsp garlic powder
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 4-5 egg yolks
· Coconut milk or water to thin

Other

· 5 cans of cut or french style green beans (Can also use fresh or 2-3 bags of frozen, or 2-3 pounds of fresh just heat first to remove extra liquid.)

Thinly slice all the onions, separate, and put in medium bowl.

Add the two eggs and the heavy cream and mix well until evenly incorporated.
Add coconut flour and mix by hand until evenly coated (note:may use slightly more or less depending on your brand of coconut flour.)

Put tallow in large skillet and turn on medium high heat. When hot, add the coated onions and evenly brown, turning occasionally. When browned, remove from heat and set aside.

In medium sauce pan, melt butter and saute mushrooms until starting to brown, then add cream or coconut milk.
Whisk in egg yolks and spices and about ⅓ of the onion topping mixture and continue stirring until the yolks begin to cook and the mixture thickens.

Add extra milk or water if needed to thin (only a few tablespoons might be needed). Drain green beans and pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Pour the cream mixture over and mix well until incorporated.

Top with onion mixture and heat at 325 in oven until topping starts to crisp (but not burn) and green beans are heated.

Sugarless Cranberry Sauce
Serves 8

Ingredients:

· 2 bags of fresh cranberries (usually 12 ounce bags)
· ¾ cup pineapple juice or orange juice (I recommend pineapple)
· ½ cup of applesauce (no sugar added)
· ½ cup of water
· Juice and zest of one orange
· 3-4 tablespoons of honey or to taste (optional)

Put cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce and water in a sauce pan and and bring to a boil.

Keep on medium heat, stirring constantly until the cranberries start to explode (about 10-15 minutes).
Reduce to a simmer and pour the juice and zest over the cranberry mixture.

Simmer 10-15 minutes and remove from heat.

Cool completely and store in fridge at least 4 hours but preferably overnight before serving.

NOTE: This is not as sweet as store versions. Taste at the end of cooking. It is naturally sweet from the fruit juice and applesauce but you can add more honey or stevia to taste if needed.
Bon appetite, and happy holidays!

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10534652_782507411787423_3054468415575607769_nVote for New Jammies!

New Jammies is being nominated for the Cribsie Awards here at cribsieawards.com/nominate.

Founded in 2010 and hosted by StrollerTraffic.com, the Cribsie Awards recognize the best products, services, and websites for babies and tots. The Cribsies offer a secure voting platform that limits users to one unique vote per email address, meaning the Cribsies are a true, untainted measure of the public’s opinion on the top parenting brands. With hundreds of thousands of votes cast and a reach in the millions, the Cribsies have quickly become the definitive awards for parents.

You nominate. They select. Parents vote. Support New Jammies today!