Eat Right: Heart-healthy Family Dinners

February is American Heart Month, and New Jammies joins the American Heart Association in reminding families this is an ideal time to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their loved ones, friends and communities involved.

“The biggest part of living healthy comes down to simply making healthy choices,” says the AHA. “While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.”

In its Heart-healthy Recipes section of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women website, the AHA provides meal planning ideas that can save your heart by improving your diet.

“There’s a common misconception that anything described as healthy is lacking in flavor and satisfaction. To add insult to injury, there’s also an automatic assumption that healthy foods are unaffordable,” the American Heart Association says.

“The truth is, there are plenty of creative ways to make a tasty, heart-healthy dish. And you don’t have to be a master chef to whip one up, and do it well … Once you start eating this way, you may wonder why you didn’t start sooner. And before you know it, you’ll be coming up with your own inspired creations.”

Try these heart-healthy dishes from the American Heart Association and encourage your New Jammies kids and to eat right today:

Healthy greens and beans add a flavorful punch to this easy soup recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup.

Ingredients

6 Servings (Serving size 1 cup)
1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
1/2 small red onion (chopped)
1 medium celery (chopped)
1 medium garlic clove (minced)
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added Great Northern beans (rinsed, drained)
14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (crumbled)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups spinach
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion, celery, and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion and celery are soft.

2. Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes with liquid, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes so the flavors blend.

3. Stir in the spinach. Simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

4. Just before serving, sprinkle the soup with the Parmesan.

This protein-packed vegetarian Edamame Salad with Orange-Balsamic Dressing can be a main course or a side dish.

Ingredients

Serving size 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, lowest sodium available
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar PLUS
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided use
1 tsp. olive oil, extra virgin preferred
1/4 tsp. pepper
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added navy beans, rinsed, drained
1/4 tsp. salt
2 oz. mixed salad greens, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
1/4 medium cucumber, sliced crosswise
1 medium Italian plum (Roma) tomato, diced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced radishes

Directions

1. Prepare the edamame using the package directions, omitting the salt. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, mustard, 2 tablespoons vinegar, oil, and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the edamame, navy beans, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until needed, up to five days.

3. At serving time, put the salad greens on plates. Top, in order, with the cucumber, tomato, carrot, radishes, and bean mixture. Pour the dressing over all.

Benefit from heart-healthy omega-3 fats with this vegetable and seafood Spinach-Stuffed Baked Salmon dish.

Ingredients
4 Servings (Serving size 3 ounces fish and 1/2 cup vegetables)

1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
2 oz. spinach
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped, roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained if bottled
1/4 cup fresh basil (coarsely chopped)
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
Cooking spray
4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each), rinsed, patted dry
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (lowest sodium available)
2 Tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs, lowest sodium available
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the spinach and lemon zest for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the roasted peppers, basil, and walnuts. Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

3. Cut a lengthwise slit in the side of each fillet to make a pocket for the stuffing. Be careful to not cut through to the other side. With a spoon or your fingers, carefully stuff a scant 1/2 cup spinach mixture into each fillet. Transfer to the baking sheet. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the mustard over the fish.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the fish. Lightly spray the top with cooking spray.

5. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the fish is the desired doneness and the filling is heated through.

This Blackberry Cobbler dessert recipe features nutrient-dense blackberries and is great for family meals, especially as the weather warms. Nutrient-dense foods are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories, and contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Cooking Tip: On the blackberries, this sweet-tart fruit is nutrient dense. Look for plump berries with a dark, rich color.

Ingredients
8 Servings

Cooking spray
4 cups blackberries
1/4 cup sugar substitute and 1/2 cup sugar substitute, divided use
1/4 cup water
Juice from 1 medium lime
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/16 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup canola or corn oil
1/4 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the berries, 1/4 cup sugar substitute, the water, lime juice, and ginger. Let the berry mixture stand for at least 15 minutes so the juices can accumulate.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar substitute.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.

5. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture, stirring just until no flour is visible. Don’t overmix.

6. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Using a spatula, spread the batter in the pan. (The batter doesn’t have to touch the edge of the pan; it will spread while baking.) Top with the berry mixture.

7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For information on women and heart disease, visit Go Red for Women.

 

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 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.

Eat Right: Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

Back-to-school for New Jammies kids means new teachers, new school clothes, new friends and new experiences. It also means brainstorming new healthy lunch ideas for culinary variety to make sure the kids are eating right.

For an easy rotation of sandwiches with snacks, ham or turkey with cheese are easy to assemble the night before school. Peanut, almond or sunflower butter (great for kids with nut allergies) with homemade low-sugar jelly sandwiches are perfect for variety and specific dietary requirements.

Organic pastas such as penne noodles, ravioli and macaroni and cheese, including brands such as Annie’s, can also be made ahead of time to pack a convenient and nutritious lunch. Annie’s also makes organic gummies and fruit snacks, cookies, popcorn and granola bars to include as healthy lunch box snack options.

Bento Boxes, which are BPA- and phthalate-free and 100% recyclable, are extremely popular, especially this colorful divided lunch box, as they can help with portioning and organizing. We love Bentgo Kids, an innovative bento-style lunch box designed exclusively for active kids on the go, because you can put liquid dips in it and they won’t leak into other compartments with special sealed lid.

“What makes Bentgo Kids so much fun is the endless combinations of nutritious foods you can pack in the five convenient compartments,” says the company. “The largest compartment is the perfect size for a half sandwich or salad. Three mid-size compartments are great for fruit, veggies and other snack favorites. The smallest compartment is sized just right for dipping sauces. Bentgo Kids’ removable compartment tray allows you to mix and match the three fun colors to suit your child’s unique preference.”

Bentgo is also a purchase with a purpose, as the company is a proud supporter of Feed the Children. Try this Bentgo Kids All-in-One Lunch Box.

“Your purchase makes a difference in the lives of hungry children in America and around the world,” says Bentgo Kids.

For sustainable lunch packaging, we also love Two + Two re-usable and washable sandwich wraps and snack bags. Don’t waste ziplock bags and throw away plastic! These are made in New Jammies home state of Colorado in Aspen, and are food-safe and eco-friendly.

“This young company is run by two creative moms with a passion for style, sewing, Mother Earth, and doing what’s best (and cutest) for their little ones,” says Two+Two. “Products keep food fresh and uncontaminated with a proprietary lining that is free of lead, BPA, PVC and phthalates. The various sizes of eco-friendly reusable bags accommodate any and all packing organizing and traveling needs.”

Fill the snack bags and lunch boxes mentioned above with fresh-cut veggies, including carrot and celery sticks, cauliflower and broccoli pieces, and cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices from the garden, as healthy options. Dips such as hummus and homemade ranch with Greek yogurt can make veggie eating even more enticing for kids at lunchtime.

Cheese sticks in different varieties, including string cheese and cheddar, can keep things interesting from day-to-day. Fresh fruit that travels well, especially oranges and tangerines, red or green apples and ripe bananas, plus sugar-free applesauce and fruit cups are filling and great for adding important Vitamin C. Frozen yogurt tubes that thaw by lunch are good to include for a fast dose of Vitamin D.

For foodie kids who like to mix it up and try different dishes, black beans and rice sprinkled with Monterey Jack cheese provide a tasty protein-filled option. Add salsa for fun and color. Roasted veggie quesadillas made with whole-wheat tortillas are also easy to make ahead and transport in the lunch box.

This recipe for Chic’ Penne from KidsHealth.com can be made ahead on the weekend and eaten cold throughout the week, or frozen for future lunches, after-school snacks and quick dinners after sports practice or club meetings:

Prep time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

1 box whole-wheat penne pasta (14 ounces)

3 cups of raw broccoli florettes

¾ cup of precooked chicken strips (4 ounces)

½ cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded (2 ounces)

½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 ounces)

3 tablespoons skim milk (1.5 oz)

2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cook pasta according to directions until crisp-tender. Drain pasta.

3. Place drained pasta in a 13×9 baking dish.

4. Place broccoli in a stockpot of boiling water or a steamer for about 5 minutes.

5. Rinse with cool water.

6. Add the drained broccoli and the precooked chicken strips to the pasta.

7. Sprinkle shredded cheeses over pasta mixture.

8. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.

9. Pour milk mixture evenly over the pasta mixture and mix in with a spoon.

10. Cover baking dish with foil.

11. Bake 30 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and cheese is melted.

EatingWell.com offers some fun Bento lunchbox ideas, including this one for a Deconstructed Cobb Salad Lunch for Kids.

Ingredients:

½ ounce slice low- or reduced-sodium deli turkey

½ ounce slice low- or reduced-sodium deli ham

¼ cup chopped romaine lettuce

2 tablespoons chopped tomato

2 tablespoons chopped cucumber

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

½ avocado, cubed

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 hard-boiled egg, thinly sliced crosswise

1 slice crisply cooked bacon

Directions:

1. Stack turkey and ham slices on top of each other.

2. Tightly roll up and slice crosswise into 4 to 6 rounds.

3. Place in a small container.

4. Toss lettuce, tomato and cucumber in a medium container.

5. Place oil and vinegar in a dip-size container and nestle into the salad.

6. Toss avocado with lime juice and place in a medium container along with egg.

7. Place bacon in a small container.

For more recipe and menu ideas, visit the KidsHealth.com Recipes page. Bon appetite!

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: Stay Cool with Healthy Summer Treats

When the summer heat is on, New Jammies kids need to stay hydrated and cool. Moms and dads agree that as summer heats up, it helps if those cool treats are light and healthy, too.

Water is the first priority for hydrating kids. According to an article in Parenting magazine on keeping kids hydrated, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children drink six glasses of water on an average day.

“During activity, however, your child can lose up to a half-liter of fluid per hour,” says the article. “The AAP suggests about 5 ounces (or two kid-size gulps) of water or a sports drink every 20 minutes for an 88-pound child.”

Popsicle Dreams Forever
One way kids love to stay hydrated and cool in the summer is with popsicles. Many brands on the market that most of us would still recognize from our childhoods are often produced using sugary flavored water, colorful dyes, and preservatives.

Today, we’re lucky in that we can find low-sugar organic juices and hydrating ingredients, such as coconut water and fresh fruit-infused water, to help us get creative with ingredients while controlling what our kids consume. There are so many options for making your own ice pops using BPA-free molds and easy, healthy recipes. Why not treat the kids and save money with a healthier  homemade option? Yes, please!

The Coconut Mama food blogger, an Oregon mom named Tiffany, offers this recipe for Coconut Water Ice Pops that yields 6. She’s a self-described “true believer in the health benefits of coconut,” using coconut products in most cooking.

“These unconventional ice pops are healthy, super easy to make and can be very versatile,” reads the recipe description. “Coconut water is extremely healthy and restores electrolytes. You can use any mix of frozen or fresh fruit to make them. We used mango, pineapple and blueberry on this batch.”

Ingredients

Fresh or frozen fruit
Coconut water

Instructions

1. Fill popsicle molds (or cups if using) 3/4 way full of fruit of choice.
2. Pour coconut water into molds and fill the rest of the way.
3. Place molds in freezer. Allow popsicles to freeze completely before serving, about 5-8 hours.
4. Once your popsicles are ready to serve, run the bottom of the popsicle molds under warm water to help release them from the molds.

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Freezing ice pops this summer is made easy with the Lekue 4 Unit Stackable Ice Lollipop Mold, which can be ordered online on Amazon. According to the product description, making homemade popsicles in these stackable molds helps save room in the freezer, and they have an easy-to-fill design that comes with a lid to protect from unwanted flavors and smells in the freezer.

Included in the price are easy recipes that feature lactose and gluten-free options. “You can have healthier and more natural ice pops with no preservatives or dyes,” says Lekue. “Each mold comes with one stick and is dishwasher-friendly and BPA-free.”

Juice Up

We love this recipe for All-natural, Sugar-free Soda from The View from Great Island blogger Sue Moran, not only because it’s “refreshing, fun, and fizzy,” according to the foodie site Super Healthy Kids. But it also skips the artificial flavors, colors, high-fructose corn syrup, and chemicals found in many sodas, says superhealthykids.com.  “All you need is fresh fruit, and carbonated water.”

Ingredients

1 pound fresh ripe strawberries
Carbonated water

Instructions

1. Wash and trim the strawberries.

2. Place them in a food processor and pulse until they are rough chopped, then scrape down the sides of the machine. Purée until completely smooth. Let the machine run for a minute or longer to insure a nice smooth purée.

3. Push the mixture through a mesh strainer, using the back of a large spoon to make sure as much of it gets through as possible. Most all of it should go through, leaving just the small seeds behind. You should have approximately a cup and a half of purée.

4. To make soda, use 2 tablespoons of the purée for each 8 ounces of carbonated water. Mix and then serve immediately. You can adjust the amount of purée for a lighter or stronger flavor.

5. The fruit purée will keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for a week.

6. If you like you can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to perk up the flavor of any fruit soda, and conversely, if you find your soda is too tart, add a touch of honey.

Other fresh fruit-flavor ideas Moran suggests for this super-easy recipe include:

• Grape (choose the dark or red varieties for best flavor)
• Blueberry (be sure to strain this one)
• Guava
• Papaya
• Mango
• Peach
• Pineapple
• Kiwi
• Orange (try blood orange, if you can find them)
• Red or pink grapefruit

Enjoy these refreshing ideas all summer long, and year, if you decide to freeze the purée. Or add spring water to the mix, instead of carbonated, and freeze for a delicious ice pop.

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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: Charge into Spring with Immune-boosting Foods

Spring brings the opportunity for New Jammies families to welcome the new season feeling refreshed. We say goodbye to the stuffy head colds, high fevers and sore throats of winter, taking an holistic approach to health with immune-boosting foods. Whether it’s garlic soup as a natural immune-supporting remedy or apple slices with almond or peanut butter for protein, these recipes harken back Spring’s fresh take at a healthy life.

Garlic Soup RecipeSoothing Garlic Soup
Makes 6 servings
Courtesy wellnessmama.com

The wellnessmama.com website offers “simple answers for healthier families,” and this soothing and immune-boosting recipe that blogger Katie found in an old French cookbook was a pleasant, healthy surprise.

“What surprised me most is the delicious and savory flavor of this soup,” she said. “I expected an overpowering garlic taste, but the added step of roasting the garlic creates a rich and almost slightly sweet flavor.”

Ingredients
4-5 heads of garlic (45-50 cloves)
1/4 cup high quality olive oil
2 onions
4 tablespoons butter
1 quart of chicken broth
2 cups of coconut milk or other milk of choice
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaf or 2 teaspoons of fresh
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley leaf (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (optional)
1 fresh lemon (for garnish)

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut the heads of garlic in half across the cloves but do not peel them.
3. Pour the olive oil into an oven safe dish and place the garlic head halves cut side down on the dish.Cover with an oven safe lid or foil.
4. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until garlic cloves are fragrant and starting to brown. To remove the garlic cloves, carefully pick up the shell of the garlic heads. The cloves should slightly stick to the pan, making peeling easy.
5. While garlic is roasting, melt butter in a large pot and add sliced onions. Saute over medium heat, stirring constantly until onions are translucent and golden. Add thyme, oregano, basil, salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes.
6. When garlic is done roasting, add peeled cloves to the onion mixture in the pot.
7. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
8. Reduce heat to low and add coconut milk or other milk.
9. Using a stainless steel immersion blender, carefully blend the soup until smooth.
10. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh parsley and chives and squeeze a lemon wedge over each bowl.

Turmeric Chicken and Brown Rice SoupTurmeric Chicken and Brown Rice Soup
Courtesy Urban Kitchen Apothecary

The blog site Urban Kitchen Apothecary was created by a health-supportive chef, culinary wellness educator, and all-around holistic lifestyle guru based in New York City. In her pantry, founder Nancy houses “fresh and dried herbs and spices, sea vegetables, medicinal mushrooms, superfoods of both the common and exotic varieties, and all matter of tinctures and concoctions … to enhance both the flavors and medicinal properties of my culinary creations (hence the name of this blog).”

According to Nancy, her recipe for chicken and rice soup is easy to make, and gets better over the next couple of days after it’s made. Also it freezes well.

“The brown rice creates a rich, velvety broth and makes the soup more hearty and satisfying; ginger, garlic and turmeric are ultra-soothing, antiviral and immunity-boosting; and lemon is the perfect zesty finishing touch and adds a boost of much-needed vitamin C,” Nancy says.

Ingredients
2 large onions, one cut into quarters and the other diced (divided)
2 large carrots, one cut into chunks and the other diced (divided)
4 celery stalks, 2 cut into chunks and the remaining stalks diced (divided)
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and diced (if stalks are attached save them for the broth)
10 large garlic cloves, 5 peeled and left whole, 5 peeled and sliced (divided)
5 slices of fresh ginger + 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped (divided)
2-1/2 pounds chicken parts (bone-in breasts and/or thighs)
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
pinch of red chile flakes (optional)
2 bay leaves
Piece of Parm rind
2 cups cooked brown rice
juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving
olive oil
chopped fresh parsley
salt and black pepper

Instructions
1. To make the soup base, combine quartered onion, carrot chunks, celery chunks, fennel stalks and trimmings, whole garlic cloves, ginger slices, and chicken parts in a soup pot. Add water to cover (about 8 cups) and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 1 hour. Remove chicken pieces with tongs and set aside. Remove vegetables, garlic and ginger with a spider or slotted spoon and discard.
2. Add chopped onion, carrot, celery, fennel, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, turmeric, coriander, chile flakes, bay leaves, Parm rind and brown rice to the pot. Simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
3. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones from chicken. Shred meat into bite-sized pieces and add to soup. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
4. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

Veggie Spring Rolls20-Minute Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls
Makes 6 spring rolls
Courtesy chefsavvy.com

This fresh recipe for vegetable spring rolls are perfect for a light lunch, healthy snack or easy-to-make appetizer. Colorful and full of flavor, these naturally vegan spring rolls include mango, high in Vitamins C & A. “The large amounts of Vitamin C act as a great immune booster. Carrots are loaded with antioxidants and a great source of Vitamin A. Bell peppers are packed with vitamins and fiber. Also a great source of antioxidants. The scallions’ Vitamin K and fiber make this a good choice for the spring rolls. Red cabbage is rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants,” says the recipe on chefsavvy.com.

Ingredients
6 spring rolls wrappers
½ cup bell peppers (I used yellow, red and orange bell peppers)
½ cup red cabbage, shredded
½ cup scallions
½ cup mango, sliced
½ cup carrots, julienne

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sweet chili garlic sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
¼ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon canola oil

Instructions
1. Place 1 spring roll wrapper at a time in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 seconds until it softens up a bit. Place it on your work surface and add a handful of each veggie in the top center of the wrapper leaving enough space at the top to roll. (Do not over stuff)
2. Fold the edge closest to you over the toppings and tuck the sides in and over the portion you just rolled. Roll away from you making sure to keep the spring roll tight. Repeat until you have used up all of the filling. Should make about 6 rolls.
3. Serve immediately with the Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce. Cover with a damp cloth so they do not stick together if you won’t be serving them right away.

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
1. Add soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sriracha and honey to a small bowl.
2. Slowly whisk in oil in a slow and steady stream.
3. Serve immediately with the spring rolls. If the sauce separates give it a quick whisk.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Granola Apple BitesChocolate-Peanut Butter Granola Apple Bites
Makes 16-20 wedges
Courtesy The Comfort of Cooking

Ingredients
2 apples, sliced into wedges
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup granola, your favorite
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for sprinkling

Semisweet chocolate chips, optional*

Instructions
1. Coat tops of apple wedges in peanut butter and sprinkle with granola and cinnamon.
2. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring in 30 second increments until melted. Be careful not to overheat.
3. Drizzle wedges with melted chocolate, set on a large platter and serve.

Tips
To substitute the chocolate drizzle, you can sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top of the wedges. Or, leave the chocolate out altogether. They’re still delicious!

If not eating immediately, brush each side of apple wedges with a little lemon juice to avoid browning.

Peanut Butter Love

Health Ambition offers the Top 8 Health Benefits of Peanut Butter, starting with protein. “As a protein-rich food, when you eat peanut butter you feel fuller for longer. Additionally the protein is also good for building and repairing muscles, which is especially important if you work out a lot,” says Chief Editor Helen Sanders.

The Top 8 Health Benefits Of Peanut Butter

Eat Right: Sweet, Healthy Desserts Families Will Love

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.” At New Jammies, we love dessert, especially cake, as much as the next sweet tooth. Since February is American Heart Month, and the perfect time for spreading the love, we decided to seek out tasty and healthy dessert recipes — including one for chocolate lovers — to keep hearts happy, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Spiced PearsHoney and Spice Pears
Courtesy American Heart Association
Makes 4 Servings

Enjoy a delicate, heart-healthy dessert by cooking seasonal pears in a light homemade syrup. For info on women and heart disease, visit Go Red for Women.

Ingredients
1 cup light cranberry juice cocktail
1/2-3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground allspice
4 small firm pears (about 6 ounces each), peeled, halved, and cored
2 Tbsp. sweetened, dried cherries or cranberries
1 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. honey (divided use)

Tip: Serving size 2 pear halves and 1 heaping tablespoon sauce.

Directions
1. In a large nonstick skillet, stir together the cranberry juice, cinnamon, and allspice. Add the pears and cherries. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes, or until the pears are just tender-crisp.

2. Transfer pears with the cut side down to a serving plate, leaving liquid in the skillet.

3. Cook the liquid, still on medium high, for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until reduced to a scant 1/4 cup, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in honey. Spoon over pears.

4. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes. Turn the pears several times to coat with the sauce or transfer them to plates and spoon the sauce on top.

img_2304Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pops
Courtesy American Diabetes Association
Makes 4 Servings

You can make this recipe with any fruit and flavor of yogurt. Try mango chunks with pineapple yogurt, or kiwi halves with strawberry yogurt. You could also try other toppings like coconut or sprinkles instead of pecans.

Ingredients
Wax paper
12 strawberries, hulled
12 cake pop sticks
½ cup nonfat blueberry Greek yogurt
¼ cup chopped pecans

Directions
1. Line a small baking sheet with wax paper. Set aside.

2. Insert the cake pop sticks into the top part of the strawberry. Do not pierce through the end of the strawberry.

3. Dip each strawberry in the yogurt, shaking so that each strawberry is thinly coated. Use a spoon to help coat the strawberries if needed.

4. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of pecans (or coconut, sprinkles, etc) over each coated strawberry.

5. Place the strawberry pops on the baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours or until the yogurt is frozen. Once pops are frozen, remove from wax paper and serve or put in a freezer zip-top bag.

img_2306Cranfully Good Chocolate Bites
Courtesy US Cranberries
Makes 8 “Bites”

Rich dark chocolate topped with your favorites: cranberries, nuts, and dried fruits.

Ingredients
3 T 70-80% cocoa premium dark chocolate chips
1/8 cups mix of walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios
1/8 cups mix of dried cranberries, raisins, gooseberries (optional), pumpkin seeds

Directions
1. Mix the nuts and dried fruits together.

2. Melt chocolate in microwave-safe container on low power setting. Rule of thumb: 1 min. for 1 oz.; 3 min. for 8 oz.; 3.5 min. for 1 lb.; 4 min. for 2.lb. Run microwave in 30 sec.-1 min. increments.

3. When most of the chocolate is melted, stir mixture continuously until smooth, shiny, and completely melted.

4. Spoon chocolate onto wax paper in even circles. Top with nuts and fruits. Let harden and then refrigerate 10 minutes.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Pie with Berriesimg_2305
Courtesy Mayo Clinic Staff
Makes 8 Servings

Dietitian’s tip: This dessert is more similar to a tart than a traditional cream pie. You can use any fresh, unsweetened berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries.

Ingredients
8 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 prepared graham cracker crust, about 9 inches in diameter
1 can (16 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
1 pint berries, rinsed and drained (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, or a combination)

Directions
1. In a small bowl, mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar. Gently spread over the graham cracker crust.

2. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

3. Just before serving, spread the crushed pineapple over the cream cheese. Add the berries.

4. Cut the pie into 8 wedges and serve immediately.

 

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 Summer Snacks for Families On the Go

StripesSummer sure is great for relaxing, but it can also be a busy time when New Jammies families are on the go.

Whether it’s to and from ball games and the pool or traveling for family vacations and reunions, helping kids eat right is made easy with tips on packing snacks with a healthy punch.

New Jammies founder Nicole Ludlow opts for healthy snacks on the go including dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, banana, and bringing along a soft-pack cooler for cut-up fruit, veggies and cheese.

“Veggies are an easy route for snacks, especially when chopped into child bite-sized portions,” Nicole says. “We love carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, jicama, and red, yellow and green bell peppers for fresh, mobile snacks.”

Jicama is a fun, nutritional vegetable, native to central and South America, that kids enjoy because it has a crisp sweetness that stays cool in the summer. The root veggie has been used for thousands of years as a medicinally beneficial dietary element, according to organicfacts.net.

“Some of the health benefits of jicama include its ability to help you manage your weight, optimize your digestion, boost your immune system, prevent various types of cancer,” says the Organic Facts website, which provides unbiased info on nutrition and benefits of food and home remedies. “It also increases energy levels, helps manage diabetes, builds strong bones, increase circulation, lowers blood pressure, and boosts brain function.”

Fresh fruit is also a favorite with New Jammies kids. From watermelon and blueberries to strawberries and mango, fruit goes with summer like sun and a day at the beach. Fruit is extremely versatile — it can be eaten alone or diced up and mixed in with yogurt. Apples, oranges, pears, and peaches make for quick snacks to take on the go.

And dried fruits including cranberries, apricots, and bananas are nutritious non-perishable items to pack for longer trips or vacations. Dried fruit can be packed in individual travel snack bags or added to homemade granola and protein-heavy nut mixes that include peanuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, and cashews.

GranolaTry this easy sugar-free granola recipe that can be packed for snacking from superhealthykids.com:

Ingredients:
2 cup oats, dry
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F
2. In large bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon and salt.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into dry oat mixture. Stir gently until dry mixture is coated.
4. Turn oat and egg white mixture onto a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper or a silpat liner)
5. Bake in pre-heated oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
6. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

Also easily portable are wheat crackers topped with peanut butter, hummus, cheese cubes and pepperoni slices, and dry snacks including pretzels, apple and sweet potato chips, goldfish and graham crackers, and low-sugar fig newtons. This recipe from the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission for homemade baked sweet potato chips is easy to prepare, and can be great for snacking or family get-togethers. They can be made with or without the red pepper for spice, if needed, for kids:

Courtesy sweetpotato.org

Spicy Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients:
4 large sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and dried
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Peanut oil for frying
1 recipe Vidalia Onion Dip (recipe follows)

Instructions:
1. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, thinly slice sweet potatoes.
2. In a small bowl, combine salt and red pepper. Set aside.
3. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, pour oil to a depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium-high heat to 350°. Plunge chips, 10 to 12 at a time, into oil. Fry until light golden brown, 3 to 6 minutes.
4. Remove, and drain on paper towels or paper bags until completely cooled. Sprinkle with salt mixture.
5. Serve immediately with Vidalia Onion Dip, if desired.

Serving Size: 12 servings

Vidalia Onion Dip

Ingredients:
1 Vidalia onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sour cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Garnish: chopped fresh thyme

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Place onion slices on prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, coat onion with olive oil.
3. Bake until slightly charred, approximately 12 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool, and roughly chop.
4. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine onion, sour cream, ricotta, tarragon, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Pulse until smooth.
5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Garnish with thyme, if desired. Serve with Spicy Sweet Potato Chips, if desired.

Serving Size: approximately 3 cups

Happy, healthy snacking from New Jammies!

Eat Right: Healthy Kid-friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

The holidays are a chance for New Jammies families to sit down together and be thankful for the year that has passed and the new one ahead. Especially at Thanksgiving.

The annual Turkey Day dinner offers a bounty of fruits, vegetables and sweet and savory cuisine that often appeases adults more than kids. Picky eaters sometimes become even pickier when yams, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie are involved.

Thankfully, New Jammies is here to help.

We’ve found healthy Thanksgiving recipes sure to make everyone at the table happy. Even the kids. Happy holidays and bon appetite. Gobble gobble!

thanksgivingThanksgiving Apple and Dip Appetizer
Courtesy http://www.superhealthykids.com

Ingredients
One large Honeycrisp apple

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey

Instructions
The key to this appetizer is to prevent your apples from turning brown. To prevent browning, use lemon juice for the tart flavor. Slice apple in wedges and arrange slices in a fan shape like a turkey tail. Place every other apple up and then down. Fill small dish with peanut butter yogurt dip and garnish with a piece of candy corn for beak and raisins or chocolate chips for eyes.

Salad Greens with Pears, Fennel and Walnuts
Courtesy http://www.mayoclinic.org

Ingredients
6 cups mixed salad greens
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 medium pears, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions
Divide the salad greens onto 6 plates. Scatter the fennel and pear slices over the greens. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Add black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

Healthy Cranberry Sauce (adapted from WH Foods)
Courtesy http://www.superhealthykids.com

Ingredients
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup honey

Instructions
Place OJ, ginger, and cinnamon in a sauce pan. Turn on medium heat until it reaches a boil. Then add the package of cranberries. Stir over heat for 10 minutes. Add honey. Stir until well combined.

zucchiniZucchini Oven Chips
Courtesy http://www.myrecipes.com

Ingredients
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini (about 2 small)
Cooking spray

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425°. Combine first five ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve immediately.

pumpkinbarsPaleo Pumpkin Bars
Courtesy http://www.hummusapien.com

Ingredients
¾ cup creamy almond butter
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 overripe medium banana
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup chocolate chips and/or walnuts, optional

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 8x8in square baking dish with cooking spray. Place almond butter, pumpkin, banana, maple syrup, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir until well-combined. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring until smooth. Pour into prepared baking dish, smoothing with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serves 12.