Favorite Things Friday ~ Real Food Recipes We’re Loving!

For this edition of Favorite Things Friday, I thought I would share a few of the real food recipes we have really enjoyed during our Real Food challenge. We aren’t perfect, but I think we are making great strides in our attempts to clean out our diet.

Favorite Things Friday Real Food Reicpes

 

My pretty picky 6-year-old is eating more fruits and vegetables, and his digestive issues are improving. He has really taken onto the challenge more than I ever could have imagined. It’s making me so happy! :-) For once, I am actually following a meal plan and making some of the recipes I have pinned. We have also been using many of the 100 Days of Real Food recipes.

Our favorites so far are as follows:

100% Whole Wheat Pancakes (100 Days of Real Food). I have used this pancake recipe for quite a while now, without the bananas. With our commitment to eating more real foods, I put the bananas in, and they’ve been a huge hit for breakfast.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones. I have made these just like the recipe and also with a variation (raspberries and lemon). They are equally wonderful, and they make an easy breakfast to go with a little whole fruit preserves.

Chicken Marsala. I can safely say I have never made chicken Marsala, until this past week that is. I decided to make it for a weeknight dinner, and the boys loved it! It was VERY easy to do and couple with a vegetable (we chose broccoli) and served over whole wheat pasta, it makes a great, filling real food meal.

Overnight Oats with Mixed Fruit and Maple Syrup. I wrote about some of our favorite overnight oats recipes last week. Our go-to oats for preparation the night before are made with oats, milk, whatever organic fruit is in the refrigerator or freezer (usually blueberries, raspberries, or mixed berries) and some maple syrup. You can prep them all the night before, throw them in the microwave in the morning, and you have a healthy breakfast with staying power.

20 Minute Cherry Tomato and Basil Pasta. I pinned this recipe a long time ago, thinking I would make it during the summer months. Last week, organic grape tomatoes were on sale at Stop and Shop, so I decided to give this recipe a go. It was SO easy to make, and it reminded me of summer time during the blizzard! We all liked it, and it literally took 20 minutes–tops!

What are YOUR favorite “real food” or “clean eating” recipes? Drop a link in the comments, so we can all get some menu inspiration!

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Why You Should Use Prenatal Probiotics (and a SWEET deal if you want to try them!)

Hyperbiotics PRO-Moms

Probiotics have been a hot topic for awhile now, with the potential to improve everything from digestive issues to immune support. I have been very intrigued by the research behind probiotics, and I have decided to try them myself! I was contacted by Hyperbiotics to test out a bottle of their proprietary probiotics. I received Immune, but I’m even more excited that they came out with a special prenatal probiotic formulation for pregnant and nursing moms!

 

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are microorganisms found (or introduced into the body) that result in positive physiological outcomes. The most common probiotics used in supplements and foods now are strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. 

How can probiotics help your body?

Probiotics support many of your body’s systems. We most often think of them in conjunction with the digestive system–reducing bloating, gas, and diarrhea. They have shown beneficial effects for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive irregularities. Probiotics may also help strengthen your immune system.

Research is also continuing into the effects of probiotics on blood sugar, oral health, and even psychological disorders. While foods like yogurts do contain probiotics (active live cultures), they are often in much smaller amounts than you can get in supplements.

Hyperbiotics PRO-Moms: Prenatal Probiotics for Pregnant and Nursing Women

Hyperbiotics has a brand new probiotic formulation for pregnant and nursing moms. PRO-Moms contains 8 different strains of broad spectrum probiotics that may help reduce conditions like UTIs, mastitis, and other types of inflammation. PRO-Moms is 100% natural and is taken once daily, and it’s vegetarian, gluten-free, wheat-free, lactose-free, no soy, no sugar, yeast-free, and non-GMO.

Here are some of the probiotic strains in PRO-Moms and some of the benefits seen in research:

L. reuteri – Helps protect against many common infections and has been shown to reduce allergies in infants. Studies have found infants who have L. reuteri in their system fall sick less often, require fewer doctor visits, and are absent fewer days from daycare.
L. rhamnosus – Helps improve glucose metabolism which lowers incidences of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Assists in the prevention of urinary tract infections and helps build a superior immune system.
L. fermentum – Has been shown to restore and maintain a healthy balance of microflora in the female urogenital system and significantly reduces recurrent urinary tract infections.
L. fermentum may help to lower inflammatory processes which are associated with disease and fatigue.
L. plantarum – Promotes digestive health and helps relieve digestive distress in both mother and baby. Promotes healthy bacteria growth in the birth canal to inoculate newborn babies against pathogens. Creates a healthy barrier in your colon to keep dangerous bacteria from penetrating the lining of your intestines and entering your blood stream, making L. plantarum a must for digestive health.
L. acidophilus – Protects the lining of your vagina and cervix, and your urethra, giving women wonderful female system support. Helps to preserve the healthy bacteria preventing an overgrowth of yeast in the system protecting women from yeast infections. L. acidophilus is key to digestion of dairy products and produces vitamin K, which is essential to proper blood clotting and bone formation and repair.
B. lactis – Supports immune health by activating natural killer cells that help eliminate unwanted cells from your body. Helps to decrease the rate of gestational diabetes by altering the composition of the gut microbiome and metabolism from early gestation and beyond. Works to provide excellent resistance to harmful microbes as well as improves digestive comfort and helps to normalizing bowel movements.
B. bifidum – Works to battle eczema and atopic dermatitis in infants. Studies have shown a significant reduction in bloating, cramps, gas, as well as abdominal pain in those that ingested B. bifidum consistently.
If you are pregnant or nursing (like me!) and you would like to try PRO-Moms, I have AWESOME news! If you click on this LINK and enter your email, you will receive a promotional code to use on Amazon. You will receive a bottle of PRO-Moms for just $1 (no strings attached!)! This offer is valid from today until Saturday at midnight PST, so go ahead and grab yours! :-)
30 Something Mother Runner received a bottle of Hyperbiotics Immune to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own. 
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30 Something Father Figure ~ Blizzard Edition

The first blizzard of 2015 is in the books. I can’t say it was “historic” as the media anticipated, but maybe my 8 month old could argue that it was for him. Actually Cape Cod got a pretty good amount of snow, and it was still coming down last night. With the wind gusting to near hurricane strength, there are some drifts up to the roof eaves!

Blizzard 2015

I guess the driving ban is a decent excuse for not getting a workout in yet this week… It bums me out though– I hate missing my Monday racquetball. Of course, I spent a good hour outside with my boys yesterday– chasing them and picking them up out of the deepest drifts!

Jumping through 2-3 feet of snow is no joke, so maybe I shouldn’t feel too down about not getting an “official” workout in. Today is another work from home day due to the storm, so I plan on getting some more snow exercise.

Depending on the temperatures and road conditions, I hope to go sledding today during my lunch break. There’s nothing like carrying kids up a snowy hill to get a great leg workout! I’m sure some shoveling is in the forecast as well, so it looks like I’ll hit the full body!

Boys Blizzard 2015

I’m not gonna lie, I love snow. Winter in southern New England is tough for me because it’s cold and dark but not cold enough to get a lot of snow. The snow gives you something to DO outside. Even without the mountains, I can snowshoe, sled, cross-country ski, or play “the fox & the rabbit”– chasing my kids through packed down paths in the backyard.

If all works out this week, I’ll still get in 1-2 racquetball days. I found out recently that my company is now reimbursing us a certain amount for health club expenditures. This was great news, and I think it’s a really smart thing for companies to do. Would you rather pay employees to exercise, or pay for healthcare costs for people who aren’t taking care of themselves?

I hope everyone in the path of the blizzard fares well, and finds a way to get some fresh air!

 

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Overnight Oats ~ The Easiest Breakfast Ever!

Easiest Breakfast Ever

Since embracing the Real Food Challenge, we have definitely made some changes in our house when it comes to breakfast. Breakfast is an easy meal to start with if you are looking to get away from processed foods and eat cleaner. My kids like to eat cereal a lot (our faves are the Cascadian Farms line and the Nature’s Promise Raisin Bran), but I like to keep things varied and also make sure that we are getting fruits each morning with breakfast.

I kept seeing overnight oats EVERYWHERE on Pinterest for a while, and I decided that it was finally time to give them a go. Seriously–it could not be any easier to do, and the boys are loving them! I went to the store and got a set of 4 small mason jars (not the traditional pint-sized ones, these have a wider bottom), which work perfectly for overnight oats.

The night before I put in a layer of uncooked oats (we use the Nature’s Promise organic quick oats). I top with a layer of fruit–it doesn’t have to be fresh, I use frozen organic berries, since they are usually less expensive.

You simply pour some milk over the top of the oats and fruit– just enough to almost cover the top layer. I then drizzle with honey or maple syrup, top, and store in the fridge overnight. The next morning, you just heat in the microwave and you’re good to go!

The best thing about overnight oats is that there are SO many different flavor combinations to try. I put together a list of my favorite recipes from Pinterest below:

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Motivational Monday ~ Girls With Sole (Helping Sex Abuse Survivors)

girls with sole

I realized I missed last week’s Motivational Monday– EEK! I’m back with it this week though, and similar to Girls on the Run, I’m highlighting a wonderful running non-profit: Girls with Sole (based in Ohio). I first read about this organization, founded in 2009, in an article in Runner’s World. The mission and vision of Girls with Sole is as follows:

Our Mission
Use free fitness and wellness programs to empower the minds, bodies and souls of girls who are at-risk or have experienced abuse of any kind.

Our Vision
Our vision is a world where every girl thinks of herself as an athlete- and is inspired and nurtured in mind, body and soul- to achieve her fullest potential and inner most success.

Running is such a therapeutic activity, and Girls with Sole helps at risk and abuse survivors heal and empower themselves through running and other fitness and wellness activities. Girls can participate in all programs free of charge, and supplies are also provided at no cost (covered by donations from the local running store and other sources).

Some of the statistics regarding young girls and abuse are shocking: “approximately 1 in 4 teens report being a victim of emotional abuse; 73% of girls in juvenile justice have experienced physical or sexual victimization; and A history of abuse is a stronger predictor of delinquency in girls than in boys.”

Helping girls to develop a better sense of self-esteem and self-confidence is crucial to helping them succeed and avoid the pitfalls that are so often the result of verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse. Please take a second and visit their website HERE. If you live in the Rocky River area of Ohio, and you would like to volunteer to help Girls With Sole, you can find information HERE or you can donate HERE.

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Favorite Things Friday ~ Baby and Toddler Gear

It’s time for another Favorite Things Friday– this time it’s a baby/toddler gear edition!

  • Simply Chickie Clothing– This ADORABLE organic baby and toddler clothing line was created by mompreneur Gwen from Newport, Rhode Island. The onesies and t-shirts are printed with really cute sayings like the one we have that says “I Toot Toot” with a little train! You can visit them online to check out their über cute microfashion!

Simply Chickie Onesie

  • Joovy Caboose VaryLight– We have been rocking the Joovy Caboose VaryLight for our afternoon walk to pick up the oldest Morrison, and I am pretty sure my 4 year-old loves it more than the baby. He loves anything purple, and the hue of this stroller is no exception (purple is my favorite color too!). The VaryLight is such a practical solution for those of you with a pre-schooler and baby. Since it’s not a side by side, you can actually fit through doors! :-) Another bonus– it has a great storage basket!

Joovy-Caboose-Varylight-side

  • Little Twig Lavender Baby Wash– I LOVE the smell of lavender, so I was super excited to test out the Little Twigs lavender baby wash. Confession: I use it myself too :-) Lavender not only smells good, its scent is calming– perfect for baby or toddler bath time!

Little Twigs Lavender Baby Wash

  • North Face Buttery Fleece Bunting– I would love to wrap myself in butter fleece when I go out, but instead the baby gets it! :-) Since Baby Morrison is so big, we had a hard time finding a bunting with fold over hems in his size. This bunting has fold over cuffs and hems, and it’s warm, but thin enough for use in the car seat. One of the best things about this bunting is that there are two zippers (on each side) that zip down to about knee-length. It’s really easy to get baby/toddler in and out of the suit—huge for those of you that have wrigglers! :-)

North Face Buttery Fleece Bunting

 

30 Something Mother Runner received a Simply Chickie onesie and Little Twig Lavender Baby Wash. All opinions and writing are 100% my own. These are products I support and have used and loved! 

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Geeking Out Over My Erin Condren Planner

A random fact about me: I sort of geek out when it comes to planners (paper AND online). My theory is that in the craziness of my life with three kids, I long for some semblance of the structure and planning I had in my former life…It’s cathartic to put things down in little slots and check them off as you go along.

Erin Condren Quick Ship Cover

So you can imagine my sheer glee when I ordered my 2015 Erin Condren life planner. Although I have tried various online planners, including my Google calendar, I just keep coming back to the paper. I have heard about the Erin Condren planners a lot lately, and I just couldn’t keep my hot little hands from getting online and ordering one for myself. If you would like to order one too, you can sign up for an account with my referral link and you will get a $10 promotional code emailed to you. Just set up the account, wait for the promotional code, and then place your order! :-)

I decided to go for the planner that I could get now and customize my cover later– the quick ship planner. My planner arrived in a beautiful box, wrapped in tissue paper, and complete with a $10 gift card for a future purchase. I unwrapped the planner and found that, as described by others, it’s a substantial planner. It’s pretty much exactly what I wanted!

Erin Condren Pocket and Zip Folder

Erin Condren Life Planner Month View

Erin Condren Life Planner Week View

I already had a multi color set of Sharpie no-bleed fine point permanent markers (some of my faves because true to fact, they don’t BLEED!). I have a color code for different members of the family, so the markers help me keep everything straight on my planner.

The planner is constructed well. I really like how the pages are reinforced with plastic near the binding, so they won’t rip out. This is a pet peeve of mine with past calendars. The coils are substantial, and I have heard from others that they don’t start to separate from the binding like other planners.

Sharpie Pens

Out of the box, the planner comes with a ruler that snaps into the planner, a vinyl zip compartment, free to/from labels, pre-printed stickers for birthdays, etc. and some blank stickers. It also comes with a forget-me-not perpetual calendar and contacts book to keep birthdays and other important dates. You can then transfer the forget-me-not calendar from this year’s planner to the next.

Forget Me Not Calendar

I paid for this planner myself, but the post does contain a referral link. If you sign up for an Erin Condren account and place an order, I get $10 in credit. :-) My suggestion is to set up the account first and wait for the coupon code email before ordering. It may take a little while for the code to arrive after account set up (I think mine took 10 minutes or so). 

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30 Something Father Figure ~ On to Next Week

I’m not gonna beat around the bush: the flu swept through my household last week, leaving no one untouched–well except for the dog. I managed to keep it at bay for the most part, but spent a few days at home taking care of the kids and not infecting my client’s offices. It was a bad week for exercise.  It happens to the best of us, but it’s still frustrating.

Bell Tower Marsh

I cancelled Friday racquetball as I had to stay in Boston to make up for lost time earlier in the week. My wife was able to get out for a few runs over the weekend, but I wasn’t up for biking in the sub-twenty degree temps. Sunday was much warmer, so I took my kids to the park/playground, and chased them all over the play structures like I was ten years old again (this is pretty standard for me). We explored some trails in the salt marsh, and generally enjoyed the unseasonal warmth and sun.

I’m playing racquetball tonight after work–definitely looking forward to a nice hour-long session on the court, I need it! Last week my friend and I worked on some more technique and talked about how to improve our skills. Racquetball is an interesting sport, because it’s so easy to learn how to play– if you have any hand-eye coordination, and ability to move, you can learn it the first time you play.

Mastering it however, is a different story. Neither of us has had any coaching or really researched how to play. We try to hit the ball so the other person can’t get to it, but inevitably it bounces right to the opponent.

We’re finally working on our technique to place the ball better. It’s fun getting to the next plateau in a sport, and it’s great that my friend and I are at the same level. I hope we don’t get too good though, because right now we get such great exercise running around the court like maniacs! Friday I should be able to play with my other friend, so I’ll be on target with two days for the week.

Bell Tower Marsh 2

I’d like this to be the week that I start the plank with my wife, and while I’m at it I want to get back into push-ups. The year before last I had a personal goal of being able to do 100 consecutive push-ups. I downloaded a simple app for my Droid that gives you a push-up schedule for the week.

Not surprisingly my interest/motivation waned after a while, but not before getting close to my goal, with 90 consecutive push-ups. That means without stopping for a break ;-) I felt pretty good about it, and I’d really like to get back at it. 

Aside from the full body workout that comes with mountain biking, I’m not doing any strength training. A friend of mine started a fitness/strength program at a local place, and said that he likes it so far – it’s early in the mornings, and of course there’s a cost involved, but I would love to get into something like that.

Otherwise it’s just so hard to find the time to self-motivate. With the push-up program, I think I can realistically get some strength workouts in during my week. It really only takes 10 minutes or so, 3 days a week. I usually alternate between a wide and narrow stance with my hands, to work the triceps and the pectorals.

Do any of you do bodyweight exercises at home? If anyone wants to start a push-up challenge, don’t be shy! I hope everyone has a good week…

 

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Sunsweet Plum Perfect Sundaes ~ A Healthy Snack for the Whole Family!


New Year’s resolutions to make healthy changes are in full swing, and everyone’s motivation is probably starting to waver a bit! It’s not always easy to make changes in your diet (or physical activity), but it’s so worth it. As a household we have been embracing a “real food challenge,” and have definitely had our own struggles making changes, especially creating healthy snacks the boys get excited about!

Sunsweet Plum Pefect Sundae

One thing I have been doing to keep everyone excited and motivated (especially the kids) is working on our food presentation and making healthier versions of their favorite treats. They love ice cream, so I have been making “sundaes” (really a healthy snack!) with plain greek yogurt and fun toppings that they have been loving. They get so excited about their “healthy dessert!”

sunsweet products

Today I am sharing a recipe for Plum Perfect Sundaes. Sunsweet Plum Amazins make the perfect “sundae” topping and they provide a great dose of fiber for everyone! The Plum Amazins have a low glycemic index and less sugar than their craisin and raisin counterparts. They provide a good dose of potassium and may play a role in building healthier bones.

Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi of Florida State University says, “Dried plums (prunes) are the most bone-friendly fruit that I have seen in decades. They are nature’s solution to maintaining good bone health.” Dr. Arjmandi hypothesizes that the many compounds and nutrients contained in prunes, such as vitamin K, potassium, copper and boron, likely work synergistically to have this positive effect. Additional research is currently being conducted to learn more about prunes and bone health.

Plum Perfect Sundae Yogurt

Sunsweet Plum Perfect Sundae Close Up

 

We have enjoyed the Plum Amazins and prunes as toppings on yogurt and cereal and as a great addition to our homemade trail mix. The Light Plum Smart juice is also a nice addition to a healthy morning breakfast.

Plum Perfect Sundaes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Plain Greek yogurt (divided)
  • 2 cups granola-- store bought or homemade (divided)
  • 4 tbsp honey (divided)
  • 1 cup Sunsweet Plum Amazins (divided)
  • 2 tsp natural vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup of plain greek yogurt in each sundae cup. If you would like to flavor your yogurt with vanilla, mix the vanilla into the yogurt before portioning into cups.
  2. Top each sundae cup of yogurt with 1/2 cup of granola, 1/4 cup of Sunsweet Plum Amazins, and 1 tbsp of honey.
  3. After serving, mix and enjoy!
http://www.30somethingmotherrunner.com/sunsweet-plum-perfect-sundaes-healthy-snack-whole-family/

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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How to Stop Using Treats as Rewards for Kids

When we decided to take on the Real Food challenge, I had a frank discussion with both kids about how we were no longer having a “treat” after dinner every night. I was convinced that it wasn’t going to go well, especially in the case of my six and a half year old (who is obsessed with treats!).

How to Stop Using Treats as Rewards

In fact, he was a large impetus for us taking on the Real Food challenge; somewhere along the way he started fixating on a “treat” for eating a good dinner or lunch. I never restricted sweets, because I have seen what happens when you never allow them. I had this vision of my child going to a friend’s house and gorging himself on candy!

He would always ask: “Did I eat enough for a treat?” This would start about five minutes into dinner by the way. So I was pleasantly surprised when I sat him down and explained that we would be having treats only on Fridays from now on. After dinner on other days, he could have a “healthy treat.” I took a lot of care in selling the healthy treats and presenting them in an appealing fashion.

Guess what? It totally worked! The six-year-old wailed for a few minutes about the decision, but then he accepted it and moved on in the true fashion of a boy– no grudge held. Now one of the favorite healthy “treats” is plain yogurt with their choice of fruit, homemade granola, and a drizzle of honey. Check out tomorrow’s post to see what they look like! :-)

If you would also like to stop using treats as rewards, here are some suggestions for non-treat rewards:

  • Make a coupon book to give to your child with non-treat rewards like a movie date, sporting event, etc. Kids LOVE coupon books (my son got one from his kindergarten teacher last year, and it was all he talked about!). You can click HERE for a free printable booklet template.
  • 1/2 Hour Extra Time Before Bed– This one can work wonders– for the small sacrifice of an extra half hour, your child will probably do whatever you ask! ;-)
  • Favorite Dinner– This one is fun if your child has a go-to dinner meal that they always love. Allowing them to make the meal choice is empowering for them and something fun for most ages!
  • Extra computer/tablet time– This one isn’t my personal favorite, but I know it motivates A LOT of kids!
  • Box of Magic or Mystery– My first grader’s teacher does this, and the kids are beside themselves for a chance at the box of mystery. He stocks the box with small non-sweet treats like pencils, stickers, key chains, etc. as prizes for the kids. They earn tickets they can redeem towards a pull from the box of mystery.

 Do you use sweet treats as rewards? If not, what do you like to use as a reward item for your kids?

 

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