Dine with Diana: Too Good To Be Healthy Veggie Quinoa

If you’re like me, you’re scrambling around this week trying to get the kids back to a respectable bedtime routine, trying to remember where you left off at work, unpacking from holiday trips, and just generally trying to keep your head screwed on.

Meanwhile, my kids will not stop asking for snacks and chocolate. Literally. They average about once an hour. In the morning they want a snack, not breakfast. And around 9am they start saying, “Can we please have chocolate now. We haven’t had any yet today!”

Now that they no longer get their way, they go into full tantrum mode in hopes of recreating the near free-reign eating they experienced during the break when grandparents, uncles and even laid back parents were caving in at every turn.

So now our challenge is to get us all back to eating normally again with a focus on nutritious and delicious meals. Oh yah, and you know me. Fast and easy are key.

Since we’ve all been eating hearty dishes with a lot of flavor and comfort to them over the holidays, I wanted to come up with something that would give our family the same comfort feelings without being full of fat and calories.

Hubs and I came up with this amazing Veggie Quinoa dish that can be used as a side, a full meal (don’t be afraid to add meat) or as Hubs did, as a bed for our roasted leg of lamb a few nights ago. Decadent for a post holiday meal, I know, but it really wasn’t heavy at all.

The flavors, nuttiness, textures and healthy-factor on this dish all add up to perfection for getting back on track at the dinner table this week.

Let me know how you serve it!

Xo,

Diana

Too Good To Be Healthy Veggie Quinoa

 quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 bag vegetable quinoa mix- I like Roland brand Garden
  • Yellow grape tomatoes cut in half
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Golden raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Top with raw Brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
    (amount of added ingredients is all to taste)

 Directions:

  1. Prepare the quinoa mix according to package instructions
  2. Toss in the yellow tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins, cranberries and mix
  3. Sprinkle top of each serving with the crispy raw Brussels sprouts

You can follow Totsy’s Chief Mom, Diana Heather on Twitter: @totsymom

Kiss Dry Winter Skin Goodbye!

care for beautiful woman legs

Cold crisp air, snow, and bundling up! Who doesn’t love winter? Okay, maybe quite a few people don’t, but others love it! Whether you like winter or not, it is important to take care of your skin, no matter your age! Skin is the largest organ of the human body, serving as a protection barrier from outside intruders, so take care of it! Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your family’s skin soft and subtle this winter.

Stay hydrated

  • Not only is water good for health, your skin needs it too! It is just as important to stay hydrated during the winter as it is in the summer.

Sunscreen

  • Just because it isn’t 80 degrees outside doesn’t mean you need to retire your sunscreen. The suns harmful rays can still affect you in the winter. Opt for SPF 15+. There are plenty of oil-free ones available for your entire family. Try Aveeno as they have a variety of sunscreens to meet your family’s needs.

Face

  • Your face is the most exposed part of your body during the winter time; keep it moisturized! In order to prevent clogged pores and breakouts try oil-free, non-comedogenic face creams. Try Neutrogena, many of their products are already oil free.
  • Avoid licking your lips as saliva dries them out faster. Keep them smooth and silky beeswax based chapsticks and lip balms. Menthol chapsticks will dry your lips out faster and fruity flavored glosses, balms, and chapsticks tempt you to lick those lips! I don’t about you, but I can’t help but eat a strawberry lipgloss off my lips!

Showering

  • Avoid aggressive soaps as they dry out skin faster. Stick to brands such as Aveeno and Dove that are chock full of emollients and moisturizers.
  • Avoid super hot showers! Though it may feel amazing to take a hot shower after frolicking in the cold, it can quickly damage your skin. Instead shower with lukewarm water. Your skin will thank you! Also apply a moisturizer while your skin is still slightly damp. Your body will better absorb the lotion/cream.
  • Use a gentle exfoliator to remove dead, dry skin cells. Brown sugar, milk, and honey make a great DIY scrub!
  • Need to relax after a long day? Incorporate oatmeal into your bath to soothe dry, itchy skin.

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A Few Other Tips

  • Make sure your kids are bundled up properly. The less exposed their skin, the less it will dry out.
  • Aquaphor is great for the entire family (can even be used a chapstick).
  • Use a humidifier to keep the air in your home moist.
  • Try to find lotions and moisturizers that contain either lanolin, mineral oil, or petrolatum (also known as petroleum jelly), or a combination of the sort. These oils trap water in the skin, preventing your skin from drying out.

Goodbye Movember, Hello December

As we move further into the month of December (we can’t believe it either), we are wrapping up a successful month of Movember. We were able to hear our dad bloggers talk about Fighting Monsters with Rubber Swords and how if detected early, a life can be saved.

One of our very own, Nathan, participated in Movember as well; he grew out his ‘stache and shared his experiences (and photo journey) with us. As we wrap up, we got the opportunity to ask Nate a few questions about his experience.  He was also very excited to share the progress of his mustache.  Read more below:

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Interview with Totsy’s very own, Nathan Feder.

  1. How does it feel to have that beard? For one thing, THIS is no beard, it’s a mustache… but it feels really itchy! But I have had lots of people come up to me and ask why I decided to grow a mustache, which gave me a great opportunity to tell them about Movember and try to spread awareness. So itchy as it was, it felt good to be doing something for a good cause. 
  2. Did you reach your fundraising goal? I didn’t actually have a fundraising goal.  I was just trying to raise as much as I could and do my part. 
  3. What are some lessons you learned? Make sure that no relatives get married mid-November. I was at a wedding where there were lots of pictures taken, I did not look good in them….
  4. Any plans to participate in Movember next year?  What would you do differently?  I will probably do it again next year. The main thing that I would do differently is try to get more friends involved with it as well. That way we can set up a team and make it a more immersive experience for the month, (also we can add a degree of competitiveness to it just to make it fun!)

nate

Prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and cancer in general is no joke. Which is why Totsy has decided to match Nathan’s donations, totaling $620 raised for his Movember participation.

Tell us, do you know anyone who has participated in Movember?  Please share in the comments below!

Dine with Diana: Best Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup Ever!

With Jack Frost nipping at our noses (yes, I am in the Holiday spirit!),the hubby and the girls haven’t been feeling too well. Even with my pickiest eaters, they only want one thing: SOUP. I mean who doesn’t like a nice, hot bowl of soup when you’re not feeling too well or on a cold, winter today? Helloooo, it’s the ultimate comfort food! Especially chicken noodle soup! Yup, that’s right chicken noodle soup and it’s super easy to make! My Grandmother would make this all throughout winter, so this soup definitely brings back memories.

Hubs and I have made this amazing soup twice in the last month. First we used the carcass of a delicious roasted organic chicken. Then, of course, we followed that up with our Thanksgiving turkey carcass (also, organic and yes, I swear it DOES make a difference). The carcass of a delicious roasted organic chicken. I told Hubs that if chicken noodle soup could be gourmet, then this would be it.

Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

HINT: Even my 2-year-old is eating this soup daily. She’s addicted.

Xo,
Diana

Best Healthy Chicken (or Turkey) Noodle Soup Ever

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken or turkey carcass (preferably organic)
  • 6 cups chicken broth, homemade broth or veggie broth
  • 1 1/2 coarse sea salt tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 6 carrots, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs (thick base of stalk), stalks cut off, bulbs halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise in 1-inch
  • thick pieces (can replace with 2 stalks of celery, but fennel adds a much more exotic flavor)
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • Ka-me Japanese curly noodles cooked (or your favorite healthy pasta or rice)

Directions:

  1. Place broth, water, salt, pepper, onion, 2 carrots, 1 fennel bulb, dill and thyme carcass into a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil then simmer at least 2 hours.
  3. Using a cheese cloth strainer, pour soup over and into another pot.
  4. Remove chicken from the bones and gather any loose chicken, then place into the strained pot of soup.
  5. Discard the rest of the bones and cooked veggies.
  6. Add the remaining 4 carrots and fennel to the soup along with 1 stalk of celery
  7. Bring to a boil then simmer at least one hour. Salt and Pepper to taste.
  8. Put cooked noodles into the pot and serve!

TIP: I like to top mine w/ a few shakes of herbs de provence rather than add too much salt.

Tell us, what soup do your kids enjoy?

Movember: Cancer Stats & How to Stay Healthy

We all know that the men in our lives are less likely to visit the doctor when they’re sick. The team at Movember aims to change that by raising awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate & testicular cancer. They want everyone to know that most cancers can be treated effectively if caught early!

As Movember comes to a close, here are a few key statistics about cancer that surprised us, as well as a list of tips for keeping your beloved “Mo Bros” healthy.

Did you know:

  • 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women, will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
  • An average of 28,000 men will die from prostate cancer in 2012
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35
  • An average of 450 men will die from breast cancer in 2012
  • Four times as many men commit suicide compared with women

How to Stay Healthy:

  1. Have a physical EVERY YEAR
  2. Know your family healthy history
  3. DON’T SMOKE
  4. Exercise & Stay Active
  5. Get Good, Consistent Sleep
  6. Know Your Body & Pay Attention to Strange Symptoms
  7. Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet
  8. Stay Within A Healthy Weight Range
  9. Tame the Stress Monster
  10. Drink Alcohol Moderately

Click here for more information on Movember & men’s health.

 

Movember Guest Post Part 3: Mocha Dad

{Meet Frederick J. Goodall of Mocha Dad}

My uncle Bobby was a fascinating man. Having spent the majority of his life working in the Middle-East, he was full of stories and wild experiences. He owned a villa in Spain, vacationed in Thailand, and owned the finest luxury cars in the world. Whenever I was in St. Louis, I always went to his house to listen to his stories. They never got old to me.

On one visit, I noticed that Uncle Bobby didn’t look well. He had lost weight and his gait was slow. I asked him if everything was okay and he told me that he was fine. I knew that he wasn’t but I didn’t want to call him on it. Later on, one of his nieces, revealed to us that uncle Bobby had prostate cancer. It had spread throughout his body because Uncle Bobby always avoided the doctor and never scheduled regular check-ups.

Losing Uncle Bobby was tragic. If only he had gotten an exam sooner…maybe he’d still be with us today. But one good thing did come from Uncle Bobby’s death. My father-in-law scheduled a prostate exam. Thankfully the doctor discovered his prostate cancer and performed surgery before it could spread.

Although regular screenings are important for all men, routine prostate cancer screenings are critical for African-Americans. Among black men, 19 percent — nearly one in five — will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and five percent of those will die from this disease. In fact, prostate cancer is the fourth most common reason overall for death in African-American men. The American Cancer Society recommends that African-American men discuss testing with their doctor at age 45, or at age 40 if they have several close relatives who have had prostate cancer before age 65.

In addition to recognizing the need for early screening, men should be aware of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer. These symptoms can include urinating in the middle of the night, needing to urinate more frequently, and feeling like the bladder doesn’t completely empty. Blood in the urine may also be a sign of prostate cancer. The good news is that prostate cancer treatment has a 95 success rate if detected early.

I encourage all men to schedule a physical as soon as possible. If we are to raise strong families and have strong marriages, we have to protect our health.

I don’t want any family to experience a loss of a loved one due to prostate cancer. That’s why I’m participating in Movember to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues. Visit my personal Movember page and make a donation today.

Frederick J. Goodall writes the fatherhood blog Mocha Dad. He is also a freelance writer, speaker, and owner of the Communications and Media company, Goodall Creative Services. Pie is his favorite dessert.

8 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

One of the biggest eating struggles a parent has is getting kids to eat vegetables. Overall, my boys are pretty good about eating vegetables. Below are some of my tips on how I got my boys to like vegetables.

Tips for getting kids to eat vegetables:

  •  Offer a variety of vegetables. When the kids go grocery shopping with you let them pick some of the items from the produce department.
  • Get the kids involved in growing a vegetable garden. Vegetables are a lot more tempting if kids are involved in the growing process. Plus homegrown vegetables taste so much better!
  • If they don’t like cooked vegetables, let them try raw vegetables and vice versa. My boys like broccoli lightly steamed but not raw.
  • Keep trying. It takes several times for kids to accept new foods. Even if my child didn’t like the item the first time, I keep putting it on their plate. I encourage them to taste the item again and I suggest they should try something new.
  • Let the kids dunk veggies in a sauce or a dip. Ranch, guacamole, salsa or a sour cream dip are good options.
  • If your child is really objectionable to vegetables, you can make purees and then add those to recipes. The Sneaky Chef or Deceptively Delicious have great recipes for using purees.
  • Keep vegetables readily available. If my kids want a snack before dinner, I try to give them fruit or a vegetable. Baby carrots, snap peas, cucumbers and grape tomatoes are our favorite vegetable snack.
  • Be a good example! I know this is a tough one! If you eat your vegetables, your kids will too. This is something that my hubby has really been working on. I have to remind him almost every night to put vegetables on his plate. He doesn’t mind them- he just prefers other items!

What are your tips for getting your kids to eat their vegetables?

 

About Our Guest Blogger: Renae is a mom of two boys and works full time as a dental hygienist. In her spare time, she blogs at How to Have it All. Join her as she journeys through motherhood trying to balance work, motherhood and saving money. She writes about How to Coupon,Easy RecipesKroger Deals and so much more!