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The Healthy Mama’s recipe for peace, love and health… in the kitchen…and beyond!

When the new year is not (only) about you!

My friend overheard her (awesome!) kids telling my daughter how everything I make at my house is healthy (and fun!), so they always know they can have it. Unfortunately, I don’t know if that’s exactly true…I feel like when they say everything at Subway and Whole Foods has a “health halo” around it – even if it is
full of sugar, white flour, red meat and fat.  Not that I sit around cooking those things, but still…I’m not perfect. I do give in and give my kids mac and cheese sometimes, although I make it from scratch, not from a box with food coloring.



I was so happy to hear that they felt positive about my healthy food. Maybe it’s because they know I’m always trying and developing new recipes and that I genuinely value their opinions. I don’t offer new foods to guests and ask for a compliment. I really ask for feedback, nothing personal involved, especially with kids. I’m also always very positive about it myself.

I can’t wait to share the POSITIVE strategies from the Healthy Family, Healthy You book with my dear readers. It’s been a long, but rewarding journey. I now have only one and a half chapters left to edit. Of course, one of those is the recipe chapter (my book will include approximately 75 recipes), which is the most difficult to edit. (It’s because I’ve been hard at work on the book that you haven’t heard from me in a few weeks…).

If you would like to participate in the recipe testing process, please do let me know at or on my Facebook page!

You must read today’s Washington Post (Food Section) article by Tamar Haspel, “Why home cooks don’t cook: Everyone’s a critic.” She makes a number of fantastic points that will leave you feeling so validated and supported as a hard-working parent, it is worth reading, just for that! Bottom line: Everyone tells busy working parents that the key to a happy and healthy family is to cook at home. However…the reward for that is often your children throwing a tantrum and demanding “kid food,” such as chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and pizza. Multiple industries are devoted to convincing your children that this is their food and they’d better make their parents buy it. Couple the marketing with the science of targeting your taste buds with just the right combination of salt, sugar and fat, (Haspel cites Michael Moss’s game-changing book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat“) and no wonder busy parents feel defeated before they start.

She also mentions the “health halo” around home-cooked food, although it is usually true that home cooked food is lower in calories, salt, sugar and fat, than processed and restaurant meals. However, with so many convenience products on the market, it’s hard to even know what “home-cooked” means any more.

This article points out many of the challenges today’s parents face when trying to feed their family in a healthful way. Some of her suggestions, such as involving your children more in meal planning and prep, are part of the Healthy Family, Healthy You system. However, the system I provide is different than what you’ve heard before and can produce greater family transformation.

Avital's Frozen watermelon cupcakes 2

My son enjoying his sister’s recipe creation!

I can’t wait to share it with you and I thank you, now and for the future, for your patience, ideas and support.

At the beginning of 2014, I declared that I wanted to focus on SERVICE to others. I thought that would start with publishing the book. Instead, I spent the year continuing to write the book, counsel individuals, and develop my strategic system for helping others.

Many of you know how hard of a time I’ve given myself for not having finished the book as quickly as I wanted to. I am now declaring 2015 the year of HARMONY! After all, harmony is what I’m attempting to give my readers, right? Using food to bring harmony to your body, mind and your family. So I am going to declare a harmony between my work as a writer and health coach and my chosen role as a mom and wife. They all complement one another, especially because of the topic I’m writing about. I’m going to focus on that more than the competition between the two. It’s that “competition” that has “slowed” my writing process and why I had no idea how long it would take me to finish. I’m also changing slow to harmony. It’s taken me longer as my home life has positively influenced the book and my suggestions for other families.

So, as you (and I!) eagerly await the Healthy Family, Healthy You book, I wish you a harmonious year! Dream of it now, as you read the working title for the book.

Healthy Family, Healthy You: The Healthy Mama’s recipe for peace, love and health… in the kitchen…and beyond!

Heart Healthy Pumpkin Pie

5 Ways to use the Holiday Season to get Healthier and Happier than you were before!

Go into the New Year, having developed healthy habits that will increase your success, health and happiness, forever!

Imagine going into January feeling good about yourself, instead of feeling like you need to make drastic declarations and resolutions.

I know the usual tips for healthy holidays, such as eating an apple before a holiday party and drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.

Apple Heart For Healthy Fitness

Those are great. However, I have a few new tips that I think you’ll find pretty easy to follow! After all, when it comes to feeling good, you can’t have enough advice, right?


I find it a hassle to follow the standard advice of drinking a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink. If you’re at a bar, it could take you 15 minutes to get a glass of water from the bartender. If you’re at a holiday party, they probably won’t even serve water. I have a different suggestion. Drink the water with your drink. For instance, scotch and “soda” (club soda) or water or white wine spritzers. If you like white wine, spritzers are a fantastic replacement for a full glass of wine. They taste pretty much the same as wine, but you’re consuming less alcohol, fewer calories and staying hydrated. Less alcohol also means your lack of inhibition from too much alcohol won’t cause you to overeat (or embarrass yourself at the office party!).


Empty white flour breads, pasta, fries, and other fried foods, will only fuel your hunger. If you add healthy fat (avocados, nuts or seeds (and not oil!) to each meal, along with a large amount of fruits and vegetables, you will feel satisfied longer and be able to…


Look for every opportunity NOT to eat. If you wake up and you’re not hungry, wait until you are hungry to eat. In the meantime, drink water.

I also suggest you wait until mid morning to consume coffee if you can. That’s because caffeine can make you shaky and hungry – and also need to eat between breakfast and lunch.

If you don’t have an event one evening, make it a point to have a bowl of vegetable soup for dinner (and a salad if you’d like), and then STOP EATING.

Be sure not to eat for 12 hours (in a row) each day (after you have that down, try for 14) and work hard not to snack between meals.Your body develops habits. If you make it a habit not to eat between meals (even if it’s difficult the first few days), your body won’t be looking for food all the time.  Soon, you’ll find you don’t feel as hungry as you used to each day. In addition, this will help you go into a holiday party feeling confident that you can make good choices.

At the party, survey all of the food first and then decide what you can’t live without. Then take a few bites of each and be done with it. Focus on drinking water or a watered down drink after that. Say to yourself, “I came. I enjoyed several treats. I’m done. Now I’m going to hang out with my friends.”

Think of how great you’ll feel about yourself when you get home and when you wake up next day. Or, if you’re tempted to over -indulge, think of how down you’ll feel physically and mentally if you do so. Then, choose YOU. Choose health. Choose happiness. Not cake. You can do it!



Even if you’re not at your happiest weight, start to lift weights and you’ll soon feel stronger and more confident. This will leak into your eating habits and even how you carry yourself each day. Confident-looking people receive different treatment than the meek. You can truly change your daily life, belief in yourself, and others confidence in you, this way. Pick 2 to 3 times each day you can pick up free weights and do 1 or 2 specific exercises. Be sure to vary them so that all of your muscle groups will work throughout the week. You don’t have to make time to go to the gym. We can all steal 5 minutes a few times per day. For proper form and exercise ideas, see a personal trainer in person or on YouTube.


The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table | [Tracie McMillan]

The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan. This reporter goes undercover picking crops in California, working in produce at Walmart and working at Applebee’s. You will have a new appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables, their ability to nourish and give pleasure, and your ability to purchase, cook and eat them.

As an aside, I started out listening to books to get me to stop hating doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. Instead, I’m rewarded by the pleasure of enjoying a book. I’ve now discovered that some books are even better in audio, because of the depth it can add to the characters. I listened to Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman. I can’t imagine that book, or this, without the character’s accents. It almost feels like listening to television. When you don’t have to imagine the accents, it is more relaxing and entertaining to “read”.

Imagine going into January feeling good about yourself, instead of feeling like you need to make drastic declarations and resolutions.

Ready, set, go!

Happy Holidays!

Thanksgiving (w/Kids) Made Easy!

Thanksgiving (w/Kids) Made Easy!

Easiest, Healthiest Thanksgiving Menu Ever!

Hello, my Healthy Mamas!

First, I want to let you guys (and gals – I’m from Chicago – you guys is gender inclusive!) know that the Healthy Family Healthy You book is wrapping up at lightning speed right now! In the next week, my beta readers will have received all but one chapter. I’m so excited to share this information with you and look forward to connecting further over our shared goals!

Second, here are some tips to use this menu:

1. Use the recipes that speak to you and not the ones that don’t.

2. Add in your own family favorites, healthy or not.

3. Have fun and don’t make it too much work for yourself!

Make your grocery list, decide when you’re going to go shopping and when you’re going to cook which dishes so you aren’t stressed out when your family shows up!

Let me know how it goes!

Entire menu serves 10-12, depending on how many of your guests are children.

1. Artichoke Tushies (aka bottoms)!


2 cans artichoke bottoms (5-7 each can), rinsed and drained

1/8 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

1 Tb nutritional yeast, ½ tsp Italian seasoning

Olive Oil Spray


Preheat oven to 400

Line baking pan with parchment paper and spray with olive oil. Place the artichoke bottoms in the pan. Spray the tops with the olive oil spray. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the artichoke bottoms. Give another quick olive oil spray on top of the whole dish.

Bake at 400 for 15-17 min or browned on top.

2. Multicolored Fun with Food!


1 bag, frozen multicolored cauliflower (found in the frozen section of most health food stores)

1 bag frozen multicolored carrots (found in the frozen section of most health food stores)


Boil each bag separately on stove top or steam in microwave until crisp tender. Find two pretty bowls and place each of the vegetables in its own bowl.  Pumpkin bowls? Make sure the bowls will reinforce how adorable and impressive your multicolored veggies are!  Even if you’re serving buffet style, place these on the table.

3. Sweet Potatoes


10-12 sweet potatoes

1 bag, small vanilla vegan marshmallows


Bake sweet potatoes (can do in micro or oven) and split in half. Place marshmallows on top of each half and bake at 350 until browned (about 20 minutes).

4.  Brussels Sprouts with fresh cranberries and orange zest


2.5 lbs  Brussels sprouts (I used (3) 12 oz steam bags – so already pretty trimmed and clean)

4 tablespoons coconut oil. melted

1 cup fresh cranberries

¼ cup maple syrup

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Zest of 1 Orange

Optional: Vegan Parmesan

Brussels sprouts


Preheat oven to 400 (for 20-25 minutes). Turn at 15 minutes.

Trim ends off (already washed) Brussels sprouts (or cut them from stalk) and remove any outer yellow leaves. Cut in half. Dry if still wet from washing. Toss Brussels sprouts with coconut oil and cranberries in a bowl and place in a baking pan with low sides. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until Brussels sprouts are browning and crisping. Add orange zest and bake for 5 more minutes. Toss with maple syrup and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm. Optional: Sprinkle some vegan parmesan (from a shaker – it’s not fake food I promise. Walnuts, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast. Available at health food stores) before serving.

5. Polenta with Mushrooms and Gravy


8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced

6 oz portabella mushrooms, sliced, then chopped

1 cup water

1/8 tsp salt

2 Tb organic cornstarch

1 roll Ancient Quinoa Polenta (preferably the one with red Quinoa mixed in, but plain is okay too), sliced.


Preheat oven to 350. (Or, see alternative stove top directions below).

Cook mushrooms in the 1 cup of water (use a small pot) about 10-15 minutes, on high heat, stirring occasionally until they are soft and much smaller,[See polenta directions below. You can take care of the polenta while you wait for the mushrooms to cook]. Take the mushrooms out of the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Turn the heat off and whisk cornstarch in with the liquid until it has dissolved. Add salt and cook on low heat until the mixture thickens significantly. Whisk almost constantly to prevent burning and lumps. Add the mushrooms back into the pot and stir.

Polenta: Cut into half inch rounds. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then a cooling rack (if you don’t have one, simply flip the polenta rounds half way through so both sides crisp).  Lay the rounds on the cookie sheet and spray one side with olive oil. Flip and spray the other side. Cook at 350 until crisp on both sides.

Alternatively, you may pan fry the polenta in a touch of olive oil until crisp on both sides.

6. Baby apple pies (serves 12)


6 diced apples (peeled if your kids refuse to eat the apple skin or are too young to properly chew it)

Sprinkle of cinnamon or apple pie spice

1 Tablespoon of water

Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Optional: Non-dairy whipped cream or the cream off the top of a can of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated ahead of time.
2 packs of mini graham cracker crusts (come in packs of 6)


Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave uncovered for 4-5 minutes. (Or bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes).

Place apples into mini graham cracker crusts and put non-dairy whip on top.