Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

Taco Tuesday getting dull? Spice things up with these super simple Enchiladas.

What You Need: 2 large chicken breasts diced and cooked,
1 cup shredded Mexican Blend Cheese,
1 cup picante sauce,
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
10 flour tortillas
1 small tomato, chopped
1 green onion, chopped

What To Do: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and picante sauce. Divide the mixture, combining 1 cup with the chicken and most of the cheese, saving some to sprinkle on top. Warm a tortilla, and fill with chicken mixture. Roll and place flap-down in a baking dish. Do the same for the remaining tortillas. (Don't be shy, let those enchiladas get cozy!) Pour the remaining Soup/Picante mix on top of all the enchiladas. Cover and bake for 35 minutes- sprinkle remaining cheese and onions. return to oven for 5-10 more minutes until dish is bubbling and cheese has melted. Top with tomatoes and serve.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mommy Commencement Speech

          Now that all the children have headed back to school, I thought it was a perfect time for a Commencement Speech for Mommy's. A rally cry as we all go forth through the tears, the joys, the heartaches that come with a new school year. Whether it's sending our little ones off for the very first time or watching our almost adults begin the first year of college, there's something about this time of year that calls for Mommy Camaraderie.

       We tell ourselves this year is going to be different. I'm going to pack lunches the night before, I'm going to have home cooked meals every night, I'm going to volunteer more at the school, I'm going to have at least one date night a month, and I'm ABSOLUTELY going to start that Zumba class!! We make promises to ourselves and find ourselves remaking them by New Years and letting them fall to the waste side by spring break.

       It is very easy to tell you to relax. It's easy to give you the long list of Mommy-Feel-Good lines that are printed over and over. It is harder to make those words resound, make you take them to heart. It is nearly impossible to make you look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you're doing fine, especially when you feel like everything around you is in chaos. That feeling is normal. Every mom has it whether they admit it or not. So many of us try to portray perfection. even though TV & movies have been open to showing the "ugly-side' of motherhood- the no-make up, dinner from a can, messy living room, chasing after a 3 year old, miss-matched sock reality of it all. But even this does not ease the burden of actually raising children.

      So I say this to you: Be kind to yourself.  Please. There is only one you, no good substitute or replacement is available. You are your child parent- for better or worse. So do the things that make you happy. Be an example to them that life is about smiles and laughter, love and joy. Enstil in them a strong work ethic and an equally sense of self-worth by living it. The dishes won't complain about sitting in the sink for an our while you read bedtime stories and if you can learn to ignore your nagging inner voice the laundry will wait diligently until after your yoga class.

     It is still your life even though it sometimes may feel that you've given over control to Eris, the goddess of chaos. You deserve happiness, just as your children do. So give yourself a break (literally and figuratively) take a long walk and forgive yourself for ordering take out 3 nights in a row. Make a promise to relinquish some of that control, slack the reigns and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Safety

It's summer and schools out. It's the time for kids to run and play in parks, on beaches and through backyards! But with all this heat, sun, and water, parents need to stay vigilant. Here are summers main concerns and ways to beat the heat, keep kids safe, and still have fun!

When the thermometer keeps rising there are many things parents need to be mindful of. Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke and Dehydration are the three big ones. It's hard for adults to make sure that they are getting enough  fluids, or to know how much their bodies are working, so kids need to have adults looking out for them.
  • Avoid sun exposure between 11am and 3pm. This is the time of day when the sun is highest in the sky and its rays are the strongest. Avoid water play during this time of day as the water washes away sweat making it difficult to see how much fluid you or your child has lost. Do errands and outdoor play early or late in the day.
  • Kids will not stop playing to get a drink of water until they are extremely thirsty and by then they've already lost too much fluid. Once thirsty, get kids out of the heat and have them drink plenty water to help their bodies replenish. Prevent dehydration, by drinking small amounts throughout the day as large amounts of water at one time does little to help keep you hydrated.
  • DO NOT LEAVE KIDS IN CARS!! Not for 10 minutes, not for 2 minutes. The temperature in a car can rise over 20 degrees in less than 20 minutes. So on a 98 degree day, you car can go up to 118 in the time it takes you to run the ATM. It maybe inconvenient, but taking them with you is better than taking them to the hospital.

It wouldn't be summer without the sun, but too much sun exposure can be dangerous. Your body needs sun to make vitamin D, so make sure your kids do get 15 minutes of sunshine a day.
  • Apply (and reapply) sunscreen. Kids of all skin tones and complexions should have on sun block when they go outside.  Apply before heading out and every two hours after.
  • Play in the shade. Make use of the patio or covered deck. Kids will have fun playing in a tent or making one out of a blanket.
  • Cover up. Encourage kids with particularly sensitive skin to wear sun coveralls, wide brimmed hats and sunglasses.
  • Double Check Medications. Some medications have sun exposure warnings. Read carefully to be sure you're taking the proper precautions. Questions: talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Water play is one of the best parts of summer time, but it can be dangerous if the right safety measures aren't taken.
  • Teach your kids to swim! This is a great way to help them be safe.
  • NO ONE SHOULD SWIM ALONE! This is true for adults and especially for children. Younger children and weak swimmers should always have an adult within arms reach. Bring the cordless phone outside, or ignore the phone altogether, don't multitask when watching the kids in the pool.
  • Learn the signs of drowning.   Drowning doesn't look like what the TV and Movies portray it as so read up on Drowning and make sure your caregivers do to!
  • Get a Coast Guard Certified life vest. Make sure it fits correctly.
  • Know the waters. Ponds, lakes, beaches and can be unpredictable in many ways: undertows, rough surf, hidden drop-offs, rocks, broken glass, etc. Be aware of where your kids are swimming and playing. Keep them safe by giving them water shoes, life vests, etc. and teaching them to stay near the shore, not to have their backs to the waves, and to swim sideways in caught in an undertow. 

Read More on Sun Safety & Water Safety at the Kids Health website.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Shrimp Alfredo

What You Need:
2 tablespoons butter/margarine
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups of grated Parmesan cheese
Shrimp peeled & deveined
Pasta of your choice

What To Do:
Melt the butter in a large pan on medium high heat. Sweat (gently cook) the garlic for a minute. You want to smell garlic but you don't want it to turn brown, or burn. Stir in heavy cream and 1/4 cups of parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Let simmer and stir frequently.

Meanwhile, cook pasta and drain.

Add shrimp and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese to the sauce and stir. Let simmer until shrimp is fully cooked about 5 minutes.

Toss with pasta and serve.

VARIATIONS: Feel free to pre cook the shrimp and flavor with your favorite seasonings. In the picture, the shrimp was sauteed in a pan with butter, 1 tsp Sazon seasoning, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp minced garlic and 1 tsp sugar.