Thursday, November 29, 2012

Current Recalled Toys: Check this List Before Your Holiday Shopping

Before you start holiday shopping, please check the list of recalled toys, from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Click here to access the list

DIY Aquarium

A cardboard fish awesome! Another great DIY project that kids LOVE!! You only need a box, glue, thread and little pieces of colored cardboard paper to make the creatures. Easy, enjoyable and very green!

Source: DikaKids Brazil

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Creative Tree

Check out this awesome idea to spur kids' creative juices this Christmas. You can easily make the trees and ornaments with felt. No sewing needed!! 
We are making one for each one of my kids this year! They can't wait to start decorating.....

Source: Dika Kids Brasil

Friday, November 16, 2012

Healthy Holidays Recipes: Mushroom and Sausage Stuffed Boneless Turkey Breast

During the Holidays, turkey breast is a star on the table. Our family couldn't care less for the legs and other parts of the turkey. So, if you are like us, this recipe is a must. The breast comes out juicy, delicious, the flavors of the meat and the stuffing blend in together. Believe have to give this one a try!

Mushroom and Sausage Stuffed Turkey Breast (Roulade) with Gravy
Servings: 10 portions
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice 
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms (use other mushrooms if you prefer)
  • 1/2 bunch sage, leaves finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 pound bulk Italian Chicken or Turkey sausage, crumbled
  • 1 turkey breast, removed from the bone, about 4 pounds
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Thyme bundle
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Coat a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, with olive oil, add in half of the diced onion, season with salt, to taste. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and very aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the mushrooms and sage, season with salt, to taste. Cook until they are soft and wilted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the chicken or turkey sausage and use a large kitchen spoon to chop up the sausage. Cook until the sausage is brown and a little crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the sausage mixture to a large mixing bowl and let cool.

While the sausage mixture is cooling, cut the turkey breast into 2 separate halves and remove skin. Butterfly each half to make a wide, flat surface (Most of them will do it without charging anything). Cover each half with plastic wrap and gently pound each breast half, to flatten.

To the mixing bowl with sausage mixture, add the bread crumbs, grated cheese, the eggs, the olives and 1/2 a cup of water. Mix together until it becomes a homogeneous mixture. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Arrange a turkey breast flat on the plastic wrap. Lay half the stuffing mix on the turkey and roll it up, creating a neat even log.  Tie with twine to secure. Repeat with second turkey breast.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put a large roasting pan on a burner, coat it with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the turkey rolls and brown on all sides. Remove the rolls from the pan and add in the remaining diced onion, carrots, celery. Season with salt, to taste, and cook the veggies until they start to soften, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of low sodium chicken stock and 1 cup of white wine to the roasting pan with a thyme bundle. Return the turkey rolls to the pan, cover with foil and roast for 25 minutes, remove the foil and roast for 10 more minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the turkey to a tray or platter and cover with foil to rest and keep warm.

Put the roasting pan over 2 burners to make the gravy. Remove the thyme and skim the fat. Mix the flour with 6 tablespoons chicken stock and slowly whisk it into the roasting pan. Whisk in the remaining chicken stock and bring it the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has thickened to a gravy consistency. Taste and season with salt, if needed.

Remove the string from the roulades and slice into medallions. Arrange the roulades on a serving platter and serve with the gravy.

Sources: Based on multiple recipes including recipes from the Food Network 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

GMO FAQs and More...

Did you know that all organic foods sold in the US must be certified to the USDA National Organic Standards, which prohibit the use of GMOs? Check out this very insightful GMO FAQs published by WholeFoods. Here is a summary:

What are GMOs?
Genetic Modification is a technique that changes the genetic makeup of cells, including alteration of genetic materials and other biologically important chemicals, and allows genes to move across species. It produces new combinations of genes and traits that do not occur in nature. Plants that have been altered in this way are called GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, or GE, genetically engineered. GMO plants are modified to include genes allowing them to survive the application of chemical herbicides, or cause the plants to produce pesticides.

What foods are most likely to contain GMOs?
With regard to our North American food supply, approximately 93% of soy, 88% of field corn, 94% cotton, and over 90% of canola seed and sugar beets planted in the U.S. (2012 data) are genetically engineered.According to the Non-GMO Project, the following are considered High-Risk Crops (in commercial production; ingredients derived from these must be tested every time prior to use in Non-GMO Project Verified products (as of December 2011):
  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)
More information on other high-risk foods, monitored crops and common ingredients derived from GMO risk crops can be found on their website,
What can I do to avoid GMOs in the grocery store?
  • Choose organic products. All organic foods sold in the U.S. must be certified to the USDA National Organic Standards, which prohibit the use of GMOs.
  • Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal on products.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jerk Chicken Heaven

Mmmmm, this recipe is fantastic, Jerk Chicken, Jamaican style. We cooked it this past weekend, and it was just as delicious as it looks!
So easy to make, healthy and delicious. Enjoy!

Jerk Chicken Jamaica Style
Servings: 5 people

One 3 1/2 lb organic chicken (3lb of chicken breasts may be used if preferred)
6 sliced jalapeno peppers
2 Tbsp. thyme
2 Tbsp. ground allspice
8 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Medium onions, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tsp. ground black pepper

1 to 2 Tsp of the following (to taste)
-ground cinnamon

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
Juice of one lime
1 cup orange juice
1 cup white vinegar

Chop the onions, garlic and peppers. These do not need to be chopped too fine as they will be liquified by the blender.
Blend all of the ingredients (excluding the chicken) in a blender to make the jerk sauce. Rub the sauce in to the meat, saving some for basting and dipping later. Leave the chicken in the fridge to marinade overnight.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turn the meat then bake for a further 30 minutes. An even better option is to grill the chicen slowly until cooked, turning regularly. Baste with some of the remaining marinade whilst cooking.

If using the whole chicken, chop each quarter of the chicken portion into 5 or 6 smaller pieces using a heavy cleaver. Use a wooden spoon (or something similar) to hold the chicken in place whilst chopping (you will be chopping with enough pressure to cut through bone!!!)

Serve with salad or rice and peas (or beans).

Based on the recipe provided by the Jamaica Travel and Culture.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Better Future is a Priority

If you are an American, few things are more important than voting today! Having a better future for our kids is a priority.

Simple Steps for a Healthier Family

I've just come across this fantastic anti-cancer list of actions from Prevention magazine, and really wanted to share with you. Here is a summary of simple steps that we can all take into consideration when planning our daily routine:

Buy organic.
Exposure to certain pesticides is linked to at least nine different cancers. Buy foods with the USDA-certified organic seal. (Think you can't afford it? Pick ingredients based on the Dirty Dozen list)
Make fruits and vegetables daily companions.
Consume a range of fresh, colorful produce. Berries, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage), tomatoes, and dark-green leafy vegetables are especially potent cancer fighters.
Add fiber to your diet.
Every 10 g of daily fiber intake reduces the risk of colon cancer by 10%. Good sources include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Aim for 25 g daily.
Eat more fish.
Fish that are low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, Atlantic mackerel, Arctic char, and sardines, reduce inflammation, which is linked to cancer.
Drink green tea.
Green tea contains catechins, antioxidants in a class of compounds called polyphenols, which may protect cells from DNA damage, strengthen the immune system, and activate enzymes that curb tumors.
Get enough vitamin D.
Higher blood levels of this vitamin are associated with lower rates of colon, breast, ovarian, renal, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Have your blood level tested, and discuss supplementation options with your doctor. For more on vitamin D research, check out the work of the GrassrootsHealth organization.)
Flavor your food with turmeric.
Another polyphenol, this Indian spice has anti-inflammatory properties.
Avoid red meat.
Beef, pork, and lamb are linked to cancers of the colon, prostate, pancreas, and kidney.
Limit alcohol consumption.
Alcohol is a risk factor for oral cancers; cancers of the esophagus, liver, colon, and breast; and possibly pancreatic cancer. Women should have no more than one drink daily; men, no more than two.
Don't eat trans fats.
Trans fatty acids, used in baked goods and deep-fried foods, raise the risk of prostate and invasive breast cancers. Don't buy anything containing partially hydrogenated oil, code for trans fats.

Keep out toxins.
Clean with products that use organic ingredients; filter tap water; and look for cosmetics, moisturizers, and hair-care products without parabens, chemicals that have estrogenlike properties that may stimulate hormone-related cancers.

Avoid BPA and BPS.
Research suggests there are links between cancer and BPA and BPS, both of which are found in plastic bottles and the inside coating of cans. Look for cans labeled BPA-free and plastic containers with the recycling numbers 1, 2, or 4.
Minimize dry cleaning.
Perchloroethylene, a dry-cleaning solvent, causes cancer in animals. Find a dry cleaner that doesn't use it, or air your clothes out after bringing them home.
Keep your cell phone away from your face.
Mobile phones use a form of electromagnetism that has been classified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." When on your phone, use a headset, speakerphone, or Bluetooth device.
Get cancer-prevention vaccines.
Everyone needs to get the hepatitis B vaccine, which helps prevent liver cancer. The HPV vaccine, which protects against many viral strains that cause cervical cancer, is advised for all females ages 11 to 26 and all males ages 11 to 21.
Be screened appropriately.
The colonoscopy is the gold standard for detecting colon cancer; the Pap test, for cervical cancer; and mammograms, for breast cancer.
Limit exposure to medical radiation.
Ask your doctor why a test is recommended and whether there is an alternative that does not use radiation.

Source: Prevention

RECALL ALERT: Britax Convertible Seats

Britax is recalling certain convertible child restraints, models Boulevard 70 G3, Advocate 70 G3, and Pavilion 70 G3, Model Numbers: E9LJ91A, E9LJ91M, E9LJ91S, E9LJ92E, E9LJ93P, E9LJ93S, E9LK91A, E9LK31A, E9LK31Q, E9LK32D, E9LK32Z, E9LK33Q, E9LL11A, E9LL11Q, E9LL12D, E9LL12Z, E9LG81A, E9LG83N, E9LG83P, E9LG83X, E9LG83Y, E9LL21A, E9LL23P, E9LL23Y, manufactured from June 2012 through August 2012. These seats were manufactured with a softer chest pad material that may be bitten or chewed into pieces by a child using the seat. If the child bites off a piece of the softer pad, it could be a choking hazard, resulting in injury or death. Britax will provide owners with replacement HUGS pads that are made from a firmer material and instructions on how to replace the pads free of charge. To view a video on how to remove and replace the HUGS chest pads visit and select the product from the menu on the right side. Owners may remove the HUGS pads and continue using the seat until replacement pads are received. The safety recall is expected to begin shortly. Owners may contact Britax Customer Service Department at 1-888-427-4829 with questions or to request replacement pads in the event their restraint is not already registered with Britax.

For more information for this particular recall, please go to

Saturday, November 3, 2012