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Food & Nutrition
There's something so nostalgic about the tinny jingle of the ice-cream truck.It is the siren song of summer, of childhood.And since beoming a mom, I've never said no to it. We have plenty of restrictions, but somehow, it feels wrong to decline the ice-cream truck.It's visited our cul-de-sac several times this summer. Yesterday it arrived moments after the girls returned from a day at Namma's. They were euphoric.Before I realized what had happened, Jane had eaten the bunny's gumball... more
We took the kids to the Dakota County Fair in Farmington yesterday and had a grand time. I've written before about why we prefer the county-fair scene for toddlers: easy access, smaller crowds, all the food-on-a-stick perks. The Dakota County Fair ends tomorrow, but there are a number of county fairs in Minnesota remaining. The... more
Uncle Tyler’s Addictive Guacamole Ingredients 3 ripe avocados, pitted and scooped out1 lime, juiced½ teaspoon kosher salt½ teaspoon cumin½ teaspoon cayenne pepper½ medium red onion, diced1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced1–2 tablespoons chopped cilantro1 clove garlic,... more
Nalgene’s new Lunch Box Buddy is sturdy, simple, easy to clean and offers plenty of room for your own reusable containers.Our 9-year-old test kid loved it and so did Mama, thanks to its light weight, easy-on neoprene case and a cool ice pack that can be used to divide its spacious storage cavity three different ways.The box (which features a flip-... more
Before we get into all the fun things that can happen to your boobs while breastfeeding, I want to make something clear: I support all feeding choices. Next month, I plan to focus on bottle-feeding. It is my belief, having worked with many different families during their postpartum period, that some moms love breastfeeding and some don’t.... more
Do you ever wonder how preschool teachers get 18 children (or more) from their classrooms to the playground, when you struggle to get your one child out the door in the morning? Wonder no more: Local teachers-turned-authors Deb Ellsworth and Tina Charney are letting you in on the tricks of the trade.Their new book, Your Amazing Preschooler:... more
We had a marvelous time exploring the Mill City Farmers Market in Minneapolis last Saturday.  Perched on the banks of the Mississippi, with the Stone Arch Bridge as the backdrop, this is a bustling market for the whole family. It's open every Saturday through October from 8 am to 1 pm. The girls sampled maple syrup and salami,... more
It’s zucchini season! Also known as summer squash, these green or yellow fruits are available at farmers markets now. Celebrate the season by turning them, skin and all, into kid-friendly tots — a great side for breakfast or dinner.Zucchini totsIngredientsOil or cooking spray1 1/2 zucchini 1 large egg, beaten1/4 medium onion, minced1/4 cup... more
Getting kids to play outside should be easy. But sometimes — in this age of nature-deficit disorder/screen-time and a strictly enforced culture of helicopter parenting — it seems like it’s never been more difficult.However, I’m here to tell you: Our kids really, really want it — water, dirt, air and mud, lots of mud — yes, even the... more
Welcome to our Special Needs Issue!I’m so excited to be bringing you a magazine with this new, important theme.Although we try to address special needs in every issue of Minnesota Parent — typically in our On Behavior department as well as throughout the magazine — I felt we needed to step up our game. And, boy, did we learn a lot in putting... more
I cannot read Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go! to my son without welling up with huge, mama-bear tears. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.Except when you don’t.Because, sometimes, you won’t.I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-upsand Hang-ups can happen to... more
Q: When do kids need to start seeing an orthodontist?A: Although most kids aren’t ready for orthodontics until middle school, it’s a good idea to have children evaluated early. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all kids receive a check-up with an orthodontic specialist by no later than age 7. By this age, most kids... more
Balsamic vinaigrette is a go-to recipe for many home cooks, but sometimes it can be overpowering and even a bit sour.This five-minute recipe solves that little issue with two secret ingredients (maple syrup and Dijon mustard), dramatically reinventing this go-to dressing for just about any summer salad.Maple-Balsamic VinaigretteIngredients3/4 cup... more
Ted and I took the kids strawberry picking for their first time, and they had a grand time.We went to Afton Apple Orchard in Hastings, where we pick apples every fall. Their strawberry fields are on a separate, clearly marked lot just east of the main orchard. (We invited the talented Jeff Schad along to photograph the... more
Most kids love juice boxes. But if you’re trying to cut back on sugar, they’re not a great choice. Fortunately, mothers Laurie Ambrose from Chanhassen and Lisa Amundson (a dentist from Woodbury) — sisters who collectively have six kids! — have come up with a cool alternative that’s perfect for families.Their new kidsWATER drink boxes... more
With summer arriving — and a different kind of “busy” coming our way — we know we’re going to need convenience foods (that are also swimsuit-body-friendly).But that doesn’t have to mean scavenging half-eaten granola bars and the kids’ leftover Goldfish crackers.Thanks to a local stay-at-home mama, there’s another option — organic, gluten-free,... more
Freezer jam is — hands down — the easiest and prettiest jam you can make.Traditionally canned jams involve first boiling the jam and the jam jars (in a water bath), effectively twice-cooking the berries. Blasphemy!With freezer jam, you can skip all that while also capturing the berries’ super-fruity, crazy-fresh flavors and bright, red color... more
It started with an innocent Freaky Friday daydream, parenting-columnist style. “Your kids are toddlers now. You should do a guest spot at Toddler Time,” I said to Shannon Keough, Minnesota Parent’s Baby on Board columnist.“And you know babies!” she countered. “Maybe we could trade places for a round?”Well, one thing led to another, and... more
If you grew up using boxed pancake mix, it might seem fussy to make pancakes from scratch. But once you’ve done it, you’ll see (like we did) how surprisingly easy — and tasty — it can be! You’ll likely save money — and you’ll open the door to all kinds of experimentation, too.When you’re ready to break out of the box rut, try this delicious... more
Q: My husband and I have started the discussion of what type of milk our son (10 months) will drink when we switch from formula to milk. My husband is pretty set on not giving him dairy milk, but I’m not convinced soy, almond and other sources of “milk” are such a good idea. Any suggestions?A: Milk types can be divided into two categories — plant-... more
When my best friend had her first child, she couldn’t believe how hard it was caring for a baby. She’d heard all the stories about sleepless nights, endless crying and nasty diaper blowouts.She was a longtime babysitting pro and an auntie, too. She was great with kids. She even worked with elementary school children for a living. She had all... more
Looking down at my newborn boy, whose slow, rhythmic sucking matched the metronome of my heartbeat, I felt tears forming at the corner of my eye. But these weren’t tears of joy; they were tears of pain. My neck, my back, my shoulders — everything — felt stiff, sore and tense. As much as I wanted to relax, I simply couldn’t. Instead of... more
As a working mom of four, I find mornings in our household can be a whirlwind. Breakfast is an important meal, but it can get bland with the monotonous repetition of boxed cereal, toast or, even worse, skipping breakfast altogether. Recently, I’ve been inspired by Kate Sullivan Morford’s new book: Rise and Shine: Better Breakfasts for... more
Virtually everyone loves a warm chocolate chip cookie. But hauling out the electric mixer, cleaning messy bowls and dealing with baking sheet after baking sheet of cookies? I can do without that part. Hence this miracle — a chocolate chip cookie mixed in a coffee mug and cooked in the microwave. Even the youngest kids can make one by... more
Need a french fry fix? Hold up (and hold the fast food potatoes) and go healthy with this crazy-tasty recipe by foodie author Chungah Rhee, featuring the soon-to-be in season delight that is asparagus.Baked asparagus friesIngredients1 cup panko bread crumbs1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheeseKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste1... more
Q: What could cause dark under-eye circles in my toddler?A: The area under eyes has thin and delicate skin, which often will easily show the capillary bed, which can show up in the form of dark, under-eye circles. Among young children, the most common cause is nasal congestion. This can be caused by allergies, smoke exposure, a recent upper-... more
Rita Katona and Eric Hall of Minneapolis have introduced a new kind of baby food under the brand So Good Baby, now sold in handy pouches nationwide.What makes the local couple’s products special is that they’re pressure processed, rather than heat pasteurized, a practice that can sap flavor and nutritional value. So Good Baby’s organic,... more
Navel pants — created by Sarah Longacre, the beloved founder of Blooma (a local yoga studio and haven for mamas and mamas-to-be) — are on sale now online.After making an early debut at Bellyrama at Lake Harriet this past September, the high-rise comfy pants, which include a removable 9-inch belly band, cost $70 (20 percent off if you sign up for e... more
Have you tried Opal apples? These gold-skinned Washington State-grown orbs are crunchy and sweet — dare we say good enough to rival Minnesota’s own Honeycrisp?But what really sets these babies apart is their ability to resist oxidation (that yucky browning that happens almost immediately after you slice an apple). Opal apples are... more
Citrus, when you live in Minnesota,  is winter’s solace, a blast of sunshine in January.Clementines, satsumas, mandarins, Halos, Cuties, whatever you want to call them, they’re all in season now.Heavily marketed to parents and kids (usually in 5-pound bags or larger) they’re super sweet, mostly seedless, easily portable and usually easy to... more
Happy New Year, Minnesota parents!Will 2017 be a no-yell year for you? Will this be the year you finally take care of your marriage/partner/self (and not just your kiddos)? Will this be the year you become perfect and balanced and start going to the gym three times a week again?Of course it won’t. But as Amanda Bell — the #keepingitreal... more
Years ago -- before I had become a mom -- I spotted a full-page magazine ad featuring a bundled-up brown-haired girl behind a hot cocoa stand, and I tore it out. I can't recall what the ad was for -- maybe an insurance company? But I remember feeling utterly charmed by the scene and wanting to file it away to try out one day as a mom.A... more
Q: Which baby formula should we choose?A: Though the formula options available on store shelves can be dizzying — organic, iron-fortified, non-GMO, probiotic- and DHA/AHA-enhanced — the good news is, the major “brand name” formulas contain all the essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed for healthy infant growth and development. ... more
Q: Should I worry about the occasional bloody nose for my 4-year-old?A: Most minor spontaneous bloody noses are nothing to worry about. In Minnesota, in the winter months, dry air is one of the leading causes of these occasional, spontaneous nose bleeds.Children with nasal allergies are more likely to experience nose bleeds, especially when... more
The first Tree of Life image I saw was in a closed Facebook group of breastfeeding mamas in the Twin Cities. Ashley Vanderwerf shared a photo she edited in a post to the group. Screenshot shared with permissionThe original post Her post was simple and beautiful:"I edited this picture of my daughter nursing. If anyone wants me to make them... more
Growing up, I was a huge fan of the American Girls -- particularly the book series. My favorite from the Kirsten collection was "Kirsten's Surprise," which tells of the Swedish family's first winter in Minnesota -- 1854 -- and their struggle to preserve Christmas traditions from home in a foreign place. Thirty-something moms, does this book... more
Trying to get kids to eat broccoli has long been a parenting cliché. But not anymore.Today’s foodie parents don’t boil or steam veggies into oblivion. They know the power of roasting veggies quickly at high temperatures to bring out their sweetness.Not in the Candied Broccoli Club yet? Try this recipe.If you’re already a veggie-roasting pro (and... more
White snow, bright sun and dry skin — it’s wintertime in Minnesota! This time of year, typically November through March, people of all ages struggle with skin issues. And for kids, winter can be a particularly uncomfortable time of year. In fact, roughly 20 percent of babies develop dry, sensitive skin, and older kids face special skin... more
Williams-Sonoma is famous for its holiday peppermint bark. But if you don’t have $30 to spend on a pound of the stuff, why not make your own?In multiple at-home tests, this recipe turned out beautifully for us — and you can even let the kids help bash the candies, spread the chocolate, sprinkle the peppermints and break the bark into pieces, too!... more
Having a child with a food allergy can cause great anxiety for parents, especially when it comes to sending their children out into the world.These fun, customizable stamps — which feature popular characters such as Minions, Pooh, Darth Vader, Anna and Elsa — can help families keep everyone informed quickly, easily and playfully. $45 •... more
When you have kids, you can’t help but be proud of them.Even the littlest things can make you swell up with almost unbearable pride — those first baby smiles, those early toddler dancing skills, those kindergarteners who can read before the start of school!We just can’t help it. They’re so impressive, we just have to tell our friends who have... more
Summer may be considered prime picnic season, but Minnesotans know that autumn offers the most glorious opportunity to eat al fresco. If you're looking to make a meaningful memory as a family (and snag a gorgeous photo) without much fuss, now is the time to grab a blanket, fill a basket and search for a bright maple. They're at their peak... more
Since becoming a MoM (Mom of Multiples), I've been fortunate enough to join some amazing Facebook groups where moms can share photos and stories, ask questions and offer advice — all in a safe and positive environment. I read a post from a mom with newborn twins who was struggling with nursing and pumping and wondering what to do. She asked... more
Yep, it’s fall, the perfect time to break out the slow cooker for easy school-night eats.This recipe, despite requiring only about 20 minutes of prep time and just five key ingredients, delivers a surprising amount of flavor.Serve the chicken over cauliflower “rice” and sauteed zucchini or a simple salad. Slow-cooker chicken... more
When it comes to food-storage/lunch-box options, there are so many choices!Most, however, are plastic. And plastics stain easily, wear out quickly and can even leach chemicals.When Twin Cities mama Juhi Gupta went looking for alternatives, she didn’t like what she found, so she invented her own.Available in 2- and 4-cup sizes, her Frego containers... more
The single-serving juice box (or milk box) is the ultimate on-the-go toddler beverage — until your little one promptly squeezes the liquid right out of it, turning its straw into a terribly interesting fountain.MyDrinky — a rigid plastic, dual-handled, two-piece case — was designed to prevent such spills.Our Minnesota Parent test toddler (age 3)... more
It’s autumn: What better time to get the kids in the kitchen?And what better tools than the Le Petit Chef set from Opinel.Minnesota Parent’s 8-year-old tester (not exactly a huge culinary-arts enthusiast) loved this stainless steel knife-peeler set.Each tool encourages proper hand positioning with strategically placed learning rings that prevent... more
Q: What do you think of chiropractic care for babies? I’ve heard it can cure colic and help with many other infant problems. A: There are a variety of opinions regarding the effectiveness of chiropractic care for infants. I believe if the purpose of the care is mainly to help with soothing, muscle relaxation and using muscle groups... more
Skip the frozen-section nuggets made with unpronounceable ingredients and try this down-home recipe.Instead of using an egg wash to adhere the breading, this recipe relies on — oh, yes — melted butter, along with Parmesan cheese and a few fairly common pantry items.It’s so simple, you can make it with the kids.And you’ll actually want to eat them... more
Q: We think our newborn could be allergic to cow’s-milk formula. What are the signs?A: Milk-protein allergy is a condition that develops in the first year of life. The most common form is an allergy specifically to the protein in cows’ milk. Symptoms — rashes, stomach upset/discomfort, vomiting and/or diarrhea — can appear within a few... more
Q: How many grams of sugar a day is OK for a kindergartener?A: Appropriate sugar intake is an important topic for kids, teens and grown-ups.Americans are, by far, some of the most obese and unhealthiest people in the world, despite our amazing health-care systems.Excessive sugar intake puts kids on a path to struggle with high blood... more
We love this recipe for a few reasons.It's an easy and surprisingly delicious back-to-school snack (or breakfast).It helps you incorporate veggies (zucchini), fruit (blueberries) and whole wheat flour into your kid’s diet.Local and organic blueberries and zucchini are easy to find in Minnesota this time of year.And the batter looks a bit like... more
Shortly after my oldest daughter turned 1, a friend reminded me that this particular milestone meant I could now let her eat peanut butter (the recommendation at the time).What a wonderful idea, I thought. And so one day I whipped up a PB&J for her lunch, she ate it and then she settled down for a nap.When she woke up about an hour later, I... more
1. Cut a watermelon in half and eat immediately with spoons. 2. Master somersaults.3. Have a teddy bear picnic at Teddy Bear Park in Stillwater.4. Take in a matinee with real butter popcorn at the Riverview Theater. Or hit the cheap seats in Hopkins.5. Make your own popsicles.6. Pajama day, all day.7. Make your own play dough.8. Lewis... more
Trail mix is out. And energy balls are in!And you can make them easily at home with this highly adaptable recipe, printed with permission from Maggie Brereton’s Smashed Peas and Carrots blog.Too busy? Check out the new local line of mixes, including energy balls that enhance lactation!  See the sidebar on this page for the story on those!... more
Strawberries and cream parfaitIngredients1 cup chopped strawberries4 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided5 ounces Greek yogurt¼ cup cream cheese1 tablespoon milk, half-and-half or heavy cream1/4 teaspoon vanilla extractPinch salt1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs DirectionsPlace the strawberries in a small bowl and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons... more
June is peak strawberry season in Minnesota — and this no-bake pie really shows off those red orbs’ freshness and bright flavors. Check local grocers or see minnesotagrown.com for a list of local farmers markets and strawberry farms.Fresh strawberry pie Ingredients3/4 cup sugar3 tablespoons cornstarchDash of salt1 cup water3 tablespoons... more
When I found out I was carrying not one, but two babies, I was in shock. The funny thing about it was that I knew twins ran in my family and was trying to prepare myself for that possibility before I got pregnant with my (now 3-year-old) daughter. This time around, the possibility of twins hadn't even crossed my mind. After the news sunk in,... more
There are more than 60 U-pick or pick-your-own farms in the greater Twin Cities area — and that includes farms with fresh berries!Minnesota strawberry season usually begins in early to mid-June, followed by raspberries and blueberries — beloved fruits for kids of all ages — in July and August. (See minnesotagrown.com for a complete list of farms... more
Q: We think our son is a problem eater (versus just a picky eater) because he eats only 10 foods — at age 2! What can we do to help him?A: You are not alone, despite almost all parents feeling like they are. Feeding challenges in children are common and affect approximately 20 percent of kids. The majority of this 20 percent are picky eaters.... more
But he was waiting to hear from friends who were planning to get together. Even when I added the extra temptation of getting burgers on the way (usually a slam dunk to get our kids to hang out with us), he still said no. Like many teens, he suffers from FOMO — fear of missing out. That left me alone with my FOGO — fear of grocery outings... more
Acccording to our mother of three (including twins) Moe-Mama’s Must-Haves blogger, Valerie Moe, the Ingenuity ChairMate High Chair straps securely to just about any dining chair and is easily portable. (Val used it on a picnic table and on a camping chair, too.)It features upright and recline positioning, four adjustable booster heights, a... more
When expecting our first child, we knew we were going to need a high chair, but we didn't know which one to choose. Our kitchen is pretty small, so we definitely didn't have space for a freestanding high chair — they seemed too big to me anyway. We agreed getting a high chair that straps onto a regular chair made the most sense. When... more
Non-alcoholic beer Saying that any wine or beer is non-alcoholic is a bit of a misnomer, since both can sometimes contain trace amounts of alcohol. Beers typically contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) in the U.S., which means you’d have to drink nine O’Doul’s to equal even one regular beer. German-brewed Clausthaler... more
To Brits, Toad in the Hole is a traditional sausage and Yorkshire pudding dish. To a Yankee, it could best be described as hot dogs combined with popovers. The resulting dish sort of tastes like a corndog hot dish! The tangy onion “gravy” elevates the flavor, but this is an all-around favorite for the whole family. Toad in the Hole with Onion... more
By now you’ve probably come to know your pediatrician or family doctor fairly well. There are — after all — nine well visits between birth and the third birthday. And that’s to say nothing of the mysterious rashes, first colds, earaches and bumped heads. I spoke with local pediatrician Ilene Moore of Southside Medical Clinic in Minneapolis... more
INGREDIENTS3 tablespoons butter, plus more for the pan⅓ cup packed brown sugar¼ cup honey1 teaspoon vanilla extract3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats¼ cup chocolate chipsMakes 12 bars DIRECTIONSButter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, honey and vanilla extract. Whisk... more
As a working mom with four growing children, getting healthy  meals on the table is a daily challenge. My children have the kind of appetites that provoke “I cannot believe how much ______ eats!” comments from anyone who shares a meal with them. And they have such high metabolisms, it’s a necessity for us to buy pants that come with... more
Which would you rather have your kids learn — where food comes from (and how to cook and eat it) or the habits of dinosaurs?This pointed question comes from Jill Colella, the St. Paul founder of not one but two gorgeous bimonthly magazines for kids that encourage food savvy as well as early reading: Ingredient is for ages 6–12 and, new in 2015,... more
If you’re pumping breast milk or making your own baby food, check out Milkies Food Trays ($21.95 for two) from Fairhaven Health. Each tray freezes eight 1-ounce portions, allowing you to thaw the exact amount of food or milk you need for each feeding. Frozen “milk sticks” fit through all bottle openings and can be popped out and stored in any... more
INGREDIENTS1 28-ounce can diced tomatoesWater1 tablespoon olive oil1 onion, chopped fineSalt and pepper3 garlic cloves, minced1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes1 pound meatloaf mix10 curly edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths1 8-ounce can tomato sauce1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus 2 tablespoons, grated1 cup (8... more
 Q: I’m bottle-feeding our baby and I’m worried about overfeeding. Can you share your tips to avoid giving her too much?A: This is an excellent question. Infants, for the most part, take in only the calories they need to maintain their current health and provide for good growth. They rarely over-eat — or under-eat. If your baby’s... more
Q: Do you ever recommend probiotics for children?A: Probiotics may benefit kids in a number of ways, but research still needs to be done to understand exactly how they can be most beneficial.The intestinal tract contains millions of microorganisms — primarily bacteria and fungi (yeast). These microorganisms are generally considered either good... more
Q: Dear Dr. Gustafson: I am writing becausee we are really struggling with our daughter's potty training for pooping.I started to train her when she turned 2. It took her just about a week to pee in the potty. However, she's still having trouble pooping in the potty.I know it generally takes long for No. 2, but we need to get her fully... more
Q: What do you recommend for vitamins for kids? Gummies? Flintstones? And at what age should we start?A: For children older than 1, in general, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend vitamin supplements. It’s thought that if otherwise healthy children are eating a normal, well-balanced diet, they’re receiving what they need of... more
Turn meatloaf night into a treat with kid-sized servings, filled with chopped veggies under a layer of ketchup and mashed-cauliflower “frosting.” This recipe’s combined prep and cook time comes to about 50 minutes. Ingredients1 teaspoon coconut oil½ cup minced yellow onion2 medium carrots, finely chopped1 clove garlic, minced1 pound ground... more
If you just came back from a Minnesota apple orchard with a 10-pound bag of apples (what a steal!) — and you’re not quite sure what to do with them all — try this recipe from the new cookbook: Little Bites: 100 Healthy, Kid-Friendly Snacks. Once you’ve made it, this recipe should be easy to remember: Bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees — and it... more
Minnesota's apples are ripe and ready!And with more than 125 apple orchards open to the public across the state — including more than 20 near the metro area — that’s a beautiful thing.Local orchards cater to families with farms tours, petting zoos, hayrides, gift shops, apple-picking opportunities and apple treats of all sorts.And many of them... more
Southwest Bloomington isn’t exactly a hotbed for independent gourmet coffee. But the newly established Mugshots Coffee Co. — at 10518 France Ave. S. — is a definite exception to that rule, serving locally roasted Dogwood Coffee (including espresso drinks as well as Chemex and Clever Dripper pour overs), local pastries and dairy products... more
INGREDIENTS2 cups frozen peas (one 10-ounce bag)1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves1/2 cup walnuts, toasted (see sidebar)2/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oilCoarse salt and ground pepper12 ounces pasta DIRECTIONSCook 1 cup peas according to package... more
Q: When should we start our baby on solid foods? I've heard everything from a few weeks to four months!A: It’s not surprising that parents are confused about when to start solids, because clinicians are too! There’s evidence to wait until six months of age and evidence to start much earlier. Organizations, such as the American... more
When Betsy Batista found out she had cancer in 2014, the diagnosis was especially difficult as it meant she had to stop breastfeeding her 4-month-old daughter so that she could undergo chemotherapy. “I was devastated,” the St. Louis Park mom said. That’s when Batista’s doula told her about the possibility of donated milk: Mothers... more
SUPER-QUICK LAMB CHOPSIngredients4 large garlic cloves, crushed1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves2 teaspoons fresh thyme leavesPinch cayenne pepperKosher salt, to taste¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil8 lamb chops, 1 inch thickVegetable oil for grilling InstructionsPulse the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne and salt in a food processor.Pour olive... more
IT WAS A DARK, COLD, MINNESOTA NIGHT. My mom was visiting from Wisconsin, and we were working in the kitchen, preparing supper. Looking at the clock, I suddenly realized I’d forgotten about my 4-year-old’s dance class, which was about to start. My heart rate jumped as I zipped around getting her bag ready and telling her we needed to get out... more
Is there anything better than sitting outside with an ice cream cone on a hot summer day? This ritual gives us a moment to pause, to stop and smell the lady slippers, to perhaps reclaim some unplugged family time, to look back on our own good old days of summer.We don’t go out for ice cream to sustain the body or... more
WATERMELON-MINT POPS3½ cups seeded, cubed fresh watermelon¼ cup cold water1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice6-8 mint leavesPinch of sugar (optional) Place ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until firm (about 8 hours or overnight). LEMON-LIME BASIL POPS½ cup lemon juice (... more
Q Do temporal thermometers really work? A These thermometers use an infrared scanner to measure the temperature in the temporal artery in the forehead. This artery carries blood from the heart to the head and can give a temperature reading that’s as accurate as a rectal temperature, which is still thought to be the... more
Q Our daughter’s been coughing every night for a week. Would running a humidifier help? A Coughing in young children can be especially difficult to deal with! Often the cough can linger for longer periods than typical for older children or adults.This is partly because a younger child may not be able to generate the same... more
Q When can we give our baby peanut butter? A This is a great question. If you had asked this question a few months ago, it would have resulted in a different answer. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that the introduction of peanut butter, or other allergenic foods, should be delayed until a child is at least 3... more
 I used to exercise all the time. I loved the gym! OK, liked is more accurate. But it felt good to work out. I especially liked the challenge of the escalator stair machine. Hot yoga, kick boxing and hiking were my other favorites.Then I had my son. And, boy, did I get lazy with working out. I was tired. I had... more
This baked French dessert (kla-foo-TEE) features fruit, traditionally black cherries, arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick, flan-like batter.Ingredients1 tablespoon unsalted butter2 eggs2 egg yolks½ cup all-purpose flour4 tablespoons sugar½ teaspoon kosher salt1 ½ cups heavy cream1 teaspoon vanilla extract8 ounces cherries, pitted... more
Inspired by the grilled pineapple side dish served at Brazilian steakhouses, these tasty spears pair well with grilled chicken or steak. You could also serve them with cinnamon-sugar-sprinkled vanilla ice cream and call it dessert. Going camping? Pineapple travels well. Before you go, place the dry ingredients in a large plastic bag, prep the... more
Squeez’Ems (reusable screw-top food pouches) and Pack’Ems (reusable snack bags, pictured below) help you cut back on disposable packaging.We like the pouches because they allow you to serve homemade applesauce (and other gooey foods) on the go.The snack bags, which feature Velcro closures, can be folded down flat when empty (unlike... more
IngredientsZest of 1 large lemon2 ¼ cups almond flour or meal¾ cup granulated sugar1 egg white1 teaspoon almond extract1 teaspoon vanilla extract½ cup powdered sugarMakes 2 dozen cookiesGluten freeInstructionsPreheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.Whisk together lemon zest, sugar and almond flour in a... more
Q: Our 2-year old loves spicy food (really spicy!). Is there any harm in him eating these foods?A: Spicy food isn’t a problem for children. Usually the problem is getting them to try spicier than normal foods. There are only a few rare foods that can actually cause a chemical burn to the skin and mucous membranes, and most families stay away... more
Honey-mustard baked ham
1 (8- to 12-pound) bone-in shank-half ham1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup honey1 tablespoon Dijon mustard⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepperServes 12 to 14_________________________________Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove any wrappings from the ham as well as the plastic disk on the bone. Place the ham on a... more
Though the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding to a minimum age of 2 and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends 1 year and beyond, as is mutually desired by mother and child, only 27 percent of U.S. mothers — of the 76.5 percent who breastfed to begin with — are still nursing at 12 months, according to the AAP’s 2013... more
Ah, the joy of preparing for a new baby! Stockpiling tiny sleepers, making lists of names, picking out adorable crib sheets and … researching breast pumps! OK, so maybe contemplating breast pumps isn’t at the top of your list of fun things to do during your third trimester. Maybe you don’t know if you really need one. Maybe you’re overwhelmed... more
We were skeptical of the stainless steel lunch boxes from PlanetBox.But then we tried The Rover ($59.95 with necessary accessories), designed for kids (or even adults) who like a wide variety of foods in smaller not-touching portions.Yes, it’s heavy — 2.5 pounds empty, including the must-have carry bag.But we loved packing... more
Technically, the first day of spring falls on March 20.But, in Minnesota, we won’t hold our breath. Around here, March is “in like a lion” and out like a nasty slush pile with a chance of blizzard. We’ve seen snowflakes fall into our Cinco de Mayo margaritas in the past. We’ve packed up the winter coats only to drag them out again a week... more
Ingredients1 tablespoon oil2 pounds lean ground beef 2 cups diced onion 1 cup fresh peppers, seeded and diced (For mild soup, use bell peppers; for a spicier soup, use 1 poblano pepper, 1 jalapeno pepper and 1 green chile.)2½ tablespoons taco seasoning 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning (can substitute 3 cloves of garlic, minced)1... more
The very first opportunity I had to live out my role as mom came before my first child was born. It was the simple understanding that everything I took in to my body was being funneled into the formation of my baby. Keeping track of what I ate was the one thing I could do externally that gave me the opportunity to mother the changes that were... more
Looking for ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your kids’ diets? These smoothies are delicious with or without the greens. (But be sure to give the greens a try. You’ll be surprised how mild they are: You may even want to add more!)Each recipe yields approximately 32 ounces. Blend the ingredients thoroughly and serve immediately... more
The first cookies I ever baked from scratch were peanut butter. I remember how amazing they tasted straight out of the oven — with a glass of cold milk, of course! (I also remember how hard and crunchy they were the next day — regardless of what kind of container I stored them in, but we'll get to that later.) The idea. Last... more
Sonia Walters knew something needed to change. Her two daughters, ages 4 and 7, were experiencing a range of health problems, including cyclic vomiting syndrome (known as CVS), skin rashes, chronic stomachaches and hypoglycemia symptoms, not to mention mood swings and irritability. After several unsuccessful visits to the doctor to address... more
January isn’t exactly the month you’d expect to see a brand-new apple variety coming to Minnesota grocery stores.But that’s exactly what’s happening, just in time to help with your eat-right New Year’s resolutions: Pazazz, a descendent of the popular Honeycrisp apple, is making its debut in a handful of U.S. markets, including the Twin... more
It’s inevitable. Christmas cookies, candies and other desserts are about to infiltrate your child’s diet — or try very hard to! But no matter how far off the deep end of indulgence you and your little ones fall this holiday season, you eventually have to get back to “normal” — and dial back the sugar. But instead of switching to carrot sticks on... more
Ingredients12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened¾ cup sugar2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour¼ teaspoon salt1st batch: no food coloring* 2nd batch: ½ teaspoon red food coloring*3rd batch: ½ teaspoon green food coloring* 1 large egg1 tablespoon lemon zest1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1 teaspoon lemon extract 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon... more
Is making a school lunch for your kid every day already feeling like an unbearable chore? We feel you! It’s time to get inspired: Minneapolis chef-mama Molly Herrmann doesn’t let the job get her down, even though her 9-year-old son, AJ, has peanut, tree-nut and shellfish allergies, plus a “bizarre aversion” to sandwiches (but only... more
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1/4 teaspoon salt1 bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves very thinly sliced1 apple (Honeycrisp is ideal.)1/4 cup dates, cut into thin slivers1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted1/4 cup pecorino or Parmesan cheese, gratedSalt and pepper, to tasteServes 4 Whisk together the lemon... more
½ lemon, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, sliced into wedges, seeds removed4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 ½ pounds)1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, extra-virgin olive oil1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage1 ½ teaspoon coriander seed1 teaspoon black pepper1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt1 Delicata squash (about 1 ¼ pounds)¼ cup maple syrup3... more
Imagine this: Family dinner is planned, the groceries are bought and all of the seasonings are measured and at your fingertips. But you didn’t have to do the leg work: All you have to do is turn up the heat in your kitchen.If you like to cook, but you dread answering the question: “What’s for dinner?”, check out Minneapolis-based Homegrown Foods,... more
Q: My infant son constantly spits up after feeding, to the point where he seems to spit up almost his entire bottle. He still has full diapers, so we feel he’s getting enough food, but should we try to limit the amount given? He screams when we stop feeding him midway through a bottle. Are there any tips to limit spit-up?A: Part of the reason... more
S’mores are easy: Toast your marshmallow, then squeeze it — and a piece of chocolate —between two graham crackers.But there’s a serious problem no one ever seems to talk about with this traditional recipe: The chocolate never melts. And the result is a dry treat.Solution: Use Nutella — silky smooth chocolate-hazelnut spread — instead.Slather... more
Q: I feel like my toddler’s overeating. And she constantly asks for food (not just sweets, either). Should I limit her food intake? A: Toddler energy requirements — despite their impressive energy expenditures — aren’t abnormally large. In fact, children age 1 to 3 years old need about 40 calories for each inch of height. For... more
Making baby food at home is a great way to save money. It also cuts down on the amount of garbage and recycling you produce compared to buying prepackaged baby food. Another crucial product I used when making baby food for my daughter was my DYMO LetraTag Personal Label Maker. It's really easy to use, and you can switch label cartridges in a... more
Q: I’m nursing my newborn and want to give her expressed breast milk when I eventually go back to work. What’s the best way to store breast milk, and how long can it be at room temperature before I have to throw it out?A: Clinicians at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (mayoclinic.org) recommend the following for the handling and storage of breast milk... more
Q: What’s the story on pacifiers, nipple confusion and nursing? What about thumb sucking? I’m expecting next month and would like some information.A: Infants find sucking to be very soothing. They also like to exercise their facial structures and this probably helps enhance speech and language skills. It’s an important developmental task and way... more
 IngredientsSalad:4 ripe peaches, pitted and quartered½ cup of uncooked black lentils, rinsed2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced1 yellow bell pepper, diced¼ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped3 tablespoons of pine nuts4 tablespoons of golden raisins⅛ teaspoons of cayenne pepper (optional)Extra... more
It’s that time again — time to introduce my baby to the exciting world of solid foods! At least, I wish I felt excited about it. In theory, it’s a momentous time in the life of a baby. My little son, for the first time in his short life, will step away from the familiar world of milk to try his first bites of “real” food. It’s one of his... more
If you're going to make baby food at home, I recommend preparing large batches of a few different foods at one time. You'll spend less time prepping everything and cleanup will go a lot quicker. This will save time compared to making small batches of food throughout the week.You can freeze the food so it's ready when you need it. I found some... more
Making baby food at home takes time and effort, but I've found a few tools to help make it easier. When it comes to pureeing the food, blenders and food processors are loud (and annoying to clean). I found a great tool that doesn't use electricity and is much quieter — the Smooth Chopper I bought from a Tupperware party. On... more
After the success we had giving our daughter fresh mashed banana instead of prepackaged baby food (see my previous post), we decided to attempt making all of her baby food ourselves. Since we started with a fruit, we decided try a vegetable next. I steamed some carrots using my Baby Bullet Turbo Steamer — this thing worked great! It's... more
My daughter was about a year old when I went to see Gramma’s Boyfriend, a band featuring local musician Haley Bonar. I’d last seen her perform many months before, when both Haley and I were pregnant. I don’t know her personally, but the fact that we have daughters about the same age made me feel like we had some kind of cosmic bond. Then... more
Our first attempt at giving our daughter solid food besides baby cereal/oatmeal didn't start out well. She'd been expressing interest in everything we were eating for a couple weeks; she would even smack her lips sitting in the exersaucer while we ate like she was trying to show us she was ready to eat “real” food like us. We tried... more
They go from breast or bottle to something mashed and messy — big grins and sticky hands. They examine individual peas and black beans before giving them a taste. They delight in the rite-of-passage, first-birthday frosting face; and they want to try everything on your plate.And then, one day — suddenly and without warning — bananas are yucky.... more
There’s something magical about spring, especially in Minnesota when bitterly cold winters keep us cooped up for long stretches. If you’re looking for something the whole family can enjoy doing outdoors this year, here are four container gardening projects we promise your kids will love. They’ll be delighted to find they can grow not just... more
 Even a short period of time standing on a hard wood or tile floor while cooking or dish-washing can spell aches for days. If you like spending time in the kitchen, but the possibility of a sore back has you considering take-out, give this mat a try. Available in an astonishing number of colors, faux finishes and sizes, the gel-filled mat won... more
This kind of goes against our “no single-use kitchen gadgets” rule, but, hey, you could use it for limes and that counts as two things, right? Either way, it’s sleek, stylish and sturdy, and it works like a charm, so we’re okay bending the rules a bit. No more sweating to make lemonade, this tool makes juicing a breeze, keeping all the seeds... more
Honestly, we just pluck off the leaves and eat strawberries whole when the season rolls around! But we know that the kiddos can be picky about the less-flavorful white hulls, and it’s better to remove them if you’re baking or cooking with the tasty fruit anyway. This little tool lets kids get in on the action too, no need for a sharp paring knife... more
We love multi-purpose kitchen gadgets, and this one makes an appearance during most cooking sessions. Use it to serve, flip meats, toss veggies or salads and more. The scalloped edges allow for a great grip on a lot of food surfaces and they’re easy to hold. They lock closed for easy storage, and a gentle push on the ring pops them open — only one... more
Raw kale salad Tamari pumpkin seeds more
When signing up for baby-related classes, expectant parents might schedule time to learn about labor and delivery, breastfeeding and basic childcare. But parents-to-be are unlikely to find a class detailing how to take care of themselves after bringing home their new addition. We’re supposed to have “self-care” figured out already, right? ... more
It's important for kids to drink lots of water during those hot summer days, so don't purchase just any average water bottle! S'well is made of non-leaching and non-toxic stainless steel and will keep a drink cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. The sheer variety of colors and finishes of these bottles lets kids pick one they'll be happy to keep at... more
If your child is heading off to day camp and bringing along a lunch, all those sandwich baggies each day can add up. Skip the plastic and get these reusable, toxin-free lunch sacks, with varying sizes for items from tiny snacks to fully-loaded sandwiches and full lunch totes with durable handles. Pop them in the dishwasher at night and they're... more
Tan-trum [tan-truh m] noun. A demonstration of rage or frustration; a sudden burst of ill temper. Synonymous with: the toddler years.Toddlers are cute, cuddly, and hilarious—a barrel of fun and wonder and butterfly kisses. They are also miniature versions of the Incredible Hulk—easily provoked and instantly transformed from a total sweetheart into... more
Put your money where your mouth is. I knew when I had three kids that I’d spend loads on diapers and the equivalent of a second mortgage on childcare. And I’d heard parents of older kids complain about their astronomical grocery bills. But it wasn’t until this summer, when my kids would lumber in and I’d find myself writing to the rhythmic... more
There’s a great scene in Paula Bomer’s novel Nine Months when the main character, Sonia, is grilled by a friend about her choice in preschool.Sonia: “Tom and Mike go to Open Arms Nursery. That little place down Atlantic.” [Her friend reacts with a look of alarm.] “My theory is, it’s preschool. It doesn’t matter so much. As long as they’re having... more