Southwestern Portobello Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

vegan lettuce wraps with veggiesInspiration came over me the other day when I was in the mood for tacos, but decided to create a lighter, yet filling, meal. The result was a flavorful combination of some of my favorite produce items with a southwestern flair.

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly and simply amazing! Enjoy.

Southwestern Portobello Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

2 large Portobello mushrooms
¾ cup cooked corn
1 large tomato
1 avocado
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. cumin
Salt to taste
Lettuce of choice for wraps: Green leaf, Iceberg or Butter lettuce works best

Directions:

  1. Dice Portobello mushroom, avocado and tomato.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan on medium heat. Add mushrooms garlic and cumin to pan and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and corn and cook another minute.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in avocado and lime juice. Season with salt.
  5. Divide among the lettuce leaves for a delicious meal.

Servings: 6 lettuce wraps

Minestrone Soup Recipe

vegan minestrone soupNot too long ago, we had a very chilly day in Florida. It was reminiscent of my childhood years growing up in the Midwest. To warm up, I headed to the kitchen and took an inventory of what ingredients I had available and whipped up a savory minestrone soup that was a hit among my husband and toddler.

This recipe is dairy-free, vegan-friendly, kid-friendly, gluten-free and will warm your soul.

Ingredients

8 cups vegetable broth

2 large tomatoes diced

1 can (15-oz.) of cannellini/ navy beans – drained

1 can (15-oz.) of tomato sauce

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced celery

2 tbsp dried or fresh parsley

3/4 cup diced red onion

1 tbsp thyme

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1-1/2 cups uncooked pasta (use gluten-free pasta if desired)

1/2 cup chopped spinach

 

 

Add all ingredients to the crock pot, except for the pasta and the spinach. Cover the crock pot and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Thirty minutes before the minestrone soup is done cooking, add pasta and spinach. Cover the crock pot and cook an additional 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley, if desired.

Servings: 6-8

Baby and Infant Photography Ideas

Babies grow, develop and seem to look different day-to-day, so capturing my little one’s ever-changing expressions this past year has been an amazing bonding experience for my husband and me. The photo shoots weren’t always easy, because oddly enough, babies don’t always cooperate by smiling for the camera. Who knew? Here is a small sampling of the different photos that capture our baby boy’s first year of life.

Newborn baby

Newborn baby

 

Newborn

Newborn

 

3 Month Old

3 Month Old

 

Laughing Baby

Laughing Baby

 

Flying baby!

Flying baby!

 

Shark Halloween photo

Shark Halloween photo

 

Baby and balloons on beach

Baby and balloons on beach

 

Baby and Skateboard

Baby and Skateboard

 

Baby and Mirror

Baby and Mirror

 

Baby with branch and snowflakes

Baby with branch and snowflakes

[Read more…]

10 Tips for New Moms

babyThe weeks leading up to bringing my newborn home were full of advice from experienced mothers. Most of the time, they would say things such as, “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” or “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” Although I appreciated their words of wisdom, it wasn’t useful.

If I slept when the baby slept, I would have never had time to take a shower, make the phone calls to work out the mounting medical bills or just have a few minutes of peace and quiet to help me feel like a human again.

Asking for help would have been great if there was someone who could help. My mom was a big help the first week, but eventually she had to go home. After that, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for help and to be honest, I didn’t know how anybody could help.

I learned a few things on my own and received some advice that was actually useful.  I hope you find these useful as well!

1. It gets better!
I don’t think anything prepares you for the life change of having a baby. I thought the first few days and weeks would be filled with unparalleled bliss as I fell in love with my child. While I did love my baby, the first few weeks were anything but blissful. My hormones were out of control, I was sleep deprived and the overwhelming reality of the responsibility needed to take care of a newborn was in full swing.  I felt like a terrible mother because I wasn’t enjoying motherhood as much as I expected to enjoy it.

If you feel like this, just know it gets better! Your baby will sleep more and cry less. Smiles will warm your heart and give you the satisfaction of knowing that your hard work is paying off.

2. Onesies are designed for diaper blowouts.
Your little one is pretty much guaranteed to have bowel movements of epic proportions. When this happens, pull the onesie down over your baby’s shoulders rather than pulling it over her head. The shoulders in onesies are designed to expand when needed in situations like this!

3. Use a larger diaper size when traveling.
Diaper blowouts are gross, but are 10 times worse when you’re in an inconvenient situation. Use a larger diaper size if you are driving a long distance, flying in a plane or will be at a location where it’s difficult to change your baby’s diaper. If your baby has a large bowel movement, it will still be messy to clean up, but at least it won’t get all over your baby’s clothes, car seat and anything else outside of the diaper.

4. Position your son’s penis down in the diaper.
When we first brought our son home, every diaper seemed to leak. When we finally figured out to position his penis down in the diaper, the leaks stopped. Also, when you’re in the hospital or birthing center, watch how the nurses put on diapers. The diapers should be tight — without being constricting — to help prevent diaper leaks.

5. Use the perineal bottle for your baby’s bath time.
The perineal bottle you receive from the hospital works well to rinse your baby’s hair during bath time. It will give you better aim and water pressure when rinsing the soap off of your infant.

6. When shopping, park your car next to the car corral.
Although parking close to a store’s entrance is convenient, it is more practical to park next to the cart corral. You can grab a cart, place your baby’s car seat in the large basket area (never in the upper part of the cart!) and walk to the stores entrance. When you are done shopping, you can walk back to your car, place the car seat securely in the back seat and return the cart without letting your baby out of your sight.

7. Coconut oil is helpful for diaper rash and cradle cap.
Talk to your pediatrician before using coconut oil to see if it will work for you. In my experience, coconut oil got rid of my son’s mild case of cradle cap. I put a small amount of coconut oil on his head before his bath and left it on for 10 minutes. I washed it off with Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap for babies and the cradle cap disappeared by the next day!

8. When in doubt, burp it out.
Babies need to burp a lot and gas can be painful for your little one! Sometimes it takes more than 10 minutes to get a burp out, but it’s worth the extra time. Learn different burping positions to move the gas around and get it out.

9. Find a support group.
A supportive mom network can be extremely beneficial for new moms. If you don’t have any friends or family members who are new moms, there are a wide variety of online communities where women share challenges, experiences and tips. At some point some new moms need additional support. If you are experiencing depression, get professional help. It will benefit you and the baby.

10. Respond to your baby’s cries.  Always.
Your newborn has only one way of communicating her needs to you: crying. Even the most patient mom in the world can get frazzled and irritated from a crying baby, but never take it out on her. If she needs to be fed, feed her and if she just wants to be cuddled, cuddle her. Your little one is building a trusting relationship with you. She can’t do anything for herself, so she needs and needs to know that she can depend on you. You can’t spoil a baby.  If at any time you feel too frustrated to deal with your child, stop what you are doing, make sure your baby is safe and step away. Take a few deep breaths to collect yourself and return to caring for your baby.

Books We Love: Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise

corduroy's christmas surpriseTitle: Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise

Author: Based on the character created by Don Freeman

Illustrator: Lisa McCue

Reading level: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated

Overview:
Celebrate Christmas with Corduroy as he learns that spending time with friends is more important than gifts. Corduroy sends a letter to Santa filled with requests for his friends instead of asking for any gifts for himself, but Santa has a Christmas surprise in store for Corduroy too!

Three Things to Love:

  • In Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise, Corduroy is more interested in his friends’ happiness on Christmas Day. Teach children the joy of giving rather than receiving is a valuable lesson for children this time of year.
  • The book incorporates a lot of favorite Christmas traditions, such as caroling, baking cookies and decorating the Christmas tree.
  • The illustrations are warm, colorful and perfect for the holiday season.
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Quotes: Life Quotes

“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Need Quotes

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Quotes: Giving

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa Giving Quote

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Quotes: Going the Extra Mile

“It’s never crowded along the extra mile.”
― Wayne W. Dyer

Wayne W Dyer Quotes

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Quotes: Optimism and Wayne Dyer

“No one knows enough to be a pessimist”
― Wayne W. Dyer

Wayne Dyer Quote

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Quotes: Gandhi and the Heart

“True beauty lies in purity of the heart.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Heart Quote

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