Raising a Fruitivore

images-1

I’m on a mission to convert my youngest child, my little carnivore, into a part-time fruitivore. My four year-old son Harris loves his animal protein. He has no problem putting down lamb chops, burgers, salmon, mahi mahi or shrimp when prepared to his liking and dipped in massive amounts of ketchup (not complaining). But when it comes to fruit, he won’t bite.

So this summer I decided I was up for the challenge. I realized that my child’s long term health was more important than my short term sanity and so I devised a plan.

1. I  starved him. I’m kidding! But seriously I made sure that come snack time he was hungry. Over-snacking  is an epidemic in this country. All of those delish crunchy prepackaged foods work wonders on curbing our children’s appetite for whole foods. So yeah, we nipped that in the bud. Click here to read a fab article from the Chicago Tribune which discusses America’s “culture for snackism” and its effect on our children.

2. I cut the convenience food & made it mandatory.  In the same way that I taught my son to share, not to hit when he is frustrated, to say “excuse me” and “thank you,” I also decided to teach him how to eat well. Teaching our children healthy eating habits should be a priority. We owe it to them. The new rule effective immediately was that all snacks had to be fruit. Done and done. We got rid of  the chips, crackers and snack bars and replaced them with fruit (mostly in season). The result:my kids ate more of their actual lunch/dinner and you’ll see what happened next.

3. I found a”Gateway Food.” The “polite one bite” wasn’t working for us. There were tears, foot stopping, irrational conversations. I knew I needed a vehicle to get the juicy, in-season fruit into his adorable little mouth.  I needed a Gateway Food.

The tricky part was finding a Gateway Food that was just as healthy as the fruit. He loves anything covered in whipped cream (who doesn’t?), but that would defeat the purpose. Then it hit me his Gateway Food is yogurt! The kid cannot go a single morning without a yogurt.

Introducing Yogurt Fruit Fondue*!fruit fondue

  1. Mix Greek yogurt with cinnamon and honey (alternatives: orange zest, applesauce, agave, peanut butter, maple syrup)
  2. Finely crushed walnuts
  3. Finely crushed granola
  4. Finely crushed graham crackers

Skewer the fruit with toothpicks and let your kids dip the fruit into the yogurt then into a crunchy topping of choice.

*to all the foodies out there…I know that fondue traditionally uses a HOT cooking medium

How did it go you ask? Check it out for yourself!

Homemade yogurt fruit pops, parfaits and shakes are all great ways to introduce fruit into your kids diets.  I’ll be posting a few of my favorite fruit pop recipes next week!

Follow me on Twitter @finicky2foodie for more tips on how to convert your finicky eater into a full-fledged foodie!

 

 

 

Posted in family, fitness & health, food, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Girl Get Your Glow On!

Peace tan

There is nothing worse than slipping into a new spring outfit only to reveal two pairs of pasty white limbs just a shade lighter that the pastels you are sporting. Gone are the days when we would slather on the baby oil and bake in tanning beds to prepare for the start of spring. “Fake and baking” is no longer acceptable… unless of course you are a fan of skin cancer and premature aging.

tanner3If you’re like me and don’t have the time or the patience to schedule and then stand for a spray tan, here are a few great at-home options. I’ve put together a product guide for self tanning/bronzing. These products came highly recommended from TV professionals (my colleagues), beauty professionals (TV makeup artists) and have all been tested by yours truly!

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse This is a industry favorite and for good reason. The mousse glides on effortlessly and leaves you with an even, long lasting, natural looking tan. I’ve tried others, but always end up coming back to St. Tropez. Note- It doesn’t travel well. I’ve tried double Ziploc-ing the bottle, but still the liquid gets everywhere…which leads me to my next suggestion.

Dr. Denese’s Glow Younger Self Tanning Glove– Each package comes with 15 individually wrapped self tanning gloves that are saturated in the “Advanced Peptide Technology”…..throw a few in your luggage and head somewhere warm.  One glove will tan your entire body including your face (in full discloser, I’ve never used it on my face). I prefer gloves to towelette because I find that towelettes are difficult to hold. Gloves allow you to move quickly and apply evenly. Dr. Denese’s Tanning gloves are perfect for travel and give you a very natural looking tan.

So to be absolutely honest, I’ve always shied away from using self tanners on my face. I Vita Liberata Trystalwas terrified of the outcome. Would it look blotchy? Would I turn yellow? Too much risk for this lady. Then I found Vita Liberata’s Trystal Minerals. Trystal Minerals is first self-tanning bronzing mineral powder.  The Trystal13 technology interacts with your moisturizer or liquid foundation to tan the skin gradually over time. It comes with a gorgeous Kabuki brush that makes it super easy to apply.  The beauty is that when you remove your makeup, your face still keeps the subtle natural glow. I just love it!

Ok so maybe your not looking for a full on self tanner, instead you’d just like to glow like Jlo…who doesn’t? Well, I’ve got the product for you. I’m obsessed with Nars Body Glow.

It’s a multi-purpose beauty oil which moisturizes the skin and adds a shimmer for a natural glow. An added benefit is that it smells AMAZING. The scent is pure coconut extract macerated with the bud of the tiare flower (Tahitian gardenia). It works well alone or can be layered on top of an existing tan.

Hope this helps! Warmer weather is almost here!!

-Ereka

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in beauty & fashion, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Brown Butter Sauce

Roasted Butternut Squash

This is how you get your kids to eat butternut squash! Mine asked for seconds…yup I’m sporting a proud mom grin.

Note: The picture was taken with raisins because that’s what I had, but I would rather have used currants…either work.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole raw butternut squash peeled (click here for instructional video) and cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp of brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of currants or 1 mini box of raisins (how ever many that is)

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Lightly brush each butternut squash half with olive oil (top and bottom).
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon
  5. Bake for 50 minutes or until a fork easily pierces through the thickest part of the squash
  6. Just before serving, over low heat melt butter, remove from heat and whisk in maple syrup and orange juice, add raisins and drizzle over butternut squash.

Done and done!

 

Posted in food, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner(s)! Two Full Proof Chicken Dinners

Chicken with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Chicken with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

So OF COURSE I grew up on fried chicken cutlets as did every other 1st generation Italian. But the modern-day-mom in me is always looking for ways to improve on classic dishes that I grew up on. Truthfully I’m not a big fan of frying anything…my stomach can’t really handle it plus there are ways to achieve the same delicious crunch without all of the added “bad fat”.  My kids love this recipe and I hope yours do too!

Below is the recipe for Honey Dijon Baked Chicken Fingers as well as an easy breezy next day recipe using the leftovers.

Honey Dijon Baked Chicken Fingers

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of organic chicken breast cut into stripsChicken prep
  • 1 cup of planko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs with Italian seasoning
  • 2 tblsp honey
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 tblsp of dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper
  3. In bowl, with a fork, mix planko, Italian breadcrumbs, honey, olive oil, and dijon mustard
  4. Lightly brush the chicken with with sour cream
  5. Coat both sides of the chicken with the breadcrumb mixture. Lay the chicken on the baking pan. Note: Press the mixture onto the chicken to form a nice thick crust.
  6. Bake for 2o minutes then flip and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

I serve this with a honey mustard dipping sauce or ketchup. It also pairs well with steamed broccoli topped with a miso butter sauce. Note: Miso butter can be made by whisking together 2 Tbsp of melted butter with 2 tsp of miso over low heat in a sauce pan.

Chicken with Miso Buttered Broccoli

Chicken with Miso Buttered Broccoli

What to do with leftovers??????? Make Baked Chicken Parm for lunch or dinner the next day!

Baked Chicken Parm

Ingredients (quantity varies depending on the amount of leftovers):

  • Left over chicken fingers
  • Sliced fresh mozzarella
  • Ricotta
  • Grated parmigiano cheese
  • Pasta sauce (homemade or San Marzano)

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper
  3. Lay the leftover chicken on the baking pan
  4. Top each chicken finger with a Tbsp of ricotta
  5. Sprinkle about a Tbsp of parm cheese onto each chicken finger
  6. Top each chicken finger with about 2 Tbsp of pasta sauce and a few pieces of fresh mozarella
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted.
Posted in food, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Perfect Whole Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

I’ve finally perfected this recipe! Follow my recipe and you will have yourself a baked cauliflower head that is crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflowercauliflower head
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 2Tbsp
  • 3 Tbsp of fresh parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup planko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp sea salt (or, if you are adventurous, Anchovy paste)
  • 1 container of chicken or vegetable broth
  1. Preheat oven to 490
  2. Trim away the outer cauliflower leaves so that the cauliflower can sit flat.
  3. Cut a cross into the base of the cauliflower.
  4. Place the cauliflower head into a casserole dish, set casserole lid aside.
  5. In your food processor add 1/4 cup of olive oil, juice of 1/2 a lemon, parsley and 1/4 cup of the grated parmigiano cheese, 1 tsp salt/anchovy paste. Process for about 30 seconds.
  6. Rub 3/4 of the parsley mixture all over the cauliflower head (bottom and top….in that order), leave the remaining 1/4 in the food processor
  7. To the remaining mixture add 1/4 cup of the planko bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of grated parmagiano cheese and 1 teaspoon of salt/anchovy paste. Process for 30 seconds.
  8. Pat planko mixture onto cauliflower head (just the top) to create a crust
  9. Place the casserole dish with the cauliflower head into oven for 15 minutes without the lid
  10. Drop temperature of the oven to 375, add broth to the casserole dish so that it fills to about 1/2 inch all around. The cauliflower should be sitting is a shallow pool of broth.
  11. Cover casserole dish with lid and allow the cauliflower to cook for at least 50 minutes or until tender (test with a fork). Note: about 25 minute in, check to see if you need to add more broth. The broth should not dry out.

Remove from casserole dish, cut, serve and drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with cheese.

Enjoy!

Cauliflower slice

 

Posted in food, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Little Travelers, Big Memories

Amalfi

Amalfi

Last summer my husband and I made the decision to take our then three and a half year-old, Harris and our five and a half year-old, Joslin to my cousin’s wedding in Ravello, Italy.

The trip included 3 days in Rome and five days in the Amalfi coast. My entire immediate and extended family on my mother’s side travelled 7 hours by plane and three hours by car through the winding hills of the Amalfi coast to arrive at the small and vibrant town of Amalfi.

 

 

 

 

It was a “pinch me I must be dreaming” kind of vacation. There were four generations of

H-man eating cacio and pepe

Italians and Italian-Americans…cousins, uncles, grandparents, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters together in what in my opinion is one of the most beautiful places in the world. My parents were in heaven. It has always been their dream to have their grandchildren visit their native home so they could show them the beauty they have never forgotten.

In a few year, my children may not remember; walking amongst the ancient ruins, standing in the Colosseum, being in the presence of Michelangelo’s Moses, sending wishes in the form of euros into the Trevi Fountain, boating into the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto) or dining at Villa Cimbrone.

Torrone, Neopolitan Pizza, Roasted Chestnuts (Street Food), Homemade Gelato

 

Still I trust that the sights, the smell and the love they felt in my parent’s hometown will live somewhere in them.

I’m hopeful that we’ve planted a tiny seed that will grow into a love of travel, adventure and an understanding that the world while big is not intimidating.

 

 

 

 

 

I trust that they will remember…

  • the purr of the Vespas on the cobble stone streets. Perfect white noise for a peaceful night’s sleep

Rome with my daughter and my shy son

  • the taste of the salty Mediterranean Sea water balanced by the smell of sweet Amalfi lemons
  • the taste of homemade gelato or torrone
  • the chatter of my father’s native Neopolitan tongue and the signature hand gesturing that reminds them where their mother’s tendency to “over express” comes from
  • the affection whether it be smiles, hugs or “due baci” from local store owners, waiters or distant cousins
  • the sweet sound of the rolling “r”.  Buon giorno! Buona serra!
  • the bottomless plates of cacio e pepe, amatriciana and carbonara!
  • the controlled chaos that is Italy

The many drinks of Italy! Limoncello, Cafe Freddo, Champagne, Negroni

Thank you Italy for the memories. We will be back soon! More of my personal pics on Instagram @erekav

Posted in family, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Winter Skin Doesn’t Have to Suck

imgres-1

Baby it’s cold out side. Bad…bad things happen when temps dip to -18F. We are uncomfortable, irritable and our skin looks like Sh#@t! Underneath layers of dry cracking skin is your healthy spring skin waiting for it’s opportunity to shine. Let it shine baby! Winter skin does not have to suck. Transformation is simple just follow the basic steps to healthy skin; 1.Exfoliate, 2. Cleanse, 3. Moisturize and 4.Regenerate.

The benefit of working in the television business is the exposure or introduction to some great cutting edge beauty products as well some industry staples. I am NOT getting paid to write this blog post, I just happen to get a lot of questions about my skin and as my daughter says, “sharing is caring” so here we go!

1.EXFOLIATE– You must get rid of the dry flaky skin that builds on the surface and cakes under your makeup. Luckily it’s the 21 century and we have some fantastic tools to do so.

If you are like me and my hubby, you are absolutely in love with your Clarisonic and can’t imagine life without this super sonic dead skin destroyer. What if I told you I found something even better???? It’s the Foreo and it’s marvelous.

The technlogy: T-Sonic technology means you are getting 8,000 pulses per minute vs Clarisonic’s sonic technology which produces over 300 movements per second 

The benefits: 1. It’s silicone brush is nonporous to resist bacteria buildup, making it up to 35x more hygienic than standard sonic-cleansing brushes, 2. Foreo lasts up to 300 uses per full charge (you can go months without charging!) and requires no replacement brushes and 3. it’s super cute and portable!

*I’m loving it, but my hubby still won’t let go of his first crush…Clari will forever be his shower toy 😉 My advice is to choose one and use it regularly.

FOREO_Home-Page_OPTIMIZED_20141103_06

2. CLEANSE-Here are my top 3 cleansers. These perfectly balanced cleansers will magically remove makeup and all the other daily gunk without stripping your skin of it’s essential oils. My top choice is Purity.

1. Philosophy’s Purity

2. Fresh’s Soy Cleanser

3. Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser

3. HYDRATE– As a greasy I-talian, I’ve avoided oil based skincare products all my life, but now at the age of 39 the olive oil glow has left my mediterranean skin. In an effort to replace that wrinkle protecting moisture I tried several products, but was frustrated with the lack of absorption and the overall greasy side effect…then I found Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Facial Oil. I am OBSESSED. Use just a few drops of the oil at night and wake with perfectly hydrated, healthy, glowing skin. Unlike other oils, the Virgin Marula Oil hasn’t caused any breakouts. Feel free to apply again in the morning, but be warned that it doesn’t wear well under makeup.

marula_large_grande

Drink! We tend to drink more alcohol and less water in the winter which wreaks havoc on our skin. If your to cold to drink water, try a decaf tea or room temperature sparkling water with cucumbers.

4. REGENERATE– Well it’s no surprise that I’m obsessed with Tria’s Age Defying Laser which is an FDA cleared at home non-ablative fractional laser. This bad boy is going to reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well as reduce age spots all over you face. After just weeks of using this revolutionary device, your skin appears brighter and younger. Check out the before and afters here.

For more real time beauty product reviews or questions follow me on instagram @erekav ! Fear not there’s only 21 days of winter left!

Best,

Ereka

 

 

 

 

Posted in beauty & fashion, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer Brunch Salad!

So I spent the 1st week of July in Rome, Italy with my entire family and the last week in Nashville, Tennessee with just my hubby (anniversary celebration). These two cities celebrate dishes that I just can not resist….pasta carbonara, pasta amatriciana, wood burning oven pizza, shrimp & grits and biscuits with gravy. I was in carb HEAVEN!

Pasta Amatriciana

Pasta Amatriciana

Now I’m back home carrying a few extra pounds around the mid-section (all worth it) and feeling inspired to do some healthy cooking for me and the family. I came up with an awesome summer salad that incorporates some of my favorite summer ingredients; mint, strawberries and lemon. It was a huge hit with my kids. Try it out and let me know what you think.

 

The Summer Salad

The Summer Salad

THE Summer Salad:

3 cups of mixed greens

3/4 cup fresh torn mint

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup crumbled feta

3/4 cup planko bread crumbs

1 tablespoons of honey

3 tablespoons of olive oil

zest of one lemon

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450

1. Mix together the bread crumbs, honey, olive oil and salt. Toast them in the oven until the golden brown. Once out of the oven add zest.

2. Mix together first 5 ingredients

3. Add dressing of choice. I’d go with a light balsamic vin.

4. Sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs just before serving.

*Note: Grilled shrimp or tofu go really well with this dish

For more pics from my trip, check out my instagram feed @evetrini.

More recipes to come so be sure to check back in. Working on perfecting my raw zucchini salad!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mother’s Day Gift Guide!

Mother’s Day is almost here! This is the day we ATTEMPT to show Mom how thankful we are for all she has done for us (NO PRESSURE).  No worries, I’m here to help with a short list of my favorite gift ideas for Mom’s Day! Enjoy!

A great gift for a TECH SAVVY MOM or a NEW MOM is this D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera. It provides HD video monitoring using your smartphone or tablet with the free MyDlink Baby Mobile App which is incredibly easy to use. I was the anxious new mom who would have loved to have one of these. New parents will LOVE being able to watch their little ones remotely with a range of capabilities – from night vision and temperature alerts to photo and video snapshots to share with loved ones. It even features built-in lullabies and two-way communication, so new parents feel connected anytime, anywhere. For more info go to: www.dlink.com

Dlink Baby Monitor

If your mom loves phones and technology she knows how impossible it is to find an attractive home phone so this is why you’ve got to get her this new Motorola Cordless phone. It’s sleek and stylish and impossibly thin in it’s design while still offering crystal clear cordless technology, caller ID, and an answering machine with these great backlit keys — so she’ll have everything covered. This modern look is great for the bedroom or kitchen to freshen up your mom’s décor. Be sure to pick one up at Amazon.com or at your local Target Store.

NewMoto

When in doubt BRUNCH! I think it’s such a sweet gesture when the hubby and the kids go out of the way to make brunch on Mothers Day. So this year instead of serving the ordinary brunch menu, try  Stacy’s Bake Shop Bakery Crisps . Stacy’s Bake Shop Bakery Crisps are made from REAL bakery breads. That’s right – once baked, the breads are  sliced and baked again to achieve the perfect crunch. They are available in four varieties, so you can pick something for any Mom or mood! There are sweet flavors like Vanilla Pound Cake and Banana Nut and savory options, like Pretzel Bread and Herbed Baguette — I can’t chose a favorite, I love them all! Serve them with fresh fruit, sweet or savory dips and spreads. The Vanilla Pound Cake Crisp goes really well with this Lemon Yogurt Spread Recipe: Stacy’s BS Lemon Spread

Another great way to make mom smile on her special day is with something unique and personal. When you personalize something it means you’ve take the time to really think about her and in my opinion the only place to go for personalized/customized gifts is RedEnvelope dot com . Redenvelope has such a wide selection of personalized gifts ranging from classic cashmere to home accessories to spa products . I want so many of the items but some of my faves are the Personalized Bath Caddy (with and spot for a glass of wine) and these Personalized Linen Pillows:

RedEnvelope Linen Throw Pillow_emerald

You can add up to 3 lines of customization which is great and makes it personal. I carry mine with me on the airplane when I travel for work.

Redevelope.com so many thoughtful and beautiful gifts for Mother’s Day, you’ll be sure to find the perfect gift to celebrate in a special way this year.

Hope this quick and easy guide helps! When all else fails….usually a big hug and an, “I love you” will do the trick.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5 Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas For Her

v-day(1)To all the New York Valentines that love to procrastinate…here is a quick-and-easy guide to pulling off some quick-and-easy romance this Valentine’s Day. Good luck Amore!

1. Create a Scent for Her:

Stop by Fresh Cosmetic’s flagship store in Union Square (872 Broadway, corner of Broadway and 18th) to create a personal scent for the one you love. Fresh Cosmetic’s flagship store is the only store that allows you to play with existing and discontinued fragrances to find the right combination for the one you love.

2. Romance Her:

Download the Hotel Tonight App now! And book a one night romantic getaway to “the city that never sleeps”.  Find big discounts on a wide range of hotels like the Downtown W Hotel currently available for $195, Gansevoort Hotel and more!

3. Pamper Her:

Skip the spa appointment and schedule an at-home glam appointment at Glamsquad.com. A stylist will come to her door and make her look and feel like a star.

…Or book you lady an orgasmic reflexology appointment at Angel Feet . This hidden gem in the West Village will have her toes tingling and screaming for more!

4. Satisfy Her Sweet Tooth:

If your lady has a sweet tooth, stop by Jacques Torres . I was lucky to spend a day with Jacques Torres 4 years ago. I immediately fell in love with this smooth talking Frenchman and his delicious chocolate.

Pick up the chocolate kissing game! http://www.mrchocolate.com/most-popular/the-kissing-game.html

Or create your own package. Be sure to include the Wicked Hot Chocolate with Ancho Chili Peppers and Smoked, Ground Chipotle Chili Peppers (http://www.mrchocolate.com/most-popular/hot-chocolate-wicked.html).

5. Make Her Feel Sexy:

My obsession with Hanky Panky (Hanky Panky Store Locator) has been going on for years. These adorable cotton panties are sexy and comfortable and come in all sorts of fun colors and prints. Check out the Hanky Panky Valentine’s Day Guide and decide weather your lady is a Bombshell, Girly or Classic :

http://www.hankypanky.com/valentines-day-guide

Next year be smart and order a personalized pair with some of your bedside humor: http://www.hankypanky.com/personalize.asp

Good luck!

Posted in beauty & fashion, Uncategorized | Leave a comment