BYTES of Informationon Motherhood, Food, Fitness & Real Life

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

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What’s red and green and easier to make than a roll of pre-made sugar cookie dough? My festive Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan of course! This is one of my favorite recipes since it not only tastes great, but it takes less than 5 minutes to prep and make. You can toss it together and run out to finish your last minute shopping while it cooks. And if you make enough, you can have easy leftovers for tomorrow too!

This time of year between trying to juggle end of the year work projects and deadlines, last minute shopping, wrapping (which I loathe!), Joey’s birthday (I can’t believe he’s turning 3 already!!), and oh yea a brand new baby(!!!) it’s just too crazy to even think about what to make for dinner. I really didn’t want to resort to take out since I’d like to eat as healthy as possible before all of the large holiday meals. And that’s where this recipe came in. I love me some chicken parm (who doesn’t?), but it can be very time consuming. When trying to multitask while watching a toddler who loves to climb and jump off furniture and a new baby who loves to be held, I need to make my recipes as simple as possible. So I thought, why not throw all of the chicken parm ingredients in the slow cooker and see what happens. Luckily, the result was delicious!

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Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan
Ingredients
  • 1 lb skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Coat the bottom of a slow cooker with olive oil and place the chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle on breadcrumbs and garlic. Pour the tomato sauce on top and then add the Parmesan cheese. Cook on high for 4 hours. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, top with fresh mozzarella and allow to melt. Serve warm with a side of steamed veggies (I chose steamed broccoli for a red/green festive combo) and enjoy!

I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Yum

DIY Kids Craft: Snowman Sock Craft

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Now that the temperatures have dropped below 20 degrees, it can be hard to get outside. As much as I want to bundle Joey up and let him run and play outdoors, it just isn’t safe to bring a two week old out into the bitter cold. I’ve been trying to do as much as possible to help Joey stay busy and burn off his never-ending energy, but he is still bouncing off the walls some days. One of the hardest parts about recovering from a cesarean section birth is that I am not allowed to exercise or lift Joey right now. He’s so used to me running around with him, I feel like we are both going a little stir crazy without being able to do our same activities. And while it can be easy to stay inside and watch his favorite cartoons, I’d really rather he isn’t camped out in front of the TV all day.

 

After exhausting activities such as coloring, play-doh, and painting, I turned to my awesome intern Kelly (of Kelly’s Knack for Cooking) for some fresh ideas. She never disappoints me! Today, she came up with the most adorable DIY craft that any toddler or young child would love. This Snowman Sock Craft is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and keep little hands busy. It only takes about 20 minutes to make and then provides hours of fun after as your child can enjoy playing with his new toy.

 

All you need are the follow materials below and the creativity to decorate a snowman.   You can really go multiple ways with designing your very own snowman, it really depends on the materials you find and use.

 

Materials Needed:                  

Directions: 

Pour rice into sock with funnel. Tie a knot with end of sock.  

 

Place pet costume on top of knot. Tie scarf around rubber band. 

Super glue buttons to make eyes and nose. Draw a mouth with sharpie or felt pen (have fun with it!) and sit your little snowman upright and enjoy! 

 

Note: Most items can be found at your local dollar store, helping to make this a low cost craft as well.  

 

Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries for National Chocolate Covered Anything Day!

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A dessert recipe from Belly Fat Diet For Dummies

Did you know what today is? It’s #NationalChocolateCoveredAnythingDay!  I didn’t even know this holiday existed, but it’s already one of my favorites! Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to cover anything and everything in chocolate? I know I do! 

So, to celebrate today’s holiday, I wanted to share one of my favorite dessert recipes with you from my book ‘Belly Fat Diet For Dummies.” This recipe is super easy to make and a great way to get your family to eat more fruit. You can substitute any fruit you would like and the recipe still works great. Plus, as an added bonus, the dark chocolate provides an extra boost of heart healthy flavonoids. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries
Servings: 7
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs strawberries fresh
  • 3/4 cup 70% dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Rinse and dry the strawberries,keeping the leaves and stems intact. Cover a plate with wax paper and arrange the strawberries on top.

  2. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips over low heat until they become liquid, about 3-5 minutes.


  3. Carefully pour the liquid chocolate into a small, plastic pastry bag or a resealable plastic bag. If using a resealable bag, make a very small cut at the corner of the bag’s tip with scissors (or use a skewer to poke a small hole). 

  4. Gently squeeze the bag to lightly drizzle the dark chocolate over the strawberries. 

  5. Evenly distribute the chocolate over the strawberries, and then allow to cool and harden in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Recipe Notes

NUTRITION FACTS (makes 7 servings) Calories 115 Fat 5gm Carbs 20gm Fiber 4gm Protein 1gm 

Note: Be sure to use dark chocolate, which is filled with health-boosting flavonoids that help to decrease inflammation and boost heart health.

 

Yum

Three Reasons DHA Omega-3s are Essential to You & Your Baby

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The past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. Welcoming baby Jimmy and growing from a family of three to a family of four has been an adjustment. Sure, we are sleep deprived and running on fumes, but the joy in watching my older son embrace his role as big brother and getting to know and love our new little one are experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything. The biggest difference I have noticed since becoming a mother, and I am sure you can relate, is how easy it can be to forget about self-care and focus only on the needs of your family instead of yourself. The thing is, I know that taking the time to ensure my dietary needs are met won’t just help me, but will be essential in promoting health in my baby as well. That’s why I teamed up this month with the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) www.alwaysomega3s.com to provide this sponsored post on the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and why they are essential for both you and your baby.

 

EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, which come from marine sources such as fish and algae, play a large role in the health of your baby. Everything from brain development to eye health can be impacted by the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA. you consume each day. GOED put together this fantastic video that explains the importance of DHA in the diet for the health of both mom and baby.

 

 

As a new mom once again, I wanted to share with you my top three reasons as to why you need omega-3 fatty acids in your diet and how to get them, especially if you are planning to become pregnant, are already pregnant, or are nursing your child.

 

#1 Fish oil supplementation may reduce the odds of preterm birth

Recently, a study was published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology that looked at the role omega-3 fatty acids play in preterm birth (babies born before 34 weeks) and preterm delivery (babies born before 37 weeks). The study found that taking an omega-3 supplement during pregnancy reduced the risk of preterm birth by 58% and reduced the risk of preterm delivery by 17%.

 

#2 DHA intake may impact your baby’s eye health

The body’s highest concentration of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is found in the retina of the eye which allows them to play an essential role in eye health, especially for the health of the infant eye. In fact, evidence suggests that the DHA intake of the mother contributes to the normal visual development of the fetus and breastfed infant up to 12 months of age. For this reason, taking in an adequate amount of DHA in the mother’s diet each day both during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is key to eye health.

 

#3 DHA intake impacts infant brain development

Mothers are the sole source of DHA omega-3 for developing babies, which makes up a significant percentage of the fat in the brain. The brain needs DHA to grow and develop, especially halfway through pregnancy and up until two years of age. During pregnancy, your unborn child relies on the mother to provide this vital nutrient. After birth, the infant’s sole source of DHA comes from the mother’s breast milk. Consuming enough omega-3s both during pregnancy and while nursing can help to ensure proper brain development in your baby.

 

How much omega-3 is enough?

The minimum intake for optimal adult health and the development of your baby is 300 mg per day of EPA and DHA with at least 200mg coming from DHA. While the body can store omega-3s just fine, it doesn’t efficiently produce EPA and DHA on its own. That’s why, while it’s OK to eat fatty fish just two or three times per week to reach that 300 mg per day average, it is essential to make sure you get that EPA and DHA from diet or from a high quality supplement. Cold-water fatty fish such as salmon and tuna can provide a good source of omega-3s, but most of us just do not eat enough fish. Especially during pregnancy where food aversions may be high, it can be hard to get what you need from diet alone. In the US, more than 75% of adults are deficient in these important omega-3s, so it is very likely you may be.

 

Even if you consume a well-balanced diet, you may not be able to achieve the recommendations for EPA and DHA every day during pregnancy and while nursing. I know for myself, this is definitely a struggle. Not every member of my family shares my love of fish, so having it regularly isn’t always practical. That’s why I rely on adding a high quality omega-3 supplement rich in DHA to my diet to ensure I am meeting the recommended amounts daily. I also recommend that my pregnant and lactating clients do the same. This way, you are ensuring that you are giving your baby the healthiest start possible.

 

For more information on the importance of omega-3s to health, make sure to visit www.alwaysomega3s.com.

 

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED). All opinions are my own

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