Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Enhance the Flavor of Your Food With Gluten Free Spices

 Written by a contributing writer

Whether you have celiac disease, an allergy to gluten, or need to consume a low-carb diet, you might be wondering if you will be stuck eating bland foods for the rest of your days. Fortunately, there are gluten-free spices available to liven up the dishes that you prepare. These spices work well on fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, and more. Your taste buds will thank you when you try out some of these flavor combinations.

Spices to Try on Fruit

Whether you prefer your fruit fresh, stewed, or baked, you can enliven its taste with some spices. A classic is cinnamon. Stick with Ceylon cinnamon, which is a true cinnamon. It pairs well with apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, bananas, and berries. You can sprinkle it on to freshly sliced fruit, stewed fruit, or baked fruit. It works especially well as a topping on a fruit crisp or a pie with no crust. Some other spices for fruit include nutmeg, tarragon, allspice, and ginger.

Spices for Use on Vegetables

There are many spices without gluten that will taste great on your vegetables. Sprinkle the spices directly onto raw vegetables or add them to vegetables in a stir-fry. Roasted vegetables also pair well with spices. Consider trying spices such as garlic, onion, chili powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, mint, star anise, chives, or sage. Experiment with combinations of spices, such as garlic with basil and oregano for Italian roasted root vegetables.

Spices to Add to Proteins

Whether you consume fish, poultry, meat, or legumes as a source of protein, there are many wonderful spices to add to your dishes. Some gluten free spices that taste great on lentils and legumes include curry, chili powder, garlic, saffron, and cilantro. Add some garlic and tomatoes for a full spectrum of flavor. When seasoning fish, try lemon pepper and garlic. For poultry, curry and garlic are excellent. Basil, oregano, and pepper work well on fish, poultry, and meats of all types.

Busy Being Busy: Making The Most Of Your Time When You're A Mom

Written by a contributing writer 


Mom guilt is something every mom will go through at some stage; having kids is a rewarding, but tough role, and you’ll be left with little to no free time. Stepping back into a working role post-maternity leave, or after time away spent raising your family can be daunting. Many working mothers fear that they are not going to do as well parenting when they go back to work to pursue their career and at the same time, also not do as well as an employee as they did pre-children. However, once you’ve mastered the juggling act of doing both (and don’t worry, you’re totally able), you’ll hopefully feel fulfilled in each aspect of your life, and probably very tired at the end of each week. The following are some ideas and inspirations for busy moms (all moms) who need a helping hand when it comes to a balance between their working life and life with the kids home.


Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/hand-pen-writing-plant-58457/


Your Time Is Your Time

There will be free time in the evenings, weekends and holidays, and if you make the most of it; you’ll begin to notice and appreciate your free time even more. Whether you want to study for that operations management online degree to further your career, or you feel like binge watching some shows on Netflix to unwind; make sure that you’re doing what you want to do. Don’t be dictated by what you feel you should be doing; this will only add to all that mom guilt.

When you’re out of the work or office space, and you and the family have some time together; make plans. You don’t have to spend a fortune dragging everyone around a theme park (this is still an option though). Family walks, adventures, and picnics are all enjoyable ways to hang out together, make memories, and won’t cost a fortune. If you do feel like spending some of your hard-earned salary on treating your loved ones, then planning a vacation together is something everyone can look forward to. On the run up to your getaway, part of your free time in the evenings can be spent with your family, making plans on what you want to do once you get there, and enjoying the countdown.

Enjoy Them More

Whether you’ve just stepped foot in the office, or through the front door at home; you need to be present in that environment and learn to switch from one to the other. Obviously, you never stop being a parent; but worrying all day at work about what your kids are doing, wearing, or eating, isn’t going to help make you a productive member of your work team. It’s then important to be able to switch off from total mom-mode, in order to get on with your workday.

The same goes for when you’ve arrived home after work; make sure your kids don’t feel your stresses from the work day and be in the moment with them for dinner, bath, and bedtimes. Just because you’ve gone back to work, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the everyday special moments together as a family. But, bringing a pile of work home physically or mentally, will have a negative impact on your mood, which will filter down to your kids.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Fighting The Jet Lag Symptoms

Written by a contributing writer


Fall is here! And that means holiday travel is just around the corner. Traveling is a lot of fun, except when you find yourself suffering from a bad case of jet lag. There’s nothing worse than feeling too exhausted to enjoy the adventure. And while it takes only a few days for your body to go back to normal, it also means that you may not be able to enjoy any long-distance trip of a couple of days – as your body can’t adapt quickly enough.

Unfortunately, without medicine to take the edge of your jet lag – aside from sleeping tablets if you’re struggling to sleep at appropriate times –, you are left in an uncomfortable position. Apart from tiredness and difficulties sleeping, jet lag is also associated with digestive problems such as constipation, indigestion or bloating, which can also affect the quality of your trip. Ultimately, as sleeping tablets are not for everyone – and may not solve the underlying issue – you may need to get creative to fight off the jet lag effect for short trips!




Jet lag, the agony of travelers



The dilemma: Sleeping on the plane or not?


One of the most common issues on a long flight is to know whether you should sleep or not, and more importantly how to shift your sleep schedule when flying long distance. Indeed, as travel impacts on your biological clock – ultimately the jet lag is the result of being ‘out of sync’ with your destination – you can adjust your body to new sleeping patterns ahead of your journey. An in-flight plan to help you to relax and take a power nap can make all the difference too!


Your emergency beauty bag


Long flights or flights happening during your usual night time can leave you feeling miserable on arrival. Your face is pale. Your eyes are red. Your hair is all over the place. Ultimately, you don’t really feel confident about the person who’s looking back at you in the mirror of the airport. Never underestimate the power of makeup in the morning. Pack a little bag of essentials you can use to look refreshed and alert once you arrive. Nothing beats a clean foundation and a little lipstick!


A breakfast of champions

You might not feel hungry after a long flight, but picking the right breakfast can fuel you for the rest of the day – and help your body get over the jet lag effect. The classic bowl of oats can work wonders and keep you running all day without crashing! Something as simple as a glass of water can encourage your body to rehydrate and maintain its normal functions.


Do a no jet lag workout


Can sports be the answer? According to experts, you can and should exercise ahead of your flight to reduce your jet lag. An intense workout can help you to sleep on the plane. Make the most of the moments of alertness in-flight to keep your blood flowing with easy leg extensions, and glute squeezes. A moderate intensity workout after your arrival can help reduce jet lag symptoms too – assuming that you don’t push yourself too much.



Pixabay


From preparing your body to adjust to new sleep patterns to fueling it with the best nutrients, there are some tips to reduce your jet lags. You can never eliminate it completely unless you opt for sleeping tablets. But feeling a little tired is better than being unable to function during your holiday!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Gastritis Diet Hacks and Update

"So...you're still dealing with this? How long is this going to last?" My dad questioned me as I looked for plain oatmeal in their pantry while explaining that even though my son and I had come over for dinner, I couldn't eat the dinner they were serving. Believe me, pasta, salad, and garlic bread sound a lot more appetizing than oatmeal. But, unfortunately, my stomach still isn't there yet.

But - good news - I am able to eat a larger variety of foods now. And along the way, I've found a few hacks and foods that I can tolerate. Some of these gastritis hacks are also "healthy alternatives" to some not-so-healthy foods. So even if you're not dealing with a damaged stomach, you may want to stick around to learn some healthy food hacks.

Disclaimer before I get into it - These are foods I can tolerate. Everyone with gastritis/stomach issues is different. I'm also about 7 months into treatment.

This first one is something you may already know if you follow me on Instagram. (Shameless plug - follow me @FloridaMommyDiaries.)

(Also, as I insert this post's photos I feel the need to say this post is not sponsored by or affiliated with any brand. I just really love the dairy-free Reddi-Wip!)

Easy Sweet Potato Dessert

It's super simple, quick, and easy to make. Just bake (or nuke) a sweet potato, cut it open, and add some Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Reddi-Wip on top. It tastes almost like a sweet potato casserole or pie. But way fewer calories/sugar. And gastritis friendly.

Oven "Fries"

French fries. I haven't been crazy about them since I had my son (I couldn't stand ANYTHING potato while I was pregnant).  But...of course once I can't have them, I want them. I now make a version I can tolerate at home. I cut up a potato into wedges, toss it in olive oil (an oil I can tolerate) and salt, and bake it in the toaster oven at 450 degrees for 45 minutes. They're so good that my husband even prefers them.


Banana with Coconut Sugar

This is a "dessert," although I like my desserts sugary with chocolate or ice cream...this is something sweet that I can tolerate. And it's a bit healthier than an ice cream sundae. I simply cut a banana lengthwise, sprinkle some coconut sugar over it, and toast it in the toaster oven until the sugar caramelizes.


Avocado 

I use avocado for everything. Mash it up and pretend it's a less flavorful guac. Avocado toast has become a staple. I also mash it up and mix it with salt and olive oil to make a creamy pasta "sauce."


Non-Coffee Coffee

The top three things I miss are the three C's - cheese, chocolate, and coffee. I haven't found an alternative to cheese yet. But I have found alternatives for chocolate (hang in there, I'll get there) and coffee.  Apparently, they make coffee alternatives that are caffeine-free.  Do they really taste like coffee? Eh. Kaffree Roma (I tried several brands, this was the one I liked best) tastes a little bit like airplane coffee (you know, that coffee you get on an airplane that ranges from awful to so-so). But add in some almond milk creamer (they even make a pumpkin spice flavor now!) and top it with either the coconut milk Reddi-Wip or almond milk Reddi-Wip and it's as close as you're going to get to coffee without having...well...coffee.



Carob

This is the chocolate alternative.  I remembered buying a dog we had years ago dog cookies made out of safe-for-dogs people food. They looked like chocolate chip cookies. But the "chocolate chips" were carob chips. So I set out to look for carob treats. Again, it doesn't taste like chocolate on its own. But a local grocery store (shout out to Publix) carries carob covered raisins and carob covered almonds. The carob covered raisins taste most like chocolate covered raisins. The almonds...meh. They're not bad but they definitely don't taste like chocolate covered almonds.



Random tips:

  • When eating out, look at the restaurant's menu online beforehand if you can. It will make it less overwhelming if you plan out what you're going to order ahead of time since, most likely, you will have to ask the server to leave out a few ingredients. (Or ask them to put them on the side - which is what I do.)
  • Breakfast is one of the easiest things to order when eating out. Egg whites are a good option. And if all else fails - pancakes.
  • Grab and go snacks can be hard to find. I can tolerate:
  1. Sunchips
  2. Pistachios
  3. Harvest Snaps Lightly Salted






Sunday, September 16, 2018

7 Ideas To Help Raise Environmentally-Responsible Kids

Written by a contributing writer 



As a parent, it's important to take your job seriously when it comes to raising responsible citizens for the future. It's essential to raise your children to be physically healthy, emotionally strong, and kind. It's also vital to instill strong values related to the environment in your children. Here are 7 tips to help you raise environmentally-responsible children.

1. Choose Eco-Friendly Products

Before you show your children how to appreciate the earth, you'll need to make some changes to your own habits and household usage. Start with your buying habits in your home. Swap out your paper products for eco-friendly items. Switch any old appliances out for energy saving options. Look for natural products produced by companies that are committed to protecting the environment. Some of these products may cost a bit more, but in the end, you could spend less on utilities.

2. Eat a Plant-Based Diet

You can also show your children your commitment to being environmentally responsible in your diet. Eliminate items such as red meat from your diet and focus on foods that are plant-based. Stop buying produce and other items that aren't in season and require excessive shipping and processing. Visit local farmer's markets and choose items that are grown in your area to show your children eco-friendly foods. You can also start your own garden to give them ideas about producing food.

3. Practice Recycling

Recycling is another big part of an eco-friendly household. Set up a system in your house that sorts items from the trash and into the recycling bins. Teach your children about which items are able to be recycled and which ones should be thrown away. Create a composting pile in your backyard and model using it with your kids. This way, you can reduce your garbage over time.

4. Promote Reusing Objects

Next, show your children how effective it is to reuse items instead of throwing them away. Instead of buying brand new clothes, toys, and household objects, visit yard sales, thrift stores, or other spots to buy secondhand items. You can also save money big time by avoiding the sticker shock of a brand new item. When your children outgrow clothing or toys, get them involved in the process of putting them up for sale or donating them to a good cause.

5. Reduce Water Waste

Modeling responsible water usage is another way you can show your children how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. Explain the problem with water in the world today by showing them news stories and information about ventures like the Cadiz Water Project. Teach them how to take shorter showers and leave off the water when brushing their teeth. Encourage using rainwater collection ideas, such as a rain barrel for watering plants and the grass.

6. Take Field Trips

Field trips are another great idea if you want to expose your kids to all different types of environmental education. One eye-opening experience that could change your kids' perspective is a trip to the local landfill. Show your children the amount of waste that goes into the landfill each day to give them a real sense of what the planet is facing for the future.

7. Explore the Outdoors

Finally, it's also important to teach your kids to appreciate the beauty of the earth each day. You can do this by exploring different parts of your region's outdoor attractions. Check out local parks, forests, hiking trails, and more to give your children a better idea of what is at stake with the environment. When they see the raw beauty of the land, they may be more likely to work harder to protect it.
If you want to help the planet stay healthy for the next generation, you must work hard to teach children what needs to be done. Model these environmentally-friendly practices with your kids to raise children who appreciate the earth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Easy Ways to Change the Look of Your Home

This is a sponsored guest post by Alex from The Berger Bungalow.


Over two years ago, I remember stepping foot in my first home for the first time. It was just a few years after my husband and I got married and I could not believe that we were buying our first home! Hopefully the home that we would eventually bring our future kids home from the hospital to. I was so, so excited.

The home buying process was intense, to say the least. Our rental home that we were currently in was up for sale and we didn’t want to risk getting kicked out due to it selling before we found a home of our own, so we were in a time crunch. We searched and searched for something that was ‘perfect’ and still within our budget and it just seemed like everything didn’t fit us, or our offers were turned down (we even offered full asking price + closing costs and got turned down!). We had no idea why it was happening and we were so frustrated.

But, just one week after our offer was turned down, we were about to leave for a trip to the beach and my sister (who also happened to be our realtor) called me and told me that she thought she found the perfect place for us, but we had to make an offer that very day. So, we delayed our trip by a few hours, saw the house, and made an offer from our car, on the way to Florida.



Although it needed some TLC (I mean, every single room had a different color!), it was perfect and it was just what I imagined: a large kitchen so that Ian and I could cook together, a dining room where our family could get together and share meals and laughs, an office AND a future playroom/current man cave (this was very high on my want list, but I didn’t think it was in our budget), a big back yard for our pups, an open floor plan, high ceilings, and the list goes on. I was just so excited to make the home ours and make it stand out.

But, over the years, as much as I have wanted to really work on our home, we have been spending all of our energy (and money) on travel. We visited wineries in Montalcino, hiked Cinque Terre, explored Sonoma County and even tried a Cedar Bath (which was so cool!), and we have many trips coming up throughout the end of the year which include, New Orleans, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Nassau, Florida (again), and more. Because of this, I haven’t really done much other than our initial renovations with the house and I am now ready to get down to business and really focus on decorating for the seasons, improving our home, and doing a few renovations. Here are some of the things we are planning to do (which will hopefully make our house more homey and also boost the value of the home):

Paint The Kitchen Cabinets

I absolutely love the kitchen, but as you can see, our cabinets have an orange tint to the wood and I really prefer lighter colors, without the warmth. So, I think I am going to paint the wood a lighter, more neutral color and also change out the hardware to look a bit more modern compared to the knobs that we currently have.




Install New Countertops

This is definitely on my top 3 ‘must do’ list. Our countertops are just a plain white laminate right now and I really do not like them. They stain, they are hard to keep clean, and they are a very inexpensive material. I would love to replace these as soon as possible, in order to make our kitchen look better and more upscale, which will in turn, boost our home value and make it more appealing for future purchasers.




Fireplace Surround

Our current fireplace surround is just black wood right now and it’s very dark for me. I have been searching for something to enhance the look of it for a while now, but everything is so pricey! I finally came across Faux Brickwork, which seems like an awesome option. Faux Brickwork is the leading supplier of faux brickwork to the domestic and commercial world. They supply faux brickwork to many luxury homes, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, offices and retailers. Located out of Clearwater Florida, Faux Brickwork is able to provide authentic looking brickwork without the high costs of building work. Their high quality panels are made from plaster, which makes them authentic visually and also makes them lightweight, making installation fast and simple. The reason why we are considering Faux Brickwork for our fireplace surround is because of the fact that we can order and install it quickly and it would be much more affordable compared to tradition brick, or even tile. They also offer samples and a custom design service, so we know we will be getting exactly what we want. I mean, look at this picture below. It looks so authentic!



Install New Tile

Again, this is on my top 3 ‘must do’ list. Our current kitchen tile is very, very ugly. In fact, I was chatting with my blog agent the other day and described it as “poop brown,” haha. You can see a picture above. I would absolutely love to replace this! My parents imported their kitchen tile from Italy and it is gorgeous, so I have pretty high standards when it comes to this. Here is to hoping that I can find what I love for a reasonable price!

Decorate For The Seasons!

This is one thing that I am looking so forward to doing this year (and in years to come, as well)! Decorating for the seasons is so much fun to me and I just have not had a chance to really do so with our crazy work and travel schedules in the past. This year, it is happening! Of course, this will do nothing for the value of our home, but it will make it feel a lot more like ‘ours’ and I know it will make it a happier place.

Everything You Need to Know About Adopting a Dog

Written by a contributing writer



Considering almost 50% of households have a pet dog, there’s a good chance that you’ll consider taking on one of your own at some point or another. When some people decide that it’s the right time for them to get a canine companion, they choose a breed and automatically start looking up breeders in their local area. But it’s extremely important that you are aware that this isn’t the only option. There are already so many perfect pooches already out there who are in serious need of a loving home, and you could offer them just what they need! This is why you should always consider adopting before shopping. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, here’s everything you need to know about adopting a dog!

Choosing a Breed

Chances are that you already have a good idea of what dog breed you’d like to make a part of your family. But the majority of people come to this decision by merely looking at different dogs’ appearances. It’s so important that you know a lot about the different breeds of dog that you are considering taking into your home, as each has been bred for a specific purpose and will consequently have different characteristics, behavioral traits, and physical traits that you need to take into mind. A Bichon Frise, for example, is bred as a lap dog and companion dog, so will need more attention than other breeds. A Border Collie is bred as a working farm dog, so will have lots of energy and require longer walks. You need to make sure that you can meet your dog’s natural needs before taking them on. Some dogs in shelters may not have an immediately recognizable breed, or may be crossbred, but you can carry out a DNA test to determine what breed they are with www.certapet.com/embark-dna/.

Getting to Know Potential Pup’s Personalities
Every dog will have an individual and unique personality. So, it’s best to get to know the different dogs at the shelter to find out which is best for your home and family. You will need to make a good fit, where you and your pooch can gel well with one another. If you have a calm home, you should look for a calm dog who is more comfortable in quiet and laid back surroundings. A hyperactive, energetic canine companion may prove overwhelming for you, and you may not be able to cater to his or her needs either. If you are energetic yourself and have an extremely busy household, the energetic pooch could prove to be a better fit than a shy and reserved dog who may quickly become overwhelmed.

Bringing Your Dog Home

Once you’ve settled on a dog, the shelter you have taken them on from should give you complete instruction on how to help them settle into your home. Where possible, you should book a little time off work, so that you can help them to feel comfortable and welcomed.

These are just a few steps that you will go through in the process of adopting a dog. Take as long as you need to make the right decision - a dog is a big responsibility and you want to ensure that the pooch you take home will be heading back to their forever home, where they can be happy and healthy!