Aviva's Blog

Making healthy family dinners happen

All I want for Hanukkah is a Wooden Shelf under my Bathroom Sink

I'm in my mid-40s, and I've gotten to the stage of life where if I really want something material, I buy it for myself. (Andrew is a decent fashion consultant when I’m trying things on at home, but picking something I’d love from the dizzying selection at a store?  Not so much.) But, in reality, there aren’t many things I want. I get the majority of my clothes and jewelry (usually funky, chunky silver and bronze) handed down from my mom and sister. If I need a new purse, as I did a few months ago, I buy myself one (I got a great bargain on a suede bag in a consignment store). If I’m craving a pedicure, I schedule a date with a friend or my sister Sheba and treat myself to one. So when it comes to the holidays, I don’t have many wants or needs. It feels clichéd to say that I want my kids to make me something with their own hands or write me a poem, but that’s really...

Does Holiday Eating Have Your Stomach Begging for Mercy? How to Improve Your Energy and Digestion Fast!

Guest Column by Mari J Hahn, Holistic Health Coach and author of Gut Guide 101:Three Weeks to Better Digestion and Increased Energy The month of December always gets a little crazy when it comes to food – it’s easy to get carried away with party food and too many cookies, not to mention indulgent holiday meals, eggnog and cocktails. Before long, you may be suffering with heartburn, low energy and the dreaded weight gain, which can take a lot of the fun out of the holidays. Taking a few minutes each day to take care of your digestion will keep your immune system strong, improve your energy, and help you have a healthy December. Your digestive tract will function much better with plenty of fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of water every day and less of the depleting stuff like processed foods and sugar. High stress levels also negatively impact the digestive system, so whatever you do to manage your stress such as exercise, yoga, a daily walk or journaling,...

#Freebie Friday: Tolerant Pasta Made from Black Beans and Red Lentils!

Do you love to sit down to a bowl of pasta for dinner, but feel like you should be incorporating more protein and fiber into your meal?  Are your kids not eating their greens and simply want a bowl of mac and cheese?  Or have you eliminated pasta from your diet due to a gluten-intolerance or other allergy?  Tolerant Foods pasta-shaped legumes could be an excellent (and delicious!) alternative for you and your family.  While these products are not pasta, they could fool almost any Italian connoisseur! Tolerant Foods penne, rotini and fettuccine are made from legumes, and guess what else?  Nothing!!  That’s right--each product has ONE ingredient--either black beans or red lentils, both certified organic and non-GMO.  Founder of Tolerant Foods Tom Friedman set out to create a food that had only one ingredient, but was nutritious, tasty and great for the body.  I’ve eaten the red lentil variety of Tom’s...

#Freebie Friday: Zing Nutrition Bars

Having been in the cooking and recipe creation business for as long as I have, I feel like I know a lot about good nutrition, and feel pretty confident selecting snacks for myself and my family.  So it’s nice to discover a new snack that not only has a nutritionist’s seal of approval, but has actually been created by nutritionists. While nutritionists and health professionals are often touting healthy snacks like hummus and carrots or peanut butter and celery sticks, those snacks aren’t always easy to eat while on-the-go. Enter Zing Bars--these bars provide the right balance of slow-burn carbs, high quality protein, healthy fats and fiber, all free of gluten and soy protein (not that there’s anything wrong with them for most people). Amazingly tasty, Zing Bars come in 10 tantalizing flavors including chocolate peanut butter, almond blueberry and oatmeal chocolate chip. For this week’s Freebie Friday, we are giving to 2 lucky winners a mixed box of Zing Bars (12...

Holiday Gift Ideas for Food Lovers, Gift Ideas for Busy Parents, Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love to Cook, Plus Edible Holiday Gifts

If you’ve been part of The Scramble for a while (thank you!) you may remember that I’m not a huge shopper or consumer.  Because a) I feel I have everything I could want or need, b) our house is small so we don’t have a lot of room to put new things, c) Since I’m a crazy environmentalist, I don’t put a huge focus on giving or receiving traditional holiday gifts. I usually focus on giving consumable gifts or gifts of experiences for my friends and family, and those are the things I prefer to receive, too. That being said, The Scramble team put our heads together and created a list of some of our favorite gifts for busy parents, food lovers and cooks in your life.  I would love you to add your ideas to our list by leaving a comment at the end of the post—then we can update the list to include your ideas of gifts for food lovers, gifts for busy parents, gifts for kids who love to cook and edible holiday gifts. Holiday Gifts for Busy Parents • You’ll never...

Holiday Treats: Chocolate Bark with Pomegranate Seeds, Coconut and Ginger

This chocolate bark with pomegranate seeds gets a tiny kick from the ginger and a pop of texture from the juicy pomegranate seeds.  This is so easy to make, just like our Dark Chocolate Bark with nuts, marshmallows, and dried cranberries.  This chocolate bark makes a great holiday gift or colorful holiday dessert. Thanks to my fellow Her Corner member Alison Cardy for introducing me to the idea of pomegranate chocolate bark! Chocolate Coconut Ginger Pomegranate Bark 18 servings 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, or 12 oz. of any dark chocolate 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (use reduced fat if you can find it) 1 tsp. ground ginger seeds from 1 pomegranate (1 cup arils/seeds) (here's how to seed a pomegranate in 3 minutes using a wooden spoon) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler (if using the microwave, heat it in 30 second increments).  Stir it until smooth, then stir in the coconut and...

How To Make Family Dinners Healthier (Hint: It’s Not About the Food!)

While Thanksgiving falls only once a year, we Scramblers are dedicated to making family dinners happen most nights in our homes. We’ve heard the statistics and we know intuitively the importance that family dinners have for our kids’ healthy development.  It’s often the one time each day that we can stop running around, disconnect from technology and actually connect with each other over nourishing food. A recent study finds that it’s not just the act of having family dinners that keeps our kids healthier and prevents obesity, but the emotional tenor of those meals, which is just as important for their health.  The more positive the dynamic, especially around food, the better the results for our children’s physical and emotional health and healthy eating habits. The new study in the journal Pediatrics is a reminder to all of us Scramblers to keep our interactions at the dinner table positive and encouraging, rather than harping on our kids to finish their food...

#Freebie Friday: Win Free Justin’s Nut Butters and Peanut Butter Cups

Can I let you in on a little secret?  I have a new boyfriend, and his name is Justin.  I like to keep him around--he’s passionate, smooth and, well, delicious.  I know, I know, I’m happily married…but I’ve really fallen for Justin and his all-natural nut butters and peanut butter cups. (Fortunately, Andrew’s hot for him, too!) Perhaps you’ve seen Justin’s Nut Butters on store shelves, but did you know that they come in 8 different scrumptious flavors including Vanilla Almond Butter and Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (move over, Nutella, this one’s not overly sweet and has about 1/3 the amount of sugar), and that Justin’s makes peanut butter cups too?  (That might be what made me really fall head over heels.) What I love about Justin’s is that they prepare their products in small batches to ensure higher quality and that each product contains only all-natural ingredients and no hydrogenated oils (something that many highly processed peanut butters contain...

Competing Thanksgiving Traditions: How Do You Make it Work?

Thanksgiving. It’s a timeless American tradition and one many of us look forward to for weeks, even months.  But be honest, could any meal encompass higher expectations and more pressure?  For sure, the rewards are great. We gather with our families and/or friends. We enjoy Thanksgiving traditions and delicious feast together that is a celebration of fall’s bounty.  Perhaps we watch football on the couch or digest while we hit the sales and get a jump on our holiday shopping. But when families merge, whose traditions do we follow? Whose beloved recipes do we use? Which side of the family do we celebrate with? How do we accommodate everyone’s dietary preferences? Will the turkey be overcooked again this year? And who has to sit in traffic to get to whose house? We celebrate Thanksgiving with Andrew’s family each year, while we enjoy Passover (a traditional Jewish feast) with my family in California each spring. To escape some of the pressures I mentioned above,...

Roasted Indian Cauliflower Tossed with Chickpeas and Cashews

Scramble CFO (and my dear friend) Robin Thieme stopped by on a Saturday to drop off a book and was surprised to find that I was cooking a hot lunch for just Andrew and me. I confessed that I was just trying to use up some produce before it went bad.  Robin joined us for lunch and we all agreed this Indian cauliflower recipe is a winner.  Recipe tester Amy Stanley said “Good Stuff! Can’t wait to have it again.” Serve it with Indian naan.

Roasted Indian Cauliflower Tossed with Chickpeas and Cashews

Prep + Cook Time: 30 minutes 1 head cauliflower, cut into medium florets 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp. curry powder 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. chili powder 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional) 1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste 15 oz. canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed, or use 1 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas 1/4 cup cashews 1/4 cup raisins, or more to taste (up to 1/2 cup), or use currants 1/4 cup mango chutney, for serving Preheat the oven...