Monthly Archives: June 2012

Why Miles Storm cannot eat Gluten – Sweet Potato & Carrot with Brown Rice Pasta.

My 22 month-old Son is going through a phase where he loves Pasta. He walks around the apartment saying “Pasta Pasta” in the cutest baby voice a Mum has ever heard. As I am on a “Cooking Roll” this week, today for lunch I made him Sweet Potato & Carrot Sauce with Gluten- Free Brown Rice Pasta. He loved it!

A few months back, returning to NYC from a visit in my home town of Melbourne Australia I noticed Miles Storm was covered head-to-toe with the skin condition Eczema. All of a sudden he had turned from a soft skinned baby into a scaly fish!

We have 2 Pediatricians for Miles Storm – one who is traditional in Western Medicine who believes in vaccines, and the other is holistic in natural remedies and not a big fan of vaccines. It is a good contrast for me being holistic-minded to hear from both sides of the fence and then making a decision, with my husband, about what is the right path for us to take.

I first took Miles to our traditional Pediatrician in Brooklyn and was told quite casually to put steroid Cortisone cream all over his untainted body a few times a day until it was gone. I am sorry but that was a huge NO NO for me. There are risks with using cortisone for adults being that as it is a strong chemical it can penetrate skin, causing an allergic reaction resulting in blood poising. For children, I assume the risk is greater as their bodies are smaller? Either way, why use steroid creams if there is a non-toxic way to achieve the same results? So, I made an appointment with our holistic pediatrician upstate NY, where I was told to cut out all cow products and gluten from his diet; which we did straight away. Two days later Eczema completely gone, just like that! I really am a firm believer that you are what you eat, and the proof was in the pudding on this experiment. See, that is why I like having 2 Pediatricians!

My Son and I are predominately vegetarians. I have been for 22 years and am very happy with my choice. I eat hardly any dairy and like to call myself a try-hard-vegan! Funny. My Son eats eggs, and absolutely loves goat milk and yoghurt. Other than we eat grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables. My husband is an amazing cook and we are always making new and interesting dishes. We did have to take it to the next level when Miles stopped eating gluten as we really did not know much about it. Now, nobody in the family really eats gluten – can’t say we miss it. Thus, the reason in this recipe I am using gluten-freen brown rice pasta (in case you were wondering).

I get a lot of questions from other Mummies about what are healthy, quick and easy meals to make, this dish is one of them. Sweet Potato is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Pantothenic AcidRiboflavin and Thiamin. While carrots are high in Vitamin A, K and C and they help you see better my Mum always told me! This  literally took me under an hour to make (including cooking time). It is really yummy and keeps well in the fridge for a few days.

YOU WILL NEED

  • One Organic Sweet Potato
  • Three Large Organic Carrots
  • 4 Cloves of Organic Garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • Water
  • 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • Gluten-Free Brown Rice pasta

THE RECIPE

  • Preheat oven to 350 Farenheit
  • Roughly cut up the sweet potato, carrots and garlic
  • Add Olive-Oil with a sprinkle of sea-salt to baking pan, add sweet potato, garlic, carrots and cover with aluminium foil
  • Roast until tender roughly 45 minutes
  • Once cooked purée in blender until smooth
  • Cook pasta as per instructions
  • Place pasta in bowl, cover with carrot/sweet potato sauce and serve with goat cheese.

Read More Willy B Mum

All Hail the Kale Superfood Pesto

We grow a lot of the superfood vegetable Kale (AKA borecole) upstate NY in our garden. It is hands-down one of my favorite foods ever. We use it for so many dishes, including our famous Kale Salad, fresh juice in the mornings and as a Pesto Sauce.

Kale is high in Vitamin A, C and K. It is also hailed for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities which have been known to work together to prevent cancer. It is also high in fiber, lowers one’s cholesterol, and helps with the body’s detoxification process. Long story short – it is really good for you and you should try to eat as much of it as your possible can!

Pesto is usually made from basil, pine-nuts and Parmesan cheese. We put a little twist on ours by making it with kale, almonds and dairy-free; it is delicious! I literally eat it straight out of the bowl. We created this dish as a result of my Son not being able to eat dairy, me choosing not to eat dairy and my husband not liking pine-nuts. As an added bonus though, by cutting out the cheese you make a way healthier dish with fewer calories. Love That!

The Italian born Pesto is traditionally served as a pasta sauce, but how else can you incorporate this into your diet? I like to eat it as a topping on Veggie Burgers or to just add a dollop on top of a salad. It is great on toast, or to add as a sandwich dressing. You can also use it as a dip with carrots and celery. I had it this morning on top of a bowl of steamed broccoli, and it could also be served with eggs for breakfast. Mixing it in with a bowl of Quinoa or Farro is really yummy too. So many things that you do with Kale!

YOU WILL NEED

  • A BIG Bunch of Organic Lacinto Kale,
  • Half a cup of Organic Olive Oil
  • 2o pieces of Organic Garlic
  • Half a teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper
  • Half a teaspoon of Sea-Salt
  • Half a cup of Organic Almonds
  • I do not use cheese, but if you want to… add half a cup of organic goat feta.

Read More Willy B Mum

Let’s visit the Prospect Park Wonderland in Brooklyn!

Last week, I decided to take Miles Storm on a day trip to Prospect Park, which is in Brooklyn about 4 miles from where we live in Williamsburg. It was a pleasant day, he’d slept in late (amazing as therefore so did I) and as a result we had missed his morning art-class meaning that I had to come up with another activity to keep him entertained. I have lived in NYC for 10 years, and Prospect Park has been one of the places I have always wanted to visit however it never happened – the same with The Intrepid and the American Museum of Natural History. Now that Miles Storm is here it looks like all that will finally manifest, as goodness knows I have tried to convince my husband to tag along with me for years to no avail!

The 585 acre Prospect Park is a wonderful wonderful space which was designed by the same revolutionary who designed Central Park (as well as many other parks) from the mid 1800′s onwards – Frederick Law Olmsted. Frederick, known as the founder of landscape architecture is one man I would love to go back in time and meet to say thank-you! The contrast of being able to step off a crazy busy city Street into a nature wonderland is magical – there is a Zoo, a Carousel, the old-time Lefferts farm-house, library, so many beautiful old trees and the gorgeous Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. And, this is only in vicinity of where we were, there is so much more to see! New York City is truly blessed to have such a place to visit.

We started at the Zoo, where we visited the Sea Lions, Toucans, Dingoes, Red Pandas and Turtles. The Zoo is quite quaint being able to see it all in about 2 hours. There is a nice grassed area to sit down for a picnic and eat your own food, unless you want to buy snacks from the vending machines on site. I wish I had known this beforehand as I was expecting at least a café of some sort.

Next up, we went for a ride on the Merry-Go-Around. Yay, I love Merry-Go-Arounds! The Carousel is as vintage as can-be having this month having celebrated 100 years in operation. It boasts a dragon drawn chariot, a lion and 53 magnificently designed horses. Can you imagine the hundreds of thousands of children that have ridden on it over the years? Word of Warning – The ride gets really fast at one point, the wind was whipping through our hair at speed and we really had to hold on for dear life. And, how we laughed, what is it about carousels that just make you laugh? Good times!

By this stage, Miles Storm was getting sleepy with all the excitement, and there was still so much to do. We crossed the road to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, which is $10 admission, and totally worth every cent. Miles Storm played in a child friendly area which had a water table and a dirt pit where he looked for worms…. he was covered from head to toe in dirt. Then just like that, he was in his pram and fast asleep. Wake up Miles Storm Wake Up! I mean, we only were able to see such a small part of the Botanical Gardens. However, before we left I was able to sit down, take a deep breath and eat a top-notch kale/arugula salad at the outdoor café, and I am fussy so be assured it was delicious!

I wish we could have stayed all day, and I cannot wait to visit the Park again soon.

Miles Storm on the 100-year-old Carousel in Prospect Park, Brooklyn NY

Raw Juicing is the Way to Go

I love to juice fresh raw organic fruits, herbs and vegetables. During the winter months I do not do it so much but during the warmer part of the year when our vegetable garden upstate is blooming, I juice a lot! It is a great way to get your daily dosage of fruit and veggies right off the bat and a wonderful way to start the day. I like to throw whatever produce we have in the house into the Juicer (including scraps like apple cores and kale stalks), and hope for the best! For my little boy I have to be more predictable like giving him mango or carrot juice… you know, keep it simple or else he will not drink it.

Last November in the USA it was found that 10 percent of apple juices tested had total arsenic levels greater than the Food and Drug Administration standard for drinking water. The harmful arsenic found was inorganic, which is a human carcinogen. According to the FDA web page the reason it is being detected in apple juice is because arsenic-based pesticides were commonly used in United States up until 1970, and it is still showing up now! You can read more about that HERE.

I mean, I cannot say that this surprises me, but it was still slightly shocking. What effect will this arsenic have on children, being smaller in body size and still developing, who are innocently drinking juices tainted with arsenic?

My husband and I have always been concerned about commercial juices mainly because of the sugar levels, and all the unnecessary additives. As a result we only let Miles Storm drink water, which he loves. Sometimes he has juices that are raw with no added preservatives or sugar (like from an organic juice bar) or juices we make ourselves from pesticide-free food. He does not drink sodas, but you probably already knew that one! As far as milk he is still being breastfed, however if need-be we give him organic goat milk or coconut milk because he is allergic to cow milk.

With bought meals/drinks, it is so hard to really know what you are entirely eating so it is always best to make your own if you can. We know that cooking foods or pasteurizing drinks means sacrificing nutritional value so by juicing the produce raw you keep all the vitamins and minerals intact.  Also, making your own juice keeps plastic bottles out of landfills and cuts back on food-waste being produced by your kitchen.

As an occasional special treat (as it is high in calories) & when I do not have time to juice, me and Miles Storm love love love the Blue Print Cleanse Cold-Pressed White Cashew Water Vanilla Cinnamon Agave drink! It is so yummy. We fought over the last bottle I bought…. literally. He won as you know being a Mummy you give your children everything to keep them smiling.  You must try it if you can! Blue Print Juices are freshly cold-pressed, raw, organic and unpasteurized. Amazing!

Me and Miles Storm fighting over the last of a drink of the BP cleanse Cashew Milk.

The rewards of being barefoot in a beautiful garden

If you are looking for a beautiful outdoor activity to connect your Little One with a better understanding of nature, look no further than some dirt and seeds. Yes, it is that easy!

Gardening is a wonderful messy way to involve children in a healthy and enlightening hobby. Starting with the excitement of choosing the plants you will grow together – veggies, flowers, herbs and flowers. Next up, preparing the earth for planting, and before long you will be harvesting your woes while enjoying a special meal together……… which is one of the most rewarding family experiences ever!!!

A Family that Eats Together Stays Together.

Besides being a lot of fun, gardening helps teach valuable lessons about patience through waiting for the plants to sprout and grow – Patience is a Virtue (they say)!  It also encourages responsibility, as if a garden is not cared and nurtured for (by weeding and watering) nothing will grow.

Unfortunately all living things die, and being in the garden also highlights loss when the plants pass away at the end of the season. On top of all of this, gardening keeps children active while giving knowledge by learning to name plants.

These days unless you buy organic plants, all foods are sprayed with all kinds of harmful toxins. Growing your own Garden is the way to avoid this. It’s really quite simple & So Rewarding while being a beautiful way to spend time.

It is really important to me that my Son knows where his food comes from. I was shocked by Jamie Oliver’s visit to the Unhealthiest City in America – Huntington (West Virginia) – where children were unable to identify the simplest raw-food like tomatoes? My Son, at 21 months, is easily able to point out kale and rosemary!

I love plants, I like feeling green all around me, somehow it puts me at ease much the same way the sound of the Ocean does. My Grandmother was a big gardening, and as well as her teaching me how to knit, I am grateful to her for exposing me to her love at a very young age. I still remember making mud-pies in the garden, and being fascinated to see food being pulled from the ground. I am very lucky to be able to carry this on to my beautiful little boy and for him to walk barefoot and feel the dirt beneath his feet.

Miles Storm in our Veggie garden upstate NY in Rhinebeck!. Such a beautiful vibe.

Aqua Beba, we’re so glad we found you

As we have a swimming pool and a lake on the family property upstate NY it was a priority for my husband and I to start our Son Swimming lessons as soon as possible. I knew about the Williamsburg/Greenpoint located Aqua Beba Swim School and wanted to check out their vibe and do a drop-in lesson before we committed. Fair enough I thought? However, when I first called to inquire it was politely explained to me that it was a matter of privacy towards the participating families and as each group progressed together it was not fair to bring in curious-not-sure parents to observe a class. Well, the way it was explained left me no choice and on Word-Of-Mouth recommendations I agreed to sign Miles Storm up for his first semester of lessons. And, I am happy to write that we were so not disappointed.

I took our 20-month-old Son 2 weeks ago to his first lesson and by the end of it he was jumping from the side of the pool into my arms (in the pool) and Kick-Kicking his way across to the other side (with me holding him). But wait, by his second lesson (as the photo below shows) he is comfortably being submersioned and swimming under water without a worry in the world. This is a true story and not a word of a lie! I am just so upset I only found about the classes now, as Aqua Beba starts infants as young as 4 months of age in the water.

Aqua Beba is the brainchild of Serbian born Danilo Krvavac and his wife Heidi. Danilo is kind of like a Swim God as Cesar Milan is to Dog Whispering (in my opinion). He has a gift, and people in the neighborhood rave about him.

Heidi told me that when she met Danilo she could barely swim having been intimidated, since she was little, about being in the water. One day Danilo took her to the pool and taught her to swim in 15 minutes. That is amazing! When their first daughter, Penelope, was born Danilo had her in the water as soon as possible thus realizing that there were no heated pools in the area to swim with her in, and that there appeared to be a need for an infant swim school. Presto thankfully Aqua Beba was born!

In her own words – Danilo worked with children in Europe in the past and wanted to develop a unique program that really catered to every child’s need. He has blended so many techniques and styles to make it his own. If a child is nervous or afraid to go in the water we never force them. We work with them at their own pace until they are comfortable. The reason we ask parents to come in the water is so that each child is swimming the entire class verses sitting on the side of the pool while an instructor works with one child at a time. Also we realized that we will not be with you on vacations so parents needed to be involved. We try and keep it fun but we are really more targeted towards getting everyone swimming and safe in the water.

Read More Willy B Mum

My organic MiYim Eco-Plush toy obsession

When I was pregnant I did a lot of reading – I had recently been let go from my job as a Director of Events at Night Agency in Soho, (where I had been for 6 years), so I had plenty of free time on my hands which I really did not know what to do with?

Being Holistic Minded, and while putting together my baby shower gift registry I realized all toys are not created equal. My interest in soft-toys was specific as that is what my baby would be playing with, more so than harder ones, when he was born. I also knew that the soft-toys were going to be spending a lot of time in my Little One’s mouth once he started teething!

I had never really thought about it before but when I saw the local Brooklyn based MiYim toy brand advertised as organic I was excited and curious? I soon became a huge fan, and as a result most of my Son’s baby toy gifts were MiYim, with the exception of his European born Lana the Organic Donkey! I actually became quite neurotic about the fact that all of Miles Storm’s baby toys had to be organic or they just couldn’t be anywhere near him. Yeah, I know welcome to being a first time Mummy!

In this day and age, it is not surprising that plastic toys have chemicals in them, but it is frightening to know that our precious babies are also exposed to toxins which are used to dye the fabrics in their teddy-bears, not to mention the pesticides used to grow the cotton. As if there is not enough going on!

According to the MiYim website – “One third of the world’s pesticides are used on cotton crops alone. These chemicals are absorbed into the cotton plant, the air, the soil, the water and eventually, our bodies. These harmful toxins also make their way back into our food chain – the cotton seeds are used to feed the cattle we get our milk and beef from, and also used to make cotton seed oil, a cornerstone of the processed foods most families eat every day; and it’s just not bad for the planet; 20,000 deaths occur each year from pesticide poisoning in developing countries, many of these from cotton farming, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)”.

Read More Willy B Mum

Gorgeous Day upstate NY today

My family is fortunate that we divide our time between living upstate NY in Rhinebeck on the weekends, and during the week in the city in Williamsburg Brooklyn. We have been doing this for 6 years now. Every Friday, we head upstate, and Monday we return to the bustling city. It is a lot of time commuting, however it is definitely worth it.

It is a wonderful contrast for Miles Storm, being exposed to city living and country living.  I love that he is already able to identify many animals that he constantly sees when we are out and about-  from turtles to turkeys and geese to snakes. He also gets to spend time helping his Dad in the garden, swimming in the pool, horse-riding, and petting the many animals at the near-by Sepascot Home Farm.

Rhinebeck is a beautiful little town nestled in the historic northern Dutchess County on the Hudson River. It is actually one of the oldest settled towns in America having recently celebrated it 400 year anniversary. George Washington used to drink at the Oldest Inn in America in town called “The Beekman Arms” – isn’t that crazy to think about!

This Saturday we went to the “Rhinecliff Family Water Day” which was so much fun. Miles had a great time. It was a quaint turn-out with clowns, a bouncing castle, and a water installation for the children to play with. Later that afternoon, we drove up to Hunter Mountain to watch Ben Folds perform at the Mountain Jam music festival. It was a beautiful day which I wish could have lasted forever.

There is much to do upstate, all year round and never enough time in the day.

I sometimes wonder if I could live to Rhinebeck full-time, I love it upstate but Williamsburg is a pretty cool place to spend time too. I think that it is great, for now, just the way it is.

Me and Miles Storm on the Hudson River in Rhinecliff, upstate NY!

Let’s talk about my friends over at The Parent Maze!

One of my most supportive Twitter followers since I started Willy B Mum, 6 months ago, has been The Parent Maze, so today I am dedicating some time to give them the same vibe back.

What is The Parent Maze I hear you ask? First of all let’s point out that they are growing at SPEED as a resource to help parents in NYC find classes and services – from doulas and sleep experts to art class and party entertainers. Parents, like me, can also find exclusive deals once signing up with their community which offer recommendations from other local parents in “the know”. There is also an option to list a business if it is so inclined.

The Parent Maze was started by 2 Mummies, Sally and Latonia, (SURPRISE SURPRISE) who are both law graduates (one from NYU and the other from Harvard).

To quote The Parent Maze web page – “How could parents quickly find the help they need to better enjoy their life and their kids? Sally and Latonia were convinced that finding services and kids’ classes needn’t be such a chore. They created The Parent Maze™ as a way for NYC Parents to quickly and easily get trusted recommendations for the services they need to navigate the maze of parenthood”.

Read More Willy B Mum