To Hide The Veggies or Not to Hide The Veggies, That Is The Question

Written by Role Mommy’s Wing Mom, Danielle Feigenbaum

photo 2 (3).JPG A hot topic among moms, nutritionists, chefs, some people in the food industry and even the first lady… keeping our kids healthy. Besides getting them off the couch, away from the TV and video games and outside to run around, we need to get healthy foods into them, somehow. This is not always an easy task. Speaking from my own experience with my two kids, they both started out as great eaters, I did everything I was “supposed” to do. Then one day out of nowhere, around age two – they wouldn’t touch anything green or healthy. I kept giving all foods to them with no luck and as they got older I would even succumb to bribing (I know – not the best idea) but nothing really worked. They are not good at trying new things and as hard as I try, they are just picky eaters. I see my friend’s kids gobbling up blueberries and happily eating broccoli and I don’t understand what I did differently.
A few years ago I found a recipe for mac ‘n cheese (my kids favorite food) that has whole wheat elbow pasta and an entire butternut squash… it became “mom’s homemade yummy mac’n cheese”, they loved it. I remember talking to a friend about it and she said “Oh, I don’t hide my kids vegetables, I don’t think it’s good idea.” Well, her kids probably eat vegetables and would eat squash if they saw it, mine won’t. It’s become quite the debate – to hide the veggies or not to hide the veggies? I believe that all those moms who think it’s a bad idea to sneak the veggies in without the kids knowing, don’t have picky eaters!!!
When I found Sneaky Chef cheesy red pasta sauce made with EIGHT vegetables, all natural, no artificial ingredients and no preservatives, I thought I would give it a try. My kids LOVED it! After they happily ate it I showed them the jar and they couldn’t believe it had all those veggies in it… mushrooms, sweet potatoes, Zucchini, Celery, Onion, Squash and more! Now that they are older I can’t really “hide” things since they can read, but I have to admit I will try to trick them into eating things that are healthy. I use the sauce for homemade pizza as well, it’s delicious! Sneaky Chef also makes Smooth Red and Turkey Meat flavors and all sauces feature:
-No high fructose corn syrup
-No artificial colors or flavors
-No MSG
-No icky green flecks
-Gluten free
-Sweetened by nature
-Awesome taste!
-More than a full serving of veggies in every 1/2 cup of sauce
Who is behind this amazing product? Missy Chase Lapine is best known as the creator of the wildly successful Sneaky Chef series of books, including her first, a New York Times bestseller, The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals. Sneaky Chef also makes delicious pasta – my kids can’t get enough! Her new product, The Sneaky Chef® Creamy No-Nut Butter is made from naturally sweet and “nutty” tasting golden peas. It is a delicious peanut butter alternative, without a trace of peanuts, tree nuts, seeds, or soy. I made amazing No-Nut Butter Thumbprint Cookies with the kids and everyone loved them!
I know this debate will go on, but I feel good about getting fruits and vegetables into my kid’s stomachs any way I can!
Follow the Sneaky Chef on Facebook and Twitter for amazing recipes and tips on keeping your kids healthy!! Check out where you can buy The Sneaky Chef products, try them – you will be so happy you did!
Disclosure: I was sent some Sneaky Chef products to try but all opinions are completely my own.

Take Back the Kitchen: Spicy Lentils with Grated Beets

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I love leftovers! I made some delicious beet burgers and used the prepared leftover ingredients to make this very simple and flavorful salad. Did I mention how incredibly healthy it is? Serve as a side salad or even as a main dish with some nuts thrown in if you like. Enjoy!
Spicy Lentils with Grated Beets:
1 large beet, peeled, washed and and grated
1 cup cooked green lentils
1 TBS chipotle flavored olive oil or olive oil plus 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste
Method:
In a medium sized bowl, mix the grated beets and the cooked lentils.
Drizzle on the chipotle oil or the olive oil and chipotle powder if you are using it.
Salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine and serve.
For more great recipes please visit takebackthekitchen.com

Hurricanes and New York City, Are you Ready?

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The start of Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1st. As part of Hurricane Preparedness Week, (May 25-31st) make sure you know what to do if there is a hurricane in your area. There is a free resource you can use for everything you need to know. Make sure to visit Know Your Zone.
Important tips:
• Use NYC’s Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder or call 311 to find out whether your home or business is located in a hurricane evacuation zone.
• Understand hurricane hazards and the steps you can take to prepare.
• Sign up for Notify NYC (https://a858-nycnotify.nyc.gov/notifynyc/). Get the latest emergency information via text, phone, email, fax, Twitter (@NotifyNYC), BlackBerry Messenger, and instant messenger.
Know Your Zone has information about the six hurricane evacuation zones, the hazards you may face from a hurricane and what to do to prepare.
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There is a guide that contains instructions on how to develop a hurricane disaster plan and secure your home before a storm as well as a map of New York City hurricane evacuation zones, you can download it here. http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/ready/hurricane_guide.shtml

Million Dollar Arm: Two Hours of Hope, Inspiration & Smiles

MillionDollarArm534f14f4d8af0.jpgI have to say, I was really looking forward to seeing “Million Dollar Arm,” the true story of sports agent JB Bernstein who convinced an investor to launch a search for the next baseball phenom in India. Truth be told, I initially was excited to see the film because ever since I’ve become hopelessly addicted to “Mad Men,” I’ve become a huge Jon Hamm fan. But after watching the movie with my husband and son, I realized that I am a total sap and love films that inspire and provide hope.
In “Million Dollar Arm,” Bernstein (played by Hamm) travels to India where he canvases the countryside to find two star cricket players who he can bring back to America to transform into pro baseball players. He manages to find Rinku and Danesh – two powerful pitchers who can throw pitches over 80 mph, but Bernstein doesn’t realize that they’ve never played cricket before — one is a javelin thrower and the other plays field hockey.
Taking the pair away from their families for the first time in their lives, the story unfolds as Rinku and Danesh attempt to learn to play the game and at first, fail miserably. Meanwhile, the pair receive advice from Bernstein’s tenant, Brenda, a medical school intern who makes Bernstein realize that there’s a much bigger win than landing a pro baseball contract – it’s about providing hope and helping two amazing kids achieve their dreams. Take a look…

As I sat next to my husband, who is about to launch a baseball camp for kids, I couldn’t help but smile. While he’s not heading to India, he has been canvasing the streets of Southern Westchester to find children who not only love baseball, but are in need of financial assistance in order to help them attend summer camp. Thanks to the generous support of several sponsors A-Game Sports will be providing several students in Westchester County with the opportunity to train with professionals while attending baseball games too.
There is something to be said about rewarding a child who is still at an age where dreams are totally within their reach if they practice hard and believe in their abilities. Working with a child who is willing to put in the time and effort required to advance their skills, is truly a rewarding experience. Providing hope to those who may not have the funds to achieve greatness is also an incredible gift and that is why I am so excited to see my husband and his partner’s dream turn to reality beginning this July.
Visit the A-Game Sports website to find out how you can sign up for baseball camp in Westchester County or find out more about their scholarship program. And make sure you take your kids to see “Million Dollar Arm” — it’s one of those films that will become a classic for anyone who could use a dose of inspiration…and hope!
Like MILLION DOLLAR ARM on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MillionDollarArm
Follow MILLION DOLLAR ARM on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyPictures
Visit the Official Site: www.Disney.com/MillionDollarArm

10 Women to Avoid at All Costs

rude womenI’m sure at some point in your life you’ve come across people who surprised you – not in a good way, but in a very very bad way. Whether you’re a tween, teen or an adult, what I’ve come to find is that girls don’t change. So here’s a top 10 list that’s not positive or life affirming. It’s a cautionary tip driven post about women you should steer clear of at all times.
1. The one who talks about you behind your back the minute you leave the room.
2. The one who tells you someone is talking about you behind your back and proceeds to show you exactly what they said about you.
3. The one who says she will show up to an event, a dinner, a cocktail party and without fail always cancels the day of the party.
4. The one who talks smack about you online and accidentally sends her rant to you.
5. The one who only gets in touch with you when she needs something.
6. The one who can only fit you into her busy schedule for about an hour and asks you to meet her at the mall while she’s running errands.
7. The one who is not happy for you when things go your way.
8. The one who is secretly overjoyed when things don’t go your way.
9. The one at the gym who you’re sure can see you but purposely looks over your head so she doesn’t have to say hello.
10. The one who is condescending and downright rude.
Ahh…that felt incredibly cathartic. I’m going out now where I’l be avoiding some women I really don’t want to see.

The Power of Unplugging at Sleepaway Camp

Written by Lauren Kasnett, Co-Founder + Summer 365 Counselor
Give me a U
Give me a N
Give me a P
Give me a L
Give me a U
Give me a G
WHAT’S THAT SPELL?
Yea, you know what we’re talking about. UNPLUG! It’s a simple and beautiful (and perhaps elusive) concept that is becoming a big fixture of conversation for us lately. One of the most commonly asked questions and discussions we engage parents in about sleepaway camp is – what is the electronics policy? And of course it is. In a world where we are totally and pretty much unavoidably immersed in technology, parents want to know what happens during summertime at camp.
In our everyday lives, for both parents and kids alike, there are a whole lotta screens and a whole lotta hours logged in front of them. Between cell phones, computers, TV, video games, and apps we are constantly connected and forever liking / commenting / scrolling / refreshing (and we bet sometimes you even think you feel your phone buzzing even when it’s not… yes this has a name it’s called Phantom Vibration Syndrome). And this is a not an anti-technology PSA. In fact, we love technology (wait for it… here is our plug) and hope you enjoy our website, blog, and social media accounts! However, as wonderful as technology is we know our kids are spending too much time connected to their screens and not enough time connecting to real people in real life. There is an increasing amount of research showing that technology is affecting our biological capacity to connect with other people (Barbara L. Frederickson, a professor of psychology at UNC, wrote a great op/ed piece in the NYT “Your Phone vs Your Heart”).
So this takes us back to that question what is the electronics policy at camp? And we are over-the-moon, elated, jubilant, and ear-to-ear when we tell our clients that by and large the majority of sleepaway camps are electronic free zones. We can almost always hear a smile over the phone in the event that a parent doesn’t give a small cheer or a “that’s awesome!” While every camp has their own specific policy (some do not allow campers to bring anything with screens, others just prohibit wifi enabled devices, some only allow music on an mp3 player, and so on) there is a common ethos and philosophy shared by camp directors and leaders – camp is a time to unplug which provides the opportunity for SO MUCH MORE. It is a time to connect, communicate, collaborate, engage, and be outdoors and have fun! Children will write letters home (yes ones actually sent via snail mail) and sit for a meal without a phone or iPad in hand and have conversations. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?!
So there will be none of this…
KidsTexting
Kids_playing_video_games
and lots of this…
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boys
We wanted to share this absolutely fantastic, insightful, and powerful TED Talk from camp industry leader, Steve Baskin. He so poignantly articulates the conundrum we face with modern technology when it comes to our kids, and he explores the most magical place where kids can unplug and create genuine connections and friendships and learn critical interpersonal skills. It’s a place where both elementary aged kids and teenagers put down their phones, log off the computer, turn off the game system AND thank their parents for it. We bet you can guess where this place is, eh?!!? This is a must watch (especially for any parents who have friends that aren’t so sure about sending their child away to camp or if you have spouse that needs some convincing). Share this video and spread the summer camp love!
Unplugging Our Kids: Steve Baskin at TEDxSanAntonio

Unplugging Our Kids: Steve Baskin at TEDxSanAntonio


Make sure to check out Summer 365‘s website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and for more great camp advice and information!

VIP for a Day at CBS’s “The Talk”

Written by Role Mommy Wing Mom Danielle Feigenbaum

104912_D0012_1.jpg Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a taping of CBS Daytime’s Emmy nominated show, The Talk! They were filming all week in New York City and I was thankful to have the opportunity to see the lovely ladies of The Talk in person. There is something so special about being in the audience of a live show. You can feel the excitement in the air. When I found out that the one and only Idina Menzel was the guest, I flipped out.
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I have to admit I have always had a girl crush on Idina Menzel. It all started back when I saw her in “Rent” on Broadway, continued on when she starred in one of my all time favorite musicals, “Wicked” and then my kids fell in love with her in “Frozen”. She was just as wonderful chatting with the hosts and I would hope she would be. They addressed Oscar night when John Travolta butchered her name, and I loved her response “Come on, it’s the best thing that could have happened to me!” It helped her become an even bigger household name. She was incredibly genuine throughout her interview, telling adorable stories about her son and talking about the struggles of being a Broadway performer and mom, she misses putting her son to sleep! I also found out that she played tennis growing up (as did I!), she had a poster of Rob Lowe on her wall when she was growing up (same taste!) and she loves Billy Joel so much she would stalk him outside his house (Billy Joel is my favorite!) If those aren’t all signs that Idina and I should be best friends, I don’t don’t know what is.
Besides seeing my want-to-be-best-friend in the flesh, we were so lucky to be there when Chi-Lan Lieu showed us some great Summer Essentials. From The Miracle Suit (helps you look 10 lbs thinner!) to fabulous Samsonite luggage and more, the entire audience went home with all the items Chi-Lan presented! The show ended with a cooking segment from
the fantastic Sal Scognamillo, who’s grandfather was Pattsy, from the amazing Pattsy’s Restaurant! We all went home with his cookbook and I am definitely going to make FRANK’S VEAL MILANESE this weekend!
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An Exclusive Chat with the Ladies of “The Talk”

Idina Menzel on the Talk Courtesy CBS

Idina Menzel on “The Talk” – Courtesy CBS

This week, I had the opportunity to visit the set of “The Talk” while they were filming their shows from Rachael Ray’s studios in New York City. The studio holds a very special place in my heart because my very first real job, as a junior publicist on “The Maury Povich Show,” was in that building. Sure, nothing looks the same and my old office, which used to be in the basement, probably doesn’t even exist anymore. But either way, when I walked up to the entrance of 221 West 26th Street, tons of talk show memories starting flooding back.
But I digress. I was a blogger on a mission. On Monday, I got the opportunity to sit down with hosts Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood where I turned the tables on them. The conversation flowed like most do with a group of hilarious and super smart women. We effortlessly switched from one topic to another and the laughter was non-stop.
From their morning beauty regimes, to their favorite guests to engaging with fans to Barbara Walter’s retirement, the ladies of “The Talk” definitely had a lot to say.
Take a look…
The Morning Beauty Routine…
Sheryl Underwood: I would say that by the time I get into the chair, it takes beyond a village. I really have to be spackled and cut and contoured and then the hair. Then I have to make sure that I don’t eat too much salt because that swells me up. People think that darker skin is easier but we can look ashen and washed out. And I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – whoever is lighting us is lighting the most diverse team in talk. That I believe. They deserve an Emmy…I look 35!
Sharon Osbourne: I think for me anyway, I’m always a work in progress. I’m trying to change a lot now. As I’m getting older, this year, I’m trying to wear less make-up and I’m trying to pull it back. When you get to a certain age, the more make-up you wear, I think it makes you look older. So I’m trying to change it up a bit and look a bit more current. I took a look at my hair a few months ago and I felt like I looked like a soccer mom. There’s nothing wrong with looking like a soccer mom, but it’s just not my style.
Julie Chen: My beauty process starts at about 8:27am at our morning meeting. I start by putting on my fake eyelashes because it takes a while for the glue to dry. Then after our meeting, I stay behind to write the show with our writer and our executive producer and we have a blow dryer going and we’re writing and we’re screaming over the noise. We have to multi-task because we have a live show and from there, I head to the make-up chair. The great thing is, I don’t really pay attention to what is going on and I don’t have to because I trust everyone that I work with that I’m doing my job and they’re doing their job and we all kind of co-exist. It all seems to falls into place.
Favorite Guests…
While I got the chance to see Idina Menzel who taped a segment that will air this Friday, I have to say, the hosts totally put guests at ease. I’m not going to share what happened on the show, but let’s just say Idina shared secrets from her past that involved Billy Joel plus she shared the best way John Travolta can pay her back for mangling her name at the Oscars.
Julie Chen: We’ve never had a bad guest and people come here and once they walk through the door, the last person who was here was our favorite person. I feel like we walk off the set every day and say that was a great show. Have fun with us. We’re not going to ask you that humiliating question. We’re here to make you feel good and have a few laughs.
Sharon: When you can turn around and you say ‘Oh my goodness we’ve interviewed Jane Fonda, Debbie Reynolds, Tom Selleck and little Selena Gomez comes on and so cute. It goes across the spectrum. I mean we are just so lucky to meet amazing people.
The Twitter Effect
The hosts say they love engaging with fans in real time and host Sheryl Underwood shares that she loves that “The Talk” features online chats with fans right after the show airs. Sharon Osbourne says she uses social media as a way to take the temperature of her fans.
Sharon Osbourne: I kind of use it as a barometer because you say certain things and instantly somebody will make a remark about your comment. So it’s a very good barometer to check what you’re saying and to keep yourself in line and to know what your audience is feeling because they will instantly come back and tell you.
On Barbara Walter’s Retirement…
We also talked about Barbara Walter’s retirement from broadcast journalism and the ladies shared their heartfelt thoughts:
Julie Chen: I’m sad. Barbara is the whole reason why I got into broadcasting. My mother and I would bond when I was growing up watching her specials. My mom loved her and was like – wow she’s an inspiration to all women, this is something maybe you should consider getting into. She has paved the way for every female broadcaster who has come after her and will continue to do so for the things she has done. So I wish her well but I wish she wasn’t stepping down because I can’t imaging turning on a TV and not seeing Barbara Walters.
Sharon Osbourne: You know what it is? It’s like an impossible shoe to fill. You cannot replace somebody like Barbara with her years of wisdom. It’s like there’s certain music that you grow up with and it becomes part of your life. And it’s like Barbara is a part of everybody’s life. We all grew with Barbara. For me, I look at Barbara like an inspiration and she defies the odds. Look at her. She’s in her eighties and she’s quick, smart, gorgeous, totally into pop culture. She is an iconic figure that cannot be replaced. Nobody can replace her because nobody has that breadth of experience that she’s got in life and in broadcasting. She’s an amazing woman.
Sheryl Underwood: She’s a visionary and a trailblazer. If she had not put her concept together then it wouldn’t be a concept for us. Where would you put women together at a table. But we wish her good luck and God speed. Sometimes it’s good to get your rest and enjoy what you’ve achieved. We hate to see her go but when does she get to take some other types of journeys that she’s always wanted to do? You read the things that she’s accomplished and the people that she’s met and I still believe that Fidel Castro is still pining for her. Look at the life that she’s lived. The doors that she’s opened. The people that she’s interviewed. I’m just an old country girl from Arkansas who never thought I’d be on TV, but look at the door that she opened for a lot of people, especially for women.
Tune into “The Talk” Monday-Friday at 2pm ET and check out this sneak peak of Friday’s show featuring Idina Menzel! Check back tomorrow when we share our behind the scenes visit with some of our favorite bloggers.

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Dominican Flan

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I recently went to the Dominican Republic and learned how to make a Dominican style flan which is very different in texture from a Spanish flan, much more dense. Technically it is supposed to be prepared in a water bath on a stove top with a smaller pot inside a larger pot which I did not have. I decided to improvise and bake it and it came out great. I also decided to add a little Caribbean flair so I poured in some Kahlua. It is frighteningly easy so be cautious! This might be a weekly addiction!
Dominican Flan:

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Kahlua
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp oil (I used avocado oil)
Method:
In a blender, combine the eggs, milks, vanilla and Kahlua. Set aside.
In a non stick pan over medium heat, heat up the oil and the sugar and stir until it is liquid caramel-about 3 minutes.
Quickly, while still a liquid, pour the caramel sauce into a glass 9″ pie dish and spread it all over the bottom and sides of the dish. Act FAST! before it hardens.
Pour in the egg mixture and place on the middle rack in the preheated oven.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Let sit for a few minutes until it cools and then go along the sides with a butter knife to loosen it.
Jiggle it from side to side, gently until it starts to move away from the sides.
Place a large plate on top of the flan and then invert it.
Place in the fridge to serve cold and serve with a caramel sauce if you like.
For more great recipes please visit takebackthekitchen.com

Fave 5 Role Mommy Mother’s Day Movies

As you get ready to celebrate Mother’s Day, I say, instead of going out for that pricey Mother’s Day brunch, spend a day vegg-ing out on the couch with a movie marathon. Thanks to Netflix, it’s easy to get lost in great movies, documentaries and TV shows. So don’t binge on french toast — instead have a TV binge with my personal favorites:
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1. Dirty Dancing — Come on and say it with me…Nobody puts Baby in a corner! Honestly, I can watch this movie about a 16 year old falling in love at a cheesy catskills resort over and over again. And the music…don’t get me started. Just watching Baby dance up those steps in those jean shorts brings back memories to when I could rock that look too.

2. Steel Magnolias — Step away from your iPhone, your iPad and your computer and come with me on a journey to a place where five fiercely independent and loyal Southern women will make you laugh, cry and cherish having a really amazing mom. Classic Sally Field moment: “Shelby was right…My hair does look like a football helmet.”

3. Terms of Endearment — Sure Shirley Maclaine might not be the most affectionate mom on the planet but I dare you…wait, I triple dare you not to cry during this tearjerker with Debra Winger who plays a young mom who bravely battles cancer.

4. Riding in Cars with Boys — If you’ve been reading my blog for years, then you know I have a girl crush on Drew Barrymore. This one’s a personal favorite as Drew plays a character named Beverly, an aspiring writer who gets pregnant as a teen and is bitter about the deck she’s been dealt. Even though I love seeing her in much happier roles like “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates,” I could pretty much watch a Drew Barrymore movie marathon any day of the week.

5. How I Met Your Mother — Now onto the binge watching portion of our day. If you’ve never seen “How I Met Your Mother” or if you’ve missed a few seasons or episodes, how about a marathon of the show that just ended it’s run on CBS?

For more great Mother’s Day movie and TV viewing options, sign up for Netflix today! Gotta run so I can dive into my day of tearjerkers!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and have been given a complimentary subscription to the service so that I can share my hopeless addiction to TV shows and movies with my readers.