Professional basketball player Kevin Durant accepted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award Tuesday, which was the first of his career. In an emotion-filled speech, he thanked everybody who helped him along his journey, from coaches to teammates to fans. As he began to thank his mother, Durant, Mama Durant, and practically everybody watching broke down in tears.
Durant was raised by Wanda Pratt a single mother of two in Washington DC. As Durant said in his acceptance speech, he never thought he would make it to the NBA, and without Pratt’s sacrifices, he might not have. Even now, Mama Durant still goes to almost all the Oklahoma City Thunder home games, and win or lose, Durant always gives her a post-game hug and a kiss.
In the sweet speech Durant is overcome with emotion recalling the mother-son journey. “We weren’t supposed to be here,” he said talking to Pratt. “You made us believe. You kept us off the street, put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”
Watch it below, but be sure to have multiple tissues on hand.
Has this ever happened to you? You see a recipe in a magazine, and the dish looks spectacular. You make it at home, and while the food tastes good it looks nowhere near as beautiful as it did in the photo.
It’s certainly happened to me (and I’m a food editor!). Here’s the truth: It’s not our fault. The food in Parents and other magazines looks amazing thanks to talented food stylists and photographers like Liza Jernow and Tara Donne. Liza is a food stylist extraordinaire. You can see some of her recent work for Parents on cookies and birthday cakes. Photographer Tara Donne recently shot our gorgeous Easter Lunch story.
Now these two are starting Wild Apple, a magazine devoted to gluten-free living. I recently chatted with them about the magazine, and they graciously shared a recipe for a scrumptious allergen-free cupcake.
This is a big undertaking! Why did you decide to publish a magazine?
Being gluten-free for a collective 13 years now, we’ve really seen the market for gluten-free goods change shape. We saw a hole in this expanding category and felt that with our experience in magazines and food we could offer readers something really special.
What will Wild Apple cover?
Wild Apple will share simple snack ideas, well-tested recipes for classics, and menus with which to entertain friends or easily create weeknight meals. It will also feature travel, city guides, profiles on interesting creative people, and roundups of beauty products—all, of course, gluten-free.
What’s your plan to get Wild Apple off the ground?
Our Kickstarter campaign launches today and our goal is to raise the funds required to launch our inaugural issue this fall. We then plan to develop relationships with brands we believe in to carry the magazine forward. Visit Wild Apple’s Kickstarter page.
What are your biggest challenges living gluten-free?
Eating in restaurants and finding on-the-go snacks. When eating out, we make sure our servers know our limitations and that cross-contamination is an issue, especially with deep fryers.
Regarding snacks, it’s always good to keep a bag of almonds – or another nut your kids like – in your purse. We also like to pick up extra in-season fruit at the farmer’s market to have on hand at home. On road trips we stop at grocery stores whenever possible as opposed to fast food options. Here we might pick up snack packs of almond butter, carrots and hummus, or a yogurt. The key with the latter two is to check the ingredient list or look for a “GF” symbol.
What are a few tips for families with kids who are making the switch to gluten-free foods?
Our biggest tip is to become vigilant about reading ingredient lists. Forming this habit is a game changer. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, farro, kamut, oats, rye, and spelt. In addition to these grains, gluten is sometimes used to make other foods like soy sauce, some vinegars, malt, seitan, salad dressings, and more. Other foods to look out for include crackers, bread, pasta, cream sauces and soups, candy bars, cookies, flavored potato chips and rice mixes. It is also often added to cosmetics, hair creams, and lipsticks.
Focusing on naturally gluten-free foods is also a good way to save money instead of paying big bucks for processed gluten-replacement foods. A homemade meal like roasted chicken, potatoes, and vegetables is already gluten-free and your family will not wonder where the gluten went. This way everyone can enjoy the same meal, which will save you time.
Many kids’ breakfasts, for example, have gluten in them — any quick ideas for moms?
There are lots of options. A few of our favorites are gluten-free oatmeal, quinoa porridge, cream of rice cereal, breakfast taco with egg and corn tortilla, corn tortilla quesadilla, or apple wedges with nut butter.
Tell us about this cupcake recipe.
In a group of children there will always be someone with an allergy so we think it’s easier to just avoid the major players and go straight to something everyone can enjoy. So this recipe is as allergen-free as it gets; there’s no milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soybeans, or wheat. When baking for others with allergies make sure you’re careful with cross-contamination. Use a fresh sponge and clean everything you’ll be using thoroughly before you start.
Chocolate Chip Allergen-Free Cupcakes
(From Wild Apple Magazine)
Makes 2 dozen
These cupcakes have a great flavor and they’re speckled with chocolate chips. They also happen to avoid some of the most common food allergens: tree nuts, egg, lactose, and gluten. Gluten-free baked goods store well in the freezer. If they are made ahead, freeze them unfrosted and tightly wrapped for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature and frost them just before serving. Use organic ingredients to enhance the flavor.
When cooking for people who have very sensitive food allergies, avoid buying ingredients that are processed in a facility that manufactures other products containing soy, milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.
• 2 tablespoons freshly ground golden flax meal
• 1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder (found online or in natural foods stores)
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (that does not contain guar or xanthan gums)
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
• 1 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 1 1/4 cups rice or soy milk
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup mini bittersweet chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, whisk together first seven ingredients, set aside. With an electric mixer beat the coconut oil, brown sugar, and vegetable oil together until fluffy, about 3 minutes on high. Add the milk, vanilla and dry ingredients. Beat for 3 minutes on high speed until well-combined.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Let the batter sit until the oven is hot, about 20 minutes, to allow the flax to thicken the batter. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Fill the cups 2/3 full and add a pinch of chocolate chips to the top of each cupcake. Bake for 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in their center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely before removing from pan.
Chocolate-y Coconut Frosting
Enough to frost 2 dozen cupcakes
When you refrigerate a can of coconut milk, the coconut water separates to the bottom and the cream rises to the top. Refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight.
• 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup cream from the top of a can of unsweetened coconut milk
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
• 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
• Pinch fine sea salt
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Heat the chocolate with half the coconut cream until melted. Let it cool to room temperature. With an electric mixer beat the remaining coconut oil and vegetable shortening together. Beat in the chocolate mixture. Add the salt and vanilla. Place the bowl in freezer for 10 minutes, until it begins to set up. Continue beating on high until light and fluffy.
Monday is Cinco de Mayo, and while moms and dads might not be able to indulge with multiple margaritas (like we used to) we can still celebrate with our kids. This special occasion drink recipe from Chef Tino Feliciano is a perfect treat with a Latin-style supper.
Kids’ Coconut Mojito
• 10 mint leaves
• 2 limes, cut into wedges
• 4 Tbs. sugar
• 16 oz. lemon-lime soda (regular or diet for a lower-sugar version)
• 4 oz. sweet cream of coconut
• 2 Tbs. grated coconut
Place the mint leaves, lime wedges, and sugar in a large pitcher. Using the handle end of a wooden spoon, lightly mash the ingredients together until they are roughly incorporated. Add the soda and cream of coconut and mix well. Serve in glasses with ice and garnish with the grated coconut.
The father of two girls and one boy, Chef Tino is a restaurant-owner in Puerto Rico. On Cinco de Mayo he brings his culinary (and people) skills to the mainland in the premiere of his Cooking Channel special The Fixer with Chef Tino at 9 PM (check local listings). Tino’s mission: to turn around a family-run Mexican restaurant in New Jersey. I had the pleasure of working with Tino and the production company on Monday’s night special, and one thing’s for sure—watch and you will crave Mexican food! Tino’s creamy cocktail will be the perfect accompaniment. And once the kids go to bed feel free to add a drop of two of rum. I won’t tell.
Who doesn’t have a soft spot for Muppet creator Jim Henson? We got excited to hear that his daughter, Lisa Henson, is producing Hulu’s first original kids’ series, Doozers, based off her dad’s Fraggle Rock, which followed a community of creatures living in an underground fantasy world. In the original show, Doozers were tiny green characters constantly at work on construction projects. With Lisa’s new animated series, the Doozers get their turn in the spotlight, teaching preschoolers the importance of science, math, and technology while having fun. To celebrate today’s premiere, Lisa shared with Parents her new spin on a classic and why problem-solving is a must for today’s kids.
P: What was it about your dad’s show Fraggle Rock that inspired you to create Doozers?
L: On Fraggle Rock, the Doozers were busy building with their hard hats and megaphones. They had construction projects going on all the time, but it was like peripheral business to the activities of the Fraggles. We always thought the Doozers had such a fascinating world and were such cute, wonderful characters. We feature kid Doozers and really build out the world so it’s no longer just underground. Most of the show takes place out in nature in our world.
P:The show will have its own special curriculum.In what ways will the series encourage STEAM learning?
L: We’re getting a bit more into technology and engineering with the Doozers because they love to create, make, build, and invent. They address a different problem in every episode and then design something that addresses that problem. We feel it’s a very unique curriculum but within a show that’s extremely fun and fantastical. For kids, I think they’re going to be watching the little green guys have fun and play. While the message is there, it’s not extremely formal, so they’re learning more informally.
P:The Doozers are really into creating and building. Why was it important for you to make a series that encouraged those qualities in kids?
L: With kids today, there’s no such thing giving them too much modeling of teamwork and problem solving. What it takes to improve our world is problem solving. We don’t really want kids to just lay back and become passive as adults. We want them to take a plunge and try to address problems.
P:This will be the first original kids series on Hulu. How did you decide that was the right source for your show?
L: What’s unique about this show is because it’s premiering on Hulu, that’s the only place that kids can see it. We find that to be pretty modern because it lines up with how kids watch shows today. They want to be able to watch them when they want, where they want, or even watch a favorite episode over and over again. Hulu is perfect for that kind of viewing.
P: Who’s your favorite character from the series?
L: The youngest Doozer, Daisy Wheel, instantly became a winner for me. She has bright blue hair, a ladybug backpack, and a jet pack she flies around with. She’s so cute! What she contributes to the show is very important too because she loves nature and is always observing things. Then, the Doozers take those ideas from nature and use them in their designs and inventions, also called biomimicry. She’s just so perfectly put together.
Lately, it seems as though it’s getting harder to find a kid’s movie that isn’t too scary for my 5-year-old, yet can still keep her entertained. Frankly, I thought I’d be safe with another gem from the Disneynature series, and in general, this movie worked well for my daughter. However, Bears, like many quality wildlife shows, features the raw, often scary story of survival, which required this mama bear to be on high alert for scenes that might be too much for her litte cub.
Following a mother brown bear and her two newborn cubs for a year, Bears gives a glimpse into their lives: from waking up after hibernation in need of finding food, to avoiding avalanches, threatening rivals and other predators, such as a pesky wolf.
From the beginning, we learn that many cubs don’t survive their first year and immediately the tension is palpable. Fears that an overly hungry rival bear may try to eat them (and actually does go after them!) combined with the over-eager wolf ready to pounce the second the mom turns her back, lead to some anxiety-filled moments that had us on the edge of our seats.
To top it off, the mama bear’s conscious effort to search for food in less threatening environs nearly has her starving to death and you can actually start to see just how emaciated the nursing mother becomes.
Set in Alaska, the documentary is just as captivating a story as any animated cartoon; my daughter and I couldn’t help but root for our heroes every step of the way. Narrated by John C. Reilly, the script offers up humor and playful moments as well. Overall, it wasn’t too scary for my daughter, but the tense moments had her squirming.
At one point, the boy cub gets stuck in water as high tide comes in and my daughter reached for my hand as we hoped he wouldn’t drown. Another particular scene that my little cub found frightening was, “When the [male rival] bears fight.” Other than those moments, she seemed to handle the “scary” scenes well.
Since I saw Disneynature’s Chimpanzee (where the mother dies), I was concerned about whether the cubs would make it and they definitely tease throughout that they likely won’t! SPOILER ALERT: They do survive their first year and their mother fuels up on enough milk to feed them during hibernation to keep them alive for the next spring.
Taking a cue from my daughter’s reactions, however, Bears would be a little too intense for my 3-year-old twins, but any child over age 4 should be fine. Also, the pacing is on the slow side and toward the end, I was concerned it wasn’t going to hold my daughter’s attention for much longer as she started to get antsy in her seat. If your child has a short attention span for movies and television, this movie might not be a choice for her.
That being said, my daughter declared a few times afterward, “It was awesome!” She also added in the car ride home, “Mama, animals are great movie stars!”
Entertaining and informative, Bears demonstrates no matter what your species, a mother’s love for her family is a powerful thing — right down to the occasional bear hug.
Disneynature’s Bears opens in theaters everywhere 4/18/14
Grade on a scale of kid’s films: B
Rated G, Minor conflict among animals; Tense moments; 77 minutes
There’s something to be said for getting lost in the fantasy of being a superhero for both young boys and girls alike. And, well, let’s be honest: adults, too. In fact, the recent influx of franchises has been successfully catering to the PG-13+ crowd versus the younger set and Captain America: The Winter Soldier is no exception.
Returning with his shield in hand for this sequel based on Marvel’s 1941 comic book series, Chris Evans is back as the titular character in a film geared more toward the mature audience. That being said, know your child and their tolerance for the darker, scarier moments. Personally, my 8-year-old caped crusader aficionado was by my side and declared, “It was awesome!”
As a fan of The Avengers film that combined Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Captain America into one very entertaining movie, I did have some expectations of the latter’s headlining turn. Though definitely fun, it didn’t quite live up to the 2012 major blockbuster. The special effects are amazing and the action is non-stop, but I did get lost at times trying to follow the plot. However, it was enjoyable overall, including watching Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and the return of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Starting off where The Avengers movie left off, Captain America finds himself once again trying to adjust to the “modern world” – always making for some amusing jokes. When the S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised, our hero is re-teamed with Scarlett Johansson, reprising her Black Widow role. Though the duo also soon join forces with the welcome addition of Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, the Winter Soldier proves to be a formidable villain.
In fact, there were moments where the new ‘bad guy’ appeared suddenly, which my son and I found startling. “Things were popping out of nowhere”, my son told me afterwards.
“So was it too scary?” I asked him.
“No… I liked it,” was his response.
One particularly intense scene has Samuel L. Jackson’s character blocked in his car by several police vehicles ambushing him with gunfire. Though the bulletproof car temporarily protects him, this was the point when the Winter Soldier appeared that my son noted was particularly “freaky.”
Toward the end, Captain America and the villain are face to face, “in the ship and it was falling,” my son points out, and he got very squirmy during this moment of combat that was another specific point in the film he thought was very scary. But when I wondered if my son would see the movie again he answered, “Yeah… Definitely!”
Speaking of violence, there is quite a bit, including physical fights with characters punching one another, as well as lots of gun shooting. Thankfully, the blood and gore were at a minimum as was the sexually explicit content, with one very mild kiss.
In the end, your budding superheroes ages 8-10 will enjoy the ride as long as they have their brave shields in tact to take on the scarier scenes. Watching with my son was a true treat, making it all the more enjoyable to be lost in the superhero fun.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters everywhere 4/4/14.
Grade on a scale of superhero films: B
Rated PG – 13, 136 minutes. Lots of guns and fighting.
Watch the below sneak peek trailer for a preview on what’s to come and to gauge whether your children are ready for the action:
One of my favorite children’s movies last summer was Turbo, a fast-paced adventure about a snail who dreams of racing in the Indy 500. The film is full of humor and heart that kids and adults can enjoy—and who can resist Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of a snail?
So naturally, I was excited when DreamWorks released five episodes of the animated series Turbo FAST (that stands for “Fast Action Stunt Team”) on Netflix during the holiday season. Picking up right where the movie ended, the show is full of crazy stunts, thrilling races and all sorts of new challenges for the wacky group of friends. Now, the next batch of episodes will be released on Netflix tomorrow, April 4. Take a sneak peek at what’s in store with this exclusive clip from an upcoming episode:
Plus, families can prepare for the release with the viewing party kit, which offers instructions for creating a racing obstacle course, coloring pages, trading cards and more. (Personally, I’m looking forward to trying the instructions for creating your own taco stand!)
We always get a kick out of Rockabye Baby, which takes music you love as an adult (from The Beatles to Jay Z to Pink) and plays the tunes out on xylophones and bells. It might sound like sacrilege but turns out to be music that appeals to your infant without you getting “Twinkle Twinkle” stuck in your head, which is a blessed relief.
They have some 60 titles at this point, with each CD selling for about $12 to $17 and also available for download on iTunes. There are single MP3s for about $1.30, including Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. (I know it’s probably inappropriate but the picture of their signature bear, blurred, cracks me up.)
Today they are taking us back to London in 1980, presenting a first look of their video for The Clash’sLondon Calling, done Rockabye-Baby style. Play your newborn The Clash without risk of raised eyebrows, or show your toddler this gentle little one-minute video for a minute of screentime that won’t grate on your nerves.