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Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Just like many others, my family’s holiday season is all about tradition. Though Thanksgiving is a couple days away, I already know we’ll be having my aunt’s garlic “smashed” potatoes and my gram’s pimento-stuffed celery (even though she’s the only one who likes it). We keep these recipes in the rotation because they’re near and dear to us. But this year, sharing them with others gives bigger benefits to those in need.
Go to Dish Up the Love to submit your favorite recipe and $1 will be donated to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks leading the fight against hunger. Each dollar provides nine meals for families who need them.
Partnering with the program is Top Chef alum and mom Antonia Lofaso, whose first book The Busy Mom’s Cookbook was recently released in paperback. A single parent, Antonia relishes her time at home with her daughter, Xea, making memories through food.
“For me the holidays are about making memories with family and friends around the kitchen table and giving back. Dish Up the Love celebrates these special holiday moments,” Antonia says. “I shared the recipe for my grandma’s lasagna because it’s served at all Lofaso family holidays. At Thanksgiving, we have turkey, but there’s always lasagna and tons of other Italian food.”
Serves: 6 to 8
Total time: 85 minutes
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
• 3 (16-ounce) cans of peeled, whole plum tomatoes
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 ½ pounds ground turkey
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning, or 4 teaspoons fresh marjoram or oregano
• 1 (9-ounce) package of no-boil, oven-ready lasagna noodles
• Sauce (from above)
• ½ cup shredded or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
• 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
• 4 cups shredded whole-milk, mozzarella cheese
• 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 6 to 8 slices each
• 12 medium to large fresh basil leaves
1. For the sauce, head the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and just as it starts to brown around the edges, throw in the canned tomatoes. You don’t want the garlic to burn, so have the cans open and ready to go beforehand.
2. Add the salt and sugar and whisk it all together. Let the sauce simmer on medium-low for 40 minutes while you prep the other ingredients. If any foam rises to the top of the sauce, skim it off. That’s the acid from the tomatoes, and your sauce will taste better without it. Using a hand blender or counter top blender, blend on medium until smooth.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a 10-inch sauté pan heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the ground turkey and the salt. Cook the turkey for about 5 minutes, until it’s browned throughout. Just as it’s finishing the cooking process, stir in the Italian seasoning. Drain any excess fat or liquid from the pan.
4. Cover the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with 3 sheets of pasta. Ladle 1 cup of sauce over the noodles. You don’t want the sauce to soak through, so you don’t need to overdo it. Layer on half of the meat, followed by half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and half of the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle on one-third of the mozzarella and arrange one-third of the fresh tomatoes on top of it. Top with one-third of the basil.
5. Repeat the process for the next layer: 3 sheets of pasta, a cup of sauce, the rest of the meat, the rest of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the remaining ricotta, a third of the mozzarella, a third of the fresh tomatoes, and another third of the basil. The last layer is your presentation layer, so make it pretty. Add three more sheets of pasta.
6. Top the noodles with the last of the sauce, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The top should be a crispy golden brown when the lasagna is done, and the pasta sauce around the sides of the dish should be thick, not runny. Let the lasagna stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If you cut into it while it is still piping hot, it will fall apart.
For more information and to share your favorite family recipe, visit worldkitchen.com/dishupthelove. After submitting a recipe, you’ll be entered for weekly sweepstakes to win Pyrex, Baker’s Secret, and CorningWare products.
Get more kid-friendly recipes from Antonia Lofaso.
Recipe and image reprinted from The Busy Mom’s Cookbook with permission from Avery, an imprint of Penguin Group.
Image of Antonia and Xea by Alex Martinez.
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celebrities, Doing Good, Food, GoodyBlog, Holidays
Monday, November 25th, 2013
This post was written by our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop.
To celebrate the festive season, we asked some of our favorite celebrity parents what they are grateful for.
From Holly Madison’s first Thanksgiving with daughter Rainbow and her new husband, to Bethenny Frankel‘s gratitude to her daughter Bryn, to Nick Lachey‘s happy family life, let’s hear how some high-profile parents are counting their blessings this Thanksgiving.
New mom Holly Madison has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.
In September, the former Playboy model married Pasquale Rotella in an over-the-top wedding at Disneyland. And the newlyweds are set to celebrate their 8-month-old daughter Rainbow‘s first Thanksgiving.
“I am thankful for my wonderful husband and baby as well as our close friends and family,” Holly tells Celebrity Baby Scoop.
The Real Housewives of New York City alum Bethenny Frankel may be going through a high-profile divorce and custody battle with Jason Hoppy, but the talk show host has a lot to be grateful for this holiday season — thanks to her 3-year-old daughter Bryn.
“This year, I am thankful for my relationship with my daughter and the fact that we are so close,” Bethenny tells Celebrity Baby Scoop. “I am thankful that I truly know what love feels like.”
Multi-platinum recording artist and TV personality Nick Lachey is counting his blessings this holiday season.
“I am mostly thankful for my immediate and extended family,” Nick tells Celebrity Baby Scoop of his happy family life with Vanessa Lachey and their 1-year-old son Camden.
“We are all happy and healthy, which I thank God for,” he adds. “I am also thankful for having my little boy now. This time last year, he was still pretty new at just two-months-old. A year later, it’s amazing to see what kind of boy he is turning into and what he is learning. He’s a lot of fun right now. It’s a great age—we can wrestle and I can teach him stuff. I am thankful for my family, for my wife, for my son, and all the love and joy they bring to my world.”
Nancy O’ Dell:
Entertainment Tonight correspondent Nancy O’Dell says she has “so much” to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
“Gosh, I am thankful for so much,” Nancy, proud mom of 6-year-old daughter Ashby and stepsons Tyler and Cason, tells Celebrity Baby Scoop.
“But I would say I am most appreciative of the little moments these days,” she adds. “I have really learned to enjoy the simple things these past couple of years. I have my husband to thank for that. He is always telling me to live in the moment. For example, last night after I came home for work, my daughter and I carved and decorated pumpkins together. We had been talking all week about it and planned that last night was the night. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to that simple moment with her. It is so much fun to see her eyes light up with excitement about something. She actually squealed out of happiness when I walked in the door last night knowing it was time to carve! And we had the best time, giggling, roasting the seeds, and decorating our front door.”
She continues: “We have also been doing family game night these days. My two boys, my daughter, my husband and I gather around a table and play all kinds of board games and card games. It is such a fun family bonding thing to do and we have great conversations in between turns.”
All My Children star Natalia Cigluti and husband, former NASCAR driver Rob Rizzo, are set to have a happy Thanksgiving with their 8-year-old son Kaden.
“I’m very thankful for my family, for my son, for the life I have, and for the people I love who love me,” the Saved by the Bell: The New Class alum tells Celebrity Baby Scoop.
Contagion star Bruce Boxleitner – dad to grown sons Sam and Lee – has a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
“I am thankful that I am still working,” the Tron actor, who is also dad to son Michael, 23, with ex-wife Melissa Gilbert, jokes with Celebrity Baby Scoop.
“I have been at this for many years, almost forty years, and I am very grateful that I have a good career going,” he adds. “I love what I do and the people I get to work with. It’s a blessing.”
Use our Baby Name Finder to find the perfect name for your little one, check out which celebrity is expecting in 2013, or find great Thanksgiving books at Shop Parents.
Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Pilgrim Hat
More Celebrity Parenting News:
Nick Lachey: Camden Has Given Me Great Perspective And Patience
Bethenny Frankel: I Would Like To Have Lindsay Lohan On My Show
Gena Lee Nolin’s Blog: Having “The Talk” With Your Teens
CelebrityBabyScoop.com is one of the most popular blogs on the topic and the foremost provider of everything celebrity-baby, featuring baby fashion, baby names, baby trends and up-to-the-minute celebrity baby gossip and pics. Get all the latest news, updates, and photos about Hollywood’s most beloved celebrity moms, dads and their babies. Who’s the latest Tinseltown baby? Who’s due next and who just announced a pregnancy? It’s all on CelebrityBabyScoop.com.
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Bethenny Frankel, Bruce Boxleitner, celebrities, celebrity baby scoop, celebrity kids, celebrity parents, GoodyBlog, Holidays, Holly Madison, Nancy O' Dell, Natalia Cigluti, Nick Lachey, thanksgiving, Vanessa Lachey | Categories:
Monday, November 25th, 2013
It is, quite literally, a once on a lifetime moment (unless scientists finally resolve that whole mortality): Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, two very wonderful events, happening simultaneously. The next time that the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving will be in 79,043 years. So, of course, this confluence has its own name: Thanksgivukkah.
At our house, we’re extra-super excited, because Thanksgiving/Hanukkah Eve, the night we light the first candle, is also my oldest daughter’s seventh birthday. Happiness abounds! Of course, she’s doubly thrilled because of the multiplicity of presents this brings. (Among the things I am thankful for this year: Thanksgiving is not a present-giving holiday.)
How to celebrate? Buzzfeed’s got a mouth-watering Thanksgivukkah menu, for starters, and this Thanksgivukkah Pinterest board can keep you occupied for hours. Here on Parents.com you can find these fun Hanukkah crafts and recipes, and a wealth of activities, crafts, and recipes for Thanksgiving. And don’t miss these Thanksgiving printables.
Personally, the double holiday doesn’t affect my family much–we’ll celebrate both as we always do. But I much prefer the mash-up of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah to the more routine lumping together of Christmas and Hanukkah. Giving thanks–for the miracles in our lives and the freedoms we enjoy–are central themes of Hanukkah, and of course, Thanksgiving. So perhaps the best celebration we can have on this day is to enjoy ourselves and take the message of these holidays seriously by giving thanks for all the blessings in our lives. I know that’s what I will be doing.
Still looking for great holiday-weekend activities? Find great around-the-house crafts.
How to Make a Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Image: candle and pumpkins via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Nervous about preparing Thanksgiving dinner? You’re not alone. No matter what your level of culinary experience, cooking the Thanksgiving feast can cause more anxiety than a turkey feels as November rolls around. I’ve been to culinary school and am now food editor here at Parents, and even I’m not immune. (Starting two years ago, I finally put my gravy anxiety to rest by making it ahead of time.)
Recently we asked our Facebook fans about their biggest Thanksgiving dinner challenges, and I chose a few of the questions to answer, here. My goal is to help make the cooking part of your day go more smoothly so you can get down to the important part of enjoying the feast with your friends and family.
Ashley Jude is hosting her first Thanksgiving and asked for our best piece of advice.
My best piece of advice is one I follow myself every year: do as much in advance as possible. Turkey stock for the gravy and my piecrust are already in the freezer. This weekend I will make my cranberry sauce. Tuesday I will cut up my vegetables for the stuffing and trim the Brussels sprouts. Wednesday I’ll whisk up the gravy and put together a mashed potato casserole that can go straight in the oven on Thursday. The more you do ahead the less stress you’ll feel on the big day, guaranteed.
Check out our helpful make-ahead plan for more ideas, or consider preparing this make-ahead sweet potato dish.
Almost equally important is to have a cooking plan for the day and write it down. I start from when I want dinner on the table (4:30 PM), then work backwards to carving the turkey (4:15 PM), taking the turkey out of the oven (3:15 PM), and putting the turkey in the oven (12:15 PM). It’s amazing how having a schedule on paper can keep you cool and composed.
Heather Beckman wants an easy pie crust.
Ah, Heather, don’t we all. Okay, here is my official “food editor” answer: piecrust isn’t difficult once you practice a little. Just keep your ingredients cold and don’t work the dough too much. Watch our video here to see just how easy it is to roll one out.
And here is my “unofficial” answer: you know what kind of piecrust I love? Graham cracker. Yum. How delicious with pumpkin or pudding or cheesecake or virtually any other smooth, creamy filling. You can press a graham cracker crust into the pan in seconds or, gasp!, buy one that still tastes great.
How to Roll Out Pie Dough
Several people asked how to serve a gluten-free Thanksgiving.
Happily, aside from the stuffing, gravy, and pie most traditional Thanksgiving dishes are gluten-free (remember gluten is a protein found in wheat). So pile your plate high with mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, squash, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, salad, and, of course, turkey. To replace a traditional bread stuffing try a wild rice dressing. Instead of, or in addition to, pumpkin pie add baked apples to the menu, pumpkin pudding, or poached pears. No one will miss the gluten.
We had a lot of questions about dealing with picky eaters on Thanksgiving.
Here’s the good news. I think Thanksgiving is the last day you should wage a battle with picky eaters. (And, in fact, try to avoid making it a battle any day of the year with these strategies.) On Thanksgiving, just make sure there are one or two things on the table your kids will eat. That shouldn’t be too hard since, let’s face it, there’s an awful lot of food on the table. Maybe little ones will eat the rolls with butter, the mashed potatoes, a fruit salad, or plain turkey. Some kids might love the cranberry sauce or the sweet potatoes.
Another beauty of the Thanksgiving table is that you can always add a dish, so if you don’t think they’ll eat anything you serve, add macaroni and cheese (traditional in some parts of the country) or apple slices. Once the food is on the table, let your kids eat what they want and have dessert later, no strings attached. This is a meal for everyone to enjoy. You and your children. Save the one-bite rule and other maneuvers for outsmarting picky eating for another day. That’s something both you and your kids will be thankful for.
Any other Thanksgiving dinner questions, let us know!
Image: Turkey dinner via Shutterstock
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Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Rounding up the family together for Thanksgiving (and having them get along) is already hard enough without the added worry of creating dishes to satisfy certain diets and picky eaters. And if you have family members who have certain food allergies and sensitivities (especially to gluten), you might feel even more overwhelmed.
But don’t throw in the towel yet.
Hosting a gluten-free Thanksgiving feast is possible — and Udi’s Gluten Free has simple and delicious recipes that can even convert gluten lovers (like me). Recently, another editor and I were invited to a special Udi’s Thanksgiving luncheon, along with other Meredith editors, to sample gluten-free takes on classic holiday dishes. As a foodie and someone who believed going gluten-free meant eating pale imitations of “real” foods, I was surprised by the versatile spread and even more surprised by the delicious flavors.
On the menu was a whole course that incorporated gluten-free bread, chips, and cookies:
I could definitely see the sweet potato hummus and roasted beet salad on my own Thanksgiving table, which usually has some gluten-free (and dairy-free) dishes made especially for my little nephew, who has a few food allergies. Even if no one in your family has gluten allergies, there are still some benefits to going gluten-free, like taming tummy troubles and maintaining a healthy weight. And some studies have shown a gluten-free diet could possibly help kids with autism, though research results are inconclusive.
Best of all: these gluten-free dishes could easily substitute Thanksgiving mainstays (without sacrificing tastiness) and be worth repeating for Christmas, perhaps served with an additional dessert like ice cream sandwiches made with Udi’s maple pecan chocolate chip cookies. So now that you have some new recipes, I hope this year’s dinner planning will be just a little easier!
More Gluten-Free Foods on Parents.com
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Food, GoodyBlog, Holidays
Monday, November 5th, 2012
Editor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.
At Thanksgiving time, we are reminded again of how important traditions are in a family’s life and legacy. But many parents express anxiety about how to find the “right” traditions for their family. Should traditions just “evolve,” or should parents consciously establish them? The right answer is do both – allow some traditions to evolve by embracing the activities your kids naturally gravitate toward, and consciously experiment with other traditions to see which ones work within your family dynamic.
There are two secrets to establish lasting family traditions: repetition and anticipation. When you find something that brings out smiles, repeat it on a regular and predictable enough basis that it becomes an ingrained part of the family repertoire. For those traditions that need planning ahead, begin talking about the event days before it occurs to build excitement. Anticipation can be as much fun as the tradition itself.
Traditions come in two sizes: big (national and federal holidays, birthdays, anniversaries,); and small (those unique to your family). Both are important in a family’s legacy, so personalize them with these 10 ideas for creating special traditions:
1- Make the big holidays your own. Serve meals at the homeless shelter on Thanksgiving morning. Play backyard football before Christmas dinner to work up an appetite. Bring flowers to the local military cemetery on Memorial Day or July 4th.
2- Turn birthdays into unique celebrations. Hang balloons in the kitchen the night before so the kids arrive to a party room on their big morning. Eat pancakes for breakfast in mom and dad’s bed. Sing “Happy Birthday” in the most off-key way possible.
3- Double (or quadruple!) the number of birthdays. Serve a cupcake on quarter birthdays and half a cake on half-birthdays. Avoid gifts on these fractional celebrations, and instead focus on laughter, singing, and fun. Add a balloon or two. Celebrate your pets’ birthdays, too!
4- Have monthly Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Give mom a night off from household chores on the first Tuesday of every month, and make a special dinner for her. Do the same for dad on the second Thursday of every month. Pick which day of the month works best for you, but your family will have 22 more “celebrations” each year.
5- Share quirky inside secrets. Make a funny noise in the elevator when it’s just your family taking a ride, or give a whoop every day when the clock strikes your address number (if you live at 920 Elm Lane, cheer at 9:20 every morning and night). Invent a secret family hand shake.
6- Have the same meals for special occasions. Serve Chinese food for every anniversary, Indian food for good report cards, or hot dogs on the opening day of baseball season every year.
7- Get dressed up for a candlelight dinner. Once a month, have everyone wear their best party clothes and eat a fancy meal at home by candlelight. Put on soft music, bring out the good dishes, and use restaurant table manners.
8- Celebrate the first sign of seasons. Have a family leaf fight every fall when the leaves begin to pile up in the yard, go sledding after the first snowfall, eat fruit salad in the garden to celebrate the appearance of the first spring flower, and have a family water fight on the first summer day that reaches 90º.
9- Have family-only activities. Plan a family comedy night or a talent show, make holiday cards from scratch, or write personalized lyrics to an old song and then sing the new composition together.
10- Give back to the community together. Identify a favorite charity and participate in its fundraising each year – walk, run, bike, volunteer, and/or donate.
Try lots of different ideas. There’s no such thing as “failure” – if an idea doesn’t work, you’ve still spent wonderful moments with your kids. Plus, you’ve created unforgettable memories and, perhaps, given them something to tease you about for years to come (“Remember when dad thought it would be fun to have all of us join the “polar bear club” and jump into the lake in December?”)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).
Image: Mother and daughter in autumn yellow park via Shutterstock.
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GoodyBlog, Holidays, Must Read, Time for Fun
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
The fabulous kid crafts blogger, Marie LeBaron, recently released her first book, “Make and Takes for Kids: 50 Crafts Throughout the Year.” We received permission to showcase four crafts from the book on Goodyblog. Come back each Wednesday (11/16, 11/23, 12/7, 12/14) as we showcase one new craft. For more ideas from Marie LeBaron, visit her blog www.makeandtakes.com.
10–15 dried leaves
4 × 24″ piece of craft wood, 1⁄8″ width
Orange craft paint
White craft glue
1. Paint your piece of wood with orange craft paint. Let this dry.
2. Using the photo as a guide, use your pencil to write “THANKFUL” in all capital letters on your painted board. Make sure the letters are evenly spaced across the board.
3. Trace the pencil letters with your white craft glue. Make sure each part of the letters is covered in a line of glue.
4. In a large bowl, crunch up your dried leaves. Try to get them as small as possible.
5. Sprinkle your crushed leaves onto your glue, shaking it around slightly to get each part of the glue covered in leaves. Shake off any excess leaves back into the bowl. Let your board dry overnight.
Reprinted from “Make and Takes for Kids: 50 Crafts Throughout the Year,” with permission from Wiley Publishing. Copyright 2011.
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Crafts, GoodyBlog, Holidays, Time for Fun
Friday, October 7th, 2011
I was talking to my grandmother (a great cook) the other day and she asked: What new recipe are you trying for Thanksgiving this year? She knows we always have the feast at my house, and I change up the side dishes every holiday. I was telling her about this recipe for lemony greens that I saw in my review copy of the Macy’s Culinary Council’s Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook, a collection of 80 recipes by 13 celebrity chefs. It only seems fitting that we try a Macy’s recipe because my daughter runs into the kitchen every five minutes on Thanksgiving morning to tell me what float she saw watching the parade. So Macy’s gave me permission to share the recipe I had my eyes on: Cat Cora’s Sauteed Greens with Lemon. Cat has four young kids so if she can make this so can I!
Boil a large pot of water on high; add 4 lbs. coarsely chopped Swiss chard or kale and salt to taste. Return to gentle boiling, covering the pot partially, until greens are cooked. It will take about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the greens and let them cool in the colander for 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture. (You can do all these steps ahead of time, if you want.) Then about 15 minutes before you plan to put out your feast, heat about ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large pan on medium high. Add 6 cloves thinly slice garlic and stir until it begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the greens and cook 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat. Add about 4 Tbs. lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; toss together. Have a taste and add more seasonings, if needed. Serves 8.
You can pick up a copy of the $25 cookbook at Macy’s stores or on macys.com, starting October 11. And for a drool-worthy maple sweet potato recipe from the book, see the Busy Cooks blog. Still hungry for more? Check out this great Thanksgiving story I worked on last year. The Orange Green Bean and Pecan Cherry Stuffing recipes are so yummy.
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