Christmas Wishes to Jennie

Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

Merry Christmas Jennie!

And so, my gift to you is a super easy, really one bowl recipe for gingerbread—or should it be called  gingerbread cake? Perhaps I should eat one more slice to try and decide.

via gingerbread cake {a one bowl recipe} – In Jennie’s Kitchen.

If you are at all like me, I am always looking for a gift that is very special at Christmas time when it comes to my family and friends.

Since I love food and trust me most people do…I look for unique cookbooks by unique cooks.

Homemade with Love

is one of those cookbooks.

Jennie Perillo is one of those cooks.

As the year 2013 comes to an end, I am looking back at some of the wonderful people, I have met this year.

Jennie is one of them.

Last spring, I was introduced to Jennie through a group of Instagram bloggers from NYC.

She was launching her first cookbook, Homemade with Love. At first, I was drawn to her by her story.

Jennie had lost her husband suddenly. She and her two daughters were left without their anchor. Jennie found solace in her love of cooking.

As she grieved for her husband, she began to create Homemade with Love.

During her publicity tour, Jennie stopped in Chicago where I live. She did a book signing at a small bookstore.

As luck would have it…I read about the book signing after the fact.

I was so disappointed…

Well, I took to Twitter and sent Jennie a message asking if she was doing any other signings.


But I was welcome to stop by her hotel and she would sign my copy.

I was more than thrilled.

Not only did Jennie sign my copy of Homemade with Love but she invited me to a media luncheon which she had prepared in her hotel kitchen. I was actually tasting some of her recipes and they were easy enough to make in this tiny kitchen.

Homemade with Love

I had fallen in LOVE.

I knew when I read about Jennie and read Homemade with Love…I was being reintroduced to my love of cooking again.

You see, I had been an empty nester after taking care of my own family and my mother and now I was helping to parent my granddaughter…I needed to cook again for a family.

Jennie came into my life and resurrected my love of cooking at a moment when I needed a new inspiration to cook again for a family.

Jennie, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and New Year full of new horizons.

Thank you.

Jennifer Perillo

Tuesday…Why I Love My “Virtual Friends”

Lunch Box

Lunch Box

I am going back to introducing some of my favorite bloggers and their blogs. Over the last five years it has been my pleasure to meet many “virtual” friends through an eclectic collection of blogs.

For me, “working” at home and from home has its advantages and disadvantages…one of the disadvantages is the inevitable loneliness that comes with the home-based territory.

Thank goodness, my “virtual” friends are a click away and provide discussions that some of my “real” friends cannot, since they don’t share my work at home status nor are they taking care of grandchildren and to be truthful, I just don’t have that many “real” friends. Over the years, I have made an effort to have a few good friends than a lot of casual ones.

But now with blogging and social media, I have many casual, virtual friends.

As a grandmother, I am thankful for this. I love blogging and I love visiting blogs and social media. Blogs help me understand the world through my children’s generational lens and the lens of my contemporaries. Since I spend a lot of time with my grandchild, I appreciate the world she lives in and also the world that she will inherit from my generation and that of her parents.

YoniFreedhoff is one of my “virtual” friends, through his blog, “Weighty Matters”.

It is a blog that is both serious and humorous. He is a doctor and I am a nurse so his humor is not wasted on me.

Nutrition is something that continues to fascinate me…it is a field that is ever-changing and has life long implications for each and every one of us. Yoni keeps me focused on the new innovative and the old tried and true approaches coupled with a tongue in cheek attitude.

Here is his latest post on a controversial Manitoba Child Care Lunch Regulation Program. It is humorous to a point but there are also serious implications, too much government intervention into how we feed our families, as well as the “stupidity” of those who are interpreting this new “food policy police policy”!

Family doc, Assistant Prof. at the University of Ottawa, and founder of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute – a multi-disciplinary, ethical, evidence-based nutrition and weight management centre. Nowadays I’m more likely to stop drugs than start them, and love going to work in the morning. You can also follow me on Twitter at YoniFreedhoff


It’s quite possible that the single stupidest school lunch policy on the planet comes courtesy of a strange interpretation of the Manitoba Government’s Early Learning and Child Care lunch regulations (an earlier version of this article incorrectly pointed at the Manitoba Child Care Association as the source of the strangely interpreted policy).

via Weighty Matters: Parents Fined For Not Sending Ritz Crackers In Kids’ Lunches.

A WIC Shutdown: Here is Where You Can Get Baby Formula

Bottle Feeding

We all know that the government shutdown has caused problems for those parents receiving formula and baby food from WIC.

Jessica Lawson, the feminist mom has compiled a list by state of where to get WIC aid. It is not a complete list but it is a good resource for those in need.

Lisa Belkin published this information on Huffington Post earlier today.

I hope it is helpful!

Where To Find Formula And Baby Food During A WIC Shutdown.

Summer Dilemmas-Would You Ban Music From Parked Ice Cream Trucks?

good humor

All I can say is what next?

Years ago, the Good Humor truck had bells,which the driver had to manually jingle when he was approaching his stops.

He also made regular neighborhood stops near my home in a very large New York suburb.

Truthfully, I am not so sure about ice cream trucks in general with all the “safety issues” and “food issues” that plague kids today…

It did make me think however, that I do avoid the ice cream truck on a regular basis and try to make healthier choices like frozen yogurt. I may be only fooling myself but it makes me feel better.

What about you?


“The music is very important to us,” Zea said. “Because when we’re on the street, the kids, they listen to the music and they get excited. So they tell their mothers, ‘hey mom, the ice cream truck is coming.’”

The issue is also raised about how the ordinance may effect the safety of children around the trucks.

“If they stop playing music, then the driver is driving by (and the kids) won’t notice there is an ice cream truck and they might hit the kids,” Ice cream supplier Bob Bakshi said.

via Long Beach Looks To Ban Music From Parked Ice Cream Trucks « CBS Los Angeles.

Keeping the Choice-Formula vs. Breast

Bottle Feeding


All I can say about Amy’s story, below, is THIS. THIS is why breastfeeding support must be secondary to supporting moms, full stop. THIS is why the medical community and the breastfeeding advocacy machine is failing us. THIS is why there are “defensive formula feeders” peppering message boards, attempting to share their truths, and being accused of making up stories and scaring other women out of nursing. THIS is why women are getting angry and fighting back. THIS is why people are starting to think the pendulum has swung so far and so hard that it’s bonked us all in the head and made us stupid. This. This. And THIS.

via FFF Friday: “I didn’t have the confidence or the mental clarity to stand up for myself.” – Fearless Formula Feeder.


With the present increased incidence of breast-feeding, clinicians need to be prepared to identify and manage problems in lactation. Most problems are related to insufficient knowledge, inappropriate routines, and lack of confidence and are easily managed or prevented by prenatal education, anticipatory guidance, and adequate support. Increasing evidence exists that primary causes of lactation failure also occur and can preclude successful lactation, even among highly motivated women.

via Lactation Failure Due to Insufficient Glandular Development of the Breast.

It seems that the pendulum has indeed swung too far in the direction of breastfeeding and made it very uncomfortable for moms to choose formula if they do not want to breastfeed their baby for whatever reason.

The Fearless Formula Feeder has posted Amy’s story which speaks to moms who have insufficient glandular tissue. This is a condition that poses problems for moms, who are trying to breast feed.

As a clinician, it is so important to listen to your client and really try to understand the whole picture…a non-judgmental attitude is the key to helping anyone. If you find yourself making judgements, then you should refer your client to someone else…you are not the right helper. This goes for lactation consultants as well as well meaning friends.

I know that there is much more knowledge available since I had my own children but in the 70′s and 80′s there really was more understanding and acceptance of mom’s feeding choices. We may not have been that accepting of breastfeeding in public but that was a minor problem compared to the “bullying” situation we are currently experiencing.

It is not abusive to formula feed your baby and although breastfeeding may be best it is not necessarily the right choice in all cases.

Let’s try to support moms…please!

“Food Glorious Food”-Children in the Kitchen,Kid’s Snacks,The Obesity Challenge

IMG_4848I loved cooking since I can remember.

Admittedly,over the years my style has changed, given what we now know about foods, GMO’s, saturated fats and so much more.

What has not changed is my desire to involve my family in what I choose to serve them.

Now with a grandchild to consider, I am enjoying the time that I can include her in my cooking.

How do you include your family in the kitchen…is the kitchen the center of your home?

What have you done to get your children more involved in the kitchen?

via Home-Cooked Challenge: Kids in the Kitchen –


For me snacks are an absolute dilemma, I love to snack, but choose to munch protein bars when I am on the go…they give me the energy I need in between my breakfast, small lunch and dinner.

However, when it comes to children and grandchildren, I sometimes find myself at a loss and turn to graham crackers, fishy crackers, or cereal in a bag as a quick fix…along with some fresh fruit or carrots…yogurt is always a go to in our house as well.

I was particularly interested in this post at Toddler Approved…it is sponsored post. I was tempted to try the subscription that is offered at $7/month to have tasty snacks delivered to my door, but reconsidered this choice since then they do not allow for food allergies.

What do you do when it comes to snacks for your kids and grandkids?

Toddler Approved!: Trying New Snacks With Your Kids.


Some of my tips include…

1. Have kids go on a rainbow grocery shopping hunt with me and help them select a few foods for us to buy for snacks and meals. Choosing the snack themselves means the likelihood that they will eat it again is much higher.

2. Have kids make the snacks and create something fun. Last week we made an ant snack with carrots and apples and peanut butter. Even though my son hates carrots, he was more willing to try a bite because it looked cool. We also made the strawberry mice featured above at our VBC Summer Camp. The kids usually won’t try nuts or string cheese, but they totally did because it was silly to eat when it was a mouse.

3. Spy on other kids and see what they are eating. When I work at preschool or go to the park I love seeing what other moms bring their kids for snack. I always take mental notes (especially if my kids ask to try a taste of a friend’s snack and like something).

What are your tips?

via Toddler Approved!: Trying New Snacks With Your Kids.


This week “obesity” was defined as a disease…

As a nurse, I find this an interesting discussion and wonder what others are thinking.

Is this a good definition and will it help with this crisis?

Defining Obesity as a Disease May Do More Harm Than Good |

Do Your Kids Eat Everything?…Tell theTruth!

IMG_4193Cooking for kids…always a challenge

I love to cook…but over the years my “go to meals” have changed…


become somewhat boring…


Jennie Perillo, InJenniesKitchen and her book Homemade with Love.

I was losing my edge especially now…

that I very often am cooking for three generations in one house.

This morning, I read this piece from Jennie’s recipes in Relish Magazine


I  smiled…as I adore pesto…

I have decided to try using parsley instead of my usual basil, omit the pistachios since….

there is a “nut allergy” in our family

I will add cheese to liven up the flavor.


I’ll be the first to admit that when I think about cooking for kids, pesto isn’t the first recipe that comes to mind. Yes, there are adventurous eaters out there, you know, those kids whose parents’ claim they eat everything. To that, I say spill the beans. No one likes everything, including myself, a professional food writer and recipe developer—and that’s okay. This is perhaps the most important tidbit of advice to remember when you approach feeding your children.


Relish Blogs – Fresh Homemade Summer Pesto.

When is baby too fat?

Bottle Feeding Baby

Welcome back from a 3 day weekend…

This morning, the first thing that hit me is yet another commentary on parents overfeeding their baby and the fact that it may lead to obesity later in childhood.

It seems there is a fixation on fat and now it is concerning parents of infants. The problem with this is, calorie restriction in infancy can have serious issues associated with it.

If you are a parent of a “chubby” baby and you are worried, please consult your pediatrician before changing your child’s feeding schedule or decreasing their calorie intake.


When parents ask about overfeeding their newborns, she tells them, “The only way to overfeed a baby is to use feeding as the only solution to comfort him or her.” While some babies will need a little help unwinding, providing a bottle every time they’re fussy or having trouble sleeping isn’t the answer— and could potentially lead to unnecessary calories over the long term.

Postpartum Depression & Breast Feeding, Infant Sleep, Children & Allergies….

 heart drops

Sleep is so important and so many of us crave it…makes me wonder if it doesn’t start right at the beginning of our lives when we are infants. After all it is one of the topics so hotly discussed among parenting experts.

So how do we manage to get our newborns to sleep thus giving ourselves much needed time to sleep?


Nothing can prepare you for the changes in your sleep when you welcome a newborn baby into your family. Experienced parents will issue dire warnings and tell you to sleep while you can during the last few weeks of pregnancy. (And you will think, yeah right, there’s a large boulder resting on my bladder, and sometimes it kicks for good measure.)



If you breast feed do you have less of a chance of developing PPD (Postpartum Depression)? Here is some interesting facts from FFF (Fearless Formula Feeder) that questions this premise.

The same question holds for the connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression. Some researchers have found a correlation between lack of breastfeeding and higher incidence of depression; however, the majority of these studies don’t factor in why the mother isn’t breastfeeding in the first place. A 2009 study found that women who exhibited pregnancy-related anxiety or prenatal depressive symptoms were roughly two times more likely than women without these mood disorders to plan to formula feed. (12) “Prenatal mood disorders may affect a woman’s plans to breastfeed and may be early risk factors for failure to breastfeed,” the researchers point out. And even if the intention to breastfeed is there, multiple factors inform infant-feeding choices once a woman leaves the hospital.

Feeling like a failure, dealing with pain, frustration, and exhaustion, and having a baby who screams at the sight of her, could make any mother feel overwhelmed, let alone one who’s already on the brink of actual PPD. Maybe for those of us more prone to anxiety or depression, the stress of breastfeeding struggles is just the camel’s dreaded straw.


Are there allergies in your family, if so, there is a community online for Moms of Allergic Children.  I have also included a link to a mom’s story of her son who has asthma.


Moms of kids with allergies have to do double duty to keep their bundles of joy safe, happy, and healthy. In the Moms of Allergic Children community, moms are sharing their concerns and questions about allergies. Here are some quick tips from Dr. Oz for them and others on how to treat — and prevent — some common allergies.


A Mother’s Day Wish!

Graphic MomsNotLovinIt-Graphic-FINAL_for_Parents_and_Allies


For Mother’s Day, I would like it if McDonalds’ Corporation would stop targeting children in their marketing campaigns.

I know that I have a choice about whether or not to support McDonalds and to tell the truth,  on occasion, I do patronize our local McDonalds’ drive thru.

In addition, we are shareholders.

We also live in the heart of corporate McDonalds’ land and benefit from the corporate taxes that McDonalds pays in Oak Brook IL.

I also work at a medical center that has a Ronald McDonalds House, which comforts many suffering families.

All of this being said, I continue to wonder, why on one hand, McDonalds Corporation continues to market to children and then turns around and funds children’s healthcare with their mobile services and family care with their Ronald McDonald Houses?

Obviously, their bottom line is profit.

Parents are encouraged by McDonalds marketing campaigns to view McDonalds as inherently good, when it is not.

Perhaps, McDonalds should look at this current generation of parents, who have been exposed to fast food most of their lives, many of whom suffer the ravages of morbid obesity with all of its’ sequelae, diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver failure.

Maybe McDonalds  should now fund healthcare for these adults or perhaps childcare for the children that these parents will leave behind, when they die prematurely from the effects of being obese most of their lives. I am just saying…

If McDonalds did begin such a healthcare initiative for today’s obese parents, it just might be an acknowledgement of their part, along with other fast food markets, in the cause of this widespread health crisis.

There is really no simple answer here…

One thing for sure is, if McDonalds stops marketing to children, this could be a good thing.

If they continue to develop ways to make healthier choices on their menu, this could also be a good thing.

What could even be better is…

If they decrease their unhealthy menu choices, continue their healthcare initiatives and develop new ones.

Then and only then, we just might see this new generation increase their longevity and the chances that they will outlive their parents.

McDonalds, children should not die before their parents…please stop marketing to kids…

I am a #MomsNotLovinIt and a #GrandmaNotLovinIt

If you want to help…join the movement at