Healthy, Hearty, Turkey Chili…perfect for the cold days to come

Autumn. Fall scene. Beautiful Autumnal park. Beauty nature sceneThis recipe is an easy, healthy, all-time favorite in my house. Once the weather starts to get a little cool outside I’m all about soups and stews. Turkey chili hits the spot every time. Pair it with a nice slice of cornbread and curl up next to the fire…okay, that never happens in my house. Tonight I was just trying to keep my 2-year-old daughter from throwing her spoon on the floor for the 4th time!

Down Home Healthy Ingredients:

1 package of ground turkey (extra lean) browned

3 cans of dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed

3 cans of diced tomatoes (preferably already seasoned with garlic, oregano, and basil-if not you will need to add an additional 1/2 tablespoon of garlic, a tablespoon of dried or 2 of fresh oregano and a tablespoon of dried basil or 2 of fresh)

1 can tomato sauce

1 jar mild Pace Salsa (24 ounces if possible but okay to use a smaller jar if this is not available. If you want more spice feel free to chose medium or hot heat)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 large white onion diced

1 bunch green onions chopped

1 package low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 tablespoon onion or garlic salt

1 teaspoon black pepperphoto 2

How to Get the Kettle Cooking: 

1. Start browning your meat in a skillet on the stove top.

photo 12. While your meat is browning, put a large pot on the stove top and turn the burner on medium heat. Add your tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Pace Salsa, minced garlic, onion salt, black pepper, and rinsed kidney beans to the pot. Stir.

3. Once your meat has finished browning, add it to your tomato mixture and 4

4. Now throw your onions into your meat browning skillet and cook them on medium heat just to soften them a little before adding them to the chili mixture (maybe 5 minutes. stir frequently.) You probably won’t need to add any oil to the pan since you will still have a little of the fat from the meat greasing the bottom of your pan. This shouldn’t be much fat since you used the leanest turkey meat that you could find…right?photo 5

5. By now your chili mixture is starting to get hot. Once you have brought it just below a boil, turn it down and let it simmer covered for 20-30 minutes or until the onions are fully cooked. Taste test your chili just to make sure it has the right flavor for you. You can always add more garlic, salt etc to the 4

6. Serve it steaming hot with chopped green onions and cheddar cheese sprinkled on 5

photo 27. I do always serve this with cornbread too. It is the perfect pairing!

Cornbread in the works!

Cornbread in the works!

8. Chili (and soup in general) always taste better on day two after the marriage of flavors occurs. Feel free to store your leftovers for lunch or dinner for an even tastier meal.


From The Mom in Me, MD




Little Giraffe and my Tiny Preemie: Discount Code Included for your own Little Giraffe Shopping Spree

Newborn baby boy covered in vertix inside incubatorI have mentioned before that Little Giraffe is one of my favorite baby/child luxury lines. From their stuffed animals to their bath towels…they are the best! My daughter, Ayla’s, very first stuffed animal was the GIANT (not Little as the company name implies) plush pink, grey, and white giraffe. My husband bought her for our preemie daughter while we were living in the hospital neonatal intensive care unit. Sophie (that is what we lovingly named our pet giraffe) stayed in the NICU with us for those trying nine long weeks. She moved around the room, sometimes even stealing the nurses’ work station seat at the computer, adding beauty and laughter to an otherwise stressful situation.Iphone 1944

When our daughter was able to safely be held outside of her incubator, one of her early pictures taken by one of our AMAZING night shift nurses (Chelsea you rock!) was in the arms of her Little Giraffe. At 3 lbs. 2 ounces, our daughter’s tiny size was even more profound in comparison to her plush friend. Over the past two years we have continued to take pictures of Ayla in the arms of her Little Giraffe. I am blessed to say that she is now almost as big as Sophie! I never thought a stuffed animal could be so sentimental…but, our Little Giraffe is more than just the cutest plush you’ve ever seen. To this day, Sophie still sits beside my daughter’s crib as a reminder of all of our answered prayers.994389_627788507281149_541333443_n

So, yes, I have a soft spot for the Little Giraffe company, and I tend to agree with the Company of the Year Earnie Award that they just received. Since they are so excited about their award they decided to invite us to the party!!! Yep, you guessed it, they have a special discount code offering 15% off of their entire online store until November 1, 2014. This never happens! Simply enter LOVEWINS14 at checkout to get the discount.

If you missed my previous review of their bath products…click HERE to get up to splashing speed! Happy shopping…even if it is just window shopping (that’s what I do most of the time:)

From the Mom in Me, MD


How Safe are Your Breasts…in your 20’s and 30’s?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is here! And while all of us are reminded to get our routine mammograms and breast exams, many of us who are younger than 40 dismiss the idea that breast cancer could affect us anytime soon. Since we don’t require mammograms yet we aren’t really at that much risk…right? Although the risk for breast cancer increases with age, certain genetic components (BRCA Gene Mutations) can put even young women at risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Knowing your risk can help you make informed decisions even before a breast cancer diagnosis. It may even change your breast cancer screening routine and prevention options.Portrait of confident female volunteers participating in breast

So, this October, if you are in your twenties or thirties, instead of just wearing a pink ribbon, racing for the cure, or making sure that you have had your annual breast exam (all of which are great!), take the time to know your genetic risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Since routine ovarian cancer screening isn’t recommended, knowing your genetic risk may be even more important for this type of cancer. Here are 3 things you need to know.

1. What are BRCA Gene Mutations and how do they increase my risk for Cancer?

Everyone has BRCA Genes, BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. These genes are actually designed to protect the body from cancer, but if a genetic mutation (negative change) occurs in either of these genes, they are unable to prevent breast, ovarian, and other cells in the body from dividing too quickly or in an uncontrolled way. This lack of regulation increases the risk for cancer. Most cases of cancer are not due to BRCA gene mutations. Only 5-10% of breast cancers and 10-15% of ovarian cancers are linked to BRCA mutations. And, while most cases of breast cancer are not due to BRCA mutations, if you have a mutation you are much more likely to develop breast and ovarian cancer (50% of women with a BRCA 1 or 2 mutation will develop breast cancer and 30% will develop ovarian cancer by the time they are 70 years old).Woman Showing Pink Ribbon To Support Breast Cancer Cause

2. How can my family history help me decide if I am at increased risk for a BRCA Mutation and should be tested?

Most people do not need genetic testing to determine if they have a BRCA mutation, but if after reviewing your family history you find a strong pattern of breast and ovarian cancer, you may want to meet with a genetic counselor to discuss your testing options. If you already know that your mother or a sibling has a BRCA mutation, you have a 50% chance of having one as well. So, while it isn’t guaranteed, the likelihood is high. The only way to truly know if you have a BRCA gene mutation is to have a genetic test done.

If you are diagnosed with a BRCA mutation it isn’t because of anything that you have done. Drinking too much soda, avoiding the gym, carb loading, smoking…none of these poor choices have given you a damaged BRCA gene. Unfortunately, you inherited your damaged gene (BRCA 1 or 2 or both) from either your father or your mother. YES, I SAID FATHER! Many women think that they only need to know their maternal breast cancer history, but this is not the case. Knowing the breast cancer history on your father’s side is equally important.

Here are some of the important things to look for in your family history:

-Multiple Relatives with Breast Cancer

-Any Relatives with Ovarian Cancer

-Relatives with Breast Cancer before the age of 50

-A Relative with breast cancer in both breasts

-A Male relative with breast cancer (yes, men have boobs too!)

-A Relative with a BRCA mutation

3. What if I do have a BRCA Gene Mutation…What then?

If you are diagnosed with a BRCA Gene Mutation you have options for additional screening tests, more frequent screening, and cancer risk reducing medications and surgeries. While finding out that your risk for breast and ovarian cancer is high may be scary, it can also be life saving. Knowing this information has allowed many women to detect cancer at earlier stages, allowing for better outcomes. In other women, risk reducing surgeries have prevented them from developing breast and ovarian cancers at all.

Bigstock_71110093The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and Bright Pink have created a great website, KNOW BRCA, that allows women to self-assess their BRCA risk. You can create an online account for free (it is a secure/confidential page), log in your family history, and answer some easy questions. The assessment will then create a BRCA mutation risk score specifically for you that you can discuss with your family physician or OB/GYN. Simply click on the link above to get started. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best. Take your health into your own hands and encourage other women in your life to do the same. It’s never to early to be proactive about your health!

From The Mom in Me, MD


Ebola: 7 Things Everyone Should Know about this Deadly Virus

When many of us first heard the word Ebola we felt a sense of safety, or immunity for ourselves. Ebola has traditionally been a disease of Central and Western Africa not the United States. And although the current 2014 Ebola outbreak (now considered the first Ebola epidemic) is the worst that the world has seen, our borders are protected from this virulent virus. We are untouchable. Right?

The problem with illness is that it knows no bounds. And while modern-day transportation has revolutionized our lives, it has also created an easy opportunity for once isolated diseases to spread…as evidenced by the travel related case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States this past week. Should we all head to David Vetter type bubbles and isolation chambers? Thankfully not, but we should be aware of what Ebola is, how it is spread, and what measures we can take to protect ourselves from this deadly virus. Here are the 7 things that you need to know about Ebola. Make sure to click on the hyperlinks for more useful resources.

1. What is Ebola?

Ebola is a deadly virus that is virulent in nature. This means that a small exposure can cause intense illness that results in bleeding in many different organ systems in the body. More than 50% of people diagnosed with Ebola die based on current data.Attention Ebola

2. What are the Signs and Symptoms to Look For?

Unfortunately, Ebola has common symptoms seen with many other illnesses. These signs and symptoms include a fever greater than 101.5 degrees, severe headache, vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness, diarrhea, and unexplained bleeding or bruising. These symptoms can show up as early as 2 days after exposure to the virus or as late as 21 days after exposure.

3. How is it Transmitted (or passed from person to person)?

When a person is infected with Ebola they can spread the infection through direct contact with another human either through broken skin or mucous membranes. This includes blood and body fluids such as saliva, urine, feces, vomit, and semen. The person with Ebola must have active symptoms present in order to spread the virus. Needles and syringes that have been contaminated with the virus can also spread the disease as can direct contact with infected animals. Ebola is not spread through the air, water, or food. So unlike the flu,  just being around someone with the illness (aka breathing in their viral particles)  does not spread Ebola.

4. What is My Risk of Being Exposed?

In general, the risk of exposure to Ebola is very low in the United States. Those who are at greatest risk are health care workers who come in contact with blood and body fluids on a regular basis. Those who have been in direct contact with body fluids from anyone with active Ebola symptoms who has recently travelled from Africa may also be at risk. Additionally, anyone who has recently travelled to Western Africa in a health care related capacity may be at increased risk.Fear of flying woman in plane airsick with stress headache and m

5. Can Ebola be Prevented?

While a vaccine does not currently exist to prevent the spread of Ebola, preventative measures can be taken to limit disease exposure and spread. While these measures (such as avoiding body fluids and wearing protective gear when treating Ebola patients) are most important for those traveling to an area currently affected by the Ebola outbreak and for health care workers, simply practicing good hygiene is a good way to avoid any exposure in the United States as well. Avoiding contact with blood and body fluids and being careful to wash your hands regularly is incredibly important. If you have recently travelled to Western Africa it is important that you monitor yourself for any symptoms up to 21 days after leaving. At the first sign of illness you should immediately present to the hospital and inform the staff of your travel history.

6. How is it Diagnosed?

Ebola can be diagnosed through advanced laboratory testing that identifies the virus, the DNA of the virus, or the viral proteins. Unfortunately, results from these tests may not come back immediately. Because the symptoms of Ebola are similar to those of other illnesses, the suspicion for Ebola in anyone who has travelled to Africa should be high, and health care professionals should take precautionary steps to isolate these patients and treat them as possible Ebola cases.

7. What is the Treatment for Ebola?

Although an experimental drug has recently been used on the two Ebola infected American health care workers who were transported back to the United States for treatment, this drug has not been FDA approved for mainstream treatment. Current anti-viral medications have not been found to be effective in Ebola treatment, and although vaccines are being developed, none have yet been approved for use in humans. So, for the time being, symptomatic treatment (treating symptoms as they occur) is the best and only option for Ebola infected patients. This includes providing IV fluids to prevent dehydration and body salts to normalize electrolyte disturbances as well as oxygen and blood pressure regulation. Although Ebola has a very high death rate, these simple treatments can be life saving. Overall, how a patient responds to treatment depends on their immune system’s response to the virus. Those whose immune systems are already compromised due to illnesses such as AIDS are more likely to succumb to this deadly illness.African children

For continued up to date information on the Ebola epidemic check out the CDC and World Health Organization websites. Although our risk of an Ebola epidemic in the United States is fairly low, we shouldn’t dismiss the current health crisis in Western Africa. Many organizations are offering opportunities to get involved without even having to leave our homes. Check out this link for the Ebola Children’s Relief Fund for just one possible way to help save lives in Western Africa.

From The Mom in Me, MD



TOMS Shoes…Corporate Sell Out or Praise Worthy Vision?

I haven’t reblogged anyone’s content on my page before, but I found this article from JoyCorps so interesting that I though it was worth sharing the link. I love TOMS shoes. I love their mission and heart for helping the less fortunate through social entrepreneurship. TOMS saw a way to combine business with altruism. Is TOMS only a not-for-profit? Of course not! They are a business intended to make money. Does that make them evil? No. Without a profit they would be unable to provide numerous jobs, put shoes on barefoot children, and provide necessary eye-care to the blind and those with visual disturbances.Wall Street SignAfrican children

Has the recent TOMS’ business decision to partner with corporate America lessened their mission? As a medical provider and public health specialist who has a heart for international health care, I would say that we need more companies that are willing to create sustainable solutions for poverty, disease, and illness. I applaud grass-roots non-profits (I even volunteer with several), but even these groups need funding to make a difference.african children

Unfortunately, non-profits end up spending so much time trying to get their funding that they are unable to focus on their primary mission…helping the less fortunate or those in need of medical attention. Social entrepreneurship provides a way for non-profits to be sustainably funded…genius in my opinion. If TOMS can increase their altruistic reach and ONE for ONE impact by partnering with corporate America, maybe it is a smart move. Maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to judge but should instead wait and see what good their social entrepreneurship is about to do. I don’t hold any of the other shoe brands I wear to such a high moral standard…do you? Businessman standing on top of elephant balancing on a tightrope

Check out this great article from JoyCorps for more thoughts on the recent TOMS 50% buy-out by Bain Capital. Leave a comment here letting me know what you think!

Oh, and just because I love all of my fans…I’ve decided to do a TOMS shoes giveaway! Yep…free from me to your little one’s feet. A pair of pink Tiny TOMS Glitters could be all yours! Just leave a comment below with your thoughts on this article and then share it on your Facebook page. Oh, and make sure you click this link to enter your name to win. a Rafflecopter giveawayPinkTinyTOMSGlitterClassics-007013D11-PINK-H_1450x1015

From The Mom in Me, MD