30-minute dinner:  Sheet pan balsamic-herb chicken and vegetables

sheet page chicken and vegetables

image credit: skinnytaste.com

After a long day at work, it can be hard to find the motivation to cook a healthy dinner. I find myself not wanting to cook because I’m tired and don’t have the energy to put in an enormous amount of effort for dinner. With life being so hectic for everyone, I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe that takes me 30 minutes to prepare with minimal clean-up.

This balsamic-herb chicken and vegetables recipe is a great because it only requires one pan and the most work is cutting up the vegetables. Aside from the quickness of this recipe, I enjoy it because I can use it as meal prepping for the week. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

 Sheet pan balsamic-herb chicken and vegetables

Ingredients for the chicken

  • 16 ounces boneless/skinless chicken breasts, halved
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped or ½ teaspoon dried
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the vegetables

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces, layers separated
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley chopped or 1 teaspoon dried

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment.
  2. Mix marinade for chicken by combining balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil, parsley and salt.
  3. Place chicken in marinade. Let chicken marinate while preparing the vegetables (the longer the better).
  4. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, black pepper, basil and parsley.
  5. Spread the vegetables onto the large sheet pan. Place the chicken within the vegetables.
  6. Roast until tender on the lower rack in the oven (about 20 minutes). Serve immediately.

Freezer-friendly tip

Let the cooked dish cool completely and then portion into freezer containers. You may freeze the meal for up to three months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a 325° F oven until warm (about 20 minutes).

Yield

4 servings (Serving Size: 1 piece chicken, 1 cup veggies)

Nutrition information

251 calories per serving

– Lauren Baker was a dietetic intern with Beaumont Health. The Beaumont Weight Control Center offers cooking demonstrations to the community. View a list of current demonstrations here.

Source: http://www.skinnytaste.com/sheet-pan-balsamic-herb-chicken-and-vegetables/

So I brush her hair

brushing red hair

All of a sudden I find myself the mom of a tween. It happened in the blink of an eye. It seems like yesterday that princess dresses, tutus, and American Girl dolls were her focus; now I have a confident, responsible, independent 12-year-old girl who knows what she likes and doesn’t like. She practices with makeup, has her own sense of style, manages all of her school stuff on her own, and even does some cooking.

Sometimes I wonder if she even needs me anymore. As a mom, it’s sort of a weird place to be. I mean, I know she needs me and will for a long time, but it’s just different. We have a good relationship and are doing our best to navigate her transition to a young woman together, and I’m learning as I go.

About six months ago, I found myself really missing my girl — missing her needing me to take care of her the way she did when she was younger and not so self-sufficient. I know, I know, that may be a little irrational, but I had a moment. In my logical mind I know that this is a natural progression, but my mama-heart took over. She had just showered and was getting ready for bed, dressed in her bath robe with wet hair, and I looked up from reading and asked, “Would you like me to brush your hair?” She said yes and so I did. It felt good to do that for her, and it was nice to have some quiet time just the two of us to talk about whatever.

A few days later she asked me herself if I would do it, and since that time it’s something that has happened many times, and I love it. To think something I once took for granted — all the years of chasing her with a brush to get her wild, red hair tamed — now has become such a precious gift.

So if you, like me, have found yourself parenting a girl on the verge of becoming a young lady and you’re missing the “old days,” may I suggest that you brush her hair? It may be just the thing you are looking for to fill the void.

– Kelly Ryan, MSW, Parenting Program, Postpartum Adjustment Coordinator

Who says you can’t pick your family?

bunch of kids skating on a pond

My daughter and most of her Beaumont siblings

As a parent you tell your kids never to lie. It’s one of the cardinal rules in our house that has the biggest consequences—we’re talking loss of electronics! I know, the worst punishment ever … according to my oldest, anyway. But to be truthful, we’ve been lying to her. Let me explain.

We’ve told our girls you never get to pick your family, you get what you get and don’t throw a fit. That part of it is true, but here comes the fib. The day she was born we signed up for a Beaumont Parenting Program group and on that day she wasn’t an only child anymore. She gained two brothers who excel on the ice, another who has more musical skill than any of her blood relatives. A fellow bookworm and a sister who, just like her, can dance until the streetlights come on. And lest we forget, her family is now international with a sister in England and her German transplant who moved to Germany when work called her dad back home.

6 kids with birthday cake

Celebrating “7”

They are her Beaumont Family, a hodgepodge of brothers and a sister who all may have different parents, but share common experiences that siblings only do. Birthday parties, Halloween costume competitions and even a few camping trips that show these kids pick up right where they left off from the last time they saw each other.

Heck, even the Beaumont moms go on an annual “girls weekend” that is filled with laughter, good times and relaxation … or so I’ve been told. Being a Beaumont dad, I never get an invitation! That doesn’t mean we don’t have our excitement though.

During the most recent girls weekend, one of the dads was playing basketball with his son, and what can only be described as one of the highest jumps in recorded backyard history, hit his head on the backboard suffering a serious cut.

Like any good dad, he sucked it up and went on with his weekend. But after a quick consult via a few texted photos, the injured dad decided to get medical attention. Too deep for urgent care to handle, and not knowing how long he’d be in the ER, he reached out to another dad in the group to look after his son as he went to get patched up.

Without hesitation, the other dad looked after the son and folded him into the daily family plan. That’s what’s good about having the built-in support system that the Beaumont parenting group offers—when you need someone to lend a helping hand they’re there for you.

We’re coming up on a decade of being a Beaumont Family and even though we don’t have bi-weekly meetings like we did when we started, we still get together nearly once a month to hang out, share a meal and reinforce our family bond. Next to our marriage license, the most important paper we ever signed was the one for the Beaumont Parenting Program.

And if you’re wondering, our high-flying dad had to receive seven staples to close his backyard basketball battle wound.

– Jim Pesta is a past Parenting Program participant and father of two girls.

What I said to my child in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy

mom with arm around daughter

The original title of this article was “What to say to your child in the wake of the tragedy in Las Vegas,” but then I realized that was a bit arrogant. I can’t tell you what to say to your child about this senseless act of madness. Every child is different and every family has their own views and values. However, I can tell you about the interaction I had with my child. I was inspired to write this because after we talked, my daughter walked away lighter, not darker. And after all, isn’t that the goal?

First of all, let me say that it is my belief that in an ideal world, children wouldn’t have to worry about mass shootings, natural disasters, scary diseases, or Mom and Dad’s financial woes. I think that kids should be kids, and not have to concern themselves with adult things. But that is not the world we live in. And contrary to what I’ve seen recently on social media and in news reports, that is not new. For example, when my Dad was a kid, he practiced hiding under his desk at school in the event of a nuclear attack. When I was a child, parents took their kids’ Halloween candy to the police station to be X-rayed looking for razor blades. The difference now is how ever-present the reports of that ugliness are. Social media and 24-hour cable news make shielding our kids from hearing about the frightening things in the world impossible. So we have to talk about it.

I also need to preface this conversation with a little information about my kid. I actually have three kids, but the older two are old enough that they process these events without a lot of help from me. My baby, however, still needs me. My youngest is a naïve, though intelligent, thoughtful and sensitive kid who takes everything to heart. That’s a tough thing to be in junior high under the best of circumstances, and Las Vegas did not present us with the best of circumstances.

The morning after the shooting: “Mom. About what happened. In Las Vegas. I don’t understand.”

I told her, “Of course you don’t. I don’t understand it. We are sane, rational, reasonable and caring people. We cannot possibly understand the actions of a madman. I wish I could explain to you why he did this, but I don’t think anyone is ever going to be able to explain it. There are bad people in the world, and sometimes they do bad things. Sometimes they do horrific things. But there’s something I want you to think about.

“Yesterday, one bad man did one very bad thing. But in response, hundreds of good people did amazing things. People in Las Vegas opened their homes and businesses to strangers so that they could shelter in safety. Other heroes put injured people in their cars to drive them to get medical help because there weren’t enough ambulances. People stood in line for five hours to donate blood to help the wounded. Policemen, fire fighters and other first responders ran into danger to get people out of danger. And total strangers threw themselves on top of nearby people to protect them from harm. And you know what? There were a lot more good people than that one bad man.” (Here she asked me why we don’t hear more about these stories on the news. I assured her that I did hear most of these stories on the news, I just had to look a little harder for them because bad news is click bait but that’s a discussion for another time). I continued with: “And furthermore, baby, regardless of what you’ve been hearing on the news lately not one of those heroes asked the religion, race or political leaning of the people they helped.

“So remember there is evil in this world, but there is far more good in it. And despite what some people are trying to make you believe, we are more alike than we are different, and there is far more that unites us than divides us.”

– Nicole Capozello, Parenting Program volunteer

The Face of Beaumont Parenting: Chris Purtell

grandmother with 2 granddaughters

Chris with her granddaughters Lily (12) and Amelia (10)

What does a Beaumont Health nurse do when she retires but still wants to continue serving the families she cared for on the Mother Baby Care unit in Royal Oak? She becomes a volunteer for the Beaumont Parenting Program, of course. Today I’d like you to meet Chris Purtell, a volunteer group speaker for the BPP.

Chris is a 70-year-old widow and mother of two. Her daughters Melissa and Laura are 43 and 41 respectively. Chris lives in Royal Oak where she enjoys gardening, crossword puzzles, travelling, and spending time at the pool with her family. While she enjoys that family time, she confided that she is “quite happy” to go places on her own. In addition, Chris enjoys reading so much so that when asked her favorite book, she responded, “almost all of them.” Her favorite children’s book was easier to narrow down; she loves the story about sharing called “Rainbow Fish,” which is beautifully written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister. Chris volunteers as a zoo ambassador, as well as gives time to her church and local school. She also works as a part-time medical skills instructor.

Chris is very close to her daughters and says that they are her role models. When asked what their favorite thing about their mom is, her girls said that she loves them unconditionally and always has their backs. Clearly, that is a street of mutual admiration that travels both ways.

Ten years ago, Chris chose to volunteer for the BPP because she was introduced to them through her work as a Beaumont nurse. She says that the program does “wonderful, glorious things for families.” Chris encourages new parents by exhorting them to relax, reminding them of the phrase, “The days may seem long, but the years are short.” As it is for many of the BPP volunteers, her favorite thing about being a BPP volunteer is “the babies, of course.”

Through her volunteer work with the BPP and its families, Chris learned that she was able to continue her life’s work beyond her retirement. And in so doing, she does wonderful and glorious things for families. Thanks for all you do, Chris!

– Nicole Capozello, Parenting Program volunteer

A simple guide to torticollis

baby with torticollis

image credit: spinewave.co.nz

You’ve just given birth to a beautiful child. You’re so caught up in joy and awe that you can’t help but take tons of pictures of the little one. But as you scroll through your pictures you may notice a common trend between 1 and 12 months old: your baby is always looking in one direction.

No, your baby isn’t giving the camera his good side. Your baby may have torticollis.

What is torticollis?

Don’t panic. Torticollis is common and a result of muscle tightness and weakness on one side of the neck. Any diagnosis sounds scary, but caught early enough, torticollis is an easy fix. As a physical therapist, I frequently treat patients with this diagnosis. The key is proactive treatment.

Torticollis occurs when the shoulder muscle, sternocleidomastoid, becomes tight. This can happen due to your baby’s position in the womb or from sleeping position. Twins and large babies are more likely to have torticollis from the reduced womb space. Also, babies’ heads are heavy and tend to rotate to one side when they sleep on their backs. The sternocleidomastoid’s action is lateral flexion (tilting) to one side and rotation (turning) to the other side.

So what can you do?

Start with these two stretches

  • Rotate your child’s head in the opposite direction your child usually looks. Do this hold for 15 to 20 seconds with light pressure every time you change your baby’s diaper (which let’s be real, is 10+ times per day). This improves range of motion and reminds the baby that there is another half of the world to see.
  • The other is the football carry. Place the baby facing out toward the world and turned on his side. Position so that the side of the neck the baby typically tilts is facing down. Put one hand on the side of their head and the other between their legs for support. Use your hand on the side of their head to lightly stretch the baby’s neck. This addresses the tilt component to the muscle tightness.

If you can’t visualize these stretches, I recommend an appointment with a physical therapist. You will see the stretches in person and applied to the specific direction of your child’s rotation and lateral flexion, as well as to learn other exercises for neck strengthening.

Lifestyle tips

  • Feed your child to the direction he doesn’t like to look in order to facilitate active rotation.
  • Adjust crib position so that your child has to turn his head to see what’s happening outside.
  • At playtime, put toys on the opposite side of baby’s head.
  • Have family members stand on the side your child looks to least often when they interact with them.
  • Encourage increased tummy time if your baby has a flat spot on the back of their head so he isn’t falling into that pattern of rotation when on his back.
  • Every adjustment helps!

If torticollis is left untreated, it can lead to a child favoring one arm during sitting and reaching activities, having one-sided weakness, and having an altered crawling or walking pattern. Although it’s an easily treated and often mild condition, ignoring it is the worst thing you can do. Allow your child to see the world from the proper angle and prevent future complications; treat torticollis early!

– Amanda Kirk, DPT, is a physical therapist with Beaumont Macomb Pediatric Rehabilitation.

Meet the mighty mushroom

variety of mushrooms on cutting board

Mushrooms are somewhat of an anomaly in the culinary world. They are often thought of and used as a vegetable, when in reality, mushrooms don’t even belong to the plant family. Rather, mushrooms are vitamin- and nutrient-rich members of the fungi kingdom. For many people, thinking of mushrooms may call to mind pizza, salad or soup. However, there is a vast medley of ways in which the flavorful fungus can be used to bring more excitement and nutrition to your dining table.

Nutrients

Mushrooms are chock full of B vitamins and minerals, and are also the only naturally occurring vegan source of vitamin D. In fact, growers can increase vitamin D levels even further by subjecting their mushroom crops to ultraviolet (UV) light, which causes mushrooms to create more vitamin D, much like the human body does when exposed to sunlight. Vitamins B6, B9 (foliate), and B12 are linked to brain health and can be found in mushrooms. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient of concern for vegans since it is primarily found in animal products; consuming mushrooms can help vegans reach their needs. Mushrooms can also help this population consume more of the minerals copper, selenium, phosphorus, and iron, which may be sparse in the vegan diet.

One cup of mushrooms contains about two grams of protein, roughly 15 calories and no fat. Fiber content ranges depending on the variety, but all mushrooms contain some amount of soluble beta-glucan fiber and insoluble chitin fiber. Beta-glucans may decrease blood cholesterol and insulin resistance, which increases immunity and lowers the incidence of obesity. Additionally, mushrooms are a source of choline, a nutrient that aids memory, learning, muscle coordination, fat absorption, and sleep.

Health benefits

Mushrooms can help prevent or minimize the symptoms of a vast array of common health complications. They are rich in antioxidants, meaning that they may prevent the growth of cancer-causing free radicals in the body. The fiber in mushrooms is beneficial for people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as it decreases blood sugar and improves insulin and lipid levels. Additionally, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber work together to lower blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. Fiber is also instrumental in weight control and satiety. Finally, selenium and beta-glucans both effectively increase immune function.

Chicken Mushroom Bake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (3 ounces each)
  • 1 packet HMR cream of chicken soup packet
  • 1 cup fresh, sliced mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Lemon pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix contents of soup packet with 6 ounces of boiling water. Add mushrooms and garlic.
  3. Place chicken in small casserole baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon pepper. Pour cream of mushroom soup mixture over chicken.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes or until done.

Serving suggestion

Serve with riced cauliflower.

Yield

Makes 2 servings

Source: Mushrooms: Nutritional value and health benefits http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278858.php
Source: http://blog.bariatricchoice.com/chicken-mushroom-bake-bariatric-friendly/

Meagan Lutey is a dietetic intern with Beaumont Health. The Beaumont Weight Control Center offers cooking demonstrations to the community. View a list of current demonstrations here.


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