Brain food: Recipes and Coconut Oil for Kids

Lately, coconut oil has been touted as quite the wonder food.  Though it’s been around for a long time, it’s now making the rounds as a natural beauty aid, as well as a healthier option for cooking with oils.  Beyond that, research on coconut oil has revealed that it works wonders for the brain, something that’s gotten my attention considering our ongoing trials and tribulations with pediatric epilepsy.  

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According to Food for the Brain: 

Virgin-pressed coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which convert directly into ketones. Recent evidence suggests ketones may lessen symptoms in those with Alzheimer’s, as well as children with epilepsy.

Ketones are also made directly from coconut oil (virgin-pressed is best to avoid any hydrogenated fats) which contains medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs for short. These convert directly in ketones which the body can burn for energy rather than store as fat.



The Wall Street Journal backs the positive effects of coconut oil:  Early research on coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease shows a possible protective effect on neurons. In a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Canadian researchers found mouse brain cells treated with coconut oil were somewhat protected from the toxic effects of amyloid proteins, which build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.


 Coconut oil and Kids

With all the good news about coconut oil, how can you introduce it into the kids’ diets and routines in such a way that works for everyone.  It’s pretty simple, actually.  The easiest way to include coconut oil is to just add a teaspoon here and there to foods that you would eat with a spoon.  I’ve been known to add coconut oil to meals and snacks such as:




ice cream


I picked up a Costco-sized tub of Carrington Farms coconut oil and we’ve had fun experimenting with meals and other daily uses. Coincidentally, after I bought my own coconut oil, Carrington Farms contacted me to participate in their April campaign.  As such, in addition to sharing how we use coconut oil, I thought I’d share some tried and true recipes that the kids love.

 Kid-Friendly recipes

I especially love adding, or rather, substituting coconut oil in baking. Because it tolerates high temperatures, coconut oil is a great substitute for shortening, butter, margarine, or vegetable oil. Here’s a delicious waffle recipe where I’ve incorporated coconut oil instead of butter.  These waffles are so crisp and delish, I’ll never go back to the boxed versions again.


Whole Wheat Waffles

 Recipe source: 100 Days of Real Food

•2 large eggs

•1 ¾ cups milk 

•¼ cup melted coconut oil 

•1 tablespoon honey

•½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

•¼ teaspoon baking soda

•1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour 

•2 teaspoons baking powder

•? teaspoon salt


800px Waffles with Strawberries

1.Preheat waffle iron.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil, honey, cinnamon and baking soda until combined.

3. Add in flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together until lumps disappear.

4.  When waffle iron is hot, put butter or spray and ladle batter onto center of iron.

5. cook until golden and crisp.  

6. Top with syrup and enjoy! 


And finally, here’s one more delicious recipe that includes coconut oil:

Banana Bread and Chocolate Chip Muffins

 Adapted from the banana bread recipe as seen in Feeding Your Baby Day by Day by Fiona Wilcock


1/4 cup of melted coconut oil

2 large bananas

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

handful of chocolate chips

 1. Prehead the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare pan; I made mini muffins

2. Mash bananas until smooth and place in mixing bowl.  Stir in oil, eggs, and vanilla.

3. Sift flours and baking powder, adding back any that stays in sifter.

4 Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and beat together until smooth.  Pour or spoon into prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

5. Cool on wire rack and enjoy


Other uses for coconut oil

Aside from adding to food, coconut oil is an amazing natural moisturizer.  We’ve used it for dry hands, burns, conditioner, diaper cream and one of my faves, as the oil in my DIY wipe solution.


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Kidz Vuz Holiday House Party Highlights

A couple of weeks ago, Biggie and I had a much-needed mom and J day.  But it wasn’t just a regular day out, it was a day well spent getting our hands on some of the best gear for tweens.


Though J is a few years away from the official tween stage, we were in great company at the Kidz Vuz Holiday Party.  In case you’re not familiar, Kidz Vuz is a safe online hub where tweens gather to dish and disseminate their thoughts on any and everything, including the latest gadgets and gear.

The Kidz Vuz Holiday Party, held at Gary’s Loft just footsteps away from the hustle and bustle of Herald’s Square, was abuzz with a slew of tween-appropriate goodies.  From tablets to gaming consoles to books to broadway, The Kidz Vuz House Holiday Party had everyone covered.


Here are some highlights of the wonderful day we had at the House Party of the season:


Samsung was front and center showcasing their Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 7.0.  Just as the name suggests, this 7 inch tablet is geared to kids and packs a punch in a colorful little package.  Heavy on the parental controls, this wi-fi enabled tablet allows kids a safer, yet simple interface.  There’s also a standard mode so parents can use the tablet as a fully functioning tablet.


I didn’t get that much time with this cool device, but I was quite impressed with this kid-friendly tablet.  My only reluctance about this device is the yellow and orange, which, for us, wouldn’t be as appealing in a year.  At just six years old, my older son is already turned off by electronics or “babyish” devices.  We’ll group him into the spoiled Apple generation.

We didn’t spend much time at the Nintendo Lounge, but it was quite the hotbed for the tweens and teens, which meant the target audience was satisfied.  We did, however, have a chance to check out a few of the Nintendo DS games, which were fun.  Unfortunately, we’re not a big DS family since we mostly co-play on our XBox and PS3 and J prefers the iPad to a DS.  Nevertheless, I always enjoy Nintendo’s expansive offerings on their various platforms.


J spent almost the entire afternoon at Spinmaster’s nook.  He was immediately drawn to the Tenkai Knights building sets.  Along with several other dudes, J built creation after creation until he could build no more.  Untitled
We are longtime Spinmaster fans, so we have been testing out the other toys they had on display.  I loved seeing how my favorites, Kawaii Krush and Zoomer, were well-loved.  Tenkai Knights have firm placement on our Christmas list.


Hasbro, another longtime favorite of ours, had several fun toys for the kids to explore.  The most popular of the Hasbro corner, though, was definitely the Rebelle shooting range. This fun extension of Nerf includes the Heartbreaker, Guardian, Sweet Revenge and Pink Cross.

À la Katniss from Hunger Games, the Rebelle Heartbreaker underscores the popularity of archery, especially for our fearless females.  Make no mistake though, plenty of boys were giving the gear a spin for themselves.

The Furby Boom, which is looking like a hot item this holiday season, was also a featured product from Hasbro.  This new take on the quirky character is interactive via an app, is responsive and loves to dance.  This latest iteration of Furby is much more vibrant (if that’s even possible) and has more flair than ever.

Downtown Bookworks

This fun children’s publishing company had a selection of superhero books that made quite an impression on us.  With board books featuring DC Superheroes, such as: DC Superheroes, ABC 123 and My First Batman Book, this publisher has numerous titles that would make our littlest superhero fan stand proud.

But it was The Official DC Super Hero Cookbook that kept my biggest superhero fan completely engaged. I love that this book combines two of our loves: superheroes and cooking.  The Downtown Bookworks table let the kids decorate their own superhero cookies with a stencil.  J made his own Flash cookie, which we devoured on the bus on the way home. By the way? This Wonder Woman apron was EVERYTHING!

Green Mustache Smoothies

One of my favorites of the day was Green Mustache Smoothies.  Created by a mom of a picky kid, these smoothies are made with a full serving of greens and fruits.  It’s non-GMO, organic and tastes amazing.  My younger guy is showing picky tendencies or textural issues, but he absolutely LOVED these smoothies.

We normally buy another brand of smoothies, but after tasting these, we are sold.  In fact, I’m headed out today to pick up a few flavors at our closest store, which is 20 miles away.  I will be dropping off an info sheet at my local organic store, in hopes they pick this product up.

Chloe’s Fruit

Chloe’s Fruit was another delicious treat, this time featuring frozen fruit.  With quite a few flavors to choose from, I can see myself choosing this delicious treat over Tasti d-lite anyway.

The Lamp NYC

The Lamp NYC is an organization described by as an organization that educates and equips people to shape the media landscape through hands-on training.  The Lamp NYC teaches young, impressionable minds about news, reporting, commercials, digital media and more.  The purpose of this charity is to immerse kids head-on with the different types of media that shapes our ever-evolving informational landscape.  I love the purpose and meaning of this charity, and it’s one that I hope to get my kids involved in, when the time is right.

Kids’ Night on Broadway

Kids’ Night on Broadway takes place on Feb. 24- March 2.  For this program, kids 6-18 see a Broadway show for free with a full-paying adult.  Tickets go on sale on January 8th for this fabulous experience that gives kids a taste of culture as well as a peek behind the scenes during a fan festival.  This is definitely something I’m hoping we can take part in, so I’ll be penciling in the dates now!

Stonefire Flatbreads

Lunch was catered in part by Stonefire Flatbreads.  J and I ate some delicious sandwiches made with these amazing breads.  These are the fluffiest flatbreads and pitas I’d ever tasted.  Seriously, so fluffy and filling!  A big thanks to Stonefire for introducing me to a new family staple.

Homewood Suites

One of our absolute favorite places to stay when we’re on the road is most definitely Homewood Suites.  In fact, during Hurricane Sandy last year, we had a family member who was staying at a local Homewood Suites and we had the opportunity to stay there for a week.  We had the chance to experience the great complimentary weekday meals, fabulous indoor pool and impeccable service.  Whether traveling for business or with family on vacation, we personally seek out the comfort and convenience of establishments such as Homewood Suites.


I had the opportunity to get my face mapped while at the Kidz Vuz House Party.  The well-versed aesthetician told me things about my skin that I had no idea about, such as I could still have acne prone skin and it still be dehydrated.  I also learned a bit about the Dermalogica’s teen line, which is more concentrated for problem skin that is often brought about during those hormonal teenage years.

Justin Case

Kidz Vuz had a lovely raffle going towards Lamp, which I was more than happy to make a contribution.  As luck would have it, I won a fabulous Justin Case Rechargeable Power Case from Innovative Technologies, which is a back up battery and iPad case all in one.  I read all about it on, so I’m quite excited about this win!

A big thank you and congrats to my friends Rebecca and Nancy of Kidz Vuz.  I attend a lot of events throughout the year, and this was, by far, one of the most well-organized and informative events where my kid and I both came away with a lot of great information and fun goodies to boot.

Full disclosure:  I was not compensated, although I did receive a generous swag bag from the event.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Breakfast (or Dinner) on the go with Aunt Jemima Lil’ Griddles

Thank you to Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast for sponsoring this post. “Like” Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast on Facebook.

Breakfast is a big deal in our house.


Because of late commutes and crazy schedules, it’s tough to pin down the entire family for dinner during the week—forget about breakfast. However, on the weekends, breakfast is a totally different story. Hot, crisp bacon normally complements a batch of pancakes or waffles made from scratch, making Saturday and Sunday mornings well worth the week-long wait.

During the week, though, no matter how hard we try to perfect our morning routine to defray the chaos and rushing around, it seems we never have enough time for a hot breakfast. No time for pancakes, no waffles, just cereal. Biggie begs and pleads for pancakes before school, but let’s face it, after making lunch and ironing uniforms, the last thing I want to do is whip up a batch of pancakes from scratch.

In our house, pre-packaged foods are usually reserved for Trader Joe’s goodies, but on rare occasion, we’ll come across staples that are worth trying out. In fact, Aunt Jemima’s Lil’ Griddles fit the bill. As far as packaged breakfast for the kids, Aunt Jemima’s Lil Griddles Pancakes surprised me. I was expecting something a little less appetizing.

Though it’s hard to botch pancakes, you’d be surprised at the things you’d find on our shelves today. One to study labels before buying, the ingredients in Aunt Jemima’s Lil’ Griddles are pretty close to homemade, minus the fact that I don’t have to measure and pour it all myself. I appreciated that Lil’ Griddles contain real ingredients—flour, eggs, sugar, milk—and there’s no sign of fructose corn syrup. Nothing will ever beat a homemade meal made with love, but I like that making breakfast can be as quick as popping the Lil’ Griddles in the microwave or warming up on the oven. 10 minutes flat, if you don’t include bacon prep time.

We were so excited to try out Lil’ Griddles that we had them for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is something I never usually do because I reserve that deliciousness for weekend breakfast. But with the convenience of Lil’ Griddles, not only could we treat ourselves for a mid-week hot breakfast on the go, but we could also enjoy breakfast for dinner.

Biggie asked me, “are these homemade? I didn’t see you mix them!” I’d say that he approves of Aunt Jemima Lil’ Griddles.

This is a sponsored post as part of a Clever Girls Collective #AJLilGriddlesCG campaign. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Cooking Connections Launches Today

As you all know, food has become a significant part of my coverage on NKT.  The foods we eat and cook and the eating habits we display, ultimately, help our kids to make healthier choices.

For me, cooking resources on the internet and tv help me to navigate in the kitchen.  I’ve always been big on cooking, baking and eating, but online sites, magazines and shows underscore just how much I enjoy being in the kitchen.  I could seriously watch Food Network for hours and daydream about these professional cooks and chefs coming to my house to cook for me!  But good news, though these fantastic chefs can’t come to my house, but there are “real” parents who can—well, sort of!

TheMotherhood’s Cooking Connections, an awesome and innovative eight-week series of virtual cooking classes is launching today.  In this series of virtual cooking classes, “real” moms and dads will lead us in their kitchens, to help us learn more about topics relevant to parents.  The conversations, led by some of my favorite bloggers, will leverage social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and

Sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Cooking Connections is launching today, actually at 1:00 pm at the Blissdom Conference that’s going on right now in Nashville.

I love, love, love TheMotherhood and all the wonderful things that they’re doing around our community.  Cooking Connections will, no doubt, be just as successful as their other projects.  I’m excited to be participating in the cooking class that focuses on picky eaters.  “Placating Picky Eaters” will take place in a few weeks, and I’ll be sure to share more about it soon.  By the way, TheMotherhood, Emily McKhann and 77Kids by American Eagle got a nod in Forbes for the inspiring Do Good Day campaign that tapped bloggers around the country to pay it forward.

Join the conversation!  Want to learn more about Cooking Connections and/or register to participate?  Be sure to sign up here at TheMotherhood.

Check out Cooper and Emily’s announcement video for even more details!

Yum Food & Fun for Kids: New Resource for Food Revolution

Magazines: I know many of you love them as much as I do.  There’s truly nothing like flipping through glossy pages and indulging in feature stories, cool products and advice columns.  In my case, I’m always looking for inspiration, whether it’s for writing, design or to just shop.


On one of my recent trips to Target I found a new magazine called Yum Food & Fun for Kids.  Always, in search of new ideas on how to improve my efforts in the kitchen and at the dinner table, especially where the kid is concerned, I think this new publication fills a void at the newstands.

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Gift Idea: PetCakes Combine What Kids Crave

One of the best aspects of staying with our family* for the past few weeks is that we’ve been able to hang out with my husband and kid’s cousins.  Since I don’t have a daughter, these two adorable little girls have helped me better grasp the latest in cool girl play things.

I typically cover girls’ products, trying my best to go beyond princesses and dolls.  Ultimately, many girls love princesses and other girly-ish toys, but other that, what else is there?   Two words: cupcakes and pets.


I was introduced to Petcakes, a new collectible plush toy, at the Time to Play Spring and Summer Showcase.  Well Made Toys, the brains behind these plush toys, had the foresight to combine two things that many girls crave:  lovable pets and the ongoing trend of cupcakes.

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Noodle and Doodle to Debut on Sprout in September

Of the hundred or so exhibitors at this year’s BlogHer conference, since it was a blogging conference geared to women, the booths were geared to moms and families.  Sprout was onhand to share all about their latest programming, and even distribute a few cool branded notebooks, coloring books, cups.  My guy is sort of obsessed with Chica, so we’ve set aside our Chica cup to use to organize pencils and pens in his new room.

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Let Them Eat Cake!

Last weekend, I had a fun mini-party that I billed an NKT playdate.  It was a super small gathering of some of my friends from back home, some of whom I hadn’t seen since we embarked on our own crazy adventures of parenthood.

At the playdate, I showcased a number of toys and product samples that I’ve received, but haven’t had the chance to write about on NKT.  It was a great way of getting the products into my friends’ hands, and getting a different perspective while sharing some cool kid finds.  I’ll be sure to write a more thorough post on what I shared and what some of them had to say.  Since it was my birthday earlier this week, naturally, I still have cake on the brain!


One of the cool activity sets I featured was the Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery from Jakks Pacific, which came out last fall.  The Cake Bakery is one of those fun activity sets that’s quite timely in relation to the ongoing cake craze.  With the rise in popularity of cakes from hit shows like our neighborhood favorite, Carlo’s Bakery of The Cake Boss fame to the ever-inspiring Ace of Cakes, cake-making and decorating has never been so sweet.

This set allows kids to create cakes with a little help from Duff of Charm City Cakes, the bakery which is chronicled on the Food Network’s Ace of Cakes.  With the Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery, kids can create a mini 2-tiered fondant cakes. Kids just add water to one of the cake flavors, stir and pour into the cake molds, and then place into the container and microwave for 30 seconds. To create one of the fondant mixes, water is added and then can be rolled out onto the non-stick mat. The cakes are then removed from the mold after they cool, which are then ready to be covered with the fondant. The mini cakes can be placed on the decorating turntable and can be fancied up by using the air powered gel decorator gun.  Need more embellishments? Add the included candy garnishes!   How sweet it is!

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Taste of the Rainbow and a Jiggly Pot of Gold

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!  On this day best known for leprechauns, luck of the Irish and green beer, celebrating with kids often includes a lot of creativity.

One of my favorite family magazines, Disney’s FamilyFun, features a great range of ideas for St. Patrick’s Day crafts and goodies, which are perfect for kids of all ages.  In particular, I eyed a couple of ideas that would be great for dessert on the luckiest day of the year!

If you know me, you must know I love cupcakes.  So of course, I have to share about the Taste a Rainbow Cupcakes, just one of the fun St. Patrick’s Day themed recipes that’s featured in FamilyFun.  The Taste a Rainbow Cupcakes make a colorful dessert idea.  All it takes is cake mix, some food coloring, a few bowls to separate the colors and a little patience to pour and layer each color into the cupcake pan, and voila, you have your Taste a Rainbow Cupcakes.

And if cupcakes aren’t your speed, there are many more St. Patrick’s Day-themed recipes to choose from, including St. Patrick’s Pot of Gold, which is lemon-flavored Jello served in limes, or rather, emerald pots.  Again, it just takes a little more effort cutting and preparing, but this pot of gold is a festive way to celebrate with the wee leprechauns!


If you guys do any St. Patrick’s Day recipes with the kids, please share them!  I love to hear all the green, gold and Irish ideas.  Also, be sure to check out FamilyFun for recipes and craft ideas that are fun all year long.