Monday, February 17, 2014

Must Have Monday Product Review - Swaddle Angel Blanket by Munchkin

I've been thinking for awhile that I should blog about some of the items that I love and get to try. I often receive free products to try via Klout, Influenster and BzzAgent and participate by leaving feedback and reviews on their websites regarding the products.

The Must Have Monday posts will be reviews on the products that I love and use on a regular basis. Sometimes they'll consist of baby items, fitness gear, home, food and technology products. Basically, a little bit or everything. :) I'll be sure to post if these were products that were given to me or purchased on my own as well. I'll likely focus on posting a MHM post once or twice a month to begin with.

This weeks Must Have Product is the Swaddle Angel Blanket made by Munchkin. I LOVE these swaddle blankets.They are made of the softest material (100% rayon from bamboo so it's breathable and lightweight as well) and has a reinforced center panel on each blanket that helps to keep baby warmer without a ton of added bulk. One of my favorite things about them is the gorgeous designs that they come in. They're fashionable enough and don't scream "baby" like so many other products which is great because they are so versatile.

I am so glad that I happened to pick up a pack of these (comes with two) at Babies R Us because they are my hands down favorite blankets that we own. We use them each night to swaddle Aiden (I also use a flannel receiving blanket to keep him a bit warmer since it's been freezing here in Michigan for the time being). I think that these blankets will be great for using in the spring/summer when it gets warmer outside too. They are large enough that they could easily be thrown over a stroller or carseat to keep the sun out and have nifty loops on each corner to attach it so that you're not having to constantly adjust it. These loops are also really convenient for using the blankets as a nursing cover (I used this recently when at a family function) that won't overheat you or your little one.

I highly recommend these! I plan on picking up more of them soon because the two that I have is just not enough and I want to make sure to have plenty for the years to come (plus I really love the other patterns too).
Aiden all swaddled

Used as a nursing cover (just loop the blanket through the corner loops)

The gorgeous designs! (Image from the munchkin website)
I never used to swaddle our little one because he would throw a fit during the process. We started doing it after he kept waking himself up with his crazy, flying arms. We found that after the initial fit of crying, he would quickly calm down and sleep so much better through the night. Now he doesn't even mind the process of swaddling. If you're finding that your little one is fussy and waking often in the night (aside from feedings), I'd give swaddling a try. Below is a great diagram that walks you through the steps of swaddling. Remember to wrap them pretty tightly for best results (reminds them of life in the womb).

Photo courtesy of Bambino Land

Do you swaddle your baby? Do you have a favorite swaddling blanket?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Heart Healthy Black Bean Burger & Smashed Potatoes

Today is National Wear Red Day, a day in which the American Heart Association and many others, bring attention to heart disease and it's prevalence among women. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and actually kills more women then men annually. Heart disease is often referred to as a "silent killer" because there can be few, to no noticeable symptoms that someone may be afflicted by this disease.

Since the first National Red Day in 2003 there have been many move towards increasing awareness and education about heart disease for women. For more information about their decade of success check out the American Heart Associations website.

In honor of this day I'm going to feature a few recipes that we have often around our house: Black Bean Burgers and Smashed Potatoes. I like to consider this recipe a healthy alternative to the traditional burger and fries. The burgers pop with flavor and are a great meatless option and the potatoes get crispy and are salty enough to satisfy your salt craving without the fat and calories that are associated with your traditional fries.

Black Bean Burgers:
4 servings


1 can of black beans (15 oz. rinsed and drained, or for lower sodium option you can make your own black beans)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced peppers (I use green, orange and red peppers)
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic seasoning
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mash black beans in a bowl with a fork until it is a thick and pasty texture. Mix in onions and peppers. In separate bowl beat the egg and seasonings together. Add liquids to bean and pepper mix, and stir well. Add in bread crumbs until the mixture sticks together well. Form mixture into patties (makes 4 patties).

Place patties on lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, flip, and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.

Side note: This recipe has a lot of potential for substitutions. I have used rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs and have added whatever veggies I had around the house (corn is a great one to add, along with jalapenos for a spicy kick). Adding some avocado on top or pepperjack cheese just takes this to another level too.


Smashed Potatoes:


Russet potatoes
Seasonings of choice (I like to use creole seasoning, but you can use just salt and pepper too)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and scrub potatoes well. Puncture potatoes with a fork, and microwave just as you would a baked potato until a softer texture. When potatoes are done "baking" in microwave, let cool and slice in half. Season the cut side up with seasoning.

Lightly oil a baking sheet. Place potatoes cut side down on baking sheet and lightly smash into the baking sheet. At this point I use my Misto and lightly spray potatoes again and add additional seasoning to the outside of the potatoes.

Bake 20 minutes. Flip potatoes and bake additional 20 minutes.

Creamy inside and crispy goodness on the outside.
Pair it with a salad and you're all set.
Finally, ladies (and men) take control of your life and the steps to lead a healthier lifestyle. A few of the most important things that you can do to prevent heart disease (and other chronic conditions) are:

1. Be physically active: Aim to get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. 
2. Eat a healthy diet: Choose a diet low in fats, cholesterol, sodium and sugars. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and fiber rich proteins will help your quest to have a healthy diet.

What steps do you take to lead a heart healthy lifestyle?