Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

"This is a creamy variation of a family classic. The Cream cheese addition takes it to the next level. Serve over hot, cooked egg noodles to complete this easy peasy dinner ."
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: high protein, nut free, soy free
Servings: 4
Calories: 376kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cubed beef stew meat
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 ounces cream cheese

Instructions

  • In a slow cooker, combine the meat, soup, onion, Worcestershire sauce and water.
  • Cook on Low setting for 8 hours, or on High setting for about 5 hours.
  • Stir in cream cheese just before serving.

Notes

Nutrition Facts
Per Serving: 376 calories;
27.3 g fat;
9.5 g carbohydrates;
22 g protein;
97 mg cholesterol;
711 mg sodium

This, Not That, Thursday – Beeswax Wraps

On this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday,” we want to discuss beeswax wraps. Last week we touched on DIY reusable snack bags to move away from disposable plastic, so this week we’re focusing on plastic cling wrap.

If you’re like me, there’s probably no love lost between you and plastic. Most food-related plastics – including cling wrap and so-called “BPA-free” containers – “can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen”* 

Fortunately, there are so many amazing alternatives available like leakproof glass containers and silicone stretchable lids that stretch to fit a variety of container sizes, and of course beeswax wraps!

When you pack your own lunch every day (maybe your kids’ too), it might feel like you’re always adding cling wrap to your grocery list… enter beeswax wraps. The pliable covers fold up around foods and cover bowls of leftovers. They rinse clean with cold water and mild soap (hot water would melt the wax!) and you can reuse them time and time again.

These bee-autiful storage solutions sell for about $18 for a pack of three on Amazon, but if you’re feeling crafty, they’re super easy to DIY. Either way, you’ll easily recoup the cost by buying fewer sandwich bags and plastic wrap. If you use three plastic bags per day and a box of 150 costs about $10, you’re already spending more than $70 per year on something most people just throw away after one use.

These beeswax food wraps are not hard to make, but they do take a little bit of time, so plan ahead for that. This recipe makes four wraps, but it’s easy to double the recipe if you want to make more.

Cut the muslin cloth to whatever size works best for you, or even different sizes if you wish. You can use pinking shears if you want to make the edges fancy. I personally love the look it gives. The pine resin is probably the hardest ingredient to come by, but I was able to find a good source on Amazon. Beeswax pastilles are probably the easiest form of beeswax to use here, or you can do what I did and grate some off a block of beeswax.

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼  cup beeswax
  • 2 tablespoons pine resin
  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
  • 4 squares of 100% cotton muslin fabric (I used 12″ squares)

EQUIPMENT

  • small saucepan
  • glass pyrex measuring cup
  • parchment paper
  • baking sheet
  • 1″ wide paintbrush
  • clothes drying rack
  1. Melt the pine resin in a double boiler (I use a glass pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water) over medium heat. 
  2. It takes a while for the resin to fully melt, but once it does add the beeswax. Stir using a wooden or bamboo stick until the resin and wax are completely melted together. 
  3. Then slowly drizzle in the jojoba oil. Turn the heat to low to keep it all melted. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 225°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one square of muslin on the parchment and use the paintbrush to brush it all over with the beeswax mixture. 
  5. Place the baking sheet in the oven just long enough to fully melt the beeswax. It should only take a couple of minutes. Take it out of the oven and spread the beeswax around again with the paintbrush, so that the whole muslin cloth is coated evenly. 
  6. Then take another square of muslin and lay it on top of the first square to blot up the extra wax. Flip the two squares over so that the blotting square is now on the bottom. 
  7. Return the baking sheet to the oven briefly, just long enough to liquefy the wax. 
  8. Remove from the oven, and hang the first piece of beeswax coated muslin on a clothes drying rack to dry. 
  9. Use the paintbrush to spread the wax on the blotting square, which is now your working square, and repeat the whole process again.

Once they are all dry, they are ready to use! They work perfectly for covering bowls, just as you would use plastic wrap. The beeswax can be warmed in the hands and will conform to the bowl and stick to the rim. The pine resin gives it some stickiness as well.

FYI: Beeswax wraps aren’t air-tight and won’t keep highly perishable items (like raw meat) fresh. We recommend using them to cover foods you’ll eat within a couple of hours or the next day, like a sandwich, bowl of pasta, or piece of fruit. For longer-lasting leftovers or smellier items like cheese, you’re probably better off sealing them up in reusable glass containers. With that in mind, here’s how you can make your own beeswax wraps <3 

*Concluded a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives(source 1, source 2)

This, Not That, Thursday – Diatomaceous Earth

This week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we’re talking about Diatomaceous Earth. It’s the “Jack of all trades” of natural home care products, and it has applications in the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and more. An added bonus is that DE is so safe and non-toxic, it’s frequently used in water filtration.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth, Anyway?

DE is, as mentioned, a white powder naturally occurring from the fossils of diatoms (a type of algae found in river beds and lake beds). The diatoms form a very hard shell of silica in a tubular shape.

When dry, DE appears very fine and soft to the naked eye but microscopically it has some very unique qualities:

  • High Silica Content: These fossilized diatoms have a very high silica content (which is used to build hair, skin, and nails).
  • Hard as Nails … or Diamonds: DE is very hard (only two points lower than diamonds on the hardness scale). It looks like a tiny cylindrical tube with many holes in it when viewed through a microscope.
  • Holds a Strong Negative Charge: DE has a very strong negative charge, which makes it purifying and beneficial in several ways.

Since the 1960s DE has been commonly used in things like toothpaste, as an anti-caking aid, for clarifying beer or wine, and to eliminate pests naturally. In fact, you’ve likely consumed products that contain traces of DE without even knowing it! While I’m usually not a fan of hidden ingredients, DE is one we don’t need to worry about.

Note: you should only use “food grade” Diatomaceous Earth if you intend to use it around your house. This is distinct from “pool grade” Diatomaceous Earth, which is coarser and designed to help filter pool water. 

Copper Polish

Do your copper pots look dull? A mixture of vegetable oil, vinegar, and DE can return it to its store-bought shine. Just rub the mixture vigorously into the pots until you can start to see that copper color come back.

Water Stain Removal

Notice a buildup around your water faucets? Mix together lemon, vinegar, vegetable oil, and DE in a small bowl. With a damp cloth, use that substance to scrub the deposits away.

Oil Spill Cleanup

Interestingly, DE can hold up to twice its weight in liquid. That makes it useful when you accidentally spill oil on your driveway. Just coat the spill in DE and let it soak the oil up. Then, sweep up the DE and throw it away. When you clean the area with hot, soapy water afterward, it’s much less likely to leave a permanent stain.

Shoe Deodorizer

Do your shoes sometimes resemble a petri dish? Hey, don’t be embarrassed. Fungus thrives in conditions exactly like the inside of your shoe. However, there’s one crucial ingredient that all fungi need in order to thrive: moisture.  

By sprinkling DE in your shoes, you’ll steal away that moisture and neutralize foot odors at the same time.

Refrigerator Deodorizer

DE absorbs odors. That’s incredibly valuable when you have an old fridge that is filled with the smells of years’ worth of groceries. 

To improve the odor, first, find a container (like a coffee can or a mason jar) and stick a few holes in the lid. Pour DE in the container, slap on the lid, and stick it inside of your refrigerator. As the air slowly circulates, you should notice it start to smell more neutral in about a week.

Repel Bugs & Fleas

Pest infestations in your home are maddening. But it’s possible to clear your home of insects without using pesticides. Since DE absorbs oils, a small sprinkling of the stuff can cause bugs to shrivel like raisins and die, even though the substance is harmless to humans and pets. If your home is under siege, thoroughly clean your bedding, carpets, and upholstery, then dust these surfaces with DE.

Have you ever used Diatomaceous Earth? What did you use it for? How did it work? Share below!

This, Not That, Thursday – Reusable Snack Bags

Good morning! It’s almost Back to School & snacks are a big deal. This week “This, Not That, Thursday” is focusing on reusable snack bags. There is so much waste that comes from using single-serve packets or using plastic bags every day. Reusable snack bags are amazing and will save you money in the long run. You can buy them of course but we’re going to tell you how to make them.

Materials for Making Reusable Snack Bags:
– Outside cotton fabric—dig through your fabric stash! You just need enough to make two 6 1/2”x5″ rectangles (or whatever size you choose)
– Waterproof food-safe fabric
– Velcro
– Coordinating thread
– Scissors
– Ruler
– Seam gauge
– Rotary cutter and mat (optional, but makes this project even quicker!)How to Make – Reusable Snack Bags:
1. Cut your fabric. Cut two pieces each of the outer fabric and the line (6 1/2″ x 5″) but any size will work. Cut a strip of the Velcro/hook and loop fastener to 6 1/2″ (or whatever width your bag will be).
2. Pin one half of the velcro strip 3/4″ from the top of one-liner piece, and sew all around the edges of the fastener. You may be tempted to not pin, even if you tend to freehand your sewing, you WILL want to pin in this.
Repeat with the other piece of lining fabric and the other half of the hook-and-loop fastener.
3. Pin one piece of the lining fabric to one piece of the outer fabric, right sides together (for the lining, the “right side” is the one with the fastener on it). Sew along the top, 1/4″ from the edge.
Repeat with the other lining and outside fabric piece. Open up both pieces and run your finger along the seams to press them open. You’d usually want to iron here, but the high heat may damage the liner.
4. Put together both pieces, right sides together, matching up the seams and the Velcro. Starting at the bottom of the lining fabric, sew around the perimeter of the piece, leaving a 2″ space open at the bottom of the liner to turn the bag. Backstitch at each end of your sewing for security.
5. Turn the bag right-side-out through the opening in the bottom of the liner.
6. Close the opening at the bottom of the liner by folding in the edges to create a seam. You can either topstitch over this or slipstitch it.
7. Push the liner inside the bag, and you’re done! To make the bags lay flat, you may want to either finger press the top seams or briefly run over the bags with a very low iron.
Cleaning Your Snack Bags
Most of the time, you can just turn the bags inside out and wipe clean. But if it gets really dirty, wash in cold water and hang up to dry. If you choose to put these through the washer, I recommend putting them in a mesh laundry bag first, just so the Velcro doesn’t get caught on the rest of your laundry

Grandma Antionette’s Dutch Oven Pot Roast

Grandma Antionette’s Dutch Oven Pot Roast

It’s getting a bit cooler here today and that makes me crave comfort foods. One of my favorite comfort meals of all time is my Grandmother’s pot roast. I remember sitting at her table with my siblings and cousins, inhaling plate after plate. One bite could make your whole week. Fork tender and juicy right from her dutch oven, this Grandma Anionette classic is a meal in one pan and perfect for your next Sunday supper.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, Gluten Free, nut free, soy free
Servings: 6
Calories: 500kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 medium onions sliced
  • 2- pound chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 large russet potatoes peeled and sliced into 1-inch wedges
  • 4 large carrots peeled and sliced into ½ -inch thick pieces
  • 2 celery stalks sliced into ½ -inch thick pieces
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup red wine

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Put your dutch oven on the stove and heat it over high heat 5 to 6 minutes to sear the meat. Add the oil and season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides. Add it to the pan. It should sizzle immediately.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-high, and let the meat sear on one side 5 minutes, then flip. Add the onions, and garlic then cook 5 minutes more. Deglaze the pot by adding wine.
  • Add the beef broth to the pot–it should come about halfway up the side of the meat.
  • Cover and bake 2 hours, then check the liquid in the pot. Add a cup or so of extra water if needed.
  • Reduce the heat to 300 and bake an additional hour, and then add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Bake covered 1 hour longer or until the meat is tender and the potatoes and carrots are soft.

This, Not That, Thursday – White Rice Alternatives

On this week’s installment of This, Not That, Thursday, we bring you 7 healthier alternatives to white rice.

White rice is a cheap and easy starch many people choose to cook with, but there are healthier alternatives to white rice out there. Use these alternatives to amp up the nutrients in your meal.

1. Red Or White Quinoa

Quinoa contains the second most protein of any grain and has all of the essential amino acids. It is also naturally gluten-free and high in fiber.

2. Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a great, low carb alternative to rice. It is also gluten-free and one serving contains a day worth of Vitamin C.

3. Broccoli Rice 

Broccoli rice is another great gluten-free low carb alternative full of fiber, plant-based protein, and iron.

4. Barley

Although not as popular as some of the other grains, barley provides a good serving of fiber and many other important minerals such as selenium.

5. Farro

Farro is an easy to digest grain that is full of protein and iron.

6. Sweet Potato Rice

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fiber and also gluten-free.

This, Not That, Thursday – 5 uses for used coffee grounds

Something that never felt right to me was throwing away used coffee grounds. Many people wake up in the morning looking forward to their cup of coffee and then habitually toss the grounds into the trash without a second thought.

As it turns out, there are many wonderful things you can do with these spent coffee grounds. Before you throw out those grounds after brewing up your morning beverage, give one of these ideas a try.

1. Coffee grounds are wonderful at exfoliating your hair. 

To exfoliate hair, use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup used coffee grounds, depending on hair length. In the shower, wet hair thoroughly. Massage grounds through hair focusing on the scalp. It helps to part the hair and work in sections. Once you have covered the whole scalp, thoroughly wet the hair again. Don’t try to rinse the grounds out as it won’t work. Use your shampoo to work up a nice lather. Then you can rinse it all out. A second shampooing may be necessary. Finish with your normal conditioner or apple cider vinegar rinse.

2. Soil aeration and nitrogen boost for houseplants. 

Adding coffee grounds to your houseplants helps the pH balance (toward acidity) as well as increasing nitrogen and aerating the soil. Tomatoes love acidic soil!

3. Neutralize refrigerator odors. 

Placing them in the refrigerator acts as a natural deodorizer. The only thing you need to watch for is mold if you use damp grounds. Replace immediately with fresher grounds if it turns into a science experiment.

4. Weigh Down Ashes for Fireplace Clean-up:

If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, those old coffee grounds will become your best friend. When it is time to clean out the ashes, cover them with a layer of wet coffee grounds to moisten and weigh them down. This will greatly reduce the amount of ash that will float up and coat your living room when you scoop them out.

5. Pest Repellent

Snail, slug, and cat repellent. In the garden, just mound up a barrier of used grounds around the plants which slugs and cats are attracted to. It will help keep them at bay.

This, Not That, Thursday – Live Music

This week’s installment of This, Not That, Thursday, is about getting out of the habit of sitting at home watching TV after work. Instead of the boob tube, we’ve made a list of local, free live music to help get you started. Tonight is – Live at 5 in Patchogue & Music on Main in Farmingdale! Check it out

This, Not That, Thursday – Air Purifying Plants

Good afternoon everyone.

It is a beautiful sunny Thursday and were happy to bring you this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday.” This week we will be talking about Air purifying plants.

Why does indoor air need purifying?

Well, there are plenty of toxins floating around outside thanks to pesticides and herbicides, vehicle fumes, and other industrial pollutants. Sadly, you’ll find a ton of toxins in the air inside your own home as well.

Your indoor air quality is affected by the following:

  1. Cleaning products, especially laundry detergent and fabric softener, as laundry chemicals are the top indoor pollutant
  2. Chemical flame retardants in furniture, mattresses, and children’s PJs
  3. Formaldehyde found in gas stoves, garbage bags, paper towels and tissues, carpet backing, and some fabrics
  4. Fragrances
  5. Other toxins carried in on your clothes and shoes from outdoors
  6. Electromagnetic frequencies (from computers, WiFi, and other electronics)

Opening your windows can go a long way, but a solution I really like is plants. These houseplants are the most effective at removing indoor air toxins and contaminants.

Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palms are effective at removing chemical contaminants from the air like formaldehyde and benzene. They also help to keep the air moist, which is helpful during winter months when all types of heaters can produce overly dry indoor air.

Bamboo palms have a tropical appearance and, though green instead of the typical tan bamboo color, have the characteristic tall, skinny canes and fanned leaves.

Rubber Plant

The rubber plant is very effective for removing formaldehyde from indoor air. It’s favored for its ease of growth, as well as its appearance, which features large, rubbery leaves.

The rubber plant can grow up to 8 feet tall in the proper conditions. This large plant is bred for toughness, which means that it’s not only one of the most effective plants for purifying indoor air, but it’s sure to be hardy even in less than ideal conditions.

English Ivy

English ivy is most often seen growing as a covering in atriums and lobbies, but it makes a lovely feature if grown as a topiary. Like the rubber plant, English ivy is known for its ability to remove formaldehyde from the air.

English ivy needs lots of light to look its best, but does well when the temperature doesn’t get too hot. It is, however, very adaptable to its environment, as it will climb and spread over any surface given the chance.

Dwarf Date Palm

If you’re into tropical plants, the dwarf date palm is for you. It’s like an adorable mini palm tree that fits in your living room.

The dwarf date palm is one of the most effective palms for removing indoor air pollution, especially xylene, which is found in solvents and paint thinner. It’s also quite good at keeping the air moist and is fairly easy to grow.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – How to start a compost pile

For this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we’re discussing “how to start a compost pile.”

The EPA estimates that 22 percent of solid waste that enters the landfill is food.

Composting is a perfect way to divert a lot of that organic matter away from the landfill. While it’s still important to cut down on food waste by eating leftovers and using up produce before it goes bad, no one is perfect. So, composting the kitchen waste that can’t be saved is a great way to reduce food waste.

How to start a compost pile

Starting a compost pile requires a few simple steps: creating the compost heap, adding organic materials, and watering and turning the compost as necessary. 

Creating your compost heap 

Location – One of the most important factors for starting a compost pile is its location. Choose an open, level area with good drainage. You do not want your compost to sit in standing water. An area with partial sun or shade is also ideal. Too much sun can dry the pile out, while too much shade can keep it overly wet. Finally, choose a site that is easy for you to get to and avoid areas near dogs or other meat-eating animals. 

Size – The recommended size for a compost pile is generally no smaller than 3 feet high and wide and no larger than 5 feet. Anything smaller may not heat up efficiently and anything larger may hold too much water and become difficult to turn. It is recommended to start your pile on the bare ground rather than on asphalt or concrete. This impedes aeration and inhibits microbes. Placing a pallet underneath the pile is fine, however, if you prefer. 

Adding organic materials 

Many organic materials can be composted, but there are some items that you should keep out of your compost pile. 

These include: 

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Fat
  • oil products 
  • Carnivorous pet feces (e.g. dog, cat) 
  • Diseased plants, or weeds that have seeded Human waste Charcoal or coal ash (wood ash is ok though) 

The key materials for composting are nitrogen/greens and carbon/browns. When starting a compost pile, the recommended practice is to layer or alternate these greens and browns, the same way as you would for making lasagna. 

Your bulkier organic materials do best in the first ground layer, so start with a layer of browns, such as twigs (less than ½ inch in diameter) or straw, about 4 to 6 inches. 

Next, add in some green materials, such as kitchen waste and grass clippings, again about 4 to 6 inches thick. Additionally, animal manure and fertilizers serve as activators that accelerate the heating of your pile and provide a nitrogen source for beneficial microbes. 

Continue to add layers of nitrogen and carbon materials until you reach the top or run out. Lightly water each layer as it is added, firming it down but do not compact. 

Watering and turning the compost 

Your compost pile should be moist, but not soggy. Most of your water will come from rain, as well as the moisture in green materials, but you may need to water the pile yourself on occasion. If the pile gets too wet, you can turn it more frequently to dry it or add more brown materials to soak up excess moisture. Once you turn the pile the first time, these materials will get mixed together and compost more efficiently. Keeping the compost pile turned on a frequent basis will help with aeration and speed up decomposition. Using these simple instructions for composting, you will be well on your way to creating the ideal compost for your garden. 

-Dr. P
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Insta Pot Beefy Gyros

These Instant Pot Beef Gyros are a quick meal filled with healthy, clean ingredients and veggies that will make your mouth water! Ready in 25 min what could be better?

Beef Gyros with the Insta Pot

These Instant Pot Beef Gyros are a quick meal filled with healthy, clean ingredients and veggies that will make your mouth water! Ready in 25 min what could be better?
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: low carb, soy free
Servings: 6
Calories: 395kcal

Equipment

  • Insta Pot

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef roast thinly sliced *I've also used loin flap meat and it's so easy to slice and cook
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp parsley dried
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or beef broth
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp oil olive, coconut, avocado, etc
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar optional
  • 1 tsp olive oil optional

Toppings

  • Pitas or Naan bread
  • carrots sliced
  • onions sliced
  • grape tomatoes quartered
  • cucumbers sliced
  • Lettuce
  • Feta or goat cheese optional, use container to measure

Tzatziki Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cucumber peeled seeded, and chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill

Instructions

  • Turn Instant Pot on saute and let the pot warn up. When it’s warm, add oil to the bottom of the pot and let it get hot.
  • Add meat, seasoning, garlic, and onion to Instant Pot. Sear and let onions soften for 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour lemon juice and broth over the meat. Give the meat a quick stir, then lock lid into place. Turn the steam valve to sealing. Using the Meat/Stew preset, cook the gyro meat for 9 minutes.
  • Let the pressure naturally release for 3 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure using the quick release method.
  • While the gyro meat is cooking mix together the Tzatziki sauce and slice your vegetable toppings. For added flavor, drizzle apple cider vinegar and olive oil over vegetables.

Notes

Note: To make your gyro, layer the lettuce at the bottom of the pita or naan bread. Then add your meat, toppings, and sauce. This will keep the pita
or naan from getting soggy.
Nutrition
Calories: 395 cal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 989mg | Potassium: 596mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2.5% | Vitamin C: 5% | Calcium: 6.9% | Iron: 18.1%

-Dr. P

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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural oven cleaner

When cleaning your oven, you think of a giant chore & super harsh chemicals. 

Well, we’re here with this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” to offer you a better way. You don’t even have to clean your oven in a day. By getting started the night before, you’ll save yourself time and aggravation. Thanks to white vinegar and baking soda, you won’t need to use harsh chemicals. They are environmentally friendly, remove hardened stains and eliminate germs and odors.

Natural Oven cleaner

Tools:

  • Dish gloves
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • A spray bottle
  • A sponge or cleaning cloth
  • A scraper or spatula
  • Paper towels
  • Bucket or bowl

Steps

1. Remove the racks from your oven and wash them in warm, soapy water. Some oven racks are dishwasher-safe, but check your oven manual first to make sure they won’t be damaged in the dishwasher. Dry the racks and set them aside.

2. Remove any loose food particles from your oven. Use a scraper to get all the burnt bits out.

3. Make a paste using three parts baking soda and one part water. 

4. Spread the paste around the inside of your oven. If there are really tough, burnt-on spots, put a little extra baking soda paste on them. Avoid putting the paste on heating elements inside the oven.

5. Close your oven, and let the paste sit overnight.

6. When you’re ready, moisten your sponge or cleaning cloth with warm water and wipe away the baking soda paste. Use a bucket or bowl full of warm water to rinse the sponge or cleaning cloth as you’re removing the baking soda paste. For any stubborn messes, use a scraper or spatula.

7. Fill a spray bottle with one part vinegar and one part water. Spray down the oven and wipe away leftover baking soda paste with paper towels or another cleaning cloth. 

8. Replace the oven racks.

Your oven is going to be so spotless, the next time your mother-in-law stops by, you’ll make up excuses for her to open it up.

-Dr. P
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Summertime Grecian Flounder

“Flounder baked with fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, onion, and white wine. Serve with basmati rice and any green vegetable will do but asparagus is my favorite!”

Summertime Grecian flounder

“Flounder baked with fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, onion, and white wine. Serve with basmati rice and any green vegetable will do but asparagus is my favorite!”
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Gluten Free, heart healthy, low calorie, low carb, low fat
Servings: 4
Calories: 282kcal

Ingredients

  • 5 Plum (Romtomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 pinch Italian seasoning
  • 24 kalamata olives pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 leaves fresh basil chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese freshly grated is best
  • 1 pound flounder fillets
  • 6 leaves fresh basil torn

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  • Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Plunge tomatoes into the boiling water and immediately remove to a medium bowl of ice water; drain. Remove and discard skins from tomatoes. Chop tomatoes and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; saute onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic and Italian seasoning; cook until tomatoes are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in olives, wine, capers, lemon juice, and 1/2 the basil. Reduce heat, blend in Parmesan cheese, and cook until the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce, about 15 minutes.
  • Place flounder in a shallow baking dish. Pour sauce over the fillets and top with remaining basil leaves.
  • Bake 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until fish is easily flaked with a fork.

This, Not That, Thursday – Sugary Drink Alternatives

Hi everyone! 
For this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” we are looking at healthy alternatives to sugary drinks. Numerous studies have shown the negative health effects of drinking sugary drinks on your waistline and your teeth. It may have far more health risks than many of us may realize. Drinking sugary drinks can cause a decline in kidney function, an increase in your risk of diabetes, and can cause vascular issues. Sugary drinks also deplete your mineral levels and leave you dehydrated. Sugary drinks are also linked to dementia and cancer.

These are just a few of the negative health effects of sugary drinks. Help to cut the cola with these healthy and delicious sugary drink alternatives.

Tea – iced or hot-
With all the different ways to enjoy it hot or cold, tea is likely one of the best sugary drink substitutes on this list. Tea has an extensive variety of flavor profiles and caffeine levels. There’s a tea out there for everyone! Perfect for any season or time of day, tea is a versatile sugary drink substitute and easy way to enjoy flavored beverages with little to no calories. Herbal tea can be used to help you unwind, boost your immune system, or reduce pain or soreness.

Freshly-squeezed lemonade-
A classic summertime pick-me-up, fresh lemonade—maybe with a dash of cane sugar or agave nectar for a hint of sweetness—has enough citrusy flavor to help wash away those memories of your sugary drink guzzling days.

Sparkling water-
After decades of public health initiatives, consumers are leaving sugary drinks behind for its sleeker, healthier counterpart: flavored sparkling water. Nowadays, sparkling water makers are everywhere, from homes to offices, hotels to restaurants. Rather than buying bottles and cans, avid sparkling water drinkers often invest in carbonated water dispensers to mitigate the environmental impact of buying cases of fizzy water. Now that’s some savvy sipping!

Kombucha-
Kombucha is a recent health trend that shows no signs of fizzling out. While its poignant flavor is not for everyone, Kombucha typically contains little to no sugar and is a potential source of probiotics, which are known to promote gut health. It contains antioxidants and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Sparkling water with a splash of juice-
Perfect for brunch, sparkling water with a splash of pineapple, orange, cranberry, or mango juice is a great non-alcoholic, low-calorie alternative to sugary drinks or mimosas at brunch.

Fruit and herb infusions-
Infusions are a great way to use up any extra fruit and herbs in your fridge before they spoil. Simply chop whatever fruit and herbs you have, throw them in a pitcher or reusable water bottle, and you’ll be sipping on some fruity goodness in just a few hours. If you enjoy fruit flavors but don’t want the sugar rush of juice, infusions are the way to go!

Coconut water-
Like Kombucha, Coconut water is a health fad and popular healthy substitute for sugary drinks that’s been on the scene for a few years now. Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is a natural source of potassium and electrolytes, making it the perfect tropical alternative to plain water.

Mineral water-
Mineral water contains zero calories and has the added nutritional benefit of minerals such as calcium, magnesium sulfate, and sodium sulfate. Mineral water is an everyday sugary drink substitute that’s sold at most grocery stores and online. It can help to lower blood pressure, regulate blood circulation, strengthen bones, and promote digestive health.

-Dr. P
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Red, White and Blue Summer Salad

Red, White and Blue Summer Salad

In this salad, we combine traditional Caprese flavors with summer blueberries, peaches and added prosciutto for saltiness, creating a balanced and flavor-packed dish. Caprese and fresh fruit always remind me of summer.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free, heart healthy, low calorie, low carb
Servings: 12
Calories: 233kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil julienned
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves julienned
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 8 cups fresh arugula
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese pearls drained
  • 2 medium peaches sliced
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto julienned

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk the first 9 ingredients. Add tomatoes; let stand while preparing salad.
  • In a large bowl, combine arugula, mozzarella, peach slices, blueberries, and prosciutto. Pour tomato mixture over top; toss to coat. Garnish with additional mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Notes

Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 233 calories, 18g fat (5g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 486mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 2g fiber), 8g protein.

My word, today is just perfect. Too perfect in fact, to be inside slaving in front of the stove for dinner tonight. In just 20 minutes this delightfully fresh dish is on the table without the need of an oven heating up the whole house. 
Let Grandma Antoinette help you with dinner <3

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – 4th of July Firework Safety tips

The Fourth of July is here, which means fireworks season is also here.

Fireworks can be very dangerous if not used properly.

An average of 18,500 fires are caused by fireworks each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Such fires cause an average of three deaths, 40 injuries and $43 million in direct property damage.

In 2017, 53% of fireworks-related injuries were burns. The most common injuries were to the hands and fingers at an estimated 31%, followed by head, face and ears at 22%.

Children younger than 15 accounted for 36% of fireworks-related injuries.

If you’re going to be setting off fireworks this summer, here are some important tips you need to heed.

Happy 4th of July – Stay safe 🥳

Summer Bucket List for Long Island Kids


For our latest installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we bring you Dr. Polcino’s “Summer Bucket List for LI kids.”
It features oodles of ideas when it comes to places to go, things to do, events, and activities to do with kids on Long Island! From toddlers to tweens, our Summer Bucket List has great ways to spend the days, and you’re sure to see a smile on everyone’s face.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Rabbit Repellent

Hey all! We’re back with another installment of “This, Not That, Thursday.”
If you need a way to deter rabbits from eating your flowers, try this organic rabbit repellent recipe. It uses garlic and red peppers to repel the rabbits naturally without damaging your plants. And don’t worry–those cute little critters won’t be harmed at all.

You just need a couple of items to make this Natural rabbit repellent: garlic, peppers, dish soap, and an empty milk jug.

Natural Rabbit Repellent Recipe
Items needed:
empty milk/water jug
7 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1-gallon water
1 tablespoon dish soap (see our other posts for a Natural Dish Soap)
Directions:
To make the repellent fill an old jug with water, add 7 crushed garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of crushed red peppers (you can save a packet from the pizza delivery for this) and 1 tablespoon of dish soap.
Shake well. Then let it sit in the sun for a day or two to make sure the water is saturated with the flavors and smells.
Shake well. Then spray or pour on the plants that you don’t want the rabbits to eat.
I had to reapply the rabbit repellent once a week for a couple of weeks to convince the rabbits that my tulips were never going to taste good again. With my other bulbs, I sprayed them with the natural rabbit repellent as soon as they started to poke through the ground and then reapplied the repellent once a week and after it rains.
Good luck 

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Dish Soap

We’re here with this week’s installment of “this, Not That, Thursday” – Natural Dish Soap.
Here we go….

Every single recipe I’ve tried just kept falling short. It didn’t suds enough or it wasn’t soapy or slippery enough, or worse – it left a nasty film on my dishes. There are lots of factors at play of course (type of soap, water hardness, etc.) so I’m not saying that those recipes didn’t work – just that they didn’t work for me. THIS ONE DID!

Homemade Dish Soap: A Natural Recipe
Ingredients
1 ¾ cups boiling water
1 Tbsp borax
1 Tbsp grated bar soap (use homemade soap, castile bar soap, Ivory, or whichever natural bar you prefer)
15-20 drops essential oils, optional
Instructions
Heat water to boiling.
Combine borax and grated bar soap in a medium bowl. Pour hot water over the mixture. Whisk until the grated soap is completely melted.
Allow mixture to cool on the countertop for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. Dish soap will gel upon standing.
Transfer to a squirt bottle, and add essential oils (if using). Shake well to combine.

*do not use vinegar – As per Dr. Bronners daughter Lisa “In great part, it’s due to the fact that vinegar is an acid and the castile soap is a base. They will directly react with each other and cancel each other out. So, instead of getting the best of both (the scum cutting ability of the vinegar and the dirt transporting ability of the soap), you’ll be getting the worst of something entirely new. The vinegar “unsaponifies” the soap, by which I mean that the vinegar takes the soap and reduces it back out to its original oils. So you end up with an oily, curdled, whitish mess. And this would be all over whatever it was you were trying to clean – your laundry or counters or dishes or whatever.”

-Dr. P
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June is Men’s Health Month

Happy June! Did you know that it’s Men’s Health Month? We all know that sometimes men and boys need a little nudge to go to the doctor or pay more attention to their health.

The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to encourage education and prevention of preventable health problems and promote early detection and treatment of disease that might arise at different stages of life. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe.

Below are a few great resources to help kick off some healthy lifestyles for men:

https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health#doctor

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/recipes-men-love-healthy-comfort-food#1

https://www.webmd.com/men/features/top-health-tips-men#1

http://www.menshealthmonth.org/

This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Gardening Tips

In this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we bring you some Natural Gardening tips. Gardening is tough enough, but to do it without chemicals is well worth the effort for you & the family.

Fertilizer
Although you can use ready-made organic fertilizers, it is best to learn how to create your own organic fertilizers. Not only will it be better for the soil and the environment in the long-term, but it also helps you gain valuable insight into the world of gardening.

Homemade Fertilizer
Adding compost to your garden is an excellent way to improve the quality of your soil with natural fertilization. However, not everyone has the space or time for composting.
We’ve got you covered! There are some other easy ways to fertilize your garden naturally. For one thing, instead of a huge compost pile, you can simply save some of the stuff from your kitchen you’d normally throw away.
Three things that can benefit your garden:
Coffee Grounds – adds nitrogen to the soil and is ideal for acid-loving plants like tomatoes
Banana Peels – decompose quickly, replenishing potassium and other minerals to the soil
Egg Shells – can add calcium carbonate and help avoid blossom rot in peppers and tomatoes
Another common kitchen ingredient to help fertilize your garden is molasses. Just mix a few tablespoons of molasses with a gallon of water and then water your plants with it. The molasses acts sort of like a probiotic. It helps increase beneficial microbes.

Garden Pest Control
Every vegetable gardener faces pest issues from time to time, and learning how to manage the little leaf-munching menaces without using synthetic chemical pesticides is an essential step in growing a healthy, productive garden. To help you with this task, we’ve put together tips for keeping those pesky critters out of your garden.

Orange Peels
Orange peels can be placed around plants or attached directly to the stem to ward off and eliminate some pests. That’s because orange peels contain a natural chemical known as d-Limonene, which can kill off ants and aphids. The chemical destroys the waxy substance around the bugs, causing them to suffocate.
Even the scent of orange peels, as well as other citrus peels, can keep those plant-destroying aphids and ants away.

Plant Marigolds Around the Perimeter of the Garden
Many gardeners put marigolds in their vegetable gardens. It’s believed the pungent smell potentially repels pests while attracting beneficial insects. Some say that the aroma of marigolds might even help keep rabbits and other rodents away from your vegetables too.
However, not everyone is a believer in the marigold theory. In fact, there are some gardeners who say marigolds may actually attract harmful spider mites. Regardless of whether it works or not – marigolds will at least add a splash of color to your vegetable garden.

Cayenne pepper
Sprinkling cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, and/or garlic pepper on and around your plants when they are ready to bloom is an excellent deterrent. Squirrels won’t eat anything with cayenne—which you can often buy in bulk.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Cleaners

On this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” segment, we’re looking at all natural cleaning tips. Switching to homemade DIY cleaners might sound like a lot more work, but it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are easy to come by and last a long time.

The natural cleaning ingredients we like to keep on hand are:
* white vinegar
* liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronners)
* natural salt
* baking soda
* borax
* washing soda
* hydrogen peroxide
* lemons
* microfiber cloths
* essential oils (optional)
* a spray bottle or two (preferably glass)

Our 3 top recipes!

All-Purpose Cleaner Ingredients
* 1 tsp borax
* 1/2 tsp washing soda
* 1 tsp liquid castile soap
* Essential oils of choice – I use 4 drops lemon, 4 drops lavender, and 10 drops orange
* Glass spray bottle for storage
All-Purpose Cleaner Instructions
1. Place borax, washing soda, and soap in a spray bottle (preferably glass).
2. Add 2 cups of warm water. Distilled is best, but any water that has been boiled will work.
3. Add essential oils of choice.
4. Cover bottle and shake well. Use as needed. I use as bathroom cleaner, floor pre-treater, kitchen cleaner and on toys.

Glass Cleaner Ingredients
* 2 cups of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue)
* 2 tablespoons vinegar
* 10 drops essential oil of choice- I use lemon (optional- but it helps cut the vinegar smell)
Glass Cleaner Instructions
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably glass) and use as needed to clean window. I like to use a microfiber cloth to wipe windows clean with this recipe.

How to Make Washing Soda
If you have an oven and are feeling crafty, try this simple method of making washing soda. Another bonus is that baking soda is typically even less expensive (especially at big box stores) and making this at home can help further reduce the cost of budget-friendly cleaning recipes.
Washing Soda Ingredients
* Baking Soda
* A large baking dish or baking sheet (I use these stainless steel restaurant pans for this and all of my baking and cooking)
* An Oven

Washing Soda Instructions
1. Turn oven on 400 degrees F.
2. Pour a thick (1/2 inch or so) layer of baking soda on the bottom of the baking dish.
3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring 1-2 times in the middle, or until it has changed in look and feel. Baking soda has a silky/powdery feel and washing soda is more grainy and not silky. The baking soda will need to reach the full 400 degrees for this reaction to take place, so be patient.
4. Let cool and store in an air-tight jar.
Use this homemade washing soda as you would store-bought in natural cleaning recipes and laundry soaps.

-Dr. P
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This, Not, That Thursday – Natural Ant Repellent

There’s nothing like walking into your kitchen first thing in the morning, bleary-eyed and ready for your morning cup of coffee only to find that your home has been invaded by ants. Below are some of the best natural remedies you can try to get rid of the ants infesting your space.

Cinnamon
Cinnamon is an effective household ant repellent. Its smell discourages ants from entering your house and scrounging in your kitchen.
According to a 2014 study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, cinnamon essential oil yields positive results in both repellency and insecticidal activity.
* Add 1 ¼ to 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon essential oil in a cup of water. Soak a cotton ball in this solution and wipe down the areas where ants may enter and dwell. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone.
* You can also put ground cinnamon and whole cloves near entry points.
Note: Use the cinnamon oil spray strategically in places of ant infestation; do not put it all over the place.

White Vinegar
White vinegar will also send an eviction notice to ants on your premises. They cannot bear its strong smell. In addition, the smell masks their scent trails, making them lose their direction.
1. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water.
2. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
3. Add a few drops of any essential oil and shake the bottle thoroughly.
4. Spray this solution around baseboards and other entry points.
5. After an hour, wipe up the ants using a damp paper towel and discard them.
6. Repeat once daily until the ants are completely gone.
You can also use this vinegar solution to clean floors, windowsills and countertops to prevent ants from crawling over these surfaces.

Peppermint
Peppermint is a natural insect repellent that can effectively keep ants away. Ants hate its strong smell, which also disrupts their smelling capabilities so they cannot detect food sources.
* Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to 1 cup of water. Spray the solution on all areas where ants are present. Repeat twice daily, until the ants are gone completely.
* Sprinkle some dried peppermint around your doors, entryways and garbage areas to repel ants.
* You can even grow peppermint plants in your kitchen garden.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) also works well as an ant repellent. This powder is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.
The microscopic razor sharp edges of DE can cut through the ant’s exoskeletons, gradually causing their body to dry out.
1. Gently sprinkle a thin layer of DE on windowsills, beneath the fridge, under cabinets, in and around garbage cans and any other places where you see ants.
2. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone.
Note: Do not wet the DE or it will not work.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Weed Killer

In our office, we have been discussing natural alternatives to common, everyday products. These are ways of handing things like pest control, weeds, household cleaning, body products, and more, without the harmful chemicals. With all the natural alternatives that we have been discovering, we are excited to share these with you!

So without further adieu, I present “This, not that, Thursday.”

Weeds:

When looking for a natural alternative to herbicides, a cocktail of vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap has all of the ingredients needed to quickly kill weeds. Acetic acid in the vinegar and the salt are both very good at drawing moisture from weeds. Dish soap acts as a surfactant, which is an agent that will reduce the surface tension that can cause the weed-killing concoction to bead on the leaves instead of being absorbed by the plant. On a warm, sunny day, the results of this homemade spray will be obvious in a matter of hours as weeds turn brown and wither.

Unlike some chemical solutions, this formula is not built to work its way into the root system, meaning multiple treatments will probably be necessary to keep weeds at bay. Additionally, when looking for a quick fix, sunshine makes a big difference. And remember to look for vinegar that has at least 5% acetic acid.

Natural Weed Killer
• 1-gallon white vinegar
• 1-cup salt
• 1-tablespoon liquid dish soap

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and treat weeds at the sunniest time of day for best results.☀️

-Dr. P
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Vitamin D, better than you thought?

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has long been associated with bone health in women.

A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that higher circulating Vitamin D levels appear to be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Here are some of the findings in that study:
-25(OH) D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D is the measurement that is made to establish circulating Vitamin D levels
-the level of 25(OH) D that is sufficient for bone health is considered to be around 55 nmol/L
-Vitamin D levels less than 30 nmol/L appear to be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer
-Vitamin D levels of 75-87.5 nmol/L seems to be associated with a 19% reduced risk of colorectal cancer
-Vitamin D levels of 87.5-100 nmol/L seems to be associated with a 27% reduced risk
-Vitamin D levels above 100 did not seem to reduce the risk even more.

Of course, more studies are needed to arrive at the proper Vitamin D guidelines but you should discuss these new findings with your health care providers.

-Dr. P

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Remember, don’t overlook your heart!

Did you know that heart disease kills more women than all types of cancer combined thus making it the number one killer of American women every year? It is time for each of us to step up and carefully speak to the women in our lives about the risk factors for heart disease.
These risk factors include:
-a family history of heart disease
-high blood pressure
-smoking
-an abnormal lipid profile
-being overweight
-a lack of physical activity
-a poor diet.
If you or a loved one live with these risk factors, it is time to visit your health care provider to discuss the possibility of heart disease and then consider testing, possible treatment and of course, lifestyle changes.
-Dr. P

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Elective induction. Could it be right for you?

 

Induction

A recently presented study can provide some useful information for women and their healthcare providers during their discussions about labor and delivery. This study was presented at a Dallas meeting sponsored by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. It concluded that elective inductions of labor at 39 weeks of gestation were safe for the newborn and had benefits for the mother by decreasing the risk of a cesarean delivery and developing a high blood pressure problem. The study also showed that the women who were induced felt more in control of their birth experience and also rated the pains of labor less than the women who were not induced.

These findings differ from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists “Choosing Wisely” campaign which suggests that elective inductions should be considered when medically indicated.
As always expectant mothers and their health care providers should have open decision-making discussions and this new study should provide some new information to review.

-Dr. P

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Turner Syndrome – A distinctive group of woman

 

Turner syndrome

Women with Turner Syndrome (TS) are a distinctive group of women who require specialized medical and obstetrical/gynecological care. TS is found in approximately 1 in 2,500 pregnancies and is the result of the loss or partial loss of an X chromosome. Normally women’s chromosomes are 45XX and with TS it will be 45X. Because of this missing chromosome women with TS can look slightly different and can have an array of possible medical conditions such as:

  • cardiovascular disease which could be the result of a congenital anomaly
  • osteoporosis
  • hypothyroidism
  • abnormal lipids
  • diabetes

Pediatricians and pediatric endocrinologists usually follow these patients closely during childhood and adolescence, initiating estrogen to begin puberty and normal development. Conception and pregnancy offer unique conditions which will require individualized intense care by a team of specialists and preconception counseling is a must. Because of the higher risks for various medical conditions, TS patients need to be followed carefully throughout their lives.

-Dr. P

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What is your blood pressure profile?

High BP

We all know that having high blood pressure puts you at an increased chance to have a heart attack or a stroke. We all know family and friends who take their high blood pressure pills every day to help control their blood pressure. For many years, doctors diagnosed patients as having high blood pressure if it was 140/90 mm Hg or greater on repeated testing. There is now a new definition of hypertension and this could mean that half of all Americans will be diagnosed as hypertensive.

Here are the new definitions:

Normal BP:  systolic less than 120 and diastolic less than 80

Elevated BP: systolic between 120 and 129 and diastolic less than 80

Stage 1 hypertension: systolic between 130 and 139 or diastolic between 80 and  89

Stage 2 hypertension: systolic 140 or greater or diastolic 90 or greater

With this new information, go speak to your healthcare provider about your blood pressure profile.

-Dr. P

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Are you at your mental best? No? Maybe you need a cup of coffee and a nap.

Most of us have a downtime in our day approximately 7 to 8 hours after we awaken so that means between 2 and 4 pm we may not be at our mental best. The benefits of an afternoon nap are well known with 10 to 20 minutes being the most ideal. We arise from the nap with increased mental sharpness. You can increase this mental boost even greater by having a pre-nap cup of coffee. The caffeine will kick in just about the time you get up and perhaps your thinking will be even sharper. It seems there is another benefit to having that extra cup of coffee!

Morning Coffee

Starting the day off with a cup of coffee may open those eyes up a bit wider but it may also have a great health benefit, reducing the risk of many common medical problems.  Scientific studies have demonstrated a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes in those who drink 3 cups of coffee per day.
Most of us have heard about the benefits of antioxidants and their ability to help the body decrease inflammation and aid in oxidation process. It is believed that inflammation is the basis of many of our common health conditions. The health benefits of coffee seems to be derived from it being rich in antioxidants especially a chemical called polyphenols.
To get the most benefit from your daily cups of coffee, freshly ground, caffeinated coffee hits the mark especially if you don’t add the fattening cream, sugars and flavoring.

Getting ready for college life


It is already mid-August and many families with a college student are about to start on a new adventure. Whether the young adult is going to a commuter school and living at home or attending an away college and living in a dorm, there are many changes about to hit family dynamics and the college students lives. Long discussions should now begin about forming healthy habits that will be important for now, and more importantly, for the future. I always advise living the way your grandmother taught you. Here are some of Grandma MaryAnn’s suggestions.

Grandma MaryAnn says you must:

  • Get your sleep – It is important to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. During sleep your body may be resting, but your brain is busy processing all the information it was exposed to during the day. Sleep helps your immune system to stay strong and prevent colds and other infections you are constantly exposed to. If possible, shut off all your electronic devices 30 to 40 minutes before going to sleep; the light from the screens can affect chemicals in your brain that enhance getting to sleep.
  • Eat well – Food is your body’s fuel. In order to work hard and think clearly, you need to eat the fruits, nuts and vegetables that we all know are the right stuff. Starting with a healthy breakfast will get the brain ready for the day. Healthy snacks are a must. The crash after the candy bar will be tough to handle.
  • Exercise – Exercise needs to be a part of your regular schedule because it decreases stress, keeps your mind sharp, and is fun. You should think of it as an investment in yourself.

I wish all the students a great year, and remember to call your Mom and Grandma as often as you can because with loving words from your biggest supporters, there is nothing you can’t handle.

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A gentle way to remove a tick

We, here on the Island, are in the middle of tick season and it is reported that there is an above average tick infestation this year. If you do come in contact with a tick, there is always the time honored tweezer method to grasp and remove it.

Another method is to take a cotton ball and put a liberal amount of liquid soap on it. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball. Rub for a few seconds and usually the tick will release and be attached to the ball. This simple method is perfect for children and upset adults.

As always, prevention is the best medicine. Please check out the 8 best ways to avoid being bitten by a tick.

Ticks Poster 1 Rev5

-Dr. P

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Another reason to encourage weight control in adolescents

kid-scale

Obesity is a known risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. A recent study out of Israel found that obese or overweight 17- and 18-year-olds can have an increased risk of developing colon and rectal cancer, and the risk may be increased as high as 50%! We now have another reason to encourage good eating and exercise habits for our children. The earlier these healthy life style habits begin, the better.

-Dr. P

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Marijuana and Pregnancy

mmIt is reported that marijuana use in pregnancy is on the rise with possibly 4-5% of pregnant women using marijuana for recreational or medical reasons. The nausea problem of early pregnancy seems to be the main medical condition for this rise.

Let us review some information:

  • The marijuana used today is much stronger than in the past with the active chemical ingredients reaching much higher concentrations.
  • Cannabidiol is the chemical that may be responsible for decreasing nausea.
  • The active chemicals of marijuana readily cross the placenta and enter into the fetal circulation. With chronic use these chemicals can be stored in the fat cells of the mother and fetus and this can prolong the exposure to the fetus.
  • Marijuana’s effect on the fetus is constantly being studied and many potential problems are being found especially with fetal brain development.
  • The American College of Ob-Gyn recommends against marijuana use in pregnancy and pre pregnancy. It also advises that it should not be used for the nausea of pregnancy.

If you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, please discuss marijuana use with your health care provider because your baby’s health should always be your number one concern.

-Dr. P

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Grandma Antoinette’s Fried Zucchini Flowers

Grandma Antoinette’s Fried Zucchini Flowers

“This recipe has been our family favorite. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.”
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: soy free
Servings: 4
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Ingredients

  • 18-24 male zucchini flowers (with stems)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • Clean flowers and dry with a paper towel.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk eggs, milk, and olive oil together in a separate bowl; stir in flour mixture until batter is smooth.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.
  • Dip flowers in the batter and fry in the hot oil until golden and crispy, 2 to 5 minutes, working in batches as needed. Transfer fried flowers to a paper towel-lined plate; sprinkle salt over each.

Lemon Icebox Pie with Graham Cracker – Coconut Crust

Lemon Icebox Pie with Graham Cracker – Coconut Crust

We took Grandma Antoinette’s easy old-fashioned lemon icebox pie takes dessert up a notch, by adding coconut in the crust, which boosts both flavor and texture. For the brightest hit of citrus use fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Look for graham crackers made with 100% whole-wheat flour to get the most fiber.
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Resting time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword: nut free, soy free, vegetarian
Servings: 10
Calories: 291kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • 9-inch pie pan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs 9 whole graham crackers
  • cup unsweetened shredded coconut chips or flakes
  • ¼ cup coconut oil melted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • cups nonfat sweetened condensed milk from two 14-ounce cans
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes & lemon slices for garnish optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325°Lightly coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  • Mix graham cracker crumbs, coconut, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is set, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
  • Beat egg yolks and zest in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until pale and foamy, about 4 minutes. Whisk condensed milk and lemon juice in another bowl until combined. Whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture until blended. Pour into the crust.
  • Bake the pie until the center jiggles slightly, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Garnish with coconut flakes and lemon slices, if desired.
  • To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Notes

Seeing graham flour on the nutrition label, that’s coarsely ground whole-wheat.
 

Snazzy Quick Roasted Chicken

Snazzy Quick Roast Chicken

Ingredients
1 h 30 m
229 cals
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: low carb, low fat
Servings: 8 People
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Ingredients

  • 1 3 pound whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  • Rinse chicken thoroughly inside and out under cold running water and remove all fat. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Put chicken into a small baking pan. Rub with olive oil. Mix the salt, pepper, oregano, basil, paprika and cayenne pepper together and sprinkle over chicken.
  • Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Lower the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and continue roasting to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 40 minutes more. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli

Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli

In this low-carb spaghetti squash lasagna recipe, garlicky broccoli, spaghetti squash and cheese are combined for a healthy take on a favorite casserole. This bakes right in the squash shells for a fun presentation.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free, low calorie, low carb, low fat, soy free, vegetarian
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 194kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Ingredients

  • 1 2 - 3lb Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 Bunch Broccoli ( or Broccolini) Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella cheese (part-skim)
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Pepper

Instructions

  • Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 450°F.
  • Place squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 400°F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.)
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add broccolini, garlic and red pepper (if using); cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add water and cook, stirring, until the broccolini is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl. Place the shells in a broiler-safe baking pan or on a baking sheet. Stir ¾ cup mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into the squash mixture. Divide it between the shells; top with the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
  • Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes. Move to the upper rack, turn the broiler to high and broil, watching carefully, until the cheese starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Easy cleanup: To save time and keep your baking sheet looking fresh, line it with a layer of foil before you bake.

Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew

Chicken & Sweet Potato stew

This skillet recipe is a colorful and healthy main dish that can be on the table in just over an hour. The subtle, sweet-spicy flavor is a nice surprise.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, diabetic, Gluten Free, heart healthy, low carb, low fat, soy free
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves cut into cubes
  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • ½ pound white button mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper or more to taste
  • 1 pinch paprika or more to taste
  • 1 pinch sea salt or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms in hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir chicken, sweet potatoes, spinach, crushed red pepper, paprika, and sea salt with the onion and garlic in the saucepan. Pour as much chicken broth into the saucepan to make the mixture as soup-like or stew-like as you’d like it.
  • Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle and the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.