Here is my new video! A huge thank you to all of the wonderful readers who said these kind words.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted many people. The arrival of the first vaccine brings hope and optimism that we may finally be able to overcome this disease and win the war against this pandemic. As a healthcare worker, I am excited that this vaccine has arrived and its safety profile is impressive and promising. As a Midwife, my concern is for pregnant women, or women who may become pregnant. Here is the latest information about the Covid-19 vaccine and pregnancy according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):
“Observational data demonstrate that, while the chances for these severe health effects are infrequent, pregnant people with COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness, including illness that results in ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, and death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm births.
Currently, there are limited data available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant. Animal developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART) studies are ongoing and studies in people who are pregnant are planned. CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have safety monitoring systems in place to capture information about vaccination during pregnancy and will closely monitor reports.
While studies have not yet been done, based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant. mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and therefore cannot give someone COVID-19. Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with genetic material DNA because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell. Cells break apart the mRNA quickly. However, the potential risks of mRNA vaccines to the pregnant person and her fetus are unknown because these vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women.”
At this point, the suggestion from the CDC that I concur with: Speak to your Healthcare provider about your risk and if the vaccine is right for You. There are several things to consider for each woman and individualized recommendations for vaccination are needed.
In the meantime, everyone can practice the recommended guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19:
- Wearing a mask
- Staying at least six feet away from others
- Avoiding crowds
- Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Following CDC travel guidance
- Following quarantine guidance after exposure to COIV-19
- Following any applicable workplace guidance
For the latest information from the CDC go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/pregnancy.html
I will provide updates as they become available. Stay Safe and Be Well!
I’m finding more people turning to comfort food or older recipes to bring to modern times. This recipe is one from years past. Turkey tetrazzini was a way to use up leftover turkey, usually around Thanksgiving, and change it into a different dish using some other ingredients. While it was usually very tasty and satisfying, it was also a dish intended to be made in large quantities (like a casserole) with little preparation time thanks to ingredients like canned soup.
This recipe modernized traditional turkey tetrazzini. First, I did away with the canned soup because, while flavorful, I think it adds too much sodium and other preservatives. Instead, I created the creamy base needed to make a thick sauce using cream and chicken stock only. Next, I use non-fat or reduced fat sour cream, chunks of white meat turkey, and fresh mushrooms. These simple swap outs keep the flavor and add in more nutrition by taking out a lot of unnecessary fat or sodium. This recipe can be doubled to make a large casserole or to have portions to freeze.
Serves 4 to 6
- ½ cup cream
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 8-ounce package of egg noodles, cooked per package directions
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped or diced cooked turkey breast
- ½ cup celery
- 1 cup non-fat or reduced fat sour cream
- Non-stick vegetable spray
- ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Combine the cream and the chicken stock and mix to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter or margarine. Add the mushrooms and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper, the turkey, celery, the cream and chicken stock mixture, and sour cream. Stir to combine.
- Place the cooked noodles in a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Pour the turkey mixture over the top and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes until sauce is bubbling and the top is browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve in bowls garnished with chopped fresh parsley or additional Parmesan cheese.
Featured photo by Sebastian Coman Photography
A compote is typically fruit that is preserved or cooked in a syrup, typically one made with sugar. Compotes are a great way to use fruit and to have a delicious topping for a dessert. However, compote can be used to enhance breakfast items like Greek yogurt, oatmeal, or farina. Compote is a great way to add extra fiber and nutrients to a morning meal!
While most people use fresh fruit to make compote, it can also be made by using any dried fruit you may have. It’s a great way to clean out the pantry and use up random containers or bags of dried fruit. Any dried fruit will work, including combinations of dried figs, apricots, cherries, raisins, prunes, dates, pears, or cranberries. Instead of sugar, honey provides a natural sweetness and the amount of sweetness can be easily adjusted by adding more or using less honey (I always recommend using natural, local honey like the honey from the Tanis Apiary in Pompton Plains, New Jersey). The spices in the compote can also be adjusted to reflect the seasons: use warmer spices like cinnamon and cloves for the colder months or lighter spices like vanilla bean, orange zest or star anise for cooler flavors. Or, use a combination of all the spices for a unique taste.
Think the dried fruit you have on hand is too dry? Simply soak the fruit in warm water for an hour then discard the liquid. This recipe can also be made in a crock pot on low setting for about 4 hours instead of simmering on the stove.
Dried Fruit Compote
- 1 ½ pounds of dried fruit (any fruit or a combination of dried apricots, prunes, figs, cranberries or raisins)
- Zest of 1 orange
- Juice from 2 large oranges
- 2 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves (optional)
- 1 star anise (optional)
- 4 tablespoons local, natural honey
- Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to combine (Smaller ingredients like the clove or star anise can be wrapped in cheesecloth to avoid them breaking down during cooking)
- Simmer over low to medium heat for one hour until the fruit softens and the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
- Cool slightly before using or store in a jar or container in the refrigerator for one week.
Featured photo by Lumitar
As more people have been staying home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more people have been cooking meals. Many of them have been asking for comfort food recipes that are not only satisfying but also easy, inexpensive, and that make several other portions for leftovers or to freeze. In previous posts I have shared some other comfort food recipes and here’s another: Pot Roast!
Pot Roast was a Sunday staple in many families. Inexpensive cuts of meat could be cooked slowly during the day, filling a home with great aromas. The portion sizes fed an entire family and the leftovers could be use in different ways throughout the week. To me, beef pot roast is such a traditional meal. However, it could take a lot of time to prepare and kept one in the kitchen to check on it regularly. My recipe takes away all the pot roast hassles and lets the slow cooker do all the work. This recipe has little prep time and easy ingredients. Ingredients that are high in fat, sodium or preservatives were swapped out to keep this recipe healthier for a pregnant woman or her family.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- ½ cup cream
- ½ cup beef broth
- ½ cup chopped fresh mushrooms
- 1 ½ -2-pound beef chuck roast
- 1-pound baby carrots
- 3 large Yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 small onion, diced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Combine the cream, beef broth and mushrooms in a medium bowl. Mix well.
- Add the water, basil, Worcestershire sauce and onion to the cream and broth mixture. Mix well and set aside.
- Spray the inside cooking surface of the slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray. Place the roast inside the slow cooker and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Place the carrots and potatoes over and around the meat. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper
- Pour the cream mixture over the meat and vegetables. Cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through (about 145 degrees with a meat thermometer) and the vegetables are tender.
- Remove the meat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Serve the sliced meat over toast points, noodles, or over mashed cauliflower. Drizzle with the gravy from the slow cooker.
Featured photo by Charles Deluvio
Take out restaurants have also taken a hit with the Covid-19 pandemic. While many try to stay open, some have had to limit their hours or change their operations to accommodate local rules or regulations. People, however, miss their takeout food, especially those with Asian flavors. The good news is that most Asian-inspired dishes are easy to make if you have all the ingredients. This recipe is a way to bring a taste of Asian cuisine to your own home without a lot of the preservatives, fat, or MSG common in many take out restaurants.
This dish provides the protein of shrimp and eggs together with a pop of flavor from herbs like chives, garlic and ginger for a truly Cantonese taste. If you can find Chinese chives, use those for an even more pronounced pop of flavor. The key to this recipe is to brine the shrimp before cooking to prevent the shrimp from softening or becoming rubbery. The shrimp can also be substituted with chicken, pork, or firm tofu. No wok? No problem! Just use a pot with high sides and enough room to stir the ingredients around. Be sure to add the garlic and ginger last to prevent scorching. Like most Asian dishes or stir-fried meals, this dish cooks quickly so I recommend having all your ingredients prepped and ready before you start cooking.
Stir Fried Shrimp with Eggs
- ½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon white pepper, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 cup diced chives
- 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- In a medium bowl, cover the shrimp with cold water and stir in the baking soda. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Drain and rinse the shrimp under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Transfer the shrimp to a small bowl and add 1 teaspoon of oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon white pepper. Mix well.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and the remaining ¼ teaspoon white pepper and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok over high heat until lightly smoking. Add the shrimp and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add the chives, garlic and ginger and stir fry until the chives soften and the shrimp are just cooked, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok over high heat until lightly smoking. Add the eggs and lower the heat to medium and cook without stirring the eggs until the bottom layer of the eggs begins to set, about 30-45 seconds.
- Using a spatula, scrape the eggs from the sides of the wok until some large, fluffy sections of cooked eggs have formed and the eggs are halfway cooked but slightly watery.
- Add shrimp and chives mixture to the eggs and gently stir until the eggs are softly cooked.
- Transfer to a plate and serve immediately. Garnish with additional chives, chopped fresh parsley, fresh sprouts, chopped scallions or diced peanuts.
Featured photo by Karen Tsoi