In light of the recent Pepperidge Farm Goldfish cracker recall, I thought that I would bring you this guest post from Candess Zona-Mendola, Senior Trial Paralegal at The Lange Law Firm who also runs MakeFoodSafe.com.


I sat down to read my morning news this morning to find out that a snack I packed in my kids’ fieldtrip lunchbox was recalled for Salmonella. What?!

As a food safety advocate, panic immediately set in. I called my kids’ summer camp to get their camp counselors to remove the offending fish from my kids’ lunchbox. I interrogated them to ensure that my toddler had not snuck a snack before lunch. Five deep breaths later and two pictures of intact Goldish boxes later, I am back to my normal self.

But honestly, I had nothing to worry about anyway. The type of Goldish that were recalled were not the ones I packed for my kids this morning. But I did not take the time to read that. I went directly into “momma bear mode” – protect the young, now!

So, I want to do for you what I should have done for myself. Give you a little bit of info so you can breathe a little easier, and decide if you need to take further action.

Here’s the Lowdown

Pepperidge Farms initiated a recall on these popular kids snacks just yesterday. So, if you did not know about it until just now, it is not your fault. I am just a paranoid foodie who reads the food news every morning.

Here are the quick facts for you on this recall:

  • There is no outbreak of Salmonella linked to Goldfish at this time.
  • The recall is only “out of an abundance of caution.” This means there is likely only a small batch of contaminated products, but lots of products recalled.
  • No kids are confirmed sick with Salmonella from eating Goldfish crackers at this time
  • The recall is on only four Goldfish products, which are:
    • Flavor Blasted® Xtra Cheddar
    • Flavor Blasted® Sour Cream & Onion
    • Goldfish® Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar
    • Goldfish® Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel
  • No other Goldfish or Pepperidge Farms products are subject to the recall.
  • These products have different packaging depending on sizes, flavors, etc. You can visit the link here for a list (with pictures) of the recalled products.

It is important to mention that the recalled products were distributed in all 50 states. This means that they could be in your home, your friend’s house, at the daycare, at the summer camp your kids attend, at church, at grandma’s house, etc. Let the other people in your life who feed you kids know about the recall, so they can get rid of the products.

What Do I Do Now?

The first thing is not to panic, like I did. Check your pantry and see if you even have a recalled product. If you do, do not feed it to your kids – even if they have already eaten some of the fish inside. You can return the recalled products to your nearby grocer for a refund.

After that, just keep an eye on your kids. The telltale signs of a Salmonella infection are:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting

In the more severe cases, there may be some additional symptoms, like bloody diarrhea, headache, chills, and body aches. It is highly recommended that you take your kids to the doctor if they are showing any of these symptoms, and ask your pediatrician for a stool test to confirm if they have Salmonella.


Like all mothers, Candess wears many hats. With 15 years of paralegal experience, she has worked on many different types of litigation.  Candess began her career helping people in family law, civil rights, and employment cases and became a paralegal in order to help people.  When Candess learned that millions of Americans each year were becoming sick from food contaminated with pathogens, she wanted to do something about it. Ever the problem solver, Candess began by finding ways to get more helpful information about food safety concerns and solutions to families (especially other mothers) in a timely fashion.

MakeFoodSafe.com is Candess’ third food safety blog.  Her first food safety blog has won multiple awards and has been recognized as a: Top 30 Food Safety Blog; Top Mommy Approved Blog; Top 10 Blog Posts by Texas Bar Today; and the Blogger Recognition Award.

Candess works closely with Jory and the food safety team to develop and cultivate the firm’s food safety cases. From intake to trial, Candess ensures everyone gets what they need when they need it, even the most challenging matters.

A mother of two, Candess lives in a suburb of Houston with her husband, Tim.  When she is not saving the world one deadline at a time, Candess can be found channeling her inner chef or with coffee and a book.

You can follow Candess and MakeFoodSafe on Facebook

I love muffins. They are delicious, easy to fix, and I tend to make enough to have them last for a couple of meals. When I was thinking up ideas of what Caleb could eat in lieu of purees, I instantly thought of muffins stuffed with delicious (and soft) foods that he had already tried. We are going with a more Baby-Led Weaning approach to introducing food to Caleb which has been fun, a bit scary, and super messy!

These muffins come together in no time which is essential when you are trying to cook in the kitchen and wrangle a baby that has just began to discover crawling.

Start by mixing your dry ingredients in a bowl.

Then you’ll add your wet ingredients. The only real wet ingredients here are the applesauce, avocado, and banana. You can mash them together BEFORE you add them to your dry ingredients but I just threw them in and mashed them all together in the bowl.

 

Once everything is all nicely combined, you spoon the mixture into your muffin tins. This recipe creates 24 mini muffins which is the perfect size for your little one. The muffins don’t rise so what you put into the muffin cup is pretty much equal to the size of the muffin once you remove it. The muffins will still be moist in the middle when you remove them but that’s okay. A dry, crumbly muffin seems like a nightmare to me for a baby to try to eat.

Caleb had a lot of fun watching me work in the kitchen. I put a few toys on the ground for him, including the bowl that I used to mix up the muffins in and just let him go to town with it. He ended up being a sticky mess afterward but it was worth it.

I don’t have any shots of the muffins after they finished baking so here is a picture of Caleb enjoying them. Belle, our dog, enjoyed them a little bit more than Caleb did, I think. His favorite part of the entire muffin was feeling it squish in his hand but he had fun playing with them and I had fun making them. These little muffin bites would make a great addition to a snack bag or lunch box.

Robb tasted one after I finished and even he thought that they didn’t taste half bad!

 

Print Recipe
Healthy Baby Muffin Bites
Course Baby/Toddler
Servings
24 mini muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
Course Baby/Toddler
Servings
24 mini muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  3. Make a well in the center and add the banana, avocado and applesauce. Mashing and stirring until well combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly among the 24 mini muffin cups. Bake for 14-16 minutes until set.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or freeze individually for up to 30 days.
Recipe Notes

Please note that this recipe creates a muffin that is a bit more moist on the inside than typical muffins.

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Robb and I have always been a bit fan of the crockpot, especially now that our lives have gotten even busier. Today I bring you an awesome guest post from Kayla Clough, the email specialist over at OurStart, featuring some super easy crockpot recipes for busy moms.


Moms have a lot on their plates. We have to work, take care of the house, shuttle kids to lessons and sport, and try to feed our families healthy meals. It can be tiring. At the end of the day, you want to just order pizza and prop up your feet. Doing so sometimes is okay, but it isn’t good for the budget nor your health. You need more crockpot recipes.

In the morning, put in the ingredients and dinner is ready that evening. Crockpot recipes are a blessing to busy moms who want to provide healthy meals. Here are some great recipes to try.

Taco Chili

Taco Chili, created by What the Fork, is perfect for dinner or as an uncooked freeze meal. On the weekend, you can put all of the ingredients into a large, freezer bag and then dump it in when you are ready to prepare it. Make sure you include a variety of toppings like cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips!

Creamy Ranch Chicken and Potatoes

Ranch makes any dinner better. Add in chicken and potatoes, and you get a family-friendly hit! Wishes and Disheshas the easiest recipe with ingredients you probably already have to make this dinner tonight.

Italian Chicken and Potatoes

Moms like meals that don’t require strange and numerous ingredients. Italian chicken and potatoes is five ingredients, which means the recipe won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It would be perfect paired with green beans or fresh Italian bread from the local bakery. The Recipe Critic has the best recipe for this fantastic crockpot meal!

Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies

Honey makes any meal a kid-friendly hit. This meal is great because the veggies are included. They cook in the yummy sauce. You could pair this recipe with a pot of rice for all the juice to soak into, making a complete meal.

The recipe is best if you use chicken thighs. Chicken breasts are fine, but the chicken thighs tend to be juicy and shred easier. Now, the recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, but it is totally fine to use boneless, skinless!

Check out Damn Delicious for her fantastic recipe. Your kids and spouse will beg you to make it again next week.

Pizza Casserole

Every kid loves pizza. Making pizza in the crockpot would be close to impossible, so pizza casserole is the next best thing. The only negative thing about this recipe is that you have to brown the meat and cook the pasta ahead of time. It might not be the best if you have to leave at 6 in the morning. The Cards We Drew show you how to make this casserole. It is sure to be a hit.

Ritz Chicken

The Six Sisters make some fantastic dishes, but their slower cooker Ritz chicken is out of this world. There is so much to love, plus Ritz crackers make everything better. You only need six ingredients, including garnishes. That is impressive. It does take a few minutes to pull the dish together, but it is full of flavor. Ritz chicken is adult and kid approved.

Any of these crockpot meals are perfect for kids and adults. Put in your ingredients, and be ready for a delicious dinner in a few hours. Busy moms rejoice!


Kayla is a recent graduate of Eastern University in PA where she majored in Marketing and Human Resources. Kayla loves all things fashion, her golden retriever Max, and coffee. When she is not working, you can find her binge watching Sex in the City and baking her latest find on Pinterest.

To read more from Kayla and the rest of the OurStart team, check out their Facebook page or visit their Blog.

The crud has hit our home. Robb and I have both been battling a cold the past few days and with Caleb only 4 months old, we’ve been careful to try not to spread it to him. Thankfully I’ve read that breastmilk contains protective antibodies to help Caleb’s immune system fight off infection and illness. He seems to be good right now but I’ve been keeping a close eye on his health.

Cold’s suck. I’ve never liked taking medicine to begin with but now I have to take extra precautions while breastfeeding. I’ve always preferred time, rest, and a good dose of Vitamin C. Elderberries are a great source of Vitamin C (as well as being said to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties) and while I usually create a hot tea with the dried berries and a bit of honey, I also like to transform the berries into an oxymel for easy consumption.

A oxymel is basically a syrup with apple cider vinegar added to give it a sweet and sour taste. This is definitely an acquired taste. I actually like it, it is very reminiscent to a shrub. When I’m starting to feel a bit under the weather, I take about a tablespoon full every 4 or 5 hours. For Robb, I mixed a bit of the oxymel with some tonic water – though I admit, he did not like it one bit. I highly recommend stocking up on dried elderberries BEFORE cold and flu season arrives as they become harder to find and a lot of shops sell out. This recipe also needs to sit for a few weeks so make it early on during cold and flu season to make sure that you have it on hand. Once it’s prepared, it’ll last for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

I’ve also been taking Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Cough Syrup + Mucus. Since it’s safe for infants 2+ months, I figured that it would be safe for me to consume. It has a delicious grape flavor and helps to clear mucus and soothe irritated throats. There are no artificial flavors/sweeteners/drugs/alcohol/dyes, only organic agave syrup, English ivy leaf extract and a few other items.

Now that I’m over this cold… it’s time to prepare for allergy season~…

Print Recipe
Elderberry Oxymel
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Instructions
  1. Fill a quart or pint sized mason jar 1/3 full with your dried elderberries.
  2. Add an equal amount of honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well and cover with a plastic lid (the vinegar will cause a metal lid to corrode).
  3. Let this mixture sit for about 4 weeks, shaking the jar a few times a week. When it's done, strain it through cheesecloth, taking care to squeeze the cheesecloth to get out any extra bits of liquid.
Recipe Notes

I like to store my finished oxymel in a glass amber bottle but you can use any container. It'll last for about 6 months in the fridge.

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Sometimes it’s the little changes you make that add up and create a bigger impact on your life – i.e. substituting one ingredient for a healthier alterative. One of my favorite ingredient swaps is to use roasted spaghetti squash in place of pasta.

One of the biggest benefits of eating spaghetti squash is that it contains 9% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, while also delivering a range of nutrients, including vitamins C and A, Potassium & Calcium. It also contains folate, which supports the formation and development of new cells and helps prevent birth defects, making this squash an ideal food for pregnant women.

Spaghetti squash is super easy to prepare. Basically you just cut it in half, remove the seeds and roast for about an hour until tender at 400*F. From there, the possibilities are endless. I like to stay pretty simple and stuff my spaghetti squash with my favorite spaghetti sauce. It creates a meal that I can prepare pretty easily on a weeknight. Let’s face it, after a long day of work, the easier your supper comes together, the less likely you are to indulge in junk foods or takeout.

It’s almost embarrassing how easy this recipe is. To be honest, I wouldn’t even call it a recipe, more like a rough guide. Give it a shot though and let me know what you think!


Print Recipe
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Course Main Dishes
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheese divided
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce * see notes
Course Main Dishes
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheese divided
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce * see notes
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400*F. While your oven is preheating, carefully slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, leaving just the flesh. Rub a little bit of olive oil into the flesh, then salt & pepper the cavity.
  2. Place the spaghetti squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Bake for about an hour or until the flesh is tender.
  3. While your spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare your spaghetti sauce. If you make your spaghetti sauce from scratch, you can control the amount of salt and sugar used. I like to add cooked onions and browned hot Italian sausage to my sauce.
  4. Once your spaghetti squash is cooked, fill the cavity with your sauce. Top each half with 1/4 cup of cheese and cook until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
Recipe Notes

3 cups of spaghetti sauce is equal to one regular jar of sauce. That doesn't include any add-ins such as ground beef, beans, or anything else of the sort. If you have left over sauce after stuffing your squash, save it for another day or simply spoon it over your squash when you serve it.

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