Get Artsy This Holiday Season!

Photo Credit: bogdog Dan via Compfight cc

With the days becoming increasingly shorter and temperatures quickly dropping, it’s becoming ever so clear that the holiday season is almost here. With time off (and often away), we frequently enter the holidays with the best of intentions, planning to slow down and enjoy our family and friends, count our blessings and focus on what really matters. Unfortunately, holiday expectations can often get in the way. It’s all too easy to get swept up by the hustle and bustle, stressed by finding gifts, to-do lists, endless lines and expenses, holiday traffic, demanding in-laws…you get the idea!

Channeling some of this energy into the creative process can be a great way to release stress and anxiety and remember what really counts. Try some of these holiday-themed art activities to bring about family togetherness, kick off your holiday celebrations, and help everyone get grounded.

Photo Credit: ladytimeless via Compfight cc

1. Make a batch of Christmas scented cloud-dough for an afternoon of holiday inspired sensory play

  • Ingredients:
    • 7 cups of flour
    • 1/2 cup of green or red sidewalk chalk (crushed up)
    • 1 cup of vegetable oil
    • Peppermint extract
  • Instructions:
    • Combine the sidewalk chalk and flour.
    • Add a few drops of peppermint extract.
    • Pour in the oil and mix well.  Mixing will take a few minutes.  When done you will have an amazing substance known as cloud dough.


2. Make your own wrapping paper to really get in the spirit of giving

  • Materials:
    • Roll of white drawing paper or brown craft paper
    • Various paint colors
    • Variety of brushes
    • Tape
    • Newspaper
  • Instructions:
    • Lay out newspaper on the floor to protect your space.
    • Unroll the paper and secure down with tape
    • Experiment with different techniques to create your own DIY wrapping paper. So many options to try! Try splatter painting, polka-dots, handprints, etc.


3. Create a permanent imprint with salt-dough ornaments

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup of flour
    • 1/2 cup of table salt
    • 1/2 warm water
    • Rolling pin
    • Cookie cutters
    • Straw
    • Stamps, leaves, flowers, or any other objects to make imprints
    • String
  • Instructions:
    • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing until you have a nice, smooth, and even consistency
    • Roll out onto a cookie sheet
    • Take your stamps and other objects and make your marks into the dough (can use ink with stamps if you want)
    • Once your done, using cookie cutters, cut the dough into different shapes. At the top of each shape take the end of the straw to cut-out a hole. This will be for your string once baked.
    • Bake in oven at 200 degrees for 4 hours
    • Once out of the oven, feel free to add additional color. Add your string and viola!
Photo Credit: Cellanova via Compfight cc

4. Create flower pots with your goals for the New Year

  • Materials:
    • Terra cotta clay pot(s)
    • White primer (any paint will do)
    • Selection of magazines/materials to cut our words and images
    • Mod Podge
    • Acrylic sealer
    • Whatever you need to plant- dirt, seeds/bulbs
  • Instructions:
    • Prime your clay pot(s) to keep the other materials from soaking through.
    • As a family, discuss your hopes for the upcoming year. What are your goals, resolutions, and inspirations? With those thoughts in mind, begin cutting out related words and pictures. These will be collaged on your clay pot.
    • Once you’ve finished selecting, use the mod podge to apply the words and images to the surface of the clay pot. You can use a paint brush, or even your fingers!
    • After the 1st coat dries, apply a 2nd coat.
    • Once completely dry, add a final coat of acrylic sealer to keep everything dry during watering.
    • Once everything’s dry, its time to get planting. Together, plant your seeds. As your hopes and dreams blossom in the upcoming year, so will a beautiful flower!


5. Make Gratitude Paper Chains

This is a great ongoing project. Leave the materials out in a corner and have each member of the family contribute one gratitude link a day. Decide as a family that you’ll hang the final chain up on Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, New Years, etc. It’s a lot of fun to watch it grow as everyone acknowledges all they have to be thankful for!

  • Materials:
    • Interesting types of paper (patterns, colors, etc.) cut into strips
    • Stapler
    • Thankful printables 
    • Glue stick or double sided tape
  • Instructions:
    • To get started….Print out attached thankful template and cut into strips (or make your own)
    • Complete the sentence. “I am thankful for______________________.” Then glue or tape the paper onto a colorful strip of your choice.
    • Staple into a circle, connecting around the prior link.


Happy Holidays!!

 Jennifer Kind-Rubin, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist; Psychotherapist
80 East 11th Street, NYC

PB&J Cookies

We’ve been searching for great gifts to give to our coworkers, friends, and families this holiday season. We love the idea of making gifts in place of purchasing gifts. And sometimes all you need is a batch of freshly baked cookies to make a great gift. We found this wonderful recipe for PB&J Cookies from our friends over at Cooking Light and we can’t wait to wrap them up in festive holiday gift bags and send them on their merry way!

Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light

PB&J Cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (feel free to substitute for gluten-free flour, if needed)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • cooking spray
  • 7 tbsp preserves of choice (we used grape!)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed


  1. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt, stirring well with a whisk; set aside.
  2. Place sugars, nut butter, and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating on low speed just until combined.
  3. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Shape dough into 36 balls (~2.5 tsp each). Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each dough ball, leaving an indentation. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  5. Uncover dough. Bake at 350˚F for 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove cookies from pans, and cool on a wire rack.
  6. Place preserves in a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at high for 20 seconds, stirring once. Add the lemon juice, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 tsp preserves into  the center of each cookie.
  7. Serve or wrap for a holiday gift!


Recipe and photo courtesy of Cooking Light.

Cauliflower "Potato" Latkes

With Hanukkah just under a week away, we wanted to share a recipe that is sure to be a hit at your upcoming holiday party! We’ve swapped the potatoes for cauliflower in this recipe, however, you could easily split the recipe to have half  potatoes and half cauliflowers. The choice is yours!

Cauliflower “Potato” Latkes

Photo Credit: elana’s pantry via Compfight cc


  • 1 head of cauliflower, washed and chopped into small pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you can also grind matzah to make a matzah meal)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Canola, or oil of choice, for frying
  • Optional: shredded carrots or zucchini for added color and nutrition!


  1. Steam cauliflower in a large pot for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender. (Make sure the cauliflower is tender enough to mash) Drain.
  2. Mash the cauliflower with a potato masher, or large fork.
  3. Transfer the mashed cauliflower to a bowl. Add the eggs and flour. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Heat a saute/frying pan with enough oil to cover the bottom over medium-high heat.
  5. Once the pan is heated thoroughly, take a scoop of cauliflower and form into a latke-like shape. Add the latke to the pan and flatten slightly. Cook for about 2-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip and cook for a remaining 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove from pan and place on a rack or towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Repeat until all cauliflower is used.
  7. Allow to cool and serve.

This recipe makes about 15 latkes and makes a great addition to your favorite Hanukkah meals. We especially love pairing it with this Fennel and Spinach Soup with Roasted Pepper Yogurt from Cooking Light’s Healthy Holiday Menu.

Do you have any recipes for Hanukkah that you’d like to share? Or any modifications to traditional recipes? We’d love to see them!

Healthy Quinoa and Mushroom Stuffing + Giveaway

With the holidays just around the corner, the MDIO kitchen has been buzzing with festive recipes. A recent idea we’ve been working on is feeding holiday guests who have food allergies, sensitivities or other food aversions. Therefore, we’ve whipped up a vegetarian, nut- and gluten-free dish that is just as delicious as traditional stuffing!

Healthy Quinoa and Mushroom Stuffing

Photo Credit: Dot D via Compfight cc


-1 tbsp EV olive oil
-1-2 large onions, chopped
-3 cups or 1 24oz container of vegetable broth
-2 cups quinoa
-1 cup mushrooms, sliced
-1/2 cup parsley, chopped
-3 stalks of celery, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ground allspice
-1 bay leaf
-salt and pepper to taste



1) In a medium saucepan, add quinoa and 2 1/2 cups of the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes (note: time varies by package/brand, so be sure to check the directions!), or until tender and all the broth has absorbed. Set aside.

2) Heat oil in a large saute pan. Add celery, onions, garlic, bay leaf, and seasonings, stirring occasionally. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and stir. When the mushrooms begin to brown, add the parsley.

3) Stir in the cooked quinoa with the remaining broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for an additional 5-10 or until all liquid is absorbed.


There you have it, an allergy-friendly twist on a traditional holiday dish. This stuffing is great to serve to gluten-free (as long as the quinoa package is labeled gluten-free), nut-free and vegetarian guests. This recipe makes about 4 cups, enough to serve 8 people as a side dish.

Giveaway: black + blum

We are giving away a black + blum water bottle to one lucky subscriber!

To enter you must do at least one of the following:

-Be a Mom Dishes It Out subscriber (you can do so at the top of our homepage)

-Tweet us @MomDishesItOut

-Like this Facebook post

Giveaway ends Monday, November 25th!

Mindfully enjoying, and eating, your way through the holiday season…one holiday at a time!

By Erin Potasnick, Nutrition Student at Yeshiva University and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Labor Day Weekend has passed. What we consider to be the traditional summer season has ended…even though the Autumnal Equinox is weeks away! School is starting. And the Jewish New Year is beginning; the high-holiday period commences with Rosh Hashanah and ends ten days later with Yom Kippur. During the span of this holiday, customs dictate feasting on a wide variety of foods which we may not have eaten all year. For example, one symbolic practice is the consumption of apples dipped in honey to represent wishes for a “sweet” new year. As the holiday approaches, most celebrants think about all that has happened in their lives and the world during the past year as well as their goals for the coming year, what kind of life they want to live, and how to improve themselves. And, of course, there are endless possibilities for improvement. The first one for many might be changing their eating habits in a variety of ways. Because this holiday, among all the others to come during the remainder of our regular calendar year, entails a bountiful amount of traditional, very often high-calorie foods, it presents great challenges.

During all holiday seasons, it’s very easy to consume much more food than you usually do. You may spend endless hours sitting around various tables with family and friends eating large lunches and dinners. With all of this scrumptious-looking food actually surrounding you, your mind may get a little too excited. You definitely want to spoon a portion of every appetizing dish on the table directly onto your plate. This feeling is absolutely understandable! You really do want to “taste” everything—a good word to keep in mind because it should help you to be mindful about how much of each dish you are taking. You want to fill yourself rather stuff yourself. And remember that when people sit around a food-laden table for an extended period of time, they tend to take more servings just because the food is just inches away! The key to changing this behavior is learning to pace yourself.

Since you know there will be a spectacular abundance of traditional mouth-watering dishes prepared for each meal you serve or attend, you must begin by pacing yourself. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. There is enough food for everyone! Don’t rush to be the first one to take food.
  2. It’s not a race! Eat slowly and savor the different flavors. Your friends and family are there to enjoy not only the meal but also the time shared with one another.
  3. Try to balance out your food groups. Look for a tradeoff between lighter and heavier meals; it’s hard to eat heavy meals all the time. A light meal for dinner doesn’t mean going overboard for lunch.
  4. Try to eat only as much food as you would normally. You won’t feel so bloated or uncomfortable after.
  5. Do save room for dessert! But remember, holiday desserts can sometimes be extreme. Extremely elaborate! And extremely delicious! Just be mindful about what and how much you consume.

As noted above, we specifically eat apples dipped in honey during this holiday to represent the “sweet” new year we hope will come; the apple also embodies the scent of the Garden of Eden which was very holy. While a key symbol of this holiday tradition, apples always make a great snack or dessert because of their sweetness and nutrients like Vitamin C.  Plus, they help us feel full with the soluble fiber called pectin (the white inside) and the insoluble fiber, the skin. Incorporating apples and other seasonal fruits into holiday desserts can be a very good idea!

The holidays certainly do offer a cornucopia of sometimes conflicting choices for many people—the joys of sharing precious moments with family and good friends along with potential concerns about nutritional wellness. But trust me, if you’re mindful and attuned to what you are craving and how much you consume, you’ll feel much better about your decisions as you will feel mentally satisfied and physically full. Wisely listening to your body’s needs can take you a long way!

Happy New Year 5774 to all our Jewish friends…



Rosh Hashanah Roasted Apples

Happy Rosh Hashanah! A Delicious Holiday Recipe

Rosh Hashanah has a number of delicious and traditional recipes. We did our research and found one that is both tasty and has a great message behind it. The use of apples and honey are a traditional food pairing served during Rosh Hashanah. It is believed that dipping apples in honey will bring a sweet new year. We love the symbolism and chose this recipe with the idea of having the kids join in on the preparation. So round up the kids, prepare this scrumptious dish together, and enjoy a Shana Tova (good year)!


Rosh Hashanah Roasted Apples



  • 4 cups 100% apple cider, we like to use Langers, but any brand will suffice
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp organic honey
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 medium yellow onions, cut into wedges
  • 6 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 6 medium apples, preferably of the red variety, cored and cut into wedges


  • Boil apple cider in pan for about 28 minutes, or until it has significantly reduced. Add applesauce and honey, whisk until incorporated. Add salt. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Toss onion wedges in large bowl with 2 teaspoons oregano and 3 tablespoons apple cider mixture. Arrange in single layer on 1 sheet. Toss apples in 2 teaspoons oregano and 3 tablespoons apple cider mixture. Arrange in single layer on second sheet. Sprinkle both with pepper.
  • Roast onions for 10 minutes. Roast apples for 20 minutes.
  • Remove both sheets from oven. Drizzle remaining apple cider mixture evenly over onions and apples. Roast for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Increase the temperature to 475°F. Roast onions and apples for about 10 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons of oregano.
  • Serve and enjoy!


This recipe makes a great pair to this traditional Honey Cake Recipe. We here at MDIO want to wish you all a safe and celebratory Rosh Hashanah!

Nutritional Content (1 serving): 156 calories, 0.3g fat, 0.0g saturated fat, 157.5mg sodium, 39.2g carbohydrates, 4.3g fiber, 30.3g sugar, 0.9g protein.


Recipe adapted from Epicurious.