Monday, May 31, 2010

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

Shredded Chicken Sandwich
Servings: 6
Time: 30 min

8 chicken thighs, skins removed
1 T olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 c vinegar
1/2 c ketchup
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1 T mustard
6 sandwich buns

Preheat grill to medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with salt and paprika. Place chicken on grill and cook, with lid down, for 18 minutes, turning once (180 F on instant thermometer).

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove chicken from grill and allow to cool slightly. Remove meat from bone and shred with two forks. Add chicken to sauce and heat through. Divide evenly between the sandwich buns. Serve with coleslaw or salad.

From: Adapted from Family Circle magazine

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mark Your Calendars for some Upcoming Events

Here are some non work/non meeting events coming up this summer and fall.

Volunteering at Sunday Parkways - Sunday, June 27
Lunch at the Farmers Market - Wednesday, July 11
Jamison Square Playdates - July and August, dates TBD
Family Friendly Happy Hour/Dinner - Friday, September 17, location TBD
Global Day of Climate Action event - Sunday, October 10

Hope to see you at one.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

June 10 Meeting: Food Preservation 101

Food Preservation 101

June 10 @ 12:00 – 1:30
1900 Bldg., Room 4A

Join cityMamas to learn about freezing, jamming, drying, pickling, smoking and pressure canning. We will highlight equipment, tools, talk generally about steps for each process, and discuss the best foods to use for each technique and where to get them. Recipes and tips to take home.

There will be food! We will bring some samples including plum jam, pickled green beans, smoked salmon dip and more.

Hope to see you then.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blog Contest!!!

Calling all cityMamas!!!

We're hosting a friendly blog contest to get more Mamas checking the group's blog and Facebook page. We've got several terrific prizes:
So here's the skinny on how to win:

Sign up to follow the blog: easy peasy, ideally with a smiley mug shot!
OR if you've already signed up, you need to comment on a blog this week!
Double your chances of winning and "Like" us on FB and post a pic of you and/or your kid(dos) to the page!

Do one or all of these easy and fun actions by the end of May, and you'll have a chance at one of the contest prizes!

We hope to connect with you soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

Mushroom and Sage Risotto
Servings: 4
Prep and cook: 45 min

4 c chicken broth (or veggie broth)
1 ½ c Arborio rice
6 T olive oil, divided
1 lb mushrooms
1 large shallot, sliced
¼ c dry white wine
2 T butter
1 c parmesan cheese
½ lemon – grated peel and juice
½ c fresh sage leaves

In a saucepan, bring broth to boil. Add rice and cook for 10 minutes. Drain rice, reserving the broth– keep warm. In a skillet, heat 2 T olive oil of medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned; transfer to plate.

In the sauce pan, over medium heat, add 1 T olive oil. Add shallots and cook until softened. Add wine and cook until liquid boils off. Add the broth back to the pan along with the rice and cook until rice is tender; about 10 minutes. Add butter and parmesan cheese; stir until melted. Stir in mushrooms, lemon peel and salt to taste. Cover.

In the skillet, over medium heat, add remain 3 T olive oil and 1 T butter. Stir in sage and cook until sage is crisp. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Serve the sage and lemon sauce over the mushroom risotto.

Notes: There are a lot of steps in this recipe, but it's is reall good comfort food.
From: Rachael Ray magazine

April 8th Mtg - Leave policy

Introductions and brief sharing (weaning, biting, cocoon sleep, tantrums, t-ball...)

Judy Bishop, the City's HR specialist for parental leave will be a guest presenter. She shared info about leave policy (not all geared to pregnant moms, but also to "sick child" policy)

Here is the handout on how to keep your time during FMLA/OFLA Leave

  • FMLA was passed in 1993 by Clinton to guarantee job and benefits during maternity leave, also includes rights for taking care of sick family members or yourself.
  • Allows 480 hours, total of 12 weeks full time per calendar year. In general, it is 12 workweeks based on the employee’s workweek (full-time, 40 hours per week employee entitled to 40x12=480).
  • Intermittent or reduced scheduled leave is possible with your manager's approval
  • If you decide to work a reduced schedule when you return, using any remaining leave helps you keep full-time status (which matters for raises and retirement.)
  • Everything needs to be approved ahead of time, so it's best to request the full allowance even if you are planning on a shorter leave, just in case
  • You can reserve or bank up to 40 hours of vacation/comp time. Non-reps and most labor contracts allow employees to reserved up to 80 hours of vacation and comp time combined.
  • OFLA allows for another 12 weeks, but you are not allowed benefits - one mom couldn't take the leave because her husband is a student and the family needs their benefit, another paid for the coverage through COBRA.
  • It’s important to clarify that the additional 12 weeks of OFLA is available to a woman when she takes leave related to pregnancy. If her leave is covered under OFLA only, and is not in paid status for enough hours to be benefits eligible, she will receive notice of to continue coverage under COBRA.
  • OFLA and FMLA cover pregnancy disability for absences related to pregnancy, including routine prenatal appointments, severe morning sickness, pregnancy complications and after child birth - complications or illness are not required to be approved for the disability, a perfectly healthy pregnancy is covered.
  • Postpartum depression is also covered, even if it occurs some time after you've returned to work.
  • We talked a bit about how more fathers are using paternity leave and how that can also be used intermittently to have a reduced schedule for the first several months. It can also be used after the Mama returns to work to help lighten the parenting load. Eligible Moms or Dads are entitled to 12 workweeks of continuous parental leave (bonding time). They would have to get pre-approval from their manager/bureau to take parental leave intermittently or as a reduced schedule. They would need to submit the request, including the proposed schedule prior to the start of the leave.
  • We also had a discussion about sick-child leave. Every parent is allowed 40 hours per year for basic kid illnesses (flu, chicken pox). It's really important to use this first, as it can't be counted against you the same way that prolonged personal sick leave may. Employees may use accrued sick leave (up to 40 hours per calendar year from their sick leave bank) to caring for an ill or injured family member, specifically their spouse, domestic partner, parent, child or other person for whom the employee is legal guardian. Dependent care can also be used to the family member to a routine doctor or dentist appointment. Here’s the confusing part...If a family member has a serious health condition the the dependent care is a protected absence under family medical leave. “Sick child leave”, under OFLA, is different. If a parent has a child under 18, who is sick with a NON-serious illness (such as the flu or chicken pox) they can be off work to provide home care and the absence is covered under OFLA “sick child leave”. The employee would use dependent care leave but it would also be coded as OFLA dependent care leave. If they used up their 40 hours of dependent care they would use their vacation leave but it would be vacation leave coded as OFLA protected as well.
  • FMLA also covers chronic health issues on a intermittent level. One mom realized in the meeting that she could/should have been using this leave for her son's surgeries and monthly check-ups. You would be protected, and allowed up to 25 hours in 180 day period.
  • Courtney point out the obvious "If we all had paid family leave for a year, we wouldn't be having this discussion!"
Thanks Judy for being a warm and knowledgeable resource for working Moms!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May Meeting Notes: Three Pillars of Optimal Health

This month, CityMamas joined the Women's Affinity Group Meeting on May 13th.  Dr. Greg Nigh, a Naturopathic Doctor and Licensed Acupuncturist from Nature Cures Clinic presented three strategies that can dramatically reduce stress and increase your health.  Here are some notes I jotted down from his presentation:

In Naturopathic practice, there are a few basic principles:
  • Find and treat causes of symptoms (not symptoms)
  • Symptoms are the clues and not the problems to cover up.
  • Avoid suppression
  • Bodies are good at being healthy, if we stay out of their way.
He presented 3 pillars of optimal health
1.  Eliminate anything that isn't supposed to be there.
    • allergens, infections, heavy metals (such as mercury or lead), hormonal imbalances, and most importantly, FOOD
    • FOOD is the most important clue that pushes people out of balance
    • Dr. Nigh practices elimination of foods and then reintroduction to determine cause
    • a book on the Nature Cures Clinic website takes you through elimination dieting
    • the brain is made up mostly of oil.  Unhealthy oils = unhealthy brain
    • occasional mild short-term stress is good.  chronic heavy stress is very bad.
2.  Provide whatever isn't there in sufficient amounts.
    • vitamins, minerals, oils, sufficient blood (circulation in general), and other nutrients
    • basic vitamins: B complex (6 & 12), A, C, D, E
    • basic minerals: magnesium, potassium, lithium, boron, zinc.
    • for instance, most people don't get enough magnesium.  When magnesium deficient, blood pressure goes up, hypertension.  Epsom salt bath helps!
    • basic herbs: ginkgo, green tea
    • Labs are essential for understanding the underlying cause of symptoms
3.  Remove stress.
    • Stress isn't a thing; it's a way of thinking or a pattern of thinking about our circumstances
    • Stress management is THOUGHT management
    • Stress is one of the single greatest contributors to poor health.
    • Stress is a choice we make about what will occupy our thoughts in this moment NOW.  
    • Thoughts + physical reaction to thoughts = stress.
    • Time and effort spent in meditation that occurs earlier in the day can carry over in stressful situations that occur later.
Dr. Nigh's take-home exercise (to practice any time, all the time).  He uses a pill-timer that vibrates in his pocket every 20 minutes to remind him to do the following:
  • Stop.  Stop thinking what you're thinking.

  • Notice, categorize, and scan your body.  Notice what you're thinking and categorize it to see if there are patterns, e.g. I'm remembering an argument with my child, I'm feeling right about something that happened today, etc.  He says you will start to notice the same types of thoughts occurring.  It helps to be aware of what is causing you stress.  Scan your body to determine what contracted with that thought, and to relax the muscle that contracted. 

  • What are you doing now?  Start to narrate what you're doing now, e.g. I'm reading this blog.  I'm sitting.  I have my legs crossed.  The longer you can keep up the narration, the more you can manage our stress, because it is challenging to hold "present awareness".  
This whole process takes just a few seconds.  It may help you to stop the stressful thoughts, and to think and live in the present.  It may even stop you from thinking the stressful thoughts before they happen. 

There were about 8 CityMamas in attendance.  

Any thoughts on the presentation?   Has anyone tried the exercise?  Anything to add that I've missed?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

Goat Cheese Pasta
Servings = 6
Time = 30 min

1 lb linguine pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic head, diced
2 T olive oil
8 oz Cherve (goat cheese), broken up
1 bunch baby spinach, washed and trimmed
1 small bunch basil, washed and trimmed
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package dirrection, omitting the oil. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat. Between two sheets of heavy plastic pound the chicken to 1/2 inch thick. Cook in skillet until brown on each side and done through. While chicken is cooking, in a sauce pan, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Saute shallots and garlic for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add Cherve - stir until cheese is melted and keep warm.

When chicken is done, remove from pan and cut into bite sized pieces. Add spinach to the pan and wilt.

Drain pasta. Mix all ingredients, including basil, salt and pepper, in a larbe bowl.

Notes: To make vegetarian, omit the chicken and add any other veggies (e.g. mushrooms, carrots)

From: Fast and Fresh magazine

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 13th Mtg - Health and Vitality

For our May meeting, we will be joining the Women’s Affinity Group!


Thursday May 13


Portland Bldg. 3rd floor, Fir Creek

WAG is sponsoring a lunch time event for anyone interested in learning some simple ways to improve your health. If you are constantly tired, stressed out or feeling like you are just hanging on this event is for you. Dr. Greg Nigh will present three strategies that can dramatically reduce stress and increase your health. Learn how your lifestyle and daily habits can enhance your vitality and prevent the onset of a wide range of chronic disease. Dr. Nigh is a Naturopathic Physician and Acupuncturist at Nature Cures Clinic in Portland, Oregon.

For more information, contact: Susan Bailey at 503-823-1956 or

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

Sausage and Fennel Pasta
Servings: 6
Prep and cook: 45 min

¾ lb pre-cooked sausage links
½ a fennel bulb
1 small onion
2-3 large carrots, peeled
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lb gemelli pasta
¼ c fresh flat-leaf parsley
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 F. Slice sausage into ½ inch thick pieces. Slice the fennel bulb and the onion into ½ inch thick ribbons. Slice the carrots at an angle. Toss the sausage, fennel, onion and carrots with olive oil, place on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare gemelli pasta according to directions, omitting the oil. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add sausage-veggie mix and parsley – toss to mix. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Notes: I used chicken broth instead of water for cooking the pasta. It was a big hit with both Jordan and Jeremy.

From Rachael Ray magazine

Monday, May 3, 2010

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

Baked Ziti
Serves 8 to 10

Time - 1 hr 20 minutes (20 min active)

1 pound whole milk cottage cheese or 1 percent cottage cheese (see note)
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
Table salt
1 pound ziti or other short, tubular pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)
1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
Ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream (see note)
8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese , cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups) (see note)


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in medium bowl; set aside. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and pasta; cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain pasta and leave in colander (do not wash Dutch oven).

2. Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in ½ cup basil and sugar, then season with salt and pepper.

3. Stir cornstarch into heavy cream in small bowl; transfer mixture to now-empty Dutch oven set over medium heat. Bring to simmer and cook until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce, and ¾ cup mozzarella, then stir to combine. Add pasta and stir to coat thoroughly with sauce.

4. Transfer pasta mixture to 13- by 9-inch baking dish and spread remaining tomato sauce evenly over pasta. Sprinkle remaining ¾ cup mozzarella and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan over top. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

5. Remove foil and continue to cook until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons basil and serve.

From America's Test Kitchen

Notes - This is a perfect meal to make on a Sunday and have leftovers on Monday and Tuesday lunch.