Mommy tactics: healthy pizza crust alternative

At my house, pizza is a must. We love pineapple on pizza. We love chicken pesto pizza. We even love ground turkey pizza. you can imagine how unhealthy dinners are if we were to eat pizza every night. I went on the hunt recently for a pizza crust alternative. I didn’t want to use flour for the crust and I have tried and failed (miserably) at trying to make a crust out of quinoa. So I came across a recipe for cauliflower crust and thought why not!

I gotta say, it was so easy and we loved it! I made some changes to the recipe and it worked wonderfully for me. My two-year-old didn’t say her usual ‘no, no no’ and had a few bites! Yay me


  • Medium sized cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Tomato paste
  • Mozzarella shredded cheese
  • Toppings of your liking


  • Wash, cut-up, and place the cauliflower in a food processor. Use the chop setting.
  • Drain as much water as you can from the cauliflower. Some recipes called for a cheesecloth to help drain the water. Others instructed to use a washcloth. I didn’t have either, so instead, I used a paper towel. I placed a paper towel on the counter, spread out the cauliflower crumbles and placed another paper towel on top and I pressed hard to soak up the towel. I did this a few times. I then moved the cauliflower to a fresh paper towel and left it to air dry for a few hours.
  • Turn on the oven to 400 F.
  • Once dry, place the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, and all the other ingredients (except the toppings).
  • Mix well and place on a cookie sheet in a pan.
  • Press out the cauliflower like you would with a pizza dough.

  • Place the pan in the oven and set the timer to 35 minutes.
  • Once done, flip the crust, spread tomato paste and any toppings you want.

  • Cook at 400 F for 15 minutes then broil for another 5.


Lena Alaw

Mommy tactics: food prep during Ramadan

Food prep is so easy when you love traditional Ramadan dishes. Ramadan is a holy month of fasting. Those who practice abstain from food and water from sunrise till sunset everyday for a month. No, we don’t fast for an entire month! It isn’t inclusive; at sunset, we can eat.

Growing up, my dad and I used to joke that we would not fast unless lentil soup and ‘Tishreeb’ was on the menu. Tishreeb is a traditional Iraqi stew.

The best thing I did this Ramadan was to to utilize my pressure cooker to make these dishes. It was so easy too! I throw the ingredients in and I let it be.

For Tishreeb, I used beef (shoulder cut) cut into small cubes, added tomato sauce (just below the max level), minced garlic, juice of a half lemon and chickpeas. I cooked the eggs and the potatoes separately (potatoes, also in the pressure cooker!).

For lentil soup, I wash the lentils, add tomato sauce (enough to cover the lentils), juice of half a lemon, cumin and salt. I set the pressure cooker on high for 40 minutes and voila.

Being a working mom, and having little time to prep I needed to make big batches of food in advance. The pressure cooker was a lifesaver this Ramadan.

What recipes have you tried in the pressure cooker? I came across a cake recipe once. I have yet to try that. Have you created anything magical using your pressure cooker? Write me in the comments!

Lena Alaw

Separation anxiety at daycare

This week’s blog is more of a call for help. My daughter, who is now 27 months old started daycare a little over a month ago. As you might have figured out from previous blogs, she became very ill in her first week. Naturally, we had her stay at home until she got better. Once she was healthy, we went right back to daycare.

She only goes three times a week as we are fortunate enough to have some family nearby which is where she stays the other two days. Since day one at daycare, we noticed her beginning to develop separation anxiety. At home, she must have her daddy with her at all times; otherwise, she whines or cries. We are told that she cries uncontrollably for long periods at daycare. She barely eats or drinks anything while there and comes home starving. The daycare we selected is closer to my husband’s work so he’s the one in charge of drop-off and pick-up.

We feel horrible for her. She wakes up every morning and says ‘no daycare’ and becomes more anxious as we get closer to leaving the house every morning. My husband spends the car ride with her whining or crying.

Are there any parents out there who have had a similar experience? What should we do? I have read numerous articles suggesting random things and nothing has helped. The daycare director tells us it’s a phase and that most kids go through it and it will be over but the poor kiddo is miserable.

Please comment if you have ideas on how you helped your child adjust to change.

Lena Alaw

Mommy tactics: 6 home remedies to help your sick child

Well, it hit us. Before winter left and just as the weather started to get nice, my daughter started daycare and brought home the Plague. Ok, it wasn’t that extreme, but the long sleepless nights were rough on everyone.

On her first week at daycare, my two-year-old came home with an ear infection and a stomach bug. It wasn’t long before she started coughing uncontrollably and vomiting as a result. The poor thing was so congested too. Here is a list of six home remedies if your child comes down with a cold or a stomach bug. First thing is first though, you have to get medical advice just to be sure you are getting a correct diagnosis.

1. A humidifier. Ours was on ALL THE TIME. The mist really helps with the congestion and helps the child to breathe easier.

2. Toddlers are too young for cough medicine so unfortunately they have to suffer through the congestion. One over the counter item that I really like is Zarbees. Pay attention to the age indicated on the box. The main ingredient is honey so babies can’t really have it.

3. Natural saline mist like Boogie Mist. This product works great if you spray and then suction out the yucky stuff.

4. Elevate the babies mattress by placing a pillow under it. This works as gravity does and helps ease congestion.

5. Pedialyte is also a must if your child is losing a lot of fluids. My baby developed diarrhea (probably as a result of the antibiotic given to treat her ear infection). So it was very important to replenish her fluids.

6. Because the instructions on the Zarbees was to give one teaspoon every four hours, I gave my daughter 2-3 teaspoon of honey during that time.

Do you have any other tips? I hate to say it, but given daycare, she will likely get sick again. Are there any things you tried or products you purchased that you love? Write me in the comments and let me know.

Lena Alaw

5 things I learned as a new parent

Here are five things I learned since becoming a mom. I hope you find them beneficial.

1. If you don’t start tummy-time early, your child’s head will look like a melon. Tummy time helps build stronger neck muscles. My daughter’s head started to get longer rather than round because she was always on her back. Our pediatrician recommended a lot of tummy time and it worked like magic. Just do it.

2. Your child will get sick the day they start daycare. I kid you not, my daughter had a fever the very next day. Expect this and plan ahead if you can. Make sure you have meds in stock or have a plan so that one parent can pick up necessities.

3. Your child will favor one parent over the other. This happens especially if the child is sick. This is a fact, people! My dear mommys, please stop googling things like ‘does my child hate me?’. They don’t. Kids go through phases, and they like to push your buttons as they begin to build their own personalities. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home parent or have a full-time job, your kid will choose to favor you for some things and their other parent for other things.

4. I learned to never underestimate my child’s knowledge and skills. Even though I have not yet let her eat using utensils doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how to use them. Test the waters, I am always surprised as to what she knows or can do.

5. Some babies/toddlers are great eaters others are so very picky! I love our pediatrician, I used to get so stressed out when my daughter refused to eat. My pediatrician taught me to look at the bigger picture. She made me ask myself these questions: how much is she eating over the span of a day and of a week. Answering those questions will help you determine whether your child is fine or if you need to seek more medical advice. Of course, if in doubt, ask a professional.

What might seem difficult right now, will be easier later on. Parenting is challenging; as your child grows you will find yourself facing new challenges.

what things have you learned as a new parent that was so unexpected?

Write me in the comments and make sure to follow my blog!

Lena Alaw

Mommy tactics: fun, reusable cake toppers

Celebrating a little one’s birthday is so much fun. I love planning for a birthday party. I find that I can spend countless hours researching decor ideas. For my daughters second birthday, I chose a theme that interested her. What is a two-year-old into you ask? Elmo, of course. The party didn’t have any other kids but her (we just had family over and kept the gathering really small). But I did want to surprise her with decorations and of course, no birthday is complete without cake. I went off searching for cake toppers and came across really nice looking hand-made clay toppers (on Etsy). They were super expensive though! Beautiful but I didn’t want to pay $80-$160 for just a topper that would most likely be used once. So, the search had to go on!

Eventually, I found exactly what I wanted at Target. These little plastic Sesame Street characters were perfect for what I had in mind and she can play with them later.

The cake looked beautiful, I couldn’t be more happy with my find. I didn’t end up using all the toys on the cake as I felt it might be too crowded (they come in a set of five).

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create something magical for your kid. I wanted the fun to last beyond the party.

What did you do for your little ones’ cake? Write me in the comments, I want ideas for next year!

Lena Alaw

*Cake photo by Hala Alaw

Traveling tactics: what to take with you on a flight

I love lists. For me, Making a list makes whatever task undertaken much more manageable. When traveling with an infant, I make two lists. One that comes with items I take with me on the plane and one for the items that go in the checked luggage. Today, I am going to share with you my list of items I take on a flight.

1. A Covered water bottle or sippy cup. TSA agents have to inspect bottles with liquids so they will touch the spouts of those uncovered sippy cups; they usually don’t touch the spout if it is covered (at least not with their gloves)

2. Spare clothes for EVERYONE. just don’t risk it, grab spare clothes for your baby, yourself and the hubs if he’s traveling with you.

3. Empty milk bottles if you use formula. Just put water in the bottles, take the formula in its regular container and mix at the airport when you need to.

4. A pacifier if your baby uses one. It comes in very handy during takeoff and landing. My baby didn’t take to a pacifier so we opted to give her water during takeoff and landing. It helps if the baby is chewing/swallowing as the pressure changes.

5. A few wash clothes and some plastic bags or Ziploc bags to put dirty clothes in (in case of a vomit accident).

6. Wipes, both baby wipes, and antibacterial wipes. The first thing I do when I sit in my seat on the plane is a funny attempt to clean everything around me. My husband and I take turns holding the baby and making sure she doesn’t touch anything before we clean it. We use Clorox wipes and make sure we clean everything from the seatbelt buckle to the tray and even the light and fan knobs.

7. Diapers (count the hours from the time you arrive at the airport until picking up your luggage and figure out how many diapers you should carry with you on the flight. Do keep in mind that flight delays could happen.

8. A light blanket or a swaddle for naps.

9. Small toys for entertainment.

10. Changing pad. I hate putting my baby directly on the changing stations in bathrooms. I always wipe it down with antibacterial wipes, dry it and then place my own changing pad on there before placing my baby on it.

Write me in the comments and let me know what it is you take with you on a flight.

Lena Alaw

Coloring tactics

When my daughter started expressing interest in drawing, painting and scribbling, my husband and I went shopping in order to address her new interests. At first, we purchased crayons (jumbo and regular size) as well as a bunch of coloring books. One small piece of advice is to not bother with the jumbo crayons. We found that they were hard to hold and they break easily!

When we needed more coloring books, we paid the store another visit and this time we were much more successful. I came across Melissa and Doug’s Water WOW coloring books. I instantly fell in love. I hadn’t heard of the company before but loved the idea behind their product. I am a nervous wreck when my daughter holds a crayon. I watch her very closely to make sure she doesn’t color on the wall, the carpet, or her clothes. She has even tried coloring her eyelids.. yay me!

So why did I fall in love with this product? What made it unique? Let me tell you! A number of things:

1. It is mess free! That’s right. I don’t have to worry about my little one eating the pen (it’s plastic) and if she does want to lick it, it’s filled with water! That’s right.. it comes with a refillable water pen! How cool, right? As a working mom, coming home after a day at the office means I have to interact with my daughter and make dinner. This coloring book allows me to be at ease, when she’s coloring, I can start preparing dinner without having to watch her like a hawk. (You want to color your eyelids baby girl? Go right ahead!)

2. Another thing I loved about the Melissa and Doug coloring books is the fact that the sheets in the book are reusable! That’s right! Let the pages dry and the colors disappear like magic!!!

3. The product is so travel-friendly! You can take it anywhere! To restaurants, on a plane etc. The book’s cover has a storage compartment for storing the pen. LOVE IT!

4. The designs are very neat. Some better than others. So far we have purchased the ‘Safari’, ‘Animal’ and ‘Under the sea’. I honestly can’t wait to purchase more!

Honestly, this is one of the most innovative products I have purchased for my 2-year-old.

Write me in the comments, Telling me about other products you love!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.

Lena Alaw

Spaghetti squash

Mom was right! Why oh why did I wait years before listening to her about spaghetti squash is beyond me.

Working full time is very tough especially when it comes to preparing dinner. So I am all about easy, fast and healthy recipes.

For the first time, last week, I tried a recipe with spaghetti squash! It was so easy and I couldn’t believe how tasty it was too! There are a number of recipes you can incorporate spaghetti squash into but the trick is cooking it correctly (overcooking turns it to mush, undercooking leaves it dry).

First, start off with a squash, wash and cut it in half. Clean it by scraping out the seeds.

Place the squash halves face down on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for just a few minutes.

Turn the squash over; using a fork, scrape the insides. At this point, taste it! It actually doesn’t need anything else and can be served as a side dish.

For my recipe, I added a teaspoon of butter, salt and pepper and half a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. I then placed pre-cooked ground turkey on top and served it. You can add pasta sauce to it and make it a true spaghetti dish. I will try that next time.

Thanks, mom!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s blog. Do you have any fast and tasty spaghetti squash recipes? Comment below and let me know! Don’t forget to follow my blog.

Lena Alaw

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