Take Back the Kitchen with Alma Schneider

P1070244.jpgHere is a simple, healthy, inexpensive and delicious recipe from my friend Kara Wesley. Perfect for a last minute dinner.
Kara’s Polenta With Garlicky Greens:
For the Polenta:
4 cup of boiling water, broth or combination of both
1 cup of fine, medium or coarse cornmeal
3 Tablespoons of butter
½ cup of cheese: parmesan, mascarpone, chevre, cream cheese, Romano or combination
2 teaspoons of salt
Bring water to a boil, slowly add in cornmeal and stir over medium heat. Stir for about 10 minutes on and off. Look for a smooth batter that will eventually pull away from the sides of the pot. After 15 minutes take off heat add butter, cheese and salt. Stir for an additional 2 minutes to combine well. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately for a creamy polenta or put in a wax covered baking dish and cool for hard polenta – to fry later.
For the Garlicky Greens:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ Vidalia onion, diced
1 head of Swiss chard, dice stems and rough chop leaves – keep separate
2 cups of baby spinach
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter
Add olive oil to cold sauté pan and heat over medium-low heat. Add onions and Swiss chard stems to pan, cover with a lid and gently cook till vegetables are softened, about 10-15 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook for an additional 5-8 minutes on medium heat. Add Swiss chard leaves with ½ of the chopped garlic and cook on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until leaves have fallen. Then add baby spinach and remaining garlic, butter, salt, and nutmeg. Toss greens and let cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the greens get a little darker (just slightly do not want to burn greens). Place greens over polenta. Enjoy!
alma072V4WEB-1 (1)-thumb-188x220-2703.jpgAlma Schneider, LCSW, is founder of Take Back the Kitchen. Like TBK, this blog is dedicated to helping people recognize and overcome the common and unique obstacles to being everything they hope to be in the kitchen. She writes for Womens Day on line magazine, she is a featured Kitchen Coach Expert on realsavvymoms.com and healthy food sponsor for BabyLovesdisco.com.

Is Your Daughter Ready for Summer?

authorShot2.jpegGuest contributor and Bonding over Beauty Author Erika Katz shares tips all moms should know to prepare their tween daughters for summer…
With the summer months approaching us, it is time to clean the closets and pull out those great summer dresses, shorts, and swimsuits. But, with all those cute outfits come new beauty issues for you and your tween to tackle. This could be her first year with unwanted hair around the bikini line, on the legs, and the underarms. If she has just recently gotten her period, she might not know then to use pads and when to use tampons. Perspiration is now an issue. And the list goes on. So how do you get her ready for summer so she feels self confident and secure? Here are a few suggestions:
Hair Removal
If your daughter is showing signs of puberty, you might have to talk to her about being bathing suit ready. Her legs and underarms should be smooth, if she has any hair sticking out from her underwear, now is the time to address it, and if her forearms are excessively hairy it is no longer taboo to remove it. Her options are shave, depilatory, or wax. Laser is an option but only after the onset of menstruation. So here is a good summer guide to hair removal.
Shaving
The night before a trip to the beach, spread a thick layer of shaving cream on the underarms, legs, forearms and any hair that falls outside of her underwear. Carefully shave the area for her or show her how to do it using a razor with a pivoting head such as the Gillette Venus. Be sure to rinse the blade after each stroke.
Depilatory
Depilatory is a great option if your daughter’s skin is not too sensitive. Find a depilatory specifically designed for the area she is depilating. Spread the cream on the unwanted hair and leave it on for 8 minutes or as directed. Then remove with a wet washcloth.
Wax
I suggest taking her to a good salon to wax unwanted hair. If you want to do it at home, I like the Completely Bare line of products available at www.completelybare.com. It is the identical wax used in the salon so you are not getting a watered down version of anything.
Laser
If your daughter has started menstruation, you can consider laser if she is light skinned with dark hair. It is costly but the results are great. However, laser needs to be done at least 2 weeks before she goes in the sun. When she arrives, the technician shaves the hair she would like removed. Then, she will go over the shaved area with cooling gel and then the laser. The hair will fall out in 2 weeks.
Tampon or Pads?
It is so important to teach your daughter to use both pads and tampons. Girls tend to have a heavy flow on the second and third day even if they are using tampons. I suggest she use a pantyliner like Kotex Tween to catch any leaks. It might take her a few periods to figure out what absorbency to use when. I also like Kotex Overnight with Wings for the night especially if she tends to sleep more than 8 hours. For daytime, especially during the summer months, I encourage you to teach your daughter to use a tampon if you have not already done so. This way she can participate in all summer sports every day. All girls can use a tampon as soon as they get their first period.
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