Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Dulce De Leche with Cheese and Crackers

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Here’s this week’s recipe!
I am so very excited to share a special treat with you for the upcoming holiday season as a dessert or an appetizer. We all know what Dulce De Leche is. It is an Argentine delicacy in our chocolate, our ice cream and is often sold in specialty shops for a lot of cash.
I discovered on the internet that there is a very easy way to make your own dulce de leche and to be the crafty person you’ve always wanted to be at the same time! How often does an opportunity like this come along?
Make this with your kids and they’ll think you’re the coolest. Pair it with brie on crackers and you will be the hostess with the mostest.
Homemade Dulce De Leche with Brie and Crackers:
one can of sweetened condensed milk (try to get a brand with no high fructose corn syrup like Carnation which is just milk and sugar)
One crock pot
optional: brie and crackers of your choice-I like Pita Chips
Method:
Remove the label from the can of condensed milk
Place the can in your crock pot and add enough water so the can is covered by at leats an inch with water
Cover the crock pot and set it to slow cook overnight for 10 hours
In the morning, remove the can,let it cool and then open the can with a can opener
Remove the delicious contents of the can and store in a glass container and EAT IT!
Can serve spread on a cracker and topped with cheese, with ice cream or with a spoon!
For more great recipes visit:
www.takebackthekitchen.com

Teen Dating and Break-up Violence on “48 Hours”

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I recently had the opportunity to attend a powerful panel discussion at CBS News regarding an important topic involving today’s teens. While cyberbullying has finally become part of school curriculums, there’s a growing danger among teens that’s been on the rise in record numbers – dating and break up violence.
This Saturday, October 26 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) Tracy Smith and 48 HOURS report on a special investigation into the rise of dating and breakup violence among adolescents in an episode entitled “Loved to Death.”
This emotional episode shares the story of Lauren Astley, a popular teenager from Wayland, Mass., looking ahead to starting at Elon University in the fall. Lauren’s ex-boyfriend was Nathaniel Fujita, a star football player with a football scholarship to Trinity College. They had a tumultuous relationship with a pattern of breaking up and getting back together. But as their senior year was ending, Lauren had broken it off for good. By all accounts, Nathaniel struggled coming to terms with the breakup. Nathaniel’s mother was so worried about his post-breakup behavior she took him to a psychiatrist. Among Lauren’s friends, their relationship was discussed on social media.
Lauren secretly visited Nathaniel to see how he was doing. The meeting proved fatal for Lauren.

In a short time, a life was lost and two families were shattered forever. Along the way, their names were added to the growing and startling statistics on dating and breakup violence. Researchers estimate that one in three young adults between the ages of 14 and 20 has experienced some form of dating violence. “Of teenagers who are in abusive relationships, 3% will tell an authority figure, 6% will tell a family member, but 75% will tell a friend – that’s why we focus on kids,” former Middlesex County, Mass., District Attorney Gerry Leone tells 48 HOURS.
At the panel discussion that took place this week in New York City, 48 HOURS Senior Executive Producer Susan Zirinsky shared why it was so important to share Lauren’s story. “When someone has been through a personal experience that issue resonates so much more with somebody hearing their story and looking at themselves and saying maybe something like that can happen to me,” says Zirinsky, who shared that the issue of dating violence can happen to anyone. “It is the reality of living in a different time and place and the pressure is enormous. Seemingly normal kids will snap under that pressure and this is one of those stories,” she adds.
Reporter Tracy Smith, who covered this important story for 48 HOURS added, “This is an issue that’s been out there for a long time but adults haven’t taken it seriously.” Smith says that oftentimes parents chalk up their kids’ relationship troubles to “teen drama” but she adds, “it’s gotten more complicated now that it’s online.” She adds, “The other thing that’s changed is the signs we used to talk about were very obvious ones. The signs can be very subtle. There are subtle signs that someone is in a relationship that could be violent. And we are taking it more seriously. We’re talking about it more and it’s due in large part to the courage of parents like (Malcolm Astley) who are coming forward to share their stories.”
Malcolm Astley was courageous enough to share his painful story with 48 HOURS, revealing how his daughter’s death impacted his life. “I’m a gatherer of information and I got catapulted into this arena,” says Astley, who has made it his mission to educate parents and young people about the dangers of dating violence while lending his support to programs like Futures without Violence that counsel adolescent boys on how to effectively deal with their emotions.
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Smith adds that dating violence “is a crime that has no zip code. It’s urban, suburban, and rural. A relationship ends and what happens is an emotional surge of uncontrollable anger. It can be verbal, physical and sometimes, as in the case of Lauren Astley, it can end in death.”
Smith and 48 HOURS report on Lauren’s rollercoaster relationship with Nathaniel, their breakup, and what led up to her brutal murder, through interviews with their friends, police investigators, prosecutors, Nathaniel’s uncle and Lauren’s parents. The broadcast also provides critical information parents and young adults need to know about the warning signs of dating violence and how not to become a victim. The broadcast features several Massachusetts high school programs, including a dating violence awareness club and Mentors in Violence Prevention aimed at helping teens recognize the signs of a healthy and unhealthy dating relationship.
48 HOURS: “Loved to Death” is produced by Marcelena Spencer. Kathleen O’Connell is the development producer. Mead Stone and Bruce Spiegel are the producer editors. Claire Anderson is the field producer. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.
Chat with members of the 48 HOURS team during each broadcast on Twitter and Facebook.

The Good Wife: Explosive Episode Airing this Sunday!

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to do every Sunday night is curl up on the couch and dive into “The Good Wife” on CBS. From infidelity, to scandal, to politics to those intense courtroom scenes, the tension has been mounting this season as Alicia plots to leave Lockhart Gardner to start a new firm with her former colleagues. In this weekend’s explosive episode, Alicia and Cary’s plans to depart Lockhart/Gardner are suddenly exposed and a desperate battle to retain clients ensues. If you are like me and can’t wait to catch a sneak peak of the episode, then check this out now!
In anticipation of this intense episode, CBS wants to know…which team are you on? Team Lockhart/Gardner or Team Florick/Agos? Visit The Good Wife Facebook page and vote now!
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If you haven’t watched the show, then now is definitely the time to get in on the action. “The Good Wife” stars Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, a wife and mother who reinvents her life following her husband’s sex and political corruption scandal. Four years into her tenure at the law firm of Lockhart/Gardner, Alicia accepts a prestigious partner offer from her bosses, Diane Lockhart, Will Gardner and David Lee. However, a mutual attraction with Will leaves Alicia conflicted after she agrees to renew her vows with her husband, Peter, who has won the gubernatorial election with the help of campaign manager Eli Gold. After much thought, Alicia agrees to leave Lockhart/Gardner to start a new firm with her colleague, Cary Agos, who is unable to convince investigator Kalinda Sharma to join them. Now, Alicia must find a way to balance her evolving career, her new position as First Lady of Illinois and her roles as a wife and mother to her teenage children, Zach and Grace. Emboldened by the prospect of taking control of her future, Alicia bravely ventures into unknown territory.

“The Good Wife” airs Sundays (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. To get caught up on the show and watch the five most pivotal episodes in “The Good Wife” history, check out the website and then make sure you watch the show this Sunday night!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.

Free Birds: Role Mommy Interviews Amy Poehler

Written by Role Mommy contributor, Kristin Flannery.

photo (4).JPG Rolemommy sat down with Amy Poehler to discuss her new animated movie, Freebirds, in theaters on November 1st. We talked turkey, what it was like playing the straight man and every mom’s worst nightmare… Forgetting where you are driving to.
Free Birds is the story of two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who must put aside their differences and travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good. Before Reggie and Jake become a main course at Standish’s dinner, they are rescued by Jenny (Amy Poehler), the beautiful and fierce daughter of the Wild Turkeys’ Chief Broadbeak (Keith David). Jenny leads the pair to the edge of the forest where the rest of her flock is hiding from the Pilgrims. Jake must teach the wild flock about the future and rally support for his mission to change history, but Reggie is apparently on a mission of the heart: falling beak-over-tail for Jenny.
Rolemommy is all about the strong woman characters and since this is something different from Amy’s usual zany characters, we asked her if it was hard for her to tone it down a little. It didn’t seem to be a problem for Amy, “she’s kind of the straight turkey in the movie. And animation’s so fun because you get to take really big jumps but you do sometimes need a force that’s grounding everything together, which I think the character Jenny is. And I didn’t really do so much of a voice in this because they really kind of wanted it to be kind of natural. But, I’ve played all different kinds of spectrum of that. So, it’s cool to actually play someone that feels like a somewhat normal animated character, if that makes sense. But, she’s also a turkey.”
Spoiler alert, Jenny turns out to be the chosen one of the tribe and we had to know how she felt being the chief, the supreme being of the movie. Always with amazing comedic timing, Amy responded “Oh, I thought you were talking to me, not my character. Yes, it feels great. What did I get chosen for? It’s cool. It’s fun to play a strong female character, natural leader, a girl who’s kind of following in her powerful father’s footsteps. It’s nice. When I read it, I was like, oh, that’s great. Unfortunately, not as typical as it should be and so it was cool to play, yes.”
Now Rolemommy wants to know more about Amy’s personal life. When asked is she had any “mom fails”‘ Amy opened up and honestly answered, “Oh, Gosh. Sometimes, I forget where I’m driving them to. That happens, right? I do just stop in the middle of the road and go, where are we going. That happens a lot.
How are we in this car, and who am I dropping off and where are we going – that happens a lot. It’s just a lot of forgetful stuff that every mother has to deal with.”
Since this fun animated film centers around one of our favorite holidays, we were curious to know if Amy had any traditions with her two young boys. When we asked her if she has made some of your own traditions, she said “I like watching movies with my kids on Thanksgiving night. That’s always a really fun thing, especially showing them a movie they’ve never seen is always really fun. Last year, we watched Willie Wonka, which was a big deal.”
So checkout Amy’s animated performance in FREE BIRDS from Relativity Media and Reel FX Animation Studios In Theaters on November 1, 2013 and to see the trailer click here http://youtu.be/r-RnGP63rpM
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44 Memories…My Broke Girl Story

As I get ready to celebrate my 44th birthday, I have a lot to be thankful for. I am thankful that I can now afford something other than spaghetti for dinner. I am thankful I have a really cute husband who gets better looking with age. And I am lucky to have two awesome kids who keep me on my toes and inspire me almost every day of the week. But there was a time when I wasn’t that content. And maybe the reason for my uneasiness was because I was broke.
Back in the 1990’s — yes a very long time ago — I had just moved to Manhattan with a girlfriend of mine and despite the fact I was making a measly $25,000 per year, we found an apartment on the upper west side that was a few feet away from Central Park. Sure, the rent wasn’t out of the stratosphere- it was $1400 per month and my friend and I split the bill. But here was the problem. I was making $1500 per month after taxes. Which meant that half of my money every month was going toward rent, leaving me with another $800 to survive in New York City. While my mom thought I was making the biggest mistake of my life, little did she know that taking a chance on a pricey Manhattan sublet would ultimately lead me to my future husband.
Needless to say, I wasn’t able to spend much back then, but some how I made ends meet. I took the subway to and from work. I walked a lot. I lived for sales. And, I found a lot of free things to do on the weekends — including rollerblading through Central Park and free Ladies Night happy hours. I ate a lot of spaghetti. I paid cash at the supermarket — before they actually accepted credit cards…imagine that! And best of all, I found a boyfriend the first month I moved into the city (that would be the cute husband I mentioned earlier) and fortunately for me, he treated a lot of the times we were out. But despite my bank account hovering near a zero balance every month, I managed to survive and thrive during those first few years out of college.
And I think that’s why I love the show 2 BROKE GIRLS — no matter how old you are, I’m sure everyone has a story about the time they survived on Ramen noodles so they could pay the utility bill. If you haven’t been watching this hilarious comedy yet, then honestly what are you waiting for? 2 BROKE GIRLS is a comedy about the unlikely friendship that develops between two very different young women who meet waitressing at a diner in trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and form a bond over their dream of one day owning their own successful cupcake business. Only one thing stands in their way – they’re broke.
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Sarcastic, street-smart Max Black met the sophisticated, school-smart Caroline Channing when the uptown trust fund princess was having a run of bad luck due to her father’s Wall Street scandal, which caused her to lose all her money and forced her to give waitressing a shot. At first, Max sees Caroline as an entitled rich girl, but she’s surprised to find that Caroline has as much substance as she does style. When Caroline discovers Max’s knack for baking amazing cupcakes, she visualizes a lucrative future for them and they begin to save money to reach their start-up money goal of $250,000. As the girls’ cupcake tally expands week-to-week, they become closer to their goal and to each other. At the diner they are surrounded by their offbeat, colorful “work family”: Oleg, an overly flirtatious cook; Earl, a hip 75-year-old cashier; Han, the eager-to-please owner of the diner; and Sophie, the girls’ outrageous upstairs neighbor. As Max and Caroline climb toward their goal, we see that their “smarts” plus their “hearts” might just be the recipe for success.
2 BROKE GIRLS recently moved to Monday nights at 8:30 pm/7:30 c. Check out a sneak peak of tonight’s episode:

To find out more about 2 BROKE GIRLS, visit them on Facebook for updates on the latest episodes and if you’re like me and like to tweet along with the show, then use the hashtag #2BrokeGirls and you’ll be good to go!
This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Rosemary Caramelized apples

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As I was cutting my apples to top a salad, I kept smelling the rosemary I was drying out right next to it on my kitchen island. The combined smells were divine.
Ba-Bam!
I thought to mix them all up with a little sweetener and make a Fall fantasy salad topper.
Enjoy!
Comfort Food Salad with Rosemary Caramelized Apples:
One medium apple , chopped with skin on
one TBS olive oil
one TBS brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
pinch kosher salt
Method:
Put olive oil in a frying pan over low to medium flame
When hot, add rosemary and brown sugar and mix until all combned
Add chopped apples and stir for a few minutes until the sugar and oil become caramelized and start to thicken
Serve as a side dish, a garnish or on top of salads

Martha Stewart Insults Her Biggest Fans…Bloggers

martha.jpg I’ve been reading lots of really great blog posts over the last two days about a recent firestorm that has directly affected the blogosphere. You see, the queen of crafts, the diva of DIY, the countess of culinary skills and the high priestess of horticulture completely insulted bloggers who have looked up to her for years. Who am I talking about? Well, if you haven’t guessed already, it’s none other than Martha Stewart.
Stewart is not one to mince words and during a recent interview for Bloomberg News she decided to let it all hang out and finally say what was on her mind about the thousands of bloggers claiming they are experts in all things crafts and cooking. Stewart looked at her interviewer and blurted, “Who are these bloggers?” She continued that they are not editors at Vogue (who incidentally probably didn’t train at a culinary school either) and they do not test their recipes like they do at magazines. Take a look:

In my nine years as a blogger, I have had the great fortune of meeting and working with some of the most talented lifestyle and food bloggers on the planet. Take Jennie Perillo from In Jennie’s Kitchen and best selling author who tests all the recipes she features on her blog. Oh and maybe you’ve forgotten that Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman started out as a blogger. Who is that woman anyway??? How dare she claim to know anything about cooking?
If you’d like to head on over to party planning, then look no further than Partybluprints. Founded by Dawn Sandomeno and Elizabeth Mascali, these two gorgeous moms know how to throw a party right down to the floral arrangements, canapes and fruity drinks with flare. They even create customized “blu-prints” on how you too can re-create the same party right in your home. Incidentally, I’ve been to several of their events and they are absolutely fabulous.
Moving right along to crafts. Martha, have you ever heard of Make and Takes by genius DIY crafter Marie LeBaron? Marie is a former teacher turned crafter extraordinaire. Marie has a loyal following and is a published author too. How dare she claim to be a design expert? Um. Because she is.
Want to hop on over to fashion? Well let me introduce you to Audrey McClelland from Mom Generations. She’s a graduate of Brown University, who previously worked for Donna Karan before becoming a work at home mom. She now has five children, co-hosts a television show in Rhode Island, is a spokesperson for countless brands and has launched Getting Gorgeous events along with her best friend and popular fashion and entertainment blogger Vera Sweeney who pens Lady and the Blog.
Need a travel expert? Well I have two for you. Kim Orlando, the founder of Traveling Mom who has traveled across the continent with her family and has launched a blog network comprised of traveling moms who share their real experiences vacationing with or without their family. I’d also like to introduce you to Katja Presnal – except Katja now lives in Sweden where she runs the hugely popular blog Skimbaco Lifestyle. An avid skier, traveler, speaker and lover of all things style, Katja has launched an online brand which embodies the notion that everyone should live life to the fullest. Now if that’s not a good thing, I don’t know what is.
There are even more talented individuals who were actually part of your Martha Stewart blogger network, except, now that they feel unwelcome, many have decided to pick up stakes and leave. Wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow will be launching a blogger network soon. I heard you insulted her too because how could an Academy award winning actress know anything about being a lifestyle expert? Honestly, the same could be said for a former stock broker turned domestic guru.
I know you have bigger foie gras to fry (can you actually fry foie gras?) and could care less about annoying bloggers who are experts in being couch potatoes (okay truth be told — that’s me) but next time when you’re asked, you might want to think twice about pissing off the one group who used to worship the ground you walked on.
Here’s hoping you offer my talented blogging friends an apology. And if not, it’s been nice crafting with you.

Can’t Wait to See: About Time

There are just some movies that have my name written all over them and “About Time” is one of those films. I’m headed to a sneak peak in the next few days at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater which serves dinner while you watch a movie (love it!) but in the meantime, take a look at the trailer and make a date to see it!

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Angel Hair with Garlic Sauteed Zucchini and Rosemary

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No need to dismiss pasta as unhealthy if you have smaller portions and load it up with some deliciously healthy vegetables that are in season. Try pairing up fresh herbs with your vegetables to give them more flavor. Enjoy
Angel Hair with Garlic Sauteed Zucchini and Rosemary

1 lb whole wheat angel hair pasta
2 medium sized zucchini, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp finely chopped , fresh rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper
optional grated cheese of your choice
Method:
In a large pot, Boil pasta according to the directions
While pasta is cooking, start the zucchini:
In a medium sized frying pan over low to medium flame, drizzle in enough oil to coat the pan, about a tsp
When oil is hot, add in the minced garlic and stir for a few seconds
Add in the chopped zucchini and stir for a few minutes until golden
salt and pepper to taste
Remove zucchini from heat and drain the pasta
Serve up 4-6 plates of pasta, drizzle with olive oil and top with zucchini
Grate Parrano cheese or any other robust cheese on top (like Parmesan, Romano, or even goat cheese), crushed red pepper and serve immediately

Jim Carrey Chats with Role Mommy About His Latest Adventure…

images-2.jpgThere is nothing more thrilling than getting the opportunity to interview a feature film star who can effortlessly tackle a comedic role and then dive right into drama without missing a beat. Jim Carrey is by far, one of the most versatile and talented actors of our time and now, he has another incredible credit to add to his already impressive resume…children’s book author.
imgres-8.jpgCarrey is the author of How Roland Rolls, a beautifully illustrated story about a wave named Roland who contemplates his own mortality. What might seem a heavy topic for kids, Carrey has found a way to make the concept understandable and comforting for kids and adults.
What’s even more exciting about the book is that Carey’s daughter Jane, a musician, singer and songwriter, collaborated with her dad, writing several songs for the How Roland Rolls ebook which will be released this November.
We got the chance to speak with Carrey while he was on the set of “Dumb and Dumber To,” and he just was as funny, friendly and inspiring as ever. Listen in and get ready to laugh, learn and smile…

To find out more about Jim Carrey and his new children’s book, visit the How Roland Rolls website.