Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Kahlua Ice Cream

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Ice cream is great for any time of year but especially in summer. Back in the day (do I sound old?) all ice cream was natural but definitely not so anymore. Many ice cream brands, especially the inexpensive ones, have loads of additives that might surprise you. Although the following ingredients are ones that you wouldn’t want to eat every day, a once in a while home made ice cream treat beats the chemical filled ones. If you don’t already have an ice cream maker, you may either want to invest in one or make this the old fashioned way by shaking with ice (many recipes are on line for that activity!). Also, you may want to remove the Kahlua if you are serving kids. Enjoy!
Kahlua Ice Cream:
You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe and at least 4-6 hours to freeze the ice cream maker cylinder:
Ingredients:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup superfine white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs Kahlua
Steps:
Place an ice cream maker cylinder in the freezer overnight.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, milk, cream, extract and Kahlua until the sugar is fully incorporated. There may be a little sugar residue on the bottom of the bowl so try to stir that into the liquid mixture as much as possible.
Remove the cylinder from the freezer and add in the mixture. Turn the ice cream maker on and let stir for about 20 minutes or until the ice cream mixture is sold. It won’t be as hard as ice cream that is in the freezer but will no longer be liquid.
Place the now solid mixture into a freezerproof glass, stainless or plastic tupperware and place in the freezer. The ice cream around the edges of the cylinder may be tough to get out but use a very hard plastic spatula to remove all of it.
Place in the freezer overnight or at least for a couple hours until it is the consistency you like.
Serve and enjoy!
For more great recipes, please visit takebackthekitchen.com

Riding High with the Toyota Highlander

photo (7).jpgTruth be told – I haven’t owned a car with a third row since my kids were toddlers. But there is something to be said about having lots of space – especially when you travel with a four legged companion, grandparents and of course, our kids.
This summer, I had the chance to try out the brand new Toyota Highlander for one week. I happen to love getting the opportunity to drive a new car over the summer – especially because we love to take lots of road trips this time of year. Riding in a new car, with that distinct new car smell always makes me smile and I have to say, our set of wheels for the week did not disappoint. While my kids were in sleep away camp, we actually took the car for a road trip with our faithful companion Santana. Yes, our dog happens to love riding in cars so she instantly took to her new digs. We placed her crate in the trunk by flipping down the third row and she periodically poked her head out of her home to survey the scenery.
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What I loved about the car – especially since we have kids and pets are the all weather mats that you can find throughout the vehicle. Nothing tracks mud and crumbs than those rubber mats and it makes it super easy to clean after you’ve been on a road trip with bags full of chips, dog treats, drinks, fruit and more.
The other elements I enjoyed was the fact that I could regulate the temperature on my side of the car. That’s one thing my husband and I always disagree about – he’s always too warm and I’m always too cold, so it was nice that I could select a nice balmy temperature for me, while he kept his side as chilly as a meat locker. The power seats were also quite comfortable. They actually include lumbar support so if you have a bad back, you can adjust the seat so that it makes it more comfortable to drive. Another great feature is the back up camera so that you don’t miss anything or anyone who might be behind you. The camera also comes in handy for parking since there’s a red bar that shows you when you are too close to the vehicle behind you.
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The Highlander also includes traditional bells and whistles including an option for your bluetooth phone, the chance to sign up for Siriux XM radio and a Nav system. But what I also loved was the Entune app suite that enables you to listen to streaming radio from Pandora and make dinner reservations from one of my favorite apps, Open Table.
Another awesome feature…the trunk that opens and closes at the touch of a button making it easy to take out packages from the supermarket and close the trunk all with one hand. The car also came equipped with a sunroof, which we didn’t use this time around since we weren’t sure if Santana would use it as an escape hatch.
We did take a mini road trip during our week with our Highlander when we visited with my parents in Southampton. The four of us and Santana took a day trip to Greenport, Long Island one morning where Santana had a staring contest with my mom and couldn’t contain herself whenever she saw another dog as we shopped at the local boutiques.
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Overall, I have to say, I did enjoy giving the Toyota Highlander a whirl. The ride was incredibly smooth and as a mom, I really did appreciate all those extras that make driving an SUV super easy and fun. And even though I typically don’t ride in a car with seating for seven, I have to say I did love having the extra space and would totally consider getting a Toyota once our car lease is up in a few months.
To find out more about the Toyota Highlander, visit their website and check out the incredibly impressive reviews and awards they’ve received regarding safety and consumer experiences.
Disclosure: I was given a complimentary one week test drive of the 2014 Toyota Highlander. All opinions are 100% my own.

Say Hi to Summer Thighs with CoolSculpting®

Social Asset 2_Concept 3_A.jpgThere is one thing that my husband cannot stand about me during the summer time. While the weather might be sweltering outside, I can always be found covering up my less than favorite body parts. The biggest offenders are my calves, knees and my thighs. For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated my lower body. I’ve been blessed with a small waist but have inherited the genes of my European born grandmothers and am a pear through and through. I do not have the body of a ballet dancer. Rather, I have the frame of a potato farmer.
And that’s why, when I recently saw a survey from CoolSculpting® about the parts of the body women hide most in the summertime, I was not surprised. It turns out that 88% of women believe there is one or more area of their body that needs improving before they are “bikini ready.” While 74% are unhappy with their stomachs, I’m part of the group that does whatever they can to hide their thighs (54%) and butt (38%) at all costs.
In fact, in the survey, 63%of women have used various “thigh-hiding” tactics before — including keeping shorts over their bathing suits (30%), refusing to wear a bathing suit (29%), buying a specific bathing suit that hides their thighs (25%) or refusing to wear shorts at all (22%). It’s already July 24 and I haven’t even put on a bathing suit yet. Sad, but true.
Among those who employ “thigh-hiding” techniques, 89 percent agree that even while hiding their thighs, they do not feel the best about their appearance. Yup, that would be me.
Finally, fifty-eight percent of women feel stuck with their body type and 48 percent of women do not believe that their body reflects their diet and exercise regime. I can be found at the gym at least three times a week and do a lot of walking now that I have an incredibly energetic puppy. I even own a Fitbit and work hard at achieving 10,000 steps a day. But alas, my thighs are still my arch nemesis.
If you’re like me and have considered removing stubborn fat from your lower half that doesn’t seem to go away no matter how much you diet or exercise, then the CoolSculpting procedure could be a great option for you. CoolSculpting is the #1 non-invasive body sculpting procedure with more than one million treatments performed worldwide. It’s also the only FDA-cleared procedure that uses a patented cooling technology for long-term fat reduction. CoolSculpting uses proprietary technology to deliver controlled cooling to target fat. Treated fat cells crystalize (freeze) and die. The dead fat cells are then naturally eliminated from the body, and they will not come back.
The treatment results in a noticeable and measurable reduction of fat in the treated areas, and the treated fat is gone for good. Most patients can start to see results as soon as three weeks following treatment, with the most dramatic results occurring over a period of one to three months. Every patient is unique, so patients are encouraged to talk to their physicians about a customized treatment plan as part of the initial consultation. Additional treatments in the same or multiple areas may enhance the desired aesthetic effect. Visit the CoolSculpting website to locate a CoolSculpting doctor near you. Lucky for me, there’s actually one right across from my office!
Now it’s time for the coolest summer giveaway ever! While I’ve offered some awesome products before on this blog, this one takes the cake. Thanks to CoolSculpting, we are offering a “Say Hi to Summer Thighs” giveaway where you can enter to win two free CoolSculpting treatments and a $500 shopping spree. Details are below:
About the CoolSculpting Say Hi to Summer Thighs Sweepstakes:
This summer, fear your mirror no more and dare to bare your thighs. Enter to win two CoolSculpting thigh treatments and a $500 summer wardrobe shopping spree (via Visa Gift Card)
4 runner-up winners will receive $250 summer shopping sprees.
Mobile-friendly link to Enter: http://tinyurl.com/mdnlumf
How to Enter:
Answer this question! (+3 entries)
Where would you like to freeze your fat away with CoolSculpting?
Opt-in for special offers from CoolSculpting (+3 entries)
Send a tweet about the sweepstakes (+2 entries)
Follow @CoolSculpting on Twitter (+1 entry)
Follow CoolSculpting on Pinterest (+1 entry)
Easy entry for CoolSculpting Facebook fans (+1 entry)
If you are self conscious this time of year about your body, then what are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway below and good luck!
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Connect with CoolSculpting on Facebook and let us know if you’re planning to give CoolSculpting a whirl. Gotta run and make my appointment stat! It’s about time I say bye bye to Summer Time Thunder Thighs!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Cool Sculpting

Creating a Healthier Next Generation

Written by Role Mommy wing mom, Danielle Feigenbaum

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Last week the School Nutrition Association held their Annual National Conference in Boston, MA. I was lucky enough to attend the conference where I met so many amazing people and learned a ton about providing schools with healthy food. Who knew how much actually goes into getting healthier foods into our kid’s schools AND trying to figure out how to educate them to eat it! So many kids across the country are not exposed to different fruits and vegetables at home. It’s great to have healthy food in the schools, but we also don’t want to waste it – we want the kids to eat and enjoy it!
healthyplate.jpg The huge exhibit hall had hundreds of companies that are working on lowering the sugar and sodium amounts in their products as well as meeting new government standards for whole grains. In the upcoming 2014-2015 school year all grains served for breakfast and lunch should be whole grain-rich (at least 50%). Some of the pizza companies are working on making their crusts with more whole grain, but keeping the look of white flour so kids will eat it. There were also companies who are creating ways to get younger kids to try new foods and learn about staying healthy. They have fun stickers you can receive that say “I tried it!” when they try something new (what kid doesn’t love stickers?) And this fun plate that shows all the different food groups you should be eating at each meal.
I had the pleasure of being escorted around the exhibit floor with two amazing District Supervisors of School Nutrition. First, Debbi Beauvais from Rochester NY. I had no idea how much actually goes into planning the food and the payment schools received for each kid. There are many challenges when you live in an urban area, unfortunately it is very expensive to get lots of fruits, veggies and non prepackaged food. On the other side was Director Doug Davis from Burlington, VT who participates in a Farm 2 School initiative to bring local produce to the cafeterias. I love the idea of kids being involved in knowing where the food they eat comes from. If we can get the kids outside planting and visiting farms, maybe they will be more likely to try new and healthy foods. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and The Burlington School Food Project serves free breakfast to all students. Debbi and Doug both had a ton of knowledge regarding school nutrition and as a parent of two picky elementary school children, they really opened my eyes to what is going on in our school. I was very inspired to get more involved and I think parents everywhere should know exactly what is going on with their school’s breakfast, lunch and snack.
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The SNA and USDA want to create a healthier next generation. Kids spend so many hours in school and need to be better educated about why eating healthy is so important. Thanks to updated standards kids are now eating 10% more veggies and 23% more fruit at lunch. But this is only the start, we need to help schools get the proper equipment and funding to make healthier foods as well as the education component.
The School Nutrition Association launched Tray Talk as a way to provide parents with information about healthy school meals and offer tips on how to get involved in school nutrition programs. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/TrayTalk
For more great information please visit: www.schoolnutrition.org

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Hummus

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Healthy dips are always in style and in season. Hummus is a crowd pleaser so always a good idea for the kids after school, camp and/or for a party. No need to buy it when it is so inexpensive and simple to make. Enjoy!
Hummus:
1 cup chick peas
6 TBS olive oil (more if necessary)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 TBS tahini (can get at most supermarkets, Whole Foods)
1-2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS water (more if necessary)
optional: a little cayenne pepper or 1/2 a roasted pepper or 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes)
Puree all ingredients in a food processor. Add more water or olive oil if too thick and adjust spices. Enjoy!
For more great recipes visit takebackthekitchen.com

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Parmesan and Leek Tart

If you’re in the market for a light brunch, lunch or dinner item that will both impress and take very little time and effort, you have come to the right place. Oh, and did I mention it is exceptionally delicious? Enjoy!
Parmesan and Leek Tart with Whole Wheat Crust:

Crust:
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp salt
Pulse all crust ingredients together in a food processor until crumbly. Press into a pie dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Make filling while you wait. Remove from oven and set aside.
Filling:
1 1/2 cups of leeks finely chopped and sauteed in 1 TBS butter (this is the amount, roughly, from one big leek, whites and some of the green )
3 beaten eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream (or another cup of whole milk)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Whisk all the above filling ingredients and pour into the prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 35-40 minutes or until knife comes out clean in the center.
For more great recipes check out takebackthekitchen.com