Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Easy Green Bean Coconut Curry

soup.JPG We are in the throes of a frigid winter and what is more comforting than a nice steamy, bowl of soup? Better yet, a nice steamy bowl of Thai curry soup? Here’s a simple recipe to use up your already cooked butternut squash. Freeze the leftovers for a nice treat later this winter as well. Enjoy!
Easy Green Bean Coconut Curry:
1 15 oz. can coconut milk
1/2 can water (about 8 oz.)
2 cups green beans, cut into 1 ” pieces
2 cups cooked butternut squash, cubed
2 tbsp honey
1/2 -1 tbsp red curry paste (can get at most supermarkets and any Asian supermarket)
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce (can get at most supermarkets and any Asian supermarket)
1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
Steps:
In a soup pot, add the coconut milk, the water and the curry paste, starting with only 1/2 tbsp (you can add more if you want it spicier later).
Stir until all ingredients are well combined and boil until the sauce reduces a bit and is thickened to your liking, about 15 minutes.
Add in the fish sauce, the honey and stir.
Add in the green beans and cook until tender, about 10 more minutes.
Add in the squash so it is heated through, about 5 minutes but not much more so that it doesn’t become too mushy.
Remove from heat, adjust sweetness and spiciness and serve over rice, quinoa or by itself.
Top with the chopped cilantro.
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Tahini Salad Dressing

I’ve been doing a lot of food shopping in Paterson, NJ lately because of their wonderful Middle Eastern stores. One of my favorite reasonably priced items to get there is tahini. I stocked up on it and have been making loads of hummus, tahini cookies and the following salad dressing that I replicated from memory, as best I could, from my friend’s dressing at our book club years ago. I hope you like it!
Tahini Salad Dressing:
1/3 cup tahini sauce
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, peeled
2 tsp maple syrup, agave or honey
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 pinches Kosher salt
Steps:
In a blender or with a fork, mix all the ingredients until fully combined and refrigerate.
Serve with vegetables, rice, falafel or anything you like!

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Garlic Buckwheat with Coriander and Currants

Buckwheat.JPG I love cooking up a lot of grains and then letting the recipes flow from there. I’ve been making a lot of buckwheat lately, something healthy and new for me, and then throwing in some spices, nuts and dried fruit. Using up some vegetables makes this a simple and tasty side dish or main dish. Enjoy!
Garlic Buckwheat with Coriander and Currants
5 cups cooked buckwheat
3 cups kale, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp coconut oil or other healthy oil
1 large minced onion
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup marcona almonds or dry roasted almonds, chopped
Steps:
In a large frying pan over low heat, preferably non stick, heat up the oil.
Add in the onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add in the kale and saute a few minutes.
Add in the cooked buckwheat and stir.
Add in the coriander, salt stir.
Add in the currants and nuts, stir to combine and serve hot.
For more great recipes, please visit: takebackthekitchen.com

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Healthy Truffles

date and hazelnut truffles.jpg I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different ways to make healthy desserts for myself and my kids and I must say that this one really satisfies. The cocoa powder gives it the essence of a chocolate truffle without all the sugar. Enjoy!

Healthy Truffles:

2 cups dried figs
2 cups roasted, salted cashews
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Steps:
Pulse all the ingredients together except for the cocoa powder and press into an 8″x8″ pyrex dish lined with parchment paper or roll into balls.
Slice into 10 bars or roll into about 40 balls.
Roll the balls in the cocoa powder or sprinkle cocoa powder over the bars.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
For more great recipes, please visit: takebackthekitchen.com

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Mung Beans and Brown Rice

mung beans and brown rice.jpg It’s the start of a new year so why not make it a healthy one from day one? I whipped this dish up pretty quickly and ate it for lunch for a few days. I used leftover brown rice that I always have prepared in my rice cooker. Treat yourself to a rice cooker in 2015. It will change your life!
Alma’s Mung Beans and Brown Rice:
1 cup dried, sprouted mung beans (can get at Whole Foods and other health food stores)
2 1/2 – 3 cups already cooked brown rice
1 tbsp butter or olive oil, coconut oil or any other healthy oil you like
2 tsp curry powder (more to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped finely
Steps:
In a large pot, add the sprouted mung beans and cover with about 1 inch of water.
Boil until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in cooked rice, butter or oil, curry powder, pepper and salt.
Stir over low flame for about 5 minutes until rice is heated through.
Serve and top with chopped cashews and cilantro.
For more great recipes, please visit: takebackthekitchen.com

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Chick Pea Salad For a Crowd

chick pea salad with cilantro and burberries.jpg A few weeks ago I had to make a dish for a large pot luck dinner I was attending. I had nothing prepared but remembered my giant can of chick peas. Costco has a huge can that I keep in my basement in case of emergencies and I am so glad I remembered it! With a little browsing through my pantry and fridge, I came up with this very simple and healthy dish that was a hit. I hope you like it!
Chick Pea Salad For a Crowd:
Ingredients:

1 110 oz. can chick peas, about 13 cups
4 cups cilantro, loosely packed, washed and chopped finely
4 cups kale, chopped and sautéed in 1 tsp olive oil until wilted
3 oz. dried barberries, soaked for 15 minutes and drained or 1 cup dried currants (can get Barberries in Middle Eastern stores)
2 cups shallots, minced and sautéed in 1 1/2 tbsp butter until wilted
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar and the juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Steps:
Combine all the above ingredients and let marinate for at least 1/2 hour before serving at room temperature.
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts

BrusSprout.JPG Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that can be oh, so bad or oh, so very good. For example, the boiled or steamed, mushy version of my childhood, not so good. These buttery, mustardy roasted ones? Delicious!! Try to find cute, little ones for this recipe if you can. Enjoy!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts:
1 lb small brussels sprouts, washed trimmed and cut in half
drizzle of olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp grass fed butter
1 tbs organic Dijon mustard
1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
salt to taste
Steps:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
Lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Take prepped and dried sprouts and lay them on the paper.
Drizzle the oil all over them and then toss them with your hands to evenly coat in the oil.
Place in the oven on the top third rack.
Meanwhile, melt butter and whisk in the mustard until it is completely emulsified and set aside.
Remove sprouts after about 25 minutes or when they are all getting crispy and brown.
Drizzle the butter/mustard sauce over them, toss to coat and top with the toasted hazelnuts.
Salt and serve immediately.
For more great recipes, please visit: takebackthekitchen.com

The Mojo Coach to the Rescue!

Overfed and Undernourished
By Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC The Mojo Coach®
With 24/7 access to nutritionally depleted, technologically created, chemically treated “food,” many of us are taking in thousands of calories that do little to sustain us, let alone nourish us and encourage us to thrive. With so many of us existing this way today, is it any wonder why we struggle with our weight and health?
It’s so easy to grab prepackaged, convenient vending machine, drive thru or shelf food but what price are you really paying for all that “convenience?” Larger sized clothing, higher medical bills and a decreased quality of life are just a few. Why? Our bodies are designed to eat fresh, natural, whole foods that supply us with an endless array of vitamins, minerals, fiber and incredible nutrients. Denying yourself of what truly healthy food provides robs you of your health, youth and vitality.
Here’s what also happens when you eat this way. Foods that don’t nourish you also don’t truly satisfy you. So, we overeat in a search to find that satisfaction that those unhealthy food choices simply can’t provide. Of course all of this overeating causes weight gain and when our weight starts to impact us enough, we may severely restrict ourselves believing that deprivation and discomfort is the only way to achieve lasting health and wellness.
When we simply can’t endure the deprivation any longer, we go right back to eating the way we were eating, only to feel we have somehow failed because of a lack of willpower or compliance. These emotions often encourage self-­‐soothing behaviors and, if we typically use food as our drug of choice, we’re looking at an ongoing cycle of mental, physical and emotional upset that could largely be avoided by changing the choices we make and the way we look at food.
Not only does this pattern chip away at our confidence and self-­‐esteem, it keeps us on a
rollercoaster ride of blood sugar, mood and weight fluctuations. It lays the groundwork for insulin resistance (a pre-­‐curser to diabetes) and other chronic illnesses while keeping us frustrated, discouraged and exhausted. It impacts our digestive health, our adrenal glands, fertility, our skin, hair, immune system, sleep, our ability to heal and so much more.
Now, before you get frustrated with yourself and think that your current eating behavior is simply the result of laziness or bad habits, give yourself a break. For many, this eating pattern causes intense cravings, so your desire for these high sugar, empty food feels almost drug like. The sense of temporary numbing and calm you feel after overloading yourself with these foods floods your body with hormones and chemicals, which offer temporary relief-­‐similar to a drug like state. Unfortunately, eating this way only further depletes and desensitizes your body; making it more and more difficult to achieve a healthy hormonal balance, taste sensitivity and sense of freedom as well as preventing your body from achieving a natural, healthy weight.
Can this be changed so you feel a sense of peace and calm around food? Can food be used to nourish your body and mind without fear? Can you change eating behaviors that have left you overweight, undernourished and frustrated for years, even decades? Of course! It starts with awareness and then a plan.
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Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC The Mojo Coach®, founder of www.TheMojoCoach.com is a leading health, fitness, wellness, lifestyle, self-­‐improvement expert and THE secret behind some of the healthiest, most dynamic, energetic and successful people today. Sign up for your “10 FREE Strategies to Get You Lean, Sleek and Sculpted”! (These are complete programs and videos) and take the FREE “Mojo Lifestyle Assessment” to see how you score.