Category: Brunch

I’m in the Wall Street Journal-Front Digital Page no less!


Hi everyone! Yes, I am on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on line and I’m even in the hard copy! I was interviewed about the irony that I am a therapist and cooking coach, eat very well, exercise, am thin and am still diagnosed with pre diabetes. The belief by some is that prediabetes is overdiagnosed and turning healthy folks into patients.

Wall Street Journal Article with Alma

You’ll have to read the article (and some amusing/bashing comments) and let me know what you think!

To read more about my Prediabetes Predicament, a six part series on my journey of getting diagnosed with prediabetes, go to Diabetic Lifestyle.

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Sun dried Tomato Strata for the Creative Cooking Personality!

Hi everyone!

Every Friday I make a different kind of strata, a.k.a. egg casserole, for the special needs parenting group I I host. I made this simple one a few months back with some leftover mashed potatoes that were looking for a home. It gave the strata a nice creaminess. This dish may be especially appealing for the creative cook who wants to add in leftover ingredients-just be sure that all vegetables are sauteed first! Enjoy!

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What makes people love the food they love? Can it be changed?-Guest Post by Alba Alamillo

Hi everyone! Do you ever wish you were a picky eater? Well no matter what cooking personality type you are or what kind of an eater you are, my latest guest blogger, Alba Alamillo has an interesting take on why we like what we like and therefore cook what we cook. We can all make healthy changes! I fell MUCH more in love with fruit when I stopped eating processed sugar (for the most part).

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Recipes for Week 4 of the Whole Life Challenge and Being Helpful!

Hi everyone!

We are entering our 4th week of the Whole Life Challenge and I hope it is going well for those of you on it.

Please remember to save the date , February 19th, Thursday, for our WLC potluck from 6-9. Location TBD.

If you are not losing as much weight as you like, examine the foods you are eating. If you only eat nuts and chick pea flour products, you may need to focus on vegetables. Are you exercising enough? Are you sleeping enough? You will get out of it what you put into it. Now is the time to really push.

Also, I wanted to let you all know that we raised over $2,500.00 by your participating in the challenge and that money will be helping people with Prader Willi Syndrome so THANK YOU!

This coming week’s challenge is to help your team mates. Whether you are on the challenge or not, it’s time to help people in your lives with something meaningful. It can be offering to go shopping for them,  making them dinner, offering a kind word of support or just clicking “like” on their post on facebook. technically, to receive the points, you need to comment positively on at least THREE people’s reflections a day on the leadership board of the WLC site.

Below are some recipes that will help you mix it up a bit in the coming weeks. Enjoy!

Wild Rice with Shrimp and Portabello Mushrooms

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Hazelnut Parsnip Soup with Rosemary

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken Sausage,Tomatoes and Onions

Coconut Red Lentil Soup– I omitted the tomato paste, red bell pepper and chick peas

Turkey and Chicken Chili

Millet Tabouleh

The TBK Aprons Are Finally Here To Order!! Hilda’s Turkey Meat Sauce

Hi everyone!! Exciting news! The Take Back the Kitchen Aprons are finally available and just in time for your holiday shopping!
Just as we need the proper uniform/attire to take on any and every task seriously, we need aprons if we are to look and feel the part of the best cook we can be.
Please go to our Etsy  site and order these one of a kind, hand made aprons today:
There will be more and more aprons to choose from as the season goes on so keep checking in!
Now, let’s get those dang aprons on and cook some of my special friend Hilda’s amazing meat sauce for spaghetti TODAY!
Hilda’s Meat Sauce
2 lbs. ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz.  can of plum tomatoes
1 15 1/2 oz. cans of tomato sauce
2 6 oz. cans of tomato paste
2 tsp salt-more to taste
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
A few drops of Tabasco
2 Tablespoons Oregano
2 Tablespoons Basil
1 Bay leaf
2-3 TBS olive oil for cooking
In a large sauce pan, saute chopped onion and garlic  in olive oil until golden
Add meat and brown (If using turkey only you’ll need some extra olive oil)
Add all of the rest of the ingredients and mix well
Cook, covered on low-medium heat (enough so that it bubles) for 1 hour, stirring every so often

Decadent Sharp Cheddar Strata and Use Up Before the Expiration Date!

Hi everyone!

As I looked through my fridge last night, I was horrified to see that the very expensive quart of heavy cream I bought  last month with the expiration date that seemed like it was YEARS off was about to expire!

I had had big plans for that quart of heavy cream: homemade ice cream, chicken potpie to name a couple.

There was NO WAY that I was going to let that heavy cream go to waste so since I aways make an egg strata for my parents of kids with special needs support group*, I would make it with heavy cream today instead of milk.


So crazy decadent!

How often do you have good intentions when you purchase food, let it go to waste and then decide to stop cooking altogether so as not to waste anymore? 

Please remember that if you take note of what is in your fridge every few days, you will be less likely to let food go to waste.

Here’s one suggestion: Make a list of the food you want to use up and put it on a note on your fridge.

My recipe was delicious and I do hope you enjoy it 🙂

***If you are a local and a parent of kids with special needs or know someone who does, email me for info on our group.

Sharp Cheddar Strata With Scallions:


8 eggs

2 cups Heavy Cream

one bunch of chopped scallions

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar

2 -3 cups one inch cubes of bread (I like whole wheat Challah)

salt and pepper

1 tsp butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1)   In a big bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream.

2)  Add in 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and whisk. Set aside

3)  In a small saucepan melt the butter and saute scallions over a low flame for a few minutes until wilted.

4) Stir bread cubes and scallions into the egg mixture, add cheese, stir and pour the mixture into an 8″ X 8″  casserole dish

5) Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees until a knife comes out clean in the center.

*If the top is browning but the middle is still raw, cover with aluminum foil and bake a few more minutes until cooked through.

You-Can-Do-It French Toast With Nutella and Bananas

Hi everyone! As I always say, if our minds are open, we can pick up recipes in the most unlikely of places. Take my Pediatrician’s office for example.

Cindy Medina who assists our Dr. loves to cook and often shares her recipes with me when we have a check up for the kids. At this last appointment for my littlest one, I left that office with a keeper: Nutella and banana french toast. I made a few changes and am so excited to have this in my repertoire!

Thanks, Cindy!

Nutella Banana French Toast:


Two pieces of bread (preferably whole wheat or multigrain)
1-2 TBS nutella or other hazelnut spread
1/2 banana sliced thinly
One egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
Few drops of vanilla extract
Butter for frying


1)In a medium sized bowl, mix the egg, the vanilla extract and the milk and set aside
2)Spread the nutella on one piece of bread
3)Lay the sliced bananas on top of the nutella covered bread
4)Cover the banana-nutella bread with the second slice of bread
5)Dip the entire sandwich in the egg mixture, making sure to soak for a few seconds on each side
6)Heat up the grill, add some butter to fry. When it’s hot, fry the sandwich until browned , flip and when it’s browned on the other side, remove and serve.

Serves one lucky diner! Serve with fresh fruit.

Blueberry Crumble and How to Save Your Produce from Yourself!

Hi everyone! I did a presentation today at a fundraiser for Partners For Health in Montclair. I discussed various programs to alleviate hunger in our area as well as care for vegetables and fruit so they last longer.

Is this not one of the reasons many of us don’t like to buy and cook fresh produce? We feel frustrated and guilty when our good intentions of eating healthy end up in waste?

You are not alone!

There was a wonderful article in the NY Times, Raw Panic, that will explain the details of produce prep and how to keep produce fresh for longer. Check it out on my Take Back the Kitchen facebook page.

For now, enjoy my blueberry crumble recipe that the chef of the Montclair Golf Club made for all the workshop participants. It is easy, healthy and delicious!


for the filling:
3 pints fresh blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar, a bit more if you like it sweeter. Can also use agave syrup
1/4 cup flour

For the crumble on top:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose white flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees .
Combine the blueberries, sugar, and flour. Combine gently. Spoon the mixture into ramekins.
For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or you can just combine well with a spoon). Mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Sprinkle over the fruit.
Place the ramekins in the oven over a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tops are browned and the fruit is bubbly. The smaller the ramekins, the less time they will take to cook so keep checking. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish if you like with some powdered sugar and a mint leaf.

Are You There, Judy? It’s Me, Take Back the Kitchen….Judy Blume and Almond Butter with Date Toast

Hello everyone! As you know, I am a native Manhattanite. Growing up in the City (that would be NYC), I have had my fair share of celebrity sightings. Never have I been as star struck, however, as when I got to say hello and introduce my daughter (also a big fan) to Judy Blume herself. She spoke at the Montclair Film Festival because her son made a movie out of her book, Tiger Eyes.

If you have read anything by Judy Blume, you know that she was WAY ahead of her time regarding  openness about sexuality. She was/is a pioneer in discussing taboo subjects like when a girl first gets her menstrual period, loses her virginity, or when a boy  first has a nocturnal emission (that would be a wet dream for the lay people).

She is the consummate mother and I think we all thank her for what she has given our generation.

We need to communicate about all subjects, even uncomfortable ones, if we are to improve the quality of our lives. Feeling incompetent or insecure can lead to throwing our hands up in the air when what we really need to do is to work toward feeling more comfortable to succeed. In life and in the kitchen…

By the way, judging by her incredibly fit body at the age of 74, I imagine she is a very healthy eater. For this reason, I dedicate this healthy breakfast or lunch recipe to Judy Blume.

What’s YOUR favorite Judy Blume book? Mine is Starring Sally J. Friedman as Herself….

Also, please enjoy all of the links and videos below that I have recently written and performed in for CBS. You can get some GREAT ideas for Mother’s Day purchases.




Toast with Almond Butter and Dates:

Whole grain Bread (a lot of great fiber)
Almond butter (packed with calcium)
Soft, pitted date (calcium, iron, potassium)
Toast the bread, spread on the almond butter and smear a fresh date over it. Sprinkle a little salt if you like. Delicious and FAST!

Cooking and Volunteering For the Hungry with Easy Egg Casserole

Hi everyone! I am so happy to tell you that there is a way we can feed the hungry, model kindness and activism for our children and be a part of our community.

In our town, there is a program that helps feed the hungry every night of the week at a different synagogue or Church. The congregations makes the meal for the guests and help serve it. Children are involved and get to not only become familiarized with the problem of hunger and homelessness but actually participate in being a part of the solution.

One of the best parts of the program is that the guests are receiving healthy food made with love by people who care.

It is called the Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless:

If you would like to donate time or money please contact them!

Do you have a great program in your area that helps the hungry? If so , please let us know about it in the comments section!

We made a bulgar with vegetables dish, a broccoli and cheese Egg Casserole and gluten free chocolate cookies.


Here is the recipe for the Easy Egg Casserole:

Egg Casserole with Broccoli:

9 eggs
2 cups milk (can use skim)
2 cups cooked, sauteed broccoli, chopped up
5-6 oz. or slices of cheddar cheese, grated (or any other cheese you like
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk together.
Add in cooked broccoli and cheese and stir.
Pour in an 8 X 13 inch casserole dish.
Bake for 40 minutes or until knife comes out clean in center of casserole. Serve warm