Stop Thinking Start Doing

Michelle Graham

Are you someone who thinks about making changes in your life?  Wow, the possibility to change is endless.  What is your 2017 plan for a positive, meaningful year? Is your goal to take college classes, learn how to quilt, get healthy or just become a better, more focused, more driven person. Whatever the dream, the goal, the doing, the planning has to start from within. You have heard the quote or a derivative of it “If you can dream it you can become it.”  Well now is your big chance to be and do all that you can be in 2017. No matter the goal big or small what path will you forge to get there?

                I personally like plans!  I like writing them out, I like keeping lists and then crossing things off my list. Anyone who knows me or who has taken our YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program has heard me say 100 or more times “when you have a plan you have everything.” This holds true not just with getting healthy or making improvements in eating, but with many situations or goals in life. Big LOFTY plans are not necessary; it is the little plans, the attention to small details that make the difference.

                Start at the beginning, be specific and describe your goal accordingly.  If you don’t know where you have been, how can you know where you are going? Think about your goal, perhaps document what you like about it and what brought you to this place of change.  Reflection is the key to progress and making your goal an evolving blueprint is the key. Determine what the goal is, define it and then set some short and long-term goals to coincide with the proposed goal. Now what is your plan to achieve that goal?  Are you going to take some chances to get there and will you go out on a limb to really make it happen? Get uncomfortable and begin to push yourself in a way that perhaps takes you out of your comfort level. This is where true inner growth, awareness and innate change can happen.  Be open to the amazing possibilities that can come and most important be open to changing your behavior.

                Not everything always goes according to our master plan. You will need to be patient, be open to a bump in the road. The bump can lead you to places you never imagined.  Learn from the bump and then adapt and adjust the blueprint.  It is these times, these moments, that can really move the needle in the direction we long to go. 

                Most important, adapt and re-evaluate the route chosen. Don’t get stuck, continue to progress forward and stay focused on the prize, the end result.  Keep those goals challenging, specific, positive and flexible. Continue to challenge yourself through this journey of discovery. Try something new; take a class just for the pure sake of learning. Keep your goal short, to the point and specific. This is how you will get to where you are going. Your blueprint needs to be precise and to the point.  Instead of focusing on making a change in 10 different things focus on just one or two items. Next, we spend far too much time putting ourselves down, living in a world of “could haves” and “would haves.”  Instead radiate positivity, spend some time celebrating all the great amazing changes that you have made so far.  Write them all down and then celebrate, I mean really find joy in your progress and the changes that you have made so far. Being positive and kind to your self is vital; you never know how your attitude can impact someone else. Last, be flexible, be open and learn to be free from the things that hold you back from being where you really want to go. 

                The enjoyment isn’t always in the destination; it is most often the journey itself that brings joy and contentment. What will your 2017 journey look like? Will you decide to get out of your comfort level and check off some things on your bucket list? Don’t wait for an opportunity to seize the beautiful, quiet moments and make your mark and leave your stamp today. 

Nothing to Squawk At: NNY Artist presents two time Oscar nominee with award

JUSTIN SORENSEN / NNY LIVING Viggo Mortensen is presented a crow sculpture at the 2017 Snowtown Film Festival by local artist Will Salisbury.

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NNY Arts in the Winter

 

Kari Robertson

par•tic•i•pate: verb. take part in, engage in, join in, get involved in, share in, play a part/role in, be a participant in, partake in, have a hand in, be associated with *ART

While it has been said that we live in a cultural desert, there are many ways to pARTicipate in NNY that will keep you warm inside, help you connect with oTers, and simultaneously bring on the “cool.”

                In early January, Snowtown Film Festival President Mark Knapp told me with infectious smile, “It’s gonna be huge for our community!” 

                The event, held on Jan. 27 – 28 was, as he predicted, a sold out opening night full of enthusiastic people sporting smiles and dressed to impress for the “flannel red carpet.” The 2017 Snowtown Film Festival planning team narrowed an astounding 832 submissions to 26 for the short film competition. Several full length films were run as well.

                One of the fine moments of the Festival (and season) was the appearance of well-known artist and Watertown High School graduate, Viggo Mortensen. After the showing of his thought provoking movie, “Captain Fantastic”, the two-time Academy Award nominee took questions from the appreciative home town crowd. Then, Mr. Mortensen was presented with an original metal sculpture of a crow, entitled “Rascal”, by the sculptor Will Salisbury, (also see his large crows next to Interstate 81 near Alexandria Bay) for “his dedication to the North Country and contribution to the arts.” 

                Also in its third year is the Hammond Barn Quilt Trail. These original, professional looking artworks are popping up all over the north country. They are painted on large boards and affixed to barns, houses, businesses, government buildings. There are at least 50 completed and more to come. The colorful works are lovely year-round, but really stand out against the cool of winter.

                Take it to the next step by visiting the barn quilters’ studio, in the basement of the Hammond Free Library. It is open 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, and additional hours by request. The public is welcome to observe, chat, and create. Former art teacher Pam Winchester, along with the others in the group, are excited to help anyone who is interested. They offer “brushes, tools and camaraderie.” Alternatively, barn quilts may be purchased, which helps to defray costs of running the public art program.

                Jennifer McGregor recently finished and mounted her piece, “Scottish Pride” on her barn in Hammond. It was designed to reflect her heritage, blending the traditional thistle and tartan. “This is something that is brand new for me. I paint, but not artistically. I had lots of help by people here. There is always someone on hand to help if needed.”  As she prepared a board for a new painting, Jen said, “There is teamwork down here!”

                The Barn Quilters’ community spirit carries this project into new areas and activities each year. Pam Winchester is working on a piece themed around her mother’s tea set and will welcome the community to a unique kind of tea party upon completion. The group is planning a garden barn quilt project and a fairy house project for this summer. Mrs. Winchester says “You see a need in the community and you do it.” And accompanying artist Nancy Misenko continued, “We know how to get things done!”

                Continuing northeast, visit the Frederic Remington Museum, in Odgensburg, NY. It is located in the former home of one of the premier artists of the Westward Expansion.  Remington became famous for his action packed sculptures, illustrations and paintings. Melanie Flack, director of development, has been spinning off of the national trend in museums by offering high energy participatory events within the traditionally staid museum setting. One of the Remington galleries has been reconfigured to allow floor space for yoga amongst the art. This “draws people into the galleries and invites them to experience the Remington art in a new way, and they have such an amazing setting in which to enjoy their yoga,” says Executive Director Laura Foster. The Museum has also hosted “Tai Chi. Taste. Tie-Dye.” All of this is in addition to their regular repertoire of tours and lecture series about Remington’s work and life. While an internationally acclaimed collection, this is a particularly accessible art gallery experience for children and art neophytes.

                One of the area’s best kept secrets is the Pottery Studio located behind and run by the TI Arts Center. Curriculum-based after school clay classes begin in March for grades K-8. The pottery studio is open year-round for adults who already have experience in clay, during designated hours. Adjacent, on John Street, the main building has a room full of weaving looms available for public use on Wednesdays. Upstairs is a surprisingly comprehensive library on all things related to fabric or textiles. The current show in the main building is called “Art of Winter.” This annual exhibit is traditionally inclusive, featuring work by a range of artists, from children to professional. The exhibit closes on April 1, 2017.

                Also in Clayton is the annual Fire and Ice Celebration, February 16-18, at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. The celebration features 20,000 pounds of carved ice.  Sculptors from The Ice Farm in Auburn, NY, bring in the ice and will begin work on Wednesday, February 15, in the afternoon, finishing in time for the adult only evening event on Thursday. The public is welcome to stop over to watch the process. “I love watching them piece the sculptures together, to take large 300 pound pieces of ice, take a saw and a chisel to make something,” said Todd Buchko, General Manager for Harbor Hotel.

                This event is a fundraiser supporting North Country Troopers Assisting Troops. “We are here for a great cause, to get people moving around, see friends that they haven’t seen in a while. We are happy to do it,” said Buchko. The ice sculptures will continue to be on display for public viewing until Mother Nature has her way.

                The North Country Arts Council, on Public Square, Watertown, is a non-profit whose mission is to promote all art forms. The organization chartered in 1948 as the North Country Artists Guild, and is arguably the oldest art council in the United States. Today it is run entirely by volunteers. The NCAC works to offer a clearinghouse for arts opportunities, sell local art in the gallery, run educational programming, and produce a variety of events. Towards these goals, the NCAC welcomes anyone with interest in enhancing the cultural climate of Northern New York to join in. Meetings are open to the public.

                Participation in Northern New York crosses career paths, religious and political affiliation. It is a great way to celebrate beauty and ideas while building community. Few of us will become Academy Award winners, but for all of us, quality of life can be enriched by getting active at some level and in some aspect of the arts, warming us in this “cool” desert we call home.

Kari Zelson Robertson is a clay artist. Her studio is at 28279 state Route 126, Rutland Center. She makes sculpture to use, hand-built and wheel thrown serving bowls, vases and drinking vessels. Her studio is attached to her farmhouse. She runs a fair weather gallery next door, open by appointment in the fall and winter. Contact her at karizelsonrobertson.com.

At the Heart of Winters in NNY

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / NNY LIVING
A snowshoer jogs through the woods near the end of the Stone Wall 5K snowshoe race.

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Island Living: Surviving winters away from shore

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY LIVING
Nicole Caldwell stands in the middle of Butterfield Lake, Redwood, where she built her home on an island, at rear right.

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Viewing Life From The Top: Northern New York couple conquer ADK 46, twice

PHOTO PROVIDED BY GARY BURNS / BURNS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Shapiro award winner honors Fort Drum soldiers and the north country

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY LIVING
Gilbert H. Pearsall Jr., 2016 Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award recipient, right, speaks with Cathy Pircsuk, left, prior to the award ceremony.

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‘Art of Winter’ inspiration found in forests to the kitchen

JUSTIN SORENSEN / NNY LIVING
Jessica Phinney, curator at the Thousands Islands Art Center stands in the Winter Art Exhibit Friday in Clayton. The exhibit runs February 3 through March 17.

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Fabulous recipes with just five ingredients

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Teriyaki chicken with bok choy is one of several easy five-ingredient dishes that would be great for busy weeknights.

Simplicity is key.

Life can be difficult. It can even be daunting. When you come home from a hard day of wrangling penguins, the last thing you want to do is put together a meal with 27 different ingredients.

So you reach into the larder (does anyone even have a larder anymore? When’s the last time you saw the word “larder”?) and pull out a handful of ingredients. No more than five. And you make a meal, or at least a dish.

It may not be as complexly flavored as the one with 27 ingredients, but on the other hand, there is less to go wrong, too. It’s clean. Efficient. Simple.

Simplicity is key.

And from such simplicity can come bold flavors. I made a pot roast out of five ingredients, and it is so roundly delectable that I am calling it Five-Ingredient Bourguignon.

That may be stretching the point, but only a little. I began with a hunk of meat (top or bottom round; I used top) and I braised it until tender in red wine with onions and thyme.

The key is to cook the meat at a low simmer for a long time (mine took a little under two hours). This not only makes what is typically a tough piece of meat deliciously tender, but it also gives a chance for the acidity in the wine to mellow out as the alcohol cooks away.

It’s a breeze to make, and the result is a hearty roast, just right for a cold winter’s night.

For a side dish to stand up to the beef — or an excellent vegetarian main course — you might want to consider White Beans With Rosemary and Garlic.

Naturally, this is a dish of white beans that has been flavored with rosemary and garlic, plus olive oil and salt. But the recipe comes from Alice Waters, who revolutionized American cooking with her world-famous restaurant Chez Panisse, so you know it is going to be extra good.

And so it is. Beans, garlic and rosemary combine to bring out an almost unworldly earthiness in each other; it is a truly great grouping of flavors. It was superb.

And so was teriyaki chicken with bok choy, a dish that embarrasses me a little because it breaks an unwritten law. I generally try not to cook with premade or processed ingredients (the “Semi-Homemade” way) such as teriyaki sauce. And yet, here is a recipe calling for chicken thighs marinated in bottled teriyaki sauce and garlic, and it was wonderful.

How could it not be? The people who make bottled teriyaki sauce know what they are doing. It adds just the right sweet-spicy notes to chicken that play beautifully off the mildly bitter taste of the bok choy. Serve it on rice and you have a satisfying, easy meal.

Even faster and easier, though, is crispy-coated lemon-pepper salmon. The secret to this is lemon-pepper-flavored panko bread crumbs which, admittedly, is also sort of semi-homemade.

But they add a snap of lemon and a hint of black pepper to salmon, which goes perfectly with them. And the panko bread crumbs add a bit of texture to it, though maybe not the crunch the name implies.

The only other ingredients needed are buttermilk and melted butter, both of which help the bread crumbs adhere to the fish. It all takes the salmon, which is already great, and makes it better.

One of my favorite go-to dinners is sausage, peppers and onions, so I made it, as well. There is just something magical about the way Italian sausage blends with sauteed onion and the natural sweetness of a mild pepper.

When I make it, I usually eat it with no embellishments because it needs none. But it’s even better when it is sandwiched between two pieces of good crusty bread. I put mine in the middle of a baguette, which brought a new level to an already incredible meal.

And all of this could only be topped with dessert. vanilla pots de creme is a light vanilla custard. It’s just a gentle combination of milk — you don’t even have to use cream — sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. Cook until it’s thickened, then cook some more in a water bath to regulate the temperature.

How can something this amazing be made from only four ingredients?

FIVE-INGREDIENT BOURGUIGNON

Yield: 6 servings

2 ½ pounds beef, chuck roast, top round or bottom round

Salt

2 cups red wine

½ onion, in lengthwise slices

1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1. Generously season beef on all sides with salt. Place meat in Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot with the wine, onion and thyme.

2. Bring to a boil, cover, lower temperature and cook at a low simmer, turning occasionally, until meat is cooked through, about 1¾ to 2 hours.

VANILLA POTS DE CREME

Yield: 4 servings

4 eggs

2 cups whole milk

3 tablespoons sugar

1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Separate the eggs. In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks just enough to break them up (reserve the whites for another use). Set a strainer over a different medium heat-proof bowl. Set a kettle of water on the stove to boil.

2. Pour milk and sugar into a heavy-bottomed pot. Slice the piece of vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the tiny seeds from each side into the milk mixture. Add the pieces of bean to the mixture, and heat the pot on medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. When the milk is hot, whisk a little bit of it at a time into the egg yolks. When you have added ¼ of the milk to the yolks, pour the mixture back into the hot milk.

3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon; if you draw your finger across the coating on the spoon you will be able to see the trail it made. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and quickly strain into the heatproof bowl.

4. Pour the custard equally into 4 ramekins and set the ramekins in a large baking pan. Place the pan in the oven and fill the pan with the boiling water at least halfway to the level of the custard, taking care not to spill water into the custards. Cook until the sides are set but the center of the custard is still loose and jiggly, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the baked custards from the water to cool, then refrigerate.

SAUSAGE SANDWICH

Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon oil

1 bell pepper, any color, cut into strips

½ onion, cut into lengthwise strips

4 Italian sausages, pork or turkey

4 hoagie rolls or 1 baguette

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper pieces, onion and sausage. Cover and cook, occasionally turning the sausage and stirring the vegetables, until sausage is cooked and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes (or less, if using precooked sausage). If using pork sausage, drain off excess oil. Serve each sausage in 1 roll or ¼ baguette, smothered in peppers and onions.

TERIYAKI CHICKEN WITH BOK CHOY

Yield: 4 servings

1 clove garlic, chopped

¼ cup plus ⅓ cup teriyaki sauce

8 bone-in chicken thighs (2½ pounds)

1 cup long-grain white rice

2 bunches baby bok choy, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, combine the garlic and ¼ cup of the teriyaki sauce. Add the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions.

3. Roast the chicken on the prepared baking sheet, basting with the remaining 1/3 cup of teriyaki sauce , until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the bok choy 10 minutes before the chicken is done. Serve over rice.

CRISPY-COATED LEMON-PEPPER SALMON

Yield: 4 servings

4 tablespoons butter, divided

½ cup lemon-pepper panko bread crumbs

¼ cup buttermilk

1 (1 ½-pound) salmon fillet, cut into 4 serving pieces

Note: Can also be grilled over medium heat, covered.

1. In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Mix with the bread crumbs. Place buttermilk in a shallow dish. Dip salmon in buttermilk and press crumb mixture evenly on top of salmon pieces.

2. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place salmon, skin-side down, on pan, cover, and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 to 14 minutes.

WHITE BEANS WITH ROSEMARY AND GARLIC

Yield: 3 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped

2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained

Salt

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add garlic and rosemary. Cook just until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes. Add the beans, taste for salt and adjust if needed. Let the dish sit for a few minutes before serving to allow the flavors to marry.

Scouts invade the Sackets Harbor Sportsman’s Club

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Jesse Farr, 12, warms his hands as he and the rest of Boy Scout Troop 21 wait for their 2 cups of water to boil during the fire starting station of the Klondike Derby Saturday in Sackets Harbor. The Klondike Derby has been a tradition in the north country for several years with the goal of having fun while learning outdoor skills and teamwork. 

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