NNY Food Feature: LIVE YUM’s Autumn Apple Shrub

AUTUMN APPLE SHRUB 

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NNY Food Feature: LIVE YUM’s Tahini Broccoli Salad

Kristen Taylor and Liz Price-Kellogg

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NNY Food Feature: LIVE YUM

Kristen Taylor and Liz Price-Kellogg

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Kindness and respect: Are they lost forever?

Michelle Graham

Our world is changing at an alarming rate. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and the amount of negativity I see all around is absolutely alarming. The littlest things make us mad we lose our cool way too easy. We are looking for instant gratification in all things, at the restaurant, when we drive and even searching the world-wide web. The amount of yelling and screaming on television is sad. The news is almost always negative and condescending. Since when did we become so cold and callous and so self-absorbed? If we have a difference of opinion we cannot even have a conversation or discussion. We just yell and scream and throw a fit until we get our own way. I think there is a way to make things better and it will not happen over-night or in a month or a year but it can happen.

    Respect, if you want it than give people the respect they deserve. Start at home respect your parents, respect your teachers, respect the waitress and respect the teller at the bank. Say please and thank you. Kindness travels for miles, go out of your way to be kind to others. I send my girls off to school with a little saying each day it is simple “Be kind to yourself and be kind to others.” Practice small acts of kindness throughout your day, hold the door, buy a coffee for a friend you can even share your lunch and your time with others. None of us are perfect but I know for certain it is always the small things that we do for others that makes the biggest difference.

    Share your talent. We all have something to give. It is these times that teach us and our children the value of life. Teach your children the importance of volunteering. Do something with no intention of a reward. Give back to your community. It will make the place that you live BETTER. Volunteer opportunities are everywhere in our small town. How can you share your gifts, your time and your talent with others? Donate to organizations that make a difference in someone’s life. The donation does not have to be money, perhaps it is food for a food bank or a church. Help a neighbor with a project, perhaps offer to babysit for free. Offering a helping hand not a hand out has great value and rewards for both parties involved. It goes back to kindness, sprinkle it like confetti and it will certainly spread like wild fire.

    Perhaps this way of thinking is too singular too simple. If you think that one person or one act of kindness cannot change others think again. Think of the single mother who just needs a smile or an encouraging hello. Can you be the person to give her that? Or the busy person who has just dropped everything they have on the ground. Can you help them pick it up? Offer to help with no expectation of being rewarded. We can all do these small things. Let someone ahead of you in line just because. Be kind and do the right thing every chance you get. The rewards are endless. Be this example to others. Instead of picking a fight find a way to be the peace keeper. Instead of engaging in negative talk speak kindly about others and to others. It can be amazing the ripple effect this can have, but it has to start with you, the one and only you.

    I think of summer as this beautiful season of growth and transformation. Think of all the ways that you can impact others and ways to find personal growth for yourself. Kindness truly can start with you and the positive influence you can have on others can be transcending. Lead in life by example, find every way that you can to sprinkle love and friendship. It is with these acts that all the negativity in life can be lifted and then we can find our life renewed.

Blending the Physical, Mental and Spiritual Being

JUSTIN SORENSEN / NNY LIVING
Liz Price-Kellogg practices yoga at the Clayton Opera House where she holds her weekly River Yoga classes.

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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. 

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.

A few tips to stay in the holiday spirit this season

Michelle Graham

Michelle Graham

Alas, the holiday season is upon us, the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it? If you listen to television ads isn’t that what they claim? For some it’s a time of great stress and worry and it’s not the most wonderful time of year. But have no fear as a little connection to your mind, body and spirit may just help you survive the chaos of the season. It’s is a time to spread joy to others and bring joy and inner peace to yourself, as well.


Start the season off by being kind to yourself. Plan to have fun and a lot of it. Get together with friends and actually make time to celebrate the season and maybe even find time for a holiday drink, playing board games or just getting together for a wonderful holiday lunch and visit. A little holiday visit with good friends can truly make the holiday season that much more special.

Exercise and watch your waist line. Not only will exercise help keep the holiday pounds off, but it can actually help decrease stress. Eating well can also take you into January with no weight gain. Remember the average person gains 5 to 7 pounds through holiday season. Be mindful through the season and your body will be so grateful.

Start purchasing holiday gifts early. Better yet, make some of your gifts. You can find many great ideas on Pinterest. We all know the best gifts are homemade and come from the heart.

Take a time out. Practice peace of mind. Perhaps morning meditation or yoga can set your path for a peaceful day. Better yet, take some time to be lazy and read a good book or just find a moment of quiet.

Get organized in work and play. Don’t wait until the last minute to make a deadline or to check off all your holiday “to-do lists” done. Planning is a significant key to success; don’t wait until tomorrow to get things done today.

Bring joy to others. Visit an old friend or relative. Really visit, be present and put your phone or tablet away. Sometimes we are so connected to everyone else that we lose sight of what is right in front of us. Talk, visit and simply live in the moment.

Volunteer your time and talents. Where can you spread joy this holiday season? Wrap presents at the mall, shop for a shut-in or spend some time helping out at Watertown Urban Mission or other community organizations that need help. Volunteering is wonderful and truly makes you and others feel amazing.

Make a donation small or large to a worthy organization. Every little bit helps. Never underestimate the value of your monetary gift. Surprise the person behind you at the drive-through and pay for their order. Don’t walk by a Salvation Army Kettle without a little donation. My favorite is to give a gift card to a friend or co-worker without signing your name.

Be patient with others. Our lives are busy and rushed and we are not always as patient as we should be. Patience truly is a virtue. Stop rushing and enjoy these beautiful holiday moments. Relax and you will get through the line in a store or get to your destination. Smile along the way as it makes everyone feel better.

Practice the simple act of kindness in this crazy, ruthless world in all that you do. Everyone wants to react; take time to pause and just be kind. Just laugh when life throws you a curve ball. We truly need to laugh at life a little longer a little harder. Don’t be so serious. Relax and enjoy every single holiday moment and besides practicing kindness never hurt anyone. Don’t let the holiday season stress you out. Practice kindness in all things for yourself and others. Your mind, body and spirit will certainly thank you.

I wish you and your families a very happy holiday season and the healthiest of years ahead in 2017. Seize the opportunity to start anew and make it your best year yet.

YMCA opens facility in Sackets Harbor

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By MARCUS WOLF
MWOLF@WDT.NET

The Watertown Family YMCA will use the former Madison Barracks Health Club owned by Lawler Realty LLC to open a satellite facility early next year.

Steve N. Rowell, executive director of health and wellness at the Y, said the facility, at 119 Pike Road, will offer programs similar to the Watertown and Carthage facilities and potentially create new programs to meet local demand. The Y and Lawler Realty reached an agreement in October that will require the Y to pay only utility bills, taxes and interest.

“It’s one of the best things to happen to Sackets in a long time,” Mayor Vincent J. Battista said.

The Y will incorporate a full fitness center with family wellness programming and multiple youth and senior activity programs at the former health club.

Mr. Rowell said the Y will offer its preventive care program for senior citizens and its after-school child care program, which it offers at Sackets Harbor Central School, at the new facility. The Y also considered using its access to Lake Ontario to create watersport activities to accompany its youth sports programs. Members will have access to the facility’s gymnasium, weight room, locker rooms and cardio equipment. The Y has not determined its hours of operation.

“We will also offer a group exercise room with many different exercise classes,” Mr. Rowell said. “It would really just be an extension of our services out of the Watertown YMCA.”

To preserve the facility and accommodate his new tenant, Michael A. Lawler, owner of Lawler Realty, completed multiple interior and exterior renovations for the facility.

Mr. Lawler said his contractors have built a new roof, replaced the doors, repaired and painted the walls, repaved the road and installed new windows, lights, carpet and ceramic tile flooring since last summer. Lawler Realty received a $500,000 grant loan commitment from the Development Authority of the North Country to help finance the $600,000 project in July. Mr. Lawler said he expects the contractors and construction workers will finish most of the renovations by Jan. 1 if he receives funding from the grant loan commitment next week, with only some additional masonry work in the spring and brick work in the summer.

“It’s functioning right along,” Mr. Lawler said.

Lawler Realty purchased the former health club in 2010 from Madison Barracks Associates, which operated the facility from 1993 to 2005. Mr. Battista said the club closed about nine years ago.

“I hope that we as a community can help support” it, he said, “and make it an important part of our community.”

Local Make-A-Wish girl dreams up her own cooking competition

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Chef Lola Munoz (right) reacts to her first taste of Chef Patrick Ryan’s appetizer dish as she judges the chef’s creations with her father, Staff Sergeant Agustin Munoz and her brother Soren. Lola hosted her own foot competition with four local chefs as her Wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation Sunday at Savory in Watertown.(Jackson)

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Chef Lola Munoz (right) reacts to her first taste of Chef Patrick Ryan’s appetizer dish as she judges the chef’s creations with her father, Staff Sergeant Agustin Munoz and her brother Soren. Lola hosted her own foot competition with four local chefs as her Wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation Sunday at Savory in Watertown.(Jackson)

Twelve-year-old Lola Munoz got her wish and more on Sunday as four local chefs lined up to be judged by the culinarily adventurous young woman.

Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York, Ms. Munoz was given the chance to judge her very own cooking competition, inspired by the Food Network TV show “Chopped.” Lola’s World Class Food Festival was hosted at Savory restaurant at Best Western Watertown, where Ms. Munoz arrived with her family by white limousine and was greeted by a marching band, members of the Watertown Wolves hockey team and a crowd of cheering, smiling faces.

Hundreds of locals came out to support Ms. Munoz’s dreams. So many so that the competition room quickly overflowed into extra seating in the next-door bar where patrons watched live video of the contest. The event was also live-streamed.

“There were so many people who wanted to be here with your family … that we are live-streaming your wish to people all around the world who couldn’t be here today. We are so excited that so many people want to be a part of your wish,” said Diane E. Kuppermann, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Central New York. Ms. Kuppermann introduced the chefs and Ms. Munoz at her very own press conference before the competition.

“My dream is to have my own restaurant,” said Ms. Munoz, whose motto is “expand your mind, your stomach, and your palate.” “I’m so excited, but nervous because there are so many people.”

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Lola Munoz laughs as guests greet her and her mother, Melissa at Savory before the start of Lola’s World Class Food Festival, a chef challenge hosted for Lola by the Make-A-Wish Foundation Sunday in Watertown.(Jackson)

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Lola Munoz laughs as guests greet her and her mother, Melissa at Savory before the start of Lola’s World Class Food Festival, a chef challenge hosted for Lola by the Make-A-Wish Foundation Sunday in Watertown.(Jackson)

Ms. Munoz’s siblings Soren, Ellis and Izel helped judge the dishes alongside her. Ms. Munoz and her family are stationed at Fort Drum, where her father, Staff Sgt. Agustin Munoz, is a 10th Mountain Division soldier. She has diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a condition causing tumors at the base of the brain.

Ms. Munoz chose to recreate “Chopped” because she likes TV shows in which contestants are eliminated, and loves food — especially making homemade pasta with her dad, mom and siblings.

Watertown Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. came out to proclaim Nov. 13, 2016, as “Lola Munoz Day.”

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be with you here today,” said Mr. Butler, who brought his two young daughters to meet the day’s celebrity.

There were two rounds to the contest, for which Ms. Munoz selected her own secret ingredients. For the appetizer challenge she chose cow tongue, barbecue Pringles, spikey melon and honey, and cream cheese, bacon, pork rinds and jalapenos for the dessert round.

In the final round, Ms. Munoz, in her new professional, purple chef’s jacket, cut all but one of the competing chefs. Chef Patrick Ryan of Memories in Lowville won for his two dishes, barbecue beef tongue sliders and jalapeno cheesecake.

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Lola Munoz interviews Chef Christian Ives as he presents his appetizer during a cooking competition hosted by the Make-A-Wish foundation for Lola Sunday at Savory in Watertown.(Jackson story)

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Lola Munoz interviews Chef Christian Ives as he presents his appetizer during a cooking competition hosted by the Make-A-Wish foundation for Lola Sunday at Savory in Watertown.(Jackson story)

According to Ms. Munoz, the barbecue sliders are where Mr. Ryan truly shined. “It means a lot to me because of how much effort people have put into it,” said Mr. Ryan, who has worked in New Orleans and Buffalo. Ms. Munoz said, “I didn’t really think it would be that many people. It kind of surprised me.”