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Happy New Year – Chinese Style

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

 

In every month there is a reason to celebrate or recognize a particular occasion. Among February’s holidays is the Chinese New Year, which falls on the 16th of the month this year. There are 12 animals represented in the Chinese zodiac and this year it is the Year of the Dog. The Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year because it is based on the moon, so it’s called the lunar calendar. A Chinese New Year always falls on the second day of the new moon after the winter solstice. There are 7 “lucky foods” to be eaten during the 16-day festival, with each one having a different meaning. Among the most common delectable choices are dumplings, fish, and spring rolls. For instance, eating fish means increased prosperity; dumplings and spring rolls bring wealth; tangyuan (sweet rice balls), family togetherness; good fortune fruit, fullness and wealth; niagao (glutinous rice cakes), a higher income or position; and longevity noodles bring happiness and longevity. So what’s not to like about eating delicious foods with so many unique promises?

When our children were young we taught them to try many different foods over the years. To make meals interesting when I cooked Chinese food, I served tea in the tiny handle-free cups used in Chinese restaurants. It was served in an Asian-designed teapot with a bamboo handle. My family’s favorite dish was Niu Ju Chin Jow (beef with green peppers, served with rice) an easy recipe I discovered decades ago in my international cookbook.

Recipe

This recipe serves four. While cooking the beef and peppers, cook your rice so it is ready when this part is finished. I use a wok, but a large frying pan is also fine to use.

Ingredients:

1 pound thinly sliced lean beef

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon pepper

6 medium green peppers

6 tablespoons cooking oil

1 teaspoon salt

Mix beef with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, cornstarch and pepper. Seed peppers and cut in julienne strips. Fry in 3 tablespoons of oil. Remove from pan, add remaining oil and fry beef until redness disappears. Add peppers, salt and remaining soy sauce. Note: chicken, pork or shrimp can also be used instead of beef.

In closing, here is the Cantonese greeting used on New Year’s to wish everyone “Great Happiness and Prosperity” — Gong Hey Fat Choy (pronounced Gung Hey Fah Choy).

February 7, 2018 |

Chronic Conditions More Common in Hispanics

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke are among the most common causes of illness, disability and death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These chronic conditions and the factors that lead to them can be more common or severe in minorities, including Hispanics.

For example, 4 out of 10 Hispanics die due to heart disease or cancer, and they are 50 percent more likely to die due to diabetes than Caucasians, according to the CDC.

Services like Chronic Care Management (CCM) can help people living with chronic conditions coordinate care services and lead to better outcomes and higher satisfaction.

If you are a Medicare beneficiary with two or more chronic conditions, ask your doctor about CCM and see if you’re eligible for connected care, including services such as:

  • At least 20 minutes a month of CCM services.
  • Personalized assistance from a dedicated health care professional who will work with you to create a care plan.
  • Coordination of care between your pharmacy, specialists, testing centers, hospitals and more.
  • Phone check-ins between visits to keep you on track.
  • Emergency access to a health care professional 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Expert assistance with setting and meeting your health goals.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Health Resources and Service Administration introduced the “Connected Care” campaign to help raise awareness about the benefits of CCM. The campaign has free resources, including an animated video in English and Spanish that can help you learn more.

Talk to your doctor to see if CCM is available to you and visit Medicare.gov to learn more about the benefits of the program.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

February 7, 2018 |

It’s You!

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

More than any other question is the one that defines each individual, each effort toward the achievement of the next planned goal—the simple definition of success. In advising others, we occupy sacred ground. How do we help without giving over to a simple expression of the way we are, as though our way is the answer for everyone who asks: What should I do with my life? Today, the most quoted answer is engineering, healthcare, or government. These are the high-growth areas. We must first, and foremost, take stock of who, in the most essential guise, is the asker.

Once a common understanding of this quality joins our thinking, we may ask the second essential question: How good do you want to be… at something? Same question in different words: How hard are you willing to work to achieve it? The answer helps to clear the way for the potential in the asker. We may all be “able to prepare” for the outcome we seek, but few are willing to do the work. The so-called work begins with a realistic self-assessment, the stuff that begins the process of self-esteem building. The last, though not least among its building blocks is “personal accomplishment.” Without these, one can only imagine a brighter future. The idea is more the “Hollywood Effect,” or the mistaken notion that if others, their apparent success as witness, can reach great heights, so can we. Unfortunately, one may only move from one place to another by taking individual steps. Some things we alone must accomplish. Good luck—where preparation and opportunity meet—may appear given of little personal effort, but the experienced would deny it.

The people you work with are the incredible resources necessary to a brighter future. When we invest ourselves in their success, and they do likewise, the results are astounding. Join with those that are going somewhere, with purpose, and for the good of all, and personal dreams come into focus. This is how one engages others and how many become the vehicle to personal dreams. This level of fulfillment is not only personal, but also delivers the energy that fuels collaborative work.

We gain fulfillment when actively engaged in meaningful work. When joined with others of the same mind, financial and corporate results soar. Organizations with strong financial results have employee engagement levels that are twice those with poor financial results. The numbers are similar for those organizations that have better customer experiences, which relate directly to the attitude of the organization’s most valuable resource—people.

The limbic system of the human brain informs much of how we feel about things and the decisions we make. Few elements of brain function provide more direction than this system to realize one’s personal aspirations. Although there is much to do in exercising the healthy use of it, the limbic system benefits greatly from an outside/inside view of the world. That is, how we see it as an extension of ourselves.

When one sees another living out a core value of the group or society, engagement jumps by double digits, according to studies. It is no wonder that the very powerful sense of belonging (to others) that is in each plays such a significant part in the achievement of life goals. Fulfillment may be just two levels above, but requires that we first grow a healthy model in addressing our sense of belonging. In the pursuit of our personal best, we must do a few simple things:

  1. Find Clarity: Know where you are going, how it feels to imagine it, and write it down. Thought becomes behavior. The simple act of acknowledgement begins the process called “knowing,” the total body immersion in the person you want to become.
  2. Commit to Action: Envision the steps along the way. Include the hard parts, such as a long educational commitment, or apprenticeship. Map out the sequence of events, and add the flexibility necessary to adjustments (not excuses) along the way.
  3. See Your Dreams Moving “Toward You”: See all things as puzzle pieces to your goals, as though each has purpose and fits well. Take a position as one who claims the things that happen daily as necessary to your ultimate goals. Watch them coming toward you.

We have little more important to do than to grow with every tick of the clock. We must be ready and available as growth opportunities arise. It is not only our desire to fulfill our personal dreams; it is also our birthright.

 

February 2, 2018 |

Chow Down on Championship Snacks

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In Good Taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) When the clock ticks down toward game day and you’re putting together a snacking plan of attack, turn to recipes like these that you and your guests can savor for all four quarters of action.

With different choices to draft from, there’s no need for a superstar main course at the center of the meal. Instead, rely on options like customizable brats and pulled pork sandwiches, baked chicken wings and game-day dips for winners all around.

Find more recipes for hosting game day at Culinary.net.

Top Your Tailgate

Take your tailgate or home viewing party to the next level by setting up a topping station with a variety of both traditional and unexpected condiments and garnishes to let your fellow fans customize their grilled fare. Include options such as:

  • Ketchup and mustard (with flavor variations for added zing) 
  • Sauerkraut or cole slaw
  • Chopped fresh and grilled onions
  • Chili (homemade or from a can)
  • Pickle spears and relish
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Assorted shredded and crumbled cheeses
  • A variety of peppers

A Game-Day Winner

Game time is no time to mess around when it comes to fast, savory snacks. Crispy and light, tangy and bold, these wings have you covered for all your game-day needs. These spicy hot wings pair perfectly with Litehouse Chunky Blue Cheese or Homestyle Ranch Dressing and may result in another game day rivalry: blue cheese vs. ranch. Whether you’re hosting the game-day party or bringing a dish to a friend’s bash, these wings can make mouths water from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. Find more game-day recipes at litehousefoods.com.

Crispy Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Serves: 8

4          pounds chicken wings

2          tablespoons baking powder

1          teaspoon salt

nonstick cooking spray

4          tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2       cup hot sauce

1/2       cup Litehouse Chunky Blue Cheese or Homestyle Ranch dressing

1/3       cup Litehouse Blue Cheese Crumbles

carrots

celery

Lay wings on rack on rimmed baking tray and let dry in refrigerator overnight, or pat dry with paper towels.

Heat oven to 250 F. Put one oven shelf in lower quarter of oven and one in top quarter.

Place wings in large re-sealable bag. Add baking powder and salt. Shake bag to coat wings evenly.

Line tray with foil. Spray rack on baking tray with nonstick spray. Place wings skin side up on rack. Bake on lower shelf 30 minutes.

Move tray to higher shelf and turn oven up to 425 F. Bake 40-50 minutes, rotating tray halfway through. Wings are done when they are dark, golden brown and skin is crispy.

While wings bake, whisk together butter and hot sauce; keep warm.

Remove wings from oven and toss with hot sauce; sprinkle immediately with blue cheese crumbles. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing, carrots and celery sticks.

Dip into Game Day

Game day is about huddling up with friends and family, and feeling good about the food you share. Kick off the big game with Sabra, the official dip of the NFL, and help the crowd go wild when you put a twist on traditional hummus by topping it with bruschetta. Available in more than a dozen flavors, Sabra Hummus is made with fresh chickpeas, a touch of garlic and smooth tahini, making it a wholesome and delicious accompaniment for your favorite game-day chips, crackers and veggies. Find more big-game recipes at sabra.com.

Bruschetta-Topped Hummus

Prep time: 5 minutes

Bruschetta:

2          cups multi-colored cherry tomatoes

1          clove garlic, minced

10        fresh basil leaves, chopped

1          tablespoon olive oil, plus additional (optional)

salt, to taste

  • 1 container Sabra Classic Hummus (10 ounces)

To make bruschetta: Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters or eighths, if large. Place in small mixing bowl. Stir in garlic, basil and olive oil, and season with salt, to taste.

Scoop hummus out of container and swirl onto serving plate. Top with bruschetta and drizzle with touch of olive oil, if desired. Serve with fresh vegetables or pita chips.

A Heaping Handheld

Snack like a champion during the big game with recipes that please palates without overfilling like these Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Since guests can pile their sandwiches as high as they like with sweet pork and optional toppings, there’s no need to worry about serving sizes. Find more honey-infused recipes for tasty meal solutions at honey.com.

Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Honey Barbecue Sauce

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board

Servings: 8-10

Pork Rub:

1/4       cup sugar

1          tablespoon chili powder

2          teaspoons paprika

1 1/2    teaspoons seasoned salt

1 1/2    teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/4    teaspoons onion powder

1          teaspoon salt

1          teaspoon ground cumin

1          teaspoon pepper

1/4       teaspoon cayenne pepper

1          bone-in pork shoulder roast (4 pounds)

2          cups hickory chips

1          cup water

1 1/2    cups barbecue sauce

1 1/2    cups honey

1          cup ketchup

8-10     rolls

chopped jalapeno peppers (optional)

chopped onion (optional)

chopped pickles (optional)

 

To make Pork Rub: Stir together sugar, chili powder, paprika, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cumin, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Massage Pork Rub over surface of pork and let stand 30 minutes.

Soak hickory chips in water; drain well. Wrap chips in foil; punch holes in foil and place on top of gas grill set on high. When chips begin to smoke, place pork on grill and cook until well browned on all sides with lid closed, about 30-45 minutes.

Heat oven to 300 F.

Remove pork from grill and place in turkey-size oven bag set in large, shallow baking dish. Add water and seal well; pierce bag several times with small knife. Cook 3-3 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender and pork bone can be removed easily. Remove from oven. Remove bone and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Shred meat into small pieces, removing fat. Add juices from cooking bag, skimming off excess fat.

In separate saucepan, stir together barbecue sauce, honey and ketchup, cooking until hot and honey has dissolved. Stir most of sauce into shredded pork and mix well.

Serve on rolls and drizzle with remaining sauce. Top with jalapenos, onions and pickles, if desired.

 

Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Brats and Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 31, 2018 |

‘A Chorus Line’ Opens the 2018 Westchester Broadway Theatre Season!

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

There couldn’t be a more appropriate production to kick off the Westchester Broadway Theatre’s (WBT) 2018 season than the mega Broadway hit, A Chorus Line! One of the longest running musicals ever, the iconic music gets your feet tapping instantly. This WBT show opened on January 11th and will run through April 1st. As with all their shows, this one is filled with glitz, glamour and soul as well as talented performers that fit their roles perfectly.

While life on stage appears glamorous under the lights along with hearing thunderous applause, the road to this fame is an exhausting process. Based on the book by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante, with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban, A Chorus Line was destined to be a hit show. The storyline is simple. It’s a celebration of those unsung heroes of the musical theatre—the chorus dancers—valiant, over-dedicated, underpaid and highly trained troopers who back up the stars and often make them look more talented.

This is the real life experience of Broadway dancers. Everything is on the line for 17 dancers as they audition for a highly sought-after place in the chorus of a Broadway musical.  Through this exhausting process, their stories and vulnerabilities are laid on the line as they ultimately come together and become one singular sensation! In a brilliant fusion of song, dance, and compellingly authentic drama, the musical features one powerhouse number after another including What I Did for Love, One, and I Can Do That. Considered groundbreaking when it opened on Broadway in 1975, the musical went on to win nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Today, it remains as touching and powerful as when it debuted and is one of the longest running musicals on Broadway.

Reservations

Think of Valentine’s Day or any other upcoming event that you wish to celebrate or enjoy with an evening out with friends and co-workers. A Chorus Line promises the perfect night of dance, music and extraordinary entertainment and dining as is customary at the WBT. Call (914) 592-2222 or visit www.BroadwayTheatre.com

There are discounts for groups of 20 or more, Luxury Boxes for private parties at both lunch and dinner shows and free parking. Dinner & Show range between $59.00 to $89.00 plus tax depending on the performance chosen. Beverage Service & Gratuities are not included in the ticket price. Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens at selected performances. Check their website for on-going Special Offers!

January 31, 2018 |
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