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Blend Indulgence with Nutrition



In Good Taste








Balanced treats can help you enjoy the holiday and wellness seasons

(Family Features) With family gatherings and New Year’s resolutions, this is the time of year where the holiday and wellness seasons find themselves on a collision course. The key to fully enjoying both seasons is finding treats that balance great taste with nutritional value.

Hazelnuts, which are widely known as the culprit behind the irresistible flavor of chocolate hazelnut spreads, are one way to consciously enjoy the season. Rich in vitamins and dietary fiber, and naturally cholesterol and gluten free, hazelnuts can amplify a variety of foods and flavors for an indulgence-meets-nutritious experience.

The finest hazelnuts are grown in the lush fields along the Black Sea coast of Turkey, where the optimal climate of the region produces hazelnuts that have a creamy, buttery flavor and crunchy texture.

Turkish hazelnuts add extra vitamins and fiber to recipes, creating a nutritious but indulgent snack, such as this recipe for hazelnut chocolate energy bars. Dates, oats and chocolate chips are bound with hazelnut butter for an on-the-go boost perfect for breakfast time, or any time.

Find more hazelnut inspiration at

Hazelnut Chocolate Energy Bars                                     12888

1     cup dates
1/4     cup cocoa powder
1/4     teaspoon salt
1/3     cup hazelnut butter
1/4     cup honey
1     cup hazelnuts, toasted
1 1/2     cups rolled oats
1/2     cup semisweet chocolate chips

Place dates in food processor and mix until small bits remain and form ball. Add cocoa powder and salt and process.

Heat hazelnut butter and honey until warm. Pour into food processor along with remaining ingredients. Pulse until well mixed.

Transfer to lightly greased and foil-lined 9-by-9-inch pan. Using spatula, pack mixture into tight square. Freeze to set for 15 minutes. Remove and cut into 15 bars. Store in airtight container or bag in fridge to keep fresh, or in freezer for longer term storage.
Source: Hazelnut Marketing Board


December 23, 2015 |

Play Dates for Children


The Front Porch







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Working parents with preschool-aged children often find that there is little time for extra curricular activities during their busy workweek. When the weekend rolls around, it is catching-up time for household chores and grocery shopping. On rare occasions, there may be time for the parents to have company or to go to dinner and a movie. What about the socialization needs of the young child? According to a director of a preschool, this aspect of the small child’s development is one that is mostly overlooked. Parents may feel that the child had a busy week in preschool and has a room full of toys to keep busy with, so that is enough. But it is not.
No matter how hectic your schedule is, there is always some way to fit in a play date for your preschooler. Visits with friends the same age are important for many reasons. It teaches the child how to share on a one-to-one basis, without a teacher or parent constantly supervising the situation. Children learn to verbalize more when they try to communicate ideas to the play date visitor. It also is a wonderful way for the child to learn that not everything can be the way he or she wants it to be and someone else’s ideas or opinions count, too.
It is easy to recognize children not used to playing with other children. At birthday parties, they are either extremely shy or overactive and want to take over or command every aspect of the party. Tears erupt when they are not first in line for any games or they did not receive the biggest piece of cake. Exchanging play dates and letting the young child visit another home is one way of introducing the child to minor periods of separation that are different from a school setting.
The key to a successful play date is to make sure your child is not apprehensive about pick-up time. Keep the first few dates short, perhaps only and hour or two long. Working parents can arrange a Saturday morning play date, so they can do errands while the children are playing. The following weekend, the other family can host the child. This way parents have some free time and the child learns to adapt to another household’s rules, customs and the play territory of the friend they are visiting.











June 17, 2015 |

Somers Soccer Star Strikes Gold in the Holy Land


slater_articlepicSLATER’S SLANT

Shoshanah Bedrosian recently made it to Israel, something she had wanted to do for a long time.  She went to participate in the Maccabiah Games, the Jewish Olympics, for over two weeks in July and earned a gold medal with the dominant U.S. junior women’s soccer team.  But that wasn’t the thing foremost in her mind when she returned to Somers in the beginning of August.

“The big thing,” she said, “was going into Jerusalem and seeing all the different religions get along so well.  So peaceful, such a holy place.”

She also saw the famed Masada of Jewish lore (“beautiful”) and the Dead Sea (“awesome”).  And, late in July, she celebrated her 16th birthday in the Holy Land, complete with a card from her teammates and a cake plus a hug from her father, Geoff Bedrosian.

“My dad came for a week,” Shoshanah said.  “It was great to see him.  He’s my biggest fan in soccer.”

Shoshanna Bedrosian

“I’m my own harshest critic,” says rising junior soccer player Shoshanah Bedrosian, “but I do have confidence.” Photo courtesy Shoshana Bedrosian

Speaking of soccer, well, that was pretty special, too.  Her American team handled the rest of the Maccabi juniors with relative ease.  In seven games, including the championship, it not only went undefeated but outscored the opposition by 22-0.  Bedrosian, a defense-minded left midfielder, not only played an important role in the shutout performance but also scored two goals of her own.

Her U.S. Juniors played Israel – represented by that nation’s junior national team — three times in pre-season, round-robin and title games — and won each contest by 1-0. (more…)

August 14, 2013 |

Good for You Quick-Fix Dinners


In Good Taste








(Family Features) Busy weeknights call for quick family meals, but with the right ingredients fast food can actually be good for you, too.

A meal that includes dairy is right in line with the recently released 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend three servings of dairy foods every day. That’s because dairy foods such as cheese, milk and yogurt provide a unique package of nine essential nutrients: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin.

Individuals and families that want an extra reminder about the importance of integrating three servings of dairy into their daily diet can take the Dairy 3 for Me pledge as motivation. There are many delicious and creative ways to get your three servings of dairy every day, such as using plain Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise in your favorite recipes or substituting syrup on pancakes and waffles with flavored yogurt.

For more deliciously quick dinner recipes, and to take the Dairy 3 for Me pledge, visit


Beef Burrito with Pepper Jack Cheese and Black Beans13156_a

Servings: 6

Total time: 9 minutes


1/2       pound ground beef sirloin

2          teaspoons minced garlic

1          cup chunky salsa, divided

2          cups cooked brown or white rice

6          whole wheat flour tortillas (9 inches)

1          can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed, divided

1          can (11 ounces) corn kernels, drained, divided

2          cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided

sliced green onion, including green tops

In medium nonstick skillet, brown ground beef and garlic over medium heat, breaking beef mixture into smaller chunks with spoon. Drain fat and stir in 1/2 cup salsa; set aside.

Spread 1/3 cup rice in center of tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Scatter about 2 tablespoons of beans and 11/2 tablespoons corn over rice. Spread 1/3 cup beef mixture and 1/4 cup cheese over corn. Top with 2 teaspoons salsa and a few pieces of green onion.

Fold in two opposite edges of tortilla 1 inch each and roll up. Place, seam side down, on microwave-safe dish.

Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place burritos in microwave and heat 1 minute, or until heated through. Serve with remaining salsa.


Hot and Sweet Grilled Cheese13156_b

Servings: 4

Total time: 16 minutes

Peach Jalapeno Jam


3          tablespoons peach preserves

1/2       fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)


Grilled Cheese

1 1/2    tablespoons unsalted butter softened

4          slices 12-grain bread, divided

2          slices white cheddar cheese, divided

2          slices pepper jack cheese, divided

2          slices smoked Gouda cheese, divided

1/2       small avocado, thinly sliced, divided

To make peach jalapeno jam: in small saucepan over medium heat, combine peach preserves and jalapeno. Stir mixture constantly until preserves are melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make sandwiches; heat large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Butter one side each of 2 slices of bread. Turn buttered slices over, buttered side down and spread peach jalapeno jam over second side of each bread slice. On top of jam side of each bread slice, layer 1 slice cheddar cheese, 1 slice pepper jack cheese, half the slices of avocado and 1 slice of Gouda. Spread jam on remaining slices of bread and place jam side on cheese. Spread remainder of butter on bread on top of sandwiches

Place sandwiches buttered side down in pan. Partially cover with lid, allowing steam to escape, and cook for 1 1/2-2 minutes, or until bread is toasted and browned. Flip sandwiches over with spatula. Partially cover with lid and cook for additional 1 1/2-2 minutes, watching carefully for bread to brown and cheese to melt. Remove lid and check for doneness. Remove sandwiches from heat and cut in half. Serve warm.


April 27, 2016 |

A Post-Letterman Top 10


Bruce the Blog







By Bruce Apar

When late-night television personality David Letterman retired recently, he left behind a legacy of groundbreaking humor. And Top 10 Lists. He may not have invented the Top 10, but he inarguably popularized it as a towering tool of comedy.
My wife Elyse and I recently attended a ritualistic baby naming at Flatbush Jewish Center in Brooklyn. It was for two-month old Mena, daughter of Elyse’s cousin Matt and his wife Shari.
It was an elegant, poignant and beautifully staged ceremony. Matt and Shari shared their memories of the forebears for whom their second child (Hudson being the first) is named. Shari’s mom Rita said a few words, then passed the baton to husband Mel.
As soon as he began reciting his “10 attributes to bestow on Baby Mena,” I knew it was something worth sharing with others, no matter their beliefs. So, heeeeere’s Mel!
1) Happiness.  May you find happiness in life events and in life itself. Take joy in graduations, bat mitzvah and the like, as well as in flowers and sunsets.
2) Courage. May you find the courage to deal with challenge and adversity, and prevail.
3) Contentment. As you aspire toward goals, may you relish what you have, and find contentment. This includes sleeping through the night very soon.
4) Inquiring. May you pursue knowledge throughout your life. It is OK to ask “why”; just not 20 times in succession.
5) Creativity. May you be able to uniquely express yourself in art, music, and language.
6) Independence. May you accept guidance from family, friends, and teachers, but become your own person.
7) Considerate. May you care about family, friends, community, and the world we live in, and do mitzvot [good deeds]. When you are a teenager out late, telephone your parents. Believe me, they won’t be sleeping.
8) Spirituality. May you embrace being Jewish and make it part of your life.
9) Generosity. May you find it in your heart to help others, and to take pleasure in giving.
10) Sense of Humor. May you have and retain a sense of humor throughout your life. This will help save money on Xanax.
In looking at your parents, I think you do not have to go far back in your family tree to find these traits. But we hope you are an amalgam of all of the good attributes of the generations that precede you, and you will instill them in the generations to come.

Bruce Apar owns and operates APAR All-Media, a Hudson Valley agency for advertising, content, marketing and public relations. Follow @HudsonValleyWXYZ and @BruceTheBlog on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at or on Facebook at APAR All-Media.




June 10, 2015 |

Busy Season Easy Meals


In Good Taste







(Family Features) The busy season has arrived. It’s that time when we’re more likely to skip a meal, or just nibble without much thought about what we’re eating because there seems to be no time to prep a meal.

Good news. Making a tasty, quick meal just got a lot easier with individual serving cups of READ 3 Bean Salad. Convenient, one serving portions of this homemade-style bean medley require no refrigeration so they are always ready. Simply pull the seal off the top of the cup and eat.

Stash them in a desk drawer, or toss them in the lunch box. At home, keep them on hand in the pantry or chilled in the refrigerator. The classic green, wax and kidney bean combination in a sweet-tangy dressing makes the perfect jump-start for all kinds of salads, and is especially convenient when making a meal for one or two.

Five-ingredient Quick Italian Bean Salad is just one example. Chopped tomatoes and cooked chicken, a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan and some Italian seasoning or fresh basil plus a cup of bean salad make a main dish in minutes. No chicken? What about cooked shrimp, deli ham or sliced salami? Any of these could substitute.

Use your imagination for other delicious combos. Leftovers are a perfect place to start. If there’s pasta, toss with the bean salad for the quickest pasta salad ever. Add that smidge of pesto in the fridge for an instantly different flavor profile. Make a speedy antipasto by topping the cup with some tapenade and serving with thinly sliced prosciutto and breadsticks. Salad greens on hand? Just toss the beans and greens, then dig in.

For more recipes and information, visit

Quick Italian Bean Salad12886
Servings: 1
Preparation Time: 10 minutes

1     single serve READ 3 Bean Salad Cup
1/2     cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4     teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
2-3    ounces cooked chicken (see note)
1    tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
fresh basil, thinly sliced

Drain salad cup. Place salad on plate or in shallow bowl.

Top with tomatoes; sprinkle with Italian seasoning, if desired. Add chicken; toss to combine. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Notes: For chicken, use refrigerated grilled chicken strips, leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken torn into shreds or cut into strips or thin slices. Recipe can be doubled.

* Substitute cooked shrimp for chicken.
* Use rosemary, oregano, chives, parsley or other favorite herbs in place of basil.
* Try other seasoning blends such as no-salt added, Mediterranean, etc.
* Sprinkle minced garlic over tomatoes.

Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories; 20 g protein; 16 g carbohydrate;
6 g total fat; 300 mg sodium; 50 mg cholesterol; 3 g dietary fiber; 2 mg iron; 0.07 mg thiamin; 823 IU vitamin A; 16 mg vitamin C.

Source: Seneca Foods


November 4, 2015 |

When Disagree Comes to Dis



What makes a question impertinent? Not necessarily the subject matter. Not always how it’s phrased. What makes a question impertinent, as was on gaudy display during the Q&A of a recent “Ask Astorino: On the Road” town hall presentation by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, is the etiquette of the questioner.

The erstwhile public official is making the rounds these days to more than a dozen Westchester municipalities. He has an agenda, of course, that is summed up in two words: Stop Albany. Hard to quarrel with that call to action. It was a lot more transparent, well-researched and respectfully presented than the agenda of the hecklers who showed up in Yorktown May 30 to play their very mature game of Gotcha!

Yes, it is an election year for the incumbent, and it makes sense he, as with any office-holder eyeing re-election, wants to make himself as visible and likable as possible to voters. The thing is, regardless of his politics or yours, the youthful, ebullient Rob Astorino projects as affable and eloquent a persona as any politician, on the stump, or off. Like his host for the occasion, Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace, Mr. A can retail his sincerity and warmth with the best of them, no irony intended. (more…)

June 3, 2013 |
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