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MENTOR A BOY IN CENTRAL FLORIDA BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Dads for a Day

“Happiness,” it is said, “is when you realize your children have turned out to be good people.” Raising successful people takes a combination of patience, guidance, understanding and resourcefulness. Often, family circumstances are less than ideal. That is the case with many children who have lost their fathers. The reasons are varied and include Dads who have died in combat, passed away due to health issues or sadly, abandoned their families.

Raising boys without Dads is the problem Curtis Ostrander seeks to address. He is the founder of ‘Dads For A Day,’ a faith-based volunteer nonprofit agency serving fatherless boys ages 9-14 years in Central Florida. One in three children in our area lives in homes without fathers. In the program, each boy is paired with a mentor. Modeling positive social behaviors, instilling work ethics and nurturing confidence are the hopeful outcomes of these close relationships.

Harbor Hills neighbor Peter Steriti has been a mentor for two and a half years. “Dads For A Day,” Peter says, “gives me the opportunity to make a difference in a boy’s life. It’s both humbling and rewarding.” Steriti lost his Dad when he was only thirteen years old. Although he lived alone with his mom, they were surrounded by a large traditional Italian family and caring community in Boston’s ethnic North End. Cooking is about creating memories and that’s exactly what Peter and his mom did. Peter preserved the recipes and created a cooking website, www.luciatramonte.com. The site is named in honor of his mother. Lucia Tramonte was her maiden name.

Frederick Douglass said, “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Become a positive role model by contacting 269-945-2744. Help to build a better world, one boy at a time.

Pizzagaina, Italian Easter Pie by Harbor Hills Member Pete Steriti

Pizzagaina, Italian Easter Pie in English is the most expected and anticipated dish associated with Easter.         

Main ingredients are a filling of ricotta, with selections of the best cured Italian cold cuts and cheeses that are encased and baked in pizza dough.  

Italians, dominantly Catholic, observe Lent from Ash Wednesday through Good Friday.  This is a period of penance and abstinence from eating meat on Fridays. Symbolic at the end of fasting, Italians help celebrate with this incredible meat filled appetizer.  The ritual is so special, it’s rarely made at any other time. 

Mom would make hers on Holy Saturday.  She started accumulating ingredients a week ahead of time that included wasted ends from Italian cold cut logs deeply discounted that were perfect for cubing.  

Traditional Easter Pie is made for a crowd.  Mine is assembled in a spring formed cheesecake pan.  Sides and bottom are lined with pizza dough. Filling starts with a base mixture of ricotta, grated Parmigiana, and eggs for binding.  Cubed Italian cheeses and a variety of salami, Prosciutto and other cured Italian cold cuts are folded into the ricotta mixture and the top sealed with dough, ready for the oven.     

Scaled Down Version

This scaled down version of Easter pie replaces the traditional oversized version.    It’s convenient to serve at smaller socials or holiday gatherings. Dough is replaced with braided puff pastry.  Proportioning ingredients ensures all the same great flavors as the original while flaky egg washed pastry adds eloquence.

 

Different than traditional Easter Pie, we frequently serve them as appetizers year-round.  

This recipe makes 2 identical braids.  If making only one braid, beat both eggs and use half the odd egg for the wash.        

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pack of puff pastry defrosted

Base

  • 1 15 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Italian cheese mix
  • 1 cup graded parmigiana cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Additions

  • ¼ pounds Genoa Salami
  • 2-4 oz. prosciutto thin sliced or cubed
  • 1 additional cup shredded Italian cheese mix

Note:  You can substitute or add pepperoni, soppressata, provolone, and other Italian cheeses and cured meats.  

Egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

 

Directions:

 

  • Preheat oven to 350° convection.
  • Once defrosted, keep puff pastry refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Mix base ingredients until well combined.  Optional, add a small pinch of salt. Other ingredients have relatively high salt content. 
  • Cut slices of Prosciutto in half lengthwise and in 1” lengths.  Fold and distribute evenly into mixture. Chill mixture slightly for easier handling. 
  • Slice salami into strips, cut longer ones in halve lengthwise.   
  •  Place puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured countertop.  Roll parallel to their folds. Increasing lengths to about 12 or 13 inches.  Cut patterns as shown in the picture above. 
  • Spread half of the chilled ricotta mixture evenly along the center of each trimmed puff pastry.  Cover both with half of the salami. Sprinkle both with half the remaining shredded cheese. Repeat with remaining ricotta mixture, salami and shredded cheese.  Fold end tab over filling; cover with alternating side tabs.      
  • Place both on a tray covered with parchment paper.  Whisk egg with water. Brush both pastry with egg wash.   
  •  Place in the middle of the oven for about 25 to 35 minutes until browned on all sides and mixture isn’t runny.  It will solidify further as they cool. Slice with a serrated bread knife. Serve warm or at room temperature.  

Visit Peter’s website:  www.luciatramonte.com for more appetizers and desserts made with Braded Puff Pastry  

 

MANAGING STRESS AND THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE HOME BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

One of the most important things we can do to manage anxiety is to stay rational and calm. We are washing our hands diligently, drinking a lot of water, eating healthy and social distancing. What else can we seniors do to feel calm and use our time enjoyably?

  • It’s time to catch up on those movies! Choose something lighthearted such as comedies and old favorites.
  • Embrace crafting such as quilting, woodworking and card-making. Learn a new skill. Experiment with cooking. It’s a perfect time for that new recipe!
  • Work your brain with free on-line games such as crossword puzzles and sudoku. Try short Ted Talks at ted.com. Or a free on-line language course at duolingo.com.
  • Relax with a book. Don’t forget Audible.com for on-line story-telling. It’s the largest source of audiobooks in the world.
  • The power of meditation and breathing exercises is well-documented. Stretching, dancing and breathwork reduce stress and restore energy.
  • Now is a perfect time to write that poem or memoir. “The Book of Me” poses questions to prompt creativity.
  • Take a virtual trip! Use Google maps to explore the world from your living room. Take a trip to Kangaroo Island in Australia or snorkel in French Polynesia. How about a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon? The possibilities are limitless.
  • Visit family on Facetime or Skype. The smiles of children and grandchildren can make a big difference. Send a virtual hug!

Finding ways to relax and feel comforted help us stay positive as we move through this temporary situation. Note: The Harbor Hills Ladies Charity Unique Boutique scheduled for Thursday and Friday has been cancelled. The sale resumes next year.

HIGHLANDER JUNIOR GOLF COMES TO HARBOR HILLS BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Jr Golf

Jr Golf at Harbor Hills

Junior golf programs have long been an essential avenue for young golfers who love the game. It’s a game that teaches kids to become responsible adults in a multitude of ways. College scholarships and the potential of a professional career have always been strong enticements. Familiar names such as Jim Furyk, Phil Michelson, Paula Creamer and Christie Kerr all came through the ranks of junior golf. Harbor Hills professional Tom Leimberger encourages early exposure to the sport.“Start at a young age,” he says, “to get the fundamentals right.”

Mark Panigoni and Keith McColl agree. The two first met in 2015 at St. Andrews in Scotland, golf’s undisputed birthplace.  A great friendship ensued and four years later, they formed the Highlander Junior Golf Tour in Florida. Their goal is to develop junior golfers in Florida with year-round play in a competitive and encouraging environment. Mark and Keith are strongly committed to providing ample opportunities for our youngsters to grow in golf and in the game of Life.

The Highlander Junior Golf Tour is now host to regular competitive golf matches. Most importantly, these matches are all at an affordable price with local venues close to home. This Saturday, Harbor Hills Country Club is honored to host the tour. It’s a stroke play event and Harbor Hills is the perfect setting for both players and spectators. Sponsorship is what keeps these opportunities available for our aspiring young golfers. For more information, link to http://highlanderjuniortour.com/.

Speaking of age-related achievements, hearty congratulations to friend and neighbor Jim Cochran. Jim, 73, shot his age for the first time ever at his home course of Harbor Hills. Way to go, Jim!

CELEBRATE ITALY WITH LA DOLCE VITA GALA BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Harbor Hills Italian American Club

Harbor Hills Italian American Club

“Mangia bene, ridi spresso, ama molto.” Eat well, laugh often, love much! This charming expression of joy is at the heart of the Harbor Hills Italian-American Club. The club honors Italian heritage and culture in many delightful ways. The members take pride in their considerable culinary skills and prepare Italian delights for their monthly meetings. Club activities include dining at various Italian restaurants, day excursions, extended trips and an annual picnic.

Today, members of the Harbor Hills Italian American Club are welcoming all residents and the public to a very special dinner dance on March 20, 2020. It’s La Dolce Vita Gala, the Sweet Life; a formal evening and the 10th anniversary celebration of the popular Harbor Hills club.

The music features Suzie Casta, one of the most well-liked performers in The Villages. She will be singing Italian favorites as well as a dance music mix for everyone. “It’s about taking the time to appreciate what you have and the world around you,” she explained.” It’s about the joy of being alive.” The members of Harbor Hills’ Italian-American Club couldn’t agree more!

Event chairperson Kathryn Dindia has selected multiple choices of authentic dishes from different regions of Italy for the formal evening. The menu includes Chicken Saltimbocca, Haddock Puttanesca and Pork Osso Buco. Tiramisu is served with (what else?) Amaretto or Sambuca for dessert.

Last years event was spectacular and this year is on track to sell-out. Villagers are encouraged to participate in and enjoy this extra-special Italian club event at the picturesque Harbor Hills Country Club. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact Kathryn at Kathryn.dindia@gmail.com or call the Harbor Hills Country Club at 352-753-7000.

MASONIC LODGE PAR 3 CHALLENGE – GOLF MADE EASY! BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

The square and compass are easily the most recognizable symbols of freemasonry. These architectural tools have special meanings that include a sense of judgement, balance and stability. Freemasonry or masonry can trace its origins to the end of the fourteenth century and to the stonemasons who created the organization.

Today, the programs and services of this worldwide fraternity are well known. Causes range from operating children’s hospitals, funding medical research, helping the underprivileged and contributing to local community needs. The 22 Shriners children’s hospitals in the US, Canada and Mexico comprise one of the world’s largest pediatric health care systems.

Herb Lunden is proud to be both marshal and event chairman of the Wildwood Masonic Lodge No. 92. His 47 years of masonry make him uniquely qualified to  create a spectacular event to benefit local charities.

On Saturday, March 21, our championship course will be transformed into a Par Three extravaganza. All 18 holes will feature extraordinary prizes for holes-in-one, closest to the hole, lowest score and best team scores. “Our generous sponsors stepped up with amazing prizes,” Herb explains. ”A Cancun vacation, airfare included, cars from both Phillips Buick and Phillips Toyota, a Bill Bryan jeep, a golf cart from both Cart World and Titan as well as a customized golf cart from Streetrod. Every hole will display prizes from major sponsors.”

The per person cost is $100 which includes cart, range balls and a buffet lunch. Hole sponsorships are $125 and includes company signage. Mail checks payable to Wildwood Masonic Lodge No. 92, 103 Georgia St. Wildwood, Florida 34785. Contact Herb Lunden at 229-548-5514. Help us continue to do good works in our local community.

LADIES CHARITY EVENT ANOTHER HUGE SUCCESS BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Chairperson Lin McLeod

The Harbor Hills Ladies Charity is once again making headlines. The 27th annual Harbor Hills Ladies Charity Holiday Golf Tournament and Dinner was another huge success. Chairperson Lin McLeod and co-chair Sandy Crabtree reported a record-breaking net profit of nearly $18,000.  Proceeds benefit local charities such as Lake Hills School, the Christian Food Pantry, Community Medical Care Center, Forward Paths, The Haven and others.  A heartfelt thank you is extended to all who donated, participated or volunteered.

Keep the love flowing by attending Valentine’s dining at Harbor Hills on February 14. The public is cordially invited to enjoy a nostalgic sixties-themed evening. Choose an entrée of beef tenderloin, Mediterranean grouper or Caprese stuffed chicken prepared specifically for you and your sweetheart.  And for dessert? The Tunnel of Love, of course! It’s a rich chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.  The ‘Woodstock inspired’ Paisley Craze five-piece band will celebrate with music from our favorite era. Known as “a baby boomer dream band”, the group is comprised of career musicians who play everything from rock to jazz, funk and soul. Seating is limited. Call 352-753-7000 for reservations.

The Hot Rods are back by popular demand! On Saturday, Harbor Hills will welcome custom cars, muscle cars, antique and specialty vehicles from The Villages and beyond. Live music and entertainment will be provided by WJBJ Cruisin’ With The Classics. There will be a 50/50 drawing and door prizes. Food will be available for purchase. Admission and parking is complimentary and the event is open to the public. Contact Sam Metro at 352-449-9732 or simply motor up to beautiful Harbor Hills. I will see you there!

Pineapple Cheesecake By Member Peter Steriti

Revised 1/22/2020

Pineapple Cheesecake with Pecan Praline

Mom saved many recipe clippings from magazines, newspapers, and food boxes.  A favorite appeared in the “Boston Daily Record” newspaper on Friday, October 19, 1956.  Kraft® featured a Pineapple Cream Cheese Pie. Traditional pastry crust had a layer of prepared crushed pineapple, PHALALELPHIA CREAM CHEESE topping and was finished with chopped walnuts.  Their tag line still brings a smile, “Stun your guy with this “Philly Pie” ….”You’ll simply bowl over the Man in your life with this special but easy pie that owes its greatness to (of all things!) a cream cheese.” 

Of course, mom made it often.  She knew it was one of my favorites.  

Mom’s original clipping has a note she wrote to herself to “try using more cream cheese”.  Here’s a cheesecake version of this wonderful desert made in a 9-inch springform pan. Crust is replaced with a complimentary ginger snap cookie crust and thicker layers of crushed pineapple and cheesecake filling.  Cheesecake is made well ahead, frigerated, and finished with a generous topping of old fashion pecan praline. Extra praline is wonderful with cocktails.

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 2 cups of ginger snaps crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pineapple layer

  • 20 oz. canned crushed pineapple with natural juices only
  • 1/3rd cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Filling

  • 2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Boiling water

Pecan Praline

  • 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Directions

Step 1.  Crush ginger snaps, creating 2 cups of crumbs.  Blend with butter and press onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch diameter spring form pan.  Bake at 325º until just set, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Step 2.  Drain pineapple juice into a small bowl.  Add about a tablespoon of water and whisk with cornstarch.  

Step 3.  In a pot, stir crushed pineapple with sugar.  Fold in cornstarch mixture. Stir over medium heat until clear and thickened.  When cooled, spread mixture over cookie crust. 

Step 4.  For filling, in a food processer or mixer, beat cream cheese with sugar and salt until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time followed by milk and vanilla. When well combined, slowly ladle filling over pineapple being careful to not disturb pineapple.    

Step 5.  Preheat oven to 400º degrees.  Seal the outside of the springform pan by wrapping the bottom and sides with 2 sheets of wide aluminum foil.  Put it into a roasting pan. Place in the oven. Pour boiling water in the roasting pan to about an inch and a half up the outside of the wrapped spring form pan.  After 10 minutes, lower heat to 325º. Bake until the edges puff and the center lightly set, about 60 minutes. Once cooled, refrigerate in the springform at least five hours or overnight.  

Step 6.  For praline, set oven at 325º.  Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the brown sugar until melted. When the mixture begins to boil, let it bubble without stirring for about a minute.  Coat pecans in the pot and place on the sheet covered with foil. The mixture will boil again in about 6 minutes, throughout within 8 minutes.  Cool.    

Step 7.  Slide a thin knife between the cake and side of the pan to release the cheesecake; remove springform pan.  Use a baker’s spatula do the same with the bottom. Slide the cheesecake onto a serving platter. Top with praline.  Cut and serve. 

About the Author

Peter, a member of Harbor Hills Country Club, grew up in Boston’s Italian North End.  His website, www.LuciaTramonte.com, is dedicated to his Mom.  Lucia Tramonte was her maiden name.

“A LAND REMEMBERED” PROGRAM HOSTED BY HARBOR HILLS WOMEN’S CLUB BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Rick Smith

We Floridians have many reasons to be proud, as Rick Smith will tell us. Rick is the son of famed author Patrick Davis Smith.  Patrick Davis Smith’s book, “A Land Remembered” chronicles over a century of rugged Florida history from 1858 to 1968. This historical fiction is told through the author’s story of three generations of the MacIveys. They were a pioneer family faced with the challenges of taming the land they settled.

The writer moved to Florida from Mississippi in 1966. He became keenly interested in Florida’s natural resources and the indigenous population of Seminole Indians. Often likened to the style of James Michener, Smith created characters intricately shaped by their environment. Today, he is recognized as one of the most significant writers on Florida heritage and culture.

Smith has authored eight novels and two non-fiction books. “A Land Remembered” is his most acclaimed work. The author is a 1999 inductee into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. This is the highest cultural honor that can be bestowed upon an individual by the state of Florida. Patrick Davis Smith’s lifetime work was nominated for the 1985 Nobel Prize for literature.

To bring his father’s legacy to life, Smith’s son Rick designed a multimedia show which showcases his father’s unique career and works. “My background in media, specifically film and video, makes this experience visually rewarding.”

The Harbor Hills Garden and Women’s Club is honored to host Rick Smith on March 6th, 2020. For this exceptional program, the club has opened up attendance to members’ spouses, friends and their friends. Details will be sent via Evite the second week of February. Seating is limited and a quick response to the invite is requested.

PHYSICAL FITNESS PLAYS A ROLE IN A GOOD GOLF GAME BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

As seniors and as golfers, we hear so much about the need for flexibility and core strength to prevent injury. Longevity is our goal, both in sport and in life.

Gary Player was the first golfer to recognize the benefits of physical fitness in the game. Player devoted himself to proper nutrition, strength and conditioning to stay competitive. At 84 years old, he is still the poster child for the benefits of long-term fitness. From his first Masters win in 1961 to his accomplishments at the Senior Player Championships, Gary is a self-proclaimed fitness fanatic. But our strength training need not reach fanatic levels to generate more power in our swings and more fun in our play.

Tom Leimberger, Harbor Hills golf pro, agrees. “Golf fitness improves flexibility, range of motion and balance,” he said. “All are critical factors in increasing swing speed, which in turn results in greater distance.” Diet and exercise also contribute to increased energy and a positive mindset. Harbor Hills neighbor Les Johnson is a perfect example. At age 89, Les has shot his age and under 658 times!

Last month Les made us all incredibly proud.  He brought home the silver medal for golf at the 28th Annual Florida Senior Games in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The course was the beautiful Jacaranda Golf Club in Plantation, Florida. What is his secret? A one-hour fitness routine each day and a bowl of Wheaties every morning.

Leimberger suggests checking out the Titleist Performance Institute website, mytpi.com, for exercises and the tip of the day. Start the New Year with good health and longevity in mind. As Player said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

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