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Members Connections Newsletter

We miss our members and our members miss our members.

This periodic newsletter is a platform to share creative, informative, and fun content with fellow members during this unprecedented moment of Social Distancing and is currently being emailed to our Membership. We invite you to email us at memberconnections@harborhills.com to share ideas that keep you happy, motivated, entertained, and connected for us to share with your fellow members. Take a look at Volume 2 here:

https://conta.cc/3bF2qNB

 

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.

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