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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.

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