Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fitness and Living Jigsaw: Number 1 by Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven



Fitness and Living Jigsaw:  Number 1






It is imperative to understand the power of health and wellness.  One of the most critical factors in the process of physical, mental, and emotional wellness is you.  Your creativity, choices, work out equipment, awareness of your own abilities, evaluation of health goals, and execution of good habits is essential.  Execution and implementation can be a challenge, although without implementing the proper healthy habits all the reading of exercise articles will not make you physically stronger.  Rather than a specific plan, this article supplies guidelines, inspiration, and ideas to spark your interest.

Often I am asked about my routine for healthy living and how I maintain good fitness, especially when I am regularly baking, cooking, and always on the hunt for excellent restaurants.  No big secrets here.  I eat well, get a good amount of sleep, rest, and give my body and mind a good work out.  If anyone knows a thing or two about fitness and nutrition, it’s me.  And if I can do it, you can too.  A background of teaching health and physical education, as well as a lifelong interest in nutrition, has been essential to maintaing an excellent level of fitness, energy, and strength for me.  

Models, actors, athletes.  The images we see in ads, movies, and media can influence our goals and perceptions.  Keep in mind the people in those professions spend a lot of time and have a lot of time to look their best.  Or computer graphics best.  Rather than focusing on images in media, focus on health and wellness for the mind, body, and soul.  We all approach fitness at various levels, perspectives, and habits based upon previous experiences and family environment.  Take a moment to reflect upon good values, the ideas you hold close, that will be the center of what gets you physically fit.  Structure your day, fight for the time to eat well and get physically fit.  Work toward betterment, not perfection.  Be prepared to respond in life.  That means being ready to plan out options and alternatives to preserve your health and wellness.  We all know life is a continual journey, full of difficulties and blessing.  Put on some good music, turn up the volume, and get liberated from those unhealthy habits.  

Working out is not enough for our bodies.  Diet, what you eat, what you buy at the store and bring home to your kitchen, is highly significant to strong abs and obliques.  Purchase and prepare foods that satiate your appetite.  Eat seasonly and enjoy the monthly flavors.  Your fitness routine also needs variety.  Mix up your activities.  Sleep is also key.  The body, mind, and soul need rest and revitalizing.  Sometimes preparing yourself is the key.  Remind yourself in verbal or written form to workout the next day or after work.  Repeat that reminder each night before you go to bed.  This mantra may be the key to applying the health and wellness information you know to do. 

Eat.  Enjoy.  Satiate.  Satisfy.  Get nutrients.  Deal with emotions.  Make something beautiful to make your belly happy.  Breathe.  Those daily habits make a difference.  In my book, candy, cakes, cookies, and desserts are not the devil.  Too many sweets and too often is not good.  Not to worry though.  Take a breath.  If you get off the path of healthy living, I’m confident you can do better next time.  As David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD stated, “Overeating doesn't make us fat.  The process of becoming fat makes us overeat.  In other words, hunger and overeating are the consequences of an underlying problem.  Follow a simple lifestyle prescription focused on enjoyable physical activities, sleep, and stress relief to improve metabolism and support permanent behavior change.”

Jigsaw Number 1:  Warm-Up and Stretch Options

Triceps




Squats




As part of your warm-up and stretch incorporate or change up your routine with one of these moves.  Begin with one set of each move and then work up to doing more.  You may find performing several different moves within a five minute period makes working out more interesting for you and you may see better results.  Utilize a triceps move with two to ten pound weights or a squats move along with such moves as lunges, jogging in place, standing forward bends, side stretches, and calf stretches.

Join with your family and friends today.  Find a locale to work out that gets you inspired.  Then return here and share your progress, tips, and what you learned.  Please remember all information is of a general nature and is furnished only for education.  See a doctor or medical professional for your own personal fitness advice.








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 Note: All information is of a general nature and is furnished only for education.  See a doctor or medical professional for your own personal fitness advice.  Use of this information is at your own risk in regard to any losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.

Credits: drweil.com/drw/u/ART03528/Always-Hungry-David-Ludwig.html, Image courtesy of [imagerymajestic] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Image courtesy of [marcolm] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Image courtesy of [JanPietruszka] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Ultimate Playlist for Your Workouts by Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven



The Ultimate Playlist for Your Workouts




Put on some good music, turn up the volume, and get working out.

As a teacher and someone with a lifelong interest in health and wellness, I look for routines that are planned and spontaneous.  The flow and energy of working out, moving, and being active needs to vary to keep interest and move us faster or slower.  It’s such a significant element, the power of music, energy, and inspiration.  As E.Y. Harburg quiped, “Words make you think a thought.  Music makes you feel a feeling.  A song makes you feel a thought.”

Fitness is not only about working out.  There is a symbiosis of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  There needs to be time that is honored for each, time to escape, time to work out the muscles, thoughts in our heads, time to take care of ourselves.  

Fitness and health is not something everyone is always gung ho about.  Yet, music enables us to get moving, get lost in the process, tune out distractions, and get us in tune with warming-up, stretching, lifting, hiking, dancing, and cooling down.  The feelings, thoughts, and playfulness of music ramp up our energy. 




The playlist above includes a great mix of warm-up, high energy, cool down songs.  A playlist that will get you powered up and keep you moving.









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 Note: All information is of a general nature and is furnished only for education.  See a doctor or medical professional for your own personal fitness advice.  Use of this information is at your own risk in regard to any losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.

Credit:  Image courtesy of [ponsuwan] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Chat with Nancy Fuller over Pecan Cream Cheese Pie



A Chat with Nancy Fuller over Pecan Cream Cheese Pie





Smooth.  Tangy.  Sweet.  Cream cheese is a high fat cow’s milk with an infinite amount of uses.  Pie is one of the delicious ways to enjoy this decadent, fresh cheese.  

Nancy demonstrated how to make a version of pecan cream cheese pie for a holiday bake off.  The recipe was submitted by a viewer, Tara Dizzle, for Nancy to make.  Fuller has extensive culinary experience as a chef, caterer, and food program host.  Which is why you may be very familiar with her.

While Nancy instructed how to make the pecan cream cheese pie I inquired if it would be possible to make mini pies with the recipe, rather than one large pie.  Nancy assured me, “Yes.  Just cut the cooking time down”.  




The pecan layer includes chopped pecans, salt, light corn syrup, firmly packed brown sugar, unsalted butter.  While the cream cheese layer includes cream cheese, one egg, sugar, and vanilla.  I would consider making mini pies using this recipe and experiment with various worlds of flavors from fruits, sweeteners, and layers of chocolate ganache.  The options are extensive and by creating mini pies introduces room for various zesty, chocolatey, and nuanced flavors.    

For the complete recipe go to fullerfarmer.com/fbbakeoff-2015.

“Nancy Fuller Ginsberg, Corporate Vice President of Ginsberg's Food has interest in the finances, business planning, research and development and marketing of said company.  Ginsberg was the President and CEO of her premier catering company in Columbia County for 25 years.  She owned dairy farms, numerous rental properties, restored historic homes and dealt in antiques and design for many years.  Ginsberg attended Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, California after graduating from Buxton School in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She raised six children and has thirteen grandchildren and resides in Claverack, New York and Delray Beach, Florida.”






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Credits:  ginsbergs.com, facebook.com/farmhouserules

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Take a Tour of My Home: A Year Long Photography Project by Jesse Bluma



Take a Tour of My Home:  A Year Long Photography Project





Photography is a powerful medium.  Photos can tell us about significant values, it reflects a legacy and story of a time and space, it is visual communication, it is artistic, and complex.  My year long photography project encompasses some, if not all of these key characteristics of photography.  The year long project began with a desire to capture my home and its surroundings.  Over time, day-by-day, photo-by-photo, the allure, history, and nature of this setting was captured.  There was no deliberate decision or bias to convey certain subjects and not others through the pictures, rather the desire was to merely capture scenes, memorable images, and an overall account of the natural environment at The Point.  For example, the ocean, people, landscape, hiking trails, and animals.  

The Pointe is a quaint, seaside community.  It is nestled in the Orange Coast of California.  The town is situated beachside along the pristine Pacific Ocean, between magnificent cliffs and headlands.  Residents have nicknamed it the “California Riviera”.  The town was established during the 1920s along state route 1, between Los Angeles and San Diego.  Kite-flying, boat races, golf, and surfing drew crowds and residents to the promontory.  Actor James Cagney was drawn here to open a movie theater.  The Pointe is bold, panoramic, and truly alluring.  

 Cooking and entertaining is an opportunity to share with family and friends.  Growing up I learned the basics of good cooking, baking, entertaining, gardening, and entrepreneurship.  The Pointe in the location and Viven is Spanish for living life.  And living in this fabled locale serves as a delicious bakery and idea-factory.

A synthesis of the photos for the entire year long project lead to a rediscovery of some of the areas of my neighborhood and a sharing of an appreciation with others for the power of nature.  As my distant relative Emerson observed, “Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece.  In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue.  Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration.” (“Nature”)

Photography can liberate and inspire others.  You do not have to be a professional photographer to start a photography project of your own.  I do have a lot of experience with cameras and photography, yet am not a master photographer.  It takes time, education, reading books (such as The Complete Practical Guide to Digital and Classic Photography by John Freeman), experience, and practice.  If you embark on your own project you will learn about a variety of views, topics, angles, lighting, and more.  The process and result of my year long project is a treasure.  Some of the photos reveal the beauty of The Point, others tell the evocative and moody story of the seasons, while other photos capture the gorgeous sunsets, vistas, and sunrays.  




See photos from my home by month:






















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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Chat with Curtis Stone over Boozy Christmas Pudding



A Chat with Curtis Stone over Boozy Christmas Pudding





Curtis demonstrated how to make his version of Christmas Pudding with his wife, Lindsay Price, in their kitchen.  Curtis has extensive culinary and international media experience, which is why you may know him.  

“Stone has appeared on a number of cooking programs in the UK, including Dinner in a Box, Good Good Live, and Saturday Kitchen.  He also hosted the first season of My Restaurant Rules in Australia.  Stone hosted Take Home Chef...which went on to become an international hit for TLC.”  

During the time period of Take Home Chef is when I met Curtis at a party in Hollywood Hills, California.  Quite the tall guy.

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere has a brilliant advantage over Christmastime in the Northern Hemisphere.  Fresh fruit.  Chrissy pudding, or Australian Christmas pudding, is a steamed dessert made with a variety of fruits. 

I asked Curtis if the pudding is available at his restaurant.  Maude, his restaurant in Los Angeles, California, is named in honor of grandmother and serves seasonal tasting plates.  Unfortunately, the pudding is not available at the restaurant.  Although the recipe is manageable for home cooks. 




Christmas Pudding with Brandy-Vanilla Custard Sauce by Curtis Stone


Equipment
You will need a pudding mould or 2 litre basin for this recipe.

Pudding
 1 1/2 cups Coles Brand Australian Currants
 3/4 cup Coles Brand Sultanas, finely chopped
 3/4 cup Coles Brand Pitted Prunes, finely chopped
 1/3 cup Candied Orange Peel, well drained from syrup, finely chopped (see recipe)
 3 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
 2 teaspoons ground Coles Brand Ground Cinnamon
 2 teaspoons ground star anise (from 2-3 whole star anise)
 1 teaspoon Coles Brand Ground Nutmeg
 1/4 teaspoon Coles Brand Ground Cloves
 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
 3 cups fresh rye or white breadcrumbs
 2/3 cup (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
 1/2 cup Coles Brand Plain Flour
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 20g Coles Brand Unsalted Butter, at room temperature, plus 125g melted (1/2 cup), cooled slightly
 1/4 cup almonds, toasted, finely chopped
 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husks removed, finely chopped
 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, toasted, finely chopped
 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
 3 large Coles Brand Free Range Eggs
 1/4 cup full cream milk

Custard Sauce
 1 cup Coles Brand Thickened Cream
 1/2 cup full cream milk
 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
 6 large Coles Brand Free Range Eggs- yolks only
 1/3 cup Coles Brand White Sugar
 2 tablespoons brandy
 Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

Method

Step 1
To make the pudding: In a large bowl, mix the currants, sultanas, prunes, candied orange peel, fresh orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, and cloves.  Stir in 1 cup of the rum.  Stand for 30 minutes.

Step 2

Stir the breadcrumbs, brown sugar, flour, and salt into the dried fruit mixture.  Cover and stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours or overnight.

Step 3

Generously coat a 2-litre pudding mold with a lid with 1 tablespoon of the room temperature butter.  Stir the almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and baking powder into the soaked fruit mixture.  In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup melted butter, eggs, and milk to blend, and then stir this mixture into the fruit mixture.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pudding mold and smooth the top.  Cover the pudding mold with the lid.

Step 4

Place the pudding mold on a rack in a large pot.  If you don’t have a rack, invert a small wide bowl and place it in the pot, then set the pudding mold on the bowl.  Add enough boiling water to the pot to come halfway up the sides of the mold.  Cover the pot and simmer gently and steam the pudding over medium-low heat for about 2 hours, or until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean, adding more boiling water to the pot if necessary.  Transfer the mold to a rack and cool 5 minutes.  Turn out the pudding onto a cake plate.

Step 5

Meanwhile, to make the custard sauce: In a heavy large saucepan, heat the cream and milk to a near simmer over medium-high heat.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the cream-milk mixture; add the vanilla bean.

Step 6

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and thick.  Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture.  Return the mixture to the same saucepan and stir over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (do not allow the mixture to simmer or get hotter than 79°C).  Remove from the heat and pour the sauce into a bowl.  Cool slightly, stirring often, for about 8 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cold or serve it warm.

Step 7

Mix the brandy into the sauce and season to taste with nutmeg.

Step 8

To serve: Following tradition, you can flambĂ© the brandy, if desired.  To do this, be sure to place the warm pudding in a well-ventilated place and away from any flammable material.  Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons rum over the pudding or form an indentation in the center of the warm pudding and pour the brandy into the indentation. Using a long match, carefully ignite the brandy and allow the flames to burn off before serving.

Step 9

Serve the pudding warm with the custard sauce.







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Credits: facebook.com/ChefCurtisStone, wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_Stone, taste.com.au/recipes/34110/christmas+pudding+with+brandy+vanilla+custard+sauce

Monday, December 21, 2015

Take a Tour with Me at My California Home: December



Take a Tour with Me at My California Home:  December





The Pointe is a quaint, seaside community.  It is nestled in the Orange Coast of California.  The town is situated beachside along the pristine Pacific Ocean, between magnificent cliffs and headlands.  Residents have nicknamed it the “California Riviera”.  The town was established during the 1920s along state route 1, between Los Angeles and San Diego.  Kite-flying, boat races, golf, and surfing drew crowds and residents to the promontory.  Actor James Cagney was drawn here to open a movie theater.  The Pointe is bold, panoramic, and truly alluring.  

 Cooking and entertaining is an opportunity to share with family and friends.  Growing up I learned the basics of good cooking, baking, entertaining, gardening, and entrepreneurship.  The Pointe in the location and Viven is Spanish for living life.  And living in this fabled locale serves as a delicious bakery and idea-factory.




See photos from my home in November.

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. To a man laboring under calamity, the heat of his own fire hath sadness in it. Then, there is a kind of contempt of the landscape felt by him who has just lost by death a dear friend. The sky is less grand as it shuts down over less worth in the population.”

--Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature”






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A Kitchen Chat with Chef Elizabeth Falkner: Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies



A Kitchen Chat with Chef Elizabeth Falkner





Chef Elizabeth Falkner, of Citizen Cake and Orson, held a live talk in her New York kitchen as she prepared cookies for Christmas.  Falkner chose the recipe for Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies from a viewer submission.  The recipe is simple enough to make in mass quantities during holiday time.  Something we all can appreciate.    

“My Grandmother's Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies (recipe goes back over 100 years). 
2 1/2 c. flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 t. salt, 1/2 c butter, 3/4 c sugar, 1/4 c milk, 1 egg, 2 t vanilla. Make cookie dough by regular method.  Chill.  Roll into long rolls, about 1/2" in diameter.  Cut into 1" pieces.  Dip in egg wash and roll in sesame seeds.  Bake on greased sheet pan or parchment, 425° (Fahrenheit or 218.3° Celsius) for 7 minutes.  I love these because they're not real sweet and taste like home.”--  Sandina Clayton.

*Falkner utilized vanilla paste and 1/2 teaspoon salt.




I asked Chef Elizabeth Falkner, “If you made these cookies into sandwich cookies, what would you layer in between?”  

She liked the idea and recommended it may be fun to use sesame paste or black tahini mixed with powdered sugar and a little bit of sesame oil.  Another ingredient to sandwich between the cookies is green tea ice cream.




“Falkner is a huge fan of cooking competitions and has appeared on more than thirty television competition shows either as a competitor or a judge.  Most people remember her battles to the final in Food Network's, ‘Next Iron Chef-Super Chefs’, where she was the runner up.  She also appeared on ‘Iron Chef America’, ‘Food Network Challenge’, ‘Kitchen Inferno’, ‘All-Star Academy’, ‘Cutthroat Kitchen-Superstar Sabotage’, ‘Chopped Allstars’, as well the first season of Bravo’s, ‘Top Chef Masters’ and Cooking Channel’s, ‘Donut Showdown’, as a reoccurring judge.  Falkner is a multiple award winning chef and James Beard Nominee.  For more than twenty years, she wowed the San Francisco/Bay Area with her restaurants and patisserie, Citizen Cake and Orson.”






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Credits: elizabethfalkner.com and facebook.com/ChefElizabethFalkner/videos/1171901829506678

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mint, Lemon, and d'Anjou Pear Infused Water by Jesse Bluma



Mint, Lemon, and d'Anjou Pear Infused Water




When the weather is crisp, crackling, and arid this is the drink for you.  Mint, lemon, red pear, cinnamon, and ginger infuse nicely together this time of year.  The following recipe is something I prepare for myself and have served at holiday gatherings.  


Ingredients

5 sprigs of organic mint, plus more for garnish
1 organic d'Anjou (red) pear
1” of fresh peeled ginger root
1 cinnamon stick
3.7 Liters or approximately 1 gallon water in a jug or jar




Directions

Place drinking glasses in the refrigerator to chill.

Wash the mint, lemons, and d'Anjou pear.

Place the mint in the water jar.


Carefully slice one lemon in half on a cutting board.
Squeeze the lemon into a re-sealable bag.


Carefully cut the red pear lengthwise into matchsticks on a cutting board, avoiding the core and seeds.
Place the pear matchsticks into the re-sealable bag of lemon juice, allowing the pear slices to soak up lemon juice to prevent browning.


Peel the fresh ginger root with a spoon, holding the spoon concave side facing you, and draw it forward.
Carefully cut 1” of ginger from the root.
Place the 1” of ginger into the water jar.


Place the cinnamon stick in the water jar.

Remove the pear matchsticks from the re-sealable bag and place them in the water jar.

Pour the lemon juice from the re-sealable bag through a strainer into the water jar.

Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours or overnight to allow the ingredients to infuse.  The longer the time period, the more intense the flavor. 

Slice the second lemon for garnish.

Stir the water and serve in the chilled glasses and top with a slice of lemon and mint leaf.






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Image courtesy of [phasinphoto] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of [Ambro] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Take a Tour with Me at My California Home: November



Take a Tour with Me at My California Home:  November





The Pointe is a quaint, seaside community.  It is nestled in the Orange Coast of California.  The town is situated beachside along the pristine Pacific Ocean, between magnificent cliffs and headlands.  Residents have nicknamed it the “California Riviera”.  The town was established during the 1920s along state route 1, between Los Angeles and San Diego.  Kite-flying, boat races, golf, and surfing drew crowds and residents to the promontory.  Actor James Cagney was drawn here to open a movie theater.  The Pointe is bold, panoramic, and truly alluring.  

 Cooking and entertaining is an opportunity to share with family and friends.  Growing up I learned the basics of good cooking, baking, entertaining, gardening, and entrepreneurship.  The Pointe in the location and Viven is Spanish for living life.  And living in this fabled locale serves as a delicious bakery and idea-factory.




See photos from my home in October.

“In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.  Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both. It is necessary to use these pleasures with great temperance.”

--Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature”






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