Reading is a Bridge of Life: Reading and Writing Structure Activity



Reading is a Bridge of Life:  Structure Activity 





"Learning to use language and communicate with the written word are critical skills that children acquire as they grow and develop. Reading aloud to children at an early age is the most effective way to help them attain these skills. Reading also stimulates children's imagination and expands their understanding of the world. By helping our children develop strong reading skills at an early age, we are laying the foundation for their success in school and in life."





Our world is full of visual images, yet the ability and level at which you read is vital to your success, growth, and experiences in life.  Reading a cookbook, fictional story, non-fiction text, or employee handbook are all challenging tasks.  Especially if you or the ones you love do not read well.  Learning to spot the main idea, details, and other structures in language is an essential skill.



The Structure Activity above is a great way to improve your own skills, those of your students, children in your life, or employees.




Also, please link up with The Bridge of Life Foundation.  Learn more, get active, and donate your time and resources to the youth of Kenya, Africa.  Join the movement to stand with the children of Kenya to empower them through reading, activities, and mentorship. 






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Credit:  http://www.rif.org/

Event Day Dips and Spreads by Jesse Bluma



Event Day Dips and Spreads





Enjoy these three recipes with fruit, pretzels, vegetables, crackers, chips, or sandwiches.  Spoon a layer on flatbread to enjoy at your weekend party.  Use as dip for your handmade sweet potato fries on game day.  Or to gild roasted artichokes.













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Pineapple Dip with Toasted Pecans by Jesse Bluma



Pineapple Dip with Toasted Pecans





This is a flavorful dip and spread for your next party, celebration, or event.  The recipe was shared with me by Linda, my cousin’s mother-in-law.  I made a few twists to the recipe, although I appreciate the characteristics of each.


Ingredients

1 cup Honey Greek yogurt
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
3 Tablespoons finely chopped green onion
3 Tablespoons peeled, chopped red onion
1/4 cup pecans


Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/176 degrees Celsius.

Wash pineapple.  Twist off the stalk.  Use a large sharp knife to cut off the top of the pineapple.  Then cup off the bottom of the pineapple.  Stand the pineapple up, then cut off the skin around the sides.  Slice flesh of pineapple 1/4” thick.  Then finely chop.

Place chopped pineapple in a colander to drain.

Wash green onion.  Trim off roots.  Then cut and finely chop the white ends.

Peel and finely chop red onion.

*Tip:  Chop the pineapple, green onion, and red onion to the same size.

In a large bowl blend honey Greek yogurt with seasoned salt.

Then blend in the chopped ingredients (pineapple, green onion, and red onion).

Place bowl in the refrigerator.

Rough chop the pecans.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the pecans on the lined baking sheet.

Lightly sprinkle pecans with sea salt.

When oven is fully pre-heated toast the pecans for approximately 4 minutes.

Serve:  Place the dip in a dish of your choice.  Place ice in another bowl to place under the dip to keep it cold.  Sprinkle dip with toasted pecans.






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Yellow Chili Pepper Dip by Jesse Bluma



Yellow Chili Pepper Dip





Spice things up with this dip.  The character of yellow chili peppers (Hungarian peppers) is robust, while the mild leeks, shallots, and yogurt round out the overall flavor.  Spoon a layer on flatbread to enjoy at your weekend party.  Use as dip for your handmade sweet potato fries on game day.  Or gild roasted artichokes.


Ingredients

3 Tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup sliced almonds


Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/176 degrees Celsius.

Wash the peppers and leeks.
Cut open the pepper, trimming away the ribs.
Finely chop the peppers, keeping the seeds.

Finley chop the leeks.  Make sure to chop to the same size as the peppers.

Peel and finely chop the shallot--to the same size as the peppers and leeks.

In a large bowl blend honey Greek yogurt with seasoned salt.

Then blend in the chopped peppers with seeds, leeks, and shallot.

Place bowl in the refrigerator.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the sliced almonds on the lined baking sheet.
When oven is fully pre-heated toast the almonds for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve:  Place the dip in a dish of your choice.  Place ice in another bowl to place under the dip to keep it cold.  Sprinkle dip with toasted almonds.






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Chocolate-Raspberry Dip by Jesse Bluma



Chocolate-Raspberry Dip





Chocolate meet taste buds.  Wow.  This dip is sure to please your date, everyone at your next party, or simply yourself as you take a dip late at night by the glow of the refrigerator light.  Serve with strawberries infused with vodka, sliced red pears, tangerines, dried apricot coins, cookies, cake, pineapple, or blackberries.  


Ingredients

1 cup Honey Greek yogurt
6 Tablespoons Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa, sifted
1/4 cup flaked unsweetened coconut, toasted


Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/176 degrees Celsius.

In a flat skillet bring the raspberry balsamic vinegar to a boil on medium heat for approximately 2-4 minutes.  After reducing the vinegar remove, turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Place the ground cocoa in a bowl and sift with a whisk until smooth.

Blend the honey Greek yogurt with the sifted cocoa. 

Blend in the black pepper to the yogurt mixture.

Then blend in the balsamic reduction with the yogurt.

Place bowl in the refrigerator.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the coconut flakes on the lined baking sheet.

When oven is fully pre-heated toast the coconut flakes for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve:  Place the dip in a dish of your choice.  Place ice in another bowl to put under the dip to keep it cold.  Sprinkle dip with toasted coconut.






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Old Town Mexican Cafe Review by Jesse Bluma



Old Town Mexican Cafe Review





Pat, pat, pat, pat, pat.  Hear the sound of handmade tortillas being made.  The fresh dough patted back-and-forth by the artisan tortilla makers in the window of Old Town Mexican Cafe.  Customers buzz in and out, waiters bustling about, and a football game on the bar televisions.





This is the restaurant in San Diego, California I have been meaning to write about for quit some time.  I have frequented Old Town going back to childhood, including family vacations, school field trips, and Boy Scout outings to the missions.  This is the home of the first Spanish settlement in California, making it the origins and birthplace of the state.  This is a must do to gain a historic and contemporary understanding of the state and its culture, including missions, state parks, museums, eateries, shopping, the historic cemetery, activities, a "haunted" home, and more.  

*I would not say the Whaley House is haunted...although the fan I saw in an upper bedroom did provide a nice breeze.  Old Town is also where my sister and I spotted and met Zachery Ty Bryan and Jonathan Taylor Thomas from the TV program Home Improvement.  (If I find the photos I will post them.)  No guarantee you will meet celebrities in town, although if you live in the area or are visiting check out Old Town Mexican Cafe and the surrounding sites.

Bob Estrada, Herb Lizalde, and J.D. Dahlin are the long time owners of the cafe.  "These old world traditions are what ignited the wide array of dining choices at Old Town Mexican Cafe in the early 1980s. The explosion of culinary dishes lead to a long and loyal following by locals and visitors alike. With the growing popularity came the need for expansion which is why you will see today the growth of the restaurant to encompass 2 large dining areas one outdoor with with a covered patio and one indoor built perfectly for large parties." 


My Recommendations

 1.  Check Old Town Mexican Cafe’s social media for events and specials.

 2.  The restaurant is located on San Diego Avenue--parking is located adjacent to the restaurant.  Although, you may wish to park in one of the nearby free lots for easier access. 

3.  Peak season in San Diego is from May through November.  Traffic and wait time gets congested.  You may wish to visit during the off-season.  (*Often going at the peak times to restaurants you get ignored or the food is not up to standard.  I always suggest avoiding the busiest of times anywhere.)

4.  Take a moment to watch and appreciate the artisan tortilla makers.  Watch as the batter is mixed, the dough is patted down, and stacks of corn and flour tortillas are produced for eating, turing into chips, tacos, and more.

5.  Ask to eat on the patio, weather and temperature permitting.  

6.  Order one corn and one flour tortilla for each person at your table.  These are some of the few corn tortillas I will eat.  

 7.  You may wish to order tortillas to go as well.

Old Town Mexican Cafe is located at the address 2489 San Diego Avenue in San Diego, California 92110.








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Old Town Mexican Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Credits:  http://oldtownmexcafe.com/ and youtube.com/user/Noahwonderland

Ken Block Racing in San Francisco



Ken Block Racing in San Francisco





A friend of mine showed me this video today.  Her husband has worked with Ken Block, professional driver, on his car.  As you watch the video you will feel a bit of liberation as if you are in the driver's seat.  I thought I would share it with you.  Buckle up!




"Shot on the actual streets of San Francisco, California, GYM5 features a focus on fast, raw and precise driving action. Filmed over four days, director Ben Conrad and his team are back to work on their second Gymkhana production and delivered the entire city of San Francisco as Ken Block's personal gymkhana playground."

*Gymkhana is a motorsport similar to advanced equestrian courses with cones, obstacles, and great speed.






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Credit:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuDN2bCIyus

Casa Ranchero Review by Jesse Bluma



Casa Ranchero Review





The food and service at Casa Ranchero is enjoyable.  The waiters were attentive, knew the menu, and made good recommendations.  Husband and wife Claire and Lonie Shepard are the owners of Casa Ranchero, formerly this couple had experience in the world of catering.  “For Casa Ranchero, we envision families, couples and friends gathering for a fun, relaxed social dining experience. They come across a vibrant authentic Mexican restaurant and cantina with adobe characteristics.  The smell of the fresh tortillas cooked to order, stimulate the senses. Start off your evening with a hand shaken ice cold margarita, with dozens of tequilas to choose from, paired with complimentary homemade chips and fresh salsa.”




My Recommendations

 1.  Check Casa Ranchero’s social media for events and specials.

 2.  The restaurant is located in a shopping center with ample parking.

3.  Sit outside on the patio next to the fountain.  At night the fire ring around the fountain is ignited, making for a great scene.  

4.  Go at the start of happy hour or Taco Tuesday and order the homemade chips and guacamole, reasonably priced.  (*Often going at the peak times to restaurants you get ignored or the food is not up to standard.  Avoid the busiest of times anywhere.)  The Happy Hour at Casa Ranchero is more adult and the menu items are more elevated than their Taco Tuesday.

5.  Additionally, order both the regular and spicy salsas for the chips.

6.  Order the Casa Margaritas and perhaps a shot of tequila too.

7.  I enjoyed the Suizas [swee-sah; meaning Swiss style in Spanish] made with Rotisserie Chicken and Cheese Topped with Tomatillo Sauce, Sour Cream (*I skipped on the sour cream.  They were happy to leave it off.), and Pico de Gallo (a fresh salsa made with chopped tomato, onion, and chili peppers).  

Casa Ranchero:  http://casaranchero.com






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Casa Ranchero Mexican Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Image Credit:  Ayla A., Yelp.com, casaranchero. com

A Queque Seco-Pound Cake Event by Jesse Bluma



A Queque Seco-Pound Cake Event





Enjoy these pound cakes with the ones you love for breakfast, holidays, or celebrations.  I first discovered these cakes while traveling in Central America.  My cake recipes utilize quality ingredients, organics, and flavorful combinations--orange zest, rum, chocolate, and more.





















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The Spotlight Campaign: Great Artisans and Craftsmen by Jesse Bluma



The Spotlight Campaign





ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN

 Our ideas, our creations, our spirit, and our great actions have always been key.  I know what it’s like to create something, the hard work it takes to accomplish goals, and to stand with others.  I know with my readers we share an elevated approach to food, information, and inspiration.  Liberating food and taste is the mission.  It is a holistic approach to living well and freeing our taste in food and much more.  Pointe Viven reflects my spirit and its clients.  It is a dynamic community of liberating food and taste.

 Over the years is has been terrific to meet, spotlight, and feature certain creators, doers, and inspirational figures.  I know no matter where I am, where I visit, and with whom I meet I will learn something and be re-energized by their endeavors.  Each month join me in spotlighting the famous, the not so famous, the local celebrities, and those you believe have earned a thank you, a congratulations, and the recognition.  




Each month a new theme will be chosen, so be thinking of those people you know exhibit the traits.  Often the trait is something not so measurable, rather it is shown through the mundane, certain instances, and moments that surprise you.  This is your opportunity to join me and take part in the campaign.

In December we celebrated terrific citizens of all kinds that inspire us to be active members in our communities too, those that encourage us to to have great commitment, virtue, spirit, patriotism, confidence, and to build a great legacy.  




January:  This month we are spotlighting great artisans and craftsmen in furniture, food, sculpture, clothing, jewelry, and more.  We are looking for those that keep alive handwork, have expert skills, utilize natural materials, and are significant to the market economy.  Those individuals making great strides in liberating their lives and the lives of others in all kinds of ways through their work.  Tell us the person you wish to spotlight and why.






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Image credit:  FreeDigitalPhotos.net  

Peppermint Pinwheel Queque Seco by Jesse Bluma



Peppermint Pinwheel Queque Seco




For that Christmas soirée, birthday celebration, or after-party.  Enjoy these light textured pound cakes, topped with crushed peppermint candy.  A refreshing bite to serve with holiday citrus punch, Rosemary vodka tonics, or steamy hot chocolate. 







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