s ’ y a d o T Vol.3 No.3
Boomer Travel Find Your Beach This Summer Boomer Healthy Eating:
Things You Need More Than Money
How a Financial Crisis can Help Your Retirement Social Security: Give Mom Extra Help
The Boomer Issue on Dating, Sex and Relationships
F– Being Old: Cheers to Old Coots & Cougars Today’s BoomeR
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This Issue May / June 2014 Volume 3, Number 3
’s y a d To
Give Your Mom Some Extra Help
Founders John Vardallas & Alexandra Maragha
Editor-In-Chief Alexandra Maragha
Contributing Writers :
Find Your Beach This Summer
How a Financial Crises 8 Can Help Your Retirement 3 Things You Need More Than Money for a Happy Retirement
Great Sex for Men Over 50 Depends On…
Dating Banter When You’re Over 50
Cheers to Old Coots and Cougars
Boomer Healthy Eating
Advertising: Team For Letters to the Editor, articles and feedback as well as advertising inquiries email Alexandra@TheAmericanBoomeR.com
The American BoomeR.com
How to break the ice (and how to blow it)
New Blog: F-Being Old
Karyl Richson: Social Security Chef Eben Atwater: Healthy Eating
John Vardallas CEO/Founder Professional Speaker Business/Lifestyle Strategist Boomer Sage and Blogger JohnVardallas@TheAmericanBoomeR.com (608) 577-8707 Alexandra Maragha Co-Founder, Editor-In-Chief Today’s BoomeR Alexandra@TheAmericanBoomeR.com Today’s BoomeR Vol.3 No.3 Today’s BoomeR is published six times (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/ June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec) a year by The American BoomeR.com 769 North Star Drive (Suite 207) Madison, WI 53718 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Business 2 Boomers Marketplace
The American Boomer @American_Boomer Today’s BoomeR 3
Finding It All Spring is a time of renewal. For many, the change in weather motivates excitement to bring a better sense of self, through a new look, attitude or outlook. While doing so, the best of you can bring the best out in any relationship. If you are still looking, or a long (feature)time ago p. found 10 “the one” renewing yourself can bring a fresh view to that relationship or one that is being kindled. Maybe you feel with other boomers and Al Green when he said “I’m still in love with you”, or are at the point of deciding “Let’s Stay Together” because you feel “I’m So Tired of Being Alone”. This issue is the boomer guide about each point of love you may be experiencing weather it is dating, sex, or a full relationship, no matter how complicated and loving it is, or could be. BoomeR Healthy Eating brings “Springp.Sweets”, to add to your table and 4 Boomer Travel gives great beaches that are yours to claim for your own comfort and relaxation. So if your only theme is “Lets Get It On”, “Love and Happiness”, or you are asking “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”, I hope that you can share with me (and Barry White) that there is someone out there who is ”My First, My Last, My Everything.” Enjoy. p. 12 Alexandra Maragha Editor-In-Chief Send Letters and Feedback to: Alexandra@theamericanboomer.com
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Social Security: Give Your Mom Some Extra Help By Karyl Richson , Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
some help. Some examples where income may be higher
is right around
include if she and, if married, her spouse:
the corner. It’s always nice to
Support other family members who live with
give Mom a
Have earnings from work; or
Live in Alaska or Hawaii.
or candy, but
2. Resources limited to $13,440 for an individual or
$26,860 for a married couple living together. Resources
people all over
include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds.
We do not count her house or car as resources.
We have an easy-to-use online application that you can help
their moms save an estimated $4,000 annually on the cost
Mom complete. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/
of Medicare prescription drugs. You can help your mom
prescriptionhelp. To apply by phone or have an application
too—and it won’t cost you a dime.
mailed to you, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-
If your mother has Medicare coverage and has limited in-
800-325-0778) and ask for the Application for Help with
come and resources, she may be eligible for Extra Help—
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020).
available through Social Security—to pay part of her monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods, visit www.medicare.gov or To figure out whether your mother is eligible, Social Security call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048). needs to know her income and the value of her savings, in-
This Mother’s Day, give your mom a gift she can really use
vestments and real estate (other than the home she lives in). without spending a dime—savings of around $4,000 a year To qualify for the Extra Help, she must receive Medicare and on her Medicare prescription drug costs! have:
Flowers wither and candy won’t last long, but the Extra Help
1. Income limited to $17,505 for an individual or $23,595
through Social Security will keep on giving throughout the
for a married couple living together. Even if your mom’s
year. And keep in mind as Father’s Day approaches, you can
annual income is higher, she still may be able to get
get the same “free gift” of Extra Help for Dad! Learn more by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.
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BOOMER TRAVEL 6 Todayâ€™s BoomeR
Find Your Beach This Summer Destination 360 Summer beach vacations are among the most popular type of travel plans for the warmest months of the year, as thereâ€™s no better way to relax than stretching out on the sand and snorkeling in clear blue waters. The top summer beaches are located around the world, so picking a destination is simply a matter of deciding on your budget and where you might like to go. Vacation packages and other travel deals can help you save money on the trip if necessary, and there are plenty of destinations perfect for anyone who needs to plan a cheap summer vacation as well.
Many of the top summer beaches are located in Hawaii. Summer is the off-peak season for travel to the islands, as it can be very warm and humid, but that’s also convenient for saving some money on the trip. Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, and Oahu all have their own famous strips
of sand, from Hanalei Bay in Kauai to Waimanalo Beach in Oahu. If you’re looking for a beach vacation that can also include outdoor activities such as hiking and snorkeling, Hawaii is the perfect place to go, as the beautiful outdoor scenery of the Iao Valley and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is worth the trip alone.
cooler temperatures, there is plenty to choose from. California and Florida are both perennially popular beach destinations, with beautiful destinations up and down their lengthy coasts. Southern California, such as the cities of Santa Monica, Malibu, and San Diego, is generally better for beach trips than the northern part of the state, where the water is still quite cold year round. In Florida, some of the best beaches in the summer include Miami Beach, Siesta Key, and Daytona Beach, but these are just a few of a long list.
Although the Caribbean is primarily a winter destination as well, it can also be a great spot for summer vacations, many of which can be combined with cruises if that’s your preferred mode of travel. Among the top summer beaches in the Caribbean are Tobago’s Pigeon Point, Sun Bay Beach in Puerto Rico, and Pink Sands Beach in the Bahamas. This last one, located on Harbour Island, is unique and stunning, and it’s often included on lists of the top 10 beaches in the world.
The Oregon Coast is also known for its beaches, as well as having much cooler temperatures and almost no humidity. The towns of Lincoln City, Cannon Beach, and Newport are all beautiful and easy to navigate on foot, and the beaches in this area are quietly stunning as well. They might not be among the best beaches in the summer if you have your heart set on swimming, as the Pacific Ocean is chilly all year here, but they’re perfect if you just want to relax and listen to the waves—and maybe add a trip to the Columbia Valley wine country to the itinerary as well.
If you’d rather spend your summer beach vacations in the continental US, either to save money or to find some beaches that are likely to have
Choosing one of the top summer beaches is one of the best ways of ensuring a breathtaking experience on any shore. For many travelers, the best vacations may be spent at the lesserknown beach destinations, while others relish the crowds and find their top summer beaches in the tourist hot spots. It all depends on what interests you, and either way, you’ll find plenty to choose from. Today’s BoomeR 7
How a Financial Crises Can Help Your Retirement The lessons of a stock market downturn or other setback could make you a better investor. By Joe Udo It's been five years since the global financial crisis, and the stock market has made a remarkable recovery. The S&P 500 (^GPSC) rose 125 percent and is now at an all-time high. The bull market has been great for many of us who kept investing through the difficult years. Financial downturns can actually be good learning experiences. If we encounter a crisis early in our
the last 5 years, which means they are likely to be more prepared for retirement. Better prepare for the unexpected Many households have reduced their personal debt over the last few years. They also started or increased their emergency fund. Unexpected events will have less of an impact on your life if you have adequate savings to cushion the blow. Rethink risk
Blend Images/Ariel Skelley
investing journey, we have plenty of time to recover and learn from our mistakes. A recent study from Fidelity found that American households have made huge strides in their personal finance habits. Many investors have taken the following steps to secure their finances further:
Many investors sold stocks during the downturn and shifted to bonds. Of course, it's difficult to know when to get back in and a lot of people missed part of that 125 percent S&P 500 gain. Investors need to examine their risk tolerance to figure out a plan they can stick with over the long term.
Many investors lost a lot of money during the financial crisis, but the long-term lessons we learned are invaluable. There will be another financial crisis in the future, and we need to apply these lessons to avoid Save more losing even more money next time. It's much better to Investors increased their retirement contributions over go through these financial crises when you are young 8 Todayâ€™s BoomeR
rather than when you are getting ready to retire. Investing opportunities during the financial crisis. For younger investors, the financial crisis was a boon. It provided an opportunity to buy stocks at bargain basement prices. Even if your portfolio lost 50 percent of its value, it is still a small amount in the grand scheme of things when you're young. Young people didn't have a huge amount of money to lose. When you're starting out, it's more important to increase your saving rate and to learn how to invest for the long term.
3 Things You Need More Than Money for a Happy Retirement By Sophia Bera Do you know what it will take to retire successfully? If you said, "a whole lot of money," you have only part of the picture. According to a Wells Fargo survey, those who have $250,000 or more in investable assets were confident in their retirement. However, nonfinancial factors are key to a happy retirement, too. Consider these three.
It's also good to go through a big correction so you can see how the stock market recovers. You can learn from this experience and be more prepared for the next downturn. The downturn was an opportunity to figure out your risk tolerance and your target asset allocation. Many investors thought they could handle a stock market drop. However, when the S&P 500 dropped 50 percent, they really couldn't handle it. If you set your risk tolerance correctly, then you should be able to stick to your asset allocation plan and ride out the down years.
1. Don't Retire From Something; Move Toward Something New
Once you have a long-term plan and a good asset allocation target, you just need to stick with it and rebalance occasionally. Of course, we all change as we get older and you will need to reassess your risk tolerance every 5 years or so. Most of us will become more conservative and our portfolio needs to reflect that.
2. Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health
Personal finance lessons. Even if you don't follow the stock market, a personal financial crisis can be a good learning experience. If you lose a job, you will learn to cut costs and keep some emergency funds for the future. If you lose a house to foreclosure, then you will know not to buy too much house next time. Losing a well-paying job can be difficult, but you will learn how to live a moderate lifestyle and avoid overspending. These financial setbacks can be tough, but if you have an open mind you will learn from your experience.
If you retire from something, a lack of purpose or direction may quickly leave you bored, anxious or even depressed. Make sure you retire to something that is fulfilling and gives you a reason to wake up excited every morning. While it certainly is nice to have the option of just relaxing on the porch from time to time, most people want to continue being useful or helpful in some way. Consider retiring to part-time work as a freelancer or consultant on projects that interest you. This will keep you engaged and provide extra income that can supplement your nest egg.
A happy retirement allows you to continue learning, growing and experiencing new things. By doing so, you'll keep yourself healthy in a variety of ways. Continue to care for your physical health by going on daily walks, biking if you love to ride or taking a class at a local gym or studio. You'll maintain your happiness if keep moving, both physically and mentally. Pursue one of your passions, monetize one of your hobbies or find new adventures to take part in. Even if you're not working for a paycheck anymore, you will benefit from the satisfaction that comes with achieving something you set out to get done.
3. Cultivate Relationships With Old Friends and New While your career may have provided you with a built-in set of friends, retirement is an opportunity to meet people who are likeminded or share your interests. Join in community activities or clubs. Contact your loved ones often. Volunteer your time and energy with causes you care about and find ways to give back. A happy retirement is much more than simply having lots of money saved. Todayâ€™s BoomeR 9
Great Sex For Men Over 50 Depends On... By Ken Solin
It’s Not Just Physical Any More The notion that men over 50 have a diminished interest in sex or less stamina is fiction. Most still have strong libidos as evidenced by thousands of male readers’ comments over the years. The nature of our sexuality may have changed since we were younger but in many ways that change has meant better sex. The youthful rush to consummate sex has passed and there’s more interest in expressing our sexual feelings for our partners in a patient and caring way now. The emotional aspect of sex was less important than the physical aspect way back when, and we could still function well without it. Our stratospheric hormone levels dictated our sexuality much more than our emotions, but those hormones have diminished to the point that they aren’t as in control now. Fortunately many men over 50 have done some inner, personal growth work, which has helped them become emotionally centered partners. The sexual health of men over 50 depends largely on their ability to connect with women emotionally. Performance Depends On Your Heart Maintaining a high quality sexuality hinges on a willingness and ability to deepen the emotional intimacy in relation10 Today’s BoomeR
ships. Viagra can’t achieve the sexual potency that a strong emotional connection can provide. It’s naïve for men to continue relying solely on their bodies for sexual performance, and the men that do typically end up disappointed and disappointing. The feelings we develop in our hearts for our partners make quality, enduring sex possible, and it’s achieved by connecting our hearts with our bodies. It’s non-chemical hormone replacement therapy for men. Men Helping Men I’ve been getting together with six other men twice a month for decades, and in that time we’ve learned valuable life lessons from each other. I’ve learned more about over 50 male sexuality from my men friends who’ve been married for twenty-five or thirty years and still enjoying frequent, loving sex with their partners than from any other source. What’s immediately and abundantly clear is that the common denominator in their long-term, sexually active relationships is the emotional bond they’ve developed and nurtured. My men friends encouraged me to dig deep and incorporate my feelings for a woman in a relationship without fear. In truth, this was really a lesson about trust, a nagging issue for me and for many men in relationships. Lack of trust has an adverse affect on a relationship and it continues to plague a couple until it’s addressed. The root causes of men’s trust issues vary, but absent resolving them relationships typically struggle and fail. Allowing a woman to hold my heart in her hands was a leap of faith and one of the most difficult challenges I’ve met. But trusting my partner has enriched our relationship exponentially, and while my old trust demons lurk beneath the surface it’s the unconditional trust and love I feel for my partner that keeps them at bay. Change Is Good The physical nature of sex has changed in other, positive ways too. I’ve become more of a slow dancer than a piston, and since there’s no longer any sense of rushing to the finish our sexual connection has developed into a deeper heart connection. There’s a sweet feeling that derives from looking into each other’s eyes while making love and it’s deepened our connection. When we pause and hold each other it’s the emotional bond we share that creates the euphoric feeling. It took a while but I’ve learned to trust that feeling. An Extraordinary Power Tool There are lots of products that can make sex for men over 50 easier and better, and I support their use wholeheartedly. But it’s equally important to focus on the emotional aspects of sexuality in order to maintain a high level of performance. I recently turned sixty-nine and I can state without reservation that sex is better now in many ways than when I was younger. Emotional intimacy is the best sexual power tool for a man. Today’s BoomeR 11
Dating Banter When You’re Over 50 How to break the ice (and how to blow it) when you’re responding to emails By Ken Solin The Art Of Conversation In an age of texting, emailing, and voicemail, actual live telephone conversations seem to be headed for extinction. While this may apply primarily to younger people a surprising number of over fifties have fallen into these impersonal modes of communication too. It’s as if no one wants to talk any more. I was at a movie recently in which a young man chastised the fellow he’d telephoned because that fellow had the temerity to actually answer his phone. He had expected to leave a voicemail. The younger people in the audience laughed heartily, and they got the significance of joke way before I did. No one talks on a cellphone. It’s just for texting. Short Isn’t Sweet My date coaching clients share the emails they receive from potential online dates with me, particularly women clients. I’m unsure what planet some of these men live on, but sending an over fifty woman an email that only says “hi cutie”, while intended to be flattering, is unlikely to impress her sufficient to respond. This applies equally to emails that say, “You’re beautiful”, Great smile”, or my all-time favorite, “I feel something about you”. C’mon guys, really. I was always surprised when a woman sent me a short but not so sweet email and I remember receiving many that said, “You look like a guy I might be interested in.” These are cut and paste emails that don’t warrant a response. These terse emails indicate that the sender never read the person’s profile and acted on looks alone. Inviting someone to communicate based entirely on looks is high school, and it didn’t work all that well back then either. You’re going to have to make more of an effort, which means actually reading a potential date’s profile and using some of what he or she wrote that you found appealing. At a minimum at least they’ll know you didn’t contact them based on looks alone. Time To Talk Okay, you’ve emailed once or twice the most it’s time to talk on the phone. Do voices matter? My clients sometimes report that when they spoke to the man or woman after emailing they were disappointed because the person had an unappealing voice. But since this is subjective another person might find the same voice attractive. No Fear 12 Today’s BoomeR
Lots of over fifty daters fear that first phone call, and one of the reasons I hear most often is the fear of being disappointed after a long line of disappointments. Not knowing what to talk about or what’s appropriate to share on a first phone conversation is also troublesome. And some folks are simply nervous, so perhaps I can suggest a first phone date strategy.
day at a busy café. And a coffee date is a must as opposed to lunch or dinner. Don’t Get Stuck Nothing is worse than feeling stuck in a restaurant with a date you realized after five minutes has no potential. A coffee date allows either person to say thank you and leave after a few minutes if necessary. A date that posted an old photo doesn’t deserve much courtesy and neither does one who starts talking about sex after five minutes. A daytime coffee date at a busy café allows either person to get up and leave without fear or recrimination.
Being honest about your nervousness can be a good icebreaker because it suggests you don’t do this a lot and that you’re not jaded. I’m bullish about online dating for over fifties. My But a first phone date isn’t experience strongly suggests it’s the best way for meant to answer every boomquestion, and in fact, it’s ers to good to leave many meet. I questions for later when you meet in person. This admit call is just to determine if a coffee date is mutually my attiagreeable. tude is It’s a good opportunity to remind each other what due at you found interesting. Pick something that you least in both expressed a passion for, such as hiking, part to bicycling, live music, or anything the other meeting person’s profile suggested you share a common my interest in. It’s amazing how a conversation that partner begins in this manner quickly takes on a life of its online. own and how nervousness rapidly disappears. But since Less Is More my success is shared by millions of other over Try to keep the call to less than fifteen minutes, fifties who date online successfully, it works for a after which it’s time to good number of people. Going to a bar is an fish or cut bait. It isn’t option, but can you really get excited about important whether the meeting someone over fifty who hangs out in man or the woman one? And some folks believe they’ll simply run makes the first into the love of their life in the supermarket. The overture to meet for a odds against meeting your perfect life partner in coffee date. Hopefully that manner are about a million to one. Joining a both people read each bicycle or some type of activity club guaranties a other well and the mutual interest, but ignores the myriad of other coffee date is set. For critical qualities necessary for a successful safety sake, I suggest a coffee date during the relationship. Friends may introduce you to friends,
Why I’m Bullish About Online Dating
Today’s BoomeR 13
but that typically yields a few dates at best. And friends don’t screen your date beyond promising he or she isn’t an axe murderer.
left she looked down at her date who was still smiling for reasons she couldn’t fathom and said, “You need help.”
A Lie Is A Lie No Matter The Reason
While I’m enthusiastic about online dating there are definitely some potential pitfalls. For instance it can be unsettling to meet someone in person who doesn’t remotely resemble his or her online photo, which reminds me of a shocking photo bait and switch story.
There are no valid reasons for misleading potential dates with an old photo, an airbrushed photo, or even worse, someone else’s photo. I’m a date coach and I help my clients write the best possible online profiles to attract the right kind of attention. I urge them not to post photos more than a year old, no sunglasses, no hats, no artful shadows, and at least one full-length shot. It’s reasonable for a potential date to expect you to be as advertised.
Ellen is a psychologist friend of mine who had her first online date, and while it wasn’t her
last, it did stop her in her tracks for a while. She received an email from a handsome and interesting fellow whose photo featured a smiling, in-shape guy with a mop of brown wavy hair. His profile said he was a tall, forty-eight year old psychologist, which Ellen found reassuring. She got to the café early and sat at a table drinking coffee. After a few minutes a shadow fell over her. She looked up and saw a short, fat, bald man sporting a Cheshire cat smile, who bore little if any resemblance to his profile. A Sad Lament She was shocked, but not only because he didn’t resemble his photo. She recognized him immediately as a well-known San Francisco psychiatrist whose work she was familiar with. As he sat down she began to get up, but her curiosity was tweaked and she asked why he’d perpetrated such a flagrant fraud. His response was telling. In a wistful voice he told her, “I just love that old photo.” That was enough for Ellen. But before she 14 Today’s BoomeR
While there’s truth in lending for banks, and warranties for most consumer products, there’s nothing to protect an online dater from someone delusional. I’ll never understand the motive
behind posting an old photo since a date will immediately notice the ruse. Age Is Measured In Years Keep in mind that age is measured in years, not wishes, and knocking off five to ten years is lying, period. When I realized a date had lied about her age I wondered what else she might have lied about, and since women report that men also do this, dissembling about age isn’t gender specific. Honesty Is Refreshing What I know with near certainty is that there’s someone for everyone, actually lots of someone’s. And since nearly everyone lists integrity at the top of desirable qualities in a partner, a date will consider complete honesty refreshing and appealing, and you’ll never have to make excuses for being the person you represented.
Johnny Vs New BoomeR Blog
F– Being Old Cheers to Old Coots & Cougars By John A. Vardallas Founder/CEO, TheAmericanBoomeR.com Spring has finally sprung and this issue I would like to focus on how romance can still be found and utilized as a way to keep the youthful juices flowing in Boomer men and women. There is a myth about humans as we move up in our years that the desire for companionship and romance diminishes. Well I say bunk to that notion! We are living in the Age of Ageless Love witnessed by countless examples of boomer and senior Americans who have discovered loving emotions can still exist at any age. The couple who reunite 50 years after they were high school sweethearts. The widow and widower who meet at a church networking group and connect. The single octogenarian cruisers who meet on a ship during and wind up touring together for the rest of the journey. With millions of boomers being single and hundreds of dating websites available, the dating game has become a fast growing social phenomenon for us old fogies. Surveys show that 70% of single baby boomers actively date. And along with dating comes…. winter romances.
Cougar women like their freedom and younger men are more apt to be comfortable in a less traditional relationship. Younger women are attracted and drawn to older boomer men because certain traits in them remind them of their father. There is of course a physical characteristic attraction and then it is followed by an emotional bond because of how women feel about their fathers. Younger women who date someone who is a lot like their dads can lead to some happy and long-term romantic partnerships. So for us boomer men we should not be afraid of relationships with considerably younger women. And for us guys we have to ditch the “dirty old man” image because we usually appreciate what younger women bring to the relationship… a zest for life, adventure and that can definitely can jump start and sustain physical and emotional activity. So let s put aside age as a qualifier and barrier for romance and focus some suggestions that can help you get started to get you back into the dating game:
Put yourself out there and be proactive. Remember what Andy Warhol said: “Showing Up is Half the Battle”.
Try meeting online (7 in 10 relationships happen this way).
Connect with like-minded people.
Explore your creative and playful side.
Keep yourself in shape physically/mentally/spiritually.
Don’t be disappointed if developing the one relationship takes time (sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you make it to the Prince).
And Not all hook ups work out--Having a fishing mindset (Catch and Release) is OK.
Great examples of romance defying old age can be found among two groups: Cougars (older woman/younger man) and Father Figure (younger woman/older man) couples. Older women dating younger men has increased dramatically the last decade and even fired up more by television and movies. The Ashton and Demi relationship model has taken hold and there is no longer the stigma for younger guys connecting with older women. The myth that the cougar is the hunter who preys on the innocent younger man has been proven wrong. Many guys are naturally drawn to older independent self confident women. And older women find a new spirit or “joie de vivre” as they age when experience dating younger men.
So rock on Boomers— romance awaits! Go ahead and act your age--considering 60 is the New 40! Today’s BoomeR 15
BOOMER HEALTHY EATING: Spring Sweets After a long, cold winter, celebrating the bounty of fresh fruit is just the right thing to do. Here are three recipes highlighting just that. As always, be picky and hand choose ripe, firm fruit. For berries, especially if they're being sold in those nasty plastic clamshells, open the darn things up and get a good look at what you’re buying before you choose.
Recipes and Photos from Chef Eben Atwater www.urbanmonique.com
If your citrus has been waxed or treated, put them whole in a bowl containing ¼ cup white vinegar mixed with 4 cups cold water. Allow the lemons to soak for about 15 minutes, then rinse the citrus in fresh water and dry with a clean towel. There are a couple of unusual ingredients in these recipes that we encourage you to try. The first is agave nectar, a natural alternative to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners. Agave nectar looks and acts like a thin honey; it comes from the leaves of the blue agave, a succulent plant widely grown in Mexico for the production of tequila. Agave nectar is a healthier choice for diabetics and folks just generally concerned about highly refined foods in their diet. Agave nectar has a high concentration of fructose, which does not exert a strong effect on blood sugar levels, so the glycemic index value of agave is low compared to other sweeteners. Agave nectar contains about the same carbohydrate value as sugar; roughly four grams per teaspoon. The second ingredient is Meyer Lemons, which have gotten more popular lately but remain untried by many folks. Sweeter and less tangy than regular lemons, Meyers are thought to be a cross made long ago between a lemon and a mandarin orange. They’re high in vitamin C, vitamin B, and phosphorous. Finally, we’re highlighting cranberries. Yes, we haul them out once a year or so for the holidays, but they’re incredibly tasty, make gorgeous food, and are darn good for you to boot. Cranberries are not only rich in Vitamin C, but have excellent infection fighting properties as well, as anyone who’s had a urinary tract infection knows. Cranberries contain compounds known as condensed tannins, which are potent antioxidants with known antiinflammatory properties, and cooking does not degrade these tannins. So, here’s a delicious little fruit that’s remarkably healthy as well, and that’s good enough for us! Here are three recipes you’re gonna love, and love to share. 16 Today’s BoomeR
Fresh Fruit Tart The crust is the only baking you need to do for this recipe, so it's a great one to prepare the day before an event. The almonds add a wonderful touch that really highlights fresh fruit. We chose strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, but you can pick your favorites as you see fit. For the tart 1 ¼ cups All Purpose Flour ¼ cup Almonds 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter 3 Tablespoons Agave Nectar or Honey ¼ teaspoon Salt 2 – 4 Tablespoons Ice Water Pulse almonds in a food processor to a coarse meal texture.
cream immediately before serving, but you can make it up to 1/2 hour ahead and refrigerate as well. Prep your fruit by rinsing it thoroughly. Core your strawberries. You may slice the berries if you wish. Spread a layer of cream evenly over the tart, then arrange fruit evenly around the tart. Serve promptly.
Cranberry Citrus Granita Granitas are a lovely, light alternative to ice cream or sherbet that contain no dairy at all and are super simple to make. This version highlights the tart sweetness of cranberries and citrus and is, quite frankly, stunningly pretty. Cranberry Citrus Granita - About 1 Pint 1 Cup Water 2-3 fresh Navel Oranges 1 each fresh Lemon and Lime 1 1/2 Cups Cranberries, fresh or frozen, washed and sorted 1/2 Cup Agave Nectar or Honey
Add flour, sugar and salt and blend thoroughly. Cut cold butter into ½” cubes, add and process until the mix is well incorporated, (Again, like a rough meal consistency). Add water a tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to clump; make sure the mix is moist to the touch. Gather dough, flatten into a roughly 1” thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, (And up to a day). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400° F. Line a pan with parchment, then roll dough out to fit; you want a crust around 1/2" thick, but a little thinner or thicker is fine, depending on your taste, (a spring form or tart pan is best, but a cookie sheet will do fine in a pinch.) Prick the tart with a fork, then cover with another piece of parchment and pie weights or beans. Note: pie weights are a must-have if you do a lot of pies and tarts and such; they’re easier to use, distribute weight and heat far better than beans, and besides, too much baking makes for lousy beans as well. Blind bake the crust until it is an even, light golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan. Instead of the traditional pastry crème for the tart, we substituted fresh vanilla whipped cream for a lighter touch. If you prefer even lighter yet, you can substitute a thin layer of no-added-sugar apricot preserves, (Heat 1 cup of preserves with 1 tablespoon of butter over medium low until fully blended. Spread half of that evenly over tart and drizzle the rest over the fruit). For the cream 1 Cup Heavy Cream 1 teaspoon Agave Nectar or Honey 1/2 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk or blend until the cream holds a stiff peak. It's best to wait and prep the
Thoroughly rinse cranberries and citrus. Zest all citrus, then juice each into separate small bowls or cups. Make you're only grating the color from each fruit; the white pith is bitter and to be avoided! In a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat, add; The water, Cranberries, 1 cup of orange juice, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, The agave nectar or honey, 1/2 teaspoon of orange, lemon and lime zest. Heat to a fast simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries start to pop, (about 5 - 7 minutes). Remove pan from heat and purée the ingredients with a stick blender; be careful, the blend
holds heat well and is sticky. Carefully pour the mixture through a steel mesh strainer, in to a 9" x 12" glass baking pan, (a half cookie sheet with sides will work if you don't have the pan. Press gently on the mix with a spatula to help it through the strainer; you'll end up with some skins and zest, and that's just fine. Today’s BoomeR 17
Slide the pan into your freezer for at least 4 hours, (and overnight is fine), along with 4 margarita or Marie Antoinette champagne glasses. Freeze until the granita is completely set. Scrape the granita carefully towards with a fork while holding the pan steady, until you've got a nice shaved ice consistency. Scoop granita into the chilled glasses, garnish with a Rosemary sprig, and serve immediately.
Lemon Curd Lemon curd is often thought of as a British thing, but that's short selling an amazing treat everyone can enjoy. Lemon curd is amazing on a scone, or Scottish shortbread, blended with plain yoghurt and granola, or in a fresh fruit cup. Itâ€™s lovely, light appearance is a bit deceiving; it is a dense, rich treat, bright with flavor. Using Meyer lemons creates a whole new level of lemon curd. Meyer Lemon Curd - About 2 Cups 3 medium Eggs 2-3 Meyer Lemons 1/3 Cup Agave Nectar or Honey 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 2 meyer lemons) 1/2 cup freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice 6 Tablespoons Butter Rinse your lemons well. Place a saucepan large enough to hold your mixing bowl over medium heat with about 3" of water in it and allow the water to heat through, (If you own a double boiler, set up the bottom as described and build the curd in the upper). Zest two of the lemons and set aside the zest. 18 Todayâ€™s BoomeR
Juice the lemons to yield 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice. The third may be needed or may be a spare, depending in how juicy they are. Cut the butter into roughly 1/4" cubes and set aside. In a stainless or glass mixing bowl, combine the eggs, 1 packed Tablespoon of zest, and the agave nectar or honey. Whisk the mixture until fully incorporated and evenly colored, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the 1/2 Cup lemon juice to the blend and whisk for about a minute to fully incorporate. Put your bowl over the pan with hot water or double boiler bottom. Add the butter in small batches of 6 to 8 cubes, whisking steadily and allowing each batch to melt and incorporate before adding more. This curd is an emulsion, and so the butter, (fat), needs time and whisking to properly blend. When all the butter is melted, continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken noticeably, about another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the curd from the heat. Transfer the curd to a fine mesh strainer over a glass or steel bowl and use a spatula to gently strain the curd through the strainer. You'll end up with some zest that doesn't make it through the strainer. Refrigerate in a glass jar or airtight glass container for at least four hours. The curd will keep for about a week refrigerated, but I'll bet it won't last anything close to that long... A small dish of this lovely stuff is a remarkably delicious desert, or an excellent palate cleanser after a heavy course in a fancy meal. NOTE: You may substitute coconut oil for butter for a dairy free variation. There you have a spring full of delicious, light treats. As always, come see us at www.urbanmonique.com, where we always welcome questions, suggestions, or custom requests. Regards, Eben & Monica Atwater.
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