From Our Kitchen To Your Table: Italian Sausage Stuffed Chicken Breast With Champagne Sauce

Recipes featured in From Our Kitchen To Your Table are submitted by chefs in Milestone Retirement communities across the country.  The recipes have been prepared in community kitchens and served to residents as part of a creative, robust dining program. 

Submitted by Scott. Food Service Director at Lighthouse Memory Care in Anacortes, WA

Submitted by Scott, Food Service Director at Lighthouse Memory Care in Anacortes, Washington

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Italian sausage
  • 4 4 oz. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • ¼ cup Garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 ½ tbsp..Tarragon
    ¾ cup Celery, minced
  • 1 cup Mushrooms, minced
  • 1 cup Bermuda Onion, minced
  • 2 cups Mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup White wine
  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs
  • ½ cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup Clarified Butter
  • 2 quarts Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ cup Sherry or flat Champagne
  • 1 ½ tbsp.. Chicken Base
  • 1 ½ quart Half and Half
  • 1 ½ quart Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Roux as needed

Procedure – Champagne Sauce

1. Sauté mushrooms in butter until tender.
2. Deglaze with Sherry or flat champagne until alcohol is cooked off.
3. Add chicken base and mix well.
4. Add half and half and heavy cream.
5. Bring to a simmer on medium heat
6. Add roux to thicken as desired for a thick, creamy sauce.

Procedure – Chicken

1. Use a small mixer with paddle attachment to loosen sausage.
2. Add ingredients (except bread crumbs, cilantro) and mix well.
3. In large saucepan or skillet, brown the mixture.   Deglaze the pan with white wine.
4. Mix in bread crumbs and cilantro. Set aside.
5. Slice a pocket in each chicken breast and stuff them with 2 tbsp. of stuffing.
6. Carefully brown stuffed breasts on grill, in butter.
7. Finish in oven to internal temp 170 degrees.
8. Remove from oven, plate, drizzle with champagne sauce, and serve.

 

Losing a friend: How to deal with the death of a pet

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

Dealing with the loss of a pet can be a very difficult time, especially for seniors. Many seniors are reminded about their own mortality or lose their sense of purpose when their pet passes away. And, if they live alone with their pet, losing their sole companion can trigger a downward spiral of loneliness and depression, especially if their spouse has recently passed away.
Here are four suggestions on how to deal with grieviFor a lot of seniors, their pet is their sole companion.ng the loss of a pet in a positive, emotionally healthy way.

1. Give it time
Grief doesn’t run on a strict timeline. Feelings of grief and sadness may take weeks for some and years for others. Try to let your emotions run their course without feeling the need to rush them or worry about if their timing is on track with anyone else’s.

2. Avoid comparisons
Logically, our minds tell us that there should be a direct correlation between grief and relationships, but emotionally this just isn’t true. Asking yourself things like “I feel worse about my dog passing away than I did my next door neighbor. Does that make me a bad person?” is a great example of this logic vs. emotion disconnect. So, remember: if you feel as if you’re grieving more deeply than you did a friend or family member, it doesn’t diminish your love for them.

3. Realize there’s no need to defend yourself
Non-pet owners might have a hard time understanding your grief, but that does not make your grief inappropriate or insignificant. Sadness, fear, and loneliness are all natural responses to losing a pet, and defending these emotions to others is both frustrating and exhausting. Instead, accept your feelings and let the grieving process run its course.

4. Don’t go it alone
Expressing your feelings about the death of your pet is normal, healthy, and encouraged. For most people, close friends and family are the best go-to, but, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, or if they can’t fully sympathize with your loss, don’t hesitate to look for online support groups, or pet grief support hotlines. If you’d rather speak to someone in person, some branches of the Humane Society host local support group meetings as well.

For more information on how to stay physically and emotionally engaged after retirement, visit blog.milestoneretirement.com.

Thinking caps go great with gray hair: 4 tips on how to learn a new language after age 55

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

With back to school season around the corner, our collective focus is shifting away from summer BBQs and vacations and back to learning and academics, making it the perfect time for all of us, young and old, to learn something new.  And, if you’re over the age of senior-woman-reading 55, learning a language is a top-notch choice.

Why? Years ago, the common attitude toward learning a new language as an adult was that it was an uphill climb that became more strenuous with age. The Critical Period Hypothesis, as it’s known amongst linguists, argues that children are more successful than adults at mastering a second language, and, consequently, the older we are, the harder it will be to learn a language.  Luckily, a string of more recent studies debunk the hypothesis and, to add icing to the second language cake, suggest that learning a second language as a senior can improve cognition and memory and combat dementia.

Now, armed with new, encouraging ideas on learning a new language, we can hit the books full of ambition.  Here are 4 tips for learning a new language as a senior:

1) Use all of your senses
Have you ever read a text book cover to cover, but still struggled on a test? The same idea applies here: we tend to learn best when combining our senses. If you’re trying to learn a new language, that means incorporating it into your speech patterns, writing index cards, and listening to TV or radio broadcasts in your target language.

2) Practice, practice, practice
This tip, which hinges on common sense, is easier said than done, especially if you’re learning a language alone. So, before you take the second language plunge, you might want to invite a friend to be your learning buddy, or join a class at the local community college. And if you stumble through mistake after mistake in your practice sessions? No sweat. Like most things in life, making mistakes while learning a new language helps you learn.

3) Get real
Want to learn French? Great! Want to become fluent in French by the end of the week? … That’s a recipe for failure. Avoid disappointment by establishing a realistic timeline and setting small goals, like being able to read a French article in the newspaper without reaching for your translation dictionary.

4) Keep your head up!
It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re trying to learn something new. Have confidence in yourself and, when in doubt, refer to tip #2.

For more information on how to stay physically and emotionally engaged after retirement, visit blog.milestoneretirement.com.

4 reasons why you should volunteer at a senior living community with your kids this summer

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

School is out for summer and parents across the country are trying Child and seniortheir best to juggle their day-to-day responsibilities while keeping their kids occupied. Chances are “volunteering at a senior living community” isn’t on most parents’ list of things to do as a family before back-to-school seasons hits, but it’s a strong contender. Here are four reasons why you should consider volunteering at a senior living community with your kids this summer:

1) Story time!
Senior living residents are a wealth of experience and are usually happy to share their stories. Many of them have lived through major historical events like WWII, multiple prominent presidencies, and the moon landing. Talk about a great history lesson!

2) Tech talk
Lots of seniors would like to keep in touch with their families online, but don’t have the know-how. Computer classes are a growing trend in senior living communities, especially those with high schoolers at the helm. Tech-savvy teens and tweens can make great teachers on everything from how to turn on an iPad to how to send a Facebook message, so sharing their expertise with seniors makes for great practice, especially if they’re considering education as a career path.

3) Simple gifts
Youngsters tend to love gift giving, especially when the gift is homemade, like a drawing or other craft. What a better way to brighten your child’s day than letting them make their own art and taking them on a special trip to give it as a gift! Added bonus: the smiling face of a child is sure to brighten the seniors’ day too.

4) Pay it forward
No matter what your child’s age, volunteering is a first-class lesson in humility. Donating our time and attention to others is a strong reminder that it’s our civic responsibility to work together, to help each other, and to make a difference.

Ready to make a difference in your community? Call a Milestone Retirement community near you to find a volunteer experience for you and your family.

Testing the waters: 4 ways to make drinking water more appealing

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

July is National Hydration Month, and for good reason. As temperatures climb, dehydration becomes a real threat, especially for seniors. According to the Mayo Clinic, as we age, our body’s ability to conserve water is reduced. This, coupled with a dulled sense of thirst, a delayed ability to respond to temperature changes, and the diuretic effect of many medications, puts seniors at a serious Pitcher of waterdehydration risk.

But, even with all these red flags, you might be having a hard time getting your mom, dad, grandma or grandpa to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Here are some tips on how to make a bland glass of water more appealing for optimum guzzling:

1) Infuse it!
Infused water is gaining popularity in upscale restaurants and organic grocery stores alike, but don’t let the price tags fool you. Making your own infused water at home is as easy as placing fresh fruit in water, allowing it to soak at room temperature, and moving it to the fridge for a cool, refreshing treat. Use these recipe suggestions to get your creative (and fruit) juices flowing.

2) Make a splash
Pour a splash of unsweetened juice (cranberry works particularly well) to give water a burst of flavor without any traces of pulp. Stick to juices that are all natural with no added sugars to get the most vitamins and antioxidants out of each swig.

3) Ice, ice… maybe?
Ice is nice, but if you’re looking for maximum flavor with minimum effort, fruit may be better. Freeze some strawberries, raspberries or tangerine wedges and use them in lieu of ice cubes to keep your water cool and add a hint of sweetness.

4) Call in backup
If the very thought of chugging glass after glass of water is enough to make your insides slosh, don’t hesitate to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into your diet to help make your daily H2O quota. Foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, and radishes have a high water content and provide the extra health benefits of vitamins and fiber.

Helping a senior? If care at home is not working well, it could be time for a transition to senior living. Find a Milestone community near you.

Helping hand: The best places for seniors to volunteer

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

After retirement, a lot of seniors find themselves with the ambition to volunteer Woman in garden volunteering and the time to do it. But with so many volunteer opportunities, where should a do-gooder retirees cast their charitable gaze? Here are some nonprofit suggestions that rely heavily on senior volunteers:

1) Senior Corps
A facet of the Corporation for National and Community Service, Senior Corps’ Foster Grandparent Program partners volunteers age 55 and over with children in their community. The program, which gives seniors the opportunity to mentor and comfort abused children and at-risk teens, is an extremely satisfying volunteer opportunity for retired teachers, nurses, or anyone who has a passion for helping children.

2) The USO
The USO has been helping veterans and their families for 75 years and relies heavily on volunteers, who help by welcoming troops, serving them warm meals and a handful of other goodwill gestures toward soldiers returning home. Volunteering for the USO is a great fit if you or your spouse is a retired veteran.

3) SCORE
The SCORE organization offers free mentoring and workshops to small business owners, making it an exceptionally gratifying choice for volunteers who retired from a career in business operations, sales, or finance. And the best part? SCORE mentors are partnered with business owners in their community, so volunteering your expertise and know-how can help boost your local economy!

None of these seem like a great fit? Don’t throw in the towel just yet. A lot of organizations like Volunteer Match and AARP’s Volunteer Resource Center specializing in matching people over the age of 55 with the perfect volunteer opportunity in their community.

For more information on how to stay physically and emotionally engaged after retirement, visit blog.milestoneretirement.com.

Planning a summer vacation? Here are the top 3 reasons to consider a respite stay for your mom or dad

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

With summer just around the corner, you might find yourself daydreaming about summer vacation, and, if you’re a caregiver,thinking about who will take care 3 Ladies from The Summit Brochure of your mom while you’re away. Here are the top three reasons to consider respite , a short-term stay in an assisted living apartment, your mom or dad during your summer vacation:

1) Peace of mind
Vacations are meant for rejuvenation and relaxation, and there’s nothing relaxing about worrying that your mom might have fallen and no one was there to help her up, or that your dad hasn’t eaten all day since no one cooked for him. Residents using respite get all of the benefits of senior living residents do, including an onsite caregiving staff, meals and housekeeping, so you can rest assured that if your parent needs anything while you’re gone, someone will be there to help.

2) They need a vacation too!
Have you ever considered that maybe your mom needs a vacation just as much as you do? Whether your mom and dad live alone or with you, it’s easy for them to fall into a daily rut. Retirement communities that offer respite care include amenities like activities, group outings, swimming pools, and exercise rooms that your mom and dad can enjoy as much as they want during their stay, so you both get some R&R.

3) Who doesn’t love a test drive?
During a respite stay residents have the same activities and amenities, and enjoy the same meals as senior living residents, it’s a great way to “test drive” a retirement community. So, if you’ve talked to your mom or dad about senior living but they’re hesitant to make the move, a respite stay would give them the perks of community living without the commitment. Who knows, it might be the perfect way for them to adjust to a move to senior living!

Ready to give respite a try? Find a Milestone community near you to get started!

 

Memory loss vs. forgetfulness: How to recognize the difference

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

If your mom and dad are advancing in years, chances are you’ve noticed some changes in their memory, like not remembering where they parked or forgetting to grab eggs at the grocery store. But where’s the line between “this is a normal part of aging” and “dad may need help”?ThinkstockPhotos-516131968  Here are some signs to look for when assessing whether or not your parent might be having a significant decline in their memory.

1) Repetitive short term memory loss
A lot of times, seniors with memory loss can recall the name of every friend they had 30 years ago, but they can’t remember what they ate for breakfast. Checking your parents’ short term memory is easy: ask them questions about their day. If they have a hard time with their responses, that might be a red flag.

2) Difficulty following storylines
If your mom has a puzzled look on her face every time you explain why you had a rough day at work or try to catch her up on your favorite TV show, you might want to look into other symptoms of memory loss. Why? Because memory loss impairs our abilities to recognize words, both visually and audibly. So, if your mom can’t follow your stories, it may be because she doesn’t recognize some of the words you’re using.

3) Failing sense of direction
Did your dad always have an impeccable sense of direction that guided your family through every summer vacation, but now he needs to pull out a map? Chances are, that’s a normal part of aging. But what if your dad gets lost on his way to the same grocery store he’s gone to for 15 years? Or takes the wrong turn on his routine morning walk around the block? If your mom or dad has multiple episodes of being disoriented in familiar places, that may be a sign of more significant memory loss.

4) Skipping parts of their daily routine
We all have days where we put less effort into our appearance (messy hair and sweat pants, anyone?) but if your mom goes days without brushing her teeth or changing her clothes, or if she appears to be avoiding bathing altogether, that might be a cause for concern. If you can’t see your mom every day, some things to look for when you visit are unkempt hair, uncommonly bad breath or stained clothes.

5) Losing things… a lot.
Have you ever been in a panic over misplacing something important and thought to yourself “where is the last place I had it?” People with memory loss have a really hard time answering that question, so a lot of their stuff, important, mundane, or anywhere in between, gets lost and stays lost.  Also, people with memory loss sometimes stash things away in “safe” places and forget where they are, compounding the lost-and-can’t-be-found conundrum.

Helping a senior? If care at home is not working well, it could be time for a transition to senior living. Find a Milestone community near you to get started.

 

Catching some Z’s: 5 tips for sleeping well as you age

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

You might have noticed Mr. Sandman getting stingier with the dreams each year.  As we age, so do our sleep patterns, so it’s not uncommon for seniors to have a hard time falling asleep, Having problems sleepingstaying asleep, or sleeping at the right times. But never fear, if Mr. Sandman refuses to bring you a dream, you can still be a do-it-yourselfer. Here are some tips to help you sleep soundly:

1) Same old, same old
Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is crucial to falling asleep and staying asleep. This means going to bed around the same time each night, not sleeping in on the weekends, and avoiding afternoon naps. Having a sleep routine also includes coaxing your body into relaxation each evening, so try to find what helps you unwind, like reading or taking a warm bath, and make that a regular part of your night.

2) Here comes the sun
Your mother was right…again. Playing outside is good for you. Getting outside for at least one to two hours during the day helps our bodies fall asleep at night. Why? Because sunlight increases our bodies’ production of melatonin, which regulates our sleep-wake cycles, so slather on the sun screen and get out there!

3) Less is more
When it comes to eating anywhere near bedtime, keeping it light is key. Experts recommend refraining from eating large meals at least three hours before bedtime. Light snacks, on the other hand, like some crackers or yogurt, may actually help you sleep, so don’t be afraid to have a little nibble.

4) You’ve got to move it, move it
Exercising has been clinically proven to help people sleep soundly through the night. Aim for at least 30 minutes of elevated physical activity each day, but just like with meal times, timing is key. Be sure to exercise at least four hours before bedtime. Any less, and you run the risk of not being able to relax in time for lights out.

5) Beat it, Siri
If you’re having a hard time sleeping at night, you may want to make sure your bedroom is electronics-free. The power of suggestion is hard for our bodies to overcome, so if you’re used to reading your iPad or watching TV before bed, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Instead, try removing anything that glows from your bedroom, including overly bright alarm clocks, to help keep it cool and dark each night.

Helping a senior? If care at home is not working well, it could be time for a transition to senior living. Find a Milestone community near you to get started.

 

Spring cleaning your parents’ house: Where to start

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

There’s a bug going around: The spring cleaning bug. As the weather gets warmer it’s tempting to throw open the windows, grab a mop and hop to it. If you have senior parents who still live at home, they might look to you for spring cleaning help. Here are some tips on how to get started spring cleaning your parents’ house:

1) Beeline for the medicine cabinet
It’s easy to forget to throw out old prescriptions or over the counter medication, so chances are, you’ll find quite a few outdated bottles. Need to get rid of a lot of outdated meds safely? Visit your local pharmacy or participate in National Take Back Day, a national initiative to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs. National Take Back Day is Saturday, April 30 this year. Visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s site to find locations and times near you.

2) Aim high
Chances are, your parents aren’t climbing up on ladders, especially if they have limited mobility, so anything above arm’s reach could use a refresh. Change the batteries in smoke detectors, dust off ceiling fan blades, and wipe down any lights. Remember: there’s a good chance that these high rollers only get cleaned or replaced once a year, so the more thorough the better!

3) Get low
Yep. You guessed it. The inverse is true. Chances are, your mom hasn’t cleaned underneath beds, behind the toilet, or other hard to reach spaces that require a lot of bending and squatting. Take a walk through your parents’ house and make note of any spaces that require hands and knees time to get a good cleaning. Then, starting at one end of the house, work your way through each room and let those dust bunnies have it! (Sorry, dust bunnies. It’s nothing personal.)

4) Spare me!
Do your parents have a spare room or guest space? Chances are, if they haven’t had visitors in a while, the room could use a good cleaning. Wash any bed linens, vacuum, dust, and, if the guest room has an accompanying bath, be sure to scrub down the counters, toilet, and shower.

5) Can the clutter
Clutter, like old bills, newspapers and magazines tends to accumulate throughout the year. Ask your mom or dad where they keep their old mail, sit with them and decide what they should hang on to and what is safe to throw in the recycling bin.

If they’re not ready to part with much, that’s ok. Going through old mail and papers with your parents isn’t just a way to keep their house tidy, it also lets you see the kind of mail they’re getting and protect them from popular scams targeted at seniors. If you find any mail that you think might be linked to a scam, report it to AARP’s Elderwatch.

For more information on caring for senior parents, visit blog.milestoneretirement.com