Find your fountain of youth during Older Americans Month

features@beaufortgazette.comApril 30, 2013 

Today is the first day of Older Americans Month.

It might not be ideal, but getting older is the best option that I know of. It requires skill and the ability to make wise decisions. Older Americans have to move about. They have to keep the body in shape. There are as many ways to do this and many places to get it done. Some seniors like to stay active in places with groups while others move about at home. Meanwhile, seniors keep their minds sharp with puzzles, reading, caring for others and trying new dishes in the kitchen that will nourish their body and soul.

Some older Americans continue to work. One time, while shopping for clothing for my sons, an older salesperson was being very helpful in assisting me with a selection. The kindness was just warm, making sure that my sons and I would be happy with the purchase. I asked him what he did before he retired. He had been a doctor specializing in the care of children. He said he was working so he could to meet people and stay active. "I am not the golf and tennis person," he said. "For me, staying active is interacting in a store setting. I meet the nicest people."

Never mind looking for the fountain of youth. If you are an older American, consider yourself as one who has already drunk from the fountain.

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

Fruity Chicken Salad with Spring Greens

1 boneless skinless chicken breast (5 ounces)

1/2 cup halved seedless red grapes

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

1/4 cup dried cherries

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1/4 cup reduced fat honey-mustard dressing

4 cups mixed spring greens

1 tablespoon chopped pecans, toasted

Boil chicken breast until completely done. Cool and cut into bite-size pieces. In medium bowl, mix chicken, grapes, celery, cherries, onion and dressing. Divide greens on plates and place chicken mixture on top. Sprinkle with pecans.

Source: Personal file

Eggplant Casserole

1 1/2 cups olive oil

1 clove garlic,minced

1 cup onion

1 (33-ounce) can peeled Italian tomatoes, drained

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons flour

2 eggs, beaten

2 eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch slices

1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1 cup Mozzarella cheese, diced

Butter

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a heavy skillet, add the garlic and onions and sautè until the onion is transparent. Add the tomatoes, basil, pepper and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Combine the flour and eggs. Dip the eggplant slices in the batter and fry in the remaining oil until lightly browned on both sides. Drain slices on paper towels. Place alternate layers of eggplant, sauce and cheeses in a large casserole. Dot with butter. Freeze. To serve: defrost completely and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Source: Mrs. C.A, Larsen, Jr. (Eleanor), "Sea Island Seasons," 1980

Spinach Surprises

3 packages spinach, frozen chopped

8 ounces. Cream cheese

15 ounces marinated artichoke hearts

1/2 cup butter

2/3 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Cook spinach according to direction and drain well. Melt butter and cream cheese over low heat, stirring until smooth. Add lemon juice. Pour cheese sauce over spinach and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place artichoke hearts, cut into thirds, in the bottom of a 1 1/2 -quart casserole. Cover artichoke hearts with spinach mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 8

Source: Betty Lou Nordeen, "Cooking from The Heart," Beaufort Women's Connection

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