I think we all know that the cost of living is at an all time high. Now imagine being a senior on a fixed income and having to make a decision of whether to eat or pay for much needed medication. One in six senior citizens face the threat of hunger everyday. Thankfully, Meals on Wheels is there to make sure seniors are receiving food. But what is Meals on Wheels, exactly? Meals on Wheels of America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. Locally, Coastline Elderly Services runs the Meals on Wheels program. For more information about Meals on Wheels, please click here!
Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife (to let steam escape).
Bake spaghetti squash for 60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.
Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove and discard the seeds. Continue using fork to scrape the squash to get long spaghetti-like strands. If it is difficult to scrape out, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Heat a large saute pan with the butter and the garlic over medium-low heat. When garlic becomes fragrant, add parsley, salt and spaghetti squash strands.
Toss well, sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese and taste to see if you need additional salt. The spaghetti squash should have a slight crunch- but if you like it softer, cover the pan and cook 2 more minutes.
Melt butter, lard and water in saucepan, stir and cool slightly. Combine flour and salt in large bowl and mix. Beat 1 egg with white from other egg in small bowl (reserve yolks for egg wash). Stir beaten eggs into flour mixture along with cooled butter mixture. Knead dough until it just comes together.
Remove 1/3 of dough and shape into a small log (this will be the bottom crust of the tart), shape remaining 2/3 dough into larger log (this will be the top crust of the tart). Wrap both with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Dice potato into bite-sized pieces. Place in small pan with water, bring to boil, and simmer until tender. Drain, then mash.
Cook pork, onion and garlic in large frying pan over medium heat until pork is no longer pink, but not browned. Stir in mustard, salt, sage, thyme and cloves. Season with pepper. Stir in potato and cook until liquid is absorbed (about 2 more minutes).
Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until completely cool (about 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375°.
To assemble and bake, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll the small log of pastry into a 6- by 12-inch rectangle and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
Place the cooled pork mixture on top of the rolled out small log and spread to within about 3/4-inch of the border.
Roll larger log of pastry into an 8- by 15-inch rectangle and place on top of filled tart. With the tines of a fork, gently press down on the edges, all the way around the rectangular tart, sealing the seams together. With a sharp knife, make 4-5 slits, evenly spaced, in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
Brush top crust with reserved egg yolk.
Bake until filling is bubbly and pastry is golden (40-45 minutes) and transfer to a rack. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Painting is not only beautiful but it can be therapeutic as well! My friend's grandmother was an incredibly gifted and self -taught painter. After she had a stroke she was left with little mobility on one side. Everyone thought her painting days were behind her, but she knew otherwise. Being able to paint again was her inspiration and it gave her the drive and motivation to get better! Painting helped her physically and just as importantly, emotionally. She gave me one of her paintings which now hangs in my home and it is very special to me. Needless to say, I was very excited when I read about Art Therapy-Inspirational Art for Seniors, Inc. It offers oil painting and watercolor classes from 9am to 1pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. There is also an Impressionist painting workshop from 10am to 1pm on Fridays. Classes are held at the brick building in the New Bedford's Brooklawn Park. This program is offered for senior citizens 59 and older. Supplies are included!! Donations are graciously accepted. Paintings are also on exhibit at the gallery. Please call Cindy for more information at 508-991-6168.
If you are concerned about being able to afford a professional tax-preparation service, AARP may be your answer! In cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide helps low- to moderate-income taxpayers have more discretionary income for everyday essentials, such as food and housing, by assisting with tax services and ensuring they receive applicable tax credits and deductions.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is available free to taxpayers with low- and moderate- income, with special attention to those 60 and older. Through a team of trained volunteers, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has helped individuals for more than 40 years in every state and the District of Columbia.
To find an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site in your community during the tax season, call their toll-free number at 888-AARP-NOW (888-227-7669) or visit AARP.org/taxaide.
In the Bristol County, Massachusetts area, sites include, but are not limited to:
Fall River Government Center, 1 Government Center, Fall River, MA 02722
Westport Senior Center, 75 Reed Road, Westport, MA
Somerset Public Library, 1464 County Street, Somerset, MA 02726
Swansea Senior Center, 260 Ocean Grove Avenue, Swansea, MA 02777
Taunton Senior Center, 30 Olney Street, Taunton, MA 02780
Once you have located a an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site, the Foundation lists the following as documentation to bring with you:
1. government issued identification,
2. last year's tax return,
3. Social Security cards or other official documentation for yourself and all dependents,
4. checkbook or pre-printed direct deposit information for your reloadable prepaid card showing routing number and direct deposit account number if you want to do a direct deposit of any refund(s),
5. W-2 from each employer,
6. unemployment compensation statements,
7. SSA-1099 form showing the total Social Security benefits paid to you for the year, or Form RRB-1099, Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits,
8. 1099 forms reporting interest (1099-INT), dividends (1099-DIV), proceeds from sales (1099-B), as well as documentation showing the original purchase price of your sold assets,
9. 1099-R form if you received a pension or annuity, especially if you had a portion withheld for income tax purposes,
10. 1099-MISC form showing any miscellaneous income,
11. all forms and canceled checks indicating federal and state income tax paid (including quarterly estimated tax payments)
12. Most taxpayers have a choice of taking either a standard deduction or itemizing their deductions. If you have a substantial amount of deductions, you may want to itemize. You will need to bring the following information:
1098 form showing any home mortgage interest,
receipts or canceled checks for medical/dental expenses (including doctor and hospital bills and medical insurance premiums), receipts for prescription medicines, costs of assisted living services and bills for home improvements, such as ramps and railings for people with disabilities,
receipts for contributions to charity,
receipts or canceled checks for all tax income and property taxes you paid, as well as records of tax refunds,
dependent care provider information (name, employer ID or Social Security number), and/or
receipts, canceled checks or 1099 forms related to continuing education,
13. Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information - Be sure to bring relevant documents with you to prove you are in compliance with the ACA. You will need one of the following:
documentation proving health care coverage for you, your spouse and all your dependents,
information indicating that you were covered for at least nine months of the year,
Form 1095-A (which you will receive by Jan. 31, 2015) if you purchased insurance through the Marketplace/Exchange, or documentation of a Health Care Exemption received from the IRS or the Marketplace/Exchange.
Roll into balls and shake in a bag with cinnamon to coat.
Makes 36 "potatoes" if you use a tablespoon measure
Ingredients for Lucky Leprechaun Cookie Bark:
• 14 whole Thin Mints or Mint Oreos, broken up.
• 1½ C pretzels, broken into pieces
• 1 lb. white chocolate, almond bark or melts
• 1 C green M & M's
• green and white sprinkles
1. Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper
2. Spread broken cookies, pretzels and about ¾ C of the M & M's onto the waxed paper
3. Place white chocolate in a container and microwave for 1½ minutes
4. Stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth
5. White chocolate melts faster and burns easier than chocolate
6. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie mixture, spreading with spatula if needed to coat evenly
7. Sprinkle remaining M & M's and colored sprinkles over the chocolate while it is still wet
8. Do not let it harden
9. Place cookie tray into refrigerator until set and firm
10. Remove and gently break bark into small pieces
11. Store in air tight container
Recently a staff member's daughter was invited to a birthday party at Flagship Cinema in New Bedford's North End. I know I must be getting old because I never knew that such a thing existed but it does and I think it is a pretty cool idea. (Apparently so did the all the kids!). Flagship offers several different party packages based on a minimum of 10 or 20 guests. All of them include admission, bottomless popcorn and bottomless soda. Some also include a movie poster for the birthday girl/boy, cake and ice cream, pizza, a private show and even the guest of honor's name on the marquee! There are other a la carte options available, as well. Contact the theater manager for package prices, details and booking at (508) 998-8825. You can also visit them on the web by clicking here!