Category Archives: Columns

Young Female Writers Club

The Lyrical Side of Writing

Written by K.L. Kranes

The first time I read the name “Odessa Hott” I think it sounds like the name of a feisty, no nonsense protagonist in a YA detective novel. When I tell the real Odessa Hott this she laughs. You can tell a lot about a person by a laugh. Odessa’s is quick and soft, but sonorous. It’s my first clue Odessa’s much more than a 16-year-old girl from Mechanicsville, VA.

As Odessa and I continue to talk, I quickly realize I’m right. Odessa plays the Taiko (Japanese drums) and reels off opinions on Emily Dickinson with ease. When she discusses the writing process, effortlessly weaving metaphors and similes, I have to remind myself I’m not interviewing a seasoned English professor, but a young teenage girl. 

“Writing is a gateway into a multitude of new and used ideas. It’s similar to an enormous thrift shop!” Odessa explains, her enthusiasm palpable. Although Odessa and I speak over the phone or communicate via email, it feels as if there is a bright smile of excitement hiding behind her every word. “There are so many unexplored concepts. Even the ideas that have been used over and over can always be twisted into something never before seen. I don’t believe that any idea has been completely wrung dry. There is always a way to reinvent what has already been invented.”

Odessa has been inventing and reinventing stories since she was just 6-years-old when she began writing blogs on WordPress. Soon after, she discovered Storybird, a website where young authors can self-publish online using assorted work from global illustrators. In her teenage years, Odessa moved to new platforms, but continued writing, publishing over 30 works on the writing and fanfiction sites Quotev and Wattpad where she accumulated thousands of readers. 

“To this day, I get daily notifications of people leaving comments on my old stories, although I have since taken a break from online publishing,” Odessa says. 

As part of her creative growth, Odessa also participated in writing workshops with the Richmond Young Writers (RYW), based out of Chop Suey Books. Through the RYW, Odessa published her first picture book called Melting Tears, collaborating with local artist Sarah Hand. The story, along with stories from fellow RYW writers, is available on the RYW website. 

“Seeing not only my own book but everyone else’s in print was surreal,” Odessa says when discussing the project. 

Melting Tears is a fairytale about an imaginative rice paper girl and a morose king. Odessa explained her love for Japanese language and culture, which she has been studying for 4 years, inspired the story. 

The international influence of Melting Tears highlights the breadth of Odessa’s background. From K-Pop to Sherlock Holmes, it’s clear Odessa’s unique interests have continually influenced her life and creative process. If she were a song, Odessa would have a passionate drumbeat, a complex guitar riff and a dreamy harmony melding seamlessly with the melody of youthful optimism. I think Odessa would like this metaphor given writing isn’t her only passion. 

“For a long time, I thought writing was my calling,” Odessa says. However, as she got older, Odessa felt herself increasingly drawn to music. 

Although music had always been a large part of her life, Odessa’s father and mother are both musicians, it wasn’t until recently Odessa realized music is her true dream. And, if Odessa believes in anything, it’s the importance of following your dreams.

“I am a firm believer that you should chase your dreams for your own sense of fulfillment. Otherwise, it will leave you feeling exhausted trying to be what someone else wants you to be,” Odessa explains.

That doesn’t mean Odessa plans to abandon the writing side of her creative spirit. Even when speaking about her favorite artists, Odessa describes them with a literary undercurrent. 

“In 2017, my mother introduced me to Solange,” she says. “And ever since, I have been enthralled by her aesthetics, genre and voice. Her lyrics convey a powerful, poetic message.”

Odessa admits combining her two passions can be difficult. “My lyrics are mediocre,” she admits humbly when speaking about her attempts at songwriting. “I write poetry, but usually my lyrics sounds nothing like my poetry. I try to write a song but the lyrics don’t capture the real emotion I’m trying to find.” 

Even if Odessa hasn’t yet figured out how to merge her talent for writing with her talent for music, she certainly already understands how writing can influence music as much as music can influence writers.

“I think that having an understanding of different forms of writing can give you a powerful insight into lyrics you hear that you may have never considered before,” Odessa opines. 

It’s likely one day soon Odessa will turn that powerful insight into a beautiful music. I, for one, can’t wait to hear the combination of Odessa’s musical voice with her distinctive literary voice.

K.L. Kranes is a blogger and author of young adult novels. Her debut novel, The Travelers, was published in 2016 by Saguaro Books, LLC. See more from K.L. at www.klkranes.com/blog.

Hears to a New (Y)ear!

Top 5 things parents need to know about pediatric hearing loss 

Today, it seems almost impossible to avoid increased noise exposure– loud music, noisy toys, vehicles, snow blowers, TVs, drills, hairdryers and more! Especially during this time of year full of celebrations and gatherings, it is a good opportunity to make sure that the youngest members of your family are prepared for the additional noise exposure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 5 million young people between ages 6 and 19 in the U.S. have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from noise exposure. Hearing is critical for a child’s safety and development of speech, listening, learning, and social skills, so it is important to start monitoring their hearing as early as possible.

Your child may have passed a newborn screening prior to leaving the hospital, but parent should still continue to monitor and protect their hearing. Moreover, if an infant fails a screening, it is crucial to follow-up with additional hearing tests no later than three months of age.

“Missed follow-up visits are rapidly becoming one of the most common reasons children with hearing loss miss out on critical interventions and support,” said Benjamin Cable, M.D., Pediatric Otolaryngologist with Carilion Clinic. “Those interventions work to keep a child on a normal developmental path.”

As a parent or caregiver, be aware that exposing a child over time to anything louder than 85 decibels can cause damage to sensitive structures in the inner ear.

“In practical terms,” explained Dr. Cable, “Any environment where the background noise would require raised voices or shouting to communicate could potentially be damaging to children who are exposed for more than short periods of time.”

Noise-induced hearing loss is usually gradual and painless, but can be permanent. Once sensory nerve cells are damaged, they do not regenerate.

As one might expect, the risk of permanent damage is higher with longer exposure. Damage also occurs more quickly with increasing loudness. There are also non-auditory consequences of repeated noise exposure, including increased stress and irritability with reduced relaxation and concentration.

What can parents do to reduce their children’s risk of damage?

  • Avoid or limit exposure to loud sounds when possible.
  • When not possible, use hearing protection.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones are best for babies and children. Consider the child’s age as well as weight, size, comfort level and the noise cancellation rating of protectors.
  • Kids two years and under need earmuffs that are lightweight and will not put strain on neck muscles and bones. They will provide the highest level of noise cancellation.

Hearing loss including noise induced loss can be detected with a hearing test conducted by an audiologist. No child is too young for hearing testing. Agencies in the Roanoke Valley providing audiological services include:

  • Carilion Clinic Otolaryngology (540-224-5170)
  • Hearing Health Associates (540-774-4441)
  • Jefferson Surgical Clinic (540-283-6023)
  • The Hearing Clinic (540-553-8626)
  • Roanoke Valley Speech and Hearing Center (540-343-0165)

Visit www.ehdipals.org  for a national web-based directory of facilities providing pediatric audiology services.

For more information check out the following:
www.sightandhearing.org
www.HowsYourHearing.org
www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/parents
www/asha.org/public/hearing/Noise/
www.tufitech.com/gadget/best-noise-cancelling-headphone-for-babies

About the authors: Debbie Williams, Molly Brown, Emily Guill, and Megan Harrison are speech-language pathologists at Carilion Children’s Pediatric Therapy.

 

Kindness Matters: House of Bread

To break bread is probably one of the oldest human traditions that continues to ignite the spirit of sharing. In the Christian faith, it is symbolic of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. To make bread is the activity that unites women who are participating in job training sessions offered by the House of Bread, a new non-profit in Roanoke.

The House of Bread was created in January 2017 to help formerly incarcerated women gain skills to strengthen their confidence and hope. Over the course of a six-week session, women learn new skills through hands on training in the Local Environmental Agricultural Project Kitchen (LEAP kitchen located in the West End) and gain spiritual development while baking and selling bread alongside volunteers from the community.

In addition to learning basic kitchen and baking skills, the women in the program receive ServSafe food handler training, develop marketing and customer service skills, and partner one-on-one with mentors who shepherd them through a job search and resume building process. The students are given a $50 weekly educational stipend and are expected to attend a weekly class and sell bread with the organization once a week. They meet weekly with their mentors. Each session culminates with the ServSafe certification exam and a mock interview clinic where students practice their interviewing skills and receive feedback. The first clinic was staffed by attorneys, business leaders, and people in the restaurant industry.

The inaugural session kicked off in October 2017. Most of the first session’s participants were chosen through Transitional Options for Women or Total Action for Progress. Six women began the program, and four graduated, all with ServSafe certifications. Alongside women from the community, the students learned how to bake a variety of breads and sold over 350 loaves, often selling out in an hour.

What was the recipe for this success? The baking skills honed at home and shared in the LEAP kitchen by Lisa Goad (co-founder), the organizational finesse of former teacher and current seminary student Jordan Hertz (co-founder), and the vision of licensed professional counselor and seminary student Jen Brothers (co-founder). Sprinkle in a handful of motivated students, passionate volunteers and mentors, wide-ranging community support, and generous funding from church grants and private donations, and House of Bread was born.

Brothers realistically anticipated some attrition, and it did happen in the case of one student, who relapsed after finding herself in an unsafe living situation. Her mentor did not give up, saying she wouldn’t leave her until she was ready to stand on her own two feet. She connected her mentee with resources to help her regain her footing and start a new job.

Currently in its second session, the House of Bread has big projects on the rise.   Transitional Options for Women, a recent recipient of a Roanoke Women’s Foundation grant, will open a coffee shop this January on 13th Ave. It will be staffed by TOFW residents and House of Bread graduates. A former HOB student and current House Manager at TOFW will manage the shop. HOB plans to rent a space beside the coffee shop to host meetings, hold interviews, and allow for greater connectivity to the neighborhood and its residents.

Brothers wants to hold the graduates together in community and is currently working on organizing weekly “soup nights” where program graduates, volunteers, and friends come together to break bread and share in storytelling and prayers, with local ministers presiding over a simple round table Communion service.

House of Bread fills a unique niche in our community, offering hope to those who may have lost it along the way and the tools to rebuild a life and become a healthy and productive citizen. It also allows for the formation of friendships across neighborhood and socio-economic divides. House of Bread actively seeks volunteers, donations, and customers. To learn more about House of Bread please visit www.houseofbreadroanoke.com.

Written by Kate Ericsson

 

Meet Essential Bliss!

Ten years ago, Cheryl Murphy started to look for ways to live a more environmentally friendly life. Like many of us, she started by investigating her cleaning products. The harsh chemicals that often make up these concoctions can be terrible for adults, children, and pets. She turned to essential oils to address her cleaning and household needs. Next, she bought an essential oils kit and began researching their benefits on the internet.

fullsizerender-3Of course, you can’t believe everything you read on Pinterest and Facebook,” she says. “I wanted to learn more, so I decided to seek a certification in aromatherapy.”

Cheryl began an online course from a school in Sedona. The course was rigorous, but that didn’t stop Cheryl or her friend, Tammy Ewen, who agreed to take the classes with her. Cheryl completed that training, and continues to take classes to this day at another school in Sedona.  The classes she takes now, however, she flies out to attend in person. Both Cheryl and Tammy are certified aromatherapists.

“There is a growing interest in this field. People want to take control of their health. They don’t always want to take a pill. They want more natural alternatives, and they want to have control,” she explains.

Cheryl and Tammy share their knowledge through their business, Essential Bliss. They offer consultations and workshops to help people learn how to use essential oils safely and effectively. Not only can Cheryl teach a client how to use their own oils, she can also mix oils to create a product that will specifically target trouble areas.

img_4497For those who want to take their aromatherapy on-the-go, Cheryl has developed aromatherapy bracelets. This concept is the result of merging aromatherapy and her jewelry-making business, Follow Your Bliss, to create a unique and beautiful product for her clients. With the addition of a lava bead to any one of her mindfully handcrafted bracelets, the jewelry becomes a diffuser.

Of course, clients who seek jewelry featuring symbolic charms and semi-precious gemstones without aromatherapy can purchase them through Cheryl as well.

Like her essential oil blends, her jewelry can be customized to target specific needs of the client. To help determine what will work best for an individual, Cheryl offers workshops on healing gemstones. Participants can attend these workshops and design their own bracelets as she talks about the metaphysical properties of gemstones. A bracelet created at one of these events can contain many different gemstones. It is not always about aesthetics, but instead about healing.

If you’re interested in learning more about gemstones, consider attending one of Cheryl’s upcoming workshops. She will be at Center of Gravity Yoga and Pilates on November 5 and Uttara Yoga Studio on November 20. To place an order or request a bracelet customized to fit your needs, go to www.fybbracelets.com.

For information on aromatherapy, clients can schedule consultations at Laurel Hill Salon. You can also attend our Aromatherapy Lunch and Learn on Thursday, November 17. Visit www.facebook.com/bellamagazine for more information.

Serve It Up Sassy: Saturday Brunch!

Brooding over what to serve this Saturday morning for brunch? Celebrate family time together with a casual down home farm-to-table buffet. Get excited about serving easy-to-make-recipes featuring eggs as the main attraction. Sausage and Egg Breakfast Twist, Grits Quiche and Eggs Benedict are not your spur of the moment sunny side up or scrambled eggs, but they do have egg-cellent presentation and individual flavors. So let’s get crack-in!

Whether you make hard boiled, soft boiled, scrambled, omelets & frittatas; eggs are versatile, inexpensive, easy to prepare and a solid source of protein. To compliment the farm-to-table buffet our egg menu features hearty country cooking. The sausage and egg twist is everything you need in one loaf. Purchased frozen bread loaves are thawed and filled with two different fillings, one loaf is filled with red bell peppers and cream cheese scrambled eggs and the other loaf is contains cooked sausage and Monterey Jack cheese. The two loaves are rolled into a six-inch wide log, filled and twisted together to form one loaf of bread.  A decorative three-inch slit in each of the top sections of the twist reveal’s the fillings inside. The twist is glazed with an egg wash and sprinkled with grated Parmesan and dried oregano before baking.  When sliced you see a two-toned bread one side is scrambled eggs and the other side is sausage. It’s a sausage and egg biscuit in yeast bread.

egg-cellent-brunch-angled-setting-www-lizbushong-comThe grits quiche is not exactly your normal quiche. Baked in a cast iron skillet, seasoned grits are flavored with bacon and Worcestershire sauce, caramelized onions, and cheddar cheese.  An egg mixture covers the baked grits and baked again to create the quiche. The dish is garnished with bacon bits, chopped green onions and sliced cherry tomatoes encircled like a bulls-eye on top of the baked quiche. We served it up sassy in a cast iron skillet for the down home feel however; the quiche can be baked in a spring form pan and sliced in individual servings for an egg-stra-special presentation.

Eggs Benedict might sound fancy and intimidating to make but they are very simple to assemble.  English muffin halves are toasted and layered with Canadian bacon or ham, a poached egg and covered with Hollandaise Sauce. The traditional hollandaise sauce is made with raw “fresh” eggs, lemon juice, and salt and warmed melted butter. Because the traditional method is made with raw eggs we opted for an Egg Beater® version. Egg Beaters® are pasteurized which is a good thing when it comes to sauces and preventing illness.  Eating raw eggs could in some cases make you ill with salmonella.  But if you have a strong immune system and use fresh eggs the traditional Hollandaise sauce is divine.

Every buffet table should have a stunning centerpiece. The autumn floral arrangement is a vibrant mix of orange and yellow sunflowers, golden- ruby red alstroemeria and brown eggs. The brown eggs accent the glass hurricane and hide the container with the flower stems. These eggs are hard-boiled for the duration of the arrangement and should be kept in the refrigerator until serving the brunch. After the brunch, return arrangement to the refrigerator if you plan to eat the eggs later. To keep the arrangement fresh avoid direct sunlight if serving an outdoor buffet. Eggs are perishable and must be stored in the refrigerator.  When properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil.

Whether you are hosting a Saturday brunch or serving breakfast for supper, these egg dishes will be your new go-to recipes and give your guests something egg-citing to crow about!

egg-cellent-brunch-grits-quiche-www-lizbushong-comBacon-Cheddar-Caramelized Onion- Grits Quiche

4 slices of bacon cut in half
2¼ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup stone ground grits-not quick grits
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced into rings
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese-divided
3 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1/2-cup heavy cream
Garnish: bacon bits
½ cup chopped green onions
5 small cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray medium 10”cast iron skillet with cooking spray and cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside. Drain grease from skillet reserving 2 teaspoons. Add sliced onions and butter to skillet with reserved bacon grease. Add sugar to caramelize onions until soft and golden brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Add milk, 1-teaspoon butter to a boil over medium heat. Gradually whisk in grits, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and ½ teaspoon salt whisking constantly until thick and creamy. Add 1-cup shredded cheese to grits stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes off heat to cool.  Meanwhile mix one egg in a custard cup and whisk in 2 tablespoons warmed grits to egg mixture. Add egg mixture to grits and stir. Bake skillet of grits in oven for 25 minutes at 350 until set and browned.   Remove from oven sprinkle remaining cheese over warm grits, spread to edges add caramel onions. Let stand 5minutes. Reduce oven to 325.
In mixing bowl, combine half and half, cream, and eggs, 1- teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper. Pour egg mixture over grits bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until mixture is set. Remove from oven let sit 5 minutes before garnishing. To garnish, add crumbled bacon to center followed by chopped green onions and sliced cherry tomatoes to the outer edge of quiche. Optional baking pan: 9” spring form pan.  Add additional eggs if using larger skillet.
Yield:  8-10 servings

 

egg-cellant-brunch-sausage-and-egg-twist-www-lizbushong-comSausage and Egg Breakfast Twist

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, reserve white for egg wash
1/2 cup half and half
½ cup whipping cream
1-3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
4 ounces sage sausage, cooked and drained
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 frozen bread dough loaves
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Place frozen bread loaves vertically on lightly sprayed parchment lined baking sheet to thaw. Preheat oven to 375. In small skillet fry sausage until done and drain off grease. Using food processor, process cream cheese and whipping cream until smooth, add 2 eggs plus one yolk, half and half to mixture. In separate small skillet, add olive oil and scramble the egg mixture. Remove from heat, place in small bowl and add red bell pepper and seasoning.

Lightly sprinkle flour over loaves of thawed bread. Roll dough into a 6”width, creating a well down center of each loaf. Spoon scrambled egg mixture in well of one loaf, spoon cooked sausage down center of remaining loaf. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese over the top of the fillings. Mix water and egg white together to create an egg wash. Brush dough edges with egg wash pinch edges together to seal and form into a log. Place logs seam side down in an “X” pattern on baking sheet. Starting in center of loaf, crisscross ends of dough to form a twist. Cut a 3”slit in each top section of the twist to reveal the fillings. Brush loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and dried oregano.
Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes before slicing. Twist inspired by Pampered Chef.
Yield:  6-8 servings

egg-cellent-brunch-eggs-benedict-www-lizbushong-comEggs Benedict-Black Forest Ham

3-English Muffins cut in half
6 eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
12-thinly sliced Canadian bacon or Black Forest Ham
Egg Beaters ® Hollandaise Sauce recipe
3 English muffins, split in half, toasted

Poach eggs; fill saucepan with 3” of water add vinegar and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium. In separate shallow pie plate, fill with warm water, set aside. Add one egg to the water gently without breaking the yolk. Add remaining eggs to water. When eggs become opaque and whites are no longer runny about 3 minutes, transfer the eggs with slotted spoon to the bowl of warm water to keep warm while assembling. For each Benedict, place one toasted muffin half on serving platter, layer bacon or ham, then poached egg, cover with Hollandaise sauce,  serve immediately.
Yield:  6 servings

Egg Beaters ®-Hollandaise Sauce

1/3 c. egg substitute (i.e., Egg Beaters, etc.)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of white ground or red pepper
1/3 c. butter

In a blender mix egg substitute, lemon juice and pepper or process in food processor. In glass measuring cup, melt butter in microwave for 50 seconds or until melted. With blender or processor running, pour warmed butter through the lid. Sauce will thicken slightly. Keep sauce warm by reheating in microwave at 5-second intervals. Serve immediately.
Yield:  1 cup

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours! ® Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

 

Serve It Up Sassy!: Berry Delicious Summer

Summer means flip-flops, fireflies, and fresh ripe berries!  When you pick the first ripe berry and the sweetened juice pops in your mouth, it’s time to make your favorite summer berry delicious desserts. Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake and a Strawberry Tart are two simple desserts to have on hand for all of your summer entertaining. These berry-inspired desserts are bursting with the sun-kissed flavors of the season.

Swing open the French door to your patio and layer your picnic table with vibrant summer colors and delicious berry desserts.  We kept our seasonal table casual with red and white checked napkins, bright yellow sunflowers, and mason jars wrapped with twine.  The desserts and sunflower arrangement take a stand as the table centerpiece. Repeating the checkered napkins and single sunflower stem at each place-setting, as well as the white dinner plate emphasizes the easy-to-create table color scheme and décor.  Two white ruffled cake pedestals display the Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake and the Strawberry Tart.

table to benchEven more fun with function, we turned our seasonal bench into our picnic table. Our outdoor bench turns into a half-sized picnic table when the bench back becomes the table top. Every back yard, park and grill master should own one or more of these benches-to-table.  If two tables are put together it creates one regular sized picnic table.  These tables are build to last and can be used for all of your seasonal entertaining, not just for summer. Where do you get one of these bench-to-tables?  Glad you asked.  Boy scouts from troop #135  Sulphur Springs, Tennessee are building these bench/tables to raise money for a once in a lifetime high adventure camp called Florida Sea Base.  The bench/tables are available for purchase with 100% of the proceeds going to the boys attending the High Adventure Camp.  You can contact Doug Bushong, my husband and scout master* for troop #135 to order your very own bench turned table or any boy scout from the troop will be happy to assist you.

Your guests will enjoy the taste bud-tingling blend of blueberries and cream in the baked blueberry swirl pound cake.  The pound cake features a delectable golden crust with a moist tender center that will make this cake your new- go-to dessert for any season. A lightly sweetened blueberry puree is layered in the cake batter and gently swirled before baking.  This pound cake is perfectly wonderful all on its own, but when topped with a handful of fresh picked-ripe berries it becomes a sensational taste of summer.

The Strawberry Tart is a chilled summer pie with show-stopping presentation.  Fresh whole strawberries are de-stemmed and sit pretty with pointed ends up on top of a lemon and whipped cream filling.  The prebaked sweet pastry crust is made with real butter and confectioner’s sugar making every bite of this tart one to remember.  Both desserts are make-ahead with the Strawberry Tart being refrigerated for a few hours.

blueberry pound cake slice with watermarkBaking with berries can be a bit tricky. Blueberries can make your muffins and cake batter turn purple if you don’t coat them in flour first before baking. Coating in flour will prevent the berry juice from spreading into the batter.  Strawberries are almost 90% water and dark fuller berries have a higher concentration of water inside.   This leads to a sticky unexpected soggy baked dish. To prevent a soggy baked dish select berries that are just slightly under ripe, having passed the stage of development where a white ring appears around the hull.  For more information about strawberries and blueberries, how to grow, where to pick and health benefits, check with your local county extension agent or office.  For more entertaining ideas and recipes go to www.lizbushong.com.

Berries are beautiful!  Whether you are picnicking at the beach or in your own backyard go out and play; put on your flip-flops, watch the flickering lights of the fireflies and eat all the fresh berries you can.  This is going to be a berry delicious summer!

blueberry swirl pound cake with watermarkBlueberry Swirl Pound Cake

The Swirl:
1-1/2 cups fresh pureed blueberries
2 tablespoons cold water
1-tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
3-tablespoons granulated sugar

Cake Batter:
1-cup butter, softened and no substitutions
3-cups granulated sugar
1-(8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
6 large eggs
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
1-tablespoon crème bouquet* extract
1-tablespoon grated orange zest
3 ½- cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1-cup heavy whipping cream

Garnish:
Buttercream Orange Glaze
Fresh strawberries, blueberries, & mint

Preheat oven to 325. Coat 12-15 cup Bundt pan with shortening and coat with flour.
Blueberry Swirl: In small mixing bowl, whisk together cold water and cornstarch until smooth. In small saucepan, stir together blueberry puree, 3 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil over medium high heat stirring constantly. Boil blueberry mixture until thickened, set aside and let cool.
Cake:  Measure flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add softened cream cheese and beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition. Add extracts and zest, beat to combine. Gradually add flour and cream, alternating with cream, beginning and ending with flour, beat just until combined.
Spoon 1/3 batter into prepared pan, spoon 1/3 blueberry swirl over batter, repeat layers ending with batter. Using a knife, swirl batter, but not too much. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake on cooling rack cool completely before glazing.
Buttercream Orange Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1-tablespoon heavy cream, 1 teaspoon orange extract. Drizzle over cake. Garnish with individual blueberries on top of cake. Serve with fresh strawberries, blueberries and mint sprig per serving.
Yield:  8-10 servings.  *Crème bouquet can be found at the Gazebo in Kingsport, TN or online.

Berry Delcious! (1)Strawberry Tart

Crust:
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2-teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, shredded and chilled
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chilled water
2 tablespoons strawberry jam- melted

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
1-3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
¾ cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream + 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 ½ pounds fresh strawberries, stemmed
¼ cup current jelly
1 tablespoon orange juice

Prepare crust:  Sift flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Grate butter and place on parchment then pop into freezer for 20 minutes. Add chilled butter to flour mixture, combine with hands or forks until crumbs resemble breadcrumbs. Mix egg yolks and water together, sprinkle over flour mixture to make soft dough. Knead a few seconds, flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

On floured surface, roll dough to ¼” thickness. Press dough into bottom and sides of an 8-inch tart pan. Line crust with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dried beans to foil. Chill another 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400. Bake tart shell for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake additional 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and brush baked shell with melted strawberry jam. Set aside to cool.  (Crust recipe will make two-8-inch tart shells).

Filling: In food processor, process cream cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. Process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. In medium bowl, whip cream to soft peaks, add confectioner’s sugar, beat to firm peaks. Fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream. Spoon filling into one tart shell. (Double filling ingredients recipe if making two tarts.) Cover filling with plastic wrap and chill 3 hours. Just before serving, arrange whole strawberries, pointed ends up, over the entire chilled tart in concentric circles. In microwave proof glass, add currant jelly and heat 12-15 seconds until melted, stir in orange juice. Remove from heat and let cool about 2 minutes. Stir jelly occasionally to prevent film from foaming. Spoon or brush warmed jelly mixture over berries and serve immediately.
Yield:  8-9 servings

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

*Bench/table: Doug Bushong-Scout Master-Troop #135 –Sulphur Springs, Tn.  E-Mail: dbushong17@gmail.com 

Extraordinary Women: Joey Coakley Beck

Throughout the June issue, we are celebrating our official birthday month and our 10th year of doing what we love—creating a publication that inspires and encourages women in Central and Southwest Virginia. When our publisher, Joey Coakley Beck, started the magazine, she did so because she knew the women in this community needed a magazine that would cover the topics we are and should be discussing with our friends. For us, celebrating our 10th birthday is not only about recognizing that success, but also continuing to meet that need for years to come.

What was your inspiration when you started Bella? Why a women’s magazine?
I saw a need for it. There was nothing for women in our area. At the time, none of the publications were focused on them. I had many years of experience in graphic design, and I ready to branch out, do my own thing, and fulfill that need.

There have been challenges. For example, as a woman in this industry, it is very rare to be respected by men in the same profession. Bella’s success proves that their opinions have been much less relevant than their egos have led them to believe.

At the end of the day, it is worth it to know that we are putting out something that is applicable to local women in a sea of national (and even some local) publications that do not speak to them and continues ten YEARS later!

image1Over the years, you’ve made some subtle (some not so subtle) changes to the publication, including its size. Why are those changes important to the growth of the magazine and our relationship with readers?
I don’t want our look or our voice to get stale. Bella has always been a step ahead of everyone else, and I want to maintain fresh content and a new look as often as it makes sense. It is important to change and grow with our readers.

What have you learned from the stressful moments and publications that have failed?
It always works out in the end. I am a firm believer in karma, and what you put out there comes back to you. The stressful moments pass as long as you keep your head up and do what you do best.

Other magazines that have come around and failed did it to themselves. You have to genuinely care about this community, what you are putting out there for readers, and the product you are creating. You have to be honest and respectful of others. This isn’t an industry that is about making money, it is about bringing people together and making them stronger as a community.

This year we have made a point to cover at least one local maker in each issue. Can you talk a little bit about why it is important to you to help introduce these small businesses to the community?
There are so many hidden gems and wonderful artisans in our area that otherwise go unnoticed and I think they all contribute to how wonderful this region is. The newspaper and other magazines continually highlight the same handful of people or businesses and there are so many more out there that go unrecognized. We are trying to recognize those people that get overlooked so often.

If you could encourage every woman reading this to do one thing, what would it be?
No matter what it is, to do something that makes you happy—that is truly something just for you. For example, I recently took up knitting. I truly enjoy it and it is 100% me time. I don’t think women take enough time to do things that are just for them. They try to please others in the workplace or at home and they forget about themselves. So my advice is to do something, at least daily, that makes yourself happy.

Extraordinary Women: Jordan Kantor

Jordan Kantor, a permanent cosmetic artist at Skin Care Consulting Inc. in Roanoke, is a recent graduate of Painting and Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She completed her bachelor’s degree in just two and a half years, and began to pursue a career that complements her artistic background and education. Although she may not follow the path that many expected of her, Jordan is using her talent to touch the lives of women in Roanoke while staying true to the creative muse within. 

After graduating from VCU, what led you to pursue a career as a permanent cosmetic artist in Roanoke?

I definitely started to feel that I wanted to begin pursuing this career during my freshman year at VCU. My mom was a huge an influence, as she began Skin Care Consulting in 2004, but I began to notice similarities in my experiences with art and permanent cosmetics. For example, I gave a lot of attention to detail and was drawn to hyper realistic and trompe l’oeil art. Once I began researching the industry and came across eyebrows, camouflaged scars, areolae, and more I realized that with such precision, one could not tell the difference. I fell in love. I felt that this career was a way for me to impact someone’s life using my knack for detail.

How do you incorporate some of the skills you acquired throughout your education in this process?

Towards the end of my career at VCU I had an independent study with Sarah Faris, a professor who heads the Scientific and Preparatory Medical Illustration track within the Department of Communication Arts. It was very helpful to study the anatomical structure of the face and skin through illustrative note taking, a skill Sarah taught me involving the combination of both drawings and text.

Sarah was one of the few VCU professors that encouraged me to continue pursuing this career. Over the course of my education, there were those who could not see the connection between fine art and permanent cosmetics. Sarah could see this relationship and served as a positive source I could turn to for advice. Her work as an illustrator for medical journals such as Dermatologic Surgery served as confirmation that I had chosen the right mentor.

My work with Sarah served as one of the most empowering moments in my career at VCU. I wish to extend this feeling of empowerment to my clients by giving them a sense of confidence in themselves, obtainable through this artistic procedure.

My experience with color theory proved to be extremely helpful when choosing pigment colors. There are a few differences in color theory for permanent cosmetics. When you are painting onto a white canvas with a bright red paint, it will show up bright red. However, if I implanted a bright red pigment into the skin it has to shine through the layers of the skin, mixing with cool undertones making the end result different than what would seem intuitive.

IMG_5163What is next for you professionally and what other projects are you working on in your spare time? 

I will complete eyeliner training before June with Will Anthony, a world-renowned permanent cosmetic artist. My mom and I are going for 3D areola training in August with Vicky Martin, an artist/trainer from UK who creates the most realistic looking nipples we have seen! I am a member of the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, which is dedicated to promoting permanent makeup safety, excellence, and professional standards by providing education, certification, and industry guidelines.

In my spare time I like to create little greeting cards for clients to pick up to send to friends and family, or to display around their home. I still am painting on the side, and we are considering having an art gallery set up at Skin Care Consulting to showcase my art somewhere in the future.

If you are interested in learning more about Jordan, or the many skin care and cosmetic services available at Skin Care Consulting, go to www.skincareconsultinginc.com.