About Melissa Young

A Little about me: Meeting new people and learning new things is always exciting. I thought it might be helpful for you to know a little more about me. My name is Melissa Young and I am the new Manager of Client Services. I have my MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. In my spare time I enjoy playing golf and tennis, cooking and spending time with my family and friends.

Springtime Strawberry Salsa

The springtime is here and I begin to crave juicy and delicious fruits.   Fresh strawberry salsa is the perfect springtime treat.  This quick and fresh recipe can be served as an appetizer, snack, or dessert. You can also add peaches or mango too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, diced
  • ¾ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 3 tablespoons of lime juice
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and carefully mix together
  2. Refrigerator until ready to serve
  3. Serve with cinnamon pita chips or tortilla chips

Are you ready for some juicy seasonal fruit this spring season, too?

Share

A Little St. Patrick’s Day Fun

March 17 is the day we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international celebration of Irish culture. Many people and towns across the nation celebrate with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.

Today you don’t need to be from Ireland to have the luck of Irish on your side!  Here are a few simple ways you can simply enjoy some St. Patrick’s Day fun.

  1. Grab Some Cinnamon Sticks

Some believe that putting a stick of cinnamon in your wallet will lead to wealth and prosperity. Who doesn’t need a few extra bucks these days?

  1. Find Yourself a Four-Leaf Clover

The four-leaf clover is said to bring good luck to those who stumble upon it.  Check in a patch you may have growing in your yard.

  1. Visit Your Garden

Lavender comes from the Latin word “lavare,” which means to wash. Lavender is said to ward off evil spirits.

  1. Burn Sage

Sage is another plant that is said to help ward off evil spirits and is said to fight off negative energy that could be lurking on this Irish holiday.

  1. Lucky Rabbit Foot

Some cultures believe that carrying around the foot of a rabbit will bring good luck. Could be worth a try!

There are several other good luck myths, too.  These are just a few to help you feel lucky!


How will you attract luck on St. Patrick’s Day?

Share

Vanilla Wafer Banana Pudding

When I was a little girl, my mom use to make this simple and easy dessert for me and I can still close my eyes and envision what it looked like in the mason jars on the refrigerator shelf.  The great thing about this recipe is that it is no bake. You simply whip together a few ingredients and let them chill in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Be sure to cover it when in refrigerator to avoid the wafers from getting soggy.  Here’s my recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 large package of instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 14 oz
  • 1 container of cool whip, 16 oz
  • 4 bananas cut into pieces
  • Vanilla Wafers

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, mix milk and instant pudding mix. Add condensed milk and blend well. Fold in half of the cool whip and alternate pudding, bananas, and vanilla wafers.  Serve in a large pie plate or individual containers.  Top with remaining cool whip and add bananas and vanilla wafers on top.

Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

“We hope you enjoy our Recipe of the Month selections on MS Conversations. Just remember: these entries may not necessarily be a part of an MS-specific diet; these are simply recipes compiled from MSAA staff either from their own family recipe collection or based on recipes we think our audience would enjoy. As always, make sure to consult your doctor about any food or nutrition questions as they relate to your MS.”

 

Share

Crock Pot Taco Soup

This recipe is one of the easiest soup recipes you’ll ever make in a crock pot.  It is a crowd-pleaser and is wonderful left over too.  On a cold winters day this will surely warm you right up.

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) can of corn, drained
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (1 oz.) packet taco seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef (if you prefer to go meatless you do not have to add ground beef)

Instructions

  1. Add all beans, tomatoes, corn, chicken broth and taco seasoning to a large crock pot. Stir to combine. Cook on low heat for 4 hours.
  2. Mix together the cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Add to the soup in crock pot and stir. This will help thicken the soup.
  3. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet until thoroughly cooked. Drain grease. Add beef to crock pot and stir together.
  4. Serve soup warm with shredded cheese, tortilla strips and sour cream.

“We hope you enjoy our Recipe of the Month selections on MS Conversations. Just remember: these entries may not necessarily be a part of an MS-specific diet; these are simply recipes compiled from MSAA staff either from their own family recipe collection or based on recipes we think our audience would enjoy. As always, make sure to consult your doctor about any food or nutrition questions as they relate to your MS.”

Share

Eggnog French Toast

MS Conversations Recipe of the MonthEggnog French Toast makes for the perfect holiday breakfast.  Not only does it taste fantastic but, just like other French Toast recipes, it is easy to make. It only requires 5 ingredients! Simple and easy recipes are just what I like making during a busy holiday season!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 12 slices

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups eggnog
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp rum extract
  • 12 slices Texas toast (or other white bread like challah or french bread)

Directions

  1. Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together eggnog, eggs, nutmeg and rum extract until very well blended.
  3. Pour mixture into an 11 by 7-inch baking dish and dip bread into mixture, then rotate and coat opposite side.
  4. Transfer to buttered griddle and cook until bottom is golden brown then flip and cook opposite side until golden.
  5. Serve warm with syrup, butter  and whipped cream.

 

“We hope you enjoy our Recipe of the Month selections on MS Conversations. Just remember: these entries may not necessarily be a part of an MS-specific diet; these are simply recipes compiled from MSAA staff either from their own family recipe collection or based on recipes we think our audience would enjoy. As always, make sure to consult your doctor about any food or nutrition questions as they relate to your MS.”

 

Share

Stress Management Tips

The holiday season is fast approaching.  This time of year brings lots of great things like family traditions, fun activities, and opportunities to celebrate with friends.  Unfortunately, holidays can also be stressful and unpredictable. Dealing with fatigue and managing your MS symptoms can add to your stress if you aren’t careful.

So, here are four tips to help you manage the stresses of the season so you can have happy holidays!

Plan ahead

Planning your holiday schedule of activities in advance can help to reduce anxiety and limit fatigue.  Planning ahead will also help you identify the things you really want or need to do and weed out anything unnecessary or unpleasant.

Relax

It is important during the holidays to take time for YOU.  Even just a few minutes to relax and recharge can reduce stress levels and help you cope with all of the chaos.

Eat healthy

We all know that holidays bring sweet and savory treats, late nights and unusual schedules.  Be sure to stick to a healthy eating plan and reward yourself by having a  few treats during the holidays.

Support

If you are feeling lonely or stressed, make sure you have a close friend, family member or someone you trust that you can call on.  Maybe attend a local support group or call the MS Friends helpline to talk about how you are feeling.  Multiple Sclerosis Friends: 1-866-673-7436

The holidays don’t have to be stressful.  Take a step back and organize your schedule for the holidays, and make sure to take time for yourself.  By doing so, you can enjoy time with family and friends.

Share

Hazelnut English Toffee Bars

happy-halloweenHappy Halloween!  While handing out candy to the kids in your neighborhood, enjoy this treat for yourself!  This easy-to-make recipe is courtesy of MSAA’s President & CEO, Gina Murdoch.

Makes approximately 24 bars

Preheat oven to 350°

Crust:

2 cups flour
1 cup softened butter (not melted)
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tbs. vanilla

Toffee Sauce:

1 cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup Frangelica (optional)
¾ cup butter
2 tbs. vanilla

Toppings:

1 ¼ cup butterscotch chips
½ Skor toffee chips
1 ¼ cup chopped and roasted hazelnuts

Directions:

  • Spray 13” x 9” pan with Pam. Make sure pan has high sides
  • Chop hazelnuts and put in oven while preheating
  • Mix all ingredients until dough is formed
  • Use Saran Wrap to press dough into pan evenly and smooth is out
  • Take out hazelnuts
  • Cook dough for 23 minutes (dough will still be light in color)
  • Combine all toppings ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil
  • Set oven to 400
  • Pour toffee sauce over dough
  • Put toppings on in this order. Sprinkle over evenly
    1. Butterscotch chips
    2. Toffee chips
    3. Hazelnuts
  • Press toppings lightly into crust with spatula
  • Put pan back in over for 5 minutes at 400 degrees
  • Remove and let fully cool
  • Refrigerate when cool
  • Cut into bars

 

“We hope you enjoy our Recipe of the Month selections on MS Conversations. Just remember: these entries may not necessarily be a part of an MS-specific diet; these are simply recipes compiled from MSAA staff either from their own family recipe collection or based on recipes we think our audience would enjoy. As always, make sure to consult your doctor about any food or nutrition questions as they relate to your MS.”

 

 

Share

Fall Celebrations

fallWell, Fall is finally here even if in most parts of the country it doesn’t feel like it.  Most people associate Autumn with its two main holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I know that if you were to play a word association game with me, I’d tell you that Fall makes me think of warm apple cider, jack o’lanterns, pumpkin pie, turkey and trick or treating.  All those things are connected to the holidays.

I thought to myself that there had to be more to the season.  Guess what?  There is so much more to celebrate.  I came across a website (http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/october/) that lists all of the “National Days” that you might hear mentioned on the morning news or radio.  Some are serious, but most are a bit silly.  I, for one, don’t think you can have too much silly in your life.  So, while there were so many for the season, I thought I’d share my favorites for October.

  1. October 4th – National Taco Day. Have Mexican food for lunch or dinner to celebrate!
  2. October 8th – National Fluffernutter Day. Make yourself a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich.  If that’s not your speed, celebrate National Pierogi Day instead!
  3. October 10th – National Kick Butt Day. This is the day to give yourself a kick in the pants and get yourself moving on something you’ve been meaning to do for a while.
  4. October 12th – National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day. Get all of your co-workers involved and have a slumber party!
  5. October 14th – National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day. Make sure your kids know you expect them to celebrate this day!  And, have the pie or ice cream at the end because it’s also National Dessert Day!
  6. October 17th – National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day. This might be the easiest cleaning chore of them all! Click and clean!
  7. October 18th – National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Buy yourself a chocolate cupcake as a reward for all of the hard work you did yesterday!
  8. October 22nd – National Nut Day. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios…so many nuts and only 24 hours to celebrate!
  9. October 28th – National Breadstick Day. I wonder if Olive Garden knows about this day?  It might be fun (and tasty) finding out!
  10. October 30th – National Candy Corn Day. Finally, a reason to dig into the Halloween candy early!
  11. October 31st – National Knock Knock Jokes Day. Have some fun with the trick or treaters by telling funny and corny knock knock jokes all day.  You’ll have a captive audience because they’ll want the candy!

This website serves as a reminder that there is always something in life worth enjoying.  Plus, there is no law against you creating your own day of fun for your friends and family.  In the end, it’s just important that we, as the website’s motto says, “Celebrate Every Day”.

 

Share

Warm Panzanella

MS Conversations Recipe of the MonthAutumn is almost here!  The air is getting cooler and the leaves are starting to fall.  When you go to the store, it seems that everything is apple or pumpkin spiced. Fall is a great time to make delicious dishes, savory sides and fruity desserts that will warm your heart and soul. Below is a recipe idea that is easy to make and is delicious to eat as a side dish or even a meal.

Ingredients:

Butter, for greasing and to dot the top
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 peppers-any ones you like (the sweeter the better)
1 red onion, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper
8 eggs
1 pint cream or half-and-half
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (you can also use dry herbs)
Small handful fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced  (you can also use dry herbs)
6 cups chopped or torn stale bread

Directions:

  1. Grease a casserole dish with some butter, set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the garlic, peppers, and onions together and then stir.
  3. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove from the heat and cool.
  6. Whisk together (in a separate bowl) the eggs, cream and half of the cheese, add parsley, basil and some more salt and pepper.
  7. Layer the bread and cooled vegetables in the casserole dish, it will mound up a bit. Pour the egg mixture over top of the casserole and top with the remaining cheese.
  8. Add a few dots of butter.
  9. Cover and chill overnight.To serve, bring the casserole to room temperature. Then bake at 375 degrees until cooked through. It will need to cook for about 1 hour. Serve warm.  Serves 6-8 people.
Share

New Recipe of the Month – Homemade Banana Bread

MS Conversations Recipe of the MonthDo you often think about trying a new recipe or like to watch the cooking channels?  MSAA is proud to announce the New Recipe of the Month!  Each month a new recipe will be shared with you to try and enjoy.

The first recipe I would like to share with you is my homemade Banana Bread.  I like simple-to-follow recipes, and this is definitely one of them. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and one hour to bake.

Ingredients: 

½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 medium extra ripe bananas, finely mashed
2 cups wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
Chocolate chips or nuts optional.  Hand mix into batter

Directions:

  1. Cream together eggs, vegetable oil and sugar.
  2. Add mashed bananas.
  3. Combine well.
  4. Sift together wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture.
  5. Add vanilla and milk.
  6. You can also add chocolate chips or nuts if you would like.
  7. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Happy Baking!

 

*We hope you enjoy our Recipe of the Month selections on MS Conversations. Just remember: these entries may not necessarily be a part of an MS-specific diet; these are simply recipes compiled from MSAA staff either from their own family recipe collection or based on recipes we think you might enjoy. As always, make sure to consult your doctor about any food or nutrition questions as they relate to your MS.

Share