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Easy Recipe for Smoked Salmon

Gravlax, smoked salmon or lox… oy vey! Call it what you want, there’s no denying this Israeli staple is the perfect complement to any bagel, matzo cracker or slice of rye bread. The best part about this recipe? You don’t have to buy a smoker to make it! The Jewish Community Housing Corporation lives by this easy-to-make recipe for smoked salmon. Our one firm recommendation is to prep and cook this recipe ahead of time, as the salmon takes time to marinate and refrigerate overnight before serving. We love to start this recipe on Saturday, so that the smoked salmon is ready to be eaten for Sunday brunch! 

Ingredients for Smoked Salmon: 

  • Large salmon fillet (2 lbs.)
  • Brown sugar (2 tablespoons)
  • Liquid smoke (1-2 tablespoons) 
  • Salt (2 teaspoons)
  • Pepper (½ teaspoon)
  • Baking pan (11” by 7”)
  • Canola oil cooking spray 
  • Mixing bowl and dish
  • Capers and lemon slices to taste (optional) 

Smoked Salmon Directions:

  1. Combine salt, pepper and brown sugar in a bowl to create a rub for the salmon. 
  2. Coat the salmon fillet thoroughly with the rub and place on a dish.
  3. Drizzle liquid smoke on top and then place the dish in the refrigerator.
  4. Refrigerate the salmon like this for 4-8 hours for maximum flavor. (We recommend preparing this recipe a day before you actually plan to eat the smoked salmon.) 
  5. After chilling, place the salmon in a baking pan coating with cooking spray.
  6. Bake at 350° for about 35-45 minutes until the salmon can flake easily with a fork.
  7. After baking, let the salmon cool to room temperature. 
  8. Then, cover the salmon and refrigerate again for at least 8 hours (ideally overnight). 
  9. Serve the salmon with capers and lemon slices or throw it on a bagel with cream cheese and enjoy! 

Dining at Lester Senior Living in Morris County

After a long hiatus due to COVID-19, we are so excited to announce the successful reopening of the Lester dining room! Now, our assisted living residents can dine with one another at an appropriate social distance. Our culinary trained chefs in Morris County are even more excited to serve our senior residents in the dining room once again. They truly take pride in curating delicious and unique dishes that cater to every resident, from kosher, vegetarian, low-carb options, and more. 

For more information about senior dining options in Morris County, NJ, please contact Lester Senior Living today: (973) 929-2725. You could also visit our website to learn more about what it’s like to live at our assisted living community in Morris County: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/

Senior Health and Wellness Tips for Spring

Spring is finally here! Which means it’s time to ditch the lazy winter habits you may have fallen into, like binging Netflix series for days on end and avoiding the cold outdoors. In your defense, snow, ice and freezing temperatures can make it hard for anyone to stay active during the winter, especially seniors. With the arrival of spring, comes a new opportunity to refresh and start over with better lifestyle choices. It’s the perfect time for seniors to get active outside, each and every day.  

In honor of new beginnings, we’d like to take this time to highlight some key health and wellness tips that seniors can take advantage of this spring. 

  • Take up a new physical activity and incorporate it into your daily routine. Whether it’s a daily 30-minute walk or chair yoga class, staying active consistently is so important for seniors both physically and mentally. Exercising on a daily basis has the power to help seniors maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and get a better night’s sleep. Not to mention, learning a new skill can also help improve memory recollection, which is huge for those who may be in the beginning stages of dementia.
  • Preventative care for seasonal allergies and more. We love spring flowers, but hate the pollen it brings. Before allergies really take their toll, seniors should speak with their primary care provider or allergy specialist about which allergy medications to take and how often. Seniors could also use this as an opportunity to schedule all routine check-ups like prostate or breast cancer screenings, dental cleanings and hearing and vision appointments.
  • Prioritize a healthy diet filled with spring fruits and vegetables. Spring is the absolute, ideal time to grow delicious vegetables, fruit and herbs. Asparagus, basil, cucumber, mint, bell pepper, and strawberry are all in season and can be found at the supermarket. Not to mention, gardening is a very rewarding and enjoyable hobby for seniors to take up this time of year. Some of the tasty food items mentioned above can be grown easily indoors in a small container. 

Spring activities for seniors at Lester Senior Living in Morris County, NJ

With the weather getting warmer, all JCHC communities are always looking for new, safe ways to stay active with our residents! With effective health and safety protocols in place, we have been able to restore and maintain avenues for senior socialization during COVID-19.

Some activities included chair yoga, celebrations of jewish holidays, and more. We understand the important role socialization plays in everyone’s life and want to ensure our residents can continue these essential activities both indoors and outdoors starting this spring.

For more information on our senior activities in Morris County, New Jersey, please contact Lester Senior Living today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/activities-for-seniors-nj/


Improving Senior Memory: Cognitive Exercises & Lifestyle Habits to Adapt

How many times has this happened to you? You’re watching your favorite TV series when you suddenly remember you’ve left something in the kitchen and run to the next room during the commercial, only to forget why you went there. Everyone experiences a brain freeze or a “senior moment” once in a while. It’s normal to forget why you came into a room, where you left your keys, or someone’s name here and there. Especially if you’re having a tough week and feeling extra tired or stressed.

However, if you are noticing more serious memory loss or perhaps the early signs of dementia in loved ones, it can be concerning for everyone involved. If you see your senior parents struggling with failing memory, here are some ways to support their cognitive function. 

Help them…

  1. Socialize on a regular basis. Socializing wards off depression, loneliness and stress, all of which contribute to memory loss. COVID-19 may have complicated things here, but with the weather getting warmer and more people becoming vaccinated, it’s more than feasible for your loved one to get together with a few close friends outside in the fresh air!
  2. Stay mentally active. Crossword puzzles and Bridge are useful, but studies show that learning new activities, such as learning to play an instrument or learning a new language, stimulates new areas of the brain.
  3. Get organized. A cluttered home, with everything in disarray, makes it that much more difficult to think clearly. Spring is here, so it’s the perfect time to help mom or dad clear out their house. Get rid of unnecessary clutter and keep important items like wallets, keys, purses, and other items in a place that’s easy-to-access. It’s also important to write important dates down on their calendar/planner and keep an on-going to-do list in sight, so you can easily check off items as they are completed.
  4. Use “brain boosters.” Connect certain memories together in order to remember them, break long numbers down into small chunks and link together the small pieces, or encourage your loved one to close her eyes for a few seconds to allow a memory to return. Repetition of memories in the mind will help ingrain them and strengthen neural connections. For those who lack focus, offer them a notepad and pencils.
  5. Eat well. A well-rounded, healthy diet is as good for your brain as it is for your heart. Your loved one should include the following healthy foods in their diet such as avocados, leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds, berries and whole grains. They should also cut back on alcohol, which contributes to memory loss and confusion even under the best of circumstances (and, it may adversely interact with medication as well).
  6. Exercise. Even a 30-minute walk each day reaps benefits for the body and mind. If your loved ones are still relatively fit, encourage them to garden or play with the grandkids or the dog. Exercise improves blood flow and oxygen intake, and many studies have shown that exercise changes brain chemistry for the better. Physical activity also triggers the release of a protein called BDNF that promotes healthy nerve cells in the brain. So, get going!
  7. Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep should be a priority for everyone. It helps to consolidate memories, and gives the brain, which remains active while we sleep, the necessary time to process what it must at night to promote a better day ahead. Be aware that dementia often causes various types of sleep disturbances, so maintaining a routine (active) schedule and reducing nighttime distractions can help.

Advanced Memory Care in Morris County, NJ

At Lester Senior Living, seniors in our Memory Care Suite keep both their minds and bodies active amid beautiful surroundings. They listen to music, enjoy pet therapist visits, and engage in cognitive exercises with other memory care residents, like Scrabble and Bridge. 

Our caregivers understand the challenges that come with memory loss and treat each individual in an intimate, comforting environment where their care needs always come first.

For more information about the Lester Memory Care Suite in Morris County, New Jersey, contact us today for visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/memory-care-morris-county-nj/


How is Passover Celebrated Today?

One of the most exciting events of Spring, especially for JCHC, has to be Passover! For those who may not be familiar, Passover commemorates the liberation of Jews from the Egyptian pharaoh as told in the Book of Exodus. Passover usually lasts between seven and eight days and begins with Seder. During Seder, families gather to retell the heroic story of how the Israelites escaped from Egypt, while enjoying symbolic food and drink like Charoset, matzah, and wine. But how did these symbolic traditions emerge and are they celebrated any differently today? 

The Origin Story of Passover  

In order to understand how the Passover traditions came to be, we have to go back to the beginning. As told in the Book of Exodus, the Pharaoh fears that the Jews living in Egypt will overpower the Egyptian people. With this in mind, he decides the best way to preven this is to enforce slavery and demand that male Jewish babies be killed in order to prevent further reproduction of Jewish people. The mother of Baby Moses refuses to accept this fate, and secretly floats him in a basket down the Nile river. Baby Moses is later found and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter coincidentally. When he grows older, Moses flees into the desert after killing an Egyptian slave master and encounters a burning bush of God. He urges Moses to go back to the Pharaoh and lead the Jewish people out of slavery.

Moses asks the Pharaoh to let the Jews go free from Egypt. Each time the Pharaoh says “no,” to Moses, God sends a different consequence (or plague) for Egypt. The final consequence is the most drastic: the slaying of the firstborn Egyptian child. In order to protect their first-born children from the angel of death, the Jews marked their doors with lamb’s blood, so that the angel of death would pass over them. The name “Passover” originated from the fact that God actually “passed over” the houses of the Jews when slaying the firstborn of the Egyptians. Passover is also known as “Pesach” in Hebrew, which is based on the root meaning “to pass over.” When the Jews were fleeing Egypt, the bread they had prepared for their journey did not have enough time to rise, thus Matzah was created and is now an integral part of this Jewish holiday.

How Passover is Celebrated Today

One of the most significant ways to commemorate Passover, that still reigns true today involves the removal of chametz from your home. This pays tribute to the creation of matzah and the Jews not having enough time for their bread to rise. It is also symbolic to the way Jews sacrificed their arrogance and pride in order to be free. Chametz refers to any food that has not been completely cooked within 18 minutes after coming into contact with water and contains the five major grains: wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats. 

Another major way to celebrate Passover, that is perhaps the most fun, is seder. Most Jewish families have at least one Passover seder, some choose to have two. Each food that is served during the Passover seder is symbolic to the origin story. For example, bitter herbs represent the bitterness of slavery and charoset (link to published blog when ready) represents the mortar used by the Jews to build structures under Egyptian rule. 

Jewish Traditions at Lester Senior Living in New Jersey

If you’d like to know more about how we are commemorating Passover at Lester Senior Living, or if you have any other questions regarding our assisted living services, please contact us today. We’d love to hear from you.  

How to Make Charoset: The Perfect Last Bite for Passover

Sweet apples, toasted walnuts and spicy cinnamon make Charoset the perfect last bite to any meal. However, it’s traditionally served during Passover. If you’re unfamiliar with this joyous spring holiday, the celebration of Passover commemorates the freeing of the Jews from slavery under the Egyptian pharaoh as told in the Book of Exodus. Passover usually lasts between seven and eight days and begins with ritual feasts known as seders. During seder, families gather to retell the heroic story of how the Israelites escaped from Egypt, while enjoying symbolic foods like Charoset. Why Charoset is symbolic to Passover is a little more complicated. Some believe that Charoset represents the mortar that the Jews used to build Egyptian buildings. Others believe it refers to a sacred fruit plant mentioned in the Song of Songs and the Talmud. Either way, Charoset is an on-going tradition and we’re glad to hear it! Here is how we make delicious Charoset at the JCHC communities in New Jersey. 

Ingredients for Charoset:

  • 3 apples peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts (finely chopped and toasted with oil or clarified butter)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet red wine 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: matzo crackers and/or honey

Charoset Recipe Directions:

  1. The key to this dish is toasting the walnuts. Toss the walnuts in olive oil or clarified butter before toasting. This next part is optional and depends on your taste, but you could add salt or cinnamon before toasting as well. After the walnuts have been tossed and seasoned, add them to a skillet and toast over medium-heat until they are browned and fragrant.
  2. Once the walnuts are toasted to perfection, add them to a large mixing bowl with your chopped apples and wine. Then, sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over top and toss to combine. 
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. If desired, serve with matzo crackers and/or honey to bind the spread and give it a sweeter taste. 

Culinary Excellence at Lester Senior Living in Morris County

Here at the Lester Senior Living Community, we understand how good nutrition plays a big part in maintaining an active senior lifestyle. We equally understand that the way our food tastes is just as important! Our culinary trained chefs in Morris County take pride in curating delicious and unique dishes that cater to every dietary preference, from kosher, vegetarian, low-carb options, and more. 

For more information about senior dining options in Morris County, NJ, please contact Lester Senior Living today: (973) 929-2725. You could also visit our website to learn more about what it’s like to live in a JCHC senior community: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/