Corner LOFT101

What is Corner LOFT101?
Corner LOFT101 is a place holder and page within that will display input from LoftTalk contributors and resources such as business links, company names, interviews and what's happening around the world that we know about!!  This campaign will run from March 2015 to June 2015.

How does Corner LOFT101 work with LoftTalk? 
Corner LOFT101 and LoftTalk will work together as a social media sharing platform within that will allow contributors to share and exchange ideas on our platform.

Check out some of the contributing stories that have been shared with in the past.
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MARCH 2015 LoftTalk {Contributor Submission}
By:  Phyllis Smith (Baltimore, MD) 

Helpful Hints On Caring For The Elderly

Most of us will arrive at a time in our lives when we will become responsible for an elderly family member.  My passion in life is helping Senior Citizens. Here's a few helpful hints:

1. Remember GOD is watching, listening and ready to guide you every step of the way. Pray and ask for HIS help.

2. See GOD's Glory in the life, HE has Blessed them with.

3. Listen and learn as they share their stories.

4. Remember, they are you in the future.  One day you too will need assistance.

Leviticus 19:32  NASB
     'You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD

Love, Live and Laugh

APRIL 2015 LoftTalk {Contributor Submission}
By:  Daryn Ramsey (Aberdeen, MD) 

Mediterranean Chicken & Pesto Recipe

What you need:
medium saucepan
sharp knife
frying pan
large spoon
large bowl
measuring cups 
measuring spoons


chicken tenderloin (seasoned with garlic powder, onion
powder, salt, and pepper)black Kalamata olives (pitted)
Spanish olives
1/2 white onion
1 bundle of scallions
 3 or 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bundle of fresh basil
1 handful of fresh parsley (chopped)
1/2 cup of olive oil
butter (1/2 stick)
1 stem from stalk of celery
t tablespoon crushed black pepper
3/4 teaspoon of red pepper
3/4 teaspoon Paul Sutter Home seasoning
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 jar roasted red peppers
1 teaspoon jerk seasoning
saffron rice (large)
frying pan
medium saucepan

Preparing Your Meal:
Place olive oil in a large frying pan and place on low heat. Slowly add the onion, crushed garlic cloves, celery, scallion, basil, parsley, rosemary and olives. Begin to simmer and stir these ingredients on medium heat, adding roasted red peppers, and seasoned chicken tenderloin.  Add the remaining seasonings, stir and cover with a lid. Lower the temperature to medium low. Stir every 10 minutes, adding the butter 10 minutes before the end. Ready in 25 to 30 minutes.
Cook rice separately until water runs dry in a medium saucepan. Spoon ingredients over rice and enjoy. 

Serves 4 to 6


MAY 2015 LoftTalk {Contributor Submission}
By:  Dolmecia (Baltimore, MD)

  How To Host A Cooking Class & Taste Gathering 

"Let’s get together!"  I don’t like being alone, I love cooking and entertaining.  Big gatherings can be very draining, physically and financially.  There are times when I just want to hang out at home, in between the big gatherings. "But what if there was something that could allow you to entertain without breaking your back or your wallet?"  Well, I came up with two things that allow me to enjoy my passion for cooking, entertaining and sharing the wonderful calories that I don’t want or need but passionately enjoy ;-)!   Here's my ideas and suggestions for getting family and friends together.
 Cooking Classes & Taste Gatherings 
Here it is...Cooking Classes and Taste Gatherings.  From my experience, I've learned that people don't often turn down a free meal and it really makes a lot of sense to me because the way I see it is, "you can't beat free!"  Better yet, I get an opportunity to do something very AWESOME for others and I only have to plan a couple of days in advance!
A.  Host A Cooking Class.

If you have something that you make very well and find that people are always asking for the recipe, consider teaching them how to make it.  Host a cooking class!  Invite 2 to 3 people and tell them what supplies they need to bring ahead of time.  This is a great way to get people together because when you host a cooking class, everyone invited will be active participants in making their own meals.  Hosting a cooking class is also a great idea for getting couples together.  You can drink, talk, laugh, and enjoy everyone’s company.  Your guests get to take home the leftovers also.  During one of my classes, we did rum balls.  My brother is now a pro at making rum balls...LOL!!  He so good at making them, that others request him to make them all the time.  I love it because that takes me off the hook now, for having to make them for everyone!!  Was I smart or what....;-)?
B.  Suggestions For Hosting A Cooking Class.
Keep the number of participants low.  Remember you have to help them and they may have to share some of the tools.
Keep recipe simple so that you can enjoy the cooking and the company.  Easy recipes like, Rum balls, Pizza, Pasta Dishes, etc. 
Have guests bring only the major food ingredients.  Items you typically will have at home that you normally use a little of, like vanilla, salt, onions, etc. can be shared.  No need to have guests bring those types of items.
Prep some items in advance, if you can.
Supply the tools, that guests will use.
Make the clean-up a fun event.
C.  Taste Gathering.
I get various food magazines and I like trying new recipes including the ones that have ingredients that I don't eat.  What better way to try new recipes by having a taste gathering. A taste gathering is different from a tasting party, where people get a small sampling.  I’m talking true tasting to the fullest.  I call my family over to taste and provide feedback.   It’s a good way to get people over without the prep work of an official gathering.  People don’t turn down good food and great!
D.  Suggestions For Taste Gathering.
Keep the number of participants low.  Remember you are having them come over to sample taste only!  You are not having a full-blown party ;-).
No extra cleaning is needed. Remember, you are welcoming your guests into your home, just as it is, every day.  Everyone has one or two things out of place but that’s to be expected.
Recipe can be anything you would like to make. It can be a simple dessert, three-course meal, or a casserole.  Try to fix something that can become a conversation piece. Something your guests might not have heard of before.
Let your guests know ahead of time, that they will be your guinea pig ;-) for this taste!!
Be creative and make up your own dish or add additional items to an existing recipe.  Discuss how you came up with the idea.
During nice weather days, serve outside and enjoy the weather.
Table Topic Cubes keep the conversation going and you always learn something new about your guests.  It's a fun and interesting way to explore the situations we face, every day.  The topics range from the simple, to the serious and everywhere else in between. You can purchase table topic cubes at 
MAY 2015 LoftTalk {Contributor Submission}
  By:  Laquazia Bell (Philadelphia, PA)  

Advice On House Cleaning & Sharing Chores With Your Significant Other {SO}

"So I don't have much to offer, however here's some likely, unneeded advice!"  ;-)
After having seven siblings at one point growing up, chores are my hell! I don’t make my bed in the mornings and my idea of keeping my clothes folded and hung up, is to not have too many items so it will never be too much work for me to do...sorry, but this is the truth! 

Anyway, my significant other (SO) is the complete opposite of me and unfortunately I can't get around it, I have to help with the chores ;-)! Well, after giving it some thought, I realized that if I must do chores, then I have to do them in a logical and quick manner. Who wants to spend hours doing something they really don't want to do?

"So to all of you that have to do chores but really don't want to, I've got some tips that work for me and my significant other (SO).  Perhaps they can work for you and your SO too!!"   
1Split the chores up. My significant other (SO) is very!! I am not. Here's what I do and you can too.  There are certain chores that my SO is obsessed with having done.  Therefore, since I know this already, I delegate all of those types of chores to him!  That way, I know they will get done the way that he likes them to be done. For example, my SO handles pots while I do all the other dishes. I refuse to vacuum everyday so he is in charge of vacuuming.  Splitting up chores in this manner works out well for us....;-)! 

2.  It irritates me to see my SO cleaning one pot for hours while I clean the kitchen, so I ask him to vacuum the 2nd floor while I continue cleaning the kitchen, in peace ;-)!  This allows us to get two areas done that much faster and keeps us "smiling", while we work!

3.  Work from top to bottom. My SO tried to change the sheets after he dusted and vacuumed. We have "down" blankets and he got feathers EVERYWHERE. It was crazy! Now, we have learned that we should take a couple of minutes to plan how chores should be done before we start. It will save a lot of time, work and unneeded aggravation.

4.  Almost always, you should start with cleaning your laundry and your dishes (hello washing machine, dryer and dishwasher!).  This way, you can repeat the wash and dry loads as they finish and keep refilling the dishwasher, all day long!  By the time you're done with housecleaning, your laundry and dishes will be finished.

5.  I find that when cleaning, it is much easier to move items out of the way, than to try and clean around them. You risk dropping things and scratching surfaces. Being lazy and just cleaning around them, doesn't allow you to clean as well either.  It's a lot easier to move things out of the way, before you start.

6.  Pets. If you have pets that shed, please try to comb them outdoors. Just do it!  It's really not worth grooming them indoors, AT ALL!   It may be hard at first, for you to force yourself to exercise this effort everyday, but try and do it, as much as you possibly can.

7.  Some chores, sometimes, require extra man power such as cleaning the toilets, sinks, countertops.  Think about lightly soaking these surfaces with hot water and nonabrasive cleaner, while you work on something else. It will loosen the debris so it’s easier to clean, when you come back.

8.  Check your warranties. I grew up mopping floors but our floors require floor cleaner and I believe it’s called a dry mop. Also, having a carpet cleaner is not enough. Our carpets require a heavy duty cleaning, every year and "no", using the Green Machine does not provide that.  You should call in the professionals, if you really want your carpet to look as fresh as possible. As someone who owns a Green Machine and a black light, "I promise you, there is a difference."

Happy House Working!!

JUNE  2015 LoftTalk {Contributor Submission}
By:  Shanay Brown (Baltimore, MD)

Cheryl's Taco Dip

One of my favorite recipes, year round, is a recipe that my mother makes, on many occasions!  This recipe is so good and I'm not the only one that feels this way!  Everyone we know loves her dip, so much that we named it "Cheryl's Taco Dip!" 
Both sides of my tremendously large family, have indulged in this easy going treat and they absolutely love it.  It seems to satisfy everyone's taste buds and they literally keep eating it, until it's gone! The last time I made Mom's Taco Dip was in my sophomore year at college, during my four year matriculation, at the one and only Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Recently, I decided since I hadn't made Mom's dip in such a long time, the next time I had some free time, I was going to make some for the family and my friends. That's exactly what I did and I am so happy to share her dip with you!  It's amazing, just like my Mom, so I really hope you like it.  It's a special recipe to me and I hope it becomes the same for you.  The directions are quite simple, so have fun and enjoy!
*Please leave a comment at the end of this post and let Shanay know how much you liked her recipe..thanks!
Ingredients & Directions
2 medium cans of refried beans
16 oz. sour cream
2 large tomatoes (chopped) 
1/2  of onion (chopped)
1 small can of pitted black olives (chopped) 
1 small block of sharp cheese (grated)
1 green pepper (chopped) 
1.  Bring beans to a boil, spread evenly on the bottom of the casserole dish or pie plate.
2.  Place beans in the refrigerator to cool.
3.  While the beans are in the refrigerator, you will dice the tomatoes, onion, olives and green pepper. 
4. Grate cheddar cheese.
5.  After, the beans have cooled, spread the sour cream on top.
6.  Next, sprinkle grated cheese evenly,over top of the sour cream.  Lastly, add the chopped tomatoes, onion, black olives and green pepper. Again, spread evenly, over top of the grated cheese.

That's it.. you are ready to "dip in" and enjoy!
Serving Suggestions: Serve with warm Tortilla Chips and/or Pita Bread/Chips

JUNE  2015 LoftTalk {Contributor Submission}
By:  Charli Holmes (Aberdeen, MD)

Gifts of Expression

In My Ministry.... 
 I believe hospitality is a gift and an expression of love, gratitude and generosity.  In my former church, I served on the Pastoral Care Ministry and I learned the value of knowing each person's particularities.  For example, knowing each pastor's likes and dislikes such as teas, fruits and desserts that he or she enjoyed, was delightful but sometimes challenged my skills, when preparing their meals ;-). The ministry of giving allowed me to transfer all that I had learned and experienced, into my own personal space.  I realized in that moment, that I had taken on a new spirit of giving!

In My Home...
My new spirit of giving changed the way I served in my personal life.  I took on a new spirit of giving that filled my heart with joy!  When I invite people to my home, I want them to feel special and appreciated, so with that in mind, I started creating each guest, a special hospitality gift basket.   I enjoyed doing this so much, that during their stay, I also prepared their favorite meals ;-)!!  Many times, guests will bring their own toiletries, so I provide a little added comfort by preparing a small basket filled with their favorite fruit, munchies, body wash, fragrant soaps, chocolates, bottled water and a small journal. I always pay attention to what people like or dislike.  Sometimes I would add my own personal touch, such as fresh flowers, homemade cookies or print pictures and place them in a beautiful picture frame!

In My Giving...
The true "take away" from this gift giving experience is the joy you feel from making someone else feel special.  The smiles on the faces of your guests are also surprising, especially when they realize that the basket was prepared for them!  Sometimes it's the little things we do for someone, that creates the biggest expression of joy, in their hearts.  We all like to feel special because we are special.  For in God's eyes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Shopping & Suggestions...
Your gift baskets do not have to be elaborate or expensive. I am a firm believer in keeping things simple, affordable and adorable! Also, you do not have to always give the basket containers away to your guests. They can take everything out of the basket and put them in a small gift bag.  You can purchase small gift bags from the Dollar Store.  This way, you can reuse your basket, for the next guests that visit!  The Dollar Store also has wonderful gift baskets and inexpensive items to fill your baskets with. 

You can also purchase gifts in bulk via online clearance sales.  If you are a bargain shopper like me, you can find items in Bath and Body Works, during their semi-annual sales events (January & June).  Their products are usually 50 to 75% off the original price.  There are always bargains and sales you can find, throughout the year.   

Popular items, such as bath oils, candles, picture frames, body washes, scented soaps etc; can be purchased during clearance sales and at the start and end of certain holidays.  However, please pay close attention to the shelf life and expiration dates, especially for perishables.

JUNE  2015 LoftTalk {Contributor Submission}
By:  Mary Amann (Aberdeen, MD)

Chicken Salad w/Homemade Chips

For The Chicken Salad
     6 medium size potatoes
         2 chicken breasts (boiled & cut into small pieces) 
         1 small onion (diced)
     2 grated carrots
     2  sticks of celery (diced)
     1 tablespoon fresh parsley(chopped) 
     ½ cup of light mayonnaise
     ½ cup of olive oil
     1 tablespoon lemon juice
         2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
         salt and pepper

1.  Boil the potatoes with the skin, until they become tender.  Take them out of the water and let sit for 5 minutes and then put them inside a container.  Put the container into the refrigerator to cool. 

2.  When cooled, remove container from refrigerator.  Remove skin and mash potatoes.  Now to the mashed potatoes, add your chicken, onion, carrots, celery, parsley, mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Mix thoroughly.  Transfer salad to a container, cover and chill for 2-3 hours.  Serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 
For The Homemade Chips

hunan Bread (cut into bite size pieces)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1.  Take the bread out of the bag and break it in pieces according to your liking. Then separate each piece from the top layer where one piece becomes two thinner ones. Put olive oil in a shallow frying pan and heat.
2.  Add  Hunan Bread to heated oil, one piece at a time.  As they become lightly browned, remove and place on a paper towel to drain oil.  Sprinkle with paprika as soon as you remove them from the oil. 

3.  Serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste.