havenpromo5
Uncategorized

Letter from the Editor | The Only Thing That Stays the Same is Change

dennis kempton headshot 5 webby DENNIS KEMPTON

When I started HAVEN, in the summer of 2012, I remarked that it would grow organically.  We would try things and some of them would stay and some of them would go; some writers would spend a little time with us and move on while others would stay.  It has been an evolving process and production, for sure.

We have had this WordPress platform, customized, since the beginning.  It’s been a remarkable tool when one wants to launch a site with great reach without taking a huge risk financially or time wise in designing.  The time has come, however, for us to take the next evolution in this organic process.

As of April of this year, we will be publishing all of our material on a web site I have designed exclusively for Haven that will be hosted on a different server.  Our new site gives us complete design control and layout control to help conceptualize the design and content of the publication in any way we desire, in ways a customized template here simply cannot provide for us.  This site on WordPress won’t be shutting down or going away, though.  It will become our magazine’s blog, separate from our “main page” content.  Until the new site is completely populated with new content, you can preview its functionality, design, and even sample a few reconceptualized columns at what will be our new web address:  www.havenstyleguide.com.  I’ve included, below, screen shots of some of the revolving landing pages for the new site as they appear on my desktop iMac as well as how they render on my iPad.

Speaking of iPads, Apple has finally approved our app submission for Haven to appear for download on the App Store and iTunes for your iPhone 4, 4s, 5, and 5s and 5c.  It’s also designed for iPad 2 and later.  We are still awaiting approval for the Google Play android versions of our magazine’s app, so we’ll let you know when that process is complete.  You can download the Apple app by clicking here.

We’ve been quite humbled and fortunate to have a very large following for this WordPress site and those people are updated automatically whenever we post here.  I hope you’ll bookmark our new site and visit it often.  And if you download our app, you’ll be able to receive push notifications when we publish new content.  But, don’t worry – we’ll still be publishing our content right here until April.  As always, you can find out latest content right below my editor’s letter here.

The next step for us?  We have just completed our research into the best options we have with price, frequency, and distribution for a quarterly print edition of Haven.  I have tentatively settled on one printer and the timelines for the production time and shipping from overseas for quarterly print runs are now being put together.  When we start a print copy of Haven, that will most likely not launch until the fall of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015.  We want to continue to develop, refine, and add features onto our digital footprints now as our primary focus.

Thank you for reading and for all of your support.  Cheers to all of you and to the progress we continue to make in something that means so very much to me and to those involved.

All my best,

dennis signature

© 2014 HAVEN Magazine.  All rights reserved.

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black bean chili
Uncategorized

Slow-Cooked Suppers | Black Bean Mushroom Chili

by DENNIS KEMPTON

Black beans, earthy mushrooms and tangy tomatillos combine with a variety of spices and smoky chipotles to create a fantastic full-flavored chili. It can simmer in the slow cooker all day, which makes it perfect for a healthy supper when the end of your day is rushed. If you don’t want to soak the dried black beans overnight, substituting four cans of black beans also works for this recipe.

BLACK BEAN MUSHROOM CHILI

1 pound dried black beans, (2 1/2 cups), rinsedblack bean chili
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup mustard seeds
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, or ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, or ground cardamom
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
5 1/2 cups mushroom broth, or vegetable broth
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1-2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, (see Ingredient Note)
1 1/4 cups grated Monterey Jack, or pepper Jack cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges

Soak beans overnight in 2 quarts water. (Alternatively, place beans and 2 quarts water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.) Drain the beans, discarding soaking liquid.

Combine oil, mustard seeds, chili powder, cumin and cardamom in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Place over high heat and stir until the spices sizzle, about 30 seconds. Add onions, mushrooms, tomatillos and water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are juicy, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and stir often until the juices evaporate and the vegetables are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add broth, tomato paste and chipotles; mix well.

Place the beans in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour the hot vegetable mixture over the beans. Turn heat to high. Put the lid on and cook until the beans are creamy, 5 to 8 hours.

Garnish each serving with cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Ingredient notes: Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers. Ground chipotle chile pepper can be found in the specialty spice section of most supermarkets. Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they’ll keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

Tomatillos are tart, plum-size green fruits that look like small, husk-covered green tomatoes. Find them in the produce section near the tomatoes. Remove the outer husk and rinse them well before using.

306 calories per serving.

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pork
crockpot, cuisine, dinner, slow cooker

Slow Cooker Suppers | Spiced Apple Pork Chops

by DENNIS KEMPTON

Our escape on a chilly evening? The slow cooker. Come home to our favorite main dishes, sides, appetizers, and drinks that are sure to soothe your family and friends with the simple joys of comfort food.

With spiced apples and caramelized onions, these tender pork chops create a beautiful and flavorful dish with all the notes of autumn. Essential to the recipe, the thickness of the pork chops ensures that the chops stay tender and juicy throughout the long cook time. Mashed or baked sweet potatoes and sautéed Brussels sprouts complete the comforting meal.

SPICED APPLE PORK CHOPSpork

4 (8-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 1 inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon canola oil
Cooking spray
1 (8-ounce) container refrigerated prechopped onion (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 cups water
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (5-ounce) package dried apples

1. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Transfer pork to a 5-quart electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray, reserving drippings in pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in 2 cups water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in brown sugar and next 3 ingredients (through ginger). Remove pan from heat.

2. Add apples to slow cooker; pour onion mixture over apples. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until tender. Serve pork chops with apple mixture.

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black1
attire, basics, commentary, mens fashion, recommended, womens fashion

Wearing Black

dennis kempton headshot 5 web

I’ve talked before about steering away from wearing so much black. I understand the allure: it’s slimming, it’s our go-to color for feeling safe in wearing something in just about any situation, it’s considered sophisticated–and it certainly can be. Personally, I don’t find it…interesting. It’s a utility color. It’s a FORMAL color. It’ll DO. It gets the job DONE. But, I don’t find it necessarily creative on its own.

Historically, in fashion, black was worn strictly for mourning or for shop girls or other domestic servants. It was like that for about 500 years. Royalty wore black in mourning–so, naturally, followed others who wore black similarly, to emulate the elite. Down the line, it was a color that showed others you had enough money to afford black–black dyes for clothing were expensive.

black1At any rate, Chanel made it fashionable for women–wildly fashionable with the “little black dress” and men have worn black as part of formal attire for ages. Every woman should own one of those little black dresses and every man should have a black suit for funerals and for formal dining occasions where black tie is observed. Every guy should also have a black tuxedo in his wardrobe. I love mine, but I have a desire for a dark navy tuxedo, but that’s beside the point.

Black has its place and it can also be a base piece for an ensemble when you pair it with bursts of color or accessories like scarves, statement jewelry, and the like. Wearing black on black has its drawbacks. It can make you look older–especially your face. It can highlight dark lines under your chin, wrinkles on your face, shadows around your eyes. It ages your skin tone, especially if you have warm features and skin. It actively seeks out dark things in your face and gives it emphasis. As women age, it can harden their features. The same for men.

black2Don’t throw it out, though. Use it and use it well. Add a splash of color around your neckline, ladies, in a scarf or piece of jewelry. Or go for a low neckline. For men, avoiding black on black is key for having a fresh look. Pair your black blazer with a brilliantly colored shirt or definitely a patterned shirt (checks, pinstripes, etc.) and a burst-of-color tie. Use it as a frame–an accent–a foundation. Even the most formal uses of black for men at least break up the look with the ever-faithful companion of a brilliant white shirt. Accessories make the look WORK instead of making YOU look WORN.

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pledge
cocktails

Happy Hour Fridays | The Pledge and The Cranberry Gimlet

Selected by DENNIS KEMPTON

Happy Hour Fridays: A weekly selection of adult beverages to help you end your workweek in style. This week? The Pledge–an easy-drinking beer cocktail and a Cranberry Gimlet…both fantastic fall cocktails.

pledgeTHE PLEDGE by Damon Boelte, bar director at Prime Meats, New York.

In this easy-drinking beer cocktail, the concentrated raisin flavor of the sherry, the honeyed quality of the Benedictine liqueur, and the oatmeal stout add up to something like “breakfast in a glass,” according to Boelte. (This would, in fact, make a great brunch drink.) A sprinkling of sweet, spicy nutmeg seems completely appropriate in this context.

1 oz. Lustau East India sherry
.5 oz. Benedictine
Sixpoint oatmeal stout
Grated nutmeg

Stir sherry and Benedictine and pour into a pilsner glass. Top with stout and garnish with grated nutmeg.

CRANBERRY GIMLET

cranberryThis pucker-inducing cranberry twist on a Cosmopolitan, from Genna’s Lounge in Madison, Wisconsin, delivers striking color and the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

2 oz. citrus vodka
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. unsweetened cranberry juice
½ oz. agave nectar
Lemon twist or fresh cranberries, for garnish (optional)

Combine vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice, and agave nectar in a shaker over ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with fresh cranberries or a lemon twist, if you like.

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vegetable pot pie
crockpot, entrees, slow cooker

Slow Cooker Dinners | Vegetable Pot Pie with Parmesan Black Pepper Biscuits

by DENNIS KEMPTON

Leaving out the chicken doesn’t make this dish any less filling or tasty. The medley of vegetables topped with a fluffy and savory biscuit create phenomenal flavors and will appease every one in your family. 356 calories per serving makes it filling and healthy. Zero calories from fat and 11.9 grams of protein per serving.

VEGETABLE POT PIE with PARMESAN BLACK PEPPER BISCUITS

Filling:vegetable pot pie
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups diced peeled baking potato (8 ounces)
1 1/4 cups diced carrot (3 carrots)
1 cup diced parsnip (2 parsnips)
3/4 cup chopped celery (3 stalks)
2 (8-ounce) packages presliced cremini mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
3/4 cup organic vegetable broth
2 cups frozen petite green peas
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 (16-ounce) package frozen pearl onions

Biscuit topping:
7.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 2/3 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 ounces grated fresh Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

1. To prepare filling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add potato and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper); sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Coat a 5-quart electric slow cooker with cooking spray. Transfer vegetable mixture to slow cooker.
2. Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, stirring with a whisk. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly with whisk. Pour sauce into slow cooker. Stir in peas, thyme, and onions. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 1/2 hours or until vegetables are tender.
3. To make biscuit topping, weigh or lightly spoon 7.5 ounces flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and next 3 ingredients (through black pepper) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheese and chives. Add buttermilk, stirring just until moist.
4. Increase slow cooker heat to HIGH. Drop biscuits onto filling in 8 equal mounds. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until biscuits are done. Uncover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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dinnerware
accessories, basics, cuisine, dinner, entertaining, hosting, pantry

Dinnerware Defined

dennis kempton headshot 5 webby DENNIS KEMPTON

What exactly ARE you putting on your table when it comes to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  No, we’re not talking about the food.  We’re talking about the plates and bowls you’re using.  Knowing what you have and what you want is useful for planning dinners and shopping for new pieces.

PORCELAIN: Made from a combination of clays–kaolin, quartz, and feldspar–fired at exceptionally high temperature to make the body extremely hard and durable. Porcelain is nonporous, smooth, and translucent because the high firing has made it vitrified–literally glass-like. Some notable makers of fine porcelain are: Rosenthal, Lenox, Noritake, and the French manufacturers from the town of Limoges, France.

dinnerwareBONE CHINA: This is a type of porcelain that contains animal ash (usually ox bone) or a chemical equivalent to whiten it. There is no difference in quality between porcelain and bone china, however. The distinction comes from desiring the milky, creamy white color, where porcelain has a bit more grayish cast to it. Both are considered fine china. English potters invented bone china and English manufacturers are in the forefront of producers including Wedgwood, Royal Crown Derby, Royal Doulton, Minton, and Spode.

EARTHENWARE: Made form heavier, less refined clays. It is fired at much lower temperatures making it possible to produce very strong, bright colors. Fiesta Ware is a prime example. It’s slightly porous and is not as strong as fine china and it’s opaque: the shadow of your hand will not be visible if you hold it up to the light, unlike porcelain and bone china.

STONEWARE: This is the link between earthenware and china. It is usually semi-vitrified. In appearance it looks very much like earthenware with its heavier weight and earthy colored body, but in strength, it is much closer to china. Some of the world’s best stoneware comes from Finland.

Earthenware and stoneware are not used for formal dining.

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feijoada
crockpot, cuisine, entertaining, entrees, pantry

Slow Cooker Suppers | Brazilian Feijoada

by DENNIS KEMPTON

Feijoada (pronounced fay-ZWAH-da) is a delicious stew of pork and black beans that’s traditionally served over rice with fresh orange slices. In Brazil, this dish is often served on special occasions, but preparing it in a slow cooker makes it possible to serve this rich dish on the busiest weeknights.

BRAZILIAN FEIJOADAfeijoada

2 cups dried black beans
4 applewood-smoked bacon slices
1 (1-pound) boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed (about 2 pounds)
3 cups finely chopped onion (about 2 medium)
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (9-ounce) smoked ham hock
1 tablespoon white vinegar
8 orange wedges

1. Place black beans in a small saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil; cook beans for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans.
2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Sprinkle pork evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Add pork to drippings in skillet; sauté 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer pork to a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Sprinkle ribs evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add ribs to skillet; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in slow cooker. Add drained beans, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, and next 3 ingredients (through ham hock) to slow cooker, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours or until beans and meat are tender.
3. Remove ribs from slow cooker; let stand 15 minutes. Remove meat from bones; shred meat with 2 forks. Discard bones. Discard ham hock. Return beef to slow cooker. Stir in vinegar and crumbled bacon. Serve with orange wedges.

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pesto
crockpot, cuisine

Slow Cooker Suppers | Pesto Lasagna with Spinach

by DENNIS KEMPTON

Lasagna in a slow cooker?  Oh, yes!  Simply assemble the layers and walk away. No-boil lasagna noodles are perfect for this recipe, as they absorb all the juices that accumulate in the crockpot. A great way to enjoy a meal around the table at the end of the day without hours of preparation and cooking time after work.

Pesto Lasagna with Spinach

Ingredientspesto

4 cups torn spinach
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup commercial pesto
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded provolone cheese
1 (15-ounce) carton fat-free ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1 (25.5-ounce) bottle fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
Cooking spray
1 (8-ounce) package precooked lasagna noodles (12 noodles)

Directions

Arrange the spinach in a vegetable steamer; steam, covered, 3 minutes or until spinach wilts. Drain, squeeze dry, and coarsely chop. Combine spinach, mushrooms, and pesto in a medium bowl, stirring to combine; set aside.

Combine mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, and beaten egg in a medium bowl, stirring well to combine. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan, and set aside. Combine the pasta sauce and the tomato sauce in a medium bowl.

Spread 1 cup pasta sauce mixture in the bottom of a 6-quart oval electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over pasta sauce mixture; top with 1 cup cheese mixture and 1 cup spinach mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with spinach mixture. Arrange 3 noodles over spinach mixture; top with remaining 1 cup cheese mixture and 1 cup pasta sauce mixture. Place remaining 3 noodles over sauce mixture; spread remaining sauce mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover with lid; cook on LOW 5 hours or until done.

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guy2
accessories, aesthetics, attire, etiquette, fashion, fashion accessories, grooming, mens fashion, style

10 Mistakes Guys Make About Their Clothes

dennis kempton headshot 5 webby DENNIS KEMPTON

Like most guys, I have clothes that I wear for lounging around at home that are things I don’t usually wear in public.  My casual street wear also is not what I wear for work.  Having a varied wardrobe for hanging out with friends, being at the office, and being out on the town after dark is an essential part of any adult man’s style.  Unfortunately, there are so many with the same philosophy about their clothes as they had when they were in college.  There comes a time, though (even IN college, if you ask me) where you have to pay attention to the details about what you’re wearing and what it says about you as a guy  You don’t have to sacrifice individuality by being well put-together.  Not at all. In fact, the opposite occurs.  Women and men notice your details, from your watch to your shoes and they can either feel secure and comfortable with you and your conscientiousness to approaching your life whether it’s for fun or business, or they can decide, unfairly in lots of cases, that you’re not quite ready for prime time.  Here are 10 of our top mistakes we feel men make about their clothing.  Take a look and, if you’re caught up in any of these, make some corrections and boost your style points at work, with your significant other, and with the world around you.  guy1

1.  WEARING THE WRONG UNDERSHIRT.  The numbers of guys wearing crew neck undershirts with their button-down shirts is so vast, I’m convinced this is just a matter of simply not knowing.  If you’re going to wear a button down, collared shirt, stock up on V-neck undershirts.  The point is that you’re wearing an undershirt, so people should not see it.

2.  WEARING THE SAME COLOR SHIRT AND TIE.  Monochromatic looks are out.  Learn about complementing the patterns and colors of your shirts with varying patterned and colored ties to present a sophisticated, individualized look.  Playing it safe by matching that blue shirt with a blue tie makes you sink away into the abyss of conformity and boredom.  Suiting up should be fun and reflect your individual style.

3.  WEARING THE SAME SHOES EVERY DAY.  Guys have shoes they love and feel comfortable wearing.  The trap is that we can become creatures of habit resistant to changes.  Your favorite pair of brown oxfords are great, but vary your shoe styles.  Brogues?  Loafers?  Monk shoes?  And try the varying shades of brown, too…from a beautiful cognac colored brown that goes beautifully with navy blue jackets and pants to chocolate.  There’s an added disadvantage:  wearing the same shoes every day makes them smell and wears them down.

guy34.  WEARING SPORT WATCHES WITH FORMAL WEAR.  Find a nice, affordable, classic leather banded watch for work, cocktail hours, or dinner.  When you’re working on your fitness, that’s the time to break out that sport watch.  Have an assortment of watches for all occasions.  Details matter and people notice, especially when you’re on a date.

5.  WEARING PANTS AND SHIRTS THAT ARE TOO BIG.  Many men are hesitant to wear clothes that are flattering and close to their bodies.  Keep the relaxed, baggy wear at home when you’re lounging.  If you can, buy “slim fit” shirts in your size off the rack at the store and see how they fit you.  If you want (and I highly recommend it) buy dress shirts of good quality and bring them to a tailor to have them cut to fit.  The same with your pants.  Make sure you’re buying the right size for your waist and length.  Odds are you need a waist size smaller in dress pants and maybe a half inch or an inch shorter so they don’t bunch up on your shoes.  Get your pants hemmed.  Choose a little “break” at the bottom, where your pants meet your shoes. If in doubt, find a gay friend to go with you.  They’ll never let you look bad.  Tailoring is not for the elite and it isn’t as expensive as you’ve been led to believe.  At any rate, it’s an investment in yourself.  Make it.

6.  WEARING BAGGY BOXERS.  They don’t fit well under your pants or jeans.  They don’t make your package look good either under pants.  Just being honest.  And sometimes they’ll creep up the back and spill out over your waistline, not to mention riding up your thigh.  Wear some boxer briefs or trunks.  It’ll make your profile sleeker, add some bump where you want it to show, and stay in place no matter what you’re wearing.  You’re welcome.

guy27.  WEARING GYM CLOTHES OUT IN PUBLIC.  Save the nylon shorts and running pants and all that for when you’re working hard at it in the gym or on the trail outside.  Casual wear doesn’t mean gym wear.  Your street clothes also add a dimension of style interest to your identity.

8.  WEARING DRESS SHIRTS AS CASUAL WEAR:  Dress shirts were definitely made to be tucked in your pants.  You can tell by their length.  If you’re out and about with your shirt tail hanging below your ass, tuck it in or change it out for something more casual.

9.  WEARING SHIRTS WITH SLEEVES THAT ARE TOO LONG.  Again, tailoring matters.  Your shirt cuff should end where your wrist meets your palm and it should just barely cover your watch.   You want to look like a man who knows about what he’s wearing, not like the perpetual teenager unused to wearing a good shirt.  Find a great tailor.

10.  WEARING TOO MUCH COLOGNE.  A little goes a long way.  Edit the amount you put on. Definitely don’t do the whole “walking into the mist” application of cologne.  A spritz on your pulse points helps the scent last longer.  And, trust us, a spritz just behind your ears will be savored by your significant other.

© 2014 HAVEN MAGAZINE.  All rights reserved.

 

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brisket
crockpot, cuisine, entertaining, entrees

Slow Cooker Suppers | Beef Brisket with Beer

by DENNIS KEMPTON

Beef brisket is at its best when you simmer it in a slow cooker and flavor it with beer and onions. This recipe calls for a light beer and you can use that and keep the calories per serving to just under 200. Personally speaking, I would go for a good, high quality full flavored beer. I’m not a fan of light beers. That’s probably why I don’t drink them often.

BEEF BRISKET with BEER

1 (3-pound) beef brisket, trimmedbrisket
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1/4 cup water
2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 1 large)
1 1/2 cups chopped parsnip (about 2)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 (12-ounce) bottle light beer

Rub brisket with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add brisket to pan; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove brisket from the pan. Add 1/4 cup water to pan, stirring to loosen browned bits. Add onion and parsnip; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Place onion mixture, vinegar, bay leaf, and beer in a large electric slow cooker. Place brisket on top of onion mixture. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Discard bay leaf. Cut brisket diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with sauce.

Serve with roasted asparagus, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, or, you can serve it with couscous or polenta. For wines, I would serve this with a nice Zinfandel.

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dinner party
commentary, entertaining, etiquette, hotels, parties, people, protocol

The Lost Art of the Host(ess) Gift

by BRIAN BURKE

It used to be that you didn’t dare show up at a dinner party or other gathering at someone’s home without a gift in hand.  Seriously.  My mother would rather be late than giftless and a friend of hers kept a pantry shelf full of gifts for dinner parties “just in case” she didn’t know what to bring for a first-time invitation to someone’s home she didn’t know well.

While that may seem a bit impersonal, it just shows that the custom was more important.  Now, when invited for dinner or to a party somewhere, we’re told, “Oh, don’t bring anything!” or we’re asked to bring our own libations or a bag of chips.  Our world has become more casual, to a detriment.  We’ve sloughed off the art of decorum, of manners, etiquette, and social equilibrium.  Manners and protocol doesn’t set apart people as being better or worse than another; rather, it levels the playing field.  When everyone knows what the expected social rules are, nobody feels awkward or unsure about what’s to be done.  So, laugh, if you will, at social conventions.  But, I’ll tell you that the world is full of more questions and more rude behavior for the lack of them.  If being a social contrarian is your thing, by all means, save us all the annoyance by staying home and eating a bowl of cereal over the sink.

When you’re invited into someone’s home, it’s a gift of their time, space, and service.  You bring a gift of appreciation.  You need not break out the most expensive catalogues you have nor spend more than you can comfortably afford as a “show” of appreciation.  If your budget does not allow you the luxury of higher-end gifts, that’s never a problem and was never the goal of host gifts, anyway.  It’s about intentional appreciation.  And now that as many men as women throw dinner parties and other get-togethers, the gifts aren’t limited to hostesses.  That’s why I’ll refer to both male and females here as hosts.

Be thoughtful.  The best gift is useful and unexpected.  If you’re invited for dinner, a bottle of the host’s favorite wine is a thoughtful gesture and perhaps an arrangement of his or her partner’s favorite flowers.  If you’re not sure, don’t be lazy.  Ask a friend in common.  Someone will be able to give you an inkling of what’s preferred in their house.

If you have enough lead time, your gift can be something useful and unexpected and it will also keep them talking for a while.  If you know your host entertains often or corresponds often by post, a gift of understated stationery can be a nice touch.  Personalized or not, you may save your host a trip for thank you notes.  And a gift of stationery need not be as high-end as Tiffany and Co. but the option is there.

A simple trip to Trader Joe’s for example, can yield a foodie a multitude of host gift possibilities.  An arrangement of international cheeses, caviar, unique sauces, or exotic packaged meats can be an unexpected addition to the host’s pantry, much appreciated once you’ve gone.

A book from the host’s favorite genre, or an artsy coffee table book is thoughtful, especially if you’re an overnight guest or a weekend guest, depending on the interests of your host.  An assortment of decorative soaps or lotions, or even a tasty pot of jam are affordable, considerate offerings of appreciation.  Another current trend, if your host is a fan, is a board game they might not have yet.

Men like gadgets and information, so you can tailor your gifts to a man’s interests.  A set of shot glasses, a shaker, or something for the bar is a safe bet along with anything monogrammed, for more special occasions.  Books on wines, and liquors are also a good idea.  If you can, tickets to a game or performing arts event like the theatre or symphony are also winners.

My mother used to say that the best host gift was something familiar with the host’s interests and passions but maybe something he or she might not go out and purchase for him or herself.  The point is to be intentional and thoughtful.  And, even if you haven’t a dime to spend on your tight budget, you can always get a nice card and write, simply, “You always throw such great parties, but the next party, the cleaning up is on me. So just relax and enjoy.” With a note like that, who could be offended? Everyone loves a party, but no one likes to clean up after one.

One thing that is not negotiable, however, is the thank you note.  Drop one, in writing, mind you, in the mail the next day.

© 2014 Haven Magazine.  All rights reserved.

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