Now Try This

There's still plenty of time to create an exceptional year with our take on resolutions 2.0.

Blink and now it’s February.

How are those resolutions holding up?

If you are still committed, awesome job.

Keep it up.

If not, there’s plenty of time to create an exceptional year. Starting now, consider adding something new, something good, something rooted in the local community to make this year meaningful.

Now, let’s try this.

Eat Those Veggies

Edamame succotash, garlic green beans and Bacon Brussels sprouts at the mason jar tavern

Brussels sprouts, spinach, green beans — if those words make you quiver with fear or giddy with delight then head on down to the The Mason Jar Tavern, with locations in Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina. TMJT makes a point of getting more of the green stuff on their menu of Southern favorites.

“Both of my sisters are vegetarians. I grew up with a lot of vegetables in my house,” says Jonathan Pierce, chief executive officer and managing partner of TMJT. “It became a really natural thing to have bright colors and fresh ingredients.”

“We get six food deliveries a week, so all of our food comes in fresh. We wanted to have side options that are more than just fried things. And if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it the best we can.”

Even though the hand-cut french fries are still one of his favorite orders, Pierce acknowledges the rise in popularity of veggie-based side items.

“We just added the Brussels sprouts six months ago, and it’s one of our better selling sides. I think people are craving that sort of thing,” says Pierce.

“The succotash was a secret menu item for a long time,” Peirce says, pointing to the bowl overflowing with edamame, corn, onions and bell peppers. It is typically served as an accompaniment to the seared scallop entree, but once they tried it, customers would request it as a side with other orders, Pierce says.

“It’s one of the first things I ever cooked for my wife.”

The Mason Jar Tavern
114 Grand Hill Place, Holly Springs
(919) 964-5060
305 South Main Street, Fuquay-Varina
(919) 762-5555

Fitness Reset

Dani Almeyda, co-founder of the OS Institute in front of the wall of wonder

It’s pretty common to find physical fitness goals among new year’s resolutions, but in the world of faster, stronger, harder, the OS Institute offers something different.

Andree Viho

“At the heart of our mission is that we believe that when people move more they feel better, when they feel better they are happier and healthier and … can form a community. When you are part of a community, your community grows and thrives,” says Dani Almeyda.

Almeyda and her business partner Tim Anderson founded the OS Institute, located on Main Street in the heart of downtown Fuquay. They fell in love with the building and the downtown, which as been the business’s home for nearly four years.

“People come here for a great workout, but also because they love being a part of something. They feel like this is a family vibe. That’s what we really worked for,” says Almeyda.

OS Institute’s philosophy on fitness is centered on a system called Original Strength (hence the OS).

“It’s based off the idea that your body is made to move, and you are not meant to be broken or fragile or weak,” she says. “We help people press reset and start again, building strength from the ground up.”

Classes begin with breathing and stretching to reset the body and mind.

Classes at OS Institute always start with an emphasis on breathing; that’s what triggers the reset. “It makes you strong from the inside out,” Almeyda says.

Jayne Koch

After stretching, comes interval stations where anything goes: bear crawls, rope swings, kettlebells, weight training — all is fair game, but always with attention paid to movements that minimize injury.

“We say we’re sort of like a gym but better,” says Almeyda. “We’re going after people who want to get their own mail at 80 years old and be able to play on the floor with their kids. We focus on getting you whole body strong.”

Original Strength Institute
101 S Main St Ste 221, Fuquay-Varina
(630) 606-8062

Ancestral Food

Our bodies are designed to eat what the earth provides. That’s what the traditional food movement is about,” says Ali Payne, founder of Just Table It meal delivery service.

Ancestral or traditional food is all about getting back to what our great great grandparents ate. Butter, lard, pasture raised animals and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchee are all important components, says Payne, a Fuquay-Varina resident.

“Traditions that our great grandparents did, like naturally preserving vegetables, create really good bacteria that help build our immune systems.”

Homemade bone broth
is the base for Ali Payne’s chicken and wild rice soup

With first hand experience navigating food sensities for herself and her son, Payne realized how overwhelming it can be for busy families to cook real-food meals. Through Just Table It, she prepares delicious and healthy freezer meals that are delivered to clients once a month.

“I want to help other families eat real food,” says Payne. “I feel really passionate about helping people navigate this changing food world that we live in.”

“Everything I make is real food and from scratch. I don’t use any kits. I know the challenge of cooking and eating good food at the end of a busy day can sometimes feel overwhelming.”

Payne’s goal through Just Table It is to relieve much of the work associated with cooking and serving from-scratch ancestral foods, and enable families to simply enjoy them.

Payne recommends making small changes where possible, rather than a full overhaul of your family’s eating habits all at once.

“I am in no way the poster child for perfect eating,” says Payne. “My desire is to keep marching us forward in that way, and to help people into more real foods.”

Just Table It
(919) 630-3245

Ali Payne, Just Table It

Bone Broth

By Ali Payne, Just Table It

Bones from one large roasted chicken
1 large onion, quartered
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic
Sea salt
Whole peppercorns

Roast a 3-4 pound chicken (or buy a roasted chicken from your favorite spot). Pick most of the meat off of the chicken; leave a little on the bones for good flavor and added nutrients. Save the chicken for use in another recipe (like chicken wild rice soup, recipe follows).

Place the chicken bones, whole peppercorns and all of the veggies in a large stock pot. Cover with water, leaving at least 1-2 inches below the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, skimming the scum off the top as necessary. Reduce heat to low, and simmer slowly for 6-12 hours. Add sea salt to taste. Strain veggies and bones.

Use in favorite soup recipe or sip for amazing health benefits.

Yield: 3-6 quarts, depending on the size of stock pot.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

By Ali Payne, Just Table It

3 cups cooked chicken, pulled from roasted chicken or left over
2 quarts of fresh bone broth
3 slices no sugar bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, small diced
2 large carrots, small diced
3 stalks of celery, small diced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, very finely chopped (or wrapped in cheesecloth for a milder flavor)
¼ cup dry white wine
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup wild rice, rinsed well
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Parmesan cheese, for topping

Cook bacon on medium-high heat in a large pot until crispy. Remove bacon and all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pot. Chop bacon and reserve.

Add olive oil, onions, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add wine and garlic; cook for about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and check for seasoning; add salt and pepper as needed.

Add wild rice and rosemary, cook for 30-40 minutes, or until rice is tender. Add chicken, cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve topped with chopped bacon and shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Yield: About 8 cups of soup

Medieval Sword Fighting

Sir Eric Lindbeck and Sir Craig Freudenrich spar at the Scottish games in Greenville, South Carolina.

That’s right. We said medieval sword fighting; right here in southern Wake County. The non-profit group The Sword Conservatory, Inc offers classes through the Town of Holly Springs Parks & Recreation Department at the W.E. Hunt Recreation Center. Children as young as 5 years old can learn to fight like a knight or duel like a musketeer.

“For a lot of people (mostly, but not only kids) sword fighting is a way to get to hit people — and get hit — for fun. It is pure excitement and adrenaline, but done with proper safety, so you can let loose more than when you are swinging wiffle ball bats in the backyard.” says Eric Lindbeck, secretary/treasurer and founder of The Sword Conservatory.

Sword fighting students at the Holly springs Cultural Center

As a volunteer-driven organization, The Sword Conservatory focuses on educating its students on the centuries old techniques of historic European martial arts (rather than the prolific Asian martial arts disciplines) and bringing the fun and entertainment of sword fighting to as many people as possible.

As age and experience of their students increases, so too does the challenge. Teens and adults sparr in full historical armor or compete in competitive sport fencing.

“Equipment varies from class to class. We provide as much as possible for kids until they can buy their own,” says Lindbeck.

“My favorite is when parents tell me that their child has found an activity, usually after much searching, which they enjoy and where they fit in.”

The Sword Conservatory, Inc.
(919) 802-4276

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