Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Steamed Baby Artichokes from Gathering Flavors by Dena Testa Bray

Hello All:

Are you looking for something simple and beautiful to make this weekend?

I spied these beautiful baby artichokes at the grocer earlier this week. I was drawn to their colors—rich greens and purples with a hint of gold—and their shape is unique and lovely. So beautiful, I didn’t want to cook them as much as I wanted to admire them. So, I decided to cook them in a way that respects their natural beauty while bringing out their flavors. These Steamed Artichokes with Lemon and Butter are tender and delicious. Steaming them allows them to be kept intact but makes the outer leaves tender and easy to pull off, douse with butter and bite right into. As you peel back each layer, more circles of more tender leaves unfold, leading you to their tender and sweet heart.

Make them for someone you love.


Steamed Baby Artichokes from Gathering Flavors by Dena Testa Bray
Yield: 8 Servings


  • 8 baby artichokes, rinsed and trimmed
  • Sea salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • Juice of one lemon


  1. Place the artichokes in the bottom of a large pan. They should be arranged with the stem down. Add enough water to each artichoke is covered by to about half. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the artichokes are tender, about 20 minutes. The artichokes are done when the inner leaves can be pulled out easily.
  3. While the artichokes are steaming, melt the butter in a small pan. Add the lemon juice and stir. Add a bit of sea salt, to taste.
  4. When the artichokes are tender, drain the water off. Place one artichoke on each of 8 small serving plates. Drizzle with the melted butter and lemon juice.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  6. Enjoy.


  1. Cooking times will vary dependent on the size and freshness of your artichokes.
  2. This recipe is written assuming the artichokes will be served as a side dish. For a main course, serve two of the steamed artichokes instead of one. Sprinkle with a bit of your favorite cheese or some chopped eggs.
  3. This recipe was published on Gathering Flavors originally. Click here to read the full post  with additional serving suggestions.

Dena Testa Bray is a UVAC member, blogger and the owner of Dena Testa Bray Web Design Services.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NeuroKinetic Therapy

NeuroKinetic Therapy

by John Grainger MS, CSCS, UVAC Fitness Program Coordinator

In February Garrett Wilson, Katherine MacPherson, and myself traveled to a NeuroKinetic Therapy training seminar in Attleboro, MA.  NeuroKinetic Therapy (NKT) has been developed over the last 30 years by a massage therapist from California named David Weinstock.   NKT is based on the theory that over time we develop functional and dysfunctional movement patters.  Dysfunction can occur for many reasons: repetitive stress, acute injury, chronic injury, poor posture, scars (surprisingly, a very common one), and even injuries from 15 or more years ago.  

Many times that “tight” muscle that you might feel in your upper back is probably tight because it is working for another muscle around it.  Usually that muscle that isn’t working does a similar function or even an opposing one.  One of the most common dysfunctional patterns is where the pectoralis major is over working for the mid and/or lower trap.
A good example is me: after returning from a trip to Florida, I had an extremely tight and sore medial gastrocnemius.
Katherine performed NKT on me when I returned and found that my posterior tibialis was not being recruited by my brain and my medial gastroc was trying to do all the work.
Once the medial gastroc had been released using a lacrosse ball and the postior tibialis was recruited again, my calf loosened up greatly.  

The biggest difference between NKT, Self-Myofascial Release (e.g. foam rolling), most chiropractic work, massage therapy, and even sometimes physical therapy, is that usually once an overactive muscle is released the inhibited muscle(s) (those that are not working) aren’t activated.  Another thing that is common is too much resistance is used and the wrong muscles are recruited.  This is the dysfunctional movement pattern that we are trying to avoid.  Even though a massage may feel great and when you get off the table you are able to do things (like touch your toes or reach your hand up your back) you couldn’t before, if you don’t activate the muscles that are inhibited the dysfunctional movement pattern will return.  That is the reason why you feel like you need to go to the chiropractor or the massage therapist once a month to get “fixed.” NKT helps change the dysfunction into function so that the chronic pain or discomfort goes away for good with simple exercises.