Teen Homelessness

15 years old, kicked out of the house, where am I to go? My mother couldn’t handle my rebellious behavior and didn’t tell me where to go or who to call. An all too familiar plight facing teens, forced to “couch surf” and take refuge in abandoned homes and on the street.

Teen homelessness is not like regular homelessness. For teens it is mainly not having a stable environment to call home. With teen homelessness it is a great deal of movement. Whether it is in and out of shelters or couch surfing at familiar places. Couch surfing is when teens have no other choice but to make the couch their bed wherever they find a place to stay. For many teens when asked if they are homeless they will say no. However, they identify it as living in the street, but it is more when they are not able to identify where they are living as their own home. In most cases teens become homeless due to running away, being kicked out of an unstable home environment, being abandoned by their families, involvement in public systems, and having a history of residential instability and disconnection.

Between 500,000 and 2.8 million youth are homeless within the United States each year. 40% of homelessness teens identify as LGBT. In shelters, LGBTQ teens face harassment, stigmatization, or abuse from peers and staff for being LGBTQ. These same homeless youth that identify as LGBTQ, often face high risk of conduct disorder, PTSD, and suicidal behavior. 21-40% of homeless youth have been sexually abused compared to 1-3% of the general youth population. 6-22% of homeless girls are pregnant. They either are pregnant and become homeless as a result of being pregnant, or face sexual abuse while being homeless and become pregnant. Homelessness puts teens at higher risk for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, mental health disabilities, substance abuse and death.

75% of homeless or runaway youth have dropped out of school. There are many educational barriers for homeless children. For example, the inability to meet enrollment requirements, lack of transportation, high mobility resulting in lack of school stability, lack of school supplies and clothing, lack of awareness and support from school staff, and poor health, fatigue and hunger. New York State introduced a bill to amend the education law. The bill would allow a homeless child to designate a public school as the child’s school of origin requiring the school district to provide transportation. This should reduce the number of student drop-outs due to homelessness.

Homeless teens face risk of becoming delinquents while being homeless. Many delinquent acts that homeless teens would take part in would be stealing, selling drugs, survival sex, and more as strategies to survive. After leaving juvenile placements teens face challenges as they reenter the community, home, and school/ workforce. As homeless teens try to return home they return to an unstable home setting, face a lack of family support, struggle to remain in school, lack the skills needed for employment, and experience a gap in behavioral health services. Most of these problems would lead youth to end up in a homeless situation again starting a cycle of teen homelessness and become a problem for them in their adult ages.

If you or anybody you know need help in the battle against teen homelessness there is help for you. Community Partnerships for Youth Empowerment provide services to help at risk teens. Service includes immediate access to shelter for youth under the age of 22, emergency resources such as food, clothing and hygiene, and referrals to other community agencies for specific needs. For more information call their hotline at 518- 265-8509, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 9 pm.


The Cost of Building Your Studio

Getting started producing music comes with a lot of expenses. You’ll need to invest in a computer or laptop if you don’t already have one, you’ll need a DAW (digital audio workstation), an audio interface, a midi keyboard would be good to have, studio monitors and some type of sound proofing. You may also think of investing in a pair of headphones and a condenser microphone if you’ll be recording vocals.

To start making beats and producing music right away the only things you need are a computer, your choice of DAW, an audio interface and any good speakers. If you are not trying to spend so much right away I would recommend buying the Focusrite Scarlett Solo audio interface for only $99 which comes with two free DAW’s, Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First. These are great DAW’s to start out on. You can start making beats with any good speakers, but eventually you may want to upgrade to using studio monitors.

There’s a wide selection of DAW’s to choose from for Windows and Mac OS. Most DAW’s range from $100 to $800. A lot of mainstream production comes from Pro Tools which you can get for $599. There is also FL Studio for $199, Logic Pro for $299, Studio One for $99 or $299 for a professional version, Ableton for $449, Cubase for $99 and Reason for $399 just to name a few. Luckily there are free trial versions for most DAW’s as well as free downloadable DAW’s with limited functions. Picking your DAW should be based on your personal workflow and budget, so checking out some free trials before making a decision would help pick the right one for you. To read more about DAW’s and getting started producing music, click here.

The next piece of equipment to consider is an audio interface. An audio interface is used to connect studio equipment to your laptop or computer for professional sounding recordings. You can plug your microphones, headphones, midi keyboard, studio monitors and preamps into an audio interface. This allows you to deal with multiple inputs quicker and more efficiently. A great interface to invest in is the Focusrite Scarlett Solo for only $100 which also comes with Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools DAW’s free. More audio interfaces to consider would be the Presonus AudioBox for $99 and the M-Audio M-Track C-Series for $99. After hearing the quality of the sound that is processed through the interface you won’t be disappointed in this investment.  

I would strongly suggest buying a midi keyboard also. These keyboards are used for sending midi signals and controls through a usb cable to connected devices. Using a midi keyboard will allow you to play out melodies using different instruments in your DAW and edit the data. Using these keyboards can also help you improve your workflow and get ideas from your head to your computer quickly. There are many midi controllers to choose from but some let you control more within your DAW than others. If you are looking for an inexpensive, easy to carry, yet powerful keyboard some good ones to consider are the Akai MPK Mini Mk2 for $99 or the Novation LaunchKey Mini Mk2 for $99.

Studio monitors are loudspeakers made for professional audio production. For production out of a home studio you won’t need the biggest, loudest studio monitors. Monitors like the KRK Rokit Powered Generation 3 Monitors for $149, the JBL LSR305-WH for $149 or the Alesis Elevate 3 for $99 would work just fine. Though you may want to get some type of sound proofing as well which is just making your room quieter by blocking out unnecessary noises. Some forms of soundproofing are using bass traps or acoustic panels that you can hang around your room. Isolation pads that you place under your monitors are also great because they let you get pinpoint accuracy from your monitors.

When it comes to recording vocals you’ll want to be using a condenser microphone for your recorded audio to result in stronger signals and have better, more accurate quality than using a dynamic microphone. Some good condenser microphones to consider are the MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shock mount for $99, the Audio-Technica AT2035 Cardioid for $149 and the AKG P120 Project Studio Condenser Microphone for $99. You might also want to buy a pop filter to go with your microphone. Pop filters are used for noise protection to reduce the popping sounds when recording vocals. There are many good pop filters for less than $30. You should also buy some good headphones, you’ll need them when recording and they’ll help a lot with getting the right mix. A great pair of headphones to consider are the AKG K240 for $69 and the Sony MDR-7506 for $99.

You don’t have to be spending a lot on studio equipment to start producing music. Whether or not you have the best equipment doesn’t determine if what you create will actually sound good. And you shouldn’t go over your personal budget when your just starting, there are always cheaper options that will still let you accomplish great things and allow you to gain more knowledge before spending more than you have to.

The State of Free Speech in the Modern World

Free speech is one of the most important rights that everyone should have. Free speech is what allows us to further improve our society and government through discussion. It is a step in making an individual feel free, that is, one cannot feel free without the freedom to say or even think certain things. But what is free speech, really? It’s certainly a lot more complicated than the black and white of “you can either say whatever you want or you can’t”. For example, free speech also means that people have the freedom to think or say whatever they want about what another says using their own free speech. Thus, free speech does not protect you from the social repercussions of what you say. Free speech also does not necessarily protect the incitement of violence, as at that point it goes beyond normal speech and steps into the domain of threats. Definitions and boundary lines such as these, however, are where people disagree on what free speech is. This disagreement can clearly be shown in recent news.

The recent student protests and riots that have taken place across various college campuses are one example. These protests have largely been in response to the colleges in question inviting various speakers who are, let’s say, quite a big step away from the typical left-leaning opinions of the general college population. Those opposing the speakers claim that these speakers spread “hate speech”, and thus should not be allowed to speak at the college campuses as it gives them a platform to speak. The protesters have received a lot of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, including former president Obama himself, saying that “I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view.”. Whether these speakers are actually hateful and spreading hate speech is an entirely different topic altogether, but it should go without saying that putting such a title on them goes on a case-by-case basis and is very subjective. The point, however, is that this is very clearly people trying to silence others based on their opinions. Whether or not those people are spreading hate speech is irrelevant, they should be allowed to speak nonetheless. If we find someone’s opinion to be distasteful, disagreeable, immoral, hateful, etc.,rather than trying to silence them, we should discuss their opinion with them. In this case, I would personally suggest attending their gathering to not only gain a new perspective on what they think and why they think that way, that is, to understand opposing points of view, but also to argue against them, ask them questions during the questioning period. Is that not what such gatherings are, at least in part, for? Jumping to a protest (though they have every right to do so) or even, in some cases, a riot simply because people do not agree with someone and dislike them being allowed to even speak publicly at all is simply unreasonable. To end on a quote from journalist Andrew Rosenthal, “The right of free speech cannot be parceled out based on whether we want to hear what the speaker has to say or whether we agree with those views. It means, quite often, tolerating the expression of views that we find distasteful, perhaps even repugnant.”. Also in recent free speech news, in a level up within the free speech silencing hierarchy, the German government has recently come under a whole lot of fire for its recent actions.

According to the New York Times, German authorities raided the homes of 36 people accused of putting “hateful postings” on social media. This has faced criticism from many sides, as how can a country truly be free if its citizens must constantly be wary of every word they say for fear of having their very home be raided and, possibly, arrest and legal persecution? As journalist Glenn Greenwald puts it, “Free speech rights means that government officials are barred from creating lists of approved and disapproved political ideas and then using the power of the state to enforce those preferences.”. This is exactly what is happening here. Thus, the only scenario in which this could be deemed just is if these people were actually inciting real and active violence, and thus being a threat to others and public safety as a whole. We don’t know the exact details of what these people posted, only that the wide majority of those accused were posting right-wing content, while an additional 2 were posting left-wing content and 1 final individual being accused of posting “threats or harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation”. The fact that the wide majority of those raided were right-wing has raised some eyebrows, implied some things, though it’s best not to leap to any conclusions. The fact is, however, that German authorities have used their power to raid the homes of people for what they have said online. This is, objectively, an infringement on free speech.

According to Forbes, German legislation recently passed a law that would allow them to fine social media companies up to $57 million simply for not removing “hate speech” in a timely manner. Companies must also submit a semi-annual report on their actions. Individuals themselves who have been appointed to oversee the whole procedure for each company may also be fined up to $5.8 million if things aren’t satisfactory. Originally, companies also had only a measly 24 hour period to remove content. After facing backlash, German legislation made a the law a little more lax, giving a week-long period instead rather than the previous 24 hours, while also excluding messenger and email providers, as well as stating that punishment will only be dealt out if the company in question has been actively refusing to cooperate, rather than dealing punishment as soon as one little piece of “hate speech” seeps through. This law has, as one might expect, seen a lot of criticism by free speech advocates and human rights experts, who argue that the law is very restrictive, places a large burden on social media companies, and is anti-free speech. This law, which forces the censorship of hate speech (a term with subjective definitions), is just one more in a line of similar laws implemented by German legislation, including jail time for Holocaust denial and hate speech against minorities. As Professor Wolfgang Shulz, a major legal expert in Europe, puts it, “There are many effective ways of addressing fake news or hateful speech that should be taken into account to minimize potential negative effects on freedom of speech”. Everyone deserves to speak their mind without legal repercussions, we can’t make exceptions, even if people have truly deplorable things to say. Making exceptions and censoring people is against the very principle of free speech, and freedom as a whole.

But none of this can compare to the kind of freedom of speech infringements and human rights violations as a whole that can be seen in some other countries. Examples include North Korea’s unparalleled human rights violations, China’s censorship (including, in recent news, censoring Winnie the Pooh), and Iran. Iran, for example, I could go on and on about in its many, many actions against free speech. In short, however, I will quote Iranian journalist and former government official Isa Saharkhiz, who compared being a journalist in Iran to “walking on a minefield”. Amidst jail time, whippings, and even death sentences for petty things such as allegedly insulting religious figures or leaders and the mass censorship of books and other media for not essentially working as propaganda machines, among a vast number of other things, Iran is an example of what we should aim to avoid in terms of free speech and human rights.

Free speech is a basic human right, as it should be. While some may be tempted to silence others because they perceive their opinions as hateful and harmful, we must remember that everyone deserves to be able to speak their mind, and instead of trying to silence others we should instead listen to them, try to understand their views and argue against them. In short, communicate. I’ll end with a quote from British 1800s politician Charles Bradlaugh: “Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech”.

Music Production for Beginners

A passion like mine for music drives you to get up everyday to create music and can only be expressed through creating music. My passion has lead me to pursue a career in music production, starting out as just a hobby. I scoured the net and watched YouTube tutorials since there was no cheat sheet to follow. Consider this my cheat sheet for those of you interested in making beats and producing music. Before just jumping straight into producing and composing music, you may want to know a few things in advance.

There are endless possibilities of what you can create with music using different methods. All the possibilities and methods used by producers and musicians are known as music theory. Knowing some music theory, which is the study of all possibilities of music and how people compose or make music, something about scales and chords, and how to properly mix your tracks will always be useful when making beats and producing music. You can teach yourself some notes on a piano too. Knowing how to play an instrument, especially the piano will come in handy for composing music, however knowing music theory and knowing an instrument is not a necessity to start producing. Many of the music industries producers know how to play at least one instrument.  All you need is a computer or laptop, a DAW (digital audio workstation), and a creative mind.

A DAW is a computer software that allows you to record, edit and produce music. Finding the right DAW software out of all the options for you is an essential part in starting producing music even if you use a free DAW like Garageband, Audacity or Studio One 3 Prime. Luckily finding the right software for you isn’t the hardest part with most companies offering free trial versions of these DAW’s. There are many DAW programs available for Windows and Mac OS. Some popular programs are FL Studio, Logic, Pro Tools, Reason, Ableton, MPC, and Cubase. You should choose your program wisely based on your personal preferences and your workflow. You may find that the stock plugins and virtual instruments or audio units (VST/AU’s) may not be enough for you. That’s when you should look into purchasing new virtual instruments and effect plugins or downloading free plugins and VST’s for different sounds and instruments. VST stands for virtual studio technology and is a software interface for synthesizer sounds and instruments and effect plugin. Some very common VST’s are Nexus, Omnisphere, Kontakt, Purity, Exhale, and ElectraX, all of which have very different and unique instruments. Many of these VST’s are on the more expensive side though. You can also get plugins that manipulate sounds in your own image such as Gross Beat, MRhythmizer and Glitch. These are effect plugins used for time manipulation, repetition, scratching and gating effects. But you should also know how to manipulate sounds within the VST’s without external manipulation plugins. You’ll need to remember to not to get carried away with the technical things. Use the technology to enhance what you hear in your head.

If this article got you interested in music production or you were already interested, be on the lookout for more articles going further in depth with details about costs to get started and the importance of versatility and how to build your skill set.

The New Phenomenal Woman

When she walks her legs cross in front of one another
She adored shorts and dresses
Showing her arms and legs were unexpected to those around her
She only wore short sleeved shirts because
She holds her head up to the sun every day,
The sun kisses her skin,
Her eyes are a bold brown,
Her hair curlier than most and all over the place,
She walks above the world.
She’s not fat
She was built to give hugs and bring warmth,
She’s fluffy and loves it.
She hated black clothing
She didn’t want to hide herself or to mislead someone or anyone because
Her size is beautiful.
She pushed through a world that sees her differently,
They didn’t see her as beautiful.
They shun her, they pushed her away,
They found something lovely and fragile and broke it.
She’s not like many broken things
She came back with an upgrade a newer and better attitude,
Mind and a way to look at the world.
She’s found new way to be inspired to do more and
She dusts off the words that was supposed to bring her down,
But it doesn’t bother her one bit.
She has a very big job and that is to
Inspire people with her love of…


Auntie’s Lasagna Supreme

I decided to pop in on my cousins and aunt who I have not seen in awhile. She happens to be my favorite aunt, simply because she gives good advice and has a gift for making awe-inspiring food.  When I arrive I am greeted by this olive green colored house that leans more to the right than the left. As I walked slowly up the loose steps, clutching the rail, making sure not to lose my balance I hear the music blaring from inside.

Finally, I make it to the front door and knock with my fist hoping it is loud enough to be heard. The music cuts off and a female voice asks who is at the door swings open and my favorite cousin pretty much runs into me to give me a hug. I returned the gesture and walked inside with her. I instantly start smiling due to the smell of cooking meat, sausages, and pepperoni. It was my aunt’s famous lasagna. My cousin started talking to me but I was not even listening. I walked into the kitchen and said hello to my aunt and asked what she was cooking to confirm it was lasagna. She said lasagna and a smile immediately plastered across my face.

I invited myself for dinner because I knew it was going to be worth it. I walked into the living room to watch a movie until dinner was ready. I shared a couch with my cousins Tots and Pook. My older cousin Tasia was on the single couch by herself. The family dog Polo was laying on the floor in front of me too. We all enjoyed the movie and checked on diner. “Not ready yet” she replied. I felt like my aunt was testing my patience because I was so ready to eat. Tots and Pook just huffed and puffed but continued to watch the movie. Tasia caught an attitude and started listening to music. Sometime during the movie my aunt joined us until the food finished.

Finally, we were all seated at the large glass table ready to get a taste of something amazing. I thanked my aunt and mentally thanked whoever created lasagna in the first place. After a little, watching as we devoured the portions served on our plates, she asked us how it tasted. My cousins said it tasted good but to me it made me feel loved because you could taste the love in every bit. I looked at my aunt with a mouth full of lasagna and asked what was in it. She said humbly, “A little bit of everything.” The first thing you taste when the lasagna touches your tongue is the pepperoni. It’s a spicy sensation that get’s replaced with the sweetness of the tomato sauce. As you bite a piece of sausage all the juices that have gathered inside of it explodes onto your tongue. The ground beef lightly carried the taste of salt, pepper and a culmination of other seasonings that make the dish burst in your mouth.

How She Did It 

Step 1: You preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 2: Cook 3/4 ground beef and cut up Italian sausages.
Step 3:You mix ricotta, half of the shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, basil, and garlic in a bowl and set aside.
Step 4: Place all tomato sauce in a large bowl and mix together 1/2 cup of water, tablespoon of and pepper and a tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well then taste a small amount of it to make sure you taste the sweetness of the sugar to your liking then set aside as well.
Step 5: Spread 1 cup of sauce in a 13 by 9″ baking pan.
Step 6: Place 3 uncooked lasagna sheets at the bottom of the pan, add a layer of 1/4 of the cheese mixture, and then layer with 1 cup of sauce.
Step 7: Place pepperoni throughout the layers of the lasagna to your liking.
Step 8:Place 3 lasagna sheets and repeat layers until all of the cheese mixture is gone, with the last layer being sauce.
Step 9: Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Step 10: Remove the foil, top with the second half of the shredded mozzarella, and bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
Step 11: Finally remove the lasagna from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut and serve.

2016 Immigration Policies: Pathway to Citizenship or Deportation Force?

What is immigration?  Immigration is when people move to a foreign country permanently. We have 10 million legal immigrants living in Untied States. Legal immigration is when those who have moved from another country attain visas and work towards becoming a citizen of United Sates. 11.7 millions immigrants are living in the United States illegally. Illegal immigrant is the migration of people across national borders without permission or not telling  destination country.  Today we have 3.3 million Muslims living in the United State.

Hillary Clinton wants both those who are legal and illegal immigrants to have a full path to citizenship. She agreed not to use the term “illegal immigrants,” which many say dehumanizes immigrants who are living in the U.S. without legal documentation. This is what Hillary Clinton said n reference to Muslims, “First, we rely on partners in Muslim countries to fight terrorists. (The immigration ban) would make it harder,”. Clinton has separately called for the U.S. to greatly expand the number of Syrian refugees it accepts, saying that she wants the United States to “lead the world.”

Donald Trump has said he plans to ban all Muslims from the Untied States for the safety of its citizens. In a campaign press release Donald Trump calls for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. Trump has stated that he will build a wall between Mexico and United states. This is what he said about illegal Mexican  immigrants “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crimes, they’re rapist” . Do you think it’s true? Trump has said he would use a “deportation force” to remove undocumented immigrants from the country.

President Obama has stated in an open response to Donald Trump’s stance on immigration, “Imagine the images on the screens flashed around the world as we were dragging parents away from their children and putting in what, detention centers, and then sending them out.”

Should undocumented “illegal” immigrants have the right to be citizen of US?  Your opinion counts.

The Legend of Amy’s Flowers


“I can’t garden but I knew she loved it so this is my way of giving back,” said Kristen Holler, the creator of the flower murals that are nailed to what are currently four posts outside of the Albany Barn. Kristen’s goal is to get the flowers to reach Henry Johnson Boulevard where Amy Stock passed away. One year ago today, Amy was struck and killed by a drunk driver only three weeks after moving to the place she loved, Albany.  

Amy Stock was an environmentalist, who loved to garden and was the founder of Sustainable Saratoga which promotes the protection of natural resources. Because Amy cared about the environment and was dedicated to creating a sustainable New York,  the flowers are made out of recyclable items such as plastic bottles, tin cans, and any material that can be reused and re-purposed. They are painted vibrant colors such as sky and navy blue, violate purple, hot pink, light orange, and different hues of red. They’re then cut out and shaped either round, pointy, or square, and given details that real flowers have like depth and softness. When the flowers are finished they’re put out for everyone to admire.  These unique flowers serve as a memorial to remember Amy Stock who was known for her compassionate spirit and loved dearly by her parents, siblings , and all those she encountered in her travels around the U.S.

“Amy was such a selfless and compassionate person, she could probably want the driver who took her life to have a second chance, even though his actions were unthinkable”,” said Kristen as she tried holding back her tears reflecting on the empathetic and loving person she once knew.  Amy was working on a Doctorate from University at Albany in Environmental Studies to continue her efforts working towards sustainability. Amy was only 48 years old and had dreams of publishing a novel entitled River Stories: Healing through Nature and Rivers which was posthumously published by her siblings.  Proceeds from the sale of the book will fund a scholarship in Amy’s name at Gloversville High School.  

During Amy’s Life she made Albany and Saratoga Springs both better places to live, and for that she will never be forgotten.  Today, her legend is being built.  As you pass by the lamp post, remember to search for Amy’s garden of sustainable flowers.

More Guns or More Control?

What are your opinions on gun control in America? The United States continues to struggle with mass shootings and gun violence. One of this years most deadly attacks has been the  Fort Myers Orlando shooting.  Today, there is still a debate about gun control law, which determines how guns are sold, used, and who should be allowed to legal use to carry them. This election year, our candidates have opposite opinions and views on how gun control should work in this country.

Donald Trump’s  stance on gun control after the  Orlando shooting he is quoted as saying, “It’s too bad that some of the young people that were killed over the weekend didn’t have guns attach to their hips frankly, where bullets could have flown in the opposite direction.” He’s obviously does not see the need from more gun control.  “If you had more guns, you’d have more protection because the right people would have the guns,” said trump to NBC reporter.  Could having more Americans armed prevent gun violence?

His opposition, Hillary Clinton, wrote about the need more for more gun control stating, “I’ll  take on the gun lobby and fight for Commonsense reforms to keep guns away from terrorist domestic abusers, and other violent criminals.” Do you think it will help?  What is common sense reform?  Will this prevent the “lone gunman” from causing damage to and unsuspecting and unarmed civilians?  And what qualifies a group of terrorist organization when long standing home grown American hate groups continue to thrive?

Trump or Clinton?  Check out these facts.  More than 33,000 Americans  are killed by guns each year.


Nana’s Collard Greens

greens-646810_1280by Meishaye Boyd

Have you ever eaten something so mouth-wateringly delicious that you think you can eat it for the rest of your life? That’s how I felt a couple of days ago at my Nana’s house. She makes the best Collard Greens my taste buds have ever touched. They’re my favorite food and Nana is my favorite chef simply  because my she is my heart.  She loves and supports me no matter what and she treats me like her own.  My Nana puts love into anything she says or does for me and I can feel it. We would bond over the history of our family owned estate over thanks giving sized feast.  Her southern style Collard Greens combined with ham hocks and our family secret seasonings, will make you risk hurting yourself, sneaking them out the boiling pot. Once your taste buds start stimulating and your mouth start watering from all the different seasonings you’re tasting at one time, you’ll never want to stop eating until your stomach is basically begging you to stop feeding it. Food really is the way to someone’s heart because my Nana’s homemade Collard Greens sure snuck into mine. Food is like having a lifelong friend that you can always depend on to make you happy at a time where you feel like everything is bad.

Best Because…

What makes my Nana’s Collard Greens the best to me is the time she takes to make them just right. Not too salty, not over or under done, not crunchy…just right, like it was made by a beautiful food goddess that makes everything turn to gold when she touches it. You can taste the crushed red peppers, sazon seasoning, and the juices from the smoked meat that was put into it, seasoned salt and tangy butter. It leaves you wanting more.

How She Do That?
Step 1 she starts off by rinsing off the freshly grown collard greens
Step 2 she cuts off the stems and rinse the greens again
Step 2.5 she cuts the greens up
Step 3 she moves to a large pot and add canola oil and let the pork cook until it’s a golden brown color
Step 4 she removes the pork and let it cool, go to the pot for the greens, set to medium temperature and add red chili pepper flakes, black pepper and the collard greens
Step 5 you stir for a few minutes until the greens have softened up some, add chicken stock, water, and cover with a lid
Step 6 you let it cook for about 30 to 45 minutes
Step 7 you increase the heat for the food from medium to high once you take the lid off, add a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of hot sauce
Step 8 you can either sprinkle some ham hock meat on top of your finished product or pour it in the pot and mix it up to even it out with the savoring flavor of the greens

Finally, step 9, set temperature to low just so the collard greens can stay warm. After all that hard work, it’s time for you to sit down and enjoy your hard earned meal!!!


A magazine written for teens by teens