Dirigo Dish: Balsamic Steak Skewers

The start of summer means grilling! (Not in the mood to grill? Just cook the skewers under the broiler!) Try these tasty and fresh steak skewers from the American Heart Association with mixed veggies and roasted sweet potatoes. Yum! Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!


4 Servings

For the skewers:

  • 12 (12-inch) skewers
  • 3/4 lb beef sirloin (visible fat removed, cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (divided)
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 (10-ounce) container white mushrooms (whole, ends trimmed, halved)
  • 1 bell pepper (seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1-inch rounds

For the sweet potatoes:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sodium-free chile powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


For the skewers:

  • If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Trim and discard the fat from the sirloin. Cut the lean sirloin into 1-inch pieces and add into a large Ziploc bag, along with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, rosemary, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Let marinate for 30 minutes while preparing remaining ingredients.
  • Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Coat the grates with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Make a vinaigrette: In the bowl of a food processor, add remaining 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, basil, oil, water, and mustard. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.
  • To make the vegetable skewers, thread the vegetables in an order like, for example, tomato, mushroom half, bell pepper piece, and zucchini (threaded horizontally through the zucchini round). Repeat, dividing the ingredients evenly between 8 skewers.
  • Thread the steak pieces onto the remaining 4 skewers, dividing evenly between the skewers.
  • To cook, prepare the grill to medium-high heat. Coat the grates with nonstick cooking spray. Add all the skewers to the grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until meat is desired temperature and vegetables are softened, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a platter, cover with foil, and reserve.
  • To serve, drizzle the reserved vinaigrette over the vegetable skewers.

For the sweet potatoes:

  • Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Coat the grates with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Cut the sweet potatoes into ¼-inch rounds. Add to a bowl along with oil, paprika, chile powder, and pepper. Mix to combine.
  • Spread out the sweet potato rounds onto the grill. Cover the grill and cook until sweet potatoes are tender, turning once, about 10 to 12 minutes depending on thickness. Serve sweet potatoes with skewers. 

The American Heart Association’s website is a great place for seniors and people of all ages to find delicious heart healthy recipes. Click here for more AHA recipes!

Specialized Care

Summer is in bloom at Dirigo Pines!

Looking for extra help with personal care? Our Specialized Care services might be just the thing. Offering a higher level of personal care for those who need more assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, getting in/out of chairs or bed, walking, and eating, our specialized care neighborhood can make for a more enjoyable lifestyle.
People often ask us the difference between our Assisted Living and Specialized Care settings. Our routine Service Plan meetings help to determine when more assistance is the right choice. The number of activities with which a resident needs assistance, as well as the amount of time required for those activities, determines whether the resident can benefit from either Assisted Living or Specialized Care.

We provide assistance around the clock, and medical care is close at hand. Eastern Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital, each just 15 minutes away, provide state‐of‐the‐art specialty services for our residents needing advanced care.

Services & Amenities

  • Therapeutic assistance with activities of daily living (eating, ambulation, transfer, bathing, dressing and toileting)
  • Scheduled transportation to medical appointments with attendant
  • Medication administration and monitoring
  • Professional care planning to enhance residents’ health
  • Three nutritious and delicious meals daily
  • Linen and laundry service
  • 24‐hour on‐site care associates
  • Wellness programs
  • On‐site emergency response system
  • Routine housekeeping
  • Social, recreational, and cultural programs
  • Utilities, including cable TV, heat, air conditioning, and electricity
  • Medical Director oversight available

Come see for yourself! Call 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com for more information or to schedule a tour.

Close to Home: Bangor City Forest

Summer is here – time to get outside and enjoy! Dirigo Pines is home to many of its own trails, which connect in with the Orono Land Trust’s Sklar Park trail system, a 40-acre parcel situated at the west end of Main Street, between Route 2 and I-95. (Click here for a map of the Sklar Park trail system.) And just up the road from Dirigo is the Bangor City Forest and Orono Bog Walk.

The Rolland F. Perry City Forest includes 680 acres of wildlife habitat and forest, offering  more than 9 miles of trails for walking, hiking, biking, and during the winter – snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. It is owned by the city of Bangor and open throughout the year.

Here are some other fun facts and what to know before you go:

  • Dogs are welcome in many areas, but must be on a leash at all times, per city ordinance, on Main Road, Shannon Road, Tripp Drive, and East Trail.
  • The Orono Bog Walk is a 1-mile boardwalk loop that begins at the forested wetland edge in the Bangor City Forest, and after 800 feet, crosses the Orono town line into the portion of the Orono Bog owned by the University of Maine. Along the way the boardwalk passes through a wide range of changing vegetation and environments on its way to the open, peat moss carpeted center of the Orono Bog. Click here for more about the Bog Walk.
  • The Orono Bog Walk boardwalk is wheelchair-friendly, with benches for rest and contemplation every 200 feet. Please note that dogs are not permitted on the Bog Walk.
  • Nature walks are scheduled throughout the summer, guided by experts in their respective fields who provide insights into the ecology and natural history of the flora and fauna found along the boardwalk. Learn more and find a calendar here: umaine.edu/oronobogwalk.
  • Walden-Parke Preserve, owned by the Bangor Land Trust, encompasses more than 300 acres adjacent to City Forest, on the west side of the former Veazie Railroad bed. It features more than three miles of hiking, biking, skiing, and snoeshoeing trails. The land trust also owns the 84-acre Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, near the end of Kittredge Road in Bangor. For more about the Bangor Land Trust, click here: www.bangorlandtrust.org.
  • The forest is accessible via Kittredge Road and Tripp Drive. The Tripp Drive entrance is just 4 minutes from Dirigo Pines. Click here for directions. 
  • The Bangor City Forest is a great place to spot wildlife. Be on the lookout for great blue herons, raccoons, downy woodpeckers, great horned and barred owls, wild turkeys, white tailed deer, porcupines and more.
  • Look for pitcher plants along the Bog Walk, in bloom throughout the summer. Pitcher plants are carnivorous, luring insects into a cavity in the middle of the plant.
  • What to bring: bug spray to keep the black flies at bay, sunscreen and water. And a camera to remember your visit!

Have your own tips? Share below!

Dirigo Dish: Chocolate Avocado-Chia Pudding 

Give dessert a healthy boost with chia seeds! Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!


6 Servings

  • 2 medium ripe avocados (peeled, pitted)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted chopped almonds or walnuts (optional)


  • In a food processor or blender, process all the ingredients except the almonds until smooth.
  • Transfer the pudding to serving dishes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the chia seeds to thicken.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle with the almonds if desired.

The American Heart Association’s website is a great place for seniors and people of all ages to find delicious heart healthy recipes. Click here for more AHA recipes!

Join Us for Artists of Maine

Join Kat Johnson, Educational Coordinator of the University of Maine Museum of Art, for a program about the artists of Maine. Dirigo Pines is proud to host this fun and educational event on June 9 at 7 p.m. Join us at 9 Alumni Drive in Orono. This event is FREE and open to the public! See you there! For more information, click here.

Discover Bangor’s History

June is great time to explore the history of the Bangor area, with tours of Mount Hope Cemetery, the nation’s second oldest garden cemetery, and historic downtown Bangor on the calendar. The Bangor Historical Society offers a variety of programming, walking tours and special events, including tours of the Thomas A. Hill House Museum Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June through September. Interested in becoming a member? Senior memberships are just $25 and include admission to summer Wine Night at Hill House on June 22. Find more at bangorhistoricalsociety.com.

Mount Hope Cemetery Walking Tour

The Bangor Historical Society and Bangor Arts also host walking tours of Mount Hope Cemetery throughout the summer, with the first scheduled for June 3 from 10-11:30 a.m. Mount Hope, built in 1883, is located just down the street from Dirigo Pines and offers 300 acres of beautiful walking paths and historic gravestones. It was designed by renowned architect Charles G. Bryant as part of a national movement to provide respite form grassless urban landscapes. Garden cemeteries were created as much for the living as for those who had passed on. Tickets for the tour, which includes little known facts about some of Bangor’s famous and most infamous residents, are just $10 for adults and $5 for ages 12 and under; available at bangorhistoricalsociety.com.

Historic Bangor 101

On June 10, the Historical Society hosts a tour and tales of Bangor’s first settlers, the Great Fire of 1911 and more. The tour costs $10 for adults, $5 for ages 10 and under, and meets at the Thomas A. Hill House at 159 Union St. at 10 a.m.

Make it a Hoppy Father’s Day

Give Dad what he really wants this Father’s Day: wings and beer. Just a short drive from Dirigo Pines, Bangor is ready with fun events focused on both this June – the perfect ticket to celebrate Dad (and enjoy some suds). Check out these fun-filled events just in time for Dad’s special day…

Wing Fest

The month kicks off with the food that kicks back. Sample wings from restaurants all over the Dirigo Pines region. Taste test, vote for your favs, and enjoy a beer sample. As if that’s not enough, attendees also get mini whoopee pies and live music from Chris Ross and the North (check them out here: www.chrisrossandthenorth.com). Mark Dad’s calendar for June 1 from 5-8 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. And find more info and tickets at www.wingfestmaine.com. All proceeds to benefit the United Way of Eastern Maine.

Wine Fest

Perhaps Dad prefers a nice merlot to an ale? Check out Wine on the Waterfront 2017 on June 16 from 4:30-8 p.m. in Bangor. Maine wineries and distilleries are offering up sample of their wines and spirits. Local favorites like Cellardoor Winery, Winterport Winery, Dragonfly Farm & Winery and Twenty2 Vodka and lots more will be there! Find more information at www.facebook.com/GreaterBangorCVB.

Beer Fest

Bangor’s Beer Festival: Tap Into Summer 2017 is set for June 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. This is the 5th year for this fun-filled event, which offers samplings from 25 Maine breweries. And just when it couldn’t get any better for Dad – they’ve added a bacon bar courtesy of Hops House 99. Go crazy and get Dad the VIP ticket, which includes lunch with the brewers, early admission, and T-shirt. Visit www.brownpapertickets.com for more info and tickets.

Dirigo Dish: Apple Nachos

Whether you’re feeling snacky for a healthy treat or have grandkids coming to visit this weekend – these sweet and simple apple nachos from the American Heart Association are fun, silly and delish! Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!

  • 1/3 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries or raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (unsalted)
  • 2 Tbsp hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 3 red or green apples (or mix and match!), cored and thinly sliced into about 12 pieces each
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat, smooth peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey


  • In a small bowl, combine dried cranberries/ raisins, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
  • Core each apple and thinly slice into about 12 pieces each. Layer half the apples onto a large plate or platter. If the apple slices will be sitting out for a while, sprinkle a little lemon juice over them to prevent browning.
  • Using the microwave or a teapot, bring 2 tablespoons water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine hot water, peanut butter, and honey. Use a spoon and stir until mixture is smooth.
  • Use the spoon to drizzle half the peanut butter mixture over the plated apple slices; sprinkle with half the cranberry mixture. Layer the remaining apples on top and repeat with remaining peanut butter and cranberry mixture. Serve.

The American Heart Association’s website is a great place for seniors and people of all ages to find delicious heart healthy recipes. Click here for more AHA recipes!

National Photo Month – Let’s Share!

Did you know May is National Photo Month? As spring blooms and the grass greens, there are plenty of photo-worthy subjects all around! Dirigo Pines is the perfect spot to snap a beautiful photo – from the abundant wildlife to the picturesque grounds, there’s no shortage of ideas for photographers! Whether you’re a pro or just like to snap a pic with your phone – share your favorite shots from all around Dirigo Pines on our Facebook page! We’ll even share them in a future blog post for all to see! 

Here are a few of our favorite shots from around Dirigo just to get you started:

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May is Bringing Flowers (and More)

At any age, gardening is a great way to get outdoors and stay active. Our residents are real testaments to that! Connecting with nature, stimulating your senses, watching plants blossom and grow – it’s a restorative and stress-reducing process, with the added benefits of getting a good workout and fresh veggies to boot! According to the National Gardening Association, three-quarters of households age 55 and older participate in some form of lawn or garden activity. 

While fun and relaxing, it can also be taxing on your joints, knees and back. Here are a few ways to make gardening a little less painful so you can continue planting for years to come:

  • Plant in pots or raised beds. Pots and raised beds not only help keep weeds to a minimum, they also help bring the garden a little closer to you to reduce the bending and kneeling related to gardening directing in the ground. Raised beds can be built tall enough to eliminate any bending at all – saving your back! Pots can be placed on patios and porches and even on rollers, so those with limited mobility can keep their thumbs green.
  • Work early. Start your weeding and pruning earlier in the morning, when it’s cooler and less humid. Good shoes, a broad-rimmed hat and gloves are all good ideas.
  • Enlist help. Let your children and grandchildren help with the heavy lifting and digging, or hire someone to give you a hand. 
  • Bring it in. Bring the outside in for those who can’t make the trip to the yard or have limited outdoor gardening space. Create a garden in indoor pots or create a low-maintenance terrarium. 

Our Dirigo Pines cottage residents have created some amazing gardens, and everyone at Inn has the opportunity each spring to claim a raised bed of their own. Last summer our residents’ green thumbs yielded gorgeous flowers, towering tomatoes, and all the salad fixings you could possibly ask for. We can’t wait to see what sprouts up this year!