A Holiday Message From JOHN C. BRAUER, M.A. President/CEO – Dec 2023

Sending Shoshin Wishes to You and Yours!

Dear Friends and Supporters,

As some of you may know, when I’m not cooking up new ideas at New Horizons, I love spending time baking. My love of baking harkens back to my early years when I would spend the summer months with my grandmother, who was a joyous baker. She rarely used a recipe, and her pies, cakes, breads and assorted desserts (if you’ve never tried large-pearl tapioca, you’re missing out) were always a big hit with family, friends, and at church and community socials. She spent a lot of time and energy baking and tinkering with her “goods,” and I remember asking her once if she ever got tired of baking for so many people and events. Her answer was short and sweet… “never!” For her, baking was an expression of love and kept her young at heart.

While I’m not the baker that she was, she instilled her love of baking to me. Rolling, kneading and mixing all have a calming, magical quality, and the time spent in the kitchen reminds me to be in the moment, and to be more “shoshin” in my thinking. Shoshin is the Japanese Zen word for “beginner’s mind,” and refers to a paradox: the more you know about a subject, the more likely you are to close your mind to further learning. As a baker, I want to open to new ideas, new ways of combining or adding ingredients so that the end product just gets better and better.

The concept of incorporating the beginners mind is equally relevant here at New Horizons. As we approach 2024, we’re committed to acknowledging the wonderful people and ideas that made the agency what it is today, while keeping a fresh perspective…adding new ingredients to an already stellar cake if you will…so that we’re always improving what we do for our Members. We have so many exciting plans to share with you in the coming year, and I think you’re going to be pleased with our vision and plans.

While NH has been around for 70 years, in many ways we are both experts and beginners on this journey, and we are counting on your input and support to keep New Horizons an agency that’s open to new ideas.

My holiday wish is that you are able to find time to do the things you love and that bring you joy, peace and renewal. Thanks for being on this path with us. Together, let’s “bake” something special for those that we serve.

Yours in service.

Happy Holidays,

Large Pearl Tapioca

My gift to you… see my grandmother’s recipe below.


Large Pearl Tapioca Recipe


  • 1/2 cup large tapioca (not instant). I find mine on-line, but some specialty stores will carry it
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place the tapioca in a large bowl and rinse with water. Drain the water, then add 2 cups cold water, cover, and let it stand overnight.
  2. Drain the water from the tapioca.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt and set aside. Place eggs and yolks in a large bowl and whisk them until they are combined. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, a little at a time, whisking constantly, until all of the sugar is added. Whisk until the egg mixture is a very light yellow color, about 2 minutes, then set aside.
  4. Place the saucepan with the milk mixture over low heat and bring to a simmer. Once it begins to bubble, remove the pot from heat and temper the eggs with the hot liquid by whisking the eggs constantly as you add the liquid a little at a time.
  5. Once the two mixtures are completely combined, pour the custard back into the original pot and add the tapioca. Whisk constantly over low heat. As you whisk, the mixture will begin to thicken. Watch the pearls, they will become translucent, with just a bit of cloudiness in the centers, indicating that the pudding is done. Do not worry that the pudding looks a bit watery, as extra liquid will be absorbed during the cooling process. Scrape the pudding into a bowl or in individual serving dishes, and press plastic wrap directly on top of the surface(s). Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.