Water buffaloes, yaks, goats, mares, cows and even soybeans make it. You can eat it, sip it like a soup, or drink it as a drink. It’s yogurt – beloved by dieters and made famous by happy, bearded nomads living past the ripe age of 100. Yogurt made its appearance on American shelves in the mid 20th century, but it’s been around for thousands of years and is a staple in diets around the globe, including our own. Walk into the most remote of gas stations in the smallest of communities and you’ll find a container or two of this creamy concoction.
Many cultures claim yogurt as their own and each has a special recipe variation. It’s curious to think of how the first yogurt came into being. Who was that daring young herdsman carrying dairy in his goatskin bag on a warm summer’s day, suddenly deciding to give his soured milk a try? And would you be brave enough to try anything you thought had turned a biological corner?
Thankfully, someone did and now we get to benefit from the experience. Many yogurts contain live bacterial cultures that break down the milk sugar (lactose) to produce lactic acid, which gives it its refreshingly tart flavor. Breaking down the lactose is good news for lactose intolerant people, many of whom are able to eat yogurt without ill effect. Your body needs a certain amount of good bacteria to keep the body healthy and some yogurts contain these bacteria. (more…)
My baby girl is turning nine next month, and for her birthday I’m buying her a doll.
It will be her fourth 18-inch doll. Over the past few years, she’s collected one that looks like her; a second that’s a historical character; and a third from a tag sale (who looks better than new because we sent her to the doll hospital for head reattachment after an unfortunate incident one Saturday). The dolls are outrageously overpriced, but I’ve shelled out for them; their companion books; their clothing and accessories; matching outfits for my daughter; and even trips to the doll megastore for doll lunches.
I’m a sucker. I admit it. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
I realize no child needs pricey dolls, much less four of them. But dolls serve an important purpose. For girls—and boys!—doll play provides an opportunity develop empathy and nurturing and serves as an outlet for creativity. Older children can use dolls to work through social situations and develop positive role models. (more…)
Mick Jagger sang it: “You can’t always get what you want.” But it seems you’ll be a lot better off if you want what you’ve got.
I recently read a study that claimed the happiest people aren’t necessarily the richest, thinnest or even most popular. These researchers found that the happiest people are–wait for it–the most grateful. Sure, I thought, if I were happy all the time, I’d be grateful too. But that’s not the case: these folks are happy because they’re grateful. In other words, the gratitude came first and happiness followed. Go figure.
It’s an oddly simple idea, and one I’ve been using on my children for years without even realizing it. Whenever they’re agitating for the newest, better, more expensive toy or gadget, I remind them to take a moment to be grateful for what they have. Of course, the message often goes unheeded, but there’s a nugget of wisdom in there that I can certainly use. (more…)
It’s October, and in my house that means baseball fever is stronger than ever. It makes no difference if “our” teams are out of the race. Every morning we check scores and at night, talk of standings and playoffs dominate the dinner conversation.
Whether your love of the game extends to being part of the crowd at a major league ballpark, enjoying a game on TV or—like me—rooting for an energetic team of Little Leaguers, baseball is best when enjoyed in the company of another wholesome All-American—popcorn. A few weeks ago I was in charge of the team snack so I brought an enormous bag filled with popcorn; the kids couldn’t have been happier and gobbled it up.
And while everybody loves classic popcorn (with just a touch of butter and salt), I score a major home run every time I serve this Easy Oven Caramel Corn. There’s no need for a candy thermometer to make this recipe, and it’s foolproof.