Monday, November 30, 2015


Wednesday, April 2, 2014
TOP: Finished Taralli Dolci, fresh from the oven. LEFT: Start with clean countertops and clean hands; no bowl necessary. TOP RIGHT: Very few ingredients are needed for the taralli.

There are certain foods that scream tradition, and this, for me, is one of them.

Easter Sunday morning isn't the same unless I have a batch of my mother's homemade taralli to go along with my colorful, hard-boiled eggs. And while I will continue to eat them after the holiday, until they are gone, we only make them once a year.

My mother would make taralli several weeks before Easter, and then freeze them. We weren't allowed to touch them until Easter Sunday.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

(This is the second of two columns about changing your appearance. The first was on plastic surgery. This one is about cosmetic procedures.)

Cosmetic procedures are used to make the skin look more youthful. Many dermatologists perform cosmetic procedures. Here are some examples:

Microdermabrasion uses tiny, fine particles or a very hard diamond-tipped wand to slough off cells from the top layer of the skin and encourage new skin growth.

Laser resurfacing uses high-intensity light to zap and improve the look of wrinkles and scars by tightening loose skin.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Here's a dish that achieves the fancy quotient for company, but is easy and quick enough for a weeknight family dinner.

We've enjoyed both components of this separately. The chicken is adapted from a recipe my husband saw on a TV show several years ago. With a nice crunchy coating of pecans, it's good all by itself.

The maple reduction (that's just a fancy word for cooking a liquid or sauce at high heat until it boils down to a thicker consistency, intensifying the flavor), is adapted from a recipe I use over the holidays as a glaze on root vegetables.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Q. What is the most common type of cosmetic surgery?

(This is the first of two columns on changing your appearance.)

I was surprised by the answer to this question. I guessed facelift and was wrong.

My wife, Gale, answered correctly without hesitation. Breast augmentation is the leader. She talks to more women, I guess.

Women outnumber men by about 9 to 1 for undergoing cosmetic surgery.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I am a creature of habit. When I go into a new restaurant, I'll usually order something I'm pretty sure I'll like, and if I do, every time I go back, I'll order it again.

I'm not terribly adventurous. When meeting friends at a Thai restaurant last year, I stared at the menu for a long time, and asked about a million questions, until the waitress pointed out a beef dish that was similar to Sweet & Sour Chicken, which I love.

She tried to discourage me, however, and suggested I be adventurous and try something else.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Q. Is a TIA dangerous?

TIA stands for "transient ischemic attack." A TIA is an interruption in the flow of blood to a part of your brain.

Its symptoms are the same as for a stroke. A TIA lasts anywhere from minutes to many hours. It goes away and leaves no apparent permanent effects.

If you have a TIA, your chances of having a stroke are increased nine times. Treat a TIA like an early warning and get to your doctor immediately for a checkup.

A stroke, which is also called a "brain attack," is caused by a blood problem in the brain.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Lemon Burst Cookies, tinted with a wee bit 'o the green for St. Patrick's Day.

I have to be honest here. This week's recipe is nothing like what it was supposed to be.

My intention was to make a yummy delicacy my mother was known for Lemon Burst Biscuits.

She made them often when she was serving brunch or just as a treat with a midday cup of coffee.

They were light and flaky and very popular.

I have the original recipe on a large index card in my mother's handwriting, stained and faded from many years of use.

It's so faded, as a matter of fact, I had a hard time reading it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Q. Is it true that pesticides are responsible for people getting Parkinson's disease?

Although genetics is very important in Parkinson's disease, environmental exposures also increase a person's risk of developing the disease. Scientists have known for some time that farm workers who used pesticides, or people who lived or worked near fields where they could inhale drifting pesticides, have an increased risk of the disease.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Pork Chops, Potatoes and Sauerkraut

I have to be in the mood to eat pork, and even then, there are only a few ways I actually like it.

This is one of them.

The pork is highly seasoned with lots of salt, pepper and garlic powder.

The potatoes cook along with the pork, and the sauerkraut is added at the end. However, if you prefer, you can add the sauerkraut after you turn the pork.

When the pork has finished cooking, remove it and the potatoes, and give the sauerkraut a good stir to pick up all of the flavor at the bottom of the pan.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Q. What can I do to avoid lead exposure?

Lead exposure can cause anemia, make you irritable, affect your memory and ability to concentrate, and it can increase blood pressure, particularly in older people.

Lead can also lead to digestive problems and cataracts. Exposure to high lead levels can be fatal.

The following are some significant sources of lead exposure: tap water, lead-based paint that was used before it was banned from housing in 1978, soil, household dust, lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery.