Concord News

Skillet muffins

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/01/2012 - 00:00
Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Food Deadline Skillet Blueberry Muffins

What do you do when you are hankering for blueberry muffins, but don't have a muffin pan handy? Or maybe you just don't feel like cranking up the oven on a hot summer day.

Why not just make blueberry pancakes? To answer that, we need to look at the differences between pancake and muffin batters. Though recipes will vary, most pancake and muffin recipes call for equal amounts of flour and eggs. But while pancakes call for more liquid, muffins get more (often way more) sugar, fat and baking powder.

That's why muffins are dense and cake-like, while pancakes are light and fluffy.

So while muffin batter cooked in a skillet may resemble a pancake, the taste is all muffin. These are even topped with a blend of cinnamon-sugar (just as you would a muffin); this caramelizes beautifully when you flip them. And while muffins can take half an hour to bake, these pancake-style muffins cook up in just minutes.

Categories: Concord News

Changing a cat's conduct

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/01/2012 - 00:00
Animal Planet star delves inside the minds of felines

Many cats are tail talkers. If those tails start to twitch and wag, watch out for fangs and claws, warns cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy.

If you try to pet a cat when its tail is wagging and get bitten, "You had it coming," said Galaxy, who helps solve behavior problems, both human and feline, on his Animal Planet TV show, My Cat From Hell.

When a cat's angry enough to wag its tail or the fur on its back stands up, its ears flatten and eyes dilate, the owner needs to figure out what's wrong, he says.

Galaxy figures cats and owners equally share the blame for relationships gone wrong, but when it comes to changing behavior, cats are the easier students - by a wide margin.

His house call kit is a guitar case loaded with cat toys and treats. But there's no magic wand in the box, he says. It takes time and hard work. "You get what you give."

Categories: Concord News

DIY ice cream is easy, tasty, healthful

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/01/2012 - 00:00

I love to take my boys out for ice cream. My friends are shocked that I embrace such a processed, sugary food, but I relish witnessing my sons' sweet, stained smiles in between licks. An ice cream cone on a hot summer day brings me back to my childhood, when pleasures were mostly sensory and entirely simple. In my complicated adult life, I appreciate those simple pleasures.

But a serving of vanilla ice cream contains about half the calcium of the same size serving of whole milk, and is higher in fat and calories, so I limit our outings. Because my boys delight in the whole ice cream experience, including the anticipation, we often make our own version. This way they enjoy it without the health hazards.

I know, I know, you don't have time to make your own dinner, let alone your own ice cream. Just try it. It takes very little time, and kids of all ages will get a kick out of the process.

Categories: Concord News

Book helps make Asian fare diabetic friendly

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/01/2012 - 00:00
Ginger, hot peppers and rice vinegar are favored ingredients

When you think about it - which I've been doing while reading Corinne Trang's new book - a diet that's good for diabetics is good for most everyone. The goal is balanced meals that are low in fat and moderate in calories. So Asian Flavors Diabetes Cookbook (American Diabetes Association, 2012; $20), despite its title, should have broad appeal.

Trang is a well-known author of seven cookbooks who is also a lecturer, consultant and frequent TV and radio show guest. She set out to write what the book cover describes as "the first book that takes the elegant, easy to prepare, and naturally healthy recipes and meals of Asian cuisine and crafts them specifically for people with diabetes."

Categories: Concord News

Palins keeping up with Kardashians

Concord Monitor Living - Mon, 07/30/2012 - 00:00
Bristol returns to ABC's 'Dancing'

The Palins are creeping up on the Kardashians in their campaign to become the first family of reality TV, as ABC announced Friday that Bristol Palin had been cast in its fall all-star edition of Dancing With the Stars.

"I don't think it's our business," Bristol said of her family, when one TV critic asked about the Palin family reality-TV dynasty. "I just think you guys are going to be talking about us either way, so we might as well be doing something enjoyable and fun."

Dancing host Tom Bergeron jumped in, joking: "You haven't gone Full Kardashian."

"No - not at all," Bristol answered seriously.

Categories: Concord News

'Born to Run'

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/29/2012 - 00:00
Concord Author aims to help prevent sports injuries

When it comes to running, Peter Larson says humans are made to go the distance.

"We can run on a hot day over a long distance as well as - if not better than - the vast majority of animals on this planet," said Larson, an evolutionary biologist at Saint Anselm College.

So why do we then so often get hurt doing it? That's the question Larson set out to address in Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury-Free Running, a new book he wrote with journalist Bill Katovsky. The book draws upon a variety of sources, including physical therapists versed in running injuries; Daniel Lieberman, the Harvard professor who put forth the theory that humans were "born to run;" and running books, some from many years past, which Larson mined for insights into theories on footwear and form.

Categories: Concord News

A midsummer garden check-in

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/29/2012 - 00:00

A few weeks ago I wrote that I had nothing to complain about. I should have known better than to say something like that out loud. Now a woodchuck has moved in! This is only the third one we've had in the 26 years I have been gardening here, which leads me to believe that he was relocated from someone else's garden via the woodchuck witness protection program. Lest you think I am overly paranoid, we live in an area that has long been a dumping ground for unwanted pets. Puppies, kittens, cats and over a dozen domesticated rabbits have suddenly appeared at our door over the years so why not a woodchuck? Many people don't realize that it is just as illegal to relocate wildlife as it is to abandon a pet.

Categories: Concord News

2013 Infiniti JX35: A pretty, luxurious wagon

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/29/2012 - 00:00

It is a beautiful wagon, fluid in exterior design, with jewel-like grille and headlamps. You are forced to look at it, an elegant motorized homage to affluence, or at least to the desire for same.

Yet there is nothing ostentatious about it. The wagon's richness is in its execution - for example, the way its exterior door handles blend neatly, unobtrusively into side-panels, the way the fluid motion of it all ends in the rear in the manner of a cresting wave.

Step inside of this week's subject vehicle, the 2013 Infiniti JX35 all-wheel-drive, which I prefer to call a wagon because, in actual design and intended use, that is what it is.

There are seats for seven people, with 60-40 split middle seats that easily slide and fold forward, allowing access to third-row seats in the rear.

Categories: Concord News

A brewed awakening

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/29/2012 - 00:00
I take my shot as a barista for a day at True Brew Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Tim O' Shea: Day as a barista at True Brew Tim O' Shea: Day as a barista at True Brew Tim O' Shea: Day as a barista at True Brew

"Pull your hair back, wear closed-toed shoes and a shirt with sleeves," Sara the barista tells me over the phone. If she thinks I'm showing up for my first-ever shift as a barista in huarache sandals, a tank top and a free-flowing mullet, she's got me all wrong. I've been dreaming of this day for a while, and I don't dream in hairnets and flabby underarms.

I meet Sara Judy early the next morning as she's opening up. Sara opens every morning at True Brew Barista, one of Concord's true coffee houses and my home, off and on, for the next few days. I'm here to learn the ropes - to get a dollop of what it's like to be a barista, to grind and brew some beans, make frozen drinks and try to look as calm and competent as Sarah and her coworkers do every time I'm in here.

Categories: Concord News

Where to entertain little ones

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/29/2012 - 00:00

They're coming: the little people, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends, all the people who like to visit us in the summer because we live in a tourist-welcoming state. We love having them, but it's been a while since we were the entertainment committee. What can we do? Where can we go, so they think we're fun and they'll want to come back next year?

New Hampshire has a wealth of places to go, sights to see, activities to take part in, so I've zeroed in on low- or no-cost ideas to share with your guests, in or near Concord:

• I thought my 7-year-old's eyes would pop right out of his head when he first caught sight of the gigantic rocket outside the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. His excitement didn't abate throughout the program inside, targeted to his age group, and included his enjoyment of his chicken tenders lunch in the center's cafe.

Categories: Concord News

She's kind of stuck on her therapist

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/29/2012 - 00:00
Baggage Check

Q: I'm kind of obsessed with my therapist. It's not a sexual thing (I'm straight and we're both women), but I've Googled the heck out of her, and every time she gives me even the slightest tidbit into her life, I ponder it for days.

A: Lots of processes go on in the relationship between therapist and client, and they're usually quite useful to talk about. The feelings you describe are most likely a type of transference - you're human, she's human, and there's something in your dynamic that's meaningful to you.

Maybe you admire her like a mentor. Maybe you feel she cares for you like a mother would. I don't know what you're in therapy for, but if it has anything to do with relationship dynamics, it's even more crucial to explore this. So if you can bring yourself to do it, talk about it.

Categories: Concord News

There isn't much you can do about airfare prices

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/29/2012 - 00:00

Face it: Searching for reasonable airfares is depressing these days. In fact, any time I see "airfare" in headline (like early this week), I suspect there is an industry-wide airfare hike in progress, and I shake my head before I read on. What's the back story about these increases? Why do they happen, and why are some successful and some not? Is there anything the average traveler can do about?

The price: The final price you pay for a seat on airplane is made up of several components. You have a modicum of control over components like add-on fees for talking to an agent, checking a bag, using a pillow or blanket, having a snack or sitting in an aisle seat - or even sitting next to your family, in some cases. You can travel light, fly hungry, let your 3-year-old sit next to strangers - you decide.

Categories: Concord News

Artful yoga

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 07/26/2012 - 00:00
Manchester Class combines stretches, installation Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  DSC 0199

There is nothing lacking in Cristi Rinklin's Diluvial, a new installation at the Currier Museum of Art. The emptiness of the space seems only to enhance the majesty and mystique of the images laminated on the windows, wallpapered on the front walls and painted on the back walls. And yet, when the yoga students arrive and unroll their mats on the blond wood floors, when their ancient mantra fills the bare room and their bodies adopt poses evocative of nature, there is a feeling that, yes, this is what was meant to be here.

"Cristi's project is about cycles of destruction and renewal . . . the way that she depicts these destructive events in very beautiful, seductive language, it's almost a coming to terms with nature's destructive forces," said Nina Bozicnik, curator of the installation, which will be on view in the Putnam Gallery through Sept. 9. "That theme seemed to fit with yoga and the idea of finding a balance."

Categories: Concord News

Day of nature

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 07/26/2012 - 00:00
Statewide Audubon event celebrates affiliation

A day of creepy crawlies, curiosity and a bald eagle finally ready for his close-up, this celebration is made for children, adults and everyone in between.

On Saturday, the New Hampshire Audubon and National Wildlife Federation will hold events at five Audubon sites throughout the state: Amherst, Auburn, Concord, Hebron, and Rye. The free, all-ages event will have live animal demonstrations, sanctuary walks, field and pond explorations, birding activities, and presentations by the Audubon's scientific staff

The event is meant not only to bring people a little closer to nature, but also to celebrate the recent affiliation of the New Hampshire Audubon and National Wildlife Federation.

"The purpose of the affiliation is to strengthen," said Kelly Wing, spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Audubon.

Categories: Concord News

Judge appoints new guardian for Jackson kids

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 07/26/2012 - 00:00
Los Angeles

A judge yesterday stepped into the turmoil roiling the Jackson family, appointing the son of Tito Jackson to serve as temporary guardian of Michael Jackson's children in the absence of the family matriarch and in the midst of a feud over the pop superstar's estate.

Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff temporarily suspended Katherine Jackson as the children's guardian because she is in Arizona and hadn't spoken with them in several days. He appointed Tito Joe "TJ" Jackson to serve as temporary guardian with the ability to control the hilltop home where the children live and to take on other supervision duties.

Beckloff said there was no evidence that Katherine Jackson had done anything wrong but instead it appeared she was being prevented from fulfilling her role as guardian through the "intentional acts of third parties."

He also said the children - Prince, Paris and Blanket - cannot be taken outside California without court approval.

Categories: Concord News

Purple passion

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 07/25/2012 - 00:00
Some sweet, savory ways to enjoy freshly picked berries Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Home Plate Home Plate Home Plate

I can't remember another year when there were so many chipmunks and robins living in my yard. I like chipmunks and robins - in moderation. But this population boom is taking a toll on my raspberry patch. It turns out chipmunks and robins are huge berry fans, though the chippies seem to have a thing for golden Anna and the robins are red Polana fans. They both love Royalty Purple, as do I.

A friend who sells berries at local farmers markets recommended I hang up tinfoil pie plates and get one of those fake owls to scare off my freeloaders, which I did. The day after I set up the pie plates, I watched a robin fly directly into one, sort of like a knight tilting at a target. It seemed to be having fun.

Categories: Concord News

Fennel: What they are and how to use them

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 07/25/2012 - 00:00
Two things it's not: Anise or a bulb

If ever there was a vegetable dogged by misunderstanding, fresh fennel is it.

Because while it may taste like anise and look like a bulb, it is neither. And don't let the grocery workers who love to label it that way tell you otherwise.

While fennel is a relative of anise, they are separate plants. And while the base of fennel is bulbous, that's a shape, not its plant variety. So now that we've cleared up what fennel isn't, let's focus on what it is.

Fresh fennel resembles a cross between cabbage, celery and dill. The taste is assertively (though not unpleasantly) licorice and sweet. The base of the fennel is round with tightly overlapping pale green leaves. Sprouting out of that are long celery-like stalks topped with fine frilly leaves.

Technically speaking, all parts of the plant are edible, but most people will find the stalks too tough to eat.

Categories: Concord News

Why fresh food is better than frozen

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/22/2012 - 00:00

My kids and I recently had 30 minutes to undertake a week's worth of grocery shopping before we had to be at baseball practice. This is not unusual. As we ran through the grocery store, each flying in a different direction to gather items on the list, my boys asked me an excellent question. They asked me why I don't buy frozen meals.

We happened to be at Trader Joe's, a store full of frozen items that are labeled organic and appear to be very healthy. They reasoned that if I tossed seven frozen meals in the cart I'd be almost done shopping for the week.

Shopping would have taken mere minutes instead of the hour it usually takes to find all the ingredients, not to mention the time spent unloading the groceries and cooking the meals.

My boys asked a fair question, and one I am guessing most parents have asked themselves when they feel frazzled getting dinner on the table.

Here is my simple answer.

A fresh meal generally supplies more . . .

Categories: Concord News

Making music

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/22/2012 - 00:00
Monitor board of contributors A Concord man's children gave him the gift of a lifetime: the ability to erase regret Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Paul plays the Saxophone Paul plays the Saxophone Paul plays the Saxophone

Paul Dallaire grew up in a musical household in Lincoln. His three older sisters took piano lessons from a lady in the neighborhood, and every evening the family gathered around the parlor piano and sang songs together.

In fourth grade, he picked up the trumpet - but only briefly.

"The local band director, Mr. McClure, gave lessons and provided instruments for all the kids to use. I had a trumpet," Dallaire recalls. "About three months into the lessons, Mr. McClure announced that it was time for us to buy our own instruments. It was $50 for a new trumpet. So I went home and told my mom, and she said there was no way we could afford $50 for a new trumpet."

Dallaire would not play another musical instrument for 55 years.

In 2007, his daughter Michelle Branch surprised him with a philosophical question: "Do you have any regrets in your life?"

Related content:  Listen to Paul Dallaire play the sax
Categories: Concord News

Looking to cruise? Book trip now

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 07/22/2012 - 00:00
Be wary of baseline prices, cost add-ons

If you're thinking of cruising during the 2013 "wave season" (January-March) and haven't booked yet, you're on the cusp of being late. Are you putting off booking because you think last-minute deals will pop up or you're nervous about hidden costs?

Bud and I booked our February 2012 Caribbean cruise about this time last year and just made it under the wire for some of the worthwhile promotions. We hadn't cruised since 2006 and found that the landscape has changed a bit.

Pricing and the industry: Not surprisingly, the principle of supply and demand has an impact on cruise pricing. If you want to go where everybody else is going on the ships that everybody else likes, chances are you'll have to pay. And guess what?

Categories: Concord News
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