May we learn to believe in all things our hearts feel
Grab Bag Brine the Bird:
If you’re going with a fresh turkey (word is you shouldn’t brine a frozen bird) for Christmas dinner, try brining… which is basically making a very salty marinade that you soak the bird in for 16-24 hours.
This year we are brining, and then deep-frying, 2 birds. Tried it at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving and it was mind-blowing.
Whether you roast or fry, brining a fresh turkey keeps it juicy and super tasty.
A “brining bag” is basically a giant, industrial strength ziploc. What you put in it, along with the turkey, is up to you.
Here is the recipe my sister used. Since it was my first I have no basis of comparison, but it was fantastic.
Hit the website for the full monty:
Grab Bag Lump o’ Coal Award:
… and the winner is…
RedEnvelope.com for some ABSURDLY wasteful packaging.
I wrote to them…. twice…. to ask them for an explanation of why this order of a little, tiny toddler t-shirt could not have been sent in a far smaller box or, better yet, a mailing envelope.
Here’s our email exchange:
Me: “Can Red Envelope explain why such a small and unbreakable item required such a large box, complete with bubble pods to reduce the possibility of breakage for a t-shirt? Better yet, since there are far better alternatives for shipping t-shirts, I would like to understand why this shipment was packed this way, and what Red Envelope is doing to reduce waste.”
Red Envelope Customer Care: ” Thank you for contacting us – and thank you for your suggestion. We only have a certain number of different kind of boxes and sometimes items don’t fit exactly into the box, we appreciate your feed back and I will forward this immediately to the appropriate department for further review.”
Me: “While I appreciate the acknowledgement of my email, I do expect to hear more regarding this issue. To explain this by suggesting “We only have a certain number of different kind of boxes and sometimes items don’t fit exactly into the box,” raises far bigger concerns. A brief scan of just one of your category pages reveals NUMEROUS small items that would require a very small box or envelope… if all such items are being shipped all over the country in 14″x11″x10″ boxes, the problem is far bigger than just my item.
Many large cyber retailers have made great strides in seriously reducing packaging and waste. Red Envelope should be among them. After all, it’s not RedGiantWastefulBox.com, is it? :-)”
RECC: “Thank you for contacting us – and thank you for your suggestion. I will forward this immediately to the appropriate department for further review. We appreciate your feedback as it helps us to provide better service and more options for our customers.”
Note that the last email from them is the same wording as the first, without the lame explanation…. and that’s where it died. SO….. RedEnvelope.com gets a lump of coal from me.
Grab Bag Two-fer:
The gift of cancer prevention.
The benefits of aspirin and exercise have been well documented in the heart disease realm. Now research is showing that the same practice may hold benefits against contracting, or relapsing, cancer:
By Matthew Sirott, MD
Medical professionals and lay persons have long known that heart disease, the number one cause of death in America, can be modified by exercise and aspirin. Less well publicized, but probably of equal importance, is the newly emerging data of their benefits in cancer prevention.
Clinical trials have clearly documented the benefits of moderate exercise daily (40 minutes of rapid walking). Exercise has been shown to prevent both the initial occurrence, as well as a recurrence of some cancers in patients at risk for relapse. Almost 100 studies performed worldwide have documented the benefits in breast cancer; the magnitude of benefit may be as high as 50%. The implication is that, if 10 young women were destined to relapse (and likely die) from recurrent breast cancer, then “only” five will relapse if they all exercise adequately. Similar findings are documented in colon and prostate cancer. The mechanisms explaining these results have not yet been clearly elucidated, but have been postulated to include reductions in systemic inflammatory mediating compounds.
Aspirin use has also been shown to reduce cancer development and recurrence; much of the data was initially developed in colon cancer. However, a clinical trial published in 2011 in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet combined multiple randomized published trials evaluating the use of aspirin to prevent vascular events into one single analysis (called a meta-analysis), which looked retrospectively at cancer prevention. The results are astounding: a 34% reduction in risk for all cancers and a remarkable 54% reduction in gastrointestinal cancers. The risk of death from all cancer was reduced by 20%, with an incredible 60% reduction in death from gastrointestinal cancer with greater than 7.5 years of aspirin consumption. The types of patients included those with esophageal, pancreas, brain, lung, stomach, and colorectal malignancy.
The use of any new medication, including aspirin, is not without some potential risks, and daily use should absolutely be discussed with your personal physician. Similarly, an exercise plan should not be initiated until reviewed by your physician, to be certain that you are physically fit. Those caveats aside, I am hard pressed not to recommend throwing these simple, but powerful “stones” at the two “birds” that cause more deaths in America than all other causes combined.
Grab Bag Smile Maker:
Thanks to friend Lisa A., this video is presented to bring a smile to your face. Click on the image below… you won’t regret it.
Grab Bag “Gut Buds”:
ScienceDaily.com reports that recent (Dec. 21) research reports a possible target to treat for obesity. Seems we have “taste bud”-like receptors in our gut:
The gut “tastes” what we eat — bitter, sweet, fat, and savory — in much the same way as the tongue and through the use of similar signaling mechanisms. The result is the release of hormones to control satiety and blood sugar levels when food reaches the gut. The sensors, or receptors, in the stomach respond to excess food intake, and their malfunction may play a role in the development of obesity, diabetes, and related metabolic conditions.
Growing evidence suggests that obesity and related conditions might be prevented or treated by selective targeting of taste receptors on cells in the gut to release hormones that signal a feeling of fullness, thereby mimicking the physiological effects of a meal and fooling the body into thinking that it has eaten.
Possible treatments like this are way down the road… so I guess we still need to watch our holiday intake 🙂
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Planning, logic, problem solving.. all are required to select the right 6 out of 9 words that can fill the star, with all words interconnecting.
Grab Bag Funny Stuff: