Salad dressing just got a little more interesting...
One Million Moms, a Christian advocacy group that aims to limit supposedly explicit content in the media, is in an uproar over a recent magazine advertisement for Kraft.
The ad, featuring an almost naked man covered by a picnic blanket, led the group to state in a recent press release that “Christians will not be able to buy Kraft dressings or any of their products until they clean up their advertising…Who will want Kraft products in their fridge or pantry if this vulgarity is what they represent?”
While, admittedly, the caption in the corner stating “Silverware Optional – Let’s Get Zesty” is a bit suggestive and the accompanying link below “getmezesty.com” does sound like something you wouldn’t really want to pop up in your Internet browser’s history page, will the ad really “push away loyal, conservative customers” as the One Million Moms say? Or will it spice things up in the grocery store? Either way, Kraft is no longer just about salad dressings.
We’ve tried a lot of recipes looking for good, Easy Homemade Caramel Corn that doesn’t use corn syrup. We’ve finally found one that we love. This popcorn tastes amazing … buttery and caramel-y just the way it should. And no corn syrup required! And it could not be easier to make. It has quickly risen up the list of most requested family treats!
Start with approximately 10 cups of popcorn. Make sure you get out all of the un-popped kernels. You don’t want to bite down on one of those! We pop our popcorn on the stove (you can find our directions on How to Make Perfect Popcorn here) but you can use air-popped or microwave.
Melt 1 cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add 1 cup of light brown sugar and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Stirring continuously, bring the butter and sugar mixture up to a boil on medium heat. When it reaches a boil allow it to cook for 5 minutes without stirring on medium heat. Add the 2 tsp. of vanilla at the 4 minute mark and mix.
At the 5 minute mark, add the 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. This will cause the caramel to change colors and foam up a bit. This is the chemical reaction that you want. The bubbling effect of the baking soda will aerate the caramel and make it lighter and smoother and therefore easier to coat the popcorn.
Drizzle the caramel mixture over the popcorn. Use a spoon to gently fold the popcorn with the mixture until the kernels are all covered.
Pour the popcorn out onto a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil or a silpat liner.
Allow the Easy Homemade Caramel Corn to cool prior to serving.
Our family loves this popcorn so it has never lasted longer than a day at our house. This popcorn definitely tastes best right after it is made but will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
This Easy Homemade Caramel Corn is super delicious – buttery with a distinct yummy caramel taste. And it could not be easier to make. Make up a batch for your family, you won’t be sorry!
J&J Gets Caught in a Sling Over Internet Motrin Ad
Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Baby Powder and Band-aids, has masterfully linked its corporate image to babies for decades. So it is especially interesting that a misstep in the baby space sparked an uproar in the Internet's social networking space that left the healthcare giant apologizing to its most important customers: Moms.
The faux pas was a new online ad launched over the weekend for the company's over-the-counter-pain reliever Motrin. That's not a product for babies, but the commercial was targeted at mothers who need relief from back pain from carrying -- or, as the ad says, wearing -- their babies in a sling.
The ad touched off a storm of protest from Moms who thought the message trivialized women's pain and the popular baby-carrying practice. They aired their views online, via blogs, the video-sharing site YouTube, and Twitter, a free social messaging tool. The company yanked the ad today from the Motrin website and offered its apologies there and on its on-line consumer blog, JNJ BTW.
It was an attempt at humor that misfired, wrote Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the J&J subsidiary that makes Motrin. You can judge for yourself about the humor or the pain by clicking on the accompanying video.
Pharmaceutical companies have been slow to enter the social media space, for fear of running afoul of regulatory guidelines governing marketing. J&J, however, has embraced the technology, launching in the last few months a health channel on YouTube, and groups and applications on Facebook, in addition to consumer-oriented websites and blogs. The idea is to get consumers talking in a kind of digital word-of-mouth network about J&J products.
10 Signs Of Cheating On Facebook
The impact of social media on our lives has become so important that we fail to understand and realise the effect of what it is doing. There are a lot of relationships which are falling apart because of these social networking sites.
Some men and women do not seem to draw the line when it comes to their friends on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You would also see a set of random images of another man or woman posted by your lover. You might think it to be a little strange. These signs of cheating on Facebook is an eye-opener. Facebook cheating signs are at times difficult to read as people tend to cover it up to avoid getting caught by their partner.
To find out if your girlfriend is cheating on Facebook with someone else, these are some of the cheating online signs to look into.
Take a look at some of the signs of cheating on Facebook:
Should Breastfeeding Moms Get a Tax Break?
Even people who don't listen to Laura Ingraham -- and I readily admit I'm one of them -- couldn't miss the kerfuffle that erupted earlier this week after Ingraham interviewed Tea Party poster girl Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.). The issue: breastfeeding. This time, though, the uproar wasn't about an "inappropriate" magazine cover showing a mother nursing her baby, an image that could potentially offend an unsuspecting shopper in the checkout line. Nor was it about a celebrity daring to breastfeed in a place such as, well, public, the way that actress Maggie Gyllenhaal was photographed doing a few years ago.
This time the issue was Rep. Bachmann's accusationthat by encouraging women to breastfeed, and supporting the Internal Revenue Service's decision to classify breast pumps as medical devices, Michelle Obama is in danger of creating a "nanny state." It only took about two seconds for Sarah Palin to pile on, offering "It's no wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody you need to breastfeed your babies . the price of milk is so high."
The First Lady's observation that children who are breastfed are less likely to become obese than babies who are fed formula was made in the context of her Let's Move initiative. I'm left wondering why Bachmann and Palin are so put off by Michelle Obama's attempts to promote breastfeeding, especially in the communities with the lowest rates of breastfeeding. Even when children's health is involved, politicians can't put their ideology aside.
I'm not ready to side with Gisele Bundchen who last year declared that there should be a "worldwide law" requiring new mothers to breastfeed for six months after they give birth. That sounds a little too "Handmaid's Tale"for my taste. Not to mention self-righteous and … ridiculous. But what's wrong with offering new moms incentive and support to give their babies the healthiest start?
All the snarking reminds me of more than one run-in I had with friends when I was nursing my own kids. I called myself an advocate of breastfeeding -– I am an advocate of breastfeeding -– but I had no problem giving my babies an occasional bottle of formula when it was convenient. I wrote one magazine article after the next about breastfeeding, from how-to-get-started to how to keep the milk supply going after returning to work. I co-edited an anthology of essays about breastfeeding. And even though I breastfed my three kids for a total of five years, I had friends question my commitment to the cause because I wasn't in 100%.
The main thrust of his strategy is targeted expansion -- and fie on the skeptics who worry about a glut of fast-food outlets. ''People have been saying that the restaurant business was mature since before I joined the company,'' he said dismissively.
Mr. Novak contended that there are 2,000 city, town and suburban locations ''that have a McDonald's, a Burger King or a Wendy's, but none of our restaurants.'' He added, ''We intend to expand into those trade areas.''
Tricon will also aim to grab more of the $62 billion in sales that is the overseas fast-food market. Pepsico's restaurant business has already added 700 units a year internationally in the last five years, and that process will be accelerated, Mr. Novak said.
KFC already gets more than half its sales from abroad, and Mr. Pearson said that Tricon would use its large cash flow to expand overseas even more than Pepsico did. ''Internationally, we are like McDonald's back in 1980,'' Mr. Novak said. ''Our opportunity is huge.''
Tricon will also attempt to step up the sales of underperforming company-owned units to franchisees. The company now operates 46 percent of its restaurants, compared with just 10 percent by McDonald's.
''We may get down to 25 or 30 percent,'' said Mr. Pearson, who added that money from the sales would be used to pay down debt.
Domestically, Tricon intends to use new-product marketing blitzes and other strategies to lift sales during low-traffic times at its restaurants. For example, more than two-thirds of KFC sales and three-fourths of Pizza Hut's business are at dinner, so the company will try to enhance the lunch trade. At the same time, about half of Taco Bell's business comes from lunch, so it is working on building its dinner business.
Mr. Novak also wants to expand the number of ''two-in-ones,'' the 300 or so pairings of Taco Bell and KFC stores, on the theory that diners at one might be attracted to the other.
Mr. Pearson returns to the fast-food fray after more than a decade in less consumer-driven pursuits. After resigning from Pepsico in 1985, he lectured on competitive strategy and management at the Harvard Business School until his retirement last year. In 1991, he became a principal of the New York private investment banking firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Inc. though he will no longer be financially connected to the firm he will continue to serve on the boards of two of its properties, Alliant, the food-service unit it acquired from Kraft, and Kinko's Inc., the copy service company in which the firm holds a minority stake.
These days, he has been recruiting directors for the company. His presence means that Mr. Novak ''will be able to focus on being chief operating officer, so that he won't necessarily have to go to all the dinners at the Waldorf,'' said Emanuel Goldman, an analyst for Paine Webber. '⟚vid can be Mr. Inside, and Andy can be Mr. Outside.''
Mr. Novak is deferential toward his new boss, saying that he suggested Mr. Pearson's name during the search for a chairman. ''I have known him for 10 years and I've seen him in action,'' Mr. Novak said, 'ɺnd I'm looking forward to learning from him.''
Mr. Pearson, at Pepsico's headquarters in Purchase, and Mr. Novak, in KFC's headquarters in Louisville, Ky., talk two or three times a day on the phone, and usually every evening. ''When we both conclude that David is ready to take over on his own, then I'll hand him the baton,'' Mr. Pearson said.
But before he leaves, Mr. Pearson vows to prove the doubters wrong. The spinoff, he said, ''is a great challenge, a chance to prove to the world that this business is every bit as good as we thought it was.''
Pepsico, which paid $1.35 billion for the three chains, tripled the number of their outlets to more than 28,000 and, during the last decade, has increased their combined global revenues to $20.2 billion from $7.3 billion, taking an impressive $6 billion in operating profit from them.
With the company estimating that the chains' market capitalization will approach $5 billion, Pepsico should receive a minimum $3 billion dividend from Tricon, representing the restaurants' share of Pepsico's debt. Pepsico will use the payment to reduce debt, buy back shares and make investments.
Pepsi, Pepsico's flagship beverage operation, will have an exclusive multiyear contract to sell its beverage concentrate to Tricon's company-owned restaurants. But among franchisees, Pepsi will have to compete with Coca-Cola, which is already soliciting business.
The spinoff will leave Pepsico, with its Frito-Lay division, a beverage-and-snack-food play, made even purer two weeks ago when the company sold the last of its California Pizza Kitchen chain of casual-dining restaurants to Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Company, a Manhattan-based investment fund, for nearly $100 million.
'ɺ restaurant spinoff is the single most important operational decision that Pepsi could take to benefit its stock,'' Mr. Goldman of Paine Webber said. As for Tricon, Mr. Goldman is betting that Mr. Novak can make the restaurants fly on their own.
Pepsico's fast-food rivals, while watching the three chains' disengagement from the parent company closely, are hardly quaking. ''Let's say Pepsico was buying these restaurants instead of selling them,'' said Denny L. Lynch, a spokesman for Wendy's International. ''Theyɽ be saying how formidable the combination was, how Pepsico has deep pockets, how they would be going global.''
''They are certainly formidable competitors,'' Mr. Lynch added, 'ɻut our approach won't change because they have new owners.''
A treatment called complete decongestive therapy can ease painful symptoms. Complete decongestive therapy involves:
Manual lymphatic drainage. A form of massage that uses gentle, rhythmic pumping movements to stimulate the flow of lymph around blocked areas to healthy vessels, where it can drain into the venous system. This helps relieve pain and prevent fibrosis.
Compression. The use of stretch bandages or custom-fitted panty hose, panties, or spandex shorts to increase tissue pressure in the swollen legs and lessen the odds of fluid building up again.
Exercise. Helps to reduce fluid buildup, boost mobility, and maintain or improve how well your legs work.
Thorough skin and nail care. Helps lower the risk of wounds and infection if you have lipedema associated with swelling.
Liposuction, specifically water-assisted liposuction and tumescent liposuction, can remove the lipedema fat. The procedure uses a hollow tube that is placed under the skin to suction the fat tissue. Several sessions may be needed depending on the amount of abnormal fat.
Fat Disorders Research Society: "Lipedema Description."
National Lymphedema Network: "LymphLink Question Corner."
Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center: "Lipedema."
West Virginia University HealthCare: "Lymphedema."
Lymphology Association of North America: "What is Lipedema?"
UCDavis Health System: "Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD)."
University of Rochester Medical Center: "Lymphedema Therapy: Complete Decongestive Therapy."
Moms across the USA are in uproar over Victoria's Secret's new "Bright Young Things" ad campaign.
Angry parents are blasting the company's Facebook page claiming the campaign is aimed at girls way too young to be wearing Victoria's Secret lingerie.
The 'PINK' collection features lacy underwear with phrases like "I get around" "Let's get a room" and "Call me" on the front and back.
Emma Bazilian from Adweek weighed in, saying, "It's definitely meant to appeal to a younger audience because no woman over the age of 25, for instance, would probably be wearing a pair of bright pink underwear that say 'Call me' on the back."
One mom wrote on the company's Facebook page, "It is disgusting to market that level of sexually suggestive item to girls."
"Now in preteen sizes, Sickening!" wrote another.
There's even a petition to force Victoria's Secret to pull the campaign.
Victoria's Secret is denying the collection is aimed at young girls, saying in a statement, "Victoria's Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women. We have no plans to introduce a collection for younger women."
Another controversial new ad is coming under fire. It's from Nike and featuries Tiger Woods with the slogan, "Winning takes care of everything."
Woods just regained his title as the world's number one golfer, and critics said Nike is suggesting that winning makes up for the damage caused by his sex scandal.
"A lot of people are saying that they think it clearly is a reference to the fact that he has no remorse over what's happened in his personal life. But a lot of other people who are Tiger Woods fans are happy for him that he's back on top," Bazilian said.
What are the causes and risk factors for cerebral atrophy?
It has been documented that normal aging causes the brain to shrink by an average of 1.9 percent every 10 years, beginning in young adulthood and becoming more prominent in your sixties. After the age of 60, it has been reported that individuals lose about half a percent to one percent of brain volume every year. This is believed to be the result of the number of brain cells naturally declining with age. Some areas of the brain are affected by this generalized form of brain atrophy more than others, like the hippocampus, which is involved in memory. However, a person&rsquos cognitive function is often not affected.
Disease, stroke, and traumatic brain injury
Brain disorders such as Alzheimer&rsquos disease, Huntington&rsquos disease, corticobasal degeneration, posterior cortical atrophy, multiple system atrophy, and progressive supranuclear palsy can cause significant cerebral atrophy. Often times, these conditions may begin as focal atrophy and then progress to a more generalized form, with some cases leading to the patient&rsquos death.
Brain injury caused by stroke or trauma often leads to the obstruction of blood flow to the brain, starving it of vital oxygen and nutrients. This leads to brain cell death and subsequent brain atrophy. If not treated in a timely fashion, the possibility of cognitive deficits or even death is very likely.
Not having sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 in the diet can lead to significant brain atrophy over time. A study done by the University of Oxford found that healthy volunteers with normal levels of B12 had more volume loss compared to other healthy volunteers with higher levels of the vitamins in their system. Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the few preventable and reversible causes of cerebral atrophy.
Excessive alcohol use
Drinking more than 14 drinks per week has been linked to significant brain shrinkage, according to a study conducted by the John Hopkins Bloomberg Public School of Health. Additionally, the more you drink, the greater brain volume loss per year. Women were seen to be affected by this result the most, despite drinking less per week than men.
Interestingly, one study found that light to moderate amounts of alcohol may actually reduce the risk of dementia, of which cerebral atrophy is a significant contributor. In particular, wine was seen to be potentially beneficial for brain aging. However, more research is still needed.
Dancer's essay: A lifetime of 'Nutcrackers' at the Houston Ballet
Jeanne Doornbos, who danced with the Houston Ballet from 1973-1988, is the only surviving member who performed as a professional in all three of the ballet's productions of "The Nutcracker." Michael Paulsen/Staff
Most former dancers, whatever their post-performing path, never completely lose the feeling of "being a dancer," even if it isn't always, or even often, uppermost in their minds.
I'm no different, and although I danced my last "Nutcracker" with Houston Ballet in 1987 and retired after 15 years with the company in 1988, I am inevitably transported backstage each holiday season when I first hear the strains of Tchai-kovsky's beautiful "Nutcracker" music around me, usually as I am walking down a grocery store aisle.
Feelings of both panic and joy rise immediately in me, and for a brief moment I worry if my pointe shoes are broken-in properly, if my partner is waiting in the wings, if I'll manage all the pirouettes in the "Waltz of the Flowers."
Phew! I quickly come to my senses and realize that, back here on planet Earth, I don't have to worry about that anymore. I can just enjoy the music.
I feel more than a little geriatric reminiscing about the three "Nutcracker" productions that Houston Ballet has presented so far, after it was determined that I am the only surviving dancer who performed as a professional in all three.
I know that some Houston Ballet Academy students who started out as children in the original Frederic Franklin "Nutcracker" went on to perform as adults in the two Ben Stevenson productions, including the current one, first presented in 1987, with beautiful sets and costumes by Desmond Heeley.
'The Nutcracker' at the Wortham
Performances of "The Nutcracker" continue through Dec. 30 at the Wortham Theater Center. Tickets are $25 to $110 at 713-227-2787 or www.houstonballet.org
In fact, when we danced together with Houston Ballet, Lauren Anderson used to occasionally call me "Mom," to remind me that she had been a party child when I was playing an adult in Act I. So, I admit that I may have a historic view.
Franklin's "Nutcracker" was being presented for only the second time during my first year with Houston Ballet, in 1973. I'd never been in a "Nutcracker" before, and was very excited to become part of a holiday tradition. I danced many corps de ballet roles in this version: Parent, snowflake, flower, Spanish dancer, Mirliton.
Clara's family in this version was wealthy, and I remember the women in the Act I party scene wearing elegant décolleté gowns festooned with pearls, feathers in our hair, and lots of jewelry. The men wore velvet tailcoats, and the "Dance of the Parents" in Act I was quite stately. The uproar caused by the riotous boys (often played by girls dressed in long pants in those days, because of a dearth of boy students in the Houston Ballet Academy) was calmly dealt with by regal parents.
In the later Stevenson versions, set in a less formal household, Fritz and his band get pretty wildly out of hand, which is funny and memorable, but surely causes parents of small children in the audience to grind their teeth and shift in their seats. It certainly did me when I began to take my son to see "The Nutcracker," though I must admit he loved it and laughed delightedly as he followed the boys' exploits.
The feeling the dancers get from an audience at "The Nutcracker" is distinctive because of the presence of so many children. Their reactions to the stage action are free and spontaneous, and you can often feel - and hear, if a little one just can't keep still - the sense of wonder emanating from the audience. It makes the magic of the tree growing, the Battle Scene raging, even just the Sugar Plum rising onto pointe exciting, even for the most jaded backstage denizen, who has seen it all before, perhaps hundreds of times.
"The Nutcracker" fields a big cast, and several performances, so that opportunities are created for company members to do more important roles than they would normally be given. Dancing up to these challenges often leads to artistic and technical growth throughout the ranks.
Nothing concentrates a dancer's mind, body and soul like having to conquer a difficult series of turns or become a character completely unlike herself. I certainly found that true as I was given larger roles over the years, and eventually was cast as both the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy for several years in Ben Stevenson's two productions of "The Nutcracker."
If a dancer does well in "Nutcracker" roles that have stretched and strengthened her dancing, she won't be ignored when casting is decided for other ballets and will be ready for even greater challenges.
In this way, "The Nutcracker" provides a yearly tutorial in pure classical dancing and characterization for all the company members, which has served the artistic growth of Houston Ballet over the years. It also fosters a sense of continuity and community within the company as dancers observe and learn from each other, and eventually take on roles that they once watched eagerly from the wings.
I postponed my retirement so that I could dance in Houston Ballet's first season at the new Wortham Theater. It really was thrilling. I remember making the climb to the highest balcony when we first moved in, and looking down with wonder on the beautiful red proscenium arch, decorated with Texas stars.
The dressing rooms were big, the backstage area was huge, the stage floor was springy for ease of jumping, and there was a palpable air of excitement in Houston about the ballet and opera moving into a house built especially for them. It gave a solid stamp of approval to those arts that has propelled them forward ever since.
The unveiling at the Wortham in December of a new "Nutcracker," with Desmond Heeley's sumptuous - that's the only word - sets and costumes was the icing on the cake. The previous Peter Farmer production had gotten a bit bedraggled after years of service, so it was wonderful to see the elaborate sets for the Party, Snow Scene and Land of the Sweets, and the dancers in their colorful costumes milling around at dress rehearsal. I even had my own, mint-condition Snow and Sugar Plum tutus!
So many memories of "The Nutcracker" come to my mind each holiday season: Andrea Vodehnal completing a series of fouettés by pulling in for an astounding six final pirouettes in the Sugar Plum coda a Sugar Plum (not me!) getting her tiara inextricably and horrifyingly entangled in her Cavalier's tunic during the pas de deux having to nervously wait during the entire Battle Scene for the Snow Queen's entrance while remaining concealed in the narrow space behind the Party Scene tree Ben Stevenson's ribald humor about the rather suggestive cleft in the giant plum from which the Sugar Plum used to emerge in Act II the six-pack of Pearl beer that lay on the stage at the back of the Snow Scene one performance, evidence of a stagehand's hasty retreat as the scene began to change and he was about to be revealed the ritual dumping of bags of stage snow on the heads of the flittering dancers as the curtain falls on the last Snow Scene performance each year the darling little children dressed in their holiday best in the Green Room after performances and the slips, spills and mistakes that are inevitable over the course of so many performances. I loved every minute of every one.