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Tuesday

Z is for Zipping to the Zoo




Spring doesn’t official arrive, according to our family, until the zoo opens.


And it has. We're past the beastly winter and on into glorious warm-weather days, when we can stroll through the zoo and visit a host of wonderful wild creatures.

The first zoo trip of the year is an annual highlight. 

Usually, it’s a little brisk out, so we bundle up. We don’t mind, because the cooler weather tends to make the zoo animals considerably more animated than usual.
Keeping Up with the King of the Beasts

Now that we have grandchildren (OK, now that he has grandchildren. Well, I guess I can say that they're my grandkids too, even if their parents were wedding presents.), we have another excuse (as if we needed one) to visit the zoo. We even have annual passes, which we never had with our own kids.

The zoo brings out the beast in all of us, but in a good way.

Within a few minutes, the grownups among us forget our adulthood, joining the kids in their crowing and crazy antics.

Hanging Out with the Kangaroos
We peek at the monkeys and peer at the penguins. We howl at the wolves, wave to the wallabies, joke about the giraffes, and roar with the lions. We strut like the storks, lumber like the hippos, laugh at the llamas, and honk with the elephants.

One of these days, the zookeepers will probably have to kick us out - or lock us up and start feeding us. 

Maybe you know the feeling.

Making Merry with the Meerkats
What’s your favorite zoo animal?


Do you run straight for the reptile house, poke around the petting zoo, walk right to the wildlife area, or make a beeline for the bird sanctuary?

Happy zoo days – another great reason to get outdoors.

Image/s:

Photos by Linda Ann Nickerson

Nickers and Ink

All rights reserved.

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Monday

Y is for Yummy Frozen Yogurt




Yes! I admit it. I have a new nightly vice.


Well, my late-night ice cream cravings are nothing new, although I have fended them off a lot lately.

Recently, I found a new substitute in a diet-friendly frozen yogurt.

Healthy Choice (Con Agra Foods) now offers Greek Frozen Yogurt in tiny single-serving cups. Each helping is 100 is marked as containing 100 calories, 2 fat grams, and 17 carbohydrate grams. One cup costs three Weight Watchers points, if you’re keeping track.

Not bad for a tasty little snack. 


The Vanilla Bean tastes almost like ice cream, but with a little of that familiar yogurt tang.

Other flavors include Blueberry, Raspberry, and Strawberry. C’mon, Healthy Choice. Bring on the coffee and chocolate varieties! We’re waiting. 

A three-pack of Healthy Choice's Greek Frozen Yogurt cost me $3.29 (plus tax).

Besides, everyone seems to be going ga-ga over Greek yogurt these days.

So maybe this dessert treat is healthier than it tastes, which is pretty good. I’m not sure how this frozen yogurt rates for live cultures, but it’s gotta be better than the high-profile, high-calorie alternatives.

No, the folks at Healthy Choice did not send me free product, coupons, discounts, or even a request for a product review. I just stumbled upon the stuff at a local store. But they are welcome to send as many containers as they’d like.

Image/s:
Product photo by Linda Ann Nickerson
Nickers and Ink
All rights reserved.

Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. You are also invited to join this writer's fan page, as well as the Chicago Etiquette Examiner, Madison Holidays Examiner, Equestrian Examiner and Madison Equestrian Examiner on Facebook.


Saturday

X is for eXasperated with toxic grocery sorting



 OK, this is it. I think I’m done shopping at Sentry Foods.


At least, in our town.

I just lugged a half-dozen bags into my kitchen and began unpacking my groceries. Guess what I found, all in one bag?

  • One package of fresh ground beef
  • One package of raw stir-fry beef strips
  • One large container of vanilla yogurt
  • One package of lettuce shreds
  • One multi-pack of raisins

All in the same bag!

In fact, one of the meat packages was a little drippy.
Can you say, “E. coli”? How about “Listeria” or “Salmonella”?

This is not the first time this has happened at the same Sentry Foods store.

Yeah, I know. I should have been paying better attention, instead of answering my phone, rummaging through my purse for my checkbook, and unhooking my keys from my purse strap. But I did load the items on the conveyor intentionally, with a huge space separating the raw meats from the rest of my grocery items.

Silly me, assuming the checkout clerk would catch the point and bag the raw meat separately.

This is not the first time I’ve found Sentry checkers stacking raw meats in the same bags as non-cooking items.

About three months ago, I even wrote to the corporate office at Sentry Foods, informing them that I had found raw chicken and ground beef packed in the same grocery bag as fresh strawberries, Wheat Thins crackers, and a package of hot dog buns.

No response.

Yep, I think we are pretty much done with Sentry. It’s not the only show in town. And the baggers at Pick ‘N Save and WalMart know how to sort groceries for packing.

Sure, it’s great to conserve resources and use fewer bags. But it’s downright dangerous to pack uncooked meats with items customers will not be cooking at all.

Now, if anyone in my family suffers from food poisoning tonight, I’m calling the checker.

By the way, her name is Mary, according to the receipt.


 Image/s:
Supermarket by CKForic - StockXchng Photos

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Friday

W is for Watching Out for White Rice


 

Is white rice wicked? Can too much of this simple carb cause diabetes?


Top medical researchers and nutritionists say it may. For at least three years, leading health experts have warned about the potential hazards of loading up on basic white rice.

Maybe you’ve heard about white rice and health concerns.

Most of us already understand the push for whole grains, versus super-refined foods that may no longer carry substantial nutritional value. Clearly, over-consumption of simple starches and sugars is likely to up a susceptible person’s risk of certain forms of diabetes.

Common white rice, with the husks and hulls removed, may be one of the more refined and simplified carbohydrates in our food chain. Is it good for us?

Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a 2010 study and discovered that those who ate white rice five or more times a week were significantly more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes than those who didn’t. Those who ate brown rice, barley, or whole wheat grains instead experienced 36 percent fewer cases.

Five times a week? That’s a lot of rice.

Certainly, a reasonable helping of the popular starch may be fine, now and then.

Suppose you visit an Asian restaurant, for example, and you really want a bowl of white rice to go with your savory entrĂ©e. Or maybe you crave a bowl of spicy rice, while dining in a favorite Mexican eatery.  Perhaps you’ve had a bout with the flu, and all you can stomach is a bowl of chicken and rice soup.

Go ahead. Why not?

Now and then, a little white rice is not likely to make a difference. The health risk seems to creep in with frequent consumption, particularly in place of healthier, whole-grain choices.

Nutritionists across the board advise consumers that overindulgence in white bread, white potatoes, and plain white pasta may carry similar statistical outcomes. Cookies, crackers, pastries, and snacks made with white flour fall into the same family as well.

Heads up, carb lovers.

The stuff we crave really may be bad for us. Maybe that’s not a news flash, but it does remind us to step away from the snack aisle again and to reconsider healthy grains.

 Image/s:

Rice Bowl by lioneltitu - StockXchang Photos


Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. You are also invited to join this writer's fan page, as well as the Chicago Etiquette Examiner, Madison Holidays Examiner, Equestrian Examiner and Madison Equestrian Examiner on Facebook.


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