Let Them Eat Cake. I Mean, Candy.

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

Halloween is upon us.  As we all carve our pumpkins, string spider webs on our porches and hang skeletons about the house, the kids are eagerly anticipating one thing. No, it’s not dressing up in their costumes.  It’s not Halloween carnivals, nor the actual event of trick-or-treating.  It’s all about the candy.  Plain and simple.

Now, I’m a mom to a 6 year old. She’s like all kids: energetic, curious, funny, and she loves candy. So, like all good parents, my husband and I try to be conscientious about the frequency and amount of candy (and other sweets) she’s allowed to consume. We want her to continue to eat veggies and refuel her muscles with lots of protein, but sometimes it’s a battle.  We hear things like, “Did I eat enough to have dessert?”  I can’t even tell you how crazy this question makes me. I don’t want her thinking of a meal as a gateway to dessert. But, as often as I get annoyed and agitated about it, I try to talk myself down by reminding myself that she is, in fact, a kid. And to be quite honest, if she didn’t want candy and dessert, I’d probably be just as worried that something is wrong. (”Wait, she’s a kid and she never wants sweets?  What’s wrong?!?”)

So, let’s go back to Halloween. It’s all about the candy.  In recent years, many folks have meant well and handed out bags of microwave popcorn, little bags of “Halloween pretzels”, spooky bubbles, baggies of Halloween erasers and organic gummy stuff. The worst of all is the doling out of toothbrushes. What is this about?  Do we need to review what Halloween is about?  Really, people?  Really?

It’s about the candy- all about the candy.  As a kid, the best part of the whole evening was coming home and dumping it all out on the carpet and spreading it out to see all the goodies that I scored.

I even sorted the candy! Since I wasn’t crazy about Snickers, so those went to my mom.  No kid likes the miniature Hershey’s “special dark” and never has, but you have to hand it to Hershey’s.  They’ve continued making that vile candy bar in hopes that they’d eventually convince everyone else to eat it.  Thanks to that French woman telling us all how she doesn’t get fat, dark chocolate has finally gotten its 15 minutes of fame.  But, back in the 70’s, they just went in the trash.  I was a chocolate girl, so all the hard candy went to my friend Cathleen.  Suckers went into their own pile and were saved.  When all the chocolate was finally gone, the suckers were the last, sweet reminder of the Halloween spoils.  But you know what the best part of it all was?  On Halloween night, my parents NEVER told us “ok, just have 2 pieces and then we’re putting it away.”  They let us eat our candy. With reckless abandon, no limits, and no boundaries.  That is Halloween.

So, this year, my daughter is old enough to really take in all of the parts of Halloween: the lights, the jack-o-lanterns, the scary decorations, comparing costumes with the neighbor kids.  She’ll collect a lot of candy and her mouth may fall open when I let her dump it all out on the floor and take inventory. And, as much as I try to limit sweets every other day of the year, on the night of October 31st, my baby is going to truly experience Halloween. And the candy.  All the glorious candy.

My Name Is Mary Pat, And I Am An Addict

By: Mary-Pat Baldauf

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” ― Marilyn Monroe

I’ve never really been a shoe girl. Give me a few comfortable pairs in basic nude, black or navy, and I was good to go. Until a couple of years ago, my “athletic” shoes were limited to a pair of white Keds, which became a pair of Sauconys once I experienced a heel spur. But now that I’ve embraced exercise, I can’t get enough running shoes, so much so that a friend told me that I should check into “Athletic Shoes Anonymous.”

When I started strength training two years ago, I had one pair of Saucony running shoes, purchased at a discount store because I liked the pink and black accents. They were comfortable shoes and perfect for those “shop ‘til you drop” Saturdays. Once it looked like I was going to be a regular, my trainer suggested I try a pair of the then-new “barefoot” or minimalist shoes for training.

I don’t explain it as well as my trainer, but wearing minimalist shoes provides me with a much more stable “base.” The reduced heel cushioning and sole thickness, along with a minimal offset in height between the forefoot and heel allows me to have more responsiveness through my foot when grounded. This responsiveness helps to keep my knees in proper position on lifts, the back and hips to be more aligned, and in turn allows me to be more efficient with major moves such as squats, deadlifts, lunges and other compound movements.

When it was time to choose new athletic shoes, I started shopping and I never stopped. I should probably be embarrassed to admit that I now have six pairs of athletic shoes, each with their own personality, style and purpose:

  1. First came my Nike Free Trainers, my first entrée into the minimalist shoe category. Light grey with an orange bottom and turquoise accents, these are probably my tamest pair of shoes. They are perfect for strength training and the elliptical, and are probably my best “squat shoes.” But if I’m going to be on the treadmill, I usually pick another pair.
  2. Next came my Reebok RealFlex Trainers, solid neon pink. These shoes make me smile, and pick me up on those mornings that I’d rather stay in bed. The bottom resembles a rubber keyboard, and they are good for everything. These are probably my favorite shoes.
  3. Soon after experiencing the Reebok RealFlex, I also purchased a pair of their running shoes. The attraction was purely physical; they are dark grey with a neon lime bottom and neon pink accents. Although the same size as my other Reeboks, the toe box seems to be just a smidge roomier. I often wear these during “that time of the month” or when my feet feel a little swollen.
  4. On a trip to the Reebok outlet in Myrtle Beach, I purchased a neon yellow and pink RealFlex Optimal Running Shoe. I had to go up a size in these, likely due to a difference in the shoe material, and these don’t fit perfectly. They are perfect elliptical shoes, though, so I wear them most often on cardio days.
  5. That same weekend, I found a great pair of black and purple Nike Flex Trainers at Ross. The price was right, so I figured they would be a nice addition to my closet. I added a fab pair of black and silver shoelaces for the win, and I love them. These shoes have yet to develop a personality; I can’t yet tell you when they perform the best. That leads me to believe they are probably a good all-around shoe for any gym activity, whether it be strength training or cardio.
  6. My latest purchase and the ones I swear will put an end to my athletic shoe addiction? A pair of Asics Noosa running shoes. Actually designed for triathletes, this shoe gives me just a little more stability for the days when I spend an hour on the treadmill. My trainer says they’re also fine for training, though they aren’t my favorites for that purpose. And as nonchalant as I sound, I like them most for their vivid coloring: various shades of neon with glow-in-the-dark heels and toes. Yep, they are hot!

My penchant for athletic shoes has earned me a special nickname at the gym: the Imelda Marcos* of Doctors Wellness Center. But whether you love workout shoes like me or prefer to stick to a single pair, the most important thing is to find the right shoe for you. The color and style are nice extras, but there’s more to it than that. Before you go shopping for your athletic shoes, check out “10 Tips for Choosing Athletic Shoes” from WebMD. Of the ten tips, the one that resonates most with me is to go by what shoe fits, not the size. Sizes vary by brand, sometimes even styles within the same brand, so you always need to try them on.  My regular shoe size is six, but my athletic shoes range from size 6.5 to 7.5.

Happy Shopping!

*For those of you under the age of 40, Imelda Marcos is the former First Lady of the Philippines. When she and her dictator husband were driven out of the country in 1986, she left behind at least 1200 pair of shoes. She was rumored to have over 3000 pair of shoes in her palace closet.

Pink Glove Dance Voting Extended to Friday, Nov. 2!

Medline has extended voting for the Pink Glove Dance Competition until Friday, November 2!

We still have a long way to go and voting for our video has slowed down. Please keep spreading the word to family and friends across the country and encouraging them to vote for us.

You can also bring your friends and family to Lexington Medical Center Gamecock Village and the Lexington Oktoberfest to vote for our video. Pink Glove volunteers will be at Lexington Medical Center Gamecock Village, located next to Williams-Brice Stadium, from 8:00 – 11:30 a.m. and Lexington Oktoberfest in downtown Lexington from 12:00 noon – 3:30 p.m. Both events are this Saturday!

And if you haven’t already, please go to www.pinkglovedance.com, scroll down the “L-M” page for LMC and click “VOTE” on our video. If you need access to a computer or a Facebook page, please come by Marketing at 107 West Hospital Drive from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We’ll be happy to help you.

It’s because of the incredible support of our LMC family that we’ve come this far. The world is watching, so let’s show them what we’ve got and bring back-to-back National Pink Glove Dance Championships to Lexington Medical Center!

Learn the Pink Glove Dance!

This year for our Pink Glove Dance Video, we were fortunate to have Stacy Ashley be our choreographer once again!  This is the second year in a row that Lexington Medical Center is entering the international Pink Glove Dance video contest sponsored by Medline Industries, Inc., a company that makes pink exam gloves.  The project honors cancer survivors and raises awareness about breast cancer.

Our hospital’s 2012 Pink Glove Dance features the compelling story of Lexington Medical Center nurse Amy Kinard of Lexington, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 34.  The video is shot in our hospital and around our community – including at a highly-energized Williams-Brice Stadium, on a special pink glove skydiving adventure and inside a rock star celebration of cancer survivors.

And this year, we’re excited to share with you some of the dance moves featured in the video, choreographed by Stacy Ashley:

Vote for Lexington Medical Center’s Pink Glove Dance by going to www.pinkglovedance.com, searching on the “L-M” age for LMC and clicking “Vote” on our video.  You must have a Facebook account to vote.  Lexington Medical Center is the only Columbia area hospital entering the competition.  Voting for the Pink Glove Dance 2012 is from October 12th to November 2nd – there’s only one week left to go!

The winner will receive $10,000 to donate to a breast cancer charity of its choice.  Lexington Medical Center would donate its prize money to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, as it did last year.

To take one of Stacy’s classes, check out Gold’s Gym located at 619 North Lake Drive, Lexington, SC 29072.

Thanksgiving Treats Galore!

By Shannon Shull

Even though it’s only October, holiday décor is already out in the stores, so I figure we might as well get a jump start on good ole’ Thanksgiving. As I’ve flipped through some magazines, I have come across so many awesome recipes that I could not resist sharing with you all!

The following recipes come from a fabulous site called www.spoonful.com. There are some seriously fabulous recipes on this site, along with great pictures. Below are some of my favorites from the site that are super cute! I can’t wait to try these out this Thanksgiving!

Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats

Here’s a treat that looks old-fashioned but is made with two favorite modern-day sweets: marshmallows and chocolate.

What you’ll need

  • 24 chocolate-striped shortbread cookies
  • 12-ounce package of chocolate chips
  • 24 marshmallows
  • tube of yellow decorators’ frosting

How to make it

  1. Set the chocolate-striped cookies stripes down on a wax-paper-covered tray, spacing them well apart.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler.
  3. One at a time, stick a wooden toothpick into a marshmallow, dip the marshmallow into the melted chocolate, and promptly center it atop a cookie.
  4. Using a second toothpick to lightly hold down the marshmallow, carefully pull out the first toothpick.
  5. Chill the hats until the chocolate sets, then pipe a yellow decorators’ frosting buckle on the front of each hat.

Corny Cookies

These candy-topped treats are a blast for kids to help decorate for your feast — or a Thanksgiving school party. You can use our sugar cookie recipe here or store-bought dough.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Green fruit leather
  • M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces candies

How to make it

  1. Using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the flour a little at a time until the ingredients are well combined. Chill the dough for several hours or overnight.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Working on a floured surface with one part at a time, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a knife, cut out corncob shapes about 4 inches long. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 9 minutes or just until the edges brown. Let the cookies set on the sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Frost the cooled cookies. Next, use kitchen shears to cut husks from the fruit leather to fit the sides of each cookie. Press the husks in place atop the frosting, with the tips down a bit. Now fill in the middle with candy kernels gently pressed into place. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.

Sweat Turkey Treats

What you’ll need

  • Oreo cookies
  • Royal icing
  • Whoppers candy
  • Candy corn

How to make it

  1. We used half an Oreo cookie for each body and an entire cookie for each tail, then used a dab of royal icing to affix Whoppers for heads.
  2. We piped on icing eyes and also used icing to affix the candy corn feathers and beaks.

Acorn Dough Nuts

What you’ll need

  • Chocolate Frosting or Peanut Butter
  • Donuts
  • Crumbled Toffee
  • Pretzel

How to make it

  1. Frost a third or so of a plain or glazed doughnut hole with chocolate frosting or peanut butter.
  2. Roll the frosted top in crumbled toffee (look for it in the baking section of grocery stores), then add a small piece of a pretzel for the stem.

The Fruit Gobbler!

It’s easy to assemble — and delicious to take apart!

What you’ll need

  • Bosc pear (head)
  • Melon (body)
  • Cheese (beak and tail feathers)
  • Red pepper (snood, feet and side feathers)
  • Raisins (eyes)
  • Grapes (tail feathers)
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Toothpicks

How to make it

  1. Stabilize the melon body by cutting a shallow slice off the rind to form a flat base. Using a section of bamboo skewer, attach a Bosc pear head to the melon, as shown.
  2. Cut a cheese triangle beak and red pepper snood. Attach both, along with raisin eyes, to the head with sections of toothpick.
  3. Cut red pepper feet and set them in place. For tail feathers, skewer cheese cubes and red grapes, then insert the skewers as shown. Pin pepper side feathers in place with toothpicks.

Aren’t these recipes fun!??  Do you have any favorite cute Thanksgiving treats? Do share!

Lemon Pasta with Broccoli and Cauliflower

By: Brady Evans

“There’s nothing I love more than working all day in the yard and going out to eat afterwards,” my husband said to me this past weekend as he toweled off after a much-deserved shower…

The day started for me at about 5am.  I ran 15 miles or so, came home, and put on a pair of pants.  My husband and I hopped on our horses and went for an early morning ride while the sun burned off the dew.

Want to get dirty quickly?  Love on some horses. They’ve grown their winter coats now (and we keep them natural- some people clip the heavy fur away).  They feel soft, like fuzzy bears, but the thick coat holds the dirt.  Have you ever hugged a horse before?  Have you ever been hugged by a horse?  They wrap their necks around your body and you breathe in their delicious, homey, scent.

Immediately after our ride we got to work. We stayed outside doing yard chores all day long. After moving around logs, hedge clippings and horse poop, we were filthy!

At the end of the day, my husband wanted to go out to eat. I, however, wanted to eat restaurant-quality food at home.  I wanted to wash my hands (up to my elbows), kick off my boots, peel off my jeans, and make a nice, delicious dinner at home.  I didn’t want to shower, change clothes, have to think about how badly my feet hurt, shave my legs, and drive to the big ol’ town down the road to find a restaurant.

Guess who won the constant debate this weekend? Not me.

I made this dish the next night.  This pasta dish combines the fresh and summery feel of a lemon sauce with hardy winter veggies like cauliflower and broccoli.  I added some white beans in for protein and, at the last minute, ½ cup of cooked, chopped chicken. That chicken addition was so minuscule and unnecessary, though, that I’m not even putting it in as part of the recipe.

The pasta dish is flat out fantastic.  It is exactly what our bodies would have needed after a long, hard day of yard work.  It was quick to put together and used minimal dishes – exactly the factors I appreciate when I’m just trying to get dinner on the table.

Lemon Pasta with Broccoli and Cauliflower

(adapted from Ina Garten)

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 pound pasta
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil (I used basil infused – any variety will work)
  • 
1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 
1/3 cup pasta water
  • 2 cups white beans, rinsed and drained

Instructions

Cook the broccoli and cauliflower for 3 minutes in a large pot of boiling salted water. Remove the broccoli from the water with a slotted spoon or sieve. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

In the same water, cook the pasta according to the package directions, about 12 minutes. Drain well and add to the vegetables.

Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, heat the butter and oil and cook the garlic and lemon zest over medium-low heat for 1 minute.

Add 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, lemon juice, beans, and reserved pasta water. Bring to a simmer.

Pour this over the broccoli and pasta. Toss well. Enjoy!

Lexington Medical Center Leads Pink Glove Dance Voting

Lexington Medical Center is currently in first place in voting for the 2012 Pink Glove Dance competition.  As of Monday morning, October 22nd, Lexington Medical Center had 11,900 votes.  Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was in 2nd place with 7,096 votes.

While Lexington Medical Center maintains a lead of more than 4,800 votes, Penn State and other organizations are gaining momentum steadily and narrowing the gap.  We still have a long way to go in the Pink Glove Dance campaign and anything can happen.  Vote for Lexington Medical Center’s Pink Glove Dance by going to www.pinkglovedance.com, searching on the “L-M” age for LMC and clicking “Vote” on our video.  You must have a Facebook account to vote.

As you may know, the Pink Glove Dance website crashed last weekend during the first days of voting – because so many people were trying to log on and vote for their favorite video.  As a result, Medline has extended voting until Friday, November 2.

Our hospital’s 2012 Pink Glove Dance features the compelling story of Lexington Medical Center nurse Amy Kinard of Lexington, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 34.  The video is shot in our hospital and around our community – including at a highly-energized Williams-Brice Stadium, on a special pink glove skydiving adventure and inside a rock star celebration of cancer survivors.


In total, approximately 1,000 Lexington Medical Center employees dancing to the Katy Perry song “Part of Me” in the video.  In addition to high energy and Broadway style choreography, there are special effects, smoke, strobe lights and more.  Importantly, the dance features several LMC employees who are breast cancer survivors; they’re wearing t-shirts that say “Survivor from Day 1,” noting the strength and courage of breast cancer patients right from the time of their diagnosis.  “Survivor From Day 1” is the theme of this year’s video.

The winner will receive $10,000 to donate to a breast cancer charity of its choice.  Lexington Medical Center would donate its prize money to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, as it did last year.

Lexington Medical Center is the only Columbia area hospital entering the competition.  Voting for the Pink Glove Dance 2012 is from October 12th to November 2nd.  So, please vote today – and encourage your family and friends to vote too!