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The Free Press WV

►  For a deceptively simple cabbage and noodle saute, use kelp

The healthy noodle market is booming, thanks to low-carb fans, and so it’s no surprise that kelp noodles, which used to be a specialty-store item only, are now readily available at the neighborhood supermarket.

Kelp noodles are a sea vegetable with a neutral flavor that makes them versatile and easy-to-use. They have only 5 or 10 calories per serving, offering almost no macronutrients (protein, carbs or fat), but they do have a nice boost of minerals, mainly calcium (a serving offers 15 percent of the recommended daily amount) and iron.

The big benefit is finding a nearly calorie-free noodle substitute for your recipes. Kelp noodles are thin, clear and bouncy in texture; almost rubbery. So they are nice swaps in Asian noodle dishes like pad thai or spicy cold peanut noodles.

Because they are a sea plant, they need to be kept in water, so you’ll find them for sale in 12-ounce water-filled envelopes, usually next to the refrigerated tofu. Rinse and use the noodles without cooking — simply add to your recipes at the very end of cooking.

We love kelp as a swap for rice noodles, but they can easily extend outside Asian flavor profiles. One of our family favorites is a deceptively simple cabbage and noodle saute. Four ingredients are all you need to make this yummy side dish: cabbage, onion, butter and kelp noodles.

Saute the onion and cabbage in butter, and add rinsed kelp noodles at the end just to heat through. Charlotte, my pickiest vegetable eater, has loved this noodle dish since she was tiny. (For years, she thought the cabbage was also a “noodle” which helped the overall toddler appeal, I suppose.) I use butter because I think its flavor with cabbage is magical, but feel free to use olive oil instead if you wish, perhaps adding a little garlic in that case.


KELP NOODLES AND CABBAGE

The Free Press WV


Servings: 6

Start to finish: 15 minutes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large sweet white onion, sliced lengthwise, about 2 cups

1/2 large cabbage (green or red)

1 12-ounce package of kelp noodles

Pinch of salt or dash of soy sauce

Lemon juice (optional)

Cut the cabbage into 4 wedges, and cut out the triangular core at the bottom of each wedge. Slice each wedge crosswise into thin slices. Melt the butter in a very large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, and cook until wilted, about three minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the cabbage and cook until begins to get tender, about 7 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan, and cover, allowing it to steam for 1 minute. Uncover and keep cooking until the cabbage is tender, about three more minutes. Drain and rinse the kelp noodles, and cut with scissors if desired. Stir the kelp noodles into the cabbage, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt (or splash of soy sauce) and remove from heat.

Squeeze a little lemon juice just before serving, if desired.

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Nutrition information per serving: 73 calories; 35 calories from fat; 4 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 86 mg sodium; 9 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 2 g protein.


►  Kids’ bedroom oases should reflect their personalities

Parents, do you want your kids’ bedrooms to be relaxing oases where they can decompress and escape the academic and social pressures of school? Don’t assume that means muted colors and quiet sanctuary.

Instead, designers say, let the room reflect your child’s personality, even if that involves some more vibrant colors and patterns.

“Many parents find that hot pink walls are better than hot pink hair, right? And it’s only a bucket of paint. Such a space allows kids to be themselves, and that is a calming thing in today’s world,” said interior designer Kelee Katillac, who enjoys designing children’s rooms and runs a studio in Kansas City, Missouri.

She and other designers recommend working with kids to create an organized, multi-functional and comfortable bedroom with an interesting color palette.

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WHAT’S THE ROOM FOR?

A first step to creating a great space for kids is defining what purposes the room must serve, Katillac said. Most kids do more than sleep in their rooms. They play, do homework and entertain friends there. Delineate a place for each of the room’s main functions, she said.

If a child intends to study in the room, supply a desk, chair and good lighting. Create a reading nook for the bookworm. For the kid who likes to have friends over, provide a seating area — even if it’s just cushions and a rug — and have mood lighting or even decorative string lighting.

Defining separate areas helps kids relax because it creates a sense of structure, Katillac said.

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FINDING THE RIGHT COLORS

Wall color can impact your mood, said Sue Wadden of Sherwin-Williams in Cleveland. She recommends avoiding primary colors in favor of more natural or neutral tones like greens, browns, light grays or soft blues.

“It’s easier on the eye,” she said. “It’s easier on the brain.”

To promote relaxation, consider using softer or less saturated versions of the bright colors typically used in kids’ rooms, she added. If you’re concerned that your child’s color choices could get too bold, pick several colors you could live with and let them select from those, Wadden suggested.

You can also use other elements to add the pops of color that kids crave. Consider painting a colorful accent wall, or adding a vibrant rug or patterned comforter.

“Bring in brighter tones with secondary pieces,” Wadden said.

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BRING IN THEIR INTERESTS

Let your child help choose the room’s theme, said Janet Paik, an editor with the online interior decorating website Houzz.com. “If you want it to feel like their personal sanctuary, it needs to be their own space,” she said.

It can be easy and inexpensive to incorporate a favorite hobby, sports team or activity into the room. Decals, bedding, artwork and accessories can highlight a child’s interests, and are easy to change out as they get older, said Melisa White of Melisa White Interiors in New York.

Writable surfaces such as chalkboard paint or large marker boards also let kids customize their room.

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EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE

Provide bins, shelving and storage that children can reach to take out and put away their things, White said. Everyone enjoys a tidy room: “Clutter can cause anxiety, although children may not understand that,” she said.

An organized room will help children relax, agreed Heather Turgeon, co-author of “The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night’s Sleep — Newborn to School Age” (TarcherPerigee, 2014).

“A lot of clutter and toys can keep kids’ minds activated, the same way having an office desk in your room or a pile of stressful papers beside your bed might do for you,” said Turgeon, a psychotherapist.

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SURROUND KIDS WITH WHAT THEY LOVE

Consider including a shelf or bulletin board where kids can display items important to them, she said. When Katillac was working with a teenager who collects shoes, she put in shelving where he could set out some of his favorite pairs. That not only kept things orderly; it created a meaningful vignette in the room.

“Kids are very vocal about the things they like,” Katillac said. “Look at their interests and see if you can turn it into a piece of artwork.”

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MONITORING SCREENS

Ideally, the room should be media-free at bedtime, Turgeon said.

Create a communal charging station where the entire family charges electronics someplace other than bedrooms, she suggests.

“Have everybody say good night to their devices at least an hour before bedtime,” she said.

If children keep a computer in their room, try to separate it visually from the sleep space with a bookshelf, curtain or another creative design idea.


►  Pope Francis to Belgian Catholics: Stop offering euthanasia

Pope Francis has ordered a Belgian Catholic charity to stop offering euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals.

In May, the Brothers of Charity group announced it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia at its 15 psychiatric hospitals in Belgium, one of only two countries — along with the Netherlands — where doctors are legally allowed to kill people with mental health problems, at their request.

To qualify, people must be in a state of “unbearable suffering” and at least three doctors, including one psychiatrist, must be consulted.

The charity said in a statement that euthanasia would only be performed if there were “no reasonable treatment alternatives” and that such requests would be considered with “the greatest caution.”

“We respect the freedom of doctors to carry out euthanasia or not,” the group said, noting that this freedom was “guaranteed by law.”

The Vatican press office said this week that the pope had asked the Belgians not to perform euthanasia.

The Catholic Church opposes euthanasia and the Holy See has begun investigating the decision to allow the procedure, which was made by the group’s lay board of directors.

The Belgian charity’s administrative headquarters in Rome issued a statement in May, arguing that allowing euthanasia “goes against the basic principles” of the Catholic Church.

“This is the very first time a Christian organization states that euthanasia is an ordinary medical practice that falls under the physician’s therapeutic freedom,” wrote the charity’s superior general, Rene Stockman, who delivered the request from Pope Francis via two letters.

“This is disloyal, outrageous and unacceptable.”

Mattias De Vriendt, a spokesman for the Belgium charity, said it had received the Vatican’s request but had not yet responded.

“We will take our time in the next few weeks to evaluate these letters,” de Vriendt said. He said the charity’s hospitals had received requests from patients seeking euthanasia recently but could not say whether any procedures had been performed.

The vast majority of patients seeking euthanasia in Belgium have a fatal illness like cancer or a degenerative disease. While the number of people euthanized for psychiatric reasons accounts for only about 3 percent of Belgium’s yearly 4,000 euthanasia deaths, there has been a threefold increase in the past decade.

Critics have previously raised concerns about Belgium’s liberal approach to euthanasia while advocates say that people with mental health illnesses should be granted the same autonomy as those with physical diseases.

The American Psychiatric Association says that doctors should not prescribe any methods to people who are not terminally ill to help them die.

--> Saturday, August 12, 2017
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