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Rachel Mount (4 posts)
Granola is the king of breakfast toppers; sprinkle a little on yogurt, fruit, or milk and you have an instant meal. But the cereal's classic crunch takes a star turn at lunch or dinner when it shows up as a savory topping (think of it as little croutons) on soups, salads, cottage cheese, and dips. Try this version from Chef Robert Wiedmaier, of the restaurants Marcel’s and Mussel Bar in Washington, D.C. He adds his granola to parsnip soup. Once you've make your first batch, though, the real fun begins as you adapt the mix to suit your own taste. The options—Parmesan? Rosemary? Raisins?—are endless.
She gave us four types of affordable, food-friendly American wines that will enhance any spread, formal or casual. “But if you buy only one bottle, make it pinot noir,” Wines says. “It’s the ultimate Thanksgiving crowd-pleaser.”
“Sparkling wine is necessary for celebratory toasts—and it just happens to be delicious with all types of pre-feast appetizers,” Wines says. Gruet Winery in New Mexico makes a variety of excellent bubblies under $15, and for more of a splurge in the $20 to $30 range, consider Shrumsberg Winery in California. “For a long time it was served in the White House during state dinners, so it’s fun to tell that to your own guests.”
As noted, Wines’s top choice is pinot noir. “An autumnal Oregon varietal pairs so well with dishes like turkey and cranberry sauce, which are hearty but not too rich.” One she likes: Argyle Pinot Noir, which consistently wins awards and accolades but is still priced at around $25.
In 1999 Chad Moore was working as a park ranger near California's Salinas Valley, monitoring falcons' nests and hiking back to the station after dark. "But it wasn't really dark," says Moore. "The glow from nearby towns was drowning out the stars."
Since then Moore and his team have used a specialized camera to take photos at more than 86 national parks and found that in most, vibrantly starry skies—like the stunner that inspired Van Gogh—are fading, thanks to suburbs and illuminated highways.
But there's more at stake than constellations: Light pollution can cause depression in humans and disrupt animal migration. In that sense, dark skies are a natural resource that needs protecting, just like the oceans. Moore's research inspired the National Park Service to create the Night Sky Program, which covers park lamps so that less light escapes and educates nearby homeowners, since light can affect areas 200 miles away. "When you realize the consequences of leaving your porch light on," says Moore, "you might turn it off."
For stressed-out city dwellers, Eoin Finn has a relaxing remedy.
After years as a yoga teacher, Eoin Finn still hadn't reached enlightenment—a serene state of appreciation for the present moment. Then, on a retreat in Costa Rica in 2006, he lay in a hammock. "I thought, 'If everyone did this for 10 minutes a day, we'd be calmer and more productive.'" He's right: Studies show that even short periods of relaxation can lower blood pressure and improve concentration. Finn gathered some hammocks and set up a "spontaneous relaxation" zone in Vancouver (his home), inviting hurried passersby to have a swing. "There's some bewilderment, then they melt right in," he says.
Now Finn hosts events across North America (see Blissology.com for details). "We're not selling anything," he says. "We're just helping people sit down and enjoy the simple splendors of life."