Healthy Humor

free-laughing-clipart-laughter-clipart-490_508We did have an article about laughter here a couple of years ago, but as winter drags on, we all could stand a little more sunshine in our lives.

At St. Anne’s, humor has a very important place in our lives.  From ‘Joke of the Day’ to playful teasing, humor works its way in to many facets of our comings and goings.

We even have a way of finding humor in the challenges we face.  Mistakes can be brought up later in a humorous manner as we tease each other about mishaps, perhaps using a song that correlates to an event.

Humor is healthy!  It can be good for you, both mentally and physically.

Laughter has been found to help release endorphins which can help alleviate pain, improve your emotions, and reduce stress. It even increases levels of cortisol and adrenaline.  Laughter can even be good for your heart, lessening stress hormone levels and artery inflammation as well as reducing blood presure.  It can also increase your ‘good cholesterol (HDL) levels and boost your immune system.

Laughter and humor can help dissolve negative emotions and help you relax.  Humor can also give you a new perspective on things and make you more hopeful.

Taking time for humor gives your brain a bit of a break, even during waking hours. It can give you energy and foster positive relationships with others.

So, during these bleak February days, do yourself a favor; take a moment or two to enjoy a joke, a funny story, or another opportunity for humor that may arise.  Opportunities for humor surround us every day.

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Cabbage Rolls Around

The weeks sure seem to roll around, don’t they?!

Here at St. Anne’s, every fifth Thursday brings a dinner menu cherished by some but not appreciated by others: cabbage rolls.

There are many variations to this multinational entrée, but here at St. Anne’s, our cooks serve the cream style (using cream of chicken soup) rather than the tomato option.  Here, the hamburger is mixed with rice, and then formed and wrapped in cabbage.  The cream sauce goes delicious, too, with the mash potatoes that always accompany cabbage rolls here at St. Anne’s.

Eastern European traditions (Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Lithuanian, etc.) seem to be the forerunners in bringing us what we know as cabbage rolls today.  However, perhaps the earliest instance of these taste treats may come from Jewish cuisine about 2,000 years ago.

Perhaps the variations we know today, even within our own region and country, stem from the rich diversity in how cabbage rolls were prepared around the world.  For example, in Bulgaria, they were made with veal and pork, accompanied by minced mint, yogardt, and sweet paprika.  In Romania, they were a treat for special celebrations and were made of ground pork with caramelized onions and rice.  Sometimes, pickled sauerkraut leaves were even used.

In Croatia, cabbage rolls are a Christmas treat.  Lithuanian cabbage rolls, on the other hand, were a harvest-time menu item, made with brown sugar, lemon, tomato, and even raisins.

In Poland, cabbage leaves are stuffed with meat (beef or pork) mixed with rice or barley and usually accompanied by a tomato sauce.  Polish immigrants brought this meal with them from the old country.

Finland and even Egypt are also home to cabbage rolls.

IMG_0555.JPGHere at St. Anne’s, our staff usually prepare the cabbage rolls the day before.  By fairly early Thursday morning, they are already in the oven.

Can you smell them already?  Come on over! 🙂

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