Fried Onion Dip : Homemade


Fried Onion Dip : Homemade

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

First, clarify the butter so that you can fry the onions at high heat and put a very dark, almost burnt crust on them. Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat until it foams and browns. Remove from the heat. Tilt the skillet and carefully spoon off the foam, saving it in a small bowl. Pour the clear butter into another bowl, and pour the dark dregs at the bottom of the skillet into the bowl with the foam. Add the clear butter to a larger heavy skillet. (Discard the butter foam and dregs.)

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Fry the onions, flipping them now and then, until they’re dark on the edges, even black and crispy in spots, about 10 minutes. Add the honey and garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the vermouth, bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Put the sour cream and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and mix with a rubber spatula until smooth. Finely chop the fried onions on a cutting board and add them, along with their pan juices, to the cream cheese mixture. Stir in the chives. Add the cayenne and season with salt.

Transfer to a small bowl and garnish with more chives. (This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.)

Health and Wellness Associates


Health and Disease, Lifestyle

Skin Cancer Signs


Skin Cancer Signs Not Clear To Three-Quarters Of People, Threatening Healthy Practices

The most common form of cancer in the United States may also be one of the least obvious to spot. New research from British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) finds that 77 percent of people do not feel confident in their abilities to recognize melanomas of the skin, despite 72 percent admitting to getting sunburned in the last year.

In 2011, the latest year data are available, some 66,000 Americans were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin and more than 9,000 people died. The majority of both cases were men, who are about twice as likely to suffer from skin cancer and die from it as women. Experts fear many of the cases could be due to ignorance over the disease’s risks, particularly as people fail to spot the warning signs early enough.

“This is a reflection of poor sun protection habits,” said Johnathon Major of BAD. “People underestimate the damage that sunburn can do to their skin, and many think that skin reddening is just a harmless part of the tanning process, rather than a sure sign that you have damaged your skin irreparably.”

In addition to checking for new lesions that itch, scab, and bleed for at least four weeks, health officials use the ABCD rule of thumb for checking suspicious spots:

  • Asymmetry: each half may be a different size or shape
  • Border: edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches
  • Color: may be uneven with different shades of black, brown, or pink
  • Diameter: at least 6mm in diameter

Not all skin cancers appear as melanomas, however. People should take care to look out for other signs, such as new patches of scaly, crusty, and inflamed skin or “a growth with a pearly rim surrounding a central crater, a bit like an upturned volcano,” the BAD reports.

How To Prevent

Warnings to use sunscreen are nothing new — most people are well aware of the dangers posed by ultraviolet rays, said Charlotte Proby, professor of dermatology at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School. “However, this has yet to translate into a culture of sun protection and skin checking which would do a lot to curb the incidence and deaths from this disease.”

Please also note that lathering up with sun screen more than once every 6 hours can lead to other major complications and diseases. No, you do not need to put sunscreen on your children everytime they go in and out of the water. Once every 6 hours.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends monthly head-to-toe screenings for any new or changing lesions on the skin. In their survey of 1,018 people in 2014, however, BAD researchers found only four percent of people abide by the guideline and 40 percent never check their skin at all.

Checking for abnormalities isn’t the only strategy for avoiding life-threatening skin cancer, Rokhsar points out. While most people know sunscreen can offer protection, they may not know how much to apply and how often. UV rays can damage the skin in as little as 15 minutes, even on cloudy days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends applying a broad spectrum sunblock — meaning one that covers both UVA and UVB rays — of at least SPF 15 every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

“As summer comes around again,” Proby said, “we want people to consider the message that you can enjoy the warm weather whilst staying safe.”

Health and Wellness Associates



Morning Sunlight Can Change Your Sleep


Morning Sunlight Can Change Your Sleep

When is the last time you got sunlight exposure immediately

upon awakening? Was it on a camping trip long ago? If you are like most people,

you have likely lost an intimate connection to our planet’s most important

influence. How does sunlight affect our timing of sleep and support

wakefulness? Learn about this natural relationship and how it might impact

unexpected aspects of our health, including


rhythm sleep disorders and even metabolism.

A Trip Back in Time

To understand how important morning light is in our lives, let’s imagine

life 40,000 years ago as a neanderthal. If you were lucky, perhaps you lived in

a cave dwelling, but it is likely you were even more exposed. When the sun set,

it was time to bed down and go to sleep. If you didn’t, there was a real

possibility that your safety and health were at risk – either due to exposure

to the elements or from predators. Spending 8 hours in a state of

unconsciousness is not the ideal way to defend yourself. You might sleep

alongside others for added protection.

When the sun came up, it would be time to rouse and resume the search (or

work) for food. With light, it was no longer safe to lie unconscious. Morning

sunlight evolved as an intense signal to the brain that promotes wakefulness.

Its profound influence on the timing of sleep and wakefulness is linked to its

influence on the body’s



Light’s Impact on the Body

All light enters the eye and via the retina travels along the optic nerve to

the brain.

Each optic nerve crosses at the optic chiasm and

just above this is the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus is like a control system for the body, influencing the

circadian (Latin for “near day”) timing of sleep and wakefulness, hormone

release, and metabolism. The


nucleus within the hypothalamus takes the information from light andtranslates it into influences on the body’s processes.

Sleep is dependent on both the sleep drive

and circadian rhythm. Although the circadian rhythm will persist without

external influence, consistent with its genetic basis, sunlight powerfully

controls it. In particular, morning sunlight can initiate the circadian

alerting signal during the day and impacts the timing of sleep at night.

Therefore, getting sunlight upon awakening can improve daytime sleepiness

and ease insomnia,

especially among night owls with

delayed sleep

phase syndrome.

How and When to Get Morning Sunlight

In order to improve your pattern of sleep and wakefulness, it is best to get

morning sunlight exposure immediately upon awakening. Sunlight is best as it is

a broad spectrum of light and quite potent, with 100,000 lux of intensity. For

comparison, room lights may be 1,000 lux and an expensive light box

may be 10,000 lux. It is necessary to wait for sunrise, and if you live at

northern latitudes in the winter, it may be hard to get light exposure into

your morning routine. Therefore, a light box may be necessary.

Try to go outside upon awakening (of after sunrise) and get direct light

into your eyes. It is unnecessary (and unsafe) to stare directly into the sun.

Instead, avert your gaze and let the sun wash over your face. Don’t wear

sunglasses or hats with bills or visors. If concerned, apply sunscreen, though

the sun’s morning light is less intense. Spend 15 to 30 minutes in the

sunlight. It is the perfect time to go for a walk, eat breakfast, have a cup of

coffee, read the newspaper, or admire your garden.

Sunlight filtered through a layer of clouds or obtained from inside through

windows is less intense. It may still help some, and if this is your only

option, it may be good enough. Don’t let weather determine if you are going

outside. Try to go out every day to keep the habit, no matter the weather. As

needed, dress warmly or bring an umbrella. Even when filtered through clouds or

rain, the sunlight will continue to have its effect.

Our bodies respond best to a regular sleep schedule with a consistent

bedtime and wake time. You may be surprised how getting just 15 minutes of

sunlight upon awakening can help you to sleep and feel better. If you struggle

with getting to sleep or feeling alert during the day, speak with a


specialist about other ways you might improve your rest.

Health and Wellness Associates