Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring and Summer Herbs

This week, Jeanie Dunnihoo of Urban Harvest showed us all the ins and outs of herb gardening, as well as how to incorporate fresh herbs into our cooking. We learned some great tips in this very fragrant hands-on program, and had a chance to sample a beautiful and tasty herb cheese spread. Check out her presentation and handouts below.
Happy Gardening, LIFErs!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Going Mental

Today we were joined by the captivating Dr. Cat O'Brien, Interim Dean and Professor here at CyFair, who shared with us the wonders of storytelling and what an impact it has on our lives. 

As Cat said, "stories are how we understand the world." They are an important part of who we are and a powerful way of sharing memories. Cat shared some wonderful stories from her own life, including how the smell of pipe tobacco and the sound of poker chips remind her of times she spent as a child watching her great-grandfather play poker, and he would always call her his good luck charm. We had the chance to experience the positive effect of story-telling for ourselves when we were asked to share the best day of our lives with each other. Telling stories also has the ability to sharpen your memory by exercising different areas of your brain and helping to make pieces of information meaningful to you. Cat also shared with us how reading or listening to stories can have positive effects, including helping increase your vocabulary and expanding your attention span. And of course, every time you hear someone else's story, you can develop a stronger bond with that person.

Try out some of the techniques that Cat recommended to help sharpen your memory and share your own stories.
  • Tell stories of your struggles as a form of recovery.
  • Teach someone else as a way to sharpen your own knowledge or skills--teach a friend how to knit or share the insight you learned from a book.
  • Use analogies to help make a connection.
  • Start writing down your shared stories with someone else--Cat is currently working on a journal with her mother where they tell the stories of their lives.
  • Include stories in your conversations--Cat gave the example of spending time with her son every year on his birthday to re-tell the story of his birth.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Russian Salads

Photo courtesy of
We were joined this week by one of our favorite LIFE presenters, Professor Anna Schmidt, who demonstrated how to make two delectable Russian salads. In addition to her many other hats--Fulbright Scholar, English phenom, and beloved teacher here at CyFair, Anna is also a master salad-maker. LIFErs had a chance to help prepare and sample these beautiful salads, and our panel of discerning food critics heartily approve!

As with any master chef, Anna doesn't work from a recipe, but attached is a list of ingredients for the two salads presented at the program: Anna Schmidt's Russian Salads

Our chefs at work