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The Rural Members Association is proud to announce the 19th Annual Freedom Creek Blues Festival founded by the late, great Willie King. This year’s festival is to be held near downtown Aliceville, in "Cookieman's" place at 1438 Wilder Circle, rain or shine! 


The Birmingham Zoo’s beloved African elephant, Bulwagi, is set to receive potentially life-saving surgery in May to remove his infected tusk.

Bulwagi, age 35, came to the Birmingham Zoo with only one tusk, as he lost the first tusk following an injury sustained at an early age.His remaining tusk has a long-term crack. Elephants use their tusks for digging, lifting objects, gathering food, stripping bark from trees and for protection. Through these activities, their tusks can be damaged.

As has been the custom since he arrived for his first A Day Game in Tuscaloosa 10 years ago, Alabama football coach Nick Saban cautioned members of the media not to read too much into Saturday's spring scrimmage contest at Bryant-Denny Stadium, noting that both the offense and defense were limited and that the overall Tide team on the field was hardly a complete puzzle as several key players did not participate due to injury and the fact that most of the Tide freshmen will not arrive until the summer. 


The White team defeated the Crimson squad 7-3 before a crowd of 76,212 in a contest short on actual scoring, but not devoid of big plays here and there, and it most certainly will translate into many teachable moments for Saban's players when they resume practice in the fall. 

“I think there were some good things out there today, and obviously some things we could’ve done better, but I think when you match yourself against yourself, you know, sometimes there’s mismatches that you really can’t overcome," said the Tide coach. "I’m not sure we have all the best players on the best teams, in terms of there’s a lot competition in the offensive line. There’s a lot of competition at quarterback. There’s competition on defense in several positions.

There’s several players that we’re missing that didn’t go through spring practice that would have a huge impact, not only in how they play their position, but the leadership that they show. So, how any conclusions can be drawn about anything that happened today – other than the fact that this is an opportunity for us as coaches and as a team – to look at where we are, individually and collectively as a group, continue to evaluate and use the rest of this offseason to focus on individual improvement for the players that we have, so they can go out there and execute with more consistency."

He did admit that some of the gaffes by some of his offensive players that perhaps prevented more scoring opportunities by both teams left him somewhat displeased.

 “A little disappointing in terms of the offense, penalties and undisciplined-type things that we have worked very hard on this spring," said Saban. "I thought we had made some progress in those areas that those types of things would not be an issue. So, that was a little disappointing. There were some good plays made by some quarterbacks and I think every one of them probably has some things they can learn from, but I saw some good things and I saw some things that we probably need to do better. We had some drops at receivers, from some very good players who don’t usually drop passes. Obviously, we need to make more explosive plays on offense but, when you limit your offense and limit your defense, I’m not sure without a game plan how much that really happens"

Points were scarce on Saturday, but there were a few Crimson Tide players on offense who shined at times, including sophomore tailback Damien Harris who ran 20 times for 114 yard, including a 19-yard run. He averaged nearly six yards per carry on his way to earning Dixie Howell Memorial Most Valuable Player honors for the game. Fellow sophomore tailback Bo Scarbrough, who is competing with Harris for the starting tailback role in 2016, had a quieter 22 yards on nine carries. 
Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts showed poise at times with his arm and legs, completing 11 of 15 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown and showing elusiveness in escaping the rush on a few occasions. 

In terms of the other quarterbacks battling for the starting job for the upcoming season, Cooper Bateman completed 9 of 24 passes for 86 yards and an interception, David Cornwell completed 5 of 13 passes for 50 yards and Blake Barnett completed 9 of 16 passes for 112 yards. 
Cam Sims was the leading receiver in the scrimmage yardage-wise and he caught three passes for 66 yards and a long reception of 32 yards. Sophomore Calvin Ridley caught four passes for 54 yards and a long grab of 33 yards. White team tight end Miller Forristall had a total of eight catches on the day, totaling 53 yards.
The Alabama defense was dominant for a good portion of the contest on both teams and leading the way was Crimson linebacker Rashaan Evans as he had a game-high 17 tackles, including a tackle for loss and a sack. Linebacker Tim Williams also had a huge game with two tackles for loss and two sacks, earning him Dwight Stephenson Most Valuable Lineman honors. Tony Brown had seven tackles and two sacks while Anfernee Jennings had six tackles and three sacks. Shaun Dion Hamilton and Ryan Anderson had five tackles each. 

"I felt really good," said Evans. "I felt really comfortable out there. I felt like I could have done a little better though, but just being out there was really exciting. Just playing with my teammates. That’s pretty much the main thing.”

Ronnie Harrison contributed an interception. 

There was no scoring for the first three quarters, but the Crimson team finally broke the scoreless tie early in the fourth quarter as it continued a series that begin at the end of the third period at its own 42-yard-line. 

On the third play of the series, Cornwell hit Ridley on a 10-yard pass to the White 42 for a first down. 

On a 3rd-and-8 play later in the series, Cornwell hit Ridley again, this time on a 33-yard crossing pass that put the Crimson squad in business at the White 7.  

The series ended when Adam Griffith, who had missed four previous field goal attempts in Saturday's game, was true on a 21-yard kick to put the Crimson up 3-0. 

With just under four minutes remaining in the contest, the White team set up shop at its 48. 

On first down, Hurts connected with Sims on a sideline pass for 32 yards to the Crimson 20, and a facemask penalty on the Crimson defense moved the football to the Crimson 10. 

"From the quarterbacks on my side, they put the ball where I could catch it," said Sims. "They made it easier for me, so good job to the quarterbacks.”

Two plays later, Hurts found Derek Kief for a five-yard touchdown pass and suddenly the White team was in the lead at 7-3. 

On the ensuing Crimson possession, Bateman continued the game's late drama by driving his squad all the way to the White 13, but on 3rd-and-10, Bateman was picked off by Harrison with only 1:02 remaining. With Hurts at the helm, the White squad was able to run out the clock on a big victory, knowing that a steak dinner would be forthcoming later that night.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine and Stan J, Griffin



Dippin' Dots, the number one ice cream for fun has opened its newest store location at Pinebrook Shopping Center.  

The store, located at 3950-A Airport Blvd. in Mobile, will celebrate its grand opening this Saturday, April 16 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  Customers will receive free Dippin' Dots from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  Other activities include an ice cream eating contest at noon and giveaways every 15 minutes.

Twenty-nine additional high schools across the state have been selected to participate in a successful statewide initiative, which will increase the number of students prepared for the challenge of college courses. 

At the Alabama State Board of Education’s meeting today, Dr. Philip Cleveland was appointed as Interim State Superintendent of Education. 

The University of Alabama men's basketball program and new head coach Avery Johnson have announced details for the 2016 summer camp program and the launch of the new camp website, CoachAveryCamps.com.

Fans can now go to the website and get all the information needed for each camp, as well as register and pay online.

Head coach Avery Johnson officially announced on Wednesday the hiring of John Pelphrey as the associate head men’s basketball coach at The University of Alabama. Pelphrey, who brings more than 20 years of assistant and head coaching experience to the Tide, will replace former assistant coach Scott Pospichal.

The addition of Pelphrey on the Crimson Tide bench not only adds someone who boasts multiple years as an assistant coach in the Southeastern Conference (Florida from 1996-2002 and 2011-15), but also brings nine years of head coaching experience (South Alabama from 2002-07 and Arkansas from 2007-11). In all, Pelphrey has spent 14 of his 22 years as a coach in the SEC.               

The Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network today announced the winners of the 2016 Manufacturer of the Year Awards during a luncheon ceremony at the Alabama Activity Center.

The winners are Austal USA in Mobile, Revere Controls of Hoover, and Plasmine Technology of Bay Minette in the large, medium, and small manufacturer categories, respectively.

Since its beginning in 2000, the BCA and ATN awards ceremony has attracted Alabama dignitaries and manufacturing leaders to honor companies that are committed to improving Alabama’s economy.

The 2016 MOTY Awards keynote speaker was Carroll Thomas, director of the public-private Manufacturing Extension Partnership. With over 400 manufacturing extension offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, including the Alabama Technology Network, the MEP provides companies with services and access to resources that enhance growth, improve productivity and expand capacity.

BCA Chairman Tommy Lee, president and CEO of Vulcan Inc. in Foley, is on the MEP Advisory Board.

MOTY awards recognize Alabama’s manufacturing enterprises that exhibit excellence in leadership, performance, profitability, and workforce relations.

Winning manufacturers are selected by an independent panel of judges who look for demonstrations of superior performance in customer focus, employee commitment, operating excellence, continuous improvement, profitable growth, and investment in training and retraining.

“Now in its 17th year, the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network are honored to salute Alabama’s best manufacturers for their valuable participation in not only the state’s economy but also the economies of their employees and the suppliers who do business with them,” said William J. Canary, president and CEO of the BCA. “Since 2000 the Manufacturer of the Year Awards has been a premier event for the BCA, the Alabama Technology Network, the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, and the National Association of Manufacturers. The BCA is proud to be the exclusive affiliate in Alabama to the NAM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

ATN Advisory Committee Chairman David Muhlendorf introduced past MOTY award winners and this year’s 16 finalists.

“These fine companies represent the best in Alabama manufacturing and the use of technology Muhlendorf said. “You already have distanced yourselves from others by your recognition today.”

The 2016 Manufacturers of the Year are:

Large Manufacturer of the Year (400 or more employees)

Austal USA shipbuilding in Mobile is the BCA’s Manufacturer of the Year in the large manufacturer category. Austal maintains a workforce of 4,000 highly skilled men and women and proudly sustains a four-year apprenticeship program to produce the next generation of Austal’s talent pool, in addition to conducting workforce training and retraining.

Austal USA has invested more than $400 million and operates more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing space. It has built and delivered 20 ships for the commercial and defense aluminum market in the U.S., including warships for the U.S. Navy. Currently there are four U.S. Navy ships under construction.

Austal is involved in the community with financial and volunteer support. It participates in American Cancer Society and American Heart Association events, the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, local schools, the United Way, chambers of commerce, professional baseball, and museums.

Austal USA was created in 1999 as a joint venture between Austal Ltd. of Australia and Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co. of Mobile. Its mission is to yield strong returns to shareholders, provide affordable and innovative solutions to customers, provide safe, rewarding, and stable careers for employees, enhance civic pride and prosperity, and build strong business relationships with partners.

Medium Manufacturer of the Year – 100 to 399 employees

Revere Controls of Hoover is the BCA’s Manufacturer of the Year in the medium manufacturer category. At Revere Controls the guiding force is: Better Controls Equal Better Business.

Revere Controls is one of the largest system integrators in the Southeast, producing approximately 4,000 custom-designed control panels per year to enable other Alabama and Southeast manufacturers to be more efficient and productive. In more than 35 years since its founding, Revere Controls has demonstrated growth, financial performance, and a commitment to quality, safety, responsiveness, and doing what’s right for both its customers and employees.

The 185 employees at the privately held company serve steel and metal, mining and mineral processing, forest products, water-wastewater, and general manufacturing in Alabama. It has expanded to Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas. The company strives to continually improve its processes through suggestions made by numerous employee committees.

Revere Controls regularly contributes to area charities, student organizations, and schools.

Small Manufacturer of the Year – 1 to 99 employees

Plasmine Technology of Bay Minette is the Manufacturer of the Year in the small manufacturer category. Plasmine Technology is in its second century of operation that began as Newport Industries in 1912 as a wood rosin turpentine extractor. Since 2010 it has invested more than $12 million in its Bay Minette plant that employs 20 people who make and sell rosin size to the paper industry, providing improvements in paper mill efficiency, adhesives for the label industry, and a rosin-based additive for concrete formulations.

The private company’s focused organization competes against larger companies by emphasizing leadership, communication, data tracking and control, employee involvement, and accountability. It engages outside resources such as the Alabama Technology Network, parent-company research, membership associations, and vendors for knowledge, training, and ideas.

The Plasmine plant has recovered from a 2006 fire and is growing. It focuses its community resources toward activities that its employees are personally involved in. Incidentally, Plasmine’s Bay Minette plant was recognized as the 2008 Alabama Small Manufacturer of the Year.

The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. The BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.


The Alabama Technology Network links two-year colleges, the University of Alabama System, Auburn University and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama to solve the needs of industry. Each ATN regional center tailors its services to meet local needs, providing innovative and cost-effective solutions to enable Alabama’s existing industry to be globally competitive. The network is Alabama’s affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides hands-on assistance and training to smaller manufacturers.




Contact: Nancy Wall Hewston or Dana Beyerle (334) 834-6000

Judges Prepare to Narrow the Field Down to Four

Well-trained, dedicated, caring, enthusiastic, and innovative teachers are among the ingredients essential to achieving excellence in preparing children to become capable adults. The 16 outstanding educators who have been selected as finalists for Alabama’s 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year exemplify these qualities and more, as they have all accomplished great things with the students they teach and interact with daily.

“The educators nominated for this prestigious award nurture the character, intellect, and talent of Alabama’s students, and are committed to helping their students achieve success in the classroom and beyond,” said Sherrill Parris, Senior Deputy State Superintendent of Education. “They exemplify teaching at its best, and we are proud to have them teaching in our state.”


The 16 finalists have emerged from a group of over 140 exceptional educators from across the state who submitted applications for the Alabama Teacher of the Year Program, one of the oldest and most prestigious award programs for teachers. The pool will soon be narrowed down to four, and the 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year will be announced at a ceremony hosted by the Alabama State Board ofEducation and the Alabama State Department of Education onWednesday, May 11, 2016, at 6 p.m. at the RSA Plaza Terrace in Montgomery.


Alabama’s Teacher of the Year spends the majority of the school year serving as a full-time ambassador for education and the teaching profession as well as presenting workshops to various groups. Additionally, Alabama’s representative is a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year.

Reflecting on her experiences as a previous finalist and as Alabama’s current Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Brown said, “Wow! What an honor and a privilege it has been to represent Alabama's passionate and dedicated army of educators who are educating and advocating for students each and every day. I am grateful to have been granted the opportunity to visit, observe, and share stories from many of the classrooms of our teacher champions of Alabama. Congratulations to the 16 teachers chosen to represent their districts. Thanks to each of you for the wonderful work you do with your students as well as the work you do to elevate and strengthen our profession.”



Alabama Teacher of the Year Program

2016-2017 District Teachers of the Year



    District                               Name                                                           School                                 System




Kelly Cleere

Orange Beach Elementary School


Baldwin County School System




Dawn Davis


Montana Street Magnet School


Dothan CitySchool System




Kathryne Flippo


Bluff Park Elementary School


Hoover CitySchool System




Mikki Powell

Rock Quarry Elementary School


Tuscaloosa City School System




Dawn Judy Ellis

Peter Crump Elementary School

Montgomery County School System




Connie Bowman

Iola Roberts Elementary School


Pell City School System




Sandy Georgette Deades Ritchey


Crestline Elementary School

Mountain Brook City School System




Nancy Spencer Brandon


Rainbow Elementary School


Madison CitySchool System



     District                               Name                                                 School                                     System





Judy Peacock Bridges


Baldwin County High School


Baldwin County School System




Kathryn Johnson Enos


Enterprise High School


Enterprise City School System




Vinny Chiaramonte

Robert F. Bumpus Middle School

Hoover City School System




Joseph Smith, III


John Herbert Phillips Academy

Birmingham City School System




John C. Conway


Booker T. Washington Magnet High School


Montgomery County School System



Mary Katherine (Kate) White

Guntersville High School

Guntersville City School System




Dana Jacobson


Clay-Chalkville High School

Jefferson County School System




Carol Bohatch

James Clemens High School


Madison CitySchool System


Special thanks to State of Alabama, Department of Education


By Kathleen Cara

If you are terrified of dating again after divorce or just dating in general, let me know. Maybe we can worth through it together. Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The first year after the divorce my focus was on healing myself and helping my kids through this transition. Dating was not even on my radar.

Eventually I decided to expand my social circle, to add more friends, and be open to dating.

I came up with the term "not dates" to describe going to dinner or a movie with a guy whose company I enjoyed, but had I no interest in dating. 

In talking to my friends about guys I went out with, I would often refrain from referring to them by name. I would give them code names or labels "hot guy from the gym" 

In retrospect I realize that these were examples of AVOIDANCE. 

Avoidance is one of the Four Symptoms of PTSD, as a I learned from my training as a social worker. 

2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the traumatic event (not going to firework shows because the sounds are reminiscent of bombs exploding) - See more at: http://birminghampostherald.com/index.php/family/item/380-love-ptsd-a-new-advice-column-for-the-brokenhearted#sthash.B7tBaePI.dpuf

I was putting up space btwn me and them, keeping a safe distance from feeling vulnerable or emotionally intimate.

I did not want to consider these relationships as having any possibility of "going somewhere"...bc I'd been somewhere before, and I got hurt, deceived, and betrayed. I did not plan to revisit that kind of pain again anytime soon.

I was trying to avoid anything that would remind me of love, of falling for someone, or of trusting someone.

I can remember really starting to like a guy I had been dating for a few months. We enjoyed being outdoors, had great conversations, we spent a lot of time with his family and with my kids. I was starting to fall for this guy. And I can remember the mental image I had of sliding down a really steep hiking trail, grabbing at tree branches and roots desperate for some kind of stability, something to stop this terrifying fall into love.

See avoidance is a great way to insulate us from danger, but in PTSD this is taken to an extreme and it isolates us. In our "safe" place by ourselves no one can hurt us. But no one can help us, encourage us, support us, take care of us, love us.

By ourselves we are not able to practice how to trust someone with an emotional burden, therefore we carry them alone. By ourselves we are not able to practice how to forgive someone if they were absent minded or inconsiderate when they had a lot of things on their own plate, therefore we become judge mental and resentful.

You see, the problems arise when we leave our safe little nest and have to be around others at Thanksgiving, or at work, or with our kids (who rarely consider what kind of emotional needs we may have...even when it is blatantly obvious we are about to lose it). 

Avoidance is simply not sustainable. And when faced with the inevitability of interpersonal challenges, we will crumble.

But by practicing healthy coping skills we can learn how not to be as effected or as devastated by the same set of circumstances.


Kathleen Cara has been a social worker for over 20 years and is experienced in working with clients with PTSD. She has worked with families (including intense situations with Child Protective Services) and especially loves working with teens. After going through a divorce caused by infidelity, Kathleen realized how her training helped her move through the pain of that situation more effectively. Heartbreak happens to everyone, but there are techniques to keep it from destroying your life. If you have a question for Ms Cara about how to handle an issue with your spouse, SO (significant other) or children, please email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


*Kathleen Cara is a pen name due to the sensitive nature of Ms. Cara's professional work. 

Hooray, it’s finally spring! Now, let’s celebrate with this nifty, tasty orange dream smoothie – the perfect pastel treat to fit into this season, shall we? This smoothie is healthy and delicious (and let’s face it, these terms are not always synonymous).

Bon appétit!

It’s finally April, and for Bama football fans, this means one thing: A-Day is almost here. The University of Alabama’s Athletics Department has announced specifics for the myriad of activities that will take place on Saturday, April 16 at Bryant-Denny Stadium – including the opportunity for fans to take the field at the conclusion of the game, which kicks off at 2 p.m.

This is the 15th and final practice of the spring. Gates open at 11 a.m. and admission will once again be free to the public. 

Alabama football coach Nick Saban has seen many spring scrimmages during his coaching career, so he was not exactly surprised that the first game simulation of the spring by his Crimson Tide team Saturday translated into a mixed bag of results. 
There were some glimpses of potential for his still-evolving 2016 team, including some individual highlights on both sides of the ball. 

In the mood for a free frozen treat? Today, March 15, is your lucky day, then: This is Dairy Queen’s “Free Cone Day,” a day when participating DQ locations statewide are offering customers a free vanilla soft-serve cone. In turn, customers are urged to donate to Children’s of Alabama.

Great deal, right? Our area Dairy Queen locations are participating:

By Sherry Holmes


Getting a car loan is relatively easy, but there are a few things you need to know and do before you begin the actual loan process. Following these steps will help you get the best car loan possible.


First, you must understand the parts of a car loan.


·       The "term" is the length of your loan. The longer the loan, the more interest you will pay.


·       The "interest rate" is the percentage of the loan you will be charged on top of your loan.


·       The "down payment" is the amount of money you have to pay up front. The more you can pay up front, the lower your payments and interest will be.


Second, be sure to fix any creditor problems you might have. Some people might have a collection of only a few hundred dollars. By fixing this before you apply for a loan you will increase your credit score which could get you a lower interest rate. And of course, that means, ultimately, a lower monthly car payment. Who could argue with that?!


Third, shop around. Go to different banks and see what they can offer you as far as a loan. You might be surprised at the offers you get.


Fourth, be sure you can afford your payments. Many first-time car buyers don't factor in things like gas, insurance and maintenance expenses when they get a car loan. And ask any car owner: These factors can add up really quickly. You don’t want to start out with a new set of wheels and a massive mound of debt!


Article sponsored by Nationwide.

Find them on the web at: http://www.nationwide.com


                                                                            Sponsored by: 

By Tori Linville


Apple has come a long way from its origin in Steve Jobs’ parent’s garage. As a leader in consumer electronics, computer software and online services, the company has become a worldwide brand. As of February 10, Apple was reported to be worth over $700 billion.


So what makes Apple so successful?


The easy answer lies with its line of personal computers available for purchase. The software for Apple computers is also updated so often, discouraging viruses and ensuring overall software quality and function. Let’s look at the two most popular models:


MacBook Air 13 inch



The 13 inch LED-backlit display isn’t too small, but it isn’t too big. This formula worked for Goldilocks, and it works for most consumers who prefer something in the middle. It’s 12 hour battery life is also appealing for those who have charger issues.


The processor options come in two options, 1.6 or 2.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core models. The model has up to 512 GB of flash storage, perfect for storing important documents. Plus, the two pound laptop helps to feel like you’re not carrying around a brick.


MacBook Pro 13 inch



This model offers more in terms of storage, up to 1 terabyte (TB) of flash storage. It does weigh a measly pound more and has only ten hours of battery life.


A recently developed function that the MacBook Pros offer is retina display, offering a sharper image resolution and pleasing look to the screen that doesn’t appear in competitor models.


The MacBook Pro comes with three processor options, from 2.7 to 2.9 or event 3.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core models.


Mac Mini



Perhaps the cheapest model of computer Apple sells is the Mac mini. The computer doesn’t come with its own display, but has up to 1 TB of storage and has a 3 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor.


These are just a few of the laptops Apple has available, and is only a taste into the world that Apple has created since its inception. The extensive lines of iPhones, iPads, and most recently, televisions, all look to create a sleek look while providing a quality experience that has consumers coming back for more.


Article sponsored by Alabama Power.

Find them on the web at: http://alabamapower.com



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By Sheena Gregg


As a self-proclaimed foodie, Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. However, as a registered dietitian, Thanksgiving can also prove problematic for my clients trying to keep their waistline in check. With a little strategy, Thanksgiving can be both a delicious and nutritious event with friends, family, and football. Here’s a few of my top tips for enjoying your favorite family dishes while staying in check with your health goals.

Don’t Show Up on an Empty Stomach

Though it seems like tradition to “save up your appetite” for the family function, this isn’t always ideal if you’re trying to watch your weight. If your family get together is at lunch time, consider having a light and balanced breakfast to keep your appetite level in check by the time lunch rolls around. Having a small snack or meal a few hours before your gathering can help curb your appetite enough to avoid large portion sizes but also enjoy your holiday favorites in moderate portions.

Eat the Healthiest Foods First

Beware of starting your celebration with mindless munching of refined carbohydrates like chips, crackers, or bread. These foods offer little satisfaction and are typically loaded with calories. Instead, choose to first eat dishes featuring non-starchy veggies to slow down digestion with fewer calories. Protein foods can also be helpful with helping you feel full sooner.

Take Time to Savor Your Meal

If you’re interested in enjoying your holiday favorites in smaller portions, consider eating at a slower pace. It takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes for your brain and stomach to register that you’ve eaten and provide the sensation of fullness. Often times, we eat so quickly that we’ve already got the next bite of food ready to go on our fork before we’ve even swallowed our first bite of food. Consider putting the fork down between each bite or taking a sip of water or other low calorie beverage to create natural pauses during your meal.

Be a Healthy Host or Hostess

Thanksgiving is infamous for casseroles and dishes with multiple mystery ingredients that often involve copious amounts of butter, cream, and salt. If you are a host or hostess wanting to provide healthy options to your guests, variety is key. Instead of having all starch-based sides, consider having colorful salads or other vegetables prepared with heart healthy fats such as olive oil. Fresh fruit salads made with Greek yogurt or sugar-free pudding can offer a sweet alternative for someone trying to watch his or her weight.

No matter the menu, Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season can be a great time for catching up with friends and family. It can also be the perfect time to find recipe twists on holiday classics! 

Sheena Gregg is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino Foodie.” Follow her adventures at www.afilipinofoodie.com


Article sponsored by Bradford Health.

Find them on the web at: https://bradfordhealth.com


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By Derek Osborn


A monthly editorial piece of masterful opinionated writing (insert joke here) regarding life and times in the big town of Tuscaloosa coupled with the musings of a guy nicknamed “Oz.” 


Thinking of escaping the cold winter months by traveling to an exotic locale specializing in fru-fru drinks and men in thongs? Happen to be looking for tips from a native Tuscaloosan who, on average, travels outside of the United States once every ten years or so?


You’re in luck! Your local faux-tourism specialist has got you covered. And for this edition of LoO, my indiscretions are most definitely your gain.


For our 10th anniversary, the missus and I decided to fly off to the tropical paradise of the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana, to be exact. 


One of our traditions when traveling to exotic locales is to pick up a local rent-a-wagon and go exploring beyond the safe havens of the resorts and the traditional tourist traps. This is fun and spontaneous but can also be ill advised at times, depending on the “State of the Island” (in all sincerity, you should always check travel advisories for your desired destination).


The following are tips based on the unplanned Dominican adventure we experienced after attempting to, and eventually succeeding, in the rental of the aforementioned wagon. 


Know a little of the native tongue: You don't have to go full-fledged Rosetta Stone, but it does help to have some knowledge of common phrases without staring at the Griswold translator handbook while attempting to get directions “to…a…beach.”


Know the exchange rate of the local currency vs. the U.S Dollar: When you stop to fill up and the amount you owe at the pump is 2,088.79, don’t freak out. We’re dealing in pesos, and in the Dominican that equates to about $46.


Notify your credit card company that you will be traveling outside of the U.S.: Because when the gas station runs your credit card and it declines the sale for fear of a fraudulent transaction, things can get really shady fast if you only have $40 in your pocket.


Notify your debit card company that you will be traveling outside of the U.S.: Because when the ATM runs your debit card and your bank declines the request for fear of a fraudulent transaction, things can get out of hand quick if you still only have $40 in your pocket.


Be prepared to drive fast: While there are traffic laws in place, there is very little enforcement, and the local driving culture could be related to that of the Autobahn combined with total disregard of common road signs. Oh, and because we shorted the gas station 272.45 pesos. And because of the security guard wielding a loaded shotgun.


To be fair, we warned our rental car agent and the gas station attendant that we only had $40. Their response? “No comprende.”


I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.          


Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and daughters Savannah and Anica. 


Article sponsored by Hudson Poole.

Find them on the web at: http://www.hudsonpoole.com


By Amy Poore


Have you started planning the Thanksgiving meal yet? Fall is definitely in the air, and both of these recipes will compliment your holiday table beautifully. The pear chutney is an aromatic delight, and a perfect pairing for your turkey, no matter how you prepare it. And for dessert, I suggest this scrumptious pumpkin Bundt cake with caramel drizzle. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and bon appétit!

Pear Chutney

  • 5 ripe pears, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pears in 2 tbsp. hot olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes (or until tender). Transfer to a bowl; wipe Dutch oven clean. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add raisins, garlic, and ginger; sauté 5 minutes. Add sugar, cinnamon, cloves and dried crushed red pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until spices are fragrant. Stir in vinegar and maple syrup, and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in pears; cook, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Caramel Drizzle

For the cake:

  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the drizzle:

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Add flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt and stir in to combine. Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan.

Bake for around 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Test it with a wooden pick to see if it comes out clean. Invert cake onto a cooling rack.

For the Caramel Drizzle:

Heat milk and brown sugar in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from stove and add butter and vanilla. Cool for five minutes and drizzle over cooled cake.

Amy Poore is a new mom, a wife and a foodie. To see more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog, Poore Amy, at www.pooreamy.com


Photos: Amy Poore


Article sponsored by Interlinc Mortgage.

Find them on the web at: https://www.interlincmortgage.com


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