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  • Putting patients first: Hospitals focus on customer service Nov 24, 2014 5:45 AM
    Two years ago, Inova Health System in Virginia recruited a top executive who was not a physician, had never worked in hospital administration and barely knew the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.What Paul Westbrook specialized in was customer service. His background is in the hotel business — Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton, to be precise.He is one of dozens of hospital executives around the country with a new charge. Called chief patient experience officers, their focus is on the service side of hospital care: improving communication with patients and making sure staff are attentive to their needs, whether that’s more face time with nurses or quieter hallways so they can sleep.

     
  • From the Food Editor: Spices, chocolate help make holidays bright for all Nov 24, 2014 1:00 AM
    Food editor Deborah Pankey shares ideas for brightening up food pantry shelves and tells you where you can watch her make her holiday brownie bites.

     
  • Great turkey stuffing starts with white sandwich bread, not with a box Nov 24, 2014 6:00 AM
    There are plenty of ready-made stuffing mixes for sale at the supermarket. Why not buy one of those and forgo the trouble of making your own from scratch? Here’s why: A recent visit to the market revealed that the second ingredient listed on the back of the package of one of the store brands is high-fructose corn syrup. The third is partially-hydrogenated oil. Not the healthiest ingredients. Sara Moulton says make your own.

     
  • 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass’ fast times revealed Nov 24, 2014 6:00 AM
    Two lifelong gear heads, Bob and Frank D’Antonio of Deer Park, are restoring a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass, known as El Malo, that once sped down Southern drag strips.

     
  • Empowering women through arm wrestling Nov 25, 2014 11:35 AM
    Arm wrestling, as practiced by the two dozen or so chapters of the Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLAW), including the Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers, is a means to several ends. In addition to the physical strength component, there is a highly entertaining, theatrical component to CLAW events, which usually occur two to four times a year. Each wrestler adopts a persona, complete with an elaborate costume, stage mannerisms and an entourage.

     
  • Blood drive, bone marrow registry drive to help Buffalo Grove 4-year-old Nov 26, 2014 12:38 PM
    As Bennett Vulykh awaits a bone-marrow transplant, the resolve of this Buffalo Grove 4-year-old has prompted his family and friends to celebrate his courage with a blood drive and bone marrow registry drive from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30, at Northbrook Fire Department, 740 Dundee Road, Northbrook.

     
  • Bring leeks in from the sidelines for Thanksgiving Nov 24, 2014 6:00 AM
    For Thanksgiving we decided to gives leeks the star treatment. They are deliciously sweet, yet pair wonderfully with so many savory ingredients. They're also easy to cook. Like onions, they will caramelize and soften over a gentle heat with little effort by the cook.

     
  • From cranberries to trout, here’s 10 ways to improve on stuffing mix Nov 24, 2014 6:01 AM
    When making stuffing, it’s always better to slice and dry your own bread cubes. Hands down, the taste and texture are better. But realistically, in the chaos of getting the many components of Thanksgiving dinner on the table in a timely manner, many of us won’t have the time to make that happen. It’s all good. Truth is, you can make a pretty respectable stuffing using those bagged stuffing mixes. It all comes down to how you doctor it.

     
  • Cook of the Week: Baking helps woman connect to Norwegian heritage Nov 25, 2014 6:22 AM
    Despite the fact that three of her four grandparents were Norwegian, it wasn’t until she married a fellow of Norwegian descendent and traveled to Norway with her mother in 2007, that Barb Johnson truly embraced her heritage. “I didn’t grow up eating Norwegian food,” explains Johnson of Yorkville, “It was the one grandparent who wasn’t Norwegian who had the most influence on our food!” In addition, the other grandmother, who spoke Norwegian, wouldn’t let her children speak it.

     
  • Register now for Smart Farm’s 5th annual Frozen Zucchini Snowshoe Adventure Nov 26, 2014 11:43 AM
    Smart Farm’s 5th annual Frozen Zucchini Snowshoe Adventure will take place at Citizens Park in Barrington, at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 25. This event is a great way to enjoy some fun winter activity while supporting a worthy, local nonprofit organization.

     
  • Ginger-lime vinaigrette turns turkey leftovers into craveable salad Nov 24, 2014 6:01 AM
    When it comes to using leftover turkey, Melissa d'Arabian takes an decidedly un-Thanksgiving-y twist. She leans toward the anti-feast by making a fresh dinner salad with crunchy veggies and a bright citrusy dressing. She completely changes the flavor profile by bringing in ginger and lime, which feel more Asian than Pilgrim.

     
  • Soupalooza: Garnishes push soup from simple dinner to spectacular meal Nov 26, 2014 6:32 AM
    We have entered the fancy season. With the holidays approaching and guests arriving, everything needs a little extra joosh — and that includes something as simple as soup. So whether you are serving your out-of-town guests a leftover turkey sandwich with a simple cup of mushroom soup or you’ve decided to start your meal with a festive tureen of chestnut potage, think about how you are going to garnish your creation.

     
  • Brighten up Thanksgiving table with roasted beets Nov 24, 2014 6:01 AM
    Beets are the perfect addition to bountiful fall feasts. They are satisfying without being heavy, and their rich ruby and golden tones add visual interest to any seasonal color scheme.

     
  • Tarragon, lemon add wow factor to Thanksgiving green beans Nov 24, 2014 6:01 AM
    When it comes to preparing Thanksgiving dinner, green beans often are an afterthought. You give all your focus to the bird, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, probably even a couple orange vegetables. Um ... How long does it take to microwave frozen green beans? So Alison Ladman created this delicious — yet ridiculously simple — recipe for skillet green beans bathed in brown butter, then tossed with fresh tarragon, Dijon mustard and lemon zest.

     
  • Keep Norfolk pine indoors to extend its life Nov 23, 2014 1:01 AM
    Q. I want to buy a small Norfolk Island pine for Christmas. Can I plant it outside in the spring?

     
  • Seek help, for wife has passed beyond ‘functional alcoholic’ Nov 23, 2014 1:01 AM
    Q. I understand what you often say with regard to always disapproving of your partner’s habits. But, what if your wife is a functional alcoholic?

     
  • Author specializes in ‘eco-elegant’ homes Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Trudy Dujardin, interior designer and author of “Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior,” joined The Washington Post staff writer Jura Koncius recently on the newspaper’s Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt:

     
  • Many seniors become seasoned travelers Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Helping people, particularly retirees, see the world and enjoy it to the fullest has been the mission of Linda Kerr for the past 35 years.

     
  • Boomers contribute to new housing boom Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Real estate agents across the country are taking specialized training to become Certified Senior Housing Professionals so that they become better able to serve the burgeoning senior real estate market, which is growing as a record number of seniors sell their longtime homes.

     
  • Don’t ignore emotional health as you age Nov 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Very few psychological problems found in the elderly are actually caused by the aging brain. Most are caused by other physical and emotional issues.

     
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