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A date with the dentist

June 13, 2012
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

When I was a child, having to visit a dentist was the last thing I wanted to do. My friends felt the same way. We all feared the man in the long white coat. And for good reason.

After having greeted us with a smile, we were asked to be seated in a big black chair and then told to "open wide" and the dentist would examine our teeth. Pain would usually follow. Most adults had the same opinion of dental visits. My own parents saw a dentist only when a bad toothache left them with no other choice.

Home remedies didn't always bring lasting relief. Among them were aspirin, ice packs and oil of cloves. And I seem to recall that alcohol also played a role (adults only).

With the passage of time, dental instruments and procedures have drastically changed; for the better! We no longer need to live in fear of going to the dentist.

I'm so thankful to have found a dental clinic which employs people who are caring and good at what they do. Doctor D. and his staff are almost like family. I see them every six months, which is more often than I see many of my relatives.

The office staff, hygienist, dental assistants and Doctor D. all greet me with a smile. I'm still expected to "open wide," but the dread of pain is gone. I'm kept as comfortable as possible.

The teeth are cleaned (much better than I can do at home) and X-rays are taken when necessary. If a problem is discovered it can be taken care of no big deal. Some people hear the words root canal and they cringe! Others may require a crown. I've had more than one root canal and wear many crowns. Simply put, I inherited bad teeth. Sometimes no amount of brushing and flossing can prevent having to have dental work done. In this day and age, all procedures are pretty much pain free.

Oh, by the way ... my dentist doesn't ask me to refrain from eating sweets (he has a sweet tooth of his own) or any other foods I enjoy, but daily flossing and brushing are very much encouraged. With each check-up, I'm given floss, toothpaste, mouthwash, and a toothbrush. These serve as a gentle reminder to practice good oral hygiene.

If you haven't been to see a dentist for a long time, don't put it off any longer. Waiting can only lead to more problems and more expense. Why not make an appointment today. Not only will you be greeted with a smile; you'll leave with a beautiful smile of your own.

Serve as an appetizer or side dish


1 pound small fresh mushrooms (whole)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground mustard

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Cook, uncovered, for 5 min, stirring once. Remove from heat, Cool to room temperature. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Yield: 3 cups.

This recipe stretches a pound of ground beef


1-lb. ground beef

2 med. onions, chopped

1 cup diced celery

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can chicken noodle soup

2 soup cans water

1/2 cup uncooked rice (not instant)

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef and onion in a skillet. Drain off excess fat. Combine with remaining ingredients. Bake in a large casserole dish 350 oven, for 1 hour. Bake covered first half hour and then uncover last half hour.

Variation: Substitute Chicken Noodle-O-Soup for the regular chicken noodle soup.

From my mother's recipe file


1 (3-oz) pkg. strawberry Jell-O (dry)

2 (10-oz) pkgs. frozen strawberries, thawed

1 pkg. (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix

1 bag (about 10-oz) miniature marshmallows

Combine Jell-O and strawberries. Set aside. Prepare cake mix as pkg. directs. Cover bottom of a greased 9x13-in. pan with marshmallows. Pour cake batter over marshmallows. Spoon strawberry mixture over cake batter. Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 min. Cool before serving. Garnish with whipped topping.

Note: store in refrigerator.

Will remind you of a granola bar


4 cups quick oatmeal

1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup margarine, melted

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. butterscotch flavoring

Combine oats, nuts, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Combine remaining ingredients. Add to oatmeal mixture. Mix well. Press into a greased 10x15-in. pan. Bake at 425 for 10 min. Cool slightly, then cut.

Note: No mixer needed; a large spoon/rubber spatula works fine.

Food for Thought: Stress is like an ice cream cone you have to learn to lick it.



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