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Hearty Eats In Palmer Lake

Darcy Schoening and Greg Duncan bring you Dex’s Dogs, at 56 S. Colorado 105, Palmer Lake.

It’s hearty food for not much moola.

Nothing for breakfast, lunch or dinner exceeds $7.75 – except for occasional special additions to the menu. And portions are large.

With "dog" in the name, of course, there’s a good selection of tube steaks.

The Dex’s Dog is an all-beef wiener topped with slow-smoked pork, tangy coleslaw and sweet bourbon barbecue sauce for $7.

The Frito pie ($5) was a pile of chips topped with steaming homemade chili, onions, cheese and jalapeños ($5).

A pastry cabinet is filled with impressive-looking homemade muffins, cinnamon rolls, quiche and pies. Call ahead to order take ‘n’ bake items.

Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Details: 375-8955, dexdogs.com.

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5 Bordeaux Wines Under $30

As recent wine industry reports show blended wines gaining popularity, I wonder how much of that is Bordeaux. I suspect little. And I suspect that is largely because of price.

When I first got interested in wine, I could afford even top Bordeaux on occasion. The famous château of the Left Bank (of the Gironde estuary) communes of Margaux, Paillac, St. Estephe, St. Julien and Graves – plus the Right Bank communes of St. Emilion and Pomeraol – get most of the attention. But their prices are beyond what most can afford.

Bordeaux values do exist, though. Wines from the Left Bank, particularly those carrying the Cru Bourgeois label, offer admirable quality for significantly lower prices. Here are three Cru Bourgeois to serve as an introduction.

– Château Aney. This domaine, built in 1850 by the Aney family, is between St. Julien and Margaux and has been owned by the Raimond family since 1972. The wine is made in a more traditional style at only 12.5 percent alcohol with a judicious use of oak, a balance of earth and fresh currant, drinking with finesse. The 2012 ($24) is 65 percent cabernet sauvignon, 25 percent merlot, 7 percent cabernet franc, and 3 percent petite verdot.

– Château Maurac. Situated just outside of St. Estephe, Maurac has been a Cru Bourgeois since 1932, and the quality continues under new owner Claude Gaudin. The 2012 ($25), at 50 percent merlot and 50 percent cabernet sauvignon, struck me as more modern in style with tangy red and black fruits, a touch of oak and a lush texture.

– Château Greysac. This domaine just north of St. Estephe was built in the 1700s. Its wine has been a favorite of mine since I began drinking wine in the late 1970s. It was nice to see it show well here. The 2012 ($26) is 65 percent merlot, 32 percent cabernet sauvignon and 3 percent petite verdot. It is earthy, spicy and minerally, presenting black currant fruit with authority.

On the Right Bank, the satellite regions of the Côtes de Bordeaux are worth seeking out. The region – encompassing the villages of Blaye, Castillon, Cadillac and Francs – can deliver extreme value. Also, many of the producers pursue organic and biodynamic practices. Here are two good ones.

– Château Puygueraud. This estate is in Francs, the most rural of the Côtes de Bordeaux and known for prehistoric Lascaux cave paintings. It is owned by the Thienpont family, which also owns the highly regarded Vieux Château Certan in Pomerol. The 2014 ($20) is 75 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet franc and 5 percent malbec. It offers juicy black currant, touched with tobacco, spicy herbs and generous tannins.

– Château Hyot. With roots in nearby Saint-Émilion since 1750, the current generation of the Aubert family continues the tradition, with their daughters overseeing vineyards, winemaking and marketing. The 2014 ($25), 60 percent cabernet franc, 20 percent merlot and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon, has juicy blackberry and red currant accented with toast, forest and licorice notes; it’s balanced with an elegant but firm texture.

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Pediatricians are leery of giving fruit juice to children

Children shouldn’t drink much fruit juice, says the policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Schoolchildren, ages 7 to 18, should limit consumption to 8 ounces a day. Preschoolers ages 4 to 6 can have 4 to 6 ounces a day, while toddlers ages 1 to 3 should have no more than 4 ounces a day. And babies should not drink any juice.

Given that most Americans need to increase fruit and vegetables in their diets, and that good diet habits can be established during childhood, why is juice so worrisome?

“The recommendations are centered around two arguments,” says Steven Abrams, a pediatrician at the University of Texas and one of the policy statement authors. Fruit juice is fruit with the fiber and some vitamins taken out, and it damages teeth. “Some pediatricians say no juice at all. I think that’s a bit tough. It is a fruit serving.”

When Gary LeRoy, a family physician in Dayton, Ohio, sees his youngest patients, he appeals to parents’ common sense. “An excessive amount of anything is not good,” he says. “Moderation is the key.”

LeRoy helped create a program with his county’s public health board called 5-2-1-0. The name refers to five daily servings of fruit and vegetables, a two-hour limit on screen time, one hour of physical activity, and zero sugary drinks. It’s a simple rule of thumb for a healthy lifestyle for all county residents.

As for fruit juice, LeRoy says, “If you use juice to count as one of the fruit and vegetable servings, then make sure it is 100 percent fruit juice.”

There are pure juices, and then there are juice beverages or cocktails. The latter typically has added ingredients, such as sugars or preservatives. Anything labeled 100 percent fruit juice comes only from fruit, with no added sugar.

But that doesn’t mean no sugar. A 4.23-ounce box of Mott’s apple juice contains 14 grams of sugar, and the same-size serving of white grape juice from Apple & Eve has 15 grams. That’s more than 3 teaspoons’ worth. A 6-ounce box of Minute Maid orange juice contains 18 grams of sugar, similar to the same-size serving of Coca-Cola (19.5 grams in half a 12-ounce can — all added sugar, in this case).

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5 Great Perks of Getting Older

Aging isn’t all bad.

As they say, the days are long, but the years are short. In this slow creep toward the Great Beyond, I’ve noticed some perks. Of course, you have to be on the lookout. They hide underneath what we generally disparage as the downsides of aging, many of which seem to be physical, such as realizing you’ll never be able to take a selfie you’re happy about without adding all the filters of the rainbow, and keeping the phone as far from your face as possible. Mile-long selfie stick, anybody?

Granted, it’s challenging to not focus on the downsides of aging. But if we can step inside the brain and the heart for a moment, there’s something to be said about the inevitable progression through the decades.

A few thoughts:

Less judgy wudgy and more kindness: The more life we live, the more experiences we acquire. I’d wager some of them have been pretty rough and possibly required a hard decision. Heart-wrenching choices can break you open. But as poet and musician Leonard Cohen wrote: “There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Once you experience one of those, you look a little more kindly on the choices other people make. Earth travelers, including you, are most likely doing the best they can and making the best choice they can at any given moment. Empathy and compassion are a worthy replacement for the wrinkles and growing inability to tolerate spicy foods.

Passage of time: As anybody who’s been around a few decades will tell you, time inexplicably speeds the older you get. It’s a head spinner. But there’s a potential upside to this. When life hits a rough patch, it might pass more quickly than it did when we were younger and it felt like a lifetime between Labor Day and Memorial Day. The situation and accompanying feelings will resolve themselves as the days spin away like a whirling dervish and you collect more of them under your belt. Everybody knows time is the great healer. I’m not positive about this theory — I haven’t checked my math — but it seems a possibility.

Deactivating the purple people pleaser: Maybe this isn’t a thing for you, and if not, good on you. But it has been for me. Making other people happy at the expense of your happiness is a surefire road to Sadsville. Looking back, I can’t believe some of the things I said yes to because I wanted to seem like an easygoing, always helpful, self-effacing girl. Why did I think it was important to be seen that way? I’m not sure, but I do think women have a harder time with this. We want to be seen as nice and often give up our self-agency to achieve it. The word “no” is a beautiful gift to us humans. For many of us, it’s a lifelong lesson in learning how to say it in a kind yet firm way. I’m not perfect at all this, but I’m getting better. As a sidebar, I also no longer feel the need to open my front door if somebody knocks on it. For starters, it’s not safe. But mostly, I’ve realized I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. Opening the door to the unknown being one of them.

I yam what I yam: This goes hand in hand with the people-pleasing stuff. After all of these years of being me, this is what you get. I’ve learned to love some of it, accept much of it and continue to work on embracing the rest of it. I’ve become much less attached to what others think of me through the years. If you like, you like. If you don’t, you don’t. That’s OK, too. This is the weird stuff I do and think. I’m sure you have plenty, too, so let’s have a laugh about it.

Let somebody cross the street in front of you: I mean this literally and metaphorically. Having worked downtown for the past few years, and being almost hit several times, like most of my colleagues, I see how hard it is for drivers to let pedestrians cross the street, even when it’s their turn. Is it our hurry-up culture? Is it ego? Is it feeling more powerful than a biped when you’re behind the wheel of a 4,000-pound car? It is plain unkindness? Give people the space to amble. It costs nothing and it’s a small kindness. Some days those are all we have to get by. Let people into your lane whenever you can. Let other people go first. It won’t kill you. Sometimes in yoga class, when your neighbor’s mat is close and the sun salutations are flowing, a yogi will insist on sweeping her arms out to the sides, smacking her neighbors in the process. There’s no need for that. There are other ways to do it so you don’t hit somebody. But invariably the culprit is a very young person, and I think: Ah, they simply haven’t learned yet to let other people cross the street. They will someday.

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Penrose-St. Francis ranked as 6th best hospital in Colorado by U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, which operates Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center in Colorado Springs, as the sixth best hospital in Colorado.

Penrose-St. Francis tied for sixth best with three hospitals — Medical Center of Aurora, Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree and St. Joseph Hospital in Denver — in a ranking headed by University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. Nationally, the list is led by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. No Colorado hospital made the top 20 in the nationwide ranking, and no other Colorado Springs hospital made the ranking.

The magazine’s annual rankings, in their 29th year, are designed to help patients and doctors decide where to receive care. The magazine compared more than 4,500 medical centers nationwide across 25 specialties, procedures and conditions. This year, 158 hospitals were nationally ranked in at least one of the 16 specialties evaluated, while 29 hospitals received a high-performing rating in all nine procedures and conditions evaluated.

Penrose-St. Francis was either not ranked or not eligible for the specialty ratings because it didn’t perform enough procedures in the specialty, but it received high-performing ratings in urology, aortic valve and colon cancer surgeries and hip and knee replacement surgeries.

The rankings are available at health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings. The nonprofit was tied for eighth in last year’s ranking with Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, receiving high-performing ratings in aortic valve and colon cancer surgies and hip and knee replacement surgeries.

“This recognition illustrates our commitment to excellence and is a testament to the hard work of our teams, including clinicians and physician partners,” said Dr. Brian Erling, interim CEO of Penrose-St. Francis and senior vice president and chief clinical officer for its parent firm, Centennial-based Centura Health.

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