Category Archives: Life Skills

Week 11: How To Make Paneer Cheese

Once I fell behind on posting, it was easy to keep putting it off. No more excuses though. I decided to give making paneer cheese a try to combine two of my favorite things, curry and cheese. Making the cheese was surprisingly easy and did not take long. I followed the recipe posted on Manjula’s Kitchen blog. The recipe is accompanied by a YouTube Video posted at the same link. It’s very straightforward, and simple. Unfortunately, my camera battery died before the cheese was done, and added to the curry. But it was delicious.

I was surprised that Manjula said that paneer cheese could be made with lowfat milk (1-2%), instead of requiring whole milk. I always thought that paneer cheese had to be made with whole milk. I used ultra-high pastuerized (UHT) whole milk (because it was what I could find at the store by my house). The milk curdles were very small, but the cheese came together alright. It was a little crumbly, but it held it’s shape while being fried before it was added to the curry.

I’ve read elsewhere that it can be made using balsamic vinegar, or even yogurt to curdle the milk. I’m looking forward to trying these options and seeing how they effect the texture and taste of the cheese, or if they do at all.

Squeezing the excess water from the paneer after rinsing it.
Squeezing the excess water from the paneer after rinsing it.
The finished paneer in its cloth.
The finished paneer in the cloth.

And here is the video from Manjula’s Kitchen:


Adobe Lightroom Presets

Lightroom presets are a quick and easy way to make adjustments to photos. I’ve found it most helpful when looking at a series of photos with similar color/lighting profiles to quickly play with adjustments and quickly apply them to all of the photos. Here are some sites that offer free presets, and information about installing and using presets in Adobe Lightroom:

Adobe’s Lightroom Develop Presets provides a variety of presets submitted by users. There are free presets, and presets available for purchase. Sometimes photo samples are included in the preset description, and the comments tend to reveal who the preset is geared towards and most useful for (amateur, macro, landscapes, etc).

Seim Effects Lightroom Presets also provides a number of free presets and presets for purchase. Many of the presets are accompanied by a video sampling how to apply and adjust the presets.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips is another good source of presets. The site is run by Matt Kloskowski, and for each preset he provides a thorough description usually outlining when and for what photos the preset is most appropriate. Each preset comes with three options for the intensity that the preset is applied to the image with – light, medium, strong.

And last but not least, onOne Software‘s lightroom presets. The onOne Signature Collection Presets is a massive collection. I only added the presets that I thought would be most useful to Lightroom to keep from cluttering the sidebar.

And here’s a video by Seim Effects on how to install and manage Lightroom presets:

Adobe Lightroom Resources

I decided to post the websites and YouTube channels that have been most useful in learning to use Adobe Lightroom.

The Adobe Lightroom YouTube Channel has been the most useful resource for me. It’s easy to search for videos addressing certain topics, and the collection of tutorials is extensive.

Julieanne Kost’s blog provides a lot of information and tutorials for using Adobe Lightroom. Her videos and tutorials are also available on Adobe TV.

While it is long, I found the following YouTube video by Terri White to be the most helpful and straightforward to getting started with Lightroom. I watched it in one window while following his directions with Lightroom in another window. Some of the topics he covered were not relevant to me, so I just skipped them. Generally though it was a thorough walk through for Lightroom.

I will say, there is quite a learning curve to really be able to take advantage of Lightroom. Basic photo editing features are quite intuitive, but things like presets (at least for me) take a bit more time. I am a big fan of the options for easily importing, naming and organizing photos.


How To Save A Life: Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

Warning signs:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. (List found at the American Heart Association website.)

I went ahead an included the specific warning signs for women, because they include all the same warning signs as for men, and this list includes those few extra commonly reported symptoms. After calling 9-1-1, the person suffering symptoms of a heart attack should chew and swallow one Aspirin tablet, unless he/she is allergic, or has been instructed by a doctor not to take Aspirin. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen do not work in the same way, and as such should not be administered. Give the person nitroglycerin if, and only if, it has been prescribed to them by a doctor. Have the person lie down, if he/she is having trouble breathing or swallowing put him/her into the recovery position. Try to keep the person calm and alert. If the person loses consciousness (enters cardiac arrest) begin CPR. If the person has no vital signs, CPR should be continued and an automated external defibrillator (AED) should be administered.   Now here is a PSA from Go Red For Women, featuring actress Elizabeth Banks. About the video, Banks said, “While the film is funny, having a heart attack is not something to be laughed at. However, I’m using humor to help uncover the truth about heart disease, to get people interested in learning more about their hearts — and our movement.” I don’t think leaving one’s mom on the floor with an iPhone and an article about heart attacks is the appropriate course of action by any means, but you get the point.

Hands Only CPR (PSAs by Vinnie Jones and Ken Jeong)

For those not trained in standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (compressions and rescue breaths), the recommended course of action is to do ‘Hands Only CPR’ after 911 has been contacted.

Hands only CPR should be started as soon as possible after a person is unresponsive, and has stopped breathing or gone into cardiac arrest. The sooner it is started the better chance the person has of surviving.

The benefit of hands only CPR is that it can be done without any equipment, and it does not pose the same risks as doing mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. The standard recommendation is that compressions should be administered to the beat of “Staying Alive”, by the Bee Gees (at a rate of 100/minute). Compressions should be done at the center of the persons chest, be continued until EMS arrives.

Here are two fun celebrity PSAs about hands only CPR, enjoy!

How To Save A Life: Recognizing a Stroke (F.A.S.T)

The generally accepted acronym to remember for recognizing a stroke is FAST:

F: Facial Drooping

Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face unresponsive or droopy?

A: Arm Weakness

Ask the person to raise both arms. Does he/she have difficulty moving one arm, or does it drift down uncontrollably?

S: Speech Difficulty

Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.

T: Time to call 9-1-1.

A further list of symptoms is available on the ASA‘s website:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

It was harder than I expected to find information on how to help someone who is, or may be, having a stroke after calling 911. Most resources only emphasized calling 911, and gave no information on how else to respond while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. I personally like to know what to do in the interim. I was finally able to find some information on the website for the Cleveland Clinic.

Note the time that symptoms began.

If conscious, the person with stroke symptoms should lie down and should not be left alone. Try to comfort the person and help him/her to stay calm. If the person is having trouble breathing or swallowing he/she should be put into the recovery position.

If unconscious, check for vital signs (pulse and breathing). If the person is still breathing and has a pulse, place him/her into the recovery position. Stay with the person and frequently check the vital signs. If no vital signs, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Do NOT give a person suffering signs of a stroke any water or food.

Now to end this post with a PSA from the American Stroke Association:

Week 9: Medical Emergencies

Week 9 was much busier than anticipated, and I left town for the weekend for a friends’ going away festivities, so I fell behind. Have to play catch up now. For this week I wanted to learn about the common warning signs for medical emergencies (stroke, heart attack, alcohol poisoning, etc.) and the appropriate responses one can take other than calling 911 (which should always be done first in any real medical emergency).

Since I am so behind this week (and I am not a medical professional with valid opinions or advice to give), I will primarily be posting the collection of resources that I use to learn more about these emergencies.

Let’s begin with something basic, and on the response side of medical emergencies that everyone should know: the recovery position.

The recovery position.

The recovery position.

The recovery position should follow the six following guidelines (as outlined by the International Liaison Committee of Resuscitation):

  1. The victim should be in as near a true lateral position as possible with the head dependent to allow free drainage of fluid
  2. The position should be stable
  3. Any pressure of the chest that impairs breathing should be avoided
  4. It should be possible to turn the victim onto the side and return to the back easily and safely, having particular regard to the possibility of cervical spine injury
  5. Good observation of and access to the airway should be possible
  6. The position itself should not give rise to any injury to the victim (List and image from Wikipedia: Recovery Position)