Archive for September, 2012

When the lights go out do Not open your refrigerator or freezer. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.  Plan ahead; keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer which can help you determine the safe zones! Make sure to look in at the zones of being safe for the freezer which is 0 °F or below and the refrigerator is at 40 °F or below before the power goes off. Freeze containers of water ahead of time for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers after the power is out. Place refrigerated items such a leftovers, milk and meats immediately into the freezer when the power goes out. Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.

Steps to follow after to keep you SAFE!

  • The refrigerator will keep food safe for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.
  • Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power.
  • Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below  when checked with a food thermometer. Partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat.
  • If the power has been out for several days, check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer. If the appliance thermometer reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe to refreeze. If a thermometer has not been kept in the      freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
  • If you want an easy way to track if your freezer has been off long enough for food to thaw, place a couple ice cubes in a  plastic bag in the freezer. If you open the freezer and the ice cubes are melted or frozen together, then foods need to be checked for safety.
  • Never taste a food to determine its safety!


USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/Preparing_for_Weather_Emergency/index.asp

USDA Food Safety.gov –http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/frozen_food.html

Ohioline: Attention Freezer Owners: In case of power outage Do Not Open! http://ohioline.osu.edu/home/freezer.html

Author: Marie Economos, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Trumbull County.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross & Vinton Counties.


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In Recognition of National Sewing Month –

Your workspace can be a place for a vacation from the cares and worries of your life.  It may be a place to be comforted, warmed and soothed; a place to dream your own dreams; a place to create that gives you tangible form to those dreams.  It can be a place for healing your body, your mind, and your soul.  A well-designed workspace will provide you:

~ A comfortable and pain-free back

~ A lessened chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome

~ Increased enjoyment of sewing

~ Decreased errors

~ A productivity increase of 25% every year

In order to be sure the health of your body, mind, and soul improves while you work:

~ Make sure you have adequate lighting

~ Place all of your equipment in your sewing room at the correct height for your body


Your work surface should be four inches below the height of your bent elbow.  One way to obtain a worktable that is right for you is to buy a folding “cafeteria” table at an office supply store.  These cost about $30.00.  Boost the table to the proper height with lengths of white PVC pipe or coffee cans.

Sewing Machine

Most sewing machine tables are several inches too high for good forearm and wrist health.  When you are sitting with your feet flat on the floor and your knees and elbows are bent at 90 degree angles, your fingertips should rest lightly on the throat plate of your machine.

Ironing Board

A simple calculation will help you find the correct height for your ironing board.  Measure the height that will allow your elbow to be bent at a 90 degree angle while you iron.  Subtract 4″ from that.  This will be the correct height for your ironing board.  Keep a footstool, six to nine inches high, near your ironing board.  Put your left foot on it when you stand to iron.  Flexing your hip in this way prevents swayback and forestalls back strain.


If you spend more than one hour a week on sewing, you must invest in seating that fits you perfectly.  Your sewing chair should allow your feet to rest flat on the floor and have an adjustable backrest to support your lumbar spine.

Long-Arm Quilting Machines

Adjust the height of your machine so you can keep your elbows bent at 90 degree angles when you grasp the handles.  Keep your back and neck straight while you work.


Good lighting is always a better solution than a stronger eyeglass prescription.  Provide bright, glare-free light at each of your workstations.


Keep heavy equipment such as your sewing machine or serger stored close at hand so you do not have to lift them while they are at an arm’s length.  Lightweight tools, such as your rotary cutter, ruler, etc. can be stored farther away.

Author:  Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Ohio State University Extension.  shuster.24@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Liz Smith, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension and Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension.


RX for Quilters Stitcher-Friendly Advice for Every Body, by Susan Delaney Mech, M.D., C & T Publishing, Lafayette, California, 2000.

Setting Up Your Sewing Space, Myrna Giesbrecht, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1994.  ISBN – 0-8069-0495-X

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What’s the better choice for a healthier snack: a big bowl of frozen yogurt or a small chocolate chip cookie? If you guessed the cookie, you’re right—but most people guess the frozen yogurt. In one recent survey, 62% of people said that the kind of food you eat matters more than how much you eat when you’re trying to lose weight. But new research on portion control says that’s wrong. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who shrank their portions by 25% slashed 250 calories a day—enough to help them lose a half-pound a week— that’s 5 pounds in 10 weeks! And they still felt full.

Super-sized fast food meals, plate crowding entrees, and quart-plus sized fountain drinks are common examples of the increase in portion sizes for food served both inside and outside the home over the past two decades. It is probably not a coincidence that rates of over-weight and obesity among American adults and children have also increased profoundly over the past twenty years. While researchers are hesitant to blame portion size exclusively for obesity increases, a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that portion size does influence how much we eat. People served large portions generally do not respond to fullness cues from their bodies and tend to eat more calories than those served smaller portions.

In addition to eating smaller portions, use the following pointers to practice good eating habits:

Trim your trigger foods.
Most people typically overeat two or three favorite foods—usually pastas, breads, meats, snacks, or sweets. Get to know recommended serving sizes for your favorites, and stick to them as closely as you can. Start slowly. Eat a few spoonsful less of rice and pasta, or go with half a sandwich instead of a whole.

See less, eat less.
Studies show that we eat whatever portion is on our plate. So the trick is to avoid seeing more food than you want to eat. Immediately put away food after serving yourself the right-size portions.

Shrink your plate.
Plates today are much larger than they were 20 years ago. Try eating dinner on smaller side plates; you’ll have less to eat.

Give your brain time.
It can take as much as 20 to 30 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it is satisfied and no longer hungry. Before taking seconds give this time to register.

Using the USDA MyPlate method http://www.choosemyplate.gov / is a good way to control serving sizes and improve nutrition at meals.

Author: Polly Loy, Ohio State University Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Ohio State University Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, http://ross.osu.edu.


American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/.


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A recent study has shown that more than 200 pounds of food per American is wasted every year in the U.S.  Stocking up on good buys at the supermarket and whole sale clubs can save you money, but not if the food goes bad before you use it and it is thrown away.   Whether it’s from the dairy, deli, bakery or meat and seafood departments, keeping food fresh not only saves you money, but it may also help prevent foodborne illness.

To help keep your food tasting  fresh and last longer, follow these tips:


  • Berries are often piled up in containers on top of each other causing some of the bottom containers to get crushed.  To check for condition of the berries, turn the container to see if the berries move freely.  If they don’t, they could be crushed together.  Also check berries for mold.  Store in refrigerator and wash only before using them.  Water can cause spoilage.
  • Melons including honeydew or cantaloupe should not have a stem; otherwise it will be underripe.  Ripe melons pull easily from the vine.  Sweet melons will smell fragrant and feel heavy for their size.   Ripe melons should be stored in the refrigerator and used within two weeks.  Cut melons should be stored in an airtight container and eaten within three to four days.
  • Onions and potatoes should not have sprouts which can cause spoilage.  They should be stored separately in a dark area away from heat and sunlight.  They should never be refrigerated.
  • Leafy greens should be purchased only when brightly colored and stored loosely in a plastic bag on a refrigerator shelf.  Avoid cramming them into produce drawers as this can cause bruising.
  • Tomatoes should be fragrant and feel heavy for their size.  Refrigeration changes the flavor; store them on the counter.

Deli Department:

  • Cheese should be cut when you’re ready to eat it.  Purchase cheese in blocks so it doesn’t dry out.  Rewrap cheese when you store it in the refrigerator to avoid picking up other flavors.
  • Deli meats are best purchased cut-to-order and should have a fresh bright color.  If purchasing packaged meat, watch for signs of spoilage such as sliminess.  Most deli meats should be eaten with three to four days.  Don’t leave any deli meat at room temperature longer than two hours; otherwise it should be thrown away.
  • Deli Salads should look fresh and not have a crust around the edge.  Ask the clerk if the salad was made fresh that day; if not, don’t purchase it.

Meat and Seafood:

  • Meat should not show signs of spoilage, such as an off odor or slimy appearance.  Always check the sell-by and use-by date, and avoid any meat with a package that leaks.  Store a cooler in your car during hot summer months to bring home perishables like meat and seafood.
  • Fish should be brightly colored and not have an off odor.  If using within a day, store in its wrapper in the refrigerator with a pan underneath to catch any drippings.


  • Milk or yogurt  should be checked for best-by dates; puchase those with later dates.  Never buy products with bulging packages, which may indicate signs of spoilage.  Most dairy foods will last at least a week after opening the container.  Vitamins can be destroyed by light and heat, so be sure to put the products back in the refrigerator as soon as possible. If yogurt isn’t used by the use by date, freeze it to use in smoothies or cooking.
  • Eggs should not be cracked when purchased.  USDA grades, such as AA, refer to best quality with high, round yolks.  Grade A eggs will have whites that are less firm than Grade AA eggs.  Keep eggs in their original container to avoid picking up odors on a low or middle shelf towards the back of the refrigerator.

Frozen Foods:

  • Frozen fruits or vegetables should not be in one large frozen chunk; they may not have been handled properly.  When shopping for frozen foods, store them in an insulated bag to maintin their temperature until you get them home to the freezer.
  • Ice cream should be selected from the back of the freezer.  Be sure to select a cold container!

Don’t throw out food that is past its prime, but still safe to eat.  That stale bread (without mold) will be great as french toast for tomorrow’s breakfast, and overripe bananas taste great in smoothies!  However, don’t overlook signs of spoilage including slimy meat or colorful spots on cottage cheese.  Remember nothing is worth you or your families health and well-being.  The best rule of eating well may be when in doubt, throw it out!

Submitted by:  Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County. 

Source:  ConsumerReports ShopSmart, September, 2011.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross & Vinton Counties.

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One of the hardest issues to deal with when you’re trying to lose weight is achieving satiety (how “full” you feel after eating). It has been a problem for me for decades because I am a very fast eater. Anyone else out there like that?? I can inhale a meal in literally five minutes. This is problematic because it takes 15-20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you have had enough food. Because I eat so fast, I used to still feel hungry after one plate of food. Then I would go back to the kitchen for seconds. Unfortunately, after a second round of food, I didn’t feel very good. I felt stuffed the way most of us do on Thanksgiving Day. I finally hit rock bottom a couple of years ago. I knew I was probably not going to eat more slowly, so I had to learn to control the amount of food I ate.


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Nearly 30 years ago, within a 7 year time span, both of my parents died of cardiovascular disease.  I was a young woman in her mid-twenties and they were in their early fifties.  My father had high blood pressure, needed to lose weight and to stop smoking.  Their lifestyles weren’t health oriented.  They started smoking during WWII and continued their entire lives.  My dad stopped smoking but the negative health effects took their toll.  Within 6 months he was dead of a heart attack.  For a high school student, this was a traumatic life event.  My mom died of a stroke and heart attack about 7 years later.  Her weight was normal but she’d also been a smoker for 40 years of more.  Yes, this is their monument, and my father was a stone cutter and owner of Treber Memorials.  My family has had a monument business for the past 143 years but it was heartbreaking for us to select this monument.

Why do I share my story?  Because heart attack and stroke are two of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.  Although you may have genetic factors that increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, there are many lifestyle habits that you can embrace to reduce your risk factors.

According to the Million Hearts™ Health Campaign, heart attack and stroke are two of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, making cardiovascular disease responsible for 1 of every 3 deaths in the country.

Visit this website http://millionhearts.hhs.gov and use their My Life Check tool to assess your current cardiovascular health and learn more about stroke and heart disease.

What can you do?

Follow these suggestions for a healthier lifestyle:

  •  Eat more vegetables and fruits.  Try a fruit or vegetable as a mid-morning snack.  Add a piece of fruit to your breakfast routine.  If you are hungry, pick some fresh veggies as a healthy snack.
  • Move more.  We all know how important physical activity can be.  Make the commitment to move more each day.  Park your car away from the entrance, take the stairs, enjoy a walk during your lunch break or after dinner.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.  Talk to your doctor about your weight.  If you need to lose weight, start making small changes to reduce your calories and increase your physical activity.
  • Stop smoking.  If you are a smoker, set a quit date.  For resources to help you quit, call 1 800-QUIT NOW.  Talk to your doctor about other options to help you stop smoking including medications.  Smoking can lead to heart attack or stroke and steals an average of 13-14 years of your life.  Once you stop smoking, your risk for heart attack and stroke declines each year.
  • Watch your Blood Pressure.  High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload, causing the heart to thicken and become stiffer.  It also increases our risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.
  • Talk to your doctor about your cholesterol number.  As blood cholesterol rises, so does the risk of coronary heart disease. When other risk factors (such as high blood pressure and tobacco smoke) are present, this risk increases even more. A person’s cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity, and diet.

Take the Million Hearts™ pledge: http://millionhearts.hhs.gov.Save your heart, take the Million Hearts pledge, and celebrate American Heart Month

Make a commitment to saving your life.


Choose My Plate available at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Healthy Ohio Program available at www.healthyohioprogram.org

Million Hearts Campaign available at http://millionhearts.hhs.gov

Writer:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension.  treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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Many people grow a few tomatoes in their backyard.  They can be planted in the landscaping, in a container on your patio, or you may have enough space for a garden.  If you are a home grower you may have more tomatoes than you know what to do with.  Of course, you’re first thought might be to eat them fresh, but if you have grown tired of this here are some ideas to include them in dishes you make.

  • If your recipe calls for peeled and/or seeded tomatoes, hold in boiling water for 30 seconds, plunge into cold water, drain, make a slit in the blossom end and peel skins back.
  • Seed by cutting the tomato in half crosswise and remove seeds with the tip of a knife or spoon.
  • Slice tomatoes the French way, from stem to blossom by doing so they lose less juice.
  • Top with fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, or curry powder.
  • Stuff large tomatoes with a variety of mixtures such as fish, poultry, egg salad, or cottage cheese.
  • Stuff cherry tomatoes for bite-size appetizers. To prepare, slice off tops and a very thin slice off the bottom, so they will stand well. Remove seeds and juice with a melon scoop. Stuff with your favorite fillings—cream cheese and watercress; tuna and mayonnaise; pulverized peanuts, mayonnaise and curry powder; or avocado, minced onion, and lemon juice.
  • For an elegant salad or appetizer, layer sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella cheese on lettuce. Dress lightly with olive oil.
  • Tomatoes get better and better tasting as you cook them. They are great in entrees that cook a long time or require next day “reheating.”

A four-ounce tomato supplies about one-third of your daily nutrient needs for vitamin C, and a little beta carotene, potassium, folate, iron and fiber.  They also contain lycopene an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of prostate and possibly other cancers.  Lycopene is more easily absorbed in cooked than in raw tomatoes.

If you are interested in preserving some of your tomatoes check out the following fact sheets:

Canning Basics http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5338.pdf

Canning Tomatoes http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5336.pdf

Canning Tomato Products http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5337.pdf

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, Extension Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.


Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Tomatoes available at: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hygfact/5000/pdf/5532.pdf

University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Made Easy

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