Archive for November, 2012

Feeling overwhelmed with the tasks you have to do for the holiday season?  Does your list include:  special foods to prepare, cookies to make, gifts to buy or make, gifts to wrap, cards or letters to write, friends and family to visit, and a house to clean – in addition to your regular job and responsibilities.  It is easy to see why many of us become stressed and overwhelmed over the holidays.  What can you do to deal with the pressure?

Try these few steps to help simplify your holiday season. 

  • Pick the traditions that mean the most to you or your family, and continue those traditions.  If it is something that “you’ve always done” but don’t really enjoy doing, maybe this is the year to skip it or try a simpler alternative.
  • Scale back this year.  If you always send a holiday letter, maybe this year you decide to wait until the New Year or Valentine’s Day to send your letter or card.  A card or letter in January or February might be a welcome addition to the holiday bills on a cold snowy day.
  • Simplify your decorating.  Decide what you really enjoy seeing in your home, decorate your house and store or give away the rest.  This year I’ve decided not to put out my collection of snowmen and women.  I’m passing some of my family decorations on to my daughters so they can enjoy them in their homes.  Wouldn’t it be nice to share your family favorites?
  • Simplify your holiday meals and parties.  Most of the time we have excess food at holiday gatherings.  Instead of fixing eight side dishes, decide that four are enough.  Add a fruit or veggie tray for a healthy snacking option. If someone offers to bring an appetizer or side dish, tell them yes and don’t feel guilty about it.
Cookie Exchange
  • Have a Cookie Exchange with friends.  If you usually make 10 kinds of cookies, have a gathering with friends and make one or two kinds of cookies and have a cookie exchange.  The bonus:  less work for everyone and you will receive a nice variety of cookies.
  • Make Lists and Get Organized.  If you are purchasing gifts, keep a list so you will have it on hand when you need it.  Stick to a budget so that you don’t add to your financial stress.
  • Be Realistic.  Know that your expectations for the perfect holiday may not happen.  Family issues will still be there and may even increase over the holiday season.  Understand that it is ok to limit the time you spend with family and friends.  If you need some “me” time, take a walk, relax and spend time alone.
  • Keep up those Healthy Habits.  Even though we are busy with the holiday season, remember to take time to exercise and to eat healthy meals.  Don’t skimp on meals or eliminate meals to save calories.  You will end up super hungry and may tend to over consume high calorie foods.
  • Regular Rest helps you reduce Your Stress Levels.  Try to continue your healthy habit of getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  Plan your activities so that you aren’t up late at night with last-minute chores.

Take a Walk to Relieve Stress

Try one or more of these tips to help make your holiday season healthy, happy and less stressful.

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

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D. L.D., SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, West Region, Ohio State University Extension, spires.53@osu.edu

Source:  WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/tc/quick-tips-reducing-holiday-stress-get-started


Read Full Post »

Holiday spending can put a lot of stress on you and your wallet.  In this economy, you cannot possibly give your children or grandchildren everything they want.  Instead of adding more stress to your life by having bills pile up in the New Year, this holiday season can be made special by giving more of yourself, and your time.  Think of thoughtful gifts that do not have to cost a lot in money but are truly given from the heart.

Start by making a list of all the things that you want to do for the holidays.  This may include a list of names of those you will give gifts to, holiday decorations that you want to buy, and special events that you want to attend.  Then put dollar figures beside each of these activities.  Set realistic dollar figures for each of your budget items.  Make them reasonable and affordable for you family. For example you might have a budget of $15-$20 per person for gifts, $50 for special events, and $75-$100 for decorations.

Much of our holiday spending is impulsive.  Shop with a list and stick to it.   Avoid using credit cards if possible so as not to incur debt that will haunt you in the New Year.  Take advantage of sales by shopping early in the season.  Don’t be that last minute shopper.

As an alternative to purchasing gifts, consider giving gifts of items that you already have and give gifts from your heart.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Consider giving a special piece of jewelry or glassware that a daughter or granddaughter admires.
  • A start from a plant that a friend would like to have.  Buy a pretty pot and give this new plant to your friend.
  • Do you make jams and jellies or other canned items that friends and relatives would like?  Make decorative jar toppers and give canned items as gifts.
  • Old photos that relatives would like to have.  Make copies and put into an album as a holiday gift.

Don’t think you have to break the bank to make the holidays special.  These gifts from the heart can be the most treasured gifts to receive.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, goard.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, brinkman.93@osu.edu

Read Full Post »

When you think of cranberries – what do you think of? Cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, dried cranberries on your salad, or maybe cranberry juice for breakfast is likely the most common answers. Most of us probably have forgotten that cranberries are native to North America and have be used for food, medicinal purposes, and as a dye for cloth for hundreds of years. What we probably didn’t realize is our ancestors were on to something – cranberries are a “Super Food”.

The term “Super Food” is a popular health term for foods that are low calorie, high nutrient, and anti-oxidant rich. The great thing about cranberries is that they are naturally low in calories and a good source of fiber and Vitamin C. They also are one of the highest sources of disease fighting antioxidants, with only blueberries higher. Other research has also linked cranberry consumption to prevention of urinary tract infections and prevention of tooth decay.

To include cranberries in your diet consider:

  • Adding fresh or dried cranberries to apple dishes, such as baked apples, apple pie, or even apple sauces.
  • Replace other berries with cranberries in recipes – you may need to add a little sweetener – as they are tart.
  • Think about serving your traditional cranberry sauce with other meals besides your baked turkey, it would be a great companion to pork roast, ham, or baked chicken; or even as a sauce on sandwiches.
  • Add dried cranberries to salad, muffins, cookies, snack mix, cheese balls, or side dishes.

Frozen cranberries are available year round, but fresh are only available in stores in the fall. Stock up now because they can be refrigerated for up to two months and frozen for up to a year. Select berries that are plump, shiny, firm, and free from spots. One moldy berry can ruin the whole bag.

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


WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/cranberries-year-round-superfood.

West Virginia University, Extension Service, C. Rickman & J. Tritiz, Cranberry Thanksgiving, http://fh.ext.wvu.edu/r/download/116274.

USDA Blog, http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/11/16/cranberries-nature%e2%80%99s-garnets-are-ripening-across-the-country/.

Fruits & Veggies More Matters, http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-cranberries.

Read Full Post »

Many people think that the best part of Thanksgiving is not the big turkey dinner but the leftovers! After enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner, there are usually plenty of leftovers to save for another day or to share with friends and family!

You want to ensure that they are handled and stored properly to avoid food borne illness. The USDA estimates that more than a half million cases of foodborne illness are caused each year just from improperly handled turkey leftovers.

Here are some food safety rules that you should remember when handling your leftovers.

  • Remember to always wash your hands and keep your work areas clean.
  • Bacteria grow rapidly between 40° and 140°. After food is safely cooked, leftovers must be refrigerated within two hours. Throw out any leftovers that have been left out for more than two hours at room temperature.
  • It is important to cool hot foods quickly to the safe refrigerator temperature of 40°. To do this, divide large amounts of food into small, shallow containers. Cut large items into smaller portions to cool quickly.
  • Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing, etc. within 3 to 4 days. Gravy should be kept for just 1 to 2 days.
  • If you are freezing your leftovers, use them within 2 – 6 months for best quality.
  • When you are reheating your leftovers, use a food thermometer to check that the food reaches an internal temperature of 165°.

By following these basic food safety rules you should be able to enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Here is a great recipe to use some of your leftover turkey: 


Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

1⁄4 cup orange   juice
2   tablespoons vinegar,   white wine
2   tablespoons onion   (finely chopped)
1⁄4   teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper   (of)
1   tablespoon oil
2   teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cups salad   greens (torn)
2 cups cooked   turkey breast (cut into julienne strips)
1 can mandarin   orange segments (11 ounce, drained)
1⁄2 cup celery   (sliced)


1. In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine all vinaigrette ingredients; shake well. If you don’t have a container with a tight-fitting lid, place ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix together with a whisk.

2. In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients; toss gently.

3. Serve with vinaigrette. If desired, garnish with fresh strawberries.

Source:  University of Nebraska, Cooperative Extension, Cook it QUICK!


You can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons dried chopped onion for the chopped fresh onion or a as recommended on the dried onion container. Prepare the dressing at least 10 minutes before you need it to allow the dried onion to rehydrate from the fluids in the dressing.

Use white meat leftovers if you’ve prepared a whole turkey and not just the breast portion.

Another way to add crunch to your salad would be to use 4 tablespoons chopped walnuts instead of the celery.


Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.






Read Full Post »

What will be on our plates in the future? What are the food experts predicting we will be eating by 2050? Will our meals look much the same as they currently do, or are we moving in a very different direction? Although no one knows with certainty what the future will hold, an article done on the 2nd Annual Food Day has a discussion about such topics.
The first topic to reach the table is the topic of healthier processed foods. Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center of Public Interest predicts that high sodium, high sugar processed foods will be a thing of the past. The variety of new salt and sugar substitutes will allow the processed foods to taste good while not having the issue of elevated sodium or sugar content. They will be safe and added to a variety of foods such as soups, baked goods and condiments.
Less meat and chicken will be eaten in the future. This panel, which met in Washington DC believes that plant-proteins will replace three-quarters of the animal products consumed today. Due to limited land, energy and water the animal proteins will be decreased in the diets of the future. This will be done through plant-proteins in fake meat, seafood and milk.
We will have health planners much like the financial planners we currently have. Just like we grow our nest egg through the assistant of a financial planner, the health planner will help us to grow our preventative health account. According to panel member David Katz, Director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University, the importance of modifying what we eat before we get obese or have our first heart attack is crucial. Health coaches will assist with daily menu planning strengthening our health accounts much like our bank accounts.
Single computerized devices will be useful in the future. Just like the smartphones that have simplified our lives in the technology area, a single appliance will be able to juice, cool, cook and freeze our food all through our voice command. The possibility of computerized grocery carts that will fetch what one says they need as well as online grocery delivery may also become a reality.
Home gardens will be the norm. The gardens of the future will be aeroponic, where the plants are grown in an air or mist environment without the use of much soil. This makes the idea of growing at least one-fifth of the vegetables and legumes we need possible. Community gardens will also continue to be popular in the future.
fresh vegetables will be popular. A numerical value will be assigned to all foods from least to most nutritious in the future. A discount will be applied to those foods that are more nutritious. Currently almost 1700 supermarkets have already implemented this grading scale called NuVal. An example of this currently taking place is at Walmart. The store teamed up with Humana and is offering a 5% discount to all those who purchase Walmart’s “Great for You” labeled foods. These labels are on such foods as fruits and vegetables, fiver-rich whole grains, low fat dairy and nuts, seeds and lean meats.

It will be fun and interesting to see what the future holds in the food future. OSU Extension is in a perfect position to address many of these predictions with their programs now and as they plan for the future. Contact your county Extension Office to see what is available in your area!

Source: Smartbrief Nutrition, Food Predictions for 2050. The Boston Globe, 10/25/12.
Author: Liz Smith, SNAP-Ed Regional Program Specialist, NE Region, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewed by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.

Read Full Post »

Thanksgiving is exactly one week away!  If you are like me you have been watching the ads and searching for the best prices on a turkey. I plan to buy a whole bird for my family. If you choose to buy a frozen bird you may do that at any time, but make sure you have adequate storage space in your freezer. If you are buying a whole bird, it is recommended to buy one pound of turkey per person.

Here are some thawing  times and tips for you this Thanksgiving holiday:

In the refrigerator, place frozen bird in the original wrapper in the refrigerator ((40 °F or below ).  Allow approximately 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

In the   Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
4 to 12 pounds 1   to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3   to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4   to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5   to 6 days

If your forget to thaw your turkey or don’t have room in the refrigerator for thawing.. Don’t panic! You can submerge the turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. Allow about 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey.Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping.The following times are suggested for thawing turkey in water.

In Cold Water
4 to 12 pounds 2   to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 6   to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8   to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10   to 12 hours

Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.



Read Full Post »

When: November 19th – January 6, 2013

What does it cost: Nothing – Free!

Who can participate: Any adult with an email account.

What is included: Twice weekly educational messages, tracking log for progress, Facebook account for group interaction, weekly drawings from participants for wellness and fitness prizes.

Why:  To improve your overall health and well-being while providing valuable research as to the effectiveness of social media as a means of disseminating educational information.

How do I sign up? – Contact your FCS Educator – Lisa Barlage (barlage.7@osu.edu), Pat Brinkman (brinkman.93@osu.edu), Dana Brown (brown.4643@osu.edu), Carol Chandler (chandler.4@osu.edu), Cheryl Barber Spires (spires.53@osu.edu), Marie Economos (economos.2@osu.edu), Jenny Even (even.2@osu.edu), Marilyn Rabe (rabe.9@osu.edu), Cindy Shuster (shuster.24@osu.edu), Beth Stefura (stefura.2@osu.edu), Michelle Treber (treber.1@osu.edu), and Susan Zies (zies.1@osu.edu) by November 16, 2012.

Sponsored by:    Ohio State University Extension and County Commissioners Cooperating

OSU Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, age, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or veteran status. Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agriculture Administration and Director, OSU Extension. TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio Only) or 614-292-1868.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »