Archive for January, 2013

salsaThe Super Bowl is not just a day for football, but also a day for parties and food.  Don’t invite food borne illness to your party.  Follow a few simple rules to keep it Super Safe.

CLEAN and wash kitchen surfaces, utensils and hands before preparing or serving food and wash all fruits and vegetables including those you plan to peel.

SEPARATE raw meats and poultry from ready-to-eat foods like fruit and vegetables.

COOK meat and poultry to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.  Cook poultry to 165°F, ground meat to 160°F, and steaks to 145°F.

CHILL raw and prepared foods to 40°F within two hours.

If food is going to be sitting out for serving, remember to keep cold foods chilled to 40°F or below and hot foods heated to 140°F or above.  Offer foods in smaller containers and put new ones out as they run out instead of putting all the food out at once.  It will stay within the temperature range and keep the food safe.  Also, offer serving spoons and small plates to reduce the opportunity for guests to eat directly from the bowls.  Don’t leave any perishable food outside the temperature danger zone for more than 2 hours.

Source:  foodsafety.gov

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

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu


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Many families celebrate the holidays filled with rich traditions and rituals. These traditions and rituals help families bond together and give children a sense of belonging. The little rituals passed down from generation to generation help shape your family by creating a sense of unity, warmth and closeness. They create memories that fill your mind with peace, love, happiness, and security. With such busy lives, some find it difficult to find time to begin to incorporate family traditions throughout the year, but there are many small ways to bring traditions into our daily lives. Eating dinner together as a family, going for an evening walk, watching a movie, reading a bedtime story, or even cooking together can become part of a daily or weekly routine. These are some of the little things your children will remember as they grow older, and likely will pass on to their children. As the Super bowl approaches, so does another chance to begin and build family traditions. Simple, family activities can bring the family together as they watch the biggest football game of the year.

Plan the menu-Let your children help plan and prepare the menu for a Super Bowl party. A favorite dish prepared year after year can be part of the Super Bowl tradition.

Let the kids decorate. Get out some pens or crayons in team colors, paper, scissors, glue sticks, a stapler etc. Set up a T-shirt decorating table for children to design their own T-shirt. Let the children put on a fashion show as part of the half-time activities.

Indoor fun. Have a small football, yellow piece of cloth or some other small football-themed object on hand for a game of Find It! Have older children help the younger ones find objects hidden throughout the house. There can be special rewards depending on the items they find.

Table football. Make a paper football and create an annual table football tournament. Have a self-created Lombardi Trophy to pass down from year to year.

Kids love and thrive on traditions because they cultivate a sense of belonging and security. Making traditions a priority in family life is important as well as fun. By doing so, our kids will not only learn to appreciate and look forward to the time they spend with family members, but they will also develop a full understanding of the meaning behind the word “Family.”

More information about family traditions can be found at Ohio State University Extension Ohioline http://ohioline.osu.edu/flm00/fs12.html

Author: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Butler County/Miami Valley ERRA, green.1405@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Linette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Ohio State University Extension, Ohioline, http://ohioline.osu.edu/flm00/fs12.ht
Traditions: A Foundation for Strong Families http://marriageandfamilies.byu.edu/issues/1999/December/traditions.aspx

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ImageSometimes finding healthy foods to feed a family for dinner can be difficult.  Long work days, soccer practices, and other activities make us want to rush to find the most convenient (and not always healthy) food options.  Even when we have time to cook dinner it is sometimes hard to make sure that all of the food groups are represented.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Here are some tips that the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) gives to help you healthy up those meals.

  • Follow MyPlate – MyPlate is a wonderful tool used to ensure that your family is meeting their nutritional needs for the day.  Start by making half your plate fruits and vegetables and the other half protein and grains.  Your fruits and vegetables should come in a variety of colors to make certain the different vitamins and minerals are represented.  As far as grains, the USDA recommends making half your grains whole grains.  Protein should also be lean and nutritious like lean beef and pork, or chicken, turkey, beans, or tofu.  Try to make sure that fish are on your plate at least twice a week.  Have a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk to include your dairy.
  • Avoid Extra Fat – Look for ways to cut out the extra fat.  Baking instead of frying chicken will reduce the fat content.  Skip the gravy or sauces.  For example, a rich cheese sauce is delicious with broccoli, but it adds unwanted fat.  Try different herbs and spices instead for a different, but tasty alternative.  Instead of having a slice of cake for dessert, reach for a bowl of fruit. It’s delicious and nutritious!
  • Monitor Eating Methods – Many of us eat too fast.  The problem with this is that it doesn’t give our stomachs enough time to tell our brain that we’re full before we’ve stuffed ourselves.  Savor your meal.  If you eat at a slow or modified pace your body will be better able to tell yourself that you are full.  Another tip is to use a smaller plate.  The bigger the plate, the more likely we are to fill it up.  Try using a nine-inch plate and follow MyPlate as a guide.
  • Know What You Eat – By cooking at home, you know exactly what is going into your food.  You can adjust recipes to be healthier by adding less salt or using olive oil instead of solid fats.  Cooking at home also gives you the opportunity to try new foods.  Make a plan to try one new food each month.  Your family may find their new favorite meal!  If you do decide to eat out, try to obtain the nutritional information ahead of time so you know what you’re eating. 

Make your meals opportunities for better health.  Incorporate the tips above to make sure that you are meeting the nutritional guidelines for both yourself and your family.  For more tips, please visit www.choosemyplate.gov for information about all the food groups as well as information about your nutritional health.


Build a Healthy Meal – http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet7BuildAHealthyMeal.pdf

Written by:  Dana Brown, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Morrow County, Ohio State University Extension, Heart of Ohio EERA

Reviewed by: Cindy Shuster, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Ohio State University Extension, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Barb Hildebrand, Office Associate, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, Heart of Ohio EERA

Reviewed by: Jenny Lindimore, Office Associate, Ohio State University Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA



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Quinoa has been part of the healthy lunch options at several catered events I have attended lately. The foods tasted very good and made me to want to find out more about it – what are the benefits of eating it, how to cook it, how long it takes to prepare?MP900049638[1]

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is considered a whole grain because of its nutrient benefits, and how it is cooked and prepared. However, it is actually a seed and a relative to the leafy vegetables beets, spinach, and Swiss chard. It was originally grown in the Andes Mountains of South America by the Incas over 5,000 years ago.  Quinoa is a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin E.  In addition it is known as a complete protein. Research has shown that the high fiber content of quinoa will make you feel full longer, which may aid in weight loss. High fiber foods are also shown to aid in digestion, may lower blood cholesterol, and reduce the risks of certain cancers. One of the best things about quinoa is that it is gluten free, which makes it a great food for those with celiac disease.

Quinoa is covered in a naturally occurring pesticide called saponin. Saponin gives it a bitter taste which discourages bugs from eating it. By rinsing the quinoa, you will remove this bitter taste. Start by placing the seeds in a fine mesh strainer, because it is small it will go through something with larger holes. Put the strainer in a bowl of water and gently rub the seeds for a few seconds, rinse and drain. Check the label, as some varieties of quinoa come pre-rinsed; however, not all. After rinsing, cook 1 cup of seeds with 2 cups of water. One cup of seeds will yield 3 to 3 ½ cups of cooked quinoa. Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice.  It will be done in 15 to 20 minutes. The cooked seeds can be used in everything from salads, main dish casseroles, soups or chowders, dessert foods like puddings, or hot breakfast cereals. Use the flour from quinoa to make gluten free cookies. Here is a link to a few quinoa recipes for you to try http://go.osu.edu/quinoa.

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County/Ohio Valley ERRA, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewers: Cindy Shuster, Kathryn Green, Linnette Goard, and Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension.


Whole Grains Council, http://wholegrainscouncil.org/.

Chow Line, Ohio State University Extension, http://extension.osu.edu/news-releases/resources/chow-line/.

Utah State University, Food $ENSE, Quinoa, https://extension.usu.edu/fsne/files/uploads/2012%20Food%20Basics%20Lessons/Grains/F$GrainsQuinoaHandout.pdf.

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According to the January 10, 2013 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) the number of emergency room visits involving Energy Drinks more than doubled from 10,068 visits in the year 2007 to 20,783 in 2011.

This report also identified that there are more male patients than female patients, and that visits doubled for both male and females. Energy drinks are flavored beverages containing high amounts of caffeine.  The amount of caffeine varies from energy drink to energy drink. Ranging from about 80 milligrams (mg) to more than 500 (mg), compared to 100 mg in a 5 ounce cup of coffee or 50 mg in a 12 ounce cola.

The report states, “Consumption of energy drinks is a rising public health problem because medical and behavioral consequences can result from excessive caffeine intake.”   It also indicated that there is a “growing body of scientific evidence” showing harmful health effects of energy drinks. In particular with children, however, new findings suggest that older adults may be at risk as well. “The safety of these products among adults who take medications or have medical conditions has been questioned.”

Energy drinks are not the only beverages on the rise in America. Americans are also drinking more soft drinks than ever. Per capita soft drink consumption has increased almost 500 percent over the past 50 years. There is enough regular soda produced annually to supply every American with more than 14 ounces of soda every day for a year. One reason for the steady rise in soft drink consumption is larger portion sizes; fountain drinks can range in size from 22 to 64 ounces. Children start drinking soda at a remarkably young age, and consumption increases through young adulthood.

photo (4) (2)

Choosing healthy beverages is a great first step to an overall healthy diet. Try these tips to help you and your family have a healthier diet.

  • Help children learn to enjoy water as the thirst quencher of choice.
  • Make soft drinks a “sometimes” beverage to be enjoyed in moderate amounts. Remember that soft drinks include fruitades, fruit drinks, lemonade, energy drinks, sweet tea, and sports drinks.
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for easy access.
  • Add lemon, lime, other fruit, or a splash of juice to water.photo (5) (2)

Reviewed by:  Heidi Phillips, B.S, Program Assistant, FCS, Wood County Extension.

For a complete copy of the report:



Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for

Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (January 10, 2013). The DAWN

Report: Update on Emergency Department Visits Invo



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SoImageme families enjoy doing winter activities outside together, such as skiing, ice skating, and snow sledding.

However, others don’t like the cold.  What’s a family to do besides play board games together?  You might try some of these ideas:

  • Make a scrapbook or a video scrapbook
  • Watch for birds
  • Cook a meal or make a snack
  • Play games or active video games
  • Work on a jigsaw puzzlemother and daughter cooking
  • Send mail to a soldier
  • Put on a play
  • Play balloon volleyball
  • Start a Blog
  • Research vacation spots
  • Read silently or take turns reading a book together

You may also want to plan some trips to museums.  If you live in Ohio there are quite a few museums that provide excellent learning activities and interesting family time together.  Examples include: COSI in Columbus, Air Force Museum in Dayton, Johnson Humrickhouse Museum in Coshocton, David Warther Carving Display near Sugar Creek, Imagination Station in Toledo and Warther Museum in New Philadelphia.  There are also lots of local museums which have excellent displays and provide activities for children and families.

During the winter some museums have special exhibits; such as, art museums may have art displays from famous artists.  The Columbus Art Museum has an excellent display of “Think Outside the Brick: The Creative Art of Lego” until January 27, 2013.   History Museums may have traveling displays from other countries.  If you have small children, you might try the children and youth museums as they allow children to touch.

To make the most of your visit involve your children in the planning of the trip.  Consider:

  •   Talking to them about what they will see.
  •   Finding out what excites them.
  •   Relating what’s being learned in school to the museum visit.
  •   Reviewing personal safety and behavior rules before you go.  Explain what acceptable behavior in the museum you will visit is.

During the Visit

  •   Be flexible and follow your children’s lead.
  •   Try to relate facts about the exhibit to what your children already know.
  •   Ask your children to tell you a story about an object in the exhibit that interests them.

Play museum games such as:

–       Postcard games – buy some postcards in the gift shop and see if you can find the pictured items.

–       “I spy”

–      Seek and Find

–       Tell me why or how?

After the visit, look for opportunities to continue learning.

  • Use the museum’s family guide with ideas
  • Suggest your children start a collection of their favorite objects.
  • Go online.  Many museums have interactive web sites.
  • Ask your children to share information about their experience with relatives or friends.

Museums can provide interesting activities and learning experiences for everyone. Costs can vary. Some of them like the Air Force Museum in Dayton are even free, except for the IMAX Theater.  What winter activity or adventure are you planning to try?


Pulay, A. (1999) “Winter Family Activities” Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer:  Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

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We are all part of a dizzying pace that takes a high toll on our energy and our time.  Every day, we find places to go, things to do, and more tasks tYoung woman on sofa.o discover and/or uncover at work.  With increased home and work schedules, we need to set aside time for reflection.

Reflection or thinking about our experiences in life is the key to learning.  Reflection allows us to analyze our experiences, make changes based on our mistakes, keep doing what is successful, and build upon or modify past knowledge based on new knowledge.


“In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us”                                                      – Virginia Woolf

Realize that you need to relax.  Many people just try to work through their stress by ignoring it and hoping the stressors pass quickly, even while stressors build up. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to be caught off-guard by stress when you reach the point of feeling overwhelmed, or to be stressed to the point that the stress is taking a toll upon your physical being.  It’s important to know when you need to relax.  Physically relaxing your body can lead to stress relief because it interrupts and reverses your stress response.


 “Take Rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”       – Ovid

Resolve or resolution is a commitment an individual makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit; a new beginning.


“There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen”. 

– Wayne Dyer

As individuals, personal growth and renewal come from examining who we are and what we value.  Renewal is a process of shedding what is no longer useful, devoting time to self-care through rest and cleansing, and ultimately emerging new and ready for more growth.


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”     – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 As you take time to reflect, relax, resolve, and renew, here’s a short (only 128 pages) but powerful read to get you started.  “How Full is Your Bucket?” written by Tom Rath is based on the theory that life is a bucket and how happy you are determines how full your bucket is.  Happiness in life often lies in simplicity, and this clear, concise book of quotes and stories is the perfect winter-afternoon read as you embark upon the New Year.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA

Reviewed by:  Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

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