Archive for November, 2013

thanksgivingThanksgiving is almost here! It’s a holiday for enjoying family, friends and lots of delicious food. Be sure to share good food safety practices to keep your Thanksgiving dinner safe. Here are some simple tips to keep this holiday meal safe.

Safe Thawing
• Wash your hands with soap and water before handling the turkey or any food.
• Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below. Allow approximately 24 hours per 4-5 pounds of turkey. A very large bird may take up to 5 or 6 days to thaw.
• If you forgot to thaw the turkey, submerge the turkey in pan of cold water, enough to cover the turkey. Change the water every 30 minutes. Allow 30 minutes thawing
time for every pound.

Safe Preparation
• Wash hands with soap and water.
• Make sure food prep areas and surfaces, utensils and plates are clean.
• Use separate cutting boards for meats and fruits/vegetables.
• Avoid putting cooked food on cutting boards that have touched raw meat.
• Avoid wiping your hands that have touched raw food with dish towels.
• Keep raw food away from vegetables and side dishes that will not be cooked.
• Stuffing the turkey is not recommended. Bake the stuffing separate.
• Never bake the turkey below 325 degrees in the oven.
• Use a food thermometer. The pop-up timer is not a reliable method to determine if the turkey is cooked to the minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.
• Let the turkey set 20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to set.
• Stuffing should also reach a minimum temperature of 165 degrees.

Serving Food Safely
• Keep hot foods hot and colds food cold.
• Keep the pumpkin pie and any cold desserts in the refrigerator.
• Use clean serving spoons for each dish.
• Wash hands with soap and water before handling food or eating.
• Carve the turkey with a clean carving knife and fork.

Storing Leftovers
• Store leftover food within two hours after serving, including pumpkin pie.
• Use several shallow containers to store leftovers.
• Store in the refrigerator if eating within 3 days.
• Keep in the freezer for longer storage. Label and date.
• Reheat all leftovers to 165 degrees F. Gravy should be brought to a rolling boil.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Resources: fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Poultry_Preparation
Author: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu.
Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, MS, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu


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familyweekNational Family Week is an annual celebration observed during the week of Thanksgiving and is designed to encourage families to spend quality time together. It’s an opportunity to plan a variety of activities that encourage family outings and togetherness.

Research suggests it is critical to spend quality time together as a family, especially at the dinner table. Annually, statistics show children who eat dinner with their family are less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs than their counterparts. (Cook and Dunifon) However, what happened to the family dinner hour, when people sat down together and talked?

It seems that fast food, busy lifestyles and the necessity of having two income earners have made the family mealtime a thing of the past. Some people argue that the idea of a sit-down family meal just doesn’t work in today’s fast-paced society. Others point to the vanishing mealtime as just another symptom of our deteriorating family structure. And still others apathetically shrug their shoulders and say, “it’s a sign of the times and there’s nothing we can do about it”. Regardless of your position on the importance of family mealtime, clearly something needs to be done to revive it.

During National Family Week, I challenge you to make mealtime with your family priority one. Here are some “family-friendly” suggestions to engage family members in mealtime conversations designed to strengthen the family unit.

Sunday: Share your family history; learn about your family’s heritage.

Monday: Make new memories.

Tuesday: Tell a funny story about a special family member.

Wednesday: Write a hand-written letter to a family member who is unable to be with you during the holiday season.

Thursday: Thanksgiving Day – share things for which you are thankful.

Friday: Focus on your favorite family traditions.

Saturday – Share a TV-free and technology-free family activity.

Making mealtime a priority can be difficult, but not impossible. It’s more than just a meal – it’s an opportunity for families to come together regularly in support of family unity. Start now and begin reaping the benefits of family mealtime togetherness.

Written by: Cindy Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Carmen Irving, Carmen Irving, M.A., Healthy Relationships Program Specialist, OSU Extension FCS Administration

Reviewed by: Jenny Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Cook, E. and Dunifon, R. Do Family Meals Really Make a Difference? Retrieved November 19, 2013 http://www.human.cornell.edu/pam/outreach/upload/Family- Mealtimes-2.pdf

Davis, J.L., Family Dinners are Important, WebMD retrieved November 19, 2013 http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/family-dinners-are-important

Fiese, B. & Hammons, A. (2011). Is frequency of shared family meals related to the nutritional health of children and adolescents? Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 127, 1565-1574.

Musick, K. & Meier, A. (Forthcoming). Assessing Causality and persistence in associations between family dinners and adolescent well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family.

Bennett, S. & Bennett R. (1994). Table Talk 365 ways to reclaim the family dinner hour. Bob Adams, Inc., Holbrook, MA.

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Thanksgiving FeastDo you have a holiday party in your future?  Many of us will be hosting food events for family and friends throughout the holiday season.  You don’t want to be the one to make anyone sick from your food event.  Start with simple basics.

  • Clean everything before you start.  Use a solution of 1 Tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water.  Use this to clean your sink, countertops and as a sanitizer for cutting boards and other cooking utensils.
  • Next, plan your menu carefully.  Choose some items that can be safely left out of refrigeration like pretzels, crackers, baked products and fruit.  Make sure you have the equipment to keep other items hot (about 140 °F) or cold (under 40°F)
  • When shopping, pick up the perishable items (those needing refrigeration) last at the grocery store.  And, make sure this is the last stop on the way home.
  • Theeasiest way to assure your food is safe is to make sure the perishable food does not stay out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours.  A sit down meal that is served and then cleaned up is safer than a buffet style meal that stays out for hours. 
  • Keep a food thermometer handy so that you cook foods to the proper temperatures.  Color is not enough when deciding if your meat, soup or casserole is done.

o   Cook chicken to 165°F

o   Cook whole meats such as beef and pork to 145°F

o   Ground beef and pork should be cooked to 160°F

o   Heat soups and casserole dishes to 165°F

o   When holding hot dishes on a buffet table keep them at 140°F

  • Finally, put leftovers away promptly, within 2 hours of serving.  When reheating them for later service, heat to 165°F.

Following a few simple rules will keep you, your family, and your friends from getting a foodborne illness this holiday season.

Reference:  USDA Blog, Cooking Meat?  Check the New Recommended Temperatures, http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/05/25/cooking-meat-check-the-new-recommended-temperatures/

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

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

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Walk with others

Walk with others

“The police called; they have Mom.  It’s the third time this month that Mom got mixed up and was found in the neighbor’s house.  Mom is getting more and more confused.  She doesn’t prepare healthy meals and often forgets to turn the oven off when she cooks.  She misses doses of her medicine because she forgets.  I feel like she needs daily assistance, but I have to work…  What can I do?”

Does this scenario sound familiar?  It is difficult to think about the possibility that someday one or both of our parents won’t be self-sufficient and will develop an increased dependency in meeting his/her daily needs.  Situations such as these are becoming much more familiar to many working adults.  The percentage of the U.S. population over the age of 65 continues to increase, so does the number of adult workers who are involved in caregiving.  In addition, there has been an increase in persons providing care to disabled children and veterans.

The month of November is National Caregiver’s Month which gives us an even stronger reason to reflect on the stresses and strains associated with the responsibility of providing care for a loved one.   These strains can be particularly difficult for mid-lifers juggling work, marriage duties, caring for their aging parents and the needs of their own children.  Along with the physical demands, it is also difficult to see the loss of independence of our parents.  However, many Americans see the time spent caring for their aging parents as only a small sacrifice.  During this process, caring for an elderly parent can be satisfying and enjoyable often resulting in an improved relationship for both parties. Most children help their parents willingly when needed and feel a sense of satisfaction by doing so.

Some ways to reduce the stress and increase the satisfying aspect of caregiving are some simple ideas that can make the experience more enjoyable.

  1. Set realistic goals and expectations and know your limitations.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Reach out to other family members and friends who can reduce the load of responsibilities.
  3. Remember to take care of yourself.  Losing yourself during the process or not seeing to your own health demands, nor maintaining your own health will only be harmful to both you and your family.  And lastly, involve other people by holding a family conference, seeking professional assistance, and using community resources.

Many communities have resources available to assist in those facing caregiving issues. Contact your local Center for Aging or Board of Disability Services to find more information.

Writer:  Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

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

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Fall and Winter are a great time for feeling toasty and warm, wrapped up in cozy sweaters or blankets, or settled in front of a fire. But freezing temperatures, low humidity, and furnace-blasted dry air can leave your skin dry, flaky, and itchy. Everyone needs to protect their skin from drying out in the winter. But if you have a skin condition, you should step up your routine to stay supple.

The signs (what you see) and symptoms (what you feel) of dry skin are:
Soft Hands
• Rough, scaly, or flaking skin.
• Itching.
• Gray, ashy skin in people with dark skin.
• Cracks in the skin, which may bleed if severe.
• Chapped or cracked lips.

Here are tips that can prevent dry skin or keep it from getting worse:

• Do not use hot water. Hot water removes your natural skin oils more quickly. Warm water is best for bathing.
• Use a gentle cleanser. Soaps can strip oils from the skin. Stop using deodorant bars, antibacterial soaps, perfumed soaps, and skin care products containing alcohol, like hand sanitizers. Look for either a mild, fragrance-free soap or a soap substitute that moisturizes.
• Limit time in the bathtub or shower. A 5- to 10-minute bath or shower adds moisture to the skin. Spending more time in the water often leaves your skin less hydrated than before you started. Do not bathe more often than once a day.
• Moisturize right after baths and showers. To lock in moisture from a bath or shower, apply a moisturizer while the skin is still damp.
• Before you shave, soften skin. It is best to shave right after bathing, when hairs are soft. To lessen the irritating effects of shaving your face or legs, use a shaving cream or gel. Leave the product on your skin about 3 minutes before starting to shave. Shave in the direction that the hair grows.
• Change razor blades after 5 to 7 shaves. A dull blade bothers dry skin.
• Use a humidifier. Keep the air in your home moist with a humidifier. Portable humidifiers or those that work with your heating system put moisture in the air that will be absorbed by your skin and hair.
• For redness and inflammation, apply cool cloths to itchy dry skin or an over the counter hydrocortisone cream on the area for a week. If these don’t provide relief, talk to your doctor.
• Soothe chapped lips. At bedtime, apply a lip balm that contains petroleum. Other names for this ingredient are petroleum jelly and mineral oil.
• Cover up outdoors in winter. In the cold, wear a scarf and gloves to help prevent chapped lips and hands.
• Be good to your face. If you have very dry skin, cleanse your face just once a day, at night. In the morning, rinse your face with cool water.
• Drink plenty of water.
• Eat omega-3 foods. Essential fatty acids can help fortify the skin’s natural oil-retaining barriers. Foods rich in omega-3 include cold-water fish (salmon, halibut, sardines), flax, walnuts, and safflower oil.

Writer: Melissa Welker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County.

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

American Academy of Dermatology, http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/a—d/dry-skin
WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/beauty/dry-skin-13/winter-dry-skin

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lhlw zwg 2013 logo
Are you interested in maintaining your weight or even losing a few pounds during this holiday season? Could you use some encouragement and guidance but don’t have time to attend classes? Give our Zero Holiday Weight Gain holiday wellness challenge a try.

“Zero Holiday Weight Gain Challenge” is an on-line challenge designed to help participants get fit by encouraging regular exercise, nutrition, and wellness tips during the upcoming holiday season. Participants will receive weekly e-communications and have access to supplemental information available on Blogs and Facebook. All participant information is kept confidential.

Each week participants will receive free weekly e-communications, containing nutrition, health and fitness tips. Additional food and activity logs will be available for download to help participants track their progress. Pre- and post- online-survey assessments are used to collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress.

Interested in participating in this on-line challenge? Sign up by following this link to enroll http://go.osu.edu/ZWGRoss, if you have participated in past Challenges – contact your Educator, or leave us a comment on the blog. You will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of November 25. While Facebook™ will be available; participants only need to have an email address. The program is funded by Ohio State University Extension.

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French fries are my vice. No matter how many are served, I will finish them regardless of whether I am full. Afterwards I feel defeated and ashamed. I start out with the best intentions, but then feel powerless. Can it be possible to win against this and other “uncontrollable” behaviors?


Dr. Kessler, author of The End of Overeating, calls foods high in sugar, fat, and salt rewarding foods. They stimulate the reward center of the brain, the same area associated with drugs and gambling. Just like drugs and gambling, these foods can become an obsession (albeit to a lesser extent). This reward system was beneficial because historically people ate food to sustain life and provide fuel for their bodies. But today people eat because they are “told” to eat by outside influence; these influences are known as cues or action triggers. These action triggers may tell you that you are hungry even though you have just finished eating.

Many of the reasons for overeating extend beyond simply not having the will power to choose the “right foods.” It is not a matter of you failing; it is understanding behaviors and how to change them. With some time and effort, you can eliminate the behaviors you do not want and encourage those you do. To change behaviors:

†  Make affirmations

†  Identify your cues

†  Change your environment

†  Stay positive

An affirmation is a positive declaration stating your intention to change. This prepares you to make a change in your life by consciously writing it down and making it concrete. It should be placed somewhere it can be read daily to remind yourself of your desire to change.

The next step is to identify your cues. These are specific to you and take some effort to manage. Action triggers take many forms and can be very discrete. Once you identify what is cueing your eating behavior, you can change your environment by removing/avoiding these cues.

Typically your environment determines your actions. For example, if you go out to lunch with overeaters it is far more likely you will overeat. Once you determine your temptations, find a more positive environment for change. Surrounding yourself with positive, healthy, fit people and environments will increase your chances of success and provide support when you need it!

Finally, you want to associate positive emotions with the desired behavior. Entering the environment with a positive attitude and confidence will make it more likely you will perform and maintain the behavior. If you correlate encouraging feelings with a behavior or environment, these feelings will stimulate the reward center in your brain, making the new behavior rewarding and keep you coming back!

Prepared by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, FCS,  OSU Extension Wood County, Erie Basin EERA and Ryan Leone,  OSU Extension, Wood County.

Reviewed by: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D.Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed,OSU Extension, West Region


Kessler D. The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. New York, NY: Rodale Books; 2009.


Wansink, B. Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. New York, NY: Bantam Books; 2006.

Eyles BJ. Fitness Behavior [podcast on the internet]. Christchurch, New Zealand; 2010 [updated 2013 Sept 17; cited 2013 Oct 11]. Available from: http://bevanjameseyles.com/fitness-behavior.

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