Archive for July, 2015

Basil Herb Bowl

Basil Herb Bowl

My herb pots are growing and I need to harvest some of them. All of the rain we’ve had this summer in Ohio has made them lush and ready to pick. I’ve enjoyed substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs in many dishes this summer. Let’s talk about a couple of dishes we’ve enjoyed this summer. Not sure about which herbs to use with which foods? This Ohio State University Fact Sheet will give you some great suggestions for selecting, storing and using fresh herbs.

Have you tried a Caprese sandwich with fresh basil? If not, try one for a yummy treat.

How about a dish of caramelized onions, summer squash and garlic? Stir fry these vegetables and add fresh basil or oregano. If you have zucchini, slice it and add it to your recipe. Try this version from USDA for summer squash medley.

This year I made a version of Mala String Beans with fresh green beans. Cook your green beans in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Once they are blanched, you can store them in the refrigerator for 3 days. To make your Mala String Beans, caramelize onions and garlic (be generous with garlic) in a small amount of olive oil. Add your blanched green beans and stir fry. Add a small amount of sesame oil and low sodium soy sauce. Enjoy. Using fresh onions from my garden made this dish extra tasty.

Back to my herbs. . . I want to have the taste of fresh herbs after they’ve dried up and there’s snow on the ground so I decided to freeze some of my herbs so that I can enjoy them this winter.

Here’s my pictorial of picking and freezing herbs:

Basil just picked, washed and drying on paper towel.

Fresh Picked Basil

Fresh Picked Basil

Chopping fresh basil with specialty sheers. You can also chop with a knife.

Chopping Fresh Herbs

Chopping Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs in a tray ready to be frozen. You can use an ice cube tray or a special herb tray with a lid.

Fresh Herbs in Tray

Fresh Herbs in Tray

Frozen herbs on a plate before placing in airtight freezer container.

Frozen Herbs

Frozen Herbs

Frozen herb cubes in airtight container to be stored in freezer.

Frozen Herbs

Frozen Herbs

I found out that it is relatively easy to freeze herbs. I picked my herbs and lightly rinsed them. Lightly dry them on a clean towel or paper towel. Chop them with a knife or special herb chopping scissors. Freeze in ice cube trays or in special herb freezing trays. Fill the trays with about 2 Tablespoons of herbs and water. Freeze overnight. Pop out the cubes and place in airtight containers. I would recommend storing your herbs in separate containers so the flavors don’t mix. I have basil and rosemary frozen in my freezer waiting for my next creation.

What will you create with fresh herbs?

Writer: Michelle Treber, M.A., L.D., Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, OSU Extension Northwest Region Office, spires.53@osu.edu


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Although childhood obesity is a devastating health problem there looms another on the other end of the weight spectrum- eating disorders. Eating Disorders occur when normal eating and behaviors surrounding food, weight management, and body image become extreme. Anyone; females, males, all races, people from all socioeconomic levels and all intelligence levels; can develop eating disorders. Eating disorders affect 5 to 10 percent of all students.

Factors that influence eating disorders may include emotion and personality disorders, family pressures, a genetic or biologic susceptibility, physical or sexual abuse, and a culture where there is an overabundance of food and an obsession with weight. These factors lead many youth to diet, control their appetites, lose weight, and eventually develop one of three different types of eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorders. All of the disorders are extremely serious.

Anorexia nervosa is a devastating eating disorder in which those affected adopt patterns of behavior that in extreme cases, may lead to self-inflicted starvation. Symptoms of anorexia nervosa include: refusal to maintain weight, intense fear of weight gain, distorted body image, loss of sexual desire or menstrual periods, extreme concern with body weight and shape. Personality traits associated with individuals with anorexia include: perfectionists, conflict avoidant, emotionally or sexually inhibited, compliant, approval seeking, excessively dependent, socially anxious, fear of spontaneity, reluctant to take risks, practice food rituals.

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binging and purging behaviors. Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa include: making excuses to go to the bathroom after meals, has had mood swings, may buy large amounts of food which suddenly disappears, has swelling around the jaw, normal weight, eating large amounts of food on spur of the moment, laxative and diuretic wrappers are found frequently in the trash, unexplained disappearance of food in the home, may avoid eating around other people. Characteristics of people who suffer from bulimia are: moody, cannot stand to be alone, demand constant attention, difficulty controlling impulsive behavior, secretive behavior.

Binge eating disorder is similar to Bulimia in that individuals eat large amounts of food in short amounts of time. However these individuals do not purge. Some symptoms include: eating large amounts of food in short periods of time, a sense of lack of control, eating much faster than normal, eating until uncomfortably full, eating large amounts of food when not hungry, eating alone to avoid being embarrassed about how much one is eating, feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilt after overeating.

What can parents do to prevent eating disorders?

 Educate children about the genetic basis for different body types, and the nature and ugliness of prejudice.

 Avoid over emphasizing beauty and body shape, especially for girls.

 Promote healthy behaviors such as sensible exercise and eating. Learn and discuss the dangers of weight loss diets.

 Make a commitment to exercise for the joy of moving your body and not for purging fat.

 Teach your children not make judgments on others based on their appearance.

 Encourage intuitive eating. Never limit caloric intake unless requested by a physician.

 Do whatever you can to promote the self-esteem and self-respect of your daughters, nieces and sisters in intellectual athletic, and social endeavors. Give boys and girls the same opportunities and encouragement.

Information adapted from Ohio State University Factsheets ED 1001-1007.

Reviewed by Susan Zies, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension

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If I had to guess I would say you are probably not getting the recommended servings of vegetables and fruits each day, just like most other Americans. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that less than 9% of us are eating the 2 to 3 cups of Dietary Guideline recommended vegetables and not many more are eating enough fruit. The Dietary Guidelines recommend 1 ½ to 2 cups for adults per day, while the study found that just 13% of us consume that much.

Why is it so important to get more of those vegetables and fruits in our diet each day?Veggies and Fruits

  • While vegetables and fruits aren’t calorie free, most are low calorie.
  • Vegetables and fruits are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Look to those with deep colors (dark green, orange, purple, and red) for many of the highest amounts.
  • Fruits and vegetables are often found to have properties that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
  • The fiber found in vegetables and fruits can aid your digestion and may even help with weight loss. Examples of those with higher fiber include beans, pears, apples, berries, spinach, and broccoli.
  • Vegetables and fruits contain little if any fat.

There is a perception that vegetables and fruits are more expensive than many other foods, but eating those that are in season will get rid of that myth. Consider too that a few more cents now may save you thousands of dollars in medical bills in the future.

A few ways to add another serving of vegetables or fruit (or more) each day:

  • Shred or finely chop vegetables and add to meat loaf, pasta sauce, muffins, and more.
  • Change your evening bowl of ice cream to a vegetable and fruit smoothie. Any fruit tastes great with a cup of milk or juice, a yogurt container, and a cup of ice. Toss in a little kale or spinach too.
  • Add black or other beans to any pasta dish, taco meat, or even on top of a salad.
  • Toss a few berries in your morning cereal or yogurt, and chopped veggies in your scrambled eggs.
  • And don’t forget that fruit is the original fast food. Most of it can be eaten after a quick rinse.

To see if you are close to the recommended vegetable and fruit servings, use a tracking log on your phone, computer, or just a small tablet. Write down after each meal or snack how much you had, within a few days you should be able to see how far you have to go.

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

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

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Do you think windows will provide sun safety protection? Think again. Glass windows only effectively block Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, leaving you exposed to Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Car windshields are partially treated to filter out UVA rays, but side windows may be letting in 63% of the UVA rays.

Does it really make a difference? A recent study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology discovered 53% of all skin cancers in the US occur on the left side (driver’s side) of the body. With early, non-invasive melanomas 76% were found to be on the left side.car windshield

Since, many of us drive our cars without applying sun screen or at least not doing it within the last two hours, how can we protect ourselves? Besides sunscreen you can have transparent window film applied to your car windows which will screen out almost 100% of the UVA and UVB rays without reducing visibility. It is available throughout the US. To ensure quality of window film, check to see if the product has The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.

Sunroofs also increase your exposure to UVA rays. The study found over 82% of the skin cancers were on the person’s head or neck. If you have a sunroof keep it closed on sunny days or wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen. The second most common area for skin cancers were on the arm, so put on sunscreen and a long-sleeve shirt. Be sure and wear sun glasses too.

So if you are not safe from UVA rays in the car, what about your home or office windows? You guessed it. UVA rays are getting through. Another study found more signs of sun damage on the sides of people’s faces that were closer tapartment windowso a window. Home or office windows may allow at least 50% of the UVA rays to pass through. Wrinkles were one of the signs of sun damage seen along with rougher textured skin. The study found exposure to UVA rays accelerated the aging of the skin by five to seven years. This exposure increases your risk of skin cancer.

How do you protect yourself? Wear at least a 15 SPF sunscreen everyday year around. Install protective window film to the windows facing the sun of your office and home. Do you have shaded areas around your house for outdoor activities? If not install shade sails, awnings, or verandas with materials blocking out 94% as recommended. Trees and vine-covered pergolas can provide needed shade for outdoor activities as well as shade to windows in the house. Check out WebShade (www.webshade.com.au/) to do a shade audit for your property or to see how you can plan shade around your home.

Protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays by using sunscreen, installing protective window film, wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Long-sleeve clothing will also help. Don’t forget to buckle up to stay safe.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewer: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD,LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA

American Cancer Society, [2015]. What’s your sun safety IQ? Available at http://www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/quizzes/sun-safety/index
Greenwood, J. [2015]. Sun-safe homes. Available at http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/shade/sun-safe-homes

Skin Cancer Foundation, [2015]. Driving is linked to more skin cancers on the left side of the body. Available at http://www.skincancer.org/publications/sun-and-skin-news/summer-2010-27-2/driving-linked

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Did you know that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes?  More than 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Skin cancer is  the most common form of cancer in the USA. This is unfortunate because skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.

Youth are particularly at risk of overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation since a large amount of the average person’s UV exposure occurs before the age of 18. Even one severe sunburn in childhood can double the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. As parents, you can give your children a legacy of sun safety by helping them develop good sun protections habits early in their lives.  Here are a few tips to help reduce sun damage this summer and throughout their life:

  • Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you and your family goes outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin.
  • Look for some “fun “colors such as blue, pink, red, etc. They look like skin paint which may be fun for kids to wear, and also you can see your kids in a crowd of other children. Many of these varieties are available online.
  • Be sure to reapply more sun screen if your children are playing in water or sweating.
  • Remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.
  • Have children wear hats that have a brim to shade their eyes, sides of the faces and back of neck. Make sure they wear them when they are in the sun.
  • Also wear sunglasses to protect the eyes and the sensitive skin around them.
  • Have children wear shirts with sleeves, especially to cover the upper back and shoulders, where the sun hits most directly.
  • Limit outdoor play time during the 10am-4pm when ultraviolet rays are the most intense. When outdoors during midday, help children find shady spots to play.

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, MA, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Lucas County,powers-barker.1@osu.edu







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sitting1Like obesity or smoking prior to it, “sitting” looks to be the latest lifestyle challenge with a current focus in the news. A recent study suggests that sitting for prolonged periods of time increases risk for chronic disease, even among people who exercise regularly. Researchers conducted a review and meta-analysis of published research to evaluate the association between sedentary time and health outcomes.

Evidence showed that prolonged sitting is associated with negative health outcomes and mortality. The most pronounced outcomes were in people who never exercise or do so only occasionally. Excessive sitting can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Even exercising the recommended half-hour a day may not be enough to ward off the long term effects of sitting.

The human body is meant to move, not sit still. “The leg muscles are the largest in the body, in terms of skeletal muscle,” says Peter Katzmarzyk, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA. “When you sit, you’re deactivating them.” Our metabolism begins to slow down in as short a time frame as one hour. As it declines, the body becomes less efficient at removing sugar and fat from the bloodstream, causing them to build up and insulin levels to spike.

TV watching is the most widely studied form of sedentary activity because people tend to have a good idea of how much television they watch. It’s estimated that every hour spent watching TV shortens your lifespan by 22 minutes. Yikes!

And even if you’re not a big TV watcher, it’s likely you’re still sitting. Looking at an iPad, computer, video game, or even relaxing with a book are most likely done in the sitting position. Time spent sitting at your desk at work or in a car is a little harder to quantify, but adds to the daily total. Medical consensus? Too much sitting is deadly—no matter what kind.

Tips to Reduce Sedentary Time

Are there opportunities in your daily routine to move more? Review the following suggestions to see if any of these tips will work for you.

• Take a 1-3 minute break every half hour to stand or move around.
• Stand up while watching TV. Even better, use the opportunity to walk on a treadmill, swing a hula hoop, or do some push-ups.
• Invest in a standing desk at work. If a purchase is not possible, think about sitting on an exercise ball instead of a regular chair for part of the day. Balancing on a ball helps strengthen core muscles.
• Set the alarm on your phone or get an app that will give you regular dings to remind you to get up and move. Sometimes when we’re really involved in a project or assignment, it’s easy to lose track of time.
• Repetition. Once you make movement a priority, it will be easier to remember to get UP.

Bottom Line
There’s a quote that asks, ‘What fits your busy schedule better: Exercising an hour a day or being dead 24 hours?” When stated in those terms, exercise (even if it’s just standing) doesn’t look so unappealing, does it?

Written by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Liz Smith, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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




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picnicFor many people, the 4th of July is the official kickoff for summer picnics. Whether you are planning a backyard picnic or packing for a day at the park or beach, there are important steps to take to ensure the safety of the food you are bringing.

As temperatures outside heat up, you should remember that bacteria loves the heat and multiplies quickly. The “Danger Zone” for food is between 40⁰ and 140⁰. To prevent food-borne illness, it is very important to follow the four basic rules of food safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, & Chill.

• Pack foods that should be kept cold in an insulated cooler with plenty of ice or freezer packs. Cold foods should be kept below 40⁰ to keep them food safe.
• Consider packing two coolers – one for foods that will be cooked such as hamburgers or chicken and the other for foods that will not be cooked – salads, drinks, etc. This will eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination from the meat’s juices.
• Before packing fruits and vegetables, clean by running under cool water. For hard skinned produce such as melons, use a vegetable brush to clean the outer surface while rinsing them.
• Bring a meat thermometer with you so that you can be sure that the food you are cooking has been cooked to a safe temperature. You can’t always tell that meat is “done” just by its appearance. Here is a link to a chart of safe temperatures for cooked meats. http://www.befoodsafe.org/temperature
• Don’t reuse a plate that has held raw meats for the cooked product. Always use a clean plate so that you don’t transfer julybacbacteria.
• Once you have served foods that should be kept cold, do not allow them to sit out for over 2 hours, 1 hour if the temperature outside is in the 90’s.
• The same rule applies for hot foods. Wrap them securely and place in an insulated container until it is time to serve.
• Often leftovers have been sitting out over the safe time – it may be best to throw them away.
If they have been left out for 2+ hours (or one hour if it is hot and over 90 degrees), throw them out.

One very important item to remember is to wash your hands when you arrive at your picnic site before you begin preparing food. If running water is not available, you can use disposable wipes or hand sanitizer. If you handle raw meat be sure and wash again before doing any other food preparation.
Another suggestion is to clean the tables or picnic area before serving food. Use disposable wipes and consider covering the table surface with a tablecloth.

What will you do to make your picnic food safe?

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

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


Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu


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