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Archive for October, 2015

As the weather cools down the type of meals we often cook in slow cookers start to sound wonderful. Think warm, hearty, time saving, and one-dish meals. Slow cookers can help you to save both money and time – and maybe even your sanity. Instead of walking in the door at the end of the day to “What’s for dinner?” you can hear “Wow! That smells good. I’m going to wash up for dinner.” Because slow cookers use a low temperature to cook foods over a longer than usual time, there are a few safety and preparation tips to keep in mind:

  • As always, start with clean hands and a clean surface as you prep your meal.
  • To avoid sticking and provide a speedy clean-up, spray the inside of the crock with non-stick spray before adding ingredients.
  • Thaw frozen meats before adding to the crock either in the microwave or refrigerator.
  • If you decide to cut up foods ahead of time, store meats and vegetables separate before placing them in the pot to avoid growth of bacteria.
  • To shorten the time that foods are in the danger zone, between 40 and 140 degrees, either pre-heat the cooker or use the high setting for the first hour. I often add one of my liquid ingredients and turn my pot on high as I prep the other ingredients to add.
  • Surprisingly vegetables cook slower than meats, so add them first. slow cooker
  • Newer research states that larger cuts of meat can be now cooked in a slow cooker, but check manufacturer directions to see how many pounds your machine will hold safely. Check large cuts of meat with a meat thermometer to ensure safe temperature, 165 degrees for poultry and ground meats; and 145 to 160 degrees for beef, pork and lamb.
  • When cooking meats and poultry water, broth, or vegetable juices should almost cover the meat. This liquid provides more even heat transfer and creates the steam to ensure safe cooking.
  • While it is tempting, do not over-fill slow cookers. A pot one-half to two-thirds full is a full pot for cooking.
  • Do not remove the lid unnecessarily. When you lift the lid the inside temperature drops and can add 30 minutes or more to the cooking time.
  • After serving foods do not leave them to cool down in the crock. Store slow cooker foods safely as other left-overs – separate into shallow containers within short time and store in refrigerator or freezer. Left-overs should be reheated to 165 degrees before eating.

Are you looking for a low cost slow cooker meal idea? Try one from our Ohio State University Extension, Wayne County http://go.osu.edu/slowcooker. What is your favorite slow cooker recipe? I love my mother’s baked beans, white chicken chili, and anything for a tail-gate. Comment on your favorite.

Sources:

USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service, “Slow Cookers and Food Safety”, http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

University of Minnesota Extension, “Slow Cookers and Food Safety”, http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/safe-meals/slow-cooker-safety/.

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

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County.

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What is the difference between right and wrong?  How are you affected by success or failure in your life? hand hearts How do you deal with the realities of life and the challenges of our quick-paced social, media and technology world?  What Life Principles have you internalized and incorporated into your daily activities so that you have a better quality of life?

What are Life Principles?

Life Principles are universal laws which are changeless and if they are at the center of your life, they will make the quality of your life much, much better.  A moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions is a Life Principle.

What are the benefits from having Life Principles?

They are numerous and unlimited and include some of the following:  Flexibility; Trust; Love; Courage; Effectiveness; Positive Energy; Pride; Creativity; Self-esteem and Confidence.

What are the Life Principles you live by?

It is important to reflect upon, appreciate and choose what is important to you and the life you want to live.  It is even more important to choose Life Principles which support your beliefs of family, friends, work, home, spirituality, community, relationships, self-awareness, education, happiness and helping others.

What are some important Life Principles? 

  • Contribution
  • Integrity
  • Reciprocity
  • Positive expectations.
  • Being what you seek.
  • Connectedness
  • Love
  • Self-Discipline.
  • Moderation
  • Patient Persistence.

What’s one final thought about Life Principles?

Remember to choose your Life Principles before someone chooses them for you!

hands

Written by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Source:

Time and Life Mastery – Putting First Things First, Developed by Kurt Utterback, Presented by Communicate Institute Training and Development in partnership with Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio, Graduate courses for teachers, WEB:  www.communicateinstitute.com/

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kids2 Many of us will see trick-or-treaters visiting our neighborhoods this week. When you do, consider starting a new Halloween tradition. My sister, Debbie is a great hostess for trick-or-treat night. She fixes a big pot of chili with healthy beans, lean beef and tomatoes. As the soup simmers, family members can stop in for a bowl of soup and some veggies before hitting the streets. A fun veggie tray encourages everyone to try a veggie dipped in reduced fat ranch dressing. The kids and their parents have a healthy meal to get them started on their journey. Veggie Girl

Let’s explore some Healthy Option Trick or Treat Ideas:

• Offer Halloween toys, stickers, glow sticks, pencils, or erasers.
• Offer small balls, bubbles, modeling clay, plastic spiders, bugs, skeletons or sidewalk chalk.
• Offer fruit cups, 100 % juice boxes, nuts, trail mix, graham crackers, or raisins.
• Offer small Clementines with a pumpkin face for an added surprise.

Clementine PumpkinsDid you know? A research study from Yale University found that children are just as likely to choose a small toy as candy when offered both of them. Given the choice between lollipops, fruit flavored candy, tart hard candy and stretch pumpkin men, glow in the dark insects, Halloween-themed stickers and pencils, 50% of the children chose the toys.

You may have your candy stash ready to go for this year but I challenge you to visit the store after Halloween and pick up some of the non-perishable ideas to offer next year. Oftentimes we can get post-Halloween items at 50 -90% off! Purchase these for savings next year and store them in your box with your Halloween decorations (if you have one) or in the special place that you can easily find when it is time to buy candy for next year. You may be surprised at the savings you see!

You don’t have to stop offering candy but consider adding some healthy alternatives. Did you know that the average Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin contains 250 pieces of calories equaling about 3 pounds of sugar and 9,000 calories? Let’s make that number closer to 100 pieces of candy next year! That’s enough of a treat for anyone.

Can you start a healthy Halloween tradition?

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

Reviewer: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Photo Credits: Debbie Klinger, Pat Brinkman and Michelle Treber.

Sources:

American Heart Association, (2014). How to have a heart healthy Halloween. retrieved from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/How-to-Have-a-Heart-Healthy-Halloween_UCM_317432_Article.jsp

Schwartz, M. , Chen, E., & Brownell, K. (2003). Trick, treat, or toy: children are just as likely to choose toys as candy on Halloween. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 35, 4, 207-209

Kids

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What is one of the dirtiest items in your purse or pocket besides money?  Probably, your cell phone.  Stop for a minudirty cell phonete and think about where and when you used your cell phone.  We carry them everywhere, rushing to answer or check a text message with dirty hands.  We take it into the bathroom, kitchen and everywhere else.  If you have children you have probably given them your phone to distract them as you shop or drive the car.

One study found cell phones to be 18 times dirtier than toilet handles.  Another study found that 82% of cell phones tested positive for bacteria contamination and 16% had E.coli.

So, how do we clean our phones?

  • Check the directions in your owner’s manual for any specific cleaning instructions.
  • Power down the phone to help protect it as you clean.
  • You can wipe the screen clean with a microfiber cloth daily. This will help remove the dirt your hands left on the phone.cleaning cell phone
  • Use disposable cleaning electronic screens’ wipe but don’t use a regular cleaning wipe on your phone. If you don’t have an electronic screen wipe  use a soft cloth dampened with water.   To get the dirt out of the small corners and nooks use a cotton swab.
  • Dirt and grime can accumulate around the edges of your protective cover. Take the cover off weekly and use a disinfecting wipe on the inside and outside of the case.  Let it dry thoroughly before putting it back on your phone.
  • Wash your hands before using your phone which will prevent germs and dirt from getting on your phone.
  • Keep food and drink away from your phone.
  • Avoid using your phone in the bathroom. Droplets from flushing the toilet can land on your phone.

To avoid ruining the special coatings on some screens, never use any products containing harsh chemicals, like ammonia.

While you are cleaning try cleaning your computer and television remote too.  You can use a cleaning wipe on your keyboard or a cloth sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner.  Don’t spray directly onto your keyboard or laptop.  An air duster can help remove things stuck in your keyboard.  For the monitor just use a dry or dampened with clean water microfiber cloth to wipe away the dust and dirt.

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

Reviewer:  Jenny Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension

References:

American Cleaning Institute, (2013).  Cell Phone Cleaning.  Available at http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/cell_phone_cleaning.aspx

Eley, A. (2014). Find out how to clean your cell phone and other dirty gadgets, Available at

http://www.today.com/home/find-out-how-clean-your-cell-phone-other-dirty-gadgets-2D79591843

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Four year olds can be frustrating at times especially when it comes to eating. I can remember when my four year old daughter would simply refuse to eat at the dinner time. “I’m not hungry daddy” she quipped as she would play with her food. As a parent I would have a few options a.) make her stay at the table until she finishes her plate, b.) send her to bed without supper, or c.) put her food in the refrigerator for later. The correct answer is “c.”

In most cases, children, toddlers and infants are actually better “intuitive eaters” than adults. In other words, they respond better to hunger and fullness cues. Unfortunately for adults, our eating habits have been corrupted by our environments. How so?

  • We grew up in the “clean plate club.” Our moms and dads made us finish everything on our plates. Today, portion sizes keep getting bigger (in 2050 a regular soda at the movies will fill a water cooler jug if current trend continues) and these values, although helpful during times of hardship, might contribute to eating too much.

Picture1

  • We eat to cope with emotions. When food is plentiful, we eat when we are stressed or bored. Although this behavior is normal in moderation, it is problematic if it happens too much.
  • We eat too quickly. This was a problem in my family growing up- my dad and I would finish before my mom sat down at the table. Today, our environment promotes fast eating. We have only so much time at work for lunch and our children, in some cases, have only ten to fifteen minutes to eat at school. Eating quickly does not allow us to respond to our fullness cues and again we might eat too much.
  • We skip meals all together. Many skip breakfast and lunch and eat only one meal a day. By the time dinner arrives, well let’s just say horses better hide! Sometimes, people can eat more in one meal than eating smaller meals throughout the day.
  • We go on extreme weight loss diets. In a culture of “thinness” the temptation is to go on diets where food is restricted and hunger cues are ignored. For many this promotes obesity because the body may become more efficient at converting food to fat when normal eating patterns return after the diet.
  • We practice “distracted” eating. We eat when we drive; we eat in front of the T.V.  and at events. In these situations, we are distracted from our hunger and fullness.

According to the CDC, obesity and associated chronic diseases such as diabetes are growing problems in all demographic groups. Although the etiology of problem is complex, our environment that discourages intuitive eating is a factor. We eat way too much and do not get enough physical activity. According to “Health for Every Body” developed by University of Missouri Extension, there are several things that families can do to promote intuitive eating for health and wellness:

  • Avoid distracted eating by encouraging family meals. According to Thriving Newsletter by University of Missouri Extension, several studies have demonstrated that families that eat together at the table actually are healthier.
  • Avoid extreme weight loss diets. Rather, set behavior goals rather than weight goals. For example try to set a weekly walking goal than a goal to lose 10 pounds in a week. In addition, your children will not model your dieting which could potentially lead to an eating disorder.
  • Eat breakfast. Research clearly shows that those who eat breakfast have better health outcomes.
  • Slow down. Put your utensils down between bites. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness.
  • Pay attention to emotional eating. Find other healthy behaviors such as walking to replace food. Snack on healthy food such as fruits or vegetables.

Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD

Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

OSU Extension

 

Reviewed by Susan Zies, Extension Educator

OSU Extension, Wood County

Sources: A New You: Health for Every Body, University of Missouri Extension

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cereals

Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, and sometimes the temptations of processed, unhealthy foods draw us in.  With this temptation we tend to spend a little bit more money than we had planned, so what can you do to keep your health and finance on track when it comes to going grocery shopping? There are many simple tips that can be done to secure your health and your wallet.

  1.  THE List:Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, and sometimes the temptations of processed, unhealthy foods draw us in.  With this temptation we tend to spend a little bit more money than we had planned, so what can you do to keep your health and finance on track when it comes to going grocery shopping? There are many simple tips that can be done to secure your health and your wallet.
  2. Explore coupons: Coupons are a great way to save money while grocery shopping and can be a great activity to do with your family! You will have no problems finding some great deals. Looking for coupons is easy since they are located in a variety of places: in your newspaper, different magazines, at the grocery store, and even your smart phone. Many  grocery stores have mobile apps where you can get coupons with a touch of a button. All you do is bring in your phone with the coupon pulled up and have the cashier scan the bar code on your phone.
  3. Shop the perimeter: Most processed foods are located in the middle of the grocery store such as sugar flavored drinks, cookies, cereals and chips.Shopping the perimeter where the fresh produce, dairy products, meats and most bread are located is a great way to purchase more healthful foods for you and your family.
  4. Eat before: How did those doughnuts get in your cart? Have you ever been a victim of shopping while you were hungry and buying foods that you never went to the store for in the first place? Eating something before you go grocery shopping can satisfy this syndrome of picking up foods that sound and smell good to you at that time.
  5. Be mindful when buying in bulk: Ever buy a huge bag of popcorn because it was on sale and noticed you’ve eaten the whole bag by yourself? I have! Be mindful and strategic when you buy in bulk. You want to ask yourself if you are buying this huge stock of food because it is on sale or if it is something you need. If it is both on sale and something you need, make sure you have a way you can preserve some of the product. For example, if you buy meat in bulk, know that you can freeze half of it and eat what you know you will need instead of trying to eat it all in one week. This can lead to unnecessary overeating and even send you to the store buying more.

These five general shopping tips can help you stay on task and purchase more nutrient-rich foods for you and your family! It’s important to stay focused and make sure you’re buying your needs and not your wants.

Written by :  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, and Courtney N  Klebe, Dietetic Intern , Bowling Green State University.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, MSPH, Ph.D, Field Specialist, Food Nutrition and Wellness.

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cowsYou may have noticed lately there is more “chatter” about the benefit of eating meat and/or dairy products from cows that graze on grass rather than grain products.  That’s because more and more people are looking at grass feeding as an important component of an animal’s food composition.  The quality of any food you eat depends on where and how it was grown—and that pertains to plant foods as well as animal foods. If you care about where your food comes from, shouldn’t you also care about where your “food’s” food comes from?

So what is a cow’s natural diet?  When our parents and grandparents were growing up, they ate beef from animals that primarily “grazed” or “browsed” in a pasture.  Grazing means eating pasture grasses such as bluegrass, ryegrass, Bermuda grass, fescue, and so forth.  Browsing is what a cow eats when it nibbles on leaves, twigs, and bark. Both of those food sources are compatible to ruminant animals.  Ruminant animals we eat include cattle, goats, sheep, deer, buffalo, and elk.  Their four-part stomachs allow them to slowly digest grasses, leaves, and bark. Basically they chew, swallow, partially digest the food in their first stomach, regurgitate it back into their mouth, and then chew again.

The majority of beef we eat today comes from cows fed a grain-based diet.  Their food sources consist of TMR’s (total mixed rations) and “concentrates.”  TMR’s may contain corn, silage, hay, soymeal, and other fillers. Concentrates include cereal grains, the by-products of milling or processing those grains, and the by-products of distiller grains. Today’s cows eat an amalgamation of many feeds mixed in the correct proportions to give the animal what it needs for its stage of growth or production.

usdaWhat’s the difference between grass-fed and pasture-raised?

Grass-fed –Animal is grass fed with little-to-no grain.

Pasture-raised – Animal is free range and eats primarily grass but may also may have been supplemented with grains in the winter when the pasture was snow covered.

How does grass-fed beef differ from grain-fed beef?

Saturated, poly-, and mono-unsaturated fat content in grass-fed beef tends to be a little less or about the same as grain-fed beef. Omega 3 fatty acids are higher in grass-fed beef, as well as CLA’s (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA is a type of fat that confers health benefits such as better blood sugar regulation, immune system support, heart health, and aids in weight loss.

Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences, after a thorough review of current research, found little evidence that grass-fed beef has any advantage for safety, human health, or impact on the environment over grain-fed beef. Both types of beef deliver the important factors of nutrition in the human diet of protein, iron, and zinc in equal proportions.

Cost and Convenience

Grass-fed beef, milk, and yogurt are more expensive than grain-fed beef, milk and yogurt. They are also a little harder to find.  Most franchise grocery stores carry both options, but smaller, independent grocers will probably defer to grain-fed. Some farm markets may specialize in grass-fed vendors, or, depending on where you live, you may be able to buy direct from the farm.  You’ll probably have to buy in bulk to decrease the price, and then will need a freezer to store the surplus.

Taste

I once worked with a woman who insisted she could tell what kind of grass a cow grazed on when she drank milk. She must have had a very refined palate, because all milk tastes the same to me.  But I was a kid who liked school cafeteria and hospital food, so what do I know? Both grain-fed and grass-fed food products can be really good or really bad, depending on your taste buds. Try out a grass-fed product for yourself (when you can get a good buy) and see how it tastes and if it is worth the extra expense to you.

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

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

http://agricultureproud.com/2012/09/27/ask-a-farmer-does-feeding-corn-harm-cattle/

http://extension.psu.edu/animals/beef/grass-fed-beef/articles/telling-the-grass-fed-beef-story

http://animalscience.tamu.edu/2013/12/07/ground-beef-from-grass-fed-and-grain-fed-cattle-does-it-matter/

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