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Archive for July, 2016

peppersA few days ago we read about the abundance of zucchini plants in many of our gardens. Peppers are another vegetable that has been producing non-stop recently. My grandson’s garden is providing all of us with more peppers than we can use!  Being a young entrepreneur, he even set up a small stand near their lane to sell peppers and zucchini to neighbors who don’t have a garden of their own!

The varieties of peppers grown locally include bell which can be green, orange, red, or yellow; jalapeno and other hot peppers and the milder sweet banana peppers. All of the members of the pepper family provide great nutritional value in our diets. They’re low in calories and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. Compared to green bell peppers, the red ones have almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C. A single raw red pepper, sweet or hot, can meet the daily requirements for two important antioxidants, vitamin A and C.

Peppers are a very versatile vegetable. They can be eaten raw or cooked and can be used as additions to sandwiches, salads, stuffing, soup, stews, and relishes. Roasting peppers, however, brings out a totally different taste. This takes some time but the results are well worth it. Char thick-skinned peppers until the skin is black and blistered. They can be charred under a broiler, over an open flame or on the grill. While they are still hot, cover or place in a paper bag for 15 minutes and allow the steam to loosen the charred skins. Peel over a bowl to catch the juices, and use in your favorite recipe.

Peppers can also be preserved safely by freezing, pickling or canning. The National Center for Food Preservation and Ohio State University Extension provided guidance on freezing, pickling and canning peppers and pepper recipes.

If you are harvesting peppers from your garden or purchasing at a local farmer’s market, remember to wash peppers just before using them. Rinse them under cool running water. Peppers can be stored in a plastic bag for use within 5 days. When preparing hot peppers, be sure to wear gloves, keep your hands away from your face and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you are finished. They can burn your skin and eyes!

The Ohioline fact sheet – Salsa from Garden to Table  includes several delicious varieties of salsas that can be prepared and canned for use year round. Be sure and follow the directions exactly for a safe product.

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a refreshing summer salsa provided on the USDA What’s Cooking web site.  Check out this site for many great, economical, healthy recipes!

Easy Mango Salsa

Prep time: 10 minutessalsa

Makes: 4 Servings

Total Cost: $1.29

Serving Cost: $0.32

The sweetness of fresh mango combined with savory pepper and onion and the zest of lime give this salsa a balance of flavors that are refreshing and crisp. Serve this appetizer with baked tortilla chips or whole grain crackers for a tasty snack.

Ingredients

1 mango (peeled and chopped)

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 green onion, chopped

1 lime, juiced (1-2 Tablespoons)

Directions

  1. Peel and chop the mango, be sure to remove the seed.
  2. Cut the pepper and onion into small pieces.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together.

Iowa Department of Public Health. Iowa Nutrition Network.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County Rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Washington County Bohlen.19@osu.edu

References:

http://ohioline.osu.edu

http://www.webmd.com/diet/peppers-health-benefits?print=true

https://extension.illinois.edu/veggies/peppers.cfm

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The dog days of summer are upon us. Heat and humidity can make it difficult to be comfortable, especially for those who don’t have air conditioning.  Extreme heat can even be deadly, causing heat exhaustion or heatstroke if not treated in time.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 600 people die from heat related complications each year.  This is more deaths than from all other natural disasters combined (flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes). Those who are most vulnerable include infants, children, the elderly, those who work outdoors, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Heat exhaustion is when the body overheats and can lead to heatstroke if the symptoms are not treated in time. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, rapid pulse, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps. These symptoms often occur when a person is participating in strenuous physical activity.  If a person is experiencing these symptoms, immediately have them rest, move to a cooler place and drink water or sports drinks.  Seek immediate medical attention if the symptoms don’t improve within an hour.

Heat exhaustion is preventable by taking some simple precautions. By planning ahead of time when a high heat index is predicted, you can stay as cool as a cucumber by following these simple tips:

summer heat

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Stay hydrated and drink more water than you usually do. Avoid beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or high amounts of sugar. If you are physically active or sweating more than usual, try drinking a sport drink with electrolytes.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing in natural fibers such as cotton, linen, or hemp. These allow your body to breathe.
  • Cool off with water by soaking your feet in a tub of cold water. Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator and mist yourself throughout the day. Take it with you when you leave the house.
  • If your house isn’t air conditioned, head to your local library, mall or community building. If your house has a basement, create a comfortable area where you can sit when it’s hot outside.
  • Create a cross breeze by positioning a fan across the room from a window. To cool the room down even more, place a pan of ice in front of the fan to generate a cool breeze.
  • Cool off your house or apartment by turning of lights and using heat-generating appliances at night, such as washers, dryers, and irons.
  • Dampen a towel or small blanket with cool water and wrap it around your body.
  • Take a cool shower.

lemons and ice

One extra note – remember your four-legged friends especially during the heat. Dogs and cats don’t have the ability to sweat like humans, so they will be affected differently by heat.  Give your pet a haircut and keep them indoors on hot days, providing them with water.  Limit outdoor activity or exercise and don’t push them too hard.  When they are outside, be sure they have a shady spot to lie in and make sure they have plenty of cool water to drink.  Avoid hot surfaces since your pet is basically barefoot.  If your dog doesn’t have much fur, you can use a special pet sunblock with zinc oxide to prevent burns. Never leave a pet in a parked car, even on cooler days.  The inside temperature heats up very quickly!  If you think your pet is overheated, get them into shade or air conditioning immediately.  Don’t submerge them in cold water; cooling down too quickly can cause problems.  Wet them under a faucet or hose with lukewarm water and let the air flow around them.  Offer small amounts of water to drink and call your veterinarian immediately.

Enjoy summer and all the fun activities it brings – picnics, swimming, gardening, and long lazy days…

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat Related Illness, https://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html

WebMD, Green Tips for a Cool Summer, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/green-tips-for-a-cool-summer.

City of Cincinnati Health Department, http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/health/news/excessive-heat-warning-issued/

Written by: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewed by: Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D., Ohio State University Extension, SNAP-Ed.

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zucchini.jpg

As my family gardened this week we noticed that we have an abundance of zucchini. It’s that time of year where everyone is getting more than they anticipated and they are trying to find ways to use it up, preserve it, or give it away.

When picking zucchini look for firm and wrinkle free zucchini that is about 6 to 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. If you are anything like me, you likely have zucchini in your garden that’s 12 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. The larger the zucchini the tougher it will be and it will also contain more seeds. These zucchini are best for baking. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, grate the zucchini and use in your favorite recipes.

Zucchini have a high water content which makes them lower in calories. They provide us with vitamin C, fiber, vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and potassium. This makes them a fantastic vegetable to eat. However, not all children are big vegetable eaters. If you are like me, you sneak them into things when they don’t notice. Zucchini bread is always a good option but if you have a picky eater like I do, the green flecks in the bread can quickly turn them away. Have you ever put it in your chocolate cake or finely shredded in spaghetti sauce? My kids don’t know it’s there and I get them to eat a vegetable! I count it as my mom super power! The below recipe is a great one to try from USDA’s Mixing Bowl recipe collection. You can also check out some of their other zucchini recipes.

The big zucchini that I picked from my garden will make a lot of Chocolate Squash cake. I won’t use all of my grated zucchini before it goes bad so I will be freezing my leftovers. For proper freezing procedures please check out these safe instructions by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Make sure you blanch zucchini before freezing to ensure quality.

Eating the squash cake is not as healthy for you as eating the raw vegetable itself but we all have to start somewhere.

Aunt Barbara’s Chocolate Squash Cake

Makes: 12 Servings

Instructions

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 package cake mix, dark chocolate

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups water

1 cup squash (shredded or finely chopped)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10″ tube or bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and cinnamon.
  3. Add eggs, water, and oil. Blend until combined, then beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Fold in squash. Add nuts if you like.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Other Ideas:

  • Use a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
  • To lighten cake, try 6 egg whites in place of whole egg.
  • Replace 1/2 cup oil with 1/2 cup applesauce.

WRITTEN BY: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

REVIEWED BY: Lisa Barlage , Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  Ross County.

SOURCES:

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The term Nature Deficit Disorder was coined by author Richard Louv in his book “Last Child in the Woods” to describe the phenomena of children and youth becoming disconnected from nature. Adults can certainly suffer from nature deficit disorder, but chances are, most adults spent more time outside as children than our kids do today. Research is linking nature deficit with some disturbing child outcomes, such as increases in obesity, attention disorders and depression as well as diminished use of one’s senses.

Some of the reasons for this disconnect with nature in recent decades include urbanization and disappearing green spaces, spending more time indoors, and increased use of technology and electronic communications. These trends contribute to a devaluing of independent play and what health experts are calling the “epidemic of inactivity.” The time kids spend outdoors is increasingly spent in structured play or organized sports, instead of ‘playing in nature.’ Unstructured play in nature allows for developing problem-solving, creativity and emotional development, according Dr. Stephen Kellert of Yale University. In his book “Building for Life: Designing and Understanding Human-Nature Connection,” Kellert urges community leaders and urban designers to consider green space and creating opportunities for children to have positive interactions with nature on a daily basis.

nature unpluggedWe can reverse this nature deficit disorder for ourselves and our children. Connecting with nature can have physical, mental and social health benefits for adults and children alike. Research results found that spending time in nature can help prevent cancer cell development, strengthen the immune system and aid in stress reduction. The Children and Nature Network is dedicated to connecting children, families and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources, and collaborative efforts. The Children and Nature Network’s Toolkits offer these ideas to get your family connected:

Nature is everywhere. You can find nature by planting seeds in a pot on the front porch or sketching a tree as well as by venturing into a wild preserve.
Be prepared. In order to get the most from your time outdoors, bring along snacks, water, sunscreen, and even a change of clothes in case your kids get wet or cold.
Embrace the elements. Dress for the weather, stomp in a puddle, enjoy a rainy or snowy walk in the park.
Model curiosity. If you see plants or animals or holes or nests you can’t identify, show your curiosity. Kids have a natural sense of wonder and this can lead to some awesome discoveries. You can look things up together when you get home.
Bring friends. Your family can bond in the company of other families; in fact, you might have even more fun!
Create stories. At the end of the day, have each family member talk about their favorite part of the time spent outdoors. These will become part of your family lore. You can revisit those places and support the wonderful connections you’ve built together outdoors in nature.

Make it a goal to spend an hour outside each week, connecting with nature and with others. See this PBS article for more ideas on how to help your kids get plugged into nature. You can also check out your local parks for nature education programs. Richard Louv offers a Resource Guide full of ideas for connecting with nature.

Get outside.   Get connected.   Get into nature.

WRITTEN BY: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

REVIEWED BY: Candace Heer, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County

PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Photo taken and edited by Shannon Carter; original idea for text on picture taken from popular press

SOURCES:

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Beach

It is hard to believe that we are entering the second half of 2016. Where did the time go? Were you like most of us who set a New Year’s goal or resolution?

How are you doing with that goal? Did you achieve it and move forward with your new healthy lifestyle behaviors? Did you get sidelined by events in your life?

If this new habit is part of your routine, great! If not, is it still relevant? Do you need to revise your goal? Recently I encouraged program participants to set a SMART Goal. What is a SMART goal?

One of the best things you can do to start on your road to health is to set goals using the SMART method.  Let’s start by setting a SMART Wellness Goal. Make sure your goal contains all of these components:

S                  Specific – Walk 30 minutes

M               Measurable – 6 days each week

A                Attainable and Action-Oriented – I will walk (I have no limitations)

R                 Realistic – I already walk 15 minutes 6 days of the week

T                Time Specific – By August 15, 2016

SMART Goal: By August 15, 2016, I will walk for 30 minutes at least 6 days each week.

Another Example of a SMART Goal: By August 15, 2016, I will stretch for 10 minutes at least 5 days a week.

Take a few minutes to write down Your SMART Goal: __________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

Goal cropped 2

A great website tool to help you set nutrition and physical activity goals is SuperTracker which is available from the United States Department of Agriculture. Visit their website to get started with five simple goals. You will determine your goals and periodically receive encouragement thru your email.

Why should you consider your goals during vacation time? For many of us, vacation offers extra time to reflect on our lives and evaluate our progress. I consider my July vacation as a mid-point check-up. Are there things that I want to change to improve my health? Are there activities/projects that I want to accomplish before the year end? If so, taking a few minutes to pause and identify action steps & setting a SMART goal will help me achieve my goals.

Want a little more motivation? Check out Move it Monday for their Tip of the Week and suggestions for being more active.

Remember that even if you were derailed on your New Year’s Resolutions, it isn’t too late to start again! Write that goal and get started this vacation season!

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

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

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oh-MarketMakerLogo-rgb

Ever wonder where you can buy gooseberries directly from a local producer? What about hydroponically produced sweet corn? What if you want to find a local producer who will deliver certified organic, fresh dill right to your doorstep? Do you know where to find a farmer’s market in your county? What about a winery in the region?

The above questions can all be answered at the Ohio MarketMaker website at http://oh.foodmarketmaker.com. The website was developed by Ohio State University Extension in collaboration with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Farm Bureau and Our Ohio, and the Center of Innovative Food Technology. The website allows consumers to conduct searches for local producers, food retailers, restaurants, farmers’ markets, and other businesses who produce and sell various products. The website also allows for consumers to direct their searches at the multistate, state, county, or city levels for the business of interest. Consumers can even narrow their searches to very specific products if they choose to do so. Once the information is selected the website will generate a map and listing of local businesses of interest.

Another neat aspect of the website is that it allows for local producers and businesses to identify specific markets for their products. For example, a local livestock producer could identify a high end market (average household income of over $100,000) in the region to sell branded beef. Business owners simply enter specific demographic information of interest and the website will map out potential markets at city, county, state or multistate level. Also, businesses can use the tool to identify suppliers. For example, a chef at a gourmet restaurant could identify local producers who could deliver fresh herbs that are organically produced.

If you manage a business, farm, or farmer’s market make sure that you are registered with Ohio Marketmaker. It could be an excellent marketing tool for your product. Likewise, if you are a consumer, make sure you check out the website. It’s a lot of fun to find out where you can buy various products locally. Agriculture is still the top industry in Ohio contributing 79 billion to the economy. Currently though, only a fraction of all food dollars remains within the Buckeye state. If this fraction could be increased, it could generate much needed capital in these difficult times. Check out Ohio Marketmaker!

Author: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness.

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

Source: Ohio Market Maker accessed on 7/13/16 at http://oh.foodmarketmaker.com

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Those of you who know me well will remember that I took about two months off this winter to recover from shoulder surgery (and a fractured foot too). Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t plan ahead to make recovery easier, as I fell, rather than having surgery for normal wear-and-tear. As I recovered at home I discovered many things that would make my life easier. I have started sharing these ideas with several co-workers who had those wear-and-tear surgeries after mine. Hopefully sharing those little tips with you will make your life easier too.

Pre-Surgery Prep:

  • Do a little home prep by setting up a recovery zone – a chair or lounger that reclines, place for phone, remotes, table for drinks, medicine, reading materials, and snacks. Gather a few pillows, you will likely use them to prop your arm for a while.
  • Place things at home that you use often at arm level, so they are easy to reach.
  • Purchase flip-top or pump tooth paste, body wash, and shampoo. It really will make your life easier.
  • Make sure you have a couple pairs of pull-on pants (yoga or sweat pants work, just consider if you need something you can wear in public too).
  • Button front shirts work the best the first couple weeks, so either buy a few, borrow, or stop in at a second hand store. My husband wears a button front shirt to work every single day, he had a whole closet, I had one that was women’s pre-accident. Button front isn’t my style, so I wore his and eventually bought a few of those plaid casual boyfriend shirts for home. After I started getting out, I purchased a number of peasant style large neck blouses that I could easily slip on and wear to work, church, or out to eat (these were more my style, but I probably couldn’t have put them on the first week or two).
  • You won’t be able to tie your own shoes, so either make sure you have something slip-on or get elastic laces for your shoes.
  • Do the pre-admission testing they will require.
  • Make sure you check with your physician about any medications you take, over-the-counter and prescription. They may advise you to stop taking them ahead of surgery, or you may need to continue them (just check).
  • Review your insurance to make sure you have all pre-approvals, forms completed, etc.
  • Use the pre-surgery wash they give you to cut back on the risk of germs. If they don’t supply one, ask or use an anti-biotic wash. It is recommend you use this a couple times before surgery and don’t apply lotion on the day of surgery.
  • Make sure you have transportation arranged; you will have a sling for 4 to 6 weeks and be unable to drive. You will need rides to medical appointments and therapy, as well as the grocery or possibly work. I was fortunate to have family, in-laws, and friends who drove me around for about 2 months – with a fractured foot and shoulder – driving wasn’t an option.

When you get home you will need help showering and dressing the first week or so (maybe more). Find a friend or family member that will be able to help you – or consider going for a short stay at a rehab facility. Recruit help with your laundry, groceries, meal prep, and care of pets. To avoid blood clots, don’t sit too long – get up and walk to the bathroom or to get drinks. If they give you a compression sleeve for swelling and circulation – wear it. Do any therapy or rehabilitation that is advised. You may be like me and only be able to do a little bit, because of the break, or you may be able to slip your arm out of the sling for short periods of time (ask them what you should be doing). Once you start therapy, go and do what they tell you to, you won’t regret this decision. Using a stress ball or even pinching a large binder-style clip will help you feel better. I’m finishing up my last couple weeks of therapy, with a goal of being O-H-I-O ready for football season in September!Hawaii 2

I hope these tips help each of you to have a successful recovery from your surgery. Feel free to comment with any tips that helped you, or other things that you learned.

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

Reviewer: Candace J. Heer, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County.

Sources:

Patient Guide to Total Shoulder Replacement: http://www.med.nyu.edu/orthosurgery/sites/default/files/orthosurgery/shoulder_0.pdf

The Patient’s Guidebook for Shoulder Surgery, Methodist Sports Medicine: http://www.methodistsports.com/wp-content/uploads/RCR-Guidebook1.pdf

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