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oil

If you’re confused by all of the healthy cooking oils in the supermarket, don’t be. From almond to walnut, today’s cooking oils offer benefits as well as disadvantages. Just be sure to read the label, check the price, and be willing to experiment. Here’s a primer on the hottest new cooking oils available on store shelves:

 

 

 

  • Almond oil – available in both refined and unrefined formulas, almond oil is made by expeller pressing ground almonds. It has a light, mildly sweet flavor with buttery undertones. The smoke point is 420 degrees so the best uses for almond oil are for stir-frying or roasting. Smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts to decompose and begins to smoke as if it were burning.
  • Avocado oil – also available as refined or unrefined. Avocado oil is made by grinding and then pressing avocadoes. It has a rich, full flavor and with a smoke point of 520, it is good for grilling on high-heat and roasting or frying. Avocado oil may be used as a salad dressing, as a dip for bread or in pesto.
  • Coconut oil – is white and solid at room temperature but is clear when heated. High in saturated fat content, it should be used sparingly like any other saturated fat until more is known. Coconut oil is creamy and has a buttery flavor. It works great in stir-frying, as a spread or in baked goods.
  • Flaxseed oil – is made by crushing brown flaxseeds which removes the healthy lignans during processing. These may be added back to the final product by some manufacturers. Flaxseed oil is high in alpha linoleic acid and has a warm and nutty flavor. Not really a cooking oil since it should not be heated, flaxseed oil can be used with grains or tossed with salads or cooked vegetables. Flaxseed oil should be refrigerated to extend the shelf life.
  • Sesame oil – is made from extracting or expeller pressing the oil from sesame seeds. Rich in antioxidants, sesame oil has a light and nutty taste. Toasted sesame oil works well with light sauces, salads, or grains such as rice. The smoke point for sesame oil is 410 degrees.
  • Walnut oil – made from dried and pressed walnuts, it contains omega-3 fatty acids. It has a nutty flavor with earth tones and is good in vegetables or cream soups. Smoke point is 400 degrees. Walnut oil must be refrigerated.

Using a new oil can totally change the flavor of a dish and add a new dimension to your family meals. Experiment with smaller bottles until you know if you like the qualities, taste and texture of the new oil. Don’t be afraid to try something new; there’s more to cooking than using vegetable or canola oil!

Source(s): Delicious Living, April, 2015; Cleveland Clinic Heart Healthy Cooking Oils 101, October, 2015; WebMD Healthy Cooking Oils Buyer’s Guide.

Author: Jennifer Even, FCS/EFNEP Educator, OSU Extension, Hamilton County. Reviewed by Cheryl Barber Spires, Program Specialist, OSU Extension.

 

 

 

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The Home Baking Association pronounced February as ‘Bake for Family Fun Month.’ That sounds like a good way to observe the month because when I am snowed in with my family, my children love to bake something yummy. Baking together offers an opportunity to (1) spend quality time together, (2) teach children baking skills, and (3) pass along a favorite family recipe. So how can we enjoy that time with our kids and bake something that is good for us? There are changes you can make to traditional recipes to make them healthier. One of my favorite family recipes, bran muffins, calls for all-purpose flour, but I substitute whole wheat flour for half of the flour requirement to “up” the nutritional value and fiber content.

mother and daughter cooking

The American Heart Association recommends these substitutions to reduce fat and cholesterol content in recipes:

  • In place of whole milk, use fat-free or low-fat milk, plush 1 T. of liquid vegetable oil per cup of milk.
  • In place of heavy cream, use evaporated skim milk or ½ low-fat yogurt and ½ plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese.
  • Instead of sour cream, try low-fat unsalted cottage cheese and low-fat or fat-free yogurt; or use fat-free sour cream.
  • In place of cream cheese, use 4 T. soft margarine blended with 1 cup dry, unsalted low-fat cottage cheese (add small amount of fat-free milk if needed).
  • Instead of butter, try soft margarine or liquid vegetable oil.
  • In place of 1 egg, substitute 2 egg whites or ¼ cup commercially prepared cholesterol-free egg substitute.
  • Instead of unsweetened baking chocolate, use unsweetened cocoa powder with vegetable oil or soft margarine.

For a list of other ideas for recipe substitutions, see OSU Extension’s fact sheet, “How to Modify a Recipe to Be Healthier.”

Maybe instead of modifying an old recipe, you’d like to try something new. The following websites have healthy recipes available:

American Heart Association

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Iowa State University Extension

If you would like to know more about baking with children, the Home Baking Association offers these tips for success:

  • Allow time.
  • Always wash hands and countertops before starting and clean up “as you go.”
  • Stay safe! Have an adult show how to do age-appropriate baking/cooking tasks.
  • Before you start: All bakers read the recipe top to bottom.
  • Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  • Use the right tools.

Whatever you decide to bake in your kitchen as a family, you can have some fun and be healthy at the same time.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

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ImageWe have waited patiently all winter long and spring is ALMOST here!  There is anticipation for the birds returning from the south to greet us with a song, a warm breeze through the green grass, and a positive feeling is in the air.  Along with spring comes the first holiday of the season – Easter.

If we were playing Family Feud and were asked to list our top five responses to things associated with Easter, eggs would definitely be one.  There are so many things we can do with eggs at Easter time.  They can be hard boiled or the center blown out.  They can be dyed, glittered, stenciled, and stickered.  They can be used as a decoration, put in baskets, or used in an Easter egg hunt. 

 What I am most interested in is egg safety at all stages of the Easter egg process.

We are going to buy a dozen eggs to get ready for decorating and want to be sure and keep them safe. How do we ensure egg safety during the holidays?  The USDA gives the following tips that should be used when purchasing and using eggs:

  • Always buy eggs from a refrigerated case. Choose eggs with clean, uncracked shells.
  • Buy eggs before the “Sell-By” or “EXP” (expiration) date on the carton.
  • Take eggs straight home from the grocery store and refrigerate them right away. Check to be sure your refrigerator is set at 40°F or below. Don’t take eggs out of the carton to put them in the refrigerator – the carton protects them. Keep the eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator – not on the door.
  • Raw shell eggs in the carton can stay in your refrigerator for three to five weeks from the purchase date. Although the “Sell-By” date might pass during that time, the eggs are still safe to use. (The date is not required by federal law, but some states may require it.)
  • Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling raw eggs. To avoid cross-contamination, you should also wash forks, knives, spoons and all counters and other surfaces that touch the eggs with hot water and soap.
  • Don’t keep raw or cooked eggs out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.

So now we have our eggs.  While there are a variety of ways they can be prepared before being decorated, the focus today will be on hard boiling the eggs.  Here are the steps from Alabama Cooperative Extension:

  1. Start with 6 raw eggs.  Make sure the eggs are clean and that none of them are cracked or broken.
  2. Place a single layer of eggs in the bottom of a pot.
  3. Fill the pot with water and make sure that the eggs have at least an inch of water above them.
  4. Cover the pot with a lid and place on the stove top with the heat on High.  Let it boil for four minutes and then turn off the heat.
  5. Take the pot off the stove.  With the lid still on, let the eggs sit for 15 – 17 minutes.
  6. Place the pot in the sink, take off lid, and fill with cold water.  Let the eggs sit in the cold water until completely cool.
  7. Take the eggs out of the water and dry them off.  They can now be decorated or peeled to eat.

Once all of the eggs are hardboiled, cooled, and dried, it is time for decorations.  Decorating eggs is a great time to bond with family and friends.  There are thousands of different ways to decorate eggs.  Personalize them for each person to make them feel special!

Now that the eggs are decorated, they are egg hunt ready.  If the eggs for the hunt are going to be eaten, keep the following points from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in mind:

  • Consider hiding places carefully. Avoid areas where the eggs might come into contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects or lawn chemicals.
  • Make sure all the hidden eggs are found and then refrigerate them. Discard cracked eggs.
  • As long as the eggs are NOT out of refrigeration over two hours, they will be safe to eat. Do not eat eggs that have been out of refrigeration more than two hours. Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs in their shells and use them within 1 week.
  • If you are planning to use colored eggs as decorations, (for centerpieces, etc.) where the eggs will be out of refrigeration for many hours or several days, discard them after they have served their decorative purpose.

Whatever you decide to do this Easter, make sure that you are using eggs safely.  If you are planning to eat the Easter eggs keep in mind that they should not be out of refrigeration for more than two hours.  Follow the above suggestions and you’ll have egg-xactly the Easter you were hoping for!

Written by:  Dana Brown, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, brown.4643@osu.edu

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

Resources:

Egg Handling and Safety Tips for Easter: http://food.unl.edu/web/safety/egg-handling-safety

Safe Eggs for Easter:  http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/E/EFNEP-0215/EFNEP-0215.pdf

USDA Gives Hard Boiled Tips for Easter and Passover Food Safety: If You Find a Hidden Easter Egg Three Days Later, Throw It Out! Leave That Egg On The Passover Seder Plate:  http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news/NR_032105_01/index.asp

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Many people think that the best part of Thanksgiving is not the big turkey dinner but the leftovers! After enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner, there are usually plenty of leftovers to save for another day or to share with friends and family!

You want to ensure that they are handled and stored properly to avoid food borne illness. The USDA estimates that more than a half million cases of foodborne illness are caused each year just from improperly handled turkey leftovers.

Here are some food safety rules that you should remember when handling your leftovers.

  • Remember to always wash your hands and keep your work areas clean.
  • Bacteria grow rapidly between 40° and 140°. After food is safely cooked, leftovers must be refrigerated within two hours. Throw out any leftovers that have been left out for more than two hours at room temperature.
  • It is important to cool hot foods quickly to the safe refrigerator temperature of 40°. To do this, divide large amounts of food into small, shallow containers. Cut large items into smaller portions to cool quickly.
  • Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing, etc. within 3 to 4 days. Gravy should be kept for just 1 to 2 days.
  • If you are freezing your leftovers, use them within 2 – 6 months for best quality.
  • When you are reheating your leftovers, use a food thermometer to check that the food reaches an internal temperature of 165°.

By following these basic food safety rules you should be able to enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Here is a great recipe to use some of your leftover turkey: 

 

Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

1⁄4 cup orange   juice
2   tablespoons vinegar,   white wine
2   tablespoons onion   (finely chopped)
1⁄4   teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper   (of)
1   tablespoon oil
2   teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cups salad   greens (torn)
2 cups cooked   turkey breast (cut into julienne strips)
1 can mandarin   orange segments (11 ounce, drained)
1⁄2 cup celery   (sliced)

Instructions

1. In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine all vinaigrette ingredients; shake well. If you don’t have a container with a tight-fitting lid, place ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix together with a whisk.

2. In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients; toss gently.

3. Serve with vinaigrette. If desired, garnish with fresh strawberries.

Source:  University of Nebraska, Cooperative Extension, Cook it QUICK!

Notes

You can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons dried chopped onion for the chopped fresh onion or a as recommended on the dried onion container. Prepare the dressing at least 10 minutes before you need it to allow the dried onion to rehydrate from the fluids in the dressing.

Use white meat leftovers if you’ve prepared a whole turkey and not just the breast portion.

Another way to add crunch to your salad would be to use 4 tablespoons chopped walnuts instead of the celery.

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Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Sources:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/safefood/newsltr/v9n1s02.html

http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/turkey_leftovers.html

http://www.nsf.org/consumer/food_safety/safe_leftovers.asp?program=FoodSaf

http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/recipes/turkey-salad-orange-vinaigrette

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Thanksgiving is exactly one week away!  If you are like me you have been watching the ads and searching for the best prices on a turkey. I plan to buy a whole bird for my family. If you choose to buy a frozen bird you may do that at any time, but make sure you have adequate storage space in your freezer. If you are buying a whole bird, it is recommended to buy one pound of turkey per person.

Here are some thawing  times and tips for you this Thanksgiving holiday:

In the refrigerator, place frozen bird in the original wrapper in the refrigerator ((40 °F or below ).  Allow approximately 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

In the   Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
4 to 12 pounds 1   to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3   to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4   to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5   to 6 days

If your forget to thaw your turkey or don’t have room in the refrigerator for thawing.. Don’t panic! You can submerge the turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. Allow about 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey.Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping.The following times are suggested for thawing turkey in water.

In Cold Water
4 to 12 pounds 2   to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 6   to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8   to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10   to 12 hours

Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.

source:

http://fightbac.org/safe-food-handling/safety-in-all-seasons/138-talking-turkey?gclid=CPGcrP-ywrMCFUqoPAodsGQABw

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The recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that everyone, young or old, reduce sodium consumption.  Although we need some sodium in our diet, almost everyone is consuming too much.  Research has shown that the higher our sodium consumption the higher our blood pressure.  Research also indicates that if we reduce our sodium intake the blood pressure level also decreases.   By keeping your blood pressure in the normal range you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.

To reduce your sodium intake you will need to use the Nutrition Facts label on foods and check the sodium content.   Try to buy foods with sodium at 5% or less.   If buying canned foods look for labels with “reduced sodium,” “low sodium” or “no salt added.”  Check different brands as sodium levels can vary greatly.  Rinsing your canned foods will also help remove some sodium.  Most frozen entrées and cured meats also are high in sodium.  However, just eating foods with moderate levels of sodium many times a day can quickly cause your sodium levels to be higher than you thought.   Be cautious about yeast breads, chicken and chicken mixed dishes, pizza, and pasta and pasta dishes.

Don’t add salt (sodium) when cooking or eating.  Try adding spices and herbs instead.  Take the salt shaker off the table.  Try preparing more foods at home from fresh ingredients.  When eating out ask the restaurant not to add salt to your food.

Eating more potassium rich foods can also help lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk of developing kidney stones and decreased bone loss.   Vegetables, fruits, beans, milk and milk products are good sources of potassium.

Reference:  http://www.dietaryguidleines.gov

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