Monday, April 22, 2024

National Picnic Day - Food Safety


Picnic Food Safety


Before you begin setting out your picnic feast, make sure hands and surfaces are clean.

Place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food should be stored at 40°F or below to prevent bacterial growth. Meat, poultry, and seafood should be packed while still frozen so that they stay colder longer.

Pack beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another. This will prevent the perishable foods from being exposed to warm outdoor temperatures.

Limit the number of times the cooler is opened so as to keep the contents cold longer.

Be sure to keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood securely wrapped. This keeps their juices from contaminating prepared and cooked foods or foods that will be eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables.

Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water before packing them in the cooler.


For more food safety tips, visit 



April 22, Earth Day
Small Changes Make a Big Difference

Earth Day





Small Changes Make a Big Difference


April 22, 1970, was the first Earth Day and it awakened almost 20 million Americans from all walks of life to launch the modern environmental movement. From that first earth day came the passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and many other environmental laws. Today the Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 75,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.


Earth is Our Home—Let's Protect It
National Geographic 


A Billion Acts of Green®
A Billion Acts of Green® – the largest environmental service campaign in the world – inspires and rewards simple individual acts and larger organizational initiatives that further the goal of measurably reducing carbon emissions and supporting sustainability. 


Earth - Small Changes Make a Big Difference

YouTube has a wide range of resources, from the young, older, news, family, scientist, schools, communities, governments, and industry describing how they are making a difference and how we can make a difference in saving our Earth.

Mobilize The Earth


Green Mom

Cost of Food
Americans have been spending less and less on what we eat. But those savings come with a high cost: obesity, diabetes, and big health care bills. Here's a look at how our diet has changed over the last 50 years, and what we can do to make it better.


Recycle Guys


Foods Symbolic of the Passover Seder

The Making of Matzah
Join Simon, Micah, and Sadie
as they take us through the Making of Matzah.
This Passover, we celebrate family, tradition,
and freedom. Connecting generations through
the timeless rituals of our heritage.
Chag Sameach
 





Shalom Sesame
Khalikidan's Passover Seder
Khalikidan and her family came to Israel from Ethiopia. 
Join her family for a Passover Seder, and 
share Khalikidan's excitement in reciting the four questions.


The Symbols of the Passover Seder
 

Passover is a holiday rich in symbols retelling the story of the Jewish people's exodus from Egypt. The seder is a ceremonial dinner observed on the first night of Passover, and in many homes on the second night as well. The seder table is set with a seder plate, salt water, matzo, kosher wine, Cup of Elijah, Miriam's Cup, and a copy of the Haggadah for each guest.

Matzo
Matzo is an unleavened bread made solely from flour and water and is not allowed to rise. Matzo symbolizes freedom. As the Jewish people fled Egypt there was no time to wait for the bread to rise. A plate of three whole matzahs are stacked and separated from each other by cloths or napkins. The middle matzo is broken in half and put aside for the afikoman.

The afikoman is eaten as a dessert. The person leading the seder will hide the afikoman and ask all the children to find it. Children will receive toys or other gifts as a reward for returning the afikoman.

The top and other half of the middle matzo is used for the hamotzi (blessing over bread), and the bottom matzo is used for the korech (Hillel sandwich).

Haggadah.
The book containing the story of the Exodus and the ritual of the Seder. It is read at the Passover Seder.

Many of the symbols are displayed on the seder plate, which is the centerpiece of the seder table.
 
Karpas (Vegetable). This part of the seder plate dates back to a first and second century tradition in Jerusalem. At the beginning of the seder a vegetable, usually lettuce, radish or parsley is dipped in salt water and eaten. It is said the salt water represents the tears our ancestors shed during their years of enslavement.

Z'roa (Shank bone). The roasted shank bone of a lamb reminds us of when the Jewish people marked the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a lamb as a signal that death should pass over them. The shank bone also reminds us of the sacrificial lamb killed and eaten during the days when the Temple stood. In modern times, some Jewish families will use a poultry neck instead. Vegetarians will often replace the shank bone with a roasted beet, which has the color of blood and is shaped like a bone but is not derived from an animal.


Baytzah (Hard Boiled Egg). There are two interpretations of the symbolism of the hard-boiled egg. One is an ancient fertility symbol. The other is a symbol of mourning for the loss of the two Temples, the first of which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. and the second of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. Hard-boiled eggs were traditionally the food of mourners and became symbolic for the loss of these sacred sites.

Charoset. A mixture of chopped apples, nuts, wine and spices representing the mortar the Jewish slaves used to build structures for the Egyptian Pharaoh.

Maror (Bitter Herbs) reminds us of the slavery the Jewish people endured in Egypt. Horseradish, either the root or a prepared paste, is often used.

Hazeret
(Bitter Vegetable) also symbolizes the bitterness of slavery. Romaine lettuce is usually used. When hazeret is not represented on the seder plate some families will put a small bowl of salt water in its place.

Elijah's cup is placed at the center of the table. After the seder meal, it is customary to pour a cup of wine, the "Cup of Elijah," and open the front door of the home. According to tradition, at this moment, our homes are graced by the presence of Elijah the Prophet.

Miriam's Cup is a new ritual object placed on the seder table beside the Cup of Elijah. Miriam's Cup is filled with water close to the beginning of the seder. It symbolizes Miriam's Well, the water source for the Jewish people in the desert. Putting a Miriam's Cup on your table is a way of making your seder more inclusive. It lets people know that the words of girls and boys, women and men, are welcome. It is also a way of drawing attention to the importance of Miriam and the other women of the Exodus story - women who have sometimes been overlooked. It is said, "If it wasn't for the righteousness of women of that generation, we would not have been redeemed from Egypt."

To our Family and Friends, we wish you a Happy Passover.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake , Lower in Calories

A low-calorie Pineapple Upside-Down Cake that's both delicious and lighter in calories than traditional recipes:


Ingredients:
1 can (20 oz) pineapple slices in juice, drained (reserve 1/2 cup of the juice)
5 maraschino cherries
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

3. Arrange the pineapple slices in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish. Cut the maraschino cherries in half, and place one half, cut-side up, in the center of each pineapple ring.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved pineapple juice, applesauce, brown sugar, honey, and melted butter until smooth. Pour the mixture over the pineapple slices.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, stirring until just combined.

7. Pour the batter over the pineapple mixture into the baking dish.

8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9. Allow the cake to cool in the baking dish for 5 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a serving plate.

10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 




Lima Bean Respect Day



Lima beans are fresh in summer, though they are most commonly found dried, canned or frozen, all year long. Lima beans are also known as "Butter Beans"  in many parts of the United States.

There are warnings to avoid raw lima beans because they contain linamarin (also called cyanogens), which releases a cyanide compound when the seed coat is opened," according to Fruits and Veggies Matter. Linamarin is deactivated during cooking.

Modified Recipes
Lima Bean Burgers

Serves 4
Ingredients
1 (16 ounces) can lima beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 egg or 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray baking sheet with a non-stick cooking spray. 
2. In a medium bowl, mash lima beans with a fork until thick and pasty. Finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic and stir into mashed beans.
3. In a small bowl, stir together egg whites, chili powder, and cumin. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. 
4. Divide mixture into four patties. 
5. Place patties on a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes on each side.
6. Serve on a whole-wheat hamburger bun with kale, onion, tomato slices, and avocado.

Nutrition Facts: 255 Calories; 12g Protein; 44g Carbohydrates; 9g Dietary Fiber; 6g Total Sugars; 5g Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 28mcg Folate; 4mg  Iron; 358mg Sodium


The Delaware Department of Agriculture
presents a Food for Thought 
video on Lima Beans.


National Garlic Day
Garlic: A Flavorful Fusion of Taste and Health





Garlic comes from the lily family and is the edible bulb from a plant. It is used as a spice to enhance the flavor of foods and in medicine, Garlic claims have been made to cure heart disease, cancer, colds, hair loss, bug repellant, and many other medical conditions.

The medical research on the safety and effectiveness of garlic has been limited, flawed, inconclusive, or failed to prove its curative powers in most of the claims made.

The following conditions have been rated based on the scientific evidence available as to the effectiveness of Garlic as a treatment. From Medline, service to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services. 

Ratings
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use;
B: Good scientific evidence for this use;
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use;
D: Fair scientific evidence against this use;
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use.

High Cholesterol (Rate B). Multiple studies in humans have reported small reductions in total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins ("bad cholesterol") over short periods of time (4 to 12 weeks). It is not clear if there are benefits after this amount of time. Effects on high-density lipoproteins ("good cholesterol") are not clear. This remains an area of controversy. Well-designed and longer studies are needed in this area.

Anti-fungal, applied to the skin (Rate C). Several studies describe the application of garlic to the skin to treat fungal infections, including yeast infections. Garlic can cause severe burns and rash when applied to the skin of sensitive individuals.

Anti-platelet effects, blood thinning (Rate C).   Garlic has been associated with several cases of bleeding, therapy should be applied with caution (particularly in patients using other agents that may precipitate bleeding).

Atherosclerosis, hardening" of the arteries (Rate C).   Preliminary research in humans suggests that deposits of cholesterol in blood vessels may not grow as quickly in people who take garlic. It is not clear if this is due to the ability of garlic to lower cholesterol levels, or to other effects of garlic.

Cancer (Rate C).  Preliminary human studies suggest that regular consumption of garlic (particularly unprocessed garlic) may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer including gastric and colorectal malignancies. Some studies use multi-ingredient products so it is difficult to determine if garlic alone may play a beneficial role. Further, well designed human clinical trials are needed to conclude whether eating garlic or taking garlic supplements may prevent or treat cancer.

High blood pressure (Rate C).  Numerous human studies report that garlic can lower blood pressure by a small amount, but larger, well-designed studies are needed to confirm this possible effect.

Tick repellant (Rate C).  In early study, self-reports of tick bites were significantly less in people receiving garlic over a placebo "sugar" pill. Further, a well-designed study is needed to confirm these results.

Upper respiratory tract infection (Rate C).  Preliminary reports suggest that garlic may reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract infections. However, this has not been demonstrated in well-designed human studies.

Diabetes (Rate D).  Animal studies suggest that garlic may lower blood sugar and increase insulin release, but human studies do not confirm this effect.


Heart Smart® Tip of the Day: Garlic with
Darlene Zimmerman, RDN



Why go to the market,
when you can grow garlic in your garden.




Thursday, April 18, 2024

National Animal Crackers Day


Animal crackers are usually in the shape of circus animals such as lions, tigers, bears, and elephants. During the late 1800's, animal crackers were imported from England to the United States. The first batch of animal crackers was made by Stauffer's Biscuit Company in 1871 in York, Pennsylvania. Other local bakeries soon came together under the National Biscuit Company, or "Nabisco Brands." In 1902, the animal cracker's box officially became "Barnum's Animals" with the circus-themed box.



Animal Cracker Nutrition


Create Fun and Healthier Snacks





Shirley Temple - Animal Crackers in My Soup



Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Go Bananas: A Journey from Tree to Table

National Banana Day



Nutrition Profile



Selection
Choose bananas that are firm and free of bruises. Bananas are best to eat when the skin color is solid yellow and speckled with brown. Bananas with green tips or with practically no yellow color have not developed their full flavor. Bananas are overripe when they have a strong odor.

Storage
To ripen bananas leave at room temperature for a couple of days. Once ripe store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The peel may turn brown in the refrigerator, but the fruit will not change.

Recipes
If you love bananas, Eating Well has a collection of Banana Recipes you are sure to enjoy.


Chiquita Banana The Original Commercial 

Produced by Disney Studios in the '40s, this commercial appeared only in movie theaters, and for over 50 years kept us humming its catchy tune.


DOLE Banana Growing and Planting
Dole explains the growing and planting of bananas.

Banana Farm
The banana farm at EARTH University uses socially and environmentally responsible practices at every stage of the process. The farm plants trees along river banks to promote biodiversity and reduce harmful erosion. In addition, they do not use herbicides. The farm's eco-friendly practices produce some of the most flavorful bananas in the world.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Day of the Mushroom





Growing Your Own Mushrooms


Different Ways to Enjoy Mushrooms

1. Add mushrooms to egg white omelet.
2. Sauté, Grill, Broil, Roast, or Steam mushrooms. Add to soup, salads, pasta, rice - the combinations are numerous.
3. Add fresh mushrooms to a salad.

4. Stuff mushrooms

by Chris Morocco, Bon Appétit 

Resources
1. Fruits and Veggies, More Matters: Mushrooms: Nutrition, Selection, and Storage
2. Wikipedia, Mushrooms
3. Kitchen Dictionary: Mushroom








Sunday, April 14, 2024

Celebrate National Pecan Month

Pecans are a good source of fiber and protein. They  
are sodium-free and cholesterol-free.
A healthy snack, but watch the portion size.


Pecan Recipes

Courtesy of Chef Justin Keith of Food 101 in Atlanta  

 Butternut Squash with Pecans 



1. I love Pecans, Recipes
2. EatingWell, Healthy Pecan Recipes
3. Shape, 8 Amazingly Delicious and Healthy Pecan Recipes


Nutrient Analysis Services
Ensure accurate and cost effective nutritional analysis for your recipes utilizing an extensive research database and over 25 years experience. A valuable service for the Recipe Blogger, Media, Cookbook Publishers, Writers, Chefs, and Recipe Websites. Your readers will enjoy and benefit from the Nutrition information. Contact: Dietitians-Online.comSandra Frank, Ed.D, RDN, LD, FAND at recipenews@gmail.com

April, National Garden Month
a Tribute to the Cooperative Extension

The ground has thawed from the winter, at least in most areas. Many people decide if they want to start a garden or what crops they will plant this year.

Plant a Seed, Grow a Dream

Gardening is a passion of mine. I initially started my studies in agronomy and later changed to nutrition. The cooperative extension became an important part of my education and a wonderful resource. It was also my first job as a dietitian, teaching nutrition in a summer program through Cornell University Extension.




What is the Cooperative Extension?
The Cooperative Extension, also known as the Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, is a research-based educational program designed to help people in the areas of agriculture and food, home and family, the environment, community economic development, and youth and 4-H. The service is provided in every state's designated land-grant universities. 

NIFA is the federal partner in the Cooperative Extension System. It provides federal funding to the system and, through program leadership, helps the system identify and address current issues and problems.

History 

The Morrill Act of 1862 established land-grant universities to educate citizens in agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts, and other practical professions. Extension was formalized in 1914 with the Smith-Lever Act. It partnered with agricultural colleges and the USDA to provide cooperative agricultural extension work. 


Over the last century, the extension has adapted to changing times and continues to address a wide range of human, plant, and animal needs in urban and rural areas. The cooperative extension focuses on education in six major areas: 


1. 4-H Youth Development 

2. Agriculture
3. Leadership Development

4. Natural Resources
5. Family and Consumer Sciences

6. Community and Economic Development

Below are educational videos prepared by various Cooperative Extensions across the United States.


How to Grow Blueberries
North Carolina Cooperative Extension



Caring for Asparagus
University of Maine Cooperative Extension


Eat Smart New York! - 
Cornell Cooperative Extension Westchester County


Color Yourself Healthy
University of Nebraska



Florida Statewide Extension Sustainability Programs


Resources
1. To find your nearest Cooperative Extension office.
2.  
National Gardening Association
3.  
Food Gardening Guide


Saturday, April 13, 2024

International Moment of Laughter
The Health Benefits of Laughter

"People who laugh actually live longer than those who don't laugh.
Few persons realize that health actually varies according to
the amount of laughter."
James J. Walsh, MD


Having a good laugh usually makes us feel good about ourselves.




I Love to Laugh


Research published in the International Journal of Obesity discovered laughter can be beneficial in weight control.

Laughing helps burn calories by increasing the heart rate by 10 to 20 percent: The metabolism increases as well, meaning you will burn more calories at rest once you have stopped laughing.

Scientists calculated 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter.

Laughter can relieve physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which promotes an overall sense of well-being.

Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which may benefit the cardiovascular system.

Laughter may benefit people with diabetes. One study showed after watching a comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after listening to a boring lecture.

Laugh because it feels great,
because it is healthy for you, and
because we take ourselves too seriously.
It’s time to lighten up.

“Laughter is the best medicine.”

Dietitian Blog List