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    This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday, and will showcase a spooky full moon. Add in a day of family activities and don’t forget the costumes, you can wear them all day! Even without traditional trick or treating, your family can have a full day of fun.  

    For Halloween 2020:

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    Short answer….no.  Although some manufacturers indicate that their product can safely pressure “can” foods, the USDA has not endorsed this method. From the USDA: “We do not know if proper thermal process development work has been done in order to justify the canning advice that is distributed with these pressure multi-cooker appliances.”  The concern is for the temperature inside the jars of food.

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    Did you bring some herb plants home from the garden center? Herbs are wonderful plants, hardy, fragrant and beautiful. Many of us, me included, often bring herbs home, plant them and then rarely use them in cooking.  Why not?

    It’s thyme, (pun intended), to cook with herbs. As a rule, use twice the amount of fresh as you would dry herbs in a recipe. Add herbs toward the end of cooking time to ensure a bright flavor.

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    Remember snow days? Those absolutely “free” days—no school, no work—just a day free to do anything that comes to mind? I know that I always baked something, cookies, bread, smores in the fireplace…..it was a fun activity to do as a family. And nothing tastes better than comfort food, rich, warm, sweet or savory when you are cooped up inside.

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    Do you keep it or throw it out? In the United States, people throw away 30-40% of the food they buy. Are we throwing food away unnecessarily? Perhaps. If you are using the dates stamped on food products as your guide, then you might need to revisit your strategy. So, what do those numbers mean?

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    It's fair time and that means fair food!

    Corn dogs and cotton candy---what trip to the fair would be complete without them? Ask anyone what they enjoy most about the fair and many will say ---THE FOOD! Pizza on a stick, fried butter, chocolate covered bacon, the list is endless. What is your favorite? The once a year treat can pack some big calories into your regular diet, so here are a few tips.

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    May is National Salad Month! Let's celebrate by eating more salads! If you are trying to eat healthier, salad is often our "go to" when ordering at a restaurant. It sounds healthy, right?

    Restaurant entree salads are not always the best choice. Some can weigh in at over 1100 calories! Read the description carefully: fried chicken? In a salad? Really?

    Watch for salads loaded with bacon, cheese, dried fruit, and croutons. Opt for one of two of these delicious add- ins—not all of them.

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    The birds are chirping the flowers are blooming—Spring is here! Makes you want to roll up your sleeves and get to it! Time for Spring cleaning! I'm not talking about digging into your closets and under your bed—ferreting out the dust bunnies and donating unused items "Kondo" style—although it is a good idea. I'm talking about Spring cleaning your pantry!

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    In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

    Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

    From: In the bleak midwinter by Christina Rossetti

    February is dull and dark and cold…..but at the same time full of promise. The earth is beginning to tilt toward the sun and every day the sun shines in February the snow and ice melt---it's true---there are more icicles in February than any other winter month—that is because the ice/snow is melting. Hurray!

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    Remember last year—you know when you struggled to find room in your fridge for all the Thanksgiving leftovers? I do. In fact, I distinctly remember my cousin and I lamenting that we had nearly twice as much food as we needed for our Thanksgiving dinner. Now, I like leftovers, especially turkey sandwiches—but twice what was eaten? Nobody wants that!
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    We often think of springtime when we hear the word, foraging. But actually, fall is a great time to eat nature's bounty! Look around—fall is the harvest season. Trees bear fruit, grains yield seeds, and plants produce starchy tubers. Nature is providing food for the winter, not only to plants and animals but also to us---if we train our eyes. What is "out there"?

    Here are some common fall wild foods to try:

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    Combines are beginning to roll and that means long hours and irregular mealtimes for farm families. For generations farm women have packed food into their cars and loaded up the children to share a meal with those working in the field. We must remember that just as we need to fuel and tune up the equipment, the same thing is true for our bodies. We want to make sure we are giving our bodies what they need---no junk in our gas tanks—this time of year we need the high octane super charged stuff!

    Here are a few tips to help you keep your family well fed in this hectic season:

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    Here are some tips:

    • Read the recipe
    • Assemble the ingredients
    • Measure flour correctly—see the video: https://youtu.be/JFkwbuzthLU
    • Stir dry ingredients together, no need to sift
    • Butter and eggs should be room temperature, set them out 30-60 minutes prior to baking
    • Use half butter half shortening for best results, margarine has too much water
    • Why not margarine?

     

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    Happy June! June 3rd was National Egg Day and the 4th was Cheese Day—two of my favorite things. Which reminds me of one of my "go to" meals when we are pressed for time—as many of us are these busy summer days. I call it, poached eggs in red sauce; I thought I invented this dish.

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    March is National Nutrition Month and the 2018 theme is Go Further with Food.

    We could go on about money wasted, landfill space and hungry people across the globe or down the street. Although those are sobering thoughts, they are abstract.

    What can we do in our own kitchens to combat this terrible waste of food? How can we Go Further with Food?

    Here are a few tasty tips to use some of those items we might otherwise throw away:

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    February—the month where we learn if Spring is around the corner. Whether you believe in the prophetic wisdom of a hibernating rodent (aka, Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog) or in the reality that the earth is beginning to tip more towards the sun, Spring is coming! It is a great time to look ahead. Everyone gets a little restless in the Spring---the sap begins to flow, new babies are in the barnyard, even houseplants put on new growth. There is promise in the air of new things to come.

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    Was your resolution to eat more veggies? Are you eating more salads to get healthy?

    Me too, I often eat salads and have struggled with the dressing dilemma. I tried the low fat bottled dressings and did not like them; in fact, I quit salads altogether back in the low fat diet craze days. Now there is new research suggesting that in order to get all the nutrients from the veggies in your salad, you need to use dressing that contains oil. This is great news for me—I love a good vinegar and oil dressing.

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    New Years' resolutions ---lose 20 pounds by Feb. 4th. Run a marathon in May. Bench press 200 pounds by April. Each year we set ourselves up for failure. How many times have you put yourself on a "diet" only to fall off the wagon a few days later?

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    Visons of sugarplums dancing in your head? Or are you Yule-tired? Think just one more cookie with that cup of eggnog is just what you need before your long winter's nap? Maybe not—maybe the yule-tiredness comes from too much of everything. We all want to enjoy the holidays but I often hear people say—I just want it to be over! We work and stress and make ourselves sick.

    Let's not—let's take these next three precious days and enjoy our holiday. How you ask? Well, maybe ….

    It's all about the presents……