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Although it is the season of giving, foodborne illness is a gift nobody wants! Many of the favorite holiday foods pose a potential health risk if not stored, prepared and handled properly. Two of the most important rules to remember are:

1) keep hot food hot and cold food cold

Never leave prepared food sitting out at room temperature for longer than two hours. Keep hot foods hot by using slow cookers and stovetops, and keep cold foods cold by setting foods on trays of ice or using coolers. Leftover turkey will keep in the refrigerator for no longer than 3 to 4 days. Stuffing and gravy should be eaten within 1 to 2 days, and cooked vegetables should be eaten within 3 to 5 days. What about the pumpkin pie? Pumpkin pie is a custard; and, therefore, it needs to be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within 2 to 3 days.

2) keep everything in the kitchen clean— including your hands!

This means washing your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food and after handling raw meats. Use clean utensils, surfaces and equipment to avoid cross contamination. Sponges and washcloths can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Use clean towels and washcloths or disposable paper cloths.

For more information on holiday cooking—including delicious recipes and everything you need to know about turkeys—visit the University of Illinois Extension Turkey for the Holidays.


Sweet Potato Bread Printable PDF

? cup flaxseed

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened

3 Tablespoons margarine, softened

½ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup honey

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grind flaxseed in a coffee grinder or food processor until ground. Combine flaxseed, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, margarine, brown sugar, honey, egg, and egg white; stir in sweet potato. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until moist. (Batter will be very heavy and sticky.) Spoon batter into a greased 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Yield: Makes 1 loaf, or 15 slices

Nutritional analysis per serving: 160 calories, 3.5 grams total fat, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 180 milligrams sodium, 28 gram carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 4 grams protein