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    Spring is underway and many of you have probably been doing some spring cleaning in your home, closets and yards but what about your kitchen?

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    We know that small changes in the way we eat can have positive health impacts down the road.

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    Here are three heart smart beh

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    Dietary patterns can help predict health later in life.

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    September is Healthy Aging Month which is something we can all acknowledge since we’re all aging. I like to call it “gaining momentum”. We all gather momentum as we age through the build-up of experiences and insights. Embrace this dynamic process that leads to new abilities and knowledge that can be shared with one another.

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    President Trump declared the month of April as Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month in his Presidential Message on April 1, 2019 and is encouraging public action and participation from all sectors.

    Ways to participate:

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    April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month AND Stress Awareness Month. If you don't know what IBS is or what it's like, then consider yourself lucky. Between 25 and 45 million people in the United States (10 to 15% of the population) are affected.

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    Oats can be found in many cultural dishes such as Scotland's haggis and Muesli from the Swiss. Oats have been a popular addition to many recipes and a staple food source for centuries (printable recipes below).

    Oats are an extremely versatile whole grain and can be added to many recipes from breakfast to beverages. Here are some of my favorite applications for oats:

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    With cooler temps moving in I have been itching to make pumpkin everything, homemade breads, soups and apple cider doughnuts. I love all of the fall flavors and visiting my local farmers' market to pick out seasonal produce to experiment with. I was at the market last weekend and bought some squash, mums, leeks and potatoes. You might be surprised by what you find, I always find something new that I haven't tried before or at least a new way of preparing the fruits and vegetables I'm used to.

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    When I was a child, I loved running errands with my mom. I especially loved going to the grocery store and picking out colorful produce and other staples we needed for the week. I would wander through the produce section eagerly anticipating a new fruit or vegetable sample. I'll never forget the day I tried star fruit for the first time; amazed that a plant could produce something so beautiful and sweet.

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    Green is the color of spring, rebirth, renewal and represents balance and growth. If you're eating with the seasons it's time to focus on the green and restore your energy levels.

    Greens are in season! Spring is peak season so pick some up at your local market or grocer. You can even grow some yourself in a matter of weeks. Leafy greens are versatile and can be cooked or eaten raw. They range in flavors from sweet to peppery and have many culinary uses. Try one of these today:

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    As we head into the month of March, let's all pause and reflect on our eating habits because after all, March is National Nutrition Month and a great time to reevaluate what is on our plates.

    More importantly let's pay special attention to what we are scraping off our plates into the trash. It is estimated that 90 billion pounds of food is thrown away each year either at home or when eating out.

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    1. Be Grateful

    Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. –Oprah Winfrey

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    I always get a strange feeling around this time of year. It could be all the ghoulish Halloween décor or the fact that the days are getting shorter and my to-do list is not!! Maybe a combination of the two has me a little on edge but the trick is to treat yourself with love and set the right intentions for a happy and healthy fall/winter season. The last thing you need is a cough and sore throat when battling bone-chilling winds and holiday crowds so make sure self-care is a part of your daily routine.

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    In honor of Bratwurst Day, I thought I would share some steps on how to make sauerkraut successfully at home to accompany your cookout fare. I recently did a class at the German-American Heritage Center on this very topic and my sauerkraut recipes were a big hit. You can download these recipes at the link below!

    The first thing you should know is that sauerkraut is a product of fermentation.

    What is Fermentation?

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    July is perhaps my favorite month. I love the summer heat, the cookouts, festivals, fireworks and all of the fresh food from the garden. It's also my birthday month so...what's not to love?!

    My herbs are in full force right now and it's a great time to maximize their use in the kitchen. I like to experiment with new recipes and other food related projects to get the most out of my herbs.

    This is what I have growing this year and some ideas for their use:

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    Yesterday, I had the day off of work so I decided to plant myself in the kitchen to use up some of the freshly-picked blueberries I gathered at a local U-Pick Farm. I had 3 quarts of berries so I had to find something yummy to do with them!

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    June is National Safety Month so I wanted to share some helpful information about "work safety". Whether you have a desk job or a construction job there are many things you can do to improve your health and safety at work. Below are several links that demonstrate healthy work environments and practices. Click on a link to learn more.

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