Search Results for: Nancy Schuster

Food for Thought: ‘Mom always did it this way’ or “better safe than sorry’

Home supervisor showing a Farm Security Administration borrower how to use a pressure cooker in 1941. Photo by John Vachon.

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District

“My grandma and my mom always canned this way” are the nine most disliked words in my vocabulary! The world of 2016 is a different world when compared to the 30s, 40s and 50s. Technology has advanced, medical knowledge has advanced, research has advanced, the entire world has advanced, and yet home canners believe they can process food safely the way their grandmothers did in the 1930s.

It isn’t grandma’s world anymore. In 2015, at a church dinner, 21 people were put into the hospital, another 10 went to the hospital showing symptoms of botulism poisoning, and one person died. The cause? Improperly home canned potatoes that were used to make a potato salad. The home canner responsible did not know how to process the low acid potatoes properly; she didn’t know anything about botulism; she just continued to can like mom and grandma always did. She now has to live with this fact: One person dead and 31 hospitalized, all because of her potato salad.

Food for Thought: You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District

Hot weather calls for air conditioning and homemade ice cream! Family reunions and 4th of July always meant homemade ice cream in my family. The ice cream recipes my family used in the 50s was a safe recipe because we cooked the ice cream base that used eggs.

Occasionally I am accused of “taking the fun out of everything” so let me be clear about the risk of salmonella and raw eggs. The American Egg Board shares on its website www.incredibleegg.org: “Although the overall risk of egg contamination is very small, the risk of food borne illness from eggs is highest in raw and lightly cooked dishes. To eliminate risk and ensure food safety, replace all your recipes calling for raw or lightly cooked eggs with cooked egg recipes or use pasteurized shell eggs or egg products when you prepare them.”

Update your canning skills at Extension workshop

051716-lots-to-eat-canningThe Frontier Extension District is sponsoring a 45-minute home canning update program for individuals who are experienced with home canners. Nancy Schuster, Extension agent, will be presenting the newest recommended home canning techniques to include elevations, processing times, and reliable sources for safe research based home canning.

The program will be held May 24 and May 25, at two locations, Osage City and Lyndon. The May 24 program will be held 6-7 p.m. at the Osage City Library; the May 25 program will be 6-7 p.m. at Frontier Extension District’s Lyndon office.

Participants are asked to call the Lyndon office at 785-828-4438 to pre-register for the home canning update program. Programs will be canceled if there are fewer than five participants signed up. There are no costs to attend.

Door prizes of bubble freers or magnet lid lifters will be given to participants; with special door prizes of a So Easy to Preserve Book or a dozen Ball 12 ounce jelly jars.

Food for Thought: Power bowl lunches

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District

One of the hottest food trends for 2016 are meals in a bowl – power bowls. Complex carbohydrates, nutrient dense vegetables, high-quality protein and heart-healthy dressings will put your hunger to rest.

A power bowl is simply a bowl filled with a balanced variety of clean, natural, unprocessed foods. Start with a moderate to large-sized bowl – a wooden, bamboo or ceramic bowl works. Line the bowl with a layer of greens (spinach, kale, etc.), fill with your choice of veggies, whole grains or legumes, nuts, seeds, and a healthy protein source. It’s like eating all five ChooseMyPlate serving groups in one bowl.

Protein should be lean meat, fish, poultry, lentils, edamame or beans. Buddha (vegetarian) bowls use plant proteins like quinoa or lentils with a variety of vegetables.

Food for Thought: Volunteers needed – Let’s have an Osage County Spring Fling!

Nancy Schuster
Frontier District Extension Agent

Spring break for local schools is March 14-18, 2016. During spring break some families take trips, some go shopping at the mall for a day, or go to the movies; for many parents spring break is an added need for child care. Children with extra time on their hands can be a real worry for parents. Spring Fling Osage County is a potential solution for families with children, and an opportunity for community members to support youth in informal learning.

foodforthoughtThe Franklin County Coalition for Children has sponsored a Spring Fling in Ottawa for many years. Spring Fling is a variety of organized events and activities sponsored by local organizations, so youth have fun and exciting things to do the week of spring break. Activities range from open gym at sports centers to crafts projects and cooking classes. Events are generally free or extremely low cost. Each activity has a few requirements such as pre-registration, or parent or guardian must be present, and a time schedule. Some Ottawa churches have even offered free lunches for families, and many times a craft project.

Food for Thought: Give a gift of love

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier District Extension Agent

Along with Valentine’s Day, February marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and give the love of your life encouragement to have a well-woman doctor visit.  An annual checkup gives your doctor the chance to spot the signs of heart disease while there’s still time to take necessary steps to conquer it.

Here’s why heart disease is a strong concern for women:

  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute, while 1 in 31 American women die from breast cancer each year.
  • 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen.

foodforthoughtEvery woman should schedule an annual well woman visit with their health care provider. The visit will be tailored to your age, family history, past health history, and need for preventive screenings, plus checking blood pressure, height, weight and temperature. The exam will also screen for other health problems that are unique to women, including mammograms for breast cancer, pap smears for cervical cancer, prenatal care, bone-mass measurements for osteoporosis. The exam will also include gender-neutral screenings and services such as colon cancer screening, obesity screening and counseling, and shots to prevent flu, tetanus and pneumonia.

Food for Thought: What are those new light bulbs on the shelf?

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier District Extension Agent

Since the new Department of Energy standards of 2012, the light bulb world has become very confusing! I discovered this very fact recently trying to buy a replacement light bulb. So with guidance from government sources and several consumer information sites, meet the new light bulbs on the shelf.

LEDs or light-emitting diodes are one of the light bulbs on the shelf. When an LED is switched on, electrons and electron holes come together with the end result of a release of energy in the form of photons, or light. LEDs are rated to last for tens of thousands of hours of light. LED lights don’t “burn out,” the way that incandescent bulbs do. Instead, they undergo “lumen depreciation,” gradually growing dimmer and dimmer over time.

Food for Thought: Light bulbs – just the basics

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier District Extension Agent

Recently I went to a large discount store to buy some light bulbs. As I was standing in front of the light bulb display, I realized that I did not have the knowledge to even know what light bulb I needed! A friendly couple stopped by to help and suggested that I not buy one of the light bulbs because they exploded! I purchased what I thought I needed only to get home and realize I had the wrong bulb.

Light bulbs are improving! Newer bulbs – halogen incandescent, compact fluourescent (CFLs) and LEDs last longer and use less energy, saving money on our energy bills. Beginning in 2012, everyday light bulbs had to meet the Department of Energy standards for how much energy they use. Bulbs that didn’t meet those standards are being phased out.

Food for Thought: Creative thinkers should think again about reusing plastic containers

Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

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Recycle, don’t reuse.

I am constantly amazed at American ingenuity! Recently while I was preparing to give a Boy Scout Webelos nutrition program for our local troop, the discussion of cooking eggs in plastic bags came up.

Using a plastic bag to cook eggs and assorted vegetables in boiling water really sounds like a great plan. However consumers, be aware that not all bags are created equal. Very popular national brand zip lock plastic bags available at grocery stores and discount stores are not designed or approved to withstand the extreme heat of boiling. The company’s consumer service states “our plastic bags are not designed or approved to withstand the extreme heat of boiling; therefore, using our bags to make any recipe that requires the bag to be boiled is not recommended.” The spokesperson continued, “Our plastic bags can be used with confidence when label directions are followed. All our containers and microwaveable bags meet the safety requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for temperatures associated with defrosting and reheating food in microwave ovens, as well as room, refrigerator, and freezer temperatures.”

It’s a New Year! Plan to keep tabs on your credit

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

Happy New Year! It’s time to make plans to improve ourselves: Change eating habits, increase physical activity habits, and do a better job with our spending habits, etc. I want to encourage you to make plans in 2016 to ask for your free credit report from the safe government site once a quarter.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. You have the choice to do this by phone, online, or even by mail.

A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. Many times a credit report can show a case of identity theft before the person knows the theft has happened. A good credit report can get you a lower interest rate on a loan, a poor credit report can keep you from renting and even keep you from getting a land line phone. A credit report affects your life in a big way; you need to know what is in your credit report.

January is Radon Month: Take action to learn about radon danger

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

While giving a program on radon to a local men’s group, one of the men said, “Oh brother, what’s the government doing now? When they (government) get tired of radon there will be something else they want us to worry about.”

It’s easy to be confused about radon. Let’s learn of some Kansas Radon Action Month resources.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is caused from the natural radioactive decay of radium and uranium found in the soil beneath a house or building. The amount of radon in the soil depends on soil chemistry, which varies from one house to the next. Radon levels in the soil range from a few hundred to several thousands of pCi/L (picocuries per liter). The amount of radon that escapes from the soil to enter the house depends on the weather, soil porosity, soil moisture, and the suction within the house.

Food for Thought: Become a Master Food Volunteer

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

It was a warm summer day this last summer at the Ottawa Farmer’s Market. An Extension volunteer purchased vegetables that were being sold by local vendors. She rinsed the vegetables and began to cut and chop. Several individuals wondered over to her table to find out what she was doing. The Extension volunteer was Kris Wallace, Master Food Volunteer, from Franklin County. Kris used raw yellow squash, green squash, tomatoes, corn off the cob, a few onions, green peppers, carrots, and cucumbers in her salad. She then made vinaigrette with wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and a bit of salt. Kris put the ingredients in a pint jar, sealed the lid, and shook until the ingredients were blended. Recipes were available so those wanting to make the vinaigrette could do so at home. A quick, easy to make, colorful, tasty fresh vegetable salad!

foodforthoughtThe next week I visited the Ottawa Farmer’s Market with a display. One of the vendors came over to my table and said her husband loved Kris’ salad! She also shared her husband was a picky fresh vegetable salad eater!

What I have shared with you is an actual sample of what K-State Research & Extension Master Food Volunteers do. Do you like people and food? Do you like to share your love of food with others in your family? It might be that you are ready to become a Master Food Volunteer! Frontier Extension District currently has no Master Food Volunteers in Osage County; Franklin County has five Master Food Volunteers; and Anderson County has 2 active and 1 volunteer who went back to work.

If you are a K-State Research & Extension program supporter or just like to share your knowledge with others, this might be a good fit for you. An Extension agent can only do one program at a time; Master Food Volunteers can make many other contacts of county residents’. It is a great extender of the Extension mission: Knowledge for Life.

Food for Thought: ‘Tis the season to be jolly!

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

It’s the season to be jolly, with the holidays coming up, but not everyone has a reason to be happy. Families with children who rely on local food pantries to help them through the month, for whatever reason, certainly can lose holiday joy.

Hunger hurts everyone, but it is especially devastating to children. Having enough nutritious, healthy food is critical to a child’s physical and emotional development and their ability to achieve academically. Children facing hunger may perform worse in school and struggle with social and behavioral problems that impact their ability to learn.

Food for Thought: Let’s talk turkey

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

While no records exist of the exact first Thanksgiving feast, journals of the time note that the colony’s governor, William Bradford, sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the three-day event. Wild – but not domestic – turkey was indeed plentiful in the region and a common food source for both English settlers and Native Americans. But it is just as likely that the fowling party returned with other birds the colonists regularly consumed, such as ducks, geese and swans. Instead of bread-based stuffing, herbs, onions or nuts might have been added to the birds for extra flavor.

Turkey or no turkey, the first Thanksgiving’s participants got their fill of meat. Journals share that the Wampanoag Indians arrived with an offering of five deer. Culinary historians speculate that the deer was roasted on a spit over a smoldering fire and that the colonists might have used some of the venison to whip up a hearty stew.

foodforthoughtTurkey does not have to be the choice of meat for Thanksgiving, but for many Americans Thanksgiving meals includes seasonal dishes such as roast turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. If turkey is your choice of meat, and you bought a large frozen turkey, read on I have some advice for you!

Food for Thought: Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

Pumpkins and squash of many colors, shapes and sizes are available at local farmers markets. Home cooks and chefs rely on canned pumpkin puree because it is a convenience, has consistent flavor, and texture. Canned pumpkin is our seasonal pumpkin fix, for everything from pies and muffins to savory pots of pumpkin soup and chili.

foodforthoughtBut, you might be surprised to know that this pantry staple might be hiding another ingredient inside – squash! That’s right – some canned pumpkin puree is actually made from one or more types of winter squash, like Butternut, Hubbard, Boston Marrow, and Golden Delicious. These squash varieties can be less stringy and richer in sweetness and color than pumpkin.

Food for Thought: Answering questions about apples

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

110415-apple-fles2

I believe that we learn something every day. That is one of the reasons I like my job as a district Extension agent. Sometimes I don’t know the answer to a consumers’ question, and I learn a lot by talking with a K-State Research & Extension specialist.

Recently I received a phone call from a lady who was making an apple pie. She had purchased a bag of apples at a local store. While she was slicing the apples, she noticed the inside of the apple flesh, next to the skin was red. She had a two part question, are the apples safe to use, and what causes this? I knew the apples were safe to use, but had no idea about the cause.

Here’s what I found out from Ward Upham,  K-State’s Rapid Response Center coordinator for horticulture, forestry and recreation resources: There are a number of varieties of apples that are red-fleshed and others, such as Red Rome, may be pink or have red streaks at time. The apples produce the red pigmentation because of growing conditions.

Did you know that there are many red flesh apples grown? The apple varieties in this group all have flesh that ranges in color from bright pink (Pink Pearl) to beet red (Clifford) to pink stained (Taunton Cross) to orange (Apricot Apple)! Another unique thing about the apples in this group is that their blossoms range from solid light pink to solid crimson pink as compared to the white blossoms of other apples. Imagine biting into a bright yellow apple and seeing bright pink. With these apples you can make pink apple jelly, pink apple cider and pink apple pie. The flavors range from sweet (Pink Pearmain) to tart (Pink Pearl) just like other apples. More than just a novelty, they are great eating.

Food for Thought: A-peel-ing apples

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

October is National Apple Month. All children know this common apple saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. This saying was derived from the old English saying, “Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed, make the doctor beg his bread,” but the original author of this most popular apple saying has been lost to history. Today, the expression rings truer than ever, as our knowledge of apples’ many and numerous health benefits increases.

It turns out that eating an apple a day really does keep the doctor away – but you’ve got to eat the peel! And no fair skipping the apple altogether in favor of megadoses of vitamins in pill form; fruits and vegetables in their natural state are better, Cornell University researchers say.

“The pharmaceutical companies will not be happy with me, but I think the consumer gets more health benefits from eating whole fruits and vegetables,” lead researcher Rui Hai Liu, M.D., Ph.D., says. “You get much more antioxidant activity, you get a variety of antioxidants, and you don’t have to worry about toxicity.”

Food for Thought: Give trick-or-treaters slime instead of unhealthy treats

By Nancy Schuster, Frontier District Extension Agent

I’m not particularly fond of the good ole days – in many instances they weren’t all that great! Halloween is another good ole day. As kids, we rang the door bells of everyone in our small town, the more candy and sticky and gooey treats the better.
foodforthought

That was over 50 years ago! The world has changed, lifestyles have changed, and eating habits have changed – unfortunately not for the better. Now more than ever, child nutrition becomes important in the home and community. Halloween should not be one more opportunity to throw caution to the wind and promote sugary food products with high calories and no nutritional value. The kids who are not active will not burn those empty calories.

Although childhood obesity rates appear to have stabilized, rates have tripled since 1980. Prevention among children is the key.

“It is easier and more effective to prevent overweight and obesity in children, by helping every child maintain a healthy weight, than it is to reverse trends later. The biggest dividends are gained by starting in early childhood, promoting good nutrition and physical activity so children enter kindergarten at a healthy weight,” reports one of the major lessons from research done by the American Institute of Cancer Research.

Food for Thought: Make your own snacks for the stadium

By Nancy Schuster, Frontier District Extension Agent

I love autumn weather! Leaves turning red and yellow gold, days warm and nights cooler, pumpkins everywhere, and football games. Whether tailgating or snacking during the game, there are healthy snacks you can make.

foodforthoughtPumpkin leather is a great snack. Fruit leathers are fruit roll ups. They are tasty, chewy, dried fruit. Fruit leathers are made by pouring pureed fruit onto plastic wrap placed on top of the food dehydrator’s tray and then drying.

Use ripe or slightly overripe fruit. Wash under cold running water, peel and remove seeds and stem. Cut fruit into chunks and puree until smooth. Use 2 cups of fruit for each 13-inch x 15-inch fruit leather.

Fruit leathers can also be made with canned or frozen fruit. Drain fruit, save liquid. Use 1 pint of fruit for each 13-inch x 15-inch leather. Puree fruit until smooth. If thick, add liquid. Applesauce can be dried alone or used with any fresh fruit puree as an extender.

Fire can break out almost anywhere, but advance planning can ease recovery

Nancy Schuster and Rebecca McFarland
Frontier Extension District Agents

Imagine this – waking in the middle of the night to a blaring siren and the smell of smoke in the air. It happens way more often than many realize.

In 2013, one house fire was reported every 85 seconds in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Almost 370,000 house fires occurred that year alone. The number is less than the 458,000 reported 20 years earlier, but the potential for devastation is immense if it happens in your home.

With September designated National Preparedness Month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, K-State Research and Extension is working with Kansans to be as prepared as possible for emergencies.

Whether it’s the basement, the highway or the community, flooding can happen anywhere

Nancy Schuster and Rebecca McFarland
Frontier Extension District Agents

Sometimes you can anticipate flooding as you’re watching the rain fall in sheets from the living room window. But what if you’re on the way home from work or picking up the children from school?

We can’t be 100 percent prepared for every emergency, but we can take actions now that can get things back to normal more quickly when disasters do happen.

With September designated National Preparedness Month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, K-State Research and Extension is working with Kansans to be as prepared as possible for emergencies.

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