Celebrate New Years Your Way

By Jenni Purcell

 New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and will be here before we know it. I am one of those people that put a great deal of pressure on what I am doing and who I am with when the ball drops. And yes, I realize this is silly and I have to remind myself it should be a time of reflection and a time of being thankful for the previous year and the year to come. This holiday is notorious for producing high expectations and people want to make the night special. It’s not how much money you spend that makes the evening memorable.

 So how can you make the evening memorable? You can join the millions, like my Mom and Dad, which may have some indulgent snacks and fall asleep in front of the TV before the ball drops. If that works for you, great!  Others want to be at the loudest and biggest parties. No matter where you are, the recipe for a successful night includes just a few ingredients.  Perhaps incorporate some tasty cocktails and food, a couple silly hats and horns and good friends and family.

 If you are going to stay home and have a few people over to avoid the chaos I have some tips for you.

Send out the invite before the event. You can invite your party people via several methods: email, text, call, etc. I suggest using the Evite so you can obtain RSVP’s easily.

Planning is important. Take into account the time you have and resources. Don’t take on more than you can handle and if you are cooking don’t make everything from scratch. Check out some of these nutrient packed, tasty recipes on our website

 Ask others to chip in. You can ask some of your family or close friends to prep and even decorate.

Set the mood. Get the music out! Music is such an amazing mood elevator. Pick some of the old favorites especially if you want people to start to cut loose and dance.

 No matter what you do and who you are with – Have a great time, have a Happy New Year!

30 Days and Counting! Time is Up- Pitch the Leftovers

By Michelle Plummer

As we have now passed the seven day rule of leftovers- that is 35 from Thanksgiving, 7-20 for the Christmas parties and the bits and pieces of food, appetizers, casserole and YES even desserts need to be disposed of and that big white or stainless steel shell needs a good bath!

Look at the dates on the condiments (those bottles and jars that hang out in the door), if they have been open for more than six months—-discard and let’s begin fresh in 2012! Continue reading

Top 10 Memories from 2011

We had another busy year and made many memories.  It’s tough to choose just 10; but here, in no particular order, is my top 10 list:

Celebrating 80 years of nutrition education in Indiana through our Dairy Council.  Indiana dairy farmers are long time supporters of nutrition research and education for the health of Hoosiers.

Dining at the home of Jim Irsay!  We partner with the Colts to bring improved nutrition and fitness experiences to Indiana school students.  That partnership yielded an invitation that I was thrilled to accept and gave me a rare opportunity to chat with Mr. Irsay about our Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

Celebrating 100 years of Indy car racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Indiana dairy farmers and the racing fraternity have a special bond:  milk.  We produce it.  They drink it to celebrate winning the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  That’s why, in Indiana, we know that Winners drink milk!®

Helping our two dairy farmer milkmen get ready to present the famous bottle of milk in Victory Circle following the Indianapolis 500.  This year I was very close to the action!  How exciting!

Attending our annual Dairy Summit.  More than 250 registered dietitians and school nutrition professionals came to the conference to learn from experts about the new dietary guidelines, the benefits of flavored milk at school and chocolate milk as a sports recovery drink.

Visiting several dairy farms during the Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange in Indiana.  Each year, dairy farmers from Kentucky and Indiana get together to tour farms and swap ideas.  We have a varied and vibrant dairy industry in Indiana and it was great to spend some time on several fascinating farms.

Watching Diane Ruyack receive her 35-year service award at our annual meeting.  I’ve had the privilege to work with Diane for many years and was so grateful to see her be recognized for a long career sharing the good nutrition news about dairy products on behalf of Indiana’s dairy farmers.

Unveiling the cheese sculpture at the Indiana State Fair.  For several years, we’ve brought Sarah Kaufmann, cheese sculptor, to our great state fair to create a work of art from huge blocks of cheese delighting thousands of fair-goers!

Hosting Dairy Day at Victory Field.  We entertained Indiana dairy farmers at the beautiful ball park in June.  It was a great time for visiting and showcasing dairy at the ball game.

Announcing that 2012 is the Year of Dairy Cows at the Indiana State Fair!

Festivus for the Rest of Us!

By Jenni Purcell

I have to admit one of my guilty pleasures is reruns of Seinfeld.  I have seen every episode at least five times and can relate my daily experiences to one of the episodes. Kramer, George, Elaine, Jerry…love them all.  Since it is the Holiday Season, we are quickly approaching ‘Festivus.’ According to the Seinfeld show, Festivus is celebrated each year on December 23rd. However many people celebrate it other times in December and even at other times throughout the year.

The slogan of Festivus is “A Festivus for the rest of us!”  You might ask, what does this tradition involve?  Here are the basic components of Festivus:

  • A tree is manifested in a simple aluminum pole, contrasting the normal Holiday commercialism (you can purchase them online!)
  • Those attending Festivus may also participate in the “Air of Grievances, “an opportunity to tell others how they have disappointed you in the past year.  This can’t end badly. (sarcasm) I feel like most family gatherings, sooner or later, end up in some type of Airing of Grievances!
  • A Festivus Dinner is usually included. The official beverage of Festivus is chocolate milk (wink, wink) so make sure serve that with your dinner.
  • Finish the evening with the “Feats of Strengths” where the head of the household must be pinned.  And who wouldn’t want to pin someone (especially the head of the household) during the Holidays?

Festivus is a silly way to let your hair down and enjoy the Season. Your family might have their own traditions that are a bit ‘out there’ but are near and dear to your heart. However you celebrate the Holidays, enjoy friends and family! Treat your body well by eating nutritious food and keep active each day.  Be thankful for what you have and TRY to relax and ‘de-stress’ to gear up for the New Year! “And if you get frustrated this Holiday season, just remember, ‘It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!”.

Look on the Bright Side Day

By DeDe Hausmann

Yes, December 21st is really, “LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE DAY”.  I know it seems we have a day for everything but isn’t “LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE DAY” a good thing?!!!!

Let’s look at this objectively.

1)      December 21 is the Winter Solstice – meaning it’s the shortest day of the year.  If on the 21st you are having a bad day, just realize the day will be over before you know it.

2)      I bet that you have heard that if you want to be a positive, happy person then you should hang around with people who desire that too?!!!  If you haven’t practiced this yet then this would be a great day for you to back away from those negative people and purposely start hanging out with optimistic friends. Continue reading

Ways to Stay Active this Winter

By Kimmi Devaney

In my family, the holidays are a crazy busy time of year. Between trying to see everyone, coordinate travel schedules and shop for gifts, healthy eating and exercise can easily be pushed aside. The good news is that with so many healthy recipes, eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. More good news: exercise doesn’t have to either! It just comes down to setting aside time for it. Think of it as ‘me time’ or time to relax.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan for exercise. Luckily, there are so many varieties that you won’t get bored! Let’s start at the gym…

  • Most gyms have treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes and more. Getting your cardio in no longer has to be a bore. Don’t forget your music!
  • Want to add some muscle and tone up? Don’t wait until January 1st to start those New Year’s resolutions. Many gyms also have personal trainers on hand to show you how to use a machine, or you can purchase some personal training sessions if you are looking for some more guidance in the weight room.
  • Classes galore! Whether you want to meditate, dance or workout boot-camp style, you are sure to find a class to fit your mood. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun! Who cares if you are new and don’t know all the moves yet, chances are a lot of other people don’t either. Continue reading

Chocolate Covered Anything Day

By Mary Nicholson

Glancing at the month of December in my planner, I see the typical holidays you might expect – Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve.  It was brought to my attention that my planner is missing one other important holiday – Chocolate Covered Anything Day!  Who knew that December 16 had earned such status?!

Continue reading