Nutrition in Disguise

 By Mary Nicholson

It’s here!  Time for the Big Pumpkin!  Is your pumpkin patch sincere?  Just in case this doesn’t make any sense, you might tune in to “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (8:00 pm ET on ABC).  Making its debut in 1966, this special features the Peanuts gang getting ready to celebrate Halloween. Linus is sure this time the Great Pumpkin will rise from his pumpkin patch, while Charlie Brown and the rest of the crew go trick or treating.

If you’ve been down the dairy aisle at your local grocery store during the last couple of weeks, you may have seen some of the Peanuts gang showing off their own chocolate milk mustaches.  You know, of course, that chocolate milk is the official drink of Halloween, don’t you?  Just as  trick-or-treaters venture out in disguise, chocolate milk is nutrition in disguise!  Who knew 9 essential nutrients could taste so good?

Chocolate milk has all the goodness of white milk.  Oh sure, we all know milk has calcium for strong bones and teeth, but what are those other eight nutrients?  Milk is fortified with Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb the calcium; you might say they are a dynamic duo, a powerful pair, a terrific twosome, and so on.  The protein in milk is high quality, and it help build and repair muscles.  You’ll need strong muscles to carry all that trick-or-treat loot!  There’s also Vitamin A, important for vision and skin, not to mention keeping your immune system strong.  Vitamin B12 serves as an oxygen transporter, and riboflavin (vitamin B2) helps convert food into energy.  That’s very important when exercising those muscles! Continue reading

The best use of a quarter

By Michelle Plummer

The drought is profoundly affecting American agriculture and dairy farmers are some of the hardest hit. Dairy farmers appreciate Americans understanding their situation, and recognize these are tough time s for everyone.  Consumers can show their support for dairy farmers by continuing to enjoy and purchase nutritious, and great tasting dairy products.

Dairy farmers don’t control the price of milk at the store and a higher cost at retail doesn’t mean farmers make more money, on average farmers receive 30% of the retail cost.  Thinking about all the farmers do every day to make sure they deliver a perfect product, that isn’t much money!  An 8-ounce glass of milk costs about a quarter and provides so much benefit.

At the American Dairy Association we have a slogan and it seems to never go out of style that Dairy is always in season!  Today I want to share three of my very favorite dairy recipes that are good for you and your wallet!  Just in time for the Fall Season.

Maple and Fruit Oatmeal

½ cup oats                                                                           1 cup milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup                                          ½ banana sliced

In microwave safe bowl combine oats and milk.  Place in microwave for 2 minutes on high; stir halfway through cooking time.  Remove from microwave and top with maple syrup and sliced bananas.  Delicious!  Additional toppers: Peanut butter and fruit, nuts, spices, wheat germ (the sky’s the limit, be creative!)

Creamy Mac and Cheese

2 tablespoons butter                                                      2 tablespoons onion

2 tablespoons flour                                                         2 cups milk

8 ounces of macaroni                                                     2 dashes each Worcestershire, tabasco, cayenne pepper

2 cups assorted cheese, cubed                                  1 cup cooked chicken

½ cup peas and carrots

Cook macaroni in boiling water until tender; drain.  Meanwhile, in pan the macaroni was cooked in add butter, and onion.  Sauté for 3 minutes, add flour and stir for 3 minutes.  Add milk and whisk until smooth and add the Worcestershire, tabasco, cayenne and cheese.  Cook until smooth.  Add macaroni and chicken and combine.  Lastly add peas and carrots.  Here is the decision — bake or stove top?  At our house I like stove top and others like the crunchy edges—either way if you bake it place contents in the pan to a prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until you see the crunchy edges.  You can also add spinach or red peppers or salsa…. just open the fridge and get a bit wild! 

Ole’ Quesadillas!

4- 7” flour tortillas                                                            16 ounce package of onion pepper medley

1 tablespoon taco seasoning                                       1 cup grated cheese, assorted mild and sharp

Salsa                                                                                      avocado slices

In large skillet place frozen onion pepper mixture and add taco seasoning plus ¼ cup water.  Cook until tender about 5 minutes and mixture is dry.  On griddle place the tortillas add ¼ of the pepper mixture to each and top with ¼ of cheese on half of the tortilla.  Flip the top over the mixture and griddle until golden then flip to second side and griddle until golden.  Remove from griddle and place on platters. Serve with salsa, taco sauce, sour cream or plain yogurt and avocado.  Using a pizza cutter cut each quesadilla into fourths and serve with a green salad topped with salsa!  OLE!

National Make a Difference Day

By Laurie Elmore, Dietetic Intern

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really thought of myself as someone that can change a life. I mean doesn’t that require some kind of miraculous task; something that would require saving someone’s life or for that matter being a super hero? Throughout my life I have done several things to help someone or a group of people. I’ve volunteered at food banks, helped rake leaves, and made dinner for a sick family friend. While it does not seem like much, I have made a difference in someone’s life. When was the last time you smiled at the elderly man walking around the mall? You never know when you can make a difference in someone else’s day!

National Make a Difference day is celebrated every fourth Saturday in October. I’m sure if you are like me you think what could I really do? I heard Matt Lauer talk about it, but how can I be involved. Well it can be as simple as helping your neighbor in the yard, smiling at that man walking around the mall, or volunteering at a local organization. This special day was created by USA WEEKEND Magazine and no matter what level you participate; you CAN change someone’s live.

Need some help getting your brain thinking? Here are some ideas:

• Stock a food pantry

• Organize a neighborhood “Trash Clean-Up”

• Paint classrooms, playrooms, kitchens

• Fix, sand, and paint picnic tables and benches

• Build and decorate recycling containers

• Construct bird feeders or houses

• Build bee boxes

• Remove weeds from cracks in sidewalks and flowerbeds

• Build a compost

• Build a playground

• Clean-up/restore a playground

• Clean up the river

• Pull weeds from a plot in a natural area

Droughts May Affect More Than You Think

By Sarah Wagler, Wagler Dairy Farm, Morgantown

Remember that kid’s song, “Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day…”? Boy, we sure weren’t singing that nursery rhyme this year! Instead, we were praying every day for rain!

Hi! My name is Sarah Wagler, and my husband and his family dairy farm in Brown County. Every day, we work hard to help our cows produce wholesome, nutritious, delicious milk!

This summer required harder work because of the drought. This year started out beautiful and our crops were growing great and were a wonderful shade of green. Then it stopped raining.

Personally, the drought gave me a little vacation from mowing the grass, but that is probably the only perk! When I looked out our front door, my flowers were brown, our grass was brown, the crops lost their wonderful shade of green and weren’t growing and our ponds were getting lower and lower. Just like your flowers and vegetables were probably not doing as well this summer, more than the looks of our crops were hurt too.

The drought drastically affected the nutritional value and yield of our crops. Simply, our crops didn’t make as much and what they did make is not as nutritious. So what does this mean? It means we are going to have to feed more to achieve the same value.

Many homes and livestock producers in Brown County water themselves and their animals out of ponds or off of springs. No rain equals no pond or spring water, which means no water for the animals. That is one horrible equation!

What made it even worse for us was that our lactating cows—the cows we milk three times a day—drink a lot of water, about a bath tub full every day! It makes sense when you think that milk is over 85% water. So what did we do? We moved water, we moved water, and we moved water! For our lactating cows, we pumped water from one pond to the actual pond we utilize for water. For our younger animals out on pasture, we would truck water to troughs—big holding containers that are low enough for the cows to drink from.

Going along with the lack of rain, the extreme heat also decreases the amount of milk our cows give every day. Boy, it is scary to think how many things are linked to the weather. I guess the vacation from mowing was the only perk. All we can do now is pray for better weather next year!

Halloween Menu Ideas

By Mary Nicholson

What do ghosts serve for dessert?  I scream!  Get it?  I scream/ice cream??  Yes, it’s almost Halloween, so let the haunting begin!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  We usually start October by watching old black and white horror movies and “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”.  That certainly sets the mood around the house!  When my kids were little, we had lots of fun deciding and making costumes.  There were princess and Power Ranger costumes, along with a robot, Superman, a red M & M and a cheerleader, too.   Ah, the good old days!  Way back when I was growing up, our town had (and still does have) a huge Halloween parade.  Marching bands from all over the area participated, and every organization in town made a float, the chicken wire and tissue paper kind.  The homecoming queen got to ride in a convertible, and candy was tossed to the crowd all along the route.  Maybe that’s why Halloween is a favorite time for me.

So now I’m planning our annual Halloween party menu.  Getting to play with food is another reason I enjoy this season.  It’s not hard to make everyday kinds of food a little creepy.  Making regular cookie dough but shaping it like witch’s fingers is a standard for our house.  I have my tried and true items, but I always like to add something new.  This year I’ve run across several intriguing things to broaden my selection.  Here’s a recipe for cheesy cobwebs that only has four ingredients. And what table wouldn’t be complete without a plate full of skulls! For something on the sweeter side, I might try these chocolate candy corn truffles  or these black cat sandwich cookies.  There’s no shortage of ideas and recipes on the internet.  That’s why I stick with things I know my guests have enjoyed in the past, and add in just a few new ones each year.

So as the skeleton said to his guests, “Bone appetite!”

Sweetest Day

By Jenni Purcell

Of course you have heard about Valentine’s Day and anniversaries but did you know about Sweetest Day?  I first learned about this day when my friends were planning to get married on Sweetest Day-on purpose. (You are either rolling your eyes or saying “awww.'”)  It is observed on the 3rd Saturday in October and originated Cleveland in 1922, during the Great Depression. (Read more about Sweetest Day History)  It is celebrated this year – October 20.

Some critics might say, “Oh great, another commercial holiday where I am pressured into buying a card.”  And others might think of it as a great day to let your ‘sweetie’ know how much you care about them.  You don’t have to have a sweetheart to do something thoughtful for someone.  One idea is to visit your nearby nursing home. They are full of residents who would love a kind word, flower or just time from someone else.

If you do have a ‘sweetie,’ you can give each other candy, flowers and cards on Sweetest Day. I Googled ‘Sweetest Day Gift Ideas,’ and I stumbled upon a Pinterest Page devoted just to that very topic.  I found lots of fun hot cocoa recipes, a toasted marshmallow milkshake (yum) and a FROZEN hot chocolate recipe.  I thought these were simple, creative ways to celebrate the day.

Is there anyone in your life who is important to you and who you would like to show you care? I know today we are busier than ever, and our schedules are hectic. But what a perfect day to carve out some time to thank those who are near and dear to your heart.

Whether you’re giving, receiving, or just watching from afar, nothing brightens up your day like a token of affection, or seeing people treat each other with kindness. Happy Sweetest Day!

Celebrate National Cookie Month with Milk!

By Michelle Plummer

In the midst of all the Fall Festival goodies of pumpkins, caramel apples and kettle corn we can’t nor should we forget the glorious COOKIE!  The reason for National Cookie Month is to help you learn, enjoy and enhance your cookie knowledge… and you thought a cookie is a cookie.

Since it is National Cookie Month, I decided to take a small office poll of coworkers’ favorite cookie…well no one agreed one the same cookie.  I guess we will just enjoy a variety of cookies from date cookies to peanut butter with the closes agreeing point being chocolate chips for this month!

Chocolate chips is the number one addition to in cookies- Americans love the Toll House or Chocolate Chip cookie- soft, crunchy, warm or frozen- we have an obsession! The next cookie contender is the Oreo!

Travel down a grocery aisle, walk through the mall or on a chilly day take a deep whiff of the neighborhood and someone is bound to be shopping, baking or buying cookies!  Those golden little cakes are just right for fingers to grasp, the perfect diameter for dunking in a glass!  Yes, a glass of ice cold milk! It is really hard to enjoy a cookie (your favorite) and not grab for a glass and reach in the fridge!  Whether you are a dunker or a dipper; a sipper or a guzzler, milk is the perfect companion for cookies.  Go ahead… get your favorite cookie, grab a glass of milk and enjoy a great snack while you are providing your body with a powerhouse of nutrition.  Cookie month is 31 days long… that would be 31 reasons to enjoy an extra glass of milk daily!