Family Reunions: Food, Fun and Memories

We’re getting ready for the 110th Artley Family Reunion.  Our branch of the family is hosting the event this year in Middlebury, Indiana.  Lots of preparations are being made, the media have been alerted and the invitations have gone out.  We have games planned and are looking forward to visiting with family members we only see at this event.

One of the most important aspects of summer reunions and picnics is the food.  It is critical to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold while serving at these gatherings.   We’re making memories and we want them to be happy ones!

Find food safety tips at   USDA reminds us about the four steps to food safety:  Clean, separate, cook, chill.

Clean:  Keep hands clean.  Wash before and after handling food and after using the restroom, touching pets, etc. Wash with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.

Separate:  Keep foods separate.  Use one cutting board for fresh produce and another for raw meat, poultry and seafood.

Cook:  Cook foods to the proper temperature and keep them hot—140 degrees F. while serving.  Use a heat source like a chafing dish, warming tray or slow cooker.

Chill:  Cold food should be kept at 40 degrees F. or less.  Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often.· Perishable food should not be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F).

Reunions Magazine recommends replacing empty platters with freshly filled ones on buffet lines.  Don’t add food to the serving dishes that have been sitting out.

Dorothy Viola’s Favorite Potato Salad

(With a twist:  Greek yogurt and sour cream)


  • 3 1/2  pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  •  ½ cup sour cream
  • 1/3  cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup mustard
  • ¼ cup pickle relish
  • 1 Tablespoon celery seed
  • 3 large stems fresh rosemary, strip leaves from stems
  • course black pepper
  • celery salt
  • fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Place the potatoes and sweet potatoes in a large pan of water and boil over medium-low heat until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes, and place in the refrigerator to cool.
  2. Place the eggs in a saucepan of cold water over medium heat, and bring to a full boil. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for about 15 minutes. Cool the eggs thoroughly under cold running water and shell them. Chop the cooled eggs and place them in a large salad bowl.
  3. Stir the onion, celery, yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, pickle relish, celery seed and fresh rosemary leaves into the eggs, and let the mixture chill in the refrigerator at least l/2 hour to blend the flavors. Mix in the chilled chopped potatoes, and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.  Season with course black pepper and celery salt to taste.  Garnish with fresh parsley.  Serve cold.

International Picnic Day – Fun in the Sun

International Picnic Day is June 18th

Guest Bloggers:  Amber Swinehart & Cheryl Jones, Ball State University Dietetic Interns

It’s that time of year again when the sun is shining and everyone likes to get out for some fun and fresh air!  Get ready to have some food and fun on international picnic day, June 18th.  It’s time for friends and family to get together to enjoy the outdoors.   Though it’s not an official holiday recognized by Congress, tons of families, organizations, and social clubs gather to celebrate this special day. 

The word picnic comes from the French word “piquer” (to pick or peck) and was joined together with the obsolete word “nique” (meaning to trifle).  These words were put together to form “picnic” where family and friends “pick” at small or “trifling” amounts of a wide variety of different foods brought by everyone to form a meal.

Change it up with a fun new place this year!  Try a riverbank, wooded area, garden, meadow, or even a picnic on a boat.  No matter 2, 4, or 10 people, a picnic can be an enjoyable experience for everyone and every occasion.  Get your friends and family involved in some fun and games like Frisbee golf, a scavenger hunt, horseshoes, charades, or corn hole.  To keep the kids entertained try making a picnic coloring book, playing with bubbles, having a water balloon toss, or setting up a play tent. 

After all the fun and games don’t forget to bring a picnic basket full of delicious foods and drinks for everyone to enjoy.  Some quick and easy ideas could include stuffed pita pockets, wraps, fresh summer fruit like strawberries and melon, cheese and crackers, and potato and macaroni salads.  Cool down with a refreshing beverage like strawberry lemonade, a glass of ice-cold milk, or a glass of champagne for adults.  For a fun and refreshing dessert try a yogurt S’more parfait  or some angel food cake with berries.  No matter what you pack in your picnic basket just relax and enjoy the company of your friends and family.

100 and 80 and 70+

Born out of a commitment for service, matured through the processes of service to health and education, the dairy industry developed and nurtured what is known today as the Dairy & Nutrition Council of Indiana, Inc. 

Those words written thirty years ago evoke strong feelings.  Looking back and reading those words once again, I feel the intense pride in our Indiana dairy farm families that I felt thirty years ago while putting together the program for the Northern Indiana Dairy Council’s 50th anniversary!   My pride stems from knowing Indiana dairy farm families’ dedication to providing, not only good food, but a gold-standard nutrition education program as well.

2011 marks the 80th anniversary of the organization known today as Dairy & Nutrition Council, Inc.  Our materials and programs look different from those of 80 years ago, but our reliance on sound science has never changed.  We continue to work with health professionals, educators and the media delivering current, peer-reviewed nutrition science and information along with practical tips to make a difference in the lives of Hoosiers.

One of the first health messages, 80 years ago, to school children was presented on a book mark:  Eat 3 meals daily including at least ONE GLASS OF MILK WITH EACH MEAL.  Today we are part of Fuel Up To Play 60, a nation-wide nutrition and fitness initiative in more than 70,000 schools across America empowering students to make healthy food and fitness choices.

Our Indiana dairy farm families didn’t stop at nutrition education.  They also nurture and support promotion programs.  The most notable being Winners Drink Milk®, the marketing and public relations efforts around the storied ice cold Drink of Milk in Victory Circle, following the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the first running of that greatest spectacle in racing!  The tradition of drinking milk to celebrate winning the Indy 500 got its start 70+ years ago.  When legendary race driver Louis Meyer pulled into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Memorial Day 1933 and asked for a cold glass of buttermilk to quench his thirst after 500 grueling miles a tradition was born.  For more than 70 years the drink of milk tradition has remained an endearing part of Indianapolis lore.  In 2005 the drink of milk tradition was named the sports world’s coolest prize by Sports Illustrated on their website.

Today, dairy farmers who serve as directors on the board of Milk Promotion Services of Indiana are selected, in teams of two, to deliver the ice cold milk to the winning driver on race day, helping him or her re-hydrate, refuel and refresh.

Survive Holiday Stress

‘Tis the season to be jolly…right? I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but the holidays sometimes make me feel irritable, overwhelmed and even a little bit down. And doesn’t stress seem to be magnified during this time of year? Whether the reason for your stress is lack of finances or overspending, relationships, family, over commitment or time constraints, there are some strategies that seem to help me and may help you boost your happiness during the holiday season.

Take a deep breath, take your time and plan. Try to give yourself plenty of time to do what you need to do. Take time to plan your shopping trips, holiday budget, and family gatherings or dinner parties by making a list of tasks that need to be done. There is a sense of relief and accomplishment when you cross them off your list! Stay flexible; plans may not unfold as expected. If this happens, don’t panic and realize there is a solution to all challenges.

Sleep and exercise. You need to make time for both because they will significantly decrease stress and help elevate your mood. Lack of sleep is one of the major effectors of people’s moods. As for exercise, it is recommended that we get 60 minutes of exercise a day. If you aren’t able to get the recommended amount of exercise, remember that every little bit helps. If you’re away from home and can’t do your usual routine, try taking a short walk. If you get enough sleep and daily exercise, you may be able to better deal with some of those difficult relatives!

Don’t overeat. There is a lot of guilt associated with holiday binging, and it may be a significant contributor to the holiday blues. To prevent overeating, eat protein rich snacks like cheese and crackers or half of a peanut butter sandwich, include nutrient rich foods in your meals, and make sure your portions are not too large.

Have fun! Figure out ways to include fun in you holiday activities. You can have a white elephant gift exchange where you buy a silly gift for someone. You can get a group of people together and do something fun like going to a festive movie. You may also find it enjoyable to volunteer some of your time to those less fortunate; this generally creates a sense of well-being and can put things into perspective.

Remember what the holidays are all about: giving and enjoying family, friends and the spirit of the holidays. Try not to extend yourself to the point of anxiety or fatigue; this is supposed to be a joyous time of year, so enjoy it!

Share Your Memories & You Could Win $100!

By Diane Ruyack

November is the month to be spent with friends and family, which is the perfect time for sharing and saving family stories. Sitting around the big oak table, everyone bringing their family favorite dish to pass, the smell of yeast rolls mingling with roast turkey set the stage for a great Thanksgiving meal and conversation! Memories from the older folks and lots of questions from the younger family members keep everyone gathered and enjoying each other. There is always that one story where the spiced apples hit the floor and splashed all over the tablecloth and wall!

Everyone enjoys hearing a funny or embarrassing story of their co-worker, friend, and learning about someone’s family is also a great bonding experience. It helps friends and new family members see that they have a lot more in common with each other than they would have thought previously.

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Family Day

Family Day

Celebrated September 27, 2010

the 10th Anniversary!

When I was growing up dinner was at 5:00 and if you were not there, you were in trouble!  Dinner was a great time to yell above your other siblings about what happened in your day, your grades, and most importantly what happened on the way home from school!  Didn’t everyone eat as a family?  Sometimes Mom and Dad were not there…but Grandma was and WOW could she cook!  I was quite naïve…every family was like this wasn’t it…..

Last year many of you received or ordered #Back to the Table® DVD from and one segment was on the benefits of eating as a family, or group.  Eating together at the same time while talking, laughing, and sometimes arguing… but still learning from each other.

According to CASA eating with family is critical for optimal child growth.  I would have never learned to eat biscuits one layer at a time if it was not for my sister or more importantly; learning to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious if it was not at the dinner table practicing with my other siblings.

CASA also states: “Whether you’re cooking a gourmet meal, ordering food from your favorite take-out place or eating on the go, rest assured that what your kids really want during dinnertime is YOU! Family meals are the perfect time to talk to your kids and to listen to what’s on their mind.  The more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs”

I am sure as I was growing up we had many serious conversations about school, eating right, smoking, drinking, driving but it is hard to remember the serious stuff!  Today, with more dangers to our children, more technology and less time to cuddle and protect them isn’t it time to begin having dinner as a family?  Dinner does not have to be at the dining table, it can easily be in the car before a game (not driving, but stopped and able to have Mom involved); or at the picnic site, it can even be in a corner of a auditorium with drive-thru bags before an instrument performance.  Be creative, you never know when your children are really listening….usually when they are laughing…supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Bored with Dinner?

Heather Cupp, a Registered Dietitian working for Riley Hospital, is our guest blogger today. She is a busy mom of two children and knows the stresses of evening meals. We hope that her healthy ideas will inspire your future dinner creations!

Bored with dinner?  Need some easy meal ideas that your family will love?  You’ve come to the right spot! With afterschool practices, games, and other activities finding healthy, creative, and quick dinner ideas can be challenging.  So, here are a few fun ones:

Roll-up:  Tortillas and flat-breads are fun to make dinners with your kids.  Try a flat bread spread with peanut butter then topped with a banana rolled up for a delicious treat. Don’t forget the other food groups!  Adding a glass of milk and some raw veggies with dip completes this delicious meal.

Easy Pizza: 1 whole grain English muffin topped with tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, and cheese for each person.  Add a side salad and mix some berries with yogurt for a dessert.  You could also have a fun day with the kids by buying some dough (already made or mix), setting out a variety of toppings, and letting them make their own individual pizzas!

Leftover: Be creative with leftovers.  Use chicken to make quesadillas or BBQ chicken sandwiches.  Leftover ground beef or turkey can be made into sloppy joe’s, patty melts, or taco salad the next day.  Use leftover pork roast to make pulled pork sandwiches, quesadillas, or wraps.  You can also be creative by adding these to a salad. 

Shape, Alphabet, or Other Themed Meals: A “c” themed dinner could include a chicken sandwich with cheese, cucumber slices and carrot sticks on the side with fresh cherries for dessert. A circle theme would have crackers, reduced fat cheese cut-outs, melon balls, cherry tomatoes and other circle foods. Or try an ocean theme: tuna salad with goldfish crackers, broccoli trees with dip and blue Jell-O with fruit for dessert.

My family loves when I make these quick, easy, and delicious meals for dinner. I hope yours does, too! Enjoy!