Fall Home Food Preservation

Apples, winter squash, and pumpkin may still be on your home food preservation to-do list.

Jar of canned vegetables
  • Always use tested recipes and procedures. Use publications from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, nchfp.uga.edu/,and ISU Extension and Outreach’s Preserve the Taste of Summer, store.extension.iastate.edu/.
  • Canning apple pie filling requires Clear-Jel. This is the only thickener that holds up to canning. It is not available in stores but you can purchase it online. Do not substitute Instant Clear-Jel or any other thickener for home-canned pie filling.
  • You can pressure-can squash and pumpkin safely if you cut them in cubes. However, you cannot safely puree squash and pumpkin. The density of the pureed squash/pumpkin can prevent adequate heat processing, even in a pressure canner.
  • There are no tested recipes for home-canned pumpkin butter. You can freeze pumpkin butter or store it in the refrigerator.

Thai Chicken Curry

Serving Size: 1 cup chicken curry, 1/3 cup rice | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup instant brown rice
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (about 1/2 of a 13.5-ounce can)
  • 1 cup chopped spinach

Directions:

  1. Cook instant brown rice according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Spray a large frying pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add chicken, onion, carrots, ground black pepper, and salt. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in curry paste and coconut milk. Simmer for 5–10 minutes until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
  5. Stir in spinach. Simmer for 3 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Serve curry over brown rice.

Nutrition information per serving:
290 calories, 7g fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 85mg cholesterol, 390mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 28g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Craving Comfort Foods

Casserole with meat and potatoes

In the fall, we crave warm, hearty foods like cheesy casseroles and hearty soups. Often, though, these “comfort foods” are high in fat, sodium, and calories.

The next time you make your favorite “comfort foods,” try these tips to make them healthier and even more enjoyable:

  • Add extra vegetables of all types—dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables—without added sauces, fats, or salt. Double the vegetables in a soup or casserole recipe to add extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Switch up your grains, making at least half of your grains whole grain. Like rice? Try replacing white rice with brown rice in your recipe. This month’s recipe uses brown rice.
  • Choose reduced-fat dairy foods, including fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, in casseroles and cream soups. Reduced-fat cheeses, for example, have less fat but just as much favor and melt just like full-fat cheese.
  • Use lean protein foods, including lean meats, poultry, and eggs; seafood; beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds, and soy products. Cooking on a budget? Canned meats are just as nutritious, cheaper, and easier to use in casseroles.

Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, bit.ly/3kf72S4.

No Excuses to Moving More

Many people say they don’t have the time, energy, or resources needed to be active. Here are ways to overcome these barriers:

Workout equipment
  • Lack of time. Find two or three time slots of 10–15 minutes each day to schedule short bursts of activity, such as going for a walk. You can even find time to get active while you are at your desk. Try Desk Fit, 20 Essential Desk
  • Exercises, nasa.gov.
  • Motivation. Make activity a social event. Ask friends or family to join an activity. Encourage each other! This will benefit everyone, both physically and emotionally.
  • Low energy. Many people feel tired after work or doing household chores. Consider being active at the start of your day. This will keep other things from crowding out the opportunity later in the day. Moving your body first will improve your ability to manage whatever daily tasks you have ahead of you.
  • Fear of injury. Visit your health care provider to make sure activity is safe. Look for activities with low risk, such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle. SpendSmart. EatSmart has a chair workout, strength training, and stretching videos to use at home. See Physical Activity Videos, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.
  • Cost. Look for outdoor fitness equipment and recreation trails in your community. Libraries may offer exercise DVDs. Senior centers sometimes have free programs or equipment.

Source: Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity, cdc.gov.

Vegetable Safety Tips

Vegetables are part of a healthy diet. However, they can also be a source of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Use these food safety tips to protect yourself and your family.

Washing carrots in sink
  1. Always wash hands with soap and water before you start to prepare vegetables.
  2. Use clean equipment, including cutting board and knives.
  3. Wash all produce even if the skin will be peeled. If a produce item is labeled ready to eat, washing is not recommended and could increase risk of illness.
  4. Wash produce under running water. A scrub brush can help in cleaning produce. Soap and vegetable rinses are not necessary. If soaking is required to loosen dirt, make sure to finish by rinsing under cool or warm running water.
  5. Store any washed produce in the refrigerator.

Source: Fresh Vegetable Guide, store.extension.iastate.edu/product/12599

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffn | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetables (washed and diced)
  • (broccoli, red or green peppers, onion) • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  2. Add chopped vegetables to muffin tin.
  3. Beat eggs in a bowl. Stir in salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Pour eggs into the muffin tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven during the last 3 minutes of baking. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the muffins and return the tin to the oven.
  5. Bake until the temperature reaches 160oF or a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Tips:
Use other vegetables such as mushrooms, tomato, or spinach instead of broccoli and peppers. Diced means to cut into small pieces (1/4 inch or less).

Nutrition information per serving:
110 calories, 6g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 190mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 4g total carbohydrate, 1g fber, 2g sugar, 8g protein

This information is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

September Is Breakfast Month!

Bowl of yogurt, granola, and blueberries

Breakfast is often considered the most important meal of the day. Yet many skip it. If you’re someone who skips breakfast, try to change that as you get into your fall routine.

Breakfast provides the following:

  • mental alertness
  • important nutrients
  • reduction of chronic disease risk

Remember, a meal is simply a combination of foods from at least three food groups. Thus, breakfast doesn’t have to be huge. Here are some simple, nutrient-rich ideas:

  • Yogurt parfait with berries and low fat granola.
  • Whole wheat tortilla spread with peanut butter rolled around a banana.
  • Coffee Cup Scramble with eggs, milk, and cheese (Recipe, iowaegg.org, from Iowa Egg Council). Enjoy with a slice of toast and a cup of juice.
  • Whole grain cereal, topped with fruit and low-fat milk.

Check out more ideas from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 6 Tips for Better Breakfasts, eatright.org.

Source: Breakfast in Human Nutrition: The International Breakfast Research Initiative, mdpi.com.

Creek Walking

Creek with water and rocks

Looking for a way to keep cool this summer? Try creek walking! It’s a great way to enjoy nature with family and friends, get a little exercise, and experience the outdoors. You don’t need much equipment to creek walk, just a pair of dirty tennis shoes or water socks to protect your feet.

Walking in the creek allows you to explore wildlife and native plants; find a fossil, bone, or antler; and leave the video games at home. Any stream can be unpredictable at times, so walk in the water when you can see the stream floor. Pack drinking water and snacks if you plan to walk a longer stretch. Towels and a change of clothes will provide a dry ride home. If walking alone, let someone know where and when you are going.

Find walking trails at Iowa Walking Trails and Maps, www.traillink.com.

Source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources, www.iowadnr.gov.

Pack a Safe Lunch

Boy opening a school lunch

August is “back to school” time. Does your child bring a lunch from home? When packing school lunches, it’s important to consider food safety. First, wash your insulated lunch box or bag with warm water and soap. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds prior to preparing foods. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item. Preparing and freezing sandwiches the night before is a time saver. Don’t freeze sandwiches that contain tomato, cucumber, or lettuce. Pack your lunch bags right before leaving home.

Insulated, soft-sided lunch boxes or bags help keep food cold, but pack at least two ice sources with perishable food in any lunch bag you use. You can use a frozen juice box or bottle of water rather than a frozen gel pack. When packing your bag lunch, place the frozen ice source above and below the perishable food items to keep them cold.

Want more information? Check out Freezing Sandwiches, https://food. unl.edu/fnh/freezing-sandwiches.

Source: What’s For Lunch? It’s in the Bag!, store.extension.iastate.edu/product/13900.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin | Serves: 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat four
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup oil (canola, olive, or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup zucchini (washed and shredded; about 1/2 large unpeeled zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a muffin tin.
  2. Whisk together four, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk together applesauce, oil, milk, banana, and brown sugar in a separate bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened.
  5. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  6. Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cups. Bake until a tester (knife or toothpick) comes out clean (about 18 minutes).

Nutrition information per serving:

160 calories, 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 26g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 9g sugar, 3g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate. edu

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