Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup

Bowl of soup with fruit and milk

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 8


  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dried black beans, rinsed
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen corn, thawed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound chicken breast, thawed
  • Optional: baked tortilla chips, chili flakes, chopped cilantro, jalapenos, lime, sliced avocado, salsa, light sour cream, shredded cheese


  1. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook for 4 to 6 hours on high or for 8 to 10 hours on low.
  2. Remove chicken right before serving. Shred. Stir chicken back into soup.
  3. Serve with choice of optional ingredients.

Nutrition information per serving:
210 calories, 3g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 35mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 28g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 4g sugar, 19g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart.,

VITA—Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Person working with computer and calculator

Need help preparing and filing your income tax return? The VITA program has been helping people for more than 50 years. VITA sites offer free services to people who need assistance.

You may qualify for the VITA program if you:

  • Make $60,000 or less per year
  • Have a disability
  • Are a limited English-speaking taxpayer

In addition to VITA, free tax help for persons 60 years of age and older is available. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) specializes in questions about pensions and retirement.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offices provide services in some areas. Locate a
VITA site near you,, or call AARP volunteer tax preparers at 1-800-906-9887.

Source: Internal Revenue Service,

February Is American Heart Month

Meter on wrist showing heart rate

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One out of every four deaths each year is caused by heart disease. Heart attacks occur when the flow of blood to the heart is severely reduced or blocked. Men are more likely to develop heart disease after age 45. Women have a higher risk after age 55 or following menopause.

Consider the following steps you can take to help protect your heart.

  1. Know your numbers: High blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight can increase your risk of heart disease. Talk to your provider about ways to improve your numbers.
  2. Stop smoking: To quit, contact 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
  3. Model your plate using the DASH Eating Plan, Choose more plant foods including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Eat lean dairy and proteins including fish, skinless poultry, and beans. Use heart healthy fats such as canola and olive or vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. Limit sodium, sugar-sweetened drinks, and desserts.
  4. Physical activity: Set a goal of at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Sitting less can help control weight, decrease stress, and improve sleep quality.
  5. Prioritize sleep: Adults need 7–9 hours of sleep a night.
  6. For more information, download the resource 28 Days Toward a Healthy Heart,

Sources: NHLBI,

Win with Workplace Wellness

One way to improve our overall health is to be physically active on a regular basis. It is crucial for healthy aging, reduces risk of chronic diseases, improves mental health, and strengthens bones and muscles. Most Americans who work full-time are spending at least eight hours a day at their worksite, and most of that time is spent at a computer or desk. Here are five tips for increasing physical activity during the workday:

  • Take short 3- to 5-minute breaks every hour to get up and walk around your worksite.
  • Find your favorite exercise video from Spend Smart. Eat Smart.,, before or after lunch.
  • Invest in a standing desk or “treadmill desk” to increase standing or walking throughout the day.
  • Try stretches while sitting at your desk—such as chair squats, arm and elbow stretches, sit up and stretches, and overhead presses.
  • Find a colleague to walk with during your lunch hour. This can improve social and physical well-being.

New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station,
Harvard Health Publishing,

What Is Intuitive Eating?

Woman in kitchen peeling vegetables

Intuitive Eating is an evidence-based, mind and body health approach. The ten principles of Intuitive Eating cultivate or remove barriers to body awareness. It’s a process of listening and responding to your body to meet physical and psychological needs.

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating:

  • Reject the Diet Mentality
  • Honor Your Hunger
  • Make Peace with Food
  • Challenge the Food Police
  • Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  • Feel Your Fullness
  • Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
  • Respect Your Body
  • Movement—Feel the Difference
  • Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition

You are the expert of your own body. Use Intuitive Eating as an empowerment tool. You are the only one who knows what hunger, fullness, and satisfaction feel like! Check out this article that provides real-life examples of each principle,

Source: Intuitive Eating Pros,

Scrambled Egg Skillet

Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups | Serves: 3


  • 1 tablespoon oil (canola, olive, vegetable)
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow or red potato, diced
  • 3/4 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: chopped avocado, chopped herbs, hot sauce, ketchup, salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add potatoes to skillet. Sauté for12 minutes, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add peppers and onions. Sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low. Pour eggs over vegetables. Stir in salt and pepper.
  5. Gently stir the eggs into the vegetables. Cook and stir until eggs are set and no liquid remains in the pan.
  6. Top with optional ingredients.

Nutrition information per serving:
200 calories, 1.0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 39g total carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 9g sugar, 12g protein.

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

Let’s Be Clear on Cleaning

Bucket and cleaning supplies

Knowing the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting is helpful in preventing the spread of diseases. Always follow the manufacturer’s label for proper use and safety.

Cleaning first removes germs and dirt from surfaces. Sanitizing is done after cleaning to further reduce germs on surfaces to safer levels. Disinfecting kills germs and bacteria with a chemical product.

What To Use?

Use soap or detergents with water to scrub and wash for cleaning. Use a weaker bleach solution sanitizing spray for sanitizing. Use an EPA-registered disinfecting product or strong bleach solution for disinfecting.

When To Use?

Regularly clean objects and surfaces before sanitizing or disinfecting. Be sure to sanitize objects and surfaces that are in contact with mouths such as countertops, any surface that touches food, utensils, toys, and other infant feeding supplies. It is important to disinfect surfaces when someone has gotten sick or it is a high-traffic area where germs are more likely to spread.

Stay safe when using cleaning and chemical products. If there has been a chemical exposure to cleaners or disinfectants, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.


Find Your Movement Motivation

Walking on path

Starting a physical activity routine and sticking to it can be challenging. Finding the motivation to stay active is key.

Most results of exercise are not instantaneous, so set realistic goals. Start small and gradually increase to 30 minutes of exercise five days per week. People keep exercising because they have found something they enjoy. If exercise feels like a chore, it can hold you back from accomplishing your exercise goals.

People who are physically active tend to live longer, healthier lives. Research shows moderate physical activity—such as 30 minutes a day of brisk walking—significantly contributes to longevity. Always consult with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

American College of Sports Medicine,

Smart Habits Mean Savings

Onions on store shelf

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. While we can’t do much about food prices, we can learn to shop smarter and make our food dollars stretch further.

Meal planning will allow you to spend less time in the grocery store and save you money. Create your shopping list and stick to it. Start by finding meals you would like to prepare, add ingredients you already have on hand (fridge, freezer, pantry), and look for special buys.

Purchase fresh produce in season or “less-than-perfect” produce at a reduced price. Avoid prewashed and precut produce, which is priced higher.

For meats, buy the whole piece or bulk packages and cut up or divide it at home. Stretch your ground meats by adding bread crumbs, herbs, eggs, or plant protein (tofu or textured vegetable protein).

Take advantage of weekly sales and deals. Don’t overlook in-store promotions or the store’s website. Track prices on the products you buy frequently. After a while, you will be able to spot a good price and stock up. Go to Spend Smart. Eat Smart.,, for more money-saving tips.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension,

Slow Cooker Black-eyed Pea Soup

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 5

Woman peeling a carrot


  • 1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning (basil, dried oregano, rosemary, or sage)


  1. Rinse and sort dry black-eyed peas to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Nutrition information per serving:
200 calories, 1.0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 39g total carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 9g sugar, 12g protein.

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