Spring: An Egg-citing Time of Year!

eggs easter color dyeCooking, coloring, hiding, and eating eggs are a sign of the season. Follow these easy tips to ensure the safety of the eggs.

1. Use eggs that have been properly stored in the refrigerator and are not past their “use by date.” Uncooked eggs can be stored three to five weeks in the refrigerator.

2. To hard cook eggs, put eggs in a single layer in a pan; completely cover all eggs with cold water. Cover the pan and bring the water to a boiling point; then turn off the heat, and leave pan on the burner for 15-17 minutes. Cool under cold running water to stop the cooking process.

3. Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs in their cartons if you won’t be coloring them right after cooking and cooling. Refrigerate the eggs again right after you dye them. Cooked eggs can be safely stored in the refrigerator for one week.

4. Everyone who helps dye the eggs should wash his/her hands thoroughly (before and after handling eggs).

5. Eggs should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours if they will be eaten. If they will be hidden in an egg hunt or used as a centerpiece, they should be thrown away
after use.

6. Color only uncracked eggs. If you plan to eat your dyed eggs later, use food coloring or specially made food-grade egg dyes dissolved in water that is warmer than the eggs. If any eggs crack during dyeing or while on display, throw them away along with any eggs that have been out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours.

For more information contact ISU Extension and Outreach Answerline 800-262-3804 or email questions to answer@iastate.edu

Tips for Healthier Holiday Meals

Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit. Select a variety of vegetables for a great way to add color to the meal. Dish up smaller portions of meat on your plate.
Cut back on sugar. Use non-nutritive sweeteners in place of sugar for pie fillings, puddings, and cranberry sauces. You can usually reduce the amount of sugar by 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in recipes that are high in sugar.
Lower the fat.
  • Use egg whites or a nonfat egg substitute instead of whole eggs.
  • Substitute a nutty cereal for half the amount of pecans in pecan pie.
  • Substitute chopped vegetables for some of the bread in stuffing.
  • Omit butter and margarine from stuffing recipes.

Be dessert smart. Cut pies in smaller pieces. Serve a large platter of fresh fruit along with traditional desserts. Try the Hurry-up Baked Apples for dessert. Bake fewer varieties of
cookies and bars and make them smaller. Use fat free whipped topping.

Save Money and Calories on Thanksgiving Dinner

With rising food prices, preparing Thanks­giving dinner can be expensive. In addition, large holiday meals with high calorie foods cause people to overeat. Here are some helpful tips to save both money and calories on the Thanksgiving meal.

Do not go overboard with variety. Do you serve mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potatoes? Do you serve two meats? Remember, you do not have to have everyone’s favorite holiday food at one meal. Choose one meat, one starchy vegetable (mashed potatoes OR sweet potatoes), and one green vegetable that appeals to everyone. Doing so will help you save money and eat less.

Take guests up on their offer to bring a dish. Some of your guests would love to show off their cooking skills with a salad or dessert. Others with less time or ability could be asked to bring a dozen rolls from the bakery, a purchased dessert, or some type of beverage.

Simplify your recipes. Every dish does not have to be fancy. Try fresh or frozen green beans with a touch of olive oil instead of green bean casserole. Have a fruit salad with a mixture of canned and fresh seasonal fruits without lots of whipped topping or sweetened condensed milk.

Watch for sales. Many grocery stores put items frequently used for the Thanksgiv­ing meal on sale a few weeks before hand. Plan your meal ahead of time so that
you can buy items when they are on sale. Consider stocking up on some of these items that can be stored on the shelf or in the freezer and used throughout the year (e.g., fresh cranberries, canned pumpkin, turkey, brown sugar).

Know how many people are attending dinner. This is important so you do not end up making too much food and spending extra money. Make only as much as you need for the people who are attending unless you are deliberately planning for leftovers.

For more tips on saving money at the grocery store and budget friendly recipes, visit the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website

Tame Holiday Calories

Holiday special events are a time when families and friends gather and celebrate.  Often the celebrations center around holiday treats. Try these tips to enjoy holiday foods without adding pounds.

  • Don’t go to a party hungry. When we’re hungry, we tend to overeat. Eating a healthy snack before you go may take the edge off your appetite.
  • Take your own platter. If it’s a potluck event, take a fresh fruit or vegetable tray with low-fat dip or a cheese tray with reduced fat cheeses and whole grain crackers. More than likely you aren‘t the only one who wants to stay healthy during the holidays.
  • Limit high-fat foods. High-fat foods include fried or cheese-filled items, pastries, processed meats, and cream-based dishes. Store high-calorie foods out of sight. Keep healthy snacks on hand such as fruit, cut-up veggies, and whole grain crackers.
  • Watch portions. Enjoy your holiday favorites, just eat less of them. Aim for smaller portions. The first bite introduces the flavor and texture of a food, but will likely taste the same as the last bite. Remember, moderation!
  • Survey your options. At a buffet, survey the table before getting in line to choose foods. Select a smaller plate and a variety of foods. Reduce temptation by choosing a seat well away from the buffet table.
  • Eat slowly and enjoy your food. Return your fork to the plate after each bite, and chew slowly to enjoy the flavor and texture of the food.
  • Drink water. Stay well hydrated. For a change, drink sparkling water or add a sugar-free flavoring pouch.
  • Limit Alcohol. Alcohol provides extra calories. If you drink, limit the amount.

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