Foodie Friday: June Menu

My husband bought himself a little smoker in May. He has been so excited to smoke meats every weekend that he convinced me to plan my “Big Sunday Dinners” with smoked meats. To be honest, smoked meats are not something I am all that familiar with, and coming up with meal ideas around them was difficult. Do any of my readers have a smoker or good smoker recipes they love? Please share!!

In addition to letting my husband smoke the meat every Sunday, I plan to get my two young daughters a lot more involved in the dinner preparations for June. Even though it will be a lot more work for me, I know that having them in the kitchen, helping to prepare meals for our family will teach them some valuable lessons. Hopefully, it will also give them some warm, fuzzy memories. I plan to get each girl into the kitchen for cooking dinner once a week. That’s two nights a week that I will have an apprentice in need of instruction. If you are reading this and have kids at home, I encourage you to include your kids in meal prep as well. And let me know how it goes!

You can find my recipe collection on Pinterest. And by “my” I mean I found and collected them. I did not create them.

Here is the June 2020 Menu:

June 2020 Menu

I plan to have Amelia, my nine-year-old help with all the Wednesday meals and Sophie, my six-year-old will help with all the Friday meals. I hope they enjoy it!

Healthy Snacks for Growing Kids

healthy snacks

Being home for summer means your kids are probably asking for snacks several times a day. You might even feel like your entire day consists of feeding your little people. Do not despair. There is a reason for So. Much. Snacking.  With their small stomachs, children may not meet their nutritional needs with just three meals a day. You can help them get all the nutrients and food energy they need to learn, play, and grow by choosing snacks from the five food groups. Think of a snack as a mini-meal.

Here are some great tips for healthy snack times:

  • Keep food group snacks handy. Keep raw, cut-up vegetables, fruit, milk, cheese, yogurt, bread, peanut butter, or hard-boiled eggs on hand and ready to eat.
  • Time snacks carefully. Offer snacks two to three hours before meals. That way your child will be hungry for lunch or dinner. Try to offer meals and snacks at the same time every day.
  • Snack when hungry: Offer snacks when kids are hungry, not to calm tears or reward behavior. Otherwise, you teach a pattern of emotional overeating. Parenting tip: Sometimes kids say they are hungry when they just want attention or are bored. Take a few minutes to talk or do something fun!
  • Let snacks fill the gap. If your child misses or does not eat vegetables at lunch, offer carrot sticks as part of an afternoon snack.
  • Keep snacks small. If your child is still hungry, he or she can ask for more. Let your child decide how much to eat.
  • Think “fun” at snack time. Kids like colorful foods; foods that smell good; and ones that are crisp, creamy, and crunchy. Come up with funny names for foods they might be hesitant to eat. For example, try calling an egg omelet a UFO (unidentified flying object).
  • Offer simple foods most often. Examples are fruits, vegetables, whole-grain crackers or cereal, yogurt, and cheese. Once in a while, it is okay to offer candy or cookies as a special treat.

Snack time is a great time to make sure your child gets the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with the nutrients your child needs to learn, play, and grow. Here are some examples of snacks that include fruits and vegetables and foods from the five food groups.

  • Fruit juice pops: Freeze 100 percent fruit juice in small paper cups or ice cube trays. Before freezing insert a plastic spoon for the stick.
  • Crunchy banana: Peel bananas. Roll them in peanut butter or yogurt, then crushed cereal. Freeze.
  • Peanut butter logs: Fill celery with peanut butter. Thin peanut butter with milk or mashed banana for younger children.
  • Milk shake-ups: Pour milk, 100 percent juice, and ice in a covered container. Shake!
  • Bunny snacks: Clean carrots, celery, broccoli, bell pepper, and other favorite vegetables. Cut into bite-size pieces for snacking. Offer low-fat ranch dressing for dipping.

QuickTip Tuesday: Good Shoes

good shoe

It’s important to wear good shoes that protect your feet. This is true for everyone, but especially for older adults and people with diabetes or nerve problems. A good shoe should be comfortable, supportive, fit your foot properly, and have good traction. I am sorry to say that flip flops do not fit the bill here. I know many people love a cute flop, but they check zero boxes. It’s probably safer to save the flip flops for the pool and beach!

Foodie Friday: Summer Canning Resources

canning carrots

People have been preserving foods at home for many years. It isn’t a complicated process, and it’s just food, which leads people to believe that any information source (or no directions at all) can be used to preserve foods. This is false! It is very important to follow approved, tested recipes for processing any food at home.

Foods not utilizing water bath canning methods, or pressure canning for low-acid foods can contain toxic levels of foodborne bacteria when consumed. Low-acid foods can contain botulism toxin, which can be fatal.

Although sight and smell can be an indicator, it isn’t a fail-safe method for knowing if a product is safe to eat, and the use of colored jars makes a visual evaluation of a product very difficult. For this reason, using the canning jars in fun colors for craft purposes may be the best policy. Clear jars are best for canning.

Home food preservation is a great way to enjoy fresh foods all year long. It also helps consumers control what additives are in their food. However, safe practices must be followed.

I usually hold a canning workshop in the spring or summer, but I do not yet know if that will be possible for this year. If you want more information on home food preservation, check out these great resources:

So Easy to Preserve

Center for Home Food Preservation

Or call me at the Lincoln County OSU Extension office at 405-258-0560! I can answer your questions, or help you find the answers. I can also test the dial gauge on your pressure canner, which is recommended every other year.

 

QuickTip Tuesday: Steps to Clean Your Bathroom Fast

Hate cleaning the bathroom? I do too. Try these tips from Good Housekeeping:

1. Grab a bag. Hang a plastic grocery bag on the doorknob as a quick way to gather trash.

2. Flush the toilet. Next, grab some bleach. Pour a cup into the bowl, and brush around the sides and under the rim. Let sit for five minutes, as you move on to the next task.

3. Shine up. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Spritz the solution onto paper towels or a microfiber cloth, and wipe away soap drips and toothpaste spatters on faucets, mirrors, countertops, and in the sink. If you really care what your visitors think, give spotty shower doors the same spray treatment.

4. Collect dirt. Flip over one of the same vinegar wipes and run it across the back of your dusty toilet tank, then over, under, and around the seat. Flush the bleach that’s been sitting in the bowl, toss the wipe into your doorknob bag, and move on.

5. Put out fresh towels.

6. Make an exit. Now it’s time for the floor. Shake out your rug or bath mat to fluff it up so it looks recently vacuumed. Next, with a dampened paper towel, wipe the corners of the room, where most of the hair and dust collects. And don’t forget to take the plastic bag with you when you leave!

Parenting Tips to Help Families Cope During COVID-19

covid parenting

Parenting in the age of coronavirus is adding significant strain to the workload of many parents as they now juggle online schooling for their children, working from home, unemployment and financial strains, social distancing guidelines, and simply trying to keep their family happy and safe. While spending additional time at home with family can be positive in many ways, it can also cause additional stress.

It is important to take care of yourself! Make time to exercise, eat healthily, relax when you can, and get plenty of sleep so you can be the best parent you can be. Children need adults’ love, support, and attention during difficult times. Listen to their concerns by giving them extra time and attention. Also, keep in mind that children may respond to stress in different ways depending on their age and personality. Your child may become more clingy, anxious, withdrawn, angry, agitated, or even experience bed-wetting.

Try to calm them by providing simple facts. Explain to them what is going on and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by COVID-19 in words that they can understand depending on their age. Filter out overwhelming and confusing information that may frighten them.

Maintain regular routines and schedules like meal and bedtimes as much as possible, while creating additional routines as needed for new activities like online school or learning from home. Children, feel safer and more confident when they know what is expected and when changes occur in the context of routines they are already familiar with and comfortable with.

Physical activity and exercise are also excellent ways for families to reduce stress and stay healthy. Make time to get some fresh air, have a picnic, do some simple stretching exercises, or just play. Likewise, find time to do simple indoor activities together such as puzzles, games, art projects, reading books, making calls to check on family or friends, or cooking dinner together.

Keep reassuring them and let them know how much you love them!

Check out these additional OSU Extension resources to learn more tips to help you parent during COVID-19. 
Parenting through the COVID-19 Pandemic | Help children cope with stress about COVID-19

Parenting Infants & Toddlers through the COVID-19 Pandemic 

How Parents Can Help School-Aged (4-12) Children Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

Parenting Teens during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus Resources

QuickTip Tuesday: Quick Yogurt Parfait

parfait

My husband always makes breakfast on Sunday mornings, and we usually have something really great! This week he made breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, sausage, and refried beans and we had little yogurt parfaits on the side. They were so good and here’s how to make the one he made:

Ingredients for one parfait:

4 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
1/4 banana, diced
1/4 C strawberries, diced
1/4 C blueberries
1/4 C plain greek yogurt
a dollop whipped cream (optional)

Spoon cookie crumbs in the bottom of your parfait cup (or any small bowl, really). Plop your yogurt right on top of the cookies. Mix blueberries, bananas, and strawberries together and spoon on top of the yogurt. Top with a dollop of whipped cream (optional).

You get a serving of fruit and half a serving of dairy right in this delicious little bowl. The cookies add a nice contrasting texture and the whipped cream adds just a touch of sweetness. Try it soon!