A Passion for Serving

A Passion for Serving

Jennifer Abel, Senior Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, in Arlington, is so proud to recognize the Master Food Volunteers. She admires their hard work and says, “They are the best group of MFV’s because they are so passionate about their work and are very reliable.” They are motivated to improve others lives by working on many programs, including Cooking Matters, Teen Cuisine, lessons at farmers markets, cooking classes and training sessions for new volunteers.

Jennifer wanted to specifically highlight a special MFV, Nancy Broff, who has been one of the longest serving Master Food Volunteers. Her dedication for teaching nutrition to the public has led her to take initiative for Cooking Matters. After realizing that there were insufficient funds to purchase foods for the classes, Nancy contacted six different grocery stores asking to have food donated to the program. Nancy drove each week on her own time to pick up the food at each grocery store. Not only was she in charge of the food, but she also organized the lessons, led the programs, selected the recipes and helped maintain the program’s successes.

arlington-pic-1As her dedication continued, she shared her nutrition expertise at the Legislative breakfasts held at VCE. Nancy was unimpressed with the breakfast being catered at the meetings because it did not meet the nutritional guidelines she has been teaching at her programs. At the next Legislative breakfast, Nancy volunteered to make the breakfast for everyone that was more nutrient dense than what was being catered beforehand. She continued to volunteer to make healthier breakfasts for each meeting, which has saved $800 worth of catering. VCE is so proud to have Nancy as a Master Food Volunteer as she continues to improve other’s lives by the power of nutrition.

casseroles

Article submitted by Steph Grasso, Dept. of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise

 

Holidays and Gift Giving: What you can’t see in the kitchen can hurt you

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The year may be coming to the end, but the celebrations and food are not. During the holidays, food can be handled in a variety of ways when it comes to preparing, storing and delivering. The more times that food is handled, the more risks it can provide for foodborne illnesses. Foodborne illnesses come from food that is treated unsafely, which can lead to an upset stomach abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting diarrhea, fever or dehydration. Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 48 million cases of confirmed foodborne illnesses occur.  However, following simple tips and precautions can decrease the risks of obtaining them:

  1. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat items like vegetables or bread
  2. Prepare uncooked recipes before recipes requiring raw meat to reduce cross contamination. Store them out of the way while preparing meat dishes to ensure they don’t become contaminated after preparation.
  3. Hot foods should remain above 140˚F and cold items should remain below 40˚F. Discard perishable foods if left out for 2 hours of more in the danger zone (40˚F- 140˚F).
  4. Use a food thermometer to check internal temperatures of dishes to ensure it is safe to eat.
    1. Fresh beef, pork, veal, and lamb should be cooked to 145 ˚F with a three-minute rest time
    2. Fish should be cooked to 145 ˚F
    3. Ground beef, veal and lamb should be cooked to 160 ˚F
    4. Egg dishes should be cooked to 160 ˚F
    5. All poultry should be cooked to 165 ˚F

During the holidays, it seems like food is handled in more ways than usual. For instance, mailing food as a gift such as fruit, cheese, cured meats, etc, is a popular choice because it is convenient, yet meaningful. However, there are many protocols that must be followed to ensure mail order food safety. These protocols can be found on the USDA website: (https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/mail-order-food-safety/).

Another trend during the holidays is inviting family/friends to a holiday buffet party. This is a festive time that allows giving and sharing of homemade recipes. However, this is also an invitation for bacteria getting into food that is left out for long periods of time.  This can be avoided by using specific shallow containers, following the two-hour rule, cooking food thoroughly, etc. To learn more about safe holiday buffets, read more on the USDA website, (https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/seasonal-food-safety/holiday-or-party-buffets/CT_Index).

The holidays may be the time of giving, but NOT the time of giving foodborne illnesses. Treat your food with care to bring safe food to your table. To learn more about food safety, read more on the USDA website. (foodsafety.gov)

Submitted by Steph Grasso, VT Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise

Tips for Tasty Holiday Ingredient Substitutions

hokiebird-cookingThe holidays are upon us, which means everything from added sugar to added portion sizes. During the holidays, it seems nearly impossible to avoid these temptations when high fattening foods may overflow the table at family gatherings; sugary treats are available at holiday parties or the extra large portion sizes may be plentiful at holiday feasts. How do you stick to healthy eating during the holiday season? Try substitution. Substituting high fat or sugary ingredients for more nutrient dense ingredients can allow you to still consume traditional holiday meals in a healthier manner.

Substituting ingredients allows you to continue your traditional holiday recipes, but with more nutrients and less calories, sugar and fat. When it comes to baking, you can substitute butter with mashed avocado to replace the bad fats with healthy fats that can help reduce your cholesterol. Another substitution for with white flour is to use half white and half whole-wheat flour.  This adds more fiber, antioxidants and protein. For more smart substitutions for your holiday meals, check out the American Heart Association’s “Holiday Healthy Eating Guide,” click here.

When substituting for healthier ingredients, you can follow this three-step model to adapt recipes:

  1. Look for the “problem” ingredients that make the recipe high in sodium, fat or sugar.
  2. Find low fat or low sugar substitutions to replace these ingredients. You can reduce the amount of the ingredient or completely eliminate the ingredient completely.
  3. Change your method of preparation. Ex: Try boiling instead of deep fat frying.

For a great research-based resource and handout for additional tips on ingredient substitutions, visit the University of Kentucky Extension’s website, click here.

It can be tricky determining the correct equivalent amount when substituting ingredients. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of shortening and you want to use applesauce and pureed prunes to decrease the sugar and fat content, how do you know how much to use?  Check out Iowa State Extension’s useful chart that determines substitution equivalents for a certain amount of ingredients–click here.

Cooking healthier is no reason to give up on your holiday cooking. Just a simple switch of ingredients can allow your recipes to be both delicious AND healthier.

Submitted by Steph Grasso, VT Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Mash: A Healthier Option for the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner; the time filled with good company and food. Mashed potatoes are a traditional holiday meal that everyone loves for the rich, creamy taste and smooth, thickened texture. However, mash potatoes can be higher in saturated fat and sodium from all of the added butter, salt and perhaps sometimes cheese.

Why not prepare a dish that is not only good, but also good for your health?  You can do this by simply switching ingredients!

Substituting with sweet potatoes will add more vitamin A, which is critical for good vision and healthy skin. It is also rich in vitamin C, which is needed for boosting the immune system.

Cauliflower is another ingredient you can substitute potatoes with because it can contain the same consistency and texture as mashed potatoes when steamed and pureed. However, cauliflower contains more vitamin C and vitamin K and is rich in carotenoids and flavonoids, which may be good for your health.

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Mash

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 1 pound of cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • In a large pot with steam basket, steam the sweet potato and cauliflower with one inch of water in the bottom of the pot (ready when fork tender)
  • Place in large bowl and mash the potato and cauliflower with the coconut milk
  • Stir in Greek yogurt, garlic powder, salt and pepper (if too thick, add more coconut milk by a tablespoon)

-(not in picture) garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds

Nutrition Information:

Per serving:

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.4 g
  • Sodium: 82.4 g
  • Cholesterol: <2mg

Photo and recipe by Steph Grasso, VT Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise

Here are some additional tips to consider when preparing sweet potatoes and cauliflower:

  • Steam cauliflower and sweet potatoes by playing in a covered microwave-safe container with ¼ cup water, low sodium seasonings, and minced garlic. Cook on high for 8-10 minutes, until tender-crisp
  • Clean sweet potatoes and other firm skinned produce under running tap water while rubbing with your hands and scrubbing with a clean brush
  • Choose cauliflower with compact, creamy white clusters and bright green, firmly attached leaves. Avoid those with brown spots or loose sections that are spread out

National Volunteer Week 2016

It is time to celebrate the accomplishments of our Master Food Volunteers who provide program support for our Virginia Cooperative Extension nutrition, health, and wellness educational programs, and we want to share a heartfelt “Thank You!”  Our volunteers offer a wealth of talent, innovation, creativity, commitment, and leadership.

And, many, many thanks to our wonderful Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agents who work with and support our Master Food Volunteers.

Thank you for all you do!

Following are select pictures of our some of our volunteers in action.

Enjoy!

Nancy B from Northern Virginia demonstrates a nutritious and easy-to-prepare snack.

Nancy B from Northern Virginia demonstrates how to prepare tasty and nutritious foods.

Mike Perel (left) and Nancy Fitzsimmons (right) at the Fairfax Farmers Market in summer 2015

Mike P(left) and Nancy F (right) at the Fairfax Farmers Market in summer 2015.

June/July2015- Esther L., Master Food Volunteer and her granddaughter, Kayla B, FCS Occasional Volunteer help with Healthy Weights and Health Kids program for Parks and Recreation youth summer camp.

June/July2015- Esther L., Master Food Volunteer and her granddaughter, Kayla B, FCS Occasional Volunteer help with Healthy Weights and Health Kids program for a Parks and Recreation youth summer camp.

Bowling Green State Univ. Dietetic Intern partners with Master Food Volunteer/Norfolk State University student and teach how to prepare the Family Nutrition Program recipe: Yogurt Fruit Parfait.

Bowling Green State Univ. Dietetic Intern partners with Master Food Volunteer/Norfolk State University student and teach how to prepare the Family Nutrition Program recipe: Yogurt Fruit Parfait.

Following are some great pictures of MFVs helping to make the Portsmouth Bicentennial Community Program a success.

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Portsmouth MFVs, Regina J and Esther L at Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Community Day with the Mayor of Portsmouth, Kenny Wright

Portsmouth MFVs, Regina J and Esther L at the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Community Day with the Mayor of Portsmouth, Kenny Wright.

Master Food Volunteers assist with Choose My Plate for Seniors presentation at the Parks and Recreation Senior Station.

Master Food Volunteers assist with Choose My Plate for Seniors presentation at the Parks and Recreation Senior Station.

MFV, Darleen P- prepares Corn and Bean Salsa recipe for February 2016 , Heart Health Month, and Crystal Barber ,MNS, RD- FCS Extension Agent, educates on the USDA Choose My Plate after an energizing “stand up abdominal exercise session” by Veronica E, YMCA- Chesapeake.

MFV, Darleen P- prepares Corn and Bean Salsa recipe for February 2016 , Heart Health Month, and Crystal Barber, MNS, RD- FCS Extension Agent, educates on the USDA Choose My Plate after an energizing “stand up abdominal exercise session” by Veronica E, YMCA- Chesapeake.

We salute our Master Food Volunteers and look forward to more to come in 2016!

Link

Congratulations to one of our newest groups of Master Food Volunteers recently trained in Henrico and Richmond City!

Many thanks to Twandra Lomax-Brown (Richmond) and Kim Edmonds (Henrico), who coordinated this training, and their efforts were featured in a recent radio interview through 88.9 WCVE radio station.

Click here for a direct link to the radio interview.

Welcome aboard!

It is National Volunteer Week!

And it is time to celebrate the accomplishments of our volunteers and our family and consumer sciences agents.

Take a look at the Virginia Cooperative Extension YouTube video presentation link below.  It showcases all of our Virginia Cooperative Extension volunteer programs, and as noted, our Master Food Volunteers and family and consumer Extension agents provided 61 programs within the last year!

Volunteer Video

Some of the most recent trends in the types of programs our volunteers are involved with include an integrated approach to program delivery with Master Gardeners, 4-H Youth Development, and the Family Nutrition Program.  Some of these great programs include partnerships for community gardens and farmers markets; nutrition education programs; 4-H youth food challenges; the Junior Master Food Volunteer Teen Mentors program; slow cooker family cooking programs; chefs and youth healthy cooks clubs; and food preparation and preservation workshops.  These are just a few examples of the many programs offered throughout the state.

Thank you for all you do to support our Extension programs!MFV Grn Logo

 

 

Spring Cleaning in your Spice Cupboard

Check out the Iowa State Spend Smart, Eat Smart blog about spice cupboard spring cleaning.  It has some great tips for checking your dry spices at least once a year and throwing away ones that are more than a year old and provides tips for making a seasoning mix with spices that you can still use in recipes:

What is your favorite spice?

What is your favorite spice?

http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/

This blog also has a series of “Spring Cleaning” tips for your kitchen.

Great ideas!

 

Master Food Volunteers Present Workshops in Partnership with Community Forum on Aging

Master Food Volunteers from Newport News and Suffolk recently presented workshops on healthy eating as part of the Community Forum on Aging with 128 participants.

Jaynee Sasso, a Master Food Volunteer from Newport News, presented “Getting a Perspective: Let Food Be Your Medicine” which featured information on how to increase the variety of healthy foods that we consume.  The content for her presentation was provided by Dr. Young Ju, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech.

Gerard_Sasso

Wanda Gerard (left) and Jaynee Sasso (right) participate in the Community Forum on Aging

Wanda Gerard, Master Food Volunteer and Master Gardener with Suffolk/Newport News, presented “Creative Cooking with Herbs and Spices.” Participants learned to identify herbs and their multiple uses for flavoring.

Many thanks to Jaynee and Wanda!

 

 

Roanoke Valley Master Food Volunteers Participate in Healthier Living Program

Kudos to Tracey Giordano, a Master Food Volunteer from Roanoke for her co-presentation with several local organizations in February to showcase healthy foods available in Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and the American South.

An article, “FASS Forward to a Healthier Future” about this interesting program is featured on the Roanoke Tribune web site.  In addition, Roanoke Master Food Volunteer, Almena Hughes is shown with Tracey while they chose produce at a local market, and Chef Laura Pole demonstrated how to incorporate alternative flavors (like herbs and spices) in cooking to reduce sodium.

In addition, Deb Chappell, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent for Roanoke and supervising agent for the Roanoke Valley Master Food Volunteers, encouraged program participants to participate in the upcoming FitEx program, an online fitness campaign, through Virginia Cooperative Extension.