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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.

PIC_0390.JPGMFVspreparehealthyfoodPIC_0393.JPGNiceCelebrationMFVMGPIC_0405.JPGGreatMFVsFCS agent

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.

The Newport News Extension Office recently hosted its first Junior Master Food Volunteer Teen Mentor Program!

This program is an expansion of our Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Food Volunteer Program and focuses on training teens between the ages of 13 and 18 to be able to assist agents and Master Food Volunteers with food- and nutrition-related programs.NewportNews_JMFV1 NewportNews_JMFV2 This first group of teen volunteers was trained by Lanette Kelly, the family and consumer sciences Extension agent for Newport News; Tiara Davulco, 4-H Youth Development Program Assistant for Newport News; Jacqueline Simmons, Nutrition Program Assistant, and Sandra Carey, Master Food Volunteer from Newport News.

NewportNews_JMFV3At the conclusion of their training, the group showcased a grand finale by preparing and serving a luncheon for over 75 guests!  Their meal consisted of recipes from the Family Nutrition Program, including easy stovetop lasagna, fruit salad, and banana pudding.

As a result of this training, a new 4-H teen club will be formed so that the teens can give back to their community in a variety of service projects.

Congratulations to everyone for a great job!  We look forward to hearing more about the successes of this great group of teens.

 

New Wellness Corner in Prince William County

prince_william_wellness_corner_Feb_15Margaret, a Master Food Volunteer from Prince William County, recently added a wellness and nutrition corner in the lunchroom at their Extension Office.  This corner will feature a vegetable and fruit of the month, healthy recipes that include the featured vegetable or fruit, and a calendar that includes tips to stay healthy.

Starting March 1st, Prince William County will start their Fix-Ex Program that promotes eating vegetables, fruits and exercise. This program is designed to have a captain of the 6 member team, documenting your intake of vegetable, fruits and exercise. One team has already formed in Manassas.

Way to go, Margaret!  This is a great idea to inspire co-workers, visitors, and program participants to make some positive changes.

Fairfax Master Food Volunteers Participate in National Farmers Market Week

Our Master Food Volunteers in Fairfax recently participated in National Farmers Market Week at the County Government Center Market.  Katie Strong, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent for Fairfax, and Mae Carroll, Farmers Market Coordinator for the Fairfax County Park Authority and a very active Master Food Volunteer, are featured in this YouTube video, which will air on the Fairfax County internal news station, Channel 16.  Our Master Food Volunteers provide food demonstrations at these markets to showcase recipes for using local produce and choosing healthier options for fruits and vegetables.

Way to go!  We appreciate the hard work of our Family and Consumer Sciences Agents and Master Food Volunteers!

For more information about the 15th annual National Farmers Market Week and how farmers markets around the country also celebrated this week-long celebration, visit the USDA’s blog site:

USDA Blog