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County Extension

  • Food safety reminders for the July 4th holiday

     Nothing screams picnic more than the 4th of July. It’s almost required that to eat outdoors on this holiday and I bet everyone has at least one party or other eating event planned for this holiday weekend. Enjoy!

    With that thought in mind, I’d like to offer some quick hot weather food safety reminders. Picnics, outdoor dining, feeding large groups of people and special summer food bring different problems and situations into the picture that you don’t perhaps think about the rest of the year.

  • Some ideas for reducing wasted food

     Wasted food. You know what I’m talking about: that shriveled-up peach in the back of the crisper drawer. Perhaps it’s something green in a restaurant take-out box. Or a can of split pea soup that no one in your family will eat. This is food that will be thrown away. Estimates show the average American family of four wastes between $1,300 and $2,300 in food each year. That’s a lot of money that could be used for something else.

  • Risk of botulism is real

     I was surprised and saddened to hear someone died earlier this year from a rare foodborne illness –– botulism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are only about 145 cases of botulism in the United States each year and in 15 percent of these cases, the culprit is home-canned foods. While these numbers are low, it can happen.

  • Hurray for hummus, the healthful alternative

     

     

    Hummus has become my go-to appetizer when we have guests. It’s a more healthful alternative to sour cream or mayo-based dips. I like to serve it with fresh vegetables, multigrain crackers or cut-up pita bread.

  • Deer-resistant native plants can enhance the beauty of your landscape

     By Sam Marshall

    Horticulture Agent

     

    Looking for native plants? Worried about Bambi sneaking into your garden and destroying your hostas? A problem for many gardeners, deer seem to feed on just about everything, aside from maybe those inflatable palm trees you see at the pool. Battle-weary gardeners can take heed (and maybe sit down), because believe it or not, there are more than a few native plants that will resist deer and also enhance the beauty of your landscape.

     

    Why native plants?

  • Lots of options for sweet-smelling shrubs in the garden

     Ask most gardeners about sweet-smelling flowering shrubs for the garden, and gardenia will be at the top of the list. This prom corsage favorite is a little too sickeningly sweet for my taste, but it does a great job of perfuming the garden.

    Once you get past gardenia, the consensus on making your garden life sweet breaks down, but luckily, there are lots of options for sweet-smelling shrubs in southeastern North Carolina.

  • Quick desserts –– adding an extra vegetable to your day’s meal

     For the past six weeks, I’ve been sharing ideas on five-ingredient recipes. We’ve done breakfasts, soups, chili, oven meals and even cereal dinners. You may be wondering about desserts, too.

  • Cereal for dinner: Taking cereal to a new level

     You’re tired, there’s no one else to fix dinner for tonight and all you feel like doing is pouring a bowl of cereal. But wait! Take an extra five minutes and prepare this luscious parfait, full of foods from three of the five food groups. This dish takes cereal to a new level.

  • Five-ingredient main dishes

     For the past several weeks in this column, I’ve been talking about a lesson developed by Alice Henneman from the Extension Service at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Alice works in Lancaster County, Neb. She tested many recipes for all meals of the day, including snacks and desserts. She was going for good for you, as well as good and easy.

  • Quick soups and chili –– not from a can!

      

    Soups are always a good choice, either as a meal starter or as a complete meal in itself. In most cases, they are good choices nutritionally because of the variety of foods.

    Usually, soups contain lots of vegetables and small amounts of fat. A little meat can go a long way in even the heartiest soup. Adding beans and brown rice provides fiber, as well as flavor.