Closet Rescue // Creative Shoe Storage

Creative Shoes Storage

Follow these tips to help you make the most of your limited closet space!


Don’t Lose Your Shoes!

It’s easy to take your shoes off after a long day at work and simply throw them into a pile at the bottom of your closet. However, looking for a matching pair of shoes the next morning with this system is not quite so easy.

Fortunately, Teresa Hunsaker from USU Extension has thought of 7 ingenious ways to help you organize your shoe pile and maximize your shoe storage space.

Having your shoes organized will help you know where each pair of shoes is and will help keep your shoes in tip-top condition. Who knows, you may even organize so well you will have room for a new pair of shoes! 😉

SHOeS WITH TERESSAAAAA





How to Harvest Onions

Harvest Onions

Do Onions Make You Cry? Not With These Harvesting Tips!


Do you have onions in your family garden? If so, Ron Patterson from USU Extension in Carbon County has some great tips on how to harvest onions the right way!

Harvesting your onions correctly will make them last longer and will significantly reduce their chance of getting a disease.

HARVST ONISN





How to Cook a Pumpkin!

pumpkin blog

Not sure how to cook a pumpkin? Now you can learn how!


Yummy Pumpkins

It’s no secret around my house…when the summer air turns crisp and autumn leaves are falling I crave dinner in a pumpkin!

It must trigger memories of my childhood, Cinderella- watching days. I can still see her garden pumpkin turn into a beautiful golden carriage with the flip of the fairy godmother’s wand. So I got to thinking, without a fairy godmother of your own, cutting into that golden orb for the first time may seem a little daunting! Here are my tips and tricks for selecting, preparing and cooking pumpkin.

-Eating: Due to their tough outer skin, pumpkins are cooked and only the inside flesh is eaten. Pumpkins are most commonly used to make bread, cookies, pies, pumpkin butter, custard, and soup.

– Selecting: Select pumpkins that are firm and heavy for their size. Round pumpkins tend to be lighter and less meaty than oblong pumpkins.

– Cleaning and Preparing: Clean the pumpkin when you are ready to use it. Rinse with cold running water. If the pumpkin has been waxed, scrub it well.

– Storing: Store pumpkins in a cool, dark place. They have a 2 to 3 month average storage time.

– Cooking:
To make pumpkin puree, cut a medium (about 6 pound) fresh pumpkin into 5-inch square pieces.

Remove the seeds and fibrous strings.

Arrange the pieces in a single layer, skin side up, in a large, shallow baking pan.

Cover with foil. Bake at 375o F for 1 to 1- 1/2 hours or until tender.

Scoop the pulp from the rind. Place part of the pulp in a blender container or food processor bowl.

Cover and blend or process until smooth.

Transfer the pumpkin into a strainer lined with cheesecloth or overlapping, large coffee filters.

Set over a large bowl and press out any liquid.

Cover the surface of the puree with plastic wrap and let it drain, chill overnight.

If you have a favorite pumpkin recipe or tip, please share it in the comments!


This article was written by Amanda Christensen, Extension Assistant Professor for Utah State University





10 Things You Should Do Before Saying “I Do”

I Do 2

Consider these tips to help you have a successful relationship and marriage!


Creating a Happily Ever After

Being in love is exciting and wonderful, and for some people it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of romance. Many people spend more time planning for a wedding than they spend planning for a marriage. Before deciding to tie the knot, consider these tips to help create a more happily ever after.

1. Ask: Am I ready? The happiest relationships are built on a foundation of two happy and healthy people who are ready to take on the challenges of a new life together. Those who are ready to be in a long-term relationship have dealt with their own personal challenges and issues and are not looking for someone to make them happy or to “fix” them in some way (or vice versa).

2. Take time. In order to really get to know someone, it takes talking (mutual self-disclosure) + being together (in a variety of situations) + time (at least 90 days) (Van Epp, 2007). Because we are usually on our best behavior when we first meet and it takes time for patterns of behavior to emerge, this is a process that can’t be rushed, even if you spend a lot of time together.

3. Be extra cautious in long-distance relationships. While online dating is a common way to meet people, steer clear of commitment without spending a lot of time in person in many different situations. It is easier to show only our best selves in long-distance relationships.

4. Play detective. Ask deep and meaningful questions that will help you know if you are compatible with the person you are dating. For example, check out these 10 Questions to Ask Before Saying I Do. To make sure we aren’t biased about how we are viewing the person we are dating, it may also be helpful to think about how others might view him or her, or even ask others about their opinions and listen for warning signs you may have missed.

5. Start to become part of the family. Much of who we are was learned from growing up in our family, so we can learn a lot about what someone will be like as a partner and parent from observing, asking questions and spending time with their family. If there are concerns about a partner’s family or negative traits that a partner has learned from his or her family, you may want to think twice before getting too serious. While change is possible, it takes time and effort, and it is much easier to change before getting into a serious relationship.

6. Watch for personality compatibility. While we probably won’t have everything in common with our partner, happy relationships often have many of these traits in common: emotional temperament, sense of humor, intelligence, energy levels, similar recreation interests and how affection is expressed.

7. Be aware of each other’s values. Some of the biggest arguments in relationships relate to those things we value most because we have strong feelings and opinions about them. Having similarities in how religious/spiritual you are, having common financial views and goals and having similar views about family life are all major factors in lasting relationship satisfaction.

8. Watch for daily life compatibility. While it may not be romantic, the truth is that most of the time we spend with someone in a long-term relationship will be in the everyday routine of life. Consider such things as: Who will earn and manage the money? How will household responsibilities be divided? How will free time be spent? The answers to these questions can be crucial to the happiness of relationships.

9. Learn conflict resolution skills. Because we are all different, conflict is inevitable in even the happiest of relationships. When handled in a positive manner, overcoming conflict can strengthen relationships. Having a conflict plan in place can be helpful. Begin by setting the ground rules, such as choosing when and where to deal with conflict and remember to practice good listening and communication skills.

10. Plan now to keep your relationship strong. Just like cars, relationships need regular preventative maintenance in order to run smoothly and prevent problems. Research suggests that relationship education (such as attending a class or reading a relationship book together, etc.) can help relationships stay strong. Consider what you will do as a couple to keep your relationship strong.

For more information and class schedules on relationships, visit HealthyRelationshipsUtah.org.


This article was written by Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor





How to Turn Daily Life Into Exercise

Physical Activity

Quick tips to help you fit exercise into your crazy life!


Getting Trim Without the Gym

Finding time to workout can be harder than the workout itself! However, exercise is extremely important and should be done each day. Daily exercise has the power to:

1. Boost daily energy
2. Improve one’s mood
2. Control weight
4. Promote better sleep
5. Combat health conditions and diseases

Here is list of some helpful ways to sneak physical activity into your life:

Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Fitting activity into a daily routine can be easy — such as taking a brisk 10 minute walk to and from the parking lot, bus stop, or subway station. Or, join an exercise class. Keep it interesting by trying something different on alternate days. Every little bit adds up and doing something is better than doing nothing.

Make sure to do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time, shorter bursts of activity will not have the same health benefits. For example, walking the dog for 10 minutes before and after work or adding a 10 minute walk at lunchtime can add to your weekly goal. Mix it up. Swim, take a yoga class, garden or lift weights. To be ready anytime, keep some comfortable clothes and a pair of walking or running shoes in the car and at the office.

More ways to increase physical activity

At home:

Join a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement.

Push the baby in a stroller.

Get the whole family involved — enjoy an afternoon bike ride with your kids.

Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while watching the kids play.

Walk the dog — don’t just watch the dog walk.

Clean the house or wash the car.

Walk, skate, or cycle more, and drive less.

Do stretches, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.

Mow the lawn with a push mower.

Plant and care for a vegetable or flower garden.

Play with the kids — tumble in the leaves, build a snowman, splash in a puddle, or dance to favorite music.

Exercise to a workout video.

At work:

Get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk or skate the rest of the way.

Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend to go with you.

Take part in an exercise program at work or a nearby gym.

Join the office softball team or walking group.

At play:

Walk, jog, skate, or cycle.

Swim or do water aerobics.

Take a class in martial arts, dance, or yoga.

Golf (pull cart or carry clubs).

Canoe, row, or kayak.

Play racquetball, tennis, or squash.

Ski cross-country or downhill.

Play basketball, softball, or soccer.

Hand cycle or play wheelchair sports.

Take a nature walk.

Most important — have fun while being active!
– See more at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity-tips#sthash.hgO0VDRk.dpuf


References

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity-tips
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389?pg=1





Cooking In Season // Summer Squash

Summer Squash Blog

Learn how to prepare and enjoy summer squash this fall!


Don’t Just Squish Your Summer Squash

This time of year is filled with crisp air, golden leaves and an abundance of summer squash floating throughout almost every kitchen.

With so many ways that it can be prepared, summer squash is one of the most versatile and nutritious foods you can get a hold of. These varieties of squash are a great addition to any soup or casserole as well as any sort of sweet bread.

Don’t let your squash harvest go to waste! To help you get started, below is a recipe for a savory entree as well as a delicious sweet treat. For six other delicious recipes and even more info about how to enjoy your summer squash, click here. Happy squashing!

greek-chicken-and-zucchini

lemon-poppy-seed-zucchini-bread

*Click on each recipe for a printable version.

References:

Eat Well Utah
Cooking in Season // Summer Squash





You Can Can, But Can you Can Safely?

Can you Can?

Make sure you’re canning your food safely!


Three Simple Steps to Safe Canning

Preserving your own foods can save you money and is a great way to know what is in the foods you eat. It is important to follow the safest canning guidelines and use up-to-date equipment to ensure your product is safe.

1. Be sure to check the source of your recipe. Extensive research and testing have resulted in scientific-based guidelines, which are the safest. To ensure you are using a science-based resource, your recipe and guidelines should come from Utah State University Extension, The National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia or The Ball Blue Book. Information should have been released after 2009. No other sources, including recipes on the Internet, can be presumed safe.

2. Pressure canner gauges should be tested once a year. Low-acid foods should be canned using a pressure canner. Watch for pressure canner gauge testing by your local Extension office in your area.

3. Attend a class to ensure you are current on your canning techniques. Look for a MASTER FOOD PRESERVER Course in your area. This class is an in-depth series on food preservation for optimum food safety in all areas of food preservation including pressure canning, water bath canning, dehydrating, and freezing.

For more current information on canning and food preservation, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation online at nchfp.uga.edu or extension.usu.edu/canning.


This article was written by SuzAnne Jorgensen, FCS Extension Agent, Garfield County





Quick, Kid-Friendly Lunches on a Budget

Kid Lunches

Make lunches your kids will love!


How to Win the Battle

Now that school is in full swing, mornings are filled with getting ready, making lunches and heading out the door in a timely fashion.

When it comes to busy mornings, healthy lunches are one of the first things that get removed from the radar! Have you thought much about the food you toss in your child’s lunch box each morning? Is the meal balanced with a variety of nutrient dense foods your child loves?

Right now you are probably saying “My kids won’t eat healthy foods! And I don’t have time or money to make healthier lunches!” Well, we have some tips to make this mealtime a bit healthier and less stressful without breaking the bank.

Here are a few tips for making healthy lunches for children on a limited food budget!

1. Plan lunches before the week starts to make sure you have all the ingredients you need to make healthy lunches. This prevents unplanned visits to the grocery store, which saves time and money. Also consider what you will be eating for dinner that week so you can use leftovers!

2. Involve your kids by inviting them to help you make a list of grains, proteins, dairy products, and fruits/veggies they would enjoy eating at lunchtime. To save some money, have children look through the grocery ads and circle the items from each food group they would like in their lunches that week. They will enjoy getting to help create their own lunches and it helps make sure your not spending money on food that will go to waste later.

3. Make preparing lunches a family activity. Preparing daily lunches for your kids doesn’t just have to be a task you do by yourself. Spend a few minutes each night together gathering items they picked out from each food group to create a unique lunch for them to have the next day. Try giving your children options. Cheese stick or yogurt. Carrot sticks or cucumber slices. This way, they get a say in what they will eat which increases the likelihood they will actually eat it and less food will be wasted. This allows you to prepare a healthier meal for your child without having to sacrifice time during your busy morning.

4. Make healthy lunches fun for kids by cutting foods like fruit, veggies, cheese, and bread into fun shapes like stars or hearts. Use cookie cutters to save time. Try making an open face sandwich with different veggies as the eyes, nose, and mouth. You can also let your child pick out a lunch box at the beginning of the year so they are excited about bringing lunch each day! Making food look fun is one large step towards helping your children eat healthy foods at lunchtime.

5. Make it tasty! Still having a hard time getting your kids to eat fruits and vegetables? Try adding a special dipping sauce like a salad dressing, hummus, or fruit dip to increase acceptance. Having something to dunk fruits and veggies into makes them fun and tasty!

Here is one idea of a quick and simple lunch to put together for you kiddos.

Sandwich Kabobs

This kid friendly recipe takes simple foods and puts them together in a unique way. All you need is meat, cheese, lettuce, bread and tomato (or any other veggie your child likes). Cut the foods into 1 in sections and slide them onto a skewer for a kid friendly kabob! Add a side of grapes, pretzels, carrots and celery to make a meal. Within minutes you have yourself a fun and healthy meal for your child’s lunch.

To get your children involved in this recipe, have them pick out and wash the produce. They can also help put the food on the skewer in whatever order they want!


This article was written by Mateja Savoie Roskos MPH, RD, CD, CNP and Sheri Winn

Mateja Lady2

Sheri Winn2





Easy Eats // Putting the “Fast” in Breakfast!

Fast Breakfast

Start the day with healthy, filling and FAST nutrition!


The Breakfast Quest

If everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why do so many people skip it? The number one reason people don’t eat breakfast is because they are too busy or don’t have enough time.

While it’s true that mornings can be crazy and hectic, there are also ways to sneak breakfast in without having to sacrifice your snooze button.

These breakfast ideas from Eat Well Utah are wonderful for everyone, but they are especially great for kids in grade school and high school. Helping kids start their day off right will help them stay energized and happy throughout the day. They will even perform better in school!

To learn more about the benefits of breakfast and how you can make a nutritious morning meal in SECONDS, click here!

To help you start your breakfast quest, here is a delicious recipe that is fast, easy and sure to get you off on the right foot.

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Click here for 4 more delicious and easy breakfast recipes!





Ask an Expert // Top 5 Drought-Tolerant Plants

Susie Jones 2

Enjoy beautiful blooms all the way from early spring through frost!


Gardening in a Desert

Gardening in a desert has its challenges. While many plants don’t hold up to scorching heat, cold nights or dry soil, there are quite a few plants that thrive in a desert environment; you just have to find them!

Fortunately, gardening expert Susie Jones from the Ogden Botanical Gardens in Ogden, Utah, has recommended 5 of her favorite drought-tolerant plants. These beautiful plants will keep your garden looking beautiful and fresh without needing a frequent drink from your hose.

1. Pasque Flower
“I love this one because it’s one of the first flowers in my garden and it blooms for 6 weeks!”
Pasque Flower Blog

2. Plumbago
“Its true beauty doesn’t really show until late August, when it puts on a wonderful show with its beautiful blue flowers.”
Plumbago Blog

3. Stemless Four-Nerve Daisy
“This is the little engine that could… it just keeps on going ALL season long.”
Stemless Daisy Blog

4. California Fuchsia
“This plant is very drought-tolerant, has fantastic color and the hummingbirds love it!”
California Fuchsia Blog

5. Broadleaf Penstemon
“This penstemon is a great companion plant with cool-season grasses and bearded iris.”
Broadleaf Penstemon Blog

*Utah hardiness zones range from 4a to 9a. Most cities along the Wasatch Front fall between 6a and 7a. If you don’t know your hardiness zone, check out this map from the USDA.
Utah Hardiness Zones