Kids In The Kitchen

Author: Melanie Jewkes

Kids in the Kitchen

Some of my favorite childhood memories include standing on a stool in the kitchen helping and watching my mom cook. I remember distinct smells of vanilla being added to cookie dough or frosting and feeling excited to get my hands on one of the beaters to taste the deliciousness of something homemade.

Did you know that including your kids in the process of preparing and cooking is one of the best ways to get them to eat and try new foods? Including kids in the kitchen can be a great way to introduce your children to healthy foods AND teach them important cooking skills. Our kids need skills in the kitchen because they will have to eat food every day for the rest of their lives! So, let’s get the kids in the kitchen!

Kids in the Kitchen class series in Salt Lake area–bring your kids, get a snack and learn some tips.

July 8, 2014 | Chapman Library | 3:00 pm

July 9, 2014 | Kearns Library | 7:00 pm

July 16, 2014 | West Jordan Library | 7:00 pm

August 4, 2014 | Magna Library | 3:00 pm

August 5, 2014 | Ruth Vine Tyler Library | 4:00 pm

August 12, 2014 | Chapman Library | 3:00 pm

August 13, 2014 | West Jordan Library | 7:00 pm

August 21, 2014 | Kearns Library | 7:00 pm

September 2, 2014 | Ruth Vine Tyler Library | 4:00 pm

melanie jewkes Melanie Jewkes is a part-time Extension Associate Professor in Salt Lake County. She has worked for USU for 6 years. The best part of her job is learning and relearning some of the things that matter most–loving and caring for marriage and family, living within your means, and growing, cooking and eating delicious (and nutritious!) food. She and her husband have two adorable children and live in Taylorsville.


Keep Your Cool This Summer

Author – Ann Henderson
Keep Your Cool This Summer. 12 tips to keep the utilities bill low during the heat.

I am definitely a spring and fall person who loves temperatures near 70 degrees. When the summer heat sets in, I’m thankful for air-conditioned spaces. To keep utility bills lower during the summer season, I’m always looking for cost saving strategies. If you are too, consider these ideas.


When summer utility bills rise, many families begin to look for ways to save money while keeping their homes cool. Here are 12 tips you can start using today that don’t cost a thing and some that require a small investment.

Tip #1 Close the blinds and curtains during the day to keep the sun from coming in. This is one of the best ways to lower indoor temperatures (10 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool).

Tip #2 Open the windows at night when the temperature outside is cooler than in the house. Place box fans in the north and east windows and set them to draw the cool outside air in, and in the south and west windows to blow the warm air out (10 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool).

Tip #3 Use fans to keep the air moving.  While fans don’t lower the temperature, the air movement makes you feel cooler (Gordon).  For a cooler breeze, place a bowl of ice or a frozen bottle of water in front of the fan (Melgren).

Tip #4 Run the dishwasher, dryer, stove/oven and other heat-generating appliances in the evening when it is cooler (Bond).  Use the microwave, toaster oven or outdoor grill for cooking. Dry clothes outside on the clothesline (10 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool).

Tip #5 Use compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs rather than incandescent light bulbs to reduce heat produced and energy consumption (10 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool).

Tip #6 Install white or light-colored shades or mini blinds. Mini blinds can reduce solar heat gain by 40-50 percent (Bond).

Tip #7 Install a programmable thermostat (Main). Set the temperature between 70 and 75ºF when you are at home and 80ºF when you are away (Keep Your Home Cool).

Tip #8 Clean or change the air filters on the air conditioning system every month to keep air flowing freely (Bond).

Tip #9 Install awnings on south and west-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain by up to 77% (Gordon).

Tip #10 Hang tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside windows to keep sunlight from coming in (Bond).

Tip #11 Apply high-reflectivity window film to east and west-facing windows to help keep the house cooler (Gordon).

Tip #12 Plant trees on the south and west exposures of your home.  It will take a few years for them to reach their full height, but once they do they will be enjoyed for years to come (10 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool).

ann_hendersonAnn Henderson is an Extension Associate Professor for Utah State University in Box Elder County. She loves teaching and helping adults and youth find practical solutions to everyday problems related to financial management, nutrition and health, food safety, preservation and storage, and family relationships. She believes that when you strengthen families you strengthens communities.


Don’t Get Sick! Learn these Barbecue Food Safety Tips and Tricks!

Author – Darlene Christensen
Don't Get Sick! Learn these barbecue food safety tips and tricks.

Have you or someone in your family ever had food poisoning? I have, and I can tell you it is miserable! It’s important to remember that it is almost 100 percent preventable (if you are preparing the food yourself). Think about these tips and tricks next time you are out barbecuing or picnicking so that you have a great time and stay healthy.

Eating outdoors in warm weather can be a food safety challenge. Bacteria in food multiply faster at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. Cooking in the summer heat makes knowing basic food safety principles especially important.
Wash hands.
“Hand washing is THE single most effective way to prevent the spread of disease,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s really simple — make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. To help kids learn this, try singing the ABC song with them while they wash. Cleaning up is especially important after using the bathroom and before cooking or eating. Oftentimes you find yourself outdoors with no bathroom in the summer. You can use a water jug, some soap and paper towels. Moist disposable towelettes are also good for cleaning your hands.
Keep raw food separate from cooked food.
You take the raw meat on a plate to the grill, right? But remember that you do not want to use that same plate to put the cooked meat on. This is known as cross contamination and can cause food-borne illness. Keep utensils and surfaces clean.
Marinate food in the refrigerator, not out on the counter.
Marinating can make meat tender and tasty. But if you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a separate portion. Don’t reuse marinade that contained raw meat.
Cook food thoroughly.
A meat thermometer can really help in making sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature. Steaks should reach 145 degrees and then be allowed to rest for 3 minutes. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165°F. Hamburgers should be cooked to 160°F. If a thermometer is not available, make sure hamburgers are brown all the way through, not pink.
Refrigerate and freeze food right away.
It can be hard to remember while a party is going on, but food should not be left out of the cooler or off the grill for more than 2 hours. It’s especially important to remember NOT to leave food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90°F.
Keep hot food hot.
Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F. Hot food should be wrapped well and placed in an insulated container – this will keep the heat in. If you have purchased something like fried chicken at a deli, try to eat it within two hours. Bacteria multiply rapidly after that and can make you sick. Don’t forget to pack your meat thermometer.  When re-heating food, be sure it reaches 165°F.
Keep cold food cold.
Cold food should be held at or below 40°F. Think about potato salad and similar foods. Keep them on ice in a cooler and don’t set them out for long periods of time in the heat.
Those are the basic tips to remember. If you have ever suffered from food-borne illness, you know how miserable it is. Follow these simple steps to keep your food safe and enjoy your summer barbecues and camping trips.

darlene_christensenAuthor Bio: Darlene Christensen is an Associate Extension Professor at Utah State University and serves as the family and consumer sciences/4H agent in Tooele County. She loves working with 4Hers and enjoys teaching adults.
US Food & Drug Administration, Barbecue Basics: Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illness.


5 Traits that Make a Family Strong

Author – Kathleen Riggs

Have you ever looked at another family and wondered why they seem to have it all together? Have you wondered what their family has that yours doesn’t? Every family has its issues, but all families can be strong. Let’s take a look at five tips to help create and maintain strong families.

build a strong family

* Caring and Appreciation. A strong, healthy relationship is a worthwhile goal for everyone. Showing care and appreciation for another family member helps adults develop their potential and it provides a model for children.

* Time Together. In some ways, time is like money—it seems like we never have enough of either one. However, the truth is, we tend to find the time or money for those things that are most important. How important is time with your family?

* Encouragement. All families face tough times occasionally. Healthy families have confidence that they will survive any crisis and come back even stronger.

* Coping with Change. All families develop habits, routines and a set of rules. These patterns help deal with day-to-day life and provide continuity and stability. In strong families, patterns remain flexible or adaptable enough to cope with crises or other changes. These may require changes in habits, rules, power structure, roles and division of labor or ways of performing family tasks and functions.

* Clear Roles. Members of strong families have a clear idea about their day-to-day roles and obligations to the family. Roles must be flexible and can be shared. For instance, it’s okay for someone who usually cooks to take over fixing the car because of a need, or even boredom!

According to the experts, if you work on one trait, it will benefit another area (the spill-over effect).

Looking for more? I’ve included four more traits  in an easy and downloadable PDF. Click over to read, save and also PIN this post to reference later! These traits were identified by researchers from the University of Missouri Extension Service. Details are in their training for families titled: Building Strong Families: Challenges and Choices. 

kathy riggs Kathleen Riggs is the Utah State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences professor for Iron County. She loves yard/garden work, where  her favorite tasks are weeding and mowing the lawn. Her favorite appliance is the microwave oven, and her specialty is microwave caramels. She  loves family time and occasions that bring everyone together from near or far.