Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness Timely news, information, and innovative ideas to promote health and influence change. Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/rss.xml Food Rescue at Home http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_13210/ Tue, 27 Feb 2018 13:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_13210/ As we head into the month of March, let's all pause and reflect on our eating habits because after all, March is National Nutrition Month and a great time to reevaluate what is on our plates.

More importantly let's pay special attention to what we are scraping off our plates into the trash. It is estimated that 90 billion pounds of food is thrown away each year either at home or when eating out.

Did you know the average family loses $1,500 every year on wasted food? All of this waste adds up. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, the U.S. spends more than $162 billion to grow, process and transport food that goes uneaten. Wasted food not only costs you money, it is also harmful to the environment as it decays in landfills.

The theme for National Nutrition Month this year is "Go Further With Food" with an aim to help families find ways to reduce waste at home while choosing healthy foods and staying active.

There are many things you can do but first, you may be interested to know how much is actually being thrown away in your household. It is easy to track waste at home with either a scale or measuring cup. At the end of the week, add up your totals and pay attention to trends in food waste. Maybe it was forgotten in the depths of the refrigerator or you accidentally bought too much leading to unintended waste. Download this Food Waste Challenge worksheet so you can track and measure your food rescue efforts over 4 weeks.

If we are to reach the U.S. Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal (50% reduction in food waste) by 2030, we'll need everyone's commitment. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Understand Date Labels- food packages will have a "best if used by" or "sell by" date. These don't necessarily mean they should be thrown away but their quality is best before this date. In many cases, they are safe to eat beyond the date listed as long as they were stored properly.

2. Make a Plan- try not to buy more than you need. Creating a weekly meal plan will help you stay focused when grocery shopping and avoid buying unnecessary items. If you're cooking for just 1 or 2, consider buying smaller portions and recycle any additional packaging as a result.

3. Get Creative with Leftovers- ½ an avocado and random vegetables hanging out in your fridge? Re-purpose the vegetables in an omelet or stir-fry and use the avocado as a sandwich spread or in a nourishing face mask. There are plenty of non-edible uses for food scraps like sugar-coffee body scrub (with spent coffee grounds) and combining citrus peels with vinegar for a refreshing counter cleaner. Also, avoid ordering large meals when dining out if you don't intend to eat the leftovers later. Share something instead! Poll- How Do You Handle Leftovers?

4. Compost food scraps- University of Illinois Extension's website, Composting Central, has lots of great resources for you to learn everything you need to know about composting at home.

5. Donate surplus foods to a local food pantry- if you have a extra shelf-stable foods or even surplus prepared foods from an event, check with your local food pantries and meal sites to see if they will take your food donations and days/times that they except donations. Worried about potential liability issues? The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects good faith food donors from civil and criminal liability. This includes: individuals, corporations, partnerships, organizations, associations, governmental entities, wholesalers, retailers, restaurateurs, caterers, farmers, gleaners, nonprofit agencies, and more.

What will you do to divert food from the landfill this month? For more resources and ideas on how you can rescue food at home, contact the Milan Extension office at 309-756-9978.

3 Healthy Habits for the Best Version of YOU http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_13072/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 11:03:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_13072/ 1. Be Grateful

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. –Oprah Winfrey

This quote reminds us that we need to live gratefully. How do we do this? Remember that this moment is not earned but given. The greatest gift of the present moment is the opportunity to (fill in the blank). Every moment brings a new gift if we make ourselves available to it. Make the most of all of life's opportunities and you will experience more joy. A grateful world is a happy world.

Here are 3 ways to express your gratitude:

  • Send hand-written letters to say 'thank you'
  • Give someone your undivided attention (this includes digital distractions)
  • Share your knowledge or skills (big or little) with others

2. Slow Down

There is a method to the madness as they say. One way to slow down and make the most of opportunities that arise is to: Stop. Look. Go.

Some may call this mindfulness. If we practice mindfulness in our everyday lives and in every moment, then we can increase that gap between impulse and action. Impulse control is important for healthy relationships, purchasing habits, eating behaviors and much more! We could all use a little more impulse control around the holidays.

Here are 3 ways to develop mindfulness:

  • Stop and take a step back to observe the current situation from a broader perspective
  • Look at the facts, weigh your options, acknowledge other points-of-view
  • Move forward knowing you are making a conscious effort to be the best you

3. Laugh More

If you search for "I love to laugh" in Google, the first result will be the song from Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Ed Wynn. This was my favorite movie as a kid and this scene has stuck with me through the years. If you know me, you know I love to laugh and can get into some lengthy laughing fits! I believe it's good for mind, body and spirit so I practice it every day.

1 minute of laughter is like 10 minutes on the row machine! This "internal jogging" has short-term and long-term health benefits. Incorporate more people, photos, songs, movie clips and experiences that make you laugh throughout the day.

Read more about the amazing benefits of laughter in this publication from University of Kentucky Extension- http://www2.ca.uky.edu/hes/fcs/factshts/hsw-caw-807.pdf

Your body cannot heal without play.
Your mind cannot heal without laughter.
Your soul cannot heal without joy.

- Catherine Rippenger Fenwick

Whole Grains for the Holidays http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12992/ Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12992/ How many whole grain foods do you get during the holiday season? The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating 6 ounces of grain foods daily and getting at least half or 3 ounces of that grain intake from 100% whole grains.

Examples of 1-ounce servings of whole grains would be:

  • 1 slice whole-grain bread (such as 100% whole-wheat bread)
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat, whole-grain cereal
  • 1⁄2 cup cooked whole-grain cereal, brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta
  • 5 whole-grain crackers
  • 3 cups unsalted, air-popped popcorn
  • 1 6-inch whole-wheat tortilla

There are many types of whole grain products available on the market. They have rich, savory flavors and hearty textures resulting in a very satisfying food. These will add depth to any meal and keep you feeling fuller longer. The whole grains in bold are also gluten-free.







Brown Rice





Wheat Berries



Wild Rice



*Unlike many grains, quinoa has all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein! Try it in place of white rice for additional health benefits.

Protective effects against chronic disease as seen in the research1

  • In the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study, women who ate 2 to 3 servings of whole-grain products each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than 1 serving per week.2
  • A large study of more than 72,000 postmenopausal women without diabetes at the start of the study found that the higher the intake of whole grains, the greater the risk reduction of type 2 diabetes. A 43% reduced risk was found in women eating the highest amount of whole grains (2 or more servings daily) as compared with those who ate no whole grains.3
  • A review of four large population studies also showed a protective effect of whole grains from colorectal cancer, with a cumulative risk reduction of 21%.4

Ideas for Getting More Whole Grains during the Holidays
(Printable PDF Recipes of the following)

1. Try popping other grains besides corn for a fun snack. Sorghum, amaranth and quinoa can be popped just like corn. They aren't as large as popped corn but will add a nutty flavor when added to things like salads, wraps, a topping for casserole or baked breads. You can also add them to trail mix and homemade cereals.

2. Do you normally have a tray of meat, cheese, and olives out for holiday events? Try turning your antipasto into a whole grain-rich dish with the addition of cooked barley. I assure your guests will love the Barley Antipasto Salad!

3. Citrus always comes to mind for the holiday season because I could count on a clementine or orange in my stocking each year. You've probably heard of the salad, tabbouleh, which features bulgur wheat, lots of parsley, mint, lemon and olive oil. You may also like the Citrus-Scented Bulgur Salad which incorporates dried fruits, grated carrots, lemon and orange juice.

4. Looking for a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes? You must try the Millet and Cauliflower Mash. With only a few ingredients, this recipe is hard not to love. The millet breaks apart when cooking and blends well with the cooked cauliflower. Add a little olive oil, garlic and parsley and your guests will be begging for more.

5. Don't forget about breakfast! Blueberries are always a great addition during winter months and can be added frozen to both of these recipes: Blueberry-Chia Overnight Oats and Wheat Germ Berry Pancakes. Super simple recipes with great flavor and texture. Eating these will keep you feeling energized for whatever the holidays throw at you.

*Follow the link above for these recipes and additional flavor combinations.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!




1. Harvard School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source- Whole Grains. Available at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/whole-grains/

2. Liu S, Stampfer MJ, Hu FB, et al. Whole-grain consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: results from the Nurses' Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70:412-9.

3. Parker ED, Liu S, Van Horn L, et al. The association of whole grain consumption with incident type 2 diabetes: the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. Ann Epidemiol. 2013;23:321-7.

4. Aune D, Chan DS, Lau R, et al. Dietary fibre, whole grains, and risk of colorectal cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ. 2011;343:d6617.

4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

Put 'Self-Care' on Your To-Do List this Fall and Winter http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12949/ Tue, 31 Oct 2017 14:26:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12949/ I always get a strange feeling around this time of year. It could be all the ghoulish Halloween décor or the fact that the days are getting shorter and my to-do list is not!! Maybe a combination of the two has me a little on edge but the trick is to treat yourself with love and set the right intentions for a happy and healthy fall/winter season. The last thing you need is a cough and sore throat when battling bone-chilling winds and holiday crowds so make sure self-care is a part of your daily routine.

Self-Care is more than an occasional massage or pedicure. It's a way of living each day that incorporates behaviors to ultimately improve your overall well-being and keep you feeling refreshed and motivated. There is not a one-size-fits-all self-care plan so tailor your activities to suit your specific needs.

You're not alone; the search term "self-care activities" reached its peak popularity this October according to Google data trends.

Not sure where to start? Here is a Self-Care Assessment tool based on 6 dimensions of wellness to help you take note of patterns and give you an idea of which domain(s) need more attention in your life. After you finish the assessment, this Self-Care Worksheet will guide you into action and help you work through potential barriers before they arise. This is but one tool you can use to work on your self-care plan but the first step is awareness and to recognize which parts of your life need action.

After looking at my regular self-care activities, I have decided to add a few more to my routine:

  • Read literature that is unrelated to work. I love reading about health and wellness topics but this can definitely lead to burnout in my case. This fall/winter, I will dedicate more time each week on reading for pleasure.
  • Schedule more 'ME time'. At one time I thought I was missing out on something great if I stayed home on a Friday night but like other millennials, I feel like nesting is the new going out. There's nothing like a good girls' night in to recharge your batteries (or guys' night in).
  • Make space for more meditation. This is actually something I have intentionally set time aside for this fall and I find myself in anticipation of my next session. My goal is to do one a day. There are so many apps out there if you are looking for some guidance in this area and I have found luck with Insight Timer. I am not promoting Insight Timer over any others but it is one of many free apps available with hundreds of guided meditations to help with relaxation, stress relief, finding balance and inner peace, just to name a few.

"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."― Audre Lorde

"Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. " – Lucille Ball



University of Buffalo- School of Social Work. Developing Your Self-Care Plan.

Self-Care Resources from UT Dallas-Student Counseling Center

TED Talks: 9 talks on the 'importance of self-care'

DIY Sauerkraut http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12796/ Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:00:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12796/ In honor of Bratwurst Day, I thought I would share some steps on how to make sauerkraut successfully at home to accompany your cookout fare. I recently did a class at the German-American Heritage Center on this very topic and my sauerkraut recipes were a big hit. You can download these recipes at the link below!

The first thing you should know is that sauerkraut is a product of fermentation.

What is Fermentation?

Fermentation is simply the process in which a substance breaks down into simpler components. Microorganisms like yeast, bacteria and mold play a role in the fermentation process, creating foods and drinks such as beer, wine, sourdough bread, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, chocolate, pickles, tempeh, natto and miso. In many parts of the world, food is fermented not only for preservation purposes but also to create a safe and secure food supply.


To dispel the most common myth about lacto-fermentation, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with dairy as some relate "lacto" to the lactose (sugar) in milk. Instead, the lacto refers to lactic acid that's produced during the fermentation process by lactic-acid producing bacteria which are present on the surface of all fruits and vegetables.

The natural acids and other antimicrobial compounds produced by the fermenting bacteria inhibit the growth of other harmful bacteria, molds and yeasts that contribute to spoilage making fermentation one of the safest forms of food preservation.

Additionally, the carbon dioxide produced during the fermentation process helps maintain the low-oxygen conditions necessary for the fermenting bacteria, as well as aid in the stabilization of the flavor and color of the vegetables.

Fermentation Goal

  • Increase desired microorganisms
  • Overpower spoilage microorganisms
  • Create environment for fermenting bacteria to flourish

Getting Started with Vegetable Fermentation- a printable handout with information on tools needed, suitable vessels, water source, salt quality, temperatures, tips on keeping vegetables submerged, determining readiness of your final product and cleaning equipment.

Golden Sauerkraut Recipe (PDF)

Basic Sauerkraut Steps and Recipes Using Sauerkraut from University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service

I also made an Apple Kraut which is one of my favorites. When looking at the Golden Kraut recipe, substitute the garlic, ginger and turmeric for 1 granny smith apple and 1 Tbsp each of caraway seeds and juniper berries. It was slightly sweet, crunchy and so good! Feel free to experiment with different seasonings but don't adjust the salt concentration in your ferment. It's needed for many reasons, all of which are stated in the "Getting Started with Vegetable Fermentation".

Happy Fermenting!


National Center for Home Food Preservation

Vegetable Fermentation– Virginia Cooperative Extension

USDA. 2009. USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.

The Weston A. Price Foundation

Herbs: From Garden to Kitchen http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12750/ Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:58:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12750/ July is perhaps my favorite month. I love the summer heat, the cookouts, festivals, fireworks and all of the fresh food from the garden. It's also my birthday month so...what's not to love?!

My herbs are in full force right now and it's a great time to maximize their use in the kitchen. I like to experiment with new recipes and other food related projects to get the most out of my herbs.

This is what I have growing this year and some ideas for their use:

1. Basil- a summer must-have. I actually have 3 types- Genovese, spicy globe and Thai-all of which are great for pesto.

2. Chives- these take very little work and keep coming back year after year. Their purple flowers are tasty, too.

3. Cilantro- perfect for all of my Mexican inspired creations.

4. French Tarragon- a sophisticated herb with an anise flavor that works well in dips. The French variety is recommended over Russian when cooking.

5. Lemon Grass- new to me this year; it gets huge! The leaves can be dried and used for tea while the stems can be sliced and sautéed into a variety of dishes; often found in Thai food.

6. Mint- I have mojito mint, apple mint and chocolate mint all in separate containers because they will take over. Chocolate mint to garnish my fruit, apple mint and mojito mint taste great in a variety of food and drink recipes.

7. Golden oregano- a delicate herb with golden hues that will add summer splash to pizza and pasta.

8. Thyme- one of my favorites for infused waters. It pairs nicely with pineapple so save your cores to add to a pitcher of water with 6-8 sprigs of thyme. Lemon thyme is also lovely.

9. Dill- this also keeps coming back and can spread to all of your beds if you let it. Pick the dill heads when they are green for the best tasting pickles. The leafy green parts can still be used after flowers appear. Check out this resource for pickles and relishes, I especially like the Lime-Mint Freezer Pickles on page 55.

10. Lemon Verbena- my all-time favorite lemony herb! It makes the best lemonade and tea. I also use it to make lemon cream for fruit dip and to perk up my pesto. Try it, you won't be disappointed!

11. Rosemary- known as "dew of the sea" rosemary is a perfect addition to Mediterranean cooking and can withstand higher heat so it's perfect when roasting vegetables and meats.

12. Parsley- available in several varieties, this broad-leaf herb can add a bright, fresh taste to any dish.

Looking for recipes that utilize some of these herbs? Check out this packet of Herbalicious Recipes I use in my programs.

Want to use your herbs for a fun foodie project?

Try these No-Salt Seasoning Blends as well as Herb Infused Salt Blends from my latest herb program. They were a hit!



Want more on herbs? Check out these posts:

Summer-y Scones http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12689/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:28:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/eb327/entry_12689/

Yesterday, I had the day off of work so I decided to plant myself in the kitchen to use up some of the freshly-picked blueberries I gathered at a local U-Pick Farm. I had 3 quarts of berries so I had to find something yummy to do with them!

I love the delicious berries that summer brings with it and the time spent harvesting to support our local farmers. I always pick more than I need so I can freeze some for later in the year when blueberries aren't in season. Another berry that is easy to come by is the humble mulberry. I had received some dried white mulberries from my mom awhile back so I wanted to use those as well. They had been calling my name and I knew this scone recipe would be the perfect fit for them. This is a great recipe because the scones come out 'skinnier' than scones you may pick up from a bakery since we'll be dividing the dough in half before adding the berries. See directions below.

*Bakers Tip: when making scones, it's wise to use frozen butter which makes it easy to grate right into the dough. When the frozen shavings are incorporated, the dough stays cold (preventing greasy scones) and as the scones bake, the butter slowly melts creating air pockets on the inside so the scones stay light and airy.

Printable PDF Version

Yield: 16 scones


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for hands and work surface
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¾ cup white mulberries (fresh or dried)


  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon hibiscus powder (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
  3. Grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture and combine it with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the cream, egg, and vanilla together. Drizzle it over the flour mixture and then toss the mixture together with a rubber spatula until everything appears moistened.
  5. Divide the dough between two bowls and gently fold in the berries. One bowl will have blueberries and the other will have mulberries. (You can also mix both types of berries into the dough for a blueberry-mulberry scone.) Try your best to not overwork the dough at any point. If your dough is too dry, add up to 1 tablespoon half-and-half to help incorporate the berries.
  6. With floured hands, form the dough from one bowl into a ball and transfer to a floured surface.Press into a neat 8″ disc and cut into 8 equal wedges with a very sharp knife. Place scones at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow let cool for a few minutes.
  8. After those bake repeat steps 6 and 7 for the other dough ball using a fresh sheet of parchment.
  9. If you don't plan on eating these within a few days, freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat them, thaw in the refrigerator and heat before serving.

Preparing the Glaze- whisk together the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and hibiscus powder which gives the glaze a beautiful pink tint. It will still taste great even if you don't have hibiscus powder handy. Drizzle the glaze over the scones and enjoy!


Looking for more on berries? Check out this recipe for Homemade Tart Cherry Ice.