Summer Food Safety

With rising temperatures and outdoor dining events, food safety is a major concern this Summer (and all year around). Use the following tips to keep your next outdoor picnic, barbecue, or gathering safe for all!

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  • The normal “two hour rule” changes to the “one hour rule” when temperatures creep up above 90 degrees F.
    • Hot temperatures are just right for allowing the bacteria in food to multiply to numbers that could make people sick. This includes foods on picnic tables, buffet lines at family reunions, and bag lunches.
    • If at home, serve the food inside the air conditioned house instead of outside in the heat.
    • Set an alarm on your phone to alert you when the food should be put away. It is easy to lose track of time when at a gathering with family and friends.
  • When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth.
    • Use an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to keep the food cold.
    • If traveling far, place the cooler inside air conditioned car, not the hot trunk.
    • Refrigerate all perishable foods immediately upon getting home.
  • When doing errands, make the grocery store your last stop.
    • Pick up frozen and refrigerated foods just before you hit the checkout lines, so it is not sitting in your cart for an extended period of time.
  • If you’re going to a farmers’ market, farm stand, or pick-your-own field, take a cooler along too. Don’t store fresh produce in the trunk of your car.
  • At an outdoor event (or any event), keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the items that will be immediately placed on the grill.
  • When using a cooler outside, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or under a shelter.
    • Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler. This will help avoid warm air from getting in the cooler when the lid is opened and closed often.
  • Keep everything clean! If there is no running water, bring clean cloths or moist towelettes.
    • Don’t reuse ice used to keep food cold, could be a potential of contamination.
    • Don’t use the same plate or platter and utensils for raw and cooked food.
  • If you don’t finish your meal at a restaurant, make sure there’s a cooler in the car for any food you bring home. The “one hour rule” goes into effect here too!
  • Don’t get careless with picnics and other outdoor food events. Unless you are absolutely sure about the safety of the food, throw away any leftovers.

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Summer Vegetable Chowder

A quick one pot dinner perfect for using up fresh summer veggies! The “creaminess” comes from sautéed and puréed zucchini, onion, and celery which makes this soup creamy and flavorful but without a ton of calories and fat! My husband, who LOVES soup, approved of this meatless summer meal. A new weeknight staple! 

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Ingredients:
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 small sweet yellow onion, small diced
2 celery stalks, small diced
1 medium zucchini, small diced
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
salt & ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 – 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional.. use as desired for a hint of spicy)
1 pound baby red or yellow potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, small diced
2 cups fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
2 Tbsp cream (optional.. adds a creamier texture to the soup)
green onions, for garnish Continue reading

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Nutrition Misconceptions

You may not realize it, but every day you make unconscious decisions about how you eat. Some healthy and some not-so-healthy. This post will reveal the top nutrition misconceptions people have and the truth behind the myths.

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1. “I can’t eat after 7pm”
Calories are calories – it doesn’t matter when you eat them. What matters is the total calories you take in. If you do find yourself hungry at night, make healthier choices. Often, late night eaters reach for unhealthy processed snacks and may over-indulge while watching television (this would lead to weight gain).

2. You should purchase a food because it claims to be “Natural”
The term “natural” is so loosely defined by the government that you’ll find it on everything from cereal boxes to soda to packages of meat. You’re better off ignoring the word on any package and taking the time to read through the ingredients and nutrition information. Don’t be fooled into believing that natural means healthy.

3. You Need to Load up on Protein Post Workout
Your body can only digest about 30 grams of protein in a meal. With a good diet, you shouldn’t have to supplement protein unless you’re a serious body builder. Any extra protein will either be excreted or just hang around your waist line as extra calories. Continue reading

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Grilled “Mexican Street Corn”

Summer time and using the grill seem to go hand in hand in my house. We like to keep the cooking heat outside so our house doesn’t heat up! This recipe for grilled corn is a unique side dish and a fun take on the traditional Mexican Street corn. If you cannot find crema Mexicana, swap it out for reduced fat sour cream or plain greek yogurt. 

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Ingredients:
cooking spray
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
6 ears corn
1/4 cup crema Mexicana
6 lime wedges Continue reading

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Lemony Chicken Piccata

Fresh & bright! A deliciously light meal. I love to serve this with Parmesan Garlic Orzo and fresh steamed broccoli. Perfect for everything from a casual dinner party to a weeknight meal. 

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Ingredients:
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (cut in half lengthwise)
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
all purpose flour, for dredging
4 Tbsp butter, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
1/4 cup brined capers
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped Continue reading

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Parmesan Garlic Orzo

A delicious and light side dish for any meal! Quick and easy to make, this is my go-to pasta side dish for a weeknight meal. Perfect with marinated grilled chicken or seafood.

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Ingredients:
1 cup orzo pasta (look for whole wheat orzo!)
1/4 cup butter
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and ground black pepper, to taste Continue reading

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

A surprising ingredient makes a delicious and slightly creamy gravy in this pot roast recipe. Quick and easy, this roast is perfect for a casual night at home with the family, or for a sit down dinner party! Serve with roasted or grilled veggies and some bread.. to soak up the delectable gravy! 

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Ingredients:
2 pounds rump roast
flour, for coating
cracked black pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 bottle prepared creamy horseradish sauce (like Kraft)
3 cups low-sodium beef broth or au jus (McCormicks)
5-6 medium-large red skin potatoes, chopped Continue reading

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