Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Food Safety for the Latino Community During “Navidad” (Christmas) and “Fin de Año” (End of the Year)
While we’re sure you all have your favorite traditional recipes, we have a few recommendations to keep in mind while preparing those mouthwatering dishes passed down from our “abuelas” (grandmothers). Here are some tips to help hosts and guests eat safely at holiday parties.
Before you start, always wash your hands before you start preparing foods following these simple steps: wet your hands, lather with soap, scrub for at least 20 seconds, rinse with clean water, and dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them; skipping this step is a top cause of foodborne illnesses.
Wash cutting surfaces, and utensils. Always serve food on clean plates and avoid using those previously holding raw meat and poultry. Otherwise, bacteria that may have been present in raw meat juices can cross contaminate the food to be served. Replace empty platters instead of adding fresh food to a dish that already had food in it. People's hands may have been touching the dish while taking food from it, or the dish could also has been sitting out at room temperature too long. Use clean utensils to serve food plates and not those used in preparation of the raw food.
Separate raw and cooked foods so you don't cause cross contamination. That is, transferring bacteria from raw food onto ready-to eat food. For example, if you are preparing a ham and raw veggies for a dip platter, don’t let the raw meat come in contact with the vegetables, or food that does not require further cooking such as sliced, cooked meat and cheese.
Use a food thermometer to make sure food reaches a safe internal temperature. Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality reasons, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. And keep in mind: If you're transporting hot, cooked food from one location to another, keep it hot by carrying it in an insulated container. Need more information about food thermometers, visit FSIS.gov.
Chill leftovers within two hours of cooking. Keep track of how long items have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything out longer than two hours. You never want to leave perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs and casseroles in the “Danger Zone” over two hours. The danger zone is between 40 and 140 °F where bacteria multiply rapidly. After two hours, enough bacteria may have grown in your food to make partygoers sick. Exceptions to the danger zone include ready-to-eat items like cookies, crackers, bread and whole fruit.
No one wants to end a family gathering or a “fiesta” in the emergency room of a hospital, but that’s what could happen if food isn’t handled, served, and store safely. Bacteria are party crashers, and the only holiday gift they bring is foodborne illness.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year, and it’s even more fun when everyone is safe. Raw turkey, cooking appliances, and busy kitchens can sometimes lead to unfortunate Thanksgiving mishaps. Here are some Thanksgiving safety tips to ensure a safe and delicious holiday.
To make sure the food you serve at Thanksgiving is safe for your family, a little bit of preparation and forethought is required. Fresh (or unfrozen) turkey should not be in your fridge for more than two days, so don’t buy too early.
If your turkey is frozen, you will need to plan ahead so it can thaw correctly. It is extremely important that meat is thawed safely; otherwise bacteria can grow in the meat which you will then ingest. DO NOT thaw a turkey at room temperature, as this is the ideal temperature for bacteria to grow.
The best way to thaw frozen meat is in the fridge, or at a temperature of 40°F. It will take about 1 day for every 5 pounds to thaw a turkey in the fridge, (e.g. a 15 pound turkey will take 3 days to thaw) so plan accordingly. You also don’t want to move it into the fridge too early, as you don’t want it to sit unthawed for more than a day.
Cold Water Thawing
Oops, did you forget to plan ahead and find yourself with a frozen turkey the day before Thanksgiving? There is a quicker thawing method, but it takes a bit more work. You can thaw a turkey by immersing it in ice cold water, replacing the water every 30 minutes to keep it ice cold. If the water gets too warm, bacteria can start to develop on the outside of the meat. This method will take about 30 minutes per pound, so a 15 pound turkey will take 7-8 hours to thaw.
Cook From Frozen
Is it Thanksgiving day and your turkey is frozen? Well, go ahead and pop it in the oven. You can cook a turkey from frozen, but it will take considerably longer. A 15 pound frozen turkey cooked at 325°F will take about 6 hours to cook, which is about 2-3 hours longer than it would take if it were thawed out.
Before cooking your turkey, you must first pull out the giblets, usually found in a bag inside the turkey. Then rinse the turkey inside and out. Then stuff the turkey if you cook it with the stuffing in, although some cook the turkey and add on the stuffing on the side.
These times are just guidelines. The safest way to make sure your bird is cooked is with a meat thermometer; the internal temperature should be 165°F.
Turkey Fryer Safety
Another option for cooking turkey is to fry it. This option is best for smaller turkeys; in fact you do not want to fry a turkey any larger than 14 pounds. Any larger and the skin will burn before the inside can cook. If you will have a lot of people to feed, fry two smaller turkeys.
Set up an area outside to do the frying. It should be a level and as open an area as possible. It will be useful to have a small table nearby for your supplies and seasonings. Place something non-flammable such as a plywood board under the burner to catch any oil that may splatter.
In addition to preparing the turkey safely, there are some preparations that should be made to ensure a busy kitchen is also a safe kitchen on Thanksgiving.
Make sure all smoke detectors have working batteries.
Keep children away from hot surfaces and fryers
Clean any area that raw turkey may have touched, as well as any dishes, utensils, and your hands, with antibacterial cleaner.
Have a fire extinguisher on hand, especially if frying a turkey
This infographic will help you remember the most important safety tips covered in this article. Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!
- Airfare has fallen in price
- Hotel rentals have increased in price
- Car rentals have increased in price
- AAA predicts it will need to help 360,000 motorists over this upcoming holiday weekend
- There are around 450 traffic fatalities each Thanksgiving Holiday
- Wear your seatbelt
- Drive the speed limit
- Look both ways
- Use your turn signal
- Keep both hands on the wheel
Monday, November 23, 2015
Friday, November 20, 2015
The sides of the cooking pot, lid, and pot handles can get dangerously hot.
Monday, November 2, 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015
- Cutting servings into smaller portions is sometimes all that’s necessary to lower fat consumption. (Check the Nutrition Guidelines included with each recipe for the fat amount in each serving.)
- Search BettyCrocker.com for “lighter recipe” and “low fat”—you’ll find an archive of recipes lightened for conscientious bakers and cooks.
- Use nuts in reduced amounts. When baking a cake, sprinkle nuts on top of the batter instead of stirring them in. The nuts toast as they bake, releasing more flavor—and there's no need for frosting!
- Try Betty Crocker® 1-Step White Angel Food Cake mix—angel food cake is fat-free. Add fresh sliced strawberries for the finish.
- Applesauce and plain yogurt are good fat substitutes in most recipes. For maximum texture and flavor, replace no more than half the amount of the fat listed in the recipe. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter, you can substitute 1/4 cup applesauce, saving 44 grams of fat and 400 calories (the fat and calories in 1/4 cup margarine)
- Mashed ripe bananas work well as fat substitutes in carrot or banana cake or muffins.
- Purchased fruit puree mixtures, usually prune—based, also are good and work especially well in chocolate, spice and carrot cakes. Follow the label directions.
- Baby food in similar fruit flavors can be good as fat substitutes, too.
- Replace 1 whole egg in a recipe with ¼ cup fat-free, cholesterol-free egg product substitutes (such as ConAgra’s Egg Beaters®) or 2 egg whites—you'll save more than 10 grams of fat and 100 calories.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Friday, October 9, 2015
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
When our children throw tantrums it can be infuriating or even downright scary! Yet tantrums, ‘melt –down’ or ‘wobblers’ are a perfectly normal stage in our children’s development. And it’s reassuring to know that diffusing tantrums effectively and reducing their recurrence is often relatively straightforward.
Here is a sample of some of our easy and effective tools for solving this issue
This works really well:
EMPATHY AND VALIDATION:
- Even if we think that our children can’t hear us over the sound of their own wails, it’s worth trying to get close to them just to let them know that we care.
- Say to your child with empathy “I can see you are very upset…”.
- However unnerving tantrums may be, we should try to provide a quiet, peaceful response (and atmosphere if possible) when they do occur.
- At the same time, hold steadfast to your own rules and try hard not to ‘give-in’. In this way our children will learn that tantrums are not the way to get what they want.
Here is another suggestion:
- Hugging almost always helps reassure and calm down distressed children.
You can even call hugging ‘The Big Hug Time’ and refer to it whenever your child loses control.
- For example. Tell your child “I’m going to hug you till you calm down because I love you and I don’t want you to hurt yourself or anyone else”.
- If your child is really frustrated or upset, he or she may lose physical control, which may involve striking out at you or others. If you can get near your child without getting hurt, or without too much of a struggle, keep trying to hold him or her in your arms until the tantrum stops.
- If your child is in a public place (for example in the middle of a supermarket!), you should lead him or her to a quiet place, such as the car or a rest room and keep him or her safe until the tantrum has ended.