Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wise Notes for Consumers - Making Your Calories Count

This week continues our focus on Wise County’s District 4-H Food Show winners and the nutritional benefits of their recipes. Christian Cross, a 15 year old Boyd 4-H’er received 1st place in the Senior Fruit and Vegetable category.  His recipe for Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Mango Salad is a wonderful menu idea for adding a little spice to your side dishes; as a party appetizer with tortilla chips and guacamole; or as a topping like salsa. Browning the corn in a skillet gives it a nutty, caramelized flavor that contrasts with the sweetness of the mango. The ‘chipotle peppers in adobe sauce’ contribute the spice to the dish, so be sure to adjust the amount according to your level of desired spicy flavor.

Besides the rich, spicy flavors; this recipe is packed full of nutrients. Research shows that black beans contain significant amounts of antioxidants, folate as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber helps to lower LDL cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. The red bell pepper and mango add to this nutrient packed dish by adding large amounts of vitamin C , vitamin A and phytonutrients. These nutrients have been proven to help prevent cancer, heart disease, cataracts and many others.

Roasted Corn, Black Bean & Mango Salad

2 teaspoons canola oil                                                             1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen                                    ½ cup chopped red onion      
1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced                                     3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon ground cumin                                                       ¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro                                  ½ cup diced red bell pepper
1 - 15-ounce or 19-ounce can black beans; rinsed 
1 small canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, drained and chopped (1/2 can may be better if you don’t prefer a lot of spice)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the corn mixture to a large bowl. Stir in mango, beans, onion, bell pepper, lime juice, chipotle, cilantro, cumin and salt.   Serve at room temperature.

Get Ready Texas - Registering for Agriculture Sales Tax Exemption

Attention agriculture and timber producers:  Secure your sales tax exemption by getting your registration number before the January 1st deadline.  Under a new state law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, commercial agriculture or timber producers will need an Ag/Timber Number issued by the Comptroller’s office to make eligible sales tax-exempt purchases for their business beginning January 1, 2012.

            If you produce agricultural or timber products for sale in the regular course of business, the new law will require you to have an Ag/Timber Number for eligible sales tax-exempt purchases.  If you are affected by this law, follow these simple steps to be ready in plenty of time for any eligible sales tax-exempt purchases you plan to make on or after January 1, 2012:

            1.         Register online or on paper for your exemption.  The short application should take less than 10 minutes to complete.  It requires some basic information about your operation, such as business name, description and address.  Online application:  If you have internet access, visit anytime after October 3, 2011, to submit an application online, instantly generating an Ag/Timber Number for your exemption upon completion.  You can download and print a paper application at and mail or fax it to the Texas Comptroller’s office.  Please note, paper applications may take three to four weeks to process.  You can also get an application via our fax on demand ser (800-531-1441) or by mail (800-252-5555).  Many retailers will provide copies of the application as well.

            2.         Keep your number handy.  You may be asked to verify your Ag/Timber Number for eligible tax-exempt purchases beginning January 1, 2012, so please retain it in your records.  You can print Ag/Timber Number convenience cards if you complete the online application, or the Comptroller’s office will mail the cards if you opt for the paper application.

            Details on the state’s new requirement for an Ag/Timber Number for eligible sales tax exemptions are available at your convenience on the Comptroller’s website 24 hours a day, seven days per week at  You also can sign up for email updates on this topic.  If needed, you can also call the Comptroller’s office at 1-800-252-5555.