Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Time

It is fall and thoughts turn to pumpkins and Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Young children can enjoy creating jack-o-lanterns by drawing the eyes and mouth on the pumpkin with markers, then the pumpkin is still safe for eating later.
We usually think of using the pumpkin for pie but there are many other recipes with pumpkin that are great this time of year and also serve as an excellent source of nutrients. The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene that offers protection against heart disease. 
             In order to prepare the pumpkin for use in recipes, first work on a clean surface. Before cutting, wash the outer surface of the pumpkin thoroughly with cool tap water to remove any surface dirt that could be transferred to the inside of the pumpkin during cutting.
Start by removing the stem with a sharp knife.  Next, cut in half.  In any case, remove the stem and scoop out the seeds and scrape away all of the stringy mass. It’s a messy job, but it will pay off. The pumpkin should be cooked in one of three ways, boiled, baked in oven, or microwave.
            With the Boiling/Steaming Method: Cut the pumpkin into rather large chunks. Rinse in cold water. Place pieces in a large pot with about a cup of water. The water does not need to cover the pumpkin pieces. Cover the pot and boil 20 to 30 minutes or until tender, or steam 10 to 12 minutes. Check for doneness by poking with a fork. Drain the cooked pumpkin in a colander.
            With the Oven Method: Cut pumpkin in half, scraping away stringy mass and seeds. Rinse under cold water. Place pumpkin; cut side down on a large cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour or until fork tender.
           If you choose the Microwave Method: Cut pumpkin in half, place cut side down on a microwave safe plate or tray. Microwave on high for 15 minutes, check for doneness. If necessary continue cooking at 1-2 minute intervals until fork tender.

            When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, remove the peel using a small sharp knife and your fingers. Put the peeled pumpkin in a food processor and puree or use a food mill, strainer or potato masher to form a puree. Don't let your cooked pumpkin set at room temperature longer than two hours in the process of making puree.
            Next the puree will be ready to try in this Pumpkin Brownie recipe from the Eat Smart, Move More program.
Pumpkin Brownies
1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or cooked                    1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ tsp salt                                                                     2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg                                                               ¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg                                                                           1 egg white
½ cup walnuts, finely chopped                                   1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder                                                   ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground ginger                                                    ¼ cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Coat a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.
3. Combine all ingredients and beat well.
4. Pour into pan.
5. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean (ovens may vary, check at 20 minutes).
6. Cool and cut into squares.

Nutrition Information Makes 24 brownies Per brownie:
Calories: 100 Fat: 4.5g Carbohydrate: 15g Protein: 2g Fiber: 1g Sodium: 80mg

Monday, October 20, 2014

Friend to Friend, Staying Healthy Together

Exhibits, vendors, food, and information are all part of a Friend to Friend party that Wise County women are invited to attend on Monday, November 3 beginning at 6 p.m. in the Bridgeport Estates Meeting Room located at 1481 Senior Place in Bridgeport. This event will help women learn about breast and cervical cancer and how early detection can provide the best protection for these two cancers.
Dr. Renee C. Smith, MD from Wise Obstetrics & Gynecology will provide information on mammograms and Pap tests and guidelines for when to get these screenings. A cancer survivor will share a testimonial related to the importance of breast and cervical screenings. For women who think they cannot afford the cost of the screenings, resources are available to help cover the cost.
Informational exhibits secured to date are: Moncrief Cancer Institute; Mary’s Gift; and; Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
A light supper sponsored by Moncrief Cancer Institute and planning coalition members, along with exhibitors and door prizes will create a fun and festive atmosphere for those in attendance. 
Ladies are encouraged to pre-register and enter for a chance to win a special door prize by contacting the Extension office at 940/627-3341. 

The Friend to Friend party is free of charge due to the generosity of area sponsors and grant funds provided by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Wise County and the Friend to Friend Planning Coalition are hosting the event. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wise County Stock Horse Extravaganza

The Wise County Stock Horse Extravaganza will once again be held at NRS Training Center Arena, Decatur, Texas on October 24 & 25.  The Extravaganza is hosted by the Wise County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Horse Committee.  This event is a sanctioned American Stock Horse Association.

There will be a Stock Horse Clinic on Friday, October 24th starting at 9:00 a.m., with some of the best clinicians in the country.  Clinicians will teach four areas of stock horse competition.  The clinicians are: 
·         Sean Mayfield teaching Working Cow Horse
·         Brian Sumrall teaching Stock Horse Trail
·         Jake Lemons teaching Stock Horse Pleasure
·         Heather Young will teaching Reining

On Saturday, October 25th, the Stock Horse Competition starts at 8:30 a.m. and will have six divisions:

·         Open
·         Limited Non-Pro
·         Non Pro
·         Green Horse
·         Novice
·         Youth

Each division will compete in each of the four events.  Top five all-around awards will be given to each division.  There will also be a collegiate show for college students to compete in Non-Pro, Limited Non-Pro and Novice.  The collegiate show will also recognize the top five all-around winners.

Pre-registration and payments are due by Friday, October 17th to avoid late fees.  Riders who have ALL their paperwork in including membership and license by the 10/17 deadline will be entered in a drawing for a new leather headstall with custom buckle and reins donated by ASHA and Andre Lewis Custom Spurs & Bits.  Entries need to be mailed to: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Attn: Karen Brown, 206 S. State Street, Decatur, TX  76234.  

For more information you can contact the Wise County Extension office at 940-627-3341 or email

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mealtime Memories Begin in the Kitchen

A good way to get young children excited about new foods and healthy eating is to get them involved in the kitchen. Young children like to imitate their parents, and this is especially true during meal planning and food preparation.
Young children can:
·         wipe and help set the table,
·         select fruits or vegetables for the meal,
·         rinse vegetables and fruits,
·         snap green beans,
·         stir pancake batter, and
·         help assemble a pizza and make sandwiches.

Parents need to remember some safety tips when children are in the kitchen:
·         Cook with pots and pans on the back burners.
·         Keep hot dishes where children cannot touch or pull them down on top of themselves.
·         Children should not remove cooked food from the microwave.
·         Keep knives and other sharp objects out of young children’s reach.

            Watching children closely and giving them specific, child-appropriate tasks can help to increase your child’s interest in new foods and food preparation. It is also very important to remember food safety as well, by teaching children to wash their hands with warm, soapy water before helping in the kitchen. This lifelong habit will keep children from getting sick or making others sick with a foodborne illness.

Following is a fun recipe from the Texas Corn Producers that will provide an opportunity to create memories in the kitchen. Younger children could wash veggies and stir in ingredients with supervision. Enjoy!

Farmers' Market Corn Toss

Prep Time:  25 mins
Total Time:  25 mins
Yield:  6 servings, about 2/3 cup each

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 ears corn on the cob, kernels removed
1large zucchini, sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp.  black pepper
¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided

Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and red peppers; cook and stir 3 min. Stir in corn and zucchini; cook and stir 5 min. or until all vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from heat.

Stir in basil, black pepper and 2 Tbsp. cheese. Top with remaining cheese.

Nutritional Information:Calories:   90 .Total fat:  4.5 g ,Saturated fat:  1.5 g ,Cholesterol:  5 mg , Sodium:  95 mg Carbohydrate:  10 g . Dietary fiber:  2 g , Sugars:  4 g, Protein:  4 g ,
Vitamin A -  20 %DV; Vitamin C -  35 %DV; Calcium - 8 %DV; Iron -  4 %DV.