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Thanksgiving resources for Michigan residents

Table with Thanksgiving dishes and beverages.

Once again, as November rolls around, we begin to get questions about preparing Thanksgiving dinner and ensuring food safety. Our educators have done a great job of creating resources on our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension website. A year ago, I blogged about their work, and it was my most-read November post, so I thought it would be helpful to post it again this year in case you get calls to your offices or questions from loved ones.

In “Be Thankful for Food Safety This Thanksgiving,” Michigan State University (MSU) Extension health and nutrition educator Jane Hart guides us through all of our favorite foods – turkey, stuffing, relish and pumpkin pie – and tells us how to make sure that they are safe to eat.

Jeannie Nichols, health and nutrition educator, writes about two U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations for preparing and cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, or any poultry for that matter. In her article, Jeannie explains why the USDA recommends that you do not rinse it before cooking it and that you do make sure it is cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. She also explains how to most effectively measure it.

Need some help with thawing times for turkey? Laurie Messing, health and nutrition educator, shares the safe ways to thaw food in her article “Thawing the Thanksgiving Turkey.”

If you won’t have time to thaw your turkey, Jeannie writes about how to safely roast a frozen one in her “Frozen Turkey for Thanksgiving” article.

Learn from health and nutrition educator Beth Waitrovich why the USDA recommends cooking stuffing outside of your turkey.

After the last forkful of pumpkin pie, many of us have leftovers to save – another important moment in food safety. Laurie explains how to properly store and use leftover turkey.

Need help in a pinch on Thanksgiving Day? Thankfully, Laurie shares with us that the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, staffed by food safety specialists, will be answering food safety questions on Thanksgiving Day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Eastern Time. The phone number is 1-888-674-6854.

Lastly, to refer people to safe food and water experts in their area, visit our MSU Extension website.  

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Filed under Food, Food safety, health, Health and Nutrition, Nutrition, Resources

MSU Extension staff members receive NEAFCS awards

Many of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues received awards at the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) annual session in September, in Big Sky, Montana.

Individual awards:

Zelda Felix-Mottley won the Continued Excellence Award, which goes to an NEAFCS member of at least 12 years. It recognizes active involvement in professional improvement programs, promotion of professional development and leadership. This is the highest honor awarded to NEAFCS members. Zelda has been with MSU Extension for 23 years and is based in Berrien County (District 13). She teaches face-to-face nutrition and physical activity workshops alongside her staff. She recruits agencies and organizations to participate in MSU Extension programming and connecting. She also builds relationships and rapport with legislators, commissioners and community partners that in turn support MSU Extension.

Diane Fair and Shannon Lindquist both won Michigan and national Distinguished Service awards. These awards are given to members of 10 years or more to recognize Extension family and consumer science educators for leadership, outstanding programs, and personal and professional growth. Diana is a disease prevention and management educator in District 13, and she provides diabetes and other health-related programs. Shannon is a member of the social-emotional work team, making efforts to provide these important programs in the seven counties of District 6. She facilitates trainings with parents, childcare providers and youth.

Michelle Jarvie, food safety, nutrition and physical activity educator in the U.P., received the New Professional Award. The New Professional Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments of NEAFCS members within their first three years of employment. The award is to encourage the use of innovative and effective methods of conducting Extension programs.

Brenda Reau, senior associate director of the MSU Product Center, received third place in the central region for the Communication Award for Educational Publication. This award recognizes a supplementary educational information piece that is designed to inform, update and make the reader respond in a positive manner.

Financial and homeownership educator Erica Tobe received first place nationally and also in the eastern region for the Social Networking Award for her project Twitter Chats and Google Hangouts for Financial Education Outreach. The project is focused on improving financial literacy through innovative technology approaches and involves a multistate collaboration. The award recognizes innovative online social networking efforts.

Team Awards:

Health and nutrition educators Eileen Haraminac, Jeannie Nichols and Jane Hart received two awards: the first place and regional Food Safety Award and the third place central region Communication Award for Internet Technology Communication. The Food Safety Award recognizes NEAFCS members for outstanding educational programs conducted for families, school nutrition workers, food industry employees or managers, church workers preparing meals, home care providers, and other groups/individuals preparing and/or serving food. The Educational Technology Communications Award encourages excellence in communication through computer programs, web pages or computer-generated presentations.

Holly Brophy-Herb and MSU Extension team members Kendra Moyses, Carrie Shrier, Maria Millet, Kylie Rymanowicz and Alan Pilkenton won the first place national award and central region award for Human Development and Family Relationships for their Building Early Emotional Skills (BEES) Parenting Program. The award recognizes innovative human development/family relationship educational efforts focusing on child care, parenting, relationships through the life span, marriage enrichment, communications (parent/child), retirement, aging, stress management and related issues.

Lastly, Tracie Abram and Michelle Jarvie received the Family Health and Wellness Award first place nationally and in the central region. The award recognizes innovative programs that promote and improve the health and wellness of families in areas such as nutrition, fitness, family meals, meal planning, time or stress management, and healthy lifestyle.

Congratulations to all of our NEAFCS winners, and thank you for the work that you do for MSU Extension and the people of Michigan.

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Thanksgiving resources for Michigan residents

A pumpkin pie with a piece cut out and sitting on a dish.

Photo by alcinoe at Morguefile.com

I don’t know about your offices, but here in the Director’s office, we get a lot of calls in November with questions about preparing for Thanksgiving dinner and food safety. Our educators have done a great job of getting out that information and resources on our website. I thought I’d mention some here in case you get any questions in your office or even from friends and family.

In “Be Thankful for Food Safety This Thanksgiving,” Michigan State University (MSU) Extension health and nutrition educator Jane Hart guides us through all of our favorite foods – turkey, stuffing, relish and pumpkin pie – and tells us how to make sure that they are safe to eat.

Jeannie Nichols, health and nutrition educator, writes about two U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations for preparing and cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, or any poultry for that matter. In her article, Jeannie explains why the USDA recommends that you do not rinse it before cooking it and that you do make sure it is cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. She also explains how to most effectively measure it.

Need some help with thawing times for turkey? Laurie Messing, health and nutrition educator, shares the safe ways to thaw food in her article “Thawing the Thanksgiving Turkey.”

If you won’t have time to thaw your turkey, Jeannie writes about how to safely roast a frozen one in her “Frozen Turkey for Thanksgiving” article.

Learn from health and nutrition educator Beth Waitrovich why the USDA recommends cooking stuffing outside of your turkey.

After the last forkful of pumpkin pie, many of us have leftovers to save – another important moment in food safety. Laurie explains how to properly store and use leftover turkey.

Looking for a new recipe to try with your turkey leftovers? Beth has a quick and easy turkey soup with vegetables that will be perfect for those chilly couple of days after the holiday.

Need help in a pinch on Thanksgiving Day? Thankfully, Laurie shares with us that the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, staffed by food safety specialists, will be answering food safety questions on Thanksgiving Day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Eastern Time. The phone number is 1-888-674-6854.

Lastly, to refer people to safe food and water experts in their area, visit our MSU Extension website.

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District 5 staff member is CANR Staffer of the Month

Congratulations to Kathy Walicki, a member of the support staff from Michigan State University Extension District 5. Kathy is the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Staff Advisory Committee January 2012 Staffer of the Month.

 Jane Hart, Muskegon County Extension educator, nominated Kathy for her positive attitude, which was particularly evident during a recent office move.

 The award goes to a member of the CANR support staff who has done something special or noteworthy within their unit or college.

 Thanks to Kathy for her great work and to Jane for putting Kathy forward for this recognition.

 

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Webinar trains food entrepreneurs in following Cottage Food Law

Michigan’s Cottage Food Law, enacted in 2010, allows individuals to manufacture and store certain types of foods in an unlicensed home kitchen. It’s intended to support farmers markets by allowing certain value-added products to be sold without the expense and trouble of preparing them in a licensed commercial kitchen.

 The Michigan State University Extension Food Safety Team made a teaching webinar in order to meet the needs of Michigan residents in relationship to food safety pertaining to the Cottage Food Law. The webinar was the most efficient and consistent way of providing educational information to this audience. Led by food safety co-chairs and Extension educators Jeannie Nichols and Jan Seitz, the Food Safety team members include Jennifer Berkey, Robin Danto, Diana Fair, Eileen Haraminac, Jane Hart, Linda Huyck, Pat Joyce, Joyce McGarry, Laurie Messing, Lucia Patritto, Janet Rathke, Christy Rivette, Phil Tocco, Lisa Treiber, Chris Venema and Beth Waitrovich.

 Jeannie stated, “For us as educators, it meant learning about developing a professional, interactive and interesting site.”

 The team developed “MI Cottage Food Law Food Safety Training/Webinar” with support from Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications team members Laura Probyn, Steve Evans and Kraig Ehm. Laura edited and revised the initial script. Laura and Kraig voiced the project, and Steve edited the PowerPoint that was the basis for the webinar and built quiz and evaluation modules for the project.

 According to Jeannie, the quiz at the end of the webinar evaluates the knowledge that participants gain as well as their intent to use the information from the webinar. Once a participant completes the quiz with 70 percent accuracy, he or she can purchase a certificate to display at a farmers market booth. Farmers markets customers would then see that the vendor had taken the initiative to take some extra food safety training in relation to cottage foods.

 Food Safety Team members conducted face-to-face presentations throughout the state using the curriculum to validate its content and usefulness before it was made available online. To help with this project, the team applied for and received a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) grant that allowed the production of this webinar including marketing materials.

 You can view the webinar here: http://vimeo.com/24282676

 Plans are underway to add the webinar to the governor’s weekly video feature rotation and to be placed on the MDARD’s YouTube channel.

 This is a great illustration of what the new MSUE is all about and how we’re embracing technology to achieve our mission. And it shows the interlinkage among work teams and institutes. Some of the greatest demand for the webinar is likely to come from individuals and businesses who sell homemade products at farmers markets, which are among the assets that we try to support through the community food systems group in the Greening Michigan Institute.

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