Are you ready? It may feel like the season of wonder…as in how will I get it all done? Maybe this is the year to really ask, where do I find the most joy in the season? When can I be present in the moment, so I don’t feel that by being busy, I missed the things that were really important? Many of you may have heard of the term mindfulness, and in this case it’s a way to just push pause on life and really appreciate the moments. How can I do that? See if any of the below make sense to you to try.
Stop for a minute and:
* Listen to the sounds around you---it may be music; it may be children’s laughter or others’ conversation. It could be the cooks in the kitchen or the new toys as children discover more about them. It might be the quiet after the day’s activities have slowed down or your favorite music. The point is, just listen to what’s going on around you.
* Enjoy the smells - the scent of the tree or candles, the aroma of your favorite food cooking or as you pass it around the table. Wherever you are, just pause to smell what’s around you, and savor the moment.
* Pause to really enjoy the flavors — we’ve planned and prepared for weeks; we’ve been in a hurry to get it all done. Do not rush through the meal or gathering by eating quickly too. How does the food really taste, what do you like or dislike about the flavor? Really relish the moment of flavor and textures as you enjoy the special recipes of the season.
* Pay attention to the little things that make the sights enjoyable. Maybe it’s the lights or color of the decorations or a specific flower arrangement. It could be the church steeple against the sky, the stars on a clear night or even children performing in a program. Or maybe it’s sharing with people you only see once a year. Whatever the occasion, just pause, and absorb the moment in your mind’s eye so you can reflect on it at a later time.
It seems that no matter how we choose to celebrate the holidays, there’s always food involved. For some of us the events are close to home and for others we may be traveling for our celebrations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture gives us the following guidance to make sure that our food is always safe and healthy for our guests.
If you are cooking specialty foods, refer to a guide to make sure you are following specific preparations. Use a food thermometer to make sure all foods are cooked correctly.
Cook beef, pork, lamb, veal steaks, chops and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees and allow to rest for at least three minutes before caring or consuming. All ground meats should be cooked to 160 degrees and all poultry to 165 degrees.
The main thing to remember is to keep hot foods hot (above 140 degrees) and cold foods cold, (below 40 degrees). Keeping food cold while traveling distances is the easiest to do by using ice packs and a thermometer in the cooler.
If you would like more information, check out the FoodKeeper app that will give a quick reference guide for safe food storage and preparation. Do not forget to put the food away within two hours so that you can safely enjoy the leftovers. If you have food safety questions outside of our office hours, please check out ASKKAREN.gov
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or firstname.lastname@example.orgCFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu.