I had a conversation with someone this week who shared this thought: “Be present with those who want to be present with you.” Our lives have had more challenges than usual this year, and while it might be tempting to focus on the things that are missing, don’t overlook the blessings that surround you and your family. While our family gatherings might look different this year, it’s still a season to be thankful. How can we interact? Think about family conversation starters like “If you had a magic wand, how would your world look different?” or “If you could travel anyplace in the world, where would it be and why?” or even simple things like “Tell me what makes you happy.” You get the idea - sometimes just getting the conversation started is the hard part, especially when we may have been spending more time together. Think outside the box and look for ways to enjoy the day celebrating life.
On our website, go.osu.edu/holidayfoodsafety, there are a couple of fact sheets that you may find of interest. Turkey Tips shares the guidelines on thawing and preparation of the turkey and traditional foods. Another topic which may be helpful to the hunters in your family is canning and freezing of venison. As the meal may look a little different this year, so may the budget. Here are a few tips that may serve to assist in stretching the dollar a little further:
*Prepare only one meat instead of two. Remember serving sizes and how many leftovers that you would like to have, and plan accordingly.
*Prepare more vegetables to add variety to the meal instead of rich desserts. Vegetables are usually less costly than ingredients for desserts.
*See what ingredients from the recipe are essential and what ones can be substituted or eliminated without changing the flavor or concept. For example, instead of nuts on top, use cracker crumbs for the crunchy topping on the casserole.
*Pick up items when they are on sale. Look through the sale ads and make a list so that you purchase only what you need. Look through your pantry and see what you already have and make use of those items also.
*Plan to purchase only enough food for what you need. It’s great to buy extra if you will use the leftovers, but if you don’t utilize them and you end up throwing them away, that’s not money well spent. Plan your leftovers into your meals so that everyone will enjoy them. Check out our website at http://www.wayne.osu.edu to determine how long leftovers can be kept safely.
*Plan to keep your food safe, keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Don’t leave them setting out on the table for more than two hours if you want to use those leftovers in your favorite soup or casserole recipe.
*What does your herb or spice selection look like? Use what you have if possible, since these can be rather expensive. Maybe a trip to the bulk food store might be a good investment to seek specialty items that you don’t use very often. Compare the price and see if it’s worth your time and gas to make the trip.
*Look for recipes that have a few ingredients, but great flavor. Talk with friends and neighbors, and share the good secrets so that you can all enjoy great flavor without a great investment.
*Usually, making foods from scratch is less expensive than prepared mixes. They may take a little more time, but you can save about 25-30% in the cost if you do the work to prepare them.
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com or call at 330-264-8722….May we all find ways to put a smile on someone’s face during this challenging time.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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