Making the Most of Thanksgiving Leftovers

Healthy Thanksgiving Leftovers

This week on social media in food, we gave you some Cooking Light recipes to make use of all of those Thanksgiving leftovers.

First up was Cranberry-Hoisin Turkey Buns, a tasty take on a Chinese sandwich.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

 

Try making these Spicy Turkey Soft Tacos with homemade mole sauce.

Spicy Turkey Soft Tacos

 

Try using up your extra sides and turkey with Roasted Squash Soup with Turkey Croquettes.

Roasted Squash Soup with Turkey Croquettes

 

If you’re looking for something lighter for dinner tonight, try this Asian Turkey Salad with your leftovers.

Asian Turkey Salad

 

Make this Roast Turkey and Prosciutto Pizza with your leftovers instead of takeout tonight.

 Roast Turkey and Prosciutto Pizza

 

Try these Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa for a spicy leftover meal or snack.

Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa

 

Make this hearty Turkey Mushroom Bread Pudding to use up the last of your holiday meal.

Turkey Mushroom Bread Pudding

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Checking Expiration Dates

Long View: Food Safety – What’s in a Date?

I was hunting for some cookies at my mom’s house, and I noticed a bottle of Tabasco® sauce in the back corner of the pantry. I wondered why she had a new bottle of something she rarely uses, and she told me she just keeps it around and had moved it from her house on Church Street.

“Gee, Mom, that was 12 years ago,” I said, and it got me thinking about expiration dates and what they mean.

I hope during this holiday season and all year long, Health Alliance Medicare members and non-members alike, pay attention to this wise advice from the experts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines the most common terms this way.

• A “sell-by” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before this date.
• A “best if used by (or before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
• A “use-by” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The maker of the product determines this date.
• “Closed or coded dates” are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer.

Who knew?

Another good food safety resource is your local University of Illinois Extension office. Jenna Smith is the nutrition and wellness educator for Livingston, McLean and Woodford counties. She has a safety-first approach.

“Dates on food packaging can be very confusing,” Smith says. “But in general, most dates refer to best quality, not to food safety. When in doubt, throw it out. If the food develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, do not use it.”

As a former holder of a Food Service and Sanitation Certificate, I tend to take a very conservative approach when it comes to food safety. I especially remember some videos on the proper methods for handling raw chicken and the consequences of not maintaining the proper temperature. I didn’t eat poultry for two years.

Paying attention to safe food practices and being well informed are the best ways to be safe. I think my mom’s Tabasco sauce has transformed from a condiment to a treasured family heirloom along the way. I am OK with it for now, as long as I’m not eating it.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Health Alliance!

Good Health at Any Age

Vantage Point: May Good Health Bless You this Holiday Season

Some of us were lucky to be born with good health, but keeping that health is a challenge, especially as we age. My coworkers recently invited me to do a “Maintain, Don’t Gain” holiday challenge. At first I thought I didn’t want to limit myself during the holidays—when good food, drinks, and sweets are everywhere—but as the days got shorter and I started making excuses to skip my workouts (too dark, too cold, too tired, etc.), the scale and my health started moving in the wrong direction.

Health Alliance Medicare is more than a health plan that covers our members when they get hurt or sick. It offers programs to manage chronic diseases and wellness benefits to help our members stay healthy all winter long—no matter how cold and dark the days get.

One of our most popular benefits is the SilverSneakers® fitness program that gives members free gym access at participating gyms or sends workout equipment right to their home. I have watched a SilverSneakers class at the Wenatchee YMCA. The participants there not only get a great workout that improves strength, balance, and flexibility, but they also have fun, laugh, smile, and socialize.

Health Alliance Medicare works to prevent illness, too. We offer our members flu and other vaccines. At the Ephrata Community Resource Forum, Jeff Ketchel, administrator of Grant County Public Health, highlighted the importance of the flu shot now that flu season is here. The flu shot is key to keeping you and your loved ones healthy through the holidays and beyond. Members can get the flu vaccine at in-network providers or pharmacies.*

Recently, one of our employees was sitting next to a gentleman making small talk, and he learned she worked for Health Alliance. He took her by the arm and said, “Thank you, we absolutely love your plan.”

In that same spirit, I thank all of you for allowing Health Alliance to partner with you to improve the health of the communities we serve, and I wish you and your families a healthy and happy holiday season.

*If a member gets the flu vaccine at a doctor’s office, an office visit copay may apply.

Last Chance

Your Last Chance

It’s the last week of Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which ends on December 7, and your last chance to get covered!

Don’t let it pass you by. We can cut through confusion and questions to help you get covered today.

Call 1-888-382-9771 (TTY 711) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Or visit HealthAllianceMedicare.org for more info.

Health Alliance Medicare is an HMO, PPO, and PDP plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment depends on contract renewal. You must continue to pay your Part B premium. Low-cost prescriptions are available at other in-network pharmacies. The benefit information here is just a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, premium, and/or copayments/coinsurance may change on January 1 of each year.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Healthy Thanksgiving

Save these healthy Thanksgiving tips and recipes we shared on social media this week, and always be prepared. You can also find healthy recipes year-round on our Pinterest!

Cooking fires double on Thanksgiving Day! Make sure you have a smoke alarm in your home, and that it is tested regularly.

Make sure you thaw your turkey safely, in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in a microwave oven, to keep it out of the temperature range where it grows bacteria!

If you’re baking things ahead, or making the bird on the big day, make sure you check on the oven regularly and use timers.

Don’t leave the kitchen unattended while your burners are going, and avoid loose sleeves while over the stove.

After your guests leave tonight, make sure you check the house to ensure all candles or fires are out. Start packing up leftovers within 2 hours.

Make sure you removed all the stuffing from the inside of your turkey, and store the two separately.

Don’t leave leftovers in their serving dishes with plastic wrap or foil coverings, transfer them to smaller, airtight containers.

Leftovers in your fridge are good for 3 to 4 days. If you have a lot, freezing leftovers is a great option, and they will keep for 3 to 4 months.

First, we had a savory recipe for Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy.

Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy

 

And Ciabatta Stuffing with Chesnuts and Raisins to go inside.

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chesnuts and Raisins

 

If you want something that will wow your guests, make this Truffled Pommes Anna instead of mashed potatoes.

Truffled Pommes Anna

 

And try this light Green Bean Casserole with Madeira Mushrooms that is only 173 calories.

Green Bean Casserole with Madeira Mushrooms

 

 

Make these delicious Meringue and Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes this holiday and skip the marshmallows.

Meringue and Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes

 

And whip up this Cranberry Sauce with Apple Cider with ingredients you already have on hand.

Cranberry Sauce with Apple Cider

 

Got leftovers? You can make this Sweet Potato Buttered Rum Flan with your leftovers and things in your pantry.

Sweet Potato Buttered Rum Flan

 

You can never have too many recipes for your leftover turkey. Try this Mexican Turkey Stew that won’t remind you of your holiday meal.

Mexican Turkey Stew

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Shopping Bags

Don’t Forget Your Insurance!

We know you’re all busy with the holidays and getting ready to shop, but don’t forget to splurge a little on yourself! As you gear up for Black Friday shopping, remember to shop for your Medicare plan before time runs out on December 7.

Health Alliance Medicare Advantage plans can give you a lot of options and great benefits like the SilverSneakers® fitness program, help with health services while traveling through Assist America, $0 Tier 1 drugs at Walmart and Sam’s, and our Anytime Nurse Line.

And join us at Marketplace Mall on Black Friday to get a free shopping bag and learn more about plans.

Don’t miss out on a great deal this shopping season with Health Alliance Medicare!

Call 1-888-382-9771 (TTY 711) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Or visit HealthAllianceMedicare.org for more info.

Health Alliance Medicare is an HMO, PPO, and PDP plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment depends on contract renewal. You must continue to pay your Part B premium. Low-cost prescriptions are available at other in-network pharmacies. The benefit information here is just a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, premium, and/or copayments/coinsurance may change on January 1 of each year.

Shopping in the Marketplaces

A Different Kind of Mall

Shopping season is here! And not just for the holidays. The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is now in full swing for you to buy health insurance too. It’s time to start comparing plans, and you should start with the marketplaces.

State Public Marketplaces

The Affordable Care Act requires each state have a Public Exchange, or Marketplace. These are like an online mall where you can compare the price and benefits of each product, much like you would with a big purchase like a television, a phone or a mattress. Only, in the exchanges, you’re comparing individuals’ health insurance plans.

Individual plans are what you shop for if you don’t have insurance through your employer and you don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

Our Private Marketplace

Health Alliance has its own Public Marketplace too. This shows you only our plans available in the Public Marketplace. You can find our plans in the state Public Marketplace too, but if you already know you would like the customer service and personal attention of Health Alliance, you can compare plans in our Public Marketplace with less clutter and confusion.

To put this in easier terms, if you know you want Levi jeans, finding what you want in a Levi jeans store will be easier than shopping in a department store. Shopping in Health Alliance’s private marketplace is no different.

Our Direct Marketplace

You can also shop for individual plans in our Direct Marketplace. It has all of our private plans, which offer more plan, doctor, and drug choices.

It is more like a specialty store that has many options, like going to Best Buy to shop for televisions. Here, you can pay more for premium features if want them, or you can find something that balances both price and benefits.

Learn more about the exchanges, or start shopping for plans at HealthAlliance.org or by calling us at 1-877-686-1168.

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