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Healthy Summer Party Tips

Healthy Summer Party Tips

4th of July get-togethers and summer parties are in full swing, so we have healthy summer party tips to make your party a success.

First up, brush up on outdoor food safety.

Safe Summer Infographic

 

Know the 4 steps to food safety for your 4th of July party.

4 Steps to Food Safety

 

Transport food in coolers whenever possible, and never leave any food with mayo, dairy, meat, or eggs out for longer than 2 hours.

Food Sitting Out

 

When grilling, cook beef and pork to 145 degrees, ground meat to 160 degrees, and chicken or turkey to 165 degrees.

Temperature Guide

 

Avoid cross-contamination by keeping dishes and utensils that touched raw meat away from other ingredients and cooked meat.

Tick season is supposed to be bad this year, so set up a bug spray station and use torches or candles to repel bugs.

18 Cookout Hacks to Take Summer Entertaining to the Next Level

 

Sunscreen is an important part of all outdoor get-togethers. Have it on hand and help prevent skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

 

And check out our healthy summer party recipes that are perfect for your next party or get-together and, without mayo or dairy, will keep longer outside.

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Zucchini from the Garden

Long View: You Don’t Have to Be an Expert Gardener for Homegrown Taste

A few years ago, I moved into a house that could support a backyard vegetable garden. I decided to give it a shot. After all, I had watched many how-to shows on PBS for resource material, and all four of my grandparents were farmers. I cleared out a sizable space and then went to buy the plants.

Most of you know that eight zucchini plants are more than enough for a small town, not to mention a backyard plot. I over-bought cherry tomato plants, too. They got away from me early in the game.

The bugs were another challenge. I guess I never noticed them before, but they sure noticed my tender, young plants and considered them a fresh buffet planted just for them. I voiced my frustration to my neighbor, and she said, “Why don’t you just go to Urbana’s Market at the Square? It’s right next to your Health Alliance home office. How could you not know about it?”

Urbana’s farmers market began in 1979 and has grown considerably since its inception. Thousands of visitors attend it every Saturday morning from early May until early November. Fresh produce is just one of the attractions. Per its website, it also features a variety of other products—from “meat and dairy products, prepared foods, plants, and flowers to jewelry, pottery, wood workings, candles, body care products, garden décor, clothing, and more!” Whew.

I especially like being able to talk to the producers face to face. Almost all of them are quick with a story or a smile, and they remember their regulars. One producer puts back a box of new potatoes if I get to the market a little later than usual. She doesn’t make a big deal about it, and neither do I.

There are always some nice opportunities for socializing. I see lots of people I know, and my visit always takes longer than I expected. Folks just seem to be in a good mood, so why not enjoy it?

You may have a similar resource in your community. You can search on the Illinois Department of Agriculture website. People new to our community and many mature family members make good shopping companions. I think I have found a great way to support our local economy and purchase products that were grown or created in our area. The produce is spectacular. Funny thing though, in all these years, I can’t remember buying a single zucchini.

Holiday Safety

Holiday Safety

This week on social media, we gave you helpful holiday safety tips for staying safe this season.

Make sure you carefully inspect holiday lights each year and throw out old or damaged lights that could cause fires.

Holiday Lights

Fresh trees are best for avoiding fires. Fake trees should say they’re fire resistant.

Christmas Trees

 

Always turn your holiday lights off when you leave the house and go to bed.

Outdoor Holiday Lights

 

Never connect more than one extension cord together. Use one long cord. Connecting extension cords increases the risk of fires.

Tangled Cords

 

Never keep open flames near your trees, garland, wreaths, or fabric decorations.

Candles and the Holidays

 

Don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. They can ignite and burn suddenly and intensely, causing worse fires.

Holiday Fireplace

 

Be careful with fire salts that change your fire’s color. Keep out of the reach of children, they can contain heavy metals.

A Fire During the Holidays

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