Rise and shine, it’s berry picking time! If there’s anything that goes well with dairy, it’s a freshly-picked, red, ripe strawberry. In honor of strawberry season, we’ve decided to highlight our favorite strawberry and dairy combinations. Check out more delicious dairy recipes at gonnaneedmilk.com and strawberry recipes from our friends at Oregon Strawberries.
With warm weather and re-opened trails beckoning to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, packing up nutritious snacks and meals to take along is important. Cheese is the perfect high-protein food to throw in your backpack. With the array of hike-friendly cheeses available, even the most discerning hiker will have options to choose from.
What kind of cheese should I bring on my hike?
The next time you pack your backpack for a hike, avoid taking soft cheeses (brie, goat cheese or cream cheeses) and go for hard and dry cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan and Gouda. Avoid shredding your cheese or cutting it into chunks before hiking as it speeds up the aging process and provides more chance of getting contaminated by bacteria.
How should I store my cheese?
Store your cheese in parchment paper while traveling, the porous surface allows cheese to breathe and helps in retaining it’s flavor. Replace your wrap frequently to reduce “sweating” (the process of butterfat separating from the cheese). And don’t forget to store cheese away from hot locations in your backpack and direct sun exposure.
Here’s a list of some popular dry and hard cheeses you can take with you in your backpack:
How do I keep cheese fresh?
A good habit to get into at home and on the trail, is to write down the date you initially stored your cheese on it’s storage container. This helps you to measure when your cheese may be past it’s prime. And if you’re backpacking for several days – keep your cheese in one block. Cutting it into pieces increases the surface area that can get contaminated by mold and bacteria.
How can you tell if your cheese is past it’s prime?
Always adhere to the 2 Hour Rule for leaving perishables out: After being in room temperature for 2 hours, always re-refrigerate hard cheeses and throw out soft cheeses.
Welcome to the first-ever, virtual culinary experience with Chef Jessica! Sponsored byODEand ODNC, school and child nutrition professionals across Oregon are invited to watch or cook along with Jessica as she prepares easy, tasty and fun recipes that meet Child Nutrition Program guidelines.
Participants receive tips for shaking up old recipes with new flavors and ideas to keep kids coming back for more.
While supplies last, all participants who complete the evaluation survey will receive an “Undeniably Dairy” apron, as worn by Chef Jessica (with three front pockets) and a handy portable milk cooler for your organization.
Statewide culinary trainings and this event are sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education, Child Nutrition Services. Questions? Please contact Crista Hawkins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join ODNC and Food Hero with Food Hero’s Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge this spring. 38,000 free seed packets, donated by Bi-Mart, will be distributed by Food Hero to Oregon state residents as part of the program which aims to inspire kids to grow their own gardensand eat a healthy diet.
You can register to pick up a seed kit with Food Hero while supplies last. The seed packets will be available in 4 different seed kits: cool-weather vegetables, warm-weather vegetables, herb or edible flowers and flowers that attract pollinators, like bees and birds. Or you can join in with your own seeds, says Halie Cousineau, OSU Extension Food Hero state garden education coordinator.
The Food Hero Facebook page will hold weekly office hours when gardeners can ask questions, post photos and share their accomplishments, Cousineau said. Once they harvest their produce, gardeners can find more than 300 recipes using vegetables and fruits on the Food Hero website.
Children are a big part of the program. Beginning April 1, digital lessons will be released every Thursday through June 10 when school ends. The lineup includes Growing Healthy Kids with OSU Master Gardeners and a four-week lesson plan in partnership with the Oregon Bee Project. Kids will learn about how bees help make healthy food and how to identify several of Oregon’s bees.
Kids can upcycle their yogurt or milk containers and use sleeves provided by ODNC to help track the care and progress of their plants. Download yours here!
Throughout summer and into fall, participants will receive a monthly Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge email with gardening information, harvest recipes and storage tips. Challenge information will also be available in English and Spanish on the Food Hero gardening page. For more personalized interaction, participants can email challenge leaders or email or call the Master Gardeners in their area.
“We’re trying to make the program accessible to anyone, children, elders, people with special needs and the diversity of cultural populations in Oregon,” said Cousineau. “We’re encouraging people anywhere to join. We want to make a community.”
On #NationalPizzaDay, take your pizza to the next level with these quick hacks that are sure to spice up your pie, no matter if it comes from a box or straight from your own oven!
Sure, you can always add more cheese to take it to the next level, but you might be surprised how trying different types of cheese can improve an otherwise boring pizza. While some scientists claim that mozzarella and cheddar are the best mix, there’s also provolone, Gouda, Colby, Edam, Asiago, Gruyère, Emmental, bleu, ricotta, burrata – and, of course, Parmesan. And don’t forget to try local cheeses from your local creamery! Check out Oregon Cheese Guild to find a cheesemaker near you.
You can feel good about kicking back and binge watching your favorite show when you add seriously delicious veggies to your pie. Beyond popular favorites like garlic, peppers, onions, olives and mushrooms- have you tried zucchini, corn, cauliflower, kale, quinoa, squash, broccoli or spinach?
Pizza for Breakfast
There’s a reason that pizza is the breakfast of champions for college students. Complement your pie with a tasty egg for added protein that will give you a boost at your next class or zoom meeting.
Take a Dip
They say that the secret’s in the sauce. Rev up your pie by drizzling ranch dressing, pesto, BBQ, buffalo or hummus on top.
Some even dip their pizza in milk! We’re not making this up … it’s a thing.
Spice Is Nice
For those who like their pizza hot and spicy, you don’t have to settle for that packet of dried red peppers. There’s Tabasco, Sriracha, Cholula – and if that’s not enough, you can add peppers ranging from hot to “where’s-the-milk?!”
Promote your small time pizza to the big leagues by cooking it on a pizza stone or in your air fryer – you’ll never go back! Cooking tools like these give you an incredibly crisp crust while melting the cheese perfectly. Brushing a thin layer of olive oil on a cast-iron skillet will also give you a crispy crust in no time. Don’t forget to rub the crust with olive oil or melted butter before baking. You can also mix garlic powder, onion powder, crushed garlic, oregano, or some grated parmesan cheese into the dough to add a seasoned and flavorful boost to any pre-made pizza.
Rock and Roll Your Dough
Play with your food and switch up the shape of your pizza dough to make crescents, pinwheels, rolls, dippers and puffs.
You can also ditch the dough completely and use French or artisanal bread. Or use wonton wrappers to create the perfect package for your cheese and toppings!
Don’t forget about the sweet stuff! Break away from pineapple and make a dessert pizza with fruits like peaches, pears, apples, bananas and figs. Drizzle chocolate or caramel sauce on top for a sweet treat.
Walk on the Wild Side
Want to try something really different? Try adding some new combos like peaches and prosciutto, blackberries and basil, even shrimp and lobster. There’s plenty of inspiration online … alongside pizzas with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, spaghetti and ramen noodles!
Win Round Two
Don’t let leftovers hold you back from pie-in-the-sky creativity. Put a pizza upside down on another pizza with cheese in the middle and – Voila! Pizza grilled cheese! Or go a stack higher for pizza lasagna. Roll a mozzarella stick inside slices or cut strips of ‘pizza fries.’ Kids like slices cooked on a stick like a Popsicle or heated in a waffle iron.
When reheating slices, the oven is your friend. Preheat to 375 degrees and put it on a hot baking tray, cookie sheet or foil for 10 minutes. When using the microwave – just place a cup of water next to the pizza when you cook it to keep the crust from getting rubbery.
Hopefully these pizza hacks will help you elevate your next pie from disappointing to delectable. If you’re still not impressed, try getting the ingredients to make your own pizza the next time you’re at the grocery store and try your hand at making something from scratch. Grazie!
Do you have a picky eater at home? It’s always a challenge to get kids to eat healthy, but studies have shown that if you involve your child in the meal prep, they are more likely to eat what they prepare. Plus it gives them something productive and fun to do during times while they are homebound.
In this video, Juliauna (age 5) makes Zucchini Pizza Boats with just a little help from her mom. And, at minute 2:31 you can see how much she loved what she made.
FoodHero.org is a fantastic website where you will find kid-approved, budget-friendly and healthy recipes. Plus you will also find meal ideas and shopping tips. Funded by Oregon SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education), they help Oregonians improve their health by increasing their consumption of nutritious foods.
Their website makes it easy to search for recipes that incorporate foods you already have in your home with a section where you can search recipes by ingredients. While supervision by a parent or caretaker is necessary for cutting and cooking, many of the recipes are easy for kids to make with very little help or direction. They also have coloring pages to help your children learn about the ingredients they are using.
We will all remember the Spring of 2020 because of the stay at home restrictions put in place to help stop the spread of disease. To make the most of the time, we offer you these tips to stay healthy while staying home.
Eat Well. Our bodies need the best fuel every day, and this is a great time to focus on healthy food choices. Eating a balanced diet, which includes lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains, can help keep you healthy. And, it’s easy! Use the USDA’s MyPlate app as your guide. Think about food groups when planning meals and snacks. Try for at least two food groups for a snack – fruit and cheese, for example – and at least three for a meal – whole grain pasta, tomato sauce with added vegetables, and lean ground beef. Pour a glass of milk to round out the meal.
Drink plenty of fluids. Your body depends on fluids to survive, and most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. Water is recommended, but when you want something different, consider drinks that won’t add unnecessary sugars to your diet, like milk. Milk not only tastes great, it also is an affordable, excellent source of 9 essential nutrients. And, did you know that three of the nutrients – vitamin A, vitamin D, and protein – are essential for a healthy immune function?
Get fresh air. While doctors don’t typically prescribe sitting on your porch to cure an ailment, they do say that stepping outside can help to impact both our physical and mental health. Open a window, take a walk, or sit on your porch. “Taking a short break outdoors can leave you feeling refreshed and more energized to get back to your daily tasks,” says Dr. Jimmy Johannes, a pulmonologist at Long Beach Medical in this article. Plus, it’s easy to keep a safe “social distance” outdoors!
Keep moving. Just because the gyms are closed doesn’t mean you should stop your exercise routine. Use this time as an opportunity to try something new. Many gyms are offering online classes, and many at home programs are offering free trials. Who knows? Maybe now is the time to start training for your next 5k or marathon. It starts with the resolve to keep moving. Need to get started? The Department of Health and Human Services offers physical activity guidelines and practical ways to be active on their website.
Get plenty of sleep. Getting a good night of sleep not only helps you feel and think better, it can also help you manage stress. Start with a healthy evening routine. Turn off the screens, including your phone, an hour before bed and pick up a good book, meditate, write, play music or find another relaxing activity that will settle your brain. Being “stuck” at home does mean you have an opportunity to binge-watch your favorite television show, just consider that getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep will help you stay healthy.
Do something good. Times are stressful. People are uncertain, confused and cooped up. A great way to help manage your own stress is to take time each day to do something for someone else. Check on a neighbor, share a roll of TP, call a parent or grandparent, sew some masks for healthcare workers, or donate funds to your local food bank. While you are at it, thank a farmer for continuing to produce food for your family. Even doing something small for someone else will boost your mood- and theirs too!