Category Archives: taste and health

Nine Easy Ways to Hack Your Pizza

On National Pizza Day, and all of the other 364 days of the year, people across this country settle for sad slices of pizza that were once frozen solid like a manhole cover, lacking toppings or damaged in delivery. They often look nothing like the picture above and sometimes taste like cardboard. Let’s face it, not all pizzas are created equal.

We’re here to help with nine easy ways you can upgrade an uninspired, pathetic pie by hacking your pizza:

accessory-1238759_960_720.jpg1. Cheese It Up

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 you’ll probably want to top it off with some Parmesan.

pizza-346985_960_720-e1549687918746.jpg2. Veg Out

So you ordered a basic cheese or one topping pizza? Add pre-cooked vegetables for extra flavor and extra nutrition. Beyond popular favorites like garlic, peppers, onions, olives and mushrooms, have you tried zucchini, corn, cauliflower, kale, quinoa, squash, broccoli or spinach? And don’t forget about fruits! Besides pineapple, some use peaches, pears, apples, bananas and fig.

pesto-1776673_960_720-e1549688039525.jpg3. Take a Dip

Dips aren’t just for chips. Sometimes the easiest way to jazz up a bland slice isn’t in the slice itself. Some swear by ranch dressing, but depending on the flavor of the slice you can also go with marinara, garlic and herb, pesto, BBQ, buffalo or hummus. Some even dip their pizza in milk. We’re not making this up … it’s a thing.

pepper-662550_960_720-e1549688142535.jpg4. Spice It Up

This one isn’t for everyone, but 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 (everybody has their favorites), and if that’s not enough, you can add peppers ranging from hot to ‘you might need to sign a waiver’ before you eat it.

food-3309419_960_7205. Cook Like A Pro

Promote your small time pizza to the big leagues by cooking it on a pizza stone. You can make your own with a few bucks at a home improvement store. Look for untreated, unglazed terra cotta or quarry tiles. They’ll distribute the heat more evenly in your oven or barbeque. Yes you read that right, you can cook a pizza on a barbeque.

olive-oil-salad-dressing-cooking-olive-e1549688593916.jpg6. Rub the Crust

Coat the crust with olive oil before you stick the pizza in the oven. You can also use melted butter, garlic powder, crushed garlic, oregano, and some grated parmesan cheese. This simple step can add a seasoned and flavorful boost to any premade pizza.

american-1238676_960_720-e1549688710591.jpg7. Walk on the Wild Side

We’re not just talking about sprinkling some bacon bits on top, not that there’s anything wrong with that. 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 hardboiled eggs, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, spaghetti and ramen noodles.

watercress-600072_960_720-e1549688802350.jpg8. Change It Up

There are a lot of ways to cook pizza that don’t even look like pizza. For example, put a pizza upside down on another pizza with cheese in the middle and you have a grilled cheese pizza/calzone impersonator. 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.

pan-544679_960_7209. Win Round Two

There’s an art to reheating slices. Using an oven, preheat to 375 and put it on a hot baking tray, cookie sheet or foil for 10 minutes. Or put it in a skillet, covered on medium heat with a few drops of water in the pan, and cook for at least five minutes. Then there’s the microwave – just place a cup of water next to the pizza when you cook it.

Hopefully one or more of these pizza hacks will help you elevate your next pizza 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. It’s pretty easy with enough time and the right ingredients. Bon appétit!

 

RELATED LINK:

Fighting Hunger, One Grilled Cheese Sandwich at a Time

There are plenty of reasons to love February. Sure, there’s Valentine’s Day and Oregon’s birthday for becoming a state, but have you heard of the month-long effort to fight hunger known as “The Melt Down?” If you like grilled cheese sandwiches, you’ll love what you’re about to read.

During the entire month of February, 20 restaurants in Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, McMinnville and Newberg are selling their own special grilled cheese sandwiches in a friendly competition for the title of the “Biggest Cheese.” Everyone ends up a winner though, since all grilled cheese sandwiches sold during the month of February raise funds for the Yamhill Community Action Partnership (YCAP) regional food bank. This year’s goal is $20,000.

As part of the Oregon Food Bank network, YCAP provides food to 17 emergency food pantries strategically located throughout Yamhill County. These pantries provide a variety of fresh and shelf-stable groceries to low-income families and individuals. YCAP also provides food to six meal sites in the county.

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From a prior year, this is just one of many tasty examples from The Melt Down.

In the spirit of friendly competition, The Melt Down chefs are using some serious creativity with their culinary creations, including special cheeses, sauces, breads and other tasty surprises. As the Yamhill Valley News-Register reported, “These are not your father’s grilled cheese sandwiches.” Many local cheeses and dairy ingredients are featured on the menus.

Through the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, Oregon dairy farmers and processors are supporting The Melt Down in 2019 alongside ongoing nutrition and food security initiatives. There are also plans to involve Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassadors, local dairy farmers and Undeniably Dairy materials in related events and communications.

There’s a passport available for those adventurous souls who seek to experience all 20 offerings throughout the course of the month. But just remember, there are only 28 days in February, and if you want to try them all, the clock is ticking … good luck!

RELATED LINKS:

The Melt Down 2019 Restaurants and Sandwiches

YCAP Regional Food Bank

The Melt Down on Facebook

meltdownlist

Feeding the Need: How the Oregon Dairy Community Fights Hunger

September marks the end of summer, a transition to fall and the start of a new school year. One could say that this month represents a time for change. So, it is fitting that September is Hunger Action Month – a month where individuals and organizations across the country come together to make a positive change for hungry people and families in our communities.

According to the Oregon Hunger Task Force, one out of every eight Oregonians struggle with hunger, including 20 percent of all children. Oregon currently ranks as the 12th hungriest state in the nation. In 2004, Oregon was ranked as the hungriest state. While there is still a long way to go, Oregon is making significant progress thanks in part to the generous donations of dairy foods that have helped nourish hungry families. Here are just a few examples:

  • Just under 2 million pounds of dairy products were donated to the Oregon Food Bank last year.
  • In 2018, the Tillamook County Creamery Association earned a national Outstanding Community Impact Award. It’s donations to the Oregon Food Bank included funds, food, a delivery truck, and funding for research aimed to end hunger.
  • Also in 2018, an Oregon farm and a dairy plant donated 100,000 pounds of shelf-stable milk powder to Oregon Food Bank. This was equal to 1.1 million gallons of milk.
  • Between 2014 and 2016, Lochmead Farms donated 20,000 gallons of milk to their local pantry, Food for Lane County.
  • Beginning in 2008, Threemile Canyon Farms donates 8,000 pounds of beef every month to help hungry Oregonians through the Farmers Ending Hunger program. The donations have provided nearly 1 million pounds of much needed protein to the Oregon Food Bank network and organizations like Blanchet House.

There are more examples, but many go untold simply because helping others is “just the right thing to do.” Dairy farmers and processing companies in Oregon have a deep, often multi-generational commitment to the communities where they farm, work and live. During Hunger Action Month, we celebrate their year round work to fight hunger and thank the Oregon dairy community for their generosity.

On average, people served by food banks receive the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year. You can help address this unmet need by contributing to the Great American Milk Drive or join the 10-Gallon Challenge today.

by Tyler Chase, Oregon Health & Science University Dietetic Intern

Nutrition Leader Honored as Health and wellness Champion

A red plate set at the supper table is a time honored tradition among American families to recognize someone who deserved special praise.

4 years ago, OSU’s Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventative Health amplified that tradition to start the Moore Family Center Founder’s Red Plate Award. An award designed to recognize professionals who work to help individuals and communities live healthier through good nutrition.

This year’s Red Plate Award was given to Anne Goetze RDN, LD, FAND, OSU alumni and Sr. Director of Nutrition Affairs for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council (ODNC). But she humbly deflects the praise. “I have worked for dairy farm families for many years and am grateful for their commitment to healthy communities. They tend their land, animals and natural resources just as they tend their families, with love and an eye for the future.”

Anne has been committed to Oregon dairy farmers through ODNC for 28 years, educating the public about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. “We absolutely believe dairy products are an irreplaceable part of a healthy diet,” Anne says, “and we’re working to educate Oregonians about how they’re part of a sustainable food system.”

Anne’s work through ODNC influences the nutrition field through farm to table messaging. “It’s the choices people make that impact whether or not we’re going to have farms [in the future].”

An article written by Hanna Knowles, OSU’s assistant Director of Marketing and Communications, says, “Anne’s influence within the nutrition field is wide-ranging. She strives to be a relevant and strategic resource for dairy processors by helping them interpret consumer research, apply new nutrition policies and develop product innovations. She provides current and future dietitians with continuing education and is a conduit for health and nutrition education in Oregon.”

“I learned from the very best, from birth to today,” says Anne, “and I am very grateful to work for Oregon’s dairy farmers.”

It was a unanimous decision to honor Anne with the Red Plate award. Endowed Director of the Moore Family Center, Emily Ho said, “Anne leads with heart, dedication and infectious enthusiasm, which has activated countless others to join the cause of improved health in Oregon.”

What’s the Scoop?

July is National Ice Cream Month and dairy farmers, in partnership with the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council (ODNC), celebrated by delivering “random acts of ice cream” to deserving members of the community during the first-ever “Scoop it Forward Week” July 15-22.

“Ice cream is one of those things that just makes everything better, and we saw this as a simple way to bring positivity and joy to people’s lives in surprising and unexpected ways,” said Josh Thomas, Senior Director of Communications for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “Random acts of kindness can be contagious, and our call to action is simply for people to spread the good and pay it forward.”

ODNC delivered locally processed ice cream treats to many places including, the Tigard Police Department, the Salem Fire Department, a playground and a skate park.

Cloud Cap Farms, a dairy in Clackamas County, also celebrated by treating the first 100 customers at Baskin-Robbins in Sandy Oregon, to a free cone. “When you buy dairy products, you are supporting my family and our business. Scoop it Forward is our way of saying thank you.”

Louie Kazemier, owner of Rickreall Dairy near Salem, also joined in the fun by delivering 250 ice cream sandwiches to Camp Attitude near Sweet Home, Oregon. Camp Attitude serves children who have special needs and their families. “It was a fun evening,” said Kazemier.

And Central Oregon’s Eberhard’s Dairy Products “scooped it forward” by handing out 36 gallons of free ice cream in Bend and Redmond. “We wanted to participate because we loved the message behind Scoop it Forward. We always say without our community we would not be where we are today so it felt good to give back to the community that has given us so much!” said Emily Eberhard.

ODNC hopes other people will continue to pass it on. “This is one small gesture that can make a really big difference,” said Thomas.

 

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“Scoop It Forward” Promotes Random Acts of Ice Cream

1 Scoop logoJuly is National Ice Cream Month, and it includes a celebration of appreciation called “Scoop It Forward.” Supported by Oregon’s dairy farmers and processors, the week-long campaign, from July 15 to 22, encourages people to show appreciation for one another through random acts of ice cream.

“Ice cream is one of those things that just makes everything better, and we saw this as a simple way to bring positivity and joy to people’s lives in surprising and unexpected ways,” said Josh Thomas, Senior Director of Communications for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “Random acts of kindness can be contagious, and our call to action is simply for people to spread the good and pay it forward.”

Leading up to this week, there have already been surprise ice cream deliveries to a playground, a skate park, a police station and Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland. And that’s just the beginning. Each person who receives ice cream is encouraged to recognize at least two others with a special delivery of their own.

Suggestions include recognizing family, friends, neighbors, a favorite teacher, local police or fire departments or even complete strangers. Photos and video from these moments will be shared on social media using the hashtag #ScoopItForward. Those who aren’t able to give ice cream are encouraged to send ice cream emojis with a message of appreciation. Organizers hope the positivity will spread far and wide.

“This is such a simple gesture that anybody can do,” said Thomas. “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream, and that’s pretty close”

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Dairy Done Right: Tillamook Honored Nationally for Community Impact

Contributions include fighting hunger, advocating for housing and supporting youth

Guided by the “Dairy Done Right” philosophy, Tillamook County Creamery Association has earned top awards for its cheese, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream and butter. Now the dairy farmer-owned cooperative has earned a national award for its commitment to the communities where Tillamook employees live and work.

IMG_3589Tillamook County Creamery Association
Outstanding Community Impact Award

Among the many reasons why Tillamook rose to the top of their category:

  • Support for the Oregon Food Bank has included contributions of funds, food, a distribution truck, a food drive and research about food insecurity with the goal of eliminating hunger statewide.
  • Funded a study on the root causes of the local housing shortage, and its gift of $75,000 allowed CARE to continue its mission of providing emergency aid to the homeless and those in crisis.
  • Collaborated with the Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington on a dairy patch to educate young girls about STEM concepts, farms and food production.
  • Committed $1.5 million to a new food innovation center to Oregon State University.
  • As part of an employee-led volunteer program, 118 members of the company volunteered 1,200 hours within the first year.

“Tillamook exemplifies devotion to their community,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “From working to find the root cause of food insecurity to improving housing access, they are addressing large-scale issues that impact the people and the planet.”

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Sarah Beaubien, Senior Director of Stewardship for TCCA

The Outstanding Community Impact Award was the only one given in that category nationally. The announcement was made on May 16 at a special ceremony outside of Chicago, Illinois, where it was accepted by Sarah Beaubien, Tillamook’s senior director of stewardship, alongside staff and board members. True to the spirit of the award, CEO Patrick Criteser was unable to receive the award because he was in the middle of a 300-mile bike ride to raise funds and awareness to help end childhood hunger.

As James Dillard, corporate and community relations manager at the Oregon Food Bank, said, “They are not giving away money just to improve their brand rating. They really are passionate about making a difference in Oregon.”

With Tillamook’s award, Oregon went back-to-back with U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards following last year’s “Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award” for Rickreall Dairy. Also of note for 2018 was Kroger’s win for “Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing Sustainability,” which includes Oregon’s own Swan Island Dairy.

To hear Sarah Beaubien’s acceptance speech at the award ceremony, watch the video below:

 

 

Related Links:

Meet the winners of the 2018 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards | DairyGood

Tillamook County Creamery Association Wins National Community Impact Award | NEWS RELEASE

Outstanding Community Impact: Tillamook County Creamery Association | FACT SHEET

Think Like a Farmer, Honor the Harvest

Erin Fitzgerald

What do sustainability and nutrition have in common? Everything. That’s according to Erin Fitzgerald, senior vice president of global sustainability for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

She addressed the Oregon Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Educational Conference as keynote speaker on May 4, conveying the importance of consumers and farmers working together to preserve the world’s resources while feeding America and a growing global population. Fitzgerald leads efforts to enhance dairy’s contributions to a more sustainable food system.

At the conference, Fitzgerald addressed the world’s need for food and the natural resources needed to produce food, stating that:

“We are exceeding the caring capacity of this earth. And since the global middle class will triple by 2030, we need to be prepared to provide more food. But how? We are losing 50 acres of farmland an hour due to urban encroachment. Our farmland is our rainforest. It is our nation’s greatest natural resource.”

However, she offered a message of hope. “I absolutely do believe we can solve for this. But it’s going to take an incredible amount of innovation,” she said. Fitzgerald addressed three major pathways toward sustainable food systems:


   Reduce waste and inefficiencies.

   Manage natural resource constraints.

   Advance farm technologies for crops in a bio economy.

Fitzgerald sees incredible benefits to advancement in technology. “By unlocking the potential of agriculture we will be able to cycle and manage carbon through agriculture, to solve for climate change,” she said. She followed that the biggest need is to create a revolution where consumers commit to adopt a farmers mentality to leave this earth as a legacy for future generations. “How are we going to get people on a sustainability pathway if we don’t already have the values and commitment to leave this world better than we found it?” said Fitzgerald.

She encouraged nutrition professionals by saying, “Take comfort in this stat that 48% of our land, air and water is in the stewardship of our farmers. They are truly providing these ecosystem services that we have taken for granted.” She went on to explain, “Dairy was the first industry sector to make a commitment to climate change.”

But aside from the sustainable practices that are ingrained in a farmer’s way of life, Fitzgerald also points out how important the cow is to our food system. “Because of the cow, we don’t have to wait for plant growing cycles, but we get nutrition year-round,” she said. “We take that for granted, but globally, around the world, to be able to provide nutrition 365 days while you are waiting for the crops to come in is a very big deal.”

As for the consumer’s role in sustainable nutrition, she explained that we are currently throwing away a third of the earth’s food. “Farmers are not going to have the chance to get this right unless people are eating healthy and not throwing their food away,” she said. “They are not honoring the harvest. What we do on our plates that has the greatest significance to the environmental impact.”

Fitzgerald encouraged her audience to create a ‘food-cycle movement,’ which includes: nourish people, eat right (leftovers too), get food to the food insecure, do your part in your community, and create a social handprint with food. She said, “That’s why I get excited to talk to [dietitians]. If someone is not there working with the consuming public on behavior change, then we won’t be able to solve for climate change.”

RELATED LINKS:

Future Chefs Learn Good Cheese Starts with the Cows

This week, a group of 13 aspiring chefs from Oregon Culinary Institute took a closer look at where cheese comes from by taking a field trip to the source. They visited TMK Farm and Creamery, a 20 cow dairy and boutique creamery located in Canby, Oregon.

“We support the farm to table movement by providing chefs and culinary students with the opportunity to visit a dairy farm,” said Anne Goetze, Sr. Director of Nutrition Affairs for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “It was a perfect match, and they learned firsthand about all of the factors that go into producing high quality milk and dairy foods, including care for animals, land, water and air.”

Between milking cows and making cheese, it was truly an opportunity for hands-on learning. TMK Creamery hosted a cheese making class where students were able to join in the entire process of making queso fresco cheese. Queso fresco, which translates as “fresh cheese,” is the most widely used cheese in Mexican cooking.

From cutting the curds, draining the whey and actually milking the cow, all the steps were included. Education is the goal for TMK. They want students, especially in the culinary world to understand not only the process, but also the passion behind their artisan cheese.

“It all starts with a quality milk,” says Bert Garza, who makes the cheese alongside his wife Shauna, “and to get quality milk, you need to be caring for your animals.”

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RELATED LINKS:

TMK Farms and Creamery

Oregon Culinary Institute

DASH into the New Year for a Healthier You

by Josie Oleson, Oregon Health & Science University Dietetic Intern

Having trouble setting a New Year’s resolution? Why not DASH into 2018 by eating better and working toward a healthier you?

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, emphasizes dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein as part of a balanced diet to reduce high blood pressure and improve health. Cheese, milk, and yogurt provide essential nutrients like calcium, potassium and magnesium that are key in making the DASH diet work.

For eight years, DASH has been ranked the Best Diet Overall diet by U.S. News and World Report. In 2018, the eating plan also topped the “healthy eating” and “heart disease prevention” categories.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recently lowered the recommendations for what it means to have high blood pressure. This change will increase the number of people with elevated or high blood pressure, but this also means that people will be able to fight back sooner by changing their diet and getting more exercise. This is what the DASH diet was originally designed to do, but it’s also a healthy way of eating that is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Want to kick-start your DASH resolution?

Take the Rate Your Plate Quiz and get started with this 4-step plan.


Try this new DASH recipe – White Chicken Chili

 

 

 

 


Find more recipes.

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