By Pamela Redwine
The Extension Service Staff has wrapped up all of our 2013 activities and are preparing for a two week rest. The Extension Service will be closed December 23, 2013 to January 2, 2014. We will reopen on Friday, January 3 at 8 a.m.
Healthy You Exercise classes will resume on Monday, January 6, at 9 a.m.
The Yalobusha 4-H FCS Clubs: The Yalobusha Clover Buds and The Yalobusha Buddies visited at the Yalobusha General Nursing Home in Water Valley on Thursday, December 12. Twelve members, eight volunteers and I attended. The 4-H members and volunteers sang Christmas Carols.
We even had two of our members play Christmas carols on the piano. Our 4-H members then passed out Sun Catchers, that they have been making since September, to all of the residents. A special thank you goes out to Mrs. Tammy Hodge for working with us and allowing us to come each year.
The United Y.C. MHV Club completed two projects they have been working on. On Wednesday, December 10, they donated and distributed 38 books to Bryant Head Start Center. And on Thursday, Decem-ber 11 they completed their Food for Families Food Drive collecting over 569 items. A special thanks goes out to the businesses that allowed us to place boxes in their facility as well as to everyone who contributed.
There are many traditions that families enjoy during the holidays. At our house it just wouldn’t be Christmas without some of them. We love to make gingerbread houses, open the Advent box each day. Some of our favorite recipes include my mama’s delicious cheese ball, peanut butter balls and chex mix all in moderation, of course.
Another family tradition for many families is eggnog. Traditionally eggnog is made by combining raw eggs with milk or cream, sugar, flavorings and perhaps alcohol. What could be wrong with that? Let me name a few issues.
Raw eggs—potential food-borne illness related to salmonella. This is especially risky for people with weaker immune systems such as children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.
Fat Calories—there are lots of calories in most eggnogs. Just a 1/2cup (yes, I’m talking just four ounces) of regular-store bought eggnog can have 180 calories with 80 of them from fat. Much of this fat is saturated and hits 25% of the percent daily value for saturated fats real fast. Even the so-called “light” eggnogs can provide in the neighborhood of 110 calories for a 1/2 cup.
Sugar Calories—on top of the fat calories there is lots of sugar in most store-bought eggnogs. They can have 4-5 teaspoons of sugar in that half a cup of eggnog.
A quick note: adding alcohol to eggnog cannot be relied upon to kill bacterial growth, which may be present in raw eggs. Also, if you’re thinking calories, just 1.5 ounces of rum (that’s one small shot glass) adds 97 more calories.
So, what’s a safer and more healthful alternative if you want to serve eggnog this year? There are several options:
#1 Buy commercially prepared eggnog in the dairy section of your grocery store. Most are, but make sure it has been made with pasteurized milk and eggs. This will reduce any food safety concerns. Just keep it refrigerated. Look for the lower fat and lower sugar versions in your store.
#2 Use a recipe for cooked eggnog that makes a custard-like base that is made ahead and chilled. This will reduce the risk from the raw eggs. Your favorite spices and liqueurs can be added before serving.
#3 If you want to use a favorite family recipe that calls for uncooked eggs, substitute a pasteurized egg product. There are several pasteurized egg products on the market now; they can be whole eggs out-of-the shell or low-cholesterol egg white products. These items are all available pasteurized, meaning they have been heated thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria.
#4 Another option is to use pasteurized shell eggs. These are eggs that have been heated and pasteurized (but not cooked) while still in the shell. These eggs can be found along with regular eggs in the grocery store, but are usually more expensive. But the cost will be worth it.
#5 If you’re making your own eggnog, try using non-fat or low-fat milk or half-and-half instead of the heavy cream. Artificial sugars will work great in an unheated beverage such as this.
I know a cup of eggnog is a must for some families and special gatherings and I’m not recommending that you skip this tradition— I’m just suggesting you re-think what you’ve always done.