Monday, July 15, 2013

Picnics and Other Things

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Ours went by much too quickly, and now it’s Monday again. As we head back to our jobs and our busy schedules, let’s all take a minute out to consider this quote:

“Women are like tea bags: You never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

On the surface it’s a humorous bit of text, but if you think about it, it’s quite true. Women have so much responsibility – jobs, families, homes, etc. – and usually we handle it all well. However, when illness, family problems, financial problems or anything out of the ordinary happens, we simply add that to our daily burdens and carry on, dealing with everything the best we can. Personally, I’ve been surprised at some things that I’ve dealt with in the past few years, and feel stronger for it.

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It’s Tapioca Pudding Day! Do you love it or hate it? I love it – have since I was a child. Mom would make it on the stove and we would eat it warm, savoring that sweetness and the creamy texture. Today, you can buy the boxes of pearl tapioca and prepare it as directed on the box, but another option is the box of cook-and-serve tapioca pudding, which is quicker because everything but the milk is included. I should stop here – I’m making myself hungry!

Celebrate the day…

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Since many of us are having picnics, family reunions, etc. for the next couple of months, I thought a few reminders of food safety would be in order.

1) Wash hands often and use clean utensils and containers.

2) Keep hot foods hot (140 degrees or above) and cold foods cold (under 40 degrees). Wrap hot foods in layers of newspaper and carry in heavy boxes. Cover cold foods in the cooler completely with ice and frozen gel packs.

3) Keep raw meats separate from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.

4) Clean produce well before preparing it. Wash melons thoroughly before cutting.

5) On arrival at your destination, keep coolers closed as much as possible. It’s a good idea to have beverages in a separate cooler so the one containing food can stay closed as much as possible.

6) Serve dips and dressings and as many foods as possible in bowls over ice.

7) Keep foods covered as much as possible. No one wants those bugs in their food!

8) If cooking on-site, be sure to cook foods thoroughly. Don’t put cooked meats on platters that contained raw meats.

9) Mayonnaise has been blamed for illness over the years, but the fact is that mayonnaise is highly acidic due to the vinegar it contains, and wouldn’t spoil as quickly as we always thought. The culprit causing spoilage would more likely be mishandling of food in preparation or serving.

10) If the temperature outside is under 90 degrees, leave food out no more than 2 hours; if above 90 degrees, cut that down to 1 hour.

11) If the ice has melted in the food cooler, dispose of the food. If there is still ice, the food may still be safe to eat.

12) One good idea is to transport the cooler inside the car rather than in the hot trunk.

A short list of useful things to take on your picnic:

clothespins and/or masking tape (to help secure the tablecloths)
bottled water (there may not be water readily available at the site)
moist towelettes
paper towels
bug spray and sunscreen

Most of all, have fun! And don’t forget the camera.

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“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.”
- Anonymous
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Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

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