The 35th Year Appreciation Celebration of the Georgia Master Gardener – Part 1

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I was truly honored in being invited to come to the Griffin, Georgia for the 35th year appreciation celebration of the Georgia Master Gardener.  This wonderful event was taken place at the University of Georgia- Griffin Campus which is one of the leading premier agricultural research centers in the region!  Also on this day is the 100th anniversary of the Georgia Cooperative Extension Services which start the Georgia Master Gardener program – 35 years ago.  There was over 200 Master Gardeners all over Georgia that came for this celebration.

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I had a chance to do the research tour of the Griffin Campus where they explained to Volunteer Master Gardeners about everything that is being done in order to improve the agricultural conditions in Georgia.  I start the tour by going on the University of Georgia tram with my fellow Douglasville Volunteer Master Gardener group .  We had a fabulous tour guide Parker Ivey who gave us alot of information about UGA Griffin Campus.  Our tour was divided into 3 tours in the morning and 3 tours in the afternoon,  On this blog posting I am going to discuss about the 3 morning tours.

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First stop of  the tour was the UGA Griffin Research and Education Garden with Tony Johnson.  Tony Johnson, Horticulturist discuss about the research display gardens are trying to recover from the 4 degree temperatures of the severe winter weather months that Georgia and the whole US early part of this year.  The research display gardens sits on 65 areas of land and it is divided into sections.  1. Arbor area, 2. Butterfly garden, 3. Children’s garden, 4. Herb garden, 5. Grandma’s garden, 6. Native plants, 7. Water garden, 8. Perennial garden and 9. a soon to be Asian garden.  These gardens have been in existence since October 1995.  Mr. Johnson made a joke “Anything out of place or is wrong then it is Research fault”.

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Next we traveled over to the raised gardens section where we met up with Bob Westerfield.  Mr.  Westerfield is the Department Horticulture and Program Coordinator of UGA of Griffin and is currently conducting research on raised bed gardening.  The research looks at growing in different types of soil medium as well as different depths.  Everything in the garden (fruits and vegetables) is being grown organically and a slow drip irrigation system is being use with a timer for watering.

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The the last tour for that morning was at the conservation garden with Dr. Kris Braman, Professor of Entomology at UGA of Griffin.  Dr. Braman research is focused on insect plant interactions, especially with the fascinating world of beneficial insects.  It was interesting in learning about the top ten pollinators and butterflies that are needed in a garden.

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During the lunchtime, there were alot of speakers at this celebration thanking the Georgia Master Gardeners for volunteering their time and hours  in this very special program. Dr. Beverly Spears, Associate Dean for Extension, said that there is over 3,200 active Master Gardener in Georgia which covers the time of the 100 Full-Time employees in Georgia.

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Dr. Steve Brown, Assistant Dean for Extension explained about the history of the Master Gardener and he thank all of the help that the Georgia Master Gardeners for contribute to the County with the Cooperative Extension Services.

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Sheri Dorn, State Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Coordinator, explained about the new badges for the Georgia Master Gardeners and that the  Master Gardeners is finally catching up with the technology age with electronic communication.

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It was great to hear these speaker under the back drop of the beautiful Woodroof Pavilion.  This pavilion was used in the 1996 Olympics to showcase agriculture to the world and then after the Olympics it was dissembled and brought to the UGA Griffin Campus.  This pavilion was renamed in honor of Naomi Chapman Woodroof, one of the first woman in the agriculture field (she studied plant pathology) and was the first woman in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences to be hired in 1920’s.  She also worked with Food Sciences and was prominent in changing peanuts from a feed crop to a food crop.  What a incredible woman!!

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Turn in next week when I discuss about the 3 afternoon tour that consist of ornamental plant breeding process, turfgrass shade research and USDA Seed Storage!!

Want to see pictures at the University of Georgia on Griffin Campus!  Click here!

NOBEL Women Conference in Biloxi, MS

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I love being next to water particularly the beaches.  Being in Altanta and land lock, you do not have any opportunity to get to a beach unless you drive 6+ hours to the Gerogia Shores, Florida or the Gulf Coast.  Since it is summertime, I was hoping for a opportunity to go anywhere that is near water.  Such an opportunity  did happened when I had a chance to speak at the NOBEL Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi at the Beau Rivage.

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The National Organization of Black Elected Legislative/Women (NOBEL/Women) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization primarily composed of current and former black women legislators as well as many appointed officials. Originally established in 1985 as a national organization to increase and promote the presence of black women in government, NOBEL/Women in recent years has expanded its vision to serve as a global voice to address a myriad of issues affecting the lives of all women. – NOBEL – www.Nobel-Women.org

These public official women are on the move and fighting for a incredible cause.  At this year’s conference theme was NOBEL Women on the M. O. V. E. meaning Motivating, Organizing, Vocalizing, Empowering the Next Generation of Black Women Leaders.  I was so honored to be invited to speak at this conference breakfast to some of the most powerful and influential women.  My speech was on Malnutrition (see it below) and my wonderful sponsor for this speech was Abbott Nutrition.

Below is a link to my NOBEL speech:  www.livinghealthy1.org/Speaker/Media

Also, click here to view the Press Release for HEPSA Living Healthy – Denine Rogers RDN – Speaker at NOBEL Conference.

It was great see the passion from theses ladies when it comes to resolving the important issues that are happening in the African American community particularly with women.  The issues that impact the women and communities of color that NOBEL is focused on are:

  • Economic Equity
  • Health
  • Telecommunications
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Women & Leadership

I also had a chance to see the rest of the conference and I was very impressed by the speakers and the topics that were discussed.

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The Gulf Coast is still try to recuperate from all of the Hurricanes that has past over including Katrina.   Please do remember to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in the gulf coast who are still trying to re-build their new lives  since Hurricane Katrina!  Coming down to the Gulf Coast for a vacation or business will definitely help!

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Biloxi ,MS Visitors Center

Biloxi ,MS Visitors Center

The Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, MO

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Doesn’t this picture looks beautiful?  I really enjoyed my time being in St. Louis.  I made sure that I did stop by the historical landmark the Gateway Arch.

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I was in shock when I had a chance to go up the arch that I must make sure that I was not afraid of heights and very closed rooms.

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There are three modes of transportation up the arch:

  1. Two sets of 1,076-step emergency stairs (one in each leg),
  2. A 12-passenger elevator to the 372-foot (113 m) height,
  3. And a tram in each leg.

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I took the little tram to go up the arch and each tram is a chain of eight egg-shaped, five-seat compartments with a small window on the doors.   The tram car that I was in with 5 other people swung like a Ferris wheel car.  It takes about  four minutes going up and it takes about three minutes going down the arch but it felt longer than that.

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Near the top of the Arch, I exited the tram compartment and then I climbed up the set of stairs to enter the observation area.  Once I got there I noticed that there was a sign that shows that the arch’s width and height of the arch are 630 feet.

 In Wikipedia, it states that the arch is the tallest memorial in the United States and the tallest stainless steel monument in the world.

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I had a chance to look out of the observatory windows on top of the arch and I saw from the window Mississippi River and the whole city of St, Louis.

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I was in shock at how much I saw in those small little windows.  Check out below the pictures of what I saw.

St. Louis Cardinals Stadium

St. Louis Cardinals Stadium

Downtown St. Louis

Downtown St. Louis

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

A park in downtown St. Louis

A park in downtown St. Louis

Too me it is worth the money to travel up such a incredible monument and if I had the opportunity of coming back to St. Louis I would do this again.  Thanks St. Louis for a great time !!

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Women in Government Conference in St. Louis, MO

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Out on the road again but this time I am doing a very special speaking engagement in St. Louis, Missouri!  I was invited to speak at the Women in Government Conference on Outreach to Vulnerable Populations: Aging.

 The Women in Government Foundation, Inc., (which is headquartered in Washington, D.C.), is a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization of women state legislators that provides leadership opportunities, networking expert forums, and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues to all 1,788 women state legislators.

Founded in 1988, Women In Government is a is a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization that has led the nation with its vision to empower and mobilize all women legislators to effect sound policy.

With over 20 years of experience working with state legislators, state agency representatives and the public, Women In Government proudly hosts over 12-20 educational conferences, state briefings, and other policy events annually to address the nation’s public policy issues. – Women in Government website – http://www.womeningovernment.org/

I was so honored to speak at this conference.  My speech was on Malnutrition which was sponsored by Abbott Nutrition. (Click Press Release for HEPSA Living Healthy – Denine Rogers RDN – Speaker at Women in Government Conference for further information about my speech).

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Before the conference began, I wanted to take some time to see the sites of St. Louis!  The first place I stop was to a very famous Soul Food Restaurant called Sweetie Pies.  If you are a fan of OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) then you probably will recognize the show “Sweetie Pies” with Ms. Robbie and Montgomery Family.  Well, I knew that since I was in St. Louis , I was not going to leave until I stop by there for meal.

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I hitch a cab ride to the new Sweetie Pies at the Upper Crust at around 4:00 pm and I was in shock that there were no lines.  On the show you always see the long lines of people fighting to get into the restaurant.  One of the waiters told me that during the late afternoon is the best time since the lunch crowd was gone.

The beautiful picture of Ms. Robbie

The beautiful picture of Ms. Robbie

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The famous bar

The famous bar

I was hoping to meet Ms. Robbie but I was told that she was unfortunately not there.

Sweetie Pies Upper Crust with Ms. Jan and Ms. Linda!

Sweetie Pies Upper Crust with Ms. Jan and Ms. Linda!

I did had a chance to meet with her lovely sisters Jan and Linda.  They were both so nice and very friendly.  They are truly appreciative of everyone who is a fan to the television show.  I was looking forward to have some fish but unfortunately fish is only made on Fridays.  (I was there on Thursday).  I did enjoyed my vegetarian plate and i made sure I took as many pictures of Sweetie Pies as possible.

Delicious Vegetable Plate

Delicious Vegetable Plate

Yummy Mac and Cheese

Yummy Mac and Cheese

Very Sweet Candied Yams

Very Sweet Candied Yams

This was not the only thing I did on my one day trip to St. Louis.  Next week I will discuss about my adventure at the famous landmark in St. Louis – The Gateway Arch!  Happy Labor Day!

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Kids Eat Right Month – Get Moving

running children

On this last week of August and the last subject to discuss about the Kids Eat Right Program is “Get Moving with Exercise”.  Too often I have heard from parents that their child does not like to play outside and they rather watch television or play on the computer.  The most important thing that a parent must do is to encourage their child to get up and start moving.  Lack of exercise is one of the main causes of childhood obesity and chronic diseases.  Having the whole family (that means you too Moms and Dads) exercising together will make a tremendous difference with family and future generation in living a healthy life.

Support Your Kids’ Exercise Activities:

Start being a role model for your kids by present physical activity as an important time to take care of your body and health, rather than a chore. Work out with your children by finding activities you enjoy and be active for at least 30 minutes five days a week. Remember, that adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, and children need 60 minutes. Make sure you ask your child which exercise activities they would like to do.   Also, praise, reward and encourage your kids’ physical activity with activity related equipment, games or outings.

Some exercises activity ideas are:

Go to the nearest park, swing set or jungle gym after school.

Start jumping rope with your kids or organize a neighborhood jump rope group.

When bad weather strikes, play active indoor games such a DVD and VHS exercise or dance videos and/or exercise or dance video games.

Organize your family room or living room for more exercise activity. Try kid’s yoga or dancing to music after dinner time.

Make sure you have time during the weekend for half a day of family activity each weekend, such as a family walk, bike ride, shoot hops, jump rope or tennis match.

Encourage your kids to participate in active chores such as light housework, raking leaves, sweeping the walks or cleaning the garage. Make sure you make those the chores fun to do by turning on the radio in the garage and do the chores with them.
Limit the extracurricular time your kids spend in front of a computer or TV to less than two hours daily.
Keep the television in the living room and not in  your kids’ bedrooms. This will help decrease how much television that they would watch and it also help to control what they watch.

I hope you enjoyed this first annual Kids Eat Right Month.  If you feel that you received great information this month about the Kids Eat Right program you can always read other exciting postings by clicking this link below –  www.eatright.org/kids/

So start your kids to eat and live healthy today!

Exercising with the family

 

Kids Eat Right Month – Eat Right

 

Portrait of a young couple and a child with their arms outstretched

When it comes to eating right, parents have a hard job in convincing their children that this is the right thing to do.  Kids base food on tasting good and do not want to think that the food they choose is not good for them.  What can a parent do about this ?

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! We have all heard about this but getting a child or teen to eat breakfast can be a big challenge.

Encourage eating breakfast daily at home or school and make it easy. Grab-and-go meals like a waffle with peanut butter, a boiled egg and fruit or homemade oatmeal bars make eating breakfast a breeze.  Warm up with a hearty bowl of oatmeal on a cool morning or hydrate with sweet chunks of fresh fruit and yogurt when it’s warm outside. With so many options on the table, you’re sure to find something that works — peanut butter on whole grain toast, fruit, eggs, yogurt or last night’s leftovers.  Create a breakfast with staying power using protein and carbohydrate combos like fruit and yogurt, whole-grain cereal with milk.

Though it may take time, helping your child and/or teen eat a nutritious breakfast today will build healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.

Boy Lunch Line

I want a cookie not a fruit for snack!  Have you heard this statement before from your child?  I think we all have.  Getting your child to eat healthy whole foods as snacks instead of the sweets may cause a tug of war with your child.  Here are some tips you can use with your child:

Offer nutrient-dense foods  for snacks that are otherwise lacking in the diet and will improve your child’s nutrient intake.  Make sure that the snack containing protein and fiber, so that the snacks are filling, sustaining and add to the quality of the diet. Offer meals and snacks at predictable times and let the family know when the kitchen is closed at other times.  This will prevent grazing with food.

Try some of these combinations as snacks.

  • Nuts, dried fruit, whole-grain pretzels and low-sugar dry cereal
  • Reduced-fat cheese and pear slices
  • Reduced sodium deli-sliced turkey breast wrapped around apple slices
  • Low-fat yogurt, fruit and nuts
  • Nuts and raisins
  • Celery sticks filled with almond butter and sprinkled with dried cranberries and chopped pistachios
  • Baked tortilla chips dipped in salsa
  • Whole-wheat tortilla with reduced-sodium turkey breast and reduced-fat cheese heated in the microwave

Start getting your child to become a smart snacker!  Get your child and teen to start eating right and live healthy!  For more information, check out the Kids Eat Right website:  www.eatright.org\kids . Next week is to start getting your child to become active with moving!!

 

 

Kids Eat Right Month – Cook Healthy

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Today, is the first official day of school for all of the children here in the Atlanta, Georgia area.  A lot of the schools are now making changes with the school lunch and breakfast program to a healthier ones but what about the meals that children are eating at home?  Are they healthy and nutritious? There is a way that parents can give their child a healthy meal ?

Hungry Boy at the Table

The first thing parents should do is to plan healthy meals for the week.  If you do not plan your meals than you may end up eating foods that you really should not eat.  How do you plan your meals?  First you should find out what your family likes to eat and see if you can stretch out those meals for a week or months time.  Use a calendar and document what meals would be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If you are the tech-savvy kind of person then, there are plenty of computer meal planning software to assist you.  I like the free ones such as – www.choosemyplate.gov (USDA) and www.healthyeating.org (Dairy Council of California) . Preparation is the key in order to create a fast healthy meal.   After you have decided on what meals that you would like to prepare then review the items that is needed to prepare the meals.  You may want to ask yourself –  Is this dish for this meal healthy?  How can I make changes to this dish in order to make it a healthy meal?  What do we have in the pantry?  Is the foods that I have are in season? Do you have foods from all healthy food groups (milk,
fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, fish, beans and fats ( the healthy ones)) as part of you meals for the day? Once you have answered these questions then create a food shopping list.

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When you have decided what dish you would like to prepare it is important to see what substitutions you can make in order to create a healthy dish.

  • Instead of frying, why not have broil, grill, boil, sautéed, steamed or baked
  • Instead of white flour products, why not have whole grains such as buckwheat, flaxseed or oatmeal.
  • Instead of whole milk, why not have almond, coconut or rice milk that is calcium and Vitamin D Fortified.
  • Instead of Crisco, why not have olive oil, avocados, or flaxseed oil.
  • Instead of cookies, why not have fresh in season fruits, raw cut up veggies, yogurt with low-fat granola or whole grain pretzels
  • Instead of sodas, why not have water with cut up fruit for flavor and low-fat milk

Make sure you add non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, squash, zucchini to name a few) to your lunch and dinner meals in order for your family to get the fiber, vitamins and minerals that they need.  Use fresh whole fruits as snacks and/or with meals.  Do not over cook your food.  If you do this you will lose a lot of the important nutrient that you will need from the foods you eat.  Make sure you add your whole grains foods with your meals. Remember that  smaller children to eat smaller portions. Do not give your child the same portion size of food that you eat.  For further information about portion control check the website – www.choosemyplate.gov.  Also, get other family members involved with the cooking and preparation of meals.  Make this is a great teaching tool for your children!

Another thing that parents can do is start to get the family to eat at the table instead of in front of the television.  Here are some further suggestions below:

  • Set a regular family mealtime. Pick a time together.
  • Enjoy more table time, less cooking time. Make quick, simple meals (even a sandwich, fruit and milk) to give more table time together.
  • Turn off the TV. Turn on the phone answering machine. Focus mealtime on family talk.
  • Keep table talk positive. Everyone gets to talk and to listen. Sitting around a table, not side-by-side at a the counter, helps.  (Information quoted from the website: kidseatright.org)

All of these great ideas can assist you with cooking healthy meals for you family.  If you want so quick and healthy recipes, please check out Kids Eat Right website:  www.eatright.org/kids

Remember that in order to start Living Healthy  you will need to start cooking healthy meals.  So start planning your healthy meals for the week today!!  Next week I will discuss about how to Eat Right!

Family Eating An Al Fresco Meal

 

 

 

Kids Eat Right Month – Shop Smart

August is Kids Eat Right Month, a new nutrition education, information sharing and action campaign created by Kids Eat Right, an initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation.

Kids Eat Right Month spotlights healthy nutrition and active lifestyles for children and families, offering simple steps to help families cook healthy, eat right and shop smart.This month will also featuring expert advice from registered dietitian nutritionists. Click the link to see more:  www.eatright.org/kids.

The kids in the South usually go back to school in August so this kick off of the Kids Eat Right Program has come at the right time!  Today we are going to focus on Shop Smart!

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It is great to go food shopping with your children because you can use the is time to teach your child how to shop for food smartly and healthy.  Here are some tips to shop smart:

  1.  Plan menus and write a shopping list that corresponds with the store aisles. Look for menu planning and recipes on your supermarket’s website. Many sites feature tools for planning and pricing meals.
  2. Shop once or twice a week.  Don’t buy on impulse!  Limit impulse buys which can save you time and the cost of gas.  Buy what you need not what you or your children want.  Always bring a shopping list and try to stick to purchasing the items from this list.
  3. If you’re taking your kids food shopping, then feed them a light nutritious snack before leaving home so they (and you) don’t get tempted by less nourishing snacks and store samples.  Try peanut butter on apple slices or yogurt with low fat granola.
  4. Compare nutrition facts on the product’s label to determine how much nutrition you’re getting for your food dollar. Review the serving size and the total number of servings in the container. If you are keeping track of your child’s blood sugar then, look at carbohydrates, including added sugar and the fiber content on the food label.
  5. Peruse the perimeter. Most foods for a health- and cost-conscious eating plan are found by shopping the supermarket’s boundary. Then, with your shopping list in tow, visit just the aisles you need to balance fresh selections. (See Aisle by Aisle Top Picks.)
  6. Choose a variety of in-season whole fresh fruits and vegetables. They’ll be most abundant, most nutritious, and least expensive. For produce not in season, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables (with little or no added salt or sugar) are a nutritious option.
  7. Start clipping coupons! Just be sure to use coupons only on foods that you need not the ones you desire.
  8. But Store Brand Products.  Private label brands are often 15 to 20 percent less expensive than their national brand counterparts while the quality of the food may match the national brand.
  9. Compare Unit Prices.  Use the “unit price” (price per pound, ounce or pint) to compare national brands with store brands, or bulk and economy-sizes with single-serve or regular-size packages. Many stores show the unit price on a shelf tag.
  10. Pay Attention at the Check-Out.  Make sure prices ring up as advertised or as indicated on the shelf label, especially for sale items. Some stores will even give you the item free if they make a mistake on the price.

Even though your child may get mad at you for not giving them the sweets, sugary food items, do not cave in!  Show them that eating healthy and nutritious food can also be very tasty too!  So start planning your food shopping today! Next week, I will talk about Cook Healthy. So get ready to start cooking healthy!!

Kid crying  in a shopping cart

 

 

Summer Salad Week

Finally, this summer I was able to produce some vegetables from my garden but my seedlings did not fair well this year.   My plants from the Douglasville Master Gardener Plant Sale did very well.  Here are the results of some of the produce from my garden:

 

Banana Pepper

Banana Pepper

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Cherry Tomatoes

String (Pole) Beans and cherry tomato

String (Pole) Beans and Cherry Tomato

Eggplant

Eggplant

Baby Eggplant

Baby Eggplant

This last week of July is Salad Week, and summer is a great time to fill up — and not out — on fresh fruits and veggies from the garden with a lightly salad dressing.  Check out these tips on nutritious and delicious salads for a tasty summer :

Growing greens. Salad greens are easy to grow in the home garden and an important source of vitamins and minerals. Dark green leaves are good sources of vitamins A and C, iron, folic acid, and calcium. Iceberg is the most popular, but many other lettuces and salad greens such as spinach, arugula, and romaine can add interest and nutrients to meals.

Super salad toppers. There are lots of nutritious ways to top a salad. Enhance eye appeal and nutrition by adding colorful fruits and vegetables. Keep it
light by limiting the amount of salad dressing to about 1 tablespoon per 1½ to 2 cups of greens. Make the flavor pop by adding artichoke hearts, dried fruits, nuts, and/or seeds.

Fresh herbs. Toss small basil leaves or chopped larger ones in with your greens. Try chopped fresh dill. Add some minced chives or parsley. Start with about a teaspoon of herbs per person and adjust according to taste preference. Herbs boost flavor without increasing calories.

Remember to dress, don’t drown, your salad in dressing to keep the calories lower and experiment with different combinations and flavors this summer.

(This information on Salad Week is from the Healthy Bites Newsletter – By: Lisa Franzen-Castle, RD, PhD, Nutrition Specialist – UNL Panhandle Research & Extension Center -Author E-mail: lfranzen2@unl.edu )

Next month is the first Annual Kids Eat Right Month!  Check out this blog for further information.

 

 

2014 Hydrangea Festival in Douglasville, Gerogia – Part 3

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So many things to do at this Hydrangea Festival!  I had also the chance to visit the Douglas County Master Gardeners Vegetable Garden where the theme of the Wizard of Oz continued with the Scarecrow Exhibit.

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At this exhibit, I had a chance to meet with Marilyn Parker who is a Douglas County Master Gardener and a beekeeper expert.  She was telling me that this was the first year that the Douglas County Master Gardeners Vegetable Garden ever had a bee hive.  She was able to help set this up with the Douglas County Master Gardeners and now this hives holds over 6,000 bees!!  These bee have help pollinate all of the vegetables and fruits in the garden and has increase production in the garden up to 50% !! More produce equals to more donations of food to the soup kitchens in Douglas County!  Click here to view what I had seen in the garden.

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Also close by to the Vegetable Garden was the Master’s Gardeners Children’s Garden in front of the Douglas County Public Library.  It is such a cute and beautiful garden where little children would love to play and explore in.  Click here to view this adorable garden.

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Again, I was truly amazed at the talent of all the volunteers at the Hydrangea Festival.  I am so glad of the huge representation of the Douglas County Master Gardeners at this festival.  I will make sure that I will participate in volunteering next year and I am looking forward to the 8th Annual Hydrangea Festival!  Hope to see you there!

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I have a new press release –  Click Press Release for HEPSA Living Healthy – Denine Rogers RDN – Stone Soup Blogger to view!