Peppermint Hot Chocolate


-1 Cup Skim or 1% Milk (Plus 1 Tablespoon)

-4 Teaspoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

-1 Teaspoon Honey

-1 Peppermint Tea Bag


-Heat one cup of milk in a microwave safe container for about one minute

-Add 1 tablespoon of milk and the cocoa powder to a mug 

-Mix with a fork until it makes a liquid 

-Add the warm milk to the mug 

-Add the honey and mix together 

-Add the tea bag to the mug 

-Let steep before drinking

Sweet Potato & Kale Recipes

Kale & White Bean Soup

Serves 4
-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 large yellow onion, diced
-4 stalks celery, diced
-2 large carrots, chopped
-6 cloves garlic, chopped
-8 cups water
-2 (15 ounce) cans white beans (cannelloni), drained
-Juice and zest of 1 lemon
-2 bunches fresh kale, ribs and stems remained
-Salt and Black pepper to taste.


  1. Add oil to a large stock pot and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Saute the aromatics for seven minutes, until the
    aromatics are soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the beans and stir until well combined.
  4. Add the lemon zest and water and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for twenty minutes.
  5. Add the kale and stir until the leaves have wilted.
  6. Turn off heat and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Creamy Thai Sweet Potato Stew

Serves 4
-2 tablespoons sesame oil
-1 yellow onion, sliced lengthwise
-1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
-4 cloves garlic, chopped
-3 cups diced sweet potatoes
-1 can coconut milk -2 cups cooked brown rice
-½ cup chopped cilantro
-Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add the oil and heat until ripples appear.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Saute for three to five minutes.
  3. Add the diced sweet potatoes and stir for a minute or two.
  4. Add the coconut milk and a quarter cup of water.
  5. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for twenty minutes, adding salt and pepper. Stir occasionally.
  6. When completed the stew should be thick and fragrant. Stir in cilantro and serve atop steamed brown rice.

Kale & Sweet Potato Bolognese

Serves 4
-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 chopped yellow onion
-8 cloves garlic, minced
-1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
-1 cup sweet potato, small diced
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 bunch fresh kale, stems and ribs removed
-½ cup fresh basil, hand torn
-Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat In a sauté pan.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for three minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Cook for about fifteen minutes.
  4. Add the oregano and basil. Simmer for another five to seven minutes.
  5. Add the kale and simmer until the kale leaves are wilted about three minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in basil.
  7. Serve a top whole wheat pasta.

Happy New Year! Let’s make 2020 a great year!

We all know the new year is a great time to think about making changes. Don’t let your motivation fizzle out this year! Set goals for the week, month, and year. If we make our goals too big they may seem impossible and giving up seems easier. Starting with smaller goals can help you to achieve your long term goal.

Not sure where to begin with your goal? Check out these ideas to get inspired!

  • Prepare more meals at home 

Start by making a meal plan for the week. Plan at least two meals at home each week. Once you are able to accomplish this you can increase the number of meals you eat at home each week. Eventually, you can build a habit of preparing most of your meals at home! 

  • Move More 

No matter how active you currently are, you can set goals to reach the activity level you need to be healthy! Set a goal for the number of times you are active each week. Try to increase the number of days first, then focus on increasing the length of time you are active each day. Be creative! If you don’t enjoy a particular exercise try a new one that you might enjoy more.

  • Mindful eating

Mindful eating does not have to be anything fancy, just simply thinking about what you eat and enjoying it. Before you eat, ask yourself how much is a serving of that food? Are you taking more than a serving? If so, why? If you are hungry, think is this the only food that will satisfy my hunger? Try eating just one serving and pairing it with something else that will nourish your body and fill you up! If you see something left out in the break room or at an event stop and ask yourself if you are hungry or just eating because it is there? Being mindful of how much and what you are eating can help you to reach your health goals. 


Have Yourself a Food Safe Holiday

Happy Holidays! Whether you’re the head chef at your holiday gatherings or bringing a casserole to share, food safety is always the most important job in creating a holiday meal. Eating food that’s not cooked or refrigerated correctly could make you and your guests sick. Nobody wants to miss out on the fun because of unsafe food. Keep your holiday festivities healthy and happy this year with these simple food safety steps!

(Wash)ing in a Winter Wonderland

Holiday food safety starts with the basics. Be sure to wash your hands, utensils, and cooking surfaces before and after you are in the kitchen. Don’t forget to rinse fresh fruits and vegetables with clean water too!

Where’s the Turkey?

We’ve all been there: you forget to pull the turkey out of the freezer and it’s frozen solid. Panic sets in and drastic measures are taken to unthaw as fast as possible. A little planning can prevent foodborne illness (and heartache). Allow 3 to 4 days for your turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. You could also try running it under water and check it regularly, changing the water so that it does not reach 75 º F or higher.

Timing and Temperature: The Perfect Holiday Pair

Using a thermometer to check the temperature of your dish not only ensures food safety, it can also improve the taste! Avoid over or undercooking by using this safe cooking temperatures chart:

Transporting (Safely) All the Way

If you’re traveling and bringing cooked food, be sure it arrives bacteria-free to the holiday feast! Use towels or insulated bags with ice packs to keep food hot or cold. Hot food should be at 140º F or above, and cold foods at 41º F or less.

Serving your Feast

Foods left at room temperature can quickly grow harmful bacteria. When serving your holiday spread, be sure that foods are not left out for more than 2 hours.

Enjoying Leftovers 

What’s a holiday meal without delicious leftovers, right? Enjoy them safely by making sure foods are fully reheated to a minimum of 165º F. 

Happy Holidays!

Logan, EFNEP student employee

Taking Control with Portion Sizes This Holiday Season

The holiday season is quickly approaching! Gatherings with family and friends are often filled with laughter, games, happy memories…and casseroles and desserts served with a side of guilt. 

Portion Control and Overeating

We all overeat from time to time, and during the holidays it can feel more difficult to break the habit. Another piece of Aunt Betty’s coconut cake or that third helping of Grandma’s turkey- it’s hard to resist. We tend to eat more than we need for many reasons – not wanting to waste, getting our money’s worth, feeling bored, happy, sad, or just eating out of habit.

But did you know that people who usually overeat are more likely to be overweight? The cycle of overeating and weight gain can increase the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, trouble sleeping, difficulty breathing, and heart disease. This holiday season, it’s time to take control. You can have your cake (and eat it too!) by paying attention to portion sizes. 

MyPlate: Healthy Portions for Beginners 

Portion control includes the amount and types of foods we eat. was created by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)  and has easy to follow tips for a healthy diet. For a well-balanced meal, MyPlate recommends:

  • Two sections (or ½ of the plate) fruits and vegetables, 
  • One section of lean proteins (such as meat, poultry, fish, or beans)
  • One section of grains (focus on whole grains!)
  • Be sure to include a serving of dairy such as low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese. 

Each section of the plate is important to keep our weight balanced, muscles fueled, and our bodies healthy.

 Help Yourself to Some Practical Tips!

In addition to MyPlate, there are a lot of easy ways you can help yourself and your family to be smarter about portion sizes!

  • Use a smaller plate: we normally eat what we see. Using a smaller plate can “trick” your mind into feeling full without overeating.
  • Watch serving sizes: serving sizes are listed on packages and can help us avoid eating extra calories, sugar, salt, and saturated fat.
  • Portion out leftovers: make it easy to eat the right amount
  • Don’t clean the plate: encourage kids to eat until they are full – not until their plate is clean. Teaching children portion control early will help them control their weight throughout life.
  • Avoid eating out of the bag: take out just one serving to avoid eating too much
  • Leave the dish on the counter: reaching for seconds at the dinner table is easy when the dish is beside you. 

Watching what you eat doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on the holiday season, it just means you get to be smarter about it! Go ahead and enjoy a piece of cake or dig into that pie, just be mindful of your portion sizes.

Happy Eating!


EFNEP student employee

Bean & Butternut Squash Chili

Chili is a classic meal as the weather starts to cool down. This time of year butternut squash is in season. Add squash to chili for a hearty and healthy dish this fall!

Red Bean & Butternut Squash Chili 


  • Non-stick cooking spray 
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash (about ½ of a medium squash)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef 
  • 1 cup or 1 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans 
  • 1 cup or 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 3 cups or 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder 
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
  • Shredded cheese and non-fat sour cream for topping (if desired)


  1. Spray Dutch oven or large pot with non-stick cooking spray. 
  2. Peel and chop butternut squash into a medium dice (discard the skin and seeds) and set aside. 
  3. Peel and dice onion. 
  4. Place chopped onion and pepper in skillet. 
  5. Cook ground beef and onion over medium heat in a non-stick skillet until meat is browned and onion is soft (about 5 minutes). Drain. 
  6. Add butternut squash, undrained red kidney beans, undrained black beans, tomatoes, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, red chili flakes, and chopped cilantro stems to cooked ground beef and onions. Stir to mix well.
  7. Bring to a boil and cook slowly for 10-15 minutes. Stir several times to be sure chili is not sticking to the pot. (Temperature should reach 160°F.)
  8. Top with cheese and non-fat sour cream if desired. Garnish with cilantro leaves.