Commentary

COMMENTS FROM CHERYL

Need motivation to get moving—step up, scale down
Cheryl Walker

For the last two years, I have been trying to practice what I teach and the scales are showing the results. Exercise and portion control are the major factors for a healthy lifestyle, but it is hard to follow the advice.

To help you get started and motivated to eat healthy and exercise, you need to sign-up for the 12-week Step Up and Scale Down series. This series is not a quick weight loss plan, but it is a lifestyle change to help everyone in the family reduce risk from major chronic diseases.

Now is the time to get yourself and your family on the right track to healthy eating and exercise. Along with the one hour class and weigh-in each week, the local fitness centers are providing three thirty minute sessions for everyone in the series. Details on the fitness sessions from Results Fitness in Cameron and Snap Fitness in Rockdale will be provided at the meetings in January.

Speakers representing the Healthy Lifestyle Task Force of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Milam County Office will be from Little River Health Care, Scott and White Pharmacy, Scott and White Clinic, Milam County Health Department and the Extension Office.

The Step Up and Scale Down 12-week series will be conducted in Cameron and Rockdale. A registration fee of $30 will provide you with a notebook of educational information, recipes and guides to help you make 2014 the year you Step Up and Scale Down.

The series will be taught in Rockdale and Cameron starting in January. Each session will be conducted from 6- 7 p.m. The Rockdale sessions will be on Tuesdays, starting on Jan. 7 at the First Christian Church Fellowship Hall. The Cameron sessions will be on Thursdays, starting on Jan. 9 at Bea’s Kitchen. The cost of the 12-week series is $30.

Registration materials are available from the Healthy Lifestyle members and the Milam County Extension Office, 100 E. 1st Street in Cameron, 254-697- 7045, http://milam.agrilife.org/ or ce-walker@tamu.edu.

Persons that pre-register will be guaranteed materials at the first class, but walk-ins will be welcome. Make your health a priority in 2014. Sign-up for the Step Up and Scale Down series and get started in the right direction.

TURKEY TIME—This time of year, there are lots of questions on cooking a turkey. The first time is to make sure you thaw your turkey properly in the refrigerator. Make sure you put the turkey in a pan on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.

Here are the recommended times for whole turkeys: Refrigerator thawing times for whole turkeys

4 to 12 pounds—1 to 3 days

12 to 16 pounds—3 to 4 days

16 to 20 pounds—4 to 5 days

20 to 24 pounds—5 to 6 days

A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking. When cooking your turkey, don’t guess about the doneness, use a food thermometer. A safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F has been reached to destroy bacteria and prevent food- borne illness in poultry products and dressings/stuffings.

Many variables can affect the roasting time of a whole turkey:

• A partially frozen turkey requires longer cooking.

• A stuffed turkey takes longer to cook.

• The oven may heat food unevenly.

• Temperature of the oven may be inaccurate.

• Dark roasting pans cook faster than shiny metals.

• The depth and size of the pan can reduce heat circulation to all areas of the turkey.

• The use of a foil tent for the entire time can slow cooking.

• Use of the roasting pan’s lid speeds cooking.

• An oven cooking bag can accelerate cooking time.

• The rack position can have an affect on even cooking and heat circulation.

• A turkey or its pan may be too large for the oven, thus blocking heat circulation.

When roasting your turkey, set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F. Preheating is not necessary. Be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Times are based on fresh or thawed birds at a refrigerator temperature of 40° F or below. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan two to two and a half inches deep.

Optional steps:

• Tuck wing tips back under shoulders of bird (called “akimbo”). • Add one-half cup water to the bottom of the pan.

• In the beginning, a tent of aluminum foil may be placed loosely over the breast of the turkey for the first one to one and a half hours, then removed for browning. Or, a tent of foil may be placed over the turkey after the turkey has reached the desired golden brown color.

For optimum safety, cook stuffing in a casserole. If stuffing your turkey, mix ingredients just before stuffing it; stuff loosely. Additional time is required for the turkey and stuffing to reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

For safety and doneness, the internal temperature should be checked with a food thermometer. The temperature of the turkey and the center of the stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. After the correct temperature is reached, remove the turkey and cover with foil. Let the bird stand 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving. Approximate cooking times

(325°F oven temperature) for unstuffed turkey

(time in hours)

4 to 6 lb. breast—1 1/2 to 2 1/4

6 to 8 lb. breast—2 1/4 to 3 1/4

8 to 12 lbs.—2 3/4 to 3

12 to 14 lbs.—3 to 3 3/4

14 to 18 lbs.—3 3/4 to 4 1/4

18 to 20 lbs.—4 1/4 to 4 1/2

20 to 24 lbs.—4 1/2 to 5

Enjoy a happy and safe holiday meal.


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2013-12-19 digital edition



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