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Extension Newsletter


									                                        Alabama Cooperative Extension System
                                               St. Clair County Office

                                      Extension Newsletter
                                 January/February 2009                                              Volume 4, Issue 19

Inside This Issue                Dear Friends of Extension,

                                 HAPPY NEW YEAR! This is going to be an exciting year in Extension because Alabama 4-H
Power Bill Discounts Available
                                 is 100 years old and we plan to celebrate! Being a former 4-H’er, I know first-hand what a
                                 difference 4-H can make in the life of a young person. This issue contains information that I
100 Years of Alabama 4-H         think you will find interesting about 4-H and its history. Speaking of 4-H, I am pleased to
                                 announce that retired St. Clair County 4-H Agent, Ms. Louise Littlejohn, was posthumously
                                 inducted into the Alabama 4-H Wall of Fame. Her sons, Dan and Joe Littlejohn, accepted the
Littlejohn Inducted into AL      prestigious award on her behalf recently at a ceremony held at the 4-H Center. (See page 3)
4-H Wall of Fame
                                 Have you resolved to get healthy this year? If so, Extension can help. We are offering a
If You Can’t Pay Your Bills      Healthy Cooking School on the 27th of this month. It is being conducted by our newest
                                 Regional Extension Agent, Jennifer Dutton. She has lots of great tasting, healthy recipes for
                                 you to try. The registration deadline is January 20th, so don’t delay, register today and put
Thriving In Challenging Times    yourself on the road to better health this year!

The Digital TV Transition        Until next time,

Shanks Farm Recognized

The Gardening Corner:                        Power Bill Discounts Available
Stevia Rebaudiana                If you or someone you know receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or
                                 Medicaid for Low Income Families (MLIF), you/they may be eligible for a
                                 monthly SSI discount on your/their Alabama Power Company bill.
2008 Master Gardener Class       Eligibility is determined by the State of Alabama.

Farm-City Banquet                SSI is a needs-based program for people with limited income and resources.
                                 Social Security is a benefit based on your work history and earnings. If you are unsure whether
                                 you receive Social Security or SSI, you can go to the website or call 1-800-772-
Agent Spotlight: Jennifer

                                 How can I apply for the discount on my power bill? You can visit a local Alabama Power
Warm Up With Soups               Company office to complete an application, or call Customer Service at 1-800-245-2244. Once
                                 you fill out the application and return it to Alabama Power Company, the State of Alabama
Family Disaster Supplies Kit     will determine whether you are eligible to receive a Supplemental Security Income discount.

                                 How much is the discount on my power bill? If eligible, you will receive two discounts on
Emergency Alert Radios
                                 your monthly Alabama Power Company bill. The first “Discount” will cover the base charge
                                 of your bill which is $14.50.
Beef Cook-Off
                                 The second “Fuel Discount” is determined by how much electricity you use each month. The
Healthy Cooking School           maximum amount of this discount is $9.01. This new discount started October 10,2008 for SSI
                                 discount customers.                                      Source: United Way of Central AL
  Something to

         100 Years
                  of Alabama 4-H!

What possible connection can an insect, a corn stalk, a          can do to help. Meanwhile, here’s a quiz to test your
tomato vine, and a clover have? Let’s start with the insect.     knowledge about 4-H. The scoring section at the end will
When the boll weevil invaded the South from Mexico in the        show how your score measures up.
late 1800’s, it destroyed cotton crops. Since most farmers
depended on their cotton, they had to find other crops to
grow. Unfortunately, they didn’t know much about growing                  4-H—What Do You Know?
anything but cotton.                                             1.   Boys’ Corn Clubs were:
                                                                      a. social fraternities for boys
                                                                      b. designed to teach better farming methods
That’s where the corn stalk comes in. Some college
educators realized that farmers couldn’t go to school to learn        c. popular from 1945 to 1970
new farming methods. That meant the educators had to go to            d. never very successful
farmers to teach them. So farm demonstration agents were
hired. One crop the agents wanted the farmers to grow was        2.   Boys’ Corn Clubs were the forerunners of 4-H in
corn. Corn could be eaten by the family, could be fed to the          Alabama. What year did they get started?
livestock, and could be sold for cash. However, the educators         a. 1900
found that the farmers were often not willing to try new              b. 1909
farming methods. So they organized Boys’ Corn Clubs to                c. 1918
teach farmers’ sons new farming techniques. The parents               d. 1930
would learn from the boys.
                                                                 3.   In what county or counties did the first Boys’ Corn
The tomato vine entered the scene when girls decided the              Clubs meet?
boys shouldn’t have all the fun. They formed Tomato                   a. Calhoun
Canning Clubs and grew tomatoes and other vegetables in               b. Walker
their gardens. Then they canned the vegetables and got prizes         c. Tuscaloosa
for the best canning.
                                                                      d. all of these

Now, the clover. As the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs became more       4. Girls’ Tomato Clubs were important because:
popular, educators realized there were many other things            a. girls learned to grow better gardens
young people needed to learn to make their homes, farms,            b. girls learned to can food safely
and communities better. The Cooperative Extension Service           c. girls learned to eat a better variety of food
was formed in 1914, and Corn and Tomato Clubs became a              d. all of these
part of it. A new club was formed, called 4-H. The four-leaf
clover was chosen as the Club emblem. Over the years, the
number of projects grew from the original two to about forty.    5. What organization is in charge of 4-H?
The projects are things all youth can do, not just farm boys        a. County school board
and girls.                                                          b. Alabama Cooperative Extension System
                                                                    c. State Department of Education
                                                                    d. all of these
This year Alabama 4-H is 100 years old, and we’re
celebrating! Ask Agent Assistant Tonya Tomlin what you

Volume 4, Issue 19                               Extension Newsletter                                               Page 2
6. Originally, the 4-H clover had only three leaves. They       How Do You Rate?
    stood for head, hands, and heart. In 1911, a fourth H       Number correct:
    was added. What does the fourth H stand for?                10-12………..Celebrate, EXPERT! You know your 4-H.
   a. health                                                    7-9…………..Not bad, NOVICE; you’re learning.
   b. harmony                                                   4-6…………..You’re a BEGINNER, right? Not a bad start.
   c. home                                                      0-3…………..4-H has a lot to teach—start to learn today!
   d. hustle                                                                                Source: Publication YMGT-6

7.   During its first years, 4-H was mainly concerned with             Louise Littlejohn Inducted Into
      improving agricultural production and food                        Alabama 4-H Wall of Fame
      preservation. Today, the major concern is:
     a. improving agriculture                                   Louise Littlejohn, a retired St. Clair County Extension agent,
     b. helping young people develop their skills and talents   was posthumously inducted into the Alabama 4-H Wall of
     c. teaching young people to compete                        Fame November 13th at the Alabama 4-H and Youth
     d. giving awards                                           Development Center in Columbiana. Littlejohn was one of
                                                                24 inductees honored during special ceremonies at the
                                                                Alabama 4-H Environmental Science Education Center. She
8. How many 4-H members are in Alabama?                         was nominated by Lee Ann Clark.
   a. approximately 50,000
   b. approximately 55,000                                      The Alabama 4-H Wall of Fame recognizes individuals and
   c. approximately 60,000                                      organizations that have had a significant effect on the 4-H
   d. approximately 65,000                                      Youth Development program, its members and leaders. The
                                                                Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, Inc., and Alabama 4-H
9. What percentage of Alabama 4-H’ers live in cities?           honors, remembers, and pays tribute to those who influenced
   a. 37 percent                                                the lives of Alabama youth by their commitment “To Make
   b. 50 percent                                                the Best Better.”
   c. 90 percent
   d. 10 percent                                                Littlejohn served as a county Extension agent for 4-H and
                                                                Home Economics from 1967 until her retirement in 1979.
                                                                She attended Lincoln Memorial University, received a
10. How many volunteer leaders help carry out the 4-H
                                                                bachelor’s degree in home economics education from the
     program in Alabama?
                                                                University of Alabama and pursued graduate work at
    a. approximately 1,000
                                                                Auburn University.
    b. approximately 1,500
    c. approximately 2,000                                      She taught students by example and gave lessons on a broad
    d. approximately 2,500                                      variety of subjects from bed making to healthy eating. Her
                                                                encouragement, kinds words and time spent with youth
11. How much does it cost to join 4-H?                          instilled in them a love for 4-H and for her.
    a. nothing
    b. cost varies from club to club                            A staunch supporter of women’s rights in the workplace, she
    c. cost varies from county to county                        litigated in Federal Court for the parity of equal pay for
    d. 50 cents per person                                      women in the Extension Service, which agents still benefit
                                                                from today.
12. What awards do Achievement Senior Level II
                                                                She was inducted into the Auburn University Home
     winners receive?
                                                                Economics Hall of Fame in 1997. Her sons, Dan and Joe
    a. a $25 savings bond
                                                                Littlejohn, accepted the award for their Mother.
    b. a trip to Montgomery
    c. a buggy                                                  Pictured l to r:
    d. an Alabama State Trophy and trip to National 4-H         Dr. Gaines
       Congress                                                 Smith, Exten-
                                        d   12.     6. a        sion Director,
                                        a   11.     5. b        sons—Dan &
                                        c   10.     4. d        Joe Littlejohn
                                        a   9.      3. d        and Dr. Lamar
                                        b   8.      2. b        Nichols, 4-H
                                        b   7.      1. b        Assistant

 Volume 4, Issue 19                          Extension Newsletter                                                 Page 3
The cost of living is increasing, yet the        expenses. Include everything—          After you have done these things, you
buy-now/pay-later syndrome, greater              lunches, car fare, and incidentals.    should have a better understanding of
expectations, higher standards of           3.   Set aside a period of frugal spend-    your problem and what you need to do
living, and sloppy buying habits are all         ing, such as a week or a month.        to resolve it. Then you can make a
contributing to a large number of                Spend absolutely no money that is      better decision about which, if any,
Alabamians finding themselves in                 unnecessary or that can be post-       alternatives you should choose.
financial trouble. If you are one of             poned until the end of this period.
these and feel that matters are getting
                                            4.   Each week, ask every family            For more information on this topic,
beyond your control, don’t despair.
                                                 member to react to his or her          please call and request publication
There are several things you can do.
                                                 spending by marking with a red         UNP-7, If You Can’t Pay Your Bills,
For example:
                                                 pencil all unnecessary expenses        or visit and
                                                 on the list. In this way, each         click on publications at the top to
   Explain your situation to your              person is made aware of what he        download a copy.
     creditors and try to renegotiate            or she is spending. Family
     your payments.                              members can also help each other
                                                                                        Extension also has a lot of other
   Go to a consumer credit counsel-            avoid impulse buying.
                                                                                        publications related to budgeting and
     ing service for help.                  5.   Agree on a certain allowance for       money management. One of the most
                                                 each person and promise as a
   Close all your charge accounts                                                     popular is our Money Management
                                                 family that anything one person        calendar. Stop by our office, located in
     except one. Use this one only for
                                                 wants to buy above the set             Suite 103 of the St. Clair County
     emergencies. This will also help
                                                 amount will be discussed and           Courthouse in Pell City, and pick up
     your credit history.
                                                 decided on by the family.              your FREE copy today!
                                            6.   Project expenses for 6 months or
An Emergency Family Finance Plan                 a year. Write down major bills
                                                 and fixed expenses, such as
Before you decide how you will                   insurance premiums, taxes, and
handle your crisis and pay off your              medical bills. Make a spending
debts, take time to do the following:            plan. Divide the large payments
                                                 by the number of months. This
1. Discuss the problem with your
                                                 will help you to be realistic about
    family. Stress the need for
                                                 upcoming expenses. If at all
    cooperation, sacrifices, and
                                                 possible, set aside some money
    controlled spending.
                                                 each month to help meet these
2. Have each family member make a                deadlines.
    list of all his or her daily

                                                                 For more information on our
                                                                Thriving in Challenging Times

Volume 4, Issue 19                          Extension Newsletter                                                     Page 4
   What Is The Digital TV (DTV) Transition?                           What Should I Do to Be Ready?
     Currently, many over-the-air stations are broadcasting in             You have three choices:
     both analog and digital TV formats. After February 17,
                                                                      (1) Connect your analog TV to a digital-to-analog
     2009, full-power TV stations will broadcast only in
                                                                          converter box. Digital-to-analog converter boxes are
     digital. The DTV transition will affect those who watch
                                                                          in stores and have a one-time cost of $40-$70. To help
     free over-the-air television (through the rooftop antenna
                                                                          you pay for the boxes, the U.S. Government is offering
     or “rabbit ears.”) If you watch over-the-air programs on
                                                                          two $40 coupons per household. (Please note that
     an analog TV, you must take action before February 17,
                                                                          these coupons will expire 90 days after mailing). For
                                                                          more information on the coupons, visit
   Why Are Broadcast Stations Switching to Digital?           , or call 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or
     Federal law requires the switch, which will free up the              1-877-530-2634 (TTY). Plus, you should not need a
     airwaves for police, fire, and emergency rescue commu-               new antenna if you get good quality reception on
     nications, allow broadcasters to offer programming with              analog channels 2-51 with your existing antenna. Or
     better picture and sound quality and offer more program-
                                                                      (2) Buy a digital television (a TV with a built-in digital
     ming choices, and allow for advanced wireless services
                                                                          tuner). You do not need a High Definition TV
     for consumers.
                                                                          (HDTV) to watch digital broadcast television. You
                                                                          only need a digital TV (or an analog TV connected to a
                                                                          digital-to-analog converter box). Plus, you should not
                                                                          need a new antenna if you get good quality reception
                                                                          on analog channels 2-51 with your existing antenna. Or
                                                                      (3) Subscribe to a paid TV service. If your TV set
                                                                          receives local broadcast stations through a paid
                                                                          provider such as cable or satellite TV, it is already
                                                                          prepared for the DTV transition. Cable companies are
                                                                          not required to transition or switch any of their
                                                                          channels to digital. However, if you have an analog TV
                                                                          that does not receive local broadcast stations through
                                                                          your paid provider, you will need a digital-to-analog
                                                                          converter box to watch digital broadcasts on that TV.
                                                                                 For more information visit

                                                                           Shanks Family Farm
                                                                    The Shanks Family Farm of Ashville was recently honored
                                                                    with the distinction of being named a Century and Heritage
                                                                    Farm by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and
                                                                    Industries. The presentation took place at the annual Farm
                                                                    City Banquet held in Ashville. A Century Farm is one that has
                                                                    been in the family continuously for at least 100 years and
                                                                    currently has some agricultural activities on the farm. A
                                                                    Heritage Farm is one that has been operated continuously as a
                                                                    family farm for at least 100 years.
The Shanks Farm was originally acquired by T.J. Shanks from R.B. Franklin on January 7, 1892. In the past, the family has grown
cotton, corn, hay and timber as well as raised livestock on the farm. Currently, Ms. Elvelier Shanks Richey leases the farm to Mr.
Dave Evans who raises timber and livestock. Presenting the Century Farm award to Ms. Richey and her family is Amy Belcher from
the Department of Agriculture and Industries. Pictured l to r (front row): Belcher, daughter-in-law—Martha Richey, Ms. Elvelier
Shanks Richey, grandsons, Ben and Jack Richey and (back row) sons—Jay and John Richey and daughter-in-law—Laura.

Volume 4, Issue 19                           Extension Newsletter                                                        Page 5
                  By: Tony Glover, Regional Extension Agent
                           Commercial Horticulture
                   Home Grounds, Gardens & Home Pests                                  Stevia Rebaudiana
         Question: My New Year’s resolution was to lose some             or treat it as a tender annual that’s set out after all
         weight and I have heard there is an herb that can be used       danger of frost is past. Bear in mind that temperatures
         as a sugar substitute. Since sweets are my weakness I am        can affect the sweetness. The stevia leaves will be
         looking for a natural sugar substitute. Do you know what        sweeter as the temperatures increase throughout the
         the name of this herb is and how can I grow my own sugar        summer.
                                                                         Stevia can be grown from seed, but is more easily
         Answer: There have been few botanical discoveries quite         rooted or it may be purchased as a small plant in the
         as dramatic as the realization that the leaves of a species     herb or perennial section of the garden center. Your
         of herb called, Stevia rebaudiana, are intensely sweet.         small plants will start slow, much like a pepper plant or
         Stevia plants are perennial plants native to Paraguay that      okra which requires hot weather to grow well. They need
         include over 150 different species. However, this               a good rich soil, full sun, warm air, and just enough
         particular species is an anomaly, since none of the other       water to keep the growing medium evenly moist. They’ll
         species in this North and South American genus produce          be quick to drown if you over water and equally quick to
         these sweet compounds at high concentrations. Stevia            die if you let the soil dry out completely. If you are more
         sometimes called “sweet leaf or candyleaf” is considered        interested in the sweet leaves you should remove the
         by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be an               small white flowers that appear in summer. They are
         unapproved food additive. It is approved by the FDA only        heavy users of nutrients and should be fertilized
         as a dietary supplement. There is conflicting research on       regularly or use a slow release fertilizer at planting.
         the safety of this herb and you should research carefully       They may occasionally be attacked by aphids, mealy
         before using any herbal product.                                bugs, and spider mites, so keep an eye peeled. If you
                                                                         catch the pest early a strong stream of water may be all
         Because they are commercially unprofitable, relatively few      that is needed or use a little insecticidal soap as
         highly sweet plant components have been developed as            directed on the label.
         sugar substitutes. However, due to the interest in natural
         products, the discovery that this stevia plant has naturally    Use stevia leaves fresh or dry them for storage by
         occurring sweetness has attracted great interest. Stevia        placing them in single layers between paper towels set
         and stevioside, an extract of stevia, have a menthol-like,      in a warm place for a week or so or dry them in a
         bitter aftertaste that limits their usefulness. However, they   dehydrator. Then use a spice grinder to reduce them to
         have been used for years as sweeteners in South America,        powder. It may not solve your sweet tooth problem but
         Asia, Japan, China and some European countries.                 you are bound to burn a few calories while working in
                                                                         the garden.
         For many centuries native Paraguayans have used stevia
         as a sweetener in herbal and medicinal teas. As
         mentioned, stevia cannot be sold and advertised as a
         sweetener but it is available as stevioside extract and can
         be purchased at most health food stores. The first thing to
         remember is that stevia is sweet but not exactly like sugar.
         All this sweetness comes from the leaves of a rather
         homely little plant that at maturity can be up to 18 inches
         tall and as wide. It’s a perennial herb that won’t tolerate
         freezing temperatures. Therefore, grow it as a houseplant

Volume 4, Issue 19                           Extension Newsletter                                                             Page 6
                               2008 Master Gardener Class
Pictured l to r: (Back) Jimmy Powe, Odenville; Clyde Rice, Moody; Lyman Lovejoy, Ashville; Roger Gilbert, Ashville; Earl F.
Peoples, Pell City; Charles Pinkston, Regional Extension Agent; (Front) Kerry Smith, Alabama Master Gardener Program State
Coordinator; Judy Sanders, Lincoln; Pat Demotte, Pell City; Nancy Gilbert, Ashville; Martha Cox, Trussville; and Camille Witt,
Odenville. Not pictured: Paul Jackson, Moody.

These eleven participants recently embarked on a journey to learn more about gardening in hopes of becoming certified Master
Gardeners. The first leg of their journey began on September 2nd when Charles Pinkston, Regional Extension Agent and instructor,
met with the class and began an intensive 12-week course which would allow them to learn all aspects of gardening.

After the course work was complete in December, participants begin conducting the required 40 hours of
approved volunteer service needed to become a Master Gardener. One of the main purposes of the Master Gardener Program is to
work on community betterment projects. We at the Extension office salute them for all their hard work and look forward to working
with them for many years to come!

      “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment,
                    or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
                                                                                                                                                      ~Leo Buscaglla

   Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work in agriculture and home economics, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, and other related acts, in cooperation with the U.S.
       Department of Agriculture. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) offers educational programs, materials, and
                      equal opportunity employment to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability.

Volume 4, Issue 19                                          Extension Newsletter                                                                                     Page 7
        Farm-City Poster                                  Farm-City Essay                                Outstanding
        Contest Winners                                   Contest Winner                                 Farm Family
The St. Clair County Farmers Federation Annual Farm-City Banquet was held on Monday, November 10th, 2008. We were honored
to welcome Dr. Richard Guthrie, Dean of Agriculture at Auburn University, as our guest speaker.

Several awards were presented during this year’s banquet. The Shanks Family Farm was recognized as both a Century & Heritage
Farm by the Alabama Department of Ag and Industries. (See page 5 for more information about the farm and award)

The Farm-City Scarecrow contest winners were announced and awards were presented. K-3rd grade winners were: Mrs. Murray’s 1st
grade, Ashville Elementary, “Pinocchio,” —1st place; Mrs. Evans-Smith’s Kindergarten, Ashville Elementary, “Farmer,”—2nd place;
Mrs. Hitt’s 2nd grade, Ashville Elementary, “Clifford the Big Red Dog,”—3rd place. 4th-6th grade winners were: 4-H Junior
Homeschool Club, “Mickey & Minnie Mouse”—1st place; Ms. Wyatt’s 4th grade, Eden Elementary, “Fancy Nancy,”—2nd place. 7th-
12th grade winners were: Mrs. Morrow’s Advanced Art Class, St. Clair County High, “Humpty Dumpty,”—1st place; 4-H Senior
Homeschool Club, “The Tin Man,”—2nd place. Business category winners were: Alabama Power Company, Ashville, “The Tin
Man,”—1st place; Union State Bank, Ashville, “Little Miss Muffet,”—2nd place; and St. Clair County Library, Ashville, “Momma &
Baby Bear,”—3rd place.

4-H’ers from across the county participated in the Farm-City poster and essay contest. Poster contest winners (pictured above from l
to r) are: Sienna Templin, Ashville Elementary—1st place; Nicholas Eldridge, Springville Elementary—3rd place; Erin Smith,
Ashville Middle School—2nd place; and Tonya Tomlin, 4-H Agent Assistant. Farm-City Essay contest winners were: Kameron
Crenshaw, Pell City (not pictured)—1st place, 7th-9th grade division and Rebecca Parker, Odenville—1st place, 10th-12th grade
division. Rebecca is pictured with 4-H Agent Assistant Tonya Tomlin.

The Garry Staples family of Ashville was selected as the 2008 Outstanding Farm Family in St. Clair
County. Pictured above is Garry & Denise Staples accepting the award. Garry serves as an officer in
the Contract Poultry Growers Association of Alabama. He recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to
lobby for Farm Bill changes. As a result of his actions, producers can now opt out of binding
arbitration in contracts. The entire Staples’ family is involved in farm operations. Garry’s wife is a
driving force in the farm. Their son Jeremy and his family also live on the farm now and are heavily
involved. Their daughter Tori and husband Ryan Castleberry are poultry growers as well.

CONGRATULATIONS to all our award winners!

Volume 4, Issue 19                                Extension Newsletter                                                    Page 8
                                         Jennifer Dutton
                                    Regional Extension Agent
                                  Human Nutrition, Diet & Health

Jennifer Dutton joined the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in November. She currently serves as a Regional Extension
Agent in the area of Human Nutrition Diet and Health. Prior to coming to Extension, she worked as a renal dietitian for Dialysis
Clinic, Inc. She is a native of Danville, Alabama and a 2003 graduate of West Morgan High School. She received her Bachelor’s and
Master’s Degrees in Human Nutrition from The University of Alabama in 2007 and 2008. She is a registered and state licensed

                                   Jennifer is housed in Cullman County but also serves St. Clair, Shelby, Jefferson, Blount, and
                                   Walker counties. While not working, she enjoys exercising, shopping, cooking, and being

                                   R    ecently, Jennifer hosted the Diabetic Cooking School Reunion in St. Clair County. She hopes
                                   to continue meeting with this group and plans to start new Healthy Cooking School classes in
                                   2009 (see page 12 for upcoming class information). She would also like to open an exercise class
Jennifer goes over the plate
                                   for seniors. If you would like more information or to request additional nutrition, diet, and health
 planner with participants
                                   related programs, please contact Jennifer at the St. Clair County Extension office or send an email
  at the Diabetic Cooking
                                   to She will be happy to assist you.
      School Reunion

Cold winter days cause people to want to warm up with hot foods. Nothing breaks the chill like hot soups,
stews and chili. Moist, steamy foods seem to warm us through and through. Usually combination foods like
soups are very healthy food choices. Fat-free broth based soups are loaded with nutrition. However, soups
advertised as “loaded” are generally loaded with calories, not nutrients.

Since moist cooking tenderizes foods, very little fat is needed in soups. A small amount of fat may add
flavor, but the best way to boost flavor is by using herbs and spices. Cumin, garlic, bay leaves and thyme are
just a few of the spices that work well in soups. If fresh herbs are used, add them in the last moments of cooking so that the flavor in
the essential oils of the herb will not be cooked away. A slice of fresh lemon added a few minutes before the soup is done will also
add a flavor burst.

Cream based soups may have more calories, but they are a good way to add more calcium to the diet. The American Heart
Association Cookbook and other cookbooks provide recipes for making cream soups using dry powdered milk. Dry milk is fat-free
and offers a good alternative instead of using cream or whole milk. Liquid fat-free milk can serve the same purpose as dry milk. The
advantage of dry milk is dry soup mix can be prepared in advance and kept on hand.

Soups can be prepared from fresh meats and vegetables or from a combination of leftovers. By preparing a large stock-pot of soup,
the soup can be cooled and portioned into freezer containers. Always remember to leave two to three inches in the container to allow
for expansion. Some foods, such as potatoes, change texture during freezing and spices may become weaker or stronger during the
freezing process.                             Source: Jennifer Dutton, Regional Extension Agent—Human Nutrition, Diet & Health

Volume14, Issue 19
 Issue                                             Extension Newsletter                                                       Page 9
                                                                                                                              Page 5
                             Family Disaster Supplies Kit
                                                              Be Prepared
                        Below is a list of essentials that should be placed in a bag, or any other portable container, and
                        ready to go in the event of a disaster. Experience shows that individuals may need to survive on
                        their own after a major disaster for up to three days.

                        This information is brought to you by the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). Our
                        goal is to reduce the impact of disaster through education.

                           Copy of family disaster plan with listing of medications & important numbers
 General Contents
                           Photocopies of credit and identification cards
                           Battery powered (or Crank) radio and extra batteries
                           Battery powered (or Crank) flashlight and extra batteries
                           Blanket or emergency blanket (Mylar)
                           First aid kit and manual
                           Bottled water
                           Non-perishable, high-energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins, canned meat and peanut
                           Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper)
                           Note pad and pencil
                           Sturdy shoes/boots, stocking cap
                           Extra set of clothes & underclothes
                           Whistle and hand-held mirror or flare
                           Hand/foot/body warmers
                           Camping matches
                           Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and
                             hearing aid batteries

  Additional Contents      Small snow shovel
                           Jumper cables
                           Tow rope or chain
                           Maps
                           Small Fire Extinguisher (ABC type)
                           Tube of sand or kitty litter
                           Heavy mittens, scarf and wool socks
                           An emergency candle and a tin can to warm the car

  Maintaining Your Kit     Keep canned foods in a dry place where the temperature is cool
                           Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to
                             extend its shelf life
Contact:                   Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented, or corroded
                           Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies
Virginia Morgan            Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front
Alabama Cooperative        Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it
Extension System             on all containers
P: 334-844-5699
                        Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family needs change.

Volume 4, Issue 19                        Extension Newsletter                                                  Page 10
                    Emergency Alert Radios Available
                                                 Community Safety Program
Free Emergency Alert Radios will be distributed in Clay, Cleburne, Etowah, St. Clair and Talladega counties (as well as those
located in a portion of Calhoun county) beginning in January 2009. All households are eligible to receive a free Emergency Alert
Radio. The Emergency Alert Radio will bring you information about many types of emergencies, including Weather Emergencies,
Hazardous Materials Accidents, AMBER Alerts and Evacuations.

The St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in partnership with DHS/FEMA have secured federal funds to make
this Community Safety Program possible. The St. Clair County EMA understands that an emergency can strike at any time, and that
early warning is often the key to protecting you and your family from disaster. With an Emergency Alert Radio
in every home and business, our communities will be safer.

So, how do you request your FREE Emergency Alert Radio? A participation card was mailed to every eligible
home and business. Complete the postage-paid card as soon as possible and drop it in the mail. Your FREE
Emergency Alert Radio will arrive in the mail in early 2009. If you did not receive a participation card please
call 1-256-237-7843 or 877-ALERT08, or visit The deadline for all cards to be received is
MARCH 31, 2009.

                                  St. Clair County Beef Cook-Off
The St. Clair County Beef Cook-Off was held on Thursday, November 6, 2008. Twenty-three students from across the county
participated. The St. Clair County Cattlewomen’s Association sponsors this yearly event. Jr. High winners were: 1st Place – Aundrea
Hannah, Ragland High School and 2nd Place – Lauren Cox, Ragland High School. Sr. High winners were: 1st Place – Tiffany
Phillips, Moody High School; 2nd Place – Susanne Gilbert, Moody High School; and 3rd Place – Khrystal Short, St. Clair County
High School. The first place winners from both the Sr. High and Jr. High Divisions will go on to compete in the State Beef Cook-
Off in Montgomery on January 10, 2009. Good luck girls!

I had the pleasure of judging this year’s cook-off (and boy, it wasn’t easy with so many tasty entries!). I think all the participants did
a wonderful job and I encourage them to compete again next year. Below you will find Tiffany Phillips’ recipe, 1st place winner in
the Sr. High division. Look for Aundrea Hannah’s recipe in the next issue of the Extension Newsletter.

                                     Teriyaki Strip Steak with Pineapple Salsa
1 ½ cups chopped fresh pineapple                                                                            ½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper                                                                             Dash white pepper
1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped                                                                            1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro                                                                              1 cup Teriyaki sauce
1 tsp. minced jalapeno pepper                                                                               1 lb. beef strip steak
1/3 cup purple onion                                                                                        1 cup apple jelly
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

In a medium bowl combine pineapple, red bell pepper, kiwi, purple onion, minced jalapeno pepper, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and
pepper and mix. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Marinate steak in Teriyaki sauce for one hour.

In a large skillet melt butter until sizzling and add steak and leftover marinade (half at a time). Cook over medium heat, turning
once, until medium doneness (12 to 16 minutes). Reduce heat to medium low; add jelly and spoon over meat to glaze.

To serve, slice steak thinly across the grain and top with salsa. Serves 4.

Volume 4, Issue 19                                    Extension Newsletter                                                    Page 11
            When: Tuesday, January 27th
            Time: 9:30 a.m.—11:30 a.m.
     Where: St. Clair County Extension Auditorium
                  Fee: $5 per person

 The class will focus on quick and easy recipes that fit into a healthy eating plan.
 Participants will be allowed to sample all the foods that are prepared. To attend, please
 pre-register no later than Tuesday, January 20th. Registration forms are available at the
 St. Clair County Extension office, located on the lower level of the St. Clair County Court-
 house in Pell City or online at The class is limited to 18, due to
 space limitations. For more information, please contact Regional Extension Agent Jennifer
 Dutton at the St. Clair County Extension office by phone at (205) 338-9416 or email

 Alabama Cooperative Extension System
 Alabama Cooperative Extension System
        St. Clair County Office
        St. Clair County Office

           1815 Cogswell Avenue
               Suite #103/B04
          Pell City, Alabama 35125
          Phone: 205-338-9416
           Fax: 205-338-9417

Volume 4, Issue 19                      Extension Newsletter                            Page 12

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