Category: December 2017

Christmas Plants Brighten the Holiday

Christmas plants such as poinsettias, holiday cactus, and amaryllis bulbs are a fun way to bring some color to the winter months. They like a bright, sunny location in your home and regular watering. With proper care these plants can be kept from year to year for lasting value.

View the whole article for even more tips;

By: Cassie Homan

THRIVE: Focus on a better version of you in 2018!

Join us in Beloit to participate in an interactive self-care program that will help you meet your personal goals! Throughout the 3-week program over the lunch hour in January, participants will explore strategies to embrace each day and practice habits that will help you get the most out of each stage in life! Adults – individuals, couples, families, and caregivers – are encouraged to participate. The program is free and participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch while they learn! Complete details are posted at

By:  Nora Rhoades

Focus on the “Stars” For your Holiday Cooking!

Ashley Svaty
Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Agent

Many favorite holiday entrees, sides, and desserts are filled with added fat, sugar, and sodium.  There’s good news though, we can do something about it!  Focus on the healthy “star” ingredient of each dish and cut out the extras that usually bring on the added unnecessary calories. For example, there is a recipe featured in this newsletter for a fall apple crisp.  Compare the nutrition facts with a traditional apple pie and you save 180 calories, 11 fat grams and 18 carbohydrates per serving!

For more information about healthy holiday cooking, view our Focus on the Stars Cooking Healthy for the Holidays publication here.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Transition Planning: 12 Steps to Keep the Family Farming

While many family-owned businesses have the long-term objective of “passing the business on to the next generation,” this is not an easy process. A great deal of planning, preparation, and communication is needed in order to accomplish the feat of moving the business from one generation to the next. The aspirations of both generations need to be addressed along with the financial feasibility of the operation supporting all involved. Checkout the K-State Research and Extension publication “Transition Planning: 12 Steps to Keep the Family Farming” and watch the video below as you work through the farm succession planning process!

By:  Nora Rhoades

Fall Apple Crisp

Makes 9 servings

  • 7 cups cored, sliced apples (about 2 lbs. or 5 large apples)
  • ⅓ cup 100% apple juice
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 5 tablespoons soft tub margarine, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons slivered almonds


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Peel apples, slice, and toss in a mixing bowl with apple juice to coat.

3. Combine flour, both kinds of sugar, and oats in another mixing bowl. Cut       in margarine using two knives until mixture is crumbly. Stir in almonds.

4. Spray a square 8-inch by 2-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.       Pour apples into baking dish and sprinkle with crumb mixture.

5. Bake 45 minutes or until topping turns golden brown.

Source: North Carolina Eat Smart, Move More. Nutrition per 1⁄9 of recipe: 200 calories, 8 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 22 g sugars, 2 g protein.

For more nutritious recipes, view pages 4-6 of the leaders guide!

By:  Ashley Svaty

Walk Kansas 2018

Mark your calendars for K-State Research and Extension’s annual health initiative, Walk Kansas! This motivating, team based 8-week challenge will be held from March 18th– May 12th 2018.  More details will come, but there’s no better time than the present to put yourself-and your health first!  You can start now by talking with coworkers, friends, and family to gather your team.

Visit the Post Rock District Walk Kansas page for program details.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Protecting Seedling from Deer

Deer can cause serious damage to newly planted seedlings and young trees. When they browse the buds, they reduce growth rates, nipping the tree at the base can create multiple stemmed trees, and bucks rubbing their antlers on stems can kill the tree entirely.

Follow these tips from the Kansas Forest Service, to protect your young trees.

By: Cassie Homan

Canning Previously Frozen Tomatoes

So you saved your tomato crop in the freezer. Can those frozen tomatoes be canned?

It is not recommended to can tomatoes that froze on the vine. This is because the acid content changes too much making them unsafe for canning. But tomatoes harvested prior to a fall freeze, then frozen, do not change in acidity. What does change is their texture and how they measure.

The best choice for canning previously frozen tomatoes is to make a well cooked product such as a stewed or crushed tomato product, or made into tomato juice or sauce.

It is not recommended to can them whole or quartered. They will pack into the jars differently, absorb moisture differently, and the heat transfers through the jars differently. This could lead to underprocessing and spoilage. Tomato canning recipes are based on fresh tomatoes.

Source: University of Georgia

From the December issue of You Asked It!  To access the full issue please click here

By:  Ashley Svaty

Enough with the Blame Game

We’ve all dealt with a friend, child, family member, or co-worker who has a behavior or attitude that drives you crazy. Sometimes these behaviors and attitudes break policy or laws while other times they just bring negativity into the environment. Simply ignoring these annoyances is not the answer, especially if they reoccur on a regular basis. Addressing differences can be stressful, yet not addressing them can result in unproductive work environments, strained relationships, and many bad moods.

How you address behaviors and attitudes that ‘push your buttons’ is very important in gaining the outcomes you desire. Blaming language brings out defense mechanisms, often steering the conversation away from the concern. Avoid using the word “you”. “You” statements accuse actions, ideas, and people to be in the wrong. Blaming language not only takes longer to reach a resolution, it rarely makes a relationship stronger through the process.

Instead, use “I” statements. “I” statements keep your responses focused on how the concern affects you. Meanwhile, the other party will feel invited to explain how they are affected by the concern. “I” statements seek to understand and respect both party’s opinions and experiences. These types of conversations may provide values clarification, likely pointing towards a compromise that will benefit everyone.

Communicate with “I” Statements

  • I feel: (label your feeling: betrayed, proud, anxious, vulnerable, etc…)
  • When: (give specific example)
  • Because: (briefly explain ‘why’)
  • What I want/need is: (describe what would make you feel better)

By:  Nora Rhoades