Live Well Utah Holiday Edition
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- FALL/WINTER 2013 UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION live well utah Holiday Edition how to be learn power SUSTAINABLE FOR THE YEAR 2014 the truth behind the mistletoe away debt PAGE 12 PAGE 6 PAGE 18 LIVEWELLUTAH.ORG
- Photo Credits: istockphoto.com clipart.com Senior Editor: Mike Whitesides Editors: Donna Falkenborg and Julene Reese Publication Advisor: Scott Boyer Graphic Design and Layout: Olivia Yeip publication TEAM Copyright 2013 Utah State University Extension
- Subscribe to the Live Well Utah e-newsletter at LiveWellUtah.org 16 Turkey Talk Pomegranates a Healthy Holiday Choice Mistletoe: Our Favorite Holiday Parasite Pucker Up This Holiday and Enjoy Citrus Fruits Emergency Car Kit a Wise Investment This Season Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions Discover 4-H Clubs in 2014 Stay Connected and Make Family Communications a Priority This Year Step Down to Power Away Debt USU Extension 4-H Meat Donation Program Feeds Utah Food Bank Discover the Benefits of Being a Garden Member In This Issue 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 21 6 2 10 4
- 2 | Live Well Utah By: Darlene Christensen, USU Extension associate professor Many people enjoy a traditional turkey dinner during the holiday season. It is estimated that each Thanksgiving, more than 46 million turkeys are prepared and eaten in the United States. Because of the number of turkeys prepared, the incidence of food-borne illness also increases during the holidays. If not prepared properly, turkey and all other poultry can carry Salmonella, a common type of bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. Consider these tips for preparing a safe and tasty turkey this year. The first and most important food safety step is to properly thaw the turkey. The best way to thaw it is in the refrigerator. Make sure it is still in its original wrapper, and put a tray underneath it to catch juices and prevent cross contamination. You will need 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey, so make sure you have enough time to properly thaw it. Once thawed, cook the turkey within 1 to 2 days. If you need to thaw the turkey more quickly, you can use the cold water method. Place the turkey in an airtight package or leak-proof bag. Submerge the turkey in cold water for 30 minutes per pound, and make sure to change the water every half hour so it remains cold. Cook immediately. 1. 2. Talking Turkey: HOW TO SAFELY PREPARE YOUR HOLIDAY BIRD
- 3 | Live Well Utah If you purchased a smaller turkey, it may be possible to thaw it in the microwave. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the size of turkey that will fit in your microwave, the minutes per pound and the power level for thawing. Roast it immediately after thawing. It is never safe to thaw turkey or other meat on the counter. This is putting the meat in what food safety experts call the danger zone, 40 to 140° F, which is where bacteria multiply rapidly. Under ideal conditions, bacteria can double every 10 to 20 minutes. That means one cell can increase to over 16 million cells in 8 hours. For this reason, perishable foods such as poultry should never be held at room temperature for more than 2 hours. To roast a turkey, set the oven temperature no lower than 325° F. It is not safe to cook a turkey for a lengthy time, such as overnight, at a low temperature. This encourages bacterial growth. To check for doneness, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh. Do not rely on the pop-up thermometer alone. Meat thermometers are available at reasonable prices in most supermarkets and variety stores. To be safe, the thigh meat should reach 165° F. If the bird is stuffed, the stuffing should reach 165° F as well. After the meal, promptly refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers. Some families leave turkey and other perishable items out all day for people to nibble on. This is not safe. Place perishable items in the refrigerator. If people want to snack, they can get the food out of the refrigerator. For more information on turkey preparation or storage, contact your local USU county Extension office. You can also contact USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854). 3. 4. 5. 6. 3 | Live Well Utah
- 4 | Live Well Utah Pomegranates a Healthy Holiday Choice By: Carolyn Washburn, USU Extension associate professor As the holidays approach, fresh pomegranates become available. Pomegranates are found in most Utah grocery stores from October into December, and two varieties are grown in Washington County. These native Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fruits used in anything from salads to desserts are an excellent source of phytochemicals, making them one of the best antioxidants available. The edible seeds of these yellow-orange to deep-red colored fruits have a citrus flavor and make a delicious juice. Over the last few years, the health value of the pomegranate has been studied. Preliminary research shows that the pomegranate may be one of the best antioxidant fruits that can fight cancer, slow the aging process, increase heart health and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies from UCLA and USDA indicate that pomegranates are a major stabilizer of cancer. The naturally occurring antioxidants in this fruit fight the free radicals that promote disease. One average pomegranate contains about 100 calories and 25 grams of sugar. Pomegranates are also a good source of potassium. Consider this information when preparing the healthy fruit. • Opening a pomegranate can be messy; however, if you cut off the blossom end and score through the skin marking the fruit in quarters, you can submerge the pomegranate in ice-cold water and rub the seeds off the skin. The skin will float to the top, the seeds to the bottom and then they can be drained. 4 | Live Well Utah 5 | Live Well Utah
- 5 | Live Well Utah Pomegranates a Healthy Holiday Choice 3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice, fresh, bottled or frozen and thawed 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 package (2 ounces) powdered pectin 4 1/2 cups sugar Combine pomegranate juice, lemon juice and pectin in a 4 or 5-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar until well blended; return to a boil and continue boiling, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Remove jelly from heat. Immediately put in jars and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes. Cool for 24 hours, then remove the rings before storing. 1 pomegranate, seeded 2 oranges, peeled and cut into small pieces 1 bunch cilantro, chopped 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped 1 tomato, diced 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1-2 tablespoons lime juice Score pomegranate and break apart in ice water. Drain the seeds. Add all ingredients and chill for 2 hours before serving. • To store pomegranates, keep them at room temperature for a week, refrigerate in an air- tight bag for up to 3 months or freeze the seeds for 6 months to a year. Pomegranates are enjoyable as a salsa, in salads, with main dishes, as jelly and syrup or just by the handful, so eat them and enjoy! DIXIE POMEGRANATE FRESH SALSA POMEGRANATE JELLY 5 | Live Well Utah
- 6 | Live Well Utah Mistletoe:Our Favorite Holiday Parasite Mistletoe is a parasitic plant we associate with many Christmas traditions, said Jerry Goodspeed, Utah State University Extension horticulturist. A parasitic plant is one that invades other plants, robbing them of water and nutrients instead of developing its own root system. Parasitic plants are found throughout the world, and a few invade Northern Utah, although they often go undetected. “At Christmas time we seem to honor one of the most tenacious parasites around as we buy mistletoe and drape it around our home,” Goodspeed said. “There is a great deal of folklore and myth surrounding mistletoe. The name comes from the ancient belief that the plant somehow “Don’t get caught under the parasite”sounds like good advice any time of the year. Why is it that during the Christmas holiday we give so much attention to a plant that lives off other plants? And, what is romantic about it? spontaneously sprung to life from bird droppings in the tops of trees. The word ‘mistel’ is Anglo-Saxon for dung, and the word ‘tan’ means twig. Thus, mistletoe could be translated to be ‘dung on a twig.’ And you thought calling it a parasite was bad!” The term mistletoe sounds a little better, especially if you have to kiss under it, he said. Mistletoe was used in ancient wedding ceremonies to confer fertility and life-giving power on the newlyweds. In other parts of the world it was considered a peace plant. Those who were fighting stood under the mistletoe to resolve their conflict. 6 | Live Well Utah By: Dennis Hinkamp, USU Extension communications
- 7 | Live Well Utah Moving on from history — most parasitic plants contain an organ known as a haustorium that functions a little like a root, Goodspeed said. Instead of growing into the soil, it penetrates the bark and obtains its water and nutrients from its host. Of course, this weakens the host plant and, in severe cases, can kill it. There are two native mistletoes in northern Utah. Both are dwarf varieties, and not the leafy mistletoe we often use in Christmas decorations. Fir dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium douglasii) is a parasite to the native Douglas fir and can attack sub-alpine firs. Limber pine dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium cyanocarpum) is not as common, but occasionally is seen on limber, bristlecone, ponderosa and lodgepole pines. “Mistletoe does flower, although the blossoms are inconspicuous,” he said. “The flower leads to a small fruit that contains one seed. This fruit is eaten by birds in the trees. Then they deposit the seeds in other tree tops.” Dwarf mistletoe is not common, and since it blends in so well with the host plant’s foliage, it often goes undetected, he said. It is rarely found in our landscapes and is not considered a major pest in northern Utah. “Enjoy the Christmas holiday with all its traditions,” Goodspeed concluded. “And just be thankful we kiss under the mistletoe and not a ‘twig covered with dung.’” “There are two native mistletoes in northern Utah. Both are dwarf varieties, and not the leafy mistletoe we often use in Christmas decorations.”
- 8 | Live Well Utah Red fruit contains antioxidants that help fight heart disease, lower cholesterol and prevent some cancers. contain beta-caro- tene that is essential for a good immune system and is rich in vitamin C, folate and vitamin A. Orange & yellow fruit provide phytochemicals which are antioxidants that protect against cancer and disease. The blue and purple also provide vitamin C, folic acid and fiber. Blue & purple fruit Pucker up this Holiday and Enjoy Citrus Fruits By: Carolyn Washburn, USU Extension associate professor There is an abundance of citrus fruits in grocery stores this holiday season. The prime harvest time for most of these fruits is in the late fall and early winter months, which makes the holiday season a peak time to enjoy these healthful foods. Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, which helps maintain a strong immune system and helps protect against scurvy. Citrus fruits promote heart health and reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. They can also aid in cancer prevention and are useful in diabetes sugar level control. Citrus fruit skin is high in essential oils used in flavorings or as fragrant essences in aromatherapy oils, cosmetics and soaps. Other important nutrients found in citrus fruits are fiber, folate, lypocene, potassium and vitamin B6. Each fruit color provides different nutrients that our bodies need. It is important to include a variety of colors every day for these important nutrients. These include: Green fruit provides phytochemicals to help protect eyes and pre- vent cancerous tumors. Greens have essential vitamins including folate, minerals and fiber. provides allicin, sulfa- foraphanes, polyphenols and phyto- chemicals that help in fighting cancers and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. White fruit
- 9 | Live Well Utah Citrus fruits are also objects of beauty and decor. A bowl of fresh fruit makes a great centerpiece. It can also remind you that selecting a piece of fruit rather than candy or cookies is a wise choice. It is smart to keep fresh fruit within reach to encourage daily consumption. USDA’s MyPlate recommends eating two cups of fruit every day. This may be in the form of juice, fresh, canned or dried fruits. There are many ways to increase fruits in your daily diet. Add oranges and lemons to water to allow infusing overnight. Add fresh lemons and limes to drinks. Eat half a grapefruit every morning for breakfast. Have a citrus snack every day. Prepare salads using citrus fruit with lettuce and spinach. Top entrees with a fruit sauce. As the peak fruit season begins to level off, you may want to try home canning grapefruits and oranges. This simple and fast process provides you with home-canned fruit that makes a wonderful breakfast fruit mix and prevents the waste of fruits. Begin by selecting firm, sweet grapefruits and oranges. Peel and remove the white tissue. Break the fruit into sections and fill jars with the fruit. Next, fill jars with water or hot syrup. Water works well, but a light syrup of 1 cup sugar to 4 cups of water provides an enriched flavor. Pour the liquid over the fruit in the jars, leaving one-half inch headspace. Apply the lids and rings and process pints or quarts in a water bath for 15 minutes at an elevation of 2,000 to 4,000 feet. Adjustments will need to be made for other elevations. Further information can be found in the Ball Blue Book, available at: tinyurl.com/loqv5bu or from your county USU Extension office. “Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, which helps maintain a strong immune system, promotes heart health and reduces the risk of some chronic diseases.”
- 10 | Live Well Utah Emergency Car Kit a Wise Investment This Season By: Cindy Nelson, USU Extension assistant professor The best gift you could give yourself and your family this holiday season may be peace of mind. One gift to help bring peace of mind is an emergency car kit that includes needed supplies in the event of a misfortune on the road, such as a flat tire, engine trouble, being stuck in a remote area or something more serious like poor road conditions due to bad weather or natural disasters such as floods, fires or earthquakes. An emergency car kit is like a 72-hour kit on the go but also includes tools specific to vehicle emergencies. You can purchase a ready-made emergency car kit, or you can assemble one that fits your family’s needs. Your kit should include items typically found in a 72-hour kit: • Snacks, water, non- perishable foods and a can opener. • Water bottle with a purifier or a filter so you can use water from a stream or melted snow. • Emergency thermal blanket to provide warmth or shelter. • Warm clothing, including gloves. • Contact information for family members, doctor, insurance, mechanic, etc., either on a piece of paper stored in the glove box or stored in your cell phone. Be sure to have a car charger for your phone as well as a backup charger that is either battery or solar powered. • First aid kit, including basic first aid supplies and necessary medications for allergies, pain, etc. • Tissues or toilet paper and diapers if you have young children. • Matches or a lighter. • Cash. • Notebook and pen. • Microfiber towels that are highly absorbent and quick drying, and/or compressed towels that save space. 10 | Live Well Utah
- 11 | Live Well Utah With information from Carolyn Washburn, “How to Pack a Car Emergency Kit;” KSL.com, “How to Make a Disaster Supply Car Kit;” and Teresa Hunsaker, Studio5.ksl.com, “Preparing Your Emergency Car Kit.” Then add items specific to vehicle emergencies: • Distress sign or emergency sign to hang in car window or on antenna. • Orange safety vest. • Portable power unit, which can be invaluable in many emergency situations. • Rope, tie downs, bungee cords. • Basic tool kit and a shovel. • Flashlight or spotlight with extra batteries, or solar powered or windup lights. • Portable radio that is windup or battery powered. • Jumper cables. • Snow and ice scraper. • Flares. • Spare tire, jack, lug wrench. • Let someone know where you are going and when you will return. • Check weather and road conditions before leaving home. • Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times. • Assess your surroundings for safety. • Stay with your vehicle. • Carry a roadside assistance card at all times, or know how to use assistance such as OnStar. It can be difficult to find space in a vehicle to store all of the necessary emergency equipment. Rather than using one big container, items can be stored in multiple small containers that can be tucked into cubbies, under seats, in the glove box, trunk or door compartments. Other things to consider for peace of mind on the road:
- Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions By: Roslynn Brain, USU Extension sustainable communities specialist and Paige Gardner, USU Extension sustainability To make 2014 a great new year, challenge yourself to try these simple lifestyle changes each month. Each aspect of sustainable living presented is not only good for the environment, but for your health and wallet as well. Whether it is dusting off your bike, exploring vermicomposting or simply changing a light bulb, each small change you make will have lasting impacts. January Lose paper weight this year. Go paperless with your bills and unsubscribe from junk mail through Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service at dmachoice.org March Start your (natural) spring cleaning. Make your own cleaning products to minimize toxin exposure, save money and be healthy. Visit tinyurl.com/q6g6pjz for tips and recipes. February Be a cool Valentine. Save on your heating bill and turn your thermostat down while your house is empty during the day. See if you can sleep better with the thermostat down a few degrees at night as well. For other energy saving tips, visit tinyurl.com/orpyquf April Let rain showers water your flowers. Build garden swales instead of mounds to capture natural water flow. Find pictures, explanations and books on how to do it at tinyurl.com/23z6cbs May Be bright with LED and natural light. Switch the light bulbs in your home to more efficient LED lights and use natural light to brighten your home/office. Energy tips can be found at tinyurl.com/oykmwa7 12 | Live Well Utah
- 13 | Live Well Utah July Beat the heat with a native garden. Plant drought and heat tolerant native edibles and ornamentals this year to add natural Utah beauty to your landscape. Browse tinyurl.com/pspmw88 for helpful information. October Happy Halloworms! Start your own household vermicompost system with red wigglers, a container, bedding, dirt, moisture and your daily food scraps. See Extension’s vermicomposting fact sheet at tinyurl.com/mpxd34h August Be thrift chic. Prepare your “new” work or school wardrobe with a visit to your local thrift store. While there, drop off clothes you no longer wear to keep the cycle going. Learn more about how to give clothes a second chance at tinyurl.com/n8xnyp4 November Give thanks through local giving! Sign up for a community-supported agriculture program, and buy your Thanksgiving meal from local sources to reduce your family’s food print (the carbon footprint associated with how your food was produced and the miles your food has traveled between production and consumption). Find out more about the local food movement at tinyurl.com/o366kyo September Head back to school/work with alternative transportation. Opt to bike, walk or ride the bus as your primary mode of daily transportation. Find out more by viewing the fact sheet at tinyurl.com/mep6ele December Give more while consuming less. Reuse newspaper and paper scraps to make homemade upcycled (converting used materials into new items) gifts for your friends and family. Opt to draw names with family and friends to reduce the quantity and increase the quality of gifts. Host creative craft nights with friends and catch up while repurposing products that are typically thrown away. See Extension’s “Reuse” fact sheet at tinyurl.com/o5o6hkk For more information on sustainability, visit extension.usu.edu/sustainability Like us on Facebook for daily inspiration and to learn more about how to incorporate sustainability into your life. 12 | Live Well Utah June Avoid June bugs with natural pest control. Create your own garlic and dish detergent mixture for aphids, or experiment with other natural pest control recipes to improve your family’s health and your landscape. Visit tinyurl.com/26o6f58 for tips on natural pest control.
- 14 | Live Well Utah The Utah 4-H program recently launched a new curriculum designed to guide new or seasoned 4-H volunteer leaders through the process of starting a 4-H club or exploring a new project area. “We have received calls from parents and others who want to become volunteer leaders for a 4-H club, but they don’t know where to start,” said Stacey MacArthur, Extension assistant professor for the Utah State 4-H office. “Our new program, ‘Discover 4-H Clubs’ is designed for them. It walks them through the process of starting a club and gives them step- by-step instructions so it’s not so overwhelming.” There are currently more than a dozen project areas such as cooking up science, cake decorating, sewing, forces of nature, robotics and shooting sports, with more being added all the time. Each of these areas has a step-by-step outline that includes everything needed to organize a club and hold the first six club meetings. “At the end of the six meetings, club members can then try a different project area, or they can move on to the regular 4-H curriculum for their current project area,” MacArthur said. Volunteers may be concerned that they don’t have the necessary tools or materials needed for a club, but most of these can be checked out at the local USU Extension county office. “Our county office employees are a wonderful support and will do all they can to help make volunteering a great experience,” MacArthur said. Utah 4-H is the youth development program of USU Extension and has more than 90,000 youth participants and 8,600 adult volunteers. Each county (Daggett is covered by Uintah County) has a USU Extension office that administers the 4-H program. “Positive youth development is the primary goal of 4-H,” MacArthur said. “The program is about youth and adults working together, designing club and individual plans for activities and events to enrich our youth. The new year ahead is the perfect time to start this program with your child.” Discover 4-H Clubs in 2014 By: Julene Reese, USU Extension writer Go to D iscover Utah4h .org or visit yo ur USU Extens ion cou nty o� ce and get a s tep-by -step instruc tional p acket fo r the pr oject a rea of your ch oice (se e back) . Invite o ther fam ilies to join yo ur child ren as t hey discove r and le arn. Simply follow the ste p-by-st ep acti vities in your packet and HA VE FUN ! 2.
- 15 | Live Well Utah To get started, see instructions below “The 4-H program is about youth & adults working together.” Discover 4-H Clubs in 2014 Possible Project Areas CAKE DECORATING FITNESS LEATHERWORK ROBOTICS SEWING SHEEP SHOOTING SPORTS SPA AND RELAXATION THEATER ARTS You can check out tools (for areas such as cake decorating and leatherwork) at your USU Extension county o�ce. Utah State University is an a�rmative action/equal opportunity institution. DiscoverUtah4h.org Go to D iscover Utah4h .org or visit yo ur USU Extens ion cou nty o� ce and get a s tep-by -step instruc tional p acket fo r the pr oject a rea of your ch oice (se e back) . Invite o ther fam ilies to join yo ur child ren as t hey discove r and le arn. Simply follow the ste p-by-st ep acti vities in your packet and HA VE FUN ! 2. 15 | Live Well Utah
- 16 | Live Well Utah Stay Connected and Make Family Communications a Priority this Year Technology has revolutionized the way people interact and has created a variety of implications for relationships. For example, texting has become the number one way many couples stay in touch, and many individuals initiate dates, argue and even end relationships through text messages. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, provide a way to connect to family and friends but can also create temptations and relationship problems when individuals reconnect with old love interests or connect with new potential romantic interests. Others use the Internet as a way to connect through creating online relationships that may distract and hinder them from having real-world connections. So how do we stay connected and protect our relationships in an increasingly technological world? Consider the following tips. By: Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor
- 17 | Live Well Utah Communicate in person. When a conversation is important or personal, take time to discuss the issue in person. More than half our communication is shared through body language, including eye contact, which is generally not possible to pick up on when communicating through technology. While many individuals include emoticons in their digital messages to share their expressions, without communicating in person, we risk a much higher chance of miscommunication and frustration. Taking time to talk face to face not only helps us better understand each other, but it also communicates that the relationship is valuable. Unplug. Decide on and create technology-free zones and times when family members turn off all electronic devices and spend time together. For example, don’t allow electronic devices at the dinner table. It is becoming increasingly common in many households to use cell phones or other electronic devices to talk to others (or even each other!) at the dinner table. When we set down the technology, we can better connect with those around us and more fully enjoy the moments with those we care about. Set boundaries. In a healthy relationship, couples should be able to be open and honest with each other about who they are communicating with, and there should be boundaries and expectations about what is considered an appropriate relationship with others. Depending on what the couple feels comfortable with, it might be best to limit the amount of interaction with members of the opposite sex. Couples may also want to discuss the appropriate amount of information they will disclose about their relationship to others. For example, couples may agree to share with others only the positives about their partner to avoid the long-term damage that can occur when something negative is shared during a moment of conflict. Use technology to bond. While technology is not the ideal way to share highly important or personal messages, it can be a great way to stay connected during the day or while traveling for work. For example, send a text message letting someone you love know you are thinking about them, or share something you appreciate about them. Send a picture to your loved one of something you think would make him or her laugh. Share something you love about your partner on Facebook or Twitter for the entire world to see. Use your smart phone to schedule date nights or time together and sync your calendars regularly. If your partner has to travel and has access to a computer, use Skype or other programs to chat free of charge. 1. 2. 3. 4.
- Step Down to Power Away Debt By: Dean Miner, USU Extension professor Each new year many families set a goal to get out of or reduce their debt. Committing to no new debt, having a budget to manage where the money goes and determining how much money can be allocated toward debt reduction are all essential to accomplishing this. In addition, many financial educators recommend using what is called the step-down approach. Instead of completely eliminating spending in a budget category, the step-down approach encourages consumers to reduce, lessen or step down what was previously spent. For example, if you have a weekly date night of fine dining and typically spend $90, completely eliminating that activity may not be something you want to do. However, if you step down the activity by only going to dinner every other week, going to a less expensive restaurant or by having a fancy meal at home, you could reduce the amount spent on the activity and put the amount saved toward debt. The same principle can be applied to a wide variety of other expenses: movies – rather than going to the theater, rent a movie; groceries – rather than using already prepared items, prepare your own basics for homemade meals; clothing – instead of going to boutiques, shop at discount stores. The potential savings vary greatly, but the mentality of stepping down can make a marked financial difference and the “saved” money can be used for debt repayment or to accelerate debt elimination. 18 | Live Well Utah
- 19 | Live Well Utah Crunching numbers will demonstrate the benefits. The most recent data reveals that the average credit card balance for U.S. households is $7,100. The average interest rate is 15 percent. If the consumer maintains a $150 monthly debt payment, it will take just over 6 years to be debt free and will cost more than $3,700 in interest. If the step-down method is applied and monthly expenses are reduced by $150 and that amount is added to monthly debt payments, that household would become debt free 3.5 years more quickly and save close to $2,400 in interest costs. That cuts down two-thirds of the interest costs. You might also look to your tax refund for help in eliminating debt, as the average federal tax refund for U.S. families is close to $3,000. Work with your employer’s payroll office to adjust your W-4 forms and get a lower withholding amount each paycheck. If you aren’t able to find any step-down savings, you can receive similar benefits by reducing the withholding amount by $1,800. Or, adding the tax refund money to the step-down additions (which would now total $300 each month), your household would save nearly $2,900 in interest costs and could be debt free in just 18 months. You could also put a portion of your tax refund toward debt elimination when you receive it, but the benefits are not quite as good as adjusting your W-4 withholding. Another tool for developing a debt elimination plan is the USU Extension website, PowerPay.org, which was used to develop the above projections. Consumers with several creditors can see how committing to no new debt and consistent full payments results in almost built-in extra money as payments are rolled over to remaining creditors and individual debts are repaid. Before and after using the step-down method to reduce a $7,100 debt CURRENT MONTHLY PAYMENT YEARS OF PAYMENTS INTEREST PAID $3,7006$150 WITH STEP-DOWN $1,3002.5 $300 (additional $150 payment) “the step-down approach encourages consumers to reduce, lessen or step down what was previously spent.”
- 20 | Live Well Utah Food banks and charitable organizations are usually successful in collecting cans and boxes of food, but donated meat is harder to come by. A group of Utah State University Extension 4-H youth from Farmington wanted to change this and found a way to donate high-quality meat to the Utah Food Bank in 2005. They created what has now become an annual program that has provided 761,000 pounds of meat to Utahns in need over the last 8 years. According to Justen Smith, USU Extension Davis County director, the Farmington 4-H Lamb Club began the donated meat project by giving a few hundred pounds of meat to charity as their service project that first year. Then Kelly Maxfield, a long-time 4-H club leader in Farmington and now Utah Food Bank board chairman, got help from his corporate connections, and donations came in from most of the northern Utah counties to pay for the meat. “Now it not only involves 4-H youth, but many other people who donate trucking, packing, fuel and time to the project,” Smith said. “This year, 92,000 pounds of meat were donated from Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Wasatch, Morgan, Millard, Tooele and Uinta (Wyoming) counties to distribute to the 472,000 Utahns in need with the help of approximately 120 volunteers. It’s amazing how the program has grown.” The project works so well because donors raise enough money to buy up most of the 4-H livestock sold at county and state fair auctions and livestock shows over the course of about four months, Smith said. The auction “floor price” goes to the 4-Hers, and the meat goes to the food bank, so everyone wins. Now, every fall, volunteers from all over the state help sort and package the thousands of pounds of meat donated to the Utah Food Bank in Salt Lake City. The meat is then distributed by the food bank’s 130 partnering agencies throughout the state. “The significance of this program cannot be underestimated,” said Ginette Bott, Utah Food Bank chief development officer. “Not only do the clients receive rarely available, highly nutritious meat products, but Utah Food Bank especially takes pride in the fact that many counties statewide are having a direct impact on our mission of ‘Fighting Hunger Statewide.’” USU Extension 4-H Meat Donation Program Feeds Utah Food Bank By: Julene Reese, USU Extension writer Photo by Dennis Hinkamp
- 21 | Live Well Utah Membership benefits include: • Free 2014 USU Extension Garden Calendar. • Our monthly, e-mailed “Garden View” newsletter. • Invitations to “Members Only” seasonal events, wildflower walks and other garden tours. • Discount to Baby Animal Days. • Invitation to “Members Only” plant sale. • 20% discount on all regularly priced plants at the “Members Only” plant sale. • Discounts at participating nurseries (see website for details). • Discounts on all public classes and events at both gardens. • Free admission every 2nd Tuesday to Thanksgiving Point Gardens (March-October, excluding Tulip Festival). Members enjoy the benefits and beauty of the Utah State University Botanical Center and the Ogden Botanical Gardens for one low-cost membership fee. Share the gift of membership or buy a family membership for your whole family to enjoy! Find out more and become a member today at usubotanicalcenter.org/membership. Discover the Benefits of Being a Garden Member M W F SS T T KEY Extension publication available Registration required USUBC Utah State University Botanical Center OBG Ogden Botanical Gardens 1 8 15 22 29 2 9 16 23 30 5 12 19 26 3 10 17 24 31 6 13 20 27 4 11 18 25 7 14 21 28 Hobby Greenhouse #1 Series at USUBC 9:00-11:00am and at Thanksgiving Point 1:00-3:00pm Harvest winter squash before it freezes In October, water lawn ½ - 1 inch per week Farmers Market at USUBC 5:00-8:00pm Hobby Greenhouse #1 Series at USUBC 9:00-11:00am and at Thanksgiving Point 1:00-3:00pm Plant fall bulbs and perennials for a colorful spring Deep water all evergreen trees and shrubs to prevent winter injury Members Only Apple and Cheese Tasting at OBG 6:00-7:00pm Divide and transplant spring and summer blooming perennials Lower height of lawn mower to 1½ - 2 inches tall Hobby Greenhouse #1 Series at USUBC 9:00-11:00am and at Thanksgiving Point 1:00-3:00pm Amaryllis bulbs available at local nurseries Winterize the sprinkler systemColumbus Day Hobby Greenhouse #1 Series at USUBC 9-11:00am and at Thanksgiving Point 1:00-3:00pm Zombie 5K at USUBC 6:00pm Clean upWrap young trees for winter Apply fertilizer to the grass one last time for a healthy spring lawn Halloween Pumpkin Palooza Family Night at the USUBC 6:00-8:00pm Add compost and till garden plot 2014 USU Extension Garden Calendars Now on Sale! This year’s gardening calendar is full of stunning photos and useful gardening information. Calendars also include information about events being held at the USU gardens. Buy your calendar online at extension.cart.usu.edu. Cost is $5. Save $5 when you become a member by Dec 21, 2013.
- Utah State University is committed to providing an environment free from harassment and other forms of illegal discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 and older), disability, and veteran’s status. USU’s policy also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and academic related practices and decisions. Utah State University employees and students cannot, because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran’s status, refuse to hire; discharge; promote; demote; terminate; discriminate in compensation; or discriminate regarding terms, privileges, or conditions of employment, against any person otherwise qualified. Employees and students also cannot discriminate in the classroom, residence halls, or in on/off campus, USU-sponsored events and activities. This publication is issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kenneth L. White, Vice President for Extension and Agriculture, Utah State University. Copyright 2013 Utah State University Extension 4900 Old Main Hill Logan, Utah 84322-4900 Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Utah State University