Are Your Kids Eating Right?

Check out these tips to help your kids eat healthy (photo credit :

Check out these tips to help your kids eat healthy (photo credit :

August was ‘Kid’s Eat Right Month’, a new awareness and education campaign that aims to help families ensure their children’s nutritional needs are being met.  This effort, which is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation, encourages families to shop together, cook together, and sit down together to eat.  Here in Arizona, we are blessed with a long growing season and farmers’ markets that operate all year round.  This helps make it easier for families to fill their plates with healthy meals made from locally grown products.  To help you and your family make the most of ‘Kid’s Eat Right Month’, here are some other tips from the United State’s Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)


  1. Add More Vegetables to Your Day

Vegetables are a critical component of a healthy diet because they provide the vitamins and minerals growing bodies need to be strong and healthy.   You can increase your family’s vegetable intake by adding veggies to soups, casseroles, and other meals you already eat.  Another great way to get more veggies in your day is to serve up hearty salads as the main course at dinner.  For more ideas on how to increase the number of veggies that make their way onto your child’s plate, check out these Choose My Plate tips.

  1. Focus on Fruits

Kids love fruit which makes it easier to add it to their regular diet.  Try adding some fruit to their morning meal by using it atop cereal or pancakes or stirring it into their oatmeal or yogurt.  Fruit also makes a great addition to the lunchbox and can form the foundation of a delicious, yet healthy, after dinner dessert.  For more ideas on how to focus on fruit, check out these Choose My Plate tips.

  1. Make Half Your Grains Whole

Simply choosing whole grain options at least half the time can make a big nutritional difference for your child.  Swapping out processed products made with white flour for those made using whole grains may be a little tough at first, but it will go a long way toward meeting this whole grain goal.   You can also offer popcorn instead of potato chips and brown rice instead of white.  These simple substitutions will help you increase the whole grain intake of the whole family.  For more ideas on how to make half your grains whole, check out these Choose My Plate tips.

  1. Be a Healthy Role Model for Children

Our children model what we do which means one of the best things we can do to make sure our children are eating right is to make sure we are eating right too.  Show your child how to make healthy choices by making the same choices for yourself that you would make for them.  Make physical activity a family affair and make sure you are practicing what you preach when it comes to snacking, overeating, sweets, sugary beverages, and screen time. For more ideas on how to be a healthy role model, check out these Choose My Plate tips.

And, don’t forget about Arizona Farm Bureau’s Fill Your PlateFill Your Plate, an online, searchable database of Arizona farmers and ranchers that can sell food products and certainly local Arizona food directly, serves to help form a unique relationship — a common bond — between Arizona farmers and ranchers and Arizonans. Fill Your Plate provides chefs and Arizona families with an opportunity to find and purchase locally grown food and along the way make friends with the farmers and ranchers who grow our food.

On the site, you’ll have all sorts of entertaining opportunities to engage beyond just the searchable produce-based database. You can post a question on our Farmer Forum (which is our Facebook page), search for recipes, read what local celebrities are saying about food and much more! We even provide information about how food prices are trending and nutritious tidbits that highlight Arizona fruits and vegetables and meat products. It’s a cornucopia of insights that once you’ve begun to use Fill Your Plate your mouth will water in anticipation of biting into an Arizona apple or barbequing some of Arizona’s famous and tasty beef.


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50 Ways to Celebrate Celery


Don’t miss out on these delicious ways to use celery. (photo credit:

Most people know that celery is a good healthy snack because it is very low in calories and can help satisfy cravings for things that crunch.  But there are several other reasons to celebrate this stalky vegetable this month.  It is full of anti-oxidants and steaming doesn’t seem to affect these healthy compounds in celery.  They are also powerful inflammation fighters, especially in the digestive tract.

For the freshest celery, choose an intact bulb that has stalks that snap when you pull them away from the bulb.  The bulb should be compact and all the stalks should look and feel firm and crisp.  Avoid any celery with yellow, brown, or black patches or yellowing leaves.  Research indicates that celery holds its nutritional content for about 5-7 days if it is stored in the refrigerator and it should be cut just prior to eating for the maximum nutritional benefit.

Celery is one of the vegetables of the month for August which means it is a great time to try out some new ways to eat this underutilized veggie.

  1. Artichoke Chicken Salad
  2. Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
  3. Classic Minestrone Soup
  4. Holiday Stuffing
  5. Hamburger Stew
  6. Herb Roasted Chicken
  7. Lentils and Smoked Turkey
  8. Okra and Tomatoes
  9. Oyster Stew
  10. Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry
  11. Shrimp Ceviche
  12. Stuffed Pumpkin
  13. Braised Celery
  14. Celery Chesapeake
  15. Celery and Parmesan Salad
  16. Cream of Celery Soup
  17. Stuffed Celery
  18. Spicy Shrimp, Cashew, and Celery Stir-Fry
  19. Peppery Coleslaw with Cucumbers and Celery
  20. Celery Blue Cheese Salad
  21. Celery and Carrot Soup
  22. Roasted Pork Belly with Warm Potatoes and Celery Radish Salad
  23. Summer Celery Soup
  24. Celery Salad with Lemon Dressing
  25. Dilled Cucumber, Celery and Tomato  Salad
  26. Green Bean and Celery Salad
  27. Three Bean Salad with Celery
  28. Fennel Apple and Celery Salad
  29. Skillet Beef and Celery
  30. Beet and Celery Salad
  31. Creamy Celery Casserole
  32. Grilled Chicken Salad with Fresh Herbs and Celery
  33. Celery Wine Baked Chicken
  34. Celery Potato Soup
  35. Confetti Rice with Celery, Carrots, and Almonds
  36. Broccoli and Celery Slaw
  37. Curried Celery Apple Soup
  38. Celery Succotash Salad
  39. Deer Soup with Cream of Mushroom and Celery
  40. Whole Roasted Fish with Celery, Lemon, and Orange
  41. Ground Beef Vegetable Soup
  42. Chicken, Celery, and Radish Salad
  43. Potato and Bacon Salad
  44. Celery with Creamy White Beans
  45. Kohlrabi Slaw
  46. Fried Celery
  47. Marinated Vegetable Salad
  48. Super Tuscan Burgers with Potato Salad with Capers and Celery
  49. Waldorf Salad
  50. Grilled Mushroom and Celery Heart Salad with Creamy Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
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$9 Million Gift to Support the University of Arizona’s Veterinary Medical and Surgical Program

The 160-acre Campus Agricultural Center is the site for the UA Veterinary Medical & Surgical Program (Photo courtesy of UA/Judy A. Davis)

The 160-acre Campus Agricultural Center is the site for the UA Veterinary Medical & Surgical Program (Photo courtesy of UA/Judy A. Davis)

A foundational gift of $9 million from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation will support the state’s first public veterinary medical and surgical program to train Doctors of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Arizona. The program is targeting a 2015 fall semester launch.

The UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been actively developing the program to address Arizona’s critical veterinary needs, including training more veterinarians, and improving animal and public health. A consultative site visit by the American Veterinary Medical Association occurred in January. A comprehensive AVMA site visit for program accreditation will happen soon.

“This program is incredibly important to Arizona and I thank the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation for their generous support,” said Ann Weaver Hart, UA president. “This innovative program will help the UA to meet a critical need for veterinarians throughout Arizona, and provide a vital talent base for the state’s growing workforce needs.”

Established in 1990, the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation has previously invested in the UA in providing private support for the Marley Building and endowing Project CENTRL, a rural leadership initiative. In 2012, the foundation also made a $4.5 million gift to the UA Foundation to endow a research and extension program in sustainable rangeland stewardship.

This gift, which will be counted toward the university’s $1.5 billion Arizona NOW campaign, exemplifies the Marley Foundation’s goals of backing health and human services, supporting education and advancing medical research and facilities. The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation Veterinary Medical and Surgical Program, as the new program will be called, will help address the critical veterinarian shortage in rural Arizona communities and tribal nations, benefit bioscience businesses and promote public health.

The program will run year-round so students complete their degrees faster, incur less debt and enter the workforce more rapidly. In what is called a distributive model, the final two semesters will be spent working in private veterinary practices, government agencies or other community partnerships to secure hands-on, real world learning in communities throughout the state.

Other clinical training partners will include federal and state animal health labs and regulators, U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security, and animal shelter and rescue agencies. The UA already has letters of interest from many prospective partners.

Currently, Arizona students interested in becoming veterinarians must compete for veterinary school admissions at out-of-state institutions, many of which favor resident students. For example, 1,600 applicants competed for 138 seats at Colorado State University. Only 55 of these seats are open to applicants outside Colorado, and just a handful of these are filled by Arizonans.

“Arizona students pay higher costs through non-resident or private tuition, incur more debt and often stay in the practices, or seek employment with, the out-of-state veterinary practices and companies where they intern as part of the out-of-state education,” said Shane Burgess. “We need the smart and dedicated people we train to stay here. Arizona’s hard-earned tax dollars need to promote Arizona’s future.”

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Tips for Decorating Your Dorm Room

College Dorm room

College is back in session. Follow these tips to help decorate your college dorm room on a budget. (photo credit:

There is no question that college is more expensive than ever and that goes for tuition, room, board, books…..and decorating dorm rooms.  For the parents of today’s college freshman, college dorm décor meant buying special extra long sheets and a couple of milk crates to make their dorm room functional and maybe a poster or two to make it feel like home.  This is a far cry from the $900+ many college students are now spending to do up their dorm room according to Business Insider.

But you don’t need to go to these lengths to create a comfortable, cozy home away from home.   There is simply no reason to break the bank in order to get all the latest gadgets and ‘must-have’ items from that list you found on the internet.   With some thrifty thinking and a little creativity, you can get everything needed without having to take out another student loan.


  1. Know What You Can and Can’t Have

This is probably the most important cost saving strategy as there isn’t any point in purchasing something that won’t actually be able to be used, hung, or kept in the dorm room.  Colleges and universities have different rules about what students can and cannot have in their rooms so make sure you check the rules for the specific college being attended.  Do this as part of making the list recommended in #2 below.


  1. Make a List

This is probably the second most important strategy you can employ to stretch your dorm decorating dollars.  Start by taking any list you can find on the college’s website and then add anything else that is specific to you or your student’s needs.  Then go back over the list to make sure you haven’t included anything that isn’t allowed in the room.  Now go back over the list again and question every single item on the list to make sure it is necessary and that it will enhance the college environment.  Remember, dorm rooms are small and space will be at a premium, so less is going to be better.


  1. Shop the Sales

When you are ready to start shopping, look for the best price for each item on your list.  This may mean purchasing things online instead of buying them from local retailers.  If the college is far away, you may be able to save money by shipping online purchases directly to the school rather than paying to ship them to your home and then paying to transport them to the college.


  1. Seek Out Second Hand Stuff

There is no reason that you need to purchase new items when there is a good chance you can find most of what you need from second hand shops or on Craigslist.  Seek out second-hand options whenever possible to stretch your decorating dollars as far as they will go.


  1. Split the Cost

If you will be sharing space with a roommate, make arrangements ahead of time to decrease costs by splitting the expense of items you will both use like a mini-fridge or a television.


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Gastronomic Game Changer: Arizona Restaurant Week Returns Sept. 19-28

AZ restaurant week

Diners Encouraged to Experience all Arizona Has to Offer During 10 Nights of Exceptional Local Eats

Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) will return this fall with 10 nights of incredible edibles, commencing for the first time on a Friday night. Arizona Restaurant Week, Fall Edition will be held Friday, September 19 through Sunday, September 28.

During Fall ARW, over 150 Phoenix restaurants will offer specialty prix-fixe dinner menus for $33 and $44 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity unless otherwise noted.

“Arizonans can be proud of the wide expansion of local dining options and culinary genius the state has experienced during the past few years,” said Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri. “Poised for continued growth, Arizona Restaurants will gross sales just under 11 billion dollars, outpacing the country in new jobs, and employing over 265,000 people this year.”

Restaurant Week gives a twice-annual boost to these numbers as foodies get set to spend their dollars and celebrate the craft that is booming in our state.

Social Media will play an extra role this season, as diners will curate their own dining experiences through interactive promotions, contests and more.

Look for a special Instagram scavenger hunt and contest in partnership with Buick that will encourage diners to dine out at as many local places as possible and to capture their adventures using #TourARW.

This year Arizona favorites like Rusconi’s American Kitchen, Posh and Roaring Fork will join newcomers like Paul Martin’s, Southern Rail and Barrio Queen for this celebrated line up to savor. A full list of participating restaurants and menus will be featured here with an easy-to-use interface for searching for a favorite local chef, type of cuisine or restaurant wish list.

With a local food culture rich in tradition, James Beard Award-winning chefs, and the best cities in the West, Arizona is rich with home-grown flavors, top chefs, winemakers, authors, storytellers and food enthusiasts.

“Arizona’s food scene is thriving, thanks in no small part to trailblazing culinary chefs, mixologists, entrepreneurs, and restaurateurs who make certain that it never gets stale,” said Chucri.

Don’t miss a bite: check the website often as new restaurants and menus will be added as they become available. Until then, find out all the delectable details by following Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

About Arizona Restaurant Week: 

The most edible time of the year, Arizona Restaurant Week, is making its return Friday, September 19- Sunday, September 28, sending diners on a ten-day tasting tour of the state. Participating restaurants are not only known for their exceptional cuisine, they also spare no expense to give diners an extraordinary culinary experience. Arizona Restaurant Week’s goal is to position Arizona as one of the top culinary destinations in the nation by increasing awareness of the more than 8,500 dining opportunities available as well as stimulate business and revenue for restaurants throughout the state. Arizona Restaurant Week is produced by the Arizona Restaurant Association.



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