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Enjoy the Holidays: Preparing Healthy and Safe Meals!

Special holiday series – Blog 5 of 5

Over the past week, Dr. Janey Thornton, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, and I have provided low-cost recipes incorporating simple food safety tips to help you prepare healthy and safe holiday meals. So far, we’ve posted recipes for turkey, stuffing, baked apples and sweet potatoes, and green beans. For the final blog in this series, we’re focusing on pumpkin pie, one of the mainstays of holiday meals. Like other holiday treats containing eggs, pumpkin pie filling can be messy to prepare and may lead to foodborne illness if not done carefully. This pumpkin pie recipe incorporates food safety tips at every step from mixing to storing leftovers. If you have further concerns about cooking with eggs this holiday season, this fact sheet should be really helpful. Additionally, I invite you to call USDA’s Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m EST, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day.

Enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Read more »

How Much Time Do Americans Spend Eating?

Responses from time use surveys reveal that on an average day, Americans age 15 or older spent 23.5 minutes eating while engaging in another activity considered “primary.” A common example: eating while on the job. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Responses from time use surveys reveal that on an average day, Americans age 15 or older spent 23.5 minutes eating while engaging in another activity considered “primary.” A common example: eating while on the job. (Photo: Thinkstock)

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Assists the Stinson Family in the Aftermath of the Bastrop, Texas, Wildfires

The Stinson family lost their home and their rental home to wildfire.   With USDA help, they are in a new home, recently acquired with a Rural Development Guaranteed Home Loan.

The Stinson family lost their rental home to wildfire. With USDA help, they are in a new home, recently acquired with a Rural Development Guaranteed Home Loan.

On Sunday, September 4, 2011, a firestorm known as the Bastrop County Complex Fire engulfed Bastrop, Texas, located just 25 miles east of Austin.  By September 30, the fire had destroyed 1,645 homes, burned 34,000 acres, and killed two people.  It is now regarded as the most catastrophic wildfire in Texas history and has set a somber state record for the most homes lost in a single fire. Read more »

Moving Toward a Restoration Economy

Untreated ponderosa pine woodland compared to an area restored by the Greater Flagstaff Forest Partnership working with the Forest Service in 2008 on the Coconino National Forest in Arizona.

Untreated ponderosa pine woodland compared to an area restored by the Greater Flagstaff Forest Partnership working with the Forest Service in 2008 on the Coconino National Forest in Arizona.

While people have squabbled over the direction of federal forest management, many landscapes have declined. Take southwestern ponderosa pine, for example. Where thick grasses once waved under big orange-barked pines, thickets of spindly trees now threaten natural and human communities alike through outbreaks of insects and disease, followed by devastating fires. Read more »

Active Living by Design Helps Get Communities Moving

The mobile market delivering fresh produce residents of Spartanburg County, South Carolina.

The mobile market delivering fresh produce residents of Spartanburg County, South Carolina.

Three community supporters of Let’s Move are moving towards healthier lives. Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Faith and Communities initiative, these communities are leading the way in creative solutions to health issues through mobile grocery markets, convenient bicycle accommodations, and safe routes to school. These innovative ideas are brought to life through the funding and partnership of organizing group Active Living by Design. Read more »

Grant Makes Big Difference In Tribe’s Quest To Bring Nutritious Traditional Foods Back To The People

The Apache people were hunters and gatherers. Their food offered much variety…wild herbs, fruit, berries, wild game and pinto beans. They also relied on hunting, mainly wild turkeys, rabbits, deer, bears, and buffalo.

Once settled into villages, they began to grow their own food, primarily corn and squash. Corn, squash and beans—supplemented by the meat that the hunters provided—was a healthful combination.

In Arizona, families of the San Carlos Apache people settled on 2-3 acre plots, many near the San Carlos River which runs through the reservation. Here they grew the traditional Apache foods. But in the 1960s the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), in order to provide additional housing, broke up those small 2-3 acre plots to make room for more homes. Read more »