A variety of yummy treats in jars to give as gifts for the holidays.
The Holidays hold some of my fondest memories! Our family would often make special presents for friends and family members. We made things like cookies, candies, breads, and soups that could be shared with others. This can be a fun tradition for your family or 4-H Group to create together!
These gifts usually are not super expensive but can let everyone know you are thinking about them. A lot of times we would make a treat and deliver it along with a container of pre-made mix they could use later to make another serving. That way they know what they are getting and are more likely to make another batch. If this sounds like a fun tradition you may want to incorporate it but remember to be safe while making these special treats. You don’t want to prepare these delights and cause someone to have an allergic reaction or become sick from eating them.
If you like crafting you can decorate bags, jars, spoons, clean ornaments, mugs etc. A bow, ribbon, piece of fabric, dried flowers, sprigs of fresh flowers, holly or pine can make beautiful packages. Remember a little decoration can go a long way and make your gift giving more economical and festive.
Some of our Extension Colleagues from Kentucky KY1 and KY2, Maine, North Dakota and Iowa have some great recipes to share for gifts in a jar, on a spoon or in a mug. Many of these already have premade tags you can download and attach to the item. It also has the individual recipes you can follow and use to make your own special gifts. If you want to make a chocolate cocoa bomb, Maine had the cocoa mix recipe you can use with your molded chocolate! These are definitely yummy treats your friends and family will enjoy!
4-H offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities to fit your interests, skills, and schedule. For more information about Volunteering with 4-H, or to sign up to help youth develop their life skills, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit Florida 4-H Website
We love our Military Families!
November is a month many of us celebrate our families and have traditions we enjoy annually. November is also designated as the National Military Family Appreciation Month. For our military families it is a time when the country recognizes the nearly 5.2 million service members and their families. UF/IFAS Extension and 4-H are proud to be a part of the military family working with youth centers across the nation to have some consistency for military kids. 4-H works will military programs worldwide to support our military youth at bases and in local communities. We recognize that our military youth must cope with many circumstances while their parent or sibling is working often away from home. Causing a hole created by the absences during many life events. Military life imposes unique demands on the family, from a change in family structure to the stress of someone missing from events, to the worries of a family member being hurt while working.
Since many of us have a little extra time during the holidays there are several things you can do to show your support of our military members and their families. We as non military families celebrate with each other at family/friend gatherings etc. and sometimes forget that our military friends are away from home and missing these traditions. We can help celebrate, recognize, acknowledge, and show gratitude for those sacrifices our military family’s make so each of us can enjoy freedom by sharing our love.
You can do simple things to demonstrate your appreciation and gratitude for their sacrifice, resiliency, and courage.
Show your support by:
Celebrate our Freedom and express your appreciation to military families!
- Expressing Gratitude and appreciation: You can take a moment to thank military families for their sacrifices and service to the nation. You can send cards, write letters, if you do not know anyone here is a local organization that can help get them to the troops. December 1 is the deadline for Holiday themed cards to go out. You can give shout outs on social media using the hashtag #MilitaryFamilyAppreciation
- Sending care packages to veterans and military families overseas or donate to to Military Support Organizations.
- Giving the gift of time by: visiting a local veteran, spending time with a military family, or volunteering at a veterans organization (contact your local VFW, American Legion, VA hospital or veteran’s shelter).
- If you know a military family, open your doors to share the holidays with you by offering help with tasks like childcare, home maintenance, or meal preparation.
- You can also show your support by participating in community events and initiatives that celebrate and support military families in your area.
I hope you will join Florida 4-H #Florida4H and our Nation #MilitaryFamilyAppreciation to celebrate Military Family Month, by doing simple things to demonstrate your appreciation and gratitude to our military members and their families! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
First meeting is Sept 26th at 5:30 EST
I am so thrilled to let you know about a new endeavor with Florida 4-H. We are trying a virtual Food Challenge cooking club this year. This is so exciting for me because some of my fondest memories are cooking with my grandmother and Mom. I got to learn how to prepare foods and be creative as I was growing up pulling on their apron strings. I also enjoyed teaching and sharing these skills with my own children. What makes this even better is now I get to share and learn with all of you who join our program.
Paula and Madelyn Cooking together
By joining the new Virtual 4-H Food Challenge Club, you will embark on a fun, yet challenging, food-focused adventure right from the comfort of your kitchen! The club adventure will provide a fun atmosphere for you and your children to have a family time experience building lasting memories together. With the help from Florida 4-H Youth Development Faculty, you will get to unleash your culinary creativity and try delicious recipes while learning kitchen skills from safety, nutrition, and other food related life skills. Families will learn about competitive events related to foods like the Florida Food Challenge Competition. Families will also have the opportunity to make friends with fellow 4-H members across the state.
The virtual club is open to youth members ages 8-18 and will meet once a month starting in September. The club will meet via ZOOM on the following Tuesdays: September 26th, October 24th, November 28th, December 19th, and January 23rd from 5:30 – 6:30 PM ET. We request that adult supervision is present with the youth during the meeting and home practice sessions. The participants will be asked to gather a list of supplies for each monthly meeting as we focus on a new skill for each meeting.
Paula’s family working with herbs to prepare a dish.
During this course we will help families enjoy preparing food, provide you with opportunities to problem solve together and work as a family team as practice preparation for the Florida 4-H Food Challenge! If you join us, your family will learn how to prepare and create yummy dishes with a predetermined set of ingredients. By the end of the program, your family should have some new recipes for your cooking toolbox, learned essential cooking skills and created wonderful memories from your time together. Do not miss this flavorful opportunity – sign up now via Florida 4-H Online and get cooking with 4-H! If you are not a member of a current 4-H Club there is a $20 membership fee associated with this club. If you are unable to join our virtual club, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office to see if there is an active Food Challenge group that you can join. If not, work with your 4-H or FCS Agent(s) to identify two caring adults who could fill this role.
Enroll, Grab your ingredients, and get ready to join us via Zoom on September 26th@ 5:30 EST
It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is already upon us!
Youth learning to grill during 4-H tailgate program
Many of us will be celebrating with picnics, cookouts, and family get-togethers. One of my colleagues in Clay County, Samantha Murray, did a great article about preventing food poisoning while celebrating. Our youth have also been attending grilling summer camp programs and learning many of these tips plus lots more. The youth have learned about how to use a grill safely, how to prepare food safely and prevent cross-contamination or food-borne illness, and the nutritional benefits of animal protein in diets. Our district will have its annual competition to advance to the state-level competition on July 30 at the Washington County Extension Office, in Chipley, Florida.
I just wanted to take a moment to recap the tips Samantha gave to keep all of us safe and healthy while celebrating.
- Keep raw meats in a separate cooler than ready-to-eat items or beverages.
- Foods with mayonnaise are less acidic creating a better environment for bacterial growth
- Chicken and ground beef needs to be cooked to 165°F
- Wash hands if soap and water are not available use hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of contaminating food.
- Use different tongs or spatulas for cooked and uncooked meat or wash them after being in contact with raw meat.
- It is recommended to refrigerate leftovers within two hours unless it’s really hot, then the window shrinks to about an hour.
Other items you may want to think about.
- Keep beverages in a separate cooler from other foods, people will be going in and out of beverage coolers much more keeping the temperature higher and allowing bacterial growth.
- Cook cuts of pork, beef, or shrimp to 145°F
- Don’t sit charcoal grills on plastic tables and make sure the area is free from debris that can catch fire, including limbs or tents overhead.
- Clean up after yourself leaving only footprints in the area you were in!
- Enjoy time with friends and family safely!
For more information about educational programs, check out our webpage or contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.
Taylor Yoder is the daughter of David and Robin Yoder of Altha, FL. Taylor is a senior and has been homeschooled along with her 3 sisters. Her plan after graduating is to attend Chipola College and then pursue an ag business degree.
Taylor has been a member of the Jackson County 4-H club since 2017. Some of the events she has been a part of include Chopped Challenge, Holiday bake-offs, arts and crafts contest though the Panhandle Youth Expo, and is an active member of the livestock club. As a member of the livestock club, Taylor has participated in numerous judging contests across the Southeast. Her team was the third-place team in the 2022 state 4-H contest. In addition, she was the overall high individual in this contest.
In addition to these activities, Taylor helped start and holds a leadership role in the Jackson County Junior Cattleman’s Association, she has been a two-time state voting delegate for Jackson County 4-H, and is a board member for the Junior Florida Simmental Association.
Taylor is most passionate about cattle breeding, showing, and judging. Taylor had the reserve grand champion steer at the North Florida Fair in 2021 and exhibited the grand champion steer at this fair in 2022. She has also participated in the PYE steer show since 2017 and had the reserve champion steer in 2021. She has also won best county raised steer three times.
The thing that means the most to Taylor from being a part of 4-H is that it has prepared her to be able to face a challenge with confidence. Her time showing, judging, and giving reasons has helped to instill this confidence in her. These activities have created a love for cattle and has helped shape what her future will involve. Lifelong friendships and connections across the state have also played a huge role in her desire to pursue future endeavors in the cattle industry.
This story prepared by Patti Peacock, Jackson County 4-H