Meet Your FCS Agent – Kendra Hughson

Meet Your FCS Agent – Kendra Hughson

Kendra at Purdue University

Kendra during her professional development leave at Purdue University.

Kendra Hughson is a Regional Specialized Agent in Family and Consumer Sciences. She is based in Quincy, Florida and covers the sixteen counties in the panhandle. Kendra leads the northwest district county faculty in developing districtwide family and consumer sciences programs. Kendra is also currently serving as co-chair of the statewide family and consumer sciences program.

Kendra began her career with Michigan State University Extension in a suburban county in southwest Michigan after completing an internship program in the county office. With a bachelor’s degree in family studies, she intended to continue her education in marriage and family therapy while working as an extension agent. Kendra caught the “Extension bug” and ended up completing her master’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences at Western Michigan University.

Kendra was hired with the University of Florida/IFAS Extension in 2007 leaving the snow, ice, and frigid winters behind. She has served as an agent, a county extension director, and returned to her passion for family and consumer sciences as a regional specialized agent. Kendra works primarily in health and wellness but enjoys the variety of family and consumer science programs. She studied evaluation during a professional development leave in 2018 and has since been passionate about telling the story of how family and consumer sciences programs improve the lives of the people with which we work.

picture of Kendra and her daughter

Kendra and her daughter in St. Petersburg, FL.

Kendra lives in Tallahassee with her daughter and dog. Kendra enjoys travelling, including playing tourist in the sunshine state and visiting Lake Michigan in the summertime. When not working or managing family activities, Kendra enjoys reading, cooking (not baking), sewing, and being outdoors.

A Healthy Table: Virtual Cooking School

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have turned to cooking more meals at home. Cooking meals and eating at home has many benefits. When preparing meals, you can select the ingredients and chooseA Healthy Table place setting graphic element healthy recipes lower in saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. When eating out, we tend to eat more food. You can more easily control your portion sizes when eating at home. Remember to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your main dishes and side dishes. Finally, preparing and eating meals together is not only a fun way to teach healthy eating habits and cooking skills, but it is also a great way to connect with each other at the end of the day.

We invite you to join us for A Healthy Table: Virtual Cooking School. In our virtual cooking school, you will learn how to prepare healthy meals for your family through self-paced online lessons and hands-on cooking activities. You will have opportunities to engage in monthly live virtual cooking demonstrations and interactive learning experiences.

Register before February 9th and save 20% off the ticket price. Early registrants gain access to a bonus class and kick-off event. Tickets are on sale for $19.99 until February 9th and $25 thereafter. Registration will close on February 23. Once registered, you will receive the Zoom class link and the link to the class website. Register here:

The monthly Zoom class events will be held from 6:30-7:30 pm CT/ 7:30-8:30 pm ET on:

  • Tuesday, February 9th: Kickoff Event Available for Early Birds only Program introduction and a sweet, healthy treat demonstration.
  • Tuesday, February 23rd: Lesson 1, Kitchen skills primer
  • Tuesday, March 23rd: Lesson 2, Cooking techniques – baking, grilling, roasting
  • Tuesday, April 27th: Lesson3, Simple dishes – eggs, breads, salads, pasta
  • Tuesday, May 25th: Lesson4, One dish meals – one-pot, slow cooker, packet meals
  • Tuesday, June 22nd: Lesson 5, Entertaining and special occasions – setting a table, appetizers

Come cook with us and set your table for better health.


Benefits of Cooking at Home

Cooking at Home for Healthier Eating

Benefits of Family Meals



Warm Weather Brings People Out, and Mosquitoes Too

Warm Weather Brings People Out, and Mosquitoes Too

Mosquito on flesh

Mosquito Aedes Aegypti_2020
Photo Source: UF/IFAS

Author: Whitney Cherry

COVID-19 has been driving public and private discussion as of late.  But, we have to stay vigilant in working against all public health threats. One of the threats we typically start talking about this time of year is mosquito borne illnesses and preventative mosquito control. Not only are mosquitoes pests, but they can transmit some diseases we wouldn’t want, even under normal circumstances. 

So what’s the reality? While the incidence of mosquito borne illness is much lower with the advent of modern medicine and basic public practices of wearing bug spray and dumping or treating standing water, it’s definitely not unheard of. The Zika scare is not such a distant memory afterall. And EEE (eastern equine encephalitis) was at an unusual high last year in horses in the panhandle. So what can we do?

With recent flooding in some areas and the weather warming, we can expect to see increasing populations of mosquitoes.  Additionally, as the weather warms, we all tend to spend more time outside, increasing our likelihood of mosquito bites. Further exacerbating the situation are the widespread quarantine measures keeping many of us home. The late afternoon and early evening hours bring ideal weather to step outside and enjoy a little time away from TV and computer screens.  We encourage fresh air and exercise outdoors, but we also encourage basic safety.  So wear bug spray if you’re outside early morning and especially near, during, or shortly after dusk. Wear long sleeves and pants and socks if you can stand it. And keep standing water out of containers on your property.   If this isn’t possible, look for safe water treatment options.  The most prevalent spreaders of disease (Aedes aegypti) actually require these containers of water to complete their life cycle. 

For more information on this or other Extension-related topics, call or email your local extension office.

Related mosquito information:

Prevent the Spread of Illness

Prevent the Spread of Illness

During flu season or other outbreaks of illness, take extra steps to stop the spread of germs.

basket of cleaning supplies

Keep surfaces clean and sanitized to help reduce the spread of illness. (Photo source: Kendra Zamojski)

  1.  Wash hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Use a tissue and toss, or cover your face with your elbow.
  3. Avoid close contact with others showing signs of respiratory illness like sneezing and coughing.
  4. Stay home if you are sick.
  5. Clean and sanitize surfaces. Use a spray or wipe a sanitizer of your choice across the surface. (Be sure to follow the package directions for the most effective use.) Mixing 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in a quart of water  (4 teaspoons per gallon) will make an effective sanitizer.
  6. To avoid foodborne illness, use a food thermometer to ensure foods like meat and eggs are cooked to their proper temperatures for safety.


World Health Organization (WHO):


Music source:  Maple Leaf Rag (1899, Z. Brewster-Geisz version) by Scott Joplin is licensed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 License.

Simple Cranberry Sauce

Simple Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries were likely a part of the Thanksgiving tradition dating all the way back to the very first one. Native Americans ate dried or fresh cranberries and they used cranberries for dye and medicinal purposes.  They also used cranberries to make pemmican – a mixture of berries, dried meat, and fat. Pemmican was a common nutritional dish that could be stored for months. Cranberry sauce became commercially available in its familiar canned form in 1941. These jellied cranberries can now be sold year round.  Dried, sweetened cranberries, or “craisins” are also available year round and make a great addition to stuffing and salads.  Fresh and frozen cranberries can be found in abundance this time of year.  The festive red color and nutrients make them a great addition to many dishes.  They also make a great garland for indoor or outdoor trees and other greenery.

Today, cranberries are commonly used in a variety of foods and juices. They are high in Vitamin C and a good source of fiber. Cranberries contain phytochemicals and, as part of a healthy diet, may be associated with certain health benefits like reduced risk of chronic disease. Research on the effectiveness of cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections is inconsistent and it should be noted that cranberry juice may interact with some medications, so consult a health care professional.

Check out this video to make a simple cranberry sauce to add to your Thanksgiving table this year.



Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association:

Bulletin #4308, Vegetables and Fruits for Health: Cranberries: