Pink pork won’t kill you according to the USDA

I love this article because this was my Mom when I was a kid we never had pork unless it was bacon, or ham. My Mom was scared to cook with it, and never would. Still today she won’t. That trend continued with me because I rarely cook it myself. 

If you’re one of those pork connoisseurs who prefers your chop or tenderloin to be pink in the middle, rest assured: As of Tuesday, the USDA says you’re in the clear as far as food-borne illness is concerned.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has lowered its temperature recommendation for cooking pork to 145 degrees — down from 160. (This means that pork will be held to the same standard as beef, veal, and lamb.) Moreover, it is recommended to let the pork rest for three minutes after removing it from the grill or oven; the temp will continue to rise slightly while killing any remaining pathogens.
Of course, there’s an inherent irony in the fact that the USDA is lowering pork’s minimum temperature …
It’s that professional chefs have been cooking pork this way FOR YEARS! Now home cooks and backyard barbecuers can finally catch up to the restaurant standard without worry. But the question is: Will they?
The USDA’s longstanding 160 degrees recommendation is so ingrained in our minds, it may be difficult for some to adjust to the new temp, explains Rob Weland, a chef at an upscale restaurant in Washington:
People have been taught this for generations and it’s going to take a long time to get this removed … It will be good for the next generation not to be so fearful so they can enjoy pork in a way they may not have been able to in the past.
Pork producers have been lobbying the USDA for years to lower the recommendation, arguing that improved feed and housing methods — namely, moving hogs into bird- and rodent-proof buildings — reduced the risk of pathogens and disease. From the consumer point of view, it’s surprising to learn they were successful this time around given all the recent horror stories in the media about how factory farms are harmful to animals, the environment, and most important, the public.
But if there’s nothing worse to you than a piece of overcooked pork, news about the lower temp recommendation will surely make your day. Bring on the pink pork!
What temperature do you cook your pork to?
Image via VirtualErn/Flickr
Written by Kim Conte for CafeMom’s blog, The Stir.


Elmer’s Flower Jewelry Holder @Elmers #DIY

With summer steadily approaching soon the kids will be out of school. If your kids are anything like I was they will be bored by the first day of summer. The princess loves crafts and I have no doubt she will love this one. Check it out Elmer’s has come up with a great idea!

Appropriate For: Every Day

Supplies Neededs:
  • Elmer’s® Foam Board™, White, 20″ x 30″ x 1/2″
  • Elmer’s® CraftBond™ Extra Strength Glue Stick
  • Elmer’s® CraftBond™ Ultra Stix All®, Clear
  • X-ACTO® #1 Craft Knife* with extra blades
  • 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper, (2) pink print; (1) orange print, (1) green polka dot
  • 4 1/2″ diameter clay pot
  • Pink and yellow paper shreds
  • 2 5/8″ x 3 3/4″ cylinder floral foam
  • 12″ length of 5/16″ diameter wood dowel
  • (15) 3/8” – 1 1/2” buttons of coordinated colors
  • 24″ length of 1/2′ orange plaid ribbon
  • 32″ length of 3/8″ pink stitched ribbon
  • (8) 3/4″ brass cup hooks
  • Cutting mat
  • Old newspapers
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • * An adult should use X-ACTO® Craft Knife


  1. Use pencil to draw your own flowers or trace patterns onto Elmer’s® Foam Board™. Ask an adult to use X-ACTO® #1 Craft Knife (with new blade) and cutting mat to cut out Foam Board™ flowers. (Hint: Score lightly first and then press more firmly to cut deeper, with several passes of the knife. Replace blades often.) 
  2. To cover large flower, apply Elmer’s CraftBond™ Extra Strength Glue Stick to front of flower and attach pink paper. Turn over flower and ask an adult to use X-ACTO® Knife and cutting mat to trim excess paper, even with flower edges. Repeat process to cover small flower with orange paper.    (Optional: Repeat process to cover backs of flowers.)
  3. Use Glue Stick to attach pink or orange ribbon to same-color flower edges, trimming excess with scissors. Apply Glue Stick to back of small flower and position on center of large flower. Use Elmer’s® CraftBond™ Ultra Stix All® to layer a 1” button onto a 1 ½” button and glue to center of small flower.
  4. Cut 1/2″ x 12″ strip from green polka dot. Apply Glue Stick and wrap around rim of pot, overlapping ends at back. Trim excess. On front of pot, use Ultra Stix All® to randomly attach buttons, layering as desired
  5. Place floral foam in pot using Ultra Stix All® to secure. For flower stem, use point of scissors to make starter hold in bottom edge of flower. Push dowel into flower and other end into floral foam. Cover floral foam with paper shreds.
  6. Plan placement of cup hooks on five outside flower petals and tree o inside flower. Gently push point of cup hook into Foam Board™ to start and then gently twist into foam. (Note: If loose, remove, apply a dot of Ultra Stix All™ to cup hook and re-insert.)


Mini Memphis Burgers

This was a really great recipe that everyone enjoyed. We like making sliders just because they are fun and easy to handle. This recipe is what I would call a kicked up slider. It’s very tasty and easy to make. I love the red onions on these burgers, and I especially love the sauce. Since making this recipe I use the sauce on a lot of things like sandwiches and even on crackers with ham.
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 to 15 small potato rolls, split in 1/2
  • Mustard sauce, recipe follows

1.      Preheat a flat top grill pan to high heat.
2.     Add sliced onion to grill pan and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
3.     In a medium bowl, mix ground beef, onion powder, salt and freshly ground pepper. Make burgers equal in size, about 2-inches across.
4.     Cook burgers on the flat top for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Serve on split rolls with grilled onions and mustard sauce. 

    Mustard Sauce:
    • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Mustard Sauce Directions:

    1.      Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2.     Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl

      Check Out Our Online Recipe Book:


      What you may not know about doing laundry.

      by Real Simple Magazine, on Thu May 19, 2011 6:29am PDT

      By Sarah Stebbins

      Clothing and Outerwear

      Button-Down Shirts.

      Unbutton the shirt. Unfasten all buttons, including the tiny ones at the collar, before laundering. Otherwise, the agitation in the machine and the weight of other garments may cause buttonholes to tear.
      See More: Surprising Cleaning New Uses

      Apply a stain remover. It’s a good idea to pretreat collars every time you wash them. “Once stains from body oils build up, they are very difficult to remove,” says Chris Allsbrooks, a textile analyst at the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, in Laurel, Maryland. Use a stain remover or spot-clean with a mixture of water and liquid detergent. Pour it over the area, then rub with a soft toothbrush. It’s especially important to spot-clean permanent-press shirts and other items that have been treated with resins so they retain their shape, because these fabrics tend to hold soiling.
      See More: Laundry New Uses for Old Things

      Use the permanent-press setting. Wash permanent-press shirts with all-purpose detergent on the permanent-press setting, which is gentler than the regular one, uses warm or hot water, and has a long cool-down rinse to further minimize wrinkling. Opt for the dryer’s permanent-press feature, which has a cool-down period at the end. Wash non-permanent-press shirts on the regular cycle in cold or warm water.
      See More: Organizing New Uses for Old Things


      Wash cotton blends on gentle. Many knits made of cotton, synthetics, or blends can be machine-washed in cold or warm water on the gentle cycle with all-purpose or mild detergent. To combat wrinkles and stiffness, dry items on low for 5 to 10 minutes before laying them flat on a mesh sweater rack or a towel.

      Use a zippered pillowcase for delicates. Place a wool, cashmere, or fine cotton sweater in a zippered pillowcase; wash on the delicate cycle with cold water and lay flat to dry.

      Test silk sweaters for colorfastness. Delicate knits, like crochet and silk, are a different story: Dry-clean these, or test for colorfastness (to see if the color will bleed, place a dab of detergent on a dip a cotton swab in detergent and hold it on the fabric for two minutes) and hand-wash in cold water with mild detergent. Some knits may stretch out; reshape after washing and lay flat to dry.
      See More: How to Speed Clean Your Kitchen


      Never lose a sock again. One of the most frustrating aspects of doing laundry is the number of socks that suspiciously go missing. Forget putting out an APB: Simply pin each pair together before throwing it in the machine. No sorting, no matching necessary afterward.
      See More: Quick Cleaning Solutions for Every Room


      Wash jeans in cold water. Most denim is top-dyed, meaning only the surface of the fibers is colored. To keep jeans from fading or acquiring white streaks, wash in small loads in cold water (with more water than clothes) with all-purpose detergent. This cuts down on abrasion, says Allsbrooks.

      Stretch the legs to prevent shrinkage. “It’s common for jeans to shrink in length” when washed, says Steve Boorstein, author of The Clothing Doctor’s 99 Secrets to Clothing Care (Fashion Media Group, $5, Hold them by the waistband and legs and gently stretch them vertically before drying. Dry on low or medium heat; overdrying causes unnecessary wear and tear, so take jeans out when the legs are done but the seams and the waistband are slightly damp.

      See More: The Worst Cleaning Jobs Made Easy

      Hats and Gloves

      Wash knit hats and gloves like sweaters. Follow the same instructions based on different fabric types. Cotton blends can be machine-washed cold on delicates, wool and cashmere on the delicate cycle with cold water, and so on.

      Spot-clean structured hats. Newsboy and baseball caps could become misshapen so its best to keep them out of the washing machine.

      Hand-wash leather-trimmed gloves. You can hand-wash gloves with small sections of leather if the leather is the same color as the knit; otherwise bleeding may be a problem. To dry, insert the handle of a wooden spoon in one finger and set the spoon end in a vase. This will help the glove retain its shape. 

      See More: How to Solve 19 Kitchen Cleanup Conundrums
      Down and Polyester Coats

      Wash adult coats in warm water. You can wash down coats in front-loading machines with a mild powder detergent and warm water on the gentle cycle. (If you have a top-loader, take these coats to a dry cleaner; most top-loaders have agitators that can compress and displace down filling and prevent pieces from tumbling freely.)

      Use towels for speed drying. Smaller items, like children’s jackets, whether filled with down or polyester, can go in a front- or top-loader on the gentle cycle; tumble dry on low. Put a few clean, dry towels in the dryer to help soak excess moisture and speed drying.

      Read the Rest: How to Do Laundry


      6 Grab-and-go proteins that fill you up.

      by The Editors of Prevention, on Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:29am PST

      Protein is a dieter’s best friend. It is an essential ingredient for losing weight and keeping it off because it’s a potent calorie burner that plays a role in nearly every body function, from building shapely biceps to regulating sleep and boosting immunity.

      High-protein foods take more work to chew and longer to leave your stomach, so you take more time eating (and have more time to register that you’re full). They also slow down the release of carbs and fat into your bloodstream. You feel full sooner and stay satisfied longer.
      Thing is, eating a steak or a piece of chicken in your car or at your desk at work isn’t always realistic, so most of the foods we choose for single-fisted consumption are highly processed and lacking in this essential nutrient. Here are 6 grab-and-go proteins to take with you for a midday snack.

      18 ways to simplify your diet for easy weight loss

      1) Jerky: Jerky (beef or turkey) makes a great snack because it’s low in fat, lean and savory, and high in the chewiness factor (look for lower-sodium varieties if you’re concerned about the salt). You can find a wide variety of flavors, from teriyaki to barbecue. You can also find chicken and buffalo (and, in certain parts of the country, salmon) jerky. Jerky packs 10 g of protein and about 100 calories per ounce.
      2) Roasted soy nuts: Almonds, peanuts, and cashews are great. But let’s face it: You can get burned out on the same nut mix. Try roasted soy nuts for a complete protein snack; for a little extra heat, try the wasabi-flavored ones. Each 1⁄4 cup provides 6 g of protein and 120 calories.
      3) Cheese packs: Not just for kids’ lunch boxes, string cheese and other portioned cheeses such as The Laughing Cow Wedges or Mini Babybels are the perfect complements to an apple, pear, or bunch of grapes. These low-calorie protein packs  are satisfying enough to carry you through to your next meal.
      Dig in! Get 15 low-calorie cheesy, gooey comfort food dishes

      4) Protein bars: They are the perfect filling, portable snack to save you from a desperate trip to the vending machine or drive-thru. Pick up bars that are about 200 calories each, such as Luna Protein bars (170 to 190 calories, 12 g of protein) or Honey Stinger 10-gram protein bars (190 to 200 calories, 10 g of protein), to stash in your purse or work bag.
      See 5 tasty crash-free energy bars

      5) Hard-cooked eggs: Eggs really are one of nature’s most perfect portable foods. Packed with protein and antioxidants, they satisfy your hunger and improve your health. Try Eggland’s Best Hard-Cooked Peeled eggs for a no-muss, no-fuss snack or meal. Along with the usual protein punch, these edible orbs also deliver 10 times more vitamin E and two times more omega-3 fatty acids than other eggs.
      Get 21 more delicious packaged food ideas for your shopping cart

      6) Fat-free or low-fat milk: It’s the perfect pre- or postexercise snack. You can stock up on small containers of shelf-stable milk (such as Horizon’s 8-ounce cartons); they don’t even need to be refrigerated. Two cups deliver more than 16 g of high-quality, filling protein that will satisfy your hunger and help keep you hydrated. In one study, women who had 18 g of protein 20 minutes before strength-training torched almost 9% more calories at rest 24 hours later than if they didn’t drink the pre-workout milk.
      Nosh better with one of these 14 healthy snacks that help drop pounds

      Original Article


      Is Skim Milk Making You Fat?

      Paul John ScottDETAILS

      You probably spend all of one second deciding what kind of milk to put in your coffee. What’s to debate? If you want to keep the pounds off and avoid heart disease, choose skim. This is gospel, after all: It’s recommended by the USDA and has so permeated our thinking that you can’t even find reduced-fat (2%) milk at places like Subway—and forget about whole.

      But is it true? Let’s start with the question of what’s fattening. Whole milk contains more calories and, obviously, more fat. A cup has 146 calories and almost 8 grams of fat, reduced-fat (2%) has 122 calories and almost 5 grams of fat, low-fat (1%) has 103 calories and 2.5 grams of fat, and nonfat (skim) has 83 calories and virtually no fat.

      But when it comes to losing weight, restricting calories has a poor track record. Evidence gleaned from numerous scientific studies says that if you starve yourself for lunch, you typically compensate at dinner. And according to a 2007 report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, telling overweight and obese patients to cut calories led to only “transient” weight loss—it didn’t stay off. The same goes for cutting saturated fat. In 2003, the Cochrane Collaboration, a respected source for unbiased reviews of research, compared low-fat diets with low-calorie diets and found that “fat-restricted diets are no better than calorie-restricted diets in achieving long-term weight loss.” As Walt Willet of the Harvard School of Public Health wrote in the American Journal of Medicine, “Diets high in fat do not appear to be the primary cause of the high prevalence of excess body fat in our society, and reductions in fat will not be a solution.”

      Related: 5 Foods That Will Make You Look Younger

      It’s becoming widely accepted that fats actually curb your appetite, by triggering the release of the hormone cholecystokinin, which causes fullness. Fats also slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, reducing the amount that can be stored as fat. In other words, the more fat in your milk, the less fat around your waist. Not only will low-fat milk fail to trim your gut, it might even make you fatter than if you were to drink whole, according to one large study. In 2005, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and other institutions studied the weight and milk consumption of 12,829 kids ages 9 to 14 from across the country. “Contrary to our hypothesis,” they reported, “skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not.”

      But surely low-fat milk is better for your heart? We are often told to watch our consumption of dairy because it raises our bad cholesterol, the kind known as LDL. But LDL comes in at least four varieties, and only the smallest and densest of them are linked with heart disease. Dairy fat, it turns out, affects only the large, fluffy kind of LDL—the benign kind.

      And here’s a final thought: How would you feel if you opened a carton and poured a chalky, bluish-white liquid into your coffee? That’s the color many nonfat milks are before powdered milk is added to whiten them—a process that brings its own problems. Any way you look at it, there’s been a lot of whitewashing of skim milk’s image.

      See Also: The 14 Healthiest Snack Foods

      To turn skim milk white, “some companies fortify their product with powdered skim,” says Bob Roberts, a dairy scientist at Penn State. Powdered skim (which is also added to organic low-fat milks) is produced by spraying the liquid under heat and high pressure, a process that oxidizes the cholesterol. In animal studies, oxidized cholesterol triggers a host of biological changes, leading to plaque formation in the arteries and heart disease, Spanish researchers reported in 1996. “OCs are mutagenic and carcinogenic,” they wrote. In 1998, Australian researchers studied rabbits fed OC and found that the animals “had a 64% increase in total aortic cholesterol” despite having less cholesterol in their blood than rabbits fed natural sources of the substance. (A 2008 Chinese study with hamsters confirmed these findings.) Roberts says the amount of OC created by adding powdered skim is “not very much,” but until the effects on humans are known, it’s impossible to say what’s a safe level.


      Santa Fe Chicken Fajita Soup #Kraft

      what you need
      • 1 pkg. (1.4 oz.) TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Fajita Seasoning Mix
      • 1/3 cup  water
      • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
      • 4 large  cloves garlic, minced
      • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
      • 1 large  red onion, chopped
      • 1 small green pepper, chopped
      • 1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Fat Free Cream Cheese, cut into cubes
      • 1 lb. (16 oz.) VELVEETA 2% Milk Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
      • 2 cans  (14.5 oz. each) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth

      make it
      COMBINE seasoning mix and water in medium bowl. Add chicken; toss to evenly coat. Refrigerate 30 min.
      COOK garlic and cilantro in large nonstick saucepan sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 1 min. Stir in chicken mixture, onions and peppers; cook 10 min. or until chicken is done, stirring frequently.
      ADD cream cheese, VELVEETA and broth; mix well. Cook on medium heat until cream cheese and VELVEETA are completely melted and chicken mixture is heated through, stirring occasionally.
      TACO BELL® and HOME ORIGINALS® are trademarks owned and licensed by Taco Bell Corp.