The holidays are behind us and it looks like the snow has found us this year. My family and I were thankful for the white Christmas we had as my brother had never experienced one and it was at the top of his Christmas wish list for Santa.
The New Year was brought in with the traditional festivities and feast.
We reminisced about 2012 and loved ones lost throughout the years. I never get tired of listening to Mom tell us about growing up on a modest farm in Western New York and watching her parents dance in the new year with Lawrence Welk playing his big band songs in their living room or Dad telling us about his extended family getting together to make a French Canadian meat pie called Tuche.
We watched the ball drop in Times Square. Resolutions made, my family stepped boldly into 2013.
But it will be business as usual as we start back to school and my sister and I find our way to Farm Show in Harrisburg to show our livestock.
Jan. 1 is a time of new beginnings, a fresh start to the year and a time where we vow to change our habits. For many people, that means going on a diet.
But many diets are extreme - promising fast results with minimal effort. Others have us eating only certain foods, often cutting dairy, proteins or certain fruits and vegetables.
These types of diets can lead to weight gain when you reach your goal and start eating to maintain, eating disorders and bone loss. When you cut dairy from your diet, you are also cutting calcium and other nutrients that are important to maintaining bone density. Research has shown that small modifications in your eating habits can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Those changes start with using low fat and fat free milk and dairy products, adding more fruits and vegetables and lowering your intake of fats, saturated fats and cholesterol.
The good news is that an 8 ounce serving of fat free milk has only 80 calories and the same nine essential nutrients that whole milk has.
As adults, we are required to have at least three 8 ounce servings of milk a day. Other ways to get the recommended servings of dairy would be low fat yogurt and cheese or using a fat free version of cream cheese or sour cream in recipes such as dips or sauces.
So join me in making a commitment to have at least three servings of dairy every day in 2013 and to living a healthier lifestyle.
With our new resolve for a healthier lifestyle and flu and cold season upon us, I thought this smoothie would do the trick of warding off unwanted illness with its all natural ingredients and antioxidant kick.
Blueberry Peach Smoothie
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup honey (or more to taste)
1 cup frozen sliced peaches, thawed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup vanilla yogurt
Combine blueberries, peaches and milk in a blender; cover and process on high.
Add yogurt, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg and blend well. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.
Every year during the fair, I look forward to Idella Zimmerman's (who is also the vice president of the fair association) chicken lasagna.
It has become a tradition for her to make it either Sunday or Monday for everyone to enjoy since we are all so busy during those first few days grooming animals, entering exhibits or making the buildings look great.
This recipe is sure to hit the spot with you and your family as well.
1 pound pack lasagna noodles, cooked
3 cups roasted, deboned and cubed chicken
1 cup (or more) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (or more) shredded cheddar cheese
Parsley flakes (optional)
3 (10 3/4-ounce) cans of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup chopped green peppers (optional)
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Velveeta cheese, chunked
Combine all sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Place layer of noodles on bottom of a greased 9-by-13-inch pan.
Spoon about 3/4 cup of the sauce over the noodles. Layer 3/4 cup chicken over the sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and cheddar cheese over the top of the chicken.
Repeat noodles and continue to layer. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.
Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
Serves 6 to 8 people.
Franck, 17, is a junior at Mifflinburg Area High School and the SUN Area Dairy Princess serving Montour, Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties. She may be reached at life@ sungazette.com.
Her column is published on the first Wednesday of each month.