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Lifting the Veil on How Food Is Made

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A big thanks to Bruce Hamaker, Suju Senan, Elizabeth Hall, and Kristin Harris for hosting such a great food-science based discussion and education session today! Curious consumers often wonder about food processing and whether or not it is good for us; after all, food processing wasn’t viewed as a ‘bad’ concept a few years back. As it turns out, there are numerous benefits provided by food processing, as discussed during today’s session.No alt text provided for this image

This science-based discussion is easy to understand and I recommend listening to the recording by clicking here.

#foodscienceandtechnology #foodscience #foodprocessing #nutritioneducation #nutritionfacts #dietitianapproved

A Planned Thanksgiving

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Although your Thanksgiving most definitely looks different this year, it’s can and should still be a joyful holiday! Take your time off to make those comfort foods you love and crave at this time of year because YOU DESERVE IT.

Let’s talk Thanksgiving and food waste. While it’s a holiday that we usually eat about a day’s worth of calories at one sitting… that’s not actually what were’r focusing on today. You’re welcome and enjoy your meal(s) 🙂

Thanksgiving in BIG in terms of food waste. Experts estimate around 200 million pounds of turkey, 40 million pounds of mashed potatoes and 30 million pounds of stuffing will go to waste this Thanksgiving. It adds up, that’s for sure.

Here are some tips for you to do your part and reduce the wasting of delicious Thanksgiving food in your home!

  1. Make Less.

You know what you’re going to cook because it’s probably the same foods you cooked last year. If you have a great memory (great for you; I don’t), then think about what you had excess of last year. Calculate your portions and don’t give into the urge to make extras. Here is the Guest-Imator tool to help you estimate portions for the number of people you’re cooking for.


2. Check Your Freezer

Plan ahead and eat up the things you have stored in the freezer before you host Thanksgiving. This way you’ll have room in the freezer for any Thanksgiving leftovers. Instead of tossing them out, have a Thanksgiving round #2 with reheats! Trust me, this makes for an easy meal in the future since you’ve already done all the work in cooking the food! Just reheat and pat yourself on the back for not wasting your hard work.


3. In the Spirit of Leftovers…

Get out your creative side to utilize your leftovers in a different way to avoid flavor fatigue. Or, if you’re not super creative then check out some of the many Leftover Cookbooks out there. If you find yourself constantly collecting recipes and recipe books then Click Here to find a list of cookbooks for fighting food waste that was created by a fellow blogger.


4. What Research Says

You know I love research SO SO MUCH! So I, of course, had to consult research on this one and here’s what it tells us… the more organized your leftovers are, the more likely you are to eat them. Consider labeling your containers as you put them in the fridge or freezer. Or, what I do is only use clear containers so that I can see what’s in them without having to open the containers.


That’s all! There are more ways out there to minimize your food waste every day and for Thanksgiving but I’ve found that these four tips are the easiest and prove to be most effective.


Comment your Thanksgiving tips for reducing waste or getting the most out of your holiday foods!

Minnesota Baking Icon Betty Crocker Turns 100

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Betty Crocker has officially turned 100 years old!

“Spoiler alert: Betty Crocker, arguably the most recognized Minnesotan of the past century, isn’t a real person.” – Rick Nelson from the Star Tribune

In order to celebrate this, Cathy Swanson Wheaton (executive editor of the Golden Valley-based company’s cookbooks) created a book with the best 100 recipes since Betty Crocker was born.

The book is titled “Betty Crocker Best 100: Favorite Recipes from America’s Most Trusted Cook.”

betty crocker | arthipstory

Read more from the Star Tribune article by clicking here.

Grapes Positively Impact Brain Health

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Some newer research studies have been focusing on articulating the impact that regular grape consumption has on human and animal brains. So far, it’s looking quite promising!

Here’s a very brief summary of the research findings I found most interesting!

Human subjects were asked to consume whole grape powder that is the equivalent to 2 1/4 cups of grapes per day. The results? The subjects who consumed a grape-enriched diet, versus those who did not, showed preserved healthy metabolic activity in the regions of the brain that are known to be associated with early Alzheimer’s disease.

In animal studies, animals were either fed low or high amounts of grapes as a part of their diet. Both showed to be beneficial and helped protect brain neurons from oxidative damage and cell death. Both diets also showed that grape consumption reduced inflammation in the support cells to brain neurons.

Find out more on the research about the impact of grapes by viewing the full research studies as cited below!


1. Lee, J.K., Torosyan, N., & Silverman, D.H. (2017).  Examining the impact of grape consumption on brain metabolism and cognitive function in patients with mild decline in cognition: A double-blinded placebo controlled pilot study. Experimental Gerontology, 87 (Pt A), 121-128.

 2. Wang, Q., Simonyi, A., Li, W., Sisk, B.A., Miller, R.L., MacDonald, R.S., …Sun, A.Y. (2005).  Dietary grape supplement ameliorates cerebral ischemia-induced neuronal death in gerbils. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 49, 443-451.

3. Allam F., Dao, A.T., Ghugh, G., Bohat, R., Jafri, F., Patki, G., …Salim, S. (2013, June).  Grape powder supplementation prevents oxidative stress-induced anxiety-like behavior, memory impairment, and high blood pressure in rats.  Journal of Nutrition, 143(6), 835-842. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.174649

4. Patki, G., Allam, F.H., Atrooz, F., Dao, A.T., Solanki, N., Chugh, G., … Salim, S. (2013, September).  Grape powder intake prevents ovariectomy-induced anxiety-like behavior, memory impairment and high blood pressure in female Wistar rats.  PLoS ONE, 8(9), e74522. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074522

5. Solanki, N., Alkadhi, I., Atrooz, F., Patki, G., & Salim, S. (2015, January).  Grape powder prevents cognitive, behavioral and biochemical impairments in a rat model of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Journal of Nutrition Research, 35(1), 65-75. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.11.008

How Much Added Sugar Should We Be Consuming?

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Our organization is all about connecting with you and, together, we keep current in the food and consumer science industry. Sugar intake has been a trending topic for some time. When shopping for groceries and reading nutrition facts labels, it seems like all food products have at least a small amount of sugar in them. Which raises the question, how much added sugar should we be consuming on a daily basis? What’s a healthy amount?

How Do I Know How Much Added Sugar Is a Healthy Amount?

Thankfully, we don’t have to guess. We can rely on research findings and our trusty 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans! These standards are developed by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The recommendation may come to you as a surprise as you compare it to your daily dietary habits.

In general, we could all be a bit more mindful of our sugar intake. Sugar consumption and obesity have been linked in prior research findings. In turn, obesity is connected to health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Gettin’ Nerdy – Let’s See Some Facts

Here at FCS Professionals, we can get a little nerdy because we love our field! So, here’s a fun fact for you: according to the American Heart Association, the average American adult consumes around 77 grams of added sugar per day. How does that compare to the recommended amount? That’s more than three times what the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends.

The 2020-2025 guidelines state that no more than 10 percent of our calories should come from added sugar. To put it into practice, that means limited your added sugar intake to 200 kcals on a 2,000 calorie diet. For your convenience, we have calculated that that is equivalent to 13 teaspoons or 53 grams, or roughly the amount in a can of regular cola plus a bowl of sugary cereal.

Now, you may be asking WHAT IS ADDED SUGAR?

By definition, according to the FDA, added sugar is ANY sugar added during the processing of food. Thankfully, the recently revised nutrition facts label allows a space specifically for added sugars. You can also find added sugar in the ingredients list on a food product. If the ingredient ends in “-ose” then you can be sure it is a type of sugar. The following are types of added sugars you may commonly see: honey, granulated sugar, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, natural cane sugar, dextrose, sucrose, and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.

But, on the other hand, there are natural sugars such as the sugar in fruit and milk sugar (lactose). However, milk typically contains added sugar when flavorings are introduced, like chocolate or strawberry milk.


Are Carbs & Refined Grains the Worst Thing in the American Diet?

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What an amazing speaker we had for our September virtual meeting; Dr. Julie Miller Jones is amazing!  Over 60 participants joined us in kicking off our program year with renowned speaker Dr. Julie Jones and a program centered around carbohydrates and refined grains.  Susan Vance, FCS President-Elect, summed up most of our feelings when she shared how excited she was to be kicking off this “Season of FCS Professionals.”

Consumers are subjected to many mixed messages about carbs and refined grains. It is difficult to know what to believe.  Dr. Jones shared her vast knowledge about this subject and addressed some of the current research findings.   We learned that in most countries outside of the United States, it is recommended that people consume a 50% of their calories as carbs.  Yet, in the United States many popular diets tell us to reduce carbs.   Should we eat carbs or not? Let’s look at some data Dr. Jones shared.


We learned that in order to be healthy it is important to have the right mix of carbs, refined grains, and whole grains in our diet. This graph Illustrates that even though carbohydrate intake in the U.S. has gone down, obesity rates have continued to rise.




Over 40% of the U.S. population is considered obese. If carbohydrate consumption is decreasing, why are we getting heavier?  Calories are the reason! We have 600 Kcal more available overall than we did in 1970.  We are eating too many refined grains and half of those are not staple foods like bread but from indulgent refined grain foods that dietary guidance recommends ‘to eat sparingly.’  Think donuts and cookies! It was also fascinating to learn that a higher intake of whole grain foods is associated with lower disease risk.  Think oatmeal and bran flakes!



With diabetes also of concern in the U.S., Dr. Jones discussed current research and her thoughts on the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels, measured by a scale called the Glycemic Index.  Her conclusions were these:

Carbohydrate quality should consider all attributes of a food – its nutrients and its detractor components such as sugar.

  • Glycemic Index is too highly variable, misused and misunderstood to be used as a measure of carb quality
  • Glycemic Index Tables do not predict glycemic response of many meals and foods

For weight issues and many disease states, carbohydrates are not the problem.  It is the extra calories consumed!

  • Americans often have poor diets, choosing foods with little nutritional value, eating portions that are too large and have too many calories.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices (too little exercise, smoking, overuse of alcohol) also contribute.

Potatoes and grains, both whole grains and enriched grain staple foods, are a low-cost source of important nutrients, providing fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, folate, and various vitamins which are often under-consumed.

The Last Word from Dr. Jones:  For good health and longevity, include the right mix of carbs in your diet. Make half your grains whole and focus on staple carbohydrate foods – breads, pasta, cereals, rice.  Enjoy indulgent grains – doodles, ding dongs and doughnuts occasionally.

Nordic Cooking at Puustelli Kitchen Showroom

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Members and guests had a fabulous time exploring the Puustelli® Kitchen Showroom and cooking with “Chef Anna” on Wednesday, June 12th!

Bjorn Freudenthal, co-founder of the Minneapolis showroom, kicked off the evening with an introduction to Puustelli which has been in business for 100 years. The cabinets and designs have been the favorite for kitchens in Finland for over 30 years. The showroom is set-up with a variety of functioning kitchen areas so the consumer can have a “real” experience shopping for their design preferences. Many options can be viewed for kitchen, bath and bar cabinet layout and options, finishes, countertops, and hardware. If anyone is looking to update their kitchen with sleek, modern, eco-friendly lines then Puustelli is a must stop and shop to see all the possibilities.

The food fest kicked off with a glass of prosecco wine and appetizers. Chef Anna spoke a bit about her cooking philosophy which is essentially recipes are merely a starting point! The group then broke up between five cooking stations to work together to prepare our Nordic inspired meal for the evening. The five recipes included; Nordic Summer Vegetable Soup, Lohikeitto (Finnish Salmon Soup), Vispipuuro (Whipped Cranberry Porridge), Karjalanpiirakka – Karelian Pasty and a variety of juicing beverages. The group was also offered a Raspberry Gin beverage and wine throughout the evening. Chef Anna floated among the groups to talk about the recipes and lend a helping hand. People could also move between groups to experience all the different tasks. The conversation was loud and lively!

Once all the recipes were prepared the group served themselves from each station and enjoyed more conversation until good-byes were said.

Here is the refreshing Raspberry Gin recipe for summer enjoyment.


½ cup fresh raspberries, divided

2 ¾ oz. gin (or vodka)

2 ¾ oz. limoncello

Juice of 1 fresh squeezed lime (lemon juice will work too)

¾ cup sparkling water



Puree half the raspberries in a food processor or blender. Place smashed raspberries into a shaker with ice. Add gin, limoncello and fresh squeezed lime juice. Shake to blend.

Dip rim of serving glass in water and then in sugar (if desired). Pour raspberry mixture into prepared glass, garnish with a whole raspberry and top with sparkling water.


**Thank you to Debra Zwiefelhofer for providing the program recap****

What’s Trending in Customer Care and 2018-19 Annual Meeting and Awards Recap

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On May 23, FCS Professionals and guests gathered at Land O’Lakes in Arden Hills for an evening of fabulous food, a dynamic speaker, awards and recognition!

After a delicious dinner (including some Land O’Lakes products!) we were treated to a presentation by our own member (and President-Elect) Vicky Cherne.  Vicky is currently the Manager of Consumer Affairs and Customer Concerns at Land O’Lakes.  Her department plays two roles–one to be the voice of the brand to the consumer and second to be the voice of the consumer back to the business.  At one point in time it was merely thought of as the “complaint department”  customer care is now reached beyond handling consumer gripes.  The platform for communication has changed also from being primarily phone contacts to now encompassing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.  Vicky shared how consumer ratings effect customers perceptions of a product.  A consumer review is trusted 12 times more than a manufacturer’s description and 92% of people will look at product reviews before making a purchase.  Consumers are wary of too many 5 star reviews as it is perceived as “fake” or “paid to give high marks.”

Vicky also talked about the new world of self-service and artificial intelligence in the form of chat bots and voice assistance.  These tools can be very helpful to companies but can be frustrating for consumers to interact with.  The third trend discussed was consumers need for personalization.  In a contact center, that might mean a customer’s contact info popping up on their screen to better assist.  In marketing that might be personalized emails, personalized selections or suggestions based on past consumer behavior.  These can be well received by customers but as we discussed, can also give pause to consumers feeling like companies know too much personal information (big brother is watching!).

After Vicky’s presentation the annual meeting and awards portion of the evening began.  Guests were welcomed (Catherine Fox, Dorothy Rademacher, Royalee Rhodes, Sharon Smith, Karoline Stoerzinger, Sydney Wyffells and Karen Wyffels ) and introduced as well as recognition of two new members Sierra Kaptain and Molly Lass.  The 2018-19 officers each presented a brief report on their respective areas.  The full reports were provided in the annual report.

Next it was time for awards. Karen Smith, Nominations Chair presided over the awards ceremony.  

Award winners:

FCS Professional of the Year—Susan Vance

Volunteer of the Year– Vicky Cherne

Spirit Award– Marge Ryerson

Behind-the-Scenes Star– Alyssa Ambrosius

Emerging Leader Award:  Lisa Krause

Award winners were presented with a  certificate and a beautiful plant.  The meeting closed with a reminder to sign up for the final 2018-19 program of the year–a Nordic cooking class limited to 25 participants!


2018-19 FCS Professionals Award Winners

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On Thursday, May 23 at our annual meeting, Nominations Chair Karen Smith presented the following awards for 2018-19!

FCS Professional of the Year— Susan Vance

The FCS Professional of the Year Award recognizes and honors a member for her/his leadership in their profession and outstanding service to this organization. This is the highest organizational award a member can receive.

It is with great pleasure to announce the selection of Susan Vance for this award. Susan epitomizes the criteria for this award because she is a FCS Professional member who has continually given of herself within our organization.

Brian, Susan’s husband, sums Susan up perfectly on Facebook. He said “spent her birthday in the same way she lives her life, full of selfless love for others.”

Since becoming a member Susan has been our newsletter editor & blogger. She coordinated & planned our tour at US Bank Stadium. Susan is the one suggesting we have a Laundry Camp meeting at Mona Williams featuring Patric Richardson. Both of these events had high, high participant raves!

Words that perfectly describe Susan are:

· Kindness for all

· Friendly

· Sympathetic

· Punctual

· Resourceful

· Exceptional

· Thoughtful

· Dependable

· Inspiring

· Admired

In addition to volunteering and sharing her time with Food and Consumer Science Professionals you’ll see Susan volunteering at her children’s school, her church, and in her neighborhood.

Susan has truly made a huge impact with her time and commitment to FCS Professionals over the years. Thank you and congratulations, Susan!

Volunteer of the Year–Vicky Cherne

The FCS Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes a member who represents the community- involvement-spirit of FCS Professionals through community outreach/enrichment they perform.

It is with great pleasure to announce the selection of Vicky Cherne for this award. Vicky is genuine, authentic, incredibly kind, and helpful. She absolutely represents the community-involvement-spirit of FCS Professionals through the many community outreach opportunities she partakes in. Vicky is also a wife and mom of three and is very active in her church community, playing a large role in fundraising activities at the parish. She is known for spending her nights and weekends before a bake sale in the kitchen baking and setting up for the fundraisers, even if that means doing so only a few short hours before catching a flight for a work trip.

Vicky is the past national chair of the SOCAP Consumer Packaged Goods committee and the current SOCAP Minnesota Chapter President. As if she has time to spare, she served as President Elect this year for FCS Professionals and helped immensely on the Membership Sub-committee to brainstorm ideas for increasing our member numbers and traveling to local colleges to speak about FCS Professionals encouraging students to join. She is always willing to help us secure meetings at Land O’Lakes headquarters each year, works with the on-campus catering to plan delicious meals that feature Land O’Lakes products, and often volunteers to lead a tour through the Test Kitchens. We are beyond fortunate to have her serve as our FCS Professionals President this upcoming 2019-2020 year and are excited for all of the wonderful accomplishments we will have under her leadership!

Vicky gives of her time and many talents and represents FCS Professionals in the community doing this without seeking recognition. She is very deserving of this award as a small token of appreciation for all she does for FCS Professionals and the many other organizations she volunteers with on a regular basis!  Thank you and congratulations!

Spirit Award–Marge Ryerson

The FCS Professionals Spirit Award recognizes a member that’s shown particular championing behavior for FCS Professionals.

Who knows the importance & benefits of belonging to a professional organization? Who wants FCS Professionals to survive & thrive?  It’s our Membership Chair & longtime member Marge Ryerson!

Working to build a strong base for FCSP and keep FCSP strong, Marge:

· Reviewed & redesigned our membership brochure

· Assumed the lead & worked tirelessly on updating our bylaws

· Picked up the membership recruitment pace and diligently hand wrote personal notes to 75 plus non-renewing & potential new members.

· Presented to students at local universities/colleges promoting FCSP and encouraging membership

· Planned a new way to recognize new members at meetings. ($10.00 bill refund)

· Suggested changes for our website working with our administrative assistant

· Attended the Michael Brand presentation and is looking at ways to incorporate his suggestions

The following qualities have been used to describe Marge:

· dependable

· always prepared

· supportive

· organized

· courageous

· motivated

· dedicated

· writes eloquently

Marge has truly made a huge impact with her time and commitment to FCS Professionals. Thank you and congratulations, Marge!

Emerging Leader Award–Lisa Krause

The FCS Professionals Emerging Leader Award recognizes professionals who are new to their industry, have been members of FCS Professionals for 5 years or less, and have made a notable contribution to the organization.

The Emerging Leader Award goes to Lisa Krause. Lisa has been coming to meetings and has enjoyed the networking and learning that are a part of FCS Professionals. In fact, she has agreed to serve on the FCS Professionals Board in 2019-2020 as Nominations and Awards Chair.

Lisa has been in FCS education in the Becker School District. The majority of her career has been in ECFE as a parent educator and coordinator of the Early Childhood and School Readiness programs. Recently she changed positions and is a middle school FCS teacher in Becker. She is a life-long learner currently taking classes in Kitchen and Bath design!

Not only is Lisa an excellent educator but a wonderful mother and wife. She volunteers with her family at Operation Christmas Child, the St. Cloud Salvation Army serving meals together on Christmas Day, and Cyclehealth events.

In February Lisa received recognition at the MAFCS Symposium receiving a best practice grant to purchase funds for a classroom photography studio to be used in the eighth grade Life Skills class. She shared, “During the class experience students are taught basic food photography concepts that they then use in lab experiences as well as a final project. The studio provides all lab groups a professional experience to demonstrate the skills they have learned and are mastering. Students use the photographs to complete final evaluations of their culinary unit experiences.”

We are excited to welcome Lisa to the FCS Professionals Board and look forward to the leadership she will add to our organization. Thank you and congratulations, Lisa!

Behind-the-Scenes Star Award–Alyssa Ambrosius

The FCS Professionals Behind-the-Scenes-Star Award recognizes a member who works diligently to execute programming, results, and/or innovation, within the organization but aren’t in any formal position on the board.

Who has a genuine big smile? Who is always poised & professional? Who loves the world of FACS? Who is supportive of FCSP programming? Who has been coming to our meetings for several years and joined this year?

It is Alyssa Ambrosius! Alyssa is our supportive & shining star. For our 2019-2020 year, Alyssa has volunteered to help programming with innovative & creative ideas and venues. Programming is looking forward to her suggestions!

In addition to Alyssa supporting and actively participating in FCSP programming, Alyssa has:

· Been a contributor to the MN FACS Frameworks collaborative project

· Diligently worked on MAFCS Annual Conferences recruiting presenters & creating conference themes

· Is an innovative and enthusiastic Family & Consumer Science Teacher at Monticello High School with a really cool indoor school garden in the FACS department

· Co-authored a Farm to School curriculum available at LearningZoneXpress

· Supports Twin Cities Girls On the Run

· Is organizing the 2nd Annual FCS Summer Career Pathway: Culinary Arts Farm 2 FCS Symposium on June 20th at St. Paul College

Alyssa has truly made a huge impact with her time and commitment to FACS in Minnesota over the last few years and I am honored to present this award to her. Thank you and congratulations, Alyssa!