Northeast Region Newsletter, December 2021

December Newsletter Title.

Activity Corner

with Joy Sims

Physical activity and exercise are both important pieces of a healthy lifestyle and each contribute to your overall physical fitness. However, physical activity and fitness are two different terms with different definitions, and they are often misused.

Physical activity includes any activity we do throughout the day that involve movement. Examples are housework, gardening, walking, and climbing stairs. Exercise is a specific form of physical activity. It is planned, purposeful physical activity performed with the intention of becoming physically fit or acquiring other health benefits.

  • Time? Select activities that you can fit into your home or work routine. Walking in your neighborhood, climbing stairs at your office, or exercising while you watch TV are all good options.
  • Motivation? Determine what time of day you feel more energetic and try to fit activity into that time frame. Join or build an exercise group and seek others in the group to help motivate you and keep you accountable to attending.
  • Caring for family members? Exercise with your kids. Go for a walk together, play tag or other running games, or get an aerobic dance or exercise tape for kids. If you have a specific class you like to attend, try alternating babysitting time with a neighbor.

Visit for additional tips on how you and your family can get active this holiday season!

Connecting Communities

by Cecilia Stevens

Tallulah Academy in Madison Parish conducted a Harvest of the Month taste test on November 15 as part of the school’s involvement in the LSU AgCenter’s Farm Fresh Meals for Louisiana mini grant. The mini grant was offered through a collaborative effort between the AgCenter’s Healthy Communities and Seeds to Success programs. Seeds to Success produces the Louisiana Harvest of the Month program to promote locally grown items to schools and other community organizations. The Harvest of the Month website includes a collection of lessons, books, and videos connected to Louisiana Student Standards. Any community group or school can register for these free materials!

Students at Tallulah Academy participate in a taste test.

Cafeteria manager Doris Powell used the Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe for the taste test offered to the school’s junior high classes who were able to vote on whether they loved, liked, or tried the recipe. The students had a very positive response to the healthy snack. Student involvement is a key element of program’s success as students not only learn about Louisiana farm products but also taste the foods featured each month. Each of these small changes will equal greater nutritional knowledge and health for the students at Tallulah Academy. Collaborators included Frank Newson with Madison Parish 4-H, Joy Sims with Madison Parish Healthy Communities, and the cafeteria team and administration of Tallulah Academy.

Food Safe Families

by Markaye Russell

Holiday season brings many special celebrations with fun, family, and food. But food poisoning is not an added celebration that anyone wants. It is important that you follow the guidelines below for minimum cooking temperatures and rest time for meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods. Be sure to use a food thermometer to check whether meat has reached a safe internal temperature that is hot enough to kill harmful germs that cause food poisoning.

Ground meat and meat mixturesBeef, pork, veal, and lamb: 160ºTurkey and chicken: 165º
Pork and hamFresh pork, including fresh ham: 145º
(Rest time, 3 minutes)
Precooked ham to reheat: 165º
Eggs and egg dishesEggs: Cook until yolk and whites are firm
Egg dishes: 160º
SeafoodFish with fins: 145ºShrimp, lobster, crab, and scallops:
Cook until opaque
Fresh beef, veal, and lambSteaks, roasts, chops: 145º
(Rest time, 3 minutes)
PoultryAll poultry: 165º
Leftovers and casserolesLeftovers and Casseroles: 165º

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays.

Happy, Healthy Holidays

by Cathy Agan

This is the season for to do lists, gift lists, shopping, cooking, and eating! It is also a time when our routine gets out of whack. We may be eating more than normal and getting less physical activity than normal, which can lead to weight gain. While we definitely want to enjoy the holiday season, we also want to make sure we don’t leave out healthful meals, physical activity, and plenty of rest.

As you make your lists and check them twice, make sure to include some strategies for a healthy, happy holiday season. Remember that good health will allow to enjoy everything else during this season. Try out these tips to put some healthy in your holidays.

  • Be realistic. This may not be the time to try to lose weight. Trying to follow a strict diet during the holidays can set you up for disappointment. It may be better to try to maintain your weight, make healthy choices as much as you can, and kick off a weight loss campaign in January if you need to get to a healthy weight.
  • Be flexible but stay active. Find ways to fit physical activity into your day wherever you are. You may not be able to keep up your regular routine, but maybe you can add some walks around your neighborhood or through the mall while shopping.
  • Try something new. Give a new recipe that incorporate fruits and vegetables a try. Look for ways to modify current recipes to reduce fat and calories. For example, substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg, or substitute half the fat or oil in baked goods with applesauce. Use lower fat versions of ingredients like sour cream, yogurt, or evaporated milk.
  • Eat what you love. Enjoy your favorite holiday foods in moderation. Skip those foods that are not really your favorites. You don’t have to eat everything that is offered.
  • Drink water. Staying hydrated is always important and will help you feel your best.

Healthy Recipe Box

by Brittney Newsome

Cran-Apple Crisp

Snowflake design of cranberries.Ingredients:

  • 4 apples (cored and thinly sliced)
  • 1 can cranberry sauce (14 ounce, whole)
  • 2 tablespoons margarine (soft, melted)
  • 1 cup oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash apples, remove cores and slice thinly, keeping peel on. In a bowl, combine the cranberries and apples. Pour into an 8x8 inch pan. Combine melted margarine with oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon until well blended. Sprinkle over apple/cranberry mixture. Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes until the topping is crisp and brown. Serve warm or cold.


Efnep SNAP and Health Communities logos.

Catahoula/Concordia Parishes - Ana Gouge, (318) 414-6055

East Carroll/Morehouse Parishes - Jocinda Jackson, (318) 559-1459

Franklin/Caldwell Parishes/FCS Regional Coordinator - Quincy Vidrine, (318) 435-2903

CDC Food Systems Coordinator - Cecilia Stevens, (318) 435-2908

Madison/Tensas Parishes - Joy Sims, (318) 574-2465

Ouachita Parish - Cathy Agan, (318) 323-2251

Ouachita/Morehouse Parishes - Kimberly Butcher, (318) 323-2251

Ouachita/Union Parishes - Markaye Russell, (318) 323-2251

Richland/West Carroll Parishes - Brittney Newsome, (318) 281-5741

Northeast Region FCS logo.

For the latest research-based information on just about anything, visit our website:

Lucien P. Laborde, Jr., Interim Vice President for Agriculture, Interim Dean of College of Agriculture
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station,
Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, LSU College of Agriculture.

The LSU AgCenter and LSU provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

If you need an ADA accommodation for your participation, please contact Quincy Vidrine at least two weeks prior to the event.

The LSU AgCenter provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Local Food Finds

by Jocinda Jackson-Jones

Lake Providence, LA

Minksy Pecan Market in Lake Providence.

Lake Providence is well-known for its local Pecan Market located right off Highway 65. Minsky’s Pecan Market offers a variety of pralines, nuts, and more. The surrounding community enjoys them.

Now that the holiday’s are upon us, the Pecan Market will be offering a variety of different gift boxes with different types of nuts. The market accepts pecans from the local community as well so people in the community are allowed to sell their pecans to the market. Through this, the market has been able to support people in the community by paying them for their hard work.

Check out Minsky’s Pecan Market in East Carroll Parish for your holiday shopping needs!

Upcoming Events

Workout Wednesday Virtual Walking Group, 12PM Ouachita Parish: First and third Wednesdays of every month. Contact Cathy Agan for more information.

Ag Expo In-Person Meeting, January 14 and 15, 2022 Ouachita Parish: Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe. Visit for more information.

12/16/2021 5:10:57 PM
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