Escambia Extension Urges Smart Grilling For Food Safety

July 4, 2015


Safety is an important consideration when operating a grill. Improper use can cause a fire or explosion. Keep the area around a lighted grill clear of combustible materials, and never use a grill in an enclosed area such as a sheltered patio or a garage. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing that may catch fire. The cooking grids should be cleaned after every cookout. The last thing you want to do is cause someone to become ill due to improper cleaning or unsafe food preparation practices.


Wash your hands with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds before starting to prepare any foods, and wash your hands again if you do anything else—change a diaper, pet an animal, or blow your nose, for example. Cover any cuts or sores on your hands with a bandage, or use plastic gloves. If you sneeze or cough while preparing foods, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and turn your face away, or cough into your sleeve. Always wash your hands afterwards.

Bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature. Most food-borne illness-causing bacteria cannot grow well at temperatures below 40°F or above 140°F. Thaw foods in the refrigerator or in the microwave. Never leave foods out at room temperature.

Keep everything that touches food clean. Bacteria can hitch rides around your kitchen on all sorts of things—plates and cutting boards, dirty utensils, dish rags and sponges, unwashed hands.

Never chop fresh vegetables or salad ingredients on a cutting board that was used for raw meat without properly cleaning it first. If possible, keep a separate cutting board just for the preparation of raw meat, poultry, and fish.

Wash cutting boards thoroughly with hot soapy water, and then sanitize with a solution of household bleach and water.

Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices from coming into contact with other foods during preparation, especially foods that will not be cooked. Wash all utensils and your hands with hot soapy water after contact with raw meat.

Marinate meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator in a covered, non-metal container. Throw away any leftover marinade.

Grill food to a safe internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to assure correct doneness of the food being grilled.

Safe minimum internal temperatures:

  • Poultry (whole, ground, and breasts): 165°F
  • Hamburgers, beef: 160°F
  • Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks, roasts and chops):
  • Medium rare: 145°F
  • Medium: 160°F.
  • All cuts of pork: 160°F.

Hold meat at 140°F until served. Use a clean platter for transferring cooked meat from grill to serving table.

Summer is the time for getting together with friends and family and cooking outdoors. Make your outdoor grilling experience safe and enjoyable.

For further information regarding food safety and other related topics, go to the University of Florida’s Solutions for Your Life website:

Dorothy C. Lee, CFCS, is an Extension Agent II, Family & Consumer Sciences with the Escambia County Extension Service. Reference: Safe Food Handling Fact Sheet, United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Series.

4th Weekend Recipes: Patriotic Pops, Ice Cream Sandwiches

July 4, 2015

The Fourth of July calls for a carefree party, with good friends, fab food, fun and fireworks – a real star-studded holiday celebration.

Patriotic Pops cut into star shapes definitely say “Happy Fourth of July.” Decorated in red, white and blue icing, red licorice and colored candies, these easy-to-make crispy rice treats are a favorite for both youngsters and the grown-ups. The kids can lend a hand to help decorate by placing the candy pieces on the stars.

Add a taste of nostalgia for the child in all of us with Ice Cream Sandwiches – everybody loves ‘em. Homemade brownies and buttery vanilla cookies, sandwiched with the ice cream flavor of your choice are a cut above ice cream truck offerings. Give them the flair of the Fourth by rolling the edges in patriotic sprinkles and sugars. Or, dip part of the sandwich into melted candy melts and decorate with sprinkles for a fun and festive finish.

(Scroll down to see both recipes.)

Patriotic Pops


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 24 8-inch Cookie Treat Sticks
  • Red, Blue and White Cookie Icing
  • Red and blue candy-coated chocolates
  • Red licorice


  1. Spray Star Cookie Treat Pan and rubber spatula or wooden spoon with vegetable pan spray.
  2. In large saucepan, melt butter. Add marshmallows; cook and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add cereal; mix well. Press into prepared pan; insert cookie sticks. When cool to touch, remove from pan. Repeat with remaining cereal mixture. (If mixture becomes hard to work with, microwave at 50% power 30 to 60 seconds to soften.)
  3. Outline treat as desired with Cookie Icing; add candy and licorice. Let dry at least 1 hour.

Makes about 2 dozen pops

Ice Cream Sandwiches


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla Cookies
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract, orange extract or ground cinnamon (optional)


  1. Brownies: Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray Ice Cream Sandwich Pan with vegetable pan spray.
  2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter with chocolate chips. Whisk in sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture; stir until just combined. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into each pan cavity, spreading evenly.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted at an angle toward center comes out clean. Immediately remove to cooling rack; cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4. Vanilla Cookies: Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray Ice Cream Sandwich Pan with vegetable pan spray.
  5. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Whisk in sugars, eggs, vanilla and, if desired, other extract or cinnamon; mix well. Add flour mixture; mix until blended. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into each pan cavity, spreading evenly.
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted at an angle toward center comes out clean. Immediately remove to cooling rack; cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
  7. To Assemble: 1 quart ice cream, any flavor
  8. Assorted Patriotic Mix Sprinkles and Red and Blue Sugars
  9. White Candy Melts, melted (optional)
  10. Scoop about 1/4 cup ice cream onto smooth side of half of the brownies. Top with remaining brownies, pressing gently. If desired, roll edge of sandwiches in sprinkles or sugars. Wrap and freeze immediately.
  11. Or, dip a portion of the sandwich in melted candy melts; add sprinkles and sugars. Freeze 5 minutes to set, then wrap and freeze until ready to serve.

Makes about 12 ice cream sandwiches

Survey: That July 4th Cookout Costs Less This Year

July 4, 2015

A Fourth of July cookout of Americans’ favorite foods including hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, lemonade and chocolate milk will cost slightly less this year and still comes in at less than $6 per person, says the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Farm Bureau’s informal survey reveals the average cost for a summer cookout for 10 is $55.84, or $5.58 per person. That’s about a 3-percent decrease compared to a year ago.

“Based on our survey, food prices overall appear to be fairly stable. Prices for beef have continued to increase this year, but prices for other meats are generally declining. Dairy product prices are also quite a bit lower,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist at AFBF.

“Meat production is starting to increase substantially. Beef prices have started to stabilize but have not declined yet. On the other hand, retail pork prices have been declining all year,” Anderson said.

“Fuel and other energy prices have also generally been lower so far this year compared to last year,” Anderson said. “This helps keep prices down on the more processed items in the basket. Energy is an important component of the final price for these products.

“As a nation, we continue to enjoy a consistent, high-quality supply of meats and poultry at prices that are remarkably affordable for most consumers,” he said.

AFBF’s summer cookout menu for 10 consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, watermelon for dessert, and ketchup and mustard.

A total of 88 Farm Bureau members (volunteer shoppers) in 30 states checked retail prices for summer cookout foods at their local grocery stores for this informal survey.

The summer cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau marketbasket series which also includes the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey and two “everyday” marketbasket surveys on common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home. A squad of Farm Bureau members across the nation checks retail prices at local grocery stores for the marketbasket surveys. AFBF published its first marketbasket survey in 1986.

West Florida Library Summer Reading Program Continues

July 3, 2015

Young readers learned from Bucky & Gigi during the West Florida Library’s Summer Reading Club Programs.  Bucky & Gigi provided a fun, fast-paced show using physical comedy, circus skills, mime, magic, improvisation and lots of audience participation.

The Summer Reading Program, for children ages 0-17, will continue at the West Florida Library as follows:

Mark Seymour

This interactive percussion extravaganza encourages children to believe in themselves.

  • Tuesday, July 7, 10:30 a.m. – Southwest Branch, Big Lagoon State Park
  • Tuesday, July 7, 3:30 p.m. – Westside Branch, held at the Main Library
  • Wednesday, July 8, 11 a.m. – Century Branch
  • Wednesday, July 8, 3:30 p.m. – Main Library, Meeting Room A
  • Thursday, July 9, 10:30 a.m. – Molino Branch, Auditorium
  • Thursday, July 9, 3:00 p.m. – Tryon Branch, Meeting Room A

Pensacola State Gymnastics

This PSC youth gymnastics team will flip, tumble and entertain in a display of athletic fitness at its finest.

  • Tuesday, July 14, 10:30 a.m. – Southwest Branch, Big Lagoon State Park
  • Tuesday, July 14, 3:30 p.m. – Westside Branch, held at the Main Library
  • Wednesday, July 15, 11 a.m. – Century Branch
  • Wednesday, July 15, 3:30 p.m. – Main Library, Meeting Room A
  • Thursday, July 16, 10:30 a.m. – Molino Branch, Auditorium
  • Thursday, July 16, 3:00 p.m. – Tryon Branch, Meeting Room A

Magic with Russell Davis

This humorous magician uses tricks and comedy to encourage a love of reading.

  • Tuesday, July 21, 10:30 a.m. – Southwest Branch, Big Lagoon State Park
  • Tuesday, July 21, 3:30 p.m. – Westside Branch, held at the Main Library
  • Wednesday, July 22, 11 a.m. – Century Branch
  • Wednesday, July 22, 3:30 p.m. – Main Library, Meeting Room A
  • Thursday, July 23, 10:30 a.m. – Molino Branch, Auditorium
  • Thursday, July 23, 3:00 p.m. – Tryon Branch, Meeting Room A

Superhero Wrap Up Party

Celebrate a super summer with crafts, face painting, snacks and prizes.

  • Tuesday, July 28, 10:30 a.m. – Southwest Branch, Big Lagoon State Park
  • Tuesday, July 28, 3:30 p.m. – Westside Branch, held at the Main Library
  • Wednesday, July 29, 11 a.m. – Century Branch
  • Wednesday, July 29, 3:30 p.m. – Main Library, Meeting Room A
  • Thursday, July 30, 10:30 a.m. – Molino Branch, Auditorium
  • Thursday, July 30, 3:00 p.m. – Tryon Branch, Meeting Room A

Pictured: Bucky & Gigi perform Thursday morning at the Molino Branch Library. Photo for, click to enlarge.

Seaplane Stuck During Nicholas Cage Film Shoot: Breaks Apart During Salvage

July 3, 2015

A World War II seaplane was beached in Escambia County for three days on the set of a Nicholas Cage movie being shot in Orange Beach.

The PBY Catalina was being filmed for the movie “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage” when the seaplane began to take on water due to a mechanical problem. It was pulled closer to the shore, where it remained, slightly nose-down with landing gear stuck in the sand. During attempts to move it out of the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, the plane “broke apart”, according to officials.

According to a statement release by film producers:

“We are thankful that no one was hurt. The pilot and co-pilot are well. And the entire cast and crew are safe and sound. The Vintage PBY being used by production met a tragic end at the hands of the sea yesterday, and the salvage company was unable to save the aircraft. The PBY will be immortalized in the film, as will the unfortunate events surrounding the USS Indianapolis and the rescue teams from the US Navy. God Bless America. Freedom isn’t free. With our collective respect and gratefulness, our heart shouts out for our military, and their families, in harm’s way. Happy July 4th and God Bless the USA.”

“USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage” is the harrowing true story of the crew of the USS Indianapolis, who were stranded in the Philippine Sea for five days after delivering the atomic weapons that would eventually end WWII. As they awaited rescue, they endured extreme thirst, hunger, and relentless shark attacks, according to IMDb.

The movie is expected to be released in 2016 and is being filmed mostly in the Mobile area. photos by Kristi Price, click to enlarge.

Cunningham, Tanner Win 4-H Foundation Scholarships

July 2, 2015

Two Escambia County 4-H members who have excelled in both 4-H and academics have been awarded 4-H Foundation scholarships.

Navy Federal Credit Union 4-H Scholarship – $1,500

Amanda Tanner was a dual enrollment student at Pensacola State College and graduated with a high school diploma and associate’s degree. As a 4-H member for four years, she has held many leadership positions at the local, district and state levels, including president for the 4-H County Council of Escambia County.

Tanner has completed more than 500 hours of community service, served as a 4-H camp counselor and 4-H teen health ambassador, and is a member and president of the Escambia County 4-H Horse Club. Her plans are to attend the University of South Alabama and major in chemistry. After graduation, Tanner plans to attend veterinarian school specializing in large animals.

Escambia County 4-H Foundation Scholarship – $1,500

Donald Cunningham is a four-year 4-H member of the Molino Livestock 4-H Club. He graduated from Pace High School with honors and has completed more than 200 hours of community service at Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Youth Group.

Cunningham was very active in the 4-H livestock project and was awarded Steer of the Year and Heifer of the Year at the recent Gulf Coast Agriculture and Natural Resources Youth Organization (GCA & NRYO) Spring Livestock Show. Cunningham will attend the University of Florida and major in building and construction management.

Water District Adds New Escambia River Campsites To Reservation System

July 2, 2015

The Northwest Florida Water Management District has added 58 campsites to its online camping reservation system.  These campsites are located along the Apalachicola, Escambia, and Choctawhatchee rivers.  With these new additions, there are now 88 campsites within 28 areas available to reserve online for free.

“One of the District’s priorities is making the use of public lands easier and more convenient for our visitors, whether they’re from across town or across the country,” District Executive Director Brett Cyphers said.  “By providing potential visitors the ability to reserve more campsites online, we can better ensure a more predictable and positive experience.  And that’s what we want in the end, more people getting outside and enjoying the natural places they pay to support and protect.”

To make a campsite reservation, visitors must first register for a free online account.  Once this is done, visitors can then reserve a site up to 11 months in advance for up to seven days.  Two non-consecutive reservations are allowed at one time for each account.

New signs designating, “Camping By Reservation Only” have been placed at the newly-added campsites.  Day-use is still available at those recreation areas where signs are posted and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To view the full list of District campsites available to reserve, visit and then click on “Recreation”.

Ransom Middle Teacher Selected For National C-SPAN Educators Conference

July 1, 2015

Lauren Samoszenko, a social studies teacher at Ransom Middle School, is one of 30 educators from across the nation selected to attend C-SPAN Classroom’s 2015 Educators’ Conference to be held in Washington July 9-10.

The conference helps educators discover how to integrate C-SPAN’s programs and C-SPAN Classroom’s free web-based primary source materials into classroom activities to create engaging learning experiences for students. The conference brings together middle school teachers who specialize in social studies and/or technology. Samoszenko competed with applicants from across the country to secure a place at the conference. C-SPAN provides the roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations and meals for all selected attendees.

“Over the course of the two day conference, we aim to equip teachers with a variety of strategies to incorporate C-SPAN’s primary source programs into their classrooms,” said Craig McAndrew, C-SPAN Manager of Education Relations. “Our free resources are geared toward aiding teachers in providing a clear understanding of how the federal government works, the issues affecting our country, and the history of the U.S.”

Throughout the event participants will learn more about C-SPAN, its online archive of primary source programs as well as a host of other free digital resources that can be implemented in the classroom. C-SPAN Political Editor Steve Scully will speak at the conference dinner about the 2016 presidential campaign season.

Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

Northview Graduate Bryan Receives Correctional Peace Officers Scholarship

July 1, 2015

Northview High School graduate Megan Bryan has received a scholarship from the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation. Bryan, who plans to attend Jefferson David Community College, was presented the scholarship Tuesday at Century Correctional Institution. On hand for the presentation were CPOF John Williams, mother Carrie Bryan, Megan Bryan, Warden Doug Sloan and CPOF Representative Gerard Van Der Ham. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

Council on Aging Offers Cool Tips For Beating The Heat

June 29, 2015

As summer approaches and temperatures begin to rise, the elderly will be particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, older adults, especially those taking medications that impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature, should be aware of the following cool tips for beating the heat:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

Older adults and their caregivers are also encouraged to learn the signs and first aid response for heat-related illnesses. Warning signs may include:

Heat exhaustion symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Skin cold, pale and clammy
  • Weak pulse
  • Fainting and vomiting

If heat exhaustion symptoms are present:

  • Move to a cooler location.
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
  • Sip water.
  • Seek medical attention if you have vomited and it continues.

Heat stroke symptoms:

  • High body temperature (above 103 degrees F)
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

If heat stroke symptoms are present:

  • Call 911 immediately – this is a medical emergency.
  • Move the person to a cooler environment.
  • Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or a bath.
  • Do NOT give fluids.

For more information on how you can protect yourself against heat-related illnesses, call Council on Aging of West Florida at 850.432.1475.

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