Woods County Family & Consumer Sciences September/October 2021 Newsletter
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Gearing Up For Fall Home Energy Management
Oklahoma residents know they’ll be running the air conditioner and fans
in their homes for several more weeks, but that doesn’t mean fall energy
management preparations should be put off.
Nearly half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling,
said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Extension housing and consumer
specialist and interim associate dean.
“Making smart decisions regarding your home’s heating and cooling system
can have a big impact on utility bills. A few simple steps around the
home can pay big dividends when the weather cools down,” Peek said.
“Think back to the deep freeze Oklahoma experienced in February this
year and remember how your utility bills reflected the increased energy
The easiest and least expensive way to increase system efficiency is to
change the air filter regularly. Check it once per month and change it, at
minimum, three times per year.
“A dirty filter slows down air flow and makes the system work harder to
keep you warm or cool,” said Scott Frazier, OSU Extension energy management specialist and associate professor in the department of biosystems and agricultural engineering. “A clean filter also will prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system, which could lead to a costly repair or an early system failure.”
Just like people go to the doctor and get a yearly checkup or schedule
their vehicle for a tune-up, it’s important to do the same for your HVAC
system. In the fall, check all gas or oil connections, gas pressure, burner
combustion and heat exchanger. Improper connections can be a fire hazard
and can contribute to health problems.
Frazier said a smart thermostat is a great investment for homeowners to
help lower utility bills.
“A smart thermostat lets you control the home’s heating and cooling
temperature settings from a smart device such as a cell phone, tablet or
computer,” he said. “These thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled, which allows
access to its temperature and other features through an app downloaded on your smart device.”
Another option is a programmable thermostat that allows homeowners to
set the temperature for different times of the day. For example, the heat
can be set to automatically turn down to a specified temperature when everyone goes to bed and automatically turn up in the morning.
Another area to check on is the ductwork in the home. The ducts that
move the air often can be big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts
can significantly improve the efficiency of your air system. Start with the
ductwork that runs through unheated/uncooled parts of the home such as
the attic, crawl spaces and garage, then move to heated/cooled spaces in
If your heat and air system is older, or simply isn’t heating and cooling effectively, have it evaluated by a professional, Peek said.
OHCE News & Notes
2021 Woods County Fair
The 2021 Woods County Fair will be here in just a few days! You still have time to get your entries prepared for the fair.
Thank you in advance to all who have worked hard to make the fair possible, to our OHCE members, Superintendents & Helpers and so many others. It truly does take a VILLAGE to put on the fair!
We look forward to our many fair fundraisers & contests that benefit OHCE and help us continue to provide educational & community programs for all of Woods County!
Think about entering the Chili Cook-Off, Death by Chocolate Contest or Ice Cream Social!
State Dues: $ 12.50
County Dues: $ 2.50
New OHCE membership forms will be included in the Leaders Training Packets for the October local meetings. If you have questions, please call Susan Holliday, Extension Educator.
October OHCE Leader Lesson
The leader lesson “Spices From Around the World” is set to take place September 23rd at 1:30 pm in the Woods County Courthouse Conference Room.
Election of Officers
The new year is just ahead and new officers should be elected for each group during your September/October meeting. Those names need to be reported to the Extension Office by October 1, 2021.
The 2022 OHCE Yearbooks will be started soon and updates of group officers will need to be made.
Fall OHCE Association Meeting
The fall OHCE association meeting is set to take place Monday, October 4, 2021. Registration begins at 6:30 pm and Call to Order will be at 7:00 pm.
November OHCE Leaders Lesson
The "Is Your Glovebox Prepared for an Emergency?" leaders lesson is set to take place October 21, 2021 at 1:30 pm in the Woods County Courthouse Conference Room.
The 2021 Holiday Happenings is set for November 4, 2021 from 10:00am to 3:00 pm at the Major County Fairgrounds.
Join us for a fun day of workshop and projects right here in Major County! We’ll showcase make-and-take projects with fall and Christmas/winter themes. Lunch is provided.
Call the Woods County OSU Extension Office to RSVP by Thursday October 21, 2021. More details coming soon!
Crock-Pot Crazy Pineapple Chili
- In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook sausage and onions, stirring to crumble sausage. Once sausage is cooked through, drain off any fat and transfer the sausage and onions to your slow cooker.
- Drain the pineapple, reserving both the juice and the fruit separately. Add the juice to the slow cooker. Cover and store the fruit in the refrigerator (it will be added toward the end of cooking).
- Add tomatoes, black beans, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and garlic to the slow cooker.
- Stir everything to combine.
- Cook on low (6-8 hours), adding reserved pineapple during last hour or two of cooking, or on high (4-5 hours), adding pineapple during last 1/2 hour - hour of cooking.
- Serve topped with cheese, sour cream and hot sauce, if desired.
- 20 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (bulk, or links with casings removed)
- 1 medium onion, chopped to equal about 2 cups
- 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple tidbits in juice (divided)
- 2 (28-ounce) cans seasoned diced tomatoes (such as Dei Fratelli)
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced shredded reduced-fat cheese, reduced-fat sour cream and hot sauce (such as Tapatío) for serving, if desired
Pineapple: The texture of the cooked pineapple is completely controlled by when you add it. We prefer to add it toward the end of the cooking time, so that it's still fairly firm. If you prefer it to be more melded into the chili or you simply won't be able to add it toward the end of cooking, then you can toss it in at the beginning – it will be cooked down and much less pronounced in texture, but still very good.
Beans or no beans: If you don't want beans in your chili, you may certainly leave them out, and can also increase the amount of meat. We love the texture and the health benefits of the beans, but feel free to try it different ways!
Spice: This recipe is intentionally fairly mild and kid-friendly. If you'd like more spice, you can increase the chili powder and/or sub in spicy Italian turkey sausage. Perhaps the best way to make it versatile for different pallets, though, is simply to pass hot sauce at the table so everyone can season to taste.
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