Small steps to health and wealth in 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

The beginning of a new year is a time many people set new goals and think about doing things to improve their lives. The most common goals usually have to do with reducing debt and saving money or trying to lose weight or start an exercise program.

The good news is that small steps can actually lead to significant improvements. So rather than making a list of really big changes that you probably won't stick to, consider committing to one or two small changes and making a plan to help you keep your commitment.

The Putnam County Health Coalition is once again sponsoring a series of Walking Wednesdays for January and February. The winter program is scheduled for 8 to 10 a.m. each Wednesday from Jan. 4 through Feb. 22, inside the DePauw Tennis and Track Center.

There is no charge to participate and the program is open to anyone interested in a safe, warm place to walk with others on a regular basis during the heart of winter.

Persons interested in participating can register in advance or when they come to walk. Registration forms are available at the Extension Office as well as at City Hall and online at

For more information on Walking Wednesday: Winter Edition, call the Extension office or contact Troy Scott at 653-3395.

Another small step that can help with a goal to save money is to make better use of leftovers. Winter is an excellent time to use leftovers in soups and casseroles.

Here are directions for Savory Bread Pudding, which is another good and easy way to combine leftover food in a new and tasty way. Although you may think of bread pudding as an old-fashioned dessert, Savory Bread Pudding can be a money-saving side dish or a main dish depending on the combination of foods you include.

It is also versatile and can vary widely depending on the particular leftovers you happen to have on hand.

Basic guide for making a Savory Bread Pudding:

1. Tear or cube 'day-old'/stale bread-- (whole grain, leftover baguette, etc.) and spread in a buttered baking pan (enough to cover the bottom in a single layer).

2. Sprinkle on cheese to taste--enough to lightly cover the bread and the perfect place to use up odds and ends of leftover cheese.

3. Add a few generous handfuls of chopped vegetables (raw or cooked), fresh herbs, leftover Christmas ham , pieces of turkey or other cooked meat.

4. Make enough custard to mostly cover everything, figuring on two eggs to every cup of milk. Season the custard with a little salt, pepper and fresh grated nutmeg or other spice of your liking, and pour it over the contents of the pan. Allow anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight in the refrigerator for liquid to soak into the bread.

5. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. until center of the pudding reads 170 degrees F. on an instant read thermometer. Serve and enjoy!

Upcoming Events:

Jan. 4 -- Walking Wednesdays: Winter Series begins, 8-10 a.m. at DePauw's Tennis and Track Center

Jan. 6 -- Putnam County 4-H Scholarship Intent to Apply e-form due to Putnam County Community Foundation

Jan. 10 -- Extension Homemaker Leader Lesson: "Food for Thought" 1 p.m. at the Extension Office (new location -- 12 Central Square, lower level of the PNC Bank building) lesson is free and open to the public.

Jan. 11 -- Walking Wednesday, 8-10 a.m.

Jan. 13 -- Putnam County 4-H Scholarships Due to Putnam County Community Foundation

Jan. 15 -- Indiana 4-H Foundation Scholarships Due

Jan. 18 -- Walking Wednesday, 8-10 a.m.

Jan. 25 -- Walking Wednesday, 8-10 a.m.

Jan. 27 -- Registration Due to Extension Office for Feb. 18 4-H Judge/Leader Clinic

Feb. 18 -- Bi-State 4-H Judges and Leaders Clinic, Ivy Tech, Terre Haute

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