Maine Extension Homemakers Newsletter, Winter 2023

Table of Contents

Presidential Ponderings

Dear Maine Extension Homemakers across our great state of Maine,

Homemakers Presdient Marie TemmI wish you all a Happy New Year and good health as we begin to raise up homemakers in our counties and communities. In Cumberland County, we have met together and formed a new group called New Beginnings. We have combined our groups into one due to the losses from COVID and other health conditions. Our members are excited about community work and giving back. More news will be shared as we continue to form, set goals, and reach out with support and encouragement. I am looking forward to seeing you all at the Spring Meeting on April 29.

Best wishes to you all, your MEHC President, Marie Temm

Around The State


Four homemaker groups have decided to combine into one county-wide group called New Beginnings. The decision came after a recent gathering that reignited the flame to join together, support one another, and share knowledge. The new group met in December to officially form and voted to disband their smaller groups and combine treasuries. Their calendar features events such as community service, caregiving, geographical area of study, mentorship, floral arrangements, genealogy, and MEHC participation.


The Franklin County clubs decorated a Christmas Tree for the Franklin County Rotary Club Tree Auction, which earned $325.00. The clubs stitched and donated 130 pairs of pajama bottoms for Janet’s Jammies and have conducted their annual tissue drive, which provided boxes of tissues to all elementary schools throughout Franklin County.


Hancock County had a pot-luck Turkey Dinner and Christmas party at the home of Pam Dupont and made plans for 2023 programs.


a woman holding up a hand-made quilt
Gail Watson, Somerset County, poses with her quilt. Photo: Courtesy Irene Davis.

The clubs in Somerset County made pajamas for Janet’s Jammies and are busy planning for the Hancock County Open House, to be held May 6, 2023.

Home Horticulture Notes

What are smart gardeners doing in their gardens in January? Poring over seed catalogs and making orders! Ordering seeds in January will ensure there is still a good selection of seeds available. Test the seeds you have on hand to determine if you need to order fresh seeds. Take inventory of your seed starting supplies, too, and stock what you need while supplies are available. Visit your local library to catch up on your garden reading and get some inspiration from gardening magazines. Consider starting onions! Onions should be started at least 10 weeks before you plan to plant them in your garden. Onions can take up to two weeks to germinate and are fairly slow-growing. Many herbs are slow starters and slow growers, too, so most people should be starting these in late January or February (and definitely by early March).

Yard and Garden Notes

Winter is a great time to prune your dormant fruit trees and shrubs. Consult a good garden resource, such as bulletin #2409, Renovating Old Apple Trees from University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Other bulletins of interest from UMaine Cooperative Extension include Bulletin #2169, Pruning Woody Landscape Plants, and bulletin #2513, Pruning Forsythias in Maine. More publications can be found by visiting UMaine Extension’s online Publications catalog.

Janet’s Jammies Update

The Maine Extension Homemakers worked hard throughout 2022 to make pajamas for Janet’s Jammies, a non-profit dedicated to providing pajamas for kids in need throughout the state of Maine, in memory of Janet Brzozowski, a dedicated daughter, wife and mother who lost her life due to a failed heart transplant in 2018. The Homemakers made 260 pairs of flannel pajama bottoms, and Janet’s Jammies provided matching t-shirts. Each pair of pajamas was wrapped in tissue paper, tied with a ribbon, and enclosed in a waterproof bag along with a photo of Janet and a short story about the pajamas. Pajamas have been distributed to Southern Maine United Way, Bangor United Way, Tri-Valley United Way, Bridging The Gap United Way and United Way Mid-Coast.

Mark Your Calendars

If you haven’t already submitted your membership enrollment forms and dues, please do so ASAP. If you did not receive the forms from your county president, please contact either Lisa or Cathy.

  • January: Get your 2022 volunteer hours tallied and complete your group/county annual report.
  • February 4: Sweater Day
  • February 6: MEHC Board Meeting, Bangor 10:00 am –1:00 pm (February 8-Snow Date)
  • February 16: National Almond Day
  • February 20: President’s Day
  • February 21: Mardi Gras
  • March 12: Daylight Savings Time-Spring forward!
  • March 15: The Ides of March
  • March 17: St. Patrick’s Day
  • March 25: Earth Hour 8:30 pm–9:30 pm

What Was It?

The last issue, there was a photo of a gadget that was a meat mallet/tenderizer.

a meat mallet tenderizer

What Is This?

In this issue, we have a true puzzle, because the person who owns this item does not know what it is, so we are accepting all reasonable suggestions! Send your answers to


Help Us Plan For the Future!

We are working steadily toward ways to attract young adults to join the volunteer efforts of the Maine Extension Homemakers Council. There are skills that Homemakers can teach to young adults, and there are skills young adults can teach to Homemakers. Help us identify the needs of young adults and the skills you can offer to a young audience. Please share your responses to the following questions with your advisor.

  • Please share five skills you think young people today (ages 16-25) can improve on.
  • Please share areas of expertise you would feel comfortable teaching to a young person (ages 16-25).

Barley Jambalaya Recipe

Jambalaya is a Cajun dish containing tomatoes and a trio of celery, onion, and bell pepper. This take on the classic dish uses barley in place of rice, adding fiber and magnesium to the dish. Cayenne pepper adds a kick of spice that will transport you to the American South where this dish originated!

Yield amount: 6 Servings
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 55 minutes


  • 1 cup barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves (whole)
  • 3 onions (medium, diced)
  • 2 celery stalks (small, diced)
  • 1 cup bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange, diced)
  • 2 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 T. canola oil
  • 4 oz. ground turkey
  • 2 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces each, no salt added)
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1⁄2 t. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 1⁄2 t. oregano (dried)
  • 1 t. ground black pepper


  1. Wash hands and then rinse vegetables before getting started.
  2. Rinse and drain the barley.
  3. In a medium pot over high heat bring water, bay leaves, and barley to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 45-60 minutes until barley is tender and most of the water is absorbed.
  4. Drain barley in a colander and set aside.
  5. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil.
  6. Add diced vegetables and garlic to the pot and cook until soft, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add ground turkey and cook until internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on a food thermometer or about 5-7 minutes.
  8. Add canned diced tomatoes and their juices and bring to a simmer.
  9. Add spices then reduce heat to low and cover for 15 minutes.
  10. Add cooked barley and bay leaves and stir to combine. Cook over low heat to blend flavors, about 5-10 more minutes.
  11. Remove bay leaves and serve.


  • You can prepare the barley up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate it until ready to prepare this recipe to reduce total cooking time.
  • Substitute a low-sodium broth for cooking water to add more flavor!
  • Creating a vegetarian version is easy by substituting ground turkey with drained firm tofu.
  • Prefer seafood in your jambalaya? You can add seafood like shrimp to Step 7. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time.
  • Add more water to create a more liquid-y dish or serve it thick.

Barley Jambalaya Recipe, courtesy USDA WIC Works Resource System

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2023

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