Taste of Toccoa

Taste of Toccoa hosted its 26th anniversary providing an evening of food, fun, and friends on April 28th.

This historical occasion offers different foods from local restaurants for people to enjoy. The event was hosted from 5 to 8 P.M. to bring the community together and share the experience of Toccoa life. The downtown area of Toccoa was closed off to set up booths, rides, and entertainment for both locals and visitors to enjoy the atmosphere of Toccoa. Taste of Toccoa helps advertise for small town business, coffee shops, and restaurants. On a beautiful, sunny day in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, people certainly took pleasure in an evening full of good food and friends.

Taste of Toccoa’s operation is fairly simple. As one walks into the downtown area, booths are set up for people to buy tokens for fifty cents each. After buying tokens, one can use them to buy food, coffee, or dessert at the different catering businesses and restaurants. At the end of the day, the tokens were counted and entered into a competition. The booth that received the most tokens wins a prize and the money is split between the city and the business.

Attendees were able to vote at the WNEG radio tent for their favorite foods. Businesses were challenged to bring their best spring menus. Eight different awards are offered every year to the favored food companies. As the voting was taking place, one of the volunteers at the tokens booth explained that she loved the event every year as she watched people interact and enjoy the different activities.

While walking past young children with funnel cakes and fellow college students curiously looking for food, everyone seemed to delight in the camaraderie that was built around the community.

Faith Newey, who is Toccoa Falls College’s Director of Leadership and Service, was helping with the Rotary table. Rotary is an organization of businesses that help with community needs. Faith explained that she has been coming to Taste of Toccoa since she was a student in the 90’s at Toccoa Falls College. She has enjoyed each year and loves to see all the people interact with each other.

Another table called the Stephens County Food Bank, Inc. provides non-perishable food and canned items for those in need. Also, connected with the Toccoa Soup Kitchen the volunteers explained that the organization has helped feed the hungry for over 25 years. Not only were tables meant to advertise food, but encourage the community to help others in need.

Taste of Toccoa is a fun, historic event that symbolizes the importance of community life. Interacting with one another allows people to grow and experience their culture together. One evening out of each year, people are given the opportunity to observe small town businesses while enjoying one another’s company. Taste of Toccoa truly fulfills a loving community inspired to help one another.

Keeping It Trim at TFC

This article will discuss tips to manage a healthy weight in college at Toccoa Falls College despite all the fabulous choices of food in the cafeteria.

Ah yes! The lovely TFC cafeteria!  With so many wonderful choices to choose, one can get carried away by getting too much food on their plate.

So what can one do to prevent taking too much food from the buffet and how can one keep a healthy weight while in college?

Tip #1. When it’s time to eat, drink a half a glass to a full glass of ice water before eating. 9 times out of 10, the body is craving water. Approximately 75% of the human body is composed of water. If one does this trick, chances are, one will not eat as much food.

Tip #2. Learn to have healthy portions on the plate. A portion is typically defined as the size of one’s fist. A well proportioned plate has healthy protein (chicken) with lots of veggies and fruit on the side.

Tip #3. Take a smaller plate instead of a bigger plate to get the food. Smaller plates are a great way of keeping track of how much food one is eating.

Tip #4. Try to limit sugars and sweets to once a week. Dessert is not an everyday food for a healthy functioning body, but a “sometimes” food. Sugar is the culprit to fueling many sicknesses such as flu and colds.

Tip #5. One can cut back a TON of calories by getting iced water as a drink instead of sugary sodas, etc. Water satisfies the body of thirst, whereas sugary sodas do not really quench this need. Sugary drinks also are loaded with unnecessary sugars and calories. One can keep a healthy weight in college simply by eliminating or limiting sugary drink intake.

Tip #6. One must NOT stress about gaining weight. Just stressing about weight can promote gaining weight. Weird, one might say, but it is true. The reason for this is because of a hormone called “cortisol.”

According to Today’s Dietitian.com,

“Cortisol, a glucocorticoid (steroid hormone), is produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands located on top of each kidney. It is normally released in response to events and circumstances such as waking up in the morning, exercising, and acute stress. Cortisol’s far-reaching, systemic effects play many roles in the body’s effort to carry out its processes and maintain homeostasis.

Of interest to the dietetics community, cortisol also plays an important role in human nutrition. It regulates energy by selecting the right type and amount of substrate (carbohydrate, fat, or protein) the body needs to meet the physiological demands placed on it. When chronically elevated, cortisol can have deleterious effects on weight, immune function, and chronic disease risk.

Cortisol (along with its partner epinephrine) is best known for its involvement in the “fight-or-flight” response and temporary increase in energy production, at the expense of processes that are not required for immediate survival. The resulting biochemical and hormonal imbalances (ideally) resolve due to a hormonally driven negative feedback loop. The following is a typical example of how the stress response operates as its intended survival mechanism.”

“Cortisol” can be triggered by stress.

Tip #7. One can remember that one of the Fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Ephesians 5 is “self-control.” Part of applying self-control is monitoring one’s eating habits. The Christian life is one of a holistic approach. Everything is connected in some way or shape. It is not independent from one another. For the believer, the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. One act of worship towards our loving Heavenly Father is exercising “self-control” when it comes to food choices and portions.

Tip #8. This is probably one of the biggest contributing factors to unhealthy weight gain.*drum roll please* Many college students eat very late at night. Eating meals past 7 pm is extremely unhealthy and will cause potential weight gain. The body is ready to shut down and not ready to take in extra calories when the body is ready to go right to sleep. One must not eat past 7 pm in order to keep a healthy weight during college.

Students are encouraged to use these tips. A healthy lifestyle is not always easy, but it is definitely worth it!

The Big Red Apple Festival: A Kickoff to Fall Fun

Looking for an exciting, fall event? Ready to smell the warmth of boiled peanuts, observe the slight change of color in the leaves, and feel the crispness that fills the air? It is time to pull out the sweaters, boots, and scarves and slurp Pumpkin Spice Lattes while nibbling s’mores by the campfire. The fall season brings back memories of cookouts, games, and chilly nights by the warm fire. One of the best ways to celebrate this extravagant time is the annual Big Red Apple Festival. For years, this has been one of the most exciting occasions for those who live and visit the Northeast Georgia area.
Everyone should come to downtown Cornelia, October 10th from 10-4pm for this exciting festival of the year. The City of Cornelia will be hosting the Big Red Apple Festival. Best of all, there is no cost for admission! As the crowds align the fun, filled streets, roads will be closed for music, food, and shopping. The festival is a fantastic way to jump into the beautiful season of fall as the leaves change color and the cool breeze visits the area. Every year, the festival is a huge success with laughter, activities, and cooking.

One great opportunity the festival offers is the promotion of small and local businesses. From delicate craftsmanship to ornate paintings and multiple booths with accessories, it is a great way to discover businesses that offer a unique character to Northeast Georgia. One cannot help but admire the work of pottery, or the gentle touch of handmade baskets that took great time and skill.

If anyone is interested in games, the festival will have one of the favorites known as the cakewalk. The game is a simple, easy, and exciting way to take part in the activities offered. The object of the cakewalk is quite self-explanatory; the purpose is to win a cake. First, join the circle of people who walk around in a circle of numbered chairs. When the music plays, people begin walking the circle. When the music stops, everyone stands on the number landed. The game musical chairs is very similar to how the cakewalk operates. Finally, the host will call a number out from the circle, whoever is standing on the number wins a cake of choice. There is no better way to win a cake and have participated in an entertaining game.

Don’t forget about the food. There are no worries about getting hungry while running around and checking out all the multitude of booths. If you want some good food, the festival offers BBQ, pizza, Chick-fil-A, and much more. Also, there are booths with snow cones, ice cream, funnel cakes, and fried Oreos. Any type of comfort food one can think of will be available the festival.

Like cars? A classic, car show will also be at the festival. Folks from all over the region drive into Habersham County to show off their automobiles. From sports cars to classic trucks, people are free to admire and take pictures. People enjoy gawking at all the timeless cars that fill the parking lots.

Everyone is encouraged to join the City of Cornelia in visiting the Big Red Apple Festival on Saturday, October the 10th. Do not forget this huge annual event because it is not worth missing. Bring friends and family for a time to enjoy the freshness of the fall season and participate in the community.

Shake Things Up: Ramen Noodles

It is a known fact that the go to meal for a college student is ramen noodles. It is an easy fix, cheap, and tastes pretty good, but it can become pretty boring to continue to eat the same flavor over and over. One might say that it is difficult to find time to make something outside of simply following the ramen package directions, but in reality, it only takes a few extra minutes at most to make something new. Well, my friends…TIME TO SHAKE THINGS UP! Here are three new ways to shake things up with a cheap pack of ramen noodles!

Taco Ramen Noodles: www.tablespoon.com

1 packet Ramen Noodles, beef flavor
1 (15 ounce) can of Fireroasted Diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning Mix
1/2 cup sweet corn or black beans
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro

Directions:

In a large pot, bring ramen noodles, half of the ramen beef seasoning packet, diced tomatoes, and water to a boil. Cook until the noodles are softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into two serving bowls. Sprinkle remaining ramen beef seasoning over the noodles. Heat corn in a small, microwave safe bowl until warm, about 1 minute. Place on top of ramen in each bowl. Top each bowl with cheddar cheese and cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

Ramen Stir Fry: www.mrsscalesrecipes.blogspot.com

1-2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 block of  ramen noodles
1 tsp Soy Sacue
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 c frozen veggie mix
1 egg
1 tsp cooking oil (olive, sesame, vegatable)
seasoning salt, to taste
salt/pepper, to taste

Directions:

On medium heat, put garlic and the tsp of oil in the frying pan and cook chicken. Shred the chicken and toss in the pan with soy sauce, Worcestershire, frozen veggies, a couple dashes of seasoning salt.  Stir with wooden spoon.
While this is cooking and blending flavors, put a bowl of water in the microwave for 3 minutes.  When the 3 minutes is up you’ll have boiling water, while still in the microwave add your block of noodles (break in half if you wish).  Turn microwave back on for another 2.5 min. This method makes the perfect consistency of noodles.. not soggy or puffy.
Back over to the pan – Once the veggies are almost cooked crack in the egg.  Stir again with wooden spoon or spatula to scramble the egg.
Back to the microwave – Your noodles should be done at this point.  Drain all the water from the bowl.  Use an oven mit, the bowl will be HOT.
Add the noodles and ramen seasoning packet to the pan/wok and stir it all up.  Add a little more oil if you need to and a little water (maybe a table spoon).  Serve and Enjoy!

Peanut Chicken Saute: www.bargainbriana.com

2 Packages Chicken Ramen Noodles – noodle only
1 Cup Shredded Chicken
4 Green Onions Sliced Thin
1 Tablespoon Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Teriyaki Sauce

Cook noodles on stovetop as directed minus the flavor packets.  In large skillet, mix together peanut butter and teriyaki sauce until smooth.  Add in shredded chicken and onions, cooking for 3-4 minutes.  Toss with ramen noodles and serve.

These recipes are simple, tasty, and very inexpensive. Try and shake things up on your own! Enjoy!

The Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival is an event that Toccoa looks forward to every year. This year, it was held November 1-2. It was perfect fall weather. The mornings were chilly, but the sun warmed up the afternoons. The streets were crowded with all sorts of vendors, activities, and people.  Some major attractions were the petting zoo, car show, art displays, rock wall, and rides on Papa’s Little Choo Choo. There were even superhero impersonators that were happy to pose for pictures. Food stands offered both regional and international dishes and their yummy smells filled the air. There were two stages that hosted many different performances throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Toccoa Falls College’s very own Singing Men and College Choir performed Saturday morning. The TFC Singing Men went first; their choir consists of both students and community members. The men’s voices blended well and the solo by Blayne Hiner was quite memorable. The College Choir went next and showed great enthusiasm and talent. Even though the air was quite chilly, the college students warmed the hearts of all who were listening. Dr. Council directs the choirs and was very proud of how they performed. Dr.  Council states, “I think the choirs did an outstanding job in performance, especially considering the outdoor venue. It is always challenging to sing outside, since we are unable to take advantage of ‘room acoustics’.” He continued, “Most of all, I believe the choir members were engaged in worship as they sang. They sang our Lord’s praises from hearts motivated by His love, grace and mercy. Our prayer is that God used the performance to minister to those listening and to bring glory to Himself.” Those who are interested in joining the College Choir or TFC Singing Men can contact Dr. Council at tcouncil@tfc.edu.

The Harvest Festival is more than just a weekend of entertainment and fun. It means a growing client base for local business owners. Victoria “Tori” Head of Victoria’s Sweet Treats explained, “For local businesses in the downtown area the Harvest Festival helps to remind people we are here and what downtown businesses have to offer.” She went on to clarify what it meant for her business, “For us, it is a chance to showcase what we have on an everyday basis and some new items. This year we expanded our fried pie products and more fall items. The festival also gives us a time to remind people we are here right before the holidays. This is our busiest time of the year. I want to make every patron of the Harvest Festival a satisfied and returning customer to Victoria’s Sweet Treats.” Tori certainly satisfies her customers. Anyone with a sweet tooth should stop by her bakery on Doyle Street and try some of the delicious goodies that it offers.

Everyone can enjoy the Harvest Festival. While it attracts outsiders, the festival strengthens the Toccoa community. It also is an excellent opportunity for TFC students to experience Toccoa. By students being present, supporting the vendors and businesses, and even performing, TFC showed the Toccoa community that they care. The Harvest Festival is a time of coming together, building relationships, and having fun. Anyone who missed it this year, should make sure to attend next year!