Monday, February 28, 2011

What's Cooking in Your Kitchen?

This week we are giving away a great Healthy Beef Cookbook Prize Pack!

Want to enter to win? Just leave a comment here or on our Facebook Fan Page and let us know the name (or link to) your go-to healthy beef recipe.

Winner will be announced on Wednesday morning. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Links We Love: Maple Syrup

NOTE: Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn about the winner of our Maple Syrup Festival Prize Pack.

As we have been celebrating all things maple syrup this week in honor of the upcoming Nation Maple Syrup festival, we have come across several great syrup/pancake related sites that we just had to share with you.

Courtesy of GOODEness Gracious

One of the first site's that caught our eye was Tracey's Culinary Adventures. Her Cake Batter Pancakes are the perfect treat for a birthday boy or girl.

Then there is Jim's Pancakes. Jim's site says he is "just trying to make some cool pancakes for my daughter" and he has definitely achieved his goal. You have got to see his 3-D Dinosaur Bones pancakes. AMAZING! 

Carrots 'n' Cake shares A Really Good Pancake Recipe that uses Greek Yogurt in the batter.

Joy the Baker shares a beautiful stack of Milk Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes that are simply gorgeous.

The Pancake Project brightens things up with brilliant color pancakes perfect for the kiddos

Besides the traditional use, our fantastic Facebook Fans use maple syrup in a lot of great ways.

Besides pancakes, what other ways do you use maple syrup at your house?
Tuesday at 10:10am via HootSuite ·  ·  · Promote
  • Nathan Miller likes this.
    • Lana Lyons Wallpe I like it on ice cream!
      Tuesday at 10:55am · 
    • Nathan Miller In cookies and cakes for a substitute for molasses and brown sugar.

      Also if you hollow out strawberries, line them on a cooking sheet drizzle syrup in them and bake them at 425 for 15 min! A healthy quick sweet treat!
      Tuesday at 11:18am · 
    • Nola Gentry I add a little to my chili--it is a secret ingredient.
      Tuesday at 12:20pm · 
    • Danica Maher Kirkpatrick My husband uses it on grits. Mmmmmm
      Tuesday at 12:25pm · 
    • April Venter Haffner It is awesome on cooked carrots with a little butter. Yum!!
      Tuesday at 1:34pm · 

Their creativity got us looking for other great uses on the web.

The Insane Chicken makes a mouth watering Maple Syrup Barbecue Sauce.

The Food Network's Bobby Flay adds a kick of sweetness to his Red Beef Chili with some maple syrup.

Are you interested in Maple Syrup Celebrations around the state? Check out the Indiana Insider's post on all the great events that let you have your syrup and eat it too!

Speaking of celebrations, congratulations to our Facebook Fan Nathan Miller! You have won our Maple Syrup Festival Prize Pack! Email us at and let us know where to mail your package.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

March is Agriculture Appreciation Month in Indiana

Events and contests will shine the spotlight on Hoosier farmers and the food they grow

For Immediate Release

INDIANAPOLIS (February 22, 2011) Governor Mitch Daniels has declared March Agriculture Appreciation Month in Indiana. The Hoosier celebration is an extension of National Ag Week, March 13-19. 

The official proclamation reads, in part:

WHEREAS, the foundation of Indiana agriculture, farm production, occurs on 61,000 farms representing 14.8 million acres of farmland in the state; and

WHEREAS, the Hoosier farmer, a symbol of strength and strong moral fiber, has displayed ingenuity in times of prosperity and perseverance in the face of hardships, while supplying our state, our nation and the world with an abundance of high quality agriculture goods and products; and…

In honor of the month and in recognition of the significant economic and cultural contributions agriculture makes to the Hoosier state, Indiana’s Family of Farmers (IFoF), a coalition of more than a dozen ag-related organizations, will sponsor a series of events and initiatives during Agriculture Appreciation Month, including:

Indiana’s Family of Farmers Statehouse Reception
Monday, March 7, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
IFoF will kick-off Agriculture Appreciation Month with a luncheon reception and special presentation in the Statehouse North Atrium. Lt. Governor Becky Skillman will announce the winners of the ag essay contest and Morgan Dawson, Indiana FFA State President, will read the official Agriculture Appreciation Month proclamation.

Indiana’s Family of Farmers Ag Displays in the Statehouse South Atrium
March 14 - 16
Displays representing Indiana’s commodity groups and ag-related organizations will showcase the products and services they provide to Hoosier farmers and families.

Media Cow Milking Contest
Monday, March 21 at 11:30 a.m., Government Center South lawn
Members of the Indianapolis media will help celebrate Agriculture Appreciation Month with an old-fashioned cow milking contest! Come see who squeezes out the competition to win automatic entry in the State Fair cow milking contest in August. The Indiana Pork Producers will have free pork burgers on a first come-first served basis and Milk Promotion Services of Indiana will provide Milk Chugs.
2011 Ag Essay Contest: “Our Food, Our Farmers”
The winners of the 2011 Ag Essay Contest, sponsored by IFoF and the Indiana Humanities Council, will be announced during a presentation at the statehouse reception March 7. The student essays describe how Indiana agriculture plays a positive role in their lives—and in the lives of those around them. Students in three grade levels (4-6, 7-9 and 10-12) entered either a written or video essay.  The first prize for each grade level is a Flip video camcorder.  The overall winner in each essay category will receive an Apple iPad. Entry guidelines can be found at and at
Grants to support ag education and Ag Day celebrations
IFoF will provide grants of up to $2,000 to organizations wishing to create or improve ag-related education opportunities in Indiana. Applicants may also request monies for capital improvements (such as buying demonstration equipment) or safety upgrades (such as purchasing hand-washing stations). Applications and detailed guidance can be found online at: The deadline to apply is June 10, 2011.


About Indiana’s Family of Farmers
Indiana’s Family of Farmers grows the grains, produce and meat you eat every day.
We believe that quality farming means quality food that is good for you,
your family and the environment.

Food for your family, from our family.


Contact information:
Jeannie Keating, Manager of Media Relations
Indiana State Department of Agriculture

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tap into the sweet fun!

Guest Post By Jeannie Keating of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture

What comes to mind when you think of March in Indiana? Perhaps college basketball’s March Madness and the Sweet 16?

Get ready to tap into something else sweet:  Indiana’s pure maple syrup!

The melting of winter’s frosty grip is when Indiana’s sweet maple sap starts to flow and the proud tradition of “sugaring” begins!  

Quick stats sure to stick with ya….

Indiana has 154 farms putting out 41,454 taps to produce 8,178 gallons.

A tap is placed in a tree 10” in diameter; however, a tree as large as 18” in diameter can easily produce enough sap to have up to three taps. (Statistics are from 2007; the latest numbers available from the National Agriculture Statistic Service.)

Quick history lesson….

The first maple syrup and sugar makers were the Native Americans of what is now the United States and Canada. The Native American men provided most of the food for the family, but when it came time to make maple syrup and sugar, the women owned and used all the means of producing the maple crop.  In the spring they would travel to the forest where the women would gather the sap from the sugar maples. For Native Americans, sugar-making season time was a great time of festivity and celebration with much dancing and feasting.

And that tradition of fun and festivities continues today!

Quick trip…

Indiana is home to the only National Maple Syrup Festival in the country that is always the first two weekends of March.  And it’s also gotten some national recognition from Jimmy Fallon!
You’ll find the National Maple Syrup Festival festivities nestled in southern Indiana in Medora, Indiana, where Tim and Angie Burton host the event on their family operation, Burton’s MapleWood farm

Attendees enjoy tasty treats made with 100% maple syrup, and if you’ve got a recipe that uses maple syrup, consider participating in the 3rd Annual Sweet Victory Challenge presented by King Arthur Flour, the oldest Flour Company in America.

The Challenge involves a baking and cooking competition where talented contestants in both adult and youth categories create their own original recipes using pure maple syrup and King Arthur Flour in breakfast, dessert or main dishes. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture will again be part of the professional and celebrity judges’ panel with International Program Manager, Sam Krouse, serving as a guest judge on March 5 and Indiana Agriculture Director; Joe Kelsay on March 12.

What else will you find at the festival? Good music, historical reenactments, celebrity guests and
This year there will also be something for your family’s hunting enthusiast: a new Outdoor Wildlife Program featuring guest speakers from the North American Elk Association, experts in Olympic archery. 

Plus, Brian “Pig Man” Quaca, the star of Pig Man: The Series on the Sports Channel , will give viewers and fans an inside look into the hunting trials and tribulations Pig Man faces as he travels the world in search of wild hogs and other species of game.

All net proceeds from the event will benefit the Heads Up!!! Foundation, which will donate the money to the Riley Hospital for Children’s “Camp About Face” at Bradford Woods, a summer program for youths with craniofacial anomalies.

Quick lesson…

How do you make syrup from sap? 40 gallons of sap = 1 gallon of syrup. That’s what it takes to go from sap to syrup. It requiresadelicate combination of craftsmanship, science and patience  to evaporate 39 gallons of water to get a consistency of 63% sugar. But it is tasty and worth it!

And here’s some inside scoop….the Burtons have found a way to capture part of the 39 gallons of the evaporated water and, as a result, have created a delicious product: Maple Water. Last year they introduced this to their Chicago Chefs, and it sold out!  Stay tuned to learn how you can soon enjoy this Indiana product again.

Tapping into the opportunity….

Tim & Angie Burton have tapped into a growing market for their local and delicious maple syrup. And Tim encourages other farmers to do the same.

Tim’s advice, “…to get a market you have to get out there…and build relationships.”

And they have done just that.

The Burtons have accomplished what few have been able to: break into the exclusive Chicago market. They are the first maple syrup producers to be approved to participate in the Chicago Green City Market located just north of downtown Chicago in Lincoln Park. Their syrup is also on the menu at many restaurants in Chicago.  Among them, Chef Paul Kahans’ Blackbird restaurant located at 619 W. Randolph, The Publican restaurant at 837 W. Fulton Mkt., The Signature Room at 95th located atop the John Hancock building and Table 52 located at 52 West Elm Street.

But you don’t have to go to Chicago to get the Burton’s syrup. You can find it at local farmers’ markets, various stores across Indiana or you can order syrup and other items from their Country Store online.  

Want to win our Maple Syrup Festival Prize Pack?

 Maple Syrup, Maple BBQ, Sorghum, Maple Candy, National Maple Syrup Festival Coffee Mug, 4 Wrist bracelet’s for “Free Admission into the National Maple Syrup Festival”.   Bracelets are valid for one of the four festival dates.  March 5-6 or 12-13.

Value: $ 110.00

Just leave a comment on this blog or on our Facebook Fan Page telling us your favorite kind of pancakes. All comments will be entered into a random drawing and announced on Friday morning.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Freezer Cooking

A while back the Real Farmwives and I got together and has a day long freezer cooking day.

Have you ever tried freezer cooking before? It is super simple and such a time saver. Many people call it Once A Month Cooking (OAMC), Freezer Cooking or Bulk Cooking. The basic idea is that you take a day or two each month to cook up a month’s worth of meals and freeze them for quick meals and--my favorite part-- you then have easy-peasy clean-up all month long!

When I am not cooking with the girls, I sit down with my favorite cookbooks and pick out 6-10 recipes that I can cook up in bulk and freeze. My recipes range from casseroles like Chicken, Ham and Cheese Casserole, to soups like Alabama Turkey Noodle Soup, to marinades like Aunt Mary’s Marynade and cooking time savers that I like to have on hand like my Seasoned Ground Beef.

Once I have my game plan, I make a grocery list by ingredient and  head to the grocery store to buy my supplies – By buying in bulk I not only save time, but I save a lot of money too!

I prefer doing all my cooking on one day, but sometimes this mama’s schedule doesn’t allow that, so  I  do what I can.  Once the cooking is done and the freezer is full, I do up the dishes and here is the best part… They stay clean all month long! I just have to pop the dish from that night and the plates in the dish washer and the kitchen is clean!

If you can’t tell, I just heart freezer cooking. I bet you might like it too if you give it a try!

Check out these great tips to get started.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Irish Beef Stew

By Indiana Beef's Ginny Tauer


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (NOT extra-lean)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
  • 1 cup of Guinness beer
  • 1 cup of fine red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch slices peeled carrots
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2. While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step one has simmered for one hour.

3. Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)

Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, February 14, 2011

We Heart Beef

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today the Beef Farmers in Indiana are giving away an "I heart Beef" T-shirt, Apron and Button to get you all ready for grilling season on our Facebook page.

In honor the the occasion, we have collected some yummy beef recipes from across the blogosphere.


Beyer Beware's Italian Beef
Saving Money & Living Life's Beef Carbona Crispy Pizzas
The Country Cook's Slow Cooker Beef Tips
GOODEness Gracious' A GOODe Lean Burger
Hoosier Homemade's Broccoli Beef Stir Fry
Kitchen Centsability's Sunday Roast Beef
Two Maid's A Milking's Beef & Noodles

To enter to win the "I heart Beef" prizes, comment about or link your favorite beef dish on this blog or on our Facebook page. Multiple entries/links allowed.

A winner will be chosen at random from the comments here and on Facebook after 9 PM today!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day: Love on the Farm

Valentine’s Day… Love on the farm... Kind of makes one think of spring and all the animals getting “reacquainted” with each other.  It’s nice to think of warm thoughts, especially tonight.

We are getting ready to face one of the coldest nights of our new year, and it brings to mind a romantic memory created many years ago in the same icy, bone-chilling weather.

Tall Guy and I were in our courting years, with emphasis on YEARS!  We dated about six years to the day before saying “I do” in the same church where my parents exchanged vows 40 years earlier.  Don’t even get me started on the whys and wherefores…..let’s just say I was hooked from the get-go, and he finally saw the light.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Got a Hankerin' for Something Hardy?

By Guest Blogger Cris Goode of GOODEness Gracious

Does this never ending winter weather have you hankerin' for something hardy?

Well, The Real Farmwives of America and Friends can cook folks and these gals don't mind sharing!

If you want a quick glimpse at a whole set of meaty recipes, head on over to Miss Leah's kitchen at Beyer Beware. Every Monday she serves up a "Hunk of Meat" --like today's Slow Cooker Rootbeer Beef BBQ. She then invites her friends to share in the fun with their own favorite meat dishes. It is like having a new cookbook every Monday!

Then on Tuesdays, hop right on over to Miss Jen's kitchen at Mess Hall to Bistro and check out her "Made From Scratch Tuesdays" where she also shares a great new recipe and invites her friends to share.

If a challenge is more your style, you have got to head on over to Miss Amy's kitchen at A Latte with Ott, A. She is in the middle of a four part Iron Chef Challenge series where she challenges cooks to share their best recipes for a secret ingredient. She just finished up the duck competition and this month all of her fabulous cooking pals are cooking up some lamb.

So, no matter what you are craving, whether it be Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Parm,  or Cube Steak with Milk Gravy, we ladies got you covered...

Join us in our online kitchens or over on our facebook page and we'll be sure to keep you warm and full!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Food Safety Part Four: Chill

By Denise Derrer of Indiana's Board of Animal Health

Note: This is Part Four of our Four Part Food Safety Series. 


According to the Food and Drug Administration, storing food items at temperatures of 40° F and below significantly reduces the risk of foodborne illness.  Microorganisms grow faster at warmer temperatures; therefore, studies say keeping a constant temperature of 40° or below helps slow their growth.  But proper cooling is just one of four components, which together facilitate proper food safety. 

Fight BAC!® gives us the Cool Rules for keeping our food chilled. 
  • Use a refrigerator thermometer to verify the temperature stays below 40° F. 
  • Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods and leftovers within two hours of purchase or use.
  • Do not defrost food at room temperature.  If you need a quick thaw, defrost your food item in the microwave or enclose the food in an airtight container and submerge in cold water. 
  • Separate large amounts of leftovers into several shallow containers for quicker cooling.
  • Do not overfill your refrigerator.  The cool air must circulate to keep a safe temperature. 
Maintaining the proper temperature for dairy products can help consumers save money.  For example, milk should never be stored in the door of a refrigerator where temperatures can fluctuate.  Instead, store milk in the back of your refrigerator and it will last a week past the sell-by date listed on the carton.    

The winter of the food safety kit will receive a convenient thermal bag.  This bag can easily be stored in any vehicle so it can keep your food safe to and from your destinations. 
Additional tips about proper refrigeration can be found on the Indiana State Board of Animal Health website,, or the Fight BAC!® webpage 

We will be giving away the complete Food Safety kit today on our Facebook Fan Page. To enter to win, leave a comment on our Facebook Page telling us the four keys to food safety.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Food Safety Part Three:

By Indiana Board of Animal Health's Denise Derrer

This is part three in a four part series. Part One, Part Two


Contrary to popular belief, the internal color of meat and poultry products is NOT a good indicator about whether or not the food item is safe to eat.  Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature has reached a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause illness.  The safe temperature varies among meat and poultry products. 

To help spread the safe-cooking message, Fight BAC!® has brought along his friend Thermy to say, “Cook it right, and keep it hot.”

Studies have shown one of four hamburgers turns brown before it has reached the proper internal temperature.  The opposite can also occur.  Most individuals tend to over-cook their meat and poultry foods thus causing the flavorful juices to dry up as well.  A meat thermometer can help avoid both extremes of too high and too low.   

Hot foods served buffet-style should be kept at 140° F or higher.  This can be accomplished using slow cookers and warming trays.  Foods that are transported to parties should be kept steaming hot before and during serving.  The dishes should be transported in insulated thermal containers until they are ready to be eaten.  

Microwaves have been the working person’s best friend for decades now, but this kitchen appliance can cause food safety hazards.  Cold spots can become an oasis for bacteria in foods, such as casseroles or soup, cooked or reheated in the microwave.  Thermy recommends covering food, stirring and rotating food for even cooking to eliminate the cold spots and to kill the harmful bacteria. 

To help you cook safe, flavorful foods the food safety kit giveaway comes with an instant-read thermometer and jar grippers that list the safe cooking temperatures for common meat and poultry items. Don't forget to comment on our facebook page to enter to win.

Additional tips about meat and poultry cooking temperatures can be found on the Indiana State Board of Animal Health website,, or the Fight BAC!® webpage  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Food Safety Part Two: Separate

By Indiana Board of Animal Health's Denise Derrer

This is part two of our four part series on Food Safety. To read Part One: Clean, click here.


“Separate.  Don’t cross-contaminate.” 

“Separate.  Don’t cross-contaminate.” 

Fight BAC!® won’t stop reciting the second of four aspects to proper food safety.  Poor handling of raw meat and poultry products can create an environment for harmful microorganisms to grow, which can spread to foods throughout the kitchen. 

The easiest way to limit cross-contamination in the kitchen is to keep two separate cutting boards.  Maintain one cutting board specifically to chop fresh produce, and the other for handling raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.  You may want to invest in a third for carving or cutting cooked meat products.
Fight BAC!® continues to lecture about cross-contamination by highlighting two key phrases for consumers to remember; Keep it Clean and Watch Those Juices!

Keep it clean in the kitchen by always washing your hands for 20 seconds in hot, soapy water before and after handling food, use two separate cutting boards, and never place cooked foods back on a plate that held raw foods.

Separating raw meat and poultry items from other foods in your grocery cart, shopping bags and refrigerator is the first step to watching those raw meat juices.  Consumers should also keep raw foods in sealed containers or plastic bags and place them on the bottom refrigerator shelf to keep the juices from dripping onto other foods.  Also, sauces made from marinades should not be used in cooking unless the marinade is boiled first. 

To help one of our facebook fans keep his or her foods separate, a set of storage containers is provided in the food safety kit giveaway. To enter to win the kit, just leave us a comment on Facebook about how you keep your food safe, clean and separate.

Facebook Fan Charity shared yesterday : 

Clean food areas: I have cutting mats of differnt colors for no cross contamination - red/beef, yellow/chicken and green/produce.. I also always use a baking mat when rolling out dough... no matter how clean a counter top is, I still want something between that counter and my food!

What is your tip?

Additional tips about maintaining separate food-preparation surfaces can be found on the Indiana State Board of Animal Health website,, or the Fight BAC!® webpage