Monday, January 30, 2012

I Love Bacon Cookbook

Our friends and farmers over at Indiana Pork have a treat for you!

One lucky reader will win the I Love Bacon! Cookbook

"Legendary chef and food writer James Beard wrote of bacon, "There are few sights that appeal to me more than the streaks of lean and fat in a good side of bacon, or the lovely round of pinkish meat framed in delicate white fat that is Canadian bacon." Whether you crave its flavorful crunch in the morning, the salty taste it lends to a Mediterranean BLT, or the way it transforms Spaghetti Carbonara, you'll never be disappointed by bacon.
In I Love Bacon, Jayne Rockmill presents more than 50 bacon-themed recipes from some of America's hottest chefs--from Cat Cora to Rick Tramonto, Ming Tsai, Jasper White, Andy Husbands and Joe Yonan, Pichet Ong, Bradford Thompson, John Besh, and many others--along with mouthwatering photography.
With instructions on how to make bacon from scratch and how to feature bacon in brunch dishes, small bites, soups, salads, sides, entrees, and even cocktails and desserts, this full-color cookbook proves that bacon isn't just for breakfast anymore."
Interested? Enter to win below (email/feed subscribers need to visit the blog to enter)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Beef Sticky Buns

Description: Beef Sticky Buns
By Ginny Tauer of Indiana Beef

If you love sweet sticky buns, you'll delight in a savory option for breakfast or brunch. Beef sausage crumbles, mushrooms, onion, spinach and Cheddar cheese are tucked in prepared pizza dough, rolled, sliced and baked to make perfect pinwheels of scrumptious-ness.

Total recipe time: 1 to 1-1/4 hours  Makes 4 servings or 8 sticky buns

1.        1 recipe Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage (recipe below)
2.        1 cup sliced button mushrooms
3.        3/4 cup diced onion
4.        3 cups fresh baby spinach
5.        1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
6.        1 package (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza dough
7.        1/2 cup jalapeño pepper jelly, warmed (optional) or Cream Cheese "Frosting" (optional, recipe below )

1.        Prepare Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage. Set aside 2 cups beef in large bowl; reserve remaining beef for another use. Add onion and mushrooms to same skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add spinach to skillet; stir to wilt spinach. Add vegetable mixture to beef; set aside 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is cooled completely, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese.
2.        Preheat oven to 425°F. Unroll pizza dough on flat surface; pat or roll dough evenly to 14 x 10-inch rectangle, pinching together any tears, if necessary. Spread beef mixture on dough, leaving 1/2 inch border on short side furthest from you. Starting at closest short end, roll up jelly-roll style, pinching to close. Slice dough into 8 pieces using serrated knife and careful sawing motion; place cut-side-up on greased baking sheet.
3.        Bake in 425°F oven 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove buns to cooling rack. While still warm, drizzle with melted jalapeño pepper jelly, if desired.

Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage: Combine 1 pound ground beef (96% lean), 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add beef mixture; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 1/2-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. (Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.) Makes 2-1/2 cups crumbles

Cream Cheese "Frosting": Combine 1/4 cup softened reduced-fat cream cheese and 1 tablespoon milk in small bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over warmed beef buns.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy National Belly Laugh Day!!

By Liz Kelsay of Two Maids a Milking and The Real Farmwives of America and Friends

I hope you get a little laugh out of the farm joke below!!

Settling a Cow Case

A big-city lawyer was representing the railroad in a lawsuit filed by an old rancher. The rancher's prize bull was missing from the section through which the railroad passed. The rancher only wanted to be paid the fair value of the bull.

The case was scheduled to be tried before the justice of the peace in the back room of the general store.

The attorney for the railroad immediately cornered the rancher and tried to get him to settle out of court. The lawyer did his best selling job, and finally the rancher agreed to take half of what he was asking.

After the rancher had signed the release and took the check, the young lawyer couldn't resist gloating a little over his success, telling the rancher, "You know, I hate to tell you this, old man, but I put one over on you in there. I couldn't have won the case. The engineer was asleep and the fireman was in the caboose when the train went through your ranch that morning. I didn't have one witness to put on the stand. I bluffed you!"

The old rancher replied, "Well, I'll tell you, young feller, I was a little worried about winning that case myself, because that durned bull came home this morning."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Beef, Bean and Spinach Ragout

Description: Beef, Bean and Spinach Ragout
By Ginny Tauer of Indiana Beef

Six ingredients are all it takes to make this belly-warming one-dish meal. Brown Beef for Stew to develop rich color and flavor. Stir in white beans, Italian-style diced tomatoes and Swiss chard. Simmer until beef is fork-tender. Finish this pippin' hot dish with a topping of Parmesan cheese.

Beef, Bean and Spinach Ragout
Total recipe time: 2 to 2-1/2 hours  
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1.       2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1-inch pieces
2.       1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3.       1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern beans, undrained
4.       1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
5.       1 pound Swiss chard, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
6.       2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

1.       Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat until hot. Brown 1/2 of beef; remove from stockpot. Repeat with remaining beef. Season with salt, as desired.
2.       Pour off drippings; return beef to stockpot. Add beans and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1-1/4 hours. Stir in Swiss chard; return to a boil. Reduce heat; continue simmering, covered, 30 to 60 minutes or until beef is fork-tender.
3.       Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Sprinkle with cheese.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New “Glass Barn” to be unveiled at 2012 Indiana State Fair

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (January 17, 2012) – Since 98 percent of Americans no longer live on farms today, Indiana soybean farmers are going to bring the farm to the public in a new exhibit building at the 2012 Indiana State Fair.

Recently, Indiana Soybean Alliance farmers-directors and officials from the newly-formed Indiana State Fair Foundation ceremonially broke ground on the new 6,000 sq. ft. building called the “Glass Barn,” which opens on August 3, the first day of the 2012 Indiana State Fair.

Designed to immerse visitors into the every-day life of a grain and livestock farm family, the experience will show fairgoers how the high-tech tools people use in their every-day lives also are used to grow corn, soybeans, and livestock.

Nestled on the north side of the fairgrounds’ 250-acre campus, the Glass Barn is a complete contrast to its neighboring exhibit, Pioneer Village, which pays homage to Indiana’s agricultural past.

“People love the farms dotting our rural landscape and we want to invite them to visit our farm families through the use of technology we all use in our daily lives,” Indiana Soybean Alliance Chief Executive Officer Jane Ade Stevens said.

The new exhibit building will be constructed largely of glass and will feature interactive exhibits focusing on new technologies used on today’s farm.  A cornerstone of the exhibition will be live video interactions between farm families at their farms and State Fair visitors.  The experience will bring today’s farm to the fairgrounds located in Indianapolis’ Midtown.

“It’s a top priority for grain farmers to reconnect with consumers,” said ISA President and soybean farmer Kevin Wilson of Walton, Ind. “Since most folks don’t have family members still living on the farm, people don’t realize how farms have changed while the generations of family farmers who run the farms are the same.”

Designed by Jonathan Hess of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects, “The Glass Barn” comes on the heels of the “Year of Soybeans” theme displayed at the Indiana State Fair last August.

“This type of partnership is unprecedented for any fairgrounds in the country,” Indiana State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye said. “More importantly, it will help us reconnect consumers with today’s family farms and highlight Indiana’s pivotal role in bringing high quality and affordable food to all of us.”

The exhibit will be a featured attraction at the 2012 Indiana State Fair and will continue to draw visitors year-round as a key addition to the State Fairgrounds’ agricultural education program called The State’s Largest Classroom.  Created in 2006, The State’s Largest Classroom has educated more than 40,000 elementary and middle school aged youth through on-site field trips that meet academic proficiencies.

The Glass Barn will serve as the Welcome Center for the State’s largest Classroom as well as the home for a distance learning program on farming that will take the farm back out to school classrooms who can’t come to the fairgrounds for programming.

The $2.9 million project is being funded primarily through the soybean checkoff program with contributions from the Indiana Corn Marketing Council.  Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2012 and be completed in July in time for the opening of the 2012 Indiana State Fair.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jennifer & Don Shoemaker, Jackson County

Photos by My Indiana Home
Post by Kathleen Dutro of Indiana Farm Bureau

            Don and Jennifer Shoemaker’s route to farming is a pretty traditional one: Both grew up on farms and now farm with Don’s parents, Eugene and Barbara, producing corn, soybeans, seed soybeans and wheat, and “finishing” (that is, bringing to market) several hundred head of cattle annually.

Don and Eugene have an easy way to divide up the work on their family farm. “I joke that if a problem has roots or wheels, it’s my division, but if it has legs, it’s Dad’s,” Shoemaker says.

            The farm consists of 1,350 acres, most which are rented from other landowners. Don and Jennifer rent all the cropland for the grain operation while Don’s parents run the beef cattle operation, and each helps the other as needed.

In Indiana, a farm with both cattle and grain isn’t unusual. What is unusual is the way the Shoemakers blend the two by using the same fields for both cattle and grain, but not at the same time. They keep cattle on their sandy, rolling fields during the winter, and then they plant corn on those same fields in the spring. The cattle are fed from portable feeding units and graze off the corn residue, and they “fertilize” the field as they graze.

 “Dad and I work for each other since our work is seasonal,” Don explains. “We discuss major decisions, but they are ultimately made by the person that has the money invested.”

Another of Don’s responsibilities is working with the USDA’s Environmental Quality Improvement Program, making sure the farm is environmentally friendly through the use of techniques such as careful management of fertilizer use on the farm.

Meanwhile, Jennifer, who married Don last year, is becoming more involved as she becomes familiar with the operation. Her other job is teaching high school math.

The Shoemakers were in December named the winners of the Indiana Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers whose farm management techniques and commitment to their communities set a positive example for everyone involved in production agriculture. Applicants must earn a majority of their income from production agriculture.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to farm and enjoy sharing the story of production agriculture with others,” Don says.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Month After Christmas Diet Poem

A humorous poem found by our friends over at Winners Drink Milk shares a tongue-in-cheek look January diets.

The Month After Christmas Diet Poem
(Author Unknown)

T’was the month after Christmas, and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.

The eggnog I’d chugged, the cookies I’d taste,
at the holiday parties had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).

I’d remember the marvelous meals I’d prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,

The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese
And the way I’d said, “more eggnog, please.”

As I dressed myself in my husband’s old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt

I said to myself, as only I can
You can’t spend winter disguised as a man!

So, away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the ‘nog, the fruit cake, the crackers and chips

Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won’t have a cookie–not even a lick.
I’ll only be chewing on celery sticks.

I won’t have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,
I’ll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore
But isn’t that what January is for?

Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Healthy Kid-Friendly Egg Recipes

By Ryan Hackman of Rose Acre Farms

If you are like many people in midwinter, the post holiday hum drum season may leave you lacking for some excitement in the kitchen. Between reality setting back in, school starting back up, checking to see if you have a two hour delay to the classic Indiana freezing rain, and those lovely credit card bills coming due, being imaginative in the kitchen is not top on the priority list. While the winter may leave us lacking, getting kids healthy food choices can be both mentally and financially taxing. To put a spring back in your step and some protein in your kids’ diet (without a dent in your wallet,) try these fast and easy breakfast and dessert recipes:
Wrap & Go Egg Scrambler

2 eggs
1 tbsp. skim milk
2 tbsp. shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup diced vegetables (recommended peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms)
1 Whole grain flatbread
2 tbsp. mild salsa (if desired)

Coat a non-stick cooking pan with cooking spray. Dice and cut desired vegetable choices. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and milk until well blended. Over a medium-high heat setting, begin go scramble eggs and as egg mixture begins to set, add in vegetables and cheese. After mixture has cooked thoroughly, sprinkle lightly with pepper and place onto flatbread. If desired, add salsa onto the top of the mixture. After adding salsa, begin to wrap the mixture into the wrap, and ensure to tuck under the bottom flap to prevent the ingredients from slipping through. Place the wrap into a napkin and PRESTO – you have a nutritious and tasty breakfast packed with whole grain, fiber, protein, Lutein, and countless other vitamins and nutrients! And what is more, this is great for those mornings when you need to eat and run or take it in the car on the way to work and school

Naturally Sweet Weekend Egg Salad

Think kids won’t eat egg salad? Wrong again! With the tangy zip of a little mayo mixed with some sweet relish, we have seen teens to five year olds enjoy this simple favorite. This recipe is a simple favorite that even grade school level kids can enjoy. The key is to emphasize that it is sweet!

¼ cup light mayo or Miracle Whip
1.5 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
½ tsp. prepared mustard
½ cup chopped celery
4 hard cooked eggs (chopped)

Boil 4 eggs. (Recommended to use Egg Ease for easy hard cooked eggs – can be purchased at Walgreens, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Ebay, etc.) In a small bowl, place mayo, relish, and mustard and stir them together. Stir in the four cooked and chopped eggs, and ½ cup chopped celery. Chill and enjoy! The salad is great on whole grain bread, flatbread or on its own! Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to three days.

For more great choices, visit, or Facebook Search: Indiana State Poultry Association.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Meet a Farmer: Nathan Kuehnert

Nathan Kuehnert
Dairy Farmer
Fort Wayne, Indiana

How did you become a farmer?:   Dairy farming is what I grew up doing with family, so I guess you could say “it’s in my blood”.  My brother and I started showing cows through 4-H at a very young age and really learned how to “care” for the cows.  I worked on the farm through all my years in school, and while being away at college I realized how much I missed being at home doing what I loved.

How does your family ensure your cows stay comfortable?:  Nearly every activity that we do on the dairy is centered around one common goal:  To make the cows' lives a little more comfortable.  We have always believed that “a happy, healthy, comfortable cow is a profitable cow”.  We help to achieve this level of comfort in many ways by providing:  a fresh balanced diet of hay, corn, vitamins and minerals every single day, fresh clean water to drink, a meticulously groomed bed of sand to sleep on, big fans to keep air fresh and cool, and a water sprinkler shower on hot days. 

If you weren’t a dairy farmer, what would you do?:  That’s a very interesting question that I honestly think about at times, especially after a full seven day, 100 hour work week.  I believe that I would have become a doctor.  I feel that a doctor would have been a great career fit for me because I love to work under pressure and I really enjoy taking care of our cows that don’t feel well and getting them back to good health.

How many generations work on your farm?:  My brother and I are the 5th generation to dairy farm at this location.  We are really proud that there are currently four generations at the farm on a daily basis.  My grandfather, Melvin, is here every day and is our “do anything man”.  He performs daily tasks like driving tractors and repairing equipment, however his favorite job is giving his great-grandchildren a ride on his ATV.  My father, Alan, and my Uncle Stan manage all of the daily functions on the dairy from feeding the cows to harvesting the crops.  My mother, Cindy, wife, Sarah, and sister-in-law, Brittany, feed all of the baby calves every day, which is probably the most important job.  My brother, Andrew, is in charge of the nutrition and ensures that the cows get a balanced diet every single day.  My main duty is helping to keep the cows healthy and happy by providing the proper care and administering the right medications.  I also manage our cattle reproductive program and make the genetic decisions.  We are also very lucky to have a couple of young men who work with us that are like family:  Kyle Walters, Luke Hesterman, and Colton Brown.   
What is the best thing about being a farmer?:  It’s pretty cool knowing at the end of each and every day that we have worked to provide the world with “Nature’s most perfect food”: MILK.  There is a lot of pride knowing that everything we do is surrounded around one goal:  to make the cleanest, purest, most high quality milk that we can.  And this is all possible by maintaining a healthy, happy cow.    

What is your personal philosophy on farming?:  We strive to feed the world by being good stewards of the land, excellent caretakers of our cows, and great neighbors in our community. 

Veronica’s Surprise

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the home…the fresh paint had been added along with new shingles and foam.

Veronica Whitehead, the Habitat for Humanity home recipient from this year’s Indiana State Fair build, and her two kids moved into their new home on Christmas Eve this year. Whitehead's house, dubbed "The House that Agriculture Built," was built in just 14 days at the 2011 Indiana State Fair with the help of 25 ag-related sponsors including Indiana’s Family of Farmers. 
Because the electricity took months to install, the family could not move in until Christmas Eve, and at that time, they were greeted with quite the surprise.  Two days before move-in, their freezer and refrigerator were filled with Indiana pork, beef, dairy and poultry products thanks to Indiana’s Family of Farmers who donated the food and also a deep freezer.

Indiana farmers have always been active members of their communities just as Habitat is helping the community it serves to thrive.  What Indiana farmers do best is grow safe, nutritious food, so what better way to help than to partner and supply the deep freezer for this Indianapolis family and also to fill it with the protein and dairy products to help feed the family.

The hams, ground beef, turkey and milk were just some of the goodies Veronica and her family were able to enjoy on Christmas! What better way to celebrate, than with abundant food to share with those you love.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wild Mushroom Beef Stew

By Ginny Tauer of Indiana Beef

With most of the country preparing for a cold winter, it's time to look forward to recipes that warm you up from the inside out. While grilling is off the menu for a few months for some people, there are many cooking methods and cuts you can use to make delicious cold-weather meals and bring warmth into your home. 

Wild Mushroom Beef Stew

Description: Wild Mushroom Beef Stew

Total recipe time: High Setting: 6-1/2 hours; Low Setting: 9-1/2 hours  Makes 6 servings

1.        2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1-inch pieces
2.        1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3.        1 teaspoon salt
4.        1/2 teaspoon pepper
5.        1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
6.        3/4 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
7.        1/4 cup tomato paste
8.        1/4 cup dry red wine
9.        2 cloves garlic, minced
10.     1 pound red-skinned potatoes (1-1/2-inch diameter), cut into quarters
11.     8 ounces assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini and oyster, cut into quarters
12.     1 cup baby carrots
13.     Fresh parsley (optional)

1.        Combine flour, salt, pepper and thyme in small bowl. Place beef in 4-1/2 to 5-1/2-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with flour mixture; toss to coat.
2.        Combine broth, tomato paste, wine and garlic in small bowl; mix well. Add to beef. Add potatoes, mushrooms and carrots; mix well.
3.        Cover and cook on HIGH 5 to 6 hours, or on LOW 8 to 9 hours, or until beef and vegetables are tender. (No stirring is necessary during cooking.) Stir well before serving. Garnish with parsley, if desired.