Monday, December 30, 2013

You Had Me at Bacon

By Sarah Correll  

Bacon is a favorite meat of many, and I’m sure I don’t need to sell you on the savory, salty, and slightly sweet meat. Whether you prefer it crispy, chewy, or burnt, these recipes are sure to be stars with your family!

Mountaintop Oven Baked Bacon from Beyer Beware

Do you dip your bacon in syrup? Leah’s oven baked bacon combines sweet and savory in a similar way!

Spaghetti Carbonara from Two Maids a Milking

Liz combines pasta, bacon, chicken, and cheese in this recipe. What could be better?

Loaded Potato Soup from 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs

This slow cooker soup is a hit with Heather’s family!

Honey Mustard Bacon Chicken Tenders from Beyer Beware

Leah has an entire category dedicated to bacon on her blog, and these chicken tenders are sure to be a new favorite!

Country Potato Bake from Fencerow to Fencerow

Cheese and bacon star in Jeanette’s simple and delicious casserole!

If you’re looking for a little lighter bacon recipe, Liz’s salad has tons of flavor!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Local Soup Kitchens – Benefitting The Community with Nutritious Meals

By Michelle Plummer of Winners Drink Milk

Food Pantries, Food Bank, Soup Kitchens may not be like you see in Oliver Twist.  Today there are many folks working and volunteering to serve hot, wholesome and nutritious foods and meals that those who may not have enough to eat regularly.

I recently had the privilege of touring Gleaners Food Bank, where skids of canned foods, juices, and refrigerated products were available.  In fact, in the produce area there were bags of beautiful purple topped turnips cleaned and ready to cook, and I could not miss the skids of jellied cranberry sauce.  As I walked this vast area, I could not help but think this literally looks like Thanksgiving shopping in the grocery store.

I am working with a group who is writing recipes that are easy to prepare, nutritious and taste good that can be handed out to the patrons of the food banks and pantries.

I have also had the great blessing of being involved with Second Helpings, both as a volunteer and educator.  I have seen first hand the beautiful hotel pans of Chili with corn bread or Southwestern Chicken that are going to the more than 3500 persons that Second Helpings serves daily.  Second Helpings and Gleaners both offer an array of ways to help in the community and always can use two more hands, just give them a call.

OK, back to the cranberry sauce.  Every year at the family table is the canned cranberry sauce and at our house there are always left overs, so I got to thinking, cranberry sauce is red, sweet, and easy to smash, SMOOTHIE? Well maybe.  So after a bit of work, the Cranberry Creme Smoothie was served.

Cranberry Crème Smoothie

  • 1 c yogurt
  • 1/4 c jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2 T orange juice

  • Place all ingredients in blender
  • Blend until smooth
  • Pour into glass

Also, look for the Choppin Indiana Hunger cooking event at the Indianapolis Home Show on Saturday, February 1, 2014.  See local chefs cook off using a surprise basket of goodies.  Watch the website and blogs for more information.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Minting a Holiday Classic

By Sara Correll

Candy canes are a classic holiday treat. Did you know they also have some Indiana connections?

Mint production is big business in Indiana. Indiana farmers raise over 594,000 pounds of peppermint each year, some of which is used in producing candy canes.

The well-known J shape and peppermint flavor were not always the norm. Candy canes have been around since the 17th century, but it was an Indiana candy maker who chose the shape and colors of the candy we now know.

Several Indiana candy stores still make candy canes in house. You can watch candy canes being made at the Martinsville Candy Kitchen and pick some up at McCord Candies in Lafayette!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Premium Tomatoes, Family Values

“To produce the freshest, best tasting tomato products in the world.” That’s the mission statement of Red Gold, a family-owned and operated tomato processing company that has been around since 1942. They also happen to be located in Elwood, Indiana.

Red Gold contracts with about 50 tomato growers, most of which are in Indiana. Jent Campbell of From My Front Porch’s brother is one of those Indiana Red Gold growers. She shares how her brother plants the tomatoes that end up on our store shelves here. Planting is a really slow process!

The plants take about 100 days to grow. She shares how they are cared for, picked, and loaded here!

Jent shared how the tomatoes are grown, and Red Gold shares how they are processed here! They produce over 100 varieties and flavors of tomato products.

Learn more about Red Gold in this article from My Indiana Home or at Red Gold’s website! They also share a ton of great recipes, like this one for Cheesy Pizza Soup.


Friday, December 13, 2013

National Day of the Horse

By Jackie Barber of Winners Drink Milk
There is a reason that we measure modern-day engines in terms of horsepower rather than manpower or any other kind of power.
horse sculpture

Horses were critical to the way people living in the "Old World" grew crops, moved around, and fought wars. The first Europeans to arrive in the Americas brought horses with them and those horses would become an integral part of farming here in the New World as well.

draft horses

Before tractors, horses were the main source of draft power on many farms. They pulled plows and wagons. They hauled logs and stones out of fields. They transported the family to town. Horses even pulled the first combines. Many winches and pulley systems were designed to be powered by a horse walking in a circle.

quarter horse

Horses were, and are still today, used extensively on cattle ranches to move beef cattle. Horses became the first efficient rural postal service when the Pony Express was founded. Horses couldn't outrun a telegraph, though, so the Express was soon out of business. Horses, mules and donkeys were used as mounts and pack animals on the trails pioneers took west to start farms and ranches from St. Louis to the Pacific ocean. Horses provided a great deal of the draft power needed the lay the transcontinental railroads that now ship agricultural products from the heartland of America to the population centers on the coasts.


It's easy to look at our agriculture here in the US and think everything is mechanized, but estimates indicate there are still about 100 million horses, donkeys and mules used for agriculture and transportation around the world. Raising, showing, riding and racing horses is still a big business here in the US, with a devoted following.

December 13 is the "National Day of the Horse"--by congressional decree. You can read the full resolution here, but the highlights of why Congress decreed a National Day of the Horse is because they are a "living link" to our history as a nation. The resolution continues on to say that horses are "a vital part of the collective experience" of Americans.

Whether it was Trigger, the Black Stallion, Zorro's horse Tornado, or a real-life equine hero like Barbaro, Secretariat, Alydar, or your own backyard pet--horses continue to inspire and captivate us as companions, competitors, and working animals.

Indiana's own James Whitcomb Riley said it well:

"I bless the hoss from hoof to head-
From head to hoof and tail to mane!-
I bless the hoss, as I have said,
From head to hoof, and back again!"

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Creating Cookie Cutter Memories

By Sarah Correll

The first week of December is National Cookie Cutter Week. Here are some suggestions to take advantage of this fun (and fun shaped) celebration!

Host a cookie decorating contest for your kids’ friends. With cookie mix and canned icing, preparation could be a snap!

Mix up a batch of chocolate, cake mix, maple bourbon, or classic cutout cookies.

While you’re at it, make another batch of cutout cookies, this time in a jar. Layer the dry ingredients and add a tag with instructions for the rest for a thoughtful gift.

Reshape the way you think about other foods. Use cookie cutters to cut rice krispy treats, shape pancakes, or make a sandwich extra fun.

Kick off the Christmas season by decorating a gingerbread house, gingerbread men, or gingerbread pops (bonus- your house will smell awesome)!