Wednesday, February 26, 2014

State Officers Lead the Charge for FFA Week across the State

FFA is a youth leadership organization that many of us have come to know and love. The organization teaches premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. National FFA Week was February 15-22, and members across the state celebrated with teacher appreciation breakfasts, chapter trips, convocations, and much more. The seven state officers were able to travel to several schools around the state and check out their activities.

Six of the state officers were able to kick of FFA Week at the Statehouse as the House of Representatives recognized the occasion.

The Indiana FFA State President introduces the governor at the Leadership Prayer Breakfast each year. It just so happened that the event fell during FFA Week this year. President Allie Abney was able to carry on the tradition with Governor Pence.

Many FFA chapters host contests as part of their FFA Week festivities. Secretary Kayla Hoenert was able to help out with a straw bale toss in Batesville.

A big part of state officers’ FFA Weeks is chapter visits. State officers present to classrooms about leadership topics ranging from organization to communication and time management to service.

What was your favorite part of FFA Week? You can find out more about the Indiana FFA Association here and keep up with the state officers’ adventures here!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Smashing, Smushing, Squishing- It’s All In The Bag

By Michelle Plummer of Winners Drink Milk

Cooking is a challenge, there is the shopping, chopping, assembling and cleanup-that is always the up.

I have been using resealable bags for a long time for making meal time easier.  Resealable bags can be your best kitchen tool!  They are great to use as a way to smash crumbs, a mixing bowl, a pastry bag, a serving dish; the ideas are endless.

I want to share with you my Three S’s Pie (Peanut butter Chocolate Silk Pie) Resealable bags are wonderful for Smashing or making quick cracker crumbs.


Smushing is a highly technical term for mixing and a great way to gets kids involved in cooking, food in progress always looks a bit icky!


Squishing is the finale of the resealable bag. Using the bag as a quick pastry bag, you can look like a pastry chef by the way you cut the tip of the bag. To make it into a star at the tip, cut it 2 ways. For a shell tip and for the finishing results, snip a larger hole in the bag.

Pie making can be fun for all ages!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Silk Pie


  • 1 graham cracker pie shell (or make your own with cracker crumbs)
  • Large package instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 container whipped cream


  1. In large resealable bag add pudding mix, milk, vanilla, peanut butter and mix well. 
  2. Add container of whipped cream and gently combine the pudding mixture and topping. 
  3. Squish into pie crust; refrigerate for 2 hours. 
  4. Using a second resealable bag place whipped cream into bag and pipe dollops on top of pie.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A “Fresh” Crop for Chocolate Mint Day

By Sarah Correll

While we don’t grow cocoa, Indiana ranks fourth in the production of peppermint and third in the production of spearmint, which is certainly reason enough to celebrate Chocolate Mint Day!

Most Indiana mint farms are in the northern part of the state. You can meet Larry, a mint farmer from northwestern Indiana, here! The oil from the mint plants farmers like Larry grow is used to flavor toothpaste, candy, and gum.  Here is some inspiration on how to “freshen up” your menu with mint!

Amy’s cupcakes combine chocolate, mint, and bourbon.

Liz shares a dressed-up cake mix recipe, best served with a sprig of mint.

Peppermint extract and chocolate kisses give Amy’s cookies a perfect balance of chocolate and mint.

And, who could forget, classic mint chocolate chip ice cream made right here in Indiana!

Monday, February 17, 2014

If You Ate Today, Thank A Farmer!

By Abbey Hewitt, BSU Dietetic Intern at Indiana Dairy

The American Dairy Association Indiana, INC. (ADAI) knows the importance of dairy production and the people behind this industry. While we especially take time to thank our dairy farmers in the month of June, ADAI thinks it’s especially important to show kindness to ALL farmers year round. Here are ten easy steps you can take to show Indiana farmers how much you value their hard work and dedication!

 Ten Ways to Show Kindness to a Farmer:

  1. Eat locally! Show your support for local farmers by purchasing food at grocery stores and farmers markets near you. Check out your nearest farmer’s market to see how the concept of “farm to fork” really comes into play!
  2. Take the time to write a positive comment on our or another Ag-related website or blog! Tell farmers how much you appreciate all their hard work and dedication to producing the best products possible!
  3. Send a note of appreciation! Nothing means more to farmers than someone taking the time to appreciate their efforts. A thank you goes a long way!
  4. Offer to clean a farmer’s home! Many farmers and their families lead such busy lives and this is one way you can help them out!
  5. Pick up trash/litter rather than throw it out into the fields. This small gesture helps not only keep the land clean, but saves work for farmers and shows a respect for their property!
  6. Pay for a farmer’s family dinner! Just like any other American family, farmers like to unwind and go out to eat!  Offering to pay for a meal is a great way to say thank you!
  7. Plan a “stay-cation”! Many farmers may feel exhausted after a long days’ work. Bring over games, movies, and pizza for their families so they have the opportunity to have a mini vacation and family fun in the comfort of their own home!
  8. During June Dairy Month, volunteer your time to assist dairy farmers if they have an event or special open house to showcase what their farm is doing!
  9. Offer your time to babysit for a farmer’s family if they have young children. After a stress-filled week of hard work, a night off the farm may be just what your neighboring farmer needs!
  10. Bring a treat in the brutal weather! Whether it’s coffee on a cold day or a creamy ice cream treat on a hot summer afternoon, show how much you love farmers with these goodies and a smile!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Heating Up the Most Important Meal of the Day

By Sarah Correll

According to the Mayo Clinic, eating a healthy breakfast can help us eat more vitamins and minerals, control our weight, and have better concentration and productivity through the morning. Luckily for us, it’s also National Hot Breakfast Month, and our friends at the Real Farmwives of America have some great recipes to share!

Serve your family a homemade classic with this recipe from Liz at Two Maids a Milking.

MaryBeth from Alarm Clock Wars shares a versatile oatmeal recipe.

Prep the night before for a delicious breakfast with this recipe from Amy at A Latte with Ott, A.

If you have a sweet tooth, this recipe from Leah at Beyer Beware is for you!

Cris from Goodeness Gracious shares a recipe with under 300 calories per slice!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Yes We Can

By Sarah Correll

February is National Canned Food Month! From home-canned foods fresh from the garden to meats and soups from the store, there’s a canned food for everyone.

Canned foods are cooked in their cans, making them quick to prepare and longer lasting. Just be sure that any cans of food you buy don’t have dents - they can cause tiny holes that let air in!

Indiana produces a lot of canned foods. We rank second in tomatoes for processing, and many of those tomatoes are canned by Red Gold in Elwood.

Indiana is also home to Sechler’s, a company that makes and sells 54 varieties of pickles, relishes, and salsas.

If you’re interesting in canning your own foods, check out this post from Amy Ott at the Real Farmwives of America blog!