Friday, December 28, 2012

Have your chocolate and eat it too!

By Diane Ruyack of Winners Drink Milk

The holiday season is a time to indulge in delicious sweets, but that doesn't mean you have to take in a lot of fat and calories. There are dozens of tempting cookies that give you all the sweet taste you expect without the diet-wrecking consequences. Consider recipes that use health-conscious ingredients, such as oats, whole-wheat flour, and dark chocolate. Current research indicates that cocoa-rich confections actually help control blood pressure, promote blood flow, and keep the heart healthy. So go ahead, indulge! These cookies make great hostess gifts.

Dark Chocolate Florentines

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted almonds or walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips    
1/2 cup apricot preserves

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with foil or nonstick baking mats.
2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat. Add oil, oats, sugar, flour, milk, vanilla, salt and nuts and mix well. Drop level teaspoons of dough 3 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Spread each cookie into a thin, 2-inch circle.
3. Bake the cookies, in batches, until set, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from the foil or mats.
4. When the cookies are cool, melt chocolate chips in a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water (or microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between). Spread the chocolate on the flat side of half (about 36) of the cookies. Spread a little jam on the flat side of the remaining cookies. Press the apricot and chocolate halves together to make sandwich cookies.

Chocolate Bark

1 1/2 cups walnut halves (6 ounces)
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup dried sour cherries (4 ounces), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. In a glass bowl, heat two-thirds of the chocolate in a microwave oven at high power in 30-second bursts until just melted. Stir until smooth. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in the walnuts, cherries and crystallized ginger until evenly coated. Scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until firm enough to cut.
3. Cut the bark into 48 pieces (6 rows by 8 rows) and transfer to a plate. Serve cold or at room temperature.
4. Make Ahead: The bark can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hoosier Bloggers Celebrate with Special Holiday Dishes

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

"The holidays are a great time to fix main entrees that are special and unique for your guests," says Amy Ott.


On Amy's blog, A Latte With Ott, A.  Amy shares several delicious recipes with her readers as well as household tips, crafts, and the occasional canning recipe. The new mom also shares stories of her new job as a stay-at-home mom. 
Amy shares her "go to" recipe of Orange Lamb Roast that is perfect for a holiday gathering and will definitely impress your guests.


Orange Lamb Roast

1 lamb roast
½ c. orange juice
½ c. orange marmalade
2 tsp. garlic salt
2 T. butter
1 c. Sprite
¼ c. lemon juice
In a small bowl mix orange juice, marmalade, garlic salt, sprite and lemon juice.  Place roast in a greased crock pot.  Pour mixture over roast.  Add butter then cover and cook on low for eight hours.  Amy suggests letting the roast cook all day so the juices and flavors can bake right into the roast.  A helpful tip when using a crockpot: Don't remove the lid until it's done because you lose about 30 minutes of cooking time when you do.  When you are ready to serve, simply remove the netting and cut into your desired portion sizes.
To find more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog at

Check out our Table Talk Contributors below to see how they are celebrating Hoosier Holiday style!

Katie Unscripted's Turkey and Noodles 
Basilmomma's Brown Sugar Chicken
Everyday Mom's Meals' Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Indiana Farmers Donate Local Food to New Habitat for Humanity Homeowners

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (December 3, 2012) — On November 30, Indiana’s Family of Farmers presented almost 60 pounds of food to Habitat for Humanity homeowners Keon Ballard and Corey Justice of Indianapolis.  The donation included local beef, pork, poultry and dairy products.

The men’s new home, dubbed “The House that Agriculture Built,” was constructed in just 14 days at the 2012 State Fair with the help of 25 ag-related sponsors and hundreds of volunteers.  A deep freezer was also donated by Indiana’s Family of Farmers and will serve as storage for the frozen foods. 

“Our family is proud to help out and provide beef straight from the farm to our urban neighbors,” said Ryan Batt, a Salem, Ind. farmer who donated $200 worth of beef to Keon and Corey.

Along with the beef donated by the Batt family, dairy, poultry and pork products from a number of Hoosier farmers were also included in the freezer donation. 

“We are so thrilled that Indiana’s Family of Farmers helped out the recipient family once again this year,” said Ted Mosey, Corporate and Faith Relations Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis.  “This food will help get the family on its feet right away and we couldn’t be happier for them.” 

During the State Fair, other fairgoers could register to win their own freezer as a part of the annual Indiana’s Family of Farmers Recipe Trail. Connie Bruno from Indianapolis was the winner in this year’s freezer giveaway.