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)!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks

By Jackie Barber of Winners Drink Milk

Tomorrow, families around the country will gather to enjoy good food and each other's company and to give thanks. As you reflect this year on the blessings you have received, you may be missing one link in the chain.

My family has a tradition of everyone saying one thing we are thankful for, and someone always mentions the people who prepare our Thanksgiving meal, but we, like many families, miss thanking the farmers who grew the food for our Thanksgiving meal.

Anyone who has a Thanksgiving meal, with turkey, stuffing, casseroles, sides, pies and all, owes a huge debt to the farmers who grow and raise that food. Farmers supply our tables with safe, reliable and inexpensive food so we can enjoy our meals every day and on holidays.

Thanksgiving morning, when you and your family may watch the Macy's parade, will see many farmers across the country getting up before sunrise to feed their animals or milk their cows. For most farmers the harvest is over, but the long business of planning for next year's crop has already begun.

The men and women who grow and raise your food work long hours, with slim profit margins, lots of risk, and lots of hard labor. Farmers are a dwindling breed, but their dedication to their professions allows the rest of us to do something besides spending all our time raising our food. Less than 2 percent of Americans are in farming, but they provide enough food for the rest of us.

The abundance of food most Americans experience at Thanksgiving is a debt we all owe farmers. When your family thanks the hands that the prepared the food this year, remember to also thank the hands that grew it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

By Sarah Correll

In many homes, Black Friday is the beginning of the Christmas season. Luckily for us, Indiana tree farmers have been putting in extra hours to prepare for the most wonderful time of year!

A fresh tree has a lot of benefits. Here are a few reasons to consider a real Indiana Christmas tree.


1.      The smell. A real tree gives a smell far more real than any pine scented candles.

2.      The appearance. No two are the same and all are beautiful.

3.      The diversity. From Scotch pine to blue spruce, real trees give families tons of options.

4.      The connection to community. Chances are there is a tree farm not far from your backyard.


5.      The memories. Whether you are choosing from trees in the lot with your family and some hot cocoa or cutting your own from a tree farmer’s field, tradition and fond memories are sure to be built.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Giving Thanks and Staying Safe

By Sarah Correll

There is certainly plenty to be thankful for this and every year, and we hope that not having food poisoning can make your list. Follow these steps to make sure you and your family stay safe.

Thaw in the Refrigerator.

Turkey and other meats are most safely thawed in the refrigerator. You should allow about a day in the refrigerator for every five pounds of turkey.

Stuff Safely.

The safest way to prepare stuffing is to cook it separately from the bird, but if you are planning to stuff the bird, make sure its internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.

Cook Thoroughly.

Size of Turkey
4 to 6 pounds (breast)
1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours
Not usually applicable
6 to 8 pounds (breast)
2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hours
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds
2 3/4 to 3 hours
3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds
3 to 3 3/4 hours
3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds
3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds
4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds
4 1/2  to 5 hours
4 3/4  to 5 1/4  hours

Turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Not sure how long it will take? Use this handy chart from!

Don’t Leave the Leftovers

Don’t leave food out for more than two hours, and be sure to use your leftovers within 3-4 days.

Find answers to all your food safety questions here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Talking Turkey with Our Favorite Recipes

It’s November, and that means that (at least for this month) turkey is the bird of choice in kitchens across America. Here is how some of our friends are serving up their turkey!

Turkey Ole from Amy at A Latte with Ott, A

Herbed Turkey and Rice Pilaf from Cris at Goodeness Gracious

All American Turkey Pot Pie from Liz at Two Maids a Milking (How pretty is that?!)

Semi-Homemade Turkey Manhattans from Heather at 3 Kids and Lots of Kids

Turkey Enchilada Pie from Amy at A Latte with Ott, A

Crock Pot Turkey Breast from Leah at Beyer Beware

Lemon Garlic Turkey Rotini from Katie On the Banks of Squaw Creek