Wednesday, May 29, 2013

In the Grow

By Sarah Correll
The weather is getting warmer and another Indy 500 is already in the books.  It’s late spring in Indiana, and we hope you have your gardens out!  My family has already been enjoying asparagus (here’s the recipe we ate tonight) and rhubarb up in northern Indiana, and there’s plenty to do outside!  Here are some spring tips from Purdue Extension about garden tasks in May.

Allow the foliage of spring flowering bulbs to stay on after the blooms fade.  This allows the food reserves to be stored.

Make later plantings of sweet corn and beans to extend your harvest period.  Who doesn’t love more corn?

Thin seedlings of spinach, carrots, and other early planted crops.

And finally, plant those frost-sensitive plants as soon as possible!  Beets, cucumbers, muskmelon, okra, black-eyed peas, peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins are all in prime planting time now.

We would love to hear your tips as well!  What’s working in your garden at home?  You can also click here to read Purdue’s tips for June, July, and August!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Recipes

By Michelle of Winners Drink Milk

Memorial Day- I asked myself what is this day all about?  I have been to the Indianapolis 500 race on many occasions, and of course seeing the Race Winner gulp down milk in Victory Lane is great, and  I have definitely eaten my share of burnt hotdogs and grilled burgers over the 3-day weekend, but why all the fuss?


Did you know?
  • Memorial day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868 after the civil war.
  • On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
  • Red Poppies are recognized as the Memorial Day flower.
  • Memorial Day was first called “Decoration Day” because of the practice of decorating soldier’s graves with flowers.
  • New York was the 1st state to officially recognize Memorial Day.
Last year’s race day was a bit different for me... I was truly moved by the tribute paid to the Armed Forces and their dedication to our Country and Freedom. We had one troop contact us to say how much they really missed the taste of cold milk in the field. So, in honor of our uniformed heroes let’s throw one heck of a BBQ with all the trimmings! 

Here are some of my favorite Memorial Day recipes, it is up to you to add the rest. Baked Beans with Smoke and Zest!- add thick sliced bacon, a few dashes of tabasco sauce and a dash of liquid smoke to your favorite baked beans…these additions will become your new favorites!

Take the time to make homemade macaroni and cheese!  Everyone has a special twist, but for a crowd this one is great and can be made ahead. It can even be frozen and baked the day of!  Add a touch of your own by adding a variety of cheeses such as smoked gouda, pepp-a-dew cheese (for a sweet zing).

It really would not be May in Indianapolis without Strawberries, ice cream and whipped cream!  This is one of my family favorites.  Make a strawberry poke cake- the cake from the 70’s that you got to poke holes in. Mom would make it in two round pans, and when she was ready to ‘frost’ in the center she added strawberry ice cream and set it in the freezer.  When it was time to “frost” the whole cake she used fresh whipped cream and a fresh strawberry on each slice.  It was beautiful as a kid and now that I am older, it is so easy. It is a perfect go to dessert!

What special dishes will you be having this Memorial Day?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Chip Off the Old Block

By Sarah Correll

While I’ve never needed an excuse to eat chocolate, they’ve given us one.  It’s National Chocolate Chip Day! Let's see what some of the Indiana bloggers over at Real Farmwives of America and Friends are baking up.

In honor of this great idea of a holiday, why not start the day with some of Amy over at A Latte with Ott, A’s Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins?

 And maybe some Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake for dessert?

 This Chocolate Chip Pie from Megan at Gal in the Middle also looks fantastic!

Or, if you’re more of a chocolate chip purist, Amy at Two Maids a Milking has a great cookie recipe!

No matter which recipe you choose to celebrate National Chocolate Chip Day with, there’s nothing better to pair it with than a glass of ice cold milk!  Enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Winners Drink Milk at the Indy 500

By Mary of Winners Drink Milk

In my head right now I’m hearing “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, except for all the references to activities associated with the winter holidays.  But much like Christmas, there is a lot of anticipation, and preparations are being made for family and friends to visit for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500.

  Early May in Indy! 

It didn’t use to be this way.  Growing up in southern Illinois, Dad always had the race on TV, so I was well aware of it.  Likewise, Dad often had golf on TV, but that didn’t turn me into a golfer.  However, moving to Indianapolis within five miles of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a step in the right direction.  Then working for the American Dairy Association of Indiana really moved the needle!  It has really been an incredible experience being involved, even slightly, with the tradition of the Drink of Milk in Victory Circle. 

This tradition began with a simple request.When Louis Meyer, the first three-time winner, won his second Indy 500 in 1933, he asked for a cold glass of buttermilk to quench his thirst. Three years later, Louis repeated the win and was photographed drinking his buttermilk. For the next two decades, the Milk Foundation presented milk to race winners off and on. But in 1956, Tony Hulman made the Bottle of Milk a permanent part of the Victory Lane (now Circle) celebration.

Writer Pete McEntegart’s “The 10 Spot” on -the Sports Illustrated web site – declared the Indy 500 to be the “Sports World’s Coolest Prize”. That’s some tradition, isn’t it?

Did you know that there are others in Victory Circle who also get a bottle of milk?  Not only is the winning driver handed a bottle of milk; the winning team owner and the winning chief mechanic are also recipients of their own commemorative bottles.  And who is handing out those bottles?  Two Indiana dairy farmers! 

A new board member from Milk Promotion Services of Indiana (the parent company of the Dairy & Nutrition Council and the American Dairy Association of Indiana) is chosen each year by his/her peers to represent all of Indian’s dairy farmers in Victory Circle. The first year, the board member serves as the “rookie milkman” and the second year as the “veteran”. It’s an honor that is taken quite seriously.  The milkmen don’t just show up on race day and that’s that. No, there is a fair amount of work that goes on before the big day. Media training, interviews, and bottle hand-off practice, to name a few. This is not something that’s generally a part of life on a dairy farm!

  Waiting out the rain at IMS! 

So this year when you watch the Victory Circle activities, look for the two men in cow-spotted hats.  You’ll see that, in fact, Winners Drink Milk!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A May Thanksgiving

By Sarah Correll

Almost everyone who enjoyed school had at least one class, and one teacher, that they really enjoyed.  For countless students in Indiana and across the country, these teachers are their agriculture teachers and FFA advisers. You can’t have one without the other, as FFA is a part of the agricultural education model.  Add in the supervised agricultural experience and the classroom and laboratory learning components of their jobs (more about that here), and agriculture teachers have a pretty full plate.  May 7th was National Teachers Day.  The theme this year was Thank a Teacher, and we would like to do just that.  Here is what a few agriculture students in Indiana had to say.

 “My FFA advisors are different from my other teachers because they are not only my teachers, but they are also my friends. It makes it easier as a student to work with advisors who are easy to get along with and are passionate about their job and the organization.” – Allie

“My FFA advisors are different from my other teachers because they genuinely care about all of my endeavors. They are willing to help with anything, in or out of the classroom.” – Leah

 “My FFA advisors are great because they care about me as a person not just a student. Even though I have graduated, they still text and call me to check in and make sure I am doing good! I appreciate their continuous, active involvement in my life!”- Cameron

“My FFA advisors are great because of their dedication to not only the organization, but also to their students. They have a passion for seeing us excel in every aspect of our lives. They have truly supported me in everything that I do and have inspired me to reach my goals.” – Mallarie

 It is not uncommon for my agriculture instructor to be at the school before 7 in the morning and to still be there at that same hour in the evening practicing with students.   His passion for success, growth, and, most of all, the growth of all students is something that is truly admired throughout the community and the state.  He is a true example of positive relationship building, hard work, compassion, and integrity.  When asked by current agricultural education students what made all of the long hours and Saturday work days worth it, he replied, “I have a file at home. It is full of letters from former students.  That’s what makes it worth it.” 

Allie, Leah, Cameron, Mallarie, I, and thousands of others like us certainly appreciate our agriculture teachers.  Who made a difference in your education?  Have you told them thank you?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Because No One Likes Salmonella

By Sarah Corell

Salmonella and E. coli in spinach, peanut butter, and cantaloupe have all made headlines.  Nearly one in six Americans will experience food poisoning this year; however, the majority of food safety issues occur in homes, not on farms or in processing plants.  How can you keep your family safe?  Simple: clean, separate, cook, and chill.  Here’s even a song to get you in the mood to find out more! 

Clean hands and surfaces!  Be sure to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and wash cutting boards, dishes, and surfaces with hot soapy water before handling food.  Mixing one teaspoon of bleach with each quart of water used to clean surfaces can up your safety even more. You also may want to consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen messes.  The next best alternative?  Cloth towels that are washed very frequently in the hot cycle in the washing machine.

Avoid cross-contamination!  Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and fresh produce.  Don’t place cooked food back on plates that once held uncooked meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs, and be sure to separate raw meats from the rest of your groceries in your cart and in your refrigerator. 

Did you know one in four hamburgers turns brown before it is cooked to a safe temperature?  Be sure to use a thermometer to check the internal temperatures of meats.  The chart below provides the proper temperatures for safely prepared foods.  You should also be sure to keep hot foods hot- hot foods on a buffet line should be kept at 140 degrees or higher.  They’ll taste better and stay safe!  Microwaves can be extra tricky- be sure to check foods for cold spots!

Make sure your refrigerator is consistently 32-40 degrees and that the proper foods are stored in it.  Keep all perishable foods chilled until serving time and place containers of cold food on ice for serving at buffets.  Be sure to thaw food in the refrigerator or the microwave, never at room temperature.  Don’t over-stuff the refrigerator and divide leftovers into small containers so that the can chill quickly.

The list of ways to keep your family’s food safe is definitely a long one, but most are simple methods and all are more pleasant than a bout of food poisoning!