Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Frugal Foodies

Even on a time budget, everyone needs to eat! The ladies of the Real Farmwives of America and Friends share tips for buying food on a budget.

Lou of Much Ado about Lou shares a linky party of recipes- all under $5 per meal!

Lou found even more $5 meals. This post is all about affordable chicken meals, and they look delicious!

Freezer cooking can allow you to buy in bulk and save.

Lou shares tips for buying meat on a budget here.

How do you save on your family’s food?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Conserving the Land - Conserving a Legacy

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Roger Wenning has called Greensburg, Indiana home his entire life.  He is proud to be farming the land where he grew up as well as additional owned and rented ground consisting of corn, wheat, and soybeans.   Roger and his wife, Mary Beth, have three sons, Nick, Kevin and Ben, and a daughter, Lisa.  They also have an excavating and farm drainage business.

Roger was the northeast region winner of the 2013 Conservation Legacy Award as a result of his commitment to soil conservation on his 725-acre farm.  One hundred of those acres are in a conservation program (called “CRP”) that protects the land from erosion and keeps soil nutrients and sediment out of creeks, rivers and oceans.  CRP helped Roger establish wildlife buffers that give wildlife a place to live and eat.  All of the acres Roger farms are no-till.  No-till is growing crops from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage while preserving organic matter, slowing erosion, preserving worm holes and leaving mulch on the soil to preserve moisture from rainfall.  Roger also nourishes his land by planting cover crops on all acres whenever there isn’t a cash crop growing.  “Cover crops help build organic matter, prevent erosion and feed worms and soil microbes, “Roger explains.

When asked why soil conservation is so important to him, Roger said, “It makes me more profitable, increases yields to feed an ever-growing population and, most importantly, conserves the farm and soil health for my kids and grandkids so they can continue the farm.”  Wenning’s farm holds sentimental value as well, “My father started the farms out here.  I need to keep it as good as or better than he left it, which I feel like I’m doing.  My sons are beginning to farm with me.  I want to keep this productive for them.  I’ve got grandchildren now, so fifty years from now I want them to have healthy soils.  We need to keep this here because people are going to want to eat forever.  If we want to feed them, we’ve got to take care of what’s here because it’ll never come back.  Those little grandkids are my life, so I’m taking care of it for them.  God just gave us so much soil out here and it’s our job to take care of it!”

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Grocery Prices are Going Down

By Sarah Correll

How much do those carrots cost? The Indiana Farm Bureau just released the details of their semi-annual “market basket” survey, and they found that grocery prices are down slightly from a year ago!

The “market basket” survey includes 16 items, 8 of which have decreased in price since spring 2013. The biggest decrease was in sirloin tip roast, which has gone down by 70 cents. The full results are here!

Grocery items
Spring 2013
Fall 2013
Spring 2014
Apples, 1 lb.
Potatoes, 5 lb.
Bagged salad mix, 1 lb.
Orange juice, 1/2 gal
Ground chuck, 1 lb.
Sirloin tip roast, 1 lb
Bacon, 1lb.
Sliced deli ham, 1 lb.
Boneless chicken breast, 1 lb.
Whole milk, 1 gal.
Shredded cheddar cheese,
1 lb.
Grade A  large eggs, 1 doz.
Flour, 5 lb.
Vegetable oil, 32 oz.
Cereal, 10-oz. box
White bread, 20-oz. loaf

While only 16% of every dollar spent at the grocery store makes it back to the farmer, we’re proud that Americans spend less than 10% of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world! If you’re looking for some frugal meal ideas, check these out!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tomorrow is National Cheeseball Day!

By Diane Ruyack of Winners Drink Milk

What are round, fun and tasty?  Cheese balls! They were born to party! They’re also one of the easiest cold appetizers to prepare.  

April 17th is National Cheeseball Day. Cheeseballs make a great presentation for any party, and they aren’t just delicious for the winter holiday season.

With Easter just 3 days after National Cheeseball Day this year, why not include a cheeseball as part of your Easter festivities.  Let the children help build a bunny, baby chicks or a plate of miniature cheese balls decorated like Easter eggs.

There are savory or sweet cheeseballs   Savory cheese balls are usually made by blending cream cheese with your favorite shredded hard cheese, spices, chopped onions and garlic. Sweeter options are made with cream cheese with fruit and/or candy additions.  Then, the ingredients are rolled into a ball and rolled in a crunchy topping such as chopped pecans, almonds, bacon bits, etc. You can really add just about anything, and then serve with crackers, veggies or fruit or cookies fanned out around the cheese ball.

Cheeseball Recipe
8-16 ounces of cream cheese, regular, low fat, Neufchatel

Add any of the following ingredients that blend together taste-wise:

For Savory:
1 Cup or more of other cheeses: Cheddar, bleu, Colby, Swiss
½ cup green or black chopped olives
½ cup of ham, pepperoni, dried beef or bacon
½ package of onion or vegetable soup or ranch dressing mix
½ cup chutney
Spices such as garlic and/or onion powder, parsley, Worcestershire sauce

For Sweet:
8 ounces crushed pineapple
½ cup dried cranberries or cherries, chopped apricots
¼ cup maraschino cherries, chopped
½ cup chocolate chips, toffee bits, peanut butter chips
Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice
½ cup coconut

To Make your own cheeseball, mix cream cheese with other ingredients that go together, form into a ball and roll in chopped pecans, walnuts or if you are making a sweet cheeseball, toasted coconut or miniature chocolate chips. 

For Easter, decorate a bunny-shaped cheese ball with bunny ears made from romaine lettuce leaves, lengthwise carrot or cucumber slices or pear or apple slices.  Black olives or gum drops would make eyes and nose. Use alfalfa sprouts or green coconut as grass.  Rolling smaller cheese balls in a variety of toppings such as parsley, nuts, chopped carrots and different colored peppers, crushed cookies etc. would give the appearance of Easter eggs or in yellow coconut to make baby chicks.  Whether you're planning a large dinner party or just looking for a fun snack, cheeseballs are simple and delicious.

Serve with savory crackers or vanilla wafers for either an appetizer cheeseball or as a sweet snack cheeseball.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We are Indiana Agriculture: Supplying Eggs for Kroger a Family Affair

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

If you buy Kroger brand eggs from any Kroger store in Indiana, then you are supporting Indiana agriculture. Bob and Sally Krouse are fifth generation egg farmers at Midwest Poultry Services in Mentone, Indiana who supply eggs to Kroger stores across the state. The operation has been family-owned since 1875. There are currently 9 buildings housing 2.5 million chickens that produce about 2 million eggs a day. Bob and Sally are proud of the quality of food they produce and the number of jobs they are able to provide for their community.

Midwest Poultry Services is dedicated to the health and welfare of their hens and ensure their houses are run with great care and safety. “Thirty years ago, when Sally’s dad owned the operation, it was customary to keep the birds outdoors, Bob explains. This made it very difficult to keep the birds healthy and protect them from extreme weather. Since then, we’ve been able to move the birds indoors into a modern caged system to provide a much healthier and safer environment.”

“One of the issues that seem to be foremost in consumer’s minds is how much space hens need to be comfortable, “Bob says. “Adequate space means the birds need to be able to stand comfortably, lie down, that they have proper access to feed and water and they need to be able to turn around and preen. A caged system allows us to monitor their health and welfare better than you could in a free range or cage free system.”

Once the hen lays the eggs in the hen house, the eggs are carried forward to the processing area on a series of conveyor belts. The eggs are then washed, graded and packaged for the local consumer. “It’s interesting to note that from the time the hen lays that egg to the time the consumer takes the egg out of the carton, that’s the only person that has ever touched that egg,” Bob explains. “We go to great lengths throughout this whole process to make certain eggs are made an inexpensive and safe, high-quality choice of pro food.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

10 Recipes to Celebrate National Pecan Month

By Sarah Correll

PEE-can or pee-KAHN? No matter how you say it, it’s National Pecan Month! The ladies of the Real Farmwives of America and Friends have shared some fabulous pecan recipes.

1. Liz of Two Maids a Milking’s Peach Pecan Upside-Down Pancake

2. Crispy Pecan Chicken Casserole from Leah at Beyer Beware

3. Not Your Grandma’s Fruitcake from Mary Beth of Alarm Clock Wars

4. Heather of 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs’ Pecan Coffee Cake

5. Caramel Pecan Pie from Cris of Goodeness Gracious

6. Amy of Two Maids a Milking’s Cheddar Apple Pie Dip

7. Meg of Gal in the Middle’s Grandma’s Butterscotch Rolls

9. Bourbon Balls from Amy of A Latte with Ott, A

Interesting in growing your own pecans? Learn how here