Taste of Indiana Farms

October 6, 2011

One of the fun things I got to do at the Indiana State Fair in August was to run the Farm Bureau Taste of Indiana Farms booth for the southwest part of Indiana.

Each part of the state (“districts,” in Farm Bureau talk) had a commodity to feature. We had pork. Yum!volunteers sm

I worked with Dewig’s Meats so we had some great barbecued pulled pork to give away to everyone who came through the three-day event. We had some great volunteers from our district, including my husband. Hubby Doc had a blast talking to almost 5000 people over three days!!john sm

There was free popcorn in the front of the building, and lots more free food in the back of the building.popcorn sm

Everybody had a blast, even the kids!strollers in line sm

This is not just a Farm Bureau event! The Indiana Watermelon queen was there, giving out watermelon slices.watermelon queen sm

And the Indiana Honey Queen was there, passing out honey samples.honey queen sm

(We tried to get them to have a Queen showdown, to see who was the “Top Queen,” but they wouldn’t go for it. Such well-behaved young ladies!)

Did I mention that Indiana Pork gave us temporary pig tattoos to give out? Everybody wanted a pig tattoo, even me! (I may have put on more than one…)pig tattoo sm

Yes, you could say I got into the spirit of things and collected some flair over the couple of days…flair sm

Mark your calendars – we’ve already got the dates scheduled for next year! Come visit us in the Farm Bureau building at the Indiana State Fair on August 14-16, 2012. I’ll be organizing fruit for next year, so come on by and learn what kind of fruit Indiana grows. I bet you’ll be surprised! There will be free popcorn, free food, and more flair than you can shake a stick at! What else is there?

Oh, and the whole rest of the fair. You’ll probably want to see that also.


Oatmeal Bread

September 22, 2011

I just love baking bread. I used to use my bread machine about once a week, but it’s been put away for over two years now. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to pull it out of hiding!

PhotobucketI found this oatmeal bread recipe in Better Homes and Gardens’ “Bread Machine Recipes,” and I thought it sounded like just the perfect thing for the fall weather we are having here!

I made a 1-1/2 pound loaf. (Though I am wishing I had made a 2 pound loaf!) The instructions here are for the 1-1/2 pound loaf; the printable recipe card below has both sizes.

First, toast 1 cup of quick-cooking rolled oats in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until they are brown (stir occasionally). This brings out a really great nutty smell and flavor.

oats sm

Then fill up your bread machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For my Toastmaster, I added 1/3 cup water and 2/3 cup milk, warmed to around 80 degrees, and 1 tablespoon of butter, cut into pieces.

milk and butter sm

Next I added 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt. I layered 2-1/2 cups of bread flour and the toasted oats on top of the liquids.

The cookbook instructions are to add the oats with the flour. I added half the flour, then the oats, then the rest of the flour.

flour and oatmeal sm

{It is important to use bread flour in bread recipes, not just all-purpose flour. Bread flour has a higher gluten (a kind of protein) content than AP flour. The gluten traps the carbon dioxide that is formed by the yeast, which helps the dough to rise. AP flour just doesn’t have the same gluten content, and may not hold up to all the kneading that goes on in bread-making. Save yourself some headaches, and make an extra trip to the grocery store for bread flour.}

Finally, I added 1 teaspoon of Red Star Quick Rise Yeast in a little pile right in the middle.

yeast sm

I loaded everything right into the bread machine, and set it for the whole wheat cycle, and a medium crust color. I love just a hint of crunch on the crust, while the inside of the bread is nice and soft – the medium crust color setting hits this perfectly for me! (If you don’t have a whole wheat or whole grain setting on your machine, just use the basic white bread option.)

bread machine sm

Four hours later, and ta da – it seems like no work at all! (And isn’t that the best thing about bread machines?!)

finished loaf sm

This bread was so good warm with butter right out of the bread machine…

slices sm

But it was also great lightly toasted with egg salad, fresh garden tomatoes, and homemade pickles! (The good thing about putting in a garden late, is that we still have fresh off the vine tomatoes in September!)

egg salad sm

This will be a huge favorite of mine coming into the fall and winter. Something about the oats just gives this bread a great texture. We will be eating this with soups and stews, with big hearty sandwiches, and just warm with a bunch of butter. Can’t beat that. 🙂

The printable recipe card…oatmeal bread recipe card

(Thank you to Red Star Yeast for a coupon for the yeast.)

Bonus side dishes, recipe #10+

August 27, 2011

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m giving you two side dishes in this post. And you’ll love them both, I promise!autumnfamilyfriends

First… Warm Cinnamon Pineapple.

Start with a whole pineapple. Cut off the top and bottom, and then slice off the skin.

pineapple skin sm

Mix together 2 cups of sugar (I used Splenda) and 1/4 cup cinnamon.cinnamon sugar sm

Roll the naked pineapple around in the cinnamon sugar until he is nice and sticky. (I had a bunch of leftover cinnamon sugar. Next time I would only make up half the amount.)

naked pineapple sm

Wrap the pineapple in aluminum foil, put it on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

When it is warmed through, take him out of the aluminum foil, stand him upright, and slice vertically around the core. Throw out the core, slice the pineapple thinly, and serve warm.cooked pineapple sm

Trust me, you will love this!!

Second, Grandma’s Buttery Mashed Potatoes. Because no Autumn meal is complete without mashed potatoes!

Peel, cube, cook, and drain 6-8 potatoes. cooked potatoes sm

Add 1/2 cup butter, and 1 cup evaporated milk.

Beat everything to a pulp.butter and milk sm

I didn’t pay attention, and added a whole can of evaporated milk, instead of just 1 cup. So things got a little runny. Lucky for me, I had some instant mashed potato flakes in the pantry. I added some of these, and things perked right up.mashed sm

Of course, I could have boiled some more potatoes to correct the runny problem. But I wasn’t feeling that patient.

Seriously? Some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever tasted!

Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. If you would like to see other great recipes, check out www.realfarmwivesofamerica.com.

Printable recipe cards:cinnamon pineapple recipe card mashed potatoes recipe card

Next up? A giveaway! I have a copy of Autumn with Family & Friends to giveaway to one lucky reader! Get ready…  It’s coming next week!

Dad’s Best Mac & Cheese, recipe #8

August 19, 2011

I have already told you about one of my favorite comfort foods – homemade macaroni and cheese. While I am perfectly happy with my family recipe, I am also always on the lookout for some variations. And boy did I find a good one in this cookbook!!autumnfamilyfriends

Mix together one egg, 1 tablespoon hot water, 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard, and 1 teaspoon salt.egg

Add the egg mixture, and 1 cup of milk to cooked elbow macaroni. (Or spirals. I like spirals. I just didn’t have any.)pasta and milk 

Add most of a 12-ounce package of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.cheese

I had only bought an 8-ounce bag of cheddar. So I added some mozzarella to make up the difference. Mix that all up. (We’re not aiming for cheese melting, just everything mixed together.)more cheese

Spread one tablespoon of softened butter in the bottom of your pan…butter

And then pour in the macaroni.almost ready

Top with extra cheese.garnish

And bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until the top looks like this.baked

Oh, yum!! This was mac & cheese heaven!

I do like a crunchy topping, so maybe next time I would add some crushed cereal with butter to the cheese on the top… But this was still so good!

We had this with Gooseberry Patch’s Crunchy Chicken “Toes” and garden broccoli.chicken dinner

I will say, all that butter in the bottom of the pan made for some seriously yummy mac & cheese, but it left my stoneware pan feeling pretty greasy. I ended up using a little bit of dish soap to clean the stoneware (which you’re not really supposed to do). There was no other way of getting around the butter. But it was so worth it!

Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. If you would like to see other great recipes, check out www.realfarmwivesofamerica.com.

Printable recipe card:dads best mac and cheese card

Crunchy Chicken “Toes,” recipe #7

August 15, 2011

I don’t cook with chicken very often. We just don’t have much chicken in our freezer! We end up eating a lot of red meat and pork, which I love, but a little chicken every once in a while is a nice change of pace. We just loved this take on chicken fingers!autumnfamilyfriends

Mix together 1 cup of crushed corn flakes, 1 cup plain bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice.

(Did you know that you can buy corn flake crumbs? They are right next to the bread crumbs. I had no idea until after I made this recipe!)

I realized, a little too late, that I did not have any ground allspice in the house. So I did a little internet researching, and found that allspice is basically equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. I didn’t have any ground cloves, either. So instead of 1/2 tsp allspice, I used 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. (It still turned out great!)corn flakes

Okay, so mix all that together (with whichever parts of the spices you have on hand, apparently) and then add some olive oil.add olive oil

Mix it up so the corn flakes/sugar/spice mixture is nice and moist.mixed crumbs

Now line up shallow dishes with the corn flakes/sugar/spice mixture, 2 eggs (beaten), and 1/3 cup flour.line em up

Cut 1.5 pounds of chicken breasts into bite-size pieces, and dredge in the flour.dredge in flour

Then in the egg.dredge in egg

Then in the corn flakes.dredge in corn flakes

Spread your chicken “toes” out on a non-stick baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. spread em out

While you are waiting, mix up some dipping sauce – 1/4 cup honey mustard and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce. sauce

And that’s it! I swear! Super easy, and so yummy!

I’m not particularly a fan of either honey mustard or BBQ sauce for dipping, BUT this combination, with the sugary coating on the chicken, was great!

We had the chicken with a homemade macaroni & cheese recipe from this cookbook (coming soon!!) and some broccoli from our garden. And the dipping sauce, of course.chicken dinner

Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. If you would like to see other great recipes, check out www.realfarmwivesofamerica.com.

Printable recipe card:crunchy chicken toes card

Pumpkin-Sausage Penne, recipe #6

August 13, 2011
Is it Saturday already? How the heck did that happen?!?
With no further ado, here is the post I had planned to have up last Tuesday!

Recipe number 6 from Autumn with Family & Friends from Gooseberry Patch!autumnfamilyfriends

This is another one I cooked for girls night. We do love our carbs!!

First, I browned up a pound of pork sausage. This was supposed to be maple-flavored sausage, but I didn’t have any. So I cooked the sausage in real maple syrup. It worked – the sausage had a great maple flavor when it was done!sausage

Once that was done, I put it in a bowl and set it aside. I used the same pan to make the sauce…

8 ounce package of cream cheese, cut into cubes; 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese; 1/2 cup butter, cut; and 1/2 cup milk.sauce

(The girls said, “anything is great with cream cheese and butter!”)

Once the cream cheese was melted, and the sauce was creamy, I added the spices…

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and some nutmeg.spices

Stir that all up, and then add 1 cup of canned pumpkin. Be a little patient here – it takes some stirring and some time, but I promise, this will turn a beautiful gold color, and have a fantastic creamy texture!pumpkin

Then add the sausage back to the sauce and stir it all up, and add a 16 ounce package of cooked penne pasta.Toss to coat.pasta

And that’s it! No need for oven baking for this dish!

I used whole-wheat pasta for this, and the brown color of the pasta really did not complement the beautiful gold of the sauce. I think next time, I will stick to good old regular white pasta.

It is entirely likely that I made a double batch of Garlic Bubble Bread to serve to four people with this dish. And I didn’t have many leftovers!

Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. If you would like to see other great recipes, check out www.realfarmwivesofamerica.com.

Printable recipe card:pumpkin-sausage penne recipe card

Connie’s Meatloaf Roll, recipe #5

August 4, 2011

John loves meat loaf, so I knew when I saw this recipe for Connie’s Meatloaf Roll in Gooseberry Patch’s Autumn with Family & Friends, I knew we had to try it!autumnfamilyfriends

Mix together 2 beaten eggs, 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs, 1/4 cup ketchup (catsup?), 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. (Use a big bowl!)stuff for loaf-1

Add in 2 pounds ground beef.

I used 1 pound ground beef, and 1 pound ground elk meat. Hubby Doc does some hunting, and we have some deer and elk in our freezer from a hunting trip. The game meats are really lean, which means they taste great, but don’t hold together well for something like this. By mixing with lean ground beef, we get some of the game flavor, but the meat loaf does not fall apart.add ground beef-1

Open and drain a 7-ounce jar of roasted red peppers. I gave mine a quick rinse under cold water.roasted red peppers-1

Line a pan with aluminum foil…aluminum foil-1

And spread out your meat mixture in a nice rectangle.meat pie-1

Layer 6 slices of Swiss cheese to cover the meat loaf.swiss cheese-1

Then layer the roasted red peppers on top of the cheese.layer red peppers-1

Roll the whole she-bang up like a giant jelly roll. (I will admit, I have never made a jelly roll. I get what it means, but should we change the simile?)

This was the hardest part of the whole thing.roll it up-1

Try to keep the peppers and the cheese inside while you roll… and then pinch the ends together so things don’t fall apart.all in a roll-1

Pop this in a 350 degree oven for an hour and 15 minutes.

The recipe calls for putting the roll into a 13×9 baking pan. I left it on top of the aluminum foil in my jelly roll pan. I am glad I did. It made a mess, and I had easy clean up!finished-1

Here’s dinner… Meatloaf roll, Grandma’s Buttery Mashed Potatoes from the same cookbook, and broccoli from our garden with a little seasoned salt. Yum!dinner-1

Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. If you would like to see other great recipes, check out www.realfarmwivesofamerica.com.

Here’s the Printable recipe card:Meatloaf roll recipe card

One of the comments in the cookbook is that this recipe was based off a meatloaf sandwich. We have not tried this as a sandwich, but I bet it would be great!!