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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!

We have so much to be thankful for for 2014! Today, the one that tops my happiness? The ability to set up a tripod, and take a family picture, and everyone is smiling! We would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Homemade Caramels

It seems like this time of the year I am pulling out the recipe box, looking through old cookbooks, and contacting relatives to find that "one" recipe we would like to try this year.

Even though our grandmothers are gone, we would like to keep tradition going, and bake the goodies they made for us growing up.  I have a big "wish list" of things I want to bake with the kids. We have already talked about what we are going to leave for Santa. Some of might have to wait until the weekend after Christmas, but it will get done.  The kids are great helpers in the kitchen! I want to take advantage of that!

We had Christmas Eve with my dad's side every year. Grandma Butch would always bring us a batch of her homemade caramels.  This was my first time making caramels.  It is definitely trial and error. I didn't have Grandma's recipe at the time, but I tried a recipe from a college friend I had tucked away in my recipe box. I am sharing Abbie's recipe with you today!  My daughter enjoyed wrapping them in wax paper.  I am sure they won't last long.  Just like they didn't growing up. Dad and I finished these in no time. 



Homemade Caramels
3 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup white kayro syrup
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Add sugar, syrup, butter and milk in a large sauce pan.  Heat to soft boil stage (244-248 degrees) while stirring.  Add vanilla, remove from heat.  Beat with mixer until glossy, less than a minute. Pour into greased jelly roll pan. Pour into middle of pan and scrape remaining  onto the edge. Let cool. Cut into bite size pieces and wrap in wax paper.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies


Peanut butter and chocolate.

These are one of my favorites.  I remember my grandma baking these all the time, especially during the week of VBS , and hoping I would see them as the cookie try was passed around!

This makes a great cookie for any occasion, but with the different selection of Hershey Kisses, you can make this for Christmas time as well.  These go fast in our house.  Everything goes fast in our house!!




Ingredients

  • 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Additional granulated sugar(optional)

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Easy Cake-Mix Banana Bread

My daughter loves banana bread! The last batch of banana bread I made, I caught her sneaking bites of bread all day long! Boys came home from hunting and it was all gone!

She runs in the kitchen, grabs a bite, then jets back to the living room.

She has been working on her "sneaking & hiding" skills for quite some time. A few years ago, when she was a 2-year-old "little helper" when we picked strawberries every spring. I remember she loved to help out in kitchen then! I was busy making freezer jelly, but stepped out of the kitchen for a minute. When I came back,  I caught her picking strawberries off the trays, and transferring them to my pocket in my apron. I quietly left the room, and came back with the video camera. That one is in the vault!

This time I decided to make a different type of banana bread. Add some chocolate chips. It should be called the perfect banana bread. It's easy, too!



Easy Cake-Mix Banana Bread

1 box Betty Crocker™ yellow cake mix 
1/3  cup oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (3 to 4 medium) 
 
2 cups milk chocolate chips 

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray; lightly flour pans.
  • Select your favorite banana bread recipe variation from those below.
  • In large bowl, beat all ingredients above plus ingredients from selected variation below until well mixed. Divide batter evenly between pans.
  • Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean and inside of cracks do not look wet. Cool 15 minutes in pans on cooling racks. Remove loaves from pans to cooling racks.
  • Other variations of this recipe can be found here. 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels

Let the Holiday baking begin.  I would like to start holiday baking traditions with the kids. They are so eager to help in the kitchen. They are also so eager to help taste-test!

Why not?

Sounds like a great idea to me, too!

This recipe is a no-bake recipe, it's fast, and kid-friendly!

We will work on cleaning the kitchen later!



Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Pretzels
1 bag of chocolate chips or chocolate almond bark

In mixing bowl, beat peanut butter and butter until combined. Add sugars and mix well. You should be able to roll mixture into small balls without sticking to your hands. If needed, add more powdered sugar until it is easy to roll. Take each small ball and press between two pretzels.  Melt chocolate or almond bark in microwave according to directions on package.  Dip peanut butter pretzels into the chocolate, and set on baking sheet lined with wax paper. Put into freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Harvest Wrap Up & our Favorite Snack on the Go!

Time flies, especially the older I get, the faster it seems to go. 12 years of marriage and 3 kids later, it is hard to sit back because life going by at a very past pace. I don't wish any day to go faster, but during the fall, days seem to go so fast and slow. All at the same time.

This is my view during harvest. The rear-end of the trucks, tandems, wagons and semis. I work at the biggest building in town. 



  This is Dave's view during silage season, loading on the go.


Dave's view during corn season, loading on the go.


I'm thinking we are getting too much window time! Excuse me while I step outside for some fresh air!

My older two helping out in the office. I really believe Macie could run the scales by herself.  She also keeps a watchful eye on the guys in the drive, and tells them once in awhile on the radio to "Get to work!" Not that I would EVER to that.  At least on the radio!



Mason's first ride in the combine. Meme and Papa finally talked him into a combine ride.  This past spring he didn't know what to think about big tractors!  This weekend he rode on the combine he also rode with the neighbors in their tractor and semi for a ride into town to the elevator. 


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Mexican Breakfast Tacos

Eating healthy has started to become the normal for me for a few months. It has been a challenge,  but also a new habit I am glad to stick to.  My new healthy challenge has made me take breakfast creativity to a new level.  I decided to take some of my favorite foods and include them in my breakfast. 


I started with a cauliflower tortilla,  topped with an egg, tomato,  spinach,  avocado, cilantro,  and Frank's Hot Sauce.  Top with some shredded cheese too! This quick recipe is delicious, filling and low-calorie.

Cauliflower Tortillas
  • 3/4 head of cauliflower riced or 2 cups riced and packed
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Grate or use blender to rice cauliflower. Make sure you have 2 cups packed.
  3. Place riced cauliflower in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes and stir, then another 2 minutes and stir.  Place on a dish towel and squeeze excess moisture.  
  4. Place drained cauliflower in bowl, add eggs, salt and pepper and mix until combined.
  5. Spread mixture onto a lined baking sheet into 6 flat circles.
  6. Place in oven for 10 minutes,  take out of oven and flip tortillas and bake in the oven 5-7 mor minutes.
  7. Place on wire rack to cool.
  8. Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat and place tortilla into the pan pressing down slightly and brown them.  This step gives them a slightly crispy edges and a nutty taste.
 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Good bye October

October really decided to end with a bang.  We received lake effect snow and colder temperatures today.  Today was the most measurable snow on Halloween since the 1890s.  This weather put a halt to harvest for the day after a good week of running full steam.  I hope this is not a teaser of a crazy winter that could be in store for us.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Monday, September 08, 2014

Dine and Discuss at a Jasper County Farm




Tammy and Kendall Culp opened their farm to Jasper County officials. It was called a Dine and Discuss Event. Their gravel road lead us to their home and farm in the middle of corn and soybean fields. 

 


A homestead always quiet was now busy.  The Culp's started with a reception with samples of cheese from Fair Oaks Farms and wine from Carpenter Creek Cellars


After introductions from Kendall and Tammy Culp we were sent to three stations to learn more about their farming operation.



Ken Culp lll is Kendall's brother. Ken and his family live in Kentucky and Ken works for the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension.  Ken and his family come back to the family farm in Jasper County when it is time to AI (Artificial Inseminate) their herd.  They use a synchronization program to get all the cows in their herd in heat at the same time.  This is a great tool for cattlemen to use w when they want their cows to calve.




Stu Manchester, Salesman for Channel Seed talked about corn and soybeans and agronomy.


  
This is a drone, right? In agriculture, let's call it a Quadcopter. The quad is used to scout crops, waterways, and maybe check on the cattle in the pasture.  It allows you to cover more area, in a faster amount of time. The battery has a life span of about 20 minutes, and flip a special switch on the transmitter, and it comes back to you, like a boomerang, landing close to the home place.

 
 What's the price of machinery today? What does it cost per acre to harvest in the fall? Let's pencil it all out. Notice, we saw red and green on the Culp Farm!



All the food served for dinner was grown in Jasper County. 





Dave and I really enjoyed visiting with our neighbors in Jasper County.  It is the third largest  county in the state and the leading agricultural producing county in the state with the market value of product sold at $293,544,000. We all join together when needed, and dine and discuss, especially when it is for the good of agriculture.


 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Canning Salsa


Tomatoes are on! They are on my stove to be exact! We canned this weekend, stewed and salsa. Next weekend we plan to can tomato juice.

There is no exact recipe when we are making the salsa.  We add peppers and jalapeno peppers to taste and this was a hot batch! Can't wait to eat this salsa this winter!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Indiana State Fair 2014

A new adventure for the kids this summer was to attend the Indiana State Fair.  The last time Dave and I attended was in 2009.  We went with friends to see Keith Urban and Jason Aldean.  We look so young here!


 Fast forward five years, to 2014 and back to reality!



This year was the kid's first trip to the Indiana State Fair. They were very excited.  But I know they were not as excited as I was.  I won't admit it, but I was up early,  and very anxious to go.   

We had fun at the Glass Barn. I think I have about 30 pictures sent to my E-mail from different poses and different backgrounds. I am only sharing a couple.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

When Your Garden Doesn't Go As Planned

A month ago I was blogging about LOVE your Garden!  We loved it, pulled weeds and cultivated it! We have had plenty of rain, probably more in June than what we really needed.  Things were going great the beginning of the growing season. The garden looked good at the beginning.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jasper County Fair 2014




Jasper County Fair has come to an end.  Our beginner showman has her first year under her belt.  The whole family has our first year under our belt.  Do you remember trying something out for 4-H and loved it or hated it? Wanted to try something new the next year? If you ask Macie what she thought about her first year, she would tell you she had a great week. We might have signed up for a few more general projects than needed on her first year, but we also learned more about time management!  Kids still talk about the fair, showing pigs, playing with friends, battle of the barns,  milkshakes, and plans for the next year.

I knew her first trip to the ring might be a little emotional for me. I am not sure how to explain it, but she is a determined, hard worker.  She has big plans, big dreams and I hope we can fulfill those dreams for her.  One step at a time.  One day we will have a house, then we will build the kids a barn and then fill it with animals. So, one step at a time.  Try out the first year of showing and see if she likes it. She loves it.  It is moments like these when we realize the dreams and plans we have mirror our children's wants and have's (and have-not's).

We are very proud of her. She received Champion Microwave Cooking in her Division.  She participated in the Battle of the Barns, and her team ended up in 3rd place. Macie also received 3rd overall in the Beginner Swine Showmanship Class.

I can remember my last year of 4-H like it was last summer.  My grandpa Eich was always up in the announcer stand, my grandma's were sitting in the stands, and my mom was always ring-side holding the rope halter and a can of final bloom,  not the camera.  I also remember my first year of 4-H, and the first trophy I brought back to the stalls and showing my grandpa with pride, and him wiping his tears with his handkerchief.  Showing cattle was about family tradition, and working through things one step at time, and raising our own cattle to show.

Challenge yourself and your family.  Try something new. Get out there in the ring. Many life lessons are learned in the ring and in the barn. 


 

  This post is sponsored by Indiana's Family of Farmers, but all opinions shared are my own.

Monday, June 23, 2014

LOVE Your Garden!



We all heard that from our parents at the dinner table, to eat our vegetables, when we didn't want to finish our meal.  I couldn't leave the table until my plate was cleared.  There were starving children in the world. And I was leaving food on my plate. When I was a kid, I didn't believe my parents when they said that.  Now that I think of it, I have even played that "card" on my kids.  Why is it hard to get the kids to eat their vegetables? How can we get them to try new things? I hope by having the kids help us with our garden, they will have more appreciation for it.

I have always wanted to talk about my garden.  It's really my husband's garden, but we will talk about that later!





This is a few weeks back; the guys were looking over a few things, and the tomato plants that were just planted.  Scouting is important in the fields and in the gardens.  Bugs are detected at an earlier state. Any problems with the health of the plant can be closely monitored. I think this picture was taken shortly after a heavy rain we received. We were lucky we didn't lose many plants in the garden.




Our youngest one likes to jump over rows, and test our patience. He doesn't jump much, I mean he steps on the green beans, radishes and onions. 

His favorite was picking strawberries this spring. 







Go back a few years on this one. August 2009. Must have been a good year in the garden.  Kids always seem to be very excited to help out! It took me awhile to dig this picture out.  But I had to. Needs to be on this blog. It's one of my favorite and seems every year we put out the garden I remember this picture.

Kids are always very helpful in the garden from planting to harvest. This is the first step to introduce the kids to new ideas and new fruits and vegetables in their diet.  We will talk more about what's in the garden, how it's good for you, and what the kid's think about eating their fruits and vegetables!






This post is sponsored by Indiana's Family of Farmers, but all opinions shared are my own.