Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Fast Five...

1 Fall is OFFICIALLY upon us! Oh I am so so so happy. My heart is just singing joyful sounds! Oh fall is my season, cool crisp mornings warm sunny days calm clear evenings, the colors, the combines, the apples. Oh yes I do love it all, well I love it all except pumpkin spice anything, or let’s make that pumpkin anything as well. I know that is a complete and utter sin against all things fall. But pumpkin just isn’t my thing. Bleck yuck eww gross! Now s’mores and apples yes please!

2. We are having our family picture taken in Mid-October and I am searching for appropriate outgits for each of us. I don’t want us to be matchy matchy but I also don’t know what direction to go. I have been looking at pintrest pretty much each night but there is just too much. Please someone help me!!! I would love your suggestions and guidance.

3. I am entering a cookie baking competition this weekend! Woohoo this is my first one for cookies so we shall see how it goes! I’ll let you know come Monday!

4. Charlot informed me one day this week that when she is six she will try strawberry milk, she might be old enough by then. And that she knows she is only going to be 5 but she still isn’t quite ready for pink milk. Thank you for the information child.

5. I am so ready to enjoy a weekend off work so basically have a great one all!!! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why is Teaching Agriculture to All Students Important???

The first thing I saw on Facebook this morning was a post from my big brother that read something like this.

“As I celebrate National Teach Ag Day with my students and educate preschoolers-3rd graders about common agriculture commodities in Missouri: want to give a big shout out to Paul Crews, Dan Hill, and Lonnie Burns who weren’t only great agricultural instructors but my dad and two other father figures in my life.”

I instantly smiled thinking of these three men who played a very important role in both Zach’s and my life. These men sacrificed time with their own families to ensure others were educated about agriculture and well life in general. It was a great way to start my day.

If you know me or have been reading my blog very long you know I have a love for agriculture and a passion for educating others about it. Yes I have a degree in agriculture education and no I do teach in a classroom setting each and every day but the love it there. Every chance I get I am speaking with others on the importance of educating our next generation about agriculture. Not just through high school Ag and FFA programs. I am talking about outreach education just like the event my brother and his students hosted today. Where young kids can come and learn about where their food is coming from.

 Sure all of these students that came to the program today live in a small town surrounded by corn and soy bean fields and yes tractor traffic jams are a regular occurrence in their world but that doesn’t mean they have any idea what those fields and tractors do for them. Do you think that all those students knew that the very car their parents drove them to school in was fueled due in part to those very corn fields that are right out their back door? Or that the Marconi and Cheese they enjoy wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of American farmers?  

I am going to guess no. And as an agriculturist that is a scary thing to me. Children of today are consumers of tomorrow. If we as farmers, ranchers, and all agriculturists don’t educate them who will? What will they believe? What they hear on the news, what they read in the paper? It is time for all of us to do our part, yes we feed the world, but if we want to continue that tradition we have to have consumers who want what we are offering and understand our side of the business.

This morning as I was taking Charlot to school I told her about Uncle Zach using her baby pig today. She wanted to know why he was using her pig, so I began to explain he and his students were teaching kids today about where their food comes from. I instantly thought if I am preaching education am I educating her? So here we went with a discussion about where milk, pork chops, pasta and cheese come from (four of her favorite foods). It was as easy as that…If we all do our part we will all reap the benefits of educated consumers who understand how much agriculture affect their everyday life.

So thank you big bro and all you who believe in teaching agriculture for all you do each and every day to educate the next generation. And thank you to the farmers and their families for the sacrifices they make so that my family can eat, your work doesn't go unnoticed!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Citrus Roasted Herbed Chicken

I have been doing monthly meal plans for several months now and I have found they are a saving grace. They make my evenings go so much smoother and they are also very cost effective, I find I make less last minute trips to the grocery store. Also with my monthly meal plans we have been making a real effort to not go out to eat nearly as much. Now this is great as well for both the wallet and waistline, but I do feel sometimes like I’m missing out. I get this feeling mostly on Saturday nights for some reason I feel this is a special night and I should be eating something special.

To combat this in my meal plans I try to plan more of a special meal, one I wouldn’t typically make Monday through Friday. And it has worked quite nicely! We get a nice meal on the weekend, we save some money and a lot of times I get the chance to try out a new recipe. Date night dinners at home are pretty nice quiet and relaxing. Charlot loves it because we typically choose a movie to watch as a family after supper and I normally make some kind of dessert.

Today’s recipe is one of those new recipes I tried on a Saturday night in, and I think it is perfect for a special meal at home! Especially since the peak of citrus season will soon be here! I love using clementine’s in a dishes and this is a perfect use for them!

Citrus Roasted Herbed Chicken
¼ cup EVOO
4 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
2 TBSP Sugar
2 Lemons (1 sliced one juiced)
2 Clementine’s (1 sliced one juiced)
½ tsp Paprika
1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 TSP Onion Powder
¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
10-12 pieces of Bone in Chicken (I like Legs and Thighs)
1 Small Onion (thinly sliced)
1 TSP Dried Thyme

In a large zip top mix EVOO, garlic, sugar, citrus juice, paprika, Italian seasoning, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and chicken, allow mixture to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour up to 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large baking dish line the bottom with ½ of the onion slices pour in the chicken and marinade. Take remaining onion and citrus slices and arrange around the sides of the dish and in-between pieces of chicken sprinkle Thyme over the top.  Roast in oven for 1 hour or until juices run clear if the top of the chicken isn’t brown enough for you broil it for 3-5 minutes. Enjoy over rice or noodles or just mop up the juice with a nice piece of crusty bread and most importantly ENJOY!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ham and Cheddar Quiche

I am finding now that school has started and harvest is in full swing our evenings seem to get busier and busier. But I still strive to put a home cooked meal on the table. Notice I didn't say homemade...because this recipe allows for an easy store bought short cut without sacrificing any flavor! 

Another type of meal I love on busy nights is one that part of it can be made ahead of time and then just assembled and baked! This quiche can do just that! The best way to do this is to make up the egg mixture complete with all your goodies (ham and cheddar) the night before or even two nights before cover it and store in the fridge. Then when you get home from work you can unroll a store bought crust, pour in the filling and bake.While this quiche was baking I made a nice tossed salad and sliced up some fruit, then dinner was served.  Plus I got a load of laundry started during all of this as well, which to me is quite a successful evening.  

Now for those of you who are thinking quiche for my busy family your a crazy lady my kiddos would never eat quiche let alone my husband. Let me be the first to say just give it a try. This is why I made this recipe pretty simple, all ingredients that most people like, ham, eggs, cheese. I kind of think of this one as an introductory quiche, start here then you can get even more crazy with your ingredients as you warm your family up to this idea. I will say it took a little coaching but my picky little one ate this and actually told me I could make it again! Yet another success. 

Ham and Cheddar Quiche

1 Pie Crust (Homemade, Store-bought, Frozen) 
11/2 Cups Ham (diced)
8 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
2 Cups Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large glass bowl whisk eggs, milk and seasonings, once these are well combined stir in meat and cheese. You can either go ahead and pour it into your crust and bake it right away or you can store the filling covered in the fridge until you are ready to bake (up to two days in advance). 
When you are ready to bake place your pie crust into your pie pan and trim the edges. Gently prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and pour in the egg mixture. 
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 50 minutes until filling is set. ENJOY!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Reality Check from a 4 Year Old...

I don’t like to sound like perfect Polly on this here blog of mine…that is definitely not my intention, like at all. My life is imperfect and sometimes kind of ugly, some days I feel like I’ve kind of got it all together and some days not a single part of the day is falling in place. Then there are those days where truly I feel like I maybe just maybe am doing ok at this mom thing then one sentence is uttered from my kiddo and smack I get a gut check with reality.

It happened yesterday, specifically 8:40 p.m. the hubs had done bedtime, then left to go heat check a sow. I was sitting in the middle of my living room floor making glittery signs for the Little Mr. and Miss Slater pageant. FYI I’m pretty sure I swallowed some glitter.  I then hear “Momma…Momma” I get up and go into her room. I ask what she needs “Hum I’m a little scared, would you snuggle with me?” The first thought in my head…oh man I have so many things to do.

I walked around the edge of the bed pulled back the covers and that’s when it happened…”Momma your REALLY going to snuggle with me?” “Yes sweetie why wouldn’t I?” “Well aren’t you too busy, that’s what you usually say.” Oh dear goodness how in the world did I let this happen? “No I am not scoot over and let me hold you.”

I spent the next twenty or so minutes holding my little sweetie hugging, kissing, giggling and singing this little light of mine. As I was getting up she squeezed me tight and said “Thank you so much for laying with me.” With tears in my eyes I said “Let’s do this more often!” She replies “ok how about tomorrow.”

I don’t know why I needed to tell this story I just couldn’t keep it in. I let myself get wrapped up in the other things I have going on. I know I’m not the only one but it is really hard to take when it is your kiddo that has to remind me of the things I should be doing. I mean she won’t be little forever she won’t what me to snuggle forever she won’t need me to do all these things forever. 

After I left her room I went back to covering posters in glitter, but I also took a second to pray and ask that the Lord help me to find the balance so that I be the best wife and momma I can be. I know I’ll never be perfect and I know I’ll continue to make mistakes but I hope that the snuggle session with my little one helped me realign my thoughts. Until the next time she has to point out the obvious.

Stay strong Momma’s, wait stay strong all parents, seriously it can be a crazy parenting world.