Posts Tagged With: Food

From mom, with love

They say mothers and daughters become closer when daughters become mothers. Already having a close relationship with my mom, I didn’t think much of it, but over the course of time, it’s so true. Having my own sweet baby, has bonded my mom and I in a whole new light. Especially as we approach my first Mother’s Day as ‘mommy.’

So to my mom, thank you for your unending sacrifices that you’ve made and continue to make for our family. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you for everything you endured both emotionally and physically to bring Tyler, Kalie, and I into the world. Also, I’m very sorry for making you feel guilty for not spending enough time with us when Kalie came into the world. 😉 I now know how emotionally and physically draining one newborn can be, let alone having 2 older children to love on at the same time. Thank you for loving us through our awkward phases, rebellious phases, achievements, engagements, weddings, and now, pregnancies. I know I wasn’t the easiest person to get along with being pregnant. My hormones were CrAzY! Thank you for bringing me maternity clothes to help me feel girly when I felt like a killer whale. Thank you for bringing meals when I was too sick, and then too weak to cook. And finally, thank you for instilling the confidence in me that I really can rock this whole mom thing!

Now, to my daughter, thank you for making me a mommy. Aside from being your daddy’s wife, it’s the best role I’ve ever had. Nothing prepared me for your first cry after 36 hours of labor. I still get chills thinking about it. You were so beautiful. Every day you amaze me. God pulled out all the stops when He created you and chose me to be your mommy. Some days I don’t feel qualified to be your mommy, but you make it so easy. I love when your eyes light up on our adventures. I love your gentle, but mischievous spirit. You have filled my heart with more joy than I ever thought possible, and I can not wait to watch you grow. But take your time. There’s no rush to grow up. I promise to always be there for you no matter what. I’ll do my best to expose you to new things, but also, how to appreciate the simple things in life. We’re going to have so much fun. I love you, sweet girl!

To my mother-in-law, thank you for raising such a patient, caring, young man. He went from being your sweet baby, to that curious little boy, to my best friend, to my husband, to the best daddy to our little girl. I’m sure it wasn’t easy letting him go and allowing us to cling to each other as we figured out this whole marriage and now parenting thing. We are so thankful to have you in our lives.

They say only superheroes wear capes, but I think every mom deserves a cape. They’re the real superheroes working quietly behind the scenes to make sure the day-to-day operations run smoothly.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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This is one of my favorite pictures taken at the hospital – grandma, mom, Emery, and me.  There’s something so special about these generation photos. My Grandma has set a high bar for the rest of us. I hope to continue her legacy of faith, family, gardening, and good cookin’ with Emery.

Categories: Continuing the Legacy | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Easy harvest meal: chicken jalapeno popper pasta

I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for easy, nutritious recipes, especially at harvest and planting time. Just the other night, I hit the jackpot. Chicken jalapeño popper pasta. Even my farmer loved it. Bonus for all you farm wives out there, I made this a week ahead and froze it until we needed it, AND I was able to use up some of my garden-fresh jalapeños. So easy and so delicious!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound cellentani pasta, cooked
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup bacon, crumbled
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapenos
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 2.5 cups cooked and chopped chicken

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray 9X13 baking pan with cooking spray
  • In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese, bacon, 1 cup cheddar cheese and jalapeños. Mix well.
  • Stir in cream and half and half.
  • Add pasta and mix well.
  • Stir in chicken.
  • Pour mixture into baking dish.
  • Spread bread crumbs over pasta (optional).
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Hope you all are having safe harvest season!

 

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Harvest is underway

This picture.

harvest-2016

This picture illuminates everything I love about fall. My farmer. My dog. Fresh picked butternut squash. Corn ready to be picked. Crisp weather. I could go on, but I won’t bore you with every single little detail we love about fall 😉

In a perfect world, this picture is what every farm family looks like the night before harvest. One last family dinner followed by some time of just being together before all the craziness starts. This picture illuminates the excitement of another bountiful crop. I mean even Molly (our dog) is smiling!

And so it begins. Harvest 2016.

From our farm family to yours, we wish you a very safe and bountiful harvest season!

 

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Field meals – farmer approved

Have I mentioned how awesome Pinterest is? Seriously, when I have absolutely no idea what to make for dinner, Pinterest for the win!

Why am I sharing this? Because out of the two recipes I’ve made so far, my farmer’s requested the one and said he’d tolerate the other (even though I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone). Regardless, I thought they both turned out great and thought if you’re anything like me, you need all the recipe ideas you can get!

Up first, Creamy Spinach Tomato Tortellini. Takes 15 minutes to cook and is SO good. Disclaimer, my farmer doesn’t care for tomatoes or anything that comes close to resembling alfredo sauce, but he LOVED this. And actually requested it a second time. Get the recipe here. Side note, I used Rotel tomatoes for an extra kick, but if you don’t like spice, stick with the regular diced tomatoes.

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Photo credit: cookingclassy.com

Up next, for a healthier, low-carb, meal Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Stuffed Zucchini Boats. I added chopped tomato and celery to the veggie mix and it was delightful. However I only put peppers, sausage and cheese in the farmers and he tolerated it. He said he wouldn’t necessarily order this dish in a restaurant, but I LOVED it. But then again, I’m a sucker for veggies and anything zucchini-related. I will note, these boats were the perfect size to pick up and eat with your hands (like a hot dog) making it easy to eat on the go. Get the recipe here.

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Photo credit: thetwobiteclub.com

Next, we’re going to try these homemade hot Ham and Cheese Pockets because who doesn’t like a hot ham and cheese in the tractor?!

What’s your go-to field meal?

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Meyer Produce: Mark Meyer Family

Long before the “Farm to Fork” campaign was even a thing, there was one Illinois farmer way ahead of the game. What started out as a seedless watermelon venture soon morphed into a third-generation family business.

Today that same man, Bill Meyer, now 83, is working alongside his son, Mark Meyer and his family, to bring central Illinois some of the best locally grown produce this side of the Mississippi.

Mark Meyer has graciously accepted an invitation to sit down with us and talk about his operation, Meyer Produce. So, without further ado, meet Mark Meyer:

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Some of the Meyer’s homegrown produce. Be sure to “Like” them on Facebook.

AER: Please tell us about Meyer Produce.
MM: Meyer Produce is located in Mason County, Illinois, 3 miles west of Manito. My wife, Shelly, along with our daughters Hannah, Paige, and Brooke, help on the farm. We raise about 250 acres of popcorn for Weaver Popcorn Co. Our biggest crops include 55 acres of fresh market sweet corn, 20 acres of watermelon, 20 acres of muskmelon, and 1-3 acres of peppers, in addition to various other vegetables on smaller acres. We also raise around 20 acres of pumpkins and squash in the fall and sell straw in the winter and spring. We also have 6 high tunnels that we raise tomatoes in to sell at roadside stands and farmers markets and have 90 acres of certified organic ground that we grow several different crops including, canning pumpkins, snap beans, soybeans, popcorn, seed corn, and field corn.

AER: Sounds like you have quite the operation. Was this something you’ve always wanted to do?
MM: I started raising and selling vegetables when I was in FFA. I then went on to get a degree in ag business/agriculture from Illinois State University. When I graduated, I worked for Thorp Seed Co. in Clinton, Illinois for 9 months. Then I went to work for a distillery for ten years and farmed on the side.

AER: You must keep  very busy. How do you divide up what gets done each day?
MM: My wife helps keep track of taking orders in the summer, while my oldest and youngest daughters help sort corn and pick tomatoes. My middle daughter, Paige, works a produce stand. My dad, Bill, who originally raised seedless watermelon in the ’70’s still helps every day at the young age of 83. He takes care of the tomatoes in the high tunnels.

AER: Do you still have a produce stand in your front yard? Where else can consumers purchase your vegetables?
MM: We sell our produce locally at our flower shop in Manito and at several produce stands and farmers markets. When we’re really producing a lot, we also sell to a local federal prison. We deliver to grocery stores and 15-20 locals within an hour distance. This helps keep our volume up and utilize our acres if we have excess. We have locations in Pekin, East Peoria, Morton, and Manito.

AER: Which AgriEnergy Resources products do you use? What benefits do you see from them?
MM: We put SP-1 on all of our seed to get the bacteria started early in the soil. We also put an AgriEnergy mix of potassium, sulfur, and micronutrients with all of our 28% nitrogen, either knifed in or through the irrigations. The AgriEnergy Mix seems to really help hold the nitrogen from leaching in our sandy soils. We also use a Pivot Mix to put any nutrients we are short on through the irrigations.

AER: In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
MM: The most rewarding aspect to me is being able to watch my girls work on the farm and understand where their food comes from. It’s also being able to keep dollars local. Our customers enjoy knowing the food is picked fresh and is healthier than food shipped across the country or the ocean.

AER: Will you be adding any new crops for the next growing season?
MM: We continually look for new markets and will expand if the right situations arise.

At AgriEnergy Resources we’re big time supporters of biological farming and local foods. Thank you, Meyer Produce, for your dedication in growing healthy foods for the consumer!

 

Categories: Fun in the Field | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

What are you thankful for?

Today, we’re thankful. Thankful to live in small-town U.S.A., capturing scenes like this, even in the midst of a storm.

Thanksgiving 2015

Reminders from up above that there is always a silver lining; you just need to know where to look. So, yes, today we are thankful to be a part of a growing agricultural community. We’re thankful for our roles in providing America with healthy food, beginning in healthy soil.

From our table to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

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Goin’ Showin’

Picture this…

You wake up before the crack of dawn. Wash your steer. Dry your steer. Feed your steer. Fit your steer.

THEN, it’s show time. You walk into the ring, sweat dripping down your back, heart a pounding. The judge walks slowly around the ring evaluating each and every steer. You catch his eye. He sees you. He keeps watching you and your animal. The ring is silent. You can hear a pin drop. Then in one swift movement he slaps your steer. Your eyes well up as you catch your families eyes in the stands. Your mom is snapping pictures like a crazy lady. Your dad’s fist goes in the air with a victory punch. Your brother is stunned. Your sister is in shock. You just won the Illinois Sate Fair junior steer show. You can’t believe it. You set out with a goal the previous year and you achieved it. The long hours spent in the barn have finally paid off. You won the whole show.

Posing for a picture with Scotty (the show steer), country music star Scotty McCreery, and Governor Bruce Rauner, 4-Her Taylor Donelson, of McClean County, was all smiles during the Illinois State Fair 'Sale of Champions.' Scotty was performing in the grandstands when he heard the grand champion steer was named after him and thought he'd come check it out. Such a cool moment for Illinois 4-H! Photo credit: Scotty McCreery Facebook

Posing for a picture with Scotty (the show steer), country music star Scotty McCreery, and Governor Bruce Rauner, 4-Her Taylor Donelson, of McClean County, was all smiles during the Illinois State Fair ‘Sale of Champions.’ Scotty was performing in the grandstands when he heard the grand champion steer was named after him and thought he’d come check it out. Such a cool moment for Illinois 4-H! Photo credit: Scotty McCreery Facebook

While the entire audience can relate in your joy, there are some people, outside of the bleachers, who have no idea what it means to accomplish something as big as winning a livestock show. That is why, at this year’s Illinois State Fair, agriculture was brought back to the front and center, highlighting our state’s deep agricultural roots.

And that is why, we at AgriEnergy Resources, are proud supporters of the Illinois State Fair.

What was really neat about bringing agriculture back to the center of the fair, was that the championship drives was held in the Coliseum located right in the middle of the fairgrounds. Previously, the championship drives were held in the junior barns.

This year, people roaming the Midway had the opportunity to see for themselves how great agriculture is, including Governor Bruce Rauner and country music star and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery. They got in a bidding war during the auction of the grand champion steer. The governor ended up winning the bid with a record-breaking $61,000. Proceeds will go back to Illinois 4-H and FFA while the meat will be donated to the University of Illinois.

All in all, it was a great year for the Illinois State Fair and all the exhibitors. There’s something to be said about the fair, whether you’re into livestock or not. Among the array of foods, concerts, tractor pulls, demolition derbies, horse races, rides, games, there’s something for everyone.

We are so excited to see where the future of Illinois agriculture is heading and we can’t wait to visit our local county fair next week.

What’s your favorite part about the fair?

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2015 Ultimate Mac & Cheese Recipe Contest

Macaroni & Cheese In celebration of Dairy Month, the American Dairy Association Indiana INC. (ADAI) is on the hunt for the BEST mac & cheese recipe in all of America’s dairyland.

We agree with the ADAI, macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! There’s really no way to mess it up – buffalo chicken mac & cheese, mac & cheese with bacon, baked mac & cheese, and the list goes on.

So, in celebration of this classic American dish, and the farmers who produce the signature ingredients that make it such a family favorite, the ADAI is currently collecting recipes. The winning recipe will be featured at the Indiana State Fair in August.

Think you have what it takes? Submit your original macaroni and cheese recipe, the official entry form, and a photo of your dish here by June 30, 2015.

One finalist will be chosen from each of the 3 categories (Home Cook, Chef, Farmer) and must be available to prepare his/her recipe in the “Ultimate Mac & Cheese Recipe Cook-Off” August 15 at the 2015 Indiana State Fair.

Now off to brainstorm our own recipe…

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Proud Supporters of our Local Farmers’ Market

Our local farmers’ market opens Saturday!

Princeton Farmers' Market

We are once again so excited to help sponsor this season’s market. There’s nothing better than watching our area farmers sell their home-grown produce to the public. It truly solidifies our work in providing training and products to innovative gardeners and farmers.

What’s your favorite part about the farmers’ market?

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Meet Marnie Record

Marnie Record has recently taken over the role of executive director of the Illinois Organic Grower’s Association.

We had the privilege of meeting her for the first time at the Illinois Organic Conference this past winter and she is off to do GREAT things for our industry. She brings a breath of fresh air to everything she’s done so far, and we’re so excited to see what she does next.

Marnie grew up on her family’s farm just outside of Springfield, IL where she helped her mom with their vegetable garden, or in her words helping eat said vegetables. In addition to serving as the IOGA executive director, she also works full-time at Lincoln Land Community College where she developed a Value-Added Local Food Program to assist aspiring local-food business owners. Anyway, she so graciously agreed to an interview with us.

IOGA executive director Marnie RecordSo without further ado, meet Marnie Record:

AER: At what point did you discover your love of locally grown, organic foods? And what lead up to that discovery?
MR: From the time I could walk, I helped my mom grow vegetables (mostly helped her eat them) and assisted her at the farmers’ market where she was known as the “zucchini bread lady” because of her delicious baked goods. She also sold extra produce at the market, but it wasn’t until just after college I came back to my passion for local food. I volunteered on a vegetable farm and spent the mornings planting the longest row of leeks ever known to man. I realized, in this moment, that I would never take my food for granted again. I definitely didn’t have what was needed to be a farmer, but I wanted to do everything I could to help these farmers who have dedicated their lives to caring for the land, animals, and all the people of the food system. Food is my life. Every seed that grows into a nourishing plant is a miracle to me. I’m awed daily by the gift of life through our food and the people who grow it.

AER: What are you planning on bringing to the table for Illinois organic growers?
MR: I bring a passion for farmers and a dedicated mind to help develop more successful organic farmers in Illinois. I plan to make sure that every farmer in the state knows about the association and sees value in the work we do. I also bring a passion for the collective community. I’m convinced that we can accomplish more, have more prosperous farms, and feed healthy food to everyone in our state if we share our gifts and wisdom to evolve our local food system. Collectively we are stronger together as we work to build an organic community. After interacting with farmers during the first few months of my role with IOGA, we’ve decided to focus on several educational issues such as organic transition in order to fill a significant unmet demand, genetic and chemical trespass to keep the integrity of organic farms, and growing the consumer base for organics through special events. Be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming Crop Cycle, a bike to farm event in Champaign County this fall!

AER: Why is having an association, such as the IOGA, important?
MR: Farmers see value in having an association of organic growers where they can access support from peers, get education on issues that are relevant to their everyday lives, as well as educating the growing consumer base on organics. On a broad level the association is needed to fill in gaps to mold successful farmers.

AER: If a new organic grower wanted to get involved, how’d they go about it?
MR: As a small, non-profit organization, it is important to have farmers become members of the organization which they can do here. This helps us secure additional funding to grow the organization and provide needed services. In addition, we rely heavily on volunteers who have an interest in moving organics forward. Interested growers and/or volunteers can contact me at illinoisorganicgrowers@gmail.com or 864-704-5783.

AER: What is around the corner for Illinois organic growers? Any issues to be aware of like the check-off and/or farm bill?
MR: The organic industry has experienced rapid growth for the past decade, and continues to outpace other methods of farming. The Illinois Stewardship Alliance works tirelessly on relevant policy issues that support the growth of organic farmers. Sign up to receive notices and find out about the current legislative issues here.

For more information on the IOGA or to sign up for their monthly newsletter, check out their website here. And for those interested in transitioning or needing fertility recommendations, click here.

Categories: Fun in the Field | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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