The insanely freezing April weather and recent trade concerns can get the best of most people, but I firmly believe a little pie helps reset the maniacal, heal the hurting and spreads joy and cheer to all who savor a slice. Pie is a universal comfort food. The care it takes to make delicious pie is evident in every bite that's enjoyed.
Recently, I had the opportunity to travel with the FarmHer team as they embarked on their "GROW" tour, visiting North Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio. The opportunities I've been given to speak with high school and college-aged young ladies have been the most fulfilling experiences I've encountered since deciding to start a food blog and share a bit about pig farming.
Wintertime in the Midwest is certainly the time of year to be indoors. Wild, pent-up children need a release, and youth sports are a big business in many communities and a sacred component of rural America. High school programs are extending their reach and involving children of younger ages in their "feeder programs." This comes with a hefty amount of work, investing time and energy putting together great opportunities for learning and play for their future athletes.
There's no doubt that kids who are raised on a ranch or a farm with livestock have a unique upbringing. From the accidental use of colorful language in preschool to an early education of "the birds and the bees," livestock kids have many things in common. As a mom, I have to remind myself sometimes that I am raising special little creatures. I made a list of "excuses" as to why they behave out of the ordinary sometimes to help me cope. Maybe you can relate?
Christmastime can leave even the most stupendous holiday hosts frazzled. While enjoying the spirit and true meaning of Christmas, gathering with family multiple nights over the course of a short week leaves me in a tizzy, I can assure you. I've compiled a list that may help you make it through this jolly time of year a bit better than expected.
Each year as November rolls around, you may hear collective sighs coming from the heart of the Midwest. Harvest is over, the crops are put up, and I'm thankful for another year spent on the farm with my family. Agriculture is woven into the fabric of my life in many ways, all of which I appreciate more than I ever knew I would. I'm thankful for agriculture as a daughter, wife, mother, businesswoman and friend. I don't know what on earth I'd be doing if it weren't for the role agriculture has in my life.
One day I received a compliment for food I had prepared. It had taken quite a bit of time to create a recipe from scratch, and it was more worth it than anything I'd known. More worth it than any blue or purple ribbon or silly giant-sized check at a cooking contest. I may as well have fallen on the floor... Homemade Beef and Noodles is a popular recipe in most any farmhouse kitchen in the Midwest. Growing up on a cow-calf and row crop farm in central Iowa with a dad who dislikes chicken, let's say it was a popular Sunday night meal. We've tried to keep the Sunday tradition alive.
Harvest time is looming here in central Iowa and one thing is for certain, my mom will be making one of my favorite recipes again. Her "Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce" recipe yields the most delicious cake I've ever eaten. In fact, this may be my most favorite recipe to date.
This time of the year is bittersweet in our home — school is right around the corner. I'm that token mother that cries at her kids leaving on the bus daily for the first week. I guess I enjoy when they are home, even if they squabble here and there or leave messes in the house and in the barn. Part of me needs them to be little forever, and the other part wants to be reminded that I'm raising them right. Lately this reassurance has come in a surprising way.
Recently we had the privilege of hosting one of the great influences in my husband's life, Al Christian. Al ran the Swine Teaching Farm, now named the "Allen E. Christian Swine Teaching Farm," at Iowa State University for more than 50 years. He is a living legend in the pig world. I could spend an entire two-page spread telling you of Al's awards, but he wouldn't want that. I'd rather tell you how special he is to our family.