December Flavor Friday!

Have you ever seen a recipe that your mom, mother-in-law, or grandma makes and are super nervous to make it because nobody can EVER make it like that person can!? Well this month, I attempted Green Bean Casserole for the first time. I would consider myself a pretty good cook but this recipe made me super nervous! Number 1, I don’t even like green bean casserole so how was I suppose to taste test it if I didn’t even like it. Number 2, my mother in law makes the BEST Green Bean Casserole, at least according to my husband she does. And he is the only one who was going to eat it in my house, so who was I to argue? Number 3, my husband refuses to eat anything that isn’t name brand. So I was going to try a little taste test on him while I was trying a new recipe! So I decided to travel down the recipe road, venture out of my comfort zone and try this recipe.

The first thing I had to find was a recipe, because of course, everyone I talked to memorized their recipe. So I made up my own, by combining recipes! Check out mine below. 

The Show-Me Sisters Green Bean Casserole

2 Cans Green Beans

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/4 Cup milk ( If you want it to be thinner add more milk to your desired consistency)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 -2 cups French Fried Onions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Open 2 cans of Green Beans and drain. IMG_7189
  3. Add the Green Beans to an oven safe container.
  4. Mix the milk, Cream of Mushroom Soup, onion powder, salt, and pepper. IMG_7188-0
  5. Stir together.
  6. Place in oven for 30 minutes. Take out of oven, stir, and add the onions to the top. Place back in oven for 5 minutes and enjoy!

I got a high five for this recipe! Don’t be afraid to try new recipes, even if you don’t like them yourself!

Enjoy!

-Bethany

 


  

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The happiest time of the year: Christmas tree farming!

Christmas is often called the happiest time of the year. Typically winter is the down time for farmers. This is the time for them to work on their records and fix equipment. But did you know there a few farmers that live for this season? They plant their crop and watch them mature, ready to harvest them when the excitement of Christmas is just around the corner.

As you decorate your tree have you ever thought about the history or the economic impact of the Christmas tree? Christmas trees of been sold commercially in the United States since around 1850. However, at this time they were cut from the forest. This trend recently changed mid way throughout this past century when tree farms started to pop up.

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But why is decorating a Christmas tree so popular to begin with? In the 16th century Christians in Germany brought decorated trees into their homes to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They hung editable treats on the tree to decorate it for the season.  Queen Victoria was pictured with Prince Albert  and their children during 1846 positioned around a Christmas tree. The Queen was popular with her subjects and Christmas trees soon began to find their way in to homes around Britain and the east coast of America.  There are many stories of how the Christmas Tree became popular and who is accredited to the beginning of the tradition.

As you have seen the Christmas tree has a rich history  throughout the world, but it also has a rich history in agriculture!

Fun Fact: Christmas Trees are grown in all 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii.

Christmas trees are grown on farms or plantations where consumers can pick their own or buy them from a store where they have been delivered. In 2014, there was over 26.3 million trees purchased with a value of $1.04 billion! The majority of the trees are pre-cut.

There are over 350,000 acres growing Christmas trees across the nation with approximately 15,000 farms. this means there are around 350 million trees currently growing! These farms employ over 100,000 people! The most common trees planted and used for Christmas trees include: Douglas-fir, noble fir, white pine, and Virginia pine. They harvest the trees when they reach around 6 to 7 feet tall which can take anywhere from 4 to 15 years, with the average time being 7 years. Can you imagine not being able to harvest a product for years?

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After Christmas, the trees can still serve a purpose! They can be used recycled, used for habitat, or soil erosion.

Next time you look at your tree, think about the impact it has on the agriculture industry!

-Bethany

 

 

Pigs and their Parts

Now that Thanksgiving is over and our work is complete, we can relax because we will have a full freezer of pork for the next year! It is awesome to have all those cuts of meat! But how do we know what to do? Well, we call Dad, our master butcher. He knows where all the cuts of pork are and how to make them. One day, Nicole and I will be cutting up the pig and it will be our turn! Have you ever wondered what the difference between pork loin and pork chops is? Did you know they are the same cut of meat and the only difference is pork chops have part of the backbone still attached to the meat?

Before we can figure out what the cuts of meat are, we have to know what pork is! Pork is the flesh of a pig used for food. Pork is the most commonly eaten meat throughout the world. There are over 500,000 jobs in the United States involved in the pork industry! Through all of these jobs the United States pork industry provides over 23 BILLION pounds of safe, nutritious, and wholesome pork to consumers around the world. My home state of Missouri is one of the top pork producing states, with over $791 million dollars a year coming from the pork industry!

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Do you live in a top pork producing state and you don’t even know it? Check it out below!

Top Pork Producing States

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Now that we understand what pork is we can move on to the different cuts of meat that come from a pig. Just think; you eat these cuts of meat all the time and never even know it! Now you can stump your friends with your new knowledge while eating your ham at Christmas dinner!

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Have you ever looked at the ads and thought to yourself, I have no idea what that name even means or where that meat comes from? Nicole and I are lucky that the only meat we have to buy from the grocery story is chicken! However, that is not the case for the average American.

But lets talk about how you can become an educated consumer and an expert on pork cuts! As you browse the ads, check out this website and it will explain to you common pork cuts!

Pork Be Inspired

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The link will bring you to an awesome website managed by the The National Pork Board. What is that? Well check out the picture and the link to their website below!

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About the National Pork Board

With Christmas right around the corner you see hams on sale constantly in the ads. But what is a cured ham? A ham comes from the back legs of the pig. Since the leg muscle is used constantly to move around, the ham is very low in fat!  Hams can either be wet or dry cured. The amount of water added to the ham during the curing process dictates how the ham is labeled. Ham can also be either bone-in or boneless. A bone-in ham still has the leg bone found in the meat. Most people think of a ham with the bone still in the meat when they picture a ham. However, a boneless ham is considered to be simpler, because of the lack of bone when carving and serving the ham. Whatever your preference, both still taste great! Find out more information from the link below!

Ham Basics

I hope that you have learned a little about pigs and their parts and feel confident when you push your shopping cart through the meat department. Check out the link below to learn more about pork recipes, cooking, and cuts and nutrition.

Pork: Be Inspired

The next time you enjoy a pork chop, bacon, or a boneless ham think about the many jobs you are supporting in the pork industry!

-Bethany