Kansas

Beef Chat

Jan272016

What Keeps You Going?

Published by Kassie Curran at 9:40 AM under Agriculture | General

I’m sure we can all agree that the start of 2016 has flown by – it’s hard to believe we are already in the last week of January! As February quickly approaches I was thinking about some of my goals for the New Year and realized I needed to refocus on those goals. Whether you like setting New Year’s Resolutions or just want tomorrow to be better than today, it takes focus and dedication to stick to those goals you set for the New Year.

We are sure to be discouraged at times and may consider giving up on those goals, but I believe it’s more important to continue making an effort towards your goals even if you slip up every once in a while. I’m going to keep this great quote by Voltaire in mind when thinking about my goals this year, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” This reminds me that progress is better than perfection and although we may not always reach our goals, doing something is better than doing nothing.

While 2015 brought interesting challenges to the beef industry, beef producers can expect 2016 to have its own set of ups and down. Whether it’s the cattle markets, grain prices, or weather, cattle producers must be diligent in making good production decisions and not be too discouraged when things don’t go as planned. It’s also important to identify what keeps  you going - what motivates you to push through the difficult times and continue to work towards your goals and dreams.

One of those things that keeps me going are new calves – it’s encouraging to see new life and they bring promise for a good year. I hope you identify what keeps you going towards your goals this year and remember not to let perfection be the enemy of good.

 

Eat Beef!
Kassie

 

 



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Jan152016

Energy for Busy Families

Published by Katie Sawyer at 9:12 AM under Agriculture | General | Nutrition | Recipe

It’s 2016 and our farm suddenly became a little more crowded. We welcomed our second son, Owen, on Jan. 5. That means I have more than a few baby pounds to drop and hope to get back into a running regimen by the spring.  That goal should be made easier by our two-year-old son, Evan, who always seems to be running on all cylinders and keeps us on our toes.

 

Meanwhile, my farmer hubby is working around the clock to help our 300-some mother cows safely and successfully deliver their new calves. That means 12-15 hour workdays and the occasional all-nighters.

 

One my new year’s goals is to prepare more meals, not only to save a few bucks, but to provide healthy and hearty meals that my family can enjoy together. Eating healthy is essential to maintaining energy levels and right now, the hubs and I need all of the energy we can get!

 

Thankfully we always have a great supply of beef cuts on hand that I can turn to for an excellent source of protein. Beef can be part of quick, healthy, family-friendly meals – from pizza to stews to casseroles to pot roasts. This winter, I hope to put my cooking skills to the test and find lots of new recipes to satisfy my family’s nutritional and energy needs.

 

Here is an example of a great recipe for a family meal that will satisfy appetites of all ages and keep everyone running on all cylinders. For more recipes and meal ideas check out www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.

 

 

CHUCKWAGON BEEF & PASTA SKILLET

(Found on www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com)

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 pound Ground Beef
  2. 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  3. 1/2 cup chopped onion
  4. 1 can (13-3/4 to 14-1/2 ounces) ready-to-serve beef broth
  5. 1-1/2 cups uncooked wagon wheel pasta
  6. 1 cup prepared hickory-flavored barbecue sauce
  7. 1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar or Colby cheese

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHUCKWAGON BEEF & PASTA SKILLET

  1. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add Ground Beef, bell pepper and onion; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings.
  2. Stir in broth, pasta, barbecue sauce and 1/4 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until pasta is almost tender. Uncover; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until pasta is tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese.

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION FOR CHUCKWAGON BEEF & PASTA SKILLET

Nutrition information per serving: 445 calories; 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat); 79 mg cholesterol; 1307 mg sodium; 54 g carbohydrate; 1.6 g fiber; 36 g protein; 9.3 mg niacin; 0.5 mg vitamin B6; 2.4 mcg vitamin B12; 6.1 mg iron; 20.9 mcg selenium; 6.6 mg zinc; 86.24 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and selenium; and a good source of choline.



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Jan062016

Feed Time

Published by Kiley De Donder at 3:19 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | Nutrition | Recipe

Over the weekend our family wrapped up the final Christmas gathering for the season. It was truly a joyous occasion! Along with the out of town siblings and cousins, came a solid storm of rain and sleet. Precipitation is welcomed 9 times out of 10 on the farm, but lately it’s turning into a nuisance. With the abundance of moisture we’ve received it makes for tougher conditions for the cattle and with shorter days, cold temps and hardly any sun it takes forever for the ground to dry up. We spend extra time feeding and providing shelter to minimize the stress of the conditions. Here’s an inside look at chore time from this weekend.

       

Cattle lined up at the bunks                         Big round bales of hay are rolled out for      pastured cattle to eat.

 

 It’s a fun change of pace to have everyone home on the farm during the holidays. There are always tons of fun and never a shortage of food. Another perk of big family gatherings, there tends to be a few leftovers. Not all families love leftovers, but ours seems to eat them just fine. So, I thought I’d share an extremely quick beef and sweet potato hash recipe that uses several common ingredients you’re likely to have on hand following a traditional family gathering on a Kansas farm… Hashes are a great way to use leftovers. The combination of ingredients is limitless and work great morning, noon or night. And at less than 350 calories per serving, you can enjoy it without the guilt of a big dish and all the “fixings”

 

For additional leftover recipe ideas visit beefitswhatsfordinner.com

 

Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

Kiley

 

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces cooked beef (such as steak, roast or pot roast), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2-1/2 cups)

1 large sweet potato, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons reduced-fat or regular dairy sour cream

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Chopped fresh cilantro


INSTRUCTIONS FOR BEEFY SWEET POTATO HASH

Combine sweet potatoes, onion and taco seasoning in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add water. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender and water has almost evaporated, stirring once. Stir in oil; continue cooking, uncovered, 4 to 6 minutes or until potatoes are tender and begin to brown, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine sour cream and hot sauce in small bowl. Set aside.

Add beef to potato mixture. Continue to cook 5 minutes or until beef is heated through, stirring occasionally, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed to avoid sticking.

Garnish with cilantro, as desired. Serve with sour cream mixture.

Nutrition information per serving: 329 calories; 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat); 63 mg cholesterol; 387 mg sodium; 33 g carbohydrate; 5.4 g fiber; 26 g protein; 3.0 mg niacin; 0.3 mg vitamin B6; 2.6 mcg vitamin B12; 3.7 mg iron; 26.1 mcg selenium; 5.6 mg zinc; 4.7 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamin B12, iron, selenium and zinc; and a good source of niacin and vitamin B6.



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Dec282015

Beef Roast for the Holidays

Published by Kassie Curran at 4:22 AM under General | Recipe

As I've gotten older I've realized there seems to be fewer hours in a day during the holiday season. Obviously there are still 24 hours in each day, but it just seems like we try to squeeze more errands, more conversations, and more laughs into each day when we're spending time with those we love.

 

That was the case for me this year so I didn't get this blog post written in time to share with you a fabulous family recipe before Christmas, but I hope you will enjoy it as you celebrate the New Year!

 

Smoked Loin (or Sirloin)

  • Thaw meat (if frozen, 24 hours in the fridge)

  • Pack coarse salt on the outside of the loin

  • Cover and put back in the fridge for 12 hours

  • Rinse salt off with water and pat dry with paper towels

  • Let the roast reach room temperature (approx. 1 hour)

  • Rub outside of loin with cornstarch then cover with minced garlic and pepper (or other preferred steak seasoning)

  • Turn grill (or smoker) to 225 degrees or maintain the temperature at 225 degrees

  • Smoke the loin on the grill for 4 hours (30 minutes per pound of meat)

  • Quarter turn the loin every 45 minutes

  • After reaching internal temperature of 125 degrees take it off the grill and let it rest for 15-30 minutes

  • Slice steaks off the roast at desired thickness

  • Enjoy!

     

     

    The cornstarch and garlic glaze create a delicious crust on the outside edge of every steak so everyone gets to enjoy a flavorful steak cut from this smoked loin. I love this dish because it allows you to prepare it beforehand then enjoy more family time while it's smoking!

     

    Find other great holiday beef roast recipes here: http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipesearch.aspx?col=The+Best+Holiday+Roasts

     

    Hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!!

Kassie



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Dec112015

Fueling Up with Protein: Three Successful Strategies to Avoid Weight Gain

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 8:43 AM under General | Nutrition | Recipe

December may be one of the busiest months of the year, filled with parties and dinners and temptations lurking around every corner. If you are not careful it can be easy to leave the year with a few extra pounds to shed in January.  However, with a few simple strategies you don’t have to let this tempting time of year pack on the pounds.


1. Start your day with 25-30 grams of protein.  Research shows a high protein breakfast can reduce cravings and hunger throughout the day!  Check out the recipe below for Beef & Egg breakfast mugs.  Follow the first few steps on a day when you have more time, then you have enough to make four filling breakfast in minutes.

2. Choose protein, not carbs for munching.  Snacks can be a great way to ensure you don’t get too hungry and overeat at your next meal.  Just be wise and choose higher protein snacks like beef jerky or a slice of roast beef wrapped around string cheese.  I recommend aiming 10-15 grams of protein for in-between meal snacks.  Often my clients want to reach for carb-rich snacks like crackers, chips and granola bars.  However, these tend to leave my clients even hungrier an hour later, and then they reach for even more carb-filled snacks.  A viscous cycle that can be prevented by fueling up with protein instead.

3. Plan quick and easy lunches and dinners.  With all of the extra to-dos of the season a meal plan is often the first thing to go.  However, my clients find by taking the time to plan and shop for 2-3 easy lunches and dinners they free up time spent eating out or making extra trips to the grocery store.  Keep it simple – taco salads, meat sauce served over spaghetti squash, and Sloppy Joes served with green beans are three speedy dinner ideas that don’t require a recipe to follow.  Plus, the leftovers work great for the next day’s lunch! 

 

BEEF AND EGG BREAKFAST MUGS

Total Recipe Time: 5 to 10 minutes (breakfast preparation and cook)
Makes 8 servings.

 


INGREDIENTS
1 recipe Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage (recipe follows)
1 cup chopped fresh vegetables such as tomato, baby spinach, bell pepper, zucchini or green onion
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheese such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack or American
8 large eggs
Salt and pepper (optional)
Toppings (optional):
Dairy sour cream, salsa, sriracha, ketchup

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BEEF AND EGG BREAKFAST MUGS

1. Prepare Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage. Remove skillet from heat; let cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Evenly divide beef and vegetables into eight food-safe quart-size plastic bags. Close securely and refrigerate up to 4 days.

2. For each serving, spray one 6 to 12-ounce microwave-safe mug or bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water; whisk with fork. Stir in 1 bag refrigerated beef-vegetable mixture.

3. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 30 seconds. Remove from oven; stir. Continue to microwave on HIGH 30 to 60 seconds or until egg is just set. Stir. Top with cheese. Let stand 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with Toppings, if desired.

 

Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage:
Combine 1 pound ground beef (93% lean or leaner), 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add beef mixture; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 1/2-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally.

Taco Seasoning Variation:
Prepare beef as directed above, substituting 1 packet (1 ounce) reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix for herbs and seasonings in step 1.

• Test Kitchen Tips
• Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed Ground Beef. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION FOR BEEF AND EGG BREAKFAST MUGS
Nutrition information per serving: 178 calories; 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat); 225 mg cholesterol; 297 mg sodium; 2 g carbohydrate; 0.4 g fiber; 21 g protein; 4.9 mg niacin; 0.3 mg vitamin B6; 1.6 mcg vitamin B12; 2.3 mg iron; 25.4 mcg selenium; 3.8 mg zinc; 188.6 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B12, selenium, zinc and choline; and a good source of vitamin B6 and iron.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.



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Dec042015

Giving The Gift of Beef

Published by Katie Sawyer at 1:31 PM under Agriculture | General

The old adage goes: “Farmers are asset-rich but cash poor.” Sadly, it still rings true for most in the agriculture industry today. We own land, cattle and equipment but only get paid at harvest so devote our paychecks to planting the next crop and purchasing the next group of calves. Sadly, my family is often no different.

 

So when it comes to helping charitable organizations and supporting our local community, we look to our assets to help us make a difference.

 

Like many communities, the city of McPherson, Kan., distributes hundreds of food baskets each year to needy families during the Christmas season. We could send a check or donate canned food items but we choose to make our own, unique contribution – fresh, locally raised beef.

 

We sell our beef locally to friends and family and each year, set aside hamburger to donate to various organizations, including those responsible for the Christmas food baskets. I love that we can donate a product we raised ourselves and provide families with a few pounds of nutritious and hearty ground beef. For some of these families, this may be one of the few times each year they can enjoy a meal with fresh, ground hamburger.

 

Donating beef is one of the many ways farmers and ranchers give back to their communities each year. Many grain cooperatives allow farmers to donate grain to non-profit organizations, which can then sell the grain and use the profits. Some families opt to allow the community to utilize acres of their farm for gardens or community planting projects. And yet others choose to give their time and talents, helping with local events, building projects or other community-wide efforts.

 

It always feels good to give back and help a family – especially during the holiday season. And doing so with fresh, locally raised beef is a tradition my family cherishes and will continue for years to come.



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Nov302015

Preparing for the Storm: 5 Ways

Published by Robin Kleine at 4:44 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

You may have noticed the slick, icy weather outside. Even if all of your activities were cancelled or postponed, we couldn’t delay feeding and watering our cows or checking over the herd.

 

Even if we don’t want to get out of our pajamas and leave our mugs of hot chocolate, the animals must be fed.

 

Taking care of our stock takes lots of planning, careful timing and a little bit of luck – no matter what the season. But in the next few months, lots of extra care will be given to our cattle to make sure they are fed, watered and as comfortable as possible in the harsh Kansas winter conditions … here’s how –

 

  1. MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN IS SHINING. Back in the summer, we worked around the clock to make sure we enough hay to feed throughout the winter months. This stock pile will be fed through the winter when the grass is dormant and doesn’t grow.

  2. WATCH THE WEATHER. Any farmer or rancher will tell you that they read, watch or listen to the long term forecast multiple times per day. If bad weather is predicted we make any and all efforts to bed down the cattle, put out extra hay as well as check that every single water source not frozen and working properly.

  3. CREATE WIND BREAKS & CLEAR ROADS. Here in Kansas, the wind always blows. Especially on the open prairie, so ranchers will build wind breaks or plant rows of trees. The cattle can stand behind these structures and group together to get out of the wind. We often clear the roads and driveways on our farms and ranches, but first we tend to those that lead to our pastures and feed bunks.

  4. DO A HEAD COUNT. When feeding and watering, we do our best to go through and count each pasture and make sure all the cattle are where they belong. If not, we will walk, ride or drive through the pastures until we find them all.

  5. NO MATTER WHAT .. MAKE SURE THE STOCK HAS PLENTY TO EAT, ACCESS TO WATER & A PLACE TO BED DOWN. Even in white out conditions or ice slicked roads, the cattle have to eat, and then we can warm up and come inside and maybe have some breakfast ourselves.

 

If you don’t have cattle or other animals outside to take care of, you probably curl up on the couch with a good book and some coffee. Farmers and ranchers come inside and worry about how their herd is faring in the elements and how soon they can head back out to check on them.

 

May your herd be warm & safe this winter,

Robin



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Nov132015

Thankful

Published by Heath Larson at 8:15 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

I clearly remember feeling completely out of my element when working my first non-farm job.  Each day began and ended at the time clock, punching my card so my hours could be tracked. 

Conversely, in a farm family, "work" is woven into every single fiber of family life.  Vacations happen when rain forces you out of the field.  Summers revolve around wheat harvest, while winters revolve around twice-daily cattle feeding, periodic cattle drives, and late-winter calving.  Fortunately, during the limited amount of down time, the rewards of farm life can't be topped.  Were it not for family farm ground, I probably never would have had the opportunity to bond with my close friends over duck and pheasant hunts.  I grew up picking and eating sweet corn all summer long, the perfect complement to a fresh grilled, home-raised T-bone steak shared in the company of family after a day of hard work.
 

Today, I still carry these lessons with me.  I don't have to punch a time clock anymore, but, consistent with what I grew up with, I know I will be at work until the job is done, however long it takes.  Meal time is truly a sacred time for our growing family to relax, re-connect, and enjoy a cut of lean beef that supports the farm culture for which we are so thankful.  Perhaps the greatest rewards come when we take the time to return with our children to the farm to help with day-to-day tasks.

Last week, I took my son Andrew with me to help my father out with hauling heifers out of their summer pastures and cutting milo.  While waiting for "Grandpa Craig" to dump another load of milo on the grain cart, I asked Andrew why he liked coming to the farm so much.  His response?  "I just like being with you, Dad."  Now that is a family work culture worthy of much thanksgiving.
 



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Nov112015

Take the WHO Report with a Grain of Salt

Published by Kassie Curran at 8:35 AM under

You’ve likely heard at least one headline about the recent World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report claiming that red meat is probably carcinogenic to humans. It hit the newsstands like wildfire, but the flames seem to have settled down a bit over the past week. I believe this is because consumers are smart enough to know that everything in moderation is a diet approach that has served us well for many years.

An important thing to consider when reviewing any report is how and what has been evaluated. According to the WHO website, the IARC evaluates cancer hazards, but not the risks associated with exposure. This is an important distinction as an agent is considered a cancer hazard if it is capable of causing cancer under some circumstances. Meanwhile, risk measures the probability that cancer will occur, taking into account the level of exposure to the agent. Ultimately, agents classified in the same group should not be compared as this can be misleading. “The types of exposure, extent of risk, people who may be at risk, and the cancer types linked with the agent can be very different across agent.”

The U.S. population, and the global population for that matter, is made up of all kinds of people with all kinds of dietary and health needs – there isn’t one solution to any problem, especially when it comes to diet and health. There are many factors that influence our health and we each need to determine what diet suits us best. Following the IARC report, the WHO has since suggested, “Meat provides a number of essential nutrients and, when consumed in moderation, has a place in a healthy diet.”

Ultimately, we have to decide for ourselves if we want to enjoy meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. We can use recommendations from scientific bodies to guide us in these decisions, but they must be taken with a grain of salt as there is not one answer to the question of what is the right diet.

Remember that beef can be part of a healthy, balanced diet and we each get to decide what that looks like for us – for lots of great healthy beef recipes, check out the “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner” website. < http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipecollection.aspx?id=10013 >

Eat Beef!

Kassie



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Oct212015

Preparing for Winter

Published by Katie Sawyer at 9:48 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

It’s still doesn’t completely feel like fall on the farm. Temperatures continue to hoover in the 70s and there is no sign of the hard freeze we come to expect as the sure sign of autumn. But the calendar says mid-October and that means it’s time for the cows to come home.

 

For the past six months, our mother cows and their calves have been grazing and growing in the Kansas Flint Hills. Because we don’t have enough suitable pasture ground near our farm to graze our cattle, we lease pasture ground throughout the Flint Hills to provide grazing resources to our animals.

 

But when the calendar reads October, we know it’s time to bring the animals home.

For my husband, that means lots of long days in the tractor-trailer loading and driving cattle from the pastures to our farm. The process isn’t over when the truck reaches the farm. The animals must be unloaded, reviewed and ensured all arrived safely.  Additionally food must be ready in the bunks and water flowing in the waterers.

 

 

One of the most important aspects of bringing our cattle back to the farm is the transition from grass to a diet that includes grain. The change is made slowly and for the calves, which have never experienced grain in their diet, it’s a process we take time to review and perfect to ensure the new meal plan is meeting their nutritional needs and working with their still-developing digestive systems.

 

My husband and his father walk among the cows a few times each day to look for signs of sickness, discomfort or other health-related issues. When an animal does appear to be ill, we administer a dose of antibiotics to help them return to full health. The shot is documented and kept on record.

 

Finally, we update the cattle on all of their vaccines. Just like in humans, different vaccines are necessary for combatting illnesses that seem to strike at different times of the year. We work with our local veterinarian to provide a comprehensive vaccination program that ensures we are doing our part to keep our animals healthy and keep unwanted diseases and illnesses at bay.

 

Over the next few weeks, all of our animals will be back home on the farm and will have settled into their new environment and meal plan. When the weather finally turns cold and winter hits the Plains, our cattle will be ready to battle the elements and endure another winter season. Until then, we are all ready for some crisp fall weather and happy to have our livestock back home.



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