Kansas

Beef Chat

Apr032015

Fuel your Day with Protein & The 30 Day Protein Challenge!

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 5:30 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

There are many benefits to including 25-30 grams of protein at each meal.  However, most Americans only consume 5-10 grams at breakfast and 10-12 grams at lunch.  Protein, especially early in the day increase fullness, weight control and muscle retention.  I have personally seen clients lose a significant amount of weight by increasing their protein consumption at breakfast and lunch, and decreasing the serving size at dinner.  Do you get enough protein throughout your day?  Sign up to take the 30 Day Protein Challenge here 30 Day Protein Challenge. And here are two simple recipes to get you started!

 

BEEF SAUSAGE & EGG MUFFIN CUPS

 

INGREDIENTS 1 recipe Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage (recipe below) 1 can (4-1/2 ounces) chopped green chiles, undrained 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese 5 large eggs 1/4 cup milk 1 to 2 teaspoons regular or chipotle hot pepper sauce Salt and pepper Toppings (optional): Chopped green onion or chives, chopped tomato, salsa or additional hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage. Stir chiles and cheese into beef mixture. Evenly divide mixture into prepared pan. Whisk eggs, milk and hot sauce, as desired, in medium bowl. Evenly divide egg mixture over beef mixture in muffin cups. Bake in 375°F oven 17 to 20 minutes or until egg mixture is set and just beginning to brown. Let stand 2 minutes. Loosen edges; remove from muffin pan. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with Toppings, as desired.

Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage: Combine 1 pound ground beef, 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 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Drain fat, if needed. 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.

Total Recipe Time: 45 to 50 minutes

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 recipe Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage (recipe below)

1 can (4-1/2 ounces) chopped green chiles, undrained

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

5 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 to 2 teaspoons regular or chipotle hot pepper sauce

Salt and pepper

Chopped green onion or chives, chopped tomato, salsa or additional hot sauce, optional

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BEEF SAUSAGE & EGG MUFFIN CUPS

1.       Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage. Stir chiles and cheese into beef mixture. Evenly divide mixture into prepared pan.

2.       Whisk eggs, milk and hot sauce, as desired, in medium bowl. Evenly divide egg mixture over beef mixture in muffin cups.

3.       Bake in 375°F oven 17 to 20 minutes or until egg mixture is set and just beginning to brown. Let stand 2 minutes. Loosen edges; remove from muffin pan. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with Toppings, as desired.

Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage: Combine 1 pound ground beef, 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 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Drain fat, if needed.

  • 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 SAUSAGE & EGG MUFFIN CUPS

    Nutrition information per serving, 1/4 of recipe, using 93% lean ground beef: 325 calories; 17 g fat (7 g saturated fat; 6 g monounsaturated fat); 317 mg cholesterol; 433 mg sodium; 4 g carbohydrate; 0.8 g fiber; 37 g protein; 7.9 mg niacin; 0.5 mg vitamin B6; 2.9 mcg vitamin B12; 3.9 mg iron; 37.6 mcg selenium; 6.8 mg zinc; 264.8 mg choline.

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

    Nutrition information per serving, 1/12 of recipe, using 93% lean ground beef: 108 calories; 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat); 106 mg cholesterol; 144 mg sodium; 1 g carbohydrate; 0.3 g fiber; 12 g protein; 2.6 mg niacin; 0.2 mg vitamin B6; 1.0 mcg vitamin B12; 1.3 mg iron; 12.5 mcg selenium; 2.3 mg zinc; 88.3 mg choline.

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

     

     

    SALAD SHAKERS

    INGREDIENTS 1 pound Ground Beef (95% lean) 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons chili powder 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 package (10 to 12 ounces) iceberg or romaine salad mix (lettuce, red cabbage, carrots) 1 cup diced tomato 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed, drained 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted, drained 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, (optional) 1/2 cup prepared reduced-fat or fat-free ranch dressing 1/4 to 1/3 cup Crunchy Tortilla Strips (recipe follows) or crushed baked tortilla chips (optional)

    Brown Ground Beef with garlic in large nonstick skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, breaking beef up into 1/2-inch crumbles. Pour off drippings, if necessary. Stir in water, chili powder and cumin; cook and stir 1 minute to blend flavors. Cool slightly. Place salad mix, beef, tomato, beans, corn and cheese, if desired, in large bowl with lid. Top with dressing; close lid securely or cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Shake gently to combine. Top with tortilla strips, if desired.

    Crunchy Tortilla Strips:
    Cut 2 corn tortillas in half, then crosswise into ¼-inch-wide strips. Place strips in single layer on baking sheet. Spray tortilla strips lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 4 to 8 minutes at 400ºF or until crisp. Test Kitchen Tips Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed Ground Beef. Ground Beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160ºF. Color is not a reliable indicator of Ground Beef doneness.

     

    Total Recipe Time: 25 to 30 minutes

    Makes 4 servings

    INGREDIENTS

    1 pound Ground Beef (95% lean)

    2 teaspoons minced garlic

    1/4 cup water

    2 tablespoons chili powder

    2 teaspoons ground cumin

    1 package (10 to 12 ounces) iceberg or romaine salad mix (lettuce, red cabbage, carrots)

    1 cup diced tomato

    1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed, drained

    1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted, drained

    1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, (optional)

    1/2 cup prepared reduced-fat or fat-free ranch dressing

    1/4 to 1/3 cup Crunchy Tortilla Strips (recipe follows) or crushed baked tortilla chips (optional)

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR SALAD SHAKERS

1.     Brown Ground Beef with garlic in large nonstick skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, breaking beef up into 1/2-inch crumbles. Pour off drippings, if necessary. Stir in water, chili powder and cumin; cook and stir 1 minute to blend flavors. Cool slightly.

2.     Place salad mix, beef, tomato, beans, corn and cheese, if desired, in large bowl with lid. Top with dressing; close lid securely or cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Shake gently to combine. Top with tortilla strips, if desired.

Crunchy Tortilla Strips: Cut 2 corn tortillas in half, then crosswise into ¼-inch-wide strips. Place strips in single layer on baking sheet. Spray tortilla strips lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 4 to 8 minutes at 400ºF or until crisp.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION FOR SALAD SHAKERS

Nutrition information per serving: 286 calories; 9 g fat (9 g saturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat); 3 mg cholesterol; 568 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrate; 4.4 g fiber; 29 g protein; 7.3 mg niacin; 0.4 mg vitamin B6; 2.3 mcg vitamin B12; 4.6 mg iron; 18.2 mcg selenium; 6.2 mg zinc.

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



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Mar262015

Myths - Get the Facts

Published by Katie Sawyer at 10:33 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

We help more than 500 mother cows deliver baby calves every year. It’s not a quick or easy job but it’s what my husband loves to do and a part of farm life I’ve grown to enjoy.  Raising cattle is a big deal in our family and making sure those animals are safe and well taken care of is a top priority.

 

Lately the issue of antibiotics in livestock has dominated headlines. Many of the articles contain little accuracy and a lot of finger pointing. But if the authors were to look at the facts, they would see a different story. Here are few antibiotic myths, debunked:

 

Myth: All farms give antibiotics to all animals, all the time

Truth: Most farmers use antibiotics on a very limited basis. Some choose to never use antibiotics at all. On our farm, we practice limited and as-needed use of antibiotics. They are administered only to sick cows and calves as part of a well-rounded rehabilitation process. We have several other options for helping them regain their health so many times antibiotics aren’t even necessary.

 

Myth: Antibiotics given to animals is found in the meat humans consume

Fact: Farmers and veterinarians are required to log all uses of antibiotics and keep animals with antibiotics out of the food system. On our farm, any animal that is given a dose of antibiotics is tracked and kept out of the herd until the antibiotic has passed through their system. The United States Department of Agriculture checks beef for antibiotic reside, ensuring that the beef sold to consumers is safe and antibiotic free.

 

Myth: Antibiotics can be spread from animals to humans through soil and water run-off

Fact: Farms, like any business, are regulated by state and federal agencies. Run-off of water and soil is monitored and tracked and is never allowed to interact with water used for human consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency monitors all bodies of water and is notified if a potentially hazardous situation is occurring on or near a farm.

 

Myth: Animals and humans are prescribed the same antibiotics

Fact: About 75% of the antibiotics given to animals are never or rarely used in humans. There are different families of antibiotics – some are used primarily in humans while others are used mostly in livestock.

 

Myth: Farmers should never be allowed to use antibiotics in livestock

Fact: Farmers and ranchers are responsible for the health and livelihood of their animals. Removing antibiotics would deprive them of an important tool for helping their animals return to health. No rancher wants to watch a calf perish from a completely treatable disease. That’s not human animal care. Antibiotics have a place in responsible animal care.


 

For more information about cattle care or myths, get more information at http://factsaboutbeef.com/.



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Mar232015

What Happens at a Bull Sale

Published by Robin Kleine at 7:00 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk

Cattlemen attend cattle sales throughout the year. Here they spend time analyzing the animals, visiting with their friends who traveled from near and far to the sale and ultimately planning for future generations of cattle on their farms or ranches.

 

When beef producers like my family attend these sales, we want to purchase new animals that will help add value to our herds. These animals could have the potential to producer calves with lighter birth weights or heavier weaning weights, better structure or maternal strength, for example. Every operation wants to make some small improvement in the next generation of cattle born on their ranch.

 

What happens at a cattle sale?? Today, I’m taking you inside a cattle sale – Lee’s Cattle Co. 11th Annual Bull Sale held on March 18th, 2015.

 

First, the cattle are put into pens. Cattle sales can be held at the ranch, or another facility. This sale was held at a sale barn, where weekly auctions are held.

 

 

­­Second, the cattle are on display for the cattlemen to analyze and look at live and in the flesh, rather than the pictures and videos available prior to the sale.

 

 

 

 

Finally, it’s sale time! The ringmen (standing outside the sale ring) take bids from the crowd and tell the auctioneer when people are ready to buy a bull!

 

 

 

 

Below is a video of the action from the sale. Please note that at this specific sale, the cattle were shown on video, rather than being run through sale ring.

 https://instagram.com/p/0YaQdmMAGx/?taken-by=focusmarketinggroup

 

Welcome to the life of a cattlemen!

 

-Robin

 

 

 



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Mar162015

Bull Buying Basics

Published by Kiley DeDonder at 3:09 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition

Bull sales are in full swing, and my kitchen table is filled with all sorts of different sale catalogs, fliers and various promotions marketing different beef breeds. My family usually purchases several different bulls each year during the month of March. It is really important that we do our homework at home before we step foot in an auction or log in to an online sale.

There is so much to consider when our family looks at buying a new bull – expected progeny differences (EPDs) help to provide insight on the genetic potential of that animal, genomic data, rate of gain, genetic defects, previous history, etc. It can sometimes be difficult to navigate all the data in front of me. It is important to me that I know and understand the family behind the business I’m possibly buying a new animal from. We all know that it takes two-to-tango, but my family places a big focus on the selection of an outstanding bull to sire our calves that we raise.

 Key questions we ask ourselves before we buy an animal for our ranch are:

 

What values do they have? What guarantees do they offer on the bull after the sale is over? The big one though, is what our goals for our farm are this year, and will we have a market for the type of bull we are purchasing? It sounds a lot like what you might ask yourself before you buy a new pair of shoes. What do I know about the brand, what is their reputation? If something happens, what are the chances they will replace or help find a solution to my problem? Does this shoe coordinate with any of the clothes I have at home?

Why is bull selection important to our ranch?

Bull or sire selection, on average, has a greater impact on the genetic improvement of our cattle herd because the sire is more likely to produce a higher number of calves in his lifetime compared to a cow, a sire has the potential to contribute a larger portion of the genes to the herd.

Why is bull selection important to you?

Our goal is to raise nutritious and great tasting beef for families to enjoy for years to come. When the bull we purchase sires cattle that are able to efficiently perform on our ranch we raise healthy and quality cattle that are able to provide the great tasting and nutritious food that your family deserves!

Until next time,

Kiley

 



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Feb252015

Despite High Prices, Consumers Choose Beef for Its Value

Published by Kassie Curran at 10:04 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition

It’s not news that beef prices are on the rise, and with the global beef production expected to be down 1.4% in 2015 it makes those with a stake in the beef industry wonder if consumers will keep paying for beef. Of course poultry and pork are viable protein substitutes that are less expensive than beef and we know that consumers will consume a great deal more of these options than beef over the coming year. But there’s just something about beef that keeps consumers coming back, in fact we’ve actually seen an increase in beef demand.

A 2013 study found that 72% of consumers list beef as their top choice of protein – but why? Is it the savory taste, great nutrition, or does it just make you happy? According to the study, consumers believe the price of beef accurately reflects its value. Where do you find value in beef? Is it flavor, juiciness, tenderness, or versatility? What is it about beef that makes you keep coming back for more?

For me, beef serves as a high quality, nutrient dense protein source that not only tastes amazing, but can be used in many ways. Beef quality has been increasing over the years and we’ve actually seen more carcasses grading USDA Prime and Choice (which also makes it taste better too!). Nutritionally, beef is a superstar in my opinion. A 3-oz. serving of lean beef (find out which cuts are lean here) has less than 200 calories and still provides more than 10% of the Daily Value for nine essential nutrients including protein, zinc, B12, B6 and other B-complex vitamins, as well as selenium, phosphorus, and iron.

While it’s not hard to think of lots of ways to use ground beef – spaghetti, tacos, vegetable soup, and hamburgers are some of my favorites – thinking of other ways to use steak may not come as easy to you. I love preparing a steak for supper and then saving some to use on a salad for lunch the next day. Or I like to have steak with my eggs in the morning. There are all kinds of ways to get value out of beef just by its versatility! Check out some of the recipes shared on this blog to find more!

When you consider everything that beef has to offer, it’s actually a great deal! Share with us what makes you choose beef by commenting below. And I hope you choose beef for your next protein purchase.

Eat Beef,

Kassie



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Feb122015

Made to Be Mothers

Published by Katie Sawyer at 8:41 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

I have a love-hate relationship with winter. It’s my favorite season on our farm because it brings a new crop of baby calves and proud mother cows. But it also creates long, sleepless nights for my farmer hubby and the occasional sad news of a calf that just didn’t make it.

But as I soak up the joy that is new calves playing in our backyard, anti-animal-agriculture groups continue to criticize animal owners like my husband and I for breeding our cows each year. They consider it abuse for our animals to be continually pregnant and instead advocate for cattle to spend their days mindlessly munching on green grass and carrying a calf every few years.

 

But I disagree. Our cows are born to be mothers. Not just in the literal sense of reproductive organs and hormones, but in their behaviors and temperaments. It’s their genetic make up and natural calling to carry a calf.

 

Our cows deliver a calf each winter and nurse it through the spring and summer months. In late April and early June they are usually impregnated again. All the while receiving the proper feed and nutrition – which varies according to their stage of pregnancy. We work to ensure all of our cows get pregnant around the time same so that we know when to expect calves.

 

The mothers provide all of their calf’s nutritional needs. She protects it from wildlife and the weather and watch over it as it runs, plays, grows and explores.  Mothers lick their newborns warm and dry and clean a dirty behind with a quick pass of the tongue. Mother cows and calves communicate with moo’s and bellows and pair up each night and throughout the day for food and protection. It’s a relationship not unlike that of my son and I’s and as I hear for the mothers call to their calves at the end of each day I know that motherhood is in their DNA.

 

We treat our cows with respect and a gentle hand and they, in return, allow us to participate in raising their calves. A cow’s job is to raise calves. That is her mission and purpose in life. Cows allow us to grow our herd and continue our dream of handing this farm and way of life to our children. Motherhood is not abuse, it’s a continuing of the life cycle we all depend on for food and fuel and it’s what our cows love to do.



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Jan072015

Ancient Grains and Lean Beef: A Warming Combination

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 9:09 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

Ancient grains like farro are new to most Americans, but they have been around for over 2,000 years. Ancient grains are a delicious source of beneficial nutrients, and have a heartier texture and unique flavor. Pairing ancient grains with lean beef and warm veggies makes an easy and satisfying weeknight meal. 

LEARN TO LOVE

 

FARRO

  • Was once a staple in the ancient Roman diet, widely used in Italy

  • One cup provides 8 grams of cholesterol-lowering fiber and 7 grams of filling protein.

  • Use in place of rice, add to soups, make a grain based salad – see the recipe below for a warming farro dish 

AMARANTH

  • Prized grain of Aztec civilization

  • Integrity of outer layer causes the grain to “pop” when chewed

  • Nutty, malty, peppery flavor

  • Sprinkle on lean beef salads

     

    FREEKEH

  • Traced back to the Mediterranean region, a form of roasted/cracked wheat

  • High in protein and fiber; lower carbohydrate content

  • Smokey, nutty flavor

  • Use in salads, pilaf as a side to steak, or with beef stir-fry

 

KAMUT

  • First grown in Asia or Egypt

  • 20-40% more protein than modern wheat; high in B-vitamins

  • Sweet, nutty, buttery flavor

  • Serve in place of long grain brown rice and pair with lean beef

     

    QUINOA (pronounced “keen-wah”)

  • Grown in the Andes mountains of Bolivia, Chile and Peru

  • Comes in a variety of colors such as red, tan or purple

  • Earthy, nutty flavor

  • Serve as a side dish or add to chili and soups as a thickener

 

BEEF FILETS WITH ANCIENT GRAIN & KALE SALAD

The most tender of them all, the Filet, is served beside a salad of faro, kale, dried cranberries and almonds.

Total Recipe Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

INGREDIENTS 2 beef Tenderloin Steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 6 ounces each) 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided Salt 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided 1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth 1/2 cup pearlized farro 1 cup thinly sliced kale 1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries or cherries 2 tablespoons sliced almonds 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Combine 1 clove garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; press evenly onto beef steaks. Combine beef broth, farro, remaining 2 cloves garlic and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until most broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in kale and cranberries. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in almonds and lemon juice. Season with salt, as desired. Meanwhile, place steaks on rack in broiler pan so surface of steaks is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 13 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning once. Season steaks with salt. Serve with farro mixture.

 

2 beef Tenderloin Steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 6 ounces each)

1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided

Salt

3 cloves garlic, minced, divided

1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth

1/2 cup farro

1 cup thinly sliced kale

1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries or cherries

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BEEF FILETS WITH ANCIENT GRAIN & KALE SALAD

1.       Combine 1 clove garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; press evenly onto beef steaks.

2.       Combine beef broth, farro, remaining 2 cloves garlic and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until most broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in kale and cranberries. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in almonds and lemon juice. Season with salt, as desired.

3.       Meanwhile, place steaks on rack in broiler pan so surface of steaks is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 13 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning once.

4.       Season steaks with salt. Serve with farro mixture.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION FOR BEEF FILETS WITH ANCIENT GRAIN & KALE SALAD

per serving: 550 calories; 14 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 6 g monounsaturated fat); 110 mg cholesterol; 682 mg sodium; 59 g carbohydrate; 10 g fiber; 47 g protein; 15.1 mg niacin; 1.1 mg vitamin B6; 2.0 mcg vitamin B12; 4.5 mg iron; 62.1 mcg selenium; 8.2 mg zinc; 161.8 mg choline.

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



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Dec122014

Success (and Failure) in Holiday Season Cuisine

Published by Heath Larson at 8:29 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Recipe

My family, like most from the area where I grew up, has Swedish ancestry.  From thanksgiving to Christmas each year, it was a sure bet that any holiday gathering would feature traditional Swedish food.  Having Swedish food during the holidays is a classic tradition for us:   No one really knows why we do it, and no one knows why it started, but everyone looks forward to it.  So a few years back, I began making my first attempts at contributing to the tradition.  Keyword:  attempts.

 

On a work trip to Stockholm, I eagerly began asking where to find some great traditional Swedish cuisine, and was quickly told "Oh, we only eat that food at Christmas."  Wow!  I guess our holiday tradition was more rooted in our home country than we thought!  While not a fan of herring, I knew it would pack easily for the trip home, and began asking where to find it. 

 

Swede:  "Do you mean sour herring?

Me:  "Uh, we call it pickled herring back home, but yes...I think so."

Swede:  "You'll have to ask the butcher for it, he won't have it out up front, but he will have some in back."

Me:  "Great!"  (Thinking this must be the "good stuff" if they keep it behind the counter.)

 

The butcher gave several serious instructions, including opening the can outside and underwater to avoid making the whole house smell like a fish.  This seemed odd to me, but hey, it's tradition, right?  At Christmas, I took the can outside, and opened it.  A geyser of fish juice shot up my arm and into the air.  And we were instantly overpowered by the smell of at least a truckload of rotten fish.  Not quite what I expected when he said "sour" herring!  The herring never made it to the house, let alone onto anyone's plate.  But it did take me a week to scrub the smell off of me.  Maybe we aren't as Swedish as I thought...

 

However, this year, I made my first attempt at my all time favorite:  Swedish meatballs.  And during my first attempt, they got rave reviews.  A little beef/pork mixture, some spices, some gravy, and a bit of time were all that it took to create these, and between the kids and the adults, they were gone in nothing flat!  Plus, we were able to cook and eat them INSIDE the house!  Maybe I can contribute something useful to this tradition after all...

 

The recipe is below.  Have fun with whatever holiday tradition you are cooking up in the kitchen this year...just stay away from the sour herring!

 

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chef-johns-swedish-meatballs/

 

Notes: 

Make the meatballs smaller than called for.

Ours cooked for about 20 minutes in the oven, but that would change with size.

We used regular sausage for the pork.

Omitted cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

Doubled the amount of flour in the gravy.

 

Serve with mashed potatoes (using leftover meatball gravy) and lingonberry preserves.



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Dec042014

Beef: Handled With Care

Published by Kassie Curran at 1:55 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

As I have shared before, the beef business is a family business for me and my family. As much as we treat our family members with care and respect, we have a similar sense of care and respect towards our cattle. Last week, when I was at home I was reminded of the importance of the care and respect that we must give our animals and its presence in the family business.

 

My brother was already over at my uncle’s ranch working so my dad, two other siblings, and I decided to go over and see what they were doing. As we were getting ready to leave the house I told my sister she didn’t need to wear her work boots since we were just going over to take pictures of my brother for his FFA record book.

I should have known we would end up working!

Not five minutes after we had arrived and taken a few pictures, each of us had assumed a job in the process of working the calves that had recently arrived at the ranch before they were turned out to pasture. One brother was checking to see if the calves needed castrated, doing so when needed, and keeping record of the weights. The other brother helped him by holding the tail out of his face and helped with branding. My sister and my dad gave shots and tagged the calves while I sorted and moved the cattle through the pens and up the alley for their turn to be processed. It was a beautiful fall day that I enjoyed spending outside with the cattle and my family. It also reminded me how much I love being a part of the beef industry that is so family-oriented. The lessons in responsibility and respect are two of the most important to me when I think about all that I’ve learned growing up with cattle.

Providing animals a comfortable environment and treating them with respect takes a lot of responsibility. This is something that is always on my mind when I’m working with cattle, because I know that they will be healthier and perform to their potential when they are treated well. In my experience this is how other beef cattle ranchers treat their animals too, which gives me confidence in the U.S. beef supply.

 

If you’re thinking about a protein for the center of the plate for your family this holiday season, I hope you choose beef and feel confident that beef producers have used care and respect for the beef that feeds our families and yours!

 

Eat Beef and Happy Holidays!

Kassie Curran



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Oct082014

Planning for the Next Generation

Published by Katie Sawyer at 8:59 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

My 18-month-old son has an affinity for all things cows. I’m guessing this admiration is due to the fact that everything he owns and wears has either cows or tractors on it. He is a farm kid for sure.

 

Still in his Halloween pajamas, my son and a young steer greet one another.

 

Now that he is old enough to not only make the cow sound but recognize and locate cows, there is nothing better than seeing him gaze lovingly at a group of cows and calves and run, with open arms, after a group of steers hoping one of them will decide to befriend him.

 

While I must admit the farm dogs and cats receive the same level of excitement and attention, the cattle are different. They are our livelihood, my husband’s past and hopefully our son’s future and watching my son enjoy them the way I know my husband does makes my heart swell.

 

We care for our animals all day, every day because they are our business - our means to putting food on the table, gas in the truck and money in the bank. And we want to see that business continue to the next generation. We are the fourth generation to own my husband’s family farm but we do not want to be the last.

 

As we bring mother cows and their calves home from a summer of grazing in the Flint Hills, my husband recalls doing the same when he was a boy and recounts the lineage of his cows. He vaccinates and cares for the animals alongside his father and I know he cherishes the day a third generation joins the work.

 

As I watch my son clap with glee at seeing the cows, I pray that he will someday witness the same joy in his children’s eyes. Farming and ranching is a family affair but it takes time, energy and dedication to the land and the animals to ensure the next generation has an opportunity to operate the family farm. We feed, care for and tend to our animals daily to not only ensure our way of life, but to sustain this opportunity for our children to enjoy.



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