Sunday, December 31, 2017

Good Snacking from the Family Recipe File



Happy New Year!

Well, almost. In these few hours left to 2017, I plan on packing away the holiday decorations and getting my calendar all ready for the next 12 months. Then I’ll be celebrating the New Year with friends at a local bowling alley, unless the sub-zero temps cause us to hibernate at home with plenty of snacks and beverages as we watch a good movie and the ball drop at midnight.

How do you like to celebrate the start of a new year? If having people over is in your plans, then you’ll want to try out this Good Snacking recipe from my maternal grandmother, Mamaw’s, recipe file. She actually named the recipe “Good Snacking” and noted on the card it is “Delicious!!” It’s a recipe she got from a friend around 1960 and has been in my family ever since. My mom makes it each year to give away at Christmas, and I always request a huge bag full of the crunchy, tasty stuff!

When you first look at this recipe, you’ll think it’s Chex Mix. While it’s similar to the original recipe, the seasonings are different enough to give it a unique taste. And, trust me, it is way better than anything out of a bag!

This is the perfect snack for any gathering, be it ringing in the New Year, cheering on your favorite football and basketball teams, or watching the upcoming Winter Olympics in February.

How do you plan to celebrate the start of 2018? I’d love to hear your plans in the comment section!

Happy New Year!

Good Snacking Mix

5 cups Corn Chex
4 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
3 cups Cheerios
2 cans low-salt mixed nuts (the short, fat cans)
Bite-sized pretzels (Mom uses the pretzel sticks)
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the cereals, nuts and pretzels into a large roasting pan. (The foil kind used to roast a turkey works great.)


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Melt the butter in a sauce pan or in the microwave. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to blend. Pour the butter mixture over the cereal mixture in the roasting pan and toss to coat all the cereal and nuts. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring the mixture frequently, about every 10 to 15 minutes.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer and White Russian



I shared these recipes on social media Thanksgiving weekend, but I loved them both so much I wanted to post them here.

Homemade pumpkin spice creamer is a snap to make and tastes a thousand times better than the store-bought kind. It has real pumpkin and tasty spices from Moburts, my local spice shop.

The recipe for Pumpkin Spice White Russian was inspired by a visit to Wheat State Distilling in Wichita on the #KSCornTour this fall. I think even the Big Lebowski would approve!


Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer

1 pint half and half
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Mix first 4 ingredients together in a bowl. Microwave at 30-second intervals for 1 to 3 minutes until heated through and blended. Mix in the remaining ingredients, place in a jar and shake to make sure it is well blended. Store in fridge.


Pumpkin Spice White Russian

1 shot Wheat State Distilling Wheat Vodka
1 shot coffee liquor
1 to 2 shots pumpkin spice coffee creamer

Pour all of the ingredients into a rock or highball glass over ice. Stir to combine. Can also be made in larger quantities in a pitcher to serve at a holiday gathering.



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Friday, November 10, 2017

Pork Burgers Inspired by #realpigfarming Tour


To me, pork seems to be the neglected protein of the food world.  Outside of bacon, you don’t see a lot of recipes floating around the Internet utilizing this tasty ingredient. That’s a shame because many of the dishes you use featuring chicken would work just as well with pork. The same goes with beef.

I was just as guilty of neglecting pork in my kitchen—bacon exclude. I always have bacon on hand for recipes or meals. But unless I’m fixing something specific to pork—namely pork chops—I forget all about this meat category.


My bad.

I became inspired to correct that error while on the #realpigfarming tour last month. I traveled with other bloggers, dietitians, and pig farmers.

 


Our first stop was Chicago, where we learned all about the Downtown Marriott Magnificent Mile’s rooftop garden and bee hives. As cool as that was, I was most impressed by the bacon and sausage I had with breakfast, both made in house. The sausage was the best I’ve ever had, and the bacon tasted unlike any you would find in the grocery store.











The next day, we ventured to Indiana and Fair Oaks Farm. Imagine a family-friendly amusement park, but instead of crazy rides, you get to learn all about today’s modern farm. 












I loved how this place allows kids (and adults) to learn all about where their food comes from. I even saw the birth of a calf! And on their pig farm, I learned all about how that lovely pork gets from the farm to my table.




However, for me, he best part of the trip was chatting with the pig farmers.





Kaden and Emily Roush own R Family Farms in Lebanon, Kansas. They have a small operation specializing in Berkshire hogs, which they raise for restaurants and to sell directly to consumers. As their website says, “Today, R Family Farms’ vision is seeded with the desire to educate consumers about where their food comes from, and at the same timed, offer a culinary experience often only reserved for world class dining experiences.”





Michael and Christy Springer own Springer Family Foods, a much larger hog operation near Independence, Kansas. They currently sell approximately 80,000 pigs each year. The operation not only supports the Springer family, but also the families of their 30 full-time employees.

On the trip, these farmers were available to teach us about their lives and how their farms are operated. They answered questions and helped us non-farmers understand how things work and why.

They are passionate about pig farming and want people to know the facts.

Also on the trip, I started to wonder why we don’t use ground pork more often, as we do hamburger and ground turkey. I got tips from the farmers, who as you can imagine, eat pork burgers a lot. I also searched the Internet for ideas, and Fair Oaks Farm had some recipe options.

This recipe is just a general one to get you started. You can add your favorite pork flavorings or toppings to make the burger fit your taste. I fried up the burgers in my cast iron skillet, but you could also cook them on the grill.



Unfortunately, dinnertime now arrives during dark hours, so the lighting for this photo wasn't the greatest.

I liked barbecue sauce and American cheese on my burger. Next time I’d like to add garlic and rosemary to the mix, which I also use in a pork roast recipe. Or I may mix in a little creole seasoning or my BBQ rub to give the burgers a kick.

#RealPigFarming Pork Burgers

Serves 4

1 pound ground pork
5 slices bacon, finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoons dried sage
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together—but don’t over mix. Make into 4 patties about 1-inch thick.  

Preheat your skillet or grill. Cook the patties for 5 minutes on each side (10 minutes total) or until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.



Disclaimer: This post and the #realpigfarming tour are sponsored by the Kansas Pork Association and the Kansas Soybean Commission, who paid for all of my travel expenses and compensated me for this post. However, my writings, views, opinions, thoughts, and cravings are entirely my own.  







Monday, October 30, 2017

Public at the Brickyard’s Corn Chowder on the #KSCornTour



A couple of weeks ago I told you about my adventures on the #KSCornTour. But, you know me, what I remembered the most was the food. We ate a lot. I mean A LOT!!! And most of the dishes featured corn—of course!

On our last evening in Wichita, we ate at Public at the Brickyard in the city’s Old Town area. Located on one of the many brick roads in this area, the restaurant was a cozy, warm place to enjoy a meal. They scope out local farmers and beer vendors to bring their efforts to Public customers.


We met up with some Kansas corn farmers to talk about their lives and agriculture in the state, and what they see for the future. It was a fun and informative evening.




The Public folks had a variety of their pizzas on the long table when we arrived. I really liked the Margherita and this Matterhorn, with prosciutto, mozzarella, fontina, and sweet tomato marmalade with fresh arugula on honey wheat dough.






But what I remembered the most was the Corn Chowder. Rich, creamy, slightly sweet, and a little smoky from the roasted corn.

How good was the soup?




I ate the whole bowl before remembering to take a photo.

I considered licking the bowl clean but I try to save that behavior for home.

Before leaving town, I went back to the restaurant and begged asked for the recipe.

Fortunately, they were willing to share…and let me share with you.






The homemade version tasted just as amazing as the restaurant one. With the arrival of autumn’s chill, this is a comforting way to warm up and would be the perfect start to a holiday meal.








Public at the Brickyard’s Corn Chowder
Reprinted with permission

Ingredients:
8 ears of corn, roasted
2 yellow onions, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 cup chicken stock
2 pints heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Roast corn and cut corn off the cob. (Or used frozen corn—see note below.)
  2. In pan, heat vegetable oil and heat onion and garlic. Deglaze with red wine vinegar. Reduce for two minutes. Add chicken stock, sugar, cobs and half of corn.
  3. Simmer 30 minutes and remove cobs.
  4. Puree mixture with electric blender and return to pan. (Be careful not to fill blender too full so you don’t spray hot molten liquid out of the top.) Add heavy cream and remaining corn to pan.
  5. Simmer 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Since fresh corn season was over when I made this, I used frozen corn kernels. There is approximately 3/4 cup of kernels on every ear of corn so you can use approximately 7 cups of kernels for this dish. To roast them, I put the kernels into the pan with the vegetable oil and sautéed them until they started to brown. Then I added the onion and garlic to sauté until tender.

Note 2: I’ve made this in a slow cooker. I placed the frozen corn kernels, diced onion, garlic, and chicken broth into the slow cooker, set on low, and let cook for 8 hours. Remove about half of the corn kernels, and then blend the rest until smooth. Add back the kernels, and the remaining ingredients. Allow to continue cooking until the soup is hot.




Disclaimer: This post and the #KSCornTour are sponsored by Kansas Corn, which is a collaboration of the Kansas Corn Growers Association and the Kansas Corn Commission. They paid for all of my travel expenses and compensated me for this post. However, my writings, views, opinions, thoughts, and cravings are entirely my own.