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Friday, February 21, 2014

Hormones in Beef

{Beef} Facts Friday: Hormones in Beef

Did you know that there are hormones in the plant and animal material we consume?  Regardless of whether it is organic or conventionally produced, humans today consume hormones on a daily basis.  That cabbage you had last night in coleslaw?  You bet.  The chicken in your burrito from Chipotle today for lunch?  Definitely.  And the steak you plan on grilling tomorrow night?  For sure.

Many consumers have been frightened by the fact that people eat hormones, and typically feel safer when a company advertises that their products are "hormone free."  This is false advertising at it's best because no food is without hormones.  Also, when I was teaching high school agriculture, I often had students share with me that they didn't eat this or that because they didn't want to eat chicken that was pumped with hormones.  Chicken and pork producers in the US are not permitted to use hormones in their production practices.  It is an illegal practice.

In an effort to keep today's Beef Fact Friday short, I will refer you to this short article written at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln for additional information.  In closing, you can feel safe eating the food you do!  Remember, get the facts before you help spread rumors that are based on scaring consumers into making food choices based on false information!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Name that Beef Cut

{Beef} Facts Friday: Name that beef cut

Want to know where your favorite cut of steak or roast comes from?  Check out this fun article from Food Beast that my sister passed along.  It's a fun read, and even better, educational!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Chowder

This is the recipe that was demonstrated at the recent Pampered Chef Party I hosted in January.  It is super easy to make and doesn't take more than 30 minutes start-to-finish since you make it using the microwave.  I mention a few Pampered Chef tools in the directions but you don't need them to make this recipe.  This filling, quick chowder is perfect on a cold night to warm your family up in a hurry!

Whatcha Making Wednesday: Loaded Baked Potato Chowder
Recipe courtesy of Pampered Chef

Ingredients

  • 3 large baking potatoes (roughly 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 1/2 cups milk, divided
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (you can omit this if you want to make a lighter version)
  • 2 T butter
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (4 ounces give or take...we did way more!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (I added this amount but think it needs a little more next time I make it)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Optional toppings: chopped bacon, sour cream

Directions
  1. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise.  Place in a microwave safe dish that has a lid (you can use the Deep Covered Baker or Rock and Crok here if you have them).  Pour 1/2 cup milk over potatoes.  Microwave on HIGH for 11 minutes and test potatoes for doneness by sticking them with a fork!  If they need more time, rotate potatoes from top to bottom, or outside of dish to inside and cook on HIGH another 8-11 minutes.  Coarsely mash potatoes (with the Mix'N chop if you have it).
  2. Whisk cream cheese until smooth.  Add remaining 3 cups milk whisking until smooth.  Add mixture to potatoes.  Microwave on HIGH 3-5 minutes or until hot.  
  3. Remove from microwave.  Ladle chowder into bowls and top with green onion, chopped bacon and shredded cheese.
Note: I cooked one pound of bacon in the oven (375 for 40 minutes for crispy bacon) two days before I made this recipe and then used the bacon in three different meals - twice for breakfast and then this dinner meal.  Now that I have two children and have found that the dinner hour can be uber stressful so I try to cook once and then use that material several times if possible.  Case in point - the bacon for this recipe.  I also do this often with ground beef.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Katherine is 7-no-8 months!

2013 came and went without a hitch, except for posting my sweet little daughter's memorable milestones at 7 months.  It's a good thing there are no rules to blogging because as soon as I make a decision in  my head about posting more, seasons like the holidays come and go and I essentially stop blogging for several weeks. Enough on that though and onto the subject of today's post.



Miss Katherine Beth has recently gone through a growth spurt and while I don't know her actual weight and length statistics, she seems to be growing longer and longer.  She is still one of the sweetest, most laid back babies I have ever known and I love watching HB dote on her.  She finds her big brother absolutely hilarious and now giggles and snorts and growls at him across the dinner table and often when she is in the swing.  He loves to run around in front of her which just tickles Miss K to no end.



She is finally able to hold herself up sitting and really enjoys the exer-saucer (pictured above).  She is just now starting to push herself in circles - well, no circles yet, but little pushes nonetheless.  She is eating Cheerios in this picture, thanks to HB.  He just gave them to her like it was no big deal.  Sometimes I wonder what other snacks he might have passed along to her when I wasn't noticing.  She has her two center bottom teeth and overall she is a great eater; she loves most all purees and is cute as a button when she smacks her lips like she is actually chewing.  I provide plenty of "real" food in addition to the purees so she can practice feeding herself and experience different textures.  She really loves chewing on a piece of steak, she loves avocado and really enjoys noodles and veggies from the various soups she has tried.


When we take Katherine outside she growls like crazy with excitement.  She loves when the leaves rustle and is absolutely mesmerized by any type of animal - you can see my dog is also quite infatuated with her (or the snack in her hand) in the picture above.  My dog would love to lick her face all day long but thankfully I run interference on that.  Just the other day Katherine got an awesome hold on Johnnie Reb's ear and was ready to put it in her mouth to investigate this object a little further when I promptly removed it.  Johnnie Reb didn't seem to notice or mind one bit.

She can't believe she is 8-months either!

Katherine sleeps like a champ at night but leaves a little to be desired during daytime napping.  She goes to bed at 6:30pm or a little after and wakes around 6am, give or take.  She has been known to sleep in until 7am a time or two!  She takes a short morning nap and then a nice afternoon nap at the same time as HB.  This afternoon nap time with both of them going down at the same time is my favorite time of day, lol!


I am already getting a little sentimental about her first birthday coming up although we still have another four months.  I am really, really enjoying this stage with both of my kids and am grateful for new chances each day to snuggle my children and show them how much I love them.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beefy-Cheesy-Au Gratin potato casserole

Disclaimer: A relative dropped this super yummy casserole by when we were adjusting to life after bringing Katherine home from the hospital.  I am making it tonight for the first time but I promise you won't be disappointed!  It's easy to assemble and would be great for a quick, protein packed weeknight meal.

Beefy-Cheesy-Au Gratin potato Casserole
Whatcha Making Wednesdays

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 box Au Gratin potatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
Directions
  1. Brown hamburger.  You can add diced onions if you want.  Drain fat.  Add salt and pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon of oregano.
  2. Sprinkle potatoes in bottom of a 2-quart baking dish, or a 9x13 pan.
  3. Sprinkle cheese that came with potatoes over the bottom layer.
  4. Distribute ground beef and then tomatoes over the pan.
  5. Add 1 can of water over top.
  6. Sprinkle cheese.
  7. Cook uncovered for 25 minutes at 425 degrees.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Changing brands

My sweet husband has been more than helpful around the house lately.  Be it a "honey do" project such as hanging up shelves or washing dishes after dinner, he has totally stepped up his game.  To be honest, I had to ask him if he felt like I wasn't doing enough and that's why he felt he had to step in.  Exactly the opposite.  He said he felt like I had more than enough to do and he felt he could lighten my load by helping out.  I know I 'm bragging, but I am so grateful for my husband and the ways he shows me he cares.  These small tasks mean a lot since one of my primary love languages is acts of service.

This brings me to a recent night of washing dishes that gave us both a good belly laugh.  I am not a loyal buyer of any one brand of dish washing detergent; I typically buy the brand that is on sale at Costco be it the name brand or Kirkland.  The last mega pack we had contained little gel packs where all you  had to do was pop one in the dishwasher and turn it on.  I bought a new mega pack of a different brand the key change being that the new packets were wrapped individually so you need to unwrap each one before throwing it in the dishwasher. Hubby thought this difference was inconsequential.  I hope I used that word right.

After said night of dish washing I open the door to unload our warm dishes and find that the little silver packet of soap is still sitting in the bottom of the dishwasher.  Totally unaffected by the high temperature and streaming water that apparently were solely responsible for cleaning our dishes.  I point this out, we both have a good laugh, and go about our business.  The funny part?  He did the same exact thing a few weeks later claiming he forgot once again.  Cue really good belly laugh.

I love that man.  I really do:)  Especially when he does the dishes and makes me laugh really hard.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013