Wednesday, November 1, 2017

3 Things I've Learned This Harvest

It is the first of November and this is when I always talk about Comments for a Cause.  Last month I shared about the organization Farm Rescue, which provides labor and equipment to farmers in need.  And since my life has revolved around harvesting our own corn and soybeans this last month, I've decided to continue supporting Farm Rescue again this month by donating $0.50 for every comment made in November on my blog, along with October's 43 comments.

We hopefully, knock on wood, have just a couple more weeks left of harvest and then hope to finish all of our field work by Thanksgiving.  But over the last month, I learned a few things this year:

#1 Always Take Care of Yourself

3 Things I've Learned This Harvest - Always Take Care of Yourself

You know the saying when you're on an airplane that "in the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others"?  Well, the same goes for the hustle and bustle and excitement of harvest.

A couple weeks ago I started to not feel well while out in the field doing what I love, driving tractor.  But I carried on, taking breaks whenever I was ahead of the combine.  Well, I ended up pushing myself too much and ended up needing to get help from my doctor because my body couldn't catch up.  Rather than being out for just a couple days for the flu, I ended up being out of the field for a week.

Sometimes being a Mom I feel like I can, or that I should, be doing everything, and as a Farmer, there is a crunch time during harvest where I don't want to slow down.  Well, I learned the hard way that I can't do it all, and this is the first big take away I'll remember from this harvest.

#2 Instagram Stories Are So Much Fun!


So I never got into Snapchat because I never really understood it.  But this fall I have fallen in love with Instagram Stories.  Between sharing little videos, or fun photos with the kids, or happenings out in the field, I've really enjoyed making my own stories and checking out other people's stories.  Instagram Stories have been great to engage with my followers and I love the authenticity of the Stories feature.  If you don't follow me on Instagram yet be sure to follow me and check out my Stories (like the one from earlier today posted above).  You can find me at plaggeval.

#3 The Tractor is the Best Place to be in the Fall

3 Things I've Learned This Harvest

Simply put, there is no place I'd rather spend my days in the fall, then behind the wheel of a tractor, helping bring in our corn and soybean harvest.  Driving a tractor has been something I just simply have loved since I first learned when I was 10 years old.  Maybe it is the cool factor of driving a big piece of equipment, or the inclusion aspect of being a part of my family's harvest crew, or the excitement of bringing in the "fruits of labor" from the past year.  Whatever the reason, out in the field is my favorite place to be.  I've had a great time over the last month helping with the harvest and look forward to our last couple of weeks.

What questions do you have about my family's corn and soybean harvest?  Remember to Comment for a Cause and help out Farm Rescue, who is helping farmers in need harvest during this time of year.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

33 for my 33rd

Today I turned 33 years old and I have to say 33 feels pretty good.  I have been married for almost 10 years to my best friend and have four healthy, growing children who give me constant entertainment and love.  My Farmer and I continue to grow our farming operation and have even been recognized for some of our accomplishments.  I feel comfortable where I am in life and at the same time am inspired to do more, do better and help others.

And that is how come, to celebrate my 33rd birthday, I'm vowing to help others and give back through 33 random (and not so random) acts of kindness.  I already have ideas written down and am going to put my plan in action tonight when I run to town to go on a parts run (because when it's your birthday during harvest, you take any excuse to run to town to treat yourself for supper. 😉)

Celebrating my 33rd Birthday through 33 Random (and not so Random) Acts of Kindness

So now this is where you come in to help:  First, please comment below with any random (or not so random) acts of kindness ideas.  If you know someone in particular that could use some encouragement, feel free to reach out to me, as I would love to help that person through you or anonymously.  Secondly, reach out to someone and perform a random act of kindness yourself.  When we help others we not only uplift them, but make our own hearts full too.

I can't wait to hear your suggestions, as well as learn how you paid it forward!  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

FFA: I Can. We Will.

The National FFA Convention officially starts tomorrow!  This was such a fun experience that I luckily got to experience twice while in high school.  It was at National FFA Convention that I first thought about agriculture beyond the corn and soybean fields of Iowa. 

FFA: I Can. We Will. Looking at this year's Convention Theme from the eye's of an Alumni
Attending FFA Convention in 2002 (I'm on the far left)
In recognition of this year's convention I wrote a post over at Blue Corduroy about this year's theme "I Can. We Will."  This was my first time writing a piece for this media outlet that shares everything about FFA, a youth organization that builds leadership skills, personal growth and career success in agriculture.

Be sure to check it out!  FFA: I Can. We Will

Were you in FFA?  Have you ever attending National FFA Convention?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Friday, October 6, 2017

23 Family Favorite Apple Recipes

Over the last couple of weeks on my blog I have been all about apples.  Apples are such a great fruit that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, and while nothing beats picking a fresh apple in the fall, I love that they are essentially available all year long in the grocery store and have a wide period of time for harvest in the United States.  Because apples are so versatile, they are a family favorite of ours, and the reason why nearly 120 recipes were shared on the Celebrate 365 All Things Apple Blog Party!

Today I'm sharing with you a handful of recipes linked on the blog party that are perfect for feeding a crowd and will soon become favorites for you and your family!

23 Family Favorite Apple Recipes - Breakfast, Snacks, Savory and Sweet #Celebrate365

Apple Breakfasts

Apple Oatmeal Muffins, A Day in the Life on the Farm
Apple Cinnamon Donuts, Vickie's Kitchen and Garden
Apple Pie Bread, Sew You Think You Can Cook
Upside Down Apple Bacon Pancake, Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats
Oatmeal Crusted Apple Stuffed French Toast, Jolene's Recipe Journal
Apple Coffee Cake, Bear & Bug Eats
Apple Crunch Muffins, Flint & Co.

23 Family Favorite Apple Recipes - Apple Breakfasts #Celebrate365

Apple Snacks

1 Minute Caramel Apple Dip, Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Applesauce, My Fearless Kitchen
Homemade Caramel Apples, House of Nash
Fast and Easy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip, Cooking with Carlee
Apple Nachos, Simple and Savory

23 Family Favorite Apple Recipes - Apple Snacks #Celebrate365

Savory Apple Dishes

Savory Apple Bacon Pizza, Cooking with Carlee
Molasses-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops with Apple Butter, Sew You Think You Can Cook
Harvest Brats with Apple Slaw, Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apple, House of Nash
Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon, Feeding Big
Apple BBQ Meatballs, Tip Garden

23 Family Favorite Apple Recipes - Savory Apple Dishes #Celebrate365

Sweet Apple Treats

Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars, Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats
Skillet Apple Crisp, The Frugal Pantry
Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie, Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
Mom's Apple Cake, Books-n-Cooks
Glazed Apple Pie Cookies, House of Nash

23 Family Favorite Apple Recipes - Sweet Apple Treats #Celebrate365

Be sure to get check out the almost 100 other recipes on the All Things Apple Celebrate 365 Blog Party and get inspired to cook and bake with apples this fall.  Which recipes are you excited to check out?  What is your favorite apple dish?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

23 Family Favorite Apple Recipes - Breakfast, Snacks, Savory and Sweet #Celebrate365

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Comments for a Cause - Farm Rescue

Comments for a Cause - Farm Rescue
It's October 1st and time to talk Comments for a Cause!  To start off, thank you to everyone who took time to comment last month in support of the Houston Food Bank Harvey Disaster Relief fund.  During September I had a total of 141 comments, creating a donation of $70.50 to help those affected by the hurricane, both short term, as the food bank provides food and supplies to those distressed, and in the long term, as they continue to help residents as they rebuild their lives.

In the month of October I'm proud to be supporting Farm Rescue.  I will donate $0.50 for every comment made on my blog to help their efforts provide assistance to farm families in need.

Comments for a Cause - Farm Rescue

Last year around this time, as I was busy myself with harvest, I saw a fleet of harvesting equipment drive down the highway with Farm Rescue, written along the sides.  It made me curious and after a quick google search I found out that the organization, Farm Rescue, was helping a local farmer outside of Clarksville, Iowa, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease a couple month's prior, harvest his corn and soybeans.

Farm Rescue is a North Dakota based nonprofit organization that helps farmers in need by providing labor and equipment.  For the Clarksville farmer, his disease had progressed enough he knew he couldn't harvest his crop alone, so him and his wife sought assistance from Farm Rescue.  Since the group's inception in 2006 they have assisted nearly 400 farm families that have experienced severe illness, injury or natural disaster.  Farm Rescue helps with planting, harvesting and haying assistance.

When someone in the farming community is in need, neighbors come to help, and I'm proud to help out this organization that is helping out their neighbors in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana.

So help me this month by commenting all month long to provide help for the Farm Rescue volunteer workforce, as well as fuel for vehicles and machinery.  How can you help your neighbor?  Remember to Comment for a Cause.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie #AppleWeek


This Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie will have your mouth watering as soon as you first look at it.  With a crunchy outside and soft, gooey middle, just like a cinnamon roll, this pie is a fun and creative spin on a traditional apple pie.

Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie - crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle just like a cinnamon rolls, this apple pie takes a creative spin by using cinnamon rolls as the crust #AppleWeek

It's Day 4 of #AppleWeek and I hope you have had fun checking out the over 100 recipes shared!  I couldn't go this week without sharing a pie recipe.  I know for me, when I think apples, one of the first things I think of is an apple pie.  Now you really can't go wrong with a classic apple pie like I've shared in the past, but the apple pie is something fun to experiment with, and with the beautiful Pyrex Watercolor Collection pie plate, you just have to do something innovative in it.

Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie - crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle just like a cinnamon rolls, this apple pie takes a creative spin by using cinnamon rolls as the crust #AppleWeek

My twist on apple pie is using cinnamon rolls as the pie crust!  I originally saw this idea on Pinterest literately five years ago but had never tried it til this year.  The original idea included making cinnamon rolls to then press into a crust for a sweet potato pie, but since I've never had a sweet potato pie and I wasn't going to go through the work of making cinnamon rolls to just then press into a pie, I used a tube of refrigerated cinnamon rolls!  The cinnamon roll is the perfect compliment to the apple pie and I hope you enjoy this tasty combination.

Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie - crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle just like a cinnamon rolls, this apple pie takes a creative spin by using cinnamon rolls as the crust #AppleWeek

Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie

1 - 8 pack refrigerated Cinnamon Roll tube, generic brand
4 Rainier Honeycrisp Apples
1 Lemon
3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon, ground

Topping:
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground

Press the refrigerated cinnamon rolls into your Pyrex pie plate, making sure to seal all edges.  I recommend using the generic brand of cinnamon rolls, as they are actual cinnamon rolls, and not biscuits with cinnamon sugar disks.

Then cut your apples into even slices.  *Chef's note - I use my apple slicer and corer to cut the apples in eight, then skin the apple, and then slice each eighth in half, creating sixteen slices per apple.*

Put 3/4 cup sugar in a bowl and perfume the sugar with the zest of a lemon (this is a trick I learned from my friend Cristen of Food & Swine).  Add 1/4 cup flour and 2 tsp cinnamon and mix.  Toss the sliced apples with 1/2 of a lemon's juice and then toss in the sugar mixture.  Pour apple mixture into cinnamon roll pie crust.

In a separate bowl mix the butter, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon to make a crumble topping.  Sprinkle the crumbles on top of the pie.

Bake at 350°F for 45-60 minutes, or until the inside filling is bubbly and the crust browned.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes and then use icing from cinnamon rolls and drizzle on top of pie.

Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie - crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle just like a cinnamon rolls, this apple pie takes a creative spin by using cinnamon rolls as the crust #AppleWeek

Impress your family and friends with this fun dessert that brings together two sweet favorites - cinnamon rolls and apple pie!  How do you like to eat your apple pie?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Be sure to sign up for the #AppleWeek Giveaway and check out the other great recipes being shared today below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A collection of over 100 apple recipes #AppleWeek

Appelflappen from Palatable Pastime
Apple Butter Cream Cheese Spread from Tip Garden
Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie from Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids
Apple Cranberry Galettes with Caramel Drizzle from Family Around the Table
Apple Oat Quick Bread with Caramel Sauce from The Chef Next Door
Apple Yeast Coffee Cake from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Easiest Ever Applesauce from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Grilled Apple Butter Pork Tenderloin from Books n' Cooks
Grilled Veggie Tacos with Apple Pico de Gallo from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Honeycrisp and Gouda Grilled Cheese from The Redhead Baker
Italian Apple and Fig Polenta Torta from All That's Jas
Molasses-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops with Apple Butter from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Apples from House of Nash Eats
Roasted Pork with Apple Puree from Simple and Savory
Savory Apple Bacon Pizza from Cooking With Carlee
Slow Cooker Honey Apple Pork Roast From Amy's Cooking Adventures
Apple Cinnamon Roll Pie - crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle just like a cinnamon rolls, this apple pie takes a creative spin by using cinnamon rolls as the crust #AppleWeek

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Apple Bacon Jam #AppleWeek


Apple and pork are the perfect companions, so why not pair them together with one of my favorite pork products - BACON!  This Apple Bacon Jam is a great condiment to keep on hand.  It can amplify your favorite burger or your grilled cheese sandwich, or it can be a stand alone appetizer on top of some crackers or bread.

Apple Bacon Jam - the perfect savory, sweet jam to put on top of anything and everything! Burgers, Grilled Cheese, Bread, Pancakes and more! #AppleWeek

It's Day 2 of #Apple Week and I had to share another recipe today because it is Johnny Appleseed's Birthday!  How perfect is that!  I thought it would also be a perfect day to share a recipe that highlighted the delicious Honeycrisp Apples I received from Rainier Fruit.  Honeycrisp apples are one of my favorite varieties of apples because they are perfect for baking and cooking, as well as eating raw.  They are a great universal apple with a sweet, yet tart flavor, and they were a perfect addition to my Bacon Jam!

Apple Bacon Jam - the perfect savory, sweet jam to put on top of anything and everything! Burgers, Grilled Cheese, Bread, Pancakes and more! #AppleWeek

Apple Bacon Jam

1.5# Bacon
1 Onion
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Hot Sauce
1 1/2 cups Apple Cider
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cut bacon into 1" slices and cook in frying pan until lightly browned and beginning to crisp, around 20 minutes.  Take bacon out of pan and add chopped onion in bacon fat.  Fry til soft, around 5 minutes.

Transfer the bacon and onion to a pot and add the chopped apples, brown sugar, hot sauce, 1 cup apple cider, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper.  Simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours adding 1/4 cup of apple cider every 30 minutes and stir.  After the mixture has become syrupy, let it cool for 15 minutes and place in food processor and blend to a "jam" texture.

Refrigerate in airtight container.

Apple Bacon Jam - the perfect savory, sweet jam to put on top of anything and everything! Burgers, Grilled Cheese, Bread, Pancakes and more! #AppleWeek

This Apple Bacon Jam is perfect for entertaining, tailgating, and holidays.  It is so versatile that I'm sure you can come up with even more ideas and ways to use it.  What would you like to serve the Apple Bacon Jam with?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Be sure to sign up for the #AppleWeek Giveaway and check out the other great recipes being shared today below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A collection of over 100 apple recipes #AppleWeek

Apple Almond Butter Manchego Grilled Cheese from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Apple Almond Chicken Salad from Books n' Cooks
Apple Bacon Jam from Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids
Apple Cinnamon Rolls from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Apple Fritter Pie from Dad What's 4 Dinner
Apple Nachos from Simple and Savory
Apple Pecan Chicken Salad from The Chef Next Door
Apple Turnovers from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Applesauce Cake with Soft Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting from Cooking With Carlee
Autumn Apple Sipper from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Bavarian Apple Oatmeal Streusel Cheesecake from All That's Jas
Caramel Apple Cupcakes from Amy's Cooking Adventures
Grilled Apple Tossed Salad from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Mini Apple Muffins with Oatmeal Streusel Topping from Family Around the Table
Nutmeg Apple Conserve from Feeding Big
Red Cabbage with Apple from Palatable Pastime
Roasted Apple and White Cheddar Soup from 4 Sons 'R' Us
Sauerkraut & Sausage with Apples from House of Nash Eats
Apple Bacon Jam - the perfect savory, sweet jam to put on top of anything and everything! Burgers, Grilled Cheese, Bread, Pancakes and more! #AppleWeek