Monday, April 30, 2012

Cy's Cook Off - Cardinal & Gold Cream Cheese Burger

One of my favorite hobbies and interests is cooking.  I know I've shared about cooking a little in my blog before and today my post will be about a recipe I created.  I produced my "Cardinal & Gold Cream Cheese Burger" by modifying and coupling a couple other of my burger recipes together.  I created the burger for a Pinterest contest for Iowa State Athletics.  There contest is called Cy's Cook Off and whoever receives the most repins and likes wins a $100 gift card to Cy's Locker Room and an autographed Coach Rhoades mini helmet.  I'm planning on giving the helmet to Make A Wish North Iowa for the Wish Upon A Par auction and I'm planning on decking out the family in new ISU gear for football if I win.  I'd appreciate your repin and or like by May 7th!  Enjoy the recipe!

2 pounds ground hamburger
1 packet (1 ounce) onion soup mix
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 T seasoning salt
1 egg
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1 red chili pepper
8 oz neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1/4 medium onion, grated
2 large cloves garlic, grated
1 t seasoning salt
1/2 t cumin
6 slices cheddar cheese
6 buns

Mix hamburger, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, 1 T seasoning salt and 1 egg in large bowl.

Form into 6 round patties; make thumb print in middle of each patty so cooks evenly.  Place on pre-heated grill.  Grill each side 3 to 4 minutes.

When place burgers on grill, also put cleaned  (pith and seeds taken out) yellow, red and chili peppers.  Once peppers are cooked, after a few minutes, take peppers off grill to dice.

To diced grill peppers, add 8 oz cream cheese, onion, garlic, 1 t seasoning salt and cumin.  Mix with spoon in medium bowl till evenly combined.

Once hamburgers are almost done (couple minutes remaining) place large spoonful of cream cheese mixture on top of each burger.

Add slice of cheddar cheese on top of cream cheese mixture.

Serve on hamburger buns when done being cooked and cheese is melted.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Farm Friday

Since spring field work is in full swing this week, I figured I'd start up my Farm Friday segment to give everyone an update on what we are doing on the farm.  I'm going to continue to give a Farm Friday update throughout the rest of the growing seasoning and one feature I'm going to do is show photos of the field around our acreage each week.  This will give everyone an idea on how the corn is progressing.

Field Cultivator
One thing we have been doing this week to prepare our corn fields is spring tillage with our field cultivator.  The field cultivator prepares a good seedbed for the corn by burying crop residue, as well as mixing and incorporating the soil to ensure the crop has enough water and nutrients to grow well in.

We have also been spraying our fields before we plant them with Nitrogen and a pre-emergence herbicide.  Nitrogen helps the crops grow and the pre-emergence herbicide helps keep weeds from germinating.

We also have been planting this week.  We plant between 99 and 109 day corn.  Right now we are planting 109 day varieties and as time goes on we'll planter shorter day varieties.  This picture is from the field around our acreage.  The field is also know as "Walt's" because My Farmer's Grandpa Walt use to own this farm.  We planted a 109 day variety in this field on April 17th.  I'll be keeping an update on Walt's field throughout the season.

Also, LP has started getting in some tractor rides.  He spent a few days out in the fields this week.  The pictures are of him showing me and My Farmer that he is ready to be the 5th generation farmer in the family.  I just had to take these photos while we were taking a break.

Having LP out in the field this week participating and enjoying being a part of the family's farm operation made me so happy and proud that the Department of Labor announced yesterday that they are withdrawing the proposed child labor rules for kids working in agriculture.  They said that the decision was made in response to the "thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms."  I'm happy to say I was apart of those thousands of comments, not once, but twice!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Yesterday I attended the State of Now Des Moines 140 Character Conference.  This is a social media conference where speakers were given ten minutes to discuss how they use social media to influence others at work, in their community and in their lives.  There were speakers that covered the areas of tourism, education and agriculture, to name a few.  I thought it was great to have such a strong presence from agriculture.  The conference focuses on Twitter and enables speakers and attendees to listen, connect, share and engage with each other.  There were attendees from Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Minnesota at the conference.

At the conference I really enjoyed connecting with people I followed on Twitter and knew only by their Twitter handle until yesterday.  I got to meet @DarcyMaulsby and @farmnwife, as well as reconnect again with @JPlovesCOTTON and @chrischinn.  Throughout the day everyone was encouraged to tweet the speakers as well as tweet about the conference.  As one of my retweets from @LathamSeeds said, "You have to love a conference where you're encouraged to look down and "engage."  At last, permission to Tweet!"  I had never tweeted so much in one day until yesterday, so much my battery wore out on my phone in the afternoon and I had to be selective on my afternoon tweets.  At the conference I had over 30 tweets!

Some of my favorite tweets from yesterday were:

  • Twitter is like social media tofu, says 140 Conference founder @jeffpulver.  #140ConfDM is taking on its own flavor here in Des Moines.
  • The story of growing up & kids can be mean when don't understand but he has found social media breaks those stereotypes @fblj #140ConfDM
  • Be engaged!  Who really knows you?  Simply become who you are @jeffpulver. #140ConfDM
  • Bacon is the word for #140ConfDM #bacon
  • Listening to @TheBrandChef - Be able to focus your story #140ConfDM

Overall I had a great time and learned several tips on how to be more effective with both Twitter and my blog.  I also learned about some new tools and websites of interest.  If there is a 140 Conference in your area I encourage you to attend and check it out.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What does Earth Day mean to me?

Today is Earth Day.  For some this means they might clean up a ditch or plant a tree, but for me, it makes me think of all the things my family and I, as well as other farmers, do every day to keep my family, my community, and my environment healthy and strong everyday.

To celebrate I'd like to pass along some interesting facts about how farmers are continually being stewards of the land:
  • Iowa farmers used conservation tillage on nearly 60 percent of planted acres in 2008, up from 30 percent in 1989. (Conservation Technology Information Center)  My family and I use conservation tillage practices such as no till.
  • The latest National Resource Inventory (released by the Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service) show that America's farmers and ranchers care for the land, and through their actions the environment has continually improved over the past 50 years, while at the same time farm and ranch productivity has dramatically increased.
  • Iowa farmers have more than 611,000 acres enrolled in the continuous, targeted Conservation Reserve Program, more than any other state.  (Farm Service Agency)  My family and I have acres enrolled in CRP and the Wetlands programs.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Can't Believe This is a Children's Book - "Vegan is Love"

A guilty pleasure of mine is watching the Today Show in the morning and earlier this week there was a piece about a new children's book that will be released on April 24th called Vegan is Love.  The Today Show piece discussed the book's topics from animal testing to eating habits.  It also questioned "is a vegan diet healthy for children".  In the end the dietitians and doctors they interviewed said it was healthy at any age to be a vegan.  I just can't find it good to get protein, calcium and many more vitamins through a diet which would have to include supplements, especially for kids.  My family and I choose to eat meat and dairy, and by doing this, we get all of our vitamins and minerals naturally through our food.

One quick side note, I took the online poll from the Today Show that asked "What do you think of kids eating vegan diets?" and out of the over 4800 votes, 40% voted "Great Idea!  We are vegans."  I was in the 35% that said "I disapprove.  That can't be healthy for kids."

So from all of this, what are you going to do or say when you see Vegan is Love next to the Velveteen Rabbit in the children's section at your local bookstore?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The value of time

Today I got to thinking of the value of time.  It seems with life today we are often thinking about how much time we have to do this, or how many things we have to do in a short amount of time.  I'm sure I'm like many of you and have a never ending "To Do" list.  As I was working on crossing some of those things off today, I got to thinking about how since I finally got some of things done, I now have time to do other things...  It seems like there are always things that can "take away" my time.  I then sat back and just enjoyed some time with LP.  We played, read books and laughed.  And I never once looked to see how much time it was taking and it was great!

Time.  We are often reminded how precious time can be, so make sure you are utilizing your time wisely and enjoying your time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

World Book Night - April 23rd

I am participating in a neat event next week, World Book Night.  World Book Night is a world-wide event that started in the United Kingdom last year.  This year the United States and Ireland have joined forces with the UK to make this an annual celebration designed to spread a love for books and reading with teens and adults.  There will be a half a million books given away by 25,000 people in all fifty United States.  The goal of the event is to get books to those that don't read very much, to those that don't have resources to books.  There are 30 books total that are apart of the program.

I have to admit, not until LP was born, I hadn't taken time to enjoy a book and just relax and read in a long time.  Maybe a book on CD as I traveled with my past job, but not very often sit down and read an entire book!  After LP was born I immediately feel in love with children's books and knew that I wanted reading to be an important part of his life.  LP reads books daily and we go to our local library every week.  I too have started to read for fun again.  After all, how could I expect him to enjoy reading if he didn't see me enjoying reading.

I became aware of World Book Night after I heard about it from the owner and an employee of the area kid's book, games and toys store, Cornerstone Cottage Kids.  Cornerstone Cottage Kids is not only the North Iowa area coordinator, but they're also the state-wide coordinators.  Pretty neat deal for a small-town kid's book, games and toys shop.

LP reading a copy of "Friday Night Lights" from my Giver Box
Photo taken by Deb Brown
Last night we had our area "pre-party" where everyone distributing books picked up their box of twenty books.  This was also a time to share with other givers about their plans of where they are handing out their books, as well as the chance to trade some books to create more of a "variety box."  I am giving away Friday Night Lights to my church youth group and then each member of my church youth group is giving an additional copy to one of their friends.  I know when I was in high school I didn't do too much "free-time" reading, so hopefully this opportunity of receiving a brand new book will spark an interest in all of them to read.

On April 30th we are having a "post-party" so I'll be sure to share about everyone's experiences then.  My favorite distribution locations:  an area track meet and an interstate rest stop!  Can't wait to share more about the experiences and feedback.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

Today was our first day planting corn this spring!  This is an exciting day every year, but it was especially exciting this year, as we have a new 24 row planter.

The technology in this planter, partnered with RTK, is amazing.  It is very efficient.  The system knows where the planter has already traveled and planted; it automatically shuts of rows if it is going over an area that has already been planted.  The system also has accuracy of less than one inch.  Hope everyone has a safe spring!