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November 30, 2014

Let's Talk Turkey!

And not the leftover kind in your fridge - everyone knows about Thanksgiving turkey but what about that turkey sandwich in the middle of July?

I love to say that I have been in the midst of production agriculture my entire life - I live it, breathe it and write about it - but the amount I don't know always boggles my mind - so instead of answering a question I already knew the answer to I decided to ask a question and learn something new and share that!

How much do I know about turkey production?

I know a turkey farmer!
I have been in a turkey barn!

That about sums it up!

Who better to turn to than an actual turkey farmer - my amazing friend Katie who lives and raises turkeys on the banks of the Squaw Creek!

The turkeys arrive at the farm from a hatchery in Willmar, Minnesota-the birds are just one day old and only weigh a few ounces.  They get 20,000 baby turkeys every two months.  Their brooder house, where the turkeys live at this age, is kept at 90 degrees.

It will take about 20 weeks for the turkeys to be full grown and weigh approximately 43 pounds.  Katie says turkeys are a lot bigger than they used to be because of breeding and better nutrition.  There are no hormones or steroids used in turkey production.

Americans eat an average of 18 pounds of turkey every year!  Half of that is sandwich meat and that is what the turkeys Olthoff's raise are used for, "further processing" - this includes lunch meat, hot dogs, and other turkey products.

And truly the most interesting thing I learned: Turkeys have a weak immune system!

Bio-security is a big deal, even stepping in bird droppings between the house and barn is a concern so everyone in the family has barn boots that are only for the turkey barns or plastic booties for anyone else entering the barns.  And who knew, but chickens have a much stronger immune system so while a chicken may carry a disease without showing any signs if exposed to the turkey flock it could be devastating - so chickens are avoided by the Olthoff's at all costs!

She knows so much she even wrote a book about it!

It has two components: one part is written from the point of view of her six year old son and is meant for young children.  The other part is for older kids and adults, and gives more in-depth background information about turkey farms.

It's free to download on her site at On The Banks of Squaw Creek

"My Family's Farm has been a dream of mine for over two years, since I realized that there are very few children's book showing today's livestock farms.  Farms have changed over the past 50 years, but their portrayal has not.  This book is an effort to change that"  Katie Olthoff

Photo credit to Katie Olthoff

November 16, 2014

My Mom's Golden Chicken

And as I typed that title I realize that it sounds like my Mom has a chicken that is golden - however my Mom is not that lucky - if a chicken made of gold is lucky.........but I digress.

It is just what I have opted to call this childhood favorite dish that my Mom used to make!  We actually called it Golden Mushroom Chicken because this dish gets its flavor from Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup - but my kids hate mushrooms, or so they think they do - MUHAHAHA!  So I just call this Golden Chicken and they eat it like it's going out of style!

I don't know why but spending hours in a tractor cab causes my mind to always be consumed with food and this fall this dish was a recurring craving.  I called my Mom to get the recipe and well basically she laughed at me - much like me she doesn't use recipes often - so together we figured out it was pretty straight forward and simple, threw the ingredients in a dutch oven, guessed at a time and temp and it tasted just like it did when I was a kid!

We ate this at home and in the field during the busy seasons.  It was so loved that when I once went to visit my sister in college at Texas A&M I was forced to sit the whole plane ride with a warm dish of it on my lap - TRUTH!!!

This is a one pot meal, I will tell you how much I used to feed 4 of us but it's so easy to throw in extra for a bigger crowd or less for fewer people - BUT this tastes awesome as a leftover!

Golden Chicken

  • 1 breast, 3 legs chicken - bone in
  • 4 potatoes - peeled & quartered
  • 7 carrots - peeled & cut into chunks
  • 2 onions - peeled & halved
  • 2 cans Golden Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 can water
Cooking Directions
  1. Brown the chicken in a little bit of oil in your dutch oven
  2. Add the potatoes, carrots and onions to dutch oven
  3. Pour the golden mushroom soup and water over everything
  4. With lid on place in a 350 degree oven for 1.5 hours

This is a one pot meal, I will tell you how much I used to feed 4 of us but it's so easy to throw in extra for a bigger crowd or less for fewer people - BUT this tastes awesome as a leftover!

September 29, 2014

Her Senior Pictures

I think I was looking more forward to the day we did this than she was!  I like to think we had fun - at least I did!

I can't believe this was a year ago already - time flies when your having fun - and my life is so much fun!

September 24, 2014

Maybe I am not a good parent.........

I'm serious - and I have social media to thank for that!  I love social media, some, including my children and husband, would say that I am obsessed and addicted to it but I think I quit blogging this summer because of it!

Stay with me here - I have a million post-it-notes scattered all over my desk with various ideas scribbled on them - some Indiana Prairie Farmer article ideas and some blog post ideas!  When I tried to organize them I realized that the majority of my blog post ideas this summer centered around my oldest!

And, to be perfectly honest, after reading my Facebook feed all summer I got to feeling self conscious about almost every post being about just one of my kids when I have three!!!  Why?  Because the majority of people in my feed compliment their children as a whole and I felt that this seemed to be the 'Summer of Casey' - Casey's Senior Pics, Casey's Graduation, Casey's Grad Openhouse, Casey's 10th Year of 4-H, Casey Moves to College.  But then I remembered something I have been told my whole life - "just because I compliment your sister doesn't mean the opposite is true about you" and I have come to the conclusion it was the 'Summer of Casey' and while I should be and am proud of her it doesn't mean that my other two won't be in the center spotlight on their own terms one day.

I don't keep a scorebook of compliments for my kids, that isn't how life works.  I might be a bad parent because of it but just because I see one of my kids doing something that deserves a pat on the back doesn't mean I feel the need to come up with a reason to pat the other two on the back at the same time - each of my kids earns it in their own right and should be feel special when it happens, not just like it is another tally mark in their scorebook!

So be prepared for the "Summer of Casey" posts - and FYI she will hate it as much as you might!!!

June 12, 2014

Hi, My name is Jent.....

........and I am a bad blogger.

I have put this off for a long time now. Not to mention not even writing for a while now but The Gooseberry Patch cookbook giveaway winner has been chosen

I had a total of 39 People enter in the giveaway and sadly I only got to choose one. If I could I would give everyone who entered a cookbook. Many of you had lots of crockpots and that's impressive!  I have only one at a time - I say it like that because I have a bad habit of breaking the crocks and then just end up replacing the whole thing - Goodwill in Franklin probably has quite a collection of the empty warming/electric portions!

I choose a winner by numbering each entry off and had my kids pick a number between 1 and 39.

Congratulations Comment 14 -  Linda

Her comment on the Giveaway post was:
“I had 3 crockpots but one stopped working.....so I now have 2. Are they not one of the most wonderful inventions!!! Love them greatly :D And I love Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks <3 Hope to hear from you soon…” 

I wish everybody could have won a cookbook. Special thanks to everyone who entered!

If you missed any of the recipes I shared from this awesome book here are the links:

May 7, 2014

Parsley Buttered Potatoes

Parsley Buttered Potatoes

Recipe by Recipe By Gooseberry Patch and Jent

  • 1 1/2 lbs. new potatoes
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted
  • 3 T fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 T fresh chives, snipped
  • salt & pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Place potatoes and water in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until tender; drain. In a small bowl, combine butter, parsley and chives. Pour over potatoes, toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.   
  2. Once coat the potatoes in butter and herbs I put them back in the crockpot with it off to keep them warm.
The original recipe also called for lemon juice, I am personally not a fan so I didn't add it. I also couldn't find chives that day at the grocery store so I used green onions!


May 5, 2014

Cheesy Corn for a Crowd

Cheesy Corn for A Crowd

Recipe by Gooseberry Patch and Jent

  • 4 15-1/4 oz. cans corn, drained
  • 4 15 oz. cans creamed corn
  • 8 oz Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 8-1/2 oz. pkgs corn muffin mix
  • 4 eggs, heated
  • 16 oz French Onion dip
Cooking Directions:

Combine all ingredients together, put in lightly greased slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for 4 1/2 hours or on low setting for 9 hours.

Take into consideration the size and shape of your slow cooker, taller/deep slow cookers take a little longer to get the middle fully cooked.

This recipe is for a crowd - when I make it for my family (5 of us) I quarter it - there is plenty and it is just as delicious!