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October 30, 2013

"Grab your fuzzy hat"

Do you remember these?

I do- my Grandmother Eck had one she wore when she worked in the yard-usually accompanied by one of my Grandfathers seed jackets if it was chilly!  These hats make me giggle but now I want one-I found one on Ebay and told Chris that is what I wanted for Christmas!

So Friday while I am out in the middle of a cornfield standing over 8 kids in a soil pit discussing sandy textures my phone rings - I pull it out of my pocket see that it is Chris, answer and have the following conversation:

Me: Hello

Chris: What'cha doin?

Me: Freezing and judging soils-you?

Chris: Sitting in line at ADM?

Me: Oh OK, having a good day?

Chris: it's alright - but the reason I called is to tell you there is an old couple up here that reminds me of us- They're in an old straight truck, they must be at least 85 years old, but she has taken the time to ride to the elevator with him. She is wearing a puffy seed corn jacket from the 70's, and a knitted sock hat with a ball on top, probably from a seed company as well. They're just spending time together in line.

Me: Really, that is so sweet.

Chris: OK I'll talk to ya later - I love you!

This is truly one of the sweetest things Chris has ever said to me-it truly touched my heart and made me all warm inside-he is not a sappy guy-most of the time he says to me "I didn't get the script Jent, I didn't know I was supposed to say that" - so for him to call me and tell me this -as well as notice it and make a connection like this without me pointing out how awesome it would if he thought that- is a feat all it's own!

I am sure that she was busy-she might of been helping him harvest, in the kitchen cooking lunch, doing bookwork-it didn't matter -what ever she was doing when he said to her "Grab your fuzzy hat, ride with me to ADM and I might even buy you lunch at Edwards Drive-In" -she stopped what she was doing, put on her hat and knew what was really important!  This is the hat that immediately came to mind, it was what I had her pictured wearing while sitting there in that straight truck waiting to dump, just enjoying the moment.

I remember being in the hospital when Dad was sick and talking with my Mom-we talked about a lot of things that last 24 hours but one thing that truly sticks in my head was when she said how she was so glad after she retired that she had taken time to ride with Dad-to go get parts, haul a load of tomatoes - anything it didn't matter what they did she was just grateful that she had stopped whatever she was doing at the time and had gone with him when he called-I won't ever wear this hat but I want to hang it by the back door as a reminder of this conversation with Chris and that while everyday chores are important (although looking around my house you might think I don't know this) it's just as important to be able to look back with no regrets.

October 10, 2013

Pork and Apples...

A match made in heaven

The epitome of Fall

And yes I Googled 'epitome' to make sure I was using the word right - and I am! 

Pork Chops and Applesauce

Which if you are a Brady Bunch fan (like me) you totally just read that last one in Peter's Humphrey Bogart accent and are laughing out loud; if your not a huge fan but know what I am talking about you just went back and read it in that accent then laughed and if you really have no clue, well quit shaking your head in confusion and just keep reading!

Who doesn't love a quick and easy meal to fix, one that travels well  and is easy to eat on the go-well this is it-they don't get much easier!

I have several go-to meals that I like to take to the field for lunch and this is one of them.  To be honest the last few years I haven't had to take a lot of meals to the the field, my MIL has done the majority of them but when it is my turn this is one of my favorites!

It is simply a grilled boneless pork chop, plain potato chips, a cup of applesauce and My Phenomenal Apple Cookies (which are totally optional but can be made ahead and froze for the easy grab!)-that's it-seriously-no kidding-it's that easy!

We eat this meal quite a bit in the fall-I keep all these things on hand and if we get in late I know it will only take me less than 15 minutes to heat up the grill, sprinkle some salt and pepper on the chops, grill them up, grab the bag of chips, applesauce and buns - WALAA a meal!

I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.

October 3, 2013

From My Kitchen

OK so here I go-I am going to start posting more recipes (with pictures because apparently the public demands pictures) as well as imparting my vast knowledge of cooking, baking and avoiding doing the dishes on you!

I have a few pieces of advice to share with you that I have learned over the past 21 years as head chef and bottle washer in this household - nothing earth shattering just a few things to keep in mind as you are in the kitchen:

1. RELAX-if a recipe doesn't turn out IT IS OK-most likely no one will starve, the world won't stop turning and the human race will go on mostly unfazed!  And if you keep your kitchen stocked with the items listed below, you will always have a handy dandy back-up plan!

2. SIMPLE-good food is simple, it doesn't have to be complicated-some of the best food is simply flavored with salt & pepper and cooked properly.

3.FAT IS FLAVOR-I am not kidding, you need the fat on meat for the moisture and the flavor-at least while cooking-one doesn't have to eat the fat but you need it on the meat while cooking.  Everybody wants lean meat and then they want to complain it is dry and tasteless-don't get carried away trimming all the fat off your meat before you prepare it!

Moving on - there are a million blog posts out there on how to stock your kitchen properly- basic items that should always be in your pantry, items you can't live without if you are to feed your family properly-so here is my list:

  • Milk-good to drink (we go thru at least 2 gallon a week), cook with, and can even substitute as a late night meal if your kids are tired enough
  • Sugar-always have sugar, life will just always be sweeter
  • Coffee-there is nothing worse than trying to get a 10 year old on the bus if he hasn't had his coffee
  • Refrigerated Cookie Dough-that's right! Boughten, prepared, in the refrigerator section cookie dough, any flavor you wish but smart people choose chocolate chip
  • Frozen Pizzas-a variety of brands and topping choices

Keep these things on hand and you will survive any crisis that arises-recipe disaster, late night last minute meal, pop-up potluck - you name it with these items on hand I can make it thru any 'food' crisis!

Last but not least-I always keep my Longaberger Basket, a cute (clean) dish towel, a pretty bowl and serving spoon ready.  So that, if need be, as we are walking out the door to something that requires me to bring food, a quick trip to the grocery store deli will provide me with a tasty and pretty bowl of potato salad - because presentation is everything!

I truly enjoy cooking and baking and truth is I am pretty good at it, I don't use too many recipes and I am really bad about exact measurements so blogging recipes could be an adventure-but then like everything else I attempt I won't let details worry me too much-so relax and I promise not to post anything I haven't already tried and written down as close to exact measurements as possible!

Oh and the whole avoiding the dishes thing - I just ignore them until they get so bad that we are drinking out of measuring cups!  If you have anything better I beg you to please share with me!

I so wanted to add a cute picture of me wearing an apron, smiling while preparing a family meal but a couple of things prevented me from doing that:
1. I don't wear an apron.
2. My kitchen is a mess so taking a pic of me in there would most likely turn you all off from wanting to try my recipes.
3. Cooking meals are most often a frantic job with 3 kids running in and out-STARVING-and no idea what time Chris will be in to eat!
4. No one takes pics of me!