Monday, December 21, 2015

3 Ingredient Sausage Cheese Puffs

One of my family's best go-to recipes for appetizers is 3 Ingredient Sausage Cheese Puffs, or Sausage Balls as we also call them.  The first two ingredients are in the title, so all you have to do is grab your box of Bisquick, and you are good to go!

I swear this year has been one busy day after another.  I was hoping for a little break over Christmas, but guess what Tink did?  She made the 7th grade basketball team this past Thursday!  So now these last two weeks plus the next two months have been filled with practices and games.  We are very proud of her, so we will make some scheduling changes and get ready for the season to start.

Meanwhile, Tall Guy has been hauling loads of corn from our bins to Lafayette to fulfill a contract with a grain company.  He has eleven more loads to haul down there before the end of the year.  I believe he has already made 30 or so trips.  That's about 80-90 miles round trip!  So much for taking it easy after harvest!

Today, both of our families had our LARGE family Christmases, so this morning and early afternoon, I was busy in the kitchen.  I grabbed our Lyons Family Cookbook and pulled out a recipe from my cousin Doug's wife, Liz because it is a family favorite.  Does you family have a collection of recipes put together in a book of some sort?  My Grandma Lyons was the best cook, and she passed her talents down to all of her children and grandchildren.  You should try her Sour Cream ChristmasCookies.  They are an old recipe that still tastes soooooo goooood!

But let's get to making the 3 Ingredient Sausage Cheese Puffs.

They are really good mixed and made the same day, or you can make the balls ahead of time, and keep them in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to make them. For today's gathering, I increased this recipe 4 times. (By the way, 12 Tablespoons = 3/4 cup.)

Printable recipe

Sausage Cheese Puffs

  • 1/4 lb. bulk sausage
  • 1/4 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 3 1/2 T water
Cooking Directions
  1. 1. Brown sausage until brown and crumbly, drain, and cool.
  2. Mix Bisquick, cheese, water, and sausage until doughy.
  3. Form into walnut-sized balls, and bake on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees until golden brown. Baking time should be 10-12 minutes
  4. Puffs can be made and frozen ahead of time. When ready to use, take out of freezer, and bake 5 minutes or until warm.
  5. Makes 20 servings

Enjoy this holiday season of homemade goodies and catching up with friends and family.  I think the best gift we can give each other this Christmas is the gift of time together.

Friday, November 27, 2015

What Is a Good Age to Ride with a Farmer?

As we in Agriculture strive to get our message out about what we do, this question usually comes up, "To what age should we target our message about Ag?"  My answer is that it's never too late or too early to make an impression on people about Agriculture!

Last year I got word that Tall Guy's Aunt Joyce was coming out to ride in the combine.  This was the FIRST time she had ever ridden in a combine, and her family has farmed all her life!

What a treat it was for me to listen to her react to all that she saw.  I think she could have ridden with me all day!  Sometimes we just assume that farm owners know all about farming, but if they do not live on the farm, sometimes they don't have that first hand experience or equipment is a bit more advanced that the last time they rode.

On the last day of harvest on our farms, I called my niece to see if she would like to bring her family out for a ride in the combine.  They beat feet right over, and these two occupied my Buddy seat.

Young Mr. M was completely fascinated with the whole process!  He saw the corn going into the combine, the kernels filling up the hopper, and then being unloaded on the go into the auger wagon. He loved it!  And according to my niece, he talked about it for days afterward and wanted to know where is combine was......

Well you can take it to the bank that this GREAT AUNT hopped right over to Amazon and found an answer to his question! About a month after he road with me, Mr. M turned 4.  I couldn't think of a better present for him than this 

John Deere Gear Force Harvest Action Combine

Thanks Amazon for the pic!  Now, let's not talk about the "squares of corn," or the interesting proportions of the animals and farmers; let's focus on the big picture.....My great nephew has his own combine~!  Want to know what he thought of it?

Auger might be a bit hard to say, but he remembered what it was and was in a big hurry to get it out of its ties so he could play with it!  I would call that a lasting memory that I know we will add to in the coming years.

The moral of the story is that we as farmers can make a huge impression on those removed from farming, and it is a simple as taking someone for a ride in a tractor, combine, semi, or even a gator! If you know a farmer, ask them if you can go for a ride some time.  If you are a farmer, ask yourself, "Who can I take for a ride next year so that this person or these people can better understand what I do?" If you are not a farmer, ask around, find a farmer to meet, and take a moment to learn more about what we do.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Secret Ingredient Pancakes

I am going to give you all a special treat at the end of this post, but for those of us who are on the fly in the mornings, I'm going to share my Secret Ingredient Pancake recipe.  By adding just two simple, secret ingredients to any pancake mix, your family will be raving about your "homemade pancakes" to all their friends.  Promise!

Two secret ingredients will turn your pancakes into a heavenly breakfast.

 Oh. My Stars!  If you all think that the end of harvest signals official down time for farmers, then you need to get to know a farmer better.  We have been going non-stop it seems since the last kernel of corn and soybean went into the bins.  Fall ground work, cleaning up equipment, putting said equipment away in "ready-to-go" condition, working on books and numbers to see just how much grain we have to market, adding a few more calves to our herd of feeders cows, checking on the pregnant mommas out in the pasture, getting two calves and two kids ready for Hoosier Beef Congress in three week (gasping for air!), and then there are the girls, basketball practice fall musical, AND I am leaving tomorrow for three days in Indy for the Indiana Farm Bureau State Convention! Whew~!  Oh!  Did I mention Bear has a birthday on Monday that I am going to miss? Tink's falls on the 30th, and we just celebrated my great-nephew's Big FOUR year old birthday earlier today!  Fun times at the Wallpe Farm!

That part about me leaving for three days had me busy in the kitchen this morning making everyone pancakes and bacon, enough to last them a few more breakfasts while I'm gone.  Cereal is ok for breakfast, but as the mornings get colder, I like for everyone to have a hot breakfast option.

A bit further in the post I am going to share with you my mom's delicious homemade pancake recipe. I love them, my best friend from school can only make these for her crew, or they protest.  They are that good.  BUT........ Sometimes a mom just has to grab the mix off the shelf and get down to business.  We used to be Bisquick mix pancake eaters until I felt the pull of an old familiar face from the mix shelves.  Aunt Jemima called my name, and she is back on my shelf to stay.

To make pancakes with this lovely lady taste like you whipped it all up from scratch, all you have to do is add my two secret ingredients

Ta Da!!!!

It is that easy!  Just follow the directions on the box, and once you have mixed the egg, oil, and mix together, add a bit of Watkin's Double Strength Vanilla and Pure Almond Extract.  I know some of you out there are waiting with baited breath for me to tell exactly how much to add of each, but honestly I just pour in a small bit, taste, and add more if needed.

Results?  My girls say it's like eating toasty angel food cake!

Here are the other ingredients I use, minus the eggs and oil.

I use Fairlife whole milk because it makes Tink's tummy feel better, and the Nestle mini chocolate chips also go in her pancakes because......well because she loves them, and that's what mommas do for their favorite oldest daughters.

What to know another secret?  When I add the mini chips to her pancakes, I spread a bit more batter over them so when I flip them, the chips don't burn from the hot skillet.

Now, if you have the time, and you want to make heavenly pancakes from scratch, here is my mom's To. Die. For. Pancake. Recipe.  

And...Don't forget to add those two secret ingredients to make them even better!  


Becky Lyons' Griddle Cakes

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 Cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients together, and beat with a mixer until smooth.
  2. Pour into a hot griddle, and flip when edges look firm and bubbles form through the pancake. Check the second side, and remove when golden brown.
  3. Makes 10 small or 5 large pancakes.
Two secret ingredients that will make you pancakes heavenly.

This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Farm Question: What is Custom Farming?

In my last post about the end of Harvest 2015, I mentioned we still had 250 acres of "custom work" left to do.  As I reread the paragraph, I wondered if anyone out there knew what I was talking about, so I thought I would use this post to explain  custom farming and the other ways we farmers can farm ground.

For many years, we have headed down to Warren County to help a friend maintain his farm.  We plant it and harvest the crops for a set fee, and he and his family pay all "inputs," that means seed, fertilizer, and any other nutrients the ground might need, and they receive all the profits.  This is called custom farming.  Iowa State University defines it as "An alternative to leasing farmland is custom farming. The custom operator agrees to perform all the machine operations on the owner’s land in exchange for a set fee or rate. The landowner pays for all seed, chemicals, and other inputs, and keeps all of the crop and commodity payments."   We also refer to Iowa State's list of current custom rates when we set that price for the work we do. 

It's kind of fun to go down to Farmer Tim's and work because, unlike most of our ground, his ground is rolling with many what I would call hills to go up, down, and around.  Its's pretty crazy to see the grain cart several feet lower or higher that the auger on the combine!


Not so hilly.

Other methods of farming are:

1. Owning the land you farm.  Tall Guy and I do own ground. :-)

2. 50% - 50%.  We do this on my family farm.  50-50 means that we share 1/2 of the bills and 1/2 of the profit with my mom and dad.  We also farm on variable percentages with the ground Tall Guy's family owns. It gets a bit complicated because there is a family corporation, and the generation before TG owns ground together, but TG, Gpa, family members, and accountants have figured all the numbers out to a good working relationship.

3. Cash rent: "Cash rent lease agreements are popular because the lease is simple, the rent is fixed, and the owner is relieved of making operating and marketing decisions. Likewise, the tenant has maximum freedom to plan and develop the cropping and livestock programs. The risk and returns from changing prices, yields, and costs are all borne by the tenant." (from Iowa State).

I am a huge Purdue fan, but we usually head to Iowa State's website when we want farm information. I bet that makes Jennifer Eck Campbell, at The Farmwife Feeds and Casey Campbell happy :-)

Have an awesome weekend, a safe Halloween, and don't forget to turn your clocks back tomorrow night before you go to bed......."The goblins will get you if you don't watch out~!"

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Pictures from Harvest 2015

Happy to say that our harvest here at Wallpe Farms finished up late Saturday night.  Now we just have about 250 acres of custom work to do, one field to work ground on, and we will be 100% done with our fall work.  Today I thought I would share some pictures from Harvest 2015.

This last one was taken right after we came home Saturday night.  Just one toast to the end of our harvest, and then we rolled into bed for a peaceful sleep.  It's always easier to sleep after harvest is in the bins~! 

Happy Wednesday~! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Healthy Egg Muffins

One Healthy Egg Muffin is the best go-to-grab breakfast for families scrambling  to get out the door in the morning. Full of nutrition-packed veggies and your favorite extras, Healthy Egg Muffins will fit anyone's morning rush.

I'm telling you, I can't imagine anyone's morning more scrambled than a farmer's kitchen during harvest.  With the girls hustling to get on the bus at 7:30, and Tall Guy and Gpa biting at the bit to get out and "gitter done,"  there isn't always time for a hot breakfast.  We are headed to our last corn field today, with the hope that we get everything finished before the rain hits sometime in the middle of next week.  It's been a quick harvest with all this dry weather, but that also means very little downtime for those in the tractors, combine, and trucks.  It has, however, made for some lovely picture moments.  Here are a few:

I've been doing a bit of everything this harvest since Nick started helping us.  Remember this post?
He has been a huge help to us, but I have to admit a wee bit of envy as I have not had as much seat time in the combine.  With Nick driving the auger cart, and Tall Guy and Gpa taking turns in the combine and semis, I have been fixing lunches, helping move from field to field, and running to the elevator with corn samples to be tested.  I'm really not complaining because the girls did not finish up volleyball and soccer until last week.  They had me running most every night somewhere.  I'm super excited to tell you Tall Guy took time out of the field to come watch Bear's final match of the County Tourney.  We came in second, but the girls played a good game, and I know one little lady who was so happy her dad was there to watch.  I will catch you all up on the goings on around here in later posts.. I PROMISE!~

So... back to the morning hustle.  I cannot eat a bowl of cereal and be happy until lunch.  I.Need.Protien!  Eggs are my go to, but sometimes there just isn't time for me to do all the prep for those omelettes I love.  This recipe for Healthy Egg Muffins came from somewhere, but I honestly can't remember where, and the recipe is VERY loose.  That's what I like about it.  You can make each muffin to suit each family member's tastes, or you can get rid of all those half-used veggies, cheese and meat in your know what I'm talking about!  Let's put this recipe together

Healthy Egg Muffins

*I have to tell this is "loose" recipe, but for those who love to meticulously measure, I have used specific amounts.  Use any vegetable you like or don't use any at all.  I would have used bacon, but someone ate my cooked stash!

8 Jumbo eggs

1/2 C.  Milk, half and half, or cream

Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste

1/2  red pepper chopped

1/2  red onion chopped

1/2 yellow pepper chopped

8 baby bella mushrooms sliced and halved

1/4 pound of  shaved ham. *use any or all of your favorite breakfast meats

8 oz. shredded cheese

To Make:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease with your choice of oil/spray/butter a jumbo muffin pan

2.  Crack eggs into a mixing bowl, add milk and seasonings and whisk together.

3.  Chop up all the veggies and meat in to small cubes

4.  Ladle egg mixture into the muffin cups.

5.  Sprinkle your veggies and meats into each cup. Put all leftover veggies and meats in containers and store for the next round of muffins or omelettes!

6.  Top with cheese, and bake for 20-25 minutes.  The tops of the muffins should raise to a mound shape.

I ate the last muffin as I finished this post.  Tall Guy found them and had two!  Now it's off to see if we can finish that last corn field and return to our normal state of crazy.  Be safe out there, and please keep an eye out for farmers on the road.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Getting Back in the Saddle with an Old Favorite Game

I've been trying to get back to you dear readers for a while now, but you know how this crazy life of mine works......Besides the effort to start carving out time for myself again, I wasn't quite sure how to say, "I'm BACK!!!!!!!"  As I was reading a blog post from Cranberry Morning, it dawned on me to get back to my roots, grab a badge, and join a group of other bloggers in sharing ideas on the same thoughts.

So, if I can remember how to insert the badge,..........Here's to

1. Way back when (the Hodgepodge bicentennial to be precise) several of you submitted questions as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I went back to that list for inspiration today and found a question  submitted by Marla, who blogs over atMarla's Musings. Thanks Marla! 

She asks-At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?   

~That's such a great question Marla.....I honestly have to say it came in stages, from driving on my own the first time, to going away to college, moving to a new town for my first job and living on my own, about my sixth year of teaching, falling in love with Tall Guy, becoming Mrs. Tall Guy (at the grand age of 39), and then becoming a mother.  I do have to say, that about the time I would feel like a grown up, I would also wish that I was a kid again. At 53 with girls "almost"11 and 13, and becoming an active part of our farm operation, I just have to keep thinking young thoughts.  My one secret, though, is sometimes I just like to go out and take a walk with Sadie, our dog, or go find a purring kitten to play with for a while as the stresses melt away, and my inner happy self gets the upper hand.
2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience?

~We bought our Honda Odyssey van about three years ago, new, and it's time to trade her in for a newer model.  It has 80,000 miles on it, and I am here to tell you that these vehicles are GOLD!  We are constantly getting mailings from our dealer asking us if we are ready to trade.  This next Odyssey, though, will NOT be silver.  Silver seems to be the color of preference for Odyssey owners, and more than once I have tried to get into a van that was not mine! Our dealer is pretty wonderful, so I rate this experience a 10.

3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder-your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?

~Any person from Indiana would have to go with corn on the cob!  TO.DIE.FOR!  Our favorite question at the table is, "Do you want any dirt on your corn?"  Dirt is pepper, and there are very strong feelings on both sides of this question.  The very best food to serve along side corn on the cob is a hamburger or steak from our beef cows.......  Icing on the cake would be fresh tomatoes. 

This corn was already frozen, but it once was on the cob! 
I like dirt on my corn! And BUTTER!

4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?

~Coming up with meal ideas.  I have a ton of cookbooks, and my friends and Gooseberry Patch have blessed me with several options, but we have been going in so many directions lately that it's hard to get into a meal planning routine.
~Keeping our youngest, Bear, on an even keel.  At almost 11, puberty is showing signs of arriving, and stress seems to be her big hurdle.
~Trying to let our oldest, Tink, spread her wings as she goes to the junior/senior high school for the first time.  She is a bit of an introvert, and that makes me worry that she will stay in the background. So far, though, she has been a very happy girl, and she is playing on the co-ed junior high soccer team.

5. Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.

~Oh Gosh!  It has to be Dead Poet's Society.  As a former English teacher with 18 years in the classroom, that one jumps to mind immediately, and the "Captain! My Captain!" scene makes me cry every time.

6. Reading, writing, and 'rithmatic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?

~Running, as in getting girls to volleyball and soccer practices,  Reclaiming my house by trying to clean and file all the summer stuff before we go to the field.  Right now there is a terrible smell coming from my pantry.  I bravely went through all the shelves, but I have not found the source. There may be a dead mouse a the root of this evil (NOT my favorite thing to look for), but I have purged my pantry of several items way past their expiration date.  There might have been a can of V-8 juice with a 2001 expiration date on it........, and Remembering my Aunt Sue who left us today at the wonderful age of 96.  What a wonderful life she had, and what wonderful memories she gave us all.  She is in the front of this picture with two of her sisters, her daughter, and an adorable niece and nephew....the niece is me ;-)

7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?

~Hmmmm....... nothing in my life lately has been as 'easy as ABC' lately. That one is a tuffy!  Drifting off to read a book from the Outlander or Lord John series is pretty darned easy, but it's also counter-productive to my efforts to get the house clean and files filed......sigh....

8. Insert your own random thought here.

~I'm so glad to me joining this Wednesday blog session with you!  I have missed my blogging friends and making new ones through posts like this one.  Thanks for letting me share!