Friday, September 12, 2014

The TRUTH About 4-H and FFA

NOTE: This is from my "Shine Like Stars" blog, but since it has to do with food, I'm also posting it here. Plus, it's really an important topic for everyone!
Interesting that I should see this post...not five minutes since my 16-year-old son came home to rescue our goats. A few of them had gotten out of their pen and the huge Boer buck was trapped in a knot with a halter on his hoof.  He was lying there looking dead when I ran out to help.  I thought he was dead, all sprawled out and not moving.  He was scared, and if he could have talked, I'm certain that he would have said, "Thank You" if he could have, once he was freed.

And then this:  CNN'S article asking, "Does 4-H Desensitize Kids to Killing Animals?"   It's amazing really, that people really believe 4-H hurts kids or could hurt kids.  It's amazing too, that so many that cry out about animals being killed for food, actually do eat animals themselves, or animal products.  The article does show positives and negatives, so it's not totally bashing 4-H.  But, in this post, I'm focusing on those who are against it.

What people like this don't realize is that God made the animals for PEOPLE to use.  He provided them for us. That was his plan. Too many in the world have mixed it up and think that PEOPLE were created for ANIMALS.  Completely, completely false.  God said for man/woman to rule over the animals.  Care for the animals. Tend to the animals.  And after the flood, to use the animals for food.  

The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.  Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. Genesis 9:2-3

God set man/woman apart from the animal world.  Man/woman have souls.  Animals do not. Contrary to the popular movie, "All Dogs Go to Heaven", no they don't.  In fact, NO ANIMALS go to heaven. Heaven is reserved for God's people - those who have become followers of His Son, Jesus.  

God blessed them (Adam and Eve) and said, "Be fertile, increase in number, fill the earth, and be its master. Rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that crawl on the earth." Genesis 1:28

Sure animals bring joy to our lives, but they can also teach us things - like responsibility through the 4-H or FFA program. They teach a strong work ethic - something that is missing in many families today who want everything handed to them.  

I remember like yesterday leading my calf onto the trailer to go to market. I cried all the way there.  And then "Sam" slammed me into the side of the trailer, making my shoulder bang up to the metal side with his 1000 plus pound body.  I wasn't happy with Sam for hurting me. I was crying because he was going and crying because he was hurt.  Sam came back home in different packaging than he went on that trailer.  Our family was fed by Sam.  Sam couldn't live forever.  He had served his purpose.  Now the work and feeding program he was on during his life was benefiting my family in his death.

If I didn't care about that animal project, why would I still remember it so vividly?  I wouldn't.  I remember the good times with Sam...and that one bad time of him hurting me.  I remember all of my calves that same way.  

My children do the same with their goats and pigs.  It's a learning experience that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.  They are learning great lessons.  4-H is GOOD.  It's GREAT!  FFA is GOOD. It's GREAT!  

The  4-H and FFA programs are vital to our communities and even our cities.  I think it would be great if those who are so opposed to "farm" and "agriculture" saw how those two entities would affect the very products that are in their homes.  Almost EVERYTHING is tied to agriculture in some way.  If I could snap my fingers and make "their" stuff with ag-related products disappear, they would be shocked at what would be missing!  Ha! If only that could really happen!

So, parents....don't be afraid your child is going to be warped from joining the local 4-H club or FFA chapter.  If anything, it will make them stronger.  It will make them appreciate the things God has given to us - the things He created for us.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Candy Corn Marshmallows

Do you like candy corn? My husband does, and he likes marshmallows.  In fact, I found some Kraft Candy Corn Flavored Marshmallows and bought them for him. He said they were great! They smelled great, but didn't fit the no flour, no sugar diet at the moment!

Here's a really cute way to make Candy Corn Marshmallows:

1 bag big or giant marshmallows
8-10 oz of white chocolate
Vegetable Oil (to thin chocolate)
Yellow and Orange food coloring
Black Gel Icing

In the microwave or in a double boiler, carefully melt the chocolate. Once melted, divide the chocolate evenly into two bowls. Add enough yellow food coloring to one bowl until the desired yellow shade is achieved. Then add orange food coloring to the other bowl to get the desired shade of orange. *Hint: To make it easier to dip the marshmallows, I thin out the chocolate by mixing in about 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Dip a marshmallow in the orange first about 1/3 of the way up and then set on a piece parchment paper.  Repeat with the rest of the marshmallows until you use up all the orange chocolate. Put the marshmallows in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set the chocolate. Remove from fridge and repeat, only half-way up the orange, with the yellow chocolate.  Set on parchment or wax paper. Finish by dotting two circles with the gel tube to form the eyes. Let the chocolate set and then enjoy!
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Breakfast Skillet

My 16-year-old son is a football player, so he needs a lot of protein and calories to get through the rigorous practices and games.  I especially want him to have a good breakfast, as carbs seem to make him a little "foggy-brained".  It's not good to have a foggy brain at school, or any time, for that matter!!  

So I came up with something that is quick, easy, and packed with protein: Breakfast Skillet.  I think Denny's restaurant used to advertise something like it.

Breakfast Skillet
1/2 tablespoon butter
3 eggs
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
2 tablespoons milk
Real bacon bits OR cooked sausage OR chopped ham
Cheddar Cheese

Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat.  Break eggs into skillet and add milk.  Stir.  Cook on medium until eggs are done, stirring often.  Add meat and cheese.  Stir until warmed.  Serve.

Of course, if you want to you can serve this in a tortilla or on toast, but it's perfectly tasty just out of the skillet.  And serving out of the skillet is one less serving plate to wash!
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Family Fun - Stir Fry Bowls

I know I posted something similar to this a month or so ago, but this is different and even more fun, so I wanted to share it with you!
Last night I made fried rice using the packets in the photo at the top. It was GREAT!  Although, I've made some from scratch that were great, too. In fact, I posted a recipe from my sister not long ago that she said is really good.
I used chopped up bell peppers, sliced red onions,  chopped squash, carrots, fresh green beans, and broccoli florets.   I also opened up the sweet and sour chicken sauce, stir fry sauce, and the small seasoning packets and put them in separate containers.  Salt and pepper were out, as well. I used chopped up chicken for the meat, but steak, shrimp, pork would all work, too!
Each person got a bowl and placed their meat, veggies, and sauce/seasonings in there, then brought it to me - the make-shift Hibachi chef!  I rinsed out their bowl (because of the raw chicken) then stir fried each bowl of goodies individually.
The fried rice was placed in the bowl, then was topped with each family member's creation.  It took a while with five people (good thing Lauren isn't here!! Ha ha!), but it was lots of fun and well worth the time.  It all tasted great!  We're looking forward to making this a regular family meal that's healthy and delicious.
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Corn Shucking the Easy Way!

Blog reader, Marsha, sent this wonderful tip for shucking corn:

1.  Cut the stem end off about 1 ½ inches and leave husk ON.
2.  Put one ear of corn in the microwave and cook for 4 minutes.
3.  Take corn out and hold by the top (I call it the furry end) and shake and the corn will fall out almost 100% free of the silk.
4.  Adjust if cooking more than one ear at a time.
5.  Enjoy!

Thanks, Marsha!
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Baked Corn

I really don't like to cook food in the microwave. I don't mind heating something quickly, but don't want to nuke my food too long, you know?  So, when I bought this corn, I planned to just put it in a pan on the stove.  This "experiment" started out to be roasted corn, but maybe it just didn't cook long enough or at a hot enough temperature, but we ended up really, really liking the way it turned out, anyway!  So, I thought I would share it with you.

2 packages frozen corn (I used Valley Fresh Steamers Extra Sweet Niblets Corn from Green Giant)
6 tablespoons salted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt (can use regular salt)
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place corn in baking dish.  Slice butter into 1/4 inch pieces and place over corn.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes (my oven cooks slow, so it took 60).  Stir once or twice while baking.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

My Ford Pickup

For years and years I had wanted an old Ford pickup.  I didn't care about how it looked, whether rusty or painted, but I had a certain style I wanted.  THIS STYLE!
(Decorated: "Fair Theme" at night)
Finally I found one, but I thought it cost too much.  But then my husband said if he could sell a little tractor he had setting out in the field, I could get the pickup. It sold the next day! In fact, we could have sold 10 of those little tractors! Ha! 
(Decorated: "Fair Theme" with flash)
And when my husband went to get the pickup, he was going to offer less on it.  The guy told him it was much less than he had told me (man vs. woman thing, I think) and less than what my husband was even going to offer!!  YAY!!
My whole reason for wanting the pickup was for pictures.  Here are most of the girls from my son's Senior class.  The girls were so excited to get to take a pic out there with the Seniors 2015 banner!  One of them commented that they could take a picture there each month and see how much they grow! Ha ha!  I reminded her that they really don't want to "grow" this year :).  Maybe she meant "mature"!

Right before our daughter left for college, I realized we hadn't taken any family pictures during the summer. We quickly took a few pictures when we could.   The sun was too bright to get closer to the pickup, but they still turned out well! Thank you to our niece-in-law, Marisa, for coming over to snap a few pics on short notice!

I'll be decorating this pickup for fall, and Christmas, and all of the other holidays.  I can't wait until it's time for hay bales and pumpkins and corn stalks!  I envision lots of family pictures taken here.  And others are welcome, too!  In fact, it's already been used by the cheerleaders and some of the Seniors for senior pictures!  That's exactly what I got it for!

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