Orange Cream Scones

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Ingredients
Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cubed butter, cold
1 large egg
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze
1½ tablespoon butter, melted
¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange juice
½ teaspoon orange zest (optional, but it really adds good flavor)

Directions
1.    Preheat oven to 400º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking oil spray.
2.    Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest.  Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter until the butter is about the size of peas and the dough resembles coarse crumbs.
3.    In a small bowl, combine egg, sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla extract.
4.    Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
5.    Turn the dough out onto a floured surface; gently knead the dough until it holds together.  Pat into a 1-inch thick circle.  Cut into 8 triangles.
6.    Brush the tops of each scone with a little bit of heavy cream or milk.
7.    Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until scones are golden brown.
8.    While the scones are cooling, mix up the glaze.
9.    Spread the glaze over the sligntly warm scones.  Serve.

Yield:  8 scones

Agriculture in the Classroom

Growing up in the middle of Omaha and growing up with agriculture I got the unique opportunity to see first-hand the disconnect between consumers and producers. I grew up on my family’s 38-acre farm with sheep, goats, horses, and pigs. My farm life experience taught me more than just about what the world agriculture means. It taught me responsibility, respect, leadership, how to be caring, work ethic, and determination; Each day I am thankful for the way I was raised.
With many Nebraskan’s removed from farms and ranches, a responsibility is given to us to share the story of agriculture. I have taken this responsibility personally. As an Agricultural and Environmental Science Communications major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln I am learning and growing as a communicator. I have found new tools and perspectives to help me reach a variety of audiences and then help them realize how important agriculture’s story is to me and why it should be important to them. One of those tools is the Agriculture in the Classroom Program.

 

catherine-aitcThe Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s signature program is Agriculture in the Classroom. This program creates standard based materials for Nebraska Youth and Educators. Nebraska provides resources such as books, posters, activities and lesson plans about beef, pork, corn and soybeans. Each of these resources explains what happens from production to the everyday use of agricultural products of consumers.  A part of Ag in the Classroom in Nebraska is the Ag Pen Pal program. This program helps urban classrooms in Nebraska relate with the agricultural community in Nebraska.
catherine-ag-in-the-classroom-logoThe Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Program is a part of a larger program called National Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC). National AITC is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture and helps provide a network of opportunities. AITC is striving to help community members appreciate and understand the food and fiber system that supports us all. Their goal is to see agriculture is valued by all.

 
catherine-ag-in-the-classroomNational Agriculture in the Classroom is where I began my search for curriculum and resources that I use to teach urban youth in Omaha. Having teaching aids at your fingertips makes it impossible to say that you cannot share your agriculture experiences with whomever might have a question or misconception. If in any situation I need a resource to help communicate the ins and outs of agriculture production I can be sure to have unlimited help with the National and Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Programs at my side.

 

catherine-ag-in-the-classroom-websiteWith many Nebraskan’s removed from the farm, a responsibility we now have is to share the story of agriculture. It is so important to me to see our society becoming agriculturally literate because the agricultural community has made me who I am. I owe my work ethic, friends, family, and future career to the agriculture industry.
I hope to someday have a career that allows me to help integrate agriculture into school curriculum, that reaches out in the marketplace to the general public about the real story of the products they are purchasing and that makes the importance of agriculture known on a local, state and national level.

 

catherine-jones-info-bar

Sweet Potato Custards

sweet-potato-custardsIngredients
½ teaspoon butter
12 oz. sweet potatoes, cooked and cooled
1 cup low-fat dairy milk
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 teaspoons chopped pecans

Directions
•    Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease 4 or 5 oven-safe custard cups or ramekins with butter.
•    In a blender, combine the sweet potatoes, milk, eggs, sugar, spices, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth.
•    Pour blended mixture evenly between prepared custard cups, about ¾ cup per dish.
•    Sprinkle;e the top of each custard with about a teaspoon of chopped pecans.
•    Place custards on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned, set in the center, and slightly puffed.
•    Serve warm or chilled.

Yield:  4-5 servings

“Cracked Out” Chicken and Rice Bake

cracked-out-chicken-rice-bake2Ingredients
3 cups cooked rice
12 oz. cooked, chopped chicken
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
½ (1 oz.) package dry Ranch dressing mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup cooked, chopped bacon
½ cup chicken broth or water

Directions
1.    Preheat oven to 350º.  Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2.    In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
3.    Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Yield:  6-8 servings

An Inside Look at How Antibiotics are Used in Livestock

Drought - Cattle on low hay 2

Everywhere I turn, I seem to be faced with advertisements encouraging me to eat antibiotic-free meat. While one beauty of being an American is that we have the freedom to choose how we raise our livestock and what products we buy.  In no way am I shaming antibiotic-free producers.  However, I understand that fear of antibiotic resistance and concern for animal well-being.

As a sixth generation beef producer from the Nebraska Sandhills, I have firsthand experience with raising livestock.  When cattle get sick with a bacterial infection, my family chooses to treat them with an antibiotic.  We don’t do this because a sick calf would mean a loss in profit.  I can speak for most if not all livestock producers when I say that our livestock are our way of life.  We put our heart and soul into caring for these animals, and it pains us to see them suffer.

To acknowledge the fear of antibiotic-treated meat animals, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.  As producers, we develop herd health programs with our veterinarians, and receive training on proper dosage and withdrawal procedures. Relative to the topic of antibiotic resistance, many of the compounds used to treat animals are ionophores, which are actually antimicrobials that serve no purpose in human medicine, and do not impact antibiotic resistance whatsoever. While there are the few drugs that are utilized by both species, they are used to different degrees, as in the case of tetracycline, which accounts for only four percent of human antibiotic prescription, but comprise forty-one percent in animals. Producers feed the meat that we raise to our own families, so we would absolutely never taint the food supply.

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As the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) goes into effect in January 2017, the use of antibiotics for growth promotion will no longer be allowed.  Antibiotic use will be more closely monitored by requiring a VFD or prescription for the use of medically important (those also used in humans) antibiotics.  The VFD, which is the result of an FDA Guidance for Industry, is part of the livestock industry’s effort to reduce antibiotic resistance.
If there are further questions about the VFD, livestock use of antibiotics, or livestock production in animals, the best solution is to contact a veterinarian or livestock producer.  While we may seem far away, we are more than happy to answer whatever questions about our way of life that you have!

 

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Humans, Just Like You

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Yesterday evening, I went to visit my grandpa in the nursing home. When he asked “Do you know when I’ll be able to come home?” I thought to myself, “Living at home isn’t something you’ll be able to do anymore.” However, I wasn’t going to tell him that. Instead, I looked at Grandpa with hopeful eyes and said, “Well, I’m not sure! I guess we’ll have to wait and see! What’s so bad with being here though? I think they treat you pretty good!” Grandpa replied with a smile, “They sure do! But there’s nothing like living on the farm with my wife.”

As Grandpa expressed his love for his farm life through those words, I was reminded of his journey. It’s been a long one. Cecil, my Grandpa, has been living his whole life for the Lord, his family, and for farming. In my opinion, the greatest things around! Now, as he grows older, he has to separate from one of those things. The Farm. There comes a time when we grow too old to care for our cattle and too weak to climb up the tractor. I know Grandpa wishes nothing more than to be rolling through the snow in 30 below wind chills to feed his black beauties. That’s the passion of a farmer. The devotion of a farmer is something that goes unnoticed. People disconnected from agriculture are often misinformed and don’t view us as hard working humans. They instead view this industry as a machine. Yes, we are industrialized, but we are much more than that. My grandpa is a prime example of what’s really at the roots of agriculture. Here are 3 things that I think go unnoticed by our consumers.

  1. The passion we have for taking care of the land is absolute. As farmers, we don’t just plow through our land without a care in the world. We have a passion for what we are working with. We take pride and joy in knowing that the land we are working with has been an art project in the making. We work hard to preserve our land over the years so the next generation can inherit it.
  2. The care we have for our consumers is far beyond what others believe. What many people forget is that we, as farmers, eat what we produce as well. We wouldn’t produce anything that we wouldn’t eat ourselves. Consumers are always in the back of our minds when we are working hard to produce quality food.
  3. We are humans, just like you. What people will often forget is that people in agriculture are just as human as everyone else. We have families, we have feelings, and we have jobs that have much more passion behind them than advertised.

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If you take anything away from this blog, take away this: when you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal this month, think less about the technical side of things and more about the personal side of things. Look at your hearty meal and see the hard work, dedication, and passion that farmers endured to produce what you’re eating. We aren’t just producing food to produce food. We are caring for our land, caring for our consumers, and being humans, just like you.

 

kelli-mashino-info-bar

Applesauce Oat Bran Muffins

applesauce-oat-bran-muffins3Ingredients
1 cup oat bran
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons fat-free milk
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions
•    Preheat oven to 400º.
•    In a large bowl, combine the oat bran, flour, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt.
•    In another bowl, beat the eggs, applesauce, oil, and milk.
•    Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Fold in raisins.
•    Fill muffin cups coated with nonstick cooking spray three-fourths full.
•    Combine the walnuts, cinnamon, and remaining sugar; sprinkle over batter.
•    Bake for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.  Serve warm.

Yield:  1 dozen muffins