Author Archives: Wiggleton Creek Farms

#FarmersThankDonimos Day

Support those who support you has always been part of our business plan.  Today it was certainly one of those moments to teach this important practice to our children.

Dominos Pizza recently took a stand in favor of the Farmer.  While many other restaurant chains have bought into animal rights groups’ propaganda, Dominos philosophy is Farmers know best.  Tim McIntyre, Dominos spokesperson said, ” We will never tell a farmer how to farm. We will never tell a rancher how to raise his/her animals. What we believe is they’re the experts.  They have the most vested interest in raising their livestock.  It’s not just a job, we recognize that.  It’s a life and we appreciate that–and we’re not afraid to stand up and say it!”

Thank you Dominos Pizza for supporting the farmer.  In return, I proudly support #FarmersThankDominos Day.

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Proud Mom Moment:  She Won a Heifer

Last year I shared the story of my daughter buying her first feeder calf and how involved she wanted to be in the cattle business.  The child has always loved to eat beef but didn’t really take an interest in business side of the cattle industry until last year.  As she waited for her heifers to calve, she was hoping for black baldy heifer calves (black calves with a white face, usually a angusxhereford cross).  All her calves arrived healthy but they were all black and all bull calves!  She decided she wanted to grow her herd and keep all the heifers her cows had but every year just boys!

When she heard about the Youth Beef Heifer Initiative, she thought winning this contest might help her get one step closer to building her herd.  To enter it required a 2-3 minute video on what winning a Heifer would mean to you.  So we loaded the video equipment and went to the pasture!  At the end of December we got the call that she had won her age division!  Here’s the video entry: I WON A HEIFERimg_0073

She was recognized at the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association Convention in Lexington!  She was presented up to $2000 to purchase a Heifer from a KCA member.  She already knows what she wants, we just now have to find her!  She wants an angus heifer bred to a Hereford bull or a nice baldy heifer bred to an angus or Hereford bull.  The hunt begins!  I  do not know who is more excited, Jenna or her dad!  Thank you to KCA and Farm Credit for sponsoring this great opportunity for junior cattlemen!

 

Jenna & Nikki Whitaker, KCA Membership Coordinator at KCA Banquet

 

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4 I’s to Meal Planning

One of the things I miss most about my cooking business is the fun of planning meals!  When I had the business it forced me to plan meals far in advance and even though I probably spent way too many hours sorting through my recipes and picking just the right combinations, I enjoyed it!

Life got way too busy last fall and I didn’t feel that I was putting enough effort into meal planning.  So this year, I’m going to try to be more intentional each week in planning.  I thought I’d share a few tips on how I meal plan.

1.  Input:  Ask for suggestions from the family.  If they are invested, the more likely they are to help and enjoy it.😊

2.  Inventory:  I look in the freezer and see what meats and veggies are already available.  I also look to the weekly sales ad.  Sale items can be inspiration to main or side dishes.  It’s also a great time to stockpile staples that are on sale.

3. Invest:  Write it down.  I know it sounds so simple but my written plans seem to have a better success rate than the ones floating around in my head. Pull recipes and create a grocery list of needed items.  Written plans also helps you work ahead.  (Thawing proteins, cutting vegetables ahead of time, etc.)

4.  Implement:  Get your ingredients, do as much prep ahead of time, and enjoy!  

My meal plan this week is pictured below.  I’ll walk you through my steps below👇🏻

1. Input:  My daughter wanted gumbo, my husband wanted fried catfish and my son shrugged his shoulders😒.

2.  Inventory:  I had some fish we had caught this summer, ground pork, chicken breast and steak in the freezer.  The sales ad had berries on sale, greens for $.99(lots of salads), frozen vegetables for $1(I’m almost out of frozen from the garden) and pork loin for $1.49/lb!  Our hog is getting processed and will soon have a freezer full but a sale like this is hard to pass up😬! 

3.  Invest:  I wrote out my plan, based on the suggestions and available products.  I made a grocery list of needed items in the layout of the store so I’m not circling aisles for a forgotten item.  My daughter has been sick, so the boys went to the grocery to pick up needed items.  I’m off work today so I put the meal with most clean up here, Fried catfish.  I’m at a conference Thursday and Friday so for Thursday night I’ll have everything loaded in the slow cooker before I leave for the hubs and kids.  

4.  Implement:  I have one day down, with plenty of leftovers for lunch today (and maybe tomorrow🤗).  But since I have a little extra time, I’m going to brown my ground pork for tomorrow’s nights spaghetti, wash all greens for use this week and wash and cut up fruits and veggies for snacks this week.

Hope you found this helpful!  Have a delicious week!

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Lessons on responsibility, risk and business skills

My husband has been looking forward to this moment every since the kids were born.  The moment that the kids would start their own business adventure and to top it off in agriculture!  We started building their herds early by giving them a heifer and letting them decide what to do with their calf.  Each child has 2 cows, one bred heifer and some cash to put toward their future (college, house, car, business, etc) and a start in the cattle business.  The kids decided to buy pee wee calves this summer to feed and sell this fall.  I must admit when my husband first brought the idea to me, all the possibilities of what could go wrong ran through my head.  What if the calf died and they lost all their money, what if they get hurt one day while feeding, are they old enough to handle the daily responsibility?????   But my husband assured me that they were ready and this would be a good learning experience.  I was still hesitant but agreed and my husband wasted no time calling our order buyer and putting in the first order of two pee wee calves (pee wee’s are not newborn but ~200 lb calves).

They got the barn ready and within a week the first calf was bought.  Jace wanted Jenna to get the first calf so he could watch and learn before he got his.   A trip to the bank and stockyard and “Bobby Joe” arrived at his new home.  As soon as they got him unloaded and fed, the lesson in money and record keeping began.  (My husband is a farm loan officer by day so crunching numbers is his superpower!)  About 10 days later, Jace’s calf “Super Boy” arrived at the barn.

In the next few weeks, it became apparent that my husband was right and this was a good decision.  The kids took great ownership in the calves and their care.  Each trip to the barn started with a fun game of tag with dad.  In the barn, lessons on herd health, nutrition and anatomy were given. The pride and accomplishment in the kids’ faces are priceless to me and something that I will cherish about their childhood.   The farm offers a place for exploration, adventures and life lessons.  And for that I am truly thankful!

Money in hand

Money in hand

 

Bobby Joe

Super Boy

Farm Records

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Goodbye Strawberry Season

I am always so excited to get my first batch of strawberries each spring.🍓  It’s usually the official start of fruit season and they happen to be my favorite fruit!  Last fall we planted strawberries in the high tunnel  in hopes that I would get them even earlier than usual.  I had been saving all kinds of strawberry recipes and could hardly wait to make them.  However, my kids can put away some strawberries, eating them as fast as they would get ripe.  I finally gathered up several gallons and knew this was my moment.  The kids and I made strawberry lemonade, strawberry pies  (one full fat and one low cal, low carb), strawberry jam, strawberry pie filling, strawberry cupcakes, strawberry yogurt popsicles, and strawberry muffins. Sounds like overkill huh?  None of it went to waste, we shared with teachers, co-workers and relatives!


My favorite was the strawberry cupcakes.  I have been looking for a strawberry cupcake that is similar to my favorite “Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake” from Gigi’s cupcakes.  This one did not have the mile high icing but had a nice flavor and a melt in your mouth quality that I adore!  I’ll share the recipe below.

img_0386

Strawberry Cupcakes

Cupcake

1 (15.25 oz) package white cake mix

1/2 (3.4 oz) package of instant vanilla pudding mix

1 cup strawberry yogurt

3/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup water

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp strawberry extract

1 cup diced fresh strawberries (10 medium berries, cut with a knife not food processor)


Strawberry buttercream icing

1\2 cup shortening 

1\2 cup butter, room temperature 

pinch of salt

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp strawberry preserves, melted

1 tsp strawberry extract 

1\2 cup Finely chopped strawberries

4 1\2 cups of powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.

Beat the cake and pudding mixes, yogurt, applesauce, water, eggs and extract. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined. Fold in the diced strawberries.

Using an ice cream scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin cups

Bake for 18-22 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool.

Prepare icing.  Beat shortening and butter until creamy.  Add salt, water, strawberry extract and chopped strawberries and mix again.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  Heat strawberry preserves in microwave for 30 seconds.  Add to frosting.  Beat one minute.  Frost the cupcakes and store in refrigerator. Enjoy!

Although I’m sad to see the strawberries go, I have preserved enough to get our family through the winter (I hope). However, my focus can now turn to cherries that are turning a beautiful shade of red in the trees. 🍒 I thank the good Lord that as quickly as one season ends, another begins.

I have already started collecting more strawberry recipes for next season😉!

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Cauliflower Transformation!

Raising cauliflower before the high tunnel was…. well…challenging!  One of my favorite things thus far about growing in the tunnel is getting to eat the crops earlier, the quality of the greens, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower and I get to grow it twice a year!!!  The only down side is that it all comes in at one time (I haven’t mastered staggered planting yet).  So I usually save up recipes all year and when the crops hits, I wear my family out with whatever is in season and freeze the rest!  We love eating cauliflower as a snack with some ranch dressing, in salads, but our favorite is buffalo cauliflower!  While the idea of cauliflower crust pizza has intrigued me, I dreaded using one of my precious heads in something that my family might not enjoy.  But as I stared at the 6 heads of cauliflower, I knew it was time!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Crust
2 1/2 cups grated cauliflower
1 egg
1 1/4 cup italian cheese
2 Tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Toppings
1/4 cup marinara or pizza sauce
Pepperoni’s to cover
sliced olives
mushrooms
diced onions
1 cup italian cheese
sprinkle with dried italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line pizza pan with parchment paper.
Grate the cauliflower using a hand grater until you get 2.5 cups. Microwave the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl for 7 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Mix in cheeses, egg and salt and pepper.
Put mixture on pizza pan and press out in an 8-10 inch circle. Bake for 10-12 minutess.
Take crust out of the oven and top with your favorite toppings. Bake another 10 minutes.
Let pizza cool before slicing.

Results:  The kids spilt on the tastiness of the pizza.  I just wonder if they did not watch me grate the cauliflower, would their thoughts be different.  My daugher liked it but prefered homemade pizza crust and my son said it was gross.  My husband and I enjoyed it.  My husband said it was a great use of cauliflower! (He ate a whole 8 inch pizza).  So now if any of my gluten sensitive friends come over, I have another option for supper!

 

 

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Obsession

Growing up there were always sweets in my house and my dad and I loved to indulge in all of them!  I passed my sweet tooth on to my children and we love to choose new desserts to make each weekend.  We all have different favorites but we can all agree that in the cookie department, chocolate chip cookies are KING!  While making chocolate chip cookies, my daughter wanted to eat the dough, but I would not let her due to the slight risk of salmonella.  So off she went to Pinterest to see if she could find a recipe of cookie dough that she could eat!  She found one and many more that has aided in her cookie dough obsession!  Eggless chocolate chip cookie dough, double chocolate chip cookies, cookie dough ice cream and cookie dough fudge.  I’ve attached two of her recent cookie dough inspired youtube videos from her channel Jenna’s Kitchen!  What is your favorite cookie dough inspired recipe?

 

 

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Oh , how I love BREAD!

I love just about any kind of bread! Biscuits, yeast bread, sourdough bread, sweet breads, pizza crust and I could go on for days about my affinity for carbs. And in the winter, I have more time to try new bread recipes that I have been saving all year for just the right time to bake them. However winter is almost over (thank goodness) and I’m still packing on insulation like it’s my job. Bread is my culprit. In KY, spring does not officially arrive until the middle of March so I have a few more weeks to make it through the saved recipes and before things get extra busy on the farm!

So I’m going to make the most of the next few weeks!

Moderation and I have never been friends, so this weekend I’m going to try soft pretzels, pizza bread, along with my usual best bread machine bread. Ahh, my bread machine(s), now they are great friends. My aunt Edith got me my first bread machine 17 years ago as a wedding present and it’s still kneading with the best of them. So much so that my father in law bought me another one just like it when I thought mine might be on the fritz! Lucky for me, my husband was able to fix it with some simple adjustments!

I hope to share some of my favorites soon, but for now here is  Allrecipes: Best Bread Machine Bread by SHECOOKS2.

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Meatloaf: Top 5 Reasons to Love It

Meatloaf is one of my family’s favorite suppers.  Something so simple is a definite go to comfort food and my kids ask for it often!  It was one of the first recipes my daughter wanted to learn and now makes it by herself.  I asked one day, “Why Meatloaf?”  I got a long list of very profound answers and I will share the top 5.

Top 5 Reasons My Kids Love Meatloaf:

5.  We have fun making it together.

4.  It goes great with green beans and mashed potatoes!

3.  Versatile:  Can add salsa, bbq sauce, cheese, A1 sauce and make it different each time.

2.  Meatloaf sandwiches the next day

1.   It’s meaty and I love meat!

There you have it mystery of my family’s love of meatloaf…solved.  Below is Jenna’s meatloaf video from her You Tube Channel “Jenna’s Kitchen.”  Hope you enjoy Meatloaf with your family!

Meatloaf: It’s What’s for Supper!

meatloaf

Meatloaf: It’s What’s for Supper!

 

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A New Project: You Tube

My daughter has always been interested in almost everything that I am!  She loves animals, food, cooking, blogging, public speaking and agriculture!  She has recently taken an interest in You Tube and kids cooking channels.  While we were snowed in, she decided that she would like to have her own Kids You Tube Cooking Channel so Jenna’s Kitchen was created!

I have been wanting to add You Tube to my social media arsenal with work and with the farm but just never took the time to learn all the ins and outs about shooting, editing and formatting.  Jenna’s Kitchen has given me a push to study the world of video and man is there much to learn!  But we have had fun and am excited to share some of her videos on Wiggleton Creek!

Make sure to subscribe to Jenna’s Kitchen at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXJqOdEHnbx3c1fZOncOsdQ.  Videos up now are Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Easy Guacamole!  But Meatloaf and Party Food will be coming up soon!

Working, studying recipes, watching videos and drinking coffee!

Working, studying recipes, watching videos and drinking coffee!

 

 

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