My Other More Exciting Self

Farm Raised, Shoe Enthusiast, Turkey Talker, Wine Lover, Mom

How’s your week going? I’ve been beyond busy at the office, with a lot to accomplish before a business trip to Chicago next week. I don’t travel overly much for work, so when I do, I have to admit I really enjoy getting away, changing the scenery and catching up with my turkey industry friends.

But … with travel and all this office work to finish, it limits my blogging time, which bums me out! I really love to write and share my stories, photos and recipes with all of you and I miss it when I don’t blog as much as I’d like.

Luckily, my friend, Elizabeth, over at ReadySetEat, is willing to pick up the slack and share a good recipe with you all once in a while. Her recipes are always perfect for busy weeknights – using fresh ingredients but never overwhelming. If you’re like me, you have minimal time to get supper ready for hungry family members. I’ve got two boys – both Joe and Teacher Man – who are starving by the time they get home and are ready to eat!

So … in honor of National Chicken Month, I’ll turn it over to Elizabeth to share an amazing chicken recipe with you. And if you are in the mood to read some fun chicken facts, head over to my Agriculture.com blog where I posted all about chickens this week.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Noodle Primavera | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Hello everyone!  This is Elizabeth again, writing on behalf of ReadySetEat, and I’m happy to be sharing another recipe on My Other More Exciting Self today.  This recipe is for Chicken Noodle Primavera; September is National Chicken Month, so what better way to celebrate than by eating a delicious chicken recipe?  This dish is packed with juicy chicken and crisp vegetables.  It will only take thirty minutes to make, too.

With the weather transitioning from summer to fall, I’ve been trying my very best to fit in as many summer activities as possible–which includes making a variety of summery dishes.  While this Chicken Noodle Primavera will still taste great even in winter, it’s a perfect dish to have now before the summer vegetables are done for the season.  There are plenty of other seasonal foods to look forward to, though.  Just this past weekend, I went to an apple orchard which had very recently opened for the coming fall.  Even though chicken is fantastic all year round, don’t forget to have a few more chicken dishes this month to celebrate National Chicken Month!

Chicken Noodle Primavera

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces Mueller’s® Wide Egg Noodles, uncooked
  • 2 tablespoons Pure Wesson® Canola Oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh thin asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise, sliced (1 med = about 2 cups)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz. each) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, drained
  • 1 cup light Alfredo pasta sauce
  • Kraft® Grated Parmesan Cheese, optional

Directions

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain remaining water. Return noodles to pan.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt and pepper. Add to skillet; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink in centers, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet; set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add asparagus; cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Add squash and remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt; cook 3 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add vegetable mixture, cooked chicken, drained tomatoes, Alfredo sauce and reserved water to noodles; toss to coat. Heat 2 minutes more or until hot. Top with cheese, if desired.

If you are looking for any other dinner ideas, then simply swing by ReadySetEat.com.  Hope you like the Chicken Noodle Primavera!

It’s Sunday night and, as is our usual custom, Joe and I are plopped on the couch in our porch. He’s watching a video on his iPad and I’m working on this blog plus my weekly blog I write for Agriculture.com. Earl the pug is on the floor right below us, snoring away after the rough day he had of laying around, mainly napping with an occasional foray outside. Life is rough for a 13-year-old pug.

The past few days have been busy but fun, with a birthday to celebrate, a Saturday afternoon date with Teacher Man, and a baking extravaganza on Sunday. We also started the new year of Sunday School at church this morning – and it’s freaking me out that this is Joe’s last year of Sunday School before he starts confirmation classes. How exactly did that happen? I’m pretty sure it was just yesterday that he was 4 and he had separation anxiety with me at church – which is why I ended up being his very first Sunday School teacher. :) Now, he walks around church like he owns the place. My how life changes!

Here are a few photos from my weekend.

2014-09-11 19.23.40 HDR-1

Happy Birthday to my Mom! Here’s a birthday #selfie we took at her birthday celebration dinner with the family last Thursday at Lola’s Lakehouse.

Goofy cousins | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Joe and Audree got campy for the camera at the birthday celebration. These two always make all of us laugh.

My Girl Morgan | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

My niece, Morgan, is really growing quickly. I think I’d love to freeze time a little to enjoy this baby phase a little longer.

Buffalo Rock Winery | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Teacher Man and I finally (finally!) visited the winery that is literally just a few miles from our house – Buffalo Rock Winery. It didn’t disappoint – an extensive collection of wines to try and the woman who owns the winery and makes all the wine was so nice and very enthusiastic about what she does. We had a great time chatting with her and she even gave us a sneak sip of a wine she is hoping will be approved for official tasting in the next couple of weeks.

Buffalo Rock Winery | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

For some reason, Teacher Man felt like this was totally me! ;)

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Confession: I’m 45 and I don’t think I’ve ever made cinnamon rolls truly from scratch. Today, though, that changed! I tried these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls (with cream cheese frosting) from Lauren’s Latest blog and they were delicious. It’s quite a process – first I made the dough, which had to rise a couple of hours; then I put the rolls together and waited for those to rise a bit more; finally I could bake and frost. All of this meant I had a roll for dessert tonight with a giant glass of cold milk, while the boys had their Sunday night Blizzards from Dairy Queen, another ritual of ours.

I am now reminded why I run regularly: for my wine outings and for baked treats on Sunday.

Earl the Pug | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

I leave you with Earl the pug, who was described as “a legend” by a friend of mine on Friday. There’s just something about this face that makes Earl so endearing to so many people. Love this dog!

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

1/2 c. butter 4 c. powdered sugar 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 3 tbsp. milk   Directions: 1.  Heat oven to 375F.  Grease and flour 15×10-inch jelly roll pan.  For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy.  Blend in bananas and vanilla extract.  Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for 1 minute.  Stir in walnuts. 2.  Spread batter evenly into pan.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. 3.  Meanwhile, for frosting, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling.  Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately. 4.  Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk.  Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting).  Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).

I think I have a serious baking addiction on the weekends.

Is this a bad thing, you ask?

I love to spend my Saturday mornings in the kitchen, television tuned into The Food Network while I decide what sort of baking concoction I’m craving. Yesterday I made some mighty delicious Cinnamon Bun Scones via A Lovely Living.

But that just wasn’t enough to satisfy my baking itch. There’s just something almost relaxing about baking for me – I love the whole process of measuring and mixing and creating. Well yes, and the eating part, too. But truthfully, that’s almost secondary to the baking process. (I’m a bit geeky like that.)

Today, I decided to get rid a few of my past-their-prime bananas that I have stored in the freezer. Joe loves banana muffins and banana bread, so I figured I’d give the BEST Banana Cake Ever a whirl from a blogger I follow and really enjoy – Nurse Loves Farmer. (I’ve also been lucky to get to know Sarah, the woman behind Nurse Loves Farmer, via a new social media group we’re both a part of – Ask The Farmers, which I wrote about here!)

I made a few of my own tweaks – namely I added chocolate chips because, if I’m going to be honest here, both Joe and I can’t get enough chocolate chips in our banana bread. And I didn’t have the heavy cream on hand that the frosting called for, so I substituted this Brown Butter Frosting from The Recipe Critic. Plus I doubled the recipe to fit a 9×13 pan – I want to have extra to bring to the office tomorrow to share.

I think the result was amazing – moist cake that is ultra banana-y, with plenty of chocolate and yummy frosting. I have a feeling this will become a regular addition to my baking regimen; this truly was a delicious banana cake and I almost always have the ingredients on hand so it’s something I can just whip up on whim.

Recipe follows below – have a great start to your week!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Brown Butter Frosting | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

  • 1-1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed super ripe banana (about 4)
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. (or 350 F. if you are using a glass baking dish).
  2. Using a mixer (or by hand, if you prefer), cream together sugar, sour cream, egg, and 2 tablespoons softened butter.
  3. Add & mix mashed bananas and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  4. Add flour and baking soda; mix well.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and pour entire mixture into greased 9×13 pan.
  6. Bake at 375 F. for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from Nurse Loves Farmer’s BEST Banana Cake Ever.

Brown Better Frosting

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat butter  in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling.  Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately.
  2. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk.  Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting).
  3. Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm cake (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).
Recipe from The Recipe Critic.

 

 

Ask The Farmers Program | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Here’s a novel concept:

If you have a questions about your food  – where it comes from, how it’s grown – why not ask the farmer?

Sure, easy enough if you live next to a farm, you say. But what about those of you who don’t know farmers and may not live anywhere near an agricultural area.

Well, I have exciting news for you. I am thrilled to be part of a new social media group called “Ask The Farmer.”  Several of my farmer friends – all amazing, strong and intelligent women, by the way – have banded together to create a place where you can go to ask any question about food and agriculture that’s on your mind.

Truly, it’s that easy!

Here’s where you’ll find us:

To ask a question, just head to the Facebook page, the website or send an email to askthefarmers@hotmail.com. A farmer with expertise in the area of your question will respond via a blog post on the website (which will also be shared on Facebook, as well). Plus, all posts will be archived for future reference.

I think it’s going to be an excellent (and much-needed) reference, especially since most of us are far-removed from farming and food production.

While I don’t work in day-to-day farm production like all the rest of these amazing women do, I’m honored, as a born-and-raised farm girl, to be included in the group and I’m excited to share the poultry knowledge I have gained over my two decades of working with poultry farmers.

In fact, I just did this week! The very first question asked of this group was about the white eggs and brown eggs – specifically, are there any differences nutritionally or otherwise? My answer was just posted this afternoon on the the website so check it out!

All of these farm women are passionate about what they and their families do and are eager to provide accurate information and resources for your questions. Plus they are a diverse group, covering a lot of different types and sizes of farming.

So what are you waiting for?  Go ahead and ask the farmers!

Ask The Farmers Program | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

 

Food Babe: Fear over Food | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Food Babe. Sigh.

I’m not going to rehash what everyone else has written about the Food Babe. Several people have done a very good job of explaining why I think she’s detrimental to consumers and the food industry. You can read these excellent posts for yourself here – all are, in my opinion, well worth your time:

What I am going say is this:

I am so very tired of seeing the Starbuck’s pumpkin latte infographic from the Food Babe – who has no background in either nutrition or food science, by the way. It pains me deeply to post it here because it goes against every fiber of my being to do so, but I feel I must show it to you in case you haven’t seen it yet. (And this is better, at least, than actually sending you to Food Babe’s website. Shudder.)

Food Babe's Incorrect Rant on Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

I’m saddened that some media outlets will give her air time, despite the fact that what she says and writes about is sensationalism at best, designed to create fear over what you are eating, and often not true at all. I’m too old school, I suppose – as a journalism major in the late 1980s, I actually remember learning about the importance of fact checking stories and proving that my sources were indeed reputable and credible.

Those days are apparently gone, at least for some media outlets. (Fox News, which so gleefully gave the Food Babe air time to talk about those “toxic” Starbuck’s pumpkin lattes this week, I am indeed talking to you. )

And I’m scared that so many people don’t seem to have a clue about food and the science behind food and take her posts at face value. Does anyone really think a pumpkin spice latte should have actual pumpkin in it? Then please, by all means, pick a pumpkin from my parents’ garden (they grow plenty on their farm), cut it open and see how that’s going to work. I’m guessing it won’t go very well.

Snopes.com has an excellent breakdown here of the different areas Food Babe attacks Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte and what is really truthful.

To me, if there is anything to be concerned about in that pumpkin spice latte, it might be the amount of sugar – but to call it toxic? I guess that’s an extra tablespoon of fear to go along with my occasional gourmet coffee.

I agree with Kantha Shelke, a food scientist with a background in organic chemistry and a spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists, who had this to say in Time magazine:

“This conversation about chemicals in food requires a certain amount of responsibility, which I think some of these elitist writers and bloggers and speakers have somehow forgotten,” she says of the backlash against pumpkin spice flavoring. “I think it’s very irresponsible to be ignorant to such a level as to lead others astray and tell them to eat chemical-free food.” After all, she says, water and salt are chemicals.

I encourage you to reach the entire article from Time magazine – it helps explain, among other things, that there are perfectly safe chemicals part of nature and there’s no reason to vilify them.  Have you seen a list of ingredients that are actually in an egg, banana or blueberries? Crazy-sounding names but all natural parts of the product.

Indgredients in an egg | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Egg graphic courtesy of io9.com.

As for me, I’m staying away from sensationalism and fear marketing of food, and I plan to enjoy, guilt-free, a pumpkin spice latte if I so choose to have one this fall. I hope you will join me.

Food Babe rant over. For now.

 

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