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Beef and the Heart: Raising cattle and a family

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Posted by: on February 13, 2012

We’re on week two of our February “Beef and the Heart” guest blog series. I hope you’re enjoying getting to know these passionate ladies, just as I am! This week our guest blogger is Brenda Black, a woman active in speaking for the beef community, raising a family, and loving God. You’ll see throughout her post, that beef is near and dear to her heart, as she uses her writing and story-telling talents to share her love for cattle and beef with anyone who’ll listen!

See our first blog of the series here: Beef and the Heart: A Family of Strong Hearts

Brenda's sons, Austin and Cooper, have developed a passion for agriculture and strong values from their parents.

I can’t remember not caring for cattle – feeding, leading, breeding, showing, doctoring, growing, selling and buying. As I reminisce about the constant presence of bovine in my life, I see myself in a bright kelly green vest over a crisp white, child-sized shirt, leading a coal black Angus calf to the show ring at a Jackson County 4-H fair when I was eight.  I think back to high school days and chores in the morning and chores at night regardless of sports or other extracurricular activity. My brother, sister and I cared for our Santa Gertrudis cattle and quarter horses at the farm in Cass County. I remember registered heifers helping hoof the college bill and the impressive small commercial herd my husband and I put together as newlyweds. Then my mind jumps ahead to two decades of raising our children around livestock and imparting beef knowledge to our sons as well as countless numbers of Bates, Vernon and Henry County youth interested in Agriculture. Yes, my history is filled with beef cattle farming and family and wonderful Ag memories no matter where we called home. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Maybe that’s why this lifestyle and lean protein are near and dear to my heart.  It’s part of who I am, not just what I’ve done.  I love the opportunities the beef community has afforded our family. We’ve made amazing friends and participated in a lifestyle that has helped our family develop deep respect for the land and God’s creatures that supply food, fuel and fiber.  Our boys have learned responsibility and compassion, developed critical thinking and communication skills, and proven successful as livestock managers and good stewards, due, in large part, to the choices we’ve made to be a beef cattle farm family.

My roles as the 2012 Missouri CattleWomen’s Association president, a Missouri Speaking of Beef spokesperson and a member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board are not so much about pushing a product, but more about giving back to a commodity, a community – the beef cattle legacy – that’s helped shape my life.  “I Heart Beef” isn’t just a slogan in February to me. It’s a reality. I love the cattle. I love the community. I love the nutritious and delicious beef dishes that keep our family satisfied and healthy. And I’m tickled medium-well pink to be part of this great beef industry.

A recipe to simplify life.

As a writer and speaker, graphics designer, preachers wife, Sunday School teacher and beef cattle farmer, I am always on the hunt for anything to simplify my life! One of our family favorites gets me out of the kitchen while the crock pot does the cookin’ and then welcomes me back with a savory supper when we’re ready.

Crock Pot Swiss Steak

2 1/2 lb. Round Steak                        1 10.5 oz can French Onion Soup

1/2 tsp. Salt                                         3 Tbsp. Cornstarch

1/8 tsp. Pepper                                   1/4 c. Water

1 16 oz. Can Stewed Tomatoes

Cut meat into serving size pieces and season with salt and pepper. Place all ingredients, except cornstarch and water, in a cooker. You can add some water and/or beef broth if needed. Cover. Cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. Make a paste of cornstarch and water at end of cooking time. Stir into steak mixture. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes, or until thickened.

Tips: Serve with cooked noodles. Leftovers make a great stew starter. Just add vegetables and additional water or broth as needed. Even the leftover noodles can go back in the pot!

Find more recipes at MoBeef.org and BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

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