Last fall, we at the Missouri Beef Council took 26 dietetic interns on a farm tour, so they could see firsthand what happens on cattle farms and dairy farms on a day-to-day basis. The interns enjoyed the tour and learning about how their food is really produced.
Why am I blogging about this? Because sometimes I’m afraid those of you who don’t live on a farm think we’re just trying to feed you propaganda. But these young ladies want to share their points of view, as unbiased, health-minded professionals. And instead of summarizing what they had to say, I’ll let them share their findings.
“My key takeaway from the cattle farm was that great deal of time, effort, and care go into raising good, quality beef. The owners truly care about their cattle’s health and take great pride in raising healthy beef that consumers can enjoy.”
“Antibiotics are used when necessary if cattle get sick, but all traces of antibiotics must be out of the cow’s system before harvesting it.”
“After seeing an actual dairy and beef cattle farm, I have a new perspective. When I think of a cattle farm now, I see hardworking, passionate, family-oriented farmers doing their job to keep these cattle safe and happy in order to provide us with dairy and beef.”
“The family spoke of how they have to be on call to help deliver new calves and that they can’t take vacations because there aren’t ‘cattle kennels.’ I haven’t thought about the sacrifices cattle farmers have to make until this field trip, and I am very thankful for their hard work.”
“Being a vegetarian, I worry about the human treatment of animals and have always envisioned cattle farms as very inhumane places. After seeing a small cattle farm first-hand, I realize a lot of my previous ideas were wrong. You can tell they care deeply about their animals and are passionate about what they do.”
On Cattle Nutrition
“Cattle need a variety of nutrients, just like humans. However, cattle digest certain nutrients differently than humans, due to the rumen in their gastrointestinal tract. Cattle nutrition experts work hard to ensure that adequate amounds of the nutrients are provided to the animals.”
“This need/balance of nutrients changes in cattle depending on their stage of life, just as human nutritional needs change over time.”
“Many of these nutrients come from the grass they graze, or from the feed that is blended by the farmer or the nutritionist.”
On Nutrition Trends
“Grain-fed or grass-fed? There is not necessarily a ‘better’ way to raise cattle. When beef is ready for human consumption, the differences in grass- and grain-fed cattle are negligible. As long as beef is lean, it is a great protein option to include in your overall healthy diet.”
“In reality, lean beef contains as little fat as some cuts of chicken, and can fit very nicely into a balanced diet.”
“People cut red meat from their diet simply as a trend. I’ve learned that red meat, especially lean beef, can still be included in a healthy diet. Who knew there were 29 lean cuts of beef!?”
“The buzz words often attract consumers to certain products, but the claims may not actually be supported or accurate.”
On Taking the Tour
“Visiting the dairy and beef cattle farms offers far more information and memorable lessons than a classroom or journal article could ever provide. By being there, I have an honest and true belief to accompany my knowledge.”
“Knowing that farms like this one – where children are taught lessons on the farm and bulls have names – gives me a more positive feeling toward the beef cattle industry.”
“Visiting these farms has given me a better understanding of how a farm actually works, which will allow me to make sound food choices and recommendations for myself and future clients.”
“They (farmers) enjoy talking about their role in producing healthy, nutritious, and safe foods that help to nourish children and adults all over the glove. Stop by and visit your local farmer today, you will be amazed at what you will learn.”
As 2013 begins, a good nutrition resolution to keep is eating a healthy breakfast each morning. We know breakfast is an important meal for our daily diet, and research tells us how important it is to include a quality lean protein in our first meal of the day. Each day seems more hectic than the last, no matter what time of year it is, so my suggestion (with no shock to you, I’m sure) is to include lean beef in your breakfast to start your day off right.
Read Related Post: 13 things you need to know to keep your 2013 resolutions
Okay, okay. If I’m going to tell you to make time for breakfast, I better offer up the easiest recipe ever, right? Well, the beauty of this recipe is that you can utilize leftover steak or roast, OR you can simply used pre-packaged roast beef from the deli at the grocery store. And, honestly, you can completely alter the other ingredients to match your taste buds and nutritional needs. Take it, and make it your own. Happy breakfast eating!
Beef and Cream Cheese Bagels
- 12 ounces cooked beef (such as steak, roast, pot roast or deli roast beef), thinly sliced
- 4 thin-style flavored bagels or regular bagels, split
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons nonpareil capers (if desired)
- 8 thin slices tomato
- 4 thin slices red onion, separated into rings
- Nonpareil capers (optional)
Spread cream cheese evenly on cut sides of each bagel half. Evenly sprinkle capers over cream cheese. Evenly top with tomato slices and onion rings; top with beef. Garnish with additional capers, if desired. Serve immediately.
As 2013 is off to a jumpstart, and your schedules are packed with ambitious goals of getting into shape, eating right, and spending more time with loved ones, I’ll keep this short and simple…. I give you the 13 most important tidbits and tips you need to know about cooking with and eating beef to keep your resolutions all year long!
1. Eighteen of the top 25 most popular beef whole muscle cuts are lean, including the Sirloin, 93 percent lean ground beef, T-Bone, Tenderloin, and more.
2. The recommended serving size of lean beef is 3-4 oz., which is about the size of a deck of cards.
3. A 3 oz. serving of lean beef averages about 150 calories.
4. Three ounces of lean beef contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 2,000-calorie diet, yet it supplies more than 10 percent of the daily value for 10 essential nutrients. (The 10-10-10 rule)
6. Lean beef is packed with Zinc, Iron, Protein, and B Vitamins that are beneficial in fueling your body before and after a good workout.
7. New BOLD research shows that eating lean beef even daily, as part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle, can improve cholesterol levels.
8. Beef is one of the most versatile proteins to cook,with so many cuts, cooking methods, and ways to pair with fruits and veggies.
9. Put a roast in the slow cooker early in the day to save yourself precious family time after work.
10. Lean ground beef can easily be cooked in large batches and put in the fridge or freezer to use later in the week, again, saving yourself time!
11. When dining at a restaurant, you’ll very rarely get only 3 oz. of beef. Ask for a box and put away the extra ounces to be sure you have leftovers for the next day.
13. We’ve also got cooking videos, infographics, and beef safety tips to make cooking with lean beef super easy!
There they are – 13 simple reasons and tips to include lean beef in your resolution. I want you to succeed, and I hope this helps you do just that! Happy New Year, all!
Christmas is here!! I’ve collected 12 of our favorite holiday recipes for you to try for your holiday celebrations. I’ve got kid-friendly meals, appetizers, stews, breakfast dishes, roasts, and more, all to help you choose your favorites for the next week. You can always find more here on the blog, at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com and MoBeef.org.
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
12. Beef Pinwheels – using roast in an appetizer, so many perks!
11. Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy – let it cook while you wrap your gifts… so many gifts.
10. Chili in single portions – for the kiddos to reheat over Christmas break.
9. Herb-Topped Beef Roast with Roasted Cauliflower – holiday roasts gather the family, even the crazy ones!
8. Beef and Sweet Potato Hash – to serve for breakfast as you open gifts.
7. Dijon and Herb Rubbed Beef Roast with Cranberry Sauce – a family tradition worth starting!
6. Beef and Barley Stew – a recipe that showcases that lean beef can be part of a heart-healthy diet, and it tastes good too!
5. Easy Beef Pinwheels – an easy appetizer the youngsters can make (different than 12).
4. Autumn Beef and Cider Stew - to fill your home with warmth and happiness… yummy happiness!
3. Meal Solutions – you’re gonna need to do SOMETHING will all those holiday leftovers…
2. Grilled Prime Rib – because we need an excuse to light the grill all year long!
1. Herbed-Mustard Topped Beef Roast – it doesn’t get much merrier than this!!!
This Christmas, we’re featuring one of our blogger friends, Scott Thomas of “Grillin’ Fools.” Scott and his fellow Grillin’ Fools bloggers are dedicated to teaching others how to grill by showing them step by step, picture by picture instructions to make amazing meals on the grill. I hope you enjoy reading and TRYING this Grilled Prime Rib recipe!
With the holidays right around the corner, prime rib will be on the menu and thus on those well decorated dining room tables. Skip the oven and put it on the grill. Many people are too intimidated to grill a prime rib. The temperature of the grill could fluctuate and it could cook too fast and be overdone or too slow and have to go back on the grill, interrupting the meal. Putting it in the oven is much safer, right? Set the temp and it will stay at that exact temperature until it’s time to eat. But it couldn’t be easier to grill a prime rib and besides, cooking in the oven will not impart that wonderful smokiness only a grill can produce.
Grilled Prime Rib
And just to show you how easy it is, I will make this prime rib with exactly three ingredients:
Grilled Prime Rib Ingredients:
- 1 prime rib (or standing rib roast)
You can use your favorite rub, but for this cookout, I used a product from Code3Spices. Not only is it a great rub, but also part of the proceeds from their rubs go to charities benefiting first responders (police, firefighters, and paramedics) and the military:
First, trim a little of the fat of the back of the prime rib, but not all so it will baste the meat as it cooks:
Then hit with a heavy dose of coarse salt:
Then coat it on all sides with the rub, finishing on the fat side up in an aluminum pan:
Set up the grill for two zone grilling, coals on one side and none on the other:
Toss in some smoke wood over the coals. For this I used sassafras, but other good woods are oak, pecan and hickory. Then put the aluminum pan with the meat on the other side of the grill with no coals. The aluminum pan will act as a heat shield to keep the prime rib from grilling too quickly:
Now time for the insurance policy to make sure you don’t over or under cook the roast. Insert a probe thermometer. For this unit I can set the target temperature on the remote and it will tell me when it gets within 5 degrees, in this case the target temperature is 125:
If you don’t have a probe thermometer, I highly recommend you get one before doing this for the first time. This is the one I have. Grilled prime rib is easy to do, but for the first time, it can be nerve racking. One of these will be worth the price in piece of mind.
After one hour it looks like this:
And a little over two hours, I have reached my target temperature of 125 and it looks like this:
125 sound a little underdone to you? That’s because we aren’t done yet. Now that we have the smoke flavor infused into the meat, it’s time to get that amazing flavor crust. This is called the reverse sear method. Leave the lid open on the grill to let the coals get good and hot again. Then put the prime rib over the red hot coals:
I know that looks crazy and there is no way you would do that to an expensive cut of meat like this. But trust me, that flame job is the key to the flavor crust. I picked that picture in particular because I wanted you to realize that the fat is going to flame up something fierce. This is he hardest part: being patient enough to let those flames flare all over the prime rib and not yank it off.
Sear it on all four sides and then take it off the grill and let it rest:
Resting will allow the juices that are in an excited state from the heat to calm down and redistribute throughout the meat. Let it rest for 20 minutes and slice:
Happy Holidays, from the Grillin’ Fools!
Food safety requires a deep commitment from both those who produce food, and those who prepare and serve it. So that really means it’s not only important to know what the beef community is doing to ensure cattle are care for to result in safe, quality beef, but also how you at home can properly prepare it in your kitchen.
Commitment to Safety, From the Farm…
From farm to table, the beef community has a long-standing commitment to providing the public with the safest food possible. This is proven through the in-depth research, application of safety best practices, and public education.
Cattle farmers and ranchers have invested more than $30 million in ongoing beef safety research and programs since 1993. As a whole, the beef community spends more than $550 million each year on testing, interventions and other safety strategies. I don’t know about you all, but that makes me feel pretty good about cooking with and eating beef!
Beef’s primary focus is E. coli prevention. Today, because of research and the cooperative efforts of many partners in the beef supply chain, extensive efforts to reduce and eliminate E. coli are in place on farms, in feedyards and in packing plants across the country.
To your Fork: In Restaurants
Sure, rigorous testing and inspection ensures that the beef community distributes only the safest food to the public. Nonetheless, it is important for those who prepare food — either at home or in restaurants— to know the proper cooking techniques to ensure optimal safety.
The Missouri Restaurant Association makes food safety and their guests’ health top priorities. Hear this message from our friend, Steve Cole, MRA Chief Operating Officer.
To your Fork: In your Kitchen
For those of you who at home who enjoy cooking with beef, remember these four keys to proper preparation of beef:
- Properly refrigerate beef until time of preparation
- Prepare beef on a clean work surface
- Test the internal temperature of beef as it cooks
- Store and refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container.
Safe and savory ground beef requires a higher temperature than steaks and roasts, with 160 F being the optimal cooked temperature.
Because roasts are more common this year, that means roast LEFTOVERS are common too! I thought I’d share a quick blog today to showcase a quick recipe: Roast Beef and Veggie Wraps. This recipe is great to make with leftover roast, thinly sliced, or even deli roast beef from the grocery store.
These wraps can serve as an after-school snack that your kiddos can make themselves, or a mid-afternoon snack when they’re home over Christmas break. The ingredients can be swapped with others, to meet their tastes, while still highlighting lean beef, packed with the zinc, iron and protein we all need to stay active and healthy.
MBIC’s John Kleiboeker demonstrated this recipe on KTVO in Kirksville this morning.
Roast Beef and Veggie Wraps
- 12 ounces cooked roast beef or deli roast beef, thinly sliced
- 2 cups shredded broccoli slaw
- 6 tablespoons reduced-fat or fat-free ranch dressing, divided
- 1/2 cup reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese, softened
- 4 flour medium tortillas
1. Place the broccoli slaw and 1/4 cup of ranch dressing in medium bowl. Toss to coast slaw evenly.
2. Place the cream cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons ranch dressing in a small bowl. Stir with rubber spatula to mix well.
3. Place one tortilla on a cutting board or flat surface. Spread about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on the tortilla using a rubber spatula.
4. Place 1/4 of roast beef slices in an even layer on top of the cream cheese.
5. Place approximately 1/3 cup of the broccoli mixture on top of the roast beef. Spread the broccoli mixture in an even layer, using the rubber spatula or back of a spoon.
6. Starting at the bottom edge, roll tortilla up tightly to enclose filling. Cut as desired.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy leftover roast beef?!
Find holiday roast recipes at MoBeef.org!
Imagine this. It’s the end of a work day, during the most hectic season of the year, and you have no idea what to serve for dinner tonight. What if you had inspiring “no recipe” meal ideas right at your fingertips when you’re in a time crunch?
We’ve got your solution: an awesome, new online tool called “Meal Solutions!” You can use it to solve dinner dilemmas and prepare fast, healthy meals, without a formal recipe, and with ingredients you most likely have on hand. Sold yet? Here’s a sample…
Meal Solutions features three meal options: salads, tacos and sandwiches. Click on your choice and follow the colorful visuals. Many of the meals utilize leftovers or pre-cooked items to be paired with fresh ingredients. Full recipes are posted alongside, for those who prefer to follow written instructions when preparing meals.
And it just keeps getting more awesome! The online tool includes a shopping list designed to help you stock your pantry, fridge and freezer with essentials. Print it out and take it to the store for easy, budget-friendly shopping.
Wow, these next few days are going to be busy days. Multiple family dinners, nice weather to complete outdoor projects before winter really sets in, cooking, cleaning, Black Friday shopping and setting up Christmas decorations (I can’t wait!). If I’m not careful, this list can easily stress me out. Lucky for me, those around me are all pausing to be thankful, and that slows me down a little. THANK goodness it slows me down, because I’ve got an awful lot to be thankful for this holiday season.
I get a little overwhelmed when I think about how blessed I am that Missouri cattle farmers and ranchers trust me to utilize their money to promote their beef. When I think about promoting something that happens to be the livelihood of my dad, my grandpa, and much of my family, I realize that I am so privileged to have this job and to tell their stories on a day-to-day basis. Those are some hardworking folks who have risked their families’ necks time and time again to stay in the business of providing families across the country with quality food from healthy animals. Man, that sure puts my 40-50 hours a week in perspective, let me tell you.
I know I don’t tell my dad and my family often enough “thank you” for doing what they do and trusting me to do what I do, but I sure think it every day. Having worked three and a half years for Missouri’s cattle farmers and ranchers, that term “family” has grown to staff and board leadership, outstanding spokespersons, other beef community organizations, and, really, the whole state of Missouri. So THANK YOU…
Thank you for caring for your land and animals on a daily basis, all year long, in such a sincere way. Thank you for working from before the sun rises until we’re all in bed, to see continuous growth in your way of life and ensure our tables never go without food. Thank you for always searching for new technologies and ways to do more with less. Thank you for caring about your customers, no matter where stand within the beef community. And Thank you for being so selfless that you don’t just worry about how YOUR families will stay fed, but how EVERYONE’S families will stay fed.
Know a farmer? Tell them thanks this weekend. Don’t know a farmer? Comment below to share your gratitude. You can also use “#FoodThanks” to join in the conversation and connect with farmers and ranchers on Twitter.
‘Tis the Season to enjoy delicious food! I’m going to suggest you ditch whatever your tradition you follow, and celebrate your holiday with BEEF! (Unless of course your tradition already includes beef, then carry on…) I mean, I know we all love this time of year because of tradition, but just imagine it now:
Everyone is raving over your flavorful, juicy beef roast.
They laugh and seem so happy after enjoying an exciting main dish
along with their favorite sides. Everyone demands you make it
again next year… And a new tradition is born.
One magnificent change can begin your family’s favorite tradition. So we’re sharing this game-changing recipe. OR, find more recipes and tips on how to tackle this new challenge at our very own Holiday Roast Central. Fa la la la la, la la, la la.
Total Recipe Time: 2 to 2-1/4 hours
Makes 6 to 8 holiday or 12 to 16 (3oz) servings
- 1 beef top round roast (3 to 4 pounds)
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
- 1 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat or regular dairy sour cream
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup minced shallots
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine 1/4 cup mustard, 1 tablespoon thyme and pepper. Spread mustard mixture evenly over all surfaces of beef roast.
- Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 325°F oven 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours for medium rare doneness.
- Meanwhile, combine remaining 3 tablespoons mustard and sour cream in small bowl; set aside. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat until hot. Add shallots and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme. Cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until shallots are tender and begin to turn golden. Remove from heat; stir into mustard mixture. Season with salt, as desired.
- Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 140°F for medium rare. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 5°F to reach 145°F for medium rare.)
- Carve roast into thin slices. Season with salt, as desired. Serve with mustard mixture.
Cook’s Tip: For 12 to 16 servings, mustard mixture can be doubled. Prepare in a medium saucepan.
So tell us, how do you make beef part of your traditions, any time of year?
Today I write to you from a different point of view than I’ve given in a while. Less recipe, more life lesson. I’m sitting here in my office, thinking about how inspiring our running team really is and feeling proud that I get to work with folks who literally showcase everything I sit here and blog about to you all. It’s really powerful to see them in action, on the race course, in daily conversation, and in social media.
Team Beef has a story to tell. Well, more like 150 unique stories that make up one huge success story. Our runners are diverse in their backgrounds, lifestyles, locations, and running goals. But one thing they all have in common is their love for and desire to promote beef as an important centerpiece of their race training and recovery methods.
Lean beef’s got a lot going for it…
Beef is a naturally nutrient-rich powerhouse that is an excellent source of five essential nutrients: protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorous. It’s a good source of five more essential nutrients: choline, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, and riboflavin. With 29 lean cuts averaging 150 calories per 3 oz. serving, beef gives us a lot of bang for our calorie buck.
So we all know beef tastes great, but it’s also important to know that scientific research confirms the good news about beef’s nutritional benefits and its vital role in a healthy diet for your family. Physical activity is more effective when coupled with a protein-rich diet because it helps to maintain muscle mass while losing fat. Whether you’re a beginning athlete or seasoned pro, lean beef can help you power up for races and enhance recovery following a run.
So Team Beef is spreading the word!
Team Beef is made up of more than 150 runners from around Missouri. Some have been on the team for three years, and others just began on the team last month. Some run full marathons and iron man events, and some take on the occasional 5K. Some are farmers and ranchers who raise cattle, and some have lost weight and improved their health by eating lean beef. Some are busy moms who want to show their children the importance of being active, and some are seasoned athletes running all across the country.
With all this diversity, it might be easy to ask how all these people can be on one team. Because they see Team Beef as an opportunity to rally together with one another, with one passion, to spread their stories of how lean beef has affected them in a positive way, from pasture to plate.
These red-jersey-wearing runners can be seen in races across the state throughout the year. They run in large races around Missouri that we sponsor, like the Rock ‘n Roll and Go! St. Louis races in St. Louis, the Bass Pro Family Fitness Weekend in Springfield, and the Go Girl Run in Columbia. They can also be seen at 5K races in their local communities and around the state. Either way, it’s hard to miss what the power of protein is helping these runners accomplish – their goals of staying healthy and promoting beef.
Are you feeling frazzled from cooking for all of the social gatherings you’re attending this fall? I know my fall weekends are packed with football tailgates, visiting with family, and celebrating friends. I recently had a culinary challenge, when I needed to come up with a finger food, preferably with protein, and that would be transportable on a two hour drive, without any option for heating or reheating at our final destination. Whew, that’s kind of a tall order for a girl who is most comfortable with foods that require a slow cooker or a grill.
Like most tech-savvy 20-somethings, my first step for finding solutions was to whip out my iPhone and pour through my cooking apps and my trusted Google app to find a suitable recipe that would please the guests at our upcoming soiree. So there I was, smart phone in hand, searching for recipes with these simple criteria:
- Will this recipe please our taste buds?
- Will this recipe be easy to prepare and transport to my party?
- Will this recipe be easy on my food budget?
A few minutes of recipe searching and I landed on this recipe for Roast Beef Pinwheels courtesy of the Serious Food For the Soul blog.
In a quick review, I could tell this recipe was a big YES to all three of my most important questions. After tweaking the recipe a tad and making the pinwheels for my friends, I can say it certainly met and even exceeded my expectations for being tasty, easy and not too expensive. I’m going to hang onto this recipe even after fall has come and gone, because I know these pinwheels will be a hit year round!
Here’s what you need to make these tasty two bite snacks for your next gathering:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into thin strips
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 pound of thinly sliced roast beef
1-2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
Freshly cracked pepper and salt, to taste
8 large flour tortillas
I used garden spinach wraps for added flavor. I suggest getting creative with the unique wraps available at your grocery store!
1. Let’s start with the onions. Heat the oil in a heavy saute pan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic to coat with oil and stir frequently until onions are lightly brown.
2. Reduce heat to medium low and continue stirring until the onions are a medium brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Note: The onion process took me 25-30 minutes, because I didn’t want to rush the onions and keep them from reaching their full potential! They turned out GREAT.
3. In a bowl, blend together horseradish, cream cheese, salt and pepper.
4. Lay the tortillas flat on a cutting board, and use a pizza cutter to slice the round edge of two sides of the tortilla to give it two straight edges. See photo to left!
5. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture on the surface of the tortilla.
6. Top 2/3 of the mixture with a layer roast beef and top it off by sprinkling the caramelized onions on top. Leaving 1/3 of the tortilla without meat and onions will allow the cream cheese mixture to help “glue” the rolls shut!
7. Roll tortilla up to form a log, starting with the meaty end first. The cream cheese mixture will help “glue” the wrap tight.
8. Once you have a log, wrap the tortilla in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
9. After the logs have chilled, remove the plastic wrap or foil and use a sharp knife to slice the log into individual pieces.
10. You can either serve them immediately after cutting them, or put them in a sealed container and back into the fridge or an iced cooler for a gathering later in the day.
11. Be sure to serve these pinwheels flat on a platter so that the swirl design is visible!
Here are two more thoughts from this cook’s perspective:
- I used more than the 1-2 tablespoons of horseradish, because I like an extra kick. Taste the mixture during step #3 to make sure the mixture has the right amount of flavor for you. Be careful though, too much horseradish and your sinuses will be crying!!
- I made these snacks on a Friday afternoon and served them 24 hours later. They held up very well after being stored in plastic ware in the fridge for 18 hours, followed by being iced down in a cooler en route to the festivities!
Cheers to you for choosing beef for your next gathering this season, and throughout the year!
Happy Halloween Week! While my husband and I don’t have children yet, we still like to have a little fun on holidays like Halloween! And we all know that eating all the candy we bought for our little Trick-or-Treaters is not the best way to do that (or so I’ve reluctantly made myself decide). So, to celebrate Halloween “grown-up” style, I decided to make stuffed peppers with Jack-O-Lantern faces last night. Oh my goodness, guys. They turned out adorable AND yummy!
I started with this beef-stuffed pepper recipe from the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner website. But I decided to make a few modifications to it that fit my cooking style, time slot I had to get dinner ready, and our taste preferences.
The original recipe was a little more like meatballs, calling for rice, ketchup, onion and uncooked ground beef. And man, that all sounds great, but we like SPICY. So, I decided to go a little more Mexican. I also didn’t have an hour and a half to cook them by the time I decided what I wanted to make. So I chose an alternate time-saving route that I’ll divulge in just a moment. And I, of course, carved little faces in my peppers to make them Halloween-themed for this couple of forever kids.
Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers
- 93% lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup brown, whole grain rice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 of an onion
- 1/2 cup salsa (spiciness of your choice)
- 1 package Taco seasoning
- A little pepper and chili powder
- Taco-flavored cheese to top (amount is your choice)
Method to my Madness (Halloween-appropriate, right?!)
1. While preheating the oven to 400 F, cut the tops off my peppers and hollow them out. Carve their faces (triangles for eyes and nose, and a fun mouth, depending on shape of pepper and how much room you have).
2. Put the lids back on the peppers, put them in a dish and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Place them in the oven, without the filling, for 25 minutes.
This was an adaptation on my part. By doing this, I cut my total recipe time by about 30 minutes and cooked my filler while they peppers were cooking in the oven. I think this is much more conducive to those of us who just don’t have that long to cook dinner or maybe don’t think about dinner before the end of the workday.
3. While that cooks, chop the 1/2 onion and put it in the pan with the browning ground beef. Once the internal temperature reads 160 F on your meat thermometer, drain the mixture and return it to the pan. Then add the 1/4 cup brown rice and 1/4 cup water, and let that simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes.
4. Uncover. Add 1/2 cup salsa, and pepper, chili powder and taco seasoning. Mix thoroughly.
- As you can see from the photo, I used fajita seasoning, simply because I just didn’t have any taco seasoning on hand at the time.
- Once the ingredients were all mixed together, I heard my timer go off on the oven. Timing like that NEVER happens to me, so I must have been on a roll!
- Looking back, we wish we would have added corn and black beans for just a little more flavor and depth.
5. Remove the peppers from the oven, and spoon in the beef mixture. Put the “lids” back on the peppers, recover with aluminum foil, and return to the oven for another 25 minutes.
This is the point when I do all the dishes so I don’t feel overwhelmed after dinner!
6. Uncover the peppers and sprinkle taco-flavored cheese under the “lids,” as much or as little as you prefer. Put the “lids” back on the peppers and return to the oven for 5 more minutes, without the foil this time, to let the cheese melt.
We enjoyed ours with side salads and chips and salsa, and the little-less-pretty version you don’t see shows that they actually ended up as taco salads… a little too “gory “to show on the blog!
I think the beauty of stuffed peppers is that you can make them match your family’s taste buds and your cooking style. (I even considered putting spaghetti in them to look like brains, but we were in the mood for Mexican, so we stuck with what you see here!) Get creative, get the kids involved, and have some fun with dinner!
Here’s my final result! They turned out perfectly! And we felt better about eating these healthy little guys instead of the bowl full of Haloween candy we’ve purchased for our little Trick-or-Treaters!
CROCKtober is a month to celebrate entering into Fall weather and foods. And of course our favorite food any time of the year is – you guessed it – beef! So I want to share a rockin’ good slow-cooker recipe with you that gives you all the flavors of fall at at a low calorie cost.
Why do we love crock pot/slow-cooker recipes? Because Fall is a busy time for all of us. School, sports, work – all these activities seem to be in full force right now. And crock pots give us the opportunity to put a bunch of yummy (and sometimes random) ingredients into a crockpot before we leave for a busy day and return to a smell-good home with dinner ready to serve. Magic, pure magic!
Here are a few of my best crock pot tips to help you along as you make this recipe, or your own family classics.
- Resist the temptation to peek while you’re slow cooking. Every time you open the lid, you add on 15 to 20 minutes of cook time.
- Cuts that slow-cook the best include the Chuck pot roast, Short Ribs, Round steaks and roasts, and Brisket.
- Thicken the liquid the beef cooked in using corn starch or another thickening agent.
I want to know, what crock pot or slow-cooker tips or recipes do you want to share with us!?
Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy
Total recipe time: 3-1/2 hours
Makes 8 servings
- 1 boneless beef chuck shoulder roast (3 to 3-1/2 pounds)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1-3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut crosswise into 1 to 1-1/2 inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons brandy or water
- Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Place beef pot roast in stockpot; brown evenly. Remove pot roast; pour off drippings and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Add onion and thyme to stockpot; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add broth and cider; increase heat to medium-high. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until browned bits attached to stockpot are dissolved. Return pot roast to stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 2-1/2 hours.
- Add sweet potatoes and garlic to stockpot; continue simmering, covered, 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes and pot roast are fork-tender.
- Remove pot roast; keep warm. Remove sweet potatoes and garlic with slotted spoon to large bowl, leaving cooking liquid in stockpot.
- Add maple syrup, ginger, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to sweet potatoes. Beat until sweet potatoes and garlic are mashed and smooth; keep warm.
- Skim fat from cooking liquid; stir in cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened.
- Carve pot roast into slices; serve with mashed sweet potatoes and gravy.
Recipe as seen in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by John Wiley & Sons
There’s something special about making that first pot of chili when the fall weather rolls in that makes my taste buds and my stomach pretty content. I always remember my mom fixing chili in big batches and freezing some of it in containers to be thawed out later in the season for a quick meal with lots of comfort.
Even though I don’t live with my parents anymore, I sure like the way I feel when I make the first batch of chili as my house begins to fill with the savory aroma of homemade comfort food. The feelings and flavors of chili make this meal a regular go-to choice for me during the fall and winter months. Chili is one of those classic favorites, and every family has a different version with their own unique spin. I thought I’d share some tips and ideas I’ve learned in the kitchen that might help you jazz up this classic favorite for your family meals.
Here’s the basic recipe I start with when making chili. This is exactly what I put in my pot of chili this weekend:
- 2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained
- 2 cans tomato sauce
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 2 cans chili beans
- 1 packet hot chili seasoning
- 1 packet mild chili seasoning
- 1/2 cup ketchup
If you like your chili to be on the soupy side, I would add some water until it is the right consistency for your liking. After combining all of the ingredients and bringing the pot to a boil on the stove I turn the burner down to low and let it simmer for a couple of hours. You can also mix this up in your slow cooker and let it heat in there for several hours, allowing the flavors to meld perfectly. Then I dish up a hot bowl of chili topped with cheese, Frito chips, and more ketchup.
As with most soups, the flavors seem to be even better on the second day after the chili flavors have melded together in the refrigerator. I enjoy eating chili by the bowlful until it is gone, but here are some other ways to enjoy your chili leftovers:
- Frito chili pie: layer corn chips on the bottom of a bowl, and top with hot chili and shredded cheese
- Frito chili pie wrap: heat chili and mix with shredded cheese and corn chips, spread mixture on flour tortilla and wrap up like a burrito
- Chili nachos: heat chili and spread corn chips onto bowl or plate, top with chili, cheese, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, olives, and other ingredients you choose!
Sometimes even with multiple variations to help you get creative with leftovers, you still need a change in pace for your meal options. When that happens, you can simply freeze your leftover chili to have for the next chili craving you get. Now, instead of just plopping all of your leftover chili into one giant plastic container and snapping the lid on, I have a better option you’ll thank me for later.
Scoop the leftover chili into clean muffin tins and put them on a flat surface in your freezer. You might be thinking “what flat surface in my freezer?” Believe me, I can relate. It might take you some time to clear a space flat enough to keep the soup from spilling, but let me tell you it is worth the effort. Once the chili is frozen all the way through (let it stay in the freezer overnight or for several hours), remove the muffin tins from the freezer, dip them in hot water and the frozen chili should pop right out. These frozen chili muffins look kind of like frozen hockey pucks, and will store well in a sealed freezer bag.
The best part? If you want a quick bowl or two of chili you can take 2-4 pucks out and put them in a couple of bowls in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Ta-da! You have a quick meal and didn’t have to thaw that giant tub of chili for another round of never ending leftovers. This has literally been a life changing method around my house. I suddenly have homemade lunch options for me to take to work, and late night snack options for my husband to enjoy straight out of the freezer. This is one of those tricks you just don’t appreciate until you have experienced it personally.
Ok, so chili is yummy to eat and easy to make and freeze, and now I have a third reason to add chili to our menus this fall. We can do a little happy dance today because the chili we love is good for us, too! Read up on the health and nutrition benefits we can get from enjoying a bowl of our favorite fall soup!
Seriously, what’s your hold up? It’s time to make your first batch of chili for the season and celebrate the joy and comfort that comes with this champion of a meal! Do you have some tips to share with us, or any must-have ingredients or toppings? Tell us what you’re putting in your first pot of chili this season!
Is it feeling like Fall at your house? It sure is here, and that means stews and warm scents are surrounding my house. With temperatures, hours of sunlight and leaves are all “falling,” I tend to want something rising, so that’s where warm soups, kitchens, colors, and scents provide a cozy, comfy atmosphere.
So, in the spirit of being warm, I’d like to share one of my favorite Fall recipes with you. I mean, even the name is a perfect fit, so just imagine how excited you’ll be when you actually make it! Try it out this weekend, you won’t regret it, I promise!
Total recipe time: 2 to 2-1/2 hours
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1 to 1-1/2-inch pieces
- 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed French onion soup
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- Cook bacon in stockpot over medium heat until crisp; remove with slotted spoon to paper-towel-lined plate. Brown 1/2 of beef in bacon drippings over medium heat; remove from stockpot. Repeat with remaining beef; season with salt and pepper.
- Return beef and bacon to stockpot. Add soup and cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1-3/4 hours.
- Add sweet potatoes and cranberries to stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; continue simmering, covered, 20 to 30 minutes or until beef and potatoes are fork-tender.
We recently hosted some pasture-to-plate discussions at Busch Stadium. The events were put on as part of the Missouri Farmers Care coalition’s Cardinals promotions. We coordinated conversations among Missouri’s farmers and ranchers and folks involved in the restaurant, retail, health, school foodservice, and blogging worlds.
Why these groups? Because we know these folks have the same passion about food as Missouri’s farmers and ranchers, and we believe it’s important for the gates of communication to be open among those who have a serious passion for food.
Of the four events we hosted, one that sticks out in my mind is the final event, the discussion with St. Louis and Columbia area bloggers. I’ll admit, I was nervous to get all these folks together, just for fear of the unknown. But I was immediately relieved to see how warm and enthusiastic this group really was. They received the farmers’ stories very well, asked their most pressing questions, and even laughed at the farmers’ jokes (which I know they appreciated!).
Sometimes in my line of work, I am always prepared to be on the defense because the beef community can tend to have a lot of critics. I hate that that’s how it is sometimes, but I’m sure you can understand.
But that day, I was so pleased to see the positive, encouraging conversation unfold among these food and mom bloggers and the farmers in the room. It was enthusiastic and showed this sense of passion for really WANTING to understand where one another was coming from. I saw bloggers learning from the farmers, and farmers asking bloggers about their concerns and opinions. It was beautiful.
So let’s raise our hypothetical glasses to beginning an open conversation and some strong relationships. To seeking out our new resources (on either end, really) when we have questions raised by other food-lovers. To keeping lines of communication open for the sake of continuously improving farming practices and understanding throughout the food chain. And finally, to the victory the St. Louis Cardinals brought to create the perfect ending to an encouraging evening.
Guest bloggers who posted about the event
HealthyLifeDeals.com: Great night for a Cards game and chatting with some local farmers
Meet Ashley McCarty, a cattle farmer and Team Beef runner from Northeast Missouri. This is Ashley’s first post as a regular guest blogger here on BeefBites.org. She is a busy mother of two busy boys. “I mother full-time, work part-time and work with my husband to take care of our farm and fifty cows.” Whew, and now we’ve got her blogging too!? Let her know what you think of her post in the comments below.
You swam across Thousand Hills Lake? Then biked 18 miles? Then ran 5 miles? Such has gone the line of questioning from most everyone I have spoken to this month. In my second year as a member of Missouri Beef Industry Council’s Team Beef, I represented the team in the NEMO Triathlon near Kirksville, Mo. It was so fun to see the smiles of competitors and onlookers when they cheer on Team Beef.
If you are thinking, there is no way that will be me, let me interject. Competing in a sprint distance triathlon is an amazing but achievable challenge. In the midst of our busy lives it was still possible to carve out a bit of time each week to swim, bike and run. As a long-time runner, it is actually a relief to change up the routine and engage the whole body. My body feels fit and strong while training for this multi-faceted sport.
Most competitors on the course aren’t ultra-athletes. I swam, biked and ran with individuals of all ages and abilities. What we shared was an interest in being fit and challenging ourselves. I only marginally improved my time from last year, finishing 45 seconds faster in a two hour and fifteen minute event. That is where I am in life, and I am so happy just to have the time and the health to compete.
Representing Team Beef is a great way to connect the two things I invest my energy in to stay grounded and healthy. It was rewarding to represent Team Beef and the power of protein in healthy diets. To have the chance to proudly talk about the care we provide our cows and calves and the nutritional benefits of beef in our diets. While testing my own fitness and pushing myself outside my daily limits, I can share my confidence in beef as a healthy, and tasty, way to fuel our bodies. Next time you run or just have an active day, I’d encourage you to refuel with lean beef!
So, today’s recipe was inspired by a Twitter Chat, #FNIchat to be exact! The Kansas Beef Council (@KansasBeef) sponsored the chat, focusing on ways to make beef part of a family’s hectic back-to-school adjustment. Now that most kiddos have been back in school for at least a couple weeks, maybe you feel like you’re in a routine. With routine, comes comfort. And with comfort, comes the desire to try something new to keep from getting bored.
Enter, today’s recipe! I’m betting most of you haven’t tried this type of after-school snack before. But why not? Lean ground beef is a healthy alternative to other things the kids might like to grab when they get home. It’s packed with 10 essential nutrients, including the zinc, iron and protein those kiddos need to boost their energy for homework, sports, or other activities.
This recipe is simple to make (maybe even let the kids help!) and refrigerate so the kids can just pull them out and warm them up before moving onto their evening plans. The taco beef nuggets are a flavorful way to provide a healthy snack that will tie them over until dinner time. Would this fit in your student’s after-school routine well?
Total recipe time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings
- 1 pound ground beef (95% lean)
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
- 1 can (4 ounces) chopped mild green chilies, drained
- 16 cubes co-Jack cheese (1/2-inch)
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups crushed nacho cheese-flavored tortilla chips
- 6 tablespoons prepared thick taco sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Heat oven to 400°F. Combine ground beef, taco seasoning and green chilies in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Divide beef mixture into 16 portions; shape each portion around a cheese cube, completely covering cheese.
- Beat egg white with water in shallow dish until blended. Place chips in second shallow dish. Dip each meatball into egg white mixture, then into chips to coat completely. Press each meatball with palm into a flattened nugget shape, generously coating both sides of nugget with chips.
- Spray large baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place nuggets in baking pan; spray tops of nuggets generously with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in 400°F oven 15 to 20 minutes to medium (160°F) doneness, until not pink and juices show no pink color.
- Meanwhile combine sauce ingredients in small microwave-safe dish. Microwave on HIGH 30 seconds or until warm. Serve nuggets with sauce.
Yesterday, my new friend, @DairyCarrie, wrote a blog post based on a song by The Departed that has resonated with a record number of readers. She wrote about how her uphill battle to advocate for agriculture is one that is “#worththefight.” And then, throughout the day, nearly 20 other bloggers (found at the bottom of her blog post) followed her lead and talked about what in their life is worth fighting for.
I struggled to create something that was different and that would resonate with readers. But after much determination and a good night’s sleep, I believe I’m ready to share my passion and cause with you all.
My fight is your fight is our fight.
With all of the social media, and media, and studies, and “facts” and everything that pours into our ears and eyes each day, it can be hard to know what is healthy and what isn’t. Sometimes health recommendations can do exact 180s in a short amount of time. With that, beef can often be portrayed as “the bad guy.” It can seem like an uphill battle in my line of work to really reach you all with the facts about beef and ensure you that beef is something you can feel good about feeding your family.
Yes, sometimes it can feel like I’ve got a lifetime of work ahead of me, but then I must realize that you all out there probably think the same thing when it comes to making sure your families are eating the right foods to be healthy and live long, happy lives. You want “healthy” for your kids and your spouse and yourself, just as I do. You want to learn and do the right thing. So really, your fight and my fight for the truth is the same fight. Our fight is to learn and find common ground with one another for the good of food and health.
So let’s not look at the word “fight” as a conflict, but rather as something we all believe in, as something we will pursue together. Let’s look at “fight” as something we’ll achieve together, a fight to learn how our food is grown and raised, and how a world full of food has it’s place on our healthy plates. Do you think that’s #WORTHtheFIGHT?
If you’ve been here before, you’ll notice that our blog has a completely new look as of this week. And I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! You may also noticed I haven’t blogged for a couple weeks, and that’s simply because I am saving all my content to post on my new layout (and took a little vacation). My hope is that this new blog (and a new URL too, BeefBites.org) will be more user-friendly, easier to interact with, and a resource for you to come to with your burning beef questions!
Let me take you on a tour…
HOME: You’re here now, like all other blogs, this is where the main action happens. I’ll be posting beef recipes, cooking tips, and all things beef. We’ve also got some new regular guest bloggers lined up for the near future to tell stories about farming and ranching in Missouri. So this is the every-changing hot spot you’ll want to stay in touch with!
RECIPES: Who doesn’t love a good recipe, right? On the recipe page, you’ll be able to search by types of recipes and by cooking methods, or just keep up on the latest recipe posts. The list of categories on this page will grow with time, so if a category you’d like isn’t there, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll get to work on that!
VIDEOS: I’m a visual learner, so it was important to me to be able to SHOW you how to cook with beef and to SHOW you what cattle farmers and ranchers do on a daily basis. Right now we’ve just got a couple good ones there, but this will also continue to change and grow over time.
PASTURE-TO-PLATE: This is my favorite page. It is my intention for this to be a page you want to bookmark, to use as a resource for answers about farming, cooking and other beef information. It is my hope that you’ll find the links on this page answer your questions, but that if you don’t find what you want, I’m always looking for your feedback on how I can make it better.
CONNECTIONS: I want to connect with you however works best for you. I’ve got a link to MoBeef.org in the main navigation bar, where you can find nutrition fact sheets, more recipes, resources for food-related professions, and much more. I’ve also got links to our social media accounts and a page with all of our contact information.
I’m just ecstatic about it all, if you can’t tell! I hope you’ll enjoy this blog as much as I do an continue to use us as a resource. My love for beef is sure to rub off on you, if it hasn’t already!
What a great week to be at the fair! I wanted to share one more recipe with you that the Missouri CattleWomen are demonstrating in the Beef Showcase. This recipe is a National Beef Cookoff winning recipe, so you know it’s a good one! So simple, and fun for the kiddos to get involved with as well!
Total preparation & cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Makes 6 servings (2 pita halves)
- 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) cranberry sauce with whole cranberries
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 cups coleslaw mix
- 6 whole wheat pita pockets (6-inch diameter), cut in half crosswise, warmed
- Brown ground beef in large nonstick skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, breaking beef up into 3/4 inch crumbles; drain.
- Add cranberry sauce, tomato paste, honey, garlic, salt and ginger to skillet with beef; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in coleslaw mix.
- Fill warm pita pocket halves with scant 1/2 cup beef mixture. Serve immediately.
Welcome, everyone, to the Missouri State Fair! The Missouri CattleWomen’s Association, with support of the Missouri Beef Industry Council and the beef checkoff, will perform cooking demonstrations and handing out nutrition information and recipes to fairgoers. They will demonstrate recipes at the Beef Showcase (just north of the Missouri Beef House restaurant) every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, at the top of every hour. They’ve got seven different recipes, all of which can be found on our Facebook page, linked here.
Here is one of the many quick, easy recipes they will be demonstrating daily!
Makes 4 servings
- 1 pound ground beef (75% to 80% lean)
- 3 cups frozen potatoes O’Brien
- 1-1/2 cups prepared thick-and-chunky salsa
- 1 can (4 to 4-1/2 ounces) chopped green chilies
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings.
- Stir in potatoes. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salsa and chilies; continue cooking 8 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand 5 minutes.
Cook’s Tip: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.
Austin Steele is our super-talented intern this summer. When given the task of talking to you all here on this blog, he chose to base his commentary on what everyone’s talking about, and what Missouri’s cattle farmers and ranchers are enduring on a make-or-break basis – the drought. He puts into perspective the uncontrollable challenge cattlemen and women are facing right now, and how the heat and drought have more of an impact than just increasing swimming pool attendance and electric bills. Enjoy!
Well, I hope everyone is staying out of the heat as much as possible. I know it’s hard to stay cool when the temperature barely drops out of the 80’s during the evenings, but staying cool and hydrated are key to staying healthy.
Just as you have to stay cool and hydrated, farmers have to make sure their livestock stay cool and hydrated as well, so that they can be strong and healthy.
A hard day’s work
It’s not an easy task. Farmers are outside every day in the heat, making sure that their cattle or other livestock have the proper requirements to survive in this heat. Most farmers start their work at or before dawn, mainly because it is the coolest part of the day. Most days, a farmer will have a half-day’s work done before the rest of us consider leaving for work.
Farmers’ livestock is their number one priority. They strive to make sure that their animals have everything they need, which in turn provides a better tasting product for you as a consumer. The less stress that the farmer can offer the animal, the better off it will be.
Drought takes its toll
However the farmer needs to watch his or her own stress level during this time of year as well. The summer can bring extra stress to the table, especially in extreme weather conditions, like the current drought in Missouri. Farmers’ stress and worries can pile up easily. They range from, “Will I have enough hay for my cattle this winter?” to “Will I have to dig my well deeper to have more water?” Or, “Will I have enough pasture to graze my cattle on?” and “Will I be able to afford the high priced feed?” It can even come down to “Will I be able to stay in business or will I have to close the doors on our family farm?” These are all questions that many farmers face on a daily basis when dealing with extreme situations and extra stress.
I encourage you to thank a farmer the next time you see one, because a simple “thank you” can go a long ways in boosting their morale and drive to endure these hard times. Just knowing that someone still appreciates their service means a lot. I hope everyone stays cool out there, and if you have to go outside, hopefully it’s to check your steaks on the grill.
Right now, I’m working from my hotel in downtown Denver, Colo. I flew in yesterday for the 2012 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Summer Conference.
Twice a year the beef community gathers, just as any group who has a common passion and lifestyle does, to discuss the current state and what we can be doing to constantly improve. As I sit here, a few things come to mind that I want to share with you all…
These cattle farmers and ranchers who take days away from their farms across the country are something special. The difference between the beef community and many other groups is that attending this convention and other like it is not a matter of taking off a couple days from work and making sure their spouse can pick up the kids from school. They must be sure that their cattle are going to fed and watered each day, that someone will be there to provide care for their animals to watch their health and daily needs, especially in this heat and drought.
The beef community is so incredibly dedicated to continuously improving how they care for their land and cattle to provide families across the world with safe, nutritious, quality beef. With two conferences each year (not to mention the many other events that individual organizations have), both focused on the state of the industry and ways we are working and can continue to work to improve, I think the dedication and passion these cattlemen and women show is beyond measure
One more thought… even in the severe weather conditions this industry is facing on a nationwide basis, they still arrive with smiles on their faces and a positive outlook on being a part of the beef community. Why? Because they love what they do, they love caring for the cattle that God has put in their hands, and they love being responsible for putting high-quality, delicious beef on the tables of families everywhere.