Fall Flavors – Candy Corn

Happy National Candy Corn Day! When I taught middle school math, food was always a good way to grab students’ attention. Several years ago I found out about this day and it was a great way to celebrate fall and teach about the uses of corn, too!

I used the following videos to introduce candy corn. Candy Corn History  and The History Channel: Brach’s Candy Corn tell the history of candy corn in addition to showing the process of making candy corn.
Following are a few ideas that I used in the classroom. For an estimation activity the students estimated the number of candy corns in a jar.
CandyCorn worksheet
– A serving size of 22 pieces contains 140 calories and no fat. (How many calories per piece?)
– The National Confectioners Association estimates that 35 million pounds of candy corn are sold annually. (How many tons is that?)
– Each piece is approximately 3 times the size of a whole kernel from a dried ear of corn.
Candycorn poem

Candy Corn

NOW – for another exciting thing about candy corn! As corn farmers we grow one of the top ingredients in candy corn – corn syrup – a product made from corn. On our farm we use most of our corn to feed our cattle; however, it is truly amazing to think of all of the other uses of corn.

Click here to learn the Many Uses of Corn.

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Harvest continues to make progress.
Happy National Candy Corn Day!
P.S. I will include the recipe for sugar cookies in another post. I have yet to find a candy corn cookie cutter that I like, so I just use a pattern I created out of cardboard. I know there are companies that make such things out of your own design, but I always think of it too close to when I need it! (Imagine that!)

Fall Flavors – Pork Loin with a German Flare

Wow! Where did another week go?  Last Monday, Karl, our German student had his last JV football game. I planned to attend, but wanted supper ready when we arrived home; so at noon I put supper in the crock-pot. What a wonderful surprise when I arrived at the game and saw that the girls had come home from college for the evening to see Karl play football. Of course they needed supper too, and sauerkraut is not something Emily enjoys. So we had pizza – after all October is National Pizza month as well as National Pork Month!  It was also great to know I had a meal ready for the next day!!

Pork Loin with Sauerkraut and Potatoes

6 potatoes, cut in pieces
1 sliced onion
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 32 oz. jar of sauerkraut
1 tsp. Caraway seeds
1 pork loin roast
Place potatoes, apple, onion, and garlic in crock-pot. Next put roast topped with sauerkraut and caraway seeds in crockpot.
Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Towards the end of the cooking time – I like to cut up the roast and put it back in the crock-pot. Then it is ready to serve.


Grandpa takes the last load of soybeans to town!

Grandpa takes the last load of soybeans to town!

Snickers enjoys a nice fall day!

Snickers enjoys a nice fall day!

Happy Fall!

Fall Flavors – Sunday

At this time of year I think of the second verse of the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.

SoyBean Harvest

Snickers needs her Sunday afternoon nap too. It’s hard “work” feeding calves three times a day, riding in the semi or pick up to and from the field, playing ball, and keeping an eye on everyone who comes and goes on the farm each day! Do you think this might be a spoiled farm dog?!

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Hope everyone had a great Sunday and is ready for another week!
Take care,

Fall Flavors – My Two “Go to Bars”

In preparation for the weekend, I decided to throw together a couple pans of bars this a.m. I like to make the pumpkin bars for fall and since I was going to have the mess I decided to make a bar that I make quite a bit. ( You know – one of those recipes that you have taped to the inside of the cupboard door!) Both bars bake at the same temperature. Grease both pans. (I like to use solid vegetable shortening.) Mix up one batch of bars and while they are baking mix up the other batch. It is so handy to have a variety of bars on hand for easy grab desserts or late night snacks!

2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
4 eggs
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
Mix and pour into a greased jelly roll pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 2 T. milk
Mix and spread on cooled bars. (The other a.m. while listening to the radio I heard them talk about toffee bits on pumpkin bars, so I gave it a try this a.m. – not bad.)
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1 stick margarine, melted ( I like to use a ½ stick margarine & ½ stick butter.)
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 ½ c. peanut butter
3 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
4 ½ c. oatmeal
1 c. M&M’s
1 c. chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients together. Press into greased 12X17 jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Do not over bake. (For a fall look use the fall M&M’s if you wish. I just prefer the look of the regular colored M&M’s.)

REMINDER: It is NATIONAL PORK MONTH! Did you notice three things that could remind you of this in this post??
Have a great weekend!

Fall Flavors – Apple Dumplings

Apple month 2One of my favorite flavors of fall is that wonderful taste of a freshly picked apple.  Apples are a refreshing snack on the go and keep well in the tractor/combine, or any other vehicle.  However, my family really enjoys apples when they are used for desserts.  (October is also National Dessert Month.)  In addition to apple pie, we enjoy apple dumplings.  Following is the recipe that my mom has used for as long as I can remember.  I love the smell of cinnamon on a cool fall day or a cold winter night!

                                          APPLE DUMPLINGS

1 ½ cups sugar                                                               2 cups flour

1 ½ cups water                                                               2 tsps. baking powder

½ tsp. ground cinnamon                                                 1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground nutmeg                                                     2/3 cup shortening

3 Tbsp. butter                                                                  ½ cup milk

4 medium apples, peeled and chopped

Sift together dry ingredients; cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add milk all at once; stir just until flour is moistened.

On lightly floured surface, roll to 18 x 12 inch rectangle.  Cut into six inch squares.  Place apple on each square.  Sprinkle apples generously with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; dot with butter.  Moisten edges of pastry.  Bring corners to center and pinch edges together.  (This takes a little practice and there is no need for them to be picture perfect.  I usually roll them in my hands to finish sealing.) Place in 9 x 13 pan.

For syrup, mix first 4 ingredients; bring to boiling.  Remove from heat; add butter.  Pour syrup over dumplings; sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until apples are tender.  Serve warm with ice cream, milk, or cream.

I like to have these in the freezer.  Wrap individually with plastic wrap and place in a plastic container. Just take out the number you need to serve and make syrup for a quick dessert; bake.  (45 – 50 minutes when frozen.)

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 Apples can be used as objects to teach lessons.  One of my favorite lessons is The Earth as an Apple.This lesson gives a great visual of the small fraction of the earth where it is possible to grow food. In addition, it provides fraction concepts. 


Fall Flavors – Pork

October is National Pork Month!  Today I would like to share some information/recipes about pork that I wrote last spring.

fried-crispy-bacon-19965453To find a list of uses for bacon and a recipe for Ham Spread and BBQ Pork Chops click here: PIGS ARE GOOD FOR IOWA.

Iowa FARM fact

With assets of corn, soybeans, farmers and packing capacity, Iowa is the ideal location for pork production. The “Tall Corn” state also needs plenty of fertilizer to produce the bushels of corn and soybeans fed to pigs. Approximately 10 finishing pigs from weaning to market provide the nutrient needs of an acre of Iowa cropland on a semi-annual basis. Nutrients from one 2,400-head pig barn benefits a half-section of land (240 acres). One hog consumes approximately 9 to 10 bushels of corn from birth to a market weight of 275 pounds!  Iowa Pork Producers

Enjoy some Iowa raised pork!