Farm to Table – Chicken Noodle Soup

Pastor Appreciation Month

I usually do not think of making soup when it is as warm as it was yesterday(they said we could have record highs in the mid 80’s); however, we celebrated Pastor Appreciation Month at church and since Kevin is a deacon we needed to make Chicken Noodle Soup for the soup dinner which followed the church service. (We are blessed with a great pastor and his wonderful wife!) For many years I did not make Chicken Noodle Soup because I thought it to be too difficult, but a few years ago one of the children signed up to bring it for an event. So, I have experimented with a couple of recipes and found this one to be my favorite! It really is not that difficult!  Isn’t that so true with so many other things we avoid in life?

Chicken Noodle Soup
1 lb. cooked chicken
12 cups chicken broth
1 pkg. (24 oz.) Reames Homestyle Frozen Egg Noodles
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. parsley, dried
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. thyme, dried
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
Bring chicken broth to boil with bay leaves. Add noodles and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir often.
Add the parsley, thyme, black pepper, and vegetables. Simmer for 10 minutes or until done.
Add the chicken. Simmer until ready to serve.  (I do add a little more pepper.)

I use my 6 quart heavy stock pan.  This recipe makes about 5 quarts.  It freezes well too.



I like to cook a chicken in the crockpot on low all day or all night. Remove the chicken from the bone and save the broth. So, I use boxed broth, fresh broth and if I need more I use chicken bouilion to make the 12 cups (3 qts.)

STEP 2:IMG_1131


Yesterday for the children’s sermon our youth director used the illustration of how farmers plant the seed and harvest the crop; however, God is the one who sends the rain and the sunshine; stating that God is in control. This is definitely appropriate for this time of year!

Planting and HarvestToday it was very windy here in central Iowa!  As Kevin left the house to go to the field he said,”Pray for no fires today!”  We are thankful that the wind is dying down tonight and everyone is home safe for another day.

Have a great week!


Farm to Table – Sub Sandwiches

Sub SandwichesToday found the crew going in several different directions; so today was definitely a good sack lunch day.  Kevin was baling corn stalks for cattle bedding, Jacob was combining corn at one of our further away farms, and Uncle Rich was hauling corn home to the bin while Grandpa was raking corn stalks in preparation for baling.

So, I made sub sandwiches.  I usually make a dozen at a time.  Since not everyone likes mustard or mayo, I usually butter the buns.  I like to purchase my meat from the meat counter. Today I used a pound of ham, a pound of roast beef, and a half pound of turkey.  Sometimes I add hard salami as well. In addition, a pound of colby-jack cheese was used to top the sandwiches off.

Baling Corn Stalks 15Snickers Cardinal Bat
Snickers is cheering the Cardinals on tonight!!
Have a great weekend!

Farm to Table – Soybeans

Growing up in town, when I heard the word “beans” I thought of the green beans growing in our garden and purchased at the grocery store in cans or frozen packages.  Naturally, when I heard the term “beans” when dating my farmer I pictured the same thing.  Boy – did I learn something when I realized that on the farm in Iowa the word “beans” refers to soybeans.  So, when farmers are talking about combining “beans” they really mean soybeans.  Today we went back to a field of beans(soybeans) that we had started, but not finished because part of the field was planted to a different variety of soybean.  After harvesting a few rows the combine operator(Jacob) decided they were still too wet – not mature enough to harvest, so he brought  the combine home and took the soybean head off and put the corn head on; and, after a little conference over a quick lunch decided which field of corn to harvest.  Now – for more on soybeans.  Iowa ranks #1 in soybean production!


Soybeans 2015 2


Soybeans at HarvestIMG_5259

Soybean Production in Iowa and the United States

  • Farmers in more than 30 states grow soybeans, making it the second most popular crop in the United States.
  • Soybeans were first brought to America in the early 19th century as ballast in trading ships.
  • The first mention of soybean cultivation in the New World appeared in an 1804 publication promoting the soybean as an adaptable crop for Pennsylvania.
  • In 1929, U.S. soybean production was 9 million bushels.
  • U.S. farmers account for 46% of the world’s soybean production.
  • Ninety-eight percent of the soybean meal produced by U.S. farmers is fed to animals such as pigs, cows and chickens.
  • Soybean oil is contained in such items as vegetable oil, salad dressing, and mayonnaise. They are also used for such things as tofu, soy sauce, and high fiber breads like pizza crust.
  • Soy oil is used in inks and paints.
  • One acre of soybeans can produce more than 82,000 crayons.
  • Soy protein is found in many foods consumed by health-conscious consumers.
  • The average person consumes about seven gallons of soybean oil every year.

(Source Center for Food Integrity)


Following is a link for classroom materials and a couple of books that are great resources for teaching about soybeans.  Iowa Soybean Educational Materials

Soybean Book 2

Soybean Book 3

Following is one of my favorite soybean recipes.

Oatmeal Cranberry Soy Cookies

(From The Soyfoods Council)

1 1/4 cups oats

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup soy flour

1 teaspoon. baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup soybean oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cup dried cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend oats until a coarse flour. Combine oats, all-purpose flour, soy flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Stir in flour mixture until blended. Stir in cranberries.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet.
  6. Bake in a 350°F. oven, 12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let stand on cookie sheet 3 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 5 dozen cookies.

Now for a green bean pictures and a recipe.

Green BeansIMG_5038 (2)

JT's Cookbook

This recipe is adapted from Julie Trusler’s JT’s – Volume 1 cookbook pg.105 Snappy Green Beans (This will fill a large crockpot.)  1 1/2 big cans to a crockpot,  1 lb. of bacon (cooked), 1/2 c. onion(cooked) 1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt, and 1/2 c. red wine vinegar.

On a side note – I could write an entire blog post on this wonderful lady.  I have personally known her for many years.  She is a great inspiration!

Hope you enjoyed learning a little more about “beans” (soybeans).

Have a great day!


Farm to Table – Indian Tacos

Yesterday, October 4th was National Taco Day.  Around here Sunday is a day of worship and rest.  So, today we are celebrating a day late with Indian Tacos – a recipe that Kevin brought back to us from a mission work trip that he had the opportunity to take many years ago to South Dakota.  They are a little messy to make, but well worth it!

Back to Sunday – A typical Sunday includes the following activities: chores, church, dinner, a little rest, chores, church, supper, and calf chores. Yesterday we were excited that Emily was home from college for the afternoon as she spoke at the conclusion of the CROP Walk at church Sunday night.

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A little daughter – father bonding time in the calf shed on Sunday afternoon. Of course Snickers had to be included!
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Now for the INDIAN TACOS – Making the fry bead. Make sure to flour your hands!

Fry on one side and then flip.IMG_1054
Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!


Taco Toppings                                                                     Indian Fry Bread

2 – 16 oz. cans of refried beans                                       1/4 cup sugar

1 lb. ground beef                                                                2 cups flour

1 pkg. taco seasoning                                                        3 tsp. baking powder

Shredded lettuce                                                                1 tsp. salt

Chopped Tomatoes

Shredded cheese                                                                1 cup water (or enough to

Sour cream, salsa, or guacamole                                    make a soft dough)


Brown ground beef, stir in refried beans and Taco seasoning.

Mix Fry Bread ingredients together. Pat out Fry Bread dough in flour and fry in 1 to 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until brown. (Flip when one side is browned.)

Spread meat mixture on Fry Bread. Top with toppings of choice. ENJOY!

“Compliments of Cedar Pass Lode, Badlands National Park, Interior, South Dakota.”

Have a great week!

Farm to Table – Almond Puffs

Last Saturday, Kevin’s Uncle David brought his grandson, John out for a combine ride. When I see extended family who we do not see often it brings to mind the fond memories of family gatherings at Grandma Van Manen’s. Food plays such an important role in those memories. One of the favorites was Grandma’s Almond Puffs which I will share with you today. Ironically, my mother had requested that I make some Almond Puffs for her church coffee time the following day.
John Combine

Almond Puffs
1 cup water 1 stick butter
Bring to a boil.
Add 1 cup flour. Stir until it forms a ball. Let cool 5 minutes.
Add 3 eggs. Beat one egg at a time. Stir well. Add 1 tsp. almond extract.
Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet. (I use the small Pampered Chef cookie scoop.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool and frost.

1 cup powdered sugar                                                     1 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. butter, melted                                                      1 tsp. almond extract
(I usually double the frosting recipe.)
These freeze very well and thaw quickly. However, they rarely make it to the freezer!
Almond Puff 1Almond Puff 2
IMG_6692 (3)

Today was another fantastic fall day in central Iowa!! Praise the Lord!

Barrs Beans 2015

Today Jacob was entertained by the neighbor children as he combined beans.

Today Jacob was entertained by the neighbor children as he combined soybeans.

Hope everyone was able to enjoy the beautiful day!

31 Days – Farm to Table

Write 31 days 15
Another beautiful harvest day here in central Iowa on this second day of October. Well, I am going to attempt to write for 31 days in a row. As some of you may know – I tried this last year and only wrote for part of the month. Fall Flavors However, this year I think (the key word think) that I am more prepared. Each day I plan to share a little about the farm and a recipe from our table that you might enjoy preparing for your family. This time of year the majority food is finger food and prepared ahead of time. Thanks to Emily we have several freezer meals this year as well.
I will link the 31 posts to this page. So this page will be a table of contents page for the month.

Day Two – Almond Puffs

Day Three – Indian Tacos

Day Four – Soybeans

Day Five – Sub Sandwiches

Day Six – Chicken Noodle Soup

Day Seven – Wordless Wednesday




Just in time for National Pork Month our new group of pigs arrived! We even got some colored ones this time.


We just finished filling the calf shed with calves on Sunday; so we are feeding them milk three times a day now. Good thing they are so cute!

We begin filling the calf shed with calves on the Sunday before Labor Day and we just filled the last pen on Sunday. We have been feeding them milk three times a day now. Good thing they are so cute!

Now for today’s recipe. Last night we had a Women with Purpose event at church and I made these for part of the refreshments. They are great finger food. I also like to make them during the holidays for a break from the sweets.



Veggie Wraps
16 oz. cream cheese and 8 oz. sour cream
2 Tbsp. Ranch Mix
Mix together and spread on 1 pkg. (12 in.) tortillas. (I use the Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Wraps.)
2 cups fine chopped veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower)
1 cup fine shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup bacon pieces
Spread on toppings and wrap them up. Chill for a couple of hours. Then slice to serve.

Yesterday afternoon the farmer came in the house to see if it was time to slice the wraps! His timing was off. (I did save him the ends.)
Have a great weekend!