Meatful Monday – Ham Balls and Easter Nests

Yesterday, as the Sunday School Children entered the sanctuary waving palm branches it made me realize that next Sunday is Easter Sunday; and it will be time to make Easter Dinner.  My Aunt Martha’s recipe for Ham Balls has been a favorite item on the menu for many years. I especially like this recipe because it contains both pork and beef.  So, if you do not know what you are serving Sunday here is an idea!


Ham Balls


1 lb. ground ham                                        1 lb. ground beef

1 cup bread crumbs                                   2 eggs

¼ tsp. pepper                                               ½ tsp. onion salt

½ tsp. celery salt                                         ½ cup milk

Mix as meatloaf or balls.


½ cup brown sugar                         ½ cup water

2 Tbsp. sugar                                   ½ cup vinegar

2 tsps. dry mustard

Mix and heat. Pour over meat. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

I usually triple this recipe to make 24 meat balls in order to fill my large roaster pan.

They are make great left overs and freeze well.


I like to decorate the table for Easter; so here is a recipe for Easter Nests that can be both used for decoration and eaten!


9 squares of shredded wheat                              10 oz. marshmallows

¼ cup butter                                                            1 tsp. cinnamon

1 to 2 Tbsp. peanut butter (optional)                coconut and green food coloring

Small malted eggs or jelly beans

Melt butter and marshmallows. Add peanut butter and cinnamon. Mix with shredded wheat. Grease hands and form into nests. Put ½ cup coconut in small bowl and add a couple of drops of green food coloring. Fill nests with coconut and top with small malted eggs or miniature jelly beans.

Use as a table decoration at each place setting or serve as a treat.

*As a side note – The marshmallows and malted eggs both contain corn syrup made from corn!


Have a good week as you prepare for Easter both food wise and spiritually!





Meatful Monday – Beef, Cabbage, and Hormones

I can honestly say I have never made Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day, so I certainly will not be sharing such a recipe today; however last week I did make a dish containing beef and cabbage.

When I think of beef and cabbage, I also think of the illustration that is used when talking about hormones in beef. Much concern and confusion often surround the use of hormones in beef. A common myth surrounding beef produced with additional hormones is that it is unsafe to consume. However, research and studies show that the meat produced from and implanted steer is as nutritious as meat from a non-implanted steer.


Last Friday, we (I should say the guys and Emily) “implanted a group” of steers. The implants are little hormone pellets that are put under the skin in the ear. These ear implants dissolve slowly releasing hormones over a 100 – 120 day period. We use hormone implants in order to produce more efficient beef, which requires less feed and land resources.

Calf Implan

Inserting the implant in the steer’s ear.


Cattle eating corn hoop Sept. 2015

Implants improve feed efficiency.


Em and Snick spring break 2016

Emily and Snickers resting after working cattle.


Now for some numbers. (As a former math teacher I love numbers.)   Here are some numbers concerning the amount of hormones in beef and other foods using nanograms. Nanograms?? Most of us have heard of gram(1g. is about the size of a medium sized paperclip) Well a nanogram = 1 billionth of a gram (10-9g)

It may be surprising to know that there are more hormones in vegetables that there are in beef!


1.3 ng per 3 oz. serving of beef from a non-implanted steer

1.9 ng per 3 oz. serving of beef from a steer with a hormone implant

225 ng per 3 oz. serving of potatoes

340 ng per 3 oz. serving of peas

2,000 ng per 3 oz. serving of cabbage

Furthermore; 50,000 ng in a child’s body and 480,000 ng in an adult female.

My friend, Joan Ruskamp,  who owns a feedlot in Nebraska with her husband created this visual for the above numbers.  The M &M’s represent the ng of hormones per 3 oz. serving.



Beef and Cabbage


1 ½ lbs. beef round steak, cut into cubes                      2 Tbsp. flour

2 large onions                                                                      1 tsp. salt

¾ cup hot water                                                                  ¼ tsp. pepper

1 Tbsp. vinegar                                                                    2 Tbsp. cooking oil heated

2 tsp. instant beef bouillon                                              1 small cabbage


Trim excess fat from meat; cut into cubes. Brown meat after coating with flour, salt and pepper. Transfer meat to slow cooker, add *onions.

In same skillet, combine water, vinegar and bouillon. Stir together; pour into cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 hours. (I have found that my new crock pot cooks quite a bit faster – so six hours does it in that one.)  (This can also be done in a 325 degree oven for 2 hours.

*I like to cook the onions in a little butter first.

About 15 minutes before serving, cut cabbage into 4 or 5 wedges. Cook in a 3 quart sauce pan in a large amount of water until tender, 10 – 12 minutes. Drain well. Serve beef mixture over hot cabbage wedges.

My comments from the crew when I served this included the following:  Uncle Rich wanted the butter dish for the cabbage.  (I must admit – adding a little butter to the cabbage was pretty yummy!)  Jacob wondered why I didn’t make this when we had fresh cabbage from the garden.  (Good point!  It would be a great summertime recipe since you don’t need to use the oven.)  It has been quite sometime since I have made this as Jacob doesn’t remember it!

Get more recipes for St. Patrick’s Day from Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner.

Enjoy some form of beef and cabbage this week!