Meal Prep Fun!

You guys!! Do you want to make life easier? Do you like wine? and Do you want to have a festive girls night? Swap meals!

I am set for winter!! I literally have some of the most creative friends. What a fun way to meal prep! I am now stocked with country casserole, enchilada bake, manicotti, and shepherds pie. Food to fuel my body and soul through cold and snowy days!

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Kendra posed this idea to us and to be honest I jumped out of my seat with excitement! I am always trying to get on the meal prep wagon but life gets in the way! Am I right!?!? So this was a super fun and easy way to get meals on the table all winter long!

Food is such a precious thing but it can be confusing. Picking Wild Flowers has been my outlet for sharing my personal story about food and agriculture.

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Yesterday I attended a Women in Agriculture Leadership Conference and I left with inspiration beyond words! I am so blessed to work in an industry that is so passionate about where our food comes from. We are all eaters and we care about how our food is grown and farmers do too. How awesome is it that we live in a country where we have freedom to do so?

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Everyone has different values but those values are what make us who we are. Some of us have the opportunity to choose foods and others have certain diets due to allergies, diseases, food intolerance, and values.

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Conversations have become one way! We often listen to respond and not to ask questions. We need to listen, ask, listen, ask, listen, ask, share.

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So what are your feelings about food?

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7 Back to School Snack Ideas!

This morning I graduated 25 youth from Babysitting Basics. It was a bittersweet moment. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the time to pack up my car and head back to Ames is approaching a little faster than I had expected, maybe it means my warm summer days are coming to an end, or it could have something to do with completing my summer with Extension! Most likely it has something to do with all three! I have learned so much from my time with Washington, Iowa, and Johnson County. The kids have really made my summer full of fun and laughter. I have one week left of camps- stay tuned for next week’s Fitness and Health Camp recap. 🙂

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But, this summer has not been all Picking Wild Flowers (see what I did there!? instead of roses?? haha); there is always a MESS involved with Summer Day Camps!! If only you could imagine… blue frosting on noses and hands, cookie crumbs all over the floor, and just wait for it… gold fish smashed into the sidewalk. :O!!

So here I go with 7 very cute but messy snack ideas.

1. Fish Bowls: Crackers, Blue Frosting, and Gold Fish13882509_1125773530795244_5831566013821876651_n

2. Individual Dirt Cups: Pudding, Oreos, and Worms

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3. Grape Trees: Grapes and Pretzels

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4. Zucchini Bites: Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes Baked in Coconut Oil and Parmesan Cheese

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5. Homemade Chex Mix: Pretzels, M&Ms, Goldfish, Cereal

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6. “Feed Mix:” Cheerios, Pretzels, M&Ms, and Rasins

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7. Vegetable Test Tasting: Make it Interesting by Adding a Few Unique Veggies

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Your kids will love all of these great summer or Back to SCHOOL snack ideas. Introducing foods in a unique way is a great option for adding variety into your child’s meals. Comment below or like my blog by following me. Let me know if you would like to see more posts like this one.

Have a great weekend! Until next time!

 

 

 

Women in the Bible had Courage

Wow this week is just flying! Last weekend was packed full of fireworks, parades, 5Ks and socializing. Through the craziness I made sure to spend time with God each day. I have been working through a study that looks at the stories of women in the bible.

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Fourth of July Cookies

I have noticed a reoccurring theme of courage. The study began with the first women God ever created; Eve. Eve’s first ounce of courage was shown when she confessed her sins to Adam. It took even more courage to place her sins in front of God. It is often easy to run and hide like Adam and Even did in the Garden of Eden but God wants us to come to him with our trespasses.

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I decided to read while the cookies were in the oven

The study walks through the lives of Sarah and Rebekah in Genesis 18-24. Sarah was much to old to have children but God provided for her and she trusted in the lord to raise Isaac up to be a follower of Christ.

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I added red dye but it turned out to be more pink haha

Judges 4 was really inspiring; Deborah was a judge, leader, poet, and prophet. She lead her nation to victory and beat an army of 9,000. Women often get overlooked in the bible but Deborah stood out among the crowd.

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Adding the chocolate chips!

The study continued on to Ruth, Esther, and Mary. Mary had more courage than I ever will. She made sacrifice after sacrifice but gave no second thought to saying yes to having Jesus. Mary endured doubts from Joseph, friends, and family. She had to watch her son die on the cross but in the end Jesus saved her just like he saved all of us.

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Final dozen in the oven. Red with blue sprinkles!

I have learned a lot about what it takes to say yes to God without hesitation. Am I there personally… no. But I will always be working to better my relationship with God and that means opening my mind to courageous acts and humble responsibility.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies were a hit on Fourth of July. Want the recipe!?!? Look on the back of the chocolate chip bag!

Secret tip # 1- Do not cook the cookies for the full time. Take them out right when they are beginning to brown. They will be soft and chewy.

Secret tip #2- Don’t melt the butter; let it thaw before hand.

 

Summer Avocado & Tomato Chicken

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Oh My!! Chicken and rice is a must this hot summer! Eating fresh vegetables has been my jam over the last few weeks; I will for sure be making this avocado and tomato blend again!

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I went to the store Sunday morning and came home with an onion, garlic, green pepper, couple tomatoes, and an avocado. Not only is this recipe delicious; it is light and adds a twist to grilled chicken.

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I began by sauteing onion and garlic in a medium pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.

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Mom, Megan and I took turns chopping up the green pepper, tomato, and avocado.

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After combining the rest of the vegetables to the pan; we finished sauteing by added oregano leaves, cumin seeds, and red wine vinegar.

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If you would have asked me to try avocado a year ago I would have said eww , but now I add it to almost everything!! It is a natural fat that has a creamy texture which helps to thicken the sauce.

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Caution: The aroma might be tempting enough to eat the vegetable mix straight out of the pan ;). Just be sure to save enough to share!

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Mom grilled the chicken out on the deck while we were letting the flavors blend together. Once done, we cut the chicken and added it to the red wine dressing.

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Have you ever had sticky rice!? It is one of the best inventions ever!! Anywho, make brown, white, or sticky rice and put it in a giant bowl in the middle of the table!

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Now, the most important part of this meal is the presentation! Dress the chicken up with the vegetables you desire and top it over rice to enjoy! I added a glass of wine to my meal (Moscato) to enhance the flavors of the chicken.

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Ingredients:

Red wine vinegar, oregano, cumin, olive oil, chicken, vegetables, and rice.

 

Shrimp Tacos during Dead Week!

 

Hello everyone! This week has been a busy one! Dead week is one of the most dreaded weeks for students. I personally think dead week feels like any other week; but with just a little more pressure. This upcoming weekend will be the slope to the hill I have been climbing and after Tuesday I can take a breath! Yep you heard that right; I am done with finals on Tuesday! How did I get so lucky!? This semester I have final exams for Horticulture Propagation, Animal Science 270 (Foods of animal origins), Animal Science 441 (International Agriculture) and Food Science 101.

As a junior, I am feeling the senior mentality approaching. The thought of completing college both frightening and exciting. It is hard to believe that the year went by so fast! I am trying to take in all that Iowa State University has to offer. Here are a three tips I have to those who are experiencing their first dead week.

Tip 1: Make sure to get plenty of sleep. (8 hours is a must!!)

Tip 2: Study a few nights before and don’t cram. Easier said then done but trust me; you will retain it longer- Don’t get to down on yourself if this doesn’t happen. Sometimes life gets in the way and you don’t want to miss out on all the memories you will make. This week I spent the night before an exam cramming until 11:30 pm and then again at 5:30 am; like I said not ideal but it happens.

Tip 3: Take a few moments during dead and finals week to catch up with your friends. After all it is the end of the semester and 4 years will go by incredibly fast. I am down to 1 and I think I am in denial.

Now to the real reason for this post.

With the semester coming to a close and operating on a limiting budget; we have been planning our meals day to day. This has helped save money and time. Planning ahead has also allowed me to be creative. Taco Tuesday might seem corny but there are endless possibilities. 🙂

April Taco Tuesday Recipe

1 Bag of Shrimp

 

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1 Red Pepper

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1 Cup of Green beans (perks of cleaning out the freezer)

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Once you steam the veggies and shrimp; add avocado and cheese to your your taco.

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Lastly Eat and Enjoy!

Easy Rice Bowl

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I am working from home today which means trying to keep on a normal work schedule is hard! To help stay on routine I allowed myself a 45 minute break to eat and write this post. I wanted something quick and easy but also nutritious and delicious! I decided to go with a brown rice bowl with simple ingredients. If you ever find yourself at home with a short amount of time to eat; I encourage you to try this recipe! I was surprised at how little time it took to prepare!

Ingredients:

1 cup of brown rice

Chopped Spinach Leaves

Chopped Parsley

1 tablespoon of lemon juice (adds zest)

2 thin slices of chicken

1 pinch of garlic powder

 

Okay back to sorting out evaluations! Wish me Luck 🙂

 

Recipe Saturday: Lettuce Wraps

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There is an amazing restaurant in Ames called the Cafe and they serve lettuce wraps with Mongolian beef and rice. I have been trying to recreate the recipe and have yet to succeed but Megan, Mo, and I did create a twist to the delicious lettuce wrap. This is a quick and easy lunch that can be made in minutes to satisfy your hunger on your busiest days.

Ingredients:

Romaine Lettuce

Mexican Rice

Black Beans

Corn

Cheese

Onions

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 Steps:

  1. Stove top: Rice, beans, and corn
  2. Saute onions
  3. Combine all ingredients
  4. Scoop a spoonful onto the lettuce

Tip: Roll the lettuce sideways to reduce the chance of breakage

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Breaded Cauliflower Gone Hot!

DSCF8681_d400Happy Sunday! Friday and Saturday I had the opportunity to assist with an Ag Leaders Session. The Ag Leaders Institute is a year long course for farmers to learn about cutting edge issues and leadership skills to address those issues. It was fascinating to watch the minds of 25 inspirational farmers connect and learn from one another throughout the weekend. Mary invited a local artiest from Boone, Iowa to speak with the group. David emphasized the idea of expanding creativeness and to use the resources we all have at our fingertips. He explained that our phones are like a advertisement agency. We can expand our reach with just one click of a button. He encouraged us to create a 6 word phrase that described what and why we do what we do. I began the process by jotting down words that remind me of the farm and in the end I came up with “Agriculture taught me freedom and knowledge.” Through this statement all things are true. I have found that I am truly happy connecting farmers to consumers. Before the Ag Leaders Institute on Friday we had a little incident at our apartment resulting in the fire department which is the real reason for this post!

Exactly one week ago, Megan and I decided that we were hungry for breaded cauliflower but trying to be the new, improved, and healthy us, we did not want to go into town. We found a recipe online and tweaked it to fit our taste buds. It started off as any normal cooking experience. I combined the ingredients and Megan cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. I had Garrett put turkey burgers on the counter grill and I added oil to the frying pan. With in seconds the apartment was flooding with smoke and I began to panic. We turned on the vent and opened the sliding glass door but even with all our effort the apartment stayed smokey. We opened the door to the hallway hoping to release some of the smoke when immediately all of the alarms went off. It was so loud I just knew it had to be the whole building. Ah man was I mortified!!! I looked out side and everyone from the building was standing outside in their pajamas! I called the Ames police right away to let them know it wasn’t a fire but that did not stop the fire trucks from pulling up to reset the alarms. They asked us what happened and once we told them they laughed and asked if it at least tasted good. I should have offered them some but we had already ate it while we were waiting for them to arrive. Haha I have never been so embarrassed in my whole life!!

Here is the recipe if you are also in the mood for breaded cauliflower but please cook it in a deep fryer or an oven! I sure learned my lesson!

Ingredients:

– 1 head of cauliflower

– 1 tsp of garlic powder

– 1 tsp of onion powder

–  Egg yolks

– pepper

– salt

– sugar

– 1 cup of flower

Steps: 

1. Clean and cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces

2. Combine all dry ingredients into one bowl

3. crack 1-2 eggs into a bowl and whisk

4. dunk the cauliflower into the egg and then into the flower mix

5. Fry in oil for 2-3 min

6. Enjoy!

To modify for a healthier version- bake cauliflower in the oven with similar ingredients.

Wine and Fish Night

January 10th, 2016 marks my first post! I can not believe I am the owner of a blog. I have been inspired by other blogs over the past three yearCapture-11_d400s and decided it was time for me to start my own journey. It is the night before school starts back up again and while in the motivated state my sister and I decided to try a new recipe.

I had a great start to my morning, I attended Harvest Vineyard (a local church) where the pastor seemed to talk directly to me. He made a great point about relationships and belonging.  1st Corinthians 12:12-27 states that we are all one in the body of Christ. Sometimes I feel like society forgets this. Pastor Josh made a valid point that when he is in a fight with his wife and he wins the argument they both lose. It is not about what team wins or loses because we are all playing on the same team. We should be encouraging others around us and not only thinking about ourselves. As second semester kicks off, I am going to remember this throughout my relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.

Okay back to the recipe that brought all of you to this post. 🙂

Fish and Wine Night

I like to wing the food that I cook and this recipe turned out to be the perfect combination. The base of the meal was created with Tilapia and a lemon wine dressing. If you are making this with the ingredients in your home be creative and don’t be afraid to swap a few. I am going to list the steps Megan and I took but feel free to use what you have in your kitchen.

Ingredients:

Frozen or fresh Tilapia fish

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups brown rice

5 cherry tomatoes

3 sweet peppers

1/2 onion

3 garlic cloves

5 cilantro leaves

Steps:

1. In a large skillet, cook the fish in 2 T. of olive oil. Leave whole or cut into bite size squares

2. In a small sauce pan- combine the wine and lemon juice to a small boil

3. Add all vegetables to the fish and allow 15 minutes to cook into the fish

4. pour the lemon wine dressing over the fish- simmer for 10 minutes

5. Cook the rice on the stove or in the microwave and serve fish over rice

6. Enjoy!