Thursday, March 27, 2014


Misperceptions are something we all deal with on a day to day basis. 

Aren't there things that people think about you that just aren't true?  They can be small and trivial, or something bigger.  In a snap, someone can come to the wrong conclusion about you or a business after just an instant.  One misperceptions about myself would be that I'm always upset or mad about something.  I get asked often if I'm mad or if something is wrong because of the expression on my face.  Honestly, that's hardly ever the case!  I just don't have a nature smiley expression.

In agriculture there are also misperceptions!  In Illinois, we have a regional restaurant called Meatheads Burgers and Fries.  Meatheads serves all-natural burgers that are made to order, never frozen and are 100% Certified Angus Beef.  They are incredibly proud of the product they are serving to consumers, which they should be!  They're good burgers served with fresh toppings and locally baked buns.  Sounds impressive and tasty, right?!?

But... you knew there would be but, for a while Meatheads was using a logo that didn't accurately reflect their always fresh, never frozen Certified Angus Beef burgers.  Check out their old logo below and see if you can find the issue.


Have you figured it out? 

If not, I'll spill the beans.  The cow silouette is not one of a beef cow.  That ladies and gentleman is a dairy cow!  See what I mean...  Dairy cow. 

To compare, here's another picture to help you see the difference between a beef cow and a dairy cow.  Remember it's not just about color.  Both dairy and beef cows come in a variety of colors!  The beef cow on the left is an Angus and the dairy cow on the right is a Holstein.

Persistence from agriculturists and beef producers paid off though!  Meatheads modified the silhouette in their logo to better represent the 100% CAB burgers that they proudly serve.  


The fact that they made the change proves that Meatheads wanted to right the mispercetion they were imparting on the people eating at their restaurants!  Way to go Meatheads!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hungry and Naked

Hey y'all! 

Remember how I said that I was going to post all week in honor of National Ag Week?!? Yes?  Okay good, as long as we're all still on the same page! 

I got a lot of great comments and support on my post yesterday about how I helped educate kids about agriculture and the food they eat.  Thanks to all of you!  If you couldn't tell, agriculture education is something I'm still very passionate about!  And I don't just believe in educating youth either, there are adults who could use a reminder about how farmers and ranchers feed all of us! 

In addition to AITC my sorority Sigma Alpha, a professional agriculture sorority, was also active in bringing agricultural awareness to the university.  Sidenote: Yes, my sorority was of the professional variety, but that didn't mean we were a bunch of stiffs!  One way that we chose to help spread the message was with a t-shirt campaign.  As a chapter we designed a t-shirt that was cute, funny and was on point with letting people know exactly where they'd be without agriculture! 

To be clear, without agriculture you'd be hungry and naked!

I just love the little pig's face!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Where Your Food Comes From + A Recipe

Did you know that the average American is three generations removed from the farm?  For many people the closest they can trace their family tie to a farm is to go back to their great-grandparents!


My sorority's national philanthropy, Ag In The Classroom, helps educate kids about where their food comes from because there isn't the inherent tie to farming like in the past.  Sad as it is, more kids than I'd like to admit have absolutely no clue that their frozen pizza has any ties to agriculture!  They don't realize that the crust is made from wheat that farmers grow and harvest every year, that the cheese started out as milk from dairy cows or that there is actually a difference between dairy and beef cows!

Check out some of the ag facts below and support farmers! 
- Pork is the number one meat consumed in the world.  American's comsmption declined in the 70's because people started looking for a leaner protein source.  The hogs raised today are less fatty due to improved genetics and feeding.
- The US grows more than 30,000 acres of garlic every year.  This produces more than 500 million pounds of garlic.  Garlic is primarily grown in California, but is also produced in Oregon, Nevada, Washington and New York.
- Potatoes are utilized more for frozen fries than any other product.  Are you surprirsed?


- Each year, US dairy farmers provide enough milk to make more than 1 billion pounds of butter, 7 billions pounds of cheese and 1 billion gallons of ice cream!
- Kale belongs to the same species of the mustard family as collards, cabbage and broccoli.  It is also very high in vitamin A and C!

Unlike the kids I helped teach, I grew up hearing what our crops were raised for and how they fed the world!  I have an appreciation for the food I eat because of how I was raised and for that I'm incredibly thankful.

Bringing awareness to National Ag Week with a recipe only seemed natural to me.  Farmers feed us and without them, well... as romantic as it sounds, you can't survive on love alone!

Slow Cooker Sausage and Kale Stew with Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
Serves 6
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 pound sausage, crumbled into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
sea salt and pepper
2 large russet potatoes (approx. 1 pound)
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and leaves torn (approx. 7 cups)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil

1.  Combine the sausage, onion, tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, garlic, water, Italian seasoning and 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a 4 or 6 quart slow cooker.  Place the potatoes in the liquid and top with the kale.
2.  Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
3.  Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl.  Add the milk, oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper to a bowl and mash.
4.  Serve the stew over the top of the mashed potatoes.

Country Fair Blog Part

Monday, March 24, 2014

Celebrating National Ag Week

Despite feeling a bit under the weather today, I'd be a bad agvocate {agriculture+advocate} if I didn't share with you that March 24-29, 2014, is National Ag Week! 

This week honors the farmers and ranchers who provide us with a safe and abundant food supply, as well as fiber and renewable resource products.  To help celebrate and bring awareness, all posts this week will slant towards education and appreciation of the agriculture industry!  


Friday, March 21, 2014

Five on Friday v.8

It's hard to believe that I've been linking up with the 5 on Friday link up for two months!  There's  always some really interesting posts each week to read!  Many times these posts inspire me to go try a new product or recipe.  Through the link up I've also gained some new pals and it's fun to see emails notifying me of new followers via Bloglovin and GFC. Thanks goes out to Natasha, Christina, April and Darci for creating such an awesome little community!

The photos below are some of my favorites that I've taken over the last several weeks and I wanted to share them with each of you!


You think your trainer is tough?  You've never had this girl judging you just inches from your face when you're doing pushups or staring at your during your wall sits!  I still love her though!


This glamorous look comes to you straight from the tack room at the barn.  Cute, huh?!?  This was my go-to get up {plus a Carhartt jacket} for staying warm all winter while I was out feeding horses. 

Margarona... Cornarita... Whatever you call it, it was amazing!


 When I got home from California last month, Miss Bella came with Matt to the airport to get me.  Just after getting in the car, our 75 lb.{not-lap}dog climbed into the front seat and sat on my lap! 
 She missed me!


This sunrise made getting to work early worth it.  I even pulled the Jetta over to safely take the picture!  My mom would be proud!

Happy weekend!  I hope you all make the most of it!  Cheers!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Braggin' Rights Bracket

Let me preface this post with I don't even watch college basketball, but any chance to win something I'm all over!  Competitive much?  Why yes, yes I am.

March isn't just about St. Patrick's Day and Spring Break.  March also brings with it the NCAA men's basketball tournament, which means almost everyone is filling out a bracket and choosing a winner! 

Now there are some people who scrutinize over their picks, while others choose winners based on team colors or mascots!  I typically let a team's win/lose record lead me to picking my champion, but I also know there will be upsets.  Upsets you don't see coming!  So just picking the higher seed isn't always the best call.

This year, Matt and I have decided to place a little wager on who has the better bracket.  Competing with your husband is healthy, right?!?!  The winner get's a whole year of braggin' rights.  And the loser gets to buy the winner supper at our favorite Mexican restaurant and has to put away a weeks worth of clean laundry.

If you couldn't guess just by reading those, Matt came up with the Mexican part and I was the laundry.  Why?  Because he has absolutely no clue where my clean laundry goes.  None.  He will leave piles of my clothes sitting on the bed rather than put it away.  Bless him for getting the laundry clean and folded, but come on guy!  I know where you're stuff 'lives'...  I'm hoping for sweet, sweet redemption!

Have you filled out your bracket yet?  Who do you think is going to win The Big Dance?  I'm pulling for the Louisville Cardinals and a back-to-back championship!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Can't Wait For Summer Because...

Drinking wine is more fun outside under the umbrellas at Blue Sky.

I'd rather pick fresh veggies out of our garden than pay for them at the store.

My winter clothes have lost their appeal.

I'm headed out to Colorado to see this cowgirl and her momma.

I love sitting on our porch drinking a cocktail while we wait for our food to come off the grill.

Boat shoes are much more awesome when you can wear them on or near a boat.

Louie is much more handsome when he isn't covered in long, wooly hair.

What can't you wait for when summer finally sets in? 

Linking up with Taylor and Helene

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Calling Me Home

How many of you out there read and loved The Help?!?!  

If you were, like me, immediately swept away with the story and characters I urge you with a hot poker to read Calling Me Home!  

The chapters alternate between describing a forbidden love in rural Kentucky in the 1930's and a present day friendship between an unlikely duo.  

Although you may be able to guess at some of the prejudices that Isabella McAllister will face when she chooses to pursue a relationship with a boy that so many believed was all wrong for her, you will be blown away by the twist and turns!  One of my friends said it best, "I hadn't connected the dots 'til the author literally drew the line for me!"  The story of love and heart ache unfolds as eight-nine year old Isabella and her traveling companion, Dorrie, make their way towards Cincinnati for an epic reunion.  

I was blown away by this novel!!  In my opinion, author Julie Kibler wrote a fantastic debut novel and told an amazing story about the devastating ramifications of a forbidden love set during a very sad time in our history. 

If, by chance you have read Calling Me Home, were you as enthralled with it as me?!?  If not, please go read this book!  When you have, come back and let me know what you thought!

Want to join in on the fun?  
Next month we are reading A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. 

I'm linking up my book review with (Jenni, Khala, Samantha & Reneé) for Tuesday Tea!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Makeover Monday

This Monday makeover won't be a post broadcasting some awesome cut and color I got over the weekend.  It's not even a cool piece of furniture that got spruced up thanks to a coat of paint.  It is about the Paint in my life... Louie!

I was out at the barn Friday and I just couldn't bare to look at the long, shaggy hair that had taken up residence on his beautiful face thanks to this wicked winter!  I've un-affectionately dubbed it his 'goat hair'.  See it there?  The long string hairs that are growing under his chin and jaw?  Gag. 

So what's a gal to do?  Go after him with a comb and scissor?  Um, no way!  It would take me hours.

Being a resourceful farm girl, I broke out the power tools!  Every horsewomen should have a pair of good clippers for occasions like this one.  After powering up the clippers, I proceeded to shear as much hair off his face as possible.  He kept giving me these goofy looks and I imagine if he could actually speak for himself he'd say, 'Is this really necessary?'  'I'm a boy horse, you know that right!?!'  'Facial hair is sexy.'  'What if all the guys laugh at me?'

Despite Louie's skepticism, I kept after it and even though we're a far cry from being ready to enter the show pen, I think he looks much better all trimmed up!

Ignore the long and fuzzy body hair, Mother Nature isn't fighting fair.

And if I don't say so myself, I did a fine job!  I'll never understand why Matt won't let me cut his hair?!? 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Five on Friday v.7

Oh happy, happy day!

It's Friday.  Thank the good Lord! This week has been a struggle. I've had to drag myself out of bed every morning and in the evening I'm asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

I haven't even had a meal planned out more than a few hours in advance.  This coming from a girl who typically has at least a week, sometimes 10 days worth of meals planned out ahead of time!!  Saturday morning I'm really looking forward to sleeping in and having a lazy, relaxing day, but Sunday I'm excited to hit up the grocery store and watch some NASCAR.  You're not surprised I'm a NASCAR fan, right?!?  Okay, back to the task at hand, does grocery shopping excite anyone else?  I really enjoy it!  For me it's a challenge.

Finding bargains and trying to shop the perimeter of the store, you know where the healthy stuff is! I feel like I really have my sheet together when my cart is full of fresh produce that I know I'm going to turn into something yummy!

Since it's Friday, I thought I'd share five tasty recipes that Matt and I have enjoyed recently for my 5 on Friday link up!

  I wasn't raised eating fish, I grew up on a cattle farm, okay?!?  Learning to cook and eat fish is something I've really tried to do as an adult and with recipes like this one, it's an easy sell!  Matt and I both really, really like this recipe and we make it once or twice a month!  I've even made it using almond flour to keep in Paleo!  We actually had it for supper last night with a side salad and sugar snap peas.

 Let the infatuation with kale begin!  This sausage, potato and kale soup seriously got me through some cold winter nights over the last few months.  It's very easy to throw together and tastes amazing!  I omit the heavy cream, but adding it in would just create a wonderful velvety texture.

Roasted Kale
 See, more kale?!?!  I have serious love for this recipe!  It's great roasted, but I have to stop myself from eating it raw once it's all seasoned up because it's good that way too!
 Last kale recipe, I promise!  But you'll see another sweet potato recipe follows this one...  
Hi, I'm Myla and I have a slight obsession with kale and sweet potatoes.
I super big, puffy heart LOVE this creation!  It's Paleo and Whole30 approved, but throw that out the freakin' window and just eat it because it's SO AMAZING!!  

How many of you are fans of Gina at Skinny Taste?  I think she rocks.  This chili is a winner!  And it's got sweet potatoes in it which means I'm sold!

Aside from kale and sweet tators, we're also really into brussels sprouts and plantains!  Okay, so spill!  Do you have a current food obsession?  

Have a safe and happy weekend!  Cheers!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

That Gal's A Tease

Mother Nature can keep teasing us with her sporadic 60° days and then shower us with more snow and cold temps, but I know Spring is coming! Want to know what's got me clued in???

My winter gloves are covered with horse hair after giving Louie some rubbins in the barn.

The shedding blade in my grooming tote has been working overtime to remove all the hair that Louie has been shedding due to the longer daylight hours.

It also works really great for those days when he comes in from the pasture covered in dry, crusty mud!  Doesn't Louie look ashamed of himself?

There's also the piles of horse hair in the grooming area the size of cats.

Oh and last, but not least I can't keep the horse hair outta my lip gloss!

So Mother Nature can keep fluctuating the temperatures, giving us 60° one day and 32° the next, but she can't fool me or my horse!  Spring is on the way!!  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Just Grillin' It

I've been out of town for the last 6 days putting on a horse expo and trade show and was exhausted when I got home yesterday.  Thankfully, Matt was game to take advantage of the gorgeous weather we had and opted to break out the charcoal grill for supper!

I pulled out a package of T-bones from the freezer, but was a bit stumped on what we'd have for sides.  Luckily, I found some romaine hearts in the fridge and had Matt buy some sweet potatoes at the store.  Supper, check!

Oh, and there was wine for me and Blue Moon for Matt!

Somebody wanted samples...

The grilled romaine is so yummy and very easy to whip up that it really doesn't need a recipe, but this is the gist:

Grilled Romaine
Serves 2

1 head of romaine, cut lengthwise down the center and washed
olive oil
garlic powder

Drizzle olive oil on all sides of the cut romaine.  Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Place over indirect heat from your grill.  You'll want to rotate the romaine so you get it nice and wilted on all three sides (the cut side and the two rounded sides...think of it as a triangle), but it shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes per side.

I'm linking up with a these awesome gals (Jenni, Khala, Samantha ,Reneé and Mary) for another spot of Tuesday Tea and a new link up, Delicious Dish Tuesday!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Five on Friday v.6

This week quite a few of my friends shared an entertaining web link, 30 Signs You Grew Up on a Farm or Ranch, on Facebook.  So many of these are true for me, but I want to highlight five of my most favorite for today's Five on Friday post!

 Your front door was always unlocked...even if your entire family was on vacation. And the keys to your car or truck were always in the ignition.

We NEVER locked our door growing up on the farm!  Seriously.  I know some people can't fathom this, but it just wasn't necessary.  Between farm dogs and neighbors, you didn't worry about people actually getting out of their car or you knew someone would stop and see why a stranger was poking around. 

 You fear hearing the words, "Cows are out."

Ugh.  Seriously, it didn't matter if this was at the crack of dawn or as you were just getting out of the shower, everyone threw on a pair of boots and headed out the back door to lend a hand! 

 You could drive a tractor before you could drive a car. And you drove a car before you ever attended a driver's education class.

I was sitting on my dad's lap driving our John Deere tractors (See #4 on the list.) around the farm long before I could actually reach the pedals.  Then at about 10 or 11, my grandpa had me driving him to town for errands.  More than once, someone would see us tooling around and call my mom to tell on us!  Busted.

 When you went to college you learned other kids had more students in their home room than you had in your entire school. And you didn't know what a home room was.

I've mentioned it before, but I only had 12 people in my graduating class and 60 students enrolled in the whole high school.  Yes, it was a public school!  So no, we didn't have home room.

The county fair was considered the social event of the year.

The third week in July was sacred growing up!  For most farm families, the fair was our only vacation.  Not only did it give the kids a chance to exhibit our 4-H projects, but we were able to run amuck with friends that any other week would be spread out all over the county.  Good times were always had and the memories we made are often reminisced about!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Luck O' The Irish

I'm one of those gals who likes to put up a little bit of decoration for all the holidays throughout the year.  I'm also part Irish, so of course St. Patrick's Day gets deemed worthy of some decor around the house!  I don't go buck wild like I do for fall or Christmas, but I did dress up our buffet with a little sumthin' sumthin'.

All the decor you see I've had on hand for a while now.  

The wine bottle, well... I certainly drank that, then removed the label and hot glued some jute around it.  The clover leaf dish, I picked it up at our community mission and probably spent a whole fifty cents on it.  After bringing it home, I dusted off the old art skills and painted it to look like a four leaf clover.  The IRISH scrabble blocks were just leftover pieces of wood from some other project.  I looked up online what the values for those letters were and then just used a Sharpie and the method from this project to make each block.  The table runner, ivy and galvanized buckets, my aunt gave those to me years ago but I think they're perfect for this!  And finally, I raided my stash of scrapbook paper to make the clovers and folded paper circles.  They're attached to skewers, like for kabobs, and then stuck into styrofoam.  

Pretty easy and pretty cute, if I don't say so myself!

Okay, so does everyone (or anyone) else decorate for St. Patty's Day?  Do you have plans for the drunkfest holiday?  My guess is we will celebrate somewhere, but nothing is set in the Blarney Stone yet!

I'm linking up with a these awesome gals (Jenni, Khala, Samantha & Reneé) for another spot of Tuesday Tea!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ten Favorite Things v.2

I'm kicking things off this month with a Ten Favorite Things post and linking up with Brianna over at Endlessly Beloved.  For the month of March she selected the topic of the place you call home.

I struggled a bit about which 'home' I wanted to write about.  Do I write about the house I share with Matt and B or the farm where I was raised that I still refer to as 'home' or something else entirely?? Brianna really left the topic open to interpretation, but I finally settled on the barn.  Because honestly, I'm the most at home wherever my horse is!

Ten Favorite Things About: The Place I Call Home.
one: The barn has always been my sanctuary.  It was a safe harbor throughout all of middle and high school.  Back then I never felt like I fit in with any of the 'clicks' at my tiny little school.  And it's a place I know I can be myself 100%!
No one judges when I have to do chores in a dress...
two: They say home is where you heart is and my heart feels pretty empty when I haven't been around the barn or my horse is a while.  There was a time not long ago when I found myself unemployed and borderline depressed, but after adding back in a barn and the horses I found my happy!

three: I love walking in the barn when the horses are all inside and I'm met with a chorus of whinnies, nickers and soft rumblings.  It typically means they just want fed, but I like to think it means more!

four: The barn where I spent every spare minute I had in high school, provided me with life long friends and mentors.  The women I met there as a teen have helped shape and mold me into who I am today and what kind of horsewoman I want to be! 

five: One of the best things about the barn is the horses that have lived there!  And thanks to my parents and my trainer, I've been blessed with many great horses over the years!  I've had rotten ponies who taught me how to stay on despite their antics.  I've rode some horses that weren't the best or fastest and I've also had horses that have won more than their share of money, trophies, ribbons, tack and belt buckles.  Each one of them have taught me something and will always hold a very special place in my heart!
This is Fred.  He was the BEST!  I learned so much from this guy and miss him terribly!

Louie, my 'fancy' show horse!

This is Six.  He's retired now and lives at my parents farm.
six: All my time at the barn as also taught me how to do practical things like back a tractor and manure spreader (it sounds easy, but it's not!), give an intravenous shot, recognize the signs of a sick horse, fix fence with baling twine and a prayer...  The list could go on and on!

seven: I've also been lucky to find wonderful barns that have lots of comradery amongst the other horse owners.  During the summer, when I'm hauling to shows I know that all I have to do is ask and someone is always willing to travel with me to lend a hand getting both the horse and I ready for the big day.  The friendships I've found have also stretched beyond just the barn!  I've vacationed, shopped and generally acted a fool with many of the friends I've made at the barn over the years!
A little fun on the wine trail in Carbondale!
eight: The barn is also a wonderful place to store, i.e. hide things like new tack, riding boots, etc., from your husband!  Obviously, this only works if said husband doesn't frequent the barn that often.  In case you're wondering, Matt doesn't go to the barn that often!

nine: I love the smells associated with the barn.  Okay, maybe not that smell!  The one's I'm referring to are fresh sawdust, molasses in a bag of feed, newly cut hay (think mowed grass, but better!) and even some of the horse products like fly spray and shampoo.

This is the barn at Victory Junction Gang Camp, where I was a counselor.  The coolest summer job I ever had! 
ten: The barn and the horses is MY thing.  I had always thought I'd marry a guy who was as involved with horses as I was, but that's not the case and now I wouldn't want it any other way.  Matt and I have other hobbies that we enjoy together, but I like having this one all to myself!