City Lessons

I have been loving life in Washington, D.C. this summer. I have met amazing people, seen phenomenal things, and learned a lot! Life is much different than I’m used to here. The population in the district (not counting the surrounding area) is more than the entire population of the state of Wyoming. Here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned:

  • Becoming disconnected from agriculture is really easy. It always shocked me when I would talk to people that had not idea where their food comes from. It was hard for me to realize how disconnected people can be from the food system while living so connected to agriculture at home. At the national zoo, they had cows and goats. I realized that for many kids (and maybe adults) those animals might be some of the only farm animals they have ever seen. Food is abundant at the grocery store. Not much thought is typically given to how that food gets to the store, or what the labels mean.

    It is easy to see why consumers get confused by labels and production practices.

    It is easy to see how consumers get confused by labels and production practices.

  • Rooftop gardens help, but they aren’t the ultimate solution. In many speeches and discussions, rooftop gardens have been brought up as a way to educate people about agriculture and where food comes from. Although they help start a conversation, I think that more work needs to be done. My building has a rooftop garden, and it is fun to see food growing.

    Rooftop

    My building’s rooftop garden.

  • Foodies are abundant! There are so many phenomenal restaurants here. The foodie movement is occurring!
    Yum!

    I have been enjoying all that D.C. has to offer, like this delicious Beef Barbacoa Burrito!

     

    Cities are a very different place than I am used to, but I have been thoroughly enjoying my time here! There are fabulous resources such as Facts About Beef available for consumers to learn more about beef.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Don’t Break the Bank!

Up until this summer, I have never truly needed to cook for myself. I lived in student housing my first two years of college, and relied on the cafeteria to cook for me. This summer, I am living and working in Washington, D.C., so it was necessary for me to learn to shop for myself. Shopping for groceries, I have learned several lessons:

  • Plan Ahead. Set a budget before you go to the grocery store, and make a list. If I do not do those two things, I end up making several unplanned purchases.
Planning ahead saves time and money!

Planning ahead saves time and money!

  • Don’t shop on an empty stomach! If I shop without eating a meal beforehand, I end up buying a bunch of ready-made junk food instead of the groceries I went to the store to purchase.

Hungry

  • Do the math. Sometimes buying in bulk is a great way to save money! However, sometimes it costs the same or it might be more expensive. Be sure to compare the price per pound or ounce before picking a size.
It's important to look closer at the "deals."

It’s important to look closer at the “deals.”

  • Look at the nutrition label. A product might be cheap for a reason. It is important to look at the nutrition label to see how much nutrition the product provides, and at what cost. Beef for instance is very rich in protein, zinc, and iron. For only 8% of your daily calories, beef provides almost half of the daily value of protein.
Check out here

Check out this link for more information on beef nutrition.

  • Shop sales, and freeze for later. Especially with beef, you can freeze the product to extend the shelf life. The video below shows a great method for freezing ground beef for later.

If you do freeze beef for later, this chart shows how soon you should use that product by.

 

 

 

Freeze

 

What ways do you save money at the grocery store?

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

God Bless America

Nothing says Happy Fourth of July quite like a barbecue complete with family, friends, beef, sweet corn, and watermelon. Although I am having the time of my life at my internship this summer, I am a little bit bummed that I am missing the small town celebrations for the Fourth of July. Steak USAIn the rural community I am from, the Fourth of July is always a big celebration. The farmers and ranchers typically take the day off (after taking care of their cattle of course!). Family and friends get together to enjoy the fireworks and fellowship. It really is a fun time. Here are some fun recipes and dishes with a patriotic spin to enjoy at a Fourth of July barbecue.

  • July 4th Kabobs Recipe: This is a fun recipe because it includes red, white, and blue! I also love how quick the kabobs are ready. I like mushrooms and avocados on my kabobs, so experiment with your favorite vegetables to find a combination that you love.

    Yum!

    Kabobs are a refreshing and fun dish to prepare and enjoy.

  • Patriotic Beef Pinwheels: Pinwheels are one of my favorite appetizers. This recipe provides a unique blend of flavors in just four ingredients!

    Additional bonus: Fun patriotic colors!

    Additional bonus: Fun patriotic colors!

  • Burgers: They are always a favorite! If you want to add a patriotic flare, use a star shaped cookie cutter to make fun shapes.

    A fun twist on a favorite!

    A fun twist on a favorite!

  • Patriotic Taco Salad: Food doesn’t have to be boring, make it festive!

    Ready in just 30 minutes!

    Ready in just 30 minutes!

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Remember, ground beef needs to be cooked to 160, and steaks and roasts need to reach at least 145.

Although barbecues can be a lot of fun, be sure to take precautions to ensure the food is kept at a safe temperature.

Patriotic food can be really fun! I hope everyone has a safe and fun Fourth of July. As always, thank you so much to the brave men and women in uniform that keep our great country free. God bless America.

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Beyond Beef: Part 3

Today is the final part of the beyond beef series I have done the past few weeks. Steak does not have to take hours to perfect. Sometimes, you might want an Instagram worthy meal to show off to your friends. This recipe is perfect for that!

Succulent Filet in a Field of Greens

Yum!

Yum!

Total Recipe Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Makes 4 servings
INGREDIENTS

  • 4 beef Tenderloin Steaks, cut 1 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cups assorted wild mushrooms (such as cremini, oyster, shiitake, enoki and morel)
  • 2 cups red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinaigrette
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup mixed baby salad greens

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add mushrooms and 1 teaspoon garlic; cook and stir 2 to 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and browned. Remove to medium bowl; cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 teaspoons garlic and thyme. Press evenly onto beef steaks. Place steaks in same skillet over medium heat; cook 10 to 13 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Remove to platter.

    Be sure to take the temperature of your steak to ensure you cook it to the desired doneness!

    Be sure to take the temperature of your steak to ensure you cook it to the desired doneness!

  3. Add tomatoes, salad greens and vinaigrette to mushrooms; toss lightly to coat.
  4. Season steaks with salt and pepper, as desired. Serve with salad.

My favorite feature of this recipe is that it is ready in under 30 minutes. The dishes for this recipe are also minimal, since the same skillet is used for the mushrooms and the beef. Tenderloin is my favorite cut of beef, so this recipe is one of my favorites. This recipe also enhances the umami flavor by pairing mushrooms and tomatoes with beef. The umami taste is described as meaty, savory and delicious. Although this recipe is so simple, it does not taste or look like a quick meal. It is a high quality eating experience.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Beyond Beef: Part 2

Last week, I shared a recipe to mix up breakfast. This week, I’m sharing a fabulous recipe to shake up steak! Most people either skillet cook or grill steaks, which is great! One of my newfound favorite ways to cook beef is by stir-frying it.

Apricot Teriyaki Beef Stir-Fry
Total Recipe Time: 25 minutes
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

While we were at the Southern Women's Show in Nashville, Alicia and I were able to cook this recipe on stage!

While we were at the Southern Women’s Show in Nashville, Alicia and I were able to cook this recipe on stage!

  • 1/2 cup (47% less sodium) teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch, divided
  • 1 beef flank steak (about a pound)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons butter, divided
  • 1 package (8 ounces) frozen sugar snap peas, thawed
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice

Instructions:

  1. Combine teriyaki sauce, apricot preserves and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a blender container. Blend 30 seconds until smooth; set aside.
  2. Cut beef steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch thick strips.
  3. Whisk egg white, remaining cornstarch and ginger in large bowl until smooth. Add beef; toss to coat.
  4. Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1/2 of beef; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink (do not over cook). Remove from skillet. Repeat with 1-1/2 teaspoons butter and remaining beef. Remove from skillet; keep warm.
  5. In same skillet, stir-fry sugar snap peas 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Return beef to skillet. Carefully stir in apricot sauce. Cook and stir 1 minute or until heated through. Serve over rice.
Yum!

It is a very colorful dish!

Before I was assigned this recipe, I was not very familiar with stir-frying beef. Here are the biggest lessons I learned:

  • Try to cut the steak as evenly as possible! The more uniform the pieces are, the easier they will be to cook later down the road.
  • Put the steak in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you start cutting it. This will make it easier to cut.
  • Cut across the grain of the steak. This results in a more tender eating experience.
  • Do not put too much beef in the pan! Small batches are essential.
  • If you do not have teriyaki sauce on hand, do not panic. It is very easy to make from scratch. Here is a sample recipe. I made this sauce for my recipe, and it turned out great!
  • Instant rice is wonderful! It saves some time if you are in a hurry to get dinner on the table.

I was very skeptical of this recipe before I tried it. Once I made it, this honestly is going to be a recipe that I add to my list of favorites. It is the perfect blend of flavors, but it does not overpower the beef flavor I like so much. It is also done in 25 minutes, with minimal dishes to clean up! I would encourage you to try it, you will not regret it!

The final product

The final product

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Beyond Beef: Part 1

When most people think about beef, breakfast might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Steak, hamburger, or casseroles are often what people think of when they hear beef. Dinner or lunch is the typical time most people eat beef as well. A good way to jumpstart your morning is with protein. I’m a big fan of breakfast burritos. I highly recommend this recipe for Breakfast Beef Burritos.

Total Recipe Time: 15 to 25 minutes
Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • Beef is very versatile!

    Beef is very versatile!

    8 ounces beef Sirloin Tip Center Steaks, cut 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend or jalapeño pepper cheese
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 medium flour tortillas (10-inch diameter), warmed
  • 1/4 cup prepared salsa
  • Toppings: Sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, additional prepared salsa (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine eggs, cheese and water in small bowl. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add egg mixture; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until scrambled and just set. Set aside; keep warm.
  • Season beef Steaks with pepper. Carefully wipe out skillet with paper towels, if necessary. Spray with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1/2 of beef; cook 1/8-inch thick steaks 1 to 2 minutes (1/4-inch thick steaks 3 to 4 minutes) or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Do not overcook. Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining beef. Season beef with salt, as desired.
  • Layer 1/2 of beef on each tortilla, leaving 1-1/2-inch border on right and left sides; top with 2 tablespoons salsa and 1/2 of eggs. Fold right and left sides of tortilla over filling. Fold bottom edge up over filling and roll up tightly. Serve with toppings, if desired.

When I make this recipe, I substitute a sharp cheddar cheese instead of the jalapeño pepper cheese. I am not a big fan of spicy food, so this appeals more to my tastes. I also like topping it with avocados. That is a great way to add some more flavor and color to this breakfast.

Interested in more beefy breakfast recipes? Check out Breakfast to BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Go Lean with Protein

Incorporating lean protein into your diet does not have to be boring! Just remember-when shopping for a cut of beef that is lean, just look for the words loin and round. There are more than 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean. Many of America’s favorite cuts are even lean! A good goal to set is to try to get 25-30 grams of lean protein (like beef) per meal. Protein gives your body many benefits such as: building and replenishing muscles, preventing overeating, and maintaining a strong and lean body. One 3-ounce serving of beef provides 25 grams of protein and ten essential nutrients!

Protein is critical to giving your body the fuel it needs to

Protein is critical to giving your body the fuel it needs participate in whatever you choose!

I know that I personally have trouble finding time to balance my diets. Some days, I am just happy if I eat three square meals. This is not conducive to planning a wholesome meal plan that my body needs to fuel me through the day. Luckily Beef, it’s What’s for Dinner came up with a 30 day protein challenge. If you sign up for the challenge, you will receive emails every day with goals, tips, and inspiration to keep you on track for your protein goal. I tried this challenge, and it really helped me start on the path to eating a more balanced diet rich in protein. If you sign up for the protein challenge, but decide you do not wish to receive the daily emails anymore, opting out is very easy.

Go

Don’t know what 3 ounces of beef looks like? It’s about the size of a smart phone.

Join in the conversation, and use the hashtag ‪#‎ProteinChallenge‬ when you post about your adventures during the 30 day protein challenge! After I started this challenge, I really noticed a positive difference in the way I felt, especially after I exercised.

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See for yourself, sign up here!

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

 

Labels Part II

Last week, I began discussing labels. As you continue reading the label of a package of beef, you might see words such as natural or organic. Most consumers (and even producers!) do not know the difference between the two.

diff

Most beef is natural, meaning that it does not contain any additives and is not more than minimally processed.

Certified organic beef must meet USDA’s national organic program standards. Organically raised cattle must be fed 100% organic feed, and they may not be given hormones to promote growth or antibiotics for any reason. Organic beef may be either grass or grain finished. Organically produced food does not differ in safety or nutrition from conventionally produced foods. The reason organically produced food is more expensive to purchase, is because this food is more expensive to produce.

Steak

All beef choices are a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients and vitamins like protein, zinc, iron and b vitamins.

According to USDA, natural means that a product is minimally processed and contains no additives. By this definition, most beef in the meat case is natural. Natural beef does differ from “naturally raised beef.” Naturally raised beef is from cattle raised without added hormones to promote growth or the use of antibiotics to prevent disease.

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No matter what kind of beef you choose, you can be confident that you are feeding your family a safe and savory product!

When it comes down to it, the type of beef your purchase for you and your family is a matter of personal preference. If purchasing beef that has been organically raised is important to you, then you are more than welcome to purchase that product. For more information on the beef choices available in today’s market, please click here.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

What Does the Label Mean?

When you go to the market to purchase beef, you are confronted with several different labels. All of these labels can be very confusing! One of the biggest labels with beef is grass fed. Most cattle are raised on a combination of both grass and grain in the United States because of our shortened growing season. Although it is not as common as grain finished beef, it is still very common to find grass-finished beef in most grocery stores. So what is the difference between grass finished and grain finished beef?

vs.

Grass finished and grain finished beef differ in the final stage of production.

For both production methods, the calves spend their first few months of life with their mothers. They drink their mother’s milk and graze on grass pastures. Once these calves reach approximately 500 pounds, they are weaned from their mothers. Calves typically then go to stockers and backgrounders to graze on many different kinds of pasture all across the United States. If they are going into the grain-finished production system, the calves will start receiving grain to supplement their diets. The majority of cattle in the United States are then sold or moved to feedyards where they receive carefully balanced, nutritious diet for an average of 120 to 180 days. In the grass-finished system, the calves will continue grazing on grass pastures until they reach the desired weight. Cattle in feedyards typically reach market weight around 3-6 months faster.

The important takeaway from this is that nearly all cattle spend the majority of their lives grazing on native grasslands.

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For more information, click here.

All types of beef, regardless of the way it is finished is wholesome, safe, and nutritious. No matter what way it is finished, all beef is an excellent source of six nutrients and vitamins, providing more than 20 percent of the recommended daily value, and can be part of a nutritious and balanced diet. The decision between grass and grain finished is really a matter of personal preference. I would recommend trying grass-finished and grain-finished beef side by side like our team did in Denver to determine what your preference is. In my honest opinion, I could tell a difference between the two types but I am indifferent. I think that both kinds of beef deserve a place at the butcher counter, and in my kitchen. Not everyone feels that way, and that is okay! The beauty of choice at the meat counter is that everyone can purchase what they like.

Although there is a noticeable difference

At the end of the day, it is a matter of consumer preference!

Happy Meaty Monday! Check out part two of this blog here.

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Thank Your Mom

I have been blessed with the most amazing mother I could have ever asked for. My mom is my biggest cheerleader, and is always pushing me to accomplish more than I ever could have thought was possible. I know that if I ever need advice, a kind word, or even just an ear to listen to me complain about my mundane problems-that my mom is there for me. She believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.

My mom has always been the glue that holds our family together.

My mom has always been the glue that holds our family together.

Being involved in agriculture, even our slow season is still very busy. Mom always makes sure that we always have a lunch and dinner, even when we are working late into the night in the fields.

Moma

My mom has been there for me through everything.

My mom has sat through countless excruciatingly long contests, just to watch me compete for five minutes. She really  sets a great example of what it means to put others before yourself. If I can be half as kind and caring as she is, then I will be doing good.

I would not have a clue how to cook if it wasn’t for my mom! She makes the best cabbage pockets. Cabbage pockets are a regional food primarily found in Nebraska. They are the perfect lunch for when you are on the go. My mom was generous enough to let me share her recipe for cabbage pockets with the world:

Be sure to thank your mother today, and everyday for all that she has done for you. My mom has shaped me into who I am today, and I am eternally grateful for that. Love you moma!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer