Dust In My Coffee

Dust In My Coffee

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

For God and Family

As we near the end of  "May is Beef Month"  I would like to share with you another beef recipe from a woman who is a great cook and who places God and her family above all else.  This woman is my sister-in-law, Julie Heftie.  Julie is Steve's youngest sibling.  She is married to Kelly and has four amazing kids.  I would like to tell you more about Julie and share with you the beef recipe she has given me.

This is Julie with her family.  From left to right are Kelly, Tabitha, Julie
Simon, Maria and Elijah.  This photo was taken after Julie completed
a marathon race in Lincoln.

I met Julie in 1980 when I started dating Steve.  Julie was in high school at the time and was friendly to me right from the start.  Julie cooked many of the meals I enjoyed when I visited Steve on the weekends. I only recently learned that Julie loved cooking with her ingredients measured out in many different bowls like the chef Julia Child used.  In those days cooking shows were rare and only found on PBS!  Julie continued to amaze me as she entered college and persevered through the required courses it took for her to become an Occupational Therapist.

During Julie's college years she was also a doting aunt to our children.  Julie loved to play games and eventually would host one of the kids at a time for weekend sleepovers.  Julie also met a young man and fell in love.  Julie and Kelly were married and started their life together in Lincoln.   We were aware of the desire Julie and Kelly had to start their own family.  They were both so very good to their nieces and nephews and it seemed they would be the perfect parents.  Several years passed with our own children saying daily prayers for Julie and Kelly to have a baby.  The love Julie and Kelly showed one another and extended family continued as they placed their trust in God.

Prayers were answered when a family chose Julie and Kelly to be the adoptive parents of a little girl to be named Tabitha.  Our entire family was elated when this beautiful little girl became part of the extended Ruskamp family.  More prayers were answered as Julie gave birth to a son, Simon, daughter, Maria and son, Elijah.  Each new baby brought more love, joy and laughter into their home and into all of our hearts.  A new trial for the family came when little Elijah needed heart surgery.  Prayers, trust and love were very evident as Julie put her baby in the hands of the doctors and nurses.

This is a photo of Elijah enjoying a roast beef sandwich at our house last fall. 

Elijah came through the surgery very well and all four children continue to grow and thrive.  We've had the oldest two, Tabitha and Simon, at the farm for "Camp Ruskamp".  Tabitha has been a great assistant for some of our farm tours including a television interview.

One of the activities at "Camp Ruskamp" is fishing.  This photo is from
a few years ago. Tabitha is proudly holding up her fish while Simon
and our son, Jeff, look on. The fish can be fried in an area just behind them.

I know that new challenges will continue to face the Heftie family because that is how life is.  Julie has shown me in so many ways that she embraces her womanhood and her faith.  She is truly a woman after God's heart and she brings that into her home and into her workplace.

Maria Heftie was baptised in 2009.  Every family needs a Maria!  This photo
captures more than words can say about faith and family.  

Here is a recipe she has shared with me that her family loves.  I have proof of that because the recipe has "Yummy!" and a star by it!

Barbecue Meatballs
3 lbs. ground beef                                    1/2 cup onion-chopped
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk                 1/2 t garlic powder
1 cup oatmeal                                           2 t salt
1 cup cracker crumbs                               1/2 t pepper
2 eggs-beaten                                            2 t chili powder

Combine all meatball ingredients (mixture will be soft) and shape into walnut size balls.  Place meatballs in a single layer on a wax paper cookie sheet.  Freeze until solid.  Store until ready to use or can be used right after you make them.

2 cups ketchup                                           1/2 t garlic powder
1 cup brown sugar                                     1/4 t onion chopped
1/2 t liquid smoke or to taste

Combine sauce ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.   Place meatballs in 9x13x2 baking pan and pour sauce over top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  May take longer to bake if using frozen meatballs.   Julie notes that she doubled this recipe for a church event and it made 191 meatballs.

"She is clothed in strength and dignity, she can laugh at the day to come. When she opens her mouth, she does so wisely; on her tongue is kindly instruction.  She keeps good watch on the conduct of her household, no bread of idleness for her.  Her children stand up and proclaim her blessed, her husband, too, sings her praises:  'Many women have done admirable things, but you surpass them all!'  Charm is deceitful, and beauty empty; the woman who fears Yahweh is the one to praise." Proverbs 31:25-30

Sunday, May 28, 2017

National Hamburger Day

National Hamburger Day falls right in the middle of the perfect holiday weekend for grilling.  Matthew McConaughey says "Man who invented the hamburger was smart; Man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius”  and I have to wholeheartedly agree!

My niece, Tabitha, has been a great assistant for me in a variety of ways
to support beef through farm tours and television interviews.

If you have plans to grill this Memorial Day Weekend I would like to encourage you to find the beef counter at your grocery store for a variety of items that will please your family and friends!  When it comes to burgers beef has the "fake" burgers beat nutritionally besides taste.

Sometimes people substitute ground turkey for beef thinking it is a better
option but this chart shows you that beef is the healthier choice!

Hamburgers are a great choice for large groups with children.  I have a recipe suggestion that offers  topping choices called "Slider Sundaes".  This recipe gives everyone an opportunity to build their own burger and by using slider sized burgers you can have two burgers with different toppings and stay right at that 30 grams of protein.   Here is the recipe:  

1 pound lean hamburger or ground round (makes 8 sliders)
1 tsp Lawry’s Garlic Salt
1 Package Slider Buns


Mix hamburger in ¼ cup sizes.  Flatten to ½” thick. 
Grill at medium high heat for 3 minutes on each side.   
Grilling baskets work great to easily grill several at a time.

Sundae Toppings:

Cherry Tomatoes (a tooth pick in one end allows tomato to sit on top of the bun)
Fried Onions
Sautéed sliced mushrooms
Fried bacon strips cut in thirds
Shredded cheddar cheese
Blue Cheese Butter*
Hamburger Sauce*
Peanut Butter-smooth

Blue Cheese Butter:  Mix one stick softened butter, ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles and 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Hamburger Sauce: ¼ cup mayonnaise, 2 tsp ketchup, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tsp pickle juice, ¼ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp garlic powder-mix well

Slider Sundaes make mealtime fun by letting every dress up their own burger according to individual tastes.  This is a great way to cut food waste by using smaller portion sizes.  Each slider is about 15 grams of protein before the toppings.  Suggested combos include:  Beef, Bacon, blue cheese butter and peanut butter; Beef, Bacon, Cheese, Onions, Pickles and Hamburger Sauce; Beef, lettuce, mushrooms, bacon and Hamburger Sauce.  Make sure to top each bun with a cherry tomato!

You can also have Hawaiian or Mexican themes for your Slider Sundaes by adding other ingredients like sliced pineapple and brown sugar for one and black olives, salsa, sour cream, taco seasoning in the ground beef for the other.  There is no limit to the creativity you can have with beef!  

In Nebraska we will have a beautiful weekend for grilling.  Even though we experience all four seasons, sometimes in one day, my husband can be found grilling all year 'round.  If you need more information about grilling the perfect burger you can read this terrific blog post from a friend of mine here.  We like to use Lawry's Garlic Salt for seasoning or Mike's Seasoning (found at Graybeal's Grocery Store in West Point). 

Enjoy this Memorial Day Weekend by grilling up some beef burgers today and make time to remember those that have died, especially our veterans.  

This is a picture of Steve's dad, Francis and my dad, Clem,
who both served in the military and have both left this earthly
life.  Our hearts still grieve the loss of their love and laughter
but our faith fills us with hope and joy of seeing them again.

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, 
and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
Psalm 34:18 
The Lord is ready to listen and help those who are brokenhearted 
and He saves those who are broken in spirit. 
It is a special hope to all who have lost a loved one.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Where's My Beef?

I enjoy having family gatherings and our home works well to host gatherings.  We made plans to gather my mom from Grand Island, our newly married daughter, Kim and her husband, Richard, from Lincoln, my sister and two of her children from Gretna and Steve's mom from Snyder over for a steak dinner to celebrate Mother's Day.  I would like to share with you one of the salads we enjoyed eating that day as part of my "May is Beef Month" series of family beef recipes.

My sister, Sharon, has a great Taco Salad recipe and had volunteered to bring this dish to our Mother's Day celebrations, as we were in the middle of planting corn.  However, Sharon was delayed in arriving to our celebration because of some missing beef. 

This thank you was sent to us from Sharon's daughter,
Nichole, several years ago after she spent some time
with us on our farm.

Sharon is my younger sister and has five children.  We have many stories between us that bring us laughter and tears as many sisters often do.  I admire Sharon in the way she has encouraged her children to keep after their dreams.  Sharon has never been one to accept defeat as she modeled the virtue of tenacity in making sure her kids had what they needed.  Sharon is a single parent and is witnessing the fruits of her labor as the children graduate, go to college, get jobs, etc...  All good parents struggle to provide the best care they can for their children and that includes meals that nourish and are easy to make.

Sharon and her five children left to right:  Oliver, Megan, Sharon, Anna,
Nichole and Michael.

We came up with the idea of meeting at our house for Mother's Day because it seemed the easiest way to be together.  I knew my time would be limited for house cleaning and food preparation.  I was tied up in various farm tasks and asked for help with the food preparation.   Sharon offered to bring a taco salad and a fruit salad.  Sharon lives close to Omaha and has access to a grocery store 24/7.  Sunday morning she shopped for her ingredients and went home to get the salad ready.  When she looked for the ground beef there was none to be found.  "Where's my beef?" she asked her children and then realized it must have been left at the grocery store.  A quick call and return visit to the grocery store enabled one of the kids to bring her the ground beef so she could finish her recipe.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we did!

Taco Salad
by Sharon McCoy

1 lb hamburger 
1 taco seasoning
Cook hamburger, mix in seasoning. Remove from.pan, set aside to cool.

1-2 heads of lettuce, chopped or 1 large bag of lettuce mix
       (I'm all about making it easy so I just buy the mixed lettuce)
2 avocados, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped 
1 can of medium pitted black olives, sliced
2 cups of cheddar cheese
Mix together 

1 large bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos  (some for salad and some to snack on)

Dorothy Lynch dressing 
Ranch dressing

Mix meat with salad. Add dressing  (I do a couple swirls of each) and about 1/2 cup of salsa. Toss together.  When ready to serve, crunch a few handfuls of chips, sprinkle on top and mix in.

It's important for me who is at the table with me; the moment when everyone speaks to each other and everyone listens. If there's good food, it's much better. Andrea Bocelli
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/good_food.html
"It's important for me who is at the table with me; the moment when everyone speaks to each other and everyone listens.  If there's good food it's much better."  Andrea Bocelli

It's important for me who is at the table with me; the moment when everyone speaks to each other and everyone listens. If there's good food, it's much better. Andrea Bocelli
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/good_food.html
It's important for me who is at the table with me; the moment when everyone speaks to each other and everyone listens. If there's good food, it's much better. Andrea Bocelli
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/good_food.html
Me, mom and Sharon on Mother's Day 2017.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mom's Beef Pot Roast

May is full of special moments including Mother's Day, Memorial Day, graduations and weddings.   May is also Beef Month which ties in very well to the food needed for those celebrations.  During the remaining month of May I will be sharing several beef recipes from family members you may want to add to your celebrations.  In this post I will highlight a beef pot roast beef recipe I learned as a child from my mom.
This is a photo of my family from the 1960's.  From left to right:  My dad, 
Linda, Paul, me, Aunt Kathy, Sharon sitting on my mom's lap, Sandy in
my mom's tummy and David with a big grin.  This was probably taken on a
Sunday and mom most likely made fried chicken for the main meal of the day.

My mom was typical of many mom's of the 1960's.  Mom made all of our meals from scratch including many meals with beef.  I am the oldest child of six and I would often help with the job of peeling potatoes.  When my youngest sibling started school my mom went to work full time.  My cooking skills increased as mom started giving me instructions on how to start dinner so it would be ready by the time she and dad arrived home.  One of my favorite meals to make was Pot Roast.

Our fourth child, Jeff, developed a habit of swinging his legs
up on the back of the chair while we were eating meals.  He
would reach up to his plate and grab some food and bring it
down to his mouth.  Roast Beef and gravy is a little more
challenging to eat that way than a sandwich!

Mom taught me to brown the roast on both sides, put the roast in a baking pan (a 9 x 13 pan works well), add carrots and potatoes (peeled and cut), add onion slices, salt, a little bit of water, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees.  I didn't pay attention to how long it would bake as mom would be home by then!

A photo from the archives!  Here I am about
the age I started cooking more meals.

One of the key steps to that recipe is browning the beef.  I have since learned that mom knew the secret to getting the best flavor from the roast by searing or browning as she called it.   Emma Christensen says on her website "Searing meat is 100% about building flavor. And oh, what flavor it is! When that meat hits a scorching hot pan, the surface instantly begins caramelizing. In your stew or braise or roast, this translates into the kind of deep, savory flavor that we crave on an almost a cellular level. This is the flavor that makes us want to lick our plates clean. No sear, no plate-licking good times."

For many families mom is the one doing most of the meal planning.  I am fortunate to have a mom who taught me the basics of cooking and then assisted me during my 4-H baking days as I tried to get that perfect batch of corn bread for the county fair.  My own children have learned as much from my husband, Steve, about cooking-even more when it comes to grilling-than they have from me.  I am blessed to have a husband who enjoys making meals.

Steve is making a stir fry supper using Sirloin Steak.  He loves tossing
vegetables and finding different combinations to put with the
beef.  The sirloin is sliced very thin while still partially frozen.

Through the years I have altered the pot roast recipe my mom handed down to me just a little bit.   I learned about new seasonings that give the beef and gravy a better flavor and it has Steve's seal of approval.  The new recipe goes like this:

Simply Delicious Roast Beef 
3 pounds Chuck Roast
1 package dry Italian salad dressing
1 package dry Ranch salad dressing
1 package dry Brown gravy mix
2 cups water

Turn oven to 325 degrees.  Sear the roast (brown both sides).  Place roast in roasting dish.  Warm the 2 cups of water in pan used for searing and pour over the roast.  Put seasoning packets in a bowl, mix, pour over the roast and in the water.  Add baby carrots and small red potatoes or cut and peeled potatoes.  Cover.   Bake 3.5 hours in oven or bake in Crock Pot for eight hours on low.  

I am so grateful to have a mom that taught me how to cook a recipe that I would continue to use for my own children and now for my grandchildren.  Happy Mother's Day to my mom and all the moms out there doing the very best they can for their families!  

"Do what your father tells you, my son, 
and never forget what your mother taught you.  
Keep their words with you always, locked in your heart.  
Their teaching will lead you when you travel, protect you at night, 
and advise you during the day."  Proverbs 6:20-22