Wednesday, August 22, 2012

pork. {and a tailgating giveway!}

I don't love ham. At all. Not even a little bit.
So when the KS Pork Association contacted me about doing a post and a giveaway for them, one of my good friends laughed. 
The good news is... pork includes way more than just ham. Whew. 
And... there is a really awesome giveaway! And it just might include over $800 worth of goodies and 4 tickets to the KU/KSU football game! Just keep reading! 

Scott and Jennifer are the farmers that I was paired up with. Aren't they cute?
They have a sweet little love story about her going away to college... him coming to work on her parents farm... her coming home to visit and realizing that her dad had hired a really cute guy to manage the hogs... but then she went away to experience life in the big city. After 4 years she decided life in the big city wasn't really what she wanted, so she moved back to the family farm and fell in love with the cute guy her dad hired. Apparently there is a country song, "The Farmer's Daughter," that even though it wasn't written for them... it could have been written about them.

Scott and Jennifer have been working with their family (her parents, her brother, his wife and 3 boys) to share a little bit about life in the country. You can check out some of their videos here: 
(My favorite is the one about the Farmhouse Kitchen Table. "Mom is the glue of the family." I love that.) 

Jennifer is a teacher by day (at the college level though, so just a bit different than 1st graders) but she helps out Scott and the rest of their family on their family farm in the evenings. I'm pretty sure she has way more energy than me. (Although she did say that she was on "sensory overload as a sub in the K-3 grades. So many questions to answer, so many stories to hear and so many things to do, try; explain, re-expalin, watch and touch.") Yep... sounds about right. =)

I asked Scott what Jennifer does that it most helpful for him. (I'm trying to prepare for my future role as "farm wife.") Jennifer's dad talks about the importance of the farm wife in one of their videos, too. Funny... both of their answers involved the wife being close to a cell phone/computer/the internet to be able to look up parts and equipment for part runs. So it sounds like I should quit my job and stay at home by the computer, right? Isn't that how you're understanding that? =)

I also asked for their input on designing a perfect farmhouse. (Planning ahead, here!) Jennifer confirmed my desire for a big mudroom right when you come in the house. And a laundry room nearby to contain all the dirty clothes. (I'm thinking a big mudroom/laundry combined. This is on my must have list for our future farmhouse!) Jennifer also suggested a big kitchen with plenty of room for a big farmhouse table. (Again... if you haven't watched the Farmhouse Kitchen video... go watch it now. And then learn how to make bierocks. And ham and cheese pockets. And pork pizzas.)  

Scott and Jennifer also shared with me the pros and cons to raising kids on the farm. Actually... they really just shared pros. The only con they had from their experience was that neither of them really learned to swim. Sophie is a fish and Lawson and Gretchen both love to go swimming! So I'm pretty sure we'll continue to make swimming lessons a priority, even when we are out on the farm.  Jennifer sang the praises of being involved in 4-H ("I’m certain that 4-H is what made our family unit so strong and gave us ‘kids’ the passion for being involved in agriculture.  As kids growing up on the farm, it was empowering to know that we were being helpful and had a purpose on the farm. We had specific chores to do and were responsible for the outcome - good or bad.  We had some hard lessons to learn when we were young, but that made us better adjusted to the hard lessons that life threw at us when we got old.") (Lawson is excited about being involved in 4-H someday and Sophie is thrilled. She might just be in it for the clothing modeling, though. Of course.) 

I've heard several people lately talk about the work ethic of most Midwestern farm kids. Jennifer confirmed that...  "it turns out that I  learned non-farm work was ‘easier’ and I was pretty successful in all of the ‘off-farm’ jobs. My employers often commented that I had a finely developed ‘work ethic’ that comes from being raised on the farm and knowing how to work hard! Sure, it is very possible for city kids to develop a good work ethic, too, but I think that being raised on the farm sure helped in our cases!!" A good work ethic is something I desperately want for my children. For me, it ranks right up there with being kind. So, so important and one of those values that too many kids nowadays don't seem to have. If living on a farm can help instill a hardworking attitude and work ethic in my kids, then I am all for it! (I'd be more for it if some friends could come live on the farm with us, though.) =) 

{Can you see all the purple in this post?! (It doesn't show up super well.) There's a reason for that!! Keep reading!}

Now the fun part... 
I was given the recipe to Scott's favorite pork meal: Autumn Glazed Pork Chops.  (No ham! Whew!) As soon as I saw cranberries in the recipe, I knew I needed to invite my mom and dad to share them with us. They love cranberries! (Plus, it was my dad's birthday last week and I was a loser daughter and got him nothing. Except some blog fame over his sweet flower note, I guess.) =)

The recipe looked pretty simple (which is good... I like simple.) 
Autumn Glazed Pork Chops

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
4  boneless pork chops, 3/4-inch thick
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider, OR juice
1/2 cup whole cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cooking Directions
Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick coating. Heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of chops with pepper. Brown chops 2-3 minutes on each side in hot skillet. Add apple cider. Cover tightly; cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time. Drain off juices.
In a small bowl combine cranberry sauce, honey, orange juice concentrate, ginger and nutmeg. Pour over chops. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until heated through.

The only problem I had was that my skillet wasn't really big enough for 4 pork chops. But it wasn't a big deal. I just had to cook them a bit longer than the recipe says. (In hindsight, I realized an electric skillet would have worked really well for this. But we're not sure where our electric skillet is. Or if we even still have one. Darn frazzled mommy brain.) 

One of the biggest benefits of the night is that it forced us to clean off our dining room table. Our new kitchen has a table that's big enough for us to all sit at, so we usually eat out there. Therefore, the dining room table has become a catch-all, cluttered mess. But not this night...

Sorry little cows... it's a pork night here!

The pork chops were yummy and really easy! (That's two things this momma shoots for in almost all her meals!) And the kids ate them! Yay!

Now for the really fun part... the giveway! 
All you need to do is visit the Kansas Pork Association's Facebook page. (Click on those words.)  
Follow the super easy steps there and you will be entered into a drawing for the Ultimate Kansas Tailgating Giveaway! 

(And for those of you who don't live in Kansas... go ahead and enter. You can keep the grill, the lawnchairs, the cookbook, the grilling utensils, the thermometers, the cooler, the brushes, the BBQ and rubs, the apron and the $50 worth of pork coupons. I'll take the KU/KSU tickets off your hands for you.) =) 

This is a sponsored post on behalf of The Kansas Pork Association. I was compensated for my time and ingredients but all opinions are my own. (Crazy, right? They paid me to feed my family a meal!)
Click on these links to read about other KS pork farmers and their favorite recipes: 
* Dine and Dish
* Kansas City Mamas 
* Gimme Some Oven
* Amy's Finer Things
* Super Jenn
* The Rusted Chain


Jess Painter said...

Great post, Amy! Thank you so much for sharing Scott and Jennifer's story. It is great to hear how they inspired you in the kitchen and your family life and future plans.

Beki - TheRustedChain said...

Love this!!

Danielle said...

I'm not a huge pork fan but those pork chops look delish!! I'm going to try this recipe. Great post!

Anonymous said...

They were very good. A recipe I am adding to my file.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Amy, for taking the time to work with us on this blog post. You have a real gift for telling the story! It looks like the chops turned out great and we are so glad that your family liked this recipe, too! Hope one of your readers wins the tickets and pork tailgating supplies!

Go Cats!!
Scott and Jennifer

Kristin said...

Looks yummy! We can always use a new pork chop recipe. A big electric skillet works great!

Ali | Gimme Some Oven said...

Aw, I love their story!!! So cute. :)

These pork chops look delicious!!!

Kelly @ Kansas City Mamas said...

What a great couple and what a great story. I love their story and yours...maybe we will be interviewing you soon.

Betty Stevens said...

I know Jennifer and Scott. Jennifer used to work for me (K-State) and she is awesome and very lucky to have been the farmer's daughter who got the guy. They really are a model farm couple and I'm very happy that you selected them for this blog.

John said...

Great info, thanks for posting. If you are looking for a tailgater grill then you really shouldn’t look any further. This thang rocks!

tonya said...

You don't have to wait until you live in the country to get the kids involved in 4-H. I was involved when I lived in Newton. I loved it! I stuck with the sewing/crafting/cooking areas, like Sophie.

tonya said...

Oh and we just bought a pig that we get this winter so I'm excited about the new recipes!