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Friday, April 27, 2012

Conversations with the Boy about Cats

Here kitty, kitty. 

A recent conversation with the Boy about my want for a cat. Just a barn cat. Such a simple request. Especially when they are this adorable. 


Me: Good morning! Love you. Can we keep it? 
The Boy: If it was a puppy yes. 
Me: We can name it puppy!
The Boy: Good joke

Side conversation:
The Boy: There is no TV and no xm in the tractor today. I have to farm like our grandparents use to. 

Me: If you had a kitten named puppy it could keep you company in the tractor. 
The Boy: I have you and Skye (current dog). That is all I need. (Everyone say awe now).

Needless to say I did not get the kitten. I found the whole batch of them while staying with some friends of mine on a work trip. The Boy is very allergic to cats, so I don't see too many in our future. However, I am convinced that there will be a least one barn cat in our future. And luckily I'll be saying with these wonderful friends in a couple weeks so I can visit my new friend. 

Hope you and your family are having a great week. I've been on the road for work again, the Boy has been planting and I promise that my Watching the Corn Grow series will start back up next week. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hunk of Meat Monday: Beef Kabob and Grilled Pineapple

Time to start grilling. 

I love the Pottery Barn turquoise
platter
we got as a wedding gift.
The Boy and I were so excited to get a portable grill for our wedding, and so of course we had to test it out as soon as we got home from our honeymoon.

On our shuttle ride to the airport our bus driver saw the box pineapples that we had with us. He said his favorite way to enjoy pineapple was to chuck off big slices, brush some olive oil on it, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill. He was definitely right it was delicious.

Delicious Hawaii Pineapple
However, we also knew that we needed something to go along with our pineapple, and beef kabobs sounded like the perfect pairing. We used sirloin, since it is one of the 29 lean cuts of beef, and I found this recipe online at Taste of Home.

Pineapple Beef Kabobs

  • 1 can (6 ounces) pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce - I used the low sodium kind
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger - I used fresh, but I am sure powdered would work great to
  • 1-1/2 pounds beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch pieces - cuts from the round would work too. 
  • 1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks - we didn't add these since we were grilling pineapple
  • 12 large fresh mushrooms
  • 1 larger green pepper
You could also add onions, yellow or red peppers. Whatever your family will gobble down. Kabobs are always nice with some rice or a salad as well. 

I love this website for
finding the right beef cuts
for recipes.
Mix the first six ingredients, and pour 3/4 of the marinade into a zip lock bag or a container that you can use for marinating. Add the beef and allow it to marinade in your fridge for at least an hour. Since we used sirloin we did the hour minimum, but if you pick one of the round cuts you'll want to let it marinade for a bit longer. You'll use the remaining marinade for basting. 

While the meat is marinading don't forget to let your wooden skewers soak so they don't burn on the grill. 

Once the meat is marinaded throw it away. Add the vegetables and beef to the skewers, this can be the tricky part. The boy and I like our meat down medium-rare, so that means that our vegetables could have used a little more time on the grill. I think next time although they may not be as pretty we'll do some skewers just with beef, and the others just with vegetables. Total grilling time is about 10 minutes. Make sure you turn often, and keep on basting with the saved marinade.   


Boom you have supper. And check out these nutritional facts that Taste of Home provided:
2 kabobs with 3/4 cup rice equals 412 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 46 mg cholesterol, 534 mg sodium, 60 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 31 g protein.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Speaking with a Princess

Today's a big day

If you are up bright and early like me this morning, you are reading this as I am traveling through Nebraska and into Kansas. Yesterday, I traveled across Iowa and part of Nebraska. Usually, I would be able to say something like big blue sky and wide open spaces. However, it POURED a good part of the way. If you are wondering what farmers do when it is raining and can't plant crops then check out the Boy's blog - awesome video.

However, I am now getting way off track. I am really excited about today because I am headed to the Women in Ag conference put on by the Rockin' Rural Women of Norton Farm Bureau to give a little presentation. You know what is even cooler? I get to speak with former Miss American Teresa Scanlan. Yeah, remember that post about her winning Miss America and how I superimposed my face over her's - not creepy or anything.


I can't wait to meet all the fabulous women who are taking a day off the farm to network, share and learn together. Plus, it gives me an excuses to wear a little more jewelry than normal and put on my fancy cowboy boots. Now, that the wedding is over it is fair game. I can wear those wedding day boots everywhere!

Hope you have a fabulous day, and an even better weekend friends!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wedding: Let's Talk about Shoes

Put on your dancing shoes. 

Why are wedding shoes so important? I mean no one actually sees them until you kick up your feet on the dance floor to Footloose. Maybe it is because they are one of the wedding accessories you can actually wear again?

I had a hard time picking out what I would wear. I knew I wanted heels for church, and the boots for the dinner and dance so that I could do just that - dance the night away. I was really set on blue shoes for awhile. 


These Royal Blue Wedding Shoes from Nina in particular, but they were pretty high and I was worried that my hem would be too long once I put my boots on. All my bridesmaids were going to wear nude colored shoes, so with a last minute shopping trip in Oklahoma City and spotting these Nine West Nude Pumps my decision was made. 

Even bigger score... these shoes were on sale and are super comfortable. I also wore them at the rehearsal dinner and I took them with me on our honeymoon. 

Photo by La Brisa Photography
The girls also came with a selection of awesome shoes. I'm trying to remember where everyone got their's from. I know two sets came from Target similar to these ones. The third ones in were my sister's and she got those at Aldo a few years ago. 

However, as I said I really wanted to buy a nice pair of boots for the wedding. I had been dreaming about a certain pair of Turquoise Old Gringos Cowboy Boots that I had been seeing all over on Pinterest. Just before Christmas while visiting the Boy's sister in Fort Worth we walked into a store called Mavericks and there they were. There was no way I was walking out of that store without those boots. I was ready to scoop them up, when the Boy said you know I don't have your Christmas present bought yet. Bing. Problem solved. 

My heels and boots made a nice pair.
However, I wasn't the only one that had boots with me as I asked all my bridesmaids to bring their boots along for a fun picture.

From left to right. Kristi - a great friend who introduced the Boy and I, Dana - a great friend who I met through the Angus business, Stacy - my sister, me, Abby - another friend from the cattle business, Jaci - the Boy's sister and now min,e too!
Aren't they a smart looking group of girls! With their boots they are all wearing part of their bridesmaid gifts. Men's black button ups that we had embroidered with there initials. The before the rehearsal dinner you could help my brain was turning to mush as I could figured out whose shirt was cBd - oh right those were going to be my new initials! Their boots are from Corral and Ferrini. 

What were your wedding shoes like? Do you still have them today?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Does agriculture honestly affect everyone?

Yeah. 

Did you run warm water for a 20 minute shower this morning? Then stand up for farmers.



This is an awesome video produced by a group of students from Texas A&M called Farmers Fight. I am pretty impressed with their passion, and I am glad that these young people are the future food producers of our nation.


On a random side note because of my love of the K-State Wildcats I really don't care for Texas A&M, however I really wish they didn't leave the Big 12. We met some wonderful Aggies on our honeymoon. People that embodied the caring, friendly, passionate Big 12 spirit. The same spirit that Jasmine Dillon shared in the this video.

That's all folks. Remember thank a farmer.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wedding: Cow Pretzel Sticks

A little chocolate, a little cow

The Boy and I for quite a while thought that we wouldn't do favors at our wedding. I have watched far too many wedding favors go unused or never taken home, and thought that maybe it would just be better to forego the favors... that was until I saw these.


That's right cow sprinkles! I knew instantly that I could use these sprinkles to make my starting to be famous pretzel sticks. They were a pretty big hit at Christmas. 


I added additional white sprinkles to the cow sprinkles to make them go a little further. I found all my sprinkles through The Baker's Kitchen, except for the longer white sprinkles that had an iridescent shimmer to them. Those ones came from Hobby Lobby. You can find them also at Jo Ann's fabrics, but Hobby Lobby was better price wise. 

Jon's Grandma Johnson.
Jon's Great Franke, Jon's Grandma Judy and my mom. 
After a couple hours of dipping, sprinking and wrapping we had 350 pretzel sticks made. Luckily I had the help of three generations of family. Me, my mom, my mother in law, two of the Boy's grandmas and a great aunt of the Boy's. 

I use regular melting chocolate for the pretzel sticks. and use a spoon to help spread the chocolate on three quarters of the stick. Next lay the stick on a cookie sheet that has been covered with wax paper. Next use a spoon to sprinkle your "sprinkle concoction" over the sticks. Don't worry about the extras that don't stick, you'll be able to re use them. Place your cookie sheets in the fridge and allow to set for a couple of minutes. Once you pop the hardened sticks off the wax paper they are ready for wrapping. You'll be able to add the extra sprinkles back to the your stash of sprinkles to reuse. 


We used Wilton pretzel stick bags from Jo Ann Fabrics, and then tied with Jute Twine from BurlapFabric.com. Their jute comes in HUGE rolls, but trust me if you are going to incorporate burlap into your wedding you'll want a lot. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wedding: We got hitched

Introducing to you Mr. and Mrs. Blin

Well it is time to break the silence. After a little wedding vacation and then a honeymoon vacation from the blog I am happy to be back - as Mrs. Blin. Some people are a little surprised to find out that my last name is actually not Cattle. I told the Boy that Cattle seemed to be pretty popular so maybe we should both use that, but he didn't quite agree. Anyhoo....


Our wedding was amazing, and I can't wait to share the details with you. Some of them will have to wait until a few more pictures come in, but we'll start with the basic info.

Where: The Boy and I decided to marry in Iowa, even though I am from Alberta, Canada. I moved to the Midwest in 2003 to attend Kansas State, and I really wanted all my family to see my new Iowa home. We had the ceremony in the Boy's hometown, and the reception was at the Park Place Event Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Highly recommend them - beautiful place and amazing service!


Dress: I traveld to Chicago to buy my Rivini dress. I actually first saw the dress on Atlanta's Say Yes to the Dress television show. I knew there was a reason I spent so many hours with my eyes glued to that show. I will definitely have a separate blog about my dress and accessories. 


First Dance: After some persuading I convinced the Boy we should dance to Are Going to Kiss Me or Not by Thompson Square. It is one of my favorite songs, and while the Boy and I were dating he may or may not have received many late night phone calls with me belting out this song. I think the best part was how many of our guest were belting out the song as we danced. 


Wedding Party: Our best friends made up our wedding party. My sister was my maid of honor, and the Boy's good race car buddy was his best man. The funny thing was that each of the them caught the bouquet and the garter. Except for the Boy's sister none of the groomsmen or bridesmaid met until a couple days before the wedding, and I would say we have great taste in friends because they got a long awesome! 


Photography: Other than marrying my best friend this had to be one of the highlights of the day. If you are having a wedding you must consider La Brisa Photography, and don't worry about location because they will travel! Chris Heish our photographer totally surprised us by bringing a second photography B to help capture our day. Our engagement photos were amazing, and with the teasers they have already provide (that's right the night of the wedding they have already put up more than 100 photos for us) they again blew us out of the water. Be sure to check out the La Brisa Facbeook page


Watch for many more posts to come, and if you have specific questions email me at crystalcattleblog@gmail.com and I'll work on putting a blog together to answer them. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Any one love Tim Horton's?

The Canadian Coffee Shop

Tim Horton's is the Starbuck's of Canada. However, they aren't only know for their coffee treats, but also their baked good, and delicious soups and sandwiches. I don't like coffee, at all, but I do love soup. Thus, whenever I am home I also asked my family if we can make a stop. 

Thanks to Twitter friend Drew Bender I came across this Tim Horton's video that talks about the companies Animal Welfare Policies, which I find very interesting.


One of the opening statements really struck a cord with me.

Tim Horton's wants their animal welfare program to be balanced, long-term, realistic and sustainable. To me balanced means combining science, consumer wants, and farmer's insight. I like long-term because as a farmer I am commitment today, tomorrow and in the future to our animal's care. Realistic is a really important one for me. There are a lot of things that we or the consumer may want, but are they realistic resource wise, financially and in what amount of time will they take to accomplish. Finally, sustainable. To me sustainable is hard to define, but I do think part of it has to do with making sure both farms stick around and businesses can stay in business.

Do you ever look into a company's animal welfare policies before making your busying decision? Or are you just happy that there are companies that are taking these steps. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Anniversary Crystal Cattle Blog

My little blog is growing up. 

Today, I am skipping out on Turquoise Thursday because I wanted to say thank you to all my friends, family, and readers. This week I am celebrating three years of blogging. I think have certainly evolved since my very first post

Last week, I found the Stress Case blog, and she was encouraging people to tell why they blog. So here are my top reasons:

1. I love the community of friends that I have built through my blog, and social media. Many of the people I connect with I have never met in real life, but I certainly consider them friends. It is wonderful to have such a cool, smart, and unique support system. The Boy and I have even received a couple wedding gifts from these sweet blogging friends! 

2. I want to be able to share agriculture with others. Whether that is the consumer who wants to ask questions about food and farming, or if it other farmers and ranchers that are looking for ways to share their stories. I love connecting with all sectors that are involved in our food chain. 

3. I get to share my love of turquoise, fashion, fab finds with you, without actually having to buy anything! This window/blog shopping is much more friendly to my bank.

4. Blogging has opened up other opportunities for me. It has allowed to speak at more conferences, and help train organization members which is a big goal of mine. It has allowed me to become involved in agvocacy on a larger level. It has allowed to me have my own column in a livestock magazine. Blogging has certainly opened doors for me and I am grateful for that. 

Why do you blog? And if you don't blog why do you enjoy reading them?

I hope you have a fantastic week, and I promise next week I'll share some of the turquoise honeymoon clothes I'll be sporting in Hawaii.

 Why We Blog Week

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to start your #agblog - Part 3

Another installment. 

By the end of the week I will have been blogging for three years! Where does the time go by?

Photo by the Boy.
I have wrote two other How to Start Your #Agblog posts, and after a few questions I figured it was time to start a third one. One of the reasons I use Blogger for blogging is that I loves that it is part of the Google Family. So that means that my Gmail, YouTube and Google Analytics all ties together nicely.

However, I have a tip. If you are going to start you blog I would open a brand new email account for it. This way it will allow you to keep those personal emails you send out to family and friends separate from your blog emails. And trust me if you have your comments going to your inbox, requests from readers, giveaway information those emails can quickly add up.

Also, this allows you to have a nicely branded email that you can post under your contact page. Remember that some people might have a question or thought, but may not want to post it as a comment. Having an email address to find under at Contact page/tab allows people to get in touch with you. Click here to learn how to add pages to you blog.

Be sure to also list your Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and any other social media platforms that people can connect with you at on that Connect page.
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