A Local Farmer’s Market Adventure!

Today, two Ball State University students, Victoria Parry and Olga Suchshinskaya, are our guest bloggers. Victoria is currently a Dietetic Intern and plans to continue with her Master’s of Science degree in dietetics next year. She hopes to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) and specialize in either renal dietetics or work to educate the public regarding healthy eating patterns. Olga was born in Kazakstan, Karaganda, grew up in Lafayette, IN, graduated from Purdue University, and is currently doing her dietetic internship. Over the years she has realized that people are her passion and kids are her devotion. She loves working with pediatric patients and their parents but also enjoys helping people optimize their health through proper nutrition and an active lifestyle.

Olga & Victoria, BSU Dietetic Interns

July is National Ice Cream Month, and this week has been a whirlwind of events for us interns.  We, Victoria and Olga, were fortunate enough to visit a local farmers market down the road. For Olga, this was not the first trip to a farmers market, but Victoria had never been to one!!!  We absolutely had to explore the wonders of crisp fresh veggies, aromatic colorful fruits and so much more. We headed to ALC’s Farmer’s Market and discovered a quaint collection of fragrant flowers and herbs such as red & pistou basil, lemon balm, red vein sorrel, English lavender, shiso, thyme and sage–just to name a few. Our next discovery was intriguing Kohlrabi! This plant belongs to the cabbage family and tastes similar to a mild turnip. It can be eaten fresh as a snack or sliced on a nice green salad; what a great summer meal! We saw yellow squash and round zucchini that would be perfect with rice, lean beef and fresh herbs. We also saw an amazing display of homemade baked goods in charmingly rustic packages and bows.  Bright red cherries and assortments of delicious apples, jams, jellies, and honey were spread across the tables of farmers smiling over, literally, the fruits of their labor! We even saw a display of sparkling pearls and semiprecious stone jewelry.  The trip was a success, but we needed something to freshen us up a bit.  Luckily, we came to a stand selling handmade flip flops and homemade ice cream as part of a fundraiser. We jumped at the opportunity to get some delicious, cool ice cream to refresh our taste buds. Let us tell you, the smooth, cool ice cream topped with juicy, fresh strawberries went hand in hand; it was amazing! The ALC Farmer’s Market has so much more to explore, taste and learn so bring your whole family. Kids are much more likely to eat fruits and vegetables that they can touch, smell, look and learn about like you can at the farmer’s market.

Watch us on YouTube, we will be posting a video of our experience at the ALC’s Farmer’s Market!

Flags, Freedom, & the Fourth of July

It just would not be July 4th without my Mom’s macaroni and cheese (more cheese than macaroni really), hot dogs on the grill with homemade coney sauce and my Aunt Jackie (keeping the cousins in line by telling them if they were going to help make ice cream they had to eat their dinner) Lemon custard ice cream!  It was so exciting for all us when Aunt Jackie would come out of the garage with the wooden barrel crank ice cream maker and the Scotch cooler loaded with ice!  “Just a few more minutes”, she would say as she rushed in the house to get another tray of goodies!  Aunt Jackie’s house was the best place to go, she always had little bottle cokes, coffee with your own special cup and ice cream….just the best!  She gave everyone a job, from pouring the chilled liquid into the canister to adding the paddle to adding ice and salt.  After the assemble was all done , I swear we learned to count by churning ice cream, first with 20 cranks and as it become more firm 10 cranks.  With all the cousins we got to crank from youngest to oldest…I didn’t think I would ever get my turn!  Finally the mixture had thickened and the paddle emerged with creamy pale lemon colored ice cream.  Aunt Jackie handed out the spoons quickly so we all got the first taste!  Then off to the kitchen to freeze while she prepared the fresh berries and cake.

Aunt Jackie and Mom would emerge from the kitchen door and yell, “Who wants ice cream?” and the line formed quickly.  Pieces of cake and berries in a bowl covered with a ladle of creamy lemon goodness.  Guaranteed the parents could have a few moments of quiet!

Aunt Jackie’s Lemon Custard
2 quarts ½ and ½                                                              2 ½ pints heavy whipping cream
8 eggs                                                                                   2 cups sugar
½ tsp salt                                                                             3 tablespoons vanilla
½ tsp lemon extract

Scald the ½ and ½ and cream.  Carefully mix in the eggs and cook until the custard coats a spoon, or until you’re tired of working at the stove (do this the night before).  Incidentally, it’s best to cook a custard slowly over hot water in a double boiler or you may wind up with creamy hard-boiled eggs, which are not often called for in recipes.  Mix in all that wonderful, pure-cane sugar, vanilla, salt, and lemon extract.  Cool all in the refrigerator overnight.  Pour into the cream can and freeze according to your machine’s directions.  Scoop the ice cream into a container, cover with waxed paper (not sure why, but Aunt Jackie always did and that’s good enough for me) and freeze for an hour or so as it will be soft. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite homemade ice cream recipe?

Dairy farmers set to deliver Victory Circle milk

 Every driver in the 2010 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race will want to make the acquaintance of two Hoosier dairy farmers on Sunday afternoon.  And they’ll know exactly where to find them.  Franklin Weaver and Richard Thomas will be standing, cooler in hand, on some of Central Indiana’s most valuable real estate – Victory Circle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Richard Thomas is one of the milk men this year for the Indianapolis 500.

Weaver, a dairy farmer from the small southeastern Indiana community of Bennington, and Thomas, a dairy farmer from the northern Indiana town of Middlebury, are assuming responsibility for continuing one of Indianapolis’ most treasured traditions.  The “Milkmen” will deliver the fabled Bottle of Milk to the winner of the 94th 500-Mile Race, courtesy of the American Dairy Association of Indiana (ADAI).  Both are board members of Milk Promotion Services of Indiana, ADAI’s parent organization.

 We are honored to be selected by our peers to continue the tradition that means so much to those of us involved in the dairy industry here in Indiana as well as throughout the U.S.,” Franklin said.  “We appreciate the support of this tradition by the Hulman-George Family, and recognize the important place it holds in the hearts of everyone who loves the Indianapolis 500.”

 “Just as everyone around the world thinks of the 500-Mile Race when they hear the word ‘Indiana-polis,’ most also are aware of how every winner toasts victory at this great track,” added Richard.  “Franklin and I take the responsibility of representing this tradition very seriously, and look forward to the great opportunity of carrying it forward come Sunday.”

 A drivers’ poll conducted annually by the American Dairy Association of Indiana provides the “Milkmen” with the information needed to hand the race winner exactly the type of ice-cold milk he, or she, likes best.  This year’s results are:

  •  2 Percent Milk (14 drivers)
  • Whole Milk (5 drivers)
  •  Non-fat (Skim) Milk (8 drivers)
  •  No Preference! (6 drivers)

  2010 marks the 55th consecutive year for the beloved tradition of drinking milk in Victory Circle – one that Franklin Weaver and Richard Thomas intend to see live on come Sunday.

The Race Is On!

Although Bump Day is not a nationally recognized holiday, it is in my house!  That’s the day that the field for the Indy 500 is set.  After watching several practices during the week, you’re always wondering who will be there on Sunday, May 30, and who won’t.  The drivers and their teams work so hard to get their cars ready for this huge event, and we know what the weather can be like in Indianapolis in May!  I was scheduled to take an Indy 2-seater ride last Friday, but Mother Nature’s total cooperation wasn’t there that day, so I didn’t get to take my ride just yet.

Ana Beatriz

My job is so much fun during the month of May.  One of our biggest events of the year occurs the Tuesday before Race Day, and it is the annual Fastest Rookie Luncheon.  This occasion has been part of the Indy 500 tradition for more than 30 years now, and it celebrates the rookie driver who qualifies with the fastest time.  These drivers aren’t new to racing they are just new to the Indy 500. On Saturday, three of the seven rookie drivers qualified to be in the field, and Ana Beatriz was the fastest rookie at that time.  But Bump Day can change a lot of things! 

Mario Romancini

The fastest rookie that was who was honored today at the Fastest Rookie Luncheon was Mario Romancini, driving for Conquest Racing.  He qualified on Sunday at a faster average lap speed than Ana had on Saturday.  But because he didn’t qualify until Sunday, he will be starting two rows behind Ana on Race Day.  Mario was the honored guest, but the remaining five “newbies” to the Indy 500 were also introduced and recognized.  Who knows, maybe one of them will be taking a drink of ice cold milk in Victory Circle on Sunday!

Milk Man Delivers

Franklin Weaver, Milk Man for the 2010 Indianapolis 500

Only seventeen people in the world are eligible to be selected as the dairy farmer who gets to hand over the ice cold bottle of milk to the winning driver of the Indianapolis 500. The position lasts two years. The first year (the “rookie” year), the selected individual gives the milk to the Chief Mechanic and Team Owner. The second year, the selected individual becomes the “mentor milk person” and actually gets to hand over the bottle of milk to the Winning Driver.

 Last year was my rookie year, and it was an amazing experience. A week before the race, Sam Schwoeppe, who was my mentor milk woman, and I spent a day doing media interviews on TV and radio.  The interviews were arranged by the milk promotion staff, who did a great job.   My first TV interview was on the Fox station where Sam and I were interviewed on LIVE television.  Even though I had first time jitters, the people at the TV station were very courteous and made my first interview very enjoyable. 

 One of the next stops was a radio interview that was conducted at a home being built by Habitat for Humanity.  We passed out milk to the workers and radio announcers who were thankful for the cold milk since they had been working all day.  While handing out milk, there were three workers on the roof who didn’t think I could throw the milk that high. I told them I could throw it if they could catch it. Needless to say, they ended up with ice cold milk to enjoy.

 Every year there is an Indy 500 parade held on Saturday, the day before the race. The parade was one of my most exciting experiences even though it was an extremely hot day in May.  Once we arrived at the float, we discovered we were right behind Miss America’s float, which was great! Also in the parade were Indy 500 queen candidates and racecar drivers, which really made the parade an exciting event. Sam and I rode on opposite sides of the float, right up front taking turns holding up the bottle of milk and waving.  It was amazing how the crowd responded when I held up the bottle of milk. The higher I held it up, the louder the cheers.  It was unbelievable how the enthusiasm from the people in the parade and from the spectators contributed to the excitement.

Sam Schwoeppe and Franklin Weaver on the Winners Drink Milk float in the Indy 500 Parade.

 On the day of the big race, we had a police escort waiting for us to start the day.  While waiting for the escort, we handed out ‘Winners Drink Milk’ pins.  Once the escort arrived and took us to the track, we parked and got the cooler containing the milk that would be given to the winning driver.  As we were carrying the cooler, we were stopped by people who asked if we were the ‘milk people.’  We finally made it to our special suite reserved for us where we could store the bottle of milk.

 Our job had only started that day because we had more interviews lined up! After the media interviews were completed, we had the opportunity to go down and view the cars before the race.  I enjoyed looking at the cars and the great pre-race show.  We stopped at the David Letterman car, and a photographer took a picture of us with the car.

 Once the race began, we went back to the suite to “guard” the milk cooler and watch the race.  Before the race ended, the 500 officials came up to get us to take us to our places where we would present the bottle of milk to the winner.  It was very close quarters and became even tighter once they pushed the winning car in the winner’s circle.  I remember pulling my toes back so they wouldn’t get ran over!  The officials cautioned us about touching the car; basically they said not to touch it, as the car was so hot.

 Sam gave the bottle of milk to the winner, and I handed a bottle of milk to the owner and chief mechanic.  Looking back, a special memory I have is of the winner’s father standing beside me and trying to introduce himself and his family.  I paid attention more to him than watching the cameras in the area.

 This year, I am the “mentor milk man,” and I will be training the new rookie, Richard Thomas. I’m looking forward to another great experience.

Cheesy Gooey Grilled Goodness

The track just opened and qualifications begin this week! So, let’s fire up the grill and get ready to add zip and zing to an American favorite–the burger! Think about the burger as a full meal! The base – the bun should have texture and stability to hold up to the juices and sauces. Choose one with flavor and chew; you don’t want it to turn to paste after a couple of handlings. Next, add the garden like tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, peppers, and onions, but you’ll want to keep the burger on top so the great beef flavor is first! My choice is to use caramelized onions, so I suggest slicing and cooking them slowly in the oven at about 225°F with a bit of sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir them every 30 minutes until desired color is reached, and then you can put them into small packets to freeze so they’re ready when needed. Now, select your meat of choice (I love Bison and moderately lean beef) and add seasonings as you wish. Lightly mix the meat and ingredients with a fork then lightly pat into a round shape and rest for a few minutes. If you haven’t noticed, this is a great way to get veggies into the body, so add chopped spinach, onions, and don’t forget those great antioxidants like cinnamon, oregano, and rosemary! If you’re not sure exactly what to include for your burger, check out these recipes.

Heat the grill to medium heat, oil the grates, and then place your prepared burgers on the grate. Cook one side for 5-7 minutes (no smashing), flip to second side, and cook an additional 5 minutes (still NO smashing). Check for doneness with a thermometer (they should be at least 160°F), remove from grill and place on clean platter. Tent the platter with foil and rest for 5 minutes.

It’s time for the condiments. Ketchup, salsa, mustard, mayo (plain or seasoned), pesto, and chili sauce are enough to get started, but feel free to add one of your own. Since the burgers have been removed from the grill, you can add the bun tops, if desired, to make them a little crispy. 

Oh, did I forget to mention CHEESE? What self-respectful burger lover wouldn’t add cheese to this delicious masterpiece? Cheddar, Colby, American, Swiss, Provolone, Gouda, or even Boursin!

Let us know what your favorite burger is in honor of May being National Burger Month. Don’t want to make your own burger? Check out the Food Network’s list of great burger joints throughout the States. Cheese-burger.net also has more information about burgers than one could ever imagine!

It’s National Salad Month, mmmm!

If you live in Indianapolis and are a race fan, you know that May is packed with beer, brats and burgers! And while initially it may not sound the most pleasing, all great food must be balanced with a bit of the garden. In celebration of National Salad Month and the Indianapolis 500 Race to Victory Lane let me give you some salad suggestions that eat like meals and don’t deprive you of any weekend temptations!

Some bit of greenery is nice, but make the greens count, use dark green and leafy mounds such as Romaine, Spinach, Leaf, and or Arugula. Iceberg is fine for the novice, but the darker the greens the better the fuel. Then ‘walk through the garden’ as the diner waitress would say by adding carrots and peppers for Vitamin A, tomatoes for Vitamin C, nuts and cheese for calcium and protein. Not only will this add flavor and nutrients, but great texture, too. Load up on the crunchies that are healthy!  Celery, cucumbers and radishes add great crunch with few calories. Also, don’t forget the fruit! Apples, dried fruits, pears, oranges and figs all give sweetness, crunch and fiber. Now that you have a great salad, don’t drown it! Dressing on the side is not just for the waiter to use an extra cup; in reality you should only use about 1/10 of what is normally used. Salad dressings are expensive in the world of health. If you wish to have save 100 calories, dip the fork in the dressing then in the salad. You will still taste the dressing, just not all the calories.

Now, I promised you great salads that would keep you on track during the week so the weekend at the track can be that much better! Here are two of my favorites:

Greek Salad has lots of flavor with simple ingredients like peppers, olives, chicken (optional), onions, feta cheese, toasted walnuts and dried apricots! It’s nutritious and has all the taste! Sprinkle with fresh oregano and it is amazing!

Parmesan Italian Salad with fresh mozzarella, bell peppers, reduced fat salami, olives, peppedew (African fruit), Parmesan shavings, pinenuts, ripe heirloom tomatoes and steamers of sliced basil is also quite amazing.

Most importantly when creating a salad is being creative with your greens, grains and garnishes. If you do just that, you’ll be a winner in your own personal winner’s circle.

For additional ideas on eating healthy and bringing your family closer together, check out this great new tool, Back to the Table, developed by the American Dairy Association of Indiana.