5 Things: Food On My Mind and ‘Type A’ Personality Problems


My blogging in 2014 = sucks. Life and work have been crazy busy, but in a good kind of exhausting way. I traveled much of December, January, and February, then it got really cold with a lot of snow. Now that we’re moving into Spring, the snow sticks around for shorter periods of time, the sun stays up much longer, and I’m finally getting things lined out. My Type A personality is finally able to breathe a sigh of relief!

So instead of trying to blog about everything I need to catch up on, I thought I’d make headway with the 5 things on the top of my mind today.

Early mornings are no excuse for poor diet choices.

Last week, CNN’s food page posted a story following an anchor as she switched gears from an afternoon broadcast to anchor their New Day morning show. Brooke Baldwin marveled and laughed about her diet high in sugar, coffee, donuts, poptarts, champagne, two meals a day, and how all that ended up in a spell of food poisoning. No wonder…

I asked the crowd in the I am Agriculture Proud Facebook group their thoughts and suggestions and the responses were pretty much in line with what I expected. Early mornings are no excuse to eat poorly. I start every morning with a glass of water, a chocolate drink mix, milk, 2 eggs, greek yogurt, and banana/orange. Kick off the day with plenty of protein and vitamins, lay off the sugar, and fit in some exercise. I aim for at least four, 45-minute workouts every week. Everyone is different, but my routines are working pretty well for me. What is your advice for getting a great start and powering through the day despite early morning starts?

Pork Chop, Bacon, and T-bone

One of my co-workers is out of the office this week and on vacation with his kids while they’re on Spring Break. That means I get to take care of their 4-H projects! This is Pork Chop and Bacon. In the background is T-bone the steer. In all reality, I don’t know what their names are, but I do know that’s how I named my animals when I was showing as a youth.

4-H Show PigsMy vegan experience

Actually, my experience doesn’t entail indulging in any changes of my diet or wardrobe, but I do have the opportunity to work with a future Montana Beef Ambassador this week. I’ll be playing the role of a vegetarian/vegan to gauge their ability to respond to situations where they may encounter people who challenge their stance on issues surrounding beef.

I again turned to Facebook, on the I am Agriculture Proud page this time, to poll the audience on how I should prepare. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough about the situation, but I was a little disappointed in the tone of several responses. Sure, we can have fun with stereotypes, and we do frequently joke of our love of beef (that in no way means I don’t have my healthy portions of all the other food groups as well), but there were definitely some statements that I’d hope wouldn’t be made in the conversation with someone about vegetarian or vegan diets/lifestyles. Might I suggest these tips for better conversations and a bit more respect shared in earlier blog posts.

So people’s comments = #SMH

CNN Eatocracy reshared my 2013 article about National Agriculture Day and it received quite the traffic after being tweeted out on the @CNN account. That also brought in some interesting comments from the gallery. *cough*trolls*cough*

If we believed the comments made, farmers only work 10 hours a year; only work with pesticides, herbicides, GMOs and subsidies; and bring in $1.5 million each year with little to no investment and live off the tax payers’ wallets. Like I said, SMH. We have quite a bit of ground to make up according to some folks’ perspectives.

Technology malfunctions may drive me crazy.

That ‘Type A’ personality I mentioned above…. Yeah, it doesn’t do so well with malfunctioning technology. Website design isn’t my area of specialty, but I have done everything with the tools available to me to try and make my work website function properly. It’s not happening. I’ve even watched several hours of video tutorials from tech pros. It’s not happening. The bread crumb trail has traveled around the world and back again and everyone I talk to trying to gather all the pieces back together only have another vague name or email address for me. *Throwing hands up in the air* Now I’m seeking help from a professional. If you know an expert in WordPress websites (or are one), give me a shout. I need help.

On a brighter tech note, I LOVE trying to explain the basics of technology to Montana ranchers! We’re talking, how to open/send an email or click on hyperlinks on a webpage. Weird, right? But I love the challenge of having to take a step back and be able to explain things from the start, especially things I’ve been doing since I was in high school. In turn, these ranchers are probably teaching me more about life than I’ll ever realize. But hey, what’s life without a challenge?

Image credit: Idaho Cattle Association
Image credit: Idaho Cattle Association
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Recipe: Green Chile Stew


New Mexico Sunset

I made awesome stew last night, but I’ll warn you right off the bat – If you’re looking for something with lots of veggies, or some elaborate dish to serve to guests, this probably isn’t your cup of tea. This is more of a “bachelor cooking, not feeling 100%, but wanting something warm that will fill you up before you pass out for the night” sorta recipe.

It’s loosely based off of (as most of my cooking is done) a ranch recipe outta New Mexico from my Trail Boss’ Cowboy Cookbook. You can’t beat green chile peppers, steak and crock pots so this automatically caught my eye this week. I found a $3/lb lean roast at the grocery store and had everything else at the house.

Green Chile Stew (Modified)

1-1/2 lb lean beef roast
2 cans diced green chile
1 can salsa verde
1 can Rotel
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup

Cut the roast into bite size pieces, but don’t waste the effort of making them too small. Toss the beef in a little flour, sear beef in hot, oiled pan. Toss beef in crock pot. Dump in cans of vegetables. Yes, peppers definitely count as veggies in my kitchen. Don’t let the cream of mushroom scare you, it definitely makes for the thicker texture of stew. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high for 4 hours. Serve hot in bowl. Wash down with cold milk or your cold beverage of choice.

If you feel up to the challenge, I have a feeling this would go awesome with a side of sourdough bread or sopapillas. And add a slice or two of cheese on the side. We’re not talking that American singles junk. Try some Havarti or Gouda. If you’re confused, ask Dairy Carrie. She’s the one who sold me on why having good cheese is worth having around.

And if you’re not up for sticking around for all the prep when you get home at the end of the day, do all the prep work the afternoon before, put the crock in the fridge overnight (or do it the morning of if you’re feeling ambitious), which will let the flavor mix well, and turn on the crock pot as soon as you get home and it’ll cook while you get chores done.

See, you have your Meat, Veggies, and Cheese for the day. Enjoy and wake up feeling better in the morning.

And since I’m not a food photographer, you’ll have to settle for the photo from a New Mexico ranch.

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Why Invest in Social Media? Ask One Question


I’ve had the awesome opportunity to work on social media training with many individual farmers and ranchers as well as guest speaking at several events during the past several years. One of the most frequent challenges folks often face when trying to justify the investment into social media can be boiled down to just one question… “WHY?”

Image via briansolis.com
Image via briansolis.com

I always suggest planning out a social media strategy should begin with sitting down to draw out a road map. Who is your audience? What are you trying to accomplish? What are your goals? But this week, I found a good article in my feeds that summed it up pretty well.

Win With Social Media Marketing By Answering One Question | WebPro Business

The thing that really needs to be nailed down when it comes to blogging or any other social media effort, is the answer to this most important question:

Why?

Before you dismiss this as obvious, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a group of smart, accomplished marketers just assume the person in charge of the directive has a well informed answer to “why”.

If you’re a social media marketer, content marketer, copywriter or in another role where blogging is part of your responsibility, try to start asking “why” when you receive directives related to growing community, affecting a certain kind of traffic or other key performance indicator.

If you get a reasonable answer, then you’ll have better context to achieve the goal. If you don’t, then it’s an opportunity to collect the information necessary to make your efforts more productive for you, the company and the audience you’re targeting.

There are several ways to approach this, but one of the most straightforward schemes for asking and managing the “why” is through a cycle of hypothesis, implementation and optimization.

Visit the article to read more - Win With Social Media Marketing By Answering One Question

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The author gets a little technical, but I think he makes some great points, but it certainly helps my strategy on a daily basis as I work with ranchers here in Montana. I continually find myself asking how we can make the best use of social media to market folks who don’t always understand the value of it.

Too often we can get wrapped up in what WE love to do and misplace our focus on our objective for investing time online. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of how some many issues can be refocused with a question as simple as “Why?”.

Read more of my posts with social media tips in Better Blogging.

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Food and Farming with a young cattleman

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