Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Betty Jane's Wild Rice with Mushrooms—from NEIGHBORING ON THE AIR, by Evelyn Birkby

Looking for holiday meal ideas? Try Betty Jane's wild rice with mushrooms recipe from Neighboring on the Air, by Evelyn Birkby.

Betty Jane's Wild Rice with Mushrooms

1 cup wild rice
1 cup grated American cheese
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped ripe olives
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup canned tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak wild rice overnight; drain and add above ingredients. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serves 10 to 12 people.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Wreath Week (Victorian Wreath)—from GARDENING THE AMANA WAY

It's wreath week at the Bur Oak Blog! This week, we'll be showing you how to make different wreaths for this holiday season, so be sure to check out all of our posts. You may need a glue gun, a small hammer, and an awl. The final wreath we'll be doing is the Victorian wreath from Lawrence L. Rettig's Gardening the Amana Way.

Victorian Wreath

Materials: 12-inch diameter straw wreath base, three dark purple velvet bows with lace edging, three plain white lace bows, small purple straw-flowers, green velvet leaves, pine cones (I used white pine), dried double baby's breath (it's showier than single-flowered).

Directions: Arrange bows and attach to wreath with glue or pins. Attach pine cones, stem side down and evenly spaced, with glue. Glue strawflowers to base, primarily around the inside of wreath. Glue leaves to base, with base of leaf tucked in under flower, using two or three leaves per blossom. Fill in with baby's breath. If you prefer, you can substitute any color of your choice for bows and straw-flowers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wreath Week (Angel Hair Wreath)—from GARDENING THE AMANA WAY

It's wreath week at the Bur Oak Blog! This week, we'll be showing you how to make different wreaths for this holiday season, so be sure to check out all of our posts. You may need a glue gun, a small hammer, and an awl. Today's wreath is the angel hair wreath from Lawrence L. Rettig's Gardening the Amana Way.

Angel Hair Wreath

Materials: 12-inch diameter straw wreath base, angel hair, white bows, small gold bells, small gold angels, stringed gold pearls, dried lavender sprigs or other fragrant herb (optional).

Directions: Attach the dried lavender sprigs or other fragrant herb to the wreath with wire pins. Remove angel hair from packaging and tease it by pulling it apart both lengthwise and widthwise until it thins to the point where some of it is see-through. Attach one end of the strand to side of wreath with wire pins and work your way around wreath, anchoring angel hair to base with pins as you go. Strive for a billowy, ethereal effect, but try to keep the basic round shape of the wreath so that it doesn't look lopsided. Weave pearl string over and under hair and around the back of the base, attaching with pins as you go. Glue bows, bells, and small gold angels to base.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wreath Week (Santa Wreath)—from GARDENING THE AMANA WAY

It's wreath week at the Bur Oak Blog! This week, we'll be showing you how to make different wreaths for this holiday season, so be sure to check out all of our posts. You may need a glue gun, a small hammer, and an awl. Today we'll start with the Santa Wreath from Lawrence L. Rettig's Gardening the Amana Way.

Santa Wreath

Materials: 12-inch diameter straw wreath base, dyed club moss (Lycopodium clavatum), styrofoam 1-inch thick, 18-gauge floral stem wire, floral wire pins, wrapping paper, tiny bows, assorted small Santas. You may substitute small-needled evergreens, either fresh or artificial, for the moss.

Directions: Begin by arranging the Santas on a flat surface until you find an arrangement that you like. Start with the larger Santas and fill in with smaller ones. Transfer Santas to wreath base, gluing each one in place with your glue gun. Wrap small blocks of Styrofoam with wrapping paper and decorate with bows. Fill in spaces around Santas with packages, leaving some room to add the moss, and attach with glue gun. Attach small overlapping bunches of moss to the wreath with floral wire pins. Push pins firmly into base to hold moss in place. If pins are difficult to insert, use a small hammer to tap them tightly into the wreath base.

Friday, December 5, 2014

International Year of Family Farming 2014

We’re coming to the end of the International Year of FamilyFarming. It’s winter here in Iowa—the harvest is in and snow covers the ground. We’re grateful for the food that family farmers all over the world work so hard to cultivate, and we wish everyone a prosperous and healthy 2015.




Iowa Farm in Your Pocket; photographs © Kirk Murray.