Love Grows Wild http://lovegrowswild.com Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:04:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Pumpkin Apple Butter http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/pumpkin-apple-butter/ http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/pumpkin-apple-butter/#respond Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:04:15 +0000 http://lovegrowswild.com/?p=4339 You guys, the best thing ever just happened. No, Better Homes and Gardens isn’t featuring me in a magazine, and no, I’m not writing my first book. #iwish Yesterday my in-laws drove over from Illinois to attend Grandparents’ Day in Wyatt’s preschool class, and they asked if the boys could come stay with them for a few […]

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You guys, the best thing ever just happened. No, Better Homes and Gardens isn’t featuring me in a magazine, and no, I’m not writing my first book. #iwish

Yesterday my in-laws drove over from Illinois to attend Grandparents’ Day in Wyatt’s preschool class, and they asked if the boys could come stay with them for a few days since they’re now on fall break. Let me think… 4 days with no kids… Jeremy’s busy driving the tractor… yep, this day just got awesome! I’m going to stay in my pajamas all day and eat food I know no one else in my family likes, like Hawaiian pizza and chocolate chip cookies with LOTS of walnuts. Is it sad that my idea of a party is watching the latest episodes of Nashville and Grey’s Anatomy in bed with a big bowl of salted caramel ice cream? Wait… don’t answer that.

Here’s the other thing I’m going to be doing while they’re gone: finding a million ways to eat this AMAZING Pumpkin Apple Butter I just made. If you’ve ever eaten apple butter before, just imagine adding a big dose of pumpkin pie flavor to the mix!

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

This stuff is absolutely delicious. You can spread it on toast, biscuits, muffins, or pancakes in the morning and even stir it into your oatmeal. Yum! For lunch or dinner, try spreading a layer on some bread and making a grilled cheese with it. This recipe makes a good amount, so you can keep it in the fridge for a couple weeks to use whenever the mood strikes.

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

If you’ve ever tried making homemade apple butter before, this is definitely a quick and easy version. You just mix together some pumpkin puree, applesauce, brown sugar, and spices in a saucepan and let it simmer for about an hour. SO easy, right? You can use your own homemade applesauce if you like or stick to the easy store-bought stuff like I did. Homemade applesauce will have more flavor, but the jarred stuff is super easy when you’re in a pinch.

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

A warm, toasted english muffin with a healthy smear of pumpkin apple butter has quickly become my favorite new breakfast this fall, and I can’t wait to try doing some baking with it this weekend. Once you make your first batch of this sweet pumpkiny spread, leave me a comment and tell me YOUR favorite way to use it!

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

 Like what you see? Subscribe to Love Grows Wild so you’ll never miss a post!
Follow along on Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Facebook for more fun!

Pumpkin Apple Butter
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Side Dish, Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 - 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce (store bought or homemade is fine)
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir ingredients together until blended. Bring mixture to a boil , stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and creamy. Cool and store in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Makes approximately 1½ - 2 cups.
Notes
- If mixture becomes too thick while cooking, you can easily thin it out with a small amount of apple juice.

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

 Are you making this recipe? I’d LOVE to see it! Post a photo of your creation on Instagram and use the hashtag #MyLGWRecipe. It may just get featured!


Still hungry? Try these tasty recipes:

This pumpkin bread recipe will knock your socks off! Moist, sweet, and full of pumpkin flavor! | LoveGrowsWild.com

BEST Pumpkin Bread

Pecan Pie Muffins

Pecan Pie Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal - Soft, sweet apples baked into creamy, cinnamon-infused oatmeal is a delicious way to start the morning! | LoveGrowsWild.com

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

The BEST Buttermilk Pancake recipe! These pancakes are so light, fluffy, and tender! | LoveGrowsWild.com

Buttermilk Pancakes


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DIY Marquee Letters http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/diy-marquee-letters/ http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/diy-marquee-letters/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:20:11 +0000 http://lovegrowswild.com/?p=4318 It’s about time for a fun, new project from the office makeover, right? I thought so, too! With all the traveling and side projects I’ve been doing lately, it hasn’t left much time to work on the projects I’ve had up my sleeve, so it felt really good to bust this one out yesterday! Marquee letters […]

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It’s about time for a fun, new project from the office makeover, right? I thought so, too! With all the traveling and side projects I’ve been doing lately, it hasn’t left much time to work on the projects I’ve had up my sleeve, so it felt really good to bust this one out yesterday! Marquee letters are wildly popular right now, and I couldn’t wait to plow through this office makeover so I could DIY some for myself.

I knew from the start of this makeover that my office was going to be the new headquarters for Love Grows Wild. I create in here, write in here, get inspired in here, and frankly I eat and sometimes sleep in here too, but that’s besides the point. I had been brainstorming some kind of DIY sign that had my blog logo on it, but then it hit me… this is the perfect time to do those marquee letters I had been dreaming about! I thought this project would be a little intimidating, but it was honestly super easy to do, and I finished everything in just a few hours, including paint drying time and taking step-by-step photos for you guys to enjoy.

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com


Supplies:

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

Step 1

Use an X-acto knife to cut along the seam of the back side of each letter.

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

Step 2

Pull off the back piece and remove any cardboard pieces from inside the letters.

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

Step 3

Determine where you want each light to go on your letters, and draw a small dot for each bulb.

This was probably the hardest part of the whole process, which isn’t that difficult, just takes a little bit of planning and measuring. My set of lights had 25 bulbs, so I spaced them out about 3″ – 4″ apart. Using a ruler helps to make sure your lights are evenly spaced. Note: I used 22 of my lights on 3 letters, so if you’re using larger or additional letters, you may need to purchase a second string of lights.

Unscrew a light bulb from the backing and trace around the smallest end of the bulb with a pencil and paper.

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

 Step 4

Use the template you just created to draw a circle over each dot you drew on the cardboard letters. You want it to be just big enough for the bottom of the bulb to fit through.

 

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

 Step 5

Use an X-acto knife to cut an asterisk inside each circle, then punch through the circle using a pen or screwdriver (something about the size of the circle). Make sure your lightbulb will fit snugly inside.

Spray paint the letters and let them dry completely. Place a light bulb in each hole and screw on the backing, connecting the letters as you go. (I started with the L, then the G, then finished with the W). Tuck the wires inside the cardboard and use the clips on the lights to secure the wires, if necessary. If your lights do not have clips, you can tape the wires in place as well.

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

I wanted these letters to go on top of the new bookcase I just finished, but I was worried about them falling over. I used some of these Command strips on the bottoms of the letters to make sure they won’t budge if one of the boys’ runs headfirst into the cabinet below. Rambunctious things like that just tend to happen in this house, so one must be prepared for the worst! Is your house as cray-cray as mine is?

If you wanted to hang your letters on the wall like these from my pal, Amy, you could easily do that with a few nails in the wall since the backs of your letters are open.

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

I can’t even begin to describe how much I adore these marquee letters in my office. They’re big and bold, but blend in nicely with the room because of the white paint I chose.

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

They’re gorgeous in the day time, but even more lovely when I turn the lights on at night.

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

Not to get too sappy here, but seeing these letters all lit up and beautiful reminds me that even with all the long hours and late nights that this job entails, I’m working towards making my dreams come true with every post, every project, every recipe, and every photo. Thank you for being part of my community of awesome readers and believing in me!

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

 Like what you see? Subscribe to Love Grows Wild so you’ll never miss a post!
Follow along on Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Facebook for more fun!

Step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous DIY Marquee Letters for your home! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

So tell me what YOU think! Do you like marquee letters? Where would you put them in your home?

Are you making this project? I’d LOVE to see it! Post a photo of your creation on Instagram and use the hashtag #MyLGWProject. It may just get featured!


More projects from my office:

Outdated office furniture transformed into a sleek, sophisticated storage system! Classic black and white with touches of gold glam - Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

Office Bookcase Makeover

Come see how this old wood desk got a fun mint-colored makeover! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

Mint Desk Makeover

A cheap thrift store find turned into a sleek and stylish new office chair! See the transformation at LoveGrowsWild.com

Office Chair Makeover

Learn how to make these awesome DIY Industrial Pipe Stools for your kitchen or office with no tools required! Click for details at LoveGrowsWild.com

Industrial Pipe Stools


LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!

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This post includes affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!

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Time to Sparkle Link Party #83 http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/time-sparkle-link-party-83/ http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/time-sparkle-link-party-83/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:58:54 +0000 http://lovegrowswild.com/?p=4313  Welcome to Time to Sparkle Tuesday Link Party, where you can find all the newest creative ideas from around the web! Stop by every Tuesday, link up your posts, and check out what others are sharing! You’ll discover some amazing new blogs and find inspiration for projects, recipes, and more! This party is hosted by […]

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The hosts of Time to Sparkle Link Party!

 Welcome to Time to Sparkle Tuesday Link Party, where you can find all the newest creative ideas from around the web! Stop by every Tuesday, link up your posts, and check out what others are sharing! You’ll discover some amazing new blogs and find inspiration for projects, recipes, and more! This party is hosted by four lovely ladies, so your projects will be shared on ALL FOUR blogs!

Inside BruCrew Life | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
The Gunny Sack | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
The Recipe Critic | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
Love Grows Wild | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Each week we will pick our favorite links as features and share them, so make sure to follow the Time to Sparkle Pinterest Board!

Let’s see what your hosts have been up to this week:

PicMonkey Collage

Spooky Chocolate Vanilla Oreo Fudge from Inside Brucrew Life

Cinnamon Streusel Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Maple Glaze from The Recipe Critic

Spicy Bacon Wrapped Sweet Peppers from The Gunny Sack

Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta Bake from Love Grows Wild

Here are the fabulous features from last week’s party chosen by Alyssa, The Recipe Critic:

pumpkin spice cake 2

Pumpkin Spice Cake from The Pin Junkie

Baked-Ziti-Easy-Cheesy-by-Five-Heart-Home_700pxTitle

Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti from Five Heart Home

Pumpkin-Caramel-Apple-Dip-1d1

Pumpkin Caramel Apple Dip from Lemon Tree Dwelling

A frightfully delightful halloween party

A frightfully Delightful Halloween Party from I Dig Pinterest

Halloween Banner-1

Five Minute DIY Halloween Banner from I Should be Mopping the Floor

Neutral Fall Wreath

Neutral Fall Wreath from Live Laugh Row

Grab a button if you’ve been featured!

Love Grows Wild

Time to Sparkle Link Party Rules

Now let’s party! It’s Time to Sparkle!

Love Grows Wild


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Ohio Dairy Adventure http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/ohio-dairy-adventure/ http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/ohio-dairy-adventure/#respond Sat, 18 Oct 2014 22:33:52 +0000 http://lovegrowswild.com/?p=4281 Hi friends! I’m getting some awesome posts ready for you next week (… how about a new pumpkin recipe and an office update?), but today I’d like to take a little break and share with you an incredible experience I had this week, if that’s okay. I promise lots of pretty photos and some fun, […]

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Hi friends! I’m getting some awesome posts ready for you next week (… how about a new pumpkin recipe and an office update?), but today I’d like to take a little break and share with you an incredible experience I had this week, if that’s okay. I promise lots of pretty photos and some fun, embarrassing stories along the way! Sound like a plan?

So I guess I’ll start at the beginning of the story. I had the opportunity to attend a few blog conferences this past year, which are totally fun, exhausting, and overwhelming all at the same time. You learn new things, go to fun parties, and meet LOTS of new people… fellow bloggers, brands and companies, and even a celebrity or two, if you’re lucky. In my experience, even though I may meet hundreds of people at these conferences, I always find myself really connecting with just a handful and develop great, long-lasting relationships with them. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s kind of that whole “better to have 1 good friend than 1000 mediocre friends” thing.

Anyway, I had the pleasure of meeting a few women from the American Dairy Association Mideast and was absolutely thrilled when they invited me to join them on their Ohio Dairy Adventure last week. As most of you probably know, my husband and I live on a family farm in Indiana where we raise corn and soybeans.  It’s a lifestyle he was raised in, but totally new to me, as I grew up just an hour South of Chicago. WAY different than living out in the country! I’m still acclimating to life as a farmer’s wife, such as learning how to clean tractor oil and manure stains out of clothes (it’s not easy!), but I’m so proud to be part of this community and love learning new things everyday.

ADA Mideast brought 9 food bloggers from all across the U.S. to Cleveland, Ohio for a few days to give us an in-depth look at the journey milk takes from the farm to our table.

We stayed at Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade, which is a stunning historic building located right next to the East 4th Street Entertainment District. Chef Michael Symon’s restaurant, Lola Bistro, is not even a 5 minute walk, and there are all kinds of neat breweries, bakeries, and café’s around. I have never seen a hotel this beautiful in all my life.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

The evening we arrived in Cleveland, we all met up at the House of Blues (also located on East 4th Street) for a fun wine and cheese tasting party to kick off our adventure. We got to sample all kinds of locally-produced cheeses, some of which were from a fantastic producer we would visit the next day. I’m not a huge wine drinker, especially of some of the heavier merlots, but you better bet I ate enough cheddar, Brie, Gouda, Parmesan, and Colby to put me in a cheese-induced coma that night!

The next morning we were up well before sunrise, before the rooster even, and jumped on a bus to start our adventure. Thank goodness for coffee, my friends! We made our way through Amish country and found ourselves at Richman Farms near Lodi, Ohio, just in time for their morning milking. Oh yes, I milked a cow. Scariest moment of my life.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

I wasn’t scared of the cows themselves. Jeremy has had me around enough of them that I felt pretty comfortable. But when you walk into a 4 foot wide milking parlor with 6 cows on either side of you, and your head comes just about as high as their udders… you start to feel intense panic and a cold sweat come over you as you picture yourself being right in the way of a cow’s unfortunate timing of urination. I expected to get a little dirty and smelly on the farm, but that would be a whole new level of gross that I was not prepared for. Luckily we all survived unscathed…. phew!

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

In spite of my intense urination fear, I learned so much from the Indoe Family, who explained the entire process of how their cows get milked. There’s a specific protocol that every employee must follow to ensure the cow’s comfort level, health, and the quality and safety of the milk. The bottom line is, if these farmers don’t have healthy, happy animals and a high standard for quality and safety of the milk leaving their farm, they wouldn’t be in business. These farmers take such pride in the work they do, and you could really see that from these kind folks that opened up their farm to us.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

Pictured above: Heather, me, Courtney, Emily, Jamie, Ashley, Taylor, Megan, Lauren, and the Indoe Family

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

Necessary pause for cute baby calf photos…

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

 ( insert awww… here )

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

After we were finished with our milking lesson, we hopped back on the bus and traveled through the beautiful countryside, which was nothing short of breathtaking this time of year. I can’t remember seeing such a beautiful fall in a long time.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

Our next stop was at Pearl Valley Cheese, an Ohio cheese manufacturer that was kind enough to give us a behind-the-scenes tour of their facilities. By this time our bellies were finally waking up, and the smell of fresh cheese was intoxicating!

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

We put on our sexy hairnets, washed our hands, and cleaned our shoes before entering the facility, and learned the ins and outs of cheese-making, from bringing in and testing the truckloads of milk to how each different variety of cheese is made. They specialize in their award-winning Swiss cheese, and we were able to taste a piece straight from the block. It was amazing!

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

And then they set 9 food bloggers loose in their retail store to shop for cheese. I’m pretty sure we would have never left if it wasn’t for the fabulous lunch we were about to have!

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

Now that we were all awake and REALLY hungry, we headed back into Amish country and stopped at a home where a family had prepared the most amazing lunch for us… fried chicken, beef, green beans, mashed potatoes swimming in butter, bread, coleslaw, pies, and more. Everything was made from scratch by the sweetest Amish family and served in a building they built to feed 700+ guests at their daughter’s wedding. The next year they served over 800 guests in this building for their other daughter’s wedding. Can you imagine feeding over 800 people? I’m pretty sure she’s secretly Super Woman.

As you can imagine, the scenery surrounding us was absolutely picturesque.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

After lunch, we headed to Andreas Dairy Farm to see what a day in their life was like. This farm was much larger and had closer to 1,300 cows and obviously, a much larger milking parlor. The process was still the same as the first farm, just with many more cows being milked at one time!

We stopped by the barns where the cows get to hang out in between milkings to learn about the feed they eat and how they’re cared for. Since this farm is much larger, they have staff on hand who take care of the cows’ health including their hooves, care for the calves, and manage their feed and diet. Dan Andreas told us that these cows probably eat better than most of us do. Their diet is tailored specifically to what their body needs, whether they’re newborn, pregnant, milking, or “dry” (not milking). Can you imagine someone preparing meals for you everyday with exactly the right balance of protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains that your body needs to be healthy? Dieting would be SO much easier, right?

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

As if we hadn’t already come to the conclusion that these cows get treated better than my children do on some days, Dan showed us where they were expanding one of their barns to give the cows more space and install waterbeds for them. Yes… you read that right. They have waterbeds. As I mentioned before, the cow’s comfort level is crucial to their milk production, so these farmers will do anything they can to make their home a comfortable place to be. I thought that was so cool!

They also had some really interesting methods for waste management (a.k.a. where to put all that manure from 1,300 cows) that even my husband had never heard of before. Without going into a long, drawn-out explanation about cow poop, basically they clean the manure from the barns, separate the liquids from the solids, heat the solids in a fancy machine that kills any bacteria, and turn the manure into a form of bedding which they can use to replace the wood chips they were purchasing before. It’s pretty amazing what sustainability measures these farmers are taking these days!

Okay, enough about cow poo… You want to see more cute baby calf pictures!

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

This sweet girl was born just 30 minutes before we arrived at the cows’ “birthing suite”. You put 9 child-bearing-age women next to a newborn calf, and you could almost see our hearts and ovaries exploding inside of us. She stumbled over to us on those long, awkward legs to say hello, and we watched as they gave her her first feeding. It was almost too much cute to handle.

We then headed over to the farm’s nursery, where they keep the calves until they’re ready to be with the older cows on the farm. They watch the calves very closely, making sure they’re eating properly and growing as they should. The woman who runs the nursery said these calves are just like our human babies. When they need something, they’ll let you know. We walked outside where all 200 calves had been fed except 6 that they saved for us. If you can imagine walking into a room full of hungry, crying babies, that was exactly what it sounded like! These 6 calves knew it was time to be fed, and we couldn’t get the bottles to them fast enough.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

Dan’s son, Matt, helped me get started since the calf had a hard time latching on. It didn’t help that the nipple had a tear in it, so every time she bumped it, milk came squirting out all over us. Her face was spattered in milk, my arm was covered in milk, and I’m pretty sure at one point I stuck my fingers in the cow’s mouth to help her find the nipple. Yeah, I really did that. I’m not sure if it was that motherly instinct kicking in or maybe I really am cut out to be a farm girl, but either way I was pretty darn proud of myself, and I knew my husband would be too. Would you stick your hand in a cow’s mouth?

After our farm tours were over, we headed back to the hotel to wash off the milk and farm smell and got dressed up for an evening at the Cleveland Brown’s Stadium.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

ADA partners with the NFL to promote the Fuel Up to Play 60 program for kids. It’s all about getting kids to fuel up with healthy foods and get active for at least 1 hour a day. Joe Thomas, offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns, has done a lot of work for this cause, including creating some YouTube videos about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast and staying active. He made a surprise appearance at our dinner in the Browns’ suites and even signed some footballs for us to take home.

That had to earn me at least 50 cool mom points with my boys, right?

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

I mentioned before that Michael Symon is a Cleveland local, and that night we had an amazing dinner inspired by his cuisine. I’ll spare you the photo I took of the whole roasted pig, and just show you the beautiful results after it was plated for us.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

It was the perfect ending to our exciting adventure that day, and I had so much fun getting the know the great group of girls that went on this trip.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

And then I went back to my hotel room that night and realized I had been mingling with a famous football player with a piece of my dinner still stuck in my teeth. Maybe he didn’t notice, since he towered at least two feet above me anyway.  One can hope, right?

The next morning we woke up not quite so early and headed to a local school to eat breakfast with the students. It truly amazes me how many kids skip breakfast on a regular basis. I don’t think I’ve EVER skipped breakfast, or any meal for that matter, in my life! After the kids went to class, we had a lot of great discussions about why breakfast is so important and a variety of other nutrition topics. We had plenty of questions for ADA’s nutrition director, Karen, about white milk vs. flavored milk in schools, hormones, antibiotics, and organic milk.

I personally think there is a huge movement toward learning more about where our food comes from, which is fantastic. But with the internet right at our fingertips, it leaves room for a lot of misinformation, and I learned so many things this week that I never knew before.

Here were some of the top questions I had:

What’s the difference between organic and regular milk?
In terms of quality, safety, and nutrition, there’s no difference between organic and regular milk. The difference is how they are produced on the farm.

Are there antibiotics in milk?
No. All milk – both regular and organic – is tested for antibiotics. Sometimes a sick cow will get medicine to feel better, but their milk never goes into the regular milk supply. Plus, any milk that would test positive for antibiotics would have to be disposed of – that’s the law.

Are there added hormones in my milk?
No. Hormones are naturally present in many foods of plant and animal origin, including milk. Some farmers choose to supplement some of their cows with additional bST, to increase milk production, but science shows that there is no effect on hormone levels in the milk itself.

What is the dairy industry doing to reduce sugars in flavored milk?
The dairy industry has reformulated flavored milks available in schools to reduce fat, calories, and added sugars by an estimated 38% and the majority contain and average of 134 calories per 8 ounce serving – only 31 more than white milk.

(answers provided by the American Dairy Association Mideast)

To cap off our epic dairy adventure, we traveled to Melt Bar & Grilled, a popular Cleveland restaurant that serves up gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and a large variety of craft beers.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

Rather than ordering off the menu (which is attached to vintage record album covers), Matt Fish, owner of Melt, prepared some of his favorites for us, including the Parmageddon, Mushroom Melt, Peanut Butter & Banana, Godfather, and Monte Cristo.

Ohio Dairy Adventure | LoveGrowsWild.com

Fat pants were highly necessary after that meal. I’ve never eaten so much grilled cheese in my life! I definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re ever in town!

This trip was a real eye-opener…

I have an even greater respect for these dairy farmers and all other producers out there who feed our nation. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this community!

Also, I know topics such as organic foods, GMOs, and antibiotics are all hot-button issues, and everyone has their own opinion about them. We are so lucky to have a variety of options in our supermarkets with everything from regular milk, organic milk, soymilk, almond milk, lactose-free milk, and more. There is something to suit everyone’s lifestyle and nutritional needs, and my only advice to you is to educate yourself as much as possible about the choices you have. Bestfoodfacts.org is a great resource that I just learned about, and although I’m not an expert by any means, if you have any questions after reading this post, feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to get an answer for you!  What type of milk do you keep in your refrigerator?

Many, many thanks to ADA Mideast for taking me on this wonderful adventure. I love MOO! :)

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Harvest Bonfire: Home Depot Style Challenge http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/harvest-bonfire-home-depot-style-challenge/ http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/10/harvest-bonfire-home-depot-style-challenge/#respond Wed, 15 Oct 2014 02:27:16 +0000 http://lovegrowswild.com/?p=4253 Today is the big reveal! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen us hard at work on this project for the past month and had a few sneak peeks along the way. (I heart my Instagram friends!) So here’s the scoop: I met some fantastic people from the Home Depot team this year and was […]

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Today is the big reveal! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen us hard at work on this project for the past month and had a few sneak peeks along the way. (I heart my Instagram friends!) So here’s the scoop: I met some fantastic people from the Home Depot team this year and was so honored when they asked me to join in their Home Depot Style Challenge. They asked us to create a space in our home with a particular theme… in my case an outdoor “harvest themed” space. Lucky for me, we have a beautiful backdrop for this setting living on a farm, and I had SO much fun creating a space in our backyard to host bonfire parties this fall. They sent us a surprise package of goodies to use and a gift card to help us decorate our space, and I just love the way our backyard turned out!

You’ll have to head over to Home Depot’s blog to see the full reveal, but I have a few shots I can share to give you a little tease!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

Host a cozy fall bonfire with these decorating tips from LoveGrowsWild.com!

What do you think?? I have to give major kudos to my family, and especially my husband, for unloading a ton (literally) of stone with me, making extra trips to Home Depot when I forgot things, and helping me eat all these yummy treats from our bonfire. I know you’re dying to get all the details of the items I used to decorate the space, so head on over to my post on the Home Depot blog to get the full details, the REAL beauty shots of the space, and a look at the front of our house that we worked on too!

I hope this inspires you to spend some time with friends and family this fall around a warm, cozy bonfire, and please remember to eat a s’more for me! Happy Fall, from our family to yours. :)

xoxo The Fourez Family


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