How Turkeys Are Raised, Turkey Giveaways and Must-Try Recipes

Everywhere you turn this time of year, it is all about turkeys. We are in the post pumpkin pre Christmas tree season. And while turkeys are beginning to fill the bins at the grocery store, I thought I would share little peek into what a turkey farmer and farm is today.

Turkey farm family from Iowa
Meet the Olthoff family. They raise 20,000 turkeys. They get all 20,000 male baby turkeys (poults) at 1 day old.  The baby turkeys are delivered to a toasty warm barn. The temperature in the barn is controlled by a thermostat, and there are vents that open and close automatically to help adjust it if needed.  The turkeys are not in cages – instead they are on sawdust bedding from a local sawmill.

Baby Turkeys getting their new home.

When the turkeys are five weeks old they get moved to new barns where they spend the rest of their lives, about 14 more weeks. While the turkeys they raise are used in lunchmeat, the process for whole turkeys like we eat for Thanksgiving are raised in the same way. Want to know more? Be sure to check out the children’s book they just published. And win it and a turkey!

Whole Turkey Giveaway

That’s right, I am giving away a turkey. You can choose the turkey of your choice from Honey Baked Ham. You can choose whole turkeys that are browned and roasted, smoked or cajun. All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know which kind of turkey you would love to have on Thanksgiving!

While we all plan and plot what to make for Turkey day, here are a few tried and trued recommendations from a few of my favorite bloggers.


Brined Thanksgiving Turkey

Brined Thanksgiving TurkeyCrock Pot Turkey Breast

Crock Pot Turkey Breast

Side Dishes:

Crock Pot Corn Casserole

Crock Pot Corn CasseroleSlow Cooker Cornbread Dressing

Slow Cooker Cornbread DressingMom’s Turkey Dressing

Mom's Turkey DressingHis and Her Sweet Potato Casserole

His and Her Sweet Potato CasseroleCandied Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

Candied Sweet Potatoes with PecansButternut Squash Souffle

Butternut squash souffleMelissa’s Macaroni and Cheese 

Melissa's Macaroni and Cheese

Italian Green Beans

Italian Green BeansGreen Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions. The most amazing slow cooked mushrooms are so amazing.


24 Hour Fruit Salad

24 Hour Fruit Salad

Cranberry Salad 

Cranberry Salad

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing


Pumpkin Squares

Pumpkin Squares

Southern Pecan Pie

Southern Pecan Pie

 Pumpkin Crunch

My favorite pumpkin crunch recipe is an easy fall dessert. It is so good.

Still haven’t seen the recipe you are craving. Well check out the Holiday Pinterest board for Recipes That Crock.

Need help with the leftovers? Check out this turkey rice soup. Or this entire list of leftover Thanksgiving recipes that utilized all the leftovers, not just the turkey.

Don’t forget to register to win a whole turkey, fully cooked and a children’s book about a turkey farm. All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know which kind of turkey you would love to have on Thanksgiving! You can choose whole turkeys that are browned and roasted, smoked or cajun. The giveaway will close on November 17 at midnight. Be sure not to miss out!

 This post was sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Opinions and recommendations are all mine.

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions. The most amazing slow cooked mushrooms are so amazing.There is this restaurant in western Indiana called the Beef House. I grew up going to the restaurant for special events or meetings with my parents. While it obviously has great, midwestern beef and some pretty legendary rolls and strawberry jam, it also has these amazing mushrooms. So amazing they only serve them in the evening. Which makes me sad because most of the time we go there midday on the weekends. But no longer will I bee without my mushrooms. My friend shared a recipe with me that pretty much captures the flavor. Perfectly. These mushrooms are  mind blowingly good. If you like mushrooms that is.

Mushrooms and onions for slow cooker mushrooms. Now you will want to make a lot of these puppies. Trust me. Start with four pounds of mushrooms, four cloves of garlic and a large sweet onion or two smaller ones. Clean your mushrooms, slice your onions and mince your garlic and put all into a large six or seven quart crock pot.

Mushrooms and onions in a crock pot.It is all about the fluid then. A cup of red wine, a cup of hot water, a pound of butter aka four sticks of butter, along with a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of dried herbs like dill or thyme, and four beef and four chicken bouillon cubes.

Butter and bouillon cubes for crock pot mushroomsPour over top of mushrooms and cook for at least 12 hours on low heat.

Mushrooms and onions in red wine and butter slow cooks for 12 hours.The aroma of the mushrooms will have you craving them before they are done. Just let them be. They will reduce quite a bit during cooking and of course turn a darker brown color.

Crock pot mushrooms and onions with red wine, butter and garlic are so amazing. This recipe is so easy and just requires patience as the mushrooms slow cook away.

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions
  • 4 pounds of whole button mushrooms
  • 1 large sweet onion or two small/medium onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pound of butter (4 sticks), melted - Make sure it is the real stuff
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dill or thyme or other herb
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes
  1. Place mushrooms, onions and garlic in a six or seven quart crock pot.
  2. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over top of the mushrooms.
  3. Slow cook on low for at least 12 hours.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Crock Pot Garlic Honey Mustard Ham

Garlic Honey Mustard Crock Pot HamI have a couple of spiral cut hams in the freezer. But for some reason it literally has to be a holiday for me to make one of them. But, I decided this past week since I would be traveling for five days, it would be a great thing for my family to eat on while I was away.

Spiral Cut Honey Mustard Garlic HamThis ham was harder to thaw out than to make. You need four ingredients, a blender and a crock pot to make this ham.

Garlic, Honey, Dijon Mustard, Worcestershire SaucePour a cup of Dijon Mustard, two cups of honey, 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce, and three cloves of garlic in a blender. Puree the mixture till all of the ingredients are combined.

Garlic Honey Mustard MixtureThen pour about a half of a cup on the bottom of your crock pot.

Honey Mustard Mixture in Crock PotAnd here comes the tricky part. I have a big crock pot…a 7-Quart Slow Cooker. But, I still could not get my ham in the crock pot with the large flat side down and put the lid on it.

Spiral Cut Ham in the crock potSo, I had to put the big ‘ole ham on its side. And then poured another cup and a half over top of the ham.

Garlic Honey Mustard HamCook on low for 3-4 hours and then pour the remaining honey mustard over the ham. Cook for another hour till completely warm. Remove from the crock pot and slice the ham.

Garlic Honey Mustard Ham in the Crock PotIt is full of flavor. Not too mustardy. Not too sweet. It is awesome.

Crock Pot Garlic Honey Mustard Ham
Garlic honey mustard ham prepared in the crock pot will be a crowd pleaser for any holiday and free up your oven.
  • 1, 8-10 pound spiral cut ham
  • 2 cups of honey
  • 1 cup of Dijon Mustard
  • ⅓ cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  1. Combine all ingredients except ham in your blender and pulse until well blended. Reserve one cup of glaze.
  2. Pour ½ cup of glaze in the bottom of the crock pot.
  3. Place ham in crock pot, flat side down. Slowly pour glaze mixture over ham, making sure to get in between the spiral slices.
  4. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Pour remaining glaze mixture over the ham and cook on low till ready to serve.

Be sure to check out the other great recipes for Hunk of Meat Monday!

Affiliate links were used.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Party Finger Food

Whether you are going out and about tomorrow night or staying home, we will all be making snacks, appetizers, sweet treats and cocktails. So, I thought I would help myself organize. Prioritize what I should make for the festivities of ringing in the new year. Inevitably where ever we go, they request we bring our not so small fry daddy. So, let’s start with all things fried…

Fried Appetizers

Crispy Fried Chicken Wings

Fried Pickles

Fried Green Beans


Restaurant Style Salsa

Pizza Dip

White Pizza Dip

Bruschetta Dip

Cream Cheese Mexican Dip

Reuben Dip

Ham Dip

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Meat & Bread Appetizers

Hawaiian Roll Ham Sandwiches

Buffalo Chicken French Breads

Jalapeno Bacon Poppers

Bacon Sugar Smokies

Cheesy Sausage Bagels

Pull Apart Bacon, Cheese, Ranch Bread {AKA Crack Bread}

Sweet Treats

Baked Fruit Brie

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

Donut Bites

Chocolate Fruit Dip

Saltine Cracker Toffee

Whatever your plans, I hope your food is good, family is close and 2013 is blessed!

Honey Crisp Apple Sangria with Food and Wine Pairing

Let’s be honest with each other. The holidays can be a great time to spend with your families. Lots of food. Lots of catching up on what’s going on in everyone’s lives. Lots of football. Lots of wine. Seriously, how do people who don’t drink make it through the holidays with their families without drinking?

Honey Crisp Apple SangriaThere seems to always be a debate about what to drink with the turkey or the ham or the scrambled eggs. What you don’t start drinking at breakfast? Now, my personal rule is drink what you like and forget all the rules. I am just not crazy about any white wine or sweet wine or pink wine or fruit other than grape wine. I like my wine red, dry and full of body.

Pitcher of Honey Crisp Apple SangriaThere is one exception. It involves unoaked chardonnay, honey crisp apples, honey, a little citrus and some peach schnapps.

Honey Crisp Apple Sangria Ingredients

Start with your chardonnay. Unoaked. You can buy it at WalMart, so it doesn’t have to be fancy pants. Pour it into a large pitcher or bowl.

Unoaked Chardonnay pourThen start quartering an, a lemon and a lime. Then squeeze the juice into the wine while also adding the quartered piece to the wine as well.

quartered oranges for sangriaOnce you get all the citrus into the wine, get your sweetness ready. You will need 1/2 cup of peach schnapps and 1/4 cup of honey.

Peach Schnapps and HoneyPour it right into the wine and fruit. Finish the mixture off with two peeled and sliced or chopped Honey Crisp Apples and two cinnamon sticks. And then let it rest in the fridge for at least four hours.

honey crisp apple sangria concentrateWhen you are ready to serve your wine, strain all the fruit out of the wine. Then add the apples back into the wine. Pour the wine into glasses leaving room for a splash of ginger ale. And enjoy your turkey!

Honey Crisp Apple Sangria

Honey Crisp Apple Sangria
A crisp sangria that is perfect in the fall.
  • one 750-milliliter bottle unoaked chardonnay
  • ½ cup peach Schnapps
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 2 honey crisp apples, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Ginger Ale
  1. In a large bowl or pitcher, combine wine, schnapps, honey, orange, lemon, lime, apple, and cinnamon sticks. Stir to combine and refrigerate for at least four hours.
  2. Strain fruit out of wine. Add apples back to wine. Pour wine into glasses, leaving room for a splash of ginger ale in every glass. Garnish glass rims with cinnamon and sugar if you want to fancy it up a little.

But, just in case you don’t want to make the only white wine drink I will consume, checkout this chart for helping you choose the right wine for any occasion.

Wine and Food Pairing Chart

If you are really interested in learning more about food and wine pairings, check out What to Drink with What You Eat. Would be a perfect gift for the wine lover on your Christmas list as well.

Be sure to check out the other tips and food tidbits as part of the 30 Days on the Prairie Farm Series.

30 days on the prairie farmAffiliate links were used in this post.

Save the Date! May 31, 2031

Yep, we have had a love connection. Save the date for the big wedding on May 31, 2031. I figure I should reserve the church now since it will probably be a popular date.

Meet the happy couple…

They shared marshmallows…

Sat and talked for hours…

He would watch and make sure she made it to safety.

Would roast marshmallows together…

She would watch over his shoulder as he played angry birds…

And correct him when he messed up…

They even shared water guns…

It is a match made in heaven. See you in 20 years!

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