Italian Wedding Soup - with a beefy twist!

The following is a guest blog post by my friend Leslie Williams--an amazing cook who is a very gracious host! I think you will enjoy her meatball soup recipe. I also believe that I will try this recipe in my electric pressure cooker during Christmas break while I have a houseful of kids home to feed! Thanks for sharing this recipe with it's "BEEF-y tweaks," Leslie!!

“No soup for you!”  The Soup Nazi, Seinfeld

I was scrolling through Facebook a couple of weeks ago and came across this recipe for an easy and quick Italian Wedding Soup from Jenny Rosenstrach in her blog, Dinner: A Love Story.   I work from home so soup is a great option to have on hand for a quick and filling lunch.  Here is Jenny’s soup with my own tweaks and tips.  Enjoy!

I’m married to the BEEFMAN (@REAL_BEEFMAN) so it’s unlikely I’ll ever make this with ground turkey but to each his/her own.  I used mild Italian pork sausage the first time I made it and it was delicious but a little salty so be sure to taste before you add the salt in the “soup” portion of the ingredient list. 

Today, I made it with ground BEEF and used BEEF broth instead of chicken broth.

Do ranchers care about animal welfare?

Guest post by Paige Pratt, a friend of mine from my hometown and lifetime family rancher in Kansas. I recently saw Paige and she said she had attended a meeting that Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the US was one of the main speakers! Mr. Pacelle is often considered an enemy of animal agriculture and many people are afraid to confront him in person...but not Paige! She even asked a question during the Q&A and clearly showed him that as a farmer and rancher, she is involved in animal welfare every single day.  Below are her thoughts from the meeting...

Paige Pratt, a lifelong farmer and her son take a break
from feeding cattle to pose for the camera.
Earlier this week I went to the Bob Dole Institute for Politics and attended a session entitled Animal Welfare in America.  The speakers were Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Nancy Perry, Senior VP of Government Relations, ASPCA.  The topics of the evening ranged from puppy mills to horse slaughter to food animal production.

Being a farmer and rancher, I was very intrigued by the discussion regarding food animal production, especially when Mr. Pacelle indicated one of their top priorities is to shut down all intensive confinement operations.

Happy Birthday Hamburger! #Recipe post! #giveaway

Burger Recipes via
On July 28, 1900, Louis Lassen served a hamburg steak between two slices of bread--and voila! The Hamburger was born! So, today in celebration of Louis and the first hamburger, let me share a recipe or two, and a link or three and just see if you can't get excited about hamburgers!

Prairie Wildflower of the Day: Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed is definitely my favorite prairie wildflower of the tallgrass prairie! It blooms near the end of May and early June and usually only for a short time, providing pops of bright orange in the lush green of the growing prairie.

Of course, it attracts large numbers of butterflies. Cattle do not eat it, but it doesn't bother them, either.

I had always been told that you could not transplant butterfly milkweed to domesticated landscape, but I tried it anyway! I dug up about half of a bush from our pasture, digging deep to get as much of the deep root as possible. I planted it immediately in my yard and watered it daily throughout May and early June. Despite all the water, it died. But...I soon noticed new shoots poking through the soil and after removing the dead stems, I realized it hadn't really died! It regrew into a lovely shrub and even bloomed again. Since then, I have divided and transplanted lots of this native plant in my yard. Once established, it needs little watering and it blooms every year!

A note of not try to dig it up from roadsides. That is actually illegal. If you own some native grassland and can dig it there, that is fine. But if you don't, I have seen it available to purchase at greenhouses! It is a perfect late spring/early summer pop of color and it is drought resistant. Perfect for my yard.

Watch for more Prairie Wildflower of the Day posts!

Prairie Wildflower of the day: Catclaw Sensitive Briar

Catclaw Sensitive Briar is one of my favorite wildflowers in the Kansas prairie! This plant has briars on the stem and leaf that are shaped like a cat's claw. And the fern-like leaf is sensitive to motion and will curl up when brushed or touched.

Catclaw Sensitive Briar is also an indicator of a healthy rangeland, as when a pasture is overgrazed or overused, this plant will not grow. But best of all, the puffy pink flowers make it easy to find in the deep grasses of the tallgrass prairie.

Watch for more Prairie Wildflower of the Day posts!!

Let's talk!

Thank you for reading! If you like this post, I would appreciate any comments and shares. You can see a bit more about me and my family here, and connect with me on facebook and twitter! Please do! Connecting is the WHOLE POINT of blogging! I'd love to hear from you.