No-Mess, Crowd-Pleasing Corn on the Cob

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Indiana’s Family of Farmers. Many thanks to the Beyer family for hosting us on your farm and for treating us to your bounty!

“Mom, when can we go walk the pigs again?”

Beyer Family Farm Pig

Eli says things that surprise me nearly every day, but that was something I never thought I’d hear. A few weeks earlier, we’d driven 50 miles south of our suburban home to visit Matt and Leah Beyer‘s family farm near Columbus, Indiana. For those of you who followed The Risky Kids, you may remember the Beyer family – I interviewed them last year to see how farm life lends itself to free-range parenting. (Spoiler alert: very well!)

Until a few years ago, the Beyers were dairy famers. Funny thing about having a dairy farm, though: the cows always need milked. Matt, whose parents were dairy farmers, remembers taking exactly two vacations his entire childhood. And so Matt and Leah made the decision to move. They may have left their milking days behind, but that doesn’t mean they walked away from farming.

Indiana Sweet Corn

Nestled between fields of field corn and soybeans sits their own one-acre crop of Indiana sweet corn, also known as God’s gift to Midwesterners for putting up with winter. While they’re not supplying the masses, they’ve turned this patch of land into a valuable business lesson for their kids. On weekends you can find the Beyer kids selling sweet corn at their local market.

Indiana Sweet Corn

Despite having more front teeth missing than present, Eli can tear up some sweet corn. We both learned so much about corn while visiting they Beyers. For instance, did you know that there is a strand of silk for every single kernel of corn? Stalks of sweet corn are shorter than stalks of field corn, and sweet corn kernels are rounder, more plump, and more yellow than field corn. Last corn fun fact: there’s always an even number of rows on each cob.

Sweet Corn vs Field Corn

Sweet Corn vs Field Corn

It’s been a very tough year for Hoosier corn farmers, though. Frequent and heavy rain early in the growing season flooded many fields, stunting corn growth and washing away the vital fertilizer corn needs to grow properly. While many of the ears we picked from the Beyer farm were smaller than the ears we’re accustomed to, I’m happy to report they’re packed with just as much flavor as bigger ears!

Eli and the calf

The Beyers also have some livestock on their farm, including chickens, a calf, and two pigs. Both Beyer kids, Brady and Maddie, help take care of the livestock and show them in 4H. That’s where Eli’s pig-parading question fits in. Pigs, as you can imagine, aren’t much for exercise. In order to show them at the fair, they need to get accustomed to walking farther than just to the trough and back! And so a couple of times a day, the pigs get a walk. Eli and I both got a kick out of it, especially when one of the pigs got curious about my camera.

After a fun evening of visiting, playing, and picking, the Beyers sent us home with some of their bounty: corn, of course, but also eggs from their chickens and a bag full of tomatoes. I nearly wept with joy! As much as I love our home with its beautiful trees, I miss having my own backyard garden so much – especially when it comes to having fresh tomatoes.

Dog Meets Produce

Upon further inspection, Gus approves of the farm-to-table concept.

Back home, I couldn’t wait to get some of that corn into my belly. And then I remembered the one and only downside to fresh corn: all that silk. I can never shuck it well enough to get all those strands of silk into the trash and away from my teeth! And then I stumbled on this fantastic method for cooking corn that makes the silks magically melt into the husks, away from the kernels. Even better, it’s super easy and a no-brainer solution when you need to cook corn for a crowd.

Oven Baked Corn on the Cob

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

Preheat the oven to 350°F. You don’t need to husk the corn, but do take a moment to peel away any dry or damaged outer leaves. Trim the silk from the ends of the corn. Place ears of corn on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Oven Baked Corn on the Cob

Let the corn cool for 5 minutes. Using hot pads or some other protection for your hands, (it will still be hot!) remove the husks. You’ll be amazed – the silk just peels right off with the husk! Not only is it easier in the cleaning/preparing department, this corn tastes fantastic – sweet, crisp and delicious. I usually cook an extra ear or two, cutting the kernels off the cob after it cools and tossing the corn in salsa or a salad in the next day or two.

Oven Baked Corn on the Cob

Every summer when I eat those fresh-from-the-farm ears of Hoosier sweet corn, I wonder why we even bother eating corn the rest of the year. Thanks to Leah’s vast experience and her tried-and-true method for freezing sweet corn, we’ll be having a taste of pure summer through the winter. While my supply of Beyer sweet corn has long since been devoured, I’ve been making weekly trips to our farmer’s market for bags of sweet corn and freezing bag after bag using Leah’s recipe.

Whether you choose to bake it, grill it, boil it, or freeze it, my main message is this: find yourself a great local source of sweet corn and eat as much of it as you can!

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob: a  recipe for the easiest, no-mess, no-shuck corn. The silks melt into the husks and slip right off after baking!  Easy Recipe | Vegetable Recipes | Recipes for a Crowd

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InstaOctoNovember

If that title doesn’t have you thoroughly confused, then I haven’t done my job well. What it translates to is the fact that I forgot to post InstaOctober last month, but I’m too OCD to actually skip a month. As if hordes of you will show up at my front door and say, “HEY, lady. What gives with the missing Instagram highlight reel?” But just in case any one of you are en route, here it is. And I certainly couldn’t handle missing November, or moving every post back two months, because that just doesn’t make any sense. (But this line of thinking clearly does.) I should probably stop talking.

OctNovIG

1. We took a little road trip up to Chicago in November for the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. When I realized Eataly was just a few blocks from our hotel, I knew a visit was in order. If it wasn’t totally disgusting and against every health code, I’d want my ashes scattered here. I’ve never had any inclination to climb cheese, until I saw this intriguing sign in the cheese department.

2. Obligatory Bean photo every tourist takes in Chicago.

3. As part of the Toy & Game Fair, Mayfair Games held a very serious, very competitive Settlers of Catan tournament. The winner earned him or herself a trip to Gen Con to compete in the Catan World Championship. I promise I’m not making that up. Mike is the King of Catan in this house, as evidenced by his very official Catan crown the kids made him last year. He wore it to the tournament, right up until he lost in the semifinal round.

4. You know how you have the strictest rules and best advice about parenting … until you actually become a parent? The same holds true about being a pet owner. I swore up and down I would never let a dog sleep in bed with me. And then Gus gave me that look, and I said, “Okay. Just this once.” And then I realized happiness really is a warm puppy. The couch is still off limits. I swear (for now).

5. Elena and I have dreams of one day entering a gingerbread creation into Conner Prairie’s annual Gingerbread Village. We inched one step closer by taking a Gingerbread 101 class together at Conner Prairie. This is one of those traditions that I realize now I started waaaaaaay too early with my kids. Twelve is good. Twelve and in someone else’s space, where they clean up after you is even better.

6. Have I mentioned Eli is in Cub Scouts this year? He begged us to let him do it, mostly because he’d heard a rumor there would be BB guns. At this point it’s more like herding cats, but he did manage to earn his Bobcat badge.

7. I took my sister and my mom on a day trip to Cincinnati for some IKEA and Jungle Jim retail therapy. On the way home I introduced them to the best fried chicken in Indiana. If you find yourself near Oldenburg, Indiana, make sure you stop at Wagner’s and have some pan-fried deliciousness.

8.  Elena played volleyball this fall. It was 2% her wanting to try it, and 98% me wanting her to find a sport (any sport!) she might like. She ended up being the only one on her team who hadn’t played volleyball for multiple seasons. You’d think that would be a recipe for disaster, but she did great. She didn’t complain (much) and she improved drastically through the season. This particular photo is her serving to get her team into the championship game.

9. I had the opportunity to work alongside Future Farmers of America from around Indiana at the Colts annual Million Meals Marathon. The Colts partner with Thrive360 (formerly Kids Against Hunger of Central Indiana) to pack a million meals that will find their way to families facing hunger in Indiana. I packed for 2 hours, along with a couple of Colts cheerleaders, blogging pals, and the Colts Defensive End Cory Redding. It was such a cool experience, and I can’t wait to do it again with Mike and the kids.

10. What every parent’s floor looks like if they have a LEGO fan in the house … just kidding. It’s actually a sea of LEGO bricks for kids to play in at LEGO KidsFest. Super fun and a cool photo op, if you don’t think about how many germy little hands have been all over those bricks.

11. Mike and I have been able to go to two Colts games this year. This picture is from a home game against the Bengals. Incredible seats and lots of fun for us. Not so much for the Bengals fans we took with us. The weekend before last we went to the Colts game in Cleveland. The horse head did not make that trip with us. We’re not stupid.

12. My friend Sacha clued us into a KaBOOM! playground build that was happening in our community. I’m a big fan of KaBOOM! and their passion for making play accessible to kids in every kind of community, so it was a very special thing to be able to help. I hauled mulch for a bit and Elena helped paint signs for the new playground.

If you’re not already following me on Instagram already, please do! You can find me there as (the one and only) AngieSix.

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Green BEAN Delivery: Fresh, Local Foods at Your Door {$15 Promo Code!}

Green BEAN bin contents

Disclosure: Green BEAN Delivery provided me with a free bin in exchange for a review of their service. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

For years I was a loyal Green BEAN customer. And then, suddenly, I wasn’t. I cancelled the service shortly before we moved into our temporary housing with the best intentions to start it up again once we were settled in the new house. And, well … you know what they say about a certain path and the best intentions!

Are you familiar with Green BEAN Delivery? They are a local company that delivers top-notch organic and all-natural produce and food items to your front door. It’s been so fun watching Green BEAN grow in the midwest, both literally and figuratively. Many of the items offered are grown or made locally, including fruits and veggies from Green BEAN’s own Feel Good Farm in Sheridan, Indiana. I remember when they first started out here in Indy, and now they’ve grown to add delivery areas throughout the midwest, including Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Missouri. Beyond the jobs they provide and the farmers and artisans they support, they’re also very active in the community. They partner with local food banks and sponsor the Constant Canned Food Drive.

Of course, the most important thing to you is the food. Is it good? Is there a decent selection? Is it affordable? The answer is yes, yes, and yes. I recently reopened my account, thanks to the kind nudge from the good people at Green BEAN.

The service is very easy to use. You simply open up an account by clicking on the “Sign-Up Now” link on the Green BEAN homepage. Choose the size of bin you’d like to receive, and how often you’d like to receive it (weekly or biweekly). For our somewhat vegetable-averse family of 4, the small bin, delivered biweekly, is perfect. You’ll receive an email a few days before your delivery date in which you can customize and add to your bin. Then, on your delivery day, your bin of goodness will magically appear on your doorstep!

Green BEAN delivery

Here’s my last bin. Behold, $35 of produce and $13 of add-on grocery items:

Green BEAN fruit and vegetable bin

I’ve got local sweet corn, peppers, beets, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and green beans. I also have pears, garlic, bananas, plums, and peaches. I added on some of my favorite bread from Scholars Inn Bakehouse (for my daily summer lunch of tomato sandwiches), and treated myself to something I’ve been wanting to try for ages: curtido from Indy’s Fermenti Artisans (it’s amazing, by the way).

I’d forgotten how fun it was to customize a bin to my liking, and to add some of my favorite local treats to round out my bin. Why did I wait so long to start it up again? I have no idea, but I’m glad to be back on the Green BEAN Delivery wagon again.

Now, I know you have some questions, but I’ve heard them from friends and family before …

What if I don’t like the service? What am I committing to?

If you don’t like it or feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth, you simply cancel the service. You’re not locked into any contract and you can quit at anytime.

What if I like it, but even biweekly is too much produce for me? What if I’m going to be out of town/too busy/not cooking for awhile? What if the grocery budget gets tight towards the end of the month?

You can always cancel a delivery, or even multiple deliveries, via the Green BEAN website. In fact, I do it frequently. I typically only order 1 bin a month, and supplement with regular grocery shopping in between. There’s absolutely no penalty in doing so.

What if I don’t like what’s going to be in my bin? What if I’m extremely picky? What if I have allergy issues in my family?

When you get your email with your delivery information for your upcoming bin, you’ll see a selection of products already in your bin for you. You can certainly take the bin as it comes, but you can also customize it to your heart’s/belly’s content. Hate kale? Not a problem, sub a fruit or veggie you love, or increase the quantity of something else that’s already in your bin. It’s very easy to do as well. Have allergies or dietary restrictions? You can search for items by category, including kosher, gluten free,  vegan, vegetarian, and dairy free products.

What if I’m not happy with something in my bin? What if my bread is moldy, the milk’s gone bad, or my squash got squashed?

It happens (though not very often). Shoot Green BEAN’s customer service an email. They’ll make it right.

I’m pleased as punch to be able to offer you a special discount code for $15 off your first bin. Use the code 15JLNml when placing your first order for the discount. (Note: this code expires one week from today on 8/29/14) So, seriously, what are you waiting for?! Order up that bin and tell me about your favorite items so I can add them to my next bin!

 

 

 

 

 

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