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It’s busy out there. Between work and school and soccer practice or maybe being cooped up at home and cleaning the kitchen and matching socks and all of the other little things that pile up throughout your day, getting dinner on the table can sometimes be overwhelming. We created Cooking Under Pressure to add some peace to your routine. The recipes you’ll find inside are quick, easy, full of flavor and will have you done with your weekly meals in no time.
During the cold, drizzly months, it’s hard not to long for warmer days. And even after winter is technically over, the Kansas weather can remain dreary and chilled for months to come.
To add a little brightness in your home without relying on Mother Nature, try growing indoor plants. While they aren’t quite as powerful as the sun, houseplants may be able to boost your mood and reduce stress.
If your thumb is less than green, don’t worry! Even the most forgetful gardener will be able to care for these plants.
1. Chinese Evergreen (aglaonema)
First on our list for a reason, the Chinese evergreen is perfect for beginners. Able to grow in any room regardless of sunlight levels, this plant is difficult to kill. You won’t need to worry about watering much, since the Chinese evergreen only requires a sip every few weeks.
Starting small enough to live in a pot on your desk or on the kitchen counter, your plant friend will slowly grow to be a larger decor piece.
2. Spider Plant (chlorophytum comosum)
Named for the many green “legs” jutting in every direction, the spider plant’s leaves hang in a nice arch shape.
Another great choice for newbies, it only needs to be watered once a week. Consider putting this choice in a room with a window or two, as it thrives in natural light.
Bonus: Occasional offshoots can be replanted and make lovely hostess gifts!
3. Jade Plant (crassula ovata)
Looking like a miniature tree, the jade plant grows a trunk with thick, round leaves sprouting from top to bottom.
If overwatered, jade plants can rot, so it’s better to err on the side of (what seems to be) not enough water. To be safe, check the top couple of inches of soil — if they’re dry, go ahead and give the plant a splash. Rooms with plenty of natural light will make this succulent happiest.
4. Chinese Money Plant (pilea peperomioides)
The award for most nicknames goes to this plant! Known as the pancake plant, UFO plant, mirror plant and more, this option is a little harder to find than the others. Many nurseries don’t offer the Chinese money plant because its slow growth means it isn’t as profitable as other species. Your best bet will be to order one online or try repotting a clipping from a friend.
Once you have your hands on it, keep the Chinese money plant in a bright room, but don’t expose it to direct sunlight. Only worry about watering your many-named friend once every couple of weeks — if the plant’s leaves start to droop, you’ll know it needs a drink.
5. Green Heartleaf Philodendron (philodendron hederaceum)
As you probably guessed, this plant has green, heart-shaped leaves that drape nicely once they’re long enough. Hanging vines make it a great candidate to be suspended from the ceiling or a wall.
This plant will tolerate any level of light, but direct sunlight may burn its leaves. For watering needs, use the same soil test as for the jade plant, and only give it more when dry.
Did you notice aloe doesn’t have a scientific name listed in parentheses? Good catch, smarty pants! This is because aloe itself isn’t a specific plant, but a classification with over 500 varieties under its umbrella.
From the well-known aloe vera to the quirkily named aloe cha cha, care for all aloe types is about the same. Keep your aloe in a bright place, and don’t worry about watering it often. These plants typically won’t require pruning, but if you spot any brown leaves, simply remove them.
7. Rex Begonia (begonia rex)
With touches of purple, red and other colors, rex begonia is a nice way to bring something other than green into your home. Since it won’t grow very tall, consider placing it on a desk or dinner table.
Medium light is the key here, so don’t lock rex begonia in the basement or put it right on the windowsill. Find a nice middle ground. Water this plant about once a week, but try to avoid soaking its leaves, which could lead to rotting.
8. Crown of Thorns (euphorbia milii)
Another colorful friend, crown of thorns boasts a variety of flowers. Be careful, though, “thorns” is in its name for a reason!
For the most blooms possible, place crown of thorns in bright light. While it will survive in medium light, the flowers will only appear if it has enough sun. You only need to water this gem once every few months, since overwatering will cause it to lose its leaves.
Although its name is less than inviting, this plant is actually very pleasing to the eye with large, thin leaves sticking straight up. Adding to the appeal, mother-in-law’s tongue can adapt to almost any indoor condition.
This plant will grow in any lighting, but prefers brighter areas. You’ll be hard pressed to underwater a snake plant — just give it a drink every month or so.
10. Edible Options
If you’re looking to add something aesthetically pleasing and practical, try growing herbs to use in your cooking! A few easy choices are:
These options are all small enough to grow in the kitchen without taking too much of your precious counter space.
The perfect pick-me-up to stave off the winter blues as well as being a trendy decoration, your new houseplant will be a welcome addition to your home or office. Happy growing!
Gleaming elevators tower above the wheat fields at Stafford County Flour Mills. The silos are the same luxurious white color as the mill’s flour. The mill specializes in producing premium-quality flour for home bakers.
Located in the village of Hudson — population 100, counting dogs, cats and tumbleweeds — Stafford County Flour Mills may be the only remaining independently owned mill in the country.
Why Does a Flour Brand Have a Cow for a Logo?
It’s easy to spot the distinctive sack design of Hudson Cream Flour at the grocery. The logo features a golden Jersey cow standing in a green meadow by a bright blue stream. Why did they pick a cow?
As former president of the mill Al Brensing explained, “Many people believed the Jersey cow gave the richest milk and cream, so the Jersey cow was selected for the logo.”
The rich quality of the cow’s cream is symbolic of the rich quality of the mill’s flour. Hudson Cream is known as “the flour without a fault.”
The mill uses a minimum of 1.5 million bushels of wheat annually. More than 95 percent of the wheat milled there comes from approximately 80 farm families in Stafford County. Many of these same farm families have supplied Hudson Cream with wheat for generations.
In addition to the wheat suppliers, many of the employees at the mill live within a 12-mile radius. Like the early founders of the company, some of these employees have worked for the company for years and are proud of its rich milling heritage.
"The strength of the company remains its people," says Reuel Foote, the company’s current general manager and president. "From the beginning, everyone who's worked here believes in Hudson Cream Flour."
To make their signature flour, the mill typically uses a heavy-test-weight wheat — 60 pounds or more. The protein level must also test high — at least 12.5 percent. They use a “short-patent” milling process, which results in a more refined flour, with all of the lower quality flour removed in the milling process. What’s left is the very finest flour that comes from the wheat berry.
“The result is a flour that is smoother in texture and produces cookies, breads, pie crusts and other baked products that are consistently light and fluffy,” Reuel says.
Focus on Customers
Creating a quality product and selling it at a fair price has been the not-so-secret to the mill’s success for more than a century.
To address the trend toward healthier diets, Stafford County Flour Mills added whole-wheat flour to their product line more than 20 years ago. This line was added to fill a niche market of customers who wanted more fiber in their diets. A certified organic product is also available in grocery stores.
The mill is also unveiling two-pound bags to better serve home bakers around the country. Today’s hectic schedules — shuttling children everywhere, balancing work, and tending to numerous details — leaves little for baking from scratch. Having the two-pound bags will be more convenient.
“We’re banking on shoppers buying smaller quantities knowing they don’t bake as often, but when they do, they may use less flour and have less left over,” Reuel says. “And they can buy fresh product as needed.”
Two years ago, Stafford County Flour Mills erected an 850-kilowatt wind turbine south of the site in Hudson.
“As far as we know, we’re the only flour mill that has the physical capability to run on 100 percent sustainable energy,” Reuel says. “We strive to be good stewards of our resources just like the farmers who supply us and the customers who buy our flour.”
As Stafford County Flour Mills continues to evolve and grow, this privately owned company remains committed to customers, employees and producing high-quality flour.
“We take no one for granted,” Reuel says. Every customer is important and every sack of Hudson Cream Flour is the same as the next.”
Ah, summer. Backpacks and books make way for swimsuits and summer camp. It’s a great time of year. Unless you’re trying to figure out how to keep the kiddos entertained and their brains (at least somewhat) engaged. After all, we want them to relax and have fun, but we don’t want their minds to turn to mush. (Sheesh! When did I become my mother?!)
With harvests in full swing, summer can be a great time to introduce kids to agriculture. There are some really fun ways to get them involved and teach them healthy habits, without turning it into a character-building chore. (Not that there’s anything wrong with character. We approve.)
How? Enter My American Farm.
This initiative from American Farm Bureau has great ideas for families to bond over hands-on activities, as well as games to keep the information fresh and fun.
Here are just a few of their family-friendly activities:
Make a flower pen: Great for younger kids, this activity teaches them the parts of the flower while they make a festive pen in the process. (How about a sunflower?)
Create a rubber glove window box: This simple activity will give your little offshoots a front-row seat to watching seeds start their own shoots. Unlike planting in soil, this unique project will let them see the actual seed as it sprouts.
The website also features recipes the whole family can make—and enjoy—together.
Bonus—there’s a technology element. Sure, we’ve all felt a little guilty handing our kiddos a tablet to try to keep them engaged (or at least quiet!). We’re not bad parents—we swear! But if they’re playing educational games for a little while? See ya, techno-guilt.
From a farmer’s market challenge to a STEM-related game focused on farm equipment, there’s plenty to keep your kids occupied and learning. Best of all, when used with the hands-on activities, the games really help the information sink in. You can play online, or on their tablet app, available on the App store, Google Play and Amazon.