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Food and Swine

HK
Heidi Kaisand
0:01
Good morning and welcome to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of hen and chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa, and lover of all things creative. Each week here on create with Heidi, we like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative, whether it's quilting, scrapbooking, food, wool, or just hanging out with others who seem to have their creative Mojo grooving in all the right directions. We are excited to share these things with you. Each week, I love to start with a quote. And today's quote is from somebody quite famous, and that would be Julia Child. We all know who she is. And it is people who love to eat are always the best people. And it is perfect for today's guest. Good morning, Cristen. How are you?
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Cristen Clark
0:58
Good morning, Heidi. It's an amazing day. I am well how about you?
HK
Heidi Kaisand
1:02
I am great to add today we have Cristen Clark with us. She is all about the food, I think would be a good way to say it. And you are one of those best people out there. We love you. And so it's super fun to have you on our show. Why don't you start by helping our listeners know more about you tell us a little bit about who you are and what it is that you do?
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Cristen Clark
1:30
Well, I think Heidi, I'd be remiss to forget, you know how you and I know each other? Well, that's Yes, of course. The beginning of my working career, where I actually worked in an office, I worked at WHO radio, and we had the great Iowa tractor ride. So that was where I met you and your family. Yeah, those were some really fun times. But they were after that was the beginning of my food endeavors. I now host a blog called foodandswine.com where I share recipes. I do recipe development on the cooking editor of a couple of different print publications. And tonight I'm hosting a virtual zoom event cooking event for the Illinois Farm Bureau. So Heidi, I do a lot of different things with food. But at the end of the day, there's always something delicious, hopefully delicious cross my fingers. This my recipe development for the day goes right that my family enjoys to eat. And the people that love to eat and speak their heart through food are people I want to be around.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
2:39
Oh, isn't that awesome? And you actually are a farmer, and you are raising the food as well as making it correct?
CC
Cristen Clark
2:49
Yes, so the part of the food in swine. So that is the food part of my blog. And then this one part is just you know, what are we doing every day on our family farm and also parlay that into how do we raise pigs in the modern day versus you know, how to people used to do it back in the good old days, like, you know, those romantic times that we always talk about. But yeah, so we raised pigs here and then I farm with my dad's sister and mom, just about 10 miles down the road in Prairie City, Iowa and we do the whole rain deal. My sister has cattle My dad has cattle but we do the pigs so there's always bacon in the freezer, which is a definite bonus. Yes.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
3:31
Isn't that a good debate because of fun to cook with? And yeah, and I think so many of us I'm assuming you know you grew up probably to doing 4H and cooking in 4H Did you?
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Cristen Clark
3:44
I did I did I love 4H i was a crazy champion. It's funny that you're mentioning this because I just received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the 4H foundation this last week and it it will thank you what they came over and they did a video. So I had to go find all of my old awards in my record books and it just drummed up all these fantastic memories of my youth and you know, participating in for age and having those friendships and you know those friendships have lasted a lifetime for me and I i love the four h organization and it you know just recently has it been a great reminder of how special that was for me in my youth and now my you know my daughter's in it my son's soon to be 4H and it's a great thing.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
4:34
Oh it is and it certainly is a great way to grow up besides just helping around the house cooking but to to experience some different things because it would push you to you know learn something new each year with with the food project. And so did you think that we know as you were in high school and growing up that you your career, will you know it was going to go in a particular direction Our what what what did you think was gonna? What can happen with that? Is it exactly as you have planned?
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Cristen Clark
5:06
Oh my goodness. Well, I had always assumed that I would probably I'm the oldest of two daughter so I was that I would probably come back to the farm or try to stay as close to home as possible. You know, I played college softball, but I played at Drake University because that was closer to home than Iowa State University. Yeah, so I, you know, I'm a homebody I love my parents, I love my family. I always knew I would be close to home, I just assumed Honestly, I took the elstat law school entrance exam. A couple weeks before I met my husband, my now husband. And once I met him, I kind of, you know, my scope of, you know, what was important was going to change. And all of a sudden night, I got married about a year later, or so I had my daughter and started being a stay at home mom and working a little bit more on the farm, which was, you know, kind of eye opening, having, you know, the little baby at home, but I got started in the food when the Iowa State Fair rolled around, and I thought, you know, I'm going to try and make a cinnamon roll. That's a $3,000 contest. That would be really fun that, you know, I didn't have the paycheck from work anymore, right? I'd love to have a little cash in my pocket.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
6:24
Well, you know, you know what, and I'm loving this story. And I just think that is awesome. We're going to take a quick commercial break. And when we come back, we're going to hold the suspense of how this story turns out.
6:37
I love it.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
6:38
I love it. And we'll be back right after this.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
6:44
Welcome back to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand from Hen and chicks studio. And today, our guest is Cristen Clark. And just prior to the break, she was about to tell us about a $3,000 cinnamon roll contest she entered, we we must know how this story continues. Cristen.
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Cristen Clark
7:08
So at this time was you know, maybe six months prior to the Iowa State Fair when the premium books come out, and you can see what contests are and the prizes are and I you know, always the young mom, you know, you're buying diapers, and I just thought having a little cold hard cash in my pocket wouldn't be a bad thing. But I'd always had an interest in food and I thought, you know what, I need to learn how to bake. So I'm going to do it my, my ancestry. My heritage is all a bunch of frontier women. And you know, they didn't have CrossFit. They didn't have aerobics, they needed bread for their exercise. So it had to be in my jeans somewhere. I made my first batch of cinnamon rolls with yeast that my husband had probably had for 10 years. Oh, you can only imagine how that went, you know, I was on a wing and a prayer. I thought I'm going to try this. Well. My dog wouldn't even eat those cinnamon rolls that first batch. So that set me off. And I I just put my nose to the grindstone until I basically figured out the exact recipe I needed. And I was able to win the contest. Awesome. The money that I won the contest with we kind of started our purebred pig operation. And we I bought a Dirac gilt so the red pig with the ears that are downtown was like a dog. And I'm actually staring at a painting of one of her offspring. But we named her cinnamon. Oh, though.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
8:43
Isn't it funny how things go? And so Wow, that So did you continue to enter baking contest after that?
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Cristen Clark
8:53
Yes, yeah, the little one. Yeah. And the last contest I won was a similar with a similar person. As soon as I got done as I was like five years later, and I had a conversation with then it was our let Hollister was the superintendent of the department. And we thought it best after my success that I would just, you know, continue on, but judging. So now I get to judge the food department at the Iowa State Fair. And that's so wonderful to be able to sit back and just revel in the delicious recipes that highly talented people create. It is so fun. It's a highlight of my week.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
9:36
You know, I have a food background. Don't I don't maybe maybe you don't.
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Cristen Clark
9:40
I don't think I do.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
9:42
Yes,I'm a foodie at heart. I actually graduated from Iowa State with a food nutrition degree. And that's
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Cristen Clark
9:48
wonderful.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
9:49
And soI never entered any contest. But I did judge a couple of years. Back in the early days when I was actually a food editor at Better Homes and garden. in the, in the book in the cookbook department. So that was good. That was early 19 9091. I got to judge out there too. And it is fun to see how people are being creative. And, you know, there's so many correlations actually, to, to quilting and things. You know, I often said that when I switched from food to quilting at at Better Homes and Gardens, I just, I was still developing recipes. It's just that my ingredients were fabric and thread, you know, not flour and sugar. And, and so the same thing is true with food is, you know, you can take a cinnamon roll, which we all think is is traditional, and that Oh, you could you know, could have a variation, yet. There are hundreds of variations of how people
CC
Cristen Clark
10:53
do that. Yes. And that's the most fun part. Yes, just you know, the in the pie contest, you wouldn't believe how many different pies? I'm sure you've judged that too. Yes, how many different pies but let me tell you, I will do anything in my power to not you know, as soon as you finish a category or a different division, right cherry pies, triple cherry, Apple crumb cream, whatever, then you are the judge a parent of the next group. So I will keep my eye on the mincemeat pie for the entire competition. And try to time my judging wisely. So I don't have
HK
Heidi Kaisand
11:36
Yes, I'm sure you know, I don't think I've ever had a minced meat pie. So I I maybe I should continue down that road. But maybe somebody maybe somebody has a really good one that we should both be trying. I'm not sure I think
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Cristen Clark
11:48
I think there's definitely fantastic ones. And this is one of those. You know, you drink too many koalas in college and you know, get sick. Well, I got sick off of mincemeat pie in my youth was one of those things.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
12:03
I can't go back can't go back and do that. Well, isn't that fun? And so and and so what if there was a category of food? That is your favorite? To cook? I mean, I mean bake cook what you know what? Like, what's your go to what's your, you know, if you've got an afternoon and you're like, I'm going to make something today What is that?
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Cristen Clark
12:25
I am going to tear it up and make some bread. You know, baking bread is so cathartic to me from just meeting it. And I feel like I'm connected through, you know, a deep connection to my ancestral heritage because I do have some of those recipes. And there's nothing my last supper could be bread and butter. And I would be the most happy person in the world is my favorite food group. You know, a nicely toasted piece of sourdough bread and butter and just a little salt on the top of it. I could go on and on but yes, I'm I'm kind of a pastry head and a bread Baker that would be my favorite thing to do.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
13:02
Well, that is is awesome. And usually that is always something well loved by anybody at the table.
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Cristen Clark
13:09
No one's complaining about you know, I'm not making good goat cheese tart or something. Yes, everyone only a pastry or bread something was sugar and ice. You know, I love my carbs. But I love them with icing or frosting on that as well.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
13:23
Of course it would it would not be the same without without all of that. So if I'm like, where do you have recipes on foodand swine.com
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Cristen Clark
13:36
I do. Yes. So the blog will have lots of recipes. You know, in the past about year, I've been doing so you know, almost like ghost development for companies, developing recipes for companies. And you know, they just take my work and run with it. So they're kind of all out there as well taste of home and that kind of thing. The other. The other thing I was doing family project is a collaboration of all the commodity groups in Iowa. And I do a lot of recipes stuff with them. So the fresh picking magazine that you can get, you can actually sign up and get it if you're an Iowa resident, it will come to your house as a quarterly publication. And there's always a recipe in that and it's such a fun magazine to read. And it's really well done by my friend Kelly Visser with the Iowa Soybean Association. So yeah, the recipes are just kind of all floating out there. I do need to get back to blogging more regularly about all my kids as busy as they are which I know you feel with Henry jack Goldie and Virginia every was so busy. You know I i need to devote more time to doing that.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
14:46
Absolutely. And I have to say I just love that you just called him Henry jack because that's what we always attract. Right? Everybody knew him as Henry jack and, and you know nearly 17 now so it's a he's now That's a little anymore.
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Cristen Clark
15:01
What is he? What is he called now? Just cadre. Just know, you're just gonna have to tell him today that Cristen says hello, Henry jack. Yeah. What's his name for me for forever? Absolutely. Well,
HK
Heidi Kaisand
15:16
we're gonna take a quick commercial break. And when we come back, we're going to talk a little bit more. I do want to ask a couple more questions about fresh pickings. And so we'll be right back after this commercial. Welcome back to create with Heidi, and we're just having a fun conversation with Cristen Clark, mixing in a little tractor, history and food together. Cristen and I met years ago, when both my husband and I were avid drivers of our john deere tractors on the great I would tractor ride. And Cristen was part of the staff there that ran and managed that amazing event. Of course, as our lives got busier, we did not we do not continue to ride on it. But we continue to have our tractors and our love for the tractors. That could be a whole nother show content, Cristen,
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Cristen Clark
16:10
I think it could be yes, it
HK
Heidi Kaisand
16:12
Yes. But we are talking today about food. And before the break. You were you mentioned fresh pickings. And I just want to go over that just a bit. Because it's it is available both in print and digital. Correct.
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Cristen Clark
16:27
Correct? Yeah.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
16:29
And it's free. Is that is that correct?
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Cristen Clark
16:31
Free? Yes, I was doing a family project. I actually thought I was doing family.com would be the website, and you can just pop on there and sign up for your digital copy. Or you can also get it mailed to your house.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
16:46
And that is a very nice publication. And in fact, of course, you and I have known each other for years. But it was a friend of mine, who lives in Minnesota, who has been she's a huge State Fair fan, obviously mostly goes to the Minnesota State Fair, but just a couple of years ago was at the Iowa State Fair. And obviously, you know, picked up on the Iowa food and family project all of that. And she she texted me and said, I think there's a couple people in here that would be great on your radio show. And I and she'd gotten the digital version. And so I clicked on it thinking, Oh, you know, I'm familiar with the Iowa food family project, because we'd love to go to that, that display at the fair and pick up the cookbook, and you know, that kind of thing. And he and I opened it up a year in there. And so it was like, Wow, that was meant to be so I called Jeff and said, hey, let's let's talk about this. But it is, it is a great project. And I think any time that we can promote, I'll say good eating and good family opportunities. There's something to be said for that. And, you know, I I know, just like what you're saying is that we have we have busy schedules, but eating as a family is still an important part of keeping our families connected at Whole.
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Cristen Clark
18:11
Yes, oh, I completely agree. And I think you know, the pandemic has really extended, you know, that family eating at the dinner table togetherness. You know, it's really extended into that for a lot of families. As I say it is important and it should be a priority that we sit down, put the phones away and enjoy a meal together. And a lot of kids I have picked up you know, just through my social media channels. When I was sharing a lot of recipes during the pandemic, people are baking and creating with their kids in the kitchen. And it it's a really rewarding thing you know, those are those are life skills that your kids are going to carry on forever.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
18:51
Absolutely. When you are planning because you have two kids and they do and you know when you're planning that family meal Are you are you doing everything a meat potato you know fruit you know vegetable but what do we know? Or are you doing like a crock pot or a you know one pot wonder type thing? What are some that are a little bit of everything? What are your go twos?
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Cristen Clark
19:16
Oh my gosh, well I have a lot of go twos. My daughter loves beef and noodles. So that's probably one of the you know on the regular menu every couple of weeks in the winter time you know, and making the noodles having the chuck roast making the gravy and you know doing all that but we do I tried to you know have balanced meals but every winter I think it's a really good skill for kids to learn how to develop and build flavors through soup. Because that's you know, one of the easiest most base and also it's a good pantry clean out method, or at least the vegetable crisper, you know, oh look, all these vegetables, look to have some protein and develop some lavers and make some soup. We do a lot of soup and I serve you know, little homemade biscuit fingers or breadsticks or something like that. So I still get to bake a little bit. But really, it's just in it just depends, you know, if everyone's got basketball or softball or baseball, you know, even in the wintertime right now we've got all three of those sports going on. And