I hope you’ve had a fabulous weekend! I definitely want to catch you up on all that’s been going on over here…and I will…but first I have to tell you about a really cool experience I had last Thursday night!!
I hinted last week that I was going to do something super fun, and I’m glad my excitement was met with a really great experience and some very interesting and cool stuff to share with you all!
I WON A CONTEST. I’m honestly not sure that’s ever happened before. Like, totally chosen at random won a contest! And…one I was super stoked to win! Not just like, here’s a free toaster, or a personal pan pizza…this was legit! Here’s what I won:
Woohoo! I’m sure most of you know of Iowa Girl Eats (IGE). If you don’t, go check out her blog, stat! I mean it, I’ll wait here. Go ahead. It’s freaking sweet right? Awesome, delicious, quick and easy recipes, lots of adorable photos of her son, Lincoln, and tons of great restaurant and travel posts. Kristin is the mastermind behind Iowa Girl Eats and her personality truly comes through in all of her posts. I’ve been reading IGE for a few years and it was one of the very firsts blogs I ever read. I knew from her blog that she would be warm and welcoming, funny and down to earth. She did not disappoint! Her husband, Ben, makes appearances on IGE quite a bit too, and I was also looking forward to meeting him! Oh, and I was definitely looking forward to eating some delicious steak and learning more about farming in Iowa! I’ve lived here practically my whole life and I’m not sure I had ever been on a farm before Thursday night. Does that make me a bad Iowan?? I hope not!
My husband was intrigued by this opportunity, and knowing I’m a huge IGE fan, he was super excited for me and agreed to be my date. He’s a bit weirded out by social media and the blog world (which is why I never use his name…unless I make one up, like “Doug”), but he was pleasantly surprised by how genuine and cool Kristin and Ben are. He had a great time too!
Here’s how it went down!
We arrived at the farm and were greeted by a representative from the Iowa Food and Family Project. He was very friendly and explained to us how the evening would play out. At the time, Kristin was filming a segment for the project and we waited for her to finish before doing introductions. We were introduced to Kristin and Ben, as well as the Rowe family, camera crew, photographer, the chef for the evening, and a few other staff from the Iowa Food and Family Project. Admittedly, it was a bit intimidating being surrounded by cameras and people who were there to basically watch us eat and interact, but I was so excited to be there, and wine was offered, so I was good to go.
We were able to chat to Kristin and Ben for a bit and get to know them a little better before sitting down to dinner. At dinner we had the chance to talk to Justin Rowe and his wife, Corrine, who were hosting us at their beautiful farm. It was fascinating to learn more about his life as a 5th generation farmer in Iowa and all the work he does to ensure a high quality product. He’s passionate about what he does and his contribution to the world. He admitted participating in the project was a bit out of his comfort zone, as far as doing publicity, but understands the importance of it and telling his story and the story of other farmers. I thought that was super cool. He clearly had an awareness of what this project meant to farmers in Iowa and their industries and how a project like this could have such an enormous positive impact; he was there to do his part. I have tremendous respect for farmers and all those that contribute to putting food on our tables. It’s something that’s so often taken for granted. Kristin also shared her reasons for becoming involved in the project and how much she’s learned along the way. You can find more information here. I strongly encourage you to check it out.
For dinner we enjoyed potato salad, fruit, corn on the cob (my first of the summer!) and four different cuts of steak that had been grilled perfectly. Each cut was brought to the table separately and the chef explained what cut it was and how it could be prepared, what sauces would be best with it, etc. It was great to learn about different cuts of beef that I wasn’t as familiar with. There was a delicious blue cheese butter as a well as an espresso sauce on the table to enjoy with our meat. Both were delicious!
After dinner we were able to get a closer look at some of the cattle and just chat some more, which was nice. I had a great time talking to Kristin about babies, running, and blogging! To wrap up the night we had ice cream and strawberries and watched a video Kristin had filmed a year ago. It was very cool to see some footage of her visiting various farms in Iowa and experiences she got to have along the way, like milking a cow! Definitely check out both her blog and the website for the Iowa Food and Family Project for more info. Honestly, I do feel more connected to the food I’m eating and where it comes from and the people that participate in that process now and I’m grateful for that perspective.
Oh, we got a goodie bag to take home! Our bag included cozies, steak knives, a meat thermometer, some cool cook books, and $50 in gift certificates for BEEF!! We were super pumped! We admitted when it comes to beef we mostly do burgers because of the kiddos, but we agreed to try something different, and dare I say, fancier, with these certificates! I’ll let you know what we pick!
Have you ever won a contest?
Ever been on a farm?