Maple oatmeal pecan bars

Maple oatmeal pecan bars

Merry Christmas! Try these delicious maple oatmeal pecan bars for a festive holiday treat!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) butter

2 1/4 cups oats (quick, uncooked)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (firmly packed)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1 tsp vanilla

Topping:

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

Melt butter and set aside to cool.

In large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt; mix well. (Dough will be stiff).

In a smaller bowl, combine melted butter, syrup, egg and vanilla; mix well. Add this mixture to the oat mixture and mix well.

Press dough evenly onto bottom of pan.

For topping, combine pecans and brown sugar in small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over dough. Press down lightly and drizzle syrup evenly over pecans.

Bake 35 to 38 minutes or until edges are set but middle is soft. Cool completely in pan on wire rack and cut into bars for serving.

World Soil Day: All About Soil Microbes

World Soil Day

Did you know that there are things that are alive and moving around in soil that you can’t see? These tiny but very important things are called soil microbes. Soil microbes promote nutrient cycling, contribute to soil structure, help with disease and pest control, and help to limit stress to the plant by helping to balance pH, soil salt content, soil moisture and soil temperature.

Soil microbes can range from being bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes and micro-arthropods. All of them play a vital role in keeping crops healthy and productive. For example, in the recent drought that Ontario, bacteria might have kept some plants alive that would have died otherwise. When the soil ran out of moisture, dying bacteria produced a tiny bit of additional water that could be sucked up by the plant’s roots, keeping the plant alive just a little longer until the next rain came through.

There are good microbes and bad microbes – the bad can cause the plant to become diseased, and even damage or kill other soil life (like beneficial microbes). As a farmer, it is important to promote good soil health with good management practices!

#GrainHacks: Oatmeal

Oatmeal

Are you and your kids a fan of oatmeal for breakfast? It seems that it is a love it or hate it kind of breakfast food. But did you know that oatmeal is super healthy for you? Oats can help lower your cholesterol as well as lower the chance of heart disease. This may not be on the top of your mind for your kids’ diet, but eating healthy at any age is vital. Oatmeal is also great at keeping you full, and it is wonderful on a cold winter day.

If you don’t like oatmeal, how can you make it more appealing and palatable? If you have the time, making it from scratch is the best so than you can avoid any unwanted sugar. If time is of the essence, a pack of instant oatmeal is still a great option! To make oatmeal more tasty, try adding some fruit (dry or fresh fruit are both great options). If you’re making oatmeal from scratch, try adding some brown sugar or maple syrup into the mix!

If you still just can’t quite manage a bowl of oatmeal, there are lots of recipes for homemade oatmeal bars that include a healthy portion of oats and fruit. Bake up a batch for a great breakfast meal, or even a healthy snack throughout the day!

What happens to soybeans after they’re harvested?

James in the combine

Across Ontario soybean harvest is in full swing, and over two million acres of soybeans will be harvested (How Big is an Acre?). When a combine goes through a field and harvests the soybean crop, the soybeans are usually taken to an elevator. At the elevator, the soybeans, if required, will be dried to the appropriate storage moisture of around 14%. It is important to store only dry grains; otherwise, they will rot.

But what happens now? The possibilities are endless! Depending on the type and grade of the soybean (how high of quality), it could end up ground or roasted in animal feed, or the oil could go into vegetable oil, or even into crayons! The soybean may even end up being loaded on a boat and shipped to one of over 50 different countries that Ontario exports to for use in tofu or other food items.

 

No Bake Play Doh

Play dough boys

This very easy homemade play dough can last up to six months. Keep in a sealed bag or container. If dough starts to dry out, knead in some water.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2-4 tbsp vegetable (corn) oil
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • food colouring

Directions

  1. Pour water into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add food colouring; stir well.
  3. Add flour and salt and stir, starting to combine.
  4. Add oil and stir. If the mix seems dry, add a little more oil. Knead the ingredients together until a soft dough is formed.