Welcome! My name is Cristen, and I’m an Iowa farmer. In my family we raise corn, soybeans and pigs. I love cooking and writing, and sharing contest winning recipes with people I know. Memories made in the kitchen, are some of the most treasured memories I have. I started this blog to share the recipes straight from my family cookbook and moments on our farm in Iowa. You’ll find heirloom recipes, recipes I’ve entered and won money with, in cooking and baking contests, and plenty more that just taste dang good. I am a mom of two, a daughter who loves pigs and sports, and a son who loves pigs, tractors and… tractors. He gets that nowhere strange as I, too, love big tractors. I can’t live without mascara, leather work gloves and Nike crew socks.

Things I’m doing now:
Iowa Food and Family Project
Fresh Pickings Magazine, food writer
Baking and Cooking Classes for Kids
LIVE and Virtual Cooking and Baking Demonstrations/Speaking Engagements
Food Editor, Our Iowa Magazine
Owner, Fastpitch Farm (https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c4ba9aa2ca6f94-pitching)
Iowa Pork Producers Association, Restaurant and Foodservice Committee
Cooking and Baking Contest Judge (state or national level)

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Disclosure: Occasionally, I work with third-party companies to help me keep underwrite the cost and keep up with writing Food & Swine. You’ll see this now, when you visit my blog. These companies may use aggregated information (not including your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.



  • Reply bsinthemidwest February 23, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for the shoutout in the “blogs I follow” section!

    • Reply mikeandcristen February 24, 2014 at 12:22 am

      Anytime! Have to support my Midwest friends! Love your blog. :)

  • Reply Beth Ann February 26, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    I can see I am going to be spending a lot of time on your blog getting recipes!! Great to meet you!

    • Reply mikeandcristen February 27, 2014 at 2:42 am

      Thanks Beth Ann! I appreciate your kind words. Nice to meet you too!

  • Reply Crystal Cattle March 3, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    I just wanted to stop in and say hello. I’m from NE Iowa and my family has cattle, although I do a lot of work with pigs through my work. I am working to convince my husband that our unborn children should show pigs in addition to our Hereford heifers on day. Excited to connect.

    • Reply Cristen March 4, 2014 at 1:11 am

      Hey there! Thanks for stopping by. My best friend lives in NE Iowa as well! Small world. I too grew up on a cattle farm and showed pigs a tiny bit because they were in my extended family growing up. Now we have barns in a few places and our small ‘hobby herd’. Pigs are so fun with my children! I hope through some of my posts you can convince your husband that you MUST have them for your children to come! Take care and thanks for checking in!

  • Reply LFFL March 23, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Love the title of your blog! Cute.

    • Reply Cristen March 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      Thank you very much! :)

  • Reply April Murray June 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Cristen, your site looks fantastic, I look forward to following your blog :)
    -April from The Thin Kitchen

    • Reply Cristen June 23, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      Thank you so much April!

  • Reply Emily Grace July 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Looking forward to following along.(:
    Emily Grace

  • Reply Mary Jo July 8, 2014 at 8:30 pm


    It’s Mary Brooks’ mom, Mary Jo. I found your “in the kitchen with…” aritcle today in the Welcome Home Des Moines magazine! I just read it and had to say hi to you. Wow, I am so impressed with your beautiful family, love of cooking and down home values. Good for you. I enjoyed seeing pictures of your family including sis, mom and dad. I married George Howe ( Andy Howe’s dad) so I see Kassie Graziano alot. She said she is a friend of yours. Well congrats to you. Hi to your mom, dad and Tana. I hope we cross paths again someday. Keep smiling!

  • Reply Chase & Chance's Mom September 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Looking forward to reading through your blog. I love connecting with other people who love this lifestyle!! Tina

  • Reply gpcox September 12, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Sounds like a wonderful life. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

  • Reply Cindy K. September 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Cristen, we farm in NW Iowa. Wondering if you’re in the same area? Is the orchard with bouncing pillow Community Orchard Ft. Dodge? Good job teaching people about farming through your blog! I try to do the same! I said to someone today that we’re busy right now and she said “doing what?” LOL

    • Reply Cristen September 27, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Cindy, we’re in Central Iowa, the orchard is “Center Grove Orchard” in Cambridge. So fun! :) Nice to meet you!

  • Reply Just A Mom Giving It A Tri January 25, 2015 at 4:15 am

    We are from Rockford, Iowa! I am so excited to continue to follow your blog!

    • Reply Cristen January 25, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      So awesome! Thanks for stopping by! I love to connect with fellow Iowans. I’ll check out your blog!

  • Reply marilyn44 April 25, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Hello from Garner,Iowa .. I just found your site :)) yay ! I grew up in Clear Lake, Iowa .. Do you know where these 2 towns are !!!

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