At Hungry for Truth, we don’t just love sharing farmer stories and recipes, we also enjoy connecting with some of our biggest fans. We recently chatted with Staci Perry, a mom of two and baking blogger – Random Sweetness Baking – from Brookings. She explained how Hungry for Truth serves as a resource for her when it comes to GMOs, food labels and what really happens on today’s farms.
She sweetened up the conversation with delightful Maple Marshmallow Mash-Up Bars. We’ve shared the recipe below.
What is important when it comes to choosing food for your family?
The most important thing is that I have a choice. I choose to educate myself about farming practices. I choose to listen and seek out information on both sides of debatable topics like biotechnology (GMOs) and crop protection.
I don’t let the national media dictate what I should or shouldn’t be eating. It’s my responsibility to learn and decide. Initiatives like Hungry for Truth and local farmers are excellent resources for information about how my food is grown and raised.
Why are you a fan of Hungry for Truth?
I couldn’t bake without the work farmers do. I rely on farmers for ingredients like sugar, flour, cream cheese, eggs, milk, whipping cream and butter. Even the soybeans they grow are used in cooking oil. Try baking your family’s favorite treats without ingredients from a farm.
I also appreciate the events they host. I’ve met some amazing farmers like Peggy Greenway and learned something new at each one. It’s fun to hang out with people who are passionate about food and farming.
Have you ever had any misconceptions about farming or food?
I used to think about farms as large and corporate without the human aspect. But now I’ve toured farms and met real farm families who care about growing healthy food and protecting the environment. The technology they use to preserve the soil and care for their animals is amazing! Farmers have certainly embraced technology in ways I never thought of.
I was also completely against GMOs a few years ago due to what I read online. Now I know more about the testing GMOs goes through before they’re approved and am more open to food choices that contain the technology.
I encourage anyone who has questions or concerns about agriculture to follow Hungry for Truth and get the facts from farmers.
How have your shopping habits changed?
I pay more attention to food labels. I believed it meant something when a package of chicken breasts was labeled as “hormone free.” Or, if a package wasn’t labeled as hormone free, I thought it was not as good, or unhealthy for my family. Now I know it’s just advertising. Federal regulations don’t allow added hormones in poultry or pork.
This conversation is a great example of why South Dakota soybean farmers started the Hungry for Truth initiative, to encourage people to learn the truth about how food is grown and raised by asking farmers. Here’s a story from one of Staci’s favorite farmers, Peggy Greenway, explaining how she sustainably raises animals on her farm.
Now let’s warm up your kitchen with Staci’s gooey mash-up bars. Yum!
Maple Marshmallow Mash-Up Bars
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened (do not substitute margarine)
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 1-oz square unsweetened chocolate melted and set aside to cool slightly
- 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup Flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces
Maple cream cheese layer
- 6 oz Cream Cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup Butter softened (do not substitute margarine)
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 Egg room temperature
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 3/4 tsp maple extract
- 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 2 oz Cream Cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 1-oz square unsweetened chocolate
- 2 tbsp Milk
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, melted chocolate, and vanilla. Mix well on medium speed.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gently stir into chocolate mixture. Fold in pecans.
- Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan and spread evenly.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese until smooth.
- Add softened butter and beat until well combined.
- Beat in sugar, egg, flour and maple extract until creamy. Spread evenly over chocolate layer.
- Sprinkle butterscotch chips over cream cheese layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Edges will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan but it will not look done. Do not overbake or the brownie layer will be dry.
- Remove pan from oven.
- Sprinkle marshmallows over butterscotch chips.
- Bake another 2 minutes or until marshmallows become puffed. Remove from oven.
- Gently spread the marshmallows over layer of butterscotch chips. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, cook and stir butter, cream cheese, unsweetened chocolate and milk.
- Slowly melt and stir until smooth.
- Pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, beating after each cup. Beat in vanilla.
- Add a tablespoon or two of milk if needed for desired spreading consistency.
- Spread over cooled bars. Store in the refrigerator.