Knephla (Knefla) soup – retake

A little while back I posted a recipe for Knephla soup with a home-made broth. I thought I’d revisit this post, but take a few new pictures (and I used a ready-made broth, for time). Check it out, and be sure to share!

Knephla soup is simply a dough-based soup. Super easy to make, especially with a simple broth. Today I used 2 32 oz. containers of chicken broth and one can of cream of potato soup.


  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. salt (to your taste)
  • package frozen veggies (again, to your taste)
  • 3 chicken breasts, browned and chopped (you can also use ready-cooked chicken)

To make knephla dough, simply add the flour, egg and water and mix until a dough ball forms. You know the dough is done, when it doesn’t stick to the side of your mixer. If the dough is dry (flaky in the bowl), add a touch of water…if it’s wet (sticky mess), add a touch of flour. When adding to the dough, do so in small amounts. It doesn’t take much to get it to just the right consistency.

I love chopping celery. Well, anything, really.

I love chopping celery. Well, anything, really.

To the broth above, add in the vegetables (you could also use fresh carrots, celery, potatoes, whatever you’d like…I just happen to have a bag of frozen handy) and the chicken.

To make it faster tonight, I used pre-cooked chicken.

To make it faster tonight, I used pre-cooked chicken.

Bring the broth with all your goodies in it to a boil.

Roll dough into strips, then cut the knephla into small pieces. (I usually cut it directly into the kettle.)

Roll dough into strips, then cut the knephla into small pieces. (I usually cut it directly into the kettle.)

To make the actual knephla, tear off a chunk of dough and roll it into a strip. Think about half the width of a paper towel roll. Take your kitchen scissors (or your kids’ scissors…washed) and cut small pieces off the strip, directly into the broth. They may sink right away (unless you have a ton of stuff in your kettle, like veggies, meat, etc.), but they’ll float when the dough has cooked through (about 2-3 minutes). Keep cutting and rolling and cutting and rolling, until all the dough is in your pot.

My knephla always looks a bit more like stew, than soup.

My knephla always looks a bit more like stew, than soup.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Yum! A delicious bowl of knephla soup, ready for supper!

Yum! A delicious bowl of knephla soup, ready for supper!


Table Talk Contributor

Day 8 – Thoughts on giving (Christmas Angel Project 2013)

This will be the third year that I have organized this project, and I’m hoping that this year is bigger and better than ever! 🙂angelI love the holidays. And I plan to do my part to spread some cheer. For those that haven’t participated before, here’s how it all started.

I need two things from you: 1) Names of people who could use a little pick-me-up, a spring in their step, a reminder that someone, somewhere is thinking of them; 2) Angels willing to give of their time and show a complete stranger the meaning of the season.

Are you on board???

Let’s rock this!

Use the “Contact Val” tab at the top of the page to give me your names (addresses and suggested gifts/needs) or volunteer to be an angel. I’ll do my best to match people up, and no matter what happens, rest assured knowing that every angel request is responded to…trust me.

I cannot wait to get this year rolling!

Standing out in your field

Some have asked why we would want our sweet corn to be able to be grown with our field corn, and I thought it would be easiest to just show you the answer:

2013-08-07 16.10.54

Our sweet corn is a little shorter, mainly because it likes warmer weather than what we’ve been having.

2013-08-07 16.14.33

But it’s growing well, and we’ve been able to keep it weed-free! Look at those cobs!

2013-08-07 16.14.57


If you want to catch up on just what our corn is, and why we’re growing it…check out my post from last year!

And just wait ’til you see what we were able to do with it! Check that out here!

UPDATE: Check out this new video released today!

WW – This little piggy…

Today’s Wordless Wednesday post is brought to you by the newest members of Team Wagner: our 4-H pigs!

Here’s a sneak peak, although I’m sure they’ll have their own posts from time to time:

4-H project, pigs

EJ picked a pink pig with a black nose. That was his version of “perfect.”

4-H project, black pig

Scooter picked this guy out. Not perfect, but built the right way, just like him!

pigs, feeding pigs a treat

EJ wasn’t sure about the smell of pigs, but he thought it was fun to give them treats!

feeding pigs marshmallows

EJ really loved feeding them marshmallows! I have a feeling we’re going to have some spoiled porkers!

pigs and babes

George loved the pigs! ALL of them! He was mad that he didn’t get a 4-H pig, but I figured three was a good start.

From one farm wife to another

Recently I was privileged enough to be included with a group of bloggers that went through a little bit of a bloggy-boot camp. It was a great experience, and although I haven’t had the chance to make all the improvements I intend to make to this site, I’ve learned a TON!

I would like to thank the woman who was responsible for taking so many of us under her wing and giving us the opportunity to learn from her, and make some amazing changes to our blogs. Thank you, Judi!!! (By the way, Judi designed the rockin’ gravatar that you see on my sidebar!)

Thanks, Judi!

Thanks, Judi!

My favorite? The contact page. Sounds so simple and easy, and yet, it’s allowed so many to reach out to me already! You know, sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most!

Instead of rehashing it all, I’ll just send you over to my Prairie Sister’s page at j.l.d. photograph and let you check out what we were all doing. She covers it amazingly!

Are there any other improvements you would like to see? Just let me know, and I’ll figure out a way to do it! (Or at least try, within reason!) 😉

Want to check out what others are saying about our crash course in blogging? Read what my good friend, JP, has put together!

Flat Aggie visits our farm

We had a visitor at our farm this week. He didn’t eat much, didn’t take up much room, but wanted to learn about what we do. His name is Flat Aggie, and he’s a project that was started by a teacher in California.

Many people are aware of Flat Stanley, the popular children’s book that follows the adventures of a paper man. This project is very similar, except the teacher sends Flat Aggie to farms across the country, hoping to learn through Flat Aggie’s travels all about what happens on the farm.

So what did Flat Aggie learn about on our farm? He helped with tagging our heifers with their cow tags. (To learn more about what the cow tags mean, such as their color, read more here.) For our heifers, that’s kind of like being adopted. When we switch out their calf tag with a cow tag, we’re including them in our herd.

A simple hair cut around the ears helps us see the cow tag better. Notice how the number on the left is much easier to see than the number on the right? Thanks, Flat Aggie, for the help!

A simple hair cut around the ears helps us see the cow tag better. Notice how the number on the left is much easier to see than the number on the right? Thanks, Flat Aggie, for the help!

While we were tagging the heifers, Flat Aggie also helped us trim the hair growing in the cattle’s ears. This makes it easier to see the tag numbers when we are working with the cattle. It’s important that we’re able to know which cow we’re dealing with from a distance, so that we can keep track of health, calving progress, etc.

This heifer (meaning she's going to have her first calf soon) is trading her yellow calf tag in for a blue cow tag!

This heifer (meaning she’s going to have her first calf soon) is trading her yellow calf tag in for a blue cow tag!

The last thing Flat Aggie helped us with was giving pre-calving vaccinations. For our cattle, this is very important for the health of the unborn calf. Think of it as a pregnant woman getting a flu shot. The risk of being ill while pregnant, or immediately after the baby is born is greater than the minimal risk of the vaccination. In cattle, even more so.

Before she goes back to eating her breakfast, this heifer gets a shot that will help protect her unborn calf from illness.

Before she goes back to eating her breakfast, this heifer gets a shot that will help protect her unborn calf from illness.

The best part of having Flat Aggie visit our farm? Being able to see things from another perspective. Having to figure out how to explain what we do so that a student could understand was a real eye-opening experience. And it’s great to connect to others across the country that are interested in what we do, but really have no way of finding out, other than through activities like this.

Did it take a little time? Of course. Was it worth it? Without a doubt.

Flat Aggie will be moving on to his next farm, learning his next lesson, sharing his next story. But you don’t need to have a piece of paper to encourage you to share your story. You can do it all on your own.

Trust me, people are wanting to hear what you have to say…you just have to take the step to share it.

Christmas Angel Project – 2012

OK everyone, I’ve got an idea up my sleeve, but I need all of YOU to help me. Got it?

Here’s the plan (bear with me, I may babble a bit, but there’s a good plan here, I promise!):

I want you to email me suggestions, ideas, requests for Christmas wishes. For the sake of this project, please don’t make them unattainable (such as houses or vehicles), but they can be as simple as prayer requests, or a gift card to get a few groceries…think of someone in your neighborhood who may be down on their luck, or a young family who could use an extra smile. Be creative, I know you can!

You can email those requests to…and then I’ll compile the information. I will take emails up until Dec. 15, after that point, our angels would need some time to shop/ship/make whatever is needed!

While taking requests for those in need, I’m adding a twist to this charity drive. I’m taking requests for those who want to give. I know that a lot of us give locally, but let me tell you from experience, that giving anonymously is an AMAZING feeling! Imagine getting a package in the mail that you weren’t expecting?!? Isn’t that the coolest feeling in the world?

Anyway, if you can also email me at and let me know if you’re interested in being an angel…to what extent, etc. I’ll match up my requests to angels and let God take care of the rest! Sound like a deal?

Now, for the most part, I’m going to keep the requests confidential…only angels will have the information sent to me. I’ll do my best to set up good matches, but I’m human, so there may be some trial and error going on here. But I’m so excited about this opportunity to share our good fortune and blessings with so many others!

So here’s how I have it played out in my head (just to give you an example): Angie emails me, telling me that a lady in her neighborhood could use a helping hand with a few groceries this holiday season. She sends me a list of local grocery stores, the lady’s address and any specific items she may know that she needs (whatever would be helpful). I then look at my list of “angels” and see that Suzy is interested in sending gift cards and has access to one of the stores that has a site near Angie’s neighbor. I email Suzy the address and request for Angie’s neighbor and let Suzy take care of the rest. Got it? Questions?

Now, I get that there could be problems, issues, etc. I don’t pretend to think that this is the ultimate in plans…but I think we can work together and iron out any issues that may come up. I’ll do what I can to check out both the recipient and the giver prior to passing out any information, but trust me, nothing top secret is really going on here.

Alright, get to brainstorming some ideas for gifts, and let me know if you can help out with the “angel” end of things. I’ll keep you updated everyday on how many “matches” were made…and if I’m in need of more of one or the other!

I can’t wait to get this thing rolling! 🙂

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Why the fuss about lunch?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions, some support and a little flak about my position on the changes to the school foods rule. And I thought maybe I should explain where I’m coming from, so that those that are reading my opinions can understand my point of view a little better.

Let me start off by saying that I was not raised to stand my ground. In fact, if anything, it was the opposite. My mother is a “pleaser.” She will do anything/everything to not make waves, go with the flow, whatever phrase you want to use. (My oldest is just like her.) My dad has his opinions, and you would never change his mind…but you’d never hear him talk about it either.

If there were changes made to my school lunch plans when I was in school, I would have had to live with it…and live with whatever was being served. Even if it wasn’t enough. Not because my parents didn’t care, but more because they were from an era where you never questioned authority and never stood up to what was “law.”

Times have changed.

There are many, many things that I like about the new rules. I love the addition of fresh fruits/vegetables. I love the ideas of expanding food choices, introducing them to new foods. Love that.

I understand the thoughts behind the calorie limits, and appreciate the work that went into figuring where to draw the line. I get the reason behind limiting sodium intake. Really. I do.

But my inner “mother bear” comes out when you start messing with my children…even more so when it comes to something I’m very sensitive about, such as their diets. With George’s diagnosis of OTC, we work closely with a dietician at Mayo. Through the last few years, we’ve been made VERY aware of the importance of proper nutrition for growing bodies.

Now, I know that the changes made to the school lunch program must have followed a dietician’s suggestion…perhaps even a team of dieticians. But it still doesn’t hit all the marks that I’m looking for in a good, well-balanced meal. And not necessarily for every child, but for mine…which is who I am fighting for (and I know I’m not alone).

I’m not complaining to my school administration. I’m not complaining to my school board. I know they are doing the best they can with what they have been given. I am writing those that have the power to make a change, and I’m using the tools that are available to me (social media, for one) to encourage others to do the same.

This isn’t a witch hunt, I’m not looking for someone to blame. I don’t care who signed the law, I don’t care which party they are from. I want to know who I can talk to that will work with me to make changes…that’s all I need.

We have passed the eras where laws are made and citizens no longer question them and just follow along blindly, assuming that everything was made in good-faith effort to do the best for those involved. (Did that time ever truly exist?) We are in an age where we are expected to stand up for what’s right and ask to make changes when things aren’t working…and this isn’t working for me and my family.

Scooter may be bigger than most 8-year-olds, but he’s still a little boy who needs his mama to stand up for him…and his future. (Oh, and this is an OLD pic of the two of them. About 2 years or so.)

Scooter and his older/younger brothers. He’s the one in the football gear.

I won’t spread rumors, I will try not to state anything without doing my research. I won’t place blame. I will just work towards a change. But I have to be vocal about what I find, or questions I may have…I have to use the tools that are at my disposal to get my message out to those who need to hear, and to those that can join in the movement.

I won’t stand by and watch an injustice when there’s something I can do…I’d say I wasn’t raised that way, but that’s not completely true. Let’s just say that I’m not raising my children that way.

Want to contact someone who can make a change? Here’s a good place to start:

Undersecretary of Food & Nutrition Services
Kevin Concannon
1400 Independence Ave, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

Secretary of Agriculture
Tom Vilsack
1400 Independence Ave, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

The Ultimate Gift

I’m sure you’ve read about our sweet corn before. We planted it earlier this spring, have watched it grow, taken care of it and waited for the day that we could enjoy the product of our hard work…and now we’ve given the excess of our crop to some pretty deserving people.

Giving our corn through the ND Huger Free Garden Project.

The Great Plains Food Bank arrived on Wednesday afternoon and picked up the remainder of our crop that was ripe and have been able to make it available to food banks across the state of North Dakota.

I have to thank my friends, neighbors and everyone who volunteered to help with this crazy project of mine.  Especially those that came from a distance, like my friend JP who flew in from St. Louis, and my friends at the ND Dept. of Agriculture. Thank you all!

So many volunteers, thank you everyone!!!!!

I’m so happy that we are able to share this with those that are down on their luck, or are struggling to put a meal on the table. And I’m so happy that we were able to find a place for it, instead of seeing it destroyed by wildlife, time and eventually, our tractors.

Sacks of corn, ready to share across the state.

It’s been a crazy week, one I’ll have to tell you about later. I’m going to go enjoy a cob of corn, a cold glass of milk and some time with my kiddos. School starts next week, and I’m not ready…even if they are.

Picking corn

After weeks of waiting, our sweet corn is finally ready to enjoy…and enjoy it we have!

My littlest helper, George.

EJ is a big fan of sweet corn, too!

After my last post on sweet corn, I received some interesting suggestions as to what we could do with our farm…namely, someone thought it would be best if our farm were to burn down. That wasn’t very nice, now was it?

A good friend of mine found this video clip, and I think it does an amazing job of explaining the exact science behind GMO’s, as opposed to random modifications that are made in plant breeding all the time. (And trust me, I would never consider the Huffington Post as a credible news source, ever…but this one surprised me!)

Scientist’s take on GMO

Every time I think about our sweet corn, this is the image in my head, not a Mr. Yuck sticker:

This little one is excited for some sweet corn…and I’m excited about the possibilities!