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Future foodie:

By Staff | Aug 27, 2018

Sophia Wuebker prepares sensational salsa in the kitchen of her family’s farm house near Rockwell City recently.



ROCKWELL CITY-For a farm girl like Sophia Wuebker, she could hardly believe what she was hearing. She was selling home-grown sweet corn to customers one day this past July at the campgrounds at Twin Lakes, when she encountered a boy from Las Vegas who was visiting family in Iowa.

The boy, who was about eight years old, got confused when Wuebker said she was selling sweet corn. “‘No, sweet corn comes from a can,’ he said,” recalled Wuebker, age 11. “I just thought-whoa, he doesn’t know where food comes from. His family brought some, though, and they really liked it.”

Wuebker knows exactly where food comes from. She lives on a farm north of Rockwell City with her parents, Kent and Pearl, and younger siblings Karson, Rylan and Kaylee. Along with raising corn, soybeans and hogs, the family has a small flock of chickens and grows a garden each summer.

Lemon zucchini bread was made from fresh zucchini from the Wuebker family garden.

Being around all this food has inspired Wuebker to grow her skills in the kitchen-and she’s having fun doing it. It all started with some homegrown grapes near Lohrville.

“My grandma Lois Irwin has a grapevine, so we made some grape jelly one summer when I was about five,” said Wuebker, who is in fifth grade at South Central Calhoun in Rockwell City.

A few years later, Wuebker’s mom went to Getting’s Garden near Sanborn and came home with 20 pounds of fresh strawberries. “They were so good, and we couldn’t eat them all, so we decided to make jam,” said Wuebker, who exhibited her own homemade strawberry jam for the first time at the 2018 Calhoun County Expo in July.

Wuebker, who has completed her first year as a member of the Logan Larks 4-H Club, enjoyed the chance to enter a number of her food products in the local fair, including chocolate chip cookies. She earned third place honors, while her brother Rylan won second place in the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie contest at the 2018 Calhoun County Expo.

Homegrown ingredients also inspire many of Wuebker’s culinary creations. Since the family has nearly two hens (mainly Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks) that lay about a dozen eggs a day, she enjoys making her 5-Ingredient Sausage and Egg Hash Brown Casserole.

- Farm News photo by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby Sophia Wuebker entered her strawberry jam as a 4-H project this year. Wuebker said she began making jelly when she was five years old.

“I like cooking with pork, too,” said Wuebker, who makes her own sausage by seasoning ground pork.

The family’s garden also provides plenty of abundance for recipes like Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread, which includes Wuebker’s golden zucchini. Tomatoes, peppers and herbs from the garden pack a fresh flavor punch in Wuebker’s Sensational Salsa.

Where does she find all her recipes? Some come from food blogs and the social media site Pinterest, while some are found among her family’s treasured recipes, including hand-written ones passed on from her great-grandmother Florine Irwin of Rockwell City. Others come from local cookbooks, including the Stewart Memorial Community Hospital cookbook from Lake City.

Wuebker plans to keep on trying new recipes and making tried-and-true family favorites. “It’s really fun and it’s worth it, because everything usually tastes good.”

Sensational salsa

3 to 4 cloves of garlic

Jalapeno pepper, to taste

3 to 4 Roma tomatoes

1 / 2 medium onion

1 / 4 bell pepper

6 to 8 leaves and stems of fresh cilantro

1 / 2 fresh lemon or lime (juiced)

Salt, to taste

Put garlic and jalapeno in food chopper and chop. Add remaining ingredients. Chop to desired consistency. Serve with tortilla chips.

Lemon zucchini bread

This easy zucchini bread recipe has a lemon bread twist to it, making it the perfect quick bread and sweet treat.


1 cup canola or vegetable oil

6 ounces Greek yogurt (lemon or vanilla)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 / 4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Topping (Optional)

2tablespoons lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8 -inch by 4 -inch bread pans with baking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together oil, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and sugar. Once combined, add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in lemon zest; stir together.

Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and mix just until combined. Add in zucchini and vanilla extract; stir.

Once combined, divide batter evenly between the two bread pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool at least 10-20 minutes before removing from the pan and placing on a cooling rack.

For the glaze, mix lemon juice and powdered sugar together until well combined. With the bread on the cooling rack, pour glaze over the bread. Sprinkle lemon zest over the top of the glaze, if desired.

Five ingredient sausage, egg and hash brown casserole

This hearty casserole can be prepared ahead of time and baked later, if desired.

2 pounds hot breakfast sausage

1 (30-32oz) bag frozen shredded hash browns

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

8 eggs

2 cups milk

1 / 2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink. Drain fat.

Add hash browns to skillet and cook until lightly brown. Place hash browns in bottom of lightly greased 9?13-inch pan. Top with sausage and cheese.

Whisk together eggs, salt, pepper and milk. Pour over hash brown mixture. (Cover and refrigerate at this point if baking later.) Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Strawberry jam

5 cups prepared fruit (buy about 2 quarts fully ripe strawberries)

1 box fruit pectin

1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine

7 cups granulated sugar, measured into separate bowl

Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 5 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.

Stir pectin into fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if needed.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed, and refrigeration is necessary.)

Perfect chocolate chip cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 / 2 teaspoon salt

1 / 2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 / 2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat together the butter, and sugars about 2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix on low speed until combined.

Gradually add the flour mixture, and mix in until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

Add chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon, just until incorporated.

Chill dough if dough is warm.

Using a small or large ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, 6 to 8 cookies per pan, depending on size desired.

Bake (8 to 10 minutes for small cookies, or 10 to 13 minutes for large cookies). Bake until the bottoms and edges of cookies are lightly browned. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 18 to 30 cookies, depending on size.

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