The Beauty in the Beef

For the love of South Dakota Beef

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

We ❤ Beef- World Heart Day 2012

This Saturday, September 29, 2012 marks the annual World Heart Day: A day to focus and emphasize the severity of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke.  Each year CVD takes the lives of 17.3 million individuals. This number is continually rising and by the year 2030 it is expected that 23 million people will die from CVD annually- that is more than the population of Australia! CVD is a disease that is typically associated with the older male adult population, however, all ages and populations are affected by this disease, including women in children.

In fact, this year’s campaign is a focus on women and children.  Many are not aware that heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 female deaths- that’s one death per minute!! Children are also at risk for CVD as factors such as exposure to unhealthy diets, lack of exercise and smoking all can contribute to CVD.

The World Heart Federation(r) recommends you to take action in 4 simple ways:

1. Get active.
“Physical inactivity causes 6% of deaths globally.  Risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes and lack of physical activity, present in childhood can greatly increase the likelihood a child will develop heart disease as an adult.  Even 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five times per week reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.”

2. Eat a heart-healty diet.
“More and more people are turning to processed foods that are often high in sugar, salt, saturated or trans fats.  Unhealthy diets are linked to four of the world’s top 10 leading risk factors causing death.”

3. Say “no” to tobacco.
“One in every two smokers will diet of tobacco-related diseases, unfortunately, more and more children and teenagers are taking up smoking.  Secondhand smoke kills more than 600,000 non-smokers every year including children.  In infants, secondhand smoke can cause sudden death.”

4. Know your numbers.
“By taking the steps above, you and your family can reduce the burden of heart disease and stroke wherever you are in the world, but it is important to keep a regular check on your heart health.”

Just as the myth of CVD only affects the older male population, there is also a common misconception that red meat is not part of a heart healthy diet.  This was something that the Beef Council was determined to prove false- which they did!  In January of this year the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a BOLD new twist on the DASH diet, which was recognized as the “best overall diet” and “best diet for healthy eating”.

The Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study, conducted by researchers at The Pennsylvania State University, found consuming lean beef daily as part of a heart-healthy diet lowered LDL “bad” cholesterol by 10 percent, which was just as effective as the DASH diet.  This research provides convincing support that nutrient-rich lean beef CAN be an everyday part of a heart-heathy diet!

If you would like to learn more about the BOLD study, use the links below which include further data and statistics as well as menu and sample recipes used in the study!

BOLD Study Fact Sheet:

BOLD Recipes:

For additional nutrition information on the benefits of lean beef in your diet, visit:

A “Beefed” up Pregnancy

With my due date inching closer and my belly continuing to grow a little more each day, I can feel our little girl inside of me and based on her frequent movements, I would say she is losing patience much like her mommy is! 🙂

This is my first pregnancy and it has been a wonderful learning experience.  I knew that when the day would come that I would be pregnant I was going to stay committed to my healthy and active lifestyle.  I wanted to prove that pregnancy was not a period of your life when you were “excused” from eating healthly or exercising.  It is not a time to indulge in all of your cravings and park your behind on the couch for 10 months.

In fact, it should be the opposite.

If anything, you should be more conscientious of your eating habits and activity level while pregnant.  You are given one of the greatest blessings in life and should take all of the appropriate measures and make a respectable effort to provide your baby with the nutrients he or she deserves to grow into a healthy human being.  Yes, that means consuming a balanced diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and, of course- lean protein! (Note that rocky road ice cream and potato chips don’t fall into these food groups.)  That being said, I would be a complete hypocrite to say that I haven’t indulged once or twice in chips and salsa or frozen yogurt- but we have to be sensible and moderate these treats!

The growth and development in the technology and research of pregnancy over the past decade is astounding!  This was confirmed by my own mother whom gave birth to me just 23 years ago and wasn’t even told to restrict alcohol! (she assured me she did, however- thanks, mom!) Between ultrasounds and diet restrictions, we know so much more today than we did in the past.  We know that exercise is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy and can significantly impact labor and delivery as well as the recovery period for your body to return to its normal state post pregnancy.  I am now 30 weeks pregnant and have stayed active throughout my entire pregnancy by doing a wide range of physical activities such as pilates, weight lifting, spinning, and running.  Although the intensity of these workouts have decreased substantially, I am still being active 5-6 days a week.  My doctor has been thoroughly impressed by my efforts to state active and has provided me with all of the appropriate guidelines and restrictions to ensure the protection of my baby.  I have had no complications, back pain, swelling, nausea or other typical pregnancy symptoms and I am well into my third trimester (truth!).  Some may call it luck, but I strongly attribute this “good fortune” to my activity level combined with a healthful diet.

That’s right, a healthful diet.  Being a nutritionist, I am naturally a healthy eater. So, when I became pregnant, committing to a balanced diet was not a difficult adjustment for me- I was already consuming one!  However, there are certain nutrients that your body requires more of when you are pregnant.  These nutrients include an extra 10 grams of protein each day to support your growing baby and changes in your own body.  Iron is yet another essential nutrient that is important in your pregnancy diet.  Iron helps carry oxygen to cells and tissues, aids in brain development, supports the immune system and assists in making new red blood cells.  Iron deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to a higher incidence of pre-term births and low birth weights.  A 50% increase in blood volume occurs during pregnancy.  This means you need enough iron to help make about three more pounds of blood!  I have been able to successfully consume adequate iron and protein by supplementing my diet with the power of lean beef.  Whether it is a sirloin steak for supper, a beef stick as a snack or deli roast beef (heated to appropriate temperature) on whole wheat bread for a quick lunch- I make sure and consume beef daily!

By incorporating lean beef into my diet daily throughout my pregnancy I have not only provided myself and my baby with adequate iron and protein, but the essential vitamins and minerals such as zinc, choline and B vitamins!  Other nutrients to make sure and take into consideration while pregnant include: vitamin C, folic acid and calcium.

I am so pleased with how my body has responded to my first pregnancy and as I mentioned before, some may call it luck- but I will strongly argue that my commitment to a healthy diet and active lifestyle has led to 30 successful weeks of pregnancy bliss 🙂

*If you are pregnant, please consult your physician before exercising or altering your diet.  

Here is a great hand out on additional pregnancy nutrition tips and facts created by the National Cattleman’s Beef Association funded through the Beef Checkoff.


Breakfast with Beef

Guest Blog written by:
Holly Swee, RD, LN.  
SDBIC Director of Nutrition 

Summer break is over and school is in full swing with extracurricular actives before and after school.  Even though our schedules may be hectic, let’s not forget about taking time to prepare a delicious breakfast.  Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day because it provides the “fuel” that gives us energy to get through the day.   It’s especially important to think outside “the cereal box” when it comes to breakfast because high-quality protein foods like lean beef can be an important and delicious addition to your morning plate.  

Research suggests that including protein like lean beef at breakfast promotes satiety, 1 which means students can focus more on learning rather than when the next snack or meal will be served. 

High-quality protein, like lean beef, is especially important for children because it supports the growth, repair and maintenance of all body tissues, makes red blood cells and boosts the immune system 2.  Sufficient protein is essential for children to perform their best both physically and mentally.

Research also shows that balancing protein intake across three meals, specifically by increasing protein intake at breakfast and lunch, helps to preserve muscle mass 4.    

Lean beef is a naturally rich source of 10 essential nutrients, and a perfect partner for your everyday breakfast favorites like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, making it simpler to start your day in a balanced way. 

In honor of September’s National Breakfast Month, I’m sharing this Beef Sweet Potato Hash recipe.  This recipe makes the most of leftovers by mixing remaining beef with sweet potato, onion and taco seasoning into a flavorful hash. You can even put the mix in a whole-grain tortilla for a hand-held meal.  Pair it with your favorite fruit and low-fat or non-fat dairy and you have a balanced breakfast ready to go.

For more healthy beef recipes and information contact Holly Swee, RD, LN, Director of Nutrition & Consumer Information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council at 605-224-4722 or


1.  Leidy H, Bossingham M, Mattes R, Campbell W. Increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times. British Journal of Nutrition. 2009; 101, 798–803.  

2.  Duyff, RL. The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food & Nutrition Guide, 4th ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 2012.

3.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2005. What We Eat In America, NHANES 2001-2002: Usual nutrient intakes from food compared to dietary reference intakes. Internet: (accessed 13 October 2010).  

4.  Devkota S, Layman D. Protein metabolic roles in treatment of obesity. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition. 2010; 13:403-407  


Beefy Sweet Potato Hash

Total recipe time: 35 to 40 minutes

Makes 4 servings


12 ounces cooked beef (such as steak, roast or pot roast), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2-1/2 cups)

1 large sweet potato, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix

1/4 cup water 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 

2 tablespoons reduced-fat or regular dairy sour cream 

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Combine sweet potatoes, onion and taco seasoning in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add water. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender and water has almost evaporated, stirring once. Stir in oil; continue cooking, uncovered, 4 to 6 minutes or until potatoes are tender and begin to brown, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Meanwhile, combine sour cream and hot sauce in small bowl. Set aside. 
  3. Add beef to potato mixture. Continue to cook 5 minutes or until beef is heated through, stirring occasionally, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed to avoid sticking.
  4. Garnish with cilantro, as desired. Serve with sour cream mixture. 

*Recipe courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Program



It’s hard to believe that September is here and summer is essentially over.  School is back in session and the temperatures are beginning to drop (well, sort of).  One of the greatest pleasures of living in the midwest, in my opinion, is having the privilege to experience the changing of seasons.  Just when we feel we are at our breaking point and cannot handle one more 100+ degree or -15 windchill day, mother nature sheds a layer and brings us a new season.  With new seasons come new traditions, holidays, fashion trends, recipes, etc.  This is what I love about the midwest.  We are continually given the opportunity to “turn over a new leaf”, if you will.  Which brings us to the month of September and the fall season- my personal favorite!  Hot apple cider, crisp autumn air, the crunching of leaves under your feet, hooded sweatshirts, any pumpkin baked good (personal weakness), and of course, football!

That’s right- tailgating parties, team rivalries, lots of smack talk, hot pots of chili and of course, “that guy” who always seems to take things just a little too far… it’s football season.  And whether you are a cheering on your local high school team, favorite college or beloved NFL team, we all love the sport and what it stands for.  But for me personally, it’s the gathering of friends and family on Sunday afternoon to enjoy each others company and of course, FOOD!

The backbone to any good football party is a solid menu.  In order for that menu to really support the strength and endurance it takes for you to cheer on your team through four quarters of agony and despair (this is coming from a Vikings fan, of course) you must include hearty beef recipes that will provide plenty of “beefence”! There are already the common staples, as previously mentioned, the crowd favorite- chili, ribs, burgers, steaks, barbecues, chislic, various dips- the opportunities to serve up some “beefence” are endless.  I’ve included some of my personal tailgating favorites from website.  I encourage you all to visit this website or follow SD BEEF on Pinterest for additional ideas to serve some “beefence” at your next football party! Feel free to post your favorite recipe or dish to serve up on game day!

And remember, Go BEEF & Skol Vikings, Skol!! 🙂

Chimichurri Steak Wraps

Chimichurri Steak Wraps Total recipe time: 15 to 20 minutesMakes 4 servings


  1. 12 ounces grilled beef steak, cut into slices
  2. 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  3. 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  4. 4 medium whole wheat tortillas (8 to 10-inch diameter)
Chimichurri Sauce:
  1. 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  2. 2 cloves garlic
  3. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Place parsley and garlic in food processor or blender container. Cover; process until finely chopped. Add oil, vinegar and salt; process just until blended.
  2. Spread each tortilla evenly with Chimichurri Sauce, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Top with equal amounts spinach, bell pepper slices and beef slices on top two-thirds of tortilla. Fold bottom of tortilla up over filling. Fold right and left sides to center overlapping edges; secure with wooden picks; if desired.

Spicy Cheeseburger Sliders

Spicy Cheeseburger Sliders Total recipe time: 25 to 30 minutesMakes 8 sliders 


  1. 1 pound ground beef (96% lean)
  2. 9 small whole wheat hamburger buns, split, divided
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
  5. 2 slices pepper Jack cheese, cut in quarters
  1. Barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato slices, pickles (optional)


  1. Tear one hamburger bun into pieces. Place in food processor or blender container. Cover; pulse on and off, to form fine crumbs.
  2. Combine bread crumbs, beef, garlic and chili powder in medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into eight 1/2-inch thick mini patties.
  3. Place patties on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 9 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 10 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally. Evenly top with cheese during last minute of grilling.
  4. Place burgers on bottoms of remaining eight buns. Top with desired Toppings. Close sandwiches.

A Labor filled Labor Day weekend!

The definition of Labor Day is a public holiday or day of festivities held in honor of working people.  Naturally, the only way to honor these individuals would be to work, of course! And that is exactly what the good people of the SD Beef Council did 🙂

Over the weekend the South Dakota State Fair took place in Huron, SD.  The South Dakota Beef Industry had quite the presence and in a wide variety of ways!  On Friday, or “Beef Day” at the fair, the Beef Council’s tent was filled with many different booths for adults, children, consumers and producers.  The venues included:

  • SDSU Meat Lab- Beef Cutting Demo & Samples
  • SD Grasslands Coalition- Identify native grasses and sample Grass Fed Beef
  • Ag in the Classroom- Create a farm charm
  • NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service)- Cattle the natural recycler
  • SD Cattlemen’s Association- Beef Trivia
  • SD Department of Ag- SD Certified Program
  • SDBIC SD Cattlewomen- Name that Lean Cut, Cow Chow Video Game, Beef & Bean Salsa Samples
  • “I Heart Beef Because…” cardsAll of these activities and booths combined to make a fun, educational and tasty visit to the SD Beef Council tent!!

On Friday Holly & myself also held two free cooking demos highlighting two recipes from the BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) study. Despite some electrical difficulties (whoops!), we were able to recover and put on two great demos that afternoon.  And of course, the recipe samples went over great (mine more than Holly’s, again– but who’s keeping score;)) Haha! I’ve included the recipes at the bottom of this blog if you would like to try them out.  They are super easy to make and full of nutritious ingredients!!

Saturday was yet another very successful day of Labor for the SDBIC.  Saturday morning marked our 3rd Team BEEF event with the Andy’s Road Race located at Memorial Park in Huron.  This event was one of our smaller races, being a 5k/10k, but we had a strong presence!  As I sat next to our “Fueled by Beef” banner in my bright red Team BEEF South Dakota jersey I was continually getting approached by individuals with the same comments, “Hey, it’s Team BEEF! I keep seeing you guys around, how can I be on the team?” This is music to my ears!! Team BEEF is a new project this year for the SDBIC and it has gone over tremendously well.  Check off dollars very well spent, in my opinion!  The roster for next year’s team is filling up quickly and spots are limited!  Get signed up at

Saturday was also the State Fair Beef Cook-Off, which was another great success! I just love seeing people who are passionate about cooking- and with BEEF!! We had a very wide age range this year (including an 86 year old- so awesome!!) And let me tell you, the recipes were very impressive.  I wasn’t a judge this year due to the Team BEEF event, but may or may not have managed to sneak a few samples- yum!! This year marked the last year for the contest, which is bitter sweet.  The Cattlewomen should be very proud of the event, as it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort in coordinating and putting on.

Cooking is becoming a lost art in society, which is something that truly saddens me.  A majority of my generation simply does not know how to cook.  Which is a major contributor to our current obesity epidemic. If you don’t know how to cook, how are you expected to eat anything other than pre-packaged and processed foods?! But that’s a blogging topic for a whole different day…  That being said, we will find a way to continue the message and promotion of the cook-off in a virtual fashion! Keep an eye out for this!

…And that basically wraps up a Labor filled Labor Day weekend for the SD Beef Council!  I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday weekend and hopefully you didn’t have to work nearly as hard as those dedicated SD Beef Council members did 🙂

As promised, here are the recipes Holly & I demo’d over the weekend.  Enjoy!



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