Stirring Things Up: Program touts the ‘Benefits of Plant Protein’



The heat Wednesday afternoon didn’t keep fairgoers from heading out to the makeshift kitchen in the Jackson County Fair pavilion to learn how to prepare plant-based protein recipes and enjoy some food sampling at the same time.

This year’s program was “Benefits of Plant Protein.” The featured recipes included ingredients such as fresh fruits, vegetables and plants such as quinoa, green lentils and edamame, to name a few.

Lesley Kendall of Seymour and Emily Stoffel of New Palestine prepared several healthy dishes during the cooking show, presented each year by the Schneck Medical Center nutrition services department, on Wednesday afternoon during the fair. An overhead mirror allows the audience to view the food as it is being prepared.

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Kendall is a registered dietitian at Schneck Medical Center, while Stoffel is a Ball State University graduate student, serving her dietetic internship at Schneck Medical Center through the fall.

Jill Whitaker of Columbus, a registered dietitian at Schneck, was the emcee and gave away door prizes.

“I think this makes 12 years that Jill and I have been doing this program at the fair,” Kendall said. “Emily did all of the legwork for today and gathered the recipes.”

Kathy Cunningham of Brownstown was in the audience at the pavilion. Cunningham sometimes has to deal with her blood sugar running low, so she was interested in what the nutritionists had to say about proteins.

“I eat what I want to but try to watch my portion sizes,” she said. “My sister and I have gone to Weight Watchers, and I have lost 50 pounds over the past year from that and from walking.”

Cunningham tries to walk about an hour a day and wears bright-colored clothing when doing so because she was almost hit by a car one day while she was out walking.

“My doctor said not to worry about how many miles I walk,” Cunningham said. “He said one hour is great or even a half hour is great, too.”

Several door prizes were given away during the cooking program, including one that went to Freddie Turner, who had driven the farthest to be at the fair.

Turner traveled from her residence in Mount Gilead, Ohio, to attend the fair. She has a vacation home in Jackson County and is retired from Valeo in Seymour.

“I came out on Tuesday to play bingo and wanted to come see the cooking show today,” Turner said. “In the past, there have been different programs like diabetic meals or Crockpot recipes, and I didn’t know what to expect, but it was cooking with plants.”

Turner enjoyed getting the recipes the dietitians handed out and watching the demonstrations. Of course, the sampling is always fun, too, Turner said.

Another door prize was won by Doug Lucas of Louisville, Kentucky. He has attended the Schneck Medical Center cooking demonstration for about 16 years, more times than anyone else in the pavilion Wednesday.

“I was raised in Freetown and attended Brownstown High School,” Lucas said. “My parents were Joe and Sarah Lucas, both passed away now. They were both loyal supporters of the fair.”

The work he just turned in was the last of his research and writing for his doctorate included at least 15 pages about Schneck Medical Center and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Lucas said.

“Hats off to Schneck for all of the things they do to help make our community healthier and help us make better choices for nutrition and our lives,” he said. “No wonder they were recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, in fact the only recipients ever from the whole state of Indiana.”

The Baldrige awards are presented annually, and the program raises awareness about the importance of quality and performance excellence in gaining a competitive edge.

“Even though I moved away for college, graduate school and the mission field, I never lost my love of the Jackson County Fair,” Lucas said.

Lucas now makes the annual trip from Louisville to Brownstown for the sole purpose of attending the presentation. That and grabbing a sandwich afterwards at one of the food stands.

“My mom started to bring me to the fair when I was about 5 years old,” Lucas said. “That’s back when they had the old round spinning table here at the demonstration.”

As an adult, Lucas began attending the cooking program with his mother and attended with her for 12 years, until she passed away in 2013.

“After my mother passed, I thought I would keep on attending this demonstration because it’s only right,” Lucas said. “It’s kind of like I’m reliving it with her.”

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Roasted Lentil and Cauliflower Tacos


1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

2 cups cooked green lentils

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp pepper

1/3 cup sour cream

1 Tbsp cilantro and some for garnish

1 tsp hot sauce

10 corn or flour tortillas


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Place the cauliflower on one baking sheet. Add the cooked lentils to the other baking sheet and pat them dry.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp lime juice, oil, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, sugar, garlic powder and pepper. Pour 3 Tbsp of the lime mixture onto the cauliflower and stir well to make sure the cauliflower is evenly coated. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden, stirring halfway through.

4. Add remaining lime mixture to the lentils. Stir well to ensure the lentils are evenly coated. Add the lentils to the oven after the cauliflower has roasted for 15 minutes. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly crispy and golden.

5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together sour cream, cilantro, 1 Tbsp lime juice and hot sauce. Set aside.

6. Fill the tortillas with a scoop of the lentils, cauliflower and cilantro. Drizzle the tacos with the sour cream mixture. Serve immediately.

Red Quinoa and Mango Salad


3/4 cup red quinoa

2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced

1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely diced

1/2 orange bell pepper, finely diced

1 mango, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves


1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer several times with cold water.

2. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add 1 1/4 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and turn off the heat. Allow the quinoa to steam until the water has been absorbed completely and the quinoa grains pop open, 10 to 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add the vinegar, mustard, garlic, shallot, 2 teaspoons salt and 5 to 6 turns of freshly ground black pepper. While pouring in a slow, steady stream, whisk in the olive oil until fully incorporated and lightly emulsified.

4. Add the peppers, mango, mint and quinoa. Toss to combine well and serve.

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Jackson County Fair calendar


Poor Jack Amusements Moonlight Madness with unlimited carnival rides 6 p.m. to close with $20 bracelet

7 a.m.: Swine going home, locker for person use or state fair exhibits released

7 to 8 a.m.: Open class goat registration

9 a.m.: 4-H dairy goat show open breeding classes judged immediately after each 4-H class, show arena

Noon: Jackson County Fair fashion show; B.loved will present a formal attire show in conjunction with the show, grandstand

2 p.m.: Grand parade of livestock registration deadline, 4-H building

3 p.m.: Presentation of 4-H trophies from 4-H building, 4-H building winners circle awards, 10-year 4-H members, mini T-shirts, achievement, leadership and outstanding junior leader plaques, and I Dare You Awards, pavilion

5:30 p.m.: The MelloTones barbershop chorus, pavilion

6 p.m.: Alley Katz, antique building stage

6:30 p.m.: Grand parade of open class grand champions and any 4-H livestock, show arena

6:45 p.m.: Schulhaus 4+3 German Band, pavilion

7 p.m.: Nightly antique machinery demonstration behind antique building

7:30 p.m.: Beagles and coon and foxhound show; $2 entry fee, show arena

8 p.m.: Stars & Stripes Cloggers, antique building stage

11 p.m.: 4-H animals released from the fairgrounds (not in auction)


8 p.m.: Dylan Schneider country music sponsored by 92.7 Nash Icon WXKU; $10 adults, $2 children 6 to 12, under 6 free


Poor Jacks Amusements Kiddie Day with unlimited carnival rides from 1 to 5 p.m. with $14 bracelet, unlimited rides from 6 p.m. to close with $20 bracelet

8 a.m.: All non-auction 4-H livestock animals need to be removed from the fairgrounds

9:30 a.m.: 4-H livestock auction (Sale order: Beef, dairy beef, sheep, boer goat and swine), show arena

9:30 a.m.: Entry for Baby and Little Farmer Contest (33rd year); entry fee $5; not limited to Jackson County, pavilion

10 a.m.: Baby and Little Farmer Contest, pavilion, presented by 4-H Junior Leaders

10 a.m.: Release date for sow and largest litter exhibit and largest male swine exhibit

7 p.m.: Country Kickers, pavilion


7 p.m.: Jackson County Grand Champion Fair fifth annual Paul Crockett Memorial, super late models, superstocks, modifieds, pure stocks; $15 for adults, pit pass for $30, $2 for children 6 to 12, under 6 free; sponsored by the Jackson County Fair

10 p.m.: FFA projects released


10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Release time for antique and homestead display entries, antique building and grounds

3 to 5 p.m.: Family arts, horticulture, Farm Bureau and 4-H exhibits must be removed from the fairgrounds; premiums will be paid for family arts and horticulture


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