The pecan trees are losing their leaves and the hulls are opening up which means it’s time to start picking pecans! What better time to start than today? This time of year we make frequent trips down to the orchards to see if the pecans are ready. Today just happened to include one of those trips. My guess is that Winston already knew that the pecans were ready because unbeknownst to me he brought a collection of buckets with us. He made it sound like he needed us to go check the trees with him, but in actuality I think he just really needed a few extra hands.
I’m always on the lookout for new recipes. Good ones. Taste is my number one requirement, but I also make it a point to keep my eye out for recipes that are healthy. It’s summer and this recipe accomplishes both. Not only does it utilize the abundance of zucchini that is produced this time of year as well as pecan meal, but these fries taste great too. It’s the perfect gluten free recipe to add to your list this summer.
I remember when I was a kid it was quite the rage to start clubs and invite your closest friends to join with you. I was a member of The Girls Club in which we would yell “no boys allowed” at the top of our lungs when some little boy would innocently cross our path. Poor thing! I’ve even heard my daughter get into the spirit of clubs with her friends.
I’m on a quest. A quest to eat more vegetables. I know. It’s not the most exciting mission of my life, but it is a good one. A healthy one. And I have to be honest that I am not interested in choking down my veggies. I really require that they taste good as well as providing me with the healthy nutrients that my body needs. After all, it’s my quest so I can make the rules. Strangely, I prefer salad over most other vegetable options. I don’t mind trying new things, but salad is my go to vegetable option.
“All work and no play”. It’s a philosophy, just not a philosophy that our family believes in. I’m not saying that we don’t believe in working hard. In fact, hard work is something we feel strongly about. And instilling a strong work ethic in our kids and throughout our company is something we desire to do. But learning to take a break or have a moment of fun is what enables us to sustain our dedication to a job well-done.
Y’all I have the cutest recipe video to share with you. Not only because it has some yummy cookies from a great recipe, but also because it has some pretty precious kids in it. I admit I am super partial on this theory. Mainly because one of the kids is my daughter, Anna, and also because the other kid is our family friend, Ben. These kids had a great time filming this recipe. I told my mom that it was kind of like cooking with Elmo. The cookies are delicious as we got to enjoy them fresh out of the oven. As you will see, they thought the cookie dough was pretty spectacular as well.
My mother-in-law, Debbie, has been baking these cookies for quite some time and they are usually eaten way too quickly. She loves to add oatmeal to them as well to add a little more texture. When she sends them with Winston and his dad as they are working out in the fields the container comes back empty every time. The combination of white chocolate, pecans and cranberries is wonderful.
1 cup butter1/2 cup brown sugar1 cup sugar2 eggs2 1/4 cups of flour1 tsp. baking soda1/2 tsp. salt2 cups White Chocolate Pecans, chopped1 cup dried cranberries
In a bowl beat the butter. Add both sugars and eggs and mix together. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Pour the white chocolate pecans and cranberries into bowl and mix well. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Get a spoonful of cookie dough and place on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.
I hope you enjoy baking these cookies as much as Anna and Ben did. Of course, I had a great time too. Who wouldn’t getting to cook with these two. It will certainly stick as one of my fondest memories with the two of them. I challenge you to invite your child, grandchild or a child that you mentor to do some baking with you. It adds a new perspective to your time in the kitchen. It’s also a great learning experience for children and I believe that you will feel a new sense of excitement to any monotonous feelings you may have about cooking. Kids just have a way of providing that perspective to life. They take the monotony out of it and add newness and enthusiasm.
Front porches and cold drinks: two things that make the Texas heat more bearable in my opinion. When I said “cold drink” I wasn’t referring to the South’s poster child, iced tea. I was actually referring to iced coffee. Pecan Iced Coffee to be exact. I personally like my coffee hot, but my sister, Leslie, has been telling me for years to give this beloved drink a chance. Since we are approaching summertime I decided to take her advice. By the way, I am so glad I did. This drink is amazing! And the recipe that I am about to share with you will “knock your socks off”, as we say in the south. AND… with your socks off, you can mosey on outside with this drink in hand and enjoy it on your front porch!
See our Video of this recipe!
Who doesnt love a good Iced Coffee on a hot summer day!
Found this great article of Famous Trees of Texas! Click here for the original article.
|Historical period: Frontier Texas (1865 – 1899)
Historical topics: Pecan-Our State Tree, Saved From The Axe
Species: Pecan (Carya illionoiensis)
County: San Saba
Public access?: No access permitted
Tree Tour: Coming Soon
The San Saba Mother Pecan was discovered by an Englishman named E. E. Risien, a cabinet-maker by trade, who became fascinated with pecans. Risien staged the first pecan show in San Saba County to find the best pecan specimen. After the judging, he asked the winning exhibitor to show him the tree from which his pecans came. Risien was horrified when he saw it, for all the limbs had been sawed off except one. The man said that he had used that limb to stand on while he cut the others off to get the nuts!
Risien eventually bought the tree and the land on which it stood. Slowly the tree grew a new crown and once again began producing crops of the prize nuts.
Thinking he could reproduce the fruit by seedlings, he planted the first commercial pecan nursery in San Saba County. In that 40-acre nursery, none of the more than 1,000 pecan nuts planted produced trees of like fruit.
Artificial pollination of the “mother tree” continued for years as he tried to develop new varieties. He would ride horseback for miles seeking suitable “father trees,” gather the pollen-laden male blossoms in his saddle-bags, and bring them back to pollinate the “mother tree.” It generally took about 10 years to know whether he had a new and better variety.
In addition to his pollination experiments, Risien also experimented with budding and grafting pecans when few people knew it could be done.
Records of the first meeting of the Texas State Horticultural Society, held in Brenham in 1886, indicate that Risien won the honor of showing the best plate of pecans. For years after, his pecans were always top winners.
Well….the answer is, YES it is!! We received a phone call last week from the Martha Stewart Show. Eeeek!! I must confess I am having a very hard time composing myself. As I spoke to one of the producers over the phone I found myself pacing the floor with anticipation and shaking. Yes, I know it is very shameful, but my hands were in fact shaking and I was trying hard to make sure my voice did not crack as to embarrass myself even more so. I found myself wondering what these producers must think of people like myself. Well, I have to report that she was very down-to-earth and did an amazing job of not making me feel like a fool 🙂
I have been watching Martha’s TV show since I was in college. Over the years I have made many attempts to produce her beautifully, creative crafts, recipes and decorations. I always seem to come up short, though. On screen she displays such ease in producing the masterpieces set before us, but for some reason my reproduction doesn’t quite look the same. If there is one thing that has impacted me the most, though, about Martha Stewart it is her passion for what she does. I have noticed this passion is contagious and has been for many years. So it is especially gratifying and rewarding for me to be able to share with Martha and her studio audience something that I am passionate about… Pecans!
To say that it is an honor to be included on the Martha Stewart Show as well as sourced in her new cookbook “Martha’s American Food” is an understatement. I am excited, honored, proud, giddy, nervous and incredibly blessed! Please join us as we watch with anticipation on the Hallmark Channel on Tuesday, April 24th at 10am and 2pm EST and Wednesday, April 25th at 1pm EST. Happy Baking!
Great News!!! The producers of The Martha Stewart Show called us yesterday requesting 200 bags of pecans that they are letting the studio audience sample. They also made us aware that they are sourcing our pecans in Martha Stewart’s new book which you can buy on Amazon. We are very excited about this opportunity and hope you tune to her show on Tuesday!
Pecan Harvest is always an exciting time around our pecan farm. Months of preparation have been spent irrigating and spraying the pecan orchard. So the next 3 months will be busy circling trees and chasing the nuts which God has provided. Millican Pecan has the latest harvest equipment from Savage Pecan Equipment and other pecan equipment leaders in the industry.
This begins with the shaking of the Texas pecan trees. Trees generally have straight trunks in which the pecan shaker grabs hold of with 2 rubber pads. Then, the Savage shaker uses tractor hydraulics to clamp the shaker arm to the tree and locks it into position. After this, the The power take off (PTO) engages from the tractor seat to unleash a man-made earthquake upon the tree and the ground surrounding the area.
Because the PTO is engaging two offset weight, this force showers the ground with the pecan nuts, limbs and pecan leaves. This all happens in a matter of seconds. The tractor and the operator is protected from this barrage of pecan orchard materials by a metal roof covering the machine. the operator will keep the tractor’s power take off engaged for approximately 30 -60 seconds. Early in the season, longer time is needed to removed the leaves and the pecans. Once the pecans have dried and the leaves have fallen, the pecans nuts fall out of the trees very easily.
The tractor operator then reverses the process and moves to the next tree in the row and starts again. After the pecans have fallen, we have other machines that rake the sticks and limbs out of the way of the pecan harvesters. This use to be done by hand and was my job growing up. Thank goodness for technology and pecan equipment from me still having to do that job!
I have been part of the delicious world of Millican Pecan for two wonderful years. There are so many things about baking pecan pies, flavoring pecans, and chocolate making that I have learned. While the learning curve was steep as with any new process, I quickly learn and prospered in the pecan industry. I enjoy being part of the great Millican Pecan Company that has been in business since 1888. Of all the wonderful products that we make, the handmade pecan pie is by far my favorite to make while working.
There are so many things I enjoy about working for Winston and Kristen, but my favorite thing is baking pecan pies. They have taught me how to make their famous pecan pies and I have baked so many especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. During the busy season I like being in the kitchen all day baking pies. Some would call me the “pie machine.” I have a little secret when I’m baking pies and it’s not necessarily a secret ingredient. I always like to keep the valued customer in mind that ordered the pie. I want them to be very pleased when they slice the pecan pie.
I love the smell of the pies while they are in the oven. My imagination takes me to a cold winter morning having a slice of pecan pie with chocolate pecan coffee. Yummy. If you have not had a chance to try our Pecan Pie. You should, because not only is it homemade but now you know they are handmade by me! I take pride in my work as do all of the employees at Millican Pecan Company. We have a sense of ownership that allows us to take pride in our work.
edited by Winston Millican
Here is the link to buy our yummy Pecan Meal:
I’ve been thinking lately of the attitude of entitlement. It stems mainly from a tragic event that happened recently in our community. A fellow pecan grower and friend of mine had her life taken from her because of it.
I have to admit that it’s not always easy to be grateful. After all, with life comes circumstances that are good and bad. But I have observed in my life that when I am grateful for what God has given me, then entitlement has no room to creep in. Recognizing that anything good in my life is not because I was entitled to it, but because God graciously placed it there for me. These gifts are evident to me when I reflect on the family I grew up in, my childhood friends, and grandparents. I also think of my husband and the journey we are taking together. We have been fortunate to graduate college together, see what once was a dream develop into a business, and now pour our hearts into two children. I think if our approach to these experiences was such that we deserved them or were entitled to them then we would miss out on the joy that comes along with them.
In short, I hope that we all can learn the importance of gratefulness. For with it comes the ease of a smile and a life well-lived.
We would like to present April’s Pecan Phanatic of the Month.
If you are nuts about any of Millican Pecan’s Products take a picture of yourself with some of our product and you could win some really wonderful stuff!
This was a recipe sent in by a fan and we loved it so much we wanted to share it as well! Enjoy!
If you have a recipe that you would like to share that has pecans in it we would love to feature it! Post below or send it to email@example.com.
Speaking of easter! Our Milk Chocolate Pecan Caramillicans come from an old family recipe handed down through the generations. We mix butter rich caramel with our fancy pecans and topped with milk chocolate by hand, one at a time. This is one of our most popular items and is just in time for Easter. This is a great change from store bought candy. Why not support your local business! Click the link below to order some.
On March 9, 2011 in San Saba, TX, the San Saba Pre-K class visited Millican Pecan Company’s factory to learn about the pecans and make their own pecan pies. “The class is currently learning about shapes and colors and we wanted to teach them a little about pecans and how they grow” said owners Kristen and Winston Millican. As they all marched in line to put on the appropriate attire, chef hats and aprons of course, there were scattered giggles and fingers pointing at the funny hats they were all wearing. Each child was given a tiny piece of homemade pie dough that they were prompted to roll out with small rolling pins. Once the piece of dough was in a circle they placed the dough in the small pie tins and started pinching the edges of the crust. With a little help each pie looked very unique. The next step was the pie filling, when each pie had the appropriate filling inside, each child took a small handful of the famous Millican Pecan Pieces. After all the pies were put in the oven, owner Kristen Millican began to talk to the children about how pecans grow with the suns help and how each pecan is unique just like them. Kristen then told them about how they had each made a special pie but there was one more pie that was being made for a very special person. This person of course was none other than the Easter Bunny! With squeals of delight each child was so excited to sign the card that they had made for the Easter Bunny.
The smell of fresh pecan pies began to fill the air and each of the child’s small pies were taken home and enjoyed by them and their family. Millican Pecan Company has a love not only for the community but for the kids that fill it. “We want to build into the next generation which is a passion of our family. We want to be able to use the resources we have been blessed with to enrich the lives of others”, says owners Winston and Kristen Millican, “to see the faces of these children light up when they see the final product that their [own] hands made is pure joy. We also love that our passion for baking is being passed on to others. Who knows, maybe when these kids are grown they will choose career paths that allow them to use the skills learned at events like these.”
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
1 cup Millican Pecan Pieces
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars and flour. Add the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour into pie shell; sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until set. Cool completely. Yield: 6-8 servings.
Most of the time you will read about pecan orchards and you can tell that the minds that formulated the words came from a man. Of course, I love to listen to my husband talk about life in the pecan orchards because his eyes light up and his voice reflects passion. But I wanted you to see what a pecan orchard looks like from the eyes of a woman.
We live rather far from town. In fact, what my girlfriends consider “in the sticks”. We moved here as soon as we got married, which has almost been ten years ago. As a result, I have learned the art of substitution in my cooking endeavors. What I mean is that I have learned to use the ingredients that I have on hand.
Recently, I’ve been getting calls and emails about people wanting to buy an orchard or develop native/seedling trees into a marketable crop. Just when i think I’ve seen it all, somebody calls and they have a completely different problem or question. Planting and harvesting pecans is a passion of mine, so helping you is an extension of that passion. So for the prospective pecan grower these are my recommendations for criteria that you need to look for in regards to finding the best pecan site to develop into an orchard.
High quality pecans require water from either rainfall or irrigation. Most places rely on a combination of the two. In the western US, irrigation is a must due to the lack of rainfall. Eastern pecan growers, irrigation is supplemental due to the abundance of rainfall. Most growers fall somewhere in between. Mature pecan trees can requires much as 2000 gallons of water per week during the growing season.
When I was a little girl, I remember hearing someone talk about the fountain of youth. I was curious. Was there really something that could help cultivate the look and feeling of youth? And if so, was it really a fountain of water? Maybe it was more like the one I passed by at the mall with my mom? Or could it be located in some far distant land where I would possibly never travel to? Surely such a fountain would be carefully protected so that it’s water or “magic potion” would not run dry? I didn’t know the answers, but I was anxious to find out.
Sometimes failure hits you when you least expect it. When it does I believe it’s important to seek to find beauty in the ashes. That was the case for us a few weeks ago as we sought to find beauty from the pecan ashes. I wish that was a symbolic term, but unfortunately it’s not. If there is one thing that can crush the spirit of a pecan farmer it would be to hear of involuntary pecan ashes falling in the orchard.
That’s exactly the news we received on a seemingly ordinary Wednesday afternoon. One of the fire fighters at our local fire department, who happens to be a friend of ours, called Winston. He explained that they were at one of the orchards that Winston and his dad lease. One of the brush piles had caught fire and nearly the entire orchard was in flames. Eighty acres had burned up to that point and they were working to try and put it out.
Few things can scare a pecan farmer more than a fire. In fact, I would say it’s every farmers worst nightmare. I’m sure our friends in the Texas panhandle can attest to that. For they were victims of nearly 500,000 acres burning earlier this year. Well, that nightmare became our reality and we are now seeking to find beauty from the pecan ashes.
Pecan ashes. A subject I never thought I would be writing about. And yet, sometimes the things that we least expect can happen in the blink of an eye. I know it was the thing that Winston least expected to happen. He had been working exceptionally hard on all kinds of projects. We usually have lots of different irons in the fire (no pun intended), but this particular time frame seemed to be even more chaotic. I don’t think it was necessarily that there were more projects on our plate, but it was more so that every project that we had going on seemed to be encountering obstacles of extreme force. This was the case especially for Winston.
I was at our factory making a batch of Pecan Divinity when he sent me a text message. “Can you come outside?”, I read after I heard my phone alert me. I thought it was strange that he would ask that. Usually he just walks into the factory to talk to me. And I remember hoping that everything was okay. I responded that I would come outside as soon as I finished the batch of pecan candy I was making.
When I walked outside I found him in his truck. He didn’t roll the window down to talk, so I walked over to the passenger side and sat down next to him. My husband is not one to cry. In fact, I think the last time I saw him cry was three years ago when we lost our little girl. So to see him in the emotional state he was in definitely had my heart racing. “What’s going on?”, I asked him. And that’s when he told me that one of the orchards was on fire.
It took him awhile to get the story out and I could tell that he was unsure of what to do next. He explained that he had been out to that orchard the day before. He was trying to burn a few brush piles to make the place look really nice. The owners were going to be coming in the following weekend and he wanted them to be able to enjoy their place even more while they were there. “I was so frustrated when I left yesterday because I couldn’t, for the life of me, get those brush piles to light”, he said. “And now the day after they just caught fire on their own.”
I wasn’t sure what to say, so I just put my hand on his arm and sat there. We sat for awhile without saying a word and then the fire department called to give him an update. Winston told them he would be on his way shortly. I asked him if I could pray for him and so we paused to pray for God to guide and direct him on this tough assignment. He then took a deep breath and went out to see how he could help.
I watched my husband drive away and I remember saying another prayer for God to strengthen him. I knew he was weary and he would need more strength than he could muster on his own. In fact, he needed supernatural strength. The strength that only God can provide.
After a few hours passed I called him to see if I could bring him some dinner. He gladly accepted the offer, so the girls and I picked up some burgers and took them out to him. As we were driving out to the pecan orchard I could see smoke from a distance. The closer we got the more visible the smoke became. We found him on the tractor. The fire department had been able to put the fire out and he had plowed the perimeter of the orchard to prevent the fire from expanding in case an ember flared up.
It was black everywhere. Honestly. I saw pecan ashes everywhere I looked. As far as I could see every blade of grass was scorched. Winston hopped in the car and asked me to drive around to see the damage. We drove in silence as we surveyed the area. “What do you think?”, he asked me as we rounded the last corner. I looked around and cautiously asked him, “Well, do you want the truth?”. “Yep, I do”, he responded.
I proceeded to tell him that it definitely looked bad. It was black everywhere and the pecan ashes were evident everywhere I looked. But even with all that I was surprised with how much it didn’t damage. In the part of the orchard where the large, mature trees still stood the fire had scorched every blade of grass, but I was shocked that the trees seemed to have been untouched. The leaves were still green. In the new part of the orchard where we had planted pecan trees about three years ago there were certainly some trees that had been victims of the fire. They were brown from the base of the tree to the tip top of the branches. But…there were also many trees that looked like they would make it. Somehow, they had been spared.
I recognize that it’s one thing to say that as the one leasing the land. It’s a whole other thing when you are the one that owns the land. Our friends, Homer and Eden Owens, are the land owners. This fire would effect them even more than us. Winston knew he would have to break the tragic news to them now. And he was dreading that. To deliver such devastating news is not a fun job. And to be the one to receive such news, well, that’s even worse.
I have to tell you, I firmly believe that God extended His grace in more ways than one with this whole situation. Not only did He spare many of the trees that from a logical view should have been consumed by that fire. But I believe he gave peace to the Owens family when they should have been consumed with fear. They were also quite gracious too. Because to be real honest, they could have chosen to place blame on us for the brush piles causing the fire.
It’s hard to know what the future holds. After all, you don’t always see the effects of a fire right away. The trees that seem like they will make it might not. And ones that look scorched just might turn out to be survivors. But I do know this…we are seeking to find the beauty from the pecan ashes. And I hope that by this time next year we will be blown away at all that God will do by causing beauty to in fact be brought forth from these pecan ashes.
When I spend money I want to make sure that I take care of the item I’ve purchased in order to ensure my money is not wasted. Most of us are that way, right? It’s no different with perishable items. In fact, I am probably more protective of the food items I purchase. Food is, after all, a passion of mine. And fresh pecans, well….that’s something I know a thing or two about. For awhile now you’ve been asking us how to store pecans and, friend, this is your go-to place to get those questions answered.
Have you ever had one of those days where you go about your day with eye makeup on one eye and the other one completely bare? I’m not talking about having one of those days that FEELS like you’ve only put half your makeup on. I’m actually talking about literally going to town with one eye fully decked out in the latest eye makeup trends and the other one completely naked. Well, I recently had one of those days. Yep, I seriously walked around public places with one eye wide open and the other one looking half asleep.
Spring is always a busy time around a pecan orchard. By now, we have marketed a large portion of our pecan crop and have been busy in our shop repairing harvest equipment. The pecans that have been retained for the summer months are being processed and will be in cold storage as soon as completed. January and February were busy months cleaning up the pecan orchards. There were many stick piles from the pecan harvest and they all have to be pushed up and burned. This is no small undertaking and is often overlooked by some maintenance teams. Pecan scab can and does overwinter in the fallen pecan leaves, so destroying as many as possible is a management tool. Not only will the pecan orchard look better
About once a week we receive a phone call or email asking us to describe the difference in pecan sizes. In fact, I had such a conversation today with a new customer. We love to help educate people on the various options that are available. When you are a newbie to any industry it helps to have some clarity offered on basic terminologies. Asking about an overview of pecan sizes is a great question and one that is best explained with a combination of pictures and words.
As a young bride I had no idea how to make pecan pralines. I remember feeling this pressure to make these delicious candies, but I had no idea where to begin. It wasn’t because anyone pressured me, but for some reason I put undo stress on myself. I mean there I was newly married into a family with a rich pecan heritage. And I hadn’t the faintest idea how to make a staple pecan candy. I knew I could find a recipe, but I was the type of person that needed step-by-step guidance. Preferably someone like my grandmother standing next to me to talk me through each process.
I’ve been thinking about all the good in our lives. Lately, as we’ve been reflecting on Allison’s health issues I can’t help but feel the necessity to mention that she’s been blessed with good health in recent months. Today is Good Friday, which seems like a really appropriate day to write about such a subject. If you’ve been following our posts the last few weeks then you know that we had the unpleasant experience of making the hospital our home for several months this last year.
I’ve heard of God encounters before, but I wasn’t really sure that I had ever had one. I’ve since come to the realization that the reason I haven’t personally had such an experience is because I’ve never been alert to them. Needless to say…I am aware of them now. Something else I soon became aware of…a new phrase…”kidney friends”.