Swine by Design: Popular Pig Breeds Available Today

Written by Lillian Tram on March 29th, 2016

Today, there are over one hundred breeds of the domesticated pig. The Oxford Sandy and Black, the Berkshire, and the American Yorkshire, are all popular pig breeds, just to name a few. Which type of pigs are your favorite? Do you know how to tell your swine apart?


 Have a Swine Time Telling Pigs Apart

 Pig Breeds, Types of Pigs, Swine


Now that keeping swine as pets has become a popular past time, the desire to have a small breed for the sole purpose of keeping it inside of the house has sparked more interest into designing (breeding) a pig breed to possess these desirable characteristics.


While some people would prefer a short, mid-sized pink pig, others would rather keep an even shorter, tiny black pig. Oh and then there’s the pot-bellied pigs… well, they seem to be a favorite pig breed for indoor pets.


Not only are these pig breeds different by color and shape, but they also differ by disposition. Some are sweet and loving while others may be quite a bit more pushy and demanding.


Not All Designer Pigs are Pets 

swine pig breeds types of pigs designer pigs


Some small swine are just collections, not to be a pet but also not to be dinner some day either! If you could design a type of pig, what would it look like? A cute soft haired potbelly? Would it be pink or spotted? Long or short snout? What about the ears?


There sure are a lot to features to think about when you want your pig to be a certain color, shape and temperament. Choosing a pig should be determined not only by your desires but also your environment.


For example, a small house would be better suited for a small pig.


Types of Pigs: Favorite Swine Features


swine, designer pigs, types of pigs, pig breeds, pig types


As you can see, not only are the colors or markings different on swine, the size and shapes are too!  A long time ago, some pig breeders or swine enthusiasts could tell instantly the breed just by the pig’s colors or shape.


However, now that the breeding and cross breeding techniques have become so abundant, it gets harder to tell one from another – especially with similar swine breeds. There is a huge market for pigs and thanks to the internet, the swine market is growing faster every day.


The great benefit of buying and selling pure bred pigs on the internet is you can quickly search for the perfect swine for your needs or wants, and can have many to choose from without traveling from farm to farm with a stock trailer.


The National Swine Registry

There is a National Swine Registry and a National Junior Swine Registry that host several swine related shows and events each year. The National Junior Swine Association is the largest organization for livestock among the youth. They have regional and national shows, scholarship programs, conferences, and swine exhibition opportunities.


The main goals of these organizations are to promote the education and values of keeping pure genetic swine breeds. Since the year 2000, the Junior Swine Registry has over twelve thousand members.

Ever Heard of a Pig Pickin’ Cake? Here’s the Recipe!

Written by Lillian Tram on March 18th, 2016

Living in southeast Missouri, this would be called a not-so-typical typical Mandarin Orange Cake, but in other areas of the United States this delicious dessert is known as something quite different. In the Carolinas, and a few other Eastern states, this would be called a Pig Pickin’ Cake.

What On Earth is a Pig Pickin’ Cake?

Orange Layer Cake, Mandarin Orange Cake, Pig Pickin Cake
You aren’t the first person to ask that question and it’s a safe bet that you won’t be the last, either. The name of this cake dates back to an unknown time (all I know is it was a long time ago!) when it was popular to roast a pig while holding a barbeque, especially in North and South Carolina.
The whole pig is roasted, choosing from any number of roasting methods including barrels, grills and the ground, until the meat is practically falling off of the bone. What doesn’t fall from the bone is pulled – which is where the first pulled pork originated from – yum!
I don’t have to tell you about all of the delicious barbeque side dishes that can easily be found at any Southern barbeque; they were all laid out to go with this delicious pulled pork! I’m sure there was no shortage of baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, macaroni salad and…

desserts! Like this delicious pig pickin’ cake!

You can look up the old recipes for this yummy pig pickin’ cake and find it underneath many other names as well. Bell’s Best alone lists this cake under three: Pea Pickin’ Cake, Pig Pickin’ Cake and Mandarin Orange Cake …and there are plenty more! Some more names this cake has earned include the following:
Pig Cake, Pig Pickin’ Good Cake, Pig Lickin’ Cake, Pig Eatin’ Cake, Pineapple Cake, Orange Pineapple Layer Cake, Pineapple Orange Cake, Celestial Snow Cake, Summer Cake, Sunshine Cake, Okoboji Sunrise, Better than Sex Cake or as Paula Deen says… Not Better Than Sex Cake. I’m sure we can find even more if we try.

The Yummy Pig Inspired Cake Recipe

Upon hearing the name Mandarin Orange Cake, some people will mistakenly expect an orange cake but this recipe was never intended to be such. While there is mandarin oranges in the batter, these are meant to provide moisture and tenderness …but a distinctive orange flavor? Not so much. Most will love this recipe but a few may call it bland, and be disappointed at the cake’s lack of complexity.
Just as many others have likely done, you can easily alter the recipe to suit your personal taste. This is how the Pig Pickin’ Cake has so many variations, I’m sure. Some options to consider include adding orange juice to the mix, tossing in some orange extract or zest, putting more orange and less pineapple flavor in the frosting, or maybe folding in some softened cream cheese.
Too many changes though, and you’ll be making something completely different… like Orange Chiffon Cake. Another great recipe but not the cake for pickin’ pigs, right?  Oh and by the way, traditionally the Pig Pickin’ Cake is made in layers – anywhere from two to four will do quite nicely! Anyway, here is the recipe:

Recipe: Mandarin Orange Pig Pickin’ Cake

 MaNdarin orange cake, pig pickin cake
Yield: Approximately 12 slices
Cake Ingredients:
1 box of butter style yellow cake mix (I recommend Duncan Hines Butter Recipe)
1/3 cup of vegetable or canola oil
3 large eggs
1 (11 or 15 ounce) can of mandarin oranges, undrained
Frosting Ingredients:
1 (4-1/2 serving size) package of instant vanilla pudding
1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (16 ounce) carton of whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
Sprig of fresh mint, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter three 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Flour the pans or line them with parchment paper and set aside.
Add together the cake mix, oil and eggs using the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on low speed just until blended.
Reserving a couple of the oranges for garnish, add the remaining oranges with their juice and blend on low before increasing to medium speed for about two minutes.
Divide the batter evenly into three prepared cake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test.
Allow cake to cool in the round pans for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a cake rack to finish cooling.
Blend together instant pudding and crushed pineapple before setting aside for five minutes.
Gently fold in the whipped topping and spread in between each of the layers. Then frost the sides and top.
Garnish the top of the cake with a mint sprig and the orange segments you reserved.
Cover and refrigerate until serving. After serving, store leftover cake in the refrigerator.

Changing This Recipe? Consider Coconut

Without a doubt, your family will love this recipe – and the name! If you decide to alter the recipe a bit, consider the addition of coconut, either as an ingredient (I recommend about 1/2 cup to the batter and 1/2 cup to the frosting) or a garnish
…and don’t forget the cherries. They’ll look amazing with the coconut!

Turn Leftover Ham and Beans into Fried Bean Cakes

Written by Lillian Tram on March 9th, 2016

Everyone knows that beans are a great source of protein. Toss some ham into the pot and whip up some tasty jalapeno cornbread for a delicious and affordable meal. The next night, you might be able to pass these yummy beans off as a side dish with steak or chops.

If by the third day, you’ve still got ham and beans in the pot, do you toss them out or repurpose them again? Well, I guess that would depend upon how many people you’re feeding and how much cash is in your grocery budget.

What to Do with Leftover Ham and Beans?


ham and brown beans, ham recipe

Last week, I cooked a delicious bone-in ham for the family and they were delighted. I’d have to say it was quite yummy, especially thanks to the pineapple and brown sugar glaze. When everyone was finished, I put the leftovers away.

One Ziploc bag held the leftover ham pieces and chunks, while the other held a big ole ham bone. I put them both in the freezer until just the right time for a big ole pot of brown beans and ham.

Saturday, I used the ham pieces and chunks after soaking some pinto beans. They were so good, especially with the jalapeno corn bread I whipped up. (I made muffins this time – kids loved them, thought they were cupcakes until they took a sizeable bite!)

So the family scarfed them down and the leftover beans were tucked away in the fridge for another meal.

ham and brown beans, bean cakes, recipe

Sunday, those yummy beans became a side dish to some yummy skillet braised ribs and cabbage (see pic above – they were awesome …and fall apart tender!) and again, the family ate them without complaint. Now, it is day number three and I have to find a way to stretch April’s food budget as far as I can – and get rid of these beans!

Recipe for Fried Pinto Bean Cakes


ham and brown beans, bean cakes recipe

So, tonight I am making fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, and I found a nifty how-to video on YouTube to help me get those beans past my family one more night. (Wish me luck!) You can see the video here or I will walk you through the steps, below.

(The recipe in the video only requires one ingredient: self-rising flour. I was pretty sure my family would want something with a little more flavor so I opted for a different recipe, below.)

Again, super easy and all you really need is a few ingredients, which is great for pinching pennies. Well, and those leftover beans.

Leftover Fried Bean Cakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups seasoned pinto beans, drained

Combine all of the ingredients, except the beans. Add the beans last and stir lightly, just until combined. A seasoned cast iron skillet is recommended but any non-stick skillet will do the trick. Add a small amount of bacon fat and heat skillet on medium high heat.

ham and brown beans, bean cakes, recipe

Pour the bean cake batter into the skillet and cook about a minute or so per side. (Pretend like you’re making small pancakes) Mine were about the size of a large biscuit. Just like a pancake, the batter will bubble and rise. Don’t mash it and don’t mess with it. Allow the cake to get a nice golden brown before turning; repeat.

ham and brown beans, bean cakes, recipe

These turned out to be quite yummy and it turns out, they are good with whatever condiments your family prefers. If you aren’t making gravy, ketchup hot sauce and syrup are all great runners up.

Unfortunately, even after all these menu changes, there’s still a little bit of beans in the pot. I guess the doggy finally gets to eat some leftover ham and beans. Or I could try another recipe I found, which promises to be great with salsa and sour cream.