Blog Statement

Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

May 24, 2016

Top Tips For Safe Internet Usage For Kids

Our kids are ages 11 and 9.  They are right in the midst of the ever loving world of technology and Dominic and I have talked about the best ways of limiting their usuage of it over the summer time break.

Chores come first:

In the Morning:
  • Make your bed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Get dressed
  • Brush your teeth
  • Brush your hair
  • Feed and water your rabbits and dog....and cows, if applicable at the time
  • 20 minutes of reading
  • Clean up 1 room / tv or bedroom
  • Play outside for 30 minutes
  • Make, draw or build something creative
  • Help someone in the family (ask if there is a job you can do....water the garden)

Then you can play some video games or have TV time.

However, all parents know there are some parts of the Internet they don’t want kids exploring. Here are 5 great tips from the experts at Clean Router for keeping kids safe online all year long.

#1 - Talk with your kids!  The dangers of the Internet are very real, but arming your kids with knowledge can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.  These should be very age appropriate discussions.  For instance, for a 5-year old you can give instructions as simple as, “If you see someone without their clothes on, turn the computer or device off immediately and come get mom or dad.”  Or, “If you see someone being mean to someone else, make sure you show a grown up.”  As your kids get older, the discussion can change accordingly.  But starting the discussions early is important.  You can choose - you can teach your kids - or else the Internet can teach them!

#2 - Install filtering at the network level to filter all of the devices in the house.  Choose a powerful option like the Clean Router. The Clean Router allows parents to manage all of the devices in the house with one central control.  It filters and manages everything connected to your home WiFi so you don’t have to worry about any content you deem inappropriate leaking through on a device you hadn’t or couldn’t download filtering software to.

#3 - Make sure that Internet usage is done in the open. Make sure that family computers are located in high traffic areas. Make sure that laptops and tablets are not used in bedrooms or private parts of the house. This keeps kid’s online activities open for discussion and much easier to keep an eye on.

#4 - If chores aren’t completed change your WiFi key and don’t give it to the kids until those chores are done!  With most routers this is a very simple task that can be done in a few minutes and can be a very effective way to motivate kid to get chores or homework or whatever finished!

#5 - Make sure you have all of your kid’s social media passwords and check their social media accounts regularly.  If kids know you are looking at what they are doing on the different social media platforms they will be much less likely to be talking to people they shouldn’t or taking part of cyberbullying or other behaviors that they know you wouldn’t approve of.  This is a digital world now - so be a part of their digital lives!

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May 8, 2016

Marin County Farmers' Market at The Fork

Last weekend Dominic and I had the pleasure of attending a campaign kickoff fundraising event for the Market Hall and Canopy for the Marin County Farmers' Market.

Photo courtesy of AIM

The goal is to raise enough funds to build a permanent  and sustainable structure and canopy to house the Marin County Farmers' Market's local agriculture, small businesses, farmers and ranchers . This way farm fresh food will be available year round and we can shop and stay dry simultaneously.

The local farm and agriculture community is small and very important to me and my family. Although our family does not sell product at the farmer's market, we have many friends and family that do utilize the opportunity to grow, raise and then sell their products to our local community through the farmer's market.

The Farmers' Market provides local farmers and ranchers, along with special food purveyors and artisans direct access to more than 15,000 people every week.  It is critical for survival to these local farmers and ranchers to have a venue like this available to them to directly associate and connect with the community.

The fundraising event was held at one of my favorite farm to table venues around....The Fork at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company.  If you haven't tried their award winning Point Reyes Original Blue or others, you should if you get the chance.  Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese is made from the Giacomini family's own herd of Holstein cows, raised right there on the farm.

If you want to read and see more about the Marin County Farmers' Market or The Fork, click on the links above!
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April 27, 2016

Passport Wine Weekend of Dry Creek Valley

There comes a weekend every April that I longingly look  forward to.  A weekend like no other in Sonoma County.  I hope for nice weather, happy to have a driver and spend time with good friends as we clink our glasses through Passport Weekend in Dry Creek Valley.

Beginning our journey at 10 a.m., we head out to our first destination and to meet the rest of our group.

Selby Winery.  Where we check in, pick up our passports and begin a full day of tasting delicious wines, paired with fantastic bites.

Selby always does it right with their Mardi Gras themed party.  Alligator Stew, baby cake, Mardi Gras girls, beads, music, magicians and fortune tellers....just about everything Mardi Gras.  We were well on our way to a fun and tasty day.

Another favorite on the list of approximately 50 wineries is Mauritson Family Winery.  As the saying goes, "Know Your Farmer"....well we are friends with the grape growers for this winery and loved their Rockpile Zinfandel.

Chef Charlie Palmer cooked up some mighty fine cuisine...I could have eaten the shaved beef atop a parmesan crisp all day.  

Here's most of our group with wine maker, Clay Mauritson and chef, Charlie Palmer.

Onward we go.

More wine.  More food.  This is the largest vat of paiaya I have ever seen.

It's a good thing they stamp your passport at every winery because by the end of the day, they all sort of get blended together in my memory bank.

Until next year....

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March 3, 2016

Darn Good Chocolate Bundt Cake

Tuesday afternoon I spent my lunch time at Marvin's Restaurant in nearby Cotati for the monthly meeting of North Bay Dairy Women.

North Bay Dairy Women began the year of 1965.  The purpose of the group is to .....

"educate the public and to promote The Dairy Industry through the dissemination of authentic information; to promote better producer-processor-consumer relations and greater use of all dairy foods through the support of advertising and educational programs and through social events."

I enjoyed a very fresh spinach salad, topped with crispy bacon bits, red onion, hard boiled egg and croutons all with poppyseed dressing.  I ate the entire thing and it held me over til dinner time.  So good.

During the meeting, the new Board installations took place.....Congratulations Kristy, who will sit as the incoming President.  

During the meeting, I was sitting across from a long time member, Lori, which reminded me of one of my all time favorite chocolate cake recipes.....a recipe Lori had submitted to our North Bay Dairy Women cookbook......Darn Good Chocolate Bundt Cake.

This photo is from is from a couple of years ago, which is probably the last time I baked this cake but now that it's on my mind, I'm SO craving it and need to bake it right away.  A family favorite, for sure.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Darn Good Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. 3 oz chocolate instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
12 oz of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Bundt/tube pan
baking sheet

Spray a light mist of cooking spray in the tube pan.  In a bowl mix cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and water.  Mix with beater on low for one minute.  Scrape sides of bowl and beat another 2-3 minutes.  Fold in the chocolate chips and then pour into prepared pan.  Place tube pan on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Cool a few minutes, run a knife around edge and invert to a wire wrack or plate.  Add glaze or powdered sugar to top it off.

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February 23, 2016

Memorable Moments of February

Here we are, almost at the end of February.  It's been crazy busy just with every day life around here....I'm sure you all can relate.

We are at the beginning of "Spring Training" with Bryce's little league team.  I am looking more forward to his Opening Day than I am to the MLB Opening Day.  Only two more years in little league for him and I'm going to cherish every game.  Paige is starting up with softball again as well, so from here on out, every night will be filled.

We were able to pull Dominic away from the ranch for a few days to head up to Lake Tahoe for Ski Week.  Both of the kids' schools have a week off in February every year which makes for a perfect opportunity to head up to the snow for some skiing if there is snow.  This year there was plenty of snow.

Boreal Mountain.....

The view from Incline Village....

No matter how fun a get away vacation is, it always feels good to come back to the ranch.  Especially with these two waiting anxiously for our return...

I don't think I've yet introduced Chipper to you.  He was Bryce's birthday present.  He really wanted a hunting dog.  So Chipper, the Beagle Terrier cross came to live with us at the tender age of 8 weeks old last September.

I must share with you......Chipper is the most intelligent pup.  He is SO smart that he created his own doggie door......

 In our screen door.......

Chloe refuses to use it....she's such a DIVA. 

We're definitely looking forward to the end of the "puppy stage".  It's costing us for sure.  I won't even show you the photo of our coffee table.....

I'm not sure how much of a "hunting dog" Chipper will be.  He's more of a big lap dog right now.

No worries, Chipper.  We still love you.

What's not to love?!

The month of February is short, maybe that's why it becomes so busy for many of us.  A few of the other things we've been doing include.....

The Darling Daughter Daddy Dance at Paige's school......

The annual Marin County Farm Bureau Dinner with this year's honors going to Marin Organic receiving the "Friend of Farm Bureau" award.

Also honoring John Zimmerman, DVM, and awarding him the "Lifetime Achievement Award".

We also had time to celebrate some birthdays this month.  
Dancing Queens....

Do a little wine tasting in beautiful Sonoma....

And catch some gorgeous sunrises......

Oh yeah, just one more little tidbit.  Dominic is running for Marin County Supervisor, District 4.  We (mostly him) have been a tad bit busy with that new endeavor as well.  If interested you can read all about it on his Facebook page....

....where there are links to articles and his website.

To close out February, we have a few more events to attend.  Definitely looking forward to March and more spring-like weather.

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February 9, 2016

Heart Shaped Chocolate Mocha Bundt Cake

Oh my.  How cute is this heart shaped Chocolate Mocha Bundt Cake.  Terra's Kitchen put this delicious looking cake together and I wanted to share it with you all.'s low in sugar.

One of my favorite flavor combinations involve coffee and chocolate and here it is in the form of a bundt cake.  So yummy.  Here's the recipe.

  • 2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2/3 cup high quality cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 5 tablespoons cold brewed coffee (we use Baltimore-based Zeke's Coffee)
  • Butter Coffee Pour Over (recipe to follow)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Generously grease a Bundt pan with butter (we used a heart-shaped Bundt for Valentine's Day). Set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and light in texture (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the sour cream and coffee and mix until combined.
  5. Gradually add the dry JUST until incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt and bake until the center of cake springs back when touched and a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean (about 45-50 minutes).
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and pour Butter Coffee Pour Over mixture over the hot cake. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Release the sides and bottom of the cake from the pan with a narrow metal spatula or knife. Invert the pan onto a plate or cake stand. Remove the pan and dust with cocoa powder or powdered sugar before serving.
Butter Coffee Pour Over
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brewed dark roast coffee (we use Zeke's Coffee)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Add ingredients to a small sauce pan over low heat, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
Photo and recipe courtesy:  Terra's Kitchen
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January 26, 2016

Superbowl Chili

We live just 25 miles north of San Francisco, the "City By The Bay".  The "City" is totally gearing up for the Superbowl 50, which will take place at Levi Stadium...(home of the Forty-Niners... wah wah). I, myself, plan on steering clear of the city the next few weeks but can't wait for the Superbowl itself!
The Superbowl is always a great reason to have or attend a party, eat chili, drink beer and my favorite thing of all, in regards to the Superbowl....the commercials!

There's something about football and chili that just go hand in hand.  Don't you agree?  I do love a good pot of chili and there are SO many different varieties to choose from.  Just recently, Tocabe, an American Indian Eatery out of Denver, sent me this hearty looking recipe for their Green Chili Stew. Tocabe (as seen on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives) claims this recipe to be "warm, spicy and delicious as well as unique and authentic".  So if you're having a Chili Cook-off for your own Superbowl Sunday, you might want to throw this one into the mix.

Photo and Recipe courtesy Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery

Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery’s Green Chile Stew

  • 1 large potato
  • 8 ounces fresh ground beef
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1/3 cup flour (might need more depending on how much grease is in the meat)
  • 3⁄4 cup mild green chili (prefer fresh, but can substitute with frozen or canned)
  • 1⁄2 cup hot green chili (prefer fresh, but can substitute with frozen or canned)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups corn (prefer cut off cob, but can substitute frozen or canned)
  • 2 teaspoons green chili powder (optional)
  • Grated cheese (optional, we like cheddar)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  1. Peel and cube the potato into 1/2 inch diameter pieces and set aside.
  2. In a sauté pan on medium heat, cook the ground beef and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Break into serving sized pieces (whatever size you want).
  3. Cook the green chili powder, if you are using, into the beef.
  4. While the beef is cooking, place 4 cups water in a stock pot with the potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until fork tender; do not cook until the potatoes mash.
  5. When all the rawness is cooked out of the beef, turn off the heat. Slowly add the flour while mixing into the beef in order to make a roux. Mix the flour into the beef completely until no dry flour remains.
  6. Once your roux is complete, add to the stockpot with the cooked potatoes. Add the green chiles, corn, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Fully mix all the ingredients and place the stockpot back on the stovetop.
  7. Bring up to temperature on medium heat, stirring occasionally. This may take up to 30 minutes or more. Feel free to add cheese or sour cream, if desired.

More info about Tocabe

"Founded in 2008 and owned by Matt Chandra and Ben Jacobs, Tocabe is the only American Indian owned and operated restaurant in Metro Denver. The restaurant’s warm, open space features American Indian cultural elements infused with contemporary design to create a unique, welcoming atmosphere. Tocabe takes it origin from Grayhorse: An American Indian Eatery, which was established in downtown Denver in 1989 by the Jacobs family (tribal members of the Osage Nation). Tocabe uses some of the family recipes from Grayhorse along with additional Osage recipes to create a fresh take on American Indian cuisine. Tocabe was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2012."

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