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

June 30, 2011

Food Safety Tips~Keep your holiday weekend Food Safe!

I am  frequently amazed by the ideas and information I gain just by having a Twitter account.  Today, for a short time I was following the hashtag #checksteps, which happened to be all about food safety and I thought, perfect for this upcoming holiday weekend as well as all summer long.

Here are some of the food safety tips and reminders I found useful:
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June 29, 2011

A Simple Gardener

This past February, when we were having 80 degree temps and what I thought was going to be an early summer, so I sprinkled some seeds and planted some bulbs in the simple container garden from last summer.  Little did I know that our spring/summer like weather we were experiencing was only to last through the month of February.

I have yet to plant our 'formal' garden for the year.

Yesterday, it poured down rain all day long.


Today I went out to the containers in which I planted the carrot and parsley seeds, onion and garlic bulbs.  I have never planted garlic {the larger bulb on the left} so I'm not sure if this is what it's supposed to look like or not, but I plan on hanging it to dry.
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June 28, 2011

Three Ingredient Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches with Nutella

It's June 28th, the kids are on summer vacation and it's pouring outside here in northern California.  We haven't been indoors for the last week because of hanging out at our county fair, so finding a rainy day activity was fairly easy to come up with. 

And who could turn down mini ice cream sandwiches?  Especially the type that are easy to make yourself and require no baking on my part.

Here's what you need.....
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June 27, 2011

From Queens to the Show Ring

Yesterday was a full day in our household. After a full day at the county fair the day before and putting the kids to bed on later than usual, at 9:15 p.m., I had to physically wake them up at 8 a.m. Sunday morning.  Paige needed to be in Sebastopol, which is a 45 minute drive from our house, by 9:30 a.m. to walk in the Sebastopol Portuguese procession.

Amazingly, we made it on time with smiles on our faces. 
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June 26, 2011

Candid Shots at the County Fair

Some of my favorite shots at the county fair, in no particular order are;

I love that Dairy Princess, Amanda Moretti can shovel out a stall, while holding her princess composure.













Free ice cream, we were at this booth every day.













Bryce hanging with his cousin, Cameron.













Nice udders on these Holsteins.












Judging in the show ring.













The kids loving the carnival rides.

By the end of the day, all we felt like doing was hanging around.



















Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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June 25, 2011

Watermelon Lemonade~Loaded or Unloaded

My six year old, Bryce is always thinking.....about how he can make a buck.  I'm not sure if his motivation is all about making the actual money or the fact that he just loves to go shopping for himself.

Lemonade stands are high on his priority list.  The only drawback is that we live on a dairy farm, four miles from a residential neighborhood.  But this doesn't deter Bryce from setting up his stand.....he just calls Nonny and Papa {grandma & grandpa} from down the hill and asks them to come up to his stand he has set up on the lawn.....and then tries to sell them a cup of lemonade for $5 a piece.  Needless to say, he's also getting some practice on his negotiating skills.

Just the other day, when the temps reached 80 degrees, some fresh lemons were squeezed and some watermelon pureed-for a twist on conventional lemonade.  The watermelon lemonade was so good in fact, Bryce didn't have any left to sell at the stand.















Here's how it all went down.....
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June 24, 2011

A Day at the Fair

My nephew, Gavin is showing Emma {aka lap calf} at the fair this year.  She stays for five days and as you can see, she totally acclimated to her new sleeping arrangements.  Paige named Emma when she was a few weeks old and feels it's part of her responsibility to check on her a few times a day while at the fair....and even take a little rest with her.













After checking on Emma, we were in search of some food.  I was on a quest to find some healthy carnival food.  Spending five days at the fair, I really wanted to keep my food intake as healthy/low fat as possible.













Roasted veggie/panini sandwich was the ticket for me yesterday.  Bryce requested a hamburger and Paige had some turkey and watermelon.













Clover Stornetta has an ice cream booth located near the livestock exhibits and they hand out FREE ice cream cones every day from 1-4 p.m.

They now know us on a first name basis.













We only reserve a small amount of time for the carnival rides.  For us, the fair is more about the livestock exhibits and 4-H exhibits so we try to stick to that portion of the fair every day.

We did, however venture in to the carnival portion, to ride just a few rides last night.

Bryce rode on his first Ferris wheel....













And Dominic took Paige on a few rides.......

What's your favorite 'fair food'?  Mine is a corn dog but haven't had one yet.

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Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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June 23, 2011

How The Pioneer Woman Helped Bryce Win a Ribbon

Our county fair is going on right now and Bryce, my six year old, being in 4H with cooking as his project, entered a couple of baked  goods in the fair.  One of them being the Pioneer Woman's Best Basic Brownie recipe from her Tasty Kitchen site.

We've baked them before, and I swore I would never make brownies from a box again.  Amen. 

They are that good.















And guess what,
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June 22, 2011

Pathway to Summer~Pt. Reyes National Seashore's Kehoe Beach

June 21st marks the first day of summer, the longest day of the year for us.  The temps crept up into the 90's and has sent a shock wave into our systems here in northern California.  I think every year we go from the mid 60's straight to the 90's, no in between to ring in the summer climate change.  This year was no different.



















So to help ease the temps on our northern California bodies, the kids and I headed to the beach.....where it is always 20 degrees cooler.

Pt. Reyes National Seashore is just a 30 minute drive from our front door to one of the many beaches we have to choose from.  Our favorite, Heart's Desire was closed Tuesday so we drove five miles further to Kehoe Beach, our first visit.

The parking is along the street.  At the entrance to the trail head you'll find some pit toilets.  The walk to the beach is a .6 mile trek.  Very do-able with kids.  The trail is narrow though, so strollers aren't an option.  Dogs are allowed, leashed, on a portion of the beach, but we decided to leave Chloe at home.

Just about there, just need to hike over the hill.













During the spring time, the trail is loaded with wild flowers.  I love the color of this thistle we saw yesterday.













Ahhh....a nice cool 70 degrees near the water, but it felt like 80 as we were laying on the beach and the sand was too hot to walk barefooted on unless you were near the water.













We didn't go near the surf, this beach claims to have undertows and sleeper waves that can catch you off guard, but one of the reasons I chose this beach is the fact it has a creek that feeds into the ocean....perfect for kids to play in without worries.













We were having so much fun, we stayed for five hours.....plus I wanted an empty cooler to carry back to the car.....with two big eating kids, mission accomplished.

How did you ring in the first day of summer?



Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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June 21, 2011

Top 10 Ways to Eat Blueberries

With blueberry season here, one of my kids, Bryce, is extremely happy.....he loves them and can never get enough of them!  Paige.......not so much, she's more of a strawberry girl.  When blueberries are in season, I like to buy plenty and store in the freezer to use through out the year. 














Top 10 ways to consume blueberries in our household may go something like this........
  1. Rinsed and eaten fresh.
  2. Add to our favorite muffin recipe.
  3. Mixed in with yogurt.
  4. Tossed in a green or spinach salad with some feta cheese and poppyseed dressing.
  5. Mix in with oatmeal for breakfast.
  6. Add to a quick bread recipe.
  7. Mix into your waffle or pancake batter.
  8. Dipped into chocolate.
  9. Puree and mix into cream cheese for your bagel or toast.
  10. Puree and mix into soft ice cream and then re-freeze.

How do you like your blueberries?

Linking up to:
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I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. Have a fantastic day!


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June 20, 2011

Even Little Queens Have Mishaps

It's early on Sunday morning, hair is being done,
hoop skirt on, check
full length white gown on, check
white gloves, check
7 ft. cape is in the car, check
tiara bobby pinned into place, check.















A day in the life of a 'Little Queen' on parade day, has just begun.  This was Paige's first experience walking in a procession as Petaluma Holy Ghost Portuguese Society's 'little queen'.  She did better than expected.

Let's just say, she took on her new role seriously.  Queen wave and all.

Until.....
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June 19, 2011

Father Daughter Dance

Even though these photos were taken on Friday night at the Portuguese Holy Ghost Queen's Crowning, today, on Father's Day,  much of our time will be spent doing a lot of this....

Father daughter dance.....in the very same dance hall, but with 700 more people in attendance.




















Probably a lot of this..........
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June 18, 2011

BOTW: To Please Any Meat Eating Dad

Holy smokes!  When I saw this on Bon Appetit's site, my mouth began watering immediately.  Since this weekend is all about Dads, here's a sure fire recipe to please any meat eating Dad.  Who would pass this up with short rib meat tender enough to fall off the bone, carmelized onions, melted cheese on toasted crusty bread?!


















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June 17, 2011

Barbecuing for the Better ~ tips

It's summer time, Father's Day is just around the corner and I'm sure many of us will be spending time outdoors around the BBQ.  Here's some quick and simple tips to make your BBQing experience the best it can be.

Thaw your frozen meat out in the fridge.  Try not to defrost meat or poultry and fish on the counter top....bacteria can easily multiply at room temperature.  If you need to speed things up, use the microwave on its defrost setting and then grill immediately.
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June 16, 2011

The Farmer Fathers In My Life

Our family's farm legacy began in the 1800's when Dominic's Great Grandfather Domenico Grossi immigrated to the United States from Switzerland.  He eventually got married to Teresa and settled at what we call the 'Home Ranch' that sits just down the road from where we are now.

Domenico and Teresa had 10 children, one of whom is Dominic's Grandfather, George.  George married Mary and they ended up settling on their own ranch, just adjacent to the 'home ranch' and where we call home today. 
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June 15, 2011

Brittney's Digs

I visited my furry little pal, Brittney the other day.  She is now about 8 months old and has moved to an area of the farm that we call "The Woods".  This is an area of the property that sits behind Stafford lake.  There's a hay/feeding barn nestled amongst the trees where alfalfa is stored and where we feed the older calves.  They remain on this part of the property until 14 months of age or so.

It's very peaceful in this area.  The only sounds and sights are those of birds chirping, a slight rustle of tree branches in the breeze and an occasional sighting of the resident barn owl that has her nest in the rafters of the barn.














As I called Brittney's name, she looked up and I snapped the picture.  She's the calf with the mainly white face.

Happy as can be, eating her breakfast and enjoying the scenery.

Update:
I want to thank all that voted for Rocky Road ice cream in the Flavor Face Off challenge, I truly appreciate it!  Rocky Road was beat out my MSU's Fudge Dribble.  Difficult to compete with the entire student body of MSU!!  Congratulations Fudge Dribble.

The good news is, you don't have to listen to me try and prompt you into another round of voting! 
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June 14, 2011

WW: Farmhouse Dinner

Summer vacation.  Kids can be up until 9:30 on any given night, impromptu dinners at my in-law's house can happen spur of the moment.  And this is just what happened last night. 

Dinner at the farmhouse.  Okay, it's not a 'farmhouse style' of a house, considering my in-law's home was moved from the downtown area, to the farm back in the 1950's when Dominic's grandfather had the milk barn, calf barn and bunk house relocated from across the street after he sold some farm land to the North Marin Water District for the creation of Stafford Lake.  But it is the house that came to the farm that holds many years of our farm's history.

Therefore, in my opinion, it is the Farmhouse.

After toting my two kids around all day yesterday, last night, my sister-in-law, Lesha and her three kids along with mine, arrived back at the farm.  Gavin, her oldest, has been spending a lot of time here so he can practice with Emma in preperation for the fair.  All five kids had been playing together since 11 a.m., they didn't seem very tired {endless energy} but they were hungry.  Lesha brought some chicken she somehow managed to bake in the middle of having five kids in her house all day, we brought down some hamburger patties to barbecue and Annette had a big fresh green salad, risotto and cooked carrots to put on the dinner table.

Last minute plans sometimes carry the best memories with them.















P.S.  one day, maybe, I will learn how to take better indoor photos!  Flash or no flash?  Yikes!

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday to:
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Thank you to all that have voted so far! But I still need your help friends, please click here to vote for Rocky Road ice cream in the Progressive Dairyman Face Off!  I am only participating in this contest for fun and to help celebrate June as Dairy Month.With every vote, your name can be entered to win $100 in free ice cream!!    Thanks for your support!

If you missed out on what this challenge is all about, click on Face Off Challenge for an explanation!

For your viewing, the road to Rocky Road~



Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!


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June 13, 2011

Summer is here...unofficially

The start of summer is unofficially here.  With the last day of school here and gone, summer is on our minds.
We kicked it off with a school pool party at Bryce's teacher's house.

Bryce was not happy about being required to wear his life vest, but spending four hours in a pool, one can get tired and so a life vest was a requirement.
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June 12, 2011

You never know when you'll make a difference in someone's life....

Over the weekend, I was sent this in an email, thank you Cathy, and rather than send it to all of my email contacts, I decided to post here on the blog.  I love the message.  It's about how one simple, kind action can change a person's life.

One day, when I was a freshman in high school,

I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.
His name was Kyle.


It looked like he was carrying all of his books.
I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?
He must really be a nerd.'

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.


As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.
They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.
His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him...


He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes .
My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.


As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks.'
They really should get lives.


' He looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!'
There was a big smile on his face.
It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.


I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.
As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.
He said he had gone to private school before now.
I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.


We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.
He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.


I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends .
He said yes.


We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.


Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.
I stopped him and said, 'Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!


He just laughed and handed me half the books.


Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.

When we were seniors we began to think about college.
Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.


I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never
be a problem.


He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.


Kyle was valedictorian of our class.
I teased him all the time about being a nerd.


He had to prepare a speech for graduation.
I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak .


Graduation day, I saw Kyle.


He looked great.
He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.
He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.
He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.
Boy, sometimes I was jealous!


Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech.


So, I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!'


He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled....


' Thanks,' he said.


As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began ...


'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.
Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends....
I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.
I am going to tell you a story.'


I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the first day we met.


He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.


He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.


He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.


'Thankfully, I was saved.
My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.'


I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.


I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.
Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.


Never underestimate the power of your actions.

With one small gesture you can change a person's life.
For better or for worse.


God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way.
Look for God in others.

'Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.'


There is no beginning or end.. Yesterday is history.


Tomorrow is a mystery.


Today is a gift.
It's National Friendship Week. Show your friends how much you care. Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND.


Thank you to all that have voted so far! But I still need your help friends, please click here to vote for Rocky Road ice cream in the Progressive Dairyman Face Off!  I am only participating in this contest for fun and to help celebrate June as Dairy Month.With every vote, your name can be entered to win $100 in free ice cream!!    Thanks for your support!

If you missed out on what this challenge is all about, click on Face Off Challenge for an explanation!

For your viewing, the road to Rocky Road~



Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!


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June 11, 2011

BOTW: Rocky Road Ice Cream Recipe

For this week's 'Best of the Web' feature I thought choosing a recipe for Rocky Road ice cream would be a good call.  June is Dairy Month and this is the last weekend you can vote in the Flavor Face Off challenge for Rocky Road ice cream to make it into the next bracket.

I found this recipe on FineCooking.com and modified it just a little.  The original recipe by David Lebovitz, includes pecans but I prefer almonds......rocky road is not rocky road without the almonds, in my book.

















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June 10, 2011

New Found Friends in Pt. Reyes Station

Pt. Reyes Station is quickly becoming a hot spot meeting place for Chloe to meet new friends.  Every time we visit, we either encounter loose doggies running around town and many others, on leash. 

No matter the size of the pooch, Chloe is ready to make quick friends.  A lot of sniffing going on in Pt. Reyes Station, let me tell you!
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June 9, 2011

Gavin's 'Lap Calf'

Our local county fair is just two weeks away and let me tell you, little Emma, the dairy calf is ready.  My nephew, Gavin, is showing Emma at the fair so he's been spending time at the ranch and working with her and his other heifer, Bella. 

Emma leads really well and is SUCH a sweetheart.  Gavin and I coined a new phrase {it's what we do at the calf barn along with naming every calf}.... 'Lap Calf ', because that's just what Emma is or would be if we let her.

My kids are still in school this week so I had a fun time hanging out with Gavin at the calf barn.  I really got to see Gavin's love for cows and calves come shining through.

"Say Cheese" says Gavin to Emma..........and LOOK, she did!
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June 8, 2011

Out My Bathroom Window

Just outside our hallway bathroom window, our {sluggish} internet satellite dish sits mounted upon the wall.  And cradled in the mounting bars of the satellite dish sits this little nest.
Just underneath the satellite dish and nest is where I feed our two ferrel cats, Dora and Diego, that happen to live in our garage.














Why these adorable little birds, I believe to be some sort of Finch, build their home here year after year, is beyond me.


















But for the time being,
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June 7, 2011

Pt. Reyes Station Western Weekend

The forecast was for scattered showers, the outdoor event was Pt. Reyes Station's Western Weekend.
We lucked out, the sky didn't even shed a drop.

Western Weekend is all about an annual parade through town at noon, which lasts at least one hour.

It's also about Marin County Farm Bureau's chicken barbecue.  Normally we barbecue the chicken off site and then drive it in, but this year, MCFB board member and good friend, John Taylor rallied up a bunch of portable bbq's and a cook crew so we could barbecue the chicken right there in downtown.

Driving into town that morning at 10a.m., the aroma of bbq chicken filled the entire downtown area.  It was so nice doing all the barbecuing at the actual venue.











The chicken was finished and being steamed in pots before the parade began.













Perfect.  My kids were HUNGRY so they were able to eat before the parade began.














Then we walked over and watched the parade coming down main street.














Pt. Reyes-Olema 4-H Club put together this cute float....all about baking.

As they passed the judges booth, they stopped and served them cookies and milk.

They won 1st place for their float {and efforts}.



















Chloe even enjoyed her first parade experience.  She was doing her circus dog act almost the entire time.  I think she wanted to join in.


With every parade, there's a Queen.  This year's queen is Alyssa Tanner.





After the parade ended, it was back over to the BBQ area to start feeding the huge crowd ready for chicken. 

I was on the clean up crew, so I snapped pics while everyone else was serving.






Doesn't this look good?!  Unfortunately it was gone by the time I got back over to it.


There was also a chili cook off, cornbread competition going on.


Such a fun day!  So glad the weather held off!
What's your favorite way of eating chicken??



I need your help friends, please click here to vote for Rocky Road ice cream in the Progressive Dairyman Face Off!  With every vote, your name can be entered to win $100 in free ice cream!!    Thanks for your support!

If you missed out on what this challenge is all about, click on Face Off Challenge for an explanation!

For your viewing, the road to Rocky Road~



Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!


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