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

August 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday w/Linky: I Spy with my little eye...

This year we planted our garden in raised beds, they're at about waist level which makes watering and weeding very simple.  Thankfully, the plants seem to be flourishing in these raised beds...our little midnight visitors; the jack rabbits, have not found our veggie garden this year and either have the snails, earwigs and whatever has eaten our garden in previous years.












 
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August 30, 2011

WW: Perfectly Portable Parfaits

What a fantastically busy weekend this last weekend of August was for us.  But not too busy to fit in the first episode of The Pioneer Woman's new Food Network show on Saturday morning.  I love that all episondes have been filmed on their Oklahoma beef ranch.  Along with the great recipes Ree shares with us, we also get a peek into what her ranch life is like.  The show inspired me to try something different.

I was to attend a baby shower on Sunday morning and was putting together parfaits to bring along and share.  I used Chobani Vanilla yogurt for the first layer on the bottom of my mason jar.  Second layer was granola, then sliced strawberries and blueberries.














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August 29, 2011

Learn to make Cheese

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a cheese making class given by The San Francisco Milk Maid, Louella. One of our local 4H clubs put the event together so there was a combination of 4H kids and adults taking the class…a group of around 30.

We would be learning to make Mozzarella and Cheddar Jack cheeses. Apparently most all cheeses are started using the same process. So here’s how it all went down.

This is a four gallon recipe.

1.  Warm the milk to 86-92 degrees.
2.  Culture the milk.  Sprinkle 1/4-1/2 tsp. of culture all over the surface of the milk and let it soak in for 2 minutes.  Do not stir in.  You can also substitute 1/4 cup of fresh plain yogurt instead of the culture.
3.  Dilute 3/4 tsp. Rennet with 1/4 cup of bottled water and then add to the milk vat.  Rennet is what solidifies the milk into a gel-like form.















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August 26, 2011

BOTW: Easy Strawberry Bruschetta for Brunch

Are you looking for an EASY brunch recipe?  I was, and look what I found for my Best of the Web this week on Eating Well....

Strawberry Bruschetta

Sweet and gooey strawberries topped on mascarpone cheese, all upon whole grain, toasted bread.  So easy to put together and you can even make the strawberry mixture ahead of time and just re-heat when ready to serve so it's nice and warm at serving time.



















Photo and recipe by Eating Well.Ingredients:
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August 25, 2011

Five going on Twenty

Five years ago today, I went through the quickest, easiest labor EVER.  I feel confident saying this because who shows up at the hospital delivery room and 25 minutes later pops out a baby?  We would have probably arrived 45 minutes early if Dominic hadn't gotten pulled over for speeding in route.
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August 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday w/Linky: Natural Spring Water on the Farm

It's the second day of back to school and the weather couldn't be any better.  It was so beautiful out that when I returned home from drop-off, I decided to take a little hike up the hill behind our house.

As I walked towards the natural spring water tank that sits on the hill, I heard a little trickle.  There are a few small leaks in the tank and it got me thinking about how thankful I am that we had SO much rain during our wet season last winter.  I know our neighbors to the east, in Texas and quite a few other states are in dire straights this summer with very little water.

Today, I'm thankful for our natural spring water supply, still plentiful at the end of summer.























Here's our water tank that sits atop the hill behind our home.  Water comes in from a natural spring we have on the property and supplies our homes with water. 
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August 23, 2011

WW: The Charm of a Barn

I adore barns.  Most especially old barns, they definitely have more character.  On a recent morning trip out to the town of Pt. Reyes Station, we stopped at this old barn.  It was a working dairy barn up until a few years ago and sits at the south end of Tomales Bay, just two blocks from the center of the town.  Today, through the Giacomini Wetlands Restoration, this former dairy ranch has been returned to tidal wetlands and flood plains it once was many years ago and is now owned by the National Park Service. 
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August 22, 2011

Essential Lunchbox Containers for Back to School or Work

The 2011-12 school year began today for my kids, both are attending the little one-room school house with the grand total of 11 kids, K-6th for the year.  Paige is one of two Kindergartners and she does get to stay for lunch every day.  The first days of a new school year are so exciting, no matter what grade you're in.  My kids were excited to bring all their brand new, shiny school supplies.  One of the things they were excited to try out were these BPA free lunchbox containers I found at The Container Store.

Paige's lunchbox is smaller so I bought her the smaller container so she could also fit a water bottle or milk carton in her lunch box alongside the container.














One side is just the right size for a sandwich and the other side is sectioned into two parts.  I used the larger section for fruit and the other for crackers and a silicone cupcake liner filled with trail mix.....can't have any of the food touching each other, of course.  Kindergartners, they can be SO demanding!
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August 19, 2011

BOTW: Chocolate-Cherry Snack Bars

Back-to-school is upon us.  My kids begin next week, so my hiatus from preparing boxed lunches is over.  I like to keep things tasty, healthy and new for their lunchbox so they don't become bored, so I'm constantly looking for new recipes.  This week's 'Best of the Web' is from Eating Well and had back to school written all over it.  My kids are gonna love it.




















I love cherries and chocolate together but you can substitute any dried fruit with this recipe....apricot would be delicious also!
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August 18, 2011

The Counter

With this being the last week of summer vacation for the kids, we had a few back to school items to pick up before the store shelves were stripped of supplies from frenzied shoppers.  Paige went shopping with her Nonny {grandma} and Bryce and I headed to the Container Store.

Conveniently, the Container Store is positioned near the food area of the outdoor mall we were at.  As soon as we walked out the door to leave, my little carnivore sniffed the air and there was no holding him back....he smelled hamburgers.


Must be a new trend or something because two doors down from "The Container" store sits a restaurant I had never heard of before, "The Counter".  To my little carnivore's delight, The Counter is a place where you can custom build your own hamburger.  Apparently you can find this restaurant chain nationwide but the first I had heard of it was yesterday, in Corte Madera.














They also had something on the menu that was new to me; hamburger topped salads, yep that's right, a hamburger patty plopped right down on top of your salad.  I'm sure this idea is popular with people trying to eat a low carb diet.

I ordered up the Backyard Barbeque














A chopped melody of lettuce, topped with 1/3 lb. beef patty, horseradish cheddar, chopped ham, onion, coleslaw, crispy onion strings, some sliced tomatoes, served with buttermilk ranch dressing and barbeque sauce on the side.

A tower of goodness.  They also have vegetarian versions on their menu as well.

Off the kid's menu, Bryce ordered two mini hamburgers with no cheese.  He would have preferred a plate of fruit rather than a pile of fries, but I didn't see that on the menu.














All in all a good experience but if you're in a hurry, service seemed to be a bit on the slow side.














Any time I can spend a little one on one with my little farm boy is good with me:)

Have you ever tried a hamburger topped salad?

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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August 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday w/Linky: Woodpecker Trail

Heading out to the coast for us is just a short 25 minute drive.  It's mandatory to dress in layers.  It could completely sunny and warm at our house and totally socked in with fog at the coast.  This week for Thankful Thursday, I'm thankful we live so close to a place as beautiful as Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

We headed to Bear Valley Visitor's Center {after a brief stop at Bovine Bakery} where a number of trails are ready to choose from right from the parking lot. We met some friends out there for a playdate/hike, we had five kids in total, ages 4-12. We wanted something that would be 'doable' for all ages so we chose Woodpecker Trail.
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August 16, 2011

For Wordless Wednesday: Sway

Living in the country, we have our fair share of grass growing; oat grass, rye grass just to name a few.  When I first married Dominic and moved to the farm, living in a newly built house, there wasn't a whole lot of landscaping going on in the yard.  We had a few rose bushes, a few trees and that was about it.  Now, eight years later, there's slightly more landscaping {we take things slow} but one of the things that's remained the same is the oat grass growing on the far side of the driveway.













At first I wanted it gone, mowed down.  But you know what?  It has grown on me.  I like it.  It sways in the wind almost like it's waving with its delicate rustle that can be heard if our windows are open. 
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August 15, 2011

Flower Garden Envy

This past weekend we attended the Sonoma County Fair, our last county fair of the season.  One thing that distinguishes this fair from all of the others in our area, is the annual indoor themed flower show, presented for the entire 2 1/2 weeks of the fair. 

Attending the largest themed flower show in the U.S. gives me two things;

viewing pleasure,

and flower garden envy.














Maybe I can find a theme that would work back on the farm, around our house.
From the perfectly landscaped gardens, to the perfectly crafted walking bridges,
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August 14, 2011

A Whiz of a Weekend

Wow, August has just been whizzing by hasn't it?!  Here we are almost half way through the month, another busy weekend has passed and time just feels as though it goes faster and faster by the day.....kind of scary. 

I remember, as a kid, the years just seemed to crawl by.  I would hear my parents talking with their friends about how fast time goes by and how "big" us kids were getting, where it couldn't go fast enough for me. Now, as adults, it's our turn to feel that pain of time flying by.  I certainly enjoy watching my own kids grow, but it's bittersweet in a way. 

I want to stop time. 

Right here, right now. 













But I can't.













So I'll just try to cherish every moment of every day.

 Enjoy the little things.













And live in the moment.













I hope your day is going by ever so slowly.


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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August 12, 2011

BOTW: No Bake Cherry Ice Cream Pie

Every once in a while I find the need for that go-to, easy, no bake dessert I can just whip up on a moment's notice.  One that looks as though has taken a good amount of time to prepare, one that I would be proud to bring to a potluck or party of any kind.  It's helpful to have ideas/recipes such a this one at my fingertips.
Without further ado, my 'Best of the Web' for this week is this luscious No Bake Cherry Ice Cream Pie.














No Bake Cherry Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust


Total Time: 4 1/4 hours (including 4 hours freezing time)

Ingredients
3 cups reduced-fat “light” vanilla ice cream, softened
11/4 cups chopped pitted fresh or frozen cherries, divided
1 9-inch chocolate-cookie pie crust
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Preparation
1.Gently combine ice cream and 1 cup cherries in a large bowl. Transfer to the crust and garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup cherries and chocolate chips.
Cover loosely with foil and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

recipe and photo found at Eating Well

What's your favorite, easy, go-to dessert??

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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August 11, 2011

Milk Barn Distraction

With my kids attending a one-room school house, I often compare differences between our little school and a larger one. One of the many differences is, we have a Bookmobile scheduled to show up at the school. The Bookmobile is a mobile library that works in conjunction with the county library and it drives from rural school to rural school on a weekly basis during the school year.

During the summer, the Bookmobile makes scheduled stops at various ranches. Our ranch is on the list of scheduled stops this summer. We have been out of town or busy during the first three summer time stops but yesterday, the final scheduled stop, we were excited to meet the Bookmobile just down the hill from our house.

We headed down on foot, Bryce with his overdue Diary of a Wimpy Kid book in hand, to meet up with the Bookmobile.

We waited....

and waited.

Bookmobile didn’t show, which equates to two very disappointed kids.

Luckily there are plenty of distractions down near the dairy barns.....and the park across the street.




















After exploring, big brother Bryce decides to show his sister just how boot cleaning is done.  With sprayer in hand, he expertly cleans his rubber work boots.
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August 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday with Linky

Just this past weekend, I was able to attend a blogging conference was only able to do so with the help of my very supportive, hard working husband. Now, I did ask him if he and the kids would like to join me on the trip to San Diego but he declined, staying home to work on the farm. 

This week I'm thankful for my very supportive husband who stayed home to work and take care of the kiddos while I was away for three nights.

This photo was taken last year at this same time of year and it's what I was imagining them doing while I was away.


Don't forget to link up to Thankful Thursday, it's a great way to meet other bloggers and have other readers find you!  After linking up, copy and paste the code in the box onto your site:)  Thank you!

Linking up to :
Black Tag Diaries for Thankful Thursday

Remember this flower from yesterday's post?  Lots of good guesses!  I posted the answer {photo} on my
The Wife of a Dairyman Facebook page! {it was easier for me to post it quickly on facebook}
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August 9, 2011

WW: What Type of Flower?

This Wordless Wednesday post is almost wordless! 
We have these growing in our vegetable garden.  Take a guess at what it might be.

















Linking up to Wordless Wednesday at:
Pinke Post
Project Alicia
Live and Love Out Loud

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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August 8, 2011

Is BlogHer12 a possibility? BlogHer11 Recap

With BlogHer11 being held in San Diego this year, it was doable for me since California is my home state and it's a quick flight down to southern California.  How could I not go?

At opening session on Friday morning, BlogHer announced that BlogHer12 will go back to NYC next year!  Exciting right?! 

If you've never been to a BlogHer conference and are thinking about attending BlogHer12, here's a recap of my experience at BlogHer11.

This year over 3,500 bloggers from across the world {I met someone from Brazil!} converged at the San Diego Conference Center and practically took over the San Diego Marriot Marqui and surrounding hotels in downtown area.

Someone accurately described this experience via Twitter as "a summer camp for women".  Yes, most conference goers were women but there were a few lucky {smart} men in attendance as well.  During the conference we were kept busy from 7 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. the following morning on both days.  There were parties-a-plenty to attend, sometimes three in just one evening.  All the BlogHer hosted parties were included with our event ticket!















My roomie, Katie who authors the blog An Authentic Life, currently living in Montana and who I went to high school with, reconnected in person at BlogHer11.  It was such a pleasure to catch up with Katie face to face.  Although it's not necessary to know anyone when attending a BlogHer conference, it was certainly comforting to hang out with someone I already knew.
























One person I didn't get to meet in person was Alexandra from Good Day Regular People who was one of the bloggers chosen to read at the Voices of the Year presentation.  But I know we'll make an 'in real life' connection in the future.













As I said, there were parties and dancing galore if that's what you're in to and if not, people watching is always entertaining.














Trainer Bob from the Biggest Loser was at the event.  You could have signed up to work out with him one morning.  Other celebertiy sightings included Riki Lake and Giulianna Rancic.

















With your BlogHer conference pass, your meals are included, but you can choose to sign up for different breakfasts, lunches and dinners given by different sponsors.  Katie and I were lucky enough to get on the list for the poolside luncheon given by California Raisins.
Raisins were incorporated into all things on the menu at this luncheon.













Including dessert.













Pureed raisins were included in these VERY moist brownies.....recipe soon to share!















I had the chance to take a little break in the Daisy suite where they served cottage cheese with various toppings.  They also had massage chairs, make up artists and manicurists available for a quick pick-me-up.  I LOVED the Daisy suite.














BlogHer was not all parties and eating.  For two full days, you were able to sit in on panels of your choice.  I felt there were tons to choose from and difficult to pick sometimes.  I've been following Jadin Hare from Steamy Kitchen ever since I began blogging so I really enjoyed her tips and what she had to say on her panel, "How Blogging can make you a Local Hero".  Even though I felt like I missed out on some other informational panels, BlogHer announced that the transcripts would be available to us, word for word, on their site.














All in all, I think the thing that most resonated with me, were the in person connections made. I believe I exchanged around 100 business cards, which means 100 introductions and conversations. 

Katie, myself and Lynn attending the McDonald's sponsored 'CheeseburgHer' party.  Oh, and all meals and party food included a vegetarian and gluten free option.

Carrie, from Carrie with Children and Karen from Jane Nation at the Social Soiree Party.


















After attending BlogHer11, my thoughts on attending BlogHer12 in NYC next year are definitely positive!  If you're a blogger that blogs for fun, as a career, or to keep a home journal, I believe attending a Blogher conference will give you an invaluable experience.

And if you decide to go next year, be sure to bring an extra suitcase to pack all your SWAG {stuff we all get}.













If you attended, what are your thoughts on the conference and will you go next year??

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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August 4, 2011

BlogHer11 Travel Day

Things I've learned so far on this BlogHer11 Conference is that I really need to learn how to pack lighter. Traveling alone with four bags....two to check and two to carry on was a work out!

This is the longest I've ever been away from my kids and I already miss them!  Bryce SO wanted to come with me, especially when he found out I'd be flying. 

So these pics are dedicated to Bryce and Paige.  Neither of my kids have had the experience of flying so for now, this is as close as I can get to letting them experience it.  All pics taken from my phone.

Leaving Oakland in the a.m., it was cold and cloudy.



















But half way through the flight it cleared up and I had expectations of warmer weather ahead.



















View from our room!
















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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