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

March 30, 2012

'BOTW' Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Easter is coming right up and I know the kiddos would LOVE to help you bake these adorable Easter Bunny cupcakes.  For my 'Best of the Web' this week, Easter Bunny cupcakes, courtesy Betty Crocker.
Easy.
Fun.
Yummy.
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March 29, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner~Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Stew

I have been slammed lately with kid-related activities after school almost every day of the week.  This type of schedule leaves little or no time for dinner prep, so when I can, I use my slow cooker to help me out.

Sometime after a meeting, but before school pick up, swim lessons and baseball practice, I found some time to throw these simple ingredients together in the slow cooker to be ready for us when we returned home later that evening.

Most of the ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and/or freezer.....and if you don't, modify, modify, modify.  I am the queen of modification and it seems to always work out.



















Here's what you need for success.....{full recipe below}














Chop Chop and throw it in the pot.
















Four hours later, it looks like this.
















Ready to eat with some crusty bread and butter.






























Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Stew

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in thirds
1 15 oz can of Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can of stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 cup of celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 small garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of chicken broth {or dry red wine}
3 T tomato paste
1 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning

Directions:
In your slow cooker, combine chicken, Cannellini beans, stewed tomatoes, celery, carrots and garlic; mix well.
In a medium bowl, combine water, chicken broth or wine, tomato paste, sugar and Italian seasoning; mix well and pour over chicken and vegetables.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.


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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March 28, 2012

TT w/Linky: Sonoma Marin Artisan Cheese Trail

Out of the 43 artisan cheese companies in California, over half are located in Marin and Sonoma counties.  Very thankful on this Thankful Thursday that so many wonderful artisan cheeses are so close to home.  And for those of you planning a trip to northern California, you may want to include cheese tasting in your plans......wine tasting one {or two} days and cheese tasting on a third day.

Here is a downloadable copy of the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail to help you decide when and where to explore.  Many of the Marin County cheese companies are very close or in Pt. Reyes National Seashore.


Take a peek at some of our farmer neighbors and friends in this video by California Bountiful...... great job Rick Lafranchi and Janna McClelland!





Link up with anything you’re thankful for! And if you’re not a blogger, just let us know in the comment section what you happen to be thankful for on this day.





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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March 27, 2012

Express Yourself

Self Expression through dress is something my five year old has no problem with.   Her personality shines through.  It’s entertaining to see what she comes up with when she steps out of her room every morning dressed and ready for school……sometimes a pleasant surprise and at other times I stifle the cringe that comes over my body when I see what she’s chosen to wear for the day.

I don’t hold her back.

Today it was pleasant.  The budding Fashionista came out sporting black tights with white shorts over them, a sparkly black top, bright blue gloves, a headband and her rain boots……her wordless statement for the day.




I think I see the makings of a trend-setting Fashion Blogger in the future.



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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March 26, 2012

Marin County Farm Day 2012 & Winning Calf Name

The two and a half week old calf we brought to Marin County Farm Day came home with a name.  After tallying all the votes, the winning name is FAITH.  

















We will register this calf with her new official name of Faith.  Thanks to all that participated in the voting at Farm Day, it was so much fun!

Marin County Farm Day seems to get bigger and better every year.  There seemed to be many more animals showcased this year and the weather also cooperated, staying dry, thankfully.
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March 23, 2012

'BOTW': Easy Cheeseburger Mini Pies

Betty is quickly becoming a good friend in my household....Betty Crocker seems to draw me in with her easy, kid friendly and tasty recipes.  This 15 minute prep time dish is perfect for an easy dinner or even a lunch for a crew of kids.  With ingredients that are staples in my house, this is an easy go-to recipe I'll be trying very soon.

'Best of the Web'  Easy Cheesburger Mini Pies










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March 22, 2012

Gooseberry Patch Simple Shortcut Recipes

Six months ago I submitted one of my favorite dessert recipes to Gooseberry Patch with the hopes of it making it into one of their cookbooks.  If you haven't heard of Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, they publish fabulously themed cookbooks that feature recipes from people like you and me, from across the nation.  So, if you have a fantastic family recipe you would like to share, send it in to Gooseberry Patch!  It's fun to have some family history in print.























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March 21, 2012

TT w/Linky: Accidental Farm Girl

As many of you already know, I didn't grow up on a dairy farm, and now calling one home, I've learned many things about farm living.  Things such as never turn your back to a bull, remain calm no matter what the circumstance, patience is mandatory {still working on that one} and how a little furry, two week old calf can teach you so much....... dairy calves, they capture a special place in my heart.

But dang it!  When one of those little buggers catches me off guard, I begin to rethink my heartfelt love...
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March 20, 2012

Through the Lens of a 7 Year Old

It's spring break and it's a "staycation" here on the ranch for us.  Paige is sick with the flu, stuck inside and not happy at ALL about it.  Bryce is taking up the slack for me by going out and snapping some pics all while helping Daddy.

I love it when I give the camera to my seven year old and tell him to have at it.  I truly can't wait to see what he comes back with, every time he takes it......like little treasures.

Here are some of the things that caught his eye this week......

Riding in the tractor, feeding the cows.....he knows how I like cow pics and am sure he took these solely for my benefit.














Playing with the zoom.....I like the outcome.














Boys and machinery....I'm not even sure where on the ranch I would find this......














Surprise shots....we all love those don't we?!......here's one of Daddy.













Lastly, a shot of a beef cow......T-Bone......or soon to be.














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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March 19, 2012

Marin County Farm Day~Coming Up!

Marin County Farm Day is a fun, child oriented event that is coming up this Thursday, March 22nd. 

Held at the Marin Civic Center,  this free event provides hands-on educational experiences outside the classroom for school children of all ages.  Over 30 Northern California ranchers, growers, producers and educators provide interactive exhibits on agriculture, health, farm animals, gardens and environmental education.

If you come by, make sure to stop by and say hi to me at the Tri-Valley 4H and Marin County Farm Bureau tables where we'll have rabbits to pet and calves and sheep to visit.  And this year, you can help name our two week old dairy calf we'll have on hand by voting on one of these four choices:
            • Fergie
            • Fiona
            • Flo
            • Faith
The nine year old mother of this calf is named Flora.  When a calf is born we name her with a name beginning with the same letter as her mother's name for registration and organization.





















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March 16, 2012

"BOTW" Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Mini Pies

What do you get when you add Pie crust + chocolate chip cookies?

That's right, Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Mini Pies.

Oh Yeah.

Four ingredients~easy as pie.  Thank you, Pillsbury for supplying the recipe!


photo by Pillsbury
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March 15, 2012

St. Paddy's Day Manhattan

Tired of the traditional St. Paddy's Day cocktails?....Mickey's Big Mouth, green beer, straight whiskey.  Check this one out!

Mix it up a little with a Manhattan made with Guinness, how clever is that?!

So if you consider yourself a little out of the ordinary, a little off kilter, this will get you back on track......I promise!






















Recipe by Scott Beattie ~ Photograph by Tim Mazurek

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Jameson Irish Whisky
3/4 ounce Noilly Prat sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 can Guinness

Preparation

Add the whisky, vermouth, and bitters to an empty mixing glass, then add enough ice to fill the glass 2/3 of the way full. Stir for 20 seconds and then strain into a Martini glass.

Pour Guinness into a cold glass large enough to hold the whole can plus a little extra {16-24 oz.}. After pouring, wait about 90 seconds for the Guinness to settle. Carefully spoon all of the light brown foam from the top of the Guinness and place it gently on top of the drink, in the Martini glass.

Optional: To make the shamrock, fill an atomizer or small spray bottle with Angostura bitters. Using either a stencil or a thick paper cut-out of a shamrock you made yourself, lightly place the sheet on top of the foam. Spray with the atomizer. Remove stencil sheet and serve.

Cheers!



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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March 14, 2012

TT w/Linky: Hunker Down

We are hunkering down for the week.  As much as I've been enjoying our warm winter with temperatures reaching into the mid 70's, much needed rain is here at last and heading our way the entire week.

The five month old calves currently pastured in our 'front yard' will be completely thankful for the buckets of rain we're receiving when, in a few weeks, they'll reap the rewards in the form of even more lush, green pasture grass.


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March 13, 2012

Easy Slow Cooker Corned Beef

St. Patrick's Day is coming right up this weekend and if you're like me, you only make corned beef once a year.....in the month of March for St. Patrick's Day.

Low and slow is how I cook mine....in a slow cooker.























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March 9, 2012

'BOTW' Greek Chicken with Greek Yogurt Sauce

This is a light, full of flavor chicken recipe I found for my 'Best of the Web' for this week, by Betty Crocker.  I did modify it a bit by using Chobani Greek Yogurt instead of the mixture of regular yogurt and sour cream they have on their original recipe.

I hope you enjoy it! 

photo and recipe courtesy Betty Crocker

Sauce

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup  Chobani {or other greek yogurt} Fat Free plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
Fresh parsley, if desired


Directions:

In medium bowl, mix all sauce ingredients. Cover; refrigerate until serving time.

Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and cinnamon. In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in oil 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Reduce heat to low; add water. Cover; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (165°F).

Serve chicken with yogurt sauce. Garnish with parsley.


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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March 8, 2012

Slow Cooker Pork Burritos {or Soup}

After an exhausting day of wine tasting this past weekend, the girls and I headed over to our friend, Debbie's house where her husband and daughter had a warm, hearty meal waiting for us.

Pork Burritos. 

Here's what you need for success....pork tenderloin, or you can use pork butts {shoulder}, green enchilada sauce, green chilies, onion, salt, pepper and cinnamon.  {full recipe below}
















This slow cooker recipe is perfect on a busy day of taxiing my kids from school to baseball practice....four hours in the slow cooker and it's ready for us when we return home.

Dice up the pork and throw it in the slow cooker.  Chop the onion and add that and the enchilada sauce, green chilies, salt and pepper and cinnamon to the slow cooker and stir.  Set on high for four hours.
















Done.
















I served mine on tortillas lined with baby spinach and topped with cheddar cheese.  For the kids, I used four tortillas and added some guacamole and sour cream for burritos.....they had been eaten by the time I came in to take a photo.

There is quite a bit of liquid with this recipe.  Another option would be to crunch of some tortilla chips and add it to make Tortilla Soup.

Slow Cooker Burritos or Soup

Ingredients:

2 lbs pork tenderloin or pork butts {shoulder}
1 large can of green enchilada sauce
1-6 oz can of green chilies
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper
a dash or two of cinnamon
tortillas
sour cream
grated cheese
tortilla chips {for soup}

Directions:

Dice of the pork and add to the slow cooker.  Dice the onion and add that along with the remaining ingredients except the tortillas, cheese and sour cream to the slow cooker.  Stir together.  Set on high for four hours.


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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March 7, 2012

TT w/Linky: Green Grass Virgins

We've had an early spring here in California.  A non-existent winter when it comes right down to it, actually.  With our scattered rain showers and tons of sun, we have some very rich, long green grass early in the season.

Since rain is not scheduled to be in the forecast any time soon, we're able to let our little lawnmowers out earlier than planned.

The calves in this group are about five months old and today is their first time out on live grass......not the straw that they're use to.  Oh, and it was their first trailer ride as well.


















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March 6, 2012

WW: Shamrock Shake

I seem to acquire many new loves in my life.....this is my most recent.......

McDonald's is serving up their Shamrock Shake for a limited time......run, don't walk......SO good! 

That's all I'm sayin'.





















If you really need to know the calorie count, check it out here......Shamrock Shake calories.

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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March 5, 2012

Tasting Out of the Barrel ~ Wine Tasting

It's the beginning of March, it's 70+ degrees, the first weekend of Barrel Tasting in the Dry Creek Valley, which means great wines, good food and phenomenal people watching.

What more can one ask for?!

Not much.

Our journey along the Wine Road began at Dutton Estate, where my friend, Debbie works....




We sampled some delicious wines right out of the barrel.....which will only get better with age. 
We collected our samples directly from Terry, the wine maker.



Dutton wines were paired with very moist pulled pork and corn bread....so good.



There were 130 wineries participating in Barrel Tasting weekend this year.  We managed to visit four of them.  A. Rafanelli, in Healdsburg, was our second stop. 

Rafanelli wines are not sold retail, only restaurants and on special wine event weekends....Barrel Tasting weekend is my opportunity to stock up on a few bottles.

There's is always a line to enter the tasting room at Rafenelli, but the people pleasers that they are, always have someone pouring down the line while you're waiting.......

Hello Big Bold Zin......



After our 15 minute wait to enter the tasting room, we were not disappointed.....we tasted, bought and tasted a little more.



 All the wineries have beautiful scenery with everything beginning to bloom which = great photos, but not so great for allergies.....but I didn't complain.....at least not til later...



We were on a mission.  We knew what wineries we wanted to hit, a list of top priorities.  Third stop, Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves.....



Bella has beautiful grounds that include a picnic area with shaded tables under majestic trees, a country shabby chic tasting room, and cool, dark wine caves...........



a fabulous pairing of bacon and grits with their wines.  

Bacon, I was in heaven.
















We spent at least an hour at Bella, I don't think any of us wanted to leave. 














But we did.....finally.

On to Armida, our last stop of the day. 

























For me, Armida is more about visual stimulation.  They have two tasting rooms; one where the Chardonnay is poured...."Heaven" and the second where all the reds are poured... "Hell".

"Hell" was the happening place.....for some.













Already looking forward to the next event.

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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March 2, 2012

Think Green ~ How to Color your Beer Green

It's the second of March and I'm already seeing green. 

Green beer......have you ever tried to color your beer green for St. Patricks Day?  It's super easy.

For this week's 'Best of the Web', Betty Crocker takes top honors with their simple instruction and perfectly colored green beer.
















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March 1, 2012

Taco Bake Casserole

It's been crazy-busy here in our household....little league times 2 kids, four plus practices per week and 2-4 games per week doesn't leave a whole lot of time to think about what to fix for dinner.  Something easy, nutritious and preferably in the casserole or slow cooker variety takes the top spot for me.

I found this Betty Crocker recipe just today and I can't wait to try it out.....just had to share with you.


















Ingredients:
1 lb lean  ground beef

1 can {16 oz}  refried beans or black beans
1 jar {16 oz}  salsa
1 can {16 oz} corn
1 package {1 oz}  taco seasoning mix
2 1/2 cups coarsely broken tortilla chips
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped {3/4 cup}
4 medium green onions, sliced {1/4 cup}
2 medium tomatoes, chopped {1 1/2 cups{
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese {4 oz}
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1 cup shredded lettuce


1.  Heat oven to 350°F. In 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in refried beans, salsa and taco seasoning mix. Reduce heat to medium. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

2.  In ungreased 2-quart casserole, place 2 cups of the broken tortilla chips. Top evenly with beef mixture. Sprinkle with bell pepper, onions, 1 cup of the tomato, the cheese and olives.

3.  Bake uncovered 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted. Top baked casserole with lettuce, remaining 1/2 cup tomato and remaining 1/2 cup tortilla chips.



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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