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

April 30, 2012

Butter and Egg Days from atop the Clover Stornetta Float

It was a beautiful day for Butter and Egg Days in Petaluma, Saturday.  Paige and I headed into town at around 11:00 a.m. to meet up with our Clover Stornetta group to ride the float in the parade.

After downing two ice creams and two chocolate milks for snack, Paige was ready to raise up her arm for the 'parade wave' atop the River of Creams, the Clover Stornetta float.


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April 27, 2012

"BOTW" Shredded Chicken and Corn Tostadas

If Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday....mostly because it has everything to do with eating and drinking, then Cinco De Mayo comes in as a close second..... Mexican food and margaritas.  What can be better if you're a Mexican food lover like myself?!  

As promised, 'Best of the Web' for this week is inspired by the upcoming Cinco De Mayo party day.....

















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April 26, 2012

Easy Spring Salsa via my friend, Nancy Johnson

I want to introduce you to someone who is a great writer, cook, party thrower, is lots of fun and is soon to enter the world of blogging, my friend, Nancy Johnson. Her salsa recipe is fabulous and perfect for the upcoming Cinco De Mayo celebration or any gathering.

Here's what Nancy has to say.................


Living in a fog belt, we have trouble growing heat-loving plants like tomatoes, eggplant, corn, and most peppers. But for some reason we always do well with jalapenos.  The plants manage to survive the foggy days in June, July, and August, and then spend September, October, and sometimes even November soaking up the sun. The peppers we get are never huge, but we always seem to have enough to make weekly batches of salsa from the time school starts up again through Thanksgiving.

Last year we had an exceptional crop of jalapenos – both plentiful and spicy. As a result, by the time the first frosts of November rolled around, we still had about fifty peppers in various stages of ripeness left on the tree.  I had no time to process these babies, so I simply harvested them and put them in the freezer.




Fast forward five months to a long weekend of wind and rain. Searching my freezer for a lost package of ground beef, I spotted the bag of jalapenos and was inspired. Fire up the grill, I shouted to my husband. It was time for a great spring salsa experiment.

By chance I had the other ingredients handy: a bunch of fresh cilantro, which nowadays is easy to find in the supermarket; onions and garlic; a can of chopped tomatoes; my choice of vinegar or lemon; and, of course, salt. Fifteen minutes on the Bar-B, a few whirls in the food processor, and voila: delicious homemade salsa.

Yes, the tomatoes were out of a can, not fresh. And yes we were wearing parkas, not swimsuits. But thanks to the power of the grill and just one of our jalapeno firebombs, we got our salsa fix – and a jumpstart on summer.

Easy Spring Salsa


Ingredients
½ bunch of fresh cilantro (about 1 cup), rinsed and towel-dried
1 onion – sliced in ½ inch rings
1 large clove garlic – unpeeled
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes (or better yet, canned tomatoes from your own garden)
1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar; or 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
Salt to taste

Directions:
Step 1: In a large bowl, toss onion, garlic clove, and pepper with olive oil. Coat well, using tongs or wear gloves to avoid touching the pepper.
Step 2: Using bar-b-que, inside grill, or broiler, grill vegetables until skin peels on jalapeno and onion rings are soft.


















Step 3: Remove skin from garlic and stem/seeds from pepper. Remember to wear gloves when handling the pepper.
Step 4: Place ingredients in food processor in this order: tomatoes on bottom; onions, garlic and pepper next; fresh cilantro on top.
Step 5: Blend for about 1 minute in food processor, adding vinegar through liquids tube. Remember, you are making salsa, not soup, so don’t start the food processor and walk away. 


















When the salsa is at the consistency you like (chunky or well-blended), stop processor and taste it. Add salt or more vinegar as needed. If the salsa is too spicy, add a little bit of sugar.

Serve with chips and your choice of beverage!


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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April 25, 2012

TT w/Linky: Low Fat Dairy and Lowering Stroke Risk

Dairy products with vitamin D,  may help reduce the risk of stroke, according to a Swedish study published in the journal, Stroke.


WebMD reported that the study tracked 75,000 men and women over 10 years and found that those who ate the most low fat dairy foods and beverages, were 12% less likely to have a stroke than those who ate the least.

The explanation given is, low fat dairy products lowers blood pressure.  Previous research suggests that adequate vitamin D levels may help prevent development of high blood pressure.

Researchers found that those who ate a daily average of four servings of low fat cheeses, yogurts and milk significantly lowered their risk of stroke compared to those who did not include any low fat dairy in their diet.  Even after taking into account factors such as having high blood pressure, the researchers found that the risk reduction remained significant.

Dr.Wayne Clark, MD, director of the Oregon Stroke Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland says the calcium in dairy products may also help to lower blood pressure, and he recommends two to three servings per day.  However, he points out that diet is only part of stroke prevention.



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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April 24, 2012

Hot Mamas

In northern California, our weather can be unpredictable at times.  We've just gone from rainy and 55 degrees to sunny and 89 degrees in a matter of days.  My body  has a difficult time acclimating to such a dramatic change in temperature and I know the cows like to ease into the warm weather as well.  We had some hot mamas on the ranch this weekend.

We're back down to foggy and 50 on Monday morning and to give these ladies some leisure time, they were turned out into the yard along the driveway leading up to our house.  
















School drop off can be a little tricky as we weave our way through the mamas that have clustered along the driveway.














Cows enjoy the cool weather.  They also produce more milk when it's cool and are happier overall.















With access to all this tall green, lush grass, there's always a rebel or two that go for my mother-in-law's plants instead.  Oh dear.















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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April 23, 2012

Rainbow Cupcakes via 4H Cooking

Yesterday morning my house was filled with kids, cake batter and food coloring.  I, along with my co-leader, Karen taught our 4H cooking group how to bake rainbow cupcakes.  We used just regular white cake mix from a box....so easy.  I think the most time consuming part was when all 10 kids had to agree on two colors to use for the batch of cupcakes.

Here's how it all went down.

Mix up the cake batter with water, oil, egg whites, {recipe below}.  Fill the cupcake liners, in a standard muffin tin 1/3 of the way full, set aside.

















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April 20, 2012


I warned you yesterday.....lots of Mexican recipes.  These Chicken Ranch Tacos by Betty Crocker are Da Bomb!  You make them with rotisserie chicken, how easy is that?!  Perfect for a quick dinner after your child's baseball game.















Recipe and Photo courtesy Betty Crocker


1 box  taco shells (10 shells)
3
cups cut-up deli rotisserie chicken (from 2- to 2 1/2-lb chicken)
1
package (1 oz)  taco seasoning mix
1/2
cup ranch dressing
1 1/2
cups shredded lettuce
1
medium tomato, chopped (3/4 cup)
1
cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/4
cup sliced green onions (4 medium), if desired
Thick 'n Chunky salsa, if desired
Additional ranch dressing, if desired

Directions:
Heat oven to 325°F. Heat taco shells in oven as directed on box.
Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, place chicken. Sprinkle with taco seasoning mix; toss gently to coat. Microwave uncovered on High 2 to 3 minutes or until hot. Stir in 1/2 cup dressing.
Spoon warm chicken mixture into heated taco shells. Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and onions. Drizzle with salsa and additional dressing.

Offer additional taco toppings such as olives, sour cream, etc.


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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April 19, 2012


Cinco De Mayo is coming up and  when you love Mexican food as much as I do, it's a great excuse to have it more often than not.  So you may be seeing a few more Mexican recipes leading up to May 5th....probably some margaritas too.

This black bean dip is actually very healthy for us, it's just the chips we need to watch out for.  This is a great, easy recipe to whip up for backyard barbecues and parties as well.  I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

Healthy Black Bean Dip

 


Ingredients you'll need (list below)

Mash up the black beans to where they are still chunky.
Ingredients
1 can black beans
1 tsp. oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup diced tomatoes (I use onion & garlic canned diced tomatoes)
1/3 cup salsa
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1T fresh lime juice

DirectionsMash beans in bowl until chunky. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 4 minutes. Add beans, diced tomatoes, salsa, cumin, chili powder and cook for 5 minutes or until thick. Stir and remove from heat. Add cheese, cilantro and lime juice. Stir well.

Serve warm or at room temp.



Enjoy!



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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April 18, 2012

WW: Post Vegas

This is all that's left post Vegas.....what else does a girl need but high shoes and lashes?
Happy Wordless Wednesday!
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April 17, 2012

Staying at The Cosmopolitan Hotel Las Vegas

I think I need a vacation after my vacation in Las Vegas...lots of walking, talking, eating, drinking and then more walking.  But I'd go back in a heartbeat if I can stay at The Cosmopolitan hotel and resort.  The only word I can find to describe this hotel is 'swanky'.....outrageously fashionable and elegant.....loved it!

I don't gamble, but Dominic does, therefore we...or he, was given a three night's stay at The Cosmopolitan for free......okay, okay.....probably not 'free' when you look at the big picture, I'm sure the 'free' suite was paid for in one of his past gambling trips.























Not complaining at all....here's the view from our suite.....from our private terrace, high up, we had a view of Paris.....













and the Bellagio water show was just beneath our terrace.














The decor of the suite was very contemporary and modern.























The sitting area is super comfortable with a flat screen tv, bar, and kitchenette.  The couch is super comfortable to sleep on, I tried it out one night.













From the sitting room looking out towards the bedroom area and the private terrace.
We spent a ton of time within the hotel's areas and bars.  I found, with thousands of people either staying at  or coming in to eat, gamble, dance and drink, the hotel certainly didn't lack in seating areas.  On the floor where most of the restaurants are located, there's a common area with pool tables, couches and club chairs to park yourself and chat or people watch.













One of my favorite spots to hang out in at The Cosmopolitan was The Chandelier bar.













There is a bar on every tier and there are three tiers.













Crystals drape from the top tier all the way to the bottom tier giving you the sense you are sitting within a chandelier yourself.





















 I will most definitely stay at The Cosmopolitan again, but next time I will plan it so that I'm SURE the outside temp is warm enough to utilize one of the three pools.




















The Cosmopolitan definitely draws a younger crowd.  I think I saw at least 50 bachelorette parties and almost as many bachelor {or guy} trips.  The Marquee Night Club may be the draw for these girl and guy trips...it's 60,000 square feet with stadium seating surrounding the dance floor, flanked by four story LED screens and projection walls displaying customized light shows to go along with each show.  Oh, and it opens out to the Day Club pool as well.  Crazy, right?

And lastly....I got a kick out of some of the room incidentals The Cosmopolitan has available in each and every room.................

Binoculars to use or purchase....






















The 'Get Lucky' kit available for purchase, right next to the peanuts...........comes with condoms, lubricant and a pair of mints............no joke.


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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April 16, 2012

Vegas Makes You CrAzY

It was a quick trip to a fast city.....nothing slows down in Las Vegas.  My well thought out plan was to lay by the pool for two days, eat, drink my umbrella drink and people watch all with no kids in tow.  

My plans seldom work out as I envision.  

The daytime high was 50 degrees with a chance of thunderstorms.

Plan B.  Eat, drink and people watch..... repeat......I don't gamble, so that's out.

After this Vegas trip, I can now, proudly proclaim, I am no longer a fried pickle virgin.  I LOVE them!  Have you had one?!  If not, you should.  I plan on recreating them at home, so good!  And great with a beer.





















From stop to stop, down the strip on Las Vegas Blvd., and there are many,  we happened upon the outdoor venue at Harrah's.  Super fun bar with a great cover band playing on the outdoor stage and the people watching was epic!


After a few drinks, you begin seeing things like men in red thongs.














You begin ordering crazy cocktails like Toadsuck Pond.....AND drinking them.
















The view begins to look a little off kilter.















Buildings look as though they're leaning.























Pink cows begin to appear out of no where.















Pink elephants too.














And mama gets a little Crazy.
By the end of the night, you may even think you have....

Then it begins all over the following 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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April 13, 2012

Woo Hoo!

What happens in Woo Hoo Ville stays in Woo Hoo Ville. 

It's definitely Woo Hoo night in these parts.

Why?

Well for one:  it's Friday the13th and why not have one of my top favorite cocktails of all time......the 'Woo Hoo'

And two:  I'm in a SUPER fun place right now with NO kids.

























More to come next week.  But for now, here's the Woo Hoo recipe so you can enjoy your very own this weekend!

1 shot of vodka
1/2 shot of peach schnapps
1/2 shot of pink grapefruit juice
1/2 shot of cranberry juice

Shake with ice in a martini shaker and pour.  Enjoy!



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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April 12, 2012

'BOTW' Pillsbury Peanut Butter Caramel Bars

This looks like a winner to me!  Creamy peanut butter, caramel and chocolate, all together in a bar....YUM!  Just need a nice bottle of Zin or Cab to go with.  




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April 10, 2012

Barn Charmer

Barns are almost my favorite thing to photograph....right behind sunsets and sunrises.  
There is something so charming about barns, irresistible for me to drive by one without taking a photo of it.
Especially when they are set in a beautiful wine country setting, like this one.

The girls and I went barrel tasting a few weeks ago and as we were driving to our next destination, we happened on this beautiful barn with the late afternoon dim sunlight.  I immediately turned my vehicle around to snap this shot with my phone.

Wordless {almost} Wednesday:  Barn Charmer

















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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April 9, 2012

Colors of Spring

Easter is probably my second favorite holiday....right after Thanksgiving.  The colors of Easter and the entrance into spring have a lot to do with it for me. 

We had a fun-filled weekend of coloring eggs,

















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April 6, 2012

'BOTW': Almond-Oat Strawberry Shortcakes

Happy Easter weekend to you all!  If you're having out-of-town guests at your place, I have a great breakfast {or dessert} treat that is sure to win everyone over.  My 'Best of the Web' recipe for this week is this fabulous Almond-Oat Strawberry Shortcake recipe by Bon Appetit.  Enjoy!

Photo & recipe courtesy Bon Appetit

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April 5, 2012

Dogs for Opening Day

This is a quickie, we've all got games to watch, afterall....

It's spring, the weather is trying to warm up and it's Opening Day for MLB......is there no greater feeling?!  So in honor, it's dogs and beer {and chocolate milk for the kiddos}for dinner......




What are you having?  And who's your team?

























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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