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

November 30, 2012

Homemade Gifts From Your Kitchen


Oh boy, coming up with Christmas gifts is high on my list right now...especially since I'm considering a few homemade goodies from my kitchen.  This week's 'Best of the Web' is by Bon Appetite....Ambrosia Sauce has an asian flare...it's much like teriyaki sauce and you can marinate meat with it, or just brush it on as you're cooking your meat, chicken or fish.  

And it looks SO pretty in the tall glass jars, doesn't it?!

















(Credit: Hirsheimer & Hamilton)
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November 29, 2012

Inspiration

There are some days that inspiration is needed more than ever.  It can be found in a number of places.  

A few inspirational quotes that I aspire to live by....



Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.  ~ Harriet Tubman
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November 26, 2012

Will Drakes Bay Oyster Farm Survive?


This past Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar paid a visit to Point Reyes National Seashore and met with Drakes Bay Oyster Farm owners, Kevin and Nancy Lunny.  It was really interesting to be able to attend this meeting with the Secretary of Interior, right hand to the President in the small town of Inverness.

The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm issue has been one of the most controversial issues in Marin for the past several years and it's finally coming to a conclusion.  The oyster far has been in existence for 85 years, named Johnson's Oysters before the Lunny's bought it and took over seven years ago as Drakes Bay Oyster Farm.  Their 30 year lease will be up with the park service on November 30th and Secretary Salazar needs to make a decision by then on whether to extend the historic agreement or close down the oyster farm.



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November 24, 2012

Turkey Leftovers~Turkey Soup


Are you looking for ideas on what to do with your turkey leftovers, like I am?  I found this easy turkey soup recipe that's healthy and looks delicious.  It uses whole wheat pasta, lots of veggies and one of my favorites; kale.  I'll be making a pot of this tonight.
















photo and recipe courtesy Whole Foods
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November 20, 2012

Easiest Ever Green Beans

Are you looking for a green bean dish for Thanksgiving that steers away from the typical green bean casserole?  I have an easy, and I think, better green bean dish that you can whip up in minutes.

I love fresh, flavorful green beans cooked JUST right, which means not too long so that they end up limp and soggy.....I like them cooked tender and slightly crisp with  a lot of flavor.

Thankfully opting for canned green beans is not necessary where I live, fresh green beans are always available in California.  Don't get me wrong, canned green beans are just as nutritious as the fresh but it's a texture thing for me.  Limp green beans....just can't do it.


So to make the easiest green beans ever, all you need is a shallot or two, chopped, a package of french green beans....I buy mine at Trader Joe's or Costco when they have them, olive oil and Kosher salt and pepper.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet, throw in your chopped shallots, the green beans and sprinkle with pepper and Kosher salt.  The Kosher salt is a must for me, it adds so much more flavor than regular table salt.


















Saute on medium - high heat until the shallots caramelize and the green beans become slightly soft but still remain crisp.

You're done!  That's it!  The ONLY thing that would improve this dish is the addition of bacon....next time :)

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November 19, 2012

Oreo Turkey Treats

My kids are still in school on Monday and Tuesday of this week and on Tuesday the little one-room school is making Stone Soup for lunch.  I'm in charge of dessert and along with brownies I baked for the adults, I made these adorable Oreo Turkeys.  

Assembly required but no baking involved.


















First things first, unwrap all the mini reese's peanut butter cups and line 'em up.

















Melt some chocolate for your 'glue'.


















Pull apart one Oreo cookie and use the cream side as a base to stick another full Oreo into, to create the back of the turkey.

Apply some melted chocolate to the underneath and back {or top}  side of the peanut butter cup and stick in down on the cream of the Oreo and to the side of the standing Oreo.

Use a malt ball for the head and apply melted chocolate to glue on.

















Stick five candy corn candies into the standing Oreo for the turkey feathers.

















Use some cake decorating supplies for the turkey's eyes, apply with the melted chocolate.

















Use red tube icing for the gobbler.  When finished, place in the fridge for the chocolate to harden up.
















This was going to be a surprise, but little Miss Paige is standing here right beside me as I'm typing this....it's our secret.  The kids are gonna love 'em. 

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November 16, 2012

'BOTW' Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats

Thanksgiving is just six days away......my favorite holiday of the year, by far, because all that's involved with it is eating, drinking, spending time with friends and family and reflecting and giving thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives.
My 'Best of the Web' for this week are these adorable marshmallow hats created with chocolate covered marshmallows, striped shortbread cookies, melted chocolate chips and some frosting.  Something to keep the kids busy while you're cooking the stuffing.









Picture and directions courtesy Spoonful.com
What you'll need
·         24 chocolate-striped shortbread cookies
·         12-ounce package of chocolate chips
·         24 marshmallows
·         tube of yellow decorators' frosting
How to make it
1.     Set the chocolate-striped cookies stripes down on a wax-paper-covered tray, spacing them well apart.
2.     Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler.
3.     One at a time, stick a wooden toothpick into a marshmallow, dip the marshmallow into the melted chocolate, and promptly center it atop a cookie.
4.     Using a second toothpick to lightly hold down the marshmallow, carefully pull out the first toothpick.
5.     Chill the hats until the chocolate sets, then pipe a yellow decorators' frosting buckle on the front of each hat.



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November 15, 2012

My Morning Quickie ~ Pumpkin Oatmeal

I crave the strangest things in the morning....today it was pumpkin oatmeal....okay, that's not too strange but yesterday it was Brussels Sprouts with bacon.  See?

I admit, when I have a craving for oatmeal, many times I'll drive into town after school drop-off straight to the McDonald's drive-through JUST to get my morning oatmeal fix.....I ADORE their oatmeal.  But it's kind of ridiculous to drive all the way into town JUST for oatmeal when I can re-create it at home and save the gas.






















Forget the instant oatmeal packages, just make your own!  It's healthier and really doesn't take too much longer than the pre-packaged instant version.

I use Ouaker Oats, canned pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, apple, cranberries, brown sugar and nuts if you prefer.

















 Measure 1/2 cup of oats into a microwavable dish, add 1 cup of water {or milk}, a pinch of salt, a dash of cinnamon and a scoop of canned pumpkin.  Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.





Because I like my apples softened, add sliced apples to the mixture and microwave for another 30 seconds.

















Sprinkle with dried cranberries and brown sugar to top.
















A quick and healthy morning breakfast complete in 3 minutes.  What's your favorite morning quickie?

Libbey Just Tasting Square Tasting Bowl Set, 12 piece - set of 12 (Google Affiliate Ad)

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November 14, 2012

TT w/Linky: Top 13 Table Manners for Kids

Teaching kids table manners, or just manners in general, is an on-going, daily process.  Whether we're at home at the dinner table or at a restaurant, bad table manners is something I do not let my kids get away with.

With the holiday season upon us, I like to remind myself to remind the kids of these important table manners.  Here are a few of the top table manners we practice daily....











What Every Kid Should Know! 

  1. Come to the table with clean hands and face.
  2. Put your napkin on your lap.
  3. Start eating when everyone else does – or when given the OK to start.
  4. Stay seated and sit up straight.
  5. Keep elbows (and other body parts!) off the table while eating.
  6. Chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk until you’ve swallowed.
  7. Don’t make bad comments about the food.
  8. Say “Please pass the ---” instead of reaching.
  9. Chat with everyone at the table.
  10. Don’t make rude noises like burping or slurping.
  11. Ask to be excused when finished.
  12. Thank your host or whoever prepared the meal.
  13. Offer to help clear the table.

Definitely a work in progress in the Grossi household....







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.
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November 13, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

This past weekend was one of those that flew by, you know the type that's packed full of things needed to be done; meetings to attend, classes to bring kids to, a little over indulgence here and there, and a first time experience all wrapped into one three day weekend.....Oh, and all with a new major pain in the back named Sciatica, that I'm now too familiar with.

I barely had time to blog at all.  But here's a wrap up done with some random pics from my iphone....

Paige's 4H bunny class.......our borrowed bunny, Cinnamon, was a trooper and easy to learn handling skills on.




















A Saturday night out at the Tomales FFA fundraiser and part one of my over-indulgence.......Slab-O-Meat....N.Y. Steak with a one pound scoop of polenta, yum yum.


















Another over-indulgent, first time taste snack for me that I found goes extremely well with pretzel sticks ...........Cocoa Almond Spread.



















The Almond Spread and pretzels also go well with this Lagunitas Brown Shugga.....which was not a over-indulgence, but definitely a first time taste for me.....I'll be back.



















My lunch today after an over exuberant talk with a good friend about a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich......I think I would've liked the sandie better, but this plate made me feel better about the over-indulgence stated above.
























After a long three day weekend, it's time to begin again, climb back on for another ride....no matter how you're feeling, right?!  Hope you had a fantastic Veteran's Day weekend!

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November 9, 2012

Personalized Pumpkin Pie ~ "BOTW"

My "Best of the Web" this Friday is this personalized pumpkin pie.  Your kids will totally get into this and they may even eat some of it because it also involves chocolate chips!


















photo and recipe courtesy Family Fun Disney





Ingredients
  • 1 15-oz. pkg. refrigerated piecrust
  • 1 16-oz. can packed pumpkin
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. apple pie spice
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips {optional}

Directions
1.     Heat the oven to 375 degrees, then begin making the turkey handprint for the pie. Trace your child's handprint on a piece of lightweight cardboard, then cut it out to create a stencil. Place the stencil over one of the circles of pie dough and cut around it, adding turkey feet to the bottom of the hand.
2.     Place the cutout on a nonstick baking sheet. Brush with water and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
3.     Next, place the remaining circle of pie dough in a 9-inch glass pie pan. Press the crust firmly against the sides and bottom of the pan. Crimp the edges.
4.     In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and apple pie spice. Mix until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips, if desired.
5.     Pour the mixture into the piecrust and bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean (except for melted chocolate).
6.     Place the baked turkey cutout in the center of the pie and allow the pie to cool before serving. Makes one 9-inch pie.
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November 8, 2012

Sips and Nibbles along the Wine Road

This past weekend I attended a wine and food event in the area.....A Wine & Food Affair held in the Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley areas.  With the purchase of your event ticket, you receive this fabulous cookbook....

























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November 7, 2012

TT w/Linky: Celebrating or Drowning Your Sorrows? Cocktails for either

The election is OVER.  If you feel like me, then it feels like a mac truck just ran you down after the ups and downs of election day yesterday.

Are you celebrating or drowning your sorrows?

Whatever the case this Thankful Thursday, you may enjoy one of these to enhance your mood.  I know I will.

















Photo and recipe courtesy Shape magazine
Angry Orchard Cocktail  
132 calories, 6 grams of sugar
Ingredients:
1/2 ounce dry gin
1/2 ounce St. Germain
Splash lime juice
3 ounces Angry Orchard Traditional Dry Cider
Lime wheel, for garnish
Directions:
Pour everything except the lime wheel into a mixing cup with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with lime wheel.





















photo and recipe courtesy Shape magazine




Obama'rita

162 calories
Ingredients:
1 part Patron Tequila
1 part Cointreau
1 part pineapple juice
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
Pinch sea salt
Splash Polar Raspberry-Lime Seltzer
Fresh pineapple, for garnish
Directions:
Combine first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake vigorously, until the shaker shows condensation. Pour into a glass, top with seltzer, and garnish with skewered pineapple.



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.
 
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November 6, 2012

My Hunk-a-Meat Love ~ Hanger Steak

If you ever get the opportunity to try Hanger Steak, it is a must try.  Every cow has one Hanger steak, so it's kind of rare to find in the grocery store but if you buy your beef from a rancher, asking the butcher to cut and wrap the Hanger cut of meat is a must, at least for me.  You may also find some restaurants will have the Hanger Steak on the menu, don't be afraid to try it.




The Hanger Steak is said to "hang" from the diaphragm of the steer. The diaphragm is one muscle, commonly cut into two separate cuts of meat: the "hanger steak" traditionally considered more flavorful, and the outer skirt steak composed of tougher muscle within the diaphragm. The hanger is attached to the last rib and the spine near the kidneys. In the past, it was sometimes known as "butcher's steak" because butchers would often keep it for themselves rather than offer it for sale.....it's THAT tasty if cooked right.




So last night I had a hankering for Hanger and here's how I cooked mine.....

I marinated the Hanger in a Ziploc bag with with tasty Tavern on the Green Ginger Teriyaki Sauce for about an hour or two.  Of course you can marinate it overnight for even more flavor, but an hour did the trick for me......

I have NO patience when it comes to waiting for meat to be ready.


























Then I added some extra virgin olive oil to a hot skillet and seared the hanger.  About 6 minutes on each side, this hanger steak was about two inches thick.

















The key to cooking hanger steak, whether you grill it, broil it or pan sear it is, high heat and don't cook/grill it for too long or may become tough.

Important:  let the meat rest, uncovered for 10 minutes after cooking so when you slice it, you won't lose all that juice.

I like my meat on the medium rare side....so juicy.

















I served mine with smashed potatoes and brussels sprouts with bacon.

This is also an EASY weeknight meal to throw together, especially if you're going to pan sear it......definitely satisfies my little carnivores.

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November 5, 2012

Quick Week Night Grilled Cheese with Chicken

There have been a few sniffles going around in our house lately and with the sniffles comes the craving of Chicken Noodle Soup....an easy week night meal for sure but something a little more substantial is needed to go with the soup.  Grilled Cheese with Chicken Tender Sandwich.


















Chicken Tenders are super quick to cook, much quicker than chicken breasts...and the kids have fun eating these little guys.  I roll them in bread crumbs, no egg, and add olive oil to a hot skillet and cook about 4 minutes per side.....done.  Set aside.




Butter one side of  the sliced bread you've chosen to use for your sandwiches.  I chose sliced sourdough bread, but chibata bread would work equally as well also.

























Pop the sliced bread on the grill, or skillet, butter side down until toasted, butter side two as side one is grilling, then flip to side two.  Remove from skillet.



Spread mustard on one side of grilled bread.  I use a grainy dijon.  Add two chicken tenders, a slice or two of Swiss cheese, a slice of ham and some baby spinach leaves and top with the second slice of grilled bread.





Put the assembled sandwich back on the warm skillet and use something heavy to place on top.  I use a cast iron skillet.  Grill 5 minutes on each side or until the swiss cheese has melted into gooey goodness.


















Yum yum.  Enjoy.

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