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

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December 4, 2018

Chocolate Cloud Cookie Recipe for the Holidays

Chocolate Cloud cookies have become one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes. Really easy to make and super good....and if you enjoy both chocolate and marshmallows, this recipe may become one of your favorites as well.

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

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.

Cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until blended.  Mix in the chocolate chips last.

Hold 3 or so Frozen mini-marshmallows in your hand and scoop the batter up and mold it around the frozen marshmallows, covering them completely.

Place balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees and you end up with these little gems!

Here is a link to some of my Top 10 favorite Christmas cookie recipes for your Christmas baking needs!

Chocolate Cloud Cookies
3 cups all purpose flour,
1/2 teaspoon baking soda,
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder,
1 cup soft butter,
1 cup granulated sugar,
1 cup packed brown sugar,
2 large eggs,
2 teaspoons vanilla extract,
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips,
5 oz mini marshmallows, frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper or use a Silpat mat.

Mix flour, baking soda and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until blended. Mix in the chocolate chips last.

Hold 3 frozen marshmallows in the palm of your hand. Scoop batter up by generously rounded tablespoonfuls and mold around marshmallows, covering marshmallows completely.

Place dough balls on cookie sheets, spacing about 2 ½ inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. They firm up as they cool.
Makes about 3 ½ dozen

Tip:  Make sure you freeze the marshmallows before using, otherwise they will melt
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November 19, 2018

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving.  A time to give thanks.  A time to reflect on all of the things in life we are thankful for.

Some of my favorite things this time of year include:

I begin my Thanksgiving Day by watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and then move onto football.

All while drinking my pumpkin spiced latte.

By early afternoon I am getting the turkey ready to go. I'm not sure whether I'll spatchcock my turkey this year or roast it traditionally.

Most importantly, Thanksgiving is about spending time with friends and family.

Thanksgiving, a joyous time for the most part and if one has lost a close loved one, it could also be a time of sadness for many.  

Our family has suffered the loss of a close loved one just recently.  My father-in-law.  He is missed every day.    A huge void is felt on a daily basis.  

For me, the time of day where the void is strongly felt is in the morning.  Driving down the hill from our house on the drive to school with the kids or driving myself to work is where I would normally encounter George everyday.  A brief wave was shared not only in the morning, but on numerous occasions through out each day.  Day to day life on the ranch is not the same without him here. 

We will always cherish the memories we had with him.  George loved this ranch and the lifestyle it brought him and his entire family.  Although his human body is no longer with us, his presence is definitely felt here. Spontaneous occurrences trigger memories, daily.  He will be missed so much this holiday season.

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September 4, 2018

Back to School Lunch Ideas!

For many, the day after Labor Day is the first day of school.  Back to routine, trying to drag the kids out of bed to make it to school on time and back to preparing school lunches.  I'm always in search of new and fresh ideas for school lunches and loved the idea of Meat and Cheese Sushi and Fruit Sushi for my picky eater.
I may even pack this lunch for myself!

Photo and recipe courtesy Real California Milk
9th and 7th grades

Meat and Cheese Sushi:– 2 soft taco-size flour tortillas– 2/3 cup softened cream cheese– 2 large green leaf lettuce leaves– 4 thin slices deli turkey– 4 thin slices deli ham– 4 (3 X 1/2-inch) strips Cheddar cheese– 4 (3 X 1/2-inch) strips Jack cheese– 4 green onions, trimmed to fit tortilla (use mostly green tops)Fruit Sushi:– 2 soft taco-size flour tortillas– 2/3 cup softened cream cheese, divided– 3 fruit roll ups, divided– 1 kiwi, peeled and quartered– 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch strips

Prep time: 15 minutes
Meat and Cheese Sushi
Place tortillas on a flat surface. Spread cream cheese evenly over tortillas and top with lettuce leaves and ham. Place cheese strips and onions on the bottom half of each tortilla and roll up tightly; press gently to compress all ingredients. Cut into 1-inch thick slices. Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.
Fruit Sushi

Place tortillas in a flat surface. Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese over tortillas and top with fruit roll ups, tearing to fit. Place fruit on the bottom half of each tortilla and roll up tightly; press gently to compress all ingredients. Cut into 1-inch thick slices. Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.
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October 27, 2017

Creamy Mole Chicken Soup

Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love sweaters, boots, scarves, football, all things pumpkin, comfort food and the of course the beautiful weather.  Although it's STILL 90+ degrees here in Northern California and I'm just itching to wear sweaters and booties and make some soup......I just cannot do it in this HEAT!  But when it does cool down, this is the FIRST thing I'm making. 

Doesn't it look fantastic?!  I would totally scoop this with some tortilla chips.  YUM.

So for those of you in cooler climates, here's a warm and cozy comfort food recipe you can try ASAP.

Recipe courtesy California Milk Advisory Board...thank you!

Creamy Mole Chicken Soup


– 3 dried pasilla chile peppers, stems and seeds removed and torn into strips– 1/3 cup raisins– 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder1 1/2 teaspoons each: chili powder and dried oregano leaves– 1 teaspoon ground cumin– 1 (32-oz.) container chicken broth, divided– 1 (14.5-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes– 2 tablespoons California butter– 2 cups chopped onion– 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes– 2 tablespoons flour1 cup each: sliced carrots, sliced celery and corn– 1 chayote squash, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch cubes– 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained– 7 ounces can diced green chiles– 1 cup shredded California Monterey Jack cheese– 1/2 cup light California sour cream– Crumbled California Cotija cheese, baked tortilla strips, diced avocado, fresh cilantro leaves and sliced green onions (optional toppings)

Place dried chiles in a large saucepan and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Place in a blender with raisins, cocoa, spices, 2 cups broth and tomatoes; puree until smooth. Place back in saucepan. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet. Add onion and chicken and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add flour and cook for 1 minute more. Add to stockpot with remaining broth, carrots, celery, corn, squash, beans and canned chiles. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Slowly add cheese, stirring constantly and cook just until melted. 
Ladle into bowls and top each serving with sour cream, crumbled Cotija and any desired toppings.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.
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September 19, 2017

Bacon Ale Cheese Dip

With the onset of fall this week, thoughts of muted, cozy colors, comfort food, warm drinks and football all come to mind.  We tend to host more get-togethers during the fall and winter months in our house.  Mostly casual events and mostly centered around a football game to watch.

Whether or not you host football parties, here's a yummy recipe that can be served up no matter who's house you're at.

Bacon Ale Cheese Dip


½ pound bacon slices
1 Tbsp. butter
½ yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp.  POD & BEAN™ Stone Ground Mustard
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. dark brown ale
6 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Soft pretzels for dipping

Heat oven to 350° F.

Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté for ten minutes until just crispy and then remove and place on a sheet tray lined with foil. Allow bacon to cool and then rough chop. 

In a large saucepan on medium heat, melt butter and then add the onions and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes.

Whisk in the Dijon mustard, POD & BEAN™ Stone Ground Mustard, and the ale, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan.

Increase the heat and bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cream cheese and reduce the heat to medium. Whisk the cream cheese into the ale mixture until the cheese melts and becomes creamy. Turn off the heat.

Slowly add five cups cheddar cheese to the ale mixture, stirring until the cheese melts and is smooth.

Stir in ¾ of the bacon and save the rest to sprinkle on top.

Spray a 1 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Pour the dip into the dish and top with the remaining cheddar cheese and the rest of the crumbled bacon.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the dip is bubbling. Serve warm with soft pretzels.

Special Thanks goes to The Cocoa Exchange for sending me this recipe to share with you all!

"THE COCOA EXHANGE™POD & BEAN™ portfolio of sauces and seasoning blends, are your new secret ingredients in the kitchen to infuse cocoa into all of your game day and party treats. Best of all, the sauces add another layer of flavor without adding unnecessary salt or sugar. The brand offers limitless savory options all made with chocolate, from White Chocolate Raspberry Honey Mustard to Chipotle Hot Sauce."
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June 7, 2017

Free Ice Cream for National Chocolate Ice Cream Day!

If you are lucky enough to live in any of the cities listed below and love chocolate ice cream, you are eligible for FREE ice cream in celebration of National Chocolate Ice Cream Day!

With National Chocolate Ice Cream Day today and National Best Friends Day tomorrow, ' Chocolate Ice Cream Index'—which recently ranked America's most chocolate ice cream-loving cities and is rewarding residents of those cities and their best friends with FREE ice cream all day long on June 7 and 8.

To get the scoop on America's ice cream-eating habits, Postmates [] (America's most popular universal delivery app) partnered with the cocoa bean counters at [] to rank cities across the U.S. based on the total number of chocolate ice cream deliveries, the frequency of these deliveries, and the overall preference for chocolate ice cream over other foods.

(data analysis conducted by National Today Data Insights)


#1: San Antonio
#2: New York City
#3: San Francisco
#4: Chicago
#5: Portland
#6: Charlotte
#7: Phoenix
#8: Kansas City
#9: Oklahoma City
#10: Los Angeles
#11: Ft. Lauderdale
#12: Miami
#13: San Diego
#14: Denver
#15: Philadelphia
#16: Nashville
#17: Las Vegas
#18: Atlanta
#19: Austin
#20: Seattle
#21: Sacramento
#22: Dallas / Ft. Worth
#23: Minneapolis
#24: Washington, D.C.
#25: Virginia Beach
#26: Pittsburgh
#27: Houston
#28: Columbus
#29: Boston
#30: Milwaukee
#31: New Orleans
#32: St. Louis
#33: Raleigh
#34: Louisville
#35: Tampa
#36: Palm Springs
#37: Baltimore
#38: Orlando
#39: Jersey City
#40: Indianapolis

To encourage even more Americans to scream for ice cream today and celebrate their BFFs tomorrow, Here is what you need to do to receive FREE ice cream if you live in the cities listed!.............

Postmates is delivering free ice cream to residents of the 40 cities above who download Postmates and order on June 7 or 8.

1. Download the Postmates app by visiting:

2. Add any ice cream to your cart from your favorite local or chain ice cream parlor

3. Use code ICECREAM to get it for free

To get more insights from the Chocolate Ice Cream Index, visit:
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May 3, 2017

Sunset Celebration Weekend Is Approaching!

If you have yet to experience Sunset Celebration Weekend, here is your chance!  I've had the opportunity to attend this event a couple of different times and I am so looking forward to this year's line up!

Here are some pictures from a previous Sunset Weekend I attended....  Sunset Celebration Weekend 2014
Here's some info for you!  Hope to see you there.
Tickets are now on sale for the 19th annual Sunset Celebration Weekend, May 20 and 21, 2017, at Cornerstone Sonoma, Sunset’s wine country location. Sunset fans join editors, celebrity chefs, vintners, craft beer brewers and renowned lifestyle experts for this two-day series of culinary, wine, garden and lifestyle experiences. To purchase tickets and find more information, go to
For the second year, Time Inc.’s Sunset, the leading lifestyle brand in the West, will host Celebration Weekend at Cornerstone, a marketplace with food, wine and spirits, shops, gardens and event spaces that serves as Sunset's beautiful wine country location year-round.
Featured Exhibits, Seminars and Experiences
Sunset “Smart Cottage”
Feeling outsmarted by smart home technology? The Sunset “Smart Cottage” at Celebration Weekend will prove that a high-tech home can be both attainable and beautiful. Sunset has partnered with leaders in smart technology and design, including Mosaic, Decorist, California Closets and Thumbtack, to reimagine a classic 900-square-foot cottage on the Cornerstone property into a permanent showcase for function, technology and style. From Nest and Amazon Echo to the August Smart Lock and Phillips Hue lightbulbs, Sunset editors are curating the most powerful technology to up your home’s IQ.
Visit the “Smart Trailer,” a special-edition Tommy Bahama Airstream parked adjacent to the Smart Cottage, and discover a world of portable and easy-to-install smart devices that run on batteries but pack a big tech punch.
Can’t visit the Smart Cottage in person? No problem. Visit to view a preview of the “Smart Cottage.” The “Smart Cottage” will also be featured in the September issue of Sunset magazine, accompanied by an immersive 3D experience, using a Matterport Pro Camera, providing a view of the Smart Cottage from every angle on
Camp Sunset
This year, Sunset is creating the ultimate glamping experience at “Camp Sunset.” Under three white canvas teepees, courtesy of Under Canvas, attendees can enjoy summer camp-style activities, a photo booth and gourmet s’mores while learning about the latest products essential for any glamping trip. Want more inspiration for cooking under the stars? Head over to the Live Fire cooking stage to check out the chefs from “Dirty Gourmet,” which was founded to rethink food in the outdoors.
From the Pacific Northwest to SoCal, the West’s Best Chefs Headline Two Days of Cooking Demos on Two Stages: The Sunset Outdoor Kitchen and the Live Fire cooking stage
Los Angeles
Alvin Cailan—Chef/Owner, Eggslut, Amboy and Unit 120
Tyler Malek—Head Ice Cream Maker, Salt & Straw (PDX, LA, SF), Wiz Bang Bar
Gabriel Rucker—Chef/Co-owner, Le Pigeon and Little Bird Bistro
Matthew Domingo—Culinary Director, Traeger Pellet Grills
Northern California
Ryan Scott—Chef/Proprietor, Finn Town; host, nationally syndicated “The Ryan Scott Show”; author ONE TO FIVE: One Shortcut Recipe Transformed into Five Easy Dishes (Oxmoor House/Time Books) (San Francisco)
Chris Cosentino—Chef, Cockscomb (San Francisco)
Perry Hoffman—SHED, Culinary Director (Healdsburg)
Douglas Keane—Healdsburg Bar and Grill; Two Birds, One Stone (Healdsburg, St. Helena)
Ari Weisswasser—Chef, Glen Ellen Star (Glen Ellen, Sonoma County)
Robert Masullo—Chef/Owner, Masullo’s (Sacramento)
Michelle Tam—Nom Nom Paleo (San Francisco)
Samin Nosrat—Author, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: The Four Elements of Good Cooking (Simon & Schuster) (San Francisco)
Wine Seminars
Join Sunset Wine Editor Sara Schneider and some of the West’s most revered winemakers and spirits experts for educational sessions that range from “Wine List Secrets from the Sommeliers” to “Zinfandel: Back to the Future with California’s Wine”.
Cost per seminar: $20 per person. Wine seminars have limited seating and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Purchase advance tickets while supplies last at Tastings are included in the cost of each seminar. Must be 21+ years old to attend.
Tour the Sunset Test Garden
Designed by Homestead Design Collective, the Sunset Test Garden is divided into distinct garden “rooms,” including the Cocktail Garden, the Farm, the Backyard Orchard, the Flower Room and The Gathering Space, the outdoor living room of Sunset’s dreams.
Celebration Weekend 2017 Event Information:
A complete schedule of presenters and events, event information and online tickets are available at
Stay up to date on Sunset Celebration Weekend 2017 by liking Sunset on Facebook and following Sunset on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest, #sunsetcw.
Sunset Celebration Weekend sponsors include Belgard, Delta Faucets, Toyota Mirai, Sunbrella, and Pure Leaf.
***Event activities, participants and schedules are subject to change.
Time Inc.’s Sunset ( is the leading lifestyle brand in the West. Through magazines and books, events and experiences and digital and social media, Sunset covers the West's best flavors, destinations, design trends and innovations. Sunset engages and inspires an audience of over 5 million educated, active and affluent consumers every month through its five regional print editions—Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Southern California, Southwest and Mountain—as well as via all tablet devices and its website. In addition to its print and digital publications, Sunset showcases the region’s unique lifestyle and noteworthy destinations through its flagship events, established home programs, licensing partnerships, books and International Wine Competition.
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