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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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March 1, 2020

Healthy Summer Meals for Kids - Free!

Many places in our state of California and across the United States offer free, healthy lunches for kids 18 and under all summer long. 

With the end of the school year fast approaching, many kids will be on their own during the day while their parents are working.  I wanted to share with you, Summer Meals, a summer food service program of the United States Department of Agriculture.  There is no enrollment, sign up, paperwork or I.D. required to take advantage of this fantastic service.

Visit to find out more information!  

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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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