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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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February 28, 2010

Good Food, Good Wine & Good Friends ~ Rigatoni & Tri tip

Last night we had some good friends over for dinner. I decided to make some rigatoni because it can be prepared in advance and just put in the oven to bake when guests arrive, leaving more time to visit with your guests. So simple to prepare. Salt the water.....

Bring to a boil..... Add 1/2 pound rigatoni (I normally use 100% Whole Wheat but I couldn't find it at the grocery store this time around) boil according to package..... Brown one pound of Natural Beef and drain fat (I usually add an onion to this as well, but not this time)...... Add pasta sauce to heat through...... Okay, I didn't make the sauce..... Begin your layers - meat sauce....... Rigatoni..... Low-fat Mozzarella cheese...... Meat sauce and repeat all over, top with some Parmesan cheese...... When you're ready to eat, place in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.....Finished

YUM! Went very well with barbecued Tri tip, SO GOOD..... And Seghesio Cabernet ~ Thanks Brian & Teri!....... And dessert from Sift Cupcakery ~ Thanks again Brian & Teri!.... Red Velvet and Snickerdoodle = HEAVENLY (the four kids shared the chocolate ones and were gone in about a 1/2 second)..... My favorite.... Leftover Snickerdoodle (mmmm, breakfast)... A gift from our gracious guests..... We'll be having left overs tonight. What are you having?? Happy Sunday!

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February 27, 2010

The Lake~Disc Golf~The Arnold Palmer

This is Stafford Lake which sits directly across the street from our ranch. Stafford Lake is a 139 acre park that offers lake fishing, a nature trail, picnic areas with barbecue facilities for groups of up to 500 people, a children's play structure, lawn areas, a softball field, volleyball, disc golf and horseshoe courts. No boating, swimming or dogs allowed. The city of Novato receives 30% of the water it uses from Stafford Lake, the other 70% comes from the Russian River.

The cows have a nice view..... And so do we.... You can fish off this walking bridge.... The disc golf site map... The disc golf course (the 18th hole).... Disc golf cage..... I've never played disc golf.....maybe when the kids get a little older we can all learn together. Have you played disc golf? If so, send me some tips!

Here's a golfing drink..... The Arnold Palmer~ 5 oz of lemonade 5 oz of iced tea mix pour over ice garnish with mint or lemon Enjoy! Happy Saturday! Pin It

February 26, 2010

A Wild Fox Girls Night Out~ and Tomato-Herb Flank Steak Recipe

I had the pleasure of celebrating my friend Kellie's birthday with her and three other really great girlfriends last night at Wild Fox Restaurant.
We started out with what I think is going to be my 'new favorite cocktail'....the 'Woo Hoo' I think it's actually called a Woo Woo but after a couple of these, it quickly became renamed to the Woo Hoo! The cocktail is a blend of vodka, grapefruit juice, peach schnapps and cranberry juice......absolutely delicious! Woo Hoo!! I have always had a great dining experience at Wild Fox and I just love the atmosphere. There's a nice long bar, an outdoor patio with fireplace, and it's all dark wood and cozy on the inside. There are a bunch of meat eaters in this group. Three of us had the Flat Iron Steak special, all with different sides. Kellie's with a side of mash potatoes and butternut squash.... Devi's with a side of swiss chard and asparagus..... And Jody's with a side of green beans and butternut squash....... Debbie ordered a Pesto Pizza with tomatoes and pine nuts.......Yum! I ordered Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry which was so good. They served a huge portion so I was able to eat the remaining half for lunch today...... Dinner paired so wonderfully with this fabulous bottle of Ledson Zinfandel that Jody brought to share......thanks Jody! Kellie's gooey smore-like birthday dessert (yes, those are toasted marshmallows you see emerging from the glass)..... Apricot, chocolate chip bread pudding with a scoop of mocha ice cream on top we ordered to share..... We all had a fantastic time and an even better visit. Nothing like a Girls Night Out... Flat iron steak makes me think of this recipe..... Tomato-Herb Marinated Flank Steak In this recipe, a dual-purpose sauce is made from garden-fresh tomatoes, shallot, marjoram and rosemary. Using half the sauce to marinate the steak and the other half as a basting sauce. Pasture-raised, grass-fed beef is gentler on the environment, free from growth-promoting hormones and typically lower in fat and calories than grain-fed beef. Marinating grass-fed beef for a full day helps make it tender. Look for it at natural-foods markets or find it online - Grossi Natural Beef

Ingredients 1 medium tomato, 
chopped 1 shallot, 
peeled and quartered 
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed 

1.Puree tomato, shallot, vinegar, marjoram, rosemary, salt and pepper in a blender until smooth. Set aside 1/2 cup, covered, in the refrigerator. Scrape the remaining puree into a large, sealable plastic bag. Add steak and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 24hours. 

 2.Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove the steak from the marinade (discard the marinade). Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the steak 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare or 6 to 7 minutes per side for medium, turning once and brushing the cooked side with some of the reserved sauce. When the steak is cooked, turn it over again and brush with more sauce. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak crosswise and serve with any remaining sauce spooned on top. 

Tips & 

Notes Make Ahead Tip: Marinate steak for up to 24 hours. 

Kitchen Tip: To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) Nutrition Per serving: 169 calories; 7 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 47 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrates; 24 g protein; 0 g fiber; 275 mg sodium; 440 mg potassium. Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (29% daily value). Exchanges: 3 lean meat

Happy Friday! Cheers!
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February 25, 2010

Pinkalicious ~ and a Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

I absolutely love it when the cherry/plum trees bloom. For me, it signifies the beginning of spring. Nature has a way of creating the most vibrant and most beautiful colors... I just want everything in this pink color (but I may have a few objections on the home front)..... Sorry, I couldn't decide on just one photo to post.... I wish the blooms would last a little longer on the trees. This is the first time I have ever photographed the blooms. All of these photos were taken at Paige's preschool. Here's a random white one.....

All of this pink! Uh oh, more childhood memories coming back......

I loved Strawberry Quik... We ate our fill of Franken Berry.....

And Fruity Pebbles...... Strawberry ice cream was my favorite....

Yes, we were allowed a lot of sugar growing up, but I don't crave it much as an adult....thankfully. But for the days that I do, here's a great recipe.....

Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

This fresh tasting homemade ice cream is easy to make. If you like strawberry chunks in your ice cream, just slice up some fresh strawberries or if you like the strawberry taste without the chunks, just puree fresh strawberries. Whatever you choose, this fresh tasting strawberry ice cream is sure to hit the spot!

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Chill Time: 2 - 24 hours

Ice Cream Maker Time: Approximately 25-30 minutes (see below for no ice cream maker)

Servings: Ten 1/2 cup servings

Ingredients: Strawberries16 oz fresh strawberries (1 pint)

3 tbsp lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

Ice Cream Base

1 cup milk

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 cups heavy cream ( I use whole or 2% milk to cut down on the calories)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: If you don't have an ice cream maker, see below. Strawberries -wash, stem, and slice strawberries. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/3 cup sugar in a small airtight container. Place strawberry mixture in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Leaving the strawberries, in the fridge longer will enhance the flavor.

Ice Cream Base: Mix milk and sugar, allowing the sugar to dissolve (mix about 1 -2 minutes with a hand mixer or whisk). Drain strawberries, adding juice to milk mixture. Set strawberries aside. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker. (or see below) Mix about 20-25 minutes. Add about half the strawberries to ice cream mixture (use the other half as a fresh berry topping!). Mix 5 minutes more in your ice cream maker.

If you don't have an ice cream maker: Pour the ice cream mixture into a wide, airtight container. Metal bowls work best (stainless steel is my personal favorite). Ice cream has a smoother consistency when it is frozen faster. Metal bowls speed up the freezing process. If you don't have a metal bowl, plastic will work as well. Make sure the bowl you choose is wide rather than tall. A wide bowl aids freezing and allows you to mix your ice cream easily.

Place ice cream in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Ice cream will need to be in fridge longer if the mixture has been heated and cooked. Ice cream must be well chilled before proceeding. Place the chilled ice cream mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes. Beat ice cream mixture with an electric mixer until smooth. The edges of your ice cream should have started to thicken. Scrape the edges with a fork or spatula and beat with an electric mixer to add air to the mixture and break up ice crystals. You can use a fork instead of an electric mixer, but the ice cream will be less smooth and creamy.

Place ice cream in the freezer for 40 minutes - then beat with an electric mixer. Repeat "40 minute freeze-then-beat cycle" 3 times This should total 2 1/2 hours of freezing. You can choose to either beat your ice cream mixture every 40 minutes until frozen or let your ice cream mixture freeze on its own.

Either method works fine. The more you beat it, the softer it will be. Total freezing time can take anywhere between 3-5 hours.

Here's to the color pink and some good memories. Thanks for stopping by! Happy Thursday!

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