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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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August 31, 2010

Bye Bye Chicago

Leaving Chicago and cow talk.  Bye bye Henry.

Off to OHare airport and long, long security lines and a code orange security alert.

What's a girl to do?

All about my trip tomorrow!

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August 30, 2010


photo from Google images
As you are reading this, I am excited to inform you that I am in Chicago attending the first ever AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Training Conference.  This is a conference limited to 50 participants who were chosen to attend by submitting an application.  It's a two day conference focused on social media use for farmers.

I want to thank my sponsors, for without them I would not have been able to attend.
DMI ~ Dairy Management Incorporated for covering all of my travel expenses {thanks Jolene}
DFA ~ Dairy Farmers of America for covering the attendance cost of the conference {thanks Monica}

Special thanks to Michele Payn-Knoper and Marilyn & George Mertens for asking these organizations for sponsorship on my behalf.

Stay tuned!  I will try to post some previews from Chicago!

Happy Monday!

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August 29, 2010

Saturday Night at the Sausalito Portuguese Hall

A few months ago while hanging out at the beach with our friends, the Taylors, we got to talking about both of our Portuguese heritage backgrounds. You may remember from my previous post about the history of Holy Ghost Festas and on how I grew up going to festas {pronounced ‘feshtas’}, and that both of my sisters were queens within the Petaluma Holy Ghost Society years ago. Well, Karen’s sister, Kathleen was also a queen years ago but within the Sausalito Holy Ghost Society.

Anyway, we got to talking about how we want to expose our own kids to the same cultural experiences we grew up with. My family has membership with the Petaluma Society and Karen and her family just recently became members of the Sausalito Society. She was telling me how the Sausalito Society was very active in recruiting new, young members who are interested in learning and preserving the Portuguese culture.

THEN, she tells me I should check out their website.


I had never heard of any such thing {at least around this areaa}.....a Portuguese Holy Ghost Society having a website? This, I had to check out.

So, to make a long story short, after checking out the website, I saw that they had so much to offer, such as Portuguese language classes, group outings and they keep connected with members by their online newsletter. Of course I signed our family up to become members of the Sausalito Society right then and there.

Last night we attended the Member’s Dinner. The traditional Azorean Sopas was served along with the traditional beef and a bonus side of cooked cabbage, carrots and sweet potatoes. Most of the festas I’ve been to have only served the sopas and beef, so it was really nice to have the veggie dish included with the meal. The sopa dinner was prepared by Manual Azevedo, who is the Chef and owner of LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma, CA and Ruben da Silva and was such a delicious, flavorful treat that brought back many childhood memories.

Here is the display of the Senior and Junior Queen's crowns, which are worn on the day of the Sausalito festa where the new incoming queens are crowned. 

Also in the display room hangs photos of all previous queens that have had the honor as sitting as Sausalito Holy Ghost Society queens.

Dinner is always served family style.  Here's a pot of sopas garnished with the traditional mint.

The beef.

And here's the delicious cooked cabbage with white sweet potatoes and carrots.

All this was served to a packed house.

My little carnivore was extremely happy.

Time for dessert, served by Chef Manual.

Rice pudding dessert.
Stenciled with cinnamon.

And we finished off the night with a little dancing.

Happy Sunday!

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August 28, 2010

Dollar Dogs~Raley Field

Dominic and our friend, Cindy both sit on the Marin County Farm Bureau board and had a meeting to attend an hour and a half away in Sacramento regarding Farm Bureau finance/record keeping.  We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to go to a Sacramento River Cats ball game.  So, Cindy's husband, Mark and I, along with six kids drove up later in the afternoon to meet Dominic and Cindy at Raley Field for a 7 p.m. game.

Of course traffic was terrible at this time of day on a Friday afternoon, but we managed to make it to the field in a little over two hours with only minimal tears shed {by my child}.

But once we got to the field, everything was A OK. 

First thing's  And gotta love when it happens to be Dollar Dog night....what a score!

Everyone was re-energized after some food.

I did not partake in the Dollar Dog event, but instead ordered myself a tostada salad with beef.  I was so glad I did because it was really delicious.  I was surprised with how fresh the ingredients were.  The lettuce was really crispy, the beef was shredded to perfection, delicious good! 

And look how good this beef looks {for you meat eaters out there}.  As I'm writing this post and looking at these photos, I am again craving this tostada was that good.

Dominic did partake in Dollar Dog night and ate a few of them, along with some regular ol' nachos.

Now that our bellies were full, our beers bought, it was time for the National Anthem.

Let's play ball!  Oh, so the River Cats is the minor league ball team for the Oakland Athletics and they happened to be playing the Fresno Grizzlies, who is the minor league team for the S.F. Giants {our favorite}.  Arch rivals.

We were enjoying the game when all of the sudden, this walked by.
And BAD things can come from this.

Bad, bad things.

I just realized I've now posted photos of my kids stuffing their faces with cotton candy two times within the past couple of weeks.  Really, they are not allowed cotton candy very often.....only for special occasions, like ball games and the Gravenstein Apple Fair we attended.
And how can you say no to a face like this?

Some Dollar Dog night entertainment ensued upon the field.

Doing the 'Wave'.

At around the 4th inning, hunger set in once again.

Nothing that a little Kettle Corn couldn't fix.

This is what it looks like when a four year old comes off a sugar high and it's two hours past her bed time.  {no tears though}

Calling it a night in the eighth inning.  Time for the ride home.

Happy Saturday!

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August 27, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake from Scratch for P.J.'s B-day

I remember the first time I attempted to bake a cake from scratch.  I was so intimidated!  Or maybe it was just that the boxed cakes were so convenient, I don't know?  After baking my first chocolate cake from scratch, there was no going back.  Most of the ingredients are things that are already staples in the easy.

Wednesday Paige or P.J. and we sometimes call her, turned four.  Can't believe my baby is four!  Last year I couldn't believe she turned three and that's when I got a puppy......maybe it's time for another one?....puppy, that is.  Anyway, she was SO excited to help bake her own birthday cake {she's going to do well when she's old enough to join the 4-H cooking group in a year}.  So my little helper and I set out to bake the requested chocolate birthday cake {with sprinkles}.

Here's what you need plus some chocolate chips {not shown in the photo}.

In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the Crisco {yes, I said the 'C' word again} until it looks like this.

Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until it looks like this.

Add eggs, one at a time and beat in.

Then add in dry mixture and water alternately to the beaten mixture until it looks like this.  Fold in the little nuggets of joy, also known as chocolate chips.  Pour batter into a Pam sprayed 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish or you can use two round baking pans.

Let your assistant lick the beaters, bowl and spatula, or do it yourself.

Mmmm,  Mmmmm Good!

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Let cool, frost and decorate. 


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have a piece of cake and we're off to a RiverCats triple A baseball game for some good times and ball park food....stay tuned!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups cold water
3/4 cup chocolate chips {I use milk chocolate}

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish or two 9 inch round cake pans.  Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside. 
In a large bowl, beat shortening with mixer for 30 seconds on high.  Add sugar, vanilla and beat well.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat in each one.  Add dry mixture and water alternately to the beaten mixture on low speed.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour batter into baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool and frost.

Butter Frosting

1/3 cup butter
4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
food coloring {optional}

In a mixing bowl beat butter until fluffy.  Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beat well.  Slowly beat in the 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.
Slowly beat in remaining powdered sugar and additional milk if needed.  Add food coloring at this point and beat.

Tip: if you want to use store bought frosting, place in a mixing bowl and add 1 tsp vanilla and beat.  This will give store bought frosting that homemade taste.....not that I do this or anything.... ;)

Happy Friday!  Cheers!

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