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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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September 29, 2010

Wicked Wednesday

Remember my Ikea shopping spree and my lunch at Chevy's last week when I took FULL advantage of having both my kids in school until 2:20 and 2:45 every Wednesday?  Well, I think Wednesdays will be named Wicked Wednesdays from now on.  Look what I did!  I had to run to the post office right after drop off and conveniently located next door, is a donut shop and this maple nugget was calling my name all the way from the parking lot. 

I really should not leave the house in the morning before eating breakfast.  I arrived home this morning at 6:45 a.m. from my boot camp class, checked email, showered, gave the kids breakfast, made both of them lunches to bring to school, took Chloe out - twice.  No time for breakfast.  But this needs to change.

Because this type of behavior needs to STOP!  Boot camp class or not.

Maple donuts have always been my very favorite,  the old fashioned or the maple bars - either one will do!

I could not eat the entire thing because I was getting a tummy ache. 

I was able to finish my whole milk, pumpkin spice Misto from Starbucks however.

Another thing to add to my favorite things of fall: Pumpkin Spice Misto with whole milk from Starbucks.  The best. 

Back at the house today, even with our 90-100 degree heat we're still enduring, things were looking a little more like winter.

Three huge stacks of firewood that equal 4-5 cords were split and stacked up to the side of our garage over the past two days. 

But not by me......or Dominic. 
This is the firewood that came from the poor old oak tree that split open last February.

We're off to a fun restaurant this evening for a fundraiser benefiting Bryce's school.  Until tomorrow!

Thank you for listening to my Wednesday confession :)  Did you do anything wicked today?

Happy Wicked Wednesday!
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September 28, 2010

Acorn Squash, Pork Loin, Apple Sauce and 100 degrees=Fall?

What does Acorn Squash, warmed apple sauce, pork loin chops AND 100 degree weather have in common?  Well if you live in California it equals fall, I guess. 

The meal I had planned for last night's dinner included all of the above, even though I didn't feel like turning my oven on at all with it being 100 degrees outside.  But in protest to our Indian Summer weather, I made the meal just the same......and I'm so glad I did! 

Have you ever worked with Acorn squash? This was my first time and it won't be my last. 

This is how I went about it:

Cut the Acorn Squash in half, lengthwise.

Scoop out the seeds.

Then slice in 1/2 inch slices.  I was surprised at how tough the squash was to cut through!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place all the slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle a little Kosher salt.

Spread a little butter on top of each slice.

Sprinkle some brown sugar on top of the butter.

And don't forget to sprinkle some cinnamon after the brown sugar {like I almost did!}  Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

I served my squash with some boneless pork loin chops.  I breaded the chops with Italian Bread Crumbs.  I don't even use egg first, I just roll my chops in the bread crumbs and it works really well.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and place the chops into the skillet after the oil is heated.  You want to make sure the oil is hot enough first, because if it's not, the meat will stick to the pan and to check the temperature, I flick in a few bread crumbs and if they begin to sizzle right away, the oil is hot enough.

Brown the chops a few minutes on each side so they look like this.

Then place in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Everything should be finished at the same time.  The house smells so delicious with the cinnamon baking away.  The perfect fall meal.

This is what the Acorn squash looks like when it's all done.  Just make sure you remember to peel away the skin before eating it.
If you like the taste of pumpkin, you'll also enjoy Acorn Squash as well, it tastes very similar to me.  YUM!

Acorn squash, pork loin chops served with cinnamon topped apple sauce and spinach salad. 

Oh, and it all went so well with some delicious Ledson good!

After dinner, I went out to the garage to check the outdoor temp.....

Then walked around the perimeter of the house trying to revive my poor, poor plants.....

Hoping for cooler days.

Happy Tuesday!
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September 27, 2010

Is All Milk At The Grocery Store Local To You?

Last week when I was at my Healthy Cooking Group meeting, the subject came up about buying local milk and what dairy products are local to our area.  For us here, in northern California, most of the milk bought at the grocery store is local to our area.

For instance, our milk, here on the ranch, is picked up once a day by our Cooperative, DFA (Dairy Farmers Of America). DFA then markets the milk to a number of different processors such as, Sunnyside, Berkeley Farms & LePrino Cheese. DFA also owns a cheese plant in Hughson, CA. Each processor packages the milk into their own label......many different labels, same milk.

I added  a tool called "Find Out Where Your Milk Is From"on my side bar to the right under "Favorite Sites"that I came across a while back that lets you know where the dairy product you're buying is processed.  This will work for dairy products nation wide.

The less milk has to travel, the better, in my opinion.  Luckily for us here in California, there are quite a few dairies and most of the milk found at the store is local to us......from Sunnyside, Lucerne, Clover, Redwood and many more.  A question came up, "Is Horizon Milk local?"  I wasn't sure of the answer, but had to find out.  Dominic thought  the  milk was from Idaho but wasn't 100% sure so I googled it and according to Wikipedia:

" Horizon produces organic milk on a 4,000-cow dairy in Idaho and a 500-cow dairy in Maryland. The company and also purchases organic milk from smaller dairies."

This peaked my curiosity so when I went grocery shopping this morning, I snapped a photo of Horizon milk and punched the code in when I got home.

The Horizon code is 4134.  This milk was processed at Darigold Inc. in Portland Oregon, which means they use milk from surrounding Oregon dairies.  Now we know!

Here are some of the products in my fridge:
Product code is 06-94.  The first two digits in the product code refers to the state and 06 is the code for CA.  The remaining number is the plant number.  The codes can look different from one company to the next.  Some use a dash in between the two numbers, some use a back slash and some, like Horizon don't use anything between the two numbers. 

Lucerne butter: 06/94.

Kirkland butter:  06/94.

All of this butter is processed at the same plant; California Dairies Inc. in Turlock, CA.

Sour cream that I purchased at CostCo:  06-26 processed at Super Store Industries, Turlock, CA.

I bought this box of single serving bottles of Nesquik chocolate milk, figuring this would cut down on any given visit to Starbucks with the kids. I would just bring a bottle along instead of buying Starbuck's chocolate milk.

Nesquik's code:  18-1901 processed at the Nestle plant in Indiana.  Nestle tried for almost two years to build a processing plant in northern CA, which would have been great for us local dairy producers because they would have bought our milk.  I don't know the exact details but the California regulations were too restrictive and costly for Nestle to deal with so they decided on Indiana instead.

So, when you're curious about where your milk and dairy products are processed, you can use the link on the right hand column of this blog.

If you find something interesting in your fridge, let me know!

My original post on this subject was posted back in March.

Happy Monday!

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September 26, 2010

A Weekend of Purses, Organization, Haircuts & a Bath

Now this is the way to begin a weekend......a purse party!  I haven't been to a purse party in at least three years, I was due to go again.  If you don't already know, at a purse party you must be there at the exact time the party begins because if you're late, all the most popular purses will be snatched up when you arrive.  It's a purse buying frenzy, let me tell you!  I did arrive a little late, but I still found one I really love.

I was looking for one that was deep enough to carry all my things plus my big camera without it falling out the top.  I liked this one because of it's depth, the color can go with black or brown and anything in between....perfect!

There was also a ton of food to sample at the party.  After a pot sticker, I went right for Leslie's cupcakes.

While eating my cupcake, I enjoyed the beautiful moon rise from Helen's back deck.  What a view she has!

Organization.  Remember my Ikea trip a few days ago?  Here are some of the magazine holders I bought.  The kids and I organized  the few piles of magazines I had laying about.  This is SO much better than storing them in various stacks!

If you haven't looked through a Food Network magazine, you MUST!  This is one of my very favorite foodie magazines.  I keep them ALL.  They have great recipes from all the Food Network stars that are really easy to prepare. 

Just so you know, I'll be featuring some of the recipes from the magazine, here on the blog....stay tuned.

Haircuts on the deck for both, Paige and Bryce {I think most of you know I was a hairdresser before kids}.  Paige LOVES getting her hair done.  She's such a girlie girl.

Bryce, on the other hand....not so much.

He's only happy when the job is complete.

And poor, poor Chloe just dreads bath day. 

Look how sad she looks!

She is just NOT happy with me AT all.  She refuses to even look at me.

She's also only happy when the job is complete.

Especially when she can hang out at my feet, in the office.

Or under the desk.
A busy, productive weekend for us.  What did you do??

Happy Sunday!

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