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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 31, 2012

Super Simple Last Minute Party Food

Well, 2013 is just about here.  I'm not a 'New Year's resolution ' type of person but I will say, in the year 2013 it's going to be all about simplifying and organizing my life.  

Here are some super simple last minute party recipes that I hope you'll enjoy!

Pico De Gallo......

Simple ingredients, plus some garlic and lime {not shown}.

Chop equal amounts of tomato....I use Roma.

Red onion, until you cry.....or at least I do, EVERY time.


Mix all together with 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, Kosher salt to taste and lime juice.

So good!  You can even add some chunky ripe avocado to make guacamole.

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December 27, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles of Joy

I can always count on my brother-in-law to serve bacon wrapped something for Christmas dinner and this year he AND my niece, Ami, did NOT disappoint.  

Christmas evening I tasted the BEST green beans I have probably EVER had in my life.  My niece wrapped green bean bundles in bacon, drizzled them with a butter, garlic and brown sugar mixture and baked.

Now THIS is my kind of baking, without a doubt.  I think I gobbled up about three bundles right at the start.........

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December 21, 2012

Raspberry Strippers

If you know me, you probably think I came up with the title of this post all on my own.....but I didn't!  Nope, I can't take credit for it.  It's all by Cooking Light this week for my 'Best of the Web'.  And the best part.....not a whole lotta guilt with these.

These Raspberry Strippers look irresistible, don't they?!!  I could do these for breakfast, for sure.

photo and recipe by Cooking Light

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December 20, 2012

Norad Tracks Santa

It's almost time to begin tracking Santa's journey across the world.  Santa is ALL up on his social media, he is smart phone savvy and I just love it!  Norad Tracks Santa does a fantastic job for online viewing and you can EVEN load the free app onto your phone!

Beginning at 5 a.m. eastern time on December 24th, the Norad Tracks Santa tracker starts up.  I'm sure the kids will commandeer my phone throughout the entire day to see how much closer Santa has gotten to the farm.

You can also play some interactive activities on the site, either on your computer or your phone.

If apps or online viewing isn't your thing, you can also CALL, toll free, or email to get Santa updates.  How cool is that?!

Santa update phone number:  1-877-446-6723
Santa email update:

So during the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve, don't forget to check in on Santa's whereabouts!

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December 19, 2012

TT w/Linky: Cookie Exchange ~ Chocolate Clouds

Every holiday season I attend at least one Cookie Exchange party.  A great way to trade cookies and acquire an entire eclectic array of delicious goodies.....and have a cocktail with the ladies at the same time.  

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December 18, 2012

Easy and Chocolate Trifle that Feeds a Crowd

'Tis the season for holiday parties.  I love this time of year and really enjoy attending holiday gatherings at friend's homes; everyone brings a little something to share, which allows more time for everyone to visit rather than preparing the meal during the party.  

The dinner party we attended this past Saturday night was at my friend, Mendy's house.  It was so much fun; great food, friends, white elephant gift exchange, wine, more wine and a sit down prime rib dinner for 12....SO good.

I brought dessert.  A chocolate trifle that feeds a crowd and then some.  I highly suggest bringing this to your holiday gathering if you're on dessert duty.....REALLY easy, light and airy and it involves chocolate.....can't go wrong!

I used a straight up box cake mix...chocolate fudge by Duncan Hines.  Before baking, I sprinkled some chocolate chips on the batter....can never have too much chocolate, right?

Bake according to the directions on the box and let cool completely.  I baked mine the day before the party so it was ready to roll when I was ready to put the trifle together.

You can use a trifle bowl, punch bowl, or any clear glass bowl to assemble your trifle.  First layer begins with the baked chocolate cake, cut into small squares and layered in the bottom of the bowl.

Next, add a layer of chocolate pudding.  I made the Jello Instant chocolate pudding mix with whole milk, 5.9 oz size.

Now, you can use pre-made whipped topping but I prefer to make my own whipped's SO easy and tastes 100 times better.

One cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract,

and 2 tablespoons of sugar {add more sugar if you like it sweeter}.  Whip it up with an electric mixer until it forms peaks.

Done. Then add the whip cream layer on top of the pudding layer.  Fourth layer, sprinkle crumbled up Heath bar on top of the whipped cream and begin the layering process all over again.

Finish with a healthy helping of Heath Bar crumbles on top.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the  fridge for a few hours before serving.

What's your favorite holiday dessert?

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December 17, 2012

I Caught Santa

Every year it's my job to catch Santa in the act.....the kids totally love the fact we have a pic of Santa unloading the presents under our Christmas tree.

You can create one with your own Christmas tree.  

There's this really cool site, it does cost $7.99 to $9.99 to capture Santa in your house, but WELL worth it to me and really easy to create!  

Have fun!  Here's the link.........

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December 14, 2012

Christmas Treats ~ Easy Oreo Truffles

There is almost nothing I like better than an easy, elegant looking dessert that will appeal to almost everyone.  I mean, we're talkin' Oreo cookies here! know, "Milk's favorite Cookie"?!  

Oreo's covered in chocolate with an ice cold glass of milk....mmmm, mmmm.

The asembly of this recipe reminds me of the Melting Snowmen Cookies I showed you last easy and kids just love helping with this one in the kitchen.

My 'Best of the Web' for the week before Christmas is from Midwest Living.  

photo and recipe courtesy Midwest Living

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December 13, 2012

TT w/Linky: Obliging Mama/Farm Pic

This morning was one of the coldest mornings thus far in this late fall/early winter season.   Thirty-one nippy degrees on the way to school drop off, all I wanted to do was get back home and plant myself in front of the wood stove to warm back up. 

But then I remembered Joey was due for his eight week mani and pedicure.  So after catching him in the pasture, I gave him a vigourous brushing which he thouroughly enjoyed and it helped me to warm up while waiting for the farrier to arrive.

Alongside where Joey was tied stands one of our barns with some Mama cows who happened to be enjoying this brisk morning, cozy in their rice hull bedding and basking in the sunshine chewing their cud.   

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December 10, 2012

A Six Year Old and a Mallot & Guest Bartending

December is about the craziest month of the year....always......I'm sure we are in agreement on this.  
The middle part of the weekend.....way too early on Sunday morning....I had scheduled our 4H Cooking Group to meet at my house to make Gingerbread houses but at last minute decided to have them make something a little less time consuming.......Melting Snowmen Cookies.

I was reminded JUST how much noise a six year old can make with a mallot while crushing cookies.

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December 5, 2012

TT: w/Linky: Bacon Chedder Pinwheels = LOVE

'Tis the season for holiday parties isn't it.  There are just loads of cocktail parties happening right now and I normally opt to bring an appetizer over anything else.

My apps normally involve bacon as a key ingredient....because, really, is there anything that actually tastes bad with bacon?!....

I think not.

Okay.  So, here's any easy one to  put together that everyone but maybe a vegetarian will just LOVE.

Ohhh Baby...

Recipe and photo courtesy Pillsbury


can (8 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury Crescent   Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
 tablespoons ranch dressing
 ¼  cup cooked real bacon pieces or 4 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
 ½  cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
 ¼  cup chopped green onions (4 medium)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate into 2 long rectangles. Press each into 12x4-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut lengthwise into 2 long rectangles. Press each into 12x4-inch rectangle.

2. Spread dressing over each rectangle to edges. Sprinkle each with bacon, Cheddar cheese and onions. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle; press edge to seal. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 8 slices; place cut side down on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 12 to 17 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

Link up with anything you’re thankful for! And if you’re not a blogger, just let us know in the comment section what you happen to be thankful for on this day

For those of you in the area, come down to Finnegan's Marin the evening of Saturday December 8th, where we're conducting a Toy Drive to benefit UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and I'll be 'Guest Bartending' beginning at 8:30 p.m.  Should be a fun party! Finnegan's has a full menu and bar for those who would like to eat and drink and  DJ dancing that night as well!  I hope to see some of you there!

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December 4, 2012

No Bake Melting Snowmen Cookies

I'm always looking for something theme related and fun for the kids to do.  I JUST found this no-bake snowman cookie recipe through Nabisco...

Aren't they the cutest things?!  And so easy too!

Photo and recipe courtesy Nabisco

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December 3, 2012

Begin with a Bang.....

December is definitely starting out with a bang.  From the I don't know HOW many inches of rain we received....maybe 7?  To the very festive Clover Stornetta Christmas party, an exciting weekend for sure.

The Clover Stornetta party was held in a renovated barn done up with 12 hanging chandeliers {the pic doesn't do them justice}, white twinkly lights, lighted Christmas trees along the walls, beautifully arranged dinner tables and cocktail tables.....a warm and festive atmosphere in the high ceiling old barn.  

We ate, drank and danced our way into the next morning.

Only to wake up to massive amounts of water rushing through the ranch.

Thought for sure we were gonna need to build an Ark to get through the weekend.....but our girls were safe and sound and dry if they wanted to be, in their free-stall barn.

One stopped up culvert and massive amounts of rain can really put a damper on what was supposed to be a day to watch football, attend a party and decorate our tree.

Although I'm not complaining {too much} about the rainfall....I know many across the nation are in desperate need of it, but it would be nice not to get it all in one weekend.

I did manage to watch a bit of football {BooHoo...Niners LOST} and do some decorating...

On another note..........

For those of you in the area, come down to Finnegan's Marin the evening of Saturday December 8th, where we're conducting a Toy Drive to benefit UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and I'll be 'Guest Bartending' beginning at 8:30 p.m.  Should be a fun party! Finnegan's has a full menu and bar for those who would like to eat and drink and  DJ dancing that night as well!  I hope to see some of you there!

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November 30, 2012

Homemade Gifts From Your Kitchen

Oh boy, coming up with Christmas gifts is high on my list right now...especially since I'm considering a few homemade goodies from my kitchen.  This week's 'Best of the Web' is by Bon Appetite....Ambrosia Sauce has an asian's much like teriyaki sauce and you can marinate meat with it, or just brush it on as you're cooking your meat, chicken or fish.  

And it looks SO pretty in the tall glass jars, doesn't it?!

(Credit: Hirsheimer & Hamilton)
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November 29, 2012


There are some days that inspiration is needed more than ever.  It can be found in a number of places.  

A few inspirational quotes that I aspire to live by....

Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.  ~ Harriet Tubman
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November 26, 2012

Will Drakes Bay Oyster Farm Survive?

This past Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar paid a visit to Point Reyes National Seashore and met with Drakes Bay Oyster Farm owners, Kevin and Nancy Lunny.  It was really interesting to be able to attend this meeting with the Secretary of Interior, right hand to the President in the small town of Inverness.

The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm issue has been one of the most controversial issues in Marin for the past several years and it's finally coming to a conclusion.  The oyster far has been in existence for 85 years, named Johnson's Oysters before the Lunny's bought it and took over seven years ago as Drakes Bay Oyster Farm.  Their 30 year lease will be up with the park service on November 30th and Secretary Salazar needs to make a decision by then on whether to extend the historic agreement or close down the oyster farm.

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November 24, 2012

Turkey Leftovers~Turkey Soup

Are you looking for ideas on what to do with your turkey leftovers, like I am?  I found this easy turkey soup recipe that's healthy and looks delicious.  It uses whole wheat pasta, lots of veggies and one of my favorites; kale.  I'll be making a pot of this tonight.

photo and recipe courtesy Whole Foods
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November 20, 2012

Easiest Ever Green Beans

Are you looking for a green bean dish for Thanksgiving that steers away from the typical green bean casserole?  I have an easy, and I think, better green bean dish that you can whip up in minutes.

I love fresh, flavorful green beans cooked JUST right, which means not too long so that they end up limp and soggy.....I like them cooked tender and slightly crisp with  a lot of flavor.

Thankfully opting for canned green beans is not necessary where I live, fresh green beans are always available in California.  Don't get me wrong, canned green beans are just as nutritious as the fresh but it's a texture thing for me.  Limp green beans....just can't do it.

So to make the easiest green beans ever, all you need is a shallot or two, chopped, a package of french green beans....I buy mine at Trader Joe's or Costco when they have them, olive oil and Kosher salt and pepper.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet, throw in your chopped shallots, the green beans and sprinkle with pepper and Kosher salt.  The Kosher salt is a must for me, it adds so much more flavor than regular table salt.

Saute on medium - high heat until the shallots caramelize and the green beans become slightly soft but still remain crisp.

You're done!  That's it!  The ONLY thing that would improve this dish is the addition of time :)

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November 19, 2012

Oreo Turkey Treats

My kids are still in school on Monday and Tuesday of this week and on Tuesday the little one-room school is making Stone Soup for lunch.  I'm in charge of dessert and along with brownies I baked for the adults, I made these adorable Oreo Turkeys.  

Assembly required but no baking involved.

First things first, unwrap all the mini reese's peanut butter cups and line 'em up.

Melt some chocolate for your 'glue'.

Pull apart one Oreo cookie and use the cream side as a base to stick another full Oreo into, to create the back of the turkey.

Apply some melted chocolate to the underneath and back {or top}  side of the peanut butter cup and stick in down on the cream of the Oreo and to the side of the standing Oreo.

Use a malt ball for the head and apply melted chocolate to glue on.

Stick five candy corn candies into the standing Oreo for the turkey feathers.

Use some cake decorating supplies for the turkey's eyes, apply with the melted chocolate.

Use red tube icing for the gobbler.  When finished, place in the fridge for the chocolate to harden up.

This was going to be a surprise, but little Miss Paige is standing here right beside me as I'm typing's our secret.  The kids are gonna love 'em. 

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