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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, 2012

"BOTW" Lima Bean Layered Dip

Happy Labor Day weekend!  I know many of you are attending parties this weekend where you may need to bring a dish to share.  My 'Best of the Web' for this week is this delicious looking Lima Bean Layered Dip by Southern Living.  It contains bacon, my fave!  Let me know if and when you try it!

photo and  modified recipe by Southern Living

Lima Bean Layered Dip

2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small cucumber, seeded and diced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Lima Bean Mash: one can of Lima beans, mash it up and add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp onion powder.

1/4 cup  grated reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup) 
3 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
Assorted vegetable slices or pita chips

1. Place strainer over a bowl; spoon yogurt into strainer. Cover yogurt with plastic wrap, and chill 2 hours.
2. Spoon yogurt into a bowl, discarding strained liquid. (Yogurt will be thick.) Stir in cucumber and salt.
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August 30, 2012

TT w/Linky: Ground Beef Tacos To Die For

If I had to pick just one summer go-to meal that I make quite often, it would most definitely be Tacos.....ground beef, chicken, shredded beef, you name it, I love them all.   We have a freezer full of ground beef right now, it's 90+ degrees outside ~ which also qualifies for a margarita night {or an ice cold beer} and I have a craving for some Mexican food.

Ground Beef Tacos are it.

Ground Beef Tacos

2 lbs ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 -2 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 -2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
corn tortillas
spinach or lettuce
Shredded Cheese
sour cream

1.  In a 2 quart sauce pan add ground beef, salt, chili powder, garlic, cumin, paprika, and enough water to cover meat.
2.  Bring to a boil.
3.  Simmer for about an hour.
4.  Add bell pepper, if desired and onion. Continue to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. (Until bell pepper and onion are fully cooked).
5.  Heat corn tortillas and fill 'em up!

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.

 Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!
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August 28, 2012

Strawberry Buns

Sometimes I feel like baking but don't always want to do it from scratch.  And on this particular morning, it was exactly how I felt.  The result....Strawberry Buns.

Rather than bake this strawberry cake recipe in cake form, I used little aluminum tins in the shape of mini cute.  The result are little muffin tops which I call 'Buns'.

Fun for a brunch, a girl's birthday or maybe if you fancy strawberry cake!  I topped mine with Whip Cream in a Jar, you can make yourself in minutes.

So here's the modified, easy, no thinking, ready to mix recipe by Paula Dean....

  • Strawberry Buns

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 (3-ounce) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
  • 1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease mini tins or a muffin top baking tray.  If you're using the mini tins, I placed mine on a baking sheet to place in the oven.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in pans.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!
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August 27, 2012

A Roaring Welcome Home for the Petaluma Nationals Little League Team

Well the Little League World Series is over.  I faithfully watched every game with pure enjoyment, as did almost our entire community, cheering on our home team, the Petaluma Nationals...aka, the West.  This group of 12 and 13 year olds are our 'Boys of Summer'.  They made history for our little northern California town.  The first time ever, a team from Petaluma has made it to the Little League World Series.

They played their hearts out and with great sportsmanship all the way through to the US championship game where they battled in extra innings and came in second to Tennessee. They played with a will to never give up and what appeared to be calm nerves throughout.  An inspirational group of boys who actually helped inspire my son to play fall ball this year.  Role models for all.

Well they were welcomed home today with a roar.  Escorted by CHP and the Petaluma Police from the airport and adding to the escort at the Marin/Sonoma county line, approximately 100 local bikers whose organization, the Rip City Riders, donated to the Petaluma Little League to help get the parents out to Williamsport, PA to watch their kids play ball.  

You might be wondering why I was with this group..... I just happened to be driving home from Petaluma and noticed the group of bikers parked across the freeway.  Figuring they were awaiting the boy's arrival, I turned my car around to investigate further and just ended up waiting there with them all.  A nice group!  I was even offered a few rides up to Petaluma along with them, but politely declined.

 they are.....

As the team approached, coming up the freeway, Harleys were revved and ready to join in .

So happy to see them approach in the white Hummer Limo and as they got closer there were waves all around.....I almost forgot to snap photos.

The bikers joined the entourage for their roar into Petaluma where they would cruise by Petaluma Jr. High School and Petaluma High School. 

Welcome Home!

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!
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August 24, 2012

'BOTW' Martha Stewart's Skirt Steak and Bok Choy Stir Fry

On my recent trip to NYC while attending the BlogHer conference we had the chance to hear Martha Stewart speak as one of the Keynotes.

Smart lady, good business sense, great sense of style and I really enjoyed hearing her story.  She doesn't let anything get her down.  She just keeps going onward and upward in her career.  Very inspiring.  And she's TOTALLY into social media....Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, you name it, she's there.

Her company created ipad and mobile phone apps that include four of her magazines, which you can get for free.  I downloaded mine to my ipad and use them for recipes and party ideas, I just love them.

Check out her orange platform shoes....I loved them!

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August 23, 2012

Back to School Hallmark Giveaway!

It's that time of year again.  The beginning of the school year, which can bring on many emotions and feelings for our little ones.  Excitement, nervousness, apprehension, pride, sadness....just to name a few.

Why not give them as much encouragement as we possibly can.  And with the help of Hallmark, this is a little easier to achieve.   With this Hallmark Back to School Care Package giveaway you will receive a few Hallmark cards, themed around school, a bite-sized pad of Lunchbox Notes and Bug 'Em.   The idea behind  ‘Bug Em’, is to leave encouraging notes in his zipper pouch for your child to find.  Or maybe challenge the entire family to support each other by passing it person begins by filling Bug ‘Em’s zipper pouch with treasures, a coupon {such as good for one bed making, etc.}, etc. and leave Bug ‘Em where the recipient will find it. Once he is found, it is now that person’s turn to surprise another family member by passing it on. Fun, right?!
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August 22, 2012

TT w/Linky: The Almighty Peach & Peachy Chicken Salad

It's National Peach Day today and it just so happens I like mine best with a dab of whipped cream.  But today, Cheerios along with creamy whole milk will have to do....

Fun Peach Fact:

The state of Georgia is actually ranked 3rd in peach production, behind California {1st} and South Carolina {2nd}.

California: 796 million pounds, annually.
South Carolina: 111 million pounds, annually.
Georgia: 86 million pounds, annually.

Thankful Thursday this week is all about my love for peaches.
How do you like to eat yours??

Peach growing Statistics found here.

Peachy Chicken Salad

Makes 4 servings
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 large peaches, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded cabbage (Napa, red, green, or substitute broccoli slaw)
4 large Bibb lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat grill pan or grill to medium-high heat.
2. Spray the pan or grill with cooking spray, and place the chicken on it. Grill 5 to 6 minutes on each side until done.
3. Shred or chop the chicken and add it to the mixing bowl along with peaches, carrots, and cabbage.
4. Place the dressing ingredients in a separate mixing bowl; whisk to combine.
5. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and toss gently.
6. Arrange one leaf of Bibb lettuce on each plate. Divide the peachy chicken salad among the four plates.
7. Garnish with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy WebMD

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.

 Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!
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August 21, 2012

Make Whip Cream in a Jar

Making whip cream in a jar is just as much fun as making butter in a jar.  Whip cream happens a little bit faster than the butter and of course it's a BIG hit with kids.  So next time you're serving dessert to a bunch of kids, have them make their own whipped cream.

All you need is willing participants, baby food or mason jars, some heavy whipping cream and sugar.  Oh, and some vigorous shaking for 2-3 minutes.

I used about 2 oz of heaving whipping cream in each jar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar.

Shake, shake, shake and then shake some more for about 3 minutes.

And you end up with some heavenly sweet and creamy whipped cream.

To top some Nilla Wafers or brownies or pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, etc.

If you're a super vigorous shaker like Bryce, the whipped cream will come out a bit thicker.  Both  taste great, it's all about the texture you prefer!

Other posts you might be interested in:
How to make Butter in a Jar

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!
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August 20, 2012

Bakin' Bacon

I was chatting with a friend recently about a hot topic.  Bacon.  I love it, eat it and make it almost every day for breakfast or some other recipe that I search out requiring bacon.  What I don't like about it, is frying it.  Sorta messes up my kitchen with all that splattering.

My friend, Leah bakes hers.  MUCH easier.  Just line a baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top of that and lay out the slices of bacon.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or to desired crispness.

I like mine crispy, Bryce likes his tender.

How do you like yours?

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!
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August 16, 2012

Mini Bacon Cheesecakes....OH Yeah.

When I found this recipe for Mini Bacon Cheesecakes in the Food Network magazine, I immediately ripped it out of the book and set it on my kitchen counter top.  The photo was hypnotic like....drawing me in....I knew it wouldn't be long.  

Yesterday was the day.

This is a modified version of the original, mostly because I didn't have chocolate wafer cookies and I was too lazy to drag myself to the grocery store, but it all went very well with the substitute Nilla Wafers and melted chocolate.....melted chocolate, how can that ever go wrong?  

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August 15, 2012

TT w/Linky: Sibling Rivalry

Summer is coming to a close.  At least when talking summer vacation from school.  No more mid-morning calf feeding or calf moving for Bryce and Paige, at least not for a while.  They will soon be back on school time, which means bedtime no later than 8:30 p.m. and breakfast at 7 a.m. and school from 8:15 to 2:45p.m.

Just yesterday the kids helped their daddy load up six calves to move across the road to the 'Woods'.  Something that Dominic could have easily accomplished on his own in about five minutes, took a good 15 with the kids.....oh, and me.

The kids were truly trying to help, donned with their spray bottles, set on 'stream' to help move the cattle.  Well they moved, scattered the wrong direction.

Mayhem for sure.

Giggles all around....except from Dominic, who just wanted to get his work done and move on to the next project.

Once we made it over to the 'Woods', the spray bottles that Bryce and Paige used as calf movers turned on each other.  Sibling rivalry at its finest, will it ever end?!  Or will they forever pick on each other?

The light at the end of the tunnel might be years away but I do catch a glimpse of it now and again and for that, I'm thankful.

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.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!
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August 10, 2012

National S'more Day ~ S'more Dip

Today is National S'mores Day.  How do you like yours?  Just a week ago, in the middle of New York City, in a hotel suite turned campsite, we took a break from the BlogHer sessions to make ourselves some S'mores.  

Indoor s'mores, no bugs flying around, in air conditioning and just as yummy.

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August 9, 2012

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatball Casserole

While in New York we some how managed to catch the Pioneer Woman's Food Network show while getting ready on Saturday morning.  She was cooking Spaghetti and Chicken Casserole, which I had never heard of until then.  My room mates had their own family recipe for it and after quizzing them a bit, I decided I would come up with a modified version and cook it as soon as I got home.  I was inspired...and hungry.

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatball Casserole is what I came up with and this is how it all went down Tuesday night...

Cook the spaghetti according to the package.  I used whole grain spaghetti.  Drain and place back in the pot.  Mix together 2 eggs and Parmesan cheese and add to the pasta and mix.  Press the spaghetti mixture in the bottom of a greased baking dish and set aside.  {FULL step by step recipe below}

Mix together remaining egg, ricotta cheese and snipped basil and fresh ground pepper.

So it ends up looking like this......

Spread the ricotta mixture over the spaghetti.

Caramelize your onions in some butter.

Layer the onions on top of the ricotta and spaghetti and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove from oven and layer about one cup of marinara sauce over the onions.

Mix thawed turkey meatballs with 3/4 cup marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Place the meatball mixture over the spaghetti.

Tent the entire dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with more mozzarella, if desired.


Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole


3 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces packaged dried spaghetti
3 cups thinly sliced sweet onions (2 large)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup ricotta cheese {I used low fat}
2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound frozen cooked Italian meatballs, thawed {I used turkey meatballs}
1 24 - 26 ounce jar purchased tomato and basil pasta sauce or marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
Small fresh basil leaves
Shaved Parmesan cheese


Grease a 7 x 11 baking dish.

For pasta ‘crust’, in a small bowl stir together two of the eggs and the grated Parmesan cheese; set aside. In a large saucepan cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta; return to saucepan. Add egg mixture, tossing to coat. Press pasta mixture into bottom of prepared baking dish, building up side slightly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onions, covered, in hot butter over medium-low heat about 15 minutes or until onions are tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Uncover; increase heat to medium. Cook about 5 minutes more or until onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl stir together the remaining egg, the ricotta cheese, the snipped basil, and the pepper. Spread ricotta cheese mixture over pasta crust. Top with caramelized onions. Bake for 15 minutes. Spoon 1 cup of the pasta sauce over layers in pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.

Toss meatballs with 3/4 cup of the pasta sauce and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Arrange meatball mixture over layers in pan, forming a mound. Top with 1/2 cup of the remaining pasta sauce (reserve remaining pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese).

Tent pie lightly with foil; bake for 45 to 50 minutes more or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Let stand, uncovered, on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut casserole into squares. Garnish with basil leaves and shaved Parmesan cheese before serving. Heat and pass remaining pasta sauce.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!
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August 8, 2012

TT w/Linky: McDonalds Listening Tour at BlogHer12 and Gestation Stalls

While attending BlogHer12 Conference in NYC this past week, I had the opportunity along with Leah and Katie to attend the McDonald's Listening Tour breakfast.  The Listening Tour is about understanding how McDonald's can improve and adjust their customers' needs and preferences through our feedback.

We were introduced to McDonald's USA President, Jan Fields, who grew up as a farm girl and 35 years ago began her McDonald's career as a Fry Girl!

Now Jan Fields has been named to Forbes' list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, Fortune's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list, the Wall Street Journal's 50 Women to Watch list, and Crain's Chicago Business' lists of 25 Women to Watch.

Some of the healthy changes that will coming to McDonald's in the near future are more whole grains, more fruit, more options for the Happy Meal, more low-fat dairy and possibly some gluten free options.

One fact I found interesting and didn't know is that 80% of the McDonald's menu is 400 calories or less.  Another fact, McDonald's has an app to share their menu's nutrition information.  Cool!

I, for one, am happy to hear this.  It's nice to know there are healthy options for all, if chosen, at McDonald's when taxiing my kids from soccer to swim and then off to 4H.  Sometimes a home cooked meal can't be fit in.

Towards the end of the meeting, one audience member took the mic and asked about animal welfare.  Jan let the audience know, "McDonald's takes no risks when dealing with food safety and animal welfare and everything."  They work with Temple Grandin on a regular basis as well.

This past May, McDonald's came out and stated that by 2022 it would only buy pork from farmers and other sources that do not use gestation stalls for housing their pregnant sows.

After the audience member spoke, my friend, Leah Beyer, a farmer in Indiana and a former dairy farmer, stood up and spoke up about the care farmers give their animals and about how our family farms are a legacy to our own children and we do everything we can possibly do to keep good care of our animals.  The heartfelt emotion came across loud and clear.  I think there was even applause after she spoke.

Coming from California, I don't know one pig farmer in person.  I've never visited a pig farm, but would love to.  I know fellow Farm Wife, Meggie, would invite me to visit their family hog farm in Indiana but until I can get there, here is what she has to share about the Gestation Stalls they use on their family farm:


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

 Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!
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