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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 28, 2012

"BOTW" Bacon and Apple Grilled Flatbreads

Most of you know how much I adore bacon, so when I saw this recipe for Grilled Flatbreads with Bacon and Apple in Bon Appetite, I knew it would be a 'must try' for me.

This week's 'Best of the Web'......

Recipe and Photo courtesy Bon Appetite

Bacon and Apple Grilled Flatbreads

·         2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
·         2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus more
·         1 cup whole milk
·         3/4 cup coarsely grated cheddar, Gruyère, or Fontina cheese (2 ounces)
·         Cayenne pepper
·         Freshly grated nutmeg
·         Kosher salt
·         6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
·         1 red onion, root end intact, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
·         6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         2 firm, tart apples, such as Cortland or Pink Lady, quartered, cored, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
·         1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
·         1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
·         1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
·         1 tablespoon crème fraîche or sour cream
·         1 1-pound store-bought pizza dough, room temperature {I use Trader Joe's pizza dough, found in the refrigerated section}
·         Heat butter in a medium saucepan over low heat until melted and just beginning to foam. Whisk in 2 Tbsp. flour; cook, stirring often, until flour begins to smell nutty, about 5 minutes. Whisk in milk; cook gently over low heat, stirring often, until mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Add cheese; whisk until combined. Season Mornay sauce to taste with cayenne, nutmeg, and salt. DO AHEAD Mornay sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

·         Cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until crisp and browned; transfer to paper towels to drain; set aside.

·         Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Place onion in a medium bowl. Drizzle with 2 tsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill onion, turning occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Place apples in same medium bowl; drizzle with 2 tsp. oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and tender, about 12 minutes.

·         Transfer apples to large bowl with onion; add rosemary, sage, thyme, and reserved bacon. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and cover; keep warm.
·         Rewarm Mornay sauce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in crème fraîche {or sour cream} and set aside.

·         Divide pizza dough into 2 equal pieces; shape each piece into a ball. Roll out each ball on a floured surface to an 8-inch round. Brush with 1 tsp. oil; place on grill, oiled sides down. Brush other sides with remaining 1 tsp. oil.

·         Grill flatbreads, watching carefully and moving as needed to promote even cooking and prevent burning, until charred and crisp on bottom, 1–2 minutes. Turn flatbreads over and cook until crisp and cooked through, 1–2 minutes longer. Transfer flatbreads to a work surface.
·         Spread half of warmed Mornay sauce over each flatbread. Top sauce with apple mixture. Cut flatbreads into wedges.

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September 26, 2012

TT w/Linky: Self Appointed

Do you remember when you were little and played 'teacher' or 'doctor' or 'mommy', etc?  I used to make-believe all the time when I was little...always wanting to be all grown up, something other than the little girl I was.

Being all grown up now, I realized sometimes adults {ok, me} can still play those games.  This morning on my ATV ranch ride, I decided to appoint myself as the official fence checker to the ranch.

I take every job I do seriously.

There's livestock that needs to be checked on, after-all.

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September 25, 2012

Easy Roasted Butternut Squash

Tis the season for butternut squash, pumpkins, the scent of cinnamon wafting through the house, all good things in my book.  On this night I tried a new butternut squash recipe where it's first peeled, cut into chunks and then roasted in a heavenly buttery, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, o.j. mixture.  Oh yeah.

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September 24, 2012

Venison Flip Flop

Yesterday marked the end of the eight week deer hunting season in our area, so to celebrate a prosperous season, we had a Venison Flip Flop dinner at my in-law's on their back patio last evening.

This is how the Venison Flip Flop all goes down....

A venison ham is put on the grill dressed with a mixture of Italian dressing, red and white wine, melted butter and wine vinegar, seared on one side, flipped over, thin slices are then sliced off the top side while the bottom side is searing, then you flop it back over and begin the process over again.  Constant work for the cook, my father-in-law, while the rest of us ate and drank and became merry.

All that's required for a Venison Flip Flop is a good crowd, one ham feeds about 20 people or so, wine,

family and good friends,

a hearty appetite for some tender, juicy venison....oh yum

and some sliced french bread with a small slab of butter to place the seared venison slice upon.

Repeat the last step as many times as you like.  Cheers!
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September 21, 2012

'BOTW' Roasted Garlic Bacon Dip

Every weekend it's game day in our house.  Football on Sundays, baseball is still going on, so for game day gatherings the dip is it.  And if there's bacon in the makes it that much better.

Best of the Web......Roasted Garlic Bacon Dip courtesy Food Network.  This is Super easy to make, hope you enjoy it!

Go Niners!

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September 20, 2012

Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

After the pumpkin ice cream the other day, I needed to use up the remainder of the pumpkin puree in my fridge and what better way than to bake some Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate cookies?!

Pumpkin has so many's a great source of calcium, potassium and the antioxidant beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A.  Any way to sneak into my kid's diets is a win-win.

These cookies are a healthy version, there's no butter, and a small amount of sugar and oil.  My kids eat almost anything that include chocolate chips so if they want a cookie in their lunch for school, it's gonna be a 'healthy' one.  No need for the extra sugar rush during school.

Mix the whole wheat and all-purpose flours together with the baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and Chinese 5-spice and set aside.

Whisk together the egg, oil, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.  Then combine the two bowls, add the oats and chocolate chips.

Bake for a good 15 minutes and your done.  Oh and the bonus.....your house will smell AMAZING.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and soda, salt, Chinese 5-Spice; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, egg, vanilla.  Add pumpkin and then add flour mixture and stir to combine.  Mix in the oats and chocolate chips.

Use a tablespoon to scoop up cookie dough and roll into ball, place on lined cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake until lightly browned, about 15-17 minutes.

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September 19, 2012

TT w/Linky: Colors of Autumn

Autumn is my favorite season of the year.  It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside when the days are warm, the waning light and the colors are a vibrant red-orange and golden.  I snapped these pics last year of our one and only Japanese Maple tree and I'm just waiting for the day it's once again this vibrant color....hopefully soon.

In the days ahead my thoughts will turn to fall baking, the smell of cinnamon, the harvesting of grapes, apples and pears , football tailgating, pumpkin spice lattes, and maybe some wine tasting events coming up.

What's your favorite season and why?

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.
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September 18, 2012

Dreamy Pumpkin Ice Cream

You've probably realized by now that pumpkin is one of my favorite seasonal flavors.  I wish it was available year around...but then again maybe I wouldn't appreciate it as much if it were.

I was asked to review an ice cream cook book for our local newspaper and one of the flavors I tried from the book was pumpkin. 

Mmmmm, this was good.  The recipe called for pumpkin puree that you roast yourself but I cheated a bit and used canned pumpkin puree....I have no patience sometimes....when I want something, I want it now and at that particular moment it was pumpkin ice cream, roasting would have taken entirely too long.

I can't share the recipe just yet, but if you start out with a basic ice cream base, just add 3/4 of a cup of pumpkin puree and some Chinese 5-Spice powder and you will end up with a delicious creamy pumpkin pie ice cream.

And your house will harbor the sweet and spicy scent of fall cooking.

Boil the milk, cream, seasoning and corn syrup for 4 minutes then add the cornstarch and boil again for a minute until it thickens.

Add the milk mixture to your pumpkin and cream cheese mixture.

Throw it in a Ziploc and give it a chilly ice bath for 30 minutes until good and cold.

Ice cream maker time, I use my KitchenAid attachment, for 30 minutes.  Then store in airtight containers for at least 4 hours until it's good and hard.

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September 17, 2012

Fresh Starts Cooking Class

Last week a long-awaited evening finally arrived,  attending The Girl and the Fig cooking class at Fresh Starts Cooking School with the ladies.  Fresh Starts Cooking School is part of Homeward Bound,  a nonprofit provider of shelter and services to homeless families and individuals, offering emergency and transitional housing along with job training, counseling, education and referrals in 10 residential programs, right here in Novato.

All proceeds from their events support shelter and training for homeless adults and families.

As a guest, your ticket includes a chance to meet celebrity chefs, cookbook authors, local food artisans, wine experts, and restaurateurs, all while enjoying a chef demonstration, fantastic meals and maybe a bottle of wine if you'd like.

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September 14, 2012

Recipe for a Wet Woody

Summer is coming to a close, fast.  Before having kids and marriage, I used to spend many of my summer weekends in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee area, where I owned a cabin.  I could have easily moved up there full time.....if it weren't for all that snow to contend with during the winter months, I probably would have.

A favorite memory from that time in my life and one I'm thinking of today for some reason, is hanging out on the patio at Gar Wood's on the west shore of Lake Tahoe.  After a long day of boating, hiking or just beaching it, a Wet Woody,  signature drink of Gar Wood's,  goes down really smooth.....too smooth sometimes and is quite refreshing.  I can just visualize myself taking in the beautiful scenery of the deep blue, crystal clear lake surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountain range while slowly sipping on a Wet Woody.

Today's 'Best of the Web' is all about the Wet Woody.

I know I have many pics of the Wet Woody's I've consumed in my time {which I cannot find at the moment}, so this one is from Google image.

Recipe for a Wet Woody

Light Rum
Bacardi 151
Peach Schnapps 
{all about equal parts}....this is a strong drink.
Combine with:  alcohol to juice ratio is 1/2 & 1/2 OR 2/3 juice to 1/3 alcohol {to your liking}
Cranberry Juice
Orange Juice
Pineapple Juice
Sweet & Sour Mix
{or you can use frozen juice concentrates}
Blend in blender with ice to make it slushy 
Float Bacardi Select Rum on top.

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September 13, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins with Olive Oil

It's feeling a lot like autumn these days and with that, comes my craving for all things pumpkin and spice.  I'm just WAITING for Starbucks to bring back their seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte.  So in the mean time, to satisfy my craving, I baked a batch of Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins using extra virgin olive oil.

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September 12, 2012

TT w/Linky: My Parents, the Immigrants

My parents, immigrants from the "Old Country".  My Dad, Portuguese and from the Azores Islands and my Mom, an Italian born and raised in Brazil.  On my Dad's journey to America in the late 1950's, he stopped over in Brazil to stay with his older brother who had moved and made a life for himself there.  
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September 11, 2012

9-11 Never Forgotten

It was 11 years ago today, my day off from working at the salon, I had woken up early just as I normally do, laying in bed contemplating my plans for the day when I switched on the television to see the weather forecast.  I sat in horrified silence at the images I was viewing on the screen.  At first I thought a tragic plane crash....until the next plane crash came into view.  I knew it was something much larger and even more terrifying.

And there I sat.  In my pajamas, all day, unable to pull myself away from the TV.
On my trip to NYC last month, I visited the 9-11 Memorial site.

The main building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan in New York City and will be a 104-story skyscraper. It sits where the original 6 World Trade Center once stood - in the northwest corner of the 16-acre World Trade Center site.
Construction crews began work more than six years ago, and it was given its official name  - One World Trade Center - in 2009.
The tower will be the third-tallest building in the world - the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.

To all the families & friends who've lost loved ones in 9-11, they will always be remembered.  I will never forget and when my kids are old enough to better understand, they too, will never forget the thousands who perished on this day.

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September 7, 2012

Recipe for Original Sin

Only because it's a slamming, busy weekend, 'Best of the Web' this week is for something that's difficult to resist and starts off the weekend with a kick.....Original Sin.

photo courtesy Google Image

Original Sin recipe
½ shot triple sec
1 shot cherry liqueur
1 splash sweet and sour mix
1 dash grenadine syrup
6 oz Champagne
Fruit {orange, lime and lemon slices}

Pour all the ingredients {except Champagne and fruit} over crushed ice in a brandy snifter or goblet.  Stir contents and add slices of fruit .  Top with champagne.  

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September 6, 2012

Skinny Girl {or boy} Margarita

I like Margaritas but the one thing I don't like about them is all the empty calories I consume when drinking one...or two.  Just recently my friend, Michelle, turned me on to her version of the Skinny Margarita using a throw back from the 70's.....FRESCA.

Now, I didn't drink Fresca, but my older sister did.....along with TAB....remember that one?  I didn't even know Fresca still existed, but it does.  Fresca is a citrus sparkling soda with 0 calories.....I don't like it alone but it works with tequila!

Here's what you do.....

Use your favorite 100% Agave tequila.  Slice up a lime.

Pour your desired amount of tequila over ice, add the Fresca, lime slices and I add Kosher salt into the mix as well.

I like this mix so much better than the store bought 'Skinny Girl' pre-mix margaritas.....less expensive too.

Let me know what you think!

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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September 5, 2012

TT w/Linky: Homemade Ice Cream with KitchenAid

With all the milk and cream we have around here, you might be surprised to hear that I've never made my own ice cream and I didn't even own an ice cream maker until last week.  In fact, only ice cream I've ever helped with was at Girl Scout day camp this past summer and that was done the old fashioned way, you know with rock salt and a hand crank.....good thing I had 13 girl scouts in my unit to take turns on that's a lot of work.

I guess one of the things that's held me back in the ice cream making process is the thought of storing another kitchen gadget.  Who has room for an ice cream maker?  Well, my friend, Katie mentioned to me that she uses the ice cream attachment to her KitchenAid stand mixer, and you know what?  You store the bowl in the freezer!  No extra large items to stuff into the kitchen cupboards.  

I was all over it.

For our maiden voyage, Paige and I decided to make some pistachio ice cream, one of my fave's, a few days ago to test out the process.  Though she wasn't exactly what I would call thrilled to shell 1/2 a cup of pistachios, she did enjoy the mixing portion.

Her second task was to mix the cornstarch with a little milk for the slurry.

The thing about using freshly roasted pistachios or any nuts is a little goes a long way.  We used 1/2 cup and it was definitely heavy on flavor.

After roasting, I pulverized them in my Magic Bullet and mixed them with a little Philly Cream Cheese.

Brought the milk, sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream to a boil.  Add the slurry mix.

Then gently and slowly add the milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture and stir until blended.

Put it in a one gallon plastic bag and chill it in an ice water bowl for 30 minutes.

Now for the fun part.  Take your ice cream bowl attachment out of the freezer where it's been living for at least 15 hours and attach it to the KitchenAid mixer.  Add the ice cream mixture from the iced bag, turn the KitchenAid on speed 1 and let it stir for 20-30 minutes.


Freeze for 3-4 hours and you end up with some very creamy, rich ice cream.

I can't share the recipe just yet....I'm writing a review for our local newspaper on a ice cream cookbook and can't share until the article is out.  I did use store bought, pasteurized milk and cream to follow the recipe exactly but would love to try out raw milk in the future just to see how it would turn out.....stay tuned.

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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