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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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January 31, 2013

Healthier Caramelized Onion, Gruyere & Bacon Dip

I could snack my way through the day without really eating a full meal...especially on party days like this upcoming Super Bowl Sunday.  I also like to cut calories when at all possible without giving up on flavor.  Check out what I found for the 'Best of the Web' for this week!

Cooking Light's, Caramelized Onion, Gruyere and Bacon Dip.  Lower in fat, I'm confident this dip will leave you completely satisfied without sacrificing any flavor...

Serve with your favorite crusty bread, crackers or chips.

photo courtesy Cooking Light

Caramelized Onion, Gruyere and Bacon Dip
·         Cooking spray
·         3 1/2 cups chopped onion 
·         2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded and divided
·         2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
·         1/3 cup canola mayonnaise 
·         1/3 cup fat-free sour cream 
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1/4 teaspoon black pepper
·         3 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled 

·        Directions
1.     1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2.     2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan lightly with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
3.     3. Reserve 2 tablespoons cheese. Combine remaining cheese, caramelized onion, 1 tablespoon chives, and the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer the mixture to a 1-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with reserved 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chives.

Amount per serving
·         Calories: 101
·         Fat: 6.8g
·         Saturated fat: 1.9g
·         Monounsaturated fat: 2.9g
·         Polyunsaturated fat: 1.3g
·         Protein: 4.2g
·         Carbohydrate: 5.3g
·         Fiber: 0.7g
·         Cholesterol: 12mg
·         Iron: 0.2mg
·         Sodium: 236mg
·         Calcium: 97mg

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January 29, 2013

Barbeque Bacon Meatloaf

We are down to a few roasts and a whole lotta ground beef in our freezer.  Our current herd of Pasture Raised natural beef will not be ready for harvest until June so between now and then I need to get creative with what we have.

Honestly, this is probably the best meatloaf I have ever made/tasted.  I love barbeque sauce so adding that to the mix was just awesome!  Oh, plus covering it with bacon added to the flavor also.

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January 28, 2013

Kaepernick Kiss

The countdown is on in my house....six more days til Super Bowl!  If you haven't already figured it out, I'm a HUGE Forty Niner fan and many of my thoughts have been gravitating towards the big game on Sunday.  

I promise, after Sunday I will not write another football post until at least August.  But for now, bear with me on this.

Well you can't have your favorite team in the Super Bowl and not create a Super Bowl party cocktail, right?!

Meet the Kaepernick Kiss.

All you need is some of your favorite vodka.  Mine is Cougar Juice Vodka, made right in my home town.

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January 23, 2013

Rainy Day Date~Healthy Strawberry Yogurt Muffins

Oh, if you like sweet, moist, juicy berry muffins, I think you may like these.  

Made with Greek Yogurt, they are dense and go well with a cup of java in the morning.  They are not overly sweet tasting, as there's only 1/2 cup of sugar in the recipe.  

I like 'em.  I hope you will also.

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January 22, 2013


Growing up on a dairy farm, one would think a boy eight years of age would TOTALLY be in to hanging out at the barn every day, helping Dad feed and just being your normal all around farm boy....but Bryce has always been,  {thus far} into technology more than anything else.  Anything computerized, robotized {is that even a word?}, or something he can create with technology has been his 'thing.'  So I was ecstatic when he informed me and his Dad that he wanted to show a calf in the fair this year.

At 8 years of age you are allowed to show a calf in the fair as a 'Special Junior'...otherwise 9 is the showing age.  We expose the kids to all aspects of dairy farm life but never pressure our kids to become involved with the animals, figuring if it's their passion or even just something they may want to try, it's our pleasure to help them when they ask.  I think Bryce, watching his older cousin, Gavin, show in the fairs the past few years has really inspired him to want to participate with his own animals.

Yesterday, Martin Luther King Day, the kids had the day off school and it was time to begin halter training the calves in preparation for the county fair to be held in June.

Meet Jinx.

Dominic normally names the calves when they're born, unless one of the kids is going to show them or they happen to be in the barn after a new calf is born and want to name her.  Jinx's mother is named Jennifer {I'm thinking an ex-girlfriend}, when calves are born, they are named with the same first letter as their mother's name so Bryce needed to come up with a name beginning with the letter 'J' to enter on the registration papers and he decided upon "Jinx".   

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January 17, 2013

'BOTW' Lazy Sunday Easy Onion Frittata

I love eggs in the morning and when sauted onions are involved...they're even better.  I love this super easy Onion Frittata by Bon Appetite.  Perfect for a lazy Sunday.  Serve with a side of bacon and some buttered whole wheat toast with raspberry jam, OH My, come to mama.

photo and recipe courtesy Bon Appetite

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January 15, 2013

Bryce's Pick: Stuffed Peppers

When my January issue of Food Network Magazine arrived, Stuffed Peppers made the cover.  Bryce, who is 8, is my 'spicy boy'.  He eats peppers raw, raw onion...any type, loves salsa and all sorts of dips, NEEDS to have pepper on his eggs, loves peppered bacon and is a fan of the virgin Bloody Mary.  So when he saw the magazine cover, he begged for me to make these stuffed peppers.

I did.  And they are GOOD.

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January 14, 2013

NFL Playoffs and Tailgating

I don't know where to start!  This past weekend was a fast and furious one and pretty much all about football!  Okay, I'll start with my Forty Niners.

I have been a HUGE Forty Niner fan as far back as I can remember.  Growing up and to this day, it's just me and my dad {on my side of the family} who are Niner fans.  One sister is a wretched Raider fan and the other is a Cowboy fan.  So this weekend and next weekend was and will be big football weekends for us.

We made it to the game with friends, Deb and Rob.

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January 11, 2013

Comfort Football Food ~ No Boil Mac and Cheese

Oh boy this weekend is a biggy in my house....the Forty Niners are in a playoff game against the Packers tomorrow night!  We ARE going to the game but if we weren't, THIS is the comfort food I would serving to watch the 5:00 p.m. game.  Oh Yeah....No Boil Mac and Cheese by Bon Appetite is my pick this week for "Best of the Web". YumYum.  Goes great with a dark porter!


Photo and recipe cOURTESY bON aPPETITE

No Boil Mac and Cheese

·         1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
·         1/4 cup all-purpose flour
·         3 cups whole milk
·         1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
·         1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more
·         1 pound elbow macaroni
·         2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
·         2 garlic cloves, chopped
·         1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
·         2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

·         Preheat oven to 400°. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, whisking often, until a very thin, glossy sauce forms, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove sauce from heat.
·         Toss pasta and 1 1/2 cups cheese in a 13x9x2-inch or other shallow 3-quart baking dish. Pour sauce over (pasta should be submerged; do not stir) and cover with foil. Bake until pasta is almost tender, about 20 minutes.
·         Meanwhile, melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, panko, and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
·         Remove foil from dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, then panko mixture. Bake until pasta is tender, edges are bubbling, and top is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

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January 10, 2013

My Texas Boy

Born in 1991, he's now 22 years old....originally from Texas, Ft. Davis to be exact.  He's stocky, very muscular and a super sweetheart....we should all be so lucky as to have one just like him.  

These days Joey is out to pasture.  He has some health issues and can't be ridden {by an adult} but who doesn't have issues once reaching that older age?   This boy is my pet, acts like a dog at times and comes trotting up when he sees me.

Like a child, he enjoys chewing on things he isn't supposed to be chewing on.  He likes to test his owner to see how far he can take things before I stop him.  

He's well behaved when placing him in 'solitary confinement' is necessary for his health.

And just a week or so ago, I learned something about Joey that no horse owner ever hopes to experience.  Joey listens in an emergency situation.  The 12 years that I've owned Joey, he's never been in an emergency situation, until a couple of weeks ago.

He was tied, where he is in the photo below, with me standing at his side waiting for the farrier to arrive.  I have always tied him at this spot, for years but never did I notice the small bolt pointing down under the wooden platform at his nose level.  On this particular day, Joey decides to scratch an itch he had on his face by rubbing it along the wooden platform.  His rope halter was caught on that small bolt, pinning his face up against the platform without an inch to spare.

Joey pulled all 1200+ pounds of his body weight backwards to try and escape the frightened feeling he was experiencing.  My heart was racing, beating out of my chest.  I didn't have a knife on me to cut him loose so I just firmly and loudly said "Whoa"....and you know what?  He froze.  Just like he was supposed to.  He trusted me enough to think I might be able to get him out of this situation he had gotten himself in to.

Trying hard to remain outwardly calm, I carefully, being sure not to get my fingers pinched off in the process, pulled the rope halter off the bolt it was stuck on, and it was like nothing ever happened.  He just stood there, stared at me for a moment and went about his business waiting patiently for the farrier to arrive.  

This situation could have ended oh so different....he could have not listened to me and broken his neck.  He could have pulled so hard to where something snapped free and landed on me.  But instead he trusted and listened.  

I love my Texas boy.

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January 9, 2013

TT w/Linky: Workout Trainer

This morning it was a bone-chilling thirty something degrees....maybe even 29 degrees here in northern CA.  I know that temperature doesn't even register as cold for many of you but it's just too dang cold for me to get my butt out of bed at 5 a.m. to go to boot camp class....where we run outside for a portion of the class.

When my alarm went off this morning, I rolled over and buried my head.

Plan B.

I ran three miles at 9 a.m. in 41 degree weather.  Much better.  Okay, not really but that's what I tell myself anyway.

Workouts are a mandatory part of my life.  If only for the reason that I can come home and eat and drink things like this.......

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January 3, 2013

Rubber Boots Required

Second week in to Christmas snow trip, no Disneyland trip, nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact that there's no school....but why leave home when we have cousins coming over to hang out at the ranch "playground" with?

In above pic, cows are lined up and patiently waiting for their turn in the milking parlor.

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January 2, 2013

TT w/Linky: Dutch Oven Chuck Roast

Growing up, I remember my mother cooking roasts on what seemed to be a weekly basis.  We raised our own beef and ate some sort of beef every single night of the week.  This included tongue soup, liver and onions and even some tail soup.  Still clear in my mind is the memory of walking down the lane with the neighbor kids from the bus stop, and as we approached my house, the smell of braised beef would waft out the window and down the lane leaving all the kids craving food once they got to their own doorstep.

Fast forward to the present, we normally always have a freezer full of our own raised beef just as my parents did but it's getting down to slim pickin's at the moment......only a few roasts and some short ribs along with a pile of ground beef chubs remain.  I DO like roast but my only way of cooking it, until now, has been in my slow cooker.  Well, Santa came a few days late this year with this fabulous 8 quart dutch oven roaster and I now can braise and cook my remaining roasts the way my mom used to.

Salt and pepper a roast.  I used Chuck Roast this time.  Add some olive oil in the cast iron roaster and braise the beef until you hear it sizzling for a few minutes and it browns.

Flip the hunk-0-meat and do the same thing to the other side.  I could have probably seared it a little bit longer, but this was all new to me and it was my first time using this method.

Remove the roast and set aside.  Add some butter and sliced onions to the roaster and cook until translucent.  Add some garlic and cook until it's soft.

Add 1 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of water to the pot, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon, all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  About 1 minute.

Return the beef roast to the pot and add any vegetables you might like.  I use potatoes and carrots.

Cover and transfer to a 300 degree oven for about 3 hours.

The thing I like about cooking roast is you can make it your can add stewed tomatoes, rosemary, any sort of root vegetable to change it up every time.

Beef Roast

1 beef chuck roast {about 4 pounds}
Kosher salt and ground pepper
2 T unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 pound of potatoes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Heat an 8 quart dutch oven {cast iron roaster} over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes.  Add olive oil.  Salt and pepper the chuck roast and add to the roaster.  Brown both sides. Transfer to plate and set aside.

Add butter and yellow onion to pot.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Add garlic, cook for another 3 minutes. Add wine and 1/2 cup water to pot and cook, stirring and scraping brown bits from bottom of pot, about 1 minute.

Return beef to pot and add vegetables and more salt and pepper.  Cover and transfer to oven, cook for about 3 hours.

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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