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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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February 26, 2013

5 Minute Coffee Cake in a Mug

Some mornings I feel the need to indulge just a bit.  This morning was one of those mornings.  After hauling the kids off to school, I came back to the house and made myself a little breakfast treat....Coffee Cake in a Mug.  

These one-serving recipes are important.  Important because then I won't be tempted to eat the entire cake if I baked one.

Restraint is something I'm constantly working on.  

I'm weak.

Okay, here's what you need...... {full 'print friendly' recipe below}

Mix the softened butter with the sugar in the mug until it looks like this.....

add in 1/2 of a beaten egg......

sour cream comes next with vanilla then flour and baking powder......

In a separate small bowl, make your crumb topping with butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.....

Use a butter knife or your fingers to mix the crumb topping together.

Add it on top of your mug mixture and microwave for 1 minute and then at 5 or 10 second intervals until done.  Mine was done in 1 minute 15 seconds.


5 Minute Coffee Cake in a Mug

1 T butter
2 T sugar
1/2 egg, beaten
2 T sour cream
2 drops vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp baking powder

For Crumb Topping:
1 T butter
2 T flour
1 T brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

Add 1 T softened butter to a coffee mug {small mug if you want it to pop over the top}.  Add 2 T sugar and stir together until creamed.  Add 1/2 of a beaten egg, stir.  Stir in 2 T of sour cream and 2 drops vanilla.  Stir in 1/4 cup flour and 1/8 tsp baking powder.

Crumb topping:  In a separate small bowl, add 1 T butter, 2 T flour, 1 T brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and dash of nutmeg.  Use a butter knife or your fingers to mix and crumble together.  Add the mixture to the top of the mixture in the coffee mug.  

Microwave for 1 minute on high and then 5-10 second intervals thereafter. Mine took 1 minute and 15 seconds.

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February 22, 2013

"BOTW" Betty Crocker's Grasshopper Fudge Cake

I have a soft spot for green desserts....kinda weird, I know.  With St. Patrick's Day coming up, I'm stocking up on recipes that look good and are green.  Fun for school, parties, cooking class, you name it.

Betty Crocker never let's me down.  "Best of the Web" for this week is Betty Crocker's Grasshopper Fudge Cake.  YUM!


photo and recipe courtesy Betty Crocker

           1 Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake Mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
teaspoons mint extract
drops green food color
jars (16 oz each) hot fudge topping
container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
drops yellow food color
Thin rectangular crème de menthe chocolate candies, unwrapped and cut into pieces, if desired

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with baking spray with flour.
  2. Make cake batter as directed on box, adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of the mint extract with the water. Reserve 1 cup batter. Stir 3 drops of the green food color into reserved batter; set aside. Pour remaining batter into pan.
  3. Drop green batter by generous tablespoonfuls randomly in 12 to 14 mounds onto batter in pan. Cut through batters with metal spatula or knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion. Turn pan one-fourth turn; repeat cutting for swirled design.
  4. Bake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  5. Carefully spread fudge topping evenly over cake. In medium bowl, stir whipped topping, remaining 1/2 teaspoon mint extract, remaining 9 drops green food color and the yellow food color until blended. Spread whipped topping mixture evenly over fudge. Garnish with candy pieces. Store covered in refrigerator.
Makes 15 servings
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February 20, 2013

Banana Chai Chocolate Chip Muffins~Get Your Muffin On

I can't stand wasting food so when I see any amount of bananas about to go bad on my kitchen counter.. it's time to get my muffin on. Kids love muffins and especially when there's a few chocolate chips involved.  They'll eat copious amounts if I let them.

Today was the day.  Four very ripe bananas.  A new recipe I wanted to try.  Banana Chai Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Here's what you need for success.....{full recipe below that you can print out}

Sift the flour, baking soda, brown and cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Whisk the banana, oil, chai tea liquid, eggs, salt and vanilla in a bowl.

Mix the wet with the dry and add chocolate chips last.

Scoop in to muffin pan and bake.  SO good!  Not too sweet tasting, will go really well with a cup of java or tea..

Banana Chai Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups smashed bananas {I used 4}
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chai tea liquid
2 large eggs, room temp.
1/8 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line muffin pan with liners or use non-stick spray.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.

Whisk the banana, oil, chai tea, eggs, salt and vanilla in a bowl.

Make a small well in the flour mixture and pour the wet mixture in.  Stir with a wooden spoon until moistened but still lumpy.  If you over-mix, your muffs will come out dense.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop batter in to muffin tin and bake at 375 for 20 minutes

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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February 19, 2013

Redneck Lemon Drops

I've tried a number of times to grow my own lemon tree here at the ranch but the end result has always came in the form of a shriveled up twig.  Too much wind, not enough protection, I believe to be the problem......for it certainly couldn't be my gardening skills...

Luckily, just last week a friend of mine who has a VERY productive lemon tree, was kind enough to share the wealth with her friends at the gym.  She brought in a brown paper bag half filled with these little gems. 

Once home, searching for a place to hide the lemon stash from my eight year old, Bryce, was next on the agenda.  He adores lemonade, making it, tasting it and most importantly, trying to sell it.

I decided to leave them bagged in my car, ready to go on our snow trip to Truckee, where they'd become very useful.

Lemon Drops are one of my favorite cocktails.  I normally order one at a restaurant when out for dinner and drinks but had never made one from scratch until this past weekend.  The cabin we were staying at wasn't equipped with cocktail/bar equipment but I made due with a pasta colander, a pot, my hands {squeezing lemons was about the only exercise I accomplished over the weekend},

and a sippy cup martini shaker......felt as though I was in an episode of Honey BooBoo for a second or two......

After a few tweaks to the Lemon Drop recipe, I found that the proportions of 1/2 lemon juice, 1/2 Citron Vodka and 2 tablespoons of sugar per glass seemed to work.  Increase or decrease the sugar per glass depending on how tart you enjoy your Lemon Drop.

Toss the pits.

Sit back and enjoy the view.

Which at one point during the weekend, was this huge coyote hiking through the trees just outside the cabin. They grow everything bigger up in Truckee.

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February 15, 2013

'BOTW' Spinach Fettuccine with Artichokes and Sundried Tomatoes

The combination of sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and pasta are right up there at the top of my favorite flavor combinations.  I love the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes and when combined with pasta, salad or a warmed dish, they're just the best.

This week's 'Best of the Web' belongs to Whole Food's recipe for Spinach Fettuccine with Artichokes and Sundried Tomatoes.  So simple to make.  An elegant dish and goes perfect with a glass of red wine on a Friday night.....what do you think?!

photo and recipe courtesy Whole Foods

Spinach Fettuccine with Artichokes and Sundried Tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium artichokes, trimmed and hearts sliced, or 1 (4-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 pound fresh spinach fettuccine, cooked until tender, drained (1/4 cup pasta water reserved)
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender. Add artichokes, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook until artichokes are tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until just thickened. Stir in reserved 1/4 cup pasta water, tomatoes and thyme then add pasta, salt and pepper and toss well. Transfer pasta to bowls, garnish with cheese and serve.
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving:370 calories (70 from fat)8g total fat1.5g saturated fat55mg cholesterol570mg sodium62g carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber3g sugar)14g protein
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February 14, 2013

V-Day Box Lunch Goes Live

Every Valentine's Day at the kid's school they get to participate in Box Lunch.  This is where each student and teacher makes lunch for another teacher or student and it's packed in to a decorated box or bag....much like a present.  Weeks before, orders are carefully taken at school and brought home to prepare for this much anticipated event that goes live today.  

Paige drew the name of one of her teachers, Mrs. W. and was super excited to decorate her box.  

This morning, I brought out the three types of bread required to hopefully please the recipients......{Bryce requested I make him his regular salami sandwich JUST in case his box lunch contained a sandwich with "dreaded white bread"}.......little man only eats Safeway 100% Whole Wheat bread and NOTHING else.

Adult sandwiches are so much more fun to make.  You can stack 'em high with all sorts of goodies.  Kid's sandwiches, a bit different.....chedder cheese on buttered white bread with sliced tomatoes on the side for non-soggy sandwich bread.

Pack it all in a pretty box.

Or decorated bag and hope the recipients enjoy the contents.

We took a little bit of a different route for Valentine's Day treat bags this year.  Milk and cookies with a crazy straw and cute card.  Milk, such as the container in the pic, doesn't need to be refrigerated because it goes through Ultra High Temperature Pasteurization....perfect for a Valentine's Day gift bag.

What's your favorite Valentine's Day treat??  Mine is a Chocolate Martini or chocolate covered bacon.

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February 13, 2013

TT w/Linky: Hawaiian Chicken ~ Baked or Crock Pot Style

My kids LOVE Hawaiian pizza, so I figured they would easily go for some Hawaiian Chicken with out too much of a fuss.  My kids aren't THAT picky of eaters but when ever I try something new, I know I'll get the "look"....especially from Paige, the six year old....and the dinner battle ensues.   Soooo, after bribing them by dangling a glass of Chocolate Yogurt Mousse in front of their disappointed little faces when announcing Hawaiian Chicken was for dinner last night, they became extremely enthusiastic to eat the Hawaiian Chicken.

The bribery worked....this time.  They cleaned their entire plate, even the brown rice that was hidden underneath.  But they truly DID enjoy their meal.  I'll be doing this one again.

Here's what you salt {entire recipe below}

Mix the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, crushed pineapple and brown sugar together.

Salt and pepper {if you wish} the chicken breasts and thighs and place in to a baking dish.  I used my Dutch oven......or you could totally prepare this in a Crock Pot as well.  Pour the mixed ingredients over the top of the chicken.  

Bake at 350 degrees, add pineapple chunks, bake some more.

Serve over your favorite rice.  I used brown rice.  Really good and I think there's some left over today for lunch!

Hawaiian Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and or thighs
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 can pineapple chunks...your choice on size

Mix all ingredients together except the pineapple chunks.

Salt and pepper the chicken, place in a baking dish and pour the mixture over the chicken.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  For the last 20 minutes of cooking time, add the pineapple chunks, without juice.  Cook the remaining 20 minutes.

Serve over rice.

If you go the Crock Pot route, cook for 4-6 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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February 12, 2013

Easiest EVER Chocolate Yogurt Mousse

I am always looking for a yummy chocolate dessert....or any yummy dessert that can be whipped up quickly and without sacrificing any flavor.  If you're looking for a chocolate sweet treat for Valentine's Day that will lead your Honey, Sweetie, Babycakes, Sugar.... etc. to believe you spent a whole lotta time on it, this is the one.  

Chocolate Yogurt Mousse.

To die for.

Took me 15 minutes from start to finish.

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February 8, 2013

Sexy Valentine's Day Dessert

Are you looking for something sweet and easy for Valentine's Day?  Who really wants to go out to dinner on Valentines Day?  But being stuck in the kitchen is not an option either, right?!  Well, here's a dessert that can be done ahead of time {like the day before} and is super sexy to boot!   Dripping cherry ice cream cone covered with creamy chocolate, oh yeah.  Sign.  Me.  Up.

This week's 'Best of the Web', Chocolate Dipped Cherry Ice Cream Cones by Bon Appetite.

photo and recipe courtesy Bon Appetite

Chocolate-Dipped cHERRY iCE cREAM CONES

·         3 pints premium cherry ice cream.....I like Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia!
·         8 sugar cones
·         1 11.5-ounce package bittersweet chocolate chips.....I prefer milk chocolate
·         1/4 cup vegetable oil
·         2 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
·         1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted almonds

·         Spoon some ice cream into 1 cone, packing gently to fill. Dip large (1/4 cup) round ice cream scoop into bowl of hot water. Scoop large mounded ball of ice cream onto cone, pressing gently. Stand cone in small glass; place in freezer. Repeat with remaining cones and ice cream, placing each cone in individual glass. Freeze 2 to 8 hours.
·         Place bittersweet chocolate and oil in small glass bowl. Microwave on medium-high until chocolate is melted, stopping occasionally to stir, about 1 1/2 minutes. Let stand just until cool, about 10 minutes. Place white chocolate in another small glass bowl; melt in microwave on medium-high, stopping occasionally to stir, about 1 minute.
·         Place nuts on plate. Working quickly and tilting bowl of bittersweet chocolate to form deep pool, dip ice cream end of cone into chocolate, turning to coat. Gently shake cone, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into bowl. Immediately roll bottom half of chocolate-dipped scoop in nuts. Dip fork into white chocolate; drizzle lines over top of cone. Place cone in glass; return to freezer. Repeat with remaining cones. Freeze 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap cones in foil; keep frozen.

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