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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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April 30, 2013

A Couple of First's and a Refreshing Salad Recipe

Oh, we've been having a HEAT wave here in California lately.  With temperatures reaching 90 degrees, we've {actually Paige} has hit a couple of firsts....I think she thrives in the heat or something.

Milestone number one happened before swim team practice one day when big brother, Bryce, talked her into jumping off the diving board for the first time ever.  I'm not sure if I'm more excited about her jumping or the fact that she listened and trusted her brother......he's the responsible of the two, he never intentionally does anything wrong {but if he does, he ends up telling me}.  He's just that type of kid.

Paige is not.

Here's for hoping she'll continue to listen to her older brother throughout their teen years.....

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April 24, 2013

After School Appetizer ~ Banana Corn Chip Snack

Okay, don't laugh.  This Banana Corn Chip appetizer is a favorite in my house with the kids....and with me too.  It must be the combination of saltiness the corn chips have with the sweetness of the banana.  Salty and sweet, I'm all over that.....serve this at any party where there are kids and they'll be all over it too.

Today my little Miss stayed home from school because I thought she was sick.  She wasn't.  So before I home-schooled her, she wanted a little snack, which she made herself.

After I sliced the banana, Paige placed them neatly on a plate and topped them with corn chips.

Don't judge...just try it, you'll be pleasantly surprised.  Goes well with a glass of chocolate milk too.

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April 23, 2013

New Showman ~ It's Official

With our kids growing up on the farm, they are exposed daily, to the animals.  We've never pushed them into showing an animal at the fair.  By giving them guidance and showing them the options available to them, we hoped they would be interested in the animals when the time came.

Bryce is eight years old.  Up until last year I thought he would be my one child who wouldn't want to have anything to do with showing calves and cows in our county fairs.  Year after year, he's watched his older cousins and friends care for their animals and show them at the fairs every summer.  I believe this has really inspired him to want his own calf and show her in the fair.

A year ago, he asked us if he could have his own calf to show for the upcoming fairs and shows.

Enter:  Jinx.  Born on January 1st, 2013.  Bryce's first show calf.

Our local fairs begin in June.  As a precursor to the fairs, our local Redwood Empire Holstein Association puts on a "Black and White Show & Sale" every spring.....the perfect event to give the kids a little practice showing their animals before the fairs begin.

Just before it was show time, Bryce says to me, 
"Mom, my stomach feels weird.  I don't want to show Jinx."
Bryce, that's a normal feeling.  Those are called jitters and they will disappear as soon as you step into that show ring.  You'll be fine and you'll have fun.

At the very last minute, sister Paige, borrowed her friend, Gracie's Jersey calf, Rusty, to show in the ring with Bryce in the "PeeWee" division.....8 and unders.....there were only two of them in the ring.

In the 'Showmanship Class', it's more about how the showman handles his/her calf and whether he pays attention to the judge in the ring at all times.

Both kids did really well.  Jitters gone for Bryce and I don't think Paige ever had them.

Bryce did so well, he was invited back to compete in Showmanship Class with the Juniors.....12 years old and under.  There were seven in all.

Bryce did his best to keep his eye on the judge, Tony Demellow.

Which paid off.  He came in third.


No turning back now.

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April 18, 2013

"BOTW" Hard Strawberry Lemonade Smash

In honor of the temperatures reaching into the 80's this upcoming weekend here in Northern California, I'm going with Bon Appetite's Hard Strawberry Lemonade for my "Best of the Web" pick of the week.

Can't go wrong with this one!

photo and recipe courtesy Bon Appetite

Muddle 3 hulled strawberries in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 ounces white rum, 1 ounce fresh lemon juice, and 1 ounce simple syrup. Fill with ice, cover, and shake until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Fill a highball glass with crushed ice. Strain strawberry mixture into glass. Garnish with a strawberry, and serve with a straw.

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April 17, 2013

Where the Beef Cows Live~Sneak Peek

Spring is the time of year where we move our small herd of natural beef from the flat acreage they've been grazing upon since September, back up to the hill tops behind Stafford Lake.  

The date this year didn't coincide with school spring break so my kids missed out but I make sure not to miss this two hour event.

Before moving the cattle, they are brought in to a corral to be vaccinated and wormed and given a visual health check.  {all beef cattle; organic, natural and conventional are vaccinated}

Once they're finished, they walk through the shoot into another corral where they wait until the entire herd is ready to be moved up the hill together.

We move them with four-wheelers and trucks by following close behind and to their side to make sure they all stay together and moving in the right direction through gates.

They are now in what I call 'Cow Paradise', 800 acres of beautiful hillside where grazing will ensue until early July.  Once July arrives, they're all moved back down the hill and they usually calve in September.

Happy Trails.
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April 16, 2013

Mini Quiche by 4H Cooking Kids

I have a confession to make.  In all of my years of baking and cooking, I have never, not even once, made quiche.  I haven't even seen one being made/baked until this past Sunday.  My niece, Morgan, suggested a quiche baking class for 4H cooking difficult could it be, right?!

Actually, my co-leader, Karen, has made many a quiche in her life so I felt completely secure with her knowledge on the subject.  And I was able to learn something as win!

First thing's first....prepare and pre-baked store bought pie crust.  We used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts.  Roll one out and place in the bottom of an aluminum foil 6 inch pie tins.  Baked them for 12 minutes at 375 degrees.  While they were baking, the kids got busy chopping up whatever ingredients they wanted to include in their very own quiche.  {full printable recipe below for a 9 inch quiche}

After the crust came out of the oven, the kids egg yolk-washed the entire surface.

Placed shredded cheddar cheese in the bottom and loaded their chopped ingredients to the dish.

The wet mixture consists of heavy cream, egg, salt, pepper and WONDER quiche is SO tasty.
In 4H cooking group we learn many things along with the cooking or baking of a work, patience, tolerance just to name a few.

After the wet mixture is whisked, we poured it over our dry ingredients, already in the pie tin.....

Every quiche had its own unique look...

Cooking group ended at noon so I was able to sample a slice of Paige's creation.....Oh MY!  Delicious.

{this recipe was adapted from The Joy of Cooking and is for a 9 inch quiche but we used once recipe to make two 6 inche quiches}

Beaten egg yolk
cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
1/2 small onion
any sort of vegetable you may enjoy
ham, cubed
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place pre-made pie crust in the bottom of pie tin, prick it with a fork, bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Egg yolk wash the pie crust.  Place pie tin on baking sheet and sprinkle with grated cheese then add chopped veggies and ham.

Whisk together the heavy cream, eggs, onion, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture evenly over the cheese and chopped ingredients. Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

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April 15, 2013

Dairy Princess Ball

One of the events that we attend as a family annually every April is our local, District 3 Dairy Princess Ball.  The responsibility of a Dairy Princess and her first and second alternates are to act as goodwill ambassadors for the dairy industry.  They will speak at schools, fairs and many other community events and functions about the importance of dairy products and also to answer questions the public may have regarding dairy products and dairy herd care.

This year there were five contestants vying for the top spot of the 56th District 3 Dairy Princess.  All the young ladies, seniors in high school, did a fantastic job speaking under pressure to a crowd of over 700....nerve racking for almost anyone, I believe.

Top placement went to our family's long time friend, Frankie Gambonini!  Paige couldn't WAIT to make her way over to Frankie to congratulate and dance with her.

The rest of the evening included a scrumptious Tri-Tip dinner and LOTS of dancing and socializing.  I think the kids at this event almost out number the adults.  So much fun.

Paige's goal of the evening was to dance with every single dairy princess....persuasive Paige, somehow, talked First Alternate, Jessie Peterson into relinquishing her tiara for just a few minutes.

Lots of dancing, home by midnight, asleep by 12:10 and awake the next morning to attend a 4H Cooking meeting here at the house....{where we made fabulous mini quiches....recipe coming soon!}

Contest Results:

Dairy Princess:  Francesca Gambonini of Petaluma
1st Alternate:  Jessie Peterson of Petaluma
2nd Alternate:   Makenzie Floyd of Sebastopol

Congratulations Ladies!!
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April 11, 2013

Creamy Brussels Sprout Dip

Sorry I've been so MIA lately!  My gosh, I think April is about the busiest month of the year....from birthday parties, both adult and kid, Holstein dairy show, Tahoe trip, more birthday parties, kid sports and helping with a school's been Crazy.  ALL fun, just busy.

So, for one of the birthday parties, I was scheduled to bring an appetizer and you've probably noticed my love for Brussels sprouts, if you've been reading here for any length of time.  I found this amazing recipe for Creamy Brussels Sprout Dip.  SO good, even if you're not a fan of Brussels sprouts you'll like it.  Similar to cheesy artichoke dip.

As I'm writing this, it just came to would've been even more fantastic a dip if I'd added bacon!  Why didn't I think of it before now?! time.

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April 3, 2013

Easy Sour Cream Salsa Bean Dip

This past weekend for Easter I had it really cooking for me.  All I needed to do was make a fresh green salad.  Well, that didn't seem like enough to bring to my in-laws so I searched the pantry and came up with Sour Cream and Salsa Bean Dip.

So easy, and perfect for a last minute appetizer that both kids and adults will enjoy.

Sour Cream and Salsa Bean Dip

12 oz can of refried beans
1/4 cup of your favorite salsa
2 tablespoons of sour cream
Cheddar cheese, grated
2 scallions, chopped

Mix the beans, sour cream and salsa together in a bowl.  Place in serving bowl.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and top with chopped scallions.
Serve with corn chip dippers or tortilla chips.....I like the corn chips.

Easy recipes give you the opportunity to do more things such as this.......

and this.......

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