Blog Statement

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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May 31, 2013

Top Seven Dessert Bar Recipes

Tis' the season of graduations, school end parties, end of season little league parties, pool parties, you name it!  For my 'Best of the Web' this week, I couldn't just choose one bar I went for seven!
They are all courtesy of Pillsbury and look delightful......especially this Lemon Blueberry Pretzel Cheesecake recipe....salty and sweet all in one bite.  Can't go wrong!

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May 29, 2013

I Found Raw Milk at Sprouts Farmers Market

I was invited to attend the Pre-Opening Party for Sprouts Farmers Market in Petaluma yesterday.  Even though there are upwards of 70 Sprouts Markets in scattered across California, I hadn't stepped foot in one until yesterday.  This new Petaluma Sprouts is the first one within a 50 mile radius from me so I was excited to check it out.

After talking with Glade Campbell, Sr. Director of Operations for CA and CO Sprouts, I headed straight over to the dairy case, of course.   For those of you who have been wanting to buy raw milk, Sprouts has it.

I was thrilled to see they had our own local Clover Milk in the case....

If you're into olives, you'll love their Olive Bar...yum.

They have a wide selection of cheeses in their cheese case....I didn't see any of our local varieties though.

Sprouts prides itself on their bulk

and all sorts of grains, seeds, nuts, etc...

I asked Glade if the produce and products they stocked was bought locally, most of the produce is bought in California until the off season comes around, then it's purchased from out of the country to keep up with the demand.

They carry both organic and conventional products to keep everyone happy.

You can also find Game Meats in their frozen meat case....Ground Elk, Ground Wild Boar...

and if you have a hankering for ground Kangaroo...guess what?...they have it!.....happily sitting next to ground venison!

My take on Sprouts Farmers Market is that it lies somewhere between Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.  It's larger than TJ's with a fresher and more abundant variety of produce and not as "local" as Whole Foods is.  The price point also lies somewhere in between, closer to TJ's.

The new Petaluma store is located in the new Target Shopping Center near the fairgrounds.  If you happen to be in town, I highly recommend checking it out.
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May 28, 2013

Venison Sausage Fest~ A Family Affair

If Venison Loin is my first favorite cut of venison, coming in a close second would have to be the Venison Sausage that the family makes 2-3 times a year.  It's super tasty with hints of cinnamon, and very low in fat.
It's made from the meat of deer that are hunted on our property during deer hunting season.  This long standing family tradition is something to look forward to for kids and adults alike.

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May 21, 2013

Barbecuing Tips

It's the beginning of barbecue season, Memorial Day is just around the corner and I'm sure many of us will be spending time outdoors around the BBQ.  Here's some quick and simple tips to make your barbecuing experience the best it can be.

  • Thaw your frozen meat in the fridge.  
  • Try not to defrost meat or poultry and fish on the counter top....bacteria can easily multiply at room temperature.  If you need to speed things up, use the microwave on its defrost setting and then grill immediately.
  • Cook meat once it reaches room temperature....this will keep the surface from burning.
  • Preheat your barbecue before throwing down your meat.
  • Don't poke your meat.  Frequent turning and poking of the meat will cause juices to flow out and dry out your meat.
  • Rest.  Let your meat rest after it's cooked to retain juices.

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May 17, 2013

Flavorful Venison Loin

We hunt here on the ranch and surrounding ranches during deer season every year, so along with the beef we have stocked in our freezer, we also have venison.  One of my favorite venison cuts is the loin. It's certainly a treat,  especially when made like this...

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May 16, 2013

Smashburger Novato

When I received an invite to attend the Smashburger grand opening in my home town, I made sure to clear my evening schedule.....I have the biggest burger fiend alive, that lives in our house and I knew this would make his night.

Bryce is eight.  He's a little guy.  And he doesn't order off the child's menu in any restaurant anymore....the food portions are just too small for my big eater.  Being the burger connoisseur that he is, I relied on his comments as a big portion of my review of this new burger restaurant.

After we put his bacon cheeseburger together, he all but inhaled the thing within 5 minutes.  I'm not exaggerating.  He loved it.  He wanted another one.  I said "No, eat your sweet potato fries."  He had a few, I had more than a few....they were good....crispy, salty and sweet all in one bite.  Bryce would be happy if all he ate was some sort of meat, preferably burgers or steak, raw veggies and an assortment of fruit....fries and other sides don't really interest him.

Unlike his sister, who would rather only eat the sides and the bread.  She ordered a hot dog off the child's menu that came with fries.  My picky eater was a little skeptical of the "spotted" bun when it arrived at our table but after one bite, I didn't hear another complaint.

Earlier in the day I had eaten a sandwich on a Ciabatta bun, so I felt I had had my bread intake for the day and ordered my barbecue bacon cheddar burger on a "lettuce bun".....only got to eat half of it, because Bryce was staring at it from across the table, so I shared....he gobbled.

I ordered a side of veggie frites.  Lightly battered and fried green beans and carrots served with ranch dip...yum!

For dessert, they came around with samples of Butterfinger and Nutterbutter Shakes....OH MY!

The atmosphere at Smashburger Novato is very pleasant, very open, walls of windows, bright and comfortable.  You place your order at the counter, where you can also order craft beer {Lagunitas} or domestic beer, take your number to your table and the food is brought to you.

We'll definitely be going back to Smashburger Novato and if I left it up to Bryce, we'd be eating breakfast, lunch AND dinner there.  Their menu is small with a variety of burgers, chicken burgers, vegetarian options, hot dogs, a few salads to choose from and shakes and malts.

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May 13, 2013

Mac and Kaltbach Le Gruyere Cheese!

Mac and Cheese is always good, but it's even better when it's for a good cause.  I wanted to share some information about Emmi Roth USA's participation in Taste of the Nation events, where one of their chefs, Evan Topel is sharing recipes and cooking tips for specialty cheeses with attendees, all to help raise funds for Share Our Strength, as part of the company's mission to end hunger in America.

I haven't made the Mac and Cheese myself, yet...but after ripping the packaging open and nibbling on some cheese, I think I'll just keep the entire block for myself!  Wow, I love hard cheeses with a nutty flavor and this Le Gruyere from Switzerland is awesome!  

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May 9, 2013

'BOTW' Orange Cream Mimosa

Mother's Day is just around the corner and here is a sparkly beverage that most moms would love....I know I would!

'Best of the Web' this week is by Food Network..... Orange Cream Mimosa...oh yum!

photo and recipe courtesy FoodNetwork ~ Tyler Florence

Orange Cream Mimosa

2 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (5 to 6 oranges)
1 orange, zested
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup superfine sugar
1 bottle sparkling wine or Champagne
Strawberries, for garnish
*Non-alcoholic sparkling wine, sparkling cider, or ginger ale can be substituted

Put orange juice, zest, half-and-half, and sugar into a blender and process until the sugar has dissolved, about 30 seconds. Pour this mixture into a shallow pan and freeze until hard, 4 hours or overnight.

Remove the frozen orange mixture from the freezer and let it sit to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. With a scoop or tablespoon, scrape out a small scoop and put it into a Champagne glass. Slowly fill the glass with Champagne and serve garnished with strawberries
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May 8, 2013

BRATZ Giveaway

Are you a fan of Bratz?  Yes?...Then you'll want to enter this giveaway for one of their new dolls.

Paige doesn't own a Bratz doll and doesn't qualify for this giveaway, but I know as soon as she spots this blog post, she'll be asking for one....she's all about fashion and jewelry right now.

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment in the comment section down below and I will randomly pick the winner next week....May 17th!  {If you subscribe by email, you must go directly to my site at to leave your comment}

Good Luck!!

MGA Entertainment Launches Bratz Dolls National Advocacy Campaign For Girls

Real Bratz Campaign Salutes Young Women Whose Outside-The-Box-Thinking And
Entrepreneurial Spirit Launched Breakthrough Businesses And Careers That
Are Making A Difference In Our Lives

MGA Entertainment – the makers of the popular Bratz dolls – has launched Real Bratz, a nationwide advocacy campaign aimed at inspiring girls with empowering messages of innovation and excellence.  Through a wide range of social media, Real Bratz will put the spotlight on young women who have made a Real Difference – as so many from generations past have done to change their world – with particular emphasis in the world of business.  At the core of the Real Bratz campaign is messages of empowerment for today’s girls – delivered by young women who were inspired by their Bratz dolls and now take their message of boldness and independence into the business world.  Entrepreneurial young women from across the country will be recognized for their unique accomplishments, to be shared on the Real Bratz dedicated website page as well as via an array of social networks including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. 

The campaign’s objective is to motivate and encourage girls to work hard each day to be the best she can be and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves; To give back to her community through her talent, her time, and her knowledge; To discover what it takes to make her dreams come true, even if it means doing the impossible.  A Real Bratz woman thinks outside the box, innovates and invents, and brings new ideas and concepts into the world.  They are everywhere, helping to make the world a better place, both locally and internationally.

Successful women know how to think outside the box and celebrate diversity, independence and equality.  They are savvy, self-confident and poised.  Their career paths began when they were young girls, driven to succeed in their studies and serve as contributing members of their communities.  These are the very traits that define theBratz dolls, and the campaign seeks to build a connection between today’s girls and many of our country’s most prolific women through the Bratz experience.

To celebrate the launch of this important advocacy campaign, we’re giving away the all-new Bratz doll!  Cloe, Jade, Sasha and Yasmin are shaking things up with a 2-inch taller scale, while maintaining their now-ubiquitous beautiful and bold look.   The Bratz dolls increased in size from their original 10-inch scale to a taller 12-inch frame to allow for a wider array of fashion design opportunities as well as enhanced articulation for increased playability.  Ever since their earliest introduction in 2001, the Bratz dolls quickly set themselves apart as innovative, inspiring and independent and capturing the hearts of girls the world-over with their unique, almond-shaped eyes, innovative fashions, strong friendship and cutting-edge style.

Here’s how to enter:

And the winner is Lynn Shoop #4!!  via 5-17-13

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May 6, 2013

A Little Taste of SLO and Avila Beach

San Luis Obispo is one of my top five places to visit in California.  It's close to the beach, it has beautiful scenery, fantastic restaurants and bars, phenomenal shopping and is total wine country now.

If you're ever looking for a fun place to hang out for the weekend in Cali, SLO is it.  

This past weekend was the state finals for FFA.  We headed down because Dominic coaches a Dairy Evaluation Team.  Always a great excuse for the rest of us to tag along and visit our cousins/friends that live there.

SLO was experiencing record highs {in the 90's!}, lucky for us.  We headed out a day early just so we could take advantage of the warm weather.  Avila Beach is about a 20 minute car ride from SLO and is a must do, especially if the weather is cooperating.

The water's not warm but the kids didn't seem to mind....

I plopped down on the beach towel for the duration, rather than dip in the water....but that didn't keep the kids from body-slamming me with their cold, wet bodies......

The wind normally kicks up at Avila at around 2ish so this is always a prime time to crab some lunch at one of our favorite spots...Custom House, right across the street from the beach.

A nice refreshing shrimp louis salad for me...

The next day, the FFA competition took place at Cal Poly.

Here, the officials were explaining the reasons to the competitors of why the heifers and cows were placed in the order they were placed through four.  If you're not familiar with this competition, the only way I can think to explain it is, it's kind of like a beauty competition for cows....they're judged on confirmation, udder placement, teat placement, top line, etc.

During our stay with our cousins, we had ample time for peaceful walks.  One morning Paige and I decided to explore and take the resident dog, Sandy, for a walk.....she actually took us for a walk, she knew just where she was going and would trot up ahead, stop, turn and wait for us to catch up.

The only issue is that these weekends seem to go entirely too quick.

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May 2, 2013

Cinco De Mayo Baked Nachos

Have you ever baked nachos for dinner?....Here's my twist on a Cinco De Mayo favorite....actually an any day favorite for me...

Baked Nachos.

It's like a hearty one dish meal you can throw together within 10 minutes!   Perfect with any beverage....margaritas, beer, sangria, MILK, Yum.

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May 1, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Cinco De Mayo is one of my favorite party days...I just adore Mexican food and would eat it 5 days a week if the rest of the family was up for it.

My 'Best of the Web' for this week, in honor of Cinco De Mayo, is this slow cooker Enchilada Soup by Pillsbury.

photo and recipe courtesy Pillsbury
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