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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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June 25, 2013

County Fair Recap

Have you been wondering where I've been the past week? {or maybe you haven't noticed!} I haven't been blogging due to living out of a trailer at our local Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma this past week.  I'm back now and here's the fair re-cap..

This year, Bryce was old enough to show a large animal so he entered his sweet little Holstein calf, Jinx.  Fair time is so much fun....caring for large animals at the fair, most people camp out in trailers so they're close to their animals for the purpose of cleaning stalls, caring for them and milking them twice a day if they enter a milking cow.  It almost feels like a different world with the kids all running around, busy with their animals, to and from the trailers, like one big happy fair family that sleeps, drinks and eats fair for five days.

During the middle of the week, Paige and I were also in a good friend's wedding.  Needless to say it was quite challenging going from the dusty fair to a flower girl and bridesmaid dress.  I had my doubts on Friday night while cleaning Paige off before rehearsal dinner, but by wedding day, Saturday, she was in much better spirits....thankfully.  My goal was to wash every spec of dried manure off of her body {and mine}, hair and makeup...all while keeping this 6 year old with attitude, happy.

It worked, for about six hours where she then began negotiating her way back to the fair.  Daddy brought her back and all was well in Paige's world once again.

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June 18, 2013

Create your own Summer Day Camp for the Kids

Summer break is here and there are many summer day camps to choose from, for our kids….from Girl Scout Camp, Gymnastics Camp, Lego Robotics Camp, etc.  But if they don't fit into your budget, how about creating your very own Home Day Camp?! 


Kiplinger’s outlines some great tips to get us started……

·         Day 1: Learn survival skills—show kids how to use a compass and a map. Then send them on a scavenger hunt that requires them to use their new skills. If you have older children, teach them about animal tracking and head to the woods to see if they can find and identify tracks.

·         Day 2: Pick berries—take the kids to a pick-your-own berry patch early in the day before it gets hot. When you get home with your bounty, you can make jam, scones or muffins. Then celebrate your hard work with a tea party that includes what you and the kids made. You can either do this all in one day or spread the activities out over a week.

·         Day 3: Take a hike—an easy activity in your own yard, which makes it easy for younger children, is a bug hike. Use a magnifying glass, jars and paper to examine, collect or record the bugs you see. You can also take a wild edible hike, sampling the things in fields, forests or your backyard that can be eaten. Another option is a creek hike; many state parks have waterways that are accessible to the public. Hike upstream through a shallow creek, turning over rocks and discovering what lives under and around them.

·         Day 4: Create a wildlife habitat or garden—show kids that it’s ok to get their hands a little dirty by planting vegetables and herbs they can eat or flowers and native plants to attract wildlife. You can even do this in a few large pots if you don’t want to dig up your yard.

·         Day 5: Camp out—show your kids how to pitch a tent, either in your backyard or at a campground. Teach them how to build a fire and bring along food that you can cook over an open flame. When it gets dark, look up at the stars and try to identify constellation.

For more great tips, here's the link to the Kiplinger article. in full.

What's YOUR favorite summer time activity to do with your kids?

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June 17, 2013

Travel Trailering and Three Olives Cake Batter Martini with MILK!

Hey, did you realize the 19th of June is National Martini Day?!!  I hadn't until I received an email from Three Olives Vodka cluing me in.....Oh. Yeah.

I figure since we'll be camping out in this most of the week,

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June 11, 2013

Mouth Watering Lobster Grilled Cheese

June is Dairy Month and what better way to help celebrate but by having a Lobster Grilled Cheese sandwich.  Yes Please!   I received this recipe yesterday via email, courtesy Chef Marc Forgione and T-Fal and thought it looked absolutely mouth watering and just had to share it with you.  

Winner of the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef (Season 3), Chef Marc Forgione began his career at the age of 16, joining his father, Larry Forgione –a culinary legend who revolutionized American‐style cooking in the '70s and '80s- in the kitchen at An American Place. Forgione fully embraced his father's livelihood and has built on his unique culinary foundation to carve out an identity of his own.  With Marc Forgione, formerly known as Forge, Forgione's first restaurant, he has created an approachable place "that people walk by and are compelled to enter and where the ingredients are the star."  Forgione was most recently coveted with his third Michelin star in the 2012 guide, making him the youngest American‐born chef and owner to receive the honor in consecutive years (2010, 2011, 2012).

Lobster Grilled Cheese
Makes 4 whole sandwiches

For the Chili Lobster:
·         2 cups Lobster Stock (If you can’t find Lobster Stock, get seafood stock, which should be available at Whole Foods or Fox & Obels)
·         4 (1 ½ pound) lobsters, claws removed
·         ¼ cup Sriracha
·         2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
·         Juice of 2 limes
·         6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
·         4 tablespoons canola oil
·         Kosher salt
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
·         8 slices of fontina cheese
·         4 slices Pullman Loaf or other high-quality thick sliced white bread (1” thick)

1.       Cut the tails off the lobster bodies, and into 1-inch pieces while the tails are still in their shells
2.       Bring the Lobster Stock to a simmer and add the Sriracha, soy sauce and lime juice. Piece by piece, whisk in 6 tablespoons of butter until emulsified. Reduce the remaining sauce until it slightly thickens, about 2 minutes.
3.       Toss the lobster tail pieces in oil with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes or until cooked through. Place the lobster pieces in a bowl and transfer to the fridge until cooled. When the lobster pieces have cooled, pop the meat out of the tails and set aside.
4.       For each sandwich take two slices of bread. Place one slice of fontina cheese on top of the first slice, cover the cheese with some lobster meat, sprinkle ½ tablespoon of tarragon, cover with a second slice of fontina cheese, and then top with the second piece of bread. Brush the outer sides of each slice of bread with melted butter and season with salt. Grill the sandwich on the T-fal Mini Grilled Cheese Griddle and serve with a small bowl of the chili sauce on the side.

Mini T-Fal  - Specially designed for making grilled cheese, the T-fal Mini Grilled Cheese Griddle is a small, non-stick pan that heats up quicker than larger pans and is the perfect size for cooking a single grilled cheese sandwich. It has a flat griddle base to ensure even heat distribution for a perfectly melted grilled cheese sandwich. The griddle is scratch-resistant and its nonstick coating ensures quick and easy cooking and clean up. Available at Target for $8.24

Images and recipe courtesy Marc Forgione and T-Fal
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June 10, 2013

Sum Sum Summer Time

We made it through another school year, already.  Growing up, my parents constantly would say "Time goes SO fast" and I remember thinking how slow it actually felt to me.....well, I know now exactly what they were feeling back then.  It DOES go fast.  The busier we are, the faster it goes.

We've started our summer out with a bang, this past Friday was the last day of school where we have a pool party for the kids, parents and any alumni who would like to attend at our teacher/principal's beautiful house.   I think I want to move in to her pool house for the summer....felt like I was on vacation.  Ninety degree weather and a 90 degree pool was a cause for celebration....oh, and the blood orange mimosas helped with that as well.

Our busy weekend included a swim meet for Bryce on Saturday....another 90 degree day.

I coordinate the snack shack for the meet and here was the calm before the storm.....

Later that day we managed to attend the Novato Art and Wine Festival only to come home and collapse after the long day....{no pics, too tired to think about it}

The next day, Sunday, was our 4H fundraiser BBQ.  The kids put on some animal workshops to get ready for the upcoming county fair next week.  Here Paige is practicing Showmanship with her bunny, Sweetie.  Sweetie is a very good girl....she lays on her back for Paige without a problem.  Hoping she'll do the same during the actual fair competition.

And today we have the 4H dairy group kids coming over for a workshop on cow clipping {haircut} and preparing the barn display for the fair.

The school year went fast but I think summer will go even faster.....
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June 6, 2013

Refreshing White Sangria

Our last day of school happened today.  I now have a fourth grader and a second grader and almost three full months of filling time in the summer.   Hmmm, it's sangria time.    Sangria is one of the most refreshing, easy and delightful drinks you can make.  Simply served and easy as cherry pie to put together.  After searching the web, I came up with this sangria concoction from Williams-Sonoma for my 'Best of the Web' this week.

Plum and Necterine Sangria

Look for plums and nectarines that are ripe but still firm to ensure that they do not become too soft when soaked in the wine. Rinse the fruits well to remove any surface chemicals before slicing them. Use a dry white Rioja or Sauvignon Blanc for the wine.

3 plums, halved, pitted and cut into thin wedges
3 nectarines, halved, pitted and cut into thin wedges
1 can (12 fl. oz.) nectarine nectar
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1 bottle (750ml) dry white wine
Ice cubes as needed
1 bottle (24 fl. oz.) sparkling water, chilled

In a large pitcher, combine the plum wedges, nectarine wedges, nectarine nectar, orange liqueur and wine. Stir well, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours to blend the flavors.

To serve, fill glasses with ice cubes and add the wine mixture, dividing evenly. Top off each glass with sparkling water. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Photo credit: Williams Sonoma

What's your favorite summer time party cocktail?

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