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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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December 30, 2014

Easy Warm Beer and Cheddar Dip

Need a quick and tasty appetizer for your New Year's party??  Coleman's has come up with this delicious looking Warm Beer and Cheddar Dip that uses Coleman's Dry Mustard Powder.  Super simple and I know it'll please a crowd!  

Warm Beer and Cheddar Dip

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup milk Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
3/4 cup ale or darker beer
Toast points, crostini & crudites for serving
Hot sauce, to taste 

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and beer, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes.

Working in batches, add the cheese in large handfuls, whisking until each batch has completely melted before adding more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with toast points, corstini and crudites for dipping. Makes about 2 cups.

Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

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December 18, 2014

Latin Recipes for your Holiday Dinner Party

I can eat Mexican food every day.  I am a huge fan.  Nestlé El Mejor Nido sent me these fantastic looking recipes for a Latin inspired holiday dinner.  Or an any day of the week dinner!  

Starting out with the Coquito Cocktail.....such a cozy drink, I can already envision tasting this one while sitting in front of the fire.  Then moving on to Shredded Beef Tamales with mole sauce for dinner.  And let's not forget dessert....Mexican Lime Pie and Meringue.

For these and more Latin inspired recipes, you can visit:

Coquito Cocktail
Serves 8
·         2 cups coconut milk
·         1 cup NESTLÉ LA LECHERA Sweetened Condensed Milk
·         1 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
·         1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·         Rum (optional)

·         Place coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon and nutmeg in blender; cover. Blend until combined.
·         Refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold. Serve cold, garnished with a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired.

Shredded Beef Tamales with Mole Sauce
Serves 12 Tamales

Ingredients: Filling
·         Canola oil cooking spray
·         1 cup water
·         1 1/2 teaspoons NESCAFÉ CLÁSICO Pure Instant Coffee Granules
·         1/4 tablet NESTLÉ ABUELITA Authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate Drink
·         1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
·         1/2 teaspoon MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
·         1/8 teaspoon whole cumin
·         1/8 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
·         1 1/2 pounds boneless beef brisket
·         1 bay leaf
·         24 dried corn husks
·         3 cups prepared masa for tamales
·         1/2 cup russet potato sliced into 2 x 1/2-inch strips (12 strips total)
·         1/4 cup yellow onion sliced into 1/2-inch strips (12 strips total)

Ingredients: Mole Sauce
·         1 cup hot water
·         1/2 teaspoon MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
·         3 ounces prepared mole
·         2 tablespoons NESTLÉ ABUELITA Granulated Chocolate Drink Mix
·         Toasted sesame seeds

·         SPRAY cooking spray in slow cooker, covering bottom and 3 inches up the side.
·         BOIL water in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add coffee granules and Abuelita chocolate tablet. Stir to dissolve.
·         COMBINE chile powder, bouillon, cumin and oregano in a small bowl. Stir until all spices are mixed
·         SPRINKLE brisket with spices, covering all sides and place in slow cooker. Add bay leaf and coffee/chocolate mixture.
·         COOK on low for 8 hours (or high for 6 hours).
·         SOAK corn husks in water for at least 1 hour.
·         REMOVE bay leaf, scrape off any excess fat and shred meat with two forks into 1 ½-inch shreds.
·         TO ASSEMBLE:
·         PLACE corn husk on a flat surface, pointy side down. Spread ¼ cup masa on husk, 2 tablespoons shredded beef, 1 potato strip and 1 onion strip.
·         FOLD sides, overlapping over filling.
·         ARRANGE tamales upright on steamer rack. Fill with hot water to right below the rack
·         COVER tamales with remaining husks and damp towel; cover with lid. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, adding water as needed. Steam for 1 hour or until masa pulls away from husk.
·         PLACE hot water and bouillon in small saucepan; mix well. Stir in mole until dissolved. Add Abuelita chocolate. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until chocolate has dissolved and mixture has thickened.

Mexican Lime Pie & Meringue
By Pati Jinich
·         3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more to butter the dish
·         1 tablespoon granulated sugar
·          Pinch kosher or coarse sea salt
·         2 egg yolks
·         2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to dust the dish and roll out dough
·         1/2 cup whole milk
·         5 large eggs
·         1 cup NESTLÉ LA LECHERA Sweetened Condensed Milk
·         3 tablespoons heavy cream
·          Zest of 2 green Mexican limes
·         2/3 cup fresh-squeezed green Mexican lime juice
·         3 egg whites
·         1 cup confectioners' sugar
·         Butter and dust a 9-inch pie dish with flour.
To make the crust
·         In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar, salt, and egg yolks, and continue beating until well combined. Reduce speed to low, add a 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour at a time. Lastly add the milk and beat just until the dough is fully combined and comes together. Roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for a half hour, or until it is firm enough to roll.
·         Preheat oven to 350° F.
·         Generously dust your counter and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch thick circle large enough to fit the pie dish. Place the dough on top of pie dish and gently fit it into the inside of the dish, as well as covering the edge. You may cut around the edge with a paring knife. Poke the bottom of the pie crust 10 to 15 times with a fork, as well as 10 to 12 times around the edge. Cover with a layer of aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with either pie weights or a cup of dried beans. Place pie dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the pie weights or beans and aluminum, and place back in the oven for 8 to 10 more minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
To make the filling
·         In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium speed, until foamy, for a couple of minutes. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk, and continue beating for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour the heavy cream, along with the lime zest and lime juice and continue beating for a couple minutes more, until fully combined and thickened.
·         Pour lime mixture over pie crust up to the brim (right before it starts to spill!). Place on top of baking sheet and into the oven. Bake for 50 minutes, or until completely set. Remove from the oven.
To make meringue
·         In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites over medium speed until soft peaks start to form, or you start seeing soft shapes in the egg whites as the whisk moves along. Pour in the confectioner’s sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Continue beating until you achieve meringue consistency: the mixture is shiny, thick and you see deeply marked shapes as the whisk moves along; or if you stop the mixer and raise the whisk, the mixture should hold stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, spread the meringue on top of the pie, making waves or peaks as you cover the pie. Place on the baking sheet and into the oven for another 10 minutes or until the meringue has set and its top is lightly browned.
·         Remove from the oven. Let cool. Place in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.

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December 11, 2014

Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

It is STORMING here in northern California today.  What's a mom to do while stuck at home, with kids and flooded roads but bake these magnificent Chocolate Cloud Cookies.  I baked these cookies for the first time two years ago, and they have become one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes. Really easy to make and super good....and if you enjoy both chocolate and marshmallows, this recipe might become one of your favorites as well.

Here's what you need.......{full recipe below}

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.

Cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until blended.  Mix in the chocolate chips last.

Hold 3 or so Frozen mini-marshmallows in your hand and scoop the batter up and mold it around the frozen marshmallows, covering them completely.

Place balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees and you end up with these little gems!

Here is a link to some of my Top 10 favorite Christmas cookie recipes for your Christmas baking needs!

Chocolate Cloud Cookies
3 cups all purpose flour,
1/2 teaspoon baking soda,
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder,
1 cup soft butter,
1 cup granulated sugar,
1 cup packed brown sugar,
2 large eggs,
2 teaspoons vanilla extract,
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips,
5 oz mini marshmallows, frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper or use a Silpat mat.

Mix flour, baking soda and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until blended. Mix in the chocolate chips last.

Hold 3 frozen marshmallows in the palm of your hand. Scoop batter up by generously rounded tablespoonfuls and mold around marshmallows, covering marshmallows completely.

Place dough balls on cookie sheets, spacing about 2 ½ inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. They firm up as they cool.
Makes about 3 ½ dozen

Tip:  Make sure you freeze the marshmallows before using, otherwise they will melt

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December 8, 2014

Candy Cane Cooler

Oh my.  Is this not the most festive cocktail that you have seen?  This Candy Cane Cooler recipe was sent to me by NoMa Social restaurant in NYC to share with you all and I, for one, can't wait to mix this up at my next holiday gathering.  I LOVE the way it incorporates half and half within the recipe....anything creamy and sweet tasting is a win for me!

At your next Deck the Halls get together, this might be an option for you to serve...

Candy Cane Cooler
  • 1 tbs crushed soft peppermint candy
  • 1½ fl oz vodka
  • splash of white creme de menthe
  • ¼ fl oz brandy
  • ½ fl oz half-and-half
  • Crushed ice
  • Peppermint stick for garnish
  • Mint sprig for garnish

Combine the vodka and crushed peppermint.  Stir to dissolve.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir and garnish. 

Also, make sure to come in from 4-8pm and take advantage of NoMa Social's 4x4 deal during the winter season. Choose any 4 different wines, cocktails, beers and tapas for only 4 dollars each.

Please let us know if you are interested in featuring NoMa Social's Candy Cane Cocktail recipe in your outlet. If you would like any more information on NoMa Social please feel free to contact me or you can visit their website We look forward to working with you.

Photo and recipe courtesy SoMa Social.
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December 1, 2014

SOL REPUBLIC Punk Giveaway!

Happy Holiday Season to you!

Christmas came early.....I just received the most compact, powerfully clear, bluetooth wireless speaker and I am STOKED! The best part of this all, and in honor of Cyber Monday,  I get to give a SOL REPUBLIC Punk bluetooth speaker away to one of you!  Yes, YOU!

I don't know about you, but I require music to be a large portion of my day on a daily basis.  I love being able to stream my favorite music apps through wireless bluetooth speakers.  When I'm on the go, it's nice to have a more compact version, without giving up any of the sound quality I enjoy, which makes the SOL REPUBLIC Punk my new on the go favorite.

"SOL REPUBLIC’s PUNK can do more than just provide the soundtrack to an impromptu
hangout with friends or a pick-up two-on-two hoops game. It’s also equipped with line-in
and line-out ports, making it easy to connect it to non-Bluetooth™ devices. Connect
PUNK to your home or car stereo via the 3.5mm jack and it becomes your Bluetooth
hub enabling you to control any stereo wirelessly."

To enter for a chance to win the SOL REPUBLIC Punk for yourself, you must be a resident of the U.S.A or Canada.  Just leave a comment on where you would like to listen to your new Punk, in the comment section below, on this website!  Good Luck!  Winner will be announced and updated on this post on December 12th!!

Here is more information on the SOL REUBLIC Punk, makes a GREAT stocking stuffer for anyone!

Full Disclosure

Special thanks to SOL REPUBLIC for providing the Punk wireless bluetooth speaker. Though the SOL REPUBLIC Punk was provided complimentary, I was not monetarily compensated for this post or any other SOL REPUBLIC related post I've written.  All opinions above are my own.
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November 20, 2014

Pistachio Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving and the holiday season is upon us already!  To help with your preparation, Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg of Spork Foods have created a delicious Pistachio Cranberry Sauce recipe that is easy to make and perfect for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season! 

I'm a sucker for cranberry sauce and can't wait to have it on Thanksgiving and the day after, slathered on my turkey sandwich!

Pistachio Cranberry Sauce
Serves 6-8
3/4 cups water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar*
1 large cinnamon stick
10 oz fresh or frozen cranberries (2 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
Dash sea salt
1/4 cup Setton Farms roasted, shelled Pistachio Kernels (roughly chopped)*
2 tablespoons dried cranberries*
Heat a 2 quart sauce pot and add water and brown sugar. Bring to  simmer over medium heat and add cinnamon stick, fresh or frozen cranberries, lemon juice and zest, and sea salt.  Stir to incorporate all ingredients.

Simmer covered until berries burst and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and add in diced pistachios and dried cranberries. Cook about 1-2 minutes uncovered and remove from heat. 

Serve warm or allow to cool, then refrigerate sauce over night.
Pistachio cranberry sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead.
*To make the dish faster, use 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and substitute pistachios and dried cranberries with four diced Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites.

Recipe and photo courtesy (C) Spork Foods, 2014
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November 17, 2014

Top 7 Turkey Myths That Could Ruin Your Thanksgiving

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year??  If you're cooking turkey on Thanksgiving or for any meal, here are seve turkey myths that could ruin your meal!  

7 Turkey Myths That Could Ruin Your Thanksgiving
Reader’s Digest debunks turkey myths to help you save time and your turkey this Thanksgiving
Old fashioned turkey lore can ruin your big meal. But Reader’s Digest compiled a list of turkey myths and turkey truths to help you save time and money – not to mention your meal – this Thanksgiving. Some turkey tips include:
  • MYTH: You don’t have to thaw a turkey completely. TRUTH: A properly thawed turkey is key to making sure the bird is fully cooked; one that’s partially frozen when it goes in the oven means the outside will cook but the inside will remain raw.

  • MYTH: A stuffed turkey won’t cook through. TRUTH: You can reduce risk by heating the dressing up to at least 130 degrees before placing it in the turkey. Also, check the temperature of both the stuffing and turkey meat before serving. Stuffing should be about 165 degrees, whether it’s cooked inside the bird or separately.

  • MYTH: Basting frequently keeps meat moist. TRUTH: Contrary to popular belief, experts say basting doesn’t actually flavor the meat much because most of the liquid runs off the skin and back in the pan. Plus, opening and shutting the oven every 30 minutes can cool an oven quickly, adding to overall roasting time.

  • MYTH: Don’t eat the skin. TRUTH: Turkey skin is high in fat – but its monounsaturated – the good kind of fat. Monounsaturated fats help balance cholesterol levels, which could lower your risk of heart disease, and it may improve insulin and blood sugar levels. Don’t make it your main meal, but feel free to enjoy a portion guilt-free.

Tips courtesy Reader's Digest!
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November 12, 2014

Easiest Rosemary Roasted Chicken

We are a meat eating family, no doubt about it.  If we don't have some sort of meat protein every night for dinner, my kids are hungry again an hour later.  We do stock a freezer full of our ranch raised natural beef but we do mix it up with chicken or pork throughout the week as well.

Rosemary Roasted Chicken is a favorite in our house.  Easy for me to put together and the family gobbles up this healthy deliciousness.

I buy skin on, chicken leg and thigh quarters and skin on thighs as well.  I begin by rubbing some olive oil all over the chicken pieces and then using Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, I season the pieces.

I place the chicken pieces presentation side down in a baking dish, add a sprig of rosemary and place in to a pre-heated 400 degree oven and set the timer for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, I then turn the pieces over and bake an additional 40 minutes.  A total of 80 minutes.

After 80 minutes, you will end up with the juiciest, most flavorful and beautiful rosemary roasted chicken. Roasting chicken with the skin on and on the bone really makes this dish juicy.  I, myself, don't eat the skin but I love roasting chicken with it on because I just love the way it's flavored afterwards.  So juicy.

Make sure you make enough for leftovers!  Sliced up chicken is great to top a salad with the next day for lunch or wrap in a tortilla for chicken burritos!

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November 3, 2014

Easy Portuguese Kale and Linquica Soup

I grew up on Portuguese Kale Soup.  We had it at least a few times per month during the chilly months. My mom was born and raised in Brazil, my dad on the Azores Islands of Portugal, so Portuguese food was plentiful in our home growing up.

We grew kale in our garden every year and  I vividly remember picking the leaves and breaking off the stalks and then eating them raw right out of the garden.  We also raised our own beef and my mom would incorporate any type of meat into this soup.....many times some sort of beef roast or soup bones and sometimes even cow tongue....nothing went to waste in our home. 

Just a few days ago, the kids and I spent a rainy, chilly day at my parent's home.....a perfect day to cook for them this time.  I didn't go the cow tongue route here.....I used Linguica instead....another favorite Portuguese delicacy I have cravings for every now and then.  This is a super easy soup to throw together last minute.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Easy Portuguese Kale and Linguica Soup

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 15 oz cans of chicken broth
4 cups of kale, chopped, thick stems removed
3 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 15 oz cans of white Cannellini beans
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 15 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 link of Linguica, sliced 1/4 inch thick


In a large soup pot, cook onions and garlic in olive oil...careful not to burn the garlic, until onions are translucent.

Add the potatoes.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the linguica, beans, kale, diced tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking stirring every so often, until the potatoes are tender.  About 20 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to cook a little longer and add water if needed for a thinner broth.

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October 30, 2014

7 Simple Tips for Introducing your Kids to Cooking

It's a busy time of year with holiday events right around the corner and maybe your kids are involved in fall sports as well.  Sometimes it can be difficult to find some quality family time to spend with your kids. Introducing the kids to cooking is a great way to spend that quality time with them.  My kids love helping me in the kitchen and by involving them in all aspects of the cooking process, they seem to be more apt to try new and different things.

Chef Works, a leading provider of culinary apparel for professionals and home cooks alike, have compiled the following simple tips to get kids involved (and excited!) in the kitchen!

Start Them Young
Like most things you want to teach your kids, the earlier you can get them started, the better. While obviously you’re not going to let a toddler handle a knife or cook at the stove, there are plenty of tasks that aren’t dangerous that will get them excited about food. Give your kindergartner a bowl of green beans to snap, or let your kids dump flour into the mixing bowl when making bread. Kids from almost any age can help measure, rinse, stir, or clean.
Start Simple
When you first teach your kids to cook, you can overwhelm them with complicated recipes and techniques. Instead, try easy snacks and recipes that require very little, but turn out impressive. Simple dips, fruit salads, or easy pizzas are all things that won’t burn out your kids, and that they’ll love to eat when the time comes.   The younger your kids are, the shorter their attention span, so you need to make sure that whatever you’re doing is hands on, and produces results fast. It will make them extra excited to get in the kitchen next time, especially if they end up getting a treat at the end.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Mess
Kids love messes, and while you may not like cleaning up, it can make cooking all the more fun. Let kids roll out pie dough, stir batters, and smash tomatoes with their hands. Just make sure you teach them how to clean up after each session as well.
Get Kids Their Own Gear
If mommy or daddy is a professional chef, then your kids may look up to you when you put on your crisp white jacket and hat to go to work. Who says you have to limit it to work? Chef Works sells a variety of gear for kids, so get your kids their own aprons or jackets. It will teach them about cleanliness, and maybe even encourage them to follow in your footsteps as a professional some day.
Let Them Be in Charge
After a few lessons in the kitchen, let kids that are old enough take over the planning, prep, and even some of the cooking. Kids will be excited to know that a meal that they came up with on their own is eaten and enjoyed by the family. Of course, you can help them if they request it, or aren’t old enough to do everything on their own, but it’s an amazing sense of accomplishment when they do as much as they can on their own.
Take Them Shopping
Instead of dreading taking your kids shopping, embrace it. Walk them through the produce department, and talk about different fruits and vegetables and their nutritional benefits. Let them touch, smell, and feel the difference between different types of fruits, and teach them about different meats and cheeses. Skip the junk food aisles to limit begging, but instead teach your kids the value of real, wholesome food.
Farmer’s markets are another great way to get kids excited about different foods, and you’ll have a blast watching your kids’ excitement as they learn how different foods are grown and produced. It can teach them to appreciate good quality food that fuels their bodies instead of just satiating them.
Make it a Family Thing

Parenting experts will tell you that eating a meal around the dinner table is important, and it is. You can make it even more special by making the cooking process a family affair as well. Assign each family member a task based on age and ability, and get in the habit of coming together each night to make a meal that is worthy of the best restaurants. You’ll accomplish two things by doing this: First, you’ll be building good habits and spending quality time with your family, and second, you’ll take the pressure off of one person to do all of the work of meal planning and prep. It’s truly a win-win for everyone involved, and once you start doing it, you’ll wish that your parents had done it with you.
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