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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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March 31, 2014

Pavan Cocktails for MLB Opening Day

It's spring.  It's MLB Opening Day!  It's something to celebrate in my house.  We are big time SF Giants fans and they are playing on the road this evening and I am so looking forward to it!

A while back I attended a  Pavan Liquer tasting event/contest and completely fell in love with this sweet tasting liquid you can mix with just about anything.  Here are a few of my favorites...Cheers!

Pavan Sangria

Photos and recipes courtesy Pavan

1 bottle Pavan
1 bottle Perrier®
Sliced fresh fruits
Pour Pavan into a pitcher with ice, add Perrier® sparkling water. Top with sliced fresh fruits.

Pavan Sparkling Sangria

.5 bottle Pavan
1 bottle Dry Champagne or Prosecco
1 cup pomegranate seeds Pour Pavan into pitcher or punch bowl with champagne and pomegranate seeds. Serve over ice and top with sparkling water.

But taking into consideration, the very stormy, wet, thunderous day we are having today, this Pavan Mulled Wine recipe seems more fitting....

.5 bottle Pavan
1 bottle Dry Red Wine
Fresh ginger slice
Whole cardamom
Cinnamon stick
Orange peel
Sliced Gala Apples & Bartlett Pears

Stir together Pavan, wine, and spices. Simmer mixture on low in crockpot or stovetop until flavors settle. Add fruit. Serve warm or over ice with a splash of sparkling water.
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March 28, 2014

Citrus Blueberry Loaf!

I enjoy blueberries.  Blueberry muffins, pies, fresh out of the carton and in this Krusteaz loaf mix with some orange zest added to the mix.  It's fresh and light tasting and I think would be perfect for a Sunday morning brunch.  Maybe even to begin Easter Sunday paired with a cup of tea or steaming hot coffee.   

Prep time on this is about 5 minutes.  Easy.  


1 package Krusteaz Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix (1 pouch muffin mix and 1 can blueberries)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Lightly grease or spray 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, blend together muffin mix, water, oil, eggs and orange zest.
  • Drain and rinse blueberries; gently fold into batter.
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake 44-48 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes and remove to wire rack. Makes 1 loaf.
Recipe and photo courtesy Krusteaz
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March 25, 2014

Tennessee Cornbread Salad by Krusteaz

Spring is in the air, Easter is coming up and I'm looking for some new and fresh ideas to contribute to the Easter Sunday meal.  Thank you, Krusteaz for sending this recipe for Tennessee Cornbread Salad my's a Keeper!  



1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle juice


12 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
3 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles


  • For Dressing: Whisk together mayonnaise and pickle juice; set aside.
  • For Salad: In large clear bowl, place half of crumbled cornbread.
  • In separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients; spoon half of mixture over cornbread.
  • Spread half of the dressing over vegetables. Repeat layers.
  • Chill 2 - 3 hours before serving.
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March 19, 2014

Marin County Farm Day Tomorrow!!

Marin County Farm Day is a fun, child oriented event that is coming up tomorrow, Thursday, March 20th. 

Held at the Marin Civic Center, 9 a.m. to noon,  this free event provides hands-on educational experiences outside the classroom for school children of all ages.  Over 30 Northern California ranchers, growers, producers and educators provide interactive exhibits on agriculture, health, farm animals, gardens and environmental education.

If you come by, make sure to stop by and say hi to me at the Tri-Valley 4H and Marin County Farm Bureau tables where we'll have rabbits to pet and calves and sheep to visit.  

The photos below are from a previous year's event to give you an idea what it's all about! ........

Our friend, Derrick, with his bunny at the Tri-Valley 4H table.....

Paige and her cousin, Leila, holding Cinnamon and sharing him with kids who came by the 4H table.

Lots of 'hands-on' happens at Marin County Farm Day......the kids LOVE it.

My nephew, Gavin, answering questions about the dairy calves......

There's also quite a few interactive tables set up where kids can learn about insects,

maybe do a little gardening,

and create some art work.

There are many demonstrations to view as well.  Last year the 'Loomers' were on hand to answer questions and show their skills.

But for my little girl, the vaulting experience was a favorite.....she only wished it had been done a real horse!

You never know what new experience you might encounter at Farm Day.......nature at it's best.  Hope to see you there!

Farm Day is a collaborative effort of the following agencies: Marin County Department of Cultural and Visitor Services, Marin County Farm Bureau, Marin County Office of Education, Golden Gate Farmers Market, North Bay Dairy Women, Marin Farmers Markets, Marin County Department of Weights and Measures, and the University of California Cooperative Extension/Master Gardeners/4-H.

Driving directions to Marin Civic Center

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March 17, 2014

Guinness Apple Melt

Guinness goes hand in hand with St. Patrick's Day for most.  I drink it at times but you know what?....I mostly cook with it, so when the U.S. Apple Association sent me this recipe for, get this....Green Apple Guinness Melt, I HAD to try it!  

Oh my gosh.  It is SO good!  Perfect for a party appetizer on St. Patrick's Day OR any other occasion.

Okay, here's what you need for success......

Slice up the Granny Smith apple into thin slices, set aside.  {full printable recipe below}

In a skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat and cook til bubbling and golden.

Add flour and whisk.

Add the Guinness and stir, reduce heat to medium.

Reduce heat to low and add cheese, mustard and Worcestershire, until cheese is melted.

And looks like this.......

Dig out the center of the baguette pieces and slather the mixture on to the pieces.

Arrange the apple slices on top and broil for 2-4 minutes.

Serve hot.

And pair it with the rest of the Guinness!

Green Apple Guinness Melt

1 baguette, cut into thirds, then each piece cut lengthwise in half {6 pieces total}
2 1/2 T salted butter
2 1/2 T all purpose flour
6 oz dry stout, such as Guinness
14 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 T whole grain mustard
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper

Turn broiler to high and set a rack about 6 inches from the heating element.  Line a baking sheet with foil, shiny side up.  Arrange the baguette pieces, cut side down, on the sheet and broil until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.  Remove from oven, turn the pieces over, and use your fingers to scoop out enough bread to make a channel  in the center of each piece.  Set baguette pieces aside, still on tray.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until bubbling and golden brown.  Add flour and whisk it in until the mixture is smooth and chestnut brown.   Add the beer and whisk until smooth, then reduce heat to medium and continue stirring until thickened and smooth.  Reduce heat to low and add cheese, mustard and Worcestershire, stirring continuously until melted and smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon a generous amount of the cheese sauce into each baguette piece.  Lay a few overlapping apple slices over the cheese, then transfer to the oven and broil until browned and bubbling, 2-4 minutes.  Serve hot.
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March 13, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef ~ Crock Pot Style

St. Patrick's Day is coming right up this weekend and if you're like me, you only make corned beef once a the month of March for St. Patrick's Day.

Low and slow is how I cook a slow cooker.

Place your corned beef roast in your slow cooker.

Add water, about 3 cups, seasoning packet, potatoes,

and carrots.  Set on low for six hours and that is it!

The easiest corned beef you'll ever make.

In the United States and Canada, corned beef typically comes in two forms, a cut of beef {usually brisket, but sometimes round or silverside} cured or pickled in a seasoned brine, and canned {cooked}.

In the U.S., corned beef is often purchased ready to eat in delicatessens. It is the key ingredient in the grilled Reuben sandwich, consisting of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island or Russian dressing on rye bread.

Corned beef hash is commonly served with eggs for breakfast.

Smoking corned beef, typically with a generally similar spice mix, produces smoked meat {or "smoked beef"} such as pastrami.

Corned Beef and St. Patrick's DayIn the U.S. and Canada, consumption of corned beef is often associated with Saint Patrick's Day.  Corned beef is not considered an Irish national dish, and the connection with Saint Patrick's Day specifically originates as part of Irish-American culture, and is often part of their celebrations in North America. In Ireland, the closest traditional dish is bacon and cabbage {similar to Canadian style bacon or ham}. Corned beef and cabbage became popular in the U.S. after Irish immigrants in the northeast used corned beef instead of pork in the dish. This substitution was likely due to the low cost of corned beef in the U.S.

Corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon by Irish American immigrants in the late 19th century.  A similar dish is the New England boiled dinner, consisting of corned beef, cabbage, and root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and potatoes, which is popular in New England and parts of Atlantic Canada.
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March 12, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Cocktail Recipes

Are you looking for something other than green beer to serve on St. Patrick's Day weekend? When I received an email from Bushmills with these fabulous looking refreshing cocktail recipes, I had to share with you all!  I'm a BIG fan of Ginger Beer, so the "Honey, I'm Home" recipe is the first to try on my list.

St. Patrick's Day Cocktails
Bushmills Irish Honey Smash:

1.5 oz of Bushmills Irish Honey
2-3 Mint Leaves
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 Pieces of Lemon
1 oz Water

Drink Recipe Preparation: Muddle the lemon, mint, water, and simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add Bushmills, shake, and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish w/ a sprig of mint and serve.

Honey, I'm Home:

1.5 oz. Bushmills Irish Honey
Lemon Wedge
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Ginger Beer

Drink Recipe Preparation: In your mixing glass, add Bushmills, bitters and ginger beer. Shake, stir and strain over ice.

Irish Old Fashioned:

1.5oz Black Bush
1/2oz simple syrup
2 dashes of orange bitters
1 orange rind

Drink Recipe Preparation. in your mixing glass, add your black bush, simple syrup, orange bitters, and stir over ice for about 30 seconds. 

When you're done, strain this into a fresh glass of ice, and garnish with an orange rind. Enjoy.

Photos and recipes courtesy Bushmills
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March 6, 2014

Barrel Tasting along the Wine Road

It's the beginning of March, there's been a break in our rainy weather and it's the second weekend of Barrel Tasting in the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys, which means great wines, good food and picnicking and phenomenal people watching.  Unfortunately, I am unable to attend this year's event but I thought you might like to, or at least take a peak into what it's all about. Tickets are still available at the door.....

The following photos are from Barrel Tasting 2012, when it was an unseasonably warm 70 plus degrees outside.  A beautiful and memorable day.....


Our journey along the Wine Road began at Dutton Estate, where my friend, Debbie, was pouring....

We sampled some delicious wines right out of the barrel.....which will only get better with age.
We collected our samples directly from Terry, the wine maker.

Dutton wines were paired with very moist pulled pork and corn good.

There were 130 wineries participating in Barrel Tasting weekend this year.  We managed to visit four of them.  A. Rafanelli, in Healdsburg, was our second stop.

Rafanelli wines are not sold retail, only restaurants and on special wine event weekends....Barrel Tasting weekend is my opportunity to stock up on a few bottles.

There's is always a line to enter the tasting room at Rafenelli, but the people pleasers that they are, always have someone pouring down the line while you're waiting.......

Hello Big Bold Zin......

After our 15 minute wait to enter the tasting room, we were not disappointed.....we tasted, bought and tasted a little more.

 All the wineries have beautiful scenery with everything beginning to bloom which = great photos, but not so great for allergies.....but I didn't least not til later...

We were on a mission.  We knew what wineries we wanted to hit, a list of top priorities.  Third stop, Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves.....

Bella has beautiful grounds that include a picnic area with shaded tables under majestic trees, a country shabby chic tasting room, and cool, dark wine caves...........

a fabulous pairing of bacon and grits with their wines.  

Bacon, I was in heaven.

We spent at least an hour at Bella, I don't think any of us wanted to leave. 

But we did.....finally.

On to Armida, our last stop of the day. 

For me, Armida is more about visual stimulation.   Armida has beautiful picnic grounds as well.  You can sit on their lawn, overlooking the pond and share a bottle of wine while eating from the picnic basket you've brought along.

For more info and a map to wineries participating in Barrel Tasting, click  on


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