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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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July 29, 2014

Sonoma County Fair Recap

One final fair for the summer, for us.  The Sonoma County Fair encompasses 2 1/2 weeks in total, thankfully the Jr. dairy group comes in on the first week and stays for five days, not the entire two week period. The kids love it.  They look forward to it and work their 4H fair projects all year long to be able to participate in the summer county fairs. 

This was the first year my son, Bryce, participated in the Sonoma County Fair so it was a new experience for him and for me. Dominic showed at this fair, as a child, for many years 30 years ago.  Things are a little more spread out at this fair as compared to the Petaluma, Sonoma-Marin Fair.  A good walk from the barns to the camp trailer, if we couldn't flag down any one of the numerous golf carts zipping around.

Days began at around 7 a.m., for Bryce, with a ride to the barn to feed, water and wash the our case one frisky heifer named, Roxy.

Show days were excruciating hot standing in the show ring under the covered arena.  

But all the kids were troopers and seemed to manage the heat swimmingly in their sweat soaked "whites".

In between show days, there's down time where we just sit around, try to catch poop before it hits the hay, and make sure all the animals are kept clean, watered and comfortable.

With hot, muggy days, comes beautiful sunsets over the fairgrounds and RV park almost every night and if we weren't busy feeding hungry kids, showering or feeding animals, we would be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of them.

On the last day of the fair, some of the kids competed in Dairy Challenge in the show ring.  To help raise some prize money for the competitors, Dominic graciously offered to let the kids shave his head if enough money was raised.


During > {thanks Lucas}


Mug Shot.

The Sonoma County Fair also has horse racing.  Always fun at the races.

And NO fair is complete until copious amounts of fair food is consumed.

Until next year!  This year's fair theme.... "Peace, Love & Fair"

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July 25, 2014

Dog Days of Summer with Fresh Ginger Moscow Mule

Because we went from rain and 65 degrees on Sunday/Monday to 99 degrees and sweltering today, the only thing that might give some relief while hanging out with the animals at the Sonoma County Fair is this Fresh Ginger Moscow Mule by Bon Appetit......just in case you see me roaming with a sippy cup at the barn, you'll know what it contains.  Happy Friday.  Cheers!

Photo and recipe courtesy Bon Appetit

Fresh Ginger Moscow Mule

2 oz. vodka
1½ oz. simple syrup
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled
2 oz. club soda
1 lime wedge
Candied ginger (for serving)

Combine vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, and ginger in a cocktail shaker; fill shaker with ice. Shake until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice; top off with club soda and garnish with lime wedge and candied ginger.
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July 21, 2014

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Muffins

The past few days, here in northern California, has been overcast, showery and a humid 70 degrees.  It NEVER showers in July in our part of northern California.  I kinda liked it though.  Put me in the baking mood!  Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Muffins was what I came up with.

I'm not normally a "gluten free" kids are not gluten free, my husband is not gluten free but I do have friends and family who are. 

Although the thing that inspired me to come up with a new gluten free muffin recipe was actually the fact that I despise wasting food.  I had a few brown bananas on hand and I love banana bread.  I also had this in my cupboard...

Bob's Red Mill whole grain Brown Rice Flour.  Not sure why.  It's been in my cupboard for a while now so I decided to go bananas and bake some gluten free banana chocolate muffins to see if anyone in my family would notice.  Normally they would, but these muffins were THAT good.  

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

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Muffins

1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill whole grain brown rice flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 large very ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.  Coat muffin pan with non stick cooking spray or use paper muffin liners.  Measure flour and mix together with baking powder, baking soda and sea salt; set aside.

Combine bananas, sugar, egg, coconut oil and vanilla extract in large bowl.  Mix in flour mixture, little by little, in thirds.  Mix in chocolate chips.  Using a ice cream scoop, scoop batter in to muffin tin.

Bake for 23 minutes.  Enjoy!
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July 10, 2014

Oven Baked BBQ Chicken

A few nights ago we met a group of friends at Marin French Cheese Factory for a sunset potluck, cocktails and a friendly game of whiffle ball.  I wanted to bring something that was easily transportable and that would be tasty served warm or cold.  BBQ Baked Chicken inspired by The Pioneer Woman, was the chosen dish. Very easy to bake, only a few ingredients and something all would enjoy.

This is also a great cost effective meal any day of the week.  I think I bought a package of 16 drumsticks for $8 dollars.  What child would give up the chance to eat food with his fingers and maybe even be allowed to lick them afterwards?!  (note to self, next time bring a package of wipes...napkins don't really cut it)

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

Oven Baked BBQ Chicken


Your favorite BBQ sauce 1/2 bottle or Dippin' Sauce and 1/2 bottle of Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce
Skin on chicken drumsticks and thighs


In a sauce pot, heat over medium/low heat, the BBQ Sauce and the Sweet Chili sauce until combined, about 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Oil a baking tray with extra virgin olive oil, so the chicken will not stick to the tray.  Arrange drumsticks neatly on the tray and the thighs, skin side down, on the tray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Brush on the BBQ/Chili sauce and turn all chicken pieces over on tray.  Bake for another 8 minutes, remove from oven and re-apply the sauce to the top side of chicken.  No flipping.  Bake for another 8 minutes, remove and reapply sauce.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes.  If you have remaining sauce, reapply one last time and place back in the oven and broil for 4 minutes, until the chicken skin becomes a little crispy and gooey along the edges.  Done!

This is what it looks like after coming out of the oven 25 minutes later, before brushing on the sauce.

After the second time out of the oven.

Last time out of the oven.

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July 8, 2014

Watermelon Feta Summer Salad

Nothing says summer time like a refreshing, sweet and juicy watermelon.  A watermelon, feta salad is one of my summer favorites....the sweet and salty flavor combination is definitely a winner, for me....the sweet of the watermelon, combined with the saltiness of the feta cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette top top it off...I could eat this salad every day during summer.  It's super healthy for you as win!

Watermelon Feta Summer Salad


1/2 of a large, seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 English cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
5 oz feta cheese, crumbled
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 whole fresh mint sprigs for garnish


Cut melon into 1/2 inch pieces.  Cut cucumber into 1/2 inch pieces, place both in a mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Add the chopped mint. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the feta in with the watermelon and cucumber.  Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently, as to not mash the watermelon.  Garnish with the sprigs of mint.
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July 1, 2014

Top 10 Important Lessons Learned at the County Fair

Whoa.  Since school let out for the summer, our lives have been nonstop, action packed and mostly all fun. We began summer break with an adult trip to Las Vegas for the weekend {sorry no Vegas pics} and moved right in to our county fair week.  

There are so many life lessons learned at the county fair.  Every year a few new lessons sneak their way in and the old ones are reiterated.

Here is my Top Ten:

County Fair Lesson #1:  It's really IS OK to accept a foot long, mustard slathered corn dog from a 6 foot 5 bearded man....especially when his name is Jeff.

County Fair Lesson #2:  When your shoes {or your kid's shoes} fall off in the midst of a Zipper ride, don't worry about recovering them, just sheild your head for cover.

County Fair Lesson #3:  Try your darnedest to keep your "whites" as white as possible on show day, even while scooping poop in the barn or walking through poop on your way to the show ring.

County Fair Lesson #4:  When your heifer is "in heat" on show day, try your hardest not to fall down when she jumps on top of you.....all three times.  Good job, Bryce.  {Side lesson for Mom....stifle your scream when your kid is jumped in the show ring by his "in heat" heifer.....I still need to work on this one.}

County Fair Lesson #5:  It's much more fun hanging out at the dairy barn, playing cards with your buds than going to the carnival, any day of the week.

 County Fair Lesson #6:  Down time is important at the trailer, OR..........

ring side....

County Fair Lesson #7 :  Always bring and wear long sleeves and pants when participating in the Pig Scramble...even in 85 degree temperature.

County Fairy Lesson #8 :  When your kid's heifer is in heat, give her a hand {or arm} to use as a pacifier before entering the show ring.

County Fair Lesson #9 :  Always lend a helping hand to your friends and let the older kids show the younger kids the ropes.....they'll listen that way.

County Fair Lesson #10 :  During the hustle and bustle throughout the week, take a moment to stop, look, listen and enjoy the scene.  Great memories are being created.

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