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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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February 25, 2014

Ham and Cheese Beer Bread Muffins for St. Patrick's Day

I seem to be on a bit of a Krusteaz kick lately.  It's so easy to bake great snacks, desserts, etc. with the ready to mix box and sometimes, that's all I have time for.  When I discovered the Ham and Cheese Beer Bread Muffin recipe, I thought it would be perfect to incorporate it in to a St. Patrick's Day party idea.  Beer, afterall, seems to be what St. Patrick's Day is centered least in these parts.

Photo and recipe courtesy Krusteaz

Prep time:  5 min.
Servings:  16 regular sized muffins


1 box Krusteaz Beer Bread Mix
16 ounces stout beer
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup diced ham


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a bowl, combine the bread mix, melted butter, and beer. Stir until combined.
  • Fold in the cheese and ham.
  • Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 28-30 minutes, until golden brown.
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February 13, 2014

Krusteaz Giveaway and Valentine's Day Waffles

Wouldn't these be the cutest Valentine's Day breakfast waffles ever!!?  They're chocolate, they're easily made with Krusteaz Belgian Waffle Mix and you can win FIVE coupons for free Krusteaz products.

Prepare Krusteaz Belgian Waffle Mix as directed for 4 – 5 waffles, adding 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa. Use a heart-shaped waffle maker, if desired. Garnish with whipped cream, shaved chocolate curls and sliced fresh strawberries.

Did you all know February was National Pancake Month?  Lucky for us, Krusteaz is going to help us celebrate by by giving a lucky reader coupons for free Krusteaz Mixes!  They have quite a variety of pancake mixes....
They also have a list of recipes to help you put your own spin on your favorite flavors.   

Honey Wheat,
Heart Healthy, and

ALL you need to do to enter the Krusteaz Coupon Giveaway is comment below telling me what your favorite pancake flavor is!  A winner will be chosen by next week!  
{If you are a subscriber by email, you must go directly to the blog site to leave a comment...

Good luck!!

UPDATE 2-20-14:  
Congratulations, Vera!  You won!!

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February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day Cocktail Ideas

Valentine's Day is on a Friday and I predict even busier than normal crowds at restaurants this why not stay in?  Here are a few ideas for some fun cocktails featuring Skyy for before dinner and a creamy, luscious one for after.....


Created by Mixologist John deBary of New York speakeasy PDT
1 ½ oz. SKYY Infusions Vanilla Bean
½ oz. SKYY Infusions Moscato Grape
¾ oz. Lime Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
½ cup Organic Raspberries
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Pour into a coupe glass.

Purchase heart-shaped ice cube trays for an added touch!

Crème de Vanilla

Created by Mixologist Franky Marshall of Clover Club
2 ½ oz. SKYY Infusions Vanilla Bean
½ oz. White Creme de Cacao
½ oz. Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee
¾ oz. Half and Half Cream
½ oz. Cinnamon Syrup
Milk Chocolate Shavings
2 Vanilla Beans
Pour all ingredients into a small tin, and fill up 3/4 of the tin with pillow ice. Blend on Medium-High for approximately 16-20 seconds. Then pour into small snifter. Garnish with milk chocolate shavings and vanilla beans.
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February 10, 2014

Slow Cooker Stew

We have FINALLY been experiencing some wet weather here in California.  And with rainy days, comes my craving for stew....along with a fire in the wood stove and a glass {or two} of a full bodied Zin.  We have quite a few roasts in our freezer at the moment and sometimes, just to mix it up, I cut a roast into stew sized pieces to cook in the slow cooker.....and this is exactly what I did over the weekend.

I pulled out a Sirloin Tip Roast out of the freezer and thawed it, sliced it into chunks sized at around one inch squared.  Now, if you're not lazy, like myself, you can brown the meat chunks after dredging them in flour and salt and pepper in olive oil for a few minutes.

I didn't do that, this time.  Sometimes a rainy Sunday calls for a lazy day.  I through all the meat in to my slow cooker, added whole, washed, Yukon Gold potatoes, baby carrots and a package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix with 2 cups of water.  Cooked on low for six hours.  

Dinner was done and ready to serve at 6 p.m., fire roaring in the wood stove and a glass of Zin in hand = a happy Mama.

What's your go-to rainy day meal?

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February 6, 2014

25 Best Packaged Foods of 2014

Like many of you, I try to feed my kids as healthy as possible most of the time.   Our lives are extremely busy year-round and it's nice to see a list of packaged foods to choose from that are family-friendly items that contain reasonable levels of fat and sodium and contain no artificial colors or flavors.  

After scouring the supermarkets for new products,  Parents magazine revealed its picks for the “25 Best Packaged Foods of 2014.”  Here are their picks, divided by categories....

Mrs. Dash Salt-Free, All Natural Taco Seasoning Mix 
Ortega Fiesta Flats
Smucker’s Natural Concord Grape Fruit Spread
Marzetti Simply Dressed & Light Balsamic Vinaigrette 
Jif Whips Creamy Peanut Butter 

Birds Eye Recipe Ready Grilling Blend
Dole Chopped Asian Blend Salad
Lisa’s Organics Sweet Peas in Parmesan Herb Broth 
Ore-Idea Simply Olive Oil & Sea Salt Homestyle Wedges
Earth’s Best Organic Mini Pancakes (Homestyle flavor) 
Tyson Fun Nuggets
Applegate Naturals Uncured Reduced-Sodium Sunday Bacon 

Roba Dolce Ocean Spray Honey Fig Gelato 
Newtons Fruit Thins (Cherry Vanilla) 
Ruby’s Rockets (Rock-It Red flavor)
Keebler Simply Made Butter Cookies

Amy’s Bean & Cheese Burrito Snacks
Dannon Oikos Yogurt Dips (Cucumber Dill)
Pearls Olives to Go!
Simply Balanced Sweet Corn Freeze-Dried Vegetables
Wholly Salsa Avocado, Black Bean & Roasted Corn Dip
Chobani Champions Flyin’ Dragon Fruit Yogurt Tubes 
Cascadian Farm Crunchy Oats & Honey Granola Bars 
Rudi’s Organic Bakery Multigrain Organic Soft Pretzels
The Laughing Cow Light White Cheddar Flavor 

For a full list with photos, go to: and the list also appears in the March 2014 issue of Parents Magazine.

What's YOUR favorite??
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February 3, 2014

Rack of Ribs

Yesterday was the big game day in our house.....Super Bowl, the second biggest eating day of the year, right after Thanksgiving.  But with Super Bowl, party food can be made, kept warm in a slow cooker, set out and grazed upon all afternoon.  No formal sit-down dinner required.

I have cooked a LOT of meat in my lifetime but I had yet to attempt a rack of ribs.  My debut rib cookin' day was Super Bowl Sunday and yes, it was as easy as I had hoped.

I bought a package of pork spare ribs, three racks.  There is a membrane on the back side {bone side} of each rack that needs to be removed.  I stuck a butter knife in between the membrane and the ribs and pulled the membrane off....kind of like peeling wall paper off a wall, you hope that it comes off in one big sheet. Mine didn't.

After the membrane is removed, I applied a dry rub to both sides of each rack.

For three racks, mix:

2 T Seasoned Salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp of beef seasoning

Rub on the rack.

Place the rack {s} in an aluminum foil tray.  Broil the rack {s}, bone side down for about 10 minutes on high, to seal in the flavor.  Remove from the oven, turn the oven down to 225 degrees.  Apply some BBQ sauce to the rack {s}.  I like the Trader Joe's BBQ sauce because it has a nice kick to it.  Place back in a 225 degree oven, covered with aluminum foil and cook for 3 hours. Remove from heat, brush more BBQ sauce on and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and cut apart each rib.

This is what my three racks looked like after broiling for 10 minutes and before saucing them.

Make sure you have enough for leftovers!

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