Blog Statement

Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

September 21, 2015

Kathryn Hall Release Party at HALL Wines - Napa Valley Region

Last week I had the pleasure of attending one of St. Helena's premiere parties of the year, the Kathryn Hall Release Party at HALL Wines in the beautiful quaint town of St. Helena.  Vintners, Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall go big every year and this year was no exception.

Kathryn Hall herself, introduced the full bodied, jammy 2012 Kathryn Hall Cabernet.  This cabernet is sourced from the winery's own Sacrashe property in the hillsides of Rutherford as well as Bergfeld Vineyard.  As a connoisseur of Cabernet, I was definitely not disappointed.  

This year's theme was a straight up Texas Hoe-Down.  Music by the country band, Twang Ditty and plenty of Texas style food to enjoy.

The food was catered by Feast Catering.  Some of the delicious nibbles included; grilled hanger steak tacos, Texas gulf shrimp and celery slaw, oak grilled corn and whole pigs cooked on the spit with Texas mop sauce.

The party was set on the Great Lawn just behind their 1885 renovated barn.  A beautiful afternoon was spent by all sipping HALL wines, nibbling small bites and enjoying the vast vineyard views.

To enjoy a different vantage point of the vineyards and grounds, we stepped up to the contemporary tasting room and enjoyed a few more sips from the veranda.

I enjoyed an extra treat by meeting up with my girlfriend, Pricilla Willis, who was up visiting the area from Orange County.  Pricilla authors the fantastic food and wine blog, She's Cookin' and we met a few years ago in Idaho on a potato harvesting tour.  So great to catch up with her!

If you are thinking about visiting HALL Winery yourself, they are hosting a fantastic fundraising event on October 17th., Harvest Hounds!   Support Napa Humane by bringing your pups with you to HALL St. Helena, and enjoy 2-for-1 tastings in our Dining Garden, with the tasting fee donated to Napa Humane. There will be lots of great activities including an agility course on the Great Lawn, and doggy favorites like frisbees, tennis balls, and gourmet treats from Ma Snax Superior Dog Treats. Plus, Napa Humane will be here providing a complimentary chip check to make sure your dog's microchip is active and the information is current.

Once again, I thank HALL Wines for the invite to their very special Kathryn Hall Release Party!
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August 31, 2015

Where To Store Your Fruits and Vegetables

We are knee deep in corn, zucchini and cucumbers right now.  We're trying to power through all the zucchini as much as we can but it's difficult to keep up and I so hate to waste food.  We've been giving away as much as we can and storing all this produce is becoming a bit of an issue.  We store our zucchini in a cool dry place......basically all over our kitchen counters.  The cucumbers seem to last a bit longer in the fridge and we'll probably end up freezing a good portion of the corn.

Terra's Kitchen was kind enough to send me this helpful information on the best way to store some of our favorite fruits and veggies to share with you!  

Hope your end-of-summer is going well.  I don't know about you, but I'm very much ready for autumn to begin!

To store in the fridge:
  • Bell Peppers: Refrigerate loose in the fridge.
  • Berries: Either eat them the day you get them, or you must refrigerate, as they are highly perishable.
  • Eggplant: Store loose in the produce drawer of the refrigerator and branch out and try all of the amazing sizes and colors. If you are not a lover of this nightshade, we are sorry for what you are missing!!
  • Sweet Corn: Refrigerate in their husk until ready to use and keep in mind that should be sooner than later as the sugars begin to turn to starch as soon as they are picked.
To store on the counter:
  • Apricots:  No matter how strong is the urge to refrigerate these beauties, store unripe on the counter or windowsill at room temperature.
  • Garlic: Do not refrigerate and keep them on the counter or in a basket alongside your onions.
  • Mushrooms: They are full of water and need to breathe, so store in the original packaging, or if in a cluster, in a brown paper bag. If only using a portion of them rewrap the top in plastic wrap or keep in bag.
  • Onions: Keep them dry in a basket on the counter.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Tomatoes should never be refrigerated as it spoils their unique individual flavor. Keep on the counter until ripe and then use in rapid abandonment once they are.
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August 10, 2015

A Few Twists on S'mores For You!

Who doesn't love a warm and gooey S'more!  If you're planning on celebrating National S'more Day, here are a few ideas from Family Fun magazine that you can try out without a campfire.  How fun are these?!  

Line a tray with parchment paper. In a small bowl, melt 1 cup chocolate chips according to the package directions. Place 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers in another bowl. Quickly dip one marshmallow at a time in the chocolate, then in the cracker crumbs (you should have enough for 12 bonbons). Let them cool on the tray.

Place 3 marshmallows on a parchment-lined baking sheet and broil on high for 1 minute. Place 3 tbsp. graham cracker crumbs in an 8-oz. glass or jar. Add 1/4 cup chocolate pudding and top with the marshmallows.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss 2 cups chocolate Teddy Grahams with 3/4 cup mini marshmallows. Melt 1/2 cup white chocolate chips according to the package directions, then drizzle it over the other ingredients and let cool. Break into pieces before serving.

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August 3, 2015

July's Endless Summer Photo Re-Cap

July is my favorite summer month.  No school, warm northern CA weather and busy with fun summer time activities.  Here is my photo re-cap...

Chamber's Landing in Lake Tahoe.  A definite favorite and one last minute, fantastic trip with friends.

Stopping in Auburn, CA on the way home from Tahoe.....

 Lunch date with my favorite boy.....

 Spa day morning with some favorite ladies.....

Spa Day evening with the same ladies......

A few of these fun Fridays at Indian Valley Golf Course, near our house.....

Enjoying Sonoma County Farm Bureau's Love of the Land event with some good friends......

Many graduation parties.......

Some beautiful sunsets......

Girlscout Camp.......

Ending the month with a five day camp trip in Cloverdale with family and friends.....

.....and a super cute pooch......

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July 31, 2015

Viva Diva Sangria

Sangria is a favorite summer time party choice for me.  Viva Diva Wines sent me this fantastic looking recipe featuring their Pinot Grigio.  Maybe a perfect fit for your Labor Day party....white after Labor Day is okay!

Christina Milian, singer, actress and entrepreneur, owns Viva Diva Wines along with her Mother/manger, Carmen Milian and publicist, Robyn Santiago. These three female owners have taken the affordable and tasty Viva Diva Wines to incredible heights and national levels.

Viva Diva Sangria

1 bottle Viva Diva Wines Pinot Grigio
1 2 liter sprite (If this sounds too sweet, you can always half it with club soda)
Fresh fruits including blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, orange slices and lemon slices
1/2-1 cup Triple Sec-Optional

Fill pitcher with ice about halfway full
Mix equal parts of the wine and sprite together in pitcher.
Add in fruits. Stir well. Keep adding wine and sprite to adjust taste desired.
Add in triple sec for additional flavor and citrus kick.
Pour into an ice filled tall goblet or glass and add in fruits from pitcher. ENJOY
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July 7, 2015

Cows, Heifers and more Cows ~ Only at the Fair

I am just NOW recovering from Fair Time.  Whew.  After a long, hot five days living out of a camp trailer at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, it takes a 40-something year old just a little while to scrape the dirt off, rest and feel 'back to normal'...whatever that is.

From the time school is out, the first part of June, everyone's scrambling, every day to prepare for the fair.  I wouldn't have it any other way though......the kids LOVE it, it's a ton of work and the memories will be forever.

This year things were a little different.  The state of Californina is in the middle of a drought and the Sonoma-Marin Fair was mandated by the state to cut back 25% of its water usuage.  What that meant for the livestock division of the fair was a "Natural Show" which included a "No Wash" policy for the animals.  The kids were allowed to use the hose and nozzle for spot washes along with buckets and sponges and they could also obtain written permission for a full wash to their animals, if needed.

The livestock exhibitors, aged eight to 19, put their big boy/girl pants on, pulled up their boots and went with it.  All of the fair exhibitors followed the rules, cleaned their animals when necessary, conserved water as much as they could and all with minimal complaints from these same kids.

Show day comes early, getting up at 6 a.m. to get their animals ready to show.  Paige was allowed to show a large animal, her heifer, Nina, for the first time this year as an eight year old Special Junior. She and her cousin, Leila, were all smiles ring-side.  So much fun to watch them having fun and enjoying themselves with their heifers.

Now, this is the difference between our two kids.....Bryce is all serious and calm before his turn in the show ring.  Here he is ready with his heifer, Frankie.

We did have a little time for some carnival fun which was very much appreciated by the kiddos.

Concerts every night had Paige rockin with pleasure....Beach Boys, Rodney Atkins and Tanya Tucker.

The Sonoma-Marin Fair hosts the World's Ugliest Dog Contest every year as well and here is this year's winner....Quasi Modo.

Before we knew it, we were all celebrating the last night of the fair and were awarded with this gorgeous sunset view from our trailer and above the dairy barns.

By Sunday afternoon, we had packed up the camp trailer, most of the tack for the animals and waited for the animal release time at 4:30 p.m.

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June 22, 2015

Chocolate BBQ Sauce

Over ice cream, dip cookies, berries or bananas, marshmallows....what ever your pleasure, this Chocolate BBQ Sauce recipe by Francois Payard looks like a winner to me.  My plan is to incorporate it into a milkshake since we're right in the middle of National Ice Cream Month.

We're getting ready to head to our local fair, where the kids show their Holsteins and we will be camped out there for five days. Whipping out some chocolate BBQ sauce to dip my pretzels in will sound good at the end of a long fair day.  Especially when paired with a nice bold glass of cab.  I think I'll be ready for it by Thursday night, I am sure of it.

See you at the fair!

                                                                                 Photo and recipe courtesy Francois Payard

Chocolate BBQ Sauce

8 ounces (250 grams) 61% or 72% chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (12 grams) light corn syrup
1 cup (250 grams) heavy cream
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons your favorite BBQ sauce
2 dashes of Tabasco

1)     Place the chocolate and corn syrup in a medium bowl.
2)     Pour the heavy cream and milk into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Pour the hot cream and milk mixture over the chocolate, and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Strain the mixture into a bowl.
3)     Add 4 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce and 2 dashes of Tabasco to the chocolate mixture.
4)     Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Dip cookies, berries, or marshmallows into the chocolate BBQ glaze and place on the lined baking sheets. Allow the chocolate BBQ glaze to set and then enjoy.
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