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

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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June 27, 2014

Fourth of July Cocktails

When throwing a party, one thing I try to incorporate is a signature party cocktail.  That way, along with beer wine and non-alcoholic drinks, a cocktail is available and there is no need to stock a full bar.  

Herradura's Red, White and Blue Berry cocktail  might be the ticket for your Fourth of July BBQ.  

Herradura’s Red, White and Blue Berries

·         1½ oz. Herradura Silver
·         2 ½ oz. coconut water
·         ¼ oz. agave nectar
·         ½ oz. lime juice

Place all ingredients in to a cocktail shaker filled with cubed ice. Shake hard and strain over crushed ice in to a tall glass.  Garnish with raspberries and blueberries.

Bohemia Fireworks
·         2 strawberries
·         1.5 oz Bohemia
·         1.5 oz spiced rum
·         .5 oz simple syrup
·         ½  oz lemon 

Muddle the strawberries and add the rest of the ingredients. Shake all ingredients and pour over ice in a collins glass. Top with Bohemia beer

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June 16, 2014

FIFA World Cup Cocktails

I'll admit, I'm not a huge soccer fan but when the FIFA World Cup comes around and it's in my Mom's homeland, Brasil, I am totally into watching and cheering not just for USA, but for Brasil and Portugal as well.  As of this morning, Portugal lost their match and Brasil plays tomorrow....hoping for the best!

We just returned from a Las Vegas weekend and coconut vodka cocktails were the theme of the weekend while enduring the 100 degree poolside temperature.  While in the Sports Book, at Mandalay Bay, FIFA excitement was all around. so when CIROC sent over these fantastic looking party cocktails that contain both coconut vodka and 2014 FIFA theme colors of yellow and green this morning, I felt inspired to share them with you.

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June 11, 2014

Recipes to Make Dad Happy...

The count down to Father's Day...just a few days away.  What's your plan for the day?  Maybe incorporating these Stout Beer Ice Cream Mini Floats will float his boat......

Stout Beer Ice Cream Mini Floats

Photos and recipes courtesy Pillsbury


 cup premium vanilla ice cream
cup stout draught beer, such as Guiness or a chocolate stout
tablespoons chocolate-flavor syrup

Using small ice cream scoop {about 1 T each}, place 2 small scoops in each of 8 shot glasses.  Slowly pour about 1 T beer into each glass.

Drizzle each with about 1 tsp chocolate syrup.  Serve immediately with small spoons.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Pizza


    Cookie Crust

    roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated sugar cookies
    cup unsweetened baking cocoa
    cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted, cooled


    package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    cup sugar
    tablespoons creamy peanut butter
    tablespoons milk
    tablespoon sugar
    cup hot fudge topping
    cup frozen (thawed) whipped topping
    miniature chocolate-covered peanut butter cup candies, unwrapped
    teaspoon coarse sea salt, if desired
  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-inch pizza pan. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Stir or knead in cocoa and melted chocolate until well blended. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan to form crust.
  • Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until set but not firm. Cool on cooling rack 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Spread over cooled crust.
  • In small bowl, beat peanut butter, milk and sugar with whisk until smooth. Drizzle over filling from outside edge of filling to center of crust, using small spoon. In small microwavable bowl, microwave fudge topping uncovered on High about 20 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over peanut butter.
  • Spoon 12 dollops of whipped topping around outside edge of crust. Place candies in dollops. Sprinkle with sea salt. Store covered in refrigerator.

    Mixed Berry Cream Tart


cups sliced fresh strawberries
cup boiling water
box (4-serving size) sugar-free strawberry-flavored gelatin
pouches (1.5 oz each) Nature Valley™ roasted almond crunchy granola bars (from 8.9-oz box)
package (8 oz) fat-free cream cheese
cup sugar
teaspoon almond extract
cup fresh blueberries
cup fresh raspberries
Fat-free whipped topping, if desired
  • In small bowl, crush 1 cup of the strawberries with pastry blender or fork. Reserve remaining 1 cup strawberries.
  • In medium bowl, pour boiling water over gelatin; stir about 2 minutes or until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir crushed strawberries into gelatin. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, leaving granola bars in pouches, crush granola bars with rolling pin. Sprinkle crushed granola in bottom of 9-inch ungreased glass pie plate, pushing crumbs up side of plate to make crust.
  • In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and almond extract with electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Drop by spoonfuls over crushed granola; gently spread to cover bottom of crust.
  • Gently fold blueberries, raspberries and remaining 1 cup strawberries into gelatin mixture. Spoon over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until firm. Serve topped with whipped topping.
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