Golden Milk

img_6511Golden milk actually uses milk, no it’s not another item claiming to be the life-giving elixir that is milk, as in from a mammal. (This is coming from a wife of a dairy farmer). Golden milk has been used for 100s of years as nourishing drink that reduces inflammation in the body and boosts your immune response. It uses milk, turmeric (raw or a paste), cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. I added a pinch of cardamom and sweetener to make this a treat even my kiddos would love. The warm hue of the milk is comforting, and you really can’t taste turmeric, so think of this as a spicy and sweet warmed up milk. Perfect on this rainy day or as healthy and satisfying after dinner drink.

Golden Milk 

Ingredients: img_6514

  • 4 Tbsp Ground Turmeric Powder
  •  1/4 C Water
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • 6 Cups Fresh Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp Pure Maple syrup or Honey
  • A pinch of Cardamom
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla

Directions: 

Add turmeric powder and water in sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk until thickened about 5 minutes and add black pepper.

Stir in milk, add sweetener of choice, vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom. Cook until warmed through and serve! Visit Pete Postma and Sons for more info on our dairy.

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Support your local dairy farmers! Drink Milk! (Real Milk)

Sweet Potato Persimmon Cookies

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I love the combination of two classic flavors of fall in this cookie. The combination makes for a super soft nutritious cookie that you can even serve at breakfast. I add chopped pecans and oats to make a very filling cookie, and chocolate chips to entice my littles. We make an annual visit to the Maino Ranch in Knights Ferry, to pick persimmons at the ancient Hachyia persimmon tree. We then bring home the fruits of our labor, waiting for when they turn just ripe enough to scoop out their sweet flesh for use in cooking. Having never been a persimmon fan before discovering this tree, I now love them, both the cooking ( Hachyia) and the eating (Fuyu) variety. I enjoy this new tradition and watching the kids play and climb under the big tree. See our recipe using Persimmons for Christmas Jam from last year! This recipe is a great way to use left over sweet potatoes and pecans from your traditional thanksgiving dishes! img_4141

Persimmon Sweet Potato Cookies                                                       Yield: 24 Cookies 

Ingredients: img_4248

  • 3/4 C Mashed Sweet Potato Puree
  • 3/4 C Persimmon Pulp
  • 1/2 C Butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 C Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp Ginger
  • 1/2 C Oats
  • 1/2 C Chopped and roasted Pecans

Directions: Pre-Heat Oven to 350 F. In bowl of stand mixer, mix on high sugar, puree, pulp, and butter until fluffy. Add egg on slow until just combined. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl.

 

Slowly mix in dry ingredients into wet, stopping to scrape bowl. Fold in chocolate chips, pecans, and oats. Drop hearty size Tbsp dollops onto parchment lined baking sheet.

 

Bake for approx 25 minutes until cooked through. Enjoy!

Dairy Man’s Dream; No-Rise, No- Knead, Quick Parmesan Bread

img_3785Why is this bread called “Dairy Man’s Dream”? It has cheese, yogurt, milk, and butter! I adapted this recipe from “Bread Illustrated” written by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen. I have loved this book, all the recipes have great step by step illustrations. Bread is intimidating for me and this book really helps me understand the process of making bread so I can, well, actually make bread! In fact this recipe was done with my 2 year old!

I tried this recipe out last night, we did not have bread for dinner and the kids were up to make something. I almost pulled our bread machine out, (the kids call him “crunchy robot”) but I put him back and flipped through the cook book instead. I love the idea of no knead quick bread you can literally make in 10 minutes pop in oven and serve! The recipe called for sour cream and I substituted my farm fresh yogurt instead. I also omitted the cheddar cheese and added extra parm. The results were impressive and my dairy man of a husband happy after another long day at the new barn.

Ingredients:                                                                                                   

  • 2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour img_3790
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 3 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 3/4 C Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp Melted Butter
  • 2 Cups Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions: Pre heat oven to 350 F. Melt Butter over low heat. Whisk in milk, salt and yogurt. Set aside.

Mix flour baking soda, pepper and 1 C of the cheese. Butter a 8″ x 4″ pan and sprinkle 1/2 C Parmesan cheese on bottom. Fold wet ingredients into dry, until just incorporated. Do not over mix!

Dough will be very heavy and lumpy. Place in prepared bread pan and smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake approx 45 minutes until golden brown! Let cool at least 30 minutes, slice and serve with more butter of course!

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The kids helping at the new barn

The “Gospel Garden” and a recipe for Salsa Con Queso

Early winter of 2016 myself and enlisted help including Cody Simar of Central Valley Sustainability and my dear husband met with the director at the Modesto Gospel Mission to discuss a future community garden at their existing 1 acre plot surrounded by employee housing, and located a block behind the mission itself.

Approaching the site I knew this was the spot. Since this time we have been blessed to have many hands volunteer and come together to donate, plant, care for and harvest from this garden. We have affectionately named our garden the “Gospel Garden.”

Some crops have not worked out, we have had weeds overtake some of our lettuce and tomatoes. We have put in a lot of work to keep up with our first year at this new site. Yet, every time I visit the garden, when I feel overwhelmed at the work, at the weeds, at what needs to be done and when I can barely keep up with the kids, animal, and yard at home, I come away with a sense of calm. Chris, a resident at the mission, will usually stroll out and remind me of just how much the garden is giving. He tells me he places tomatoes in neighbors mailboxes up and down the street; that families in the community come to garden and pick lettuce, peppers or tomatoes. Rita a volunteer informs me that the salad bar at the mission has never looked so good. (I owe a huge thank you to Westurf Nursery, Rick Grey of Plant a Seed Foundation and Waterford Irrigation Supply Inc as well as many others!!)

We had the opportunity to have a local Girl Scout troop visit our garden and we took along children from the mission as well. It was a day of discovery for many kids, including one young girl who informed me this was he first trip off the mission without her parents. As we took the five minute walk from the Children’s Center holding hands I couldn’t help but feel prideful as people peered from their windows in a neighborhood that is constantly on the look out for what is wrong, and instead catching a glimpse of what is right.

On one field trip morning, I remember feeling particularly overwhelmed and disappointed; that the corn had all died, that weeds were overtaking our garden, and that there was a huge leak in our drip causing mud and more weeds to grow among the melons. As I took the kids to the garden that same day I was again reminded of of useless our doubts are.  The kids could have cared less about the weeds, or the dried up corn, instead they exclaimed over tomatoes, melons, and bravely tasted jalapenos. One boy asked with hope, “Can we come next week again, and bring cheese this time for the tomatoes!” The joy this boy had found here replaced any feelings of failure I had had just an hour ago. What a reminder that God requires of us not to be perfect, but to simply give what we can and look for the blessings in each small thing; and that all our anxieties need to be reexamined, surrendered to and handed over to something much greater than ourselves. Something that says its ok, and that is satisfied with the smile and thank you of a child.

In looking for a delicious and versatile way to use our tomatoes and jalapenos harvested on our last field trip with the Children’s Center, I thought of Salsa Con Queso. This one is dedicated to Angela who gives her heart and soul to her kids at the mission, who made an amazing salsa to share with the Children’s Center, (made from vegetables from the Gospel Garden), and and who loves cheese. I give you the best of both worlds. img_1652

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Salsa Con Queso

  • 6-10 Ripe Tomatoes (of any variety)
  • 5 Jalapenos (more or less depending on desire for heat) Cored
  • 3 Large Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Large White Onion
  • 3 Large Squash (yellow or zuchinni)
  • 1/2 Head Roasted Cauliflower (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Cups shredded cheddar cheese or blend.
  • 1/2 C Greek Yogurt (see recipe for homemade)

Directions: Coarsely chop all vegetables. In heavy bottomed pot heat vegetables with salt until softened. Add butter, melt and then add flour. Simmer until easily pierced with fork. Use immersion blender to puree vegetables.

May use blender for smoother consistency, cool to room temp before blending. Add Cheese and yogurt. Stir until melted and incorporated. Serve and enjoy! Use as a dip for bread, crackers, or chips. Best served warm. Try on your favorite sandwiches, tacos or as pasta sauce tossed with olive oil.

Our dairy farm’s future, the strawberry patch and a recipe for Molasses Ginger Strawberry Muffins.

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Is this a time that everyone is uncertain? I know my husband and I are. My husband, Jon, his brother Jack and his father are dairy farmers. Their grandfather came from Holland to start this dairy in the central valley region of California. Since their grandfather’s time much has changed and the dairy seems to be on its own little island while all around it things are changing. Clinging to ideals and a passion for dairy farming has kept this dairy alive. Sad to say making a profit in the dairy industry has become increasingly harder. This is due to many factors, cost of production, regulations, cost of labor and a lack of a skilled consistent labor force. Jon and partners have chosen to try robotic milking. After visiting many robotic milking houses in the mid west, Jon and Jack were excited and sure that robotics are the future of dairy farming.

My husband will be the first to tell you that we really don’t know if it is. But what we do know is that if we want to continue milking cows something needs to change. We have to at least try, and what are farmers if not pioneers. Every year farmers take risks and bear the elements, battle the ever changing social climate and push forward in hopes to continue a way of life that nourishes our communities and families.

We have a small garden that the kids and I planted at the dairy last year. It did alright, and supplied some employees with fresh lettuce and other veggies. The strawberries we had planted did horrible. At the end of the season I tore out the wilting lettuce, fried zucchini plants and tired peppers, but the strawberries seemed to be greener. I left them and forgot all about the plants during fall and winter. Spring of this year my husband called saying I had better get to the dairy and pick the strawberries. “What Strawberries?” I replied wearily, having just got in from yard work. He informed me that plump, red strawberries littered the  old dairy garden spot. As the kids and I returned to the dairy garden I was amazed to see amidst all the weeds were the same strawberry plants, but with fresh glittering red strawberries ready to be picked. we cleaned up the weeds and began caring for and harvesting the strawberries we had given up on. We  have picked many times this spring continuing now into summer. Our prayers for our dairy are patient hopeful ones. Prayers that through doing things for the right reasons, not giving up when all seems impossible, nourishing our business then watching and waiting, we will see a sustainable, joyful future for an industry so deserving of a fruitful fate.

To learn more about robotic milking visit https://www.lely.com/us/the-barn/milking/

img_1232Using our strawberries we made these delicious muffins to share with the dairy employees. I wanted to try something different, a little spice and warmth from the cinnamon, ginger and molasses to contrast the sweet strawberry sauce that tops these buttery muffins. Enjoy!

Molasses and Ginger Strawberry Muffins      

Ingredients:                                                                                         Yield: Approx 20           Sauce:

  • 2 Pints Fresh Strawberries
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 Tbs Lemon juice

Muffins:

  • 1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Sticks Butter
  • 1/2 C Yogurt (Try my Homemade Yogurt Recipe)
  • 1/3 C Molasses
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 Eggs

Directions: 

Pre heat oven to 350 F. Use Pam Baking Spray to prepare your muffins tins. Make the strawberry sauce first. Clean and cut strawberries in half place in large saucepan over medium heat.

Add sugar and lemon juice. Simmer stirring occasionally and until cooked through (approx. 15 minutes). Using immersion blender puree until smooth in pan. let cool slightly and pour into jars leaving about 1/4 of the mixture in pan.

Use the jarred strawberry sauce for other desserts, on top of pancakes or ice cream. May be preserved or frozen for future use.

Using same large pan without cleaning, melt butter slowly on low heat. Stir the melted butter into the strawberry sauce. Add yogurt, molasses and sugar and stir to combine with whisk.

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Make a well in flour and add the eggs. Stir yokes to break and slowly fold the wet, dry ingredients and eggs to combine. img_1109Drop 1 Tbsp of sauce in bottom of muffins tins. Add 2 large spoonfuls of batter on top. Top with another 1 Tbsp of sauce.img_1111 Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Remove when slightly cool and transfer to cooling rack. May use right away or freeze for up to 6 months. Enjoy!

 

Cherry Sauce

img_0706This sauce is in no way reminiscent of the cherry flavored medicine we got as children…

What a joy to be able to visit with friends down the road and be sent home with fresh picked cherries. In an effort to not waste these beauties I decided to make batches of cherry sauce that can be used as a filling in pies, tarts or turnovers, mixed with yogurt or cottage cheese, in cheese cake, and drizzled over pancakes or ice cream. Use a cherry-pitter or simply cut out with paring knife. This is the time-consuming portion, promise its worth it!

Ingredients: (Recipe may be doubled.)

  • 2 C Bing cherries
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Corn starch

Directions:

Pit Cherries and place in large stock pot. Heat on low and add sugar, syrup and lemon. Simmer for 10 -15 minutes until cherries are heated through. Use immersion blender to blend.

Heat on high until thickened slightly. Allow to cool and pour into jars for preserving if desired. May be stored in refrigerator for 3 weeks or freezer for 9 months without preserving. Enjoy and keep me posted on the many uses you find!

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Lemon Curd and how to use it!

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“Lemon Curd”- This does not sound appetizing, but this traditional English fruit spread makes a breakfast, dessert or snack extra special. This recipe is very simple to make, I recommend Meyer lemons, and I tearfully  used the last of our home grown lemons for this recipe. If you have excess lemons consider making a large batch and preserving. You can always double this recipe, although this is a large recipe designed to have extra for later use or gifts, so you can also cut this in half! There are many uses for this curd. Make a sheet cake, poking holes in cake while still hot and poured the lemon curd over and topped with fresh whipped cream for an Easter dessert. You can also use with pancakes, as a spread for muffins or scones, as a dip for crackers or fruit, as well as a marinade or salad dressing when mixed with basic balsamic and olive oil. Mix into yogurt or oatmeal, try my easy method to make your own yogurt.

img_0248 I loved this curd with my recipe for Brown Butter Maple Oat Muffins, place a dollop of the lemon curd on top of the batter before baking. Try it and enjoy!

Ingredients                                                                                     Yields 6-8 Cups

  • 6 lemons
  • 2 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 Sticks of Butter
  • 8 Large Eggs
  • 1 C Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt

Directions

Zest the lemons, being careful not to get too much of the white pith, which will create a bitter taste. Mix zest and sugar in food processor until incorporated. With stand mixer cream butter and and sugar with zest. Add eggs 1 at a time and finally the lemon juice and salt. Pour the mixture into saucepan over low heat until just thickened and hot to the touch (around 8 minutes on lowest heat setting). Remove from heat and place in jars for refrigeration and preserve if desired.

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Christmas Jam; Persimmon and Pomegranate

This is a recipe that if you are fortunate to receive or have large amounts of this special produce should be made with care and given with love. It is literally so good you can eat this by the spoonfuls! It has just the right amount of sweetness.  I don’t even like Persimmons, or so I thought. This will be used in many recipes from a cheese cake to a turkey glaze, so stay tuned, and get creative using this in your own recipes!  This was truly a blessing and joy to make. Our Meyer lemon tree is almost ripe, and the juice in the lemons worked well to bring some tartness to the super sweet persimmons. We picked the persimmons from a ranch in Knights Ferry that my aunt so graciously lets us visit anytime. The persimmon tree has been there for ages and is a sight to behold as you wind your way down to the valley on the ranch. The boys helped pick a bunch. We eagerly tasted one, big mistake. Not quite ripe,  I liken it to eating a bitter cotton ball!  The persimmons set out a week they became mushy soft, which is what you want for this variety, also known as Hichiya,  before you try to eat or bake. They were super sweet in a delicate way. Little did we know we came upon a fortune, as at the grocery store persimmons were going for 2$ each! My sweet neighbor, Barbra, brought us a large bag of pomegranates from her beautiful tree, these are the best I have ever had. Store bought does not compare, I can barely taste the seeds in these there is so much fruit inside. I thought combining these two seasonal fruits into a Jam that will serve as a gift and an ingredient in holiday baking would be festive and appreciated!

Ingredients:

(You can triple this recipe to give as gifts for Christmas)

  • 1 C Persimmon Puree (6 large persimmons)img_8703
  • 1/3 C Sugar (or to taste, depending on how sweet fruit is, can also be left out)
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 C Fresh Pomegranate Juice

 

Directions:

Peel persimmons into blender. I find it easiest to use my hands and kind of mulch out the innards.  Seed the pomegranates by cutting in half and using a large wooden spoon to whack until seeds fall into bowl.

Will seem messy at first but once you get the hang of this it will go fast. Make extra and freeze the juice for later or for drinking.  Puree Persimmons until smooth. Using juicer juicepomegranate  seeds to extract juice. (Or use store bought!)  Place puree in sauce pan, add sugar and pomegranate juice over medium  heat until incorporated. Add water and corn starch in separate bowl and whisk until dissolved. Whisk into puree. Add lemon juice. Boil on low until thickened, approx 15 minutes. Let jam cool to room temperature and pour into sterilized jars. Can if desired, or store in refrigerator.  Enjoy and share the love!

Lavender Rosemary Freezer Cookies

 

img_8449These Lavender Rosemary Freezer Cookies are not like eating soap, promise. My children can testify! This is a classic butter cookie recipe with simple ingredients, made special by adding a little fresh lavender and rosemary from our garden. I use my home made yogurt fresh from the dairy- store bought regular or greek yogurt is fine! This is my new go too butter cookie recipe, perfect for up coming holiday. You can get creative and add your own spin; maybe mint, lemon or almond? A little pumpkin and maple for fall? Experiment and enjoy. I tried to put detailed instructions for a no fail cookie!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Sticks Butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Yogurt 
  • 2 Eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 4 C Flour ( sifted)
  • 3 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Lavender Flowers
  • Directions:

In large bowl (not the mixing stand bowl) sift flour. Stir in salt, rosemary and lavender.

In mixing bowl cream butter and sugar at high-speed until light and airy, (see pictured).

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Beat in 1 egg as a time on low, add vanilla. Add 1/4 dry mixture and mix on medium, stop, scrape sides, and repeat for remaining dry ingredients. Do not over mix; (leads to tougher cookie). Chill 30 minutes. Place 1/3 chilled mixture on parchment paper and roll into log.

Place in bag or cover in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw a little before using (approx 10 minutes), then slice in 1/4″ rounds and bake on parchment lined baking sheet for 10 -15 minutes at 350 F. Enjoy your beautiful cookies, they make a great gift in special tin as well!

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Lilly’s favorite part!