Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Favorite Dessert from the pig pen

When I married my husband almost 10 years ago, his family introduced me to a dessert I had never heard of before in my life.  They call it Robert Redford.  It is a delicious chocolate pudding concoction with a shortbread like crust.  Yummy!

The thing that makes me laugh about this dessert which  got its name because people say "It's better than Robert Redford" is we now have a generation or two of people that don't even know who Robert Redford is.  I think my daughter would prefer to call this dessert Better than the Jonas Brothers or Zac Efron. If you don't have a young daughter, you may be wondering who the Jonas Brothers or Zac Efron are, but they are common names at our house. 

Any way, I made this dessert for our family's Father's Day Celebration as it is one of my father-in-law's favorites and its relatively easy to make.

1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1/2 c. nuts (optional)
8 oz. cream cheese (can use regular, reduced fat, or fat free)
1 c. powdered sugar
Large container of Cool Whip
2 packages of instant chocolate pudding mix
3 c. cold milk (can use whole, 2%, or skim milk)

Mix first three ingredients (the nuts are optional, I prefer it without nuts in the crust) together.
Spread the "dough" in a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Let the crust cool before adding the additional layers.  

While the crust is cooling, cream the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and Cool Whip. 

 Spread on the cooled baked crust.

Whip the pudding with the cold milk and spread on next.


Spread the remainder of a large Cool Whip container on top and garnish with nuts if desired.  

Chill and store in the refrigerator. 



Blessed with Grace


Friday, June 25, 2010

Farmer Fridays - 70 degrees year round


Welcome to another Farmer Fridays.  I can't believe how fast another week has flown by and that it is almost the 4th of July which means that the sweet corn is almost ready.


Where is the summer going?  If it wasn't for all of this hot weather we have been having, I would almost find it hard to believe that it was summer because we've been so busy and haven't had time to enjoy it yet.  Thankfully our house has central air and we have least been able to keep cool during June's heat wave.

I'm also very thankful that we are able to keep our pigs comfortable year round at a temperature of 70 degrees thanks to modern technology.  Pigs don't have sweat glands so keeping their temperature constant and comfortable is really important. 

From last week's Farmer Fridays, you know that we raise our pigs in barns and are able to protect them from the elements like wind, rain, and snow.  By raising them in barns, we are also able to control their climate and essentially the temperature of their surroundings year round.  By using heaters, fans, movable curtains on the side of the buildings, and even a "cool cell," we are able to keep the temperature of our barns around 70 degrees year round even when it is 90 degrees or 0 degrees outside and we experieence both in Indiana. 


Our "cool cell" works like a giant radiator to essentially air condition the barn with the help of the fans. 

Being able to keep our pigs comfortable is just one of the many reasons that I am glad that we raise our pigs in barns on our family farm.

New Friend Fridays
Smart and Trendy Moms




Monday, June 21, 2010

Cookies and more cookies from the pig pen

Last week our two oldest children, Big Sissy and Bubby, had Vacation Bible School and I was asked to provide the cookies for snack time on Friday for 68 kids and around 20 teachers and helpers.  So more or less, I needed 100 cookies.  The kids probably would have been happy with store bought cookies, but as I've said before I love to bake so it was a good excuse for the kids and I to bake

We decided to make Monster Cookies.  We love these cookies; however, we never make them.  They are easy to make but the batter becomes so large it requires several bowls to make them.  The recipe says that it makes 100, but the last time I made them we only got 80 so we 1 1/2 the recipe and ended up with more than enough, around 12 dozen actually. 

Per the recipe, you are to simply mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  From my experience, it is not quite that easy so as you can see I have created several small steps with my notes in the cookbook.  (My mother-in-law gave me the amazing idea to write notes about the recipe in the cookbook. Often I just keep notes on if the recipe was a good one or not, but on the Monster Cookie recipe, I wrote myself directions on which bowls to use and such.  This is such a great tip.)

By following my own steps, we were able to minimize the number of dirty dishes created; however, we did have to get out my big Christmas bowl. The positive of this is it did give both Big Sissy and Bubby their own bowl to stir.
Bubby cracking the eggs.  He loves to crack eggs.
The egg, corn syrup, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla mixture to be mixed with my Kitchen Aid mixer.

Bubby using his hands to keep the mixture in the bowl.

Bubby's yummy mixture

Big Sissy mixing up the dry ingredients with the exception of the oats, chocolate chips, and M&Ms. 

The oats, chocolate chips, and M&Ms got their own bowl. 
Big Sissy adding Bubby's yummy mixture to her dry ingredients. 

Big Sissy and Bubby adding the oat mixture to the batter.

Finally, everything is mixed together and in one bowl.

Using the Pampered Chef scoop is a great way to make cookies a uniform size.

Although my kitchen looked like a disaster after we were done, it was worth it. 

Since we had more than enough, there were extra for us to eat at home.  I'm glad that they are almost gone as I have no will power and have been eating these cookies for breakfast and for an afternoon and evening snack.  At least they have oatmeal in them so they have to be kind of healthy. 

The Girl Creative



Blessed with Grace


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Farmer Fridays - Rain, Rain Go Away


Rain, Rain Go Away Come Again Another Day.  We all know this song and truthfully it is one we hate singing because it usually means we have had too much rain.  This is definitely the case at our pig pen. 

We have had a lot of rain this past week, in fact too much rain.  I think we have had 5 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings this week.  Storms were even the reason I couldn't get my Farmer Fridays post done yesterday as our satellite internet connection does not function well during storms.  So welcome to my first Farmer Fridays on a Saturday. 

As a farmer we are at the mercy of Mother Nature and as I said in last week's Farmer Fridays it takes just the right combination of heat and moisture for our crop to grow.  This past week has definitely provided its fair share of heat and moisture which has almost been perfect corn growing weather, but when you have fields that look like this in parts, you realize that we are heavy on the moisture side.

Another downfall of all this rain is we still have work to do in the fields and you can't drive a tractor in the fields if they are wet.  Just like our corn, we need to spray our soybeans to kill the weeds and grass that are growing in the bean fields and competing with the soybeans for essential nutrients for growth.  We are definitely at a critical point as the beans need to be sprayed now and with the additional 2 inches of rain we got last night it is going to be awhile before we can drive a tractor in the fields. 

The one upside to all of this rain is that we raise our pigs in barns.  This way they are protected from the elements such as wind, rain, and heat and we have had a lot of those in the past few weeks.  Although we can't stop the barns from being destroyed by the elements as our dear friend Jeanette at FenceRow to FenceRow had the unfortunate experience of recently finding out, we can do our best to protect the pigs which is our top priority.  From her post, you can tell that having her pigs in barns like ours, they were able to save their pigs' lives. 

My husband was also able to get our grass mowed last night before the storms which is a good thing as our yard was starting to look like the jungle and we also now have a stream running through our yard from last night's rain.

So while we were safe and dry in our house and our pigs were safe and dry in their barns, our corn and soybeans have been getting more than their fair share of moisture this past week.  We can only hope and pray that the fields dry up soon so that we can finish our field work for the spring and that Mother Nature will continue to provide the appropriate amounts of heat and moisture for the rest of the summer and this fall. 

Our fingers are crossed on this one. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Reasons Why We Relay at this pig pen

Gramps.  Grandma Florie.  PaPau.  Aunt Barb.  Grandma H.

These are just a few of the people in our family that we have lost to cancer and one of the reasons our family participates in Relay for Life

Aunt San is another reason why we Relay.  She is a survivor of breast cancer and we Relay to celebrate her beating cancer.

Relay for Life is an American Cancer Society fundraiser that allows whole communities to work together to raise money to fight cancer and hopefully eliminate cancer one day soon by walking (or running laps in Bubby's case) laps around a track.  It truly gives those involved an opportunity to "celebrate, remember, and fight back."  Businesses, community organizations, survivors, and families that have lost loved ones to cancer form teams to participate in the event.  The event usually lasts for 24 hours and it is the goal that each team will have a representative on the track at all times.  Our family does not have our own team, but we are proud members of Cory's Crew. 

Cory is another reason our family participates in Relay for Life.  Cory was the son and grandson of family friends that was taken from all of our lives way too early.  In his few short years, he left quite an impact on the lives he touched.  Our oldest daughter was quite fond of Cory.  At age 5, she told us she was going to marry Cory one day and they would work with the pigs together.  When Cory got his angel wings, Big Sissy said it was hard for us, but good for him as he was now in heaven. 

Ultimately, our three children are the real reason we Relay.  As we can only hope that they will be able to live the rest of their lives without having any more people in their lives diagnosed with cancer.

Tuesday Tag-Along

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