Friday, May 27, 2011

Farmer Fridays - Some things are more important

I have really struggled with this week's Farmer Fridays as not much as happened on our family farm this week which is honestly quite depressing this time of year.  We are usually trying to finish up planting season by Memorial Day and applying anhydrous ammonia to our corn this time of year.  Much to our dismay, Mother Nature has not been real cooperative so far this spring and our time in the fields has been extremely limited.  I try to be an optimist so I just keep reminding myself it could be worse.

I was reminded of this in black and white today when I received an email from a friend and professional peer, Joe.  Quoting the Daily Livestock Report, his email started, "Some things are more important than markets and policies and prices."  Joe then went on to encourage us to learn more about the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.  He also reminded us that "even though this is a difficult planting season, please take time to enjoy and observe Memorial Day."  "The challenges we face today are minimal compared to those who went before us and it is fitting we remember them on Monday."  "Please keep in mind that we still have family, friends and neighbors defending us around the world as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Although we are starting to reach some critical time lines to get our corn and soybeans planted, Joe's words really hit home for some reason which is why I asked him if I could share them.  I hope that they have struck a chord within you as well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Daddy's little girl

It is such a pleasure to watch each of our children learn to love the farm.  Tractor and combine rides are always loved by all; however, tractor rides have been at a premium so far this planting season since our number of days in the fields has been extremely limited due to the rainy weather.

Saturday night, Little Sissy got her first tractor ride of the season and it didn't take long until she wanted to be just like her dad...

Linked to the following Wordless Wednesday parties:


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Granny's Chocolate Cobbler: Recipe #5 Sunday Dinner at Grandma's

Well, I'm at the half way point.  5 more recipes and I will get to giveaway a copy of Sunday Dinner at Grandma's thanks to Gooseberry Patch and their "In the Kitchen" partnership with The Real Farmwives of America & Friends.  

Recipe #5 comes from the Scrumptious Desserts section of Sunday Dinner at Grandma's and it definitely did not disappoint.

(Now let me just say, I really thought I took more pictures while I was making this especially the one with all of the melted butter, but I guess not as they aren't on my memory card so you might have to use your imagination on a few of the steps.)

Granny's Chocolate Cobbler

3/4 c. butter, melted
3 c. sugar, divided
1 1/2 c. self-rising flour*
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. plus 2T. baking cocoa, divided
2 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. boiling water

Spread melted butter in a 13"x9" baking pan; set aside.  (I just melted the butter in my microwave in the baking pan to limit my number of dirty dishes.  Just be sure to turn off the turntable.)

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 c. sugar, flour, milk, 2 T. cocoa and vanilla.  (Now, I must admit I didn't realize it when I made this but I did slightly deter from the recipe here as I added 1/4 c. and 1T. of cocoa since the recipe called for the cocoa to be divided.  I guess I took the word divided too literally.  This could explain why my batter didn't exactly pour into the baking pan in the next step, but I would say it had no impact on the taste.  Just ask Miss Leah, Miss Cris, and Miss Megan if you don't believe me. And talking to them while making this may or may not have had any impact on me following the recipe or taking pictures.)

Pour over melted butter in pan.  (Remember from above, my batter did not pour, but I did spread it out in the pan and then moved around the pan to get the melted butter evenly distributed over my batter.)

In a small bowl, mix together remaining sugar and cocoa.

Sprinkle evenly over batter.

Pour boiling water over batter; do not stir.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  (When you take this out of the oven, the middle will seem a little jiggly for lack of a better word, but the top is set.)

Serve warm and add vanilla ice cream, whip cream or Cool Whip if desired.


*Thanks to a great tip in this cookbook on page 16, I was able to make my own self-rising flour.  Per Gooseberry Patch, to equal one cup self-rising flour, substitute one cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 t. baking powder and 1/2 t. salt.  This is a great tip as I always have all-purpose flours, baking powder, and salt on hand... self-rising flour is another story.

 Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. If you would like to see other great recipes, check out .



Monday, May 23, 2011

It's hard to pass up a good deal

Well I must admit, I find it hard to pass up a good deal... especially when I'm shopping for clothes for the kids.  I happened to have a few minutes to myself today so I decided to stop by Gymboree as I had a coupon for 20% off my entire purchase that expires next week and I just hate to miss savings like that.

Now I glance at the full price stuff, but I usually head straight to the sale racks at Gymboree as that is where you can find some amazing deals.  Usually I find the really great deals on out of season items, but today I was able to get some great deals on some summer items for all 3 kids.

The biggest find of the day was by far these cute jeans for Big Sissy.  Originally, $34.75, I got them for $7.99 plus tax.

Big Sissy also got this cute long sleeve top for $3.19.  It had an original price of $19.95.

Now, I'm not a huge peace sign fan, but I couldn't pass up these $14.95 flip flops for $3.59 for Bubby.

Little Sissy got these cute $19.95 PJs for $5.19.

And to reward her for going on the potty a few times the last few days, I couldn't pass these up for $2.39.  They were originally $4.95.

I don't know about you, but these deals were too good for me to pass up.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Farmer Fridays - Guest Post from California's The Wife of a Dairyman

It is hard to believe another week has already come as the tractors have not moved at all on our family farm in almost a week.  For last week's Farmer Fridays, planting season 2011 was in full force after being delayed by rain for several weeks.  Well, planting season came to a halt after we received 2 inches of rain in a 24 hour period last weekend.  So needless to say, the stress level here is slightly high which is why I am so excited to have an amazing guest blogger today.

Nancy, The Wife of a Dairyman, is an amazing blogger and fellow farmwife that I have followed since I joined twitter almost 2 years ago.  Unfortunately, we have yet to meet face to face, but I have confidence that will change soon.

So with no further ado, here's Nancy, the newest member of The Real Farmwives of America & Friends.

Hello 3 kids and lots of pigs readers! Heather asked me to do a guest post for her Farmer Friday feature and I’m so happy and honored to do so!

My name is Nancy Grossi and I blog from out in California at The Wife of a Dairyman. We have a multi-generational family dairy. After my husband, Dominic graduated from college, he came back to the farm to run the dairy with his Dad. We have two kids, Bryce, who is 6 and Paige, who is 4.
One would think living in California; we would have many warm and sunny days. But this week winter has once again returned to our area with rain and even thunder storms.
On rainy days, sometimes it’s a challenge to please both a 4 and 6 year with fun indoor activities. We do a lot of cooking and baking. This week we decided to make Butter in a Jar, which is such a fun thing to do with kids {actually it’s fun for the adults also}. We talked about how the types of food we feed our dairy cows help them to produce milk. We even got a list going on our white boards of all the food items they could think of that milk is an ingredient of. {Ice cream topped the list}
Bryce was camera shy, plus he had just done this very project at a recent 4H meeting, so Paige is going to demonstrate how to make Butter in a jar~
Full directions below, but here's a quick summery:
Supplies:  heavy cream, jar with lid, butter knife and small kitchen towel.
Fill the jar half full with heavy cream and secure lid, tightly.
Shake, shake and shake for a 10 minutes.
Drain the butter....

Squeeze any liquid from butter using a cheese cloth or small kitchen towel........
Use the butter knife to scrape butter into butter dish.....
 Salt it if you wish.......

Things you will need:
• Baby food jar
• Small kitchen towel or a piece of cheesecloth
• Butter knife
• Heavy cream
• Make sure your baby food jar is sanitized and all residue of soap is gone from the jar so that your butter won’t have a funny taste.
• Fill the jar about halfway to the top with heavy cream and put the lid on securely.
• Shake the jar with the cream in it for about 10-20 minutes. Make sure to shake it up and down, but never tip it upside down as it could leak.
• Once most of the liquid is gone and a large lump of butter has formed, take the lid off the jar.
• Scoop the butter out of the jar with the butter knife, and place it inside a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth.
• Close the kitchen towel or cheesecloth over the butter, and wring it out over a sink several times. This extracts all of the left over liquid and leaves you only with the solid butter.
• Use the butter knife or your hands to shape the butter into a circle or square, rectangle or any shape you wish and place it in the fridge for about 1 hour to harden.
• Use your butter as you normally would and enjoy!
Directions from eHow
Thank you for taking the time to read my post!
Nancy ~ The Wife of a Dairyman

Thanks Nancy and welcome to The Real Farmwives of America and Friends!!!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ham - 2 Ways: Recipes #3 and #4 Sunday Dinner at Grandma's

As a ham farmer AKA pig farmer, we love to eat pork so I was very excited when Ott, A announced ham would be the secret ingredient for her May Iron Chef Challenge.

From the beginning, I had a little bit of an internal conflict in trying to decide if I should make a half ham or some sort of diced ham casserole.  To make the decision even harder for me, my cookbook of choice, Gooseberry Patch's Sunday Dinner at Grandma's had a recipe for both which intrigued me.

Cheesy Ham Potatoes caught my attention as my sister-in-law made us a yummy ham and cheesy potato concoction when Little Sissy was born.  Farmstyle Ham & Gravy definitely caught my eye as it called for brown sugar and ginger ale.  My normal go-to ham recipe uses brown sugar and Coca-Cola.

So since I had both smoked ham cubes and a smoked half ham in my freezer, I decided to make both.

Cheesy Ham Potatoes

30 oz. pkg. frozen diced potatoes
10 3/4 oz. can cream of potato soup
10 3/4 oz. can cream of celery soup
 8 oz. container sour cream
1 c. milk
1 lb. cooked ham, diced
2 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, reserving one cup cheese for topping.

Since potatoes are still frozen, be sure to break up any large clumps.

Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for one hour.  Then, sprinkle reserved cheese on top.  Cook, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes.

Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

This was quite popular at this pig pen with no leftovers to speak of.

Farmstyle Ham & Gravy

8-10 pound fully-cooked ham, boneless or bone-in
whole cloves to taste
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2, 12 oz. cans ginger ale

Place ham in an ungreased roasting pan.  (From my coke and brown sugar ham recipe, I have learned to use a disposable roasting pan.)  Insert cloves, a few inches apart on top and partway down sides of ham.

Pat brown sugar onto top and sides of ham.  Gently pour ginger ale over ham without rinsing off all the brown sugar.  (I purchased a 2 liter bottle of ginger ale as opposed to cans.)

Pour remaining ginger ale into roasting pan.

Cover and bake at 325 degrees for one to 1 1/2 hours, until a meat thermometer inserted in center of ham reads 140 degrees.  (This pigpen had some issues with the cooking time and our meat thermometers.  After over 1 1/2 hours of cooking and two different meat thermometer readings, we thought it was done.  Truth be told, it probably could have cooked a little bit longer to get it completely heated all the way through, but we weren't worried since we started with a smoked/fully-cooked ham.)

Remove ham to a serving platter, reserving drippings.  Let ham stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

 Let ham stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve with Pan Gravy.

This ham was so moist and delish.  I didn't even think it needed the pan gravy it was so good, but if gravy is your thing, here's the recipe:

Transfer drippings from roasting pan to a sauce pan; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Whisk together 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1 cup cold water.  Slowly add mixture to pan drippings, whisking well.  Cook and stir until gravy thickens.  Use more or less of cornstarch mixture, depending upon quantity of drippings.

So depending on how you like your ham, here are two easy and yummy recipes with high remarks from the pigpen.


Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. If you would like to see other great recipes, check out .


Hunk of Meat Mondays

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