While we were feeding calves this morning, the snow was flying fast and furious. Although we're doing the same chores whether it's snowing or not--milking,feeding cows and caring for calves--, filling up on some good old hot bubbly baked macaroni and cheese seemed to be the perfect snow day comfort food.
Three Cheese Macaroni
12 ounces dried elbow macaroni (2 2/3 cups)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter,melted
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (black pepper works,too)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces American cheese,cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese,shredded (2 cups)
2 ounces mozzarella cheese,shredded (1/2 cup)
20 rich round crackers,crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot cook macaroni according to package directions;drain. Return to pot.
Add milk,melted butter,pepper, and salt.Stir in cheeses. Transfer to a greased 2 quart casserole.
Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Carefully stir mixture. Sprinkle with crushed crackers. Bake 5 minutes more or until crackers are browned and mixture is just heated through. (don't overheat or mixture will curdle). Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Even though winter isn't over yet in Arkansas, it's easy to feel a touch of spring fever when I look across the lush green rye grass that our cows will be enjoying in a few weeks as part of their nutritious balanced diet. This crop is extremely important to our dairy farm's sustainability as we work to recover from last year's devastating drought.
Dairy recycling is managed year round on our farm by a plan designed specifically for the amount of cow manure produced on our farm. By utilizing the cow manure produced on our dairy farm to fertilize crop lands, the water holding capacity of the soil is increased, the groundwater is protected by the crop absorbing the manure nutrients and the amount of commercial fertilizer that would be needed is decreased.
Our commitment to producing high-quality milk means taking good care of our cows and the land!
Food Check-Out Week (February 17-23) celebrates the fact that America's farmers are producing safe,affordable and abundant food for the world's population. Across Arkansas, Farm Bureau women are taking this opportunity to educate others about the importance of food and the local farmers who grow it. Benton County Farm Bureau's Women's Committee is donating money to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and with the help of Benton County 4-H members donated canned food to a local food pantry. I'm thankful to be a dairy farmer that produces food for others and to belong to an organization like Farm Bureau that strives to help others in our community.
As a dairy farmer,mother and a nurse, I'm passionate about the importance pasteurization plays in providing safe milk and dairy products. Since the introduction of pasteurization more than a century ago, it has been recognized around the world as an essential tool for ensuring that milk and dairy foods are safe.
Although many states are now allowing the sale of raw milk, also known as unpasteurized milk, it is a violation of federal law to sell raw milk for consumer use across state lines. Arkansas does not allow the sale of raw milk but it's quite possible that during this current legislative session, that a bill will be introduced to allow the sale of raw milk in Arkansas.
Pasteurization has helped provide safe,nutrient rich milk and cheese for over one hundred years and because of pasteurization, less than 1.5 percent of annual foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States involve dairy foods.
Here are some proven facts about milk and pasteurization:
Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria.
Pasteurization DOES save lives.
Raw milk DOES NOT kill dangerous pathogens by itself.
Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions.Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins.
Pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk's nutritional value.
It looked like everything was painted white with a thin coat of snow this morning. In just a few hours, as the sun shines and the temperature warms up, we won't know it snowed so I decided to celebrate the snow event with a few of my friends!
Roxanne, Cody's Ayrshire cow, calved this week. We expected a black and white calf since the father is a Holstein but it was a surprise when she delivered a second calf later in the morning. I'm thankful for the unexpected surprises that always seem to happen down on the dairy farm!
Valentine's Day is the perfect time to butter up your favorite sweeties! I found this recipe in the Land of Lakes online recipe file a couple of weeks ago and decided it would be a perfect butter up treat for my family. After watching my family enjoy this cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and strawberries, I'm adding the recipe to the family favorite file with a special note to myself when I need a recipe for buttering them up!
Butter Cake With Browned Butter Frosting
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup Butter,softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all cake ingredients in large bowl. Beat at low speed, just until just moistened. Increase speed to high. Beat,scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
Pour batter into greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
Melt 6 tablespoons butter in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking,stirring constantly and watching closely, until butter just starts to turn golden(4 to 6 minutes). (Butter will get foamy and bubble.) Remove from heat. Cool completely.
Combine browned butter,powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla in small bowl. Beat at medium speed, gradually adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Frost cooled cake.
Due to the drought it has been very challenging this year to provide good quality hay for our dairy cows. I'm thankful that we have been able to buy hay from farmers in other states that had an abundant supply.
For the next few weeks, we will be observing and assisting heifers that will deliver their first calf. It's an exciting time as we watch these young heifers that we have raised from birth, give birth to their first calf and join the milking herd. No matter how many times we witness the birth of a new calf, it's always a miracle and a reminder that each animal truly represents a dairy farmer's labor of love.
On our farm, it's not unusual to have almost three years invested into caring for each heifer before she gives birth. Each phase of growth and development of the heifer requires a nutritious diet,good medical care and healthy living conditions. The investment in each animal pays off because the dairy farmer's labor of love leads to high-quality wholesome milk.
It's a fact:
A dairy farmer's labor of love provides healthy animals
that are the foundation of a safe and abundant food supply.
I'm admitting right up front that the thrill of the Super Bowl celebration for me is not the game itself, but the time spent with my family and friends ,watching the TV commercials during the game and making sure that all the favorite snacks are available for getting the chosen team to victory. It's going to be fun this year to see for the first time ever at the Super Bowl-- a milk commercial!!
Even though we will have plenty of snacks, a sweet piece of Chocolate Sheath Cake served with a cold glass of milk or a dip of vanilla ice cream will be on our list as a Super Bowl winner!
Chocolate Sheath Cake 1 stick butter
1/2 cup shortening
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Bring butter,shortening,cocoa and water to a rapid boil. Pour over the sugar and flour and beat well. Add buttermilk and soda,vanilla and eggs. Beat, then bake at 400 degrees F. in metal loaf pan for 20 minutes. Cover with the following: