Saturday, April 30, 2011

Birthday Cake Traditions

As I was mixing birthday cake batter for my oldest son's birthday, I thought about the many birthday cakes my mother-in-law baked for our family and friends during her lifetime. For every birthday in our family, she baked an angel food cake and iced it with seven minute frosting. When my sons were little, she would make miniature angel food cakes, frost them and allow the boys to decorate them with sprinkles and eat them with their fingers. Icing would be from head to toe and anything they touched. As the boys grew older, the angel food cake was an expected part of every birthday. Since the passing of my mother-in-law, I now proudly continue the birthday cake tradition. Cody's requested cake today was Chocolate Sheath Cake. I hope that I don't get the request for the seven minute frosting because although it is beautiful to look at, I'm more of a powdered sugar and cream cheese icing kind of dairymom! Chocolate Sheath Cake is a family favorite and a great cake for any occasion.

Chocolate Sheath Cake


1 stick butter

1/2 cup Crisco

4 Tbsp cocoa

1 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. soda

2 eggs slightly beaten

Bring butter,Crisco,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 icing.


1 stick butter

4 Tbsp cocoa

6 Tbsp milk

1 cup pecans (optional)

1 tsp. vanilla

3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Bring butter,cocoa, and milk to boil. Add the powdered sugar,vanilla and pecans. Beat well and pour over cake while hot.

Just before serving, add a great big dip of vanilla ice cream!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Earth Day on the downtown Bentonville square was a great time to share how dairy farmers work to produce nutritious milk and protect the environment everyday on the farm. I am thankful for my dairy friends who volunteered their time to share their dairy story with students from local elementary schools.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Double Fun Milking

What can be more fun than watching 500 kids milk Sophia, the Midwest Dairy cow? My answer would be to take a dairy farmer to talk with the kids milking Sophia! I wasn't counting on having a case of allergy related laryngitis when I volunteered for this event, so asking husband/dairy farmer Ryan to assist was a true necessity. Students at the school were learning about Arkansas history and Sophia had an important role in educating students about MILK-the Arkansas state drink!
We arrived at the Apple Glen Elementary in Bentonville at 8:30 to set up and be ready for our students by 9 a.m. As the students arrived, we had sheer organized chaos. Ryan talked with the children briefly about what cows like to eat, how much they drink and then proceeded to assist those that needed help or instruction on how to milk the cow. My job was to give the I Milked a Cow sticker to each child. With each group of children, our dairy talking and milking procedure began to flow with ease.
We had some great conversations with these children and their teachers about how we produce milk on our farm. Sophia was the hit of the day! As we loaded Sophia on the truck and headed for the farm, the dairy farmer decided that a day of milking real cows was a lot less tiring. Can you still see that I'm smiling about my double fun day with the dairy farmer? You can find more information about Arkansas dairy farming and the nutritious product we produce at

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Every Day is Earth Day to Dairy Farmers

Raise your glass of milk today to dairy farm families across America who are committed everyday to bring science and technology together in an effort to feed more people using less land,water and other natural resources!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Farmers celebrate Earth Day everyday! These dairy heifers are anxious to start celebrating with a bite of hay. I'm thankful for this third generation dairy farmer who loves the land and the animals and works everyday to make this world a better place for the next generation.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dairy Cows Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

How do dairy cows celebrate Earth Day? With Sustainability!! The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy defines sustainability as...

Providing consumers with the nutritious dairy products they want in a way that makes the industry,people,and the earth economically,environmentally and socially better-now and for future generations.

On our dairy farm, the cows celebrate Earth Day everyday by consuming a nutritious,balanced diet to efficiently produce milk while using less of our natural resources and generating less animal waste. Feeding the cows a balanced and nutritious diet is the key to healthy cows and milk production. We sit down once a month with our animal nutritionist to evaluate the feed ingredients and discuss cow production and health records. Efficient feeding and management practices are economically and environmentally beneficial to our farm. Our cows are the very heart of sustainability for our family dairy farm.

Here are some amazing dairy sustainability facts (

  • Since 1944, annual production of milk per cow has quadrupled in the United States

  • Every gallon of milk requires 65 percent less water and 90 percent less land than in 1944

  • 76 percent less manure is being produced for each gallon of milk sold

  • the "carbon footprint" for a gallon of milk in 2007 was 63 percent lower than in 1944

How do you celebrate Earth Day?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Yogurt Casserole for a Crowd

After arriving at Central Presbyterian Church in Ft. Smith for the Arkansas Presbyterian Women's Spring Gathering, my friend and I were offered a delightful continental breakfast prepared by the ladies of the church. You can always be assured of good food when the women of any church are doing the cooking! The presentation of each recipe was beautiful. To my surprise and delight, one of the main dishes presented in a large decorative glass casserole dish was a yogurt parfait. The yogurt was layered with blueberries,strawberries,raspberries,and peaches and topped with granola. It was delicious and a great idea for serving a crowd with a nutritious and tasty dairy recipe. If you need a quick breakfast for yourself or a special treat for your family for Easter, you may want to try Easy to Please Yogurt Parfait!

Easy to Please Yogurt Parfait


1 cup low-fat yogurt

1/2 cup crunchy low-fat cereal or granola,divided

1/2 cup fresh fruit,sliced (i.e. strawberries,blueberries,bananas)


To assemble parfait,begin with spooning half of the yogurt in the bottom of a bowl or tall glass.

Add 2 tablespoons cereal and 1/2 cup fruit. Spoon on the rest of the yogurt. Top with remaining 2 tablespoons of cereal.

Substitution Ideas: Use any favorite flavor of yogurt as a base. You can also substitute canned fruit(drained) for fresh fruit.

You can find a variety of yogurt recipes at Have a dairy good week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Petting the baby calves is always a highlight of every farm tour! I am thankful for the opportunity to have conversation with University of Arkansas students about the commitment of dairy farm families working everyday to care for our animals and land as we produce safe,high quality milk.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Colored Cows and Flavored Milk

Do the brown cows give chocolate milk? That's the question I often receive when I speak to children about dairy farming and the kind of milk our Holstein cows produce. This original question about chocolate milk does have a serious side and provides opportunity to talk about the benefits of flavored milk.

Flavored milk, just like unflavored milk, offers the same nutrient rich package with the nine essential nutrients that includes calcium,potassium,phosphorus,protein,vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin and niacin (niacin equivalents). Besides tasting great, flavored milk increases children's enjoyment and consumption of milk and is often acceptable to children who might not drink unflavored milk. This is an important point because seventy percent of children ages 9-19 do not meet their recommended dairy intake. Even though flavored milk does contain natural and added sugar, it is less than what is found in carbonated soft drinks. On average, an eight ounce low-fat flavored milk has around 4 teaspoons of added sugar while a can of soda has about 9 teaspoons and fruit punch about 6 teaspoons.

According to the National Dairy Council (, every eight ounce serving of flavored milk gives kids:

  • 30% of the Daily Value for calcium

  • 25% of the Daily Value for vitamin D

  • 24% of the Daily Value for riboflavin

  • 10% or more of the Daily Value for Vitamin A,vitamin B12,niacin,phosphorus,potassium,protein, and other nutrients

  • 8% of the Daily Value for magnesium

Even though I have never been asked what color cow produces strawberry,banana,or orange flavored milk, I can just imagine red,yellow, and orange spotted cows. I also wonder what color cow would give cotton candy flavored milk. Just think what a pretty picture all those colored cows would make out in the pasture!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Last weekend our two sons were working together to vaccinate young heifers on our dairy farm. Ninety eight percent of all farms are family farms. I am thankful for the opportunity to live on the family farm,work with my family and watch the maturing transition of my children.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dairy Recycling

As I was enjoying the spring sunshine and pulling weeds out of the flower bed, I was thinking about how many generations that our family has been on this farm. Our two sons are the fourth generation to live and work on our farm. Family farms like ours exist today because farmers live and work on the land and understand the importance of protecting natural resources for the next generation. Recycling cow manure is a good example of how farmers protect the environment for future generations.

To protect our land and make use of the nutrient-rich animal manure that our dairy cows produce, we follow a nutrient management plan that is designed specifically for our farm by professionals at the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. Using the nutrient rich manure that our cows produce to fertilize our land makes good economic sense because it decreases the amount of commercial fertilizer that we may need to purchase. Animal manure also conditions the soil and increases the water holding capacity.

Soil samples are collected and tested yearly from every crop field and pasture where we land apply the nutrient-rich manure. These soil tests will tell us how much nutrient/animal manure can be applied for adequate fertilization and guide us to limit application if necessary. Following our farm plan and soil testing are best management practices that protect our natural resources for us, our community and the next generation. Dairy recycling fits perfectly with the sustainability commitment of dairy farm families to farm in a way that makes the dairy industry, people, and the Earth economically,environmentally and socially better--now and for future generations. You can find more information about dairy sustainability at Dairy recycling is just one of the reasons that farmers celebrate Earth Day everyday!