Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dairy Cliff Notes: Dairy Makes Sense

In the last few days the talk is all about the fiscal cliff and the dairy cliff. It's hard to believe that it's possible for government regulations that effect dairy policy might  revert to 1940 laws that make no sense in today's dairy industry world. If our dairy  cows new about this--they might go on strike or demand more benefits!

Take heart--even though dairy farmers have no control over the dairy cliff--happening or not happening--you can be sure that Dairy Makes Nutritional Sense. Here are a few notes why Dairy Makes Sense:
  • Together, milk,cheese and yogurt play a critical role in the diets of adults and children by providing nine essential nutrients, including calcium,magnesium,potassium and phosphorus, in addition to 48 percent of the daily value of protein.
  • Dairy foods provide 70 percent of the calcium in the nation's food supply; milk is the top source of potassium,phosphorus,and vitamin D in the U.S. diet.
  • Dairy nutrients are vital to the development of strong bones, thus reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Research suggest dairy foods help prevent weight gain and are beneficial for weight maintainence.
  • Minerals found in dairy foods play an important role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
  • Consumption of dairy foods is associated with a reduced risk of cardiometabolic syndrome, a cluster of metabolic abnormalities that increases the risk of cardiovasuclar disease and type 2 diabetes.
You can find more information about dairy nutrition,dairy farming and nutritious recipes at DairyMakesSense.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Flat Aggie Shares Dairy Facts

Flat Aggie, my friend from California, just loves getting his  picture made on the dairy farm and learning how we work every day to produce high-quality milk. After spending the week on our Arkansas  dairy farm, these are a few facts Flat Aggie wanted to share:
 We start the day feeding calves. These babies are fed milk and grain twice every day.
Calves grow up to become the cows that produce milk, so we  make it a priority to get them off to a healthy start.

We milk 260 Holstein cows twice every day. Milk is never touched by human hands.
Milking equipment delivers milk directly from the cows to the refrigerated tank to preserve freshness and safety.
Milk is kept cold until it is transported to the processing plant.
The  cows are fed a nutritious, balanced diet  everyday. The feed ingredients include:hay,corn silage,ground corn, and vitamins and minerals. All of the ingredients are mixed together in the big wagon and delivered to the feed barn for the cows to enjoy.
The cows enjoy eating as soon as they leave the milking barn. When finished eating, they return to the pasture to rest.

It's alot of fun to play in the snow!! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

From toys to tools, it's still fun to watch these two sons unwrap gifts at Christmas. While Ryan is recovering from shoulder surgery, these two boys are working together to manage all the activities on the farm that are needed to care for our dairy and beef cattle.   I'm thankful for two sons that choose to live and work on the family dairy farm and the blessings of family life.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flat Aggie's Arkansas Snow Drill

Flat Aggie and I had a snow drill on Christmas Eve to prepare for the predicted three to six inches of snow the weather man was sure would happen in Northwest Arkansas on Christmas Day. We practiced our snow and extreme cold weather  readiness all during the day on Christmas Eve. While  Santa was checking his list of gifts, we were checking our lists for  the items we might need to make sure we could care for our cows and calves in extreme winter weather   like heat bulbs for the water  well pumps, diesel for the generators  in case of power outage and extra feed for the cows and calves.
We were ready on Christmas morning! It was sooo cold and windy and looked like it could snow any minute. Flat Aggie dressed in her warm Arkansas Razorback coat and hat. We watched for the snow while we fed older   calves in the pasture  and baby calves in the hutches and as  the dairy cows were fed and milked. 
We watched all day and night but not one flake of snow on the dairy farm!
Even though we didn't have any snow,  Flat Aggie learned that we  use all our snow drill skills every day--snow or no snow-- to care for our dairy  calves and cows around the clock whatever the conditions.   

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The Birthday Of A King
In the little village of Bethlehem,
There lay a Child one day
And the sky was bright with a holy light
O'er the place where Jesus lay!
Alleluia, O how the angels sang!
Alleluia,how it rang!
And the sky was bright
With a holy light;
'Twas the birthday of a King!
'Twas a humble birthplace,
but O how much God gave to us that day!
From the manger bed what a path has led,
What a perfect holy way!
Alleluia, O how the angels sang,
Alleluia, how it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy light;
'Twas the birthday of a King!
           ---William Howard Neidlinger

                 We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas from down on the dairy farm!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Celebrating Birthdays and Friendships

What do you give a friend for her December   birthday  who has everything and  tells you not to buy any birthday gift ?   Birthday cake seemed the perfect choice--not a purchased gift,nothing to dust but straight from the heart to celebrate a friend's special day!    Rave Reviews Coconut Cake is a great cake for any occasion and from past experience,  it's always a tasty treat for any celebration.

Rave Reviews Coconut Cake

1 package yellow cake mix (2 layer size)
1 package (4 serving) Jello Brand Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 1/3 cup water
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
2 cups sweetened  coconut flakes
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Blend cake mix,pudding mix,water,eggs and oil in large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed for four minutes. Stir in coconut and nuts. Pour into three greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans for 15 minutes,remove and cool on wire rack. Fill and top with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups sweetened  coconut flakes
1 package 8 oz. cream cheese
2 teaspoons milk
3 1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet, add coconut,stirring constantly over low heat until golden brown. Spread coconut on paper towel to cool. Cream 2 tablespoons butter with cream cheese; add milk and beat in sugar gradually. Blend in vanilla. Sitr in 1 3/4 cups of the coconut. Spread frosting  on top of each layer,stack and ice top and sides. Sprinkle remaining coconut on top.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Arkansas Welcomes Flat Aggie

Flat Aggie from Miss Allard's first grade class in Nicolaus, California, rode into Bentonville, Arkansas, this week  on a cold north wind after an exciting visit on a Minnesota dairy farm with dairymom Janet Bremer and her family.  I loved reading about Flat Aggie's experiences  at My Barnyard View!

Since arriving on our dairy and beef farm in Northwest Arkansas, Flat Aggie has been helping me take care of Farmer Ryan as he recuperates from major reconstructive shoulder surgery this week. It's taking both of us to do this nursing job!!

One of our  main jobs is to make sure  our patient is getting plenty of good nutrition. During the healing process from any surgery, extra protein,vitamins A and C and increased calories are needed.  Dairy foods  provide the perfect power punch needed to aid healing since dairy  contains  nine essential nutrients, including calcium,magnesium,potassium and phosphorus, in addition to 48 percent of the daily value of protein.

I'm looking forward to showing Flat Aggie around the farm and really appreciate the extra help during the holiday season!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday


We care for our dairy cows by providing a nutritious diet every day. This year's drought has created many challenges in the quantity and quality of feed that is available. I'm thankful for our dairy nutritionist who assists in making   sure that our cow's are enjoying a nutritious,balanced diet to produce high-quality milk.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ninety Years Young

As we drove into the yard by the Logan Community Building in rural Benton County this afternoon, it was obvious by the number of vehicles and the people standing in line to enter the building that it was one whale of a party for our special friend, Ava. Celebrating your 90th birthday is a very Big Deal!!

Ava is a cherished icon to many of us in the county--a retired dairy farmer,wife,mother,dedicated 4-H leader and supporter of all 4-H activities and Benton County Fair superintendent for decades. Ryan and I also have another special connection with Ava as she was a childhood friend of my grandmother and Ryan's mother. We've heard lots of stories about fun in the good old days! Ava is a perfect example of how farm families live and work in their communities for decades volunteering to make sure that the community grows and thrives.

Ava's enthusiasm for life is contagious and her family made sure that her 90th birthday would not only be a celebration but completion of an item on her bucket list--a ride on a motorcycle!

90 years young!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Busy Day Cake

Even though I enjoyed being with Ryan away from home for the last three days, I was excited to see the Christmas tree lights shining brightly as we drove down the lane to our house. I saw some beautiful Christmas decorations while in Nashville but there's just no place like home!

Any day is busy on the farm but tomorrow is going to be extra busy with catchup work, a special choir practice for our church Christmas program and our extended family is getting together late in the afternoon for our traditional extended family Christmas.

Thank goodness for small favors--chocolate cake is one of the items I am to provide for the family dinner! Chocolate Sheath Cake is a family favorite, easy to make and festive when served on a pretty pedestal or holiday cake plate.

Chocolate Sheath Cake

1 stick butter
1/2 cup Crisco
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspooon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon 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 18 x 12 in. metal loaf pan for 20 minutes. Cover with the following.

1 stick butter
4 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons milk
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar,sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans (optional)

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

After I drag all of the boxes out of storage,
one of my favorite Christmas traditions  is to decorate our tree with ornaments that have been given to me through the years by loved family and friends. It seems fitting that one of my favorite ornaments is the Swiss Cheese Lane lighted ornament that was a gift from Ryan's mother in 1985.  I'm thankful for every sweet  memory that is associated with the people and traditions of the Christmas holiday season.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Power Up With Cheese

Even though there are more than 300 different cheeses in the United States and 2000 in the world, you can always find Cheddar,Colby or Monterey Jack in our refrigerator. We've never had any cheese that we didn't like but these are our  favorites for snacking, to use as a salad topping or shredded and combined with other recipes.

Cheese packs a powerful protein punch that can curb hunger,supplies calcium,vitamin A and B12,riboflavin,phosphorus,potassium, magnesium and maintains muscles and builds strong bones and teeth. If you're counting calories or portions, one serving of cheese is 1.5 ounces of natural or 2 ounces of processed cheese. A serving is also the equivalent of 4 cubes the size of playing dice.

  If you are needing a quick,calorie light lunch or dinner to fit a busy holiday schedule, you may want to try Colby Cobb Salad. It's perfect for the Colby Cheese lover!

Colby Cobb Salad

For the dressing:
2 cups fat-free yogurt,divided
4 large basil leaves
1/4 cup parsley,stems removed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon additional pepper (optional)

For the salad:
8 cups chopped romaine lettuce (1 small head)
1/2 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup diced cucumber
2 slices cooked turkey breast,cut into strips
2 tablespoons bacon bits
1 egg, hard boiled and chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded Colby or Colby Jack cheese

Place 1 cup of yogurt,basil,parsley,chives,lemon juice,honey and pepper in a blender or food processor. Cover and pulse until smooth (dressing will be green in color). Pour yogurt mixture into a medium bowl; stir in remaining yogurt and mayonnaise until just blended; refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the salad: Place lettuce at the bottom of a bowl and sprinkle the tomatoes,onion,cucumber,turkey,bacon bits, egg and Colby cheese on top. Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss lightly. (Dressing may be prepared up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated)

                    You can find Colby Cobb Salad and other delicious recipes at DairyMakesSense!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crazy Day Recipe

 I'm not sure what possessed me to try a new recipe when my friends from church were coming to my house for our December Christmas potluck, but I'll just say I was crazy. I  found Creamy Italian Chicken   in Ecclesiastical Cuisine, a cookbook I purchased last year from the Central Presbyterian church Women's Association in Fort Smith,Arkansas.Whether you're having a crazy busy day during this holiday season or just feeling crazy--here's a recipe you may want to try!

Creamy Italian Chicken

4 bonesless,skinless chicken breast halves
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1/4 cup water
8 oz.cream cheese,softened
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 oz. can mushroom pieces,drained
Dash garlic powder

Put chicken in slow cooker. Combine dressing mix and water; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. Mix cream cheese,soup,and mushrooms. Add garlic powder and pour over chicken. Cover and cook 1 hour longer.

Creamy Italian Chicken turned out to be very tasty and a great success measured by clean plates and everyone requested   a copy of the recipe!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Playing Christmas music while 4-H members make ornaments  for residents at a local assisted living facility has become one of my favorite traditions of the holiday season.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to share the joy of music and community service with 4-H members and to hear their sweet voices singing Jingle Bells!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mud Puddle Blessings

Before this year's drought, I don't think I really gave a lot of thought to mud puddles except when trying to keep my two little boys from jumping in the middle of them. Living through a drought, no doubt, brings a new perspective--mud puddles are now on my list of blessings! It was a welcome sight this morning to see mud puddles from the inch of rain that fell during the night.

Even though we have had a little rain since the beginning of fall, we are still fourteen inches below normal and will be dealing with the effects of drought through the winter as we strive to feed our cattle a nutritious diet of hay and grain. With a shortage of hay and the high cost of grain created by the drought, it is necessary to remove cows from the dairy herd that are not being productive. Today we sent eight of our milking cows to the local cattle sale. Although this is a common practice that allows a dairy farm to bring new, more productive cows into the herd, it has been difficult but necessary for us to use stricter criteria to cull our dairy cows during this drought.

Although the effects of this drought will be a challenge for our family farm for a very long time, I'm thankful for each day and every mud puddle!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Winners Drink Milk

Let's raise a glass of chocolate milk and send a toast to --Phillip Ward-- winner  of the Spotted Cow's Country Outfitter  $150 giveaway!!

I appreciate the generosity of Country Outfitter for giving me a beautiful pair of Ariat boots to review and wear  and for providing the giveaway  opportunity for readers of Spotted Cow.
Thanks to all my blog reading friends and supporters for taking the time to enter the giveaway!
Even though you didn't win the giveaway, you can still  shop at  Country Outfitter for that special person on your Christmas list!

Winners Drink Milk!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December's Gift for the Dairy Farm

I can't think of a better way to start December than finding a newborn calf on the dairy farm! It's December's gift to our  dairy farm along with extremely warm,mild weather.
Just as soon as we finished feeding our other calves this morning, we brought this new calf to the calf raising area and placed him in his own private calf hutch and fed him  a bottle of colostrum. He's had a great birthday so far!

 Even though we will have many celebrations  through  the month of December, why not celebrate today with a birthday cake? When I came across this Birthday Pound Cake recipe in one of my many cookbooks, I just had to give it a try!

I've already got a couple of pound cake recipes in my collection, but I'm adding this one, too! I loved the lemony smell while it was baking and the lightness of the pound cake (It's amazing that a pound cake can be light!).   Topped with a couple of dips of vanilla  ice cream drizzled with  strawberries, this cake  would be a perfect choice for any celebration!

Birthday Pound Cake

1 cup Crisco shortening
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix shortening,butter,sugar. Add eggs,one at a time. Add vanilla and lemon flavorings. Add small amounts of flour, then small amounts of milk until all is used. Spray tube pan with cooking spray, and pour batter into pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Cool for 10 minutes and turn cake out on a plate.

                                                                     Happy December!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Even though we still desperately need rain, we have had beautiful fall weather that has allowed us to plant fields of wheat and other types of spring forage that will be enjoyed by our dairy cows when harvested in the spring. I'm thankful for the green fields that growing and the limited amount of rainfall that we have received.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Santa's Cookie List

When flipping through my recipe file with thoughts of baking cookies for the holiday, I found a
recipe that my nursing school roommate gave me years ago. Just looking at the recipe card brought a flood of memories of special occasions and fun events that we enjoyed together while in school.  You can never have too many cookie recipes and this is a perfect one for Christmas,Valentine Day,showers or just because! I wonder if this cookie could be on Santa's list?

Raspberry Hearts 

1 pound butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
6 cups flour
Raspberry or strawberry jam

Beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Add flour to sugar and butter mixture. (dough is dry)
Roll out thin (1/2 inch). Cut out with small  heart shaped cookie cutter. Spatula onto an ungreased pan.
Bake at 400 degrees only 5-7 minutes. Cool.
Spread raspberry or strawberry jam on top of cookie and place second cookie on top.

Optional: Glaze cookies before baking with 2 egg yolks and 2  tablespoons water.

I'm thinking Santa would probably enjoy these with a glass of milk!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Healthy Holiday Breakfast

It's not every one that can get excited about Homemade Low-Fat Granola! Last week while grocery shopping, I gave up on finding a plain granola that I could put with my low-fat vanilla yogurt. Lo and behold, this recipe is on the Dairy Makes Sense website.  What's even better, why not make this  for a    special person on your Christmas list that enjoys a low-fat nutritious and tasty breakfast! 

Homemade Low-Fat Granola

Ingredients for the granola:
4 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal,uncooked
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together oatmeal,almonds,cinnamon,and salt,if desired, in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl,whisk maple syrup,apple juice and vegetable oil; pour over oatmeal mixture and stir to coat thoroughly. Spread mixture in an even layer onto a 15x12-inch baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes,stirring twice during baking time.

Cool mixture in the pan before adding raisins. Store granola in an airtight container. To serve: Pour 1 cup milk over a heaping 1/2 cup of granola. Top with fresh berries, if desired.

Substitution Idea: Instead of milk,top one cup of fat-free yogurt with the granola.

Can't you just see this granola recipe in a cute little mason jar decorated with a holiday ribbon?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Celebrating Farm Love

Twenty eight years ago today, I married not only the farmer,I married the farm. It was obvious from the start that the farmer's first love would always be the cows and the land and I accepted that condition. Not only have I accepted it , I truly understand farm love after twenty-eight years!

We're totally committed to farm love
 and  providing you with safe,high-quality milk and dairy products!
Don't forget to enter the Spotted Cow giveaway by Clicking here and submitting your email address to Country Outfitter. Leave a comment here on the blog letting me know you submitted your email.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday Turkey and Cheese Special

There's nothing wrong with a delicious turkey sandwich made from our Thanksgiving leftovers , but I know from past experience that my family will desire other options very soon!  Fortunately, I found  Turkey Tetrazzini with Cheddar and Parmesan on the Dairy Makes Sense website and it's the perfect option for the leftover turkey  and  my  Black Friday plans.

Turkey Tetrazzini with Cheddar and Parmesan

Non-stick cooking spray
1 package (12 ounces) whole wheat penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups low-fat milk
1 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine (or additional chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups sliced white button muschrooms
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups diced cooked turkey breast (works well with leftover turkey or chicken)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a shallow two to three-quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in flour. Stirring constantly, cook about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, chicken broth,wine and pepper; bring mixture to a boil. Stir in mushrooms,reduce heat and cook about 10 minutes,stirring frequently, or until mixture thickens and mushrooms are softened.

Stir Parmesan cheese,pasta,turkey and peas into milk mixture; spoon into prepared baking dish. Top with Cheddar cheese and cover loosely with foil. Bake about 45 minutes or until bubbling at edges and heated through.
Spotted Cow's got its own Black Friday Special,too!
Click here and submit your email address to Country Outfitter for a chance to win a $150 gift certificate to go shopping on them!
Leave a comment here on the blog letting me know you submitted your email to Country Outfitter.
                                          A random winner will be selected on November 28th.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

After our cows are milked and fed ,
we're heading to town for  Thanksgiving dinner at my Mother's house. Even though I miss those that are no longer with us around the table, I'm thankful for the wonderful memories and stories that we will laugh and talk about as we make more  family memories for the younger generation.                                                                  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Got Milk and Chicks

Deviled eggs are a family favorite any time of the year but it's just not Thanksgiving unless you find them among the many dishes on the holiday table.  I must admit, this year I have a new appreciation for all the chicken farmers--both egg farmers and chicken farmers!

 Back in October when I went to a local elementary school to talk to a first grade class   about dairy farming, I also delivered the Farm Bureau poultry  incubater and a dozen eggs from a local hatchery. And like Paul Harvey, here's the rest of the story: 
After the kids watched the chicks hatch, the  chicks needed a home--so they came to the dairy farm.
They were kept inside on my front porch in a large box under a heat lamp for a couple of weeks until they began to jump out of the box. At that point, they graduated to the chicken coop outside!
So far, all eleven chicks are still alive and I am enjoying watching how they  grow and change everyday.  Chicken chores do have their perks!
Maybe someday, I'll even  have a few home grown eggs!
In the meantime, I'll be buying eggs produced from egg farmers and thanking them for their dedication to providing eggs for Thanksgiving and everyday of the year!
Deviled Eggs
Halve hard-cooked eggs lengthwise; remove yolks and mash with these seasonings:
For 6 eggs:
1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt,
dash pepper
Refill whites and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Happy Thanksgiving!!