Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

How many mother-daughter combos do you see in the same election year?

We're not on the same ballot, but as natives of Bentonville and Benton County, we desire to represent and serve our friends and neighbors.

I'm thankful for my Mother's example of   caring
for our community with a servant-leader heart.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick or Treat?

Whether you're planning to see a lot of Halloween  ghosts and witches or opt for a   a quiet evening at home with the family, I've found the perfect treat  for the peanut butter and chocolate sweet eaters in your family!
Double Peanut Butter Paisley Brownies recipe can be found  on the Hershey  Reese's Peanut Butter Chips package.  I'm convinced that when you top this  warm brownie with a dip of vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup, it's pretty much a perfect dessert choice. 

Double Peanut Butter Paisley Brownies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter,softened
1/4 cup Reese's Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups (10oz pkg) Reese's Peanut Butter Chips
1/2 cup Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9x2 inch pan.
Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add eggs,one at a time,beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; mix into peanut butter mixture,blending well. Stir in peanut butter chips. Spread half of batter in prepared pan, spoon syrup over top. Carefully top with remaining batter;swirl with metal spatula or knife for marbled effect.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan or wire rack. Cut into squares. Yield: 36 brownies

                                                                Happy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Where's the ZERO Milk?

I dreamed about a milk called ZERO. Is that not crazy? This crazy dream was so real that it took a trip back to the store where I do my weekly grocery shopping to prove to myself that it wasn't true! Thankfully, all I found was the gallon jug of skim milk with a large zero at the top of the label. My search for Zero Milk reminded me that all milk--whole,2%,1%,skim or zero--provides nine essential nutrients. Essential nutrients must come from the diet because the human body can't manufacture them.

Milk supplies these essential nutrients:
  • Calcium to help build and maintain healthy bones and teeth.
  • Potassium to regulate the body's fluid balance and maintain normal blood pressure.
  • Phosphorus to strengthen bones and generate energy in the body's cells.
  • Protein to build and repair muscle tissue and serve as a source of energy and satiety.
  • Vitamin D to promote the absorption of calcium and enhance bone strength.
  • Vitamin A to maintain normal vision and skin.
  • Vitamin B-12  to maintain red blood cells and nerve cells.
  • Riboflavin to convert food into energy the body can use.
  • Niacin to help digest carbohydrates and fatty acids.
A healthy diet includes nutrinet rich foods from each food group. The Dietary Guidelines for American recommends low-fat or fat-free milk products in these daily amounts:
  • 2 cups for children 2 to 3 years
  • 2.5 cups for children 4 to 8 years
  • 3 cups for those 9 years and older
You can find more information about dairy nutrition and great recipes for your family at DairyMakesSense or Midwest Dairy.

ZERO Milk may only be in my crazy dreams but at least
 I know without a dairymom doubt  that all milk is packed with nine essential nutrients!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dairymom's Sunday Dinner Special

Blue Plate Specials are usually the economic favorite meal choices in the local cafe but I'm developing my own list of Blue Plate Dairymom  Specials that can be easily prepared for a busy Sunday schedule. The criteria for a Dairymom Dinner Special is that it's easy to assemble, can be prepared ahead and ready to eat within 30 minutes of arriving home from church, and the farmers love it enough that they look forward to eating any leftovers! I'm adding Chicken and Dressing Casserole (Jim Graham's Farm Family Cookbook) to the Dairymom Dinner Special  list after a successful trial this week.

Chicken and  Dressing Casserole

1 package Pepperidge Farm Herb Dressing
1 stick butter,melted
4 chicken breasts,boiled,and cut into chunks
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth retained from boiling chicken

Add butter to stuffing mix. Put half of stuffing mix in 9x13-inch baking dish. Add layer of chicken. Mix retained warm chicken broth with the cans of soup. Pour over chicken. Add other half of stuffing mix. Bake in 400 degrees F. oven until stuffing browns. Serves 12.

                                                                       Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Fall is a busy time on the dairy farm as we work to harvest every bit of grass and planted crops that are used to feed our dairy cows.

Although we would be so grateful for fall rain to replenish our drought striken area, I'm thankful for the beautiful weather that has allowed us to harvest the crops that are desperately needed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Healthy Halloween Snack

 'Tis the season for pumpkins and all kinds of pumpkin recipes to try! While doing a little recipe surfing, I found this Dairy Mom approved Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake that looks perfect for healthy Halloween  snacking or a special treat with family and friends.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake


1 can (14ounces) pumpkin,chilled
3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1  container (6ounces) low-fat vanilla yogurt
2 cups low-fat milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
6 teaspoons graham cracker crumbs,optional

Place all ingredients (except graham cracker crumbs) in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and top each serving with a teaspoon of graham cracker crumbs, if desired.

You can find other nutritious recipes and information about dairy at Dairy Makes Sense.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Celebrating Drought's Harvest

"Happy as a termite in a lumber mill" was the perfect description of the dairy farmers this week when  chopping sorghum and hauling it to the silo. Planted in late June with only a hope of rain during a drought, this field is proof of a dairy  farmer's faith and determination. It was exciting to see the chopper make the first round in the field and watch the truck fill up with chopped green feed that will become part of the nutritious diet for our dairy cows.

After the sorghum is cut and hauled to the pit silo, it is packed down with a tractor and then allowed to ferment. The fermentation process changes the sorghum to silage. Samples of the silage will be analyzed to provide nutrition information that will be used by our dairy nutritionist to formulate a balanced diet for our cows.


While our pastures turned brown and other crops burned up in this season of drought, this sorghum field held its own and continued to grow in spite of the dry conditions. Even the sorghum won't yield as much as in a normal year and is less mature than we would like, we feel fortunate to have a crop to harvest.

 Harvesting a crop is truly a celebration for us in this year of drought!

Benefits of Dairy Farm Living

One of the benefits of living on the dairy  farm is to enjoy the wildlife that are living on the land. We started chopping a field of sorghum this week and while I was waiting for the chopper to make it's way up the field, I spotted this interesting bird hopping from bush to bush in the fence row. What caught my eye were the stripes on his head. I don't claim to be a bird expert but from the pictures in my Field Guide to the Birds, I believe it is a White-Crowned Sparrow.
According to information provided by the Arkansas Foundation for Agriculture:
  • 75% of the nation's wildlife food and habitat is provided by farm and ranches.
  • Farmers have enrolled 31.4 million acres of their land in the Conservation Reserve Program to protect the environment and provide habitat for wildlife.
  • Through various conservation incentive progrems, farmers have pledged to install 20 million acres of conservaton buffers.
  • The net loss of wetlands has decreased from a level of 24,000 acres lost each year(1982-92) to 24,000 acres each year (from 1992-97) through designed programs, such as the Wetlands Reserve Program (an 11% reduction).
We are blessed by the world around us. The birds in the field are reminders daily of God's perfect plan and our responsibility to care for the land and our animals as we work to provide high-quality milk for you and your family.

                                                                     Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

It was obviously love at first site when I brought Chester home to the farm more than twelve years ago from a dairy  farm in Missouri.  I'm thankful for this  friend who greets me every morning, loves to ride the four wheeler, nips your heels when you least expect it,  and takes his job of being my  faithful companion seriously.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dairymom's Show and Tell

Do you remember Show and Tell at school? I'm still enjoying Show and Tell! 
As a volunteer for Benton County Farm Bureau Women's Committee, I have enjoyed alot of Show and Tell opportunities to share how farmers  work on the farm everyday  to provide safe, affordable food.  Going to the classroom is always exciting for me--how could you not love all those sweet faces and happy to see you smiles!
First grade students at Old Wire Elementary gave me their undivided attention today as I shared how we work everyday on the dairy  farm to produce the nutritious milk or dairy product that they enjoy at school or home. Today's Show and Tell included sharing a few props, describing how we produce milk and reading a book about dairy.   As I pulled out my props--a calf bottle, a grain bucket and small sack of grain--I almost felt like a magician getting ready for the next trick!

 After packing up  my props and heading for the farm, I couldn't help smiling and thinking to myself--I hope I never get too old for Show and Tell!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Drought Grazing

Even though it has rained enough in Northwest Arkansas to green up the pastures and allow us to plant fall crops, we are still dealing with the effects of drought on our pastures,ponds and cattle. On our dairy  farm, the pregnant cows that are resting in the pasture waiting to give birth (also known as dry cows) enjoy a balanced diet that includes grain,eat hay from a hay manger, and graze on the pasture grass. The drought has created extreme shortage of pasture grass for grazing and in some cases, fifty percent loss of pasture grass.

With little grass to graze on since early summer, the dry  cows were standing for hours around the hay manger eating hay. When some of the cows began to develop problems with their feet, it became obvious that standing for extended periods of time was creating sore feet and lameness. We started drought grazing in July to limit  standing around the hay manger by unrolling a large round hay bale on the ground to allow the cows to eat the hay as if they were grazing.

Animal care is one of the most important aspects of a dairy farmer's job. Resolving problems that create lameness is important to the health of each dairy cow. Lameness decreases feed intake which in turn can decrease milk production,create other metabolic disorders, and increase reproductive problems that can lead to the need of removing the dairy animal from the farm.

                     Since beginning drought grazing, I'm not sure we have fooled the cows but 
                         drought grazing is preventing lameness and keeping our cows healthy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Kiss Friday With A Cake's Friday! I'm kissing it with a cake!  If you're  looking for an easy dessert recipe for your weekend gathering or family event, this recipe works!  I found this recipe in my Jim Graham's Farm Family Cookbook for City Folks. I'm not going to say it's better than a kiss but it will bring a smile!

Better Than Kisses Cake

1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 large instant pudding mix,chocolate or vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 ounces German chocolate squares,grated
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix first 6 ingredients well. Fold in chocolate and chocolate chips. Put in greased tube pan, and bake for 45 minutes, or until top is firm.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Animal care is one of the most important aspects of a dairy farmer's job.

                            I'm thankful for the Moms that visited the farm this week to learn how
                        we work every day to produce high-quality milk by caring for our animals.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Whey to Go

Our dairy farm schedule doesn't permit a lot of sitting around like Miss Muffit 'eating her curds and whey' but thanks to dairy nutrition research, it is now possible to have Whey to Go!

Whey is one of the two complete high quality proteins in cow's milk that is seperated out from the casein protein during cheese making. It is used in a variety of products such as infant formulas,food supplements,sport bars, and beverages to meet the health goals for people of all ages. According to the National Dairy Council, whey protein:

  • Contains all of the essential amino acids ("building blocks") for your body needs.
  • Is one of the best sources of amino acids to help increase muscle protein.
  • Helps increase protein synthesis,which can help the body funciton properly.

Whey protein can be consumed in an energy or meal bar, a drinking beverage with whey protein or dropping a scoop of whey powder into your milk,yogurt,cereal, or smoothies. Whey powder can boost protein intake without adding excess calories to everyday foods and can also be:
  • Stirred into hot foods (not boiling) immediately after cooking
  • Used as an ingredient in baked goods
  • Added to ground meats before cooking
  • Included in savory or sweet dips
  • Stirred into hot cereal or creamy soups and sauces
  • Added to peanut or other nut butters
Whey to Go is definitely an important addition to our nutritional tools regardless of age or activity level. You can find recipes and  more information about whey protein at

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Celebrate World Smile Day

Did you ever wonder who created the smiley face?  Smiley face was created by Harvey Ball in 1963 and has become an international symbol of good will and good cheer. October 5th is World Smile Day--"do an act of kindness and help one person smile". 

I think a batch of easy Fudge Oatmeal Cookies  could bring a smile to my family!

Fudge Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups oats,quick-cooking or regular,uncooked

Combine sugar,milk,cocoa, and butter in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes,stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract and peanut butter and mix well. Add oats and blend thoroughly.(Don't use instant oatmeal). Drop by teaspoonsful onto waxed paper. Do not bake; these are ready to eat. Yield: 4 dozen.

                                                Milk and cookies are sure to bring a smile!
                                               How will you celebrate World Smile Day?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

October is National Cooperative Month. The Capper-Volsted Act has legally  allowed farmers to collectively market their products since 1922.  A primary purpose of a dairy cooperative is to market the dairy farmer's milk. I'm thankful to be a member of Dairy Farmers of America Cooperative. You can find more information about our cooperative at

Farmer's #ThinkFood on the Farm

It's pure coincidence that I'm hosting farm tours for University of Arkansas nutrition students in the same week as the Midwest's Future of Food Forum takes place on October 4th. The Future of Food Forum is hosted by the Washington Post Live in partnership with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Chicago Food and Nutrition Network. The forum will be addressing questions about how to increase access to healthy,affordable food, the impact of the drought, as well as innovations to increase agricultural productivity.

Yesterday's 'on the farm' forum presented the up close and personal view of how we work every day to care for our animals and land by using technology and science to produce high quality milk. As we stood in the feed barn watching the cows eat their balance nutritious diet, it was the perfect place to explain the connection of how science and technology enables us to produce almost three times more milk with about half the number of cows compared to 1960. Feed efficiency improves the amount each cow produces, thereby reducing the amount of feed, water and space needed, resulting in less manure. Efficiency is one of the core elements of sustainability made possible by science and technology.

Midwest's Future of Food Forum will include two panels of key public figures,experts, and stakeholders discussing an Overview on Domestic and Global Food Security and Improving Access to Healthy,Nutritious Food in the Midwest. You can be involved in the Future of Food Forum on Thursday, from 8:30-10a.m. via live webcast at If you are active on Twitter, follow the conversation by using the #ThinkFood hashtag.

You can find more information about dairy farming and our connection to Healthy People,Healthy Communities,Healthy Planet at