Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Ice Cream Month!

If you're needing an easy cake for the Fourth of July celebration or just want to bring a smile to your family--this chocolate  cake recipe will do the trick!  It's also the perfect way to start celebrating July-National Ice Cream Month when you add that big dip of vanilla ice cream!

Uncle Max's Cake

1 Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake Mix
1 3 oz. instant chocolate pudding mix
1 3 oz. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 bag milk chocolate chips
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients together, beat well. Pour into Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

                                P.S. This cake is also really good with a cold glass of milk!

June Dairy Month in Review

As I review my June Dairy Month 2013, you can see, I had a lot of fun and made some great memories.
I was privileged to judge the Arkansas Dairy Foods Contest in Little Rock and award some of the prizes to the winners!

Ryan and I  hosted a tour of our new milk pre-cooler and water system on our farm.
I attended the Arkansas Farm Bureau  Dairy Summer Commodity meeting that was held at the Benton County Fairgrounds.
I awarded our Arkansas Dairy Ambassador Jessica Crawley her 2013 plaque and shirt.
I observed the cutest kids you've ever seen in  PeeWee Showmanship at Dairy Days! 
I enjoyed serving 4-State Dairy Days participants  an evening meal with other Benton County Farm Bureau Women's Committee members.
I ended my June Dairy Month celebration with Francis, the Farm Bureau Milking Cow at Centerton Days!
                                        I hope you enjoyed June Dairy Month as much as I did!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

During the month of June, Midwest dairy farmers will donate $1 to Feeding America for each view of Feedin' a Nation video. With your help, we can donate the equivalent of 160,000 meals for families in need.
 I'm thankful for the commitment of America's dairy farmers that work seven days a week on the farm to provide nutritious milk and  to fight hunger by partnering with Feeding America, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Dairy Council.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June Dairy Month Blues

Fresh locally grown blueberries in Northwest Arkansas are the perfect addition for this last week of June Dairy Month celebration. Even though we have access to frozen berries throughout the year, there's nothing that shouts out summer more than  sweet, fresh blueberries blended with low-fat yogurt for a cool, refreshing smoothie.

Blues Buster Smoothie


1 6-ounce container low-fat blueberry flavored yogurt
1/2 cup apple juice
2/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
3-4 ice cubes


Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glass and enjoy.

You can find other very dairy recipes for celebrating beyond June Dairy Month  at:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chillin' in the Milk Barn

It seemed fitting on the first day of summer during June Dairy Month that we would host a tour for dairy farmers and community members  to showcase our new milk chillin'  plate cooler. After completing an energy audit of our dairy farm  in 2011, the plate cooler was one of the energy saving suggestions. A Conservation Innovation Grant from NRCS made it possible for us to invest in this project for our farm.   Although cooling the milk is necessary year round, a hot first day of summer  was  perfect for talking about chillin' the milk!

Milk cooling costs are usually one of the largest energy operating expenses on the dairy because it  takes a lot of electricity to cool the cow's milk from 98 degrees when it leaves the cow to 38 degrees in the bulk storage tank. The plate cooler, also known as a Milk Pre-Cooler, is a series of steel plates installed in the milk line before the bulk tank. Cold water passes through a plate cooler in one direction and absorbs heat from the warm milk pumped through the plate cooler in the opposite direction. The plate cooler can reduce the temperature of the milk entering the bulk storage tank to within 4 degrees of the incoming cold water temperature.

Besides saving electricity and money with faster cooling, Milk Pre-Coolers also create these benefits:
  • Increases the milk quality by inhibiting bacterial growth through faster cooling.
  • Extends refrigeration equipment life by reducing load and run time.
  • Daily milk production can also be increased when the warm water exiting the Pre-Cooler is used for watering the cows.

The installation of the Milk Pre-Cooler also required an addition of a variable speed milk pump and a water system to recycle the water used by the plate cooler for our dairy cows to drink in the pasture.

Our showcase tour also included a visit to the newly installed rubber tire water tanks.

Chillin' the milk and recycling water on our dairy farm are perfect examples of how we  continue our commitment to producing high-quality  milk while caring for and conserving  our natural resources!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

                                 June Dairy Month is often  full of surprises on the dairy farm!

                                   As this new mother was licking her baby from head to toe,
                               I couldn't help  thinking how  thankful I am  to witness  new life
                                     and care for these  beautiful animals everyday on the farm.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cows In The Tater Patch

When I read this Cows In The Tater Patch  recipe title, the image of cows standing in the middle of the garden was too vivid! It turned out to be a very tasty dairy recipe submitted by Violet Mefford of Jasper,Arkansas,  for  the Arkansas Dairy Foods Contest. I'm looking forward to adding this to my home recipe collection!

Cows In The Tater Patch

1 pound lean hamburger meat
4 tablespoons dried onion flakes
4 Cavender's Greek seasoning
5 large taters'(potatoes) peeled and sliced thin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Half n Half milk
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 (12 ounce) package Queso Fresco Cheese,cubed
3 teaspoons butter
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Sargento's Six Cheese Italian Cheese

In a skillet, combine meat, dried onion flakes, and Cavender's Greek seasoning.
Cook until browned.

In a mixing bowl, combine cubed Queso Fresco Cheese, butter, garlic, half n half, and salt.
Melt in microwave on medium power until melted, stirring every two minutes. Once melted, pour the cheese mixture into a large bowl containing the sliced uncooked tater. Gently stir to coat the taters with the cheese mixture.

Spray the bottom of the casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Next, put half of the taters and cheese mixture in a layer on the bottom of the pan. Next, take your hamburger meat mixture and place it on top of your tater mixture. Add the other half of the tater mixture to the top of the meat and coat with the shredded cheese.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 425 degrees or until taters are tender.

Where are those taters?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day

All the world's a stage,
and every father plays a supporting role.
I can't imagine having grown up without all the men in my life! My blessings increased when I married a third generation dairy farmer and became part of the farm family. Although Ryan's Dad is no longer with us, we have great memories, traditions  and lessons learned that come only from a farming father.
Hope you're planning to make great Father's Day memories of your own!
Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Although there are no Sunday afternoon naps down on the dairy farm during June Dairy Month,
I'm thankful for the week of good hay harvesting weather,

for a hay crop to harvest, 
and family and friends who get the work done while having fun on the farm!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Frozen Arkansas Celebrates June Dairy Month

June Dairy Month has been celebrated since 1937 to reflect on the goodness of dairy foods and the industry that makes it possible. As a dairy farmer, I can't think of a better way to celebrate June Dairy Month and  was honored to serve as a judge for the Arkansas Farm Bureau Dairy Foods Contest last week.  It was a really hard job to select the winning recipes because there were NO  bad ones to taste!

 The winning recipe for the Party Idea category was Frozen Arkansas by Abigail Sanders of Clarksville. I can't think of a better frozen dessert for a hot Arkansas  day during June Dairy Month!

Frozen Arkansas

2 cups coarsely crushed Nutter Butter Cookies
1 cup finely crushed Nutter Butter Cookies
(Approximately 24 cookies)
10 ice cream sandwiches unwrapped (real ice cream--traditional vanilla ice cream with chocolate cookie)
11 1/2 oz. package milk chocolate chips and 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons and 2 Tablespoons softened (1/2 stick total)
1 1/4 cups & 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (separated)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (separated)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
8 ounces cream cheese,softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Mini Nutter Butter cookies

Chill a metal mixing bowl and beaters for use in making the whipping cream. Spread the 1 cup finely crushed Nutter Butter crumbs evenly over a 13 x 9 inch  baking dish.

In a microwave safe dish, melt the 11 1/2 oz. of milk chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the 2 cups coarsely chopped Nutter Butter cookies. Place ice cream sandwiches in a single layer over the top of the chocolate and cookie mixture. Place the dish in the freezer.

In a mixing bowl, beat 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla until the cream starts to thicken. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat peanut butter, softened cream cheese and 2 tablespoons softened butter until smooth. Beat in confectioners' sugar. Fold in half of the whipped cream. Spread evenly in the dish and return to the freezer. Put the reserved whipping topping in the refrigerator for the topping.

To make the Ganache, bring 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream just to a boil in a microwave safe bowl, mix in the 3/4 cup of milk chocolate chips and whisk until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

Remove the dish from the freezer and cut into serving squares. After plating, drizzle with Ganache and add a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with mini Nutter Butter cookies.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June Dairy Month--It's All About the Cows!

Just when you think there's not another minute to add another job  in the day on the dairy farm  during June Dairy Month , we begin a project! Quality water is essential to a dairy farm and  the good thing about our   project is   that when completed it  will protect, conserve, and recycle the water supply on our farm.  A water line from the dairy barn will provide recycled  water from the energy saving milk plate cooler  to two rubber tire water tanks in the pasture for a group of our milking cows.

Most of this project work began late in the afternoon after other chores and field work  were completed. It required a lot of coordinated  planning to be sure materials, machinery, and manpower were available.
 After installing the water lines, the work began to build the pad for the large rubber tire tanks.


After the forms were built for the cement pad and the pipe placed for the water, the tire was set.

The devil is always  in the details!

Fortunately we had a beautiful sunny
Saturday for pouring the  cement  pad under the tires.
Hopefully by the end of the week, we'll finish this project and the cows will be enjoying water from the new tanks.
Providing our cows with clean water contributes to high-quality milk.
June Dairy Month--it's all about the cows!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dairy Foods Competition Celebrates June Dairy Month

I can't think of a better way to celebrate June Dairy Month than to sample recipes that utilize dairy products   created by 4-H youth! Yesterday  it was my privilege ( and a very tasty celebration)   to be a judge for the Arkansas Farm Bureau Dairy Foods contest in Little Rock. Judging this competition is tough because these recipes    were actually selected from the winning recipes of county dairy foods contests across the state.  It was a difficult  job because each recipe was soooo good!

Only eight recipes are selected for this contest: 4 in the Main Dish category and 4 in  Party Idea.
Each participant prepares their recipe while the judges observe the preparation. Participants this year ranged in age from 10 to 18 and I must say, watching the 10 year old boy prepare his recipe  was a treat in itself!

Sarah Bunch from Batesville won 1st Place in the Main Dish Category with Swiss Cheese Pie. I'm looking forward to giving this a try   for a weekend supper or even breakfast!

Swiss Cheese Pie

1 cup fine butter cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
6 slices bacon,minced
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz. softened cream cheese
8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For the crust, combine butter cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 10 inch pie pan.

Fry bacon and chopped onion together until bacon is browned and onion is softened. Drain. In mixing bowl, combine bacon and onion, eggs ,sour cream, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour into prepared cracker crust. Top with 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Makes 4-6 serving

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

It seems fitting that a dairy farmer celebrates his birthday just as we kick off June Dairy Month!
I'm thankful for all the fun we have together as a family and the blessings I have received from sharing life with a dedicated dairy farmer.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Dairy Month Celebrates Sustainability

June Dairy Month is a perfect time to celebrate how we work to provide safe high-quality milk while caring for our cows and the land.
Last year our family dairy farm completed an energy audit to look at potential ways we could save energy to improve the sustainability of our farm and in the long run, work to reduce our carbon footprint.

It's easy to understand that one of the recommendations from the audit was to install a piece of equipment in the milk barn called a 'plate cooler' because it takes a lot of electricity to milk the cows, cool the milk and keep the milk cool in the refrigerated tank until it is transported to the processing plant. The plate cooler saves energy by cooling the milk before it reaches the
refrigerated tank.

Our new plate cooler was installed in January but we just flipped the switch and turned it on last week because it involved the addition of a variable speed milk pump and an additional water system to recycle the water used by the plate cooler to cool the milk.

 Although we're still installing the permanent rubber tire water tanks in the pasture, the recycled water from the plate cooler is flowing into the water tanks in the pasture.

I realize that you might not share my enthusiasm about a piece of equipment but for me and my third generation dairy farm family, it's exciting to see the new milk pump and plate cooler running efficiently to reduce energy and recycle water to improve the sustainability of our family farm and the efficient use of our natural resources.