Friday, February 28, 2014

Thank a Peanut Farmer Day

As a peanut butter fan, I can't think of a better way to kick off the month of March than by celebrating Peanut Butter Lovers' Day! It's also  a perfect day to  thank   all the peanut farmers in the United States for raising a crop that produces a food  I enjoy so much in a variety of ways.

Did you know  we've even got peanut farmers in Arkansas?   It's a fairly new crop to our state, but in 2012, eighteen thousand  acres were planted in the eastern and southern counties of Arkansas.  Those counties have the perfect dry, sandy soil and climate that peanut plants love.

Double Peanut Butter Cookies is one my favorite peanut butter cookie recipes from the October 1980 issue of Southern Living magazine. It's a  perfect cookie  for any peanut butter lover on any day and goes great with a glass of milk!

Double Peanut Butter Cookies


1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter,divided
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon milk


Combine flour, sugar, soda, and salt; cut in shortening and 1/2 cup peanut butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in corn syrup and milk.

Shape dough into long roll,2 inches in diameter; wrap in waxed paper and chill 2-3 hours or until firm.

Unwrap roll, and cut into 1/4 inch slices; place half of slices on ungreased cookie sheets. Spread each with 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter. top with remaining cookie slices and seal edges with fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Yield: 2 dozen

                      Bessie and I will be celebrating Peanut Butter Lovers' Day  with a glass of milk.
                                                                       How about you?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

 As I made my way to the County Administration Building on Monday  to file for the 2014 election, I thought a lot about what a privilege and honor it is to serve  as Justice of Peace for District 9.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to represent Benton County residents  as a citizen legislator. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pastel Tres Leches---A Four Spoon Cake

It seemed fitting to be enjoying lunch today  with three of my childhood friends in the downtown area of our hometown to celebrate Donna's February birthday and the first day of her retirement.  Tres Leches Cake was the choice of our birthday girl and she loves us enough that she had the waitress bring four spoons!  It was delicious and we were grateful for her generosity.

I'm thinking this is a recipe for a dairymom to try for an upcoming family  birthday or Easter celebration. With three different kinds of milk in one recipe,  how could you go wrong?  I found this version of the Three Milk Cake on the Nestle website that was introduced to American cooks in the 1960's on the Nestle Evaporated Milk can.

Three Milk Cake--Pastel Tres Leches

6 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar,divided
6 large egg yolks
1 cup all purpose flour,sifted

1 can (14 oz.) Nestle Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 can (7.5oz.) Nestle Media Crema, or 1 cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup (5 oz.) can) Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk
1/4 cup brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Cake:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour 9 inch springform pan.

Beat egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar in large mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Combine egg yolks and remaining sugar in medium bowl; beat until light yellow in color. Fold egg white mixture and flour alternately into egg yolk mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until just golden and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven to wire rack.

For Cream:
Combine sweetened condensed milk, media crema, evaporated milk, brandy and vanilla extract in medium bowl; stir well. Prick top of cake thoroughly with wooden pick. Pour 2 cups cream over cake. Spoon excess cream from side of pan over top of cake. Let stand for 30 minutes or until cake absorbs cream. Remove side of pan.

For Topping:
Beat cream, sugar and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Spread over top and sides of cake. Serve immediately with remaining cream.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter Weaning Down on the Dairy Farm

Is it spring yet?
I'm sure that's what these babies want to know--they've tolerated some really cold and snowy days this winter in Northwest Arkansas.
It won't be too long now (hopefully within the next two weeks)  before these babies will be weaned and  moved from their individual hutches into a small pasture where they can romp and play together in a group as they continue to grow into our future milk cows.
To make this transition to the pasture  less stressful, we've already  started the weaning process of changing them from    milk to water and adding grain that meets their nutritional requirements for continued  growth and development.
I'm sure we've still got a few more weeks of winter but I began weaning myself from winter this weekend by planting a few pansies by the back door!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Year Round Valentine Treat

Since I missed celebrating Valentine Day with my family last week due to an unexpected extended stay  in Washington, D.C. because of the snowstorm, I decided to bake a new sweet treat this weekend as  a  belated Valentine for my family.

I chose Peanut Butter Fudge Bars  from my What's Cooking at Wye cookbook for two reasons--I had all the ingredients and three of us in the family love chocolate and peanut butter!  How could I go wrong?

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars


1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons butter

Combine cake mix, peanut butter, egg and oil. Press 2/3 of the mixture into a greased 13x9 in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the milk,
chocolate chips and butter over low heat. Stir until blended. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Cut into bars. 

Yield: 12-15 servings

                                A  Peanut Butter Fudge Bar with a dip of vanilla ice cream  is a
                                                            perfect year round Valentine!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Who doesn't love a new baby?
All birthdays are special--especially on the dairy farm!
Mama (#9213) gave birth this afternoon in the pasture with out any complications or assistance from us. Even though most cows will give birth with out any problems, we keep a close eye on them to ensure a healthy delivery.
                              I'm thankful for today's special delivery down on the dairy farm!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Food With Integrity

Ryan's parents, Bill and Bonnah Lyn, would have been married 70 years today. 
 Even though they are no longer with us, not a day goes by on our fourth generation family farm, that we are not reminded of their sacrifices and  efforts to utilize every resource available for us and the next generation. They lived and farmed with integrity.
 Although our fourth generation dairy farm has changed in the technology used and the number of cows being milked has increased, the practices we use are ethically grounded, scientifically verified and economically viable.
We are proud to be a  part of the American food system that  maximizes efficiency, meets the growing demand for food and provides consumer choice.
Like our parents before us, we live and farm with integrity for today and the next generation.
What questions do you have about agriculture and today's food system?
I'll be happy to get you an answer.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

After eight days of below freezing and snow on the ground, we're all getting excited to enjoy a couple of  fifty degree days this weekend!
         I'm thankful that our employees, my family and  our dairy calves and cows
 have remained  healthy  in spite of the cold!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Butter Up Your Valentine

While looking through my recipe file last weekend, I came across one of my favorite cookie recipes from  my special  friend, Nancy, who shared this recipe with me more than thirty years ago. These heart shaped  cookies are a great choice  for buttering up your favorite Valentine!

Raspberry Hearts

1lb butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
6 cups flour
Raspberry jam (may also use strawberry)

Beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Roll out thin (1/2 inch)  and cut with small heart cutter. Spatula onto an ungreased pan.Bake at 400 degrees only 5-7 minutes.  Cool.

Spread thin layer of raspberry or strawberry jam on one side of cookie. Place second cookie on top.

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


                                                  Happy Valentine Day to my sweet friend!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snow Day Dairy Snack

Cheese is a good snack for any day of the year but these cheese sticks added a few smiles to the dairy farmers  during our week of snow days!
  Baked Mozzarella Sticks and other easy, nutritious recipes can be found  at Dairy Makes Sense. 
Baked Mozzarella Sticks


Cooking spray
1 (12 ounce) package reduced-fat Mozzarella string cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
8 tablespoons panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce,warmed

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Remove cheese from packaging and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk egg until foamy. In a small non-stick skillet, mix Italian seasoning with bread crumbs and place over medium-heat. Cook and stir bread crumbs until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Dip one piece of string cheese in egg until coated and then into toasted bread crumbs,
coating completely. Re-dip the string cheese in egg and again in bread crumbs, if desired. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining string cheese and place on baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart. Spray string cheese lightly with cooking spray.

Bake 5 to 6 minutes or until heated through. Serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.   


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dairymom Supports Wear Red Day

It's a fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Although we can't control  age,  genetics or  gender, we can know the facts about lifestyle changes that can lower the risk for heart disease and make sure we are aware of the signs of a heart attack. National Wear Red Day  (the first Friday in February) is a perfect opportunity to increase our knowledge and  raise awareness about heart disease and share information with our family and friends.

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states these  risk factors  may increase your chances of getting heart disease :
  •  Excessive alcohol use
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Diet high in saturated fats and cholesterol
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Tobacco use
To reduce your chances of getting heart disease:
  • Know your blood pressure
  • Talk to your doctor about whether you should  be tested for diabetes
  • Quit smoking
  • Discuss checking your cholesterol and triglyceride levels with your doctor
  • Make healthy food choices
  • Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day
  • Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress
  • Get 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least 3 times per week
According to the CDC, sometimes heart disease may be silent and not diagnosed until a woman experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, an arrhythmia or stroke.
Common symptoms that may occur include:
  • Unusually heavy pressure on the chest, like there's a ton of weight on you
  • Sharp upper body pain in the neck, back throat, abdomen  or jaw
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats (not hot flashes from menopause)
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue
  • Unfamiliar dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Unexplained nausea or vomiting
  • Fluttering feelings in the chest (arrhythmia)
  • Signs of stroke that may include:  sudden weakness, paralysis or numbness of the face/arms/legs; trouble speaking or understanding speech; difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, dizziness, sudden and sever headache or loss of consciousness.
If you are experiencing these symptoms or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Treatment works best if given within 1 hour of when symptoms begin.

You can find more information about heart health at Go Red for Women, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Dairy Council.

National Wear Red Day will find me wearing red under my pink coveralls but more importantly, I plan to renew my commitment to make the lifestyle changes  that can make a difference to my heart health.

                                                       Happy National Wear Red Day!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

 I'm thankful for the beauty of winter,
 the promise of spring,

that no matter the season,
we're producing high-quality milk by caring for our animals and the land we call home.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow Day Down on the Dairy

I wasn't surprised to do chores in the snow since it all happened on Sunday, but  it was an extra bonus to  enjoy the beauty of the freezing fog this morning  that decorated everything around us including the fence surrounding the calf hutches.
The calves weren't one bit impressed with freezing fog!
Snow and fog didn't stop them from coming quickly
 to enjoy their warm milk and grain.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cheese Makes the Game

No matter which NFL team you're pulling for, I hope  cheese will be part of your  party   action to contribute good nutrition  that includes  high-quality protein as well as calcium,phosphorus, and vitamin A. I've collected our favorite snack foods for the game but I think I may have to add this Dairy Makes Sense recipe to the list just for fun!

Co-Jack Cheese Crisps


Non-stick cooking spray
1 package (8 ounces) finely shredded Colby-Monterey Jack Cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place 2 teaspoons Colby-Monterey Jack cheese mounds 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Press mounds gently with fingers to flatten. Bake until mounds are thin, bubbly and golden, no more than 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately transfer crisps to paper towels with a metal spatula. Serve when crisps have cooled completely.

Hint: Baking too long will make crisps too hard and not easily removed from the baking sheet.

Tip: May be baked one day ahead and crisped before serving in oven at warm setting, for 4 to 5 minutes.