Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Decorating Bug Bit Hard!

The "decorating bug" bit Sara...hard!

Daughter Sara loves the holidays...and celebrating...and decorating, and this Christmas, decorating fever really hit! Sara decorates our front yard for each holiday. Witches, ghosts and pumpkins make an appearance for Halloween. Turkeys and pilgrims adorn our yard each Thanksgiving. Sara shares the love with hearts and cupids for Valentines day. St Patrick's Day, Easter, Independence Day...yep, decorations for all!

This Christmas you will see Santa on a tractor, Santa on a skid steer loader, snowmen, penguins having a snowball fight, elf on the shelf (of course), and dinosaurs (who knew?) all helping us celebrate. And that's only a few of the 51 characters perched in our yard.

And did I mention there's a light show synced to music? 
Yep, Sara doesn't skimp when it comes to decorating!

So if you're in our neighborhood, stop by, tune your radio to 88.9, 
and enjoy the show, and who knows, Santa and his elf 
may just be handing out candy canes!

Thanks to Dairy Star for featuring Sara and her holiday display in their December 13th issue, and a big thank you to them for these great photos!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's National Cookie Day!

Christmas baking has always been a big part of our family holiday traditions. When Sara and Michael were very young, I was asked if I would be interested in selling home-baked Christmas cookies to my sister-in-laws co-workers. Making some extra holiday shopping dollars while doing something I enjoy seemed like a great opportunity. It became a whole-family activity. Sara became the expert at Russian Tea Cakes. Michael rolled the balls for the sugar cookies. John always helped with the date balls. My mom and I spent a day rolling the dough for the gingerbread people! The first year of cookie sales, we sold 79 dozen cookies, enough profit to buy a new front door for our house. Fifteen years later, we topped off our sales at 652 dozen (that's 7,824 cookies)! We no longer have our cookie business, but we will always have the "sweet" memories.

One of our favorite's is M&M Cookies. I use this recipe for many holidays, choosing the appropriate color M&M's to match the holiday. Thanks to Julie, a past co-worker for this recipe.

M&M Cookies
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 cups flour
2 cups M&M's ( reserve 1/2 cup)

Mix all ingredients. Add M&M's last. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto an ungreased baking sheet. Top each cookie with M&M. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes. Makes 8 dozen.

Looking for some more holiday cookie recipes? 
How about... 


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas In The Country

I love surprises and shopping and gift giving and Christmas!
So when I discovered a "Secret Santa" event created by a few 
ingenious country bloggers, 
I knew I had to learn more about it.

Christmas in the Country is a unique way for
 bloggers (and non-bloggers) 
from all over the United States, to get to know each other 
and spread a bit of Christmas cheer. 

After signing up for this adventure, I was asked to tell a bit about my hobbies and likes and dislikes, to help my "Secret Santa" find the perfect gift for me.
 You can bet I will be blogging later this month about the gift I receive, and my Secret Santa who send it to me. I'm excited to see who, and where, my package comes from.

  But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself...

In the next few days I will be paired with my new friend who will be the recipient of the gifts I will be sending. 

 Since we are encouraged to focus on local and homemade items, Uff-da, I'm looking for suggestions. And yah, you bet yah... my gift-getter will be getting something with a Minnesota Vikings touch. That goes without sayin' you know!

  I need your help, please...

What would you like to receive from a dairy farmer? What do you think of when you think of Minnesota? Comments, please.

Thanks to Google image search

Christmas in the Country 2014 is hosted by 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Trivia And Thankfulness

The turkey is now a pile of bones, the mashed potato bowl is licked clean, there's nothing left of the green bean casserole except that one stubborn bean stuck to the bottom of the dish, the cranberry sauce is still untouched, and the pumpkin pie with whipped cream is nothing but a memory. Before heading to the television to watch your favorite football team, take some time to dazzle your family with this Thanksgiving trivia. Hey, today is all about family, remember?

We at Bremer farms wish you a Happy Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. And today, like every other day, we are grateful for you and your love of dairy, and your appreciation for what we do here on the farm to share that dairy goodness with you.

Thanks to Google Image Search

What if we woke up tomorrow with only the things 
we thanked God for today?

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart...
Psalm 111:1

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Most Requested Recipe

 I share this blog post each year as it is the most requested recipe I have ever posted on my blog. I have a 50 pound bag of potatoes just waiting to jump into this recipe, and off to the freezer. I hope your family enjoys these potatoes as much as mine does!

 As a child, my family always celebrated Thanksgiving with my dad's family. Dad had four brothers, all farmers, all living within 5 miles of each other. Even though we saw each other often, it was special to come together on Thanksgiving. The moms kept themselves busy in the kitchen, complete with aprons to protect their holiday dresses. The dad's waited anxiously for the feast, while discussing farming and football. And the cousins played, and played until we were coaxed to the dinner table to join in the table prayer. We shared a wonderful meal, shared stories, and shared lots of laughs. As late afternoon rolled around, we all headed home to feed and milk the cows, thinking about our "Norman Rockwell" Thanksgiving celebration.
This mashed potato recipe often finds its way to our holiday table. I love that it can be made ahead and even frozen so every day can seem like a holiday.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
5 pounds potatoes
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup low-fat sour cream

4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Peel potatoes and cut into chunks. Put potatoes in pot and fill with cold water. Cook 25 minutes until fork tender. Drain potatoes and keep them in hot pot. Add all other ingredients. Mash all together. Place in freezer containers to freeze. Thaw in refrigerator for 2 days. Spray interior of slow cooker and add potatoes. Brush the top with 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with paprika. Cook on low 2-4 hours. If preferred, bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

For other Dairy Mom favorite recipes, check out Dairy Makes Sense

Monday, November 17, 2014

I've Become A Couch Potato

I like to keep busy. I rarely sit down to watch T.V. without something in my hands to do. Whether it be a magazine, craft project, bills to pay, clothes to fold- you name it, I'm never without something in my hands when I sit down to take in my favorite shows, until now.

I've become a couch potato!

My story requires a little background, so bear with me. Two years ago I took a nasty fall in the milking barn. While getting from point A to point B, I hooked my foot on the railing going down the steps into the milking pit where we stand to milk the cows. It hurt like a son-of-a-gun. Since I have a bit of stubbornness in me, I chalked it off to pulled muscles and refused to go to the doctor to get my knee and leg examined.

Fast forward to this September, 23 months later. While stepping out of my mini-van I heard a "pop" and something sure didn't feel right. Again, another  son-of-a-gun moment. Learning my lesson from my barn fall, I put my stubbornness aside and went to the doctor to discover that my step from the mini-van caused me to finish-off the torn meniscus and torn ACL that happened in my barn fall.

Last Thursday I had surgery to "clean-up" the meniscus.

Daughter Sara was my chaperone on surgery day and bought me a "recovery monkey."
Since the ACL is "too far gone" to repair, I am a candidate for knee replacement surgery, sooner rather than later. My surgeon recommends waiting until I'm older since knee replacements don't last forever. Well, there's a plus...I have been referred to as "too young." 

So here I sit, a couch potato...

elevating, icing, and exercising. 

And that pile of magazines, craft projects, bills to pay, and clothes to fold that I thought I would do while recovering...yep, still sitting next to me.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mom Was Right, Cows Are Cool!

Hi, I'm Julie. Meet my mommy Cindy, and my daddy Jon. 
People say I am pretty cute, and who am I to argue?

My daddy grew up in the city, and my mommy grew up on a dairy farm. Mommy's dad (my grandpa) doesn't have cows anymore, and mommy thought it was time for me to meet my first cow.

Mommy said, "Let's get a closer look." Daddy wasn't sure, but I trust mommy since she grew up around cows.

The cows at Bremer Farms are really friendly and gentle. 

This cow wanted to give me a kiss. Ewww...cow slobber!

This is fun! I smiled at the cows and I'm pretty sure they smiled back at me.
 I really liked meeting the cows.  Mommy was right, cows are cool!

Have you ever been to a farm? There is no better way to learn about cows than to visit a farm and meet a farmer.