November 29, 2006

Bring on the Winter Storm

Happy Holidays!

It’s a pleasant 60 degrees in Mid-Mo today, but a nasty storm system is to come in late this afternoon, dropping our temperatures by 33 degrees.

They are calling for 3-6 inches of snow here, but I doubt that will be the case. Why do I doubt it? Because every time they actually call for snow and sleet it never happens. It’s when weathercasters say we will get a light dusting…that’s when I worry.

Either way, I would love to see a beautiful snow on the ground and stick to the pine trees. I love the snow for its beauty and grace when it sticks to tree limbs, house roofs and covers lakes and ponds. However, every time it snows I remember all those years on the farm having to feed hay to the cattle off the back of the pick-up and busting up the ponds around the farm so that cattle could have a drink.

Things have changed on my parent’s farm now: every gate swings, they feed hay in the big ole John Deere tractor with a heated cab, cattle don’t have to rely on us to bust up the iced over ponds because of the new heated water tanks that dad put in all over the farm, there are many barns to give calving mothers shelter and there is a brand spanking new pipe corral that looks like something from a sale barn.

Yes, things have changed on the Bar 5 Ranch. Isn’t it funny how everything on the farm improves when the children leave the farm? On my family’s farm it’s just my parents and two part time farm hands. My husband and I still own cattle, but they are housed on my parent’s farm and we are still active on the farm, but unfortunately at this point in our lives we have to live away from my parents and the one place that I will always call home – our family farm.

Give thanks to the life you live today. For we are all blessed in many ways, sometimes we just have to have open eyes to see that.

This is a great holiday recipe that I plan on making for my gift trays for my friends and co-workers this holiday season. (I do omit the coconut). If you are looking for a great baking website Joy Of is your one stop site. I’ve tried many recipe off this site and they all have turned out wonderful!

Namaino Bars
From Joy of

Bottom Layer:
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa (I use Dutch-processed)
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (200 grams) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (65 grams) coconut (either sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 - 3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (Bird's) or vanilla pudding powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners or icing) sugar

4 ounces (115 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter

Butter (or use a cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan.

BOTTOM LAYER: In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

FILLING: In your electric mixer cream the butter. Beat in the remaining ingredients. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

TOP LAYER: In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread over the filling and refrigerate.

TO SERVE: To prevent the chocolate from cracking, using a sharp knife, bring the squares to room temperature before cutting.

Yield: Makes about 25 squares

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