Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cinnamon-Sugar Chunky Bread

Before I say anything else about this recipe, there are a few things you should know:

• Chunky Bread is insanely delicious and seriously addicting. Make at your own risk.
• It’s difficult to make Chunky Bread look pretty in a picture, so you really shouldn’t judge this recipe by it’s cover photo.
• The recipe for Chunky Bread might look complicated, but it is really simple to create.

Brunch is a regular meal for my family. We eat a quick breakfast before going out to the barn in the morning and then sit down for a big brunch after chores. I like to make brunch a special meal during the summer and on weekends when the kids are home from school. Lots of times, depending on our farm chores and schedules, brunch is the only meal we all sit down together for.

This Cinnamon-Sugar Chunky Bread is perfect for brunch because I can make the dough the night before and then assemble the recipe before going out to the barn for morning chores. It’s ready to bake when I come back in and, a half-hour later, I’ve got a brunch centerpiece that my family absolutely loves. Plus, I always have all of the ingredients on hand; we buy Land O'Lakes® Cinnamon-Sugar Butter Spread by the case.

The dough for this chunky bread is like a marriage of brioche and biscuits and those refrigerated crescent rolls you can buy at the store. In other words, it’s hard to describe, but it’s really good. And the Land O'Lakes® Cinnamon-Sugar Butter Spread gives the sauce the perfect cinnamon flavor. Combine the bread and the sauce and you get something that tastes like caramel-cinnamon rolls, but is way easier to make and way easier to eat, especially for kids.

I also adore this recipe because it is incredibly forgiving. I can let the assembled recipe rise for one or two hours; it doesn’t have to be exact. And, once, I seriously over-baked the bread when I went back outside without setting the timer on my phone; but the Cinnamon-Sugar Butter Spread kept the sauce from hardening, so even though the top of the bread was very well browned and the bread was a little drier than normal, it was still darn tasty.

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Be sure to try these great recipes from the Kitchen Conversations bloggers, too:

Blistered Teriyaki Ginger Green Beans from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles
Almond Crusted Baked Halibut Fillets with Basil Butter from A Spicy Perspective
Cinnamon Sugar Buttermilk Waffles with Cinnamon Peanut Butter Maple Drizzle from Bake at 350
Poppy Seed Muffins with Raspberry Butter from Fifteen Spatulas
Lemon Coconut Bread from The Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen
French Toast Sticks with Maple Butter Dipping Sauce from The Little Kitchen
Strawberry Mini Muffins with Strawberry Butter from The Pioneer Woman
Garlic Avocado Toasts from Two Peas and Their Pod

I got to sample all of these recipes in April when the Kitchen Conversations bloggers visited Ree at her ranch. Every one of these recipes is fabulous!

Both versions of my Cinnamon-Sugar Chunky Bread – with pecans and without – were served.

Cinnamon-Sugar Chunky Bread

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 4 hours, minimum
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Yield: One 9 x 13 pan


for the dough
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) Land O'Lakes® butter
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
1 cup quick cook oatmeal
3 cups all-purpose flour

for finishing dough and assembling recipe
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon

for the sauce
½ cup (about ½ a tub) Land O'Lakes® Cinnamon-Sugar Butter Spread
½ cup Land O'Lakes® heavy cream
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
pinch salt


to make dough
Start with a large container with a vented lid – I use an ice cream pail with three small holes poked in the lid. You can use any container with a lid, just don’t close the lid tightly.
Add the eggs to the container and beat lightly with a fork. Stir in the sugar and salt.

Melt the butter (about 1 minute in the microwave) and stir into the eggs and sugar.

Heat the milk for 1 minute in the microwave (or until about 100°F) and stir into egg mixture.

Whisk baking powder and yeast into egg mixture until no clumps of baking powder or yeast remain.

Add oatmeal and flour and stir until completely combined. This will be very sticky and look more like batter than bread dough.

Cover container and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Then, place container in refrigerator and chill 2 hours or overnight (or several days).

to finish dough
Using ¼ cup flour, generously flour your work surface. Turn dough out onto work surface and sprinkle more flour over the top of the dough. Knead dough until flour is incorporated and dough is easy to handle, but for no more than 1 minute. Let dough sit for 15 minutes while you make the sauce.

to make sauce
Combine Cinnamon-Sugar Butter Spread, cream, sugars, water and salt in small sauce pan. Set over medium-high heat and cook until sauce just starts to boil, stirring bottom of pan frequently with a rubber spatula. Remove pan from heat and let cool while assembling recipe.

to assemble recipe
Combine ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

Coat a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Roll the dough out into a ½-inch thick rectangle (don’t worry about the shape being perfect), making sure your work surface and rolling pin are well coated with flour.

Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 1-inch squares by cutting 1-inch strips horizontally and then vertically. I cut one vertical strip at a time and remove the resulting pieces of dough before cutting another strip. Toss the dough pieces in the cinnamon sugar until coated and then put into baking pan.

Once all dough pieces are in pan, pour the sauce (stir well, first) over the dough pieces. It will look like there’s way too much sauce, but don’t worry. Cover the pan and let the dough rise for 1 – 2 hours.

to bake and serve
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until golden brown and center of dough pieces reads 165°F on a instant thermometer.

Serve warm or cool. I usually serve this right out of the pan, but for special occasions you can invert the pan onto a large serving platter.

Cinnamon-Pecan Chunky Bread: Sprinkle a cup or two of chopped pecans into the pan before adding dough pieces. This is especially pretty when inverted onto a platter.

This post also appears on the Land O'Lakes Blog.

I am a Land O'Lakes Cooperative member-owner. I received compensation from Land O'Lakes for this post. All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dollop & Scoop – No. 17

Calves in hutches

spotted Holstein dairy calf

Our pens for the newborn calves are full, so we're housing a handful of heifer calves in hutches for the time being, including this cutie, who we named Ice Cream. Our automatic calf feeder pen is almost at maximum capacity, as well. At least we're almost to the end of what has been a crazy spring calving season, so we'll soon return to normal housing rates. The new calves will move to the automatic calf feeder pen. And the weaned calves who will move outside as soon as the bigger heifers go out to pasture. We're thinking the pasture should be ready in a couple weeks – sooner if we get some rain.

Every day is Earth Day

dairy farm scene with pasture and pond

In case you missed it, Earth Day was last week. And I know it sounds clich̩, but every day is Earth Day on dairy farms. We are always assessing our impact on the land and searching for ways to lessen our footprint. Since we bought our farm, we've taken many steps to protect soil and water and reduce our energy consumption (both electricity and fossil fuels) Рwe utilize no-till planting as often as we can, and use minimal tillage when necessary; we collect all of the manure from our cattle and all of the runoff from our yards and use that for natural fertilizer for our crops; last year we reseeded the banks of one our ponds to reduce soil erosion, we also use grassed waterways to allow water to travel without eroding soil. I can list several other investments we've made, but the point here is that we take conservation of all our resources very seriously. This land, this earth, is only ours for a short time; we want to leave it in even better condition for the next generation of caretakers.

All smiles

Dan took his First Communion on Sunday and we celebrated with a family gathering afterwards. As special as First Communion is, this family picture we took is even more special to me. It is so rare to get a picture in which we are all together, all dressed up, all looking at the camera and almost all smiling. What's more, everyone is really smiling – not the fake smiles that we so often use. I don't think Glen has smiled this big in front of a camera since the day we got married. What's really important here, though, is that some day our children will look back at this picture and see the true joy of our family. Not everyday is picture perfect or blissfully joyful, but we are happy. When we take pictures with fake smiles or no smiles, it doesn't capture the true happiness of our family.

Have a joyful week, friends! And use your real smiles!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dollop & Scoop – No. 13

Here's a look back at our week...

Flying kites

kids flying kites in farm field

You know those activities you plan to do with your kids, but never seem to get to them? Well, flying kites used to be one of those activities for us. It seems like we talked and talked about it, but never got around to it. Until last Saturday. The sun was shining, there was an incredible south wind, and we actually had kites because Glen reminded me to pick some up last time I was at the store.

It took a couple minutes for Dan and Monika to figure out how their kites worked, but once they got the hang of it, we had a lot of fun. Good, old-fashioned, unplugged fun. Until their hands got too cold because they forgot their gloves in their excitement.

But there's more unplugged fun to come. The charger for our iPad has been "mysteriously" missing for about a week now. Dan told me at supper tonight, "I didn't watch television or play on the iPad at all today and I had a lot of fun." He took a hike out to the back pond to look for the dead fox that Monika and I found on our hike on Sunday. Then he finished reading his book while sitting in the tree in our front yard. (He also did his chores and harassed his sister.)

I'm not opposed to electronic fun, but I'd much rather see my kids enjoying the activities life on a farm has to offer. Maybe the charger will show up when the snow flies again next fall.

Tractor girl

farm girl trying to drive tractor

Daphne's favorite place to be now that it has warmed up some is in the tractor with Grandpa or in the skid loader with Dad. And she's quickly learning how to operate both machines. If you look close in the picture, you can see that she's got one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the throttle; one foot is on the brake, and the other is on the clutch. I'm sure I'll blink and she'll be driving the tractor for real.

Three little pigs

three little pigs

Our pigs arrived this week. (We actually got four pigs, but the fourth one wouldn't pose for the picture.) After not getting pigs last year, their arrival generated much excitement. Daphne climbed right into the hutch with the pigs when they first got here. It's so adorable to hear her say pig in her little toddler voice.

Dan and Monika and their cousins played in the hutch with the pigs for nearly an hour the other day. Monika thinks the pigs are "just too cute" and Dan wants to know if we can get a saddle for a pig so he ride them when they get bigger.

I'm excited to have pigs again, too. I like their antics and the entertainment they provide. It's super fun when we get gentle ones, like these pigs, that let the kids play with them.

Lots of babies to feed

dairy calves drinking

We have a lot of baby calves right now and a whole bunch of them haven't graduated to the calf feeder yet. We house our newborn heifer calves in groups and bottle feed them for 10 to 14 days before moving them into the pen with the automatic calf feeder. During those two weeks, we train them to drink independently using bottle holders. And, I tell you, these bottle holders are the best. I would have lost my sanity a long time ago without them. We use them in the group pens (tied on with twine string, so we can move them as needed) and for the bull calves in hutches (secured to the cattle panels with zip ties).

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As always, thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Guarantee smiles with Ultra-Tender Teriyaki Chicken

I have one kid who wants to eat only pasta and potatoes, one kid who wants to eat only meat, one kid who eats everything, and a hard-working husband who just wants something to eat. Finding meals that please everyone, while still meeting my nutrition goals, can be challenging.

So when I find those meals that make everyone smile, it’s kind of like winning the lottery – and sometimes the odds really do feel like one in a million.

Ultra-Tender Teriyaki Chicken, paired with brown rice and oven-roasted teriyaki vegetables, is one of those winning meals. The first time I made it, there wasn’t a single piece of chicken left to save for tomorrow’s lunch.

I have to say, though, that when I found the recipe that inspired my Ultra-Tender Teriyaki Chicken, I was a little intimidated by the two-step cooking process. But then I thought, I can do this, it’s not that hard. And I was right. This cooking method is really pretty simple and the results are phenomenal. Ultra-Tender Teriyaki Chicken is so tender and so full of flavor; I seriously believe it’s the best chicken you’ll ever eat.

To me, that’s what Land O’Lakes’ Kitchen Conversations are all about – inspiring confidence in the kitchen. I can definitely say that participating in Kitchen Conversations has made me a more confident and adventurous cook. I am simply thrilled to be participating again this year.

I’m also extremely proud that this first conversation is centered around Land O’Lakes’ Pin A Meal. Give A Meal. campaign. As a farmer-owner of the Land O’Lakes cooperative, I believe giving back to our local communities is incredibly important. Food insecurity is a problem many of us don’t think about, but, according to Feeding America, one in six Americans faces food insecurity. Nearly 16 million of those challenged by hunger are children.

You can help Land O’Lakes reach its goal of donating 3.5 million meals to hungry families in need of nourishment. By pinning my Ultra-Tender Teriyaki Chicken, or another recipe of your choice, you will contribute 10 meals to Feeding America. And to provide even more meals, simply pin additional recipes from Land O'Lakes. Use the hashtag #pinameal on Pinterest and other social media to help spread awareness and give hungry families hope. To learn more, visit

Just think of all the smiles that will come from those 3.5 million meals. I hope my recipe for Ultra-Tender Teriyaki Chicken puts smiles on the faces of those you cook for, too.

Ultra-Tender Teriyaki Chicken

Serves: 4-5 people
Ready to eat in: 45 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes


3 pounds chicken thighs or drumsticks
3 cups water
½ of a large sweet yellow onion, sliced (or one small)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1-inch piece of gingerroot, peeled and sliced

¼ cup LAND O’LAKES butter (one half stick)
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground ginger


In a large (8-quart) dutch oven or stock pot, combine chicken, water, onion, 2 tablespoons garlic and gingerroot. Bring water to a boil, cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, turning chicken over after 10 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, melt butter in a large (12-inch) pan over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon garlic, vinegar, pepper and ground ginger.

When chicken has cooked for 15 minutes, scoop out ½ cup of the onion-garlic broth, add to melted butter-soy sauce mixture in pan, and stir well. Then use a tongs or slotted spoon to transfer chicken pieces and onion slices to pan.

Place pan of chicken and sauce over medium-high heat, with lid propped on pan, and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn chicken pieces and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes more.

Serve with sauce.

Recipe inspired by the Asian-Style Braised Chicken Drumsticks from MJ and Hungryman.

*The Land O’Lakes Foundation will donate $1 to Feeding America® for every recipe pinned or repinned between March 2, 2015 and April 30, 2015. (Pin any Land O’Lakes recipe or submit any recipe pin at $1 helps provide 10 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks. Land O’Lakes guarantees a minimum of 3.5 million meals (monetary equivalent of $350,000).

I am a Land O'Lakes Cooperative member-owner. I received compensation from Land O'Lakes for this post. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Baby Calf Names of 2014

One of the best parts of dairy farming, at least for me, is naming all of the new babies that are born. Now, I don't name them all – it's oftentimes a joint effort between me, Glen, and the kids. The inspiration for each of the names can come from many places. I wrote a column a couple years ago about the process, so I won't go into detail here. But I will say that the one rule we normally follow is that the calf's name starts with the same letter as her mother's name; that way it's easier to remember down the road which cows belong to which cow families.

red and white roan heifer calf
Here are all of the names we picked for our baby calves in 2014, followed by the calf's mother's name. We broke tradition a couple times this year to name calves after some of the special guests who visited our farm this summer.

Zula – Zora
Harp – Heaven
Lia – Loa
Gael – Gem
Laila – Louie
Sparkle – Star
Downy – Dove
Honey – Hurricane
Wiggle – Wink
Lego – Lucy
Dana – Deryck
Umbrella – Ulla
Spring – Stormy
Nimble – Noelle

newborn black and white heifer calf in grass

Ree – Agape
Becky – Widget
Sommer – Ivy
Maria – Deluge
Brenda – Gigi
Julie – Jade
Bridget – Opal
Gloriana – Gala
Joanne – Holiday
Jessica – Lady
Jenny – Beauty
Laur̩ РShiver

Milking Shorthorn Holstein twin heifer calves
Darcie and Dallas

Darcie – Dixie
Dallas – Dixie
Paige – Penelope
Dotsy – Dignity
Suede – Silk
Goldie – Georgia
Zeppelin – Zoe
Willie – Wilma
Dabble – Dapple
Tipper – Tillie
Dyno – Dynamite

newborn Holstein heifer calf in pasture

Hosta – Happy
Betsy – Beth
Hailey – Heidi
Twinkle – Twilite
Wonder – Winter
Tornado – Tretta
Cheer – Cherub
Linzer – Luna
Hyacinth – Heather
Malihini – Mahalo

Jersey heifer calf