Thursday, June 20, 2013

First crop, summer fun, and the best summer bars

After flirting with us for quite some time now, it feels like summer has finally arrived. In true summer fashion, Dan and Monika have spent most of today both soaking wet and half dressed. I can only imagine what the couple who pulled into our yard looking for directions thought when they found Dan and Monika in the milk house with the water hose.

Lunch on the picnic table with Cocoa Crispy Bars for dessert!

They were too wet and dirty to come in the house for lunch. Thank goodness for the picnic table.

And after waiting nearly a month for the fields to dry out, we're finally making hay. We started cutting first crop on Father's Day. The guys finished baling and wrapping the hay from our fields yesterday. Now we're trying to finish up a couple of Glen's dad's fields. I'm so glad we have a good neighbor who can wrap our hay; it would have been nearly impossible to make dry hay and we didn't have enough acres to harvest to warrant putting up a bag of haylage.

I'm hoping that after first crop is all wrapped up (pun intended), life will settle down a bit. I know this is most likely a futile hope, but, hey, I can hope. We've packed a lot of activity into the first 20 days of summer vacation – the Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm; a visit from my sister, her boys and their friend Kaelyn; finally getting the heifers out to pasture; the installation of a new manure pump; the celebration of Glen's grandfather's life; the Central Minnesota Youth Dairy Days Show; and camping at Millwood Ranch (an annual Father's Day weekend event for Glen's extended family).

With Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Christine Reistma,
at the Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm.

With their cousins, Hailey and Kallie, after the Dairy Days Show.

After my sister, her boys, and Kaelyn left, Kaelyn emailed and asked for the recipe for the bars I made while they were here. I'm always tickled when someone likes something I've made enough to ask for the recipe, especially when the recipe is one I've developed myself. I sent Kaelyn the recipe and decided I'd share it here, too.

These bars are great anytime, but they're especially great in the summer. (1) There's no frosting (they don't need any) to melt all over your hands. (2) They're extremely portable and easy to eat with one hand – great for the guys while they're in the tractor or skidloader. (3) They take only minutes to make. And (4) you don't have to heat the oven.

Cocoa Crispy Bars


¼ cup butter (half a stick)
1 cup white corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup peanut butter (I use crunchy)
6 cups crisp rice cereal (about half of a 12 oz. box)


In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add sugar, corn syrup and cocoa powder and stir or whisk until cocoa powder is all mixed in. Stirring constantly, bring the sugar/syrup mixture to a boil. Immediately remove from heat. Mix in peanut butter. Then add cereal and mix well. Press mixture into a 9x13 inch pan. Let cool for a little while before cutting into squares.

[Update: To make it easier to remove the bars from the pan, spray the pan with cooking spray and then wipe out the excess with a paper towel.]

Enjoy the bars! I hope you're having a great summer!

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