Have Your Dairy (And Drink it Too!)

As many of you may or may not know, June is nationally recognized as Dairy Month.  A time when you are encouraged to embrace all things dairy, celebrate the industry, and educate yourself about the dairy side of Agriculture.  In honor of June Dairy Month, I would like to introduce you to the trendy adult side of dairy consumption.

I give you- the Cream Liqueurs

A Cream Liqueur (not to be confused with crème liqueur) is a liqueur that contains real dairy (not artificial) cream.  Once exiled to the dusty and grimy back of the middle shelf of your local bar, the Cream Liqueur is on a trendy new comeback!  Pinterest warriors can now peruse countless varieties of not only shots and mixed drinks calling for Cream Liqueurs as their main ingredient, but also bars, cakes, and even oatmeal!  You can even find coffee creamers getting in on the action claiming to “taste” like some of the more popular liqueurs.

Mixed opinions on storage and shelf-life but some good notes to remember are:

1) always a good idea to keep chilled, besides, it tastes better cold

2) almost always, the cream has been not only homogenized (i.e. fat molecules broken down) but also pasteurized to make it shelf stable

3) the alcohol and sugar content also help act as a further preservative

4) best to use it within, at most, a year of opening if you keep it refrigerated. I recommend visiting the product’s website for the best info.

Enough with all the introduction!  Here is a brief and mouthwatering rundown of some of my favorites

For the Fruitcakes:

Tequila Rose

tequila rose

Travel back in time to the 80’s when this strawberry cream liqueur became popular.  With subtle hints of tequila- this garishly pink nectar is best consumed while listening to Pat Benatar or Bonnie Raitt on vinyl

Amarula

Amarula_Cream_1362602

Whatever a Marula fruit is- I have no idea.  “Wood spice characters of vanilla and toast are naturally imparted. Another important ingredient is fresh dairy cream. It gives Amarula its rich and velvety smooth consistency.” …”Opaque creamy light brown color. Rich fruity milk chocolate and vanilla nut fudge aromas with a creamy moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a tangy roasted nut, cream, and dried tropical fruit finish” …….What-the-what?  Sounds like heaven in a bottle!

The (Seemingly Endless) Irish Creams:

For the Purists: The One and Only Baileys

baileys

Now available in flavors such as Caramel, Coffee, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Hazelnut, and a rumored delicious sounding Biscotti!! If only!!!!

It’s always been there, and you’ve always known about it.  Hanging out in the fridge in your grandparent’s garage- hiding amongst the Grain Belt beers and cans of diet/sugar-free/caffeine-free pop.  As a kid, you would sneak a swig or two when nobody was looking and wince as it burned on the way down before tottering off on your bike again.  Now, as an adult, you revel in luxury as you sip it from a tumbler after a steak dinner at your favorite supper club.  Baileys has been the gold standard of Irish Creams.  It was the first Irish Cream to become available and many more brands have followed suit, but Baileys is still the go-to.  “220 million liters of fresh Irish milk are required annually to produce the fresh cream used in the manufacture of Baileys. 38,000 of the top-bred Irish dairy cows produce the daily cream requirement for Baileys grazing on approximately 1500 selected Irish farms mainly on the East coast of Ireland”.  Now that is some pretty legit stuff!  Don’t insult it by mixing shots with it, or wasting it on a cake- save that job for the lesser versions listed below.

For those trying to save a buck or cut a corner, there are several acceptable substitutes such as Carolan’s, Duggan’s, and Feeny’s.  Or, for the more ambitious you can make your own homemade Irish Cream.

Side note:  this is not an adequate substitute… EVER

coffee mate

Go home, non-dairy irish cream, nobody likes you.

A Category All Their Own:

RumChata

rumchata

Ok, so the history of RumChata (another product from Wisconsin cream) is a little obscure.  Released in 2009 it has since become wildly popular among housewives and sorority girls everywhere.  A Rum-based liqueur inspired by the original Horchata, which finds its origins in Spain and Mexico and dates back as far as the time of the Egyptians.  In Spain, the Chafu nut was ground, in Mexico it was rice- and both were mixed with cinnamon and sugar to produce a milky substance.  Rich, smooth and sassy, RumChata seems to taste different to everyone.  The most accurate description I’ve heard came from my sister, who claimed “it tastes like the milk leftover after you’ve had a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch”…. works for me!

The Pie Creams

KeKe_Beach_Key_Lime_Cream_414015_i0 Fultons_Harvest_Harvest_Pumpkin_Pie_Cream_410376_i0

KeKe Beach Key Lime Pie-“the refreshing flavours of key lime pie with just a hint of graham” (because when was graham ever overpowering??”

Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie: the first ever pumpkin pie cream liqueur “immediately reminiscent of homemade pumpkin pie complete with the flavors rich vanilla, brown sugar and spices”…… Fall can’t come soon enough!

Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream

whisper

If you can’t say its name five times fast- you’re not sober enough to order it

Ok, so I’ve never heard of this, but it only makes sense and after reading the description I can’t wait to go out and try some.   “Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream is a Tennessee Whiskey cream liqueur that embodies all the deliciously familiar characteristics of a Charcoal Mellowed Tennessee Whiskey softened by the subtle whispers of real caramel, burnt molasses, red apple, fig, pecan and secret, all-natural ingredients.”  Plus, the moonshine milk jug is pretty awesome.

The Tippy Cow Family:

Orange Cream, Chocolate, Shamrock Mint, & Vanilla Soft Serve

TippyCowFamily_Feat

Last but certainly not the least- the state of Wisconsin proudly brings you the Tippy Cow quartet, bottled in Pewaukee, WI and produced with real Wisconsin cream.  Maybe it’s the genius name, eye catching labels, or the fact that it’s another great product from Wisconsin- but Tippy Cow is hands down my favorite adult “Mommy Treat”

shamrock tippy cow

#mommytreat #itotallydeservethis

 

So, the next time you’re wondering what new and exciting dairy product you should try, don’t forget about these delicious little lovelies and the fact that they all contain real dairy cream.  And, as always, remember to consume them responsibly- or as we say around here “Wisconsinably”, which probably isn’t all that responsible in the end.  Till next time!

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Guest Blogger From Heaven: Dad’s Red Handkerchiefs

Today, we have a guest blogger- one all the way from heaven.  This article was written by my godmother and aunt, Kay Welper.  One of the most amazing people I ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Having it published in Our Iowa Magazine was one of her many great achievements.  Many of us in my family have collected several of her great pieces of writing.  Most of them pertain to “life as a Churchtown, IA farmkid” and give us special glimpses and reminders of simpler times.  So, without further ado, I give you:

 

Dad’s Red Handkerchiefs

 

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They were part of the fabric of her childhood… which made them nothing to sneeze at.

 

I can still picture the stack of red handkerchiefs on top of the dryer in the farmhouse where I grew up.

They were in various stages of wear- some still had their bright colors, but most were faded.  The brightly colored ones were newer and still a bit stiff.  The faded ones were soft and supple- some were nearly threadbare, the result of multiple uses.

Of course, a red handkerchief’s primary purpose was the same as any other handkerchief in the world; the soft ones worked best when I had a cold and tender nose.  And since Dad always had one in his back pocket, they were easily accessible and ready to go to work.

Bud Dad’s red handkerchiefs had a myriad of other uses as well.  And for some unexplained reason, only a red one would do.

Like when one of us kids jumped off the hay wagon and twisted an ankle.  The red handkerchief could be transformed into an elastic bandage, providing almost instant relief so we could finish unloading bales.

Hit a rough patch of gravel with our bikes and scrape an elbow?  No problem- the red handkerchief provided a pressure dressing that miraculously relieved the pain and got us back outside and on the bicycle again.

If I drew the short straw and was assigned cobweb-sweeping duty in the barn, the red handkerchief served as a bandanna to keep the cobwebs and spiders out of my hair.

When we helped Dad fix a fence in the wood and discovered a bed of morel mushrooms, we’d bundle them up in- you guessed it- his red handkerchief and transport them safely home to Mom.

I recall when I was 5 and had a bad cold, Mom rubbed some Vicks on my chest and tied a red handkerchief around my neck like a bib to help the soothing ointment do its job.

The red handkerchief became a mask to play the “bad guy” in our backyard games of cops and robbers.  This same mask wa put to serious use when operating the fanning mill to clean the oats for spring planting.

As a young girl, I honed my ironing skills on red handkerchiefs… and learned that, although a starched red handkerchief looks great, few people appreciate its crispness.

Of course, the red handkerchief worked well for wiping away our tears- and was especially comforting when Mom or Dad did the tear wiping.

Red handkerchiefs played a vital role on a farm, and I doubt the handkerchief manufacturers had any idea of the impact this seemingly insignificant piece of cloth made in a farm kid’s life.

Recently, my brother’s oldest daughter got married.  When it was time for the customary father-daughter dance, my brother tied a red handkerchief around her neck and they danced to a song called Lady in Red.

The legacy of the red handkerchief lives on.

Kay Welper: 2010

Because of the absolute truth in her story, and because of our deep love for Kay and our family, the red handkerchief has become a very meaningful thing to the Welper’s.  Some families of great lineage claim to have family crests- tied back across the ocean to their mother country.  For my family, the red handkerchief is our family crest.  Keep your eye out for it at every wedding, funeral, picnic, Christmas gift, and baby shower that you attend with us.

 

 

“The Back 40… Why my husband goes to hell (sometimes)”

As the weather finally takes a turn for the better, many of our “warm weather” projects begin to rev up.  One of the biggies is checking the fences.  If you have cattle spread out on pasture all year, it’s crucial to maintain the integrity of the fence which contains them, otherwise you find yourself getting calls from the neighbors informing you that your heifers have taken yet another self-guided field trip through the neighborhood- hitting up the Amish vegetable gardens along the way- and that’s on a good day!  Heifers are the worst for pushing their boundaries with the fences, probably because they spend less time eating and loafing than the mature cows do, so they find ways to entertain themselves and get into trouble (you can only lick the tree trunks, mineral feeder, and each other for so long).  I remember when the hubs and I first started dating, his heifers got out 5 times that summer!  Needless to say, he spent a great deal of time fencing.

So, this year, as I see my mate piling things onto the 4-wheeler preparing for a day along the fences, I meet him in the yard with a packed lunch.  While he begrudgingly lets me smear him down with sunscreen and bug spray, he informs me of the classic “where I’ll be if you need me” location.  This is standard procedure for us farm wives, often times we have to go our separate ways in order to get everything done, the amusing thing (and subject of this post) is how we define different locations on our property.  For anybody who owns a lot of land, often times spread out in many different directions, describing a specific spot on that land can get challenging.  That’s why we name them.  For example, today, my husband will be “down in Remstad’s”- more specifically “the front half”.  You wont find this specific location in any phone book, and the ambulance driver will probably need more guidance than that description to get there, but anybody involved in our operation knows exactly where this is.  Remstad’s is our heifer pasture (divided into two halves- front and back).  We call it Remstad’s because that is the name of the family who owned the piece before we did.

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Remstad’s

Most of the times, these names are pretty standard.  For example, many of us have a “back 40” or “east pond” or “3 corner piece”.  We’ve also got a spot named after the “bags”, “old shed”, “junk pile” and “joe’s”.

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the bag piece

Some of the names can be pretty unique as well.  For example, my parents have a valley in the old pasture that has been referred to as “Pony Land” for years now.  Named by a couple of little farm girls obsessed with My Little Ponies who enjoyed playing down there.  A friend of mine has a piece of land better known as “the horsey farm” because it used to have all kinds of horses on it.  The hubs and I even have a spot on our land we refer to as “hell” because it’s the most god-awful, miserable place to be in the summer.  Thorns, weeds, snakes and mosquitoes big enough to carry the dog away. 

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Ponyland

Just another novelty of farm life that escapes most people, but can be humorous at times.  Do you have any fun names for places on your farm?

Well, I think that’s enough writing for today, I’d better go check on the hubs and see if he’s made it to hell yet 🙂

 

 

 

Props for the Hubs….

This is from a couple weeks back…

Can’t help myself, gotta toot the horn for the hubs. AgSource member meeting(s) this past week and for the second year in a row, he’s brought home the quality milk award. 87,000 for the year of 2013! So proud of him and all of our HEALTHY, hard working girls out there.
 
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For the non-farming community, this is a measure of the presence of somatic cells (white blood cells) present in our cows’ milk.  All milk contains white blood cells, but a higher count is evidence of an immune response to an infection of the mammary gland more commonly known as mastitis, which can make a cow VERY sick.
 
Besides the obvious benefits of having a healthy, happy udder with no angry things going on inside of it, farmers are also financially rewarded on their milk checks for having lower somatic cell counts, and on that same token, are penalized for higher counts.  This is because the presence of these cells greatly affects the overall quality of the milk in facets like taste, shelf life, and usability for the making of other dairy products like yogurt and cheese.
 
Somatic cell count averages for U.S. herds in 2013 was right around 199,000. So, long story short, an average of 87,000 means VERY happy healthy cows and high quality milk in addition to a bigger milk check.  Our milk co-op also gives out an annual milk quality award at their summer picnic- we hope to give the neighbors who have religiously won it over the years some friendly competition.