Sunday, September 29, 2013

School Field Trip: Indian Trails Dairy Farm - Byron Center, Michigan

The school that I enrolled both of my kiddos in for pre-kindergarten was really awesome!!  I did school of choice.  Which meant that I had to drive them to and from school every day (for a total of two years since they are not the same age).  But, it was absolutely worth it!!!  The school is a small building that was an elementary school in the past.  Now it houses the pre-k and pre-school kids for the school district.  They do many things to make sure their kids are all treated equally, respectfully, and have many opportunities that most schools have given up on.  For example:  free school activities; lunches from the garden they grow starting in the spring (or from local organic farmers/suppliers in the area) and they are all made on location.  

In the spring the kids were taken on a field trip to a local dairy farm.  Both years that my kids attended this school I was able to chaperon.  I found it interesting enough to blog about it ;-)

Indian Trails Dairy Farm in Byron Center, Michigan:

Having fun petting one of the farm cats.

One of the groups witnessed the birth of a baby cow.
Kind of glad that wasn't my son's group!

Learning about the mix of products that the cows are fed.  Very educational!

Touching and learning more about one of the grains the cows are fed.

Cows hanging out waiting to be milked.
When they are taken in to be milked this area is cleaned out.
The first year I went on this trip it was hot and the barn smell was horrible!
One kid threw up in front of the girls I was chaperoning...
This time it was much better!
There was nice breeze that day.

The mix of food they eat.

The milking barn!

Lots of milking going on here!
It's nothing like you see people doing from the old days  (hand milking).
People are barely needed for this process!
Computers track, by cow, how much milk they have given!
There's also a sanitation process that takes place with the cow and the equipment.

Love this dog!!  It's so fun to hang out with farm animals - so loving and well trained!

A little education on chickens and eggs

Time to test the product!  I think my son was the only kid that picked white milk over chocolate milk ;-)

Checking out the tractors
This barn is awesome!
I recently saw a painting of this barn at a local art contest (Art Prize 2013)!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Apple Pie Muffin

My local Big Apple Bagels location offers an apple pie muffin that is absolutely amazing!!!  I have tried a few recipes and added my own twist in an attempt to duplicate this muffin that I love so much.  I think I finally have it figured out!!!

Apple Pie Muffin


1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup applesauce
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups diced apples
1 can apple pie filling


1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper cups (makes 18 regular sized muffins or 15 large muffins). 

2.  Topping:  Combine brown sugar, flour, melted butter and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix until crumbly; set aside.

3.  Combine the brown sugar, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl.  Mix and set aside.

4.  Sift together flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.  Blend the flour into the mixture, alternately with the buttermilk.  Add the diced apple.  mix until just combined.  Spoon into prepared muffin tins.    

5.  Top each muffin with two slices of apple from the apple pie filling.

6.  Sprinkle generously with topping.

7.  Bake for 30 minutes (38 for large muffins), until golden brown.  Insert toothpick to test the batter has baked completely.

Optional:  Mix powdered sugar with a little bit of water.  Drizzle on top of muffins.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Back to School Party for a Cause: The Party

In a previous post I shared with you the Back to School Party Invitations that I was using for a fun party to get my kiddos friends together.  But, for the greater good, to collect school supply donations!

To make it a memorable event for the kiddos I had to have an amazing ice cream sundae bar!!!

Two kinds of ice cream!

All of the toppings were labeled (for food allergies and so the kids would know what it was)

There were a lot of outdoor activities to keep everyone entertained.

These 6 backpacks and the brown bag are full of school supplies!
We were so excited to share these with the school!  They should make some kiddos very happy!
Ahh - ignore my sons unhappy look.  It was kind of a crazy morning for us so he refused to smile for pictures ;-)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin

I love muffins!!!  I wanted a great recipe for a pumpkin cream cheese muffins but I couldn't find a complete one - so I mixed a few recipes together and came up with this.  Perfection!!!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1.  Make the filling by combining the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl and stirring until smooth.  Scrape the mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap at least 12 inches long.  Form the mixture into a 12-inch log, wrap tightly, and freeze for at least two hours.

2.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners (makes about 12 muffins or 9 large muffins).

3.  Make the crumb topping by using a fork to combine the flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and melted butter in a small bowl.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the sugar, canned pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a spatula just until completely combined.

5.  Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

6.  Remove the cream cheese filling from the freezer and cut it into 12 even pieces (9 pieces if making 9 large muffins).  Press one piece of the cream cheese filling into the center of each muffin.

Mine did not freeze well so I will add more freeze time the next batch.
7.  Sprinkle each muffin with about 1 tablespoon of the crumb topping.  Gently press the topping into the batter to ensure it sticks.

8.  Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes (35 minutes for large muffins), or until a toothpick inserted into the center muffin comes out clean.  Cool muffins in the pan for about five minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator.

Yummy!  But, I forgot to press the crumble topping into the batter a little.   Next time ;-)

I made these boxes of 4 variety muffins.  They included this recipe along with an apple pie muffin, blueberry crumble, and a carrot cake muffin topped with cream cheese frosting.