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Diane Prather

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Over A Cup: Jody’s Un-stuffed Pepper Soup

This past week I received a letter and recipe from Jody Meakins (Linden) of Meeker. Jody grew up on a dairy farm in the Meeker area and after college she taught at Ault High School in Ault. That’s where she met my sister, Darlene, who was also teaching at Ault. They have remained good friends ever since. Jody sent a recipe for “Un-stuffed Pepper Soup”. She wrote that the first time she tasted the soup was at the Meeker Café when it was featured as the soup of the day. Jody said she “had to try it” and set out to duplicate the soup. She started with several similar recipes and modified them to suit her taste. The result is this week’s recipe.

Over A Cup: Cake that tastes like pumpkin pie

Last week Darlene Harmer of Hamilton called me with a question about Annabelle Haddan’s fruitcake recipe, printed in the Sept. 15 “Over a Cup of Coffee”. The recipe calls for a “bunch of carrots,” and Darlene wanted to know how many carrots that would be. So I called Annabelle. She said she wondered as to the amount of carrots the first time she made the recipe, too, but had decided that there are about six or seven carrots in a bunch. She uses between one and two cups of carrots- not quite two cups. In the meantime, Darlene decided to compare the amount of carrots with zucchini called for in some of her zucchini recipes. She decided on two cups of grated carrots.

Over A Cup: Sister's recipe for 'Peach Bread'

This week’s recipe for “Peach Bread” comes from my sister, Charlotte Allum of Fort Collins. I have not tried the recipe yet, but both of my sisters report that it’s good. An added bonus is that you can use any kind of peaches—fresh, frozen or canned. To make “Peach Bread”, you will need the following ingredients: 1-1/2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup margarine or shortening, 2 cups mashed peaches (fresh, frozen, or canned), 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, pinch salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup nuts (optional). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pans. (Charlotte added a note to the recipe: “very important to grease and flour.”)

Agriculture & Livestock: 2012 Livestock and Dog Results at the Colorado State Fair

Moffat County’s Darren McLaughlin has done it again. This year, as in previous years, he showed the Grand Champion Market Lamb at the Colorado State Fair. But that’s not all. He showed the Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb as well It’s a remarkable achievement, indeed.

Diane Prather: Fall cleaning on the ranch

School will be starting soon, and before long — this year much sooner than ranchers would like — livestock will be moved home from summer pasture. In the meantime, there’s fall cleaning to do, not only in houses but elsewhere around the ranch, too. Fall cleaning around the ranch may include: • Gathering up the empty grain sacks that were supposed to go back to the feed store but instead got left in piles in the building where the grain is stored.

Diane Prather: Enjoying the Moffat County Fair

What do you enjoy about a county fair? For a child, the hit of a fair might be petting the rabbits and ducks, sharing a popsicle with a lamb, and playing in the water and mud around the cattle wash rack. Adults enjoy the judging competitions, checking out the judged exhibits and visiting with neighbors. Fairgoers of every age look forward to cotton candy, funnel cakes and hot dogs.

Something for everyone: Enjoying the Moffat County Fair

What do you enjoy about a county fair? For a child, the hit of a fair might be petting the rabbits and ducks, sharing a Popsicle with a lamb, and playing in the water and mud around the cattle wash rack. Adults enjoy the judging competitions, checking out the judged exhibits, and visiting with neighbors. Fairgoers of every age look forward to cotton candy, funnel cakes, and hot dogs. The 2012 Moffat County Fair offers all of this, and more.

Over a Cup: Turkey burgers in time for grilling season

Last week, my sister Darlene Blackford, from Rocky Ford, sent me some pictures of her hen Buffy with two cute, newly-hatched black and white speckled chicks. She also sent two recipes. The first recipe is one she’s been telling me about for awhile now. It’s for turkey burgers, just in time for the grilling season. To make “Really Good Turkey Burgers,” you'll need the following ingredients:

Diane Prather: A busy summer for the Extension Office

There’s always a lot of excitement surrounding the summer activities that go on through the Moffat County Extension Office, and plenty of hustle-bustle too. This summer is no exception. First of all, the Extension Office has welcomed a new Moffat County Extension and 4-H Agent. He’s JD Sexton. JD and his wife, Lacey, have lived in Moffat County for four years. They have a little daughter, Laramie. JD looks forward to working with Moffat County producers and their families. Currently, JD is busy putting together a Drought Management Workshop for Agricultural Producers. The workshop is coming right up so mark Thursday, July 12, on your calendar. It will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

Diane prather: The strange summer of 2012

The cattle and some sheep are out on pasture now—where there is pasture. Some ranchers may still be irrigating –where there’s water to irrigate, and some may even be putting up dry land hay—where there’s hay. “Dry” is the word for this early summer—and “strange”. It’s a strange season for a number of reasons all of which are probably associated with the dry winter.

Diane Prather: A busy year for Farm Bureau

You might have seen them as you were driving along highways in the county, such as north Highway 13 or west Highway 40. They’re little billboards printed with the following message: “If you ate today, thank a rancher or farmer.” These little signs are an example of one of the projects taken on by the Moffat County Farm Bureau Federation. The organization meets year-round.

Diane Prather: Farmers at heart

This time of year, most of us are farmers at heart. It doesn’t matter what we plant, where we plant it, or the size of the planting area. We just like to garden. We enjoy getting our hands in the soil, planting seeds, and watching the tiny leaves pop through the ground.

Diane Prather: Bringing in the milk cow

When my sisters, brother and I were growing up on the ranch, we didn’t get much in the way of “store-bought” groceries. The family raised most everything. Vegetables and some fruits were grown, harvested and canned. We had our own meat and eggs.

Diane Prather: Education and fun intermingle at Ag Day

Approximately 175 fourth-graders and their teachers gathered April 26 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds to participate in Ag Day, an annual agriculture awareness event. Sponsored by the Moffat County Cattlewomen, Ag Day’s purpose is to give students a chance to experience agriculture through exhibits and demonstrations, some of which were interactive. This year, Sunset, Sandrock and Ridgeview elementary schools attended the event. Students and teachers reported to the fairgrounds at appointed times — Sandrock and Ridgeview attended in the morning and Sunset in the afternoon.

Diane Prather: Weigh-In and Tag Day upcoming for market swine, lambs and goats

Animals in 4-H and FFA market beef were weighed-in and tagged earlier this year. So now it’s time for Weigh-in and Tag Day for the other market animals. On Wednesday, market sheep and market goats will be weighed and tagged from 4 to 6:30 p.m., and market swine will have their Weigh-In and Tag Day from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday. To show or sell a market animal at the Moffat County Fair, all 4-H/FFA members enrolled in market sheep, goat, and/or swine projects are required to have their animals weighed and tagged on the designated days.

The pitfalls, scars and tradition of branding day

Calving season is winding down and ranchers are turning their attention to branding. During elementary school presentations, retired Moffat County Brand Inspector Floyd Martin tells students that brands are like return addresses — that’s how ranchers get their cattle back if they stray. So, branding is an important ranch job, indeed, especially since it won’t be long until cattle will be turned out onto summer pasture. Branding varies somewhat from ranch to ranch.

Diane Prather: 4-H leaders needed

Moffat County 4-H is looking for project leaders in the following General 4-H project areas: • Forestry, wildlife, outdoor adventures, and sport fishing. • Model rocketry. • Small engines. • Woodworking. • Baking/foods and nutrition.

Diane Prather: Calving season is here

There’s nothing more disrupting to a sleep routine than calving season. The number of cows we calve out is minuscule to that of a big ranching operation, and yet not getting enough sleep for even a night or two has a diverse effect on my writing endeavors. My brain just seems to shut down. This week we had to check a cow during the night that we had the rain, blowing snow, and cold temperatures (she ended up having twins) so my sleep schedule got off big time.

‘Kicking Up the Dust’ at 4-H District Retreat

This is what 16-year-old Derek Maiolo, of Craig, had to say about the 19th annual 4-H District Retreat. “It was an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends and to understand how they are successful, not only in 4-H but also in their communities,” he said. The retreat was March 2 through 4 at the Marriott Residence Inn in Glenwood Springs. Derek was one of eight Moffat County 4-H members who attended the retreat.

‘Kicking Up the Dust’ at 4-H District Retreat

This is what 16-year-old Derek Maiolo, of Craig, had to say about the 19th annual 4-H District Retreat. “It was an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends and to understand how they are successful, not only in 4-H but also in their communities,” he said. The retreat was March 2 through 4 at the Marriott Residence Inn in Glenwood Springs. Derek was one of eight Moffat County 4-H members who attended the retreat.

2012 market beef animals weighed and tagged

Fifty-six market beef animals were weighed in and tagged during Moffat County’s 4-H/FFA Market Beef Weigh-In and Tagging on Feb. 5 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. That’s an increase of 16 from 2011’s 40 market beef animals. Jackie Goodnow, of Colorado State University Extension, suggested a reason for the increase in 4-H/FFA Market Beef this year. “We have several members this year, plus siblings of older members who are now eligible for 4-H,” she said.

Stacy’s Beef & Bean Green Chile Stew

Each year calving season starts early for the 5 Bar Angus Ranch, owned by Aric Gerber and Stacy and Adrian Gray, of Craig. That means lots of hours spent at the corral and in the calving barn and not a lot of time to cook. This week’s column features a recipe Stacy uses during calving season. The recipe is special because it’s Stacy’s own. She experimented with ingredients until she came up with “Stacy’s Beef & Bean Green Chile Stew.” “Here is an easy recipe I like to use during calving season,” she wrote. “It does take a little planning ahead, though. Serve it with bread, salad, and dessert and you can easily feed a small group for brandings, etc. Or leftovers freeze well for busy days.”

Over A Cup: One fancy gelatin salad

I experimented with a recipe for a fancy gelatin salad a couple of weeks ago. It was fancy because two of its ingredients are whipped topping and sherbet. I first made the salad for Thanksgiving dinner, and I thought it was good and our grandson Jaycee really liked it. However, if you’re not crazy about orange flavor, you might not like it. First, the recipe for “Orange Salad” and then I’ll explain how I varied it using a different gelatin flavor. To make “Orange Salad,” you’ll need these ingredients: 2 small or 1 large carton of orange gelatin; 2 cups boiling water; 2 small cans mandarin oranges (drained); 2 cups orange sherbet; and 2 cups whipped topping.

Over A Cup: ‘Ham Chowder’ a decent replacement for clam chowder

Clam chowder has been on my mind lately, and I don’t really have a great clam chowder recipe, so that’s what I recently requested from readers. In the meantime, I recently fixed a ham. I searched my files for a recipe to use up the leftover ham pieces. That’s when I found a ham chowder recipe. The recipe calls for several ingredients, including vegetables, cubed ham and bacon. (I even thought about adding clams.) Anyway, I made the recipe, which makes a lot of servings, and it was quite tasty. I was wondering if the chowder might even have a more delicious taste if left in the refrigerator overnight. However, as it turns out, there were no leftovers, not because my husband and I ate the entire pot of chowder, but because after putting the chowder in a big bowl, I accidentally hit it with my arm. Chowder ran down the cabinet doors, drenched my socks, and covered the floor in one gooey mess. Pieces of potatoes and ham skipped across the floor to the other side of the kitchen. I hadn’t cleaned up such a mess in a long time.

Over A Cup: A hearty meal for the cold winter months

Recently, over a morning cup of coffee, I checked out my files and cookbooks, searching for main meal recipes to cook for supper. It seems like I always have a struggle deciding what to cook after having all of the luscious food during the holidays. So, I found a recipe for “Whole Meal Ground Beef Casserole” that I’ve made one time before. I cut the recipe from some newspaper a bunch of years ago. The recipe gets its name because the casserole dish has meat, a green vegetable, and potatoes, everything to make a whole meal. It’s a variation on other potato puff casseroles.

Over A Cup: A hearty meal for the cold winter months

Recently, over a morning cup of coffee, I checked out my files and cookbooks, searching for main meal recipes to cook for supper. It seems like I always have a struggle deciding what to cook after having all of the luscious food during the holidays. So I found a recipe for “Whole Meal Ground Beef Casserole” that I’ve made one time before. I cut the recipe from some newspaper a bunch of years ago. The recipe gets its name because the casserole dish has meat, a green vegetable, and potatoes, everything to make a whole meal. It’s a variation on other potato puff casseroles. To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients: 1 pound ground beef, ½ medium chopped onion, ½ cup chopped celery, 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas (unthawed), 1 can (10 ¾ -ounce) cream of asparagus soup, ½ cup milk, salt and pepper (to taste), and 1 package frozen potato puffs, unthawed.

Agriculture & Livestock: Poring over spring seed catalogs

Seed catalogs start arriving in the mail each year just before Christmas, some with discount coupons for orders sent in before the spring rush begins. Poring over seed catalogs can cause the senses to trigger memories of warm April/May planting days, the once-a-year odor of richly tilled soils that are “coming alive,” and the feel of garden soil on the hands. So, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, many gardeners like to take out the seed catalogs and pass long winter nights by deciding what to plant in that summer’s garden. Not so with others, however. “Shame on you for doing this to us (writing about seed catalogs) in January,” Craig resident Lorrae Moon said. Moon chuckled.

Agriculture & Livestock: Looking back on 2011, ahead to the new year

The end of 2011 and the beginning of the new year may have found area residents in a reflective mood. These reflections may include reasons to be thankful. For example, a ranch or farm family might be grateful for: • A stackyard full of hay bales. • The previous summer’s plentiful pasture and stock ponds filled with water. • Enough summer pasture to let cattle and sheep graze into fall.

Over a Cup: Making hamburger buns

Craig resident Betty Ann Duzik submitted this week’s recipes. She said she adapted the recipes, which originally came from Taste of Home, an annual event sponsored each year by the Craig Daily Press. The first recipe for “40-Minute Hamburger Buns” makes buns that Betty Ann said her husband Pat likes better than the store-bought kind. Betty Ann also uses the recipe to make hot dog buns. To make “40-Minute Hamburger Buns,” you’ll need the following ingredients: 2 tablespoons active dry yeast; 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110 to 115 degrees); 1/3 cup vegetable oil; 1/4 cup sugar; 1 egg; 1 teaspoon salt; and 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to make a soft dough.

Over A Cup: ‘Chocolate Mice’ a treat for the holidays

Here it is at last — the recipe for chocolate mice. It was sent in by Dollie Frentress, of Craig. To make “Chocolate Eve Mice,” you will need these ingredients: 24 double-stuffed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies; 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips; 2 teaspoons shortening; 24 red maraschino cherries with stems (well-drained);24 milk chocolate kisses; 48 sliced almonds; 1 small tube green decorative icing gel; and 1 small tube red decorative icing gel. Carefully twist cookies apart; set aside the halves with cream filling. Save plain halves for another use. In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and shortening.

Agriculture & Livestock: Taking down the tree

There are memories associated with decorating the house for Christmas for those connected to family traditions. This is especially true with the Christmas tree. Sometimes it’s after all the hustle and bustle that we really take time to reflect on these memories — like the day we take the tree down. For this story, assume that it’s a grandma who is doing the “taking down.” She goes to the storage shed to bring out the boxes marked “Christmas” and “fragile.”

Agriculture & Livestock: Memories like books in a library

A few weeks ago, our family went to watch our granddaughter, Jessica, perform in Moffat County High School’s musical production of “Footloose.” After the performance, as everyone was congratulating the cast, one of the parents talked about memories made that night. I’ve thought about memories since then. To me, it seems memories are stored in the brain much like books are shelved in a library. Some memories are “pushed back in the stacks” because they’re painful. Others seem to be stored right where we can get them.

Over a cup of coffee: ‘Beef Candy’ a recommendation from a great cook

This week, I baked “Courtney’s Pumpkin Spice Cookies.” A reader described the cookies as “awesome.” When I gathered up the ingredients for the cookies, I realized I had only a half a bag of chocolate chips. I made them anyway, but I think the cookies would have been richer with a full bag of chips. My husband and I agreed that some chopped nuts could be added to the ingredients. Thanks again, Courtney.

Agriculture & Livestock: Enrolling in 4-H for 2012

Youth development, life skills, leadership skills, and community service — they’re all part of the 4-H program. Moffat County 4-H members and leaders just celebrated the end of the 2011 4-H year, and now it’s time to enroll for 2012. The 4-H ages, as of Jan. 1 of the current enrollment year, are: traditional 4-H: 8 to 18 years old, and Cloverbuds: 5 to 7 years old. To be eligible for completion of 2012 projects, 4-H enrollment must be received by June 1, 2012.

Over A Cup: Making holiday candy

Over a cup of coffee, one recent morning, my thoughts went to gathering up all of the pumpkins, scarecrows and turkeys that have been decorating the house for the fall holidays. Soon to follow will be Christmas decorating, and cooking up candies and cookies. One of my favorite candy recipes came from the side of a Kroger saltine box. The recipe is easy to make and absolutely delicious. It’s hard to tell from the ingredients, but this candy tastes just like toffee. To make “Saltine Chocolate Pieces,” you will need these ingredients: 1 sleeve (about 37 ) Kroger saltines; 3/4 cup brown sugar; 1 cup butter; 12-ounce (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate pieces; and 3/4 cup chopped nuts.

Agriculture & Livestock: Celebrating 2011 4-H Year — Part 3

Moffat County 4-H members excelled in project work during 2011, and over three weeks the Agriculture & Livestock pages of the Craig Daily Press have featured stories about their achievements that were recognized during the annual 4-H Achievement Night on Nov. 4. The following 4-H members went that extra step to understand and demonstrate the importance of good record-keeping during their project journeys. The Best-Kept Livestock and Horse Records were presented to: • One Enterprise — junior: first place: Josie Timmer, second place: Jared Baker, third place: Joel Ross, fourth place: Tiffany Hildebrandt, and fifth place: Brayden Tuttle. • One Enterprise — intermediate: first place: Sarye Morgan, second place: Sadye Morgan, third place: Keenan Hildebrandt, fourth place: Bryce Tuttle, and fifth place: Brittany Swindler.

Over A Cup: Using those Thanksgiving leftovers

There I was on Tuesday, with Thanksgiving just two days away. Before I could start cooking dishes to take to our son and family’s house, my husband and I had to clean up leftovers from meals I fixed when our other son and grandchildren were here last week. When thinking of Thanksgiving leftovers, I was considering ways to use up traditional holiday dishes that we find in our refrigerators after the big dinner. Leftover vegetables (from veggie trays) can be used in lunches when we go back to work. Or, they can be chopped up and used in making soups and stews.

Over A Cup: Pumpkin cookies: the spice of Thanksgiving

You may have noticed that last week’s column was a little short in length. There were supposed to be two recipes in the column, but when the editor tried to retrieve the column from my flash drive device, part of the first recipe was missing. She couldn’t reach me in time to get the entire recipe so she had no choice but to go with just one. So, you’ll find “Pumpkin Cookies” in this week’s column. First, however, is another cookie recipe with pumpkin in its ingredients. It comes from Courtney Ewing, of Moab, Utah. Courtney is a physical therapist who has been helping out at Rehabilitation Services of Craig this week. She says this recipe is quick and delicious. I know that I’m going to try the recipe this weekend. Here it is — just in time for Thanksgiving.

Agriculture & Livestock: Celebrating the 2011 4-H Year: Part 2

This is the second part of the awards and recognitions from Moffat County 4-H Achievement Night, held at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion on the evening of Nov. 4. During the year, three 4-H members in the horse project passed advancement levels. Those members are: Mattie Jo Duzik, Level 2 Western; Ripley Bellio, Level 2 Western; and Taylor Duzik, Level 4 Western. Awards were presented to 4-H members enrolled in livestock, horse, dog, rabbit and poultry projects. The following members received awards: • Outstanding Dog Exhibitor Award (composition of points from obedience score, showmanship score and record book score): Emma Balstad.

Agriculture & Livestock: Celebrating the 2011 4-H Year — Part 1

Celebrating the achievements of the 2011 4-H year was the focus of the annual Moffat County 4-H Achievement Night, held the evening of November 4 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion in Craig. In attendance were 4-H members, leaders, parents and special guests. After the welcome, presentation of colors and pledges, 4-H agent Alisa Comstock introduced speaker Rich Wolter. Wolter, a motivational youth speaker, travels all over the world with his message that “Dreams don’t have to stay dreams.” He has spent the last decade mentoring, coaching, motivating and inspiring teens to reach for their dreams.

Over A Cup: Chocolate chip squares great for holidays

First of all, I made the “Quick Venison Rotini Soup” featured in last week’s column, using ground beef instead of venison. It turned out to be a thick soup that had a little too much chili seasoning for my taste. The next time, I would add one packet of seasoning and taste the soup before adding the other. I’d also add more liquid (water or juice from tomatoes) and eliminate the sugar.However, this would be for my taste. You might like it just fine.

Agriculture & Livestock: Signs of a new hunting season

This time of year is a busy time for ranchers. Among their jobs: gathering strays from summer pasture; weaning, preconditioning and selling calves; “preg” testing; winterizing farm equipment; and, for some, hauling in hay. Besides all this work, some ranchers are now busy with another branch of their business — hunting season.

Over A Cup: Venison time of year

Thanks to Marlene Meredith, of Meeker, this week’s column features two more wild game recipes. Marlene sent me a packet of wild game recipes that you’ll find in this column every now and then. Since the weather is so cold and snowy, I chose a chili and a soup recipe for this week. I haven’t tried these recipes, but they sound wonderful.

Over A Cup: Goodies for Halloween

It can’t be that Halloween is here already, but here it is and the snow to go along with it. It’s fun to make Halloween goodies with kids, and so I found two recipes in my file that are fun to make and quick, too. Chow mein noodles can be used to make treats for all kinds of occasions. I’ve used them to make haystacks and bird nests. This week’s two recipes are used in making spiders.

Agriculture & Livestock: Halloween memories on Morapos Creek

Each year when Halloween rolls around, I think about those years when my siblings and I were growing up at the family ranch on Morapos Creek. Surprisingly, I remember the weather on Halloween night to be crisp and clear, though it undoubtedly had snowed earlier in the month. I remember the crunch of fallen leaves as we were out and about. Whatever the weather was like, we looked forward to the holiday. We girls can’t remember wearing Halloween costumes to school.

Over A Cup: Calling for wild game recipes

Someone asked me the other day if I had any good wild meat recipes, so that’s what I was thinking about one recent morning over a cup of coffee. I remember when my sisters, brother and I were kids growing up on the ranch. Our family used to take day outings in the fall (when the work was finished), and we often cooked elk burgers over an outdoor fire. The elk meat had been mixed with beef suet when it was being processed, and it was delicious. I also enjoy chili made with ground elk.

Agriculture & Livestock: Keeping food safe

Fresh fruits and vegetables provide nutrients that are an important part of our diets. Even when winter sets in, and there are no gardens or produce markets, we still find a wide variety of fresh produce at local grocery stores. What a lot of ways we can prepare fresh fruit and vegetable dishes.

Over A Cup: Delicious salad recipes courtesy of Phyllis

While at the library last week, I came upon “Lettuce Feed You Luncheon Favorites,” a recipe book put together by the Yampa Valley Ladies Golf Association. (Remember when they used to host a salad luncheon?) The little recipe book was used in a fundraiser activity back in 2004. Among the book’s delicious recipes were several that had been submitted by Craig resident Phyllis Virden. So, I called Phyllis and got permission to include some of them in Over a Cup of Coffee.

Agriculture & Livestock: Keeping fruits and vegetables safe

All it takes is a visit to the grocery store to remind ourselves what a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are available to consumers. Fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious and nutritionally beneficial, but as with any other food products, steps must be taken to ensure product safety and quality. “Guide to Washing Fresh Produce,” No. 9.380, is one in a series of brochures produced by Colorado State University Extension. It was written by A. Zander, Boulder County Extension Agent and M. Bunning, Extension Food Safety Specialist and Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. According to information provided in the brochure, there are seven steps to limiting bacterial contamination and pesticides.

Over A Cup: Grandma Osborn’s berry-marble cobbler

This week’s recipes were sent in by Patty Nicodemus, of Craig. The first one is special. It’s “Grandma Osborn’s berry-marble cobbler.” Grandma Osborn was Patty’s grandma, and she was my grandma, too. Patty said that she was visiting Grandma one day when Grandma cut the cobbler recipe out of the “Capper’s Weekly” and made the cobbler.

Agriculture & Livestock: Enjoying the fall season

We spend money for vacations, eating out, entertainment and other pleasures. But have you ever noticed that some of the greatest pleasures in life don’t cost anything at all? Take the fall season, for example. Spending outdoors on a sunny, warm day in surroundings alive with color can provide plenty of enjoyable experiences.

Agriculture & Livestock: Colorado State Fair Livestock Results 2011

This story has information about two very different topics — Moffat County’s showing during the Junior Livestock Show at the Colorado State Fair, and a workshop on pressure canning meats. First of all, the workshop will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall Kitchen, 398 Poplar St., in Hayden.

Over A Cup: ‘Vegetable Stuffed Shells’ a great way to get kids to eat veggies

Sometimes I buy a box of large pasta shells and follow the directions on the pasta box to make stuffed shells. The resulting dish is pasta shells filled with a meat/cheese mixture that was baked in a casserole with a spaghetti sauce in the bottom (and perhaps spooned over the shells). Anyway, this week’s recipe is similar, except that the pasta shell filling is filled with vegetables.

Agriculture & Livestock: State Fair General 4-H Project Awards

Exhibitors from Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties brought home ribbons galore for General 4-H Projects at the 2011 Colorado State Fair in August. Placings for the exhibit categories are as follows:

Over A Cup: Especially anxious to try ‘Zucchini Pie’

Our zucchini plants recently got nipped by frost. I hope the little zucchinis will somehow survive, especially since Craig resident Mary Burnett sent me two zucchini recipes. The first recipe is unusual, and I’m especially anxious to try it. To make “Zucchini Pie,” you’ll need: 1 baked pie shell (cooled); 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk; 9-ounce carton Cool Whip; 6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate; and 2 cups shredded raw unpeeled zucchini (drain on paper towels).

Over a cup: ‘Italian Zucchini Casserole’ the right fit for garden vegetables

The fall season is here, but there are still late garden vegetables to cook. We didn’t plant much of a garden this past spring, but I did put in two hills of zucchini, and even though the plants have been slow in producing squash, I’ve been picking a few. Last night, I used about four cups to make “Italian Zucchini Casserole.”

Over a Cup: Cutting down on the sugar

If you want to cut down on the amount of sugar and still have delicious cookies, this is the column for you. The “Over the Cup of Coffee” column on Aug. 20, 2011, featured a recipe for “Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies.” After she received the paper with the recipe, Donna Sweet, of Craig, called me to say that she has the exact recipe — but she makes some substitutions.

Agriculture & Livestock: And on the first day of school …

That first day of school on Morapos Creek was special for my sisters and me. For one thing, we had new dresses, shoes and back-to-school supplies, which was a big thing in those days. We didn’t get new things all that often, even a new box of crayons. Secondly, we liked school and enjoyed being with our friends.

Over a Cup: A glutten-free recipe for ‘lemon flip cake’

Meeker resident Peggy Bodine-Reese recently faxed me two gluten-free recipes that she found in an old cookbook of her grandmother’s. They sound delicious. Peggy wrote that originally this first recipe for “lemon flip cake” called for regular flour. The only thing Peggy changed was substituting gluten-free flour for the wheat flour called for in the recipe.

Over a Cup: Cookies for summer abundance

It seems as if it should still be July. That may be the reason that I’m still featuring rhubarb recipes. As I wrote this week’s column, I realized that the rhubarb supply in your garden may be depleted. In that case, maybe you can clip this recipe and keep it for next year.

Agriculture & Livestock: Remembering the country school

All it takes is the sound of crickets in the evening to trigger memories of the fall. And then, the scents of rabbit brush, sagebrush, and “sunflower” — a composite plant that has a blossom resembling a sunflower but isn’t really a sunflower at all — cause memories of our country school to come flooding back to me. The memories come from my years growing up on our Morapos Creek ranch with my sisters and brother.

Agriculture & Livestock: After the fair

Tonight’s 4-H and FFA Junior Livestock Sale marks the end of this year’s Moffat County Fair. There’s just checkout of exhibits from the pavilion and the display area under the grandstands. That takes place on Sunday. Breeding animals and horses will be taken home and the fairgrounds barn cleaned up. Boxes and boxes of ribbons and other judging supplies will be returned to the extension office. The fair will officially end later this month with the carcass contest.

Over A Cup: A casserole for busy days

Some time ago, Donna Deakins, of Craig, brought me a recipe for “Hungry Boys’ Casserole.” I have a bad habit of slipping a recipe into whatever cookbook I have open at the time and then not being able to find it again. That’s the case with Donna’s recipe. I think this would be a great casserole to make when you need to feed hungry workers (such as branding day on the ranch).

Agriculture & Livestock: Haying season 2011

Ranch work is identified by the “season,” each one coinciding with the time of the year. For example, there’s calving season, lambing season and gathering season. But right now, it’s haying season that’s in full swing.

Over a Cup: Ideal recipes for leftover rhubarb from the garden

I hope everyone has some rhubarb left in their gardens because this week’s column features a rhubarb pie recipe, a “different” recipe. It comes from Illena Updike, of Craig. Illena says, “The great part (of the recipe) is that you use only one pie crust.” So here it is.

Agriculture & Livestock: 4-H Code of Conduct designed to instill values

Parents want their children to grow up to be responsible, respectful, happy adults. In addition, parents see their children as adult leaders in their communities — even in their nation. So on their way to becoming adults, children learn life’s lessons through a variety of experiences. Certainly their lessons begin with their own family values, but children learn through school and extracurricular activities, too.

Over a Cup: Chicken Tortilla Stacks customizable dinner recipe

Remember when Patty Myers of rural Craig asked readers to help her find a recipe she lost when working on her kitchen? Well, she found it again. Patty has tried the recipe and says they really like it. So here it is.

Agriculture & Livestock: Buzz of activity at Moffat County Fair’s home and garden exhibition

The 93rd Moffat County Fair will be held Aug. 7 to 13 at the fairgrounds in Craig. The fair days will be packed with competitions and other events. One of the busiest days of the fair will be Aug. 10. That’s the day youth and open exhibits in home and garden (home canning and preservation, baking, sewing and needlework, vegetables and flowers, photography and art, and crafts and hobbies) will be judged.

Over a cup of coffee for Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gluten-free casserole sweetens up summer

Patty Myers of rural Craig found the recipe for “Chicken Tortilla Stacks” that she lost while remodeling her kitchen. (Remember her request, printed in this column, several weeks ago?) Since then, Patty has had a chance to try the recipe, she says it’s good, and she will share it with us next week.

Agriculture & Livestock: Preserving foods for the county fair

Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt county fairs will be here soon, and since it’s the season to preserve foods for winter, some of you might be thinking about entering canned and/or dried foods in competition. It’s always fun to share tips for canning and drying foods with other exhibitors, and it’s exciting to compete for that blue — even purple — ribbon.

Agriculture & Livestock: Why not a day designated for cows?

People celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparents’ Day. There’s even a Children’s Day. Secretaries have their own day, and bosses, too. Some stores have a Customer Appreciation Day, and there are a lot more examples of days set aside to honor and show appreciation for people, even animals. This week, Craig resident Deana Cheatham told me that July 16 is designated as Cow Appreciation Day.

Agriculture & Livestock: Youth reflect well on Moffat County at state conference

Alisa Comstock, Moffat County 4-H extension agent, described this year’s delegates to the state 4-H conference as “four amazing boys.” “They were polite, very courteous, very respectful and fun,” Comstock said. Derek Maiolo, Seth Morgan, Austin Luker and Will Pilgrim represented Moffat County at the 2011 Colorado State Conference June 21 through 24 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Agriculture & Livestock: A ranch-style Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is just a few days away, and I’ve been trying to remember how we celebrated the holiday years ago, when my siblings and I were growing up on the ranch. I even called my brother, Duane, and sisters, Charlotte and Darlene. We all agree that it was rare for us to take the day off to celebrate the Fourth. It’s not that we weren’t patriotic, but the holiday fell during a very busy time for the ranch. First of all, it was likely that the cattle were being moved to summer range.

Agriculture & Livestrock: A tribute to farm and ranch dads

In the course of their businesses, farm and ranch dads work in the fields, feed livestock in the winter, work cattle and sheep, watch cows and sheep at all hours during calving and lambing seasons, plow snow, and a lot more. Not only that, but they often work away from home, too. However, no matter how much work they have to do, farm and ranch dads always have time for their families.

Agriculture & Livestock: Until the cows go

All during the late fall and winter, ranchers fed hay to their cows — every single day. Besides that, there were the other chores that went along with feeding, such as keeping an ice-free, fresh water supply. Then calving time arrived, followed by branding.

Over a Cup: Indian butter chicken seasoned to your tastes

This week’s column features another of Heidi Balaraman’s Indian recipes. Heidi lives in Colorado Springs, and as you may remember, is a frequent contributor to this column. She wrote that this recipe came from an Indian restaurant owner in San Francisco. To make “Authentic Butter Chicken,” you will need the following ingredients: 4 tablespoons butter, 2 to 3 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon pounded ginger, 1 teaspoon pounded garlic, 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno, 1 diced onion, 1 whole chicken (cut up), 3 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 teaspoons garam masala powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1 tablespoon + salt, 10 cashews (soaked and ground up), 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup cream (divided into two half cups) and 1 bunch of cilantro (chopped).

Agriculture & Livestock: Preventative measures taken against EHV-1

A media release from the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office, dated May 23, updated the status of EHV-1 (equine herpesvirus) in the state. As of noon May 23: • Nine horses have been confirmed with EHV-1. • Two horses, which tested positive for EHV-1, were euthanized after showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease.

Prathers Picks: ‘A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea’ an enjoyable children’s book

Imagine that you’re standing along a street in your hometown, watching a parade pass by. A few hundred members of a marching band look regal, indeed, in their red and white uniforms, trimmed with gold buttons and braid. The band members march in perfect formation as they play a band tune. There’s nothing unusual about this scene, but now imagine that the band members are pigs.

Agriculture & Livestock: Spring cleaning always a chore

Along with warmer weather comes spring cleaning, and as I prepare to clean the house, my thoughts turn to the rural women of years ago who spring cleaned without the modern conveniences such as the washer and dryer, vacuum, steam cleaners, and running water. How much we take for granted in today’s world. Back when ranchers and farmers settled in the West, houses were closed up all winter so the women took advantage of a sunny, spring day to open the windows and doors and let their houses air out.

Over a Cup: Glutten-free ‘Homemade Spaghetti Sauce’

This column features another gluten-free recipe, courtesy of Meeker resident Peggy Bodine-Reese. First, check out the recipe for “Homemade Spaghetti Sauce,” which I want to try, followed by Peggy’s comments concerning gluten-free pastas. To make “Homemade Spaghetti Sauce,” you will need the following ingredients: 3 tablespoons olive oil; 4 tablespoons sweet butter; 3 cloves crushed garlic; 6 large tomatoes, chopped, or one No. 2 can Italian tomatoes with liquid; 2 bay leaves; 8 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped; 1 sprig thyme, chopped; and 1 sprig fennel or basil, chopped.

Agriculture & Livestock: A tribute to ranch and farm wives

This time of year, when the weather is unpredictable, ranchers have to brand when they get a dry day and when help is available, even on a day like Mother’s Day. So, on Mother’s Day, some ranch moms may have spent the day sorting calves, filling hypodermic syringes and fixing a meal for the branding crew. Thinking about Mother’s Day brandings led this author to reflect on the responsibilities of ranch and farm wives.

Over a Cup: Hush puppies good to complement a fish dinner

A couple of days ago, I received a recipe for hush puppies from Dixie Jones, of Meeker. You might remember that recipes for hush puppies was a request of Heidi Balaraman, of Colorado Springs, who was looking for one for her mother, Robbie Estus, of Craig. Dixie remembered the hush puppies recipe from “New Southern Cooking” book, written by Nathalie Dupree and copyrighted in 1986. The recipe is included in this column so that you can make hush puppies, too.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Cooking with cabbage

This week, Terrie Barrie, of Craig, called me with some interesting information about cabbage rolls. She had read last week’s “Over a Cup of Coffee,” in which I wrote about a reader’s request for a cabbage roll recipe that called for either vinegar or lemon juice. Terrie called her mother. It turns out that Terrie’s mother has made cabbage rolls using the recipe that most of us have.

Agriculture & Livestock: Turning the calendar to May

In March, a story by this author on the Agriculture & Livestock page reflected on the signs that spring was not far off. It seems that spring is late this year, possibly because the weather turned wintery-like back in the fall. But we’ve finally turned our calendars to May, a busy month for ranchers since it marks “turn out” time for livestock and field work in hay meadows — both of which require plenty of work.

Agriculture & Livestock: Ag-Day 2011 approaching

On May 5, Moffat County fourth-graders, their teachers and community volunteers will gather at the Moffat County Fairgrounds in Craig for the annual Ag-Day, sponsored by the Moffat County Cattlewomen. It’s an annual agricultural awareness event, which had its beginning more than 10 years ago. In all its years, Ag-Day has been cancelled only once, for a spring snowstorm that would have prevented some out-of-town presenters from attending.

Over A Cup: Calling out for cabbage rolls and smoothie recipes

A reader recently called to see if I knew of a cabbage roll recipe that had either vinegar or lemon juice in the ingredients. I didn’t. The cabbage roll recipe that I use (that I keep in my head) calls for ground beef, rice, egg, salt and pepper, tomato sauce, and cabbage, of course.

Over A Cup: Heidi’s ‘Kaima with Veggies’ a unique chili

Happy Easter. This is an opportunity to try Iva Decker’s tips for using leftover ham and hardboiled eggs in her “Napa Cabbage Salad” and to bake her “No Crust Pie,” recipes that were featured in the April 9 column. This week’s column features an Indian recipe from Heidi Balaraman of Colorado Springs.

Agriculture & Livestock: Memorable Easters, indeed

A late Easter means a late spring. That’s a common saying among Moffat County folks. Easter can’t be any later this year, but have we experienced a late spring?

Over a Cup: ‘Radish Pickles’ a good addition to green salads, good on meat

Radish Pickles, what an intriguing recipe, and it’s gluten free. Besides that, I think you might enjoy trying this recipe even if you’re not on a special diet. Peggy Bodine-Reese sent this recipe in.

Diane Prather: Yampa Valley Hens and Chicks off, running

It may surprise readers to know there’s an international organization known as the Farmgirl Sisterhood. Now, there’s a local chapter, too, and its name is creative indeed. Susan Domer, a member of the Yampa Valley Hens and Chicks, chuckled as she explained how the local chapter got its name.

Over a Cup: An all-around salad

My husband, Lyle, barbecued steaks last Saturday. Then on Sunday, there was a blizzard, so I teased him that he brought on the storm with his barbecue. The steaks were delicious, though, and it was great to get the grilling season started.

Over a Cup: Try this scrumptious ‘Sopapilla Cheesecake’

Remember the “Taco Soup” I featured in this column a few weeks ago? It was contributed by Lona Allum, of Maryland. I finally got a chance to try the recipe, and we liked it, especially served with taco chips.

Agriculture & Livestock: Moffat County participants enjoy ‘4-H Got Game’ retreat

Having celebrated its 100th birthday last year, Colorado 4-H is now “Ready for Another 100 Years.” And so, getting on with business to begin the next 100 years, 13 Moffat County 4-H members, chaperones and 4-H Agent Alisa Comstock recently traveled to Glenwood Springs to attend the 18th Annual District 11 and 12 Retreat. The retreat took place March 18 through 20 at the Marriott Residence and Marriott Courtyard in Glenwood Springs. Counties in District 11 include: Moffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield and Eagle. Those in District 12 are: Routt, Jackson, Grand and Summit. (Summit County did not attend.)

Agriculture & Livestock: Things I might not have noticed …

When I’m doing something away from home, people are used to hearing me say, “I have to go home now so I can fill the water tanks.” In fact, if I’d saved a penny for each time I’d said it, I would have quite a lot of money set aside. The “water tanks” are cow watering tanks, and I’m responsible for keeping two to three of them full of water.

Diane Prather: ‘Special crackers’ with a kick

This week’s column begins with an unusual recipe. It comes from Craig resident Myrtle Bates, who has contributed to the column previously. I always enjoy visiting with Myrtle.

Agriculture & Livestock: Signs that spring is near

Although it seems like the drifted snow and ice will never melt, for this author, there are signs that spring isn’t far off. Consider the following: • The tulips are coming up along a building wall where it’s bared off and warm.

Over a Cup: ‘Creamed Taco Casserole’— an easy to make recipe, even if you’re missing ingredients

This week’s column begins with a couple of notes about the column. First of all, a featured recipe is put within a box so it’s handy to clip and file. However, additional information about the recipe is included within the column, so don’t forget to check it out. And sometimes if space allows, a second recipe can be found within the column, too. Thanks to all my readers who call or write with questions or comments.

Over a Cup: Something for those on a gluten-free diet

This week’s column features two gluten-free recipes from Peggy Bodine Reese, a Ph.D. who has lived in Meeker for the past 20 years. Now in her 80s, Peggy said that she is interested in a lot of different things, one of which is a gluten-free diet. She was on such a diet from age 10 to her teenage years, and has recently returned to eating gluten-free recipes because of health issues. Peggy works out of her home, too.

Prathers Pick: ‘Bunkhouse’ resonates with Moffat County’s past

What is a cowboy? In the introduction to his book, “The Bunkhouse at Elkhead Creek: Stories and Verse of Present-Day Life and Living in Northwest Colorado,” author Les Hampton poses that question and then gives his impressions about a cowboy. “A cowboy today,” he writes, “surely owns a horse, rides, ropes and wears the hat, works with cows and lives in the remote regions of the West.”

Over A Cup: Ready for an unusual but tasty meal? This casserole’s for you

Last weekend, I made the “Pizza Casserole” featured in last week’s column. I had forgotten just how much the recipe makes, or I would have cut it in half for the two of us. The 9-by-13-inch casserole dish was filled to the top, and it was heavy. We have lots of leftover “Pizza Casserole.”

Diane Prather: Moffat County 4-H and FFA fares well at National Western Stock Show

The 2011 National Western Stock Show in Denver has come and gone, and Moffat County 4-H and FFA members brought home not only a lot of awards, but numerous memories, too. Craig resident Phyllis DeLong summed it up. “No matter whether it’s pigs or goats or lambs or whatever, kids that go to big shows are good at what they do,” she said.

Over A Cup: ‘Pizza Casserole’ and a dessert salad, too

If you ever crave pizza, but don’t want to take time to make the crust, “Pizza Casserole” might be for you. The pasta for the casserole might even be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated until it’s time to put the casserole together. To make “Pizza Casserole,” you’ll need the following ingredients: 2 pounds of ground beef or half ground Italian sausage, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 16 ounces of curly-roni (macaroni), 15 1/2 ounces of pizza sauce, 1 small can tomato sauce, 1 package of pepperoni and 1 package of Mozzarella cheese.

Diane Prather: Extension hosting Range Management School

The Moffat County Extension Office, 539 Barclay St., is hosting Range Management School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday in Craig. This is a special school. Since its beginning in 1995, the Range Management School has had more than 7,000 participants from across the West.

Diane Prather: The artistic practice of quilting alive and well

An article about quilting for Agriculture & Livestock? What does agriculture have to do with quilting? Charlotte Allum, of Fort Collins, who teaches quilting classes for The Fig Leaf, a quilting store in the city, said quilting came to America with the earliest colonists. Quilts were necessary to keep people warm.

Over A Cup — Lona’s advice: ‘Taco Soup’ a winning recipe

Last week, my sister Charlotte Allum and her husband John visited their son and family in Maryland. During the visit, their daughter-in-law Lona made “Taco Soup.” Charlotte said she and their little grandson were in charge of opening cans and pouring them into the soup pot.

Over a Cup: Chicken enchiladas perfect for ‘can’t-get-out’ days at home

This morning, over a cup of coffee, I thought about what I was going to cook for dinner. Maybe it’s just these snowy, can’t-get-out-and-do-things days, but I can’t even think what I’m hungry for. So, I went through my files and came up with “Chicken Enchiladas.” I haven’t made them in awhile (maybe because I have to cook, bone and chop up the chicken, first). To make these “Chicken Enchiladas,” you will need: 12 corn tortillas, 4 cups diced cooked chicken, 2 (10 1/2-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup, 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies, 1 pint sour cream, 1 small bunch of green onions and tops (chopped), and 1 pound of cheddar cheese (shredded).

Over a Cup: ‘America’s Best Bread’ a warm treat

As I wrote in my last column, I got a wonderful surprise about two weeks ago when my neighbor, Meriam Zimmerman, came to the house with a loaf of warm bread and the recipe for making it. It was perfect timing because I had just gotten home from work and was trying to get the chores done. I was cold, and tired and hungry, too, and I really enjoyed the bread when I finally got inside.

Diane Prather: Preparing Betty Ann’s ‘Crispix Mix’

Craig resident Betty Ann Duzik said she received a great recipe just before Christmas. Over the holidays, she got comments that it was better than Chex Mix. Betty Ann adapted the recipe for “Crispix Mix” for the oven, but the microwave directions are included in this column, too. First of all, here are the ingredients, which are the same no matter which way you prepare them. You will need: 1 cup brown sugar, 1 stick butter, 1/4 cup white corn syrup, 12.3-ounce box Crispix cereal, 10-ounce package pretzels, 2 cups peanuts, 2 pounds M&Ms, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon soda.

Over a Cup: Looking forward to Valentine’s Day

The holidays usually sneak up on me, so I decided to get a jump on Valentine’s Day that will be here before we know it. When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of cherries, and this week I have two recipes using them. The first recipe is a favorite that I’d actually forgotten about until I found it in my file. It’s easy to make and delicious.

Diane Prather: Ag projects on tap for 2011

A new year has just begun, but the Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University Extension Office are already announcing plans for upcoming events and projects. First off, Northwest Colorado farmers and ranchers might be interested in attending the seventh annual Arkansas Valley Farm/Ranch/Water Symposium and Trade Show on Feb. 3 at the William L. Gobin Community Building in Rocky Ford. The one-day workshop will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Over a Cup:A soup for cold days and nights

First of all, I have a request for gluten-free recipes. If you have any of these recipes, please call me at 824-8809 or write to me at PO box 415, Craig, CO, 81626. A hearty bowl of soup, a salad, and bread — it’s a menu made for cold days and nights. I tend to rely on the same soup and chili recipes because I can make them from memory. However, this weekend I found enough time to try a new “Beef Barley Soup” recipe.

Diane Prather: County ag organizations setting 2011 agendas

What 2011 will bring is anybody’s guess, but one thing’s for sure: Moffat County agriculture organizations are already busy planning their agendas for the year. Take Moffat County Farm Bureau, for example. Newly-elected president Stan Sjostrom said the organization is going to organize a membership drive. Indeed, it will take lots of members to carry out the organization’s goals.

Rancher's goodies for a new year

The day after Christmas, the gift-wrapping has been thrown out, but evidence that gifts have been opened remains. Gifts have been left on the coffee table, beside the sofa, or under the Christmas tree, for example, and next to a rancher’s recliner there’s apt to be a little pile of gifts that he took from his Christmas stocking — all waiting to be put away.

Over a cup of coffee for Saturday, January 1, 2011

t doesn’t seem possible that I’ve written another year of “Over a Cup of Coffee” columns. One recent morning, over coffee, I thought about some of the recipes that were featured in the column over the year and the nice people I met who contributed recipes.

Over a Cup: A casserole tailored for Christmas

On Christmas morning, everybody wants to open gifts. Nobody probably wants to cook breakfast. That’s why overnight breakfast casseroles are so great. You just mix up the casserole the night before, let it set in the refrigerator overnight and put it in the oven the next morning.

Over a Cup: Thumbprint Cookies a festive Christmas treat

The Christmas season and thumbprint cookies just seem to go together. The cookies are small and can be filled with chopped candied fruit, such as cherries, so they look festive when put on a pretty plate with other cookies. And, they aren’t hard to make, either. To make “Thumbprint Cookies,” you’ll need: 1/2 cup soft shortening (half butter), 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed), 1 egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 egg white, 3/4 cup finely-chopped nuts and filling (see examples with the directions).

Diane Prather: A comprehensive community Christmas card

This author can remember a Christmas Eve tradition when she was growing up with her family on the ranch. After enjoying our Christmas Eve oyster stew and the dishes were cleaned up, we gathered around the dining room table again. It was time to open the Christmas cards. Mom had the stack of cards in front of her, and she opened them, one by one, reading the Christmas greetings and letters. Then the cards were passed around.

Diane Prather: Promoting learning the 4-H way

Recently, there’s been a nationwide push throughout the 4-H program to increase each 4-H member’s knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering and math. The push is known as STEM, the letters derived from each of the disciplines listed in the previous sentence. STEM is also an acknowledgment of what has already been done in this area, as science, technology, engineering and math are incorporated into the project work.

Over a Cup: Potato casseroles to warm you up

Awhile back, after our kids were here, I had some ham leftover — more than was needed for ham and beans. So, I looked through my “to try” file and found a recipe to use ham and potatoes in a casserole. (I later made the ham and beans, too.) First off, these are the ingredients to use in making “Potato and Ham Casserole.” (Then I’ll explain what happened when I made the casserole.) You’ll need: 6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced; 1 medium onion, chopped; salt and pepper, to taste; 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of cooked ham, cut into 1-inch pieces; 3 tablespoons flour; 3 tablespoons butter or margarine; 21/2 cups milk; and 4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese.

Over a Cup: Recipes ripe for the season

Whoever heard of Christmas without fruitcake? This week, Beulah Kline, of Craig, sent her recipe for fruitcake. This recipe and my sister Darlene Blackford’s recipe for peanut butter honey cookies are featured in this column.

Diane Prather: Tips for a safe Christmas

It’s common to overhear statements like the following these days: “It’s Dec. 1 already, and we don’t have our outdoor decorations up yet,” or “I need to bake so that I can send Aunt Ruth her favorite cookies by Christmas.” Thoughts concerned with getting everything done by Christmas can be overwhelming, indeed. And yet, we need to take care that the holiday is safe for our family and friends, pets and even livestock. For example, consider the placement of outdoor lights, garlands and wreaths. On a ranch they need to be put up out of the reach of cattle and sheep.

Diane Prather: A farmer or rancher’s Christmas list

The wheat harvest is done, and the hay is stacked, waiting for winter feeding. Hunting season is over (for the most part, anyway), and farmers and ranchers got a well-deserved break while celebrating Thanksgiving. While enjoying leftover turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie, people are going over their Christmas lists, trying to decide what gifts to buy for friends and family.

Over a Cup: A couple of Thanksgiving recipe favorites

Thanksgiving is Thursday, so cooks everywhere have been searching for their favorite family recipes. Have you ever noticed how popular plates of “finger foods” are with Thanksgiving guests? For example, guests are drawn to “veggies” and a dip, arranged on a pretty serving plate. Nibbling on celery and carrots helps keep hunger in check as the main course dishes are set out. And then in the evening, after the meal has settled, guests can’t resist a plate of cookies.

Over a Cup: ‘15-Minute Chicken Chili’

Last week, this column featured a white chili recipe, courtesy of Phyllis Barainca of Craig. This week, Mary Burnett, also of Craig, sent two more white chili recipes.

Diane Prather: 4-H Achievement Night 2010 — part 1

Moffat County’s Annual 4-H Achievement Night, recognizing the many accomplishments of 4-H members for 2010, took place Nov. 5 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. 4-H members were able to pick up completion certificates, livestock record books, and picture trophies (for Grand Champion winners). Packets of such items were placed in boxes, names in alphabetical order, at the back of the pavilion.

Diane Prather: You know it’s hunting season when …

This time of year, some of the area ranchers are involved in hunting season, whether it’s through leasing out private land for hunting or through outfitting. One thing’s for sure: With all of the other fall work to get done, the ranchers keep busy. There are so many different seasons nowadays that it’s hard to keep them all straight.

Over a Cup: White chili a good fix for cold, blustery days

Most probably agree that a pot of chili is good any time. However, it’s especially good when the weather is cold and snowy. Last year, this column featured several chili recipes made with chili beans and ground beef. Our family associates this kind of chili with a Halloween years ago when our grandchildren were small. My husband and I always spent Halloween evening in Craig with our son, Jamie, and his family. It was our job to pass out candy while Jamie and Brandi took their own children out to get treats.

A&L: Achievement Night a celebration, look ahead

Moffat County 4-H Agent Alisa Comstock said the annual Achievement Night “recognizes the accomplishments of 4-H members and the 4-H program for the previous (ending) year.” In addition to being a year-end event, the 2010 Achievement Night, scheduled for Nov. 5 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion, will celebrate Colorado 4-H’s 100th birthday. All year, Colorado 4-H clubs have been carrying out special activities to celebrate the 4-H centennial.

Over a Cup: A recipe for hearty roast beef

This past week, I’ve been forced to stay off my feet (my knees, to be precise) a good deal of the time, so I used a slow cooker recipe for one of our meals. It made me think about slow cooker recipes in general. As most everyone knows, the slow cooker is a great way to cook up delicious, nutritious meals.

Diane Prather: Time for shipping, big paychecks

At this time of year, area ranchers are busy gathering up livestock, hunting up stragglers (animals that have strayed off the property), and shipping. Remarkably, this same fall schedule has been followed for years, changed only by modern advances. I remember how it was when I was growing up on the family ranch. Fall season started with gathering the cattle that had grazed all summer on the national forest.

Over a Cup: A dessert for the holiday weekend

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. This week’s recipe is made with canned peaches and peach-flavored gelatin, although I expect it could be made into a festive Fourth of July salad by using frozen strawberries and gelatin. To make the “Peach Salad” (which could also double as a dessert), you’ll need: 1 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers, 1/4 cup margarine, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 (3-ounce) packages peach gelatin, 2 cups boiling water, 2 cups cold water, 29-ounce can of peaches, 8 ounces cream cheese, 8 ounces whipped topping, and 1 cup sugar.

Diane Prather: Spring arriving later than usual

Most Northwest Colorado residents agree that the spring of 2010 has been “wacky,” for lack of a better word. A late spring caused the usual garden planting to be postponed for two weeks, or if gardens were planted at the usual time, plants frosted (after perhaps more than one planting) and then were damaged by sudden hot winds. Ervin and Arloa Gerber, who live west of Craig, planted their tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers in Walls-o-Water and as a result have some tomatoes “way over the tops” of the walls.

Prather: Summer a prime time for vegetable salads

About a week ago, I had a pleasant phone visit with Craig resident Mary Matlock, and then she sent me two recipes. (Readers can look forward to reading them in an upcoming column.) Mary made “Pea-Nutty Salad,” which was featured in this column recently, and she said everyone liked it. So, this week, while browsing through my files, I found a similar recipe to “Pea-Nutty Salad.” This one has peas and peanuts in its ingredients, but some not in the “Pea-Nutty Salad.” I have not taken the time to make this new recipe yet, but you might like it.

Poisonous plants, rangeland grasses focus of upcoming workshop

Poisonous Plants and New Developments in Rangeland Grasses is an informative workshop scheduled for Feb. 3 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

Diane Prather: ‘Pineapple Pudding Dessert’ worth a try for holidays

This past weekend I took some time to try a new recipe that I found on a newspaper clipping. You might enjoy “Pineapple Pudding Dessert” during the Christmas holiday.

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Diane Prather: A newfangled phone system

Recently, I ordered a textbook via the phone from a publishing company. It took time and patience to reach the correct department because the company had an automatic answering device with a number of push button choices. It got me to wondering what would happen if a rancher had to rely on a similar phone system to get help with a problem - perhaps one requiring a veterinarian.

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Diane Prather: Ready for rhubarb

Our rhubarb is nearly ready for picking. Here is a recipe I clipped from a newspaper nearly 20 years ago.

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Prather's Pick: 'Magical Mazes' captivates young children

I'm thoroughly enjoying "Tales of the Old West Retold" by C.A. Stoddard. I'll review it in next week's column.

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