Sunday, July 16, 2017

Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip

Besides July being National Ice Cream Month, today is National Ice Cream Day!  What a better way to celebrate than indulging in some ice cream at one of Iowa's nostalgic ice cream shops.  During the month of June the last few years my family has gone on an Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip in honor of National Dairy Month.  I thought today would be the perfect day to share about all of the ice cream shops we've gone to so far!
Celebrate National Ice Cream Month by going on an Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip.  Check out these 16 Iowa ice cream shops for your next road trip.

The Whippy Dip serves up unbelievable soft serve ice cream!  Our family recommends getting their cookie dough tornado.  This seasonal shop has turned into a family favorite.  We make an annual pilgrimage to Decorah every summer just to have a treat from The Whippy Dip - it is that good!

You know your ice cream from Hansen's Dairy is fresh - you can literally pick it up on the farm!  This family dairy farm decided they needed to diversify their farm 15 years ago when all four sons wanted to come home to farm so they added a creamery.  Hansen's Dairy hard ice cream is thick and creamy.

Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, LeMars

An Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Ice Cream Capitol of the World - LeMars, Iowa!  Our family recommends visiting the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, eating your favorite Blue Bunny ice cream dish up at their bar, and checking out all of the fun memorabilia.  Also, be sure to come to town during their annual Ice Cream Days in June.

Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip - Hot Fudge Sundae at Birdsall's Ice Cream in Mason City, Iowa
Miss A in 2014 enjoying a hot fudge sundae
at Birdsall's in Mason City
Birdsall's Ice Cream, Mason City

Birdsall's has become of favorite for generations in North Iowa.  2017 actually marks their 80th year in business!  We recommend their hot fudge sundae or if you come at the right time in the summer - their fresh peach sundae.

Snookies is known for thick & rich shakes and malts, free doggy cones, and a line up of fans every year for opening day in the spring.  I love how Snookies adds shortbread cookies and animal crackers as garnishes on their shakes and ice cream cups.

Heyn's makes over 40 flavors of hard ice cream, including some fun flavor creations like Monster Mash and Kara's Creation.  Splurge while you are there and get your ice cream in a Dream Cone!

Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip - Black Raspberry cone from the Viking Drive-Inn in Ventura, Iowa
A "small" Black Raspberry cone
from the Viking Drive-Inn in Ventura

A favorite ice cream hot spot on the west side of Clear Lake in Ventura, the Viking Drive-Inn is always full of people traveling by car, boat and bike.  Try their Black Raspberry soft serve ice cream and a heads up, the portions are big at the Viking!

Stan's is a classic drive-in where you can expect speedy service from their car hops.  Their ice cream is rich & smooth and their food is hot & fresh.  Stan's is a great, nostalgic summer spot to visit on your next road trip.

Our family loved traveling to Clarksville on our Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip last year to tour New Day Dairy, a robotic dairy farm, and to cool off with some ice cream at Baking Memories.  Baking Memories serves several flavors of Blue Bunny ice cream served any way you like it - cone, cup, shake or sundae.

Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip - nostalgic Ahoy Fountain in Eldora
Ahoy Fountain is located in Downtown Eldora
It is a fun 1950's soda fountain shop
Ahoy Fountain, Eldora

Ahoy Fountain is a fun 1950's soda fountain shop, whose atmosphere adds to your experience.  Their ice cream is creamy and rich.  It is a fun stop for the entire family that will bring you back in time.

Princess Grill & Pizzeria, Iowa Falls

Our family enjoys not only going to the Princess for dinner, but for ice cream too!  We love trying their special ice cream flavors.  Our favorite that we have tried so far was their bacon ice cream.  We had them put the ice cream in a shake, with a little caramel - amazing!

Over the Top, Pleasant Hill

Over the Top is known for their fresh, homemade ice cream.  They work with AE Dairy located down the road to create their own, unique ice cream, which they mix in their shop.  Working with AE allows them to mix and create their ice cream in less than 7 days from when the milk came from the cow!  A fun feature of their hard ice cream is they add a little "topper" scoop of ice cream "over the top" of each ice cream cone.

Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip - Sky Kone Ice Cream in Ackley
If you eat at a giant ice cream cone,
you've got to take your photo in front of the giant ice cream cone
Sky Kone Ice Cream, Ackley

An Ice Cream Road Trip wouldn't be complete without getting your ice cream from a giant ice cream cone!  Sky Kone has a primary location in Ackley, and they have another cone that travels around to different area festivals and events.  Sky Kone serves Flavor-Burst soft serve ice cream, which gives just the right amount of added flavor to make your cone or cup unique and individually yours.

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab, Des Moines

Zombie Burger might be know for their crazy, delicious burgers, but their rich, creative ice cream shakes deserve just as much credit.  We loved the chocolate cake shake and the peanut butter banana shake when we visited.  Next time we want to try the s'more and crunch berry shakes.

Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip - Dariette in Fort Dodge
We were happy we finally made it to the Dariette this year
on our annual Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip
The ice cream was delicious!
Dariette, Fort Dodge

The Dariette might be hard to find, but it is worth the trip!  Their delicious soft serve ice cream menu changes weekly, and you'll be sure to not go home hungry with their big servings.

Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe, Prairie City

Goldie's not only has delicious, fun, ice cream treats, they also are known for their award-winning breaded pork tenderloin sandwich.  This small town, small diner is a fun place to go with your family and friends, but be prepared for a packed house of both locals and travelers.

So where to next?  What Iowa Ice Cream Shops do you recommend our family visits next year on our June Dairy Month Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip?  I can't believe next year will be the 5th year!  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer Dinner Idea #Celebrate365

Fresh veggies and fruits, grilling, salads, ice cream.  What do all of these thing have in common?  They are all things that make dinner time in the summer special.

I don't know about all of you, but I love the variety and flavors of fresh vegetables and fruits available during summer from my garden, local farmers market and grocery store.  My family and I can't get enough of the juicy watermelon and sweet peaches right now as we wait for one of our favorite summer staples - corn on the cob!  During the summer I also love to either grill or make salads for supper.  Anything to keep the heat out of the house!  And ice cream!  We not only make it at home, but we travel around the state for it.  It's the perfect, cool summertime treat.

What do you look forward to when it comes to summer dinners?  I want to hear your ideas in the comment section, and I want you link up your favorite Summer Dinner Ideas to our new Celebrate 365 Blog Party.  I've joined up with my other Celebrate 365 co-hosts (Carlee from Cooking with Carlee, Jan from Tip Garden, and Nicole from Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom) to throw our newest blog link-up!  Feel free to share any of your favorite recipes that you love making in the summer.  I can't wait to get some new ideas and get some meal time inspiration!

Summer Dinner Idea #Celebrate365

Also be sure to check out our Celebrate 365 Pinterest Board to pin any and all of our past blog party linked posts!

What are some of you favorite summertime flavors?  I want to hear from you!  Be sure to Comment for a Cause!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Knee High by the 4th of July

The 4th of July is a great time to celebrate our country's independence, spend time with family and friends, shoot off fireworks (especially after Iowa made it legal this year), and check our crops.  It's been tradition for decades that farmers check their crops, especially corn, to see if it is "Knee High by the 4th of July."  Now while knee high isn't the benchmark farmers are necessarily wanting now and the goal is more like chest high, it is still a fun tradition for our family to benchmark our corn (and family's) growth every year (see 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012).

Knee High by the 4th of July - Corn in Iowa

We hope you all have had a great Independence Day!  What are some of your favorite family traditions for the 4th of July?  Remember to Comment for a Cause.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Comments for a Cause - Families Helping Families of Iowa

Comments for a Cause - Families Helping Families of Iowa
Happy July 1st everyone!  With the new month's arrival, it is time for me to introduce my new Comments for a Cause program.  But before I share about my new cause, I need to wrap up May and June's donation to the Franklin County Freedom Rock.  Over the last couple of months I had a total of 70 comments on my blog, equaling a $35 donation to help cover costs of painting my local county's Freedom Rock.  I can't wait to see our rock get finished.  We have had so much fun this summer visiting other county Freedom Rocks.

Throughout the month of July I'll be donating $0.50 for every comment made on my blog to Families Helping Families of Iowa School Supplies Campaign.

Comments for a Cause - Families Helping Families of Iowa

It is hard to believe that July is already here and a third of the summer is already over!  It always feels like we really only have a month left before we start thinking about getting ready to go back to school.  And for some families, this can be an overwhelming time of the year.  Families Helping Families of Iowa helps out foster kids during this time of year by having a School Supply Closet that coincides with their year-long Clothing Closet in Cedar Rapids, as well as hosting a Back to School Rally that provides around 300 backpacks filled with school supplies to foster care students.

This month I'll be raising money to help with the Back to School Rally that is held at the beginning of August.  The first day of school is an exciting time for any child and I want to do my part to make sure students are excited, rather than scared.  For foster children the start of the school year may feel like they're starting over for more than reason.  Having a new stock of school supplies can help them feel ready and prepared for the school year and can help relieve the financial stress during this time of year for the foster families.  You can help too by donating financially or by dropping of school supplies.

So help me help all of these foster students get ready for back to school by commenting on my blog all month long.  Are there any back to school drives in your community?  What is your favorite part of the first day of school?  Remember to Comment for a Cause all month long!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

3 Kid-Friendly 4th of July Treats + Celebrate 365 Patriotic Blog Party

Can you believe that 4th of July celebrations will be starting in just a week?!  No matter if you're hosting a big barbecue, or if you're keeping it simple with just watching the local fireworks with your family, you need to make something special and fun for Independence Day.  Here are 3 kid-friendly treats that my family loves to help you celebrate:

3 Kid-Friendly 4th of July Treats - Kid Friendly Trail Mix

My family loves a good trail mix and we created this recipe by combining some of our favorite sweet and salty snacks.  Add some patriotic M&Ms to make it not only kid-friendly but festive too.

3 Kid-Friendly 4th of July Treats - Caramel Crispix Mix

Here's another great snack mix to use patriotic M&Ms in.  You can never have too many snacks on hand when you have kids, are going camping, or if you are hosting a party.

3 Kid-Friendly 4th of July Treats - Red, White & Blueberry Yogurt Pops

There's nothing like cooling down with a popsicle on a hot, summer, 4th of July day.  My kids love these red, white and blueberry yogurt pops.  They're creamy, cool and sweet!

Now it is time for me to find out some of your favorite recipes, decor, crafts and activities to celebrate the 4th of July with.  I've joined up with my other Celebrate 365 co-hosts (Carlee from Cooking with Carlee, Jan from Tip Garden, and Nicole from Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom) to throw a Patriotic Party!  Feel free to link up any of your favorite red, white and blue posts!
Celebrate 365 Patriotic Blog Party - link up your 4th of July recipes, decor, crafts and activities
Also be sure to check out our Celebrate 365 Pinterest Board to pin any and all of our past blog party linked posts!

What's your favorite way to celebrate the 4th of July? Remember to link-up your posts and Comment for a Cause!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Buttermilk Parmesan Pork Chops #dairymonth

Celebrate National Dairy Month with this juicy, flavorful, Buttermilk marinated pork chop that is an quick supper fix any day of the year.

Buttermilk Parmesan Pork Chops - a juicy, flavorful recipe for anytime of the year #dairymonth

I've enjoyed sharing dairy recipes this week with several of my blogging friends and it got me thinking about my favorite dairy products.  My family and I love all dairy products from ice cream, to cottage cheese, to milk.  But one, maybe surprising, dairy product that I love to cook and bake with is - Buttermilk.

Buttermilk brings a richness to any food you add it to.  In baking, it adds a creamy taste and texture.  In cooking, it can give a tangy flavor while making your meat juicy.  It is a versatile dairy product that my family is always excited to see in our refrigerator because they know I have plans to make something extra special and delicious!

Now onto my Buttermilk Parmesan Pork Chops.  Being pig farmers we obviously eat a lot of pork in our house.  And yes, even though I love the most popular pork product - bacon - just like the rest of the world, my favorite is the pork chop.  Pork chops are easy to make and we probably make them a couple of times a month.  These Buttermilk Parmesan Pork Chops are simple, yet with lots of flavor.  My favorite part is that you marinate them in buttermilk overnight to make them nice and juicy!

Buttermilk Parmesan Pork Chops - a juicy, flavorful recipe for anytime of the year #dairymonth

Buttermilk Parmesan Pork Chops

4 boneless Pork Chops
1/2 pint Buttermilk
1/2 cup Bread crumbs, Italian seasoned
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp Seasoning salt (being an Iowan my favorite is Cookies 😉)
Salt and pepper

Place all four pork chops in a resealable plastic bag with the buttermilk.  Lay flat in refrigerator overnight so each pork chop is covered evenly in buttermilk.

After marinating, take the pork chops out of the buttermilk, keeping a nice coating of buttermilk on each one and discard the remaining buttermilk and bag.  Season each pork chop with salt and pepper.  In a pie plate, mix bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and seasoning salt.  Dip each pork chop evenly on both sides in bread crumb mixture.

Heat skillet to medium/medium high.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in pan and cook coated pork chops 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

Place pork chops in a shallow baking dish and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, or until pork reaches 145°F.  Let rest and enjoy!


Be sure to check out my other #dairymonth recipes from earlier this week (Whole Milk Yogurt Banana Custard Muffins and Chili Cheese Corn Salad) and check out the other great recipes shared by some of my other blogger friends too!  Thank you to all the dairy farmers that work hard everyday to take care of their animals and take pride in making quality milk and fresh dairy products.  What is your favorite dairy product?  Are you a buttermilk fan like me?  Remember to Comment for a Cause.

Celebrate National Dairy Month with recipes for food bloggers across the United States #dairymonth #dairymonth2017

Caramel Apple Empanadas {With Cajeta or Dulche de Leche} by Cooking With Carlee
Summer Fruit Smoothie by Palatable Pastime
Berry Cream Muffins by Jolene's Recipe Journal
Black Currant and Rosemary Tea Ice Cream by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Chocolate Oreo Fudscicles by Family Around The Table
Yogurt Banana Pudding Pops by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
No Bake Oreo Cream Pie by Tip Garden
Creme Anglaise ('Real Custard') by Caroline's Cooking
Buttermilk Parmesan Pork Chops by Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
Earl Grey Panna Cotta by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Best No Bake Cheesecake with by Feeding Big
Grandma’s Cheesy Ranch Party Potatoes by Mommie Isn’t Made of Money

Buttermilk Parmesan Pork Chops - a juicy, flavorful recipe for anytime of the year #dairymonth

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jen's Chili Cheese Corn Salad #dairymonth

This creamy, cheesy, savory corn salad is the perfect side dish to bring to your next picnic or potluck this summer!

Chili Cheese Corn Salad - the perfect creamy, cheesy, savory side dish for the summer

Happy First Day of Summer and Happy National Dairy Month everyone!  One of my favorite things to eat during the summer is salads - side salads, pasta salads, egg salads, taco salads, and meat salads.  And after I made this salad for a family gathering over Memorial Day weekend I knew I needed to share the recipe on the blog.  So you can thank several of my family members for requesting the recipe. 😉

This Chili Cheese Corn Salad was a recipe that my friend Jen always brought to potlucks and gatherings.  Whenever I make it, it always makes me think of her and brings a smile to my face.  Jen always had a big smile and an infectious laugh.  She is actually the person that encouraged My Farmer and I to get more involved with the Young Farmer Program around ten years ago.  We have gained so many experiences, knowledge and friendships from the program, and that is in part thanks to her support. 😊

I know you'll love this corn salad as much as Jen did and we do!  It is quick - which is always a plus during busy summers, and it is delicious!  The corn and cheese make the perfect savory combination, and the red onion and crunched up corn chips on top give the salad that little added bite and crunch.

Chili Cheese Corn Salad - the perfect creamy, cheesy, savory side dish for the summer

Jen's Chili Cheese Corn Salad

2 cans corn, drained
1 cup mayo
2 cups cheddar cheese, finally shredded
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cups chili cheese corn chips, crushed

Mix the corn, mayo, cheese and onion together and chill in refrigerator for 2+ hours.

Just before serving, stir around salad and add crushed corn chips.

*Chef's note - if you don't plan on eating the entire salad in one setting, you can add the chips to individual servings rather than the entire bowl.

What are some of your favorite salads to make and eat during the summer?  Remember to Comment for a Cause and check out the other #dairymonth posts!

Celebrate National Dairy Month with recipes for food bloggers across the United States #dairymonth #dairymonth2017

A Visit to Ol' McGrandpa's Farm by Cooking With Carlee  
Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese from Feeding Big
Chili Cheese Corn Salad by Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids
Chipotle Cheddar Patty Melt by Jolene's Recipe Journal
Breakfast Egg Bites by Family Around the Table
Gluten Free Rotini with Cabot Cheddar, Chorizo and Saffron by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Homemade Fudgesicles by From Gate to Plate
How to Make Labneh from Caroline's Cooking
Skillet Jalapeno Popper Dip from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Southern Style Pimento with Bacon Mac and Cheese by Tip Garden
Zucchini Tots with Jalapeno, Cheddar and Bacon by Palatable Pastime

Chili Cheese Corn Salad - the perfect creamy, cheesy, savory side dish for the summer