Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Looking for a delicous drink to accompany your Thanksgiving celebration?  Try spicing up your hot chocolate with pumpkin.Coffee002

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 cups milk
  • whipped cream
  • marshmallows
  • cinnamon

In a small saucepan heat milk and whisk in cocoa powder.  Add in pumpkin, confectioners sugar, and pumpkin spice.  Heat until sugar is dissolved.  Portion into cups and top with whipped cream, marshmallows, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Make-Ahead Holiday Tips

On Thanksgiving Day just about every kitchen in America is full of food and family for a full day.  Give yourself more time to spend with family by making as much of your meal ahead of time.  Here are some make-ahead tips

  • Make pie dough and cakes ahead of time, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in freezer bags.  If you are making them enough ahead of time freeze them, or refrigerate if it is only a couple days ahead.
  • Make your sauce, stocks, or gravy ahead of time and store in air tight jars or containers.
  • Cook items like potatoes ahead of time, freeze them on a baking sheet in a single layer so that they do not stick together.  Once frozen completely transfer to a plastic container of freezer bag.
  • Bread for stuffing can be cut the day before, store it in a paper bag.
  • Have your turkey seasoned and in the pan the night before.  In the morning all you have to do is put it in the oven.
  • Chop all your vegetables the day before and store in plastic containers of plastic bags. 

Share your make-ahead tips with us, we would love to hear what you do to simplify your Thanksgiving meal.

Five Things To Do Before Summer Ends

Labor Day marks the end of summer fun as kids go back to school and the temperature starts to drop.  Here are fun 5 things to do before we head into fall.BASEBALL

1.  See a baseball game.  There are so many stadiums to check out across the country, minor league ballparks are stepping up there game and major league games give you a chance to see your favorite players in action.  Take a road trip or see one in your hometown!

2.  Go for a swim.  Pool season is coming to a close, don’t miss your last chance to get in a swim.  Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

3.  Go camping.  There are plenty of great camping spots to set up your tent.  Don’t want to completely rough it?  Set up a tent in your backyard!

4.  Check out and outdoor concert.  There are plenty of festivals and venues showcasing your favorite bands, as well as local favorites.FARMERS MARKET

5.  Visit your local outdoor famers market.  Get the last of local fresh flavors while they last!  Tip:  buy extra and can or freeze them to use all year long!


Labor Day Pie

coverHow will you celebrate your Labor Day Holiday?  If you are like most Americans, you will be getting together with family and friends for a final summer cookout. If you are are looking for a festive dessert to add to your menu, try our North 40 Berry Pie with Farm Fresh Ice Cream, straight from Machine Shed’s very own cookbook,” Now That’s Cookin’.”  You can get the cookbook at any of our Machine Shed gift shops.





Pancake Cups


Looking for a fun new breakfast idea?  I stumbled across a recipe for Pancake Cups recently on Pinterest and decided I had to try it!  They are easy to make, and definitely a crowd pleaser.  I chose to make a sweet version, but there are so many savory options you can make as well.  Next time I host a brunch I think I will make both varieties.


  • 1 cup milk
  • 6  eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix together all of the ingredients and fill greased muffin tins with ¼ cup of batter in each.  Bake the Pancake Cups for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let them rest for a few minutes, and fill with your choice of toppings. 

I filled mine with strawberries I had macerated with sugar and lemon juice.  I topped it off with some powdered sugar, and WOW, were they delicious. 

What will you fill your Pancake Cups with?


Interview with a real Farmer: Chris Domino

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Family farmers Chris and Nicole Domino of Storm Lake, IA raise turkeys year round.  Chris took a moment out of his busy day to answer our questions and to help us understand what it is like to be a farmer.


How long have you been a farmer?  My whole life – 30 years.  Livestock and crop farmer.

 How did you get into farming?

Dad, Grandpa and Great Grandpa were all farmers, basically he was born in the field.  Chris went to college and worked for John Deere for a few years but he knew since kindergarten he wanted to be in agriculture.

 What do you raise?  Turkeys and some cattle.

 How many Turkeys do you raise at a time? 99,000 – Which is considered a large farm.  We have two sites that have 9 barns, each barn can hold up to 11,000 turkeys.

 Do they really say gobble, gobble? No, they gobble, but it doesn’t sound like it.  Overall, they are quiet, but if you walk in the barn and make a large noise they will gobble.

 What do they eat?  Pellets made from corn.

 How long does it take to raise them?  We get them at 2lbs at 4 weeks old and raise them until they are 20 weeks old and weigh around 40 to 45lbs.  When they get the baby turkey’s in, they are very cute and my five girls just love them.

 Do you raise them year round?  Yes we do.  After the 20 weeks we load them out and it takes two weeks to clean it out and get ready for the next load. 

 Hardest part of raising turkeys is?  Their last week, they get ornery and will peck at you and be difficult.

 Do you eat turkey all the time?  Yes we do, I love it.

 Is it a dirty job?  It is, it’s dusty, but any job can be dirty.

 Did you like the Superbowl commercial “God Made a Farmer”?  I didn’t see it, life is busy, but I do agree God Made a Farmer.

  Why is farming important?  I get to feed America and the World – the Turkey meat goes everywhere.  Very rewarding job, very proud to be able to do it.

 Chris also hopes that one days, one of his girls will also continue the heritage and become a farmer like their Dad, and his Dad, and his Dad….The Machine Shed Restaurant is dedicated to the American Farmer and we thank Chris and his entire family for their dedication and supplying food for all of us!

Homemade Caramel Corn – make with the kids!

caramelcornMake it a family night and prepare this classic recipe that the whole family will enjoy.  Small kids can pop popcorn while older kids or parents can heat up the caramel.  Break out a board game or moive and enjoy family time tonight!


Caramel Corn

Prep:  20 Minutes, Bake 20 Minutes


Nonstick spray coating

8 cups popped popcorn

3/4 cub packed brown sugar

1/3 cup butter (no substitutes)

3 Tablespoons light color corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Spray an 18X12X2 baking pan with nonstick spray.  Remove unpopped kernals from popped corn.  Place popcorn in pan; keep warm in a 300 degree oven.

2.  Butter sides of heavy 1 1/2 quart saucepan.  Add brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup.  Clip candy thermometer to side of pan.  Cook and stir over medium heat to 225, hard-ball stage (about 4 mins.) Remove saucepan from heat.  Stir in baking soda and vanilla; pour over popcorn.  Stir gently to coat.

3.  Bake in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Stir and bake 5 minutes more.  Remove from oven; spread onto a large piece of foil and cool completely.  Break into clusters.

Nutrition facts per serving:  171 calories, 7g total fat, 4g saturate fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 113 mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.

Recipe is available in the “Now That’s Cookin'” cookbook available at the Machine Shed restaurant.

Cooking with Teenagers – make it fun!

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Encouraging your teenagers to cook may need some….encouraging.  One of our restaurant chefs recently helped his son and his friends find inspiration in cooking by creating a “Chopped” food competition.  This activity is ideal for youth groups, siblings, or a party.  Here is how one of our Chefs, Steve Hall, organized the “Chopped Event”.

 Start with a theme – our theme was “Breakfast”.  The youth created a breakfast entrée out of mystery items as well as pantry items.  We stocked the pantry with eggs, butter, spices, flour, sugar, etc., then we created a “mystery basket” of 4 items to be incorporated into the dish.  They were given 35 minutes to consult, prepare and cook their entrée and then present to a group of judges (parents). 

AsburyChopped2013 002The mystery items we chose were:

  • Pears
  • Parsley
  • Goldfish
  • McDonald’s French fries

 Teams were seleceted and divided into two groups.  They were also given a one time pass to consult with the chef.

 Both teams quickly reviewed the items and grabbed from the pantry items and planned their entrée.  One team worked on creating an omelet, the other team prepared a puffed pastry mini egg casserole.  After a 10 minute warning, the kids started to feel the pressure of time management and getting an end product plated in time.  When time was called, one group was finished, while the other group learned that baking a casserole took longer than they expected.  To make the tasting fair, we gave them extra time so they could present a finished product. 

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In the end, we got to taste two awesome breakfast entrees that tasted great.

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The groups were creative, learned about time management and how to work as a team.  The mini egg casserole was the winner, but both teams really won and can’t wait to do it again.  Best of all, the parents were shocked that “their child” prepared a dish!  Cooking with teenagers is fun, just make it fun.

 Our theme for the next “Chopped” competition:  Dessert

The words to “So, God Made a Farmer”

Many of our guests and facebook fans have been asking to view all the words to “So, God Made a Farmer”.   The author is unkown, but USA Today reports that this Paul Harvey monologue was originally given to the Future Farmers of America (now FFA) convention in 1978. Harvey, who died in 2009, was a longtime radio favorite in the Midwest.
And on the 8th day God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker!”. So, God made a farmer!
God said I need somebody to get up before dawn and milk cows and work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board. So, God made a farmer!
I need somebody with strong arms. Strong enough to rustle a calf, yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry and have to wait for lunch until his wife is done feeding and visiting with the ladies and telling them to be sure to come back real soon…and mean it. So, God made a farmer!
God said “I need somebody that can shape an ax handle, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And…who, at planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty hour week by Tuesday noon. Then, pain’n from “tractor back”, put in another seventy two hours. So, God made a farmer!
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop on mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So, God made a farmer!
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees, heave bails and yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink combed pullets…and who will stop his mower for an hour to mend the broken leg of a meadow lark. So, God made a farmer!

It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight…and not cut corners. Somebody to seed and weed, feed and breed…and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk. Somebody to replenish the self feeder and then finish a hard days work with a five mile drive to church. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who’d laugh and then sigh…and then respond with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life “doing what dad does”. So, God made a farmer!




watch. share. support.

You watch the video, you share a badge, the Ram brand makes a donation.+ Help raise $1 million to support FFA and assist in local hunger and educational programs. (visit the Ram site here for details)

Thank you Farmers!


So God Made a Farmer

We, at the Machine Shed, were all so moved by ‘So God Made a Farmer’ commercial created by Ram Trucks that aired last night.

Mike Whalen, CEO and owner of the Machine Shed restaurant comments:  “We are dedicated to the American Farmer.  That dedication meant that we worked hard to have a restaurant that wasn’t just “farm themed” but would be something that farmers could be proud of.  The spirit and courage of these men and women live on, we are proud to salute the American farmer.”


watch. share. support.

You watch the video, you share a badge, the Ram brand makes a donation.+ Help raise $1 million to support FFA and assist in local hunger and educational programs. (visit the Ram site here for details)

Thank you Farmers!


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