We turned the bred heifers and dry cows out on the summer pastures this past week. It has finally warmed up enough for the grasses to take off. I love seeing the cattle grazing with their heads buried in the lush grasses as they flip their tails at a pesky insect. It is kind of how we eat during the summer too. We enjoy grazing on chips and dips with friends and family after all the work is done and we want to relax.
Here are a few of our family favorite dip recipes. We request my daughter-in-law Libby to bring the cheesy spinach artichoke dip to every family function. It is the perfect June Dairy Month recipe too. My niece whips up a fresh guacamole dip to serve with tacos outside on the deck on a warm summer evening. Of course, Mom is always trying to find clever ways to sneak more vegetables in our diets. Her veggie dip makes eating vegetables very easy. Mark’s favorite dips are jams. With rhubarb growing rampant, here is a quick, sweet way to save the taste of spring. Enjoy.      

Cheesy spinach artichoke dip by Libby Schmitt
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo or Miracle Whip
1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pepper to taste
1 (14 ounce) jar quartered artichoke hearts, drained, squeezed and chopped
6 ounces frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed and drained
Mix the first seven ingredients together. Stir in artichokes and spinach. Pour into a greased 1-quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until heated through and melty. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Great guacamole by Carly Thompson
5-6 avocados, mashed up and slightly chunky
1 medium onion (red, yellow or white), finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, remove juicy parts, chop
2 jalapenos, remove seeds, chop finely
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Mix all ingredients, except lime juice; add last. This will help to keep it fresh. Put in serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap pressed down on top of guacamole and then secure with lid. This will help it from turning brown. Chill and serve.

Veggie dip by Becky Dowell
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Mix well and add:
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
Pepper to taste
Refrigerate and serve with any veggies.

Rhubarb cherry freezer jam
5 cups cut up rhubarb
1 cup water
5 cups sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
2 (3-ounce) packages cherry Jell-o
Dash of almond extract
Cook rhubarb in water until tender. Add sugar and cook 10 minutes. Add pie filling and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add Jell-o and almond extract. Cool. Pour in jars. Freeze once set. You can substitute blueberry pie filling too.
    As their four children pursue dairy careers off the family farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota.