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Just Being Neighborly

I love having country neighbors! We have a sweet, grandfatherly gentleman who lives next door to us - and by next door I mean about 5 acres down! (There are only 6 homes total along our 2 mile dirt road.) Mr. Bennett has a saying which he shares often: "If you're going to be neighbors, you might as well be neighborly." That fits our style just fine. It's fun to trade meals and spoil him with homemade goodies. (For the record, he makes a mean meatloaf!!) He'll stop by to check in on the animals while we're gone; and, we head down to help unload his grain when it arrives.

This afternoon, Mr. Bennett stopped by with a casserole ready for the oven. We chatted from the window and driveway as he sat in his car. Its a windy day, so even though the sun is bright, its warm rays can't quite cut the Michigan spring air. Our visit doesn't last long, but just long enough for Daron to mention grabbing Spencer and heading down to help unload some feed from the wagons. Spencer chuckles from inside the house where he's been listening. "I'll just grab Spencer," he repeats. "Like I'm an accessory."

These are the ordinary moments that make up our lives. The natural banter and ready laughs; the friendly conversations with those we love; and, the chance to follow Mr Bennett's - and Mr Rogers- advice to just "be a neighbor".

I got the compliment once from someone to whom I had taken a meal: "We don't usually eat meatloaf at all, but yours was really good." Wasn't sure how to take that....But, if you don't like meatloaf, maybe give our family favorite a try!

Amber's Southwest Meatloaf (Gluten-Free)

2 Pounds Devon Valley Farms 100% Grassfed Ground Beef

2 tsp. Himalayan Pink Salt

2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 cup Sweet Onion, diced and carmelized

4 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

2 Farm-Fresh Eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup Black Strap Molasses

3 Tbsp Tamari Sauce (*check for GF)

1/4 cup Lemon Juice, 100% real

2 cups Rice Chex (crushed) or GF panko crumbs

Topping - Mix together well:

1 cup GF Ketchup

1/4 cup GF BBQ Sauce

2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 tsp. Yellow Mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all meatloaf ingredients together and place into a 9x13 pan. Bake for approx. 45 min., then add the topping and finish cooking about 15 min. or until well-done.

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