There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like biting into the very first red, ripe, juicy local strawberry of the season. Or the first bite of our first crop of tart cherries (talk about pucker power). Or anticipating when the blueberries will start happening. I love this time of year!

Bob Yeskie, Mike and Chelsey Yeskie, Preston and Tayte, and Chris Dixon were the Hixton crew who traveled to Omaha to experience the College World Series at the TD Ameritrade Park. Bob’s grandson Nate Yeskie is the pitching coach for the University of Oregon and there were some exciting games before they ended up in second place. There was a trip to the Omaha zoo, lots of visiting and Preston got a chance to check out a police squad car on display.

Welcome to Hixton’s newest fire department members Matt Rieck and Ramiro Rodriguez.

Robert and Judy DeLong of Northfield are grandparents. Archibald Matthew Trautlein was born on June 21 to Laura and Matthew Trautlien of Onalaska. Other grandchildren are Chris and Carrie Trautlien of Alma Center and Don and Donna Nelson of Humbird.

Happy July anniversaries to these firecracker couples: Emily Ann and Ryan Crivits, Libby and Andy Secard, Seth and Sarah Daffinson, Gerald and Sharon Linsmeyer, Caitlyn and Tom Tilot, Chuck and Mary Ann Sindelar, Dan and Lisa Ripp, Tom and Mel Reininger, Jay and Anne Mageland, Steve and Roxie Mickelson, Allison and Luke Gerke, Kevin and Diane Cain, Darrell and Marilyn Eberhardt, Roy and Jill LaBar.

With the cooler-than-usual temps lately, I have been more hungry for casseroles than anything: These sounded interesting.

Cattle Drive Casserole

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 (10 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 (1.25 oz.) packet taco seasoning

2 1/2 cups biscuit mix

1 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 cup water

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan with non-stick spray.

Place ground beef, onion and red bell pepper in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat and cook until meat is browned and veggies are softened. Drain off grease and set aside.

Stir in taco seasoning packet and salt and pepper, as needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and garlic powder.

In a separate bowl, combine biscuit mix with 1 cup water (adding a little more water as needed) and mix together until a soft dough forms. Press dough into the bottom of greased baking dish, then place in oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Remove baking dish from oven and spread beef mixture over biscuit layer, then top with layer of diced tomatoes. Top everything off by spreading sour cream mixture over tomatoes, then cover with remaining cheddar cheese. Return baking dish to oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until warmed through.

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