The Harvest

My green beans are producing, and pretty good too. I was able to harvest almost a full pound them.

Fresh Picked Green Beans

Fresh Picked Green Beans

So dinner tonight simply had to feature the harvest. Along with a couple of other things I grew like the tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Green Beans, Quinoa and Chicken

Green Beans, Quinoa and Chicken

Ingredients -

1 lb green beans, trimmed
2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 med red onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 skinless chicken breasts, diced (I used the ones from a rotisserie chicken from Costco. If you want to cook your own you can roast them, boil them or however is your favorite method)
2 large fresh tomatoes, diced (if none available one can of organic diced tomatoes, drained)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
Fresh Herbs – I used 1 Tbl oregano, 2 tsp thyme leaves, 2 Tbl basil
Red Pepper Flakes – Optional and to Taste (I did about 1/8 of a tsp)

Directions -

Cook the green beans till tender, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In 2 quart pan, bring chicken stock to boil, add add quinoa, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, fluff with fork when ready to use.

While quinoa is cooking, in a large pan, add oil, sliced onions and garlic some S&P and sauté till just getting tender, do not brown. Add tomatoes, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes (if using) and cook till tomatoes are cooked down and tender. If using canned tomatoes cook until residual liquid is just starting to evaporate. (Even when drained they still have some liquid). Add cooked diced chicken and heat thru. Fluff the quinoa with fork and add to chicken mixture, add green beans and toss well. Add basil and toss again and serve. S&P to taste.

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Tri Tip Debacle

So…just so you all learn from my mistake. When one buys a 15 pound whole, and I quote WHOLE, bottom sirloin tri -tip, do not assume it’s one hunk of meat. Had I known when I bought it, that it was 4 individual tri-tips, I would have removed them and packaged them separately and cooked them one at a time over the summer. Why they said “whole” I will never know. I like to buy primal cuts and fabricate them myself. Now that I have thawed this “whole 15 lb. bottom sirloin tri-tip” I have to cooked up 4 tri-tips tomorrow. One is in a liquid marinade and will be done directly on the grill and the other 3 will each have different rubs and grilled. And that is how you make the most out of a beef mistake. At least when we go camping I’ll have some great beef already ready to go.

Well the reviews are in and the recipes below. Derek and I had different opinions.

Tri-Trips ready for the grill!

Tri-Tips ready for the grill!

Beef Tri-tips look FaBu!

Beef Tri-tips look FaBu!

Here is what I did. Three were covered with a dry rub and one was marinated. All four were done on the grill, seared and then cooked at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes, rested for 10 minutes to medium/medium rare in the thicker areas.

Rub # 1

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Rub # 2

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Rub # 3

1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp finely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon dry rosemary (or fresh, finely minced)
1/2 teaspoon dry sage

The marinaded tri tip was -

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 ½ tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
3 tablespoons seasoned salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Prior to cooking, removed from marinade and 2 bullion cubes were crushed and rubbed all over the outside.

Reviews – In order of what we liked best. Rub #3 won hands down as the favorite over the other 3 flavor profiles. It was well balanced and the char had such great flavor. You couldn’t pick out one distinct flavor over the others which is exactly as I like a rub to be.

Now for # 2 Derek like the marinated one next. I preferred rub # 2. Derek like the flavor of that the soy and lime  juice imparted. I loved the simplicity of flavors of rub #2. I think I might add a skosh more of the mustard.

For our 3rd favorite Derek liked Rub #2 and I liked the marinaded one. I find soy can be over powering in some dishes, but was very happy with the balance of flavors. I think next time I would add maybe 1-2 TBS of brown sugar to help with the caramelization of the apple juice.

For out 4th favorite both of us picked rub # 1. While it has potential it just was lacking in flavor.

And there you have what to do when you have far too many tri tips to grill :D


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Bald Eagle – Wow!

I am continually amazed by the beauty of nature and all forms of animal life.

Today I was so fortunate to finally get some shots of the elusive Bald Eagle. I’ve seen him/her fly overhead a few times, but the time I grabbed my camera it was too late. Well today I decided to sit on my front porch and enjoy my coffee. I took my camera with me because I had seen some lovely butterflies. But then I heard the screech and got totally distracted from the butterflies. I wish my camera settings were a bit better, but I did not dare take the time to change them because I didn’t want to take my eyes off the eagle.

Truly my lucky day!

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Grandma’s Apron

When we say we need to get back to basics, growing our own food, canning and preserving, using items and retooling them into things we can use, let’s remember the apron and what it represented. 

A Grandma and her Apron

A Grandma and her Apron

Grandma’s Apron

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears…

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.

After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men-folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.

Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I never caught anything from an apron…But Love.

(Author Unknown)


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Playing Leap Frog

I have really enjoyed growing my garden this year. It’s not perfect, I still struggle with issues like weather and seasons, neither of which I had much in S. Calif.

Right now I have 9 beautiful heads of lettuce. I decided to make a fresh summer salad for dinner so went out with my pairing knife and selected one of the heads and picked a few green onions. Back inside I filled the sink with cold water to rinse the veggies and BOING! BOING! BOING! Not one but 3 small frogs are now leaping their way over my kitchen counter. One is on the window ledge, another is plastered to the side of my espresso machine. (Now for those wondering, no I do not have a fear of frogs, I do have a problem with them hopping all over my kitchen)

Here’s the scene – after my initial shock of having these (btw they are tree frogs) leaping up out of my sink in a silly game of leap frog I realized I had to capture them quickly.

Tree Frog

Tree Frog

It’s probably a lot like having 3 small kids, the minute you focus on one the other two are going to get into something. In this case my dinner preparations. So I grab the one on the window sill, he hops out of my hand and onto the side of cupboard. These guys can move! Finally I wrangle him, being careful not to squish him. But I can’t just toss him outside, two reasons.
1 – I have a very large cement patio and that would just be cruel and painful to do to the little guy. They’re beneficial critters.
2 – I cannot leave the other 2 alone or I’ll never find them.

Solution – grab a coffee mug and place Sherm inside to wait for his buddies. Huh..they were right here…

Nothing is more fun than a great game of hide and seek in the kitchen with your opponents being about an inch long, able to climb walls and hang upside down.  Now while I don’t have a fear of frogs, I do have a horrible fear of the garbage disposal. I cannot put my hand in there, I can’t! And I have this horrible thought that one of them is in here. BOING! While contemplating my impending doom one of the other frogs has decided to make a leap on me as if to say TAG you’re it! That’s it Ricky you’re going in time out with Sherm. Now where is Octavia. Yes it’s a female, she’s more of a brownish color whereas Sherm and Ricky are a brilliant and bright green.

Oh thank goodness!! She’s not in the garbage disposal. She’s just hanging out on the cutting board. She, and her two cohorts are now heading back out to the garden. And I shall go disinfect my kitchen.

So remember folks, not only do you want to wash your fruits and veggies before you eat them, you also need to check for critters before you bring them in the house.

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My Friend, My Champion, My Dad

My Dad,

For all my life he worked for the SB Sheriff Dept. So he knew what the boogie man was. I was hovered over, watched like a hawk, not trusted as some of my friends were trusted by their parents, because lets face it kids screw up or get ‘involved’ with things.

But I look at differently. I was loved and protected. I was taught, with great pride today, what honor and integrity is. And when I did screw up, I learned from it. He helped make me a better person.

My dad didn’t always get the best shifts and more often than not would be called out on duty at some inopportune times. See, he had to deal with the dredges of society and their victims. Not a pretty job. I can tell you, that as a child, he never let it affect his home life. He grilled on Saturdays, swam in the pool with us and made the best whirl pools EVER! He loved my mom and they were/are a united front. I learned early on ‘parent shopping’ was not going to work.

I loved hanging out with my dad and would often follow him out to the garage to see what he was working on and if I could help. I’m sure he went to the garage to get away from the 3 females dominating the house with clothes, dolls, soap operas and phone chatter. If dad was going to the dump so would I. It’s funny, I still enjoy going and no clue why. Maybe because it brings back a memory of good times.

My dad taught me to fish. To this day I have only caught 2 fish in my life. But the times at Jinx lake were fun.

He amazed me at how he knew how to do things! Seriously there was no Google or DIY home improvement stores when I was a kid. But there he was building a deck for the pool, or converting the screen patio to a full on family room. He has never been a slacker. If there was work to be done, he did it and still does!

My dad was always looking out for my best interest, even though I didn’t need it. I knew everything! Right? Of course I didn’t know one of the guys I was dating in high school had been arrested for possession of cocaine. Ok ok, so dump that guy right quick! My dad never did anything out of anger it was always out of love for his daughters. Thank you Dad. He got me my first job, taught me how to right a resume, how to punch, and gave me my first beer at the age of 16 (all 4 oz of it – one of those little bitty Coors cans haha…ah good times…err time)

He is my hero, my champion, my friend, my supporter and the BEST Dad ever! I do not know why I was so lucky to get this man for my father but I thank my lucky stars I did. Happy Father’s Day Dad!

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Such Beauty

As you know I am part of the OSU Extension Master Gardeners Program of Douglas County. And we have one of the most beautiful gardens. It’s called the Discovery Garden. And soon we will have Geocaching. But for now I wanted to share with you some of the splendor that is the Discovery Garden, located at River Forks in Roseburg Oregon.

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