Broccoli Salad Recipe

This is my favorite broccoli salad…it’s great year-round, but since it’s warming up again, I thought I’d share it.

2 bunches broccoli (~2-1/4 pounds)
10 thin slices of bacon
1 large red onion
2 carrots
1/3 cup raisins (or currants)
1 cup mayonnaise (I used reduced fat)
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (I use raw pumpkin seeds that I sprayed olive oil on and stuck them under the broiler in the oven to toast)

Cut broccoli flowerets into smaller bite-size pieces. Cut off the tough outer layer of the stalks and chop up the tender part into bite size pieces. You need about 8 cups of broccoli. Shred carrots. Slice onions into julienne strips. Cook bacon until crisp and then crumble.

Place all in a large bowl, add raisins.

In a small bowl whisk together mayo, sugar, vinegar and pepper. Combine dressing with veggies and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, mixing once during this time. Top with seeds.

Garden Pictures & Birthday Weekend

I went out and took pictures last night after watering the garden ~ it’s the first time I’ve had to water in a week with all the rain we’ve been having!

The green onions and carrots are about 1″ to 1-1/4″ in height now. Radishes getting bigger. Peppers looking good….as are the pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, corn, peas and beans! YEAH! All of the herbs are growing nicely too.

My niece’s birthday is Saturday and she wants to go camping! Her party will be at Davis Creek Park out in Washoe Valley. So, I’ll be spending some time out there tomorrow exploring the park with a bunch of girls and their parents. 🙂 Below is a picture of Hannah and Nathan at Davis Creek Pond last year.

Hope everyone has a GREAT WEEKEND! Will be back on Monday with lots of pictures. 🙂

Happy Birthday Colleen & Hannah!

Wishing my sister and niece a very very Happy Birthday ~

My sister is hitting the big 4-0 today ~ and Hannah-banana will be turning 8 tomorrow!

Which Super-Macro/Close-Up Lens to get?!

Big sigh…

I’m looking at the Raynox's Super-Macro/Close-Up Lens for my Canon PowerShot S2-IS camera. I'm not ready to invest in a couple of hundred dollars for a dedicated Super-Macro lens so looking at the Raynox MSN-202, DCR-250 and the MSN-505.

I’m leaning towards the DCR-250 ~ but was wondering if anyone has an opinion on the subject?!

29 MAY 2008 UPDATE: I think I’ll be buying the DCR-250, as my sister is getting the MSN-202 ~ we have the same camera so if need be, I can play with her lens.

Also, my order with NWV Direct sorta went wonky. But I think after my call with Maurice this afternoon, he turned things around. I had ordered the Canon LAH-DC20 Lens Adapter & Hood, the TC-DC58B Teleconverter, and the 500D Close-up Lens. Then was called yesterday to tell me that the Close-Up lens was on B/O…so I told them to cancel that part and send the rest. THEN I just found out that the whole order is on back-order! Good Grief!

So now that whole order has been scraped and am getting an Olympus High Grade 1.7x Teleconverter Lens (for $100 less than listed) with a step down ring & Adapter Tube for Canon S2-IS. Maurice has the Canon S5-IS and that is the lens he uses. I have my fingers crossed.

Vegetable Garden Pictures and some Recipes

The green onions and carrots have FINALLY popped their wee green heads out of the soil…peas are growing too.  Below are shots of the green onions, carrots, pumpkins, squash, peas, corn and black beans. 

Yes, I know…it’s like a parent showing off their kiddos, but I’m so excited everything is growing. Had to bundle up the tomatoes the last few nights as we went from 96 degree weather to 61 degrees in two days…night time is getting nippy again. I added some redwood mulch around the squash and pumpkins to keep them toasty too…I’ll wait until sometime in June to remove it.

Worked on two hammered copper wire Ichthys last night, one for my husband and one for his dad. First photo shows both ~ second one shows the “antiqued” look using liver of sulphur and hot water.

No onto some very good recipes!

Strawberry & Spinach Salad

1 box of strawberries, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 ripe avocados, chunked
2 bundles of spinach
3-4 green onions

Dressing:
1/4 c. sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Worcestershire
1/4 c. white balsamic vinegar
1/4-1/3 c. olive oil
1-2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp poppy seeds

I like adding feta cheese into this salad. And it goes GREAT with grilled chicken and some good bread.

This is one of my favorite muffin recipes…I’ve adapted it to whole wheat flour. You need a little more milk than the original recipe and I’ve added bananas. I also like to add currants if I have them on hand. You can add lots of different fruit!

Flaxseed Morning Muffins

1 c. Fiber One cereal
1 c. vanilla soy milk
1-1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. gound flaxseed or flaxseed meal
1 large chopped apple
1/4 c. brown sugar & 1/4 c. honey
or (1/2 c. brown sugar only)
3/4 c. shredded carrot
3 tsp baking powder
1 over riped banana, smashed
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c fat-free egg product
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 375. Place paper baking cups in tins and spray bottoms of cups with baking spray. (muffins will stick to paper cups if not sprayed).

Crush cereal, place in bowl and add milk. Let soak for about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Scoop batter into muffin cups.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick comes clean. Cool on rack. Good warm and cold, but especially warm. 🙂

I made some muffins when I got home and took pics ~ here they are. I didn’t have carrots, but did have a zucchini, so I shredded it and used it. Oh…and Pink Lady apples are VERY GOOD in the muffins!

Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp sea or kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c. canola oil
2/3 cup water

Sift dry ingredients, stir in oil and water ~ I mix with my hands. Knead well on floured surface and make into balls about the size of a golf ball. Put into plastic ziplock and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes.

Flatten balls and start rolling out on floured surface. You can make them as fat or thin as you want! Place tortilla on ungreased frying pan that has been heated to medium high heat. Flip ’em. (about 2 minutes and another minute on the other side) I like them with lots of brown spots so I keep flipping them until they look purrrty.

While cooking the rest of them, I slap some butter on the first one and eat it all up! 😀 I put the others on a dish towel until cooled and then put them in a ziplock bag until ready to use. They last under a week in my frig as I make breakfast burritos and tacos all the time.

 

Willy Vlautin ~ Northline & The Motel Life

My husband doesn’t read books much due to an old eye injury when he was a kid (dirt clod in the left eye, now has a man-made lens) ~ so when he finds a book that he actually sits down to read, I get pretty excited.

Last year I read an article about Willy Vlautin, an author who is a Reno native and now resides in Portland, OR, and his new book at that time,The Motel Life. Read the article to my husband and off we went to buy the book. He loved it. I can’t comment about it myself, as I haven’t read it yet…so here is the Booklist’s write-up:

Author Vlautin, a member of the critically acclaimed alt-country band Richmond Fontaine, has crafted a beautifully artless first novel. It tells the story of Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, who are on the run because of a hit-run-and-run accident in which Jerry Lee was involved. Eschewing compound sentences and even similes, Vlautin illuminates the lives of two decent young men from Reno who have been dealt a very bad hand; their mother died when they were teens, and their father, a thief and an inveterate gambler, left years before. They live in down-at-the-heels motels, drink too much, and work at dead-end jobs. Jerry Lee is a self-described “loser”–but with a conscience. He fails at suicide occasioned by grief, but Frank is there, inventing naive stories to keep him going. It’s as ineffably sad as a lyric by Willie Nelson, but it’s also a richly compassionate and sweetly sad meditation on what Billy Clyde Puckett in Dan Jenkins’ Semi-Tough (1972) called “life itsownself.” If there’s any justice, anywhere, The Motel Life will be widely read and widely admired. Thomas Gaughan

Over the weekend I read another article that Willy has a brand new book out and will be at Sundance Book store for an autograph signing and might possibly play his guitar too. He is part of the group Richmond Fontaine ~ which by the way, is a great band! After buying Willy’s new book, Northline, we popped the accompanying cd and listened. It’s an acoustic cd that is absolutely wonderful! Great music to read to…or in my case, putz in the garden to.

Taken from Richmond Fontaine's Blog:

Northline ~ Timorous, twentysomething Allison Johnson is pregnant. She didn’t complete high school and has worked as a waitress for several years. She often gets drunk and quickly passes out and then writes herself letters that shriek her lack of worth. But her biggest fear is of Jimmy Bodie, her abusive, budding-skinhead boyfriend. So she leaves Las Vegas and moves to Reno. She gives her son up for adoption, begins waitressing again, and has imaginary conversations with actor Paul Newman that help her carry on. Vlautin uses the same strikingly spare and simple prose in Northline that distinguised his critically acclaimed first novel, The Motel Life (2007). His essential subject, decent people enduring difficult lives, also remains the same, but here he takes a giant step in his growth as a novelist, plumbing much deeper into the emotional core of his characters. Northline recalls a dust-jacket blurb on an early edition of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men: “Two hours to read, 20 years to forget.” —Thomas Gaughan, Booklist

Tuesday, May 20th 6:30pm
Sundance Books
1155 West 4th Street #106
Reno, NV

Sundance is delighted to welcome back Reno native Willy Vlautin to read from his latest novel, Northline. He may also break out the guitar and play a few numbers from Northline’s accompanying CD.

Well…my husband now has two autographed books and really enjoyed himself with the reading and music.

Garden, Quilting, Photography & Yard Sales Makes for a Great Weekend

Even though we were cursed with 96 degree record breaking temps 3 days in a row…I had a great weekend!

My garden is sprouting like crazy now! Peas, PUMPKINS, squash (all three kinds), radishes, cucumbers, black beans, bush beans, either the spinach or romaine (can’t remember which side was which) and corn.

Was at the Washoe County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Plant Sale bright and early Saturday morning…but not as bright and early as a few hardy soles. We were in the first 1/4 of the line though! I bought 4 different tomato plants (Black Russian, Black Japanese, Beligum something, and a Yellow Plum), 3 Basil plants (Cinnamon, Lime, and regular), 2 rhubarbs, clary sage, borage, parsley, 2 hollyhocks, 2 Irish bells.

For $1.50 I picked up two Kodak box cameras at the Sparks Community Rummage Sale ~ Brownie Starflex and a Duaflex.

Cleaned the Duaflex up and then tried the ‘Through the Viewfinder’ method…I need to read more about that one as I don’t think I grasp it yet.

And…I finished the binding on a lap quilt that will be heading to Gulf Port, MS soon.

Upcoming Reno, Sparks and Carson City Gardening Classes May & June 2008

Going to list a bunch of Gardening and Lawn Classes that are throughout the Truckee Meadows this upcoming week ~ some I’ve been talking about for at least a month! I’m very excited about the Master Gardener’s sale! And if you miss that plant sale, catch the one at the Wilbur D. May Museum & Arboretum on 7 June 2008.

17 May 2008, Saturday
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Plant Faire
5305 Mill Street
7:00 am
$1.50 to $5.00 Vegetables & Herbs
Many annuals, perennials and ornamental grasses will also be available.
Master Gardeners will be on hand for your gardening questions.

17 May 2008, Saturday
Greenhouse Garden Center
2450 S. Curry St., Carson City
Let’s Talk Tomatoes & Peppers
Learn how to grow the best tomatoes and peppers this summer.
9:00 am, FREE, no reservations needed.

24 May 2008, Saturday
Raised Bed Gardening
9:00 am, FREE

Greenhouse Garden Center Event Calendar

17 May 2008, Saturday
Organic Gardening
Garden Shop Nursery
475 Gentry Way, Reno
10:00 am, Free
Featuring: Giselle Schoniger, Category Manager from Kellogg Garden Products.
Learn the basics about natural and organic gardening and how easy and effective it is. Gisele Schoniger will explain the different soils, fertilizers, and amendments and just how they benefit your garden. There will be free Dr. Earth samples so that you can try them for yourself. Plus, there will be a free bag of Gardeners Gold potting soil for each of the first 50 people!

24 May 2008, Saturday
Veggie and Herb Gardening
Join veggie specialist Tom Munro. He will help you get your veggie beds ready and pick the right plants for the right area.

Garden Shop Nursery Newsletter.

17 May 2008, Saturday
Rail City Gardening Center
1720 Brierley Way, Sparks
11:00 am, Free
Learn how to control and prevent insects and other pests from damaging the garden.

24 May 2008, Saturday
Gardening in Small Places
11:00 am, Free

Rail City Garden Event Calendar

20 May 2008, Tuesday
Garden Photography with Mark Vollmer
Wilbur D. May Museum & Arboretum
1596 N. Virginia St., Reno
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Register in advance
Professional photographer, Mark Vollmer, covers techniques such as filters, lighting and composition.
Contact 775-785-4153

7 June 2008,
Annual Plant Sale
8:00am-12:00 pm, Arboretum

Reno Garden Society
Third Wednesday of each month
5:30 pm
Call for location ~ 775-826-9135
Learn aboug gardening and landscaping from society members and certified master gardeners.

Community Gardens in Northern Nevada

Just happened to glance at today’s Reno Gazzette-Journal before heading out the door for work and saw the Living Section had lots of gardening articles, so I brought it with me. I guess this week will be GARDENING BLOG WEEK! LOL! 🙂

Susan Skorupa wrote an article about Community Gardens Sprout in Nevada ~ Teglia’s Paradise Park in NE Reno, Carson City, and in Virginia City. Places where people, with no garden space of their own, can plant in plots for their own food and to help charity food programs.

I’ve rewritten part of the article to get all the information in a nut shell:

Teglia’s Paradise Park Community Garden
Contact Debora Hartshorn, administrator, at 775-356-3176 for additional information

The Community Garden provides garden plots for $5/plot this season for residents to plant their own vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits. Residents must turn the soil, plant and water their own individual plots. Water, hoses, a wheelbarrow and other tools are available in the garden for everyone’s use.

The garden holds 44 individual 5’x10′ plots and several large community plots. In the large community garden beds, seeds are donated and people help with the upkeep of the garden. All food from those plots goes back into the community. They ask that individual garden plots donate a portion of their produce to a select charity.

There are a few large raised beds that are fully accessible to those with disabilities to sit in wheelchairs or chairs and garden. Resident involvement is important and a Garden Club is available to get to know your fellow gardeners. You can learn great gardening tips and develop your gardening skills.

The fenced-in garden area consists of tilled and composted beds, paved pathways, shade from a grape arbor, bulletin board and a drinking fountain. There is an 800 pound mosaic Scarecrow built by a local artist and sculptor, Victoria Sweedler.

There is an area outside of the garden for composting where leaves from city properties is brought in and mulch comes from the urban forester’s office. Western Nevada Supply donated a drip irrigation system for the large community plots.

Carson City’s Community Garden
Carson City Community Garden Information: 775-887-2252

Carson City’s Community Garden Plot is on city land near the Lone Mountain Cemetery and consists of about 24 4’x16’ plots. It began as a partnership between the Cooperative Extension Office and the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department; it now includes the Carson City Senior Center.

Initially the garden was open to Senior Citizens only, but is now open to all residents. Gardeners pay $10/year, there maybe a partial fee waiver for those who can’t pay.

The city provides water, hoses, tools, some seeds and fertilizer. Insecticide use is discouraged. There is no produce donation required, but last year more than 400 pounds of food went to different local programs.

Virginia City’s Community Garden

Virginia City has a small garden that benefits the Community Chest’s food closet and the before- and after-school food program. There are a few raised garden boxes that were the result of a project by the Global Youth Service Day ~ they sit behind the offices of the Community Chest, a family youth development program.

I have my fingers crossed with my garden…I go out every day after work to talk to my seeds while watering. It’s only been five days since I planted, but I’ve been nose to dirt looking for seedlings! ROFL! Since there is only two of us, I will be donating my extra veggies that I don’t plan on canning to my neighbors and the church next door.

Jerry Baker ~ Terrific Garden Tonics! Book Review

UPDATE: 27 JANUARY 2009 ~ DON’T BUY THIS BOOK NEW! JUST FIND A USED COPY…not worth the money.

Well ~ Jerry’s book came in the mail the other day and I’ve been flipping through it off and on.

Terrific Garden Tonics!  It states 345 Do-It-Yourself, Fix ‘Em Formulas for Maintaining a Lush Lawn and Gorgeous Garden.

What I’ve discovered is that the book probably could have been half it’s size as most of the lawn/shurb/flower tonics are basically the same thing ~ ie: it would have been easier to give the tonic recipe and then a list of things you can use it for. I’ve already started a list of what one recipe can be used for and when.

I LOVE the Making Cents, Great Idea!, Ask Jerry, Terrific Time Savers, Grandma Putt’s Pointers, and little tidbits that he puts at the bottom of each page.

Like, did you know that:

Nighttime’s the Right Time? Plan to harvest your leafy vegetables by the light of the moon, or at least in the early evening-and not during the day. That’s because during the day, the sun burns up a lot of the vitamins and minerals stored in the plant leaves. But as soon as ol’ Sol starts to set, the plants begin to replenish and fortify themselves. So, if you wait until evening, you’ll be picking your vegetables when their vitamin content is at its peak.
Terrific Garden Tonics! Page 248

Here, Birdie!
Sparrows and other birds will help you out by pecking up pesky caterpillars. So I like to push 4-foot-long branches into the soil in my cabbage patch to give birds a place to perch. I figure if the birds pause there for a second, they might spy a cabbageworm or two that will make a tasty snack.
Terrific Garden Tonics! Page 254

Grandma Putt’s Pointers ~ Want to get twice the flower power from your rosebush? Then try this trick I learned from Grandma Putt: Plant a clematis next to it! The clematis will climb up and over the rose, so it’ll look like the rose has two different kinds of flowers. You can pair a clematis and rose that bloom at the same time for one spectacular show, or choose ones that flower at different times for extended blooming.
Terrific Garden Tonics! Page 173

Always plant basil, bee balm, and borage near your tomatoes. These aromatic herbs are the best neighbors your tomatoes will every have, and they’ll boost your plants to new heights!
Page 271

Here are some Recycling & Repurposing Ideas ~

The Ladder to Success ~ Believe it or not, an old wooden ladder makes a great quick-and-easy herb garden. Simply lay the ladder down on a flat area, fill in between the rungs with soil, and plant a different herb in each section.
Page 270

Make a Melon Cradle ~ One of my favorite tricks for recycling plastic milk jugs is using them in the melon patch to prevent the fruit from rotting. Simply cut a jug in half lengthwise, lay one half on the ground, and set the ripening melon inside. Not only will this plastic perch prevent rot, but it will also discourage critters form nibbling on your melons!
Page 277

There are quite a lot of tonics in this book but I have yet tried any of them, so I can not attest to any of them working or not. I do plan on making a few, especially now that the garden has been planted. I also plan on following many of the pointers at the bottom of each page. But all in all, I’m not sure if the book is worth over $30…

If any of you out there have tried any of his tonics and you have a favorite, let me know!