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

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.