Monthly Archives: February 2012

The gardening has begun

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Hello, it’s me, Poops. I’m out here in the back garden, a place that I’m normally kept out of because once I dug a big ol’ hole in a vegetable bed. Geez. A little touchy about some stupid dirt, aren’t we?

Anyway, I’m so excited that gardening season has begun because it means that I get to snooze in my favorite sun spots again while mom works on her veggies.

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Postcards from Bishop

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This past weekend we took off to work on one of Jack’s research projects in Bishop, Calif., which is nestled in a valley between the Eastern Sierras and the White mountains. Beeeeautiful!

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En route to Bishop, on Highway 395, and seemingly in the middle of nowhere, there’s a spot along the road with all of these t-shirts hanging on a barbed wire fence. What in the world?

There was a little memorial monument with an American flag flickering next to it, so we quickly pulled over to check it out. Turns out in 2002, a C-130 crew crashed and died while fighting a fire in the tiny town of Walker. Jack says he remembers the incident because it grounded all U.S. fire fighting aircraft to retool for safety, even up in Alaska, where he was at the time, and where fighting fires is a pretty big deal.

All those t-shirts are from fire departments all over the U.S. Additionally there are patches and paraphernalia left by other fire fighters to pay their respects.

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It’s amazing what you see if you bother to stop and look.

Sweet potato mushroom sliders—a huge thumb’s up

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For my birthday Jack got me a dehydrator. How romantic, you scoff? Actually, it was.

I have been wanting a dehydrator for YEARS—like, ten years. And Jack being Jack, did all kinds of research before settling on the Excalibur. I love it and use it frequently experimenting with crackers and kale chips and cookies. Some were flops, and some really hit it home. This mushroom slider recipe was one of the successes. As Jack put it, “It’s like Thanksgiving stuffing in a bun.” He couldn’t get enough of them.

If you don’t have a dehydrator you can make these sliders in your oven on a low setting. For the recipe I’m going to point you to Rawmazing—which is where I got the recipe—and the easy-to-follow photo steps. But here’s what I did a little differently …

  1. I halved the recipe, which made a dozen sliders, more than enough for the two of us to eat over the course of a weekend.
  2. I made my patties a little larger, about 3-1/2 inches wide. I used a round mold to keep each patty consistent.
  3. I knew up front that I wanted to put these sliders on English muffins for breakfast sandwiches and they were fantastic! A little vegenaise, a slice of Jalapeno vegan cheddar, pressed salad slaw (I have a recipe for that coming soon) for tang and crunchiness and man, these babies were addictive.

Best of all, the recipe is as easy as it is tasty.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Remember the fun of getting/giving Valentine’s day cards and candy in elementary school? I was crazy about the Muppets and the Peanuts so those were my favorite Valentines. I also loved those little heart candies that say, “You’re Mine” and cupcakes topped with hot pink frosting and sprinkles.

Now I’m a little older and lean towards Clint Eastwood Valentines. It’s twisted, I know. But cupcakes with hot pink frosting are still much appreciated. Jack’s getting a couple of these oh, so romantic scratch-off valentine’s day cards that I made up for our little V-day celebration.

Ever make your own scratch off cards? They’re super easy. Here’s how >>

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Art adventures in Napa

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Daytripping Napa doesn’t have to be wine tasting 24/7. If you’re up to your eyeballs in grape juice and need a break, go tour some of the fantastic art collections and installations throughout the valley. The cost to view is minimal and often free, so it’s a great budget-friendly day of fun.

This weekend we checked out two world-class collections near the town of Napa, down valley, which made for a relaxed afternoon followed by dinner at nearby Oxbow Market. It was an easy and enjoyable itinerary.

First up …

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Iron Horse Vineyards, Sonoma

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Last year it was my goal to get us out of the house for a day of fun once a month. I don’t know about you, but our weekends are easily eaten up with a list of chores and obligations that never ends and before you know it six months have gone by full of all work and little play, making us a cranky couple of yahoos. And that’s saying something because Jack’s general disposition tends to lean a little towards cranky, so you can see where I’m going here. It is essential that we go out and have a little fun on a regular basis.

Because we live on a budget I am constantly looking for good deals for our getaways. At some point in the Summer, I saw an offer on TravelZoo that was crazy good: a tour, a tasting, a bottle of wine … all for some ridiculously low price. So, I snapped it up and tucked it away in our “getaways” file.

Months later when my birthday rolled around we grabbed that TravelZoo deal and headed off to Sonoma to visit Iron Horse Vineyards. And it was a treat!

It’s a small family-run operation that specializes in sparkling wine. The location is incomparably beautiful tucked up in the hills at the end of a long country drive. The owners still live on the property. The tasting room is tiny, outdoors and informal. The staff is knowledgeable and down to earth. Pretension has no home here. It’s a refreshing departure from the touristy operations littering Napa. If you haven’t been, I encourage you to put it on your places to visit.

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The Fremont Diner, Sonoma

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I’m a diner girl, it’s my favorite kind of restaurant. Given any opportunity to go to a diner, I’ll go. I love it even more if the waitress calls you “honey”.

Do you remember that old American TV show, Alice, from the late 70s? I used to love that show. “Mel, you can just Kiss. My. Grits!” I have always wanted to say that to someone, but I don’t think I could pull it off.

Anyway, for my birthday Jack and I went out to Sonoma County for a day of fun, and on the way home we stopped for an early dinner at the Fremont Diner, a little roadside joint that is so unassuming it’s easy to miss. For those lucky enough to take notice and stop, it’s a treat.

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