Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Outdoor Wednesday!

I've told you before, and I'll tell you again, there are three states I love with all my heart,  Oregon, Washington and Nevada.
I love Washington because I grew up there---I am sentimental about it and nothing can compete with sentiment.

My favorite river is there  (my middle son laughed at this--he doesn't think people really have favorite rivers.  I do tho), The  Columbia.   
My 2nd favorite river is the Snake River and my 3rd favorite is the Yakima River.  (yes, I am being kinda silly and ornery about having favorite rivers---can one really?)

Anyway, I grew up where all 3 of those rivers converged.  There was water, water everywhere!  (and yet is some weird paradox, the land is arid and dry, we use irrigation to grow all those apples and peaches and wheat )

Sometimes it looks like this:

Sometimes it looks like this:

But they are always doing this:

To get this:

There is an island in the Columbia River, in my hometown, called Bateman Island.
I will be honest here and tell you that when I was a teenager, we had parties out there---at that time you could drive out there, so we did, and then we partied down!  It's a wonder someone didn't get in a accident driving back and forth on this little one car lane.

Bateman Island is an island located on the Columbia River between the cities of Richland and Kennewick, Washington. It is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) long and 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide (160 acres (65 ha)) and is part of the city of Richland

Lewis and Clark mentioned Bateman Island in their journals in 1805. William Clark and two other men made their way towards the mouth of the Yakima River, but due to the time the farthest they got was Bateman Island.

In 2002 thanks to support by Bechtel Hanford and with help from many volunteers, about 27 tons worth of beer cans, and other debris left there over the last 60 years was removed.

Geez!  We drank a lot of beer!!  (27 tons?)

It's nice to have it all cleaned up now.  You can't drive out onto it anymore, but you can walk.  In May, the Handyman and I took our morning walk out there to do some bird-watching.

I had to get a list of the birds to remember what I saw, as I had forgotten a notebook.
(of course I didn't see all of these--just a few as a matter of fact)

Here are some photos of what we saw on Bateman Island on our  6am walk.
(it looks completely different than I remember from my high school nighttime keggar days.)
Now it's beautiful

Check it out for some beautiful outdoor photos from all over!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fiesta Salad and One of a Kind Potato Salad--FF recipes #15 and #16

In the summer, we eat outside on the patio most every night.  We are lucky in Nevada, because we can do this.  We don't have bugs---too dry for many mosquitoes and once in a while we will have the yellow-jacket or two and in late August, those lazy big black flies.  But other than that, nothing.
(okay, for the record,  we had a moth infestation for about 10 days in early summer and I have had a June Beetle or three, but really nothing to write about)

I am getting side-tracked again.... We ate outside the other night, as we usually, do but I purposely made 2 salads from the Friday Friend cookbook!
I am going to countdown these recipes if it kills me.

The first one here is Fiesta Salad, turned in by my friend and cousin, Linda Ornelas.
The Fiesta Salad was a good salad--fresh and cool and crisp--good for a summer evening.  I suppose you could do what you want with it, such as try a different dressing or add some salsa to the French?
It looks pretty in a bowl, doesn't it?

Fiesta Salad
14 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup French salad dressing
1 head lettuce,shredded
1 cup grated cheese
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup corn chips

Layer in order given. Chill 2 hours, sprinkle with chips.

Below is my cousin, friend and  Friday Friend, Linda.  
She grew up with my dad, being only 6 years younger than him. 

She was 13 years older than me.
When I was  a baby, my dad was sent overseas and I lived off and on with both sets of grandparents (and my mom), so Linda was more like a big sister to me.
She would dress me up, and curl my hair and play with me.  I was like her little doll--and I loved it.
Linda has put a lot of recipes in the FF cookbook,so, I have tons of stories to tell about her while doing this cookbook countdown -- just wait until I get up to my 13th birthday!!  (can I say, I danced in a go-go cage in a bar?  With her permission!  I'll just leave it at that till next time)
She's a great cook.  Has always wanted to do her own cookbook.  
She should.

Look!  A photo of both salads!
A great transition.

This "one of a kind" potato salad is from my friend Letty Rodriguez, but I think it's taken from the back of a package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing.
In the FF Cookbook, I have claimed it as MY recipe.

If you like potatoes and you like Ranch Dressing, how can you not like this?  The bacon is just an added bonus.
Sometimes I add black olives.
It's really good.

One of a Kind Potato  Salad

2 lbs small red potatoes, boiled and sliced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup prepared (from the dry seasoning packet, not bottled) Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
paprika, black pepper, chives
cooked crumbled bacon

Combine potatoes, onions, green pepper and dressing. Toss gently. Dust with paprika (which I forgot to do), garnish with chives and bacon (which I just mixed in with everything)

The original recipe says to serve it at room temp.  I think it is better that way.

We all have those friends whom we've lost contact with,don't we?  Letty is that friend of mine.  It's been years since I've talked to her.
This photo I have of her  is at least 18 years old.  Her daughter must now be 20 or 21.

Although, I claimed this recipe as my own in the FF Cookbook, I originally got it from her.

I wanted to learn to cook 'real' Mexican food, the 'real' way, so one day, Letty invited my friend Sandy and I over and we cooked all day--we made chili rellenos from scratch and refried beans  from scratch and a great green chili chicken dish with fresh tomatillos--but that was years ago,  and I didn't practice, so I did not perfect these great dishes that she made. 
All I can do is dream about how good they were.

I miss her.  I should try to find her again.

And that is this week's Friday Friend Cookbook update!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Picnic Salad (and Friday Friend Recipe #14)

This was originally published in 2010, but since it's a Throwback Thursday and this is a Friday Friend recipe (read all the way to the end) I am updating and reposting it today.
Please read to the end, as I've updated it a bit.

I learned to love cooking from watching my mom.

Throughout the years I have collected all of my mom's recipes.
(as well as all my mother-in-law's, as well as most of my friends recipes)

My mom used to make this salad that I called a picnic salad. It's kind of like a classic three-bean salad (the same kind of dressing anyway), but made with canned vegetables. Canned veggies but with a good crunch from some celery, green peppers and onions. I love this tangy salad.
It's good for a picnic because there is no mayo to spoil and you can make it the night before, and it's easy.

While looking for the recipe in my 3-ring notebook of salad recipes, I found 2 very similar recipes from my mom. VERY SIMILAR.
Here they are.... I think this time I mixed and matched. I used the salad ingredients from the White Corn Salad and the dressing from the Delicious Salad.

I love this salad. (I think I said that before)

White Corn Salad

1 15oz can white corn drained
1 15oz can petite peas drained
1 15oz can French cut green beans drained
1/2 cup chopped purple onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 small jar diced pimento

1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cub vinegar

Bring the marinade ingredients to boil and cool.
Pour over drained veggies, stir softly.
Refrigerate over night.


Delicious Salad
1 can French cut green beans
1 can shoe peg corn niblets
1 can petite peas
2 cups diced celery
1 cup green onions or red onions diced
1 cup water chestnuts sliced
1 small jar pimento

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp water

Drain all the canned veggies. Bring the marinade ingredients to a boil and cool thoroughly. Mix all together and put in the fridge overnight.
Drain before serving.

I am updating this to include it in my Friday Friend recipe challenge.   The one where I am going to make everything in the FF cookbook.  I was looking thru recipes and decided  that it is okay if I include recipes I made prior to my challenge date    .   So again, this one is from my mom's collection,  it's kind of sentimental right now--we have been traveling up to Washington every 2-3 weeks, for a long weekend, to sort and go thru their home of 50years.  My dad passed away in April and my mother is in an assisted living facility for dementia and Alzheimer's, so to put it bluntly, we have to sell their home to be able to keep her there getting the care and attention she needs.   In her day she loved to cook and have picnic's.
Here is a picture of  the Handyman and me with my parents  at The Rimrock Inn, outside of Enterprise, Oregon.  It's a great GREAT place to have a meal.  More on that later....

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grilled Cheese Please

One more cookbook down in my cookbook countdown...
Grilled Cheese Please by Laura Werlin.

Werlin says: Say grilled cheese and the memories of a childhood indulgence, the first cooking lesson, a bowl of tomato soup or  the aroma of melting cheese comes wafting into consciousness.
She is right!  It's all those things.  Especially for me, the tomato soup reference. We always  had on a cold winter night, some grilled cheese and Campbell's tomato soup!!
It's a comfort food!  
There are tons of good ideas to spice up your grilled cheese sandwich in this little cookbook.
I  have bookmarked about 12 sandwiches I really want to try right away.  Sandwiches with meats and cheese, veggies and cheese --and interesting one with Havarti and balsamic-glazed carrots-- even some great regional favorites.

But first  I thought I would just go with the old standby:
Classic, but with a Twist.

How can one go wrong with a 'classic' grilled cheese sandwich?
The twist?  Bacon and onions. 
It was a great sandwich.
We love bacon and onions!  
The onions in this recipe were not cooked, so there was a crisp and crunchy oniony flavor with every bite.  
The Handyman and I loved it!

This is number  65 in my cookbook countdown.

Classic Grilled Cheese with a Twist

1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
8 slices of bacon
2 T. butter at room temperature
8 sandwich-size slices sourdough bread
8 oz cheddar cheese, coarsely grated ( I did not do this--just used slices)
8  1/2 inch thick tomato slices.

Fill a medium bowl with very cold water.  Place the onion slices in the water and let sit for 15 minutes and up 1 hour. Drain and pat dry.  Set aside.
(note:  I didn't do this, I just sliced and put them on the sandwich.)

Cook bacon in a large non-stick skillet until crisp.  Drain on paper towels. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, but do not wash it.

Spread butter on one side of each of the bread slices.  Place the 4 slices of bread, buttered side down, on your work surface. Distribute the onions over the bread, followed by half the cheese and the tomato slices. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little bit of salt.  Put the remaining cheese and 2 strips of bacon per bread slice.  Top with remaining cheese slices, buttered side up.

Heat the skillet again over medium heat.  Put the sandwiches into the pan, cover and cook for  3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Turn the sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with a spatula to flatten slightly.  Cover and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until golden brown.  Remove the cover and turn the sandwiches once more.  Press firmly with the spatula and cook for  1 minute, and remove from pan.  let cook 5 minutes.
Cut in half and serve.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Outdoor Wednesday

It’s time for “Outdoor Wednesday”.
 Learn more about “Outdoor Wednesday” here.

The Handyman and I went fishing on Father's Day.
(well, I went reading, he went fishing)

Before I show you the pictures,  a Nevada tribute from a friend of mine..
(she was writing to me.  I asked her if she loved Nevada. I do.)

Things I love about Nevada:  I love the smell of the sage brush after it rains.  I love the "Nevada Blue" sky, and the wonderful sunsets.  I love the stark beauty of the high desert-which you appreciate also.  I love that I feel comfortable in the "wildness" that is Nevada.  I also love the people that live in Nevada.  I think there is a certain "Attitude" that a lot of us have that isn't found other places.   What that attitude is I can't quite put my finger on, but you know it when you see it. (And I don't mean the wacky rebellion attitude)  I love that my family roots are here.

Now that you've heard that/read that--I will show you our fishing pictures of  OUTDOOR. (for Outdoor Wednesday)
and if you want to,  you can comment to me about how you also LOVE where you live, where home is.  We all do and I like to hear about it.

Here we go! 
We are off. Traveling down a freeway... have to get to the dirt road that leads to a Nevada fishing hole.

Found it!
The dirt road.

After a while, we spot something GREEN in the desert!
Must mean water!

It does!
Our pond from a hill top:

Fishing...  my type of fishing
and his type of fishing

Green ponds and  if you look behind you,  the start beauty of the high Nevada desert!

You can see the Handyman if you look closely

A bigger fishing hole just a ways down the dirt road

 It was a good out door day.
even the dog thought so.