Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's Alive

It is great to see that this blog is still being used by people almost every day. At this point, I am working on finishing my masters program. I am almost done and am very excited to be able to get back to working on this blog along with other aspects of my life which have been left unattended for the last couple of years.

Thank you for your continuous support.

Yamhill Squirrel

Monday, December 6, 2010

Harvest Salad

Winter is the time for eating slow cooked meals, but who is to say that you cannot accompany them with a wonderful fresh salad. Let me just say that I am not a big fan of salads, however, I love this salad. I love the sweet raspberry vinaigrette made with summer raspberry jam. I love the fall crisp apples, and being able to use lettuce from my winter garden. I thank my wife Rebecca for making this and getting me to try it, even though she knows that it is not always easy for me to eat salads. Hope you enjoy it.


  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
  • 1 bunch spinach and/or available lettuce.
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, you can substitute for blue cheese.
  • 2-3 sliced thinly sliced apples depending.

  • 2 tablespoons red raspberry jam (with seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste


  1. In a large bowl, toss together all of the first ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together jam, vinegar, pepper, and salt. Pour over the salad just before serving, and toss.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Making Sweet Potato & Yam dog treats

Here is a video on making sweet potato and yam human/dog treats. I have been making these for a couple of years. Right now sweet potatoes are on sale in every store and they also happen to be as local as they are going to get. This is the time to get the cheapest and sweetest sweet potatoes of the years. This is a treat that even I enjoy. I love eating these while watching TV and they make great hiking and backpacking treats for both humans and dogs.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Poached Pears and Vanilla Ice Cream

This is a recipe from The Food Network courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, one of my favorite cooks.

This is the perfect recipe for the time of the year. Right now, bosc pears are local and abundant. This dessert goes perfect with a sweeter wine.

There is a direct link at the bottom of the post.

* 1/3 cup apple juice
* 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 3 firm Bosc pears, peeled, halved, cored (about 1 pound)
* Vanilla ice cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange the pears cut side up in an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Whisk the apple juice and sugar in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the butter. Pour the sauce over the pears. Bake until the pears are crisp-tender and beginning to brown, basting occasionally with the juices, about 35 minutes.

Spoon the pears onto plates. Top with ice cream. Drizzle with any juices and serve.

The pears can also be served frozen. To do so, cool the pears, then place them in the freezer until frozen solid, about 8 hours.

Link to site

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Making Apple Juice

This week, I got the chance to visit the Dickson family. I am blessed to have two of their wonderful kids in my classes. Every year the Dickson family puts away about 250 quarts of apple juice. They get their apples from windfalls from farms close to home. They are a wonderful example of how more of us should live.

Daniel Dickson is the main presser and you can tell just buy looking at what I have begun to call his "juice arms". Mrs. Dickson says that she loves the fact that they get to do this as a family and from the time I spent with them pressing juice, it was easy to see how much fun they have. Pressing juice is a lot of work but it is very much worth it.

I could not help myself and I created a little video from the footage I took while I was there.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Late October

Had one of my very last cucumbers from our garden today. Who would have thought that all this water was good for them. They are crisp and taste wonderful. The only thing I knew would do it justice was a fresh made hummus made with home made beans. I was even able to use some of my very last cherry tomatoes.

Our winter garden is doing very well and we have been picking lettuce to put on sandwiches, the broccoli looks like it will make it, the spinach should come back from all the slug bites, and the swizz chard is still surviving. For some reason some of the onions I planted in March have resided to finally come out. I think this is because they are finally getting the required moister. I will probably have to eat them small.

This picture at the bottom has a plot that I am preparing for next year. Let me know if you have questions on how to go about it.  The seemingly clear plot has carrots and fava beans.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Food Preservation Journey

So where should I be in my journey? Here in Oregon we are hitting low temperatures of about 45 and highs in the low 60s. There are apples, pears, and squash in abundance. I still have tomatoes in my garden,  and in the valley wine grapes are just beginning to be picked.

What am I doing? I am almost done with everything. At this point I am bartering for fruit like figs, I think I will pick the last batch this next week. This is a great time to be canning apple sauce, dehydrating pears and apples, and gathering things such as honey and soap from the farmers markets before they close for the year.

What should I be excited about now? I love the change of seasons. If you planted a winter garden you will have greens for a while longer. Winter will be the time to relax and enjoy all the wonderful produce you stored. You can use the time to reflect on what you did right and to plan on the changes you will make for the coming year. This is the time to make as many things as you can in the oven, to open a nice can of peaches, or a jar of honey or jam to put of fresh scones. Its the time to cooked slow meals and to open a nice bottle of wine.

I get as excited about winter as I do about summer. It is never easy to adjust from one season to another, but I find a lot of joy in this journey of a yamhill squirrel.