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Greek green bean salad

Saturday was a farmer’s market kind of day.

Because Lana is starting to work on a series featuring farmer’s market vendors and needed pictures, I had extra incentive to get out of bed on a Saturday morning at the same time I do for work and skip the grocery store in favor of the bottom of the fairgrounds hill.

There were a few vendors missing, but I found what I really came for — cherry tomatoes from the Cornucopia booth and green beans from two separate booths, including Gardens by the Pond, run by Sid and Clinton Baker. I’d gotten regular green beans from another booth, but after hearing about the Bakers’ “grandma beans,” I had to try them.

The seeds for these beans, Sid told me, had been brought from Germany from his several-generations-back grandmother, hence the name. There’s something about the feeling of cooking with history.

Now, this Greek Green Bean Salad recipe from Peas and Crayons is supposed to include some feta cheese, which I purchased at its usual, high price for the amount of cheese you get, and forgot about it until after I finished eating the salad (I made a smaller batch than the recipe called for because I’m one person and it didn’t look like it would be good leftovers) and saw the little box of cheese in my refrigerator. Just use your imagination when you look at the picture.

I suppose that will mean I’ll have an excuse to make this again, though.

Start by blanching your beans. This, of course, is the way I generally cook fresh green beans, but for those unaccustomed to non-mushy beans, this basically entails boiling the beans until they turn bright green, draining the water and dumping the beans in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. If I were making these beans to stay warm, I’d skip the ice water and take the beans out of the boiling water just before they were done so they could continue to cook in a serving bowl, but this salad was meant to be eaten cold, so into the ice water they …   More

A light to the world

Some people just light up a room when they enter it and Wanda Fisher was one of those people. Her smile was infectious and her laugh even more.

When I received the call telling me that she had lost her battle with cancer I was both sad and relieved. For those who remain behind it is painful but at the same time, she was suffering and now she is pain free.

I guess I have always known the name Wanda Fisher as she lived on “our side” of town and was considered a neighbor when I was a kid. But it was not until my adulthood that I really knew who she was and became friends with her.

What a sweet person she was. And vibrant, my word, she simply exuded energy. I’m sure she didn’t know a stranger and was always free with her hugs. This is probably what drew me to her, as hugging is my thing too.

She loved to tease and always found time to flirt with my husband. I should have been jealous because he would just smile, and flirt right back. He fondly referred to her as “my girl.”

She was the matriarch to a family that I have also grown to love over the years. Her son Trent, daughter-in-law Katherine and grandkids, Sarah and Adam are so blessed to have been able to call her mom and grandma.

When I say her eyes lit up when she talked about Sarah or Adam, I mean she literally beamed. She was so proud of them and she was a vital part of their lives. They are so lucky to have had that close bond with her.

She was able to see Adam graduate from Salem High School and I caught a glimpse of her from across the gym floor but was not able to get to her to give her a hug. She didn’t make to this year’s fair, which was an event she loved, but I know she was there in spirit while Adam showed in his last swine show.

It was during the fair that I last checked on her, getting an update from Trent. I learned that she was at Salem Crossing so they could give her round the clock care and medicine to try to keep that ugly cancer at bay.

I had hoped to …   More

Race Results May 30

Unofficial Results
Eddie Gilstrap Motors Legends Classic

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Lucas Oil Great American Stocks

Fast Qualifier: Shawn Smith, 19.689

Eddie Gilstrap Motors Ford EcoBoost 75: 1. Shawn Smith, 2. David Bayens, 3. Roger Williams, 4. Kyle Hadley, 5. Ronnie Basham III, 6. Tony Conway, 7. Mike Sharp, 8. Justin Pirtle, 9. Tim Rivers, 10. Todd Kempf, 11. Jonathan Ziegler, 12. Heath Helton, 13. A.J. Kempf, 14. Beau Hendrich, 15. Noll Staff, 16. Greg Hubbuch, 17. Troy Ashbaugh, 18. Taylor Webb, 19. David Powell, 20. Josh Brading, 21. Brian Bayer, 22. Artie Ware (DNS).

O’Reilly Auto Parts Pure Stocks

Heat Race (10-Laps): 1. Rogers, 2. Kestler, 3. Davis, 4. Goodman, 5. Whitfield, 6. Ferguson

Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 30: 1. Mike Kestler, 2. Jamie Goodman, 3. Craig Rogers, 4. Justin Davis, 5. Todd Whitfield, 6. Brian Ferguson

Portland Recycling Front Wheel Drive Stocks

Heat Race (10-Laps): 1. Allen, 2. King, 3. Abbott, 4. Growe, 5. T. Vaughn, 6. K. Vaughn

Built Ram Tough 25: 1. John King, 2. Jesse Allen, 3. Max Abbott, 4. Bill Growe, 5. Travis Vaughn, 6. Kevin Vaughn

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Race Results May 9, 2015

Unofficial Results
CIRCLE TRACK
 GREAT AMERICAN RACING SERIES
Saturday, May 9, 2015

Circle Track Great American Racing Series

Fast Qualifer: Chuck Barnes

First Qualifying Race (25-Laps): 1. Barnes, 2. Bayer, 3. Hillard, 4. T. Kempf, 5. Bayens, 6. Rivers, 7. Berg, 8. Stice, 9. A.J. Kempf, 10. Cotton, 11. Short, 12. Brading, 13. Jenkins.

Second Qualifying Race (25-Laps): 1. Kimmel, 2. Smith, 3. Hudson, 4. Williams, 5. Conway, 6. Elliott, 7. Ware, 8. Hendrich, 9. Pirtle, 10. Todd, 11. Lux.

Circle Track Great American Racing Series 100: 1. Will Kimmel, 2. Blake Hillard, 3. Shawn Smith, 4. Todd Kempf, 5. Brian Bayer, 6.Curtis Peeples, 7. Roger Williams, 8. Chuck Barnes, 9. David Bayens, 10. Loren Short, 11. Artie Ware, 12. Brett Hudson, 13. Jeff Berg, 14. Marcus Elliott, 15. Justin Pirtle, 16. Matt Stice, 17. Ronnie Lux, 18. A.J. Kempf, 19. Tony Conway, 20. Ronnie Cotton, 21. Beau Hendrich, 22. Tim Rivers, 23. Mike Todd, 24. Josh Brading, 25. Brandon Tregembo, 26. Kyle Hadley

O’Reilly Auto Parts Pure Stocks

O’Reilly Auto Parts 25: 1. Justin Davis, 2. Todd Whitfield, 3. Jamie Goodman, 4. Mike Kestler, 5. Craig Rogers, 6.

Portland Recycling Front Wheel Drive Stocks

Portland Recycling 20: 1. John King, 2. Jesse Allen, 3. Max Abbott, 4. Travis Vaughn, 5. Kevin Vaughn, 6. Ronnie Gathof.

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Race Results April 26

Results
Federated Auto Parts ARCA 200
Sunday, April 26, 2015

ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards

Fast Qualifier: None, rained out

Federated Auto Parts 200: 1. Ken Schrader, Kyle Weatherman, 3. Dominic Ursetta, 4. J.J. Haley, 5. Austin Wayne Self, 6. Brandon Jones, 7. Tom Hessert, 8. Clayton Weatherman, 9. David Levine, 10. James Swanson, 11. Michael Lira, 12. Sarah Cornett-Ching, 13. Grant Enfinger, 14. Darrell Basham, 15. Thomas Praytor, 16. Brandon McKenzie, 17. Brad Smith, 18. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 19. Josh Williams, 20. Will Kimmel, 21. Bo LeMastus, 22. Con Nicolopoulos, 23. Josh White, 24. Frank Kimmel II, 25. Mark Meunier, 26. Wayne Peterson.

Lucas Oil Great American Stocks

Fast Qualifier: None, rained out

Federated Car Care 50: 1. Todd Kempf, 2. David Bayens, 3. Ronnie Basham III, 4. Brian Bayer, 5. Tony Conway, 6. Shawn Smith, 7. Dr. Travis Wilson, 8. Justin Pirtle, 9. Roger Williams, 10. Tim Rivers, 11. Troy Ashbaugh, 12. Beau Hendrich, 13. Greg Hubbuch, 14. Mike Sharp, 15. Johathan Ziegler, 16. David Powell, 17. A.J. Kempf, 18. Matt Stice, 19. Kyle Hadley, 20. Heath Helton.

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Spicy Pineapple Chicken Kabobs

Summer is a time for grilling and while this carnivore loves a good steak, steak is expensive and sometimes chicken is what really hits the spot.

Now, my father is the grillmaster of my family. His grilled chicken turns out perfectly without fail — juicy and flavorful (yes, I know most of his secret and no, I won’t divulge here) and his burgers don’t fall apart and through the grill to the fire below, which is often more than I can say when I try to put them on a grill (yay for grill pans for the stovetop). However, one of my favorite grilled foods was one that we didn’t do much of while I was growing up — the kabob.

Kabobs are so versatile. In the mood for seafood? Shrimp, swordfish or salmon. Beef? Steak. Chicken? … Chicken. Veggies? Tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, yellow squash — the list goes on. Fruit? Pineapple, apples, peaches (I haven’t tried anything else, so if you know of anything else, mentally include that here). [A kabob tip here: While the picture above shows vegetables, fruits and meat together, some fruits and vegetables take much less time to cook (lookin’ at you tomatoes) and should be on their own skewers so you don’t overcook them. On the fairly rare occasions we had kabobs while I was growing up, the meat was usually on its own skewer and similar vegetables (peppers and onions, for instance, or zucchini and squash) were on separate skewers.]

In my opinion, these

Spicy Pineapple Chicken Kabobs from The Gunny Sack, which has pages and pages of delicious-looking recipes, weren’t that spicy, but the beauty of this recipe is you can make it as spicy or not spicy as you want simply by using more or less sriracha sauce.

The pineapple and honey blended beautifully with the spicy ingredients and made a marinade you could use for any kind of chicken dish (and I probably will, with a smidge more sriracha). If you don’t have a grill, fear not. I don’t either and my metal skewers were too long to …   More

Bruschetta Chicken

Chicken Parmesan is a fairly common and largely easy weeknight dinner. I remember making it in elementary school and it was one of my family’s go-to meals when family was coming into town. My father would make enough chicken and spaghetti to feed all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and we’d be noshing on the leftovers for a few days.

That said, chicken Parmesan can be a little on the unhealthy side, especially with the cheese, which can’t just be a few sprinkles of shredded mozzarella. There needs to be strings coming off of it when you lift the chicken from the serving dish. This bruschetta (broo•sket•uh) chicken is a much healthier alternative. The chicken isn’t completely breaded and there is no cheese (unless you choose to — you’re a grown up and can do what you want).

Take your chicken breasts and coat them in flour and dip them in beaten eggs. I used to skip the flour part because, who has time for that?, but I’ve found that the bread crumbs (or with whatever dry ingredients you plan to coat meat and fish) actually do stick better when the flour and egg combine beforehand.

That said, you aren’t going to completely coat the chicken in crumbs. You’re going to take Parmesan cheese, melted butter (It’s healthier than all the cheese, but this recipe isn’t appearing on the Dr. Oz show as a healthy alternative any time soon, OK?) and ground garlic croutons (or panko bread crumbs or regular, seasoned bread crumbs) and sprinkle this over the top of the chicken, which is now sitting in a baking dish. Loosely cover this with foil and bake for 30 or 40 minutes at 375ºF.

While this is baking, chop some tomatoes and combine with fresh basil, minced garlic, a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Once the chicken is almost done, spoon this mixture over the chicken and slide it back into the oven to heat through.

Going through the comments, here, someone suggested (and the author/photographer agreed) that store-bought bruschetta …   More

Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper Cobbler

Do you ever get the urge to bake, but are thwarted by the need to keep your house cool in the summer? Here’s a recipe you can make without needing to up the AC because you make this delicious cobbler in your crockpot!

Best of all, this recipe from Life Should Cost Less takes a total of four ingredients, some of which you may already have in your pantry, and takes less than 10 minutes to throw together and only about two hours until you get to dig in.

Simply grease or spray your crockpot pot and pour in a can of cherry pie filling, dump a box of devils food cake mix (store-bought or homemade, just don’t buy one with pudding mix in it), making sure to spread it evenly over the cherries, a bottle of Dr. Pepper and cubed butter. See the link below for more information and exact amounts, along with many other tasty-looking recipes!

Seal the lid on the crockpot and cook on high for about two hours. Test to make sure it’s done and serve with vanilla ice cream or just eat it as it is.

Life Should Cost Less' Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper Cobbler   More

Applause! Applause!

Our kids are just getting started on their educational paths, but I’ve quickly learned that the annual end-of-year awards day many schools hold can prove quite revealing.

If I had to identify which of my three children is the most challenging it would, without a doubt, be Warner. Maybe it’s because he’s the baby and yes, the crying and whining have gotten him what he wants at times, so I guess it’s partly our fault. Maybe it’s because his personality is just different than Hays and Sylvia’s. Maybe he secretly wants to drive his mother crazy … he acts up for me far, far more than anyone else. Sigh. Anyway, he can be a stinker, bless his sweet little heart!

You will understand, given all this, why my mouth dropped to the floor Friday when Warner was named Little Gentleman of the St. Joseph Pre-K class. He marched up to the front of church, pleased as punch, and proudly accepted his award, a huge cheesy grin on his face. It was priceless.

When I talked to his teacher later, she gushed about his behavior, as she has before. “Warner is just wonderful,” she said. “I never have to get onto him, he always listens, always helps and always does what he’s supposed to do.” I asked her if she could please send this Warner home to me every day. She laughed and said her nephews are the same way; golden children at school, but the little devil horns come out at home.

Sylvia and Hays both received perfect attendance certificates this year. Good thing, too. Last year, there was a mix-up and Hays didn’t get one, despite having never missed a day. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except attendance is a really big deal to me and I had talked it up all year, promising he’d get an award at the end. Then he didn’t. Ugh.

Of course, the first thing he said to me after the ceremony was, “I’m glad they got it right this year. I should’ve gotten one last year.” Which is exactly what I would’ve said if I’d been in his shoes. He is his …   More

Paleo Balsamic Chicken

Here’s one for you paleo folks and I wish I had a higher opinion of it. You win some, you lose some.

The Paleo Diet is huge on Pinterest, with most likely thousands of boards dedicated to recipes following the trend. The diet is based on foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, primarily non-processed meats, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit and leaving out things like dairy, grain products, fruit juices, legumes (so no peanut butter, peanuts or beans), almost all alcohol and processed foods. Apparently, vegetables high in starch, like regular and sweet potatoes are also no-gos. While lists of foods approved by the paleo diet are all over the Internet and cook book sections of book stores, there is, of course, an app for that as well. Attention paleo diet app developers: Want to be named here? Talk to me about a sponsorship fee.

This specific recipe features balsamic vinegar, which, if I haven’t mentioned it already, is one of my favorite flavorings. However, my favorite vinegar still wasn’t enough to give this the flavor it needed to take it from boring chicken to something I don’t regret making as a whole recipe. This is strange given the number of spices used in the recipe — garlic (powdered and fresh minced, both also high on my list of favorite seasonings), basil, salt, pepper, dried onion and the vinegar. You’d have thought this would have been enough to make it taste like something other than plain chicken. In fact, I’ve grilled chicken on the stovetop seasoned only with salt and pepper that has been more flavorful.

Should you want to test this out for yourselves, combine your spices and spread these over your boneless, skinless chicken thighs on both sides and place them in your crockpot with olive oil and garlic in the bottom. Pour your vinegar over the top and cook on high for four hours. The parsley isn’t enormously necessary, but go ahead and add it if you wish.

Like I said, it looked good, smelled good, but the …   More

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