Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Jambalaya with Black eyed Peas

"He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world."~ George Washington Carver's gravestone. Doctor Carver introduced crop rotation to the American South where cotton, being the sole crop, had depleted the soil and increased pest population. Peanuts and legumes used in this rotation added nutrients to the soil and allowed it to be restored. One such legume grown in the South was Black Eyed Peas which came to symbolize good fortune especially when consumed on New Year's Day.

Heaven knows we could use a bit of good fortune 'bout now. Which is why I pulled a recipe for Hoppin' John: rice, black eye peas, peppers, sausage, onions... sounds excellent. Longtime friend Linda Erway was telling me about a VERY similar recipe, Jambalaya. Turns out that's what it's called in the South. Her recipe was tried and true and SUPER easy. Easy is #1 in my top 10 criteria for recipes. Linda said you just throw all the ingredients in and cook it like rice. It. was. Awesome. I checked out a couple other recipes and added jalapeño and Aidell's sausage plus a few herbs to her recipe. Highly recommend.

Here is Linda's original recipe and notes~
"Bad pic. Smeared recipe from MANY years of love. I’ve also used chicken broth and any flavor chicken sausage. I think the butter is 1/2c, but....?"
You know a handwritten recipe is good if it gets that much use!

I made it last night with a few mods:
1 tbs EVO
1 Aidell's Mango Jalapeno link
1 Aidell's Andouille link (love all the Aidell's and use them for everything!)
1 sm diced jalapeno (which later got all over my hands and I later rubbed my eye...)
1/2 cup diced onion
2 diced stalks celery 
1 diced red pepper
1 can Black Eyed Peas drained and rinsed
1 cup rice
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cajun seasoning
Add first 6 ingredients to skillet, sauté 3 minutes, add remaining ingredients, cover and cook until rice is tender. BAM! 

Linda Erway has been a friend for, I'm guessing over 20 years now. We did an awful lot of bike riding together a couple of decades ago :) ~

PLUS she is one of my favorite LOCAL artisans, we carry many of her pottery items in Susanville Supermarket. 

Thanks Linda for a dinner idea with a side of LUCK! We're already feeling lucky to have friends like you. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

A New Year

 At midnight we begin a new year. What an e ticket ride this year has been BUT even with the trials put before us I have been present to witness a whole lotta Lassen County goodness. 

Fundraising jars on our check stands never fail to shine a light on the generosity of our community. No matter what is happening in their own lives, locals show up. For fire relief, a sick child, Toys for Tots, Humane Society, Boy Scouts, planting forests...whatever the need, you are there. 

This year a woman came in after seeing jars for  child in need of a kidney, not solely to donate money, she wanted to know if she was a match to donate her kidney. That's a beautiful thing. 

Today a customer came in and wandered the aisles twice looking for someone in need to secretly pay for their groceries, paying it forward because their life had been good this year. 

And they always want to remain anonymous. I love that. I know we could all tell a story about of human kindness occurring this very year in our little Ville. Because that is how you roll. This town is, at it's very heart, the best. Locals seem to understand that Love is an action word. 

We wish you all a Happy New Year. Thank you for all you do to make us so very Hometown Proud. 

*photo credit Rick Stewart

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Our fearless leaders...

Such a weird year but we have made it to December. Normally December is a big fat blast at the store: our Susanville Super Christmas Party is attended by darn near everyone that works here, delicious food served at the Historic Elks Lodge, gifts, friends, photos and SO many hugs. That same week a dozen or so of our crew dress up and head to the Symphony with me, enjoying the lights along the way and eating a ton of homemade treats during intermission. We miss those and many other special moments this year. 

If I take just a moment and focus on what's good it's not hard to see. Those same folks that celebrate with me every year have worked with us shoulder to shoulder (albeit 6 feet away) as they always do. Even when people on both sides of the check stand were frightened and tensions were high plus items we never expected to run out of were scarce. My people were amazing. They made me Hometown Proud...again. 

Along those lines I would like to take a beat and give a shout out to a few that really led our team through 2020. Rick didn't get to give all his thanks at our Christmas Party. This year I'm doin it! Cuz I wanna, cuz it is so deserved and cuz I can~ AND cuz I wanna tell you about the folks leading the charge.

Jessica Eid Assistant Store Director, your calm demeanor (at least outwardly), willingness to do whatever it takes and "of course" response to every request never ceases to amaze. You're wise beyond your years. Thanks for all you do. Watching you grow up has been a pleasure.

Todd Eid Store Director, I have to defer back to what Rick says about you "you are the best in the business". The years of knowledge you possess cannot be faked and your ability to connect with customer and coworker makes us the Hometown market we are. When the $#@! hits the fan we know Todd will be there. Thanks for all you do.

Jim Griswold Meat Manager, this guy uses a coach approach to manage/mentoring and nobody does it better. His department is run so smoothly we just take for granted that Jim has got this. Family is everything to Jim and he makes us feel like family. Thank for all you do.

John Whitby Produce Manager, the last few years you have really come into your own. Adding all the responsibilities of Fresh Cut and putting a small kitchen in the department didn't phase John. As a matter of fact he shined. His optimist is a gift to us all. Thanks for all you do. 

Kailie Shoemaker Bakery Manager, our newest department head, you have taken that department from classic to fabulous! Breathing fresh life into not just the product offering but the crew. Everyone has a hand in everything now. All this while raising two littles at home. You're a star. Thanks for all you do. 

Hope Browning Deli Manager, so many challenges. You're ability to change on a dime through- high school lunch on/off, power outages, restaurants open/closed, fire lunches- all with a smile and that LAUGH. You bring smiles on the days we really need them. Thanks for all you do. 

Rick Stewart Owner and my partner in crime, we call you the legal department and always know if you don't have the answer to a question you WILL find it. You're a force to be reckoned with and we are so blessed to have you on our side. Pouring over the nearly daily changes to keep our store in compliance and open has been completely on you meanwhile keeping up with all the regular day to day challenges of running a supermarket. Thanks for all you do. 

We try to take the time to thank and appreciate our staff regularly but sometimes the leaders need a lil extra love too. Maybe taking a beat to tell others what they're doing right is the best gift of all. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veteran's Day

The day Rick qualified for Submarines aboard the Lee with Captain Butler.

The National Parks Service has a Veteran's Day gift to all Veterans and Gold Star families. And it's a good one. A FREE Lifetime pass to all our National Parks, this pass known as the America the Beautiful pass also waives lots of other public land fees. I teared up a little watching the video put out by the Park service, it is indeed a beautiful thing to honor our Vets this way. 

My heartfelt thanks go out to all that have served our Nation, it is a sacrifice that doesn't go unnoticed 
by my family. We love our Vets and our National Parks.
The fam hiking in Lassen National this year.

I married Rick Stewart in 1978 while he was serving in the United States Navy. We moved to Vallejo where he was stationed at Mare Island, then on to Pearl Harbor where our daughter was born. Three days after she was born Rick had to board the USS Robert E Lee and bid us goodbye for 3 months. This is in no way a huge sacrifice in Military terms but I gained an understanding of the service of our Nation coming before all else. Those that serve put our greater good first every. single. day. God bless em. 
Aboard the USS Robert E Lee, Rick and a very pregnant me :)

Today our town will have a parade at 11am. Ever wonder why Veteran's Day is celebrated on 11/11 with most festivities at 11 am? Here is the official word from the VA:

"World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of the war to end all wars."

Thank you to all those Hometown Heroes that have served. God bless. Thank you to the National Park Service for recognizing them with this gift. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Lassen, Plumas National Forest reforestation!

Rick in PNF

My husband always says "the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best is now", he probably didn't say it first but that's where I heard it so he gets the credit. The Monticola Club is looking to plant a whole LOTTA trees, acres of trees in Plumas and Lassen National Forest. Each acre will only require a $68 donation. Crazy right? Monticola is collecting donations for a local Penny Pines project, here's a brief description of Penny Pines from the USDA website:

" the plan is this. Under a Conservation Agreement, you or your organization contributes $68 toward the cost of planting seedlings on about one acre of National Forest land in California. Using your donation together with Federal funds, the Forest Service will do the planting on the National Forest nearest you or the forest of your choice." 

Hog Flat LNF

Penny Pines was started by a women's sportsman club in 1941, back then $68 bought 10 acres of trees with the seedlings costing about 10¢ each. And I thought $68 was a bargain.  I read on a National Geographic page that cones are taken from each national forest to harvest the seed, good seeds are put in cold storage until an order comes in, they are sown about a year before being moved by a refrigerated truck to the plantation area. The same article had this:
"Placerville Nursery cold storage room is the only Forest Service seed bank in the state and holds 70,000 pounds of seeds representing every national forest in California."

That's right, Placerville! Who knew. 

Our LoCaL Monticola does so much for the community from pool beautification to scholarships, there's even a book documenting their history in Susanville.  We'd like to thank Monticola for all they do!

Susanville Super currently has jars on the check stands if you'd like to be a part of this wonderful reforestation project. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Bakery Manager Kailie

Please join me in congratulating Kailie on her promotion to Susanville Supermarket Bakery Manager!

Kailie was hired back in 2007 as a deli counter clerk, at 17 she wasn't even old enough to use the slicer. She was an antsy one. Just to keep her busy enough her manager would schedule her for bakery AND deli. One night Kailie saw the donuts being made from scratch and wanted to learn that also. Our cake decorator chose Kailie to train as a back up decorator, as many of you know, Kailie's cakes are incredible! If she sees it in a magazine (they still have those)  or on Pinterest she can do it. 

Lots of changes going on over there;  Dakota, such an artist when it comes to making the Best Donuts on the Planet, is training a back up for himself so he can spend more time baking. Cortney, formerly a sous chef, is now making scones and breads and anything else we need. Hannah is showing her talents in decorating daily, giving Kailie a little more time to focus on all those new items you see on our table plus instead of only baking at night we now are baking FrEsH all day long! 

We are so Hometown Proud to have another long term team member work their way up to management!

Congratulations Kailie! 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Constantia. Mom. Bacon. Trust me it will all make sense.

Photo credit Tim Purdy's Blog

If you follow local historian Tim Purdy you know Lassen County used to move a whole lotta buildings. Homes, churches, barns, businesses have been relocated.. I was surprised to learn in Tim's recent blog that the adorable little chapel in Doyle was moved there in 1904. It had previously been in Constantia since being built in 1898 ish. How the heck do you move an entire building? No idea. BUT I do know that the previous generations really understood reduce, reuse, recycle. Nothing that could be used went to waste. We used to roll our eyes at our parents and grands using the cottage cheese container instead of perfectly matched tupperware that was in the cupboard. Now my husband and I discuss, actually discuss, how we might 
use the empty container. It happens.

I promise you this will all come together in the end.... I can absolutely say, without fear of contradiction, my Mom made the best Potatoes O'brien EVER. I have spent years trying to replicate the perfectly caramelized onions and peppers, the tender yet golden crispness of the potatoes. Mom used cast iron, got the oil hot then would salt and pepper the bottom of the pan (liberally) before adding her ingredients. I did ALL that. So what's the problem? Ihave even pre baked the potatoes so they just needed to be diced and browned. Still... not as good as Mom's.  Until now. 

Yukons OBrien

One Saturday morning I filled a sheet pan with bacon to cook in the oven, it's a super clean way to cook it. I like to cook a full pan, that way after breakfast the rest goes in the fridge to crumble over salads, make BLTs and such. Then it came to me! That old coffee can that was always on the counter, filled with her personally curated blend of bacon grease. Like I said nothing went to waste.  THIS was the secret. I did a little google search so I could create my own amber deliciousness. I poured the oil from my bacon through a sieve right into a canning jar and popped it in the fridge. Momma would be proud. It has been used to sear everything from eggs to halibut (that halibut was heavenly). A tablespoon of bacon drippings is like a 1/4 cup oil, no idea why, plus it adds a smoky/saltiness that you can't get any other way. I highly recommend ALWAYS having it on hand. Just. Like. Mom. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. NOTHING went to waste!

Oh bacon, how I love thee.
See I told you it would come together :) 

THE SECRET. That wasn't so secret.

Thanks to Tim Purdy for all the Hometown History. Thanks to all those Moms out there for all the good food~

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


I remember like it was yesterday. 20 years ago this adorable girl in her cute little glasses walked into the front office, was interviewed by Rick and hired on the spot. Little did we know. She has brought so much fun and enthusiasm and friendship to our lives. Crohns walks, Cancer walks, Search and Rescue, Bunco, IGA girls dinners, Patti shows up. You can count on her. Plus you never know what she'll do next!

A few of my favorite 'Patti moments' have been posted on our social media:
  • I just walked out of my office to see Patti telling the customer in front of her "Just remember, I've got a jar of pickles in my hand and I'm not afraid to use them".
  • It makes me nervous when I hear Patti in Express say things like "I can't get my leg up there". 
  • Todd told her to "take 10" once, she misunderstood and dropped to give him 10 push ups!
Thank you Patti for 20 years of bringing the Hometown Proud to Susanville Super <3

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Curried Chicken Salad

Boost your immune system! Reduce inflammation! Fight cancer! Reduce your heart disease risk! Battle Alzheimers! Plus ease digestion, lower cholesterol annnnnd kick up your metabolism!  It sounds like I'm pedaling snake oil here but these are some of the health benefits (claims) of curry. Even if only a wee bit of it's true I'll take it cuz the stuff is delicious.
I figure I can add to those claims by eating it outside where my outlook is better, mood elevated and I'm absorbing a bit of vitamin D from the sun. So yeah. Heathful and yummy. Curried Chicken Salad is pretty versatile too. Excellent in a wrap or on crackers but especially good on the Cheesecake Factory Brown bread we carry in the bread aisle. SOOOOOO good. 

2 12.5 oz cans chicken, drained
1/2 cup golden raisins 
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup chopped cashews
5 or 6 oz plain Greek yogurt 
1/4 cup chutney 
2 tbs mayonnaise
1tsp curry powder

Mix well and enjoy!

Great traveling food, whether your headed to the chair on the porch or much much further. 

I encourage you to pack up a pic-a-nic basket and head out to discover and enjoy all that Lassen County has to offer. Check out one of the lookouts or petroglyphs, desert, mountains, lakes, we got it all. 

The photos are from the foundation of Dow Butte Lookout, described by many as 'Million Dollar' views, I think that is a huge understatement. The structure itself was moved to  Eagle Lake Marina for display in like '94. To see the foundation you're gonna need to navigate the backwoods. That just happens to be one of my favorite pastimes. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

High School Graduation 2020

My grand daughter is graduating from High School this year.  I know many kids are, we even have several working in the store. Whether they are the kids that would showboat across the stage or the ones with sweaty palms and a fear of tripping, I'm sorry they won't get to walk. Celebrations will likely have fewer people but that doesn't mean the accomplishment will go unnoticed. One of our team members received a special commendation on the recommendation of a customer and it was worded so beautifully;

"You were born when the world was grieving 9/11 and you are graduating as the world grieves a pandemic, although your two biggest launches into freedom have taken place in the midst of tragedy just know that the world is an amazing place and it is waiting for you with open arms. We grieve with you that your senior year is ending this way but we can't wait to see how you overcome and soar. YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS!" 

Indeed. You got this. This is the culmination of years of hard work, commitment and challenges met, both social and academic. Let me take this time to focus just on YOU. You deserve that. We are all so very Hometown Proud  and though we will miss seeing you walk I promise to keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you embark on the next stage of your life. 

To the graduating Class of 2020, Thanks for making us Hometown Proud, God Bless. 

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Jambalaya with Black eyed Peas

"He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world."~ George...