Monday, October 23, 2017

LoCaL Like a Tourist

When Rick and I travel we always know everything is in capable and caring hands. There is nothing Todd can’t handle, his decades of experience and caring always show through. Our crew knows this is their store and treat it as such, making us Hometown Proud is what they do. I have house sitters, garden pickers, and Chandler Ranch is always happy to take stellar care of my sweet shih tzus if needed. My life is indeed good in this tight knit community, my IGA family makes it possible for me to relax and experience the destination’s sights, cuisine, shops, history, museums or just go on long walks to see what we can discover. 

Then it’s time to go home. I’m always ready because it really is my favorite place on earth. I love my job, my people, my routine. Like Dorothy said “there’s no place like home”. This got me thinking. What would we discover if we explored with the same curiosity right here at home? Stopping by the Chamber, the Depot or the Arts Council for upcoming events. Checking out and Lassen County Times to do this from the comfort of your own couch. Try a new sport, take a new trail, different food, go for a drive. Stick your head in a LoCaL business you haven’t visited before or for awhile. I’ve always wanted to go to some of the Ranger programs at Lassen Volcanic and though I have hiked and biked all around the park I’ve never done Bumpass Hell. That has gotta change. 

One of Rick’s hobbies is photography, it takes us places we wouldn’t go otherwise. We head out early some days to catch leaves changing or check out wildlife. Other days we stay up late so he can shoot the Milky way. I highly recommend looking at Lassen/Plumas through a camera lens, it’s extraordinary. 

Where we live is just a mass of land without all of you. You’re what makes this a community, one I’m very Hometown Proud to be a part of.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Aidell's Red Beans and Rice

Discover America tours with Dennis and Ruth Darling are the best. The four of us fly somewhere in the U.S., rent a van and visit 2 or 3 (sometimes 4!) states. Flying by the seat of our pants, with a little help from Google, we choose places to see, eat and stay. Once was even a stop at the Tow Truck Museum, another, the home of Buford T Pusser (the movie Walking Tall was based on his life), and who can forget Carhenge. National Parks, Museums, Natural and manmade wonders abound in this country of ours.

On one food stop somewhere in Seattle, Yelp suggested this hole in the wall for Red Beans and Rice. The place was spooky but even if the food is bad you get a reason to torture the person who chose it for-like-ever. Win, win. BUT. The dish was AMAzing. Made from scratch Andouille sausage, slow cooked beans that developed a rich creaminess served over perfectly cooked rice. I wish I had time to cook like that every day, but alas, I do not.

I do have a staple SuPeR fast and yummy weeknight recipe though and considering Red Beans and Rice are pretty much the perfect food, especially for athletes, I make a large quantity. What makes it perfect? Carbs, protein and healthy fats are the essential ingredients to performance and recovery. Many recipes need a bit of an overhauling to keep the calories down and saturated fats a little lower. But I don’t ever want to give up flavor, that’s why spicy dishes are my jam. Aidells Mango Jalapeño Chicken sausage is just the right heat/sweet combination without all those pesky hormones or nitrites. My tweaks on the traditional recipe make it more RED BEANS and less rice so when I’m not behaving very athletically it’s still a healthful choice. This recipe takes about 45 minutes even with the dogs insisting on going outside, the granddaughters Face-timing me and all the other cherished afternoon events. I occasionally wrap the leftovers into burritos, it makes ideal traveling food~

3 Aidells Mango Jalapeño Sausage links, quarter links and slice.
3 cans Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed.
1 cup diced bell pepper.
1 cup diced onion.
1tbs Olive Oil.
32 oz Swanson Chicken Broth.
1/4 tsp Cayenne.
1 tsp McCormick Cajun Seasoning.
1 tsp Bell’s Seasoning.
1/2 tsp dried thyme.
4 drops Tabasco.
1 bag Success Boil in Bag rice.
In a large frying pan over med heat saute sausage, peppers, onion in olive oil, only stir as everything begins to brown. When all is slightly golden add remaining ingredients. Stir and let simmer uncovered, just barely at boiling, for 25 minutes. With a potato masher mash some of the beans to make the juice a little creamier.

While it simmers you could go for a run, walk, bike or plan your own Discover America trip.

Hometown Healthy in a HURRY~

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fast Frank~

What are you doing this weekend? How about riding a mountain bike from Verdi to Mendocino? That’s 400 miles with 40,000 feet of climbing on a combination of dirt roads, single track and some pavement. No one there to provide support, just a route map and you. Certainly not on most of our schedules but that is exactly what LoCaL cyclist Frank Winters (aka Fast Frank) will be doing. I am in awe. I used to do a bit of endurance cycling but not on a mountain bike. Mountain bikes just don’t roll like a road bike and they require more upper body strength. This is a daunting endeavor.

Frank began cycling with his Dad, the first organized event they rode together was the Davis Double. This ride is tough. 200 miles, in Davis, in May, temperatures usually reach 100*, PLENTY of climbing and windy flats with very little shade. Not an ideal first organized ride, clearly Frank doesn’t shy away from a challenge. I think it was around 2010 Frank attended the Senior Games and took 1st Place overall in the 50+ cycling division. We don’t call him Fast Frank for nothin’.

Recently retired from High Desert State Prison, where he worked for 22 years, Frank has more time to devote to his cycling and he seems to be making the most of it. To prepare for this weekends event Frank competed in a 24 hour ride out of Sierra Valley called the Agony Ride, a fundraiser for Christian Encounter Ministries, cyclists have 24 hours to ride as many miles as they can. Frank rode 351 miles in the time limit and raised over $500. Next up the Greenville Bear Growl, a 100 mile mountain bike ride with 10,000 feet of climbing. Go Frank.

Frank says this is the perfect place to live (ABSOLUTELY) and his advice for new riders is “just get out and do it”. He has encouraged so many cyclist to be stronger riders in a fun, healthy, competitive way. I happen to know our LoCaL cyclists are a fun group. Every Wednesday night Frank and the SABA Dirt Riders (Bill Bigford, Sean Buehler, Mark Kovacic and Mike Wright) go out for a 5 hour ride, I asked if it was open to everyone, Frank said it is but after the first hour most people wouldn’t like it :) Ha! I bet that’s true!

Good luck Frank! Thanks for showing us how FUN Hometown Healthy can be!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Theresa Phillips the Queen of Green~

On September 1991, President George Bush declared October as National Energy Awareness Month. In light of this (absolute pun intended) I asked Lassen Municipal Utility District’s Public Relations Manager Theresa Phillips to share some ways we can keep more of our dollars without sacrificing comfort and convenience. Theresa has been with LMUD for 14 years, prior to that she was Executive Director of Lassen County Chamber, her roots run deep in this community. Here is what she had to say~

"When it comes to saving energy and lowering your utility costs, there are quite a few “no-cost” and “low-cost” measures that can be easily put into practice.

Start with conservation measures – turning off lights, using fans instead of central air conditioning, and unplugging appliances when not in use – all save energy.

Phantom loads from appliances and electronics with instant on features or digital clocks can amount to almost 10% of your electric usage. LMUD offers rebates on SmartStrips that control your electronic devices, turning them completely off when not in use.

Another low-cost energy saving measure is switching your existing lighting with energy efficient LEDs. LEDs use about a quarter of the energy of traditional lights. You don’t have to sacrifice lighting quality for efficiency, today’s LEDs are just as good, or better, than incandescent bulbs. LMUD offers rebates of up to $2.50 per bulb on EnergyStar compliant LEDs – you can purchase LEDs from many local stores, including Susanville Supermarket and Billington Ace Hardware.
For details on all of LMUD’s rebate programs, visit, or call me, Theresa Phillips, LMUD’s Public Relations Manager at 257-4174.”

Super fun, super enthusiastic and always willing to share her knowledge, we salute you Theresa. Thanks for showing us how to be a little more Hometown Green~

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ode to Sweet Susanville

I am a grandma. Of all the titles in my life this may very well be the best one. It is the culmination of the family I came from, the man I love, the daughter we are so blessed to have, the boy she brought into our family and these two precious little beings that just blow my mind. Remember how you felt/feel about your grandma? That is how they look at me. Wow.

Life becomes an adventure when our granddaughters visit. When we work at the store they are all business (with the exception of dancing in the aisles which I have seen on our security cams). They can’t wait to go to the garden and see what’s ripe today, digging potatoes, driving lessons on private roads, where’s Waldo, visit the wild horse corrals or just hop in the car and go find water, lakes, streams, a creek, here in Lassen County water is in every direction. I always knew how much their visits meant to me but then one day I saw a paper my eldest grand wrote for school. This is how a little city girl sees our hometown~

Learning to ride my bike,
learning to kayak,
learning how to do color guard,
all within these lonely hills.

I remember driving to this
one supermarket,
learning to help
my family set up
the shop for the busy
day ahead of us.

Growing up on the
world’s best donuts,
having a veggie delight
sandwich everyday at noon,
driving around to the closest
lake and going
for an afternoon swim.

The rest of the world not understanding that
it’s not about things we have,
it’s about the memories we’ve made
in the places we’ve been.

All these memories confined
within this small town,
like animals in a zoo
like fish in a tank.

The point of my ode is this,
be appreciative of the small things,
cherish everything you
have before it is gone.

If you’ve already read the ode on my blog…no. I’m not sorry. A grandma has to brag, it’s one of the numerous perks :) Hometown Proud!

Bonus feature~ Papa's driving lesson :)

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