Monday, December 30, 2019

Wood Burning

One of the many ways Rick Stewart makes me Hometown Proud is by serving on the board of the California Grocers Association. Through CGA, Rick gets an opportunity to: 
  • Meet with Legislators during Grocers Day at the Capital.
  • Encourage young people working for us to apply for scholarships funded by the CGA Foundation.
  • Participate in educational seminars. 
  • Stay up to date on just about everything related to our business.
The final Board meeting for this year was held in San Diego, always a pleasure in December, I didn't wanna miss that. For year end meetings CGA hosts a spouse's event that is always awesome. Last year we all went to see Trans Siberian Orchestra and the year before we went to the Silverado Culinary School and made delicious food. I learned at the cooking event that thinly sliced Fuyu Persimmons are incredible on salads, a new staple in the winter for me. This years activity was wood burning and cheese board design. Some of you might remember the wood burning kits of the 60s, my brother had one, there is no way on earth I would give a 9ish year old a wood burning kit today but everyone did back then. I was excited to try an adult. 

Since I have no measurable talent when it comes to arts and crafts I was hoping they had a failsafe way to make our boards cool. They did. In the center of each table were very rustic cutting boards and a power strip with several wood burners plugged in. For the folks like me they had stencils, pencils and carbon paper.  I can't draw but I can stencil like nobody's business! I chose a sweet little cursive 'blessed'. Carbon side against the board, stencil on top, I traced onto the board over to the side so it would remain visible when the  I set up my cheese. Then the fun part, slowly going over the pencil marks repeatedly until it was burned into the wood. I gotta say it came out really nice! This seems like a really fun group activity for anytime. Plus you can set up a fruit and cheese board YOU made. The instructor said to feel free to use pineapple fronds or herbs or berries and fill in all the blank spots to make your display really pop. 
I think I'll use my board for New Year snacks! UPDATE~I gave it to my kids for Christmas, just like all those projects they have given me.

Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for supporting all of us at Susanville Supermarket this year as we do what we love, bring food to our community!

About CGA from their website~ "For more than 120 years, the California Grocers Association has served as the voice of the state’s grocery community. A nonprofit, statewide trade association, CGA’s membership is comprised of over 300 retailers operating more than 6,000 brick-and-mortar stores, and approximately 150 grocery supply companies.
The Association is recognized as the leading resource in the areas of government and industry relations for California’s food industry and its customers while also providing continuing education opportunities for industry employees and their children."

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

LoCaL Gift Guide~

Spoiler alert~ I'm a big fan of LoCaLLy owned and operated business. This last week before Christmas is a nice time to show them all a little love. Soooo... maybe you're looking for a last minute gift idea or two like I know I will be. Here's a few of my standbys~
Arlin Billington's Ace Hardware has THEE absolute best stocking stuffers. Especially for the men in my life. Cool things, mini flashlights, multi tools, gadgets galore. I always scan the checkout area for good stuff. 
Sherry McBroome's Sierra Jewelry offers WAY more variety in gifts than most would think. I go in and tell them my price range for a gift and get lots of options. From costume to custom they have it all.
Melissa McCoy's Every Blooming Thing is a year round gift scavenger hunt! Not only are the gifts fantastic, scarves, cake plates, decor, BUT I also love the bathroom soaps (lavender is my fave) for when guests come. 
Patti and Sam Glass' Milwood Florist is my go to for ornaments. So many trees. So many choices. I could wander around for hours. Pick up some gift wrapped truffles as a gift (for myself sometimes :) too. 
David Teeter and Margie's Book Nook have books for all ages and you can even pick up a LoCaL author's SIGNED book. Plus toys, stuffed animals and some LoCaLLy made gift items. 

Scott Johnson's Johnson Shoes has Uggs. Need I say more. Okay they also have Vans, Birkenstocks and socks, good wools socks. Love it. 

Mark Zaengle's Carpet One Floor and Home. I know, it doesn't sound like a 'gifty' place but it's not just furniture and floor. All those trendy wood signs, centerpieces, pillows, tons of cozy cute stuff and bonus points cuz an actual decorator can help you choose. 

I know there are lots more, this is just off the top of my head. Of course if you're still stuck you could always get a Rick and Anna Stewart's Susanville Super gift card :) Who wouldn't want that? Wall to wall freshness and The Best Donuts on the Planet!

Wishing everyone a safe and very Merry Christmas! Thank you for all you do to make us all so Hometown Proud!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Iron Saddle Chicken Thighs

For, I don't know how many years now, we have held our Susanville Super Christmas party at the Elk's Lodge. The place is amazing and just screams Christmas tradition to me. Our crew loves it there. Every employee wins a door prize, we close the store early so all may attend, the decorations are festive, the vibe is super festive.. and the food. The food is sooo good. 

We always have the same menu~
Tri Tip
Green Beans with bacon
Baked Potatoes
Green Salad 
We bring a cake, cuz we make the BEST :)

This year when Susanville Elk's Secretary Mark Soloman came to my office to go over the menu he asked how many people will want chicken, I in turn asked him if Greg Sella was cooking, if he's making HIS famous chicken thighs then EVERYONE will want chicken. Now this is probably the only time and place and cook that you can say that about. Such an easy, crowd pleasing dish, I had to ask Greg if this was a secret recipe, he told me he shares it all the time. You can't believe how easy it is, 3 ingredients. Rick and I had a bbq for a friend this summer and Rick tried his hand at making Greg's Chicken Thigh recipe. Perfect, it was a huge hit! IDK about you but I grill year round, why not? Less dishes, no pots and pans, no greasy stove top, not all the lingering smells... it had me at less dishes. You might even try it as a baked dish? It could work. But. Who needs the mess..

Greg Sella's Grilled Chicken Thighs
Boneless skinless chicken thighs
Chef Morito Chicken Seasoning
Yoshidas marinade
Orange juice

Season thighs liberally with Chef Morito (Greg says he covers them with it), let sit 15 minutes. Marinade chicken in 1 part Yoshidas and 2 parts orange juice for 24 hours. Grill.

I know it sounds too good to be true, or too easy to be good BUT they are phenomenal! Let me just put in a bit of a plug for Greg's business in case you want the man himself to prepare this and lotsa other deliciousness, Iron Saddle BBQ co. will come to you. Greg built the grill himself. Nice. Second generation born and raised in the Ville. Both Greg and his wife Lynn are retired from Richmond School. Greg had 26 years as Facility Manager and Lynn was a Special Ed teacher for 32 years! Serving our community and serving great food is what Iron Saddle BBQ is all about!

Thank you Greg for offering us a little cooking simplicity to get through the busy Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Back Country Security

Getting lost can be fun. Just as an option though. That being said, in 2006 all the stars aligned for Rick and I. We had been racing our tandem bike for a few years and had built up the courage (or insanity had set in) enough to register for a race called the Terrible Two. 200 miles, temps over 100*, 16,000 feet of climbing, steep climbing, steep descents with what they called 'decreasing radius' turns and a time limit of 16 1/2 hours. Let's face it though, just the name should have been enough to dissuade us. It wasn't. When we showed up at O dark thirty to the start line, racers began saying "you’re gonna do this on a tandem?!?". This did NOT inspire confidence. Climbing is tough anyway and on a tandem you're hauling the weight of the bike plus two bodies. AND did I mention this ride has strict cutoff times? All day we were under the gun, people were literally laying by the side of the road cramped up or crumbled up from crashing on the hairy descents. Then the navigator, that would be me, took a wrong turn. We added a mile or two to this 200 miler. Fortunately we still made the cutoff time with a whole ten minutes to spare. Getting lost is not always fun but certainly always an adventure. 
So when I go out in the woods, whether on roads or trails, I like to leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Virtual breadcrumbs, virtual cuz I don't want anything hungry following us! I use an app called Scenic Map Western USA. Recently I discovered this app includes the South Side trail (which runs parallel to the Bizz) AND all those cool trails out in Susanville Ranch Park. I know cuz I got lost and whipped out my Scenic Map. BAM. All the trails. No cell signal? No problem. The app is run on GPS. I'm sure there are a lot of programs out there to use, Rick prefers an app called Gaia. Whatever works best for you, I highly recommend having some program. It is so fun to try to connect roads and trails to get where you wanna go, especially without a time limit :). 

(Sheriff Growdon in one of the best Halloween costumes EVER!)

The most important thing we carry is a personal locator beacon. I happen to know even Sheriff Growdon uses one. The beacons are GPS driven so no cell service required, you can send a text to someone if needed or hit a button to send an SOS to emergency services with your EXACT location. With winter's below freezing temperatures it's  critical to have a timely rescue should it become necessary. We try to be careful out there, but accidents happen, why not be just as prepared as you can? Then if you still wanna take the ‘get lost’ option, you can. 

So much Hometown Happiness to be found in our woods. Be safe out there~

Monday, November 25, 2019

Hope's Gingersnap Cheesecake

If you shop here, you probably know Hope. Hope Browning is our Deli Manager and she makes everything fun. I'd say she is a cross between Rachel Ray and the Cat in the Hat. Talent and kindness wrapped in a whole lotta mischief. Man-o-man can she cook. I dream of her carne asada tacos... When I needed a really great Thanksgiving recipe, I asked Hope. She got all excited (cuz that's how she rolls) and offered to make her Holiday Pumpkin Cheesecake. YES PLEASE! The crew was the beneficiary of this most elegant and delish dish. One white layer of cheesecake with pumpkin cheese filling and a gingersnap crust she makes from scratch. YUM. After Hope puts the layers together she does a little swirl to pull the color through the filling. The top looked like a lotus flower. As you can see from the photo it's lovely. Hope makes the gingersnap crust from scratch but you could use boxed cookies in a pinch.

Ginger Snap Cookies
3/4 cup butter 
1 cup sugar
1 egg 
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven 350*
Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and molasses until well blended. Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture to form dough. Roll into 1 inch balls for cookies or spread into cookie sheet to make full pan for crumbling. 
Cookies bake 8-10 minutes.
Sheet bake 10-16 minutes.

2-3 cups cookies crushed
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup melted butter
Mix and press into a 9" springform pan. Optional~ you can drizzle a little extra molasses on top of the crust. 

3-8 oz packages cream cheese
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch ground clove
Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until well blended with no lumps. Add eggs, 1 at a time beating each until blended. Reserve 1 cup of batter, to remainder add pumpkin, sugar and spices. Pour pumpkin batter into crust, top with saved batter, swirl gently with a butter knife to make design. Bake 55 minutes, cool completely in the fridge for 4 hours. 

Your family is sure to love it just as much as we all did! Thanks for sharing Hope xoxo

Happy Thanksgiving from your Hometown Proud Susanville Supermarket! 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Snowstorm in the Sierra

It never ceases to amaze me how often I find a local connection in my travels. Last year Rick and I attended a Grocer's dinner inside the Sacramento Railroad Museum. What a treat. I ask someone to snap a pic of us in front of a Fruit Growers Express box car. Turns out this was just a refrigerated box car company with no local connection. HOWEVER, I read a super interesting and harrowing story the museum was featuring. The exhibit 'Snowbound in the Sierra' told of a 3 day ordeal on Donner Summit when a train traveling from Chicago to San Francisco became snowbound. The year was 1952, the snows along the Sierra were already heavy when a blizzard moved in, even Susanville was cut off from outside and supplies had to be airlifted in. A young Navy pilot was among the stranded on the train named The City of San Francisco. He would later say he really enjoyed train travel but wouldn't wish this on anyone. The young man had enlisted in the Navy right after Pearl Harbor and became a pilot. Following his active duty he joined the Reserves and in 1951, during the Korean War, he was called back to active duty. That's why he was on the train that day. 

The blizzard packed a punch with 100 mph winds, the plows cleared the way and had no idea two slides had completely covered the track right behind them. City of San Francisco made it through the first slide and was stopped dead by the second. For 3 days 226 passengers waited, the food dwindled, the pipes froze, the toilets backed up. Nearby residents joined with rescuers using dog sleds to get supplies in. Rescuers went without food or sleep trying to clear the way as the blizzard continued. Carbon monoxide built up. Freezing temps and the raging storm meant everyone had to shelter in place. For 3 DAYS. Harrowing indeed. 

That young Navy pilot would become Lassen County's first full time art teacher. For 44 years he taught at both the college and high school. Our Arts building at Lassen County Fairgrounds bears his name, so does a scholarship. Warren Chapman. A man I remember as always quick with a smile. Warren used to send photography students into our store to take pics of rows, of oranges, of boxes, of cans. Then he would show how the light and contrast changed each item. Wish I would have gotten to take one of his classes. 

His son Jim only learned of this ordeal in the mid 80s. Jim was driving his dad down I-80 and Warren began to tell the story. I read that there were a few nurses onboard and one doctor but the military personnel, with all of their training, assisted in caring for the passengers. I'm pretty sure Warren was right in there helping. 

Thank you for your service to our Country and our County Mr Chapman!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Pup Camp

Travel is exhilarating, exhausting, amazing, fun, scary and I love it all. Except the actual getting out the door to go. If I didn't have all these 4 legged family members, that bring me more joy than any amount of stress could negate, it would be easy. I worry. Ask any of my house sitters. The list they get can be 3 pages long. Ridiculous things are intentionally left off, and it ain't easy, things like "Bean likes the first bite of his dinner off of a spoon". 
Welcome to my particular kind of pet crazy. Even I can't ask them to do this. Ronnie Chandler's Critter Keepers doesn't need a note from me yet they don't laugh when they get one. When we lost one of our dogs to cancer and had to board Beanie alone Ronnie noticed he wasn't eating enough, she fed him at the counter... by hand. Okay. It wasn't even just once. Then sent me a video of him barking at her to take him upstairs to bed with her. Bossy little thing. He's special. Ronnie treats him like his momma (me) would. Now my precious shy lil Bean, that ONLY loves me, pushes his way in past Kami (Ronnie's daughter) like "get outta my way Kami I'm going in!' We have a new special boy too. CJ is 8 and just came to live with us. He was a little nervous the first couple times then sure enough he shoved his way in on our last visit. Makes going away infinitely easier to know they are cared for in a safe, protected, home atmosphere. Spoiled rotten to boot.

And not just him, Ronnie treats me special too. Everyone there does. Rick and I came home weary from travel to pick up the boys. Exhausted, no food in the house, you know the drill. The whole Chandler family was on the porch having a dinner, Ronnie came around the corner and invited us to eat with them. Who does that? How kind. She saw how tired we were and just sent us on our way with some of  her husband, 'Pop's', fried halibut and daughter Kami's homemade tartar sauce. They had (just the week before) caught this halibut in Alaska. I have never had halibut this good. The crust was perfect, crunchy outside, tender inside, not greasy at all, seasoned to perfection. The tartar sauce was so fresh, crunchy onion and almost like a thousand island tang. I ate all of my share on the way home and Rick was watching to make sure I didn't down his. It was like really coming home. Just treating us like family. Great moments like this make a community. 

Of course they shared both recipes. I would expect nothing less from the Chandlers. 
From Ronnie~
"We were taught to do both by my Mother, Granny Morlan. Pops fish batter is: Mix together.
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp.baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1 slightly beaten egg
1/2 cup water
Stir till smooth. Enough batter for 1 pound halibut
Cut fish into small chunks. Dip in batter & fry in hot vegetable oil till golden brown. Drain on paper towels."

From Kami~
"I don't have an exact recipe but here are the's all according to the individuals taste. The base is a jar of miracle whip. Must be miracle whip. Not mayonnaise.  1 diced onion. The rest is to the individuals taste. I start with a little and add more if needed....
Sweet relish
Lemon juice
Garlic powder
Hope you have a great day! Kiss my boys for me."

Thank you Critter Keepers for treating your customers like family. There is no finer business model. 

Meal in a Pumpkin

One October it was clear our kids and grands weren't going to make it up for our annual family outing to the Wemple's Pumpkin Patch. Rick and I found a patch near their home to visit. This place was MASSIVE. Amber alert signs directed traffic, there were zip lines, a train, a corn maze sponsored by some medical center and I'm sure there were pumpkins but I never saw them. We never did this again. Like the Cheers song "sometimes you wanna go where everyone knows your name" -ish. Or at least I know their names. The Wemple's are like Lassen County royalty. Their pumpkin patch is exactly what I NEED to get me in that Fall state of mind. AND Dena, Fred, friends and family have been doing this for 25 years now!

Pumpkins! Gourds! Gift Shop! A corn maze where you really get to know everyone inside cuz you're lost together for so long! FOOOOOODDDDD! Rick and I go out for lunch at least once, gotta get one of Fred's burgers. Now somewhere along the line I remember a dish called Dinner in a Pumpkin. Hearty, savory, perfect for this time of year. I requested the recipe from Dena to share with you. I kinda remembered it being like a stuffed pepper filling. Not at all! Ground beef, ground pork, onion.. WAIT. What's this? Raisins? Stuffed green olives? Vinegar? Are you sure? Didn't sound right but Dena is a fantastic cook so I followed it to the letter. Well that's not exactly true. I baked the filling in assorted hard squash our Produce department cuts and scoops so we don't have to. Amazing dish. Simple, filling and the flavors knock your socks off. 

Meal in a Pumpkin (or single serve hard squash we've already cleaned for you :)

1 small Pumpkin (cleaned like you would for a Jack O Lantern)
Combine the following:
2 tbs oil
2 lbs Ground Beef 
1/2 lb Ground Pork 
2 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs Chopped Onion
2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Vinegar

Brown and drain off fat then add:
3 beaten eggs
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped stuffed green olives
1 8oz can tomato sauce
3/4 cup raisins
1 tsp pepper

Fill pumpkin. Bake 60-70 minutes with lid on pumpkin. Serve. Be delighted! All these crazy, seemingly unrelated ingredients come together in a delectable, comforting dish. 

A couple of notes if your using our prepped squash; butternut takes a long time to get tender, I suggest precooking it a bit. I covered my squash with foil since I didn't have the 'lid'.

Huge Hometown thanks to the Wemple family giving our community the Best Pumpkin Patch on the Planet for 25 years now!

Maud Tombs

Our local historian, Tim Purdy, recently did a story on Maud Tombs. Born 1875, the eldest of 10 children she would become Lassen County's first woman elected to a county wide office. Maud won the race for County Clerk in 1918 and served 7 terms. She was succeeded in 1951 by her daughter Nadene Wemple. Nadene served 4 terms and for over a century now we have always elected a woman to this office. I’d like to point out here that Theresa Nagel, much more recently, represented 20 of those County Clerk years! She even officiated at my daughter’s wedding. Thank you for all those years of service Theresa. You can read lots more about all our local history including Maud's family on Tim's blog, Exploring Lassen County's Past. The blog even has a cool search feature if you're doing some research. Personally I subscribe. It's $5 a month and I learn a TON about this place we all call home.
This story really caught my attention. When Tim was preparing for one of his historical cemetery tours he chose Maud's grave and it was in pretty bad shape. He returned with a pumice stone and with "plenty of elbow grease" it was restored. Tim tries to clean about a dozen a year and even gives a quick tutorial if you need.

Here is what Tim put in his blog back in 2016~ "One project that I am slowly working on is the polishing of headstones. It is slow and tedious but the final result is worth the effort. During the St. Patrick’s Cemetery Tour I did a brief demo on the grave of Minnie Ramsey. The technique is simple, a pumice stone and lots of elbow grease. One can spray the surface with water, but that is a messy procedure, and dissolves the pumice stone quickly. If you want to go the extra mile, once the grime is removed, spray with WD 40. Let it sit for awhile ten minutes or so, and then use a damp cloth to do the final cleaning. This removes any residue of the WD 40, which is necessary otherwise dust, etc would cling to the stone."

What a wonderful showing of volunteerism! Thanks Tim for restoring these vital monuments in our Hometown History!

New Crop Apples

Maybe you know, maybe you don't, apples are harvested in the Fall. Yet we all eat FrEsH, crispy, sweet Washington State apples all year. If the fruit was kept in only cold storage those apples might get us through, maaaaybe, February. But in the 1930s Dr Robert Smock a researcher at Cornell University's Pomology department (yep a whole department) experimented in a barn near campus. Under the barn was a damp basement where he tried different levels of reduced oxygen, evidently apples 'breathe' and this slows their breath. This 'controlled atmosphere' method is still in use today. Fall apples beyond our current needs are loaded into containers and all the oxygen is sucked out. The containers are opened as needed and you can actually have that recommended apple a day straight outta Washington State. In the Fall (like this very minute!) we carry what are known as NEW crop apples. 

I eat apples year round but this time of year is the best with new crop in! Confession~I'm a bit of a food hoarder. Consequently my fruit bowl is loaded with apples in Fall. The extras usually end up baked or saut├ęd with cinnamon sugar or thrown into a simple fast coffee cake recipe I've been using for 30-ish years. If you've seen this recipe posted here in the past let this serve as a reminder :) Otherwise here is the recipe~

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 or 3 apples, the sweeter the better
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Place apple in a bowl, break eggs over top, right on top of that add oil, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts. Stir until well blended. Place all dry ingredients in a sifter together, sift onto apple mixture. Stir just until flour is moist. Mix will seem dry, don’t worry, you have done it right. Spread into pan, bake at 350* for about 45 minutes, test with a toothpick. The top should look dry but the cracks will not. Then top with sifted powdered sugar. Chewy, sweet, deeeeliciousness.

Do you have a recipe for new crop apple you'd like to share? LMK!

Happy Hometown Fall y'all!


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