Category Archives: Food

Dog Beds

Guinevere has multiple beds.  YA can’t resist them so there is one in her kennel in the breakfast room, one in my room and one in YA’s room.  Recently we’ve changed up sleeping arrangements; during the day Guinevere and Nimue pretty much ignore each other but nighttime is a different matter. The last month or so, Guinevere has moved from my room to YA’s room at night.  Every day YA moves the dog bed from my room to her room because “Gwen likes that bed during the day”.   I noticed today that both of the upstairs dog beds are still in YA’s room. 

Beds & Lambies

In addition, Guinevere has FOUR lampchop chewy toys.  This is in addition to a huge basket full of other balls and toys, but the lampchop ones are definitively her favorites.  YA and I used a giftcard last spring and bought several of them, so we have extras on hand if the current flock gets nibbles too much.

Guinevere is also refusing to eat her kibble this week.  This happens every couple of years when she just decides that her currently dogfood isn’t fitting the bill.  While YA and I are both fine with changing her food, neither of us is willing to throw out half of a large bag of kibble.  I voted for letting her go hungry on the theory that she won’t starve to death and eventually she’ll eat what we have.  YA is frantic about the non-eating.  So far this past week on different occasions I’ve seen lots of delicacies added to Guinevere’s dish: peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, pumpkin and also some very smelly dog sauces in pouches.  Each of these items worked moderately well but we’ve still got at least 2 weeks before we’re ready for a new brand of dry food. Good grief.

Have you ever had a hand in spoiling someone?

Dish Drainer Jenga

I saw a funny picture on Facebook last week – dish jenga.  I laughed because it’s true – at least in my life.

Usually it doesn’t come to this but on Monday, it was the perfect dish drainer jenga storm.  YA took the last brownie to work – an empty Tupperware.  Cooked down the last of the raspberries into a sauce. Made a bundt cake – mixing bowl and then bundt pan.  Three jars of pesto – that was a biggie as it uses the salad spinner and most of the food processor and accessories.  Then add in the dishes from breakfast as well as all the measuring cups, spoons and spatulas for all the morning endeavors and I was well and truly jenga’d. 

If the dishwasher were working I suppose I could have filled it up instead and if I’d been willing to get out a dishtowel to dry, I could have put things away as I was working.  But for some reason, while I am willing to stop between steps of projects to wash things, washing AND drying doesn’t seem like a good use of time when I know dishes will dry on their own.  I’m guessing this is the kind of thought process that results in most folks who end up with dish jenga.

I’ve never liked the actual Jenga game very much.  The groups I’ve played in haven’t managed to keep the game going very long and it’s not that much fun when you are constantly having to pick up all the pieces.  And life-size Jenga is terrifying; I only played it once on the beach in St. Thomas and it gave me nightmares.

What are your favorite board games?

Corn Fed

I remember the first time I saw someone take a picture of their food about 20 years ago.  It was dinner with a client at Swan Court, at the Hyatt in Maui.  It was a lovely evening and we were seated outside along the lagoon when we noticed a young couple sitting close to us taking photos of their plates before tucking in.  The client and I were too polite to laugh out loud, but we did roll our eyes and we talked about it more than once over the next two days. 

Little did we know that we were witnessing the beginning of a worldwide trend.  These days social media is filled with pictures of people’s snacks, meals, drinks…. any edible will do.  For this trend, YA is all in; we can’t ever eat anywhere without the obligatory photo before she begins to eat.  And often I have to move my plate or my glass or my coffee cup so it doesn’t mess up her photo.

State Fair is about the only time I join in the food photo frenzy.  Cheese curds and cookies subtitled “Breakfast of Champions” got texted to several friends.  My pretty Margarita lemonade made the cut as well as the French Toast Bites but most of my comestibles went undocumented.  YA took photos of everything, including her roasted corn in the photo above. 

Considering how common food photos are these days, I was really surprised when a woman standing near YA said in a loud voice “Oh it’s just food.  Eat it already!”  YA just ignored her; as the aggrieved mother, I was mustering up a zinger for this woman but she had already disappeared into the crowd.  I was really stunned by this, first because YA wasn’t obstructing any traffic at all and second because taking pictures of food is so very common these days.  I can only surmise that this poor woman had been driven to distraction by her kids that day at the fair, keeping her from all her first bites of fair food by taking photo after photo!

Tell me one of your favorite corn recipes!

Fair Eats

My stomach was a little unsettled yesterday.  Not actual distress… just feeling a little sensitive.  I suppose after five days of fair food, it’s only to be expected.  Especially Sunday.  In looking back, except for the cookies and the Hawaiian shave ice, every single thing I ate was fried.  Yikes.

I’m blaming a lot of this on YA and the State Fair marketing types.  For years YA and I have gotten our coupon booklets ahead of time; we used to go through them on the bus on the way to the fair but last year and this year, YA went through a week in advance and put post-it notes on the foods she was interested in.  Then the marketing types sent us an email listing all the new foods for 2022.  YA perused this seriously and then made a list.  Yep, she’s my daughter, isn’t she?!

A few items got listed after I took the photo and what you also don’t see is that each night that we got home from the fair, she highlighted any of the foods we’d eaten during the day.  Truly the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

It will be much easier to tell you what we DIDN’T get to.  We passed the vegan corn dog trailer more than once but it never seemed the right moment.  I’ll try harder next year if they come back.  We did want to try the sweet potato poutine but you have to really want it to stand in the lines at The Blue Barn in the afternoon.  We stopped at the global market for arepas and moletes but neither of them looked that good so we tried something else.  And even though YA put the tirokroketes on the list, she was never in the mood when we passed Dino’s.  She also decided against the cotton candy float.

Some of the items got multiple tastings (cookies and Hawaiian Shave Ice are daily staples) and cheese curds, of course.  We hit the fried blueberry pie more than once – it was a new food and it was terrific.  Cheesy Siracha Funnel Cake Bites (way better than you’re imagining), Fried Pickles and Roasted Corn are favorites.  We got the pickle pizza on the first Saturday before it went viral; the lines were blocks long in both directions on Sunday.  It was fun but again not worth standing in line that long.  In fact, I always buy my cookies in the first hour and put most of them in a Tupperware that I raid as the day goes on, because I can’t do the afternoon lines. 

Just reading through all of this had made me realize that as much as I love the fair, it’s probably a good thing it only happens once a year.  It might take my stomach until next year to recover!

When was the last time you got carried away with anything?

Paradise Farm

Because our green beans were hailed out in June, we went to the local farmers market to get some. Green beans from the garden are so good.

It was a busy day at the farmers market, as the local tomatoes are just now coming in, and there is lots of other produce. The high school marimba band was playing as a fundraiser, so it was even more festive than usual. I can’t imagine the amount of work that these local gardeners have to do to get their crops to market.

I find a lot of peace and satisfaction gardening. I wondered what life would be like if I gardened full time and became a market gardener.

Hard work, but fun. I certainly wouldn’t want to have to make a living doing it. In my garden fantasy I see us putting in a couple of acres of butternut squash and cantaloupes, harvesting lovely, pest free crops and selling them to happy, grateful consumers. A dream, I know, but nice to have when life gets hectic.

If you were a farmer, what would you want to grow and produce? What is some of your favorite marimba, xylophone, or vibraphone music and musicians?

Not For Human Consumption

Our puppy is an avid chewer, and we get him faux rawhide treats to satisfy his cravings. Rawhide is hard to digest, and the fake stuff is described in one site as made from “Human grade food ingredients that are nutritious, highly digestible and completely healthy for your dog”.

As I perused a new bag of chews, I noticed in rather large letters these words: Not for human consumption. These were flat and thin chews about 4 X 6 inches in size. There is certainly nothing about them that made me want to start chewing on them. Are there people who would actually think it was ok to chew on these things? Are people that ignorant? Have parents given them to their teething infants? What would make a company put something like that on their products? I just don’t know what to think!

What are some perplexing and unnecessary warnings you have seen on products? What foods do you think are not for human consumption?


Well, I learned something this week. I found out that what we consider the typical American potato salad with mayonnaise is not American, but from Northern Germany. That is fun for me, as all my people come from the north of Germany.

Richard Hellman he of the mayonnaise company, immigrated to New York City in 1904, married a young German woman who had a great mayonnaise recipe and parents who ran a deli, and the rest is history. He was from Prussia, in Northeast Germany. My research tells me that most North German potato salad has mayonnaise and always has had mayonnaise, and that only the South Germans, mainly from Schwabia, have hot potato salad with a vinaigrette on it. Northern Germans apparently eat this stuff by the gallon. I guess that the number of immigrants to the US from Northern Germany influenced potato salad culture here.

I found a terrific Northern German potato salad recipe and made some this weekend.

North German Potato Salad (with a cool Hack)

Husband had four bowls of it after he did his yard work on Sunday, and his people come from Schwabia!

What are your favorite summer salads? If you immigrated, what recipes and traditions would you bring with you?

A Sense of Community

Last Friday morning we got a call on our landline from a retired Lutheran pastor named Roger, who wanted to know if one of us would be available later in the morning to give his horticulture club a tour of our church garden. They were touring several local gardens as well as the NDSU Extension gardens in town. I had time, so I met him and his group in the garden along with our senior pastor, Lisa. It was a blast!

I have known of Pastor Roger for years, as he worked in some smaller communities south of us, and also was a licensed counselor. We often referred clients to one another. He is retired and lives in Medora, our cowboy town in the Badlands. He is kind of a character. As Pastor Lisa said “You never know what Roger is going to ask you”. I had never met him in person, though.

Roger and about 25 retirement-age garden club members arrived at the church garden, which is located just behind the church parking lot. Some club members were from as far afield as Valentine, NE and Hermosa, SD. I knew several of them as former foster parents . Most lived in smaller towns in our region. Lisa and I told them the history of our garden, and then the questions started.

Our garden consists of six, waist high. raised beds for vegetables, a central space with a fire pit and benches for gatherings and contemplation, and walkways with flower beds. Husband and I primarily take responsibility for the vegetable beds, all the produce going to the food pantry. We invited the congregation to adopt a flower pot to plant flowers in this spring, and there are about fifteen pots lining the walkways. We planted everbearing strawberries that are spreading all over. The children like to eat them after services. As hard as we try, there are weeds, and congregation members weed sporadically in the flower beds. The questions were numerous.

“Why don’t you have fruit trees? You should plant fruit trees. There are disease resistant varieties, you know. You could have a grape arbor, but if you plant pear trees, make sure you plant two. What kind of cabbages are those? (They are savoy cabbages). What do you cook with them? Cod bundles? Minestrone? How interesting! Where did you get the recipes? What do you use for cabbage moths? Bacillus Thuringiensis? That is organic, isn’t it? What seed companies do you get these from? Do the people at the food pantry even know what pattypan squash are? Cold hardy spinach? How do you spell that variety name? Oh, come here so we can take your picture as we give you this gift card”. I answered the best I could. I was thankful I had reminded myself of all the vegetable variety names ahead of time.

All through this barrage of questions, the club members couldn’t stop themselves from pulling up every weed they saw and pinching off the spent blossoms from the flower pots. It was as though a swarm of weeding locusts had descended on the garden. Roger lectured every chance he got about the link between horticulture and spirituality. Husband and I are now invited to his house in Medora for supper. He has some white iris to give us for the church flower beds.

I love being part of a community. I chuckled all Friday about the meeting with Roger and his group. With Pastor Lisa’s blessing, I plan to use the gift card for more iris.

What communities are you part of? What do you have a hard time stopping yourself from doing? Who were the “characters” you remember in your life?

Oats Done

Today’s post comes from Ben

Weather warmed up this week, then to cooled off one day, then the humidity spiked again. Cooler next week. Jeepers, roller coaster of weather. They say if you don’t like the weather, to just wait a minute.

I did get the oats cut on Monday. I had to run into a local parts store and buy a new battery for it. The old one was just 2 years old, but it didn’t have any “oomph” for starting. Tried jumping it a couple different way and times and when that didn’t work, I gave up and got a new battery. I figured I don’t need the best battery in here; it only runs a couple days in the summer. Well, all the batteries were $179 plus the core deposit and refund, plus tax and I paid $195. Dang. But it started and I cut the oats. Had no issues, It seemed to cut pretty well, even the downed stuff. Whew! That old machine always makes me anxious. It’s almost as old as me and makes more noises than I do.

Got the oats harvested on Thursday. One neighbor, who usually takes a wagon load, wants it all this year. Which is fine, except having not worked all summer, that oat check is what gets me through the last hump before I start back at the college. And we probably won’t exchange cash here, we’ll just keep track of the total and figure the difference this fall after they harvest my beans and corn. The oats didn’t yield as well as I had hoped and test weight was lower than my usual too. It was planted a little later than usual, the weather was maybe too hot at the wrong times for it. Plus we had mix up with the fertilizer this spring so it’s hard to say why it didn’t do so well this year. There isn’t much oats grown anymore so it’s hard to find out how the neighbors oats did. (I don’t have any neighbors growing oats.)

Next up then is baling the straw. I’m only expecting about 2 loads. One load for the strawberry farm up the road, and one for my customers.

I added a camera to the baler so I can keep an eye on the knotters and strings as the one string gives me more trouble. Seems like something that should be fixable, but I haven’t been able to figure out what’s out of adjustment the last several years… so I added a camera so at least I can see a missing string sooner. Caught soon enough, I can add a piece of twine and tie the string back together. Otherwise I can’t see it until it’s coming out of the baler and then it’s too late to fix. So either I pull it out by hand, or if I miss it there, the thrower knocks it apart and that makes a mess. Expect photos of this next week. 

The corn is looking good. It’s way taller than Kelly now.

Interesting how many plants have 2 ears this year.

When there are plenty of resources and the plant can spare them, resources go into creating a second ear. Usually that also jeopardizes the main ear and you end up with two mediocre ears, rather than one really nice ear.  Notice the kernels are all in there, and the size of the ear was determined way back when the corn was only knee high! And then each leaf node starts to create an ear, then when it reaches tasseling, just the top ones emerge and take priority. So now it’s just getting those silks fertilized by the pollen from the tassel and getting all the kernels to fully develop. Man it’s so cool!

Kelly went out to feed the chickens the other day and they all followed her down there. They sure know the routine.

Baby ducklings are doing well too. Two escaped the other day; they found a little hole in the pen and got out, but I distracted them and Kelly captured them and reunited them with momma. All is well.


Weird Food

Over the past month, Husband and I cleaned out and reorganized our kitchen cupboards preparatory to ordering a fresh supply of the lentils, beans, and other kitchen staples we were getting low on. I am sorry to say there were things we found I had forgot about completely, and I have only vague ideas what I planned to do with some of them.

When we lived in Winnipeg, our Italian landlady would serve us preserved lupini beans whenever we came over to pay the rent. They were a real delicacy to her. This was a very formal occasion during which we would drink her and Emilio’s homemade red wine and eat the lupini beans she had done something to that made them savory and soft, sort of like olives. A couple of years ago I saw dried lupini beans on a website and ordered a pound, thinking that I could replicate those beans and those fond memories. I had no idea that lupini beans are toxic unless you soak, rinse, soak, rinse, soak rinse, ad nauseam. Well, they still are in the bag, unopened, as is the pound of fava beans that I ordered because I wasn’t quite sure if Angela used those or lupini beans. I didn’t figure it out until after they arrived and I actually looked at some recipes. Neither bean interests me now but I am too Dutch to toss them and I know no one around here who would use them.

More recently I bought a pound of red Italian rice, which seems to be different than Asian red rice, and is reportedly quite hard to digest if you eat too much at one sitting. I have looked for recipes but they are few and far between. I bought the rice because I was buying other things from the company and thought “why not” when I ran across it. I am determined that the rice will actually get used up. Maybe it goes well either lupini and fava beans . Husband wants to make salad out of it.

What weird foods lurk in your kitchen? What would you do with fava’s, lupini beans, and red Italian rice? Any good landlord stories?