This is a simple recipe for homemade taco seasoning which is always nice to have on hand, especially when you have had a busy day and it calls for taco night. I always add black beans to taco meat because it adds protein and stretches the meal so it leaves me with leftovers for tomorrow. 

Adapted slightly from Alton Brown
Serves 4

1 lb Ground Sirloin or Ground Buffalo (organic & grass-fed)
2/3 cup beef broth or water
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
corn on the cob, cooked and cut off
cheddar cheese, shredded
avocado, cubed
mixed greens
tomato, chopped
onion, chopped
cilantro, chopped
salsa (optional)

Taco Seasoning:
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Note: Make sure you use kosher salt, if you use regular table salt use less. If you want more flavor double the taco seasoning mix.

Mix your dry spice taco seasoning ingredients.

Saute the meat in a pan over medium high, break up the meat into small pieces and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain the meat in a colander and rinse with water. Put back into the pan and add the beef broth or water and the taco seasoning. Stir and bring to a simmer over low heat. Keep skillet uncovered and stir frequently to break up the meat completely. Simmer until the liquid has reduced and thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Add the black beans to the meat.

Assemble your salad and enjoy! 

"A generation which ignores history has no past and no future" – Robert Heinlein

We had an excellent historical learning experience thanks to the Commemorative Air Force.

P-51D Mustang- One of the best and well-known fighters during WWII....

B-24 Liberator "Diamond Lil" - The B-24 Liberator was a heavy bomber. They were used extensively in WWII and were retired in 1945.

Inside the cockpit...

The machine gun in the nose turret...

Inside the B-24...looking back towards where the Tail Gunner would be...

B-29A Superfortress "FiFi"- one of the few surviving in existence and the the only one flying today. A lucky and rare sighting of this B-29 was discovered in the 70's at the US Navy Proving Ground in California; being used as a missile target. She was rescued and restored for $3 million.
Inside the Bomb Bay. Four bombs on each side. There is a tunnel overhead that runs from the forward compartment to back.
The Communication Tunnel above the Bomb Bay...
Forward Pressurized Compartment...Bombardier's seat is all the way up front, Pilot on left, Co-Pilot on right and Navigator's seat on back left.

Flare gun next to the Navigator's seat...different colors were used to communicate so Japanese couldn't decipher radio transmissions...

Outside and inside the ground tents...

 Such a cool experience...




When I was a kid my dad's drink of choice was gin and tonic with green olives. If I was especially lucky or when he wasn't looking I would get those green olives at the bottom of the glass. I can still remember that piney, salty, bitter bite of those olives and I have loved them as long as I can remember. If you have a taste for olives you will love tapenade. It is so easy to make and has such a unique flavor that will have you going back for more. 

Artichoke-Olive Tapenade On Crostini
Adapted from smittenkitchen and keepinitkind
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and rinsed
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and rinsed
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
8 large slices of crusty bread

Note: I use 1-2 teaspoons of chopped roasted garlic instead of raw

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a food processor, process the garlic, olives, capers, artichoke hearts to a coarse paste. Add a little olive oil if it is too dry to form a paste. Note: I did not need it.

Toast the bread on the oven rack for 6 minutes, or until crisp and toasted. Spread the olive paste thickly over the toasts and serve.

Do ahead: The olive paste can be refrigerated for 2 days. Let it return to room temperature before using.

Tapenade is excellent on fresh bread, toasted pita triangles, crackers, tossed with pasta, on a sandwich or pizza, with carrot sticks, added to a wrap, or just plain on a spoon!

My dad's land...

Surrounded by Alfalfa...

Monarch Butterfly on Alfalfa...

 Bumble bee on Alfalfa...

Vegetable garden...
 Prairie Cone Flowers...
 Wild Flowers...



I did something bad...very bad. I bought an ice cream maker. As many of you know ice cream is my kryptonite. I completely justified the purchase after reading the ingredients in what I thought was "healthy" ice cream. I was wrong. So I figured if I am going to indulge in ice cream, I at least want to know what the ingredients are.

Last month strawberries were ripe for the picking everywhere. We found a favorite patch about a thirty minute beautiful drive away...
Corn fields with storm clouds rolling in...

In the patch...I think my fingers were stained red for about two weeks!

Strawberry Ice Cream
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes 1 1/2 quarts

1 pound strawberries trimmed, halved if large

3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream

* Ice Cream Maker

Coarsely mash strawberries with sugar and salt using a potato masher in a large bowl. Let stand, stirring and mashing occasionally, 10 minutes.

Transfer half of strawberry mixture to a blender and purée with cream until smooth. Return strawberry cream to bowl with remaining strawberries and chill, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 to 6 hours.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up. Fresh mint tastes delicious when served on the ice cream.

Did you see the Super Moon last month? Absolutely beautiful.


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