Wild Grapes on the Ranch

Wild Grapes on the Ranch
Wild Grapes on the Ranch

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


As I cruised the aisles in Costco the other day, I found a happy surprise, FIGS! My grandmother had a huge fig tree in her yard way back in the day. I rememeber eating them fresh off their tree with their fascinating flavor. I was curious, with my adult palette, how I would like figs now. So, I bought them up. Summer is in full swing here so they were forced to sit in my fridge awaiting a day when I arose early enough to fire up the stove to make the following recipes. I'm so glad I did! I found a great way to use my homemade bread I had frozen and waiting for its chance to become Bruschetta. The recipe, Bruschetta with blue cheese and roasted figs, is in both Polish and English. Scroll down for the english. (Hint: Bake at 400 degrees). 
Fig and Blue Cheese Bruschetta

Recipe number two was very similar save the addition of Prosciuttio and the omission of the bread. Here is the recipe I used,Prosciutto Roasted Figs Recipe

I think would be great fall appitizers although they were delish right in the middle of summer too! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Eating in season: Cherries

Cherries make me happy! Seriously, I'm sure there's some science behind why Cherries give me a giddy feeling that is virtually unshakable but that's a whole other article, someday! Today, after a long hiatus (as usual) I am back to share a super yummy recipe I made today.

Back story, after my awesome weight loss of 60+ pounds last year I have been on the steady climb back upwards due to not doing my exercises and not counting those calories. I've been back at it again the last few months trying to make it more of a lifestyle change to avoid back slide. So, as part of my new revamped healthy lifestyle, I have added in health smoothies to my diet. Last time it was tea, that was nice and no cal but I have gotten a bit bored with that and this has fit the bill nicely. I have been busy pinning recipe after recipe on Pinterest so it's no surprise this morning when I decided to make a smoothie for breakfast that I opened it up and cruised my board for a tasty healthy day starter.

Being that it is May, I have had the luck of scoring some amazing cherries from our friends and neighbors (I use the term neighbors loosely here since our closest neighbor is about a mile away) and these Cherries are fab! I have been popping them fresh the last two days and of course while I was picking them perhaps more made it in my mouth than my bucket  I walked away with cherry juice drippings down the front of my shirt, dead give away!

I did pin some cherry recipes yesterday hoping I would get to them in the course of our crazy busy day but I didn't. I did however manage to pit and freeze a cookie sheet worth for future smoothie use. So this AM the first thing I saw in my Smoothie board was this fresh Cherry and Oat smoothie. It had a bunch of stuff I don't have on hand and probably would use anyways but the basis was good so I modified to my pantry and yummo!

E. Henderson Photography (iphone photo)

Fresh Cherry and Oat Smoothie by Erin Henderson

1/2 cup coconut milk (or any other milk or milk like beverage)
1/4 old fashioned oats, dry
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
1/2 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt (I'm sure you could sub any other yogurt here and it would be good)

Blend all ingredients and enjoy! If you want it cold add 4-5 ice cubes.

Nutrition info:
Calories: 284
Total Fat: 4.1g
Sat. Fat 1.8g
Carb: 51.9g
Fiber: 5.3g
Sugars: 29.9g
Protein: 7.3g ting with

Extra! This smoothie was so good yesterday, I couldn't help tinkering with it again this AM. This is the variations I made: I used 1/3 cup frozen cherries(pitted), 1/3 frozen strawberries and 1/3 cup frozen blueberries, and upped the coconut milk to 3/4 cup. WOW! It's even better than the other with to tantalizing mix of fruit! Here it is below: Enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Delish recipe, had to share!

Photo via my iPhone, E. Henderson
This recipe is by far one of our new fans. My husband thought it was like quiche without the crust (and much MUCH lighter in calories than a traditional quiche). It all started when I spotted a butternut squash in the store and had to take it home. I do this. I commenced sitting on my counter for some time before I resigned my self to just steam it in the oven and force myself to make something out of it. Of course, I then went to Pinterest and got a hit on this recipe. http://www.closetcooking.com/2012/11/butternut-squash-mushroom-sausage-and.html

Of course I can never just make a recipe, so I did tweak this a bit. I used Swiss Chard instead of Kale and used already cooked squash so I skipped that whole step. I also used Colby Jack as my cheese of choice because that what I had in the fridge.

Servings: makes 6+ servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed (omit for vegetarian)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup kale, torn into bit sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sage, thinly sliced
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 1 cup gruyere, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the Italian sausage over medium-high heat in a pan and set aside.
  2. Add the oil and butternut squash to the pan, cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes, and set aside.
  3. Add the oil, onion and mushrooms and cook until the onions are tender and the mushrooms are browned, about 7-10 minutes.
  4. Add the kale and saute until wilted, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Mix everything in a large bowl, pour it back into the pan and cook over medium heat until the eggs are almost set, about 7-10 minutes.
  6. Transfer the pan to a preheated 400F oven and bake until the eggs have set, about 10 minutes.

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Garden questions answered here!

Open forum!

Got gardening questions? Fire away!
We're headed into winter full bore here in Northern California with a series of whopper storms threatening to take out power, limbs, trees and flooding the rivers and streams all over the North state.

But I'm thinking about SPRING! And of course spring planting!

Can I sway you to think about it as well? If so, please let me know what your thinking of growing this year.

If you are still holding out, tell me whats holding you back, maybe we can work out the kinks and get you growing up too!

We have a Facebook page for Full Circle Organic Gardens too! Come ask there or message if you like!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Oh Prop 37!

In the aftermath of a possible No vote from Californians on prop 37, the right to know prop, what shall we do? Well, FIGHT like mad! Thats what we do. No on Prop 37 spent $45 million on advertising that used lies and fallacy to confuse the issue surrounding the Prop. Here is a site with some interesting info regarding the prop.http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Proposition_37,_Mandatory_Labeling_of_Genetically_Engineered_Food_(2012)

I'm going to try to keep the momentum going for labeling in California and the US both here and our Facebook page for Full Circle Organic Gardens Here:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Full-Circle-Organic-Gardens/153242518077764

Please go "Like" our page to stay informed and up to date with this critical issue.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! (Repurpose!)

Three words that speak volumes.  Around the farm, these concepts have been applied for decades. My husband, Eric, has an impressive local family history. According to the land deeds recovered while organizing paperwork from the other house on the property, his ancestors purchased this particular plot in the 1930’s.   The family was in the area for quite some time before that, however, and are rumored to have been numbered in the Stevens Party who came over via none other than the Stevens Trail. Frances Lenninger, a local Vina historian and author wrote in her book, Vina’s History in Photos and Stories, that Eric’s great-great-great-great grandmother, Matilda Foster, came over the trail from Iowa in 1848. This photo (Left) of Sam Henry Stephens, Eric’s great-great grandfather was taken in front of the Vina Hotel circa 1910.

As locals during the time period prior to the great depression of the 1920’s, the family made no waste of any items, land, or foodstuffs. As the affects of the depression widened and expanded throughout the nation, nothing was thrown away or ill used. The 1940’s saw great changes as our nation stepped into World War II and were faced with shortages of food staples, steel for munitions and many men leaving the work force to join the war efforts on the front lines. My own family history has ties to this war; my grandfather Harry Paul Newton, formerly of Sioux City, Iowa, once told me of his trials as a Ranger on the front lines of the Pacific Theatre. He and many others of that generation learned the hard way that freedom is not free; many fought on all fronts to keep our country free of the tyranny of Adolf Hitler. 

Desperate times called for desperate measures as the list of rationed items grew longer and longer. Many planted Victory Gardens, small gardens that supported their own family’s fresh food needs and putting by foods was a common occurrence.
We have been growing a Victory Garden for some time; it seriously offsets the carbon emissions that our family is host to by guaranteeing that a large portion of our food came from zero miles away. Here are just a few of the delicious harvest pictures from our bumper crops of the past.

Our “Iron Pile” is testimony to the idea that nothing was wasted; it has been very fruitful in supplying me with endless manifestations of garden pots, raised bed containers and quick fix ‘duct tape and bailing wire’ repair solutions that so frequently present themselves on the farm. As we gear up for another winter, the new “Old Junk Yard” area of my garden is just getting started. Among the reclaimed garden items: several feed troughs (formerly compressed air tanks cut in half), a 1980’s shopping cart, many rusty-bottomed buckets, and several other metal items yet to be identified as anything other than something that has sides and will hold dirt while allowing water to leech out. My hubby has been setting up the new watering lines while the kids and I fill the bottoms of the “new” old containers with rocks for drainage (and space) and top them off with great organic garden dirt, purchased from the local Kinney’s Nursery

Ironically, in all my gardening history, I have NEVER been able to plant a winter garden at the appropriate time: now! As the former Director of the Miss Corning Program, August was always a VERY busy month for me, with Corning’s Olive Festival taking place the third week in August. Even after retiring a few years ago, I have still not caught the window of opportunity open like I have this year. I shot my last wedding several weeks ago and shoot my next on September 1st. This gave me just the right amount of time at just the right time to plan out what we wanted to plant, order any seeds I didn’t already have in my gigantic collection, and orchestrate getting them planted in dirt that had a functioning water system (because if I have to hand water it, it dies!). 

That being said, here is the current list of seeds now relishing their new home in their ‘new’ old containers: Catskill and Falstaff Brussels Sprouts, Ching Chong Bok Choy (our favorite to say) and Extra Dwarf Pak Choy (and yes, they are spelled diferently!), Broccoli Romanesco Italia and Broccoli Di Ciccio, Ginat of Naples Cauliflower and Purple of Sicily Cauliflower, four kinds of cabbage (don’t ask me why!) Henderson’s Charleston Wakefield, Couer de Boeuf des vertus, Late Flat Dutch and Pyramid F1, Monstreux  de Viroflay spinach (already spouting), and finally to round off our brassica family selection, a mix of lettuces for which we will sow a new set in two weeks from that sowing to ensure a constant supply of tasty greens. We planted several root veggies, including giant yellow Eckendorf beets, Golden beets (even non-beet likers enjoys these!) and Chioggia beets, several varieties of carrots and a nice new crop of cilantro. I anticipate they will grow unfailing throughout the winter, as did the last fall planted set. Today, I did set 95 yellow and green bush bean seeds to grow, so I’ll be sure to let you know how many I actually have grow.

So, we have touched on the reduce portion of our title by discussing the reduction of emissions by planting your own garden for totally local food.  We hit the reuse portion by sharing our trash to garden-treasure story of my new ‘Old Junkyard’ section, but what of the recycle? Funny you ask…recycling is really one of those last-ditch-effort stages when something can’t be easily or efficiently used as something else; it must be chemically and/or significantly altered physically in order to serve a new purpose. Well, the best I can do with this in the garden is my newest favorite form of garden bed mulch: paper shreddings. I know, I know…it takes power to run the paper shredder, but I figure it’s offset by not adding a bunch of perfectly mulchable paper to the landfill. My hubby’s mom bought a really awesome one last year for the business paperwork. I used it sparingly; must-shred documents only, until just a few months ago when I came across a random article mentioning shredded paper as mulch for winter crops. It stated that it helps keep the warmth in the soil and the weeds at bay. Duh! Ever since I have been a shredding fool…no scrap of paper misses the shredder and heads right out to the garden to block weeds! No joke. It works great and looks pretty cool, too!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Miss me?!

 Hello followers! Sorry I dropped off the face of the Earth there! The photography biz has really been booming! Just posted some more wedding favs so check them out if you like! http://www.facebook.com/E.HendersonPhotography . Hopefully I am back on the wagon here! We are right in the heat of plant our winter garden. Yesterday we planted Spinach, carrots, beets, cilantro, and LOTS of lettuce! All from seed of course! Today was Brassica day; we planted Purple cauliflower, regular cauliflower, several different cabbage varieties, broccoli and two kinds of Pak Choy. Tomorrow we are hoping to get the beans and peas going so wish us luck! I will post pics in short order. For now, Since I have worked to get my pics organized (7 external hard drives full) I've posted some eye candy from the gardens of the past. Some plants are still here while some others have long since gone! Enjoy!