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TAG : Renee Benoit

Sun Dried Tomatoes

Drying tomatoes in the sun is the easiest way to preserve your tomato bounty if you live in a hot dry climate like I do. I live in the San Joaquin Valley of California, the relative humidity in summer hovers around 15%, and there are days upon days of cloudless sunny skies. The temperature is ...

Homemade Preserved Lemons

While the rest of the country is smothered under a blanket of snow, we here in California are just getting started with citrus season. Meyer lemons are loading down the trees and mandarin orange stands are advertising their sweet goodness. I guess folks in Florida and Texas are enjoying ...

Homemade Root Beer: Part One

I don't know about you but one of my greatest pleasures growing up in a hot and humid mid-western town was going to the A & W Root Beer stand on a summer night. Everybody was there and the carhops came out to your car and the huge mugs were frosty and the liquid inside them sublime. My ...

Cinco de Mayo Deep Dish Enchilada Pie

We're embracing the culture of the area of the San Joaquin Valley that we've have moved into. The culture here is decidedly Hispanic. I've found Hispanic peoples to be some of the most amenable and friendly cultures of the world. They're hard-working and intelligent, creative and fun loving. ...

It’s the Most Prune-able Time of the Year!

Armed with my trusty pruning shears and humming my little made-up ditty to the tune of that holiday classic "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,"my leaping, cavorting dogs and I make our way to our fruit trees. We have persimmons, nectarines and pomegranates. The trees need pruning and ...

I Love Lombardy Poplar Trees

When we bought this place we loved that it had a lot of mature trees. Trees give beauty and shade, fruit and firewood. Shel Silverstein wrote a great book years ago called "The Giving Tree," and it's true. Trees give a lot. In our back yard we have a gigantic fruitless mulberry tree ...

lake-swim

Life Before Air Conditioning

I live in the Central Valley of California and it’s been over 100 degrees for days now. Yesterday the high was 106. I went outside at 9 a.m. and it was already 90 degrees so when I came back from my errand I went inside and stayed there until 8 p.m. that night. Sometimes I feel like I’m ...

raggedy-ann

Gramma’s Raggedy Ann Dolls

  Gramma sent us something! We kids can’t wait to find out what she sent! We’re jumping up and down because Mom can’t rip off the tape and open the box fast enough! Out comes the homemade fudge. That’s good. Dark chocolate, caramel, and vanilla all loaded with hickory nuts or black ...

My Beautiful Brownie Camera

When I was a little kid my mom gave me a Kodak Brownie camera all loaded up with a roll of film and ready to go. You can’t imagine (or maybe you can) the excitement in a young child’s heart to be given such a special gift but my mom was that kind of person and very interested in the ...

singer-sewing

Tried and True Singer Machine

  When I was 16 my mother gave me one of the most precious things she’s ever given me. I got some of her artwork, a beautiful head she carved out of stone, an original Joy of Cooking cookbook, her gray serge wedding suit. I have enjoyed owning all these things but the one thing she gave ...

Renee-Lucie Benoit

Our Fair Field By Renée-Lucie Benoit Renée L. Benoit and her better half, Martin, realized a long standing dream when they bought their own acreage outside of Madera, California. Now they embark on the interesting task of developing it into a self sufficient homestead where they grow most ...

Dad’s Holiday Oyster Stew Recipe

Every Christmas or New Year’s my dad would make oyster stew. It was a yearly ritual, and it was my dad who made it. My mom was not involved. This was his baby and he only made it at Christmas or the days between Christmas and New Year’s. Whenever he had time. We’d troop over to the ...

Spice Up Your Life! Tomatillo Salsa Verde Recipe

I live in a predominately Mexican town in the middle of the Central Valley of California. Roughly 75% of the people here are from Mexico or are one or two generations away. Parts of the town have signs in Spanish and every where you go the people are bilingual or only speak Spanish.As a ...

My Special Cobb Salad Recipe

I always struggle with trying to figure out ways to use all my garden bounty. I’m a real estate agent and I wish I had time to can, pickle and preserve. I even wish I had time to beg, plead and cajole my husband into digging me a root cellar but, alas, he works at Tractor Supply and only has ...

The Scourge of Ranch Life

I love going around barefoot. It’s an issue with me. I love the feel of the earth beneath my feet but it makes my feet so very dry to the point that I had to invent a salve that helps and sometimes heals if I remember to apply it nightly. With socks. The other issue is that during this time ...