Sunday, September 4, 2011

NCO of the Quarter!!

Congratulations Chad!

This past July, Chad was awarded with Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) of the Quarter!

NCO of the Quarter is a big deal - and pretty darn competitive. Basically, a superior needs to write a letter of recommendation to the Sgt. Major of the battalion. Once there, candidates are scrutinized and compared based on their physical fitness scores, rifle scores, success in their job, etc. Then someone is picked - and this Summer - it was Chad!

As a Marine - this is a big deal - his picture goes up on the wall in the headquarters building and a letter commendation goes into his permanent record.

As far as the community goes - it is a HUGE deal! Chad has had to dress up twice now to go to community events in his honor.

In August, the Silverdale Rotary Club hosted a luncheon for him and other Marines and Sailors of the Quarter. At this event everyone was given a plaque and a gift certificate, "in recognition of their outstanding military performance and service to their country."

Then later that month, the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce hosted an event to honor them again. This time, businesses from around the city donated their time and gifts to these amazing people. Here he was awarded a certificate and numerous "thank you" gifts - including a Marine Corps. watch and a few gift cards. At his table sat, James Donaldson, an N.B.A. All-Star in 1988. Pretty amazing!

Being the NCO of the Quarter puts Chad up for Marine of the year! We'll know if this is the case by November.

Chad is an amazing Marine. Its just icing that the Marine Corps. has recognized this. Congrats my love!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Figs! Blackberries! Rhubarb! Apples! Zucchinis!

I would've never believed that Washington had a better crop yield than California! Ok, this might just be my experience - but holy goodness! I have never seen, nor gathered, so many food items in my life!

Chad and I planted our first, real, garden this year. Its a container garden, planted at the proper time, with seeds started indoors and allowed to acclimate to the outside weather. Its been a success - to some extent... Everything is definitely growing - and we've had something produced from each and every plant... but the growing season was so late, and the days so cool... I think the growth was stunted.... Because, take for example the bell peppers, we got one.... per plant... and they were shrimpy.... But, meh, its ok - there's always next year. We'll have to refine our techniques! The plants that are going the craziest are the tomato plants! I've never had such success with tomatoes! Now if only it would get warm for a few days, so they could turn RED!

The extent of the tomato harvest...
Regardless of our own gardens bounty - I happen to have a bunch of friends with green thumbs! Possibly even green hands, maybe so far as arms. The amount of zucchini I've seen this year would blow your mind! And the figs..... ooooooh the lovely, delicious, perfect figs!! MMMMMmmm. I've had to get a little creative - using up this harvest, in a two person household, gets... tricky....

This was one of three hauls!
I've made a Rhubarb-Blackberry Pie, Mulitple loaves of Chocolate Zucchini bread, Blackberry/Zucchini/Fig Oatmeal Muffins and more jam than I know what to do with (including a delicious Fig/Blackberry Jellam!!). Oh! And I'm currently dehydrating a bunch of figs! And thinking about it - it is the season... and maybe all of you are having the same over harvest "problem" so here are a couple of recipes for you!

There is about 6 pounds of blackberries here - and about a half cup of red huckleberries.
Berry Zuchinni Oatmeal Muffins  

I added figs to this recipe by replacing the oil with finely grated zucchini and fig then the tbls of oil - next time I want to add a bit more fig... but I didn't want to alter the recipe cause how often to people really have figs??

    1 1/4 cups uncooked quick oatmeal or 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
    1 1/4 cups flour (half oat or wheat flour ok)
    1/3 cup sugar (1/2 Splenda)
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup milk
    1 egg
    1/4 cup oil (or 1/4 apple sauce or grated zuchinni and 1 tbs oil)
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    3/4 cup fresh blueberries or 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (or blackberries)


    1  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2  Combine oats, flour, 1/3 C sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
    3  In another bowl, combine milk, egg and (fruits) oil.
    4  Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix until moist only.
    5  DO NOT BEAT!
    6  Fold in berries.
    7  Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full.
    8  Bake 20- 25 minutes.
    9  Serve warm. I accidentally under-baked them a bit - but a few minutes in a toaster oven before serving - DELICIOUS!

Blackberry Rhubarb Pie

    4 cups rhubarb, chopped small, 1/2-inch chunks
    3 cups blackberries or 2 cups strawberries, sliced
    1 cups granulated sugar
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1 tbls flour
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie
    1 egg, beaten or melted butter for glaze


    1) In a bowl, combine rhubarb, berries, sugar, cornstarch, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon.
    2) On lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry and line a nine-inch pie plate.
    3) Spoon in filling.
    4) Roll out pastry for top crust; using pastry wheel or knife, cut into 1-inch wide strips.
    5) Brush pastry rim with some of the beaten egg.
    6) Gently weave strips over the pie to form lattice; trim and flute the edge.
    7) Brush lattice with beaten egg.
    8) Bake on a baking sheet with sides in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 50-60 minutes. Tip: If you do not have a cookie sheet handy, make a drip catcher out of foil paper, larger than the bottom of the pie plate, and place it under the pie plate and up the sides loosely.
    9) Bake until rhubarb is tender, filling thickened, and the crust is golden. Might have to tent the whole pie after 30 minutes to keep from burning.
    10) Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting.