Living Columns & Blogs

Cathie Campbell

Cool off with a summer drink

I must confess I have an addiction to ice in beverages, even if I am just having water. And not just some ice, but lots of it. Fill a glass all the way to the top with ice, trickle a bit of beverage over it and I am one happy camper (even though I have not had a chance to actually go camping yet this summer). Of course, beverages can be served without ice, or so I hear. If you are looking for some recipes for nice, cold drinks to enjoy during these hot days, I’m hoping you will find something you like right here. Enjoy your summer fun and stay safe.

Cathie Campbell

Delicious strawberry sundaes

July 7 is National Strawberry Sundae Day, so now we have an official excuse to indulge and take advantage of the season’s fresh strawberry crop. Not that we need any excuses, though; most of us love our strawberries no matter what. I recently returned from a vacation in Ontario, Canada, where their strawberry season was just beginning. Surprisingly, none of the restaurants where I dined featured strawberries on their dessert menus. The berries in the markets seemed not quite ripe yet, so I avoided those. Now I am so hungry for ripe, fresh local strawberries, so let’s get down to business. I hope you had a wonderful and safe July 4 holiday.

Cathie Campbell

Summertime meals

Are you always on the look out for tasty recipes you can use during the summer months? I do a lot of outdoor grilling in summer, but I also spend a fair amount of time in my kitchen, or cooking when I visit my mom over in Gilroy. I hope you see at least one recipe here you will want to try. They are divided half and half into vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes. I also hope you are enjoying your summer and stay safe in your travels.

Sue Langley

Encouraging butterflies and bees in the garden

Butterfly gardeners begin this way - they see a colorful butterfly in their garden and start paying attention. Once you begin observing, you notice more and more of these beautiful creatures and wonder, how can I see more kinds? Let’s fill the garden with them. I’m sure that’s how I began.

Cathie Campbell

Dressing for your summer salads

We put a lot of thought into the things we would like to put in a salad, and many people love to make their own salad dressings rather than use bottled ones. There are a lot of good bottled ones, to be sure, but sometimes it is fun to mix something up from scratch. I am always on the look out for recipes that will add that extra level of flavor to a salad. Those who have an extra measure of will power often eat their salads with no dressing at all, but I don’t drench a salad so I don’t think it’s going to do much harm if I drizzle a little dressing over it. I hope you have some fun looking over the selection of salad dressing recipes here and that at least one becomes a family favorite.

Cathie Campbell

Anyone for dessert?

I was recently browsing through a collection of recipes I have had for many years, and maybe it’s nostalgia, but I wanted to share a few of them with you. Actually, I’d love to share all of them, but I have thousands and of course that would not be practical. Perhaps you could use one or more as a Memorial Day dessert.

Cathie Campbell

Potato salad picnics

Memorial Day will be here before we know it, and many of us are planning to have a picnic or outdoor barbecue. If you love to serve a potato salad along with the main dish, here are some recipes you can check out to see if there's something you want to try. Many of us have our own favorite potato salad recipe, perhaps one that has been handed down through generations. I tend to change mine a little bit now and then. At times I have added sliced olives or radishes.


About KOMB

Just who are those people you see with vests and grabbers walking along the roadside picking up other people’s trash? This article features an interview with one of these dedicated members of Keep Our Mountains Beautiful, Carla Rajnus.

Cathie Campbell

Mom’s big day is coming up

Mothers Day is Sunday, May 14, so if you are planning to cook Mom a meal, you have endless choices and a few of them are presented here. Any time I have gone out for a Mother’s Day meal, it has been difficult, especially if there are no reservations. Some restaurants have a pretty good brunch event, so that is one consideration. I may be all alone in my preference to stay home, but I am fine with it, as long as someone else tackles the dish washing chores. To me, that is a great gift. I enjoy cooking but I can’t say I like washing stacks of dishes and pots. It is nice to have options, especially for holiday meals and celebrations.

Cathie Campbell

Peas that please

Sometimes I wonder if parents are still telling their children, “Eat your peas” at the dinner table. I remember hearing my Italian Nana saying that to some of her other grandchildren, but I needed no such prompting because I have always loved peas, or piselli as she called them. I was always asking her, “How do you say that in Italian?”

Cathie Campbell

Spring veggies are a treat

More and more these days I am appreciating fresh vegetables, especially this time of year when produce stands and markets are offering such a wide variety. I have fond memories of harvesting fresh vegetables when I was growing up, and sitting with my grandmother shelling fresh peas. Of course, more of those little delicacies went into my mouth than went into the bowl. There were times we just ate them right then and there instead of saving them for dinner.


Why on Earth an Earth Day?

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” - Native American Proverb

Cathie Campbell

Feeling brunchy this Easter?

Brunch is good at any time, not just holidays of course. Even if Easter isn’t something you celebrate, one good thing about food is that it fits into our schedules and makes friends with our tummies and taste buds whenever we feel like it. My family mostly has limited our Easter celebration to an early dinner, with the table just as loaded as it is for Thanksgiving. When my Italian Nana was still with us, we used to have a big after-church spread of home baked breads and pastries in the morning. I remember helping her in the kitchen as she labored up to her elbows in flour and yeast bread dough. Good times. However you celebrate your Easter traditions, and even if you don’t have any, it is my hope you are all healthy and happy, and of course, well fed.

Cathie Campbell

It’s always time for ice cream sodas

I love ice cream sodas, even if the weather is not exactly hot. Every year I travel to Ontario, Canada for a little vacation, and my friends there tell me that the popular term in their region is pop rather than soda. I have heard the term soda-pop over here, but I think the use of the word pop in the U.S. is mostly in our eastern states. I have also heard it said that an ice cream soda has club soda as an ingredient, but an ice cream float uses flavored soda (or pop), with root beer being the most popular. Anyway, no matter where you call home or what terms you use, I think we can all agree that ice cream sodas or floats are welcome treats to enjoy during the upcoming hot summer months or even right now. Why save ice cream just for summer?


Up-close footage of California National Guard firefighting efforts

The 129th Rescue Wing shows its recent firefighting efforts in Northern California. The crew on the Pave Hawk helicopter, included Major Nate Nowaski, Capt. Tyler Gibson, Staff Sgt. Christian Meyers and Senior Airman Ryan Dumatol. Video was posted July 17, 2017.
129th Rescue Wing California National Guard
Up-close footage of California National Guard firefighting efforts 0:58

Up-close footage of California National Guard firefighting efforts

See the Detwiler fire from satellite high above California 0:19

See the Detwiler fire from satellite high above California

Detwiler Fire on social media: Flame. Smoke. And a goat 0:23

Detwiler Fire on social media: Flame. Smoke. And a goat

It's too hot to cook. Make these no-bake fruit tarts instead 0:57

It's too hot to cook. Make these no-bake fruit tarts instead