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Sticks, leaves and dirt...OH MY!

Almonds are harvested off a tree, where we shake them on the ground. Then they are swept into rows and picked up. Sounds like a fairly easy and simply process but there are a lot of moving parts with several steps and processes along the way.


If you start with shaking a tree, the vibrations don't just knock the almonds off the tree but of course any loose sticks or leaves will also fall too. This could cause a problem when it comes to sweeping the nuts. The sticks could get caught in the sweeper brushes and maybe even get caught up in the irrigation hoses.


Once the nuts are in the rows and the harvester is set to run through to pick up the almonds, those sticks could be troublesome again. The harvester will generally have to run at a slower speed through the field as to allow for the sticks to not get caught up in the series of belts that carry the almonds up. When the harvester empties the almonds into the shuttle cart and further on the elevator, sticks can clog up belts and c…

Aunt Elaine's Chinese Chicken Salad

It's spring and that means the weather is finally nice enough to enjoy being outside. We have even been eating dinner outside on the patio. I love spring and getting to enjoy outside. When summer comes, let's face it, it is WAY too hot to really enjoy being outside. Those 100 plus degree California days aren't ideal for backyard barbeques.


Spring always brings back memories for me. Spring is a happy time. It is a time for potlucks, family dinners and backyard barbeques. One thing I enjoy during spring is my husband barbequing in the backyard and all I have to do is fix the sides. I really enjoy side dishes I can make ahead. This way I can be outside playing and relaxing with the family while the barbeque is going. No one likes having to be stuck in the kitchen inside while everyone else is outside.


Well, I have a perfect side dish for your spring time dinners. My husband's Aunt Elaine makes the best Chinese Chicken Salad. When I first moved to the Central Valley, Elaine would come down to visit her parents (my husband's grandparents) and we would all go over for dinner. Elaine would bring this delicious salad. Every summer our families all come together for a week long vacation at the beach and Elaine would of course bring this salad. It is perfect for making ahead so when you get to where your going, or it's time to eat, you can enjoy your friends and family and not have to worry about preparing food.




Another thing that is great about this salad, is it's very few ingredients. The ingredients you use are flavorful themselves so you aren't searching for more. One thing I do is buy a rotisserie chicken from the store instead of use chicken breasts. It is just one more do ahead step that really makes this easy recipe, that much easier.


It really is easy, all you have to do is shred the cabbage, shred the chicken, break apart the noodles and toss them together with a little dressing. If you aren't in the mood to brown the sesame seeds or almonds, that's fine too. They do have extra flavor when browned, but if you are looking for easy shortcuts, go ahead I won't tell.


You really do want to make this ahead. I always can't wait and have to snag a few bites once I make it, but trust me, it gets better as it marinades in the fridge. You want all that cabbage and noodles to soak up the dressing and get all yummy! Now, I am making myself hungry.


So this weekend, when you are enjoying the beautiful 80 degree weather in sunny California, make this the night before or the morning before and you will have a yummy addition to your relaxing afternoon.




Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

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