Salmon and Summer Veggies

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This salmon is packed with flavor, full of nutritious ingredients, it’s easy to make and clean up is a breeze! I love cooking with ingredients that are in season, and we all know this summer everyone will be overflowing with an abundance of zucchini, squash and fresh from the vine tomatoes, so why not make a dish that combines all of those?

This recipe can also easily be made on the grill!

Pair it with a glass of Pinot Noir.

salmon and sumer veggiesINGREDIENTS

  • 4 (5 – 6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
  • 2 small zucchini sliced into half moons
  • 2 small yellow squash sliced into half moons
  • 2 shallots, 1 thinly sliced and 1 chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 sheets of aluminum foil into 17-inch lengths.
  2. Toss zucchini, squash, sliced shallot and garlic together with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and divide among 4 sheets of foil, placing veggies in center of foil.
  3. Brush salmon fillets with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, season bottom side with salt and pepper then place one fillet over each layer of veggies on foil. Drizzle lemon juice over salmon and season top with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss together tomatoes, remaining diced shallot, thyme, oregano and marjoram with remaining 1 1/2 tsp olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide tomato mixture over salmon fillets. Wrap sides of foil inward then fold up ends to seal. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until salmon has cooked through, about 25 – 30 minutes (cook time may vary based on thickness of salmon fillets). Carefully open foil packets and serve warm.

Performing Proper Backups: The 3-2-1 Rule

new tech tuesday logo

In the IT world, some rules are always changing.  It’s good to remember, however, that some rules are timeless because they still make A LOT of sense! The 3-2-1 backup rule is a great example.

The 3-2-1 backup rule can help you overcome nearly any failure scenario if you follow it. It implies that you should:

3-2-1 backup

Despite the 3-2-1 backup rule’s simplicity, many people continue to ignore it and lose their data because they were unprepared for a disaster. Many lessons were learned after disasters such as 9/11 – some companies from the World Trade Center stored their offsite backups in the SAME OFFICE buildings and lost all of their company data in a few short hours.

Following the 3-2-1 backup rule is easy! Here’s how it works:

1. Have at least 3 copies of your data

By three copies, I mean your original data and two backups. It’s obvious that the more copies of your data you make, the less risk you have of losing everything.

One backup is good, just not good enough. If you have only one additional copy of your data, AT LEAST make sure it’s located in a different physical location from the original (and as far away as possible!).

2. Keep these backups on 2 different media

Having several backups of your data and keeping them in the same place is NOT logical. Why? Because a common failure will affect all devices.

The 3-2-1 backup rule urges you to keep backups on a wide range of different mediums: tapes, USB drives, CDs, external and internal hard drives, etc.

3. Store 1 backup offsite

Offsite means as FAR AWAY as possible, in another city, state, country or even continent. Your data is safe then, even if there is a fire or national disaster. Using a cloud service also satisfies this requirement.

back up key

How do you follow the 3-2-1 backup rule?

There are lots of ways! For instance, you can just set up a reminder on your calendar and then copy your data manually according to the 3-2-1 rule. There are also a number of easy-to-use applications which will automatically create your backups and ALSO follow the 3-2-1 backup rule by storing them in specified offsite locations.

The Elephant Rope

motivational monday logo

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

the elephant rope

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.

Preventing Bitter Cucumbers

It’s the rare gardener who hasn’t experienced growing a bitter cucumber. Few things are as frustrating as tending your vegetables all season long, only to finally harvest them and  find out they don’t taste very good, when you get them to the table. Cucumbers are know for being prolific, sometimes to the extreme. But what good is a bounty of cucumbers if they aren’t edible?

Unfortunately you can’t tell if a cucumber is becoming bitter, while it is still growing and there’s something you can do about it. That’s why it is so important to take some preemptive steps to keep them from becoming bitter int he first place.

cucumber plant

Preventing Bitter Cucumbers

Cultivated cucumbers all contain cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin C, compounds that are supposed to make their leaves less tasty to munching animals. These compounds are usually confined to the leaves, stems and roots of the plants, where humans don’t notice them. It’s when they move into the fruits that we start detecting a bitter taste.

Usually it is not the whole fruit that turns bitter. More commonly, the bitterness will be concentrated at the stem end and the area right under the skin.

There is still some disagreement about what causes the bitterness to spread into the fruits, but it seems to point to some type of stress while the cucumbers are growing. So although we cannot correct the problem after the fact, we can try and avoid the following 3 growing conditions that are potential culprits of bitter cucumbers.

  1. Dry Conditions: Long periods of hot, dry weather can contribute to bitter cucumbers. There’s not much you can do to control the heat, but keeping your cucumbers well watered will help offset the bitterness. Give them at least an inch of water per week, more during extreme dry spells, and mulch the area around the roots, at planting time.
  2. Lean Soil: Another factor in bitter cucumbers is lean soil and a general lack of nutrients. Cucumbers are heavy feeders and a soil rich in organic matter will go a long way toward producing less stressed, better tasting cucumbers. If your soil is less than ideal, give your cucumbers a little fertilizer every 4-6 weeks.
  3. Lack of Sun: Overcast areas, like the Pacific Northwest, have reported bitter cucumbers due to lack of sun. Again, you can’t control the hours the sun will shine, but you can plant in a spot that gets as much sun as nature will allow. If it’s cool and damp, as well as overcast, growing your cucumbers under cover, like a poly tunnel, will amplify the available heat and light.

So even though cucumber plants grow rather easily and you can get a prodigious harvest from a couple of plants, to get quality as well as quantity you still need to provide them with good growing conditions: plenty of sunshine, regular watering and rich soil.

Finally, look for varieties that are well suited to your area that are labeled ‛non-bitter’. Some reliable varieties are: ‛Armenian’, ‛Diva’, ‛Eversweet’ (any variety with “sweet” in the name), ‛Improved Long Green’ and ‛Lemon’.

As with all plants, edible or otherwise, the real trick to healthy, productive plants is to research what growing conditions the plant prefers and doing your best to provide them. Even a few days of stress can cause a ripple effect of damage. Ornamental plants will probably recover, but you only get one chance to get it right with vegetables and other edible plants. That’s why it is so important to put some though into choosing both your growing site and your vegetable varieties. Here are some more tips for growing healthy cucumber plants in your home garden.

What to Do with Bitter Cucumbers

heart cucumbersIf you find yourself with bitter cucumbers, don’t automatically reach for the compost bucket. Peeling the fruit should improve the flavor. Then try a slice toward the center of the cucumber and see if it is sweeter. You should be able to salvage more than enough for a salad.

And as soon as you notice a bitter cucumber, take the precautions above to ensure the rest of your harvest doesn’t suffer the same fate.

Salmon and Summer Veggies

Wine Down Wednesday Logo New

This salmon is packed with flavor, full of nutritious ingredients, it’s easy to make and clean up is a breeze! I love cooking with ingredients that are in season, and we all know this summer everyone will be overflowing with an abundance of zucchini, squash and fresh from the vine tomatoes, so why not make a dish that combines all of those?

This recipe can also easily be made on the grill!

Pair it with a glass of Pinot Noir.

salmon and sumer veggiesINGREDIENTS

  • 4 (5 – 6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
  • 2 small zucchini sliced into half moons
  • 2 small yellow squash sliced into half moons
  • 2 shallots, 1 thinly sliced and 1 chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 sheets of aluminum foil into 17-inch lengths.
  2. Toss zucchini, squash, sliced shallot and garlic together with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and divide among 4 sheets of foil, placing veggies in center of foil.
  3. Brush salmon fillets with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, season bottom side with salt and pepper then place one fillet over each layer of veggies on foil. Drizzle lemon juice over salmon and season top with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss together tomatoes, remaining diced shallot, thyme, oregano and marjoram with remaining 1 1/2 tsp olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide tomato mixture over salmon fillets. Wrap sides of foil inward then fold up ends to seal. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until salmon has cooked through, about 25 – 30 minutes (cook time may vary based on thickness of salmon fillets). Carefully open foil packets and serve warm.

Performing Proper Backups: The 3-2-1 Rule

new tech tuesday logo

In the IT world, some rules are always changing.  It’s good to remember, however, that some rules are timeless because they still make A LOT of sense! The 3-2-1 backup rule is a great example.

The 3-2-1 backup rule can help you overcome nearly any failure scenario if you follow it. It implies that you should:

3-2-1 backup

Despite the 3-2-1 backup rule’s simplicity, many people continue to ignore it and lose their data because they were unprepared for a disaster. Many lessons were learned after disasters such as 9/11 – some companies from the World Trade Center stored their offsite backups in the SAME OFFICE buildings and lost all of their company data in a few short hours.

Following the 3-2-1 backup rule is easy! Here’s how it works:

1. Have at least 3 copies of your data

By three copies, I mean your original data and two backups. It’s obvious that the more copies of your data you make, the less risk you have of losing everything.

One backup is good, just not good enough. If you have only one additional copy of your data, AT LEAST make sure it’s located in a different physical location from the original (and as far away as possible!).

2. Keep these backups on 2 different media

Having several backups of your data and keeping them in the same place is NOT logical. Why? Because a common failure will affect all devices.

The 3-2-1 backup rule urges you to keep backups on a wide range of different mediums: tapes, USB drives, CDs, external and internal hard drives, etc.

3. Store 1 backup offsite

Offsite means as FAR AWAY as possible, in another city, state, country or even continent. Your data is safe then, even if there is a fire or national disaster. Using a cloud service also satisfies this requirement.

back up key

How do you follow the 3-2-1 backup rule?

There are lots of ways! For instance, you can just set up a reminder on your calendar and then copy your data manually according to the 3-2-1 rule. There are also a number of easy-to-use applications which will automatically create your backups and ALSO follow the 3-2-1 backup rule by storing them in specified offsite locations.

The Elephant Rope

motivational monday logo

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

the elephant rope

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.

Preventing Bitter Cucumbers

It’s the rare gardener who hasn’t experienced growing a bitter cucumber. Few things are as frustrating as tending your vegetables all season long, only to finally harvest them and  find out they don’t taste very good, when you get them to the table. Cucumbers are know for being prolific, sometimes to the extreme. But what good is a bounty of cucumbers if they aren’t edible?

Unfortunately you can’t tell if a cucumber is becoming bitter, while it is still growing and there’s something you can do about it. That’s why it is so important to take some preemptive steps to keep them from becoming bitter int he first place.

cucumber plant

Preventing Bitter Cucumbers

Cultivated cucumbers all contain cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin C, compounds that are supposed to make their leaves less tasty to munching animals. These compounds are usually confined to the leaves, stems and roots of the plants, where humans don’t notice them. It’s when they move into the fruits that we start detecting a bitter taste.

Usually it is not the whole fruit that turns bitter. More commonly, the bitterness will be concentrated at the stem end and the area right under the skin.

There is still some disagreement about what causes the bitterness to spread into the fruits, but it seems to point to some type of stress while the cucumbers are growing. So although we cannot correct the problem after the fact, we can try and avoid the following 3 growing conditions that are potential culprits of bitter cucumbers.

  1. Dry Conditions: Long periods of hot, dry weather can contribute to bitter cucumbers. There’s not much you can do to control the heat, but keeping your cucumbers well watered will help offset the bitterness. Give them at least an inch of water per week, more during extreme dry spells, and mulch the area around the roots, at planting time.
  2. Lean Soil: Another factor in bitter cucumbers is lean soil and a general lack of nutrients. Cucumbers are heavy feeders and a soil rich in organic matter will go a long way toward producing less stressed, better tasting cucumbers. If your soil is less than ideal, give your cucumbers a little fertilizer every 4-6 weeks.
  3. Lack of Sun: Overcast areas, like the Pacific Northwest, have reported bitter cucumbers due to lack of sun. Again, you can’t control the hours the sun will shine, but you can plant in a spot that gets as much sun as nature will allow. If it’s cool and damp, as well as overcast, growing your cucumbers under cover, like a poly tunnel, will amplify the available heat and light.

So even though cucumber plants grow rather easily and you can get a prodigious harvest from a couple of plants, to get quality as well as quantity you still need to provide them with good growing conditions: plenty of sunshine, regular watering and rich soil.

Finally, look for varieties that are well suited to your area that are labeled ‛non-bitter’. Some reliable varieties are: ‛Armenian’, ‛Diva’, ‛Eversweet’ (any variety with “sweet” in the name), ‛Improved Long Green’ and ‛Lemon’.

As with all plants, edible or otherwise, the real trick to healthy, productive plants is to research what growing conditions the plant prefers and doing your best to provide them. Even a few days of stress can cause a ripple effect of damage. Ornamental plants will probably recover, but you only get one chance to get it right with vegetables and other edible plants. That’s why it is so important to put some though into choosing both your growing site and your vegetable varieties. Here are some more tips for growing healthy cucumber plants in your home garden.

What to Do with Bitter Cucumbers

heart cucumbersIf you find yourself with bitter cucumbers, don’t automatically reach for the compost bucket. Peeling the fruit should improve the flavor. Then try a slice toward the center of the cucumber and see if it is sweeter. You should be able to salvage more than enough for a salad.

And as soon as you notice a bitter cucumber, take the precautions above to ensure the rest of your harvest doesn’t suffer the same fate.