Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bags to Benches for Bays Mountain Park PSA

In celebration of America Recycles Day, which is nationally recognized on November 15, Keep Kingsport Beautiful is sponsoring “Bags to Benches for Bays Mountain Park.”  November 14-18, bring your plastic grocery & shopping bags to collections sites around the city and make your bags into benches for Bays Mountain!  Collection barrels for the public will be located at Kingsport City Hall, Bays Mountain Park, the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, the Kingsport Public Library and Kroger.  Stop by and drop off your plastic bags and wraps for recycling and help out Bays Mountain Park at the same time.  Kingsport City Schools, Rock Springs Elementary, Domtar, and Eastman Chemical Company, an ENERGY STAR Partner, are also participating in “Bags to Benches for Bays Mountain.”  For every 30,000 bags collected, The Trex Company will give Bays Mountain Park a free park bench. 

Also, now is a great time to become a part of Keep Kingsport Beautiful by joining The Clean Team and supporting all of the many environmental and beautification endeavors of Keep Kingsport Beautiful.  Our Clean Team Fundraising Campaign continues through the end of January 2012.  Citizens and businesses can contribute at a various levels to support Keep Kingsport Beautiful and programs like Trashbusters, The Fun Fest Trash Barrel Paint-In, Santa Train Cardboard Recycling, “Bags to Benches for Bays Mountain Park,” the annual Beautification Awards, Tree Fund semi-annual tree plantings, and more!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Good things

Two things I've got to share with you all.

1. The City of Kingsport has composted leaves! You have to go get them, as there are liability issues amok if the city were to bring them to you, but for $20, you can fill a pickup truck bed, or a trailer, or whatever other large transport mechanism you can muster with composted leaves. And at least in our experience, this  is a rich material -- think dirt rather than leaves. If you need more info, call 224.2818 and ask for Mr. Bob Fickle (I believe this is his last name).

2. A recipe, of course. I harvested our family's bounty of sweet potatoes not long ago, and tonight I'm channeling Thanksgiving goodness with this easy favorite from my mom's friend Nancy.

Nancy A's Sweet Potato Souffle

4 or 5 large sweet potatoes (You can bake them or steam them. I peel and steam them.)
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 egg (we are out so I used a couple of Tbsp peanut butter instead and we'll see how that goes)
1/2 stick butter, melted

Mix ingredients and pour into a lightly greased dish. Bake 25 minutes at 425 degrees.

Happy day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Chicken Revolution

Sam Jones and Emily Katt, co-founders of the Chickens on our Property (C.O.O.P.) Group, bring us this announcement:

Join us this Friday for a rousing, FREE movie showing with a lively discussion afterward ~ The Chicken Revolution is a well-done, eye-opening yet entertaining documentary showing the crazy protracted struggles of Salem OR's group C.I.T.Y. (Chickens In The Yard) to get the city to allow backyard flocks of 3 hens. As we gear up to approach our various city and zoning commissions, this movie couldn't come at a better time.

What: The C.O.O.P. Group is proud to present a free movie event entitled: The Chicken Revolution
When: THIS FRIDAY 11/11/11 from 7pm to 9pm
Where: Next Door to the Acoustic Coffeehouse, 415 W. Walnut Street in Johnson City

Brown rice and black bean casserole

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth -- just taking a short breather since the gung-ho growing season is done and celebrated. I won't try to post every day here, but will try to when I come across something garden-news-worthy. I welcome suggestions, too! If you come across a recipe or a newsy bit that would play well here, please make me aware.

For today, I'll share a recipe my friend Kristi served. I made it for my family last night and almost everyone ate it right up. I chopped the zucchini and onion very small and no one was the wiser. It's delicious! Thanks to Kristi for sharing. Happy day.

Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole

  • 1/3 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth (preferably homemade – that’s what I used)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 large zucchini (or two medium), chopped into chunks
  • 2 cooked skinless boneless chicken breast halves, chopped (see note below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas)
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste
  • ground cayenne pepper to taste, (optional, see note below)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
*For the cooked chicken, I first cut up the chicken and marinate it in olive oil, 1 beaten egg, some garlic powder, paprika, cumin, salt seasoning (I make my own, you can just use regular salt), and cornstarch.  Mix well and leave at least one hour.  Sometimes I do it the day before.  Then stir fry it and add to recipe.
*The original recipe called for ½ tsp cumin, but since I put some cumin on the chicken, I only put ¼ in the casserole.  Just do to your taste.
*I did not add cayenne pepper because I used salt seasoning instead of regular salt, and the seasoning has cayenne pepper in it already.  Again, just go with your personal preference of spiciness. 


  1. Mix the rice and chicken broth in a pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large casserole dish.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onion until tender. Mix in the zucchini, cooked chicken, and mushrooms. Season with cumin, salt, and ground cayenne pepper. Cook and stir until zucchini is lightly browned and chicken is heated through.
  4. In large bowl, mix the cooked rice, onion, zucchini, chicken, mushrooms, beans, carrots, and 1/2 the cheddar cheese. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Cover casserole loosely with foil, and bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Uncover, and continue baking 10 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.