Friday, March 20, 2015

Horses, horses, horses...

I have been stuck on horse mode for the past weeks and haven't gotten to do much fun rood adventures so let me catch you up!

I went to the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association's Winter Round-Up and did extremely well! I was the Champion of the 5/6 Non-Pro on my horse, Hip Hip Roo Rey. Not only did I win prize money but I got the sweetest compliments from spectators all day long.

My horse has a little back story, let me share it with you. I am really big into the best care possible for my equine athletes so I had quite a journey figuring out how to get Hip Hip Roo Rey comfortable, read along...


Hip Hip Roo Rey.

In 2009 Ally Dual Rey gave birth to a flashy Hick Chicaroo stud colt. Ally was never shown because she could not stand up to the rigors of training. She had trouble relaxing under saddle or even in her stall, she would work up and not down, could not focus long enough to learn anything. She was retired to broodmare life before her name would ever be announced through a horse show microphone.

As Hip Hip Roo Rey started his 2 year old training program he proved to be his mother's son and also became more horse than anyone wanted to deal with. He was flat dangerous and was sent off to a ranch, not once but twice to put in long days and wet saddle blankets. Knowing his mother's history it was our only shot and we were willing to give it our all.

At the end of his 3 year old year he finally became a horse that was showing signs of talent that would be successful in the show pen. We had him shipped back home and started to teach this 3 coming 4 year old how to cut, just as if he was a 2 year old on day #1.

Mid way through his 4 year old year he finally was ready to take to a show. Central Coast Cutting Horse Association put on a show at the Hearst Ranch so we entered him up. He looked immature, intimidated and totally out of his league. That day he marked a 68 through experienced showmanship and kind judging. We kept entering him everywhere we went and he never won a nickel. This was expensive and often discouraging.

Throughout this process of seasoning him to become a show horse I noticed there was something always off about him. He seemed to be uncomfortable when I brushed him, after a hard work and even - weird as it sounds - a very diluted linament bath. Tying up was always something I was worried about him doing and it became so often I started researching what could be wrong with him.

Research made me take a look at what I was feeding him. I have experimented with everything. Every wive's tale, witch craft or indian remedy ever documented, expensive equine supplements, cheap feed store products and even human medicines to try to see a positive change in my little show horse. The year slipped by without a remedy and we were looking at year #5.

And then he got hurt, really bad. The poor little guy bruised his hocks so badly during my finals run at the PCCHA Winter Round Up that it sidelined him until September. What a bummer, it seemed like such a waste for this horse. As he was laid off, I focused harder on my research of what to give my horse to help him withstand the rigors of the show pen, both physically and mentally.

I stumbled across a product on the internet that sounded exactly what I had been looking for all along. Performance Equine Nutrition proudly showcased their MagRestore and Focus Equine products and I couldn’t help but feel like they were describing Hip Hip Roo Rey as they ticked off the symptoms. I learned that Hip Hip Roo Rey was most likely deficient in magnesium and most likely he was born that way, his mother also being deficient. MagRestore could be purchased in pellet form and it instantly relived me because I knew Hip Hip Roo Rey was a very picky eater. I scoured their website and became intrigued with their second product, Focus Equine. As it read, Focus Equine was not just your typical horse calmer that numbed your horse out but actually made one focus and think clearly enough to know it was safe and could work to it’s maximum potential. I ordered the both of them on the spot and asked for them to rush delivery.

Three days before Hip Hip Roo Rey had to walk to the herd at the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Futurity he got his first dose of the MagRestore and Focus Equine. My husband noticed an immediate change in Hip Hip Roo Rey after just the first day. He felt him get softer, took schooling in the practice pen easier and more quickly, there was a spark in his eye that he had never had before. He developed this swagger that only really confident horses have and it seemed unbelievable that this could happen so quickly with the new products.

Hip Hip Roo Rey ended up with a very successful show. He won over $6000, Non-Pro 5/6 Finalist, with checks in the Open 5/6 Gelding, Novice and Non-Pro divisons as well. This was his largest money earning show to date. We knew it was the MagRestore and Focus Equine that gave him the winning edge.

We continue to feed Hip Hip Roo Rey both products and have started supplementing our entire show barn with Performance Equine Nutrition. We have found the supplements to be amazing quality, palatable for the horses and totally affordable. In addition to the terrific products we have found the knowledge and one on one care you get from the staff at Performance Equine to be top notch.

Hip Hip Roo Rey and I encourage you to take a moment to research the products of Performance Equine Nutrition – - if any or some of what I have talked about could apply to one of your special equine friends.

Thank you Performance Equine Nutrition for allowing Hip Hip Roo Rey to be comfortable, competitive and totally relaxed. He has finally blossomed into the little champion we knew him to be the day that he was born!


I hope you enjoyed my testimonial. If you have a horse or know of a horse that might benefit from any of these products please do not hesitate to try them! It will be the miracle you have been searching for!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rincon Brewery - Carpinteria, CA

 How cool does this place look? I received a special invite from my sweet friends, Lindsay to check out a new brewery located in cool Carpinteria. Carpinteria tends to be a little busy on the weekends due to the safe beaches and downtown shopping so if you see a open parking spot, you better grab it!

All the beers sounded good for different reasons. The Bates Blonde is of course light and drinkable and there is also a nutty Mac Brown that would be fabulous on a cool evening. But the one that made it into my glass was a Mexican inspired Vienna Lager names "La Reina".

The menu read like a perfect combination of comfort food and fresh vegetables. I love the idea of the Fried Chicken Salad filled with with crisp green but then made naughty with the fried chicken and cornbread! We opted for a large bowl of Onion Strings to share and I ended up eating most of them. They were greasy, salty and just perfect.

Thank Lindsay for the invite!

Friday, February 27, 2015

And.... I am back!

So I am sure you all are alarmed. Where the heck has Melissa been? How could she just abandon her beloved blog? Oh no, let me reassure you... I simply took a break!I have been blogging pretty regularly for 8 years. That is a long time! As much as I love a good conversation, it does become a little repetitive at times...even for me - the little talker. I am much inspired and can't wait to tell you what I have been up to!
I am a big fan of moving furniture. It probably doesn't help my bum shoulder but ever since I was a young girl I have loved the art of a rearranged room. I have attacked one of our guest bedrooms, our living area and ...wait for it... Scott's office! I always wait until he is out of town to create my magic but the results are always welcomed with open arms. I guess I am that good! I just like mixing things up!

What am I obessing on now? Well, same old/same old really. Tons of bright color!  Bougainvillaea in pink and lots of it! I am a connoisseur of rugs since I installed dark hardwood floors throughout my home so I am constantly on the look out for really unique ones.

My Queen, Winnie, is still enjoying motherhood and recently was bred to Hottish! He is one of the really cool NCHA Stallions that is a freshman to the breeding scene. I am so hopeful for all the exciting moments she will provide for me through her babies!

Hey girl, you are a food blogger! Where is the FOOD?!

Ok, ok! Scott took me to a really cool place the other day called Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. Westlake Village, a very affluent part of Ventura County, is home to this chain that sort of reminds me of a cross between In-N-Out and Hot 'n Now. The burgers are good of course, the fries are better!

  What about the Fish Sandwich? You know I had to do it. It was one of the best I have ever had due to the amount of fish given. They just need to add more tarter! Pass on the onion rings in place of the crispy fries.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...
Deb and I have been perfecting our ability to burn brush piles! Just one of many talents Melissa Good Taste can add to her resume.

And in closing...
I would just like to thank my loyal readers. 
You all have been so supportive and I love this blog like it is one of my closest friends. "MGT" has been sort of a 'Dear Diary' slash 'What I am Up To Now'.
 Thank you for following my journey!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bye Felicia!

Hey there fine folks of the Internet! I am taking a break from this informational super highway to focus on some projects at home. It will be a welcome vacation for sure! I look forward to catching you up when I am back!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole

 I love a good casserole.

They are easy to prepare, can be frozen for future meals and most importantly they are always satisfying, comfort food. I can honestly say that most of the meals I make now are some sort of spin of a casserole. I am always on the go working so a good meal in the refrigerator is usually on hand. The most recent casserole winner is definitely this version of my childhood favorite: Chicken Cordon Blue.

  • 1 whole Cooked Chicken, Meat Diced Or Shredded (Should Be 5-6 Cups of Chicken)
  • ½ pounds Very Thinly Sliced Deli-style Honey Ham, Chopped
  • ¼ pounds Thin Sliced Baby Swiss Cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 3-¼ cups Milk (I Used Whole Milk)
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1-½ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • ¼ teaspoons Pepper
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1-½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • ¾ teaspoons Seasoning Salt
 Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside
For the sauce:
  • Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux. Do not brown! Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, wine, salt, smoked paprika and pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

For the topping:

  • Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium sized microwaveable bowl. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time and stop once it’s melted. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir in the panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Rubio's - Oxnard, CA

 Hey have you ever been to Rubio's? I had not ever been and while my Mom and I were running errands in Oxnard, we decided it was worth a try. It is that in between restaurant that is a step up from typical fast food and just under your common dine in restaurant. Think Baja Fresh type menu, order at the counter and take a number.
I knew right off the bat I wanted to try the Crispy Fish Tacos. The best version I have ever had are the Snapper Jack's version. These unfortunately did not surpass the quality of Snapper Jack's due to the quality of the fish. It was fried nicely but the actual white meat was not as big and flaky.                                         

Kathy ordered the Shrimp Taco and she said it was totally tasty. She also tried the chicken version and it failed to impress after consuming the shrimp. 

I liked that the restaurant was totally clean, had a salsa bar and prices were totally reasonable. For two people to get a lunch for under $20 these days is pretty amazing. I would return.

           After our errand running, we went back to my house to work on our Beef Jerky production. We went to the butcher inside our local grocery to slice a London Broil steak into 3/8 in slabs. It made less work for us as we sliced the meat into strips.

 After a quick soak in soy sauce we laid out the strips on oven racks. We then seasoned up the batches, experimenting half way to see which would come out the best. My version which included garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and a generic Barbeque seasoning seemed to really do the trick. What I learned from this experience is over season the meat, to the point you really thought you over did it.

 With your oven set a 170 degrees, place the jerky racks in and set your timer of 6 hours (all depending on the size and width of the jerky). I placed a spoon in the oven door, to keep the air flow going during the cooking process.

My brother taught me this recipe and I think he just may be the master. Although my version was good, it was not great like his. He should package, label and put his jerky in stores!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My blog is on vacation!

Scott took the computer and Internet chip to Texas with him so my regular blogging schedule will be on hold until he returns! Aye yi yi...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A day in the life...

A day in the life of Melissa Good Taste has been full steam ahead with short bursts of horses, work, researching American War history (my new favorite subject since watching American Sniper) and squeezing in family and friend time. This is what I have been up to lately...

I was fortunate enough to be able to make it to my girlfriend, Nichole's Birthday celebration last week at the Old Creek Winery in Ojai. Our usual group, plus a few new gals joined in for the fun and it was a blast getting caught up on all the details in everyone's lives.

We made it a kind of potluck setting, with each of us contributing a little something to the group. I of course made the Broccoli Salad. I love my version so much mostly because it contains mayonnaise, bacon, cheese and sunflower seeds. It really should not even called a salad with all those fun ingredients!

I mostly love this location because of the tree I shot in this photo. I hope it stands there forever. 

 Back at the ranch...
 Meanwhile at the ranch, Scott and I have been preparing the horses for a quick show this Friday in Paso Robles. We will bring a full load for Cowboy Ron, Scott and I to show. We just recently got magnets for the doors of our big truck proudly wearing the colors of Performance Equine, a company we are endorsing for our equine supplement needs. Scott will be packing the rig up again this Sunday and headed to Texas to the Bonanza NCHA Cutting in Glen Rose, Texas.

If not on a horse, Scott has been on a tractor - discing, planting and covering up seed. He has dreams of our pastures knee deep in green grass for our horses and cattle to enjoy. I give him a lot of props because it has been a time consuming task.

Last night I had the opportunity to try something I had never done before, I made Blackened Ahi. The Ahi Tuna was screaming at me from the seafood counter and I decided to give it a try. I usually am not a "blackened" anything fan, because my past experience with it always left me with just a "burnt" taste in my mouth. I decided to roll the dice and created my own blackening seasoning with a combination of paprika, garlic salt, onion powder, cayenne and sugar. I pressed the mixture into the flesh until it coated the filet completely. With a thin layer of oil in a pan, I quickly seared the fish, maybe a minute if that. It doesn't require much. I was amazed at the ease and most importantly the taste! It was perfect. This will be a go to option for warm summer nights when you dread any heat from the kitchen. 

I hope all of you out there are doing well and just as busy as I am. Days roll into weeks, and weeks rolled into a month that just blew by without the blink of an eye. Hello February!