Thursday, June 29, 2023

Herb Infused Cocktail ~ Sparkling Cucumber Mint Gin


    We have another great refreshing summer drink for you to enjoy, using two of the most prolific items to be grown in summer.  Cucumber and mint!  Together they make great combination of flavors that are simply refreshing in this months herb infused cocktail from The Oaks bed and breakfast.  

    Simple to make yet refreshing to drink.  The use of Gin as the alcohol and the sparkling water are the perfect combination to quench your thirst on these hot Texas summer days.  The mint simple syrup ads a touch of sweetness that brings out the flavor of the mint throughout the drink.  We did make this one ourselves from the mint in the garden, so we know you can too.

    I'm sure there are easier ways to slice the cucumber very thinly, so if you figure that out let me know.  We just used a knife and made the cuts as thin as possible.  The use of a Collins glass makes the cucumber stand out, when lined against the glass.  

    Here is what we did to put this drink together. 

    Sparkling Cucumber Mint Gin

1 ounce lime juice

1 ounce mint simple syrup

2 ounce gin

3-4 ounce of sparking water of choice

Line your glass with thin sliced cucumber. Pour all of the liquid into a glass and stir to mix the flavors.  Top off the glass with ice.  Garnish with mint. 

    That's all there is to this months cocktail.  A very easy drink to mix as well as enjoy.  Grab those cucumbers slice them then and mix up some drinks for your next get together.  Of course you can always enjoy this months cocktail at the Tipsy Oak Lounge any Thursday - Saturday from 4-8 pm.  We will be more than happy to mix this drink for your enjoyment.  

    As always please drink responsibly and have a designated driver.  Until next months cocktail, Cheers!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Your Garden ~ Happy Plants


    Summer is in full swing and if you are like me then that means taking kids to all the places, sports practices, all while still running a business and maintaining the garden.  The recent rain has helped a ton, since then that does not mean I have to water my garden.  But now it's time to keep my plants happy.  

    Last month we talked about fertilizer and what natural ones we use for our garden.  Let me tell you all my plants love the extra treatment we gave them with the coffee grounds, egg shells and banana peel "juice."  That's not all plants need to survive and produce the greatest amount of yield for your family.  No matter if you are container gardening or if you are gardening straight into the ground you plants need some extra TLC so they produce the most "fruit."

    Today I want to focus on tomatoes and squash.  We have so many wonderful tomato plants in our garden this year that I can hardly wait to enjoy the fruit.  I also want to maximize the growth of fruit and have the plant work harder on production than just growing leaves. I give my tomatoes a regular "hair cut," if you will.  I trim off any leaf steams that do not show signs of flowers.  Down by the ground I trim away any stems that have come out right at the base of the stem growth.  From there I make my way up the plant until I have it all trimmed back, so it can focus on fruit production.

    I find this helps the plant focus it's growing and energy on the growth of new fruit that we can later harvest and eat.  I will admit, one of my plants I was a little overzealous and trimmed it back too much and was afraid that it would not produce more fruit.  In the end I lucked out, it created new growth, which produced new flower buds that turned into fruit.  

    Squash plants, while easy to grow and care for can develop a few issues that can reduce the production out of your plant.  Powdery Mildew and squash bugs or vine bores are troublesome but can be delt with efficiently to help with continued growth.  Mildew could be caused by late in the day watering or over crowding of the plants.  Make sure your squash plants have room to grow.  Water in the early morning so that the sun has time to help dry the plant off.  If there is still an issue we use an organic fungicide.  

    Squash bugs and vine bores can a pain to get rid of but not impossible.  If you find that you have some you can easily pick them off your plants and drop them into a bucket with liquid soap and water.  Creating a spray out of the soap and water and misting your plants can help as well.  Duct tape can also capture the bugs and pull them off.  Diatomaceous Earth is another good idea to sprinkle the bugs with DE and it will work its way into their system and they will die shortly after the application.  

    Two ways to prevent the squash bugs from invading your garden would be to cover the plants early so the bugs can not land and lay their eggs.  Examine your leaves and discard any eggs that may have been laid.  You can also use a natural bug repellant, nasturtium.  Nasturtium as a companion plant will help deter squash bugs and you have the advantage of another leafy green to add to salads. 

    If you have vine bores the best way to get rid of them is to squash them right in the vine.  Once you seen that your vines are being disturbed by these pests you can cut open the vine to find the bugs pull them out and squash them or squash them directly inside your plant.  If you choose to cut your vines open be sure to cover the damaged vine with dirt so that the plant will continue to grow.  

    We hope these tips will help keep your garden growing and producing wonderful fruit all summer long.  Until next time, don't forget to water. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Let's Eat Food Trucks ~ Jen's Kitchen


    Jen and her husband recently moved to North East Texas from Washington State and found that they really enjoyed the city and environment in Sulphur Springs, but the variety of ethnic foods to be lacking.  She decided to put her family history to work and created the Jen's Kitchen food truck to bring a little bit of Korean food to East Texas.  

    Jen adapted her family recipes that her mother used in her career and gave them her own American appeal, a little sweeter and not quite as spicy.  You can find Jen's Kitchen parked at the Rail Yard and with summer hours from 10 am - 9 pm Monday thru Saturday.  The meals purchased here are just like what they would eat at home everyday, so you can add some variety to your dining options in a quick and easy fashion. 

    We enjoyed a sampling of their menu today and I brough along two of my favorite food testers to let me know which dish was their favorite.  Hands down they both enjoyed the Teriyaki Chicken.  They said the to chicken was cooked perfectly and the flavor tasted amazing.  "The flavors went Kaboom in my mouth," stated Quintten.

    Their second choice is the Beef Bulgigi. Each dish came with fresh steamed rice and a beef patty that both boys really enjoyed.  The coleslaw had great flavor as well and over all they enjoyed their meal from Jen's Kitchen. 


    The homemade kimchi was fantastic too.  The spice hits just right and is a great way to finish off your meal.  I'm not sure if they gave us some dessert because Quintten was starving or if that is something they do on the regular, but a little marshmallow cookie was found in our bag and everyone enjoyed trying something different.  

    We can't wait to head back to the Rail Yard to try something new.  I know they have one more spot open if you know of a food truck looking to park and establish a following.  Until then head on over there and enjoy from fresh, homemade Korean food, that will not disappoint.  

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Herb Infused Cocktail ~ Watermelon Basil Margarita


    Summer is the perfect time to sip an ice cold drink on the patio or outside deck.   Watch nature change and adapt as you sit back and relax with a tasty beverage.  This month the Oaks Bed and Breakfast, presents a Watermelon Basil Margarita, as the herb infused cocktail of the month.  A thirst quenching treat with amazing summer flavors for those of age to enjoy.

    This drink has just the right amount of sweetness, between the watermelon and the basil simple syrup.  Just add in some lime and tequila and you have a summer drink ready for the deck.  Grab some ceviche or chips and salsa to enjoy with your margarita.

    The simple syrup is easy to make.  A one to one ratio of sugar to water, plus add in your basil and bring to a boil on the stove top.  Let the mixture simmer until all the sugar has melted.  Set aside to cool and then place inside an air tight container until ready for use. 

    I did pick up a seedless watermelon, that had seeds, so I had to pull those out while making the drink, no one wants to have seeds in their margarita.  I guess I need to select a better option next time.  Here are the details for you to enjoy this drink.

Watermelon Basil Margarita

1 1/2 ounces Tequila Silver

1 ounce Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Basil Simple Syrup

2 ounces Watermelon Juice

Add everything to a shaker cup filled with ice.  Give it a vigorous shake and pour over a sugar and chili rimmed glass.  Garnish with a slice of lime and basil.

    Be sure to check out our simple video of how to make the

Watermelon Basil Margarita on our YouTube channel.  You can also explore our past drinks there as well.  

    You can rim your glass with just sugar, sugar and chili or nothing at all it depends on what you want to taste.  The simple syrup brings out the flavor of the basil but is subtle in the tasty of the drink.  While you can savor the watermelon flavor with each sip.

    We hope that you will enjoy the Watermelon Basil Margarita this summer.  Stop by the Tipsy Oak Lounge to taste one this June.  As always please remember to drink responsibly and have a designated driver. Cheers!