National Chocolate Pudding Day

Rich, flavorful, and decadent, there’s nothing in life quite as good as chocolate pudding. While puddings of every type have a long and decadent history, it’s chocolate that’s the modern favorite. Its creamy texture is without a doubt one of the most amazing things about it, but there’s a secret in the pudding that not everyone knows. Worry not though, we’ll be letting you in on it when we talk about the history of puddings and, of course, Chocolate Pudding Day.

The history of puddings starts far back in the 17th century, when the first recipes for puddings appears. Back then puddings were made much different than the classically thought of pudding is today, and to make it clear we’re talking about dessert puddings not savory puddings, which are another topic entirely. Common ingredients were butter and flour, suet, cereals, and other ingredients which when they came together served to create more of a cake like result than the puddings we think of today. It’s also worth mentioning that they baked, steamed, even boiled into their final form.

Originally it was egg that provided the thickening agent that made a pudding into a type of custard, but the invention of a stable powder-form of egg-free custard mix really helped to bring the dessert pudding into the modern day. Chocolate pudding is the type known as a creamy pudding, and is typically made of a combination of sugar, milk, and a thickening agent of one of a broad range of things. Sometimes a gelatin was used, tapioca and cornstarch are popular, or even rice puddings.

The majority of puddings are served cold, though a few are prepared warm. Rice puddings are particularly popular as a warm served treat, and chocolate puddings are one of the few that can get away with being served warm or cold. Chocolate Pudding Day celebrates this divers and delicious treat!

So to celebrate Chocolate Pudding Day start off with getting yourself a great big bowl of delicious chocolate pudding and go to town. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can even try making your own, which opens up a broad range of possibilities. A milk chocolate may be a classic type of pudding, but you can also mix it up with a dark chocolate, a white chocolate, even a mint chocolate! Then you can top it off with a swirl of caramel or event sprinkle it with rainbow sprinkles. Chocolate Pudding Day celebrates this amazing treat and offers you the opportunity to eat your fill with no guilt, top it with whipped cream!

National Daylight Appreciation Day

National Daylight Appreciation Day is observed each year on June 21st. With all of this beautiful sunshine that Dallas has been receiving how could we not observe this holiday? The day recognizes summer solstice, the longest day of daylight in the northern hemisphere, and encourages people to celebrate the many benefits of the sun.

National Daylight Appreciation Day is also a day to learn more about the importance of daylighting. Daylighting is using skylights, windows, and other architectural openings to natural light interior spaces. Doing so helps not only to reduce energy consumption but may also have health benefits.

Some areas are designed with automatic dimming systems when natural light is present, which reduces the amount of artificial light required. The process is known as daylight harvesting.

Daylight has positive psychological effects; it can boost your mental health and lower depression as well as help with increased energy levels. The Vitamin D that we naturally get from the sun has many benefits for us, and Oregonians are known to be lacking this crucial vitamin. Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body: helping to maintain healthy bones and teeth, support the immune system, brain, and nervous system, regulate insulin levels and aid diabetes management, support lung function and cardiovascular health, and protect against cancer.

It’s pretty straightforward on how to celebrate Daylight Appreciation Day. Get outside and spend some time under the safest nuclear furnace we know of, the sun! Picnics and walks in the forest are some of the best ways to spend the day, remembering that the year to come will only get darker with every passing day until we’re full in the depths of winter. If you’ve found yourself entombed in your cubicle, shoveling out work for others to go out and spent their day in the sun, take the day off and remind yourself that there is an outdoors. Go swimming, have a barbecue, get friends and family together, and have a great Daylight Appreciation Day! Just don’t forget the spf protection.

Enjoy the summer sunshine and let it into your home. After all, this is Oregon so enjoy it while it lasts!

Corn on the Cob Day

“A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine.”

~ Anne Bronte

In the height of summer, under a cornflower blue sky filled with cotton-ball clouds, and the smell of grilled meat fills the air. Children are laughing and playing in the creek, and the adults are setting up the picnic tables with red solo cups and paper plates. In the middle of the table sits a large Tubberware bowl covered with a layer of aluminum foil, steam gently escaping from around the edges, rich with the smell of corn on the cob. Corn on the Cob Day celebrates events like these, and the gathering of family around the sweetest healthy treat you’ll ever have!

Corn on the cob is also known in different regions as pole corn, cornstick, sweet pole, butter-pop or long maize. A corn cob is the central woody part of maize or corn on which the corn grains are attached. The corn cob is also part of the corn plant’s flower, and the individual kernels are seeds of the plant.

The history of Corn on the Cob Day goes back to a time before European Settlers actually came to America. Corn is a new world plant that has become more important staple in dishes all over the world, and the by-products of it have been used in quite literally millions of different products. In the America’s High Fructose Corn Syrup is found in almost every candy, and certainly, in every carbonated beverage you can imagine.

Celebrating Corn on the Cob Day is simple, cook up some corn on the cob and enjoy it with a delicious heap of butter and salt! But that opens the doorway to a whole variety of options all by itself. Wrap your corn on the cob in aluminum foil and let it roast in the coals of your campfire, or boil it on your stove until it’s positively bursting with deliciousness. Add butter for a base, and then dust it with seasonings of your choice. Simple salt can work, or you can use seasoning salt, pepper, or any of a variety of spices that suit your palette.

Kurt Van Meter

“Straight up, I should be dead,” Kurt Van Meter once cheerfully told a reporter. At 1:30 pm Friday, November 21, 2009, then police officer Van Meter responded to a call from his sergeant saying that shots had been fired in downtown Hillsboro. When the high-speed car chase through the busiest stretch of Portland’s sprawling suburb ended, Van Meter stood only a few paces from the deranged gunman.

“He jumped out of the Honda with the silver .50 caliber Desert Eagle in one hand and a black .45 caliber Desert Eagle in the other,” Van Meter told a reporter from Police One shortly after the incident. Van Meter remembers the man leveling one of the pistols directly at him before two officers from neighboring Cornelius opened fire and killed the gunman.

Van Meter’s brush with death gave way to a moment of clarity in which he decided to pursue his life-long dream and follow in the footsteps of his country music hero, Garth Brooks.

Van Meter can remember the moment he knew he wanted to be a singer.

“My brother was giving me a ride to school – I think I was a freshman or sophomore – and he put in this CD and told me that I had to hear this song,” Van Meter said. “It was ‘Friends in Low Places’ by Garth Brooks. I was instantly hooked. I was like, I don’t know what this is, but whatever it is, I want to be a part of it.”

But life seemed to take him in every direction but the music. Van Meter played football and became a bull rider at Oregon State University before entering the police force. There, he would sing in the office – but his coworkers didn’t seem to share in the joy.

“My first gig was marine patrol and they give you a partner. He told me one day, ‘Kurt have I ever told you how much I love your singing?’ I said no and he goes, ‘then shut up.’” Van Meter figured maybe he wasn’t that good of a singer, after all. The first person who told him he had a good voice was an ex-girlfriend. But music seemed to be an out-of-reach dream.

The shooting changed all of that and about a year later Van Meter decided to chase his dream. He hoped on Youtube and started to learn how to play the guitar. He also began attending local jam sessions in Hillsboro. The next challenge was finding a way to get his music heard. Van Meter was put in contact with Scott Mahalick and told him, “If you believe in me, I can be the next Garth Brooks.” Van Meter had no songs, no band, and nothing to offer but his voice. Despite that, Garth Brooks and Scott attempted to contact Van Meter. A missed phone call that he still cringes about.

Van Meter’s career took off relatively quickly and he opened for country stars like Montgomery Gentry. In 2013, he committed to music full-time and played the Bi-Mart Country Music Festival in 2014, alongside artists Eric Church and Blake Shelton. When he started, Van Meter said his songs had a couple hundred streams and downloads per month. By 2015, those numbers were up to more than 100,000.

As Van Meter has seen his popularity rise, he’s quick to point to his bandmates as reasons for his success. “When you have a team as strong as this one, it’s in your best interest to get the hell out of the way,” he said. “My role is to not forget the lyrics and not suck.”

Van Meter hopes his kids and others can see his journey and decide to follow their passion and to not be afraid of failure. “Two things are important, one is don’t wait until you’re ready to do something. If you want to do it, just go for it. I didn’t know what I was doing. Sometimes, you just gotta go for it. The second thing is you’re never too old. I was 33 when I learned how to play the guitar.”

Van Meter will be performing tomorrow night at Sounds of Summer kicking off the summer series. Come join us, and enjoy good music, food, and drinks. Vendors will start serving at 6 pm and the fun will begin at 6:30 pm. His CDs will be on sale both at the info booth, as well as after the concert at the Chamber of Commerce.

“Kurt, you are obviously doing something right. Stay with what works.” – Garth Brooks

Wake Up Wednesday

For the last month now Dallas Chamber of Commerce has been participating in Wake Up Wednesday alongside your business neighbors. During this time we are able to connect with local business, share both struggles, and solutions, and grow as a community.

The Wake Up Wednesday today was hosted by Citizens Bank, and Jake shared with us what is new with Citizens Bank. Recently they celebrated their 60th anniversary of the first Citizens Bank opening in Corvallis. There was even a photo available for their grand opening! Jake discussed how Citizens Bank focuses on their customers and not with meeting a sales quota like bigger banks do. If they do not have the best option for you they will send you to someone who does. In this day and age, such banking transparency is appreciated!

West Valley Taphouse kicked off their Discover Dallas Wine Walkabout Series this last Sunday with over 50 participants. The goal is to partner with local business in order to drive tourism in the area. If you attended Sam would love to hear any feedback you might have. If you are interested in participating in the next Wine Walkabout on June 24th you can find out more information or purchase a ticket on their website discoverdallas.wine.

Washington Street Steakhouse and Pub is preparing for Fathers Day! For breakfast dad can look forward to big daddy chicken fried steak and eggs, porterhouse peppered pork chops and eggs, or slow smoked prime rib and eggs. If dad is a late riser then bring him in to enjoy a nice lunch or dinner of big daddy chick fried steak with mashed potatoes, porterhouse peppered pork chops with baked potato, or a slow smoked prime rib with baked potato.

Tuesday on the Square is getting ready to kick off on June 12th. The City of Dallas departments and community partners such as Pacific Power, West Valley Hospital, and many more will be on the courthouse lawn from 4 pm to 7 pm. They will be highlighting their services with plenty of fun for the whole family; good food, bouncy houses, and lots of giveaways.

MV Advancements is growing! While we love to see Dallas businesses grow it’s left them in a tight spot. They are in need of volunteers for two positions. They are looking for business that are in need of help to place their clients, as well as Assessment setters. If you would like to help with either of these positions please contact them for more information.

Last but certainly not least, Turf ground breaking. We pulled together as a community to make it happen and it all kicks off Monday at 4 pm. Ground breaking will take place at Ron August Field and everyone is invited!

If you would like to meet with your fellow business members, and hear firsthand what is going on in our community then contact the Chamber of Commerce. We look forward to seeing you there, and to our community growing!

All American Toy Company

The All American Toy Company was founded in 1947 by Clay and Beth Steinke of Salem. The company started when Clay thought that a large, heavy duty toy truck was needed, that could be played with for years and years and still hold together. He decided on using the late 1940’s era Ford cabs as the basis for his truck, and developed a means of steering through the hood of the cab using a brass air horn. This became known as the ‘Air Horn Steering’, which not only made the toy truly unique, but very popular with its customers. With a heavy cast Aluminum cab, rugged steel frame, walking beam suspension and rubber tires, the company developed the finest toy log truck ever mass produced. The first cabs were sand cast, and soon the demand was so high for these toys that the company had dies fabricated in the late 40’s, to increase production and consistency in quality. The first truck issued was the famous log truck named the “Timber Toter” and retailed for $19.95. These were 1/12th scale, and measured 36 inches long and weighed a heavy 10 pounds! The truck was designed with quality, durability and a high level of ‘playability’ in mind.

In May of 1990 Bill Hellie and his son Chip purchased the company from the founders and produced three limited editions. They produced 15 Bales and Brady Tow Trucks, 8 Tankers and 7 log trucks, using up the remaining original stock. Then a toy collector by the name of Patrick Russell, through a turn of events, struck a deal to obtain the company and dies in May of 1992. The dies were cracked and rusted shut. There was much concern over whether the dies would even be able to be opened, and used ever again. By September 17, 1992, after buckets of penetrating oil, and much personal effort by the employees of the die company, the dies were producing again. The company now only produces very limited runs of this truck. Both Clay and Beth Steinke, along with a few of the machinists who worked on the trucks were involved in this process, and provided insight into the company history and philosophy of quality.

In January of 1997, the All American Toy Company released their first all new toy truck. With the aid of family and friends, Patrick created a new die for a 1/16th scale commonly known as the ‘narrow nose’ Kenworth. These are also only produced in very limited editions runs, and in keeping with the company tradition, use rubber tires and all metal parts. Finally as an added touch in tribute to the founders, Patrick designed a means whereby the single air horn on the top of the cab recreates the famous ‘Air Horn Steering!’ Shortly thereafter both Clay and Beth Steinke passed away. The first truck produced was a Founders Edition Log Truck, with #92 going to Clay and Beth as a means of thanks.

The All American Toy Company was headquartered in Salem and owned and operated by Patrick Russell. In the fall of 2015, Pat Russell sold the company to Paul and Kelly Cross of Dallas. Pat is still a mentor and has a great relationship with the new owners and hopes to carry the tradition into the next generation with their son Henry.

A new limited edition book about the history of the All American Toy Company has been released to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the company. Only 200 signed copies will be released with custom cab bookstand. Go to allamericantoyco.com to order your copy now!

Bugs Bunny Day

 

Bugs Bunny first appeared in a short film “Porky’s Hare Hunt” on April 30, 1938 as theater audiences awaited their feature presentation, and has since been enjoyed by millions of viewers. Bugs bunny is the famous cartoon character best remembered for his popular catchphrase “Eh, what’s up, doc?” For many of us just this sight of our long eared friend brings back fond Saturday morning childhood memories as he tormented his fellow Looney Toons characters, mainly Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, or Yosemite Sam.

As a young performer wet behind the floppy ears, much of his film work was uncredited. He sometimes appeared under the stage name “Happy Rabbit.” But, you know what they say. If it looks like Bugs Bunny, and talks like Bugs Bunny, and moves like Bugs Bunny… then it is Bugs Bunny. Bugs Bunny finally shared his true identity in the credits of January 1941’s tour de force, “Elmers Pet Rabbit,” perhaps at the urging of his costar, Elmer Fudd. This is also when people first heard Bugs Bunny famous line, and the audience loved it. Since then this dynamic duo have often featured together, and even welcomed a third member, Daffy Duck in 1957.

Since his debut, Bugs Bunny has appeared in various short films, feature films, compilations, TV series, music records, comic books, video games, award shows, amusement park rides, and commercials. He has also appeared in more films than any other cartoon character, was made an honorary Marine master sergeant during World War II, is the ninth most-portrayed film personality in the world, and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Bugs Bunny has proven that with hard work and tenacity there is nothing you can not accomplish if you put your mind to it.

While his appearance has “evolved” over the years, Bugs Bunny has always denied the rumors of plastic surgery, Botox or fillers. He attributes his agelessness to a healthy diet, long hops on the beach, and his judicious use of lighthearted ridicule.

Happy Bugs Bunny Day, and we look forward to many more years with our beloved rabbit.

Pet Owners Independence Day

Fed up of going out to work every day, slaving at a desk to earn a crust, while your dog, cat, rabbit, or fish lounges around the house? Well, Pet Owners Independence Day aims to change all of that nonsense. The idea of this holiday is that we owners get a turn at lying on the carpet, atop the fridge, take a swim in the fishbowl, while our fluffy friends try out their talents in the workplace. Let them earn the treats for a day.

Admittedly, there could be just a few drawbacks to this holiday… For one thing, will the average cat or dog be up to take a letter, let alone a phone call? For another thing, just how good is a typical owner likely to prove at catching mice, gnawing on bones, burrowing, or keeping the scratching post in trim shape? All that remains to be seen- but it’s a great idea, anyway, and should add a touch of animal magic to the day!

Here are some ideas of just how to celebrate this quirky holiday with your legless, two-legged, or four-legged companion:

1. Go fishing, and if you forget to bring along the poles, just poke at the fish with your hands and play in the water. It’s what your cat and dog like best anyway. The creek in the Dallas City Park is a great spot to find minnows and crawdads.

2. Play fetch. And when you’re done, play fetch again. You can never throw the ball too many times.  Plenty of open fields at school playgrounds and parks provide ample opportunities for play.

3. Chase the cat. Despite the popular belief, the cat actually enjoys this game. At least, that is what the dog tells me.

4. Eat new things. Try something new, even if it smells a little funky.  You never know what you might like at one of the many restaurants in Dallas.

5. Run some zoomies around the house. Your cat and dog can show you the best routes. Just be prepared for a couple of bumps in the wall.

6. Nap on the couch. The laundry can wait.

7. Laze about in the sun. Vitamin D is a good thing.

8. Learn something new. Despite the old saying, even old dogs can learn new tricks. Keep your brain active.  Try the Polk County Museum to see what you might learn about our beloved County.

9. Cuddle with someone you love, then suddenly spaz out and take off. They’ll thank you for it.  Afterall gut laughter is many times the best medicine.