Through Saturday, My Newest Book, “Chimney Fire” is Free on Amazon Kindle eBooks

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Through Saturday, my latest novel, “Chimney Fire,” is FREE on Kindle eBooks.


Suellen Ocean

Will Hilary Get Chivalrous Treatment? I Don’t Think So…

In 1852, in some of the gold mining towns of the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges, rugged men raced down steep mountains on long skis that back then were called snow-shoes. In this hearty back country, snow-shoe races were big entertainment and a lot of fun. There was a lot of drinking and betting on the races and in one instance, the winning purse was a thousand dollars. A lot of money back then. When the race began, all the men took off. Before long, a female came down the hill on her snow-shoes. The crowd went wild, especially as she began passing the other racers. The woman won the race and some speculated that it was because the other racers were chivalrous and didn’t want to beat a woman.

When we consider who gets our vote for president, we can’t go lightly on Hilary just because she’s a woman. And Hilary must do her part and not use the gender card as a diversion from the hard questions. She will go into the ring as an equal to the men.

As for the snow-shoe race back in March of 1852… when the racer removed her hat and face covering, the crowd was surprised to see that it was a man. And one man was so angry at having been “cheated,” he shot and killed the poor jokester in front of the whole crowd.

A lot has changed since the 1800’s. The 2016 presidential race will be monumental, whether Hilary wins or not. And unlike the snow-shoe race of 1852, it is no joke.

Suellen Ocean is the author of seventeen books, available at

Food & Cooking… Do Spice Cabinets Lie?

I have a sister-in-law who insists she’s not handy in the kitchen and yet when I looked into her spice cupboard it was well stocked. And well used. How do I know this? I know because I saw spice dust on the little jars and there was a slight disarray to them. I’ve seen plenty of tidy little spice cupboards with unused bottles of spices. They stick out like unopened presents under a Christmas tree.

I am not one to condemn those who don’t enjoy cooking. Laboring in the kitchen is not everyone’s favorite pastime. However, there is something about a spice cabinet. It conveys how someone genuinely feels about cooking. Everyone can have pretty things in their kitchen. But when it has spice dust on it… watch out. Spice cabinets don’t lie.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

Gardening… Good News All the Way Around

I went into my garden yesterday and was delighted that not one but three hummingbirds enjoy my new addition of Myosotis sylvatica, commonly known as “forget-me-not.” I planted the seeds after my mother died. I had given the colorful packet to her years ago but she had not planted it. It came up last year and I was pleased at the large number of honeybees it attracted. Now hummingbirds are dancing around it. And it appears to be very drought tolerant. I looked up forget-me-not at the department of agriculture to see if it was poisonous and it is considered safe. I saw a mention elsewhere that the flowers were good in salads. What’s not to like?

Forget-me-not is considered an annual or a biennial so I’d better throw seeds around so it will come up next year. I live in a temperate climate and it did not die over the winter. Anything that attracts honeybees and hummingbirds is magical. Throw that in your salad!

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

eBook through Barnes & Noble:


What’s the Difference Between Apple Cider and Apple Juice?

This hot weather makes me thirsty. There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day then an ice cold glass of apple… cider? Juice? What’s the difference? The word cider means “strong drink.” The definition of cider is, “the expressed juice of apples, used for drinking and for making vinegar.” That sounds like juice to me. When I look at the calorie count, they both have 100 for an eight ounce glass. The only difference I see is that the cider is darker. I know it must be in the process. Maybe the cider is made from the peels too, or something of that nature and the juice is made from just the juice. On both bottles it states that they are made from the juice of apples. The state of Massachusetts has a web page devoted to explaining their definition between cider and juice. Their definition of cider is what Californian’s call “unfiltered,” which is my preference. At any rate, the Massachusetts website says that apple cider is high in potassium. That’s a good thing. Also a plus… a high pectin content, good for lowering cholesterol. In California, look for “raw” or “unfiltered.” In Massachusetts, look for the word “cider.”

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

Poor Jonny's Cover

Everyone Always Asks Me… Where Can I Buy Acorns?


I’ve been gathering and grinding acorns for over thirty-five years. I wrote the book on it… literally, and people always ask me, “Where can I buy acorn meal?” I never had a source. But now I do. And guess what? Her name is Sue. Not the same Sue as me but a Sue is a Sue and they seem to like acorns. I’ve checked out her website and it looks like the real deal. She’s even got a cafe and bakery. If you want to buy acorn meal, she sells it by the pound. It looks expensive but that’s because it is a lot of work to gather, shell, leach and prepare them. Here’s the link to Sue’s cafe and bakery: ttp:// Sue’s cafe is in Martinez, California. If you are in the area, pay her a visit and let me know what you think. Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Nazis… I Said I Would and I Did

Blog Size Chimney Fire Front Cover

Today I humbly present my novel, Chimney Fire. The main character is a Jewish fellow named Rudy Steinberg, a California slacker who at fifty is paid a visit by a German attorney whose shocking information disrupts Rudy’s life. I came up with the idea twenty years ago and when I found the outline, I thought it would be fun to collaborate with my younger self. Fun is not the correct word. I spent the winter reading and watching films about Nazis who murdered millions of people, including Germans. Nevertheless, I said I would and I did. It’s spring now… and Chimney Fire is complete. I can’t say that I understand human nature any better but what I do understand is that people do bad things and we need to speak up because as the victims will tell you… the worst is unthinkable.

“Chimney Fire” is available here:

The California Drought… the Winners and the Losers


Let me start with the losers, that’s easy. Anything that sucks water. The winners are the little things… lady bugs, lizards, aphids… birds. These tiny creatures are at the bottom of the biotic pyramid but just as important as creatures at the top. Without lady bugs we’d have too many smaller bugs eating our produce. Same with lizards, they eat insects. And birds, wow. Some baby birds eat fourteen feet of worms in a day. Oh wait… we like worms, they build beautiful soil. But then imagine a world without worm predators, they’d be everywhere and they’d probably grow really large but worms like moisture so I’ll not worry about that… yet. I’ll just sit back and enjoy the proliferation of birds and honey bees that are sucking the nectar out of an abundance of wildflowers the drought has brought on in my neck of the woods. It’s dry out west, yes, and it’s not near as pretty a spring as usual. And in Lake County, some of the oak trees are suffering. That’s bad news. But it is what it is. When you need some good news, look deeper into nature…for the little things. There are always winners. Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns available as a FREE download from Ocean-Hose. Find it here:

Eating Acorns… Are There Any Benefits? In the Bedroom?


When autumn comes along and pretty brown acorns are lying on the ground one should wonder… why bother to collect them? Why not leave the acorns for the squirrels? Unfortunately, acorns can get messy so folks usually rake them up and the wildlife has to do without. But if you were to gather them, what is the benefit? Similar to nuts, acorns have oils in them that are beneficial, they also contain a little protein and small amounts of phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium and calcium. But the best benefit of all is getting outside and gathering them. Another benefit is how pretty they look in a basket on the kitchen table. And they don’t look too bad in a jar leaching in the fridge. They look fantastic in cookies, they give them a pretty brown color. And there’s always that old book that said that acorns and oats were good to eat for “sexual strength.” Whether or not that’s true has to be decided by those who eat acorns. Although it’s a lot easier to cook up a bowl of oats, there’s nothing like dipping a corn chip into a delicious bowl of acorn dip, knowing it just might have… benefits. Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973


What I Have Learned About Cooking With Spices


I have been cooking for forty years. I use a lot of spices and half the time when I do, I think about all the wars that have ensued because of them. As much as I hate war, I have to admit that when I open up my spice jars, I get it.

In my earliest days of cooking, I used way too much spice. I had to learn how to use each one and that has only come from years of experience. What I’ve learned is that you don’t need much. I’ve never used too much marjoram, but I’ve ruined dishes with too much rosemary, thyme and even basil.

Even after all these years, I still like to take a sniff when I open the jar, right before I spice. It tunes me into the art of spicing.

Another important aspect I’ve learned is that you don’t have to simmer spices to develop full flavor. I’ve cooked the flavor of spices out of my food, enough times to know… use a little and don’t cook it too long or it will dissipate.

And I always get the freshest spices I can and that means heading to my local natural foods store. I have my own little jars with tight fitting lids and I write the name of them with a black marker on the lid and on the jar.

And though I love fresh spices, another thing I’ve learned is that if I keep a spice in a small plastic bag, twist tied and then put into an air tight jar, it will keep for years. My first preference is for fresh spices, but I must confess that I have used spices as old as twenty years and they worked. They weren’t as potent so I used more.

Don’t be afraid to spice it up but the best tip I can give is start with a pinch until you get to know the spice and then you can use two, three or four pinches.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973