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Party time
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 Last night I threw a party to celebrate a few of the wonderful things going on in my life like being home in Novato, Calif., and seeing my family and friends for the first time in about two months. I was also celebrating Curtis Jr. and the 2010 high school senior class, Cole plus his fellow freshmen classmates at Marin School of Arts, the end of summer, and a young man who rode his bike into our lives.

 Ryan Harwell is from my hometown Conyers; he graduated form Georgia Tech in 2006 and went to work for Turner Broadcasting at Cartoon Network. He was climbing the ladder when it hit him: "I am not happy." He cashed in his 401k, found a five-acre plot of land, gathered seeds and planted his first organic crop.

 White carrots, turnips, collards, kale, broccoli and potatoes were among his first harvest. The carrots were some of the best I have ever tasted. In an effort to discover himself and organic methods of growing food, this young man decided to take a cross country trip, but not by plane, train or automobile.

 He bought a Raleigh-Sojourn bicycle and mounted it March 17, St. Patrick's Day. With his buddy, Eoin Grosch, he headed west. The pair parted in west Texas, with Eoin headed south bound while Ryan traveled north to Canada. Next week more about Ryan's trek.

 At last night's party, I told Ryan I would feed 100 people for $100. He said "no way." Well I spent about $135 and had only about 75 people come. Still, that is great, right?

 How did I do it? Remember, when throwing a big party, people want to help. Your guests feel truly a part of the event when they help.

 This week's recipe is for last night's beans.

Pot of Beans
2 pounds pinto beans
1 / 4 cup oil (more if needed)
1 tablespoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 large onion chopped
1 each green and red pepper cut up
2 cups Mama's BBQ sauce
4 cups of water

 Put every thing in big pot except the BBQ sauce and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and simmer for about three hours. Add water when the level drops below the beans. After three hours add sauce simmer until ready to serve!

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