Saturday, December 29, 2007

Another Saturday in Gig Harbor

Brian and I spent the last Saturday in 2007 taking a walk around Gig Harbor. Ahead of the storm, we enjoyed window shopping and picking up a few after Christmas treasures. I put a pot of soup on about 4PM and we baked bread in the bread maker.



Friday, December 28, 2007

Old Photo Friday: The Lee Boys

Date: Early 1960’s (Brian looks to be about 2)
Location: Newark, Delaware
Event: Family Portrait
Who: Allen Kenneth Lee, Jr., Andrew Kerry Lee and Brian Keith Lee

I love this photo of Brian and his brothers. A few months ago, Brian wrote a bit of an essay and I’ve been trying to find the right time and place to post it.




It is often said that the sweetness of success may only, truly be appreciated once we’ve tasted the bitterness of failure – a taste, I can attest – is much like prunes doused in gasoline. A taste so foul that illness and nausea consume us until the medicine of time, the antidote of fortitude, can work its inevitable cure.

I have tasted both loss and failure in recent months. The tart aftertaste of which still lingers. Yet through it all, we have this strength that leads us forward. Often like plodding through mire, we trod on. Even with a life filled with many joys and triumphs, the wake we have left behind, surely does not steer us now.

This strength, which endures despite years of scabs and scars, is my family. The one impenetrable rock I have clung to with veracity, with a death-like grip. Yes, for all of its dysfunctions it remains the one thing that I rely on for comfort, for validation, and yes, even consternation from time to time.

It is not conflict free, far from it. But like a lioness preparing her young, our small conflicts gird us from the trials and tribulations that we encounter on a daily basis. With respect and humility, it nurtures me.

Even with the passage of many years, with a long life filled with many memories, we still laugh and cry over the same stories time and time again. Through all the years my family has become my foundation. It has become my lighthouse, my beacon on the outcrop of time.

Slowly, inevitably, the sour aftertaste subsides. The sweet, rich fullness of life returns and I am once again rescued from the rocks that lay in waiting. My family, as always, is there.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Recipe of the Week: Artichoke Dip

On Christmas Day, my Mom mentioned that she wished she had my Grandma Virginia’s artichoke dip recipe – a favorite that she loved to make. I am not sure if this is her exact recipe, but it looks like a great New Year’s Eve appetizer.




"This dip is good hot, cold, or room temperature. Serve it with tortilla chips or pita wedges and be sure to get your taste, because it doesn't last long at a party!"


1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
Sliced green onions - garnish
Chopped Tomatoes - garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Combine the artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, cheese and green chilies. Mix well and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Garnish with chopped green onions and chopped tomato if desired.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Very Merry and White Christmas

Christmas Day 2007 - Brian, Stacy and Mom

Brian and I had an amazing Christmas. We are so grateful and thankful that it's hard to write about it all. Feeling more "downs" than "ups" recently, both of us really needed to dig deep to find our Christmas Spirit....but the universe opened up and gave us a lot of really nice suprises! A special thanks to all our friends and family for making this holiday truly special.

On the 23rd, we drove north to Newcastle and spent the afternoon with Rob and Kelly Clark.

They spoiled us rotten with snacks....Izze soda (my new favorite beverage) and all sorts of protein snacks to get us in the mood for hiking and biking in warmer weather. Thanks for the Christmas CD, an amazing magnetic necklace that you can wear as a bollo type tie or a bracelet too (love it) and a gift card that will come in handy! How blessed we are to have such wonderful friends!

On Christmas Eve - Brian and I watched all our favorite Christmas movies (Polar Express, It's a Wonderful Life and the Christmas Carol) while sipping on Irish Cream. The day was quiet and we enjoyed having a fire in the fireplace, reading and napping!

Our Dicken's Christmas Village 2007

On Christmas morning - Brian and I slept in until almost 8:00 and we opened our gifts to each other and a few from Brian's brother's while eating our Christmas quiche.

Santa brought Brian the DVD of the Planet Earth series, a book called F-5 about a breakout of tornados back in the mid-70's, a Lyle Lovett CD, a new lighthouse/seagull clock and a birdhouse made from a Delaware license plate.

Santa brought Stacy a string of pearls and earrings that match, the new Nigella Lawson cookbook, Los Angeles Dodger flannel pajamas, an Alman Brother's CD (Live at the Filmore) and these really cool kebab racks. We also both got lots of great stocking stuffers from Santa!

We spent a few hours on the afternoon of Christmas Day at my Mom and Kenny's place in South Seattle and no sooner did we get in the door than the snow began to fall. Not much stuck....but it was pretty to watch and made Christmas "feel" like Christmas (the first white Christmas in the Pacific NW in over 75 years).

Thanks Santa Kenny and Santa Mom for the Mariner's gift cards, wine, silver earrings, gardening calendar, Cooks Illustrated subscription and amarylis. The mimosa's were wonderful (and we will never forget the dip).

Brian and I closed out our day with a quiet Christmas dinner - a small turkey breast, mashed potatoes, Italian green beans and some stuffing. Brian also made creme de'menthe parfaits for dessert!

Christmas table - Christmas crackers from the Wooden Spoon in Edmonds

Unfortunatley, I had to take the train back to PDX this morning - work is piled high on my desk but I'll be back on the train this Friday evening for the New Year holiday - bowl games and toasting 2007 goodbye! YIPPEE!



Sunday, December 23, 2007

Zoo Lights

Brian and I picked a perfect night to head out and see the Zoo lights at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. Every holiday season, the zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland. This year is extra-special because it's the 20th Anniversary of Zoolights! The year a special display: a twinkling replica of the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Here are some other zoo light facts:

* It takes 7 miles of extension cords to light up Zoo Lights!

* There are 27 miles of lights

* The famous "Flame Tree" has been lit for 19 years; it alone has over 30,000 lights - 20,000 purple and 10,000 green.

We took advantage of a window of dry weather (after a day of rain) and had a nice dinner at El Toro and arrived at the Zoo well before the after dinner rush.

My favorite was the eagle lights swooping down apon a northwest salmon...then retreating high in the tree with his prize catch. Unfortunately, the lights moved too quickly for a good shot.

I even got to feed the goats! Sorry, pigs noses in which to stick my fingers!

As we were leaving, the reflection of the nearly full moon across Commencement Bay was breath taking. We tried to capture it on film....but I'll carry the memory with me this holiday season.

A very enjoyable "new" holiday tradition!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy 64th Pop!

Happy Birthday to my Pop who turns 64 today!

Here are 10 things about my Pop that make him special to me!

1. Raised a daughter as a single father in the 1970's.

2. Knows every line to the 1957 classic "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral".

3. Exposed me to The Beatles, Buddy Holly, The Guess Who and the Eagles.

4. Stayed up with me every Christmas Eve as we watched "The Christmas Carol" together.

5. Loves to hunt and fish

6. Is one of the best "scratch" cooks I know. Never reads a recipe...never makes it the same way twice.

7. Only knows one joke (the pig joke) and has been telling it the same way for over 20 years.

8. He can take his thumb apart and crack his nose (and as a child I really thought he could).

9. Loves Keno and can run and find the Keno Bar in any casino faster than most people can walk in the front door.

10. Took me to my first concert at age 6 to see Elvis Presley.




Friday, December 21, 2007

Recipe of the Week: Christmas Quiche


For the past 3 Christmas mornings, Brian has popped one of his Christmas Quiches into the oven. Served with some fruit and a champagne mimosa, this Christmas breakfast is sure to please everyone!

Enjoy some of these easy Quiches!


Easy Broccoli Quiche
"This easy vegetarian quiche is a snap to make but looks great on the table."

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli (frozen is the easiest)
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with cheese.

3. Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until center has set.

The Yellow House
Waynesville, North Carolina
Quiche Lorraine


Pastry for 9-inch crust pie
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup finely chopped onion
4 large eggs
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. oven to 425 degrees. In bottom of one crust pastry shell sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion. Beat eggs slightly; beat in remaining ingredients.

2. Pour into quiche dish over bacon, cheese and onion.

3. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake about 30 minutes longer or until knife in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Spinach & Blue Cheese Quiche


1. Frozen or fresh pie crust 2 ounces of Swiss cheese, shredded Dijon mustard 1 pound of fresh spinach 1 small onion 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg 3 Eggs 1 cup of cottage cheese 1/2 cup of Half & half 4 ounces of Blue cheese

2. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place the unbaked pie crust in a 8-9" prepared pie pan. Brush the entire surface of the crust with a small amount of Dijon mustard, then sprinkle the Swiss cheese on top.

3. Blind bake for 10-15 minutes. While crust is blind baking: chop the onion by hand or in a food processor, then sauté in the butter till lightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. With the steel blade in the food processor (or in a blender), process the cottage cheese till smooth. Add the blue cheese and eggs, and again process till smooth. Set aside

5. Puree the spinach with the half & half. Stir in the egg and cheese mixture. Mix well. Stir in the onions and nutmeg blending well. Place the blind baked crust onto a cookie sheet for support, and pour the entire blended mixture into the crust.

6. Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or till set. Remove from oven and let sit at room temp. for 10 minutes before cutting.




Old Photo Friday: Two @ E Street

Christmas Sale.....two for the price of one!

Date: 1971
Location: “E” Street in Springfield, OR
Event: Christmas (why doesn’t my stocking have a name???)
Who: Stacy (age 2 ½) with dog, Anna and cat, Cinderella (we called her “cinner”)

Date: Early 1990’s
Location: “E” Street in Springfield, OR
Event: Look at all those presents! We were probably getting ready to go “visiting” on Christmas Eve
Who: Pop and Stacy



Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Cheer #3

Sandra and I celebrated our Christmas together last night because I am leaving for Tacoma on this afternoon’s early train.

What’s better than opening your presents while drinking a bottle of champagne?

Santa Sandra filled my stocking with all sorts of goodies….a very nice pashmina, Santa candy, these cool ear muffs that go around the back of your head, and a really cute Chef snowman from Williams and Sonoma.

Santa Stacy filled Sandra’s stocking with the new Carrie Underwood CD, candles, fake eyelashes and a silver candle holder that says “JOY”.

Let’s get onto the good stuff!

Wrapping paper was torn with a frenzied pace! Stacy got PJ’s from Old Navy, a cool wind-chime (which I hung immediately), Calvin Klein Euphoria perfume, silicone spatulas and a silicone steamer basket and a Pandora charm bracelet.

Sandra received an LL Bean monogrammed bag, a pedometer, sateen PJ’s from Lands End, two CD’s – Bon Jovi and smooth jazz and a pair of black slippers.

We had a great evening! How grateful are we…….VERY!



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Celebration #2

On Sunday night after we got home from Springfield, Sandra and Brian had their Christmas gift exchange.

Brian loves his shredder (it looks like it was the only thing he wanted for Christmas).

Sandra got a gardening bucket! It’s got this cute “tool belt” like gizmo that you set the bucket in. Great for gardening! She loved it!

We had a wonderful roasted chicken dinner and a bit of Christmas cheer!



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Cheer!

Christmas came a bit early for Brian and I this past weekend as we drove south to Springfield, OR and spent the weekend with my Dad and Rosemary - to celebrate my Dad's 64th and sprend the holiday cheer.

We drove Brian around Eugene and introduced him to a dear family friend, our Aunt Pat Dahl (not a blood relative, but almost as close). Aunt Pat was both my paternal (Marie) and maternal (Virginia) grandmother’s best friend – and is our last connection to their memories. It was nice seeing her again and also catching up with her daughter, Candy and son-in-law, John – who Brian found out began his radio career as Jivin' Johnny Etheridge in Lower (or is it Slower) Delaware (Milford, I believe). Small world!
We then took Brian to the Oregon Electric Station, a 1912 train depot on the National Register of Historic Places (now a restaurant). You can even dine in antique train cars. We had a glass of wine and Brian really enjoyed walking around and looking at all the memorabilia. Fun place, I think he really enjoyed it.

For dinner my parents took us to Midtown Bistro & Bel Ami Lounge for dinner. Yummy! The rack of lamb was heavingly…Brian had a flank steak - marinated in merlot, Dad chose the duck breast and Rosemary’s tenderloin filet could have been eaten with a spoon. Excellent wine and service – a great meal.
We celebrated Christmas with a home cooked champagne brunch on Sunday. Brian loved his subscription to Wine Spectator and I can’t wait to use my new knife sharpener! Thanks to my parents for a wonderful start to the holiday season.

I think the Tater Mits were a big hit!