Thursday, January 31, 2008

Recipe of the Week:Chicken Parmesan

Brian made me chicken parmesan a few weeks ago and it’s one of the best things he cooks! It’s pretty easy to prepare therefore it’s a prefect candidate for recipe of the week!



Prep: 15 min; Cook: 20 min
Serves 4-6
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 - 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 cups dry bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 jar Italian tomato/pasta sauce
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Carefully trim the chicken breasts. For thinner cutlets: with the flat side of a cleaver or a heavy skillet (you can also use a roller or even a wine bottle), pound or roll the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap to the desired thickness (usually about 1/4").
2. Spread the bread crumbs on a flat plate. Coat cutlets with bread crumbs (press down firmly while coating with bread crumbs).
3. Set the tomato/pasta sauce on low heat to warm (it will spread more easily).
4. On medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Sautee the garlic until lightly browned. Place the breaded cutlets in the pan and cook until they are deep golden brown on both sides (5-7 minutes each side). Remove to a paper towel to drain.
5. Place 1 cup of the warm tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the cutlets in one layer. Add the cooked cutlets to the baking dish; cover with the rest of the tomato sauce and top each cutlet with a sliced or grated mozzarella.
6. Cook the chicken parmesan in the oven for ten minutes. If the cheese has not melted/browned you can slip it under the broiler for a minute or so - keep an eye on it so the cheese does not burn.
7. Serve cutlet on top of a cup of your favorite cooked pasta. Add extra sauce and parmesan cheese.
Notes: Goes great with a side salad, steamed broccoli and a thick slice of French or garlic bread.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mariner's FanFest

Brian and I went to Seattle Mariner's FanFest over the weekend! It's fun to get excited about the upcoming season (62 days to Opening Day) and just a handful of weeks to Spring Training.

The highlight is to walk down to the field and run the bases! Trust me, it was cold enough that you wanted to run them (snow, rain and ice all weekend long).

This might be our last FanFest. As Brian so aptly put....."the apple is loosing it's shine".

Friday, January 25, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Stacy and Sandra - Winos

Date: Fall 1991
Location: Backyard fire pit at E Street in Springfield, OR
Who: Stacy and Sandra:
What: Sipping wine! A little “under the weather” from the night before.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us. It’s fall in Eugene. The Ducks are probably getting ready to kick-off at Autzen and we are hanging out at Dad’s on a Saturday.



Thursday, January 24, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Chicken and Veggies in Foil Packets

In keeping with January's low-fat, light and easy...making individual foil packets is a great way to please everyone at dinner time. It’s also a perfect way to prepare and freeze low fat meals for those with busy lifestyles.

The food is essentially steamed, which makes for moist and succulent meat or fish. The concept is to entirely enclose the food in a bag or packet that will allow the food to baste in its own juices - or some minimal amount of added liquid or fat - while steaming in the oven. The process allows the food to stay moist and enhances any natural sweetness.

Classic French cooking employs a technique called “en papillote” – a phrase that used in a recipe title can scare off many cooks (although it translates to “butterfly”). So when Reynolds Aluminum began marketing the “en papillote” technique as a way to sell aluminum foil, they used the name “packet cooking”. Packet cooking is easy, produces a dish that can be deliciously low fat, and leaves minimal cleanup requirements. I also like the idea of preparing 3 or 4 different packets to freeze. Put them in the fridge before you leave for work and pop them in the oven when you get home. Dinner will be ready in a FLASH!

How to make the packet is up to the cook. Parchment paper is the traditional material used, but I find it easier to use aluminum foil (Reynolds now sells precut aluminum packets for this purpose). Make sure to use a 12” x 18” piece of foil and place the food in the middle. Bring your sides up and double fold. Then fold the ends to seal the pocket. The method works great in the oven and also on your BBQ. If you are going to freeze several packets, place them in a large zip lock bag – this way you can label your packets





4 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves
1 cup canned tomato sauce
2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
1 cup canned corn, drained
1/2 cup canned sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Tear off 4 large sheets of aluminum foil; mist with cooking spray.

3. Place a chicken-breast half on each sheet. Top each with 1/4 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup zucchini, 1/4 cup corn, 2 tablespoons mushrooms and 1/4 cup mozzarella.

4. Fold foil over and roll up edges, sealing securely. Place packets on baking sheet; bake 30 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes before opening. Slide contents of each packet onto plates and serve with pasta or rice, if desired.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bad Moon Rising

Did you know that each full moon has a name? Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year. Here is the Farmers Almanac's list of the full Moon names.

• January - Full Wolf Moon: Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Some call it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.

• February - Full Snow Moon: Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February's full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.

• March - Full Worm Moon: As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night.

• April - Full Pink Moon: This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Coastal tribes refer to April’s moon as the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

• May - Full Flower Moon: In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time.

• June - Full Strawberry Moon: This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon. Also because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June . . . so the full Moon that occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry!

• July - The Full Buck Moon: July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time.
• August - Full Sturgeon Moon: The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month.

• September - Full Harvest Moon: This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October.

• October - Full Hunter's Moon: With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can easily see fox and the animals which have come out to glean.

• November - Full Beaver Moon: This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter.

• December - The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon: During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time.

Enjoy tonight's full moon!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Cheeseheads Rule!

Date: January 25th 1998
Who: Stacy (A.K.A. Miss Cheesehead). My Dad's good friend, Jimmy Meyer sent this all the way from Wisconsin.
Location: E Street
Event: Sunday Footall
What: The Packers had a 9-7 record in 1992, and began to turn heads around the league when they signed perhaps the most prized free agent in NFL history, Reggie White. With White on board the Packers made it to the second round of the playoffs during both the 1993 and 1994 seasons. In 1995, the Packers won the NFC Central Division championship for the first time since 1972. After a home playoff 37-20 win against Atlanta, the Packers defeated the defending Super Bowl Champs, SF 49ers 27-17 on the road to advance to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 38-27. The returned to the Super Bowl in 1998 but were defeated by the Denver Broncos 31-24.
Can you tell who I'll be rooting for come Sunday?




Thursday, January 17, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Cream of Carrot Soup with Fresh Ginger

Soups On!
Our weather continues to be "chilly" so here is an easy soup, perfect for the upcoming weekend!





7 cups chicken, or vegetable stock
2 pounds fresh carrots, peeled
3 leeks, sliced in half lengthwise and thoroughly cleaned
1 yam, peeled
4 stalks celery
4 tablespoons butter
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pint Fat-Free ½ and ½ or heavy cream (optional)


1. In a large pot, bring stock to a boil. While stock is heating, chop all vegetables into small pieces (approximately 1/2-inch cubes).
2. In a saute pan, over medium-high heat, melt half of the butter. Saute vegetables with ginger and nutmeg for approximately 15 minutes, or until vegetables are browned. Add remaining butter as needed.
3. Add sauteed vegetables to stock, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in a blender. Soup should be thick and smooth.

5. If you like your soup velvety smooth, pour through a fine mesh strainer. Add salt and pepper.
6. To serve, reheat, ladle into bowls, then drizzle 1 tablespoon of cream into each bowl. Serve in warmed bowls.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Let's ban plastic shopping bags

Starting January 1st, 2008, Rebecca Lane stopped carrying home our groceries in plastic bags.

Just recently, the nation of China banned free plastic shopping bags and called for a return to the cloth bags of old -- this action largely welcomed by merchants and shoppers alike. Such a ban is already in place in San Francisco, the first city in the U.S. to take action against plastic bags.

Tell me, when do we here in the United States get the picture and follow suit? When will there be a time when the plastic shopping bag is history?

We understand how much oil it takes to make the bags and their negative impact on the environment. It's time for the United States to ban the plastic shopping bag and do it now.
You can do your part by demanding paper bags at the grocery stores and bringing a canvas tote bag with you to other retailers. There is a strong push for this action in California and if this is done on a nationwide basis, retailers will get the picture and perhaps legislators will do the right thing.
Aside from Albertson’s and Fred Meyer - who are currently selling their own canvas bags, here is a list of websites where you can purchase unique canvas bags.

Do your part for the environment!



Friday, January 11, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Aunt Judy and Pop

Date: 1987
Location: Oakridge, Oregon
Event: Aunt Judy flew out from Edgerton, Ohio for my High School Graduation
What: Oakridge holds a lot of history for our family. Aunt Judy and Pop’s Mom and Dad owned a restaurant and many friends and family members worked on the railroad in this tiny little town halfway between Eugene, OR and the Cascade Mountains summit.

I’ve been thinking about my Aunt Judy a lot over the past few weeks. I hope she is feeling better!



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Happy Thursday!

Brian's heading down to Irvine, California for his big meeting with Kaplan today. The good news is that he's on the "books" with Kaplan beginning January 2nd. Our hope is that the salary package is OUT OF THIS WORLD and brings Brian some peace of mind and hope for a new start!

Wish him good thoughts today!

For those who like to track flights, go to this link and track his journey!

Alaska Flight 488 - Departs PDX at 11:06 AM on Thursday, January 10th
Alaska Flight 488 - Arrives Santa Ana, CA @ 1:35PM

American Airlines Flight 6925 - Departs Santa Ana, CA on Friday, January 11th @ 8:13PM
American Airlines Flight 6925 - Arrives PDX at 10:38PM


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Recipe Of The Week: Chicken Salad with Grapefruit and Pistacios

I am on a health kick! Ever since the holidays ended, I have been craving lots of salads and veggies. This sounds wonderful and easy to throw together.



Chicken Salad with Grapefruit and Pistachios

(Serves 4)

4 skinless chicken breast fillets
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon sliced
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
1/2 cup fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
2 grapefruits, segmented

Yoghurt dressing
1 cup plain yoghurt
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

1. Slice each chicken breast into three pieces on a chopping board, put a freezer bag over them and pound them with a mallet or rolling pin until they are about 1/4 inch thick.

2. Place the chicken in a flat dish and pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil over them. Distribute the lemon and pepper over the chicken, cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Heat a large frying pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the marinade and sprinkle it with sea salt. Cook in the pan for 1 minute each side or until cooked through and golden.

4. Toss the herbs with the pistachios, onion, grapefruit and remaining olive oil, then season well. Divide this among four plates and top each with three pieces of chicken. Serve with the dressing on the side.

5. To make the dressing, stir all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Monday, January 7, 2008

More Christmas Photos

Happy Monday!

Thanks to Kelly for forwarding these pictures of Brian and I taken over the Christmas holiday. I thought it would make a nice addition to the blog.



Friday, January 4, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Princess and Chick

Date: 1970 – I appear to be hanging onto that chair so not walking real good (what’s with the rollers, Mom)
Location: E Street
Event: Chick’s babysitting (love those socks)
Who: Chick (Sandra) and Princess (Stacy)

In honor of Sandra’s birthday tomorrow, her request this week is this photo of the two of us.

She’s always been there for me….teaching me, taking care of me, experiencing life with me. So many treasured memories!

Happy Birthday!



Thursday, January 3, 2008

Recipe of the Week:Fast, Healthy and Delicious

I don’t know about you, but my waist expanded a bit over the holidays. Let’s start 2008 off with some fast, healthy and delicious recipes for the month of January.


Stace Shrimp and Avocado Salad



1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large grapefruit
1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/4-inch lengthwise wedges
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp
One 5-ounce head of Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

1. In a large bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the lime juice, shallot and cilantro. Using a sharp knife, peel the grapefruit, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over the bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the grapefruit sections into the bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl; discard the membranes. Gently fold in the avocado and season with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, tossing the shrimp until they are curled and pink, about 4 minutes.

3. Arrange the lettuce on a platter. Using a slotted spoon, lift the grapefruit and avocado from the citrus vinaigrette and gently spread over the lettuce. Add the shrimp to the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Arrange the shrimp over the salad and drizzle the remaining citrus dressing on top.

Serve right away.

Wine Pairing: Complex, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc: 2004 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc.