Saturday, January 31, 2009

University of Portland Basketball Game

I asked Brian a few weeks ago if he would like to go see the University of Portland Men's basketball team. He was in town last Thursday and Friday teaching and I thought it would be fun to go to a game together.

Thursday night was date night! I hadn't been to Red Robin in years (that was my first job back in 1988 when I first moved to Seattle) and I was hungry for a good burger. I still think they make one of the best, for a chain restaurant.

The game was great - and we had awesome center court seats! Portland defeated San Diego, 69-55, before a sparse crowd at the Chiles Center in North Portland. Neither of us has been to a WCC game in Portland before. It was a quaint setting filled with what appeared to be long-time supporters of the Pilots. This is an exciting year for the Pilots - who will play St. Mary's on Saturday night for sole possession of second place behind powerhouse Gonzaga. Saturday night's game is arguably the biggest conference game the Pilots will have at the Chiles Center in more than a decade. GOOD LUCK!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Tinkerbell

WHO: Stacy and Tinkerbell
WHAT: Me and my beloved cat (I can't believe I had white tennis shoes on with jeans).
WHERE: Sitting on the couch at E Street in Springfield, OR
WHEN: 1989-1990 - I think I am wearing a Red Robin sweatshirt and I started working for them in 1988.

I still miss my cat, tinker. I think about her all the time. I had her most of my childhood from about age 5 until I was in my early 20's. We finally had to put her to sleep, but that's a story for another time. She was sweet and cuddly and there will never be another one like her.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Taco Soup for Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday would not be complete without a huge bowl of Taco Soup. There are many variations, but they are all pretty simple. I usually start mine in the morning and let is simmer all day - by halftime, you can't resist!

12 to 16 servings -1-1.5 cups

2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced
1/2 bottle hot sauce
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
1 24 oz beer (I use a large Corona)
optional toppings
green olives, sliced
Corn chips
Sour cream
Grated cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
Pickled jalapenos

1. Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot.
2. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, hot sauce, Beer, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove.
3. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with optional toppings - sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back to Seattle - Endolyne Joe's

It's been a busy year already. Lot's of travelling (me to Mexico and Brian to Montana) and not much down time spent in Seattle with my two favorite guys.

This past weekend I was so ready to be in Seattle do and see all the things I love.

We didn't plan a lot. It's so hard most of the time to cram in a weeks worth of missing each other into 48 hours or less, plus Brian is coming down to Portland later this week so I know I will see him again soon.

We checked out Endolyn Joe's for a late lunch on Saturday - a spacious and very eclectic pub/restaurant about 5 minutes from our front door. The menu is divided between "Blunch" - their version of Breakfast/Lunch and a Lunch Dinner Menu ("Blunch" is served until 3PM). Classic American diner food (I had a meatloaf sandwich, Brian had a colossal Turkey sandwich) and eclectic regional choices (burgers, fish, casseroles, etc.) Blunch appears to be simple: hash browns, thick bacon, gooey cinnamon rolls, eggs and biscuits with sausage cream gravy. We will have to head back for breakfast! Nice bar area....we watched the Huskies beat UCLA!

I dearly loved spending time with my Sammy too. Here is a little video of him playing. We call him psycho Sammy when he gets wound up!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Don't you just love planning!?

Were you a "hot lunch kid"? I used to love bringing home the school calendar and knowing what was on the lunch menu. Maybe I am just a weirdo?! That's why I love menu planning.

Here is this weeks plan and check out Laura and all her foodie friends for more great menu ideas.


Monday: Turkey and Parmesan Meatloaf with Green Beans (still no oven, cooking on BBQ)
Tuesday: Spaghetti with pesto and tomatoes and Texas Toast
Wednesday: Chicken Piccata with a Big Garden Salad
Thursday: Men's B-Ball: University of Portland Vs. San Diego (Brian is in town - Date Night)
Friday: Steak Tostadas with Cilantro Sour Cream (we are still craving Mexican)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Old Friends

WHO: (L-R) Amy Willis, Deby Case, Lisa Wareham, Leslie Hamlin, Me, Christy Schmit and my Mom (excuse the spelling,'s been over 20 years).
WHAT: My Birthday, probably 9 or 10
WHERE: My Mom's house out in Coburg, OR
WHEN: April 1978-79

My Aussie mate, Greg introduced me to Facebook about 3 months ago. I was apprehensive at first and not much into all those social networks that run rampant on the Internet. Facebook was easy and not intrusive. So far....almost 30 people - some old elementary through high school friends have all requested my friendship once again. It's a great way to keep in touch! This picture has many old faces I hope to one day see again.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Re-Visit Mexico!

The solitude of these places sharpens the experience of happening upon them, the sense of discovery that for me lies at the heart of travel - Unknown Author
Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach

I've updated some of our previous Mexico posts with links to some of the places that we experienced - for anyone wishing to re-live the experience with us once more. I am also trying to create a link to all the posts on my sidebar.

Recipe of the Week: Greek Beef Pastichio

We went to Eugene a few weeks ago for a late Christmas celebration and Rosemary made Greek Beef Pastichio. She's been making it for years (original Oregonian recipe is from 1982). This is a really yummy alternative to the traditional Italian pasta dishes we get tired of from time to time.

Greek Beef Pastichio
Serves 6
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 package (7 ounces) elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1 large onion, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) tomato paste
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Prepare macaroni according to package directions, drain. Rinse with cold water and set aside
2. Stir flour into melted butter in heavy saucepan and cook for approximately 3-5 minutes. Gradually stir in milk and cook until thickened; stirring occasionally. Cover and cool.
3. Brown beef and onion in a large pan. Pour off drippings. Sprinkle salt, pepper, cinnamon and oregano over the beef. Stir in tomato paste and cook slowly 10 minutes.
4. Beat together the eggs and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, gently stirring in macaroni. Gradually stir 2 cups cups of the white sauce into macaroni mixture; place half in buttered 11 3/4 x 71/2 inch baking dish.
5. Spoon beef mixture in an even layer over macaroni; place remaining macaroni mixture over beef. Pour remaining white sauce over macaroni.
6. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let it stand for 15 minutes before cutting into squares.
Eugene Register Guard Tuesday, March 16, 1982

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A few more Mexico photos

Aboard the "Tropicat" Sunset Sail - January 14th 2009

I downloaded the photos from Sandra's camera last night. Another opportunity to reminisce a little more.

At "The Office" on the beach after my Parasail - Tuesday, January 13th 2009

Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach - Main Pool (swim-up bar)

It's been quite an adjustment coming back from vacation, but we have so many wonderful memories to share that this trip seems to keep on giving.



Monday, January 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Back from Paradise

Sandra and I had an amazing time in Mexico and we ate some really yummy food - but I am really glad to be back home and in the kitchen again. We are still without an oven, however we are getting by just fine!

January is a long month.....and we are committed to sticking to the WW routine with light and healthy meals planned this week.

For other ideas, go to Laura's amazing site.


Sunday: Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup (we are missing Mexico alot) with a garden salad
Monday: BBQ'd Salmon Steaks with steamed broccoli
Wednesday:Garlic Mushroom Burgers with Grilled Onions on the side

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mexico: The Wrap-Up

We are back from a wonderful Mexico Trip! Chick and I had an absolute blast.

One of the things I will remember most about our trip is the people of Mexico. I have traveled quite a few places in this world and I will never forget some of the beautiful people I have met – so friendly and so accommodating…..very generous souls.

Thank you to the “fun” people we met on the shuttle ride from the Airport to Sunset Beach (minus the Canadians). You made the long ride to the condo a lively experience. We all started our trip together, some first timers, some condo owners, some just along for the ride.Thank you Oscar, the first person to greet us at Sunset. Your warm smile opened up my heart to the beautiful people of Mexico. I can honestly say that I had many reservations about traveling to Cabo (my first trip to Mexico) and your gentlemanly gesture was sweet – something as simple as taking our picture or making sure we got strapped into the golf cart after a night of too much tequila was sincere. Thank you Arturo, our first golf cart driver at Sunset Beach. We were not sure how we we going to like those carts, but after a few rides it was not as big an issue as first thought. You drove us up the terraced hills to our building – high above the Pacific Ocean, two totally amazed people as if in a dream. Your English was sweet and you tried really hard to make sure we were comfortable.

To Edith’s – The best meal of the trip. It was a very close call. “La Frida” at Sunset Beach was amazing, but the authentic setting and the mariachi experience made it something I will never forget.

Thank you to “The Office” – the presentation of the tequila after my Parasail was my first real experience with top shelf tequila. I didn’t know that you could chill and serve tequila like it was a fine wine. Being on the beach to eat – and when I say on the beach I mean chairs and tables in sand – was way too cool. We bought a bag and a hat and walked along the sand, two senoritas on a fantastic journey.

Thank you to Macin – who let us hang out in his beach chairs on a hot beach mid-afternoon while we waited for a water taxi to take up to the parasailing boat. You made us laugh (which was good because I was scared to parasail) while trying to sell us on a horse ride through downtown Cabo. Sorry, amigo – next time for sure.

Thank you to the whales – I have only seen you in Maui so this was a real treat. You greeted us every morning with your blows and turns and flips. Next time, I will remember to bring my binoculars for a closer view.

Thank you most of all to Chick – for taking me along on our first “girl’s trip in ages. Will you please take me back with you? You did the right thing when you bought that place at Sunset – if it were different for me now, I’d join you. It’s a beautiful place and one that I hope to see with you again very soon. Don’t forget to call and book on the 23rd of January!!



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mexico: Day Five and Six

Day five was a slow start for me. The tequila monster really took hold of me, so I spent most of the day in recovery mode until I decided that life is too short or as my good friend, Sonja always says to me “you can sleep when you are dead”. Nothing that a hot shower, err….make that a cold shower – can’t fix.

Chick and I changed our mind about the city bus and decided the spend a little more for an air-conditioned taxi to San Jose Del Cabo – about 40 minutes north east along the water from Cabo San Lucas. To me, it is a beautiful journey even though once you are away from the resorts you are transported into some unbelievable poverty, graffiti and squalor.

San Jose is a very small town with some amazing art galleries, jewelry stores and general shopping. We spent about 2 hours walking up and down the streets – window shopping and people watching. We found it to be very quiet and authentic. It was an inviting place to spend the evening.

Unfortunately – since the tequila monster did a number on me, I was not in the best of “spaces” which was so disappointing because one of the places I had dreamed of going to for a year was a restaurant named, “Tequila” (no joke). Giada DeLaurentis profiled it on one of her travels shows and when I saw this place I knew immediately that I would be in Cabo soon and that I would have a memorable dinner.
Tequila is a tropical garden setting restaurant decorated with candles, lanterns and water features. It was established about 12 years ago and has been written up in fine dining magazines all over the world.

Chick and I split the Shrimp Bomb, tequila marinated shrimp wrapped in a deep fried wonton wrapper and served on a bed of purred black beans and cream. It was a dish presented so beautifully that I felt guilty for “diving in”. We then had a beet salad – served simply with a few greens, blue cheese crumbs and sweet balsamic syrup. The beets were the sweetest I have ever eaten. We also had the same main – an irresistible fillet Mignon smothered in a Cabernet rosemary sauce and garnished on the side with rosemary potatoes and a Mexican ratatouille. It was a rich meal – but one of the most complete to the taste buds. Memorable indeed.

Day Six:
Our last day began early – Chick and I vowed that we would hit the pool for a full day in the sun and we begin the task of visiting all of our favorite places before the day ended.
Our Last Sunset
Again we stayed out by the main pool and even changed our last dinner from 7PM to 8PM in order to not only take in our last Sunset Beach sunset, but also to enjoy as much of the day as possible.

For our last meal, Chick choose one of her favorites, “La Fonda” a truly authentic Mexican restaurant.
The menu was so complex that at one point in time I didn’t honestly think I would be able to choose. I was tempted to try the fire ants or bone marrow tacos (when in Rome) – but in the end my starter salad – a terrine salad (a tower of delight) made with the freshest avocado, sweetest tomato and richest feta cheese - an excellent choice. Chick had a make it at the table yourself, Tortilla Soup that was homemade “love”. After our dinner we returned to Sunset Beach and looked high into the sky for the last time to spot the Orion constellation, to hear the roar of the ocean, to take the golf cart down to the Manila Bar for our evening nightcap and reminisce about all the things we loved and were prepared to leave – only after vowing to return again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Para-Sailing in Mexico

Mexico: Day Four

We had coffee on our patio while spotting whales and counting fishing boats. It was a great way to start our relaxing day at the Spa, always a highlight of any trip. Everything here is so beautiful.

After our morning of relaxing, we took a shuttle down to the third Pueblo Bonito resort, Pacifica – a holistic spa and retreat. It was beautiful - amazing manicured grounds with lots of native plants. We had a wonderful lunch while overlooking the pool and Pacific Ocean.

We then took a cab back to the marina area to catch our 4PM catamaran sunset sail aboard the “Tropicat”. It was a wine, jazz cruise so very relaxing and so cool to be able to get out to the arch area and Lover’s Beach.

The cruise was over about 6:30; we finally got a really nice sunset and after we got back to the marina, we thought we might check in on Harold and his group as they had asked us back to their place for an evening cocktail. Well… thing lead to another and I can now say that I hope to NEVER drink tequila again! What happens in Cabo, stays in Cabo or like my Dad always says…..”you can’t have too much fun”.


Mexico: Day Three

A quick start to our morning – up and on the 10AM shuttle bus to Pueblo Bonito Rose where we spent a few hours at their pool. At first it was very serene – with a piano playing soft jazz standards. Chick and I had breakfast right in our lounge chairs as the sun warmed our bodies. It was pretty cool to eat huevos (eggs) with a slab of ham and salsa poolside!

But the pool filled up quickly (their happy hour starts at 11:00AM….2 for 1 drinks) so the place became crowded quickly. Soon there was loud music, water aerobics, pool volleyball and way too much chatter. Chick and I were content with our IPods and books.

The highlight of the day was my ParaSail……(I'll have a FLIP video post tomorrow)

Oh my. It was amazing. We took a water taxi out to a bigger faster boat (Chick went along for the ride, which I was grateful for). The water was a bit rough, but the views of El Arco, the most spectacular sight in Cabo San Lucas, a natural rock arch were breathtaking. I can’t explain in words what it means to float in the air like a bird. To see things so naturally. It was calming and so peaceful – but a little unnerving. Mexico is not big on safety so there was no 15 minute safety demonstration regarding the harness and how you are suppose to hang up there – so that caused me some anxiety – but the 10-15 flying experience will go down as one of the most adventurous things I have ever done in my life. After the ParaSail….a girl has got to have a shot of tequila and a bucket of beers so Chick and I walked along the sand to “The Office’. Playa Medano (the name for the beachside area) is lined with cafes on the sand, some with lounge chairs, 2-1 all day specials, rowdy crowds and streets vendors selling everything from silver jewelry to t-shirts. The Office was pretty mellow and an excellent place to relax and watch people.

Chick and I had Don Julio tequila served chilled table-side in these tall champagne-flute like glasses and a bucket of Pacifico. I felt like I was experiencing the true-Baja moment. The tequila was smooth, with no bite (and we didn’t even need a line). We munched on the freshest guacamole and salsa I have ever had (fresh chips, too) and a few hours later (after one final drink…..named “Killer Margarita”) I had a whole avocado stuffed with huge sautéed shrimp and Chick had a bowl of tortilla soup. Heavenly.

Our day was long – we were tired, so an early night back to our room and asleep, with dreams of floating through the air over Cabo filling my mind.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mexico: Day Two

Another start at the pool. We took a golf cart cab all the way down to the main pool, which is actually three or four pools all terraced together. There were no clouds in the sky on Monday and we spent a lot of time in and out of the water.

In the afternoon we finally left the Sunset complex and headed down to the Hotel Tesoro and met up with my boss Harold and his friend, Helen. They took us out for a drink along the marina and at 6PM we headed to the famous “Edith’s” for dinner. Edith’s is amazing, but their view of the Sea of Cortez has been lost to development. What we lacked in a view (no sunset) was made up for in the outdoor ambiance. Vibrant tablecloths, candles, lanterns and an outdoor kitchen where they cook right in front of you. Very cool! The service was impeccable and out meal very reasonable. We had the Caesar salad prepared and served table-side. A real treat. Sandra and I each had steaks – cooked to perfection. Click here to see the entire menu.

One of the highlights of our dinner was a trio of mariachis who played authentic Mexican music for us at our table. It was so good…it brought tears to my eyes. After dinner we took a taxi over to Pueblo Bonito Rose (where Sandra has stayed the past 6 years) and strolled their grounds and surveyed the pool. We decided that on Tuesday, we will spent some time at their pool before walking along the beach in the afternoon to explore and shop some more.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mexico: Day One


Some things you just have to get out of the way….like those annoying Time Share presentations. NO…I didn’t buy, but I was rewarded for my time with a decent breakfast, $200 in vouchers to all the restaurants at the Pueblo Bonito resorts (there are three here in Cabo) and a $100 spa voucher (I am really going to enjoy that one).

By noon I was ready to hit the pool, while Chick endured her “owner’s Time Share” lunch (no…she didn’t upgrade). There are 5 pools and this resort. Yes…..5 amazing pools. I checked out the main pool on Sunday afternoon. I took my IPod, book – grabbed a beach towel and just “vegged” out. Time to really wind down.

We caught the sunset at the lobby bar - not too amazing, but the clouds turned pink after the sun finally dipped under the water and that was worth it. Our dinner at La Frida - at the resort, was amazing. An outdoor dining experience. Mexican gourmet cuisine named after famous painter Frida Kahlo.

I had an appetizer of Tuna Tartar - a presentation almost too beautiful to eat. Sandra had a Frida Salad - I can't tell you how fresh everything is here. My main course wer four huge shrimp cooked in butter and wine and presented on top of fresh peas and lentils with a spicy tomato sauce on the side. Sandra ordered a Rib-Eye - but we both think she got a filet, the steak could be eaten with a spoon. Tuna Tartare

I am enjoying this lifestyle!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mexico: Arrival

Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Lobby (Thank you Oscar for taking our picture)


Chick and I arrived in Baja California Sur (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico) around 3PM on Saturday. The weather was so pleasant….a warm breeze and high clouds. The drive from the airport to her condo, Pueblo Bonita Sunset is about 40 minutes through the slums of Cabo. Interesting for me - a first time visitor. I was also surprised by the beautiful mountains that push up close to the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean (reminds me very much of the Santa Barbara area).

Chick’s place is amazing. The complex is terraced into the hillside and our unit, building 20 overlooks the beach and Pacific Ocean. It’s a breathtaking view.

The lobby is filled with Mexican artwork and is extremely opulent. The smell of pressed flowers and earthy perfumes fill the entire complex. The adobe colored units are framed by the most beautiful flowers - purple and bright pink azaleas, variations of cactus and light to deep green grasses. We got familiar with the resort and had our first drink in the lobby bar over-looking the ocean. The Chardonnay was buttery. Chick didn’t think too much of the pigeons, but I was so relaxed watching the birds skimming the ocean below.

We had a nice easy dinner in the Bistro. I had shrimp tacos (yum) and Chick had a nice chicken pasta. Our salads were so fresh…..lettuce that was amazing.
Our first Sunset was a dud – a bank of clouds on the horizon, though I can see that we will have many opportunities for more sunsets in the days to come.

It was a great start to our vacation.