Monday, March 30, 2009

Mom's Visit

I've previously mentioned that my Mother and Step-Father, Kenny are moving to Virginia. Kenny's taken a job in Virginia Beach, VA and they are moving from their home in Seattle by Mid-April.
It's a sad time for our family. We are all adjusting in our own ways and trying to stay positive. We hope that the move is only temporary and that we are all together again soon.

Mom took Amtrak down from Seattle to spend the weekend with Chick and her trip over-lapped enough for me to spend last Thursday night with them. We had cocktails and a nice dinner (they chatted, I watched basketball). It was nice being together.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Last Sunday in March

I hope everyone has found some Spring in the air. As we leave March behind - I am hoping for some warmer days ahead. I am also looking forward to a fantastic April with even more fresh varieties in our markets.

I've picked out a few favorites at the Rebecca Lane household. We have not had pork in a while so I thought a nice stir-fry would be tasty. I am finding a lot of fresh asparagus in the market which I will throw in. We love a nice grilled flank or skirt steak....a simple marinade of soy, garlic and wasabi creates a wonderful Asian flare. Also, for the past 6 months or so, we have been buying some wonderful raw/frozen shrimp in a bag. I absolutely love shrimp and a bag usually takes us through at least 2-3 recipes.

Check out Laura for more great ideas.


Monday: Spicy Pork Stir Fry with Jasmine Rice
Tuesday: C.O.R.N. (clean out the fridge night) - Chick has dinner out!
Wednesday: Creamy Rigatoni with Shrimp with a Big Garden Salad
Thursday: Grilled Flank Steak with Wasabi Slaw

Friday, March 27, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Her Two Girls

DATE: Spring 1977

LOCATION: Candy (then) Nygren's house in Eugene, OR

WHO: Sandra, Mom and Stacy (that's my aunt Laura to the left looking at the three of us)

WHAT: I am pretty certain that this picture was taking at Candy's baby shower. She gave birth to her son, Chris in April 1977

My Mom really has two daughters even though I am her only biological daughter. She had a big part in raising Sandra after Marie died when Sandra was only 10. Chick and I are having a hard mom is moving from Seattle to Virginia in mid-April and we really don't want to see her go. I hope we are all together again soon.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Black Bean Tacos with Feta Cabbage Slaw

Since our trip to Mexico in January - I've been experimenting with Mexican/Spanish inspired dishes (I am also taking Spanish lessons). Every time I come across an interesting dish, it's immediately bookmarked. This is an adaptation of a Bon Appetite recipe I found through the Seattle Times. I love the meatless concept and the slaw variation - a move away from the traditional.



Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw

Makes 5 servings


1 can (15-ounce) black beans, drained

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 white or yellow corn tortillas

1 tablespoon lime juice

5 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 cups coleslaw mix

2 scallions, chopped

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Ground black pepper, to taste

Hot sauce, to taste

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. In a small bowl, combine the beans, cumin and salt. Use a fork to partially mash. Divide the mixture between the tortillas, spreading it evenly over 1 side of each. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Add the coleslaw mix, scallions and cilantro, then toss well. Season with pepper and hot sauce. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 3 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the tortillas in a single layer, bean side up, in batches if necessary, and cook for 1 minute.

4. Fold the tacos in half, then cook for about another minute per side, or until golden brown.

5. Fill each taco with a quarter of the coleslaw mixture and the feta cheese. If desired, drizzle with additional hot sauce.

(Recipe adapted from the February 2009 issue of Bon Appetit magazine)

Monday, March 23, 2009

March Madness 2009

The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship is a single elimination tournament held each spring featuring the best 65 college basketball teams in the United States. This tournament, organized by the NCAA, was first developed in 1939 and won by the University of Oregon (then know as the Tall Firs) . Colloquially known as March Madness (as the tournament takes place mainly during the month of March) or the Big Dance (as opposed to the now smaller and less prestigious National Invitational Tournament), March Madness takes place over three weeks at sites across the United States, and the national semifinals (the Final Four) have become one of the nation's most prominent sporting events.

The first weekend of March Madness took place last week and over the weekend. We always have quite the party at Rebecca Lane. Brian was able to spend part of the weekend with us and as always, my Pop came up from Springfield for the first 4 days of the tournament.It's non-stop basketball for 12 hours those first 2 days and about 10 hours on Saturday and Sunday.

I wouldn't miss it for the world!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Surviving March Madness

Well...we survived the first weekend of March Madness - but the basketball still continues and so does the menu planning.

We fell off the light/low calorie wagon a bit last week so I have created a menu with tasty low-fat and light dishes to get us back on track. My Mom is planning a weekend trip to Portland so Thursday's dinner will be for three.

Remember to check out Laura's site by clicking the banner above to explore more menu planning options.


Monday: Red Curry Falafel (Meatless Monday is back)
Tuesday: C.O.R.N - (Clean out the Refrigerator Night) Chick is having dinner out and there are plenty of leftovers to clean up!
Wednesday:Chicken with Rice and Tomatoes
Thursday: Spinach-Ricotta Rolled Turkey Breasts with a Big Garden Salad

Friday, March 20, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Crowebird

WHO: Lowell Crowe (otherwise known as Crowebird or by his Native American name of Thunder Cloud) and my Pop
WHAT: Two childhood friends from the first grade
WHERE: Kitchen table at "E" Street in Springfield
WHEN: Mid-70's
WHY: Looks like a party to me!

Growing up, Crowe was a big part of my childhood. Monday Night Football and "The Gong Show" were staples in our house and Crowe was always there for dinner. He was my Pop's best friend. We lost him to cancer 8 years ago, but his legacy in my life is still felt today.....OU812. Happy Birthday, Crowebird!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Chianti Braised Beef Short Ribs

I came across this recipe in last month's Everyday with Rachel Ray. Since we are still without an oven - I loved the idea of slow roasting these ribs in a crockpot.


Chianti-Braised Short Ribs

Prep Time: 40 min
Slow-Cook Time: 6 hr

8 beef short ribs on the bone (4 to 5 pounds)
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Chianti wine
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 Tablespoon tomato paste


1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the ribs and cook, turning often, until browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large slow cooker.

2. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the wine and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker and cook on low heat until tender, about 6 hours.

3. Transfer the ribs to a platter and cover to keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and skim as much fat as possible from the surface. Transfer to a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1 cup. Whisk in the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the ribs.

Serve with creamy polenta and sauteed green beans

From Every Day with Rachael Ray
March 2009

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Our daffodils are blooming on Rebecca Lane. I think it is a week early this year, but it's always pretty amazing to me how quickly it happens.

Just 10 days ago we had another dusting of snow - but these little beauties fought very hard to expose their glory.

Spring is officially here!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá ’le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig), colloquially St. Paddy's Day is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (385–461 AD), one of the patron saints of Ireland and is celebrated on March 17th.

It became a feast day in the Roman Catholic Church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding in the early part of the 17th century, and is a holy day of obligation for catholics in Ireland.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated worldwide by Irish and non-Irish people (usually in Australia and North America). Celebrations are generally themed around all things Irish and, by association, the color green. Celebration of the secular version of the holiday includes wearing green, eating Irish food, imbibing Irish drink and attending parades.

The St. Patrick's Day parade was first held in Boston in 1761, organized by the Charitable Irish Society.

The biggest celebrations on the island of Ireland outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, where Saint Patrick is rumoured to be buried following his death on March 17, 461.



Monday, March 16, 2009

Back On The Greenbelt

Chick and I are back on the Greenway greenbelt. After 4+ months of being confined to exercise in the house or during the daylight hours on the weekend - we are back on the trail.
It's not as pretty as it is during the summer and they are still under construction (re-directing current Fanno Creek) - but we were still excited to resume our nightly stroll.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: March Madness

It's that time of year again.....March Madness Week. The craziness begins at Rebecca Lane on Thursday morning at 9AM......tip off for the first games of the NCAA Tournament and I've got two days off work!

My Pop arrives on Wednesday and he is taking us out to dinner. The rest of the week and weekend are devoted to some serious eats.

Here is our plan and remember, for many other great menu plans - check out Laura's site.

Monday: Freezer Night - Taco Soup or Mexican Chicken Soup (leftovers from freezer)
Tuesday:Spinach Fettuccine in cheese sauce with a BIG "Green" Garden Salad (St. Patty's Day)
Wednesday: Dinner OUT! Hall Street Grill (Thanks, Pop)
Thursday: Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad along side Chianti Braised Beef Short Ribs with Fried Polenta and Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with bacon and hazelnuts
Friday: Roasted Shrimp Salad along side Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon and Twice Baked Potatoes
Saturday: Pioneer Woman's Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Creamy-Herbed Potatoes along side Grilled Asparagus
Sunday: Pizza Night - Let the cook rest!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Happy Birthday to our big boy, kitty!

When he was a stray cat (and called by another name) he went to the vet for a check-up. The vet said that he was between 6-8 months so we calculated his birthday to be March.

Brian picked the 15th - so tomorrow.......we will celebrate with extra love......extra playtime and extra treats!



Friday, March 13, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Vicki and Sandra

WHO: Vicki and Chick
WHAT: Two friends.... for more than 20 years
WHERE: Rebecca Lane
WHEN: April 2002
WHY: A Rebecca Lane celebration (I think it was my birthday)

I love this picture of Vicki and Chick........the color of Vicki's sweater.....the animal print Sandra is wearing. They both look great!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Red Curry Falafel

Falafel is a fried ball or patty made from spiced fava beans or chickpeas. It is a popular form of fast food in the Middle East. It is usually served in a pita-like bread called Arabic bread, either inside the bread - which acts like a pocket or wrapped in a flat style of the bread.

We love chickpeas (garbanzo beans) at Rebecca Lane. Often times I search for a meat-less Monday dish and find many variations of garden/veggie burgers. I came across this recipe and it sounds like a great alternative to a traditional garden-style burger.



Red Curry Falafel

Serves: 3

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes


1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 slices bread (about 4 ounces)

Zest of 1 lemon

15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided

3 flatbreads/pita, warmed

Smoked paprika, to garnish

1 avocado, pitted, skinned and cut into slices

1 large tomato, cut into wedges

1. In a food processor, combine the red curry paste, cilantro, parsley, cumin, salt, pepper, bread and lemon zest. Pulse until the bread is chopped to mostly fine crumbs. Add the chickpeas and pulse until the chickpeas are well chopped.

2. Form the mixture into 9 patties, using about 1/4 cup of the mixture for each.

3. In a large skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Fry half of the patties until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip the falafel and brown on the other sides, about another 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Transfer the falafel to a paper-towel-lined plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining ingredients. To serve, arrange 3 falafel on each flatbread. Sprinkle with paprika, then top with avocado and tomato wedges.

-- The Associated Press - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Monday, March 9, 2009

House Projects

Planting primroses - Saturday Afternoon (in between snow showers)

So we've been working on the house a bit. I've wanted to concentrate on a new bedroom....something romantic, comfortable, peaceful and updated for Brian and I.

The bedrooms in the West Seattle home are small. The guestroom we finished the first weekend we moved's called "The Lighthouse Room". The second bedroom we turned into a TV room - equipped with a brand new HD flat screen! Our bedroom has been a struggle. This weekend we finally hung the "headboard" concept....a sheer diamond pattern curtain behind our bed. My Mom says we need two curtain panels so this week I'll pick up the other one.Here are the curtains we hung in the living room about 2 weeks ago. Thanks to Sonja - who gave us these pretty maroon panels. I can't tell you what a difference it make in the living frames the entire room.

Brian's recent attentions have brought him outside. The backyard is a difficult lay-out....slopping west towards the water. It's hard to tell in this picture - but that is in no way a flat lawn! What we don't have is a deck or patio area and I can't image spending our first summer here with no way to enjoy the outdoors. Brian has a is to progress! Our days are getting longer and hopefully warmer!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Spring Forward

Welcome longer my world, they are pretty special. I hope everyone remembered to SPRING FORWARD. I know we are losing an hour, but we are gaining longer days (besides, you'll only be grouchy for a few days and then you will adjust).

Here is this weeks menu plan. If you are interested in about 400 other wonderful menu plans, visit Laura's site.


Monday: Steak on the BBQ with Cesar Salad (I think I'll pick up a couple of rib-eyes)
Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas with Tomato-Avocado Salad
Wednesday: Spicy Shrimp with Black Bean Salad
Thursday: Quick Pasta Pesto Primavera

Friday, March 6, 2009

Old Photo Friday: My Friend, Pat

WHO: Pat and Stacy
WHAT: Yamhill County Wine Tour
WHERE: This picture was taken at Torii Mor Winery
WHEN: September 2001
WHY: Another friend of mine, Simon was visiting from Australia so we got a group together and went on a wine tour

I caught up with my friend Pat last Friday night - I haven't seen him in ages. He lives in NOCAL and doesn't get up to Portland as much as he used to. It was great catching up with you, dude!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Shrimp Salad

I absolutely love the Food Network and one of my favorite cooks is Ina Garten. I came across this recipe a few weeks ago and I think I am going to try it out over March Madness Weekend.



Serves 6

2 1/2 pounds (16 to 20 count) shrimp
1 tablespoon good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 tablespoon orange zest (2 oranges)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon good white wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons small-diced red onion
6 cups field greens

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel and devein the shrimp. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and toss together. Spread the shrimp in one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Allow to cool for 3 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

4. When the shrimp are cooled, add them to the sauce and toss. Add the dill, capers, and red onion and toss well. The flavors will improve if you allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Otherwise, chill and serve at room temperature on top of field greens.

House Beautiful March 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Friday Happy Hour

Thanks Pat and Rob for meeting me at the Portland Amtrak station for a quick drink on Friday night.
It's been ages since I have seen you both and I really enjoyed catching up (in person....not on Facebook).

Let's plan on a get-together sometime this summer!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Nothing Sweeter Like a Repeater

Sometimes there are hits and misses in the kitchen. Recipes that look and sound great that end up falling short in the tasty column or others with bizarre cooking techniques or flavor combinations that knock your socks off.
This week I am getting out a few of our favorites from the past few months. Some of the recipes really didn't sound all that good - but we ended up loving them. Here are the ones we wanted to see on our table again.

Remember, click on the banner to check out Laura and all the crazy menu planners out there.


Monday: Cheeseburger Casserole (this sounds a bit trailor park - but it tasted great)
Tuesday: Broccoli-Cheese Soup with Texas Toast (I am not a Velvetta fan, but it melts easily)
Wednesday: Baked Turkey and Ziti with Cesar Salad (simple yet tasty - Chick really loved this)
Thursday: Beef Chow Mein (this really had a great flavor and those crunchy noodles are yummy)