Sunday, August 30, 2009

For the Birthday Boy!

For Brian's birthday I picked up this cute bird bath at Little Baja Garden Deck and Patio.

This place has some awesome garden terra cotta and concrete planters, fountains and statuary.

I think Brian really likes it!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Brian!

WHO: Brian
WHAT: Teaching in Las Vegas
WHERE: Hoover Dam
WHEN: 1999

Brian and I are heading to Las Vegas on Sunday for Brian's 49th Birthday. Actually, Brian HAS to go to Las Vegas to teach so I offered to tag along and keep him company. Just a short trip.....3 days, but we will find time to celebrate.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Tomato Harvest Favorites

One of the greatest things about summer is that it's fresh tomato season! This year I planted my topsy turvey in mid-May and the past few weeks my tomatoes are providing a wonderful bounty.

In addition to being delicious and incredibly versatile, tomatoes are nutritional powerhouses. Nutrition Data also lists tomatoes as a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin K, and a good source of vitamin E, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.

Here are a few of my new/old tomato favorites!


Summer Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup (chilled soup)

Yield: Makes 4 servings

2 1/4 cups tomato juice
1 1/3 cups finely chopped tomatoes (about 11 ounces)
1/2 cup (generous) finely chopped roasted red bell peppers from jar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
1 garlic clove, pressed
Generous dash of hot pepper sauce
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

4 1/3-inch-thick rounds soft fresh goat cheese
6 grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Additional extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl; whisk to blend.
2. Season soup to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and flavors blend, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
3. Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Top each with 1 goat cheese round and 3 grape tomato halves.
4. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and basil. Drizzle with oil and serve.

Smoky Tomato and Corn Bruschetta

Yield: Makes 8 servings

1 large ear of yellow corn, husked
1 small red onion (about 6 ounces), peeled, halved through root end
Olive oil (for grilling)
1 1/2 pounds medium tomatoes (such as cluster or vine-ripened; do not use heirloom; about 5)
1 small country bread, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush corn and onion with oil; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
2. Place corn, onion halves, and tomatoes on grill. Cook until corn is charred, onion is just tender, and tomato skins are blistered and loose, turning often, about 12 minutes for tomatoes and 15 minutes for corn and onion.
3. Transfer to foil-lined baking sheet and cool. Brush bread with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until crisp, about 2 minutes per side.
4. Core tomatoes and cut in half horizontally. Gently squeeze out or spoon out juices and seeds. Coarsely dice tomato flesh and place in medium bowl.
5. Cut corn kernels from cob; add kernels to tomatoes. Chop onion; add to tomatoes. Mix in garlic, lime juice, paprika, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Cover; let stand at room temperature. Serve with grilled bread.

DO AHEAD Can be made 3 hours ahead

Images courtesy of tomatoes and basil picked last Sunday!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chick's Summer Seattle Visit

Friday Night at Cactus on Alki

Sandra and I drove up to Seattle this past weekend. We had a great time and Brian planned one of his excellent weekend adventures!

Friday night started out at Cactus on Alki. Brian and I have been here before - back in February, but this time it was a different experience being able to sit outside on their cute patio. It's stylish and hip with a great Latin vibe. The restaurant features large, roll-up garage doors and a wonderful patio to maximize the unparalleled views of the Olympic Mountains and astonishing sunsets over the Puget Sound. We had excellent food and wonderful service.

Dungeness Crab Tamales

Saturday was a beautiful day. We awoke to morning clouds and by the time we hit the water - the sun was out!

Sandra and Brian boarding the water taxi at Seahurst Park

We rode the water taxi from West Seattle to the Seattle waterfront and hit the pavement walking. Our first stop was the Olympic Sculpture Park. The park has transformed a nine-acre industrial site into open and vibrant green space for art. It gives Seattle residents and visitors the opportunity to experience a variety of sculptures in an outdoor setting, while enjoying the incredible views and beauty of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.

We left the park and walked up to Broad search of the bus to take us to the new South Lake Union Trolley.

Brian and Sandra on the S.L.U.T.

The trolley took us to Lake Union - a place Brian and I have not explored much. We found the most perfect place to have a cocktail on Lake Union! The BluWater Bistro has a patio right on the water. We sat there for several hours and watched the Kenmore Air float planes take off and land.After Lake Union, we took a cab back to the Seattle Waterfront and sat out on the Fisherman's deck at Pier 57. We listened to a great band and watched the Alaskan cruise ships depart.

Beautiful day!

We spent Saturday evening drinking way too much chardonnay on the patioWe managed to walk up to Zeek's Pizza for a yummy pie and get back home safe and sound!

Sunset over the Kenney


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Week of August 23-27

How about those local farmer's markets? Do you have one in your area? We have one of the best around - The Beaverton Farmer's Market which is not only open on Saturdays but also on Wednesday afternoons. Please support your local farmer before the end of the harvest season.

This week's menu has a few local ingredients as well as fresh basil from my herb garden and fresh tomatoes from the Topsy Turvey (video link).


Monday: Insalata Caprese W/fresh picked Basil and Tomatoes from our garden along side Mushroom Beef Patties (Chick axed Meatless Monday for this week)
Tuesday: Honey Mustard Pork Chops with Steamed Cauliflower
Wednesday: Chicken with Broccoli and Garlic Sauce over Jasmine Rice
Thursday: Grilled Salmon with Tomato Tarragon Salad

Friday, August 21, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Uncle Bud, Grandma Marie and Aunt Pat

WHO: Uncle Bud, Grandma Marie and Aunt Pat
WHAT: Friday night cocktail party?
WHERE: Anyone's guess, but probably Eugene, OR
WHEN: The picture says...June, 1957

Uncle Bud and Aunt Pat are not blood relations, but who cares......they've been family all of my life. I love the contemplation on Uncle Bud's face! Is he mad? Drunk? Thinking about the railroad (Uncle Bud was an engineer). It's funny because I can still remember the sound of his voice. Oh... to be a fly on the wall at this gathering.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Homemade Salad Dressing

Do you ever get tired of store-bought salad dressing? We are big fans of Marie's Blue Cheese Dressing at Rebecca Lane, but sometimes you need to change things up a bit (and Marie's is full of fat).

Salad dressings are so simple to make and while they don't last as long as those preservative packed store brands - they are actually quite tasty and fun to make. Here are three easy recipes.


Herb Dijon Salad Dressing


  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise (you can use light mayo)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute
  • 1 garlic clove, minced very fine
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


In a small bowl (or tight fitting glass jar or plastic container), whisk or shake together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve over salad. Refrigerate leftovers or up to 3 days (shake each time before serving). Yields: 1 cup.

Avocado Green Goddess Salad Dressing


  • 1/2 ripe medium avocado
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced finely
  • 1 oil-packed anchovy, very finely chopped (I cheat and use anchovy paste in the tube)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or 2 tablespoons fat free half and half
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)


  • Blend first 7 ingredients in processor until coarse puree forms. With machine running, gradually add oil; blend well. Transfer mixture to bowl, tight fitting glass jar or plastic container and whisk/shake in cream.
  • Add parsley, tarragon, cilantro, basil, and shallot; whisk to combine. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 3 hours (dressing will separate if not chilled). Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes and rewhisk before serving.

Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.



1 c. ketchup
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. salad oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. vinegar

In a small bowl (or tight fitting glass jar or plastic container), whisk or shake together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve over salad. Refrigerate leftovers or up to 3 days (shake each time before serving). Yields: 1 cup.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We have grapes!

We have grapes at Rebecca Lane.

The arbor itself is one of the reasons Chick bought the house....that sunny early November day in was so beautiful.
Pop and Brian

Does anyone know what to do with them?


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Des Moines Farmers Market/Saturday

Des Moines Marina

Okay, I know I shouldn't say it....but summer is winding down. I realize as I look at the calendar that the warm afternoons and bright sunny days will soon give way to threats of rain and cloudy cool starts.

I tried to surprise Brian, with a little adventure on Saturday. I had a spot in mind.....not too far from home and winding through the back streets of West Seattle down to Des Moines.

A new Farmer's Market for us to explore and a chance to hang out by the water and relax....before summer leaves us.

Salty's @ Redondo Beach


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Mid August

In my hunt for the perfectly planned meal, I review many different sources. One great link is through the Organizing Junkie (click banner above) who puts together Menu Plan Monday - which I have been participating in for about a year.

There are over 200 menu plans posted every week. If you are in a menu rut, check out their site.

Here is this week's menu for Rebecca Lane.


Monday: Chickpea Pasta with a Big Garden Salad (Meatless Monday)
Tuesday: Oven-Fried Paprika Chicken Cutlets with Garlic Asparagus
Wednesday: Fiesta Pepper Steak with Jasmine Rice (GRILLING)
Office Party at PGE Park - Beavers Baseball Game

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Oregon Zoo Concert featuring Jonatha Brooke

I absolutely LOVE the music of Jonatha Brooke. She comes to Portland every couple of years and it's been several years since I've had the chance to catch one of her shows.This last Wednesday she played at the Oregon Zoo and Chick and I enjoyed a picnic and the music. It rained from the time they opened the gates to the lawn until she took the stage. We got soaked, but enjoyed the show anyway. Hey, it's Oregon!

We even had time to walk around the zoo and see some of the animals before the concert started.Zoo concerts are very unique and quite inexpensive. It's fun to pack in your own snacks and treat yourself to a bottle of wine.

I love Jonatha's new music (her new album "The Works" comes out in late August). Check out her website for audio clips or check out her performance in the KINK LOUNGE (about 2 hours before her zoo show).


Friday, August 14, 2009

Old Photo Friday: School Boy Brian

WHO: Brian Keith Lee
WHAT: School Photo Day
WHERE: Newark, DE
WHEN: He looks a bit older in this picture, like possible 10-ish so I'll say about 1970

I found these school photos on Brian's Mom's fridge. I think I've got one other school photo shot yet to post. I've already posted THIS ONE in case you missed that cute face!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Fresh Pesto

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy. The name is the contracted past participle of pestâ ("to pound, to crush"), from the same Latin root as the English word pestle….as in mortar and pestle, in reference to the sauce's crushed herbs and garlic. Historically, pesto is prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle – at Rebecca Lane we will use the old Cuisinart.

Since I planted two basil plants this year, I wanted to try my hand at fresh pesto along with a yummy pasta dish.



Garden Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

  • 1 large bunch fresh basil (about 4 cups loosely packed leaves, stems and branches removed)
  • 2-4 garlic cloves to taste
  • 2-4 Tablespoons really good olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)

How To Make Basil Pesto

  • Rinse the basil as many times as necessary to remove all sand. Pat it dry with paper towel or let it air dry.
  • Place the leaves in the bowl of a large food processor. (You may have to do this twice depending on the size of the FP.)
  • Pulse until the leaves have been chopped quite a bit.
  • Add garlic and pulse again.
  • With the FP running, add the olive oil one Tablespoon at a time through the opening. Turn the machine off and scrape down.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and pine nuts and pulse again until you get the consistency you want. Some people like their pesto coarse, others like it pureed. You decide.
  • Remove to a container with a lid on it and cover lightly with a piece of plastic. As soon as the air hits the pesto, it starts to turn brown. It doesn't look very appetizing, but there's nothing wrong with it. You can stir it back in or scrape it off...but what a waste that would be!
  • Freeze tightly covered for many months or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Aunt Judy and Uncle Roy

My Aunt Judy and Uncle Roy came out from Ohio last week for my Aunt Judy's 50th high school reunion in Cottage Grove, OR.

Sandra and I hosted a BBQ at Rebecca Lane last Sunday afternoon. It was a chance for Aunt Judy and Uncle Roy to meet Brian and spent some time with Sandra and I at our home in Beaverton.

It was so nice that the family could drive up from Springfield to Beaverton....we always love having a little summertime soiree!

Summertime Soiree Menu
Delicious Easy Asian Glazed Drumsticks
Cowboy BBQ Drumsticks
Aunt Kay's Baked Beans (thank you Brian)
Artichoke and Olive Pasta Salad
Big Green Salad
Dinner Rolls
Three Berry Cobbler Ala Grandma Cavey with Vanilla Bean Ice CreamThankfully, our weather cooled from last weeks 100+ and we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon on the back deck.

A good time was had by all!
We spent the entire afternoon telling stories until our jaws ached.Aunt Judy brought us the coolest gift......a lighted flower bouquet. THANK YOU! She picked it up from where her daughter, Tina works and we all loved it (especially Brian).We looked through albums of pictures.....old and new. I was so excited to see pictures of my Grandma Marie and Grandpa Don as well as all the pictures of my cousins and their families. I wish with all my heart that our family was not so scattered across the far away from everyday gatherings like these. When we get together we laugh and cherish every memory.