Thursday, December 31, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Lobster Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

Happy New Year!

For me, New Years Eve has never been a big deal. The big deal is all the football on New Year's Day...including my Ducks in the 2010 Rose Bowl! Woo-Hoo!

If you are staying close to home this year - try this easy and elegant New Year's Eve dish.


Lobster Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

Serves: 4 with sides (like garlic mashed taters & grilled asparagus)


1 ¼ -1 ½ lbs beef tenderloin roast

Salt and Pepper

2 (4 oz) lobster tails

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup sliced green onions

¼ cup butter

¼ dry white wine or sherry/vermouth


Preheat oven to 425. Make a lengthwise slit in the middle of the tenderloin; cutting down within 1/2 inch of the bottom (this should form a pocket big enough to accommodate each lobster tail). Generously season roast with salt and pepper.

Place the lobster tails in boiling salted water (enough water to completely cover tails).Return to a boil, reduce the heat and then simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Carefully remove tails from shell and cut in half lengthwise.

Place the lobster tails inside beef pocket. Combine melted butter and lemon juice and pour over lobster.

Close the meat around the lobster and tie securely with string at 1 inch intervals.

Place the meat on the oven rack in a shallow roasting pan (uncovered). Remove the meat when it reaches 130°F, and let it rest 10 minutes (approximately 30-40 minutes). Use a meat thermometer to be accurate!!

In a saucepan, cook green onion in 1/2 cup butter over very low heat until tender, stirring frequently - about 10 minutes. Add wine, stir and remove from the heat.

To serve: Slice the meat and then spoon the sauce over it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rebecca Lane in the snow!

When I finally got home last night our neighborhood looked awesome!

All the Christmas lights glistening in the snow.....



Let it snow....let it snow....let it snow!

My 8 miles commute last night took me two hours! Chick had to abandon her car downtown and rely on the kindness of strangers she met at the local pub to drive her home.

Can you say "freak" drive-time snow storm!? No one saw this coming!!

I had a lot of time on my hands in the car.....


Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas, 2009

We had a wonderful West Seattle Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, Brian's Mom treated us to an amazing brunch at Salty's on Alki. An amazing spread of everything from crab legs to sliced prime rib.....a dessert table with 20 different cakes and cupcakes, pies and custards. I had two rounds of "lunch" and two rounds of dessert and left the place feeling like a stuffed Christmas goose (I didn't eat for the rest of the day).

I think this might be a new holiday tradition!

In the evening, Brian and I took our traditional Christmas Eve look at lights and head over to our favorite pub, the Beveridge Place for some Christmas cheer!

Christmas Day started early, with Brian's wonderful Christmas quiches, hot coffee and our stockings filled with Santa's treasures.

Ann enjoyed her earrings, new jeans and chocolates....

Stacy loved her Tyler Florence cookbook, perfume and Beatles CD...

Brian loved his 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, new clothes and a cute lighthouse throw from my Mom.

A good day was had by all!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Preparing for NYE

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. It's time to prepare for the New Year. Lot's of time to reflect on 2009 and look forward to 2010. Let's not spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen this!?

I'll be preparing three meals this week, before taking the train back to Seattle on NYE. Friday-Sunday will be spend watching football and eating appetizers in front of the TV! Go Ducks!


Monday: Winter Vegetable Pasta with a Tossed Salad (MEATLESS MONDAY, ROCKS)
Tuesday: Grilled Steak with Potato-Parsnip Mash and Garlic Green Beans
Wednesday: Chick and I to see new George Clooney movie and have a sip/bite HERE
Thursday: NEW YEARS EVE - Train arrives in Seattle about 6:30 - perhaps a burger and a beer HERE!
Friday: FOOTBALL!!!! Brian to make Deer Park Tavern Nachos!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Steve!

WHO: Steve and Sandra (that's grandpa Frank with the tattoo on his arm in between them)
WHAT: Steve's birthday (I'd say he looks to be about 3)
WHERE: This picture was taken at my grandma Virginia's house on Hilyard Street
WHEN: Christmas Day 1964

Happy 48th Birthday to my Uncle Steve. It's a bummer having your b-day on Christmas Day, but we are thinking about you today and hoping that you are having a wonderful day.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Week

We've had the most amazing week leading up to Christmas.....

Looking back, I was cautious to take each day slowly and remember to soak it all in.

Sammy and Mommy watching Christmas movies and napping

Gifts from good friends, Thanks Nan!

Brian assembling our new Curio Cabinet (thanks Pop and Rosemary)

We've had lots of time with friends and family - this is what the holidays are all about!

A Christmas Carol - December 19, 2009

New and old traditions.....

Downtown Seattle - December 23, 2009 (new juicer from City Kitchen for box of grapefruits sent from Kenny - THANKS)

Holiday Table

We've had lots of Christmas lights, music and cheer!

Rock Bottom Brewery - December 23, 2009



Recipe of the Week: Eggnog

Many believe that eggnog is a tradition that was brought to America from Europe.

This is partially true....eggnog is related to various milk and wine punches that had been concocted long ago in the "Old World".

In America, rum was used in place of wine and in Colonial America, rum was commonly called "grog", so the name eggnog is likely derived from the very descriptive term for this drink, "egg-and-grog", which turned into eggnog. At least this is one version.

It's kinda like either like it or don't.



Classic Christmas Eggnog


12 egg yolks
5 cloves, whole
4 cups milk
4 cups cream
3 cups light rum
1+ ¾ cups sugar
2+ ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
¾ teaspoon nutmeg, ground


In a saucepan over low heat, blend the milk, cinnamon, cloves and half a teaspoon of the vanilla essence. Keep stirring while mixture heats, and remove from heat just before boiling point.

In a bowl, mix together the sugar with all the egg yolks. Make sure you whisk them well so that they're light and fluffy.

Gently and a little at a time, pour in the milk mixture while continuing to whisk.

Transfer mixture back into your saucepan over a medium heat while continuing to stir. Keep stirring until your eggnog mixture starts to resemble custard. Never let the mixture reach a boiling point!!

Pour and strain the mixture into a jug, making sure to remove the cloves. Stand jug in the fridge for an hour or two.

Gently stir in the cream, light rum, remaining vanilla and ground nutmeg. Put back into the fridge overnight.

Serve in cups with a little extra ground nutmeg, cinnamon or baking cocoa sprinkled lightly on top.

Serves: 8

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Christmas Traditions

I saw this MEME last year and didn't get a chance to tag anyone or post anything. Here goes.....

My Christmas Traditions

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Mostly paper but I save bags and try to pass them along (especially the wine bags). I hate to wrap so I am always looking for easy ways to wrap up presents – bags, boxes, etc.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Real…….LET ME SAY IT AGAIN, REAL! I love the smell of a Christmas Tree. I grew up on Noble Firs so I carry that tradition on. The last few years we’ve been driving a short distance from our house and picking out a pre-cut tree (rural farm land out in west Beaverton). I’ve never been into the tradition of cutting down my own. Too messy and usually too wet and cold!

3. When do you put up the tree/house decorations?
Usually it’s the second weekend after Thanksgiving. Since we have two trees in our house (Sandra’s in the family room and mine in the living room) we spent one Sunday afternoon decorating both trees and the entire house. I typically make turkey enchiladas (leftover Thanksgiving turkey) for the decorating party!

4. When do you take the tree/house decorations down?
Sometime between the 1st and 5th (Sandra likes a Christmas-free house for her January 5th B-day). It depends on when New Year's Eve falls as we typically like the trees up on NYE. I enjoy the outside lights as long as possible. Some people in our neighborhood leave them up until mid-January. I think it helps with every ones spirit after the holidays are gone.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Yes, and I really like fruitcake too.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I'm drawing a blank. All my Christmas memories are about Christmas Eve at my Grandma Virginia’s house in Eugene. I remember getting this electric “whirly bird” helicopter one year (age 7 or 8) and a doll head that you put make-up on and you could extend her hair and paint/cut it – it was a beauty parlor doll.

7. Easiest person to buy for?
It depends….some years I have great ideas and other years I struggle. Brian is usually the easiest.

8. Do you have a nativity scene?
No, Brian and I have a Christmas village (see above). We started collecting a “Dickens Christmas” about three years ago. Every year I buy one little thing to add to the scene.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail! For a few years we did a Christmas letter, then last year I did no letter and no card. I just ran out of time.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I can't think of anything that was that bad. All gifts are wonderful.

11. Favorite Christmas Movie?
A Christmas Carol (1938) starring Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, June Lockhart, Leo G. Carroll, and Terry Kilburn. I watch it every Christmas Eve before Santa comes.

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
October – this way I have three paydays to get everything I want. I usually start collecting ideas during the year and keep a log.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I don't think so. Re-gifting is kinda tacky. I can see passing off a gift card, but anything else is WRONG!

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Cookies! Sandra makes the peanut butter blossoms with the Hershey kisses. They are my favorite. The last two years, I've made Ina Garten's jam thumbprints.

15. Lights on the tree?
I like colored lights (I call my tree a “jeweled” tree). It usually has 700-800 lights, no joke!

16. Favorite Christmas song?
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas sung by Judy Garland from the 1944 movie "Meet me in St. Louis"

17. Travel for Christmas or stay home?
Since I met Brian – I have been traveling to Seattle a few days before Christmas to spend about 5-6 days.

18. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Neither….well, I guess it is a star come to think of it, but not traditional looking. It’s bright red with gold glitter. It's got a huge crack in it and needs to be replaced. I've not been able to find anything I like.

19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
As a child it was always Christmas Eve, but when my Dad married Rosemary – she converted us to Christmas morning. Now….I couldn't imagine opening anything on Christmas Eve (my Mom still does). I really enjoy cooking a nice dinner Christmas Eve so that you can eat left-overs on Christmas Day.

20. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Lack of time……or the fact that it goes by so fast. Trying to savor every little moment. Christmas is ONE DAY A YEAR. My heart is usually "annoyed free".

21. Favorite ornament theme or color?
We call her the Christmas Bitch. She’s approximately 45 years old and has sat atop everyone of our Christmas trees. Last year was her last year (she's showing her age). I think this year we will have her as a table ornament and continue that as long as she stays together.

22. Favorite Christmas dinner?
Growing up, our Christmas Eve tradition was always Clam Chowder, but I haven't had this in years. When I met Brian, we started having Vegetarian Lasagna on Christmas Eve.

23. What do you want for Christmas this year?
I always hope for more time with Brian. I pray for my family to be healthy.

24. Favorite Christmas Show or TV event?
It's a toss up between Charlie Brown and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Last year I watched Charlie Brown twice!

25. Favorite "new" Christmas Tradition (something you've experienced as an adult)?
Brian and I enjoy watching the Polar Express and drinking Bailey's Irish Cream on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Plaid Tidings

Brian and I took Brian's Mom, Ann to West Seattle's Arts West performance of Plaid Tidings on Sunday.

This musical is a hilarious and heavenly swingin’ "new" holiday tradition in West Seattle. Once upon a time (in 1956), there were four wholesome and heartfelt guys who loved to sing. And so these men (Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Frankie) proudly became "Forever Plaid," singing their tight harmonic renditions of the mellow tunes of the time at places such as airport lounges and mall openings.
Then, on February 9th, 1964, while on their way to pick up their custom-made plaid tuxedos, their car was struck by a school bus filled with Catholic teens on their way to see the Beatles make their U.S. television debut on the Ed Sullivan show. Those on the school bus were unharmed, but "The Plaids" were killed instantly. Now, The Plaids are transported from the ethereal cosmos to croon their tight harmonic renditions of musical hits from the ’50s and ’60s.

This show is really about the music, and it's the music and what supports it that's really the star of this show.

Great acting, singing and was a charming Christmas show we will always remember.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Season's Eatings

This year I jumped at the chance to participate in Katie's little holiday get-together, Season's Eatings.

Season's Eating's is a food exchange to celebrate the holiday season. Katie organized all the names, kinda like a secret Santa and then each person sends a small gift of a local herb, spice, or other food unique to or characteristic of where they live, along with a recipe using it, to a fellow foodie.

I prepared a little package of unique Oregon snacks along with some local made spicy mustard and a recipe for some very tasty meatballs in cranberry pinot noir sauce and mailed it to Rosie in Sheffield, England.

I was so excited to receive this wonderful package from Palma.

The most amazing dates from the heart of Palm Desert's date growing region along with some pecans and a recipe for yummy pecan/date bars.

I am not that much of a baker, but Palma's recipe was really easy. I made them for our Christmas Tree decorating weekend and froze a batch to eat over the holidays.

We loved them! Thanks, Palma and thanks to Katie for organizing such a fun event.

Pecan-Date Squares

1 lb pitted dates, chopped
1 1/2 cups orange juice

Crust and Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
2 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut up
powdered sugar for garnish

1. Bring dates and OJ to a boil in a 3 qt sauce pan. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring often, until dates are tender, and juice is absorbed. Mixture will thicken. Set aside to cool.

2. Heat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil, extend foil at each end. Lightly spray foil with cooking spray.

3. Put flour, oats, brown sugar and 1/2 cup pecans in food processor, and pulse to blend. Add butter, and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Transfer 2 1/2 cups of crumb mixture to a bowl (for topping). Press remaining crumbs into bottom of prepared pan. Spread date filling over crust in an even layer up to 1/4 " from edges.

4. Stir remaining chopped pecans into bowl with crumb mixture. Sprinkle evenly over date filling and press down gently with fingertips.

5. Bake 35 minutes or until edges brown. Cool completely in baking pan. Lift by foil onto cutting board. Cute into 1 1/2" squares. Dust with powdered sugar. keep in sealed container in fridge for up to one week, or freeze for up to a month.


A Christmas Carol

Thanks so much to dear friends Rob and Kelly who treated us to a fantastic holiday tradition last Saturday night.

Rob and Kelly opening up a little Christmas cheer

For the past few years we have been trying to get tickets to see the Seattle ACT Theater's performance of a Christmas Carol. Rob and Kelly scored us tickets in September and I've been counting down the days since then.

This is the Act's 34th annual production of Dickens' classic tale. It's done in a "theater in the round" setting so very intimate (I felt like I was in Dicken's London in the 1860's). The set, costumes and acting was SUPERB!!!!!

Kell's new scarf!

Since the plays debut at ACT in 1976, more than 600,000 people have joined Scrooge on his journey. It was a delightful performance and one we hope will be a holiday tradition!

Stacy's Dinner - Jumbo Lump Crab Cake and a Bacon, Tomato and Red Onion "Chopped" Salad

After the play we had an amazing dinner at The Daily Grill, right in the hustle and bustle of downtown Seattle (very close to the theater).

It was a wonderful evening with friends.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Christmas Week

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. This year I have 9 whole days in Seattle.....time to relax, watch Christmas movies, bake cookies and spend some quality time with Brian and Sammy.

I've got a great meal plan for this week and a wonderful meal on Christmas Day. Check out about 300+ other great menu and recipe ideas HERE.



Monday: Perhaps I can get Brian to make his Spaghetti with Garlic Bread and a Tossed Salad (I'm watching Christmas movies on the couch ALL DAY LONG)
Tuesday: Katie's Swedish Meatballs with Buttered Noodles and Cole Slaw (Brian's Mom to help with Christmas cookies)
Wednesday: Spending the day in Downtown Seattle. Late lunch at PF Chang's.
Christmas Eve: Lunch at Salty's with Brian's Mom and Our tradition; Vegetarian Lasagna for dinner
Christmas Day: Glazed Ham, Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole and Crescent Rolls; dessert is Black Forest Cheesecake

West Seattle Christmas Tree

Nothing says home more than decorating for the holidays.

Brian and I spent last weekend in "Christmas-Land" - picking out our W. Seattle Christmas tree and decorating our entire house.

Our new fireplace fits the house perfectly!

This is our expanding Dickens Christmas Village.....Brian says it's the most beautiful tree that we have ever had.

Here are a few shots that didn't make the Christmas cards this year!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rebecca Lane Christmas Week

We had such an awesome week.....celebrating three Christmases at Rebecca Lane.

Wednesday Chick and I hosted a Christmas Dinner with my Pop and Brian. I made a wonderful stuffed pork tenderloin (Boursin Cheese, fresh baby spinach and toasted pine nuts). Pop made scalloped potatoes and we had pan seared asparagus.

Not only did we celebrate Christmas, but also my Pop's birthday which is next Tuesday.