Sunday, May 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome June!

A short week with the holiday on Monday. I hope everyone had a great three day weekend. Portland has had a very chilly and wet spring thus far. Come on summer!

Memorial Day! On Amtrak from Seattle
TUESDAY: BBQ'd Salmon or Halibut with Brown Rice and Grilled Asparagus
WEDNESDAY: Chickpea and Chicken Curry Stew
THURSDAY: Beef, Blue Cheese and Spinach Quesadillas with a Garden Salad


Friday, May 28, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Sandra @ Camp/Happy Memorial Day!

WHO: Sandra K
WHAT: Camping with family - look at the luxury of that tent! Can you say....turn down service
WHERE: Probably over at the coast or perhaps central Oregon area - maybe Memorial Day Weekend
WHEN: Chick looks to be about 7 (1968)

This time of year always reminds me of camping. There are dozens of photos of the Suter family camping. Grandma Marie and Frank loved to spend their summers in the great outdoors.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Scottish Highlands Potato and Leek Tart

My boss took a trip to Scotland in early April (he actually got stuck for an extra week due to the volcanic ash) and came home with a really wonderful Scottish cookbook. I borrowed it and copied down a couple of yummy recipes including this tart, which sounds perfect for a Sunday brunch.


Scottish Highlands Potato and Leek Tart
Adapted from authentic Scottish Cookbook

8 oz plain flour
5 oz butter
2 oz walnuts, very finely chopped (or hazelnuts, almonds)
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons cold water

1lb leeks, trimmed and sliced
1 1/2 oz butter (or 1 tablespoon olive oil)
1lb Yukon gold potatoes (you could also use red potatoes), whole and scrubbed
1/2 pint sour cream
3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 oz Gruyere cheese, grated (Swiss as substitute)
grated nutmeg
fresh chives, garnish

Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the nuts. Mix together the egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of cold water. Sprinkle over the dry ingredients. Fold to form a dough.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for a few seconds then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll out to fit an 8 inch springform pan. Chill dough in pan for another 30 minutes.

Cook the leeks in butter or olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 25 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Remove leeks from heat.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cook the whole potatoes in boiling salted water for 15 minutes, or until almost tender (don't overcook or they turn to mush). Drain and slice thickly. Add to the leeks. Stir in the cream, followed by the eggs, cheese, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell and bake in the middle rack of oven for about 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350F and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the filling is set. Garnish with chives and serve immediately with tossed salad and or/fruit.

Recipe adapted from authentic Scottish Cookbook with really cool pictures of homemade haggis!
Picture courtesy of google images (thank God I choose the tart and not the haggis)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Random Weekend in West Seattle

Last Saturday, we actually saw the sun for a few hours....enough time for Brian to finish up the backyard corner garden (see previous post).

And just enough time to snap a few photos before the afternoon showers came in.

Our roses just exploded the past week. Some of the blooms are ginormous!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Landscape Update in West Seattle

As you can see......

Brian has really out done himself this spring. He's managed to take advantage of the dismal spring weather and landscape a beautiful garden. Remember what it looked like when we started?

We still want to plant a few more things, but overall it's come out better than what we both had hoped for.
Great job, babe!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Last Week in May

Ask anyone who has achieved long-term weight loss how they did it and they're sure to mention portion control. In fact, it can make or break your weight loss efforts. This is one reason why I find it easiest to keep weight in check when I follow a good menu/recipe plan.


Monday: Liver and Onions (Pop is coming for a visit...what will Chick eat?)
Tuesday: Grilled Morrocan Chicken Kebabs and Brown Rice
Wednesday: Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa
Thursday: Mushroom Stuffed Chicken over Egg Noodles with Garlic Green Beans

Friday, May 21, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Ann and Brian

WHO: Ann and Brian
WHAT: A trip to the beach
WHERE: Atlantic shore?
WHEN: late 1980's

I think Brian is going to have to help me out on this one!

Update: Brian thinks that this might be on the west coast.....California just after his graduation from Mesa State (1983).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Pork Chops with Bacon and Cabbage

I've been dying to roast some cabbage ever since I posted this recipe a month ago! Then just a few weeks ago on a dreary and wet day in Seattle, I caught this recipe will watching PBS's Everyday Food. I've made a few changes, but overall this recipe is really simple and can be cooked in just one pot!


Pork Chops with Bacon and Cabbage
Slightly Adapted from Everyday Food

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 center cut pork chops (you can use bone-in) about 1 -1/2 inches thick
4 strips alderwood smoked bacon, chopped
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
1 head green cabbage, sliced in half and then cut into 3 wedges (6 wedges in total)
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups fat-free half and half (you could also use milk)


Preheat oven to 400. Set a large roasting pan on stove top (over two burners) and heat to medium high. Add olive oil; season pork with salt and pepper and brown pork on one side for about 3 minutes. Turn pork chops and continue browning - about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and tent with foil.

Reduce heat to medium and add chopped bacon; cook until browned - about 10 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook until soften - about 3-5 minutes. Add cabbage wedges and cook until light brown - about 5 minutes. Turn cabbage pieces over and continue cooking until slightly tender - another 3 minutes.

Add flour and stir; cook 2-3 minutes, then add half and half. Place pork chops into cabbage mixture, covering them in sauce if possible. Place pan in oven and cook (uncovered) for 10-15 minutes (until pork is cooked through).

Serve with a heap of garlic mashed potatoes!

Recipe courtesy of Everyday Food because everything Martha Stewart touches is gold
Pictures courtesy of Google Images - a picture so good I just want to eat it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Brian's Hometown Visit

Aunt Iggy, Cousin Randi, Brian, Nikki (Lynn's daughter), Uncle Paul and Cousin Lynn

Brian flew back to Philadelphia, PA the first week of June and taught a class in Wilmington, DE just a stones throw away from his hometown of Newark, DE.

One of the highlights of his trip was a dinner with family (on his Mom, Ann's side) at Nonna's Ristorante. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Our weekend of Portland "firsts"

Chick and I celebrated my birthday last weekend in Portland.

I decided a few weeks ago that there were things in Portland that I had never done before so we hit the city to explore.
Can you believe that I have never been to Voodoo Doughnuts? I mean everyone from the Food Network, The Amazing Race and The Travel Channel have been....but not moi!

This place is crazy! Well.....unfortunately, the line was 25 deep out the door and snaking down the street. So this first will have to wait until next time (seriously....they must be really good).

Then it was off to the Portland Saturday Market. Okay, I've been to the market before but not in their new location. The sun was out and it was a beautiful day and Chick and I really enjoyed watching all the people and looking at all the artist's fair.

The last thing on our list was Dim Sum. Okay, hard to believe....but I have never had dim sum before! Do you know what dim sun is? It is the name for a Chinese cuisine where dishes come in small portions and may include meat, seafood and vegetables. The items are usually served in a small steamer basket or on a small plate.

We chose probably one of the best Dim Sum places in Portland, Wong's King Seafood Restaurant and it was an absolutely crazy experience. We sorta "guessed" our way through. I thought they would present a menu, but the place was packed with what appeared to be regulars so we did our best. In the end, we chowed down on....

Taro dumplings, taro balls (Wu Gock), deep fried dumplings made from mashed taro root
Har Gau (Har Gow),
translucent shrimp dumplings.
Char Siu Bao, steamed buns stuffed with BBQ'd pork
Traditional BBQ'd Pork thinly sliced
Sliced Beef short ribs

We stuffed our bellies and laughed at the whole experience. Next time we will be better prepared.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week of May 17-20

After a girls weekend in Portland, I designed this weeks menu to get us back on track! Look at the variety in each recipe below. No joke when I tell you that each recipe is light, low-fat and DELICIOUS!


Monday: Chicken Breasts in Puttanesca Sauce with Steamed Broccoli
Tuesday: Super Meatball Subs
Wednesday: Cheeseburger Casserole
Thursday: Tortilla Crusted Tilapia with Jasmine Rice and Salad

Friday, May 14, 2010

Old Photo Friday: A Boy and his Dog

Who: Brian and dog, Sandy
What: A boy and his dog - playing in the backyard
Where: Newark, DE
When: let's just say Brian is around 10 so 1970-71

Both of these pictures are in bad shape, which is unfortunate because I don't have a lot of good pictures of Brian growing up. I think these are both just sweet. Brian talks a lot about his fond memories of Sandy.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Iceberg Wedge with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Tomato

I like to call this a classic "wedgie" or simply, "the wedge" for those more sophisticated palettes.

A few weeks ago, at a sports bar no less, I was re-introduced to this classic. For's old school Americana cuisine circa 1950s, but here is the iceberg wedge salad's history.

Period cookbooks, old newspapers (esp. New York Times historic), and culinary reference books confirm the popularity of iceberg (also known as crisphead) lettuce in the 1920s. The general consensus of current sources squarely places this salad as a ubiquitous menu entry of the 1950s and 1960s. The lettuce wedge lost its place in the 1970s when consumers were intrigued by more interesting salads, but recently, the iceberg wedge salad has resurfaced as a "reinvented" item on trendy menus.


Iceberg Wedge with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Tomato

Serves: 4

4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 head iceberg lettuce, quartered
Black pepper


Cook bacon until crisp, drain on a paper towel and set aside (crumble with hands once cooled).

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream and 3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles.

Divide the lettuce on 4 plates; top with dressing, diced tomato, bacon crumbles, black pepper and the rest of the blue cheese crumbles.

Image courtesy of Google Images

Recipe courtesy of my own little imagination (and partially from the Fox Grill in Seattle)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Birthday/Las Vegas: The Wrap Up

Brian took my camera back to Delaware last week and I forgot that I had a few Vegas pictures left that I had not posted.

Our last evening in Vegas (4/28/10) we hit the north end of the strip.
The Wynn Hotel and Casino opened in 2005 and it has 45 floors and over 2,700 rooms. The resort has earned AAA five diamond, Mobil five-star, Forbes five-star, and Michelin five-star ratings and is considered to be one of the finest hotels in the world.

We didn't stay long....drinks were outrageously priced and gambling was too high limit for our taste, but it was fun to explore.

We walked south along the strip (next door) to the Palazzo which is situated between Wynn and the Venetian. Opened in December 2007, the Palazzo's property design is marketed as being reflective of a modern European ambiance and luxury living. It offers guests the largest standard accommodations on the Las Vegas Strip at 720-square-feet per guest room.

Upscale boutique stores fill the lower level......Jimmy Choo, Fendi, Burberry and Christian Louboutin, not to mention an 85,000 square foot Barneys New York.
I loved the umbrella's over the water features..... and especially all the magnificent flowers.

We continued our walk down the strip to the Venetian. I just love the feel of this hotel and the last time I was there (with Chick) we had a memorable evening!The resort opened on May 3, 1999 with the flutter of white doves, sounding trumpets and singing gondoliers, with actress Sophia Loren christening the first motorized gondola.

We had a wonderful last night on the strip. Dinner at the Mirage....then back to NW Las Vegas.

Thank you, babe for all that walking especially after you worked all day!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Heading into Mid-May

Eating healthy isn't about low-fat substitutions, sugar-free everything and fad diets—it's about making smart choices in the foods we eat (with a little room here and there for an occasional treat).

Yes, these recipes listed below fit that category. Try one or two and let me know what you think!


Monday: BBQ'd Salmon with Brown Rice and Sauteed Garlic Broccoli
Tuesday: French Onion Soup and a Big Garden Salad
Wednesday: Sicilian Pork Chops with Roasted Asparagus
Thursday: Mongolian Beef with Wide Rice Noodles

Friday, May 7, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Happy Mother's Day!

WHO: Mom and Stacy (Mom...what's up with the hairdo????). Love the sunglasses.
WHAT: Mom's heading out to bowl...she's got her Eugene's Flower Home bowling shirt on!
WHERE: East Springfield (old forest green Pontiac in the driveway)
WHEN: I look to be about 5 (it looks like summer) so I'll say 1974

Happy Mother's Day to all Mother's everywhere!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Laughing Cow Yodeling Risotto

I stumbled upon this recipe a few weeks ago and realized that I hadn't made a risotto in ages. Believe it or not, this risotto recipe is super quick and really easy to make - even during the week. I also love the fact that risottos are so can clean out the fridge and make a really tasty dinner all at the same time. Feel free to add extra veggies to this recipe.


Laughing Cow Yodeling Risotto
Slightly adapted from Weight Watchers

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (you could also use chicken stock)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic gloves, grates or pressed
8 cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
pepper (maybe salt)
4 wedges laughing cow light Swiss cheese (the stuff in the round container)
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chives, chopped

In a small saucepan, get your broth warm (you'll be adding small amounts to cooking risotto).

In a medium saucepan, heat oil and cook onion over medium heat until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms and rice; stir well until rice is coated (this is where you'd also add any extra veggies, proteins, etc.)

Add wine; stir until liquid is absorbed. Season with pepper (I'd hold off on salt as the cheese will most likely cover the saltiness needed).

Add warm stock in stages; about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir continuously between each addition of liquid until well absorbed. Cooking times vary, but you'll want to taste the risotto and look for it to be done at the al dente stage (tender but not mushy).

When the risotto is done, add cheese wedges and stir. Adjust pepper (add salt if needed). Portion into serving bowls; garnish with Parmesan cheese & chives.

Recipe courtesy of Laughing Cow website and Weight Watchers. I never figured out the yodeling thing

Picture courtesy of Google Images...risotto is really an ugly thing to photograph

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Birthday/Las Vegas Day Four

Last Thursday, our last day in Las Vegas, Annie Marie picked me up from the "strip" and took me out to her place in Henderson, NV. Brian had to teach all day so I really enjoyed spending the afternoon with a dear friend.

I got to meet her cute little dog, Emerson who reminded me of my childhood dog, Anna...and we drove around her neighborhood in Henderson.

Annie's condo is really cute and in a very quiet area. Henderson is a fantastic community and she is still just blocks away from Las Vegas Boulevard with easy access to the strip.

I just loved spending time with "girlfriend". She is so enlightening, spiritual and just good fun. We laughed all afternoon.

Annie Marie's pool

We checked out the South Point Hotel and Casino and had a fabulous Mexican lunch for a steal (that way I could loose my last $20 playing video blackjack) before heading to the airport for home.

I love the hat, girlfriend! Thanks for sharing Jakob Dylan's new CD, "Women and Country" with me. A real treat!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome May!

I am back from Las Vegas and ready to hit the kitchen! Let's get back on the healthy eating bandwagon with this tasty menu!


Monday: Tilapia with Jasmine Rice and Roasted Vegetables
Tuesday: Chicken Burgers with Pesto Mayonnaise
Wednesday: Cinco De Mayo! Homemade Beef Tacos (perhaps a pitcher of Margaritas)
Thursday: Thai Shrimp with Coconut Almond Rice