Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mom and Kenny visit from Virginia

My Mom and Kenny came out from Virginia last week for a visit. Brian has the outside looking like a gem!

Mom spent a few days at Brian's and I arrived over the weekend.

On Saturday, the sun came out and Brian and I put on a traditional "cook-out".

Come back again soon....mama!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Tell me.....How would you feel?

I drove past this house on California Avenue on Saturday afternoon and it just made me smile.

How would you feel about getting flocked?


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome July!

Getting into the habit of controlling your portion sizes isn't as hard as you might think. It all comes down to finding ways to cut calories while continuing to eat the good foods you enjoy.

Each of the recipes on this weeks menu are guaranteed to fill you up even if the portions don't seem all that substantial. Remember.....your evening meal should never be your biggest meal of the day.


Sunday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Jasmine Rice and Grilled Veggies (Mom visits Portland)
Monday: Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Creamy Green Chili Dressing
Tuesday: Greek Style Cheeseburgers
Wednesday: Red Beans, Sausage and Rice
Thursday: Garlic Creamy Shrimp Pasta

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pat Visits Oregon...eats Sushi!

I have not seen my good buddy Pat in over a year, so a few weeks ago when he called me up to tell me he was swinging through town, I was excited to catch up with him.

I picked him up off the MAX line downtown last Tuesday and we checked out the new Deschutes Brewery & Public House.

This brew pub is in the heart of the "pearl district" and is open, clean, bright, and cheerful. My first time there since the place opened about 15 months ago. Lots of beer and the food smelled awesome. A few tables outside so I'll put this on my list as a place to return in the summer months ahead.

After "happy hour" we drove up to NW 23rd to Sushiville. A small dining room centered around the conveyor belt of sushi...little plates of raw fish and other goodies roll by on the automated track.
Plates are economically portioned: Nigiri such as meltingly tender tuna is thinly sliced, and crunchy deep-fried rolls come three pieces to a plate. Plates average about $3, which is a bargain. I had quite a diverse stack of plates and my bill, with wine was only $18.

I dropped Pat off on the east side after dinner. He spent the night at the famous McMenamins White Eagle Saloon located in North Portland's burgeoning industrial district. The pub, started in 1905 by two Polish immigrants, still boasts the original oak back-bar and ceramic-tiled floors.
Legends of music have strutted their stuff for decades on the corner stage and the pub still has lodging upstairs. Rooms feature whimsical artwork and original porcelain sinks in each room (sorry, not toilets of showers in your room).

Oh....did I mention it is haunted?

The downstairs was a notorious location because it connected the White Eagle to the tunnels of Portland's underground otherwise known as the Shanghei Tunnels that run throughout the city.

This massive labyrinth is one of Portland's ugliest and little known secrets. The underground tunnels were the forced home and thoroughfares for Portland's large population of Chinese immigrants. It is rumored that many a drunken patron became shanghaied through these subterranean passageways and would ultimately find himself to be an unwitting crew member of an ocean going vessel already at sea upon sobering up.

There are hundreds of stories about the supernatural happenings that make the White Eagle one of the most haunted places in Portland. Stories include that of a man that walks down to the basement every night after closing, or about the crying ghost of a former prostitute who had been killed in what used to be the brothel upstairs.

I will have to check with Pat and see how his night went....he stayed upstairs in Griselda's room.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Rest in Peace, Aunt Pat

WHO: Grandma Virginia, Aunt Pat, Candy and Jennifer (Mom)
WHAT: The back of this picture says "going to Gram's" - so I believe this refers to a road trip down to see Grandma Bea (my great grandmother) and her husband Tex.
WHERE: The sign on the door in the background reads, "Mountain House". Does anyone know where this is?
WHEN: August 1964

Our beloved Aunt Pat died yesterday. She was a unique lady and a very special "family" member. How many people can say that she was their paternal and maternal grandmother's best friend? Think about that one for a minute.

I'll fondly remember Thanksgiving dinners and my cupboard of toys....cups and those naked lady swizzle sticks that I always played with every time I visited her and uncle Bud.



Thursday, June 24, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Charlie's (Grandfather's) Cabbage Rolls

When I first moved to Portland back in 1997, I took a second job on the weekends as a receptionist at a hair salon. Charlie was the owner and one of the nicest people I've ever met. The job was easy and it gave me the social outlet (and moola) that I was really needing.

Charlie loves to cook - he cans the best green beans and spicy pickles and one day he jotted down on a piece of paper the recipe for his grandfather's cabbage rolls.

These are simply...heaven on earth!


Charlie's Cabbage Rolls

1 large head green cabbage
1/2 pound ground sausage
1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, minced fine
3/4 cup white rice, uncooked
1 24oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine (you could also use broth or water)
1 cup heavy cream
4-6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and sliced in half
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons sour cream

Cut bottom of cabbage so it sets flat; Place the head of cabbage is a steamer or in a large pot with just enough water to cover the cabbage about half way and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes until the outer leaves become translucent. Carefully peel back a few outer leaves - then repeat process until the whole head is cooked and the leaves are removed and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 325; PAM 9x13 baking dish. In a pot of boiling water, place Yukon gold potatoes sliced in half and cook until tender, about 15-18 minutes then drain. Add butter and sour cream and mash potatoes by hand.

Mix together the sausage, beef, onion and rice. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the cabbage has cooked and is cooled enough to handle, stuff each leaf with a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture. Roll the leaves (like a burrito) and place in baking dish. Cover with tomatoes, then add wine and wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes; remove dish from oven and slowly pour cream over rolls. Place back into oven for 5-7 minutes, uncovered.

Serve on top of a heaping scoop of mashed potatoes, one cabbage roll and about 2 tablespoons of the yummy tomato-cream sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Charlie - overall nice guy, hairdresser, farmer and friend.
Cabbage roll image courtesy of Google Images

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: June 20-24th

An easy way to shift more of your resources towards whole foods and save money is to cook more meals at home. Many restaurants rely on highly processed foods to create their meals. To make home cooking easier, master a few one pot or one-pan dishes with simple ingredients that are easy to whip up quickly. Try one of these easy recipes this week! Check out more menu plans by visiting Laura's site (click banner).


Perfectly Grilled BBQ Chicken, Corn on the Cob with Cole Slaw
Spice Rubbed Steak with White Beans and Cherry Tomatoes with a Garden Salad
Garden Burgers with Herb Potato Wedges
Wednesday: Dijon-Dill Chicken and Pasta (One Pot Meal) with Spinach Salad
Thursday: Grilled Swordfish with Rice and Grilled Veggies

Friday, June 18, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Ann's Wedding Day

Who: Vivian Ann Peterson (soon to be Lee)
What: Wedding day to Allen Kenneth Lee
Where: I believe they were married in Newark, DE
When: 1953

I've spent a lot of time over the past few weeks gathering photos of Brian's mom. In anticipation of her passing, I wanted to have some photos for a video montage and also to preserve her memory and spirit. This picture is my favorite. Okay, so I am a sucker for weddings and wedding dresses. I must say, that she is one of the most beautiful brides I've ever seen.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Aunt Alice's Microwave Rhubarb Crisp

Okay, I don't "really" have an Aunt Alice, I have an adorable client that I call Aunt Alice (I call her husband Uncle Grumpy). They recently took me to lunch and Aunt Alice talked about her microwave desserts. Since I don't bake, the idea of a yummy microwave dessert sounded very attainable.

Thanks Aunt Alice for sharing!

Aunt Alice's Microwave Rhubarb Crisp


4 to 5 c. sliced rhubarb
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
2/3 c. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. soft butter


Combine rhubarb and sugar in 8 inch baking dish. In mixing bowl, blend remaining ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over rhubarb. Microwave uncovered on high for 12 minutes or until rhubarb is tender, rotating dish once or twice. Topping becomes more crisp as it cooks. For crisper topping, broil a few minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Aunt Alice, a proud Canadian from Alberta
Image courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

West Seattle Produce Market

We have a new produce market in West Seattle and Brian and I paid her a little visit over the weekend.

What is it about fresh, organic and/or local produce? I'll tell you......killer crazy sweet strawberries, corn on the cob that we tried RAW (no joke....try it sometime), brilliant green asparagus and mouth watering ripe pears. Most of the produce this time of year is shipped in from out of state......but it's gorgeous and so much better than anything in the grocery store.

I could have blown a month's salary and pigged out on all the fresh goodness, but instead I just plan on coming back next Saturday!

Oh....they have live music too and some arts and crafts.


Monday, June 14, 2010

How Green Does Your Garden Grow?

We did it....Rebecca Lane is going green (well sort of).

This year Chick and I decided to plant a garden. Since we have the perfect sunny spot on the side of the house (southern exposure)......why not!?

Despite one of the wettest springs on record (we finally reached 80 this past weekend), we went to Lowe's and bought a very inexpensive pre-made garden box (some assembly required) and put it together in early May. Then the rains persisted.....

We decided to grow the following....

Yellow Squash
Green pepper
Beefsteak tomato (in the topsy turvy)

To my surprise, the pepper already has three little babies! Herbs, especially the basil are struggling in the wet and cold, but our weather is really improving so I hope things will begin to take off.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Mid-June

What's for dinner? If you had a freezer full of meals ready to heat up or a pantry full of healthy staples, you'd always have an answer to that question. Just think about the time you would save! It honestly just takes a little advanced planning.

Check out Laura's link above for more meal plans.



Monday: Spicy Meatloaf with Green Beans

Tuesday: Mike's Columbia River Salmon, Steamed Red Potatoes and Broccoli

Wednesday: Greek Lemon-Dill Grilled Chicken Salad

Thursday: Cheeseburger Casserole

Thanks to Mike (a client) who brought in a salmon fillet caught this past April near Sauvie's Island (Portland) Oregon.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vivian Ann Peterson Lee

February 6, 1934 - June 11, 2010

Her Journey's Just Begun
Don't think of her as gone away,
her journey's just begun,
Life holds so many facets,
this earth is only one,
Just think of her as resting,
from the sorrows and the tears,
In a place of warmth and comfort,
where there are no days or years,
Think how she must be wishing,
that we could know today,
How nothing but our sadness,
can really pass away,

And think of her as living,
in the hearts of those she touched,
For nothing loved is ever lost,
and she was loved so much.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Sonja and Stacy in SFO

WHO: Sonja and Stacy
WHAT: Bloody Mary's in the summer sun
WHERE: Tiburon, CA - Sam's Anchor Bar
WHEN: Summer 1999/2000

As Mark Twain once said....

"The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco."

Sonja and I escaped the June gloom and caught a ferry from SFO to Tiburon. I think we were expecting a bit more out of Tiburon, but we found this awesome deck and enjoyed a couple of bloody Mary's. We got burnt like lobsters on the way home!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Steak with Strawberry and Black Pepper Sauce

Oregon strawberry season is a sure sign of summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon Strawberries are hand harvested from early June through mid July, and some select varieties are even available through September. Because of the delicate nature of Oregon berries, their fresh shelf life is short, and as a result so is the window to stock up. Fresh Oregon strawberries will be available at farmers markets, u-pick farms, roadside stands and local supermarkets all this month!

Since I am not much of a baker, I thought I'd try something a little different.



Filet Mignon with Strawberry and Black Pepper Sauce


2 oz. superfine sugar

6 oz. strawberries, hulled and chopped, plus extra to garnish

2 tsp. black peppercorns, crushed

Juice of 1 small lemon

1 1/3 C. beef stock

4 oz. unsalted butter

4 Texas prime beef filet steaks

1 Tbs. olive oil



Add sugar and strawberries to a saucepan with a squeeze of lemon juice over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the mixture has the consistency of thin jam; stirring occasionally. Sieve the sauce then allow to cool.

In a large non-stick skillet, toast the peppercorns until they are aromatic. Pour in the stock, then add butter and boil to reduce liquid by half. Stir in the strawberry mixture and the rest of the lemon juice; reduce to a rich sauce consistency.

Meanwhile, heat grill over high heat. Brush steaks with oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook to desired doneness (2-3 minutes for rare, and up to 5 minutes each side for well done.)

Serve immediately with the sauce and garnish with fresh strawberry slices.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed veggies.

Recipe courtesy of some intense internet searching to find a savory strawberry recipe

Image courtesy of Google Images - as a child I didn't much care for strawberries, perhaps my parents should have served them with steak

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Anniversary Roses!

Beautiful roses from my beautiful boyfriend for our 6th anniversary!

Brian greeted me at the train station last Friday night with a dozen long-stemmed red roses wrapped in butcher paper and tied with a red ribbon.

I think he's a keeper!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First M's game of 2010

There has been no joy in mudville this year...

Still, Brian and I decided to use our Christmas M's Gift Cards (thanks, Kenny) to catch a day game at Safeco Field last Saturday.

We've yet to see anything close to summer weather, let alone spring - but Saturday was an exceptional day (we even added a bit of color to our cheeks).

The game was a bore, but nothing beats spending the afternoon at the ball park.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: June 7-10

Remember when food was a lot simpler. Historically people ate what they grew on the land or bought from nearby farmers. When I was a child, processed food was in a can or frozen and eaten sparingly (most canned or frozen food was homemade or killed).

Today, food is much more complicated so it takes more energy to plan a good menu.

The menu listed below has very little if no processed components. Review your menu this week and try to eliminate anything processed. Your body will thank you for it.


MONDAY: Orzo Risotto with Chicken Thighs
TUESDAY: Spring Vegetable Soup with Pesto, and a Big Garden Salad
WEDNESDAY: BBQ'd Beef Kebabs
THURSDAY: Whole Wheat Spaghetti Carbonara

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happy 6th Anniversary!

"From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven, and when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, the streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from that united being."
Ba'al Shem Tov

Happy 6th Anniversary to the light of my life!

I love you, babe.Enjoy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Greek Lemon-Dill Grilled Chicken Salad

I've really been salad hungry lately and dying to incorporate the grill into every meal. I was really excited to find this healthy and filling salad recipe, especially the yummy homemade dressing. Trust me....this salad will fill you up.


Greek Lemon-Dill Grilled Chicken Salad
Slightly adapted from Weight Watchers

6 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic gloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you could also use chicken thighs)
cooking spray
4 cups romaine lettuce
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 English cucumber, sliced thinly
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
16 medium kalamata olives
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 tablespoons fresh chopped dill

In a small bowl, combine water, oil, lemon zest, juice, garlic, salt and pepper/ remove 1/4 cup dressing and place in a large zip lock bag. Refrigerate the remaining dressing for salad.

Add chicken to the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate and marinate for at least an hour or up to 8 hours.

When ready to cook, coat grill with cooking spray and remove chicken from marinate and discard marinade. Grill chicken, turning as needed until cooked through; about 10-15 minutes.

Place lettuce on serving platter and arrange vegetables, chickpeas, chicken, olives and cheese on top. Stir dill into saved dressing; drizzle over salad.

Recipe courtesy of Weight Watchers with my own little tweaking
Image courtesy of Google Images...what kind of person takes a picture of a head of lettuce?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

I was down with a nasty stomach bug so our weekend was quiet as I was nursed back to health by my wonderful boyfriend.

To make matters worse, it rained and was gray gloomy all weekend long, except for a wonderful sunny Monday afternoon (which I couldn't enjoy as I was on my deathbed).

I did manage to set an amazingly patriotic table for our cook-out on Sunday afternoon before succumbing to the bug-a-boo.