Friday, July 30, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Lee Summer BBQ

WHO: I believe this is the Lee clan (Brian's Dad's side of the family)
WHAT: Annual Family "cook-out" (as Brian calls them)
WHERE: It's got to be somewhere around Pennsylvania, Delaware or Maryland (Brian confirmed that this is just north of Wilmington and was taken on July 4th)

Can you spot Brian in the upper left hand corner? He is surrounded by Dad, Al and Mom, Ann. This picture is reminiscent of those warm summer days as a worries other than running through a sprinkler, playing outside until the sun went down and stuffing your face with fresh corn on the cob.

These are the DOG DAYS - so enjoy!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Marionberry Cobbler

There are only a handful of areas in the world where caneberries thrive and Oregon's Willamette Valley, known as the Caneberry Capitol of the World, offers the most favorable of all climates.

Our moist spring rains, and summers that are warm in the daytime and cool at night, provide just the right conditions to produce berries that are sweet and plump. The berry's taste is distinctively sweet, yet has a mildly tart and lasting flavor. It has a serious following among berry aficionados, and is one of the most popular souvenirs purchased by visitors to the Willamette Valley. Gifts of Marionberry jams and syrups have been offered to lure potential football players to the University of Oregon (I think that last comment might be a joke of some sort).

This cobbler recipe has been floating around my family for years. Growing up, I fondly remember my great-grandma Cavey making her cobblers on a regular basis.


Marionberry Cobbler

1 quart marionberries (you could also make this cobbler with 1 quart of any summertime fruit)
3 tablespoons water
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons melted butter
1/2 cup cold water


Preheat oven to 350.

In a saucepan, add 3 tablespoons water and berries and cook on medium low heat for 10 minutes (berries will begin to breakdown). After 10 minutes, increase temperature slowly and bring to a boil.

Sift together, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder then add melted butter. Stir in cold water and mix together. Pour batter into 8 inch square baking dish.

Add boiling berry mixture on top of batter and bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm with gigantic scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

Image courtesy of Google Images
Recipe courtesy of my Pop. Thanks for keeping the family recipes alive so I can share them with the world!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jamie Cullum at the Zoo

Although primarily a jazz musician, Jamie Cullum performs in a wide range of styles and is generally regarded as a "crossover" artist with his musical roots firmly based in jazz.

He played last Sunday night at the Oregon Zoo's Summer concert series and he was AWESOME!

Since he hit the music scene over 10 years ago, the boyish pianist who can't read music, has become the biggest-selling UK jazz artist ever. Last November's release of 'The Pursuit', his fifth album and first new solo record in four years, is an eclectic combination of Jazz standards and catchy covers that Cullum has made his niche.

He hit the stage with a ton of energy and
entertained the casual zoo crowd for almost two hours.

Dressed in sneakers, jeans, shirt with a skinny tie and jacket, Cullum raced around the stage darting back and forth between an organ/synthesizer at center stage and his grand piano bench.

He opened the show with a simplistic and honestly raw version of George Gerswin's aria, "Summertime" then blasted right into the first song on his new album, "Just One Of Those Things".

A cover of Rihanna’s hit “Please Don’t Stop The Music” encouraged the crowd to dance and my favorite from the new album, Harry Seacombe/Tony Bennett’s “If I Ruled The World”, showed Cullum's great range and ability to turn a classic cover into his own. Equally as brillant, "I’m All Over It" also from his new CD, and "All At Sea", an earlier composition recalling his time as a cruise ship pianist, reminiscent of a young Billy Joel.

Cullum's grand finale, an interesting rendition of "Singing In The Rain" mixed in with yet another Rihanna hit, "Umbrella" which once again connected the generational crowd and my "new" favorite, Mix Tape which kept the crowd on it's feet.

5'3" dancing and singing on the piano

His final song, alone at the piano with dim stage lights, singing his theme from the movie Gran Torino, stripped down to a t-shirt, left the audience with a rare glimpse of a performer with great musical depth that will (hopefully) be around for years to come. Catch him next time he is in your area....I know I will.

Kiwi, Gin Wigmore opened the show. She's an artist I'll definitely be exploring more. A cross between Adele, KT Tunstall and Brandi Carlile. The crowd really seemed to appreciate her raw, engaging performance.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Girls Weekend: The Allison Spa/McMinnville

Sandra and I enjoyed a Saturday adventure this past weekend.

We drove west into Newberg and checked out the Allison Hotel and Spa, Oregon wine country’s first luxury hotel.

Its creators chose substance over glitter and imbued it with texture, inside and out, that tempts the hand to touch it. It opened this past September nestled in the hills and mountains off Highway 99W right in the heart of wine country.

The Inn is the largest luxury development in the Willamette Valley’s wine region. It offers 85 deluxe guest rooms and suites on four levels.

The exterior features elaborate landscaping from manicured lawns to rural walking trails.

The interior uses patterns and fabric that catch the light. The entrance opens into a dramatic glass enclosed spiral staircase. Local and regional artists adorn the “living room” where guests can take in the spectacular views of the surrounding wine region in front of a massive stone fireplace.

They have a hip, "farm to table" restaurant, JORY where we had a wonderful half glass of chardonnay. After checking out the views from outside, we headed into McMinnville for shopping and lunch.

The McMinnville Downtown Historic District is located in the area of Third Street. Recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the downtown area offers an almost park-like setting, with many restaurants and shops to visit.

We found an amazing bistro to grab a late lunch, Orchards Bistro. Fresh hand formed patties on lightly toasted focaccia bread. I had a tangy blue cheese and pear burger while Chick opted for the Bistro burger.....both with thick potato wedges cooked to perfection.

We ended our afternoon with a $5 wine tasting at Wednesday Wine.

A beautiful summer Saturday afternoon exploring all the wonderful qualities of Oregon


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Last Week in July

Forget the idea that carbs are bad for you. Eating the right balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein is key to increasing the body's defenses and resistance to disease. The "type" of carbohydrate makes all the difference. So toss the white rice, flour, and pasta out of your pantry and replace it with the brown stuff (as in whole wheat). With flavorful recipes, you'll actually enjoy the taste and barely notice the slight difference.


Sunday: Picnic at the Zoo with Jamie Cullum! WHOO HOOW!
Monday: Lemon Herb Halibut with Wild Rice and brocolli
Asian Chicken Thighs, Coconut Brown Rice and sauteed Sugar Snap Peas with Almonds
Wednesday:Thai Chicken Salad
Thursday: Fend 4 Yourself Night (Chick's going to a jewelry party and I am packing for SEA)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Freedom of Speech...Do Bloggers have rights?

Please allow me just one brief rant post about blogging and rights to FREE speech. Where does it cross the line?

I found this story in today's news a bit disturbing? What exactly is Freedom of Speech in this country? What about something called a sense of humor? Has everyone gone off the deep end when it comes to political correctness? Are we becoming a generation of people who are "thin skinned"?

Did this person cross the line with their comments? (please note that his post has been removed) Or has he verbally expressed the mounting frustration we are experiencing in our community regarding bicyclists and drivers? He does in fact pen a blog regarding his work as a TriMet bus driver, which I find unique and very funny.

I'd never write anything on my blog to intentionally hurt someone I know or didn't know, but opinions are like elbows.....every body's got one. Perhaps death threats or at the very least some form of bodily harm should not be considered allowable. This person in my opinion did cross the line in a fault of expressing the inexpressible. Think it....just don't tell anyone what you are thinking!

Should he be suspended from his job for his off-work blogging activities? If we change the names to protect the innocent, can't the story still be told?

If I announced I hated my job, my boss, my co-workers and wanted to quit (throw myself and them off the roof).....could I be fired? If I review a restaurant and call the chef's food a concoction of crap, could he sue me? If I write a review of a concert by a well-known artist and call his music overindulgent and ear piercingly painful, could they hunt me down and demand I write a retraction (on my tiny little blog that no one reads)?

The right to freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in International human rights law. Freedom of speech is stated as "the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression" Furthermore freedom of speech is recognized in European, inter-American and African regional human rights law.

What do you think? Perhaps I won't be writing about my job or anything that goes on between the hour of 8-5 in the near future.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Pop in Klamath Falls

WHO: Jim Brady (Pop)
WHAT: Picture in front of Weyerhaeuser Company housing
WHERE: Klamath Falls, OR
WHEN: 1960's - probably 1966, 67

One of the coolest things about Old Photo Friday is sifting through boxes and boxes of old photos. I really love it when someone has taken the time to write something on the back of the photo and this one had just my Pop's hand-writing it reads....

The kid from Klamath Falls. Dig the Ray Charles look, MAN!
You can see the company house in the back ground...not too good.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Italian Pasta Salad

Last Saturday we went to Paul and Christine's Summer Garden Party and I put together this creation. Since it was a potluck, I wanted something light that I wouldn't have to refrigerate (and I made the same thing last year and people liked it).


Italian Pasta Salad

One bag corkscrew pasta
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
8 oz cubed or sliced salami
1 red bell pepper, cubed
6 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil; drained and diced
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed (if you can find mozzarella balls, slice in half)
1 (2 oz) can sliced black olives
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 jar artichoke hearts (I prefer the small jars, packed in oil)
3/4 cup creamy Italian salad dressing, or more to taste
black pepper
1/2 cup basil leaves, chiffonade (how to video link attached)

In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cold water and drain. Don't overcook pasta - you want the dressing to soak in!

In a large bowl mix together Parmesan cheese, salami, bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, black olives, red onion and artichoke hearts. Add pasta, then dressing and toss to coat. Season with black pepper and basil leaves.

Image courtesy of Google Images; is that a pickled carrot in that salad? Gross!
Recipe courtesy of last years brain storm; this is the same thing I took to Paul's party last year. Do you think anyone noticed?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Desk

What's the old saying......

"Everything old is new again".

Kudos to Brian, who took an old desk we picked up a garage sale years ago (I think for $10), and gave it a whole new look.

We moved it into our living room, which is the perfect place for our computers and a place we can work from home, if needed.

We need a new/old chair, but in the meantime.....Sammy's got a new place to sleep!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Paul and Christine's Garden Party!

Brian and I went to Paul and Christine's summer party up in Marysville last Saturday.

They have a beautiful backyard - complete with artichokes, asparagus and beautiful flower beds.

It was a gorgeous day and fun to catch up with the Amtrak crew that I've known for over 6 years.
have you ever had a jello shot?

Brian enjoying a shady spot in Paul's garden


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: July 19-22

Each week I spend a considerable amount of time planning my menu. What if I took time to strategize ways to build exercise into my week!

Research shows that setting aside time to brainstorm specific ways to get moving can help you stay on track. If you're like me and just beginning a routine, plan to exercise for 30 minutes, three days a week -- a few walks on your lunch hour, a fitness DVD one morning, and a hike Sunday afternoon, for example.

Brian's in town this week!


Sunday: Burgers on the Grill (I think I'll top mine with grilled onions and smashed avocado)
Monday: Homemade Beef Tacos in Corn Tortillas
Tuesday: Grilled T-Bone Steaks with Salad
Wednesday: Shrimp Skewers with Veggies and Brown Rice
Thursday: Lemon Fettuccine with Asparagus

Friday, July 16, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Brian at Kingdome Demolition

Who: Brian
What: Kingdome demolition site
Where: SODO (south of downtown) Seattle
When: March 2000

Before thousands of Seattlites, the Kingdome was destroyed by implosion on March 26, 2000. It set a world record for the largest structure implosion by volume. It was also the first domed stadium in the United States to ever be demolished.

In 2002, Qwest Field was built and now occupies the site. It was built using a significant amount of recycled concrete as well as four scoreboards from the demolished Kingdome. Safefo Field, the Mariners' home park, sits next door, on the other side of Royal Brougham Way.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Greek Watermelon Salad

Nothing says summer like a big slice of watermelon, but have you even thought about cooking with watermelon? Instead of serving just a slice at your next about this excellent creation. We've got a BBQ/Garden Party to attend to this weekend....perhaps I will take this treat?


Greek Watermelon Salad
¾ cup thinly sliced red onion, halved
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3/4 cup English cucumber, thinly sliced
6 cups cubed seedless watermelon
¾ cup crumbled or cubed feta cheese
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint


In a small bowl, cover the onion slices with the lime juice. Set aside for 30 minutes.
In a large salad bowl, combine the cucumber, watermelon cubes, feta, olives and onions ( from the lime juice). Reserve juice for dressing.
Add the olive oil and oregano to the lime juice and stir until combined (add salt and pepper if needed). Drizzle dressing over the salad, add the chopped mint and toss to coat. Let salad stand for as long as possible to allow flavors to blend together. Serves 6.

Image courtesy of Google Images
Recipe courtesy of Google search. Did you know that the largest watermelon ever grown weighed 268.8 pounds and was grown in Arkansas?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

West Seattle Saturday/Lake Morton Sunday

Since Brian and I moved to West Seattle in September 2008, we've really come to love our little community.

Saturday morning we took one of our neighborhood walks (about 3 miles) past the community garden and into Lincoln Park.

In the afternoon we checked out the West Seattle Summer Fest, which officially kicks the summer season into high gear. We enjoyed a warm evening breeze on our patio and Brian cooked me dinner!

West Seattle Hi-Yu Summer Festival Float 2010

Our weather this week has finally been consistently sunny and warm.

A great weekend for outdoor activities.

On Sunday we drove down to Lake Morton and had brunch with our good friends, Jenny and Brent. They have a lovely lake front vacation home about 30 minutes SE of Seattle.

How did you spend your summer weekend?


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Mid July!

Well....summer finally arrived! We are beginning to see temps consistently in the 80's (plus a heat wave into the upper 90's last week). This week's menu includes several "grill" items along with a Mexican treat.


MONDAY: Mexican Tostada Salad
TUESDAY: ALL-Star Game!! Beer Brat or grilled Hot Dogs with Macaroni Salad
WEDNESDAY: Blue Cheese Chicken Burgers
THURSDAY: C.O.R.N. (clean out refrigerator night). We have a memorial service to attend

Friday, July 9, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Splish Splash

WHO: Jennifer (Mom)
WHAT: Bubble Bath
WHERE: I think this was taken in Klamath Falls, OR a year or so after my parents were married
WHEN: Mid 1960's

Now I totally know where I get my love for bubble baths. Thanks, Mom!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Yellow Squash Casserole

In anticipation of the bounty of yellow squash I am hoping to harvest from my garden later this summer. I found this little gem!


Yellow Squash Casserole

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups sliced yellow squash
1/2 cup diced onion
30 Ritz crackers, crushed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil then squash and onion. Cook until tender, stirring often, about 5-7 minutes.
In a medium bowl, add crushed crackers and cheese. Stir half of the crumb mixture into the cooked squash and onions.
In a small bowl mix the eggs and milk, then add the cooked squash mixture. Stir in the melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
Spread into 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top and add dots of butter on top.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown

Serve this along side a chicken breast or sliced pork tenderloin

Image courtesy of Google Images
Recipe courtesy of my hopefulness......grow garden grow!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wooden Boat Festival...Happy 4th of July

With everything that has been going on lately....Brian and I agreed that our 4th weekend would be quiet and low-key.

We couldn't let the Wooden Boat Festival on Lake Union go by this year without checking out the festivities. We had an awesome time down on the was a nice weekend, but cool with not too many sun breaks.

We took the West Seattle Water Taxi across Elliott Bay to the waterfront and then walked through Pioneer Square.
Down first avenue to the Pike Place Brewing, where to be quite honest....I've never seen Brian so disappointed about drinking a beer.
Too touristy and the beer was flat to boot! Have you ever seen a clear wheat beer?

We scooted past the Pike Place Market and up to the South Lake Union Trolly or (S.L.U.T.) where we enjoyed all the beautiful wooden boats, music and maritime traditions.

Sunday was cloudy with rain late in the afternoon, but we managed a stroll along Alki (with some sun breaks) and our second annual 4th of July chardonnay at Duke's (found the upstairs smaller bar with amazing views of the sound).

Rumor has it that summer officially begins Tuesday (today) when our temps are expected to be in the 80's.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: July 5-8!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July holiday weekend. Lots of sunshine in Seattle, but cool. It was a weekend of cook-outs, sipping wine on the patio, neighborhood walks and in-between meal snacking. Let's get back to our routine.....well-balanced, whole food, low fat meals are on tap for this short week.


Monday: Early Amtrak train home from Seattle - I think ribs, macaroni salad and corn bread
Tuesday: Honey-Mustard Roasted Salmon with Grilled Asparagus (I'll cook salmon on BBQ)
Wednesday: Tequila-Lime Chicken with Black Beans and Warm Corn Tortillas (BBQ the chook)
Thursday: Grilled Flank Steak with Wasabi Cole Slaw and Brown Rice (oh...BBQ again!!!)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Edmonds 4th

Who: Stacy and Brian
What: Celebrating the 4th - Parade
Where: Edmonds, WA
When: July 4, 2004

I am not sure if we will travel up to Edmonds, WA this weekend, but for several years after Brian and I started dating, it was our favorite summer event.

Happy 4th of July! Have a safe and fun weekend!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recipe of the Week: All-American Flag Cake

I've been making flag cakes for the 4th of July for eons. I found a recipe back in the late 90's and made my first flag cake for a 4th of July celebration at my Mom's place in Tukwila. Over the years, I've made a few changes - but most people just go ga-ga with the presentation and not the cake itself.


All-American 4th of July Cake

1 box white cake mix (Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker, ect.)
2 pints strawberries, hulled and rinsed - pat dry ( could use raspberries)
1 pint blueberries, rinsed - dry on a paper towel
1 tub of whipped topping or 1 tub of white cake frosting (I prefer frosting, especially if you anticipate leftover cake)

Bake cake according to box directions in 9 x 13 pan; let cool. Slice strawberries in half.

Spread the frosting generously over the cake. Whipped topping or whipped cream can be used in place of frosting, but the finished cake will need to be refrigerated. Frosting holds up well at outdoor picnics and barbecues and leftovers store much better.

In the top left-hand corner of the frosted cake, arrange the blueberries into an outline of a rectangle that is 5 inches wide and 4 inches tall. Press the berries down into the frosting.

Fill the blueberry outline in with the remaining blueberries. The blueberries look best if placed in rows: the icing between them resembles stars.

Place strawberry halves cut-side down in rows going across the cake horizontally. The bottom stripe of the flag is red, so start the first row at the bottom. Be sure to press the berries down into the frosting so the stripes will not be raised above the fluffy frosting. (If you want to be technically accurate, there are 13 stripes on the flag, but your strawberries would have to be very small to accomplish.)

Serve any leftover berries with the sliced cake and ice cream.

For a stunning holiday effect, place a couple of sparklers into the top of the cake. When darkness falls and fireworks begin to burst, light the sparklers and serve the cake during the festivities!

Recipe courtesy of Kraft, which I believe is the originator of the Flag Cake concept
Image courtesy of me, flag cake made for celebration circa 1999