Friday, December 31, 2010
WHO: Stacy and Brian
WHAT: A NYE toast
WHERE: Tukwila, WA @ Mom and Kenny's; followed by a NYE party with friends @ Lake Morton, WA
WHEN: NYE 2005
HAPPY NEW YEAR! We hope your 2011 is prosperous, full of good health and much wealth.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
I've posted close to 52 amazing recipes this year. Most of them I've made and there are a few left to try. For the most part, I get an idea for something I am hungry for...or for a recipe I've recently discovered, and I go from there.
Here are links to three recipes that I found to be phenomenal...some are basic, but they all quenched my appetite.
Cook's Illustrated Summer Gratin (a delightful summer recipe that I can't wait to make again)
Grandma's Beef Enchiladas (I made these the day after we came home from Mexico and they brought back some wonderful memories)
Classic Iceberg Wedge ( We've had a "wedgie" several times this year)
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Welcome to the last week of the year! Can you believe it? The end to 2010 and the beginning of a new decade.....2011.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday. I had a relaxing and quiet time in West Seattle.....10 days with Brian and Sammy was fabulous!
It's back to reality this week and back to work here in Portland. I think most of us suffer a bit from Christmas let-down so perhaps a great menu will ease our pain! Keep you chins up!
Monday: Tilapia with Jasmine Rice and Roasted Root Vegetables
Tuesday: Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Sweet Potato Wedges along side a salad
Wednesday: Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach and leftover salad
Thursday: Tomato Minestrone Soup with Garlic Bread Croutons
New Year's Eve: Train to Seattle at 2:50, followed by Dinner at Elliott Bay Brewpub
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas! Wherever you are today...I hope you are spending time with those you love enjoying this special day.
Brian, Sammy and I are all cozy in West Seattle....eating and drinking and enjoying this special time of the year together.
As you know, I love trivia and history so here are some interesting facts about Christmas to share with your friends and family. Perhaps you'll win that round of trivia after all!
Did you know....
It wasn’t until the 19th century that Americans began to embrace Christmas. Americans re-invented Christmas, and changed it from a raucous carnival holiday into a family-centered day of peace and nostalgia.
But what about the 1800s peaked American interest in the holiday?
The early 19th century was a period of class conflict and turmoil. During this time, unemployment was high and gang rioting by the disenchanted classes often occurred during the Christmas season. In 1828, the New York city council instituted the city’s first police force in response to a Christmas riot. This catalyzed certain members of the upper classes to begin to change the way Christmas was celebrated in America.
In 1819, best-selling author Washington Irving wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, a series of stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house. The sketches feature a squire who invited the peasants into his home for the holiday. In contrast to the problems faced in American society, the two groups mingled effortlessly. In Irving’s mind, Christmas should be a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing groups together across lines of wealth or social status.
Here are some other factoids....
1821: William Gilley printed a poem about "Santeclaus" who was dressed in fur and drove a sleigh drawn by a single reindeer.
1822: Dentist Clement Clarke Moore is believed by many to have written a poem "An Account of a Visit from Saint Nicolas," which became better known as "The Night before Christmas." Santa is portrayed as an elf with a miniature sleigh equipped with eight reindeer which are named in the poem as Blitzem, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Donder, Prancer, and Vixen. Others attribute the poem to a contemporary, Henry Livingston, Jr. Two have since been renamed Donner and Blitzen.
1841: J.W. Parkinson, a Philadelphia merchant, hired a man to dress up in a "Criscringle" outfit and climb the chimney of his store.
1863: Illustrator Thomas Nast created images of Santa for the Christmas editions of Harper's Magazine. These continued through the 1890's.
1860s: President Abraham Lincoln asked Nast to create a drawing of Santa with some Union soldiers. This image of Santa supporting the enemy had a demoralizing influence on the Confederate army -- an early example of psychological warfare.
1897: Francis P Church, Editor of the New York Sun, wrote an editorial in response to a letter from an eight year-old girl, Virginia O'Hanlon. She had written the paper asking whether there really was a Santa Claus. It has become known as the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" letter.
1920's: The image of Santa had been standardized to portray a bearded, over-weight, jolly man dressed in a red suit with white trim.
1931: Haddon Sundblom, illustrator for The Coca-Cola ™ company drew a series of Santa images in their Christmas advertisements until 1964. The company holds the trademark for the Coca-Cola Santa design. Christmas ads including Santa continue to the present day.
1939: Copywriter Robert L. May of the Montgomery Ward Company created a poem about Rudolph, the ninth reindeer. May had been "often taunted as a child for being shy, small and slight." He created an ostracized reindeer with a shiny red nose who became a hero one foggy Christmas eve. Santa was part-way through deliveries when the visibility started to degenerate. Santa added Rudolph to his team of reindeer to help illuminate the path. A copy of the poem was given free to Montgomery Ward customers.
1949: Johnny Marks wrote the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Rudolph was relocated to the North Pole where he was initially rejected by the other reindeer who wouldn't let him play in their reindeer games because of his strange looking nose. The song was recorded by Gene Autry and became his all-time best seller. Next to "White Christmas" it is the most popular song of all time.
Friday, December 24, 2010
WHAT: Christmas Eve
WHERE: E Street in Springfield
Happy 49th birthday to my awesome uncle, Steve or Roonie as we call him. A Christmas Day baby!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Before heading up to Seattle, Brian and Sandra exchanged Christmas gifts at Rebecca Lane.
Even Blondie got into the act.
Brian's new garden flag will look awesome in West Seattle and Chick has already worn her animal print scarf that we found at the cutest little shop in West Seattle.
Our office hosted Christmas lunch at Bridgeport Brewpub in NW Portland last Friday.
Munchies included BBQ Chicken Quesadillas, Beer Pretzels with Spicy Mustard and Hot Spinach Dip with Tortilla Chips. Entrees ordered included, Wine Bathed Mussels and Fries, Korean Short Ribs with Carrot Slaw, Shepherd's Pie, Cornmeal Crusted Catfish Sam and Beef Ragu over Pasta.
Finally, lots of relaxing here in West Seattle. 10 whole days with "my guys". Brian and I are "Christmasing"....visiting friends, listening to carols by the Christmas tree, watching holiday movies and baking cookies (okay....I am baking cookies). Four different kinds....not bad for someone who doesn't bake!
Tomorrow we head into the city for a look at the holiday window displays and to do some last minute shopping.
Latkes are traditionally eaten during the Jewish Hanukkah Festival. The oil for cooking the latkes is reminiscent of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle.
Potato pancakes or Latkes are shallow-fried cakes of grated potato, flour and egg, often flavored with grated onion or garlic and seasonings. They are usually topped with a variety of condiments including sour cream and applesauce.
- 1 pound potatoes
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Brian and I attended West Seattle's ArtsWest Theater last Sunday night to see their rendition of "A Tuna Christmas".
A Tuna Christmas is the second in a series of comedic plays, each set the fictional town of Tuna, Texas, the "third-smallest" town in the state. The plays are at once an affectionate comment on small-town, Southern life and attitudes but also a withering satire of same. The plays are notable in that two men play the entire cast of over twenty eccentric characters of both genders and various ages. A Tuna Christmas debuted in 1989.
Following the play, we walked up California to West 5 where I had a ginormous BLT, West Seattle style.
If and when you get a chance to support your local arts....we highly encourage you!
Monday, December 20, 2010
I racked my brain for a few weeks and got a tip from a co-worker on a wonderful smoked salmon hash made famous by downtown Portland's Heathman Hotel.
I sent Kirsten in sunny Los Angeles a half pound of Pacific Northwest Salmon from the Made in Oregon store along with some crackers just in case hash is not her thing, and included the recipe so that she can then blog about her gift on her blog, From Kirsten's Kitchen to Yours.
I, then received a box all the way from the land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota! Kate from Kate in the Kitchen sent me a sack full of yummy wild rice pancake mix and a box of wild rice and blueberry muffin mix. It looks like I am going to be making some yummy breakfast food over Christmas week.
Thanks to everyone who participated. It's such a special concept and a wonderful way to bring us crazy bloggers together on another level.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Greetings from Seattle, where I am spending 10 days with my two favorite guys, Brian and Sammy!
This week I get to cook and prepare meals for my #1 guy and bake cookies and entertain in West Seattle. It's my favorite week of the entire year!
We are a little extravagant this week, but we have some wonderful meals planned.
Sunday: ArtsWest performance of "A Tuna Christmas" at 3PM followed by drinks and dinner HERE
Monday: Crock Pot Beef Stew; I am watching an all day Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie Marathon!!
Tuesday: Baking cookies to distribute to friends and neighbors! Holiday grocery shopping! Preparing one of Brian's favorites...Chicken Parmesan with noodles and broccoli
Wednesday: A Spa Pedicure, then perhaps a Homemade Vegetarian Lasagna
Thursday: Our Traditional Christmas Cheer in Downtown Seattle....Westlake Center Tree, Macy's windows, a cocktail HERE and lunch HERE.
Christmas Eve: Relaxing at home by the tree; a moonlight stroll through West Seattle to look at the lights followed by a libation at The Beveridge Place (perhaps some trivia too). End the evening with The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol (with Bailey's on the rocks).
Christmas Day Morning: Brian's Breakfast Quiches and PRESENTS!!!!!!!
Christmas Day Evening: Beef Tenderloin with Bacon, Shallot and Port Gravy; Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Goat Cheese and Basil Green Beans and Crescent Rolls
Friday, December 17, 2010
WHO: My Pop, AKA Diamond Jim
WHAT: Fishing, probably with late friend, Roy Hill
WHERE: McKenzie River?
WHEN: I am going to say late 1990's - 1996-1998
Happy 67th Birthday to my Poppie (December 22nd)!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Last week I gave you some ideas for homemade Christmas gifts....ideas every foodie or non-foodie might enjoy from under the Christmas Tree. Isn't the thought of a homemade gift just divine?
I love to prepare my own marinades and dry rubs, so for this week's recipe of the week, I've listed two rubs which can be used on just about any protein (even for tofu). Put them in decorative containers and give as gifts to friends, family and co-workers.
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
Mix the above ingredients well, and remember that you can reduce or delete the ground cayenne pepper if you prefer.
Seafood Blend Dry Rub
1 cup sea salt (or Kosher or Table)
1 cup Hungarian Paprika (or Spanish)
1 cup Marjoram (1/2 oregano and 1/2 basil can be substituted)
1/3 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup onion powder
1 tablespoon ground black or white pepper
2 teaspoon dried chives (2 tablespoon if using fresh)
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon lemon basil flakes
1/2 teaspoon dill (1/2 tablespoon finely chopped if using fresh)
1/2 teaspoon French tarragon
1/2 teaspoon lime peel (1/2 tablespoon if grating off fresh lime)
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel (1/2 tablespoon if grating off fresh lemon)
If stored in a dark, cool and airtight environment rubs will last nine months to a year easy. You don't have to throw them out at the end of that time. Some of the spices and mainly herbs start to loose their potency and you will need to use more to get the same results as before.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
A fairly quiet weekend in Seattle.
A pineapple express blew in on Saturday, but we still enjoyed visiting the north-end of Seattle, a bit of Christmas shopping and our traditional Christmas drink at Scott's (okay....I call it Scotty's).
Brian and I have been grabbing a bit of Christmas cheer here for the past few years. It's a warm and cozy neighborhood sort of place.
We are in Portland.....a soggy drive back on Sunday, but we made it! I am enjoying Brian's Portland visit until Friday when we both return to Seattle for our Christmas vacation.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I love to get downtown at least once during the holiday season to see the Pioneer Square Christmas Tree. It's been in the news recently (perhaps you heard about the bombing plot).
Chick and I met up downtown last Tuesday night, which turned out to be a wet and windy evening. I quickly snapped a few photos before walking 4 blocks in the rain to H50 Bistro, located at Hotel Fifty.
The bar is contemporary urban chic with a wonderful and thoughtfully created seasonal happy hour and bar menu. Items are made with freshest products and ingredients – many of which are locally and/or organically grown. Prep and presentation is intriguing and supports the notion that diners relish food first with their eyes.
Fancy Fries with parmesan, chive, truffle oil and a hint of spice $4
Butternut Squash "Tater Tots" with a lemon, brown butter aioli $5
PDX Roll with smoked salmon, herbed cream cheese, cucumber and toasted hazelnuts $8
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Sunday: Beef Tacos
Monday: Turkey Parmesan Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes, Buttery Peas and a Big Garden Salad
Tuesday: Chicken Schnitzel with leftover Salad
Wednesday: Quick and Easy White Bean and Sausage Soup. (Peacock Lane, anyone??)
Thursday: Pizza Night and Rebecca Lane Christmas!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Here is a list (in no particular order) of some of the products and ideas that I have come across this year. Some of the items you may have heard of before and some not, but they are fabulous and they are my 2010 favorite things!
Sansa Portable MP3 Player People.....put the IPODS down! You don't need an IPOD to listen to music, in fact...thanks to a co-worker I am saving a boat load of money on downloads by subscribing to a music service (see below).
My SanDisk Sansa Clip (8GB) holds 2,000 songs along with FM radio, pictures and a voice recorder....plus the capability of adding a memory card for additional space. I take it everywhere and I love it!
All the music you want for $10 a month! Let me repeat......
Rhapsody has 10 Million songs, apps for your smartphones and unlimited downloads. This is the greatest thing since sliced bread!
Dare I say....I may never buy another CD again? I can also bring this ultimate music collection into my home using my wireless Internet connection. A must have for the music lover in your life.
Logitech SqueezeBox (Wi-Fi Music Player)
It wirelessly streams what you want to hear—your digital music library, Internet radio, and online music services right through your computer or existing music system. It doesn’t matter if your library includes 100 tracks or 100,000...or if you rip your own CDs or buy your music from services like Rhapsody. The Squeezebox lets you browse, organize, and play your digital music collection anywhere in your house. I bought this for my birthday in April and it is still BLOWING MY MIND!
The Amazing Feline Fisher - America's Favorite Cat Toy/Exerciser
Thanks to our cat sitter, Carla, our newest family member, Blondie can't get enough of this cat toy. It's like kitty crack! She begs to play every second of the day. I don't know what it is about this toy, but cats do the craziest jumps, spins and flips....it's unbelievable!
The Amazing Feline Fisher is so unique. Check out the website for some amazing video. Buy one for your cat for Christmas!
Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the Internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.
My world has been enriched through the power of this opportunity. While I have only lent out $25, I've already received my first partial payment back of $2.75. How cool is this? Does this not make the most perfect gift for those who are hard to buy for?
Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix
I whipped up a batch last night and didn't even break a sweat! If this is a seasonal product then watch out....I am going to buy a BOX of mix and bake cookies all year round! Yummy and easy to make and they are especially good with heaps of cream cheese frosting on top!
Make some of these Gingerbread Cookies for your co-workers, neighbors and friends....wrap them in a tin with a ribbon on top and they will love love love you forever!
Enjoy and Seasons Greeting!
Friday, December 10, 2010
WHERE: Silver Lane in Eugene
WHEN: Handwriting on the back of the photo says, Christmas 1968
Perhaps Sandra took this picture? It looks like a festive time at the Suter household.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Since I hate to bake, but love the smell of homemade cookies, this sounds like a unique and easy homemade gift. Check out more homemade food gifts here (everything from breakfast granola to jam).
Chewy Brownie Mix In A Jar
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped nuts or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Layer ingredients in order listed above in 1-quart jar, pressing firmly after adding each ingredient.
Note: After adding each ingredient, wipe out inside of jar with paper towel. When done, seal with lid and decorate with fabric and ribbon.
Recipe to Attach:
Pour brownie mix into large mixer bowl; stir. Add 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) melted butter or margarine, 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; stir well.
Spread into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated 350° F. oven for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool in pan on wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar. Makes 2 dozen brownies.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I never thought I would utter these words, but.......
I bought a fake Christmas tree this year!!!
Not only did I buy one, but Chick bought one as well.
Rebecca Lane will never be the same again around the holidays and I mean that in a "good way".
We talked about it and in the end, it made more sense (or we came to our senses) for us to join the millions of people around the world who fake it!
So far......no regrets and only beauty and ease. Even Blondie approves!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I must confess, this year I started planning and plotting all things Christmas in July! I felt like a kid again just thinking about it. I wanted to start playing Christmas carols the minute the Thanksgiving turkey was put in the fridge. What can I say....I am a Christmas Geek!
So last Saturday, we decided to un-leash the West Seattle Christmas closet (yes, we have a full closet stacked with Christmas goodies) and started filling the house with Christmas cheer.
I wanted to wait until the 11th to get our tree in West Seattle, but Brian just couldn't wait to get the whole house decorated....tree included, so off we went to Home Depot.
Stop laughing.....we could go anywhere to get a tree, but last year's tree was not only affordable, but it was STUNNING and it lasted until New Years Day. Cheap and Chic....gotta love it! The year we chose the most amazingly beautiful Fraiser Fir.
Despite a raging head cold, we got most of the decorations out....including our Christmas Village which Brian set up on Sunday.