Friday, September 30, 2011

Old Photo Friday: Grandma at Hunting Camp

WHO: Grandma Virginia
WHAT: At hunting camp
WHERE: Probably central Oregon area; although her and Grandpa Ralph often hunted in southern Oregon
WHEN: Early October 1996

This is the time of year when I miss my Grandma Virginia the most. I think of her often at the start of hunting season.

I cherish her handwritten letter to me as a small child...with dog Simon on her lap and a cig in her mouth, she penned a simple letter about camping with Grandpa Ralph.

This picture was taken many many years later, but it still shows her zest for her hunting adventures.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Rosh Hashana Apple Pomegranate Salad

Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year and it begins today at sundown. It is the first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe"), celebrated ten days before Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah meals usually include apples and honey, to symbolize a sweet new year. Various other foods with a symbolic meaning may be served, depending on local customs. Symbolic foods eaten are dates, black eyed peas, leek, spinach and pomegranates.

While I am not Jewish, I do find their culture and customs fascinating especially when it comes to food. I ran across this traditional Rosh Hashana recipe, that would also make a fabulous Thanksgiving or Christmas side salad.



Pomegranate Apple Salad (Parve)


1/3 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 small onion, minced
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds

1 head romaine lettuce, you could also use bibb, or mixed greens including arugala
1 pomegranate, seeded
1 green apple, chopped


In a food processor, combined vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard and onion. After the ingredients are well mixed, slowly add the oil. Pour ingredients into a holding container and add poppy seeds. Shake well before serving.

Wash lettuce and tear into bite sized pieces. Remove seeds from pomegranate then slice apple. To serve, toss lettuce with pomegranate and apple then top with dressing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

West Seattle Wrap-Up: First Weekend in Fall

It was an odd weekend weather-wise. Friday was our first day of fall, but felt more like mid-July.

But by Saturday afternoon, thick clouds blew in and the wind began to pick up. In an instant, summer was over.

The fruits of our labor can still be seen....

Beautiful pink roses, still blooming strong and one of the best tomato crops Brian has ever produced.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Last Week in September!

Welcome Monday! Our last Monday in the month of September!

Do you struggle with portions? I have a tendency to eat my biggest meal of the day at dinner which is a huge no-no. Just in case you've forgotten, here are a few tips on portion control.

Take a round dinner plate and fill it up as follows:
1/2 of your plate should be a colorful assortment of vegetables (one cup is equivalent to a baseball)
1/4 of your plate should be lean, low-fat protein (3 oz. or equivalent to a deck of cards)
1/4 of your plate should be starches; good whole grain starches like brown rice and whole grain pasta, yams, potatoes and corn

How do our portions stack up in this week's menu?


Monday: Fettuccine in Vodka Sauce with a Big Garden Salad (THANK YOU MEATLESS MONDAY)
Tuesday: Beef Kebobs loaded with Vegetables and a side of Whole Grain Brown Rice
Wednesday: Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Turkey Breasts with a BIG Garden Salad
Thursday: Chicken with Creamy Artichoke Sauce over Jasmine Rice

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow: Harvest Wrap-Up

After an extremely slow start, it's sad to think that our harvest season is ending.

Depending on the forecast for the next 6-8 weeks, I am contemplating some fall lettuce and I'd still love to get some rosemary in the is quite hardy and often times survives the winter.

The star of the garden by far has been our cherry tomato plant. We've harvested some of the most yummy quarter sized and bigger, sweet tomatoes this summer. With our hot weather the past few weeks, I've been harvesting 4-5 a day for the past 10-12 days!
I've also harvested 4 yellow squash and have two more beauties about ready to be picked, which is way more then I harvested last year.

Earlier this week, we got rid of most of the summer flowers and planted some flowering cabbage, chili peppers, mums and yellow pansies.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Old Photo Friday: Cousins in Colorado

WHO: Cousin Lynn and Brian
WHERE: Colorado National Monument in Colorado
WHEN: May 1983

Brian's cousin, Lynn and Aunt Faye drove out with his parents all the way from Delaware for his college graduation in May 1983.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Recipe of the Week: The History of the Bloody Mary

A few weeks ago, I remembered that we had a half bottle of vodka in our liquor cabinet and several stalks of celery in our fridge. Add some tomato juice, and you have the start of a Bloody Mary bar. Do you know the history of the Bloody Mary?

It's one of the world's most complex cocktails, primarily containing vodka, tomato juice and other spices and flavorings.

The Bloody Mary's origin is unclear, but Fernand Petiot claimed to have invented the drink in 1921 while working at the New York Bar (later, Harry's New York Bar), a frequent Paris hangout for Ernest Hemingway and other American expatriates.

Another tradition maintains that actor George Jessel created the drink around 1939 and around that time, Lucius Beebe printed in his gossip column "This New York" one of the earliest U.S. references to this drink, along with the original recipe.

Bloody Mary recipe as taught by the New York School of Bartending
  • 1 oz. to 1½ oz. (30-45 ml) vodka in a tall glass filled with ice (I like to add my shot @ the end)
  • Fill glass with tomato juice (I like V-8)
  • 1 dash celery salt
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • 2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. horseradish
  • Dash of lemon or lime juice
Garnish with celery stalk (we also like pickled bean or asparagus and green olives). May be shaken vigorously or stirred lazily, as desired.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Welcome Fall!

Fall starts on Friday! To celebrate, I put out a few fall decorations in West Seattle.

Thanks, Sammy for your help!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September Baseball; Last M's game of the Year

A few weeks ago one of my clients, Marlene called me and offered me two free tickets to see the Mariners. Evidently, they are giving these things away like hotcakes and who can pass up a FREE game at Safeco Field, right smack dab behind home plate?
As the boys of summer wind up play here in the pacific northwest, this game was our opportunity to put closure on our season.

I believe in the 7 years that Brian and I have been together -this is the fewest visits to Safeco
Field, only two games.

With any luck, next year the team will improve, we will be offered more free tickets and more joy will be found in mudville.

Roof Closing in 8th inning as the rains begin


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: September 19-22, 2011

Welcome Monday!

This is the time of year that I start thinking about fall and winter comfort foods. Since summer ends this week, I think it's time to roll out a bit of comfort....just a little won't hurt.


Monday: Garden Burgers with Fries (Meatless Monday)
Tuesday: Chili Mac (let the comforting begin) with a Garden Salad
Wednesday: OUT; happy hour with friends and Chick is heading to Eugene??
Thursday: Stacy's dinner special: Fried Oysters, Uncle Roy Potatoes and Creamed Corn

Friday, September 16, 2011

Old Photo Friday: Just like sisters

WHO: Sandra and Stacy; aunt and niece but more like sisters
WHAT: Birthday dinner
WHERE: Eugene, OR
WHEN: April 1985 or 86

Sandra found this picture in an old box of stuff she had in her closet. This was either my 16th or 17th birthday in Eugene at Shogi Japanese Restaurant (Eugene's equivilant of Benihana). I have no recollection of this dinner, but gosh I sure loved that bollo tie I was wearing.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad

This year we hit the cherry tomato jackpot! I planted one little plant and so far we have harvested at least 4 cups of some of the sweetest and tastiest cherry tomatoes I have ever eaten.

Aside from putting them in a green salad, I am kinda out of ideas. I searched my recipe box, magazine articles and the Internet and found this gem. It's a perfect end of summer salad/side dish.


Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad


1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (you could also use a red wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (if they are really big, quarter them)
1 cup bocconcini mozzerella


In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, vinegar, herbs, salt, pepper and sugar.

Pour dressing over the cherry tomatoes and gently stir to coat, then add cheese and stir again. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let flavors build. Gently re-stir before serving.

Images courtesy of Google Images; my tomato plant is starting to look beat down
Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes; slightly adapted

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Girl's Weekend; NW 23rd Shopping and Lunch

This has become a tradition for many, many, years; a girl's weekend in Portland typically in late summer.

We love to walk around NW 23rd and find a few treasures to take home before lunching. This visit, we took home some new sunflower cocktail napkins, a miniature decorated pumpkin for the Halloween season and luscious yummy Moonstruck Chocolates for dessert.

Unfortunately, last Saturday was BLAZING hot, so we kept our shopping to a minimum and ate an early lunch before heading back to our air conditioned oasis.

A beautiful lunch at Jo-Bar ....

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Smoked Whitefish Mouse and Rye Bread Croutons - $10

Sandra had the Jo-Bar Burgers with Asiago Cheese and Bacon - $12

I had Espresso Rubbed Brisket with Mushroom Barley and Carrot Puree - $17

Cheers to a great weekend also filled with memories of 9/11, a few soap operas, calling a girlfriend in Australia to wish her a happy birthday, chilled wine and a yummy Sunday Supper (spaghetti)!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Mid September!

Happy Monday!

Folks, don't look now, but Halloween candy has been out in the stores for weeks now, and several stores are already clearing the isles for Christmas. Has anyone come up to you lately and asked what you are doing for Thanksgiving? Like it's only 10 weeks away!?

Enough of all that is the menu for the week!


Sunday: Italian Spaghetti Feed (Praising NY and remembering those lost on 9/11)
Fish Tacos
Tuesday: Korean Short Ribs with Garlic Potato Parsnip Mash and Leftover Salad
Wednesday: Laughing Cow Yodeling Risotto with Salad (Meatless Monday on Wednesday)
Thursday: Happy Hour! Let's try something HERE

Friday, September 9, 2011

Old Photo Friday: September 2001

WHO: Stacy and Simon
WHAT: Playing tour guide to out of town guest
WHERE: Crater Lake, OR
WHEN: September 2001

Just a week prior to the attacks of 9/11, my friend Simon arrived from Australia. He spent sometime on a tour bus in the southwestern part of the U.S., before flying into Portland for a couple of weeks.

We had a great time while he was here....we toured Oregon and Washington, Mount St. Helens, a Seattle Mariner's baseball game, Eugene, an Oregon Ducks game, Multnomah Falls, most of Portland (including a yummy Thanksgiving-esque turkey dinner at Huber's), Yamhill County's wine country and a day-long trip down to Crater Lake.

While there was much joy and adventure during his visit, we could all feel that dark shadow of fear and death that enveloped most of us throughout that fall and winter of 2001. It's hard to believe that 10 years has passed.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Crazy About Crab; Hot Crab Dip

Ever since our little adventure to Seattle's Crab Pot, I've been crab crazy. Lucky for us, crabbing season for Dungeness crabs typically starts in late fall and runs till early spring, with the winter months being the most productive. Alaskan Dungeness season runs into the summer months, making crab fishing a year around treat in the Pacific Northwest.

We didn't try this at the Crab Pot, but rumor has it, it's one of the best dips in the city. This will be just perfect for our upcoming Girl's Weekend....a good chardonnay and some college football.


Hot Crab Dip

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 1 cup grated jack cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts, quartered and in oil (drained); chop them slightly
  • 1/4 cup diced onions (I prefer sweet yellow, some might like green scallions)
  • 2-3 roasted garlic cloves or just use 2 raw cloves, minced, pressed or grated
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 - 2 dashes Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce (just a little kick in the back)
  • Salt and pepper (more pepper than salt...remember cheese is salty)
  • Crackers, bread, bread sticks, warm pita bread or an old tire (just kidding about the tire)
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Combine all ingredients and stir together then place in a greased casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  • Serve with bread or crackers
Image courtesy of google images
Recipe a slight adaptation of Paula Dean and my Grandma Virginia whose originally handwritten recipe I still have

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Brian's Birthday Wrap-Up

We had a fabulous super long weekend celebrating Brian's 51st Birthday.

On Wednesday night, I arrived on the train for the start of the birthday boy's celebration week(end)!

Dinner at the new Irish Pub, A Terrible Beauty was fabulous.

I had Corned Beef and Cabbage (it was so good that it would make an Irish man weep).

Thursday morning (BIRTHDAY) was Sammy time and coffee and presents!

Can you say super spoiled (and I am not referring to the cat)?

Thursday afternoon, we headed north to Tulalip Casino. This year we decided to stay right at the casino for one night.

In August of 2008, the Tulalip Indian Tribe opened the 12 story hotel, bringing the entire facility to close to 200,000 square feet.

Saturday and Sunday were filled with a relaxing pedicure (for me, not Brian), a walk along Alki, plenty of patio time (bloody Mary bar on Sunday) I planted some mums and fall flowers, college football Saturday (the first of many this fall) and a BBQ dinner (another celebration of Brian's birthday) with close friends....and both weekend days were in the 80's.

I think we may have just experienced our last true summer weekend?!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: September 5-9

Welcome Monday, our first of the 9th month of September!

It's such a buzz kill that I can feel it in my bones that summer is ending. Notice the angle of the sun beginning to change. Notice that it's not that light anymore when you get up and get ready for work. Notice that it's not still light outside when you go to bed (ha ha).

What can we do to make it better? Cook our buns off!


Monday: Labor Day! End of Summer BBQ Bash! Meatless Monday on hold for this week as we say goodbye to summer!
Tuesday: Fettucine with Smoked Salmon and a Big Garden Salad
Wednesday:Chicken with Black Bean Salsa and steamed broccoli on the side
Thursday: Coconut Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Veggies and and Aunt Alice's BBQ Potatoes
Friday: Grilled Sirloin Steaks with a Classic Wedge Salad (Kicking off Girls Weekend)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Old Photo Friday: Back to school, Brian!

WHO: Brian (front and shirt)
WHAT: In school, probably not the first day, but let's pretend it is
WHERE: Mrs. Rader's First Grade Class; Medill Elementary, Newark, DE
WHEN: September 1966

It's hard to believe that it is back to school time once again. Many kids in the Midwest and East Coast started in late August. I feel so fortunate to have a few photos of Brian's first grade class.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Brian!

Happy Birthday to my sweetheart, Brian who turns 51 today!

Sammy and Brian - Summer 2011

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some events that happened 51 years ago (1960). Brian is a big history buff, so I found this little exercise quite fun!
  • In January 1960, John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for US President
  • In February 1960 in Greensboro, NC, four black students from NC Agricultural and Technical University began a sit in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter; although they are refused service, they are allowed to stay at the counter. The event triggers many similar nonviolent protests throughout the South and six months later, the original four protesters are served lunch at the same counter.
  • In March, Elvis returns from Germany after a two year stint in the US Army.
  • In April, Ben Hur wins best picture at the 32nd Academy Awards.
  • In June, Harper Lee (no relation that I know of) publishes her novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird" which later wins the Pulitzer Prize for the best novel of 1960.
  • In September, Cassius Clay wins the gold medal in light-heavyweight boxing. He later becomes Muhammed Ali.
  • In October, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushcev pounds his shoe on a table at a meeting of the United National General Assembly, his way of protesting the discussion of the Soviet Union's policies toward Eastern Europe.
  • On October 13th; The Pittsburgh Pirates win the 1960 World Series in game 7 on a home fun hit by Bill Mazeroski for a 10-9 victory over the New York Yankees. It was the first time in the history of the Series that a homer had won the championship.
  • In November 1960, Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia 76ers gets 55 rebounds in an NBA game against the Boston Celtics.
Famous people born in 1960 include:
  • REM Frontman, Michael Stipe (January 4th)
  • NFL Football player, Howie Long (January 6th)
  • American Diver, Greg Louganis (January 29th)
  • MLB player, Joe Carter (March 7th)
  • Actress Valarie Bertanelli (April 23rd)
  • U2 Frontman, Bono (May 10th)
  • Actor Sean Penn (August 17th)
  • MLB Player Cal Ripken Jr. (August 24th)
  • Delaware native, Brian K. Lee (September 1st)
  • English actor, Hugh Grant (September 9th)
  • MLB Player, Harold Reynolds (November 26th)
  • Actress Darryl Hannah (December 3rd)

Thanks to google for awesome images