Sunday, October 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome November!

Isn't the end of the year and the start of the "holiday" season kicked off with Halloween? It's one of my favorite times of the year and this year I am back in Portland after spending the last two Halloweens in Seattle. I wonder what I can pull together for a costume?

Traditionally, we make pizzas at home (so no Meatless Monday until Wednesday). On Thursday Brian and I start the great train adventure from Portland to Chicago. A big week ahead.


Monday: HAPPY HALLOWEEN; Homemade Pizzas and candy for all the beggars!
Tuesday: Salmon Puttenesca over Jasmine Rice with Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Wednesday: Creamy Orzo Risotto with Butternut Squash and a Big Garden Salad (Meatless Wednesday)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Old Photo Friday: Happy Halloween!

WHO: Stacy - Age 5 (Jennifer and Jim AKA Mom and Dad below with Anna dog)
WHAT: Halloween
WHERE: E Street in Springfield, OR
WHEN: October 1974

I vaguely remember this Halloween party my parents threw back in 1974. Mom, Dad and I all dressed up in authentic Japanese costumes including hair and makeup (probably not politically correct these days). Who thought these costumes up?


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin Bread

I've been craving all things pumpkin since before the stores started stocking up on the back-to-school items. To be quite honest, I always say I'll bake a pumpkin pie as soon as the weather cools a bit, but typically hold out until Thanksgiving. Not this year!

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago and just couldn't wait to try it out. I know I am not much of a baker, but I figured I could manage this easy yummy loaf.


Pumpkin Bread
Slightly adapted from the Incredible Egg Website


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 can pumpkin
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chopped pecans (walnuts if you prefer); toasted to release flavor


Preheat oven to 325 and coat the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking soda, spices, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in the dry ingredients until blended. Add the chopped pecans and slowly fold in with a spatula.

Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until loaf starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and the top browns (stick a toothpick in and it should come out clean).

Cool on a wire rack; loosen bread with a knife around the edges to remove from pan.

Recipe courtesy of The Incredible Edible Egg
Image courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bits and Pieces not much to blog about this week. I had the crud last weekend so I spent most of my weekend at home in Portland. Here are some odd shots not previously posted.

Autumn leaves; colors are just now starting to come out here in the Pacific NW

Halloween decorations in West Seattle

Adorable Sammy posing for the camera

@ Ninkasi in early October

Halloween decorations @ Rebecca Lane

Brian had lots of cuddles for Blondie with her Mom in Oahu


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Last Full Week in October!

Welcome Monday and welcome to the last full week in October (so hard to believe). Here is our menu for this week. Brian is back in Portland (for only two days) and Sandra is back from Oahu so a full house this week.


Monday: Garden Burgers and Fries (Meatless Monday)
Tuesday: Tamale Pie with A Big Garden Salad
Wednesday: Caesar Orange Roughy with Roasted Red Potatoes and Broccoli
Thursday: Thai Chicken with String Beans (weight watchers)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Uncle Larry!

WHO: Uncle Larry and Uncle Mickey (my mother's two older brothers)
WHAT: I found this picture in my mother's wedding album so my guess is that they were dressed up for her wedding (who could pass up a Reno road-trip).
WHEN: May 1965

A belated Happy Birthday to my uncle Larry, who celebrated a birthday earlier this week!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Acorn Squash Soup

For .75 cents a little road side stand on my way home from work sells the best looking acorn squashes around (and a whole lot of other good fruits and veggies).

Typically we slice them in half and roast them in the oven
, but I'd love to try a soup given it's texture and sweetness. Here is what I found!


Creamy Acorn Squash Soup
Slightly adapted from Taste of Home


1 small onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon (or chicken)

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (or allspice)

Dash cayenne pepper

2 cups chicken broth

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

3 cups mashed cooked acorn squash

Salt and pepper to taste

5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled


In a large saucepan, saute onion and celery in butter. Stir in flour, bouillon, curry, nutmeg and cayenne until blended. Gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the squash, salt and pepper; heat through.

In a blender or with handheld emulsion blender, process the soup in batches until smooth. Pour into bowls; sprinkle with bacon.

Yield: 6 servings.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

West Seattle Weekend Wrap-Up: Molbak's, Fall Harvest Wine Tasting

Fall was definitely in the air this past week. Our rains slowed a bit, fog covered the valleys in the morning but we had abundant sunshine on Saturday.

Every year, Brian and I get out to Molbak's in Woodinville for a preview of their Christmas decorations and to explore their awesome garden and home departments (plus that 40% off coupon was burning a hole in our pockets).

This year, we decided to have lunch at their Garden Cafe which serves a wonderful assortment of soups, quiches, salads and other northwest favorites. The stunning gardens that surround the cafĂ© patio were designed by expert horticulturist (and frequent Molbak’s guest speaker), Richard Hartlage.

After taking home a few inexpensive treasures (a Sammy knock-off ornament and some cobblestone walls for our Christmas village), we went down the road to explore Silver Lake Winery (Tasting Room).

They had a nice selection of 5 wines for $5 including a wonderful Claret that we really enjoyed, other than that...young whites and no good buttery Chardonnay.

Crockpot chili (our first batch of the year) to top off Saturday (plus tons of football and baseball on TV). Who could ask for more? Perhaps some cuddles with Sammy!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: October 17-20

Welcome Monday! Midway through the beautiful month of October. How is fall shaping up in your area?

Speaking of shaping up, as we inch ever so closer to the holiday season, now is a terrific time to get your menus in shape. Pre-planning saves you time and money! Look this month for bulk items and canned goods on sale. Stock up on sugar and flour for the holiday baking season. Hit the party supply and dollar stores for items you will use to entertain and decorate. Planning ahead really is the way to go.

Here is our menu for the week! Sandra is in Oahu, but my sweets is in Portland (and there is lots of baseball on TV).

Monday: Tomato Soup and Toasted Cheese Sandwiches (quick, easy and MEATLESS)
Tuesday: Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Buttery Peas (Weight Watchers)
Wednesday: Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs and Caesar Salad (Weight Watchers)
Thursday: Fried Oysters with Uncle Roy Potatoes and Creamed Spinach

Friday, October 14, 2011

Old Photo Friday: Aloha From Hawaii!

WHO: Sandra, Stacy, Rosemary and Pop
WHAT: Family vacation in Maui
WHERE: Longhi's on Front Street in Lahaina
WHEN: April 2004

Sandra is flying off to Oahu this morning and boy am I jealous!

She was given a wonderful opportunity for a cheap (almost free) vacation that just couldn't be passed up. Her departure this morning reminded me of our family trip seven years ago.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Apple Cider (Wassail)

The word Wassail refers to several related traditions; first and foremost is wassailing which is an English tradition that is performed with the intention of ensuring a good crop of cider apples for the harvest. It also refers to both the salute 'Waes Hail', a term meaning literally 'good health' or 'be you healthy' and to the drink of wassail which is a hot mulled cider traditionally drunk as an integral part of the wassail ceremony.

Fall is the time of year when apples are abundant so instead of posting a delicious apple pie, apple butter or apple crumble recipe, I found a wonderful wassail recipe which is spiced up (if you know what I mean) and can be made in your crockpot.


Wassail/Apple Cider Slightly adapted from All Recipes

  • 1 Gallon apple cider
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • Whole cloves
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • Allspice
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (or 3 Tbs. ground cinnamon)
  • 1/2 C - 1 C brandy (optional)

Set our crock pot to low. Pour in cider, cranberry juice, honey and sugar and mix. As it begins to heat up and the sugar and honey dissolve, add the orange slices and cloves. Next, add the diced apple and the spices.

Cover your crock pot and let simmer for 2-4 hours.

To serve; add a shot of brandy to a mug and pour the cider mix over the top. You can always leave out the brandy if you choose.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up: Eugene!

Brian and I haven't been down in the valley for awhile, so last weekend we drove the Bronze Goddess down to Eugene to see my Pop and Rosemary.

Saturday was beautiful after a full week of rain and cool fall temps. I love Eugene in the fall.

I took Brian to Ninkasi Brewery to try some of their cool brews and enjoy their patio. It's a fun place to hang providing it's a dry day. Dad and Rosemary met us in the afternoon and we all enjoyed a beer sampler.

As the day was fading, I drove Brian up to Skinner's Butte for a look out over Eugene. The butte was named for Eugene Skinner, founder of Eugene.

Skinner Butte's elevation is 682 feet with a winding road that leads to the summit. The butte is also the location of a giant "O" emblem representing the University of Oregon visible from the air and the city. Less visible is the "Big E" symbolizing the former Eugene High School (now South Eugene High School).

Dinner at Brian's favorite Eugene restaurant, Cafe Lucky Noodle (he dreams of their braised beef often).
A good family homecoming weekend!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: October 10-13th!

Don't you just love that fall smell in the air?

With fall comes all sorts of yummy root vegetables, roasts and slow cooking. Sunday seems like the perfect night for our first pot roast of the season. How are you celebrating fall?


SUNDAY: Classic Beef Pot Roast with Creamy Coleslaw
Vegetable Peanut Stir Fry with Jasmine Rice (MEATLESS MONDAY)
TUESDAY: Beef Pot Pie with Salad
WEDNESDAY: Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Green Couscous with Roasted Brussel Sprouts
THURSDAY: Happy Hour? Eat from the freezer? Grab a Pizza?


Friday, October 7, 2011

Old Photo Friday: School Trip to the Capitol

WHO: Brian and his elementary school (probably several classes)
WHAT: Field Trip
WHERE: Washington, D.C.
WHEN: 1969-1970 (I believe Brian mentioned he was in the 5th grade)

It's doubtful that you can locate Brian in this photo taken on the step of the capitol building (his head is turned away from the photographer...he is in the top row about half way from the right).

But you might notice the older gentleman in the lower left hand corner of the picture....this is the late Senator William V. Roth (July 22, 1921 – December 13, 2003) a lawyer and politician from Wilmington in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a veteran of World War II and a member of the Republican Party, who served as U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Ever heard of a Roth IRA? Established in 1997, the Roth IRA was named for its chief legislative sponsor, Senator William Roth.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Crockpot Lasagna

I love our West Seattle crockpot and find that as the weather is turning and the seasons are changing...comfort foods are slowing creeping their way back into our weekend meal plans.

I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago and it sounded perfect for a college football Saturday (and for two people who don't spend a lot of time at home on Saturday). I dusted off the crockpot and in 15 minutes (plus 5 hours in the crockpot) dinner was served!

Crockpot Lasagna Slightly
Adapted from Betty Crocker


1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground sausage (I like hot Italian)
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce, plus one small can (6 oz), divided
2 teaspoons dried basil, plus some additional
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, plus some additional
Salt, Pepper and perhaps a bit of garlic powder or a bit of garlic salt
3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
1 (15 oz) container of part-skim ricotta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
15 uncooked noodles (Do NOT buy the NO Boil Noodles); you probably won't need 15 depending on the size of your crockpot (round vs. square or oval)


Cook beef and sausage in a skillet over medium heat along with onions and garlic. Cook until meat mixture browns; drain fat. Add 1 and 1/2 cans of tomato sauce along with spices.

Mix 2 cups shredded cheese with ricotta and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Refrigerate remaining cheeses until lasagna is cooked.

Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture in bottom of a 6 qt crockpot. Top with 2-3 lasagna noodles (if your crockpot is round like mine, you will need to break the noodles in half). Spoon 1/4 cheese mixture over the top of the noodles, then add another 1/4 of the meat mixture. Again, top with 2-3 lasagna noodles. Keep repeating until sauce mixture and cheese mixture are gone, then add the remaining tomato sauce over the top (I also added a little bit more basil, Italian spices, salt and pepper to the top of the lasagna).

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender.

Remove lid and add the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover and set to warm and let cheese melt (10 minutes). Cut into pieces (or scoop's pretty messy).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mobile Chowdown 2011 in West Seattle

Last Sunday, West Seattle hosted the 2011 Mobile Chowdown (think Food Network's the Great Food Cart Race).

This year 26 food trucks came to the West Seattle Junction with food ranging from ice cream to curry. There was no entry fee and plenty of extras to explore (beer garden, kids area and music).

Sponsored by Seattle magazine and Suzuki + Chou Communimedia....since 2009, they have been rounding up a mix of food trucks to a different corner of the city to promote both civic and culinary exploration.

And explore we did.....

Some of the more popular carts, and the longest lines were found at
Maximus Minimus , Where Ya at Matt (at least an hour wait for Po'Boy Sammies), Street Donuts and Skillet.

Unlike the Portland food pods (which remain stationary), most of these carts roam around the city in search of hungry foodies and most of them blog or tweet their locations in advance.

I found a manageable line at Fusion on the Run, island inspired tacos and sandwiches (Ba Minh) with Korean and Vietnamese flair. The KV (stands for Korean/Vietnamese) fusion tacos (3 for $7) with marinated short ribs, onions, cilantro, daikon radish and carrots were wonderful.

Long lines kept us from exploring seconds and/or dessert, but the beer garden had plenty of cheap beer ($3 pyramid varieties) with proceeds going to the West Seattle Food Bank.

I am really looking forward to searching for some of these food carts around the city and next year's Mobile Chowdown (come back to West Seattle, please).


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

West Seattle Weekend Wrap-Up: Queen Anne and Chowdown

A mixed bag this weekend in West Seattle with some old and new adventures.

Up on the early train on Friday which is always a treat. A quiet Friday night at home with my boys!

Saturday we enjoyed a Fall stroll in Queen Anne. Lots of window shopping, tried to pick up some fresh pasta for dinner, but no such luck...explored a couple of home stores.

We stopped by Kerry Park before the rains came. I just love the views of the city from here.

Saturday afternoon I made a lemon raspberry bundt cake with my new $2 yard sale bundt cake pan. It's not the most beautiful cake you've ever seen, but boy was it yummy.

Sunday was the West Seattle Mobile Chowdown (more pictures tomorrow). A great adventure for foodies and non-foodies and an excellent showing from the West Seattle community.

Waiting in food cart line at West Seattle Mobile Chowdown


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: October 3-6, 2011

Welcome Monday! This is our first Menu Planning Monday of October and I excited.

This week we've planned a low fat, portion controlled menu (two Weight Watchers Meals) which is the best thing you can do in the weight loss battle. Don't think boring - check out these recipes!


MONDAY: Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells and a Big Garden Salad (MEATLESS MONDAY)
TUESDAY: Mongolian Beef with Brown Rice instead of noodles
WEDNESDAY: Chicken Burgers with Pesto Mayonnaise
THURSDAY: Tortilla Crusted Tilapia with Steamed Broccoli Crowns

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More Tacoma Narrow Bridge Pictures

I forgot that I shot these photos sometime in August. I've taken so many pictures of the bridge from the Amtrak Cascades this spring and summer that I almost have enough for an exhibit!

I've become quite obsessed with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and have posted HERE and HERE previously.
Depending on the time of year, and with the angle of the can often capture some unique photos.

Again, they were shot on my cell phone using some of the retro features.