Sunday, September 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome October!

Welcome of my favorite months of the year!

Our menu is really starting to evolve into fall and fall flavors.  What are some of the fall items that you are adding to your menu?

Check out Laura's site for more organizing and planning ideas!


Monday: Parmesan Turkey Meatloaf with a Big Garden Salad
Tuesday: Asian Short Ribs (Crockpot) with Vegetables
Wednesday: Tortilla Crusted Tilapia with Acorn Squash
Thursday:Chicken Quesadillas with Fresh Corn Salsa and a Garden Salad

Friday, September 28, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Sonja!

WHO: Stacy, Amy and Sonja
WHAT: Girl's weekend to celebrate Sonja's 30th Birthday
WHERE: San Francisco....Little Italy to be exact
WHEN: September 2002

Happy Birthday to my friend, Sonja!  Who turned the BIG 40 last Wednesday.


Last weekend something happened to sweet Keikei's tail.

We left her in the care of our neighbor, but she refused to come inside at night and spent Saturday night outside roaming around.  When I got home on Sunday, I immediately noticed that her tail was dragging and she wouldn't let anyone near her back-end or near her tail.

We thought she was either chased or bitten (or God forbid, both) so Wednesday morning, even though she seemed happy, was eating normal and still had plenty of purrs...I took her to the vet.

August 2012

She didn't like the pretty pink box.  She didn't like the ride to the vet in the back seat of the Bronze Goddess...and she really disliked the vet.

She cried the entire car ride which made me cry the entire car ride. The whole experience broke my heart.  I totally understand now, that I would have never been cut out to have children...every little scrape or bump and I would have been institutionalized!

Keikei is home now....resting.  Hopefully the traumatic experience will be wiped clean from her memory.

Oh, and her tail ended up being fine (can you believe it?)....perhaps a bruise and nothing more.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Lasagna Rollata al Forno

I could have taken Brian to the Olive Garden for his birthday earlier this month....but that wouldn't have been much fun!  Instead, I searched the web and Pinterest for lasagna roll-ups or lasagna rollata al forno and made a fantastic dinner at home.


Lasagna Rollata al Forno 
from Olive Garden


Cheese Sauce
2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups alfredo sauce
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup Italian blend cheese (I used the four cheese blend from Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup red wine

1 egg
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup asiago cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 Romano cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper

1 pound lasagna noodles (regular, NOT no boil)
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs


1.  Blend first two sauces together in a large saucepan.  Add ricotta, Italian blend cheese and wine and slowly heat on medium heat, stirring frequently (cheese will begin to melt and sauce will become creamy.  Keep warm.

2.  Set aside 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.  Beat egg in a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, blending well.  Keep refrigerated until you are ready to use.

3.  Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.  Drain and rinse in cold water so they are cool enough to handle.   

4.  When you are ready to assemble; pour 1/4 cup of marinara mixture on bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Divide filling amongst your pre-cooked noodles.  Lay one noodle on a flat surface (I use a clean dish towel) and spread with filling.  Slowly roll noodle up, jelly-roll style. 

5.  Continue to roll each noodle until filling is gone and arrange sideways (swirl facing up) in baking dish.  Cover each roll with the remaining sauce, the remaining cheese and top with breadcrumbs.

6.  Bake in a 350 for about 35-45 minutes (cheese will bubble up, but if it gets too brown, tent with tin-foil)

Picture courtesy of google images
Recipe courtesy of Celticevergreen on, but it's all over Pinterest and the Internet

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow: Fall Update!

About 4 weeks ago, I put in my fall garden.

I planted green onions, a variety of lettuce and broccoli.

So far with the warm temps, everything is doing exceptionally well.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Hawaiian lunch in the Park


Last week, I drove into the city and Chick and I had lunch at the Ira Keller Fountains.  It was the perfect opportunity to try one of the many Portland Food Carts in the city and one of the last really warm days of the summer.

Her office is very close to the IRA Keller fountains and there are numerous food carts and little cafes to tempt you.

We had a wonderful Hawaiian lunch...white rice, shredded chicken and a big scoop of macaroni salad.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: September 23-27, 2012

Welcome Monday!

Pop's heading up from Springfield for a visit and the Seahawks are playing on Monday night football.  Nothing says football like a big pot of chilli!  Here is the full menu for the week ahead.

Don't forget to visit Laura's site for more menu planning ideas.


Monday: Turkey Chili
Tuesday: Meatless Monday is on Tuesday!  Portobello Medallions Au Poivre with Green Beans
Wednesday:  Honey-Teriyaki Salmon with Jasmine Rice and Stir-Fry Veggies
Thursday: Out?  I might drive out to Canby to see an old friend

Friday, September 21, 2012

Old Photo Friday: All Aboard!

WHO: Stacy
WHAT: Having some fun
WHERE: Springfield, OR
WHEN: 1971

All Aboard!  I am heading out on the Amtrak train this evening!  I think it's in my blood!  Look, I even have the outfit to prove it.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Fettuccine with Tomato Cream Sauce

A few weeks ago, Chick left a recipe out for me to review.  She was craving pasta and asked me if I wouldn't mind trying this recipe out.  We both loved the light cream sauce, but thought that it could have used some chicken or sausage.  See what you think!


Fettuccine with Tomato Cream Sauce

8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
4 quarts boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup kalamatta olives
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, divided

Cook pasta according to directions in 4 quarts of water (add 1/4 teaspoon salt).  Cook pasta until al dente and reserve 1/4 cup pasta water before draining.

Heat medium saucepan over medium low heat.  Add oil to pan and heat while swirling to coat.  Add garlic and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add remaining salt and canned tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add pasta water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and add cream cheese, stirring until smooth.

Add olives and red pepper flakes and cooked pasta.  Cook 3-5 minutes or until pasta is reheated.

Divide pasta between 4 deep bowls and top with basil and cheese.

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light
Photo Courtesy of Moi; Not a bad food shot if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fire at Valley Isle in Maui

Brian and I were shocked and saddened to hear that our beloved Valley Isle Resort in Maui was damaged by fire over Labor Day weekend.  We've loved our adventures at this resort over the past 8  years.

The good news is that it did not do too much damage to any of the units, but the pool (and brand new pool/patio furniture) were damaged from smoke and water debris as was the front entrance and offices.  The fire started in the gym next door to the entrance of the resort.

I have not heard about the beautiful whale sculpture that adorned the front entrance or the three tiny turtles that lived in the pond near the elevators.  Luckily, no one was injured in the blaze.

 Our thoughts and prayers are with all our Valley Isle friends.

We will see you next September!


Stacy in front of whale sculpture - April 2011

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up: The Head and the Heart

Last Saturday night, Brian and I went to see the band The Head and The Heart at the Paramount Theatre. Opening the show were Curtains for You and Bryan John Appleby.

Before the show, we grabbed a bite and a beer/wine at Gordon Biersch.

We've never been to this pub in Seattle (Brian has been to their Las Vegas location and I've been to one in the SF bay area) but we knew the food/menu is consistent, great atmosphere and within walking distance of the Paramount.  It was a good choice!

It was a beautiful evening for a short walk around downtown Seattle.  Brian and I had a blast people watching and scoping out future date night adventures.

For 77 years, Washington residents and visitors have been entertained at Seattle’s magnificent Paramount Theatre.  During the “Roaring Twenties,” particularly before the first “talkies” were invented in 1927, vaudeville and silent movies were the dominant form of national and local entertainment. Seattle alone had more than 50 movie palaces, the finest grouped together on 2nd Avenue.  The theater originally opened March 1, 1928 as the Seattle Theatre with 3,000 seats.  It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in October 1974. It is also an official City of Seattle landmark.

The Head and the Heart

So many decisions in life and in the music we love can come down to a critical tug between the logic in our heads and the hot red blood beating through our hearts. Seattle’s The Head and the Heart live authentically in that crux, finding joy and beauty wedged there. Their music pulses effervescently—both explosively danceable and intuitively intelligent with Americana roots and strong vocal harmonics that swell like a river.

The Head and the Heart came together in the summer of 2009, during frequent visits to the open mic night at Conor Byrne in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.  Whether penning songs on the beach at Seattle’s Discovery Park, or working out melodies in the piano practice rooms at the Seattle Public Library, the early months of the band’s existence has been described as “sleepless and penniless, but inspired nonetheless.”

Their music is for people who unabashedly sing and drum along on the steering wheel, and also for those who appreciate a well-crafted collection of songs that build into something wholly beautiful.
There is in their music a counter-cultural optimism, with roots that grow deep and melodies that lodge themselves far into that place inside you where the head meets the heart.

Here is a YouTube video for your enjoyment!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Mid September (official end of summer)!

Welcome Monday!

There seems to be a noticeable nip in the air these days.  Mornings are cool and the sun is setting much much earlier.  Fall officially begins on Saturday.

Traffic has really picked up now that the kids are back in school.  That's why it's so nice to have a menu plan and have your shopping done so that you can be prepared if you are late arriving home.

Last week I brought out the last of some of our summer favorites and this week and next, I'll be digging out some fall classics.

How do you welcome fall?

Don't forget to check out Laura's great organizing site for more great ideas!


Monday: Cheeseburger Casserole with a Big Garden Salad
Tuesday: ODOT Rail Planning Open House (5-7).  Grabbing a burger afterwards HERE  
Wednesday: Taco Bar (Chicken)!
Thursday: Italian Sausage and Pepper Pasta

Friday, September 14, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Back to School, Brian!

WHO: Brian K. Lee
WHAT: First day of school?  Looks like new school clothes to me!
WHERE: 109 Tamara St., Newark, DE
WHEN: September 1966

It's back to school time and I found this picture which I believe was taken on Brian's first day of school, either first or second grade.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Cucumbers!

I didn't plant any this year, but I was inundated with fresh cucumbers from co-workings this summer.  Next year, I might even contemplate growing (I'd love to make some refrigerator pickles).

In the meantime, here are two classic summer cucumber salads.


Cucumber and Onion Salad
4 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin
1 small sweet yellow onion, sliced thin
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tablespoon dried dill

Toss together the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl.  Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and then pour over cucumbers and onions.  Stir in dill; cover and refrigerate until cool. 

Note:  This can also be eaten at room temperature, but make sure the mixture has set at least an hour.

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt and Mint 
Khyar Bi Laban

4 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin
1 Tablespoons salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh mint
1 1/2 pints plain yogurt (use Greek yogurt if possible)

Place cucumbers in a strainer and toss with salt.  Set aside.
Crush garlic and mash with mint using a mortal and pestle or a wooden spoon.  Combine yogurt with garlic mixture and stir well.  Fold in cucumber slices and chill for at least 1-2 hours.  This is best served cold.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up: Girls Weekend!

Last weekend Chick and I had our September girls weekend.  Tradition dictates that we we head down to NW 23rd for some retail therapy and lunch (wine) then chill at home, get caught up on soap operas and cook a nice Sunday dinner (BBQ Ribs).

Here are some more pictures from our weekend.



Jo Bar Burger

 Chocolate Truffle Cake from Papa Haydens

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: September 9-13th

Welcome Monday!

You can't see me right now, but I am stomping my feet and pouting like a 5 year old.  Why?  It's the end of summer.  I can feel it...and you can feel it.

As a result, I am trying to find light, summery recipes this week as a sort of Bon Voyage to summer.

Perhaps next week, I'll dust off the crockpot and find some Welcome to Fall recipes!?

How are you saying goodbye to summer?

Don't forget to stop by Laura's site for more recipe and organizing ideas!


Sunday:  BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Cole Slaw and Corn on the Cob (so long BBQ ribs)
Monday: Grilled Halibut with Green Chile, Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce with a Big Garden Salad
Tuesday: Feta Stuffed Chicken Burgers
Wednesday: Wine and H'ordouvres with part of the Savvy Cellar, duoFriend, Brent Harrison is in Portland
Thursday: Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce and Grilled Asparagus

Friday, September 7, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Girl's Weekend

WHO: Chick and Princess (otherwise known as Sandra and Stacy)
WHAT: I believe this is Thanksgiving weekend
WHERE: Seattle, WA (@ the Cones apartments)
WHEN: I'll say, 1981-82

It's Girl's Weekend in Portland starting today.  Let's put on our furs and PARTY!!!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Stuffed Zucchini

One of the stars of our garden this year was our yellow zucchini (before blossom rot struck and I had to pull it out).  Despite a set back, I still managed to harvest a few nice zucchini.

The key to growing zucchini is to pick it early and "dead-head" some from time to time....otherwise you'll be leaving zucchini on your neighbors doorstep after dark!

I picked up this recipe from blogger Jerry (who posts two to three awesome recipes a week).  Thanks, Jerry (but I've slightly amended his version a bit).


Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
Adapted from Jerry's Thoughts, Musings and Rants!


5 medium zucchini, (split 4 lengthwise with inside flesh removed; dice the extra for the filling)
1 1/2 cups Marinara sauce
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 diced zucchini 
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 pound hot Italian sausage (I buy links with casings removed, if you cannot find ground)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons shredded fresh basil (on top to garnish)


Preheat oven to 375.

Take prepared zucchini halves and place in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes.  After cooking, place zucchini halves in an ice bath or run under cold water to stop cooking process.

Place 1/2 cup Marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 12" baking dish, and place zucchini cut side up.

In a large saute pan, add olive oil and cook onion, bell pepper and diced zucchini over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from pan and set veggies aside.  In same pan, cook sausage until browned, breaking it up as you cook (about 5-8 minutes).

Add back in the veggies to the sausage and mix together.  Remove from heat and cool slightly (5 minutes), then add breadcrumbs and stir, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Using a spoon, fill each zucchini half with vegetable sausage mixture, pressing firmly.  Top each half with 2-3 tablespoons of Marinara.  Add 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese and 1/2 tablespoon of Parmesan.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and brown for 8-10; cheese should be melted and zucchini should be cooked through. Top with basil.

Picture courtesy of Google Images
Recipe courtesy of Jerry with slight changes here and there.  Thanks, Jerry!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Observations from my summer vacation

For the past few years I've been taking several days before Brian's birthday for vacation.  Since his birthday falls on or near Labor Day, it's the perfect time to make it an extra long weekend.

We always plan a few adventures for the week, but to be honest....just being together in the same house for 6 evenings and 7 days is enough of a vacation for me!

I accomplished a lot of very little.....I relaxed, I read, I slept, I cooked, I drank, I listened to music, I listened to my boyfriend, I napped with my cat, Sammy, I rode my bike (for the first time in 3 years), I sat in our garden and listened to the birds, I gardened, I cleaned, I shopped (I love Trader Joe's), I walked along the Edmond's shore, I baked cupcakes (and I am not much of a baker), I laid on the beach, I gambled (and lost $7), most of all...I spent time recharging my batteries and centering myself.

Here are some more photos of our amazing Summer vacation (the above photos are from our 6 mile Alki bike ride).

 Bon Voyage wine at Wilf's (at Portland train station) with Chick last Tuesday afternoon

Crossing the Columbia River (on train)

Art in Edmonds, WA

Lunch at Rory's in Edmonds

Brian playing with birthday present

Birthday decorations and cupcakes

 Birthday Boy with mum sent to him from my Mom and Kenny


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome September!

It's Brian's Birthday Month, it's the un-official/official end of summer and back to school time.  I bet everyone is super busy!  Welcome September!

I am back from my summer vacation in Seattle and slowing getting back to the weekly meal planning and prep.

It's one last summer BBQ (with Pop and Rosemary heading up from Eugene) and then we are hitting the light and health bandwagon again!

Remember to check out Laura's wonderful site for menus and recipe ideas!


Monday:  Labor Day!  BBQ with Beer Brats, Fresh Corn on the Cob and homemade salads
Tuesday: Grilled Polenta with Spicy Flat Iron Steak
Wednesday: Tilapia with Grilled Veggies and Jasmine Rice
Thursday: Taco Salad