Friday, November 30, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Ann and Allen Lee at Christmas

WHO: Ann and Allen Lee
WHAT: Christmastime
WHERE: Delaware (probably 109 Tamara Ave)
WHEN: Mid-1980's.

Brian's parents at Christmastime.  They are gone, but never forgotten especially at the holidays.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recipe of the Week: A Classic BLT

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwich is one of the most popular sandwiches in the world (second only to ham).  

The BLT evolved from the tea sandwiches served before 1900 at a similar time to the club sandwich, although it is unclear when the name BLT became the norm.

Although the ingredients of the BLT have existed for many years, there is little evidence of BLT sandwich recipes prior to 1900. In the 1903 Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book, a recipe for a club sandwich included bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and a slice of turkey sandwiched between two slices of bread.  The 1929 book Seven Hundred Sandwiches does include a section on bacon sandwiches, the recipes often include pickles and none contain tomato.
The BLT became popular after World War II because of the rapid expansion of supermarkets, which allowed ingredients to be available year-round. 
The initials, representing "bacon, lettuce, tomato", likely began in the American restaurant industry as shorthand for the sandwich, but it is unclear when this transferred to the public consciousness.

Classic B.L.T.

1/2 pound thick sliced applewood smoked bacon (about 8 slices)
1 head iceberg lettuce
2 large, ripe tomatoes
4 tablespoons Best Foods mayonnaise
8 slices bread (it's your preference)
Make it a BLT (A) - add a few slices of avocado (optional)

Cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels.  To assemble, toast bread then spread 1/2 tablespoon of mayonnaise on each piece of bread.  Arrange bacon (2 slices per sandwich), lettuce and tomatoes on bread.  Top with avocado (optional).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Washington County Oregon Wine Tasting 2012

 Pop @ Ardiri Vineyards

Once again this year, we set our sights on Washington County wineries and vineyards for our annual wine tasting road trip.

Tualatin Valley Estates

Believe it or not, we've been to at least two dozen wineries in Washington County over the past 10-12 years.  Some of them remain in existence today and some are long gone.  I decided to include some oldies, but goodies and two newbies to our trip this year.

One of my very favorite vineyards in Oregon is Willamette Valley Vineyards, 2011 vineyard of the year.  One of their off-shoots is located in Washington County.

Tualatin Estates Vineyard was established in 1973 and is one of the oldest and most respected vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley.  The name Tualatin originates from local indiginous people and means gentle and easy flowing (pretty much describes our group on Friday)!!

For $15, including a delicious cupcake and a Riedel wine glass to keep, we tried 9 Pinot Noirs.

One of the first wineries I found when I was researching this year's adventure was Ardiri Winery.

This was our second stop and the first time at this winery. 

Ardiri overlooks the Washington County countryside, with a beautiful terrace (I must remember this in summer) including a welcoming fireplace.  They call themselves a boutique vineyard and it shows in the quality of their wines and their tasting room.

Speaking of their tasting's brand new and extraordinary.  It boasts a poured black concrete bar with roll-up window/doors for an indoor/outdoor feel.

Our third stop was A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery located in Cornelius, OR.

It's one of the newest and probably tiniest vineyards in Washington County, but I loved the description of their Thanksgiving Day weekend celebrations which included a spread of fabulous hors d'ouvres, in a big room with a roaring fire and live music.  Yes, please!

The tasting room is basically their home (kitchen) and it was very inviting and warm.  We especially loved their mulled spice wine which is perfect for the holiday season.

Our last stop is a tradition and a treat for our Designated Driver, Brian.  Since Cooper Mountain Vineyards is literally out our back door, Brian enjoyed a glass of Pinot Noir before taking us back to Rebecca Lane.

Cooper Mountain always has a wonderful spread of food (loads of cheese for Brian), live music and a nice tasting menu.  This is their 30th anniversary of hosting a Thanksgiving Wine Tasting Weekend!

All in all a wonderful day of wine tasting.  In the Willamette Valley, there are close to 150 wineries that open their doors this weekend (and many more that only offer reservation tastings).  I would encourage everyone who loves wine to plan a trip to Oregon in November.  You won't be disappointed!


P.S. Brian and I took some lovely photos on my cell phone, but unfortunately my SD card was corrupted halfway through our wine tasting adventure and this was all we could salvage!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Last Week in November

How was Thanksgiving 2012?

I hope everyone had a wonderful time with friends and family.

We are moving right into Christmas....trimming the trees this evening and making our traditional Turkey Enchilladas.

Here is the rest of our week and remember to check out more great menu planning ideas HERE!


Sunday: Creamy Turkey Enchiladas with Salad
Monday: Grilled Hamburgers with Tater Tots
Tuesday: Spaghetti with Turkey Bolognase (freezer meal)
Wednesday: Rib Eye Steak with Half Baked Potato and Salad
Thursday: Southwestern Salad

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012

Our party started on Wednesday with everyone's arrival.  Wine flowed, music played, stories were told of Thanksgivings past and several games of Mexican train were played.

The "Chef" was in the house prepping, making Thanksgiving Day run extremely smooth.

We prepared an easy Italian feast, so I could spend most of my Wednesday afternoon in the kitchen prepping pies, vegetables, turkey giblets and appetizers for Thursday.

Thanksgiving Morning is always a bit hectic....timing is always an issue, but by the time the Champagne was one cared!  Chick set a beautiful table!

Dinner was served at 4PM and by 4:15.....everyone was stuffed.  Pie, anyone?

It was a wonderful family celebration!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Aunt Judy

WHO: Aunt Judy (I don't know who is with her holding cake)
WHAT: Birthday Celebration
WHERE: Probably Ohio
WHEN: Back of picture says 1982

Happy Birthday to my Aunt Judy in Ohio who celebrated a birthday on November 21st.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, For love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving History

I am really getting excited about dinner tomorrow! family arrives.  My sweetheart, Brian from Seattle and my parents and uncle from Eugene.  Our party starts this afternoon and won't end until bedtime on Sunday.

Our Thanksgiving celebrations are rich in history, but do we really know the true history of Thanksgiving.

Here are a few facts and figures to share around your dinner table.



  • In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly traced to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth, MA.  The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest.  
  •  The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.
  • Much like in Canada, Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on various dates throughout history. From the time of the Founding Fathers until the time of Lincoln, the date Thanksgiving was observed varied from state to state. 
  • The final Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century. 
  •  It was not until December 26, 1941, that the unified date changed to the fourth Thursday (and not always final) in November—this time by federal legislation.
  • Interestingly enough, in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to move the official Thanksgiving date to earlier in November in order encourage a longer Christmas shopping season as a Depression recovery strategy. His idea was shut down by Congress.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend Update: Bits and Pieces

We had a quiet, relaxing weekend with plenty of good home cooking, naps, movies and football.  I am still recovering from some sort of flu bug/tummy monster thing so...not a lot of energy.  I need to rest up...we've got a big week ahead!

Here are some random shots from not only this past weekend, but from the last 6 weeks or so.  Bits and pieces of whats been happening.


 Me and Uncle Steve - getting really excited to see him for Thanksgiving!

Chinatown in Seattle - this is where the Bolt Bus leaves from Seattle.  We need to explore this area more.  Looks like a lot of really good food around this part of town.

King Street Station - Seattle

Chick at Hilton - Downtown Portland.  We had cocktails last Sunday night.  Fun!

 Keikei Lahina posing for her PlayGirlCat centerfold.  She loves to help me make the bed!

Pinterest idea with the squash/gords inside the vase.  I love the look of fall.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Menu Plan Monday! THANKSGIVING!!

Welcome Monday and Welcome to Thanksgiving Week!  A week you say???  Heck yes, one day simply is not enough for this holiday!

We will be celebrating with family most of the week and into the weekend, including wine tastings and football games.  How will you celebrate this year?

Click on this link to see other wonderful menu plans!



Monday: Pick up Diestel Farms Fresh Free-Range Turkey (this year's will be close to 20 pounds)!!!  Dinner is Toasted Cheese Sandwiches and Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque
Tuesday: Grocery Shopping!  We did a lot of pre-shopping throughout October and November so I don't expect to get much more than our perishables!  Dinner is Garden Burgers and Tater Tots
Wednesday: Italian Night!  Pre-Thanksgiving Party starts early!  Lots of pre-cooking so we are cooking a Lasagna from Costco with Garlic Bread and Salad for an easy meal


Thanksgiving Menu
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Marcona Almonds
Aged Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Crackers
Dip and Vegetables
Champagne Mimosas
Roast Turkey & Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Classic Stuffing
Brussels Sprouts with Marjoram and Pine Nuts
Buttery Peas
Yams with Blue Cheese and Pecans
Relish Tray with Deviled Eggs and Black Olives
Cranberry Relish
Pumpkin Pie

Friday: Did someone say wine?  Oh yes....and a leftover holiday buffet.  Hot dinner sandwich, anyone?  Tons of leftovers!

Saturday:  FOOTBALL!  The Civil War....Oregon vs. Oregon State with a lot riding on this game.  Tons of appetizers from Pinterest...wienie rollups, Pinot Noir meatballs, cheese sticks with marinara, and a veggie tray!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Thanksgiving Favorites - Sweet Potatoes with Blue Cheese

Tradition dictates that we serve brussel spouts and peas for Thanksgiving dinner.  They've been favorites for many years, but this year I wanted to add one more vegetable dish.  I've been a huge fan of Nigella Lawson for years and I came across this recipe a few years ago which calls for butternut squash.  I switched it up to include the more hearty sweet potato.  


Sweet Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Pecans


2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
6 stalks of fresh thyme 
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted
1 cup crumbled blue cheese

  • Directions: 
  • Preheat oven to 425.  Place cubed potatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper also half of the fresh thyme, chopped.
  • Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender (not too soft and mushy).  
  • Once out of the oven, place the potatoes in serving dish and scatter pecans and blue cheese on top.  Gently toss everything together.  Check seasoning and garnish with remaining thyme stalks.

    Note:  This can be prepared up to 24 hours before baking.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before placing in oven to re-heat.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow? Abandoned!

I accidentally abandoned my garden a few weeks ago.

We had temps in the upper 70's until the second week in October....then the rains came one afternoon and haven't really stopped since.

I harvested one batch of green onions and most of my lettuce and then sorta forgot about the garden and let mother nature take over.

This past week (on a dry evening) I checked to see how the onions, lettuce and broccoli are getting along.

I picked another bath of green onions, the lettuce is going psycho and WE HAVE BROCCOLI!!

Maybe a hands off approach to gardening is the key!?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Mid November!

Happy Monday!

Hey folks!  Just a week away from the big day.....TURKEY DAY!  How is your menu shaping up?

This week we are avoiding poultry and anything Thanksgiving Day-esque like the plague!  In fact, we are grabbing a bite out a couple of nights this week.

How are you preparing for the holiday!?

For more meal planning tips, check out Laura's site!


Sunday: Drinks/appetizers downtown Portland.  I am coming home from Seattle on the Bolt Bus
Monday: Acorn Squash with Chili Rubbed Pork Chops
Tuesday: The Leaky Roof for Drinks and Dinner
Wednesday: Weight Watchers Turkey Chili
Thursday: Thai Beef Salad

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Goodbye, Tree

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree. 

 - Joyce Kilmer

We had funeral for our tree this past week and on Thursday, they came and chopped her down.  We will miss her, but she was full of disease.  There is a hole in our yard and in our hearts...but soon, we will plant a new tree and the circle of life will continue.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Old Photo Friday: 1970's Thanksgiving

 WHO: Grandma Virginia at the head of the table with Grandpa Ralph (R), Donna Dahl, Toby Dahl (in white shirt) and Uncle Bud at end of table
WHAT: The Meal
WHERE: Dinner at Aunt Pat's
WHEN: Thanksgiving late 1970's

WHO: Aunt Pat, Sten, Candy, Toby and Donna Dahl, Uncle Mickey, Uncle Bud, Mike, Mom
WHAT: The Game
WHERE: Aunt Pat and Uncle Bud's
WHEN: Late 1970's

Every year, Thanksgiving was spent at Aunt Pat and Uncle Bud's house.  It was a large gathering, sometimes 15+ and while everyone loved the meal, the main purpose of the day was the card game after dinner, which sometimes lasted long into the night.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Thanksgiving Favorites - Stuffing or Dressing?!

Last week, I shared with you a wonderful potato dish and this week...we tackle stuffing or as they call it in the south, dressing.

Do you know the history of the two?

It is not known when stuffings were first used. The earliest documentary evidence is the Roman Cookbook, Apicus De Re Coquinaria, which contains recipes for stuffed chicken, hare, and pig.  Most of the stuffings described consist of vegetables, herbs and spices and some contained spelt (an old cereal).  Frequently they contain chopped liver, brains and other organ meats.  
Names for stuffing include 'farce' (~1390), 'stuffing' (1538), 'forcemeat' (1688), and 'dressing'.  After 1880, it seems the term stuffing did not appeal to the propriety of the Victorian upper crust, who began referring to it as dressing.  Nowadays, the terms stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably, with stuffing being the term of preference in the South and East portions of the United States.

Whatever you call it in your home....enjoy!


Classic Thanksgiving Stuffing 

2 cups day-old breadcrumbs (use stale bread cut into 1 inch pieces)
2 cups crumbled cornbread muffins
2 cups crumbled biscuits (find some pre-packaged biscuits and let sit out over night)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
sage, salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1-2 cups chicken broth (I use fresh giblet juice from my turkey innards)

Preheat oven to 375.  In a very large mixing bowl (I use my turkey roasting pan), combine bread crumbs, cornbread, biscuits, onion, celery, green onions and parsley.  Season with spices (I like to taste it once it is all mixed together).  

Add butter, egg and begin adding broth 1/2 cup at a time.  Begin to mix together (add enough broth to make it moist but not too much or your stuffing will be soggy).  Make sure it is adequately seasoned before placing in well greased baking dish.  

Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown.  

Note:  This can be made one day ahead.  Please let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.  This recipe makes 8 (1/2) cup servings 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up: Sandy's Derailed Plans!

 The Boss with Billy Joel

I was supposed to be enjoying lunch along the Chicago River last Friday, followed by an 18 hour train ride into Washington, D.C for a weekend meeting. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, our semi-annual conference was cancelled last Wednesday.  We will meet again next April and most likely in DC.

I just love Jon Bon Jovi!

Sting sings "Message in a Bottle"
Instead, the Bronze Goddess and I took a last minute trip up to Seattle on Friday for a weekend adventure with Brian and Sammy.

 Crab Cakes with Pike Place Market Smoked Tartar Sauce and Caesar Salad with Green Apple

Brian worked Friday night.  I watched the Sandy Hurricane/Red Cross Telethon.  I cried. I texted a  $10 donation.  I cried some more.  I drank some Chardonnay and made Crab Cakes with Caesar Salad.  I was so grateful for my warm house, new pajamas and home cooked meals.  My heart aches for the incredible suffering.

Potato Works @ Circa

Saturday, I was craving Circa's yummy potato works, so we squeezed in breakfast on Saturday before Brian launched our website. Does anyone need study materials for Series 66 or 63???

 Brian's Deer Park Nachos!  Thank you Delaware!

Then on Saturday night, after college football, movies, cooking shows and a nap with Sammy....Brian made a big plate of Deer Park Nachos.

Do you think I eat when I am grateful!?



Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween at Rebecca Lane

Last Wednesday night, Chick and I celebrated Halloween at Rebecca Lane.

Tradition dictates that we dress up in costume (this year I was a wild cat and Chick was a construction worker), pass out candy, listen to a mix of Halloween music, drink some Chardonnay and make homemade pizza.

Fortunately, the weather was dry between 6-9 so we had quite the turn-out, 65 beggars in total!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome November!

Welcome Monday from beautiful Washington, D.C. our Nation' s Capitol!  (NOT)!  Thanks to Sandy, my trip was cancelled last Tuesday evening!

I'll be flying home Monday evening so a short week of cooking at Rebecca LaneSince I am not flying in from anywhere, it's unlikely that I will be granted a night off in the kitchen!

Here is what I have re-planned for the week ahead!

Don't forget to check out Laura's site for more menu planning ideas!


Monday: Yellow Curry Thai Tilapia over Jasmine Rice with Asian Vegetables
Tuesday:  Weight Watchers Greek Stuffed Peppers

Wednesday: Grilled Skirt Steak with Potato-Parsnip Puree and a Garden Salad

Thursday: Grilled Chicken Thighs with Leftover Salad and Acorn Squash

Friday, November 2, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Travel

Who: Stacy, Sandra, Gerine (cousin) and Mom
What: Swimming at Grandpa Jim and Grandma June's pool
Where: Bothell, WA
When: Summer 1974

I was supposed to be traveling today, but Sandy cancelled my plans.  It got me thinking about all the traveling I have done in my life.  Some of my most fondest memories were the trips close to home with family.  I remember wanting nothing more than to spend hours upon hours in this pool.  I remember the bubble I wore around my back that kept me afloat and I remember that orange and yellow bathing suit.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Thanksgiving Favorites - Potatoes!

We are all really looking forward to a big family Thanksgiving this year!  My Pop and Rosemary are coming up from Eugene, along with uncle, Steve and Brian heads down from Seattle.

The entire month of November, I'll be posting some classic Thanksgiving recipes to consider for your holiday meal this year.

Who doesn't love mashed potatoes!?


Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds baking potatoes
2 (3 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) container of sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp white pepper

Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Cook in medium saucepan in boiling water for 15-20 minutes or until tender.  Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add cream cheese, sour cream, butter and milk to potatoes and beat at a medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy (do not over beat).  Season with onion powder and white pepper.

Spoon into a lightly greased 3 quart baking dish and bake covered in a 325 degree oven for 40-50 minutes or until thoroughly heated (alternatively, you could keep warm in a crockpot).

Note:  Unbaked mashed potatoes can be prepared and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.