Tuesday, July 31, 2012


 I am completely obsessed with the Olympics!

We watched the amazing wonderful opening ceremonies on Friday night and I spent the entire weekend watching beach volleyball, cycling, synchronized diving, swimming and gymnastics.  16 days of glory await the world!

Here is some Olympic trivia.


  • The London 2012 mascots are Wenlock and Mandevelle.  Wenlock is named after Much Wenlock, the Shropshire town that inspired Pierre de Courbertin to launch the modern Olympics.  Mandevelle is names after the town of Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire where the Paralympics were founded.
  • London is the first city to host the Modern Olympic games three times.
  • There are 26 sporting events in London compared with 17 in 1948 (the last time London hosted the games.
  • Women's boxing is making it's Olympic debut.
  • The first Opening Ceremonies were held in 1908 (again in London).
  • Because of World War I and World War II, there were no Olympics held in 1916, 1940 or 1944.
  • Great Britain is the only nation to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer games.
 What is your favorite event?

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Chick and I took advantage of another Broadway in Portland musical last Thursday night and saw the Broadway smash Jersey Boys.

The musical opened on Broadway in 2005, and has since had a North American National Tour, along with productions in London's West End, Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney and Philadelphia. Jersey Boys won four 2006 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

The story dramatizes the forming, rise and eventual break-up of the original four members of The Four Seasons. The musical is separated into four "seasons", each narrated by a different member of the band. Act 1 comprises Spring (Tommy DeVito); Summer (Bob Gaudio); Act 2 comprises Fall (Nick Massi); Winter (Frankie Valli); each member has a different perspective on the band and his contribution to it.

Fabulous stage presentation and music that you can't stop singing along too.

Pre-show cocktails and appetizers at Morton's of Chicago.  A fabulous evening!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: End of July!

Welcome Monday!

How was the weekend?  We ate and drank like Olympic Champions all weekend long.  I feel like a Brit!

Back to reality and this awesome low-fat, low calorie, healthy menu!

For more recipe, menu and organizing ideas, please visit Laura's site http://orgjunkie.com/


Monday: Pulled Pork Sandwich with Homemade Slaw (I'll cook this in crockpot on Sunday)
Tuesday: Salmon Cakes with Mixed Greens
Wednesday: Grilled Polenta with Spicy Flat Iron Steak and a tossed salad (I'll use flat iron cuz I love it)
Thursday: Making some homemade pesto from basil in garden and marinating some chicken thighs

Saturday, July 28, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow? Three Month Check!

I never imagined that this year's garden would be as good as last year.  We've already harvested carrots and several yellow zucchini.

Finally, the basil is taking off and I've used it in several recipes.  My hope is that I'll have enough for a few batches of pesto later in the year.

Garlic....oh boy!  If I knew how time consuming the harvest would be I would have planted something easier.  I had no idea that it needs to dry and cure for months before use.

My tomatoes are finally growing! They are a good 30 days plus away from harvest, although the cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen..


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Olympics Party!

The Opening Ceremonies for the London Summer Olympics begin tomorrow so we are throwing a little weekend long London celebration!

I can't wait to see the Royal Family, all the sights and sounds of London and some amazing Olympic competition!  USA! USA! USA!

We will be glued to the TV all weekend long!

Below, I've listed our weekend menu and hyper-linked some of my favorite English recipes!


Opening Ceremony Soiree
Sausage Rolls
Thyme, Onion and Gruyere Tart with Mixed green salad

Scottish Shortbread and other assorted English biscuits (cookies) - dessert
Saturday Breakfast:
Traditional "English Breakfast" with Bangers and Eggs and Toasted English Muffins
Lunch: Hopefully left over tart and rolls from Friday night!

Saturday Night Dinner:  
Hornsby's Hard Cider on ice
Beer Battered Fish and Chips
Spotted Dick Pudding (dessert)

Sunday Breakfast:
Scones with fresh strawberries and cream; scrambled eggs with fresh dill

Sunday "tea":

Traditional English Pub Lunch (Ploughman's Lunch); apples, bread, pate and cold cuts, cheese, Brantson pickle and hard boiled eggs

Sunday Supper: 

Chicken Tikka Masala with Nan Bread and Basmati Rice (Indian food is a staple amongst Londoners)
Classic Lemon Pudding (remember a pudding is not like Jello, its a light spongy cake) with Devonshire Cream

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

West Seattle Weekend Update: We Love a Parade!

 Last Saturday was the annual Hi-Yu Festival Parade, right down California Avenue in West Seattle.

It was the first time Brian and I have attended the parade and it was a blast.

It's great to get out and support your community!

There were quite a few bands, drill teams, local businesses and two floats.

Congratulations to the city of West Seattle for putting on such a great event.

The Chinese Community Girls Drill Team (above) took second place overall in Saturday's parade.  I thought they were amazing!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Photos from San Diego

Just a few pictures from my business trip to San Diego last Thursday/Friday.  It was a less than 24 hour trip with not a lot of "play" time.  Here are a few random shots.

Southwest Airlines to San Diego via Oakland (making it a longer than normal flight).  Interesting fact...San Diego Airport has just one runway, it's incredibly small for the size of the area.

I love palm trees.  They totally fascinate me!  I took this shot just outside the airport right after we landed.

We stayed in the oldest hotel in downtown San Diego, the U.S. Grant.   The hotel was built by Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., son of president Ulysses S. Grant, who named the hotel after his father. Grant bought the Horton House Hotel and demolished it to construct the current hotel in 1910.  

My room with a view

The Hotel's signature restaurant is the Grant Grill, which opened in 1952. It became a power-lunch spot for downtown businessmen and politicians, so much so that "ladies" were not permitted in the restaurant after 3 PM. In 1969 a group of prominent local women staged a sit-in which resulted in the restaurant abandoning its men-only policy.

Right across the street from the hotel was a pub called The Local Eatery and Drinking Hole.  It was Thursday night and the place was packed with locals.  They had a fairly impressive menu, including a BIG 1/2 pound burger that I ordered to go and ate in my hotel bathrobe.

Friday's meetings were held on the 17th floor of a building fairly close to the U.S. Grant Hotel.  I had just 3 minutes outside all day as the meetings were back-to-back-to-back (including lunch).

This was my last shot on the way to the airport.  The beautiful San Diego Harbor!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: July 23-27

Happy Monday to All!

An amazing week ahead!  On Thursday we are having drinks and appetizers on our way to see "The Jersey Boys".  Way cool!  Friday night is the kick off of the London Summer Olympics.  Is anyone else Olympic crazy??

I've designed this week's menu out of our freezer.  It's time for a clean out and last week's grocery bill was a bit high.  For more menu and organizing ideas, check out Laura's site.


Monday: Turkey Burgers (from Trader Joe's) with Tater Tots/French Fries
Tuesday: Pot Stickers with Jasmine Rice and Stir-Fry Veggies (yellow zucchini from our garden)
Wednesday: Meatloaf with Yukon-Gold Mashed Potatoes and a Garden Salad
Thursday:  Drinks and Appetizers at Morton's of Chicago!  Jersey Boys at 7:30!
Friday:  Olympic Opening Ceremony Soiree!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Ken Lee

WHO: Allen Kenneth Lee (Brian's oldest brother)
WHERE: I see water of some sort in the background and a Cruiser/Sightseeing ship?
WHEN: July 1958; Ken's third Birthday

Happy Birthday to Brian's brother, Ken who turns 57 on Monday!


San Diego

 Stacy sailing to Coronado/San Diego Harbor 
September 2007

Good Morning, San Diego!

I arrived last night and will be flying out this evening so I probably won't see much (pictures, if any to follow next week).  I am so grateful that Brian and I visited San Diego back in 2007.  This old photo was taken on our way to Coronado.

As always, I like to post a bit of history/trivia.


1.  San Diego is the birthplace of California. The first European exploration of the West Coast was by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator sailing for Spain, who landed in San Diego on September 28, 1542.

2.   San Diego County has the most missions in the state, with four in all: Mission San Diego de Alcala, Mission San Luis Rey, Mission San Antonio de Pala and Mission Santa Ysabel.

3.   The first person to drive over the landmark San Diego-Coronado bridge, which opened in 1969 connecting downtown San Diego with Coronado, was Ronald Reagan.

4.  The Hotel Del Coronado has hosted ten United States presidents, including the first state dinner held outside the White House in 1970. The resort also unveiled the world’s first electrically lighted, outdoor Christmas tree in 1904.

5.   San Diego has hosted two World's Fairs, the Panama-California Exposition in 1915 and the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935.  The expositions left a lasting legacy in the form of Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and popularizing Mission Revival Style and the Spanish Colonial Revival Style of architecture locally and throughout Southern California as a regional aesthetic, and influencing design in the nation.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Recipe of the Week: British History Month - Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala is the world’s most popular Indian restaurant dish, according to Cook’s Illustrated.  Supposedly, the dish was first created by a quick-thinking Bangladeshi chef at a London curry house. When a diner complained about a plate of chicken tikka that had been left in the tandoor oven too long, the chef combined canned tomato soup with cream, added a few Indian spices, and poured it over the dried-out tikka.

The dish became so popular in Britain that former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook once claimed it had displaced Yorkshire pudding and fish and chips as the “true national dish.”

In honor of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic Games this month, here is this week's recipe.


Chicken Tikka Masala


1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp table salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
Masala Sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1-1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chili, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp garam masala
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

For the chicken: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, ginger;
set aside.

For the sauce: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chili, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve. Serve with basmati rice. Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious
Image courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

West Seattle Weekend Wrap Up: West Seattle Festival and Lake Morton

A busy and full weekend!

I got the summer decorations out in honor of the annual West Seattle Summer Festival.   This year the festival celebrated 30 years!
Random street musician

Tons of art/crafts, food, beer/wine and music.  Brian and I walked around a bit....and listened to Rat City Brass, one of my favorite local bands. 

In the afternoon, we headed out to Lake Morton to see some good friends.

It was a beautiful afternoon by the lake!

Dinner was prepared by a personal chef and it was amazing....Asian flat iron steak, rice pilaf and mango salad.

No summer BBQ is complete without a fire and a ton of s'mores.

Did I mention the "girl's" dyed their hair PINK!  I didn't, but I took some great photos of the fun times.

Thanks to the Lake Morton gang for a wonderful evening!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Mid July!

Welcome Monday and welcome Mid July!

I can't believe it...but this morning all the Back to School ads started appearing in our paper and summer just began less than a month ago!?  It seems like summer is going by faster than usual!

A busy week this week.  Brian is in town teaching and on Thursday, I head down to San Diego for a one day business trip.  For more great menu planning ideas, check out Laura's site.


Sunday: BBQ Baby Back Ribs (someone has been requesting for weeks) Cole Slaw and Corn on the Cob

Monday: Fish Tacos
Tuesday: Grilled Sirloins with Roasted Beet Salad
Wednesday: Caprese Chicken with Salad
Thursday: Fly out to San Diego, CA

Friday, July 13, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Summer Fishin'

WHO: Steven R. Suter; we just call him Roonie
WHAT: Showing off his catch of the day!
WHERE: Camping; someplace in Oregon
WHEN: He looks to be about 4-5 so I'll say 1965/66

It's summer!  Remembering all the good times and the enjoyment the outdoors brought our family for many many years.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recipe of the Week: British History Month - Steamed Lemon Pudding

In honor of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (June) and the London Olympic games later this month, I've decided to spotlight some British cuisine in July and continue through the Olympic Closing Ceremonies on August 12th.

In the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth countries, pudding refers to rich, fairly homogeneous starch or dairy based dessert such as rice pudding and Christmas pudding.  The word pudding is believed to come from the French boudin, originally from the Latin botellus, meaning "small sausage," referring to encased meats used in Medieval European puddings.

The original pudding was formed by mixing various ingredients with a grain product or other binder such as butter, flour, eggs and suet, resulting in a solid mass. These puddings were then baked, steamed or boiled. Boiled pudding was a common main course aboard ships in the Royal Navy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The second and newer type of pudding is creamy and consists primarily of sugar and milk and some form of a thickening agent such as cornstarch, gelatin, or tapioca to create a sweet, creamy dessert.  This pudding terminology is common in North America and some European countries such as the Netherlands, whilst in Britain egg-thickened puddings are considered custards.


Steamed Lemon Pudding


Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup skim milk
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
Seasonal berries, for serving (optional)
Whipped cream or Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)


  1. Preheat 350 degrees. Spray six 6-ounce ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Place ramekins in a small roasting pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. In a second bowl, whisk together egg yolks and butter until well combined. Whisk in milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour egg yolk mixture into sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into sugar mixture. Pour batter into prepared ramekins and add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  4. Carefully transfer to oven and bake until puffy and golden on top, about 35 minutes. Using tongs, transfer ramekins to a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Serve cakes in ramekins or run a knife around the edge of each cake and unmold onto serving plates. Serve warm or at room temperature with berries, if desired.

    Recipe courtesy of :  Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, author of "Good Food to Share,"
    Image courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pizza Pizza!

A few weeks ago, we tried one of Portland's best pizza places, Apizza Scholls.

Voted year after year as the most perfect pie in Portland, Apizza scholls, is described as classic New York Style pizza. 

Owner Brian Spangler, had an epiphany on a pizza eating trip to New York.  He noticed each NYC pizzeria he visited had its own spin, but the common theme was to keep it simple and back it hot and fast.  He bought a monster double decker electric oven (still in use today) and set to work on creating the prototype for the pizza that has people lined up each day at the restaurant's home since 2005: two storefronts on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard.

In all honesty, New York Style pizza just isn't my thing, but Brian and our friends raved about the pies. 

If you go....take your patience and your wallet.  Weekends are super super busy (we waited 30-45 minutes on a Wednesday night).   Pies range from plain ($19) to more gourmet ($25).  Pies are huge....brings friends (we split 2 pies between 4 people and each had a doggie bag to take home)!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: July 9-12, 2012

Welcome Monday!

A bit of this and a bit of that this week.

Tuesday is Baseball's All Star Game from Kansas City, MO so burgers on the grill for dinner.

I've been BBQ-ing most of our fish recipes...adapting them to cook on a piece of tin foil which is very easy.

What's new on your menu this week?  Check out Laura's website for more menu planning ideas


Monday: Ginger-Steamed Cod (I cook on BBQ) with Brown Rice and Asian Veggies
Tuesday: All Star Game!  Blue Cheese Chicken Burgers
Wednesday: Pasta with Shrimp
Thursday:  Chicken Breast Sauted in Puttanesca-Style Sauce with Garlic Green Beans and a Caprese Salad

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Photos from July 4, 2012

We had a quiet, but productive 4th of July holiday.

We spend part of Tuesday evening and a few hours Wednesday morning spreading bark dust at Rebecca Lane.

We had plenty of time for some awesome food, wine and the celebration of AMERICA!

Here are some photos from the holiday!


Our food was awesome.....everything from Martha Stewart egg and bacon cups to Old Bay peel n' eat shrimp

We honestly thought the bark dust project would take all day on the 3rd and 4th.  We worked really hard and finished the front yard in 3 hours and the back yard in 2. Chicks, Rule!

Time to relax and enjoy the day!