Sunday, December 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome to the New Year!

5......4.....3......2......1

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  HAPPY MONDAY!

This is our last menu post for 2012.  Welcome 2013.  Remember to check out the Organizing Junkie for more great planning ideas

What are your New Year's plan?

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday: Post Holiday dinner with friends

New Year's Eve:  Heading out to Snoqualmie Casino, then home for Turkey Pot Pie.
New Year's Day: Back to Portland (early)!  Bowl games and appetizers!
Wednesday: Roasted Cod with Jasmine Rice and Asian Vegetables (taking down Christmas Trees)
Thursday: Oregon vs. Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl!  Nachos or a Pizza @ Halftime!
Friday: Beef Stew in the CrockPot - Nothing says Friday like having dinner done when you get home!
Saturday: Chick's Birthday!  Girls day, then dinner out at DeCarli



Friday, December 28, 2012

West Seattle Christmas Wrap-Up!


We had the merriest day in West Seattle last Tuesday!

Christmas Day morning started with an hour in front of our tree and Dicken's Christmas Village with hot egg nog lattes and softly playing Christmas music.

First is always our Christmas stockings.....filled to the brim!

After stockings we had Brian's famous Christmas Quiches with fresh fruit.  A wonderful Christmas Tradition that Brian makes the day before.

We threw the dishes in the sink and dove into the tree!  We took our time to savor each present!


In the end, we were both spoiled as usual and the morning drifted into the afternoon!

There were naps, nibbles, Christmas movies and plenty of time to read our new books (Bruce, but Peter Ames Carlin and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand), all before dinner prep.


Brian was head chef this year, preparing both the garlic mashed potatoes and the Italian green beans.  My job was our beautiful filet of beef along side shallot, bacon and port wine gravy with crescent rolls.


MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012!  I hope you enjoyed your day as much as we did!

Enjoy!
Stacy

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Year-End Wrap-Up!

Brian making homemade manicotti

It's hard to believe that 2012 is almost over.  How many new recipes did you try this year? What culinary adventures did you enjoy this year?  Looking back....we ate from shore to shore (Maui too) and tried a few new recipes at home.

Here are some of my favorite and most popular food/recipe posts from 2012.  I think it was almost better than 2011!!

May you have an enjoyable and safe New Year's celebration and may 2013 bring to your heart and home much love, comfort and blessings.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Best Meal 2012:  My lunch at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.  Hands down some of the best seared scallops I have ever had in my life.  The setting was beautiful and even though I dined alone, I felt truly comfortable by the beautiful atmosphere.


Best Geographic Culinary Experience 2012 (It's a TIE): Dinner at Longhi's in Maui.  Of all the places that we eaten over the past 5 visits, our dinner at Longhi's this past April was one of the best (once again, I had scallops).



And....

Soft Shelled Crabs in Maryland.  I picked the most perfect time to have a work conference in Baltimore (the peak season for soft shelled crabs is May).


Honorable mention goes to:  Moseberth's Chicken in Portsmouth, Virginia (Clayton's had you beat on the hush puppies, but your chicken was awesome).


Best Dining Experience 2012: Our 8th anniversary dinner at Assagio in downtown Seattle.  We got greeted and kissed by the owner and when we left, he took our picture (did I mention the food was awesome).

Best New Recipe: Grilled Polenta with Spicy Flat Iron Steak (I made this four times in 2012 and it was better each and every time).

As you can see....we eat well, travel well and love well!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

ArtsWest Performance of "The Winter Wonderettes"



Last Sunday night, Brian and I caught the matinee performance of West Seattle's ArtsWest holiday musical, The Winter Wonderettes.


This is the fourth year in a row that Brian and I have attended an ArtsWest Performance.  We love supporting our community and all of the performances to date have been very entertaining.


The story is set in 1968, centered around an all-girls group performing at a local hardware store Christmas party. The sequel to the Marvelous Wonderettes, the Winter Wonderettes picks up a few months after the Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Suzy and Missy reprised their 1958 prom appearance with a 1968 return concert. 

As the Marvelous Wonderettes, they had charmed everyone a decade earlier, but post-graduation they went down some divergent paths. Despite a few moments of friction, they remained BFFs (best friends forever).



As always, the ArtsWest set is simple and basic, but creative.  The fantasy hardware store set has lots of holiday details — illuminated candy canes, plastic candles, tinsel, a fake fireplace and a  Christmas tree.  But the singing is the real entertainment of the afternoon!

In the second act Brian (aka Bill, Husband of Missy) made his Arts West Stage debut!  He was a good sport and played along.  It was hillarious!


A wonderful holiday tradition!

Enjoy!
Stacy 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Saturday before Christmas in Seattle


One of our traditions each year is an afternoon in downtown Seattle to celebrate the sights and sounds of Christmas in the city.


Last Saturday, we visited a few of our old haunts, window shopped, ate lunch and celebrated with a Christmas cocktail at PF Chang's at Westlake Center.



Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: The Christmas Edition!


Welcome Monday from Seattle!

It's Christmas Vacation until January 2nd and I am super excited to be cooking in the West Seattle kitchen this week!

Here is our menu plan for the week ahead!  Remember to check out Laura's site for more menu and organizing ideas.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday: 3PM ArtsWest Performance of The Winter Wonderettes; dinner follows at Shadowland
Christmas Eve: Vegetarian Lasagna with Garlic Bread; for dessert, Brian makes his famous Creme de Menthe Parfaits for dessert. Walking up to The Beveridge Place for some merriment!
Christmas Day Morning: Quiche Lorraine, Broccoli/Cheddar Quiche with Fruit Salad
Christmas Day: Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Italian Green Beans
Wednesday: Movie Day!  Going downtown to see a show! Drinks and Appetizers HERE!
Thursday: Grilled Cheese and Amy's Chunky Tomato Soup! or Leftovers!?
Friday:  Brian's working so I'll set up Taco Night!  A taco bar with all our favorites!
Saturday: Roasted Turkey Breast with Stuffing and Buttery Peas (second Christmas type dinner since you can never get enough turkey).  Bowl games and relaxation!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Time is Here....




It's been a crazy busy time around our house this holiday season!

Keikei Lahaina and Blondie Valentine


No sooner did we discard the turkey carcass the day after Thanksgiving, when it was time to get out the Christmas decorations.


Thankfully, we had Uncle Steve to help us with the two dear, eat up a ginormous pan of turkey enchilladas and enjoy the start of the Christmas Season!

Now, an entire month has passed!  Why does the holiday season go by so fast!?


Most enjoyable this year are the lights around the outside of the house.  Chick and Brian put those up on Thanksgiving Day and luckily there was just enough dry weather to finish the job, add the bush lights and the deer the weekend after Thanksgiving.


This past month has been filled with nightly Christmas carols, hot buttered rums, cold Chardonnay, a neighborhood of lights on almost every house, a gathering of neighborhood  ladies at Kaye's house (15+) for appetizers and wine, Christmas wrapping sessions, Christmas movies and variety specials and a house filled with new and old Christmas decorations.


Last Wednesday, Chick and I celebrated our Christmas together, exchanging presents, drinking wine and celebrating the season!

We love spoiling each other and it showed...it took us three hours to get through our stockings and presents!

 Chick and her new Dustbuster!

I feel extremely lucky to be able to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season when there has been so much pain and darkness in the world. 

May peace, love and joy find its way into your home this holiday season. 

Enjoy!
Stacy

Friday, December 21, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Pop!

WHO: My Pop (aka Diamond Jim Brady)
WHAT: Visiting Crater Lake
WHEN: Summer 1965 (age 21)

Happy Birthday to my Pop who turns 69 on December 22nd.

I love you!

Stacy

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recipe of the Week: CrockPot Creme Brulee French Toast

As you all know, I really love my crockpot and posted a month's worth of recipes in Crocktober (October).

I heard about this recipe on TV through Crockpot, The Official Crockpot but could never find the recipe link.  Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens for the recipe.

It not only sounds awesome, but I think it would make a great Christmas Morning breakfast.

Enjoy!  Stacy



Creme Brulee French Toast

Ingredients:

12 ounces of Jewish Challah Bread (you can find in any local bakery); cubed or torn apart
4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
caramel ice cream topping

Directions:

Place cubed bread into slow cooker.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt.  

Pour mixture over bread cubes and press bread down with a wooden spoon to make sure all the bread is saturated.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator 4-24 hours.  Remove from refrigerator and cook on low setting for 7-8 hours (start this before you go to bed Christmas Eve).

Slice french toast (scoop out) and top with warm caramel topping.   
     

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Michael Allen Harrison at The Old Church

Portland's Christmas Tree @ Pioneer Square

Chick and I are always looking for fun events to take-in around the holidays.


For many years (like over 20), local pianist, Michael Allen Harrison has been putting on a Christmas performance at the Old Church in Portland and last Monday, we went to the 7:30 evening performance.


Michael's unique and beautiful arrangements to holiday classics were just what we needed to put us more in the holiday spirit.

In addition to his wonderful band, Michael's guests this year included Julianne Johnson and American Idol Top 24 contestant, Hailey Johnson, of Beaverton, along with two (twins) twelve year-old girls....complete virtuosos, songwriters, pianist and singers.  Chick and I watched them sing with our mouths open in awe! Songs included traditional hymns and rocking classics.

The Old Church is a beautiful place.  The cornerstones were laid on September 11, 1882.  The pipe organ, a gift from the Ladd Family was the first pipe organ in Portland.  Over the years, many different religions have held services.  In 1967, in need of renovation and right before a wrecking ball was to demolish her, the Portland Beatification Association (and $100 donation) rescued the historical landmark.


Before the show, we checked out Saucebox for Happy Hour. 


In 1995, Saucebox was conceived.  Founder Bruce Carey and Christopher Israel opened Saucebox pioneering Portland’s Dee-Jay CafĂ© movement with equal emphasis on food, service and vibe.


They have an excellent Happy Hour with drinks (starting at $5) and snacks ranging from $1-$5.

We enjoyed the following:
The Boxcar: brandy, triple sec and citrus juices, served with a sugar rim - $5
Green Dragon: house-infused cucumber vodka, cranberry vodka and lemon-lime - $8
Crispy Brussels Sprouts in a dashi broth, slow poached egg and scallions - $3
Sweet Potato Spring Rolls with red leaf lettuce, mint and sweet chilli sauce - $4
Saucebox Burger with Tillamook cheese, daikon coleslaw and peppered bacon - $5
Spicy Tuna Handroll - $5


Enjoy!
Stacy


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Week-end Wrap Up: West Seattle Christmas Tree

Last weekend, with our little boy sick, Brian and I could not imagine decorating a Christmas Tree, but with Sammy slowly getting better we decided to finish decorating our home for the holidays.


Naughty Mendel drinking a hot buttered rum!

For the past few years, we've found beautiful fresh trees at Home Depot.

 Our Dicken's Village is set up!

It's not exactly a hot chocolate horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow in search of a fresh tree to cut down (all while singing Christmas carols)....but they are cheap and fresh and 3 miles from the house!

In the end......


Simply Beautiful!

Enjoy!
Stacy

Monday, December 17, 2012

Top 5 Non-Traditional Christmas Carols


Sure....I love Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Nat King Cole, but don't you get tired of hearing "White Christmas" 268 times between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day?

Here are my Top 5 non-traditional Christmas Carols for your enjoyment this holiday season.

Give them a listen!

Merry Christmas!
Stacy

#5
"Joy" by Tracey Thorn



Thorn has a unique, smoky voice, expressive and poised and cozily English all at once-- a fine mix of attributes for any caroler. 





#4
"Little Jack Frost" by Frankie Carle Orchestra sung by Marjorie Hughes

Marjorie Hughes was a singer in Frankie Carle's Orchestra and she also happened to be Frankie's daughter. After other singers came and went, Carle's wife sneaked a demo of daughter Marjorie recorded from a radio show.  Frankie like the demo so well, he decided to give Marjorie the job...on one condition, that she change her name.  Originally released in 1938.



#3
"Party Hard" by Zac Gill

Zac Gill is a multi instrumentalist/singer/songwriter and member of the rock band ALO and a member of Jack Johnson's band.  




#2
"Soul Cake by Sting

This song is from Sting's 2009 release If on a Winter's Night and seems to be an adaptation of a Peter, Paul and Mary version, in that both depart from historical accuracy by referring to Christmas rather than All Saint's Day or All Soul's Day when Soul cakes were traditionally made to celebrate the dead.



#1
"If Every Day Was Like Christmas by Elvis Presley



The last holiday single Elvis ever released, was written by a childhood friend, Red West. The Imperials Quartet and the Jordanaires are providing the backing vocals. Elvis recorded it on June 10, 1966 at RCA.



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: December 16-20, 2012


Welcome Monday!

Busy week of Christmas activities and parties!  Not much time in the kitchen, but a few good, quick and easy meals.

Don't forget to check out Laura's Menu Planning Link for more great ideas!

Enjoy!
Stacy



Monday: Cocktails and Appetizers HERE!  Michael Allen Harrison at the Old Church at 7:30
Tuesday: Kielbasa-Bean Crock Pot Soup with Texas Toast
Wednesday: Rebecca Lane Christmas Party!  Chick and I exchange gifts while sipping Chardonnay!
Thursday: Rare Roast Beef, Crowd Pleaser Potatoes and Green Beans/Broccoli - the "last" supper before I leave for Christmas Vacation!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Merry Christmas, Ted




WHO: Stacy and Ted (that's Grandpa Frank to the left)
WHAT: Christmas Eve
WHERE: Silver Lane, EUGENE, OR
WHEN: 1969

My first Christmas Eve, December 1969 and I am exactly 8 months to the day!

I received my beloved Ted E. Bear (Ted for short) on Christmas Eve and he's still alive and kicking (near my bed ) to this day. Not bad for a 43 year old bear.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Root Vegetable Latkes


So it turns out, there are people out there that actually read my blog!

I was amazed to find out that a recipe I posted back on December 23, 2010 has had 1296 page views (4th all time on my blog).

THANKS!

So, since there are so many of you out there who LOVE latkes, here is another great recipe to try, just perfect for Christmas Eve.

Enjoy!
Stacy



ROOT VEGETABLE LATKES

Ingredients:

1 pound assorted root vegetables (golden beets, turnips, parsnips,celery root and/or rutabagas)
1/2 pound potatoes (red bliss, yukon gold, sweet potatoes)
1 small onion
1 egg
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper
4-6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup applesauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250F.

Peel and coarsley shred the root vegetables, potatoes and onion (about 3 1/2 cups combined).

Transfer vegetable mixture to a small bowl.  Add egg and flour and season with salt and pepper tossing together well.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Use a 1/4 cup measure to drop the vegetable mixture into the skillet, then flatten with a spatula to about 4-inch rounds.  Cook until the bottoms are golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Turn and brown on the other side an additional 4-5 minutes.

Transfer the latkes to a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.  Repeat, adding additional oil until all latkes are browned.

To serve; season each latke with salt and pepper and top with sour cream and/or applesauce (optional).  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sammy

 


I'd like to ask the blogging universe for a kind thought or a chant or a prayer for my darling little boy, Sammy.


Last week, Brian noticed that he was not acting normal and on Friday we took him to the West Seattle Animal Hospital for a check-up.


Although his tests all came back normal, his symptoms mimic what we believe to be some sort of neurological condition, possibly a mild stroke.

After much thought, we've decided to seek the advice of a feline neurologist and will be taking Sammy for a consultation later this week.

Please keep our family in your thoughts.

Stacy