Thursday, January 31, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Hungry Girl Chocolate Cupnies

I spent a few days in bed this week recuperating from some surgery.  I enjoyed 12+ hours a day of The Cooking Channel and Food Network.  I wrote down countless recipe ideas, but this one was the easiest (only two ingredients) and low fat too!





Hungry Girl Chocolate Cupnies (cupcake/brownies)


1 box chocolate devils food cake mix (any brand)
1 can plain pumpkin (not pie mix)


Mix box with pumpkin and stir well (you will not need to add any eggs, oil or water).
Scoop mix into 9 pre-lined muffin tins.  
Bake according to directions on the cake mix box

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Elephants Delicatessen

 It's been described a Disney World for foodies and last Friday night I stopped into Elephants Delicatessen for some train snacks.

Founded in 1979, Elephants introduced Portlandia to good cheese, wine, fresh pasta, fresh-squeezed juices, and products flown in from all over the world.  Over the years, they have expanded (added a location in the Fox Tower downtown and in Lake Oswego) and added a catering business in 2004.

They still make all their food daily from scratch and I was amazed with the quality and variety (in fact, I had a hard time choosing what I wanted for dinner).

They also have home-goods, including candles, linen, cards and seasonal gifts (Valentine's decorations all over the store).

In addition to pre-made take-away meals, Elephants also has lunch and dinner seating, including a great little wine/cocktail bar.

Next time you are near one of their locations, check them won't be disappointed.


Elephant's NW 23
115 NW 22nd Ave
Portland OR 97210
Phone: 503.299.6304
Mon - Sat 7:00am - 7:30pm
Bar and Grill until 8:30pm
Sun 9:30am - 6:30pm

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: Last Week in January

Happy Monday to you all!

I have to have a little "day" surgery tomorrow morning (very routine and not too scary), so the menu is a little light this week (I might even ask my back-up Chef, Chick to do some cooking).

When you are sick, is there a go-to recipe or food item that you crave?  Since I am having some anesthesia and I might be a bit woozy, I am opting for scrambled eggs, applesauce, soup and plain baked potatoes as options.  Any other suggestions?

Don't forget to check out Laura's site for more recipes and ideas!


Monday: Whatever I feel like, including scrambled eggs, toast, soup, applesauce or a baked potato
Tuesday: I'll probably work half day, but might not feel like cooking (spaghetti sauce in freezer)!
Wednesday: Weight Watchers Juicy Hamburgers with Tater Tots (back in the kitchen)

Thursday: Weight Watchers Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken over Jasmine Rice (I love my Thursday Slow Cooker Meals)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Trash Man!

WHO: James Y. Brady (Pop)
WHAT: Trash Day
WHERE: Outside of Springfield, OR
\WHEN: Late 1970's....1976-77

I am not sure who took the picture but I am guessing that perhaps it was me, hanging out with my Pop.  For as long as I can remember, my Dad has hauled his trash weekly to the dump.  He still does every Wednesday.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Pound Cake

Brian and I picked up a wonderful pound cake this past weekend at Metropolitan Market in West Seattle.  It was buttery and creamy and melt in your mouth dense, but no too chewy.

I found this very versatile recipe from one of my favorites, Ina Garten.  This is such a wonderful dessert and can be served with just about anything from ice cream to macerated fruit.


Plain Pound Cake

Courtesy of Ina Garten


2 sticks butter (1/2 pound) at room temperature
2 cups sugar, divided
4 extra large eggs at room temperature
3 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 loaf pans.  Line bottoms with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl with an electric mixer for 5 minutes then add the eggs one at a time and mix together.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla.  Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternatively to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.  Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans, smooth the tops and bake for  45 minutes to 1 hour until a cake tester comes out clean.

When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10-15 minutes.  Take them out of the pans and place them on a baking rack to cool.  Wrap well and store in the refrigerator.

Notes:  Some recipes call for adding orange or lemon zest for added flavor.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

West Seattle Weekend Wrap Up: Bits and Pieces

Brian and Sammy (if you can spot him) napping on Saturday!

Another quiet weekend around our parts.  Our weather has been cool and foggy with a cold air inversion the past week (at least we've had no rain) and temps only reaching a few degrees above freezing!  Perfect weather for doing a lot of nothing, reading, napping, cooking and watching college basketball.

Here are some random shots....


Brian and I explored Metropolitan Market in the Admiral District of West Seattle on Saturday.  I seriously wanted one of everything in this case, but we opted on freshly baked pound cake which was divine!

I spent part of Saturday afternoon in the kitchen making Cornish pasties "hand pies" to stock Brian's freezer.  I hope he likes them!

My Sunday train snack....a fresh bagel smeared with cream cheese and topped with lox, capers and red onions.  In addition to a pre-make turkey pot pie, pasta shells and fresh tomato basil soup that we picked up at the Metropolitan Market, they also had this yummy bagel sandwich.

Foggy Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Sunday - taken from the Amtrak Cascades

Tracks....I am always making tracks.  Up and down the NW corridor on the rails.  Not a bad way to travel if you ask me.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sick Keikei

 Just over a month ago, poor little Sammy was ill.  This time, it's Sweet Keikei.

One again, thoughts and prayers for our household are greatly appreciated!

She's at the vet receiving the best possible care money can buy (yikes).

I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: January 21-24, 2013

Welcome Monday!

For Christmas, Chick got me this fabulous Weight Watchers Cookbook highlighting the One Pot concept.  Each and every recipe is prepared in one pot which includes a Wok, Casserole Dish, Saucepan or Crock Pot.  So in addition to planning and organizing your menu, you can also create super simple foods with easy clean up.

Remember, for more great planning ideas to check out Laura's site.

Here is the rest of our menu for the week ahead!


Monday: Filet Mignon Stroganoff with Yolk-Free Noodles and a Garden Salad (Is it a Holiday for you today?)
Tuesday: Hoisin-Glazed Chicken with Green Beans over Jasmine Rice
Wednesday: Grilled Pork Loin with Roasted Vegetables
Thursday: Slow Cooker Tuscan White Beans with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Basil

Friday, January 18, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Surfing Brian

WHO: Brian
WHAT: Playing in the water
WHERE: Delaware? 
WHEN: 1965-66

My parents just got back from Maui, so all the talk has been about sun, surf, turtles and the ocean.  I dug up this picture of Brian from his beach days as a child.

Only 224 days, baby until our Maui time!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Bread Machine Pizza Dough

First off...if you don't have a bread machine, go out and buy one today.  You'll use it, I promise...and not only for bread as we found out last weekend.

Our only complaint from last weekend was the thickness of the dough, so I searched online to find a bread machine recipe for a thinner crust.  I hope we can try this one out soon!


Bread Machine Thin Pizza Crust Dough

Courtesy of

 Makes (1) 14 inch crust


3/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp dry active yeast (we used yeast specific for bread machines)
2 tsp olive oil 


1.  Pour the warm water into the bread machine and then add the flour on top of the water.  Sprinkle with salt and sugar and top it off with the yeast.

2.  Set the bread machine according to the dough settings.  When the machine signals that the dough is done (ours took about 2 hours), remove the dough from the machine knead with your hands for 3-5 minutes then transfer to a well floured surface.

3.  Roll the dough to a 14 inch circle, leaving the dough thick at the edges.  Place the dough on a pizza stone or baking sheet and brush with olive oil.  Bake in oven for 5 minutes before removing to add your favorite pizza toppings for final baking.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

West Seattle Weekend Wrap-Up: Pizza, Pizza!

January is not our favorite month around West Seattle.

Very few adventures to be had in the rain and cold and this was very cold, barely getting above freezing for high temperature!

Instead, there is always good food on the stove...puzzles, movie marathons and naps with Sammy.

How do you beat the January blues?!

Brian beat the blues by making pizza....the whole thing from scratch, including making pizza dough in our bread machine. 

A tasty way to beat the blues in my opinion!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: January 13-17, 2013

Welcome Monday!

Can you believe that it's the middle of January!?  Before you know it, spring bulbs will begin to pop up....I can't wait!

Speaking of Spring, once the weather gets are going to want energy and good health!  Start now and learn to plan a good, healthy menu. Begin to make good food choices in the months ahead.  Spring is coming!  Be prepared!

If you need some inspiration, please check out Laura's amazing site for more planning ideas.

Here is our menu for the week ahead!


Sunday:  Golden Globe Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with a Big Garden Salad (Red Carpet starts at 3PM)
Monday: Weight Watchers Beef Ziti with leftover salad
Tuesday:  Out?  Fend for Yourself? Taco night!?
Wednesday: Cod with Roasting Vegetables and Olives
Thursday: Slow Cooker Cuban Flank Steak with Bean and Rice

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Salvador Molly's

Last Wednesday night Chick and I headed over to Salvador Molly's for dinner.

A few months ago, Chick bought a Groupon offer for $30 of food for $15, not too bad when you consider that most of the appetizers, soups/salads and entrees are under $15.  Dinner for two was a done deal (plus dessert)!

Salvador Molly's serves a wide range of international cuisine, featuring dishes that are Hawaiian, Caribbean and Latin American inspired.

Famous are the Great Balls of Fire and their annual charity event.

Imagine snacking on Habanero Cheese Fritters, so hot and spicy that if you finish all three - your picture gets plastered on the Wall of Flame!

We loved their Surfer Tacos with Kahlua Pork (Stacy) or Yucatan Chicken (Chick) topped with cotija cheese and salsa and drizzled with fresh crema and served along side rice and black beans (tacos so big we could only eat one)!

Check them out next time you are in Portland!


Sunday - Tuesday 11:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.


Friday - Saturday

11:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

11:30 a.m. - 
11 p.m.

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Happy Bite Hours
4-6 p.m. daily, last hour before closing

Salvador Molly's is conveniently located in Hillsdale, ten minutes from downtown Portland. 

1523 SW Sunset Blvd.
Portland, OR 
Phone: (503) 293-1790


Friday, January 11, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Happy Anniversary, Mom and Kenny

WHO: Mom and Kenny
WHAT: On Stage...gigging with the 57's
WHERE: Pacific NW
WHEN: Early 1990's

Happy Anniversary to my Mom and Step-Dad, who celebrated 33 years together last week.

We love you and miss you!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Cornish Pasties

A Cornish Pasty ( sometimes referred to as a Pastie or British Pasty) is a baked pastry, a traditional variety of which is particularly associated with Cornwall in Great Britain.  It is traditionally made by placing uncooked filling, typically meat and vegetables on a flat pastry circle and folding it to wrap the filling, crimping the edges to form a seal.  

After baking, the result is a raised semi-circular pie, which is the perfect size to eat in your hand.

The origins of the pasty are unclear, thought there are many references to them throughout historical documents and fiction.  Despite the modern pasties strong association with Cornwall, the term "pasty" is an English word borrowed from Medieval French for pie.

Migrating Cornish miners, helped spread pasties into the rest of the world during the 19th century.  As tin mining in Cornwall began to fail, miners brought their expertise and traditions to new mining regions throughout the world including Australia, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin and the Mexican state of Hidalgo.

I typically make a larger meat pie out of our leftover roast, but this might be a new option in the future.


Traditional Cornish Pasties


1/2 pound of ground beef (or use leftover pot roast, pork roast or chicken)
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup beef broth
1 cup diced peeled potatoes
1/2 cup diced carrots
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 packages pre-made pie crust 


1.  In a skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain off fat.  Add flour, season with salt and pepper, then add parsley.  Stir mixture until well coated then add broth. Continue to cook until mixture thickens.  

2.  Add potatoes, carrots and onions.  Cover and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender (since veggies will release some water, only add more broth if mixture appears too thick). Once veggies have cooked, add peas and stir mixture.

3.  Remove mixture from stove and let cool.   Meanwhile, prepare pie crusts according to package directions.  On a floured surface, roll each crust into a 12-in. square.  Cut each square into 4 6-in. squares.

4.  Place about 1/3 beef mixtures in center of each square.  Moisten edges with water and fold over meat mixture to form a triangle.  Press the edges with a fork to seal.  Make a 1-in. slit in the top of each triangle.

5.  Place each pastie on baking sheet and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Yields 8 pasties   

Don't hesitate to use all leftovers when making your pasties!

Freeze pasties!  They are a great freezer staple!

Image courtesy of Google Images; recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chick's Birthday Weekend!

I spent last weekend in Portland with Chick in honor of her birthday!

No birthday weekend would be complete without a mani and a pedi at our favorite local salon.

Afterwards, we stopped off at the Veggie Grill for lunch.  If you are lucky enough to have a Veggie Grill where you live, check this place out!  Amazing vegetarian fare, crisp, clean and super affordable.  It's "fast food" for the health conscious!

Saturday evening, we had a wonderful dinner at DeCarli Restaurant in downtown Beaverton.

I've eaten there a few times and I am always super impressed with not only the creative menu, but also the service and atmosphere.

Here is what we ate.....

POLENTA FRIES with Gorgonzola Butter - $6.5
FOIE GRAS TORCHON with apple puree, fennel, almond crumble and brioche - $15
BEET SALAD with shaved fennel, panchetta, mizuna greens and pear - $9

GRILLED PAINTED HILLS Bone-less Ribeye - $35

BEEF SHORTRIBS in espresso and dried prunes with creamy spaetzle and fresh horseradish     $20.5
   I hope Chick had a wonderful weekend!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: January 6-10, 2013

We are welcoming in the New Year with a healthier attitude!

Like many people, we ended 2012 with a BANG!  Tons of rich foods, processed foods, wine, snacks, salty and sweet treats.  It's time to get back on the light, low-calorie and fresh bandwagon.

As always, we start slow, but I think this week's menu is a good start!

For more menu and planning ideas, check out Laura's site.


SUNDAY: Weight Watchers Shrimp in Coconut Curry with Brown Rice

MONDAY: Grilled Chicken Thighs with Baked Sweet Potato
TUESDAY: Weight Watchers Meatloaf with a Garden Salad and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
WEDNESDAY: Using our Groupon "coupon" at Salvador Molly's
THURSDAY: Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Eve 2012!

Brian and I spent a few hours on New Year's Eve Day at the Snoqualmie Casino just 30 minutes east from our front door.

I really enjoyed sipping on a nice glass of sparkling wine (okay, two) while playing a 5 cent poker machine.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a fresh made spicy tuna hand roll at the 12 moons restaurant.

It was the perfect way to end our 2012 and welcome in the New Year!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Chick!

Who: Sandra K. Suter
Where: Eugene, OR
When: 1977

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Aunt, who celebrates a birthday tomorrow!

I love you!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Food Trends for 2013

I was recently reading up on the new and exciting food trends expected to hit our plates this coming year.

With the fear of a worldwide twinkie shortage averted, here are some items that might be the next big thing for the year ahead.

2013 is the Year of the Snake!  Feng Shui experts are calling for a more calm and less chaotic year ahead, therefore...look for food trends to heavily reflect Asian foods which are crisp, clean and simple.

One of my most favorite food finds of the past few years are Korean Tacos.  Who doesn't love the mix of Latin American flare with Asian spices?

Here is a link to a great Korean Taco recipe.

One Pot Meals!  What's so ironic about this trend is that for Christmas, I received a One Pot cookbook, packed to the brim with wonderful quick and easy to prepare meals.  Look for soups, stews and the old fashioned casserole to be huge in the year ahead.

Here is a link to a great One Pot Chicken Stew.'s not just for the movies anymore!  So the new hot snack food for 2013 is popcorn.  Sweet, savory or a combo of both...many trendy restaurants are now serving this simple ingredient as an appetizer or amuse bouche.  Here is a savory herb popcorn recipe courtesy of Alton Brown.

Enjoy the food year ahead!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Holiday Wrap-Up

Sammy is back to normal!  The best Christmas present ever!

It's so hard to get back into the swing of things after vacation!

I had a wonderful 10 days in Seattle and today, I head back to work (thankful for a shortened holiday week).

Here are a few random pictures from our Seattle adventures.


Christmas Eve 2012, my favorite day of the year!  This was taken on our annual neighborhood stroll.  So many beautiful lights in our neighborhoods this year.

Brian cutting a deal with sidekick Sammy never too far away.  Despite the holiday season, Brian and I both spent time working, checking e-mails and taking calls over Christmas vacation.

Clean out the fridge potluck at Lake Morton.  A wonderful pre-New Year's Eve party with a great group of friends who put together a delicious spread with nothing but holiday leftovers!

A tasty Champagne Mimosa at Circa in West Seattle.  Breakfast with friends at our favorite neighborhood eatery.

One more holiday shot our our dinning room.  All the decorations were put away on December 31st marking the official end to the holiday season.