Thursday, October 31, 2013

The History of Halloween; plus a cocktail recipe!

Another Halloween is upon us!  What will you be dressing up as tonight?!

I love Halloween!!  Tonight kicks off the official start of my holiday season.  Trick or treat and have a good time.

Since y'all know that I am a trivia nutcase, so here are some interesting Halloween tidbits.


  • The Owl is a popular Halloween image.  In medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owls call, meant someone was about to die.
  • According to Irish legend, Jack O'Lanterns were named after a stingy man named Jack, who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance into both heaven and hell.  He was condemned to wander the earth waving his lantern to distract people away from their paths.
  • Black and orange are two colors closely associated with Halloween.  Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for harvest and autumn.  Black is typically associated with death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.
  • Scarecrows are also associated with Halloween.  They symbolize ancient agricultural roots to the holiday.
  • Dressing up as ghouls and goblins originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits.  The Celtics believed that by disguising themselves this way they would escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets.

Dark and Stormy Cocktail

According to legend, this cocktail was invented more than 100 years ago when members of Bermuda's Royal Naval Officer's Club added a splash of the local rum to ginger beer.  They described its ominous hue as "the color of a cloud only a fool or the dead would sail under.


2 ounces of dark rum
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice, plus lime wedge for garnish
Candied Ginger Slices
3 ounces of chilled ginger beer (you can find at CostPlus World Market and Trader Joe's)


Fill a shaker with ice. Add the rum, lime juice and shake well.  Strain into an ice filled collins glass.  Stir in ginger beer.  Skewer a piece of candied ginger and lime wedge to garnish.

Recipe Courtesy of Food and Wine

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: Halloween Week!

Welcome to Halloween Week!

It's the official start of the holiday season on Thursday and I am looking forward to the beginnings of many celebrations!

How are you celebrating Halloween this year!

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



Monday: Monday Night Football!  Crockpot Chili

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Thighs and a Big Garden Salad

Wednesday: Weight Watchers Turkey Parmesan Meatloaf with Green Beans and Yukon Gold Potatoes

HALLOWEEN:  Pizza!  Dressing up and handing out candy!  Party starts at 6PM

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Exploring San Francisco

Last Saturday Brian and I had the whole day to explore San Francisco.  On the downside, we were not able to travel as freely around the city as we had expected to due to the BART strike.  We made the best of it, and hoped on the Alameda/Oakland Ferry into the city for a walking tour.

 Alex selling hot dogs

First stop was Union Square, where Brian's niece, Alex works at a hot dog stand right in front of Macy's.  She's a hard worker, just like her late father and really seems to enjoy her job.

Union Square was set aside as a public park in 1850.  The square got its name from the pro-union rallies held there on the eve of the Civil War.  Today, it refers to the central shopping, hotel and theater district of San Francisco.

We then walked back to the Embarcadero Region and to the Ferry Building Marketplace.  Opening in 1898 on the site of the 1875 wooden ferry house, the ferry building became the transportation focal point for anyone arriving via train from the east. 

From the gold rush until the 1930's, arrival by ferry was the only way to get into the city of San Francisco.

With the opening of the Bay Bridge in 1936 and the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937, the mass use of automobiles rendered the daily commute by ferry obsolete.  
In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake caused extensive damage to the building.  Extensive renovations took place and in 2003, the ferry building redevelopment represents approximately 65,000 square feet of first floor marketplace space and and additional 175,000 of second floor office space.

The Ferry Building Marketplace is organized along a dramatic indoor street called the Nave.  It runs the entire 660 foot length of the building and natural daylight fills the nave from the street trussed glass ceiling.  Dozens of specialty shops line the Nave - everything to fresh fruits and vegetables, pottery, restaurants, wine and olive oil merchants and meat, poultry and seafood vendors.

Raw Oyster Bar at the Ferry Building Marketplace

Being a foodie this was one of my top places in San Francisco to explore.

We ended our day, back on the Alameda Ferry after having one last glass of wine at Sinbad's.  Our weekend was filled with family and friends, but it was nice that Brian and I had a few hours, in the glorious sunshine to enjoy the city.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Happy Halloween!

WHO: Jennifer (Mom) with Anna
WHAT: Halloween
WHERE: This might be Klamath Falls, OR
WHEN: 1965-67

In honor of Halloween!  I am not too sure who carved this pumpkin (Dad) but it's one of the strangest I have ever seen (what's with the nose.....and no teeth too)!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Gruyere Stuffed Pumpkin

I am constantly looking for recipes that feature squash or pumpkins in unique ways.  I think squash is an under-used fall vegetable given its versatility and it pairs nicely with chicken and pork and can stand alone in a vegetarian meal.  This recipe is also unique enough to feature at your Thanksgiving table this year.


Gruyere Stuffed Pumpkin

Yields 6-8 Servings


1 medium pie pumpkin 
1 butternut or kabocha squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 loaf sourdough bread
1 garlic clove, peeled
3/4 pound apple-wood smoked bacon, but into 1/4 inch thick pieces
1/2 cup toasted and chopped pecans
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 pound Gruyere cheese, grated
5 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon all-spice
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350F.  Slice kabocha or butternut squash in half, remove seeds and rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

Lie squash flesh side down on a sheet tray lined with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 1 hour, or until cooked through.
Cut top off pie pumpkin, leaving 3/4 of the bottom (wide enough to later fill the pumpkin with stuffing).  Clean out the inside of the pumpkin, reserving some of the seeds.

Cut the sourdough bread into 1 inch thick slices and toast in the oven (stale bread works best and this can be done a day ahead).  Lightly rub the toasted bread with the clove of the garlic.

In a medium saute pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, drain on a paper-towel and set aside.

When the kabocha or butternut squash is cool enough to handle, remove the flesh with a spoon.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the half and half with all-spice and salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the inside of the pie pumpkin with salt and pepper.  Begin filling the pumpkin, starting with a layer of bread, then half the bacon, half the pecans, half the pumpkin seeds, half the chives and half of the cheese.  Pour about half of the half and half mixture and lightly press down.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients, filling the pumpkin to the top.

Return the cap to the pumpkin and transfer onto an aluminum foil lined baking tray.  Bake for 2 hours, or until the pie pumpkin is cooked through.

Serve warm, scooping a bit of the pie pumpkin from the sides along with the filling, or slice off in large chunks. 

Recipe slightly adapted from the great Daniel Boulud and a recipe of his featured on an ABC news link

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Remembering Ken Lee

 Ken Lee Celebration of Life - October 20, 2013

When Brian's brother died in September, the family decided to host a BBQ/Softball game in his honor in Alameda, California. 

  Julie and Kerry Lee with Stacy

Anyone who knows Ken soon realized that this was a perfect tribute to a man who spent many years not only coaching, nurturing and fathering young softball players (including his daughter, Carrie), but also was the Alameda Girl's Softball Association President from 2006-2012.
Brian and Kerry Lee

The Lee family and friends gathered in Alameda last weekend to share memories of Ken with his many co-workers, friends, ex-softball players and coaches.

It was an absolutely gorgeous fall weekend and a fitting tribute to a man who touched so many lives.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: October 21-24, 2013

Welcome Monday!

We are entering into the last two weeks of October and there is an abundance of fall veggies in the markets.  This week, I'll showcase them not only in a hearty beef stew, but also roasting them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.

What is your favorite fall veggie?

Check out more great recipes at Laura's site.


Monday: Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers
Tuesday: Weight Watchers Chicken with Black Bean Salsa and a Garden Salad
Wednesday: Crock Pot Beef Stew
Thursday: Grilled Pork Loin with Roasted Fall Vegetables

Friday, October 18, 2013


The blog is sick!  Something that has to do with Picasa (and the possibility that I deleted a file) and unfortunately, I am not that savvy enough to fix it...easily.

Early next week, I'll take a crack at re-uploading some lost photos so until then, please be patient!


Old Photo Friday: Carving Pumpkins

WHO: Stacy Dare (sticking my tongue out) and Pop
WHAT: Carving Pumpkins
WHERE: E Street; Springfield, OR
WHEN: October 1971

About 6 months ago I finally got around to sorting through an old box of 8mm slides and took them to Costco and had them transferred onto a DVD.  There are quite a few from around Halloween and I remember quite fondly always carving a pumpkin every year with my Pop.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Chili Rellanos Casserole

Last month, we celebrated the birthday of a good friend and she hosted a potluck bash for about 40 of her closest friends.  

There were some fabulous dishes, but the one that I had seconds of was a Mexican Chili Casserole called Chili Rellanos.  It was a touch spicy and gooey and creamy.  It's the perfect Saturday night meal for fall (or brunch on a Sunday).





  Chili Rellanos Casserole

Serves: 4


2 Fresh poblano chili peppers, Anaheim chili peppers or green sweet peppers
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack or Mexican Blend cheese; plus 1/2 cup
3 beaten eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
salt and pepper
Salsa, Sour Cream, optional



Quarter the peppers and remove seeds, stems and veins.  Immerse peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes; drain.  Invert peppers on a paper towel and drain well.  Place the peppers in a well greased 2 quart square casserole dish.  Top with 1 cup of cheese.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs and milk.  Add flour, baking powder, cayenne powder and salt and pepper.  Beat until smooth.  Pour egg mixture over the peppers and cheese.
Bake, uncovered in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until a knife inserted into the egg mixture comes out clean.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  If desired, top with salsa and sour cream.


Recipe Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
Image Courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear? Part 4

It's time once again to clean up the MP3 player and add some new music.  Here are a few songs that I am loving at the moment.



The Boxer Rebellion - Diamonds

I love the 80's sound to this Brit-Indie band.  Formed in London in 2001, this band consists of a Tennessee native, Nathan Nicholson, an Australian lead guitar player, Todd Howe and two Englishman (drums and bass).  They have so far released three studio albums and a few compilations, but their most recent release on March 14, 2013 included this cut.  

Emeli Sande - Next to Me (Acoustic)

Adele Emeli Gouraguine, know better as Emeli Sande is an English born Scottish singer that shot up the charts in 2010.  In 2012 she received the Brit Awards Critics Choice Award and has written a number of songs for such artists as Alicia Keys, Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle.

She performed at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics.  

I just can't quite get around the fact that this singing sensation sounds a heck of a lot like Beyonce (and I am NOT a fan of Beyonce).  She's hugely popular and slowly gaining momentum across the pond.  

The Unlikely Candidates - "Follow my Feet"

Fort Worth, TX indie rockers, recently signed to Atlantic records. 

Pearl Jam - "Sirens"

Formed in Seattle, WA in 1990, Pearl Jam is set to release their 10th studio album on October 14, 2013.  This single was released in September and the first time I heard it I loved it (and this is coming from someone who has never been much of a Pearl Jam fan). 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up: Pumpkin Patch

Tradition dictates that we spend a fall Saturday in Snohomish, looking for the perfect pumpkin.

We met up with friends, Sonja, Geoff and daughters for a Saturday adventure at the pumpkin patch.

After wandering the streets of Snohomish (it's a great place to shop), we ate lunch at our usual haunt, Fred's Rivertown Alehouse.

I had tons of great pictures from the adventure, but unfortunately my phone decided to delete all of them very mysteriously.  This one of me amongst the last of the summer sunflowers will have to do.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: October 13-17, 2013

Happy Monday!  Welcome to another beautiful week!

We are deep in the middle of the baseball play-offs so I am trying to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible (as first pitch is at 5PM!).  

Also, Brian is in town for one night and he's been begging for some wings!  Sounds like a perfect way to stay out of the kitchen and watch some baseball at the same time!

For more menu planning ideas, check out the Organizing Junkie!


Sunday: Chicken Curry in a Hurry! (A perfect fall Sunday dinner that's ready in 30 minutes)
Monday: Grilled Flat Iron or Skirt Steak with Creamy Cauliflower Puree and Green Beans
Tuesday: Kale, Potato and Sausage Soup
Wednesday: Baseball and wings at Buffalo Wild Wings
Thursday: Garden Burgers and Tater Tots

Friday, October 11, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Trick or Treat

WHO:  Anna (dog) and Stacy Dare
WHAT: Halloween
WHERE: E Street; Springfield, OR
WHEN: 1970

This might have been the year of the accident.  If I look closely in the mirror today, I can still see the faint scar above my lip.  It was Halloween and I was excited to see all the costumes and the kids at the door and I tripped, landed on my face on top of my green metal truck, which I carried around with me every where.

Happy Halloween and Fall Season!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Sue's Grilled Turkey and Pesto Sandwiches

Our summer memories are beginning to fade just a bit.

This year we had more than our share of adventures, and one of the best days was sailing in the San Juan Islands.

On a 38 foot sailboat, while heading back from the Straight of Juan De Fuca, our hostess, Sue grilled up the most amazing sandwiches.

They were simple, but had the boldest taste and were very welcomed after our sailing adventure.

Unfortunately this year, my basil didn't produce enough to make too much pesto so store-bought will have to do.

Pesto is a sauce that originates in Genoa (northern Italy) and consists of garlic, basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  The name originates from the Genoese word Pesta which means to pound, in reference to the method of preparation, with a marble mortar and pestle.

In 1944, the New York Times mentioned an imported canned pesto paste and in 1946, Sunset magazine published a pesto recipe by Angelo Pellegrini, but it was not until the 1980's and 1990's that pesto became popular in North America.


Grilled Turkey and Pesto Sandwiches


1 loaf of soft french bread, sliced for sandwiches
1/3 cup store bought pesto sauce
8 ounces sliced deli turkey
4 ounces sliced swiss cheese
1 beef steak tomato, sliced (optional)
olive oil or butter


Spread a thin layer of pesto on one side of bread.  Top with turkey, cheese and tomato.  Brush the outer sides of the bread with oil or butter.  

Heat a grill pan over medium heat and cook sandwiches about 5-6 minutes per side or until cheese melts.  Slice in half and serve

Recipe courtesy of Sue Wade - thanks again!
Images courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up: Art Harvest Studio Tour

Last Saturday, Chick and I took a trip out to Yamhill County for a self-guided art tour, followed by lunch in Carlton, OR.

In 1993, a grass-roots organization of visual artists opened their studios to the public for the first arts studio tour.  Since then, thousands have visited each year to meet some of the areas most talented artists - many nationally acclaimed.

This year the Art Harvest Studio is celebrating 20 years and all we needed to do was drop into one of the participating studios, buy a badge for $7 and then visit as many studios we could take in.

We decided to head down Hwy 99 with our first stop in Lafayette, OR before turning north into the heart of Yamhill County towards Carlton. It was an absolutely spectacular fall day and any trip out to Yamhill County is beautiful, but last Saturday the smell of fall was in the air.

The first studio we picked was Elaine Walzl's Studio showing works by herself and Linda Workman-Morelli who does pit-fired pottery.  I got stung by a bee, but Chick and I each walked away with a small treasure.  A great first stop!

From there we headed north into Carlton and checked out Dwight Evalt's mixed media and sculpture work at his garage studio.  He was very accommodating and opened up his home where he had other work showing.  He likes to use nature (pine needles), recycled materials and fire to create paintings and sculptures.  Interesting guy.

Our last stop before for lunch was a home studio of husband and wife artists, Mike and Liz Santone.  Mike shared his love for pottery by demonstrating how to make one of his wonderfully expressive masks.  Inside her home studio, Liz demonstrated how to make felt from wool scraps.  I bought a small decorative lapel pin and Chick picked up a $5 mystery bag containing several of Mike's masks.

For lunch we headed into the heart of Carlton and found a lovely wine/cheese bar called The Horse Radish.  They have a great assortment of cheese, wine with an eclectic menu of soup, salad and sandwiches.  

Ham and Swiss on Focaccia Bread with Fig Jam & Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque

Out on the road and north again to the city of Yamhill to the studio of Susan Day, who has some amazing pastels depicting the Oregon countryside around Yamhill County. Her studio was tucked away in this amazing "secret" garden.

Our final art stop was at Linda Hayes jewelry workshop.  Her pieces are one of a kind, some made with precious stones and jewels and each one a work of art.

Since we typically only head out to Yamhill County for wine tours, so this was a fun way to explore the art scene that makes this part of Oregon so unique.

One can't really tour "wine" country without one stop at a local winery.  Off the beaten path just past the small community of Yamhill lies Kason Vineyards, where we were given our own private wine lesson and tasting (we each took home a bottle of Chardonnay).

It was a wonderful adventure and an event we hope to explore again next year! 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: October 6-10, 2013

Welcome Monday! 

The first week of October is in the books!  This week we are working out and eating primarily Weight Watchers.  Don't look now, but the holidays are at our heels.  Remove the doubt and guilt and spend some time planning out your menu.

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




Sunday: Crockpot Meatloaf with Roasted Brussels Spouts and Steamed Red Potatoes

Monday: Weight Watchers Shrimp Pad Thai

Tuesday: Weight Watchers Feta Stuffed Chicken Burgers with Tater Tots

Wednesday: Weight Watchers Pork Chops with Creamy Mustard Sauce

Thursday: October-Fest Feast!  Chicken Sausages, Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes and Roasted Cabbage Slices

Friday, October 4, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Ken and Sammy

WHO: Ken and Sammy
WHAT: Chillin'
WHERE: West Seattle
WHEN: February 2011

Brian heads back to Delaware today to host a memorial celebration for his brother, Ken.  It's still so raw that he is gone and we are doing our best to keep his memory alive in our hearts.  I know the weekend will be a mixed blessing for Brian and his family.  This is one of my favorite shots of him and Sammy.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Reuben Sandwich

Every once in awhile, I get a craving for a Reuben Sandwich complete with gooey cheese, tart sauerkraut and tangy thousand island dressing.

So, a few weeks ago I came across this article in the NY Times Food section about the supposed history of the Reuben and of course my mouth began to water!

There are other accounts claiming to be the Reuben's inventor.  Arnold Reuben a German delicatessen owner in New York City could have been the creator?  

According to a newspaper interview, the "Reuben Special" was created around 1914, earlier than the Blackstone's sandwich. 

The truth may never come out, but whoever created it, is a genius!  I wish I was sinking my teeth into one at this very minute!

Here is an easy recipe if you can't find a good old-fashioned greasy spoon in your neighborhood.






Classic Reuben Sandwich


"Special" Sauce/Thousand Island
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons grated onion, with juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper

Rye Bread, sliced
Swiss Cheese, sliced
Sauerkraut, well drained
Thinly sliced corned beef
softened butter


Stir together all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.

Lay two pieces of bread on a cutting board and spread sauce on each piece.  Place one slice of cheese on each piece of bread, then spread a spoonful of sauerkraut on one slice of the bread.  Layer several pieces of corned beef on the other slice of bread.  Carefully close the sandwich.

Preheat griddle over low heat.  Spread the top of the sandwich with a small amount of butter, then place butter side down on hot griddle.  Butter the other side of the sandwich.  Cook until the cheese is melted and the bread golden brown, turning once.  

Place on a cutting board and let stand for one minute before cutting and serving.

Recipe courtesy of Mississippi Kitchen, but there are approximately 441,587 Reuben recipes on the Internet.  Thank you very much!
Image courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

West Seattle Weekend Wrap Up: A visit from the Parents!

Last Friday night, my Pop and Rosemary picked me up in Portland we we headed north to Seattle.

Our summer Friday night hot spot this year has been Cactus so it was fitting now that summer is coming to an end that we had one last meal at this Alki hot spot.

Wine, beer and margaritas flowed and the food, as always was outstanding!

Saturday we had a rare September rain storm producing record rainfall, high winds, power outages and flooding.  Instead of heading out on a ferry across the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island, we went downtown and toured Pike Place Market.  

The market opened in August of 1907 and is one of the oldest continuously operating markets in the States.  The market sees 10 million visitors annually.

In addition to food, fresh fish and flowers, the market is home to crafts people and merchants selling everything from photographs to lavender soap.

While one could easily "graze" their way through the food stalls and shops, we took advantage of one of the numerous eating and drinking establishments right in the market, Lowell's founded in 1957.  Lowell's is an old market standby on three levels with Elliot Bay views and self-described as "almost classy".

We had bloody Mary's, cod and turkey sandwiches and deep fried shrimp for lunch before spending Saturday afternoon back in West Seattle playing Mexican Train and relaxing with our Oregon Ducks.