Friday, May 31, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Kindergarten Graduation

WHO: Stacy
WHAT: Kindergarten Graduation
WHERE: Springfield, OR
WHEN: Spring 1975

I vaguely remember this night.  It was a warm spring evening in Oregon and we had a party at E street after the graduation.

In honor of graduates everywhere!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Leaky Roof Restaurant Review

Do you Groupon?

Friends rave about Groupon, but I've never taken advantage of one before....until now.

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite little pubs, The Leaky Roof sponsored a great Groupon deal.  For $17 you get $35 of food/drink available in the restaurant (no take-out) for dinner only (no Happy Hour and no Lunch) and NOT to be used during Portland Timber's home games.  So last week, Sandra, Brian and I used the Groupon.

A Goose Hollow favorite for over 60 years, The Leaky Roof promises to have the largest selection of Irish whiskey available in Portland, but I wouldn't necessarily associated the super small, but very quaint neighborhood pub as an Irish pub.

 Lamb Sheppard's Pie

The seasonal menu offers some interesting specialties that satisfy a wide range of pallets, including burgers, sandwiches, soup and salad to grilled duck breast risotto, stuffed meatloaf and Cajun pork. 

The wine and beer list feature some of the best northwest craft breweries and wineries around, in addition to a healthy list of imports.


16th and SW Jefferson St 
Portland, OR 97201
P. (503) 222-3745

Happy Hour!
7 Days a Week
3:00 - 6:00pm
Now Open Sundays Until 9:00pm!

Lamb Sheppard's Pie


2 pounds freshly ground lamb
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Coarse salt and ground pepper
10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat a large skillet over high heat. In two batches, cook lamb until no longer pink, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to a colander set in a bowl; let fat drain off and discard.
Add 1/4 cup water to the skillet, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
Add Worcestershire sauce, 2 cups water, and lamb. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Divide among eight 8-ounce ramekins or two 9-inch glass pie dishes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with salted water by 1 inch; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
In pan, bring milk and butter to a simmer; remove from heat. Return potatoes; mash. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread over pies; use a fork to make peaks. Bake on a baking sheet until tops are browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly; serve.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Wrap-Up in West Seattle

We were incredibly spoiled in April and early May with some record breaking temps and little rain.

I guess we are paying for it now, as our first unofficial "Summer" holiday was quite cool with spotty showers.

To be honest, I was grateful to have an extra day with my boys...relax, read, cook and sip Chardonnay.  I think Sammy enjoyed himself too!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: Last Week in May 2013

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I am spending a long weekend in West Seattle with Brian and Sammy, but I've always got menu planning on the brain.

We are still continuing to predominately cook light/low fat in the evenings, but we have a couple of treats this week.

Don't forget to take the Meatless Monday challenge and really think outside of the box when it comes to cooking without meat!

Remember, you can get some great menu planning ideas and recipes on Laura's site.


Monday: Happy Memorial Day!!  Grilled Turkey Brats, Corn on the Cob and WW Potato Salad
Tuesday: Asparagus Risotto (Meatless Monday on Tuesday)
Wednesday: Chick's Treat!  Another web Groupon "coupon" at Allium Bistro
Thursday: Fresh Herb Salad with Grilled Salmon

Friday, May 24, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Happy Memorial Day!

WHO: Allen Kenneth Lee
WHAT: Army photo
WHERE: Probably Delaware after basic training (Brian's Dad served in the Korean War)
WHEN: 1953-55

In honor of all service men and women.  Happy Memorial Day!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Happy Birthday Treat from Veggie Grill!

Last month I received a birthday e-mail from Veggie Grill rewarding me with a free lunch (I totally forgot that I signed up for their Grill Club).

I am so lucky to have a location so close to my office.  The food is fabulous!  Seriously, if I took you there and you sat down and munched on a "burger", you'd never know that it was vegan.  Check them out when you have time!

Here are their other locations!  Washington, Oregon and California (for now).  Just check out their menu!  Doesn't it sound amazing!

I always want to try something a bit different so I ordered the "crab" cake sandwich with, of course the yummy sweetheart fries.

The Veggie Grill serves 100% plant based food.  No meat, dairy, eggs, cholesterol, animal or trans fat.  Their tempeh products are all high in protein and the beans, kale and quinoa are high in fiber.

Seriously good healthy good!

This is as close as I could come to the crab cake served at the Veggie Grill.


Vegan Crab Cake

Serves 4

2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp ground bay leaves
1/4 tsp celery seed
salt and pepper, a pinch of each
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp paprika
dash red pepper flakes
1/4 cup silken tofu
1 1/2 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Vegetable oil for frying

Place grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and spices.

In a small bowl, beat together the tofu, mayo, lemon juice, garlic, mustard and parsley.

Scoop zucchini out of the colander and, with your hands, squeeze the excess liquid.

Combine the drained zucchini, bread crumb mixture and wet mixture and mix well. The batter will be dry, but you should be able to gather a ball in your hand without the mixture falling apart.

Divide the batter into 8 equal parts; shape into balls and flatten into round discs.

Heat a generous amount of oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

Fry cakes in batches or four for a couple of minutes a side or until browned.

Serve hot with cocktail sauce, tarter sauce or a lemon wedge or place on a burger!

Note: You certainly can go "vegetarian" and use regular mayonnaise instead of vegan mayonnaise. Also, feel free to cut back on the spices and just add some old bay seasoning to the mix.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear? Part 2

A while back, I listed some songs that were currently on my MP3 player.  Here are some of the new tunes I've added recently.


Red Hands by Walk Off The Earth

This Canadian band formed in Ontario in 2006.  They've gained success by making low budget videos of covers and originals.  In 2012, the band signed a deal with Columbia Records.  Their first full length album R.E.V.O was released on March 19, 2013.

The Mystery of You by Spencer Day

This modern day jazz singer was born in a small town in Utah.  At just 34, he's already released four albums.  Mostly self-taught, Day sang and played piano at bars and retirement homes before releasing his first album in 2004.

No Freedom by Dido

Dido (otherwise known as Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong) is an English singer/songwriter who burst on the international UK music scene back in 1999.  Dido's first two albums are among the best selling albums ever in UK chart history.   She recently released Girl Who Got Away on March 4, 2013 after taking some time off to marry and have a baby.

Half Moon by Blind Pilot

This indie folk band hails from my city, Portland, OR and formed as a duo in 2005.  They completed a bicycle tour in 2008, biking from Bellingham, Washington to San Diego, California carrying their instruments on custom bicycles trailers.  They tour heavily and it's paid off with shows at Sasquatch, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands.  This clip is from their network television debut on Ellen!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

West Seattle Weekend Wrap-Up: Bits and Pieces

The view from the train on Friday night

Our weather was hit and miss this weekend...mostly cloudy and cool, but dry enough to capture a sunset and mow a lawn!

It was a good weekend for home-cookin' (unfortunately, no BBQ-ing as I had hoped for), but Brian and I did prepare a wonderful Baked Chicken Parmesan which was outstanding.

In honor of Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day weekend, I re-decorated inside and outside, adding some red, white and blue.

I also worked on a Pinterest project, with yarn called jute and some old bottles.  I am trying to put together a tablescape/decorating idea to take us into the start of summer.

Crafting is not my thing, but I was pleased with the way it came out (I have two more bottles to wrap) and I think the new decorations will look great once I get them together.

How did you spend your weekend?


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: May 19-23, 2013

Welcome Monday!

Brian is in Portland this week working and one night we are going to use our Groupon "coupon" to one of our favorite little pubs in Goose Hollow.

Also, we are starting back with Meatless Monday (or at least one night meatless for summer).  I think with the abundance of produce, it's so easy to go meatless one night a week during the summer months.

Here is the rest of our menu and remember to get some great meal planning tips from Laura's site.


Sunday: Taco Bar!!
Monday: Portobello Mushroom and Spinach Burgers (MEATLESS MONDAY)
Tuesday: Pan-Seared Chicken with Creamy Lemon Sauce and Grilled Asparagus
Wednesday: Groupon Night Out at Leaky Roof
Thursday: Grilled Flat Iron with Onions and a Big Garden Salad (WW)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Leaving Home

WHO: Kerry and Brian Lee (L-R)
WHAT: Kerry leaving home (he's in the Army now)
WHERE: Newark, DE
WHEN: 1973-74

Brian's brother Kerry has been all over the world in the Army, but this week he's back with his family...visiting his girls in Spokane and his older brother, Ken in Alameda.  This was probably his first trip away from home. 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup

Since childhood, tomato soup has been my favorite.  I've had several canned varieties over the years, but I don't think anything beats homemade (plus canned varieties are heavy in sugar and sodium).

One of our favorite places to grab a weekend lunch is Panera Bread and they have just about the best tomato soup on the planet.

How lucky and I?  I was able to find this recipe gem on the Internet.


Creamy Tomato Soup

5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1 bay leaf leaf
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups crushed tomatoes

Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until the onion is soft but not browned.
Sprinkle the flour over the onion and continue stirring; cook for 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add the milk, bay leaf, pepper, oregano, sugar and salt and continue to cook until slightly thickened.
Stir the baking soda into the tomatoes, then add the tomatoes to the soup pot and bring to a simmer.

Notes:  Adding baking soda to the tomatoes keeps the milk from curdling

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

West Seattle Weekend Wrap-Up: Yard Work!

In all honesty, I did NO yard work in West Seattle on Saturday other than planting a few flowers.

The credit all goes to Brian!  He spends hours in the yard each week, mowing, wedding, raking and spreading bark.  He's got a real green thumb, too!  Just look at the start of his veggie garden!


This year's garden includes, chives, broccoli and San Marzano tomatoes!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Does Your Garden Grow: First Planting

With an unusual stretch of great weather at the end of April, I cautiously began my first planting.

I say first planting because if our weather turns wet and cool (again), my little plants are toast!

With the extra garden box, I also decided to stagger my plants a bit so that we have a harvest bounty in stages rather than all at once (but who am I kidding).

Most of my plants say things will be ready between 50-75 days, but this is OREGON, gardeners!!  I'll be lucky to be picking tomatoes in late August!

Here is what is in the ground.......

Cilantro (last year's rosemary and thyme wintered over so I've got a great herb plot going)
Cherry Tomato
Early Girl Tomato
Yellow Crooked Neck Squash

People have been telling me that I planted my tomatoes a bit early, but I am optimistic that our weather will hold for 10 days to get the root system going.

Last year's yellow squash was disappointing, but I would like to try again.  I've amended the soil a bit so I think I have enough of the nutrients that it craves.

I'll wait until June to get my basil going (typically my first planting dies from cold nights) and I am also thinking of adding some carrots since I had some good luck last year with those.

So good!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: Mid May

Happy Monday and welcome to Mid-May!

We've been struggling a bit with our eating plan so we are going to stick to a pretty strict menu this week with some of our Weight Watcher's favorites.

Remember to check out some more great menu ideas on Laura's site.


SUNDAY: Taco Salad with Pinto Beans and Avocado
MONDAY:  Juicy Hamburgers (WW)
TUESDAY: Greek Lemon-Dill Grilled Chicken Salad (WW)
WEDNESDAY: Pasta Primavera (WW)
THURSDAY: Pork Picatta with Green Beans (WW)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Happy Mother's Day!

WHO: Mom (Jennifer)
WHAT: With our dog, Anna
WHERE: Unknown, my guess is Eugene area, possibly Klamath Falls

WHO: Ann Lee (Brian's Mom)
WHAT: BBQ in backyard
WHERE: Delaware

In honor of two wonderful moms, Jennifer and Ann.  Thank you for your love and guidance.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Scallops in Saffron Sauce

Saffron is a spice derived from the crocus flower.  It's amongst the worlds most costly spice by weight and is native to Southwest Asia and was first cultivated in Ancient Persia as far back as 10,000 BC.

Because each flower's stigmas need to be collected by hand and there are only a few per flower, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.

Saffron's aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay notes, while it's taste has also been noted as hay-like but sweet.  It also has a luminous yellow-orange color.

Fortunately a little bit of saffron goes a long way.  In fact, too much saffron can ruin a dish.  Also, saffron needs moisture to release its flavor and the best way to extract flavor is to soak the threads in warm liquid (like a tea) for 5-20 minutes.

I have a nice container of saffron threads in my spice cabinet, a gift from my step-dad, Kenny who received them from a co-worker who brought them back from Iran.  He didn't know how to use them, knew of their value and I've been wondering what to do with them for quite sometime when I came across this wonderful dish.

If you are not a scallop fan, the sauce would be wonderful on another fish, chicken or pasta.


Sea Scallops in Saffron Cream Sauce


6 tablespoons butter - divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 large sea scallops - patted dry
Salt and pepper
1 cup dry white wine, divided
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch of saffron threads (soak in 1/2 cup white wine)


In a nonstick pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, warming the pan to medium-high.  Add 6 scallops at a time, season with salt and pepper and sear well of both sides.  Repeat the process (I wipe out my pan and start over with the butter and the oil).  Remove scallops from pan once they are done and keep warm.

Add 1/2 cup wine to the pan (wine without saffron) and deglaze the pan.  Reduce temperature to medium-low and allow the wine to reduce by half, then add the wine with the saffron and again, reduce by half.

Add the cream and the rest of the butter and allow to combine.  

Return the scallops to the pan.  Turn to coat and serve immediately.

Notes: I found my sauce came out a bit salty, so go easy on the salt when seasoning your scallops.  Depending on how thick you like your sauce, you may need to add a touch more of cream.  You might want to double the sauce and add to leftover pasta.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Vacation Food

Needless to say, I did not start any diets while on vacation.  Brian and I ate very well and had a few food adventures.  Here are some of our yummy indulgences.



Roasted Beet Salad with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese ($10) with a Bowl of Roasted Poblano, Chicken and Avocado Soup ($6.5)

Crock Pot Lasagna
It was nice to be able to cook for Brian who had to work the first two days of my vacation.  Who doesn't like to come home to a clean house and a delicious home-cooked meal?

Oyster on the Half-Shell @ Muckleshoot Casino
Brian and I headed to the casino one afternoon after we shampooed the carpets.  I enjoyed an early dinner of fresh oysters and sushi

2lbs of steamer clams in garlic-lemon-butter and white wine
I bought 2 pounds of the most wonderful steamers clams from West Seattle Fish Company the first day of my vacation and cooked them at home with a loaf of crusty bread

Cheese, crackers, wine and some ginormous strawberries fresh from the West Seattle Produce Market
Our typical Saturday afternoon 'snack"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kentucky Derby Day

Last Saturday, Brian and I went down to Emerald Downs in Auburn, WA to watch some live horse racing and watch the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby.

It was an unusually warm spring day!  When we arrived at Emerald Downs, we found a large crowd and lots of ladies in hats.  I bought my little ensemble off EBAY for less than $20 (a great place to buy vintage hats if you ever need one).

Right off the bat....I won the Emerald Downs daily double (I picked the winner of the first and second races).  I won $23!!

It was all downhill from there.  Neither Brian or I cashed a ticket on the Derby (we never do), but we had a great afternoon.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Port Townsend

 Point Wilson Lighthouse

Last Wednesday, Brian and I took the ferry from Edmonds and headed over to Port Townsend for the day.

We arrived just in time to have lunch at our favorite place, The Silverwater Cafe.

David and Allison have owned the Silverwater since 1989.  They built the restaurant with the idea of bringing people together to enjoy good food, good wine and great friends.

I am not sure when Brian and I found it, but we loved it so much that we brought our friends here and they "borrowed" it from us for their wedding reception.

We especially love the little table by the wood burning stove in the winter, but the sunlight streaming in the windows on a warm spring day was just as lovely.

Here is our fabulous lunch.....

 Tiger Prawn Chop Salad

 Spaghetti "special" with fresh Swiss chard, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and shaved parmesan

 Amaretto Peach Pie with a 10 year tawny port

Before we headed back to West Seattle, we drove along the waters edge to Fort Warden State Park for a few pictures.

Remember the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman"?  Remember the last scene where they graduate?  I am sitting on the steps of the building where they received their wings.  Shots from the movie were filmed all over the park and the city of Port Townsend.

On a whim, I saw a sandwich style board on the side of the road (as we headed back to the ferry) for the FinnRiver Farm and Cidery. I've loved cider since I first tried it in England many many years ago so the opportunity to try some local cider was too good to pass up.

We had the most amazing private tasting with owner, Crystie who shared her passion for their farm (including hens, chickens and goats) and a wonderful assortment of artisan hard ciders and spirited wines. We excitedly brought home their wonderful seasonal cider, honey meadow and a dozen fresh farm eggs!

It's a beautiful location, set on a 33 acre certified organic farm, including a restored salmon stream. They share the farm with migrating salmon and swans; eagles and herons and rich soil which helps them produce some amazing produce.  Please check them out if you are in the area.

It was a beautiful day and a wonderful adventure.