Sunday, June 30, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome July, 2013!

Happy Monday!

It's hard to believe that it's July already?  Like, didn't I just decorate for Christmas?

We are having a mini-heatwave this week, just in time for the holiday!

What's your schedule like this week?  Most people have Thursday off, but what about Wednesday and Friday?  Our office is closing early on Wednesday and Friday, so I am planning a bigger BBQ for Wednesday afternoon and an earlier BBQ for the 4th!

Whatever your plans are, enjoy and celebrate our country and our freedoms!  Be safe with fireworks and no drinking and driving!!

Also, stop on over at Laura's blog for more menu planning ideas.


Sunday: Beer Can Chicken with Caesar Salad
Monday: Fettuccine Alfredo with Individual Garden Salads (MEATLESS MONDAY)
Tuesday: Thai Chicken Skewers with Coconut Rice and Glazed Sugar Snap Peas
Wednesday:  BBQ Pork Ribs, Creamy Cole Slaw and Twice Baked Potatoes
4th of JULY: Beer Brats, Corn on the Cob and Patriotic Chocolate Cupcakes

Friday, June 28, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Brian's Great-Great Grandmother

WHO: Elizabeth Jones; born 1814 (Brian's maternal great-great grandmother)
WHEN: This photo was taken in 1870; she was 56

Brian's been doing a bit of research on for his family history on his mother, Anne's side.  He's come across quite a bit of fascinating information and a few priceless pictures.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Radicchio Caesar Salad

A few weeks back, Brian and I met up with friends at Oven and Shaker in Portland for dinner.

We all shared the most amazing Caesar salad and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since then (I've even thought about stopping by to pick one up to-go for my Friday train ride to Seattle).

Radicchio is an interesting lettuce.  It has a bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted  It has been around since ancient times and it's been praised for its medicinal properties.  It strangely contains intybin, which is a sedative/analgesic.

In Italy, it's very popular and often eaten grilled in olive oil or mixed into dishes such as pasta and risotto.

This is a wonderful variation from traditional Caesar Salad and the dressing is spectacular.


Oven and Shaker/Nostrana Radicchio Caesar

Serves 4-6

2 large heads radicchio
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 oil packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 egg yolks
1 cup olive oil
3 cups cubed 3/4" focaccia
1 1/4 cup butter
1/2 tablespoon chopped sage
1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese


Break radicchio into 1-1/2 inch pieces and soak in ice water for 2 hours.

To make dressing; mix together garlic and a pinch of salt with the back end of a sharp knife until it forms into a paste.  Add to a food processor along with vinegar, wine, mayo, anchovies and egg yolks.  Begin processing, then drizzle in olive oil until the dressing is emulsified.  Season with a bit more salt and black pepper.

To make croutons; preheat oven to 375.  Bake the bread cubes on a large baking sheet until toasted all over, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the herbs, cook until fragrant.  Turn off heat, spoon over croutons and toss well.  Let cool.

To assemble salad; drain the radicchio, spin well in a salad spinner and place in a large salad bowl.  Toss with enough dressing to coat well, add croutons, then add cheese.

Picture found on Google Images

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

West Seattle Weekend Wrap-Up: Morgan Junction Festival and a New Bike

Last year, the Morgan Junction Festival was a bust!  It, it POURED all afternoon.  Most of the booths closed before they even set up and the musicians declined to "sing in the rain".

Planning an outdoor event in June, in Seattle, is a risk....but this year, it paid off.  SUNSHINE!!!!!

Brian and I took a stroll up the road last Saturday, sat in the Morgan Junction park and listened to a few tunes, walked around the festival and celebrated our West Seattle community.

West Seattle has two major intersections of note; the Admiral Junction in the northern part of the peninsula and the Morgan Street Junction at the southern end where Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Morgan Street, and California Avenue SW intersect.

"The Junction" was originally the crossing of two streetcar (trolley) lines.  When West Seattle was annexed in 1907, an additional streetcar line was added to extend down to Fauntleroy (Endolyne or End of Line).  The junction name stuck and today it is the business hearts of West Seattle, and a gathering place for community events.

Brian's new bike

On Sunday, we tested out Brian's new bike together along the Alki waterfront/Beach Drive.

We rode about 5 miles round trip in spotty drizzle and had a blast!  I see more bike rides in our future!

I requested a big plate of spaghetti for Sunday dinner complete with Brian's garlic bread.  Good thing I rode 5 miles, huh?!

How did you spend your first weekend of Summer?


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Menu Plan Monday! Welcome Summer

Happy Monday!

Summer started last Friday so in it's honor, I'll be grilling all week long!

What's your favorite grilling item?  Brats, ribs, burgers?  All of them are pretty incredible, but high in calories and fat.  I am thinking outside of the box with these new recipes.

Don't forget to check out Laura's site to view more great menu planning ideas.


Monday:  Meatless Monday!  Grilled Tostadas with Fresh Salsa (I'll add some black beans to this recipe)
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Bruschetta with a Garden Salad
Wednesday: Honey-Soy Grilled Salmon with Green Beans
Thursday: Juicy Hamburgers (I think I'll add a bit of teriyaki sauce and a grilled pineapple slice to mine)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Welcome Hillsboro Hops!

The Hillsboro Hops opening home-stand was last week.  We missed out on tickets for opening night, but Chick, Brian and I went to check out the new team last Tuesday.

 Picnic benches along 3rd base line.  A great place to grab a burger and a beer!

It wasn't the best night for with spotty showers, but the sun peaked out a few times and the new stadium is really cool.  It brought back a lot of old memories of my summers in Eugene at Civic Stadium.

 First Pitch - view from our seats!

The new Hops are a Class A Short Season team in the Northwest League and have been a farm team of the Arizona Diamondbacks since 2001 (when the franchise was known as the Yakima Bears).

 The "new" Boys of Summer signing autographs for new fans

After a proposal to move the team to Vancouver, WA fell through, the team received an offer from the city of Hillsboro and in June 2012, plans to move the team and build a ballpark took shape.

If you live in the area, don't miss out on the chance to see the team. We are all so happy that we have baseball back in Portland!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Kerry Graduation 1974

WHO: Andrew "Kerry" Lee
WHAT: High School Graduation
WHERE: Newark, DE
WHEN: June 1974

We've had a lot of special graduations this month and many memories.  I found this old photo of Brian's brother Kerry taken in 1974, his graduation from Newark High School.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Asian Broccoli Slaw

We hosted a BBQ over Memorial Day weekend and our good friend, Sonja brought an Asian Broccoli Slaw that was super yummy!  She mentioned that she just threw a bunch of ingredients together, but I found her almost exact recipe on the web.

This is a great light summer salad that goes with just about anything and is a wonderful alternative to the traditional pasta and potato salads.


Asian Broccoli Slaw


2 cups cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper
12 oz packaged broccoli slaw
2 cups chopped purple cabbage
2 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups sliced snow peas
1 bunch green onions
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds


Cook and cool quinoa!  This will need to be made ahead and stored (up to 2 days) in refrigerator.

In a large jar (with a tight lid), combine the OJ, lime juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Screw the lid on tight and shake until combined; set dressing aside and prepare salad.

In a large bowl, combine the slaw, chopped cabbage, cauliflower, sliced snow peas, green onions, raisins and cooked quinoa.

Pour dressing over the slaw and mix to combine. Top with sliced almonds. Serve immediately or you may keep in the fridge until ready to serve.  If making ahead, top with almonds right before serving.

Notes:  Feel free to omit anything.  Sonja's salad did not include cauliflower or green onions

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up: To Eugene for Father's Day!

Chick and I headed to Eugene last Friday to spend the weekend with my Pop, Rosemary and Steve for Father's Day!

First stop was breakfast on Friday at Fin's Drive-In.  When Fin's opened back in 1994, I was one of the first waitresses they hired.  I worked there for a summer before jetting across the world, and I haven't set foot in the place since.

We had a relaxing afternoon at E Street, the house in Springfield where I grew up.  My parents recently remodeled the inside and painted the outside so the place doesn't look the looks better!

For dinner Friday night, we headed over to Ciao Pizza, but they serve much more than pizza.

Everyone at the table had something different and bites were bartered for, plates were split and wine was sipped.  An excellent family dinner after a busy day.

My hometown, Springfield, OR was first settled by the Biggs Family in 1848.  The city was named after a natural spring located in a field.  The area was timber resource dependent, but since the 1990's the economy has diversified.

 Day Island Park (McKenzie River)

Main Street in Springfield, has suffered over the years. As the timber industry collapsed, businesses failed and families moved over the river to Eugene.  Recently, the economy is improving and a re-gentrification of the downtown area is underway.

 Old Time Springfield - Pictures courtesy of the Springfield Museum

In 1871 the main line of the Oregon and California Railroad bypassed Springfield for Eugene.  The story goes that a group of prominent Eugene Businessmen paid railroad financier, Ben Holladay, $40,000 to bypass Springfield by crossing the Willamette River near Harrisburg instead of Springfield this began a rivalry that lasts to this day.

Pop took us over to the old train depot, which currently houses the Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

The city of Springfield is surrounded by filbert (hazelnut) orchards.  The production has declined over time as fields have been developed into homes.  Filbert harvesting occurs in October and 98% of American filbert production is harvested in the Willamette Valley.

We also explored the Springfield historical museum, which was really cool.

After the depot and the museum, we had the opportunity to check out the Oregon K-9 Competition at Silke Field in Springfield.  It was a real treat for Uncle Steve who loves German Sheppard dogs.

We then headed over to B2 Wine Bar to meet up with family friend, Vicki Bell (who Sandra has known for over 30 years).

 Cheers from B2 Wine Bar!

Saturday night's dinner was at a new place in downtown Springfield called Plank Town Brewing Company.

Our meal consisted of Pulled Pork Tacos, Seared Steelhead, two Rib Eye Steaks and a Bacon Irish Cheddar Burger.

Cheers from Plank Town!

Of course, cards and celebration on Sunday, officially Father's Day! Pop cooked breakfast for all of us before Chick and I headed back to Portland.

It was a wonderful family weekend!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: Second Half of June, 2013!

Happy Monday!

We just got back from spending Father's day weekend in Eugene so we might have over indulged just a bit.

Summer and baseball begin again in the Portland area when we welcome the Hillsboro Hops into town.  Chick, Brian and I are going Tuesday night!!   Meatless Monday Sunday and Weight Watchers/SkinnyTaste for the rest of the week.

Remember to see what Laura and all her friends are planning over on her site!


Sunday: Meatless Sunday!  Garden Burgers and Tater Tots/French Fries/Sweet Potato Fries (take your pick)
Monday: Chicken Taco Night
Tuesday: Hillsboro Hops Baseball!  Hot dogs at the ballpark!
Wednesday: SkinnyTaste Penne Alla Vodka
Thursday: Cape Cod Shrimp and Corn Chowder with Individual Garden Salads

Friday, June 14, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Happy Father's Day X Three!

WHO: Allen K Lee with sons, Ken and Kerry (Brian not born until 1960)
WHERE: Delaware
WHEN: Late 1950's

WHO: Jim Brady with Stacy
WHERE: Springfield, OR
WHEN: 1970-71

WHO: Ken Hanselman, my second Dad
WHERE: This picture might have been taken down in Florence, OR
WHEN: late 1990's

These three great men shaped our lives.  They taught us how to drive, the love of baseball, the art of cooking, the rhythm of music and the amazing power of love.

Happy Father's Day!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Vegan Carrot Cake

I've been seriously skeptical of the whole vegetarian/vegan lifestyle for years, but recently some of the newer products and places (including Veggie Grill) have really turned my thinking around.  It's not the belief that throws me (although I could NEVER give up my steak), it's just that I have had many vegetarian dishes that are unsatisfying.

For the past few weeks, I've been treating myself to one lunch out a week.  No more eating at my desk, goodbye leftovers and so-long Lean Cuisines!

I've got about 2 dozen places that I can grab something (some good, some bad) but I keep going back, week after week to the Veggie Grill.

Last week, I picked up a piece of vegan carrot cake for the road.  I didn't expect to like it, topped with it's vegan frosting....ick!  But you know was one of the best carrot cakes I have ever had (and it was probably good for me)!


Vegan Carrot Cake 


1/4 cup cinnamon applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup soy milk
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/2 cup soy margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice



Preheat oven to 325 and grease and flour a 9 inch square baking pan.

Combine the applesauce, vanilla, margarine, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, flour and soy milk until well mixed.  Add carrots and walnuts.

Spread batter evenly in baking pan.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Allow to cool then frost with vegan frosting.


Combine the cream cheese and margarine.  Slowly add the powdered sugar, then vanilla and lemon juice, stirring until well combined.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up: Girl's Weekend

Chick and I had our annual Girl's Weekend in Portland this past weekend and packed a ton into Saturday and Sunday!

Our first stop was the Beaverton Farmer's Market!  It's the single largest all-agricultural market in Oregon with 15,000-20,000 visitors each week!

The market is comprised of local farms and ranchers (organic and non-organic), artisan food producers and nursery growers.

We picked up a few fruits and veggies, a mini lemon cheesecake from Zoe Ann's Cheesecake and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers (plus a breakfast sausage from Zenner's).

Next, we hit NW 23rd Avenue in Portland.

 Chick's new shoes!

Our experience is a lot of window shopping followed by a fabulous lunch at Jo Bar.

Finally, on Sunday we headed out to Farmington Gardens and bought some flowers and a couple of hanging baskets.

So many great places to explore in Beaverton/Portland on a Saturday.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: June 9-13, 2013

Welcome to Monday!

The longest days of the year are ahead of us!  Why spend your days inside either shopping or cooking?  Make a plan, write out your menu and shop once a week.  It saves you time and money.

Remember to check out Laura's site for more menu and cost cutting tips!


Sunday:  Hawaiian Night!  Kahlua Pork, White Rice and Macaroni Salad
Monday: Meatless Monday!  Grilled Portobello and Spinach Burgers
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Thighs with A Big Garden Salad
Wednesday: Chick Cooks!!  Perhaps a Yumm Bowl!
Thursday: Flat Iron Steak with Black Beans and Corn with a Mixed Green Salad

Saturday, June 8, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow: First 6 weeks of Growing!

To say that the garden is totally beating my expectations (at this point) is an understatement.

We've had an amazing stretch of weather with just the right mix of sun and rain to get it off to a great start.

This week, I finally broke down and planted some basil.  It always suffers during our cool NW nights.  These plants are a little fragile and were partially munched on when I bought them so hopefully they will survive!

Everything else looks amazing!

You're looking at cilantro, rosemary and my cherry tomato.  I harvested some cilantro last night for some pretty amazing Shrimp Tacos!

Tomatoes have lots of blooms as does the yellow squash, but the cauliflower has yet to bud.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Congratulations, Carrie!

WHO: Carrie and Ken Lee
WHERE: Alameda
WHEN: December 1995 (Carrie is 7 months old)

Brian is waking up in Alameda, California this morning to celebrate with family the graduation of youngest niece, Carrie.

What a bright, gorgeous, funny, athletic and spirited young lady.

Congratulations on your High School graduation!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Allium Bistro in West Linn

We've been taking advantage of a few on-line restaurant deals lately and last week, Chick bought a $20 coupon for $40 worth of food and drink at Allium Bistro in West Linn, OR.  

Last Wednesday night, we braved Portland rush hour traffic and took a very scenic drive along the Willamette River down to West Linn for dinner.

Allium Bistro is described as an intimate neighborhood bistro which serves local, sustainable-conscious epicurean plates featuring New American and European cuisine.

Happy Hour Cosmopolitan for $4.5

Their inspiration comes from the small, bustling villages in France and the native, pure foods found in the Pacific NW.  Unique to the restaurant is a family-style "neighborhood" dinner served one Sunday a month.  Large communal tables are set up in the restaurant where locals and newbies spend time chatting, sipping on wine and sharing bread.

We really stretched our $40, opting for one glass of wine each, an appetizer and an entree (no dessert).  Out of pocket, we kept our bill to under $25 each, including tip (not counting the happy hour cocktail before dinner).

Here is what we enjoyed..... 

Beet Salad - yellow and red beets, cider vinaigrette, wild arugula, toasted pecans, goat cheese - $8

Cascade Natural Hamburger - pancetta, organic white cheddar, charred onions, tomato jam - $13

Carlton Farms Pork Chop - creamy polenta, serrano ham, fried chickpeas - $21

Price range: Appetizers, $5-$12; entrees, $13-$31; desserts, $6.50-$7. Sunday Neighborhood Dinner $37, including wine. Happy Hour nightly; all night Mondays.

Excellent service, quiet and quaint atmosphere, funny and eclectic bartender (very entertaining).

Chick and I would both give the place 4.5/5 stars (the half star demerit would be for the out of the way location, but the drive is worth it)

1914 Willamette Falls Drive, West Linn; 503-387-5604


Allium is a flowering plant informally referred to as the onion