Monday, April 28, 2014

Savor the San Juans Sweepstakes Winner!

Honestly, I had totally forgotten that I had entered the Savor the San Juans contest, sponsored by Seattle Magazine until a Friday afternoon back in October when I got an e-mail telling me that I had won.

I won, not one of the many prizes they offered, but the Grand Prize, which included two round-trip airfare tickets aboard Kenmore Air, two night's accommodation at the Earthbox Inn and Spa, dinner for two at The Backdoor Kitchen, wine tasting for two at San Juan Vineyards and admission for two to the NW Whale Museum.

On the downside, the package had to be used the month of October (the contest is centered around the Savor the San Juans month of October) and last October was a bad month for Brian and I.  We were set to fly out the last Saturday of October and a fog set in over Seattle.  All Kenmore air flights were cancelled for the entire I called and begged the tourism bureau to extend our trip a few months and they easily accommodated us.

Last Thursday (and on my 45th birthday), we managed to finally enjoy our adventure.

I was a tad bit nervous when I called Kenmore Air and they asked for our weight prior to booking our airfare.  Neither Brian or I had ever been on a De Havilland Beaver Seaplane (you know, the ones that take off and land right on the water).  Needless to say, it was the most perfect way to kick off the adventure.

Our flight left from Lake Union early Thursday morning and it's only 45 minutes to the beautiful San Juan (Friday Harbor) Islands.

Since we had no car, we packed light and hit the ground running upon landing in Friday Harbor.  We ended up walking a bit before finding a place for breakfast, then it was time to tour the NW Whale Museum.  Opened to the public in 1979, it's the first museum in the country dedicated to the conservation and education of Orcas or "killer" whales. 

Then we called a taxi (thanks to Bob at Friday Harbor Taxi) and headed over to the San Juan Vineyards for a wine tasting.  

Established in 1996 the tasting room is located in a 1896 schoolhouse, one of two remaining in the San Juans.

A big thanks to Colleen who introduced us to 8 great wines (one estate grown). Tastings included: 2013 Chardonnay, 2013 Pinot Gris, 2013 Siegerrebe (estate grown), 2009 Sangiovese, 2010 Merlot, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Cab Franc and a 2010 cab-Merlot.

Time for check-in at the Earthbox Inn and Spa where we settled and managed to grab a quick pre-dinner nap before heading off to dinner.

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner for two and a bottle of wine at The Backdoor Kitchen. 

Spending the $100 gift certificate was easy, we ate and drank everything that we wanted and topped it all off with dessert!

Pan-Seared Scallops topped with a Ginger Sake Beurre Blanc

Before we knew was Friday afternoon and the plane came to pick us up and take us back to Seattle (reality).

One last amazing thrill....Brian got to be the "co-pilot" on our flight home. Sitting shot-gun next to Kenmoreair's Will was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

A special thank you to Deborah Hopkins at the San Juan Island Visitors Bureau for extending our trip when October just didn't work!

Thanks to Kenmoreair (pilot Will who flew us up and back)!

A huge shout-out to everyone at the Earthbox Inn and Spa, including Chris (who checked us into our room....super super early and gave me a spa box filled with all sorts of goodies), Stephie (who flew on Kenmoreair home with us) and Rachel who gave me an awesome Swedish massage at the Earthbox Spa next door!

Thanks to the Whale Museum and the San Juan Vineyards for your generous gifts.

Kudos to The Backdoor Kitchen for the gift certificate.  The food was divine.

Also a big thank you to Seattle Magazine for sponsoring such a wonderful contest!  We had a wonderful adventure and came away with a greater appreciation for the spectacular beauty of the San Juans!


Sunday, April 27, 2014


Pictures from my Spring Vacation the 16th week of the year!

Happy 45th Birthday!

Brian treated me to dinner at Duos Lounge in West Seattle. Amazing place......1/2 off bottles of wine on Wednesday AND serenaded by an acoustic guitar.  I was in heaven!

Welcome to your new location, The Bridge in West Seattle.  Luckily, your bacon wrapped dates in a balsamic glaze followed you over to California Avenue.  A great sports bar, beers on tap, wonderful menu and new neighborhood hang out....alarmingly close to our house!

My Love! Thank you for an amazing week with you and Sammy!  We work so hard for this week every year and every year I appreciate you and our "family" more and more and more.  You make me a better person and I am so grateful for our life!

Blow out the candles and sing happy birthday!  Thanks to Geoff, Sonja, Maile and Kailani for helping me kick off my week and celebration!  

Thanks, Mom for the cake and all the presents!  I should be thanking you for bringing me into this world and giving me the love that only a mother can give.

An excellent week!


Menu Plan Monday: April 27-29, 2014 (short week)

Welcome Monday!

I am home from spring break and then off again on Wednesday, so this week's menu needs to be quick and easy.  

I have laundry and packing to do before I head out on my train adventure on Wednesday evening.

Chick's been without a cook for the past week, so I promised a few nice meals before I take off again!

What's on your menu?

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


SUNDAY: Steamed Artichokes, Grilled Sirloin Steaks and Baked Potatoes
MONDAY: Weight Watchers Pizza Burgers
TUESDAY: Fresh Herb Salad with Grilled Salmon

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring Vacation!

Happy Spring Vacation!

I'll be taking the week off to spend it in Seattle with my boys!  I'll return to posting on the 27th!


Saturday, April 19, 2014


Birthday celebrations are beginning the 15th week of the year!

Sandra took me to Andina for dinner last Thursday night.  We celebrated my upcoming birthday as I will be in Seattle next week.

First stop...... 

  This restaurant chain, established by Victor Bergeron (nickname Trader Vic who invented the Mai Tai) came to Portland a few years ago.  During the tiki culture fad of the 1950's and 1960's, there were as many as 25 restaurants world wide.  They all feature a mix of Polynesian artifacts, unique cocktails and exotic cuisine.

A fun place to have a cocktail and who doesn't like a Mai Tai?

We then walked two blocks west to Andina, a Peruvian/Tapas restaurant that's been open for many years.  Chick has been a couple of times, but this was my first time there.  I pass the restaurant on my way home from the Amtrak station every week and there is a table right by the window facing south that always captures my attention.  I always wonder, "who is sitting at my table" and last Thursday....the table was actually MY table!  

fried seafood wontons, served with an ají amarillo-tamarind sauce

They have a rotating menu that changes with the seasons and offers versions of traditional Peruvian dishes mixed with their take on modern international cuisine.  Dishes are a dazzling mix of colors styling plates like runway fashion models.

quinoa-crusted diver scallops perched on top of wilted spinach and potato-parsnip purée, with golden beet and crabmeat “cannelloni,” and a duet of red beet and passionfruit reductions

The restaurant and bar offer a large selection of small plates to share.  We sat at the bar and had an amazing cocktail prepared by head bartender, Eddy before heading over to the restaurant side for dinner.

roasted ginger rum shaken with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, lime juice and cane sugar, served up with a cardamom-sugar rim

The menu is broken down into different sections, with the tapas section broken down into three different sizes to choose from.  We shared the wontons and then each choose an entree to split, but quite easily you could make it a night with cocktails and tapas in the bar.

Their wine list was extensive with the majority of the bottles from Chile, Argentina and Spain, and a by the glass list with over 20 varieties.  We shared a wonderful bottle of Ponzi Chardonnay....just perfect for the two of us.

We capped the night off with a 20 year tawny port from Spain and a trio of pots d'cream.

What a fantastic celebration!  Thanks, Chick for treating me to a special dinner.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Old Photo Friday: First Day of 8th Grade

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHAT: First day of 8th grade
WHERE: Back yard at E Street in Springfield, OR
WHEN: September 1982

Oh dear me!  I've always wanted to be a fashionista, but this clearly is evidence that I was not.  Too bad that you can't see my shoes, which were very close to the ones Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz, except mine were not sparkly....just red and with a bow!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Deschutes Brewery IPA Steamed Manila Clams

Last week the family hosted my cousin Taryn and her new husband, Jesse in Portland.  They planned a trip out west (they live in Kentucky) to see Portland, explore the craft brewery scene and travel down the Oregon coast to California.

We all met for lunch at Deschutes Brewery in Portland and I ordered the steamed manila clams.  What's better than sweet Oregon clams steamed in a rich full bodied IPA?  Not much!  So grateful to Deschutes for putting this recipe on their website.


Chainbreaker White IPA Steamed Manila Clams


1 lb manila clams
6 oz Chainbreaker White IPA
1 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic
1 tablespoons butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper


Over high heat, saute garlic and onions in butter for one minute (use medium sized stock pot).  Add beer, salt, pepper and clams.  Continue to saute until the clams have opened completely (about 5 minutes).

To serve:  Remove clams from pot and serve in a large bowl with about a cup of the broth.  Top with cheese.  Add toasted sliced bread, melted butter and lemon (plus a pint of Chainbreaker White IPA).

Recipe serves 3-4 (yea,'ve never seen this girl eat clams before).

Monday, April 14, 2014


Family Reunions and Portland Adventures for the 14th week of the year!

Pop, Sandra, Rosemary, Brian, Taryn and Jesse at Deschutes Brewery and Pub

My cousin Taryn and her new husband, Jesse came out from Kentucky to visit Oregon (Portland) and to drive down the Oregon/California Coast to San Francisco.  I've not seen Taryn in 14 years.

Friday, we toured Portland including taking Jesse to two of Portland's best breweries.....Deschutes and Bridgetown.

Saturday, we headed out the Columbia River Gorge for Multnomah Falls.  It was a beautiful Saturday and Taryn and Jesse enjoyed the scenery.

Pop at Vista House

Brian and Stacy at Multnomah Falls

We ended up in Hood River, OR and had lunch at Full Sail Brewing.  Everyone enjoyed the libations and burgers, pork loin sandwiches and salmon fish and chips.

Honeymoon in Oregon

It was a great weekend!  What a treat to re-connect with family and share our "backyard" with them.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: April 14-17, 2014

It's my birthday month and this Thursday, Chick is taking me out to Andina for dinner.  

We've also got a lot going on including some Spring carpet cleaning, which is why it is super important to have a plan.  Planning out your meals and grocery list enables you to spend less time with food prep and less time in the kitchen and more time focused on other Birthday Months!

Don't forget to check out Laura's site for more ideas and planning.


Sunday: Pork Roast (I ended up cooking ribs as it was 73 in Portland on Sunday) with Scalloped Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus Creamy Cole Slaw

Monday: Panko Crusted Tilapia Fish Burgers
Tuesday: Southwestern Layered Taco Salad
Wednesday: Cape Cod Shrimp and Corn Chowder with Salad
Thursday: Birthday Dinner at Andina

Friday, April 11, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Flower Girl, Stacy

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady, Candy Dahl and bridesmaids
WHAT: Wedding Day
WHERE: Eugene, OR
WHEN: Summer 1972

I believe this was the summer of 1972, I would have been 3 years old.  I was the flower girl for long time family friends (Uncle Bud and Aunt Pat Dahl's, daughter Candy).  Rumor has it, that I had to be bribed to walk down the isle (I believe with cake and ice cream), but I really stole the show.


Please forgive operating system on laptop so no home scanning for awhile until I can figure out how everything works again.  Scanner at work is hard to operate hence the odd shape pictures for a while.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Recipe of the week: Warm Lentil Salad

Lentils have been a part of the human diet since the aceramic neolithic times, being one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East.  Archaeologists evidence shows they were eaten 9,500 to 13,000 years ago.  Lentils range in colors from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and even black.  They also vary in size and are sold in many forms, with our without skins, whole or split.

Seeds require a cooking time of 10-40 minutes, depending on the variety.  Lentil recipes are used throughout South Asia, the Mediterraneans regions and West Asia.

If I was opening a restaurant, this would be one of my signatures dishes.  I discovered it while watching an episode of Guy's Big Bite a few weeks ago and made a few modifications after I made it last week.  This pairs nicely with a grilled piece of salmon, but it could easily be served standing alone or with grilled chicken thighs.


Warm Lentil Salad with Squash and Yogurt Vinaigrette 

 slightly adapted from Guy's Big Bite



1 large acorn or butternut squash, halved and seeded
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups green lentils
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 medium garlic clove, smashed
1/2 small lemon, quartered
1 bay leaf
pinch red pepper flakes

Caramelized Onions: 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, halved then sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
salt and pepper

Yogurt Vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1-2 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1-2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
salt and pepper


For the salad:  Preheat oven to 375.  Cut the squash into 2 inch thick wedges, leaving skins intact.  Add to a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the thyme and salt and pepper.  Transfer to a large baking sheet.  Roast the squash until fork tender, 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool.

Add 1 cup wine and 2 cups water, lentils, onion, garlic, lemon, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to a medium sized stock pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes.  Remove from the heat and drain, discarding the bay leaf and lemon.  Put the lentils in a large mixing bowl and toss with a bit of olive oil, season heavily with salt and pepper, then set aside.

For the onions: Place a large saute pan over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Once hot, add sliced onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until they  just start to turn color, about 1-3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low.  Caramelize, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes, until the onions are a deep brown color.  Remove from the heat and keep warm.

For the yogurt vinaigrette:  In a large glass bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic cilantro, parsley, mint, and green onions together.  Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until smooth.  Add the yogurt and continue to whisk until creamy.  Season with salt and pepper.

To serve:  When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out and cut into rough 1 inch chunks.  Transfer to bowl with the lentils. stir to combine.  Mound about 1 cup of lentil mixture in the middle of a plate and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing.  Garnish with the caramelized onions.  I topped my salad with a grilled piece of Coho salmon.

What I changed and why
I would peel the squash first, it makes it easier in the long run.  
I only cooked 1 1/2 cups of lentils (original recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups).  
I added white wine to the lentils for flavor (alternatively, you could use vegetable stock).  I found the lentils lacked any real flavor.  
I quartered the lemons instead of slicing them.  The larger pieces made it easier to fish them out of the lentils after cooking.  
Also, I found that my lentils needed an additional 10 minutes of cooking time, plus I needed to add another cup of water half way through cooking.  
I cut back on the mint in the dressing and added parsley.  Also, I topped each salad with the dressing instead of coating the entire bowl of lentils (next time, I'll coat the lentils), but I was concerned about how to heat the leftovers.

Image courtesy of me!
Recipe slightly adapted from Guy's Big Bite

Monday, April 7, 2014



Brian spent last week working in the yard.  Big changes since the cherry tree was cut down last fall. 

On Sunday, We spent a few hours at my Mom and Kenny's and Brian pruned their roses and apple tree.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: April 7-10th 2014

Welcome Monday!

It's a full week this week with lots of upcoming activities.  

Monday night is the final of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  From 64 teams to just 2!  Since tip-off is at 6PM, I'll pick up a much deserved pizza.  Chick requested Greek Risotto which is a dish that I have not prepared in a long time and we will close the week out with two low fat meals ahead of a visit from family all the way from Kentucky on Friday.

What are your plans for the week?


MONDAY: NCAA National Championship Game - Pizza Night!
TUESDAY: Taco Tuesday!  Kalua Pork Street Tacos
WEDNESDAY:Greek Risotto with Chicken
THURSDAY: Weight Watchers Salisbury Steak, Red Potatoes and Green Beans

Friday, April 4, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Friday Night with Baby Stacy

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady (and I believe that is long time family friend, Dorothy Ross with me)
WHAT: Friday night card game
WHERE: E Street in Springfield, OR
WHEN: I look to be 3-4 months Summer of 1969

This was a typical Friday night at E Street in Springfield, the summer of 1969.  Who knows....maybe Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on this day?  Notice the ashtray, matches and the deck of cards!  The cute baby was me and I was the center of attention.

Since my birthday month is upon us, this month's Old Photo Friday posts will be all about me!


UPDATE:  Both Pop and Aunt Judy claim that the picture is of Grandma Marie (not Dorothy) and the square box on the table is not a deck of cards, but a pack of cigarettes.  Like I said, good times at E Street

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Chocolate Mousse

Did you know that today...April 3rd is national chocolate mousse day!?  No kidding?  Did you know that you can make it in 4 minutes?  Time yourself!


4 Minute Chocolate Mousse


4 oz bar of high quality dark chocolate (Ghiradelli); You'll use 7 of the 8 squares with the last square used for garnish
10 oz heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup extra fine granulated sugar
1 large egg white
chocolate shavings - garnish
2 tsp Amaretto, Amaretto Syrup or other liqueur (optional)


Break chocolate into small pieces and set aside

In a small saucepan, heat half of the cream until it begins to boil.  Turn off the heat, add the chocolate pieces and stir until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture into a bowl set over a large bowl of iced water and add the rest of the cream and liqueur is using.

Using a hand held electric mixer, beat the mixture into soft peaks.  Remove the bowl from the iced water.

Separate egg white into a bowl.  Whisk the egg white with hand held mixer until stiff peaks form.  Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time and continue to whisk into a soft meringue.

Carefully fold the meringue through the chocolate mixture, then spoon or pipe into two chilled serving glasses.

Top with chocolate shavings.

Image courtesy of Google Images 
Dude says give yourself 8-10 minutes the first time!