Thursday, July 31, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Pesto

I've been noticing cauliflower steak recipes popping up all over the place.  I've never though of cauliflower being cut like a steak, but this is a great idea.  It's certainly versatile and can be baked, steamed and I like it pureed

This is a combination of a couple of different recipes that I combined together.  I am not sure about grilling it, but I know that I have roasted cauliflower before so I think either way would be nice.


Cauliflower Steaks with Pesto


1 large head of cauliflower
salt and pepper
Olive oil or non-stick cooking spray

Pesto Sauce

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (you could also use kale or spinach)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest; plus zest to garnish
1 tablespoon cold water
salt and pepper



In a food processor, place basil, garlic, oil and zest.  Add 1 tablespoon cold water.  Process or blend until smooth.  Pulse in a bit of salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside at room temperature.


Remove the leaves from the cauliflower head and trim the base even with the bottom of the head.  Rinse thoroughly.

Bring a large pot of water to boil just deep enough to immerse the whole cauliflower head.  Salt the water as it comes to a boil.  Gently (try using a large sturdy wire skimmer or strainer spoon) lower the head into the boiling water.  Cook the cabbage for 2 minutes, then immediately remove from the water (place in an ice bath or cold water for 3-5 minutes).  Drain the cooled head and pat dry with paper towels.  Transfer stem side down to a cutting board.  (If you are roasting in the oven, skip the pre-boiling)

With a sharp knife, carefully cut the cauliflower head vertically into slices about 3/4 inch thick.  You should get at least 4 slices.

Preheat the grill.  Rub with olive oil or spray with cooking spray each side of the cauliflower steaks.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Place the steaks on the cooking grill (if roasting in the oven, place cauliflower on a baking sheet and place in a 425 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, turning steaks once).  Grill until they are seared a deep golden brown color (about 5 minutes per side).  Turn them over and brush a bit of the pesto on top.  Transfer the steaks to a serving platter with more pesto on the side.

Recipe Courtesy of Wolfgang Puck
Image found on Google Images

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

32.75/52: Summer in West Seattle

Last weekend we just didn't feel like ridding.  This past weekend, with temps back up in the 80's we took another ride along Alki Beach early in the morning.

We rode almost 8 miles (just short of my goal of 10), but we both felt great after the ride and are getting stronger on our bikes with each ride.

Friday night it was date night at Shadowland in West Seattle.  I bought a $15 LivingSocial coupon and we treated ourselves to dinner in the neighborhood.

 Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Roasted Corn Slaw, Chipotle Aioli and Organic Arugula

Saturday night it was cocktails and a BBQ on my Mom and Kenny's patio.

How did you spend your Summer weekend?


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: End of July!

Welcome Monday!

Seriously?!  It's the end of July, already!?

Thankfully, our days are still long and we have all sorts of summer activities planned.  Remember to plan out your menu and grocery list on Saturday or Sunday and get prepared for the week.  

I keep a manilla folder full of easy go-to recipes so that I don't end up in the kitchen after a long day at work.

Be prepared!!

Here is our menu for the week and remember to check out Laura's website for more organizing tips!


MONDAY: BBQ Halibut (or Pacific Cod), Steamed Red Potatoes and Green Beans
TUESDAY:  Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese and Pistachio Salad with Grilled Sirloin Steaks
WEDNESDAY: Garden Burgers with Tater Tots
THURSDAY: Greenway Concert in the Park

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Caprese Portobello Burgers

Since I grill all year round, once summer comes...I kinda run out of ideas for quick grilled summer meals.  Lately, I've been totally obsessed with grilling portobello mushrooms for burgers.  Trust me, the meatiness of the mushrooms easily turns this into a hearty burger. 



Yields 2
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper
4 leaves fresh basil
2 portobello mushrooms, stem removed
2 whole grain buns, toasted (we use sandwich thins); you can also omit the bun and use two mushrooms
2 oz part skim mozzarella cheese, sliced
Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray a medium baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Place tomato slices on prepared baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 tablespoon vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender. 
Rub remaining oil and vinegar on your mushrooms.  Grill over medium heat until browned and tender about 7-10 minutes per side.
Toast bun on grill (we typically don't toast the thins).  Top buns with cooked mushroom and tomatoes, cheese and two leaves of basil.

Recipe slightly adapted from Carla Birnberg
Image found on Google Images

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

32.5/52: Tired...lost faith in mankind (only to have it restored)!

Oh dear me......

Such drama in that blog post title, I am bound to have you hooked!  Just a has a good ending!

Last weekend was quiet!  We went from 90 degrees to 70 degrees which pleased Brian and Sammy immensely.  We ran errands and cooked a nice dinner on Saturday night and Brian received a surprise in the mail....Dunkin' Donuts coffee from east coast friends!

We were quiet because we were downtrodden, crest-fallen and SERIOUSLY jacked-off!

Brian had a quick mid week trip to Denver.  Upon landing, he got on the Avis rental car shuttle which made two for the preferred, elite, top-notch (I don't have to wait in any line) customers and a second stop...for the common-folk, proletariat (we'll wait in line hours just to rent one of your stupid cars) customers.  At the preferred stop, a seemingly honest, middle aged business-man preferred Avis rental car customer accidentally grabbed Brian's black Costco computer/over-night bag (probably thinking it was his) and took off for his rental car.  It wasn't until Brian's Avis stop that he realized the bag he picked up was NOT his Costco bag.  His bag was gone!

Of course the preferred, elite, honest-looking business-man didn't bother (being that he was so important to the existence of our planet) to put any luggage/name tags on his bag!  That would have been too easy, right to have his cell phone number and to have called him before he left the airport to ask him to bring back the wrong bag he absent-mindlessly just STOLE!

So here Brian clothes, no glasses, no toiletries....oh and no Apple IPAD (belonging to his lovingly, supportive and seductively beautiful Girlfriend of 10 long years = me). 

85,000 telephone calls to minimum wage Avis employees later, hours spent riffling through the absent minded businessman's bag (and he had nothing of any value except chapstick and pencils) and NOTHING. Oh, there was a scrap of paper with a disconnected phone number on it...but nothing real substantial.  Not sure what kind of business this elite Avis car renter does, but I am betting it's nothing too successful! 

Finally with Brian, playing the part of a mix between Ellery Queen and Jim Rockford and his steadfast desire to get the bag back, he and another Avis Manager were able to look up all the customers who picked up rental cars on Tuesday morning.  The businessman was tracked down and sent an e-mail asking if he had mistakenly taken a bag.  But, as the clock ticked by....minute by minute....hour after after day, the absent minded bag stealing businessman never surfaced. Brian left Denver Thursday night with no bag and a small lead.

So.......after a bit of retail therapy on Saturday (replacing summer sandals, work shoes and slacks) we began drowning our sorrows in a fine Zinfandel (thank you Cost Plus World Market)!  Brian's cell phone rang at 6PM and it was AVIS.  The bag had been found....after 6 long days and nights.  Apparently, the elite absetn minded businessman, thinking that he had picked up the bag mistakingly on the airplane, took Brian 's bag back to Delta Baggage lost and found when he flew out of Denver on Thursday! After an hour on the phone with Delta, we found someone who physically had Brian's bag sitting right in front of her.  She verified the contents and then put the bag on a plane bound for Portland where we were reunited with the bag Sunday afternoon!

Whew!  A wild crazy, mentally exhausting week ended up being pretty nice....back in Portland and ready to resume our faith in mankind!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: July 21-24, 2014

Welcome Monday!

It's super fun, but also super challenging to have a house guest and stay on Weight Watchers.  Brian is in Portland this week working so I am going to try and dazzle and impress with some Weight Watchers meals.

What's on your menu this week!?  Remember to check out Laura's site for more organizing tips.


Sunday: Chicken Taco Bar
Monday: Sloppy Joe's with Chips
Tuesday: Out with Friends to Imperial
Wednesday: Weight Watchers Pasta Alla Vodka 
Thursday:Weight Watchers Chili Chicken Kebabs

Saturday, July 19, 2014

31/52: West Seattle Summer

 Mount Rainer as seen from Amtrak Coast Starlight


We spent the weekend trying to cool off with various activities.

Our first bike ride of the year on Sunday morning (before the heat of the day set in).  Only 6.72 miles, but it was a good ride and a good start.

A cold beer (Miller Hi-Life to be exact) at the West Seattle Summer Festival.  It's always one of the hottest days of the year!  A great community gathering and something we always look forward to.

Poor Sammy!  He loves the sunshine, but hates the heat.  Brian found him on top of the Maui suitcase after I left Monday morning.  Do you think he knows that we only have 42 days until we leave?


Friday, July 18, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Amy and Ken

WHO: Ken and Amy Lee

WHERE: Hawaii...probably Kauai
WHEN: Late 1980's/early 1990's

Happy belated birthday to Sister-in-Law, Amy who celebrated a birthday on July 4th.  A very special remembrance birthday for Brian's brother Ken, who left this world way to soon late last year.  He would have celebrated his 59th birthday this next week.  We hold you in our hearts everyday.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistacios

It's been a hot summer here in Portland with already a dozen days with temperatures in the 90's (today and tomorrow near 100 - thankfully we are in a cool down through the weekend)!!!

This salad looks so refreshing and is the perfect side dish to a grilled steak, a chicken breast or a piece of fish.


Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

Serves 2-4


4 beets (red or golden)
1 garlic glove, minced
1 thyme sprig, leaves removed and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup pistachios
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 cup arugula or micro greens


In a baking dish, toss the beets with the garlic, thyme and 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until beets are tender.  Let beets cool, then quarter them.

Transfer beets to a bowl (if using both red and golden, keep separate). 

Toss the pistachios with 1/2 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toast in the oven for 5 minutes (you can do this while the beets are roasting).  Once they have cooled, I like to give them a bit of a rough chop.

In a bowl, whisk the vinegar with the olive oil.  Toss the beets with the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper and arrange on a platter.

Crumble the goat cheese on top and sprinkle with pistachios.  Top with greens then serve.

Image courtesy of Google Images
Recipe slightly adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

30/52:Garden Update!

My garden is seriously taking off!  The 80-90 degree consistent temps have been a big help, plus the radiant heat from the south side of the house!

Just when I thought my broccoli was done, I've had some success with the two plants I kept.....we will see.

I have more tomatoes than I can count albeit, they are seriously small and very green.  I bet I am harvesting a few by the last day of July.

Herbs are herbs......harvesting basil and oregano.  Rosemary is quite small and I will most likely replant into one of the main boxes before first frost.  Not sure how much I will harvest anytime soon.

Acorn squash has had blossoms for weeks, but I am not seeing any buds???  I would be so happy to just get one edible squash!

How does your garden grow?


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Mid-July 2014

Welcome Monday and welcome to the middle of July.

It's not quite the dog days of summer yet, but no one wants to be in the kitchen longer than necessary.  This week I have some really quick and easy to prepare meals.

Remember to head on over to Laura's site for more menu plans.


Monday: Pasta Primavera (Meatless Monday)
Tuesday: MLB All Star Game from Minneapolis, MN.  Beer Brats with Herb Yukon Gold Potato Salad
Wednesday: Weight Watchers Italian Turkey Burgers
Thursday: Skinny Taste Flat Iron Steak with Black Bean and Corn Salsa and a Big Garden Salad

Friday, July 11, 2014

Old photo Friday: Mom, Sandra and Stacy

WHO: Mom, Sandra and Stacy
WHAT: Welcome Home from Australia Party
WHERE: E Street in Springfield, OR
WHEN: Summer 1995

Last weekend, we had a wonderful 4th of July in Seattle visiting with my Mom and Kenny.  I was searching thorough a pile of old photos to be scanned and I came across this picture from 1995.  The three of us have spent a lot of time together over the years.  This was a great celebration with friends and family and you can see the love and the bond the three of us have.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Award Winning Rub

A dry rub is the first step to anything BBQ'd or smoked.  I also include a wet rub to finish, but that's a different blog post for another day.

What makes an award winning rub?  A complex balance of flavors hitting all the taste buds on the tongue.  This is a perfect blend of heat and sweet.

This is enough for 8-10 slabs of ribs, easily 4-6 pounds of tri-tip or pork butt.  It can be made ahead and stored in a airtight container for 4-6 weeks.




3/4 cup Paprika
1/2 cup White Sugar
1/4 cup Granulated Garlic
1/8 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Chili Powder
2 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Cayenne
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Thyme


Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

29/52: 4th of July Weekend Fun!!

We had a wonderful time in Seattle over the 4th of July holiday!

Wednesday night, Brian and I took Chick to Duos Lounge in West Seattle.

This is quickly becoming our favorite little neighborhood gem...especially on Wino Wednesday when all bottles of wine are 1/2 price!

They have a great happy hour, daily from 4-7 with a great variety of options.

We had Beef Sliders, Caesar Salad and a Dungeness Crab Cake.  Yum!

On Thursday, we took a stroll around the Kubota Gardens.  In 1927 Fujitaro Kubota bought 5 acres of logged off swampland in Rainier Beach and began his garden.

He was a man with a dream.  An entirely self taught gardener, he wanted to display the beauty of the Northwest in a Japanese manner and was soon designing and installing gardens throughout the Seattle area.

The gardens on the Seattle University campus and the Japanese Garden at the Bloedel Reserve are public examples of his work.

He died in 1973 at the age of 94.  In 1987, thanks to the efforts of many dedicated individuals, the city of Seattle acquired the garden from the Kubota family and it is now maintained by the gardeners of the Department of Parks and Recreation along with many volunteers.

For the 4th, we had a wonderful BBQ at Mom and Kenny's.  Brian and I had a game of horse shoes and we hung out on the patio until the winds picked up and it turned chilly.

Kenny cooked burgers and dogs, potato salad and Brian brought baked beans.  The fireworks were a bit too late but the neighborhood kept us awake until midnight.

On Saturday night, we had a wonderful Mexican dinner at Mission Latin Bar and Restaurant.  The Mission offers Latin and Mexican cuisine in an enchanting atmosphere in the heart of the Admiral District.

We loved the cozy restaurant and sat upstairs overlooking the bar.  The menu offered everything from sweet potato enchiladas to shrimp tacos to Pork "street tacos" Carnitas.

No need to mention that diets start back up again today!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: July 7-10, 2014

Welcome to another summer Monday!

We had a wonderful time in West Seattle, but it's time to re-think both the diet and exercise plan.  Don't let the long days of summer derail your weight loss goals.  The best thing to do is plan your menu and shop ahead.  My menu below reflects the "summer" vibe, time constraints and weight loss consciousness that we are all facing.

Don't forget to head over to Laura's site for more organizing ideas.


Monday: A trip to Costco!  We will pick up a chicken and a pre-made salad for dinner
Tuesday: Pepper-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Hobo-Pack Potatoes and a Garden Salad
Wednesday: Grilled Halibut with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa and Grilled Asparagus
Thursday: WW Lemon Chicken with Broccoli 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

The 4th of July holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain occured on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of Independence

Unique of Historical Facts:

Held since 1785, the Bristol 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the US.

Since 1972, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY has been held on July 4th.

On the Capitol lawn in Washington D.C., "A Capitol Fourth" a free concert precedes fireworks and attract over half a million people (broadcast on PBS).

Several countries used the Declaration of Independence as a beacon in their own struggles from Freedom.  Among them, France.  Then later, Greece, Poland and Russia.

"Yankee Doodle" one of many patriotic songs in the US, was originally sung prior to the Revolution by British military officers who mocked the unorganized and buckskin wearing "Yankees" with whom they fought during the French and Indian War.

Three US presidents actually died on July 4th.  Two of them passed away within hours of each other on July 4th 1826; John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  James Monroe died on July 4th 1831.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recipe of the Week: 4th of July Sweets!

Happy 4th of July!

We will be celebrating at my Mom and Kenny's tomorrow....a lovely BBQ and patriotic celebration.  I am in charge of the deviled eggs and Brian is making his delicious baked beans.  Here are a couple of 4th of July desserts that I came across.  Perhaps I'll make one.


Red White and Blue Cookies
Betty Crocker


1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons red colored sugars
2 tablespoons blue colored sugars


Beat sugar, butter, almond extract and egg in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in flour.

Divide the dough in half; cover and set aside.  Place remaining half on waxed paper; press into 8 inch square.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon each of the red and blue sugars.

Using the wax paper to lift, roll up the dough.  Repeat with the remaining dough and colored sugars.  Wrap roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour until firm.

Heat oven to 375F.  Cut rolls in to 1/4 inch slices.  Place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I like to bake on parchment paper)

Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Cool 1 minute; remover from cookie sheet to cool on a wire rack

Triple Berry Brownie
Betty Crocker


1 box fudge brownie mix
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 1/3 cups halved fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries


Make brownies according to package direction; cool completely (this recipe call for the brownies to be cooked in a shallow pizza pan).

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth and creamy.  Fold in whipped topping, spread over brownie.  Arrange berries over cream cheese mixture.  Refrigerate 1 hour.  Store in refrigerator

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

28/52: Yard Work Party

We had the help of Brian last weekend at Rebecca Lane and spent Saturday & Sunday trimming trees and bushes, raking beds, picking weeds and laying bark.

Here are the before and after pictures!

The mound of bark!

4 rhododendrons to deadhead!

The front after bark is laid.  We spent 4 hours prepping, trimming and cleaning beds and got the front yard finished by 2:30 on Saturday.

With one final push on Sunday, we finished the backyard just before 1PM.


This morning...everything except my eyelashes hurts (muscles that I didn't know existed).  We accomplished a lot....more than the three of us thought we would.  Now we can sit back and enjoy our work.