Friday, October 31, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Happy Halloween!

WHO: Stacy
WHAT: Halloween
WHERE: E Street in Springfield, OR

WHEN:Halloween 1971 (I am 2 1/2)

Happy Halloween!  Ever since I was a small child I have always loved Halloween.  Does anyone know what my costume is?  I haven't a clue...but I look ready to go trick-or-treating!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

43/52: Chicago

 This is just a sneak peak at our wonderful adventure to Chicago.

Chicago River - Heading to lunch

Union Station - Chicago

Hard Hat Tour!

We are home now and I am sorting through pictures and video.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: October 27-31, 2014

Welcome to Monday all the way from Chicago!

We are traveling this week so our menu is a bit crazy.  The beginning of the week will be a lot of train food, then some home cooking all ahead of a Halloween Party on Friday night!

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



Monday:  Leaving Chicago at 2PM aboard the Amtrak Empire Builder (westbound)
Tuesday:  All day and all night on board the train!  Here is the MENU
Wednesday:  HOME!  Let's just pick up a Rotisserie Chicken and roast some Brussels Sprouts
Thursday: WW Greek Hamburgers and Tater Tots
Friday:  HALLOWEEN!!!  Home-Made pizza, candy for the kiddies! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Cuban Sandwich inspired by the movie, Chef

I watched the most amazing movie last week called "Chef".  Have you seen it?  I've attached the official trailer below!

Not to give too much away, but the 2014 "dramedy" was written, produced and directed by Jon Favreau and has an all-star cast including, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman and John Leguizamo.

Favreau plays a professional chef who, after an altercation with a food critic, quits his job at a popular Los Angeles restaurant and returns to his hometown of Miami to fix up a food truck.

Rolling Stone gave the film 3.5 out of 4 starts and I thought it was definitely a 4 star...funny, heartfelt and entertaining movie.  Please check it out when you have time.

The Cubano or Cuban Sandwich is the basis for the food truck and so I researched and found the most perfect (and simple) recipe.

A Cuban sandwich is quite simply a variation of a ham and cheese originally created in cafes catering to Cuban workers in immigrant communities around Miami, Florida.

While there is some debate as to the contents of a "true" Cuban sandwich, the origin is just as murky.  In the late 1800s travel between Cuba and Florida was easy, especially from Key West and Cubans frequently sailed back and forth for employment or pleasure.  It is believed that the sandwich was a common lunch food for workers in Cuba as well as in the cigar factories of Key West.  By 1860, Historian Loy Glenn Westfall states that the sandwich was "born in Cuba and educated in Key West".

By the 1960s, the Cuban sandwich was common in Miami cafeterias and on restaurant menus as the city gained a large influx of Cuban residents after Fidel Castro's 1959 rise to power.

Here is a recipe I found while researching Cuban food.


Original Cuban Sandwich


1 loaf Cuban bread* (you might try a French roll if a bakery in your area does not have)
1/2 stick butter, softened
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 1/2 lbs deli ham, sliced
1 1/2 pounds roasted pork, sliced
1 lbs Swiss cheese, sliced
1 cup dill pickle chips


Spread 2 tablespoons of the butter on one half of the bread loaf and a thin layer or mustard on the other.  Place 1-2 layers of ham, pork and cheese on the buttered bread.  Top with pickles.  Place the mustard spread piece of bread on top.

Smear the rest of the butter all over the outside of the sandwich and wrap it completely in aluminum foil.

Heat grill to high.  Before grilling the sandwich, press down on it with your hands to flatten.  Place the wrapped sandwich on the grill and top with a brick (if you have something like the Griddler or a panini press, then you are in a better position).  Close the lid and grill for 5-6 minutes.

Remove the wrapped sandwich from the grill and take off the foil.  Return the sandwich to the grill and grill for about 2-3 minutes per side or until the bread is crispy and golden brown.

Remove the sandwich from the grill, cut at an angle and place on a platter and serve while hot.

*Cuban bread - made from white flour, yeast and a bit of lard.  This bread has a very thin crust and is soft in the middle with tunnels

Movie Trailer!!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

42/52: Pumpkin Patch

Last Saturday, Brian and I met up with our friends, Sonja and Geoff for our annual trek out to the pumpkin patch in Snohomish, Washington.

We managed to snap a few pictures before a monsoon hit us, but we still mucked around in the mud and found a few pumpkins to take home.

No sooner did we get in the car to head into Snohomish for lunch, when the rains ended and the sunshine came out.  The rest of the day was absolutely beautiful and Sunday we set a record high in Seattle for the 19th of October with 73 degrees!!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: October 20-23, 2014

Happy Monday!

It's a super-crazy-unbelievably busy week ahead with doctors appointments, pet sitting, work audits and an early morning plane ride on Friday to Chicago!

Whew!  How to get it all in and still eat sensibly!?  Make a plan and stick to it.  Here is our plan for the week!

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


Monday: Spaghetti (from freezer) with a Side Salad and Bread Sticks
Tuesday: Grilled Ballpark Beef Hot Dogs with Chips (Game #1 of World Series)
Wednesday: Red Chicken Curry over Jasmine Rice
Thursday:  Kitchen is closed; finish packing for early morning flight!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Old Photo Friday: More Halloween Fun!

WHO: Stacy
WHAT: Halloween
WHERE: E Street in Springfield, OR
WHEN: Back of picture says 1979 (I was 10 years old)

This Halloween costume was all my Pop's idea.  This particular year, I went as a hobo.  Pop made the bindle (hobo stick) and he reached up into the fireplace and rubbed soot on my face so it looked like I had a beard.  He also smoked half a cigar and put it on a plastic filter for me to carry around.  What a creative Dad!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Eggs Creole

I don't watch a lot of television, but one of my new favorite shows on TV is NCIS: New Orleans.  I've never been to New Orleans before, but I would love to go...if for nothing else, to try the Creole Cuisine of Louisiana.

Louisiana Creole cuisine is a style of cooking that blends French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Native American foods and cooking styles.  The Cajun's largely assimilated and adopted Creole cuisine as their own.  Although the Creole cuisine is closely identified with New Orleans today, much of it evolved in the country plantation estates so beloved of the pre-Civil War Creoles.

Generally, there are two types of Creole cuisine: Urban and Rural. Urban is observed and prepared for mainly tourists of New Orleans, while Rural Creole is usually hidden in the bayous and swamps of the old Creole Parishes/Acadiana or Creole Country.  

Since the 1980s, Rural Creole cuisine has largely been mistakenly labeled as Cajun cuisine.  The rise of southern American Cooking began to emerge in the 1980's, led by such cooks as Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, bringing back the distinction between Creole and Cajun cuisine.

Classic Creole dishes include, Shrimp Remoulade, Oysters Bienville. Gumbo, Crawfish etouffee, Red Beans and Rice, Beignets and Bread Pudding.

On last week's episode of NCIS: New Orleans, Agent Pride cooked Eggs Creole with Remoulade Sauce so of course, I had to research and post (oh and in one scene they contemplated ordering bread pudding for dessert).

Eggs Creole


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped (or use a good chilli paste or red pepper flakes)
4 springs of fresh thyme
28 oz can plum tomatoes, break apart with hands
1/2 cup tomato juice (or V8)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
4 large eggs 
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 350.

Heat oil in a large pan (ovenproof) and add the chopped onion.  Let it cook for 2 minutes, then add the ginger, garlic, chilli and thyme .  Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally as to not let the onions or herbs burn.

Add the can of tomatoes, the tomato juice and the chopped cilantro  Cook for 3-5 minutes to blend flavors.  Mix should simmer to a low boil.

Create 4 pockets in the tomato sauce and crack four eggs into the pan.  Let eggs cook for 1-2 minutes until the egg whites are starting to set.  Place the pan in the oven and cook until the eggs are softly cooked, but the yolks still runny (no longer than 1-2 minutes). 

To serve:  Scoop out each egg and 2-3 tablespoons of sauce.  Top with freshly chopped parsley and serve with cooked diced potatoes or a scoop of white rice and toast or a biscuit.

Image found of Google Images
Recipe is a mix of several egg dishes I found when Googling Eggs Creole
NCIS: New Orleans

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

41/52: A Sign of the Season

Probably one of my last daylight train photos this year.  Soon, most all of my weekly Amtrak journeys will be in the darkness.

I loved the blue gray-ness of last Friday afternoon.  A sign of the fall season.



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Mid-October 2014

Welcome to Monday!

Super excited now that fall is really officially here....crisp mornings, fog and the rains have returned.  The leaves have been extraordinary!

How are you enjoying fall? 

Here is our menu for the week!  Don't forget to check out Laura's site for more menu and planning ideas!


Sunday: Yumm Bowls (Chick is cooking)
Monday: BBQ Chicken with Roasted Spaghetti Squash and a Big Garden Salad
Tuesday: WW Crockpot Turkey Chili
Wednesday: WW Ground Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodles with Green Beans
Thursday: Garden Burgers with Fries (Meatless Monday on Thursday)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Halloween Fun!

WHO: Family friends, Sten and Dianne
WHAT: Halloween Party
WHERE: E Street in Springfield, OR
WHEN: 1974

From what I can remember (I was 5 years old), this was a great Halloween party hosted by my parents in our Springfield home.  You might recall, I posted THIS picture of our costumes before, but I came across this photo of some friends recently.  I think Sten (and his wife, Candy...not pictured) came as Bonnie and Clyde.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Dal Curry

Over girl's weekend, at the end of September, we went out for Indian take-away at Abhiruchi in Beaverton.

Quite simply,  Dal (or sometimes Dhal) Curry is delightful!  Dal is the Indian word for lentils. The word derives from the Sanskrit verbal root dal - "to split" and is sometimes referred to generically as a "dal bean".   

The best kind to use for this recipe is red split lentils which you can most likely find at any world market (Trader Joe's) or health food store.  Alternatively, use yellow or green (which you can easily find at most grocery stores).

It has an unbelievable nutritional health profile.  It provides an excellent source of protein, particularly for those adopting a vegetarian diet or a diet which does not contain much meat.  It is typically around 25% protein by weight, giving it a comparable protein content to meats.  It's also rich in vitamin B, folic acid as well as minerals iron and zinc.


Dal Curry


8 oz red lentils
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 potatoes, peeled and diced (I prefer Yukon Gold)
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 small red or yellow pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or just use one 8 oz can of tomatoes)
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 cup Basmati rice, cooked
Greek yogurt or sour cream, optional


In a saucepan containing 1 1/2 pints of water, add one teaspoon each of ginger, cumin, turmeric and salt, then bring it all to a boil.

Stir in the lentils, let it come back to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

After that, add the potato and continue cooking until the lentils have turned mushy (making sure that the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan).

While this is cooking, heat up the butter in anther pan and fry up the onion and pepper until browned, then lower the heat and stir in the curry powder, the garlic and the remaining ginger.  Then add the tomatoes and stir to combine.

Cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the lentil mixture, then taste and season with salt.  Continue to gently cook until flavors begin to meld, about 5-10 minutes.  Before serving, stir in cilantro.

Serve with basmati rice and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

Recipe adapted from Delia Online Cookery School (yes, I think she is British)
Image found on Google Images

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

40/52: Fall Weekend in Seattle


The seasons are changing....there is no denying it, but Sunday was 75 in Seattle!!

Friday sunset aboard Amtrak Coast Starlight

Our weekend in West Seattle was quiet, we kinda planned it that way; however, we did manage to walk down to Lincoln Park both Saturday & Sunday mornings.  The air was crisp and sweet and smelled of smoke and drying leaves.

 The most adorable cat on the planet!

Activities included, touring an open house (house listed for $885,000...that's me on the deck), visiting the new community "free" library (donating books), napping with Sammy and enjoying a hot bowl of chili (first crock pot meal of the season) while watching the baseball playoffs.

Super cool concept....these little "free" libraries are popping up all over Seattle.  I donated three paperbacks on Sunday.

How did you spend your weekend!?


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: October 6-9, 2014

Happy Monday!  Welcome to the first full week of October!

Our menu is heavily influenced by Weight Watchers this week, plus I've got a Meatless Monday meal back on the menu, but on Tuesday!  Thursday is another trip to the dentist for Chick, so something...anything that is soft for her to eat is fair game!

How's your menu look this week?

Don't forget to head on over to Laura's site for more organizing tips!


Monday: MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL!! Weight Watchers Mexican Turkey Burgers
Tuesday: Curry Vegetables with Chickpeas and Creamy Polenta (Meatless Monday on Tuesday, Thanks, Naturally Ella)
Wednesday: Weight Watchers Chicken Stewed with Tomatoes and Artichokes over Jasmine Rice
Thursday: Chick to Dentist - Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup for me and maybe for Chick!?!?!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Remembering Phyllis

WHO: Phyllis, Lester and Sandra
WHAT: Christmastime
WHERE: Phyllis and Lester's home in Springfield, OR
WHEN: Christmas 2007 or 2008

We lost a dear friend of the family quite suddenly this week and our hearts are aching for her loss.  You are in our hearts, Phyllis.

I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;
of happy memories that I leave when my life is done.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Longhi's Spicy Mussels in Marinara

Another one of the great meals that we ate in Maui was at Longhi's in Lahaina.

Bob Longhi opened the original Longhi's on Front Street in Lahaina in 1976.  Thirty-eight years later, and this restaurant is still one of the most popular and acclaimed restaurants in Hawaii.  There are many fans of Longhi's including, Robert Mondavi, James Coburn, Al Michaels and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.  Longhi's has won numerous awards for their outstanding food, extensive wine list and excellent service.  We never come to Maui without eating here!

Brian and I shared the mussels (appetizer) for his birthday dinner and I have to say, it was probably one of the best mussel dishes I have ever had.


Mussels Marinara - Fra Diavolo


1/4 cup olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup crisp dry white wine
1 28oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your taste)
4 lbs. cleaned mussels
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, rough chopped
Lemon wedge
1 baguette, warmed


In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the garlic for 2 minutes.  Add the wine and bring heat up until wine mixture boils, reducing a bit for about 2-3 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper and add the red pepper flakes.  Reduce the heat to low and cook sauce for 5 minutes.

Once the sauce is at a light simmer, add the mussels and give them a stir.  Cover the pot, increase heat to medium-high and cook for 6-8 minutes or until all of the mussels have opened (you may or may not want to add another splash of wine).

Serve by topping with parsley then place lemon wedge and chunks of bread beside the plates and enjoy!

Recipe found on Google
I took the image when we ate at Longhi's on September 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

39.5/52: Weekend with the Parents!

Last weekend, we hosted my parents in Seattle for an end of summer (and the end of the Mariner's season) trip to Safeco Field.

After driving up to Seattle on Friday, we took my parents out to dinner at our new favorite place for 2014, Duos Lounge in West Seattle.

This has become our spring/summer 2014 dinner spot.  Next we must try it for brunch this fall!  

This is our third time to this little West Seattle gem and each time the service and the food has been wonderful.  On Friday nights, you are also treated to live music which was fabulous.

Our meal included shared plates of Shrimp Cheviche and...

Mediterranean Mussels in a White Wine Pesto Beurre Blanc Sauce

Rosemary had.....

Thai Beef - Marinated Painted Hills Flank Steak, Vermicelli Rice Noodles, Pickled Cucumber and Red Onion, Roasted Peanuts, Mint, Ginger and Lemongrass Vinaigrette

I had........

Weathervance Scallops with Roasted Corn Chowder and bacon and Potato Puree

A fabulous meal, topped off with Sean Minor Chardonnay!

On Saturday, we had a lovely breakfast at Endolyne Joe's.

I especially loved the Hawaii themed menu (they rotate the menu quarterly to offer dishes from around the globe).  

The Kalua Pork Hash was fabulous!

Next we headed to the Seattle Museum of Flight.

Located south of downtown Seattle, the Museum was established in 1965 and is the largest air and space museum in the world.  

On their grounds is the Personal Courage Wing with 29 World War I and World War II aircraft.  

There is also the "Red Barn", built in 1909, this building was used during the early 1900's as Boeing's original manufacturing plant. 

We had a special private tour (thanks, Ray) for about 45 minutes of the main wing of the museum and saw vintage aircraft that follow the history of aviation from the Wright Brothers first flight to the replica of the plane Amelia Earhart flew

After the museum, we headed over to Safeco Field and arrived early at the game for batting practice and to walk around the park.  It was OctoberFest and the place was packed!!

As of Saturday night, the Mariners were in contention for the last wild card spot in the American League playoffs.

The Mariners won in extra innings and the crowd was electric.  It was a special game!

Unfortunately on Sunday, the Oakland A's bumped the M's from the playoffs, but we still had a wonderful weekend and the Mariners had a great season!  Wait until next year!