Sunday, December 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Last week of 2014

Happy New Year and Happy Monday!

How was Christmas!?

It's back to reality this week and it's kinda broken up with the New Year smack dab in the middle.  It's also the end of the free food and booze party bus!  This week is it, then back to a real plan for better and healthier eating in 2015.

Here is our 2014 wrap up menu for the week and remember to check out Laura's site for more ideas.


Monday: Turkey Tetrazzini (finish up the last of the Thanksgiving turkey)
Tuesday: Out?  We didn't get a chance to have a Christmas cocktail so how about a New Year one?
New Year's Eve: NY Steak, Lobster Tail and Baked Potato (with champage :-) )
New Year's Day: Bowl Games and lots of snacks....setting up the Nacho Bar!


Our Christmas 2015: The Wrap Up!

We had a wonderful Christmas filled with old traditions and lots of new memories.

Christmas Eve was quiet and Brian and I spent the entire day at home, baking...watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music.

After dinner, we took our annual Christmas Eve walk around our cute neighborhood in West Seattle and admired all the lights (plus a stop into Peel and Press for a libation).

Christmas Morning started before the sun came up...our house bathed in holiday lights, candles burning and the smell of Brian's quiches warming in the oven.

Santa was extremely kind to both of us this year....Sammy too!  We spend several hours going through our Santa stockings and then our presents, which this year included several "mystery" items from my parents and as always a box from Brian's brother and Julie in Honolulu.

In the afternoon, we headed over to see my Mom and Kenny and have h'ordouvres and champagne and open a few last gifts of the day.

Brian was head chef this year and our menu included a roasted Beef Tenderloin, America's Test Kitchen Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Giada's Italian Green Beans.

Our evening ended with our favorite, "It's a Wonderful Life" and Bailey's Irish Cream on ice....and we both proclaimed it to be the best Christmas ever!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Steve

WHO: Steven Ray Suter (we just call him Roonie)
WHAT: School picture
WHERE: Eugene, OR
WHEN:He looks to be about 7, so I'll say 1968

Happy Birthday to my Uncle Roonie who celebrates a birthday on Christmas Day!

I love you!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas, 2015

Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1864)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
the words repeat
of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
the unbroken song
of peace and earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
the world revolved from night to day.
a voice, a chime,
a chant sublime
of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
the cannon thundered in the South,
and with the sound
the carols drowned
of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
the hearth-stones of a continent
and made forlorn
the households born
of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail,
the right prevail,
with peace on earth, good-will to men!" 

Merry Christmas and peace on earth...from my family to yours!

Stacy and Brian

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas in Downtown Seattle

On Monday, Brian and I decided to try a different part of downtown Seattle for our annual adventure.  For the past 8 or 9 years, we've been shopping along the Westlake area at stores like Barnes and Noble and City Kitchens, both of which closed (Barnes and Noble relocated) in recent years.

We checked out the Gingerbread Village and the amazing art work at the Sheraton Hotel, then had an afternoon libation at Sullivan's Steakhouse.

This year, we shopped along 5th and 6th avenues and found a great spot for lunch and to people watch.

The Daily Grill has become one of our go-to place to grab lunch or happy hour whenever we are in downtown.

Our weather was perfect and it was great to see the sights and sounds of downtown at the holidays.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

51.5/52: Judy's Scary Little Christmas at Arts West Theater

No Christmas break would be complete without a trip to our little community theater to see their holiday performance.

Last Sunday, Brian and I attended Judy's Scary Little Christmas at the Arts West Theater in West Seattle, WA.

The musical is an original written by James Webber and David Church and is a holiday "spoof" on television variety shows of the 1950's, satirizing celebrities both public images and private lives.  It's a fictional story which employs a metaphysical plot twist (as with the old TV series Twilight Zone) and a spiritual redemption (similar to Dicken's Christmas Carol).

The plot centers around Judy Garland hosting a live television special on Christmas Eve, with guest stars Bing Crosby, Liberace, Ethel Merman and Joan Crawford.  Judy's guests smile great and entertain when they're "on-camera" but reveal their egos and rivalries during the off camera breaks.

As always, the talent of acting and the set design for the little West Seattle production was wonderful.

Brian, typically doesn't like the negative, campy humor associated with some of these holiday productions, but we both thought that the show was entertaining and funny (it's received great reviews during its December run), despite the second act being a bit "dark".

After the show, we headed over to The Matador for Happy Hour bites and cocktails (and of course with one eye glued to the Seahawks game).

As always, I would encourage everyone to check out local theater, especially around the holidays.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Christmas Break 2014

Do you remember when you were a kid and you counted the days until Christmas Break, well, I started thinking about my Christmas Break and planning it, about the time we came home from Maui in May!!!

It's always a treat to spend an entire week (9 nights) in Seattle with my boys!

We have a lot of activities planned this week so here is our plan!

Don't forget to check out all of Laura's plans on her website.


Sunday:  Arts West Play "Judy's Scary Little Christmas then Happy Hour at The Matador
Monday: Our annual trip to downtown Seattle, Lunch-Dinner (Linner) someplace downtown 
Tuesday: Catching up with friends, Rob & Kelly
Christmas Eve:  Lasagna, Breadsticks and Salad
Christmas Day:  Brian's quiches
Christmas Afternoon:  Cocktails and presents with my Mom and Kenny 
Christmas Day Dinner:  Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Giada's Italian Green Beans
Friday: Crockpot Chili with Cornbread; Movie Day downtown
Saturday: Hosting Mom and Kenny for Filet Mignon French Dips

Saturday, December 20, 2014

51/52: Christmas at Rebecca Lane 2014

Chick and I celebrated Christmas early at Rebecca Lane last Wednesday.

We spoiled each other rotten with PJs!  Always the #1 go-to gift in our house.

I received the new Billy Idol book (which I can't wait to start reading).

Chick got flame-less remote candles which we love having in the house all year round.

I am also super exited about my new knife block.  I can't wait to start chopping stuff up!!

It was a super fun night with lots of laughs, wine and Christmas music.

Christmas #1 down with many more celebrations to come this holiday season!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Pop

WHO: Diamond Jim Brady
WHAT: Looks like he's heading off to work
WHERE: Backyard of E Street
WHEN: Summer 1970

Happy 71st Birthday to my #1 Pop, Diamond Jim who celebrates his special day on Monday


Comment from Pop: 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Christmas Around the World - English Trifle

Trifle is an English dessert made with thick layers of custard, whipped cream and sponge cake, which is often soaked in sherry.  The earliest use of the name trifle was for a thick cream flavored with sugar, ginger and rosewater.  The recipe was published in England in 1596 in a book called "The good huswife's Jewell" by Thomas Dawson.  Sixty years later, eggs were added and the custard was poured over alcohol soaked bread.

It is a recipe most often served after Christmas Day Lunch in England.

Recipes can be simple to complex and can include everything from blueberries and bananas to eggnog, gingerbread and Oreo cookies.






Decadent English Trifle


10 oz. sponge cake, halved and cut into thick slices
10 oz. fresh strawberries (or any other berry of your choice)
6 tbsp sweet sherry (you could also use brandy or port)
2 cups thick custard (plain vanilla pudding)
2 cups double whipping cream, softly whipped
Handful , toasted sliced almonds (or any other nuts on hand)


Line the bottom of the dish or glasses with the cake slices

Slice the berries (hang onto a few for decoration) and arrange evenly over the cake.  Press slightly with a fork to release juices.  Sprinkle with sherry.

Spoon over the custard, again in a thick layer.

Finish with a thick layer of cream, either spooned over or piped using a piping bag.

Decorate with berries and a few toasted nuts.

This trifle can be made in a large deep glass dish or into individual glasses. 
Omit sherry if serving to children (better yet, this would probably put them right to sleep)!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

50.5/52 December in Seattle Weekend Wrap Up!

Every year, Brian and I head up to the north end of Seattle to a little town called Edmonds, WA.  Last Saturday we tasted wine and cheese at Arista, shopped at small local retailers and soaked in some holiday cheer in this cute little town.

Before heading up to Edmonds, we stopped off at Wight's Home and Garden to pick out a new tree topper.  Wight's is one of the northwest's premier home and garden stores (very much like our Molbak's adventure a few weeks ago).

Their store is decorate with about 15 themed Christmas trees....and it's hard to get out of there without a few treasures!

 I love a man who knows how to shop!

After lunch at Scott's, we headed home to put the topper on our tree!

Now only 3 more sleeps until Christmas vacation!!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: December 15-18th

Welcome Monday!

It's the week before Christmas holidays so a bit of a clean up of the fridge and pantry.  Brian is down towards the end of the week and we may head into downtown Portland to see the lights and have a drink with friends.

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


Monday: Beef Stroganoff over egg noodles with Asparagus
Tuesday:  Clam Chowder and Denver Beer Bread (a packet I picked up in May)
Wednesday: Chick and Princess Rebecca Lane Christmas Party! Garden Burgers and Fries
Thursday:  I think we are all out doing something!  Kitchen closed!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Christmas Memories Part III

WHO: Mike, Steve, Stacy and Sandra (brothers with sister, I am the niece)
WHAT: Christmas Eve
WHERE: E Street - Springfield, OR
WHEN: 1980-ish

Christmas Eve around 1980, probably one of the few with all the Suter/Brady kids (minus Aunt Judy).  My Pop wrote on the back of the picture this inscription:

Mike - Steve - Stacy
Sandra - she looks like you and Mom

Aunt Judy sent a box of old photos for my Pop's 70th birthday last December and this photo was in the box.

Why am I the only one really smiling?  It's Christmas!!!!  Is Uncle Mike the house?  Doesn't Steve look like a young Jon Bon Jovi?!

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Christmas Around the World - Tourtiere (French Canadian Meat Pie)

Tourtiere is a meat pie originating from lower Canada or Quebec, usually made with finely diced pork, veal or beef.   Sometimes wild game is added to enhance the taste of the pie.  Although not exclusive to Quebec.  It is a traditional French-Canadian dish served by generations of families throughout Canada.  In the New England region of the US, especially Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont, late in the 19th century, immigrants from Quebec introduced the dish.

A traditional part of the Christmas and New Year's Eve meal it is also sold in grocery stores throughout the year.

As a kid, every Thanksgiving or Christmas there was always a mince meat pie, typically made from venison, on the table.  I was not a big fan, but this dish brings back a lot of memories of that holiday classic.




1 1/2 cups finely chopped russet potatoes
2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 lbs ground pork (you could also use ground lamb or beef or a combo)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 small yellow onions, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Salt and black pepper
1 egg, mixed with 2 tsp milk (for egg wash)
1 box pie pastry (our you could make your own pie dough)


Bring a 4 qt saucepan of water to a boil; add potatoes and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.  Drain and mash until smooth; set aside.

Heat oil in a 4 qt saucepan over medium high heat.  Add pork and cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, onions and carrot.  Cook, stirring often until soft and pork is browned well, about 20 minutes.  Add cider, celery seed and spices.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until all liquid is evaporated, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the mashed potatoes.  Let filling cool completely.

Heat oven to 400F.  Place pie dough in 9" pie plate and add filling into pie dish and smooth top.  Place remaining pie dough on top and crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork.  Brush egg wash and using a knife, cut 4 2" slits in the top of the pie.

Bake until pastry is golden brown and filling is heated through, about 45-55 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

50/52: West Seattle Decorating Weekend!

Brian did the outdoor lights the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  With a dusting of snow last week, our little house looks like it's right out of the North Pole!

This past Saturday we went out in search of our Christmas Tree, and decorated the most beautiful tree ever on Saturday night!

How are your holiday decorations coming along?


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: December 8-11th 2014

Welcome Monday!

It's all Ho....Ho.....Ho at our house this week.  Wrapping presents, shopping, decorating, hot buttered rums and Christmas music, movies and variety shows.  Not a good time to be without a menu plan.  

This week we have some leftover turkey and a night out on the town to see the lights of Portland.  What's are your Christmas plans for the week?   

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


Monday:  Turkey Curry over Rice
Tuesday: Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Shrimp
Wednesday: Girls Night in Portland!  See the holiday lights!
Thursday: Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs with a Salad

Saturday, December 6, 2014

49/52: Wine Tasting Wrap Up!

This year, we decided to head out through Newberg to the Carlton area of Yamhill County for our annual Day-After-Thanksgiving Wine Tour.

Chick and I toured Yamhill County last fall and we really enjoyed the beauty of the area, unfortunately...Friday was wet and foggy, but we still enjoyed the scenery.

Friday's first stop was, August Cellars in Newberg, OR.

The winery is family owned and the tasting room is situated at the foothills of the orchards.  The land was purchased in 1942 and the family has been farming it continuously since then.  The vineyard produces, Pinot Noirs, Chardonnay, Riesling and Marechal Foch, plus they had guest wineries sharing the day.

The second stop of the day was, Winter's Hill Estate

On top of the Dundee Hills overlooking Yamhill Country lies Winter's Hill.  It's been operated by the Gladheart Family since 1961.  Thirty Five acres of vineyards are nestled into a 150 acre farm including fir and oak forests.

The matriarch of the family (I think her name was Dot), greeted us and treated us like family.  She was a real sweet lady.

For Thanksgiving Weekend they shared their Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc for $10, plus futures tastings right out of the barrel.

I didn't think much of the futures, but it was fun to "dream" about what the wine might taste like in a few years.



Next we headed right into the heart of Carlton, OR.

There are tons of cute little shops, restaurants and of course tasting rooms, but one in particular that I've always wanted to see is the Noble Pig Tasting Room (if you get a chance to check out their blog, I would highly recommend it).

This is a small family owned vineyard and boutique winery specializing in micro-production of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.  

It was founded in 1988 with the purchase of an 88 acre parcel of land just west of McMinnville, OR.  As always, their tasting fee, even for Thanksgiving weekend was $5 and included nibbles along with some nice wines.

Dodging raindrops, we took some time to explore the downtown Carlton area.  Pop, Rosemary and Brian checked out Ken Wright Cellars while Chick, Steve and I headed for Troon Tasting Room.

Each of us came home with at least one bottle from one of the 5 places we visited! 

It was a fantastic day and a great family tradition.

A special THANKS to Brian who drove us around in a rented van while we tasted everything!


Friday, December 5, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Christmas Memories Part II

WHO: Stacy and Gram
WHAT: Christmas Eve
WHERE: Hilyard Street, Eugene, OR
WHEN: December 1975 (I had long hair parted in the middle the year that I started first grade)

This is another memorable Christmas Eve on Hilyard Street in Eugene. Gram in her flowery house coat in front of the tree.  I appear to be "helping" her open her gift.  How cute.

Gram sure did love tinsel, but she probably needed a few more ornaments!?


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Christmas from Around the World - Avgolemono

Avgolemono or Greek Lemon Chicken Soup is a flavorful Mediterranean classic popular around Christmastime.  It's very simple to make and can be easily stored in the freezer for those cold December nights or when the cold/flu bug hits your house.


AVGOLEMONO (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup)


8 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup long grain rice (you could also use orzo pasta)
4 eggs
Juice of 3 lemons
Salt and pepper
Parsley for garnish


Bring stock to a boil in a 4 qt pan over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and stir in rice (or pasta); cook, partially covered until tender.

Whisk eggs and juice in a bowl until frothy, add 1 cup of the simmering stock to the eggs and whisk to combine.  Transfer mixture to the pot.

Cook while stirring, about 2 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

48.5/52: Thanksgiving Wrap Up!

This year, Pop, Rosemary and Steve came up early on Wednesday and Brian arrived from Seattle.

Wednesday is quickly becoming one of my favorite days of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Even though I spent, 5 hours in the kitchen prepping, with help from Rosemary (apple pie) and Pop (Aunt Pat's stuffed celery) and Brian (deviled eggs), we had the music going, the fake TV fireplace blazing and lots of laughter and stories.

Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner could not have turned out any better.  Our menu was traditional and everything came out great (including the roaster oven on the card table in the garage coking the stuffing and the sweet potatoes).

Chick's table was gorgeous and we used vintage photos as place holders.  Everyone loved the idea!

Friday was our annual Washington/Yamhill County wine tour (post to follow) which was fabulous.

Saturday it was CIVIL WAR day and the start of the Christmas season!  

We lit up the house with all our decorations and set the trees up on Sunday.

We had an awesome family filled weekend!

How was your Thanksgiving?