Thursday, February 27, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Oscar Party 2014

And the Oscar goes to……..

Once again, it’s time to unveil our Oscar Menu for 2014 (here is 2013 and 2012).  As always, our menu is based on the nominees up for awards this year.  This year I focused again, on the Best Picture Nominees.

When the Oscar Nominees were unveiled a few weeks ago, I knew this year would be a challenge.  None of the films this year made it easy...with very few exotic locals or food heavy scenes.  Then again, I am always up for a challenge and it didn’t take me long to come up with some really good ideas.

This year’s challenge is to create a small plate menu that combines different cultures, themes, places and people that come together in some of the nominated films. 

Don't forget to print out your Oscar Ballot and check out movie clips on the Oscar website.

The Oscars are broadcast LIVE on Sunday, March 2nd at 5PM PST.  Red Carpet Party begins 3hours before on the E Network.


Red Carpet Snacks:  Sparkling Wine with “Captain Phillips” Warm Crab Dip - In Honor of Best Picture Nominee “Captain Phillips”
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First Appetizer:  – New Orleans Style Roasted Shrimp, Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad - In Honor of Best Picture Nominee “12 Years a Slave”

Recipe Link:

Second Appetizer:  Mini Irish Meatloaf with Cabbage Cream Sauce and Baby Red "Smashed" Potatoes In Honor of Best Picture Nominee “Philomena”

 Recipe Link:

Final Act Dessert:  Upside Down S’more Brownies – In Honor of Best Picture Nominee “Gravity”
 Recipe Link:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Last week in February 2014

Welcome Monday!

It's hard to believe that we are saying goodbye to February at the end of this week! Winter is winding down and I am already starting to see the first signs of about you?

Here is our menu for the week ahead!  Remember to check out Laura's site for more menu planning ideas.


Sunday: Roast Turkey Dinner (requested by Chick) with plenty of leftovers for Turkey Sandwiches!
Monday:  Dinner out with friends!
Tuesday: Winter Minestrone Soup
Wednesday: Shrimp Fajitas
Thursday: Tortilla Crusted Tilapia with Cauliflower

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Love and celebrations for the 7th week of the year!

Valentine's Day kicked off a weekend of celebration and love.  Chick bought me this wonderful box of Moonstruck Chocolates!

Saturday night was the wedding of my mentor and business partner at the Hotel Deluxe in Portland.

Sunday we celebrated my second Dad, Kenny's birthday at the amazing 13 Coins in Seattle.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Old Friends

WHO: Deby, Stacy and Pop
WHAT: The morning after an outdoor sleep out
WHERE: Backyard at E Street in Springfield, OR
WHEN: Summer of 1983-84 (I think this was summer before Freshman year of High School)

I am really looking forward to seeing my friend Deby and her husband, Lloyd on Monday night for dinner.  I think it's been 3 or 4 years since I have seen her.  We grew up next door to one another and spent all summer, every summer since we were 8 together. 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Baked Egg in Avocado

I am not much on fad diets and I am never sure which ones are "fads" and which ones are legitimate, but the newest one that I have been hearing about is called the Paleo Diet.  Its based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our per-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors.  The characteristic are:

  • High protein intake - generally 19-35%
  • Lower carbs and lower glycemic index.  Non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables are your main carbohydrate intake, which is 35-45% of your daily calories.
  • High fiber
  • Moderate fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with Omega 3 and 6 fats
  • Higher potassium and lower sodium - bottom line....NO PROCESSED FOODS!
  • Higher intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

On the Paleo diet, you should be eating grass-produced meats only, fish and seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds and healthy oils (olive, walnut, coconut and flax seed).  You should avoid, refined sugar, processed foods, dairy, salt and refined vegetable oils.

It sounds simple and it sounds easy and those are two things that should always be associated with a healthy diet.

There are tons of books and websites on the Paleo diet so check them out for more information.

I made this recipe last week and thought it was really good!  I am NOT on the Paleo Diet or even considering it, I really enjoyed reading a bit more about it.


Baked Egg in Avocado

(Serves 2)


2 avocados
4 fresh eggs (small)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives


Preheat oven to 425

Slice the avocado in half, and remove the pit.   

Place avocados in a small baking dish.  Crack an egg into each avocaso half.  Try your best to crack the yolk in first (in fact I typically remove some of the white if the eggs are large).

Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  The cooking time will depend on the size of your eggs, but just make sure the whites have cooked and set.

Remove from the oven, the season with salt, pepper and chives.  

Calories - 449
Total Fat 38.2
Total Carbs - 18.1
Protein - 15.2

Recipe courtesy of Google (also seen on Facebook quite often)
Image found on Google

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: February 18-22, 2014

Welcome Monday!

Do you have today off work/school?  This year....finally, I convinced my business partner to honor Presidents Day so we are celebrating a long weekend!

We've got a wedding on Saturday night in Portland, then an extended trip up to Seattle through the holiday on Monday.

What are your long weekend plans?

Don't forget to check out Laura's site for more organizing tips and menu planning ideas!


Monday: President's Day Holiday.  Perhaps Brian and I will try our hand at fresh pasta in the pasta maker I gave him for Christmas!
Tuesday: Chili Beef Tacos
Wednesday: Chunky Pork and Tomato Green Curry over Jasmine Rice
Thursday: Spring Asparagus with Fettuccine and a Garden Salad

Saturday, February 15, 2014


For the 6th week of the year!

Snow in Portland!  A rare February storm with bitterly cold temps brought powder fine snow last week.  In the end, we had about 3 inches on Thursday and another 2-3 inches on Friday and Saturday, but it was hard to tell as it was blowing and drifting so much.

Then, the snow moved north to Seattle on Saturday night!

I turned the Christmas lights on for one special night in the snow!

Sunday we took a walk in our neighborhood in search of snowmen!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Kenny!

WHO: Ken Hanselman
WHAT: Singing and playing his bass
WHERE: Probably Oregon
WHEN: 1970's

Happy Birthday to my second Dad, Kenny who celebrates a birthday next week!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Recipe of the week: Russian Borscht Soup

With the Winter Olympics in full swing, I thought I would explore the history and culture of Russian cuisine.  

Russian cuisine is diverse as Russia is by area, the largest country in the world.  It's foundations were laid by the peasant food of the rural population in an often harsh climate with a combination of plentiful items such as fish, poultry, game, mushrooms, berries and honey.  Crops of wheat, rye and barley, provide the ingredients for a plethora of breads, pancakes, and of course vodka. 

Russia's great expansion of culture in the 16th-18th centuries brought more refined foods and cooking techniques.  It was during this period that smoked meats and fish, salads and green vegetables were imported from abroad.

Many dishes that are common in the US derived from Russia and include, Beef Stroganoff, Cabbage Rolls, Chicken Kiev and Pierogis.

One of my favorite Russian staples is beets.  Borscht is a soup from Ukrainian origin that is popular throughout Russia and other European countries.  It is made with beetroot as the main ingredient.  In some countries, tomato is used along with beets.  The soup can be served hot or cold, and typically after cooling the soup down, sour cream, milk or yogurt may be added.  Also raw chopped vegetables such as radish and cucumber and even chopped, hard boiled eggs are added.  The soup has a pink color which varies in intensity depending on the ratio of beets to dairy ingredients.


Russian Borscht Soup


2 cups chopped fresh beets
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped onion
4 cups beef broth (may us vegetarian broth)
1 can (16 oz) diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped cabbage
salt and pepper 
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
sour cream, optional
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped


In a large saucepan, combine the beets, carrots, onion and broth; brind to a boil.  Reduce the heat.  Cover and sinner for 30 minutes.

Add tomatoes and cabbage; cover and dimmer for 30 minutes or until cabbage in tender.  Stir in salt, pepper and dill.  

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and one tablespoon egg, if desired.

Note: for thicker soup, blend two cups of soup in a blender or food processor, then add back to your soup base.

Serves 8

Both image and recipe courtesy of Google

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: February 10-13, 2014

Welcome Monday!

Another holiday is upon us....Valentine's Day!

If you didn't know that we were on Weight Watchers and you looked at our menu below, you'd probably faint.  Who eats Chicken Cordon Bleu and Grilled Lobster? can, and you do, if you follow some simple steps.  Rule #368 of losing weight is remembering to allow yourself to indulge every one in a while and in doing so, you'll not be tempted to cheat (okay maybe not as much). Three out of the four meals below are all weight watchers (Monday's is fairly reasonable on points).

Check out Laura's site for more menu planning ideas.


MONDAY: Skillet Pork and Cabbage with Green Beans
TUESDAY: Chicken Cordon Bleu with Broccoli
WEDNESDAY: Pre-Valentine's Dinner: Steak and Lobster
THURSDAY: Soft diet; both Chick and I have dentist appointments.  Sounds like a good night for soup or baked potato bar!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

5/52 - Family and Seahawks!

It's already the 5th week of 2014!


Overwhelming love and support for our Seattle Seahawks!  So proud of the team and the city of Seattle.

What made last weekend so special was a visit from Brian's Brother, Kerry who kept the Super Bowl weekend "family" tradition going.  We missed Ken, but we celebrated as he would have wanted us too!

Our new bedroom duvet.  Plain and simple and a heck of a lot warmer!

Potato Works at Circa last Saturday morning!  My #1 most favorite breakfast dish in all of Seattle!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Old Photo Friday: Remembering Ann Lee for her birthday!

WHO: (Vivian) Ann P. Lee
WHAT: Elementary School Secretary, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Niece, Friend
WHERE: Newark, DE
WHEN: Early 1970's

Ann Lee would have turned 80 yesterday.  In honor of her memory.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Potato Works

One of our most favorite places for breakfast in West Seattle is Circa Neighborhood Grill and Alehouse.

They make the most amazing potato dish called Potato Works (48.95) with roasted red potatoes, sauteed veggies and topped with salsa, guacamole and chipotle sour cream.

Here is my attempt, but please if you are in the area....check them out for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


Potato Works - Adapted from Circa



4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound red potatoes, diced in 1 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 zucchini, cut in half then diced 
2 handfuls of baby spinach 
1/2 cup shredded cheese (use Mexican blend), divided
Salsa, guacamole and sour cream, optional 


In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and fry red potatoes until crisp and cooked through (about 20 minutes).  In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown onion, mushrooms and zucchini until tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Once the potatoes and vegetables are cooked through it's time to plate the dish.  Top cooked potatoes with the vegetables, a handful of baby spinach  and 1/4 cup cheese.  Optional toppings include salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome February!

Happy Monday!

How are you recovering from Super Bowl Sunday!?  Did your team win?  Of course the past few weeks has been all SEAHAWKS all day and all night in our neck of the woods so I hope that today is they day for their Super Bowl victory!

We are celebrating today, then back on the weight watchers/light and low cal menu plan for the rest of the week.

Remember to swing on by Laura's site for more great planning ideas.


SUPER BOWL SUNDAY: Crescent Roll Piggies, Veggies and Dip followed by Taco Soup and Chocolate Kiss Peanut Butter Cookies (big time splurge)
MONDAY: Cumin Dusted Cod with Artichokes over Brown Rice
TUESDAY: Cheese Stuffed Meatballs with Spaghetti
WEDNESDAY: BBQ Chicken Thighs with Salad
THURSDAY: Thai Food and Movie Night!?  Trying to see as many Oscar nominated films as possible prior to our annual Oscar Party!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


That lump of black's Sammy!  This past weekend was all about him!

Sammy's ready for Saturday (oh mind you....he's been up since 4AM)  Today, he's ready to tackle a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle!

Pieces went flying (quite often), but Sammy tried to help....really he did.  Then he gave up and fell asleep!  Puzzle Piker!

We didn't finish the puzzle after spending the majority of Saturday and few hours on Sunday (who knew it took so long?).  I felt deflated when Brian told me that he was going to box up the pieces and place it back on the shelf to "tackle another day".  

Perhaps next time, we should NOT ask for Sammy's help and start with a 500 piece puzzle (with less sky and less ocean...and less cat).