Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Homemade Chai

Nothing is more comforting that a steaming cup of chai tea.  Brian always comments that the house takes on this exotic and intoxicating smell.  He asked me the other day, is chai it's own spice and you know I really did not know the answer.

Masala Chai, literally means, "mixed-spice tea" and is a flavored tea beverage made by brewing black team with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs.

Originating in India, the beverage has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses.  It's traditionally prepared by a concoctions of green cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorns together with black tea leaves. 

In many Eurasian languages, chai is the word for tea.  This comes from the Persian chay, which originated from the Chinese works for tea, cha.

Making spiced tea from scratch is easier than you might think.


Homemade Chai


1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cardamon pods, lightly crushed
6 whole cloves
1 piece fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon, whole black peppercorns
2 single-serve black tea bags or 1 tablespoon losse black tea
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup low-fat (1%) milk


Place cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, ginger, peppercorns and 3 cups water into a small pot and bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to let steep for 10 minutes.

Return pot to the heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add tea then cover and set aside to steep for 3-5 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids, then return liquid to the pot. Stir in sugar and milk and heat over low heat for 2-3 minutes.  Pour into cups and serve.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

8/52: Oscar Party Wrap-Up!

All ready for the red carpet!

This past weekend was all about the academy awards.

Here is my summary of our menu (Wolfgang Puck eat your heart out) and the awards show.

Our Red Carpet and Oscar food this year was phenomenal.  From the Grand Budapest Crab Stack Salad to the Selma Sliders, we ate like movie stars!

On to the awards.....

Best Dressed

Anna Kendrick in custom Thakoon

Anna was among the first to step on the red carpet and it set the tone for the evening.  This color was fabulous on her.

Oscar Host

Okay, he started off edgy, but then most of his jokes failed to deliver (but most Oscar jokes do).  Unfortunately, in a desire to move away from the Tony and Emmy shows that he has also hosted, he just didn't connect with the audience at the awards or at home.  He was awkward and his interactions with the audience, well....just were not at all funny (what was the thing with Octavia Spencer all about)?

The Oscars are still looking for a permanent host and unless Billy Crystal is willing to come back or Amy Poehler and Tina Fey agree.....I think that they are just going to keep looking.

Best Acceptance Speech

It's a toss up between Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons.

The audience went crazy over Arquette's equal pay speech, but just as moving was the simplicity and thoughtfulness in Simmons simply wanting us all to call our mothers.

Best Musical Performance

In years when musical performances have been bland, this year it was hard to pick my favorite.  From Adam Levine's "Lost Stars" to Tim McGraw's gut-wrenching performance of Glen Campbell's "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" and Rita Ora's "Grateful" was the highlight of the evening.  

The best however, was saved until the last and John Legend and Common's "Glory" performance and immediate Oscar win brought many in the audience to tears.

Moment of the Night

Did you all know that Lady Gaga can sing?  I think most people probably cringed when they heard that she was performing a tribute to the much loved "The Sound of Music"...but, the girl can sing!  Julie Andrews walking out on stage was classic and I think the whole things was really well done.

Best Win

Chick and I were both pulling for Eddie Redmayne and it was the highlight of our night to see him take home the Oscar.  His performance in "The Theory of Everything" was outstanding.

Let me know your thoughts on the 2015 Oscars.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: End of February 2015

Happy Monday!

Wow....can you believe that February is over?  March is one of my favorite months so I am looking ahead to spring this week.  

Remember to check out Laura's site for more menu plans from some really awesome bloggers!

Here is our menu for the week ahead!


Monday: Leftover Taco Soup
Tuesday: Baked Cod with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese with Roasted Potatoes and a Garden Salad
Wednesday: Turkey Pesto Meatloaf with Brussels Sprout
Thursday: Salsa Chicken with Green Beans

Saturday, February 21, 2015

7/52: St. Paul and the Broken Bones

St. Paul and the Broken Bones is a seven-piece soul band based out of Birmingham, Alabama.  The band is composed of Paul Janeway (vocals) and Browan Lollar (guitar) and includes a keyboardist, trombone and trumpet player, plus drums.  The band was formed in 2012.

After major stories by NPR and a national television debut on CBS This Morning: Saturday, their debut album (released on February 18, 2014) reached #3 on the iTunes Top Album Charts and #56 on Billboard 200 Charts.

Last Tuesday night, they played the Roseland Theater in Portland and Chick and I had a blast!

They have this old school soul, R & B vibe and sang everything from Otis Redding to a cover of "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead!

If you get a chance to see them, please check them out.  They are a great live band.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Kenny

WHO: Kenny Hanselman
WHAT: Celebrating a birthday
WHERE: This looks like the old apartment in Seattle (The Cones)
WHEN: February 1983? 1984?

Happy birthday to my second Dad, Kenny who celebrated a birthday last Tuesday.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Pork Chow Mein Noodles (Chinese New Year 2015)

Happy Chinese New Year!  Today marks the beginning of the Chinese Spring Festival 2015 which runs through March 5th. 

The year is the year of the goat.

In honor of the holiday, here is a simple noodle dish.


 Pork Chow Mein Noodles


14 ounces fresh chow mein or thin egg noodles
3 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound ground pork
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons Chinese stir0-fry sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/2 small Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), shredded
1 cup  beansprouts
soy sauce , to serve


Place noodles in a heatproof bowl.  Cover with boiling water and let stand for 2 minutes or until tender.  Drain. Separate. Set aside.

Heat wok over medium heat.  Add peanut oil and swirl to coat. Add egg and tilt wok to form a thin omelet.  Cook for 1 minute or until almost set.  Slide omelet out and onto a chopping board.  Roll up and thinly slice.

Heat remaining oil in wok.  Add pork.  Cook by breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, green onions and celery.  Mix together and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add stock, Chinese sauce and oyster sauce to the mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Add noodles and cabbage.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add sprouts and omelet.  Stir to combine.  To serve, drizzle with soy sauce.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oscar Party Menu!

Welcome to the 87th Academy Awards Party!

As you know, each year we host a party with food inspired by the nominees up for awards.

This year was particularly difficult.  Hardly any of the movies had food themes or even scenes with food references, but I never let that stop my creativity!

Here is our menu for this year!  I'll post pictures of the finished creations next week.


2015 Academy Awards “Oscar” Party

Red Carpet Snacks:  Sparkling Wine with Bacon-Wrapped Li’l Smokies in a Brown Sugar and Maple Glaze, Gourmet Olive Bar, Dip and Crackers

First Appetizer:  The “Grand” Stack Salad in honor of Best Picture Nominee, “The Grand Budapest Hotel

Second Appetizer:   Mini Fried Chicken Sliders in honor of Best Picture Nominee, “Selma”

Final Act Dessert:   English Sticky Toffee Pudding in honor of Best Picture Nominees, “The Imitation Game” and "The Theory of Everything" 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

6/52: Valentine's Day Weekend/President's Day Weekend

We enjoyed a L O N G Valentine's/Presidents day weekend so Brian and I headed over to Port Townsend for the day last Saturday.

We always enjoy eating at The Silverwater Cafe in Port Townsend, which we discovered 8 or 9 years ago.  We introduced this cute little cafe to our friends, and they loved it so much that they were married on the beach in Port Townsend and had their wedding reception at the cafe!

I've never had a bad meal and last Saturday was no exception.  We had a lovely, romantic and decadent meal, at our favorite table including dessert with a port wine to finish it off.

We needed a walk after lunch so we window shopped up and down main street and took a trip out to Ft. Worden State Park before catching an afternoon ferry home.

Fortunately we had a beautiful day!  With highs near 60!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: Middle of February 2015

Welcome Monday!

It's a super good week this week and we are just coming off a three day President's Day Weekend, we are seeing a concert on Tuesday and then heading straight into Girl's/Oscar Party weekend?!

Have you seen any of the nominated movies this year?  What are your favorites?

Here is our menu for the week ahead and I'll be previewing our Oscar Party menu on Thursday.

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


Monday:  Freezer Tamales with Black Beans and Mexican Rice
Tuesday  Happy Hour at Henry's Tavern followed by St. Paul and the Broken Bones @ The Roseland
Wednesday:  Tomato Soup and Toasted Cheese (we will be exhausted after being out on a school night)
Thursday: Salmon in Coconut Sauce over Brown Rice with Roasted Asparagus

Friday, February 13, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Happy Valentine's Day!

WHO: Two Stacy's (Me and Stacey Burkett)
WHAT: Valentine's Party
WHERE: Kindergarten Classroom
WHEN: February 1974

I have a very strong memory of making these heart pouches to hold our Valentines cards that as a class we exchanged.  

Back in those days, Valentine's Day school parties were popular and Mom probably helped out in my room and brought cookies or cupcakes.  I fondly remember Stacey B. as once of my closest friends.  


P.S.  Music Top 10 from February 14, 1974

10. Rock On by David Essex
9. Boogie Down by Eddie Kendricks
8. Jungle Boogie by Kool and the Gang
7.  Let Me Be There by Olivia Newton-John
6. Americans by Byron MacGregor
5. Spiders and Snakes by Jim Stafford 
4.  Until You Come Back to Me by Aretha Franklin
3. You're Sixteen by Ringo Starr
2. Love's Theme by Love's Unlimited Orchestra
1. The Way We Were by Barbara Streisand

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Butterscotch Pudding

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here is an easy dessert to impress the one you love.


Butterscotch Pudding


1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups fat-free milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped Topping, optional


In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Add milk and egg yolks; stir until smooth.  Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil.  Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes until thickened.

Remove from the heat; stir in the butter and vanilla.  Cool to room temperature, stirring several times.  Pour into 4 individual dessert dishes.  Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until chilled.  Top with whipped topping

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

5/52: Oscar Movie and Ikea

Stephen and Jane Hawking/Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones

We've been trying to see as many Oscar nominated movies as possible ahead of the Academy Awards on Sunday, October 22nd.

This past Saturday, Brian, my Mom and I went to see, "The Theory of Everything".

It's the story of the most brilliant and celebrated physicist of our time, Stephen Hawking (played by Eddie Redmayne), and Jane Wilde the arts student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960's.

The movie isn't a biopic of his brilliance, but rather a moving account of the relationship between Stephen and his long-suffering wife, played brilliantly by Felicity Jones.

We all loved it and although the best actor buzz is for Michael Keaton, I honestly think that Eddie Redmayne was fantastic.


On Sunday we went to IKEA to pick out a dresser for our bedroom.  We've had our eye on one for months and since Sunday was miserable, wet and made perfect sense to spend the afternoon at IKEA.

The store is one of those places that you get "trapped in".  One door in and one door out....followed by a maze of furniture, homes goods and of course, MEATBALLS!!!!

The store started out in 1943 in Sweden by it's founder, Ingvar Kamprad who was only 17 at the time. The first two letters in IKEA come from his initials (with the next two representing the village that he grew up in).

IKEA originally started out selling accessories and knickknacks at bargain prices.  Today the company has grown into a major international furniture and home furnishings brand operating across the world.

If you get hungry shopping, in addition to a wide variety of frozen Swedish delicacies you can take home, their is an IKEA restaurant.  Among the Swedish-style dishes and local specialties on the menu, you'll also find healthy, organic and vegetarian options.

We found the dresser (good luck to Brian when putting that thing together) and also picked up one LED light bulb, 6 champagne flutes and a 6 piece set of cookware.

I loved the store especially the home decorations/knickknacks and would definitely go back again...if only you could get in and out easily.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: February 9-12, 2015

Welcome Monday!

It's Freezer week at our house!  I cleaned and re-organized the freezer last week, tossed out things not marked properly (shame on me) and those items that were horribly freezer burnt.  Again, I must give myself some black marks as we have a seal-a-meal that apparently I am just too lazy to use.  Lesson learned!!

Monday-Wednesday are items that I can use out of the freezer (plus one is a meal from last week that I didn't prepare).  Thursday, Chick and I are celebrating Valentine's day with a steak and lobster dinner!

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


Monday:  Chicken and Vegetable Curry (leftover frozen chicken and frozen coconut milk)
Tuesday: Garden Burgers with Fries (we always have these in our freezer)
Wednesday: Argentinian Pork Loin with Green Beans and Whipped Cauliflower (I did not cook this last week)
Thursday: Sirloin Steaks and Lobster (pre-Valentine's Dinner)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Volunteer Park

WHO: Stacy
WHERE: Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park in Seattle, WA
WHEN: Summer 1986

Brian and I toured Volunteer Park a couple of weeks ago, but I had been there before many many years ago.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

Banh Mi is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread.  Bread, or more specifically the baguette was introduced by the French during its colonial period.  The bread most commonly found in Vietnam is a single served baguette, there for the term banh mi is synonymous with this type of bread.

In the Vietnamese language these sandwiches are referred to as a banh mi xiu mai for a baguette with crushed pork meatball, pate and Vietnamese sausage or pork belly.  They encompass all the great characteristics of Vietnamese cuisine which include a complex but balance of flavors, textures and fresh ingredients.  It begins with a slathering of mayonnaise and then stuffed with a variety of prepared meats, sweet pickled carrots, fresh cucumbers, cilantro

In the western hemisphere, especially in areas with substantial Vietnamese expatriate communities, these sandwiches are extremely popular.

We have several shops in the Beaverton area and I especially like anything with tons of mayo and pate.


Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich (chicken)


Pickeled Carrots:

1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup peeled and coarsely shredded carrots (about 2 medium)

Chile Mayonnaise:

1/2 cup Mayonaaise
2 tablespoons chile-garlic paste or sambel oelek 


2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 medium green onions (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
1 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
kosher salt
black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
vegetable oil 

To assemble:

1 French baguette (cut into 4 sandwich size pieces)
1/3 cup fresh pate (at room temperature)
2/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
4 romaine lettuce leaves


For pickled carrots:

Place the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small non-reactive saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and salt have dissolved.  remove from the heat and add the carrots, and stir to coast them in the mixture.  Let stand at room temperature until the carrots have softeneed, at least 30 minutes (or overnight in refrigerator).  Drain well and keep refrigerated in a covered container until ready to use (can be made 7 days in advance).

For the Chile Mayonnaise:

Combine the mayonnasie and the chile paste in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (can be made 7 days in advance).

For the Chicken:

Place all ingredients except chicken and oil in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Add the ground chicken and mix with your hands.

Divide the meat into either small patties (should make 8-10) or into meatballs (should make at least 15).  Transfer the patties or meatballs to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

If you are making patties, feel free to grill them.  If you are making meatballs, those can be baked in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  After cooking, remove and place on a clean plate and let rest in a warm place or loosly tent for 5 minutes.

To assemble:

Spread about 1 tablespoon of the chile mayonnaise on each piece of bread (top and bottom).  Next either slice or spread the pate in a thin layer on the bottom of each roll.  Place 2 of the chicken patties, or 3-4 meatballs on each bottom roll.  Divide the cilantro leaves, carrots and romaine lettuce evenly among the sandwiches and cover with top roll.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

4/52: Super Bowl Weekend

Brian and I hosted his family last weekend in Seattle.  It was great seeing Brian's brother Kerry from Honolulu and Sister in-Law Amy and her daughter Carrie from Alameda.  It's a tradition that we have continued after Brian's brother Ken passed away in 2013.

We took everyone downtown on Saturday for a ride on the monorail and a trip up in the Space Needle.

We then walked down to the iconic Pike Place Market.  Unfortunately, there wasn't any flying fish, but we had a great time walking around the market.

I headed back to Portland Saturday night so that I could watch the Super Bowl on Sunday!

I guess there really isn't much to say about the
end of the game....we are all sad, disappointed and heartbroken.

We will get them next year!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome February 2015!

Welcome Monday!

Do you have a Super Bowl hang-over this morning?

We pigged out yesterday on all our super bowl favorites so this week we need to get back to some clean eating.

Here is our menu for the first week in February and remember to check out Laura's site for more menu and planning ideas.


Monday: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Mustard Thyme Sauce and a Salad
Tuesday: Grilled Skirt Steak with Broccoli
Wednesday: Shrimp and White Bean Salad
Thursday: Argentinian Pork Loin with Roasted Sunchokes