Friday, July 31, 2015

Old Photo Friday: A visit from Kerry Lee

WHO: Andrew Kerry Lee
WHAT: Army Graduation picture
WHEN: My guess is that this was taken around 1977

It's always fun to spend time with Brian's brother Kerry and an extra special treat to see him not only once this year (Super Bowl weekend) and then again (Hawaii in April) but an unexpected third trip this weekend in Seattle is amazing!

Thanks for the visit!


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Pork with Brown Rice and Black Beans with a Green Chili-Cilantro Sauce

I was going through a stack of old magazines a few weeks ago and I came across this recipe in a Real Simple. I made the recipe exactly as written, but found it to be bland and lacking something.  The components were great, but they didn't come together the way that I had hoped for.

I think the revised recipe is a hit!  It ties the recipe together and adds more flavor, plus a creamy sauce. 

Don't ever think that you can't adapt a recipe or change things around to suit your taste. This is what makes cooking the ultimate adventure!


Pork with Brown Rice and Black Beans with a Green Chili-Cilantro Sauce - Adapted from Real Simple


1 cup long grain brown rice
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 4 oz can green chilies
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 small white onion, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
juice of 1 lime, divided
1/2 tsp ground cumin
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cups mixed greens
5 radishes, sliced
2 green onion, sliced
salt and pepper
4 boneless pork chops


Heat oven to 425F.

Cook rice according to instructions. Rinse and drain beans and place in a small saucepan and warm over low heat.

Combine the cilantro, green chilies, garlic, white onion, sour cream, mayo, juice of 1/2 lime and cumin in food processor.  Mix until smooth then slowly add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to emulsify.

Mix the greens, radish and green onions.  Season with salt and pepper and dress with juice of 1/2 lime and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Set aside.

Heat the remaining oil (2 tablespoons) in a large skillet over high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper.  Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until browned.

Transfer the pork to the oven and cook until a instant-read thermometer reads 145F (another 6-8 minutes).

To serve: Place 1/2 cup rice on a plate and top with 1/4 cup black beans.  Add salad mix to the top of the rice and place one pork chop on top of rice/bean/salad.  Drizzle two tablespoons of cilantro sauce on top of pork.

Picture found through Google images - minus the sauce
Recipe adapted from Real Simple

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

31/52: Saturday Night with the Hawaiian Rough Riders

John Cruz and Henry Kapono

Brother Noland

Awesome experience to meet Henry Kapono

I love John Cruz!

Brian and I had a special "date night" in Seattle on Saturday night.  I recently saw a Facebook post about the Hawaiian Rough Riders, a trio of Hawaiian musicians, John Cruz, Henry Kapono and Brother Noland heading out on a summer tour.  As luck would have it, they booked to play in Seattle at Benroya Hall last Saturday night and Brian and I just couldn't resist going.

The Rough Riders name is inspired by the 1908 Hawaiian Rough Riders (Ikua Purdy, Archie Ka'aua and Jack Low).  They were three paniolo (cowboys) who combined their skills, determination and style to become World Rodeo Champions.  

Today's Rough Riders have come together to create an exceptional musical style.  From their vast catalog of hits to some of Hawaii's treasured classics to their new sound and collaborations, the Rough Riders offered an intoxicating experience of music, legacy and culture.

Our $45 VIP ticket included preferred seating (we sat in the front row) and a meet and greet after the show.  We bought the new Rough Riders EP and Henry Kapono's new and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning CD Live at Duke's 2 (he plays at Duke's on Oahu on Sundays). The Rough Riders EP was signed by all three and will be a treasured keepsake!

Its was an amazing evening and it was a wonderful experience to hear these three wonderful Hawaiian artists in person.

Our amazing summer of fun continues.......


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: End of July 2015

Welcome to the last Monday in July!

How is your summer so far?  I hope you are enjoying time with family, outside in the evenings, community events, hiking-biking or swimming.  Remember to plan your menu and take charge of your TIME!!!

Remember to head on over to Laura's site for more organizing tips!


Sunday: Chick is picking me up from the Bolt Bus so we can have Indian Dinner!
Monday: Sam's Salmon Burgers with Tater Tots
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday with Taco Salad
Wednesday: Beef Kebabs and Brown Rice
Thursday: Herb Chicken and Tomatoes over egg Noodles and a Garden Salad

Friday, July 24, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Summer in Florence 1974

WHO: My Mom and Grandma (I think that is me in the background)
WHAT: Playing cards and hanging out at Coast Village
WHERE: Florence, OR
WHEN: Summer 1974

My summers were spent down at the Coast Village Campground in Florence, OR.  My maternal grandparents bought a lot there in the early 1970's and spent a considerable amount of time down there (my grandma actually retired down there in the mid 1980's). My family still owns the lot (my grandma's ashes are scattered there) although I have not been down there since her memorial service.  This place still holds many special memories for me.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Taco Omelet

I've been including Taco Tuesday to just about every weekly menu this summer.  Tacos are easy to make, really versatile and a huge favorite in our house.  

Leftover tacos, however are not that easy to pack for lunches the next day, so we typically have about 1/2 cup of taco meat mixture left over.

Here is a recipe for an easy taco omelet which is the perfect way to use up leftovers!


Taco Omelet - For One


2 eggs
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup leftover taco meat mixture
2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons salsa
Sliced avocado, sour cream, black olives, green onions (optional)


Whip eggs together with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in a hot skillet and immediately pour beaten eggs into the pan.  As the egg cooks, gently lift up around the edges and let the uncooked egg run underneath the cooked egg.

When the egg is cooked enough to be firm, using a large spatula, flip the egg then turn off the heat.

Begin to fill your omelet; first with the taco meat and then with the cheese.  Fold the omelet in half, covering the filling ingredients.

Slide omelet onto a plate then top with salsa, avocado, sour cream, black olives, and/or green onions.


Since I typically reheat my omelet at work, I don't bother with warming up my meat mixture first, but if you are eating right away, before you fill your omelet, heat your meat mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds.

I also put my toppings in a separate container and add after re-heating my omelet at work.

This also makes a great easy breakfast for dinner alternative!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow: Month #2

My garden is doing really well, mostly due to the extremely hot weather we have had for the past month.

I wish I had planted more green beans as one plant really isn't producing the amount of green beans we would like to eat!  Next year, three plants would give us a great haul week after week.

My tomato "bush" is growing nicely and I have already picked two tomatoes this week and have a few "pinking" up.

I've lost two zucchini early to blossom rot, but just picked my first one last night!  I've got at least 3 or 4 viable zucchini growing that I think will make it.

I don't think that the zucchini needs much water and in fact, I might be over watering.  Typically I water my garden in the early morning every other day. Because we've had no rain in 45 days and it's been hot, I figured that this would be adequate but perhaps squash needs little water.  I'll keep my eye on it going forward.  It might also be a soil problem.

I've not planted any herbs.  It's been so stinking hot in the afternoons and evenings that you just don't want to do anything outside, which is really disappointing.  Perhaps this next week will be cooler and I can spend sometime outdoors.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

30/52: Friday & Saturday Night Dinners, Bon Voyage and our first 6 miler!

Pan Roasted Muscovy Duck Breast with wilted greens, duck fat almonds, summer savory jus and fresh cherry relish - $28

On Friday night we met up with my Pop and Rosemary at their hotel in downtown Seattle, then walked across the street to the Purple Cafe and Wine Bar for our 7:30 reservations.  I've had this place on my restaurant radar for years and it was delightful.  The menu is extremely thought out and paired nicely with an amazing wine list. The ambiance was beautiful and the service was amazing.  It's always fun to have dinner in the city, especially in summertime.

Saturday was the bon voyage down at King Street Station where my parents boarded the Rocky Mountaineer for their Canadian Rail adventure.  They have a 10 day trip from Seattle through Vancouver, Whistler, Kamloops, Lake Louise and Banff ahead of them.

Saturday night was dinner with friends at the Phinney Market Pub and Eatery in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood.  A perfect way to end an amazing Saturday.

Before we drove down to Portland on Sunday, we had our first 6 mile walk through our West Seattle neighborhood.  Our route took us down along Beach Drive, through the length of Lincoln Park and back through our neighborhood. We are really trying to stick to our goals and increase our fitness.  Well done for a busy weekend!  


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: July 20-23, 2015

Welcome to another beautiful Monday in the middle of Summer!

Do you know that the dog days are already here!?  Hard to believe.  Don't waste time in the kitchen or stopping by the grocery store each night. Make a meal plan and stick to it!  Not only does it save money, but it saves time.

Remember to check out Laura's site for more menu planning ideas and great blogs!


Sunday: Hamburger Cook Out!
Monday: I have a conference downtown so we are all meeting for Happy Hour at Nel Centro!
Tuesday: Portland Timbers vs. Newcastle FC; Happy Hour at Cassidy's
Wednesday: Taco Tuesday on Wednesday; Ground Beef Taco Bar
Thursday: Pork with Black Bean Rice and Green-Chilli Cilantro Sauce

Friday, July 17, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Remembering Ken Lee

WHO: Allen Kenneth Lee, Jr.
WHEN: 1957

It's hard to believe that Brian's brother has been gone almost two years and this month he would have celebrated his 60th birthday.

We miss you everyday!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Panzanella - Italian Bread Salad

Does cooking ever scare you?  No.....not like it's Thanksgiving day and your turkey is still frozen, scared.  I mean, totally intimidated cooking fear?  Like homemade thanks!  Why am I so afraid to try an Italian Bread Salad?  It looks delicious!  It's NOT even cooking!!

Perhaps I am over thinking it?  This looks like the perfect, 90+ degrees summer salad. Why not?  My first ripe tomatoes of the season are ready to be picked!  Let's conqueror our fears and try it!

Leave me a comment and tell me if there is anything you are "afraid" to cook?


PANZANELLA - Italian Bread Salad



3 tablespoons olive oil 
4 cups French bread, cut into large chunks
4 cups assorted tomatoes, cut into large chunks (this time of year try heirlooms from local farmer's markets)
1 English cucumber, cut into large chunks
1/2 red onion or (I prefer Walla Walla sweet onions)
1 bunch fresh basil, torn into pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks (or course you can use orange or red)
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste


1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper


Heat oil in large saute pan.  Add bread; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes or until nicely browned.  Add more oil if needed.

For the dressing; whisk all ingredients together.

In a large bowl mix the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, basil, bell pepper and mozzarella.  Add the bread cubes and toss, then add the dressing.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve, or allow the salad to stand to sit for about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Recipe Courtesy of a mix between Simple Recipes and Ina Garten
Image found on Google Images

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

29/52: West Seattle Summer Festival/Baseball Game #2

Last weekend was the West Seattle Summer Festival a highlight of our summers in West Seattle.  We always enjoy checking out the local vendors, delicious food, the amazing sales at JH Henry and of course a beer (or two) at the beer garden while listening to some local bands.  A fun community summer activity.

We really enjoyed the set by local band The Timbre Barons.

Sunday was our second Mariner's game of the season against the Anaheim Angels.  It was a beautiful day at Safeco Field, but a pathetic showing by the Mariners.  Needless to say, we left with them trailing by 9 runs in the 6th inning.

In between we walked through Lincoln Park both Saturday and Sunday (over 7 miles total), spent quality time with Sammy and I saw a beautiful sunset on my train ride home.   

How did you spend your weekend?


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: Middle of July 2015

Welcome Monday and to the middle of July!

We have finally cooled down in the Pacific NW after a few weeks of temps in the upper 80's and 90's.  Whew!  I don't know about you, but cooking in the heat is hard so I was so glad to have a menu and grocery plan for the weeks when the temperatures were hot!

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


Monday: Salmon with Corn Bacon Saute and Green Beans (maybe from our garden)
Tuesday:  All Star Beer Brats, Herb Potato Salad and Chips.  MLB All Star Game!
Wednesday: Flat Iron Steak with Rice Pilaf and a Garden Salad
Thursday: Grilled Hamburger Sliders and Chips

Friday, July 10, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Pop and Stacy

WHO: Pop and Stacy
WHAT: A day at the beach
WHERE: Oregon Coast
WHEN: 1978

This picture was taken at the Oregon Coast around Florence, OR in 1978 around the time of my parents divorce.  I remember that we drove up to Depot Bay where they had a small aquarium and they had sea otters that you could feed.  While in Depot Bay, my Pop bought me a seashell with my name carved in it.  To this day, that shell sits on my desk at work.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Sugar Cookie Grilled Fruit Pizza

Okay, so today is national Sugar Cookie Day!  I am not sure who thinks up this stuff...but check it out, it seems legitimate and totally harmless!

I just love the Pioneer Woman and I saw her make this recipe a few days ago and it looked like an awesome summertime dessert, great for a party.

Please enjoy National Sugar Cookie day, responsibly.


Sugar Cookie Grilled Fruit Pizza - Slightly adapted from Pioneer Woman


1 Box Pilsbury sugar cookie mix (yes, if you can make your own dough from scratch)
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup apple jelly
10 strawberries, halved
4 kiwi fruit, peeled and quartered
2 peaches, quartered
1/2 pineapple, skinned and cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices


Prepare cookie mix according to package directions.  Divide the dough in half, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Roll out the 2 pieces of dough and put each one on a baking sheet.  Bake until the dough is cooked and golden brown, but not overly crisp, about 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cook completely.

Use a mixer to whip together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.

In a small bowl, mix the apple jelly and three tablespoons water together.

Heat a grill pan or BBQ to medium high heat and thread the strawberries, kiwi, peaches and pineapple onto skewers.  Brush fruit completely with the apple jelly glaze.

Grill the fruit, turning once until grill marks appear, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove fruit from skewers and place in bowl.

Serve the cooled crusts with the cream cheese topping, bowls of fruit and remaining apple jelly glaze. 

Notes:  Cut the cookies in half or fourths if you have a large group so that everyone can decorate their own pizzas.  Apply the cream cheese mixture on the crust and decorate with as much fruit as desired, then finish with a final brushing on the apple jelly mixture. 
Feel free to use any fruit you want on top of pizza.  Grill or not grill fruit, it's up to you!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

28/52: 4th of July Long Weekend

We had a fun packed long weekend in Seattle over the 4th of July!

Chick and I drove up to Seattle Thursday evening, and arrived just in time for wine and appetizers on the patio at sunset.

Friday was a full day!  We took the West Seattle water taxi over to the Seattle Waterfront and had lunch at SixSeven @ The Edgewater Hotel.  Originally, I wanted to sit outside and enjoy the views, but with temperatures near 90, we opted for a table inside with a view and it was much cooler.

Our lunch was fabulous....Cups of award winning Clam Chowder, Salmon Club Sandwich, Turkey Sandwich with chevre goat cheese and Fish and Chips.  Yum!

For the 4th of July, it was a BBQ at Mom and Kenny's with good friends, Steve and Tania. It was a festive day with good food and great company.

How was your Fourth of July!?


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: July 6-9, 2015

Welcome Monday!

Super excited that we have another 4 day work week (we added an extra vacation day on Monday).  We will be unpacking, cleaning up and getting ready to head back to work Monday night, plus an outdoor concert on Thursday so only two "cooking" meals on the menu this week.

Don't forget to check out Laura's site for more menu planning ideas.


Monday:  Rotisserie Chicken and Caesar Salad
Tuesday:  Chile-Lime Shrimp Quesadillas
Wednesday: Creamy Rigatoni with Bacon and Peas
Thursday: Greenway Concert in the Park!  We will probably make some veggie sandwiches to take over!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Old Photo Friday: I'm getting ready!

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHAT: Looks like I am getting ready for a hike or a camp
WHERE: Springfield, OR
WHEN: Summer 1977 or 1978 (I look to be 8 or 9); I cut my hair short before I started the second grade.

My family was not much into hiking, but apparently in this picture, I am getting ready for some outdoor activity as I am "rocking" that red backpack!

Brian and I are getting ready for two big walks this summer.  I long for the energy and enthusiasm of this 8 year old.  Get Ready!


Recipe of the Week: 4th of July Fun!

Happy 4th of July weekend!  It's hard to believe that July is here already!

Whatever you decide to make for your BBQ, Potluck or gathering...enjoy and have fun.

Here is a fun cocktail idea for the 4th!


Red White and Blue Sangria


2 bottles dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is good)
1 cup triple sec
1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup simple syrup
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks


Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl or pitcher and stir well.

Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Serve well-chilled (or over ice) with a good scoop of fruit floating in each drink.


Freeze a few blueberries and raspberries to garnish with as ice cubes.
Only use fresh fruit!
Purchase a star cutter to cut pineapple shapes into stars!