Friday, October 30, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Pumpkin Carving Fun

WHO: Stacy and Pop
WHAT; Carving a pumpkin
WHERE: E Street; Springfield, OR
WHEN: October 1971

Stacy: "What's inside the punkin, Daddy?"
Pop: "Guts"

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls

I've seen these posted on Pintrest and Facebook for several months now since everything and anything is pumpkin.  They look really easy to make and would make a great freezer meal.


Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls


10 lasagna noodles, cooked and cooled
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon butter
15 oz. canned pure pumpkin
salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
chopped parsley


Saute the shallot in butter until just softened.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin with the shallot and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Mix well and set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, sage and cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter for the sauce over low heat.  Add the flour and whisk well, cooking for 2 minutes.  Add half of the half and half to the pan and whisk slowly.  When combined, add the rest of the half and half and then add both cheeses.  If the sauce is too thick, add more half and half.  When you have the consistency you want, season with salt and pepper and turn off the heat.  Cover to keep warm.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Set up your assembly station to prepare your rolls.  Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Take one noodle and spoon on the pumpkin mixture, then spoon on some of the ricotta mixture, and then roll the noodle up.  Line the rolls in a baking dish on their side with the seam down.

Pour the sauce over the rolls, reserving just a tiny bit of sauce to place on top at serving.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes then serve topped with a bit of sauce and garnished with chopped parsley. 

Notes: This recipe makes 8-10 rolls

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

44/52: The Pumpkin Patch

Friday night's train ride was a real treat.  One of the conductors I know put me up in a roomette for the journey north to Seattle.  It's quite a luxury to have your own little private car, if only for 4 hours.  I celebrated with a glass of sparking wine in the classic parlor car. What a way to start the weekend!

Last Saturday was our annual trek to Snohomish, Washington with the Seymour family to visit the pumpkin patch.

It was a cool morning with light sprinkles, but everybody had fun walking through the patch to find the most perfect pumpkins.  

After the pumpkin patch, we walked the streets of downtown Snohomish and had lunch at our favorite place, Fred's Rivertown Ale House.

On Sunday, Brian and I had a nice walk through Lincoln Park, and spotted a blue heron along the waters edge.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: End of October 2015

Happy Monday, Everyone!

A big week ahead and I only have to work 3 1/2 days this week!  WOO-HOO!  I am heading up to Seattle on Thursday afternoon just in time for the Ducks game in the desert!  GO DUCKS!

Saturday is the OFFICIAL kick-off to the holiday season!  HALLOWEEN!  This year, Brian, Sammy and I will be greeting all the little kiddies in West Seattle.

Here is our extended menu, including the weekend.  Don't forget to visit Laura's site for more menu planning ideas!

What are your Halloween plans?  Staying home?  Going out?  Please leave me a comment and let me know how you celebrate.


MONDAY:  Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken with Mac Salad and Two Scoops Rice
TUESDAY:  Mediterranean BBQ Pork Loin with a Big Greek Salad
WEDNESDAY: Weight Watchers Blue Cheese Chicken Burgers
THURSDAY: Early train to Seattle!  Using our Groupon to The Lodge
FRIDAY: Crock Pot Chili (In Seattle)
HALLOWEEN: Homemade Pizza and candy for the kiddies!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Halloween 1966

WHO: A witch and a ghost (Sandra and Steve)
WHAT: Halloween night
WHERE: Silver Lane in Eugene, OR
WHEN: October 31, 1967 (Sandra would be 6 and Steve would be 5)

Chick and I were talking about the traditional Halloween costumes that we wore as children, with those plastic masks that you sweat in while going door to door for candy. Since they were nothing more than flimsy cloth and plastic, if it was a cold or wet night, you were sure to freeze.  I remember putting up quite a fight to not wear a coat over my costume.

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Cashew Crusted Cod with Chili and Lime

Today is National Nut Day!  Nuts are one of the healthiest, most nutritious and most delicious snacks.  Medical studies have show that eating nuts reduces hypertension and the risks associated with heart disease.  Nuts are full of protein, fiber and unsaturated fat.

Here is a recipe using my favorite nut, the cashew.


Cashew Crusted Cod with Chili and Lime


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large garlic clove, grated
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
4 skinless white fish fillets, 4 oz each
1/4 pound cashews
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Mix the oil, garlic, and 2 tablespoons lime juice and rub over the fish. Marinate for 20-30 minutes.

Heat oven to 325F.  In a food processor, mix together the cashew, chili flakes, garlic, ginger, cumin powder, rest of lime juice and oil, into a rough paste.

Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and then press a quarter of the crust onto each fillet.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in oven for 12-15 minutes until cooked through.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

43/52: Home Cooking

We've been busy hosting family the first two weekends of October so this past weekend, we both craved some serious down time.

We started Saturday with a walk through Lincoln Park.  The air was crisp and sweet and the 3 miles really kicked started our day.  There were various errands....a haircut and color and a trip to the grocery store to stock up on provisions...but otherwise it was spent fairly close to home.

It was a big sports weekend so Brian made up his famous Deer Park Nachos for dinner on Saturday night.

Finally, I removed the fall decorations and got the house ready to Halloween.

How did you spend your weekend?


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: October 18-22, 2015

Welcome Monday!

We've got lost of sporting events this week so a couple of "fan-appreciation" meals to make the games fun!

What are you doing this week that's fun and exciting!?  Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you!

Remember to check out Laura's website for more menu plans!


SUNDAY: Brats on the Grill with Potato Salad (Baseball Playoffs on TV)
MONDAY: Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs, Salad and Texas Toast
TUESDAY: Tortilla Crusted Tilapia with mashed potatoes and green beans
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Steak with Roasted Butternut Squash and a Garden Salad
THURSDAY:  Seahawks Football! Pizza

Friday, October 16, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Gram and Larry

WHO: Gram and her first born son, Larry
WHERE: In front of Coast Village Trailer (Florence, OR)
WHEN: Probably early 1990's

Happy "remembrance" Birthday to my amazing Grandma Virginia who would have been 96 on October 18th.  I miss her everyday!

My Uncle Larry celebrates his birthday today!  Happy birthday, Uncle!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Wild Mushroom Bolognese

October 15th is National Mushroom Day!

Did you know...

Mushrooms are comprised of 85-95% water.
Mushrooms have their own immune system.
Mushrooms are more closely related in DNA to humans than to other plants.


Like human skin, mushrooms can produce vitamin D by being exposed to sunlight.

October 15th is also Emeril Lagasse's 56th birthday.  In honor of Emeril and mushrooms, here is a great recipe of the day!


Wild Mushroom Bolognese - adapted from Emeril


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (shitake, oyster or portobello)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup carrots, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Madeira wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper
28 oz can whole tomatoes
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 pound pasta, cooked al dente
Parmesan, grated
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced


Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain pasta but reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid for sauce.

In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion, carrots, celery and garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the wine and cook until reduced, about 3 minutes.  Add the paste and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Next add the tomatoes, sauce and pasta water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until think and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes.

Add the herbs to the sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and adjust salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the pasta and toss to coat.  Place in a large serving bowl, or divide among individual pasta bowls.  Top with cheese and parsley.

Makes 6 servings

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

42/52: A weekend visit with Alex Lee

Brian's niece Alex came up from Alameda, CA this past weekend for a visit.  We had an amazing 48 hours!  It was a full and exiting weekend, showing her some of our favorite place in and around Seattle.

Friday night we had burgers and brews at Elliott Bay Brewery.  It's our go-to Friday night place and Alex loved the beer sampler! 

Saturday's adventures started off with breakfast at Circa before heading to Georgetown. 

Bounded on the south by Boeing Field, this industrial warehouse district has mastered bohemian blue-collar chic.  Rail yards, antique shops and refurbished lofts dot the neighborhood, where everyone from artistic beatniks to hipster families have carved out a spot in this creative hub.  We walked around the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall, where artesians sell their good inside Air-Stream trailers, spent time ogling old albums at Georgetown Records and stopped off at several shops that had some funky art, strange collectibles and interesting clothes (the pizza dress amused all of us).

Pike Place Market is always good fun and a great place to people watch.  We picked up two gorgeous bouquets of seasonal dahlias and explored all the stalls filled with jewelry, leather goods, pottery and seafood.  While dodging rain showers, we came upon La Buona Tavola (the Truffle Cafe) and Cameron gave us one memorable wine tasting!  We left with a bottle of Malbec and a greater appreciation of Washington wines.

Finally, we filled our bellies again with amazing pasta at Peel and Press and watched bits and pieces of the Oregon Ducks game and the Dodgers/Mets.

Sunday came around all too quickly and Alex flew back to Alameda and I caught the train back to Portland, catching an amazing sunset as I rolled out of town.

It was so much fun to spend some one-on-one time with our niece who is quite an amazing, bright and beautiful young woman.  She is....the!


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: October 12-15, 2015

Welcome to the beginning of another wonderful week!  Happy Monday!

I am really loving my new monthly meal planner and am finding it super easy to put together my grocery list and review pantry items now that everything is in one place!

Remember to check out Laura's site for more menu and organizing tips!


MONDAY:  Grilled Salmon with Steamed Broccoli and 1/2 Baked Potato
TUESDAY: Taco Pie with a Garden Salad
WEDNESDAY: Happy Hour at Morton's (Brian heading down from Seattle to meet us)
THURSDAY: Weight Watchers Juicy Burgers

Friday, October 9, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday to Don and Marie

WHO: Marie and Don
WHAT: Hanging out in Oakridge, OR
WHEN: Probably around 1940-42

My paternal grandparents shared a birthday, October 6th.  My Grandmother, Marie was born in 1922 and my Grandfather, Don in 1914, both are no longer with us, but it's an interesting bit of family trivia.  Last Tuesday, Marie would have been 93 and Don, 101.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Sesame Noodles with Chicken

In honor of National Noodle Day (October 6th) here is a quick and easy noddle recipe you can make at home.


Sesame Noodles with Chicken


1/2 pound uncooked udon noodles
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 pound cooked skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into strips
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons chili sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons sesame seeds


Cook noodles according to package directions.  Remove 1/4 cooking water, set aside water then drain and rinse the noodles.

In a large bowl, combine the noodles, onions and chicken; toss gently together.

In a cup, combine the reserved cooking water, vinegar, soy sauce, oil, hoisin sauce, chili sauce and honey.  Stir well.

Pour liquid mixture over noodles; toss gently to coat all noodles.  Sprinkle with cilantro and sesame seeds; serve.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

41/52: Last M's Game of the Season

We welcomed October this past weekend with a road trip to Seattle.

Chick and I drove up Friday night and had dinner again at Shadowland (Chick's favorite place in West Seattle).

Then, Saturday morning we hooked up with my Mom and Kenny at The Bridge for Brunch.

On Saturday evening Brian, Sandra and I went to our last Mariners game of the 2015 season.  The ballpark celebrated Oktoberfest, the first pitch was at 6:05 and it was a beautiful fall evening in Seattle.

Unfortunately, the M's lost in extra innings but we had a fun evening.

This year, Brian and I went to more M's games then we have in many years.  There was a lot of off-season excitement in this team and hopes were high.  As the old saying goes....wait until next year! 


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: First Week of October

Welcome Monday!

Are you ready for the week ahead!!

We just got home from Seattle this afternoon and I was so happy that my menu planning and grocery list were all ready for me!  A quick trip to the grocery store and the week ahead is all planned out!

Remember to check out more great menu plans on Laura's site!


SUNDAY:  Chicken Curry in a Hurry over Jasmine Rice
MONDAY;  SEAHAWKS on Monday Night Football!  Crockpot Turkey Chili with Cornbread
TUESDAY: Leftover Enchiladas from the freezer!
WEDNESDAY: BBQ Steak with Grilled Brussels Sprouts and a Garden Salad (I've got pork chops in the freezer and acorn squash from last week that we didn't eat.
THURSDAY: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Chunky Tomato Bisque

Friday, October 2, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Cape Henry Lighthouse

WHO: Stacy and Brian
WHAT: Sightseeing in Virginia and N. Carolina
WHERE: Cape Henry Lighthouse - Fort Story, VA
WHEN: October 2009

Of course we have had lighthouses on our radar for the past few weeks with our visit to Point Robinson on Maury Island in early September and then our 13 mile trek out to the New Dungeness Spit Lighthouse last Saturday.

With Tropical Storm Joaquin bearing down on the east coast, I was reminded of our trip to Virginia in 2009 and our afternoon spent exploring the Cape Henry Lighthouses.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Recipe of the Week: World Vegetarian Day

Happy World Vegetarian Day!  No, I am not a vegetarian, but I enjoy many meat-free meals using products such as MorningStar Farms, Quorn and Gardein.

In the last 10 years, the improvement in these products has been wonderful.  Some of these went from cardboard to delicious pretty quickly...most likely due to the rise in healthy eating including the Meat Free Monday movement.  I love seeing more and more new products everyday.

If I can convince you in no other way, try this recipes below and enjoy!


Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas - Morning Star Farms


15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package MorningStar Farms Griller crumbles 
10 oz can tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup cooked chopped spinach
8 corn tortillas
15 oz can enchilada sauce, divided
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped - optional
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped - optional
4 tablespoons, sour cream - optional


Preheat oven to 350F

In a microwave safe bowl, combine beans, grillers, tomatoes and spinach.  Heat on medium power for approximately 2 minutes.

Soften the corn tortillas, either by heating slightly in the microwave or in a frying pan.

Coat the bottom of an 8 x 8 dish with 1/3 enchilada sauce.  In each corn tortilla, spoon black bean filling.  Add a sprinkle of cheese before rolling.  Roll each tortilla tightly. Place lengthwise, seam down, in a baking dish.  Pour the remainder of the sauce over the rolls, making sure to coat thoroughly.

Cover dish with foil and back for 40 minutes.  remove and cover with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 5 more minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Serve topped with cilantro, green onions and/or sour cream.

Makes 4 servings