Friday, August 28, 2015

36/52: On Summer Vacation!


As soon as I can clean off my desk, I am driving north to Seattle to see this gorgeous guy (oh, and Brian too).  

I am going to take some time off from the Blog, but if you follow me on Instagram, I promise to post some pictures during the week.

We've got so much planned that I'll have several great Blog posts when I return.

Until then.......

ENJOY!
Stacy

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Brian


WHO: Brian and Stacy
WHAT: Colorado Rockies Game
WHERE: Denver, CO
WHEN: August 2005

It's hard to believe that this picture was taken 10 years ago.  For Brian's 45th birthday, we went to Denver, CO for a baseball adventure.

The day before this picture was taken we were sitting in a brewpub in Georgetown, CO watching helicopters rescue people off their roofs in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina had just devastated Louisiana and Mississippi.

Happy Birthday to my sweet guy, who celebrates his birthday on September 1st.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Tomatoes,Tomatoes and more Tomatoes!

My garden is over-run with tomatoes, but who is complaining.  Poor Brian has severe blossom rot in Seattle and has only harvested one tomato all summer.  Extremely disappointing when you consider the optimal growing conditions this year in the pacific northwest.  Ho-hum...the life of a gardener is never easy!

Need-less to say, I have more tomatoes then I know what to do with and co-workers are adding to my bounty as well (there are only so many BLTs one can eat).  

I've found these two really yummy recipes that highlight our wonderful summer treat.

Enjoy!
Stacy


Tomato Tart


Ingredients:

1 head garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pie dough (Pillsbury refrigerator dough works for me)
4 ounces Italian fontina cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 pounds firm but ripe tomatoes (4 medium) cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick (lay on papertowels to remove excess water for 15 minutes)
Salt and pepper
Fresh thyme, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil.  Wrap to enclose garlic in foil, and place on a small baking sheet.  Bake until soft and golden brown, about 30-45 minutes.  Remove from oven; set aside.

Raise oven temperature to 400F. When garlic is cool enough to handle, using either your hand or the dull end of a knife, squeeze the cloves out of their skins and into a small bowl. Mash with a fork, set aside.  Discard the garlic skins.

Place the dough over a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Line the pan with the dough and trim off any excess.  Form the dough so it is flush with the edges of the pan; transfer to the refrigerator to chill, about 30 minutes.

Spread the garlic evenly on the chilled crust.  Sprinkle with half of the cheese.  Arrange the tomatoes on top of the cheese, in an overlapping circular pattern.  Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with rest of cheese, and drizzle with remainder of oil.  Transfer tart to oven.

Bake tart until crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 30-45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes, then serve warm topped with fresh thyme.


Gazpacho

Ingredients:

1 large jalapeno chili pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes, assorted heirloom or large red
2 cups seeded and chopped cucumber (about 2 medium)
1 medium peach, peeled, pitted and chopped
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
5 basil leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.  Halve the jalapeno, remove stem, seeds and membranes.  Place halves, cut side down on foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the skins are blistered and dark.  Remove baking sheet from over and carefully fold foil up to enclosed the halves.  Let stand for 15 minutes or until cooled enough to handle.  Use a sharp knife and loosen the skin and gently peel off the skin; discard and finely chop the pepper, then set aside.

In a food processor or blender, combine 3 cups tomato, 1 cup cucumber and half the peach. Cover; process or blend until almost smooth but a few small pieces remain. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl

In the processor or blender, combine the water, 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, 5 basil leaves and the garlic. Cover; process until blended smooth.  Transfer basil mixture to the bowl with the first batch of processed tomatoes.

Add the remaining tomato, cucumber and peach to the processor or blender.  Depending on the level of spice you like, add all or part of the jalapeno.  Blend until smooth, but a few small pieces remain.  Add to the rest of the tomato mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24.

Serve in small bowls garnished with chopped basil.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

35/52: M's vs. Chicago; Bobblehead Saturday Night










It was Date Night at the ballpark on Saturday night...along with 30,000 other M's fans all hoping to get a coveted Robinson Cano bobblehead.

We left the house super early for the 6:05 first pitch and picked up two bobbleheads. This is our second bobblehead game of the season which adds to our growing bobblehead collection.

Sunday was an adventure to Portland via the CLine/Light Rail then the Bolt Bus.  Brian flew back to Seattle Monday afternoon but it was nice to have him with me on the journey back to Portland.

How did you enjoy your weekend?

Stacy

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: Last Week in August 2015

Welcome Monday!

It's a full week ahead....an end of summer mid week party, then packing for a weeks vacation in Seattle.

We are going for light and easy to make meals this week.

Don't forget to head on over to Laura's site for more menu planning ideas.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Monday: Salmon and Herb Salad
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday!!! Yumm Bowls
Wednesday:  Neighborhood Party
Thursday: Garden Burgers and Tater Tots

Friday, August 21, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Happy Anniversary Pop and Rosemary


WHO: Pop and Rosemary
WHAT: Wedding Day; cake cutting ceremony
WHERE: Backyard of E Street
WHEN: August 1985

Happy Anniversary to my Pop and Rosemary!

Enjoy!
Stacy

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Zucchini-Herb Fritters with Garlic Yogurt




I shudder this time of year when co-workers ask if I'd like some extra produce from their garden.  We all know what that really means....I have zucchini coming out my ears!!

Cooking with zucchini can be a real challenge for me as I am not a baker, so zucchini bread really isn't an option.

I love the idea of a crispy fritter and these topped with a garlic yogurt sauce are a a bit hit!

Enjoy!
Stacy



Zucchini-Herb Fritters with Garlic Yogurt


Ingredients:

8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 garlic clove, finely grated
Salt and pepper

2 small zucchini, ends trimmed
1 small russet potato, peeled
1/2 white onion
2 teaspoons salt, plus more
2 large eggs, beaten
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
ground black pepper
1/3 cup flour
1/2 baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Olive oil (for serving)

Preparation:

Mix yogurt, mint, lemon juice, oil, honey and garlic in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper. Cover; chill.

Grate zucchini, potato and onion on the large holes of a box grater.  Transfer to a mesh sieve set over a bowl and toss with 2 teaspoon salt.  Let vegetables sit until they release their liquid, about 30-45 minutes.

Mix eggs, garlic, cumin, 3 tablespoons parley and 2 tablespoons mint in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Gather up half of zucchini mixture in a kitchen towel; squeeze out excess liquid.  Add to bowl with the egg mixture and repeat with remaining zucchini mixture.  Sprinkle flour and baking power over; gently mix.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, spoon scoops of mixture into skillet and flatten gently with a spatula.

Cook until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer to a wire rack; season with salt and pepper.

To serve: Drizzle yogurt sauce with olive oil on top with more herbs; serve along side warm fritters.


Notes: Makes about 12 fritters

Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetite with images from Google

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

34/52: Summer is winding down








You can really feel that summer is winding down.  They say that our Pacific Northwest Spring and Summer this year were 4-6 weeks ahead of schedule.  We had fruit trees in full bloom in February and spring daffodil buds nearly bloomed out by March 1st.  Summer started the last week in April and we never looked back!  I harvested my first red ripe tomatoes before the 4th of July and our summer flowers stopped blooming by August 1st.

I can feel that summer is winding down and I can do nothing to stop it!

We had two awesome walks this weekend, celebrated a 7th birthday, took in a minor league baseball game (last Thursday night) and continued to enjoy our amazing summer.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: Mid August 2015


Welcome Monday!

Less is more.....

Less shopping, more outdoors
Less clutter, more space
Less rush, more slowness
Less consuming, more creating
Less junk, more real food
Less busywork, more impact
Less driving, more walking
Less noise, more solitude
Less focus on the future, more on the present
less work, more play
less worry, more smiles

Enjoy our menu for the week and visit Laura's site for more menu and planning ideas.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday: Beer Brats with Grilled Onions, Corn on the Cob and Chips
Monday: Grilled BBQ Chicken, Steamed Broccoli and Red Potatoes
Tuesday: Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
Wednesday: Grilled Steak with Wedge Salad
Thursday: Thai Take-Away (Kitchen is closed)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Summer Vacation in Cody, Wyoming


WHO: Stacy and friend, Leslie
WHAT: Hiking
WHERE: Outside of Cody, Wyoming
WHEN: August 1978

Almost every summer as a kid, we planned a trip through Yellowstone National Park to Cody, Wyoming to visit family friends who lived on a ranch out in the middle of no where.

Several times we went in the car, spending just a day in the park before heading into Cody.  Once when I was about 9, we left Springfield in a rented motor home with my Pop's best friend, Crowe and his two kids.  We ended up heading all the way to the "badlands" of North Dakota for an Indian gathering (Crowe was native American Sioux).

This trip, I got to bring my friend, Leslie and we had a blast.

Happy Summer, everybody!  Enjoy it while it lasts!

Stacy

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Herb and Goat Cheese Compound Butter


I've got a potluck neighborhood gathering at the end of the month and I am racking my brain as to what to bring.  It's starts at 4PM on a work night so I really don't have much time to prepare anything and the hostess has asked that it not need to be heated or kept warm.

It sounds like it will be a lot salads and desserts...which are all very nice and very predictable.

I had this great idea to pick up a loaf of some really nice bread and make my own herb and goat cheese compound butter. Who doesn't like bread and butter with any meal!?  

Don't just use this butter on bread, it's also great on corn on the cob and also on top of a grilled steak.

Enjoy!
Stacy



Herb and Goat Cheese Compound Butter


Incredients:

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 oz goat cheese
2 tbsp herbs de Provence
2 tbsp fresh chives
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste


Directions:

Mix butter, cheese, herbs, chives, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Mound onto plastic wrap, roll into a cylinder, and twist ends.

Chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

33/52: Jamie Moyer Hall of Fame Day and Celebrating Mom's 70th




















It was a celebration weekend in Seattle!

Saturday was the induction into the Seattle Mariner's Hall of Fame for Jamie Moyer, who spent 25 years in the major leagues, 11 years with the Seattle Mariners.

Last year, Brian and I had the opportunity to see Lou Pinella's induction ceremony and Jamie's was just a unique and special with many former players and coaches in attendance.

Plus we all got an awesome bobblehead to add to our collection!

Kenny and Brian sat in our season tickets and Mom, Sandra and I had tickets just one section over...all seats in the Terrace Club, which is always a special treat!

On Sunday, we celebrated my Mom's 70th Birthday (August 6th) with presents and a special girl's brunch at Salty's on Alki. Hands down, probably one of the best brunch places in all of Seattle with an amazing selection of food.  I ate my weight in fresh shucked oysters, peel and eat shrimp and crab legs!

Celebrations are fun, huh!?

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: August 9-13, 2015


Welcome Monday!

We are back from Seattle after a very busy weekend!  I am so happy when I got home that I had my menu and recipes all printed out.  It made going to the grocery store such an easy task.  Stick to a plan, stay organized and enjoy more of "your" time!

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

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday: Brunch at Salty's then drive home from Seattle!  BLT's if hungry
Monday: Salmon, White Bean and Grilled Asparagus Salad (going to make Flank Steak instead)
Tuesday: Chick is in Eugene so I think I am going to fry up some oysters!
Wednesday: Shrimp Louis Salad with Texas Toast
Thursday: Hillsboro Hops Baseball Game

Friday, August 7, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Happy 70th Birthday, Mom!


WHO: Jennifer Dare
WHERE: This might be down in Cottage Grove, OR or in Klamath Falls, OR
WHEN: 1965-1966 (my parents had a VW bug when they first got married)

Happy 70th Birthday to my Mom, Jennifer!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Fried Oysters


August 5th is National Oyster day!  Yippee!  Fried oysters are probably one of my most favorite foods, but often times I am extremely disappointed at how they are prepared in restaurants.  I guess I am extremely spoiled as growing up, my Poppie made the best fried oysters on the planet!

Here is our traditional family recipe and enjoy National Oyster Day (even if it is one day late)!

Enjoy!
Stacy

Fried Oysters


Ingredients:

1 jar small oysters (mediums will also work); this should give you 5-7 oysters
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup flour
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
salt and black pepper (about 1/2 tsp each)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4-6 tablespoons olive oil (you will probably only need 3-4 tablespoons)
Lemon Slice, Ketchup, Tarter Sauce...optional

Directions:

Rinse and soak oysters in cold water for 30 minutes then drain and carefully pat dry.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

Beat egg and milk together in shallow bowl.  Set aside.

Mix flour, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and garlic powder in a large ziploc bag and set aside.

Carefully add 2 oysters at a time to the egg wash and then place in the flour mixture.  Give them a good shake in the bag then place them in the hot pan. Repeat until all your oysters are in the pan frying.

I like to cook my oysters for about 10 minutes aside, until dark brown...adding additional oil if needed. 

I serve my oysters plain with a ramekin of ketchup on the side.



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

32/52: Brian's Brother Visits and a Summer Walk along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail










Friday night we welcomed Brian's brother, Kerry to West Seattle.  He had a brief stop over on the way to see his daughters in Eastern Washington and we were thrilled that he was able to spend the weekend with us.

Brian and I have been training all spring and early summer for two long walks, Monte Cristo and Dungeness Spit.  We found out a few weeks ago that the Monte Cristo Wagon Trail, located east of Seattle in Darrington, WA, is closed for repairs and removal of hazardous materials. Disappointed, I quickly began searching for an alternative and located a hike finder map on the Washington Trails Association website.

Our first hike completed this past Saturday was almost 11 miles round-trip on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Iron Horse State Park, near North Bend, WA.  It was just what we wanted...wide open, gentle grades and incredible scenery...plus enough mileage to make it a great prep hike for Dungeness Spit.

The John Wayne Pioneer Trail (not named for the actor) in the Iron Horse State Park provides views of mountains, waterfalls and wildlife as we traversed across soaring bridges from Rattlesnake Lake to the Twin Falls Trailhead, 5.5 miles to the east.

The Pacific Railroad operated from 1908 until 1980, when it went bankrupt.  The Department of Natural Resource acquired the land forming the 100 foot wide Iron Horse State Park, which contains more than 100 miles of trails from Cedar Falls to the Columbia River...all with a grade on 2.2% or less.

We took off from the trailhead about 11:30 and finished up about 2:30.  We stopped a few times for water and pictures, but walked at a steady pace.

At mile 1, we crossed Boxley Creek and continued along the trail to Boetzke Creek Falls.  Of course, with our dry summer...not much water was flowing.

At mile 3 we came across the abandoned train depot at Ragnar.  The trail has the railroads mileposts and many railroad artifacts.  

At 5.5 we reached the Twin Falls Trailhead.  The trail continues (some 100+ in total) up and over Snoqualmie Summit and through the Snoqualmie tunnel.  Someday, we'll walk the additional mile down to the falls, but we knew that we had to head back 5.5 miles...so after a brief rest, we turned around.  In total we logged 10.48 miles.

We had an amazing day!  Although our legs and feet were tired (I've got a few blisters), there was enough surrounding beauty to entertain our minds while our bodies did all the work!

Following our walk, Brian was head chef for a traditional cook-out...with hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, homemade potato salad, and corn on the cob (I'm the only one who indulged in apple pie and ice cream for dessert). Brian set the table outside so we could eat al fresco on a warm Seattle evening.


Enjoy!
Stacy



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome August 2015


Welcome Monday and welcome to August!  The final month of pure summer.

We have a full week this week and then a very busy weekend so we are going to stick to a fairly strict menu plan this week.  Light and easy meals with very little prep and time spent in the kitchen.

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

Enjoy!
Stacy

Monday: Grilled Steak with Sam's Grilled Brussels Sprout and Chilled Beet Salad with Greek Yogurt
Tuesday: Nacho Bar!
Wednesday: Garden Burgers and Chips
Thursday: Kitchen Closed!  Packing for Seattle so it's PIZZA night!