Friday, December 30, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Uncle Steve

WHO: Sandra, Grandma Marie and Steve
WHEN: Summer 1968

I gave my Uncle Steve this picture for Christmas and for his birthday, which both happen to be the same day.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

52/52: Holiday Wrap Up!

As we get very close to 2017, I wanted to wrap up the last bits of 2016!

I love Christmas and it's always a huge let down after the holidays are over.  We had a wonderful time in Seattle and a very mellow time with friends and family.  The 10 days in Seattle just flew by.

We caught up with all of our Seattle friends and celebrated Christmas with each one, including a home cooked salmon dinner, a classic Christmas Eve Eve meal at the iconic Icon Grill and a Christmas Eve brunch at lake Morton.

We took a spontaneous walk up t Solstice park, the night before the longest night of the year to welcome the winter solstice and took a Christmas Eve drive along Beach Drive to see the Christmas lights.

Finally, we celebrated Christmas morning at home where Santa delivered us a houseful of gifts and we spent Christmas Day afternoon with my Mom and Kenny.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

51/52: Christmas at the Bathhouse Theater

I arrived in Seattle last Friday night, ready to start my Christmas vacation.

First on the schedule Saturday night was our annual Christmas performance.  Unfortunately this year, our local ArtsWest Theater did not do (what I would call) a traditional Christmas performance. The play had something to do with Peter Pan and did not appear to be all that "holiday festive".  Brian and I were both disappointed.  We love to support our local community, but our hearts were set on a festive holiday performance and so it was plan B.

Brian found a performance at the Greenlake Bathhouse part of the Seattle Public Theater Group called Christmastown: A Holiday Noir 2016.  

It was a film noir inspired holiday thrilled by local playwright, Wayne Rawley.  The setting is Christmastown and a hard-boiled detective Nick Holiday is off to investigate some un-holiday like shenanigans.  Add in a glamorous elf, a used Christmas tree salesman, a quick-thinking cab driver and a muck-racking reporter and you've got what the Seattle Times called the "best new holiday romp of the year!"

Brian and I both really enjoyed the performance!  

Before the show, we had an amazing dinner at the Greenlake Alehouse.  The braised short ribs were amazing.

We've kicked off my vacation and officially, Christmas week.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: End of the Year

Welcome to the tail end of 2016!  Happy Monday!

I am back in Portland after a long holiday break and ready to hit the ground running with a great menu for the end of the year!  Remember to head on over to Laura's site for more menu plans.

Happy New Year!


MONDAY: Going to the movies and then grabbing a bit afterwards!
TUESDAY: Grilled Chicken Alfredo with Salad
WEDNESDAY: Beef Tacos (freezer meal)
THURSDAY: Grilled Halibut with Brown Rice and Asian Vegetables

Friday, December 23, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Pop

WHO: James Young Brady
WHAT: Just fishing
WHERE: Cody, Wyoming
WHEN: Summer 1979 (36)

Happy Birthday to my Pop who celebrated his birthday yesterday.



Saturday, December 17, 2016

Happy Christmas!


Happy Christmas, Feliz Navidad, joyeux Noël, Fröhliche Weihnachten (for all my German friends) and Mele Kalikimaka for those of you sunning yourself on a beach with an umbrella drink.

I am all snuggled down in my red Christmas sheets,with my #1 squeeze, Brian for 10 days in Seattle.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.  I'll catch everyone up on the holidays the week after Christmas!

Check in with me on Facebook, Instagram and Vlogmas on our YouTube channel.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Merry Christmas, Mom

WHO: Mom (Jennifer Dare)
WHAT: Celebrating Christmas
WHERE: E Street, Springfield, OR
WHEN: 1975

Happy Holidays from Springfield...mid 1970's.  See that angel on the top of the tree.  I still have her!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Recipe of the week: Holiday Hors d’Oeuvres

The holiday season is a busy time for a lot of people.  Office parties, out of town relatives, cocktails with the neighbors....whew, it can all be a bit overwhelming.

I suppose, you could just swing by the grocery store and pick up some of that clam dip in the plastic tub, right?  Throw down some Ritz crackers on that Dollar Store serving platter and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

I've got you covered!  Here are three easy Hors d'oeuvres options that are quick to make and impressive to serve.


Baked Camembert with Sun-Dried Tomatoes (serves 8)


8 oz. round of Camembert (sold in a wooden box)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), drained and chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
baguette, sliced


Heat oven to 375.  Remove the Camembert from its wrapping, return it to the wooden box (discard lid), and place on a baking sheet.

Top with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and thyme.  Drizzle with oil and bake until soft for 10-15 minutes.  

Serve immediately with sliced bread

Pears with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto (serves 8)


2 pears, each cut into 8 wedges
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup arugula
3 ounces blue cheese, cut into small pieces
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise


In a large bowl, toss the pears and the lemon juice

Layer a slice of pear, an arugula leaf, and a piece of cheese on a piece of prosciutto and roll up.

New England Style Crab Dip (serves 8-10)


1 cup mayonnaise
1 8 oz package cream cheese (room temperature)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
1 pound fresh crab meat
1/2 cup finely crushed ritz crackers
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
2 tablespoons capers
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
additional chives or parsley for garnish
baguette, sliced


Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a round 1 1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a bowl, mix mayo, cream cheese, juice and seasoning.  Stir in crab meat, crackers, chives, capers and parsley.  Spoon into baking dish.

Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Garnish with additional chives and/or parsley then serve hot with baguette.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

50/52: A few of my Favorite Things

This time of year, before the sun comes up is the best time to be in front of the Christmas Tree with a hot cup of coffee in my favorite Christmas coffee mug. 

Celebrating with friends is the best part of the holidays. Experiencing new holiday events make the season bright!  This past weekend we were treated to a wonderful choir concert with good friends.

Cats under the Christmas tree....they are always fascinated by the lights.

What are some of your favorite things?


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Middle of December

Welcome Monday!

How are you holiday plans coming together?  Do you feel organized?  You's not too late to sit down and take some time to put some lists together.  I know that even as organized as I am, it's easy to feel overwhelmed.  Here is a great article on Laura's site to help you stay stress free over the holidays.

This time of year, I am so grateful for my menu planning to make my life so much easier.

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

As for this week....well, not much cooking will be going on.  It's a busy week with activites planned.


MONDAY:  Downtown Portland for Drinks and Appetizers and a look at the Christmas Tree?
TUESDAY:  Beef Tacos (I've got some leftover taco meat in the freezer)
WEDNESDAY: Rebecca Lane Christmas Party with Take-Away Thai Food
THURSDAY:  Seahawks Football and Pizza

Friday, December 9, 2016

Old Photo Friday:Christmas Eve visit from Santa

WHO: Grandpa Ralph, Stacy and Santa Claus (old railroader friend of family)
WHEN: Christmas 1974
WHERE: Hilyard Street, Eugene, OR

Merry Christmas!

Every year that we had Christmas at Hilyard Street at Ralph and Virginia's, Santa Claus would stop by for a visit Christmas Eve. He would bring me a present, take a few photos and then slip into the kitchen for a ham sandwich and a whiskey with Ralph. He'd always come out of the kitchen with mustard from his sandwich dripping off his beard. 

I believe that Santa was an old railroader and did it as a favor for my grandparents.  At any rate, it was the highlight of Christmas eve for me and I am sure for him as well.  

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Fry Sauce

Okay guys....I am calling it in this week, sorry!  It's the holiday season and I am knee deep in decorating, wrapping, hot buttered rums, and Hallmark Christmas movies.

Ever heard of Fry Sauce?  Good.....I didn't think so.

Fry sauce is also commonly knows as salsa rosada or mayo-ketchup it is similar to Russian dressing.

The Utah-based Artic Circle restaurant chain started carrying fry sauce around 1948.  In Idaho and the Pacific Northwest, fry sauce is also found at such chains as Dairy Queen and Sonic.

I love it and we make a very simple 50/50 mayo ketchup mix at our house, but his is closer to the original Artic Circle recipe.


Fry Sauce


1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, salt, paprika, mustard and onion powder until smooth.  Stir in ketchup, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce until well blended.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

* store in an airtight container for up to a month in the refrigerator

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

49/52: Welcoming Christmas

We've had a whirl wind of activities the past few weeks.....but this year, Christmas arrived the day after Halloween.  

For me, the loss of Sammy pushed me full on into Holiday mode.  I needed the music, the lights, shopping, wrapping and decorating to get me back into the living mode.

Our Rebecca Lane house was decorated the weekend after Thanksgiving and I really enjoyed spending time this past week being surrounded by Christmas again.

This past Saturday, we unleashed the Christmas closet in West Seattle, trimmed the tree and decked the halls.

Brian and I hung our Sammy ornaments with heavy hearts.  His loss is still encompassing, but it's a bit easier to breath when you are surrounded by such an abundance of Christmas joy.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome December

Now the calendar is just one page
Of course I am excited

 - Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses

It's so hard to believe that it's December again.  It just seems like last week that I was out on our new deck sitting in the summer sun.  Does anyone else feel this way?

We are super busy this week getting into the holiday spirit.


MONDAY: Garden Burgers with Fries
TUESDAY: Grilled Steak, Baked Potato and Salad
WEDNESDAY: Basil Chicken over Jasmine Rice
THURSDAY:  Aaron Meyer Holiday Concert; drinks and dinner downtown

Friday, December 2, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Christmas 1964

WHO: Mom and Grandma Virginia (that's Simon the world's meanest dog)
WHEN: Christmas 1964
WHERE: Eugene, OR

Isn't Christmas supposed to be a happy occasion?  I am not sure what is going on, but neither one looks very festive.

I hope your holiday season is merry and bright.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Hash brown Waffles

In case you missed can put just about anything in a waffle iron these days that is not traditional waffle mix.  Have you tried cinnamon rolls in the waffle iron yet!?

I am not typically a sweet food breakfast person, so the idea of a savory mix of anything is extremely appealing.  So get out your waffles iron and experiment a little.  Here is a good base to start with, but the sky is the limit on the ingredients.


Ham and Gruyere Hash Brown Waffles


5 eggs, divided (only 1 egg beaten)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bag (20 oz) refrigerated hash browns (do not use frozen)
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
8 oz thinly sliced black forest ham
salt and pepper, to taste
tablespoon finely chopped chives


Preheat waffle iron as directed.

In a large bowl, combine 1 beaten egg, oil, hash browns, cheese and ham.  Season with salt and pepper.

Coat the waffle iron with cooking spray. Use a generous 1 cup of the mixture per waffle and cook until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes.

Top each waffle with one fried egg and then a garnish of chopped chives.

Notes:  It's best to use a traditional waffle iron and not the Belgian style for a crispier waffle

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Saying Goodbye

We said goodbye to my Aunt Judy on Saturday night, after her long battle with cancer.  I believe that a higher power wanted her family (Ohio and Oregon) to all be together over the holiday weekend for comfort at the enormity of her loss.  She died peacefully in Ohio surrounded by her husband of 55 years and her three daughters and their families.

She was an amazing woman and I wished that we had lived closer over the years. I would have enjoyed getting to know her more and listening to her stories of our family.

Rest in Peace.

I also learned over the weekend that an old friend of mine from Melbourne, Australia took his life.  I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that he was in such a dark place that no one could help him and he chose to leave this world and escape the pain.

He seemed to always have a smile on his face and a laughed from deep inside his heart.

Rest in peace, Greg.  I will miss you and cherish the memories forever.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

48/52: Thanksgiving Eve/Day and Wine Tasting Friday!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving long weekend!

Amazing family time with great food and drink.  Thanksgiving Eve was spent pre-cooking, drinking wine and listening to a great mix of music that made us all get up and dance!

Our Thanksgiving meal on Thursday was wonderful and we were all grateful to be together and have such a great day of food and rest (despite 2 inches of rain).

Friday we went to 4 amazing wineries in the Washington County/Yamhill area....and they were all places that we've never been to before.  Each place was unique with wonderful food pairings and wine tastings.

How was your Thanksgiving?


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome December

Welcome to the 12th month of the year!

How was your Thanksgiving?  Is it a turkey free zone around your parts?  I can't resist at least a couple turkey sandwiches, a good Christmas movie and a long nap this time of year.  How about you?

Here is our menu for the week ahead.


SUNDAY:  Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables and Cole Slaw
MONDAY:  Shrimp Salad with Texas Toast/Fried Oysters, Mashed Potatoes and Salad for Uncle Roonie and I
TUESDAY: Turkey Curry Buffet (just like Bridgette Jones's Diary)
WEDNESDAY: Meat Pie with Salad
THURSDAY: Freezer leftover?  Take away?