Sunday, January 31, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome February 2016

Welcome Monday!

Is it just me or does anyone else feel a tremendous scene of relief that January is over!?  It's kinda like we just finished some sort of beginning of the year marathon and it all gets better going forward.

This week is all about being prepared, getting organized and sticking to a plan. We leave for vacation next Saturday so we have a lot going on this week.

I've got some easy meals...things that are easy to cook with little or no prep.

Here is our menu for the week ahead and remember to head on over to Laura's site for more tips and organizing ideas. 


SUNDAY: PIZZA from Bellagio's after driving from Seattle to Portland
MONDAY: Grilled Hamburgers and Chips
TUESDAY: Easy and Skinny Mexican Chicken Casserole with a Salad
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Steak with 1/2 Baked Potato and Asparagus
THURSDAY:  Grilled Chicken Thighs and Salad
FRIDAY:  KITCHEN CLOSED; leftovers or take out

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Recipe of the Week: A Classic Margarita

The margarita is a cocktail consisting of tequila, triple sec and lime and/or lemon juice, often with salt on the rim of the glass.  The drink is served shaken with ice (on the rocks) or blended with ice and served frozen.  The drink is traditionally served in the eponymous margarita glass, a stepped-diameter variant of a cocktail glass somewhat resembling an inverted sombrero hat.

One of the earliest stories of the margarita being invented is in 1938 by Carlos "Danny" Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Mexico and was created for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer, Majorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not tequila.  The story was related by Herrera and also by bartender Albert Hernandez, acknowledged for popularizing a margarita in San Diego in 1947 at the La Paz restaurant in La Jolla.

The first known publication of a margarita recipe was in the December 1953 issue of Esquire, with a recipe calling for an ounce of tequila, a dash of triple sec and the juice from half a lime.

I hope to be drinking quite a few of these in a week!


The Classic Margarita (on the rocks)


1 1/2 ounce tequila (100% agave a must)*
1 1/2 ounce triple sec or Cointreau
1 to 1 1/4 of lime juice
Salt for the rim of the glass


Shake all the ingredients with cracked ice in a coktail shaker until the exterior frosts. Strain into a glass over rocks, or "up" neat into a cocktail glass.  A slice of lime as a garnish is a nice touch.

* Since the principal flavor of the margarita is the tequila, it's the most important part, so make sure you get your hands on some good stuff.  Look for the "100% de agave" label on your bottle.  If it isn't there, chances are you are drinking up to 50% fermented cane sugar. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

4/52: Seattle Underground Tour and Lunch at Fado's Irish Pub

Seattle has an underground network of passageways and basements that was ground level at the city's origin in the mid-19th century.  After the streets were elevated these spaces fell into disuse, but have become a tourist attraction in recent decades.

Last Saturday, Brian and I took Bill Speidel's Underground Tour in Pioneer Square.

The great Seattle fire in 1889 destroyed 31 blocks and as part of the rebuilding, the streets were regraded to one to two stories higher than before.  Since Pioneer Square was built mostly on filled-in tidelands, it often flooded.  The new street level also assisted the ensuring that gravity-assisted flush toilets that funneled into Elliott Bay, did not back up at high tide.

In 1965, local citizen, Bill Speidel realized that there might be some interest in these subterranean ruins.  He establish a tour and began taking customers to see what was left under Pioneer Square.  

Over the years the underground structures have been steadily refurbished to be more visually appealing, however the tour remains authentic and popular for visitors and locals.

We really enjoyed it!  Our tour guide was informative and entertaining and it was interesting to hear about the history of Seattle.

After the tour we walked over to Fado's Irish Pub for lunch.  I was really impressed with their menu and it was a fun location to check out.  Since we took the bus downtown from West Seattle we wanted a place close to Pioneer Square.

We enjoyed Blue Cheese Lamb Sliders and Smithwick's Marinated Ground Beef Sliders and two big plates of chips before heading home.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: End of January 2016

Welcome to the beginning of another fabulous week!

We've got a busy week ahead and lots of prepping for our vacation ahead.  It's best to be organized and not leave things to the last minute!  The countdown is on.

What will be extra helpful this week will be an easy menu with one night of freezer foods (kitchen closed).

Remember to see what Laura and others are organizing and planning on her website.


MONDAY: Garden Burgers
TUESDAY: Crockpot Chili
WEDNESDAY: Flank Steak with Curry Cauliflower and a Garden Salad
THURSDAY: Soup from freezer!  We have a Chicken Corn Chowder or a Turkey/Sweet Potato Stew and leftover salad 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Fun in the Snow!

WHO: Pop and Jon Mett
WHAT: Clowning around in the snow
WHERE: Klamath Falls, OR
WHEN: 1966-1967

As the east coast braces for a blizzard, I went hunting for some snow pictures and found this shot of my Pop and his army buddy, Jon Mett.  Taken somewhere around Klamath Falls, OR in 1966-67.

Enjoy the snow and be safe.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Curry Cauliflower

It's that time of year when my body says it's done with carbs.  Perhaps it's the over-indulgence of the holiday season, but vegetables are on my groceries list in abundance this time of year.

When I was a kid, cauliflower was doused in a cheese sauce.  Let's be honest, it's got a pungent taste and does not appeal to everyone, but I hate to cover it up with unhealthy sauces.  Indian spices and cauliflower just seem to naturally go together and this hearty vegetable stands up well next to steak and chicken.


Roasted Curry Cauliflower


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon curry powder
salt and pepper
1 head cauliflower, leaves and core removed, florets cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces
fresh cilantro leaves


Preheat oven to 450.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, curry powder, slat and pepper.

Add cauliflower pieces and toss to coat.  Spread cauliflower in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

Bake until tender, chewy and golden brown, about 25-35 minutes.

To serve: sprinkle with remaining lemon juice and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

3/52: Another Quiet Weekend with Lots of Good Food and Drink!

It rained a lot over the weekend which is one reason why our only real outing of the week was to Ikea and the grocery store to buy good food to eat.  I truly believe that nothing warms the heart and spirit like cooking or being cooked for.

Brian treated me like a Queen on Friday night and served a wonderful casserole and salad. On Saturday he made the best Cowboy Hash to warm our bellies and start our day.  Just enough fuel for a trip through Ikea before coming home for tea and Swedish cookies.

Unfortunately, our Seahawks lost on Sunday and will NOT be going to Super Bowl 50.  It was a tough season, unlike the last two that had bits of magic, shock and awe...Sunday was the final letdown to a frustrating year.  I am seriously ready for baseball season.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: January 18-21, 2016

Welcome Monday!

Raise your hand if you have Monday off!?  Good for you!  I have to work, but vacation is around the corner so I am okay with that. 

This week's menu is healthy, low fat and low calorie.  It's all about portion control, this week.  We are working on sticking with our goal to eat good this week. 


MONDAY: Chicken Stir-Fry with Brown Rice
TUESDAY: Beef Tacos
WEDNESDAY:  Roasted Pork Loin with Baked Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
THURSDAY: Weight Watchers Roasted Salmon with a Garden Salad

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Crock Pot Chicken Corn Chowder

There have been requests lately for soups and stews.  Something warm and hearty for lunches and dinners.  Soup really is an easy go-to meal and it's made even better cooking all day in a crock pot.  

I made this last week and it was a super hit and I amended the recipe to be healthier and lower in calories.  Honestly, we didn't miss all the added fat and calories and it was delicious.


Crock Pot Chicken Corn Chowder - Adapted from Betty Crocker


6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, but into 1-inch cubes (I freeze mine)
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 carrot, chopped
4 celery heart stalks, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cups frozen corn (from 2 12 oz bags)
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
1 package (3 oz) reduced fat cream cheese, cut into cubes (I bought a small tub and scooped out 3 tablespoons)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk (I used fat free)
1/2 cup sherry wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup whipping cream (I used fat free half and half)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
8 pieces crumbled cooked bacon, if desired for garnish
1/2 cup chopped parsley, if desired for garnish


In a crock pot, mix all ingredients except whipping cream, cornstarch and garnishes.

Cover, cook on high heat for 4 hours or on low heat for 8 hours.

In a small bowl, beat whipping cream and cornstarch with a whisk until smooth (I use a small mason jar and shake it up).  Stir the mixture into the slow cooker.  Cover; reduce heat to low (if cooking on high) and cook for 15 minutes longer.

Season chowder if needed.  Serve in individual bowls with bacon and parsley garnish.

Picture courtesy of me
Original recipe found HERE

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2/52: A Birthday Celebration and a Quiet Weekend

January is always a bit of a letdown from the amazing month of December.  We've done our best to ring in the New Year and get going, but activities are few and far between on the calendar. Do you have the January blahs?

This past Tuesday was Chick's birthday so we celebrated at one of her favorite restaurants, Decarli right in downtown Beaverton.  We caught Uber so we could share a bottle of wine and had an amazing dinner and celebration (picture of short ribs that were amazing).

Friday, I caught the early train to Seattle and Brian and I had Date Night at Elliott Bay Brew Pub.

To round off the weekend, we stayed fairly close to home on Saturday minus a much needed walk through Lincoln Park, few errands, a haircut and a trip to the grocery store. Sammy enjoyed the home time!

We managed to watch three episodes of Broadchurch Season 2 on Netflix.  I must say that it is quite possibly one of the best series I've ever seen on TV.  Tremendous acting and a gripping story.  I "binge" watched season 1 on New Years Day in 8 hours STRAIGHT!  Check it out!

Sunday was the Golden Globes back in Portland.  We had a three course meal and a bottle of sparkling wine!

How was your weekend?  


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: January 11-14, 2016

Welcome Monday!

How is 2016 treating you so far?  This week Brian is in town and I am trying to stick with Weight Watchers or low fat meals.

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


Monday: Weight Watchers Spaghetti and Meatballs
Tuesday: Chicken Tamale Bowls
Wednesday: BLT with Chips
Thursday: Low Fat Slow Cooker Turkey and Sweet Potato Stew

Friday, January 8, 2016

Old Photo Friday: The Day Elvis Died

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHAT: On vacation in Cody, WY
WHEN: August 1977

Today Elvis Presley would have turned 81, but today, I am remembering the day he died, August 16, 1977.

My Pop and I were in Cody, WY when we heard over the radio that the King had passed.  It was a sad day for so many, including my father who was a lifelong Elvis fan.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Golden Globe Awards 2016 Menu

The 73rd annual Golden Globe awards kick off the official start of awards season this coming Sunday on NBC, hosted by Ricky Gervais. 

From the Red the show, we will have a celebration of movies with a wonderful assortment of food and champagne.

Here is our menu for Sunday's party!


2016 Golden Globe Awards Party

Red Carpet Snacks:  Sparkling Wine with Gourmet Olive Bar, Dip and Crackers

First Appetizer:  Golden Pear, Brie and Walnut salad

Second Appetizer:   Caramelized Red Onion, Blue Cheese and Steak Quesadillas

Final Act Dessert:   Mini Chocolate Cakes with French Vanilla Ice Cream 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

1/52: Happy 2016!

Welcome 2016!

I hope this year is filled with happiness, laughter, peace and hope.

How did you celebrate New Years Eve?

I caught the late train from Portland back to Seattle on Wednesday night for the long weekend.

We spent a few hours at the Casino on New Years Eve before having a wonderful prime rib dinner with friends at Lake Morton!

The rest of the weekend was spent dismantling Christmas and decorating the house for January.

New Years Day offered brilliant blue skies and spectacular views of the Olympic mountains. An amazing way to ring in 2016.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome 2016!

Welcome 2016!

Is everybody ready for the New Year?

I am having a hard time getting over Christmas!  It seems like December came and went way too fast this year.  Does anyone else feel this way?

I know what will help me get going is all the plans and planning going on! Setting goals, making lists and getting organized.  What will motivate you in 2016?

This week ahead will set the tone for the entire month and get us back on schedule.

Don't forget to get more amazing ideas from Laura!


MONDAY:  Weight Watchers Ranch Turkey Burgers
TUESDAY:  Chick's Birthday Dinner at DeCarli
WEDNESDAY: Slow Cooker Chicken Corn Chowder
THURSDAY: Meatloaf with Baked Potatoes and Broccoli

Friday, January 1, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Sandra

WHO: Sandra K. Suter
WHEN: Summer 1969 (Sandra looks to be about 8 or 9)

Happy Birthday to my Aunt Sandra who celebrates her birthday next Tuesday!