Sunday, May 29, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: End of May/Holiday Weekend 2016

Happy Memorial Day!  I hope you are having a great holiday weekend.  What are you cooking up?

Here is our holiday and post holiday week.  I'd like to stay on the low/no carb eating plan through the end of summer, if possible.  We have a house full towards the end of the week with my Mom driving down to Portland with Brian, so I've included one evening out and one easy no carb meal.  I planned meals that I think all will enjoy.

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


Monday: Memorial Day BBQ at Lake Morton
Tuesday: Skirt Steak Tacos (I have some skirt steak to use up in the freezer)
Wednesday: We are planning on dinner out since we have company and I have a late afternoon appointment
Thursday: Sauteed Chicken with Olive Caper Sauce and Salad

Carbs this week: Monday's BBQ I'll stick to hamburger bun only and salad.  Tuesday's toritilla shells only (limit two tacos).  Thursdays meal is NO CARB!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Old Photo Friday: A Motley Crew

WHO: Grandma Virginia, Mom, Aunt Charley and Uncle Larry
WHAT: Sight-seeing
WHERE: Palm Springs area?
WHEN: April 1999 (back of photo)

I think this picture had to be taken down in the Palm Springs area. My uncle and his wife had a place that they wintered over in and my Gram always visited for a few weeks.  What a crew!  Mom and Uncle Larry....socks with sandals?!


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Aussie Burger

With Memorial Day just around the corner (and Father's Day in a few weeks), it's time to roll out a few grilling recipes.  Over the next 6 weeks, I'll be showcasing some amazing burgers, ribs and new/old grilling favorites.

April 2016 marked 19 years since I left Melbourne, Australia.  From 1994 to 1997 I called the land down under home.  I met some remarkable people, explored some of the most amazing places, and ate some interesting food (witchetty grubs aside).

I am not sure where or how the Australian's got the idea for their classic burger, but the combination, albeit strange is pretty tasty.  Yes, this burger has not only pineapple rings and beet(root), but an over easy egg!  You'll need a bib to eat it.

Enjoy, Mates!

The Aussie Burger


2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 1/4 inch thick sweet yellow onion
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 can pineapple rings (4 slices)
4 slices aged white cheddar
4 eggs
hamburger buns, toasted
romaine lettuce leaves
1 can sliced picked beets (2 slices per burger)
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
Fry sauce (optional)


In a bowl, combine the beef, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Form beef into (4) 1 inch thick patties; transfer to a plate.

Heat butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion slices and cook, flipping occasionally, until browned (but not falling apart), about 8-10 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat; set onions aside.

Prepare a gas grill to medium high heat. Brush pineapple with 2 tablespoons oil and place on grill, flipping once until lightly browned.  Transfer to a plate; set aside.

Grill burgers, flipping once, until cooked to desired doneness, about 5 minutes a side for medium rare.  During the last minute of cooking, top burgers with 1 slice of cheese; let melt. Transfer burgers to a plate.

Heat the last of the remaining oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add two eggs at a time and cook covered until whites are set and yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining eggs.

To assemble: On the bottom half of each bun, add fry sauce (if desired), lettuce, beets, tomato, onion slices and pineapple. Top with burger patty.  Top each patty with an egg and then add top half of bun.

Sandra and I in Sydney (1995)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

21/52: The Preakness Stakes

We headed back down to Emerald Downs on Saturday to see the second leg of the triple crown, the Preakness Stakes held in Baltimore, MD.  It was another wet weekend....our second in a row.  I bought a new fascinator and surprisingly saw many women in hats despite the lower turn out.  I ran into an old high school friend, Veronica that I have not seen in 29 years and it was fun to see her and meet her husband.  We had a great day!  Brian won the Preakness Trifecta and I got lucky with a $2 Exacta Box at Emerald Downs.  We made enough for drinks and pizza at Peel and Press.

Friday I got off the train in Tacoma and we had drinks and dinner at Katie Downs.  We don't get the chance to go to Katie Downs often so it was a real treat and a beautiful evening.

How was your weekend?


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: May 23-26, 2016

Happy Monday!

It's week #3 of our low/no carb menu.  So far, it's been a great process and increased activity/exercise has helped.  One of the great things about eating whole foods low in carbs is the elimination of (refined) sugar and the ease of cooking and cleaning up.  Any others!?

Check out Laura's link up for more planning and organizing ideas!


Monday: Grilled Steak and Steamed Artichokes
Tuesday: SW Chicken Salad
Wednesday: Creamy Pork Chops and Green Beans
Thursday: Train to Seattle to start the long weekend!

Carbs this week - 
Monday is carb free!
The SW Chicken salad has beans, corn and some crushed tortilla chips
Wednesday is carb free!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Old Photo Friday: The Harmony Hills Gang

WHO: The Lee Boys (L-R), Kerry, Ken and Brian (all the way to the right, unknown)
WHERE: Newark, DE - Harmony Hills area (the neighborhood they grew up with)
WHEN: 1967-68 (Brian looks to be about 7 or 8)

This is the start of a neighborhood gang if I've ever seen one.  The snow is almost melted so perhaps organizing a game to play?  Looks like they are changing shoes so perhaps there was some ice skating on a pond.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Savory Pumpkin Hummus

Today is national hummus day (and no, I don't make this stuff up).  I've posted hummus recipes before, but there is a new one that caught my eye recently and I wanted to share it.

For those of you who don't know, I have a YouTube channel!  I started making and posting videos a while ago, but last July I started a project called Document Your Life and I put together a monthly synopsis of our blog, only in video format.  It's a lot of fun and a great hobby for me because I really enjoy taking pictures and telling stories.  Feel free to check out our channel.

Along the way, I've been introduced to other vloggers and one in particular that I really like is Libby Withnall.  She lives in Australia just outside of Sydney and watching her vlogs reminds me of when I lived in Australia...the culture, the food and some of the places that I remember visiting.  She's a vegetarian/vegan and she's been making this hummus for many months and I've been curious to try it out.  This is not her exact recipe, but I did find several and I think this one is fairly close.


Savory Pumpkin Hummus


2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp salt
2 (15 oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained
2 tsp olive oil
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (or use fresh pumpkin roasted in the oven for 30 minutes until tender)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


Pulse the lemon juice, tahini, garlic and salt together in a food processor until smooth.  Add beans and olive oil and pulse until smooth.

Add the pumpkin, cumin and cayenne; process until well blended.  Transfer hummus to a container with a lid and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Serve with  pita chips, vegetables or use as a spread on a sandwich.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

20/52: Out with the old

Our old table!

It rained on Saturday and it was cold!  We've been spoiled lately.  We went along down to Lincoln Park on Saturday morning for a walk and then back to the house to warm up and eat a delicious breakfast (thanks, Brian for the mushroom, spinach and Swiss cheese omelette).

We drove down to Lake Morton to pick up a dining room table from our friends who had a table built and didn't need the old table anymore.  They were gone out of town and I missed seeing them.  It was sad to be at the lake and not spend time with them. It made the wet day even more of a reminder that some days things just don't materialize the way you want them to...but hey, we have a new dining room table!  

Then I suddenly got sad to see our old table go.  So many wonderful memories flooded my mind.  I remembered studying for the series 66 with Sammy crawling over my books, Brian and I carving pumpkins around Halloween, eating Zippy's burgers with brother, Ken and dinner parties with the Seymours and their little ones, all 6 of us crammed around a table for 4 and loving every minute of it.  Brian probably has more memories going back to before he and I met, but I didn't want to get all maudlin over a table...or maybe I did.

We got the new table home (minus two chairs that didn't fit in the car)!  It's not that much different from the old table....a bit taller with room for 6 chairs, so a bit longer, but not too big to really notice.  

Sunday we said goodbye to West Seattle and drove to Portland to spend the week together.

How did you spend the weekend?


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: May 15-19, 2016

Happy Monday to all!

It's week #2 of our no/low carb menu planning and we've got some challenges....a house-guest and a night out.  The majority of our menu is obtainable and the choices that we make eating out may or may not be low carb.  In order to succeed, I know we have to be flexible.

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


Sunday: Chicken Taco Bar
Monday: Steak and Asparagus Stir fry with Brown Rice or NOT!
Tuesday Out!
Wednesday: Cheddar Chicken Bites with Brocolli
Thursday: Herb Salad with White Beans and Salmon

Carbs this week - 
It's hard to avoid tacos and the shells have carbs.  Limit to two tacos per serving.
Brown Rice is a healthy alternative (complex carbohydrate).  Serving size will be 1/2 cup or 22 carbs per serving.
Out? I will look for a salad option or lean protein
Cheddar Chicken bites have a small coating of Cheese-its. 27 crackers has 17 grams of carbs
Herb Salad - the only carb is the white beans, about 24 grams for 1/2 cup.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Mother's Day Celebration

WHO: Stacy and Mom (not sure who that kid is in the corner)
WHAT: It's looks like we are hanging out in a travel trailer
WHERE: Oregon Coast?
WHEN: Summer 1969; I look to be only a few months old

Last Sunday was Mother's Day and I posted this picture on Facebook, but I wanted to share it on my blog.

Happy Mother's Day!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Fish Tacos with Kiwi Salsa

I know what you are thinking....yet another fish taco recipe.  Ah...but this one is different!  A few weeks ago, Brian and I had dinner at the 74th Street Alehouse and on their menu, cod fish tacos with Kiwi Salsa.  To be specific...... Alaskan cod coated in pale ale batter, pan fried and placed in a warmed flour tortilla with spicy kiwi salsa, cilantro marinated cabbage and lime mayo.

If you can't make it to Seattle, then just simply make it!


Fish Tacos with Kiwi Salsa


2 ripe kiwi, peeled and diced into small pieces
2 green onions, chopped 
1 fresh jalapeno chili, seeds and ribs removed and diced into small pieces
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup) - save a few leaves as garnish
1/2 small head cabbage (red or green) finely sliced
1 yellow or red pepper, thinly sliced
juice of 2 limes, divided
juice from 1/2 orange
1-2 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 oz. New Belgium Fat Tire Beer
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 pound skinless cod, rinsed and cut into 2 by 4 inch pieces
taco size flour or corn tortillas


Mix the kiwi, green onion, jalapeno, cilantro, cabbage and yellow/red pepper in a mixing bowl.  

In a jar with a lid mix the juice from 1 lime, orange juice, Tabasco sauce, red wine vinegar and oil together. Shake for 30 seconds until well mixed.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss well.  Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, egg and beer,  Mix well.

For the lime mayonnaise sauce, combine the juice of one lime and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 200F.  In a 6-8 quart pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil to 375 over medium heat.

Using a paper towel, dry each piece of fish before coating in beer batter.  Cook fish in hot oil, turning and holding down under the oil, if necessary until a deep golden brown, about 7 minutes.  Drain on a rack and sprinkle with salt.  Keep cooked pieces in the oven warm until all pieces are cooked.

To assemble: place one piece of cod in a warmed tortilla and top with kiwi salsa and a drizzle of the lime mayonnaise.

Recipe is a mixture of a fish taco recipe from Jamie Oliver and a Kiwi Salsa from PCC and a fish taco batter from Epicurious

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

19/52: Kentucky Derby Day and Mother's Day Brunch

Last Saturday, Brian and I celebrated Kentucky Derby Day at Emerald Downs in Auburn, WA.  It's a fun event and the weather was fabulous.  It's a great day to people watch and try and cash a few winning tickets.  I won a few races at Emerald Downs, but Brian and I didn't have any luck with the Derby this year.  The Preakness is May 21st.

On Sunday, we hosted Mom and Kenny for Mother's Day Brunch.  In honor of Brian's Mom who passed away several years ago, I used her blue china and her silver as a way of remembering her and keeping her memory in our home.  I made biscuits and gravy from scratch and Sammy spoiled Grammy with mimosas and presents.

How did you spend the first weekend in May?


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: May 9-12, 2016

Welcome Monday!

We are going to try and go low carb to completely carb free and get some walking in the next few weeks.  If you have some low carb or carb free recipes, please share them with me.

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


Monday: Boneless Pork Chops with Green Beans
Tuesday: Saute Sea Bass with Grilled Asparagus
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Thighs and A Garden Salad
Thursday: Grilled Skirt Steak with Watermelon and Feta Salad and 1/2 Sweet Potato

Carbs this week.....
Monday - Wednesday are completely carb free dinners!  Thursday's 1/2 sweet potato has about 13-15 grams.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Happy Trails, Uncle Roonie

WHO: Steven Ray Suter (Roonie)
WHAT: Beach time
WHERE: Oregon Coast
WHEN: He looks to be about 4 years old so I'll say summer 1965

Uncle Steve came to visit this past week.  It's always fun hanging out with him and I hope he enjoyed his time in Portland.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Creamy Shrimp Scampi

For my birthday, Mom and Kenny took me and Brian to dinner at the Tin Room Bar in Burien, Washington.  Their menu was classic pub/comfort food and I just couldn't resist the Shrimp Scampi.  

The sauce was amazing and full of garlic, cream and white wine.  I am not sure if this can be duplicated for I am going to have to head back soon for a second helping.  In the meantime, here is a recipe that I found that it fairly close to their preparation.


Shrimp Scampi over Angel Hair Pasta


Pasta (angel hair or thin spaghetti)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 clove shallot, minced
8 large shrimp, peeled and lightly dusted in flour
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh basil


Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet, add garlic and shallot and cook over low heat for 2 minutes.

Increase heat to medium, add shrimp salt and pepper and lemon juice.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Add wine and cream, bring to a soft boil and cook for two minutes to thicken sauce.

Add pasta to sauce and divide onto two plates.  Top with cheese (optional) and fresh basil.

Picture Courtesy of Moi - sorry it was so out of focus but I was too excited to eat it!
Recipe found on

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

18/52: Reunions

I received a Facebook invitation a few months ago reminding me about the annual 80's reunion and dance party in Eugene, OR.  I've always wanted to go, but for some reason, my schedule was never free. 

This year, one of my oldest and dearest friends, Tera invited me to spend the night at her home in Eugene so that we could go together.  

Saturday night was a blast!  There were people that I hung out with everyday in my teens, that I had not seen in 30 years.  It was so great to reconnect with so many people that shaped my teenage years.

Who says that you can't go home again!?  

Thanks again, Tera for hosting me and sharing your boy Boo Radley with me.  Boo is my new best friend!



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome May 2016!

Welcome Monday and welcome May!

In honor of the week ahead and because we are having a house guest this week (two in fact, Uncle Steve and Brian), it's a GRILLING WEEK!  The only exception is Thursday because it's Cinco de Mayo and I am making tacos and margaritas!

Check out Laura's site for more menu planning ideas!


Sunday: BBQ Pork Ribs and Corn on the Cob and Cole Slaw
Monday: Grilled Skirt Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken with an AMAZING Salad Bar
Wednesday: Grilled Bacon Cheddar Burgers with Chips
Thursday: Cinco De Mayo!  Taco Bar with Mango Margaritas!