Thursday, June 30, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing

I took a road trip with Sandra to San Francisco years ago, and we had dinner at a really nice restaurant downtown.  I've never forgotten that the salad they served was grilled.  I believe it was grilled radicchio, but I was completely blown away.  

A warm salad or grilled lettuce just doesn't sound like they go together, but the sturdy hearts of romaine become smoky on the grill and this classic salad takes an interesting spin. Honestly, why not just try it....once.


Grilled Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing 


1 head of garlic, top third sliced off and discarded
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
4 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
3 ounces Manchego Cheese, shaved (about 1 cup)


Preheat oven to 375F.  Place garlic, cut side up on a double sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the foil around the garlic and bake until the cloves are very soft, about 1 hour.  Let cool.

Squeeze the garlic cloves into a blender.  Add buttermilk and lemon juice and blend until a puree.  With the machine on, slowly pour 1 cup of olive oil until blended.  Season the dressing with salt and pepper.

Preheat your grill.  Drizzle the cut sides on the romaine with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill the romaine over a hot fire, cut side down, until charred in spots, about 1 minute.  Turn the romaine over and grill for another minute.  

Transfer the heads to a platter, cut side up. Drizzle the dressing over the romaine, sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

26/52: First Summer Weekend

The first summer Saturday in Seattle was spent exploring Discovery Park.  I can't believe that I've only been there once before and that was at least 8 years ago.

Discovery Park is a 534 acre park on the shores of Puget Sound in the Magnolia area north west of Seattle.  It's the city's largest public park and contains 11.81 miles of walking trails (we walked nearly 6 miles on Saturday).

The Park is built on the historic grounds of Fort Lawton.  The fort was given to the Army by the city in 1898 and opened as a fort in 1900 (originally built to protect Seattle in the event of a naval attack).  Fort Lawton continued as an Army Reserve facility until it was officially closed in February 2012.

The West Point Lighthouse, also known as the Discovery Park Lighthouse began operation on November 15, 1881 and was protected under the National Historical Lighthouse Preservation Act in 2003.  

Saturday was a beautiful day and we enjoyed our 6 mile walk on the loop trail exploring the bluff over looking Puget Sound and through a forest of trees and down to the beach and a walk around the lighthouse followed by a break and a picnic.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: End of June 2016

Welcome to another beautiful Monday!

Did you meet your food goals for June?  Have you taken the time to look ahead and set up a menu plan for the summer?  Now is the time to get your summer plans together.

Check out Laura's site for more planning ideas!


Monday: Pop and Rosemary visit!  Dinner out, but not sure where???
Tuesday: Pesto Chicken Casserole with a Garden Salad
Wednesday: Grilled Skirt Steak with Artichokes
Thursday: Take away!  We leave for long July 4th weekend in Seattle tomorrow!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Peach Crisp

We often forget that dessert is easily perfected on a grill.  Take a simple ingredient and turn it into something extraordinary!

Most of the fat and sugar is eliminated from this grilled version of peach cobbler.  It's a perfect finish to a summer BBQ and is sure to impress.


Grilled Peach Crisp


2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 medium peaches, halved and pitted
Reduced fat whip topping
1 cup reduced fat granola


In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the cut side of the peaches. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat grill over medium heat and place peaches cut side down on grill rack.  Cook, covered for 8-10 minutes (turning once) or until peaches are tender and begin to caramelize.

Place peaches in dessert bowls.  Serve topped with whip topping and 1/4 cup granola.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

25/52: Father's Day Weekend

Brian, Chick and I all spent time in Eugene with Pop and Rosemary (plus Steve) over Father's Day Weekend. Chick and I drove to Eugene on Thursday night and Brian flew in from Seattle on Friday night.

Thursday was a family road trip to Pop's pick, Wildlife Safari in Wintson, OR. The dream and vision of one man, Frank Hart - Wildlife Safari was created in 1972 as a facility to save rare and endangered species from around the world. Visitors can view over 76 species from their cars including tigers, giraffes, zebras, lions, elephants, bison, elk and bears.

Annual attendance reaches approximately 150,000 making Wildlife Safari one of Oregon's top visitor destinations.

It was amazing!  We drove through the park with our windows rolled down just like we were on an African Safari.  We saw all sorts of animals and took tons of great pictures and lots of video (YouTube video to post).

Saturday was a Chamber of Commerce day in Florence, OR.  A tour of the Heceta Lighthouse, a walk on Heceta Beach, lunch in Old Town Florence and an hour of gambling at Three Rivers Casino.

What an incredible weekend!

I hope Pop had fun.  I know I did!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: June 19-23, 2016

Welcome Monday!  How was Father's Day Weekend?  Did you treat Pop extra special?

Here is our menu for the week ahead.  Week #6 of low/no carb and really enjoying the easy recipes.

As always, Laura is hosting this link up so check out all the other menu planners!


Sunday: BBQ Pork Ribs, Cole Slaw and Corn
Monday:BBQ Chicken Thighs and Caesar Salad
Tuesday: Salmon Puttanesca with Grilled Asparagus
Wednesday: PF Chang's Lettuce Cups
Thursday: Steak and Salad with 1/2 baked potato

Both Sunday and Monday have little to no carbs (almonds in the cole slaw and crutons in the salad). Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are carb free and Friday's potato is about 20 grams for 1/2

Friday, June 17, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Happy Father's Day!

Dad's are pretty special and Brian and I have had three great ones in our lives.

Happy Father's Day, Pops!


WHO: My Pop and I
WHERE: Living room of E Street in Springfield

WHO; Allen Lee
WHEN: Late 1950s

WHO: Kenny and I
WHEN: 1986

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Coffee and Brown Sugar Crusted Skirt Steak

I've become a bit obsessed with skirt steak.  It's my go-to steak for grilling and this spice mix is a fantastic rub to put on just about anything.

It's Father's Day Weekend so treat Pop to something really good.  Cook him dinner for a change!


Coffee and Brown Sugar Crusted Skirt Steak


1/4 cup finely ground espresso coffee (not instant)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
 1/2 teaspoons Kosher slat
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
2 1/2 pound skirt steak
1 teaspoon olive oil


Heat grill to high.

Combine the coffee, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, white pepper and chili powder in a bowl.

Remove the steak from the refridgerator and let come to room temperature, about 15 minutes.  

Rub steak with oil and sprinkle with the spice rub.  Massage the rub into the meat.

Grill until charred and medium-rare, 2-4 minutes per side.

Transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing at an angle.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

24/52: The Belmont Stakes

What a difference a week makes.  Seattle was 93 last Saturday and this past Saturday was 63. Oh well....the show must go on!

I was on the early train on Friday and we had date night at Elliott Bay. The trip north was cool and wet, but it's always fun to end the day with the best hamburgers in town!

Saturday, we booked a box at Emerald Downs for the Belmont Stakes and it was awesome. 4 little folding chairs and a TV with easy access for betting and a special treat, drinks service! 

We hit the casino afterwards for a bit more fun and food and met up with our friends, Jenny and Brent!  It was a great day even if it wasn't the most successful monetary gambling junkets!


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: The Middle of June 2016

Welcome to another beautiful Monday and a short menu planning week.  It's Father's Day weekend coming up and we will be heading down to Eugene on Thursday.

Here is our menu plan again....sticking to week #5 of the low/no carb plan.

Remember to head on over to Laura's site for more organizing and menu tips.


Monday: Saucy Tilapia over Veggie Hash
Tuesday: Chicken with Warm Bean Salsa and Green Beans
Wednesday: Grilled Steak with Sam the Cooking Guy's Grilled Brussels Sprouts and Caprese Salad
Thursday:  Off to Eugene!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Remembering Ann Lee

WHO: Ann P. Lee
WHAT: High School Graduation picture?
WHERE: Newark, DE (Newark High School)
WHEN: 1950 or 1951 

We lost Brian's Mom 6 years ago today.  Always in our hearts.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Mediterranean-Style Grilled Salmon

I love to cook fish on the BBQ, but it can be challenging.  Invest in a really good fish basket or cedar planks.  I've also found that plain old tin-foil works great.

Instead of breaded or fried fish, try grilling next time.  You may substitute swordfish, halibut or sea bass.  All three are hearty and hold up well to grilling, even without a basket or on a plank.


Mediterranean-Style Grilled Salmon


4 tablespoons chopped basil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 fish fillets, each about 4-6 ounces
Cooking spray
black pepper to taste
4 green olives, chopped
4 thin lemon slices


Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler.

In a small bowl, combine the basil, parsley, garlic and lemon juice.  Spray the fish first with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with black pepper.  Top each fillet with an equal amount of the herb mixture.

Place the fish herb side up on the grill.  When the edges turn white (about 3-4 minutes), turn the fish over and onto a piece of aluminum foil to protect the herbs from burning (I like to spray my foil with cooking spray to prevent fish from sticking).  Move the fish to a cooler side of the grill and cook about 4 minutes longer or until the thickest part of the fish reads 145F.

Remove the fish from the grill and serve on a large platter topped with green olives and lemon slices.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

23/52: Anniversary Weekend!

12 years!  Wow!  Brian and I have been together for 12 years.  Happy Anniversary, baby! Here is to 12 more and 12 more after that with another option for 12 more on top of another 12 more after 12 more.  I think you get my drift!

We drove back to Portland last Friday night.  It was nice to get home before dark and have a nice relaxing evening after a very shortened post holiday work week.  Our little boy was waiting for us when we walked in the door!

Saturday was SPECTACULAR!  Hot weather but a nice breeze.  A longer walk down Graham Street to Lincoln Park for over 4 miles.  Yea, us!  My baby cooked me an awesome cowboy hash, my favorite and we spent the rest of they day puttering around the house.

Our anniversary dinner was Italian at La Rustica along the water.  Amazing!  We sat outside and enjoyed an amazing bottle of Valpolicella wine, shared an appetizer of mussels in white wine and garlic before Brian's Chicken Parmesan and my Wild Boar Osso Bucco arrived.

Sunday was just plain HOT!  93 set a record in Seattle.  I was pretty happy to get on the air-conditioned train and head to Portland.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: June 6-9, 2016

Welcome Monday!  How is June treating you so far!?

We are into week #4 on the low/no carb menu.  So far it's going really well and I honestly don't feel like I am missing something. I am being super conscious about what I am eating at every meal and trying to increase my daily activities.  I tend to "cheat" a bit on the weekends, but I am allowing this for now.

Remember to check out all sorts of organizing tips on Laura's website.

Here is our menu for the week ahead!


Monday: Chicken in Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Sauce with Green Beans
Tuesday: Beef Kebabs and Brown Rice
Wednesday: Grilled Pork Loin and an Artichoke
Thursday: Green Curry Salmon with Snow Peas and Jasmine Rice

Carbs this week: Monday's meal has zero, Tuesday's brown rice is about 25 for 1/2 cup. Wednesday is carb free! Thursday's meal has Jasmine Rice (1/2 cup).

Friday, June 3, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Mom and Sandra

WHO: Mom and Sandra
WHAT: Hanging out
WHERE: Mom's house in Tukwila, WA
WHEN: 1995

Mom arrived on Wednesday for a long long weekend visit with Sandra.  It was nice that she was able to drive down with Brian on Wednesday night and spend two evenings with Brian and I before Brian and I head back to Seattle this afternoon.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Root Beer Ribs

So I promised you more BBQ recipe ideas from Memorial Day through Father's Day!

Have you tried hard root beer?  You know, the stuff with alcohol in it?  It's really awesome, but I wouldn't waste it on this marinade.  Go ahead and buy the non-alcoholic stuff for the ribs and the hard stuff for the BBQ or party!

This recipe is super easy and cooked in the crockpot so clean up is easy.  Buy some of these crockpot liners and save yourself even more time for cornhole, bocce and fun in the backyard sun.


Crockpot Root Beer Baby Back Ribs


3 pounds baby back ribs
salt and ground pepper, to taste


Pat ribs dry and season with salt and pepper.  

Pour root beer into the crockpot, then place the ribs on top.  Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours.  Every 90 minutes, I like to re-position my ribs for even cooking.

Preheat oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with heavy aluminum foil.  Transfer ribs to baking sheet and coat ribs with BBQ sauce. 
Bake rubs until the sauce carmelizes and sticks to the meat, about 15 minutes. (Alternatively, you could finish them off on a low grill for 15 minutes).

Remove from the oven and brush with more sauce, if desired.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

22/52: Memorial Day Long Weekend

I took Friday off so that we could have a true 4 day weekend!  "Let's kick off Summer", I said to Brian.

I told Brian weeks ago that Friday was a home day, an (almost) car free day a "let's not leave the peninsula" day.  I wanted time at home, time to putter, time for naps with Sammy and reading books and sipping Chardonnay, while making something good for dinner.  Some wishes were granted.  Our weather was not a participant in the plan, but we made the best of being at home and that's all I could have asked for.

Saturday we had drinks with Geoff (sans wife and kids who were out of town) and it was a fun afternoon of beer/wine and trivia (which I won).

Sunday we had an afternoon BBQ at my Mom and Kenny's.  They have such a lovely back patio and it was very relaxing.  Holiday weekends are meant to be spent celebrating with family and friends.

Monday was a Memorial Day BBQ at Lake Morton. It was such a different experience than the last time we stopped by the lake.  I wanted to stay into the evening and watch the sun set and sit out near the lake and roast marshmallows and laugh with our friends, but Portland was calling and the weekend was over and I reluctantly headed for the train, but in my mind I played back the weekend over and over and over again.