Sunday, October 30, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Halloween and Welcome November 2016

How is is even possible that it's November already!?

Halloween kicks off the official start of the holiday season and we are ready to enjoy!

Don't forget to check out Laura's site for more menu planning ideas.

Here is our menu for the new week ahead!


SUNDAY: Butternut Squash Pasta Shells/Spaghetti from freezer for Brian
HALLOWEEN:  Home-Made Pizza!
TUESDAY: Avocado Chicken Whole Wheat Taco Boats
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Fish with Wild Rice and Asparagus
THURSDAY: Crock Pot Beef Stew (requested by Chick)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Happy Halloween

WHO: Stacy
WHAT: Displaying carved pumpkin
WHERE: E Street
WHEN: October 1993

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Eyeball Tacos

Monday night is Halloween!  It's the official kick off of the holiday season.  

We always have traditional homemade pizza, but for something different this year, I am sharing a fun, quick and easy Halloween dinner for your ghosts and goblins.

I remember being so excited as a kid to go trick-or-treating that I never wanted to eat dinner. Serve these tacos for your little ones and they will be ready to go!


Eyeball Tacos


1 lb ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
12 taco shells
3/4 cup salsa
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tomato, diced
1/2 head lettuce, sliced into shreds
1 small can sliced olives
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend


Mix meat and seasoning mix.  Shape half of the mixture into 24 (1 inch) balls.  Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

Brown the remaining seasoned ground beef in a small skillet over medium heat and add the salsa.

Fill each taco shell with a thin layer of the cooked beef, sour cream, lettuce and tomato.

Position the 2 meatballs inside the taco shell and add a dollop of sour cream to each. Garnish with olives to make "eyeballs".  Spread the cheese out along the top for stringy hair.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

43/52: The Pumpkin Patch in Snohomish

Last weekend was our annual trek out to Snohomish, Washington to the pumpkin patch with our friends, the Seymours.

We've been coming to the pumpkin patch since before their children were born, and this year their oldest turned it's an annual tradition that I am quite fond of.

We had a wonderful day and the sun was actually quite warm (unlike last year's rain).

We took home three big pumpkins for the front porch and a few smaller ones for inside. I don't think we will carve a pumpkin this year because we will not be in West Seattle on Halloween.

Sunday we took a walk to Lincoln Park.  I was tired, but the fresh air gave my spirit a lift before flying back to Portland to start the week.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Last Full Week in October 2016

Happy Monday to all!

Thanks for checking out my little corner of the world and our menu for the week ahead. If you are new to Menu Plan Monday, it's organized by Laura and a bunch of us link up our pages to hers each week to share recipes and menus.

Here is what's cooking in our kitchen this week!  Chick is heading out of town so Wednesday and Thursday are "special" meals for just me.

* last minute changes!!


SUNDAY: Seahawks on Sunday Night Football!  (we ordered a pizza)*
MONDAY: Grilled Steak, Baked Potato and Salad (we were going to eat on Sunday)*
TUESDAY:  Grilled Hamburgers and French Fries (easier meal, Chick is packing for trip)*
WEDNESDAY: Lamp Lollipops, Garlic Whipped Potatoes and Butter Peas
THURSDAY: Fried Oysters, Uncle Roy Potatoes and Creamed Corn

Friday, October 21, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Remembering October Birthdays

We have quite a few October birthdays on my side of the family.

My maternal grandmother, Virginia Dare Zumwalt (pictured here at age 16)

And her first born, my Uncle Larry (pictured here with my Mom).

My paternal grandmother, Marie (pictured here with her oldest daughter, my Aunt Judy circa 1942).

And my Paternal Grandfather, Donald Young Brady.  Both my paternal grandparents shared the same birthday.  Pictured here with my Father, James Young Brady circa 1945.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Mediterranean Chickpea Stew

October 21st is Garbanzo Bean Day, but I think they are better known as Chickpeas.  

Recent studies have linked chickpeas and a Mediterranean diet with numerous health benefits, such as improved heart health, reduced risk of diabetes and dementia and a decreased risk of stomach cancer.

High in protein, they are one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7,500 year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.

Here is a hearty fall stew full of fresh herbs, spinach and protein packed chickpeas.


Mediterranean Chickpea Stew


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
4 medium zucchini, chopped
35 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 can vegetarian broth
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (or you can use (1) 14 oz. canned chickpeas, drained)
1 bag (8oz) baby spinach
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rough chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
5 cups cooked couscous


Heat oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  

Add pepper and zucchini and cook for another 15 minutes.  Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes or until zucchini is soft and tomatoes begin to break down (you can use a wooden spoon to break apart). 

Stir in chickpeas and cook for another 3-5 minutes and then add spinach, capers and fresh herbs/spices.  Season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes before serving over 1/2 cup couscous.

* Please note:  This recipe is dairy free, vegan, vegetarian and high in fiber!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

42/52: Losing Sammy

This past weekend, we lost our sweet boy, Sammy.

I cannot express to you the overwhelming sense of grief that has taken over our hearts. He was our child, our baby boy and a big part of our lives.

I don't know what to write, and I don't know what to do.  Brian and I are still processing his absence every day trying to rationalize and slowly accept that he is gone.

People keep telling me that time heals the wound and I know it will, but for now....we are both completely consumed in dark, sad and lonely grief.

Rest in peace, my sweet baby.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: October 17-20, 2016

Welcome Monday and to the middle part of the month!

We've got the baseball postseason in full swing this week so I've got two ball park fares on the menu!

What's your plan for the week?  Remember to head on over to Laura's website for more planning ideas.


MONDAY: Cheeseburgers and Tots
TUESDAY:  Cafe Yumm Bowls
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Flank Steak with Roasted Curry Cauliflower and a Salad
THURSDAY:  Crock Pot Chili with Corn Bread

Friday, October 14, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Yosemite National Park

WHO: Stacy
WHAT: Enjoying views
WHERE: Yosemite National Park
WHEN: 1999

Happy 126th Birthday to Yosemite National Park!

I had the pleasure of spending a weekend with my friend Sonja at Yosemite, back in 1999 and it was amazing.  Definitely a place that I would like to visit again.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Cacciatore

Saturday is National Chicken Cacciatore Day.  I know most people shy away from this dish because they think it is complex to cook, but you will be rewarded with a wonderful meal if you have the time and energy (it makes a great Sunday dinner).  

Cacciatore literally means, "hunter" in Italian and this hunter style dish is hearty especially with our days getting shorter and our nights a little chilly.


Chicken Cacciatore


2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (4 pound chicken) cut into pieces
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green pepper, chopped (you can use red or yellow as well)
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup white wine (you could also use a Cabernet, if you like)
2 cups fresh mushrooms, quartered
16 ounces penne pasta, optional


Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag.  Shake the chicken pieces in the flour until coated.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet (make sure skillet has a lid).  Fry the chicken in pieces until they are browned on both sides, about 4-6 minutes a side.  Remove chicken from skillet (which will NOT be fully cooked at this stage).

Wipe skillet clean and add rest of oil to pan.  Cook the onion, garlic and pepper until onion is slightly browned.  Return chicken to the skillet and add the tomatoes, oregano and wine. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes over medium-low heat.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm.

Add the mushrooms to the chicken mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes more*. 

Serve over pasta or rice or enjoy without and have a side salad as a side dish.

* If meat is falling off the bone, I like to remove the bones and shred the meat a bit.  It gives the sauce more flavor
* It also pairs nicely over a creamy polenta

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

41/52: A quiet weekend in West Seattle

I've been craving some home time after a few very busy weeks.  While we had a wonderful celebration in Eugene followed by hosting Chick for the last M's game of the season......I've been looking forward to a fall Saturday at home.

Then, Sammy got sick......

As of today, he's hanging in there and really trying to get better, but it's extremely stressful as pet parents to go through the process of having a sick animal.

We did manage to take a walk to Lincoln Park on Sunday.  The colors throughout the park are not to be missed and although I did not meet my fitness goals for the week, Sunday's walk (and Saturday's indoor workout) were both helpful on a mental level as well as physical.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: October 10-13, 2016

Welcome to a beautiful Fall Monday!

If you have not checked your calendar in a while, we have just 3 weeks until Halloween and 6 weeks until Thanksgiving.  I'll set up our pumpkins tonight and decorate a bit inside and out for Halloween.  I am excited for the holiday season.

Now is a great time to clean out, organize and re-stock your pantry with items that you will need over the holidays.  I for one, really find it economical to add a few staple items to my grocery list every week between now and Thanksgiving so that the grocery bill sticker shock Thanksgiving week is minimal.

Until then, you can always get more planning ideas from Laura's site.


Monday: Chili-Lime Shrimp Bowls
Tuesday:  Turkey Parmesan Meatloaf with Red Potatoes and Brocoli
Wednesday: Grilled Sea Bass with Acorn Squash
Thursday: Leftover Spaghetti

P.S.  Our menu plan last week blew up when our refrigerator died!  I am thrilled to be back in the kitchen cooking instead of eating frozen meals or take-away.  This week's menu is a combination of some recipes we skipped last week and some that I originally had scheduled. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Old Photo Friday: Get better soon, Sammy!

WHO: Sammy and Brian
WHEN: April 2009
WHERE: West Seattle bedroom

Honestly, I can't focus on much this week as our little boy is sick.  Sammy is a big part of our lives, but probably an even bigger part of Brian's.  When I am in Portland during the week, these two are best buddies.  They keep each other company until I get home Friday night.

We don't have children, but Sammy is like our little boy.  He's very special and he's a part of our family.

Please send your kind thoughts our way.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Italian Sausage Rigatoni with Spicy Cream Sauce

Do you feel the chill in the air?  When you go outside in the morning, can you smell fall? Nothing says fall and winter to me than the changing of our meal planning and preparation.  Cooler, shorter and wetter days call for stick-to-the-ribs meal plans.

This pasta dish is super easy and very filling.  Do yourself a favor and let the sauce simmer for one hour before adding the cream.  Letting the flavors meld together make this sauce irresistible.


Italian Sausage Rigatoni with Spicy Cream Sauce


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, remove from casings if in casings
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
8 ounce can tomato sauce
6 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasonning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less if desired)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh prepared basil pesto
1 pound Rigatoni Pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish, optional


Heat oil in a large pan and cook onion until it starts to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant.  Add sausage, and break into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks.

When the sausage is no longer pink, drain excess fat.  Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, spices and pesto and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

When sauce is ready to serve, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and place drained pasta in a large bowl.

Add cream to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn heat to low and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

To serve; I mixed individual servings of pasta and sauce together so that I could mix the pasta and sauce together really well.  Then I placed the serving in a shallow pasta bowl and topped with 1/2 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and garnished with parsley.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

40/52: Last Mariner's Game of the Season

Chick drove up with me on Friday night for a weekend in West Seattle and our last Mariner's game of the season. Saturday morning we had breakfast with Mom and Kenny, before heading out to Safeco Field.

Unfortunately, it was a cool and wet Saturday evening (good thing Safeco has a retractable roof), but we had a great time at the game despite the fact that the Mariner's were mathematically eliminated from the Wild Card race with a 9-8 loss to the Oakland Athletics

It was by far, one of the best games of the year and the M's played tough the final few weeks of the season.

Sunday we drove home early to catch Vin Scully's last broadcast which was bittersweet. Saying goodbye is never easy, but Vin did it with grace.  I'll miss him, but for now...I am ready for the playoffs.  Go Dodgers!

How was your weekend?


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome October

Welcome Monday!

It's really pretty sad that all the Halloween stuff is on clearance and it's just the first weekend of the month.  Time flies by, doesn't it?!

Here is our menu for the week ahead!  Remember to head on over to Laura's site for more menu planning.


MONDAY:  Garden Burgers with Fries
TUESDAY: Chili-Lime Shrimp Bowls
WEDNESDAY: Turkey Meatloaf with Potatoes and Brocoli
THURSDAY:  Fettucine Alfredo with Salad