Saturday, April 22, 2017

Off to Maui!

It's that time again!  We are off to Maui for a birthday break.

No blogging for a few weeks, but I'll post a full wrap up when I get back.

Follow me on Instagram (sdarebrady) for some photos until I return.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Stacy!

WHO: Stacy Dare
WHEN April 24, 1974
WHERE: Kindergarten

Happy Birthday 5 year old Stacy!  Let me tell you that the next 43 years ahead have been pretty good.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Shrimp Skewers

Sharing Aloha certainly means enjoying a good meal with friends.  These shrimp skewers combine everything I love about Hawaiian cuisine....a bit of sweet, a bit of spicy and of course, shrimp.

Make these as appetizers or as a main meal with a side of rice and a tossed salad served with last week's papaya dressing.


Shrimp Skewers


5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can Dole pineapple chunks; reserve juice
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika


In a large bowl combine soy sauce, garlic, half the juice from the can of pineapple, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, ginger and smoked paprika.  Remove 2-3 tablespoons of marinade and set aside.

Add the cleaned shrimp to the mix.  Let marinade for as long as possible (preferably over-night).

To assemble: place two shrimp on the skewer vertically then add a piece of pineapple. Keep alternating until the skewer is full. Now they are ready for the grill.

Place them on a hot grill and cook for 10 minutes, flipping occasionally.  Baste skewers while cooking with the reserve marinade.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

16/52: Early Birthday and Easter Weekend

We had an almost springlike weekend with a bit of sunshine most of the weekend!

Brian and I drove once again from Portland to Seattle on Friday.  No trains running again and Brian had a special tutoring session downtown Portland on Friday so it worked out best to drive.

Saturday was my birthday celebration with my Mom and Kenny since I will not be in Seattle for my birthday.  We had a lovely lunch, presents and cake.  Thanks for continuing to spoil me rotten, Mom!

Easter Sunday it was back in the car early for the drive back to Portland and a low-key quiet afternoon at home and a fabulous roast pork dinner along side some awesome potatoes au gratin and roasted asparagus.

The Easter bunny hopped into the house with some awesome baskets.  What more can you ask for?


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Easter Sunday Week 2017

Happy Monday!

Did you have a nice Easter Weekend?

I am busily packing and prepping for vacation so I am going to try and make quick and easy meals this week.

Here is our menu for the week ahead.  Don't forget to head on over to Laura's site for more menu plans.


SUNDAY:  Pork Roast, Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin and Roasted Asparagus
MONDAY: Shredded Chicken Tacos
TUESDAY: Pork Fried Rice
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Hamburgers
THURSDAY: Take-Away Thai Food

Friday, April 14, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Mom and Stacy

WHO: Mom and Stacy
WHERE: One of those old photo booths, probably in Springfield
WHEN: 1972

In honor of my birthday month, I am the guest of honor for Old Photo Friday!


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Pork Adobo

Hawaii is a melting pot of ethnicity combining Japanese, Korean, Filipino and Portuguese many many other influences.

Pork Adobo is a hearty Filipino comfort food that is extremely popular in Hawaii.  It has sometimes been considered as the unofficial national dish of the Philippines.

Taken from the Spanish, meat was cooked in a mixture of vinegar and salt to keep it fresh longer. 

Adobo has been called a traditional stew served primarily with rice.  It is commonly packed for Filipino mountaineers and travelers because it keeps well without refrigeration.


Pork Adobo


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds pork butt, belly or shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup shoyu sauce
1/2 head garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
green onions, chopped for garnish


In a large pot, heat oil to medium-hit temperature and brown the pork in batches.

When all the meat is browned, return pork to the pot and add in the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover.

Continue to simmer meat for approximately 40-50 minutes, until the meat is tender.

Serve with rice and top with sliced green onions.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

15/52: After the Storm

Friday was a big whopper of a storm in Portland.  High winds brought trees down across the city and plunged thousands into darkness (no power at my office all day and no power at home for 15 hours). We made it north to Seattle in the evening where the storm was not as powerful and Saturdays skies were mostly clear.  It was the calm after the storm.

We met an adorable puppy named Sparky on Sunday.  The newest member of our good friend's family.  It reminded me how much I miss Sammy...and all on the heels of learning Thursday that our Portland kitty Keikei has diabetes and is not feeling well.  Hard times are ahead for her and for our family as we adjust to her diagnosis.

The winds of change are blowing.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: April 10-13, 2017

Welcome Monday!

How is April treating you so far?

Here is our menu for the week ahead and remember to check out Laura's blog for more planning and menu ideas.


MONDAY: Garden Burgers
TUESDAY: Weight Watchers Lemon Chicken with Brocoli
WEDNESDAY: Flat Iron Steak with 1/2 Sweet Potato and Asparagus
THURSDAY: Grilled Fish with Green Beans

Friday, April 7, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Baby Stacy Spring 1969

WHO: Baby Stacy and Mom
WHEN: May-June 1969
WHERE: E Street Springfield, OR

Dear Mom,

Hold up my head, please!  Love the bow!


In honor of my birthday month, I'll be the guest of honor for this month's Old Photo Friday.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Papaya Seed Dressing

It's almost Aloha time, folks and I am day dreaming about heading over to Maui in a few weeks. I am also looking forward to enjoying some Hawaiian cuisine.

Hawaii is known for it's abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables and this simple dressing can be used in a tossed salad and made in just a few minutes.


Papaya Seed Dressing


2 ripe papaya; peeled and seeded
juice of 1/2 of fresh lime
1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
salt and pepper to taste


Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.

Makes 8 servings.

Notes:  You can thin down the dressing a bit with 1 tablespoon of warm water added to the food processor during blending.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

14/52: Final Four

It was an exciting day in West Seattle last Saturday.  The Ducks were in the Final Four for the first time in 78 years so it was kind of a big deal.

Brian and I walked up to The Bridge in West Seattle for the first game of the day, Gonzaga and South Carolina with the Zags winning a close one.

It was not to be for my Ducks, who lost to North Carolina by one point.  However, it was an amazing season and I couldn't be prouder of the way the team played not only in the tournament but all year long.

The food at The Bridge rocked......fresh made chips with salsa and amazing guacamole and I had a juicy lamb burger!  Yummy goodness.



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome April 2017!

Welcome to April!

There is so much going on this month and I need to stop and take a breath and review my planning and organizing.  This month we will rely heavily on our pantry and freezer to keep our grocery bill down and minimize over-spending and waste.  Since we will be away from home a bit, it's a great idea to eat what you have on hand.

Here is our menu for the week ahead and remember to check out Laura's site for more great tips!


MONDAY: Final Four Championship game!  Pizza Night!
TUESDAY: Shrimp Tacos
WEDNESDAY: Garden Burgers
THURSDAY: Chicken Thighs and Salad

Friday, March 31, 2017

Old Photo Friday: National Siblings Day

WHO: Johnny and Marie Volgamore (my great Uncle and Grandma)
WHEN: My Grandma looks to be about 11-12, so I'll say around 1934

Monday, April 10th is National Siblings Day honoring the relationship of siblings.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Spaghetti Squash Boats

I have a love/hate relationship with pasta.  Oh, don't get me wrong....I love it, but my waist line does not.  One of the first items I remove from my menu planning when I am trying to lose weight is pasta. This is why spaghetti squash is such a nice option.

When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other squash, but once cooked the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like typical spaghetti.  Its full of folic acid, vitamin A and is low in calories.


Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Spaghetti Squash Boats


1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half with seeds removed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1 pound chicken breasts, cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
15 oz can artichoke hearts, drained
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (optional)


Preheat oven to 425F.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil in each half of spaghetti squash and season with salt and pepper.  Place face down on a lined baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until squash is tender and shreds easily with a fork.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet  over medium heat and add cubed chicken.  Season with salt and pepper and cook 6-8 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove chicken from pan.

Add last 1 tablespoon of oil into same skillet over medium heat and add garlic.  Saute garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add cornstarch to the garlic and reduce heat to low.  Whisk until a thick paste forms (you may need to add a drizzle more of oil).

Slowly add the milk and chicken broth and continue to stir.  Add the cream cheese and yogurt and stir to combine.

Add the artichoke hearts and spinach.  Let simmer together for 3-5 minutes.  Add the chicken to the artichoke spinach mixture and heat through for approximately 305 minutes.

To assemble:  Shred the insides of the squash with a form to form "noodles".  Fill each half with equal parts chicken mixture.  Top half with equal amounts of mozzarella.

Set oven to broil and broil squash halves for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese melts and bubbles.

Top each squash half with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of parsley.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

13/52: Final Four Bound

It was back to Seattle last Friday afternoon. I didn't really want to drive (and I am not sure why I did except that Amtrak was not running due to another land slide), but I did enjoy arriving a bit earlier on Friday so that Brian and I could enjoy a nice quiet evening at home and a bit of the Elite 8 games.  Can you believe the Oregon Ducks in the Final Four?

Sorry....I didn't personally take any pictures this weekend.  I was too distracted with driving and basketball!

How did you celebrate the first weekend of Spring?


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Last week in March 2017

Happy Monday, Everyone!

We have made it to the end of the first quarter of the year.  Is it time to re-group?  April is a great month to start a menu plan, re-stock and organize your pantry, and get ready for the increased daylight hours and busy pre-summer fun.

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


Monday: Grilled Chicken Thighs and Greek Salad
Tuesday; Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya
Wednesday: Split Pea Soup and Salad
Thursday: Out?  We have a Groupon at Allium Bistro to use

Friday, March 24, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Happy Remembrance Birthday, Crowe

WHO: Jo-Anne (Crowe's cousin) and Crowe
WHAT: Family and Friends trip back to Indian Reservation
WHERE: Some beautiful waterfall, most likely part of Yellowstone National Park
WHEN: Summer 1978

Thinking of Crowe and remembering his March birthday.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Seared Scallops over Smoky Sweet Corn Puree

I've been thinking about these scallops ever since I served them for Oscar Party Sunday at the end of February!  They were fabulous but rich.  My suggestion would be to serve as an appetizer or small plate, depending on the size of the scallops.

Seared Scallops over Smoky Corn Puree


4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 ears of corn, blanched and kernels removed
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 large sea scallops (to make 2 servings)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh chives, garnish


Heat large skillet over medium heat.  Add bacon and cook until just crisp, about 5-7 minutes.  Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate.  Transfer bacon grease to a small bowl, the wipe out skillet with a paper towel free of grease.

Heat butter and about 1 tablespoon of saved bacon grease over medium heat in the same skillet.  Add the scallions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the corn kernels, cream cheese and half and half.  Reduce pan to low heat and cook for 2-3 minutes until cream cheese melts and a creamy sauce is formed (it may be necessary to add in a bit more half and half depending on consistency of sauce).  Season with cayenne pepper and salt and black pepper.  

Transfer half the corn mixture to a food processor or blender.  Process the sauce until smooth.  Return to the sauce in the skillet to and keep warm (again, feel free to add in a bit more half and half if sauce is too thick).

In a non-stock skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon bacon grease.  Season scallops with salt and pepper and smoked paprika.  Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until no longer opaque in center.

Stir chopped chives and half of the cooked bacon into the corn puree.

To serve: place scallops over the corn puree and garnish with remaining bacon and more chives.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

12/52: No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness

It's always just the right mix of good food, friends, family and basketball...but the first 4 days of the tournament go way too fast!

We are cleaning up and clearing out this morning.  Brian and good friend Terry left Sunday and my Pop leaves today.  No games until Thursday so we will mellow out and rest up before the Sweet 16.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: March 20-23, 2017

The madness is over, but the great food continues.....

Here is our healthier menu for the week ahead.  Basketball continues Thursday - Sunday again this week.

As a reminder, Laura has a great organizing site and a link up with other recipe and menu experts!


MONDAY: Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry
TUESDAY: Beef Soft Tacos
WEDNESDAY: Bacon Wrapped Filet and Kale Ceasar Salad
THURSDAY: Leftover Butter Chicken (from freezer)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Lamb Stew with Swiss Chard

Go n-eiri an t-adh leat

(literally meaning: "that luck may rise with you", this short Irish blessing is pronounced Guh nye ree taw laht.

St. Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick.

It's a public holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the British overseas territory of Montserrat.  It is also widely celebrated by the Irish (and non-Irish) around the world.

I think it's just a great excuse to cook lamb!


Lamb Stew with Swiss Chard


1/4 cup fried porcini mushrooms
4 springs of thyme
(1) 3 inch strip of orange zest
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
(4) 1 pound lamb shanks
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
(1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 quart water
2 medium carrots, diced
2 small turnips, peeled and diced
1/2 pound Swiss chard, stemmed and rough chopped
6 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
1 whole wheat baguette


Preheat oven to 275F.  

In the center of a 5 inch piece of dampened cheesecloth, combine the porcini mushrooms, thyme, orange zest and bay leaf.  Tie into a neat package with kitchen string.  This is your bouquet garni.

In a cast iron pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil.  Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper and cook 2 shanks at a time over medium-high heat until brown (about 8 minutes).  Transfer lamb to a platter and repeat with the remaining shanks. Reduce heat in pan.

Add rest of oil, onions and garlic to the pan.  Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 7 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and increase temperature to medium.  Stir in the wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Return the lamb to the pot, then add the water and the bouquet garni.  Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the shanks and bake in the oven for 1 hour.  After 1 hour, turn the shanks, cover again and bake for another 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the carrots and turnips until tender, about 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a bowl.  

After approximately 2 hours, remove the shanks from the oven.  Increase the oven temperature to 400F.  

Transfer the shanks to a bowl and let cool slightly.  Return the casserole to the oven and simmer the braising liquid uncovered, skimming the surface of fat occasionally.  Continue to cook liquid for 15 minutes. The sauce should begin to reduce. Squeeze the bouquet garni into the liquid, then discard. 

Cut or tear the meat from the bones and discard the bones.  Return the meat to the casserole. 

Add the cooked carrots and turnips and the chopped Swiss chard to the casserole.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered in the oven and then remove from the oven to serve.

In shallow bowls, garnished stew with parsley along side thick slices of baguette.

Note:  For a strong but not over-powering compliment, pair with a Cotes-du-Rhone made mainly from Syrah, not Grenache grape.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

11/52: Daylight!

Skipping ahead one hour is an adjustment, but unlike going backwards in winter, with spring there is the possibility of more daylight and for that I am grateful.  Our days seem longer and the coldness of winter is beginning to fade.

I spent way too much time in transit this weekend and not enough time in one place. Sometimes these things can't be avoided.  My spirit suffered, but I was rewarded with accepting the things around me that brought me joy.  A crock pot full of a nourishing meal...adjusting the candles throughout the house to come on after 7PM...appreciating the many shades of green brought on my weeks and weeks of rain.


Sunday, March 12, 2017


Happy Monday and Welcome to the second best week of the year (come on....Christmas is first). Tomorrow is the start of March Madness!

We have a special week planned and of course...a very special menu!  Remember to check out more menu plans on Laura's site.


2017 NCAA Basketball Week

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Hamburgers with Gruyere and Bacon
French Fries with Fry Sauce

Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookies

Tuesday, March  14th , 2017

Herb-Roasted Pork Shoulder
Creamy Parmesan Polenta
Lemon/Garlic Green Beans

Wednesday, March 15th , 2017

Charlie’s Cabbage Rolls over Mashed Potatoes

Crock Pot Red Velvet Cake with Ice Cream

Thursday, March 16th , 2017
Biscuits and Gravy

Hasselback Chicken Caprese Bake
Pesto Orzo
Chinese Cole Slaw Salad

Lemon Cupcakes

Friday, March 17th , 2017
Lamb Roast/Filet Mignon
Baked Potato
Steamed Asparagus

Saturday, March 18th, 2017
French Toast/Bacon

Appetizer Bar with Champagne
  • Shrimp Ring
  • Veggie and Dip
  • Pigs in a blanket

Crab Ravioli
Caesar Salad
French Bread

Sunday, March 19th 2017
Quiche Lorraine


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Thai Coconut Curry Mussels

A few weeks ago, Brian and I took a detour off I-5 north of Olympia and wound our way to Red Wind Casino for a bit of gambling and a bite to eat.

Neither one of us had any idea that they had such an amazing seafood restaurant and when my eye caught the Thai Coconut Curry Mussels, I knew that I had to try them out.

Most Thai curry dishes are made from curry paste, coconut milk and herbs. Kaeng phet, or spicy curry is known as Red Curry in the west.


Thai Coconut Curry Mussels


2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded


Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat.  Add shallots, garlic and curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add coconut milk, wine and lemon juice; simmer 10 minutes.

Add mussels and increase heat, cover and boil until mussels open, about 6 minutes.

Using tongs, place mussels in 2 large bowls (discard any mussels that do not open).

Continue to boil sauce until slightly thickened, about two minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and spoon over mussels.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

10/52: Hello, March!

Sometimes I need a weekend to just chill and this past Saturday I filled my soul up with some home/down time.  Time to rest, read, cook and watch some TV.  I filled the house with spring tulips, we put together our new fireplace and Brian made a huge plate of nachos!

Sunday we joined my mother at her church for her official reception at St. Elizabeth.  It was a special day for her.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: March 6-9, 2017

Happy Monday to all!

Welcome to the first full week in March.

Here is our menu for the week ahead and don't forget to check out Laura's site for more menu and organizing ideas.


MONDAY: Garden Burger and Alexia Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
TUESDAY: Weight Watchers Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
WEDNESDAY: Shrimp in Coconut Curry Sauce with Couscous
THURSDAY: Manicures and Burgers