Friday, August 18, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Great Grandma Helen

WHO: Helen Lucille Watkins
WHERE: In her vegetable garden; Cottage Grove, OR
WHEN: Let's say early 1950's

Happy Remembrance Birthday to my great grandmother who was born 114 years ago (8/24/1903).  That's quite a garden and she was quite a lady.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto and Sauteed Greens

Every once in a while, it's nice to cook a dinner just for you.  I love to cook and to entertain, but I spend a lot of time preparing food for other people to enjoy. 

Don't get me wrong, I love to eat too...but sometimes my cravings are just my own and I long for a meal to prepare that is simply for me.  Last week, I found the recipe.


Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto and Sauteed Greens


1 tablespoon butter
1 minced garlic clove
1 minced small shallot
1 cup aborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups+ vegetable stock
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 pound jumbo sea scallops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 minced clove garlic
4 cups baby spinach or chopped kale
3 tablespoons butter

For the Ristotto:

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Add the garlic and shallot and sautee for 1 minute, until soft and fragrant. 

Add the rice, stir to coat with butter.  Cook for 1 minute and then add the white wine and deglaze the pan.  

Begin to add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and simmer and stir after adding each unit of broth until the rice is soft and creamy.  This process typically takes about 30 minutes.  Check the rice and add more liquid if it is not cooked through.

Add the cheese and stir until incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper.

For the Sauteed Spinach:

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.  Add the spinach or kale and stir until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.

For the Scallops:

Heat grapeseed oil in non-stick skillet over high heat. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add to pan.  They should really sizzle!  Shake pan to keep them loose in the bottom.  After about 3 minutes, turn the scallops over and cook until the other side is golden brown and the center is opaque. Remove scallops from the hot pan and set on paper towel lined plate and cover to keep warm.

For the Brown Butter: 

Put 3 tablespoons on butter in a skillet and heat slowly over medium heat.  Continue to stir while watching the butter closely.  When it starts to look golden and become foamy...remove from heat.

Plate three scallops on top of two heaping spoonfuls of risotto and 1/2 cup of greens. Drizzle with slightly cooled brown butter.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

32/52: Summer in Retrograde

Our first batch of yellow pear tomatoes in Seattle

Spicy Rigatoni - Dinner on Saturday

Cornbread waffles with bacon, green chilies and cheddar cheese - breakfast on Sunday

Dahlias and our first Beaverton tomato

I am sure if we could, we would all love to stop time or go backwards to feel like we did when we were younger, attend an event again or a time in our lives when we didn't stop to appreciate it...and the moment passed. 

Summer is going by so fast this year.  There are things that I am enjoying that I didn't last year.  There are events I look forward to that have now passed.  

The dog days are here and before too much longer, then sun will set before 8PM (August 26th to be exact), a cool evening breeze will arrive off the coast and the hot rays of the sun will disappear for another 9 months.  Just saying...

Enjoy the sights of Summer before they are gone.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Middle of August

Happy Monday to you all!

Is everyone noticing the fading light of summer?  I am beginning to smell the changes in the air and see the changes in nature.  It's amazing to live some place where the seasons change so dramatically.  Is the season changing where you live?

Are you starting to change your menu?  Our tomato crop is just starting the harvest. If you have some tomato recipes to share, please leave me a comment.

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



MONDAY: Weight Watchers Italian Turkey Burgers

TUESDAY: Grilled Steak/Lamb Chops with Summer Corn Salad
WEDNESDAY: BLT (our tomatoes are ripe)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Sassy Stacy

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHEN: Back of photo says April 1983 (14)
WHERE: Coast Village in Florence, OR.  I am sitting by the sliding door in Gram's trailer

I think that this is the time that Sandra and her then boyfriend, Chris took me to Florence to spend the weekend with my Gram.  I was a sassy brat at 14 and I remember being crammed into the back of Chris's sports car while he drove like a maniac to Florence listening to "Back On My Feet Again" by the Baby's.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Recipe of The Week: Pan-Seared Sea Bass

Rich and meaty, sea bass is quickly becoming one of our favorite summer fish dishes.  Fish in general is a perfect summer meal and can be ready in less than 30 minutes.


Pan-Seared Sea Bass


1 pint cherry tomatoes
6 basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
1/8 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and black pepper
2 sea bass fillets, about 1 pound in total (I like to have mine skinned)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
white pepper


In a bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, basil, thyme, olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper.  Toss gently and set aside to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pat sea bass with a paper towel and brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Season with salt and white pepper.

Heat a frying pan to medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Heat until oil swirls easily in pan.

Carefully place sea bass in pan and saute for 2-3 minutes per side (I like mine slightly golden in color). Place fish on baking sheet and place in oven to bake for 4-6 minutes or until fish is cooked through and moist.

To Serve: Divide and spoon cherry tomato vinaigrette in center of each serving plate and carefully transfer bass fillet on top.  

Notes:  Also serve with fresh asparagus or green beans.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

31/52: Celebrations and Adventures

This weekend was full of fun adventures and celebrations.

We celebrated my Mom's birthday on Saturday with a homemade cake, champagne and presents at home followed by jukebox oldies, cold beers and burgers at the Flight Path, a new place near their house but owned by neighbors of Brian and I from West Seattle.  Fun!

The night before, I drove into West Seattle in time for a proper date night checking out a new place in the Admiral District called MioPosto Italian Pizzeria.  It was fun to sit up at the pizza bar, sip on a sparkling rose while eating warm olives and watch them cook pizzas in a pizza oven. A great vibe at this place and we will be back again some cooler, rainy day to enjoy more of their menu (pizza oven makes the place naturally heated)!

Sunday's adventure was to Lake Union where we walked the south end of the lake, toured an old fire boat and drank a bloody Mary while looking at million dollar yachts (and hearing the roar of the Blue Angels over Lake Washington for Seafair).

What a great Summer weekend!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: August 7-10, 2017

Welcome to a beautiful start to the week!

Here is our menu for the summer week ahead!

Don't forget if you want to see other menus to check out Laura's site.


Monday: PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps
Tuesday: Grilled Salmon with Stir Fry Veggies
Wednesday: 10 Minute SW Taco Salad (we add sliced chicken breast)
Thursday:  Oyster Fry Up with Creamed Spinach and Uncle Roy Potatoes

Friday, August 4, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Mom

WHO: Jennifer Dare
WHERE: Seattle, WA
WHEN: August 6, 1988

Happy Birthday and cheers to my Mom who celebrates a birthday on Sunday.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Thai Beef Salad

On warm summer nights I am often reminded of a dear friend of mine from Australia named Jodie who loved to cook.  She taught me some wonderful dishes that I still make to this day including Sticky Date Pudding and Apricot Chicken.  

One of her signature dishes was a Thai Beef Salad that was amazing.  The best part about this dish is that it is perfect for a warm summer evening.  Thanks Jodie!


Thai Beef Salad


1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds flank, flat iron or sirloin steak
4 cups salad greens
1 cup cheery tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, diced 
1 red onion, minced
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup toasted peanuts
1 cup bean sprouts


Whisk together lime juice, ginger, garlic, cilantro, fish sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar and place 1/2 in a ziploc bag with the steak and reserve the other half as your salad dressing.  Marinate steak for at least 2 hours in refrigerator.

Preheat BBQ or a grill pan on high.  Cook steak for 3-4 minutes per side for medium (depending on thickness of steak).  Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.  Let steak rest for 5 minutes.

Divide the salad greens between 4 plates and top with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, mint, peanuts and bean sprouts.  Thinly slice steak across the grain and add to the salad.

Drizzle remaining dressing on top and serve.

Notes: To spice up the salad, add 1 fresh red chili, halved and de-seeded and thinly sliced to the marinade/dressing

Jodie, Jackson and Greg

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome August 2017

Welcome Monday and to the beginning of the Dog Days of Summer!

How is your week shaping up?  Do you feel organized?  Do you have a meal plan in place? Do you have your pantry and freezer stocked and organized?  

As we begin the slow push towards fall, now is a great time to start the planning process and take your life back.

This week's challenge: clean out your freezer and re-organize your pantry.

Remember that Laura is a great resource for planning and organizing so check out her website.


Monday (last day of July): Grilled Pork Chops and Salad
Tuesday: Weight Watchers Blue Cheese Burgers
Wednesday: Fish Tacos
Thursday: I am heading off to Springfield to have dinner with my Pop and Rosemary

Friday, July 28, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Remembering Ken Lee

WHO: Ken Lee (Brian's brother)
WHEN: 1978
WHERE: Hiking the woods probably somewhere in Delaware

We lost Brian's brother way too soon.  He would have turned 63 this past week.  We love you, man and miss you very much.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Classic Bacon Cheeseburger

Tomorrow is National Hamburger Day!  I can't think of anything better than grilling a juicy hamburger and not only in the summer months, but all year round.

Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers a year, which translates to three burgers a week for every single person in the U.S.!

We don't eat that many burgers in our house, but when we do....we prefer them grilled and with a think slice of bacon and sharp cheddar cheese!  For me, the key is the beef and how you prepare and season.


Classic Bacon Cheeseburger


1 pound ground beef (80/20)
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's Season Salt
slice of America cheese (or sharp cheddar of your choice)
4 pieces bacon, cooked
butter toasted pub buns
fresh lettuce
sliced tomato


Mix the beef, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and season salt.  Divide the beef into 4 patties, depending on how big you want them. 

Preheat your grill to medium high heat and cook the burgers 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare.

Remove from the heat and add sliced cheese and top with bacon.

Top the toasted buns with fresh lettuce and tomato and mayonnaise (or another condiment or your choice).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

29/52: July in Seattle

What are your favorite Saturday activities in July?

I love cloud watching, breakfasts prepared by my sweetheart, walks along the Puget Sound and an afternoon libation at the local pub.

Checked off all of those this past weekend.  And you?


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: July 24-27, 2017

Welcome to another Summer Monday!

As we move towards the end of July, for me it marks the unofficial half-way point of summer.  How does that make you feel? For me summer starts to wind down Labor Day weekend and that means that this week is the half way point.

With that being said....are you creating the summer menu plan you want?  There is still plenty of time to turn your planning around.  Let Laura help!


SUNDAY: Roast Chicken with Caesar Salad, Roasted Carrots and Brussels Sprouts
MONDAY: Weight Watchers Italian Turkey Burgers
TUESDAY: Shrimp Cobb Salad
WEDNESDAY: Flank Steak with Mexican Corn Salad

Friday, July 21, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Mr. Green Thumb

WHO: I think that might be Brian's brother, Kerry and his Dad on the front porch
WHERE: 109 Tamara Circle, Newark, DE
WHEN: Late 1960's

Brian truly has the green thumb.  Our yard in West Seattle always looks magnificent.  It's easy to see where he got the inspiration after finding a picture of his childhood home in Newark, DE.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Italian Skewers

A client invited me to their annual summer party last weekend and we were asked to bring a light appetizer.  What do you bring to a summer (outdoor) party that doesn't need to be chilled?

I've made skewers before and I did a quick Pintrest search and found a couple of other varieties. These are super easy to make and always go quickly at a party.


Italian Skewers


1 (8-9 ounce) package of refrigerated cheese tortellini
25 slices salami
25 slices pepperoni
about 50 cubes of sharp white cheddar or Gouda cheese
1/2 cup Italian Salas Dressing
1 can black olives
1 can green olives
decorative toothpicks


Cook tortellini according to package directions (about 4 minutes).  Do not overcook!  After cooking, drain off water and let them cool for about 10 minutes before placing them in a ziploc bag.  Add salad dressing to the bag and marinate the tortellini for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

On each toothpick, thread the tortellini, salami, cheese and olives however you would like.  I sandwiched the cheese between the folded over salami.  I also alternated between pepperoni and or black olives to add variety.

Place on a single layer on a serving platter.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

28/52: West Seattle Summer Festival

Parties and festivals are what make the summer season so special.

Brian and I had a cocktail soiree for a client of mine in Portland on Saturday afternoon and then we hightailed it up to Seattle to finish the weekend out at the West Seattle Summer Festival on Sunday, a favorite of ours every year.

I always try and get a picture of the crazy bikini clad dancing man and Brian loves to chow down on some pizza slices.

What summer time activities do you look forward too?


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Middle of July 2017

Happy Monday to All!

Thanks for stopping my my little corner of the Internet.  What's on your menu this week?  If your answer includes words like..."I don't know" you might want to consider checking out Laura's site for some great ideas.

Here we go....


MONDAY: Yumm Bowls
TUESDAY: Grilled Fish with a Steamed Artichoke and a Garden Salad
WEDNESDAY: BBQ Chicken Thighs with Green Beans
THURSDAY: Black and Blue Steak Salad

Friday, July 14, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Grandpa Gone Fishing!

WHO: James Wharton
WHAT: Fishing
WHEN: late 1930's (written on back of picture)

I don't remember much about my Mother's Father, James H. Wharton.  He passed away when I was eight and lived in Seattle long before I made regular treks north.  Every summer we made at least one trip in the car from Springfield to their home in Bothell to swim in their pool and get terrorized by their yappy dog, Suzie.  I know he loved me as there are many many pictures of the two of us together when I was a baby.

In this picture I see the eyes of his son, my uncle Mickie but I also see the eyes of my cousin, Mickie's son, Matt.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Greek French Fries

Today is National French Fry Day!  Yippee!  Despite my attempts to be as low carb as possible, I can't resist a good French Fry.  

Thomas Jefferson had potatoes served in the "French Manner" at a White House dinner in 1802.  The expression "French fried potatoes" first occurred in print in English in an 1856 cookbook.  Some say that fries were created in Belgium and became popular when introduced to American soliders who were stationed in Belgium during WW1.

The JR Simplot company is credited with successfully commercializing French fries in frozen form during the 1940's.  Ray Kroc contracted them to supply frozen fries in 1967 to his McDonald's franchises.

In Canada, fries are more than just a side dish, they are a staple of meals.  In the 1950's fries became a major component of poutine, where they were topped with cheese curds and gravy.  Around that same time, people in Philadelphia and Chicago began eating fries topped with chili and cheddar cheese. The popular In-N-Out hamburger chain serves Animal Fries topped with cheese, grilled onions and secret sauce.  In Ireland, curry fries are popular at chips shops.


Greek French Fries


2 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons store bought tzatziki
1/2 cup feta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Thinly cut potatoes into long strips to form fries or wedges depending on taste.  Toss them with oil, oregano, zest, salt, pepper and garlic.  place in single layer on the baking sheet.

Bake fries for 20-30 minutes, roatating the pan halfway through baking.

Toss fries with tzatziki, feta and parsley and serve.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

27/52: Quiet July Weekend

It was time for a quiet weekend in West Seattle.

A beautiful dinner prepared by my sweetheart to spoil me after my train ride north.

An afternoon walk to the local pub for some trivia pursuit and a couple of cold drinks on the patio.

Back to Portland on Sunday to enjoy the last warm hours of the weekend and spy the new birdbath for signs of activity.

How was your weekend?


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: July 9-14, 2017

Welcome to a beautiful Summer Monday!

What's going on in your neck of the woods?  Summer is in full swing and activities are at a yearly high.  How are you coping with the heat?  If you find you are spending too much time in your kitchen and less time having fun then perhaps you need a menu makeover?  Head on over to Laura's site for more planning tips and ideas including menus from around the country.


SUNDAY:  Grilled Hamburgers and Chips
MONDAY: Beef Taco Bar
TUESDAY: ALL-Star Game Beer Brats and Potato Salad
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Chicken with Spiralized Sweet Potatoes 
THURSDAY:  Drinks and Dinner OUT!
FRIDAY:  Grilled Steak and Caesar Salad

Friday, July 7, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Happy 4th of July

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHERE: Aunt Pat and Uncle Bud's house in Eugene, OR
WHY: Aunt Pat had a closet with items that I liked to play with when I came over.  She had nude lady swizzle sticks, bamboo cups and dolls (that were not really dolls to play with, but she let me anyway).

In honor of the 4th of July this week, here is a strange one.

I am not sure why I am wearing the hat and wig and what about the Japanese figurine? That velour suit is much too warm for the 4th so it's probably just a party at the Dahl's.