Tuesday, October 17, 2017

41/52: San Diego

I don't get to travel much for business but I do a fair amount of traveling for pleasure so I can't complain too much.  I've wanted to attend our national convention the last few years, but the timing wasn't right. This year's conference, San Diego. Who doesn't want to go to San Diego in October?  Not to mention, an easy flight from Portland and an easy flight back to Seattle on Friday night.

The problem with work trips is...well...THEY ARE FOR WORK!!!!  Meetings all day and sponsor dinners at night, don't leave much free time, unless you make and plan and carve out some "free time" for yourself. 

Wednesday afternoon/evening (after being up since 3:30 AM), I escaped to the beach for a glass of wine, a fish tacos and a sunset!

Ocean Beach was a short Uber ride away and a beautiful little neighborhood. I found a perfect place to relax and enjoy some "me" time and it was totally worth it!

The rest of the work week flew by and before I knew it, I was back in Seattle!

San Diego is definitely a place that I'd like to visit again and I just found out next year the conference is in Austin, TX...a bucket list destination for sure!!


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Middle of October 2017

Welcome to the halfway point of October!  I hope you have a wonderful Monday.

Riding back to Portland on the train this afternoon, my mind was calmed just knowing that my grocery list was all made out and that I didn't have to worry about what I was going to cook for the week ahead.  Remember, I was out of town on business last week.  Setting up my menu and planning my list literally takes me 10 minutes a week, if that and since I had my meal plan for the month, I already knew what I needed on my grocery list.  Do you have 10 minutes a week to save you hours?  I think you do!

Remember to see what else Laura can help you organize!


MONDAY: Greek Burgers
TUESDAY: Slow Roasted Short Ribs over Polenta with Roasted Carrots
WEDNESDAY: Chicken Burrito Bowls
THURSDAY: Slow Cooker Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Remembering Sammy

WHO: Sammy Brady Lee (but you can call me Mr. Samakins)
WHAT: Learning to walk on his leash (didn't enjoy)
WHERE: Backyard West Seattle
WHEN: May 2009

Sunday marks one year since we lost our sweet baby.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about you, my loving angel.

I hope you are at peace on the Rainbow Bridge.



Thursday, October 12, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Pickled Beets

My good friend, Sonja brought out a batch of picked beets that she made a few weeks ago when we all had dinner together.  Ever since then, I've been wanting to make a batch for our fridge.  


Roasted Pickled Beets


3-4 beets
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350F.  Wash the beets well and trim off greens.  With a veggie peeler, remove the skin.

Place beets on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, fold it over the top of the beets and seal the edges.  Place baking sheet in the oven and roast beets for 25-30 minutes then turn foil packet over. Bake for another 25-30 minutes before testing with a sharp knife to see if the largest beet is tender in the middle.

Once they are cooked, remove from the oven and allow them to cool.  Slice the beets about 1/4 inch thick and place them in a pint or quart canning jar.

Combine the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar and salt.  Pour it over the beets in the jar until covered.

Refrigerate!  Beets will taste best after pickling for a few days.  They can be kept refrigerated for about 2 weeks.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

40/52: Family Visits

I drove down to Springfield last Thursday night to visit with my Pop and Rosemary before they left for a few weeks in Florida.  We ate at a new place in Eugene, Blu Mist and it was amazing.  I said goodbye to Springfield and the full moon before heading up to Seattle on Friday afternoon.

It was exciting to be back on the train on Friday...back to my old routine and schedule.  I spent way too much time, of late...driving.  Like the old Eddie Rabbit song rambling in my head, "I'm driving my life away".  I was grateful that my regular Amtrak crew was glad to see me back and it was a beautiful fall day...the best way to see the world go by on the train.

The rest of the weekend flew by.  From a squirrels soccer game, to a visit from Brian's brother...we surrounded ourselves with home, family and friends which is the best weekend I can think of.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: October 9-13, 2017

Welcome to Monday!

This is a short week in the kitchen for me as I have a business trip to San Diego mid-week!  I'm so glad that I have a list prepared with some quick and easy go to meals.

Remember to get some inspiration from Laura!


MONDAY: Yumm Bowl
TUESDAY: Garden Burgers with Chips or Fries

Friday, October 6, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday Don and Marie

WHO: Marie and Don
WHERE: Eugene, OR
WHEN: Early 1940's

Happy remembrance birthday to my paternal grandparents, born on the same day...October 6th.  My Grandma Marie in 1922 and my Grandpa Don in 1914.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Israeli Couscous Salad

Last April, in Maui we ate at Bev Gannon's signature restaurant, Hali'imaile.  Her menu is always inventive... mixing island ingredients with a crisp and clean, Asian inspired theme.  I opted for her famous crab pizza but Rosemary and Sandra had the Beef Short Rib Melt with Israeli Couscous salad.

I was blown away by the whole dish but most impressed with the salad, which was hearty, yet light and flavorful.

This is not the exact recipe, but the ingredients sounded like they would go perfect with a hearty meat like roast lamb, beef or as Bev so ingeniously realized, short ribs.


Israeli Couscous Salad


1/3/ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons white Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 ounces Israeli Couscous (sometimes called Pearl Couscous)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups baby spinach leaves
12 ounces grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
4 ounces (about 1 cup) feta crumbles
1 cup jarred red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper


For the dressing:  Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  I prefer to shake it up in a small mason jar.

For the salad:  Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.  Cook the couscous, stirring frequent, until golden, about 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups of water and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer until the couscous is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Mix together the spinach, tomatoes, cheese, peppers, parsley, almonds and mint in a large bowl.  Add the cooled couscous and the dressing.

Toss until all ingredients are mixed well before serving.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

39/52: Colin Hay Concert and a Dinner Party

Colin Hay was back in the Pacific Northwest last Friday night and Brian and I saw his performance at Benroya Hall in downtown Seattle.  Pre-show cocktails and an outrageously good burger at the W in Seattle made this a perfect date night!

It's been 4 years since Colin's been in Seattle.  His last show was so incredible that Brian and I have been watching his tour schedule to make sure that we didn't miss his next Northwest performance. 

Friday was no exception to what this amazingly talented artist can do.  His latest album, Fierce Mercy finds him at the top of his game once again.  Through his story-telling in song, Hay's solo shows are peppered with comedic outbursts and life anecdotes from his life altering experiences traveling around the world performing.  He was fabulous!

Saturday night we were invited to a dinner party at Lake Morton...cocktails and wine flowed and a gorgeous Prime Rib roast was served.  Girls versus guys in Pictionary (we lost) but had a wonderful evening!


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome October

Welcome Monday and welcome October!

Time flies when you are having fun and all of a sudden the last quarter of the year is here. Here is your challenge for the week.
  • print out a monthly calendar
  • make a list of 15 of your favorite meals (don't forget to plan the entire meal)
  • randomly place those meals in one of the day slots on your calendar (now you have half the month of meals planned)
  • the other half of the month can be meals out or saved for last minute events that come up and/or just random stuff you feel like eating (pantry/freezer items), grab a burger or a pizza.
Also, if you would like to see more menu ideas, please check out Laura's site.


SUNDAY: Pizza! Seahawk's game at 5:30
TUESDAY: Grilled Fish with Artichokes and Salad
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Chicken Thighs with Roasted Cauliflower
THURSDAY:  Off to Springfield for the evening

Friday, September 29, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Goodbye, Safeco Field

WHO: Brian and Stacy
WHERE: Safeco Field in Seattle, WA
WHEN: Summer 2004

This was our summer or love, new love...our first summer together as a couple.  A couple in love with summer and baseball and falling in love with each other.

Thanks for the memories, Safeco Field.  Next year, new naming rights will be bought and the stadium will be renamed.  Might it be Starbucks Grounds?  How about Boeing Field? Amazon Prime Stadium?

The Mariner's season is almost over and it's time for playoff baseball.  Perhaps a new field name will bring us luck and a world series title next year.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Walla Walla Sweet Onion Rings

When a co-worker gave me two medium sized home-grown Walla Walla sweet onions, I knew in an instant what I wanted to do with them.

The exact origin of onion rings is unclear, but in 1933 a recipe for deep-fried onion rings appeared in a Crisco advertisement in the New York Times Magazine.  One claimant to the invention of rings is the Kirby's Pig Stand in Oak Cliff, Texas in the early 1920's.  The once thriving chain who in its heyday had over 40 locations also claims to be the inventor of Texas Toast.

I've always thought that deep frying anything required special pans, an expensive deep fryer or safety procedures.  While all are practical, making good onion rings at home is quite easy.  Follow the steps and get your fry sauce handy!


Onion Rings (slightly adapted from Food Lab)


2 large onions, cut in 1/2 inch rounds
2 quarts peanut oil
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup light beer (PBR, Budweiser, Corona), ice cold
1/4 cup 80 proof vodka
Kosher salt


Seperate the onion rounds into individual rings.  Place in a gallon sized zipper lock bag and put them in the freezer until they are completely frozen (at least an hour, but you can store for up to 30 days).

When you are ready to cook them, remover rings from freezer bag, transfer to a bowl and thaw them under tepid running water.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel or several layers of paper towels and dry the rings thouroughly.  Carefully peel off the inner papery membrane from each ring and discard.  Set aside.

Preheat the oil to 375 in a large wok or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, paprika and garlic powder in a medium bowl and whisk together.  Combine the beer and the vodka in a small bowl.

Slowly add the beer mix to the flour mix, whisking constantly until the batter has a texture similar to thick paint.  The batter should leave a trail if you drip it back into the bowl off the whisk (note - you may not need all the beer mix). Do NOT over mix.  A few lumps are fine.  

Dip one onion ring into the batter, making sure that all surfaces are coated.  Lift out, letting the excess batter drip off and add to the hot oil bu slowly lowering it in with your fingers.  Repeat until 1/3 of the rings at a time are in the oil.

Fry, flipping the rings halfway through the cooking, until they are golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the rings to a large mixing bowl lined with paper towels and poss while sprinkling with salt. You can them place rings on a parchment lined baking sheet and keep hot in a 200F oven which you fry the rest of the rings.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

38/52: Last M's Game of the Season

We had a fun filled weekend in Seattle with Chick including our last M's game of the summer.

Friday night, Chick and I did a West Seattle pub crawl and checked out three new places, Nook, Alchemy and The Lodge.  Each one a bit different, but great places to people watch and have a glass of wine.

Saturday's game was fun!  It started out with Bloody Mary's and ended with an M's loss (but each of us went to the team store and came home with a treasure from our afternoon adventure).

How did you welcome the first weekend of fall?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: End of September 2017

Are you ready for another wonderful week and the last week of September?

The sunlight is fading, leaves are beginning to turn gold and fire red and our days and nights are cooler.  I love welcoming fall and this first week has been amazing.  Tell me about the start of fall in your neck of the woods.

If you need help with planning and organizing, Laura has the resources you need to get you on track!


SUNDAY: Roast Chicken with Salad and Brussels Sprout
MONDAY: Seared Scallops over Parmesan Risotto
TUESDAY: BLT and Chips
WEDNESDAY: Coconut Chicken Curry
THURSDAY:  Pork Chops, Garden Salad, Acorn Squash

Friday, September 22, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Best Friends

WHO: Diamond Jim Brady and Lowell Crowe
WHAT: Gambling in Keno Bar
WHERE: Reno, Nevada
WHEN: 1979-1980

There are not many pictures taken in casinos (I think it's illegal), but this one stands the true test of time.  Best friends since grade school, blood shot eyes, wearing their lucky Reno shirts and sitting in the Keno bar at Jessie Beck's Riverside Hotel...a place renovated into apartments and studios in the late 1980's.  Their trips were legendary.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Twice-Baked Butternut Squash

It's that time of year again....pre-planing holiday menus and warm cozy fall favorites come to mind. One of my favorites is squash anything....not necessarily the sweetness of pumpkin, but the savory flavors of creamy squash stuffed with cheese and cream.

This is an impressive dish and served along side a pork tenderloin is also an easy crowd pleaser.


Twice Baked Butternut Squash


2 large butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 ounces cooked crisp bacon (about 4 pieces); reserve bacon fat
3 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives, divided


Preheat oven to 400F.  Transfer squash to a lined baking sheet, skin side down.  Poke outside flesh all over with a fork, then roast until flesh is very soft, about 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Reduce oven temp to 350F.

While squash is cooking, heat 1 cup heavy cream in a medium saucepan until just beginning to simmer.  reduce heat to low and whisk 1/4 cup cheese and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl and chill until very cold, about 45 minutes.

Spread 3 tablespoons sugar in a this layer in the center of a dry skillet,  Cook over medium heat until sugar melts and starts to turn light brown, about 6 minutes.  Quickly stir in the bacon and hazelnuts and cook, stirring until coated and melted until sugar is a darker brown (about 1-2 minutes more). Scrape onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread out to cool, then finely chop.

Scrape out the cooked insides of the cooled squash into a large bowl leaving about 1/2" border around the shell to help it maintain its shape.  Transfer large shells back onto the lined baking sheet.

Using a potato masher or spatula, mix the squash with salt and pepper, nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of reserved bacon fat, remaining 1 cup of cream and 3/4 cup cheese, until smooth.  Fold in chives and divide mixture between the squash shells.  Bake 20-30 minutes.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high heat, whip chilled cream to medium peaks.  Chill until ready to serve.

Remove squash from oven and dollop squash with chilled cream, then top with the candied bacon bits and remaining chives.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

37/52: Final Weekend of Summer

And just like that.....

Summer is coming to an end.  The rains fell hard Sunday night.  Clearing the air of forest fire smoke and bringing a cooler dampness to our day.

We played hard, Summer and I...but as always, our relationship ends all too soon leaving an ever fading memory.

Our last Saturday night of Summer...spent in the backyard of friends watching the twinkle lights come on way too early.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: September 18-21, 2017

Welcome Monday!

This week is the last week of summer!  Fall starts on Friday.  Are you ready?

Let Laura help you stay on track with menu planning and organizing.


SUNDAY: Beef Taco Bar
MONDAY: Chicken Thighs with Corn on the Cob and Salad
TUESDAY: Out! Meeting friends for Happy Hour
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Hamburgers
THURSDAY: Flat Iron Steak with Baked Potato and Broccoli

Friday, September 15, 2017

Old Photo Friday: First Day of School 1981

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHAT: First Day of School
WHERE: Springfield, OR
WHEN: September 1981

Back to school season is here!  I can tell by the white sweater and the starched and dark blue jeans that the clothes are new.  The bag probably has everything I'll need for middle school (6th grade)!  Oh boy!


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Greek Flatbread

When Brian and I were in Vancouver at the end of August, we ate an amazing meal at The Cactus Club Cafe.  One of the items on the starter (appetizer) menu was Rob's Flatbread with caramelized onions, grape tomatoes, feta, goat cheese, basil pesto, arugula and a balsamic glaze.  Brian liked it so much that he took half of it home...in his bag for the train ride the next morning!

Rob's flatbread inspired me to be on the look out for a great flatbread recipe including an easy dough recipe.  This is a perfect appetizer with a glass of wine as we enjoy those last few late summer evenings on the patio


Greek Flatbread (Otherwise knows as Rob's Flatbread)


Flatbread Dough
1 packet active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cup flour, plus a bit more for your working surface
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
olive oil; to brush tops of flatbread

1 sweet yellow onion, sliced into rings
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/2 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or a handful of arugula leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic glaze


Preheat oven to 450F.  

In your food processor bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, flour,and salt.  Pulse to combine. Add the water in a steady stream until the dough begins to form.  Turn it out onto a board, lightly sprinkled with flour and knead with the heel of your hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Coat a large bowl with oil.  Place the dough in the bowl, and cover with a damp cloth.  Put in a warm spot to rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough has doubled, punch the dough, scrape it onto the board again and knead it lightly into a smooth ball.  Cut into approximately 4 pieces depending on the number and size of the flatbreads you are making.  Shape flatbreads in an oblong shape 12 x 4.  Brush with olive oil and transfer to a prepared baking sheet.

In a medium saute pan, cook onion with one tablespoon olive oil; stirring often until caramelized; about 15 minutes.

Spread the basil pesto between the flatbreads and top with onions, tomatoes, cheese, olives.

Bake about 15 minutes or until crust is golden.  Top with parsley or arugula and a drizzle of glaze.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

36/52: A Concert and Girl's Weekend



I got back to Portland and back into a routine with some fun things on the calendar to start the beginning of September/end of Summer!

Last Sunday Sandra and I went up to Ridgefield, Washington to the Sunlight Amphitheater to see Lady Antebellum along with Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young.  A fun night, which started off at Joe's crab shack and ended about 12:15 am the next morning!

This last weekend was annual girl's weekend and our trek down 23rd avenue in Portland for treasures, people watching and lunch with wine at JoBar (cupcakes from Saint Cupcakes)!

Summer in winding down...our air quality has been bad with forest fires in the area and the sun in now setting earlier and earlier each evening. We continue to sneak in as much summertime fun as possible in anticipation of the changing season.

How are you spending the last days of summer?


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: September 11-14, 2017

Welcome back, Monday!

The first part of September is a shift in seasonal "gears".  Kids are back to school, summer vacations are over and the final push into the new year is beginning.  

It's 7 weeks until Halloween....and candy, decorations and costumes have been out for a while now.  It's a good time to clean out your pantry and get focused on the last 4 months on the year.  Start buying canned goods and non-perishables for the holiday season.  Mapping out a game plan will help you as the holiday season begins.

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


Monday: Hamburgers and Chips/Tots
Tuesday: Coconut Salmon with Zucchini Noodles
Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie
Thursday: Flat Iron Steak with Caprese Salad

Friday, September 8, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Ouch!

WHO: Mom and Stacy
WHAT: Let's try out our new Epilady
WHERE: Burien, Washington
WHEN: 1986-87 (I loved that paisley sweater I am wearing)

Do you remember back in the late 1980's when the Epilady first came out?  The first one was released in 1986 and for some strange unknown reason...Mom and I bought one.  Coil springs that squeeze tightly around tiny hairs and then rip them out at the roots.  Sounds like fun to me!