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.  


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Easy Macaroni and Cheese

Tomorrow is National Macaroni Day and I absolutely love a good mac and cheese (who doesn't)?!

How about an easy to make and no bake dish especially designed for those who have limited time and want something homemade. 


Easy Stove Top Mac and Cheese


16 ounces elbow macaroni
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 cup half and half
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded Swiss


Cook macaroni according to package directions.

In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and cook for 3-5 minutes to form a roux.  Add salt and pepper then slowly add half and half and milk, stirring well after each addition.  Add mustard and stir to combine and cook until bubbly.

Slowly add the cheese a small amount at a time until fully melted.

Drain macaroni; add to cheese sauce and stir to coat.

Notes:  Jazz it up with a bit of blue cheese or even a pepper jack cheese.  Top with crispy bacon for added flavor

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

26/52: The end of June through the 4th of July



We had a pretty cool long weekend for it actually not being a long weekend (I had to work Monday)!

It was a beautiful weekend in Seattle.  Time to catch up with friends, BBQ in the backyard, enjoy a crisp Rose on the patio and take an afternoon walk to Lincoln Park.

Back to Portland on Sunday and a short workday on Monday before spending some down time at Rebecca Lane for the 4th.  A walk through the neighborhood in the morning, coffee on the patio, Bloody Mary's in the afternoon and a wonderful spread of food to fill out the day.

How was your 4th?


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome July!

Happy Monday!

Is it a holiday for you today?  I am working, but taking off early to spend a bit of time at home.  The 4th in the middle of the week isn't convenient, is it?  Oh well!  With my menu plan in place, I know exactly what I am cooking and what I need to shop for.  Who wants to try and find an open supermarket on the 4th, right?

Remember to head on over to Laura's site (she's Canadian), but I am sure some of her U.S. friends will be posting lots of holiday week recipes.


MONDAY: Grilled Chicken Kebabs
4th of July: Hamburgers and Chips (lunch) Pork Ribs with Cole Slaw and Corn on the Cob (dinner)
WEDNESDAY:  Corn Chowder and Bread
THURSDAY: Grilled Salmon with Green Bean, Tomato, Onion and Basil Salad

Friday, June 30, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Wedding Memories

WHO: Ann (Peterson) and Allen Lee
WHAT: Wedding Day
WHERE: Delaware
WHEN: April 1953

You always think of June as the month for brides (even though Brian's parents were married in April). Their love really stood the test of time, patience and in sickness and in health.  They produced three amazing boys and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a surprise lunch surrounded by friends and family.  I miss Brian's Mom's wit and I missed the opportunity to meet Brian's Dad, but I see both of them in my love all the time.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Shrimp Cobb Salad

I've posted Cobb Salad recipes before, but I came across an interesting Cobb Salad combination a few weeks ago that Sandra and I absolutely loved!

This is a great summertime meal and super easy to assemble.  I've made a few changes to the original dressing recipe to suit our tastes, but otherwise this is a perfect salad recipe!


Shrimp Cobb Salad with Creamy Cilantro and Basil Dressing - Adapted from Damn Delicious


1 bag (1 pound) large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 tablespoon Cajun/creole seasoning sauce (I used Magic Seasoning Blends)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices bacon, diced
2 large eggs, hard boiled and sliced
two bags chopped romaine lettuce
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
two ears of corn, husked and cleaned then boiled for 8 minutes before cooling and cutting off the cob
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Creamy Cilantro Dressing
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, stems removed
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 jalapeno, ribbed and seeded
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise


To make the dressing: combine the cilantro, basil, lime, jalapeno and garlic into a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. With the motor running, add olive oil and vinegar in a slow stream until emulsified.  Add mayo and pulse until combined. Remove from food processor and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve (can be made 1-2 days ahead and stored for 4-6 days).

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the shrimp on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and seasoning blend and gently toss to combine.

Place shrimp in the oven and roast until pink and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes (turning shrimp once with tongs).  

Meanwhile, cook the bacon until brown and crispy.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate; set aside

To assemble the salad: Place romaine lettuce divided onto two large plates. Top in rows with shrimp, bacon, eggs, avocado, corn and goat cheese.  Top with creamy cilantro dressing.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

25/52: First Mariners Game of 2017 and Seeing the B-17 Bomber

It was a weekend of firsts this past weekend.

Our first hot hot hot weekend of summer!  Temps in Seattle reached the upper 90's (over 100 in Portland).  A great night to head to Safeco Field for our first M's game of the summer. Not a great game by the Mariner's, but it was Turn Back the Clock night and we each got a free hat and a T-Shirt so it kinda made up for the Mariners loss on the field.

Sunday we went to Boeing Field to see the B-17, B-24 and B-25 bombers exhibition.  Cool old airplanes rich in history and a chance to actually go inside (a bit claustrophobic, but interesting).  Brian really enjoyed the adventure!


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Say Goodbye to June 2017

Welcome to the last Monday in June! 

As we head into a holiday weekend for some, and we've passed the longest day of the year...don't let Summer get behind you!  Step up with your planning, pantry and freezer management and save yourself time and energy for fun out door activities.

If you need some more inspiration, check out Laura's website.


MONDAY: Traveling home from Seattle; work conference in the city during the day!
TUESDAY: Beef Taco Bar
WEDNESDAY: Garden Burgers and Chips
THURSDAY: Going out?  If the barkdust is all spread, the treat will be HERE

Friday, June 23, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Summer Time Fun 1973

WHO: Stacy and family friends, Candy and Sten
WHEN: Summer 1973
WHERE: Backyard of E Street in Springfield, OR

Welcome Summer 2017!

In memory of the Summer Solstice of 1973.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Recipe of the Weekend: Spatchcock Chicken

A spatchcocked (butterflied) chicken is a whole chicken with it's backbone removed.  The carcass is then opened up and laid flat before roasting or grilling. Flattening the chicken exposes more surface area to heat, so overall the cooking time is reduced.  

It looks intimidating, but in all honesty it's very easy to accomplish and the results are fabulous.


Spatchcock Chicken


Place the whole chicken breast-side down.  Cut along one side of the backbone. Repeat along the other side.  

Open the chicken and slice through the white cartilage at the tip of the breastbone to pop it open.  The chicken will lay nice and flat now, just like a butterfly.  Some people remove the entire backbone, but be can remove some good meat and it's not necessary to get the chicken to lay flat.


1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 shallots, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed and discarded, chopped
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 (3-5 lb) whole chicken

Put all ingredients for the spice paste in a good processor and blend until smooth.

Coat the chicken with the paste and seal chicken in a large plastic Ziploc bag.

Leave chicken in the marinade for at least 6 hours or for even better flavor, overnight.

Remove the chicken from the fridge and let sit until room temperature (about 30 minutes) before roasting or grilling.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

24/52: Father's Day Weekend in Eugene/Springfield

Father's Day Weekend is becoming quite an event.  The last few years, it's been centered around some sort of road trip and this year we started off with a beautiful drive on Friday to King Estate Winery for a wonderful lunch.  It's a beautiful area and our lunch was spectacular.  We stopped off to pay a quick visit to my Aunt and Uncle (Mom's side) and it was nice to spend a bit more time with them having just seen them again for the family reunion at the beginning of May.

Friday night we hit PK Park in Eugene to see the Emeralds take on the Vancouver Canadians in minor league baseball action.  The park is great (just a few years old), very imitate and a nice place to see baseball (it's still not Civic Stadium).

Saturday we headed up the McKenzie River Highway on our way to Sister's, OR.  It was a spectacular drive with stops for waterfalls and panoramic views of Cascade peaks.  For me, it wasn't about the destination, although Sisters has a lot going for was about the journey and spending quality time with my Pop over Father's Day Weekend.

The weekend went by all too soon and before we turned the rental "beast" van back into the rental car company, we were already planning next year's adventure.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: June 19-22, 2017

Welcome Monday!  Nice to see you again (and so soon)!

Did everyone have a nice Father's Day weekend?  We had a blast down in Eugene with a road trip to Sisters, OR for the day.  Family times are always fun times.

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


MONDAY: Garden Burgers and Chips
TUESDAY: Shrimp Cobb Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Steak and Zoodles with Avocado Pesto
THURSDAY: Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs and Indian Curry Cauliflower

Friday, June 16, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Father's Day Weekend!

Allen K. Lee

Ken Hanselman

Jim Brady

This weekend we honor our father's.  Thank you for all that you have given to our lives.  We are forever blessed.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Recipe of the Week:Lobster Bisque

Yesterday was National Lobster Day, June 15th.  Once considered pheasant food, in the 1800's lobster was so plentiful that most New Englanders could simply walk down to the beach and capture them during low tide. Servants lived off lobster and most made it a daily meal.

Today, lobster is a delicacy around the world and not all that cheap. There are many ways to enjoy lobster, but if you don't have the time or the money, this simple bisque is perfect and makes an elegant starter for a dinner party.  I buy a few extra lobster tails around Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve when 5 oz tails are typically on sale.


Lobster Bisque


3 lobster tails
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 small white onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup sherry
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup clam juice (1 cup lobster water)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter


Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, place lobster tails in the water for 8-10 minutes or until the shells are bright red and the flesh is opaque. Remove the lobster from the pot to cool. Keep 1 cup of the lobster water to flavor your soup!

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium sized stock pot and add the shallot and onion. Saute until tender, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Add flour to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Slowly add the wine, taking time to incorporate the wine into the flour mixture. Once mixed and smooth, add the Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook for 1-2 minutes until this mixture becomes a thick paste.

Slowly add the sherry and deglaze the pan, scraping any bits at the bottom of the pan. Next, add the tomato paste and paprika and then add the clam juice and lobster water.  Stir well and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

While broth is cooking, remove the lobster meat from the shells and chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

After the stock has simmered for 10 minutes, blend the mixture with in an immersion blender. The mix should be very smooth.  Return the blended mixture back to the stockpot and add the heavy cream and additional butter. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.

Bring the bisque back to a simmer and add the lobster chunks.  Cook until heated through.

Serve with sourdough bread

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

23/52: Anniversary Weekend

I spent less time blogging and vlogging and more time celebrating our anniversary weekend together.

It started in Centralia last Friday night.  While waiting for Brian to meet me at the Olympic Club on Main Street, I chowed down on some Cajun tater tots and sipped Chardonnay in an old "gentlemen's club" established in 1908.  The place is haunted, they say...and filled with original features and fixtures.

It was easier to take the train to Centralia and have Brian drive up from Camas (where he was working) then to fight Portland/Vancouver traffic.  It was a great adventure for the both of us and half the trip back to Seattle we spent together.

We eventually made our way into Seattle and had a wonderful Saturday morning walk in Lincoln Park followed by a nice lunch in the Rainier Room at Emerald Downs.

We didn't win any money on the final leg of the triple crown, The Belmont Stakes...but we had a wonderful anniversary celebration together.