Tuesday, February 28, 2017

9/52: Party Weekend

We had two celebrations over the weekend.  The first was an Italian inspired dinner party with friends.  A wonderful bottle of wine, a cheesy homemade lasagna and a fire in a back yard fire pit.  It was a lot of fun!

Sunday was Oscar Sunday back in Portland and we had a wonderful three course meal, complete with sparkling wine and small plates, inspired by the movies nominated for Best Picture Oscars this past year.

Good food, good friends, good wine, good times!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome March 2017!

Welcome Monday!

Believe it or not, we are soon entering month three!  With March brings the first days of spring and I for one am thrilled.

Here is our menu for the last days of February and the beginning of March.  Remember to head on over to Laura's site for more posted menu plans.


MONDAY: Crockpot Beef Stew
TUESDAY: Grilled Hamburgers with Tater Tots
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Chicken and Salad

Friday, February 24, 2017

Old Photo Friday: We've gone to the dogs...

WHO: Stacy, Grandma Virginia, dog Tilly, dog Anna (white poodle) and Mom
WHERE: E Street; Springfield, OR
WHEN: 1977

In the late 1970's my Mom started working at a veterinarian clinic in Eugene, Oregon.  She had (and still does) an amazing heart and a special place for pet love.  During her years there, we rescued quite a few animals, including a white boxer and a pregnant basset hound named Sadie.

Sadie gave birth to 7 puppies, but died shortly after giving birth to the runt of the litter, and the only boy.  The six girls survived, but not without the loving touches of my mother who hand fed them all with tiny baby bottles around the clock in those first few weeks.

Of course we kept one, Tilly and we gave one of her sisters, Milly away to our good friends. The others found good forever homes.

Tilly was a spit fire, a tad bit crazy-wild and an avid chewer and destroyer of everything from a garden hose to 8 prepared hamburger patties ready for a summer BBQ. 

She didn't live with us for long and we soon found her a big farm where she could roam free and chew other people's belongings.


* We missed the Westminster Kennel Club dog show this year.  One of my favorites, but it was not rebroadcast in prime time, only showing live east coast time.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Oscar Party 2017

Sunday marks the 89th Academy Awards and as always, I've put together a Best Picture Nominee menu inspired by the movies up for Oscars on Sunday.

Here is our menu and remember to check out the Red Carpet and the Awards show.


Red Carpet Snacks:  Sparkling Wine with Vegetable Crudités, Cheese and Crackers

First Appetizer:  –  Seared Sea Scallops with Smoky Sweet Corn PureeInspired by Best Picture Nominee “Manchester by the Sea”

Second Appetizer:  Indian Butter Chicken over Basmati Rice with Garlic Naan Bread – Inspired by Best Picture Nominee “Lion”

Final Act Dessert:  La-La Lava Cakes with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – inspired by Best Picture Nominee “La La Land”

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

8/52: Birthdays and Holidays

It was nice to have a three day weekend this past weekend!  Our days are getting longer and the sun is beginning to stream into the West Seattle windows again.  We are shedding the winter blues.

We celebrated my second dad, Kenny's birthday with a wonderful dinner at 13 coins.  As always, the food and portions were amazing.

The rest of the long weekend was spent at home aside from the 10 miles in total that we walked through Lincoln Park, Saturday, Sunday and Monday!


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: February 21-23rd, 2017

Welcome to Monday, again!  Is everyone ready for the week ahead?

I've been so grateful the last few weeks. We've had a bit of a transportation/scheduling "issue". Nothing major, and only temporary, but it's made me realize how important it is to have a plan.  Even more important is to have a good meal prep plan.  When you don't have a lot of time in the evening and you still want to make a healthy meal, having a menu plan is essential.  I also recommend having a well stocked pantry and freezer and/or an inventory of what is on hand.  It will save you time and money!

Remember to see Laura's site for more planning tips!


MONDAY: President's Day Holiday!  Dinner on the train heading back to Portland
TUESDAY:  Our last "Movie Night" before the Oscars on Sunday.  A burger, here?
WEDNESDAY: Weight Watchers Chicken Fettucine Alfredo with Salad
THURSDAY: Grilled Flank Steak with Asparagus

Friday, February 17, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Kenny

WHO: Kenny Hanselman (my second Dad)
WHEN: 1981
WHAT: Playing the bass, gigging with a band, probably in Eugene, OR

Happy 65th birthday to my second Dad, Kenny! 


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Regional American Food Week 3 - Northeastern Apple Butter

The landing point of immigrants and the birthplace of our nation, the Northeastern region is rich in culture and historical cuisine.  The census bureau defines the Northeastern region as nine states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

When the pilgrims first landed in 1620, they encountered a landscape full of unfamiliar foods. Native Americans taught the pilgrims to effectively utilize fishing and farming tactics to survive. The culinary outcome led to beans, lobster stews, and succotash dishes, that have helped define this regions cuisine.

By the 19th century, Irish and Italian immigrants would add boiled dinners, pasta, and bread to the melting pot.

In Pennsylvania, Italian immigrants created the famous Philly cheese steak and in New York City, Jewish settlers created cured meats like pastrami for corned beef.  Americans of German descent developed warm comforting foods like, chicken pot pie and popovers.

The roots of apple butter lie in Belgium and Germany, conceived during the middle ages when monasteries with large fruit yards appeared.  The production of apple butter was a perfect way to conserve the fruit in colonial America, well into the 19th century.

This product contains no actual dairy butter; the term butter refers only to the butter-like thick consistency and is used primarily as a spread on bread.


Apple Butter - In Slow Cooker


6 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground gloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


Fill a slow cooker with diced apples, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until mix is thick and dark brown. Stir in vanilla and continue to cook for another 2 hours.

Use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until smooth.

Pack into small, freezer safe containers.  Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks or freezer until use.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

7/52: Back to Seattle

I finally made it back to Seattle last Friday night...but just barely.  Had it not been for Brian and I driving back from Portland, I'm not sure how I would have gotten home.  With all the torrential rains this past week, a mudslide between Portland and Seattle halted Amtrak trains for 48 hours. Friday trains were cancelled with no alternate transportation.

Then, to make matters worse, the traffic northbound on I-5 Friday night was horrendous. We decided to take a little detour and ended up at Red Wind Casino east of Olympia.  We let the traffic die down, ate an amazing dinner and came home with lots of money in our pockets.  For a spur of the moment side-trip...we had one of the best Friday night date night adventures....EVER!

The rest of the weekend was spent quietly at home. We took a 3 mile walk on Saturday morning and I planted some spring flowers on Sunday, despite the fact that Seattle had 6 inches of snow less than a week ago....I felt that it is time to release Spring!


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: February 13-16, 2017

Welcome to Monday!

I love menu planning and I really enjoy all the wonderful contributors to Laura's organizing website. If you need assistance in getting organized or our interested in planning menus, check out her site today.

Here is our plan for the week ahead.


MONDAY: Garden Burgers and Tater Tots
TUESDAY: St. Valentine's Dinner - Filet Mignon with Lobster Tail and A Garden Salad
WEDNESDAY: Movie night!  Hopefully time to grab a quick to-go meal at Whole Foods
THURSDAY: Chicken Pot Pie (leftover roast chicken and veggies in freezer)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Old Photo Friday: I still stand with Standing Rock

WHO: Stacy and Bruce (standing)
WHERE: Standing Rock Indian Reservation
WHEN:  August 1978

It dawned on me a few weeks ago, that I have been at Standing Rock.  I've been on these hallowed grounds among the people of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux.

My Pop's best friend, Crowe was 1/4 Sioux and his mother was 1/2 Sioux and raised at Fort Yates, North Dakota, the tribal headquarters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

When I was 9 years old, my Pop and I along with the Crowe family took a motor home back to the reservation for a Pow Wow and a ceremonial Sun Dance.  

I remember bits and pieces from this trip...our motor home breaking down in Mobridge, South Dakota, Crowe's son getting bit by a scary dog and the young Sioux tribesman bloody and hanging from pegs pierced through their chest muscles dancing in the sun as a personal sacrifice to their family, their culture and their spiritual beliefs.

What the U.S. Government is allowing at Standing Rock is wrong.  The destruction of the Native America culture has gone on long enough.

Allowing Dakota Access, LLC a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, LLC  to construct a pipeline underneath the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers as well as under Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, threatening the regions clean water not to mention the annihilation of ancient burial grounds is deplorable.

Please sign the petition at MoveOn.org



Thursday, February 9, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Regional American Food Week 2 - West Coast (San Francisco) Cioppino

The locavore movement is increasingly influential as is the concept of sustainability in the cuisine of the Western United States.  Specialties in the Northwest, including salmon, blackberries and mushrooms are found in abundance and are major influences.  A growing wine industry is of great importance to the West Coast as well, and was a leading factor in the evolution of California Cuisine. Let us not leave out the importance of hunting. Wild game including, elk, bison, and duck are also prominent in Western menus.

West coast Cioppino (pronounced chuh-PEE-no) is considered San Francisco's signature dish, and no trip to the west coast is complete without it. Cioppino can be prepared with a dozen kinds of fish and shellfish, depending on your personal taste and what is fresh in your area.  

Considered to be an Italian-American dish, it is typically made from Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish all sourced from the Pacific Ocean.  The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes and wine and served with crusty bread, typically sourdough.

This fish stew was developed in the late 1800's primarily by Italian immigrants who settled in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco.  The name comes from ciuppin which is the name of a classic soup from the Italian region of Liguria.

You won't believe how easy it is to make.  The key to this recipe is experimentation.  Be creative with this stew and feel free to leave something out or add something new.

San Francisco Cioppino 


3/4 cup butter
2 medium white onions, chopped
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 bunch fresh parsley leaves, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans plum tomatoes
2 bottles (8 oz) clam juice
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups white wine
12 manila clams, scrubbed (discard any open clams)
12 mussels, scrubbed and beards removed (discard any open mussels)
1 pound raw extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound bay scallops
1 pound fish fillets (halibut, cod or salmon) cut into bite sized chunks
1 cup flaked Dungeness crab meat
salt and pepper
sourdough bread


In a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter; add onions, garlic and parsley.  Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are softened.

Add tomatoes, clam juice, spices and wine.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low; cover and simmer approximately 30 minutes.  If sauce becomes too  thick, add additional wine.

While sauce is cooking, soak clams and mussels in cold salted water for 5 minutes and then drain.

Gently stir in the clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, fish and crab to the prepared stock.  Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes until clams pop open and shrimp are opaque.

Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle broth and seafood into large bowl and serve with bread.

Makes 8-10 (1 1/2 cup) servings
The Fisherman's Wharf restaurant that credits itself with bringing cioppino to the restaurant atmosphere is Alioto's.
In North Beach, the Clam House has been open since 1861 and serves a huge bowl of ciopinno for $30

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

6/52: Change of Plans for Super Bowl Weekend

Old Man Winter is at it again, folks!  He totally derailed my weekend plans and instead of my weekly train ride to Seattle Friday afternoon, I stayed home waiting for the snow and ice storm that never really materialized. 

Brian ended up taking a bus down and we spend most of Saturday editing his Series 65 class that he spent last week filming.  It is a long process, but fun working on it together.

Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday and it was the first time in three years that I didn't really care who was playing or where I was watching.

2016 - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (best Super Bowl location watching, ever)

2015 - Seahawks lose at the last second to New England.  Boo hiss!

2014 - Seahawks win Super Bowl beating Denver Broncos.

The game is always entertaining.  The commercials were marginal (is it just me or have the Super Bowl commercials gone downhill), but Lady Gaga was AMAZING!

We had quite the spread of food and a big bowl of taco soup when the game was over.

My Pop, watching from Springfield, OR BEFORE he cut up his Patriots shirt at halftime.  Congratulations!  They came back and won in OT.  Amazing!  I guess it's time for a new shirt!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: First full week of February 2017

Good Morning, Monday!

How's things in your neck of the woods?

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


SUNDAY: Taco Soup!  Super Bowl Sunday
MONDAY: Weight Watchers Chicken Teriyaki with Brocoli 
TUESDAY: Weight Watchers Parmesan Turkey Meatloaf with Salad
WEDNESDAY: Salmon with Brussels Sprout
THURSDAY: Garden Burger

Friday, February 3, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Ann

WHO: Ann P. Lee and her youngest sister, Faye
WHERE: Probably somewhere close to Newark, DE

Remembering Ann on what would have been her 83rd birthday (February 6th).


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Regional American Food Week 1 - South Central Chicken Fried Steak

Regional food cuisine and local food traditions are things that nearly everyone connects with. Local dishes will trigger food memories from childhood and transport you back to a place and time in your life.  Regional food tells a story of what we eat and why.  Recipes handed down from generation to generation tell wonderful tales of our past cooking trends and culinary fads.

The month of February is dedicated to American Regional Cuisine and the flavors and traditions of home!

Did you know that according to the US Census Bureau, there are 4 official statistical regions of the US and nine divisions within these areas?

This week, we take a look at the West/South Central region of the South which consists of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.  Many dishes from this region are heavily influenced by Native Americans.  One of my favorite dishes of all time is Chicken Fried Steak which is very popular in Oklahoma and Texas.


Chicken Fried Steak


4 1/4 pound cube steaks
salt and pepper, to season steaks
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2  cup vegetable oil (maybe a bit more or less)

2 tablespoons pan drippings
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup half and half
1 3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch of grated fresh nutmeg


Preheat oven to 200F and place a cookie sheet with a rack in the oven.  This will keep the steak warm as you make the gravy.

Season the cube steaks with salt and pepper and let set to room temperature as you prepare the batter.

Mix together the flour, Kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder.  I like to place my flour mixture in a large zip lock bag.

In a shallow dish whisk together the eggs and milk.

Working one at a time, dredge the steak into the flour mixture.  Shake off the excess mix and place the steak into the egg wash, coating it on both sides.  Shake off the excess egg wash then place back into the flour mixture.  Set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining steaks.

Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to cover the bottom by 1/4 inch.  Once the oil it hot (350F) lay two steaks into he hot oil.  Gently shake the pan a little to wash a bit of the oil over the top of the steak as this will help set the coating.

Fry until you see the edges brown, about 2 minutes.  Carefully turn the steaks over in the pan and fry for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Carefully lift the steaks from the pan one at a time, tipping the steaks slightly to let the excess oil drain off.  Place steaks on rack in oven to keep warm.  Repeat cooking process with final two steaks.

Next, turn off the heat on the pan and remove all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings, then add butter. Add 3 tablespoons flour and turn the heat back on to medium.  Let the flour mixture cook until it browns to a medium tan color, about 3-4 minutes.

Slowly stir in the half and half and milk whisking constantly.  Continue to add milk until desired consistency.

Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Serve steaks topped with gravy and a side of mashed potatoes and a favorite vegetable.