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 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Old Photo Friday: Dress up Days in Kindergarten

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHEN: Spring 1973 (I look to be about 4 years old)
WHERE: Springfield, OR

When I first found this picture I thought that it was Halloween, but I seem to recall that we had a cowboy themed day at Kindergarten in the spring.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Sheet Pan Chicken with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

Do you need a simple and quick one pan dinner idea ready in 30 minutes?  Here you go! And, you can thank me later!


Sheet Pan Chicken with Tomatoes and Chickpeas


5 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup Greek yogurt
4 chicken breasts
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400F.

Whisk oil, garlic and spices together in a small bowl.  Transfer 1 tablespoon of oil/spice mixture to another bowl and add the yogurt.  Set aside yogurt mixture in the refrigeration until ready to serve.

Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet.  Rub 2 tablespoons of the oil spice mixture all over the chicken. 

Place tomatoes and chickpeas and half of the cilantro in a bowl.  Add the remaining oil/spice mixture and stir to coat.

Pour the tomatoes and chickpeas on the baking sheet around the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper.

Roast chicken for 20-30 minutes, then transfer to a large serving platter and top with the tomatoes and chickpeas.

Garnish with remaining cilantro and drizzle with yogurt mixture.

Recipe and picture found on Google