Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mosaic Monday ~White Thanksgiving

We still had snow on the ground for Thanksgiving. Not quite a White Christmas..but hey I'll take what I can get! Being a Southern girl, I still think the snow is pretty...except when I have to drive in it!

Thankfully the roads were fine for Thanksgiving day since we had dinner at our friends house. We had an untraditional Prime Rib dinner since Amy their daughter's birthday falls right near Thanksgiving and she hates turkey. We weren't complaining! It was great.

I brought a couple of desserts for our contribution plus I decided to try a new (to me) dip recipe that ended up being a hit. If you want to come home with a clean dish bring this one to your next holiday get together. Could have something to do with the bacon garnish.....

The World's Best Bacon and Cheese Dip
adapted from this recipe on, but there are a few like it on the internet.


5 sliced cooked bacon, crumbled - reserve one piece for topping
1 8 oz pkg softened cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
8 oz shredded cheese (I used Fontina)
2 green onions, chopped ( I didn't have, so sprinkled a little onion powder)


In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in cheese, onions, and 4 pieces of crumbled bacon. Place bowl in microwave, and cook 2 minutes. Remove, and stir well. Return to microwave, and cook 2 mins more. Sprinkle with remaining bacon pieces. Serve warm with crackers, but its great cold too!

The snow is all gone now, and the Christmas decorations are up! I'm so thankful for a nice long weekend :-)

I'm joining in for Mosaic Monday today. Go check out all of the other neat mosaics at Little Red House HERE.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving plus Flashback, Foodie and Flaunt your Flowers Friday

Flashing back over the time that's past since last Thanksgiving I found many things to be thankful for. Like friends who invite us to spend holidays with them and to share in the wonder of little kids waiting for Santa.

Like having an assistant nurse to help care for my patient, also known as my sweet and loving husband Randy who I'm also very thankful for.

Like parents who've celebrated their 75th birthdays in good health.

Like visits from favorite cousins

Like my favorite NFL team winning the Superbowl

Like having flowers blooming in February

Like still enjoying egg dying at Easter even if I don't have kids in the house.

Like baby Robins learning to fly on our back patio

Like finding a great donut recipe

Like enjoying a visit from my favorite son by marriage

Like still having room for "one more" new plant in my yard

Like having a cute little yard helper

Like having beautiful local gardens to visit

Like having a yard full of flowers from spring until frost

Like having a veggie and herb garden that keeps me always looking for new recipes.

Like having incredible scenery a short ride away

Like having even more scenery a little farther away

Like fun at the Fair

Like having Fairies living under my rhododendron

Like having a new job I'm loving and that happens to be a block from a great Farmer's Market

And like having the opportunity to spend time with my family in Louisiana and here in Washington a time or two

These are just a few of the things I'm thankful for from the past year. I'm also thankful for this blog because of the opportunity to share, the beautiful comments that so many of you leave and the friends that I've made. I hope that all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving!

If you have anything you'd like to Flashback to and or anything you're thankful for, add your link below and link back to my blog.

I'm joining in over at Flaunt your Flowers at Tootsie Time and Foodie Friday at Design's by Gollum this week. Check them out!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mosaic Monday ~First Snow and Soup to Satisfy

The cold weather that we are experiencing here in Western Washington has me craving warm soups. Saturday we had some French Onion Soup that hit the spot!

French Onion Soup

6 small onions, sliced
4 shallots sliced
4 Tablespoons of butter
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
8 cups broth (either beef or chicken - I used a combination of both)
1/4 cup white wine
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste
Toasted french bread slices
Swiss cheese slices
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Grated Parmesan cheese
Paprika to sprinkle

Saute butter and onions over a medium heat until begin to brown (about 15 minutes) Add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Add broth, white wine, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, bay leaves & salt & pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes. When ready to serve, ladle soup into large bowls or crocks. Float 2-3 slices of bread on top of each bowl of soup. Top with a slice of swiss cheese, a generous sprinkle of mozzarella and a small sprinkle of Parmesan. Sprinkle with paprika. Place bowls on a pan then broil for a couple of minutes or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.

Check out some pretty cool mosaics over at Mosaic Monday hosted by Little Red House.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flashback, Foodie and Fertilizer Friday ~Chicken in a Skillet

When I was growing up my Mom cooked a lot of our meals in an electric skillet. Most meats especially she cooked this way. Probably because you could fit a lot more in that skillet than in a regular stove top one. She had at least a couple over the years but the one I remember most was an avocado green beauty. Later, I inherited my sisters harvest gold one! Thankfully a couple of years ago I graduated to a sleek glass topped model :-)

There are several things I think are great cooked in the electric skillet. Like chicken! One of my favorite Mom meals is what I call sticky chicken or chicken in the skillet..original huh? Really its just browned chicken pieces which are then cooked at a lower heat with a little water in the skillet to make a thin sauce or gravy.

This week I took that concept and built on it to make a kind of one dish chicken meal all cooked in my trusty electric skillet.

Chicken, Mushrooms and Onions

Bone in Chicken pieces (I used a pack that had 2 breasts, 4 thighs and 2 backs - which was a total shopping mistake on my part but it worked for this)
Seasoning for chicken - I used Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, garlic salt & paprika
1 cup Flour for dusting chicken
2 small onions chopped coarse
Chopped mushrooms - I wouldn't have liked fresh but I used two of the small cans
Chopped potatoes - I probably used about 1 pound but more or less wouldn't hurt
1 Tbls chopped garlic - I used a tablespoon of a product I bought at a craft show last weekend called Garlicit (its in olive oil with basil flavoring and the stuff is awesome)
1 cups Chicken broth

Heat a skillet or electric skillet to med high and brown seasoned and floured chicken pieces on both sides. Add onions and mushrooms. Cook until onions are beginning to brown. Add potatoes and broth. Turn heat down to medium. Cover with lid. Cook until potatoes are tender and chicken is no longer pink (probably about 15 minutes). You can flip the chicken a time or two to keep it moist. I served with a side of broccoli for a yummy full meal.

It seems like winter has set in here...they are talking snow for this weekend. There is still plenty of green and even a few things blooming in the yard, but most will be done for with the temps predicted. So how about a flashback to a pretty late spring scene from 6 months ago.

Isn't the cycle of the seasons amazing?

It may be 6 months ago since I first snapped these shots

But its only 6 more months (or less) until I see them again!

There's hope!

If you have a flashback you'd like to share add your link below

I'm adding my link to Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum. She's got a nice give away going on.

And to Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time.

Go check em out :-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flashback Friday ~November Rose

Happy Friday! Flashback Friday is a quickie this week due to work travel. Here's a November rose from a couple of years ago.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. If you have a Flashback of your own that you'd like to share please add your link below.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mosaic Monday ~Blue Skies and Pumpkin Soup

Not much new photo material this week, but there were some beautiful skies (plenty of rain too!) I'm joining in on Mosaic Monday this week. Check out the other entries HERE.

Between my little Halloween squash man and my bi-weekly veggie box, I was kind of pumpkin squashed to the max at my house. I didn't want them to go to waste so I made a pot of soup that I will freeze and save for weekday lunches. This one had a little spicy Thai twist that I really liked.

Thai Pumpkin Soup


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small pumpkin, skinned and chopped into 1-inch chunks
2 1/4 cups water
1 2/3 cups canned coconut cream (I used light and cut back the water to 1 2/3 cups
1 tablespoon hot sweet Thai chili sauce
1 tablespoon lemon grass, finely chopped* (I used lemon rind)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
freshly ground pepper & salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (optional)
chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a large pot, heat oil and gently cook onion with brown sugar and
garlic over low heat until softened (8-10 minutes).
Add chopped pumpkin, water, coconut cream, chili, lemongrass or rind
and fish sauce.
Season with freshly ground pepper and salt.
Simmer for about 25 minutes until tender.
Remove and puree until smooth.
Just before serving, adjust seasoning to taste.
Mix in chopped cilantro.

*The same amount of grated lemon peel can be substituted.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Flashback and Foodie Friday ~Turkey Leftovers

My husband Randy is Canadian..and wouldn't you know it, they have a different Thanksgiving than we do. Normally on Canadian Thanksgiving I make him his traditional meal and save the cornbread dressing and sweet potato casserole for the U.S. Thanksgiving. We were traveling in Louisiana this year for his, so he got his Turkey and white bread stuffing dinner a little late. Which is why I had turkey leftovers already. I think reworked leftovers make a great subject for Flashback Friday, so today I've got a recipe for a great salad I made with that turkey. The ingredients were a nice combination and somehow seemed pretty seasonal with the apples. I got the fennel in my organic veggie/fruit box and enjoyed its crunch and different taste. Celery would work well too.

Turkey, Fennel and Apple Salad
this was inspired by several different recipes

1 cup dried cherry/golden raisin mix (1 cup of either would work too)
1 1/2 cups apple cider
4-5 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1 cup chopped pecans lightly toasted
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 small bulb fennel, white parts sliced finely
1 small bunch of dill or 1-2 tsp dill concentrate (see below)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp ginger (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Bring apple cider and cherries to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes or until plumped and cider begins to reduce a bit. In the mean time combine remaining ingredients, then added cherries and raisins. To thin mayo dressing, add a little of the remaining cider a little at a time to achieve the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve on a bed of lettuce or with crackers. This would be great with a tangy cheese added like blue or parmesan.

I was stopped at a light on my way home this week and snapped this shot. I didn't really capture them in the act, but the kids were picking up the leaves and throwing them and they just looked like they were having so much fun. I love the look of fall leaves on green grass.

This next pic was way out of focus, but still had some redeeming value. I think it looks like a water color.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! If you have a flashback you'd like to share, please add your link below!

I'm also joining in for Foodie Friday this week over at Designs by Gollum. Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pendleton & Walla Walla & Potato Pancakes

Last week I was in Pendleton, Oregon for work. It's in the eastern part of the state..a little drier and treeless than you think of Oregon being.

But a very cute little town whose heyday was back at the turn of the century (the last century). It was a carousing cowboy town with a main street full of brothels. The downtown area is still cute but I didn't see any brothels! I did see a lot of neat neon, like the sign at this restaurant I ate at the first night.

Mac and Cheese with bacon and jalapenos!

Besides the brothels and cowboys Pendleton also must have had some higher class who lived in pretty pink houses like this

How about another claim to fame for Pendleton....the woolen mills. Some of you out there are bound to have heard of Pendleton wool.

Dinner the second night was at an awesome old western steakhouse inspired Virgils at Cimmiyotti's. It was like stepping back in time..and not necessarily the old west. It was more like a 50s supper club. Red velvet wallpaper, dark wood and stainglass lamps plus the gracious owner/hostess wearing a 50s inspired evening gown. The food and service were outstanding, but I was only brave enough to take one sly cell phone photo of my beautifully garnished house salad.

I did find this one on Yelp. I sat in the seat right behind the server..who happened to be mine! This would be the perfect date restaurant. I had the Virgil's Steak Oscar with sweet potato fries. Everything was perfect.

So Wednesday night I drove out of Pendleton...

And headed to Walla Walla, Wa where I was going to be catching a plane the next morning. The drive between the two towns is essentially through rolling harvest wheat fields like this. Pretty...but reallllllly rural.

Walla Walla seemed to have a lot to offer restaurant wise, but after I failed to find a couple on my list I was getting a tiny bit desperate (=hungry) so I just decided to pick the closest restaurant that my trusty GPS had to offer. That's how I ended up at Clarette's on the skirts of little Whitman College. It was night when I got I didn't take a pic but I'm getting pretty good at this swiping bit. Courtesy of Yelp. As you can see it's just a diner type establishment, but with some very tasty food. The menu was a surprising multipaged jobby and I had a hard time deciding on my meal but settled on Potato Pancakes.

Now I thought the pancakes would look like all of the other potato pancackes I've eaten..little flattened mounds of shredded potatoes. But what came to my table looked exactly like regular if not a bit flat pancakes. Hmmm...was my first thought. Served with bacon and applesauce with various syrups brought to the table. I settled on the apricot syrup and a little applesauce combined and dug in. Definitely more potatoey than pancakey in taste but I loved the texture. I had to try and recreate when I got home. They were so yum I failed to take any photos, but here's my take on Clarette's

Potato Pancakes a la Clarette's

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
2 medium potatoes shredded (about 2 cups)
1/4 onion, shredded
2 tablespoons green onions
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Mix well flour, buttermilk, baking soda and eggs. Add shredded potatoes, onions and green onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat skillet to medium high and melt some of the butter to grease bottom. Pour spoonfuls of batter to make pancakes. Flatten mounds of potatoes to spread over entire pancake. This made 7 good sized pancakes and was more than enough to feed two people. Serve with pats of butter & apple sauce, apricot syrup or preserves or ketchup or all three. I enjoyed the preserves...Randy like the ketchup. Clarette's served with applesauce but had syrups on the table...the apricot was perfect.
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