Sunday, November 24, 2013

Run Matty, Run!

Matty finished his final season of XC with a team banquet this past Thursday. Matty actually had his best year & earned a varsity letter for his effort! YAY!!! This comeback was especially sweet since he had to sit out his junior year to recover from micro-fracture surgery.
Proud athlete!
Senior boys receiving their awards.
The banquet ended with a senior tradition. The seniors say something about the other members of the team with the teammate's name, followed by 'most likely to.' I have to say, as a parent I have always dreaded this tradition as there have been many horribly cruel comments in the past. This year I was pleasantly surprised! There were no mean spirited or rude comments. This says so much about this group of seniors!
Reading 'most likely to...'

This wonderful lady is Karen Goritski. She is the assistant coach for the team. She is an amazing woman & the biggest cheerleader for the kids! We will miss her lots!

Great job, Matty! We are so proud of you!!!
Final season highlights
Click on the photo to enlarge.

One Potato, Two Potato?

We've had a beautiful week of sunshine around here!  Windy, but dry enough that I was able to clean out all my planter boxes that were full of dead summer annuals.
While cleaning out the container above, I found this rather large sweet potato! I've always planted sweet potato vines, but this is the first time one has produced a root vegetable for me.☺ My other container that had an even bigger sweet potato vine, only had a tangle of red roots.

I guess I really DO have a green thumb!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Make This!!!

I found this recipe in the current issue of Kraft’s Food & Family Magazine. It is a winner! These bar cookies are perfect for a party or potluck and keep well for several days, if they last that long!

Gingerbread Caramel Bars
Serves: 36 bars
1pkg.  (2-layer size) spice cake mix
2tsp.  ground ginger
1/2cup  butter, melted
1 egg
35 KRAFT Caramels
1 can  (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1 pkg.  (4 oz.) BAKER’S White Chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Line a 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; spray with cooking spray.  Beat cake mix, ginger, butter and egg with mixer until blended.  (Dough will be stiff.)  Press 2/3 of the dough onto bottom of prepared pan.

Bake for 10 to 12 min. or until lightly browned.  Meanwhile, microwave caramels and milk in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 3 to 3-1/2 min. or until caramels are completely melted and sauce is well blended, stirring after each minute.

Drizzle caramel sauce over baked layer in pan. Reserve 2 Tbsp. chopped chocolate; sprinkle remaining over caramel sauce. Crumble remaining gingerbread dough over dessert. Bake 25 to 30 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely.

Microwave reserved chocolate in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 30 sec. to 1 min. or until completely melted, stirring every 30 sec.; drizzle over dessert.  Let stand until chocolate is firm.  Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan before cutting into bars.

Note: I will leave the white chocolate out next time and just keep it as a drizzle. I felt the taste of the chocolate competed with the caramel.
Update! I made these again last night and substituted pumpkin pie spice for the ginger. Wow! It made the cake so much spicier.☺

Monday, November 11, 2013

Make This!!!

Chili with Smoked Brisket

Omid smoked another brisket for our family this past week. When it was cool enough to slice, I made sure he saved me enough meat so I could make my tasty chili. 

The secret to this delicious recipe is of course, the brisket; but also the spice mix from a box of Carroll Shelby's Chili Kit.  This is a tip I gleaned from my friend Kris C. It has the perfect amount of cumin & chili powder. I don't use the salt, cayenne or masa mix - just the large bag of spices.
Here's my yummy recipe in case you want to try it out yourself.
Best Ever Brisket Chili
4+ cups of smoked brisket, cubed
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can kidney or black beans, rinsed & drained
1 onion, diced & sautéed
1 4 oz. can roasted & diced green chiles
1 package Carroll Shelby's chili spice mix
8 oz water (more if you like your chili soupy - we like it thick)
Saute onion in butter or olive oil until translucent. Place all ingredients in a crock pot and simmer on high for 5 hours, reduce to low for one hour.  Serve with sour cream, green onions & corn bread. Enjoy!
**For a heartier, more rib sticking chili: serve over cooked macaroni noodles.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Make This!!

Easy Chicken, Turkey or Tuna Turnovers

Basically, whatever leftover meat you need to use up, stick it in these easy and yummy turnovers. I used one cup of cubed turkey, as that is what I had on hand after making an early Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening.

Easy Turnovers
1 cup cooked tuna, chicken or turkey
1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
mayonnaise to moisten (about 1/4 cup)
salt & pepper
1 recipe biscuit dough

Preheat oven to 400*. Roll out prepared biscuit dough 1/4" thick and cut into 4 inch rounds or squares. Place about 2 1/2 T of filling on each. Fold over and seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
*I sprinked the tops of my turnovers with shredded parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dinner with Friends at Le Pigeon!

This past Saturday, our good friend Katie visited from Spokane. Lin, Tammie & I decided a few weeks ago that Katie's visit called for a trip to a 'fawncy' restaurant. Lin suggested Le Pigeon, we made the reservation and started our "countdown to Katie!"
Le Pigeon has been ranked the #1 restaurant in Portland for the past few years. The executive chef, Gabriel Rucker is a two time James Beard award winner. When I called to make the reservations six weeks ago, there were only two slots left for November 2nd. A 5:15 p.m. slot or a 10:00 p.m. slot. If you want to go, make your reservations early!!
Fun fact: Katie and I have been friends for 17 years!

I love these ladies!!♥
Once we arrived at Le Pigeon, I was surprised at how tiny it is. The restaurant fits about 45-50 diners, maybe. Tables are 'family style,' so you will sit with strangers. It's also a bit noisy inside. This is not the place if you want a quiet, romantic dinner for two. It is, however, out of this world delicious!!!

We all agreed to order the five course tasting menu. It was the best way to taste many things on the menu. One note: in order to try the tasting menu, everyone in your party must order it.

Our first course was deep fried rock shrimp with pickled mango, green onion and a tarragon greed goddess dressing. The dressing was the star of this course. So tangy.
First course
The second course was a pan fried sea bass, served with turnips and mushrooms.
Second course
The third course was Wagyu beef, pan fried foie gras and deep fried shallots. This was the first time I had ever tried foie gras. It was out of this world delicious!  The foie gras was the best part of this course.
Third course
The fourth course was venison with a bone marrow pumpkin pie and brussel sprout cole slaw. The bone marrow pumpkin pie was my favorite part of the fourth course. Sweet & savory.
Fourth course
At this point, we were so incredibly full, but there was one course left: dessert! Dessert was a cream puff filled with foie gras ice cream and served with salted caramel sauce. We also had a pumpkin pots du crème. It was 3/4 filled with the pumpkin mousse, 1/4 filled with whipping cream and topped with a crumbled gingersnap cookie. I wish I had one right now in front of me. It was just delectable.
Fifth course

After we thought we couldn't stuff another bite into our mouths, the waitress brought us camembert cheese filled chocolates. They were surprisingly good.

Our dinner took three hours from start to finish. Katie and I got the wine pairings with our dinner. I am so glad we did. I didn't recognize any of the wines on the menu at Le Pigeon (many being French). All of the wines were delicious.
Stuffed, happy mamas!
If you get a chance to dine at Le Pigeon, DO! It was a lot of fun and the food was amazing!