Soggy in Seattle – Three Great Days!

Hi Friends– Wondering if your planning a summer trip??  We did all our travels in April!!  So here’s our update on some really enjoyable (but soggy!) days in Seattle…

We took the train along the coast from Vancouver to Seattle watching the sun set along the way…

First stop the next morning was Pike’s Place Market– amazing banks of tulips for sale, along with produce and fish and loads of other tourists taking it all in!



We visited 2 beautiful museums– the large Seattle Art Museum, with it’s varied collection (first photo: life imitating art?) and the next day dropped in to the smaller Frye Art Museum, displaying the 19th century collection of the Frye family.



A highlight of our stay was a little shopping– at the amazing Elliot Bay Book Store, a Seattle institution with every book you could hope to find!  And a stop at beautiful Metsker’s Maps.



And we serendipitously ran into the new super green office building of Amazon and shopped at their easy payment grocery store, Amazon Go– (just sign up for the AP and it bills you as you walk out the door!! No checkout line.)


There was a morning spent wandering through the Klondike Gold Rush Museum (an urban National Park!)


And we had a night out on the town to see a rollicking version of “Kiss Me Kate!” at the historic Chinese themed 5th Avenue Theater.  Really a lot of fun!


Our last day we spent a wonderful worshipful morning in a young church in downtown Seattle. Loved that.  And then took the Ferry out for an afternoon on Bainbridge Island– great city vews as we set out on the water.


Thanks Larry for getting us all around town at about 6 miles of steps per day!!  Love being your intrepid traveling buddy.

Toffee Cookie Bars

Hello there– You know that addicting toffee that people make at Christmas?? So so delicious!  Just in case you’re reading Tammy, it was the best Christmas gift — I’m remembering that jarful you gifted us.

Well, this is the cookie version of that toffee, more crumbly and tender, but studded with almonds and toffee bits, topped with chocolate.  It really is delish, in that toffee candy sort of way!

6  tab. butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup plain toffee bits, divided*
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup whole toasted almonds, chopped

With an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar until it forms a thick paste.  Then beat in the flour and salt until it looks like sandy crumbs.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the toffee bits.

Spray a 9″ square baking dish (or 11″x7″ baking dish) with cooking spray and then spread the crumb mixture into the dish.  Pat it down to make a smooth even surface.

Bake the cookie layer at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the cookie layer when it comes out of the oven.  Let them sit 5 minutes to soften and then use a broad knife to spread the chocolate evenly over the cookie layer.
Sprinkle on the chopped almonds and remaining 1/4 cup toffee bits.

Let the cookie bars sit until they cool to room temperature and then cut them into neat little squares.

Books & Breakfast –Morning with Friends

Hi all– This isn’t really a recipe, but an idea that was so much fun, I thought you’d like to know about it.  Saturday morning a tableful of friends came in the door for breakfast and a favorite books “show and tell.”

We started off with a breakfast board down the middle of the table– sort of a help yourself to whatever looks good kind of meal.  Drank mugs of tea and laughed and talked over the week…

Then we all pulled out a short stack of what we’ve been reading lately to recommend to each other.  I typed up the list of books with small descriptions and emailed off the recommendations for everyone to use for future book possibilities.  So fun!  (we all had things to say about each other’s books–adding on movie and podcast ideas).

So here’s the Breakfast Board list –just in case you want to throw one together–
(sort of like a cheese board, but with breakfasty things thrown in!)
Smoked Gouda
Sliced ham
Rye bread
Cranberry walnut bread
Mini blueberry muffins
Hard boiled eggs (salt & pepper)
Pears, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe
Berry jam & orange marmalade, honey
Seedy mustard
(throw on a few flowers for the pretty part)

I got the long board (4′ by 12″) at Home Depot for $8.  Larry sanded and oiled it to make a breakfast worthy serving board.

And here’s a handful of the books we talked about:
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
Hearing God by Dallas Willard
Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah
A Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

Here’s to friends who read and love noisy talks over breakfast!!  Can’t wait to do it again!

Polenta with Meatballs

Hey there– Had a fun day yesterday, catching up with all my blog buddies that I’d missed while we were traveling.  So great to see all you’ve been cooking up and creating and doing with your families…  I’ve missed being in touch!

Besides all that blog browsing, of course, there was dinner to put on the table.  And here it is.  Well spiced meatballs in a bright tomato-y sauce over creamy warm polenta.  With a salad and a cup of wine, just right for a warm evening’s supper.


1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. sugar
2 tab. dried oregano
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

14 oz. can chicken broth
1  1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream (or half & half)
2 tab. butter
1 cup dry polenta

grated parmesan
chopped Italian parsley

To make the meatballs, stir together all the meatball ingredients.  With you hands shape about 15 two inch meatballs and set them on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.

Pop them into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, until they are browned and cooked through.

While they are baking, mix the crushed tomatoes, sugar, oregano and salt & pepper in a large sauce pan and put in on the lowest simmer.  When the meatballs are done in the oven, add them to the tomato mixture to simmer a few minutes.

To make the polenta, bring the chicken broth, milk, cream and butter to a low boil.  Whisk in the polenta and let it simmer for 2 or 3 minutes until it thickens.*  Stir in a little salt to taste.

OK, now you take a dinner plate and layer on the polenta and sauce with meatballs.  Sprinkle with parmesan and parsley.  Pretty and delicious!

*If it thickens too much, add a bit of hot water to thin it out.


Vancouver Days

Hi all–  Been telling a few of you about our travels– a cruise up the coast, some days in Vancouver and Seattle, home for 3 days and then an unexpected trip to Hong Kong, China and Japan with our kids, Ani & Brian!  My head is still spinning.  This is going to to take more than one post to fill you in…

So let’s start with our 3 days in Vancouver. We were so taken with the city and it’s gorgeous setting on the water, surrounded by snowy mountains.  And those Canadians– they’re so nice!!

So here’s what we loved– spent our first morning wandering across Granville Island and it’s amazing market.  It made me want to find a kitchen and cook!  And you get to the Island one of the colorful little ferries–such a great start to our stay.



Spent a gorgeous afternoon in Stanley Park, 1,000 acres of coast line views, towering forest, flower filled gardens, surrounded by city skyline.



And we loved wandering the city– The the wilds of the park, through the towering downtown and on to the historic district of Gastown and Chinatown beyond, in and out of shops and coffee spots and stopping to admire a beautiful downtown church…



And to top if all off, we spent a soggy but stunning day at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park–  we swayed across the 450 foot bridge suspended over a deep river gorge, walked through the treetops, followed the nature trail and traversed walkways hung from the sides of sheer cliffs!!  A whole lot of adventure in a gorgeous towering forest.





Whew!  so may photos (are you still reading??  thanks!).  It was a beautiful stay in a lovely city.  I’m hoping we can return someday.  And thanks thanks Larry for being my intrepid travel buddy!  xo

Morning by Morning

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing yet had been done.”
— C.S. Lewis (British writer, theologian, Oxford professor, 1898-1963)

I love that each morning as I wake up, I know God is close, listening, ready to share the day ahead with me.

“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
morning by morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.  — Psalm 5:3


P.S. Photo from John & Laurel’s wedding in Wisconsin last summer.

Sesame Chicken & Broccoli

Hello there– We’ve been traveling the last couple weeks–eating like we were on a vacation from reasonable food– such as mid morning coffee and pastry breaks every day!!  And tracking down fun places to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner!!

So it’s nice to get back to our own kitchen and have an “every day eating at home” kind of meal.  And this is a good one– ready in about 30 minutes, a little sweet, a little spicy.  So good to be at our own little table!


1 cup white or brown rice
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in small cube
2 tab. sesame oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 small heads broccoli, cut to bitesize pieces (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup water
t tab. soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
1  1/2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package.

Cut the chicken in bite size pieces.  Heat the oil in a large pan.  Cook the chicken 4 or 5 minutes until it’s browned and cooked through, salt & pepper it liberally while it cooks.

While that’s cooking, cut up the broccoli and steam it in lightly salted water,  3 minutes in the microwave, until its tender but still crisp.

In  container with a tight fitting lid combine the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic and chili sauce.  Shake the container until it is all blended and add it to the chicken on high heat, stirring until the sauce thickens, 2 or 3 minutes.

Drain the water from the broccoli and add it into the chicken in the pan.

On a platter, layer the rice and then the chicken and broccoli, scraping all that good sauce out of the pan over the chicken.  Sprinkle on the sesame seeds– ready to eat!