Christmas Spirit Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge questions that Joyce From This Side of the Pond asks each week are not surprisingly Christmas themed in December. Here we go…

1. What do you think it means to have the holiday spirit?

Going deep on this one and deferring to my hubby:

“It’s having the Spirit of Christ, who convicts of sin and enables faith in that Jesus is who He says He is and has done what He has says He has done. Without the work of the Spirit of Christ we would have no hope for forgiveness, for eternity with Him, for glory.

Romans 5:1 (ESV)

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

2. What’s one thing you’ve baked this month?

I baked a Chocolate Decadent Bundt cake last week for our card night.

Have you eaten the finished product?

Yes, at the card night last Friday night. It got very good reviews from those who ate it.

How much baking do you do around the holidays?

This varies from year to year. Some years I don’t make any cookies…shock!

What baked sweet something does your family insist is on the menu during this season of the year?

Roolyet is a Russian treat our mom would make every Christmas. A yeast dough rolled with a  walnut filling (walnuts, sugar, egg whites and vanilla). Now that my sister and I perfected the recipe I should make it every Christmas, too.

3. Your most recent ‘half-baked’ idea?

How about thoroughly baked. In January I clicked on the buy button for plane tickets from Seattle to London for September of this year. Then COVID-19 struck us all. Plane tickets, Air BnB deposits and many plans made that had to all be cancelled. Thankfully all was refunded.

4. Where were you the last time you ‘baked’ in the sun?

In my own backyard pulling weeds.

The top ten sunniest destinations in the world (most sun from January-December according to this site) are Dubai, Bali Indonesia, Los Angeles CA, Miami FL, Barbados, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Mauritius, Antiqua, and the Canary Islands Spain. Have you been to any of the cities listed?

I was born in East Los Angeles and raised in the “burbs” of Los Angeles and spent many summers baking on Southern California beaches slathered in Coconut Butter. Craziness!

Which one on the list appeals to you the most?

We do not choose sunny destinations these days. We do not lay in the sun. We look for shade and head straight to an umbrella when the sun is out and the air is hot. The only reason L.A. is appealing these days is because of our loved ones who live there and who we enjoy spending time with.

If the world were not upside down crazy and you could lie on a beach anywhere right now where would you go?

Never mind lying on the beaches, I would choose Jolly Old England any time of the year, walking down a lane instead of lying on a beach!

Now that said, we do enjoy walking on the beach at dawn in the summer and any time of day in the Winter.

5. Today I wish I had more _____________________.

Options for shopping in my little town of Colville.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

This past Sunday to Monday we enjoyed a 46th Anniversary night at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Dinner at Beverly’s on the 7th floor made us feel like normal before all this craziness came upon us all.

Our complimentary Anniversary dessert! Vanilla ice cream wrapped in cotton candy with some fruit and dessert bark.

When the Christmas cards are all signed, sealed and delivered to the Post Office I feel like I should get an award. Do you still send cards?

Canlis

There’s a restaurant in the Seattle area that is a kind of icon that reminds you of bygone days when people would dress up to go out to eat and service was top notch. We had never been to Canlis before. We might have been a little intimidated but no more…

Josh and Laura invited us to join them in the Canlis Lounge to break the intimidation and celebrate a late Mother’s Day/Father’s Day meal together.

P1050409One of the views from the restaurant. Remember the fact that I was a little intimidated to start so my photo taking suffered because of that. I did not get one photo of Laura and I on the other side of the table.

P1050406Father and Son with Father starting or re-visiting a style statement from years gone by.

P1050407The Bolo or String Tie. Do you remember these? Dear has 3 of them that were his fathers.

P1050398A shot of Josh with the piano player behind him. The soft live piano music was a very nice addition. I just noticed that nice shiny table top that picked up a reflection of Josh.

P1050399We ordered small bites along with the Canlis Salad. The Canlis Salad has been on the menu since opening night of the restaurant in 1950. The recipe was taught to Peter Canlis by his Lebanese mother. Oops, forgot to take a photo of the salad.

P1050396

P1050403I did get a photo of myself in the ladies room so you can see I was wearing pearls and I did wear a dress instead of my usual jeans. Fabulous expression on my face. Looks like I was holding my breath hoping no one walked through the door and caught me!

P1050404We had to order this dish to top off the night.  Canlis Souffle ~ Grand Marnier, Orange zest and creme anglaise. Please allow 30 minutes for this dessert. We were happy to allow the time and enjoyed it very much.

There is a story that we keep retelling about this night at Canlis. Josh drove us up to the door and the valet team let us out of the car and drove the car away with no tickets, no names exchanged. They just said, “Have a nice evening”. We stepped into the restaurant and walked to the host/hostess area and said “We don’t have reservations but we would like to eat in the lounge”. No names exchanged. We were guided to the lounge where we chose our seats and enjoyed our time together. Josh paid the bill at the end of our time and we walked up the stairs and out the front door of the restaurant and Josh’s car magically appeared at the door as soon as we exited the restaurant. We did not have a seconds wait for our car. I looked at the Valet and said “How did you do that?” He looked at me and smiled. They are not giving out their secrets but we had fun speculating on how that little bit of magic happened on the way home. The next time we go to Canlis I’ll take a photo of that famous salad!

 

Tuesday Tips!

GrazieWe enjoy eating earlier these days so when we decide to eat out we try different Happy Hours around the area. Some Happy Hours are happier than others.  Last Friday we re-visited an old favorite from a few years ago and were very pleased. All of these dishes were half priced and each selection was plenty for the three of us to enjoy. Yes, three, as our daughter Katie is still with us while our Son-in-law Andrew is serving in Afghanistan. There were three meatballs on that plate before I took the photo. We were pleased with the selections that Grazie in Canyon Park offered.

P1040819This Bruschetta appetizer was great with the added ricotta and herb spread and olive tapenade. I’ll be trying to duplicate it and will post it on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook webpage. I’m thinking it will be a great dish for Super Bowl Sunday.

Speaking of Andrew if you are a praying friend of mine could you please pray that Andrew’s time in Afghanistan will not be extended? We all would appreciate it here at this old house. Originally he would be returning before April. Now we are praying he’ll be home before May.

Monday was an amazingly non-productive day at his old house. I did manage to make dinner. Can I have some applause please? Thank you. I hear our Midwest and Eastern friends will be experiencing some more nasty winter weather this week. Stay safe please! All we have in the forecast here is rain…

Renovations…

…are a great excuse for eating out. Thankfully we can take advantage of the lower priced Happy Hours around town since Dear starts work early and gets home earlier than most. Remember if you don’t drink alcohol you can still enjoy Happy Hours. Usually they just require you to order some type of drink including soft drinks or iced tea, etc.

We have found a new place to us in town that we have enjoyed a few times now.

Main Street Ale House1Main Street Ale House in Bothell. I didn’t take a photo of the jalapeno poppers we had last Wednesday night. They were delicious stuffed with cheese and wrapped in thick bacon. They came with a dipping sauce that was sweet (maple syrup and brown sugary). A great sweet and savory combo.

We actually had a meal in from items I purchased at Costco last Thursday. They had their rotisserie chicken packaged in leg quarters in the fresh refrigerated section 8 quarters for $4.99. I bought those a container of Coconut Curry Sauce, some Naan bread, rice and a Caesar salad. I simmered 4 of the chicken quarters in the sauce to serve with the rest of the sides that I bought. Easy peasy in a kitchen that is not totally back to normal.

What is your go to restaurant or bring in meal when things are topsy turvy at home?

My mom continues to be cared for at home and she has her major ups and downs. My family is continuing to make adjustments to make her as comfortable as we can. Thank you so much for all your prayers and kind encouragement during this time. My family is blessed by it all.

mom coloringHere’s my mom from Monday night having some ice cream and coloring with my niece Melissa. She really enjoyed this and I love seeing these photos.

Adventures in Eating…

Since my parents lived in Persia (Iran) from the early 1930’s till 1947 they learned to enjoy Persian cuisine and to cook many dishes. We finally found a Persian restaurant we enjoyed in Bellevue, Washington.

Dear had the lamb kabobs.

I had the Ghormeh Sabzi. Chopped and sauteed parsley, spinach and leeks, simmered with stew beef, herbs and red beans.

Katie had Chicken Vegetable Curry. All entrees were served with basmati rice with saffron.

This is my all time favorite salad. So simple and fresh and delicious. It was called Shirazi at this restaurant.

We would recommend Caspian.

Do you have an international food favorite?

Old As The Hat!

This past Mondayafter visiting my folks at their apartment in Brea I headed for the freeway and spotted The Hat. I enjoy a good pastrami sandwich so I decided to pull through the drive-thru to order one.

The Famous Pastrami Dip Sandwich was my choice for the day.

They don’t skimp on the size and the pastrami portion. I could only eat half.

I got my sandwich in this bag and noticed The Hat is as old as I am. It seemed fitting for this old girl born in California in 1951 to enjoy a sandwich from a company that’s survived and thrived for over 61 years in California.

I’m back from Canada and the Border Agents going and coming were very nice to me as usual. My time in Canada was filled with lots of good conversation and good food, oh my! My Dear is in Vienna right now and I’ll be interested in hearing about the food he’ll be eating. He’s there for a conference and won’t have much time for sight seeing but he does hope to see as much as his free time allows.

Have a good weekend everyone. I’m recuperating and laying low for the rest of today.

If It’s Tuesday…

…it must be La Corona!

Every Tuesday rain or shine you’ll find Dear and I at our favorite local Mexican Restaurant, La Corona.

We really enjoy their salsa. Did you notice the larger than usual salsa container? Our waitress knows we go through the little one too fast so she brings us a big bowl to begin with. During my season of restraint, I count out 6 chips and lay them on a napkin on the table. That is my portion. I double dip, triple dip, quadruple dip to get as much salsa as I can with my 6 chips. Salsa is cheap in calories…

We have a favorite waitress at the restaurant. This is Liliana. She treats us like family and we appreciate her work ethic and the big bowl of salsa

Here’s my restraint meal. I get one soft corn taco with Chile Colorado for the meat. Instead of rice I get a salad. Instead of refried beans I get the ranch beans. I didn’t want to give up our tradition of going out on our dinner date on Tuesdays so this is a good alternative meal to enjoy without the typical Mexican meal calories! Monday marks 4 weeks of restraint for me.

It’s Friday and for me the week seemed to go slow for a change. I mowed the lawn yesterday and found some mystery meat in the garage freezer. It really is a good idea to label stuff you freeze. We are pretty sure it was pork loin and it cooked up real nice because it was pre-seasoned well. Oye!

Do you have any plans for the weekend?

Gabriel’s Fire, Restaurant, Grill and Barbecue!

We finally found a good spot for barbecue in the Puget Sound area. Josh and Laura met us there after church on Sunday.

Monty Slimp and his brother are the cooks and waiters. Monty helped us around the sauces. They’ve got several to choose from depending on your taste buds. The meat has a real good smoke taste. I ordered the Deelux, brisket tossed in your choice of sauce and layered with cheese, beans, and topped with coleslaw. Dear ordered the Pulled Pork. Laura ordered the pulled pork tacos. I forgot what Josh ordered. It was all real good.  They serve brews from a local brewery.

They say “we only use whole logs to smoke our meat; because the flavor is in the smoke!”  Our taste buds agree with that statement. We highly recommend Gabriel’s Fire for great tasting barbecue in a casual setting.

And for all my Canadian friends, on your next trip South, this spot is just off the I-5 .

Our Favorite Waitress…

…knows what we like and she doesn’t disappoint.

We are regulars at a restaurant close by and we are recognized and treated well by all the employees. One of the waitresses is our very favorite. Sometimes when she sees us drive up she heads to the kitchen and the bar and comes to our table with some favorites even before we order. We go through the small bowls of salsa fast so she doesn’t bring us a small bowl but finds a large one to fill with salsa. She is quick and efficient and we appreciate her work ethic. When we order a Cadillac Margarita she gives us a Rolls Royce. She never gets under 20% for a tip. We have a mutual respect for each other!

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,
and their always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same

You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.

Photobucket replaced all my photos with ugly black and grey boxes and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.

A Great Reason to Celebrate…

…our daughter Katie completed her coursework for her degree from University of Washington!

A wonderful reason to don the Oscar de la Renta and go out on the town…

We chose to celebrate at Palisade Restaurant at the waterfront on Elliott Bay…

 

The views of Seattle were great and the food and company were lovely…

 

Dear, Ellen b., Katie, Josh, Laura, Steve, and Lana G!

 

Our two lovely daughters…

 

Laura and Josh…

 

Ellen b. and Dear

 

Josh and Katie…

 

Sisters…

Our daughter in love, Laura.

The proud mama!

Isn’t she lovely!?

We are so proud of your perseverance in the challenges of changing schools and finishing well, Katie. We pray for God’s richest blessings in your life as you continue to grow and remember that God is the provider of all good things!

Photobucket is holding all my photos that I stored on their site from 2007-2015 hostage replacing them with ugly grey and black boxes and asking for a large ransom to retrieve them. It is a slow process to go through all my posts deleting the ugly boxes.