Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's Cooking?

I received two (yes, TWO) new cookbooks for Christmas from my very thoughtful daughter, and recently tried each of them. "Too Hot in the Kitchen" (Secrets to Sizzle At Any Age) has plenty of fun recipes, and I chose to try Lemon Pie...see below.

If I do say so myself, the pie was absolutely delicious! As an added bonus, it's extremely easy as well. However, next time I'll let the reduced fat cream cheese soften a bit more. It was soft when I mixed it, but I wasn't able to get all the lumps out. Wally did not taste the lumps, but I was not satisfied with this effort. But it tasted great and set up very quickly. I'll definitely make this again.

The other cookbook is Betty Crocker Quick Fixes (100 Recipes for the Way you Really Cook). I made the Chicken Piccata. The recipe is easy: Coat boneless chicken breasts in flour and cook in butter and garlic until done. Add a cup of white wine or chicken broth with 2 T. lemon juice and sprinkle with pepper. Heat until hot and serve. Sprinkle with capers.

The chicken was tender and juicy, but I was disappointed that the butter and garlic were over-cooked. The recipe called for cooking at medium-high heat, and I think that was too hot. I used the chicken broth, but may try wine instead. Next time, I'll pound the chicken breasts so they are thinner, and I'll also cook on a lower heat. And yes, I'll definitely make again!

Other recipes I plan to try include Salmon with Soy-Ginger Sauce and White Chocolate Creme Brulee...mmm, can't wait. Thanks, Sarah!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Goes Without Saying

Our recent anniversary got me thinking about the evolution of love over the course of a relationship. However, our relationship is probably NOT the norm, since Wally and I met and married within seven months. So I really can't speak to anyone elses idea of love, but I think I can speak to ours.

When Wally and I first met, we fell in love pretty quickly. We were both at that stage in life where we knew what we were looking for and ready to act when we found it. Unfortunately, my first impression of him was not so favorable. In 1981, I was the first woman hired into the department. As I walked through the warehouse, I heard a wolf-whistle aimed directly at me. I turned to glare at the offending party, and found Wally and his dreamy eyes looking back at me. The rest is history! Just for the record, Wally invited me out to lunch shortly thereafter, and that's when the miscommunication started. I thought he was inviting me out for food, and he thought he was inviting me out to walk during lunch. Our communication skills have only slightly improved :)

Soon after we were married, Wally surprised me with a special gift. (I still have it somewhere, but can't find it) He made a "Liz Lake Fan Club" membership card that listed him as Fan #1. It was very sweet! Since then, he's given me sweet, mushy cards on just about every occasion. Cut to 29 years later, and we are very comfortable in our relationship. So did I get a sweet, mushy card for our anniversary? You be the it is:

In my opinion....YES! This was a very sweet gesture and very typical of our relationship. We don't need extravagant gifts or saccharine cards to show our love. When he moves my load of clothes from the washer to the dryer, or empties the dishwasher, or buys me dark chocolate just for fun...that tells me everything I need to know.

Yes, we're in love. And yes, we're in it for the long haul!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Anniversary Celebration

My sweetheart and I celebrated our 29th anniversary on January 6th.

Since we had never done so, we decided to spend a couple of nights in downtown Seattle. I found us a great deal at the Paramount Hotel, just down the street from the Paramount Theater. Our room included full breakfast off the menu and valet parking each day for $159/nt., which is very reasonable. Here's our beautiful room!

We met Heide and Ed for a wonderful dinner at the Gordon Biersch Brewery restaurant in Pacific Place. Heide and Wally had pecan encrusted chicken, I had the pecan encrusted salmon, and Ed had the Jambalya. All were delicious! The Sickles headed for home to get ready for their trip to Waitsburg the next day, and we decided to see "True Grit". REALLY enjoyed the movie, but the seats were not very comfortable for my lame hip.

That night, our sleep was interrupted by the ventilation system. I had forgotten to turn down the heat, so every time it went on during the night it sounded like an airplane taking off. We reported it to management and they fixed it that day.

The culprit
After being sleepless in Seattle due to the extremely soft bed as well as the noisy room, and as a result of my discomfort at the movie the night before, I didn't really feel up to walking much. We decided to take a ride out to the Snoqualmie Casino. It is really a beautiful place, and turned out to be quite lucky... for me at least. I turned a twenty cent bet into $80 on one spin!!!! Well, happy anniversary to me!

We headed back to Seattle for a "light" lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, and took two pieces of cheesecake to eat later. We spent a few hours exploring the stores and then headed back to the hotel for a quick snack before show.

We saw "Grease" at the Paramount, and really enjoyed the show. The actress playing the part of "Rizzo" had the best voice of all, but all the performers were entertaining. The "star" of the show was Eddie Mekka. What? You don't remember him as the "Big Ragu Carmine" from Laverne & Shirley? Don't worry, he came onstage before the show to warm up the crowd and sang the theme song, too!

Our weekend ended when I dropped Wally off to join Scott for the Seahawks' playoff game...WHICH THEY WON!!! Go Hawks! While they were at the game, I went home and put together the bookshelf that had been delivered while we were out of town. Is this a perfect fit for the space or what?

So that was my long was yours?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas musings

Sarah has been after me to start a blog, so thought I'd give it a shot. Here we go!

It's been a hectic holiday season, and I'm looking forward to the new year ahead. In the last few weeks we entertained lots of company, bought and received fun gifts, and ate WAY too much good food. Random thoughts:

When your daughter says the house is too cold, it's probably a good idea to check out the heating vents (found three our of four closed AFTER she left).

Holiday cookies taste better when someone else bakes them.

If I receive granny panties for Christmas, shouldn't being a granny naturally follow?

It's wonderful when the family arrives for the annual Christmas party, but it's even better when they leave (no offense intended)

It's wonderful to spend time with those special people who make your children happy...thanks Sandra and Nick!

If Christmas decorations need to be dusted...they have been up too long!

Christmas is MUCH more fun when little ones are around (thanks Kayden & Ava!)

I never get tired of hearing kids, even big kids, giggling while they play video games.

I definitely don't have the energy I did when my kids were little (shout out to K & A)

Game nights with our best friends are just as much fun now as when our kids were small.

Santa pictures are still the best gifts to receive!

Life is always better when the Huskies AND Seahawks win! Now if only Baylor had won...

My house is way too quiet.....