Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's ridiculously hot in the Pacific Northwest

OK, so the temperature was down to 104 degrees in my backyard today, in the shade, under the filbert tree, near our little pond and waterfall. (My Mom swears that everything important happens under 'the famous filbert tree', and she isn't too far off the mark.) Now, if you really stop and think about it, that's an absolutely ridiculous statement for someone to make if they live here in the beautiful Pacific NW. We haven't had a heatwave like this since before my oldest son, Dan, was born, and he's 25 now and all grown up! Crazy! So, I'm pulling out all of my salad recipes, and always on the lookout for more. This night, I wanted to make a salad with beef, maybe Thai-oriented. I searched the internet, and got some ideas, but not a solid recipe that really spoke to me. So, I went shopping, and winged it. Now, I'm really liking the way this salad turned out, so I thought I would share. It's healthy, has interesting flavor combos going on, and even satisfies the meat eaters out there. I'm not going to get exact on proportions here, because I really just did what looked right for the folks I was feeding.

Andi's Steak Salad

1/4 lb beef top loin steak per person

grill seasoning

1 bag of iceburg lettuce mix with carrots and red cabbage

some fresh spinach, thinly slice

fresh cilantro, chopped (unless you hate it, and then use flat-leaf parsley)

bell pepper, preferably red or yellow, chopped

cucumber, peeled and chopped

bean sprouts

salad dressings of your choice

Assemble the greens in a big bowl as follows. First, put a generous amount of iceberg lettuce mix in the salad bowl. Then add the spinach, cilantro or flat-leaf parsely, bell pepper, cucumber, and bean sprouts. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until your're ready to serve.

The steak can be bbq'd, broiled, or pan-fried. Cook it to about medium rare and season with grill seasoning. Let the steak cool and rest. You don't want to slice it until it's close to room temp or the juices will all run out. Slice the steak very thinly on a platter of its own.

Each person can assemble their own salad: first greens, then meat, then dressing. I served this salad with some good crusty Italian bread.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New items for sale at my Etsy shop!

Well folks, I finally got around to accomplishing something on my 'Artistic To Do List'. I have opened a new section in my shop for handcrafted greeting cards and notecards. Today I listed three sets of Thank you cards, very reasonably-priced I might add, for the budget-minded shopper. I plan on adding more cards to the shop this coming week, including some for baby congrats, love, friendship, and even Christmas cards. Some of these cards will be accented with my hand-done embellishments, for a more artistic look, and a slightly higher price tag of course!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maine 2009

You can see just how bad the weather was in these photos. The rain had actually stopped, and it was just foggy. So foggy that even the lobster boats weren't going out! This year I took my Maine trip early. Usually I go in late September or early October, when the kids are back in school and the tourists are gone, just before everything closes up for the long, cold winter and I can see some gorgeous fall color and eat lobster. But this year, I wanted to take Cody, my youngest son. He doesn't remember my Mom and Walter, or my sister Kathy, and he'd never even met Kathy's husband Stan. My husband Dale has been to Maine, and even Cody's older brother Dan has been to Maine. And Dan does remember my family. And I love Maine, for many reasons! Cody was feeling a bit left out, and I really wanted him to have some good memories of family back there, especially since Mom and Walter are in their early 90s now. And it gave us a chance to do something together, just the two of us. An adult-type trip. We flew into Rockland airport in a tiny Cessna that holds 9 passengers and the pilot. It was cloudy, of course, so we couldn't see all of the islands that can make this a wonderful flight. But, it wasn't windy or bumpy either, so at least the flight was smooth. And boy, this was one small airplane! And Rockland airport has no control tower; all landings are visual only. The first few nights we stayed at my favorite B&B, Ripples Inn at the Harbor, with my friend Sandi Dillon, who owns and runs Ripples. I love staying there and I love Sandi. It really is like being at home, only much better! You can literally walk into town from there, and you're only a block from the waterfront. Every night after dinner, Cody and I took a walk down along the docks and the waterfront. Then we headed to my sister Kathy's in nearby Owlshead. She and Stan live right on the water, in a gorgeous craftsman house that they had built for them. They're very isolated, and I love their place too! They are between two lighthouses, Rockland and Owlshead, and you could hear the foghorns talking to each other, non-stop, the whole time we were there. The Owlshead lighthouse. Rain or not, we did have a good time. Cody taught my Mom a new card game, which she was thrilled about, because Mom loves to play cards. My sister Kathy and I checked out the new Jamie Wyeth exhibit at the Farnsworth Museum, 'The Seven Deadly Sins'. Kathy and I always go to the Farnsworth and check out the latest Wyeth exhibit. Cody got to watch his Aunt Kathy get rid of a red squirrel one morning after breakfast, in her pjs and bathrobe, and Cody was really quite impressed! (We'll just leave that description right there!) Cody played pool with his Uncle Stan and they watched baseball together and talked sports. Walter amazed Cody with his imitation/comedy Hawaiian 'chanting'. And I had a great time with my family and at Ripples with Sandi. Did I mention how much I truly love Sandi and her B&B? We weren't in the place 5 minutes, and Cody said to me,"I can see why you two are such good friends!" Thus end my epistles of Maine. Who's coming with me next year? It may be a 'Girls' Trip'. Unfortunately, the northeastern part of this country had record-breaking rainfall in June this year. And boy did they! It rained like hell most of the time we were there, which changed some of our plans, but at least we live here in the rainy Pacific NW and not Arizona or some other horrid desert climate, so Cody and I weren't really bothered by the rain too much. My sister Kathy was not a happy camper!