Scenes from the weekend + weekly dinner menu for week of August 15th

20110814-020634.jpgSince being in Seattle, I haven't really felt the pull to "get out of the city," to step away from our city life to slow down and to cherish nature. Part of the reason for this is that by living in Seattle, nature seems to be everywhere. We are exposed daily to the fresh air, huge lakes, evergreen trees, mountain ranges looming in the almost feels like we are on vacation every day.


20110814-021750.jpg But, this weekend, we did get out of the city. We drove east to a small town north of Snoqualmie called Fall City and then biked, in a row of four road bikes and two bike trailers, to pick raspberries, enjoy the mountain valley country roads, to take time to watch a snail, and to "just be" in nature with some new, yet already dear friends. It was perfect. And, we were reminded that not only is this new city, the one we are thrilled to call our home, gorgeous, so too is the surrounding land.





And now, this week's menu:

Tuesday: pinto beans (yes...beans, again!)

Wednesday: pasta with greens

Thursday: watermelon and mint skewers

Friday: no pizza this week (gasp!). Instead, I want to share our menu from a Mexican-themed supper party with friends including a black bean enchilada and delicious margarita recipe!

Summer's simple pleasures + Weekly menu for week of August 8th

I have always loved the summer season. As a child, summer meant swimming in granny and pawpaw's pool...emerging only to eat white bread ham sandwiches on the picnic table and watermelon slices sprinkled with salt. Having your hair turn slime green from the chlorine was a badge of honor. During my college years, summer provided a time to breathe, a respite from all the papers and exams and reading. Post-college, also known as the "real world," summer morphed into a time to stay out later than normal despite the need for an early rise, grilling with friends, relaxing by the pool, and attending lots of weddings!


Somewhere over the years, summer became more of a memory than an experience. Looking back, it seems I spent the past few summer seasons complaining about the heat and wishing my job provided a "summers off" option. The only unique memories I have of the past several summers are vivid daydreams about what my summer will be like "one day."


This summer has reawakened my senses. I have had the treat of spending this summer at home with Jack. I feel alive to the wonders of summer again...experiencing all that the season offers with a curious and engaged child. It feels like a school break...multiple months of time off after a hard year(+) of work! I have been relishing every moment and enjoying all of those simple childhood pleasures that mean summer...


Eating cherries on the deck together for an afternoon snack

Endless hours of playing with shovels and balls and the garden hose

Long morning walks when time is not an issue and Jack can stop and smell the roses (and almost everything else that crosses his path!)

Visiting playgrounds and meeting new people

Discovering wading pools

Chasing bees and learning why they love flowers

Dinners in the sunlight

Deliciously fresh berries that stain our hands and clothes

Playing with bugs

Leaving the door open to invite running from inside to outside and back again

Learning how to slide and how to climb

Blowing bubbles


Sidewalk chalk

Wearing rain boots, a pajama shirt, and a diaper...just because you can

It's a wonderful gift to have the time to live through a season with a child. It brings peace, it heals, and it makes you new. I hope that a combination of these moments will form Jack's memories of summer...


This week's menu: Tuesday: slow cooked beans...again, but this time we are making nachos! I promise to get more creative with my slow cooker soon!

Wednesday: grilled feta and pita, buttered turnips

Thursday: orzo, broccoli, and avocado salad featuring homemade pesto

Friday: pizza from Zeeks!

weekly dinner menu + update, april 10th - 16th

hello.  i hope spring has made it's way to all of you by now...we are certainly basking in the spring sunshine and loving every minute of it.  i keep joking with jack that we have to spend as much time as we can outside so we can soak in the sunshine to carry with us to rainy seattle! speaking of jack...look at the photo below that david's dad sent him.  it's of david as a one year old getting his first haircut.  wow!  it looks so much like jack that it take my breath away! 

stephanie's attitude + david's looks = our little man, jack!

so, what's for supper this week?

sunday: slow cooked vegetables and chicken meatballs over pasta

monday: not a dinner post, but a "please help me" post--- i'm in need of good snack ideas!

tuesday: sausage, southern greens, and lemon lasagna

wednesday: use your slow cooked leftovers over baby broccoli and white beans

thursday: grilled flank steak

friday: in celebration of karen and mike and their wedding weekend, i will share a super tasty recipe for brownies with you while we enjoy a whole dessert party!

saturday: we will be celebrating at a wedding and having farm fresh georgia food (yay!) i am taking tonight off from cooking.

weekly dinner menu, march 27th - april 2nd

as promised, back to (mostly) food this week despite most of my every thought being on our BIG move... sorry no market shopping list though...i can't seem to find the time for all the move planning and everything else i want to do...

sunday: slow cooked black beans + black bean brownies (yes.  you read that right!  black beans in brownies...YUM!)

monday: tofu stir fry

tuesday: black bean quesadillas tonight...a jack post instead of a recipe

wednesday: blood orange salmon

thursday: it's leftover night at our house so today i will share the details about our supper club feast at sun in my belly that we enjoyed on friday

friday: blueberry + ginger mojito

saturday: per typical, a night out...where to???

weekly dinner menu, march 6th - march 12th

hello lovelies and happy weekend.  i hope that this post finds you happy and well on this first march saturday of 2011.   i cherish the thought that you are about to pour over this post to make your dinner meal plans for the week.  and, speaking of meal planning, several of you have asked me to incorporate a market shopping list with the menu post each week so that you can prep your refrigerators and cabinets in advance, making it easier to follow along with my menu and make the suggested recipes.  i love the idea, so i am going to give it a try!  i organized it the same way i organize my own list- starting with pantry items, then proteins, dairy, produce, and ending with grains (in fact, it's exactly the way my shopping list looks aside from my breakfast and lunch items).  i am assuming, when creating the shopping list, that you have a somewhat stocked spice rack and baking goods shelf- the basics like salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, baking soda and powder, sugar, flour (please alert me if this is not true and i can start adding spcies and baking goods until we stock it up), so i am only including the spices or baking goods that might be used more rarely.  it's a work in progress, but i am pretty happy with the way the list turned out this week...i would love to know what you think! market shopping list:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons file powder
  • cinnamon sticks 
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 can chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • salsa
  • nutella
  • 7 cups fish stock
  • 2 cups + 1 pint shucked oysters
  • 1 cup crabmeat
  • 1 pound small shrimp 
  • creme fraiche
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • eggs
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • butter
  • basil
  • garlic, a couple heads
  • swiss chard
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 onions
  • celery
  • lettuce
  • scallions
  • lime
  • 2 grapefruits
  • tuscan bread
  • flour tortillas
  • tortilla chips
  • saltine crackers
  • cornmeal
  • pasta
  • kingcake from your favorite bakery
  • lots of celebrating this week!  first, happy mardi gras to everyone!  do you guys celebrate this holiday?  every year when i was growing up, we travelled to new orleans as a family to go "parading" with our family was one of our most favorite things to do!  i climbed up on my dad's shoulders and yelled to the passing floats, "throw me something, mister!" at the top of my lungs...i came home with bags of beads, moon pies, and cheap plastic toys and stuffed animals.  now, david and i still celebrate, but typically in a much more low-key way!...usually we just stay at home and make a cajun dinner for ourselves. 

    on wednesday, my nephew is turning TWO!  two.  goodness.  happy birthday, sam!  the three of us are looking forward to eating cake with you soon!  and, a very happy birthday wish to my best friend, rebecca!  i know you will be prepping for your big fundraiser, but take at least a little break to enjoy a piece of cake and a glass of wine on your special day!

    sunday: pasta with homemade tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil with a side of rainbow chard and tuscan bread

    monday: black bean soft tacos

    tuesday: seafood gumbo and king cake

    wednesday: nutella birthday cookies in honor of sam, the two year old birthday boy!

    thursday: in celebration of rebecca's birthday, i'm doing two dessert posts in a row!  this time a more "adult" desert...grapefruit poundcake

    friday: fried gulf oysters and cinnamon roasted potatoes

    saturday: birthday celebration for sam of kitchen duty tonight.

    weekly dinner menu, february 27th-march 5th

    hello there, lovlies.  first and foremost, i would like to wish a very happy birthday to my granny who turns eighty-three today!  we have had some very special birthday memories with my gran but there are two that stand out above the rest.  one was the girls trip to "anywhere in the world that she wanted to go."  so, guess where we spent her birthday weekend...drum rool, please: branson, missouri- c'mon, you know it's at the top of your travel list!  we had plenty of fun laughing at our situation- a van full of "young" women (babies compared to the typical branson clientele!) traipsing around the city eating and being "entertained" by the crowds, the shows, and each other.  in all seriousness,  the reason i remember the trip so well is because we really did have a great time- it was a weekend full of laughter and love.  we just had fun being together.  my second most memorable granny birthday was her grand eightieth birthday soiree three years ago.  the whole family was there to celebrate.  my dad created the most amazing slide show of pictures from her life, her wedding dress was on display, a timeline of important life events decorated the wall, and, together, we all decorated the venue.   

    and, once again, we had a wonderful time creating memories and being together. 

    (there was also this amazing smoked salmon know the food always makes the party, for me at least! :) ) again, happy birthday, granny!  your very large family loves you a lot!

    on another, less happy, note: please keep my dad in your thoughts.  he remains in the hospital- what we expected to be a 5 day stay is turning into a 16+ day hospital stay...he is progressing and we hope he can go home soon, but the road has been long and there is still much recovery to do.  your thoughts are very much appreciated.

    happy cooking as we kick off march and grow closer to spring time!  i hope you have a pleasant and warm week.

    sunday: to celebrate the biggest night of movies, @whole foods market had the best idea- cook a meal in honor of your favorite best, we are having seared scallops with blood orange and smoked paprika sauce + espresso pots de creme = a dreamy dinner to honor the film "inception"

    monday: crabcakes, spinach salad, and sweet potatoes

    tuesday: hummus and cream cheese bagel sandwiches

    wednesday: tex-mex black bean salad

    thursday: we are ordering pizza tonight and watching last night's top chef (so, jack picture post today...just an update on his cuteness!)

    friday: shrimp and fish scampi, take two

    saturday: per typical, we are going out tonight.  scored a coupon to hobnob from scoutmob...hooray!

    weekly dinner menu, february 20th-26th

    hello lovely readers!  happy weekend from browngoat.  do you all have fun plans for the weekend?  i would love to hear what you are up to...drop me a comment or an email.  my dad is still in the hospital, so please keep him in your thoughts.  things seems to be slowly improving.  currently, we are waiting for different lab values to correct themselves.  he really wants to go home, so we are crossing our fingers that this will happen SOON!  thanks to all of you who have written, called, or even been there with us through this time- you are so appreciated! before moving on to next week's menu, i wanted to ask that all of you email readers of browngoat stop by my actual website when you have a moment.  i have been working hard and making lots of updates!  first, there is a new look to the blog!  don't worry (i was!), the original browngoat photo has been restored (it was lost for a while in the redesign), so my good ol' goat mascot is back at the top of my blog page!  (whew.)  and, i have added a navigation bar, you can now easily find my life list and read all about browngoat by clicking on the tabs right at the top of the blog.  i am also working to create a tab for a recipe menu, so that you can easily find all my recipes listed alphabetically.  i will alert you to when this is up and running.  also, big news:), i am now on twitter (browngoatblog)!  it's fun!  if you tweet too, follow me!  and, let me know you are tweeting so that i can follow you too.

    enjoy your SOLE (this means Sustainable, Organic, Local and Ethical) food this week (note my new photo depicting "eat SOLE food!" from food renegade on the right side of the blog homepage- my goat recipe was linked to from the food renegade fight back friday post yesterday!).  SOLE food is my newly adopted coin phrase to describe the way i cook and eat.  i think it sums it up nicely and when spoken it sounds like i am referring to "soul food-" southern and good!  thanks for reading!  happy eating.

    sunday: spaghetti with meatballs

    monday: egg wraps

    tuesday: farm fresh stir fry with tofu 

    wednesday: leftovers, which you know i am a huge fan of!  and, because it's a leftovers day, this means a fun non-recipe post.

    thursday: tomato, broccoli, and onion quiche with a side of roasted root vegetables

    friday: no dinner recipe tonight.  i think you will have plenty of leftovers to eat from the good cooking you have done this week.  if not, i know you still have frozen beans:) so make a quesadilla or bean burrito for dinner.  instead of a dinner recipe, i am sharing our delicious valentine's desert recipe (the surprise one david made for us): coconut milk panna cotta.  its the perfect way to kick off a sweet weekend!

    saturday:  a night out...mexican food, perhaps?

    weekly dinner menu, february 13th-19th

    it's a week of love, hearts, red, pink, and treats.  speaking of dad's heart is healthy and strong post-surgery!  thank you so much for your thoughts.  i hope you have sweet valentine's day plans.  we always stay in for valentine's day...i despise going out to eat on this night since even the best restaurants are crowded, full of over-the-top couples, and typically serve over-priced fixed course menus with sub-par food and service.  so, on monday, we are making dinner at home and opening a bottle of wine to celebrate.  i invite you to do the same. enjoy this week's menu.  let me know if you have suggestions or ideas for future dinners by emailing me or posting a comment.

    sunday: cheese enchiladas with citrus fennel salad

    monday, valentine's day: fish scampi, spinach salad, and something sweet

    tuesday: harvest grain, coconut, and spinach soup

    wednesday: blackened catfish with cinnamon roasted potatoes and sauteed southern greens

    thursday: leftovers = night off from cooking

    friday: mediterranean goat chops with roasted root vegetables, salad, and bread = dinner with friends

    saturday: refried bean and cheese chimichangas

    weekly dinner menu, february 6th-12th

    lots and lots going on this week...first, it is the celebration of my mom and dad's THIRTY-FIFTH! wedding anniversary!  a very big congratulations to them.  i love this picture of them holding hands and watching us play.  it was taken in pensacola at bayview park over the christmas holidays and i just think that their love for each other and their love for jack is exploding from this photo!

    at the end of this week, the dinner menu will feature already published recipes (one updated and now with pictures!) since i am heading to pensacola to be with my parents, sister, and other family.  my dad is having open heart surgery, so please, please keep us in your thoughts.

    super bowl sunday:  football and dinner with friends- i'm bringing goat cheese and prosciutto tarts

    monday: minestrone soup with parmesan dumplings

    tuesday: spinach pancakes with fried eggs

    wednesday: leftovers for dinner, but an orange carrot cake for dessert!

    thursday: huevos rancheros, you have a freezer of black beans...why not use them up?!

    friday: vegetable pie, updated

    saturday:  a night to stay in and order pizza

    weekly dinner menu, january 30th - february 5th

    enjoy this week's menu as we roll into february.  for those of you who looked at last week's menu and thought to yourself, "beans again?!", you will be happy to see that there are no beans on the menu this week.  oh, and i want to extend a very happy birthday wish to one of my best friends, mary kathryn, who celebrates this week! sunday: a simple dinner of grilled cheese and soup (plus prep for monday's pancakes!)

    monday: buttermilk oatmeal blueberry pancakes and sausage patties = breakfast for dinner!

    tuesday: sausage and fennel tortellini

    wednesday: italian-style meatloaf with roasted root vegetables

    thursday:  leftovers night

    friday: flounder with puttanesca, sauteed mixed greens, and orzo

    saturday: we have been craving mexican food, so the three of us are walking up to el taco for dinner tonight.  corona with a lime and cheese dip to start, please!  and, for dinner, i think it's going to be a carnitas mexican pizza for me...yum!

    grilled fennel and sausage salad

    grilled fennel and sausage salad

    cut 1 fennel bulb into wedges and place in a grill pan.  drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and grill, adding 12 ounces of sliced sausage (we used chicken sausage with spinach, garlic, and fontina cheese...delicious!) about one minute after fennel begins to cook, over medium-high heat.  cook for about 10 minutes.  turn heat off and add one bag of fresh spinach leaves into the grill pan.  toss until spinach is wilted.  serve with blue cheese crumbles.

    tuna and white bean salad

    a simple dinner tonight.  and, the best part is that it makes enough to eat for dinner and to pack two workday lunches for the rest of the week. tuna and white bean salad

    put 2 cans of drained albacore tuna in a bowl with 2 cups of your once-frozen white beans, about half a jar of green olives, a pint of grape tomatoes, and a 1/2 cup of sliced green onions.  toss gently to mix.

    to make the vinaigrette.  mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard.  add a dash of kosher salt

    put arugula on plates and top with a hefty spoonful of the tuna salad.  drizzle the vinaigrette on the salad right before serving (for the leftovers, the salad is hearty enough to stand up to the dressing so you can drizzle it on in the morning before leaving for work).  for dinner, i serve the salad with warmed bread.  for lunch, i eat cottage cheese on the side (the 4% milk fat variety, i am not a fan of very low-fat dairy).

    huevos rancheros

    this dinner is delicious!  it is definitely being added to the reqular mix in our house because all three of us loved it!

    huevos rancheros:

    heat the oven to 350 degrees.  place flour tortillas (david and i each ate two tortillas, jack had one) on a nonstick baking sheet.  put one thin layer of black beans on top of each tortilla.

    put a small amount of olive oil into a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  when it is heated, cook 5 eggs (you may have to do this in rounds) for just a few minutes, not quite done.  put an egg on top of the beans on each tortilla, then top with a drizzle of salsa, grated sharp cheddar cheese, and some green onions, thinly sliced.  bake until the cheese is melted.  serve immediately with creme fraiche.

    weekly dinner menu, january 23rd-29th

    lots of yummy meals planned for this fourth week of january.  enjoy!  and, happy cooking. sunday:  grilled salmon salad with warm ciabatta bread

    monday: pull out a 2 cup bag of your frozen black beans!  tonight's dinner is "huevos rancheros" with chips and salsa.

    tuesday:  we have leftover pizza in our freezer from our outing to everybodys pizza last week.  i am pulling it out tonight  and serving it with a green salad for a simple week night supper.  you have my permission to take the night off from the kitchen too!

    wednesday: its time to use the rest of the white beans you have stored away.  we are making a tuna, white bean, and veggie salad, which will be perfect for lunches for the rest of the week, too!

    thursday:  grilled fennel and sausage salad, sauteed bok choy, and warmed, buttered ciabata bread

    friday: sweet potato quesadillas

    saturday:  dinner out tonight!  not sure of the place yet, but maybe arizona pub in edgewood?

    grilled pork chops with a citrus fennel salad

    it's friday night!  friday night means movie night in our house and tonight we are watching crazy heart.  but first, it's time to make some yummy dinner!  super delicious and ultra simple is the description i will give this meal.  i hope that you enjoy it as much as we have!

    grilled pork chops

    seriously, you will laugh at the simplicity of this recipe, but trust me...with patience, it works beautifully!

    rub 2 good-sized bone-in pork chops generously with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet over moderate to high heat.  when the fats start to froth, add 3 cloves of lightly smashed garlic (it's okay to keep the skin on) and the pork chops.

    this is where patience becomes a virtue...leave the chops to cook until good and charred (browned well).  then, using tongs, flip to the other side and char the same way.  once both sides are well browned, turn the heat down to medium and cook, flipping once, until no longer pink in the middle. they are ready to enjoy!

    citrus fennel salad

    prepare your salad while you are letting the pork chops char to a delicious brown.  peel and cut into chunks one pink grapefruit and one orange and divide evenly among two plates.  next, cut one fennel bulb into small slices and divide among the plates with the citrus.

    now, prepare your vinaigrette.  whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard, and a dash of salt.  drizzle over salads before serving.

    and, you are off to a happy weekend!

    weekly dinner menu, january 16th - 22nd

    okay, before you ask it, i will go ahead and answer it for you...yes, beans are on the menu again this week.  and the reason?  well, they are good for you, versatile in cooking, inexpensive, and easy to make a lot of at one time and store.  and, i promise, this week the beans are different.   here's to another yummy week! sunday:  family pizza night at everybody's (

    monday: slow cooked black bean tacos, orange and black olive salad

    tuesday: arugula salad with hard boiled eggs, sweet potatoes

    wednesday: vegetable pot pie

    thursday: black bean quesadillas

    friday: grilled pork chops, fennel and orange salad

    saturday: it's a night for take-out

    january 9th - 15th, weekly dinner menu

    this is an exciting week...first, monday night is the national championship game (auburn tigers versus the oregon ducks) which one boy in my house is VERY excited about!  in honor of auburn, we are having a symbolic dinner of roasted duck!  it will be our first time cooking duck- i'm excited for the adventure and the indulgence of rich, fatty duck meat in the name of football! and, this week marks the end to david's residency interview season!  after his last interview, the real work begins for him...creating his match list and then playing the wait and see game until march 17th, which is national match day!

    this week's menu:

    sunday: white bean soup, fresh loaf of bakery bread

    monday: roasted duck with turnips, a crisp salad

    tuesday: herb grilled cheese, tomato soup

    wednesday: frozen pizza night- a good quality one from whole foods or trader joe's, spinach salad (don't fault me for taking the easy route tonight- it's just jack and i for dinner)

    thursday: cassoulet

    friday: macaroni and cheese, roasted brussels sprouts

    saturday: take the night off from cooking; it's girls night out at my house!

    the first monday of 2011

    the menu: salad of fennel and winter leaves, onion soup (both recipes adapted from the kitchen diaries by nigel slater) fennel and winter leaves salad:

    make the dressing by whisking together a tablespoon of vinegar, a generous teaspoon of dijon mustard, an egg yolk, and 1/3 cup of olive oil with a little sprinkle of salt and pepper.  then, beat in 3 heaping tablespoons of paremsan cheese and stir in 2 1/2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice.  set aside until salad is made.

    cut 2 slices of thick white bread into chunks and fry in a small amount of olive oil until golden on all sides.  drain bread on paper towels.  slice 1 medium bulb of fennel finely.  toss the fennel with 4 cups of winter salad leaves such as arugula or watercress and the dressing.  place the salad on two plates, then shave pieces of parmesan over the salad with a vegetable peeler.  top the salads with the hot croutons and eat right away while everything is fresh and crunchy.


    onion soup:

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Peel 4 onions and cut them in half from tip to root, then lay them in a roasting pan and add 3 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper.  Roast until tender and soft and toasted brown around the edges.  Cut the onions into thick segments, put them in a saucepan with about 4 ounces of white wine and bring to a boil.  Next, pour in 6 cups of chicken stock, bring back to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Before you serve the soup, make cheese croutons.  Use good quality bread, sliced, and toast lightly under a hot broiler.  Turn over the slices and sprinkle with grated gruyere cheese.  Ladle the soup into bowls and place cheese croutons on top.

    a roasted sunday supper

    to me, a sunday supper with family gathered around your table is a tradition worth working to establish.  tonight's dinner features some of winter's best produce creating a flavorful feast worth lingering over.  go ahead.  enjoy another glass of robust red wine, monday doesn't start until the morning. the menu:  roasted goat cheese and pesto peppers, roasted root vegetables, and a yummy loaf of bread

    roasted goat cheese and pesto peppers:

    Half and seed 1 each of red, yellow, orange bell pepper.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Brush roasting pan with olive oil and place peppers in pan, cut side up.  Drizzle peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put a basil leaf, a generous spoon of pesto, and a chunk of goat cheese in each pepper half.  Drizzle with more olive oil.  Add the pan to the oven for about 30 minutes- you are looking for the peppers to get crispy brown at the edges.  Serve with extra fresh basil leaves.

    roasted goat cheese and pesto peppers


    roasted root vegetables:

    in a large bowl toss together any vegetables (i chose to use brussels sprouts, onions, and sweet potatoes for this meal) with salt to taste and just enough olive oil to coat the vegetables.  spread out the vegetables on a low-sided baking sheet.  roast, stirring occasionally, in a 425 degree oven until tender, about 35 minutes.

    winter roasted vegetable dinner