Holidays+Food=Recipe Secrets Fm Lake Oswego To You

manicotti aOk, so, it’s the holidays, and the Realtors are all running around serving their clients with Christmas trees on their car roofs… well, at least I am! Or was, earlier today. I visited another real estate office and noticed that I’m not the only one juggling real estate business and “extra” holiday activities and errands… and frankly we all are right now. So, I was thinking- What am I going to write about in the Property Blotter this time?  I’ve got to take care of my clients and go shopping for Manicotti ingredients, champagne, Martinelli’s and all manner of other Christmas Party necessities. What will I write about?   Food comes to mind of course.

I confess, I have been overextended into giving away some of my cooking secrets, and other hopefully interesting tidbits for the sake of expediency! What has the world come to? Anyway, here are a few little things I usually do not pass on to people… but for YOU??? Our Property Blotter reader? Here you go:

Manicotti:  I make a killer Manicotti. It’s a well-known fact if I do say so myself, which is due to my dear Grandmother’s guidance and recipe… and which I am NOT giving you (she’d come after me from the afterlife!). So, you’ll have to come up with your own sauce and blend of cheeses, but I WILL tell you the biggest secret of all: ~How To Stuff Manicotti Noodles~ Basically, you stuff them while they’re hard. Using a pastry tube is something I incorporated last year and it worked much better than the “old country” method my Grandmother and I used, which was little by little with teaspoons. You stuff the noodles, line them up in a buttered pan till its filled with one layer, and pour your sauce over them all. Here comes the secret part: You then pour hot water… about 3/4 cup of it, around the edges of the pan, cover tightly with foil and bake according to your directions. The water steams the noodles, and your sauce retains the consistency you intended. Voila! (oops… not an Italian expression)

Hungarian Mushroom Soup:  There is a restaurant in Portland called Old Wives Tales that is famous for this soup. I used to drive all the way there and take home large cartons of it. “Anything else, Miss?” “No. Just the soup please.” One day I experimented till I came up with nearly the same flavor. Sophisticated cooks will balk at this part, but I use 2 large cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup from the store. I then add several cloves of garlic (at least 5) chopped, at least a cube of butter, a 16 oz. carton of sour cream, 3 cartons of fresh sliced mushrooms from the produce section, one can of milk, and several tablespoons of paprika. Ta da! Secret, easy Hungarian Mushroom Soup.

Brussel Sprouts: For this I am going to give you a link to a great local cooking blog. A lot of people like to serve brussel sprouts during the holidays, and I believe there is some kind of superstition having to do with good luck when you eat them on New Year’s Eve. Anyway, this recipe is so good I can hardly describe it. The way you cook them is easy, involves lots of heavy cream and freshly squeezed lemon juice at the end. This method takes some of the “bite” our of them, and ends up sending you back for more till there are no leftovers. It’s that good (if you like brussel sprouts that is… and if you don’t, I’d suggest trying them this way to see if you change your mind). Here’s the link: Creamy Braised Brussel Sprouts

Ok, Addendum- Check.  Closing Coordination- Check. Research- Check. Repair schedule- Check. Update Clients- Check. Documents Emailed- Check… Off to decorate the tree!

Happy Holiday Cooking to each of you.

Very Best,


Oh, To Be Thankful

ThanksgivingThis week we get to take a  step back from our daily routine… usually we take a few days to kick back & enjoy family, friends, and good food… and at the very minimum, we enjoy a few extra moments or hours to reflect on all we have to be grateful for.

This has been quite a year. I don’t think there are many who have not been affected, or had a loved one affected by the roller coaster ride that has been our economy. Now that things are starting to turn, and we hear “the recession is over”, we may or may not be seeing big changes in our own lives yet, but we can look around, and take stock. Do we have shelter? A roof over our heads, warmth and food? Do we have family? And if so, do we remember to tell them each and every day that we love them? Do we have friends… real friends? If so, do we remember to let them know that they make our lives richer just by being themselves? Do we have a job? & If so, do we think about all the ways that job enriches our lives, providing goods and/or services to others and supporting our family? Do we have beauty in our lives? Do we remember to actually look at those hanging baskets in downtown Lake Oswego, or the beautiful lights and holiday dressing the town takes on this time of year? Do we see the beautiful little things that cross our paths everyday… often escaping our notice? Ok, I’ll stop, but hopefully this gets you thinking a bit. Maybe this year would be the year to start a Gratitude Journal. I have a friend who records everything that happened that day for which he is grateful every night before bed. He swears that it has turned his life around! Maybe this year we might start a new tradition with our children, and have them fill out two lists… one being everything for which they are thankful, and the other being, well, you know… the one that goes to the North Pole (make sure to address it to City Hall/North Pole this year though : )

I am grateful for so many things, and I know I speak for Dianne and I both when I say we are so thankful for our Property Blotter readers & clients. You make it all worthwhile.

I’ll leave you with a few quotes to start your holiday season off just right:

“Stand up, on this Thanksgiving Day, stand upon your feet. Believe in man. Soberly and with clear eyes, believe in your own time and place. There is not, and there never has been a better time, or a better place to live in.” –Phillips Brooks

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
—Melody Beattie

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” –Cicero

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” –W.T. Purkiser

“Serenely full, the epicure would say, Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today.”
–Sydney Smith

Happy Thanksgiving!