Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Cheater" Chicken Chili

Maureen posted this on Facebook and I thought I'd give it a try. I renamed it "Cheater" Chicken Chili because it's not  from scratch. Shh...they'll never know. 

mixed it up a bit by using sharp cheddar, Fritos, salsa and diced avocados. 

Paired with Nodland Cellars Bebop, a dry riesling. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Recipe

Preheat oven to 350. 

Cream 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup sugar together.
Mix  3/4 Cup canned pumpkin and 2 eggs. 
Blend in 1 3/4 flour and 1 tsp baking soda and a dash of salt. 
Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves. 
Stir in 3/4 or desired amount of chocolate chips. 

Bake in traditional loaf pan or 2 mini loaf pans for 1 hour. 

ENJOY! This recipe makes one loaf. I double it to make 2 at a time of 4 mini loafs as shown.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Home is the nicest word there is.

White Rock beach. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I remember...

This is the story of how the poppy came to be known as an internationally recognized symbol of Remembrance.

From its association with poppies flowering in the spring of 1915 on the battlefields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli this vivid red flower has become synonymous with great loss of life in war.
Yet the scope of the poppy and its connection with the memory of those who have died in war has been expanded to help the living as well. Funds continue to be raised to support those in need of help, most especially those suffering from physical and mental hardship as a result of war. In recognition for financial support of any amount a single red poppy pin would be given. In my hometown in the lower mainland of British Columbia you would be hard pressed not to know what day it was as the cheery red bloom would don almost every coat, scarf and sweater.

Similar to the Salvation Army ringing the bell at Christmas, veterans and volunteers would flood public places exchanging poppy pins for donations. My parents would always make a donation and receive a poppy pin or two. After wearing it on her lapel, my mother would affix it to the visor of driver's window of our car. We remembered long after November 11th as with each ride in the car it greeted us until it became dusty and therefore replaced on an annual basis. Each November 11th my father would flawlessly recite the beloved Canadian poem as my sister and I would at least try to be a cooperative and attentive audience of two. To this day the first stanza of the poem is etched in my memory in my father's voice.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The sight of these delicate, vibrant red flowers growing on the shattered ground caught the attention of a Canadian soldier named John McCrae. He noticed how they had sprung up in the disturbed ground of the burials around the artillery position where he was positioned. It was during a warm day in early May 1915 near the Ypres-Yser canal where he is believed to have composed the landmark poem following the death of his friend, a fellow solider. The first lines of the poem have become some of the most famous lines written in relation to the First World War.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I remember. Thank you, Mom & Dad for instilling the meaning to this day. Home of the free because of the brave. Thank you to those who serve and have served. I am grateful.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

FALL in love.

Hello November, I'm already FALLin for you.

FALL in love. 
I adore the symphony of the autumn leaves as they change into brilliant colors for their big moment. I'm fascinated as they descend from the trees in an almost choreographed succession. I'm especially fond of the leaves that get distracted by the wind and end up in an unplanned destination. They still made it but chose to take the scenic route. Autumn is amazing, Please, hold your applause until the end of the performance. LLR

Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

TJ Clements went to Thailand. While he was there he took a cooking class and brought me back a cookbook. This recipe for Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup it's from that cookbook and pairs perfectly with Nodland Cellers Bebop Dry Riesling. The coconut milk tames the spice. This soup is my idea of comfort food. 

Cheers & Enjoy! 

Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

2 teaspoons canola oil 
1 cup sliced mushrooms 
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper 
4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (3-inch) stalk lemongrass, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
3 cups Chicken Stock 
1 1/4 cups light coconut milk
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar 
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces) 
1/2 cup green onion strips 
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Hands-on: 25 Minutes
Total: 32 Minutes

1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms and the next 4 ingredients (through lemongrass); cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chile paste; cook 1 minute. 

Add Chicken Stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Discard lemongrass. Top with onions, cilantro, and juice.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ben Joyce at Barrister Winery

Spokane, WA. - Ben Joyce may have grown up in California but he attended Gonzaga University, married a Spokane girl and now calls our fair city home. So basically we're claiming him as a local artist. 

Joyce's most recognizable series is called Abstract Topophilia® - The Love Of Place. Topophilia is the Affective Bond Between People And Place. The Love Of Place.

I created Abstract Topophilia, love of place, out of an unconventional approach to art. Like the places I capture, the pieces are moving, pulsing, ever changing. The shaped edges and cut outs break up the traditional hard lines of a square canvas that confine the experience, allowing the viewer to expand the painting beyond its borders with their knowledge of the area— ben

Florence, Italy.  50" x 70"

Artist Bio:

Ben Joyce invites the viewer to transcend their experience of place through a radical new use of structure, form and elements. Ben has always felt compelled to share his artistic talents; from a young age, his study of form and space led to architectural works completed in the US by his early 20's. Then, while studying fresco, sculpture and color in Florence, Italy, he began his search for a new expressiveconnection to Place. He was struck by the Europeans strong Pride of Place, and their Love of the places they live. During this time, he mainly painted traditional landscapes, realistic in approach. The frustration came, when he’d paint over 40% of his work to create a perspective. For all his devotion to his Artwork, he desired to imbue an emotional recognizance particular to each individual. 

Combining the Love of Place and the structure of landscape one could travel through, Abstract Topophilia was born. Ben realized in painting from a birds-eye vantage point, it would force the viewer to connect to the piece on a personal level, and experience an personal odyssey through the piece.

Ben’s work is constantly evolving, with his first Abstract Topophilia™ creation completed over 13 years ago. Since then, his work has found its home in a myriad of public and private collections both in the United States and abroad. Google Earth has invited Ben to create an annual 6 month exhibit in their corporate headquarters. They effervesce about Ben's ability to bring life and emotion to the static images they study everyday. Ben shows throughout the country from New York City to Chicago, Miami to San Francisco; and, he is always refreshingly amazed that the connection to Place is universal. Ben just completed the artwork for 18 transit stations in Las Vegas, depicting the stunning topography of Southern Nevada. His private commissions have been created for some of the biggest celebrities and most prominent corporations across the globe; a recent commission of three pieces were for a private 737 Boeing Business Jet, a complimentary setting for his work.

Ben currently lives in Spokane, WA. 

Photos are from the Joyce's 7th Annual show at Barrister Winery. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

WHO is SIP anyway?

5 questions for Laurie L Ross (aka SIP)

1.) Tell us about your blog? is a guide for things to do and places to go in and around the 509. Whether you live in Eastern Washington or just visiting, 509 is more than just an area code. It’s a way of life. With virtually no traffic and 76 surrounding and 5 ski hills, its a pretty high quality of life. Spokane is the second largest city in Washington but being on the other side of the State from other large cities, including Seattle, it feels like a small town. Yes, Seattle is cool but Eastern Washington has almost all the grapes. As you may know, Washington is the second largest producer of wine in the country and Eastern Washington home to 5 of the State's appellations. From the Yakima Valley all the way to Spokane, grape vineyards cover the landscape where apple orchards used to thrive. From these vineyards that some of the finest wines in the world have emerged. Washington Wine is world class. My blog invites you to taste why.

2.) What made you start your blog?

The blog’s original name was 509 The Great Escape. I’m a consistently published freelance writer and I needed a place to store my articles that I could send editors to it. I changed the name when I realized that my writing was drenched in wine. I primarily write for regional guidebooks and lifestyle magazines. Yes, actually printed words on paper. I am social media savvy ( and 

3.) Do you only write about wine? 

It seems like it but I do have other interests. I usually write about all the important things in life: WINE, coffee, cuisine, art, boutiques, spas, homes, interior design and travel. As they say, write what you love. And I do love wine. You could say I grew up with the Washington wine industry. There were just a few dozen wineries when I discover wine was my one true love. Now 25 years later there are well over 750 wineries in Washington State. There's no shortage of things to write about. I adore the stories behind the wine - the terrior, the process, the people and the even the marketing.

4.) Are you a full-time writer? 

No, I’m not.I have 20 years sales and marketing experience, mostly in media. I am currently a Real Estate agent with Windermere City Group. I’m just as passionate about marketing houses and the helping people find a place to call home. Not surprising but I give Washington Wine for referrals and thank you gifts. I'd welcome the opportunity to help fellow locators (lovers of local wine). For Real Estate assistance, I can be reached at

5.) What’s your favorite wine? 

That’s easy. The one in my glass. 

So it took 7 years to put my name and picture on my on blog. Thanks for checking it out. 
and joining me on this delicious adventure. 

Life's fast, sip slow.
Laurie L Ross (aka SIP)

Here’s a link to some of my published articles: