Category Archives: i cook

my kids version of the best burger in the world (aren’t they sweet)… MOM’S FAMOUS BURGERS…


she called from college last night.

we talked forever.

i loved it.

she ended it with a request…

could i please make good food for her when she comes home for christmas break?

for instance, my famous hamburgers.


so funny how something that i take for granted on a weekly basis as a food to make when running out the door is her wish for a meal.

love that girl.

TRACY’S FAMOUS BURGERS (per our kids):

1 bag of hawaiian sweet rolls.  the plain original ones.

1 lb. hamburger.  the cheap kind.  15-20% fat.  sorry all you dieters.  fry or bbq.  use salt, pepper and a little johnny’s seasoning.  must cook until crispy edges and no red inside.

mayo and ketchup for brooke.  no cheese. ever.  don’t even ask her.

mayo and ketchup for mason.  cheddar cheese.  must be tillamock brand.  and caramelized onions if i have a chance to make them.

mayo and mustard and crunchy pickle slices for greg.

mayo and diced onions and shredded lettuce for me.  oh, and crunchy pickles on the side.

CARAMELIZED ONIONS (since you are probably wondering):

one sweet onion.  chop into little pieces.  or thin strips.  but little pieces cook faster and i am impatient.

1or 2 tsp. butter

1 or 2 tsp. vegetable oil

(the butter and oil depend on how big your onion is.  i usually start out with 1 tsp. each and add a little as they are cooking if needed.)

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar (from trader joes)

melt butter and oil in pan.  add onions.  cook on low until soft.  it takes about 20 minutes.  watch it so it does not burn.  i find that those expensive fancy stoves tend to run hotter.  good thing we have a cheapo version that came with the package with the refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave.

turn up heat to medium high and add balsamic vinegar and fry really quick until dark on edges.  my friend adds a little sprinkle of brown sugar at this time.  i do not.  i’m trying to be heathy.  hahahaha.

once they look well done (not burned), remove from heat.  ok to top hamburger at this time.

or, you can make a double batch and cool some of the onions and add to a French onion dip.

CARAMELIZED ONION DIP (since i’m on a roll now):

2 c. sour cream.

1 c. best foods regular mayo (do not use olive oil or light versions)

1 pkg. lipton onion soup mix

1/4 c. caramelized onions

mix all together.  refrigerate at least two hours.

serve with plain ruffles with ridges potato chips or plain baked lays.

you are welcome!

happy monday.







3 ingredient dip and 5 fun girls…


last friday i was invited out to alderbrook resort on hood canal.

for those of you who do not know where that is… i suggest you google it, book a room or cottage and go there asap.

i asked what i could bring.

they said “just yourself”.

i mentioned that i needed to post recipes on my blog all week for brooke.  so they suggested i bring an appetizer to share.

sounded great.

until 5 minutes before i had to leave.


in typical tracy fashion, i didn’t pick anything up.

but these three ingredients are always in our fridge…buddig ham (it hangs in a little bag in the deli section.  under $1.  cheap and yummy), whipped cream cheese (gotta use the tried and true Philadelphia brand cream cheese) and green onions.

this recipe originally comes from my friend stacey who is a gourmet cook.  we always ask her to bring it to our girls getaways and she begs to make her fancies, but we say… “the dip” is fancy enough.


1 pkg Buddig ham, cut into little pieces

1 large containger Philadelphia whipped cream cheese

4-5 thin green onions, chopped

mix all together and chill in a bowl at least one hour.  my kids like it served with ritz crackers.  yummmmm.

okay, back to my weekend story…


these are my friends.  my alderbrook friends.

i love them.  my mom behind me.  my aunt to the right and her two lifelong friends in the middle.  let’s just say we are all lifetime friends.  whenever i hear they are at alderbrook (at their cute little cottages) i am thrilled to be asked to join them.  i think they think i’m fun.  sometimes i forget to be fun.  and they remind me.

we drink wine.  we eat appetizers outside and watch all of the hotel guests.  we watch bill gates sea plane come in (he has a little place (haha… it’s a huge compound next door).  we chat about life (they are soooo full of knowledge and tidbits of advice).  they give me “mom” tips.  i give them “ipad and iPhone” tips (they think i know everything about electronics… i have an old iPhone 4 and they all have 5’s and 6’s and don’t even know the difference).  they talk about their marriages (as 3 of them have lost their husbands in the past few years).  they talk about the importance of relationships with their children (3 of them have lost a child over the years… including my mom).  they show me how to dress up polar fleece with pearls, crisp white shirts and cashmere sweaters tied around the neck.  they keep me up to date on people we know.  they talk about upcoming vacations (you see, they have all traveled the world many times… they tell me i will get to travel one day… hmmm… when?).  and we laugh.  the most important of all.  laughter.   oh, and they make funny faces while i take selfies of us.  and they laugh about that too.


every time i visit “my girls”… a quick trip to the union store down the road is a must.

cutest little hole in the wall.  you will drive right on by if you blink.  hammock out front.  cars stopping for the hidden secrets inside.  homemade yummies…


it’s filled with fresh baked pies in little mason jars,  “my mom’s potato salad is better than your mom’s potato salad”, pasta salads, horseradish deviled eggs, warm out of the oven french baguettes, brownies, lemon bars and hot, melt in your mouth muffins.  and don’t forget the daily specials… we saw prime rib!

when you look up, you will see old school water skis on the ceiling.  classic!


oh, and almost forgot… the famous deer head looking at you when you get your scoop of ice cream!


it comes in all forms.

i learn so much about life with these ladies.  be strong.  but also be a lady.  think big.  but take advice.  love.  and be loved.

thank you for the weekend my friends.

happy monday.



beer bread is what’s for dinner tonight…

beer bread

i’m making brooke a little hand made cookbook to take to college with her.  she has a few fav recipes and i figured i’d share some of them on my site these next few days.

only 2 more weeks until she leaves.

so much to do…

and that’s when i find myself baking.

beer bread.

one of our family favorites!

yep, i’m a carb person.  so, if i’m going to eat it… it better be delicious!!!


4 c. bisquick

1/3 c. sugar

2 Tblsp. melted butter

1 12 oz. beer (i usually use coors light because that’s what greg drinks and it’s usually somewhere in our refrigerator… last time i looked it was in the vegetable drawer…haha)

preheat oven to 375.  grease bottom of loaf pan.  in bowl, mix bisquick, sugar and butter.  add beer and mix until gloppy (i love that word).  pour into greased pan.  bake for 45 min, or until toothpick comes out clean.  then, when it’s about half way done, i drizzle with a little bit of honey and bake for remaining time.  trust me… it’s soooooo good!

our family loves it with a salmon dinner.  i promise to post that recipe soon.

happy wednesday.



world’s BEST popcorn (according to my family)…

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trust me.  it is!

i just made a batch the other night for the kids and their friends.  and it’s all gone today!  i wish i had doubled the recipe.  probably best i didn’t do that.  maybe i should not have eaten so much at each sitting.  but it was so darn good.  i just couldn’t resist!  don’t worry, the kids got a little bit.  haha


1 (3oz) microwave bag of tender white microwave popcorn (no butter flavor)

1 1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts

6 Tblsp. unsalted butter

1 c. white chocolate chips

3/4 c. light brown sugar

1/3 c. light corn syrup

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. creamy peanut butter (i like jif)

preheat oven to 250.  line cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleaning.  pop popcorn and spread over baking sheet.  sprinkle peanuts over top.  set aside.  in pan, melt butter, white choc chips, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and peanut butter.  stir until smooth.  pour over popcorn and peanuts.  bake for 15 min.  toss to coat.  bake another 15 min.  stir.  cool slightly.  you will be eating it already at this point trying to convince yourself you need to taste test it.

side note: if i don’t have unsalted butter on hand (like the other night) i use regular butter and reduce the salt by half (just a few shakes of salt is all i used on this batch because i used dry roasted peanuts with sea salt.

oh, and the cute glass cookie jar container in the photo is from pier 1 (  i have a few of them.  i write cute sayings on them and give them out as gifts.  the table runner is from pier 1 also, but from years ago.  love that print.  and last but certainly not least, the bowls are from my all time favorite store in the world…. anthropologie (  make sure you visit their sites… such cute kitchen stuff right now.


happy thursday.


pancakes + oreos = PANOREOS…

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want to be the “best mom in the world” this morning?

make your kids some PANOREOS.

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just mix up a batch of your favorite pancake mix.

we love krusteaz light and fluffy buttermilk.  pretty much just add water.

melt some butter on a griddle.

place little spoonfuls of batter on the griddle (a little bit bigger than an oreo.  then put an oreo on top.  and finally, pour a little more batter over the oreo.  flip when edges get golden brown.

no need for syrup.

just pick them up and eat them.

or top them with canned spray whip cream (per my kids instructions).

note: if i’m serving them to my husband or friends, I crush a few and sprinkle them over the platter.  it looks pretty.

that’s it.

best mom in the world.

trust me.

happy thursday.


lemonade. ice cream. a match made in heaven…


i want to make this soon.

anything lemon is right up my alley.

and if you add it to ice cream… oh boy!

takes me back to a trip we took with our family to newport beach in washington state.  yes, when we were asked, i was hoping it was newport beach, ca.  no such luck.  but at least we could drive.  3 hours.

4 families.

4 ocean front condos.

with a pool.

and a huge basketball court.

over 20 bikes… that we rode once. nope.  not doing that again.  just sold our bike rack at our last garage sale.

a huge assortment of junk food.  and booze.  and cards.  and games.  not much cel service.  old school.

all the salt water taffy you could eat.  yes, we all bought some thinking we were the only ones.  no complaints from the kids.

and the best ice cream shop.  ever.  they made their cones to order.  seriously.  and that is where i discovered lemon custard ice cream.  i don’t think i remember much else.  just the sweet, creamy, glorious treat.  and i’ve been craving it ever since.  of course i discovered it on the last day.  probably best for my waist line though.

but truly, i’ve been dreaming about it lately.

then I found  and she had a recipe.  not the same.  but one I know I could make.  and if not, then I will just have to drive 3 hours to that sweet little shop in newport beach.

but i’m going to try it on my own first.

and look for new recipes on her site.  it looks fabulous.  my foodie friends will thank me.

happy tuesday.


ps… YES, i will post some photos of my kids soon.  graduation.  moving up day to HS.  baseball.  beach days.  etc etc etc…. i promise.

it’s HOT here. time for an adult root beer float!

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it feels like it is 120 degrees out!!!

and we do not have air conditioning.  i always ask why people who lived in WA would have AC, but then a few weeks out of the year i get it.

taco salad is cooling in fridge.

and root beer popsicles with vanilla in the middle are in freezer.

rum is in pantry.

i’m ready for my adult root beer float!

happy monday.