Tuesday, June 30, 2009

General News

Sorry for the lack of menu Friday. My computer/internet was having a general meltdown. Besides, there really isn’t a menu this week. Jess is in Boston and I’m just eating whatever until next week when she returns. I will try my hardest not to live solely off of cereal but I make no promises.

Lauren’s bridal shower was Sunday and it was a huge success. Everything went very smoothly and she really enjoyed it. I’ll have pictures soon. However, it was exhausting and I am still recovering. Last night I did nothing except watch Frasier and veg out. All the food was great. I used recipes from Paula Dean, Martha Stamps and Ina Gardner and they were all wonderful recipes. The biggest hit was the pickled beets by Martha Stamps. She is a chef from Nashville, TN. Here restaurant, Martha’s at the Plantation, is at the Bell Meade Plantation. I ate at the restaurant when I was there and loved it. Her book, New Southern Basics, is really good. They were really good and very easy. Here is the recipe:

Pickled Beets
2lb of beets
1 onion, thinly sliced
¾ cup of vinegar
Some salt
Some cayenne

Scrub beets and remove ends. Boil for 20-30 minutes until fork tender. Remove and let cool. Rub off the skin and slice in 1/3 inch slices. Add remaining ingredients and let marinate one hour before serving.

I was able to talk to Mr. P this weekend. He is doing really well hanging in there. I am so proud of him. His knee hasn’t bothered him at all which is very good news. This week is his 5th week and thus marks the halfway point.
Mrs. P

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where's Billy?

My sister Jess is the funny member of our family. She is makes witty and sarcastic remarks and comebacks that are hilarious. Another fun fact about Jess is that she mysteriously “acquired” a 2 ft tall skeleton fall of her freshman year of high school. Much to our Mother’s horror, Billy (yes he is named Billy) hung from a necktie nuce in her bedroom all through high school frequently sporting a different hat or scarf. Billy of course has come with Jess to my apartment and become subject to her latest bit of hilarity: Where’s Billy? This is a game where she puts Billy in a new place everyday for me to find when I come home from work. Sometimes he is in an obvious place sometimes I can’t find him. It is the latter that makes me nervous.

Today I can’t find him. Granted I didn’t spend a ton of time looking last night but I looked in all the normal places and he is nowhere to be seen.
Mrs. P

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tired Tuesday

Tuesday is feeling a bit like Monday all over again. I am so tired. I know it is because I am not sleeping enough. 1. It is hard to sleep when your husband is gone. I go to sleep okay but I wake up really early and can't go back to sleep. It's like something just isn't quite right with half the bed empty. 2. I just keep staying up late. I know I should try and go to sleep before midnight when I have to wake up at 6 am for a 7am meeting but do I do that? No, I persist to stay up till 12:15. Anyway, enough whining. I do want to share some excellent Father's Day Pictures from Sunday.

It was a really fun day. It was the first time I hosted a family get together. I've had my parents over for dinner and my grandparents over for dinner separately but usually things like Father's Day are held at one of their houses. I was a little nervous but it was a hit. Everyone like the menu and because it was a pretty easy menu I got enjoy the party and wasn't stuck in the kitchen all day. The morning before was a little stressful getting ready but this was mostly due to the fact that I had spent Saturday in Portland shopping instead of housecleaning. So Sunday morning I was frantically housecleaning and cooking. Then in the middle of all that my vacuum cleaner broke and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I called my Mom, somewhat frantically, and it turns out that among many other things she has tons of hidden vacuum cleaner knowledge. Sometimes I really wonder what I am going to do when I move away from her. She always just knows things. Whether it be vacuum cleaners, to what temperature to cook pizza, to how often to water my cactus, to how to get wine out of anything, it's amazing. Is it just me? Do you guys still call your mom for random information?

Mrs. P

Monday, June 22, 2009

A wonderful year

Sunday was Mr. P and I's one year wedding anniversary. While I, obviously, didn't get to spend it with him, I did get to talk to him for the first time since he left for OCS. I was wonderful to talk to him and hear his voice. Here are some of my favorite pictures from our wedding last year.

Mrs. P

Friday, June 19, 2009

Menu Friday

There is going to be a lot of yummy food cooking at Potter Place this next week. Now that Jess is moved in and I have someone to cook with I'm starting to get my recipe itch back.

Friday: Tagine with Cous Cous from Dinner's with Dave
Saturday: We are going to P-town to go shopping and will meet up with our uncle and cousins for dinner
Sunday: Fathers day luncheon--curried chicken salad (from Paula Dean's book Cooking with Friends) with homemade rolls, cucumber salad (family recipe), spinach salad with roasted onions and cranberries (food network online), potato chips and fresh cantaloupe
Monday: Make your own pizzas and salad with balsamic dressing
Tuesday: Chicken Satay with Peanut sauce (Ellie Krieger's book The Food You Crave) with rice and cucumber salad
Wednesday: Red beans and rice with collard greens
Thursday: Chicken Chiliquiles from Martha Stewart's book Food Everyday
Friday: left overs

Happy Weekend Eating everyone!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Deliciousness in a glass

Each week when I make my menu I grab one or two cook books off the shelf to pull recipes from. I stick one or two because otherwise I get overwhelmed at all the possibilities. This week I grabbed Dave's Dinner's by chef Dave Lieberman. I am reminded once again of Dave's brilliance and why he is one of my favorite chef's. This week from Dave we have eaten Moroccan spiced chickpea stew, Orange and 5 spice roasted chicken with sweet potato mash and tagine with cous cous. All delicious recipes and all pretty easy to make on a week night.

My cousin who is getting married in a month has been staying with me the past few days. It has been lots of girl fun. We have been shopping, making the menu for her bridal shower, planning the details of the bachelorette party and doing hour by hours plans for the wedding weekend. Her bridal shower is going to be a Southern Ladies Luncheon and on the menu:
Cheese Straws
Fruit Plate
Chicken Salad
Cucumber and tomato salad
Wild rice salad
pickled beets
chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing
Sweet tea
Mint Juleps

Last night we decided to test the mint juleps out because we'd never had them. They were delicious and are definitely my new favorite drink. I don't know why it took me this long to try them since bourbon is my favorite alcohol, I usually drink Manhattan's when I order cocktails. I didn't take pictures but they are a very pretty drink and here is the recipe:
Mint Juleps
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
fresh mint
soda water
crushed ice
good Kentucky Bourbon
Cook sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Let cool. Place 8 sprigs of fresh mint in simple syrup and keep overnight in fridge. Make each drink individually. Fill low ball half full of crushed ice. Add 1 TB mint syrup, 2oz of Bourbon and a splash of soda. Mix well. Garnish with fresh sprig of mint.

After all the Mint Julep fun Lauren and I stayed up until 3am, I kid you not, and then persisted to sleep straight threw the 4am alarm to get her to the train station on time. Luckily when we woke at 6:30 we realized there was a later train. Now I am going on very little sleep for about the 4th day in a row. Jeez, Mr. P is gone three weeks and look at me. I've reverted back to college behavior at an alarmingly quick rate.

Monday, June 15, 2009

lately I'm loving

This Monday I'm loving...

My little sister graduating from High School

Delicious Summer Salad with Goat cheese

This is my new favorite salad. I got the idea from a Ellie Krieger recipe (I will blog later about how much I like her book) but I have altered it a bit and now it is truly the perfect summer salad. Fill a plate with mixed salad greens of your choice. Top with white cannellini beans from a can, drained and rinsed. Add some pine nuts and crumbled goat cheese. Top with roasted cherry tomatoes. To roast the tomatoes I drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425 for about 10 minutes. For a dressing I just whisk some olive oil balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. It's so good and so easy. Best part is you don't have to chop anything!

These amazing classic modern chairs for my dining room:


Letters arriving from Mr. P

(photo courtesy of writeandlearn.info/?page_id=30)

Mrs. P

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Times a changing

I have mentioned before that my sister Jessica is moving in with me and I am very excited. Jess is my favorite person, besides Mr. P of course. Today she graduates from High School and I am so proud of her. Not only is she graduating with wonderful grades and a scholarship, but she is such a mature, enjoyable, hard working, smart and fun person. It's hard to believe how much we're all growing up. This summer Jess and I and our brother are going on a road trip together and it's going to be great, a family vacation without the parents telling us what to do or not do. I know... I am an adult and married and have a job and so on. But sometimes, especially when I'm with my siblings, it's just so hard to believe. I am the only one who feels this way? Do you forget you are the "responsible adult in charge"? what makes you really feel like a kid again?

Jess cooking away for my bridal shower which she planned and hosted

Jessica before my wedding and putting on my makeup for the wedding

Jess dancing with her best friend Jacob

Mrs. P

Monday, June 8, 2009

How to change a light fixture

Potter Place is a rather standard new apartment that came with an ugly dining room light fixture.

This weekend I replaced the ugly light fixture with a cuter light fixture.

It was very easy and fairly inexpensive. When I first started to think about changing out the light fixture I was looking at fixtures that cost $100-$300, which is way more than I wanted to spend for something I may only use 1 year. Somebody suggested having one made. I found a store in town that makes custom lamps and picked out a shade. Then they charged $20 wire the shade into a light. The total cost ended up being $60. Once you have the new light switching them out is easy. I had someone show me this time so next time I'll be all set.
Mrs. P

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Eats at Potter Place

Mr. P has been gone one week and I have to say it has been rather interesting living by myself. I was hanging out with one of my best friends from college last night and he pointed out that this is the first time I have really lived alone. During college I had roommates and lived within a five minute walk from all of my friends. I did have my own apartment the first year after college, which was also the year Mr. P and I were engaged and planning the wedding, but my apartment was across the street from Mr. P's apartment he shared with two friends, and all our good friends lived within a couple of blocks. Mr. P and I moved away from the campus area when we got married to the other side of town. Now I live by myself and not in walking distance to anyone, which is a very different experience. It's hard to feel very alone when you are shouting distance to most of your friends.

So far I am kind of enjoying living alone. I have strange new living alone habits. I stay up really late, which is something Mr. P and I almost never do. Then I get up really early. I love the late night hours of dark stillness with beams of street light floating into the apartment. And I also love the early morning hours which are just as quite yet with a completely different energy. I like eating whatever I want for dinner and not worrying about if it has enough protien or calories for Mr. P. I like listening to country music on the radio as much as I want. Mr. P had a limit to how much he would listen to without whining at me.

Don't get me wrong, I miss Mr. P. And I know that week 8 or 9 may feel quite different than weeks 1 and 2. But it's good to know I am doing pretty okay by myself. I wasn't too worried about until right before he left and everyone was so worried about me. People kept saying things like, "what are you going to do all by yourself all summer?" "oh my gosh, that's so horrible for you", or "you can't even talk to him on the phone! oh I just couldn't do that". People also kept pointing out how lonely I would get. I am an extremely social person. But I have been staying busy and using this time to spend with friends I don't see enough. I am also spending time with people I've always wanted to get to know more or be better friends with. I think this summer could bring a lot of great memories and friendships. I hope Mr. P can say the same.

So now that I have rambled on and on....it's time for Friday Eats:

Friday: Japanese Chicken Curry, brown rice and Swiss chard

Saturday: BBQ at friends from church, I'm bringing Pesto Potato Salad from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

Sunday: Fried rice with broccoli

Mon: Five-Minute Salad of Goat Cheese, Herbs and White Beans from The Food You Crave

Tuesday: Spiced Pork Chops (my own recipe) with Spinach and Chickpea Salad with Cumin Dressing from The Food You Crave

Wednesday: I am making all the kids in Youth Group one of my favorite childhood dinners, Taco Casserole from A Taste of Oregon Cookbook and salad

Thursday: Quick Pork Tacos (using left over pork from Tuesday night) and salad with cumin dressing

*I just got the Ellie Krieger Cookbook and these are the first recipes I'm trying out of it. You can check her out here: http://www.elliekrieger.com/

Happy Weekend Cooking!

Mrs. P

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Decorating Potter Place

I have mentioned before my quest to decorate Potter Place. The challenge being to work in a very small budget and work around the random college hand me down furniture we have. Lately I have been on a quest for couch pillows. I have determined that couch pillows really may be the most vital piece to decorate the living room. The right mix of pillows can bring together the whole room. It’s definitely a make or break sorta thing. I need pillows to bring together a blah futon with a beige cover, a random vintage wooden coffee table, two very retro yellow and gold patterned arm chairs, a very modern dining room light fixture and classic tiffany lamp. Ideally I need to bring together yellow, gold, red, green, and beige. And I need it to look like all the randomness was perfectly planned. My luck so far has been nil. Every pillow I’ve found that I like costs $40-$60. Since I’m hoping to get 5-7 pillows that is way more money then I want to spend. This morning I hit gold at http://www.pier1.com/. So on my lunch break today I'm going to buy some of these:

Mrs. P

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

5k Race

I finaly had a chance to upload my photos. This is after the race.

Allison, Me, Sara and Pastor Steve

Sara and I ran together and we finished in 35 minutes 12 seconds. Pastor Steve left us in the dust early on.

Mrs. P