Monday, August 31, 2009

Apparently it's been a long time since I was in High School

Sadly my clothes and I were unable to get much quality time together this weekend. I thought I would have a good chunk of time Friday afternoon but it somehow got lost to errands, the book store and making a pie. I don't know how these things happen. Then Saturday morning I left for a little weekend adventure. My friend Sara from church, my sister and I took the high school girls from youth group up to my parents cabin for the weekend. Here's what I have learned from spending the weekend with a bunch of High School girls:

1. High School girls can eat A TON! I thought my husband and his friends were bad but that was nothing to the amount of food that was consumed, particularly of the snack and candy varieties.

2. Don't take a variety of candy equaling 5lbs thinking that the girls will select what they like and you can just use the rest for the Halloween party. No. They will eat practically all of it!

3. College has become much more difficult to apply to and get accepted to

4. Monopoly can take 3-4 hours to play and crunches can become currency as well as nutty buddies. (I haven't l earned yet what a nutty buddy is)

5. You always need more s'mores ingredients then you imagined. High school girls eat more than two s'mores a piece.

6. High school students today are expected to have jobs, play sports, get perfect grades and excel in extra curricular activities

7. Star bursts are considered breakfast food by some.

All in all it was a very fun time. I really enjoy all the girls and they were all great. But I am very tired. As for my wardrobe it will have to wait until after labor day for it's much needed attention because we are going to Wallowa with Lauren and Nick for Labor Day!!! Thanks to the good advice comments.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

This weekend I am spending some quality time with my clothes

With school starting and fall approaching it’s catch up time for me. Now is the time before fall hits to clean and organize my house, start thinking through my busy holiday schedule and sort through my clothes. I don’t know about all of you buy tab out twice a year my clothes become a jumbled mess, nothing fits in my dresser or closet, and yet I hate all of my clothes and have nothing to wear.

Instincts tell me to toss half of it and go on a fall shopping spree. Mr. P and my budget tell me otherwise. Yet I have nothing to wear….!!!! So what is a girl to do? Well, I find in times like these that what is needed is some quality time with my wardrobe. Some time to get the creativity flowing back into my outfits. It seems that after awhile my clothes and I get lazy. We fall into a drone of the same things. Every morning we just want to appear in jeans and tees or the same black slacks and a striped blouse or the same denium skirt and cardigan. We forget about the variety of cute scarves in the scarf box, the shoe rack full of shoes in the closet and the jewelry box…hasn’t been touched in weeks. I just get bored of coming up with outfits, plus I somehow lose, stain, shrink or wear out all my basics that I need in order to wear the floral skirt, the cropped trousers, the pink flats and the multi-color beaded necklace. The combination of these factors results in blah blah blah when it comes to getting dressed.

That’s the problem. I hope I’m not alone is this problem, that everybody experiences fashion hum drum and it isn’t that I’m just hopelessly clueless in the fashion department. Anyway, to fix the problem…I have a plan. I received a much needed $100 gift card to the gap for my birthday a few weeks ago. This year rather than go on a free for all I am first going to spend some quality time with my wardrobe. I’m going to haul it all out and actually try things on…with other things….it will be crazy and unheard of in my house. I will plan outfits, I will see what else might go with that green pleated skirt. I will use my accessories and be creative. It will be an amazing experiment in my house (usually getting dressed is a bit of a haphazard affair for me). As I do this I will make a list of things I really need like a new white oxford blouse or perhaps a black cardigan or maybe tank tops for layering. I will identify what objects are preventing me from wearing the 75% of my closet I do not wear and those are the items I will purchase. Brilliant right? Then for the items that have no fix I will get rid of. This is my plan. Helpful hints, advise, fashion genious, inspiration please send my way. I will need it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School

Mr. P started is third and final year of law school today. It seems like just yesterday that we were graduating and he was getting ready for his first year and now he’s almost done and I am so EXCITED! Being married to a law student is a bit crazy and I am hoping this year will be a little less crazy. With two years under our belt I’m hoping Mr. P and are getting the hand of this law school thing.

I was getting him ready for school this weekend and I couldn't help miss the back to school feeling. Going to buy school supplies and more importantly new fall clothes. Lunch boxes with friends rather then lunch meetings with politicians. Getting to wear jeans everyday! Breaks between classes when everyone congregates on the lawn and instead of studying. Rushing through the pouring rain to Roma for cheap hot coffee and piles of philosophy books to read.

But then again…while I may work some pretty late nights, I never have to take work home. I never have to wake up at 5am on a Saturday to go work in a coffee shop. I haven’t pulled an all-nighter in over two years. And I don’t have to eat poor college student food day after day.

Maybe I’m aching for the change in the seasons, fall leaves and colors, warm sweaters, watching old movies on rainy Saturday afternoons and pumpkin pie and many steaming hot bowls of soup.

What are you looking forward to as fall inches closer?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekend Eats at Potter Place

This week I’m loving these cook books:

I haven’t posted a menu in a few weeks because we’ve been out of town so much and things have been so crazy. Now that school is starting back up things will fall back into routine. This week I am adding breakfast to my menu (only on weekends). I am always looking at the breakfast sections of my cook books and thinking “that looks so good, I am going to make that” and then never making it. This week I am starting with some easy yet delicious Ellie Krieger breakfast dishes which look perfect for a weekend at home.

Friday: Hungarian Goulash (Betty Crocker Cookbook, 1979), brown rice, wilted spinach with garlic, and pickled beets (The New Southern Basics by Martha Stamps)
Saturday: Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes (The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger), New Orleans Red Beans and Rice (New Orleans Food by Tom Fitzmorris)
Sunday: Apple-Pecan Muffins (The Food You Crave) and yogurt with fresh berries, Chicken with Poblano Cream Sauce (Food Everyday by Martha Stewart) and steamed red potatoes with fresh green beans
Monday: Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup (The Food You Crave) with Chicken Salad Sandwiches (Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten) and leftover pickled beets
Tuesday: Pork Chops with apples and shallots, spinach with nutmeg (Food Everyday) and Buttermilk Mashed potatoes (Barefoot Contessa at Home)
Wednesday: Spice Rubbed Lamb Pops (The Food You Crave) with Herbed basmati rice and orange glazed carrots (Barefoot Contessa at Home)
Thursday: Dinner at Friends

What are you planning to cook this weekend?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Almost Friday

It's Thursday, which means it's almost Friday, and that means: jeans to work, lunch out with a friend and off at 3pm!

I am looking forward to this weekend for a number of reasons:

1. I have no major plans--I'm not going out of town. I'm just cleaning house, tackling loads of laundry, finally seeing The Time Traveler's Wife with my sister, baking up a storm with my new Kitchenaid Mixer, and getting together with friends from church, and of course cooking delicious new recipes. I will post my menu tomorrow and it's a good one. I worked on it over a couple of days and I am pretty excited about it.

2. Mr. P and I are spending a lot of quality time together because this is the last weekend before law school starts back up and the madness begins again.

3. Saturday morning I am going to a local dairy to pick up my first order of raw milk, this is unprocessed, unpasteurized fresh milk. I am very excited about this and I hope it is as delicious as I have imagined!

4. I finally get my camera back which I left in San Francisco. I borrowed my Mom's camera for the camping trip. Which means come Monday pictures of my weekend baking extravaganza!

Well those are my weekend plans. I feel them beckoning me...What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Climbing Scary Mountains

During our camping trip last weekend my Dad and I climbed Mt. Thielsen. This is something we planned on doing a year ago and something I had been training for. Mt. Thielsen is an extinct volcano in the Oregon High Cascades.

This is the view of Mt. Thielsen from Diamond Lake

When my Dad had talked to me about climbing the mountain with him he had stressed the physical difficulty of it. He has climbed the mountain to the top twice, first when he was 16 and again about 6 years ago. It's 5 miles to the top and in those 5 miles you go up 4000ft in elevation. The trail head starts at 5000 ft elevation and ends just over 9000 ft. Once you get past 8000 ft the oxygen in the air decreases and it can make it more difficult to climb. So I was prepared for a difficult hike. However, I wasn't prepared to be terrified which is exactly what happened. What my Dad didn't explain is that the last 1.5 miles of the hike you are climbing up rocks. There are places where you are going up lava rock where you have hand holds and foot holds. Other places you go up loose shale where you fall back two feet for every one foot you move forward. For most if it you have to use your hands as well as your feet. Many of the places it's hard to distinguish rocks to grab onto because some are loose. You have to test every place you put your hands and feet or you may fall 30 feet down the mountain side. Here are some pictures from the hike.

This is the mountain from just before the tree line (about 2 miles from the top)

Here is the view of diamond lake from the trail.

This is what we're climbing up

Which soon turns into this

And then this. This is where I stopped.

This is the view from where I stopped.

This is the remaining trail up the horn which I decided not to do. So I didn't quite go to the top but I was really close. And I have to say I am really glad I went as far as I did. When the trail first started to get hairy I wanted to stop but I decided to try. I don't know if I will ever go up this mountain again but I think it was a good experience. And for now this ends Mrs. P rock climbing adventures.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My New Look!

I am back from my birthday festivities and camping and I have a new look! I am so excited about my blog design done by Casey from Blue Star Blogs did an amazing job.
My birthday was wonderful. My mom surprised me with a turquoise Kitchenaid Mixer and I was ecstatic. When Mr. P and I registered I really wanted to register for it but I had my Mom's old Kitchenaid from when she had upgraded. Hers worked perfectly well, despite being 25 years old, and I felt it would be silly to get another one when I had a perfectly fine one at home. My Mom knew how much I wanted the turquoise one and surprised me. Now the old one can go to my sister. I was SOOOO surprised. I haven't been that surprised by a present since I was 8 and my mom got me an American Girl Doll. It is so beautiful sitting on my kitchen counter I can't wait to use it.

Camping was wonderful. Here are some pics of the weekend.

Diamond Lake where we go camping every year

Me Hiking Mt. Thielsen

Mr. P and I at Crater Lake (it's 20 miles from our camp ground so we took an afternoon trip)

Lauren and I at Crater Lake

Crater Lake in all it's glory

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bithday Week

My birthday is this week. Somehow birthday's in our family always seem to merge into Birthday Week. That's definitely the case for me this year. Tomorrow night my Mom is throwing a little party for me at her house. Then Wednesday, my actual birthday, Mr. P and I are going out for a dinner date! Then Thursday morning we leave for the annual family camping trip with my Dad and we'll celebrate my birthday at the camp site.

I love camping. It is truly one of my favorite memories growing up and it's something I still look forward to every year. I love being outside, the smell of the lake, coffee cooking on the camp fire, fish frying, and campfire smoke. I love reading in the hammock and sitting on the dock with my sister. And I love love love to swim in the lake. This year I am going to climb Mt. Theilsen with my Dad and brother. It's a 14 mile hike! Wish me lots of luck.

So I'm off for a few days of birthday celebrations and a good long weekend at the lake with my family.

Oh and as a side note: Julie & Julia was great. It had so many things I love, food, cooking, Julia Child and blogs! I highly recommend it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

What spaghetti in a taco--that's crazy!

Do you need a fun, albeit perhaps crazy, dinner idea? Try my Spaghetti Sauce Tacos. Actually they are my mom’s spaghetti sauce tacos. I’m not really sure how they came about. I just remember as a kid we would get to eat them and we were SOOO excited. They are delicious and messy and just plain fun. Kids love them because it’s spaghetti sauce and tacos all at once! I made them last night and they are still just as Delicious as I remembered. Sadly I have no pictures because I left my camera in San Fran and don’t have it back yet.

To make spaghetti sauce tacos you first have to make spaghetti sauce. But not just any spaghetti sauce, you have to make Betty Crocker spaghetti sauce (this is because it's so meaty and thus stays in the taco). Since I was Betty Crocker the other day and made a big pot of spaghetti sauce we had some left over, which was perfect for spaghetti sauce tacos.

Betty Crocker Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¾ tsp basil
½ tsp marjoram
1 tsp oregano

Sauté beef with onion and garlic until beef is browned. Drain and return to pot. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil lower to simmer and simmer 1 hour.

Spaghetti Sauce Tacos

Soft corn tortillas (how many depends on how many tacos ppl want to eat)
Canola oil
Cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Left over spaghetti sauce
Option: lettuce and chopped raw onion

Heat canola oil in skillet. Fry tortillas in oil to make crispy taco shells. Grate cheese. Reheat spaghetti sauce.

To eat: put sauce in taco shell, top with cheese and sour cream and maybe some lettuce.

What makes these so brilliantly good is the combination of the fried tortilla the tomatoey sauce and the cold sour cream. As long as you incorporate those three elements you can’t go wrong. I will warn you they are very messy so be prepared.

*side note: there will be a day when I write a post about something other than food. It will happen I promise. Perhaps shoes...stay tuned!

Happy Friday All!

Mrs. P

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I can link and now so can you!

As I mentioned the other day I am a bit of a computer dunce. I can do email, search on google, and I have finally figured out google reader but that's about it. But today I finally learned how to link from my blog to other blogs and previous blog posts. This is thanks to Casey's blog tutorial. (See that is me linking!) So if you too are a blogging dunce like me click HERE for Casey's tutorial.

Last night an amazing thing happened

I got home from work last night at 5:30 and I was in a bad mood. I’d just come from a frustrating meeting and the apartment was a disaster. Unpacked bags from our trip were still on the living room floor. The desk was a mess, shoes all over the entry, laundry spilling over the basket in the hallway, bathroom counter covered, clothes and towels on the bathroom floor and the kitchen…HORRIBLE! Garbage reeks, recycle needs taken out, dishes on the counter, the table, the coffee table, groceries I picked up at lunch unpacked on the counter. I come in the bedroom to great Mr. P and it’s also a mess. I go back in the kitchen to make my classic American spaghetti I have been craving. I am just standing in the kitchen and suddenly I just can’t take it anymore. I just wanted to sit on the floor and cry, I felt so overwhelmed and exhausted.

But then, this is the amazing part, I see half a bottle of wine on the messy table left over from San Francisco when we decided to have a wine, bread and cheese picnic at 10:30 in the morning (more on that adventure to come). I poured a nice big glass of wine and walked over to the bookshelf for my Betty Crocker Cookbook and then it happened…I transformed, for one night only, into Betty Crocker. I kid you not. I don’t know if it was the delicious Napa Valley wine or if it was the comforting worn cover of my book with Betty Crocker staring back at me with her encouraging smile, but I swear it happened.

For the next four hours I was an amazing person, not myself.
My bad mood lifted, I turned on my favorite country music CD, I started chopping onions, called my friend Sara to schedule a Friday lunch date. I got my sauce simmering away cheerfully on the stove and then I started laundry, I unpacked bags, put away clothes, took out garbage and recycling. I cleared off the desk, and the couch and the coffee table. I cleaned the kitchen, made broccoli and spaghetti noodles. I even set the table with a real live table cloth! Something I haven’t done for months. Mr. P and I ate at the table our delicious spaghetti and broccoli. But it didn’t stop there. No, I did more laundry, cleaned the kitchen leaving it spotless. With the kitchen clean I moved into the bedroom where I put away all the clothes and bags, and folded laundry. Finally, I Clorox wiped the bathroom, put on pj’s and got into bed a very happy woman.
I explained to Mr. P not to expect this amazing display of domesticity to repeat itself on a frequent basis. But perhaps, if $12 bottles of Napa Valley wine just happened to land on my kitchen table it might help his chances. I’m just saying…
Then I promptly feel asleep.
Mrs. P

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cook Book Love

We all know I love to cook. I love food, I love cookbooks, and I love kitchen tools. I just love food. My favorite time of the week is Friday mornings. I wake up start coffee and randomly select a stack of cook books. I pour my coffee, sit in my arm chair and start selecting delightful dishes for the coming week. I always allow myself one exciting dish, something fancier, maybe a little more expensive and a bit of a challenge. I usually have one comfort dish, something familiar, from my childhood, simpler and cheaper. And then there are usually a few quicker meals for busier week nights. Thus my cook books fall into these categories. I have my fancy exciting cookbooks: Barefoot Contessa, Julia Child, Cooking with Capriel, and of course Jamie Oliver.

I have my standard cookbooks these are full of good and interesting dishes but a bit simpler, easier and more affordable: William Sonoma’s Easy Entertaining, Dave Lieberman, Paula Deen, Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast, and Ellie Krieger.

Then there is the comfort food. This section of my cook book collection is probably the most vital. Here we have Better Homes and Gardens, my Southern cookbook, Farmhouse cooking, my grandmother’s Joy of Cooking and the most important cook book I own: the 1979 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Lately, a lot of my friends have been getting married and I’ve been buying them cookbooks along with their wedding gifts. For me cooking was the highlight of newlywed life. You suddenly have wonderful cooking tools, and a husband eager to eat and adore anything you make. You can make pies, cookies, pastries, and he will eat them, thus allowing you the fun of baking without the calories of eating it all yourself. You can plan dinner parties and set the table with your new china. You can send out invitations that say delightful things like “Mr. and Mrs. Potter invite you….” It’s wonderful! Once I got married I started my menu planning routine. I pick some books, make a menu, go grocery shopping Friday after work and am ready to cook delightful dishes in the week to come. But as I started choosing my favorite books for each of my bride-to-be friends I came to realize the importance of the Betty Crocker Cook book. I decided to share with all of you my #1 newlywed cooking tip.

Ask your Mom which cook book she had when she got married. It’s probably only one or two and it was probably, The Betty Crocker Cookbook, the Better Homes and Garden’s or the Joy of Cooking. Then beg her for it. If she won’t part with it, this will probably be the case, then find that book in the same edition. If she had the 1966 Joy of Cooking then find a 1966 edition of Joy of Cooking. This is very important because they change them.

I begged my Mom for her 1979 Betty Crocker Cookbook and she adamantly refused. Instead she went out and bought me a new edition of the book. I eagerly open it up thinking I’m going to make chicken crepes (a recipe I grew up eating) only to find there were no chicken crepes. Not only were there no chicken crepes but there was no tamale pie, there was no chicken rice salad and the recipe for enchiladas was wrong and so was the one for spaghetti sauce. Further they suggested you bake chicken fried steak in order to cut the calories! This was not going to do at all. So my sweet sweet Mother looked through antique stores and used book stores for months until she found another copy of the 1979 Betty Crocker Cookbook and it is my greatest cook book treasure. Because their will be those days when you want spaghetti exactly like you remember it from your childhood. And there will be days that you want the exact muffins your mom made or the chocolate cake from you birthday when you were 8. And sometimes your Mom won’t answer the phone and you will be very upset. Trust me I know.

Some mornings I wake up and I don’t want to eat risotto with lemon thyme and goat cheese. I don’t want super healthy whole wheat pasta and I don’t want to go buy fresh herbs. Sometimes I just want plain old American spaghetti with ground beef and steamed broccoli on the side. Or I want peanut butter cookies exactly like I used to make with my mom when I was a kid. And on those days I turn to my Betty Crocker Cookbook and I am comforted by the familiar pictures and the 70’s orange mixing bowls and the dorkey way the food is garnished with radish flowers. Now I want to know: what is your favorite cook book and why?

Mrs. P

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

what? not every blog is non-fiction...

Oh my sister...

She is learning about blogs.

We just did a tour of my favorite blogs.

This came after she made the above statement, "what? not every blog is non-fiction?"

All this came about because I just learned that the movie Julie & Julia is based on a blog!!!! That's right a blog about cooking Julia Child food everyday!!! Why didn't I know about this blog. Well I do now and I'm going to read it.

Jess thinks blogs are silly now. It's like facebook. Now she thinks it's silly but just wait, soon she will be addicted. Soon she will blog. And we will be blog friends.

My brain is a little fried so just some random things...

1. I have been working with campaign law most of the day and my brain has turned to absolute mush

2. I really want to order these recipe cards which I spotted on Kate (from Elephantitas Alegres,, blog today. There is a lot of irony in this statement because Kate’s post is about how every newlywed has a Kitchenaid Mixer and how this domestic icon is defining women. It’s a really good point especially when she brings up Naomi Wolf. As someone who studied feminist philosophy in college and has read a lot of Naomi Wolf, I completely see her point and agree, and yet I so want these recipe cards, a lot.[]=tags&includes[]=title

3. I still can’t link to other blogs or my own blog. I need someone to teach me how to do this. Above it should say Kate from Elephantitas Alegres and then you click on Elephantitas Alegres and you are transported to her blog post. Yeah I can’t do that. I have no computer skills.

4. In fact I had to have on of the girls from the youth group help me set up my blog. But I am going to get a blog make over and I am very excited. Casey, from The Ever-Changing Life of a Military Wife, is going to make my blog beautiful.

5. It is finally starting to cool off here. It has been really hot, last week it was up to 105 and 106 for a couple days. Potter Place, which is on the third floor and not air conditioned, has been pretty miserable.

6. This weekend will be the first one in over a month that I have not been out of town. I am so excited to be home, sleep in, and maybe even go to a movie. I am not excited about all the housecleaning I have to do.

5. Speaking of movies there are two coming out that I am really excited about. Julie and Julia,

I love Julia Child so much. I watched her on OPB every week with out fail growing up and I have all her cook books and I swear by her chocolate mouse. It is the best chocolate mouse in the world and it is worth the hours it takes to make. I am also really excited to see the time Travelers Wife. I loved the book as I love magical realism and this book was a great example of it.

6. Finally, Casey, is giving away this book:

You should all go read Casey’s post about this book and its importance. It is a first hand account of the war on terror from those who have been in Afghanistan fighting. I am definitely getting this book and reading it. You can enter her giveaway here:
Mrs. P

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hint Hint Mr. P

We are back from San Francisco. It was a fabulous trip although a lot of driving. I took tons of photos which I am very excited to share. However, I left my camera at a restaurant the last night we were there and so pictures are delayed until my friend David brings it back to me in a few weeks.
Meanwhile it is almost my birthday!!! And I thought I'd share these gorgeous necklaces I found on J Crew all for under $50 and all of which would make very nice birthday presents from Mr. P....
Shimmering Stone Necklace

Constellation Locket