Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Red lipstick and a Fedora

1. I am wearing a Fedora and red lipstick as I type. It's my Halloween costume. Actually it's not my actual Halloween costume. My actual costume, a little lame, is a flapper. Mr. P and I are going to a Halloween costume party Friday night as a flapper and a 1920's gangster. But I have to dress up for a work Halloween function tonight and I didn't want to wear my skimpy flapper costume to a work function I'm going as the 20's gangster. Hence the Fedora. I am also sporting men's dress shoes, baggy black slacks with a white blouse and suspenders. I am throwing in the red lipstick for good measure!

2. The weekend away was so nice. I read a lot and I ate soup and watched the fire and played with my darling little cousins who are 2 and 4 and so cute.

3. I am reading a really good book. It is called the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I would highly recommend it.

4. Remember my lacto-fermendted corn relish. Last night for dinner I dredged thin cut pork chops in masa and fried them in a skilled and then topped them with the corn relish. It was super easy, fast and delicious.

5. Daylight savings is next this weekend and I am very happy as I love daylight savings. I am particularly looking forward to sleeping in Sunday and Monday with my extra hour.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Finally it's Friday!

It has been a crazy week, three public hearings tons of meetings, running around like a maniac from my office to city hall to meetings, complete craziness. So now I am very glad it's Friday and we are going out of town. I am going here:

Well near here. This is Belnap Covered bridge. It's two miles from my family's cabin and we drive through it to get there. The whole family is going. It's supposed to pour all weekend so I am going to enjoy a cozy fire, hot tea, warm sweaters, good books and movies inside.

Happy weekend!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Carving Party

Pumpkin Carving was so fun! Here are pictures of all the fun:

Eric brought this weird singing moving toy.

Some very creative pumpkin carvers. Orren is carving a fly (as in for fly fishing) and Pat, who's pumpkin is covered by the bag, is carving a wheelchair sign. Why, I do not know.

Kent's pumpkin turned out really well, it was probably the most elaborate creation of the day.

Mr. P carving a shark pumpkin.

David is carving Chinese characters into his pumpkin. It looks really difficult.

All the pumpkins outside. Mr. P set up this arrangement and I thought it was really neat. I can't quite get them all in view because of the doors.

Here they all are lit. So fun!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Soup and Pumpkin Carving=Fall

I neglected my blog this week. Work got insanely busy. At Potter Place we have continued to eat from our turkey. Since our turkey dinner we've had two other dinners from the turkey. First, this Delicious turkey chili with black beans and corn. The original recipe is made with chicken but it was great with turkey.

I substituted chicken broth for my homemade turkey broth. I also added green peppers to the chili because we have a ton from my mom's garden and I added a lot more corn, again because we have a ton.

I also made wild rice salad with turkey which was also really good but I didn't take a picture. The wild rice salad is a Paula Deen recipe and I just added the cooked turkey to make it a meal.
Today is our annual pumpkin carving party. We have one every year, it's a lot of fun. My grandfather brings pumpkins from his pumpkin patch. Right now my patio is a miniature pumpkin patch with 19 pumpkins on it! How we are going to get 15-20 people in our apartment carving pumpkins is beyond me but regardless it will be a riot I'm sure.

Per tradition we will have soup and pie at our pumpkin carving party. Last year we did beef stew and a South American bean and vegetable soup. This year we are doing a Roasted tomatillo and turkey stew. The original recipe is for chicken but again I'm substituting for turkey and turkey broth. This will finish off turkey meat but I will still have broth left. Then I am also making Delicious Jamie Oliver squash soup which is one of my favorite recipes. Lastly we will have blackberry, apple and blue berry pies.

And with that I shall get back to my kitchen. Have a lovely Saturday everyone!

Monday, October 12, 2009

To Roast A Turkey...

Saturday I roasted my turkey.
Here is my turkey at the beginning:

The first step was to remove the turkey from the package and get him into the roasting pan. Seems easy enough, yes? Wrong! This was actually the hardest part of the whole process. To begin with he is heavy, wet, slippery and still frozen inside. So the To begin, the turkey and I were at the sink. I couldn't get the neck and giblets out so I was running hot water into the cavity. This was making the turkey more slippery. He slipped and flopped once causing a big splash and lots of Turkey juice splashed onto my face. Finally I got the inside stuff out of the turkey, rinsed the turkey and patted the turkey dry. Then with the help of Mr. P I got the turkey into the roasting pan. From this point on it was much easier.

Once he was in the roasting pan I stuffed the cavity with cut up lemon, celery, onion and garlic. I brushed the outside of the turkey with melted butter and then he went to the oven. Then I had to Clorox my kitchen and myself which was covered in gross turkey juice.l
This is the part I messed up. Betty Crocker said that a twenty pound turkey should take 41/2 to 5 1/2 hours (you baste the last 30 minutes to an hour). I put the turkey in at 1:30pm. Then assuming I had at least four hours to kill I decided to go decorate Halloween cookies with some friends at church. I came back at 5 ready to start basting my turkey for his last 30 minutes of cooking only to find that he was already 190 (you are supposed to start basting at 150 and take the turkey out at 160 then let it rest)! So my turkey was overcooked even by Betty Crocker standards, which my Mother says are out of date anyway.

However, despite a lack of basting and being overcooked the turkey was still delicious and huge! We ate turkey for dinner, and lunch on Sunday. I served the roasted turkey with homemade cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes and a green salad with toasted pecans, apples and dried cranberries.

After dinner I decided to make broth out of the turkey carcase. While Mr. P sweetly did the dishes, I pulled all of the remaining meat off the turkey. There were two dinner plates piled high with meat. I separated the meat into freezer bags for later meals. Then I disjointed the bird and split the bones up into my two largest pots. I added fresh celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Then I filled both pots with water and brought them to a boil, turned them to a simmer and let simmer for four hours. Then I strained the broth and filled 10 quart sized containers and froze them.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Beast of A Bird

Our Pastor's wife's name is Beth. Beth is wonderful. She is a great friend and mentor and hostess and she is always giving out food! You will never leave her house without food in your hands. A few weeks ago she asked me if I could use a turkey she had in her freezer. I can always use free food, especially free meat! So the next Wednesday her daughter comes to youth group with the biggest turkey I have ever seen!!!! It's huge, it's heave, I can barely carry the thing---it's 20lbs! I left and soon realized there was no way I was going to fit this giant beast of a bird in my freezer so I called my Mom and promptly took the bird to her freezer where it has been residing ever since.

Well this weekend I am going to cook my giant turkey and I am quite excited. I have never roasted a turkey before. I'm considering this to be a great opportunity to practice my thanksgiving cooking skills. The really exciting prospect is how many other things I can make with the turkey. First I shall roast it thanksgiving style. But then what? The possibilities are endless...There is soups of course, casseroles, turkey crepes, stir fry, pasta, hash, enchiladas, turkey salad sandwiches, turkey and dumplings, and the list could go on. First I thought perhaps I would make an entire week of turkey dishes. Then Mr. P pointed out that he would do nothing but sleep all week and that may not be wise considering law school, mock trial and other responsibilities he has. Then I realized we were only one week away from our annual pumpkin carving party during which I will be feeding 15-20 people. So now we shall see...what all can I do with a giant 20lb turkey?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A blanket of soft grey fog

I love fog. I love rain. I love grey days. I love torrential rain showers. Luckily I live in the perfect climate for this. It rains here A LOT! It is also very foggy, and frequently grey. I don't particularly care for sunny weather. Don't get me wrong sunny days are nice in spring and early summer and on the 4th of July. But sun doesn't excite me like grey weather does. Odd? maybe. It's just that sun can be so glaring and bright and unforgiving. It's harsh and hot and not flattering. But a grey misty day, a cold and foggy morning, a wild rainstorm... these things, in the words of Anne Shirley, "Have so much more scope for the imagination."

This is why today I was thrilled to wake up to a grey world blanketed in fog. I'd forgotten how much I loved fog until I woke up to it's beauty and splendor. I felt so cozy and comforted sitting in my arm chair with piping hot tea and a big bowl of oatmeal. The world outside my window looked so much more interesting covered in the blanket of soft rolling fog.

On another note. Oatmeal has become one of my favorite foods. It is my newest food obsession along with peanut butter. I eat it almost every morning with bananas, raisins, butter and pure maple syrup. So delicious, warm and comforting. To try my favorite breakfast creation simply make a pot of oatmeal using a longer cooking oatmeal. No Quaker instant oats or 2 minute oats. Get an oatmeal that cooks for at 10 minutes. Once it's done add a good nob of butter and a whole banana chopped. Then top with a mixture of golden raisins and regular raisins and drizzle with pure maple syrup. This is adapted from Ina Garten's recipe for Sunday morning oatmeal. You could also add cream or milk. Or you could substitute raisins for dried cherries or apricots. Anyway you fix your oatmeal it will be a hot and delicious morning treat!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Clothes

A while ago I wrote about the disaster that is my wardrobe/closet. A few weeks ago I finally spent a day with my closet. I cleaned and organized, I did laundry and Ironing, I played with outfits and I sorted out old things. Afterwards I was feeling a bit better about my options. I made mental notes of what I needed and what I wanted. This weekend I finally took all that knowledge and my birthday gift card to the Gap for some fall shopping. I determined I needed a nice pair of jeans that would cut it for a casual Friday or an evening out, some shirts that I could wear under a suit jacket but also out on a Friday night, some blouses for work, more black tops and some long sleeve shirts for weekends. Here's what I came home with:

This is perfect for work with slacks but it's also really comfy and will be great on a Saturday with skinny jeans and flats

This shirt I love. It's really comfortable and great for going out but it also looks really nice with my black pants suit. I wore it yesterday for an important meeting and loved it!

I got this shirt in both black and fuchsia. It's really comfy but looks nice. It's another one I can wear under a suit or with jeans.

This shirt was so comfy I got it in fuchsia stripes and tan stripes.

I love this sweater both for work and home.

I also got a nice pair of really dark denim trouser jeans. Best of all everything I got was on sale. All the shirts were less than $20 and the jeans were 50% off! New clothes make Monday morning so much brighter!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Unfolded Laundry

It's finally Friday and I am so happy. However, there is a giant pile of unfolded laundry on my couch that has been sitting since Monday. I know, it's horrible. I swore to myself before I got married that I would NEVER do that! It was on my newlywed list, you know the list of things you will never do when you're married. I thought I would shave my legs everyday, vacuum every other day, have a date night once a week, never wear lounge pants to bed and never throw my laundry on the couch and leave it. Then reality set in, I certainly do not shave my legs everyday, we're lucky if I vacuum once a week, we have maybe 4 date nights a year, and I practically live in my Nike pants. But the laundry was my hold out.

For the first 10 months I was so good. I always threw the clean laundry on the bed and either folded it then or at least folded it and put it away before bed. Then one fateful night in March I was so tired, and so cold, and so grumpy ,I just threw the pile of clean clothes on the couch. I thought, "it's okay, I'll fold it first thing in the morning while I'm drinking my coffee". This however was not the case. Rather, I didn't feel like folding laundry first thing in the morning and then I got home from work to face giant pile of laundry. This condition has continued to spiral. This week was the worst yet, 5 days I have come home to that horrible pile of laundry. Monday I didn't get home from work until 8pm so after eating I just retreated to the bedroom. Then Tuesday, again I was at work until 8 so the last thing I wanted to do was laundry when I got home. Wednesday was youth group so I had to rush home to eat and then rush off to youth group. Then last night I was so exhausted and beat up from the week that Mr. P and I actually went out to dinner! (I know shocking behavior for us) And here we are, Friday and there is still laundry on the couch.