Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weekend Eats

This was a weekend of truly delicious food. Friday Mr. P and I headed to Portland to see his parents. Friday night we ate dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Portland The Screen Door.

Screen Door is a southern style restaurant known for their local organics, a second menu of season organic dishes fresh from the farmers market. Always delicious!

Saturday Morning we headed out to the Arleta Library Cafe in South East.

This popular breakfast place was featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. I had their signature breakfast special the Sicilian hash and it was wonderful.

After breakfast we went to Otto's Sausage Kitchen, a delicatessen and gourmet meat shop to pick up sausage for dinner. Mr. P and I really love sausage, especially local homemade sausage. Otto's Sausage Kitchen has also been featured on Diner's Drive In's and Dives. We got a variety, Italian, Chorizo and Tuscan and grilled them for dinner.

Our next stop was the Portland Farmer's Market where we picked out some fresh salad greens, mustard greens, asparagus and sweet potatoes to complete our dinner. My sister and law roasted the asparagus with garlic and olive oil. We braised the mustard greens with garlic and red pepper and made a simple salad and some mashed sweet potatoes.

Sunday was Mr. P's 25th birthday. After church he and his friends spent some much needed guy time while my friend Jessica and I cooked up an Indian feast. We made homemade somosas, cashew nut chicken curry, tomato chicken balti, beef biryani, lamb curry and southern Indian lentils and vegetables. We had almost twenty people for a festive dinner party to celebrate Mr. P! It was a great night. Sadly, I was so busy cooking and hosting that I failed to take any pictures.

Writing this post is making me hungry. Luckily we have Indian food leftovers for a few days so we are set.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Secret Single Behavior

I have written before about what I call secret single behavior. This is when your husband goes out of town and you revert to your pre-married ways. For me this means cereal for dinner, no cooking, staying up half the night watching things such as Dawson's Creek with my sister, or staying up half the night reading chick lit, shopping, more shopping and late night target runs, very little house work and so on. Mostly things that drive my husband crazy. Yet this week I seem to have had a relapse of secret single behavior except my husband is still here. I think I might be driving him mad.

It all started when I failed to make a menu for the week. As I blogged on Monday, not having a menu and groceries before the week starts is not a pretty picture. Monday I was able to scrape up lentils, Tuesday we went out for Mexican (we NEVER go out to eat so this is a big deal), last night I did cook but then failed to do any dishes, and tonight will be left overs.

The next thing was I started reading Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin on Monday. Well I couldn't stop reading it. It was so funny and good and I wanted to know who Dex would choose. So I stayed up until 1 am reading it. Then Tuesday I just had to watch Brothers & Sisters with Jess and Jessica. Then after we finished that at 11:30 I just had to keep reading Something Borrowed because I was so close to being done...only 100 or so pages. So I stayed up until 2am to finish the book. This was perhaps not so smart being as I had a very big day at work on Wednesday and had to be there early.

One would think I had learned my lesson. On the contrary when I got home at a wonderfully early 4pm yesterday I picked up Something Blue and got right to it. I paused to fix some dinner and then returned back to Darcy and Ethan because I just had to know what was going to happen. When would Darcy see that really it was Ethan she loved?!!! So I stayed up late reading once again. And as tempting as it is to go to the library and find the next Emily Griffin book I think I'd better refrain. I'm simply too tired. And I fear my husbands patience may be running a little thin.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Late night reading

I stayed up way too late reading last night. I am reading Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin and it is so entertaining. I could not put it down. It was especially perfect last night after a very hectic day. After work, which was busy, I went jogging and then to pick up Chris. By this point it was already 6:30 and I was hungry and had no idea what I was making for dinner. Chris needed to stop at Bi-mart but they didn't have what he needed so we had to go to another Bi-mart making it 7:30 before we got home. By this point I was really hungry and still had no idea what was for dinner never a good combination. By the time I threw something together, folded the massive pile of laundry on the bed ate and settled in with my book it was almost 9. So the fun, engaging, page turner was just what I needed.

I know I have blogged before about my normally meticulous routine of meal planning and grocery shopping designed to ensure that the above situation does not occur. However, I completely dropped the ball this weekend. I was so preoccupied with food for the shower and planning for Mr. P's b-day party I forgot about menu's. I am once again reminded why I plan menus it prevents a lot of grumpiness on my part. I was able to scrounge up some dahl and veggies and rice. Once again I sing the praises of lentils. Truly one of the most ingenious foods. They are dirt cheap, incredibly versatile and cook in 25 minutes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Giant Egg

This weekend was very eventful. Friday night Mr. P and I went to see Crazy Heart and LOVED IT! It was so good and the music was amazing. I can't wait to get the soundtrack. Saturday we went to visit my Grandparents at the Ranch. Mr. P and Grampa worked the cows while Nonna and I cooked and visited. It was very nice. Then Saturday Night we all went out to pizza for a friends birthday. Sunday after church we had a wedding shower for our friends Eric and Shelby who are getting married soon. And then--this is the highlight--I fixed a giant egg for dinner. I kid you not. I wish I had taken pictures but I was too preoccupied with the egg to think of it. I shall back up and begin from the beginning.

As I have mentioned on this blog before I can't eat a bunch of foods right now. There are about 20 foods I can't eat. Of the twenty the three I miss the most are onions, corn tortillas and eggs. But I can eat goose or duck eggs if I find them. I have been searching with little luck when last week a friend from church told me she had a friend who sold goose eggs and they would give me a few to try. So yesterday I got two precious goose eggs and I was so excited. Oh to eat an egg again! Yet I was shocked at the size and weight of this egg. It is 2-3 times bigger than a large chicken egg and very heavy for an egg. It is very hard to crack. You cannot crack it on the edge of the skillet as you can a chicken egg. No, you have to hit it very hard on the sink edge and then pry off pieces of the shell until you have created an opening to pour the egg out of. When the egg finally gets into the pan it is bigger than three chicken eggs cracked into a pan. Believe me, after I cooked my giant egg I cooked Mr. P three chicken eggs and they were smaller than the goose egg. Also the goose egg has an enormous yolk. I ate my goose egg on top of rice and beans with lots of Tabasco and chorizo. It was wonderful and I was in egg heaven. I have another goose egg to eat so I'll be sure to take pictures when I eat that one.

Also this weekend I finally got onto twitter. I know I have heard people say this before and now I understand them. I am so confused. I don't get twitter at all and I need help. So if you are on twitter please find me and help me out. My twitter name is lauralpotter.

I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A weekend away

I spent my weekend here

My family's cabin in the woods.

This is the charming front porch...

Which looks out to the creek below

We went with a few friends, just a few because the cabin is very small. Much smaller than my apartment. This is the tiny kitchen where we cooked risotto and macaroni and cheese while the men grilled meat.

this is the equally small dining room where we ate Jessica's yummy minestrone.

This is my favorite reading chair to relax, chat and knit.

Such a delightful weekend...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yay for Friday

I'm so happy it's Friday. After a week of slacks, heels and blouses I love my jeans so much today. I have been cleaning house, grocery shopping and packing because we're going to the cabin with friends this weekend. I packed my camera so I will try and post some pictures of the cabin up on Monday. Although we go fairly frequently it never occurs to me to bring my camera.

I just made my new favorite salad dressing to take with us. I've adapted it from a Ina Garten recipe. I've been making a large batch then buying mixed greens and tossing the greens with the dressing for quick dinner salads.

Cider Vinaigrette
1 cup of apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
1 TB or so stone ground mustard
1 tsp fresh thyme
drizzle of white wine vinegar
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Bring cider to boil small sauce pan. Reduce heat. Cook until cider reduces about 5 minutes
Let cool a bit. Whisk in mustard and fresh thyme. add some white wine vinegar, a few table spoons. drizzle in olive oil while whisking until consistency looks good. Add salt and pepper and taste. You may need to add more mustard. I eye ball this but i would guess it's about 1/3 cup olive oil and 3 TB vinegar.

If I remember right the Ina Garten recipe had cider vinegar instead of white wine and also had shallots. I don't believe it had thyme. Regardless it's delicious!

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Good Things

Mid week it is easy to feel bogged down with life. As the work week progresses the house gets messier, we sleep less, work takes more of our energy and thoughts and the weekend begins to feel very far away. I feel there is a pattern in my life from Monday morning through Thursday morning that goes something like this. Beginning with a sort of dread of the week to come and moving to the mid week bog down. But then there is a point of clarity. Regardless of the fact that my job feels dead end, or that Mr. P doesn't have a job after law school yet and we don't know what we are doing, regardless of all this there are so many good things that bring clarity to the situation.

Yesterday when I was feeling particularly down my dear friend Jessica called and invited me over for dinner and to watch Brother's and Sisters. After work Mr. P gave me love, comfort and encouraging words. Then he did all the dishes. I spent the evening enjoying delicious homemade Italian soup on a cold rainy night while enjoying Jessica's company, Kitty McAllister's gorgeous clothes and the always dreamy Rob Lowe.

Sometimes it's I am overwhelmed by what a difference our friends and loved ones make in our lives. It's easy to feel discouraged by the practical side of life, money, jobs, expectations, budgets, salaries and so on. But those things aren't so bad when we have wonderful people surrounding us. As Jessica said at least we can all be poor together. And truly that makes all the difference.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Money and other Matters

I hope everyone had a good weekend. We did. Friday I went to a baby shower for lady in our church which was fun. Saturday I cleaned house and then my dear friend JoAnna and her husband and baby came to visit. JoAnna and I took baby Jed on a long walk and played lots of peekaboo. Sunday was our friend Beth's birthday and so we make a birthday dinner for her after church and had a lovely afternoon.

I mentioned a while back on here that my hours were cut down so I now work 32 hours a week instead of full time. In a lot of ways the cut is a blessing because I was working well over 40 hours before and things were rather crazy. Now I always have Fridays off and the three day weekend makes a huge difference. However the pay check that comes along with the cut is not so great. A 20% cut in time equals a 20% cut in pay. Ouch! Theoretically we can live off of my reduced pay checks no problem. But lately I've been going over the budget. I think the problem has been that I'm used to my old salary and I kinda knew how much I could spend here or there and keep everything within the budget. While my salary has changed my spending hasn't quite adjusted itself yet. This is most evident when it comes to grocery's. So last week I decided we needed a new system. Instead of simply assigning a budget line to groceries to stick to I took out cash for groceries and misc. items. I allotted x amount of cash for each week then when I went to the grocery store I wrote down prices on my list as I shopped, adding up as I went along to make sure I stayed within the allotted cash amount. I'm happy to report that the system worked beautifully. Not only did I stay within my budget but I ended the week with a surplus! I'm excited to see how much money I can save throughout the whole month.

Did you all watch the Oscars? I did not. I know, craziness right? But the truth is I never watch the Oscars. I do check the paper to see what movies were nominated and then I make a vague effort to see them. Then I check the paper to see what movie won and if I haven't seen it I make another vague effort. That is all. My Mom said that Hurt Locker won best picture. I did see this and I was shocked to hear it won best picture. Granted I'm no movie buff, but I did not care for that movie at all. Although to be fair I didn't watch all of it. I watched the first half and then I went in the other room and read while Mr. P finished it. He didn't care for it either. Did you watch the Oscars? Did you watch any of the movies? Any must see?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I finished reading this book:
To be honest I enjoyed the book. However, in the end, I felt some of the plot lines used by the author were in very poor taste given that the book was loosely based on the life of Laura Bush. If I was Laura Bush I would be pretty upset by this book.
We had a lovely weekend with sunshine, jogging with my dear friend Jessica, hanging out with friends and celebrating my Mom's birthday.
Which reminds me...Do you know what happens when you leave the eggs out of cupcakes? Very funny things, that's what. For my Mom's birthday Jess was supposed to do the cake but she forgot the eggs in the cupcakes and then they were very crumbly and wouldn't stand up. It turned out to cause everyone a lot of amusement so in the end it was okay.
Now I am reading The Shipping News by Annie Proux. So far it is a little slow but I have high hopes it will pick up because many people have raved about this book to me.
How about you? Reading anything delightful right now?