Thursday, September 30, 2010

One of the Perks

One of the many exciting things about my new job is the need to buy clothes. At my old job I only wore business attire when I had meetings or hearings. If I was just in the office working I was able to wear jeans. This allowed me to have a much smaller work wardrobe and rely on my favorite jeans a lot of days. This will not be the case at my new job. I must wear business attire every day including Fridays. This means I truly need to buy some clothes. The other day Ann Taylor Loft was having a sale, 25% of your entire purchase, so I popped over on my lunch hour and got a few things. Ann Taylor is my favorite place to shop for work clothes because they have cute yet professional options and they always carry them in petite. One of the things I picked up was this skirt.

Wool Pencil Skirt with Ribbon Waistband

I wore it for the first time today and it is fabulous! It fits wonderfully, looks amazing and is comfortable. The tucked waist and ribbon waistband gives it a really great edge without detracting from it's professionalism. And the grey tweed fabric is versatile enough for a lot of wear. Ann Taylor Loft is continuing their fall sale in store and online making this a great deal if you are in need of some new work clothes this fall.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The best soup

I want someone to make me this soup!

My housemate Jessica is sick and this morning I woke up with a rotten sore throat and headache. This delicious chicken soup with Chinese mustard greens is the perfect fall /winter soup especially when you are sick. Mustard greens are one of those greens you can get all year. It is a fresh and light soup full of healthy ingredients. This picture is from when I made it a few weeks ago when Mr. P had a cold and I made it for him.

Chicken and Chinese mustard green soup
1 whole chicken
4 stalks lemon grass
2 stalks celery
2 bunches fresh Chinese mustard greens, purple mustard greens or bok choi
salt and pepper
2 jalapenos
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 lime

Fill large pot 3/4 way full of water. Add lemon grass and whole celery stalks. Bring to boil, simmer 30 minutes. Add whole chicken. Bring back to boil, add salt, simmer 45 minutes until cooked. Remove chicken, celery and lemon grass. While chicken cools. Finely chop jalapeno and cilantro. Mix together in bow. Add salt and juice of the lime. Set aside. Pull meat off of chicken and return it to pot. Bring back to boil add greens. Simmer greens a few minutes until cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Serve soup in bowls. Garnish each bowl with jalapeno cilantro mixture.

To make this a heartier soup you can add cooked brown rice in at the end.

*adapted from Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis

Monday, September 27, 2010

Exciting News

Last week Mr. P and I had some really exciting news. We found out that Mr. P passed the bar exam! I am so proud of Chris for all of his hard work and dedication. And I know he is SO relieved that he doesn't have to retake that test!

Also this week I was offered a new job! As I mentioned on this blog, in January my hours were cut and I have been working with a 20% pay cut for the past 9 months. My current job also is not very secure and I was looking another potential cut this year. Since January I have been searching for a new job, applying and interviewing for jobs. I have been turned down for some really good jobs and it's been a very difficult process. The position I have accepted is the Director of Business Advocacy for the Chamber of commerce. It is an amazing opportunity for me. It will be a very challenging position and probably a lot of hours. But the Chamber is an organization I have a lot of respect for. The issues I will be working on are important ones. I am truly excited for the challenge. I am so thankful to God for providing this opportunity both for my career and for Chris' and I.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Wife of Noble Character

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her Husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all". Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31:10-31

Something to aspire to.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cradad Feed

Last week Mr. P and Mr. Wilson went goose hunting. While they didn't get any geese, they did bring home 200 crawdads! I kid you not. So we had an impromptu Wednesday night crawdad* feed.

Here is Mr. P during the first round of cleaning the crawdads.

Here they are up close.

This is during the second cleaning. Cleaning these little critters is no joke. They are very dirty when they come home. First you have to rinse them in the cooler 6-8 times until the water runs clean. Then you take them inside and rinse them in the colander. This was a little tricky. Because we had so many we had to transfer the clean ones to a clean cooler to wait until they were all clean. Plus they move around a lot and kept trying to escape the colander.

I used this recipe from Alton Brown to cook the crawdads. The recipe was easy and good. But the actual process start to finish of cleaning and cooking them was a lot of work, probably a bit much for a Wednesday night. Here is the spread complete with crawdads, sausage, corn, potatoes, hot sauce and beer. You can see my Dad in the corner teaching Chris and Bradly how to pull the meat out.

This is a very full and tired Mr. P with the mountain of crawdads he'd consumed.

*In Oregon we call these crawdads. But they are the same as crayfish and crawfish. They are very plentifully here. Growing up my Grandmother lived on a creek full of them and all the male cousins would go catch them and then terrorize me with them. Then when the terrorizing was over my grandmother would cook them and we would eat them with melted butter. In fact earlier in the day of my first date with Chris, I was down at the creek swimming and my cousin Dell put one on my head. Needless to say I was NOT amused.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Books Books and More Book

Last summer I started a reading log. I wrote down each book I read, the date I finished the book, the who what when where, and any strong reactions I had to it. I wish I had started this much earlier. Now a year has gone by and it is so neat to see what books I read, where they took place and what I thought of them. I was also amazed that I read 25 books in one year! Here are the books I read last year:

While I enjoyed most of these books some definitely stand out as wonderful books. The Bonesetter's Daughter, Someone Knows My Name, The Shipping News, East of Eden, West with the Night, and Gone with the Wind.

Some books I'm looking forward to reading this fall are: A Light in August by William Faulkner, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams, Kiplings Lost World by Rudyard Kipling, Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone deBeauvoir, and Love the One You're With by Emily Griffin. What are you reading right now?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A New Season

In my mind today is the first day of fall. I know...I know...technically the first day of fall is September 21st and all that jazz. But today is a better day for it. First of all Labor Day weekend is an adios to summer of sorts. It's a weekend for the last camping trip, or cabin weekend as in our case, it's the weekend for back to school shopping, cleaning up your yard, and potting mums out front. Also kids go back to school today. And really, is there anything more reminiscent to the coming of fall than kids with new backpacks and yellow school buses on the road?

It seems that God agrees with my assessment. This morning, after a gorgeous weekend, we woke up in a chilly house to grey skies and a steady drizzle which is near and dear to the hearts of so many Oregonians. In honor of the changing season I broke out my riding boots and a sweater, ate hot soup for lunch and plan to spend my evening curled up with a book. Happy Fall!