I am happily married to the most wonderful man I ever took a chance on. I enjoy time spent in the kitchen - it relaxes me.
As someone pointed out to me, the kitchen is often the heart of the home. It is in ours.
This started as a way to chronicle my love of all things food - grocery shopping, cooking stores, recipes, baking, cooking and experimenting.
I found that however much I love food, there are other things that occupy my time/thoughts. Some serious - God, family, health, love and more. Other thoughts are definitely not serious - fashion, cosmetics, moisturizers, conditioner and perhaps even my search for the perfect pair of running shoes.
Why share all this with "strangers"? My husband, Mr. Potts, tells me I am a chatty Cathy something akin to a wind up doll where you pull the string and the chatting starts. He appreciates the fact that I choose to spare him (sometimes) all these random thoughts. Yet, he also benefits from my musings on food and my experiments in our kitchen.
I hope you'll enjoy my thoughts - say hello and let me know what you think!
I was talking to dear Mr. Potts recently about New Years and how resolutions associated with it are so often broken (broken badly by most accounts) in the first month of the new year.
Examples: exercise every day for 1 hour, quit smoking, use less foul language, be kinder to people, drink less, eat out less, etc. etc. These aren't my personal resolutions, but ones I've heard before.
Now, I know there are many reasons why people don't keep up with their resolutions, one of the main ones being that it is not realistic to jump right in to something & expect to be able to keep it up.
I asked Mr. Potts if this year, instead of making resolutions (we never really did that formally, anyway) if instead, the two of us could start a new tradition. We're going to begin a New Year Journal. In it, we'll record special moments that have happened through the year. At the end of the year, we'll go through everything we've done and list our 5 (more or less) most favorite memories/events. Then we'll also take a look at our lives and list 5 things that we would like to work on to improve ourselves - either as a couple or individuals.
Some that I can think of off the top of my head are:
Our Wedding - Friends and family celebrating with US.
Our Honeymoon - Beautiful and relaxing
Time we spent with Mr. Potts' family - they've all included me and welcomed me
My adoption of his grandmother as my own - I send her postcards from where I travel & little notes as well as flowers and gifts so that she'll enjoy them. It really lifts my spirits to know that I have a small hand in reminding her of how much she is loved.
So those are some of my favorite memories. A few things I'd like to work on to improve myself? Hmmm....
I'd like to be more consistent in working out. I was given this body & I should appreciate the time I can put into keeping it healthy.
My patience - this is a never ending battle for me, regardless of whether I'm driving, walking in a crowded area or with my mother. I think my lack of patience when I am with her is what hurts me the most.
What are some of your favorite memories from 2008? Will you be making any resolutions - want to share them? What do you think of my idea?
In my morning reading, I came across Not Me! Monday over at Navigating the Quarterlife - make sure to go by & say "Hi!". Given my last week of travel to Louisville and Nashville, I thought I'd make this a weekend addition.
The gist of it is, you list a lot of things you "didn't" (read: actually did) do this weekend/past week. All in the name of admitting that we all make mistakes and aren't perfect. I thought this was perfect for me today!
1. I did not eat half of a medium tub of buttered popcorn with sour patch watermelons while watching Benjamin Button. No way! 2. I did not eat a bite of everything my step-mom put in front of me. Not a chance! I want to lose a little weight & know that would interfere with my progress - even though sausage balls are my favorite holiday snack! 3. I did not eat lightly at my in-laws and claim that my stomach still wasn't feeling well enough to eat. I think asparagus casserole & creamed corn is fabulous & hate that I missed out. 4. The thought never entered my mind to ask the woman beside me watching Benjamin Button to please take her phone conversation outside. OK, I'll definitely own up to this one. I did think about it. I came really close to telling her how rude she was being. I did not, however do it. I showed amazing self-restraint on that one. :) Want to play? Tell me what all you "haven't" done the past few days.
PS: If you haven't already, check out the post below with hair pictures & let me know which style you like best on me. Thanks much!
I started this post yesterday, but was having problems with my connections, so here it is today.
Happy Christmas Eve! We're going to have a cold day in Louisville! I really prefer warm weather & it makes me laugh when I think about all the work travel I do - mostly to places like Maine, Vermont & New Hampshire. In January. BRRRRR!
Musing on cold weather, however, is not the reason for this post. I am seeking opinions on my hair. I like it better when it is longer - not Chrystal Gale long, because past the middle of my back, I get headaches. Too much heavy, thick hair. Plus, when it is longer (below my shoulders) I'm more easily able to control my natural wave. :)
So, I've added three pictures to this post. The first is long, no bangs. Mr. Potts and I had met recently when this picture was taken and were at a bar (gasp!) after a wedding party had held their rehearsal dinner. This second picture is of two close friends & Mr. Potts and me at a friend's 40th birthday party. No need for an explanation, but here it is longer with bangs and some curls to it. I had used hot rollers that night for big, bouncy curls. This last picture is of Mr. Potts and me on New Years Eve of 2007, leading into 2008. Here the look is long and mostly straight with longer, swoopy bangs. We had the best time that night & ate at a tapas place in Charlotte named Las Ramblas. You should check the restaurant out if you are ever in Charlotte. Definitely YUM! So now that you've seen three looks, which one would you pick? 1. Long, no bangs 2. Long, regular length bangs 3. Long, swoopy bangs
Mrs. Stilettosof Newlywed Stilettos sent me this Lemonade Award! I'll admit, I've enjoyed her blog so much & I was so excited to be selected. Not just because it is super cute, but because it is given based on displaying a great attitude or gratitude.
Of course, any award comes with a few rules.
Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs which show GREAT ATTITUDE and/or GRATITUDE!
Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.
I'm still fairly new to this, so I'll list some of my faves.
Mrs. Stilettosover at Newlywed Stilettos (What? You haven't visited her yet? Seriously?) asked if anyone wanted to participate in "My 'Letter' Favorite Things". I volunteered and have not had a chance to tell you about my favorite things that begin with the letter "P". So here are my top "P" things or moments.
Mr. Potts! Of course. See the favorite picture of mine from our EST. date.
Prayer I appreciate all I've been blessed with and share my thanks often!
My Programs They were just pretty. I can't seem to get my pictures to upload, however.
Most of you don't know, but Mr. Potts is from Louisville, KY, home of the Kentucky Derby. Some say it is the greatest racing event in our country. I say it is the best people watching event in the country! Pretty girls, big hats, pretty dresses, some not so pretty dresses, some not so pretty hats. It is always interesting.
**Disclaimer** The picture associated with this post is not one of me - although I'm diggin the hat for Derby!
We go with a great group of friends and usually get a box. We pack lunches and enjoy the day. The last time we were there, I was incredibly lucky & won. Not huge amounts (you can't really when you're placing a $4 bet), but it is still fun to win!
So we're off this morning to Louisville to spend the week with his family & then will drive to Nashville to spend a few days with my dad and step-mom. Now, you might be wondering, "How is she driving & typing?" I'm not! Mr. Potts is driving right now & I'm writing my little note to you all using my trusty laptop & an air card! This has got to be the best invention ever! Although I may regret it later when I'm doing work & not playing on here.
I've adopted a mantra recently, "Do good." Simple, right? It should be. I've found that I feel incredibly good about myself if I do something unexpectedly good for someone. It could be someone I know or a stranger. Random acts of kindness, pay it forward, we've all heard it called something. My latest was yesterday. I was in Starbucks buying a gift card for my boss (she loves Starbucks) and I bought the coffee of the lady behind me. It wasn't a grande, skinny, no whip, double shot whatever, just a simple cup of coffee. But, I did good - now, I know that was bad grammar, but you understand.
What do you do to "do good" or pay it forward, etc?
I'll have to start with a special Thank you! Mrs. G. over at Mmm...Tastes Good responded to my last post about books I want to read. She had an extra copy of The Shack and sent it to me! I can't wait to receive it & begin reading it. If you haven't checked our her blog, it is all about yummy goodness - with links to places like Crate and Barrel and Bojangles!
Now on to disappointing news (for me at least). I LOVE food. I love to cook it, I love to bake it, I especially love to eat it. When Mr. Potts and I were on our honeymoon in Barbados, I contracted a bacterial infecting which has kept me from being able to eat - which is the kindest (for you) explanation of my issues.
It has now been a month & I still am eating bland, bland food. Did I already mention how much I LOVE to eat?
Please don't find me evil, but some good has come out of this. No, I haven't lost weight - I'm actually awfully bloated. The good news is that this year at Christmas I won't have to eat much of my mother-in-law's cooking. She is as sweet as she can be & I love her. She just is not a great cook. And she won't let me help in the kitchen. No homemade stuffing, no homemade cranberry sauce, no pumpkin cheesecake. But! I don't have to eat her pecan pie. If you read my blog about my recipe for pecan pie, you'll see that I don't use Karo syrup - she does.
Am I evil? I choose to think not. I will however, play up my stomach problems to keep me from eating foods I don't particularly care for. All while being as pleasant and charming as a good Southern girl is. :)
Did the title of the post catch your attention? Our company ran a fitness challenge for our Charlotte office. The grand prize was airfare for 2 to a place of your choosing for 3 nights.
For 4 months I worked my butt off! I would be up by 4:45 at the latest & at the gym by 5. Sometimes I'd go twice in one day. My travel schedule made things a little harder, but most hotels have a decent gym and I also would pack a work out video.
Today, our CEO announced the winners. We had winners who lowered their bad cholesterol and winners who raised their good cholesterol. One grand prize was given to the person who lost the greatest percentage of their body weight, another as a random drawing & the third to the person who had accumulated the most points - me!!!!
Now, the question is, where should Mr. Potts and I go? We're thinking of a 4 day weekend in Key West in late April. We could go to the Bahamas or Jamaica or somewhere in the Caribbean. Where would you recommend?
I'm so glad it is Friday! I made it safely home from Vermont yesterday, earlier than planned due to an incoming storm. I was strongly encouraged to get out while I could - I am so glad I heeded that advice!
While in Burlington I ate dinner with one of my favorite co-workers at a place called Leunig's Bistro. I have eaten there a few times, but Miss A has never been to Burlington. I knew that Leunig's would have to be our spot for dinner. It was wonderful!
I started with a pumpkin chowder with toasted pumpkin seeds on top. It was wonderful! I followed with the special of the day. It had a braised beef (shredded) with apples, carrots, potatoes and some other ingredients & was served on a bed of pumpkin mashed potatoes. It was also wonderful! Something about being in below freezing weather just makes me want to eat warm comfort foods. I have to be very conscious of what/how much I eat though, as it can definitely wreck havoc on a person's diet.
I started this blog to write mainly about food, because I love to cook & there is nothing better than a great meal with a good bottle of wine. So I hope that you'll bear with me as I drift along to other topics. Sometimes my mood just doesn't fall to food - however rare that is!
So, my thoughts lately have been around books. What I've read & what I want to read. I'll admit, in the summer there is nothing better than a light "chick lit" book - you know, Sophie Kinsella, Candace Bushnell, Emily Giffin. Around this time of year, however, I really try to read books that aren't that light, that make me think.
So I've compiled a list of books that are on my must read list. Some of the top ones on my list are:
Mmmm, comfort food on a cold night! Plus, I'm getting ready to leave for Burlington, VT for a few days, so I had to make Mr. Potts something yummy that he could eat while I'm gone. I chose something simple which requires very few ingredients and made chicken and dumplings last night! Don't you love easy recipes?
2 (10.75 ounce) can reduced fat/reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
1 (14.5 ounce) can low-fat, low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into pieces
ground black pepper to taste
Dumpling Ingredients I use the Bisquick Heart Smart mix to make dumplings, following the instructions on the side of the box. It requires Bisquick & skim milk.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, stir together the cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, and milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces as you like (I use fresh ground black pepper) and add chicken pieces. Sautee until chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to the soup pot, and mix well. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Season with black pepper, to taste.
Make dumplings according to Bisquick mix.
Drop teaspoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into simmering chicken stew. Cover pot tightly, and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 12 to 15 minutes - without peeking! Ladle into bowls, and serve hot.
I added a little water last night to thin it out a bit so that Mr. Potts could have leftovers.
What is one of your favorite, easy recipes?
Hope you all have a great day! I'll be cold in Vermont. The high on Thursday will be 25. Yep, 25.
Kristen from Something about nothin tagged me in 7 Random Facts. I'm supposed to share seven random facts about myself and then tag seven other people.
So, here goes! 1. I watch General Hospital. Not just watch it, but DVR every, single episode so that I can stay up to date and current on the latest goings on in Port Charles. I have had 2 weeks build up with a busy travel schedule. 2. I can cross every finger on each hand. Don't even have to try, I "trained" my fingers to do that when I was in 3rd grade. 3. When I turned 30 I insisted that Mr. Potts & I celebrate it for 3 months. Yep, I LOVE birthdays. 4. I have a well organized brain, but am a clutter bug - according to Mr. Potts. He tells me it is amazing how I can process things, but still collect magazines for 5 months. 5. I am a morning person. I wake up happy & giggly. 6. I don't get hangovers. I know, you hate me. Sorry! 7. I am a total snob about my hair - it is thick beyond belief. When it gets past a certain length (about mid-back) I get daily headaches until I get a haircut. I use great shampoos & conditioners to keep it soft & strong.
So now I must tag others to share some random facts, but I'm going to keep it to a short list.
Mr. Potts and I have been blessed with wonderful friends. For our wedding we were given many gift cards to Crate and Barrel. I LOVE that store! Actually, I could wander the aisles of Crate and Barrel, Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table for hours.
The point of this post, however, wasn't to wax on about my love for the aforementioned stores. I have a bit of a dilemma. I have always really loved the Pottery Barn Reindeer dinnerware. Lusted after them, is more like it. We enjoy having people over & host an annual holiday party. How fun would it be to have these plates? Especially Vixen - little minx!
Did you notice that I mentioned in the beginning though, that most of our gift cards were Crate and Barrel? They happen to also have holiday tableware - cute reindeer as well.
What is a girl to do? Take a peek at the Crate and Barrel dinnerware and tell me, which would you pick?
Who would be excited to get up at 4:30am on a Saturday? Me! The only reason I get up so early is to get on a plane to come home.
Portland was COLD...yesterday, the high was around 38. Now, Portland is a beautiful city & I really enjoy visiting, but I do like coming home to the South. If you ever go to Portland, pack warmly & lots of layers! One of my favorite things about the city is that they have several wonderful restaurants.
Thursday night, I went with my boss to Fore Street. Their menu changes every day, so you'll be sure to find something you'll like. I've been recovering from a bacterial infection that has kept me eating bland food, so I was cautious with my dinner, but it was still wonderful! I started with a roasted butternut soup & had the half chicken as my main meal.
Friday night we dined at Katahdin. This local restaurant is small, but big on taste! They pride themselves on using fresh, local ingredients. Still trying to eat safely, I had the pork tenderloin over sweet potato puree. Wonderful! I did splurge on dessert and had a blackberry & Bing cherry upside down cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. YUM!
And today, I came home.
Mr. Potts & I are going to a Friend's Thanksgiving today. I know it is a little late, but our group of friends decided to postpone our yearly tradition due to our wedding & honeymoon. What a great group of friends! I'm in charge of bringing desserts. So, a pecan pie will be served as well as an apple pie. I'll admit that I don't have enough time to put together both, so the pecan will be home made, the apple pie - store bought. Look good?
Mr. Potts always tells me I'm not a great poet, so I'll spare everyone and not try to be cutesy/matchy. You can thank me later. :)
I'm looking forward to the holidays - it will be our first as a married couple! We'll also be spending most of Christmas in Louisville, KY & a few days in Nashville, TN. Both great cities...if I had to pick one of the two to live it, it would be Nashville.
I thought I'd share a picture from our Holiday party from last year. We are posed with our own personal bartender. :) These are some of my favorite memories. What are yours?
If you haven't checked out this blog, you should! The Secret is in the Sauce is giving away a $200 gift card! They're a great community of women dedicated to leaving comments on other people's blogs.
Now, what could I use that Target gift card for? Visions of pretty plates dance in my head...how pretty would these be for a holiday party? Picture frames? We did just get married & have tons of pictures to put up!
The reality? Mr. Potts & I would stock up on toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies and maybe some things for my adorable niece & nephew.