Whoosh! There Went Another Weekend!!

OK.  Where did the weekend go?  It was Thursday...and now it's Monday already.  I'd look under the bed to see if those 3 days are hiding there, but I'm afraid of what else I might find.  It wasn't that we wasted the time, either...it's just that there wasn't enough to suit.

The Irregardless Cafe in Raleigh

We didn't let (first) the sleet or (next) the rain-rain-and-more-rain deter us from our date on Friday.  Mr. T and I headed East on I-40 to Raleigh for the soothing sounds of the NC Symphony, followed by some tasty treats at the Irregardless Cafe (photo, left). Winners on both counts!  I had started a baby sweater (not for anyone in particular; had just the right yarn, found a cute pattern in a magazine that I wanted to try, and needed something that was plain knit and purl, at least on a portion...:), so I worked on that during the performance, getting most of the back done by the final notes...I find that simple knitting helps me focus on the music. 

Then, taking a chance on trying out a new (to us) restaurant, we both enjoyed our orders (chicken salad sandwich with potato-corn chowder and chicken-and-veggie kabobs with tabbouleh) with relish.  I was going to take a photo of the food, but forgot...and then it was gone, just like that.  Too bad you have to settle for that rather dark picture of the front of the building.  Tee hee.

Saturday was spent with indoor chores, since the sun didn't make an appearance until after 5:00...when it was then time to set.  Plus, the ground was so saturated from the rains that we couldn't have worked in the garden anyway.  No matter...in between the loads of wash, etc., I found some time to finish off a couple of library books that were due 2/6:  Teatime for the Traditionally Built (#10 in the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series) by Alexander McCall Smith, and Christmas Mourning by NC author and fav mystery writer, Margaret Maron (this one, being so newly-available, was on a 14-day loan, making it non-renewable...and Mom had wanted to read it first...:).  Nothing like a deadline to get me motivated. 

I am behind in the #1 Ladies...series, and I have already downloaded the #11 book, The Double Comfort Safari Club from Audible.com.  OK...I've actually already started listening to it on my drives to-and-fro from Master Gardener classes.  You see...I'm trying to get caught up before the next one in the series (The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party) is published in March.  I just adore the beautiful rhythms of these little (for they are smallish in size) books...and I'm now hooked on the TV series on HBO.

I also completed my online chapter test for "Soils and Fertilizers," in my Master Gardener training.  All the dirt on soil, as our instructor said.  Ahem.  Since I was already in the mood to read and study, I did a little work on the next chapter:  "Houseplants." 

A little more knitting (starting on the cabled-pattern part of the baby sweater, which required a tad more concentration) during a movie on DVD, followed by a catch-up on the shows we'd captured on the DVR from last week, and suddenly Saturday was history.

Sunday, of course, was the Big Day for Football.  Pulling for the Packers, we dressed in green and gold for the day.  Since we'd planned on watching the game, we knew that meals would be suspended in favor of snacks for most of the afternoon and evening.  As such, I figured we'd better start the day off with a special, hearty breakfast of waffles, eggs, and sausage.  I pulled out the waffle iron to let it heat up while I mixed up the batter. 

Vintage Toastmaster Waffle Iron -
Still works great!!

The waffle iron (photo, right) was Mom's (rarely used...:) and is about the same age as I...nearly qualifying it as an antique.  It is a Toastmaster Model 263, and one just like it on Ebay is called "vintage."  No matter, it makes great waffles...still!  The plates are coated with a non-stick surface (early Teflon?) that is clearly better than what is made today, showing no signs of nicks or scratches.  They are also removable, with waffle-grids on one side and a flat surface for grilled sandwiches on the reverse.  I pop 'em out and into the dishwasher to clean.  Who could ask for anything more?

Actually, I thought I'd killed it.  I sprayed the plates with Pam (tm) prior to plugging it in, but I neglected to check to see if the plates were properly seated, under their clips.  When I turned to get the batter...and then turned back to the waffle iron, which was pre-heating on the counter, a flame leaped out of the left side!  Yikes!!  Apparently, I had sprayed some of the spray on one of the heating elements, which had been exposed when the upper plate slipped to the side...and which flared up in protest.  I unplugged it, let it cool, cleaned the spray away, and started the process over.  Thankfully, no real damage was done.  Whew...

Chocolate-dipped Strawberries
 Super Bowl snacks in our house are usually centered around salty flavors...and cheese.  So, I made up a half-batch of Chex Mix (called Nuts 'n Bolts around here...:), some Rotel dip (a can of Rotel tomatoes, which I drain...unlike the "official" recipe; added to 1# of Velveeta cheese, cut into chunks and melted; with some cooked sausage crumbles for added flavor...all served in a heat-proof dish, kept warm and melty on the warmer tray, just right for dipping with corn chips), and some Sausage and Cheese Balls, served with hot mustard.  Sliced a red-rind sharp cheddar cheese bar; opened a container of Port Wine cheese spread.  Put out various crackers and chips; carrots and celery sticks...and it's a party!  For a dessert-like treat, I made Chocolate-dipped Strawberries* (photo, left; recipe, below).  Yummy!

Before we knew it, it was time to head to bed.  Mr. T had an early start, as he was in the car and on the road by 8:00 a.m.  And, I had to finish off the chores so I could get some writing time in...today would be my only day for that this week, I'm afraid.

And, whoosh, it'll be the weekend once again!



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*Chocolate-dipped Strawberries Recipe


Ingredients:

1 pint of ripened strawberries with stems and leaves intact; washed and dried thoroughly; best if cold
1 cup chocolate chips - either dark, white, semi-, milk or even chocolate mint flavors
1 T. Crisco (no substitute...NOT oil, NOT butter, NOT margarine)

Put the chips and the Crisco in a microwavable bowl (I use a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup) and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, 15-30 seconds.  Stir until all chips are melted and creamy.

Holding the strawberries by the stem, dip into the melted chocolate mixture.  Place dipped berries on a cookie sheet which has been covered in wax paper; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm again.

Enjoy!

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