Monday, February 7

Super weekend and a super bowl.

**Warning, this is a ridiculously long post.

The weekend can't come fast enough, and then once it's here, it seems to fly by.  What's up with that? 
Last week seemed to take forever.  With my job interview and the assessment they asked me to take, it seemed like the weekend would never get here.  And then it did, and I was happy.
But when M got home Friday night he was in a fairly bad mood.  His day at work had been pretty rotten and then on his way home he got a call from the Honda dealership in regards to a survey he had taken.  In the survey, he'd given his experience with the shop at the dealership mostly 4s and 5s.  No biggie, right?  That would be A's and B's or 80s and 100s.  Great!  And he had agreed to take an additional, but longer, more detailed survey.
Well, the guy on the phone was basically bribing M to take a $100 credit if he would give them all 5s when he took the next survey.  I won't go into how angry M was, but he hardly ever gets angry, so it was not so good.  It's not like he'd given them 2s and 3s initially.  Geez.
So I suggested we go get some dinner because he hadn't really eaten much lunch, and I though a drink would help cut his tension.  Mexican is our default Friday night dinner, so I immediately threw that out as an option.  He bought me a dress for Valentine's day and he asked if I'd wear it.  I told him it was a bit too fancy for Mexican, so he suggested we go somewhere else.  His suggestion was F Scotts.
He made a reservation for 7:45 and I hustled to get dressed up and touch up my hair and makeup. 
Dinner was amazing.  Even though fine dining is quite expensive, it is so worth it.  Our service was impeccable.  Our waitress recommended great options for both food and wine.  We ordered and appetizer, salads, main courses and dessert and we were there for two and a half hours.  They would let us finish a course and relax before the next course so we never got overly full throughout the whole evening.  We ordered some sparkling wine to start.  I have only really had korbel and andre (neither of which I've cared for unless it's just my goal to get drunk.)  He ordered Sofia by Francis Ford Coppola's vineyard and it was positively delicious!  The waitress brought it to our table with champagne flutes and when she poured it I realized it was in an aluminum can, about the size a can of pineapple juice comes in, with a straw stuck to the side.  Now, clearly we drank it out of the flutes, but I can only imagine drinking it out of the can with the straw.  Really classy.  Sounds like something I would've done in college. 

Sparkling wine, in an aluminum can, with a straw.

Besides that we ordered a nice bottle of Spanish red wine (can't remember what it was).  M had veal and I had grouper.  Both were so good, but the veal was absolutely to die for.  I hate eating it since I know how cruel it is, but I love eating it because Oh. My. God. 
Our waitress recommended a wonderful flan-type dessert with apples and then went out of her way to bring us a tasting of a wine she really liked, on the house.  It was so sweet of her. 
I just enjoyed that we weren't being rushed off (like most restaurants do these days) and that the food was good portion sizes, fresh and tasty.  I was rather shocked M wanted to go somewhere so fancy with Valentine's day looming around the corner.
By the time we got home it was 10:30, so being the old folks we are, we hit the hay.  Saturday we woke up and cooked breakfast like our traditional weekend schedule.  I had bought turkey bacon at the grocery store as an experiment.  I am a bacon junkie, but I'd had turkey bacon before and actually really liked it.  I was skeptical of how M would take this change, though.
When we sat down to eat he asked, "Turkey bacon?"
And I explained that it was healthier and was an experiment, and that if we didn't like it, I'd buy some good ole, artery clogging, deliciously greasy, bacon.  But....we liked it!  I think I'll still occasionally buy regular bacon because there's just something so wonderful about it, but I'll still alternate with the healthier option.
After breakfast, I got ready and took our recycling (the city picks up our paper, plastic and aluminum, but not glass) so that we'd have more room for people's beer cans and bottles during the party.  Then I headed to my parents house to pick up their spare crock-pot and get some of my kitchen stuff that's been sitting in their garage since I moved in with M in June.
We chatted for a while before I headed home to go to the grocery store.  I expected it to be whoa crazy crowded, but it wasn't that bad.  I do have one minor complaint.  Why do people go to the checkout line and then realize they forgot something and leave their cart sitting at the checkout while they run to get it.  Your spot isn't saved just because you forgot something on your list.  Take your cart with you so that other people don't have to wait on you.  Who knows where you could've gotten to.  It's just silly, inane things like this that rub me the wrong way.  Common decency, folks.
Saturday afternoon we cleaned (namely me, hardcore cleaned my bathroom) the tough stuff so Sunday wouldn't be as bad, and then we watched tv and cooked a frozen pizza for dinner.  Really thrilling.
Sunday I got up and started my batch of chili.  I made turkey chili from this recipe I saw last year in Southern Living.  It's delicious, and I feel a lot better after eating it than I do with beef chili.  Once I had mine going in the crock-pot, I browned some beef so M could make his crock-pot of chili (a tiny chili cook-off, if you will) and then I made breakfast.  We dusted and vacuumed the house, and I cleaned up the kitchen before making some brownies in case folks got a sweet tooth. 
We relaxed while we waited for time for people to come over and M decided to run buy some wood to make a fire.  We just had it going when some of our guests arrived.  The party ended up being much more intimate with just six of us, but it was still a lot of fun.  We ate pigs in a blanket, rotel dip (really the only reason I watch the super bowl), and chili.  It was great.
M suggested we do this bet where you buy squares and bet on the half-time score and the end of the game score.  Turns out M won the half time score and I won the end of game.  Looks like we rigged it, I guess.  My friends said "well, y'all did throw the party." 
I think in the end my chili won the cook-off, but we definitely will be eating chili for a couple days.  I guess that's good though because it's supposed to be painfully cold this week. 
I was going for the Packers (even though it wouldn't've mattered one bit to me if the Steelers had won) because on Friends Phoebe says she likes Green Bay because, "It's only like my favorite bay!"  At the end of the game in that episode, she says that even though Green Bay lost, it was "a valiant effort for the Green Bay...mermen."  I was excited to put that last bit as my facebook status after the game. 
I was generally disappointed with the commercials last night.  I don't think a single one stands out enough for me to consider it my favorite.  Oh well.  Maybe next year.
And now for some recipes:
Turkey Chili (Care of Southern Living)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 6 hours
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1.25 oz) envelope chili seasoning mix
1 (12 oz) can beer
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
Cook first 4 ingredients in a large skilled over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 minutes or until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink.  Stir in beer, and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Spoon mixture into a 5.5 quart slow cooker; stir in corn and next 6 ingredients until well blended.  Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours.  Serve with desired toppings.
I love this recipe for various reasons.  1) it's a healthier option with the lean ground turkey.  2) I like recipes that require beer because, I love beer.  3) It's so colorful.  With the corn, red and green bell peppers and black beans, it's got a lot more variety than the usual red and brown.  and 4) It's delicious!  I didn't use all 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes because a) I'm not a huge tomato person and b) my crock pot wasn't big enough, so I only used half.  I also used slightly less than the whole bag of corn, also because my crock pot wasn't big enough.  For the 12 oz can of beer I reckon you can use whatever, but I didn't want to buy cheap beer just to cook with, so I used what I had purchased for the game, Sierra Nevada Tumbler (their fall brew) and the flavor was great!
I would give you a recipe for M's chili, but I'm fairly certain even he doesn't remember what all he put in it.  I know for sure there was ground beef, two cans of chili beans (with chili gravy), the other can of crushed tomatoes I didn't use, chili powder, celery seed, cloves, cinnamon, hot sauce, tabasco, jalapenos, slap-yo-mama (some sort of hot spice he has), and god knows what else.  I'm pretty sure he just went through our spice cabinet and added a little bit of everything in there.  It was good, but a bit too spicy for me, and the cloves and cinnamon made it taste like chili cider-y-ish-ness.  It was weird.
For the brownies, I didn't want to buy a mix because I just don't love brownies made from a mix.  Instead, I found a recipe in this cookbook I have called Cotton Country Cooking, which was published by the Decatur Junior Service League in Decatur, Alabama in 1972.  I have my mom's copy because she has my grandmother's.  I decided brownies from scratch would be tastier, and I was right.  These were absolutely delicious!  And easy (because I already had all the ingredients on hand.)

Quick Delicious Brownies
1/2 cup butter 
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 eggs
1 cup flour
 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nuts, if desired
Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Add sugar and cocoa.  Mix thoroughly.  Remove pan from heat, then add remaining ingredients, spread batter in a greased and floured 9 x 9 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Makes 2 dozen 1 1/2 inch squares.
Turned out to be a great and relaxing weekend with the one I love and some of our great friends!  Hope y'all had a great one, too.  Here's wishing for a fast week so we can celebrate the next weekend!


caterpillar said...

Sounds like you guys had a good weekend....I need to try the brownie recipe, sounds easy enough for me....:)

Ingrid Gray said...

It was so easy! It took me about five minutes to mix everything together in the sauce pan (and it only messes up two dishes!) then it only took 25 minutes to bake. Easiest brownies ever.

Thisisme. said...

Sounds like a good weekend, and that meal was obviously really something special. Wonder if M has got anything planned for Valentine's Day, or perhaps that was it!

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