Sunday, May 9, 2010

Therapeutic Weekends...

I can't believe the weekend has slipped by already. As always, it went by so fast, it seems like it was just Friday. Nevertheless, it's another Sunday evening- albeit a slightly chilly one- and it's almost time to settle down for the night before having to get up again for work tomorrow.

As I said, it's a cool night out there. When I drove to my parent's house on Friday night, it was 83 degrees, windy and stormy. By Saturday morning, it had cooled down to 45 degrees and it was a bit of a shock to the system. The wind had changed direction and blew cold instead of sultry, humid air.

Nevertheless, even with cool, windy weather, it was a lovely weekend. I had originally planned on taking my parents out to eat in celebration of Mother's Day. The problem is that now that I have learned to cook somewhat, I have this horrible habit of looking at a restaurant menu and being slightly outraged at how much they charge vs. how much it would actually cost to make. In addition, my parents live in a small town outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The only restaurants in their town are fast food or down-homey type of places. There is a Mexican restaurant but that hardly seemed like the place to take them for a really nice dinner. So, we would have had to drive to Fort Wayne which generally takes at least 45 minutes each direction to get there. If you're driving that far, you have to watch it if you want to drink wine. All in all, it just ended up seeming like it would be a nice idea to cook for them. Naturally, I made sure they wanted me to cook for them because there's nothing worse than offering and making someone feel like they HAVE to say yes.

But yes they said and so I attempted to make them the type of fancy meal we would have got if we'd have gone to one of the finer restaurants in Fort Wayne. It was also a lot of fun to cook. I find cooking slightly therapeutic these days and after an absolutely horrible day in the office on Friday, I was ready for some food-therapy.

I ended making four courses-
1.) Stuffed mushrooms with blue cheese and herbs
2) Pea soup with mint
3) Salmon with rosemary, baked in a salt crust with roasted baby red potatoes and sauteed green beans with garlic.
4) Tiramisu.

There was also wine because I tend to think wine goes rather well with food. Actually, I tend to think wine goes rather well with everything.

I'm pretty sure the meal turned out quite well although I did learn that if I'm going to serve mass amounts of food, I should learn to make my portions smaller. We had to wait for dessert until we had enough room in our stomachs for it. Still, it was so much fun to come up with a menu, go shopping for ingredients and then prep and cook them. I felt like I was in my own version of Top Chef. Even though I'm not a chef. Also, I wouldn't be the top chef. But on that show, they get to make a menu and then go to Whole Foods to buy their ingredients. They have a much bigger budget on that show than I did but I think I still managed to do pretty well with the ingredients although not at Whole Foods because there is no Whole Foods near my parent's house.

It ended up being a fabulous way to spend my Saturday afternoon/evening. While I was cooking, I got to talk to my mum which is always lovely. The puppies played outside and inside and the day passed very quickly. I've found that secret to a successful meal is planning and preparation. If I make my menu then plot out the timeframe I need to get everything done when I need it done, it makes things go well. I know, I know, I believe this qualifies me to be an official nerd/geek, whatever your term of choice. Yet it does work and it works well.

After dinner, I provided entertainment in the form of the movie "Crazy Heart" which my dad had been wanting to see. It was a decent movie, very slow and I admit, it seemed like it was very similar to "The Wrestler" only instead of wrestling, there was country music. Jeff Bridges was good though so it wasn't the worst thing I could have rented. If I'd wanted the worst thing I could have rented, I would have asked my sister to pick. She has this uncanny ability to find the absolute worst movie in the Redbox machine and rent it. This is how we ended up watching "Bruno" on New Year's Eve and watching Sasha Baron Cohen's penis talk.

I'm just teasing her and she knows it. It's endearing that she has this ability. She gets it from our dad so it's not her fault. Also, the Redbox, while convenient and cheap, isn't exactly the best source of selection. Since they closed all of the movie rental places in my parent's town and all they have is the Redbox or Netflix, there's not much choice in the matter. While I think both methods of movie renting are convenient and easy, it's not the same as going to a video store and wandering around, reading the backs of DVD's, smelling the microwave popcorn even through it's cellophane wrapper and wondering if it would be bad to buy a large packet of Twizzlers to go with whatever you rent. Even though places like Blockbuster became outrageous with their rental prices, I still think there's nothing like going to a Blockbuster and having a wander around. You could check out the new releases or take a trip down memory lane by looking at the older movie selections they had. I mean, you can't rent classics like "Gremlins" or "Point Break" from the Redbox.

All in all, it's been a very nice weekend. The puppies and I are home now, ready to sit down for the evening and start to wind things down. I'm hoping this week in the office is going to be better but given our office politics, I'm not holding my breath. I'll try to make the most of it and keep reminding myself that my life is not my job.

And, if not, there's another weekend only five days away.

Happy Monday!

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