Monday, January 23, 2012

Awesome weekend and New Recipe 8 - Sweet and Russet Mashed Potatoes

The hubs and I had an awesome weekend!  We got to catch up with family and friends, have some yummy meals, and enjoy being tourists in our own town.

The only negative of the weekend is the cold that I have... It was a little annoying at the end of last week, but today is has me on quarantine in our living room, snuggled under a blanket along with a cup of coffee.

On Friday afternoon, my cousin and her hubs came into town.  They were planning to go to the Carolina Hurricanes vs. Washington Capitals hockey game that evening.  J and I were planning to go to the game too, but unfortunately, we had difficulty getting accessible tickets that didn't cost an arm and a leg.  Luckily, it worked out perfectly that they were heading to the CharGrill near my office to meet our uncle and aunt for lunch.  So, I took a nice little lunchtime stroll and joined them for lunch.  I haven't seen Natalie and Chris since April, when they were in town for our Granny's birthday.  It was great to catch up with them!  Don't they look so happy!  They just got married in October and are definitely perfect for one another!  

After a long workday, the hubs and I headed to our normal Friday evening spot.  A World of Beer opened about a 1/2 mile from our house in December.  I affectionately call World of Beer "Cheers on Steroids".  We tend to go most Friday evenings for a couple of hours. We enjoy talking to the staff and other folks that are there.  World of Beer has a very cool Loyalty Card program.  Since the hubs and I like different types of beer, we share a loyalty card.  I tried a new beer on Friday night that was so good.  It is by Southern Tier Brewing and is called Mokah.  I loved reading the description on their website: 
"...  A stout brewed with chocolate and coffee...When empirical and creative impulses collide, the result is often timeless. The classic utility-art aesthetic of the coffee maker is an example of design and engineering working in concert. 

It is through similar cooperation that the simple bitter cocoa bean is transformed into a sweet treat. As scientists, our brewers utilize their materials to exacting standards. As artists, they couldn’t resist the temptation to combine two of our highly acclaimed Blackwater Series Imperial Stouts: Jahva and Choklat. Alone each is perfect, but together as Mokah they are an inimitable expression of two of the world’s most sought after flavors. Enjoy Mokah stout with – or as – your favorite dessert!..."

I woke up feeling terrible!  My throat hurt, I couldn't swallow, and I could barely breathe through my nose.  Lovely way to start the day...  I had planned to join some buddies for an 8-miler, but the rain and the way I felt changed that.  I ended up just piddling around the house most of the morning.  

The hubs and I met Debbie and her daughter for lunch at Cinelli's.  J and I love Cinelli's and we were excited that Debbie's daughter had a birthday party at North Hills - perfect time to meet them for a yummy lunch.  Debbie and I ordered a small Tuscan Pizza to share and house salads.  The hubs got his new favorite from their restaurant - Chicken Marsala with Angel Hair.  After our delicious lunch, we headed to the Starbucks to finish lunch off with a coffee and a little sweet treat.  

We spent the rest of the afternoon running a few errands, before heading off to the in-laws for dinner.  My mother-in-law will tell you that she isn't a good cook, but I have to beg to differ.  When we arrived, we were greeted with cocktails and some small appetizers.  For dinner, my mother-in-law prepared yummy beef ribs, greek-style green beans, and some wild rice.  So yummy!  

After dinner, we enjoyed some cake from Whole Foods and began to discuss my outfit for the upcoming Disney Princess Half Marathon (well, the boys watched election coverage while we talked about my costume.)  I am going to dress as Belle for the half, since Belle is my absolute favorite Disney Princess.  I am planning to purchase a Sparkle Skirt as the base.  I have a yellow running tank that I am hoping will match.  We're going to add some tulle to the top and/or skirt to give it a little more fluff.  I have a Belle tiara that I got at Target.  With this, the Belle costume is coming together nicely!

Yesterday we had the opportunity to be tourists in our own area.  As I mentioned earlier, Natalie and Chris were here for the weekend...  One of the things they wanted to do was visit the campus of the University of North Carolina.  Since the hubs is an alum and loves campus, we couldn't pass up a visit.  We met up at our house and loaded up to head to Chapel Hill.  The first stop when we got to campus was Boshamer Stadium, home of Carolina baseball.  I am ashamed to say that we haven't been to a game at the new Bosh since contributing to the capital campaign and renovations.  Now that I have seen the "new" stadium, we're definitely going to be heading to some games this spring.  Then we headed to the Dean Smith Center/Dean Dome.  Unfortunately, it is only open for the public to wander around during regular work hours.  While on campus, we also visited the Natatourium beside the Smith Center.  On our way to Franklin Street, we passed by Kenan Stadium.  By this point, I was frozen, so I stayed in the car with J.  Natalie and Chris went into Kenan and Natalie even ran on the field.  Looking forward to getting back into Kenan Stadium for some Carolina Football this fall!

The first order of business once we arrived on Franklin Street was to go to Chapel Hill Sportswear.  They recently moved locations and their new location was huge, but I miss the character of their old location.  After the boys procured their purchases, we headed to Time-Out for Chris to try the Chicken Cheddar Biscuit.  I have never eaten at Time-Out (and I wasn't going to start yesterday), but it is a popular spot for Carolina students, especially after an evening of drinking.  Chris had seen Time-Out on Man vs. Food and had to try it.  As far as we could tell, the Chicken Cheddar Biscuit met his expectations - I am glad he was pleased!  After Time-Out, we headed to Top of the Hill for lunch.  Top of the Hill is another Chapel Hill favorite.  We had a nice lunch, but then realized it was time to head out for Chris and Natalie to get on the road back to DC.  It was a great day and I thoroughly enjoyed being a tourist in my own town!

Last night, we tried a new recipe to go with our dinner.  We had planned to have a pre-marinated Pork Sirloin, roasted russet/sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli.  Before I headed to the grocery store, we both decided we wanted a little more of a comfort food feel.  So, we changed things up a bit...  We ended up having pork sirloin, sweet/russet mashed potatoes, and collards.  The mashed potatoes were awesome!  The sweet potatoes added a little something to boring old mashed potatoes.  I think we'll be having these again very soon!  

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