Can I just say what a difference it makes having a 3-day weekend?  Even though I was super busy all day at Mom’s church for her annual chili dinner on Friday, I was doing what I love (cooking!) and spending time with my Momma – what better combo than that?  And that way my Mom could spend all day with her favorite child.  Duh.

PicMonkey Collage - chili

You guys.  I’ve never chopped so many onions in all my life – even from previous times I’ve volunteered to help in the kitchen.  I literally had to watch a youtube video from Gordon Ramsey on how to chop an onion.  Obviously I’ve seen it done before on t.v. but I never paid attention because it isn’t in my wheel house.  I would finish chopping up one bag of onions and think I was done and my Mom would say “why don’t you chop up another bag to be on the safe side.”  So that is the ultimate dedication to my Momma – cutting up 30+ onions!

The day went by so fast and before we knew it, the people started lining up.  I made a batch of my award winning buffalo chicken chili on the side as a taste sampler, and if they liked it, for an extra $2 donation they could have a copy of the recipe.  By the end of the night though I could feel my lower back acting up a bit after being on my feet all day.  My Mom is a trooper – she was go go go all day – 75 years young!  And I joked on Facebook that my Mom needed a step stool to reach the stove, but the truth is, I needed to use it to reach the back burners to stir the chili.  It was a big success.

PicMonkey Collage - momma

This weekend was a perfect balance of being productive, having fun and relaxing.  My friend Alison invited me out to dinner with her family on Saturday night.  You know I can’t go empty handed so I got my baking pants on and made a skillet rosemary sea salt bread.  Guys – easiest bread ever.  And it bakes in a cast iron skillet so you don’t even need a dutch oven like the artisan bread recipe.

  • 3 teaspoons bulk yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tablespon salt
  • 4.5 cups flour
  • olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • rosemary

In a large bowl, add the yeast and water and let sit 5 minutes.  Add in the salt and flour and using your hand or a wooden spoon, mix the dough just until all the flour has been incorporated.  Cover with a towel and let rise 1 hour.  Now this dough is going to be really wet and sticky.  I usually run my hands with water and with wet hands and a bit of flour bring the dough together to form a dough firm enough to place into the cast iron skillet that I sprayed with Pam.  I let the dough sit another 15 minutes or so until the oven got to temp – 400 degrees.

I brushed olive oil over the top of the dough, then sprinkled sea salt and rosemary and baked for 30 minutes.

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Luckily I was smart enough to make two – one to give to my friend and one to stay at home.   I had a nice time catching up with my friends and their little girls – sadly I didn’t get a picture in focus of their oldest daughter, but when I asked their youngest daughter to smile for the camera, she blew me a kiss – how cute is that?!

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Our weather was amazeballs all weekend.  We got to the mid-60s each day with blue skies.  I knew I had to take advantage of the weather before I’ll be cursing sub-freezing temps soon enough.  My friend Alison above pointed out a nature trail by her house as we were driving home from the restaurant Saturday night.  Yesterday I drove over there and was amazed at this gorgeous trail.  I actually was able to walk with a tank top on!

PicMonkey Collage - walk

Both Hannah and Jacob were home for dinner last night, and while I thought I would do something vegetarian for Hannah, I nixed that idea when I read my grocery store sale flyer and saw that NY strip steaks were on sale for $5.99 a pound.  Hannah ended up making a ham sandwich and had a can of mandarin oranges for dinner while Jacob and I enjoyed a NY strip steak using this marinade, with a baked potato and salt and vinegar zucchini.

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I ended up eating half that steak.  I told Jacob he could have mine for leftovers, but he ended up eating it right then and there.  I love beef!

The dogs hung out with me in the living room last night.  They are getting along just fine, although Rummy is still wondering how long this dog is going to be sticking around for.  She’s such a diva!

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And if my decorator friend Whitney is reading this, I know that blanket isn’t sanctioned, but I put it on the couch to protect it from the dogs – didn’t want to use one of the pretty throw blankets you got for me and mess them up!

Alright, I guess I have to start getting ready for work – at least next week is a 4 day weekend!  What was the highlight of your weekend?  Make it a great day!