Happy Snowy Wednesday! I've been listening to the hum of snow blowers like you would hear the hum of lawn mowers on slow summer days. Going outside, the cold makes me feel so invigorated, but when I come in I'm ready for a nice nap. I really don't mind winter, I just worry myself to pieces over my family driving in bad conditions. "Text me when you get there." must be something I say a few times every day.
And it was driving in the dreaded white stuff that messed up The Husband's big plans for my birthday this past weekend. He had made reservations for us to spend Saturday night at one of our very favorite hotels in downtown Chicago, The Allerton. We have so many great memories of staying there. It has my much loved European style decor; old and worn and elegant. And he had reservations for us to have dinner at Gibson's Steakhouse, another classic. And for lunch I chose RL, Ralph Lauren's place near the old Water Tower. Well, the snow had been coming down all night and was still coming down. I was just worried about the expressway, with it being less traveled on the weekends, it might not be so clear. So we were able to cancel (thank goodness) and I'm taking a rain check for sure!
Our weekend was very quiet but for the Superbowl game. It's very rare that we go to parties for it anymore. The Husband watched it and was sure to call me out when Bruno Mars came on. Was that a show or what? All those people that said he didn't have the experience to headline a show like this...I hope they're eating their words!
It was great to get out on Monday. Off to the grocery store in the slush. At least it was sunny. I was trudging back to the car with my cart when I checked my texts and saw, "Dinner reservations for tonight at 6. Happy Birthday!" Wow, my birthday wasn't going to slip away unnoticed!
The whole family came, it was great. And for the record, I turned 54. Am I loving my fifties? Absolutely. My thirties and forties were a little tumultuous so I'm happy to be a little more wiser, patient and understanding. And I'm loving seeing my kids grow into adults. Life is good.
This is a new restaurant just a few blocks away called Tavern In The Green. The food was delicious...sandwiches, burgers, steaks and pasta. I was very disciplined; a bowl of French onion soup and a spinach salad with shaved Parmesan and dried cranberries. It also came with sugared pecans which I declined. 19 days. No sugar. Yay!
When I was at Homegoods last week with Emily, I picked up this runner. Something about it really drew me in. "You don't like blue and it goes with nothing in your kitchen." Emily said. Well, I guess everyone is right, go with your heart.
And then I saw these. Aren't they darling? My friend Julie Marie at Idyll Hours has the "chirp" mug that she found at sister store, Marshall's. It's these little things that perk me up when I'm staring at my barren living room, not knowing where to turn next. But we'll just skip over that today. I truly believe one day my heart will speak to me and I'll see the whole picture.
Cooking is such a pleasure in this cold weather, not so much what I'm making; the stews and soups and comfort foods. More just the activity. Being in the warm kitchen slicing and chopping and whisking and tasting. I think we have ordered out food just twice in January, and in the past we were really guilty of doing it 1 or 2 times a week. We're surrounded by wonderful restaurants.
This is something Abby came up with. I simply blackened some cubed chicken (2 large breasts) over high heat and made some brown rice. She finished it off by sauteing some green pepper and onions with about 2 tablespoons of chicken fajita seasoning and a splash of water. We then layered in bowls, rice, lettuce, chicken, veggies and topped it with shredded cheddar cheese, guacamole and sour cream. These are not big bowls and it was very filling. I skipped the rice and one bowl was the perfect size for dinner. And so simple!
I'm moving on to make my second Valentine's Day celebratory treat, Soft and Chewy White Chocolate Dipped Red Velvet Cookies. Need I say more? Visit here to get the recipe and I'll share mine in another post.
The new washing machine and dryer were delivered yesterday. The Husband picked them out and told me they were very simple and not fancy. Well, I'm looking at a control panel on the washer that is as lit up as my car dashboard at night. I feel like I could press a few buttons and launch a space shuttle. He was so excited, "Come on, we can watch a You Tube video and learn how to work it!" OMG. I have laundry covering the floor, nothing in the linen closet and I'm on my last set of bed sheets. But I told you, I'm wise. I waited for Abby to come home from work. Of course she was thrilled to see new appliances and took off to her room to grab her hamper. Like a good mother I warned her, "It's a little difficult, Abby." And she shouted back, "Oh, don't be ridiculous, Devil Woman." After about 20 minutes she came back up and with a wave of her hand said, "Simple. Just press this, this, this and that button. Wait. Then hit this, that, this and this button." Okay, so what does that do, I asked. "Well, that just estimates the size of your load and how long it will take to wash." That's all.
So instead of doing all the laundry that's going to take til almost spring, I decided to write a post! :)
Hope your week is going great!