Friday, 17 June 2011

A Week Well Spent

And was it ever.

I golfed (poorly) on Thursday morning and headed home to do yardwork and sit on my deck.  It was a wonderful day.  Even though the wind was blowing a little, I was nice and protected on the deck, so it was just a little breeze to cool things off. 

Friday was spent much the same as Thursday, minus the golfing.  I did laundry and ran a couple of errands and got ready to head to my brother's house in Cold Lake.  And finished the book I'd started the day before.  *sigh*  I love that.

Saturday morning I headed out to Cold Lake.  The drive was uneventful, which I sincerely appreciated - something always seems to happen when I drive to Cold Lake.  Almost crash, almost get hit by oncoming traffic, blow up a transmission (hole the size of a dinner plate, and I only wish I was making that up) - things like that.

We went to my brother's friend's daughter's 1st birthday party, and it was warm and wonderful.  The birthday girl got spoiled rotten and stuffed her face full of cake and passed out a little while later.  My baby niece had loads of fun running around and playing in the pool - even though she didn't get in...  She sort of half FELL in and got really wet.  But she seemed to enjoy herself anyway.

The following couple of days were spent simply playing with baby niece and getting love and hugs and cuddles and kisses.  I could tell that my blood pressure had gone way down and I felt so relaxed with her around. 

And after my lovely meeting with my boss the Wednesday before (which I won't even get into), I really needed baby time. 

My baby niece is almost two and she hardly speaks a word.  She occassionally says 'Mom', 'Dad', 'Hi', or 'Bye'.  She says 'blech' when you change her diaper, and does a funny little meow when prompted.  She used to say 'Dora', but she doesn't any more.  I suppose she'll do everything in her own time - just like every other baby before her.  She is quite cautious and doesn't run headlong into anything, so getting her riding two wheels on a bike, or going to school, or anything that's new and different will be quite the job.  But she is sweet and funny and has a terrific smile and lots of love.

And I even did some cooking! 

I love having people to cook for, even if it makes me really nervous.

Saturday Night:  Sesame Stirfry Shrimp
This turned out really, really well.  I would definitely make it again and might sub in some fresh ginger in place of the ground, just to see the difference.  Mostly because I love fresh ginger and like to use it whenever I can!  It had a nice little bit of heat from the cayenne pepper and the sauce was super tasty.  I did make an oopsy and bought the "shell still on" shrimp - but shrimp is shrimp I suppose.

And the RICE!!!  I have a rice cooker.  I LOVE it.  I cannot make rice in the microwave or rice on the stove top.  CAN NOT.  My sister-in-law does NOT have a rice cooker, which I didn't know.  And when I was leaving home, I momentarily considered taking my rice cooker.  Don't laugh.  So when I got to their house and I realised they DIDN'T have a rice cooker, I was super-nervous.  And I wished for my rice cooker.

I figured I'd wing it.  Threw some water in a pot, threw in the rice, and got things underway.  I sort of guessed at when the water started to boil and started timing from there.  I was completely convinced that it would be overdone, or underdone, or simply ruined altogether.  But when the time was up and I drained the water, the rice was perfect.  PERFECT.  I couldn't have been more pleased.

Sunday Night:  Pulled Pork
I have been looking forward to this recipe since I found it.  You throw pork tenderloin and root beer into a slow cooker and turn it to Low for 6-7 hours.  When it shreds easily, drain the root beer, shred the meat, add your favorite BBQ sauce and serve.  That's IT.  Three ingredients.  Done.  And the results?  Tender, juicy, and delicious. 

We also had coleslaw and corn on the cob.  Thanks to my sister-in-law, she was very helpful!

Now.  We tasted the pork without the BBQ sauce just to see if you could taste the root beer.  I want to say kinda, but I couldn't really taste it.  It just tasted like pork.  And the BBQ sauce simply covered up any flavour that the root beer would have added to the pork. 

But here's the question.  Did the root beer (I guess you could use any kind of dark-colored pop) help in breaking down the tenderloin and make it so tender and juicy?  Or was it the cut of meat?  2 pounds of tenderloin is pretty expensive - would I get the same result from a shoulder or a boston butt, which is a cheaper cut of meat and more commonly used for pulled pork????  Obviously, I need to investigate this further.

Which I'm okay with because I love pulled pork.

I had fully intended on freezing the leftovers for my brother and his wife to just pull out if they needed lunch or dinner.  But the three of us ate all the leftovers the next day.  Oops.  And the next day, the pork was just as yummy and delicious.

Monday Night:  Gina's Crab-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
I'm really on the fence about this one.  The sauce was pretty good, but I've made a sauce similar to this one that was easier and tastier.  The stuffing seemed to be too much Ritz crackers to crab ratio.  The stuffing was also almost too much for the four chicken breasts.  The added cheese at the end seemed like somewhat of an afterthought.  Overall, it seemed to be missing something.  Something important.  Maybe dill?  Or garlic?  Maybe a little bit more sauce?  I have no idea.

I'm going to shelf this recipe and I might be able to figure it out later.  We'll see.

After dinner was served and eaten, and the dishes were cleaned up, I headed back home.  I can't tell you why, I just felt like I needed to be at home.  It's hard to be away from home with my job. 

Tuesday was rainy and cold, so there was not much to be done outside.  And I simply got ready to go back to work.  Very reluctantly.

And the long-term weather forecast is not what you'd hope for during an Alberta Summer.  Rain, rain, rain.  Ugh.

Here's to hoping that next week is better than this one!

This is the Cane Girl - signing off.

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