A Weekend in the Queen City

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Check out what I scored from Saturday’s garage sales in Charlotte, NC!

Kathy and I had a lot of fun, driving all over Charlotte and scoring some great finds. For me, this included:

  • some dirt cheap corning ware (75 cents!) from an estate sale
  • “Passionate Vegetarian” cookbook, by Crescent Dragonwagon. Sure to have some great meal ideas for $1 (and they threw in a pack of cupcake liners for free)
  • an adorable Fire King Primrose custard cup (25 cents!)
  • a stuffed hedgehog squeaky toy for the dogs (not pictured… currently buried under the tomato plants courtesy of Miss Harmony)
  • and of course… pyrex!! I had arranged a meeting with an ex-collector in Charlotte who is selling her entire collection (gasp!) to move into a smaller house. I bought this Butterprint mixing bowl from her, and then my eyes fell on the 1 gallon casserole dish in Butterfly Gold. Never seen anything like it! It’s absolutely huge and I knew I had to have it. Not sure how often I’ll cook a gallon of anything at a time, but Thanksgiving is only a few months away, right??

Kathy scored the deal of the century when she found a stack of 6 assorted cast iron pans for only $5!! She also picked up some small pyrex 401 mixing bowls… I think I’ve converted her :)

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Speaking of Pyrex… I just about had an arrhythmia when I came across this booth at an antique mall in Concord. Of course the prices were astronomical, but it sure was fun to see it all in one place. I can only aspire to have a collection so large (joking… seriously.. joking) 

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Miss Harmony went to adoption day while I was out of town and was quite the head turner. (Except for the fact that the others were already trained with tricks, and we still can’t even get her to sit!!)

Happy Birthday To Me!

7pm, I am back safe and sound at the farm. Picked up the dogs, who smell freshly perfumed, from the boarding kennel. They were very happy to be back home!

The drive this time around was a full hour shorter, thanks to light Sunday traffic through Atlanta. Of course the weather continued to be beautiful – blue skies and 60s all day!

So Many Birthday Gifts!

I am so lucky to have such great friends and family! I brought all my packages to Georgia to open there, which seemed more celebratory and fun than opening gifts by myself on my bday.

I now have a full assortment of goodies on the kitchen table: a book, pizza peel, cell-phone case, candle, scarf, cupcake apron, flavored coffee, coffee mug, sudoku book, gift card for a local restaurant and some movie tickets. All my favorite things, pretty much!

Fun in Athens

I really enjoyed my weekend back in Athens. Of course there was lots of Good Eats:

  • Friday dinner at Five Star Day
  • Saturday breakfast at the Mayflower (Guy Fieri needs to stop by here, seriously!). It’s been right across the UGA campus for decades, serving up huge, fast, cheap southern meals. I was intrigued by the “Safari French Toast” and ordered the“Safari Hotcakes”. Check them out!

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The waitress explained that the “safari” element is the combination of strawberries, bananas, pecans, and powdered sugar on top. So good! And the fruit balances all the southern grease that accompanied everything else :)

  • Saturday lunch was a picnic (sandwiches picked up at Five Points Deli.. where we spotted Matthew Stafford, who apparently is now a celebrity since being a first draft pick for the NFL) taken to the Georgia Botanical Gardens – one of my favorite places from my college days!!

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  • Saturday dinner was at Mellow Mushroom with the old college roommates. I introduced them to the pizza crust pretzels as an appetizer, and we enjoyed our pizza while cheering on the Vanderbilt Commodores (who unfortunately couldn’t pull through and beat Kentucky like we had hoped).
  • Sunday breakfast at The Grit – my all-time favorite vegetarian restaurant. We stood outside with the very left-wing crowd of fans awaiting the restaurant’s 10am opening. I ordered a massive but nutritionally complete platter of sauteed tofu, vegetables and nutritional yeast, accompanied by roasted potatoes and whole-wheat biscuits. Awesome! We also started with huge mugs of hot chocolate which were a great choice :)

Other than all the yummy food that I ingested, I had a wonderful time with old friends, seeing the changes around campus (new student center!) and of course people watching.. always so fun!

Now it’s back to business here. I have a Sunday paper waiting to be ripped apart and clipped by myself, and a busy week to plan. I head back out of town on Thursday for an Eating Disorders workshop on Friday.

4.5 more hours of Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s Mehl-ting!

Today has been a pretty awesome day.

First of all… the heat wave has arrived!! Never before has mid-30 degree weather excited me so much. The sun was out in full force, along with beautiful blue skies, which helped melt a lot of the snow around the farm today. Hooray! The driveway is still pretty well coated, but I’m thinking tomorrow’s gorgeous weather should take care of it :)

A trip to church with my neighbor ended my housebound snow days. It was nice to get out finally, and meet some new people. Church was good, if a little more traditional than I’m used to. Lunch afterwards at Olive Garden with my neighbor and 2 “old maid” sisters of the church. They’re 87 and 95 years old and live together. One of them was UT’s first baton twirler, and knew my grandfather back when he “was a real looker”. We had a great lunch – it’s been so long since I’ve had those breadsticks – and brought leftovers home for dinner later this week.

This afternoon was good for finishing up some chores. I debated between chores and a nap, but chores won :)

I got all the Christmas stuff put up in the attic (except for the naked Christmas tree which will require the assistance of The Boy to make its way to the attic), and the carpets/rugs vacuumed. Then Sheff and I made a trip into town to take in the recycles and stop by the library and PetSmart.

At the library I picked up some workout DVDs (so now I have no excuse… gym or no gym I will workout!) and cookbooks.

Oh and then PetSmart adventures began…. I took Sheff there to get his nails done and refill his food supply. Long story short, he released his anal gland on the dog salon workers (sorry guys!) and snarled at everyone in the check-out line. Poor buddy… too much for his anxious self to handle. In consolation he did get a squeak hot dog toy to take home. Now he’s curled up on the couch with me, looking quite pleased with himself :)

Lazy Sunday evening for me now. Time to crack open the Sunday paper, clip coupons and peruse the ads. And if I ever get hungry again, after eating 4 OG breadsticks and 1/2 of my baked ziti, I might consider some dinner.

Night!

TGIF!

Greetings y’all!

Sorry I’ve been so bad about posting this week. It’s been a busy week – Sheff and I have both been sick, and going to be real early. I wish I could blog at work, when I’m sitting there with nothing to do!

So glad the weekend is here! I had planned to have the weekend to myself, unfortunately spending it with a lot of deep-cleaning, as the relatives begin pouring in Sunday for Thanksgiving. But after a long craigslist ordeal buying a $500 electronic drum set for The Boy, he’s up here now for the weekend (to see the drums more so than me… haha).

We had a nice dinner at The Tomato Head followed by ice cream at Sonic. He really wants to go see a movie, but I’m just not up for staying up until midnight (which is still early by his account!). So for now, I’m on the couch, blogging and listening to Christmas music on Pandora, while he assembles the electronic drum set. Have I mentioned that he’s taking lessons now and will soon be a professional drummer in The Music City?? :D

At least now I have a helper for all my weekend cleaning now… haha

Weekend in Nashville!

Sheff and I took a road trip to Nashville for the weekend, celebrating The Boy and I’s 6 month anniversary.

It was absolutely beautiful weather all weekend – mid 70s in mid November!?!?! I remember this time last year it was already down into the 30s and 40s. We were so lucky!

I was really hoping to have Friday dinner at the new Chuy’s restaurant – the first outside of Texas, might I add. Like any good Texan, I love love love me some Chuy’s. It’s always a treat to go there. In fact, when I was in the hospital a few years back with my mysterious viral illness, that was my first restaurant meal post-discharge.

But… sad to say we didn’t get to eat any Chuy’s. By the time we got there (6pm… I felt it was early enough), we were worried by the men directing traffic, cars parked along every nearby street, and a kajillion people milling inside and outside the restaurant. Yeah… a 2 hour wait!? No thanks. So we left Cool Springs, headed back up to Green Hills and went to Kalamata’s. I’ve been begging The Boy to eat there; afterall I haven’t had falafel since the day I passed by RD exam, and I was having serious withdrawals! It was delicious as always!! I was tempted by their seasonal pumpkin cheesecake, but had no room at all.

But… I did get some pumpkin cheesecake Saturday night at….. Germantown Cafe! We had a reservation there as our nice anniversary dinner. I chose the place and had communicated with the general manager about vegetarian options. It was a great choice – lovely restaurant, great view of the Nashville skyline (and not downtown with the horrendous weekend traffic that almost caused The Boy to lose his cool), and of course wonderful food.

I know, I know, where are the pictures? I brought my camera to Nashville…. and took zero pictures. Terrible! And too bad… because we were looking quite smart. I even bought a dress for the occasion! haha

We started with appetizers: clam chowder (him) and squash fritters (moi). The squash fritters were delightful… imagine balls of squash casserole, battered and fried, served with a buttermilk cream. yum!

My main dish was their pasta of the day: fettucine with a parmesan mushroom sauce, with side salad. It was excellent. Of course, by the time I made it through my fried squash, salad, and bread, I was pretty full and couldn’t get too much of the rich pasta dish in my belly.

Oh… the bread. If anyone knows about Germantown Cafe’s bread secret… do tell! The Boy proclaimed it was “the best bread I’ve ever had”. They were small muffin size bread balls…. and somehow reminded you of a funnel cake. Surely the bread wasn’t fried!?? Whatever it was, it was amazingly good.

So… if I could hardly eat my pasta dish, how did I manage the pumpkin cheesecake? Well when we heard it was on their dessert menu (and my jaw fell open), The Boy suggested we order it and take it home for later. Brilliant idea.

Oh.. how I miss Nashville and it’s many restaurants. :(

Perfect Weather Weekend

What happens when 5 dietitian friends get together for the weekend?

“Eat bowls of leaves” was The Boy’s idea. This, of course, is related to the fact that we enjoy our leafy green vegetables, and prefer them in salads to the nutritional-weakling that is iceberg lettuce.

But no, salads were not the mainstay of this weekend.

Friday Night:

Sheff and I spent the afternoon getting the house all nice and clean, ready for our guests. Steph was the first to roll in around 6, having the easiest drive from Nashville. We met at the nearby Kroger and picked up ingredients for an easy tortellini soup.

  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 3 cans seasoned stewed tomatoes
  • 1-2 cans cannellini beans
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 package frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1-2 packs cheese tortellini
  • parmesan cheese and toast to serve with

Elena, coming up from Mississippi, made it here around 9:30, as did Laura – who won the prize for finding the farm in the dark by herself! I had met Elena and Steph 10 miles out, and then let them follow me back, because the dark country roads are very difficult to navigate. Laura also brought her 2 little dogs, who enjoyed Sheff and our big backyard. Kathy finally made it by 11:30pm. Most of the evening was spent catching up over soup and baked goods (Laura brought some decadent brownies and baklava. Nothing low-fat or nutritionally advised! So yummy….)

Saturday:

Those of us on Eastern Time Zone, and/or owners of dogs, found ourselves fully awake and drinking coffee by 8am. The other 2 were awakened by 10:30am. The agreed upon plan was to hit up the outlets at Pigeon Forge, a free round of Mini Golf (thanks to the millions of extra tickets I have), dinner at The Tomato Head, and then a fire at home with s’mores and hot apple cider. ‘Twas a great day!

I will note that the Pigeon Forge outlets were absolutely crazy packed, like it was the week before Christmas. We had to fight for a parking space, stand in long lines in stores, and dig through piles of clothes strewn all over the place. By the end of the afternoon, we had many bags to carry back and our feet were sore.

But not sore enough for Mini Golf! And somehow, after 18 holes, I manage to win, coming in 5 under par! haha. My prize?

Delicious dinner at The Tomato Head. I had the Kepner Melt again: a toasted sandwich of baked tofu, monterrey jack cheese, walnut pesto, spinach, herbed tomatoes, pineapple and red onion. Amazing! We also scored a free large cheese pizza, after our order (half cheese, half mushroom) confused the kitchen staff.

The fire, smores, and cider were all wonderful. We had The Dark Knight playing in the background, which I tried to ignore and enjoy the conversation with my friends instead. I can’t see that Joker face right before I go to bed!!

Sunday:

Again, the Eastern Time Zoners were up by 8 for coffee, and enjoyed cold pizza for breakfast. The others were up by 10 with no problem. It’s been so nice to catch up and see each other face to face after all this time. I feel like we’re much more grown up than we were just this time last year, now out in the working world, with a lot of learning experience under our belt.

We had wanted to get a hike in this weekend, since the weather was beautiful and in the 70s both days, but the girls needed to hit the road by lunchtime to get back to their respective cities.

After everyone left and I got the kitchen cleaned up, Sheff and I headed out to Knoxville’s Ijam’s Nature Center for some hiking and outdoors time. It was an easy 30 minute drive, and we had the company of many many other families and dog owners. I’m always a little skeptical of hiking or trail-walking by myself, but it was a gorgeous day, and I didn’t feel alone out there on the trails. We enjoyed a couple miles, then returned to the car for water and almond butter sandwich / milkbone, and drove back.

Now we’re out on the back porch, soaking up the last of today’s sun, before it’s time to start the next week.

Next Week:

  • Get the garage door fixed
  • Clean up / wash sheets from weekend visitors
  • Prepare, pack and plan for Nashville weekend road trip!

Friday the 30th

Today is a day to celebrate:

  1. It’s Friday!
  2. My best friend from college is coming to visit this weekend!
  3. 6 month anniversary with The Boy :)
  4. 4 month anniversary of leaving Nashville :( and coming to the farm :)
  5. 6 weeks (and 3 paychecks) at my job!
  6. Beautiful fall weather!

And so… a celebratory breakfast is in order, am I right?

Ever since I entered the real-working world, I’ve been terrible about not making breakfast at home. I tend to grab something pre-packaged and eat at work. What kind of dietitian am I?! But this morning will be a delicious bowl of banana-flax-almond butter oatmeal, in our favorite celebratory cupcake bowel bowl (oops!).

Best Friend isn’t leaving good ole’ Athens GA until 5ish, so it’ll be a looong night. That’ll give me plenty of time to hit the gym after work, take in the recycles, clean up the house (vacuuming mass quantities of dog hair is in order) and bake my beloved chocolate pumpkin muffin tops!!