Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sick Day/Old Drafts

I stayed home sick from work today because I woke up with a killer sore throat. While trying to rest but unable to sleep I thought I would catch up on some blog posts. I was looking through some of the drafts of posts I had started but never finished, and I started thinking about "finishing things"... Jason complains from time to time that I "start things but don't finish them." He's right about that, but I'm not quite sure exactly why I do that (or rather, DON'T do that!). It could be a number of reasons: I'm easily distracted; I have so many interests that it's hard for me to focus on just one thing at a time; I attempt to take on more than I can handle; I spread myself too thin; I'm a perfectionist so I would rather have something unfinished than finished poorly.

I think that any of those could be accurate statements about me, but I think that the root of the problem is that when I look at these works in progress, I don't seem them as projects that have been abandoned, but rather things that just have not been finished yet. I think that maybe I just operate on a slower timeline than other people for finishing things, and I am okay with that.

So anyway, I had a few unfinished blog posts. Most of them were about recipes that weren't really that great anyway, so I just deleted them. But one of the draft posts made me laugh, because it was my notes from our vacation last summer. Each day I logged in and made little notes about stuff that we did or things that happened, with the intention of eventually writing a vacation recap. But I didn't want to spend the time to actually write the recap while we were on vacation, and when we got home I was a little daunted by the enormity of the task, so I just let it go. But I wanted to share the notes because I think they are funny to read, especially without the context behind them!

To give a little background: Jason and I had driven down to Nags Head, NC with our two dogs to celebrate him being finished with taking the bar exam. One of my coworkers teases me because when I returned from our trip and I was asked how my vacation was, I responded with something like, "It was nice but there wasn't really anything to do there..." He said, "well isn't that the point? You are just supposed to relax!" He's right, but I need a little mental stimulation in addition to my relaxation time. And unfortunately Jason and I have different desires when it comes to vacationing. I like to go sightseeing and do things that I couldn't normally do in my daily life in Ohio... not sit in a bar for hours and watch a televised sporting event while my husband slowly gets drunk. But marriage is about compromise, so he has learned to humor me when I want to do touristy things, and I have gotten a little better about at least TRYING to relax and have a good time doing nothing. And I think our Outer Banks vacation had a decent balance of the two. Judging from my notes below, apparently the most notable thing was where and what we ate. So there, I've brought it back full circle to my food blog. :-)

to recap:

- newport news hotel, stitch nervous

- dinner at baileys (?), french fries/tall beer

- forgot toothpaste/toothbrush

- arrive at rental unit, directly behind office

- stitch's stairs freak-out

- walk to slammin sammys for lunch

- nap

- groceries at food lion

- walk to red drum for dinner

- drinks at slammin sammys but last call at 11

- wake up around 7, drive around next morning (Monday) to orient, park and walk to beach just for a few minutes, go home because forgot cell phone

- coffee and bagel from dunkin donuts

- wake jason up and we head to beach around noon

- head back after about 45 mins because so hot, eat sandwiches/leftovers for lunch

- jason naps while I... read?

- drive to Ben Franklin to buy beach chairs/flip flops for him/spray sunscreen

- dinner at OBX brew station, wind powered

- few more groceries at Harris Teeter

- drinks at Slammin sammys

- Tues morning: wake up later, drive to get coffee and cinnamon roll around 9

- head to beach around 10:45, still freaking hot, leave around 12:30 because few groups of people spot jellyfish

- go shopping while Jason naps; get some Sanctuary Vineyards wine

- Jockey's Ridge State Park to watch sunset

- New York Pizzeria Pub for dinner

- Karaoke at Slammin Sammys and then to bed

- Wednesday; up at 7, get ready to take dogs to beach, leave by 8. Stitch gets tired, Foxy loves running back and forth with water

- Breakfast at Stack Em High

- naptime

- beach, really choppy and rough waves

- dinner at Kelly's

- drinks and us nat'l soccer game at Slammin Sammy's, but close early

- Thursday; sleep in, sunbathe on deck and get BURNED

- shower and drive up to Duck, visit Outer Barks, also buy fudge and nuts

- attempt to go to sunset grille but parking was mess, ate at Barefoot Bernie's instead

- hang out at home to watch Project Runway, decide to have night in (to Jason's disappointment), try to play Sorry but directions only in Spanish, look up card games on internet but not much fun

- at some point did laundry and found boogie boards

- Friday; head to beach by 10:30, back around 1

- lunch at lucky 12 tavern

- shop at ocean's 1/11 and jockey's ridge candies, buy more AMAZING fudge

- relax at home for a few hours, jason naps

- head to port o'call for dinner; weird antique store vibe and okay food. stay to see band in the saloon

- Saturday; Jason REALLY sunburned, sleeps in and sleeps a lot of the day. Buy hemhrroid cream to help. It had also rained and was cloudy so no beach.

- lunch from NY pizzaria again: superoni and buffalo wings carryout

- drive back to port-o-call to buy t-shirt, then take walk on beach last time

- walk to red drum for dinner and eat at bar

Pretzel Mixes

First, a house update for those of you scoring along at home: we have finished replacing the carpeting with wood laminate flooring in four out of the five rooms we are doing. The fifth room is prepped and ready to go (as in carpet and padding removed, tack strips/staples/baseboards removed, and walls freshly painted) but it's a big room so we've been waiting until we have a solid weekend to devote to doing the floor. We also still have to do a few closets (wanted to save those for last so we could try to use up scrap) and all of the baseboards (we are going to hire someone to do those for us after many frustrating failed attempts to install them ourselves without gaps). Then there are some various to-do's left, like hanging some framed items that are either new or things we took down when we painted. It still feels like our list of things to do is about a million items long, but at least it's been shortened from the ten million it felt like we started with! Someday I will share pictures here of the fruits of our labor.

Okay so onto the food. Recently I tried two different recipes for pretzel mixes: one sweet, and one savory. I think they were both from, where I was searching for a recipe to use up the rest of a big bag of pretzels. The sweet one was interesting, but I probably wouldn't make it again. I made it because I saw the recipe and was intrigued. The savory one was delicious. I made it because when I saw the recipe I immediately thought "My dad would like that!" So I made some and sent it off to him in a container for his birthday.

(The photo above is of the sweet mix, but the savory one pretty much looked just like it: stuff baked onto mini pretzels!)

Here are the recipes:

Cinnamon Bun Pretzel Mix

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg white
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
4 to 5 cups miniature pretzel twists

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F and line a baking sheet with sides with parchment paper. (I used a jelly roll pan.) Combine brown sugar and ground cinnamon; set aside. Whisk egg white in large bowl. Add dried cranberries and nuts. Stir. Add miniature pretzels. Sprinkle with brown sugar mix and gently fold until combined, being careful not to crush the pretzels. Spread onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir, evenly distributing nuts and berries. Spread in a single layer to cool completely.

Bar Stool Pretzels

1 cup butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 dash Tabasco
20 ounces of miniature pretzels

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in the next four ingredients. Coat pretzels in mixture and spread onto baking sheet with sides. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.