Monday, October 6, 2014

Slow Cooker Sunday and other weekend notes

Ah, Monday.  I have always liked Mondays.  Mainly because I don't have to be at work until afternoon on Mondays, thus extending the weekend and easing into the week gently.  I can enjoy the entirety of a Sunday, extend long weekends away, or just stay up late reading or binge watching my latest obsession.

I can also sleep a little later on Monday mornings and relax with the first cup of coffee.  I could go to the gym in the morning if I want to (hey, it could happen!); or I can just curl up on the couch with my fuzzy socks, and my cozy blanket and my sleepy dog, and enjoy the morning slowly and quietly.   That's what I did this morning.  Some days the drive to work is just daunting, and it's nice to be able to work up to it gradually.  I am not as fond of Monday nights when I am driving home after a long day and in the dark; but it's a fair trade off, and I get a good morning with it.

But enough about Mondays, let's talk about the weekend.  What a weekend!  Overnight company for dinner and movies on Friday was fun and relaxing.  I'm no movie critic (see TheClassicFlixGuys for that, you won't be sorry!), but if you haven't seen The Monuments Men, you need to watch it.  Today, or maybe tomorrow.  It's a beautiful story about a bunch of guys from around the world who can't go to war against Hitler for one reason or another, and they find redemption as a team.  It's a war movie about art.  It is a "little guys against the big machine" movie.  There is something for everyone (well, not the kiddies), and it is based on a true story.  It is the epitome of Art Matters, and it doesn't hurt that there is a stellar cast of actors in it, too.  It is heartbreaking and it is uplifting and it is tragic and it is full of hope for humankind.  Really, just watch it.  I'm sure you can get it at the library.  :)

Girls Day In started back up this Saturday, with a very cozy viewing of Saving Mr. Banks, followed by a nostalgic romp with Mary Poppins.  This is one of my favourite days all month, and it's an event that I look forward to all summer long while we are in hiatus.  It's one of the things that I am happy and proud to have started and I am so very thrilled that we are now in our third season.  I love my girlfriends (both friends and family) and treasure this time with them each month.  It may be only one day, but the effects are rejuvenating for a whole month long.  It's also brought me closer to a few people that I wouldn't probably otherwise gotten to know nearly so well without GDI.  From Girls Day In has sprung outings, weekends, game nights, book discussions, and theater trips.  (cue: These are a few of my favorite things....)

Saturday night we were planning to go to a bi-annual Viking party (we haven't made it to one yet, and we very much wish to.  maybe in the spring *sigh*), but we got an invite to dinner with the hubby's folks and a few other relatives.  We spend all summer gone, at faire, at camp, at life, and we don't get to see family much at all.  So we accepted, and it was quite an experience.  But that's for a different post.  (Soon, I promise.  It's still writing itself).

That leaves Sunday.  Hands down my favourite day of nearly every week, mainly because it's the one day of the week that the hubby and I can spend together.  We have the most fun on Sundays!

This weekend I started a new tradition ~ Slow Cooker Sunday.  Every Sunday that we'll be home for dinner, I plan to put something in the slow cooker.  This serves a threefold purpose.  Firstly, I am not spending all day (or huge chunks of cash) preparing a big dinner and yet we still get to eat a great meal together.  Even if we're going to be gone for part or most of the day, I can set it in the morning and it'll be ready when we are.  That's a win/win/win.   Secondly, clean-up is so easy now that I use slow cooker liners. Really, this is not an ad, and they are not paying me to say it (although if they want to give me free stuff I would not turn it down), but Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners
have made life so much easier.  This is especially great for the hubby, as he does the clean up when I cook.  Thirdly, there are usually plenty of leftovers for lunches and/or dinners for the first few days of the week.  That's always a good thing, especially since hubby leaves at 8 in the morning and I don't get home until 9:30 or so at night on Mondays.  Not ideal for a cozy dinner together.

So, this was the first Slow Cooker Sunday, and I decided to go with Crock Pot Mac and Cheese.  I knew I would be home in the afternoon, because both my G-Men and my Orioles were playing (and they both won!!), so it was the perfect choice.  I would normally post a recipe, but this was so easy! 

Here are the general directions:   I cooked a box of macaroni al dente, cubed up about 3 pounds of sharp cheddar cheese and mixed it all together in the crock pot along with a bag of shredded 4 cheese blend (it's what I had on hand).  Then I poured about a cup and a half of skim milk over it all.  Set to low, and let it cook for about an hour.  Give it a good stir to mix the melty cheese and the milk through it.  Put the cover back on, let it cook and stir again in an hour.  Let it cook for about 2 more hours and it's done.  It even gets the crispies around the sides and on the bottom like in the oven!  Of course, for the crispies, you can't use a liner, so there was extra scrubbing, but I think it was completely worth a little extra elbow grease.  Hubby didn't really give an opinion ~ he was too busy stuffing his face with gooey, crispy mac and cheese ~ but I think he agrees.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too.  I'd love to hear about it!
Thanks for listening.

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