Ever have a bunch of stressful, filled to the brim with activities weekends all in a row that leave you utterly exhausted and in need of a vacation from your weekends?
OK, I'm a total liar.
See over the past 7 weekends the Bookworm Family has had something going on from Cub and Scout camps, to Tae Kwon Do testing, to Thanksgiving, to hosting birthday parties. In case you were wondering, having busy weekends back to back to back may be fun but it is also exhausting. This past weekend was different. We had nothing to do.
Not ... one ... blessed ... thing.
I like stress-free weekends but an entire weekend without plans? I don't like that either. Being the kind of person who can't sit still for long and is always on the lookout for the next fun family thing, I decided that it was my turn to pick what to do. Friday night our family hunkered down with some pub grub to catch up on our favourite TV shows (The Voice, Big Bang Theory, Survivor and Amazing Race) and we enjoyed just vegging for the night.
Then on Saturday I went shopping by myself (bliss!!) and then met up with two of my fav girlfriends for a supper out. Lots of cathartic laughs were had and it filled up my Happy Tank.
Now that I was rejuvenated with Girly Time I decided, early Sunday morning, that a family hike was in order. So we packed up a picnic, bundled up, grabbed the dog and headed to the beautiful Hilton Falls Conservation Area in Milton, Ontario. A truly stunning place, really.
See, I told ya!
A waterfall, gorgeous trails, psychotic squirrels and deep caves that my boys excitedly explored. Did I explore these deep crevice caves? Ummmm. I did go farther than my comfort zone usually permitted (accrued Cool Mom points!). But I kept imagining what was hiding in the various holes we came across as we climbed up and down the rock crevices so I opted to stay above the ground (lost Cool Mom points). I also couldn't help thinking that the slit in the side of the hill where my boys entered (with their headlights on) looked more like the entrance to the Mines of Moria. Sorry Frodo, you're going to have to go it alone!
Seriously, the slit in the earth was very dark, foreboding (dun dun duuuuh) and so narrow that Brad couldn't even go in. Perhaps my imagination was working overtime or perhaps there were Orks in them there caves. I wasn't going in to find out either way.
I did love standing back in awe of how brave my boys were as they eagerly explored these caves that have been there for thousands of years. Personally, even if Ryan Reynolds, Benedict Cumberbatch and Shemar Moore were all GQing it in the middle of that cave I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to convince myself to venture in. I'm open to trying this theory out though. Benedict, call me!
I'm digressing .... So after an afternoon of crisp fall hiking perfection we headed home to make a prime rib feast. A perfect end to a delightful weekend. My addition to the roast beast feast were these glazed carrots. I don't mind (read: I'll eat them but I won't enjoy them) plain carrots but I MUCH prefer them if they're sweetened up with brown sugar, given a little depth in the flavour department from some molasses and enhanced with the delicate hint of rosemary. That is a gastronomical home run. A perfect pairing for melt in your mouth prime rib and baked spuds.
Here's hoping you all had a stellar, stress-free weekend to fill up your Happy Tanks again. What are some of your favourite things to do to de-stress and just be happy?
Yield: 4 servings
2 tbsp olive oil
3 to 4 large carrots - peeled and cut into approximately 1 cm thick medallions
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp butter
1 sprig of rosemary
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and season with salt and pepper. Stir the carrots to coat them with the oil, salt and pepper.
Cook the carrots for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add brown sugar and molasses and stir the carrots to coat them. Continue cooking the carrots for a few more minutes -- approximately 5-8 minutes. The sauce should now be bubbling nicely around your carrots.
Test the carrots with the tip of a knife. They should be beginning to soften. Add the butter and the rosemary sprig. Leave the sprig in with the carrots for a few minutes, gently stirring the carrots. Remove sprig and serve immediately or put them in a serving dish and keep in a low temperature oven.
Source - Inspired by the following recipe: Brown Sugared Carrots by Alex Guarnashcelli from The Food Network