hey there. not much has been going on this week, after a busy month. so it has been sort of nice. well, i take that back. it was not a normal week... we drove to kingsport on tuesday to have the roof rack placed on the new fj. so we stayed with mitos and larry and visited with mamaw conkin. then our friends chris and cori needed a place to stay while driving through to south carolina, so the two of them and their cute little baby boy, harlan, were the first official guests to stay in our little apartment. it was cozy. i worked this weekend and so didn't get to see them very much, but did enjoy their visit when i was awake! the dogs enjoyed it a lot too. i think their belief is that anyone who walks in the door is here to see them. but i digress. oh... i have not given up on weight watchers. i have lost about 6 pounds and have been able to maintain that over the last month. but before losing too much more, i wanted to see how easy it would be to maintain healthy - semi-healthy eating choices without tracking points. and i have been able to do so, so i think next week i will try to start back to lose just a few more pounds. i feel better after just losing the few that i have. so i will hopefully continue to have luck with that. but this week is just back to normal now. i think. we are staying here all week. and working most of it. fun, huh? life as usual.
ok. so lately dave has gotten very brave. must be the haircut. you know what i mean, girls. you get a new hair style and the world is just a bit different. you have a new edge. must be the same for cats. or at least this one. he has decided to take over the dogs' bed. or at least try to share it. either way, it is comical. sometimes he is on the bed and the dogs curl up with him. other times he joins one of them on the bed. enjoy some new animal pictures. :)
ok. so i have caved. but seriously, enough of my tv shows that i enjoy have been cancelled or just are so on their last leg (er) that it is just time to stop. and yes, by cancelled, i mean the gilmore girls. well, not really cancelled so much as just done. and it ended well. but a girl needs drama in her life, yeah? beyond what may already be in it. it is always more fun to enjoy someone else's drama, albeit fake, than your own. not that i have drama in my life, unless it happens at work. which lately is often. people in asheville need to learn how to practice safe sex. but that is an entirely other topic. so while perusing the fye store in the mall, i happened upon season 1 of grey's anatomy. everyone else in the world watches it. even the mean, scary neonatalogist back in nashville... who really isn't very mean or scary at all. just cranky. anyway, after his shock and awe that i did not watch it, and remembering this fact, i decided to cave and buy the first season. this was a little over a week ago. i have already purchased and am deeply enjoying season two. it's addicting. the nice thing is with buying the seasons... there are no commercials and no waiting to find out what happens next week. it is fabulous. so yes. i am addicted. i am sure i will be on season three soon. and with tivo, season four will be waiting until i am done catching up with the reality of my addiction.
we had a great day. well, the part of it we were awake! we both had to work the night(s) before so we took a long nap. some anniversary, right? but we decided to get away for the night. yes. we both had to be back at work on tuesday of this week.
so... we went to cherokee. sort of. the hotel was there. and it was nice, too. it was the comfort inn. big rooms. good breakfast in the morning. but we really didn't do much in cherokee. we donated some loose change to the indians at harrah's! we had our picture taken with a gatorade-drinking, dancing indian.
sunday night we drove to gatlinburg and ate dinner at the applewood's that is right on the edge of the forest. it was delicious. we were starving. about as much as the night we got married one year before! and then we drove back to cherokee. the next morning, we drove down to the noc (nantahala outdoor center) and looked at a very dry river and their store.
then we drove up to clingman's dome. we thought that perhaps it wouldn't be such a hard climb b/c we are used to living here at a higher elevation so the walk and a little less oxygen wouldn't be so bad. well, let me tell you, friends, thank God they have benches. and large rocks to lean on. it is the hardest 0.5 miles i have walked in a long, long time. it was pretty up top. it was a rare clear day. after doing that we walked back down, which wasn't that easy b/c it was so steep you could easily lose your footing.
anyway... we went back to cherokee at that point and that was when we spent about an hour at harrah's. with lots of elderly smokers and people who obviously spend too much time in casinos. we had about 15 dollars in change that we cashed out. you really can't expect to win anything on $15 dollars. we didn't. but it was still fun. and then we came home. that is our first anniversary. all wrapped up in a tiny little bow. i did get a nice bracelet. :) jay continues to get his new truck as his gift. :)
(our pictures are "singles" b/c tripod broke. yes. we named our tripod. it is tripod. and he is broken.)
ok. so not everything lowfat tastes bad. proof positive are these delicious muffins. and thanks to aunt brenda (conkin), i have a kitchenaid mixer to handle the load of my baking! two nights ago i made a homemade key lime pie for jay's birthday. it is delicious as well. but i digress... i thought i would share this recipe from weight watchers for the muffins pictured above. and yes, they taste as good as they look. and if you count points, they are 4 points per muffin.
blueberry streusel muffins
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1 large egg
1 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup fat-free skim milk, divided
2 cups blueberries, washed and picked over
2 tbsp butter, melted
preheat oven to 375 degrees. place muffin liners in a 12-hole muffin tin. (i did not use liners. would have been cleaner.)
in a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking soda ,baking powder and salt; set aside.
using an electric mixer, beat egg with 3/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. add sour cream and beat until thoroughly combined; blend in vanilla extract.
add half of flour mixture and half of milk to sugar mixture; beat until just combined. add remaining flour mixture and milk; beat until smooth.
fold in blueberries and fill each muffin liner about 3/4 full; set aside.
to make streusel topping, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup each of sugar and flour. pour in melted butter and combine with fingertips. deivide crumb mixture over muffins; gently press into top of muffin batter with fingertips.
bake until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. (be careful- in my old oven, it took only 17 minutes.) cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes and then transfer muffins onto racks to cool completely. yield one muffin per serving.
well, wouldn't you know that the day my parents leave asheville, there is no fog and no clouds? and you can see the mountains. of course. oh well. we all had a lovely time this weekend. mom and dad came down on friday and we enjoyed some good italian food and a quick tour of the downtown festivities. and then saturday we had brunch at mayfel's while waiting for metos and larry (jay's stepmom and dad) to drive down from kingsport with jay's new ride. and can you believe i don't have a picture of it yet?! but i do have some pictures of brunch at the eclectic mayfel's.
you can dine inside or outside on the front walk/patio. they also have a back patio for the evenings they are open.
the inside is quite uniquely decorated. the decor is lively, the service is great, and the food is fantastic! all home-cooked goodness. http://www.mayfels.com/
the walls are hand-painted. perhaps there was a stencil involved, but it is hard to tell.
ok. so dad took this picture. i think it was supposed to be of me and mom. but i think the picture behind us got in the way!
so after brunch at mayfel's we met up with larry and metos who had made it in from kingsport while we were eating. after quick introductions we headed up on the blue ridge parkway. we stopped a few times along the way, but made our way up north to craggy pinnacle.
we stopped at the craggy garden's visitor center and this picture is of the clouds blowing across the parkway. the mountain in the picture is where we ended up after our walk.... craggy pinnacle. (yes, see june when the rhododendron was blooming.)
here we are at the fallen birch. gotta love tripod and the timer on the camera. dad, me, jay, mom, metos, and larry. it was a bit chilly up there. only about 66 degrees. but no one was complaining.
we made it to the top. not much to see up there b/c of the haze and clouds but tripod came through once again! we are a photogenic bunch, yeah?
this is a view of down below on the path from whence we came... and what you see a lot of is wild mountain blueberries. and yes, they taste delicious! jay and i plan to go back up and pick some either tomorrow or tuesday to compliment our breakfast choices this week.
so after getting some rest at the top and then heading back down, we drove south to mount pisgah. it was dinnertime. and thank goodness we were hungry. because dinner was filling and wonderful at the pisgah inn. http://www.pisgahinn.com/ the views there, too, were obstructed by clouds, but at over 5000 feet you run into that risk. we had a good time chatting and eating and resting from our drive. then it was back to mine and jay's apartment.... for some wonderful ut football. (please re-read that sentence if you forgot the sarcasm the first time!)
and now it is sunday. larry and metos headed back to kingsport. jay is at work. so me, mom, and dad headed to the hot shot cafe. we have heard conflicted information. jay read that it will be closing after tomorrow. it has been in business since 1925. but we found out today it is just alma's last day. she is a character and a half. i will have to add pictures of her, but this one will have to do for now. but needless to say, the breakfast there is fabulous!
so no, we didn't just eat, but when we did the meals were wonderful. and the company they were spent with are wonderful too. mom and dad have some different pictures so i will share them another day. we had a lovely weekend of relaxing. i will post pictures of the new car as soon as we have them. and the birthday boy. labor day isn't the only holiday on september 3rd!