My mother-in-law flew out from Oklahoma to visit us and see our new house for the first time, so I've been off from the day job since Thursday and don't go back till Wednesday. It's been wonderful having her here, and such a relaxing week. Usually when I use vacation time, it's to go somewhere. That won't change--I love to travel for its own sake, and I've got family to visit and conferences to go to on top of that. But I have to say, it's nice to have six full days to wake up and neither be in a hotel or spare room nor have to scramble to get myself out the door for work.
I haven't been doing much cooking, either. We've gone out--last night Mr. Fraser and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary at Cafe Juanita, and Miss Fraser insisted we take Grandma to Blue C Sushi, where the food comes on conveyor belts. Also, my mother-in-law made chicken fried steak, as she always does when she visits (SO delicious), and Mr. F grilled steaks one evening.
But yesterday for lunch I decided it was my turn. We had leftover mashed potatoes from the chicken fried steak dinner, so I made them into patties, dipped them in panko, and fried them over very low heat in butter. The potatoes were a little soupier than ideal for such a preparation, so they tended to break apart, but they tasted great, especially with sour cream on top (and bacon and fresh pineapple alongside). Next time I think I'll add some flour for thickening, or maybe just use less butter and milk in the mashers to begin with. I like to make them with roasted garlic, which gives them plenty of flavor even without gobs of dairy.
Then for dessert I made the S'mores Stuffed Brownies that Angela James tweeted about on Saturday. They turned out scrumptious and rich, though I think next time I'll leave out the Hershey Bar--there's plenty of chocolate from the brownie batter without it, and the Hershey Bar re-solidifies as it cools and doesn't add to the flavor and texture the way the graham cracker and marshmallows do.