What 24 Hours Away Can Do For Your Love Life
This past weekend Hubs and I packed it up and went away for twenty-four hours. After a week of feeling like crud, I was happy to get in the car and head to Richmond. For Christmas, I purchased Hubs a gift card for a cooking class from Sur La Table. In case you haven’t heard of this place before, it is like a candy store for anyone who loves to cook as much as my Hubs. We chose Richmond because our son Andrew lives there so we thought it would be the perfect time to catch up with him too!
We took off on Saturday morning and arrived in Richmond two hours later. The traffic wasn’t bad leaving D.C, and that is always a welcome surprise. On our way down we talked about life without the distractions of our typical Saturday morning which consists of doing a load of laundry, making our bed, making a grocery list and planning the rest of the day, because it was done. Instead, I took the book we are using in our small group, and we read our lesson and discussed the plan for the upcoming week. It was nice to have a meaningful discussion without feeling rushed. Our car ride gave us the opportunity to talk about what we would like to do this summer and goals we want to accomplish this year.
You would think because we are empty-nesters we would have all the time in the world to talk, but that isn’t true. Between my job and his work schedule, some weeks are a little chaotic. For instance, this past week Hubs had to do an online training class for a new software program they are implementing at his work, for their team in Indonesia. Obviously, they are in a different time zone, so you have to adjust accordingly.
However, being empty-nesters does give us the ability to have some flexibility in our schedules and to do some fun things. I knew Hubs would love his gift because cooking is his way to relax. I know there is a jealousy factor happening for some of you right now. I would be jealous of me too! Yes, I am blessed! I’m a home style cook where Hubs loves to do gourmet cooking and make the plate look like a beautiful piece of art.
We found the mall where our Sur La Table was located and where our class was being held. We arrived a bit early, but I knew Hubs would want to look around. We looked at all the different items they had for sale and made some decisions about what we wanted to purchase afterward.
The class he had chose to attend was “Chinese New Year!” Guess, what we were making? I bet you were right! The door opened, and we walked into a classroom filled with Woks, trays of ingredients, utensils and some incredible aromas. They handed us our name tags, directed us to the aprons and told us to pick a space.
We shared our cooking station with another couple who were there on a date too. For the next two and half hours we laughed, cooked, ate and learned all about making Chinese cuisine. Our chef, Brian McCaffery started with sharing some basic knife skills which were very helpful. Brian taught us the proper way to hold our knife and the correct way to slice items on our cutting board.
Next, we were ready to begin making our Pork and Ginger Dumplings with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce. After making these delicious dumplings and learning they aren’t that difficult to make I will never purchase them again! Seriously, I could have a dumpling making party! I have to say our group did an excellent job of making these delights. Some of the groups overstuffed their wrappers and didn’t end up with very many to nibble on. We used every wrapper, and they looked professional. The dipping sauce was full of flavor and the best I have ever tasted. The whole steaming aspect was a lot simpler than I anticipated and not near as intimidating as I thought it would be.
Did you know every food item made for Chinese New Year has a specific meaning? Dumplings are an important food because they symbolize ancient silver or gold ingots meaning wealth. The next dish we prepared was Long Life Noodles with Chicken and Baby Bok Choy. The symbolism behind this dish is the longer the noodle; the longer and luckier your life will be. You never want to cut your noodles. Otherwise, you are cutting your life and luck off! Again, this was another tasty dish, and when all the flavors came together, it was like fireworks going off in your mouth. The important lesson I learned from this recipe is to make sure your wok is hot and to prep all your ingredients ahead of time because the process of cooking goes fast.
We also made Chinese Long Beans with chile and garlic. If I had to choose what I like the least, it would be this dish. I think I would have preferred just regular green beans. This recipe called for oil blanching the beans which I found to be a little too much for my pallet, but everyone else enjoyed them. Hubs and I loved the chile and garlic sauce and would use it on many things. Brian, our chef, demonstrated a gadget he uses for peeling garlic. This is a life changer for those who use fresh garlic. Of course, we purchased a few, because we have friends who I know will love this thing! It doesn’t look like much, but don’t be deceived. It is the BOMB!
Our last item we made was Wok-Fried Spicy Sichuan Shrimp. Here we learned shrimp symbolizes good fortune and happiness. I might add it also means tasty! Did you know green onions symbolize spring and who knew that celery represents diligence? Side Note: Diligence is my word for the year, and here it is again! Also, I had no idea there was Chinese celery. Once it was cooked, it reminded me of kale. Flavor was once again on target for this recipe!
After all our cooking and eating was done, they gave us each a fortune cookie. Brian shared some in-house specials, and because we attended a class, we received an additional 10% off our purchases. Also, if we were to sign up for another class, we could receive 20% off.
We loved this class! Brian and the rest of his kitchen crew were incredible. This class could be for the complete novice or an expert who wanted to learn some different techniques in cooking. Each recipe gave each team member just enough to do. I never felt bored or like I was standing around waiting for the next thing. Everyone was helpful if you had a question or needed anything. They even offered you two glasses of wine to drink while you were cooking. However, due to my cold medicine, I declined. I didn’t want to end up on the floor in their kitchen. Now that would be embarrassing!
The important thing is Hubs had a great time cooking and shopping afterward. It was fun to watch him hone his skills and soak in every moment of learning from Chef Brian. We had a great time with our new friends too and exchanged phone numbers for the next time they come to town so we can go to our favorite Thai place together for dinner.
The total cost for our class for both of us including all the food was $118.00. I know that might sound a little pricey, but when you prepare and plan for a special date it was worth every penny. Sur La Table was an afternoon of fun, food and making new friends with the expertise of a professional chef. There are so many classes to choose from, and you can even design your own personal cooking class. They also send you home with detailed instructions for every recipe you make so you can duplicate it in your kitchen with ease!
We caught up with Andrew and ended up going to see “La La Land”, and I have to say after seeing “Hidden Figures” I honestly don’t know what all the hype was about. “Hidden Figures” is the true story of three women who changed the NASA Space Program. However, that is for another blog post. We said our goodbyes to Andrew and traveled back to our hotel.
It was a wonderful weekend. We slept in on Sunday, and the hotel we stayed at had a great breakfast. We packed up our overnight bags and did a little more shopping in Short Pump, Va. I may have added to my “sparkle” collection. This community is growing like crazy, and there is lots to do there. We always love going there because Andrew works at the new Wegmans and there is always something new to see.
Our drive back was good. We decided to pay the tolls because the traffic coming back was much heavier than when we went down. Once again we chatted. Laughed and talked about the favorite parts of our weekend excursion. We both decided the best part was being together, but the cooking class was something we would love to do again.
Time is a gift of which we never know how much we will receive. Click To TweetTime is a gift of which we never know how much we will receive. There are always going to be things you think you need to do, and you can make yourself believe you don’t have time to stop and enjoy the people you love. However, time passes by and the next thing you know something happens, and you wish you would have taken the time to enjoy life. No one ever regrets spending time with people they love. Sure, there were a million other things we could have done this weekend, but you can’t put a price on spending intentional time with the person or people you love. Memories live on, so it is important to create these moments for one another.
For me, this was a priceless weekend that will live on in my heart for a long time to come. I am blessed!