Showing posts with label Winston-Salem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winston-Salem. Show all posts

Monday, January 22, 2018

Guilty or Not?

This is Day 16 of the 2018 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaaPlease join us this month on our writing journey. Today's prompt is Guilty Pleasures.

A guilty pleasure is anything you partake of or join in that prompts you to say (or think) I probably shouldn't, but what the heck!

Image Source: Scott Ableman
Most of my guilty pleasures are food-related, most specifically to sweets. I don't have real sweet tooth and am not constantly craving chocolate, or pies or cake or even ice cream. That said, I do love me some Krispy Kreme doughnuts, after all they were founded right here in my home town. 

When the Hot & Now sign is lit, there is some serious goodness going on inside, and like a couple of kids we get our doughnuts and sit and watch the doughnuts going through the phases: rising, frying and getting an icing bath before being plucked off the belt and into to-go boxes. People line up for these tasty confections.

The other thing that makes my taste buds cry out for more is pecan pie, and not just any pecan pie, but the recipe my mom used. I still have the clipping of the recipe from way back, probably printed in the Journal more well over 50 years ago. I never tasted a better pecan pie. Given that it's about the highest calorie pie in my repertoire, I only make two per year around the holidays, and they are typically shared with family and friends which limits my caloric burden.

What are some of your guilty (or not) pleasures?

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lake Katherine at Reynolda Gardens

Constructed in the 1900s, and named for Katherine Smith Reynolds (Mrs. R.J. Reynolds), this 14-acre lake provided family and friends with fishing, boating and swimming. Silt from building and natural process began filling in the lake and by the 1990s, it was almost completely filled in. It is now a natural habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. The dam upstream prevents this from returning to its natural state and it will continue as an artificial wetland.

On Easter Sunday afternoon, after strolling around Reynolda Gardens soaking up some natural Vitamin D, we paused to take in the beauty of this wetland. We sat on an old, weathered bench and watched birds flitting from branch to branch, sometimes clinging to the bark of a tree leaning toward the water. As we were walking away, we heard a splash and turned to see two ducks had just landed. 

While I have been to Reynolda Gardens and the surrounding village several times in recent years, I did not know there had been a lake there. There is always something to be discovered, sometimes practically in one's own back yard.

What discoveries have you made recently in your neck of the woods?

No time to comment? Please click the visitors box below to let me know you stopped by.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Mayors of Winston-Salem

It is day 10 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is "The Mayor".  Visit Nicky's page to see what the other long-suffering participants have written.

Winston and Salem merged into Winston-Salem and was officially incorporated in 1913.  Oscar Eaton was elected as the Mayor of Winston before the incorporation, and he served until 1917.  Until then there were mayors for both Winston and Salem.

Oscar B. Eaton
During Mayor Eaton's tenure, a lot was done to bring Winston-Salem into the 20th century such as the paving of First Street and the opening of the Salem Water Plant.  Also the Public Works department was established, and in 1915 the first police cars were purchased.

During our official 100-year history, Winston-Salem has had 18 mayors.  Of those 18, George Coan served two non-consecutive terms during 1929-1935 and 1943-1945.  There were two who served one-year terms.  R. J. Reynolds (I think you'll recognize that name) from 1941-1942, and J. Wilbur Crews from 1942-1943.

There were two mayors who served for 12 years each, Marshall Kerfees 1949-1961 and Wayne Corpening, 1977-1989.

The current mayor, Allen Joines has been in office since 2001.  The majoral election is coming up later this year, and Joines is seeking a fourth term.

Image Source:  Winston-Salem Mayors' Biographies.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Got Doughnuts?

Picture this scenario.  Tina and Ryan are lounging in front of the TV watching a Food Network marathon when Tina yawns and says "you know what would be good right now?"  Ryan stands and stretches.  "Well, we just watched 3 hours of food shows, so I'd be surprised if you're not hungry."  

"You got that right!"  

"So, what do you want?  Are you having a Big Mac attack or is the piece de resistance a bucket of the Colonel's chicken?"

"Nope.  Do you remember where we used to go late at night after hours of old movies?  That last show reminded me."

"Let's see, the last show was about a family of immigrant bakers.  You want bread?"

"No, silly, doughnuts.  More specifically, Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  A chocolate covered, creme filled piece of pure deliciousness - and a large diet Coke, please.

Image source:  Steve Jurvetson
Now as I reside in the Krispy Kreme capital of the world, there is some measure of reality here.  

I remember as a teen going to a pajama party (I think the current term is sleepover) and the girl's dad worked 2nd shift.  When he got off work, he took a half dozen wound up teenage girls to Krispy Kreme for doughnuts at 2 a.m.  What a treat!

On another occasion, before we were married, hubby and I went and got a fresh hot dozen of the classic glazed doughnuts after some late night TV.  Now I think they close at 11:00.

This was written for Write on Edge.  This weeks prompt was to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece in which a local or regional item or industry plays a role.  I chose to honor Krispy Kreme for 75 years of making the best in doughnuts and memories.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Frogs at Salem Lake

This was filmed at Salem Lake a couple of years ago when we were serenaded by a bunch of frogs.  Not the peepers of Spring, but big bullfrogs.  At least I think they were bullfrogs - we didn't actually see them.

I am in the process of learning how to edit my videos.  This was done using Windows Live Movie Maker to edit out the dead spots and other conversations.  Any tips for the beginner?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Music for a Friend

The Chad Morris Band
Last Friday night we attended a benefit concert and silent auction. Several local bands joined together to help a friend in need, and local artists and businesses donated items to be sold at the silent auction. In addition there were baked goods, and tea (courtesy of Chad's Chai and Tea Company) available for sale. It was an evening of music and fellowship of the community.

When people talk about how bad the world is today it makes me sad.  True, bad things do happen.  They always have and will continue to.  That doesn't make the world bad, or the human race on the whole bad.  What it does do is prove how much good there is in the world and in man kind.
In times of trouble, sickness, natural disaster and tragedy, people come together to help one another.  We saw this first hand Friday night, and we see it time and again - the inherent goodness in people.  There will always be dark nights and troubled times, but the sun always rises, and so do we.

The evening included performances by The Chad Morris Band, Suitcase and Michael Kuehn.

Not exactly quality photographs from the back of the room with my phone.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Friday, July 29, 2011

Daddy and Me

Daddy and Me.
This was taken during some quality time with Daddy.  You see Daddy was a truck driver, and this took him away from home a lot, especially when I was little.  That made our time together even more special.

As I grew up, he was always there for me.  I got my first bicycle with training wheels when I was 6.  I still have that bike.

While we sat outside as he grilled steaks, he took the time to explain how patents worked.

He paid for braces at 14, and took me to get my license the day I turned 16.  He bought me my first car that June.

He was there every step of the way.  He watched as I got married, and loaned us money for a down payment on a house.

He was always there to help us, but never offered up advice or opinion unless asked, and then sometimes he would pose a question instead of giving an answer.

He was born July 30, 1928 and grew up in a small town in Southern Virginia.  He enlisted in the Army/Air Force in 1946 when he was 18.  And after serving 6 years, he moved to North Carolina to begin working as a truck driver.  He and my Mom married in 1956 in Dillon, SC.

He worked hard his whole life, and lived a life of which he could be proud.

Any man can be a father, but it takes someone very special to be a little girl's Daddy. He was the best a girl could ask for, and I miss him every single day.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Little Sunday R&R

I thought I'd share some of our recent wanderings.  This was an afternoon filled with fun, relaxation and beauty.  

This is the sign for Flint Hill Vineyards.  We were out there weekend before last for a tasting.  They have some really nice wines, and my favorite is their Viognier.  

Here is what they say about it:   Picked at the height of ripeness.  Our Viognier is aged in stainless steel and has the perfect mix of fruit and floral notes.  The wine sets itself apart with juicy peach and apricot flavors.  Try this wine chilled with your favorite light dish or on your back deck at evening sunset.


This is the family home as it was restored.  Much of it, however, is still original.  It houses both the tasting room and the Century Kitchen restaurant.  You can read more about this here.

On our round about way to Flint Hill, we came across this interesting mailbox dressed up like a grasshopper.

Later that same day we visited Reynolda Gardens to look at the flowers.  This is a peony, and a bumble bee going in for a pollen sample.

There were many varieties of peonies, some with with big, full flowers like these.

To ones like this with a single layer of petals, and another little bee sampling the goods.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A New Addition

Saturday was an exciting day for us.  This type of event doesn't happen every day or even every decade for that matter.  My DH is now the proud owner of a 2002 Honda Accord.  It's got it all, comfy leather seats, power this and that and...drumroll please...a sunroof!  That is a first for either of us.  This ends his two-year search for just the right car.  He went through several phases like I'd like a Corolla, no maybe a Civic.  We looked at car after car in under the broiling summer sun until he concluded that he'd just keep his car for now.  OK.  It was always brimming just under the surface though, the notion that the time was winding down to replace it.  Next there was the "I can just get another Saturn" phase. There were a few out there, but that model/body style is getting hard to come by, and that passed into "I'll just put new tires on it and keep driving."

When my car died back in November, I launched a search of my own.  That renewed his interest as well.  My search took us through the dead of winter and we endured bitter winds as we looked at car after car, and test drove them through snow and slush.  In the process so began his Accord phase, and we drove 4 before finding the right one.  We almost ended up with a silver one (no leather), but our offer was declined.  Fine.  Things usually work out the way they are supposed to if you don't force the issue.

On Thursday we found another gold one on-line.  We looked at it Friday evening, and went back the next morning for a test drive.  Once the decision was made that this was the car, and we had our "number" in mind, Tim, our long-suffering salesman came out to give us their "number". Can you guess?  They weren't exactly in the same neighborhood.  Again I said, "I'm sorry, I was hoping you'd be getting a new car today".  Tim said he would take our offer to the manager to see what he'd say.  Tim had been gone for a while, so thinking we were just out of luck again, we were about to leave.  But wait... here comes Tim, and he's walking with purpose.  Apparently the fact that we were there with our checkbook ready to buy and drive carried some weight, and our offer was accepted.

So here it is! 

I am happy and excited that he has a "new" car.  Now, it's my turn!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are the Grocery Stores Really Too Expensive?

It has been mentioned to me that some of the stores I shop at are too expensive.  I suppose this is true on a regular price comparison with say Wal-Mart or even Aldi.  I shop at these stores, too.  However, I go where I can get the most for the least, and many times that is a major grocery store.

For example, I posted a week or so ago about Harris Teeter coupons in the Friday newspaper.  There were $16 worth of coupons:  Four 50¢ coupons off "any" one item and four $1.00 coupons off "any" item of $2 or more, and also two for $5 off a $40 purchase.  

I used three of the $1 coupons on 3 packs of diet Coke, which brought the price down from 3/$10 to $3/$7, a much better deal.  I used the 50¢ ones on Campbell's tomato soup, making it 10¢ a can.  I used my last $1 coupon on a bottle of wine, and also used a $5/40 coupon.  All of this was on sale already.  Everything else I got was either on sale, I had a manufacturers coupon or it was a store brand.  

What was the bottom line?  I saved $27.34 and paid $34.08.  This is about 45%.

Last week's highlights focused on cleaning products:
Lysol Kitchen cleaner - Regularly $2.89 for 44¢ (BOGOF + $1 coupon)
Lysol Toilet cleaner - Regularly $2.69 for 34¢ (BOGOF + $1 coupon)
Brawny paper towels 8 rolls - Regularly $9.99 for $4.99  (sale $5.99 + $1 coupon)
12 oz. bottle of Joy dish washing detergent - Regularly $1.39 for 39¢ (sale 99¢ + 30¢ coupon)

I saved around 43% that day.  My goal is to save an average of 50% on groceries and household items. 

Harris Teeter always doubles coupons up to 99¢ every day (up to 20 coupons per day).  Go here for their next triple coupon event starting 3/24.

Check out my Top 5 list of things not to pay full price for, and see another example of savings here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March Madness - NCAA Team Napkins

Are you into Basketball?  Do you have a favorite NCAA team?  To round out your game-day parties, Sociale has folded napkins for your favorite teams.

Here are a few samples.

Call Donna (336-705-6888) or drop by the shop at 380 Knollwood Street in Winston-Salem.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wine Lover's Club - March Meeting

The Wine Lover's Club held it's March meeting at Sociale on Tuesday the 16th.  It began on a somber note as we bid a fond but sad farewell to one of our members who passed away rather unexpectedly.  He loved French wine, so we toasted with a Bordeaux after a heartfelt tribute to him and what he meant to all of us.

As with all meetings, we handled the business end of things first, or in this case, second.  We decided on a design to represent our chapter of the American Wine Society going forward, and chose a new e-mail address that reflects our name change.  The minutes were read and the treasurer gave her report.

Now down to the real business of tasting wine!  Tonight's presentation was on Spain, and in particular, Tempranillo.  All wines tasted were 100% tempranillo, and in the $8 - $15 range:

Egruen Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla -  2007 $7.99
Ercavio La Mancha Tinto Roble - 2007 $11.99
Venta Mazzaron - around $15
Volver Tempranillo La Mancha - around $13
Paso A Paso Tempranillo La Mancha- 2008 $9.99

I liked all but the first one.  The Egruen seemed a little harsh compared to the rest.  The Ercavio was much smoother and well balanced (my favorite).  The Venta Mazzaron was much more fruit forward with an almost sweet taste.  It was still a dry wine, but the fruit gave it sweetness.  The last two were smooth, easy drinking, but less fruity.  They all paired well with the food.  As you'll see below, we had a lot of different type of food to pair with.

 Here are the wines being opened for tonight's tasting.

Lots of good munchies to go with our wine.

One of our newest members prepared a fruit and dessert platter.  Doesn't that look pretty?

Everyone pitches in to clean up.

Meetings are currently held at 7 p.m. on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Sociale, on Knollwood Street in Winston-Salem.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

2nd Annual Farm Toy Show

Occasionally we treat ourselves to breakfast out on Saturday's, and this was one of those days.  It's usually the Bo, but today we went to a real sit-down restaurant instead and had pancakes.  Here's was we did afterward, which leads me to believe there was an ulterior motive involved in the restaurant selection.  It seems there was a farm tractor show being held nearby.  It was the 2nd Annual Farm Toy Show, and it was held at Windmill Acres Farm on Jasper Lane in Winston-Salem.  Trucks lined both sides of the road leading to the exhibition buildings.  The property is owned by Phil and Brenda Fishel, who collect antique tractors and farm toys.

In the field there were all kinds of tractors, new, old and older, and other kinds of farm equipment.  We had heavy rain last night, so we didn't walk through the field to look at them.

In the buildings there were displays of model tractors, tractor trailers and other memorabilia, much of which was for sale.


There was even a "Show Special".

They also had old lawn tractors, similar to one we use to this day.  

One tractor had a small tank labeled "gasoline for starting only". 
These actually run on kerosene.


And there were toy tractors?

And even an old wood stove.

It seems there was something for almost everyone.  Move over Fred Flintstone.  This is actually a pedal tractor.

And souvenir T-Shirts!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Five Things You Should Never Pay Full Price For

A penny saved is a penny earned.  

Never has that statement been more true.  With prices rising and sizes shrinking, we have to make the most of every dollar.  There are many products you buy regularly that you can get without paying full price.  Here are my top 5:

1. Paper/Plastic Products
2. Toiletries/Personal Care Items 
3. Sodas
4. Cleaning Products
5. Cereal

For this writing, we are not talking about generics or store brands, although these are often a better buy from a regular price standpoint. Today we are focusing on name brand products from the major area grocery stores.

Every week the competing grocery stores put out new sale ads, usually on Wednesdays. Nearly every Sunday there are one or more coupon inserts in the newspaper.  If you take a few minutes to look through the grocery sales, and match up coupons to the sale items you can often save 50% or more.

I have found the biggest money savers to be the buy one get one free sales.  In many stores you are not required to purchase two items, and each one will ring up individually.  At this point the item is already 50% off.  Add a coupon and your discount increases.  If your store will allow it, you can use two coupons on a BOGOF item.  If not, then just purchase them in two separate transactions to get the greatest savings.

Some stores go a step further and double or triple coupons up to a set amount.  They usually have a per-day limit of around 20 coupons.  Of the stores I write about, Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods double coupons every day, and Harris Teeter occasionally has triple coupon or super double coupon weeks.  Food Lion does not double coupons at any time.

Quite often items such as paper goods and cleaning products are BOGOF or maybe 2/$5.  For example, if the regular price for a bottle of kitchen cleaner is $3.29, a 2/$5 sale makes it $2.50 or 79¢ cheaper.  That same item on a BOGOF sale would be $1.64.  Use a $1 off coupon and you get it for just 64¢.  This is the effective way to use your coupons.  The $1 coupon used at the regular price would still make your item $2.29.  You see the difference.

This same concept applies to nearly everything, and coupons are readily available on most items.  One key to making the most of sales and coupons is your ability or willingness to switch brands depending on the deal available.  Brand loyalty goes right out the window here.

However, if you're like me and have favorite brands on certain products, cereal for example, then you clip the coupons and wait for the sale. Our faves are Frosted Mini Wheats (his) and Raisin Bran Extra (hers).  There are often coupons for these, sometimes as much as $1.50 off 2 boxes.  I've gotten Mini Wheats for as little as 50¢ a box.  In this instance, I combined a BOGOF sale with two coupons which were doubled.  I will tell you that great finds like that do not come along every week.  This is where your ability to stock up will take you further down the road of savings. 

If you drink soda, you know that coupons for them are rare.  The price of all brand-name soft drinks has been steadily increasing.  They are now around $6 per 12-pack in the grocery stores.  Most stores have one brand on sale each week, but we are seeing the good sales less often.  Common sale prices range from 3/$9, which is about half price, to 3/$12.  A good price is 4/$10 or $2.50 each, and anything less than $2.50 is a real deal.  So don't be fooled by the BOGOF sales on sodas, pay attention to the regular shelf price, and you'll know when you're getting a good deal.

A little disclaimer:  I like to use the term BOGOF instead of BOGO.  To me this emphasizes that one item is free as opposed to sales such as "Buy one get one for half off" which are also referred to as BOGO.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Food Bank in Need

Let's please remember those folks less fortunate than ourselves.  There are more and more people depending on charitable organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.

There are many area drop-off sites including these new Goodwill locations:

3921 Battleground Ave., Greensboro
1421-C E. Cone Blvd., Greensboro
1235 S. Eugene St., Greensboro
3739-A High Point Road, Greensboro
1145 E. Lexington Ave. (College Village), High Point
5301 Samet Drive (Wendover Shopping Center), High Point
303 E. Arbor Lane, Eden
610 Rockingham Square, Madison
1551 Freeway Drive, Reidsville
2635 Lewisville-Clemmons Road, Clemmons
815 North Main St. (Kerners Village), Kernersville
2760 Peters Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem
3510 Polo Road, Winston-Salem
2701 University Parkway, Winston-Salem
2129 N. Church St., Burlington
2320 Maple Ave., Burlington
598 Deerfield Trace, Mebane
10102-G S. Main St., Archdale
1064 E. Dixie Drive (Highway 64), Asheboro
101 Pointe South Drive, Randleman
251 Lowes Blvd., Lexington
2246 N.C. Hwy 86 N., Yanceyville
960 Blowing Rock Blvd. NE, Lenoir
Mocksville (opens 2010)

Anything you can give will make a difference in someone's life.  Here is a link to their list of needs.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dinner at Ombu

It's not fair to review a restaurant after only one visit, so this is not a review.  Besides, I'm not a restaurant critic, although I can be critical.  Tonight I took my husband to Ombu for his birthday.  For anyone not familiar with Ombu, it is located on Hanes Mall Blvd. across from Wal-mart.  It is an attractive brick building with a patio and fireplace.  It is just as elegant inside with both tables and booths.  We were seated next to the kitchen, which wouldn't have been my choice because it was brighter, hotter and noisier.  However, it proved to be entertaining and enlightening to see how the kitchen was run.  I commented to my husband that I doubted it was like this at Applebee's, and he agreed it probably wasn't.

Jen was our server, and she did a very nice job.  She was knowledgeable about the menu, and when I questioned her about the serving temperature of their red wine she admitted that it was not climate controlled, but served at room temperature.  While it was comfortable for humans, it's not so good for the wine.  She said she would like for us to share our thoughts on this with the chef, as he takes customer's comments to heart.  Chef Joseph Monteiro is the Executive Chef as well as a partner in the restaurant.  He came to our table to hear our thoughts and  relate his concerns over not having the proper storage or cooling capacity for the wines.  And Ombu does have an extensive wine list.  His task would be much simpler if it did not.  It is apparently something he thinks about often.  

We placed an order for lobster and gruyere fritters with poblano pepper jelly and chives, and gave the red wine a try.  After all the only place we ever get it at the correct temperature, at least in this town, is at home.  Jen brought us samples of "The Bitch" grenache from Barossa.  It was light in body, similar to that of a pinot noir, but full of flavor like you would expect from Australian wines.  We enjoyed it in spite of the temperature so we each ordered a glass.  I suspect another 8-10 degrees cooler would have made a pleasurable difference, though.

Soon our fritters arrived.  They were crispy, golden mounds of spicy sweetness combined with the gooey cheese, and of course the lobster.  The lobster was not extremely obvious among the other flavors and textures.  They were quite good, but I would have liked a little more heat and a little less sweet in the sauce.

The restaurant didn't appear too busy when we arrived for our 7:00 reservation, but picked up steam as time went on.  The kitchen was slammed, and Chef Joe was keeping everyone in line and things moving.  Shortly we got our orders.  I had the Scottish Salmon with truffle potato au gratin and almond Thai basil butter.  Hubby ordered the divers scallops with smoked tomato grits, pancetta and cilantro hollandaise.  There were four large scallops on individual beds of the grits and pancetta.  They were topped with caviar.  Now this was the first experience of caviar for either of us, and  I've got to say, I didn't  care too much for it.  If asked ahead of time if I thought I would like it, I would have replied, "probably not".  I would have been right.  It was not so much as to upset the dish or the eater, but it's not something we'd want again.  It had the mouthfeel of so many little black seeds popping like tiny bubble wrap.  The salmon and scallops were cooked perfectly, and the portions were generous.  I even remarked that my salmon was large enough to split.  I usually buy enough for 6-oz. portions for each of us.  This must have been about 10 oz.  The only issue with the food was that the scallops were not served on a "hot" plate like my salmon, and were maybe not as hot as they could have been from the get go.  We let them know this for future reference.  

This was a very nice experience, and we saw first-hand a chef who cares about the food and wine he serves, and we saw him in action.  The wait staff were all friendly and competent.  I would give Ombu a thumbs up rating.  We had heard really good things about Ombu from friends, and they were right.

I cannot comment on the dessert.  I declined to even look at the menu since I was so stuffed.  Did I mention the complimentary bread and butter?  Yum!  It was all good.  Would I go back?  Yes!  

Now to make this evening even better, Ombu is one of the area restaurants listed with which sells restaurant gift certificates on-line.  I had purchased a $25 gift certificate during one of their special offers for just $2.  

Bottom line, I recommend this restaurant especially for special occasions.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day...Dinner?

Today is Valentine's Day, whether you celebrate it or not.  Apparently a lot of people do according to the wait times and packed parking lot at every restaurant we tried.  We drove through a half dozen parking lots and actually went in to check wait times at two.  First we tried Texas Land & Cattle.  They had a 25 minute wait, which some days is not too bad, but it was getting late and we were already hungry.  Next on the list was Macaroni Grill.  We drove through the parking lot and past the door.  Too many people standing around.  On to TGI Friday's.  They had a 30 minute wait.  Same story, and we didn't want to wait.  We drove past O'Charley's, and saw the same pickup that had been leaving the Macaroni Grill parking lot when we drove through.  The driver had apparently sent his lady friend in to check the wait.  She came out and got back in the truck.  That told us all we needed to know.  We thought about a couple other places, but our style was rapidly going downhill as fast as our hunger was growing.  So we ended up going home...without dinner.  Thanks for the ride!  We still had our sense of humor, thanks in part, to a well-stocked freezer and a gas grill.  

You may ask why, knowing that it was Valentine's Day, and a huge dine-out day, did we wait until so late to decide to go.  It was just one of those days, and I was feeling a bit off.  Not bad, just off, and wasn't sure what I wanted to do.  By the time I came to the conclusion it would be just fine with me to go out, we were getting hungry and still needed to decide where to eat.  I narrowed it down to the three places where I had some type of coupon.  In the end, I would have settled for anywhere we could get in and eat before we were too weak from hunger to get out of the truck.  

So what did we finally eat?  Before we got into the house, the grill was lit.  I popped some tater tots into the toaster oven, and pulled some salmon burgers from the freezer.  Yes, the Trident ones from Costco (the same folks that make those yummy fish sticks).  I tossed those on the grill for 8 minutes, made up some of my special sauce and we were good.  We washed that down with the remains of last night's wine - Spanish Quarter, a Chardonnay and Albarino blend.  It was great with last night's crab cakes (review in progress).  It might not have been the fanciest Valentine's dinner ever, but it hit the spot.  Some of the best meals really are had at home. 
I hope you all had a wonderful day, no matter what you did.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Giving Plastic a New Life

A ban went into effect on October 1, 2009 requiring all plastic bottles such as soda bottles, milk and laundry detergent containers, etc. to be recycled rather than tossed into the garbage.  This posed no problem for the folks of Winston-Salem.  City residents have been recycling at a rate of 84%.  The city's curb-based recycling program makes that easy.  It is not so easy for people outside the city limits where there is no curbside pickup.  One company is working to make recycling available for their customers.  Rural Garbage Services, Inc. which services eastern Forsyth Co. is currently providing that service for free, with pickup of recyclables on regular trash collection days.  Chris Parrish, president, says he has been an environmentalist and recycling for years, and will continue to provide this service until there is a better solution.

While the ban on disposing of plastics is difficult to enforce, it does encourage recycling.  The success of this can be measured by the amount of plastic collected.  For the one-year period from September 2008 - September 2009, collection averaged 14,000 lbs. per month and increased to 19,000 per month for the first three months following the ban.  

There is a huge market for plastics to recycle, and North Carolina has some of the largest processors, with a new plant under construction in Fayetteville.  With one out of two bottles going to China, it leaves the US fighting for recyclables  The ban should help us retain more for our own use.  There are many items made with recycled plastic such as flower pots, strapping, tiles, plastic furniture, and yes, even new plastic bottles.  

While there is an expense to collecting and recycling these items, and a it is a much discussed issue between city and county officials, it does help extend the life of our landfills by not filling them with unnecessary items.  

So please help give used plastic a new life.  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle today.  For more information see the full story in the Winston-Salem Journal, or my original post on the ban.