It's part knitting class and part pajama party, this annual weekend at the lake. We go to learn something new and visit with friends. This year there were new faces mixed in with returning knitters. Many of us had become friends when we met last year and had kept in touch, so Friday's arrival was a reunion of sorts.
I even reconnected with a hometown friend that I had only seen once briefly in last 40 years. And, the Ravelry friend who drove all the way down to the retreat from Ohio last year to meet us? She only had a 4-hour drive this year because they moved to a SC beach this year! (Did we influence their decision to move south?) We're so happy she came again.
We learned about dyeing yarn this year. Playing with Kool Aid dye was messy fun. We all ended up with a ball of yarn to take home and hopefully make into a project to bring back next year. Unofficially, we learned other knitting stuff from each other. Everyone is willing to help someone else and to share.
But the "retreat" part of the weekend has equal billing with the knitting. We take a couple of days off—no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, maybe no makeup— and enjoy the company of women. You'll always find someone to talk to. Or, you can take a book to the lake and read if that suits you better.
Over the weekend, conversation drifts lazily from yarn to books to music to recipes to families. There is lots of laughter—even the tears-rolling-down-your-face kind of laughter that we don't do often enough.
I loved hearing, "Remember last year when you told me....? Well, since then I've...." Those words might relate to nearly anything—health tips, knitting techniques, movies to see or computer help. We are connected now. We'll be back next year. It's just a good place to be.
There was a snack table set up in the lodge, loaded with goodies for the weekend. Some healthy. Some not so much. All yummy. Friday morning before I left, I made a new recipe that the blog promised to be quick and easy. Those were true words. These were my contribution to the table. I also left a few for Daddy-O to snack on while I was gone. He was glad.
GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE BARS
1 box German Chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup cooking oil
2 large eggs
11-oz. bag caramel bits (I used Kraft)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup chopped pecans (finely chopped works nicely)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 7x11-inch pan with baking spray and set aside. (I used regular PAM.)
In the bowl of a mixer, beat cake mix, oil and eggs on medium low speed until combined--mixture will be thick. (I just used a hand mixer.) Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes, until edges are set and center is puffy. (Mine took a couple of extra minutes.) Remove from oven and let cook for 30 minutes.
Prepare frosting: In a microwave safe bowl, microwave caramel bits and heavy cream, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until smooth. (It took me about 2 minutes total.) Stir in cocnut and pecans. Spread over bars.
Let cool completely before cutting and serving.
It took longer to unwrap the candies than I thought. That was truly the hardest part of this recipe. It would be a good one when you need a homemade goodie but don't have lots of time to bake. Be sure, though, to allow for plenty of cooling time.