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Friday, February 27, 2015

Las Vegas Day 3

Saturday morning we woke up, actually I woke up and got dressed to go downstairs for my massage.  It was an hour of bliss.  The lady who gave me my massage was older and had lived in Vegas her whole life so I learned some interesting things about the history of the town and about the people who run it today. 
No makeup!
 
After N'kole and I were done with our massages we went to this really cool restaurant that was geared for the Las Vegas rodeo.  There was a giant bull coming out the side of the building.  It was sooooo much fun.  Kristin had decided the night before to take her leftovers with her and so she opted to eat in the room.  She really missed out because the food was great and the atmosphere was extremely fun.  True Las Vegas. 
 
Raegan Mirick's photo.
 
Raegan Mirick's photo.
The portions were huge!  This was ALL mine!
 
As we were finishing up lunch Kristen met us on the strip and we decided to check out the gardens at the Bellagio so that we wouldn't be in too much of a hurry when we went there later.  It was gorgeous, except for the goats everywhere.  Apparently we decided to visit while they were celebrating Chinese New Year and I kind of think China must have been empty because I have never seen that many Chinese people anywhere in my life.  They were everywhere which meant that there were cute babies everywhere, I swear Chinese people make adorable babies!
 
 
These were all made from flowers!!!
 
Holy chocolate fountain!
 
That night we went to see "O" which was "one of the best shows".  The other two girls liked it, I wasn't all that impressed though, it was a little too weird for me and there was no story line.  I felt like I wasted $130.  Boo.  Another one I heard was great was the Beattles show so if you are ever in Vegas go see it instead!  Everyone I know who has seen it raved about it.
 
 
 
After the show was over Kristen wanted to see the fountains one more time so we stopped on the way out and watched the show.  As always it was beautiful!
 
 
We hit up Hard Rock Cafe that night for dinner, it was the one thing N'kole wanted to do on our trip so I was determined that we would squeeze it in.  The food was wonderful but the best part was sitting on the deck outside (it was slightly chilly) taking in everything going on below us on the strip.  We saw a car doing doughnuts in the middle of the highway, the woman that was with the guy driving had a look of pure terror on her face.  It was priceless!

 
 
After dinner we went back to our room to get some sleep since we had to fly out the next day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snow Cream (Ice Cream from Snow)

In East Texas when there is snow or ice no matter how much or how little everything shuts down.  Honestly about 75 percent of the business are not open today and all the area schools are closed.  Our area of Texas is not prepared for this kind of thing. 
 
Since I knew we had a chance of snow I stopped by Brookshire's yesterday to get a few necessities.  I am so glad I didn't go to Wal Mart from what I heard it was crazy and they were out of almost everything.  Apparently people think we are going to be snowed in for the next week. JK... sort of.
 
So are you ready for a picture of our massive blizzard we have going on here?
 
Raegan Mirick's photo.   
Yes this is the reason Texans are panicking!
 
So since we are having a rare snow day I decided to make the kids a special treat.  While I gathered up all the ingredients I sent the boys outside for some snow.  They came back in very proud of the pot they had filled up with fresh, clean, white, sparkly, snow.
 
Raegan Mirick's photo.

 
1 cup milk (any kind)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
8 cups clean snow or shaved ice (more or less depending on the density of the snow)
 
In a large bowl, whisk milk, sugar, vanilla and salt together until combined.
Go scoop up some fresh (clean!) snow, and immediately stir it into the milk mixture until you reach your desired consistency.
Top with sprinkles or other ice cream toppings if desired.
The ice cream should be fluffy and not runny, but it melts quickly, so dive in right away!
 
'Snow cream'
 

Las Vegas Day 2

Friday morning we slept in a bit and then headed out.  Our first stop was the M&M store so I could get my kiddos a few surprises.  The store was great and we even got to see a free 3-D movie.  I have never seen so many M&M's in my life, they were all there in every color and every type. 

 
 
After we had our souvenirs we headed on down the strip to find lunch.  We ended up eating at a great Mexican restaurant where I ended up somehow spilling my drink.  The food was great but sadly I forgot to take a picture. 

The CSI experience was the one thing N'kole really wanted to do so I was game.  It was a ton of fun, you go in and see the crime scene, you have to write down everything you can about it.  Then you go to different stations that they have set up to help you solve the murder.  Pictures were not allowed once you stepped off the escalator so we took one here.
 

 
While wondering through the hotel where CSI is located we saw this soap store.  This was incredibly cool to me because I LOVE fancy soaps and because I have a passion for food.  Aren't those beautiful?
 
 
 
 
Next we saw the Grand Luxe CafĂ© on our way out of the hotel and I had read on the internet that it was great so we stopped in for dinner.  The food was wonderful and the portions were huge.  My best friend and I both wanted to try the same two foods so she got one and I got the other and we split them.  I am so glad we walked back to our hotel that night because I needed the work out.
 
 
 
At some point that day we hit up the outlet mall, I can't remember exactly where we fit it in though.  I was sad because I wasn't able to find ANYTHING at the MK or Coach store finally I found a purse that I really liked at Dooney and Bourke, so I was happy again.  ;-)  The bus ride back to the strip was very interesting, all I am going to say about it is that we will NEVER forget a crazy man named Terry.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Las Vegas Day 1

We left super early that Thursday morning, we had to be at the airport at eight for a ten a.m. flight.  I arrived at my friends house around 4:45, we loaded her car and set off to pick up the other girl who went with us.  The flight was great and uneventful and we landed in Vegas with no problems. 



After landing we got our bags and a taxi and headed to the Polo Towers.  Since our plane arrived in the morning the room wasn't ready yet so we set off in search of a place to eat.  We ended up at Toby Keith's Bar and Grill which was AMAZING.  If you are ever in Vegas you must go there!  The sweet tea was soooo good!


Raegan Mirick's photo.
Fried Mac and Cheese Balls



Raegan Mirick's photo.
 My sandwich was out of this world!
 
 
We had a two bedroom suite and N'kole and I decided to share the bigger room and Kristen took the studio type room.  We got two of these yummy boxes at check in. 

 
After getting settled into our room we set out to book our show and explore the strip.  We ended up having dinner and drinks at Serendipity.  I was excited to try the frozen hot chocolate since it is their claim to fame... it wasn't that great.  The other drink that we had however was wonderful.
 
Raegan Mirick's photo.
 

 
 
My bestie!
 
After dinner we checked out a few of the different fountain shows and went on a Gondola ride.  Our gondolier had the most amazing voice and when she sang to us it was pure magic.
 
'Gondola rides'
 

The fountains at the Mirage and the Bellagio were both beautiful.  I could have sat and watched them for hours... if there would have been a place to sit.
 
 
 
 
By this time our little trio was exhausted, N'kole and I had been up for 23 hours so we headed to the suite and checked out our nighttime view.
 
 
 

Menu for 2-23 to 3-1

Since my plane was delayed I wasn't home on Monday like originally planned so it isn't included on my menu.

Tuesday
B- Muffins
L- Sandwiches
D- Cheeseburger Soup

Wednesday
B- Cereal
L- P, B J Sushi
D- Shredded Beef Tacos (NR), Corn and Spanish Rice

Thursday
B- Cinnamon Bread
L- Cheese Quesadillas
D- Chick Fil A

Friday
B- One Eyed Sailor
L- Baked Brie Bites (NR)
D- Chicken and Rice and Green Beans

Saturday
B- Breakfast Pizza
L- Lasagna Grilled Cheese (NR)
D- Cajun Lasagna (NR), French Bread, Salad

Sunday
B- Cinnamon Rolls
L- Out
D- Leftovers

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Blueberry Crumble Bars

I also made these for hubbies safety meeting at work this week, he said they were good but not as good as the Strawberry Brownies.

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ tsp. vanilla

4 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside.
Start by preparing the crust and crumble.
In a medium bowl, combine both sugars, baking powder and flour.
Using a pastry cutter, cut butter, egg and vanilla until the mixture is well combined and resembles coarse crumbs.
Pat half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
In a separate bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients.
Stir gently.
Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust.
Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the blueberries. 
Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Phillip needs snacks for work tomorrow.

http://www.lovebakesgoodcakes.com/2014/06/blueberry-crumble-bars.html

Friday, February 20, 2015

Honey Balsamic Green Beans

Phillip and I really liked these, the kids not so much.  I think the flavor may have been to strong for the little Miricks.

16 ounces green beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and serve.
 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat.
Add the beans and blanch them for 2 minutes.
Immediately remove the beans from the water and add them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Drain.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the garlic and green beans.
Cover, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover, then stir in the vinegar, honey, onion powder, and salt and pepper, to taste.
Cook to desired degree of doneness, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Raegan Mirick's photo.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/honey-balsamic-green-beans-recipe.html

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Strawberry Brownies

I am typing this at 3:45 in the morning as I get ready to head out for my girls trip to Las Vegas.  I need to be up in 15 minutes and yet here I am already typing and wide awake.  It could be because at 2 my daughter woke up crying and informed me she had thrown up. 

This led to me moving her to the floor in my room and doing a load of laundry and after that I couldn't seem to fall back asleep.  Now I am sitting here in my beautiful new blue chairs getting ready to submit this recipe.  I am pretty sure at some point today I will need a nap!

Raegan Mirick's photo.
My new chairs, my brother works at Ivan Smith let me know and I can hook you up. ;-)

I made these for hubby to take to work for his safety meeting and they seemed to be pretty good.  One of the ladies even messaged me and said I could make them again.  My dad also tried one, before I sent them with hubby, and he said that they were tasty too.

1 box strawberry cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup powdered sugar
½ -2 TB water or milk (I used 3 tb milk)
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 8" square baking pan with parchment (and spray with Pam).
Mix strawberry cake mix, eggs, and oil with hand mixer until well combined.
Spread batter evenly into pan.
Bake for 15 minutes or until just set; be careful not to overcook. (Mine took about 20 minutes)
Allow brownies to cool for 10 minutes; lift carefully from pan using ends of parchment to lift.
Mix powdered sugar and water until smooth.
Pour glaze over brownies, spreading to edges so that glaze will drip down sides.
Allow brownies to cool and glaze to set before cutting into squares.

Raegan Mirick's photo.
 
http://www.familysavvy.com/pinned-it-tried-it-strawberry-brownies/

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cheeseburger Flatbread Melts

Holy amazing!!!  These were out of this world, everyone in our family loved them. In fact, next time I will have to double the recipe.  Is it bad that I am already planning the next time I can make these flatbreads?

1/2 lb lean ground beef, browned and drained
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 pkg dry onion soup mix (I used ranch mix instead)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
11 oz thin crust pizza dough
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*I added in 1 tsp onion powder!

Brown and drain ground beef.
Add water, vinegar, onion soup mix, ketchup, mustard and garlic.
Stir to combine and simmer over low heat.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp canola oil over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed skillet.
Divide the pizza dough into six equal portions and roll into a round, tortilla-like shape.
Fry the dough for one minute on each side or until golden brown and bubbly.
Remove to a paper towel to drain.
Top with beef mixture and shredded cheese.

Cheeseburger Flatbreads! They were amazing, check my blog tomorrow for the recipe.

http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/cheeseburger-flatbreadmelts.html#_a5y_p=1411344

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cheesy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I started off this recipe thinking I had everything I needed, turns out I had pierogies instead of gnocchi so I had to change it up a little. This was delicious, so nice and comforting on a cold rainy day.  I thought it tasted a little like my Chicken Pot Pie soup but hubby disagreed, we both however thought it was delicious!

¼ c. butter
½ medium onion, diced (1 tsp onion powder)
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp garlic powder)
¼ c. flour
32 oz. chicken stock
4 c. half and half, or whole milk
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 carrots, peeled and grated
2 c. spinach chopped
1 16 oz. pkg ready to use gnocchi
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
½ tsp. salt, more to taste
½ tsp. pepper, more to taste
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1½ c. cheddar cheese, grated
1 T. sugar
 
In a large stock pot, melt butter.
Add onions, celery and garlic.
Saute until onions are tender and translucent.
Add flour and whisk to combine.
Whisk in about a cup of chicken broth.
Gradually add the remaining chicken broth.
Continue to whisk and simmer over medium heat until broth thickens.
Add half and half return to simmer.
Add chicken, grated carrots, chopped spinach, gnocchi and seasonings.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
Simmer for about ten minutes.
Add cheddar cheese.
Stir until melted.
Serve warm!
Cheesy Chicken Gnocchi Soup
 
 


Monday, February 16, 2015

Menu for 2-16 to 2-22

Monday
B- Muffins
L- Grilled Cheese and Fruit
D- Cheesy Chicken Gnocchi Soup (NR)

Tuesday
B- Breakfast Casserole
L- Corn Dogs and Carrots
D- Cheeseburger Flatbread Melts (NR), Herb Potato Salad, and Green Beans

Wednesday
B- Pancake Balls
L- Egg Salad
D- King Ranch Chicken (NR), Spanish Rice, and Corn

Thursday (I head for a girls weekend in Vegas, hubby is cooking for the kiddos)
B- Cinnamon Bread
L- Leftovers
D- Frozen Pizza

Friday
B- Cereal
L- Sandwiches
D- Hot Dogs and Chips

Saturday
B- Pancakes and Bacon
L- ?
D- ?

Sunday
B- Doughnuts
L- ?
D- ?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Copy Cat Cracker Barrel Carrots

These were a hit in our house!

2 pounds baby carrots raw
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
 
Rinse carrots and place in a 2-quart saucepan.
Pour enough water in saucepan to just cover the top of the carrots.
Cover carrots with lid and place on medium heat and bring to a boil.
Turn heat to low and simmer 30 to 45 minutes until the carrots are tender when pricked with a fork.
When carrots start to become tender, pour off half the water from the carrots.
Add salt, brown sugar and butter.
Place lid on pan and cook over low heat until completely tender.
Add more salt if desired.
 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chuck Wagon Salisbury Steak

 
Recently a friend decided to clean out her cookbooks and sent me a box FULL.  I was thrilled honestly I think it made my week... I know I know... it doesn't take a whole lot to make me happy.  One of the cookbooks in the box was a school fundraiser cookbook.  It is HUGE and when I stumbled on this recipe I decided it was worth a try.  My pickiest eater ate more than my husband (who loved this), he even told me "thank you so much for making this mommy".  In my world this is huge.  Tonight as always he was the last one at the table BUT tonight it was because he was actually eating and we weren't trying to make him eat!!!

2 c. corn flakes or bread crumbs (1 cup)
1 egg
1/2 c. barbeque sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lb. ground beef


Crush corn flakes and place in a mixing bowl. `
Add the egg, 1/3 cup of the barbeque sauce, salt and pepper.
Mix well.
Add beef; mix only enough to combine.
Shape into 6 oval patties.
Place in a single layer in shallow baking pan.
Brush with the remaining barbeque sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes.
 
Raegan Mirick's photo.
 
Raegan Mirick's photo.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ranch Parmesan Chicken

This chicken was amazingly delicious.  I mean finger lickin', plate scrapin', slap yo momma good.  The flavor was right on target and it was sooooooo moist !  This will definitely be made again and again in our home.

4-6 chicken breast
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup Hidden Valley ranch
1/4 cup butter (melted)

Set oven to 350° degrees (set oven rack to lowest position).
Grease a 13x9 baking dish.
In a shallow bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, seasoned salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
Dip the chicken into the ranch dressing to coat both sides (gently shake so the extra can drip off).
Coat in the breadcrumb mixture.
Place in a single layer onto a greased baking sheet.
Lightly drizzle the melted butter over each breast.
I then poured all the coating that I didn't use over the tops of the chicken.
Bake uncovered for about 30-35 minutes.

Raegan Mirick's photo.

Adapted from: http://cookingpinterest.blogspot.com/2014/02/boneless-ranch-parmesan-chicken-recipe.html

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ham, Egg, and Cheese Monkey Bread

This was ok, nothing special... I probably would not make it again...

6 eggs
⅓ cup milk
2 (10.2-oz.) cans refrigerated biscuit dough
1 ½ cups diced, cooked ham (can substitute cooked bacon or sausage as well)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely chopped green onions (4 medium)
Heat oven to 350°F.
Spray large baking dish with cooking spray.
In large bowl, beat eggs and milk with wire whisk until smooth.
Separate dough into 10 biscuits; cut each into quarters.
Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly.
Fold in ham, cheese and onions.
Spoon mixture into sprayed dish; arrange biscuit pieces in single layer.
Bake at 350°F. for about 23-25 minutes, or until golden brown and eggs are cooked.
Cut into squares.

Ham Egg and Cheese Monkey Bread
Didn't she take a beautiful picture!  Almost makes me glad I forgot to take one.;-)
 

Ricotta Meatballs in Creamy White Wine Sauce

This was really good.  When I first tasted the sauce I thought it was slightly bland so I added in a tbsp. of balsamic vinegar and it really helped out a lot.  I forgot to take a picture so use your imagination.  We ate this with some pasta and it really hit the spot!

1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves
1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Sundried Tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground Pepper, or to taste
1-2 Tablespoons all purpose Flour
1 cup dry White wine (I used chicken broth)
1/2 cup heavy or double Cream

In a large bowl combine the ground beef, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic powder and salt and pepper.
Use your hands to mix everything well.
Shape the mixture into balls the size of golf balls (about 16 pieces).
Gently roll the meatballs in flour to coat them lightly; shake-off the excess.
Melt the butter in oil in a large and heavy-bottomed skillet or pan using low-to-medium heat. Saute the garlic for about 1-2 minutes.
Remove the garlic cloves when they turn brown.  
Fry the meatballs just until they are browned all over.
Pour in the wine, increase the heat a little and let it reduce to about half.
Add the cream and let simmer until the sauce has thickened.
Adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Serve immediately.

http://www.manilaspoon.com/2014/11/ricotta-meatballs-in-creamy-white-wine.html

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Menu for 2-9 to 2-15

Monday
B- Breakfast Casserole
L- Pizza Bites
D- Cheddar Dijon Baked Pretzel Chicken (NR), Broccoli Rice Casserole, and Rosa's Biscuits

Tuesday
B- Muffins
L- Grilled Cheese
D- Hamburger Steak, Cracker Barrel Carrots (NR), Macaroni and Cheese

Wednesday
B- Cinnamon Bread
L- Egg Salad
D- Ribs, Grilled Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, Green Bean Bundles and Parmesan Slider Rolls

Thursday
B- Cereal
L- Chicken Bites and Berries
D- Bruschetta Chicken (NR), Peas, Pasta Salad

Friday
B- Crockpot Tater Tot Egg Bake (NR)
L- Valentines Parties at the school!
D- Free Babysitting at Church=Date Night!

Saturday (Valentines Day)
B- Pancakes, Eggs, and Bacon
L- Lasagna Grilled Cheese (NR)
D- Parm Crusted Steak, Baked Potatoes, and Corn on Cob

Sunday
B- Cinnamon Rolls
L- Potato Soup (Family Favorite)
D- Leftovers

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Gearing up for Valentine's Day


Each day starting February 1st till Valentines Day hubby and I get the kiddos a new prize just to make them feel special.  I started this tradition last year and of course the kids LOVE it!  One of my favorite things in the world is to give gifts so I enjoy doing this every February.

I tend to buy all the gifts at one time so that I don't have to go back to the store.

February 1st- Yoohoo's They really like these drinks but they are expensive so I never buy them, so it was a special treat.
February 2nd- M&M tubes
February 3rd- Books
February 4th- Hearts filled with chocolate candy
February 5th- Glow sticks
February 6th- Chocolate candy shaped like puppies and a frog
February 7th- Books
February 8th- Tattoos (Duck Dynasty and Hello Kitty)
February 9th- Nail Polish and Flash Lights
February 10th- Stickers
February 11th- Fun new toothbrushes (my kids are obsessed)
February 12th- Bubbles
February 13th- Candy
February 14th- Legos and Doll Outfit

This child loves to pose
 
Cuties
 
Every day till V day the kids get a small gift.
Their presents go in these boxes.  They were told if they tore up the boxes they wouldn't get a present... so far so good.

Belly boo got My Little Pony

His last gift was a watch (he has been wanting one)

This guy got a Pete The Cat game (his favorite book series)

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