Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Majestic: Kansas City, MO


Location: 978 Broadway Street
Kansas City, MO 64105

To celebrate the hubby's birthday weekend, we decided to have a little get-away vacation. So, off to Kansas City we went. I wanted to surprise the hubby with a nice dinner where we could hear live jazz, so of course I turned to my trusty Google and found this little gem of a spot in downtown KC. It had some pretty good reviews on Urbanspoon, so I decided to give it a try. I made reservations online and told them that it was the hubby's birthday, but little did I know the secrets of this wonderful restaurant did not lie in the nice main-seating section with the jazz pianist playing upstairs. Oh no, the secrets of this place was downstairs where there was an actual live jazz band playing. It was amazing!


One person on Urbanspoon said that he thought it was too loud downstairs. I don't agree with that at all. I think that if he wanted a quieter setting, he should have stayed upstairs where the pianist was playing. You have to ask for downstairs reservations to be able to sit at one of the coveted tables to hear the band. Lucky for us, there was a couple who left as soon as they had finished eating instead of waiting to hear the full set, so when I asked about getting a table downstairs, the owner was able to move us to their vacated spot.


Since it was the DH's birthday, I told him to order whatever he wanted. We started off with a delicious appetizer, the Fried Risotto Balls. Having never eaten Risotto at all, we weren't quite sure what to expect. But, going off of the Urbanspoon reviews which suggested we had to try them, we thought we would be a little adventurous and try something new. Boy were we glad we did. They were so good and the spicy tomato sauce was absolutely perfect. I wanted to stick my finger in the sauce it was so good.


For dinner, I ordered the Chicken Alfredo. Trust me when I say that the sauce was a thick and creamy concoction of pasta yumminess. (Thankfully the hotel had a fitness center in it, because I knew I was gonna be in a carb coma after eating this.)


Hubby ordered the prime rib which was so huge that it took him a couple of days to actually finish it. LOL! Never thought I would see that happen to my meat and potatoes man.


After dinner, our wonderful waiter served the hubby with a piece of their homemade "Garment District Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce". He even thought to put a birthday candle in it to make it a little more special. I thought that was awesome. The hubby loved it and it tasted amazing.


We had absolutely no complaints about this wonderful restaurant. The staff made sure that my hubby had a blast and the food was excellent. I definitely recommend this restaurant the next time you want a fun date night and you are in the Kansas City area. We had a great time.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Please vote for me!


Oh my goodness!

I entered this beauty contest to win free makeup kind of on a whim and my entry was officially accepted! I am an official model entry. (Holy moly!)
(screaming- hahaha)
Anyway, here is the link if you would like to vote for me. I could win a trip to NY, free makeup, and could be included in the Black Opal marketing for the year. So anyway, please vote for me. I think the voting deadline is Feb. 28th.

Thanks so much! And feel free to forward this message to as many people that you know and come back daily to vote again!
LOL!

http://www.blackopalbeauty.com/truebeautymodelsearch/gallery/entry.php?model=4d65328f477a0

Thank you so much!
Muuaaahhhh!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

MUSIC BLAST: Glee - Blame It (On The Alcohol) Official Music Video



Yes I realize that today is not Friday, but since I am a big fan of the show Glee, I decided to post one of the songs from last night's show. Last night, the cast of Glee got wasted and during "Alcohol Awareness Week" too! What ensued was pure hilarity. Of course, there were the funny one-liners throughout the show, but I really liked the irony of how the Glee club were supposed to try coming up with a song and dance number to perform at the "drink responsibly" assembly and they came up with Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" followed by a puking extravaganza. LOL!
This was one of my favorite performances of the night, so I decided to post it here.
Hope you enjoy.

My favorite one-liners of the night:
"Our children are so brazen, they are showing up to school wasted, and not wasted on learning, Will, wasted on booze!" ~ Principal Figgins
"It'll help with your hangover. That's what Bloody Mary's are for... Hair of the dog that done bit yo ass"
~ Artie
"Tell 'em I'll go if they go." ‎"Tell them yourself. I ain't no Pony Express..." ~ Mercedes & Artie
"Your face tastes awesome." ~ Rachel
LOL! Priceless!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sophia's: Columbia, MO


Location: 3915 South Providence Road
Columbia, MO 65203-7106

Since Valentine's Day fell on a Monday this year, the hubby and I celebrated by having a full weekend of fun dates and activities. We went out to our weekly Friday-night date, saw a movie on Saturday, got to see the Ellis Marsalis quartet on Sunday (living jazz legend), and went to Sophia's on Monday night for dinner.


For Valentine's Day, the hubby surprised me with beautiful roses and a trip to one of the most romantic restaurants that we've found in Columbia. Sophia's is a very nice restaurant for a date night. Their website states, "
Sophia's offers Southern European influenced cuisine in the heart of Columbia, Missouri. From the Godiva Ahi Tuna to Brandy Cream Filet, there is something for everyone at Sophia's." This was definitely true. Although the staff was hustling with the Valentine's Day rush and we did have a 30-40 minute wait, our waitress was still very friendly and helpful. This was our first time going to Sophia's, but we will definitely be back.

I ordered the Sophia's Blacked Shrimp Pasta dish. Oh. My. Word. Talk about yummy deliciousness. It was amazing and I think I have to have it again before I try a new dish. The menu described my dish as, "Shrimp blackened with a spanish spice crust, served over our creamy marinara, roasted red peppers, onion, tomato, and angel hair pasta." It was spicy and really good.


The hubby had the Chicken Mudega. My taste test of his dish turned out to be quite tasty too. The menu described his dish as, "Lightly breaded chicken breast topped with provolone cheese, sauteed with button mushrooms, prosciutto, and a tarragon cream sauce. Served over angel hair pasta." Hubby gave it two thumbs up.


We had a wonderful Valentine's weekend. I highly recommend Sophia's Restaurant for a romantic dinner date. Try it, you will love the ambience and the food.

Valentine's Day Strawberry Cream Cupcakes

I decided to make Valentine's Day cupcakes for my hubby and his crew at work.
I didn't really have a specific recipe, so I used the recipe from my Banana Pudding Cupcake recipe, made a couple of small adaptations to make it strawberry flavored and voila!
Instant success.

These came out really good too. The only thing is that I forgot to add my whipped cream to my frosting so I didn't have as much as I normally do when I make my homemade cake icing. Even without the whipped cream added, both the cake and the frosting came out to be quite delicious.

These cupcakes were easy to make even with the adaptations and the unintentional omission.
I give them two thumbs up. Will have to wait to see what the hubby & his co-workers think. Here are the ingredients and directions. If you are a strawberry lover, you've got to try these cupcakes. They are great!

INGREDIENTS
• 1 box French Vanilla Cake Mix
• 1 box Instant Strawberry Cream Pudding (3.4 oz)
• 3 eggs
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• ½ cup water
• ½ cup milk
• 10 oz. of PHILADELPHIA Original Cooking Creme
• 1 cup of frozen sweetened strawberries – thawed & pureed
• Red and pink sugar crystals (optional)
• Chocolate heart candy (optional)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. Cream Cheese
2 Tbsp butter – melted
4 Tbsp milk
2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp imitation strawberry flavoring
4 oz Cool Whip (½ of 8 oz container)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, add in the first 7 ingredients.
3. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined.
4. Fold in the pureed strawberries.
5. Line cupcake pans with cupcake baking papers.
6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake baking papers (about 3/4 full)
7. Place the cupcakes into a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.
8. When cupcakes are done, remove them from the pan and place them on a baking sheet.
9. Allow cupcakes to completely cool.
10. Garnish with Cream Cheese Frosting, sugar crystals, and chocolate heart.
11. Enjoy!


Friday, February 11, 2011

TGIF MUSIC BLAST: Wonder Girls - NOBODY (US Debut Single)



My latest song obsession... I am downloading this to my Ipod as we speak.
Meet the Wonder Girls, a south Korean girl group pop sensation. "Nobody" is their first single crossing over to the US. I love this song. It reminds me of those old girl groups. These young ladies are so beautiful and glamorous. I love the lights, the staging, the outfits. Their voices are lovely also.

There is a Korean version of the song. To me, the Korean version vocals are better but since I don't speak a lick of Korean, I'm sticking with the English version.

How did I not know that this song debuted in June 2009 when the Wonder Girls joined the Jonas Brothers on their world tour? According to Wikipedia, " 'Nobody' eventually made a debut on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2009, becoming the first Korean group to enter the chart." I think that is so cool. These young ladies are currently preparing their debut English album, with half of the tracks consisting of English versions of Korean singles and the other half of brand new material. I am eagerly awaiting their debut CD. Take a listen.

Satan Left a Message on My Answering Machine

Good morning! I came across this email forward from Kristin's blog at Iowa Girl Eats. Talk about hilarious! This was just what I needed to get me going this morning. I can so relate after my renewed attempts to get past this plateau. Enjoy this funny message this morning and have a wonderful day!

A Woman’s Week at the Gym

Dear Diary,

For my birthday this year, my Husband (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. My husband seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

MONDAY:

Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god – with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring! Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around.. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!

TUESDAY:

I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!! It’s a whole new life for me.

WEDNESDAY:

The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn’t try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other shit too.

THURSDAY:

Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn’t help being a half an hour late – it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny bitch to find me. Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine — which I sank.

FRIDAY:

I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don’t have any triceps! And if you don’t want dents in the floor, don’t hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn’t it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

SATURDAY:

Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

SUNDAY:

I’m having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun — like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

After you recover, send this to every woman you know! :D

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Banana Pudding Cupcakes


Oh my goodness, words cannot describe how amazing these cupcakes are. I must give credit where credit is due and thank Monique from Yes, Divas Can Cook for this amazing recipe. You know it's bad for you when you have to take a moment of silence to thank the Lord for the flavors exploding on your tongue. These cupcakes are in no way good for you so if you are on a diet, don't even pretend that you are just going to eat a piece. I promise after one bite you will eat the whole cupcake. I am sitting here typing this blog post so that I don't knock my hubby over trying to get another one. One is enough for tonight, right???

Here are the ingredients and directions with my adaptations. Of course I had to do a lil something to it cuz that's what I do. You know that, fam! (LOL) The original recipe can be found here and used Cool Whip for the frosting. I made my own cream cheese frosting and it only enhanced the flavors of the cupcake. You have got to try this one. I am telling myself that since it has real bananas in it, it's good for me. Shouldn't a cupcake with bananas be added to the four food groups? I think that it would get my vote...

Ingredients

· 1 box French Vanilla Cake Mix

· 1 box Instant Banana Cream Pudding (3.4 oz)

· 3 eggs

· ½ cup vegetable oil

· ½ cup water

· ½ cup milk

· 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

· 10 oz. of PHILADELPHIA Original Cooking Creme

· 1 cup of bananas – ripened & smashed (approx 2-3 medium sized)

· 2 cups Vanilla Wafers – crushed (plus more for garnishing if desired)

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 Tbsp butter – melted
4 Tbsp milk
2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp banana flavoring
4 oz Cool Whip (½ of 8 oz container)


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, add in the first 8 ingredients.
3. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined.
4. Fold in the bananas and vanilla wafers.
5. Line cupcake pans with cupcake baking papers.
6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake baking papers (about 3/4 full)
7. Place the cupcakes into a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.
8. When cupcakes are done, remove them from the pan and place them on a baking sheet.
9. Allow cupcakes to completely cool.
10. Garnish with Cream Cheese Frosting and crushed vanilla wafers.
11. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

MUSIC BLAST: Katy Perry - Firework



Well, I realized today that I haven't posted a TGIF Music Blast post in a while, so even though it isn't Friday, I thought I would display the song that has been playing in my head all day long.
I don't think I even realized the strong lyrics to this song until the cover played last night on Glee. I think Lea Michelle did a wonderful job, but I'm still prone to the original. So I've listened to this song two or three times today. I have to admit, my favorite part of the song is the second half, but the whole song is pretty self-affirming. I like that...


You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane, comes a rainbow

Maybe the reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it's time you know

You just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the Fourth of July

'Cause baby, you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go "oh, oh, oh!"
You're gonna leave 'em falling down oh oh

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It's always been inside of you, you, you
And now it's time you let it through-ooh-ooh

Sunday, February 6, 2011

KITCHEN KREATIONS: Super Bowl Appetizers


Yum yum yum! I love watching the Super Bowl, especially when my favorite team the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing. And yes, those are Steelers earrings I'm wearing. Also, my favorite player is none other than the lovely curled Troy Polamalu!


Even more than watching the Super Bowl, I love love love getting to eat appetizers for dinner.
Hubby and I planned on having a party this year, but all of our invitees bailed at the last minute because the weatherman predicted snow and sleet coming to the Missouri area. Well, as of this exact moment (39 seconds left in the 2nd quarter), there is no snow. Oh well... We still cooked as if everyone was coming, mostly because the majority of the folks let us know after our massive trip to Walmart and well because, hey, I love eating appetizers for dinner.
LOL!


So, here are our yummy appetizers. Everything came out so good. I can't even eat anymore because I have been guzzling this punch! Sweet nectar from heaven... It's probably going to give me a sugar headache and I won't be able to sleep tonight, but as of this exact moment in time, it is soooo worth it.

Spinach Dip


Ingredients
10 oz. bag frozen spinach - thawed and squeezed dry
16 oz. light (or Fat Free) sour cream
1 cup light mayo
1 package Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix
3 green onions - chopped

Directions
Combine all ingredients.
Place in airtight container with lid.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to combine. I prefer to refrigerate overnight.

Restaurant-Style Salsa - Recipe by The Pioneer Woman Cooks


Ingredients
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cans Rotel tomatoes (We used the Mexican-Lime & Cilantro)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup cilantro
1 clove garlic - minced
1 jalapeno - chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Directions
Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like—I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips.


Mini Phyllo Cups with Shrimp Salad
Original recipe can be found here on the Food Network website by Paula Deen.
This is my adaptation.

Ingredients
Athens Mini Phyllo cups
2 cups shrimp – finely diced
8 oz cream cheese – softened
½ cup finely diced celery
¼ cup red onion - chopped
2 stalks green onion – chopped
1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup Miracle Whip
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ tsp Tony Cachere’s Seasoning

Directions
Combine the shrimp, cream cheese, celery, onions, and green onion in a food processor or blender. Pulse until shrimp are chopped.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients.
Pour over the shrimp and stir gently to combine.
Spoon into the phyllo shells.

Game Day Sweet & Sour Wings - Recipe from Ateyaaa
Ingredients
25-30 wing sections
2 cups flour or chicken fry
1 cup buttermilk
seasoning (to taste)
1-2 cups vegetable oil

Sweet & Sour Sauce
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup cornstarch (Combine with water in bowl. Stir until dissolved, then add to sauce.)

Directions
Heat oil in skillet.
Wash chicken pieces and dip in bowl with buttermilk.
Transfer chicken pieces to container with flour or chicken fry mixture.
Place carefully in hot oil.
Fry chicken until golden brown.
Chicken is completely cooked when juices run clear.
Transfer chicken to container with paper towels. Allow excess grease to drain.

Meanwhile, combine the first seven sauce ingredients in pot. Heat to boiling.
Mix cornstarch with just enough water that when stirred, the cornstarch will dissolve.
Add cornstarch thickener to sauce ingredients. Stir well.
Reduce heat. Sauce will thicken.
When chicken is done, dip chicken in sweet & sour sauce or pour sauce over chicken.
Enjoy.


Hubby's Sausage Rotel Dip


Ingredients
16 oz. (1 lb) box of Velveeta
8 oz. cream cheese - softened
1 lb. breakfast sausage
1 can Rotel tomatoes - drained

Directions
Cook breakfast sausage in skillet until browned. Drain grease.
In crock pot, combine Velveeta, cream creese, and Rotel tomatoes.
After sausage has been drained and crumbled, combine with cheese mixture.
Once the cheese has melted, stir well to combine all ingredients.
Serve with tortilla chips or vegetables.


Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn

Ingredients
1 bag microwavable popcorn (we like the Orville Redenbacher Kettle Corn)
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)

Directions
Microwave popcorn according to package directions.
Spread popcorn on cookie sheet covered by parchment paper.
Place the different chocolate chips in their separate bowls.
Place 1 Tbsp olive oil into each respective bowl.
Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well. Microwave for 30 more seconds.
Pour over popcorn, stirring to combine.
Repeat for other bowl of chocolate chips.
Let cool and enjoy.


Super Bowl Punch

Ingredients
32 oz. Hawaiian Punch - Fruit Juicy Red
32 oz. Hawaiian Punch - Orange Ocean
48 oz. Pineapple Juice
2 Liters Ginger Ale

Directions
Combine all ingredients in punch bowl. Serve over ice.

Yes indeed, we had a good time with just the two of us. And yes, those are gold and silver stars on my black table cloth! LOL! Obviously I was a little excited about my party. Please try the food and the punch. I am pleased to say that everything tasted fabulous. My "happily stuffed lab rat" is sitting here in a food induced haze smiling happily. He too is pleased.
:-)

Super Bowl Sunday


The time has finally come.
Super Bowl XLV is here. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers are going head to head in the championship game taking place in the new Dallas Cowboys stadium.
Hey, if you don't love the Super Bowl for nothing else, you've got to love any event that allows you to eat appetizers as a meal. As a matter of fact, I'm going to go get another carrot and get started on our game day wings.

Super Bowl Menu:
Pulled Pork sliders with Coleslaw
Game Day chicken wings
Meatballs
Rotel sausage dip with tortilla chips
Homemade Salsa
Vegetable Tray with Ranch dip
Spinach dip with pita chips
Chocolate drizzled popcorn

Yum yum! Recipes and pictures coming soon!

Go Steelers!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Movie Review: The Mechanic

GRADE: A

Who do you call when you have a problem that can't be fixed by ordinary means? Apparently you call The Mechanic.
(Sigh) Man, where do I start? The Mechanic is an action-packed extravaganza of a movie starring Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop. This movie was great. As you can probably pick up from the themes of my reviewed movies, the hubby and I both love action thrillers. I actually called my brother today and told him to go see this movie. Why? Because it's got a lot of shooting, killing, and things blowing up. LOL! That may say something about my psyche but hey, growing up with two brothers kind of led me to a predisposition to love good old fashioned shoot 'em up movies.


The movie also stars Ben Foster as Steve McKenna. You may remember Ben from The Messenger, 3:10 to Yuma, or one of my favorites, X-men: The Last Stand. He did a great job in this movie. I don't think I really realized how good an actor Ben is. He did a great job portraying a tormented and angry young man who appears to be lonely and neglected. I love when actors are so believable that you forget who they are and what you've seen them in prior to the movie you're watching.


If there is a theme in this movie, it is that, "Victory Loves Preparation". Arthur Bishop is a controlled cold-blooded assassin with a strict code and professional detachment in all of his "jobs". This is in direct contrast with Steve McKenna who is a young, impulsive, and angry hot-head. These two had a wonderful onscreen chemistry together. It was really a pleasure watching them.


I didn't realize that this movie was a remake of a 1972 version starring Charles Bronson. Having never seen the older version, I'm not sure if this remake did the original justice, but I did enjoy the new 2011 version. Jason Statham seems to be the new go-to guy for action flicks. Every action movie that he has been in lately has been a pleasure to watch if you are looking for a lot of random things blowing up (LOL). The new version also stars Donald Sutherland as Harry McKenna, Arthur's mentor in the crazy world of being a contract killer.


In my opinion, this movie is a definite must see if you are a fan of action thrillers. I think the movie got mixed reviews from the critics, but both the hubby and I enjoyed it. It was one of those movies that you go to see and at the end of the movie, you sit there in the theater and say, "Dang, that was a good movie". We'll probably be watching it again on DVD when it comes out. Yes, we liked it that much.


"Victory Loves Preparation..."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Emeril's: Las Vegas, NV


Location: MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
3799 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109

We had a completely unconventional Christmas this year.
Our Christmas dinner took place at Emeril's in Las Vegas, NV.
Originally, I really didn't want to spend Christmas dinner at such a "high falutin'" restaurant, but let me tell you, the food was AAAA-MAZING!


The hubby had the Christmas special consisting of turkey & gravy, stuffing, and veggies. I had Emeril's jambalaya (sorry no picture of it, I was too busy stuffing my face-LOL). Both were really delicious. I could have hauled a bucket of that jambalaya home with me it was so good.


If you are in the Vegas area, head to the MGM Grand to eat at Emeril's. We had to make reservations since there were so many of us and it was Christmas day. I'm not sure if you have to make reservations all the time, but I would call to find out before just showing up for dinner.


The ambience was amazing, the wait staff was friendly and really good considering there was about 12 of us at one monstrous round table. All in all, this was a really wonderful restaurant. Don't let the fancy ingredients on the menu deter you from ordering something. Everything we tasted was delicious. Guess that's why Emeril is a top chef. He really knows how to meld those flavors together. Emeril's is a beautiful restaurant with a beautiful atmosphere and beautiful food. Try it, you'll like it.

Q's Chinese Restaurant: Columbia, MO


Location: 4004 Peach Ct # A
Columbia, MO 65203-3800

This is probably my favorite Chinese restaurant in Columbia.
It has a wonderful ambience in the restaurant with white tablecloths and real dinnerware and flatware (not the plastic plates and forks common in a lot of Chinese restaurants). The staff is friendly and very efficient, the Wonton soup is amazing, and I have not had a single entree yet that was not fresh and delicious.

General Tso's Chicken

You get a crazy amount of food too. The hubby always gets the General Tso's Chicken but I like to try new dishes with my current favorite being the Garlic Chicken (with extra onions). Ahh, delicious spicy goodness on a plate.

Garlic Chicken

So try Q's Chinese Restaurant. It is located away from the normal hustle and bustle of downtown Columbia. The food is more than a little tasty and the ambience makes this place more than your usual Chinese restaurant.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

KITCHEN KREATIONS: Vanilla Whoopie Pies


Oh my word, talk about yummy deliciousness! These things are fantastic!

I get a lot of my cooking ideas from different blog sites that I visit and occasionally follow. Today, I was reading IowaGirlEats' blog which had a link to the Better Homes & Gardens Red Velvet Whoopie Pie recipe. Kristin, from IowaGirlEats, made these for her hubby last Valentine's Day. Since we aren't big fans of Red Velvet cake, I decided to take out the ingredients that made it taste like Red Velvet (ie. the cocoa and red food dye). Everything else was the same. I also didn't like the BH&G filling recipe, so I decided to go to the She's Becoming Domestic blog because she had a Pumpkin Spice whoopie pie recipe with a delicious-sounding Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling. So, I used my adapted Red Velvet Whoopie Pie recipe and combined it with Susan's Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling recipe. Voila! Instant success! Woo hoo!!! I am definitely on a roll.

I had to do something to reward the hubby for tackling all that snow by himself today. He did an awesome job, too bad the street is still not driveable. Hubby gives this one two more thumbs up.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring (If you can find it in your area, use the Vanilla Butternut flavoring, it's awesome!)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 recipe Whoopie Pie Filling, recipe below

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating after each addition just until combined. Stir in food coloring.

3. Spoon batter in 1- or 2-inch diameter rounds, about 1/2-inch high on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between each round.

4. Bake 7 to 9 minutes for 1-inch cookies or 9 to 11 minutes for 2-inch cookies, or until tops are set. Cool completely on baking sheets on rack. Remove cooled cookies from baking sheets.

5. To fill, dollop Whoopie Pie Filling on flat sides of half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down.

6. To store: Refrigerate in airtight container up to 4 days. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1 stick butter, Room Temperature
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 2 cups Confectioners Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla (I also used the Vanilla Butternut flavoring here too. Yummy!)
  • Dash of Salt

Beat cream cheese, butter, milk, salt & cinnamon until lump-free and smooth. Gradually add sugar until well combined. Add vanilla until just incorporated. Pipe onto cookies and sandwich them together. Enjoy!!





Whoopie Pie

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