Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quick & Easy Hungarian Goulash...

I did two weeks of Meal planning on Sunday.  Mostly for these next two weeks I have pulled out old fav's that we haven't had in a while, but there are a couple of new recipes coming up too which I am excited to try.  Monday, I threw one of those Birdseye steamfresh vegetable packets in the microwave and made cheese and garlic biscuits from bisquick, (only take 15 mins start to finish), to go with the main dish... Hungarian Goulash.

My mom used to make this while I was growing up and I LOVED it.  What gives this dish it's wonderful, rich flavor is the paprika!  Of course, being the "take whatever shortcuts you can" type person I am, I came up with my own very quick and easy crock pot recipe that tastes just like I remember.
2 cans Hunts Garlic & Herb Spaghetti Sauce (has many of the seasonings you need in it already!)
3-4 tablespoons onion powder
2-3 tablespoons good paprika
1/3 cup sugar
1 Knorr chipotle cube (*see below for info)
2 pounds stewing beef cut into 1 inch cubes
8oz sour cream
Egg Noodles, or fresh pasta cooked and drained according to directions

Stir together spaghetti sauce, onion powder, paprika, sugar and crumbled chipotle cube in your crock pot.  Brown the beef and pour the beef and the drippings right into the crock pot.  I like to cook it for 2-3 hours on high and then put it on low for 3-4 hours, but you could do 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.  Stir in the sour cream about 30 minutes before serving, (I temper it with a ladle of sauce first), and serve over the egg noodles.  This meat will melt in your mouth!

If you don't want to do noodles, you can chop up a couple of pounds of potatoes and throw them in the crockpot with everything else!  Just sayin'. :)

*Knorr mini chipotle cubes and mini cilantro cubes are one of my new favorite seasonings to cook with!  I just recently found them down the Asian/Hispanic food isle at Walmart and they are AWESOME!  You get 20 in a box for about $1 and they are packed with flavor.  I add one cube of the cilantro seasoning in my rice steamer when I cook rice and it gives it a lovely subtle cilantro flavor. :)  I'm only beginning to discover what I can do with these seasonings, but I love them already.  Here's what they look like:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Doggie Doga???

While we were in California, I saw a sign in an outside mall for a Doga Studio.  My curiosity got the best of me... I had to find out what it was.  Am I the only one who didn't know this existed?

Really?  Yoga for dogs and their owners?  Does anyone else find this at all amusing or is it just me?  I mean, I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE our puppy... I just can't imagine...

Ah well, to each her own I guess!  :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Some Great Reads...

While I was on vacation, I had some time to catch up on some reading.  Here are three books that I have really enjoyed...

Catching Fire is book 2 in the Hunger Games.  I have had it since Christmas, but didn't want to read it until book three was coming out.  I read it over vacation knowing that book three came out this week.  I was NOT disappointed.  This whole trilogy is a fabulous read.  An amazing story written in a very emotional way.

What can I say?  I loved it... I had no idea how it was going to end until I read the last pages and I was captivated by the story and the characters.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it... just read and enjoy.

I picked up this book to read while waiting for "Mockingjay" to come out.  I got caught up in it quickly.  It is sort of old time magic meets modern day New York City.  It is book one of a trilogy, and the other books are out, (although there is now a trilogy of prequels coming out, so there will be more to read in the future).  Now that I have finished Mockingjay I will be reading the other two of this series. 

How about you?  Any good book recommendations out there?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vacation 2010...

We had a lovely week in California.  The drive is harsh, (12 hours of nothing but desert), but once you get to the beach it is worth every second!  The main reason we drove out was for Mike Sr & Miss Dee who were both dying to go to the Dallas Cowboys Training Camp.  However, that was only for a few hours each day and then we got some well needed R&R on the California beaches. 

They had a fantastic time at the Training Camp.  To see their favorite ball players in person took their love of the Cowboys to a new level.  Even Mike Jr, (who is a Colts fan much to his fathers displeasure), sported Cowboys gear and had a fabulous time proclaiming that the Cowboys were his new 2nd favorite team.  Ha Ha. A friend sent us these pics that were on the Dallas Cowboys Website.  Jason Witten fell in to the crowd right where my fam was standing.  You can't see my hubby in the first pic because he is underneath Witten holding him up, but the look of pure joy on Dee's face makes this my favorite pic of the entire vacation. 

I'm so glad they took this next pic once Jason Witten had gotten up out of the crowd.  (BTW, the crowd was trying to pull Witten in... my hubby was the one that helped get him out!) Ok, my hubby is 6' tall, but he looks tiny next to 6' 6" Jason Witten!  And doesn't he look star struck?

I only went to the camp one day and it was fun, but seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the puppy at the hotel, reading books and getting a tan.  A true vacation I tell you! :)  We had planned to go to San Fransisco on the Tuesday, but they were having such a great time at the camp, that I suggested we stay in Oxnard the whole week.  There were no complaints. :)

We had a super time on the beach each day.  That is one thing I really miss about living on the East Coast, being closer to beaches.  Here are a few pics I snapped...

We also decided to drive to LA one day, since we have never been there.  Let me tell ya... It was not what I expected!  We enjoyed seeing the Hollywood sign... 

...but then we went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and I was expecting this glamorous street with all the stars.  No, it was pretty gross.  The stores were tacky, the streets were filthy and they were even shooting what looked like a very low budget porn movie on one side of the street.  Seriously, I was very disappointed with LA.  I did get this great pic of Miles on the Lassie star though.  Maybe I have a warped sense of humour, but it really cracks me up. :)

All in all, it was a wonderful week but I am glad to be home. :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Little Things...

These two boys crack me up.  Mike Jr won the "Clash Of The Titans" DVD/Blu-Ray Pack off of U92.  We had to go across town to get it, but they had me laughing the whole way.  They took turns wearing this crazy mask with the window down and their head sticking just out of the window as we drove. 

It was funny to see people double take as they passed our car.  When we pulled up to stop lights they had adults and children pointing and giggling but the best was the tiny dog that wouldn't stop barking at them at a particularly long light... Ah, the little things that make our day! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Flashback Friday...

July 1st, 2002 was our 20 year anniversary of moving to the United States from England and my mum had everyone over for a celebration.  I had found this octopus sprinkler on clearance for under $5 and my mum bought water balloons and balls that you soak in water and just toss at people.  Just about every celebration at my Mum & Dad's house turned in to a full blown water fight... this one was no different.  Looking at these pics just makes me smile! :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Serious Pet Peeve...

My biggest pet peeve is when you are driving and there is a lane to the right of you that every one KNOWS is going to end... and you are driving in the lane that you know continues on, but then here comes Mr or Mrs Joe Shmoe who are in a rush, or just thinking they don't need to wait behind the other ten cars waiting to go through the light, or whatever the reason it is... here they come RACING down the ending lane just to cut you or one of the cars in front of you off as they swerve over! 

Seriously, it takes EVERY fiber of my being not to flip them the bird and chase them down.  We live in an area where in order to get home, that ending lane thing occurs twice within half a mile... and I am SOOOOOOOOO sick of these obnoxious drivers day after day after day.

Did you know that speeding only gets you to your destination an average of 2 minutes faster?  OK, so WHY oh WHY do people insist on driving like lunatics???  To get there 2 minutes earlier?  You are obviously already late, so get over it and drive safely.  Put on some music, relax and wait your turn buddy!  You are not getting to your destination any quicker by driving like a butt-head.  (Did I really just use that 80's word?)  I am going to catch up with you at the next light, so really... get a grip!

Sorry, just had to get that off my chest! 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And The Little One Said...


This little puppy seriously knows NO boundaries and likes to sleep in the funniest positions right up next to you.  She will sometimes sneak in to our room in the middle of the night and plant herself right between Mike and I.  We are all terrified of moving during our sleep in case we crush her. :)

Can't quite see her?  Check out some close-ups!

Can you say spoiled?