Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I had a great menu plan that was going to start on Saturday.  However, we had a death in the family and that somewhat derailed our plans for the weekend.  Saturday night Hubs' had to get out of the house so he went with me to a photoshoot and then we grabbed Arby's afterwards.  Then on Sunday, after the visitation at the funeral home for Hubs' grandfather, we went to Cracker Barrel with my in-laws, Hubs' aunt and some of her friends.  It was good family time during a sad occassion.

Here is the rest of our week.

Monday - Steak Sandwiches and Home Fries

Tuesday - Class night!  Hubs' is making Taco Salads for us to eat when I get home.

Wednesday - Chicken Junk (crazy name!) for sauteed chicken, squash, and zuchhini over linguine.  Recipe/post to come later this week.

Thursday - Class/Work night!  Hubs' is FINALLY making Cowboy Stew.

Friday - Grocery Shopping Night/Eat Out!

Go check out for HUNDREDS of menu plans and ideas.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yes I am a Geek

I was browsing the internet and came across a hilarious website.  Well, Hubs and I think it is hilarious.   If you need to get in touch with your inner geek, go check out  
You'll find fun things like these:

If you have watched the SciFi series, Firefly, you'll get this. If not..then you should watch it.

Hubs needs this.  He is a big fan of the Dune book series and we recently watched the SciFi version of Dune.  Another movie you need to watch.

Please, oh please.  Please know what this is from!!  Bazinga!  Google it.

And these are just adorable.  I might buy them for my adorably nerdy student assistant for her graduation present.

An Ode to Panama City Beach

Hubs and I love vacationing on the white sand beachs of Panama City Beach.  In fact, I called yesterday and booked a room for a long weekend in early May to celebrate Hubs' birthday.  Our love affair with PCB really started with me.  My family vacationed there and I had not been in 10+ years.  For the first years of our marriage, I tried to convince Hubs to travel but he was a real homebody.  But, in 2009, to celebrate 5 years of marriage, Hubs and I spent the week on the emerald coast.  He fell in love.  We returned again in the early summer of 2010 for even longer.  Since we are going on a cruise in the late summer with my family, Hubs and I were heartbroken that we wouldn't see our beach this year.  However, some fancy talk by me and an AMAZING room rate at our beloved Osprey, we are going for 4 days and 3 nights!  PCB - we are coming back to you!

Beachside Dinner
Beautiful Sunsets
Hi Hubs!  On the Balcony.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Restaurant Rave - The Fish Market

I was feeling very inspired to start a new "restaurant rave" series.  Hubs and I eat out A LOT.  I want to brag on some of the places we go.  So, my first rave is for The Fish Market (downtown location).

Here are some reasons I can rave about this joint:

-The restaurant has a very obvious Greek influence.  George Sarris, owner, moved to the U.S. from Greece in 1969 (read more on their website).  If I could choose any other nationality to be than American (aka mut) then it would definitely be Greece. I love their food, their island, their hospitality, their dark hair, etc.  So this is an instant plus for me.

- They claim to be the most inexpensive FRESH seafood market in town and I agree.  I ordered popcorn shrimp with fries and coleslaw and it was less than $10.  Let me restate that...I ordered a regular order of popcorn shrimp and they gave me enough to feed to people.

- The downtown location is mega cool.  It is in a former storage facility.  It has beautiful old brick walls and a very awesome ladies restroom. 

- The have a HUGE menu.  You can get any kind of fish you could want plus some chicken dishes and even alligator!  They serve basic southern fare like fried okra, traditional cole slaw, and fries as sides but also include some Greek inspired dishes like greek-style rice, pasta with alfred sauce, greek cole slaw, and some amazing green beans.

- If for no other reason at all, go taste their tarter sauce.  I am sort of a sauce connoisseur and in the category of tarter sauce, The Fish Market wins hands down! 

So come Downtown and try The Fish Market.  You won't be disappointed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!

Another week is here!  I am committing this week to be organized and prepared for next week.  I had a busy weekend but that was no excuse not to be organized.  Thanks to's Menu Plan Monday I have lots of help with meal planning and I need to make more of an effort!

Here is our Menu Plan:

Saturday - Out to eat with my baby Brother and my sweet cousin
Sunday - Crunchy Oven Chicken, Green Beans, Roasted Potatoes
Monday - Chicken Casserole (this is like a running thing at my house now since I keep putting it on my menu).
Tuesday - Hubs is making my dad's Cowboy Stew

Wednesday - Fetticini Alfredo Stir-Fry (It is one of the frozen meal bags so I'll give a review)

Thursday - Class for me so we'll do something easy like Pancakes.  We LOVE pancakes.

Friday - Out to Eat (we are trying to only eat out once a week or at least once during the weekend).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was completely crazy busy but I'm thinking this week might be a little calmer (hoping anyway).  Last week we really messed up our meal plan partly due to being busy every single night.  Hubs and I made a trip to the grocery store and to Sam's so we have plenty of meal ideas.

This week:
Homemade Chinese
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo (I'm cheating on this one.  It is Stouffer's)
Chicken Casserole (We have had this one the menu for weeks now!)
Pizza and Salad (for class night so Hubs doesn't have to cook)
Baked Chicken (saw a great Oven Fried Recipe by Paula Deen I want to try) and sides

For hundreds of other menu plans, go visit's weekly Monday Menu Plan.  It is an amazing resource for organizing your menu!

Friday, February 11, 2011

An Evening with THE Red-Headed Stranger

Ok.  So many he's not really a red head anymore.  It's more gray and white.  But the man can still play a guitar like no one else. 

Hubs and I gifted my parents and Hubs' dad with tickets to see Willie Nelson at the Alabama Theatre.  First, I LOVE the Alabama Theatre.  My high school graduation was held there.  I remember feeling so special to be on that stage in that magnificent venue.  Second, my dad has always been a big fan of country music.  I'm not talking about new stuff but old (what he calls "real" country music).  I grew up listening to Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, etc.  So seeing a country icon in person is pretty amazing.

Willie Nelson wrote so many songs from country to rock to gospel and recorded numerous hit songs.  He wrote Patsy Cline's "Crazy" and made a HUGE hit out of "Always on My Mind," which happens to be a favorite of mine.  I also love Elvis' version of the same song. 

At the concert, Willie sang short versions of those songs that made him famous as a songwriter.  He also performed a great rendition of "Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" and of course, "On the Road Again."  Willie is about 77 years old so he didn't always sing out but rather he spoke some of the lyrics but his guitar playing was still prime.  The show was dubbed "Willie Nelson and Family."  I think he calls his band his family because some of them have been playing with him for 30 years (or more).  The band did include Willie's 79 year old sister, Bobbie, on piano (she was amazing) and his 22 year old (yes you read that right), Lukas, on guitar and vocals.  Lukas and his band, Promise of the Real, opened the show.  To me they are a mix of country, rock, and blues.  Very unique and fun to watch.  Lukas' band is actually playing at WorkPlay in April.

Forgive the picture quality.  Lighting was horrible!

Willie Nelson and Family
I was so proud to share this evening with my parents and will now be able to say I saw a music history icon in person. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Family Who Sings Together....

My parents really got into karaoke several years ago.  I was so shocked the first time I saw my shy dad get up on stage and sing.  It was so out of character. But I loved it.  They have a great time and have met a lot of friends.  A couple of years ago, my parents set up their own karaoke system in their house.  This has become a centerpiece for most of our gatherings. 

My dad's side of the family are such wonderful, fun people.  We decided to have a get together without it being a holiday (WOW!).  A bunch of us gathered at my parents house a week or so ago and had a blast.  I love hanging out and watching everyone have fun.  They sing everything from old rock and roll to country to gospel. 

My Dad and his brothers.

All The Ladies.

Growing up too fast!
My "baby" cousins.

He cracks me up!
Ethan always has a microphone in his hands.

Three Generations.

Rhythm, pitch, tone...who needs it!

My Dad and his great-niece.

Oldest Sibling and Youngest Sibling.
Even Hubs got in on the action.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Trip Report - Tunica, Mississippi

Hubs and I have been itching to take a road trip...ok maybe it was more that I was desperate to get away than Hubs.  We had some options including Nashville, Atlanta, and Tunica.  We chose to visit Tunica as our friends have been lots of times and talk about how much fun they had.  After much deliberation on the Tunica tourism website, we chose to reserve a room at the Gold Strike

We had actually never been to a casino or really gambled before and thought this would be a fun experience.  We arrived at the Gold Strike around 6:30 or so.  They have plenty of parking out front but we were turned on to their back parking deck by Hubs' boss.  The parking deck proved so convenient.  We were able to park just feet from the elevators.  Check-in was so easy and they really make you feel like royatly.  The Gold Strike is the second tallest building in Mississippi with 34 floors.  Our room was on the 24th floor.  After freshing up, Hubs and I visited the Courtyard Buffet before visiting the Casino.  The Courtyard Buffet has a Steak & Lobster night on Fridays and Saturdays.  If you eat crab legs and lobster, then the cost is well worth it.  I thought it was a little steep for a buffet but the food was good and we were starving. 

Our first excitement came late Friday night.  We were such beginners on the slots and were playing penny slots.  I finally got the courage to bet up to 30 cents.  My big win came from a 30 cent bet on the Hee-Haw (you in the show with Minnie Pearl) penny slot.  I won a nice amount and cashed out for the night.

Saturday morning, we visited the Courtyard Buffet again for breakfast.  Again, it was a weekend price ($15.99 for BREAKFAST) but it was called the Champagne Brunch.  They had everything!  Since it was brunch, they not only had three kinds of eggs and every breakfast meat you could want, but they had fried chicken and all the fixins.  They had an omlette station and 100lbs of shrimp cocktail.  They even had a chocolate fountain and complimentary champagne.  We decided to venture out and burn off some calories so we drove down to Sam's Town and the Hollywood.  Both were mega-themed and really fun to visit.  We played for a few minutes at Sam's Town (themed like an old western town) where Bobby instantly won...on another Hee-Haw penny machine!!    The Hollywood was a lot of fun.  We checked out their movie memorabilia while playing a little bit of video Blackjack (those computers cheat!).  I played long enough to earn points for a 25 cent lunch.  We had lunch at the Epic Buffet and it was great.  Hubs basically had a Thanksgiving feast while I thoroughly loved their ice cream with more toppings than you could dream of.  Hollywood also has a 50's-Themed Diner that we didn't visit but definitely plan to on our next visit.

We drove around the casino area (which actually lies 12 miles outside of the city limits of Tunica) and decided to go back to rest.  We were exhausted!  After agreeing not to take naps, we both ended up falling asleep for an hour or so.  We headed back down to the casino at Gold Strike and played around for a while.  Watching people get excited at the Craps table or hearing squeals after someone wins is so much fun.  It is truly a fun atmostphere.  We got hungry around 8:30 and visited the Atrium Cafe for dinner.  The cafe is set up to look like you are under a gazebo in a garden.  Even at 9 at night, it felt like the sun was shining indoors.

Sunday morning, we got up and packed.  It was sad to see the weekend almost over but time to get back to real life.  We hit the breakfast buffet one last time and headed home.  It was a fun weekend and a nice getaway.  Birmingham really feels like the center of everything sometimes.  4-5 hours to many great locations.  I love weekend road trips!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Plan - Fail!

I am not organized this week!  But thanks to the awesome links at, I think I'll be able to wing it this week and totally not kill our budget.  Hubs and I went out of town this weekend and I have been totally out of the loop on organizing.

In the freezer we have chicken and hamburger meat and our pantry is still full of sides from our most recenter bulk trip to Sam' we will survive.  Tonight I am definitely making Amanda's Chicken Casserole.  It is easy to fix and is yummy goodness. 

But here is my almost-menu plan for this week:
Saturday - Out of Town.  Ate out...a lot!
Sunday - Dinner with In-Laws
Monday - Chicken Casserole
Tuesday - Willie Nelson Concert with the 'rents and father-in-law.  Most likely hitting a drive-thru
Wednesday - Homemade burgers or hotdogs.  Amanda is coming over so we can work so it'll be something easy.
Thursday - Class Night.  Something Hubs can make...thinking Chili sounds good!
Friday - Another work night with Amanda.  Something fun like Nachos maybe.