Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Parsnips

Hi Friends!!!
Long time no blog, huh?
Over the weekend I wasn’t feeling good, and I sure didn’t want each post to start with “I’m still sick”. I needed to just focus on getting better, relaxing and getting enough rest! I slept most of the weekend and it felt great. Then, once Monday rolled around I just couldn’t get in the right frame of mind to blog. But it was nice to catch up on some of yours.
Anyway, remember Turkey Bingo from last week? Well, the chicken has been thawing in my fridge and last night I finally roasted the damn thing. This was the first time I ever prepared a whole bird — and I was nervous. So I went to Food Network for some help.
I found and folowed the recipe for Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken. How easy good does that sound?
So I got to work.
I laid out my “stuffing” materials: 1 halved lemon, 1 head of garlic cut crosswise, and a bunch of thyme, salt and pepper:
After rinsing my bird and patting him dry, I seasoned him with salt and pepper and stuffed him with the lemon, garlic and thyme. I didn’t have kitchen string, or I would have tied his legs closed. I also gave him a butter bath and seasoned the outside with more salt and pepper.
After chopping up my veggies: 1 sweet potato, 3 parsnips, 1/2 yellow onion and 1/2 bag of baby carrots, I seasoned them with salt, pepper, more thyme and tossed them with some olive oil.
Right about now I thought “this is waaaaay too much thyme”. But I trusted Ina, and I’m so glad I did! I placed the bird on top of the veggies and threw it all in the 425 degree oven for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The house smelled amazing. Jason came home and said the garage smelled phenomenal. It wasn’t too much thyme. Thank God.
Other than roasting the bird the wrong way (he was upside down…) the whole process went well! And it turned out so good. This is my plate:
Haha, no, this is most of the meat I carved off the chicken. I won’t show you any carving pics because I did a pretty terrible job. Oh well. But look at those veggies — most pieces were almost crispy from the roasting — delicious!!!
*I hope you all have a fantastic holiday — be safe and have fun!!!

Turkey Bingo

Hi Friends!

I got home late last night from Turkey Bingo 🙂

Here are some pictures to sum up the evening:


How do I prepare such beasts? Jason thinks we should buy a duck and make a Turducken…I saw no way.

My new turkey weighs 13.7 lbs:

For now, both birds are getting stored in the freezer, since I have never prepared a whole bird on my own.

Question: Have you ever prepared a whole bird on your own? How did it turn out? Is it as daunting of a task as I imagine it to be?

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Life. Tags: . 23 Comments »

Nutella Burger

Hi Friends 
I have been MIA lately – sorry for not reading/commenting much, oh and sorry for no post from me yesterday! Wednesday morning (at work) I suddenly felt very sick. It just hit me like a ton of bricks! I couldn’t keep anything down (not even water) so I went home and slept. I slept all day long, got up to eat some soup that Jason brought me and then went back to bed.
I went into work late on Thursday and now I feel much better. I could barely stay awake and walking across the room was a workout, so there was no way I could read/comment or write a blog post!
Vegas Recap (here is day 1 if you missed it)
Saturday morning we got up pretty early – we were still on Central time (and tried to keep it that way!). Jason had some homework to finish up, so while he worked on that I got a quick workout in: Jessica’s At Home Cardio Blast. Seriously, this is such a nice, quick workout and you don’t need any equipment, which is great for traveling.
Afterward we set out to see the other side of the Strip. We started at the Wynn:

This place was gorgeous!!! There was a wedding later that day so most of the garden area was blocked off.
The Venetian was lovely as well:

I loved going into all of the shops. We thought about taking a gondola ride, but we were ready for lunch. Jason’s brother proposed to his wife on one of these gondolas, how romantic, right?
OMG we ran into Harrison Ford!!!

We walked over to Caesar’s Palace and headed to Mesa Grill (Bobby Flay’s restaurant!):
I love watching Bobby Flay on Iron Chef, and I figured he’d have a great menu. We needed good Vegas food after the big letdown the day before… On the weekends they have a Brunch menu, and I chose the Blue Corn Buttermilk Waffle with Blackberry Bourbon Syrup and Crème Fraiche:
It was unbelievable!!! Doesn’t look like much, but it was very filling. Jason had the Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Ham: 
This meal totally made up for the crummy buffet the day before!!! With full bellies we continued our venture:
Finally, a place I really wanted to visit: M&M World! Jason got a tie and I got some PJs:
4 floors of M&M merchandise. It was such a hilarious place:
We started to head back to the hotel. I wanted a chance to take a nap before going to dinner and then to the show – I did not want to be yawning the whole time! We caught the end of the Bellagio water show:
I also made a new friend:
After a quick hour long nap, we got ready to head to dinner. One of my favorite chefs/judges on Top Chef is Hubert Keller – so we made plans to eat dinner at his Burger Bar in Mandalay Bay.
This place was amazing! We started off with some beer, Blue Moon for me, Fat Tire for Jason:
I got the Hubert Keller Burger:
(Buffalo, caramelized onions, baby spinach, bleu cheese on a ciabatta roll)
And Jason got the Kobe beef burger with zucchini fries:
I can’t even describe how good this food was. The spinach and caramelized onions AND bleu cheese tasted so amazing. I wish I could go back and eat this all over again!
But the best part of dinner hadn’t even come out yet:
The Nutella Burger. Oh yes.
A bun made of a glazed donut, a Nutella mousse patty, topped with passion fruit gelatin (cheese!), strawberries (tomato) and kiwi (lettuce)
We grabbed a cab and headed to the Bellagio to see “O”.
I wish I could have taken some pictures, but I understand that it can be dangerous for the artists to see flashes, etc during their performances. Just believe me when I say that I was in awe the entire time! The stage was a large pool of water that opened/closed many times throughout the performance – so sometime the artists were in water, and other times not. Here is a picture of the stage from the Bellagio website:
As you can see, the center of the stage is a pool of water — the artists would perform in the water and on the stage (and in the air!). I was amazed the entire time.
Absolutely amazing. After the show we walked back to the hotel and called it a night.
I would go back to Vegas just to see O or another Cirque show and to eat at Mesa Grill and Burger Bar again. Ok, I’d go just for Burger Bar!
Have a good weekend everyone!

I Walked 9 Miles for Trump Pizza

Hi Friends 
Aaaaaaaand its Hump Day! The week is flying by!
If you missed Day 1 in Vegas click *here*. Onto Day 2:
We got up at about 2:30am. This was really rough for the both of us. We had tickets to see the KQRS morning show (a local MN radio station was broadcasting live in Vegas that weekend) – I listen to them every morning so I thought it would be fun.
I was wrong.
I figured the entire audience would be drunk, and I was right, but they weren’t “funny drunk” like I thought they would be. They were “annoying-won’t-stop-talking-super-loud-drunk”. Plus the show had really lame guests. PLUS we had to take a $40 cab ride to get to the casino (it was in downtown Vegas, not on the Strip).
I did like the Golden Nugget Casino/Hotel though. Lots of Dave Chihuly art pieces (or Chihuly knockoffs!)

So, our trip was not off to a great start. We headed back to the hotel and took a long nap. After a few hours we got up, got ready and headed towards the Strip:

A friend suggested that we eat at the buffet in Caesar’s Palace. He claimed it is “the best buffet in Vegas”. I thought it would be a great place to eat.
I was wrong. Again.
I didn’t even take any pictures because it was so sad – the most pathetic salad bar you could ever see: iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, olives and 2 kinds of dressing, and other foods not worth mentioning. The dessert bar was ok:
I was in a really bad mood after such a mediocre lunch. But we kept walking… 
Finally we got to the Bellagio and bought our tickets to see O on Saturday night (my mood improved after that!) There we saw more Chihuly art on the ceiling and some HUGE pumpkins!!!
It finally got dark and we got to see the lights! We continued to meander through the casinos and hotels:
Finally we got to the “end”: The Luxor and Excalibur. I think Excalibur is the cutest casino – I just love the design.
We were so tired from getting up early to go to the lame radio show that we headed back to the hotel.

9 miles!!! No wonder our legs were so sore. We ordered room service for dinner (again!)

Cheese/Tomato Pizza for me:

Turkey sandwich/waffle fries for Jason:
Looking back, it doesn’t look like we did much on our trip so far. To be honest it was just such a relief to get out of our house, to get out of town, to not have to work and to spend some time together! It felt great to be outside and just to explore a new place!
Trump Pizza was pretty good — tell me about your favorite pizza!

First Night in Vegas

Hi Friends 🙂
I thought about writing one long Vegas recap, but I decided to break it down a bit.
Let’s start with Thursday. Jason and I both worked until noon that day – then met up to get haircuts. I decided to get a few inches chopped off and I also got some bangs. I have no idea why I wanted to do that. I haven’t had bangs since 6th grade! It is so nice to be back to shorter hair though…
My dad drove us to the airport where we learned that there were seats available in First Class – for $200 we upgraded and didn’t have to pay for our 2 checked bags (which would have cost us $50) so we decided it was a good deal and was worth it (and it was!)
It was so nice to have 3 hours to eat, drink and talk! I’m planning on making some blog changes in the next few weeks and it was nice to have the time to really talk about it all. After 3 hours we were in Vegas!!!
We ended up renting a limo to get to our hotel – I forgot to snap a picture, maybe it was the excitement from getting there, or the drinks from the plane…
The Trump Hotel was fabulous – just a block off the Strip and across the street from the Wynn and Encore. Every day I reminded myself to take a pic of the outside of the Trump hotel – and I kept putting it off and then I never took one!  Here’s a pic from their website:

But seriously, the service at Trump was great and we would definitely stay there again. I only wish they had a shuttle that would drop you off at the other end of the Strip (Mandalay Bay). I didn’t like paying for taxis all the time and walking around sure got tiring (more on that tomorrow).
Our room was lovely and the room service on Thursday night was wonderful:
I had a big Cobb salad with romaine, hard boiled eggs, bacon, bleu cheese, grape tomatoes, turkey breast, avocado:

Jason had the hot pepper sandwich with waffle fries:
And we shared the chips/salsa/ (and unpictured) guac:

And the guac was so good 🙂
We actually went to bed around 10pm on Thursday night – too tired to get out and do anything. I kept asking Jason if we are super boring for staying in that night – and he kept saying no, so please tell me he was right 🙂 
Tomorrow I will write about our day on Friday – I am still getting into “back to normal” mode. You know the routine: laundry non stop for days, going back to work, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining!
What do you like do after getting home from a trip? I like to get a load of laundry started, take a shower and then take a nap.
Posted in Life. Tags: . 19 Comments »

Home Sweet Home

Hi Friends 🙂
We are back from Vegas — and it feels soooo good to be back in our house with our bed, our shower, our food, etc. Back to normal. Oh, except for this:
Yep, it snowed while we were gone 😦
I’ll have my Vegas recap ready tomorrow morning. Enjoy your day!
Vegas Part 1: Flying First Class
Vegas Part 2: Trump International Hotel
1. What did you do over the weekend?
2. How is the weather near you?
Posted in Life. 20 Comments »

Vegas Part 2: I Love Donald Trump

Hi Friends 🙂

Check out our suite at Trump International!

Yes we have two bathrooms in our suite 🙂

We are basically across the Strip from the Wynn/Encore:

Tell me about your favorite hotel experience!


Posted in Life. Tags: , . 25 Comments »

Vegas Trip Part 1: I Love First Class

Hi Friends 🙂

Long story short: we upgraded to First Class (best decision!!!) and it was totally worth it. Here is our trip from Minneapolis to Las Vegas so far:

Saturday: Our FABULOUS suite at Trump Tower 🙂


Posted in Life. Tags: . 22 Comments »

Blueberry Banana Baked French Toast & Vegas Bound

Hi Friends 🙂
Today is the day Jason and I leave for Vegas!!! I am so excited about this trip 🙂
Thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions on where to eat and what to see. I’ll be blogging each morning with a little recap for the day before.
For now I will leave you with our breakfast:
Blueberry Banana Baked French Toast
I originally found this recipe on the Weight Watchers recipe board – but I’ve tweaked quite a few things, and you can adjust the recipe to any size – I made enough for 2 servings but you could easily double the recipe and make it in a larger dish.
4 pieces of bread 
2 eggs
1 cup milk – I used unsweetened Almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cinnamon
1 sliced banana (and more for topping)
1/2 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat baking dish with nonstick spray (or use butter). Lay 2 slices of bread in bottom and mush together as necessary. Cover bread with sliced bananas and blueberries. Mix eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour ½ of liquid mixture on top of bread/fruit. Cover with the rest of your bread and pour rest of liquid mixture on top. Use a spatula to smoosh the bread to completely saturate it. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes (or until done)
Layer 1:
Topped with bread and saturated with egg/almond milk:

You know it is done baking when the blueberry juice oozes out!
Top with more banana slices and serve:
This was the perfect send off breakfast 🙂
Work until noon then home to finish packing and then we’re off to the airport!
Where was your last vacation? Would you go back?

Chocolate Covered Holly

Hi Friends 🙂

Yeah, yeah, I swiped my name from Chocolate Covered Katie – and after tonight you could maybe mistake me for her! Check out the treats I made:

Peanut Butter Melties

I made some with regular old PB, Barney Butter AB and others with Nuttzo. The Barney Butter ones took FOREVER to freeze.

Once you click on the recipe you will see why this is the easiest treat you can make. 🙂 The hardest part is waiting for them to freeze!

Also in CCK’s honor, I decided to try her Single Lady Cupcake, with a few modifications. I used TJ’s Peanut Flour in CCK’s original recipe, and I also added some mashed banana and a few pecan pieces as well.

And since I’m not a single lady, maybe this is the Married Lady Who Wants to Make One Cupcake for Herself and Not Share Cupcake?

Well I did share – Jason had half and I had the other half. I would have had more but I had Peanut Butter Melties in my freezer 🙂

I think the peanut flour made it really dense — but the inside was still gooey and tasted really good. More like a muffin than a cupcake, which is fine with me!


I’ve been spending a ton of time packing and planning our trip:

I cannot wait until we leave on Thursday 🙂


1. The Peanut Butter Melties are seriously a super quick little treat – what is your favorite quick treat?

2. How do you prepare for trips? Do you make lists? Do you pack a few days ahead of time or do you pack last minute?