Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The GORGEOUS Gaylord Opryland Hotel


Speaking of gorgeous //winky face//



We decided after exploring the District the night before, we'd end our 2 day stop in Nashville
by visiting the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
Let me tell you, you have to see it to believe it!
It's like a whole little city inside a hotel.
You can even take a boat ride to tour the interior of the property.



There is one picturesque spot after another.


Many of the guests were sitting on their balconies enjoying brunch.
I hope to do just the same one of these days.
Course, I'm nuts about window boxes & these were definitely a great added touch.


This was one of my very favorite spots.
It was all set up for a wedding & oh, what a pretty place to get married!
Wow.


This huge arrangement was to die for.
I mean, it was massive!
The picture can't even show it.


Look at this little bistro set all covered with green!
I totally fell in love with this.


Eeekkkk.....nothing could be cuter.
Nothing.


Well, except maybe Gunnar.


And Riley.
{Look at those guns!}
{BTW, there were 2 teenage girls that followed Riley around all through the hotel. Oh my.}


Me & my palm tree obsession.


This one was SO tall ... several floors tall.



Just everywhere you look, there are all kinds of trees, plants, greenery, & flowers!
So lush.
And with the sound of streams & waterfalls, it was very peaceful, even with all the tourists around.



So, our plan is this:  we want to check in here for a few days & maybe not leave!
Why would we?
There are 8 or 10 restaurants, many gift shops & stores, & as you can see, plenty of places to sit & relax.
Sounds like a pretty romantic weekend to me.
Truthfully though, we'd probably have to split our time between this lovely hotel & exploring Nashville.
There's still plenty we want to see in the city.
Either way, we're looking forward to it!

In case you aren't familiar with the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, click on this link
& ready about it's history ... very interesting.








Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wild & Crazy Nashville, Tennessee!


Well, that's how I'd describe the main drag anyway!
Guess I wouldn't use that description for the Gaylord Opryland Hotel,
but if you've been to Nashville, TN on a Friday night walking down the main drag,
you totally know what I'm talking about!







We drove into Nashville from our week's stay on the beach in Perdido Key, Florida.
This was a good half-way home stop & a chance for our family to visit here,
since none of us had before.
We checked into our hotel & headed downtown to find all the action.
And action is precisely what we found!


 This area is called The District.
 There is one honky tonk after another, with lots of restaurants & shops thrown in the mix.


And people ... droves of people the night we were there.
Nearly every place had live music going full swing & the doors were wide open,
music & people spilling out into the streets.
You know what they say about Nashville.
Everyone here is trying to make it big if they haven't already.

















It was pretty neat to see these iconic places.







And for those that couldn't make it on stage in one of the honky tonks, they just played on the sidewalks.
There were lots of these bands playing throughout town.



 We even ran into Elvis.




James decided that Elvis needed a picture with him.



This must've been the night for bachelorette parties cause we saw lots of girlies
with their sashes, crowns, & buttons on.


Had to snap a pic of the 'Batman' building.


 
Garrett liked this shirt, "keep calm & carry gun."
I like Garrett & his awesome tan.
You can tell we just came from from a whole week on the beach.




We were definitely entertained & we laughed our heads off at people.
James captured some pretty funny moments on video, but I'm not so sure that I should post those here ;)

We are planning to go back to Nashville & stay a few days ...
we'd like to visit some of the museums & all the historic places throughout the city.

I'll share pics tomorrow of our visit to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
Boy, is it beautiful & we were so glad we decided to go there.








Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Steak & Chicken Fajitas



Is this not just about some of the prettiest fajita filling you've ever seen?!
I think yes!



I wasn't even planning to share this on the blog, 
but when they turned out looking so festive 
{& perfect},
I quickly grabbed my camera.
When they were equally as delicious, it was a done deal.
They are going on the blog, I said.
Plus, this will help me remember how to duplicate these the next time ;)





You see, I have to admit, although I've made fajitas more times than I could count,
{it's one of our faves!}
I just make them, well, however I'm in the mood to make them.
I don't follow a recipe & they've probably never been the same way twice.
You can do that with fajitas cause it's a pretty general recipe ...
meat {either steak or chicken or both}, peppers, onions, seasonings, fresh tortillas, & toppings.





I sometimes use a seasoning packet specifically for fajitas, but most often I don't.
I open up my spice cabinet & throw in a little of this & a little of that.
I may use fresh tomatoes, I may use canned.
There is usually some variation.
However, they were SO good this time that I may just make them like this every time from now on.






Here's another thing that I like about fajitas.
I love the 'cook once, eat twice' concept.
The chicken breasts I used in this meal were done in the crock pot the day before.
 All I had to do was to shred up the leftovers for this meal.
That helped me pull this together in no time.




So here are the ingredients I used:
  • steak & chicken {about 3 pounds total}
  • peppers & onions {I used 1 red, 1 yellow, & 1 onion}
  • cilantro {a lot - we love it - minimum a 1/2 cup chopped}
  • 2 cans diced chili-ready seasoned tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped 
  • 1 lime

For the seasonings I used:
  • 2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt {or to taste}
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp. garlic powder {or 6 cloves minced}
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dry chicken soup base


Saute steak & chicken in 2 Tbsp. olive oil 
{steak according to your preference & chicken until no longer pink inside}.
Since my chicken was already cooked, I just shredded it & tossed it in with the steak when it was done.
After both meats are in the pan, pour on the seasonings!
This is what really makes a fajita, in my opinion ... the seasoning.
Stir together, making sure all the meat is coated 
& then toss in all the chopped veggies & the canned tomatoes.
{Lots of additional flavor comes from the spicy tomatoes.}
Reduce heat to medium & cover for a few minutes.
The veggies need to soften just a little bit.
Right before serving, squeeze a whole fresh lime {or lemon} over the fajita mixture in the pan.
This adds a bright punch of flavor at the end.


Fill the warm tortillas {I usually serve flour & corn} with the fajita mixture & top with shredded cheese.
Each person can add any additional topping they'd like:
sour cream, avocado, diced onion, lime/lemon, salsa, shredded lettuce, cilantro, etc.



This is a relatively quick meal that's authentic tasting & pretty healthy, to boot.
It's also a great meal for leftovers ... just as good the second day.
For variation, I like serving the fajita mixture over a toss salad.
Top it with ranch dressing & tortilla strips/chips & you've got a delicious southwest-style salad.


Now, get in the kitchen & cook =)










Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The BEST Blueberry Muffins {from my Amish cookbook}


 I LOVE my cookbooks ... my very large collection of cookbooks.
I love all the little slips of paper that are stuck in the fronts of countless books,
where I've jotted down a quick recipe as someone has shared it with me.
Then I have my recipe boxes that are burgeoning with new dishes to try.

And then there's Pinterest.
Lord knows I have more recipes pinned than I'll probably make in this lifetime!




My absolute favorite go-to cookbook though, is my Mennonite one
{I call it my Amish cookbook}
 that my husband bought me in Shipshewana many years ago.  
I can count on it to have just about anything I am looking for ...
and the recipes come out right every time.




This time around, I wanted to make 'from scratch' blueberry muffins.
I knew exactly where I'd find a great recipe.



The real, legit name of these are 'The Best Blueberry Muffins.'
Isn't that so fun?
The cook who came up with this knew she was on to something.



And oh ... they were melt-in-your-mouth good!
My favorite thing about them was how tender & moist the muffins were.



I'm wishing I had one right now!


Aren't these Americana papers so cute?
Just perfect for anything blueberry.



No need to use any other recipe for blueberry muffins.
I'm quite sure none would ever be as yummy as these.
So, print this one off, pin it on Pinterest ... save it somewhere 
cause you will want to come back to this one over & over again.




The Best Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

In medium bowl, beat butter until creamy.  Add 1 cup of sugar & beat until fluffy.
Add eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt & blend.
Mash 1/2 cup blueberries with a fork & mix into batter.
Fold 1/2 of flour into batter and add 1/2 of the milk.
Fold in remaining batter & milk & mix just enough to wet dry ingredients.
Fold remaining blueberries into batter.
Scoop batter into 12 greased muffin cups -- or into paper liners.
Mix 1 Tbsp. sugar & nutmeg & sprinkle small amount on each muffin.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.
{Let cool at least 30 minutes before removing from tin if paper liners are not used.}

*The recipe says this makes 12 muffins, but I got a few more than that.
I'd say for 12, they would be really big muffins, which would be just fine, of course ;)








Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways