Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spinach Pesto Tacos

Tacos don't always have to be made with the traditional ingredients. Sometimes it's fun to add new things...things you wouldn't necessarily think of adding..try it with a twist!
And thus, Spinach Pesto Tacos was born.
First, brown 1/2 of a small onion with in a tablespoon of olive oil.
Next, brown about a pound and a half of hamburger meat. Sprinkle in 1/2 packet of taco seasoning. This was made using the Taco Bell brand and it worked really well. 
While the meat is browning, prepare one bag of frozen spinach, then drain.
Mix this into the browned meat along with 1/2 cup of basil pesto.
You can also add in a can of Rotel or hot sauce.
Mix all ingredients well. 
You don't have to use the larger, stand up shells, but it does make it easier for baking.
Preheat the over at 350...stuffed the shells, layer on some shredded colby jack cheese and put the tacos in the over for about 10 mins. Just long enough for the cheese to melt
and the shells to get crispy.
.........THEN ........
a smart idea emerged.... add chopped tomatoes and avocado to the meat filling,
THEN layer with cheese and bake.
Sheer perfection!
Such a fun twist to your traditional taco.
There are so many varieties one could come up with....
shrimp with spinach and white cheese...
ground turkey with tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella cheese...
salmon with dirty rice and dill, a touch of lemon juice, then topped with a Greek yogurt...
there really is no end to the creations one could dream up.
Cooking doesn't necessarily have to be about following a set of rules.
It should be fun, imaginative and show a part of who you are.....
crazy little quirks and all!

Las Vegas Pt 2

Monday the girls and I got up, had breakfast at the Bellagio and then walked back over to the Venetian...
 I LOVE the Venetian, Las has to be one of my top, most favorite, and in my 
opinion, beautiful, hotels on the Strip.
After Emil and I got married, we took a gondola ride. He did it more for me...he wasn't so thrilled.
As the gondolier was serenading us, Emil said, "Come on, don't treat me like I'm stupid. Your name is probably something like Sven and you're probably from Switzerland...don't give me that fake Italian accent...just be yourself..."
So, our gondolier was from Austria and I don't remember his name. 
But the architecture of the hotel itself is just so pretty and I could literally waste hours there.

Inside it's  beautiful as well. It must be fun to work there and see it's prettiness everyday.
Or, maybe it would wear off...and you'd get tired of it.

I don't know. I surely don't think I would tire of this view.
It's not too bad. 
So after visiting the Venetian, the girls and I walked down the strip to eventually make our way to the Luxor to go to the Titanic museum.
Little did I know CC's boyfriends were going to be there...
or I was saying, her brother husbands!!

Lena loved the sky light of the Bellagio.
My girls entertained themselves while patiently waiting on  me to purchase a new purse.
I walked into the store knowing EXACTLY what purse I wanted and was ready to make the purchase right then... however, the sales lady kept pushing me to a more expensive purse and bringing out all these different styles. Each purse she brought came along with the line, "This is the most popular style right now." or  "This is the one everyone is wanting."
Ok...maybe so...but first of all, I am not EVERYONE and second of all, if I'm purchasing a purse that costs as much as my mortgage, let me leave with the one I came in to buy in the first place. 
She didn't get the sell and I left with out the purse.
She completely blew my Louis Vuitton experience.
Oh well, it wasn't meant to be.
We girls took the monorail from the Flamingo to MGM. From there we crossed over to the New York, New York Hotel and Casino and took the tram down from Excalibur to Luxor.
No one was in our car, so the girls cut up.
See CC's McDonald's drink??
We were SO excited to find a McD's in MGM and get a sweet tea for me and a Dr. Pepper for them.
You get thirsty in the desert and darn it...they charge crazy mad prices for water!

The girls loved the Luxor hotel and casino.
It really is so unique! 
The Titanic Museum is located inside and it was on our MUST DO list!
Unfortunately, you had to turn your camera's off and could not take any photographs. 

The Titanic exhibit was beyond beautiful. I would do it again.
There were so many artifacts...plates brought up from the ocean, a doctor's case, an artist's pencils. 
A perfume maker was on his way to New York and his oils were found on the ocean floor. 
There were held in a special case so that you could still smell them.
There was also an exact replica of the Titanic's Grand Staircase.
We did have our photograph taken on it. 

I took these images from the web. I guess someone was brave enough to take photos!
These potteries were a mixture of serving pieces and personal knick knacks recovered from the site. 
This was a replica of a third class room. I found it interesting that there were only two bathrooms for the  700 third class passengers and they were only allowed to bathe once a week.

This was the bedroom suite for first class passengers. Now, this does not include the dressing room, smoking room, drawing room and en suite rest room...just the bedroom.

This is an actual piece of the Titanic. And just to give you an idea of how huge it really is...
this portion covered the dressing room and sitting room of one of the first class suites. It was so extremely massive, a special crane had to be constructed to lift it from the ocean floor. Then it had to be carefully cleaned and made safe to be on exhibit. This photo does not do it justice. It was massive... 
There was also an actual temperature iceberg there for you to touch. The sign tells that salt water freezes at a much lower rate than regular water. So, the waters that night were below normal freezing, around 28 degrees.  
Our most favorite part of the entire exhibit was the deck. It was made exactly as the first class deck on the Titanic and it was beautiful!
It was completely silent and serene. The "sky" was black with just white stars piercing through.
There was a chill in the room and you didn't want to leave. 
We stood by the deck and just looked out at the stars for quite a while. 
After the Titanic I took the girls to New York, New York. 
The loved it!!
We walked back up the Strip and met our Papa Bear for dinner.

All I wanted to go to the Paris Hotel and Casino and having their buffet. I still haven't gotten to do that.
But we did have dinner at an Italian restaurant there.
I loved the chandeliers there....
and of course the hall of mirrors... 
The restaurant was nothing to brag about. My wine was warm and it sucked. And our waiter said it probably would have been better chilled...ok...then why didn't you serve it chilled?
He brings me the most expensive the wrong temperature...
We heard all about his ex-wife that is a cashier there...she's actually his third wife...
and he admitted he forgot to bring our to-go boxes. 
He finally brought them out, with no take-home flat wear...
you would think for almost $200 the dinner would have been a bit better.
So I still haven't gotten to have their buffet or do the Eiffel tower ride..
I guess I'll have to save that for next time!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Our Vegas Vacation Pt.1

We've been wanting to take the girls on vacation and were going back and forth as to exactly where to go. Originally the girls and I planned to go to Seattle, Leavenworth and Vancouver for our vacation, however, after all the slip and slide accidents I receive calls for, insured slipping on slushy, icy roads and sliding into snowbanks, trees, other vehicles... I decided we would go somewhere quiet the opposite.
So, we went to Las Vegas...definitely wouldn't be any icy, snowy roads in the desert.
Our flight there was perfect. We had an awesome "flight buddy" that kept us entertained and laughing the entire ride. One of my favorite things about flying to Vegas is flying over the Grand Canyon...It is just so very, very pretty!

It was a fun, enjoyable easy flight....wish I could say the same about our flight home! :-( 
We stayed at the Flamingo. It's always been one of my favorites I guess because of it's history. Emil was less than thrilled about staying was nice, recently renovated, cutely decorated and designed and it had a PERFECT view!! 
Yes, our bathroom had a TV on the fun! 

At night we had the perfect view of Bellagio's fountains. CC was none too thrilled to hear the fountains every fifteen minutes....I, however, loved it!
Our first night, after getting settled in to our room, we walked over to Caesar's Palace to find something good for dinner. 

Lena LOVED this hoodie.....
We had a fabulous dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Spago.
It was THE BEST pizza ever... and we were all too tired to take any pictures.  

Papa Bear and I played a little slots back at our hotel. 
We didn't do too bad. 
It was fun and relaxing and exactly what I needed!
The next day he went off to his poker tournament. 
The girls and I did some shopping at Caesar's and watched their free shows and then dumped our goods back off at our hotel.
Then we headed down to Planet Hollywood for lunch/early dinner at Yolo's.
Yes, we left San Antonio to go to Las Vegas and eat Mexican food...
go figure!
I enjoyed my Watermelon Margarita. 
It was perfect, cool and refreshing....
I wish I had one right now....
I tried to Chile Rellano. It was good...spicy as heck..but sure good! 
Lena chose the Roasted Chipotle Chicken w/mushroom sauce.
Again, very spicy but good! 
The real winner of the night though was CC's drunken chicken nachos.
They were actually an appetizer, she chose them as her entree...
I have NEVER, EVER in my life tasted nachos that good.
I would seriously go back to Vegas JUST to have those nachos...
and they were only $10!!!

We stopped by the Cupcakery and picked up a few cupcakes, 
CC was so excited to pick up a wedding menu for their pop-up weddings 
starting at $99!! 
Oh geez!!
We walked alllll the way back up to the Bellagio just in time to see  the fountains
dance to Bocelli's "Time To Say Goodbye." 

It was a perfect, but exhausting day.
Little did my feet know that was just the beginning....
my girls had so much fun taking in all the sights of the strip.