Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm Back . . . Kind Of

Ok, so I've been back from Vegas since Sunday but have kind of taken a break on everything this week including blogging.  I don't know if it is the post-Vegas blues, a touch of the yuckies, or maybe a little too much sauce while in Vegas but I just have felt very blah this week.  

So blah, in fact, that I even missed Cardinal Opening Day.  If you knew me, you'd know that this is not normal!!!  I usually have an Opening Day Countdown Calendar that begins the first of January but for some reason, I just not that excited about it.  I contemplated all week whether I was going to go or not and finally made the decision last night.  I think some of it had to do with the fact that Scott wasn't going to get to be there.  Between regular work, Kanin's soccer starting, and dj'ing it just wasn't feasible for Scott to go down for it and I guess there was something about being down there without him that just took the fun out of it.

So here I sit on my couch getting ready to watch the festivities.  Opening Day in St. Louis is unlike anything else.  I am starting to get just a touch of remorse but only because I will miss seeing these guys:

I will also miss this guy throwing out the first pitch.

Oh well, it's too late now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Fun Weekend Getaway

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's fun to stay at the Hilton  Well, get your cowboy or construction worker outfit together and head out to Branson, MO on May 13th to see the Village People.  The Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing is offering  fantastic, exclusive ticket and rooming packages starting at $219.  How much would it be to get a bunch of girlfriends together for a girls' weekend and do some disco dancing.

Even if you weren't a child of the disco era, you can re-live the fun of the '70's with such hits as "Macho Man," "Boogie Oogie Oogie," and, of course, "YMCA" with the Village People at the Branson Tri-Lakes Center.  After the show, hang around for autographs and photo sessions before heading back to the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing to check out the nightlife on Branson Landing.  Or, if your dancing shoes are killing you by the end of the night, go back and fall into your plush Hilton Serenity collection bed.

After staying at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing as part of your concert package, go over and check in at Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel for an extra couple of days of fun. Silvery Dollar City,  Payne Stewart Golf Club, and Table Rock Lake are only a few of the attractions available in the Branson area.

For more information on the Village People concert package, performing May 13th, check out the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Where April Eats: Blues City Cafe

Blues City Cafe
138 Beale Street Memphis, TN  38103
Phone # 901-526-3637
My senior year of college and the couple years after graduation, my friends and I used to spend a lot of time in Memphis on the weekends.  We had so much fun on Beale Street just dancing, listening to music and being silly. 

On one of my very first trips to Memphis, probably around 1997, we ate at the Blues City Cafe and I discovered what has become an obsession . . . their Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms ($6.95). These little caps of joy are so sweet, delicious, buttery, fatty and yummy that I kid you not when I joined the Army in 1999, I would literally dream about Blues City Cafe's Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms.  They are so delicious.  They are cooked in and come out in an 8-inch iron skillet full of melting, hot butter and they are just divine.

Last year Scott had business in Memphis and, of course, I wanted to go.  We had our meals planned for the entire weekend but I made him take me to Blues City Cafe right before we left so I could have my mushrooms.  Scott didn't even eat that day, he just sat there and watched me having a blissful heart attack with my butter-cooked Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms.

Let me know if any of you have been or if you go in the future.  I'd like to hear what other people think about the places that I love.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sponsor Highlight: Made For You Lifestyles, LLC

A while back my friend, Lea Anne, started a company called
Made For You Lifestyles, LLC.  It is such a great idea and concept and I'm excited to share some of the benefits with you all.

For only $50 Lea Anne, a registered dietician, will provide the following:
1-hour nutrition consultation on the phone or skype
30 minute follow-up on the phone or skype
2 weeks of meal plans with shopping lists
On-going email support

 
For $175 you will receive a 3 months of nutrition and lifestyle changes all online.  Included is the following: For the online weight loss program the first session will be over the phone, skype or instant messenger your choice!

 1 hour initial session over the phone or skype
Making Meals Work and fitness
How to eat out ◦Virtual Grocery Store Tour
2 follow up and goal setting sessions
On-going e-mail support
Weight loss Workbook and Calorie Counting Book

How incredible would it be to go to the grocery store with a healthy shopping list in hand.  No getting distracted.  No putting those fatty, high sodium items into your cart and then into your body. 
Made For You Lifestyles takes the guess-work out of healthy living.  There are several options and several programs from which to choose all in an effort to provide you with the most convenient support possible.

Go check out Made For You Lifestyles.  You can click here or on the button at the top of the page.

If you'd like to sponsor this blog, there is space available for $5/month or I will barter for reviews of your products.  Contact me by clicking on the email icon above.

March Vegas Trip

I'm back to everyday life again from our latest trip to Vegas.  Our niece, Alissa, turned 21 a while back but is on Spring Break from Mizzou right now so we decided to celebrate her birthday a little late but out in Vegas.

Scott and I got there a day earlier than everyone else.  I just can't tell you the feeling I get when we land, it is literally like arriving at my 2nd home.  I'm always so giddy and happy and can't wait to see the first signs of the Strip.

Friday night we went to eat at Kerry's Gourmet Burgers and Vodka Bar (KGB).  It is a real hip and swank joint located in Harrah's (right by thte Oyster Bar).  More on KGB and what we ate in a separate post.



After dinner, we tried our luck at blackjack at O'Shea's. . . not good, not good at all.  We ended up back at Harrah's for some video poker action.

I was hoping that it was going to be a little warmer.  It wasn't cold but it definitely was not swimsuit weather, either.  Here is a pic of the snow-capped mountains behind Ceasar's.

One of our favorite traditions is to have lunch at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.  We always go there and get chicken nachos and strawberry daquiries.  We also leave with a Jimmy Buffet's Lone Palm ale.



View from the decktop at Jimmy Buffett's. 



The chicken nachos are so huge and there is no way we could finish them all.  I felt so wasteful throwing over half of them away . . .

After lunch and while we were waiting on family to arrive, we walked down to our favorite people-watching spot.  It is this little outdoor area right underneath the Eiffel Tower at the Paris.  You can see the Bellagio fountains and watch everyone walking by.  That is Scott with his back to me.


The family arrived in the afternoon and we all hung out for a bit.  Then we headed out to dinner at the Hofbrauhaus.

The Hofbrauhaus is across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe.


We discovered the Hofbrauhaus a few trips ago and now we go back everytime.  It is so much fun and very reasonably priced.  There is a band that comes over and rotates in/out from Munich.

The beers are big and cold.




Besides the band, part of the fun at the Hofbrauhaus is watching people get paddled when they do a shot.  Not sure if this is a true German thing but it sure provides a lot of entertainment.

All of the men in our party (besides Scott who already did it back in June) took the paddle.



Our nephew, Paul, got a few extra swats because "He is a Marine and can take it."  Notice the woman in the back taking a picture?  She wasn't with our party but just thought it was entertaining.

Here is the birthday girl, Alissa.

 David, Debbie, and Alissa



There was a fantastic cover band at Bally's.  You have to go there!  They sang the absolute cover of Prince's Purple Rain that I have ever heard.  Even Scott and Paul had a great time dancing.



Before we left Vegas on Sunday, we had breakfast at Hash House A Go Go at the Imperial Palace.  Don't judge it by it's location, it was awesome.  (Another post on this later, too).  Here is a pic of Scott's Tractor Trailor with scrambled eggs, bacon, and a Snickers pancake.  As you can tell, the portion sizes are so big that they can easily be shared.


So now here I am back in STL and trying to get back into the swing of things and already planning our next trip.

Where April Eats: Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab

First posted on June 2, 2010 from a different blog.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab
3500 Las Vegas Blvd S Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
Las Vegas, NV 89109 Phone:
702-792-9222

Joe's was recommended to me by a friend who lives in Las Vegas.  Located on the bottom floor of the Forum Shops at Ceasar's Palace, Joe's reminded me of an old Italian restaurant with the dark wood and white linens.  There is a indoor patio area, a bar area and then a larger dining room. We were led into the bar area for drinks until our table was ready and then moved to our table. 

Let me start off by saying that the service was superb.  We had our waiter and at least 2 other "helpers" assigned to our table to literally be at our beck and call.  Anything and everything we wanted or thought about wanting was immediately taken care of.

There were 5 people in my party and we started off with Stone Crab Appetizer ($19.95) which was definitely not a large order but Scott and I were able to split it.  After the appetizer, everyone at the table was given the warm towels to wash up and then the rest of our meal came out. Now, here is where I made my mistake, I ordered the filet mignon ($35.95) and Scott and I split the Jennie's Mashed Potatoes ($7.95).  I say that I made a mistake because when the name of the joint is called Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab you should probably order either Seafood, Prime Rib or Stone Crab--duh!  My filet was fine but it was definitely not the best steak that I have ever had and it wasn't really even memorable. Let's move on to the good stuff . . . Scott ordered the Jumbo Alaskan King Crab legs ($59.95).  These crab legs were unlike ANY I have ever had before.  From the presentation until the last morsel, they were fantastic.  They rolled the crab legs out on a white linen draped cart and a special server was there with his scissors to cut open each leg and to make the meat extremely easy to get to.  Once they put them in front of Scott, I looked down at my $40 steak and I was jealous, if you can imagine that. These crab legs were as thick and round as two of my fingers put together.  They were the moistest, juiciest, sweetest crab legs that I have ever tasted.  They were so huge and he got so many that he couldn't finish them.  Of course, when he was paying $60 for one entree, you better believe we finished them all.  They were absolutely fantastic.  I just cannot say enough about them. One of the people in our party ordered the Lyonnaise potatoes ($7.95) and they put my Jennie's Mashed Potatoes to shame.  They reminded me of old-fashioned German potatoes made with onions and they were crispy and yummy.

If you are looking for a nice, but pricey, place to eat in Vegas, I'd give this place a try.  We had a concert at the Coliseum the night of our dinner at Joe's and it was so convenient to just eat and then walk through the Forum Shops to get to the show.

Let me know if any of you have been or if you go in the future. I'd like to hear what other people think about the places that I love.

Where April Eats: Mon Ami Gabi

I am transferring some restaurant posts over from my last other blog.  This will initially posted on June 2, 2010.

Mon Ami Gabi
Paris Resort and Casino
3655 Las Vegas Blvd.
South Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone #:  702.944.4224
Mon Ami Gabi is one of my favorite restaurants that I've gone to in Vegas.  It isn't necessarily the food, although it is really good, but it is more for the atmosphere.  Mon Ami Gabi is located in the Paris Hotel and Casino at the base of the Eiffel Tower.  It is also right across the street from the Bellagio so while there you can sit and watch the fountains go off about every 20-30 minutes.

I am a filet girl so when I do go eat at Mon Ami Gabi, I always order the Filet Mignon ($31.95).  I also usually share the Garlic Spinach ($6.95) and the Mon Ami Ceasar Salad ($8.95) with Scott.  The steak is always prepared to perfection (medium) and very moist and juicy. I like this place because if you didn't want to spend that much money for a lunch or dinner, you could still go on a sunny afternoon for appetizers and drinks and watch the fountains and do some great people watching. 

I just can't say enough about this location. Let me know if any of you have been or if you go in the future.  I'd like to hear what other people think about the places that I love.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Today's Hot Deal-Mega Swagbucks Day

Don't forget that today is Friday's Mega Swagbucks Day.  Sign up for a Swagbucks account and earn points for doing your everyday searches.  Redeem your points for prizes or gift cards.  Super easy!

Earn 30 Swagbucks for signing up today! 

Tweeting from Vegas

I'll be tweeting from Vegas.  You can follow or tweet me at:

aprilhendrix9

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend and hope I come home with more money than I'm taking!!



Are You Kidding Me?

2 days ago it was in the '70's.

Today:


Horrible picture but this is golf-ball sized snow.  I've never seen flakes so big.  It was taken this morning.

What planet am I living on?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What I'm Packing for Vegas

If you haven't noticed, Hottie Scottie and I love Vegas.  The first few times we went I packed so many clothes.  I mean so many clothes that it looked like I was moving there.  Over the trips, though, I've learned how to consolidate outfits and re-use.  My goal for this trip was to just take a carry-on but with all of the airline rules for hair care/make-up products we will have to check a bag.

Anyway, I should say that when we go to Vegas we do not go clubbing.  As a matter of fact, I have not been to one single club while in Vegas.  Sure, there are a couple that I'd like to go to just to say that I've been but I have no desire to pay a ridiculous cover charge, wait out in a huge line to be picked to come in, and then pay upwards of $10 for a drink.  It's just not my thing.  In my younger days you can bet that I would have been all over it.  LOL

Having said that, none of the clothes I'm taking are over-the-top or club-worthy.

We have got our trips down to a science.  We get in early Friday afternoon and fly out late Sunday night.  So I need 4 to 5 outfits in that time period.


Clearly, I still need iron.



I am also taking a pair of jeans "just-in-case".  I figure anything that I need and I don't have then that will just give me an excuse to go shopping.  Woohoo!

I always try to carry larger purses so that I can bring along an extra pair of shoes.  My friend, Janice, thinks that is hilarious but if you have ever walked the Las Vegas Strip in 3 1/2 inch heels then you understand the need for a spare pair.

I know a few people have commented on how often we go out to Vegas, look for a post on "How to stay in Vegas for free" very soon.

A Recipe: Turkey Manicotti

Turkey Manicotti from Taste of Home Magazine
1/4 cup bulgur
2/3 cup boiling water
3/4 lb lean ground turkey
1-1/2 cups (12 oz)
2% cottage cheese
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
14 uncooked manicotti shells
1 jar (28 oz) meatless spaghetti sauce
1 cup (4 oz) part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions:  Preheat 350 degrees.  Place the bulgur in a large bowl; stir in boiling water.  Cover and let stand for 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Drain and squeeze dry. In a nonstick skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Add the cottage cheese, basil oregano, salt, pepper and bulgur.  Stuff into uncooked manicotti shells.  Arrange in a 13x9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine spaghetti sauce and water; pour over shells.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until shells are tender and sauce is bubbly.  Uncover; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Here's what you'll need:
Boil 2/3 cups of water.
Measure 1/4 cup of bulgur.  Add the boiling water to the bulgur, stir it and then cover it.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Brown the turkey.
Once the turkey is brown, add the sour cream, the basil and oregano.
Strain the bulgur of water and add it to the turkey.
 Fill the uncooked manicotti with the turkey mixture and line them in a 9x13 baking dish.
Spread spaghetti sauce over the noodles and cover with tin foil. 
Into the oven for about an hour.
Take the tin foil off and spread Italian cheese over it.  Put back in for about 5 minutes until it melts.
What you'll end up with:
Our Thoughts:
I was so excited to cook with bulgur wheat.  I don't think I have ever even tasted it.  I found it really easy to cook and it tasted good, too.
The meat mixture was actually better by itself than it was in the noodles with the sauce and cheese.  Scott and I agreed that the turkey/cottage cheese/bulgur combination would be great as a breakfast food, either by itself or maybe mixed in with some scrambled eggs.  In fact, we liked it so much that I saved the leftover meat for breakfast in the morning!  Check out the breakfast recipe HERE.
Another added bonus is that this dish was pretty healthy.  I couldn't find whole wheat noodles at Schnuck's but they are probably available at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.
Overall, a successful dish.
Hope you enjoy!
April
----------------
****(4 Stars)--This dish was good. There wasn't a whole lot that we would do differently. We will have it again.