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Christmas in Little Rock

23 Dec

Christmas in Little Rock

After a loooooong day of travel yesterday, we finally made it to my parents house last night. We left our house in Nashville about 11:30 in the morning, and went straight to Sonic. Caroline didn’t eat breakfast, so we figured might as well get lunch out of the way.

I just love that dollar Junior Burger. It’s really a great value. My big diet coke costs more than the entire food portion of my meal… but worth it because of styro foam cup with long lasting ice!

About 2 hours down the road we hit a major traffic standstill, so my nerves were fried.

The only remedy I know on the road for fried nerves is a Dairy Queen stop.

Their holiday Blizzard “Reindeer Bites” will really calm you down. Put life back in perspective…

It has caramel, toasted coconut, chocolate chunks and pie pieces in it. Whuuuuuuuuuuuuuut?

Can you tell this post is going to be about food?

We finally made it to mom and dad’s house just in time for supper. I’m going to give you a recipe for this delicious casserole that my mom made and you are going to make it and then you are going to email me and thank me. It’s pretty basic, but anytime something mixes sour cream, egg noodles and ro-tel, it’s worth repeating…

Before that, though, I must give a BIG SHOUT OUT to Mrs. Genny Vaught!!!! This is my really close friend Marcia’s mother. She is forever giving me gifts for all occasions, and Tuesday night while we were at the Rockettes, Marcia delivered her mother’s gift to me and left it on my back porch.

It had lots of fun little napkins and “gifts that coordinate with my house” as Marcia said, but the best part was the MOST DELICIOUS cheeseball and YUMMY fudge. (I actually haven’t eaten the fudge yet, but it will be yummy no doubt.)

See, I have been CRAVING a cheeseball since the beginning of the month. Just ask the girls. Every night on the bus…”Ya’ll, I reaaaaaaaaaally wish we had a cheeseball. Waaaaaaaah!”

What says Christmas (in a savory way) more than a cheeseball? That someone would take extra time to mix all that goodness together, shape it into a ball, roll it in nuts, and send along coordinating crackers???? Seriously, Miss Genny. You are the nicest.

I want you to know that I packed that cheeseball and that fudge up in a little cooler bag with an ice pack and drove it all the way to Little Rock. (Well, David drove it all the way to Little Rock.)

The first thing I did when I walked in the door was set that sucker out and dive in…

I ate all that you see gone in this photo….in like 5 minutes.

Because of Miss Genny my Christmas was complete.

So here is the recipe for

BEEF LOMBARDI

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (14.5 oz )can chopped tomatoes
1 (10 oz can) Ro-tel (mom said she used mild)
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (6oz can tomato paste)
1 bay leaf
1 (6oz pkg) medium egg noodles
6 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

COOK ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain.
STIR in chopped tomatoes and next 4 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and bay leaf, and simmer 30 minutes.
COOK egg noodles according to package directions and drain.
STIR together cooked egg noodles, chopped green onions and sour cream until blended.
PLACE noodle mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with cheeses.
BAKE, covered with aluminum foil at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover casserole, and bake 5 more minutes.

This says it makes about six servings. That’s probably about right. Mom also made a spaghetti pie, so we actually had a little left over….

The cousins were reunited! This is Caroline and Grant acting crazy, which is all they do…

This is Davis and Boppa….Davis is chillin out and my dad is sporting his POG shirt…

And this was dessert…Red Velvet Brownies….

I love you mommy…

I must go now….time to take the kids to Aunt Rara’s house to make sugar cookies. Just what momma needs!

Full and happy,
Shelley

Christmas Taco Finale

20 Dec

We had our very last show of our Home for the Holidays tour last night in South Carolina. Thanks to all who came out to see the show. I hope we helped get you in the holiday spirit!

Last night we did something that was a first for us. For some reason we were all STARVING when we got on the bus around 11pm, so we told our driver to look for something that was open so we could stop and get some food.

It’s weird, because we never usually eat after a show. We all just brush our teeth and go straight to bed for a good night’s sleep. (detect sarcasm)

Mike our bus driver slows down…

Taco Bell.  Drive thru open till 2am! Anderson, SC.

Doesn’t that look good even now…

anyway, we were a little nervous because our bus cannot fit through the drive thru, so we walked up to the window to order on foot. This usually doesn’t work. There is some kind of worldwide Taco Bell rule that you HAVE to be in a CAR to order in the drive thru. Redonk. We knew this would be a problem, depending on how “by the book” this location was.

We pleaded with the girl at the window, actually Denise did. Told her we were a hungry Christian singing group. Would she like a CD? Could we sing her a song? NOPE. Not having any of it.

PLEEEEEEEEASE???

“Let me call my manager.” wait two minutes. “She said no.”

Defeated, we walked back to the bus, heads hung low.

Suddenly, I had an idea.

“Denise, why don’t you offer the girl 20 bucks to borrow HER car and drive it thru the drive thru to order?” said Shelley.

“OK Shelley, you are the boss, so I will do it “, said Denise.

“Chris August, you go with Denise, to protect her.” said Shelley.

So the girl took the twenty bucks, handed Denise her keys, and thirty minutes later we all enjoyed a huge feast. (We ordered a lot, so it took a long time to cook it all. 83 dollars worth. That’s a lot of food at Taco Bell.)

Denise smelled a little like cigarettes after she got out of the car, but she really took one for the team. So we didn’t shun her.

Special thanks to Walt and Chris for accompanying Denise on her mission.

Two other things about today…

Number One

Number Two

Come on over….

Home for the Holiday

10 Dec

Little Rock. My home sweet home. I got to go there today. And eat momma’s cookin’. We were in town for a show, so a bunch of us went over to my parents’ house for lunch. Sharon did it up right. Always does. I wasn’t sad to leave after the show because we will be going back for Christmas this year. So there is more where this came from.

That is actually Michael’s plate. I would have photographed mine, but I didn’t think about it until he sat down, and mine was already half gone by then.
Mom made brisket, homemade mac and cheese, five bean bake (which I had never had but was awesome), some kind of yummy salad with champagne vinegrette dressing, some wild rice turkey cranberry salad thingy, and rolls. And caramel cake.

Michael, Denise and I went running. Then we ate everything I listed above. Then I laid down between my nephew Grant and Caroline and tried to take a nap while they were watching Sponge Bob. But they kept waking me up to tell on each other.

This is a picture from intermission at the concert. It’s my mom, my sister, Caroline, Grant and me.

The kids were so tired but they made it to the end of the show. Bless their little tattling hearts.

This picture below has no specific meaning to this blog at all. I just think I look really good in it. Like sorta skinny or something. Which is weird, because I have like 10 other pics from tonight of me in that dress and none of them look like this.

How about that. Rock on.

I’m gonna start walking around with a person in front of half of me.

You like Caroline’s skirt?? I got it in one of my favorite children’s clothing magazines. Chasing Fireflies. You should check it out. It’s like all cute kids clothes edited down to the very cutest.

After the show, I made my dad take me to Taco Bell because I didn’t have time to eat supper. It was like 10:30pm and on the way back to the bus, I was thinking that I didn’t have many pics for my Christmas blog, so I made my dad stop at the Town Square in Benton, AR and take a pic of me in front of some reindeer display.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. At least you know I was thinking of you.

TOP TWO REDONKULOUSLY AWESOME SEASONAL DESSERTS THAT I DO NOT MAKE MYSELF

2 Dec

The holidays are all about eating things that you wouldn’t normally eat. And drinking things you wouldn’t normally drink. Kinda like in October, when you have been getting regular coffee all year, and you drive through Starbucks and willingly say “Yes, I WILL take a grande pumpkin latte. It’s October. Thank you.” It’s just the right thing to do.

Fast forward to December.  I’m going to tell you about two sweet treats that scream “THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! with every bite you take. Oh and these are in the “Christmas treats I don’t bake myself” category.

Do yourself a favor, go order a dozen or so of my number one pick. Tell ’em Shelley sent you. They know me.

As for number two, just go one of the bazillion Starbucks around and get yourself one. Tell ’em Shelley sent you. Say it real serious and see what they say. Just for fun.

OK.

Number 1.  (Stop reading right now if you are a family member or even a remotely close friend of mine because you already know about these as I have most likely force fed you one. Just move on down to number 2.)

About 5 years ago, Heather, who was the fourth point before she retired a couple years back, walked in to soundcheck on our Christmas tour from a day of shopping and said, “OMG, I FOUND IT!” Actually she probably didn’t say OMG, because she never really said that.   “Found what?” we asked. “The greatest iced sugar cookie ever baked,” she told us. She knew of my great obsession with all things vanilla sugar cookie with butter cream icing.  She happened upon a little cookie store at a mall called “Blondie’s.” We came to find out that they were a small family operation based in Indiana, and we started ordering all our corporate Christmas gifts from them from that point on.

Which reminds me I need to do that. Or have my assistant do that. Which means me. Because I am my own assistant right now. Because my real- albeit unpaid- assistant decided to move to Africa. For real.

So here they are. And I swear I DO NOT lead people astray on food. Maybe on other things. But not food. These have this other-worldly buttery soft cookie dough, baked just right (meaning they are not hard and crunchy AT ALL) with a shortbread like flavor. And the frosting. REDOOOOOOOOOOOOONK.

You can thank me later. Or send me some. Blondie’s has my address.

I should mention that all of their cookies and baked goods are incredible, but what you want to order for sure are what you see above. They are called the “Sprinkles.” And don’t worry, this is the only picture I could find, but they will be sprinkled red and green if you get them during the holidays.

I should also mention that they aren’t fat free.

Number 2. Cranberry Bliss Bars. Starbucks. Have you HAD these??? OMG.

OMG OMG OMG. So surprisingly good. I mean, we’ve all seen the cardboard boxes sitting on the back counter at Starbucks with the pastries and stuff in them. It’s no secret that  they don’t bake all that stuff in house. But seriously, most of their stuff is pretty darn good. I mean, like really moist and delicious. You’d never know they all came in the mail in card board boxes if they didn’t leave them sitting around so we could all see them. Pretty impressive really if you think about it.

Onward. Cranberry Bliss Bars. They are- well- Bliss. Seriously.

Lemme describe….these are sorta like a chocolate chip cookie DOUGH, but with WHITE chocolate chips and some dried cranberries. Very moist and chunky with the chips. Sweet with just the slightest hint of salt. Then there’s this cream cheese frosting. With these dried cranberries. AAAAAAAAND, this like orangish-tasting drizzle. Oh, the drizzle…

Mommy. Help me. I can’t stop eating them. Oh, and you can buy them by the dang box. And it’s a cute box. So it makes you want to buy it. Kinda like you want to drink real coke during the holidays cause Santa is on the can. So much more fun than the snowflake on the diet coke can.

So, go get a grande Pike Place and have yourself one of these.

Oh, and I looked it up on google. One website said 320 calories per bar, one said 290. I’m going with the latter. It’s Christmas.

Wanna know when I looked it up? The other day, while simultaneously eating one and watching the Food Network. Yep. I was googling “Calories in a Cranberry Bliss Bar” while I was doing that.  What a weirdo.