A quick midwinter break!

Today has been a long day. The first day back to work after a quick vacation always is though! So where did we go?… Vegas of course! So why is this our favorite go to vacation spot? 1. Quick easy travel, 2. Lots and lots to do, 3. It’s always changing. 4. The weather is awesome! January in Vegas means weather that equates to a Michigan Spring. 40°F at night, 70°F during the day. Perfect temps when it’s 20°F at home lol! We found ourselves in a position for a quick trip the garden center was closed to allow the floor epoxy to cure, and the winter weather was due to hold off outside of a small dusting of snow on one of the nights we we’re gone. Nothing that our trusty team couldn’t handle. This was however a Very last minute decision. Like we decided Thursday afternoon that we were leaving on Saturday morning! 😱😬😆 So hotel options were limited and we weren’t trying to break the bank on this quick get away. So we chose to stay at the Monte Carlo Casino Hotel which had great rates as the direct result of their current renovation construction situation. More on that in a bit. We actually stayed at the Monte Carlo before, and had a really enjoyable stay. We upgraded that trip to stay in the Monaco Suite, and although dated it was a large comfortable room with a great view. I can’t find my pics from this trip so attached is a photo from the web. But it looked just like this. Our room this time was supposed to be a King room, non-smoking. Nothing fancy, but it will get the job done for a quick visit. However, our flight landed at 7:40am and we arrived at the hotel around 8:30am we didn’t expect a room to be immediately available but we were informed that housekeeping doesn’t even arrive for the day until 9 a.m. and it would likely be at least 11 before room would be available. Which is no problem but at 11:30 we stopped back again because we had not received any information that our room was ready only to find it still was not ready and we would be reassigned to a new room that was available. Sounds great right?! Upon arriving to the room we found that it was in fact a double room non-smoking at the very far end of the hallway across from a storage room, and construction directly below and above us. The room was dated and I can see why they are working on a major renovation. Aside from the obvious issues, we left and returned to our room to the overwhelming stench of marijuana in the hallway and in our room. We were able to crack open the window and air it out but this unfortunately would be an ongoing problem over the course of the weekend. Once the window was open we were also subject to the very loud construction noise as well. Outside of these issues, our safe did not work, no coffee maker in the room, and the maid service did not empty or clean the ice bucket during the duration of our stay… Luckily we don’t spend much time in our room. We went to some of our favorite spots including the Toby Keith Bar, and the Dueling Piano bar at Harrah’s Casino. But we also stopped by a few new spots like Carnival Court Bar for some live music, and lunch at the Budweiser Beer Park, great food, a super fun atmosphere, and an amazing view. The trifecta in Vegas! Outside of these spots we had a nice dinner out, I’ll do a full review on that later, and we went to the newly opened Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum. In case you are not familiar, Zak Bagan’s is on a television show called Ghost Adventures, I will also tell you about the museum a little more in a later post as well. Overall the weather was perfect, great food, fabulous entertainment, and now a return to the frozen north in time to enjoy the polar vortex…insert sarcastic “Yaaaay…!” 😕 So I think that’s about it. I will say I look forward to returning to Monte Carlo post renovation I think it will be a welcomed upgrade. Keep an eye out for more info in the next day or so on the museum and that fabulous dinner out! Happy travels we’ll talk soon! Bye!

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National Pie Day…maybe…

Cruising through the twitter-sphere tonight I came across several tweets for National Pie Day. For some reason I thought National Pie Day was in March…but whatever! It’s a great reason to share a pie recipe right!

There are a few pies out there that I think of as old school recipes that you really can’t find in many cookbooks or video streams. So I thought I would share one of those tonight. This is a recipe for Lemon Coconut Impossible Pie!

So, what is an impossible pie? Glad you asked! The impossible pie first became popular in the 1970’s as a recipe printed on boxes of Bisquick, although the recipe itself dates back much earlier. Betty Crocker cookbooks point out that impossible pie’s were named so because they are impossibly easy to make since there is no need to create a crust. Early versions we’re coconut flavored showing the early southern origins of the original recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need to create this awesome custard pie!

2c. Whole milk

1c unsweetened coconut flakes

3/4c sugar

1/2c unsalted butter, melted

1/2c flour

4 large eggs

1/2 lemon zested and juiced

1 tsp vanilla

1 container of whipped topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9in. pie plate.

In a mixing bowl beat on medium speed the eggs and sugar until thickened. Add in melted butter, milk, lemon zest and vanilla. Once well mixed add the flour slowly mixing well.

Pour into the greased pan, bake 40-50minutes. Once the center is cooked completely but slightly wobbly remove from the I’ve and allow to cool completely. Once cooled refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Serve with whipped topping or by itself. Enjoy!

Tuna Noodle Casserole

As I mentioned before I grew up eating a lot of different casseroles. I’ve found over the years that these various recipes can have variations from family to family, and even year to year. Let’s face it who hasn’t tried to finesse a casserole to make it a little newer…a little better. Tuna Noodle Casserole is one of those dishes that I have seen so many wide ranging variations. Everything from different soups used, to different veggies added, and even the crispy topping! I use french fries onions but I have heard of people using crushed potato chips, and even cheese. 

Tuna Noodle Casserole is a great recipe on busy night, it’s fast, easy, and usually a crowd pleaser. I’m of course adding my recipe here but I would love to hear how you make yours! Enjoy! 

1 package wide egg noodles
2 cans albacore tuna

1 can peas

1can cream of mushroom soup

1 container french fries onions

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and stir in mushroom soup, tuna, and peas. Pour into a 9x13in glass pan, and top with the crispy onions. Broil on high heat until topping is golden brown. Serve hot. Enjoy! 

Strawberry’s and Cream Jelly Roll

I haven’t done much baking lately so tonight I checked the pantry, enlisted a volunteer (my daughter) and we got busy in the kitchen making a Strawberry’s and Cream Jelly Roll! 

Jelly rolls are believed to be a product of Austria and consist of a sponge cake with a filling of jelly, whipped cream, or icing that is then rolled up. The cake itself is a sponge cake and not a crumb cake or birthday style cake. This is an important distinction because a crumb cake would never hold up to the process of rolling the baked caked. 

For our recipe we used a filling of both jelly and a homemade fluffy white frosting. It’s So Yummy! Here is what you need for the cake! 

3 lg eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3cup of water

1/2tsp almond extract

3/4cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4tsp. Salt

Powdered sugar

2/3cup of jelly

1 batch Betty Crocker Fluffy White Frosting , recipe here https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/white-mountain-frosting/df4dde06-abf9-4af8-9400-7e419564c50f

Preheat oven to 375°F line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl beat the eggs on high and slowly add granulated sugar. Beat in water and extract then slowly add dry ingredients. Beat well until batter is very smooth. Pour into pan and push it to the edges and corners. Bake 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Immediately loosen cake from the sides of the pan and turn upside down on to a kitchen towel generously coated in powdered sugar. Remove parchment paper, trim off any crispy edges, and while still hot roll the cake and the towel place on a cooling rack for 30minutes or until well cooled. Once cool unroll cake spread on jelly and frosting and roll up the cake! Sprinkle with more powdered sugar. Enjoy! 

Broccoli Stuffed Chicken

For some reason I have a lot of stuffed chicken recipes. This one is a fave though! This tangy mixture stuffed with cheese into chicken makes for a perfect evening meal and the leftovers are even better! 

Here’s what you’ll need:

6 chicken breasts

2 small heads of broccoli finely chopped

1sm yellow onion finely chopped

1 red bell pepper finely chopped

1md egg

1/2c miracle whip

1tsp dill

3cloves garlic

Salt

Pepper

6 mild cheddar cheese slices

Butterfly the chicken breast and set aside. In a large bowl mix together all of the remaining ingredients except the cheese. Heat a cast iron pan with a tbsp. of oil on my high heat, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Stuff the chicken with the cheese and broccoli mixture and place on the hot pan. Cook 5-7 min each side turning once. If you had any extra broccoli mix spoon this into the pan, lightly cover with foil and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until internal temp of the chicken is at least 165°F. Allow to stand for a couple minutes before serving! Enjoy! 

A year in review! 

Well I made it through my first year with my expanded blog! Last year I made the huge decision to change my already very successful page Baking It Real into something even bigger by starting Barnwood and Baked Goods! I’m so happy that I did! 

I have been able to share more of my life, and the things that inspire me and I have enjoyed writing so much this past year! Thank you for all of the likes, and follows! I hope to continue to provide great recipes, and fun life experiences in this coming year! 

Getting started on those resolutions! 

Ok so I have to make concious decisions and put in the effort if I intend to achieve my goals. Setting them is not enough by itself. It’s time to get to work!

I joined the local YMCA. There are other gym options that I think I might have preferred but my daughter Brianna has friends with memberships too and so this made more sense for now. 

The Jackson YMCA is actually a pretty nice place. However you have to get past the overwhelming smell of chlorine when you first enter the facility. It was really strong today!! 😝 But the fitness center is usually very clean and the staff is always super friendly! 

I’m going to go back to the beginning for just a minute….did I mention I registered online?! I did! It worked great the information was accurate on arrival and my check in was super fast! Good job YMCA tech team that was a major upgrade! 

Ok back to the gym I made my first trip of the year this evening. Ran a little more than a mile and concentrated on my upper body workout. It felt good, but I had gotten used to working out with my bff Amber this was a lonely workout! 

I mentioned to my husband that it was super busy Tonite and he said great lots of people to talk too! I was like …wait…what?! I’m not talking to strangers!!! Lol a little cliche I guess for a gal with a blog! I basically talk to strangers all the time! 😂

So here’s the question when your working out do you talk to people at the gym that you don’t know? I don’t think I could! So if your chatty Cathy at the gym how do you go about that? Now I’m curious! I’ll keep you posted on my work out adventures! Have a great night!