Friday, April 29, 2011

Beef Enchiladas = Comatose Husband

If I haven't informed the blogging world yet, I am officially down to ONE job. :) It's been the biggest blessing and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. My favorite thing that has happened is that I've been able to use my kitchen and all my fun wedding gifts! I was so busy working two jobs that I had no time to cook - which is one of my favorite things to do! I had always dreamed that when I got married, I would make dinner and have it ready for when my husband came home from work...I hadn't been able to do that more than a handful of times because of our conflicting schedules, but now it's a priority. My mom swears that the excitement of cooking every night will eventually fade...apparently almost 33 years of making meals has her a little burned out. Ha!

Last night, I made one of my (and my family's) all-time favorite meals: Beef Enchiladas. At this time I am going to give a shout-out to my Aunt Frances! She had us over for dinner one night a long time ago - she made these enchiladas and started the addiction. She gave us the recipe for them and it's one that I'll keep handy for the rest of my life! Thanks Aunt Francie - you are one of the best cook/bakers I know! (And now that I know you're reading my blog, you may get more shout outs in the future!)

This recipe is by far the BEST enchilada recipe I have ever had - and I've tried a lot. In fact, this was the first meal I ever made for Brad when we were dating - he raved about them then and he got very excited when I mentioned making them last night. :) Unfortunately, Brad ate these and then slept for over an hour - missing the better portion of the movie we rented. If you choose to make these, you may end up with a very unproductive husband for the evening. You have been warned. Ha! Well, without further ado, here's the original recipe (with a few of my personal changes in purple)...and a few pictures!

Beef Enchiladas

10 large or 16 small flour tortilla (8 burrito sized)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (2 lbs - for meatier enchiladas)
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 cup green onion (1 cup)
3/4 cup sour cream (1 cup)
3 Tbs. parsley
1/4 tsp. pepper
24 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
3 Tbs. chopped green chiles (5 Tbs.)
1 Tbs. chili powder (2 Tbs.)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (1/2 tsp.)

Cook and stir beef until light brown; drain. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 cups cheese, onion, sour cream, parsley, and pepper. Cover and reserve. Heat remaining ingredients in medium sauce pan to boiling. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Spoon 1/4 cup beef mixture (I used a heaping 1/3 cup portion) onto each tortilla; roll tortilla around filling. Arrange in 12x7x2 dishes (I used one 9x13 baking dish). Pour sauce over enchiladas, then sprinkle remaining cheese (2 cups) over top. Cook uncovered in 350* oven for 20 minutes. (I left them in for 25 min)

 Hope you all get to try them sometime! They are truly delicious! Thanks, again, Aunt Francie!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sandwich Perfection

There are 4 things in my life that make me unavoidably, incandescently happy. They go in the following order...

1) My husband.

2) My family.

3) My friends.

4) BLT sandwiches.

Really, Stacie? A blog about BLT sandwiches? I know, I know. It's a sandwich, but I love it and I made one for dinner recently and haven't gotten it off my mind. For those of you that don't know what a BLT consists of, it has 5 ingredients: toast, mayonnaise, and of course, bacon, lettuce, and tomato (hence the name BLT). Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches are pretty hard to mess up, so they are my "fallback" order when eating out at restaurants. (Note: Jason's Deli has unfortunately messed it up. Yuck.)

It's a simple sandwich, but people have tried to add other ingredients to it over the years. Everything from cheese to ranch dressing to fried eggs to peppers. The only ingredient that I have ever added and been okay with is avocado, known as the BLTA.

Even with all the crazy variations, the old traditional BLT is my favorite. Even better, is the homemade BLT with garden tomatoes and a healthy serving of mayonnaise. :) Here's a picture of my homemade BLT from the other night. It doesn't look as amazing, but it sure did taste good. Of course, there weren't garden tomatoes available, but we made do.

Call me dorky, but I did a little research on BLT's and I found out a few interesting facts. Here we go:

- The BLT is the second most popular sandwich in the United States (behind the ham sandwich) and the MOST popular sandwich in the UK.

- The first recipe for a BLT sandwich appeared in the 1903 edition of the Good Housekeeping Everyday Cookbook.

- BLT's are most popularly eaten during the summer, reducing the stockpiles of pork and causing a spike in pork prices towards the end of the season. That's a lot of bacon!

- Iceberg lettuce is the most common choice (and experts agree best choice) for the "L" part of the sandwich. It adds little flavor and lots of crunch!

- Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, named the BLT the "sandwich to unite all social classes." Talk about pressure for the BLT!

How about everyone else? Do you love BLT sandwiches? If not, what is your sandwich of choice?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Weekend (Part 2)

Easter morning, Brad and I woke up and went to church. Brad got up a little earlier and headed to worship practice, since he was playing drums that morning. He really is a good drummer and continues to get better and better over time. It's interesting to me that he had never once had a professional drum lesson - completely self taught. I'll have to get some pictures of him sometime...he looks pretty cute behind a drum kit. :)

Anyways, I woke up and, truthfully, worked. Sunday mornings are like work for me - finding substitute teachers for last minute Sunday school call-ins, etc. Overall, it was a good service and I received LOTS of compliments about my "amazing husband." The people at Wildewood really appreciate him and his skills. He has even been given the nickname "Animal" by some of the church members. Recognize the Muppets character they are referring to? --->
We were blessed with the presence of Cheryl and Wayne (Brad's mom and stepdad) at the service and I know Brad was happy that they came. It was good to see them, if even for a little bit!

After church, Brad and I headed over to my parents' house for Easter lunch with my dad's side of the family. It was a lot of fun - seeing lots of family and holding lots of babies! They were all so cute! Of course, I am personally a little partial to one baby in particular. His name is Cooper and he has red hair. :) He's getting very big and starting to really focus on you when you talk to him. He's smiling and cooing...I love him.

To the right is a picture of Uncle Brad - not too excited that Cooper's going #2 while in his arms. :) Ha! Little Stinker!
Photos of the family!

Brad hung out with this little guy for quite a while. Noah is my cousin Jacquelyn's little boy - such a happy baby. You may remember seeing pictures of him from this earlier post. It's so cute to see how much he's changed in these 4 months!

Overall, our Easter weekend was very good, but exhausting in the same right. We are ready to relax! We have a few mini-adventure trips planned for May, so we're gearing up for those and looking forward to the time together!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend (Part 1)

To say our Easter weekend was busy is an understatement! Whoa! We had a lot going on! Friday night, we had Good Friday service at Wildewood (which I spoke at). Brad had to miss it because of work, but it worked out for him to pick up one of our favorite kids, Taiden, so he could spend the night at our house. Taiden's mom, Tara, had to work the next day and had no one to watch him, so we decided to take him. Here's Brad and Taiden on our wedding day - he was one of our ring bearers!

Friday night, we went and picked out a movie and some snacks so we could veg out in front of the TV and finish stuffing the last of the 6,000 eggs that would be spread out the next day at the annual Wildewood egg hunt! That's right....I said SIX THOUSAND EGGS. I think Brad and I got to bed around midnight and were up at 6:30. Ughh.... Not to mention, as much as we love Taiden and kids in general, we sure weren't used to being woken up 3-4 times in a night to help someone go to the bathroom, get a drink, rub their back.... :) It may have (most definitely) changed our "baby timeline" a bit. Ha!

Needless to say, we were tired when we woke up on Saturday morning. I had to be at the church by 8am to meet with volunteers who would help with the egg hunt, but Brad was nice enough to wake up and make breakfast for all of us. Taiden requested pancakes (which I was secretly excited about because I never get those anymore - Brad's blood sugar issues mean no mass carbohydrate meals if you plan on being productive). He made some eggs and sausage for us too!

Taiden LOVED the pancakes - he even had seconds!
 I headed off to the church to get things set up. Brad and Taiden joined me a bit later and were both really good helpers! The festivities began at 11am and were over by 11:35am. Those eggs go fast! Brad snapped a few pictures of Taiden at the egg hunt! He was a little shy - but eventually got in there and got some eggs!

After the egg hunt, the three of us went to lunch and then headed to the park to play before Taiden had to head home. It was so fun - Taiden is a total ham for the camera and kept saying "Take a picture of me over here! Look at what I'm doing! Take a picture of this!" It was a lot of fun - and with such a photogenic kid - it was even more fun!

After the park, Brad took Taiden home and I made 2 desserts (Coconut cake and blackberry cobbler - both were DELICIOUS if I do so say myself!) and then we took a nap! We headed to an Easter dinner with my  mom's side of the family and had a good time - I unfortunately forgot my camera and have no pictures from that event. :( Dang it! That's it for now - this post is getting pretty long! More Easter weekend news to come!

Friday, April 22, 2011

That's My King

I love Easter - definitely my favorite holiday. And I know that's really "Christian" of me to say, but I genuinely love it. I had a conversation with someone at work the other day that was very interesting. She knew what I did full time (children's minister) and had questions about my faith. I was very complimented when she said she appreciated that I didn't shove my beliefs and values down her throat. That's my goal. In fact, I hate actually referring to myself as a Christian - not because I'm ashamed of loving Christ, but simply because of the negative connotation that so many idiots have attached to the title. Anyways, she asked me if I would call myself a Christian. I responded, "I prefer to call myself a Christ Follower or a Committed Believer or a Daughter of the King." That last one caught her attention and she told me that from what she knew, Jesus didn't live in a castle and have servants and affairs, and illegitimate children - so there was no way he was a King. I talked about how Jesus was a very different kind of King. The conversation that ensued was interesting and messy and really good...somehow, with her background and my fumbling words, we still left with a mutual respect and understanding of each other.

The more I thought about it after I left, I remembered a sermon from S.M. Lockridge that I heard in college that makes me tear up every time I hear it. I searched for it on google and found a video someone made with images from The Passion of the Christ set to the words of the sermon! What a great reminder of the kind of King we worship on Easter. Enjoy!

P.S. No offense intended, but there is something about African American preachers that just get me all fired up! And what an incredible job of pairing adverbs and adjectives so well!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

La Tournée de Mon Réfrigérateur

Why yes, I do speak French. And yes, the title of this blog is "The Tour of My Refrigerator." Earlier today I couldn't get the phrase "Tour de France" out of my head - I must have seen or heard it somewhere in the past few days and it was brought to the forefront of my thoughts all day. Anyways, I thought it would be funny to say "Tour de (insert word for refrigerator)." Unfortunately, when I went to find the word for refrigerator at, I was sadly reminded translations are just not that easy. So, the aforementioned (and what would've been really awesome) blog title is history. We have instead...La Tournée de Mon Réfrigérateur. Good enough. P.S. I wonder if anyone has ever told the big wigs at "Tour de France" that their translation is all off....

Okay, so back to the actual subject of my blog - The Tour of My Refrigerator. I used to really like the show MTV cribs, particularly the part where celebrities opened the fridge and showed the world what they ate. Sometimes people had it all neat and organized and stocked for what looked like a Home & Garden Magazine shoot. Others opened it up and showed it "as is." It fascinated me what people loved and didn't love. Most rappers had a bottle of Cristal and indie chick singers had hummus and organic wine.... Pretty typical.

Anyways, I decided to share what's in my fridge - the important stuff for the Salinas Family. So, here it is, in all it's glory!

EGGS! We seriously go through 3-4 dozen eggs per week. Every morning, Brad eats 2-4 eggs (or egg whites) and I eat 2 eggs. Obviously, 1/3 to 1/2 of a carton is used every morning. We love our eggs - but not the price! This is one reason I am SO excited for the Farmer's Market to open - farm fresh eggs that are way cheaper and LOCAL!

 (Top Left): BEEF! Brad loves beef - he grills burgers all the time and is a fan of my homemade meatloaf! We found a  good deal for grass-fed beef at Whole Foods last Sunday and bought a lot!
(Top Right): JUICE! One of my favorite things, that Brad has recently become quite fond of. My mom used to buy this juice when I was little, so it's kind of a nostalgia thing...
(Bottom Left): BRITA SPIGOT! What would we do without our Brita UltraMax water filter??? We would be lost. End of story.
(Bottom Right): YOGURT! I love yogurt and eat about 2 cups per day. Unfortunately, I have yet to find an organic kind that I like, so for now...Archer Farms it is!

(Left): My personal favorite that would be very hard to live without...Pickles. No, not just any pickles - not those neon green walmart pickles. No... Trader Joe's Kosher Dill Pickles.
(Right): Brad puts ketchup on EVERYTHING. No joke. In fact, my brother actually coined the phrase "Brad it up," meaning to put ketchup on something. :)

So, what about you? What's in YOUR fridge? What can't you live without???

Puttin' Around

Sundays are always really tiring for me. And ever since Brad and I got married, I think he's began to understand how  being in ministry (or being married to someone in ministry) is physically and mentally exhausting - especially on Sunday mornings. Usually, after church, we eat lunch with my parents, or occasionally his parents, and then we go home and take a nap. When we wake up, we usually sit on our butts and do nothing. This past Sunday, we decided we wanted to do something other than take a nap and watch TV, so we headed to Boulder Creek Amusement Park! Yes, the name is far more exciting than the actual place, but it still made for a good time. We decided to putt putt 18 holes through the "Adventure Course." Both being fiercely competitive people, there was A LOT of trash talking and reveling in each other's failures. Lots of love going on at the putt putt golf course.

This picture is Brad being a dork and obviously not taking my request for a "cute picture" seriously. Boo! 

 And this is Brad's "mad face" as his ball came rolling back down the hill towards him. Stroke 2!

Honestly, it was a really close game the whole time, and we both knew it. We were VERY anxious to get done and add up our scores. Unfortunately, I was on the losing end....this time.
He won by ONE STROKE! Dang it! It was the third hole that killed me - and I was very disappointed. :( Brad, of course, was as giddy as a school girl. I smell a rematch.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Certified Pasture?

As some of you know, Brad and I try to to eat "all natural and organic" whenever possible. Sometimes it is dang expensive, but we feel like it is totally worth it. There have been times that we haven't been able to afford to buy everything all natural or organic, but typically in those situations, we buy organic "essentials." (Meat, dairy, fruits, veggies...)

Anyways, we have been incredibly impressed with Target lately - really focusing a lot of their buying towards all natural/organic food. We've been buying their skim organic milk since before we even got married. About a month ago, HyVee really impressed us. After Brad left the gym early in the morning (before Target opened) he went to pick up some milk - because if you know Brad, you know that he rarely goes a day without a couple glasses of milk. Personally, white milk makes me gag and has no appeal whatsoever. I'm more a yogurt girl!

When Brad brought home the milk, I noticed that it wasn't "organic," but "Certified Pasture."  I asked him what that was all about and he directed me to the side of the milk carton. It was from a company called Grass Point Farms with all of their products coming from family farms in Wisconsin. It had this amazing chart comparing regular dairy industry guidelines and USDA certified organic guidelines to "Certified Pasture" guidelines. It was incredible to read and realize that even the USDA has semi-lax standards for organic farmers. The one that really stood out to me, was called "Dual Production." This allows large companies who want to tap into the ever-growing organic market to treat some animals inhumanely and pump them full of antibiotics and hormones and on the other side of their farm, abide by organic standards. In doing so, large corporations are taking the business from family farmers and making what should be a pure business practice into a twisted one. It's so sad to me that some organic farmers are finding loopholes to being legitimate and don't really believe in the cause itself, but love the money that rolls in because of it.

I went to Grass Point's website and it is pretty incredible - they even have pictures of their farms and a "Meet the Farmers" page. They are very clear about their philosophy and state it very well on their website.  Here's an excerpt from their description of "grass fed dairy."

A fundamental understanding of the grass fed dairy concept requires little more than a literal translation of the words. Grass Fed Dairy is the entire food cycle from providing natural pastures for dairy cows to graze upon to our wholesome, delicious milk, cheese and other dairy products that you enjoy. A greater understanding of grass fed dairy gets much more personal. It’s the farmer and his family making decisions around their kitchen table, choosing to run their business with what is natural for their cows, in harmony with the environment and right for their family. It’s our products that bring you the best that Wisconsin dairy farming has to offer. Surprisingly, the current national organic dairy standards do not require cows to graze as the cows graze at Grass Point Farms. 

Grass Point Farms brings the simple concept of pasture raising dairy cows from the past, to the dairy farms of today’s Wisconsin landscape. We follow the milk from our farms through our bottling and cheese plants, making sure that the milk, cheese and butter products are made solely from the milk of pasture raised, grass fed cows. The result? Dairy products that are healthier and more flavorful than any you have ever tasted.

Until now, standards for the pasture raising of dairy cows simply did not exist. Seeing this conspicuous void, Grass Point Farms created our own very detailed standards that follow the entire food cycle. We have addressed the natural diet and environment of dairy cows. By the design of nature, cows are grass eaters. Their first inclination is to peacefully wander through thick pastures, eating as they go. Because this is their nature, it is also the best way for cows to live long and healthy lives. Our standards address all the best practices of dairy farming. From allowing for enough pasture land for each cow to graze on for as much time as the seasons will allow to requiring each farm to create an environmental stewardship plan, our farmers have taken every step possible to ensure the well being of each and every cow in their herd.

I wanted to scan the side of the milk jug in, so that everyone could see the amazing chart, but it was pretty blurry. I figured this was just too interesting, so I decided to type it up. Here it is! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Common Practices
Description regarding the well-being of farm animals
Certified Pasture
(Grass Point Farms)

Industry Guidelines
National Organic Program (USDA)

Outdoor Access for Cows
Helps prevent abnormal behaviors and enhances vigor, heath and overall immune system


Not Required

Yes; but with debate on definition
Pasture Management Requirements
Helps insure proper diet, healthy soils and grasses


Not Required

Not Required

Dual Production (different standards of care are applied to different groups of animals
Allows industrial agribusiness to raise some animals with higher standards and the rest under cruel conditions while out-competing humane family farmers



Independent Family Farmers (Family owns the farm, participates in the majority of the daily labor and the farm provides a meaningful livelihood.)

Higher assurance that animals will be cared for as individuals and that a humane ethic will be passed on to future generations.

Mandatory, with a minimum of 50% family farm labor requirement

Not required

Not Required

Carbon Footprinting Standards
Helps reduce the impact human and animal activities have on the environment in terms of green house gases produced


Not required

Not required

Comprehensive Farm Management Plan
Requires a written farm management plan considering environmental stewardship practices


Not required

Not required

Farm Inspections
Assurance that standard claims are being followed


Not required


Unified Grass, Animal Care, and Environmental Standards
Ability to address and comply to a complete list of standards impacting the health and well being of dairy cows, family farmers, land, air and water




Monday, April 11, 2011

We'll Just Call This Skill Building...

Sunday, Brad and I were having a great day. We went to church, had lunch and spent some time with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and my favorite little nephew Cooper. :) He is so stinkin' cute. Don't believe me? Here's proof.  ---->

Anyways, we got home after church, changed into comfy clothes and decided to run a few errands. We planned to go to Best Buy, Red Mango and Bed, Bath, & Beyond to spend our last wedding gift card. :(  Well, we went to Best Buy and BB&B in Shadow Lake Shopping Center. We left there and headed out to Highway 370 to catch the interstate. We wanted to take that to One Pacific Place to delve into some frozen yogurt! Well, about 5 minutes into our drive, we noticed the car was driving kind of funny, so we pulled over. Before he even got out of the car, Brad said, "I have a flat tire - and I think it's one of the new ones we got last month."  I didn't believe him...I mean there's NO WAY we could already have a flat tire after 3 1/2 weeks on it.  Well, unfortunately I was wrong. Dang it.

Brad asked me if I had ever changed a car tire before and I said, "No." He then asked me if I wanted to learn. I said ever so excitedly (yeah right), "Sure."  Then I got out and proceeded to learn a new skill! Wahoo! Brad told me that I should always call him first, but just in case I can't get a hold of him or whatever, I should know how to change one. And he's right. Quite frankly, I probably should've learned this skill a long time ago - I mean, I've been driving for 8 years and had never even seen it done. So, here I am - changing a tire. I felt very special!

If I'm being honest, I pray that I will always be able to get a hold of Brad (or my dad or any other strong, capable man) if I get a flat. Those bolts were HARD to get off. Even Brad was breaking a sweat getting them undone. I'm not entirely sure I could do it by myself. Granted, they had just gotten screwed on 4 weeks prior by a professional mechanic with one of those neato things you see on NASCAR. (Note: That is the first, last, and only time you will ever see any reference to NASCAR in my blog or in a normal conversation with me.) Anyways, there was a very nice passerby that stopped to help, even though we had it under control. After that, Brad said he felt like every guy that passed by thought he was a jerk for making his wife do it (even though I was enthusiastically learning), so he took over.

That gave me the opportunity to turn around and realize we got a flat right in front of the new Werner Ball Park. Neato, huh???

Anyways, we got the donut (the temporary tire - for all of those, like me, that know nothing about cars) on Brad's car. Brad then educated me further and said that you should never really go over 40-45 miles per hour when driving on a donut, because they are cheap and thin and blowout easily. Glad he told me that! So, we decided to skip driving on the interstate, which meant no Red Mango . Instead (still feeling like we deserved a treat after all our hard work), we went back to Shadow Lake and got frozen custard at Freddy's. I have decided that they have THE BEST hot caramel sundae I have ever tasted. Yum!

Oh, and a shout out to my amazing husband Bradley, who didn't get annoyed at me taking pictures and fiddling around while he worked so hard to change our tire. :)

Anyways, our night ended up back at home, grilling out. We had picked up some natural casing hot dogs - my personal favorite - earlier in the week and some beef for hamburgers. I threw some potatoes in the oven and he did the grilling. Brad asked me to cook up some of the bacon we had and get out the cheese so he could put it on his burgers. I have officially decided to change their name from hamburgers to "Man-burgers." Whoa! That's a lot of stuff on a burger, don't ya think?

After those mondo man-burgers came off the grill, we took our plates to the couch and watched an episode of Dexter before heading to bed. All in all, I'd say we had a good day that included "free" shopping, skill-building, hot caramel sundaes, good food, good tv, and good time spent together. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beef Barley Soup...I Will Miss Thee

Well, it's spring time and it's warm out. We've been sleeping with our windows open and ceiling fans on. Woo hoo! Unfortunately, that means that my favorite winter food - SOUP - is no longer as appealing. Good thing is that over the last several months I have perfected my version of Beef, Barley & Vegetable Soup. It is, shall we say....scrumptious. The day after I made it the last time, I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I know...but it's SO good. Brad is not really a soup guy. In fact, he told me this early on - probably because I always talked about soup and how much I love it. After finding this out, I made it my mission to find at least ONE soup that he would eat - and enjoy. Well, mission accomplished. Here it is. :) You can find the original recipe here at my favorite recipe site: Brad and I prefer a heartier soup with more meat and veggies and less watery broth, so we "beefed" it up a bit. (Pun intended - sorry.) Mine is a little thicker - probably more like a stew. Below is my version of this amazing one-pot meal. :)

Note: I am the kind of cook that doesn't necessarily follow recipes well - I just toss things in that happen to be in my fridge or spice cabinet. Below is a rough guesstimate of what I do.

Beef, Barley & Vegetable Soup
-6 large celery stalks, chopped
-6 large carrots, chopped
-1 large onion, chopped 
- 3-4lbs. stew meat (or cut up roast...your preference)
-2 T butter or olive oil
-2 cups beef broth
-1 cup tomato juice
-2 cups water
-1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
-1/2 bag of frozen peas or 2 cans of green beans (whatever I have on hand)
-2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. pepper
-2 tsp. garlic powder
-2 tsp. italian seasoning (the original recipe calls for basil, oregano, etc. I just save some time with one bottle)
-1 cup quick cooking barley 

- In a stock pot, combine celery, carrots, onion, beef and butter/olive oil. Saute until veggies are tender and beef is mostly cooked through.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients except the barley. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the barley and wait about 15 minutes until soft. 
- If the soup is not as thick as I like, sometimes I add in a tablespoon or so of flour. 
- The longer you wait to eat the soup, the better it tastes - flavors really come out the next day.
- Enjoy!

P.S.  I got this dish scrubber from my sweet, sweet mother-in-law for one of my bridal showers. I use it all the time! It was so cute and it used to have a little lady's face on it. Based off this picture, raise your hand if you think I've done a few too many dishes. (Hand silently raised...)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kansas City & Kolaches

Whoa! Long time, no blog. Here it goes - lots of randomness, but it'll catch everybody up!

March 25th marked our 6 month anniversary - which is so weird. Sometimes it feels like we're still dating; other times it feels like we've been together for 25 years. Anyways, we'd both had a really long week - lots of work obligations, which made for crankiness from both of us, which led to little quality time together. We woke up that morning and started to get ready for work (from 11-7:30). Brad approached me and asked what I thought about going to our favorite getaway (Kansas City) after work and getting in some quality "us" time. Being the eternal pessimist that I am, I immediately thought of about 37 reasons why we shouldn't go (i.e. we'll get there late, it goes against our "saving money" plan, we're on a diet, I'm tired, etc...).  Then I thought to myself, "What the heck!? How often does your husband ask to whisk you away after work to a romantic weekend, chalk full of quality time and good food??? So, I agreed. The fun part was that we decided to keep it a secret. :) We didn't tell anyone at work, our family, friends - no one. Just our little secret.

We got in to KC about 11:30 (after we ran home, grabbed our bags, deposited my paycheck, etc). We got settled into our hotel room and went to bed. We agreed that we would sleep in and enjoy the next day......yeah right. Brad was up at 6:00am - which means that he felt it necessary to wake STACIE up at 6:00am. Oh well, we got an early start to the day. First stop? Our favorite breakfast place THE KOLACHE FACTORY in Overland Park. (We're incredibly thankful it's not in Omaha, because we'd both go into weekly diabetic comas.)

What is a kolache you may ask? Let me inform you. Kolaches are from eastern Europe (mainly The Czech Republic and Poland) and are a type of semi-sweet pastry, filled with all sorts of things (same concept as a runza). Throughout the times we've been there, Brad and I have had all sorts, including a polish sausage kolache, a potato-egg-cheese kolache, a sausage and gravy kolache, and a cream cheese and strawberry kolache. They are amazing.

After breakfast, we putzed around Overland Park and then headed to the Crowne Center in downtown KC. We did some shopping and ate at another favorite place Sheridan's Frozen Custard. It is better than Dairy Queen, Culver's, Zestos...sorry Omaha - but it is. They have the most amazing "Wedding Cake Concrete Mixer." It's so good! They take actual frosted sheet cake that they make fresh daily and blend it up with some frozen custard! We always add cherries or some other fruit to. (Amanda, I always think of you - you used to mix your cake in with your ice cream. Do you still do that?) 
"The Link" in KC between Union Station and Crowne Center

We then walked "The Link" from the Crowne Center to Union Station. It was amazing - the weather outside was cold, drizzly, and windy. It was so nice to be able to walk almost 3 blocks "inside." We went to a nice steak house inside Union Station for lunch. It was nice to sit down after walking all day.  Brad then suggested (because he knew I'd like it) that we go to the "Diana, a Celebration" exhibit. It had been traveling the world (it included her wedding gown and lots of her famously "skanky" dresses - ya know, as a princess, she was supposed to show no leg or shoulder) and was making it's last stop in KC before heading back to her family's home in England. It was actually very interesting - and I learned a lot about her that I never knew. I listed a few things below...

1) The media always made Diana out to be some poor peasant girl who just so happened to meet the Prince of Wales and marry him. What a lucky girl! Yeah right - she may not have been royalty, but the lady and her family had some money - which included one of the largest English country estates, Althorp.

2) Prince Charles dated Diana's older sister before he married Diana. WHAT? No way - I couldn't have gotten over that one. Diana really must've been a "lady."

3) The Queen didn't like Diana and didn't want them to get married - apparently everyone else besides me knew that.

4) Diana was only 20 years old when she got married to Prince Charles, and only 21 when she had her first baby. That's quite a bit of responsibility at such a young age - becoming royalty and giving birth to the future King of England.

All in all, it was a great weekend - we were exhausted, but it was worth it to have the time together.  Sorry for the long update - more blog posts to come!