It’s Rodeo Time!

It’s Rodeo Time!

The annual spectacle that is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo kicks off very soon! Are you rodeo ready? Since 1938, the Houston Rodeo has taken over our city every spring, and for the past 82 years, has brought joy, fun, and amusement to residents and visitors alike. Here are a few key facts, tips, and tricks to make the most of this rodeo season.

Get ready for the cook-off, trail rides and parade – all key events leading up to the start of the actual rodeo. This year, the downtown parade is on February 29 and runs along Walker, Travis, Bell, Louisiana, and Lamar Streets. Get there early and park in any of the Theater District parking lots. The Rodeo Parade is celebrating surpassing over $500 million in scholarships to local students by having former scholarship recipients serve as grand marshals.

The Rodeo Bar-B-Que cook-off runs February 27-29 and is the perfect place to sample the most delectable southern food in the world. Top chefs participate by invitation only and put their reputations to the test. Try out the food and enjoy the carnival at this pre-rodeo event.

Trail rides begin soon and with 12 different routes all leading to downtown Houston, you’re sure to cross paths with at least one of them. Check out the maps and schedules as this is one uniquely Texan activity that you’ll be sure to remember – covered wagons pulled by horses and donkeys traveling down some of the busiest streets all in good Rodeo fun.

The Rodeo itself runs March 3 – 22 at NRG Stadium downtown. Nightly rodeo events and contests, such as calf roping, barrel races, and mutton bustin’ precede some of the biggest acts in music today. Arrive early and stop by the wine garden, play at the carnival, get a deep-fried Oreo, and watch the rodeo events. Then, marvel at the music as you dance alongside your new best friends in a packed stadium. Acts such as Gwen Stefani, Willie Nelson, and Lizzo (variety, anyone?!) will make it a night to remember!

For more information and to get tickets, visit RodeoHouston.com. 

Chicken Alfredo Casserole Bake

Chicken Alfredo Casserole Bake

There’s not a dish that’s much more comforting than a casserole bake. Chicken Alfredo is our top choice- full of delicious, protein-filled chicken combined with that cheesy alfredo sauce, all on top of a bed of pasta. This is a wonderful make-ahead meal that will last you a few nights, or feed one large family! With a minimal list of ingredients, this may become one of your go-to dinner options! 

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces of penne rigate pasta
  • 6 tablespoons 0f butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 2 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 fahrenheit 
  2. Cook the pasta per package directions, until they noodles are al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so don’t overcook it in the pot. 
  3. While the pasta is cooking, begin melting the butter in a large saucepan, or dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Next, add in the garlic, cream, garlic salt, salt, pepper and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and melt cheese.
  5. Allow the sauce to simmer for 8-10 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently to avoid burning or sticking. Once thickened, remove from heat.
  6. Now, add in mozzarella and cream cheese and stir to combine and allow cheese to melt. Add more salt to taste.
  7. Drain pasta then place it back in the pot. Pour in the sauce, along with the diced chicken and mix together.
  8. Pour pasta and sauce mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese to top! Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top begins to brown slightly and sauce is bubbly. Remove from the oven, garnish with parsley (if desired) and serve.

To freeze for your dish, simply cover in the container and stick in the freezer for quick dinners! You could also freeze smaller individual portions. When you’re ready to heat it, simply be sure to let it thaw out the night before and pop it in the oven for the best results! 

She-Shed, Chic-Shed or Shed-teau?

She-Shed, Chic-Shed or Shed-teau?

Have you thought of transforming your backyard storage unit into something more? Recent trends are to convert this space into a little getaway spot for you and your family. What can you do to make it your own? Read on for some great ideas to transform a dull storage room into a fun hideaway!

Come up with the concept for your shed transformation. Is it to create a girly hideout for relaxing and reading? Is it a boy’s barn for teenagers to get out of your hair? Or is it simply an extension of your living room to create a little personal space? Once you have your inspiration you can get started on the planning.

The next step is to completely empty the shed and check for any needed repairs. Do you want to add electrical, internet or TV outlets? What about lighting? A portable air conditioner? Get the infrastructure in place first.

Then, paint, paint, paint! Assuming the interior walls are going to be kept in their raw state, use a primer to cover wood knots or stains before applying paint. If you’re going to insulate and add drywall, do that next and you’ll just need a single coat of interior paint. Don’t neglect the ceiling, window trim or door trim. Use a coordinating color in these areas to make it feel really home-y.

Add flooring – throw rugs possibly – and window coverings. If you’ll be installing shelves or electronics, do that next. The final big step is furniture. In such a tight space, you’ll want to look for minimalist styles and low-profile pieces. Measure your space and bring those measurements with you to the furniture store, where you can hopefully arrange the pieces you want in-store before buying. Alternatives for this small room include kid-sized furniture, beanbags, and futons. 

Now that your space is almost complete, add in the décor to make it truly unique. Hang personal artwork, eclectic pieces that you wouldn’t necessarily put in your house, or test out a new decorating style. With such a small area you can go through a lot more phases of trial and error while being creative.

Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut butter and chocolate – a match made in heaven. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, try out these simple peanut butter brownies. These whip up in just under an hour, leaving you with a plate of warm, chewy brownies complete with swirls of creamy peanut butter and peanut butter cups! 


Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons flour (separate- to mix with peanut butter cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped mini peanut butter cups
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Take a baking dish and line it with parchment paper. Then, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir together butter, milk, and sugar over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips until completely melted and smooth.
  4. Let the chocolate cool for roughly 5 minutes, and then whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Next, stir in the 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking soda until just combined.
  6. In a separate, small bowl, toss peanut butter cup pieces with 2 teaspoons of flour.
  7. Now, fold the peanut butter cups into the batter, and pour into the prepared baking dish and spread until it lays flat.
  8. Using a small scoop, place dollops of peanut butter on top of the batter. Use a knife to swirl the peanut butter through the top of the batter!
  9. Lastly, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  10. Let them cool for a few minutes, then begin slicing. Top with a scoop of ice cream or enjoy these on their own!

2020 Interior Design Trends

2020 Interior Design Trends

Ready to update your house with a fresh look for the new decade? What’s old is new again, as you’ll see with these hot interior decorating trends.

In the bedroom, be it daughter’s room, guest room, or master bedroom, pinks and feminine shades rule. Millennial pink, taupe, and rose gold – the softer side of pink – give these rooms a soft, comforting feel great for a cozy night’s sleep. White bedding with pink pillows and throw blankets, and rose gold lamps, light fixtures, and switch plates are easy ways to bring in this color without a major overhaul. If you are up for a big change, paint the ceiling and/or molding and baseboards in a soft shade of pink, leaving the walls a gentle white.

For kitchens and living spaces, you’ve got two big trend options with opposing feels. Geometric patterns of any size work well on tile floors, area rugs, and curtains. Sleek subway tiles on the backsplash are a subtle way to work the geometric trend, but using a more lively patterned and bright colored tile will make your home stand out. Going this route will give your home a modern feel. 

On the opposite side, consider how you feel about floral wallpaper. Floral prints have been coming back in the fashion industry for a couple of years, and now that has spilled over into home décor. From big, bold flowers with twisty vines to smaller, more subtle prints with lots of white space, you can bring florals into your kitchen and living room with ease. 

Need new curtains? If the aforementioned florals don’t feel right, what about an ombre? Starting light and working it’s way to dark, ombre fabrics help tie in multiple colors to make decorating easier. You can hang your curtains starting at the ceiling and hitting with about a two-inch overlap on the floor for the most up-to-date style.

Finally, go bold or go home. Black and white are the hottest pairings this year. Expect a return of black appliances, black furniture (in metals or wood) and even black paint on an accent wall or trim. 

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese is the ultimate comfort food and one of the most iconic American dishes. Loved by kids and adults alike, this flavorful recipe is specifically designed to be prepared with an Instant Pot pressure cooker, but can also be made on a stove top. No matter which method you choose, you’ll end up with a big pot of creamy, delicious macaroni. 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups grated freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1/3 cup milk 
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  •  

Directions

  1. Add the uncooked macaroni, vegetable broth, water, butter, garlic powder, pepper, and salt to the Instant Pot. 
  2. Place the lid on the pot and set to sealing. Cook on manual function for 4 minutes. 
  3. Do a quick release
  4. Prepare your grated cheddar cheese – freshly grated cheddar cheese prevents the Mac and Cheese from becoming too stringy. 
  5. Stir in heavy cream, milk, and cheese, and keep stirring patiently until it turns creamy and thick! 
  6. Enjoy while it’s hot!