Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs and Weekly Update

Last night I thought I would try out a new quick and easy recipe for dinner. I love ground turkey and try to swap it out for ground beef sometimes to change things up and make sure we are not consuming too much red meat. I often just brown it up and toss the ground turkey with steamed veggies and a little soy sauce and serve it over rice, the whole family always loves that simple meal. Last night I thought I'd try making turkey meatballs. Here's how I made the turkey meatballs and turned them into a yummy simple dinner.

I stared with a pound of ground lean turkey, and in a bowl mixed in an egg, a 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 1/8 cup of ketchup, 1 1/2 Tablespoons of chopped dehydrated onion, and one sleeve of Ritz crackers finely crushed (about 20 or so crackers). I prefer dehydrated chopped onions instead of fresh in both my meatballs and meatloaf because sometimes a fresh onion will not cook as fast as the meat and then you have under-cooked onion inside which makes the texture odd, also it can cause the meatball to fall apart unless it is very finely chopped. Plus I like the slightly sweet taste of the dehydrated onions. I mixed all the ingredients together with a fork until well combined. I made equal portions using a cookie scoop, you could also just use a spoon, shaped the mixture into meatballs and browned in a thin bit of vegetable oil over medium heat, turning until browned on all sides. Then I transferred the meatballs to a parchment lined baking sheet and baked at 375 F. until cooked through. I always test my meat with a meat thermometer to check for correct temperature, especially with poultry.

While the meatballs were baking I got the rice cooking in the rice steamer, just make enough for your family. I also cleaned out pan I used to fry the meatballs and added a couple tablespoons of butter and a little water and sauteed two bags of frozen pepper and onion blend until they were cooked.

When the meatballs were cooked through I set them aside to cool a bit and warmed up the sweet and sour sauce in a large pan (large enough that the meatballs will fit into it), I thinned out the sweet and sour sauce with a little orange juice, you could also use apple juice. When the sauce was warmed I carefully transferred the meatballs to the sauce, and gently tossed them to coat. These turkey meatballs weren't as sturdy as beef would be so I had to be careful not to break up the meatballs. I served the meatballs with their sauce over the bell pepper and onion mixture over a bed of rice. Overall it was a tasty meal, although I would really like to try to make my own sweet and sour sauce, as the brand I used was a little to tangy for our taste, but everyone still enjoyed the meal, and we will definitely have to have it again.

While hubby was picking up a pack of Ritz crackers for my meatball recipe, I asked him to check and see if they had the new bacon flavored Ritz in stock, they did, so he brought home a pack. Have you noticed all of the "special edition" flavors different classic brands are doing lately? Oreo cookies keep coming up with limited edition flavors or colors, and Lay's potato chips have their flavor contest chips the past few years. Although it's a little gimmicky, it is also kind of fun to try out new flavors, sometimes they are yummy, like the new Golden Oreo Thins that I just love!

We have the four new Lay's chips to try out, have you tried them yet? I am waiting for the whole family to try them together and then vote on our favorite.

Since I love bacon I thought I'd try out the new bacon Ritz. I never have too high of an expectation for bacon flavors, often they are too smokey or artificial tasting. As I am writing, I am nibbling on them right now, I will say they got the bacon flavor pretty well, fairly nice and subtle, but sadly the flavor is overwhelmed by too much black pepper. If you like black pepper bacon you might like these crackers. I decided to pair the crackers with a small slice of cheddar cheese and that did help balance out the pepper a bit. Overall, fun to try, but slightly too peppery for my taste. :)

I had to show you this beautiful dahlia my son's girlfriend brought over from her garden. It is so pretty, and we all agree that it looks an very similar to Dr. Seuss' Truffula trees from The Lorax. Such a pretty and fun flower! Thanks Lorene! :)

In my last post I mentioned some of the wildfires affecting the West Coast, last week they got so bad, and then the wind brought smoke all down the valley. I noticed a brownish fog look to the sky towards the north and was wondering if we had a nearby fire. By the end of the day we were covered in a fog like smoke, the air was thick and smelled of smoke. You can see in the pictures below how the smoke looks like a fog covering everything. It was definitely an odd feeling for sure. I called my son at work to make sure if he had to work outside that he wore a respirator since he suffers from asthma, he assured me that the guys spending time outside were wearing masks and luckily he didn't have much outdoor work that day.

On Sunday we went out for church and to stop in town for a bit, at that point it was still smokey looking but not as thick. Last year we had a wildfire one town over and the sky was full of smoke and ash. This year is even worse for wildfires, so many people have lost their homes and some of the brave firefighters have been badly injured or worse, lost their lives. It breaks my heart, and I so appreciate those brave men and women willing to risk their lives to protect others, they and those who have lost their loved ones and their homes are in my daily thoughts and prayers. Today the smoke is much clearer and I am praying we get a nice summer rain to help get all the fires under control!

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking to:
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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Our Day at The Hello Kitty Supercute Friendship Festival

Earlier this summer I heard that a Hello Kitty Festival was coming to Portland. I am a huge Hello Kitty fan, as well as a fan of all of the different Sanrio characters, so I knew I would love an event like this. My hubby and daughter attended with me, and we had a great day. I took lots of pictures and I thought I would share with you about this fun event.

We arrived early and while we waited in line we were able to press some pennies in a special Hello Kitty penny press, which was fun. We were near the front of the line so we were among some of the first to enter, which was nice since I was able to get a good look at the layout before the event got crowded. The festival area was decorated so cute with so many great things to see.

There were multiple little areas decorated for each of the main Hello Kitty characters. They were set up so you could take pictures, which I thought was really fun. Here we are in Pom Pom Purin's living room, as well as Badtz Maru's Motorcycle Shop. We enjoyed walking around all the different stations and getting pictures.

When I was reading other reviews and articles about the event before we went, I saw pictures of this wonderful Hello Kitty themed Spam Musubi kit and I was hoping it would be at the festival. Spam Musubi is Spam on top of rice wrapped with Nori, I've had it before at a Hawaiian restaurant in one of our local malls and I really enjoy it, so I was super excited when I saw the booth and was able to buy the kits.

Here we are checking out Keroppi Frogs pond, as well as some of the display cases of Sanrio items like plush dolls and cute accessories.

There was a temporary tattoo station and we all got a tattoo, Sarah got My Melody, Gary got Badtz Maru, and I got my favorite Sanrio characters- The Little Twin Stars. They were really nice quality and colors for temporary tattoos and lasted for three or four days. They had a bunch of cute designs to choose from. :)

They had a couple stage areas for live shows, a smaller one, and then a large one with a big screen, lives shows happened like every twenty minutes to half an hour or so. You could walk around and attend whichever show s you wanted as well as do all the different activities. One of the stations was a little movie theater behind this giant box of popcorn, I was excited because I had heard there might be a video of some of Sanrio's newer characters.

We sat and watched three little movies. One of the movies was of a newer Sanrio character called Gudetama, he appears to be a little egg, and he is so cute!!

The other new character is called Kirimichan and is a piece of Salmon. Sanrio has a way of even making something odd, like a piece of Salmon, cute. The video was really fun to watch, there was also a slide show of Hello Kitty pictures through the years and a cute dance video of the character Pom Pom Purin who is a cute chubby golden retriever who wears a beret.

Here we are in the Little Twin Stars playground. The Little Twin Stars were on stationary and things when I was young and are my favorite Sanrio characters- I loved seeing this big display!

The stage shows were really fun. I wasn't sure how interested I would be in seeing them, I assumed they were going to be geared for younger kids. Although they were cute and geared for kids, they were equally entertaining for the adults. The music and dance was really well done, I still have some of the songs stuck in my head! The lighting and effects were also really fun, and overall I ended up really enjoying them.

In addition to really great singing and dancing there were really nice graphics on the big screen which were fun to see, and very bright and colorful. Everyone, young and old, seemed to really be enjoying the show.

There was a wide variety of music in different themes all of which were very fun and cute, and even a drum and rock and roll type violin performance which was really really well done. The whole show had a running theme of friendship and caring and it was a sweet message to share and a nice way to teach kids. :)

There were many interesting things on display, one of the thing to see was different Hello Kitty and Friends themed dresses, they were pretty funky, but fun to look at.

There was a miniature Hello Kitty House, on one side of it there was a station to write a postcard to Hello Kitty, along with a mailbox to mail your letter, as a reward you would get a cute button. :) There was also a paper folding station where you could make an origami bow or a fortune teller cootie catcher type folded paper.

Around the back of the house you could see inside and all the rooms where filled with Hello Kitty themed items. I really want to find that Hello Kitty stuffed Taco!!

There were so many things to see and take pictures with. My daughter pointed out that even the staff had funny and cute shirts on that said Supercute Staff, we got a kick out of that! :)

There were multiple displays set up with different Hello Kitty and Friends items, it was set up almost like a museum it was fun to see everything.

Here are more of the cute Hello Kitty dolls and accessories that were on display. I definitely saw a few things I would like to add to my collection. :)

After looking around a bit more there was a final show, that ended up with a cute song and dance with Hello Kitty in a light up dress with her boyfriend Dear Daniel. Then the show ended with a nice light display and streamers and confetti. It was a very very fun show!

We took a few more pictures, including one with me and Sarah inside of a giant Hello Kitty Purse! :)

We left with a nice collection of souvenirs. Overall it was a great day, and definitely Supercute!! If you are a fan of Hello Kitty or have a child or grandchild who is, I would highly recommend going if it comes to a town near you.

I have also recently decided to try out vlogging, and have stared a YouTube channel. I am still in the process of learning how to edit and make videos. I made a video about all of the goodies we brought home from this event as well as a short video with clips of some of the Festival. Here are the links to my two videos.

Hello Kitty Supercute Friendship Festival 2015 

Hello Kitty Supercute Friendship Festival Haul 

Thanks for stopping by!!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Finally Got My New Computer Up and Running

I am so glad to finally have my new computer up and running!! A few weeks back my very old computer finally decided to give out, I knew it was getting close to time to replace it, so we had already begun looking around at new computers. My old computer was also completely full of a massive amount of photos. So we purchased an external hard drive with a good amount of storage and got all of my photos and files saved to it. Last week the delivery man brought my computer, and not being technically gifted, it took me quite some time to figure out how to get everything up and running.  My old operating system was Vista, which shows just how old it was, and now I am working with the new Windows 10, which I am still getting used to. This morning I finally downloaded my old pictures onto my new computer as well as downloaded all of the pictures that have been gathering on my camera, and I am glad to be back to blogging!!

We have been having a fun summer, and over the next couple of weeks I hope to catch up on sharing all of our summer fun.

One of the events that I look forward to sharing more about is our day at the Hello Kitty Supercute Friendship Festival. I was up late one evening and turned on my TV to a local station and an ad for this Hello Kitty festival was playing. I am a huge long time Hello Kitty and Sanrio Character fan and was so excited to hear about this event. Even though it was late I went right to my computer and bought tickets for the event, and I am so glad I did. We had a wonderful time, Gary took Sarah and I, and we had a really fun time. I will be blogging about this event this week, and I am also hoping to learn how to edit videos so I can include some video clips of this really fun event.

This week I had another fun outing. I had a fun day hanging out with my young niece and nephew at Toys R Us for the Shopkins Swap-kins Party. Earlier this summer I started collecting Shopkins, I have always been fond of little toys like this, and when I saw how cute the different designs were I was hooked. Shopkins are now into season three figures and they are as popular as ever. I had a bunch of duplicates, so I gave them to my niece and nephew so they could start their own collection. We had fun at the event trading Shopkins with other kids, as well as some fun coloring activities. We also got an exclusive poster and a trading card. We all had a fun day hanging out in the toy store afterward and looking at all of the new toys, I got some wonderful ideas for Christmas as well. I will be sharing about my Shopkins collection in a future post.

The summer vegetable garden is doing well. The pepper plants are fully loaded, as are the squash plants. My squash patch is full of bigger squash that will be perfect for stuffing and turning into breads and zucchini fritters.

I am most excited about my little pumpkin plants. Not many of the pumpkin seeds I planted germinated, and in fact a lot of the bed is taken over by volunteer squash from last years forgotten seeds. Since I wasn't sure what they were until they started making squash I didn't want to pull them out. So I only have three little pumpkin vines. I was worried I wouldn't have any little pumpkins, so I was super excited when I saw these little pumpkins forming on the vine. So far I have two little sugar pumpkins growing, as well as one little mini white pumpkin. I am hoping I get a couple more little white pumpkins, it looks like the vine is just getting going, so I hope so. I always get excited when the pumpkins show up in the garden, it reminds me that fall is just around the corning. I love fall, it is my favorite time of year!

Overall we have had an incredibly hot summer, we are in a heat wave for sure! We have been setting record highs all summer long, and are about to break the record for most days above 90 degrees. Although I do love pretty sunshiny days, I prefer our more normal Oregon Valley weather where it isn't quite so hot for so many days. Some of my garden plants, despite watering, have just given up in all of this heat, and I will be replacing some of them next spring for sure. Many parts of the state are having bad problems with wild fires, and they are definitely in my prayers, I know that a lot of people have lost their homes, and that fire fighters are risking their lives to keep everyone safe. So around here we have decided to postpone any of our summer fire pit evenings until the fall when things cool down and we get some much needed rain!

With all of these hot days, the sky has had some beautiful sunsets, here is one from the other night, I love how the sun is shining on these fluffy clouds.

Thanks for stopping by, now that I am back up and running I hope to get back to more regular blogging, as well as getting around to all the bloggers that I read, and catch up on my reading. :) Hope everyone has a great week!

Linking to:
Be Inspired
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