Tater Tot Casserole

      I want to dedicate this recipe to my oldest daughter Kelsey :) This is her favorite meal I make! She asks for it all the time. Kelsey is very special to me. I have basically raised her since she was 2 years old.

   Kelsey is my husband's first daughter from a relationship he was in before we met. I can remember the night I met her, like it was yesterday. Kale brought her over to my house to meet me and was holding her in his arms. I remember her looking up at me, giving me a big smile, and then hurried and buried her head in his shoulder. It was so cute! She could barely talk at the time. I remember asking Kale, "What did she say?" When she would try and tell me things. It seemed like he always knew exactly what she was saying. He was such a good Dad.

   Kale was raising her on his own. Her Mom chose to not be in her life, and it broke my heart. Watching him take care of her and seeing the way he adored and protected her was one of the many reasons I fell in love with him. I knew one day if we ever had our own kids he would be such a great Father! 

   Kelsey is so smart! She is one of the top students in her class. Ever since she was in Kindergarten, and now in 2nd grade, every teacher has told Kale and I how amazingly smart she is. We have a brilliant child on our hands! I am very proud of her and am so proud to say that she is my daughter :) I love you Kels! Here is her favorite dinner:

Tater Tot Casserole

1 pound lean Ground Turkey
1 (2 pound) bag frozen Tater Tots
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)

   Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.

   In a large skillet over medium-high heat crumble and brown the ground turkey until thoroughly cooked. Drain the grease, and then pour the turkey into the baking dish. Pour the frozen tater tots over the cooked turkey, spreading them out evenly.

   In a medium bowl, mix the soups and evaporated milk together. After well mixed, pour the mixture evenly over the tater tots. Pop it in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 55 minutes. 

  If using cheese, sprinkle on cheese after 45 minutes of baking, and then put back in oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  

Recipe from: Michelle Duggar


Easy Beef Stroganoff

     Hey guys! Well here it is.. that yummy dinner idea I promised you! This is Beef Stroganoff.. at it's total easiest! This is my own version. I did a little bit of researching other recipes. There were so many ingredients in the other ones I looked at, they just seemed so complicated, that in the end, this is what I came up with! My family LOVED it, I LOVED it, so I'm hoping you will too! It has ground beef, minced garlic, onion, the usual mushroom soup and sour cream. I added some beef broth, and withheld the plain mushrooms. I am not a fan. If you are, then definatley add some! Well I cant talk long.. my little family is in the other room carving pumpkins as we speak so I better get back in there! Here is the recipe.. Let me know if you try it!

Easy Beef Stroganoff
Recipe By: Holly Lofthouse

8 oz extra wide egg noodles
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup beef broth
8 oz container of sour cream
1 (10 3/4 oz) can of cream of mushroom soup
2 tsp dried parsley

       Start by boiling your egg noodles as directed on their package. When done, drain and put back in the same pot and put the lid on to keep them warm and so they wont dry out.
       While the noodles are boiling, start browning your meat in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once cooked, drain the grease and then add the onion, garlic, salt & pepper. Give it a good stir. Then pour in the beef broth. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5-8 minutes.
       After it has simmered, add the sour cream and mushroom soup. Keep the temperature to medium heat and continue to stir often and bring the mixture back to a boil. Make sure mixture is thoroughly heated. Then add your dried parsley. Stir.
       Place your egg noodles on a plate, and then top with the beef mixture!   
                                             ENJOY :) 

The best concert ever and my weekend in Vegas :)

       Hey guys! I know what your thinking.. where the heck is the food??  I promise you I have an awesome dinner idea for you that I will be posting tonight, but for right now, I wanted to tell you about the amazing concert I went to in Vegas this weekend!

      Now I have been to some great concerts. I started at a very young age going to shows with my friends. The first time I ever went to a concert was when I was 15 years old. It was Face to Face. An awesome punk band that I was obsessed with at the time. If your one of my family members or friends, you know that my favorite music EVER is punk rock. Yes, punk. I love love love me some punk music. Everyone from NOFX to the Sex Pistols from The Ramones to Rancid. I love it all. There are so many people that have told me that they cant stand it. That its 'too loud' or like my old boss Dr.Currivan told me once 'its nervous music'... haha, well sorry folks, but I freakin love it! My favorite punk group of all time is AFI. The two shows Ive been to of theirs have blown my mind, even though the second time I saw them I was 2 months pregnant with Emma. I was so nervous I was going to make my unborn child deaf that I kept walking in and out of the venue to give her growing little ears a break! ha  But it was still a great show!

     This concert Saturday night, was unbelievably great!! I went with two of my sisters, Jaclyn and Lindsey, and my niece Madison. We arrived in Vegas at about 2:00 p.m and had to drop Jaclyns BMW (the spoiled brat) off at the BMW dealership so she could get some work done on it, once that was done, we were off to eat at the Cheesecake Factory! As usual, it was heaven on earth! If you have not eaten there yet, then please do yourself a favor, and the next time your in Vegas go try it! You will die. And then you will call me and thank me for telling you about it. It is a little piece of paradise. Lin and I shared the lettuce wraps and this little tiny pizza thing, called a 'Pizzette'.  We chowed down! It was SO good! Once we ate lunch, it was that critical time to decide on dessert. Yes, I said critical. Ask Lindsey, dessert for us is serious business. We live for it..  yes, we do.  Once we received our dessert menus, we studied them very carefully. I gave in and ended up ordering The Red Velvet Cheesecake. I think the last 3 times we have eaten there Ive got it. I devour it! There are just no words at all to describe how freaking delicious it is! I wish I could come up with my own recipe for it, but then again, maybe not, because I would be a humungous fat pig and Kale would no longer want to be married to me!

    We left Cheesecake Factory and drove over to The Palms, to check into our room. I love The Palms. It is an awesome hotel. It has the club 'RAIN' in it. About 7 years ago I went there with Jac and Deb and we danced our booties off until 5 in the morning! It was so much fun. Anyways.. so we got up to our room and unpacked. We relaxed for a little bit and then decided to go to one of the IMAX theatres that are inside The Palms. We ended up seeing 'HUBBLE' in 3D. It was about the satellite HUBBLE that Nasa launched into space in 1990. It showed some of the most amazing pictures of space. I was speechless watching it. It also made me really emotional. It showed pictures of stars forming and dying. Some of the ones that were forming looked like they were laying in clouds that looked like rainbows..  It made me wonder if thats what heaven looks like. It was really unbelievable to see. It was only a 45 minute movie, so once that was done, we headed back up to the room and started to get all dolled up for the concert!

     At 7:00 p.m. Vegas time, we headed to the Planet Hollywood to go to the show! We were so excited! Vegas was so busy that weekend. It took us forever to get there. Andy ended up dropping us off in the VIP entrance! We had no clue! As we walked toward the doors to go in, Lindsey screams "You guys look! Thats the guy from Lady Antebellum!"  We all turn to look and sure enough, there was Charlie the blonde haired guy that sings in the band walking some lady over to a car! It was really cool to see him in person. He is really tall! We stared in shock for a minute, and then turned around and walked inside.

    The second we walked through the doors, a guy holding arm bands walks up to us and says "Hey ladies, Come to the VIP party tonight after the show! Drinks are free until 4 a.m.!"  As he is telling us this, he is putting thes bands around our wrists! We all kinda looked around at eachother in shock, and just laughed.

     After that, we headed up the stairs toward the PH arena. There were so many people there! We couldnt believe it! We found our seats and sat down! I couldnt wait! I felt like I was dreaming! After what seemed like an eternity, the lights went down, and out came Justin Timberlake! The crowd roared with excitement! He explained that all of the proceeds to the concert were going to be given to Shriners Hospital. They played a video from Shriners that showed all of the sick kids the money would be given to. It made me feel really good. An awesome concert, for an awesome cause!

     The first performance was Selena Gomez. She did a good job. My niece Madison was dying the whole time!! She loves Selena! Then there was T-Pain, Salt N Peppa, Lady Antebellum, Christina Aguilara, P-Diddy ...  They all sang about 4-5 songs each. I danced and danced the whole show! And laughed..  laughed my butt off. Im sure the people sitting behind us wanted to kill us.. but I did not care at all! ha   I was having soo much fun!

     So after all of those amazing performances we saw, then Justin Timberlake comes out on stage with an accoustic guitar and starts to sing some of his most popular songs. It was unbelievable. He has such an amazing voice live! There is nothing worse then going to a concert and hearing them SUCK live... but oh.. not Justin! He sounded so good. Just like he does on one of his CD's. After he sang a few songs,  he had a big announcement. He blew everyone away with the surprise...   He introduced to the stage......   'SIR ELTON JOHN!"    I died!

     They had his red piano on stage and the legend came out and sat down and played some of his all time greatest songs!! I could NOT BELIEVE I was watching Elton John live in concert!! It was surreal...  :)  I was on cloud 9! Wow what a night!

      Well after the show, we got back to the hotel, about 2 a.m and passed out! We woke up pretty early Sunday morning, and went and had a delicious breakfast at 'Mimis Cafe'. My breakfast inspired me for a breakfast post I will be doing very soon! :)

     Like I said before, I have been to a ton of concerts.. but this was the best, so far. On the drive home I started to think back to all the concerts Ive been to and could not compare any of them to that night. I know it has been alot, but Ive never counted or wrote a list of them to see how many Ive really been to...  so here it goes, in no particular order... these are the awesome shows Ive been to:

Face to Face (x2)
Rancid (x3)
AFI  (x2)
Tiger Army
Britney Spears
Skid Row
311 (x2)
Social Distortion (x2)
Bad Religion
Coheed and Cambria
PussyCat Dolls
Backstreet Boys
Lady Antebellum
Christina Aguilara
Selena Gomez
Justin Timberlake
Elton John (still cant believe it )

         These are the ones I can remember right at this moment. I'm sure I am missing some, especially bands that opened up for these shows. I've had so much fun and have such awesome memories of going to these shows with good friends and family. Music is such a huge part of my life.. Its a part of humanity. I think we as humans could not survive without music. I love it so much and am so greatful for the fun times Ive had at concerts... and for the many many more to come :)


White & Milk Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

      This bread is amazing! Moist, chocolatey, pumpkiny! YUM! This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Food Nanny! The author is Liz Edmunds. She lives in Park City,UT and she is an excellent cook. I actually know her cousin and worked with her up at Rococos restaurant! 
       Her recipe called for semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I changed it up just a bit by using white chocolate and milk chocolate chips. I also decided that it needed more of them :) She calls for only half a cup. I used a full cup and it was great! You never can have too much chocolate, right?! This really is an easy and delicious bread to make over the Fall/Winter season.. it would be a great idea to give as a gift for neighbors, friends or family! They will bow down and kiss your feet once they taste it! It is DIVINE :)  Hope you try it soon!

White & Milk Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of each, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup of chocolate chips (white, milk chocolate or semi-sweet)

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin, sugar, eggs and oil until well mixed.
In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and baking powder. Mix really well together, and then pour this mixture into the pumpkin mixture until combined, but DO NOT over mix. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 52-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Try not to overbake.. The bread should be moist! Cool in the pan for atleast 10 minutes, and then transfer onto a rack to cool completely.


Baked Chicken Taquitos

    Hi guys! I just wanted to start off by letting you know that I have started a Facebook page for my blog! So if you are a fellow Facebooker, like myself, then search for 'Life as a Lofthouse food blog' and 'LIKE' me :)
As for this recipe... Holy cow, are these little guys great! I am such a big lover of mexican food! Taquitos are not normally something I would order at a restaurant, but when I saw this recipe on OurBestBites blog, I had to try them.... and I did...... and we LOVED them! How does a crispy corn tortilla wrapped around a warm center of creamy cheesey mexican chicken sound?? ... Mmmmm SO good :)  I made only a few minor changes to the original recipe and was really happy with how they turned out. These would be so great for appetizers at a party or for an easy lunch! I made them for dinner tonight with some refried beans, and as we ate Kelsey told me for the millionth time how I am the best cook in the world! :)  Love that kid! Here is the recipe:

Baked Chicken Taquitos
Recipe by: Our Best Bites

2 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
5 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 c green salsa

1/4 tsp minced onion
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 c cilantro, chopped
2 tbs green onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
20 corn tortillas

             Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl, Mix the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, onion, chili and garlic powder and cumin. 
         Then add the cilantro, green onion and cheese. Add in your shredded chicken last, and mix well together.
         Heat your corn tortillas in a microwave by placing them in between damp paper towels and heating for 30 seconds at a time so their easy to roll and wont crack.  Take one tortilla, spreading about 3 tbs of the mixture on the lower part of the tortilla. Roll up, and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Continue with all 20 tortillas.  (Make sure none of the taquitos are touching or they will stick together while they bake)  After they are all rolled up, spray them with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown! Serve with salsa, sour cream or whatever your heart desires :)


3 Packet Roast

   Here is a perfect idea for an easy and DELICIOUS Sunday dinner! Or any night of the week! I can't get enough of crock-pot meals. I'm so busy with my kids, working, and just the daily grind of life that I love it when I have a simple, yet totally yummy dinner that I just throw in the crockpot and let it do the cooking for me!

   This one is called 3 Packet Roast. All you need is a packet of Brown gravy mix, Italian Seasoning and Ranch dressing mix. It creates the most wonderful and tender roast and a divine gravy. It is a family pleaser for sure!

3 Packet Roast

1 packet of Brown gravy mix
1 packet of Italian Seasoning
1 packet of Ranch dressing mix
1-1/2 cups water
2-3 lb Rump Roast (or your favorite type of roast)

DIRECTIONS:  Place the roast in your crockpot. Dump all of your seasoning packets on top, and then pour your water around the roast. Cook on Low for 10-12 hours or on High for 8-9 hours! ( I like to stir the seasonings and water every few hours as it cooks)

Serve with mashed potatoes and the gravy it will make! YUM!