Southern Deviled Eggs
Our travel documents from Viking River Cruses arrived!
I have had so many questions during this process. I am so happy I’ll finally have answers for some of the things I’ve been wondering about.
A bit about Viking’s free flight deal.
It depends on what airport you want to fly out of. We chose DFW so we paid $95 each for the privilege. I seriously thought we might be taking a world tour of airports when I booked it! What a deal!!! I’ve booked all our previous overseas flights for over a thousand dollars or more out of Dallas. Too good to be true, right? I was really surprised when our flight information arrived in my inbox! All our flights are on Lufthansa. We have an overnight flight out of DFW to Frankfurt (an international hub) with a nice three and a half hour stay to clear customs and then we proceed on to Prague. Same thing when we fly out of Budapest. No long layovers but we do have a 6:30 AM return flight! Oh my gosh!!! Too early! But definitely worth loosing a little sleep for a great deal! Maybe we will be so tired that we will actually sleep on the plane back home.
If you are flying Lufthansa and want assigned seats then you’ll need to set up a Lufthansa account online and choose seats once you get your PNR number in your final travel documents. I decided to choose our seats since I like sitting next to my husband. I like having a shoulder to try to nap against especially on long overseas flights. I kinda like him too. So, I ended up spending another $200 for assigned seats that cover all of our flights. Different prices on different placement of seats. If you want to travel not knowing if your travel companions will be seated next to you or not, then that’s fine. They will be assigned when you print your boarding passes.
By the way, if you book your flights through Viking Air, your transfers are included.
- 1. Itinerary and Departure Information booklet. Yay! One booklet for each of us. Our airline, hotels, transfers and pre and post cruise information. Includes day to day plans for our cruise including what we will be doing on all the included tours and this is where I got the optional tour informotion I shared with you. It’s in more detail though. Lots of other valuable info about all sorts of subjects. If you have a specific question ask me in the comments and I’ll check this little gem for ya.
- 2. Booklet all about the Danube River. Very informative little book. Get out the reading glasses!
- 3. Leather luggage tags. Red. One for each of us.
- 4. Paper luggage tags to help the Viking staff get your luggage to the proper stateroom and hotel rooms. 2 for each of us.
- 5. Big Red Viking stickers to put on your shirt at the airport so there staff can find you, cut you out of the crowd and herd you into their vehicles for transfer to the hotel if you’ve booked a pre-cruise extension. YeeHaa!
- 6. A nice little card welcoming us to the Viking family explaining what’s in the box. At the bottom it reminds us to ‘like’ their Facebook page to connect with our fellow travelers.
I have to make a confession. My “foodie” card may be taken away from me for admitting to this….
All my life, I thought that my grandmother made goulash the Eastern European way. After all, my MeeMee’s mother was German. Why would I have ever had thought differently? I was so wrong! I can’t believe at my age I am just coming to this realization!
How did I come to find the real truth about ‘goulash’? You see, my husband and I are planning a trip to Eastern Europe, taking a cruise down the Danube River through Hungary, Austria and Germany. This means that I’ve been doing a lot of research on places to visit including restaurants. I was so looking forward to experiencing a big bowl of goulash in the motherland of my ancestors but the photos on the cafe’s websites looked nothing like the bowls of pasta and ground meat that my MeeMee sat before us at her dining room table.
More research was necessary.
I’ll admit that I was a bit disappointed. Had my own grandmother lied to me all those years? It was the one dish that she made that I had looked forward to her serving on our visits.
I ran across a recipe on the Viking River Cruises website and decided to compare it to the one that I have known all those years. The European version has chunks of meat and no noodles but the spices were very comparable. My grandmother used chili powder and the European recipe using some of the same type spices including paprika.
I realized that the recipe had been changed to acomidate my family’s living in Texas with a growing family. Money was scarce and ground beef was more affordable. Pasta stretched the recipe to fill more hungry bellies. The chili powder had that same smokey flavor as paprika but was more available and affordable in Texas.
I’ll have to tell ya… I still like my MeeMee’s version even if it may not be the ‘real’ thing! I’ll bet y’all will too!
MeeMee’s Texan Goulash
2 pounds ground beef
1 bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large cans peeled tomatoes (or Rotel tomatoes)
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Large bag of elbow macaroni
Sauté ground beef on top of stove in frying pan till done. Add diced bell pepper and onion and sauté until onion is almost translucent. Drain grease from pan.
In a Dutch oven, combine meat and vegetable mixture with tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices. Cover and simmer on stove about 20 minutes till bubbly. Meanwhile, boil pasta on stove in heavy saucepan till done. Add pasta to meat and tomato mixture. Taste. Add more chili powder at this point if you’d like.
Serve with crusty bread if you’d like.
Seriously, who has not heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines and their show, Fixer-Upper on HGTV? It’s amazing how the couples new home improvement and decorating show has taken off and become so popular here in the US. Honestly, as a person who lives here in Waco, it is quite amazing and something we locals can be very proud of. They are a loving, Christian couple involved with their family who are exactly what they portray on TV as they are in real life.
How exciting to hear that a local couple was chosen to do a pilot for the Home and Garden Television network. We first learned about in an article Joanna wrote in a local magazine, Wacoan, in which she has been a contributor for several years. The pilot was a hit and their search for homes to feature on the show began.
Their show, Fixer-Upper seemed to be a hit from the time the first show aired. It continues to grow in popularity as it has now entered in its second season.
I’m not sure that anyone in Waco could ever have imagined what their show would mean to our city. Besides the renovations of some run down houses, The Gaines have shed a very positive light on Waco on national TV. Something that is good for everyone here. Fans from across the country want to move to Waco so that they too may be able to have a home renovated and designed by the talented couple.
I personally did not realize the ‘Fixer-Upper” effect on Waco until Joanna announced a Fall Workshop on her Instagram account. It sounded like it would be a fun evening in Waco, so I bought a ticket. Good thing I didn’t lolly gag around because about 700 tickets were sold in just a few days! Friends of mine couldn’t get tickets. Even my friend Debby that owns a landscape company that does some of the work for the show couldn’t get a ticket to be able to go with me! Let me tell ya, that is amazing for our community. We are procrastinators when it comes to deciding to buy tickets for events here.
When time came for Joanna’s workshop on that Thursday evening last fall, I was shocked to see the long line that wrapped around the Phoenix Ballroom building. Everyone was excited and chatting in line. My goodness, there were people in line from all over the United States! Other than people working the event, I only recognized one other person from Waco. I’m sure there were more but by-golly, everyone I talked to was from somewhere from out of town. People drove and FLEW into Waco on purpose for this event! A lady came all the way from Seattle, Washington! Seattle! I’ll tell ya, thats when I knew for sure we had some new celebrities in Waco, Texas!
The workshop was a lot of fun. Joanna talked about how Magnolia came to be. I remember when she was starting out by selling children’s clothing downtown at a popular shop called Spice. She moved into a space across from mine in the store. She had some of the cutest merchandise. She told us a cute story about how she would take decor items to try to sell in her dad’s tire store and how one day she went in and the item was finally gone. She was so happy to finally sell something but then later found out that her dad had actually purchased the piece. What a great daddy!
She talked about meeting Chip, their family, Magnolia’s growth, their television show and their faith. She spoke about God whispering to her and said, “When God calls you to do something, he will give you the strength and capacity to do those things.” Very inspiring!
Then Chip took the stage with a chain saw! Yep, I said chain saw! He preceded to use it to cut a tree limb to use in decor. He was as hilarious as can be! Reminded me of Tim the tool man for a hot second! Then it was our time to follow along with Joanna working on a craft project. Nice evening for sure.
We love them and their show!
For those of us that live in Waco, there’s a different kind of excitement in watching their show. We all love seeing the landmarks and businesses along with some of our friends and their Fixer Upper experiences.
These days you’ll hear us saying things like:
“That’s our customers!”
“Look! That’s Devan and Hannah!” Or Marla, or etc, etc!
“Where is that neighborhood?”
“I know that house!”
“Isn’t that by the lake?”
And now, “We can’t wait to see what they are doing to Mrs. Truelove’s house on TV!”
Pretty darn special. Everyone here loves it and wish Chip and Joanna even more success!
As if you could possibly fall in love with them any more, have a look at Joanna’s testimony she shared at The Gathering held at Baylor University in Waco ….
Here are a few of the places you see on the show in case you would like to visit. I won’t list their farmhouse for privacy reasons. Sorry.
- The little shop on Bosque: Magnolia Market is located at 3801 Bosque Boulevard, Waco, Texas 76710 This cute little shop will be moving downtown once the silos open on October 30, 2015.
- Harp Design Company: 808 N. 15th St, Waco, Texas 76707 They have a cute shop to visit and you can even see their house that was on the show. My grandparents lived right down N.15th Street, so it was super fun watching their home’s transformation.
- Stars Over Texas: Our friend Jimmy Don’s metal workshop on Hwy 317 in Crawford, Texas. He isn’t open with a ‘shop’ anymore because of all the signs he is making for Joanna. He did some of our metal work in our restaurant. We recommended his work long before JDH became a television star! Great guy!
- Magnolia Silo Project: Update!!! The Silo’s are OPEN now!! They held a soft open on Monday, October 12, 2015! Time to shop! Future home of everything Magnolia. They are renovating the old Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company site at 601 Webster in downtown Waco. The complex will house their offices, retail space, a monthly market and daily food trucks will be on the property. We are supposed to get a glimpse of the ongoing work during season two of Fixer-Upper. Grand opening is slated for October 30, 2015 with shopping all day and a big party featuring a Johnnyswim concert in the evening. Scroll down for more silo photos.
Waco is a great place for shopping!
A few other places to shop while you’re in Waco. Some you’ve already seen on the show and others you may spot very soon:
LaSalle Shops: 2223A LaSalle Ave, Waco Open Tue-Fri 10AM-6PM, Sat 10-5PM, Sun 1-5PM Lots of antique shopping and several more shops to visit along LaSalle. This was the very first store I recognized on the show.
Cedar Chest Antique Mall and Market: 31707 W. Hwy 84, McGregor, TX 76657 Open Mon-Sat 9:30AM-5:30PM, Sun 1-5PM Really huge place with antiques galore! Make sure you reserve plenty of time to go through the biggest antique store in the Waco area. My favorite place to shop! On top of that,there are plenty more antique shops in the area. Another right next door and several in the downtown area. You really should take time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and my famous pie (shameless plug!) at our restaurant, The Coffee Shop Cafe (past the light on Hwy 84) then drive by the awesome home at 323 Madison that the Fixer Upper crew are working on for season three. You’ve seen a few sneak peeks on Joanna’s Instagram page. A sweet friend of ours lived in this charming 1850’s home that includes a working elevator and a stairway that is super narrow. Its future, after renovation, is to become a B&B. You could possibly come stay in a real Fixer Upper very soon! So cool!! Don’t ya think!!??
Update about the B&B: Joanna publicly confirmed the B&B and that the reveal had taken place on her Instagram last night (Nov 16, 2015) and we couldn’t be more excited! She posted a photo of the gorgeous staircase in the open living area! I’ve observed the renovation and even had a blessed day helping my friend with a project at the house one day!!! EEK!!! So FUN! Be sure to check back later because I intend to be respectful and not post photos, etc until Jo, Chip or HGTV share more about it. I know, I know… There are pictures all over Facebook, but I’m going to stick to this. Be sure to watch the Christmas special on HGTV premiering Dec. 22, at 9 p.m. ET/PT! This is a Fixer Upper masterpiece!
Laverty’s Antiques: 600 N. 18th St, Waco This one would be really difficult to visit if you are from out of town. It was kind of a secret reserved for those ‘in the know’ until they were on Fixer Upper. They are only open a few days a month and the only way you know when is to subscribe to their emails at Lavertysemail@gmail.com. You can always drive by and take a look through the windows where Chip found his cool tool belt with suspenders in season one (as seen in my photo at the top of the page. HaHa!) Wasn’t that a great episode!? He’s so funny!
Jute Designs is expanding and moving into their new home this fall across the street from the Magnolia silos in downtown Waco. They are renovating the old Percy Medicine building at 8th and Webster. Built in 1908, the two story brick jewel was the manufacturing complex where Percy Medicine was made. My grandmothers cure for upset stomachs and mine too when my kiddos were little. With their new industrial chic building also comes their new name, The Findery. These ladies stock some fabulous furniture, home decor, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, cute bags and various other items like my favorite travel tote! You can follow along on their Facebook page. Can. Not. Wait. Till. They. Open! Meanwhile, visit them inside Spice Village at 5th and Mary across from the Hilton in downtown Waco.
More of my personal favorites:
Christi’s: 1023 Austin Ave, Waco Open Tue-Sat 10AM-5PM This is a magical shop owned by Waco’s own, Christi Proctor who was a designer on TLC’s “Trading Spaces!” Upscale decor and of course, design services! She has her own line of bedding that is absolutely gorgeous!
Papillon Antiques: 1025 Austin Ave, Waco Open Tue-Fri 10:30AM-5:30PM, Sat 10:30AM-2:30PM. Right next door to Christi’s is this upscale shop featuring French antiques and decor.
Honey’s Home+Style: 1700 Austin Ave, Waco Open Tue-Sat 10:30AM-5:30PM A great mix of antiques (including French) and new home decor.
You can spend several days in Waco! It’s a great place to live in and to visit! Here is another page to check out things to do and see in our community : Visiting Waco, Texas
More silo photos. The renovation is coming along nicely! Can’t wait for them to be ready and open this fall!
I was born and raised in Waco, Texas, as my grandmother would say. I’d love to show you around and make a few suggestions on where you might take some time to visit my hometown on the banks of the Brazos River deep in the heart of Texas.
Waco sits right between Dallas and Austin along 1-35. It is a great place to stop for a visit or take more time and do some exploring and shopping.
The Suspension Bridge:
The Alico Building:
Towering above the downtown Waco skyline is the Alico Building with it’s iconic red sign perched on top. This building survived the blunt of the tornado that devastated our downtown in 1953. Every old Waco family has stories of the events of the day and mine is no different, My grandfather, along with his Texas National Guard comrades spent many days and nights protecting the shops and restaurants that were destroyed from looting. On a much happier note, several years later my mother and father met inside the Alico Building. My dad was an attorney in the building and my mother was one of the elevator operators. They said it was, ‘Love at first sight.’ As children, my sister and I would marvel at all of the pigeons that perched in the window sills high above the ground. We would love to hear your stories of the Alico! Comment below.
The Hippodrome Theater: Historic theater in downtown Waco that has recently been beautifully renovated. Enjoy dinner at your seat as you watch a movie for a nice evening out.
Places to visit:
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame: Learn all about the most famed law men in Texas, the Texas Rangers. Don’t miss the exhibit featuring the notorious bank robbers, Bonnie & Clyde. Bonnie broke Clyde out of the Waco jail and some say that was the beginning of her life of crime.
Dr. Pepper Museum: The carbonated soda, Dr. Pepper was born right here in Waco, Texas at the old Corner Drug Store. The museum is located in the old bottling company building. Nice place to enjoy a Dr. Pepper ice cream float after learning all about our favorite fizzy beverage.
Cameron Park Zoo: Our zoo in Waco just may surprise you with the animals roaming in an amazing setting as Cameron Park. Your kids will enjoy it!
Cameron Park: Beautiful 416 acre park that runs along the Brazos River. It’s the place for disc golf, fishing, hiking and exploring.
Thought I’d share an old recipe that you don’t see baked anymore. The cereal box has a microwave version that may be quicker but I don’t think is as good. My husband’s mom always served a close version of this every Christmas. Hers was always so good and she would send a bit of it home with everyone.
I made this for my snack loving granddaughter and happily, she approved! I’m going to keep this in my kid friendly arsenal for when they visit and maybe even continue my MIL’s tradition.
Yep, I’ve made a few changes from the old recipe, adding more butter, spices and Texas pecans instead of mixed nuts. I like wheat and rice cereal but you can use 3 cups each of rice, corn and wheat. That’s the fun of recipes.. To change them up and make them your own!
Baked Chex Mix
2 1/2 sticks butter
4 1/2 cups rice Chex
4 1/2 cups wheat Chex
2 cups bite size pretzels or sticks
2 cups garlic bagel chips, broken into pieces
2 cups Texas pecans
4 tablespoons worsechishier sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons season salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or large, deep casserole dish in the oven. Remove from oven. Add spices and worsechishier sauce to melted butter and mix well. Add cereal and remaining items and toss well in butter mixture.
Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well. Repeat 3 more times baking a total of one hour. Remove from oven and spread evenly on two paper towel lined cookie sheets to cool. Store in air tight containers. Makes about 12 cups.