News And Notes
May 25

6 Quirky Attractions in Texas

As the second largest state in our country, the great state of Texas guarantees an adventure for everyone. From giant cowboy statues and multi-genre music festivals to quirky museums and interesting roadside art, every member of the family will be able to find a favorite attraction in the Lone Star State.

Big Tex. A 55-foot figure wearing a cowboy hat and boots welcomes visitors to Dallas and the annual State Fair of Texas with the words, “Howdy folks, I’m Big Tex.” Originally constructed in 1952, this giant-sized Texan was destroyed by an electrical fire in October 2012. A new Big Tex was constructed and introduced to the public in September 2013.
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May 23

Simple, Inexpensive Wedding Table Decorations

Simple Wedding Centerpiece

Photo courtesy of SomethingWinnderful.com

With my wedding less than a month away, I’m currently in panic/excitement/what-have-I-gotten-myself-into mode. On top of dealing with conflicting emotions, I need to address last-minute details, finalize the guest list and (try torelax. So, the game plan right now is keep it simple, under-budget and functional, which is easier said than done.
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May 22

Little Big Town Gets Two Weeks at No. 1 on Top 20

Little Big Town

Fans kept crushing on Little Big Town, giving them a second week at No. 1 with “Girl Crush” on Top 20 Country Countdown! Blake Shelton and Keith Urban with Eric Church rounded out the Top 3, with Lady Antebellum making their countdown debut with their latest video, “Long Stretch of Love.”

Plus, host Nan Kelley headed to Chestnut Hill, Tennessee, home of Bush’s Beans. After a VIP visit – including a meet-and-greet with Duke the dog! – she traveled to the Beans ’N Cornbread Festival in nearby Gatlinburg. Find out if Duke spilled the beans on the Bush family’s secret recipe!

Try today’s featured recipe from
“One Pan Nan” and tell her what you think: 

Taco Soup »

Want to re-watch some of your favorite interviews? Get Top 20 online extrasincluding videos and photos. You can also cast your votes and take a look at the current chart to see where your favorite videos land.

This Week’s Chart

  1. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  2. Blake Shelton – “Sangria”
  3. Keith Urban w/ Eric Church – “Raise ‘Em Up”
  4. Miranda Lambert – “Little Red Wagon”
  5. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns”
  6. Kenny Chesney w/ Grace Potter – “Wild Child”
  7. Sam Hunt – “Take Your Time”
  8. Florida Georgia Line – “Sippin’ On Fire”
  9. Tim McGraw – “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools”
  10. Cole Swindell – “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” Continue Reading

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May 21

A List of Every Celeb in Taylor Swift’s New Music Video

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Taylor Swift’s highly-anticipated music video for her newest single, “Bad Blood,” premiered at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday. Leading up to the awards show and via Instagram, Swift introduced a bevy of models, actresses and singers who would star in her fierce, futuristic video. In case you didn’t recognize or catch a glimpse of each one of Swift’s gal pals in the video, here is a list of all 17 ladies (and one Kendrick Lamar) who wielded weapons and threw punches.

Taylor Swift as Catastrophe

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com/taylorswift.

Catastrophe a.k.a Taylor Swift – Grammy-winning, multi-platinum artist and all-around superstar Continue Reading

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May 20

Krystal Keith in the Kitchen: Roasted Tomato Crostini

Krystal Keith's Roasted Tomato Crostini

Photo courtesy of Krystal Keith.

These are outrageous! So much flavor, so much texture, so incredibly delicious. These little crostini are a perfect afternoon snack, appetizer for your family dinner or hors d’oeuvre at your dinner party. I am always tempted to hide these little guys for my own personal snacks and find something else to serve my guests (I would never….or would I?) These take minimal work and minimal ingredients, and they pack a powerful — and elegant — punch in each little bite. 

Roasted Tomato Crostini

Ingredients

1 12-inch baguette (sourdough, French or Italian)
2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled, roasted and mashed into a paste*
1 cup ricotta cheese
4-6 medium basil leaves, cut into ribbons 
olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes in a small baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30-45 minutes until the skins of the tomatoes start to brown.

You can roast the garlic at the same time. Peel and place the cloves in a piece of foil, add a drizzle of olive oil, fold up the foil and place it in the oven to roast with the tomatoes. When both are done, remove from oven and let the garlic cool. Use a fork to mash the cloves into a paste.

Set oven to broil and slice the baguette at an angle in 1/2-inch thick slices. Broil the crostini slices until they reach a light golden brown. Mix the roasted garlic paste and some salt and pepper into the ricotta cheese, spread onto each crostini, top with roasted tomatoes and garnish with a few ribbons of basil.

*Note:  If you don’t want to take the time to roast the garlic, you can buy a tube of garlic paste at most grocery stores and sauté one tablespoon of it in a skillet for a minute or two to cook off that raw garlic flavor.

You may know Krystal Keith as the singer of the sweet father/daughter wedding dance song, “Daddy Dance With Me,” which she wrote for her own wedding as a surprise for dad Toby Keith. Or maybe you know her from her official debut single, “Get Your Redneck On.” She’s also super talented in the kitchen and has been creating delicious meals from family recipes for years and featuring them in her blog, The Barnyard Bistro. Every week she shares her favorites exclusively with Great American Country.

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May 19

Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman Releases Cookbook

Kimberly Schlapman's Cookbook

Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman is known for her voice, but she is also an incredible cook! Kimberly has hosted her own cooking show, Kimberly’s Simply Southern, on Great American Country, showcasing her favorite recipes and cooking with friends. She recently released her first cookbook, Oh Gussie!, to share not only her recipes, but also some of her favorite memories.

Kimberly’s Simply Southern recipes »

“I’ve been cooking as long as I’ve been singing, which is simply as long as I can remember” she wrote in the book’s introduction. “Singing in church and sitting counterside helping my mama and grandmothers cook taught me a lot about life. Those ladies were at the door of anyone around who had a birth or a death in their family, got a promotion, lost a job, or just broke a bone – with some kind of casserole or cake in hand and with me and my little sister in tow.” Continue Reading

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May 18

New Shows from Alaska to Texas

From Alaska to Texas, Great American Country has new shows for every adventurous spirit. Whether building homes in one of the most remote and rugged areas on the planet or going head-to-head to buy, move, flip and sell a home, the stakes are high and, if the outcome is favorable, rewards could be even higher.

Building Alaska Third Season Crew
New episodes of Building Alaska air Tuesdays at 10/9c. The series follows daring individuals intent on building their dream properties in the Alaskan wilderness, where the lack of roads and building supply centers are cause for creativity.

10 Fascinating Facts About Alaska »

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May 16

In Bloom: The Best Flowers for Spring and Summer Weddings

It’s no secret that flowers are often the most expensive part of weddings. One way to cut down on this cost is to only use seasonal blooms. Luckily, for spring and summer brides-to-be, it means that popular flowers like peonies, dahlias and roses are not only cheaper, they’re more abundant.

Since wedding season is upon us — and I am in the midst of choosing budget-wise flowers for my own wedding — here is a list of flowers in bloom during spring and summer months.

Bouquet with Coral Charm Peonies, Oxeye Daisies and Gold Child Ivy

Bouquet with Coral Charm Peonies, Oxeye Daisies and Gold Child Ivy


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May 15

Spanish Style Roll-Ups

Spanish Style Roll-Ups

Photo courtesy of Nan Kelley

Everybody’s crazy about bacon these days! It’s everywhere on the culinary scene — bacon doughnuts, bacon ice cream sundaes, bacon cocktails. This little chicken roll-up is a company-worthy dish with a Spanish flair and wrapped in America’s favorite pork product. The filling is mushrooms, green olives and onions sautéed in the bacon drippings, combined with a little Parmesan cheese and some fresh parsley. While the prep is a little time-consuming, the payoff is worth it. You can make these up ahead of time and pop them in the oven and enjoy the bacon smell throughout your house. Then, just sit down and enjoy the flavor! Continue Reading

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Posted at 7:08 pm | Permalink
May 15

Little Big Town Takes “Girl Crush” to No. 1 on Top 20

Little Big Town - Girl Crush

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/littlebigtown

There was a brand-new No. 1 on this week’s Top 20 Country Countdown! Little Big Town took over the No. 1 spot with “Girl Crush,” as Keith Urban with Eric Church moved up to No. 2 with “Raise ‘Em Up.” After a three-week run at No. 1 with “Sangria, Blake Shelton dropped to No. 3. Brett Eldredge made his countdown debut with “Lose My Mind” this week, coming in at No. 20.

Try today’s featured recipe from 
“One Pan Nan” and tell her what you think: 

Spanish Style Roll-Ups »

Want to re-watch some of your favorite interviews? Get Top 20 online extrasincluding videos and photos. You can also cast your votes and take a look at the current chart to see where your favorite videos land.

This Week’s Chart

  1. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  2. Keith Urban w/ Eric Church – “Raise ‘Em Up”
  3. Blake Shelton – “Sangria”
  4. Miranda Lambert – “Little Red Wagon”
  5. Billy Currington – “Don’t It”
  6. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns”
  7. Kenny Chesney w/ Grace Potter – “Wild Child”
  8. Sam Hunt – “Take Your Time”
  9. Florida Georgia Line – “Sippin’ On Fire”
  10. Cole Swindell – “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” Continue Reading

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Posted at 6:45 pm | Permalink