Super Disney?!

Sunday, January 22, 2012 - 
Part of the amazing experience of volunteering for the Super Bowl means the volunteers are given a great opportunity to be part of some great training programs. Yesterday, the NFL hosted the first ever Fans First pep rally. With a friend and two new friends with me, hubs and I headed downtown to be part of this first ever experience.

There was a lot of enthusiasm in the area, from both the staff and volunteers in the area. Blue, the Colt's mascot, was present and taking photos as were the Colt's cheerleaders. A few of the Colt's players were there as well to share some stories and their experiences this past season. But I wasn't there for those reasons. I was there to be part of the experience.

And for the Disney Institute.

My love of Disney has been incorporated into my volunteer experience and I couldn't be happier. We had great conversations on why the Super Bowl experience was special for each one of us, as well as how we could serve the visitors of Indianapolis to showcase the city and entertainment that is being offered, with safety first of course.


Disney has it figured out. Guest service is what it is all about. That includes safety, enthusiasm, experience and memories. It was really a great experience to learn and listen to all of the facilitators present, as well as from my fellow volunteers.

Volunteering for the Super Bowl and having Disney be part of that? I'm one lucky girl.

To make me even luckier? This girl and her hubs are owners of Super Bowl tickets! A good friend helped us out and we are now proud owners of these two tickets to memories!


Happy Super Bowl season!

Super Scarf

Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 
I have no idea how it is mid to late January. Banana chocolate chip bread seems so long ago...where have I been?

Entertaining life daily of course.

This means, I've had meetings and have been all over the place. And when I'm pretty busy, I also get to enjoy more of hubby's cooking. Asian quesadilla buns, Roman chicken full of tomatoes and capers, roasted tomato soup with baby grilled cheese and almond crusted Mahi Mahi with roasted vegetables. We both acknowledge that we needed more veggies in our life, but aren't willing to give up flavor by any means. He took that request seriously and delivered some amazing and healthy food. And if I was a good wife (correction, I am a good wife, this is merely a saying), I would have taken photos of all the delicious food I enjoyed that week without lifting a finger. But alas...no photos for you.

Life isn't about to slow down here either. Nope, not by any means. I have a good friend who is knee deep (probably, more to be honest) with a little thing you may know as the Super Bowl. Yes, the Super Bowl my friends is here in Indianapolis in case you have been living under a rock. And I am one of the lucky volunteers who is part of all the fun!

On Thursday, I picked up my uniform. This of course features the Super Scarf from the scarf program that was a huge success. If you watch The Middle (I don't normally), they even got into the Super spirit.



I'm going to look quite snazzy in this outfit, though I don't really get to strut around in in it too much. The events I am working aren't requesting these uniforms. You see, I get to work some pretty fantastic events.
  1. Super Soiree - an event for the VIPs and CEOs who helped donate the money to make this Super Bowl happen here in Indy (from what I understand). This open house takes place at Lucas Estate. Can't wait to see the amazing house and be part of this event.
  2. NFL Alumni Player of the Year Awards Banquet - located at the Scottish Rite, this dinner features all the amazing players from this season. Crossing my fingers I see some of my favorites.
  3. Media Party - just as it sounds, this is a party for the Media at the Indy race track (you know, the 500 race track).
I'm really excited to participate in all of these events. Though I won't be able to take photos, I know the memories will be pretty fantastic!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Friday, January 6, 2012 - 
We buy a lot of bananas. Hubs takes one to work everyday. I sometimes take them. So when we buy with the thought that we each will take them, but it doesn't happen, we are left with (you guessed it), bananas. And these bananas get ripe. Over ripe. I'm not a fan of ripe bananas, so anything beyond normal ripe is just bad to me.

So what does one do? Freeze them of course. So when you have three over ripe bananas you can make banana bread. That's the thought. Sometimes it takes up to five frozen bananas for you to realize that you need to make banana bread, but that's okay. It happens.

Sometimes you might have extra chocolate chips hanging out in the pantry. Well, this girl likes bananas with chocolate. So why not toss that in too? Nothing like making some bread on a cold winter night!


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Note: recipe has been changed up, but original concept was from a recipe I found from Bon App├ętit via my Epicurious App. Here's the original, but below is my modified ingredient list.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup smashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Lightly grease bread pan with butter and dust with flour. Cream together eggs and sugar in a large bowl until thick and light on high. I used my KitchenAid, but a hand held electric mixer works just as well. Mix in smashed bananas, oil and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until just blended. No need to over blend here.


Bake in a 325 degree oven until golden brown on top and toothpick comes out clean. This was about one hour for me, maybe 55 minutes. I let it sit in the pan for a few minutes before allowing it to completely cool on rack. Cut, enjoy!

And the Pig Returns...

Thursday, January 5, 2012 - 
Remember the pork enchiladas from last week? Yes, I know I just posted them, but that was last week! I'm trying to catch up - and guess what? I'm caught up!

I digress. You know I had a lot of pork leftover, so I froze it. Earlier this week, I dug out that pork so that we could have some pulled pork sandwiches. Simple. Fast. Easy. Delicious. This is the beauty of freezing items after making large quantities.

I find this especially helpful for the two of us. As much as we love to cook together, sometimes we want dinner fast. Something quick. Something easy. And of course, still delicious. So while I worked out, hubs whipped up a homemade barbecue sauce with ketchup, sugar, horseradish, dijon mustard, Tabasco, garlic and smoked malt from his beer brewing. Oh yes, we like to recycle some of the products of home brewing. Nom.

He also warmed the pork up on the stove with some of the barbecue sauce while I made a coleslaw. Simple coleslaw - I whisked together some mayo, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard and sugar before mixing in a shredded carrot and a few cups of shredded cabbage. I then seasoned with salt, pepper, dill and parsley.

Did I mention while this was happening, hubs was baking rolls for the sandwiches? Yup, I'm a lucky girl. Homemade bread that I don't plan on recycling.

My only wish is that I made the coleslaw the day before. Not because of time, but because somethings are just better the next day. I knew that as I was packing my lunch with a little smile. Don't get me wrong, I liked the coleslaw, but I knew the next day it would be that much better. As you read this, know that I'm going to be eating some fantastic coleslaw today.

A quick, easy and delicious dinner on a weekday. Sometimes it is the little things.

Slow Cooker Pork Enchiladas

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 
While my mom was visiting, we didn't just organize. We spent the morning doing a few cleaning items before having a great lunch together with some shopping. While all this was going on, those poor pups of mine were stuck in the kitchen smelling some delicious pork that was cooking in the slow cooker.

Those poor pups.



Really, life isn't bad for them by any means. They did get a treat when we got home - no worries. But we also received a treat by smelling the amazing pork. With a savory, Southern dish out of the way, I wanted to show my mom something different. So, I settled on enchiladas, pulled pork style. Why pulled pork? Well, I normally prefer chicken, but my mom craves beef. So, I settled on pork as a happy medium. And a happy medium indeed.

This recipe is so simple. A handful of onions here, some cheese there. It all comes together perfectly for a great dinner (and leftover lunch). I didn't add too much spice this time around, though I could have easily kicked it up a notch or two. But the flavors were there and my mom loved every bite (right mom?) At least she said so. And I believe her.

Slow Cooker Pork Enchiladas
Ingredients
  • Pork shoulder - about 3 or 4 lbs. Trust me, you'll have leftovers, but that's okay. Think more meals = more deliciousness.
  • Enchilada sauce. Homemade or canned, just make sure it is good. I buy a large can, about 28 oz.
  • Tortillas - the amount demands on how much you want to make. I used 10 flour taco sized this time around.
  • Onion, chopped. I used a sweet, but a yellow or white onion would work too.
  • Garlic, one clove chopped.
  • Cilantro. A good handful of it (that is, if you like). If you don't like it, omit it. But think a cup's worth.
  • Black beans, drained and rinsed. Once again, this is optional.
  • Monterey Jack cheese, shredded - about 8 oz. or 12 oz. I like cheese, so I go the 12 oz. route.
The night before, marinate the pork shoulder in the enchilada sauce. Only use half of the sauce, and cut up the shoulder if you need to. Works best in the plastic bags so it can marinate a little bit better together. Note: when making this, I thought it would be a good idea to use all of the enchilada sauce. I ended up having to make a sauce out of it later, which worked lovely. However, if you aren't a corn starch lover or person who likes to make your own sauce, save half of the enchilada sauce. Trust me.

In the morning, before you go shopping with your momma, put that pork and all the marinate in the slow cooker. This can cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for around 5. The beauty of a slow cooker is that it is okay if it sits longer. Really. As long as you don't let it get crusty and bake a crust when it shouldn't have one (yes - you can make a cake in a slow cooker. I promise, I've done it.), you are good to go.

When you get home, remove the pork and shred it. Now, I divided my pork shoulder into two batches. I froze one batch for a rainy day. The other batch was for the enchiladas.  To get the filling started while that pork sits there, saute up some garlic for a few minutes and add the chopped onions. Cook that until fragrant, about 3 minutes. I added a can of black beans, drained and rinsed, at this point because I had them. But if you don't like them or have them, that's okay too. If I had corn,I would have added that too. But alas, no corn. Sad face.

Once all this is mixed together, it is time to make the enchilada rolls. But first, pour about a cup of that enchilada mix into a cake pan. The long pan - the 13x5 or whatever the measurement is - pan. Take a shell, add some cheese (or if you are like me, a little more) and then add about 1/3 cup of your pork mix. Roll it up and place seam side down in a pan. I made 10 of these in one pan and it worked perfectly. I did have some pork mixture leftover, so I decided to freeze it as is and make enchiladas again in the near future.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the rolls and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Then bake, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15-20 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Remove the foil and broil for a few minutes to get the top all melted and slightly browned. Top with sour cream, pico/salsa and more cilantro. Nom.

When Life Gives You Bread...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 
New Year Resolutions. I like to refer to these resolutions as goals. I learned that from my friend Mo. I like it. Goals versus resolutions. I personally haven't really vocalized any this year. I made some last year. Here is a recap:
  1. Enjoy friends & family to the fullest. I think I did pretty good on this one. I made my annual trip to Boston to see my dear friends in Massachusetts, had a delightful time with my Indy friends, and missed others like the O's incredibly. It is hard to live people to the fullest when miles separate you. Good thing the phone and interweb were invented. Just sayin'. To all my friends - I love you. To my family - I love you lots too. I'm looking forward to enjoying 2012 with you. But that isn't a resolution - it is an expectation of mine.
  2. Start a new blog. City Nom Noms was born. Check and complete.
  3. Continue living a healthy lifestyle. Well, does 50% count? I did for sometime, but I fell off the wagon. Hard I might add. I tried to get back on a few times, but alas. But here I am, trying again. But this isn't a resolution - because I have a goal in mind. Team captain Ryan knows the goal - it is called the Mudathon. Bring on the mud.
So, no resolutions? Well, I guess not. And for those who decided to eat less carbs, this may not be the post for you. But for those who decided to reuse and recycle, keep on reading. I know I have a friends (hello AK!) that don't like to throw things away. And this is a quick and easy way to create something out of soon to be compost.

Hubs had made some bread for dinner. He's an amazing baker. Just sayin'. Anyway, we had an extra roll and were planning on having salad so I thought, "mmm..croutons." As mentioned, if you have resolved to forgo carbs, stop reading. But croutons are oh so delicious.

All I did was cube up the bread and toss with a little olive oil and some garlic seasoning. Simple. In a single layer on a baking sheet, toss it into the oven at 375 degrees until lightly browned. Flip and repeat. I personally like when croutons still have a little soft texture to them, not crunchy all the way through. This is perfect for a wedge salad, or any other salad you may be having that evening. Use in a day or two though, or they'll go stale.

Don't have a salad and are worried about a loaf of bread going bad? Then make breadcrumbs! Same process, but dry the bread cubes out completely. Then, whip out that food processor and process away. Homemade breadcrumbs are great, because you can season anyway you would like. Throw in some dried herbs, like oregano and basil. Maybe lemon pepper or something else. The bread is your oyster. Have fun with it. Use right away or store until needed.

It is day 3 - how are your resolutions going?