Smoked Chicken & Apple Pot Pies

Monday, February 20, 2012 - 
One of my favorite Sunday to-do's is cooking with husband. Sometimes we spend the day prepping for the week. And by we, it is usually hubs. He'll bake bread for lunch sandwiches while I put away groceries. Not saying that I can't bake. But, my hubs is the baker of the family because he is good at it.

He is also a smoker. Not the gross, cancer type of smoking. The delicious, full of flavor type of smoking. And on Sunday's, it is a great day to smoke meat. He uses the grill, low temperature and all. He even stuffs the thing with burnage to give it the full, smokey flavor. A 'coal hole' if you will.

I really do mean to get him a smoker, but he makes do without it. Beautifully I might add. And I'm happy to say I reap the benefits of his beautiful leisurely smoking.

Sometimes I whip a simple coleslaw to go with it. But this time around, I was dehydrating apples while he was doing his thing. I had extra apples and decided to make us mini apple pies. Apple pot pies if you will. I had bought these adorable red snowflake ramekins from Crate & Barrel and decided this was the perfect time to use them.

We eat pretty good on Sunday's. Sunday fun-day that's for sure.

All I did to make these little apple pies was add some cinnamon and sugar to sliced apples. After putting them in the ramekins, I put the pie dough on top. This dough was made out of flour, salt, iced water, and butter all pulsed together in the glorious Cusinart food processor. Honestly, I love my fp. It is phenomenal.

A quick egg wash, a few slits in the dough and a sugar sprinkle before going into the over at 375 degrees was all it needed. Once the crust was browned, these delicious little guys were quite a sweet treat for us.

I love Sunday. No make-up on Sunday makes it that much better too. Just sayin'.

Almond Crusted Tilapia

Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 
On Sundays, I make our menu. With the help of hubs, we determine what we are craving and work from there. We always have at least one vegetarian and one seafood meal on the menu though. I really like to stick to this to ensure our diet (and menu) isn't redundant. If I can get away with it, I'll try to have two vegetarian meals to be part of it as well. It just really depends on what is going on that week to be honest!

It is a little difficult to always get seafood in the menu due to being land locked and on a budget. Unfortunately, our grocer doesn't always have the highest quality, so it is a hit or miss.We had some good tilapia this time around, which made me pretty excited. I'm a fan of the mild fish, and was looking forward to a good dinner. I decided I was going to pan fry the fish. I marinated it in some milk for a bit as I prepped the other ingredients. A well seasoned flour mix, an egg wash, and then a breading. I had some leftovers from the previous week I had to use up, including bread and parsley. I ended up pulsing the almonds with these two ingredients and breading the fish lightly with them. The bread was a little soft and took on the green from the parsley which made the dinner a fun, unexpected color.


I was doing all of this while roasting some sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, red onions, and parsnips. All were cut to the same size and roasted well together with a simple toss of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. As they were wrapping up (and giving the house a great smell), I pan fried the fish in a little bit of olive oil so all finished at the same time. The dinner was delicious with as the fish had good texture and a fantastic crust with a side of satisfying, roasted vegetables.

Funny thing, as much as I plan our menu, I don't always plan specifics. This menu item was listed as "fish with roasted vegetables". That night, as much as it was planned, it is always fun to continue to incorporate the unexpected into a meal.

Cinnamon Leftovers

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 
I'm a fan of cinnamon. I may even say 'fan' is an understatement. It is much like pumpkin to me. They should be their own food groups.

In the winter, I consume cinnamon on a daily basis. I mix it in my oatmeal. I mix it in my coffee. And if I can get away with it, I'll put it in dinner, not to mention breakfast and lunch. Love that stuff. So when I saw hubs had leftover dough from making bread, I grabbed it and started to make some cinnamon rolls.

These didn't come out quite like I imagined. A little too small - I could have let the dough rise again. Hubs said it was because the dough sat too long before I used it. But, they were a little dry. Maybe I should have added more butter. You know, go all Paula Dean on the dough. But alas, I was trying to be good.

But, I've never met a cinnamon roll I didn't like. Just sayin'.

From Me to You

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 
Valentine's Day is about love of all kinds. From my husband, family and friends, I wish you all lots of love on the day filled with paper and candy hearts, red and pink clothing, and flowers galore.

I'm avoiding these cookies I made like the black plague. Something about putting maple syrup in sugar cookies makes them that much more addictive....I just hope I can avoid them and not spoil my dinner.

Celebrating Valentine's Day tonight? Being the food lover that I am, hubs and I are heading out to dinner, trying something new. Make sure you check out City Nom Noms for a recap in the upcoming week!

12 of 2012: January

Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 
To kick off 2012, some of our closest friends with hubs and I decided to kick of 12 To Do's of 2012. This list of ours will ensure that we live 2012 to the fullest with good friends and a variety of activities. Some simple, some more planned, it will surely be a great time for all of us. We began with a fantastic New Year celebration, but our list continued:
January: Sledding/tubing in a Winter Wonderland

For one to sled, one needs snow. Alas, we didn't have that.

Instead, we opted for a winter weather movie night. On a Wednesday night, we all got together to watch a movie while drinking hot chocolate and noshing on popcorn. I have to say - it was a really great evening.
Photo Credit
As we watched The Day After Tomorrow, the comments were flying. It is one of hub's favorites and we have all seen it, which leaves the floor wide open for comments such as "why aren't the people freezing like everything else" or "that just doesn't make sense." Of course, these comments are all out of love. And if you know my hub's 'fascination' with Dec. 21, 2012, you would understand a bit more.

In addition to the list of 12, we also decided to start Sunday dinners. Sunday dinners evoke the feeling of family. Of a wind down of the weekend. A time to get back to the things that mean the most before another hectic week begins. These Sunday dinners began at M's house over a bowl of chili and cheddar biscuits. Quite tasty I might add - great job Melly!

How are your New Year goals coming out? So far, my decision to not be over programmed is working, and our goal of regrouping is getting there. I continue to be excited as I look forward to the many things 2012 will offer.

Super Alumni and Celebrities

Monday, February 6, 2012 - 
After volunteering at the Media Party and then the Super Soiree, I was still looking forward to my third and final Super Bowl volunteer event: NFL Alumni Player of the Year. I had been having a great time, but I knew this event would feature more celebrities and nationally recognized faces I would know. I'm horrible with names, but I knew I would at least recognize faces.

When I arrived at the beautiful Scottish Rite Cathedral for the event, we were trained as a group and given our assignments. I was designated an usher, but found myself doing a bit more than that due to how events happen. If you have ever volunteered or planned an event (which really, everyone has at one point!), you know that things don't always go according to plan. And because of that, you have to prepare for the unexpected.

I found myself pulled from the waiting room to guard the West door as many of the celebrities and NFL alumni were coming in through that door rather than walking the red carpet. My job consisted of asking the guests to walk around the building and enter in through the front door so they could walk the red carpet. Something like this, "Hi Mr. famous football man, would you please walk around the building so you can walk the red carpet? The media would like to see you. Thanks, have a super night!" Pretty intimidating to tell a big man that, especially when his beautiful date is wearing the highest heels ever. But everyone was great about it - even Mr. Roger Goodell was dropped off front. Yup, the NFL Commissioner in all his glory.

I then was pulled to guard Alec Baldwin's personal belongings in the green room. Yes, you heard me right, Mr. Alec Baldwin. And his brother was there too, Stephen. I exchanged words with both, even got a half hug/arm tap from Alec as he apologized for having me have to sit there and watch his things. This glorious job ended quickly though as a staff member replaced me and was able to lock up the room. Back to suhering in all the NFL Alumni, current players, sponsors and guests.

A lot of faces in the crowd, the show was an amusing success. Jokes and banter were all around, with people clapping for the men who won the awards. The awards ceremony was taped for television, so if you want to see all that I saw, tune into the NFL Network tonight at 10pm eastern.

To cap off my night, I made Nick Lachey and his two friends night complete in getting them a car as I was leaving. They needed a driver, and since I was in uniform, they assumed I was still working. No biggie as I was literally just leaving the building. A hug from him and his two friends after their car arrived was my last moment before leaving the property. He seemed very nice, though his friend (aka bodyguard) was pretty insistent on getting that car so they could make their St. Elmo's reservations. I got it buddy, you are good to go.

Photos are fuzzy, but others that I saw include Vivica Fox, Quinton Aaron (from the Blind Side) and Matthew Stafford (quarterback of the Detroit Lions), and all the award winners. It was a fun night full of athletes and celebrities - another great Super Bowl celebration!

Found & Happy

Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 
Happy to report, Remy made it home safe and sound! A fantastic woman found her 30 minutes after she ran away yesterday. The woman took her in and made 'found' signs in her neighborhood. We didn't see these, this panicking all through the night into today.

Fortunately, she brought her to a vet today to scan her microchip. And we now have a happy ending a good lesson - make sure your pups are microchipped!

Lost Dog - Your Help is Needed!

Hey all - this has nothing to do and everything to do with entertaining life daily. One of our Shiba Inu's ran away yesterday. She snuck through the door and was last seen running away from 3rd Ave. SW/City Center (near the Palladium) toward Guilford/College Avenue.

If you see this dog, PLEASE let me know. She went missing yesterday, February 4th at 3pm. We searched and searched but haven't seen her. She is friendly and from a home that misses her so much.

Please pass the word along to anyone in the Carmel/Indianapolis area. I appreciate all the help we can get in finding this pup!

Thank you readers - this means the world!

A Carmel Soiree

Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 
The Lucas Estate was the venue of the evening for the second event that I volunteered at - the Super Soiree. A cocktail party for the men and women of Indianapolis who helped raise and supply the large amount of money that is needed for a city to host a Super Bowl. I didn't realize that money like that was needed to make an event happen, but thanks to all the attendees of this event, Indianapolis is home to this year's Super Bowl.

The Mayor, owner of the Colts, CEOs of companies, and general managers of some of the hotels in the city were only the beginning of the VIP guest list. The music was great, the food looked fantastic, and the venue was breath taking. I mean, how many people can say they have a 6,000 square foot bedroom that is for the community to share?

A Party for the Media

Friday, February 3, 2012 - 
My first volunteer event was the Media Party at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After fans enjoyed the Media Day at Lucas Oil Stadium, the media had the opportunity to network, relax, and enjoy an evening at the Speedway.

I had the opportunity to volunteer at the event. I spent the first hour protecting two trophies. You may know them - the Lombardi and the Borg Warner. Yup, the Super Bowl and the Indy 500 trophies. No biggie.

But after the quick protective stance I had been keeping, I received my assigned responsibility. My assigned volunteer job: model hostess. I walked around with these models who had great hats, designed by a local Indianapolis company, that represented the city. The women were all beautiful and friendly - we had a great time throughout the evening!

National media from all over were in attendance, as well as local media. Everyone seemed to have a great time at the event. It was a great evening - MB did a great job on the event - and I had a great time meeting the New Orleans host committee for next years big game. And this is only the beginning...

A Super Experience

Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 
We made it downtown for the Super festivities last week before all the out of town craziness happens. Here is a photo recap of the Village and the NFL Experience..

Will be posting photo recaps of the craziness over the next few days. I've been volunteering for the past two nights, so a few photos from them. Plus, mom and dad are arriving today! So excited to have them here - which means more fun in the crazy downtown area! Have a SUPER weekend!