Monday, September 26, 2011

Gorilla Challenge

In August, The Hubs and I participated with friends in Minneapolis' first Gorilla Challenge. It's an urban scavenger hunt that led us all through downtown Minneapolis on a wild goose chase! We were given 12 clues, and had to correctly answer 10, in 3 hours, in any order. Needless to say, we did not win, but we sure had fun! Here's our hunt!

Clue #5: It just isn't possible to avoid the most obvious Minneapolis landmark of all time, even if it does completely disappear at night. Although you can snap a picture from just about anywhere in the city, for this competition, we want one with you walking on it. Run onto this location and snap a picture doing handstands!

Clue #2: Competitor of the Pioneer Press, this organization has been around under different names, in different families, gone through bankruptcy, and still came out ok. Run to this location that featured Gorilla Challenger earlier this week and grab a picture with your entire team jumping in the air.

Clue #3: Activity Site: Run to this green location in the historic Mills District, run up the spiral walkway, find the Gorilla Staffer and complete the activity. Ryan had to find something specific in the bucket of goo.

Clue #12: Find an out of towner from a state that starts with the letter "I." Snap a picture with them and make sure we can clearly see their driver's license AND state in the picture.

Clue #8: Activity Site: With the new redesign it looks like a convention center! Equipped with a Dunn Brothers and a green roof with grass on top. It's a QUIET location. WALK inside, go to room N-402. Find the Gorilla Staffer and complete the activity. Using NERF dart guns we had to knock over 4 plastic cups from across the room.

Clue #9: It looks like downtown is overrun not just with nonprofits, but with public art too. Find this Family which is a flashback from 1989. Pose with them and add to the collection.

Clue #11 Activity Site: This nonprofit is full of amenities. From whirlpool to racquetball courts, child care, and early learning, facilities and even social services you really get what you pay for here. Run to this location, find the Gorilla Staffer and complete the activity. As a team, sing and do the Chicken Dance, in unison!

Clue #7: Last week they announced a $3 monthly fee for debit card users. Bah! Hopefully no other banks follow. Find their corporate location and give them a stare down out front.

Clue #10: Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd... Go root for the home team at the field, grab someone with a Twins t-shirt, get the entire team to pick them up in the air (at least 2 feet!), with signage in the background and snap a pic :).

Clue #1: Activity Site: Adorned with a fountain illuminated at night with rotating colored lights, this is all that remains of what was once intended to be a majestic entrance to the city. Find the Gorilla Staffer and complete the activity. Throw 2 beaded necklaces around the head of another teammate.

Clue #4: From camps for kids to classes for adults, and even continuing education opportunities for professionals, this location is way more than it looks like from the outside. With the name alone, who knew it had so much inside? There's way more than much ado about nothing here. Run to this location and strike a pose.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Makin' Magic Outta Canned Goods - 12

This week's plan is:

Mulligatawny Soup in the Crock Pot

  ** With the cooler weather I'm already making all of the warmer comfort foods, and this will be my second batch of soup so far! Plus, I'm anticipating Doro Wat (an Ethiopian stew) and Broccoli and Cheese in the next couple of weeks (though I might try to find another recipe for the Broccoli soup...).
  ** The Hubs is a Seinfeld watcher, I am not. However, I do remember some of the more famous episodes. So, Soup Nazi? Yep, we're having Kramer's favorite soup. Can't wait to try it, Stephanie's crockpotting blog says it's awesome.
  ** Traditional mulligatawny has chopped apples and coconut milk in it. Some recipes say you can sub cream for the coconut milk, but I found a few recipes that skip it all together, so I'll be doing that. The Hubs is weird about cooked apples, so I'll be grating them instead of chopping them. I want them to disintegrate into the broth. Hopefully he'll fall for it! 

  ** The Verdict? Just ok. What's the awesome part of crockpot cooking? You can be sick on the couch all day and dinner is still made by the time you wake up from your nap! :( Anyway, the apples worked like I wanted them to, so that was nice. But the soup overall was lacking *something.* Couldn't be nutmeg, because that was already in there. Maybe adding bouillon in addition to the broth would have helped add some depth. Overall it was lackluster, and I probably won't make it again. In fact, I'm not looking forward to finishing the leftovers... 

Spaghetti & Meatballs with Marinated Mozzarella & Tomatoes
  ** Simple and satisfying. What more do you need?? Plus, you've probably heard me say The Hubs makes the best spaghetti ever. I'm really looking forward to it!
  ** Meatballs out of spicy Italian Sausage. I'll mix in some grated Parmesan cheese and minute rice for binder with an egg and the usual garlic and spices. 
  ** The Verdict? Stay tuned!

Oven-Fried Pork Chops with Roasted Broccoli and Baked Sweet Potatoes
  ** Recipes for the Chops and the Broccoli are from America's Test Kitchen.
  ** Have you ever tried Roasted Broccoli? It's pretty much the best broccoli ever. The Hubs will tell anybody who will listen about how yummy it is. Here ya go: 

          Cut it into pieces, stems and everything. 
          Mix it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of sugar. 
          Bake it in a 495 degree preheated oven for 10ish minutes, until it starts to turn black on the edges.  
You'll never eat steamed broccoli again. I've recently used this same recipe for Brussels sprouts. They were good, if you love sprouts, you'd probably love them. We love broccoli.   
  ** I plan to use the same exact breading strategy for the pork chops that I recently used to make oven fried chicken since The Hubs said it was the second best chicken he's ever had (next to my Mayonnaise Chicken).
If you're GF, try breading your chicken, or chops or anything you're wanting to be crunchy with crushed up rice crackers! They're salty, and stay super crunchy. I've been using a cheese-flavoried variety that I found at Costco. Yum.
  ** The Verdict? Stay tuned! 

General Tso's Chicken with Rice and Broccoli (a.k.a. Chinese Chicken)
  ** Found an awesome ap called Food Gawker, from there I found an awesome blog called How Sweet It Is. Said blog quickly becoming my favorite food blogger. (She won me over with a Birthday Cake Martini involving cake batter and whipped cream flavored vodkas, the glass rimmed in rainbow sprinkles. Something tells me GF birthdays just. got. better.)

  ** Haven't had a bad recipe from her yet. Mostly Sweet Eats, cupcakes, milkshakes, and the like. But I'm always excited to see what crazy deliciousness she's come up with next. 
  ** I don't get to eat a lot of Chinese food, so obviously it's the ethnicity of food I crave most often, and have recently become brave enough to try some of the unique spices and ingredients. They're not flavors I'm very comfortable with, nor flavors I stock my pantry with, so I've had to branch out a little. 
  ** This isn't the first time I've made this recipe, and it won't be the last. I follow it to a T, only thickening the sauce to my liking, and adjusting the heat down a little. I've pan fried the chicken with the batter, and will be battering and deep frying this time. Believe it or not, deep fryer is way less mess. It would be just as good with grilled chicken, for a much healthier version. If you do that, I would definitely add a splash of sesame oil to the sauce for that authentic Asian flavor!
  ** The Verdict? Whoa buddy, this hit the spot. Crunchy, salty, sesame-ey, saucy. Believe me when I tell you: this is as good as takeout. Put down that paper menu. Stop. Make this. You won't regret it. 

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten on Ten - September

Yesterday was Ten on Ten.

There should be another picture here at 3:00. But with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the wedding I missed it! So, fast forward to 4:00... 

ten on ten button

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Makin' Magic Outta Canned Goods - 11

This week's plan is:

Hot Dogs with Creamy Coleslaw
  **I needed a quick dinner for us before I went to meed the BS Girls. Perfecto!
  **I will pretty much eat coleslaw any way it comes. Creamy, not creamy, sweet, mustardy, I don't care. I eat it. However... my favorite way to prepare coleslaw is like this: 1 head of cabbage shredded or chopped up (or an equivalent amount from a bag), the juice of 1 lime, enough mayo to make it work (1/2 a cup?), and salt/pepper. Stir the sauce together, and mix it into the cabbage. SO GOOD. 
  **If I feel like switchin' it up a little, I'll add some green onions and some cilantro. I've also made the "same" recipe using white vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice for the lime juice. All are good, but produce a definitely different slaw. 
  **GF Side Note: I eat my dogs in a corn tortilla. I heat the tortilla up so its pliable, sometimes I melt cheese in them, stuff them with my dog and toppings, done-zo! 

Baked Manicotti (which is actually rolled lasagnas)
  **Have you ever seen these? Rolled lasagna? It seems like the perfect way to use up the remaining lasagna noodles that aren't really enough for a full pan. 
  **I made a traditional filling, stirring the cheeses, egg, herbs together. Smeared it on the cooked lasagna noodles leaving about 1/4 of the noodle open. Rolled them from full end to empty end. Put seam side down into a baking dish, covered with sauce. Bake until done! 
   **This had a similar number of steps as a traditional lasagna, so I prepped it the night before. But it turned out to be way easier to deal with than a traditional lasanga. On Thursday I just had to take it out of the fridge and throw it in the oven.  
  **I think this would have benefitted from sitting over night without sauce on it. It was a little mushy, but that could have just been the corn noodles. Overall it was delish!

Grilled Cheeses with French Fries
  **Had a nice weekend in Eau Claire, came home to a beautiful Heriloom Tomato. The tomato was so good The Hubs came into the kitchen asking for another bite! He never does that!  
  **I made us grilled cheese with tomato slices, home made pesto, and fresh mozzarella slices.
  **This was a delicious, simple yet satisfying summer twist to a pretty Plain Jane sandwich!
  **We ate them so fast I forgot to take pictures.

Bon Appetit!