Check out the latest post of the ABC Dinner Club by clicking here, featuring pan-fried chicken from RC’s.
I have mentioned before that I travel to Omaha, Nebraska once a month for work. This year I am spending much more time than normal in this chilly town so the Mr and I have rented a small apartment for a few months. The apartment is nice as apartments go, but it’s best feature is its location, just 10 minutes from work and in a great new mixed use development called AK-SAR-BEN village.
If you lived in the center of the country in the 1980’s you probably would have heard of AK-SAR-BEN race track in Omaha (AK-SAR-BEN is Nebraska spelled backwards). Built in 1919 for thoroughbred horse racing, on it’s busiest weekend days it would host up to 25,000 people betting up to $2 million dollars per day. The racetrack closed in 1995 like many in the country when casinos and other forms of entertainment began showing up.
Since that time, the race track and an accompanying arena have been demolished. A large portion of the land was donated to the University of Nebraska – Omaha campus and the rest is being developed into a great area encompassing businesses, apartments, retail stores, a cinema and food and drink establishments.
There is also a nice park that includes an outdoor ampitheatre, walking trails, benches and a children’s play area. At night the tower is lite up with hundreds of light. I am not sure if this is a seasonal thing or if the lights stay on all year.
Also n the park there is a monument to “Omaha” the 1935 Triple Crown winner, who retired to a farm close by and made promotional appearances at the race track in the 1950’s. Upon his death in 1959, Omaha was buried in the race track’s Circle of Champions.
Last weekend we walked and walked and walked all over this little village. I love the idea of having entertainment and restaurants within walking distance. We ate lunch at an interesting place called VooDoo Tacos where Dave tried the alligator selection. I was not quite that brave.
I kept eyeing the Jones cupcake store next door, but somehow managed to walk away.
We then stopped by the cinema and watched “American Sniper.” What a great movie that was! It was a fun afternoon on an unusually warm January day and an easy way to get 10,000 steps on my fitbit!
Check out the ABC Dinner Club’s latest adventure at the unexpected Q39 here.
We had our first snow last night, just enough to make it seem like Christmas but not enough to really keep people from doing what they need to do. I love it and hope it stays around for a week, but since the forecast is for temps to hit the forties over the weekend I am guessing our chance for a white Christmas is fairly slim.
Last night I had Dave take me to a local attraction that has been getting some press for our city lately, it is called The Magic Tree. During the day this lone tree sits in the middle of a field just off the highway and would not even command a glance as you drive by. At night it transforms into a beacon of light, attracting a crowd who drive their cars across a field, park, take pictures and just hang out.
I have to admit it is a beautiful site and I am not sure I have ever seen this many lights adorning one single tree, 12.500 to be exact. According to Flip Short, the owner of the land, the purpose of the tree is to bring Christmas joy to the world one person at a time, starting right here in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Rumor has it that there have been several wedding proposals at the tree while others just enjoy the tranquil setting for reflection. The tree even has it’s own website lsmagictree.com where you can leave thoughts and comments on your experience. A bin has been placed near the tree to collect can goods for Lee’s Summit Social Services for those who would like to donate.
Since I am a big lover of Christmas and all the traditions around it, I enjoy the sentiment and appreciate the efforts to create The Magic Tree. Of course, like so many public venues, the Magic Tree has not been without it’s share of trouble. A couple of weeks ago someone cut the power lines to the tree causing it to go dark. The lights were restored quickly but I struggle to understand the mindset of someone who would impair a harmless symbol of the season.
As most of you are also, I am crazy busy with work and Christmas preparations but am making an effort to slow down and appreciate the real reason for the season. I hope you can do the same. Merry Christmas everyone!
Over three years ago a group of long time friends decided to start the ABC Dinner Club which is a structured approach to discovering new restaurants and branching out from our old favorites. We are eating our way across Kansas City one alphabet letter at a time.
Every few months we select a restaurant at which the majority of us have not eaten. If you would have told me three and a half years ago that it would have taken this long to get to the letter “P” I would have thought you were crazy given how much we eat out, but travel, weddings, children, grandchildren and even surgeries have sometimes made it difficult for this now group of twelve to get together.
We are far from professional restaurant reviewers, just a group of friends who like to socialize over a good meal. Given the company we are with and our propensity to eat out, we are fairly generous with our reviews but have had a few we definitely would not frequent again. Our bottom line is “Will we go back?”
To see our latest review check out “P is for Piropos” here. Below is our list of reviewed restaurants to date:
Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant
It could be because we have been out of town twice this month, once to Denver and once to Omaha.
Or it could be because we are in sports heaven in this town with MANY late night playoff games and now late night World Series Games. #GO ROYALS!
Or it could be the unexpected but WONDERFUL visit from our daughter, son-in-law and grandson this week.
No matter what has caused time to fly by, this has been a wonderful month of gorgeous weather, exciting baseball and cherished family time.
As much fun as it has been, it seems like I just move from one activity to another at light speed without a moments time to reflect. As long as I can remember I have always been what I refer to as a “thinker,” someone who plans, dreams, ruminates and thinks through life’s situations. In this vein, I am my father’s daughter. My dad would get up at 5:00 am each morning, drink a pot of coffee and sit with the lights off just “thinking.”
Although I am not that desperate yet, I do need to find a way to carve out some quiet time into my days.
This past weekend Dave and I took a quiet walk around a lake near our home. It was just what I needed. Here is hoping for a little quiet time in your life also.
It is no secret around here that I love cupcakes! I can take or leave a piece of cake, but cupcakes call my name. I am not even all that partial to the fancy mega-size cupcakes that are sold in their own storefronts, but give me a simple homemade or even boxed mix, paper lined morsel of goodness and I can not resist. I have been seeing a few different versions of candy corn cupcakes in blogland over the past couple of weeks and decided to make a simple version of my own.
I prepared a white cake mix according to the directions then divided the batter in half. I mixed one half with yellow food coloring and the other half with orange food coloring.
I filled cupcake liners one-third full of the yellow batter.
Then followed that with the orange batter, filling each liner to the two-thirds mark.
After baking the cupcakes for 15 minutes I let them totally cool and then piped on some pre-made white icing. A piece of candy corn topped them off.
A super simple but festive treat!
The Mr and I had a goal of cleaning out our basement storage area this weekend so of course we tried to think of as many things as possible to do in an effort to prolong the start of that fun task. I did manage to drag out my bins of fall decor and looked through them but I just did not have the motivation I needed to start decorating. At a minimum I wanted to purchase some pumpkins and mums thinking that would inspire me. As I was contemplating our shopping destinations I remembered the Fahrmeier Farm produce stand that we visited a couple of years ago. A road trip on this beautiful fall day was just what I needed.
Fahrmeier Farms is located about 45 minutes east of Kansas City in Lexington, Missouri where my parents grew up and where I spent several weekends and summers when I was young. Fahrmeier Farms is a family run farm started almost 70 years ago and currently operated by three generations of the family. Although they do provide produce to farmers markets and deliver weekly CSA shares in the Kansas City area, they also host many regular events at the farm as well as run a produce stand. When we visited two years ago we stopped in for some wine tastings at the vineyard. I wrote about that visit here. Today was all about the mums and pumpkins.
One thing I LOVE about Fahrmeier Farms is their heirloom pumpkins, so much more interesting than the orange globes available everywhere.
We had a wonderful conversation with Farmer Brett who told us about several of the unique varieties of pumpkins and squash and gave us a tour of the mum selection. I was enjoying myself so much I only took a few pictures.
Here are the pumpkin varieties I brought home.
Fahrmeier Farms is located on Highway 24 between Lexington and Wellington. During the month of October they have events each weekend including a “press your own cider” day. That sounds like my kind of day! See these vines below?
Next July they will be bursting with blackberries, ready to be picked. This is your notice to mark your calendars to visit Fahrmeier Farms next summer. They have also recently planted 9000 strawberry plants for a late May or early June harvest. No doubt that I will return!
Last week I was in New Orleans for a work conference spending my days in sessions with titles such as, “Infor AP Automation ” and “Building Consolidated Financials with Lawson Business Intelligence “. Our diligence in getting through the long days of information overload was rewarded in the evenings with vendor cocktail parties and good food. Think oysters on the half shell, gator bites and of course beignets. The highlight of the week was a concert by the group Journey. Although I had always liked Journey, I was not overly excited for this concert because I was really a Steve Perry fan and knew he was not the lead singer with Journey these days. Boy was I in for a nice surprise.
After Steve Perry left Journey in 1998, the group went through several lead singers but never felt they had found a perfect fit for their band. In 2007 Journey’s lead guitarist Neal Schon, saw a UTube video of Arnel Pineda performing cover songs by bands such as Journey, Aerosmith, and the Eagles. Neal contacted the person who had uploaded the videos to UTube in an effort to reach Arnel who was living in the Philippines. Neal emailed Arnel who dismissed the email as a hoax but eventually responded after being encouraged by friends. Shortly thereafter, Arnel flew to San Fransisco for a 2 day audition and the rest is history.
Arnel Pineda has a powerful and emotional voice that fits perfectly with this classic rock band. He has mentioned in an interview that he knows the fans are hearing Steve Perry when he sings but he does not care because he is so honored and thankful for having this opportunity.
Besides hearing all the old Journey favorites, Don’t Stop Believing, Faithfully, and Open Arms just to name a few, Neal Schon, Journey’s lead guitarist played a guitar solo of the Star Spangled Banner that was lump-in-the-throat incredible. This band had a concert hall full of geeky software types on their feet, clapping, cheering and singing.
I absolutely loved this concert and will definitely go see them again if I get the opportunity. Until then I am just loading up the itunes.
OK, so I am a week or so early. The official autumnal equinox does not happen until September 22 at 9:29 pm CDT. That means September 23 is the actual first day of fall. However, the temperature here in Lee’s Summit, Missouri today is not suppose to reach 60 degrees and that feels like fall to me. I LOVE IT!!! I have written about my love for fall several times on this blog. You can see those post here, here, here and here.
There are so many things about fall that make me happy, like the first batch of chili for the season. I put it in the crock pot this morning and it made the house smell so good! I might have had to sneak a little for lunch.
This time of year, I light a candle on my desk everyday. Sometimes it is small things that make you smile.
I love pulling out the quilt for tv watching.
And I really love it when the kitty needs to warm up on my lap. This blanket is definitely a cat magnet.
I am hoping to get some fall decorating done this weekend before I head out Sunday to New Orleans for work. The forecast there for next week is high 80″s with high humidity, not looking forward to that!
Happy Weekend everyone!