Friday, April 27, 2012

Why Kansas City is awesome, according to me

We are going to have a serious discussion. Why? Because it's Friday, I am not working, and I am sitting in my messy apartment doing laundry and drinking tea. By myself. It's lovely. And it has inspired me to have a frank discussion with the blogger world.

About why Kansas City is awesome. I was there for a long weekend and it was the best. I often get asked what there is to do in Kansas City (to everyone not from Kansas, the whole state is covered in wheat, tornadoes, and small dogs that resemble Toto), so this is my list.

Why Kansas City is awesome, according to me


1. The barbecue. Duh. You have about 1,000 options for delicious bbq. These are the best.
  • Gates
  • Arthur Bryant's
  • Oklahoma Joe's (Burnt ends=true love.)
  • Fiorella's Jack Stack: as much as I love the bbq, do yourself a massive favor and order some baked beans and cheesy corn bake. That cheesy corn is magical. Jack Stack, I love you.
2. The Mexican food. You can laugh at me, but I love me some north of the border Mexican grub. And I'm sorry, but East Tennessee does not offer up fake Mexican food to my standards. Kansas City offers you Mi Ranchito and Jose Peppers. There are several of them in the area. They have insane cheese dip, fantastic margaritas, and my favorite: cream cheese chicken enchiladas. Happiness on a plate.

3. Jess and Jim's Steakhouse. I haven't been here for years, but it is so epic. Amazing steaks, amazing baked potatoes, and other amazing things, this is a hidden gem of Kansas City.

4. Louisburg Cider Mill. There is nothing better on a fall day then some hot cider, cider doughnuts, and a big bag of kettle corn. 

5. Twister's Frozen Custard. This was my first "real" job. Frozen custard is a delicacy of this world. I worked there for three years and never got tired of it. Or surprisingly, fat. The New Yorker with raspberries is my favorite. But I would honestly eat any frozen custard that you ever handed to me.

Yep, I know there is tons of great food in Kansas City. I could probably write a whole post on the food. Obviously, I just picked my favorites. But feel free to tell me what I missed!


It's true. You can get a good sampling of sports in Kansas City. In order from my favorite to least favorite, here you go.

1. University of Kansas basketball. Yes, you need to take a short road trip about 45 minutes outside the Kansas City area but it is worth it. This is college basketball at it's best. 

2. Kansas City Royals baseball. I don't care how much they lose, fans will always flock to the ballpark in the summer. It's only American. Their stadium is gorgeous and the games are always fun, win or lose. 

3. Kansas City Chiefs football. Super fun, or so I've heard. I've never actually been to a game (for shame, I know) since I prefer to watch football from the comfort of a my own couch. 

4. Kansas Speedway (NASCAR, duh.) See my NASCAR post for my opinions on NASCAR, as well as some high quality fashion advice.

5. Sporting KC soccer. This is the new cool thing, apparently. They have a sweet looking complex near the Speedway, you should definitely check it out.


1. The Plaza. Tons of high end shops, delicious restaurants, and lots of fun things to do. I lived near the Plaza during nursing school and used to walk around and pick things out that I would buy when I was rich. Which will be never.

2. The Legends. Near the Speedway and the Sporting KC complex, the Legends has Nebraska Furniture Mart, Cabella's, and lots of great stores, including some outlets. Fun fact, I had my first alcoholic beverage on my 21st birthday at the Legends. Because I'm a good kid like that.

3. Zona Rosa. Up close to the airport, Zona Rosa is a HUGE area with a great variety of shopping.

4. Town Center Plaza. Down south in Leawood, I love this place. Again, a good variety of shopping. Nearby is also Crate and Barrel (true love), the Apple Store, and Trader Joe's.


1. Starlight Theater. An beautiful outdoor theater that gets tons of great shows, including Broadway tours and concerts. 

2. Theater in the Park. Another outdoor theater with a great line up of shows every summer.

3. Kauffmen Center for the Performing Arts. This just recently opened and it looks amazing. I desperately want to see Aida here in August.

4. Obviously, there's tons of small venues. We went to the Uptown Theater while we were home last weekend to see Cake, and it was a blast! Cool theater, great show.

Other Fun

1. World's of Fun. I have been to this amusement park many times and love it. Several good quality roller coasters and lots of spinning rides, for those of you with strong stomachs.

2. Kansas City Zoo. It's been years since I've been here, but zoos are generally awesome. This one is too.

3. Deanna Rose Farmstead. This place is in Overland Park and is FREE during the week and CHEAP on the weekends. It is great for kids, you can spend a few days here between the petting zoo and all the cool exhibits.

4. Union Station. Good, historical fun.

5. The Crossroads District. Lots of cool art galleries and music. Check it out if you are a hipster.

6. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Classy art. If you are poor, you can picnic on the huge lawn for free and feel cooler because you are closer to the art.

7. The Power and Light district. Cool restaurants and bars, includes the Sprint Center, where huge concert tours come to, if we are lucky.

8. The River Market. Huge outdoor farmer's market. Also has a stage for outdoor concerts. Also where I did modeling for a very short amount of time in high school. Back when I was slightly skinnier than I am now.

9. Fun Fact: Kansas City is the "City of Fountains." There are lots of fountains.

My Family and Friends

My family lives here, which is what makes it the most awesome. Kansas City will always feel like home and they make it that. I had such a great weekend hanging out with them, laughing at my niece and nephew, grilling with my dad, and enjoying life. Our families are both great, look them up whenever you are in Kansas City!

My dad, the grill master.

And that my friends, is my list. Feel free to tell me your favorite things about Kansas City, there are basically endless things. I actually kept adding to this list as I remembered more and more things. And I could keep going, since I am currently remembering things that I didn't add. But my husband needs clean clothes and fresh food, and so I will leave you with this.

Happy Friday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

How to cook an Easter ham in a hospital

Well, really you could cook this ham anywhere. But I cooked it in a hospital. And to be completely honest with you, it was insanely delish.

What you need for your Easter Ham (Adapted from All Recipes):

- a spiral cut ham (mine was about 9 lbs, bone in)

- approximately 2 cups brown sugar

- a crock pot

-a *60cc syringe (or a for-real baster)

- tin foil

*a cc is a now unapproved abbreviation for ml. Just fyi.

My crock pot was small than my ham. So the lid didn't fit well. But a little jimmy-rigging fixed it right up. I put most of the brown sugar in the bottom of the crock pot, jammed the ham in there, patted the rest of the brown sugar on the ham, and covered it tightly with foil.

I cooked it on high for about an hour, than turned it down to low. After a total of almost 4 hours, I uncovered it to see this. Mmmm. (I did NOT uncover it for the first several hours, this is important when using a crock pot.)

I stole borrowed a (clean) 60cc syringe and basted my ham with the amazing brown sugar liquid from the bottom of the crock pot. In case you haven't seen me for awhile, you can see that I now have 20 chins. And no hair.

But don't worry, I still have high cheek bones. I basted it about every half hour for the next hour, still covering tightly with foil in between.

It smelled insanely good. Insane.

After a total of about 5 hours cook and basting time, I finagled it onto this awesome Crate and Barrel serving platter that I got for my wedding. (That I have used a total of three times now.) I syringed approximately 180cc of brown sugary liquid onto the ham. I also may have drooled on it at this point. (I kid, coworkers.)

It was basically falling off the bone. Ah-mazing. It served about 15 people with leftovers to be had.

And we ate basically for the rest of the day. All the good things you should eat with an Easter ham: deviled eggs, hash brown casserole, green bean casserole, coleslaw, rolls, and chess bars. I felt slightly ill in my workout this morning. So worth it.

My favorite quote from the weekend, after dead-lifting a man off the floor with my coworker: "You girls should do wrestling- you could tag team it."

Yep, I'm that awesome. And yes, I did fill out a full fall report. Second favorite quote? The next day, the same patient says, "I thought about getting out of bed by myself, but then I remembered what happened yesterday." Thank you, kind sir. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

As much as I hate spending my holidays in the hospital, I know that I am right where I'm supposed to be.
I am so blessed to cook a ham for coworkers, pick people up off the floor, and serve a risen Savior.

"He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." Matthew 28: 6

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bacon Pasta aka Pasta Carbonara aka Happiness in a bowl

Highlights of last week:
1. KU winning in the Final Four
2. Seeing the Hunger Games (obsessed)
3. Shopping in Knoxville
4. Fun birthday party with Kiewit friends
5. Mimosas with coworkers

Low lights:
1. KU losing in the National Championship
2. Being really really tired and grouchy the next day. Dang it, Eastern time zone.

What makes losing the National Championship tolerable and gives you the energy to make it through a rough work morning? Bacon Pasta. Carb madness and bacon goodness combined in cheesy glory.

Let me introduce you to something awesome. Caleb calls it Bacon Pasta. The rest of the world knows it as Pasta Carbonara. I learned how to make this a very long time ago when we were dating and it's one of those recipes I keep in my back pocket. I have it memorized, so it's slightly different every time. Adapted from Paula Deen, goddess of all things comfort food, this was comforting on a sad, sad night.

Bacon Pasta aka Pasta Carbonara (Adapted from a Paula Deen Classic)

- 1/2 lb center cut bacon (or more, too much bacon is really impossible)
- one small onion
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 4 large eggs, yolks separated
- 12 oz pasta such as penne or rigatoni
- splash of white wine (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste

The A Team. Plus our senior prom pic in the background. Aww. Pour yourself a glass of vino and get cooking! (Sorry for the yellow-ness of these pics, I cook at night people!)

Heat up a skillet to medium heat and start some boiling some salted water. Dice up the onion and cut the bacon into small pieces.

Throw your bacon in the hot skillet and get it frying.

 Once the bacon is chewy and starting to brown, throw the onions in there. If you want to deglaze the pan, pour a little of your wine in there and scrape those little bits off the bottom. Yum.

Once your bacon and onions look like this and your house smells like heaven, turn the heat off and set aside. If your water is boiling, go ahead and throw the pasta in.

While the pasta is cooking, make your sauce. Separate your eggs and discard the whites. Or save them for something. Like meringue. Or egg white omelets. But I never make meringue or egg white omelets,  so I tossed them.

Separating eggs is easy, just crack open the egg and transfer the yolk back and forth between the shell halves until all the white is out. 
 Add 1/4 cup of cream to the egg yolks. Oh, did I mention this was healthy? Because it's not.

Add a liberal 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese to the egg mixture.

Add some pepper. I usually wait till the end to add salt, because the cheese and bacon can be pretty salty. Whisk it all together.

Once the pasta is ready, you have to work quickly. Drain the pasta and then put it back in the hot pan but NOT over heat. Add in the egg mixture. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs just enough but heat from the stove top will scramble the eggs. (Not good.)

Add in the bacon and onions.

Toss all together.

Serve it up.

Be happy and full of comforting goodness. Do some running the next day to burn off all those carbs. Cheer for KU. Love others.

This pasta inspires you to do good things. Make it this weekend! Happy Friday! (And Happy Easter!)