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2015 SCI Fundraiser & Auction

IMG_6350Remember our friend Jessie The Cow that Josh spent a whole evening bidding on last year?  Well, on August 28th, 2015, we’ll be at the annual Science Center of Iowa Fundraiser and Auction again hoping to bid on a friend for Jessie and we hope you will be too!  Well, we hope you’ll be at the event, not necessarily outbidding Josh on paintings.

IMG_6331That’s right, one of our favorite events of the summer is coming up on August 28th and I got to sit down with Marla, one of the event coordinators this week and get the inside scoop.  This year sounds bigger and better than ever and features a “Space” theme, complete with a real, live astronaut!  Astronaut Clayton Anderson will be at the event signing books and answering all of your “spacey” questions!

IMG_6336They are keeping some of the favorites from past years, such as the Moscow Mule bar, delicious food vendors like Hy-vee, Gateway Market, Christiani’s and Creme, but adding more decor, more themed foods (like fruit “rockets” get it? Space Theme? Rockets? I love it!), more seating and more locally made auction items in a dedicated “Make Section” in the silent auction.  Some of the hand-made auction items include local food, furniture and more.  I’m very excited about seeing lots of IMG_6345locally produced wares and of course bidding on them!  Don’t worry, you can still bid on plenty of local event packages, foodie packages, vacations and even unique packages like a trip to see Wheel of Fortune or a chance to attend the Mercedes-Benz Driving School in Germany.   I know!  Cool!

IMG_6334For more information and to buy tickets, visit: http://www.sciow11692798_10153302303696598_8870451863093031715_na.org/engage/support/annual-event/

and make sure to RSVP on Facebook at: https://www.facebok.com/events/992649820767114/

 

See you there

Soul Food Festival – Des Moines

IMG_3793 IMG_3804Guys…I think I was meant to live in the south because some of my favorite food is this stuff right here.  Ok, maybe most of you can relate to my love of fried chicken, gumbo, dirty rice and sweet potato pie.  OMG, this sweet potato pie!

I’m talking about the annual Soul Food Festival that they hold at the Forest Ave. library.  It’s the first Saturday of March every year, and its awesome.

Basically they set up a feast of the most delicious food and you pay per item and enjoy.  Items are between $.75 and $1.00 so it’s

IMG_3794 IMG_3801the best deal in town.  And the best part is that the money raised supports the friends of the Forest Avenue library.

If you missed this year’s festival, mark it on your calendar for next year!  Like I said, it’s the 1st Saturday in March, you won’t be sorry.

You can peruse the menu above, but my faves were the red beans and rice and sweet potato pie, it was hands down the best I’ve ever had.  I’m going to go dream about it now.

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Pizza Ranch – Waukee, Altoona & Urbandale

IMG_3744 IMG_3884As we mentioned on Facebook and Twitter the other day, we are proud to welcome Pizza Ranch (Waukee, Altoona & Urbandale) as a new blog sponsor.

 

I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find an Iowan who hasn’t been to (or is at least familiar with) a Pizza Ranch, but we wanted to share some of the cool things about out local Pizza Ranch locations!

 

IMG_3883 IMG_3888These three locations are all owned by a super-nice, local couple who loves to support our community.  You’ll always see them doing a charity event at the restaurant to support local athletics or organizations.  They offer community impact nights every Monday and Wednesday!  And who are we kidding?  Who doesn’t love their pizza and award-winning fried chicken.  I may also be a little addicted to the cactus bread and ice cream.  I’m also psyched that they offer gluten-free pizza too!

 

IMG_3883 IMG_3745Don’t forget that kids under 10 eat free with adult buffet purchase on Tuesdays (one kid free per paying adult).  They also offer a seniors lunch day on Wednesdays!  They pride themselves in being a great value for families with great service in a clean environment.

 

And don’t forget about the party rooms!  They offer rooms you can reserve for parties and special events.  Feel free to call any of the locations for more info about the community programs they offer, parties or just to tell them how much you like the cactus bread! Yum!

 

Please show them some love by “liking” your local Pizza Ranch location on Facebook to keep up to date on special events and promotions! Waukee Pizza Ranch, Urbandale Pizza Ranch, Altoona Pizza Ranch.

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-Altoona – 515-967-8800

-Urbndale – 515-331-4610

-Waukee 515-978-6603

 

 

DMACC Dinner – Mardi Gras

IMG_3060 IMG_3067So, I’ve told you before that we enjoy having dinner a few times a semester at the DMACC Culinary Institute.  Here is my last post explaining more about the dinners: http://eatplaylovedesmoines.com/2013/03/amazing-dinners-at-iowa-culinary.html

 

 

 

IMG_3087 IMG_3070We like supporting the institute, it’s a great date night and a portion of the meal is tax-deductible.  Oh, and the food is great.  We particularly enjoyed the Mardi Gras themed meal last weekend so I thought I’d share some photos.

The top photos are the appetizer course(s) of a pretzel coated (and they really meant pretzel) crab cake and their take on a fried green tomato club salad to the right.  We loved both.

 

IMG_3080 IMG_3072There is always homemade bread, a soup course (tonight’s was “snapper”), a cheese course, an intermezzo/cleanser (sorbet usually) and dessert in addition to the main entrée, so you go home pretty darn full!  And of course there are wine pairings with each course.  Not to mention that you are greated with passed appetizers and Champaign in the lobby while you are waiting to be seated.

 

I was a little bummed that I didn’t make it to a crawfish boil this year like the one we went to last year at Rock Bottom: http://eatplaylovedesmoines.com/2014/03/mardi-gras-party-crawfish-boil-rock-bottom.html , so it was nice to have one here at the dinner tonight in honor of Mardi Gras.  Hey, I like any reason to celebrate!  This was a shrimp and andouille-stuffed quail with creole rice and haricots verts (green beans) and it was delicious.

 

IMG_3091Anyway, there are a few dinner left this semester if you are interested in getting in on one.  You can find the info here: https://go.dmacc.edu/ici/pages/gourmetdinners.aspx.

And if you aren’t wanting to commit to a full dinner, you can visit their Bistro for lunch or dinner on select days.  Check out that info here: https://go.dmacc.edu/ici/Pages/bistro.aspx.  We haven’t tried it yet, so if you have, let us know what you had and how you liked it!

 

 

 

 

Happy Lunar New Year!

IMG_3302 IMG_3311Happy year of the sheep! This is the third year in a row we’ve had the pleasure of attending the Lunar New Year celebration hosted by the Korean Cultural Center of Des Moines.  It has been held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverdale each year and is a great, low key way to introduce your family to a different culture for a day. Here is our post with some photos from last year: http://eatplaylovedesmoines.com/2014/01/happy-lunar-new-year.html .

 

IMG_3333IMG_3378I’ll of course remind you on our Facebook page when the event is coming up again next year, but go ahead and follow them to learn about other events coming up (like CelebrAsian). https://www.facebook.com/pages/Korean-Cultural-Center/194912157188790?fref=ts

 

IMG_3320 IMG_3317We had fun learning how to roll Kimbap, watching the program, playing games and doing crafts and I most definitely look forward to enjoying the Bulgogi with rice, noodles, kimchi and soup (they even offer gluten-free) every year!  And the best part is that all of this is free!  The suggested donation is $5 per plate for the food, but it is all worth so much more.

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ps. Thanks to Kristine from the Cultural Center for snapping this family photo of us!

 

Color Fun Fest Des Moines 2014

get-attachment-62.aspxget-attachment-60.aspxToday’s guest post was written by our friend Allison!  Allison lives in the Des Moines area with her super fun family and was nice enough to cover the Color Fun Fest 5k for us this year and she tells us all about it in today’s post!  The run/walk/party was held at Principal Park which provided ample parking and a fun view of downtown throughout the leisurely, un-timed walk/run. Thanks again Allison for sharing your fun photos and recap!

 

get-attachment-50.aspxget-attachment-59.aspxColor Fun Fest 2014 is officially in the books! My husband and I participated in the run on Saturday the 23rd at 8:30pm. However, this was not simply a run. It was a fun and color filled event for the whole family! In fact, that was the aspect I enjoyed the most about this event—catered to all ages. There were toddlers in strollers, groups of teenagers wearing rainbow-colored tutus, adults with friends and groups of co-workers, and even some grandparents. In fact, I saw several families that included three generations of runners. How cool is that!

get-attachment-61.aspxget-attachment-49.aspxAnother fun aspect was running at dusk. Several runners had glow bracelets and necklaces on. My favorite were the glow eye glasses and rings! As much as it was fun running in the dark, this proved to be a bit challenging. There were several spots along the path that were not well-lit, making it difficult to know where you were stepping. It was critical that you paid attention to the people around you, as well as what may be in your running path. We even encountered a muddy incline that required walking carefully. Needless to say, it kept you on your toes!

get-attachment-63.aspxWould I run this event again? You bet! Who wouldn’t like showing up to a color party as a blank canvass and getting colored!

Learn more about the Color Fun Fest and the charities they support at http://colorfunfest5k.com and follow them on their social media to be the first to know when this 5k is coming back to Des Moines or to a city near you! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColorFunFest, Twitter: @ColorFunFest Instagram: http://instagram.com/colorfunfest

The Italian Heritage Festival

We always have a great time at the Italian Heritage Festival in Des Moines.  The 2014 event will be held on July 25th & 26th, 2014.  2013 was a great year for the event, it was the largest one yet and 2014 looks to be shaping up to be even better.  Lots of great food vendors, free inflatables, crafts, face painting and balloon animals for the kids, live music and lots of fun contests like pasta-eating and bocce ball tournaments.  The festival is free

 

from opening until 5pm when there is a $5 cover charge to get in.  Children 12 and under are always free to get in.


Of course we sampled everything from pizzelles to meatballs to Italian Nachos (which I highly recommend) to gelato and fresh squeezed lemonade.

 
The highlight (food-wise) was the Italian Nachos that were topped with beef and sausage, tomato sauce and mozzarella.  There was a topping bar of peppers as well.  So good!  My sons favorite was the Italian cookies.

While kids spent most of the time bouncing on the inflatables (I also really appreciated that they had boxes full of socks available for kids since in the middle of July a lot of kids wear sandals and sock are required for the bounce houses.) and doing crafts, they seemed to really enjoy the entertainment that we caught that day too which included a bagpipe player and dancers.

If you missed this year’s event, mark your calendar for next year!  A great, free (during the day) family outing or a great inexpensive date-night!  Alway wonderful to be able to learn a little about Italian heritage, have some great food and have some fun.

 

BacOOn Ride 2014

get-attachment-65.aspx 10474903_10154231236930276_4415003412071374592_nI learned of the BacOOn Ride sometime around the time of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival this year and even though I didn’t own a bike, I knew I had to do the first annual BacOOn Ride.  In May, I went to Rasmussen Bike Shop and had them set me up with a bike that would get me on the path to bacon-y goodness.  I started riding a few miles a day and joined “pedal off the pounds” through the Des Moines Cycle Club.  They meet Monday nights to weigh-in, talking about biking related issues and go for a ride together.  In May, I was able to do the Confluence Bike ride which was about 30 miles, but I had never done much more than that in one shot before, let alone 72.  But I HAD to do the BacOOn Ride.

 

10419561_10154231237840276_1044148829458346940_n 10452294_10154231236590276_7153044418809103363_nThe name is a mix of the words Bacon and Raccoon River Valley Trail where the ride was held.  And that just about sums up what the event it, Bacon and Biking….  The trail is a 72 mile loop that goes from Waukee, IA to Adel, Linden, Panora, Yale, Herndon, Jamaica, Perry, Minburn, Dallas Center and back to Waukee.  The ride organizers did a fantastic job having bacon-y stops set up at each town and even in-between.

 

On June 28th, with pint glass and passpork (The card you need to get your bacon treats at each stop) in hand and BacOOn Ride t-shirt proudly worn, I’m excited to say, along with my hubby and a few friends, I completed the BacOOn Ride!  It ended up being a total of 77 miles with a few trips a little further into the towns to enjoy the festivities. I enjoyed almost every mile!  The miles that it poured rain on us and there were heavy head-winds weren’t as fun, but it was so worth it!  This was a great ride for a first long ride because of the frequent stops and availability of necessities along the way.

 

10344770_10154231235990276_3969702788534449394_n 10340004_10154231235765276_2851892634699586723_nI will for sure be signing up for the ride next year!  The hospitality in each town was top-notch, especially in Perry at The Hotel Pattee where we were welcomed to bring our bikes right into the hotel to wait out the storm.

 

The bacon and beer flowed and the trail was beautiful.  We started out with bacon burritos in Waukee to get us started and then enjoyed bacon donuts in Adel for breakfast.   Bacon samples, Bacon cheeseburger sliders, bacon BLTs, pork tacos and bacon ice cream were all included with registration at other stops along the way.  There were also lots of other treats avalaible for purchase along the way too.  And the best part was that we burned off the calories along the way!  Great event!

 

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Trivia at Blue Moon with Super Moms!

So basically, today’s post is about Tuesday Trivia Night at Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar with some really awesome friends. BUT, there is so much more to tell you about.

get-attachment-58.aspx First, let me introduce these lovely ladies…They are the Des Moines Area Super Moms, well, just a few of them.  There are about 32 of them in all right now, and I’ve been a part of this fab group of moms since my son was 4 months old.  My son is now almost 7, so I’ve known a lot of these gals for quite a long time.  They organize their get-togethers on a website called Meetup.com.  get-attachment-59.aspxThey have a great message board where they discuss anything and everything and get together frequently for play dates with kids or the occasional Moms Night Out (like tonight).  The best part, it’s open for all DSM (and surrounding) area moms to join!  These ladies have been a HUGE support system for me during the years when I didn’t know when to introduce new foods to my kid, what the line etiquette was at school pick-up or even why there was green stuff coming out of my kid. Most importantly they are there for each other through those days that seem to last forever at the time, but really go by so fast when you look back.  Anyway, if you are a new mom, or just looking for some great mom friends who “get it”, check out the Des Moines Area Super Moms on Meetup.com.  Membership is $6/year and the value is priceless!

get-attachment-62.aspx get-attachment-61.aspxBack to beer and trivia! Trivia Night at Blue Moon Piano Bar in West Glen Town Center was a blast!  My first tip would be to get there early to get seats for your team.  You can have as many people as you want on your team, but they limit the prizes (i.e. a round of drinks) to 8 per team. And the prizes were great for a free event!  Our team, aptly called “The Super Moms” won round two and got to share this delicious free order of chicken nachos as our prize! Woot!  Another prize for winning a round was a round of shots and there were prizes for the top three overall teams as well!  The big prize was a $50 gift card.  Like I said, pretty awesome prizes for a game that’s free to play!  Plus, they had $3 beer and ciders all evening, so this was a pretty cheap night out!  Our table had pizza, chicken fingers and nachos and everyone enjoyed all the food.  They also offer sandwiches, soups and salads if you prefer.  Our server Ivan was awesome!  Even though he informed us that’s not his real name, and was shocked our group won round two, we still think he was pretty cool!

get-attachment-63.aspxThis would be fun for adults of any age, and the age range here was all over the board.  Host Andy “Dj Cubbie” Powell from Select Entertainement (known for his former role as Cubbie Bear for the ICubs) did a great job challenging teams to 6 rounds of trivia in just under two hours and keeping it good, clean fun with categories that challenge, but don’t make you feel too dumb.  DJ Cubbie says he aims to have people be able to answer 7 out of 10 questions correctly  in each of the 6 rounds.  Unfortunately, our group of moms failed miserably in the sports category or we would have taken home one of the top three prizes!  Next week for sure!

get-attachment-64.aspxAnyway, if cheep beer and free fun didn’t convince you to try Trivia at Blue Moon on Tuesday nights.  Go to support Dj Cubbie’s efforts with the Children’s Cancer Connection’s Oncology Camp.  Through trivia at Blue Moon he raised money to send kids to camp this past week AND volunteers his own time each year Dj-ing the dance at the camp and hosting games for the kids at the camp.  What an awesome guy!  You can find him at other bars in the area hosting trivia or beer bingo!  You can find trivia hosted by Select Entertainment at Claxons in Altoona, Champps in Jordan Creek, Wellmans Pub (both locations) and more!  Check out their fb page for the most current places to find them.  Or contact DJ Cubbie directly at andy@selectentertainmentiowa.com to find our which games he’s hosting.  Fun times!

 

Give Hope Gala – A Toast to St. Jude

alsac-event-give-hope-gala-main-imageI’m so excited about the Inaugural Give Hope Gala on April 24th at “The Venue” from 7-10pm that evening.  The address is 216 Court ave (right above the Legends downtown).

It’s a young professionals cocktail party benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It’s sure to become one of Des Moines’ premier social events boasting local culinary fare, an open bar, entertainment and a silent auction.

Come have a good time for a great cause— supporting the lifesaving work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  They are expecting 150-200 attendees in their first year and everyone takes home a swag bag!

There will be a DJ, Photo Booth, professional photographers, silent auction as well as a short program including a local St. Jude family.  Heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts (including a doughnut station courtesy of Taste! To Go) and an open bar will be served and VIP tickets include a signature cocktail, extra desserts and a VIP swag bag.

They already have some amazing auction items including a weekend getaway package, jewelry and TONS of gift certificates to Des Moines area businesses.
Don’t miss it!

Ticket information

By March 31, 2014 ~ $50
After March 31, 2014 ~ $60
VIP ticket ~ $75
VIP table of 6 ~ $400

Purchase tickets

Www.StJude.org/GiveHopeGala

Follow them on Facebook more more info and updates about the event…
Www.Facebook.com/FOSJDesMoines