Fun New Pork Tenderloin Recipe

16 06 2011

Pork Tenderloin Florentine

2 – 2.5# Pork Tenderloins
1 bunch fresh spinach
8 oz. cream cheese
3 Tbls. fresh ginger root
1 cup craisins
1 cup hot pepper jelly (see June 9 blog for perfect recipe, or store bought)
½# Prosciutto
3 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water
2 cups Panko (Japanese Breading Flakes)
Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, freshly grated parmesan, all to taste

Wash, rinse, and pat dry spinach

Filet, flay, and pound out two pork tenderloins

Mix cream cheese, fresh ginger, craisins, and pepper jelly – spread on one side of each tenderloin. Follow with a thin layer of prosciutto. Follow with a thin layer of fresh spinach. Roll as tightly as possible, tie.

Make egg wash and dip each rolled tenderloin until thoroughly covered. Dredge each tenderloin in Panko/Italian Seasoning/Garlic Powder/Fresh Parmesan mixture (with a little salt/pepper to taste). Sauté in butter until browned on four sides, then bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Slice in ringlets and serve with roasted root vegetables.


Serrano Raspberry Jelly

9 06 2011

4 pounds Raspberries, carefully sorted, unrinsed
1 1/2 pounds Sugar
8 Red Serrano Peppers, chopped

1. Place the berries and peppers in a large, heavy stockpot and place them over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan, until the mixture begins to boil, which will take 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them from the heat and put them through a food mill, to extract the juice. You should have about 1/2 gallon of juice. You can choose to cheat (and make the recipe year round) using whole cranberry juice from a bottle – just assure the main ingredient is not water, and if there is a lot of sugar in the processed product, you will want to cut down the amount of sugar you use in the recipe).

2. Place the juice and the sugar in the stockpot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is boiling gently. Skim off any impurities (there aren’t likely to be many), and cook until the mixture falls thickly from the spoon, which should take between 20 and 30 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and seal according to the jar manufacturer’s instructions.

This is great on cream cheese, served over pork or chicken, or my personal favorite – peanut butter and raspberry pepper jelly sandwiches.

And don’t forget this is perfect KCRiverFest celebration food. It just feels like Fourth of July food (red and hot as a firecracker)- and since KCRiverFest is actually celebrated this year on the 2nd and 3rd of July – you are free to use this great concoction with your family on the actual Fourth of July this year! Had to find some kind of a plug for the KCRiverFest event somewhere in here – it’s right around the corner!

Do The Math

27 05 2011

Harold Camping promised I would not need to write a blog this week, or any week hereafter. I never spoke with Harold directly, but he assured me (and his followers) that the world would end on May 21st, 2011. He painstakingly mapped out the timing for the end of the world using the calendar (admittedly the calendar used by Noah and the Gregorians – not the Julian Calendar which the rest of the world sans Aztecs use). His math skills are a little suspect – if you pick seemingly random numbers to make your point, you can probably prove or disprove anything. For instance:

Mr. Camping’s solution is to simply take the Holy Numbers (more about these later) 5, 10, and 17. Multiply each of these numbers consecutively times themselves twice and you will find the number 722,500. The estimated date of the crucifiction according to Camping is April 1, AD33 (April Fools Day?) If you add 722,500 days to the crucifiction date, you come to May 21, 2011 – Voila – the end of the world! The math checks out – how he came up with 6:00 PM is conjecture – none of the disciples had functioning watches, therefore the bible is relatively mum on exact times. But we are not finished with numbers yet.

Roughly 2% of the earth’s population is scheduled to be “raptured” into heaven – the remaining 98% will remain for “tribulation”, a five month conciliation period during which God will accept no excuses and everybody goes to hell in a handbasket literally and figuratively. According to Mr. Camping, God is waiving the rules and will no longer sit in judgment for 5 months, but will instead clean up the whole mess on October 21, 2011. I am siding with God on this one – let’s just get it over with.

On May 21, 1988, God finished using the Churches and Congregations of the world (again according to Camping). He says the bible also dictates that the great tribulation will occur exactly 23 years after this bold move by God – precisely May 21, 2011. Would this brilliant use of mathematics have fared well in the 5th grade? I think not – it is just too simple.

Finally, here is where the Holy Numbers were found. According to Noah’s calendar, the flood started on May – hence the magic number 5. It also occured on the 17th of the month – hence the second magic number. We must assume that the number 10 is a holy number because there is not an explanation for it’s existence in the formula. Much of this formula is an assumption – the numbers really don’t matter – insert your own – create your formula for determining the end of the world. Then please call me so I will know when I need to post my next blog – I hate scheduling things to be published after earths’ expiration date has passed.

Meetings Spur Economic Growth*

19 05 2011

*This is a copy of an article by Jason Hensel from February 3, 2011. It is very informative and a different way of looking at how travel affects business. I have not had the opportunity to say thanks to Jason, so this is my way of doing so. Thanks Jason!

A new study by a Michigan State University (MSU) sociologist professor shows a great value of meetings: economic development.
Conventional wisdom holds that job growth attracts people to urban areas. But according to a study in the Journal of Urban Affairs, MSU’s Zachary Neal found the opposite to be true. Bringing the people in first—specifically, airline passengers traveling on business—leads to a fairly significant increase in jobs, he says.
“The findings indicate that people come first, then the jobs,” Neal said. “It’s just the opposite of an ‘If you build it, they will come’ sort of an approach.”
For the study, Neal examined the number of business air-travel passengers in major U.S. cities during a 15-year period (1993-2008). Business passengers destined for a city and not just passing through are a key to job growth, he says.
Attracting business travelers to the host city for meetings and other business activities by offering an easily accessible airport and other amenities such as hotels and conference centers is one of the best ways to create new jobs, he says. These business travelers bring with them new ideas and potential investment, which creates a positive climate for innovation and job growth. In the study, Neal analyzed all permanent non-farm jobs.
Neal says the finding does not contradict more direct job-creation strategies, including the construction of office and retail spaces, which can often lead to new jobs in the area. He noted that such approaches are unlikely to attract business travelers and others to the area. Thus, the study clarifies the relationship between the two main ways cities can grow: by attracting new people and by attracting new jobs. Attracting new people to a city leads to job growth, but job growth does not attract new people, he says.
According to the study, municipalities with the greatest potential to convert business passengers into new jobs were largely “sunbelt” cities such as Phoenix, Miami, Dallas, Houston and Riverside, Calif. Those with the least potential were mostly East Coast or Midwestern cities such as Boston, Pittsburgh and Detroit.
Neal added that business airline traffic is far more important for a city’s economic vitality than population size—a finding he established in an earlier study and reaffirmed with the current research.
“One might expect to see a bump up in jobs first, and then a year or two later an increase in business passenger traffic,” Neal said. “But we saw just the opposite. There was a bump up in business traffic, and then about a year later, a bump up in jobs. The business passengers were coming before the jobs did, rather than after.”
(Story materials provided by the University of Michigan.)

Crayons to CAD

12 05 2011

EventPros has enjoyed the opportunity to assist with NICE (National Institute of Construction Excellence) on their combination iBuild and Crayons to CAD program for the past 8 years. Crayons to CAD is an interactive, standards-based, middle school grade specific curriculum sponsored by NICE. It launches students into understanding the building environment as they construct “green” schools or new baseball fields or parks and community centers. Math, science, engineering, communication and technology are heavily embedded in the interactive, project-oriented program. The experience culminated this year at Bartle Hall at the annual showcase on April 28th, 2011. As usual, it was a tremendous success.

Coordinated almost entirely by volunteers, and planned over the course of many months, this process allows thousands of young adults to experience hands-on life experiences in the Building Trades. Sponsored by great organizations such as The Builders Association, MODOT, JE Dunn, (to name only a small few) and all of the Trade Unions; this event is a festival of concrete, painting, road safety, construction, architecture, and most importantly, education.

There are many different focuses within the various organizations, and the students have multiple chances to learn about the wide variety of skills necessary to be successful in the Construction Industry. The Crayons to CAD portion of the event is a project based learning program where students from 6th through 8th grades compete in designing, constructing, and building their project from “found” materials. The dome of a new stadium might be the lid from a Dairy Queen cup; the grasses and trees are made from so many different creative forms of materials that it is impossible to describe. The projects are extremely creative, and the future of new buildings – the buildings that will be utilized by our great-grandchildren – are being envisioned and created by these students on their baby steps towards excellence in these various fields.

We are very proud to be associated with this organization and the group of people that put so much sweat equity into the project. Hats off to NICE, The Builders Association, all of the Judges and Volunteers who make this venture both an amazing experience to watch, but offers us the ability to see where the future of Construction could be heading. Even bigger kudos to the students who are learning how to improve both their lives and ours – here’s to a great future!

National Teachers Day

3 05 2011

Having been married for over 30 years to a teacher, and being surrounded by educators all the time, I have to admit a great deal of prejudice in their value. I probably rank somewhere in the top 10 worst students in the history of the world. I am a decent learner, but for some reason I have to learn things the hard way. This is something I do not think any of my teachers found very amusing. I owe so much to these people who stuck with me when I would have voted in favor of euthanesia if I had been in their position and had any opportunity to make that choice. Which is just one of the reasons we need to honor National Teachers Day.

National Teacher Day is today, May 3, 2011. Here is a very brief history of how this day became a reality:
The origins of National Teacher Day are murky. Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.

NEA, along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City (Kan.) Local, lobbied Congress to create a national day to celebrate teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day for that year only.

NEA and its affiliates continued to observe National Teacher Day in March until 1985, when the NEA Representative Assembly voted to change the event to Tuesday of the first full week of May.

Teachers don’t normally ask for much – pay attention, follow instructions, do your homework, etc. – the usual stuff. They don’t earn nearly what they are worth. Great teachers make great schools; great schools make great students; great students make great communities – and great communities are where we live. There is nothing more valuable than the process where this all begins.

So take a minute today to say “thank you” – maybe even give them a hug – our future is in their hands. Happy Teacher Day!

Campaign Event Planning

14 04 2011

EventPros just completed assisting with a political campaign lasting over two years, and we have new insight into planning events in the political arena.

One of the first things you must prepare for is the fact that most events virtually erupt around you. A phone call might come in for an event occuring less than a day out (a blink of an eye in the normal world of Event Planners). Fortunately, media professionals are used to this and can adapt to any situation they are given. The people behind the scenes at television stations are unsung heroes in our book – they adjust, scramble, and deal with a multitude of different last minute challenges every time they go out – and just like professional event planners they don’t stop to complain – they look for solutions and simply make it happen.

While we are used to planning decor, color schemes, plotting the best room set-up scenarios, and discussing for long periods of time the perfect ways to create the best event possible: political events must often be thrown together with the same degree of professionalism but almost no time to discuss details – much less plan.

Most importantly, when working with corporations, which are our primary clients, their staff’s believe (for the most part) in what their company stands for, and understand their company goals. The people we have worked with on this campaign are fanatically devoted to their cause 24/7.

There is a huge difference between having a strong interest in your company and what you do for a living, versus living to fulfill the dream of seeing your candidate win. These campaign folks, paid or volunteer, are steadfastly true to their cause – they are true believers. They work constantly, every breath is about the campaign – every spoken word directly or indirectly involves their candidate. Every day involves one goal and one goal only: win.

We have always known that corporate event planning; association event planning; wedding event planning; and festival/fair event planning are completely different animals. Now we know that campaign event planning is also a universe of its own. The complexities are astonishing, and reaction time is Olympic standard. It has been an incredible experience working with this amazing group of people – but for now, I think we will concentrate on the type of events that we are known well for achieving.

Cancer? Me?

2 04 2011

CANCER. Yeah, I intended to caps-lock that bitch.

For me it was “well, ok, I have it – what next?”

For me it was “well, ok – let’s get rid of it”.

For me it was “well, ok – that’s over, what’s next?

Obviously there is a lot more intellectual and emotional stuff that happened between all that, but (again, for me), that is a pretty concise summary of how I handled it.

Mine happened to be Prostate Cancer, which if there was a shopping list of cancers to choose from, this one would be popular. Not much pain – a few weeks off work – and recovery rates are extremely high.

And then for me it was “well, ok, it’s over – what next?

Guess what – for me (again, it’s always about me) – work started to matter less. Things that used to be important; like being in the office by 7:30 AM and not caring how late I stayed, stopped being important.

What became important was time. Slowing down – being with friends and family – being with myself and allowing myself to relax, refresh, and just be around. Basically everything I totally sucked at doing before the cancer incident. So maybe it was a little wake up call – although I am still not very good at relaxing – I am trying harder (trying hard to relax is a huge contradiction).

Event Planning and Production is what I do. Work itself started to matter less, but learning to get better at what I do began to matter more. It now takes me longer to accomplish what I need to accomplish, but I am now slowing down and becoming more thorough. I think I might actually be developing into a better Events person as a result.

I am constantly reminded that you are not allowed to say you are cancer-free for five years after it has been diagnosed as gone. Big deal – lot’s of things could kill me in the next five years. It is no longer something for me to worry about, including cancer.

I feel extremely fortunate to have only dealt with a minor disease – I don’t think I would feel the same if I had to add chemotherapy and/or radiation to the mix. My heart goes out to those with cancers that are truly serious – mostly I have learned to be much more introspective, and I have learned that catheters blow. Many of these other unfortunates must learn how to die, and frequently very unpleasantly.

So for me (yeah I know, it’s all about me again) bye bye to cancer – time to un-caps-lock that bitch!

Well, Duh?

28 03 2011

Few blogs offer much more than regurgitation of information we already readily have available. It is immaterial if the writer is left-wing, right-wing, or a centrist (or just freaking insane). Many blogs convey the writer’s attitude – good, bad, annoying, or otherwise. Rarely do we read anything thought provoking. There are many exceptions of course (subscribe to Redhead Writing for an example of great), but most seem fairly lame.

I recently reviewed my own blogs over the past year – with a mild disclaimer that (as I have claimed before) I am definitely ADD. My meanderings are all over the place. Unfortunately, this is what the inside of my head looks like – kind of a train wreck – it is just not wired correctly. But mostly my response to reading my own blogs was the same reaction I have to reading most other blogs, and that was “Well, Duh?”

I then wanted to write a few paragraphs to ramble about other things I don’t understand, but there is too much stuff out there. I hoped to make a little sense out of my own thought processes, but to little avail.

For instance, the first thing that came to mind was the Kardashian trend. I have seen them interviewed and cannot find a reason why anybody wanted to talk to them in the first place. From what little I understand, one of the Kardashians is famous for licking a wrapper; not sure why that is important or how the other very eloquent Kardashian girls became popular.

Following Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Snookie or many of the other celebrities getting press has always intrigued me because I can’t see any reason to read about them anytime – drunk, sober, stupid, or otherwise. I have to admit I have been a big fan of Robert Downey, Jr. for a long time – always wanted to see him succeed because I believe he is very talented. I felt the same way about River Phoenix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and many others – so I guess it all depends who you like or dislike – certainly many people feel that Snookie has many redeeming qualities and I am just missing the point somehow. That is how it usually works – well duh?

Lasting Relationships and Technology

21 03 2011

I have been married for 32 years, and I believed that the challenge of remaining in a relationship (not to mention raising two beautiful daughters) would be the hardest thing I would probably ever have to face.

And then along came the new technologies. First learning to hook up the VCR to the television. Then adding the Nintendo system. Then hooking up the PlayStation without interrupting the television/nintendo/vcr set up. Then came the WII system – with the cable box included, our entertainment area began to look like Mission Control at NASA.

By now of course, we are long overdue to upgrade our television. Now we have moved everything with gaming to a family room which obviously needed to be upgraded immediately to HD, Blu-Ray, and the ability to control our devices from our telephones, work stations, or tablet devices.

I always envisioned myself becoming Ward Cleaver, but I appear to be evolving more towards George Jetson. I was moderately prepared to have children and a wonderful marriage, but the rest of this crap – not so much. As it turns out, no one would ever describe me as Ward Cleaver-like, and George Jetson makes me look technology-wise like the Neanderthal guys in the Geico commercials.

In retrospect, working with new devices and struggling to learn how to interface/operate – especially regarding expectations with both devices and relationships – are fairly similar. You must learn what buttons are probably not going to do anything and which ones can cause harm. Decide which features you need and are important, and let the rest go. Prioritize – there is nothing wrong with learning new systems – but you had better be prepared because back up systems usually suck. And from what I have witnessed, 32 years of relationships are virtually impossible to reinstall. The rest of the stuff can blow the hell up for all I care. Best of luck trying to keep up with either one!