Firetrucker Brewery

I have a personal goal to go visit and try all the awesome local breweries that are popping up in Central Iowa. I recently had the chance to visit Firetrucker Brewery.

Firetrucker Brewery-2

The atmosphere was fun. There is a stage area, where live bands can come and play. The night we visited David Watson was playing and he was great! There is a HUGE patio. I am excited to visit again when the weather is consistently nicer. They have a huge area to park bikes and are not far off from the Ankeny Bike Trail. This will be an awesome place to stop for a beer when you bike ride.

Of course, the beer was great! I started the evening off with the Tropical Burn. It was good. It is an IPA, but not like your typical IPA and I actually enjoyed it! It is a fruity type beer with mango, pineapple and grapefruit aromas. The mango sealed the deal 🙂 I also tried the Ladder 317 which is a Irish Style Cream Ale. I started my St. Patty’s Day celebration early!

My favorite part (besides the awesome brews) was the artwork displayed throughout the brewery. Every few months Firetrucker rotates a different local artist into the brewery, so they can display their artwork. I love how much the brewery supports other local people! Right now, VAN HOLMGREN is on display! Check it out!

Breweries do not tend to cook their own food. You can bring in whatever food you like and most nights they set-up delivery with restaurants in the area. The night we were there they had a limited menu from Okoboji Grill. We ordered our food and it was delivered to us! It was also included in one tab, so we were not paying two different tabs. It was very simple and convenient!

Make sure you get a chance to check out this laid back brewery. If anything, grab your bike and ride to check it out!

Make sure and follow Firetrucker on Facebook here to keep up to date with events, music, artwork and more!

Unknown

(Image Source)

 

RoCA

Since this is Midwest Mom & WIFE … let’s talk about an awesome place to check out for date night 🙂

Travis and I were lucky to have someone watch our kiddos Saturday night for Valentine’s Day. We decided we would go downtown and check out the new restaurant RoCA!

They had delicious food, drinks and wine! Travis and I are big wine drinkers so we bought a bottle of Syrah. Our bartender was very knowledgable in wine and drinks. I actually learned a bit about wine while we were there.

We also tried the Smoking Gun cocktail. Travis and I are not big bourbon drinkers, but we were intrigued on how the drink was made! They take an old bourbon bottle that has a little bourbon and maple syrup on the bottom. Then they pump smoke into the bottle. When the cocktail is brought to you, you let the smoke sit and after a few minutes you pour the drink into your cocktail glass. It has a very smokey flavor. It was something new and different!

RoCA is known for their shared plates, boards, and schpreads. I am a huge cheese lover, especially when we are drinking wine! We ordered the Combine Meat & Cheese Board. Oh my goodness, it was perfect! There was goat cheese, blue cheese, pastrami, pickled cucumbers, nuts, and more. It was perfect! We also split the Smoked Mac & Cheese, which was delish also!

RoCA is the perfect date night spot! The atmosphere is fun, the staff is knowledgeable and the food & drinks are delicious!

Flix Brewhouse for Kids

Monte just turned 3 years old and still had not been to a movie, in a movie theater! My dad and I took him to his first movie, Ice Age 2, last Saturday at Flix Brewhouse. We all had an awesome time!

I know what you are thinking … “taking a child to a brewhouse?” Yes! Once a month Flix Brewhouse offers a special children’s movie, Saturday morning, where the kids can wear their pajamas and enjoy the theater experience. I had been wanting to check out Flix Brewhouse since they opened at Merle Hay Mall and this was the perfect opportunity.

It was amazing to see how much Merle Hay Mall has changed since the remodeling and addition of the brewhouse! The entrance/dining area was very nice and the staff were super nice and helpful also!

The awesome thing about Flix Brewhouse is not only the fact they brew beer and you can drink it DURING the movie, but they offer awesome food that you can eat DURING the movie! You have a server through out the whole movie! They offered a special brunch menu that included a breakfast burrito, pancakes (children portions), warm croissants, egg omlettes, and more!

They also offer coffee and mimosas 🙂 And of course their specialty brews. My dad and I tried the Luna Rosa Wit which is similar to a Blue Moon. Very good!

Tickets for the special monthly, children’s movie is $5 per ticket plus whatever food and drink you purchase. The food and drink is reasonably priced for a theater. When you purchase tickets online it is recommended to come 25-30 minutes before the movie start time. I would highly recommend doing this! One, they will not let you into the theater once the movie has begun. Two, it’s easier to order all your food and drinks before the movie begins, because it takes some time to get it and the lights are on. You can continue to order through out the movie also.

If you have a little one who has not been to a movie at a movie theater, I highly recommend crossing this item off your list at the Flix Brewhouse. We had so much fun!

 

The Body Book Review

I finally finished The Body Book. It was such a great book and I am so happy I picked it up! Now, I know what you are thinking … “another diet book, another exercise regimen, etc., etc.” Nope! Not the case. It is none of that. It is basically a users manual to your body. It is a book that breaks down how your body works and why your body works the way it does. Yes, there are some suggestions of foods to eat, exercises to do, but it’s not all about that.

(Image Source)

I will be honest, this book is pretty much anatomy class all over again, BUT it’s so much more interesting this time around. I promise 🙂 Maybe it was more interesting and the information stuck with me more, because I am actually interested. Or maybe because I’m not thinking about passing notes in class and what I am doing on Friday night 🙂 Also, it helps that the book was written by Cameron Diaz, not another textbook author. It’s real life explanation. A lot of the information you read, you already know, but it’s explained to you, so you UNDERSTAND.

I love how this book was broken down. The first section was all about nutrition …

  1. Water intake! I just started keeping a 16 oz mason jar of room temperature water in my bathroom and chug it every morning when I wake up, BEFORE I do anything else. It’s amazing how much this makes a difference.
  2. Sugar … it’s bad duh! But, why is it so bad?
  3. Carbs are NOT bad! As long as you are eating good carbs.
  4. Microbiome. Sounds boring? But, so interesting!

The second section is about fitness! You are thinking … “yes, I know, I need to workout more. OKAY!” Nope. There is more to it 🙂

  1. The history of why going to the gym and planning for your workout has become a much needed priority today.
  2. The evolution of technology … CRAZY to see how technology has affected our movement!
  3. What happens when you do NOT move.
  4. “Energy In, Energy Out” very interesting topic! Energy = LIFE!
  5. Break down of bones, muscles, and system functions.
  6. Sleep is so important. All technology off! I sleep with a mask now!

The third and final section is about mind! Okay, so you can read this entire book, understand, and agree with everything that is written in it. BUT nothing will change if you don’t DO something. Put your MIND to it!

  1. Connect body and mind
  2. Realize your body is NOT the same as the person next to you. LISTEN to your body!
  3. Break the habits … practice, practice!
  4. “Nothing’s For Free” … discipline!
  5. Plan!

Cameron Diaz says this in the book … we are a machine. You would not let your car go months and months without an oil change would you? Or if you do, is it still functioning correctly? We function at our bests when we eat the right foods to give us energy, drink enough water, and keep moving. If we lay on the couch for days and eat cake and potato chips for days, our machine slowly breaks down over time.

The year is coming to an end and I know the most popular New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight, be healthy, etc. THIS book will help you keep your resolution. Of course, I cannot promise it will help you keep it, because ONLY YOU can make that change. This book will help you in the right direction.

 

Pulp Muffins

I want to share an awesome recipe for you juicers out there! Pulp Muffins! I have been juicing a lot more lately and when I am done juicing, I end up with soooooo much pulp …

I feel like I’m wasting food when I just throw it in the trash. I did some research of what others do with their pulp and I came across baking it into breads and muffins. What a great idea! Especially when you have some picky eaters (like Monte) he is getting some veggies, in what he calls “cake” and has no idea! 🙂

I came across this recipe and I had everything on hand, but did change it up a bit. Here are the ingredients I used …

Ingredients

  1. 1 large banana
  2. 2 cups Juicer pulp
  3. 4 Tbsp Honey (I estimated, probably used a bit more)
  4. 1/2 cup applesauce
  5. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  6. 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  7. 6 eggs
  8. 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  9. 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  10. 2/3 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  11. 2 tsp baking powder
  12. 2 tsp baking soda
  13. 1 tsp nutmeg
  14. 2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients in mixer and mix!
  3. Spoon into muffin tins that are pre-sprayed. Fill them half way full.
  4. Bake about 17 minutes. Each oven varies!
  5. Let cool before removing from pan.

These are super tasty with a bit of peanut butter on them. Monte loved them! I also took about half and froze them. This recipe yields about 24 regular size muffins. If you do not think you will eat them all right away, make sure to freeze them and pull them out as needed!

What do you do with your leftover juice pulp?

 

 

 

Deals Orchard 2014

We checked out a new pumpkin patch and orchard this past weekend and LOVED it! We usually go to Center Grove Orchard every year, because they are awesome! We did make a trip this year, but decided to try out a new place also.

Deal’s Orchard is about an hour drive, depending where you are coming from. It’s located in Jefferson, Iowa. Saturday was the perfect fall day to make the drive. Not only was the weather perfect, but it was also their Fall Festival!

It was very busy because it was Fall Festival, but parking was not a problem. They had hayrack rides that picked you up and your parking area and drove you right to the entrance.

There was SOOOO much to do, we did not get a chance to do it all or see it all. A lot of things were going on specifically for the festival, but they had a lot of things that are available all season long such as:

  1. Jumping Pillow
  2. Corn Pool
  3. Goats & Donkey!
  4. Duck Races
  5. Giant Slide
  6. Pedal Tractors
  7. Wiggle Cars (which Monte loved!)
  8. Hamster roll (for the bigger kiddos)

The area where all these fun activities were located is called Apple Acres. It’s $6 for adults to enter and $4 for kids. Children 2 years and younger are free!

Wiggle Cars

Corn Pool

There were so many other fun activities specifically for the Fall Festival, such as:

  1. Spook Cave – A haunted house put on by the Boy Scouts
  2. Spin Art and Sand Art
  3. Balloons and Face Painting
  4. Live music
  5. Lots of food (I think this is all season long!)
  6. Train Rides (Not sure if this was just for Fall Festival or not)
  7. Picket Fence Creamery had a stand
  8. Samples of their own Hard Cider
  9. Petting Zoo
  10. and MORE!

Train Rides

Delish Hard Cider!

There is also a cute little shop with gifts, pies, already picked apples, pumpkins, there own honey, apple cider, and so much more!

Of course, there is a pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkins! And an apple orchard to pick your own apples!

We really enjoyed our time at Deal’s Orchard! Next year, we will definitely make an entire day out of it so we make sure to see and do everything!

Have you been to Deal’s Orchard? What is your favorite thing to do?

Dinosaur Exhibit at the Science Center of Iowa

We had Family Night, Friday night and it was a blast!

We began our evening at Zombie Burger. If you have not been, you definitely need to check it out! They have awesome, crazy burgers and even crazier, spiked milkshakes. I enjoyed a Cinnamon Toast Crunch shake spiked with Rum Chata … delish!

Travis ordered the Undead Elvis … which includes peanut butter, fried bananas, bacon, american cheese, egg, mayo, and somewhere on there … a hamburger patty!

(Image Source)

After dinner, we made our way to the Science Center of Iowa! They opened the Dinosaur Exhibit during Family Night. Family Night is the second Friday of every month 5 pm – 8 pm and it’s only $5. It’s a great thing, when you cannot make it to the Science Center during the day and it’s an awesome family night activity. As a Science Center member you can enter in at 4 pm to see the exhibit early, before the crowd hits. Also, as a member, the $5 entrance fee is waived. You also get free registration on monthly member family workshops. You can view upcoming workshops here.

We started out exploring in the Small Discoveries area. Monte loves this area and it’s perfect for toddlers. He loves the fruit and vegetable activity AND the bubble activity.

The dinosaur exhibit was pretty awesome. There is something for everyone, it does not matter your age! Monte was pretty much only interested in the large dinosaurs and hands on things.

The exhibit does a great job explaining everything with videos, pictures, and large dinosaurs! If there are questions there is someone available to ask.  There are a lot of hands on things for the kiddos.

Monte’s favorite were the stamps. At the beginning of the tour there are sheets of paper with six squares to fill. Each square is a different type of dinosaur. When you walk through the exhibit you look for that type of dinosaur and somewhere near by is a stamp to stamp your sheet. Each stamp is white and looks more like a fossil then a stamp.  It helps keep the kids involved and interested.

There were also smaller, toy dinosaurs you could play with!

After we toured the exhibit, we made our way upstairs to check out the When Things Get Moving area. You could spend hours in this area. You can build cars with legos and have races, build rockets and launch them, wrap an “egg” and drop it to see if it will break, dominoes, and much more!

If you have young kiddos and are not a member of the Science Center of Iowa, I definitely recommend becoming a member! I love taking Monte when it is cold and dreary out. We can spend a good 3 hours or more keeping busy with all the activities. It definitely pays for itself quickly! You get a discount on IMAX films, discount in the store, discount at the Food Chain Cafe, and more!

There are also events that happen which are included with your membership. One event that is coming up on October 25th is Spooky Science. A perfect event for your kiddos to get dressed up in their costumes and check out the Science Center of Iowa.

For more information about becoming a member, check it out here!

What is your favorite thing to do at the Science Center of Iowa?

DSM Activities & Events 11/21 – 11/27

 

There are lots of holiday events going on this weekend! Make sure to check everything out, by clicking on the calendar on the right hand side of the page! Have a wonderful weekend!

1. East Village Promenade

When: Friday 5 – 9 pm

Where and What: Come kick off the Holiday season in the East Village! Visit Santa at the Historical building and at Brenton Plaza. There will be caroling, ice skating, holiday lights, lots of restaurants to eat at, free horse drawn hay rack ride, and much more!

2. Winter Market 

When: Friday 11 am – 2 pm & Saturday 9 am – 1 pm

Where and What: Miss the weekly downtown farmers market? You do not want to miss this then! This market will be located at Capital Square and there will be more then 120 vendors to shop from. Wine, jams, honey, turkeys, crafts and much more will be available for purchase. Check out the Downtown Farmers Market for more information and scheduled entertainment!

3. Tour De Lights

When: Family Night – Saturday at 4:30 pm & Fitness Night – Sunday at 4:30 pm

Where and What: This 2-day event is a chance to preview the Jolly Holiday Lights before it is open to the general public! Saturday evening is family night where you can walk, run, bike, or stroll! Sunday evening is fitness night where you can run or ride 1.5 or 3.5 miles from Water Works Park OR a 11 mile round trip route from El Bait Shop! Check out the event page for more information!

4. Jordan Creek Town Center Tree Lighting 

When: Friday 6 pm – 7 pm

What: Bring the whole family to the Jordan Creek Town Center where Santa will arrive, they will light the large tree and sing songs! There will also be a fire works show! Check out the Jordan Creek Town Center Events Page for more information!

5. Elf on the Shelf Pajama Party 

When: Friday at 7 pm

Where and What: If you will be celebrating Santa’s arrival at Jordan Creek Town Center, you need to check out this event also! Do you do the Elf on the Shelf every holiday season? This is the perfect event for your kiddos to get dressed in their pj’s and join others for the Elf on the Shelf story time. There will be activities and refreshments provided! For ages 3-10. FREE for all!!! For more information check out Barnes & Noble website.

6. Ugly Sweater Run 5k 

When: Saturday at 11 am

Where and What: The original Ugly Sweater Run 5k held at Principal Park. You can walk and/or run! Find your ugliest sweater and join thousands of others for this fun race! Enjoy hot chocolate and/or some beers after the run. There will be some fun festivities after the race also! $44 for a solo runner, children ages 8 and under are FREE! Register ahead of time at Ugly Sweater Run.

7. Disney On Ice: Passport to Adventure

When: Wednesday, November 27th – Sunday, December 1st

Where and What: Is your kiddo a fan of the Disney gang? Or are you even a fan of the Disney gang? You have to see everyone at Disney on Ice at the Wells Fargo Arena. This is a fun event for the whole family! To purchase tickets and to see show times check out the Iowa Events Center site.

8. Jolly Holiday Lights 

When: Tuesday, November 26th – Wednesday, December 4th

Where and What: Get a picture with Santa and enjoy a cookie & hot cocoa at Santa’s Wish Shop until December 4th.  A classic Des Moines event, that goes on everyday until the New Year. Grab your family, jump in a car and drive through to check out all the holiday light displays! All proceeds go to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation!$10 per car load,$20 per limo load, $45 per bus load.

 

Honey Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Alright let’s talk about a vegetable that I do not think gets enough attention … Brussels Sprouts!

According to Livestrong.com brussels sprouts carry several health benefits including …

  1. Low in calories and low in fat! 1/2 cup of brussels sprouts is about 28 calories, there is just a trace amounts of fat, and about 2 g of protein!
  2. Source of digestive – regulating fiber. This helps with preventing constipation and to help lower cholesterol.
  3. They have 20 essential vitamins and minerals.

 

Pretty much, if you are not eating brussels sprouts now, then START! 🙂

There are many ways you can eat brussels sprouts. You can season them with a bit of salt and pepper and saute them with olive oil, or you can doctor them up with much more! I created this recipe the other night for dinner and LOVED it! Check it out!

Honey Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 3-5 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1/2 – 1 cup you favorite honey mustard dressing
  • 1 Tblsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

1. Place olive oil into a pan at medium heat, add brussels sprouts, and season with salt and pepper

2. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

3. Cut up your turkey bacon into small pieces and add it to the pan!

4. Cover and cook about 10 minutes.

5. When bacon is done, take pan off stove, let cool 2-3 minutes.

6. Add your honey mustard dressing.

7. Mix it up and serve!

The other great thing about this recipe is you can eat this as a side dish or as a meal!

What’s your favorite way to eat brussels sprouts?!

The Great Pumpkin!

First off … I am so excited about Midwest Mom & Wife right now! I have a Twitter account, Instagram account, Pinterest account and now a very own Facebook page. Everyone should follow along to get the latest updates on everything! You can also visit these by clicking on the icons on the right hand side of the screen

I am also excited to annouce that I will be participating in the Great Diaper Hunt with Diaper Decisions! It is such an awesome thing to be a part of and if you have not already done so, go sign up for the hunt. It’s a great way to support small businesses and bloggers, while winning prizes.

On to our laid back, fall weekend! We crossed a bunch more things off our 2013 Fall Bucket List.

1. Crockpot Applesauce 

Nothing smells better then apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple cider brewing in the crockpot!

I did not follow a specific recipe and making apple sauce can be done pretty much however you want.

This is what I did …

1. Cut about 10-15 apples into chunks. I did not peel my apples and the number of apples used depends on the size you are using and how much sauce you are wanting to make. We used Wills Orchard apples, which were pretty small.

2. Squeeze half a lemon on top.

3. Add about 1 – 1 1/2 cups apple cider. We used Iowa Orchards tasty cider!

4. Sprinkle nutmeg on top, approximately 2 Tablespoons

5. Add 4 cinnamon sticks

6. Put on low about 6 hours. My crockpot cooks VERY fast! So this may differ for everyone.

7. Scoop the mixture out into a glass bowl and mash it up with a masher.

2. Carved and Painted Pumpkins

Monte did such a woderful job and he took the task very seriously!

 He is such an artist 🙂

3. Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown 

Papa Tony was nice enough to buy Monte the movie on DVD so we can watch it whenever! Sunday evening was the perfect night to cuddle up and wait for the Great Pumpkin to appear!

 If you do not own It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, ABC is airing the show at 7 pm on Thursday!

Record it if you will be trick or treating, so you can watch it!

 

It’s was a PERFECT Fall weekend 🙂

What fall and/or Halloween things did you do this past weekend?