A busy week, a quiet weekend, recipes

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Hi gang!
Happy Monday. It really feels like Monday to me today. Not sure why, but I could have used another Sunday!

First some housekeeping. Linda, thanks for the blog comment regarding your insurance struggles. You are not alone and I apologize for not responding sooner. My inbox and voicemail have been filled with stories similar to yours. I have no doubt I’ll be doing these stories for some time. Don’t forget – you have the right to appeal. If you have any questions on how to do that, contact the Iowa Insurance Division at www.iid.state.ia.us or 281-5705.

My insurance stories weren’t the only thing keeping me busy last week. Thursday I was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the Governor’s Golden Dome Awards ceremony. About 200 state employees were honored for everything from improving services and streamlining government to performing acts of courage and volunteering. It was an amazing bunch, and it left me thinking, “What have I done lately?” When I was reading off the list of things one of the award recipients does in his “spare” time, I got winded! It’s a good reminder of the importance of getting involved, and giving back.

I experienced another “wow” event on Saturday. The first annual Immigrant Entrepreneur Summit was held at Drake and I helped host the luncheon and awards ceremony. Four Iowans were honored. Abid Talic received the Immigrant Entrepreneur Leadership Award. Abid is a Bosnian refugee and started working in the U.S. as a hotel custodian. Now Abid is a general manager and he’s getting his masters degree! Jose Ramos received the Outstanding Immigrant Business Award. Jose left his meatpacking job in Perry seven years ago to start publishing El Latino newspaper out of his home. Now it’s the most widely read Hispanic newspaper in Central Iowa. Richard Patterson received the Immigrant Champion Award. Richard’s a field auditor for Iowa Workforce Development who goes out of his way to help immigrants understand the rules and regulations business owners need to follow. Finally, Inbo and Wonhee Jung received the Immigrant Spirit Award. The Jungs built the first Oriental Food store in Des Moines in 1972 with a $3,000 loan. Today the Jungs operate a multi-million dollar business that includes Ingersoll Wine & Spirits. I wish I had a recording of the ceremony to share with you. It was so moving to hear about what these people have meant to countless others, and how hard they’ve worked to be successful. All of them described their love for Iowa, and their gratitude for the opportunities here. It was a humbling and inspiring afternoon.

And that was the only outing for me over the weekend. It’s true, I’m slipping into hermit mode. It’s the change in the weather. I’ll snap out of it. In the meantime, I’ll just hibernate and enjoy Michael’s cooking. Enchiladas on Saturday. Yum. Then yesterday I made a big batch of Snickerdoodles. Yum, yum. Here are the recipes for each:

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of chicken soup
1 container (8 ounces) sour cream
1 cup picante Sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
10 flour tortillas
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 green onion, sliced
Stir the soup, sour cream, picante sauce and chili powder in a medium bowl.
Stir 1 cup picante sauce mixture, chicken and cheese in a large bowl.
Spread about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side down in a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Pour the remaining picante sauce mixture over the filled tortillas. Cover the baking dish.
Bake at 350°F. for 40 minutes or until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling. Top with the tomato and onion.
*** Michael used “South of the Border” salsa (hot) instead of picante sauce. If you use this you probably won’t need chili powder ***

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla.
Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt.
Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes.
*** I just use butter, no shortening. You can also skip the cream of tartar if you like. Last night I added about a cup of finely chopped walnuts. ***

Finally – check out ISU student Madison Mayberry on the Rachael Ray show (11am, WHO-TV) or visit www.rachaelray.com. Madison is part of the “Hey, Can You Cook?!” segment on Mondays and she keeps winning! She’s adorable and I can’t wait to get her to whip up some good eats for us. If we get her on Channel 13 I’ll give you a heads up so you can watch!

That’s all for now … my stomach’s growling!


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