Occasionally I look at my daughters and ponder “How on Earth am I responsible for these phenomenal people?” Parenting is the most challenging undertaking of my life. Thankfully, I had a great play book coming into the job. My mother and father were loving and compassionate, with strong morals and values. As a dart player, I wouldn’t exactly hit the bull’s eye on the morals part as I openly admit to pocketing coffee creamers from Sheets 🙂 But regardless of my flaws, I can tell you with all fibers of my being, I do everything possible to protect Paige and Brooke. They are my heart and soul. Unfortunately, there are many children who don’t come from the same circumstances. Abuse, neglect, and mishandling of our youth is much more prevalent than statistics provide. The numbers are shocking enough, but when you realize what is unreported it becomes even more disheartening. That is why organizations like the Ed Block Award Foundation are vital in an effort to bring awareness to the disenfranchised. These children need to be empowered. The Ed Block Award Foundation honors one player per NFL team each year for their courage on or off the field. Coaches and athletic trainers are honored as well. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with the honorees this year.

Some beautiful babies we met at the Chick Webb Recreation Center in Baltimore, Maryland

This was the first stop for the players being honored by the Ed Block Courage  Award Foundation. A lot of incredible people and opportunities for the kids.

 Absolutely gorgeous day for the players to spend time with the children. Above is Trevor Scott of the Oakland Raiders and some eager fans. Take note of the awesome activity in the background.

Jarett Dillard of the Jacksonville Jaguars and another player throw the children onto the velcro wall. Ok maybe not throwing, but the kids were having a blast!!

Many of the wives came along to show support. This is Morgan Cox of the Baltimore Ravens and his wife Lauren meeting a young fan.

 Trevor Scott of the Raiders (middle) and Derrick Mason of the Tennessee Titans (far right) all in good spirits and enjoying their time at the Rec Center. There were smiles on everyone’s faces….

Anthony Herrera of the Minnesota Vikings manning the grill and having some laughs with community members. I did not go into “food bully” mode and try to take over the grill…I promise

So many fabulous kids….everyone was excited for a photo-op!! I had to explain to Leslie that we don’t randomly try to adopt other people’s children due to their “cuteness factor”. It’s illegal. Jokes aside, seeing their eyes sparkle with excitement is what childhood should be about…

Not only were there great activities outside for all to enjoy…hair cuts were being provided in the rec center. Here you see Sam Lamantia, Jr. CEO and Chairman of the Board for the Ed Block Award Foundation styling the hair of (I think that term is appropriate for men) Paul Mittermeier Director of Communications of the Ed Block Foundation. Sam and Paul are two of the nicest people I have ever met. Very caring and genuine. 

This is Stefan getting “edged up” by Dennis Mason…I’m sure I have impressed you with my barber vernacular.  This is truly a great outreach.  Everyone knows there’s always a little more “pep in your step” when the hair is on point…kids need to feel good about themselves in every way!!

Dave Donaldson is the Co-Founder of the Convoy Of Hope check out the link below for more information about their organization. Dave and his brother  Hal had me in stitches. Two very funny men..

http://www.convoyofhope.org/go/who/management_team

Derrick Mason of the Titans and Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers shared with me how enjoyable it was to spend the day at the Chick Webb Rec Center. I gave Thomas some pointers on playing linebacker because many of you know I channel Jack Lambert’s energy. I have the soul of a linebacker.

This is Derrick Mason mother and she got in on the autographing too….When you don’t have paper an arm will do just fine 

Mike Patterson of the Eagles and his wife…these two a very energetic and told me how much they love to cook!!! My kind of people

Mike and Dani Utley…in 1991 Mike was playing for the Detroit Lions. In a game against the Los Angeles Rams he suffered a spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed from the waist down. Mike was also honored by the Ed Block Foundation for his tremendous courage and inspiration. Check out Mike’s Foundation and his efforts to find a cure for paralysis.

http://www.mikeutley.org/

The culminating activity at the rec center was an unbelievable magic show….

Astonishing is all I can say!!! I have no clue how they perform these tricks…..More cutie pies offering their assistance

We had such a wonderful time at the Chick Webb Recreation Center. A great place doing great things for the community…

Because the focus for the day was the children, I asked Paige and Brooke what recipe I should share… Just know the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree… of course they went with fried chicken of some nature

Golden Chicken Strips and Cornbread Pancakes

with Mambo Sauce…a twist on chicken and waffles

 Mambo Sauce Delicious!!

1 cup ketchup (Heinz- Pittsburgh 🙂

1 cup sugar

4 tbsp water

5 tbsp white vinegar

1 tbsp Spanish Paprika

2 tbsp Sriracha (chili sauce with garlic)

2 tbsp hot sauce (crystal hot sauce)

Add all ingredients in medium sauce pan over medium heat

bring to a simmer,  whisking occasionally. Reduce to low heat

Cornbread Pancakes- Easy!!

-1 box Jiffy Cornbread mix

– 1 cup pre-packaged pancake mix

– butter

Following the directions of both and mix together.

Heat griddle to medium heat, butter, and laddle batter onto

griddle. Allow pancakes to bubble and flip. Cook until lightly golden brown

Golden Chicken Strips

– Vegetable oil, for shallow frying

– 3 full chicken boneless chicken breasts

– 3 large eggs lightly beaten

-1/4 cup hot sauce

– 4 cups all purpose flour (split in half)

– 4 tbsp garlic salt

– 4 tbsp cracked black pepper

– 4 tbsp paprika

– 4 tbsp sea salt

Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over

medium heat. Whisk the hot sauce and eggs in medium bowl.

Equally divide the flour for dredging station in 2 shallow pans. In both

pans with flour add 2 tbsp garlic salt, 2 tbsp sea salt, and 2tbsp black pepper. In last dredging station only, add

paprika. Cut chicken into tenders. There are three trays to the dredging station.Start  flour, then egg, then flour..Place on baking sheet and allow

chicken to rest a few minutes before frying. The coating adheres better.

Fry tenders 4-5 minutes per side.

Drain on paper towel. Immediately, sprinkle sea salt on the fried tenders.

That is a must! Place pancakes on each plate, add chicken tenders,and

drizzle with mambo sauce ( have tons extra on the side)

Thanks for joining me and remember………..Who Do You Want In Your Kitchen On Game Day?

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