24 Hours in Nashville

Chad and I planned a camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains to take in all that fall has to offer. The mountains are about 11 hours from our door to the first view, so we looked at a map to see where we could stop along the way. Lucky for me, Nashville was right on our path out east, so we planned a one night stay in the country music capital of the world!

I’ve wanted to visit Nashville for a long time after all of the great things I’ve heard about the city, so a 24 hour teaser was just enough to make we want to go back ASAP. With 24 hours in Nashville, we ate REALLY well, spent some time with Mr. Johnny Cash, got our honkey tonk on, and got a teaser of the fall colors.

Our first stop was Whiskey Kitchen, where the whiskey is strong and the sweet potato fries are as good as they come. I obviously still found some champagne amongst the whiskey, and Chad was in whiskey paradise, sipping old fashioneds. We shared their appetizer WK Bourbon Poppers, which was popcorn chicken and sweet potato fries, and we devoured every last crumb.

Next, we met a friend of mine from high school for Mexican food and margs at Rosepepper. We went to high school together in Texas, so it was only fitting that we got our Mexican food fix together in Nashville too. The queso was delicious and the margs were flavorful and strong, and any meal is made better with good conversation.

We also hit some historical honkey tonk bars, Tootsies and Nudies, which obviously included listening to live music and admiring all of the memorabilia from performances past. There’s something about the history that town holds that’s pretty fascinating. Also, how are there so many talented people in one town?!

Speaking of talented people, I couldn’t leave town without saying hello to one of my favorites, Johnny Cash. The Johnny Cash Museum is right off Broadway downtown, and the number of Johnny Cash t-shirts I wanted to buy was out of control. I settled for some Johnny Cash playing cards and a postcard to frame, and just a lot of photos of his face.

The next morning we woke up and obviously had to find some good breakfast before we left town. We went to Puckett’s downtown, and any breakfast is made better with fried chicken! I got a breakfast platter which included fried chicken, a homemade biscuit and gravy, and obviously eggs and bacon. Chad got french toast that had peanut butter and bananas sandwiched in-between. We got mimosas and enjoyed our delicious food until we were stuffed.

To say it was a good 24 hours in Nashville would be an understatement. Chad and I talked about how we loved cities like Nashville, where the city has plenty to do but feels cozy and welcoming. We loved every second, and absolutely plan on coming back to stay longer next time. If you ever have the chance to pay a visit, definitely make it happen! Have you ever been to Nashville?

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Homemade Apple Pie Recipe

I’m not a huge pie person, but when you have a bunch of orchard apples that need to be used before they go bad, the obvious solution is an apple pie. And I have to admit, this apple pie recipe may have converted me into a pie person. Apple and cinnamon are in close contention with chocolate and peanut butter for the best duo in desserts.

I know dutch apple pies aren’t quite as pretty as one with a lattice or leaves on top, but I will never leave off a brown sugar and cinnamon crumble when it comes to apples. Not pictured is a big scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream while the pie is nice and warm.

Ingredients:

Crust:

Filling:

  • 6 apples of your choosing peeled and sliced (I used Jonathan apples)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Crumble Topping:

  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs sugar

Directions:

  1. Pour flour into mixing bowl and add slices of butter into bowl. Cut butter into flour with a fork.
  2. Add salt and water and mix until dough is formed.
  3. Chill dough while you make filling and crumble.
  4. Peel and slice your 6 apples.
  5. Add flour, cinnamon, sugar, and brown sugar into bowl with apples. Stir until all apple is covered.
  6. Combine melted butter, flour, and sugars in smaller mixing bowl to form crumble topping.
  7. Roll out pie crust and place in your pie pan.
  8. Add the apple mixture into pie crust and congregate the apples toward the middle of the pie.
  9. Crumble topping mixture on top of the apple filling.
  10. Cook at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until crust and crumble topping are golden brown.
  11. Add a scoop of ice-cream and enjoy!

This apple pie recipe was the perfect way for me to not waste all of the apples I had in my fridge, but it just happened to be super fall festive too. Fall seems to be the time for pie, so next on the list will have to be a pumpkin pie!

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween! What’s your favorite pie?

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Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

It’s not officially October until you carve pumpkins, so this weekend Chad and I finally decided it was time to go pick out the perfect pumpkins. Usually we just make a trip to the nearest grocery store to pick a few out of the big bins out front, but this year we decided to do it right. We went to the Ozark Corn Maze, which also happens to be a huge pumpkin patch. We got lost in the corn maze, took tons of photos, ate a snow cone (I know, not really seasonally appropriate), and actually got to hand pick our pumpkins out of fields of options.

Although the pumpkin picking was exciting, in the back of my mind I was already imagining what the roasted pumpkin seeds would taste like. I knew I wanted to make some classic pumpkin seeds with sea salt and pepper, but in the season of earthy spices, I knew I wanted to make a sweeter option too. So, luckily the pumpkins were filled to the brim with guts and seeds, because I made a pumpkin worth of sea salt and pepper, and I also made a pumpkin worth of cinnamon brown sugar seeds. They’re super easy to make, and I absolutely recommend making a little bit of each. Nothing beats a little bit of sweet and a little bit of savory.

Ingredients:

  • Two pumpkins worth of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 tbs sea salt
  • 1 tbs cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Carve up your pumpkins!
  2. Take the guts and strain out the pumpkin seeds. We used a pasta strainer to help pick out the guts and separate the seeds.
  3. Lay out seeds on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Let seeds dry out.
  4. Put seeds in mixing bowl and cover in 2 tbs of melted butter.
  5. Separate half of the seeds out into a second bowl. Add sea salt and black pepper to one bowl. Add cinnamon and brown sugar to the other bowl. Stir both bowls until seeds are covered.
  6. Lay the seeds back on the cookie sheet. Half on one side, half on the other.
  7. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!

I hope y’all are all having a great October so far! We have a chance for snow next weekend, so good thing we went to the pumpkin patch while the weather was still mild! Have you carved your pumpkins yet?

If your weather is about to be freezing too, be sure to make some homemade turkey chili!

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Healthy Recipes: Turkey Chili

The weather here in Arkansas finally felt like fall (for a whole two days). The weather dropped down into the 50s during the day, and the cool air felt so refreshing that I wanted every window and door open. I also really wanted chili.

I had been telling Chad I was going to make turkey chili for weeks, but it doesn’t feel right to make chili when it’s 80 degrees outside. So, the second I saw a 50 degree day in the forecast, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on all of the ingredients needed for a big ol pot of chili. You know it’s officially fall when you have a pot of chili on the stove, your pumpkin candle burning, and you’re snuggled up with a blanket on the couch.

So, if the weather where you live is finally starting to signal the changing of the seasons, throw these ingredients into a big pot, and let them simmer to perfection!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can regular diced tomatoes
  • 1 can garlic diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 pack low sodium chili seasoning (because I ran out of chili powder)

Directions:

  1. Heat up olive oil in large pot.
  2. Dice onion and garlic and add to pot. Let cook until onions are translucent.
  3. Add in ground beef and chop up into small pieces. Cook through until no longer pink.
    1. If your ground turkey is greasy, drain the grease.
  4. Once meat is cooked, add in kidney beans, diced tomato, tomato sauce and seasoning.
  5. Let simmer for 1 hour on medium heat.
  6. In my opinion, serve over Fritos with a little bit of queso on top for the best fall meal!

We move into our new place in a few days, and I cannot wait to make even more fall recipes in our new kitchen! Stay tuned for a new apartment update this weekend! Happy fall y’all!

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Camping: Land Between the Lakes KY

When I got home from a work trip to New York, Chad had planned a fun weekend getaway for us. He picked me up from the airport, all packed up and ready to go, and we started heading to the surprise location. If you haven’t noticed, I am a huge lover and believer in getting a change of scenery as often as possible, so when Chad told me we were going somewhere new, I was more than excited. After about three hours in the car, I realized it really was somewhere new. Little did I know that we would be in the car for a few more hours, heading to KENTUCKY!

I have driven through Kentucky a few times, but I have never spent any extended period of time there. I was definitely missing out. We stayed in an area of Kentucky called “The Land Between the Lakes” and the name obviously indicates that we were surrounded by stunning lakes. There really is nothing more peaceful than watching a sunset over the lake, or spending your afternoon listening to the fall leaves start to fall while watching boats pass by. Let’s just say, Chad did good.

After spending our first night setting up our new Coleman tent, grilling out a campfire meal, and just enjoying our time, we woke up early the next morning for an awesome adventure. There is a reserve in the land between the lakes called the Elk & Bison Prairie, and for $5 you can drive around and see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. A few minutes into our drive, which had already been amazing because of the views, we pulled up on a huge herd of bison. Literally right on the side of the road. Getting their morning graze in. I was blown away. I started snapping photos left and right, but after a few obsessive moments of photo taking, I just sat there and stared at them. These creatures were huge, but graceful and cute.

 

We spent the rest of our morning grilling up some bacon, drinking a mimosa, watching people fish in the quiet lake, and thoroughly enjoying having absolutely nothing that we needed to be doing. We eventually decided to go on a short hike by our campsite, which was well worth the exertion of energy, because the top provided us with another stunning lake view. We soaked it in for a little bit and then made our way back down. We relaxed some more, picked up some local Mexican food, and enjoyed a sunny afternoon by the lake. Eventually we decided to pack up our gear and load up to head home, because our somewhat high maintenance dog got stung by a bee. After that, she was no longer a fan of the outdoors.

Regardless, you can guarantee that we will be going camping again very soon. If you need a peaceful getaway where you can remove yourself from all of the things that stress you out during the week, I highly recommend The Land Between the Lakes. If you don’t want to drive that far, just google campsites nearby. It is truly the best way to regroup from a long week. Breath in some fresh air. Get some good mental clarity. Just enjoy the company of those around you.

Big thanks to Jason Barnette from Southeastern Traveler for the suggestion!

Also, check out Part One of our Land Between the Lakes travel vlog! Click here!

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Healthy Recipes: Parmesan Crusted Chicken Dinner

Chad’s favorite food is chicken. I really like chicken, but I can’t just eat chicken and broccoli every night for dinner and not get bored. So, I am always looking for new healthy recipes to spice up a simple chicken breast and make it a little more exciting.

Last night I made parmesan crusted chicken with whole wheat bread crumbs. It was super tasty, but my favorite part was that the entire dinner was made in one pan. Chicken and asparagus all seasoned and crisped up with only one dish to clean after I was done licking my plate clean. (Although I made some pasta on the side for Chad which required a second dish). Sometimes when the weeks are pure madness and you haven’t spent any time together, the last thing you want to do is spend all your time in the kitchen in the evening. So, if you’re having one of those weeks, I definitely recommend throwing this dish together!

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Asparagus

Directions:

  1. Let 1 tbs of olive oil heat up in skillet on medium heat
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half
  3. Use 1 tbs of olive oil to lightly cover chicken
  4. Mix bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl
  5. Coat all sides of the chicken breast in the bread crumb mixture (you can dip in milk first if you want, but I only like a light crumb coating on my chicken)
  6. Add chicken to skillet and let cook until golden brown on each side
  7. Add in chopped asparagus and continue to let total pan cook on medium heat until chicken is cooked through – usually takes about 25 minutes

It’s so simple, but really so good! Definitely a nice change from your plain Jane grilled or oven baked chicken!

For more easy dinner ideas, try out my healthy Mexican pizzas!

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Life Lately

Life lately has been busy. Lots of work, lots of working out, planning a move in three weeks, friends in town, and all of the day to day stuff in between. It’s all good stuff, but even the good stuff can be exhausting. Chad and I are trying to fit in time to relax together and just regroup, but easier said than done! So, after I’m done traveling for work this week, we have some fun relaxing plans planned for next weekend. In the meantime, here are the last few weeks in photos, because pictures capture the chaos better than words ever would.

I hope you all are having an amazing start to the fall season! Stay tuned for some fun fall recipes coming soon!

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Care/of Vitamins

Stress, energy levels and sleep are things I struggle with regularly. They are all a part of a vicious cycle. I don’t sleep well, so I don’t have any energy. I don’t have any energy, so I don’t process or prioritize things going on in life the way I normally would. I don’t process the same, I get stressed out. I’m stressed out, so I don’t sleep. Like I said, vicious cycle.

I’ve been trying to find the right solutions to all these things for a while now, and I was pretty sure that vitamins was my answer, but I couldn’t find one that covered all of my needs, or ones that weren’t super expensive. Then I stumbled upon Care/of, which was both personalized and inexpensive. I took a quiz about my lifestyle and all of the things I wanted my vitamins to focus on, and then the website reccomended the handful of vitamins they thought I should take daily based on my quiz results. Even better, all of their vitamins are 100% organically sourced, so I knew I was getting something genuinely good for my body, a natural solution to feeling less stressed, sleeping better, having more energy and just having overall good health.

Care/of was awesome enough to give us a discount code to share with y’all, so be sure to enter ‘TASTEBUDS50″ at checkout, and you’ll get 50% off your first month of vitamins! That will make your total probably less than $10, it’s amazing.

The vitamins come in these perfect little daily packs that you can easily take with you to work or just rip open at home. Convenience is key when it comes to having to add something into your daily routine, so having my vitamins easily accessible and portable has been a life saver. I can honestly say after taking my personalized vitamins for a few weeks, I can actually tell a difference. And now Chad is taking them too, for different things like muscle recovery and long lasting energy. We actually find it fun to take our vitamins together in the morning and see what our fun fact of the day is.

Mental and physical health are super important to me, so these vitamins have helped me in both departments. Especially while training for a half marathon (see post here), I need all the energy and rest I can get! If you give them a shot, absolutely let me know what vitamins you try! You can customize your pack with any of there many available vitamins, so I’m always open to trying any of the different ones you get recommended!

Go take your quiz now and get started!

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Whole Wheat Blueberry Scone Recipe

A few months ago I was becoming obsessed with the Starbucks blueberry scones. It would be my Friday treat to go get a scone and a cup of coffee from the drive through before work. Then I made the mistake of looking up the nutritional information and as expected, it wasn’t super great. I decided I should probably stop my weekly habit and figure out how to make homemade scones on my own for when I wanted to fulfill my craving.

So, I bought some King Arthur whole wheat flour, and went to work making scones. I have been trying to use whole wheat everything these days as a healthier and more natural option, and to my surprise, you can’t even tell the difference! If anything, baked goods have even better flavor.

The scones were super easy to make and actually turned out really tasty. I may or may not have heated one up for breakfast the following two days after making them.


Print Recipe
Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones
Whole wheat blueberry scones using King Arthur whole wheat flour.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
scones
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
scones
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Cut butter into small pieces and pour into flour mixture. Mix together with hands until the mixture becomes lumpy from the butter.
  4. In another bowl combine milk/cream, honey and egg. Slowly pour into flour mixture and combine everything until you have a moist dough.
  5. Form the dough into a ball with your hands. Put the dough ball on a cookie sheet and flatten dough into an 8-10 inch wide disk. Cut disk into 8 even slices
  6. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. They are amazing right out of the oven, so make sure you enjoy them while they're warm!
Recipe Notes

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Seattle: Where to Eat in Seattle!

I’ve always heard that Seattle has great food and craft beer. So, when I found out I was going to Seattle for a week, my foodie excitement kicked in. Unfortunately, through my first few days in the city, I was disappointed. I was there for work, and eating catered sandwiches and hotel breakfasts just wasn’t cutting it for me. When my work time came to a close and my vacation time with Chad started, I vowed to only eat exceptionally good food all day long. Not just three meals a day. Three meals and at least two snacks in between. I can very strongly say that after our day and a half of vacation ended, I was no longer disappointed in the food in Seattle. I put together a list of where to eat in Seattle, so if you ever find yourself there, you can make sure you’re only eating the good stuff!

Where to Eat in Seattle

  • The Purple Cafe: This is the first place we went once I was done with work. It may have been my excitement for vacation or the fact that I was drinking champagne at lunch, but the atmosphere of this place and the really good french fries made it one of my top favorites. I also got a grilled chicken sandwich with super organic chicken that was so tasty and fresh. I was also having serious food envy of the people sitting next to me who had ordered lobster mac and cheese….PLEASE ORDER THAT IF YOU EVER GO!
  • Biscuit Bitch: Yes, that’s actually the name. We got the “Basic Bitch” which was a biscuit sandwich with egg, cheese and bacon. The biscuit was amazing, which you would expect considering the word is in the name of the restaurant, but it was really amazing. The perfect amount of crunch, while still being so soft and fluffy on the inside. You should definitely go. You can also pick up a biscuit to go if you’re in a hurry!
  • The Pike Pub: This place was right near the Pike Place Market, so we went in here to get a quick snack. We ended up sitting in this place for two and a half hours, trying 12 different beers and eating huge soft pretzels with amazing beer cheese and mustard. The beers were amazing and the pretzels were delicious, but it was one of those places that really facilities social eating/drinking. We loved just sitting there with nowhere to be, drinking really good beer.
  • Yardhouse: Chad and I actually went here for a super late night dinner after one of my days of work, and we really enjoyed it. Best moscow mule of my life. Also, the queso was delicious. It was not your Tex-Mex queso, it was real, thick, melted cheese in a cast iron skillet. Yes please.
  • Serious Pie: We ended our trip on a freaking high note. This brick oven pizza was so delicious that we almost ordered a second pizza after we had already finished our first one. The ingredients were so fresh, and the pizza was cooked absolutely perfectly. I don’t really know how to express how good it was, except to say that I barely spoke to Chad the entire time we were eating.

We ate at several other delicious places while we were in Seattle, I just can’t remember the names of all of them. These few were absolutely the best of the best. If you’re ever in Seattle, make sure to add a few of these to your list of places to go. I love food so much that it’s always a highlight of anywhere we travel. I love trying new places, new things, and just enjoying my time with Chad while also really enjoying a tasty meal or a tasty drink.

If you’re going to be in Austin soon, be sure to check out my where to eat post from there as well!

 

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