So a few weeks ago, we got to take part in one of my favorite yearly activities- GREEKFEST! If you’ve never been, add this to your yearly calendar! It is a good time for all ages!
I am always down for some delicious Greek food and dancing! This year, we tried a few new food items. Pastichio is a pasta dish that was somewhat similar to lasagna, and quite tasty. We also enjoyed some stuffed grape leaves (Dolmades) and Saganaki! The saganaki ended up being my new favorite. It is basically cheese that has been fried in Brandy so that it has a golden crispy exterior, while the inside remains gooey and delicious. They then slide this on a piece of crusty bread, and hit it with a little squeeze of lemon juice. YUM!
If it looks like I was sitting in a random patch of grass close to the dumpsters, it’s only because I was. It was so crowded, there was NO PLACE to sit. We enjoyed our delicious food picnic style.
After eating, we watched all the dancing shows. I seriously don’t know how all those kids do that all day long. What a work out!
As soon as the shows were done, Neyland had to get in on the action and hit the dance floor.
Last year, I purchased Neyland one of the “jingle skirt” wraps that all the dancers wear. She was stoked to wear it to the festival this year, and has even worn it to dance class quite a few times. She felt quite “authentic” on the dance floor.
After trying out our Greek dancing skills, we hit up my personal favorite area- “The Wall-o- Baklava.” Ok, it’s really more than just baklava. It’s an entire wall of delicious Greek baked goodies. We got a lovely assorted box for the road.
If you’ve never been to Greekfest, I highly recommend that you visit next year!
It feels like the past week or so has been one giant whirlwind! We have had so many things going on, I feel that I can’t keep it all straight! We have had some company, an adorable little orphan to care for, some great food experiences, and made a lot of memories! Here are a few of the highlights…
A few short months ago, a friend introduced me to Indian cuisine. I had this crazy notion that I hated curry, and therefore I would hate all Indian food. HAVE I EVER BEEN MISSING OUT!!! It turns out that I actually love Indian food, and even curry dishes! The first thing that I tried was a pretty “safe” chicken dish called Tikka Masala. It was fabulous! Pair that with some garlic naan….I’m not sure that it gets much better than that!
Last weekend, I was able to go back to Sitar for their lunch buffet. I would HIGHLY recommend it. I was able to try a wide variety of dishes, all of which were fantastic. As an added bonus, the cost of the lunch buffet is cheaper than ordering a single dish off the menu. Even Neyland was thrilled with her lunch! Check out the pics below.
*Only downside- they don’t have a menu that offers kid meals or kid portions.*
That same afternoon, I received an urgent text during church from a co-worker who’s friend had found an orphaned chipmunk. It needed immediate care, so after lunch we were off to go pick up an new orphaned baby to care for.
Neyland LOVES that we occasionally are tasked with the care of injured or orphaned animals. She has such a big heart for these guys just like her Mama. I am so pleased to be able to show her how hard work and compassion can help even the smallest of God’s creatures.
She quickly got down to the important business of “naming” our little friend. For whatever reason, she was determined to name her “Coconut Honey.” I’ve just been referring to her as “coco” for short. I am happy to report that with some nursing care and bottle feeding, Coco is doing GREAT! She should be ready to release in a week or so! Check out this recent image of her munching on a grape…
Some other highlights this week included one of Neyland’s all time favorite activities:
This “Rainbow unicorn slime” came from a kit that she got for her birthday. I personally think that the DIY slime has a better texture than this stuff did, but it was still fun for both of us!
We ended the week with another rainbow colored treat! French Macaroons!
Would you believe that I had never tried a French macaroon before? I see really delicious looking recipe videos for these things all the time, and I’ve really been wanting to try some! We stopped by the French Market & Creperie, and got a little baggie of imported authentic macaroons. They were deeeeeelicious! I would also like to give them a big shout-out for their amazing strawberry & creme Crepes. (We didn’t get crepes during this visit, but I included an image from the last time we got them.)
I don’t know if any of you guys have done much digging into your family name & origins, but it is something that is a HUGE interest to me. I’ve traced my family tree back REALLY far. I’m fortunate that my family kept a LOT of papers and diaries. I’ve been able to research using sites like Ancestry to corroborate a lot of my family history that has been passed down, and fill in any gaps. One thing that I always knew growing up, was that our family was originally from Germany. My family immigrated to New York very early on, and many of my relatives remain there today! This simple connection has always left me eager to learn more about my German roots.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to visit a German restaurant here in Knoxville. Linderhof Restaurant was my first real exposure to German food. I was advised by a friend about what to get beforehand. I did end up trying the jägerschnitzel with fried potatoes, and had a variety of different “salad” type options which mainly consisted of cabbage & vinegar. All of this is perfect for me because I LOVE vinegar! Before going, I didn’t even know what jägerschnitzel was. If you’re unsure, let me give you the low down. Schnitzel is the main dish. It is a type of meat (usually pork), that is pounded thin, breaded, and fried. The type of “sauce” that is served with it, describes the type of schnitzel. In this case, “jäger” sauce, is a brown mushroom gravy. Jäger actually means “hunter” in German. It is supposed to be a sauce made with ingredients that a hunter might have at his disposal. Also, don’t let me fool you into thinking that I knew any of this. My friend educated me during dinner.
Dinner at Linderhof was amazing and I highly recommend it! It also has a pretty cool atmosphere! I’ve heard from more than one person that occasionally the owner will even come out an play accordion music while people eat. You can check out their website here. It has been under construction for a while, so following them on facebook may be a better option.
So that was my first and only dabble into German cuisine….until I hit the jackpot at Aldi last week. If you were unaware, Aldi is actually a German chain, so you can find a lot of cool German food there from time to time. Last week, their freezer section had a ton of options that I had seen on the menu at Linderhof. I decided to get a box of schnitzel and a spinach & feta strudel, and plan a German dinner for myself and the little one. Later in the week, it hit me that I had failed to consider the sauce for the schnitzel. Thankfully, the box includes a simple recipe for jäger sauce if you’re in a pinch. I wanted something a bit more authentic, so I held off until I could get back to the store. During a quick trip yesterday, I acquired a lovely carton of mushrooms and I quickly decided that Jägerschnitzel was in my immediate future! For the schnitzel, I just followed the directions on the box, and fried it to a lovely golden brown. The jäger sauce I made from scratch and it turned out AMAZING! (I’ll share the recipe below) The strudel, was just an easy “pop in the oven” type side, but it was quite good too! I don’t think it would be difficult to make your own schnitzel, and I’ll probably try that next time. This was an easy “first time” experience.
Start your sauce first: It takes the longest, and allowing it to simmer a bit while you fry your schnitzel will only make it better! Start off with butter and onions. Cook until they start to brown. Then add garlic.
Add in those mushrooms and cook until the liquid from the mushrooms is gone! It smells SO GOOD!
This is what you’re looking for. Next add in your flour. We are basically making a gravy. When you add this, it will get kind of sticky- that’s normal. Let it cook for a couple minutes before adding in your beef broth, vinegar, and spices. Be sure to scrape up all those yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan! When you add in the liquids, you’ll begin to whisk until the mixture thickens, then allow it to simmer (covered) on low.
The finished product should look something like this.
Even the tiny human was impressed! She requested the leftovers for her lunch at school tomorrow!
Cooked schnitzel (See post)
2 Tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (I used baby bellas)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
+/- 1-2 Tbsp of heavy cream
Melt the butter (or bacon grease this will yield the most flavor) in a pan over medium-high heat and fry the onions until beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the mushrooms and cook 5-7 minutes or until golden and the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.
Add the butter and melt. Add the flour, stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring continually.
Add the beef broth, vinegar, thyme, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk continually until the gravy is thickened. Cover and simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer the gravy thinner add a little more water (or heavy cream if using)
Serve the schnitzel hot and covered in the jäger sauce! Enjoy!
How is the weekend already over??? We had such an awesome weekend, it just doesn’t seem fair that tomorrow is already Monday. Well, here’s to starting this week off right!
This weekend, my friends and family were kind enough to throw me a surprise birthday party for the big 3-0. Thankfully, someone decided it was a good idea to tell me about it since they planned it at MY HOUSE. Pretty sure full blown panic would have set in if 20-30 people had just randomly shown up at my place on Saturday. It was a great time full of food and lots of laughs! Thanks to everyone who came and celebrated! (Unfortunately we were all having such a blast, we totally failed to take any pictures!)
This morning we enjoyed an absolutely fantastic church service! I love when service just “happens” to be on things that I’ve been studying privately! Our service today was on worship. We discussed the different examples of worship in the bible and the specific kinds of worship God specifically asks for! There are many terms for types of worship in Hebrew. It was really interesting and eye opening!
After service, we enjoyed a nice relaxing day out by the pool, followed by homework for Neyland, and most importantly…..the post homework treat! ICE CREAM!
We discussed taking a trip downtown to try the new Cruze Farm location…but as with most new places, IT WAS PACKED. We elected to give it a few more weeks to let the “newness” die down. We decided instead to visit one of my favorite ice cream spots of all time. It is also conveniently, right across the street.
Phoenix Pharmacy & Fountain is everything you could possibly want with a super authentic “old time” feel. This place has a HUGE menu of sundaes, malts, floats, and seasonal specials. They make everything from scratch. All the toppings, whipped cream, you name it. All their ice cream is served in old fashioned glass dishes, and the staff even dresses in classic attire! The pharmacy is still in operation too! Bottom line: This place is the FULL experience. Amazing treats and a full authentic soda shop experience. Check out what we got this time!
If it hasn’t become extremely obvious by now, I thoroughly enjoy celebrating birthdays & holidays. I’m always looking for some reason to decorate or make someone feel special. I’m quite certain that I came by this trait honestly. My Grandmother is without a doubt the kindest most loving person you will ever know. She goes above and beyond even in small ways to make people feel special and loved. Ever since I was a little girl, (and even before my time I’m sure) she has had a tradition that has been passed down through the family. Enter: THE BIRTHDAY PLATE.
That’s right. A big red birthday plate, gold silverware, & a special napkin. It makes an appearance for everyone’s birthday and makes you feel super special. I’m really thankful that my Aunt got me a set a few years back, and now I can carry on the same tradition!
You may be wondering why “The plate” was out today…. In less than 1 week I will be celebrating the death of my twenties. o_0 Everyone says your thirties are better, and I’m ready to find out! Since Thursdays are spent with my Grandma, I got the birthday plate today along with a DELICIOUS breakfast! My Grandma’s #1 favorite past time is to spoil those she loves with food. I’m sure glad to be one of those lucky people! The recipe she made today is one of my favorites. My Aunt discovered it a few years back at a restaurant in California.
Lemon pancakes are seriously the perfect pancake. I used to be anti-lemon when it came to baked goods & sweets, but my tastes have changed considerably. These things are absolutely amazing. The tart lemon cuts through the sweetness of the pancake and just makes this breakfast so refreshing. I have never encountered a pancake that goes so well with so many topping options. These guys don’t even need syrup. They are fantastic by themselves with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar! You can cover them with a variety of fruit. My Grandma had fresh peaches, strawberries, and raspberries as options today. All were absolutely fantastic. I’m sure they would be great with blueberries and blackberries. We discussed making fresh lemon whipped cream for them….the possibilities are endless.
If you’re tired of the same old pancakes, give these guys a try. You WON’T be disappointed!
1 cup all-purpose white wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir quickly. The batter will be thick and bubbly. Use 1/4 cup batter for each pancake, and pour onto hot skillet. Cook until each side is golden brown. Serve with honey, syrup, powdered sugar, etc.
Whew! The last two weeks have been busy ones! Unfortunately, my little one has been away for the past week, so I made it a point to keep myself very busy. I am lucky enough to have many fantastic friends who were kind enough to occupy my free time. One such friend, who shall be known on my blog as “Raul,” is my general cooking buddy and partner for all things food related. Raul has greatly broadened my horizons since we became friends. I really have to give him major props in the cooking department. He busts out recipes that most people wouldn’t even attempt.
Some time back in the fall, he made me aware of a “life changing” Korean chicken recipe that he had recently made. Raul was kind enough to make a batch for me, AND share the recipe with me! I have made this chicken a few times since then, and it does NOT disappoint. I will go ahead and warn you that it is a bit spicy. If you don’t like heat, this may not be for you. It has spice, sweetness, some tang, everything a good sauce needs in my humble opinion. This is a great sauce to make and add to store bought fried chicken. In fact, every time we’ve made it, we’ve added it to Bojangles fried chicken. I will say that the surface area to sauce ratio is VITAL. I would definitely recommend smaller pieces of chicken/ dark meat to make sure you get adequate sauce in each bite. Legs & thighs are my favorites for this recipe. If you want to be super fancy and make your own fried chicken, that would work well too! Just make sure to get adequate breading for the sauce to stick on. I love this chicken recipe SO much, that I now affectionately refer to it as PDC. No explanations on that name, but bonus points if you figure it out!
Spicy Korean Chicken
Appoximately 8 pieces of fried chicken
1 Tbsp Canola oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup tomato ketchup
1/3 cup Karo syrup
1/4 cup hot pepper paste (Gochujang)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Put the oil & garlic in a small sauce pan on low and allow it to heat up a bit. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk lightly to mix them all together. Allow the sauce to heat on low for 7-8 minutes. Make sure to keep the heat low, so it doesn’t burn. Turn off the heat. Place the fried chicken in a bowl and pour the sauce over it. Toss the chicken gently until covered. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!
The other Korean treat we enjoyed with our chicken was a Kimchi Pancake. Would you believe that before last year, I had never had kimchi? I didn’t even know what it was! As I mentioned, Raul has been a culinary gold mine! If you are in the same sad boat I was once in, and you have no clue what I’m talking about, allow me to enlighten you. Kimchi is a delicious spicy fermented cabbage. You can find it in most markets in the refrigerated vegetarian/vegan section. Because it is fermented, it contains bacteria that can be beneficial to your gut health. Delicious AND health benefits??? SIGN. ME. UP. I use kimchi all the time now. It is super tasty, and kicks up any number of dishes.
Enter the Kimchi Pancake. I love when foods take a turn from the way we traditionally consume them. When you think of a pancake, you likely get images of fluffy syrup covered breakfast items. This is a crispy and savory 180 degree change from the pancakes you know and love. In many Eastern cultures, pancakes include any number of ingredients that are pan fried and served as a side dish. You may never look at pancakes the same way again. Before embarking on your new pancake adventure, I would recommend making a dipping sauce. Raul was a bit reluctant to fully disclose the exact ratios of dipping sauce ingredients, but this should be fairly close.
1/4 cup good soy sauce
1/4 cup Mirin
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 scallions, minced
Splash of sesame oil
A few shakes of sesame seeds
A squirt of Sri racha
Mix well and set aside.
1 cup chopped Kimchi
3 Tbsp kimchi juice
2 Tbsp chopped Onion
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 cup Flour (all purpose flour)
1/4 cup water
In a bowl, place chopped Kimchi, kimchi juice, chopped onion, salt, sugar, flour, and water. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Heat up a 12 inch non stick pan over medium/high heat. Drizzle in about 2 Tbsp vegetable oil. Spread the kimchi batter out evenly in the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Cook it for 1 to 1.5 minutes. Until the bottom gets golden brown and crispy. Turn it over with a spatula or flip it. (Raul did this, and it looked pretty cool.) Lower the heat to medium, and cook for an additional 1.5 minutes. Turn it once more, and cook for ~30 seconds, before transferring to a plate for serving. Cut into bite sized pieces. Use chopsticks to pull apart pieces and dip. Serve hot.
Recipe cred to Maangchi (Be sure to check out more of her awesome recipes!)
Well, there you have it! All the tools you need for an awesome evening of Korean deliciousness! These recipes are packed with flavor, and will fill a culinary void you never knew you had! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
If you try these recipes, let me know what you think!
So I had my very first Pho experience recently! I am a huge lover of any kind of broth + noodle dish, and I’ve always wanted to try pho, but haven’t really been certain where to go for an authentic experience. I had a few places that were recommended to me numerous times. The two restaurants that stood out were: Sticky Rice Cafe and Bida Saigon.
Sticky Rice Cafe is Laotian cuisine. It was pointed out to me, that pho is actually a Vietnamese dish. The reviews led me to go ahead and give it a try. I was NOT disappointed! I tried the seafood pho, with shrimp and squid. The aromatics were fantastic and the broth was SO GOOD. I had no other experiences to compare to at that point, but I could certainly enjoy pho on the regular based off this experience alone!
The staff was fantastic and very helpful. I even heard several customers rave about the cooks preparing special “off menu” items when requested. The only negative is that there simply isn’t a lot of seating at this place. You could have a pretty decent wait time if you go during peak meal hours.
My dinner companion was VERY much into eating authentic exotic cuisines, and did a fair amount of research on Laotian food before our visit. Not only did he order a traditional Laotian dish, but he ordered it completely RAW! His reading indicated that this was the way all the natives eat this dish. The waitress asked numerous times if he was certain that he didn’t want the beef cooked. All the workers seemed pretty impressed that he ate the dish the way that they did! We also shared an order of fried chicken skins, which were AMAZING! I would highly recommend them as an appetizer if you visit. Pictured below is the plate of Beef Laab along with one their adorable little steamer baskets of sticky rice.
Not long after trying Sticky Rice Cafe, I tried out my second bowl of pho. This time I tried out another reputable place that also came very highly recommended. This place is indeed Vietnamese, so I was “fully authentic” this time around. Bida Saigon is located in West Knoxville, and certainly worth a visit! My Mom and I tried this place on Sunday after church. Our visit was my Mom’s first pho experience! This time I tried the Pho Tai, which is basically delicious broth with rice noodles, thin slices of rare beef, and aromatics. I was a bit more adventurous this time, and added a decent amount of spicy pepper paste and fresh jalapenos. It was AMAZING.
*Bida Saigon doesn’t have a website, but you can check them out on Facebook*
My Mom tried the Pho Ga, which is the same base, but with chicken as the protein. Her pho was very mild, but full of flavor. I was pleasantly surprised by the subtle differences in the pho from both restaurants, and would absolutely recommend them both! We also shared some fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce that were a great appetizer!
It’s safe to say that I’m pretty obsessed with this dish now, and will be on the lookout for more opportunities to try more pho! Where is your “go to” spot for pho?
Neyland and I were fortunate enough to meet up with an amazing group of ladies for a little get away this past weekend! A short trip away was just what the doctor ordered!
It is so easy to forget the beauty of the mountains when we live in this amazing area, and the mountains are our back yard. I realize that I often drive around and overlook them completely even though I adore them!
As I have mentioned previously, I do a bit of bigfoot reseach in my spare time. I have made some of the most amazing friends that share my passion for nature and mysteries. We have just “clicked” ever since we first met. It is a rare thing to find friends with whom you can truly just be yourself. I have laughed with these ladies, cried with them, traveled with them, camped with them, tick checked them, had midnight forest raves with them, eaten an unhealthy amount of cinnamon rolls atop a mountain at 3am with them, and much much more. I believe it suffices to say that we have a great history together with fantastic memories doing what we love to do. It seems that all of us have walked some deep valleys over the past few years, and have been unable to get together as often as we would have liked. This weekend we were thrilled to not only have a reunion of the “beaver squad,” as we often call ourselves, but to bring our two newest members along for initiation! We decided that since the two little ones were so small, we would stick to a cabin this time rather than though it out in tents.
Neyland and I were the last to arrive Friday evening. A quick game of “being shy” lasted all of 5 minutes, and the girls quickly became best buddies. It was so great to see all my favorite ladies! We enjoyed dinner and a dip in the hot tub out on our amazing deck. Check out that view!
After a quick bath and a ton of play time, the little ones were off to bed. We enjoyed catching up for a few more hours before a wonderful night’s sleep. The AC was certainly more pleasant than the 90 degree temps outside!
In the morning, true to form, Ronie was up making enough food to feed an army.
Breakfast tacos and hashbrowns….and lots of coffee!
We got the girls dressed, packed up a picnic lunch, and headed up to our favorite spot on the mountain. An area affectionately known as “camp scream.” As it’s name suggests, we’ve had some pretty exciting sasquatch activity there in the past. It is WELL away from where most people go, and we’d certainly like to keep it that way. We were surprised to see that the camp area we had used in the past, was almost completely covered in fallen trees. Thankfully, we were still able to hike back and let the girls play in the creek for a bit. They had a blast clacking rocks and playing in the water.
We then had our picnic lunch and hiked for about 2 miles. The girls did great & had so much fun! Check out the video of them practicing their squatch calls!
Perhaps we were even interesting to some forest spectators, as we did hear a few interesting sounds on our hike!
We continued to another location where the girls could play in the creek again. We were able to catch some salamanders and crawdads, and even saw some rainbow trout.
On the way back to the cabin, we stopped at our favorite spot for ice cream. The picnic tables where we were eating were right by the water. We got to watch a few guys fly fishing, and even got to see an osprey! Between the guys and the osprey, only one was successful catching a fish. Hint: it was not the humans.
When we returned Ronie cooked ANOTHER delicious meal complete with her famous homemade doughnuts for dessert!
We ended the day out on the deck DESTROYING these little jewels. The girls were COVERED in sugar. We were fortunate enough to hear an owl, and attempted to call back. Our owl calls quickly escalated into tiny squatch calls again. I’m quite certain the neighbors thought we were insane. These are the things that memories are made of.
We said our goodbyes Sunday afternoon, and the drive home was bittersweet. It got me thinking about how I’m so thankful to share this life with such amazing people. Every day is an adventure if you chose to make it so.<3
Tuesdays are generally “Mommy + Daughter Days” at our house. We only have one routine commitment, and the rest of the day we spend together. I generally use this time to catch up on housework that I can keep going while playing with my little one. I also do my best to keep a basic routine that she can look forward to. Each Tuesday she can look forward to Science Experiment Tuesday and it is also a night that we try to make dinner together. I want Neyland to enjoy cooking as much as I do, and to be independent and able to cook for herself in the future. She certainly already has the independence part down. She is constantly wanting to help me do the parts of the cooking that still aren’t safe for kiddos her age. To try and help bridge the gap between what she can and can’t help with, I got her some fun kitchen items for her birthday!
First, I purchased her a set of kid safe plastic kitchen knives. I was kind of skeptical about how much they would actually cut, and if they would really be useful. The price was pretty low, so I figured we would give them a try.
Before I gave them to her, I ran them back and forth across my hand to see if they were, in fact, skin safe. No issues there at all. Neyland proceeded to try them on several different foods, and they worked great! I even used them a few times tonight, and I was pleasantly surprised. I guess my only gripe is that the 5 colored knives are exactly the same thing, just different colors. I thought perhaps they would have slight differences, but they don’t. I guess I can use the different colors to help teach her food prep safety?
Needless to say, she felt like a pretty big deal getting to use a knife like a big girl. She cut up butter, ham, and some veggies.
I also purchased her a Princess Cook book. I loved the idea that the recipes were simple, and that each recipe is attached to one of the Disney princesses. She was STOKED to flip through the pages and pick which recipes SHE wanted to make. I can tell that she will be more willing to try these recipes, simply because they are tied to a princess. If it gets her to branch out and try new things….I’m ALL FOR IT.
Tonight she chose to make Rapunzel’s Ham & Cheese Biscuit Braids. She helped me from start to finish. She did have a bit of trouble braiding the dough, but who wouldn’t? I found them to be a bit bland for my tastes. Solution: Cover in mustard. Yellow mustard works well for Rapunzel’s magic golden hair anyway, Right??? Lol.
We ate our Princess dinner, watched Tangled (obviously,) and even ended our night with a surprise visit from a prince disguised as a frog. 😉
God certainly has a sense of humor when he graces us with his creation.
A hysterical game of Twister before bed, was the end to another lovely Mommy + Daughter day. Check out the recipe below to make Rapunzel’s Ham & Cheese Biscuit Braids with your little ones!
Ham and Cheese Biscuit Braids:
(From The Disney Princess Cookbook)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp cold butter, cut into several pieces
1/2 cup diced ham
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 cup milk
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Use your fingertips to pinch the butter into the flour mixture until the bits are the size of peas.
Stir in ham and cheese.
Add milk and work the mixture with your hands until it starts to look like dough.
Sprinkle some flour on a cutting board or counter and place the dough on top. Sprinkle a little more flour on the dough to keep it from sticking. I also floured my rolling pin.
With your rolling pin, flatten the dough into a 12 inch square. The dough should be between a 1/4 and a 1/2 an inch thick.
Slice the squares into quarters, and then slice each quarter into 12 strips, each about 6 inches long.
Braid the dough like you would braid hair – gather 3 strips and pinch them together at the top. Take the right section and cross it over the center section so they switch places. Then, take the left section and cross it over the center section. Keep going until the whole strip is braided.
Pinch the strands together at the bottom.
Repeat until all the strips are braided.
Place each braid on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.
*They don’t really turn as golden brown as you’d expect, so check the bottom after about 10 minutes.
Ok…ok….My family is NOT from New York City. Not at all. Not even a little bit. But that doesn’t stop me from blasting that song every time we drive north! Everyone always assumes that when you say “I’m from New York,” you clearly mean the city. Nothing could be further from the quiet country truth my family grew up in.
My family is rooted so far north that we’re practically on the US/Canadian border. I absolutely love it. It’s quiet, sparsely populated, and everything just seems simpler up there. Despite all of this, there are still some GREAT places to visit and eat! I will highlight a few of my favorites in case you ever get the opportunity to visit.
My family lives on Black Lake, but as I mentioned before, we’re almost on the Canadian border. The St.Lawrence river is just a few miles away. There is always a huge amount of boat traffic, and the river is a pretty popular tourist area. Places like Alexandria Bay get TONS of visitors each summer. While Alex Bay is nice, and going to visit Boldt Castle is pretty much a requirement, it is not my “go to” spot on the river.
A bit closer to Lake Ontario you’ll find a hidden gem, and my favorite spot on the River.
Clayton, NY is the beautiful, well-kept, quiet, artistic town that Alex Bay certainly is not. It is full of amazing restaurants, super cool shops, and breathtaking views.
Without question- My Number 1 FAVORITE spot is Bella’s on the River.
This place is a restaurant and bakery. They locally source all their produce off of the nearby Islands. I have been there numerous times, and have never been disappointed. In fact, my mother just returned from a trip up north bearing gifts that I specifically requested….
A Box of giant chocolate dipped coconut macaroons. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.
Here are a few pics from meals we’ve enjoyed at Bella’s!
After an amazing meal at Bella’s, we typically stroll down the main street in town and poke around in all the neat little shops. We always find the most amazing treasures! One stop along the way that we simply must make, is to one of our favorite wineries in the area. Coyote Moon Winery is right in the heart of Clayton. They carry a wide selection of wines and various products made with wine. As with Bella’s, the riverside views simply can’t get much better. They also have a room dedicated to live music and entertainment. It is certainly #2 on my “must visit list” in Clayton.
I feel comfortable saying that my Mom would highly recommend “Twisted Sister.”
From Coyote Moon, we continue to check out shops along the main road until the road finally ends here….
The Clayton docking area has a lovely park with beautifully colored Adirondack chairs allowing you to relax and watch the water. The cool breeze that blows in off that river is like NOTHING you’ll find in the south. It’s a little slice of heaven.
Welcome to the Yankee heart of this Southern girl. ❤