Monday, April 6, 2009

40 Things...

So I ran across this article, 40 Things Every Tennessean Should Try by Jessica Bliss at The Tennessean. I think these 40 things should be my inspiration for this years adventures... Since my adventures have gotten off to a bit of a slow start this year... this may spur them along!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - When you say you live in Tennessee, you

identify yourself as a resident of a Southern state. When you say you are a Tennessean, it means so much more.

From wicked whitewater to the world's biggest fish fry, the Volunteer State isn't just a geographic location, it's an experience.

The Tennessean scoured the state for the 40 things every Tennessean -- native or otherwise -- should do while they live here. Here's the list -- in no particular order. ------

1. Travel the Natchez Trace, from Nashville to Natchez, Miss.: The 444-m

ile parkway meanders through the scenic South, connecting the lower portions of the Mississippi River to central Tennessee. Sprinkled along the way are shops, historical stops and loads of local flavor. ------ I have been on part of the Natchez Trace, but have not traveled the whole thing.

Nancy and Mom at the Natchez Bridge! (I took the picture so it counts!)

2. Rock on at Bonnaroo: It's hard to imagine having more fun in the middle of nowhere. This four-day, multistage music festival in Manchester, Tenn., crosses genres and generations, generating good times for all. If you go, bring your camping gear and stay awhile. ------

3. Go to a show at the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville: This famous venue is steeped in tradition

, having grown from a roaring '20s radio broadcast into a national music marvel. Its stage showcases country music legends and present-day performers. or (800) 733-6779 ------ I can Check this off my list! I have been a couple of times!

4. Visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge: Tucked amid the splendor of the Smokies, there's nothing

sleepy about this small-town experience. From go-carts to mini-golf, a bevy of family attractions line well-traveled streets flanked with stores galore. And Dollywood and Ripley's

Believe It or Not illuminate the cities' natural setting and offer tick-free entertainment in the middle of the great outdoors. ------ I've been to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, but it was before I lived here. Does that still count? I would like to go back!

5. Dip a biscuit in gravy at Loveless Cafe, Nashville: It's hard to say what's the bigger draw -- the biscuit lady's famous made-from-scratch creations or the savory redeye gravy -- so get both. The quaint diner has served more than its share of celebrities. ------ I can check this one off the list too!

6. Put a paddle in the Harpeth, Middle Tennessee: Don't be surprised to sight a snake or a sunbathing cow along this scenic waterway. This playground appeals to outdoor enthusiasts and escapists. ------ I have gone down a river in a conoe, I need to check and see if it was the Harpeth... I might get to check this one off the list!

This was my very first weekend in Tennessee!

7. Groove at Graceland, Memphis: It would be cruel to ignore the King's white-columned mansion with its meditation garden and unforgettable Jungle Room. There may be some cheese mixed in with the charm, but it's worth the stop to catch up on the legend of rock. or (800) 238-2000 ------ I have been to Graceland several times, again it was before I lived in the state of TN!

8. Pet a shark at the Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga: Fish are just the tip of the iceberg a

t this underwater adventure site, where a river and ocean journey offer a glimpse at more than 12,000 animals, including salamanders, octopi, otters and penguins. or (800) 262-0695 ------Align Left I went here with Allison this August... It was a celebration of our 18th Friendiversary... :)

9. Volunteer, statewide: Any true Tennessean ought to embrace the state's nickname, and the beauty of this must-do is that it can be done almost anywhere. Find a soup kitchen, an animal shelter or any other local nonprofit and devote a few hours helping others. You'll be glad you did. Volunteer information: or (615) 298-1108 ------ I have volunteered! I am well on my way to being a Tennessean... Humm... I am not sure how I feel about that, being a Tennessean that is...not volunteering.

10. Sport a spectacular hat at Iroquois Steeplechase, Nashville: All seersuckers and sundresses, this annual horse race is a slightly toned-down version of the Kentucky Derby. Crowds of colorfully clad men and women spend the day picnicking while the equines run around a well-groomed grass track teeming with obstacles. ------

11. See Rock City, Lookout Mountain: Splendid rock formations guide visitors on a botanical journey that features more than 400 plant species and a bunch of distractions for the kids. The highlight is the overlook, where a clear day affords a look at seven different states from just one spot. Where else can you do that? or (800) 854-0675 ------ While we were in Chattanooga for our Friendiversary we had to see Rock City and Lookout Mountain...Check and Check!

12. Bow to Athena at the Parthenon, Nashville: It's hard to ignore the Greek masterpiece situated in the center of Centennial Park, and really you shouldn't. Originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, this massive replica has become a contemporary city centerpiece, boasting a 42-foot Athena, an art gallery and a picturesque place for sunbathing. or (615) 862-8431 ------ Check!

I took this picture when Dad was in town!

13. Party in a pew at the Ryman, Nashville: Famous as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, the historic music venue today remains a much sought-after showplace for hundreds of acclaimed artists. Its grand acoustics and unique seating add excellence to the show. or (615) 889-3060 ------ Check! Check! Check! I've been there a couple of times...

14. Watch or run the Country Music Marathon, Nashville: Thousands travel to Music City every year to take part in the state's largest endurance event. Bodies bob and weave along the city streets, live bands play and sign-wielding spectators cheer on the weary. ------ I have watched it! I doubt I will run it!

15. Down a big beer on Beale Street, Memphis: Once a street for all things smarmy, the redevelopment of Beale Street has rejuvenated a hot entertainment district with deep-rooted blues tradition. For live music, dancing and libations, it's a must-stop for a Tennessee good time. ------ I have spent some time on Beale street, but I wasn't 21 so I have not downed a big beer on Beale.

16. Walk the grounds at the Hermitage, Nashville: Once a simple frontier farm, the Hermitage evolved into a prosperous plantation under the guidance of its most notable resident, President Andrew Jackson. Now it stands as a museum dedicated to delivering not only the story of Jackson but also the enslaved men and women who helped him farm the 1,000-acre property. or (615) 889-2941. ------ I did this when my mom and aunt were in town, it was a cold, nasty day!

17. Sign your name on the wall at Tootsie's, Nashville: It's hard to miss Nashville's honky-tonk haven, which is good because it deserves some attention. It doesn't matter what time of day you might happen down Broadway, there will be twanging and tunes floating out from every venue on the street. The nightlife is grand with its cast of cowboy-hat clad characters, and who knows, you might even see a star or two. ------ CHECK!!!

18. Camp out in Fall Creek Falls forest, Bledsoe and Van Buren counties: Cascading streams, timber and gorgeous gorges provide a perfect backdrop for an outdoor adventure. The park spans 20,000 acres over the Cumberland Plateau and serves as a hiker, fisher and family's delight. or (423) 881-5298. ------

19. Square dance at Mule Day, Columbia: Yes, this is a four-day celebration of everything mule. And, yes, it is mighty popular. A tradition for nearly 170 years, the event began as a simple livestock show and has morphed into an affair featuring square-dancing, crafts and a flea market. Along with mules, of course. ------

20. Take a trip through history at Stones River Battlefield, Murfreesboro: One of the Civil War's bloodiest conflicts is recaptured in the very place it occurred almost 150 years ago. Tour the battlegrounds and learn about those who fought. ------

21. Hear the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Nashville: A true musical treasure, this group of vocal artists travels worldwide to preserve the unique tradition entrenched in African-American spirituals. The choral ensemble has performed since 1871 receiving a myriad of honors, including the 2008 National Medal of Arts. ------

22. Meander around the mountain at the University of the South, Sewanee: Perched atop the Cumberland Plateau, this architecturally impressive campus has plenty to study. Its 13,000 acres and splendid nature-infused setting captures visitors' hearts and invites them to explore. ------

23. Buy a shot glass at Jack Daniel distillery, Lynchburg: The birthplace of Tennessee whisky is not too far away and a tour of the creation facilities is free. Don't expect to get a swig of the stuff when you're through, however -- Moore County has been dry since the days of Prohibition. ------

24. Battle the whitewater on the Ocoee or Little Pigeon, East Tennessee: Boasting a host of Class III and Class IV rapids, these lively waterways offer high-energy adventure. If you go with a guide -- and there are plenty just a Google search away -- there's no experience necessary. -----

25. Get a plate at the World's Biggest Fish Fry, Paris: More than 5 tons of catfish are cooked at this weeklong festival, which dates back to the 1960s. ------

26. Tread the sidewalks on Music Row, Nashville: It's nothing flashy -- no more than a quiet collection of old houses and office buildings, really -- but this set of streets is where stars are made, and that alone makes it worth a visit. Numerous record labels and publishing houses hold residence here, along with famous recording sites like RCA Record's Studio B. ------ Check!

27. Satisfy your greasy desires with a Rotier's burger, Nashville: A massive mound of meat served between two pieces of toasted French bread? This burger is hard to beat. Swig a milkshake on the side in this vintage-style eatery. ------ I've been to Rotier's! I can mark this one off the list!

28. Sample the Music City microbrews, Nashville: Looking for a tasty beverage with local flavor? Yazoo, Blackstone and Bosco's all produce excellent ales that have been recognized nationally. ------ I have had beers from all three... I would have to say I am a Yazoo fan!

29. Dare the depths of the Bell Witch Cave, Adams: The historic haunting grounds of "Kate," the Bell Witch, these chilly caverns are said to be the doorway through which the spirit enters and departs our world. Lore also states it's the site of supernatural happenings, including mysterious electrical outages and movement paralysis. or (615) 696-3055 ------

30. Jam at the Station Inn on Sunday night, Nashville: Known for a keen bluegrass sound, on these evenings well-known artists may mingle with local amateurs, blending their talents to create an unpredictable but highly entertaining performance. or (615) 255-3307. ------

31. See eagles soar at Reelfoot Lake bird sanctuary, Dyersburg: Home to one of the country's largest wintering populations of eagles, Reelfoot Lake is a draw for anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the creature, along with the many other birds swirling around the sanctuary. If you go, bring your binoculars. ------

32. Indulge in a mineral bath, Red Boiling Springs: The Armour Hotel houses the state's only working mineral bathhouse. The smell is not savory, but the healing effects are said to be heavenly. ------

33. Get into the goo at the RC and Moon Pie festival, Bell Buckle: A seed-spitting contest, synchronized wading, cloggers -- it's hard to imagine a more interesting festival itinerary. This June marks the event's 15th anniversary. ------

34. Hear the symphony in the Schermerhorn, Nashville: Music City may be a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll, but it's also a little bit choral, classical and even cabaret. Since late 2006, the Schermerhorn has been the perfect setting to sample another chord in Nashville's rich musical melody. or (615) 687-6500 ------ AMAZING! I love this place!

This may be an illegal picture!

35. Pluck some Prince's Hot Chicken, Nashville: Don't let the dDecor fool you; the chicken that comes out of this kitchen is delicious. Not for the weak-willed or tender-tongued, the fried fowl is fiery but also fantastic. Definitely a bit of Southern flavor worth sampling. ------

36. Peek in the men's room at the Hermitage Hotel, Nashville: How could you miss making a jaunt to the john when it could be in America's best restroom? Voted 2008's No. 1 in a contest held by the Cintas Corp., the onyx and lime green dDecor of this five-star hotel pit stop sets it apart from all others. ------

37. Snag a piece of history at Hatch Show Print, Nashville: This letterpress print shop delivers eye-catching creations that have visually logged local advertising and entertainment history since the late 1800s. The company, which sits just next to the Ryman, still churns out its unique art today. or (615) 256-2805 ------ Check!

38. Watch others bid big at a livestock auction, statewide: You haven't lived until you've seen a steer sold at auction. It's part of everyday farm life for many Tennesseans. ------

39. Rendezvous for ribs at Rendezvous, Memphis: Flame-broiled and rubbed with spices, the ribs here are what draws tourists to this joint. Secretly stashed down an alleyway, this treasure is somewhat hidden, but the search is worth it. ------

40. Sing karaoke in Music City, Nashville: Of course most locals would immediately think Lonnie's when looking for a place to put their vocal talents -- or lack thereof -- on display, but there are plenty of places to step on stage and sing. Who knows, you might just be discovered.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Ok so it has been  too long since I last blogged... sorry I know you have been missing it... ha ha ha... 

I have been on a been on a BIG granola kick lately.  Unfortunatly buying granola is a bit expensive and can be high in fat too. So I thought I would make it!

The first time I made it I added the fruit, but this last time I left it out and I think I like that better. I usually add fresh fruit or dried fruit when I am getting ready to eat it.

Here you go! Try it and let me know if you like it:

4 cups old fashoned oats
1/2 cup milled flax seed
1/2 cup wheat germ
4 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp almond extract
6 Tbs canola oil
2 Tbs water

Adjust  oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 275 degrees. Coat two 9x13 pan with cooking spray, then set aside.

Mix oats, milled flax seed, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt, and nuts in a bowl.

Bring honey, oil, water and almond extract to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Drizzle over oat mixture, and stir to combine. 

Pour mixture onto prepared pan. Working a handful at a time, squeeze cereal to form small clumps. Bake for 30 minutes. Check and contiunte to bake until golden brown, about another 15 minutes. Let cool. 

Granola can be stored in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.