Mexican Pot Roast – The Dish Behind the Dish

Spicy Mexican Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes

Spicy Mexican Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes

 

The Dish Behind the Dish

Mexican Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes

Have you ever had a craving for a comfort dish from your childhood – but with a twist? Sometimes it’s healthier. Sometimes it’s just substituting ingredients for taste. There’s usually something warm and fuzzy that makes you yearn for that food again in the first place. The feeling you had when you ate it. The memory of family sitting around the dinner table talking about the day – usually after church, or maybe it was the onset of a changing season. That’s how this recipe for Mexican Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes came to be – well, that and a visit from my boyfriend, Greg, who is as much a foodie as I am, and who loves spicy food almost as much as football. Well, that might be overstating it, but not by much.

You know how it is, girls! It’s not that I didn’t like football. I had just never watched it. I really had no idea (and still don’t for the record) why men find entertainment in watching grown men pound each other time after time. I also couldn’t fathom why all that aggressiveness went on to get such a short distance on the field. Made no sense to me. But for the sake of true love, and because I am lucky enough to have a wonderful guy in my life who does anything new I ask him to do, it was time for me to mentally wrap my mind around watching a game of football! I have to say, it took all week for me to mentally prepare for it, but I did it – and dare I say, I liked it!

Just a tip, girls, if you’ve never watched football but you have a man you want to share that with, I recommend watching the Denver Broncos play first! There is nothing better than watching Peyton Manning, their quarterback, get the football and know without a doubt that when he throws it (a lot of times without even looking first), his teammate will be there to catch it! Their teamwork and connection as a team is certainly entertaining to watch – even if you think you hate football! I actually look forward to snuggling on the couch with some kind of tasty snack on Sunday night to watch the Broncos! Of course, snuggling with my sweetie is the main ingredient in that scenario considering I don’t watch football if he isn’t around! But I do look forward to sharing that with him.

The weekend of this recipe was going to be a little nippy so I had decided earlier in the week, since he was coming, to start with a pot roast and end the weekend with a typical vegetable soup. You know the drill. You start with a roast, potatoes, carrots, onions, and broth. You then take the leftovers and make soup by adding more stock and veggies. To stick with tradition (and save time), my original plan was to put it all in a slow cooker - until I realized I had loaned it out and it hadn’t made its way back! So, for this recipe we’re really going back to grandma by baking it in a roasting pan! I know what you’re thinking. Just take a deep breath and preheat your oven to 325 degrees. It’ll be alright. I’ll talk you through it, but for those of you who consider a slow cooker a part of your family, you can make the recipe in the morning on game day and it will be perfect in your slow cooker after 8 hours on low! See, I wouldn’t leave you hanging!

What started as a very basic, family-style pot roast ended up being spiced up for a chilly fall football weekend with my sweetie! After we enjoyed the roast (and the soup), we decided it was definitely worth making again. It’s nice to make new memories with old favorites. This particular crisp fall weekend started with a spicy idea, my neighbor’s boys coming over to play games on Greg’s iPad, but ended with just a nice, quiet spicy pot roast dinner for two on my balcony. And football. All things that particular weekend were absolutely DELISH!

Click here for the printable recipe for Spicy Mexican Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes

Another Tip: If you go the Mexican Pot Roast recipe, you’ll find a Bonus Recipe for the Sweet Potato Bisque at the bottom! They’re both super DELISH!

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Mexican Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes

Read the story behind this spicy Mexican Pot Roast! Click here for the Story – The Dish Behind the Dish!

Ingredients

5 lb. chuck roast

Olive Oil

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. pepper

1 tblspn. flour

1 large sweet onion, cut into rings

2 small cans green chilis

6 oz. bottled hot sauce

2 pkgs. taco seasoning

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Begin by coating the roast with flour, salt, and pepper. Brown the roast in a skillet on all sides using the olive oil. While your pot roast is browning, cut your large onion into rings and lay them on the bottom of roasting pan to serve as a “rack” for your roast. *My roasting pan is large so I put the onions on half the pan. In a bowl, mix green chilis, hot sauce, taco seasoning, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Put roast on top of onions and pour mixture over the roast to coat.

Cut your sweet potatoes into large chunks and place around the roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. *If you like your sweet potatoes really soft or plan to mash them (sweet potatoes will also be spicy), put them with your roast at the beginning of the cook time. If you like them al dente, put them in with the roast for the last hour of cooking. Cover and bake your roast for about 3.5 hours or until juices run clear. *You can also follow these steps and use a SLOW COOKER! Just set your slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours! Put your sweet potatoes in half way through. Serve shredded with quinoa, sour cream and tortilla chips! DELISH!

You’re in luck…

BONUS RECIPE: The next day, shred your leftover roast and add beef broth, water, the mashed sweet potatoes and onions to thicken, then add a touch of cream at the end for creamy, spicy sweet potato bisque! You heard it here first! This soup is beyond DELISH!

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Fresh Blueberry Mojito Sorbet

As you know, my memories, both past and present, are tied to food. But they’re also tied to drinks! My fondness of mojitos is no surprise to those who really know me. I have an absolute love for anything mint. As a matter of fact, my neighborhood Dairy Queen knows me as the customer who orders Mint Oreo Blizzards - hold the Oreos. I love mint, so when I happened upon the chance to try a mojito at a restaurant known for them, I couldn’t resist. First, make this Fresh Blueberry Mojito Sorbet recipe then come taste my mojito memories – they’re DELISH!

To start this post, I must confess something. My first mojito wasn’t at a glamorous Cuban cabana on some distant island in the Caribbean. I wasn’t surrounded by beautiful people doing the Tango in bright-colored skirts and off-the-shoulder tops. I was in Georgia of all places. Dahlonega, GA  – home to the first gold rush. Each year I attend Tourism Marketing College at North Georgia State in Dahlonega for an entire week to learn the latest trends in the Tourism industry. As you can imagine, Dahlonega isn’t a large town. Yes, you can pan for gold in a real goldmine under their Walmart. You can eat and stay at the historic Smith House Inn restaurant and enjoy their fabulous comfort food served family style (which I did!). You can take home chocolate gold bars from Paul Thomas Chocolates (which I also did!). But for my first mojito, I chose The Bourbon Street Grille. Along with my first mojito, I enjoyed my first bite of alligator. Those two things made my 2nd year of Marketing College in Dahlonega, GA a memorable one. I’ve been on a quest for the perfect mojito closer to home ever since.

To start this foodie adventure, I had the pleasure of visiting Bowling Green, Kentucky for a weekend getaway that was filled with 15 stops over the course of 2 days. One of those days included a spell in their historic downtown around Fountain Square. My friend, Angie, and I were to stop and have dinner at a restaurant called, Micki’s on Main. After sampling the best spirits on a tour of Corsair Distillery (who, by the way, makes a Quinoa Whiskey!), we decided to scan the menu at Micki’s on Main to see if we could find something different to eat and drink. If you are interested in that particular experience, you can read our story in the post Micki’s on Main / 440 Main. The food was fabulous, but it was the fresh blueberry mojito that caught my attention!

The difference with this mojito was the use of fresh blueberries. It was the best mojito I had ever had – all three of them! It was so smooth and so refreshing on that hot summer day, I found myself wanting to ask the bartender for a much larger glass! I quickly realized that a girl could not live on blueberry mojitos alone, so I tried to make a fresh blueberry mojito sorbet as another reason to enjoy them! This recipe is simple to make – unlike a great mojito – and commemorates my trip to Micki’s on Main in Bowling Green, Kentucky! Both my weekend getaway to Bowling Green, AND this Fresh Blueberry Mojito Sorbet were quite simply DELISH!

BlueberryMojitoSorbetIngredients

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, packed

1 lb. fresh blueberries (if using frozen, thaw first)

2-3 tablespoons white rum

Put lime juice, water, and sugar in a sauce pot and heat until sugar melts and it just starts to boil. Remove from stove and add crushed mint leaves then cover to steep 30 minutes. After steeping, remove mint leaves and pour into blender with blueberries. Blend until smooth. After blending, place a mesh strainer over a bowl then pour blueberry mixture into strainer to remove skins and seeds. After all is strained, add white rum to the blueberry juice and stir. Pour mixture into ice cream freezer for 30-40 minute until thick. Place thickened sorbet in a bowl, then cover and freeze for at least an hour to harden more. *Sorbet will not be as thick as ice cream. **You can also skip the ice cream maker and pour into an 8×8 metal pan and put in the freezer until thickened the way you like it! Enjoy!

 

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Micki’s on Main and 440 Main in Bowling Green, KY

Micki's on Main & 440 Main Restaurants

Micki’s on Main & 440 Main Restaurants
440 Main Street, Bowling Green, KY  42101
(270) 793-0450  Micki’s Menu   440 Main’s Menu
 

During my recent visit to Bowling Green, KY with my friend, Angie, we had the chance to savor some of the best treats Bowling Green has to offer! Micki’s on Main in downtown Bowling Green was one such place. Located across the street from the gorgeous Fountain Square, the scenery alone transports you to Savannah, GA or, in this case, New Orleans, LA. Our meal of Cajun Spring Rolls, Bacon Wrapped Dates, and the best mojito I’ve ever had - fresh blueberry – made this trip to Bowling Green DELISH!

The experience of downtown Bowling Green starts as you find a parking space in the circle. In the center of the square sits a huge black fountain that reminded me of my recent trip to Savannah, GA. To add to the experience, it was prom night for the locals and a Civil War Celebration. Everywhere you looked there were seniors in their prom gowns getting their pictures made around the fountain, then the other side of the street showed Civil War re-enactors strolling the sidewalks with play pistols in-hand.

Fountain Square Downtown Bowling Green

Fountain Square
Downtown Bowling Green

Just before our visit to Micki’s, we enjoyed a tour of Corsair Distillery just down the street from Micki’s front door. After the tour Angie and I decided to walk off our bourbon sampling and head to Micki’s for appetizers and a drink of something other than whiskey. Neither of us are whiskey drinkers, so we looked for something interesting on the bar menu. The winner? A fresh blueberry mojito! I had just learned to love mojitos so I was anxious to try one made with fresh blueberries. They must have been awesome – I had three! I was so impressed with these smooth, fresh mojitos that it inspired me to go home and come up with a summer recipe for Blueberry Mojito Sorbet using the same ingredients – including the minted-rum!

Fresh Blueberry Mojitos - the best mojito I've ever had!

Fresh Blueberry Mojitos – the best mojito I’ve ever had!

All the scenery of downtown Bowling Green could be taken in through the huge, open-air entrance of Micki’s. There were tables outside for dining while people-watching or you could choose to sit inside and enjoy the view without being in the heat of the day.

Micki’s on Main is connected to their sister restaurant, 440 Main. You could choose the more laid back New Orleans-style atmosphere of Micki’s burgers and beer or meander to the other side where you could enjoy Trout St. Charles served on tables dressed in white cloths. After looking over the menu and realizing we weren’t famished, we settled in at Micki’s for some Cajun Spring Rolls.

Cajun Spring Rolls

Cajun Spring Rolls

The interesting twist to these spring rolls was the stuffing of spicy Andouille sausage and the mango BBQ dipping sauce. It was a delicious combination with the BBQ sauce not being overly sweet. Our next dish was the Bacon Wrapped Dates. Now, I’m a huge fan of anything stuffed so I was excited about this one. There’s something about the chewy sweetness of a baked date when it’s stuffed with some type of cheese then wrapped in salty bacon. This recipe was unique because they used two cheeses – blue cheese and goat cheese. They were awesome!

Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with goat & blue cheeses!

Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with goat & blue cheeses!

A couple doors down from Micki’s on Main stood the Capitol Arts Theatre , built in 1890, with large lines waiting to see the next show. It was an interesting combination of old and new, gorgeous and scruffy. But the beauty of downtown Bowling Green won out with crowds sitting on benches just taking in all the activity.

I must say, it was a pleasant surprise to find so much to do downtown in walking distance. While most Main Street programs are struggling to keep tenants and attract locals to their downtown, Bowling Green doesn’t seem to have slowed down. It was nice to see so many people out taking in what their town has to offer. We so often cross the lines into neighboring larger cities to see what they have to offer, but it’s amazing what can be found in our own backyards. Great mom-and-pop restaurants, renovated historical attractions that are still being utilized, cute little specialty shops, and now, a new artisan distillery! All I can say is, “Way to Get Rolling, Bowling Green!”

More Photos

Fountain Square - downtown Bowling Green

Fountain Square – downtown Bowling Green

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Capitol Arts Theatre, Bowling Green

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Historic Downtown Bowling Green

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Civil War Re-Enactors visiting Tea Bayou in downtown Bowling Green

 

 

 

Categories: Attractions, Communities, Ice Cream & Sorbet, Restaurant Photos, Restaurants, Town Photos, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY

I have to tell you a secret, but you can’t tell anyone else. When I received my travel itinerary from Telia at the Bowling Green Tourism office, I was not at all excited when I saw the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY on my list of stops. However, after now having taken the tour, if you are planning to stay in Bowling Green, a tour of the museum and an overnight stay at Spongie Acres Bed and Breakfast is a must!

To start my long weekend in Bowling Green, not only was a car museum on the list, it was first on the list – and first thing in the morning. I had never visited the museum and I was one of those people who thought it would be boring, truth be known. I’m certainly not a car nut. I never understood why boys felt the need to rev their engines to impress the girls. Come with us as I take you on a tour of the museum as I saw it through my own eyes and as my friend, Angie, saw it with me. We were women who were not car junkies, who knew nothing about Corvettes, and who didn’t understand the lifelong fascination that so many Corvette fans share. Brace yourself! This is going to be a memorable ride – it was for us!

Me with my fabulous personal Bowling Green guru, Telia! Without Telia this trip would not have been possible!

Me with my fabulous personal Bowling Green guru, Telia! Without Telia this trip would not have been possible!

Let me say immediately that I wrong in my preconceived ideas about this museum! It was one of my favorites of the 15 places I visited that weekend. As soon as you walk into the lobby, you are blown away by the straight line of super shiny Corvettes that lead you from one end of the lobby to the entrance of the museum.

Line of Corvettes that greet you when you walk in the front door!

Line of Corvettes greet you when you walk into the lobby!

The next thing you see in the lobby is the Corvette Café. Now we’re talking! Unfortunately, the café was not open when we were there, but the inside of the café was decorated in old Corvette memorabilia and looked like an old 50′s diner complete with old license plates on the walls. As The Foodie Tourist, I was disappointed they were closed but we’ll be making another trip for the food! I did, however, snag a menu to whet your appetite before you get there! Take a look – CorvetteCafeMenu. The Café serves up hot items from the grill, soups and daily specials plus cool healthy favorites like wraps, salads, and sandwiches! Breakfast sandwiches, scones, cinnamon rolls, coffee, espresso, and lattes are also found there, as well as Chaney’s ice cream.

At the opposite end of the lobby as the Café was the Corvette Store! I was shocked at how classy the shop was and how it was not filled with the typical trinkets and trash of some of the tourist traps I’ve been in. The Store and Café would make a great trip by themselves. Just outside the shop is where Angie started to get her Corvette groove on! She couldn’t help but pose for a picture by this beauty. Did I tell you that we could be professional shoppers? I left the Store with a Corvette shirt and really cool black and red coffee mug large enough for a 1/2 a pot of coffee! Angie had her own sack full of goodies!

Angie standing by a gorgeous red corvette in from the Corvette Store!

Angie standing by a gorgeous red Corvette. Yes, she wanted it!

When we got to the entrance of the museum, we were met by our guide who was more than excited to talk about Corvettes and their history. I was immediately struck by how animated she was just mentioning the word! One of the first tidbits we learned about the museum is that it’s actually a nonprofit company! The museum is not funded by Corvette or GM, but by the passionate members of the “club” who want to keep their love of Corvettes alive! How awesome is that? This was my first taste of the passion that I felt as we began our journey through the car’s history. If you are a Corvette lover, membership does have its perks!

Now on with the tour!

1953 White Corvette. The person who bought this car also got free hair cuts! Air conditioning or radio? Your choice!

1953 White Corvette

The exhibits themselves in the Corvette Museum are very detailed and well-done. The picture above shows a 1953 white Corvette whose selling point was that the proud owner of this model received free haircuts with their purchase of the car. You can see the window in the back of the exhibit shows a barber cutting a man’s hair while they gaze out the window at his new piece of awesomeness! With this particular model, the owner got to choose a radio OR air conditioning when it was made for him.

White mannequin casted from a real Corvette employee. Mannequins are throughout the museum in real life situations. You can even see arm hair!

White mannequin cast from real Corvette employees

I took this photo when I learned that the employees are just as passionate about Corvettes and their jobs building them as the people who own them. You’ll see throughout the museum in all the exhibits, white mannequins that have been cast using real Corvette employees! If you get up close to them, you can see all the detail – including arm hair! Each mannequin is shown in the experience that represents what they do in the plant. I was struck by the personal, warmth of the museum and how it created a feeling. A relationship. Not just in how a Corvette owner feels about their car, but in how all who are involved in that car, from beginning to end, feel as they watch “their” car drive out of the plant.

Speaking of driving away, did you know that when someone orders a Corvette built, Corvette employees gather around the Corvette clapping as the new owner drives away in his new toy? You can even have them document the building of your new baby during production and they will present you with your very own color photo album on the entire process! Pretty cool! I started to envision being a parent watching your child get on the school bus for the first time. Excited yet sad to see them go. I got that. Again, the museum was able to tie personal experience to something that, in my mind, would have been less than warm and fuzzy before this tour.

The Rare 1983 White Corvette

The Rare 1983 White Corvette

Now, inside the bright yellow Corvette Skydome - recognizable from the street as a needle - you’ll find over 30 unique Corvettes including pace cars, one-of-a-kind prototypes and the only 1983 Corvette in existence. The above 1983 model is interesting because there were only 43 made before it was ordered by GM to be destroyed after California changed their emissions standards. This car was so far ahead of its time with more bells and whistles than any other car, but they couldn’t be mass-produced because of the changes to emissions laws. So why was this one spared? After hearing the news, the distraught plant employees broke it down into pieces, painted them, and hid them in different places until GM swore that it would not be destroyed. This one is the only one remaining. Talk about passion! The car was later serialized as a 1984 model and was named “Car of the Year” by Motor Trend Magazine in 1984. Wow!

Route 66 Corvette

Of course you can’t talk about Corvette, or passion for that matter, without talking about Route 66 - the new “passion for the open road”. As shown above, this part of the exhibit can best be summed up by the making of the movie, “Route 66″ in 1960. It’s the only fiction series written and shot all over North America. Two young adventurers in a Corvette convertible take off to explore early 60′s social problems and changing morals, looking for the right place to settle down while trying to find themselves. You just want to crawl inside this car and take off down the road with the wind blowing in your hair. Well, I envision myself driving standing up (yes – living on the wild side), wearing peddle-pushers and a scarf over my hair with cat-eye sunglasses. Yes! I’m cool – well, in this blog posting anyway. Again, Corvette managed to put me in the driver’s seat in my mind! Pretty sneaky if you ask me!

Corvette KidsZone

Corvette KidZone

At the museum, there really is something for everyone! You can try out a simulator, you can see a crashed Corvette to appreciate their safety, you can see Corvettes from yesteryear, you can learn about pace cars and the first convertible, and you can see clay scale models  in the engineering exhibit complete with the mannequins of the engineers themselves. But how does the Corvette enthusiast grow up learning to appreciate the Corvette? They become involved in the passion as kids. The museum helps with that.

In the Corvette KidZone, kids can step into a pretend auto shop equipped with all the tools they need to perform maintenance on a kid-sized car mounted on a lift. The exhibit’s hands-on activities encourage the development of fundamental skills in young kids. They have fun sorting, matching and problem-solving as they select tools, replace parts and fill work orders. Working with other “mechanics” helps with positive social skills, and the exhibit’s activities help encourage motor skills. Be sure to ask them about tours for handicapped children!

In addition to the Kids Service Center, there is an Assembly Line, a Diner area, a Drive-In, a Rest Stop, and a Garage Bay. All areas have specific, hands-on activities to get kids involved in learning and appreciating their Corvettes. It’s a great exhibit and the perfect ending to a fabulous tour!

The KidsZone Assembly Line

The KidZone Assembly Line

At the end of our tour of the National Corvette Museum, Angie and I wanted to drive the open road of Bowling Green in a candy apple red Corvette convertible with our hair blowing in the wind on our way to eat a greasy cheeseburger and onion rings at a drive-in somewhere. We were so energized, excited, and pleasantly surprised from our visit! The museum has done a fantastic job of making you feel personally connected to the Corvette, whether you grew up around them or not. But it’s NOT about a car. It’s not about the business successes of the Corvette or GM. It IS about family and community. It’s about freedom and pride. It’s about quality. But mostly, it’s about love and passion – for each other and the open road.

 

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Mango Jicama Slaw

As you well know, I have a story for everything and this recipe is certainly no exception. Well, the exception is that it actually has 2 stories attached to it. The thing about this Mango Jicama Slaw is that no matter where you take it, they likely will be trying jicama for the first time. To me, that’s a foodie story in the making every time I take this slaw someplace new! This dish is not only easy, it comes with built-in foodie memories! What’s more important than that? My slaw uses the freshness of lime juice and lime zest, red or yellow bell peppers, jicama, vinegar, and mint! DELISH!

My inspiration for this recipe came from a burger that I tasted at Red Robin restaurant. It was a spicy burger with pepperjack cheese, fried jalapeno rings, and a hot sauce, then they cooled it down with a mango slaw on top. Whenever Mason and I go out together, lunch comes from Red Robin, and I order an extra one to take home! So, think of this slaw as a topper for burgers of all kinds. It would be delish on a BBQ or pork chop sandwich! If you’ve read my other posts, you know my nephew, Mason, and how awesome our relationship has been since he was a little man and how it has centered around food.

MangoSlawBurger

But the reason for my first attempt at this recipe was being in the kitchen for the first time with a bigger man – my foodie boyfriend, Greg. I was trying to come up with the perfect side dish for a family cook-out that was planned for a couple different purposes. One of those reasons was to introduce him to my family. The second reason was to say goodbye to my sister Joni, and my niece Ashleigh before they moved to Ocala, FL the following week.

Dad, Mason, and Greg were to be the three guys at the cook-out. Mason was late getting there so it gave Greg and dad a chance to get to know each other better one-on-one. It seemed to work out well! Dad took Greg into the “gun room” and showed off his guns that he keeps in a gun safe, while Greg listened intently to the story my dad told about hunting the taxidermied black bear that stands on a log in the corner of my dad’s office.  It was really neat to see my dad get more excited the more Greg listened. They soon left the office and went out on the deck to start grilling burgers and hot dogs. I caught them both laughing a couple of times, so I was able to relax knowing Greg was a big hit with my dad.  Of course he was! What’s not to like! He’s handsome, he’s 6’4″, he’s well-built, he’s smart, he’s funny, he’s attentive, he’s a foodie, and -  Oh, I got sidetracked! You’ll learn more about Greg in other food memories, but consider this your introduction! He sent me my daily “note” this morning saying he had a crab ravioli recipe he wants me to try this weekend, so I’m sure some of his recipes will pop up here, too!

Now back to the slaw :)

When I started making this slaw with Greg the night before the cook-out, I found out he had never tried jicama. I wasn’t surprised. Jicama is a really cool ingredient for many reasons, but I only learned about it a few years ago when I started eating lower carb. Jicama has the texture of a potato and an apple and the taste is more like a potato, but a little sweeter. Jicama fries are awesome! Try using it in place of potatoes!

Jicama - found in the produce section

Jicama – found in the produce section

I have made this Mango Jicama Slaw several times now and have found that you can replace the mint with cilantro if you like that flavor better. I have also used mandarin oranges in place of the mango in a similar salad. Another awesome thing about this recipe is that it has no mayonnaise so it’s great for picnics. This one is SUPER DELISH!!!!

Mango Jicama Slaw

Mango Jicama Slaw

Tip: If you can find a mango seed remover – looks like an apple corer & slicer – at the grocery, BUY IT. Mangos are very slick and hard to hold.

Ingredients

4 mangos, peeled and cut into strips

1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

1 large jicama, peeled & cut into strips

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (try different vinegars!)

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoon agave nectar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh mint (or cilantro)

1 tablespoon lime zest (or more to taste!)

Peel and cut your mangos, bell peppers, and jicama into strips. Put your mango, peppers,  and jicama in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the vinegar, lime juice, agave nectar, and olive oil together making a vinaigrette; pour over the mango mixture. Sprinkle the mint and lime zest over the mixture; toss to mix. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving, but overnight would be much better. Enjoy!!

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Weekend Cream Cheese Frittata

First off let me explain the reasoning behind calling this my Weekend Cream Cheese Frittata. I don’t know about your schedule, but if it’s anything like mine, your house doesn’t get touched for cleaning during the week. There are just too many things to do during the work week to make time for dusting, or cleaning toilets, or worse – cleaning out the refrigerator! Saturdays and Sundays are my days for those menial chores that we all love.  This chore is how my recipe came to be. Well, that and the fact that when I have tried to make it during the week, something seems to go wrong every time! This recipe will use fresh asparagus, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and cream cheese and is sinfully DELISH!

One Monday when I made this frittata to nibble on during a busy week, I scorched my eggs. One Monday while in a hurry, I bit down into a large egg shell that had been baked inside. The very last time I made this frittata, it was for my boyfriend last week before he headed down to Atlanta for business. I lovingly pulled it out of the oven after 40 minutes, then proceeded to lay my forearm on the hot handle of the stainless pan causing a 3rd degree burn! Now that I think about it, maybe we should avoid making frittatas all together during the week!

Regardless of the day, this recipe was a result of cleaning out the refrigerator and putting all the food that was close to expiration on the counter. I noticed there were a lot of complimentary flavors so I started cooking rather than throwing them away.

I am a texture person when it comes to food. Creamy seems to be my go-to more often than not, so I figured out a way to work it into this recipe with cream cheese. I didn’t have goat cheese, or Boursin, or Laughing Cow wedges – just cream cheese – but any of these ingredients would work well. Use whatever “creamy” you have, whatever veggies you have, and whatever meat you have. I’ve made this frittata so many ways that you really can’t go wrong. I’m asked pretty often about frittatas because they are intimidating to most people. They really are extremely easy to make. My personal ratio is 1 egg to every inch of the pan. So, if you have a 10″ skillet, my personal favorite, use 10 eggs. Make sure you are using an oven-safe pan. I prefer a nice, heavy stainless skillet. Follow this recipe for the perfect frittata every time until you start to feel frisky and want to venture off on your own! It’s good hot or cold, gets better the second day, is easy and quick, and is quite simply DELISH!

 

Ingredients from the Fridge

1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

1/2 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (jarred is easy)

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

10 eggs

3 tablespoons water (not milk!)

Salt & pepper to taste

Pat of butter

Olive Oil

Herbs of your choice (basil, parsley, oregano, cilantro – anything green is pretty!)

4 ozs. cream cheese, softened (1/2 block)

1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese

10″ oven-safe dish or skillet

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put a pat of butter in your skillet with a little olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Throw all ingredients in the skillet, except eggs and herbs, to cook until tender but still crisp – about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk eggs with water, salt, pepper, and herbs. Pinch and place cream cheese all over veggies in your skillet. Pour egg mixture over it all. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Do not stir! Place in oven for 30-40 minutes until frittata is set in the center, puffy and golden brown. Let set 5 minutes then run a spatula around the edge to loosen. Slice like a pie and enjoy with my Candied Peppered Bacon!

Categories: Breakfast, Recipes, Side Dishes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bluegrass Country Estate B&B – La Grange, KY

Don’t you find it difficult to explain the feelings you had after a really enjoyable trip has ended? I will be sharing with you my experiences in other communities with hopes that I can give you just a taste, and you become intrigued enough to visit and make your own memories. This getaway to Bluegrass Country Estate B&B in true horse country was for a week and includes my recipe for Toasted Pecan Oatmeal Pancakes with Bourbon Maple Syrup - the recipe I prepared for the guests while I was there! I hope you enjoy it and I hope you visit Cheryl for your next getaway, vacation, or wedding when looking at Kentucky! This getaway to horse country was relaxing, energizing, luxurious, and DELISH!

Bluegrass Country Estate B&B in La Grange, KY

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but let me say this, there is no way I could explain the feeling I got as I pulled in through the black iron gate that’s crowned with custom, gold metal horses. You pull in and see your destination just beyond the gold-clad gate. This paradise was voted the “Best Bed and Breakfast in Kentucky for Amenities” by the Kentucky Bed and Breakfast Association. It’s Bluegrass Country Estate B&B and it’s your hideaway for the next couple of days in true horse country.

Paradise Entry…Bluegrass Country Estate B&B

Located just 20 minutes from downtown Louisville, KY and 60 minutes from Cincinnati, OH, you can feel the big city leave you as you make your way slowly down the long stretch to paradise. You left your cares at the gate without even realizing it. You couldn’t help it – you feel the stress melt away as you pass Dakota and Blue, Cheryl’s thoroughbreds, galloping in the black-fenced pasture that is her front yard.

Blue & Dakota

“I’ve traveled all over the country and not stayed in any other bed and breakfast that was finer,” wrote Gary P. West, writer for Kentucky Living and Kentucky Monthly magazines, and author of “Eating Your Way Across Kentucky.”

I circled around the two life-sized bronze horse statues that made it necessary to stop for a photo, then unloaded my baggage at the front door of the Inn. Once inside, I was immediately taken with the warmth of the furnishings that would put Ralph Lauren to shame. From what I had been told by others who have visited B&B’s, I expected doilies and old antique furniture. Boy, was I surprised when I walked into the most beautiful living room and dining room that looked up to the second floor!

The Living Room & Pool View

The Dining Room

When I was standing in the living room looking out into the backyard, I could see the horse barn. But this wasn’t just any horse barn! You see, Bluegrass Country Estate B&B offers horse lodging for those traveling with their horses. I learned from Cheryl, the Innkeeper, that when folks stay with her and bring their horses, they have access to ride with her on the 25 miles of private trails that surround the Inn in this community called, L’Esprit! How cool is that? As I looked closer through the barn door, I could see Blizzard and Angel, the two furry family members of the house, looking at me from the barn.

The family goldens, Blizzard & Angel, inside the horse barn! Equine Lodging at its finest!

Speaking of Blizzard and Angel, they are the cutest things! I later learned that when it was close to their eating times, they would come as far as their collars would let them to the kitchen and stare. As soon as I started to put broccoli in their bowls (per Cheryl’s direction), they would run to their crates and wait for their food! These dogs love broccoli! Well, and baby marshmallows that they got as treats for being good. Too cute!

This trip was going to be relaxing - I could already tell! My best friend, Angie would be joining me later to stay the weekend. We had been talking about it for two months and we were so excited to sit outside and solve the world’s problems as we always do! The plan was to bring our tablets and just relax with no expectations and no plan! How nice it would be to not have to have a conversation unless we had something groundbreaking to say! Well, it sounded good anyway. Angie was going to love Bluegrass Country Estate and it would be just what she needed to put the skip back her step! But until she arrived tomorrow, I had guests coming while Cheryl was out-of-town at a wedding in Colorado!

View to the barn that was built to match the house!

Later in the afternoon, the first couple of the weekend arrived from Georgetown, KY. They were celebrating their anniversary so we put them in the Turf Room downstairs so they could enjoy the theater room, which was located just off their bedroom. They only came up the stairs one time and that was to go pick up a pizza from Hometown Pizza in La Grange. Oddly enough, the Inn was built for the owners of the Hometown Pizza chain who believe in the importance of family gathering to eat. To this day, Hometown Pizza doesn’t deliver. They want you to come and grab a table, and catch up on the events of the day with your family. They do have some of the best pizza I’ve ever eaten.

The Turf Room

Later that night, the Honeymooners checked in! They had gotten married that afternoon in Pewee Valley and walked in to the Inn flat-out exhausted! I showed them to their room, The Steeplechase Suite, then went downstairs to make them a tray of snacks and drinks. That was the last I saw them til morning!

The Steeplechase Suite

The next morning, as I was making breakfast, I realized I hadn’t seen my Anniversary couple. Turns out, these guests took full advantage of the beauty that is Bluegrass Country Estate! At one point, I couldn’t find them anywhere. They had left for a morning walk on Bluegrass Parkway. The community of L’Esprit, where this B&B is located, is made up of commercial horse farms. As soon as you pull onto their street, you are surrounded by thoroughbred racehorse training facilities, the most gorgeous horse barns you’ve ever seen, and the most beautiful practice tracks you’ve seen up close.  Along with the normal deer and wild turkeys, you’ll also find alpaca farms! But where were my guests? I looked out the window over the kitchen sink and saw them outside visiting other family members!

Anniversary guest with Dakota, one of the other Innkeepers!

Finch just outside the breakfast room heading to the feeders!

While they finished their walk, I worked on breakfast! Toasted Pecan Oatmeal Pancakes with Bourbon Maple Syrup, Sharp Cheddar Scrambled Eggs, Peppered Bacon, and Fresh Berries were on the menu. The anniversary couple had asked for some type of pecan pancake, so this is what I came up with to satisfy her craving! She absolutely loved them! After talking over breakfast, I realized they were from Georgetown, KY. I told them that I had gone to Georgetown College and majored in Sales & Marketing Management. As it turns out, she is now the pastor of the church that I visited a lot while I lived in Georgetown! It’s a small world! Her husband was also a marketing major, so we had a lot in common. It was a nice breakfast, with great conversation and new friends made! They called their daughter from the breakfast table and talked with her about going to Georgetown College for Marketing. Nice!

Happy Anniversary guests eating Toasted Pecan Oatmeal Pancakes!

After a while, the Honeymoon couple came downstairs for coffee. They were headed to a wedding brunch and didn’t want breakfast – until they smelled my peppered candied bacon. He couldn’t help himself from having a few slices with a toasted english muffin and honey in the Sunroom overlooking the pool!

Sun Room and Breakfast Room overlooking the pool!

Both couples left about the same time on Sunday. The Anniversary couple left, but then came back about half an hour later. I thought they had forgotten something in their room. But they didn’t. They had driven to La Grange to a money machine and brought me back a $25 cash tip! What? I couldn’t believe it! They went on and on about how much they loved their stay, the hospitality, and the awesome pecan oatmeal pancake breakfast! I was so tickled I thought I was going to fall off the porch! It was a good weekend with great guests!

Almost fell off this front porch with a tip in my hand!

Now that the guests were gone and the theater room was free, Angie and I sat outside in the sun again reading for a bit while we decided which movie to watch on the big screen downstairs. Angie brought “The Notebook” – her favorite. Were we in the mood to watch “The Notebook” after witnessing a married couple and an anniversary couple for two days? Nay. After much debate, we made us some drinks then ran down to the movie room, grabbed us some popcorn from the old-fashioned popcorn machine and watched “Life of Pi.” It was a great movie on the big screen! The B&B offers a ton of DVD’s to choose from if you don’t have one of your own. Another thing I noticed was the custom leather recliners – complete with cup holders built into the arms. Nice touch! I will admit that I almost feel asleep in my recliner while I waited for the movie to get good! Life of Pi is a slow starter movie but, let me say, a must see! The storyline picked up just in time!

Theater Room just off the Gym

After the movie, we sat outside and solved a couple of the world’s problems before Angie headed back home to Crestwood to get ready for the work week ahead. She was leaving relaxed, rejuvenated, refreshed, and with a new-found energy! I stayed two extra days. Yes, I got in the hot tub at least 20 more times before I left to go home on Tuesday!

The Hot Tub & Pool Area where we spent a lot of time!

Are you sold on Bluegrass Country Estate B&B? Yes! What else can you do while you’re there, you ask?

Oldham Country – “The Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky”

Oldham Country is such a great escape and Bluegrass Country Estate B&B is a great place to rest your head and hooves on your next trip. If you are from out-of-state and you’re looking for a place with character to get the real Kentucky experience, then this is your place! Florida, California, and New York guests (New Yoikas, as they say it) always comment about the drive to get to Cheryl’s place. You can even watch a video on her website that just showcases the outside – that’s just how awesome it really is! After you watch it, you can only image the inside! I often hear from guests that it’s what they picture Kentucky looking like before they finally get to make the trip. The drive to the Inn showcases Kentucky bluegrass, too many race horse farms to count, and you witness the most gorgeous scenery you’ve ever seen! The only thing missing from the drive is the bourbon, but don’t worry! Cheryl will have that for you too! If you are a resident of Kentucky, then Bluegrass Country Estate B&B is a good place to feel like you’ve run away from home. Because so many guests visit to get away from their daily lives, you can enjoy the hot tub, the pool, the theater room, the gym, the horses, and the breakfast – all without the distractions of home – including the patter of little feet.

Make the trip to Oldham Country! Here are just a couple of things to include in your trip – that is, if you can tear yourself away from this Inn!

Windy Meadows Horse Farm – Home to Author, Ellie Troutman

“The Tails of Windy Meadows” Tour with Author, Ellie Troutman. Ellie also owns The Treasured Child Store, the 1887 Corner Store, and Absolutely Fabulous – all on Main Street in La Grange

Just across the street from Bluegrass Country Estate is Windy Meadows Farm, owned by Ellen Troutman. Ellie not only runs three awesome shops on historic Main Street in La Grange, she is the author of a children’s book called, “The Tails of Windy Meadows.” Oldham County Tourism promotes Ellie’s farm as one of their 14 farm tours! You may not know that Oldham Country, where Bluegrass Country Estate is located, is the Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky! You can take the horse farm tour and meet the furry characters from her book. Now, I’m sure you are thinking that adults wouldn’t be interested in taking this tour, but I can tell you, I’ve taken more adults over 45 years old on this tour than I have kids! It’s a fabulous tour given by Ellie that allows you the chance to get to be up-close and personal with all different breeds of horses. It really is something to witness! This is a one-of-a-kind tour, for sure!

Discover Historic Downtown La Grange

Experience lunch or dinner just feet away from a passing train!

A train runs through it!

It starts as a low rumble. Then, the bells. Next, vibrations. Most first-time visitors to historic downtown La Grange are astounded as they watch a freight train roll through town. Yes, a train runs through it — right down the center of Main Street. Up to 30 trains a day come through this county seat of Oldham County, Kentucky, much to the delight of locals and tourists a like.

A train runs through it to the amazement of tourists!

Tourists also are thrilled to learn that Historic Downtown La Grange is filled with unique shopping experiences, including art galleries, amazing eateries, gift shops, clothing stores and great monthly events that include the retailers. When people come to La Grange they feel as if they have found a little getaway not far from Louisville.

A Getaway to the “Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky”!

Have you been sold on the small town of La Grange and Bluegrass Country Estate B&B? Visit the Tourism Website for more information! If you are interested in planning a Farm Tour group outing, check out their complete list of tours, including Little Big Horse Trails for horseback riding or visit  Bluebonnets & Bluegrass Alpaca Farm to learn about her alpaca babies from fiber artist and farm owner, Denise Coonley!

See Oldham Country on horseback at Little Big Horse Trails – just minutes from Bluegrass Country Estate B&B

 

Alpaca artist, Denise Coonley, shows off her wool in her art studio by the name of her alpaca it came from!

 

Categories: Attractions, Bed & Breakfasts, Bed & Breakfasts (Kentucky), Breakfast, Communities, Recipes, Town Photos, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toasted Pecan Oatmeal Pancakes

Happy Anniversary guests eating Toasted Pecan Oatmeal Pancakes!

This recipe came by way of an anniversary couple visiting Bluegrass Country Estate B&B in La Grange, KY while I was there house sitting for the innkeeper, Cheryl Sabin. The usual menu included the likes of baked eggs on an english muffin or creme brulee french toast, or maybe even a really fancy frittata. But these guests were visiting from Georgetown, KY, where she was a pastor of a church that had given them a gift certificate for the Inn as a gift. She was a breakfast person who enjoyed her sweets and he was far from it! After learning of this blog, she asked if I knew of a pancake recipe that would satisfy her sweet tooth but allow her husband to enjoy it as well. Just what I wanted – a challenge! Hhhmmmm. A pancake recipe that was both sweet and savory? My recipe for Toasted Pecan Oatmeal Pancakes was a huge hit for that couple when served with my peppered bacon and bourbon maple syrup, and was just un-sweet enough to make her husband ask for seconds! For a complete rundown of the weekend at Bluegrass Country Estate B&B, visit my post of the same name. They said this recipe is quite DELISH!

Toasted Pecan Oatmeal Pancakes

 For something a little unique, add my Cinnamon Coffee Pecans to the batter! Double DELISH!

Ingredients 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of quick cooking oats

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted & salted

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup whole milk – lesser fat is ok but not as rich

1 large eggs, separated

1/4 cup butter, melted

pecan halves for garnish

Sliced bananas, optional

Bourbon maple syrup, optional

In a larger mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and chopped pecans. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and regular milk, egg yolks, and melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until well incorporated. Do not over mix.

In a smaller bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites info batter until well incorporated.

Butter or oil your griddle and scoop with a 1/2 cup measuring cup. When pancakes start to bubble around the edges, place pecan halves on the wet pancakes in a pretty design before flipping. Enjoy!

Categories: Bed & Breakfasts (Kentucky), Breakfast, Communities, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tropical Baked Oatmeal

Like a lot of you, I am a collector of cookbooks and I’ve been known to sit for hours reading them. One of my absolute favorites is, “Room at the Table.” This book is so beautiful and showcases all the premier bed and breakfasts of Kentucky. Luckily, in my county of Oldham, we are fortunate to have the “Best Bed & Breakfast in Kentucky for Amenities,” Bluegrass Country Estate Luxury Bed & Breakfast. Located on a gorgeous 9-acre horse farm in La Grange, Cheryl Sabin, was chosen to be in this cookbook with two recipes. A couple years ago, she surprised me with a copy as a Christmas gift and I immediately began cooking my way through it. I have vowed to visit each and every bed & breakfast that graces its pages! 

This baked oatmeal recipe was inspired by one in the book and is my favorite go-to recipe when I just need a taste of my childhood or a warm hug from my grandma who used to stand me on a chair by the stove. I usually don’t make a recipe the same way twice, but this variation is one that I adore and have made over and over again. Just to give you an idea of things I’ve tried, I have added cranberries, dried blueberries with lemon zest, dried cherries and dark chocolate chips, apples and cinnamon chips, white chocolate and raspberries, fresh peaches, and one of my favorites - fresh pear. You must try this recipe with pears and caramel chips! Did you know you can now buy caramel chips made by the same company as the one who makes the caramel cubes? You no longer have to peel off the wrappers! You would think someone would have come up with that before now, but what else will we cuss when we’re making caramel-dipped apples?!

This recipe is a great one served with my recipe for Candied Peppered Bacon, but on its own, it’s quite simply just DELISH!

Ingredients

3 cups uncooked quick-cooking oatmeal

1/2 cup dried tropical fruit (mangos, bananas, coconut)

1/4 cup raisins

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup egg substitute

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk (any type milk)

Whipping cream, optional but tasty!

Bourbon, optional unless you’re from Kentucky :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease an 8×8 casserole dish. Mix together all ingredients except whipping cream. Pour into 8×8 pan and bake for 30 minutes. Sweeten your whipping cream with sugar, spices, and bourbon then spoon over top of the warm oatmeal before serving. Enjoy!

 

 

Categories: Breakfast, Dessert - Cakes, Snacks, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments