Monday, November 28, 2016

Eastern Tennessee

Moving on from Kentucky, we reached our destination in Eastern Tennessee. This is a favorite destination of ours, and we really enjoy it here. This trip was a little different for us. We noticed that my allergies weren't letting up, which is always something I look forward to when getting out of our area. Then, Truckin' Man was starting to not feel well. We kept enjoying our time, but we were just "off". While in Pigeon Forge, we had the tv on in our room while we were winding down, and I heard a headline for the news that night. I knew what was wrong, and we had to watch the news. 

At that time, wildfires were impacting the air quality. Between North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, there were fires burning in 70 counties! There was a "Code Red" being issued for the next day, and that is the highest alert for air quality. 

As I started writing this, I was checking the news channel I knew from the area. There is now a mandatory evacuation for Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. The reporters commented on debris and ashes in the air. So very sad. If you want to click through to hear more about this current situation, click here

We did change our plans, and kept things more "indoors" or in the car. 

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail was such a beautiful trail to drive. This photo gives you just a tiny sample of the haze in the air from all the smoke.

While on the trail, we were able to visit Ephram Bales Place. A farm preserved from the 1900's. 

We always enjoy walking along mountain streams.

 More scenery along the trail.

While spending some time shopping in town, we visited the Ole Smokey Distillery. Instead of Moonshine, we found they now sell whiskey!  We picked up some Rootbeer Whiskey, Salted Caramel Whiskey (REALLY good) and Mississippi Mud!  If you ever are near, do stop by. They have the best bands performing. We got to watch The Midnight Run Band, they were so entertaining. I really wish I would have picked up their CD. This is the first video I ever took using facebook "live", so please forgive my video skills!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Another Adventure

We felt that it was time to get out of Wisconsin before winter arrived. Truckin' Man doesn't mind the winter travel as much as I do, but I worry about what our road conditions will be. And, it's easier for our friends to take care of the farm if it isn't blizzarding outside!

(Pathway to Pinnacle Overlook)

So, we headed south! Our first stop in Kentucky was at Cumberland Gap, the first Gateway to the West. We have stopped here before, but love the history and the views, so we visited again.

(Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky)

If you enjoy history, the visitor center has so much interesting information about the early pioneers who were here. You can learn all about what Daniel Boone was doing in the area, and other things I really haven't read about since high school history class. While I was somewhat interested back then, I find it all much more interesting today.

Here is a video I found from the NPS if you're intested.

(View from Pinnacle Overlook)
While I love the views so much, I don't like heights, so this is as close to the edge as I was getting!

(Replica cannon)

 And a rare photo of me....

Stay tuned for the next part of our journey!

Friday, November 18, 2016

White Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies


Welcome to the Freaky Friday Virtual Holiday Cookie Exchange! 17 bloggers got together and were secretly assigned another blog to select a Christmas cookie or treat from.  This was sooo much fun! We are all finding out the same time as you, who was assigned to each other, and to ourselves!  Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the page, and find what recipes everyone else found for their new holiday treats! They are sure to be tasty and delicious!

I was so excited to get Lisa's Dinnertime Dish. Lisa lives in Minnesota, and reading her blog just takes me back home! Whether she is hunkering down for a cold winter, with some tasty dishes, or getting food ready for the cabin up north, Lisa has some good eats to share! 

While looking through Lisa's blog to see what I was going to make for Freaking Friday, I found her Peppermint Holiday Bark. I am definitely making this for Christmas! And you really need to check out The World's Easiest Fudge. It looks so decadent! I know this isn't a sweet or a treat, but you need to check out Lisa's Favorite Christmas Eve Dinner!

Ok, so what I did decide to make is White Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies! Oh my gosh.. I have never made this cookie, and I love them! Due to my limited shopping, I did have to make a substitution in the recipe. Lisa uses crushed candy canes. I could not find a candy cane any where on a shelf here in rural Wisconsin, but I did find Peppermint Crunch Baking bits. I really liked these, since I think it took the peppermint flavor down just a notch, and I loved it!

These are definitely a cookie that you will want to add to your holiday baking, and to have waiting for Santa :)

White Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup Andes Peppermint crunch baking bits or crushed candy canes
8 ounces white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.   In small bowl, combine flour, baking power, baking soda, and salt.

In large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add egg, beat to combine. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture mixing until ingredients completely combined. Add candy cane bits and white chocolate chips, stir by hand until evenly distributed.

Using small cookie scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheet three inches apart.  Bake for 8-9 minutes or just until turning golden. Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cranberry Orange Cookies

It's time to Fill the Cookie Jar for November! Where in the world did October go?  I for one, am ready for some lazy fall days of kicking back, and enjoying some cozy fall food and flavors. How about a movie night with a cup of hot chocolate? Yes, please!

I did manage to make a cookie to share with you that really pulls together all the traditional fall flavors. I have to give my mom a big shout out on this one, without her help brain storming this cookie I would have missed filling the cookie jar this month. I think her idea was great, and the flavors here are so perfect. Fresh cranberry, highlighted with some fresh orange juice and some zest, and then some pecans. It's like Thanksgiving in a cookie!

 If you are interested in joining Fill The Cookie Jar group on facebook, fill out the form that can be found at Fill The Cookie Jar. Each month we bake a different theme for the cookie.
We bake, we share and we enjoy our cookies!

Cranberry Orange Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans

In large mixing bowl, combine butter and both sugars with electric mixer.  Mix until butter is completely incorporated. Add egg, mixing well. Add orange zest, and orange juice.  Add wheat, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined.   Fold in chopped cranberries and pecans. Mix until evenly distributed.  Cover and chill in fridge for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using small cookie dough scoop, drop several inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until edges have just turned golden.  Cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack.

Orange Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice

In small bowl combined powdered sugar, orange zest, and half of orange juice. Stir until combined. And remaining orange juice as needed to reach desired drizzling consistency.   After glazed, let set until glaze is hardened.

Store in refrigerator in air-tight container 3-5 days.


Sharing this at:
Throwback Thursday
Weekend Potluck