Visiting the Jack Daniel’s Distillery

Lynchburg, Tennessee is an easy hour and a half drive from Nashville that makes for a fun day trip with plenty to see and do. The Jack Daniel’s Distillery offers a number of different tours, most concluding with a tasting. We took the “Flight of Jack” tour, which led us through the distilling, charcoal filtering, aging and bottling operations.

We were lucky enough to see Tennessee sugar maple being burned to make the charcoal that’s used to filter Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. This extra step is what makes Tennessee whiskey different from bourbon. We also saw the spring where Jack Daniel’s sources the water it uses to distill its whiskey.

At the end of the tour, we sampled several Jack Daniel’s products before heading to Miss Mary Bobo’s restaurant for lunch. This unique dining experience takes place in a former boarding house where food is served family style. Every item was delicious, from the fried okra, cornbread and meatloaf to the cheese grits casserole, fried chicken and Jack Daniel’s whiskey-soaked baked apples. A dessert of coffee and pecan pie topped with whiskey-infused whipped cream topped off one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.

Both Miss Mary Bobo’s and Lynchburg’s town square filled with shops are within walking distance across a short foot-bridge from the distillery.

If you’ll be visiting, be sure to pre-book your distillery tour and lunch, as lunch and the more popular distillery tours routinely sell out.

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Nashville’s Coolest Cocktail Bar

My husband and I were in Nashville last weekend and got the chance to do a lot of fun things. One of my favorite experiences was our visit to hip cocktail bar Old Glory, a woman-owned bar in what used to be the boiler room for White Way steam cleaners. Located on the edge of Music Row and Edgehill, this spot is tucked away in a complex that also houses upscale retail, a taco shop, wine bar and barbershop.

The interior is expansive, yet intimate, with multiple corners tucked away throughout the space to enjoy creative cocktails with friends while a dj plays hip-hop music.

We started with a classic Paper Plane – Four Roses Bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol and lemon juice (for me, the bourbon drinker) and a Saturn – Ford’s Gin, passionfruit puree, falernum, orgeat and lemon juice (for my husband, the gin drinker). Both were top notch. The other two cocktails we tried were the Night Shift – Buffalo Trace bourbon, Don Q Anejo rum, ginger, passionfruit liqueur, citrus and Fernet Branca – and the Airmail – Don Q white rum, honey, lime juice and cava. The drinks were expertly mixed from a bar stocked with plenty of homemade infusions and tinctures.

Of all the bars we visited in Nashville, Old Glory was definitely our favorite. Broadway is fun if you like honky tonk’s and lots of people. Printer’s Alley had a cool vibe too. But this spot was the perfect combination of rustic, classic and modern. Next time you’re in Nashville, check it out!

Trying EveryPlate’s Dinner Kit Service

I’ve tried a few meal prep kit services, but have found them to be too expensive for the amount of food you receive. I wasn’t planning to subscribe to another one, but I came across a great deal for a dinner kit service called EveryPlate. This service has the lowest serving cost I’ve seen, so I wanted to try out the quality of the ingredients.

EveryPlate offers a two-person and four-person plan with three meals per week. Recipes are healthy and menus can be customized to minimize pasta and gluten. You can choose your three meals from a selection of five. Selections include old-fashioned favorites, like Steak Frites, Bistro Burgers and Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, as well as exotic flavors like Balsamic Steaks with Bruschetta Toasts and Roasted Zucchini and Beef Banh Mi Bowls.

The preparation for each meal was relatively quick and easy. All the vegetables, meats, sides and spices were included, as well as recipe cards with a few quick steps. The recipes from my first box were Garlic-Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Root Veggies, Skillet Apple Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Lemony Green Beans and Beef Banh Mi Bowls with Sriracha Mayo and Pickled Cucumber. Each recipe card walks you through all the steps of preparation, although in some cases I found that my own method of multitasking in the kitchen was more time-effective (i.e. chopping vegetables while meat or pasta is cooking).

The ingredients were very good quality and everything was packed with cold packs to keep the items fresh. The only things needed were occasionally some butter, oil, milk, etc.

Here’s a taste of my first EveryPlate box:

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Stay tuned for a cook-through and review of my next box!

 

The Chesapeake Goat Omelette

This delicious breakfast was created by my husband, who mixed one up for me this weekend 🙂

You can use egg whites (which is how my husband made ours) or whole eggs.

Ingredients:

5 eggs or equivalent amount of egg whites

8 oz. crab meat or imitation crab meat

4 oz. crumbled goat cheese

dash of salt

dash of pepper

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

Preparation:

Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add eggs or egg whites and cook for 1-2 minutes until the egg just begins to set. Add the crab or imitation crab and goat cheese, spreading both evenly throughout the pan. Cook another 1-2 minutes until nearly set. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning, then fold one side of the omelette over the other and flip it gently to the other side to cook. Cook another minute or two until done, then slide it onto a plate. Cut in half and serve to your better half!

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Cocktail Experiments

If you’re playing Red Dead Redemption like my husband is, you may have come across a recipe for the St. Denis Sazerac. This was delicious to sip while watching my husband play the game.

This classic is made by rinsing a glass with absinthe, then dropping in some ice. Shake 2 oz. cognac or brandy, 1 cube of sugar and 2 dashes bitters in a shaker with ice, then strain into the absinthe-washed glass.

For my second cocktail of the evening, I wanted to give a new spin to an old favorite: the Manhattan. I substituted vermouth for PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and maraschino cherries for pomegranate arils in this Pomegranate Manhattan. Mix 2 oz. rye whiskey, 1/2 oz. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and a couple dashes of bitters in a shaker with ice. Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish with pomegranate arils. Cheers!

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Greek Chicken Pasta Salad

This was so quick and easy I had to share! Cook a box of fusilli or other small pasta (the pasta I used was gluten-free). While that was boiling, I chopped a cucumber, half of a red onion, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and some cooked chicken and tossed them into a big bowl. I added a small can of black olives, then drained and cooled the pasta. I drizzled on some olive oil, some balsamic vinegar and some honey, then added a few dashes of salt, black pepper, a container of feta cheese and some Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, etc.). And voila! A simple healthy lunch.

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Ingredients:

1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and diced

1 box fusilli or other small pasta, cooked, drained and cooled

1 small can diced black olives

1 medium cucumber, diced

1/2 medium red onion, diced

1 small container cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small container feta cheese

1 small jar artichoke hearts

2 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. honey

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Italian seasoning, to taste

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy!

 

My Workout of Choice

I first got “Shred it with Weights,” Jillian Michaels‘ kettlebell workout dvd, about five years ago when I started running regularly so I’d have a strength-training workout to do on my off days from running. I loved the two different workouts on this dvd because they were quick (around 24 minutes each) and each had a great combination of moves. They trick you into thinking they’re easier than they are.

I was excited to find out that Jillian also has a fitness app with a wide variety of workout programs. You can choose from beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts, 30-day or 90-day full programs, 5k training, kickboxing and more. Each individual workout is customized according to your skill level, and you can choose to make future workouts easier or harder once you’re done. Daily meal plans are also included. You’ll also have access to a custom workout generator that lets you choose 10, 20, 30 or 45 minute length, easy, medium or hard workout and where to focus (i.e. abs, total body, arms, chest and back, etc.).

What’s your favorite fitness app or workout?

Jillian Michaels