Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Mennonite Farm Market, Englewood, TN: A fruitful experience!

Links to this post

It’s that time of year when the Mennonite Farm Markets are open for business.  We shopped at the one on Needle Eye Lane in Delano for years.  Now we are a little closer to the one in Englewood.  Both locations are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday.  Both locations basically sell the same items.  This review will center on the Englewood location.
Entrance from County Road 422

Once I found out the days/times they were open I told my husband we needed a ‘road trip’.  We both looked forward to their strawberries and whatever else was in season.  We knew where the farm market was located so we had no problem finding it. 

As we entered the small but extremely clean and neat building we were pleasantly surprised to see they have a few grocery carts available. We needed one for sure!  There is also a greenhouse where you can buy plants, but we didn’t check it out.

First I picked up two quarts of red, ripe strawberries, my mouth was watering I wanted to eat one right away!  From there I spotted fresh peas and since our garden peas aren’t quite ready I got a few handfuls to tide me over.  I like to use raw peas in my salad.

From there I couldn’t pass up the ‘goodie section’.  They had their breads, bread sticks, cinnamon buns, peanut butter cookies, and my favorite oatmeal raisin cookies, which of course I purchased!  (The oatmeal raisin cookies were exceptional, I highly recommend them.)

Then I took another trip back around the building to see what I missed and spotted broccoli and the tomatoes.  I got two German Queen tomatoes and I really look forward to them on sandwiches or in salads.

There were dozens of other items, but we really didn’t need potatoes, onion, Swiss Chard, turnips, beets, all kinds of yellow squash or zucchini.  There are too many items to remember them all!
Don't they look good?!

If you have never been to a Mennonite Farm Market you need to remember that they don’t have electricity – so no air conditioning, no lights and no fancy cash register.  They only accept cash so be sure to take enough with you!  They request that people dress appropriately meaning no halter tops or short shorts.  Respect their rules and be careful on the roads as you will most likely pass a horse and buggy or two near their farms.

I cleaned the two quarts of strawberries and there was not one bad on in the bunch.  I sliced up a few that we had over ice cream and the rest we froze and will enjoy later in the year.
Two quarts of berries, not one bad one!

If you are interested in checking out either location you can use this information for your GPS or you can use MapQuest or Bing Maps

Delano Location: 
Needle Eye Lane, Delano. 
Approximately one mile west of Highway 411 in Delano.  
There is a sign on 411, look for it!

Englewood Location:
Off of Country Road 422                        
Approximately 4 miles west of 411 on County Road 422.  
There is a big sign at their entrance on 422.

Get there early for these items!

All photos belong to Abby G.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ten Tennessee Trivia Tidbits

Links to this post
The Tennessee State Flag

The Great State of Tennessee is well known for many things including:  The Smoky Mountains, Dollywood, Elvis Presley, White Water Rafting and the best scenery this side of the Mississippi River.  There are a few other facts about Tennessee that you might not be aware of.  Here are Ten Tennessee Trivia Tidbits for your reading pleasure:

According to the "Guinness Book of World Records” the Lost Sea in Sweetwater is the largest underground lake in the United States.  I think it’s time for us to check it out since it isn’t far from us.  Find out more about the Lost Sea – clickhere.

The Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Lots of states have aquariums, but Chattanooga, Tennessee is home to the largest fresh water aquarium.  It is quite a popular tourist attraction and one of the main reasons tourists flock to the Scenic City other than Rock City and Ruby Falls.

Davy Crockett was not ‘born on a mountain top in Tennessee’ as the song says and as many believe to be true.  He was, however, born near the banks of Limestone Creek near Greenville, Tennessee.

Bristol, Tennessee is known as the birthplace of Country Music – not Nashville as one might assume!  I bet there are some who will argue this point!  In case you are wondering, yes, there is also a Bristol, Virginia.  The two Bristols meet at the VA/TN state line.

Elvis Presley's home, Graceland in Memphis is the second most visited house in the country.  Any guesses as to which ‘house’ is the most visited? Hint:  It’s not the White House! 

Cast Iron pots and pans have made a huge resurgence among cooks young and old.  Lodge Cast Iron is produced in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.  There is a cornbread festival held in South Pittsburg every year.  Cornbread cooked in cast iron – of course!

You know the coffee commercial that says, “Good ‘till the last drop” – Maxwell House didn’t come up with that phrase.  Teddy Roosevelt did in 1907 when he was handed a cup of Maxwell House coffee and those words came out of his mouth!

How many states border Tennessee?  The answer is 8 and they are:  Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi and Kentucky.  The only other state with that many bordering states is Missouri.

The State Bird is the mockingbird and the State Flower is the Iris. The State Gem is the Tennessee River pearl…yes; it is a pearl from a fresh water muscles.  The first time I heard about Tennessee Pearls I thought it was a joke, but it is true.

Tennessee has a lot of Native American roots and that is evident in how Tennessee got its name.  The word Tennessee means “The Meeting Place” in Yucki Native American (Tana-see).

So now that you know these Ten Tennessee Trivia Tidbits, why don’t you come on down and visit – it’s a great meeting place for sure!  Maybe I’ll run into you at the Lost Sea or Graceland!


Friday, May 15, 2015

Pasta, Passion and Pistols mystery dinner fundraiser update

Links to this post
The Mystery Dinner at Jones Chapel UMC was well received. Pasta, Passion and Pistols is a mystery dinner kit that we ordered from Amazon. Once we got the concept down, the team adapted it to meet our fundraising needs. Everyone seemed to genuinely have a good time at the dinner.

Every dollar counts when your mission team wants to travel to Alaska. So, we held A silent auction  in conjunction with the murder mystery dinner. You should have seen the adorable flowerpot critter that was created by one of our members! It just about stole the show. Other popular items were a silver plated tray, a super cute tea set and family tree photo frame.

Jewelry garnered quite a bit of attention. My daughter, a friend and I created some dazzling pieces. (Photos to come.)

Overall, the Alaska Mission Team raised over $1000. That'll help fatten the bottom line. We have a long way to go, but it's looking good. Our next fundraisers include a jewelry sale, jewelry party and yard sale. There may be a couple of other opportunities to help our team travel to Alaska. I'll be posting more details as they develop.

In the meantime, keep our traveling team in your thoughts and prayers. My husband and I begin our road trip late next month, the rest of the team will be flying. Knowing that it will be the first flight for at least one person adds to the excitement.

Here is more information on the murder mystery dinner kit that our mission team used.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Restaurant Review: The Chop House, Sevierville, Tennessee

Links to this post
I would like to tell you about one of our favorite restaurants in Sevierville, Tennessee – The Chop House.  Years ago when I was into Mystery Shopping my husband and I enjoyed many lunches and dinners at this particular Chop House as well as their locations in Kodak and Knoxville, Tennessee. In our various trips through their doors we were never disappointed in the food, the service or the atmosphere. We always enjoyed our meals there and we still do.

While visiting the Pigeon Forge area a few weeks ago we had dinner three nights to plan for and our final night in town our choice was The Chop House.  We like to save the best for last!
The Shop House, Sevierville, TN

We are early eaters so when we arrived for an early dinner there was a lull in the action and we were able to get seated immediately.  The hostess was friendly and our server appeared quickly.  While we waited for our drinks we read the menu.  I knew what I wanted before we even got there – Prime Rib and a Baked Potato. My husband went with their Char Grilled Jumbo Shrimp with Herb Butter Fettuccine. 

While waiting for our salads our server brought out fresh baked bread.  It was hot and the butter melted easily.  We like bread of some sort with our dinner and there are so many restaurants that don’t serve it.

There is not one thing that we could say negative about the food.  The Prime Rib was out of this world tender and juicy.  My husband raved about the Grilled Shrimp.  Our salads were fresh and the salad dressing was delicious.   

Our server was courteous, polite and attentive.  The restaurant was clean and well maintained.  The manager did visit our table and asked how everything was.  As we left The Chop House we were full and well pleased with the entire experience.

The Chop House at Tanger Outlet Mall is very convenient if you are out shopping and get hungry.  They have a good variety of items to choose from. You can order anything from a Burger to Filet Mignon and everything in between.

If you are in the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area and need a suggestion for dinner or lunch, try The Chop House.  You can peruse their website here for the menu at this location and other information.

No matter which Chop House location you visit you will be in for a treat.

The Chop House, Tanger Outlet Mall, 1649 Parkway Drive, Sevierville, TN 
Phone: 865-774-1991

Photo belongs to AbbyG

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Fantastic Pet Friendly Vacation Rental in the Smoky Mountains!

Links to this post
Picking a vacation rental in the Smoky Mountains seems like an easy thing to do, and most times it is.  There are exceptions, of course, as anyone who travels with a pet knows.  Finding the perfect rental cabin for your needs and one that is pet friendly takes time and research to find.

While some cabins are referred to as ‘pet friendly’ you need to ask what the pet rules are.  Some of the rentals I have searched don’t really mean pet friendly if Fido has to live outside on the porch in a crate, or he has to be crated if you leave him alone in the rental even for an hour.  If you deal with a vacation rental through (Vacation Rentals By Owner) you deal directly with the owners.  That way you can ask them questions and find out exactly how pet friendly they really are.

We always take her bed so that she feels comfy!

We recently went to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for three nights.  I searched every pet friendly rental on VRBO.  I found a few that truly are pet friendly.  The one I eventually picked said the pet rules were: no pets on the furniture, pets can’t be left alone in the cabin for extended periods of time, and renters must pick up the doggie droppings!

When I questioned the owner about leaving our dog alone she said what she means is she doesn’t want people leaving the cabin at 8 am and not returning until late. Leaving a dog alone in a strange place for that many hours can sometimes lead to trouble.

I explained that our dog is very ‘rental’ knowledgeable.  She has stayed in vacation rentals in Helen, Georgia; Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Beaufort, South Carolina.   You do need to remember if you leave your dog un-crated and he or she does damage you are responsible for that damage.

The rental I found was absolutely perfect for us for many reasons:

Location: It is off the beaten path but not too far off!

Price: Since April is pre-peak season in the Smoky Mountains the price of this particular cabin was very good.  The owners do offer a discount for repeat renters.

Size: Although the rental could accommodate two couples and a bunch of kids, it was still perfect for just my husband and me. 

Bedrooms/Baths: 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths on the main level with more sleeping options in the finished basement and another full bath.

Kitchen: Cooking for two or cooking for 12,  there are enough dishes, silverware, pots and pans to do so.  There is even a side-by-side fridge with auto ice maker and a Keurig!  One thing that I really appreciate is the fact there is a full-size pantry that was totally empty and just waiting for us to stash our goodies.

Beds: Since we only used the King bed in the master bedroom I can only brag on that one.  The bed was extremely comfortable and the bedding was quite nice.

No Complaints – I can honestly say there was not one thing to complain about. 

An inviting front yard!

As you can see from this photo the setting is amazing.  You can sit on the porch and soak it all in.  The neighborhood is extremely quiet and well maintained. 

For more information about this cabin in Wears Valley, Tennessee click here.  You have to see it in person and I highly recommend this rental cabin.

Photos belong to AbbyG