Friday, April 29, 2016
Lately Daniel and I have been sticking close to home for our eat out nights. Let's be honest, with two little ones, sometimes it's just easier to run to the handful of restaurants on the mountain. But there are only so many times you can do Mexican or pizza before you crave something different.
Several months ago I ate with a friend at Clyde's on Main and noticed The Feed co. Table & Tavern across the street. My interest was piqued but an opportunity to go had not presented itself.
Last night Daniel and I were both in the mood to try something new so we agrred to meet at the bottom of the mountain when he got home from work and drive downtown. I checked Trip Advisor for some new options and was reminded of The Feed co.
Chattanooga has so many good restaurants (many are fairly new) and The Feed co. doesn't actually appear until #44. Since many of our favorites eateries are in the top 50, I figured it was still worth a visit (to be fair it is #2 on the bars/pubs list).
On a Thursday night, the patio of The Feed co. was packed, but inside (at 6pm) was almost empty. I was surprised at how huge the place was. The interior is beautiful – very industrial rustic, with many original features (thick lead windows, metal ceiling tiles, etc.).
We were bummed to be inside on such a beautiful day, but having the place mostly to ourselves (with little ones) had its perks.
Jack is great at eating out. We have done it enough that he knows the drill. He even placed his own order, immediately telling our waiter that he wanted spaghetti. When our food came out, his plate was actually penne with red sauce and I thought he might have a preschooler meltdown (he rarely has fits, but you never know). Thankfully he was cool about it. I just told him it was pasta and that spaghetti was also pasta. He liked that he could blow through the penne (he is a little boy after all!). I don't know if they were out of spaghetti or what, but I think their menu should match what comes to the table (especially when it comes to kids). Jack thought the pasta was great and he finished his plate.
Daniel ordered the Grilled Salmon. It came with creamed corn, green beans and crab salad. It was excellent. Meanwhile I ordered the Smoked Chicken Penne and man, it was delicious. That first bite of roasted chicken with the creamy penne was a fantastic combination. Isaac enjoyed sampling all of our food.
We liked that The Feed co. didn't feel uppity or pretentious. While there weren't a ton of kids there, we didn't feel out of place with kids in tow. They are a little more expensive than we would spend on a regular eat out night, but the food was excellent. They have recently started serving a Sunday brunch and I would definitely be up for going back to give it a try (you know I love breakfast!). If you are looking for a new place to try, I would definitely consider The Feed co.!
Thursday, April 28, 2016
It is no secret that I like to grill (or that I rarely make the same recipe more than once), so it should come as no surprise that grilling would be on the menu for Isaac's first birthday party.
Well, to be honest, I had initially planned to just order pizza, but Daniel persuaded me to cook for everyone.
Anywho, last week I made these Fiesta Ranch Chicken Burrito Bowls from a recipe I found at Carlsbard Cravings and they were really out of this world. So Daniel said I should just make them for the party.
You know that it's a great recipe when I made it twice... in one week no less! The prep was simple. I just had to marinate the chicken ahead of time and then I whipped up this Cilantro Lime Rice from Culinary Hill (a Chipotle knockoff). It was also amazing (the secret being to cook it with a bay leaf, who knew?!?).
Anyways, if you are looking for a delicious, easy to make meal, you need to give this a try. Seriously. I will be making it again! The chicken and rice are THAT good!
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Suddenly the trees are fully sprouted in the bright greens of spring, and the flowers are their vibrant companions; and in our household Isaac has reached the milestone of turning ONE.
To celebrate, we had a small gathering of family join us for dinner, cake and presents. We asked them to arrive in the afternoon so that we could all attend Jack's T-Ball game first.
With a second born, things are different. Obviously, we love Isaac just as much as Jack, but we (meaning I) are not quite as crazy about the details as we once were. While I did spend some time perusing Pinterest for ideas, I didn't go overboard.
We hung streamers and blew up balloons (mostly at Jack's request), and Daniel asked me to grill chicken for burrito bowls in lieu of ordering pizza, while Jack requested dirt cups with gummy worms.
I agreed to their suggestions and also made my family's traditional pistachio birthday cake. Nothing grandiose, but still lovely.
I don't repeat many meals, but the burrito bowls will happen again (I made them once that week for our family and then again for the party). They were THAT good! Check out the recipe here.
After the T-Ball game we came back to our house to open presents. I think Jack enjoyed this more than Isaac, but both boys are thrilled with the loot.
Especially a big green wagon. We haven't even bothered to put the wheels on because Isaac loves to climb in and out, while opening and shutting the door on the side.
Jack picked out a toy garbage truck to give to Isaac (which he really wanted to play with before the party) and there were so many other gifts – books, stuffed animals, clothes, a noisy VTech dinosaur. Isaac loves it all (though he may have cried when he took the clothes out of the bag, but he's a one-year-old, so no hard feelings!).
After presents, I finished up meal prep for the grill while my brother whipped up some fabulous guacamole. We ate and then prepared to let Isaac have his smash cake.
The only problem was, it was already his bedtime (7pm), and he had missed a nap, and he was pretty much over it all. We sang to him and he tried to grab the candle (maybe a little pyro like his daddy?), and after Jack blew out the candle, Isaac took one look at the cake and burst into tears.
I guess I might burst into tears too if I was tired and there was a gaggle of people staring at me, trying to get me to smile for a camera!
So we tried to coax Isaac with icing. Then we offered him some chocolate pudding from the dirt cups as an alternative, but he wasn't having any of it.
We gave in and had everyone give him final hugs and kisses, and it was off to bed for our little, tired one-year-old. I'm sure next year will be better and maybe we will shoot for an earlier party time!
We still have cake in the fridge that we need to give him an opportunity to smash...
Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to celebrate with us!
Friday, April 22, 2016
Fall Creek Falls is the largest and most visited state park in Tennessee. At 256 feet, the Fall Creek Falls waterfalls is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States.
The park has trails, a lake, a lakeside inn with a restaurant, 30 cabins and 222 tent sites, a zipline course, and a golf course. If you like to be outdoors, this park offers just about everything.
The last time Daniel and I visited the park was in 2007. We met up with my sister and her husband for a weekend camping trip (at the time we lived in Charlotte, NC and they lived in Nashville, TN). All of our lives have changed quite a bit in the last 9 years!
Previous to that camping trip, Daniel and I did a weekend rock climbing class in the park (I think it was the spring of 2003), not to mention numerous hiking trips there.
We have been back in Tennessee for two years now and last weekend was our first chance to go back. Honestly, I had kind of forgotten about it.
It is so weird to be on a trail and suddenly remember things from a life time ago. Who we were with, what we were doing.
After grabbing lunch at the inn, we found ourselves back on that well-known trail, heading to the bottom of the falls, with our two kids in tow.
Hiking and spending time outside are among my favorite activities, but watching our oldest son navigate the steep trail while climbing over large boulders as his own love affair with the outdoors is sparked may actually surpass my own love of the outdoors.
It's only half a mile to the base of the falls, but the hike is classified as difficult by the park. Jack kept telling us that he was a marine iguana that sticks to the rocks. He was so proud of himself for doing the entire hike.
At the bottom, Jack begged to get in the water. We let him stick his bare feet in and he immediately changed his mind. The water in April was still cold. So we climbed up on some large boulders to enjoy a snack before heading back up.
Overall it was a great day as a family and Jack made it back up to the parking lot without a problem.
We continue to be thrilled that Jack is developing a love for the outdoors, we hope Isaac follows suit in the coming years.