Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday- Spicy Dip Edition

Lately, I've been on a spicy dip kick and here are two of my new faves!
Eat Well Embrace Life Spicy Hummus
If you like hummus- and even if you don't- you really need to try this! I hope you can find it where you are, it's actually made right here in Alpharetta, GA. A friend of mine recommended this to me the other day and I had to try it.
It's not too spicy, so I think most people will enjoy it. Take a look at all the chunky spices:
Once you mix them all up into the hummus, it is gonna be hard to not eat the whole container!!
It tastes like a spicy bean dip- WAY better than regular hummus. I like the extra kick! Also, it has fewer calories then other hummus dips:
I ate it on tortilla chips, but you can certainly dip your veggies in it and have an awesome afternoon snack! Look for it at your grocery store or visit them online.
Another spicy dip I'm in love with is this:
Oh. My. Heavens.
Y'all I simply cannot say enough about this stuff. It is seriously rocking my world!
Now, this is a good bit spicier than the hummus dip, but it is really super delicious.
A friend was raving about this and I decided I had to pick some up on a lunchtime trip to the grocery store. I also grabbed a box of Wheat Thins and decided this would be a light lunch.
A half hour later, I had eaten half the container of this cream cheese.
The next day, I ate the other half.
I have no shame.
Still...I took consolation in the fact that there are only like 480 calories in the entire container and most of us eat twice that much for lunch every day.
I know- that doesn't include the Wheat Thins. Oh well, I had an off day.
Anyway, I can't WAIT to find out what else I can do with this stuff. It's everything you love about jalapeno poppers minus the greasy, fried coating.
I almost considered putting it on my egg sandwich this morning. What can I say? I'm obsessed.
I'll have to pick up a new container...STAT!
So, if you like spicy jalapenos and cream cheese, what are you waiting for?
GO GET THIS STUFF-just don't be surprised if you end up eating the whole container!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday- Swiffer SteamBoost

If you're like me and you've seen the recent commercial for the Swiffer Bissell SteamBoost, you get excited. Like really excited. A simple way to get the cleanest floors?
I couldn't wait to find a good excuse to go to the store and pick one up! 

So last night during a Walmart run, I checked them out. It was a few cents under $50, and I was a little apprehensive, but I went ahead and took the plunge anyway. Here's what I found:
The steam mop is compact and barely even requires any assembly. 
All you have to do is attach the handle to the base.
Then, you place the pad on the bottom:
Then, fill it with 10 ounces of water and plug it in for 30 seconds to activate the steam. 
This is when the fun starts.
I had already swept the floor and had it ready to steam mop.
Basically, you place the mop on the floor and squeeze the trigger on the handle and mop to
activate the steam.
Check out that steam action!
You mop the floor as you would with any other mop...except that you have to keep the handle squeezed pretty much the whole time. This gets kinda painful after a little while. 
When you release the trigger, you probably get 10 seconds or so of steam before you 
have to activate it again. I just found it easier to keep it held the whole time.

Now one of the main reasons I bought this steamer mop is because I thought it would sanitize and truly deep clean my linoleum floors. What I discovered, just before I typed up this post, is that this is not necessarily true of all steam mops.
I have to say: Swiffer never claimed that the SteamBoost would sanitize my floor- that was just my assumption. 
In fact, your steam mop would have to reach 130 degrees to start killing germs- at the very least.
I did a little test and  placed a thermometer under my SteamBoost to see how long it would take to reach 130 degrees. Without the pad, it took almost 10 seconds. So if you want it to start sanitizing, you'll need to leave the steam mop in one place for at least 15 seconds. This will take forever and may also damage your floors. SO- don't expect that the SteamBoost will kill germs like I did.

Also don't expect it to deep clean textured linoleum.
Here's an upclose shot of the floor after I let the steam sit there for a while:
I guess there really IS NO SUBSTITUTE for a good scrubbing brush and a little "elbow grease."
(It's obviously been too long since I've scrubbed the floors.)

HOWEVER, the SteamBoost really DID clean the floor. Here's what the pad looked like when I finished:

(In case you're wondering: I have no shame...)
This is WAY better than any Swiffer WetJet ever thought of cleaning!
In fact, it cleaned spills and stains very quickly and the floor dried a lot faster than if I'd actually mopped it, which is nice.

(Just so you know, I used the second pad that came with the kit and cleaned the floor again. 
It was much cleaner the second time!)
After the floor dried, I asked my husband to come take a look and tell me his thoughts.
He was impressed and thought the floor really did appear to be clean. 
I had an idea...You know how sometimes when you mop the floor and you think it's clean- until you walk all over it in white socks? 
Well, I went to the closet and grabbed a clean, white cloth and began to rub pretty hard on the newly "mopped" floor:

And guess what?
The picture really doesn't do justice, but the rag really had NO trace of dirt on it. 
That was pretty impressive!
So...here's the dilemma. Am I going to suggest that you go out and spend $50 on one of these?
Honestly, I can't tell you to do that, but I hope that I've given you something to think about.
Here's a list of the pro's:
It's fast and easy to use.
You don't have to keep changing mop water.
The floor dries a lot quicker than regular mopping.
It cleans, in my opinion, WAY better than a Swiffer WetJet.

It's a little pricey ($50) and the pads are $6-$9 for 20.
It does not sanitize like mopping chemicals (eg. Pine Sol)
You have to keep the trigger engaged for full steam, which can be a little irritating after a while.
Bottom line: If you want a quicker way to really clean your floors versus traditional mopping and you don't mind the cost, meet your new "mop."
However, if you can't justify spending the money and would rather lug out the mop bucket and Pine Sol,
 I feel you, too.
It's up to you, but now that I have the SteamBoost, I will gladly use it and be satisfied. 
Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Try It Tuesday" Kashi Oatmeal

So, it's been a while, but I'm back with another great review!
 I've always been a fan of oatmeal- even when I was a kid. Except then, it was Quaker's peaches n' cream packets that stole my heart. As a grown-up, my standards are a little higher,
like Kashi's GoLean Truly Vanilla:
I found this stuff by mistake, actually. I was looking for oats to make my Nutella Overnight Oats
and I spotted these. There are 8 packets in the box and they have:
150 calories, 7g fiber, 9g protein and 350mg of Omega-3.
Pretty impressive!
These are really for people on the go! In fact, the box says it's best when made in the microwave, which only takes as little as 2 minutes.
Also, the box touts the ability to help you "stay fuller longer" ...and it actually does!
It's jam packet with whole grains, fiber and protein and this stuff is gooood!
Now, if you are looking for a sugary sweet oatmeal, this won't be your fav, BUT the good thing about this oatmeal is that it is versatile.
You can add a little brown sugar or honey and it would actually complement it quite nicely.
This has a very nice texture and wonderful vanilla undertones, not overwhelming at all.
The next time I fix a bowl, I may add some raisins, slivered almonds or chopped dates, just to change things up a bit, but it really is great the way it is.
Try it. Enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday- Special K Nourish Review

Since I was offline last month, I was able to try some new things that I will be sharing with you in the next few weeks. 
Most of the time, I like to share things that I really like.
BUT, if I didn't tell you about the flops, I would be doing you a great disservice. 

I can't wait to try new foods. Not necessarily meals, but small food items like snack bars, cereals, etc.
For example, when I saw this on sale in the grocery store, I was totally excited:
I tossed it in my bag on the way to work and looked forward to a delicious, filling breakfast.
I first suspected trouble when I added the water to the fill line, which is only about 1/3 cup. Being a huge oatmeal fan, I knew there was NO way the oatmeal would expand to fill the cup.

In plain English: Nice packaging, but here's how much oatmeal you really get:
Don't believe me? Here's an actual shot of the prepared oatmeal:
That is a bit depressing, right? What's up with the other 2/3's of the cup?

I tried to convince myself that this is what I get for only 190 calories... I shouldn't really expect for the cup to be full, right?
Still, I couldn't help but think about how McDonald's Fruit and Maple oatmeal has only 50 more calories, but is 2-3 times more of a serving than this!
Maybe it's just me. Maybe it was the quinoa, but this oatmeal was definitely not working for me AT ALL.
There are too many different textures going on and the flavor just falls flat. Literally.
There was hardly any flavor at all, in fact.
I probably ate three bites before I decided it was time to toss the rest and pop open a
protein shake I had on standby- (Thanks, Umas!)

I can't tell you how much I was really wanting to like this stuff.
All I can say is: Kudos to Kellogg's marketing staff...they really build this stuff up in the commercials.
Too bad it falls short in reality (and I actually like Special K stuff!)
I may have been able to get over the tiny portion size if the taste was better, but I just couldn't do it.
I actually like to enjoy my breakfast. 

Guess I'll stick with the old reliable for now...now you know.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Easiest Chicken Pot Pie You'll Ever Make

I'm back with some new recipes and reviews for you! I hadn't initially planned on using this recipe as a blog post, but my husband requested this dish the other day and I realized I haven't made it in a while...but why? It's one of the easiest and tastiest dishes I know of and ANYONE can make it. 

I didn't think it fair to keep it all to myself, so, for this new edition of "Try It" Tuesday, I present to you:

Now this dish has been in my repertoire for many years. It was given to me by a coworker when the hubs and I were dating. It is a favorite in our home and I hope it becomes a new favorite for you. 
It's very simple and can be changed up to suit any palate.

Here's how I make it:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
(you can use a rotisserie chicken if you're short on time)
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1- 16 oz. can VegAll

For the topping:
1 stick butter (melted)
1 c. flour
1 c. buttermilk

Place the chicken and soup in a slow cooker and season with a little salt and pepper.
Cook on low for 4 hours or until juices run clear.
Mix chicken and soup with a hand mixer on low to shred chicken:

Drain the can of VegAll, fold it in the chicken mixture and pour it in a 9x9 baking dish.

Make the topping:
Mix the melted butter, flour and buttermilk together until well blended. Pour over the chicken mixture:

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the breading is golden brown.

Be sure to let it cool for a bit, because this stuff will burn your face off it's so hot!
As I said, this recipe is so versatile. You can add boiled eggs or chopped onions or any veggies you may have left over in the fridge, but whatever you do, you don't want to mess with the topping!
This stuff is amazing! It tastes just like the best buttermilk biscuit you've ever put in your mouth. 
Too bad it's too runny to make a good biscuit. I'm still working on it, though.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Try It Tuesday" White Bean Chicken Chili

Here's another post that I'm totally excited to share with you, but, first, a little background...

You know how on Pinterest, you find a recipe or craft that you love, then you actually visit the website and end up falling in love with that blog? That's what happened to me when I found awesome recipes linked to Dashing Dish. I think it was her protein shake recipes that drew me there, but then, I found a plethora of wonderful recipes that she has created and I was hooked. (She also has some pretty neat workout plans that are worth checking out!) 

Anyway, she gets all the credit for today's "Try It Tuesday" since this is her recipe. I have switched it up just a tad, but overall it's still pretty true to her creation, so I just want to make that very clear.
If you haven't visited her site, you definitely should! She's great!

With that out of the way, I present to you White Bean Chicken Chili!
This recipe was created by Katie at Dashing Dish as a healthier alternative to Applebee's White Bean Chicken Chili.
I, personally, have never tried Applebee's Chicken Chili, but if it tastes as good as this, it's got to be pretty amazing!
The great news? This recipe has less than 150 calories per 1 cup serving.
(Makes 10 servings)
(According to Applebee's nutritional info on their website, their chili has 400 calories per serving!)

Here's what you'll need:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (uncooked)
2 cups chicken broth
1 can white corn, drained
2 (15 oz) cans Great Northern Beans
(Can puree one can for a thicker chili)
1 small diced onion (or 1 Tbs. dried onion flakes)
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 packet of McCormick's White Chili Seasoning Mix
(Dashing Dish's recipe calls for 1 packet of White Bean Chili Seasoning mix, but I wasn't able to find it...)

Now, once you have all the ingredients, you have 2 options, stove top cooking OR slow cooker cooking.
I was in a hurry, so I used the stove top method: Dump everything in a large pot and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
If you want to cook in a crock-pot*, dump all the ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours. 

I can't say enough great things about this recipe!
It is SUPER delicious and VERY filling!
(It has nearly 6 grams of fiber and over 11 grams of protein!)
It's low calorie, low maintenance and tastes even better the day after!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and get a chance to check out Dashing Dish and let her know how awesome she is!

*You don't have to use a Crock Pot brand slow cooker, but, for most Southerners I know, crock pot is synonymous to slow cooker like Kleenex is to tissue; Coke is to soda- FYI: true Southerners never use the word "soda" unless they are referring to baking soda; and Skil saw is to circular saw.
(That last part was courtesy of the hubs!) 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday Chobani Yogurt Reviews

Since my last review of Muller's "Greek Corner" yogurt, I have found that Chobani has jumped on the combo train and has some pretty cool offerings out. They are cleverly called "flips." There are 10 flavors out, but I have tried two that I'd like to share with you.

Key Lime Crumble
This is some AWESOME STUFF, y'all...

Look at the scrumptious offerings!
Crunchy, cinnamon-y graham crackers and sweet, mini white chocolate chips make this yogurt taste like a genuine slice of key lime pie!
Like the Muller's, this is Greek yogurt, so it's a bit tart, but the sweetness is balanced out nicely with the crunchies. There  is also real lime zest in this yogurt that gives it an extra lime punch!
It's under 200 calories (180, to be exact!) and has 11 grams of protein, so it's heck yeah in my book! 

If you're not a huge lime fan, maybe this one will win your heart:
Almond Coco Loco
I can't even begin to explain to you how AMAZING this yogurt is! If you're a coconut fan, this is YOUR new best friend.

This yogurt has crunchy almond pieces and chunks of dark chocolate. If you're not a fan of dark chocolate, you may find these pieces a little overwhelming, but it really balances out well with the sweetness of the coconut yogurt. (This was a lot sweeter than the Key Lime Crumble.)
There are 230 calories, a little on the high side for a snack, BUT has 12 grams of protein to help keep you fuller longer. 
Both these yogurts are definitely winners, in my opinion, but may not be for everyone.
I found them at Super Walmart for a little over a buck, so they are-hands down- great finds for a satisfying afternoon snack!
(If you'd like to grab some coupons from Chobani, click here.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Try It' Tuesday Nutella Overnight Oats

I have been perfecting this recipe for a few weeks so that I can feel confident sharing it with you.
It took a while, but I think I finally got it right!
I present to you...
I wanted to call these oats "Cocoa Krispes" Overnight Oats because that's exactly what they taste like, but that would be misleading since, well, there are NO Cocoa Krispies in these oats.

There are only 4 ingredients, however...
1/3 c. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/3 c. Old Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 tsp. Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp. Nutella
(You can omit the seeds, but they DO add wonderful texture, fiber, protein and Omega 3!)

Just like the last overnight oats recipe I posted, you basically put everything in a bowl:

Mix it together:

 Cover and let it sit in the fridge overnight. 

When you stir them again in the morning, if you'd like to add a splash of almond milk, you can.
The oats get a little thick because they, with the chia seeds, soak up most of the milk, so it's your preference.
Here's the nutritionals on the overnight oats:
These oats are great because they are low cal and have a significant amount of protein and fiber
so they are very filling!

Now...let me explain a little about how your calories might vary from mine.
I WEIGH out all my ingredients. Here's why:
When you "eyeball" a serving size, here's what can happen
The actual serving size (1 tablespoon) on the left was weighed out.
The portion size on the right is what I came up with when I just grabbed a tablespoon and scooped the nutella out of the jar. (Mind you, I was being a tad conservative with my scooping!)
"Ok," you say, "so there are 5 more grams, big deal!"
Well...those 5 extra grams add up to about 20 extra calories. Eek!

Here's another alarming example. Say you are making a sandwich and you want to use a "serving size" of mayonnaise:
The weighed serving size (1 Tbsp) on the left is 100 calories. 
The "eyeballed" serving size on the right is almost 150 calories! (Double eek!)
The same pitfall can happen with anything else from peanut butter to salad dressings to potato chips.

If you are on a limited calorie diet (like I am) all those stray calories add up at the end of the day and can even make a HUGE difference over a year's time. It's true...
If you consume an extra 100 calories a day for a year, you'd gain 10 pounds!
On the flip-side, if you CUT 100 calories from your diet every day for a year,
you'd LOSE 10 pounds in a year! (Reference)
Now there's a little "food" for thought that won't cost you anything!
I guess it really IS all about the little things...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday- Dollar Store Edition

This week, I'm gonna do a little something different for y'all, so I hope you enjoy it...
You know how these Dollar General Stores are popping up all over the place?
Well, in case you didn't notice, they are. So, the next time you see one, be sure to go in and pick up a box of these:

These crackers are AWESOME!! Here's why:
They are crispy, have TONS of ranch flavor, see?
AND...the best part? They're only $1 a box!!
You saw that right: ONE DOLLAR!
Compare that to a box of Wheat Thins at about $2.50 -$3.50 box.
You could buy 2 boxes of the Clover Valley (Dollar General's brand) for $2 (12 oz. total) for LESS than what you'd pay for a 9oz. box of the Wheat Thin brand!
It's a total no brainer.
Please Note: I'm not normally crazy over store brands, so for me to endorse a generic
brand is pretty significant.
Hopefully your local Dollar General carries these. If they do, grab a box and see for yourself!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday- OLAY!

I have been waiting a few days to share this one with you guys, so I hope you're as excited about this as I am...If you don't already have one of these, you definitely have to get one!
I received an $8 off coupon for the Gillette Venus & Olay razor a week or so ago. I was SO excited since I've always been partial the the Venus line of razors. When I got up to the checkout and gave the coupon to the cashier (who was a dude), he said, "What's $8 off?!" and started digging through my bags.
"The razor," I said trying to hold back a smile.
"$8 for a razor?! Are you serious?"
"Yep, it'd be more than $8 without the coupon, so it better be a good one, right?"
He agreed and looked at me sideways like I was crazy.

Sometimes I am crazy. I am guilty of spending more than $8, with NO coupon, on razors that often turn out to work for a week or so and end up disappointing me, but not this time...

This razor is absolutely magnificent and here's why:

Like all Venus razors, it has 5 blades to help with exfoliation (according the website.)
I believe it's a wonderful guarantee to not miss anything!
But the REAL showstoppers are the Olay Moisture Blocks on the top and bottom!
I have dry skin and hate to shave because it seems that I can never seem to keep my legs moisturized afterwards. Not the case with this bad boy! This razor has delivered a superior, smooth shave every time and because of the Olay Moisture Blocks, I no longer have dry skin issues after a shave!
The moisture blocks are attached to the razor on tiny little hinges that flex with your curves while shaving, so every inch gets the benefit of the Olay moisture.

I've actually never used razors that have these moisture bars before, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. You don't have to use shave gel or creams because of the moisture bars. (I did use a little soap because I didn't really want to risk getting nicked.) The shave was a bit slimy, but boy was it smooth!
When I got out of the shower, my legs felt silky and smooth and there were no stubbly strays!
And check this out:

The handle is soft and very cushion-y. It's very easy to grip even with soapy hands!

Maybe I'm imagining things, but I also feel like I have to shave less often with this razor, too.
Who doesn't love that?!

If you haven't tried this razor yet, you simply MUST! Click here for coupons from Gillette if you need a little more encouragement, but I guarantee you, you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chiggers, Colds and Cures

This is a late version of "Try It" Tuesday, so I'll call it "Wellness Wednesday." I hope it helps you to be well and stay well!
I was 32 when I had my first "run in" with chiggers. We were in Clarksdale, Mississippi helping an elderly couple tear down a dilapidated shed and I was ankle deep in pine needles and rotten wood. The next day, my ankles were itching me to DEATH! I could NOT stop scratching and I was on the verge of insanity. My father in law took one look and said, "Those are chigger bites." 
Now, I have lived in the South all my life and spent most of my childhood outdoors, but I can never remember having been bitten by chiggers. At least not this bad. "I'll tell you what'll take care of it," he said. "Go to Walmart and get some of that 'Chiggerex.' That'll fix it for you." 
You can bet I made a bee-line to Wally World, but to my misfortune, they were out. I guess everyone else already knows about this, but I am going to share this with you anyway-
When/if you ever get bit by chiggers, go get this stuff:
It brought me immediate relief and helped keep me from clawing my ankles off! I have also used it for other insect bites and it works just as well, if not better, than anything else I've ever used. 
From me to you, be sure to keep this stuff on hand, folks. You never know when you might need it!

Summer is a pretty cool time of the year for many reasons, but one of my personal favorites is that you hardly ever get sick with the flu or pesky, week long colds. I'm not exactly sure about why that is, but I think it may have something to do with the heat killing off viruses. Here's why I believe that:
One Summer, a group from my church went to Logan, West Virginia to replace the roof on an old school building that had been purchased by a local church there.
There were about three other groups from all over the country doing different activities in the surrounding towns. Because the building was so large (4 stories), they were all staying at the school/church building with us. One group  in particular was conducting a Vacation Bible School and ended up contracting a stomach virus from a sick child.  The virus began to spread rapidly among group. 
I started to worry that I would get sick and a nurse friend who was working alongside me assured me that our group would not get the virus. I asked her how she could be so sure and she said, "We're working hard out here on the roof and our body temperatures are higher than the others'. The virus can't thrive in our bodies. Don't worry. We will be fine." 
 I have never really done any research on whether this is true or not, but I have to say, I became a believer that week.
Food for thought anyway.

So, even though you may not have a cold or the flu now, when you do get one, here's what you need:
This stuff is straight up AMAZING. It is Black Elderberry Extract in the highest concentration available and you can get it over the counter at any drugstore (or on drugstore.com.), many health stores (Vitamin World), grocery stores and, of course, Walmart. 
The bottle says you can use it daily as an immunity booster, but I don't know anyone who can afford it.
This stuff is $12-$16/bottle, depending on your location and where you buy it, and the dosage for adults is 10 ml 4 times a day. If you use it daily, you'd probably go through a couple bottles a week.
I have found that is not necessary. Any time I feel a little funky, I start taking the stuff to ward off any sickness that might be beginning to attack. I can honestly say, and the M.O.T.H. (Man of the House) can attest to this, this stuff works. Period. 
I actually bought it at a local drug store because it was on sale and I thought I'd give it a try. Now, I always keep a bottle of this stuff on hand, especially during the sick seasons.
I actually came across this article on WebMd from 2003 that concluded that Sambucol helps flu patients recover in half the time! 
It really has helped our family stay healthy when sicknesses are floating around.

Lastly, I want to share with you one other medicine cabinet stable in our house:
My boss, whose son is a First Responder, told me about this stuff. She said her son swears by this stuff. And now, so do I. Now, be careful when purchasing "Emergen-C." There are a couple of different varieties.
I have tried the Vitamin C only packet and really didn't have any luck overcoming colds any quicker. So, be sure to get the "Immune Plus" kind. I can always tell a difference with that one!
Mix a packet into 4-6 oz. water at the first signs of a cold and you'll be good to go.

Got any good staying healthy tips you wanna share? I'd be glad to hear them!
Email me or post in the comments below and stay well!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Winner, Winner! Pork Chop Dinner!

WOW! It's been a while since my last post, hasn't it? We were actually in Moline, IL last week replacing the roof on a church there. 
It was hard work and it was HOT, but it makes you feel good to help people out, especially when they are so appreciative as this bunch was. Talk about a long ride! It took our group 18 hours to get there, but the scenery wasn't all that bad, see?
We had a great time, but, boy have I been tired! I think I am finally getting back into the zone, though.

By the way, if you're ever in the Quad Cities Area, you HAVE TO eat at Miss Mamie's! That place was wonderful! We found out about it by searching for restaurants on Trip Advisor. Miss Mamie's had great reviews from others, so we went there and almost everyone in our 11 person party ordered something different and it was all amazing! (You can read my review on Yelp here.) I had the coconut shrimp (that looked more like prawns!) and the spinach salad. The homemade poppy seed dressing on the spinach salad was absolutely mind blowing! The waitress, who was very patient with all of us Southerners :), was not budging on the recipe...smart girl! If you're ever in the area, trust me, you won't be disappointed!

On the way home, we stopped in Metropolis, IL for gas. (We ate at The Grill just off Ferry Street. The food there was also delicious, so if you like Mexican/American, give them a shot, too.) If you are scratching your heads thinking, "Metropolis? Isn't that where Clark Kent a.k.a.Superman lives?"  You bet it is! This little town is the official Home of Superman. On Superman Square, there is a huge bronze statue of your truly, but just in case you don't believe me, here's proof:
That's us posing with the big guy! The town really is cool and there's even a museum if you have time to look around (we didn't.) Anyway, it was a neat photo op. (FYI: Dippin' Dots is directly across the street, just sayin'!)

Now, on with the pork chop dinner! So, since we've been gone, we've eaten a lot of food out, so I wanted to fix a good meal at home this evening, but I didn't know what I wanted. I found some pork chops in the freezer and sat them out to thaw. At lunch, I Googled pork chop recipes and I found this simple recipe for Cornmeal Crusted Pork Chops at Elly Says Opa!

Y'all, This is one of the best pork chop recipes I've had in a long time! Allow me to share it with you. You will need:
4 boneless pork chops (about 3/4" thick)
1 c. cornmeal
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 eggs
1/8 c. canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs.
Season your pork chops with a little salt and pepper, dredge through the egg, then coat in the cornmeal mixture. (I prefer to repeat this process for a thicker batter. You don't have to, but it does produce a thicker crust.)

Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the chops. Brown on each side for about 2 minutes, then transfer the chops to an oven-safe baking dish. 

Cover the dish with foil, then bake for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees. 
(I know. Some of you are cringing at the thought of this, but the USDA lowered the standard from 160 degrees a few years back. Reference.)
Serve these babies up with some mashed potatoes and baked beans and it really doesn't get much better than this!