‘SPLORIN’ ROAD TRIP ACROSS THE USA #1 PART 3

After leaving Arkansas we set out for Memphis, Tennessee with the plan of visiting Graceland and hunting down some really good bbq. Graceland will always be a place everyone should visit at least once. In my opinion, Elvis is one of the people every generation should be made aware of. We made sure to expose our sixteen-year-old daughter to his music and movies. She’s now a fan. I do have to add we happen to have an old soul on our hands. A fact that I was made aware of when she had her earbuds in for hours and we asked what she was listening too. Bear made a joke about One Direction, which she ignored. In her perfect teenage monotone voice says, “Billy Joel. I low-key love him.” We stared at each other completely speechless. This happened in the year 2018 by the way, and admittedly was kind of a proud moment. Not that I’ve ever been a fan of Billy Joel, not that I’ve not been a fan either, but the fact that she’s not “basic” is such a relief.

I feel like I should have a warning disclaimer at the beginning of that paragraph in case the word ‘not’ is a trigger for someone.

Okay, so where were we…oh right, so we arrive at the former home of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, and once we’re given headphones and a video player to wear around our necks we then were ushered onto a bus to take us to the beginning of the tour. Once inside I started taking pictures like a madwoman.

I’ve spared you the 100 other pictures. We didn’t take the more extensive tour which includes getting to see Elvis’s cars, clothes, and records. Someday we might go back for that reason. At the end of the tour we headed to the gift shop and picked up a couple of mugs, a wallet, overpriced Elvis chap stick for our kid who was waiting patiently in California for us to return with goodies, and Elvis chocolate bars.

If you haven’t yet and you enjoy things like history, museums, pop culture, or you’re a fan of the King, make it a point to add visit Graceland to your bucket list.

Next, we got on our phones to search for a place to stuff our faces with Memphis bbq. Bear found a place called, Central BBQ, which had good reviews, but as we’ve learned everything is just a matter of opinion. Basically, our experience is going to always be a crapshoot. We always go to a place with an open mind and the hope that it will be enjoyable.

I would like to point out the sign in front of the doors to the restaurant that reads, ‘CBQ IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST ITEMS PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLE ITEMS IN YOUR AUTO.’ I don’t think I’ve seen a sign like that directly in front of the doors at any restaurant I’ve been to in California. Something like that might be around the parking lot at Walmart or malls, but unless maybe I haven’t noticed them, this was a first for me seeing that right before you walk into an establishment.

As soon as you walk in they have a wall menu for you to look over. After deciding which meats and sides you feel like indulging in, take yourself over to the row of sauces and fill up plenty of plastic dipping cups, before heading over to your table, and wait patiently for your food to arrive.

God knows I hate to say this, I mean we’re in Memphis! This is Memphis bbq! But…ugh. If our hearts were broken from the Big Texan Steak Ranch, then our souls were shattered over this bbq. Perhaps it’s our own fault for having high expectations. We wanted to be seduced and wowed with this meal. We wanted to not have any choice but to make noises with every bite. I did make one noise if I count the groan of disappointment. The best things about our meal were the sauces and the sweet tea put in cups we got to take with us. Oh, I think the coleslaw was pretty good too, thank sweet baby Jesus for that small miracle.

The ribs were dry and overcooked. The pulled pork was also dry and without any yummy factor, and Oscar Mayer lunch meat is better than that turkey. We mashed the meats, coleslaw, and sauces all up on the rolls and that made it a bit more tasty and edible. Unfortunately, it was still a disappointing orgy in my mouth. It’s like having a selfish lover, you know, you have all the necessary ingredients to have a good time, but you’re left feeling empty and unfulfilled. We, however, made the best of it.

After our soul-sucking bbq, we needed a sweet treat to maintain the will to live. We found a place called La Michoacana, a large ice cream shop with plenty of seating and so many flavor choices. We went with a banana split with three flavors of ice cream, (which escape me) strawberries, walnuts, cherries, and whipped cream. It was such a perfect banana split it almost made up for our meal.

With our bellies experiencing an emotional roller coaster we set off towards Nashville, Tennessee. Something to be aware of when you’re driving in the Memphis area is to pay close attention to the road and other drivers, more so than you normally would. It was a consistent flow of crazy drivers who drove as if they didn’t care about their lives or anyone else’s. It was maddening and terrible for my anxiety. Thank God Bear is an amazing driver, and it was a great excuse for him to release a steady flow of profanities. I may or may not have released a few myself. And we’re from California! I had no idea drivers could get worse than they are here!

Eventually, we safely make it to Nashville and check into our motel. We hadn’t planned on eating again but around 10 pm we started to get snacky. Bear had lived in this area when he was in the Army so he knew what was around. He suggests going to White Castle. I had frozen White Castle burgers from the grocery stores before, and I’d seen the movies, but I’d never been to one. As long as getting to it wasn’t going to be anything like the movies, I was okay with it. Thankfully, it wasn’t. We get to the drive-thru and I swear he must’ve ordered 50 of those things. (Not really, but it seemed like it) I see that they have mozzarella sticks and I make up a little song about how I need mozzarella sticks, so of course, I get mozzarella sticks.

My brother who is a long haul truck driver loathes them, but I found it to be alright. I’d have it again, I think people usually love or hate their burgers. Probably best if you’re suffering from the munchies I would imagine.

The next morning eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel was another first for me. We both ordered chicken fried steaks, hashbrown casseroles, grits, biscuits, and mocha coffees. (Fyi I could make a whole blog on just my love and passion and mission to find the best chicken/country fried steak in America.) I might at least dedicate a post to chicken or country fried steak.

Cracker Barrel is like most chain restaurants in that it’s solid average food, but something you can easily put in their pro column is they’re fairly cheap, especially for the amount of food you get. The chicken fried steak definitely started out frozen and maybe they all do, but some restaurants are better at hiding it. Their biscuits, however, were what biscuits should be, which is soft, with just the right amount of chewiness. The gravy gets a 3 out 5 in my book only because it didn’t have big chunks of sausage, which is the only way any gravy will get a 5 out of 5 from me. When traveling this place will do just fine.

We didn’t do a whole lot in Nashville because we wanted to get to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Before we left Bear took me to the Opry Mills Mall. I, of course, couldn’t understand why we just had to stop at this mall before getting back on the road. As I soon found out, as far as malls go, this one is pretty neat and has a lot going on inside of it.

Ah yes, “Those Animals” as they’re called, are mechanical animals they rent out so adults and children can ride around the mall bobbing and weaving on their favorite animal. As long as you don’t weigh over 500 pounds. We passed. Maybe next time.

Riding giant stuffed animals in public not for you? Walk on over to their Madame Tussauds and get a picture with the legend Johnny Cash!

Hungry and like aquariums? They have the perfect dining experience to kill two birds with one stone!

So when traveling through Nashville, Tennessee on that family road trip and an announcement is made you’re stopping at the mall, and they groan, complain, and think you’ve lost your mind, just throw your kids and significant other on a moving pink camo bear once you’re inside and everything will be fine.

To be continued…stay tuned for part 4

#roadtrips #travel #travelblog #food #foodreviews #restaurantreviews #roadsideattractions #touristattractions #humor #traveladvice #traveltips #roadtriptips #usatravel #foodpics #life #family #fun

Some Delicious Recipes and Me Giving Health Advice Again?

Let’s dive right in.

Home Remedies: When My Kiddie Is Sick It’s Ginger Root Time

For years now, not only when I’m sick, but whenever I can work it into my busy day, I try to ingest a piece of raw ginger root. You can find this in the produce aisle of your local grocery store…hopefully. I use to cut a small 1/2 inch piece off the root and just pop in my mouth, chew, and swallow, but it burns hot-like-fi-ya! So, I decided to stop torturing myself and stick it inside of a banana. It also adds some kick and health goody-goods to oatmeal. Skin a piece of root and then grate into the oatmeal. With ginger powering through your system you’re ready to take on the day.

I sound like a bad infomercial.

When it comes to a kid with a cold, it’s all about the tea. I’m not clear on the minimum age to give a child ginger, but I didn’t give my daughter any until she was eight years old. I still don’t give a raw chunk, or in grated form. That might be considered child cruelty until they’re a teenager. Instead I’ll slice a small piece, put it in a cup with either ginseng tea, or any black tea. Pour in boiling water, let it sit a few minutes, then add lemon and honey to taste, which also have healing properties. My daughter likes a small straw (that used to be a big straw until I cut it), and to let me know how many lemon seeds I let get in the cup. Try your hardest to get out the lemon seeds, and to not let the kiddo eat the piece of ginger, or screaming may ensue. This has improved congestion, sore throat, and can help calm upset tummies.

Aloe Vera: Nature’s Slimy Goodness

My mother has had an aloe plant as long as I can remember. Now, I have several. Aloe vera has a thousand uses. Either from the bottle at the drug store, or the gel straight from the plant, use as a moisturizer, it’s great on sunburns, and all life’s little skin boo boos. Not only is it a helpful topical presence in your life, but it can also go inside the human body for all around immune system boosting. From the plant, take a few “leaves” (said with upward inflection) okay, I think they’re called leaves, well, the long green things growing out of the dirt. Take those and peel them. Scraping as much of the gel as possible into a container. After gutting 2-3 gel filled things, add almost a gallon of water, or however much your container will allow, and shake together. Put in the fridge and once it’s cold give at least a cup a day to your child, or yourself if you dare. I do not suggest taking or giving at room temperature. That’s just mean. At first it may be a bit slimy, and they will need to chew and hold a napkin. They also might throw it in your face, and refuse to drink that nasty stuff. My daughter surprisingly never did. She’s not thrilled with it either, but I’ve gone into detail about the bigger picture. Or, maybe I just said, “Take it. It’s good for you.”

To bypass the slimy mess, I’ve recently found a gallon sized 98% pure aloe vera jug at Wal-Mart. If you keep adding water to the homemade mixture it will lose the ooey gooey, but if not dealing with the plant sounds better to you, then try to find it ready-made without the slime. You can also dilute the store-bought aloe with water, or good quality apple juice if the taste is bothersome. My daughter drinks a cup a day, and it has helped with her outside allergies, and frequency of common colds.

I haven’t used over the counter child medications in 2 years. They were not doing the job anyway.

Recipes:

What the hell should I feed the family tonight! How about giving hamburgers a kick in the ass!

For years I only threw seasoning in the ground carcass. One day I felt adventurous, and squeezed ranch dressing, and bbq sauce in the mix. Tossed some flour, poured a dollop of milk, cracked an egg, and mashed it all together with my hands. Sometimes I got a little too ranch happy, and the meat didn’t hold well, so now I use a packet of dry ranch powder. I’ll also leave out the milk once in a while, but if I do add it, I’ll add a slice of bread to the mixture. This will help a little bit of meat go a long way. Parts of this are the same as meatloaf, so I’m not making any claims of coming up with anything new. I’ve also thrown in a dry onion dip packet and nothing else in the meat. Seriously, nothing else. Thoroughly mix in the packet with 1-2 pounds of your ground meat of choice (turkey, beef, bison) and that’s all the seasoning it will need.

Want to do a bun-less burger that will go great with rice, or mashed potatoes, and favorite vegetable. Try this: Mix equal parts ground beef, and ground pork (even better, ground italian sausage) Add: chopped onion, diced tomatoes, splash of A1 steak sauce, garlic powder, pepper, and a pinch of sea salt. Try not to get too much juice from the tomatoes in the mix, or it will fall apart easily. Patty it up and fry that bad boy to your liking!

Tired of red spaghetti? Go green!

Want to make your child utter their first curse word? No? Okay, how about just a look that says what the hell. Let’s throw green spaghetti noodles in their face. This recipe came into my life through a peruvian family, and it is delightful. Get the water for pasta going. In a blender mix together: Fresh spinach, fresh basil, milk, olive oil, salt, pepper, and queso fresco cheese (Usually found near fresh parmesan in the grocery store. A white round cheese.) Blend well and pour into large frying pan. Stir constantly on medium to low heat, until thick and bubbly. Once the pasta is cooked and drained add to the lovely green mixture. We like to slice a red onion and mix it in, but I have to serve it to my kid before adding the onion. She is not a fan. Also, frying up a thin steak and laying it on top of the green concoction is, like, a thing that goes well with this type of eats.

Me Giving Health Advice?

Today I had the urge to talk about food substitutions.

A Bad Substitution (Yes, in my opinion): Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. You’ll find people who believe this is harmful to your health, and then you’ll find others who say it’s fine and dandy. This man-made chemical is found in all your diet sodas, no sugar energy drinks, and some children’s vitamins. In 1980 a board discussed its relationship to brain cancer, later concluding they didn’t believe it was that much of a bastard. However, it still wasn’t approved at that time, because of many unanswered questions. Research showed it gave cancer to rats, and that fact was even written on packets of sweetener.

In 1983 it slowly started to creep into our lives. In 1993 it was in most beverages and baked goods with the claim of no sugar. By 1996 all the restrictions of aspartame were removed allowing it to be put in whatever the hell corporate money-hounds wanted it to be in. These are all just boring facts, and you can choose to believe whatever you want about this ARTIFICIAL crack originally made by a chemist accidentally. Yeah, it was like a mad scientist trying to create Frankenstein, and instead created a sugar substitute by fucking up Frank. Now, Frank is in your diet Coke.

All I really have is my own experience. I consumed diet energy drinks, diet tea, and diet soda 1 year out of my life in my late twenties. I had noticed myself becoming more aggro than usual. Just irritated for no reason. At first I assumed it was natural with how many brain-dead zombies I battled working my graveyard shift. But then I started to feel an all around…not right. I read an article about the rumors of the big A, and decided to quit the diet beverage addiction. Within a few weeks I was feeling better and more like the normal aggro me.

Around the same time I was being a responsible mom, and bought my daughter a bottle of children’s vitamins. I don’t recall how long she had been taking them before she became different. She was hyper and uncontrollable. She was not the same kid. Finally reading the label (something for kids wouldn’t have an iffy ingredient, right?) of the well-known brand of kiddy nutrients I found aspartame. Long story short: Took her off of them, and back to normal. I had my sweet, funny, kind, smart kid back. Five years later I found a non-personality altering vitamin from this AHH-mazing website http://www.swansonvitamins.com/

This is my experience. Draw your own conclusions. Make your own decisions.

A Good Substitution: The Greek Gods All Natural Plain Greek Yogurt

I wanted plain greek yogurt to blend with avocados and use as a healthier salad dressing option. Which I’m sure is tastylicious, but I have yet to try it. What I have done is put it on or in everything that usually involves sour cream.

The first night it accidentally fell into my families mashed potatoes. I waited patiently to see if anyone noticed a difference. Later on my husband says, “I don’t know what you did to those potatoes, but you have to always make them that way.” Yes, sir.

I’m so damn proud of myself when I discover a healthy sub my family will eat, since I tend to be healthy-edible-challenged. It’s great on tacos, burritos, baked potatoes, and anything clogged artery cream had previously been best friends with. The texture is different from most yogurt, it’s actually very close to sour cream. Tossing it in garden rotini pasta with olive oil, diced tomatoes, red onion, and olives, is a scrumptious dish that you might even be able to label healthy. Add cut up chicken breast and it’s even more scrum-dilly-umptious. When I make my daughter a burrito I ask her if she wants sour cream, but there isn’t any sour cream in this house. The eight year old never questions it. That is the true test to how truly great a replacement this is.

Do They Put Meth in Vitamins?

Yesterday, I felt like I had been on my vitamin regiment for a week, but I checked where I marked the calendar, and it had only been 3 days. I then wondered if I was a time travelling demon, because I could have sworn it had been a full week. Anyhow, I can already feel a difference. I’ve started a liquid multi, B-12, and 4 various tablet vitamins. I also bought a bottle of flaxseed oil, because the tablets I found only came in boulder size.

I should have gone with the possibility of choking to death. You will never see me on the reborn Fear Factor, because I couldn’t even get a little liquid omega 3, 6, and 9 down my throat. It smells like fish oil, and the taste, and texture is horrid.

Back to the difference I’ve noticed. I’m experiencing a get up and go, go, go, now, now, now sensation. I had opened my eyes around 4am on a day my husband was off from work. I laid in bed thinking, wow I am so freakin’ ready to get up, and if I do, think of all the extra crap I could get done. I could barely see his face but I still stared through my hubs wondering, when is HE going to get up, Jeez, come on already! I’m up–why isn’t he up! I eventually talked myself out of rising, because if I did the dogs might have went off like hungry hell hounds, and disturbed the whole house at 4am. My daughter doesn’t have to get up for school until 7am so I didn’t want to chance it.

Through out the day I’m finding myself having the urge to clap and cheer to the family, like an overly perky high school cheerleader. Now, anyone who knows me would never use the word “perky” to describe me. I have no desire to even be “perky.” Honestly, the word “perky” makes me think of the type of white girl that I am not, nor ever have been.

But, it’s these goddamn vitamins!

The thing that’s really weird is even with all this new found excitement coursing through my veins…I still bleeping hate exercising. As the kids say these days…FML.

10 Confessions Of A Heavy Housewife

1. Once again I’m determined to lose weight and live a healthier life style. I vow to workout at least five days a week, and vacuuming, scrubbing the toilet, and folding laundry totally count. As a matter of fact lets add cooking dinner as legit exercise.

2. I ordered two of Jillian Michaels exercise dvd’s from Amazon. And seeing them sit on top of the dvd player makes me feel good about myself already.

3. I’ve considered becoming an alcoholic to lose weight. My grandmother lived on boxed wine and never gained a pound.

4. Dairy Queen’s menu is not very accommodating to my new life style. But I make it work for me by asking for extra lettuce and an extra tomato on my heavily battered crispy chicken sandwich.

5. I’ve told my husband, who is a slender man, that he better not get too skinny, but if he ever told me I better not get too fat, I would shank him in his sleep.

6. If I’m having a bad day or getting down on myself that’s the perfect time to go channel surfing for mind numbing T.V., because I’d always rather be me than any “Real Housewives of (Insert City)” Or “(Insert Whatever Husband Does So Wife Has Plenty Of Time To Fight With Other Women Over
Shit That Doesn’t Make Any Sense And Could Simply Be Solved With The Slightest Bit Of Basic Communication) Wives.”

7. A year ago I bought a pair of skinny jeans and still haven’t tried them on. I just feel it was a lapse in judgement. You can say as long as it’s in your size, you should be able to wear what everyone else is wearing, but no, this is not always the case. At this time nothing with the word skinny attached to it should be anywhere near my body. Skinny jeans in a size 18 are like a fake friend who says you look thin and lovely. When really you look like your ass is suffocating, and have a camel toe violating the eyes of the general public.

8. In the last few years I’ve gained weight making me the heaviest I’ve ever been. I practically live in sweat pants since I refuse to buy new clothes with the hopes of losing the weight. Right now I have two pairs of jeans I can still wear. And when I do squeeze into a pair, that means I am “dressed up.”

9. Hiking with my husband is annoying as bleep. He doesn’t even break a sweat, breathe heavy, need to take a break, lose the feeling in his legs, or feel like his heart is going to burst into flames. F.y.i. I experience one or more of the above. Bleep hiking. Bleep trails. I like flat land walking, thank you very much.

10. Yes, we (fat women) passionately loathe skinny twats who can eat whatever they want, all day, all night, and never exercise. Especially when they’re shoveling food in their tiny mouths they talk about how they eat so much, never gain weight, and never exercise. We consider causing them bodily harm. A little nudge into traffic here, a little push down some stairs there, and perhaps a little sharpy, stabby, in the corner over yonder.

P.S. Most of this probably shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Let’s eat some red velvet cake! Just kidding, no cake. How about some yogurt that turns your home into a house of lies with its promise on the container to taste like cake. Yum.