Dinner with Georgeanne: Veggie S’ghetti

This Christmas, Carter and I received a gift we didn’t even know we wanted… an Instant Pot! I’ve seen recipes and heard from friends for years how amazing these are, but I never thought I had a use for one. Man was I wrong… It cuts down on cook time, the house smells so fragrant, and most importantly it cuts down on dishes!!!! To say we’re obsessed is an understatement.

So let me share one of our go-tos: Veggie S’ghetti.

Y’all know by now that I try and cram as many vegetables into my picky-eating children as possible. Everyone in my house loves this recipe, and even my youngest vegetable refuser consistently asks for seconds!
*Note: I usually use chickpea noodles, but with the Instant Pot, the Barilla veggie noodles seem to cook better. 

Ingredients:


1/2 cup frozen chopped onion
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 12 oz. box Barilla rotini veggie noodles
1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
3 cups water

Method:


1. Put InstantPot on saute mode for 5 minutes. Let veggies saute and soften.


2. Add 10 minutes to the saute mode; push the veggies to one side, and add the ground beef.


3. Brown, and after 10 minutes drain the fat. Cancel saute mode.


4. Add spices and stir into beef/vegetable mixture.


5. Add noodles, then sauce, then cups of water. Make sure noodles are completely covered by sauce/water mixture.

6. Place lid on Instant Pot and put on high pressure for 8 minutes.


7. After the 8 minutes, do a 5-minute natural release, and then finish with a quick release.


8. Stir to mix together and then serve!

*My crew loves this topped with cheese, surprise surprise. But you can also top with fresh basil!

If you also love your Instant Pot, please share your favorite recipes in the comments!

New summer festival coming to Batesville: “Big Fun on the Bayou”

Twenty-five volunteers from a cross-section of Batesville, many with personal stories to share of happy times spent on the bayou over the years, gathered today to begin creating a festival centered around the Poke Bayou.

The concept, introduced and spearheaded by Bob Carius and the Main Street Batesville organization, will be a day-long series of events on the bayou on July 26, culminating in an evening concert by ‘Trout Fishing in America’ at Maxfield Park. The band plays comedic songs for kids, as well as adult friendly music.

The recently finished Maxfield Park has been the first development on the bayou, an under-utilized asset for the town according the Carius, and provides a jumping-off point to more bayou activities.

The theme of the event, “Big Fun on the Bayou”, is drawn from the 1952 Hank Williams song ‘Jambalaya’.

“And there are a lot of things we can do with that besides just of course play the song,” Carius explained of the theme chosen by an initial working group, adding that watersports and triathlon-type contest could be part of the plan, but that “right now the slate is completely clean”.

A piece of property along the bayou near Maxfield Park will also be in play for the festival, thanks to its donation to the City of Batesville for such public-use development.

“The mayor and I visited the area about two weeks ago and it’s very overgrown,” Carius described of the work to be done. In the past, inmates have been utilized to clean up the bayou and could possibly be again for this particular parcel.


Anyone interested in being involved with planning “Big Fun on the Bayou” activities are invited to join the committee by contacting Main Street Batesville at mainstreetbatesville@gmail.com

Local wellness blogger Brandi Moody: tips for post-holiday detox

The holidays are coming to an end and we are left with overly full bellies. Most likely, you feel pretty tired of food; not to mention lethargic, also known as “food coma”. We want our routines and pre-holiday bodies back.

Below are easy tips and tricks to help detox your body and get you back to feeling normal.

1

Drink water first thing in the morning.

Our bodies are made up of roughly 75 percent water. We NEED it. Our kidneys use water to rid us of certain waste products. If they do not get the adequate amount of water they need, our bodies cannot remove the waste.

2

Start every morning with a clean breakfast.

There is nothing your body likes more than getting the right nutrients after a long night of sleep. Starting the day off with a clean and healthy breakfast sets you up for a better and more productive day. You will feel healthy and have more energy.

A great example of a clean breakfast is The Living Bowl at The Pinto, located in downtown Batesville. Its base is greek yogurt, rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

And for all the homebodies…I recommend oatmeal with fruit, one of the best breakfasts of all time. There is a saying that “Oatmeal is King”, meaning oatmeal is the best for breakfast. It helps lower blood sugar, provides fiber, contains needed vitamins and minerals, and has a good amount of protein and fat. I like to cook my oats in almond milk or water, add honey for sweetener, then a little chocolate or vanilla protein powder, and a TBSP of natural peanut butter….. so good!

3

Throw out all leftover holiday desserts.

Yes, you heard this correctly, throw them out. They are cheap to make and you will see them again next year. This is called “controlling your food environment”. You can control what you buy, what you put on your counter, and what is readily available to eat. Surround yourself with good food. If you have fruit on the counter, you are more likely to eat it because you can see it. If you put it out of sight, you will likely pass it up for something easier to grab (out of sight, out of mind). Leave the fruit where you can see it.

4

Try your best to eliminate all white flour and sugar.

Both white flour and sugar break down in your body the same. They cause inflammation and an increase in blood sugar. White flour has been considered the “glue” of your waist. White flour, if eaten in excess, keeps the body from burning fat as fuel. In turn, this can add weight gain. No Good!

5

Avoid eating late at night.

It seems that through the holidays, staying up late and eating is a must. That is fine for awhile, but it will come back to haunt you.

Late night eating has been proven to cause weight gain, higher glucose levels, and higher insulin levels. Try to nip that fast.

6

Make sleep a priority.

Studies prove a lack of sleep goes along with weight gain. Poor sleep can also increase your appetite by messing with two hunger hormones: ghrelin and leptin. To read more about the studies, click here and here.

Ghrelin is a hormone released in the stomach that tells our brains when we are hungry.

Leptin, a hormone released by fat cells, keeps hunger at bay and signals our brain that we are full. When we do not get the right amount of sleep, our bodies create more ghrelin and less leptin. This leaves us hungry, and our appetite increases.


Detoxing and getting your body back after the holidays will take patience and determination.  You will crave sweets and all the goodies!  Stick to these simple tips and you should be feeling as good as new!

Dinner with Georgeanne: Ann’s Spinach Dip

You know those best friends you meet in preschool who stay with you through all the awkward middle school years, into college, and then into the whole adult-and-having-kids phase of life?

That’s my friend Becca.

She’s been through it all with me.

And one thing as constant as Becca, is her mom Ann’s spinach dip. This dip has been on her table at every off-campus lunch in high school; it was sometimes the only edible thing in our fridge in college, and it has been a staple at every girls night, wedding/baby shower, or other general get-together for our friend group.

So as you can see, this spinach dip is more than a delicious blend of spinach and cheese, it’s truly soul food, laden with memories…

If you are looking for an appetizer, especially at Christmastime, this red, white, and green dip is perfect for any party or get-together where there are hungry humans!


INGREDIENTS

2 bags or boxes frozen chopped spinach
1 can Ro-tel, undrained
1- 8 oz. block cream cheese (2 blocks if you want a creamier dip)
2 bags shredded pepper jack cheese

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Thaw spinach in microwave according to package directions.
  3. While the spinach is thawing, let the cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, and Ro-tel sit in a mixing bowl or KitchenAid mixer to soften and let the flavors soak together.
  4. This step is the most labor-intensive but the most important: you must drain the spinach. Not just in a colander — you have to squeeze the water out of the spinach. If you don’t, it’ll taste too spinach-y.
  5. Combine the spinach with the other ingredients and mix (or stir) until combined.
  6. Put all ingredients in a 9 x 13-inch pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy with Fritos, Wheat Thins, tortilla chips, on sandwiches, or basically any way you can!

Shopping local for Christmas: BirdCage Vintage Market

Sunday afternoon I needed to “run errands”…

birdcage vintage.jpg In November of 2018, Paul and Dorajo McDonald opened The Birdcage Vintage Market, which has more than 10,000 square feet of goods for sale. Though vintage is in the name, they also have new home decor, boutique clothing, and handcrafted items, offered by more than 75 vendors.

Dorajo commented she has been grateful for the local support she has experienced and the help she continues to get from her family and church friends.

IMG_3022Sunday afternoon I needed to “run errands”…

My phrase for: I need to get out of the house but not spend any money.  I’m just going to look.

My husband’s phrase for: she will undoubtedly come back with bags in hand.

I “ran errands” at The BirdCage Vintage Market, and well, I came back with bags full of ornaments and a piece of furniture in the back of the SUV.

Before I could even get in the house door I was yelling warnings like, “These ornaments were too cheap and too sweet not to get!  Christmas memories, right?!”

Husband:  What is that in the back of the car? Me: Silence… “I love Christmas! Here, just LOOK at these ornaments.”

CHRISTMAS ITEMS

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Someone grab this vintage beauty!

Then put on your finest garb, grab your gloves and strike a pose like these anonymous legends:

These women know how to do Christmas!

I feel like this was the era where the woman had to be photographed by her tree and man had to be photographed by his car.

So many great Christmas ornaments and decorations.

EVERY DAY ITEMS

I would put every one of these items in my home.  I’m drawn to anything that looks like it would pair well with a cigar or pipe.

And you might need to know, they have a great selection of brass!

I carried home a large collection of brass candlestick holders that included the candle sticks that our household now lights every night for the Advent season.

This booth has the cutest handcrafted, wooden toys.

This is the booth where my youngest son shops, and with the variety of flavors of taffy and his struggle to make decisions,  I can walk through the whole market and find him still not ready to check out.

If you have yet to make it out to The BirdCage Vintage Market, then seriously, grab a friend and go “run errands”.

The BirdCage Vintage Market: a community of vendors who specialize in old & new, home decor, fashion, handmade goods, & much more.  Located 3 miles north of Batesville, AR on Hwy 167, at 3470 N. Saint Louis St.

Dinner with Georgeanne: Harvest Lentil Soup

We loved the autumnal aroma that filled the house…

Eating vegetarian is one of my very favorite things — I like how it makes me feel, the energy it gives me, and frankly, the taste of veggies over meat. My husband likes the idea of it, but he has a hard time getting full without meat.

So when I found myself craving both a vegetarian meal and pumpkin pie flavor, I knew lentils were the answer. They’re filling, nutritious, and versatile. I dug out an old faithful lentil soup recipe and tweaked it with fall veggies and spices.

Not only was the soup a husband hit, but we loved the autumnal aroma that filled the house!

Ingredients:

1 16 oz bag lentils
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup frozen chopped onion
1/2 bag matchstick carrots
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
6 cups vegetable broth
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can tomato paste
1 bag frozen sweet potatoes

Method:

  1. Rinse and then soak a 16 oz. bag of lentils. The bag itself will tell you there’s no need to soak, but I always do just to make sure they cook and then digest well — so I soak them for a few hours while at work.
  2. When ready to make the soup, rinse the lentils again and set aside.
  3. Over high heat, sauté onions and carrots in olive oil for about five minutes (until tender).
  4. Add the spices and lower the heat to medium and stir until fragrant.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for approximately one hour.
  7. Before serving, taste and adjust spices to preference. (I added a dash more nutmeg and my husband added some worcestershire sauce atop his.)

Pro tips: I like to let mine cool for a bit before eating because the flavors seem to come through more, and it’s as good if not better the next day as leftovers!

Local wellness blogger Brandi Moody on running in the cold: Don’t stop

The best run happens when you least expect it.

By Brandi Moody of Blonde Coffee Mom

Disclaimer: Some links in this post contain affiliate links.

When cold weather hits, it is hard to get motivated to get out and run. Fall and Spring make it easy with the sunny, cool days, but once that cold weather comes, runners find it hard to get out.

Here are 7 tips to keep you running during the winter:

1

Watch the Weather — This seems like an obvious choice, but the number of people who do not watch the weather would surprise you. At the beginning of each week, look to see which days have the best running temperatures, plan to run on those days, and stick to it. It is good to go into each week with a plan.

2

Have the right cold gear — Nothing makes a run more terrible than not having the right clothes. The must-have items for a cold run are a beanie or ear warmers, gloves, a long-sleeved top, leggings and/or shorts, and a jacket. For more detailed options, click here.

Leggings and a jacket can make a cold run feel perfect. Tip for the women: if you have medium-length hair, wear it down beneath your hat or beanie. It acts as a barrier/scarf to the wind.

3

Put a small heater by your bed — No one wants to get out of bed on a cold morning. Keep a small heater next to your bed. This will keep the space below your bed, where your feet and legs first hit, warm. If you would rather, keep warm while you change by placing the heater there.

4

Warm up before you head outdoors — Do a dynamic warm-up, indoors, before you head out for your run. This gets your blood flowing, which in turn warms up your body temperature. It will help ease that harsh feeling of cold when you first step outside. See below for a good, quick, dynamic warm-up.

This routine was put together with the help of Dylan Carpenter, MD, FAAOS and Josh McIntosh, APRN of the White River Medical Center Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic.

5

Bring a friend — This might be thrown around a lot in the running world, but it is so true. There is nothing more motivating than accountability. Some of the best runs happen when you are with someone. You forget you are running and enjoy just being outside.

6

Enjoy the bragging rights of being a winter warrior — You know it feels good to say, “Yep, I just finished a run in near-freezing temps!” You did it, so you get to brag about it!

7

Set a spring schedule — Write down a goal for the spring. Whether it is a pace goal or race goal, write it down. This will help you get out the door or onto the treadmill. Because: you know as well as I do…you will not hit your goals without working at it.

Don’t let the winter temperatures bring you down. The best run happens when you least expect it. You may think running in the winter is too hard, but don’t write it off so fast! The air is fresh and clean, so get out, breathe the cool air, and run. You may just have the best run of your life!

Dinner with Georgeanne: ‘Pinkalicious’ Pasta

The bonus, and don’t give up on me, is that the pink noodles are actually made from lentils.

Does anyone else live in a household where people want to eat dinner every. single. night?! On my best days, creating a family meal is inspiring, and even an artistic expression. But on my worst days, it’s a chore void of any excitement or creativity.

On one of the latter aforementioned afternoons, my six-year-old wandered into the pantry and was ecstatic to find “pink” noodles. She asked if we could eat those for dinner, and since I had no better plan, I was grateful to have a starting point.

I had turkey meat in the fridge and found a jar of Bertolli vodka pasta sauce. After browning the meat and simmering in the sauce, I added the cooked noodles. The result? A “pink” pasta  (yes, technically it’s more red/orange, but don’t ruin this for us!) that my daughter dubbed “Pinkalicious Pasta.”

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The bonus, and don’t give up on me, is that the pink noodles are actually made from lentils. So they’re chock-full of protein, and even have fiber. They do not taste earthy or even any different than other noodles to us. Trust me. Try them.

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Ingredients:

1 10 oz pkg Lensi Red Lentil Fusilli

1 32 oz jar vodka sauce

1 lb ground turkey

Brown turkey. Drain, and add vodka sauce. While that simmers, boil noodles according to package directions. Combine and serve!

My girls love it topped with mozzarella, and you can can’t go wrong topping with fresh basil.

Tomahawk Chop opens on Main Street

Tomahawk Chop Company is the newest business downtown, adding another entertainment activity to the growing district — and a somewhat unusual one at that.

“It’s an ax throwing entertainment center,” owner Mike Moss described of the new business, located next to door to the Main Attire boutique and The Royal on Main, downtown’s new luxury hotel.

He said Batesville is overdue for more activity-based businesses.

“You can go to the movies and you can go bowling or you can go to a bar… but there’s not much for people to do so we decided to do this,” Moss said, adding that his son Drew is involved in the undertaking as well, handling marketing and IT. Both have enjoyed ax throwing as a personal hobby.

“It’s gaining a lot of interest. It started in Canada, and has come down through the Northeast and is making its way across the United States,” Moss said. “It will garner enough interest to be popular for quite a while I think, because it’s easy to do and you don’t have to be great at it to have fun.” 

Moss said the fact that everyone can do it is one of the reasons he chose the building downtown: it has a wheelchair ramp and he wanted that accessibility.

“We looked around town at different locations… There were a couple on Harrison Street, and we thought about high traffic areas. But parking lots can be kind of hard to get in and out of, and this is kind of an eclectic activity, so downtown kind of made sense… People that come down here come for a purpose, and it’s growing here — you’ve got The Melba, several stores, 109 that’s about to be opened back up, The Pinto, Big’s… It fits with the vibe.”

The space is currently being built out with lanes, each one 10 feet wide and built according to regulation for the leagues associated with the sport:  World Axe Throwing League, International Axe Throwing Federation, and National Axe Throwing Federation. The center will offer about 5 lanes, plus a seating area and a snack bar. Patrons will pay for an hour of play, with the second hour discounted. Admission to the center will be limited to ages 14 and up, with all participants required to sign a waiver.

“You’ll go through a 10-minute safety orientation with one of our staff. They’ll show you how to do it, how not to do it, and make sure you have all the proper attire like closed-toed shoes and no loose jewelry,” Moss explained. “The axes weight between 1.8 and 2.4 pounds each, so it’s a little bit of a workout. You’ll use both hands most of the time, but we’ll have some little axes you can throw with one hand.”

Tomahawk Chop Company is detailing their progress on their Facebook page which has already garnered over 1,000 followers prior to even opening. 

Moss says he gets frequent calls from people anticipating their first visit.

Dinner with Georgeanne: ‘Hodge Podge Soup’

The dilemma:
To make broccoli cheddar soup and add potatoes? OR, to create potato soup and add broccoli?

A few weeks ago, I opened my front door, and immediately noticed a crispness in the air.

Finally… the much anticipated fall season was in the works.

As I’m day dreaming about all things pumpkin and thinking there’s no way my morning could get any better, it did.

My phone rang. On the other end was a dear friend needing my help to help create a soup. Her husband was craving both broccoli cheddar and potato soup.

The dilemma:

To make broccoli cheddar soup and add potatoes?

OR

To create potato soup and add broccoli?

We decided the way to go was to make potato soup and add broccoli (mainly because bacon is more acceptable with potato soup). This has quickly become a staple for both of us, and it’s soup-er easy 😉

Modifications: My husband requested more protein, so white beans were a late (and great!) addition.

HodgePodge Soup

To cook, put everything into the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or on high  for 3. Stir midway through cooking if possible.

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Optional prep – My family likes the matchstick carrots and the broccoli florets chopped smaller, but if you’re in a time crunch or not serving picky eaters, it isn’t necessary. 

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Top with cheese, chives, bacon, sour cream, or any other of your favorite soup toppings! We usually serve alongside salad and bread. 

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 Cost = $13.75 excluding toppings, garlic 

and pepper, according to Wal-Mart 

grocery app.