Smokey Row Coffee Co. Oskaloosa

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We pull into Oskaloosa, Iowa late night on a drive from Memphis, TN and suddenly I perk up as we cruise down Market Street. What’s that? A coffee house? I will be back in the morning!

We were only in Iowa overnight as I rode with my brother to pick up my nephew from William Penn. We stayed at my second family’s house which is a home away from home. I went to “my” room and once I was underneath “my quilt” I was fast asleep. After getting ready the next morning I headed to this coffee house. It is huge with plenty of room, coffee, and uniqueness. I was overwhelmed and I am sure everyone knew I was a tourist as I snapped pictures of everything. The service was fast and as friendly as one could be on a Saturday morning. The hustle hand yet to bustle but, all of that changed as it neared 9:30 a.m.

Caramel flavored coffee was my choice and what a delicious blend! The caramel was subtle and not overpowering. I like to be able to taste my coffee and flavor at the same time. Each table in the shop is different, nostalgic and coffee related. I thought that was so cute!

And the menu…Breakfast all day, Lunch, Dessert, Kids Menu, Dinner…you name it! It was better than a Starbucks (No shade! I still love you Starbucks). It wasn’t carbon copy and I love the sunlight coming through the huge windows and so many places to go within. A parlor-ish feel for a coffee place is really different. I like different. A book vault? Upstairs? A stage for lets say…a live local band? Yes. All of that and more.

Fancy that. I purchased a mint green mug and a sconce. I eyed a big hunk of tiramisu but, decided next time and by next time I mean fall. I hope to be able to linger a bit longer with laptop in tow and just enough space for lunch and a milkshake. I am sure I can walk those calories off in the square.

~Nikki

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Sautéed Collard Greens? Cajun or No?

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Yes. Sautéed collard greens. Is it easy to do? Yes, it is. Is there more than one way to do it? Of course. Here is my spin.

  • One bag of chopped and pre washed greens (Does not have to be collards & as you can see mines were on sale). They can also be fresh greens but, you will have to wash (several times to remove dirt/sand/etc.) and chop them.
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken stock/broth or water (in my opinion the broth/stock adds flavor)
  • Butter
  • Louisiana Cajun Seasoning (If you are not up for spice just use salt and pepper)
  • White pepper (optional)
  • Spice Supreme Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • Garlic Salt
  • Onions (frozen or fresh but I used frozen chopped onions) 1/2 cup (optional)

The bag is 16 oz and I chose to use 8 oz of greens which was enough for two people. You can use the entire bag. I froze the other half. Soak the greens in hot water from the faucet for 10 minutes. Remove and pat dry.

In a medium skillet, add one tbsp. of butter and one tbsp. of olive oil. (If you are doing the entire bag you will need a large skillet but you can use the same amount of butter and oil it is up to you. You can also use only butter or only oil). Heat butter and oil on medium, medium-high (I put mines on 6). Add onions (you can use onion powder or flakes instead). When onions are translucent add your greens and 1/2 cup of chicken broth (1 cup if you are cooking the entire bag). YOU CAN USE WATER but, to me the broth or stock adds flavor. Add the seasonings I have listed for Cajun (Cajun seasoning, white pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic salt) or if you don’t want Cajun just salt, pepper, or garlic salt will do. How much? Add to your liking (I sprinkle evenly as possible across and stir in for each seasoing except the crushed pepper flakes!). NOTE: You only need about 8-10 flakes of the red crushed pepper. It is powerful! ALSO: I stir occasionally and definitely keep and eye on it to if the broth evaporates too soon you will need to add more.

It takes about 8-10 minutes (or until broth nearly evaporates) to sauté for a firm leaf but, if you want it a little more tender keep going and add more water or broth. Just test to see if it’s okay for you.

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~Nikki

 

RA Blog: What’s For Dinner?

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One of my favorite, simple, and easy things to make for dinner is pizza. We all know cooking with RD (RA) or any other autoimmune disorder can be tough and almost impossible. We want it to be quick, easy, and as healthy as possible. You want it now as well if you have had a prednisone dose (most of us are extremely hungry because of this steroid for pain)!

Well, this may or may not be healthy depending on what you put on it and what type of crust you use. In the one above it’s a veggie pizza. You can buy veggies already chopped or chop your own. You can look in the fridge and just throw whatever veggies you have on the pizza. Think outside the box and take a chance with veggies like carrots and cauliflower. You can buy any type of crust you like or even make your own with cauliflower. I used a flatbread crust for mines. You can choose your sauce and add cheese. The one below is a buffalo chicken pizza topped with bacon. Pizza nights for us are usually on the weekend or it can be whenever you are just not feeling up to cooking a big meal. Add a salad and enjoy.

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When making the buffalo chicken pizza, I bake a boneless chicken breast (season it with Tony’s seasoning), cut it into pieces (slices or chunks, most of the time my daughter does this because of my hands), and let it soak in a buffalo sauce. Any buffalo sauce will do. I let it soak for about 10 minutes and then I toss them onto the pizza. Baking times are usually on your crust package. Once it’s done, I top it with bacon (optional of course) immediately so it can stick to the cheese as much as possible ( I cook the bacon while I am baking the chicken).

~Nikki

Nikki’s Summer Rosé Sangria

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It was a dark and stormy summer night, literally when my friends arrived for a Rosé Wine Tasting at my home. It was raining cats and dogs, but they showed up and the last guests left a little after 1 a.m. The Rosé Sangria was a hit, the Rosés required an acquired taste which is nothing new in the world of wine. I cared more about the vibe and company. So, I decided to share the recipe for my made up on the spot Summer Rosé Sangria. I improvised and used what I had.

1 bottle of moscato rosé

1 bottle of Ocean Spray Sangria mix

1 1/2 cup of brandy

1 1/2 cup of Barefoot Merlot (any merlot)

2 cups of Simply Lemonade

2 tablespoons of triple sec

2 tablespoons of raspberry liquor

16 dark cherries (you can pit if you want but I did not)

16 raspberries

16 strawberries (8, they were halved into 16)

Add all of the liquids in a gallon container, stir and then add the fruit. Let it sit overnight or you can drink right away. I like for it to sit overnight anytime I make a sangria. The alcohol and the fruit marinate and intensifies the flavor. I think this one is great for all summer long. I will making it at cookouts and to take with me to share with friends at summer concerts in the park.

Here are a few more pictures from the wine tasting. Next up is Reds this fall/winter.

~Nikki

Weekend Confetti! Memphis Farmers Market Opening Day Pt 2

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My next stop was at Wilson Gardens. As you can see they are our neighbors from Arkansas. I am trying the pumpkin squash and was given simple directions on how to roast it. I was happy to find butter lettuce and fresh spinach. I’ve already made an omelet and tonight I will saute some along with the lasagna we are having. We had a garden salad my daughter made last night. This is what I like about the market. Many times you end up learning new recipes or trying different vegetables.

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Lydia’s Healthy Edibles is a GLUTEN FREE company. Many people are choosing gluten free products. Some because of health reasons and some because of “healthier” options. I have an illness and I do notice a spike in my inflammation when I eat some of my favorite desserts. I also have friends that MUST have gluten free products. I could not wait to share this with them because often it is difficult for them to find. I saw blueberry muffin mix, carrot cake muffin mix, lemon! My next go round at the market I will certainly purchase one or two of the mixes. I was adhering to my budget as one knows at a market you can lose it! (Okay, maybe just me!) They have granola ( I want that too!) and other products. To learn more check them out on: Facebook or on instagram @lhedibles

Next up is deliciousness that almost was gone before we made it home! Las Delicias Corn Chips and the amazing guacamole!!!!! I cannot wait to purchase these again. I had to share with family and thank goodness because I may have eaten more than my share!

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~Nikki

Food Confetti: Cafe 7/24: Memphis Black Restaurant Week 2017

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The first thing you take in when you walk through the door of Cafe 7/24 is the beautiful dark wood and then you suddenly look up and your breath is taken away by this huge, yet dainty, elegant chandelier. This was my third stop this week on the Memphis Black Restaurant Week 2017. It was created for numerous reasons and one was to expose all of Memphis to it’s diversity in the restaurant industry right here in our own amazing city. Well, I have discovered another jewel in downtown Memphis and it’s worth the trip.

I invited my brother out to spread the love this week and it was bustling with patrons from Memphis. Mr. Charles catfish platter is what I ordered and it was delicious. My brother ordered the Delta Burger on Texas Toast and it was also delicious. Food here is reasonably priced and the cocktail I chose was the CirocObama. Put your political preferences aside and order it. You’ll thank me later! I can’t wait to go back here for happy hour and more food. As a matter of fact, maybe today will be the day! It’s a great tourist spot.

https://www.cafe724.com/

~Nikki

Food Confetti: Scoops Parlor: Memphis Black Restaurant Week 2017

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Husband and wife team, QuaSheba Jones-Callicutt and Terrance Callicutt, are the owners of this unique place in in the city of Memphis, TN located at 106 GE Patterson Ave. I visited them next on my tour for Memphis Black Restaurant Week. The diversity of African American culinary is extraordinary and reaches beyond stereotypes. At Scoops the gelato is locally made! I had the salted caramel gelato and it was the best I’d ever had. It is the perfection of salty and sweet! I find the salty caramel mix either too salty or too sweet but this was perfection. I had the Main Street Crepe. Savory savory savory… and my spinach salad was fresh. Service here was excellent. I definitely have found a new lunch and gelato spot.

~Nikki