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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Weekend Confetti: Muddy’s & More

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It was a great weekend for me because I was pretty much pain free and free from the responsibilities of “adulting.” So what does one do with a weekend like this, well the first thing I did was sleep in! And then I went to Muddy’s for cupcakes. It’s my birthday month and I share this month with my daughter. When you walk into the doors of Muddy’s you are always greeted with a smile. I mean, hey, they bake sweet treats and that makes the employees just as happy as the customers that walk in! They bake cookies and cakes as well.

It’s a neat small place and I always like small spaces that make you feel like you can sit a while. It’s happily decorated and as a coffee connoisseur I noticed the coffee nook first. 20180303_123145

I was craving the wedding cake cupcake and that is how I ended up here Saturday. Well, you can’t just get one. You “need” at least four! The purple is named “Called a Cab” and there is Red Velvet in the mix as well. There’s a chocolate one named “Prozac” mmm mmm delicious for chocolate addicts…uh lovers.

After getting cupcakes I was ready for lunch. I headed over to Mellow Mushroom for a calzone and white sangria.

I love the veggie calzone but, I was in the mood for something meat I asked to be seated  on the patio, feeling the cool breeze mixed with the heaters above the table is perfect combination. Clear skies, sunny, and the music made you want to dance in your seat or at least, sing out loud which some people did. I like that it’s a variety of past hits from various genres. After eating lunch, I had a little time to kill before a wine tasting so I stopped by a consignment store and found a very cute pair of heels by Ann Taylor. I got them for $10! And I used my credit from a previous sale which was $10. My next stop was a wine tasting at Kirby Wines and Liquors. It was a tasting of Stella Rose flavored wines. I was feeling a bit tired afterwards and went home to rest. Believe it or not I regained just enough energy to make it to a family event; a birthday and anniversary party combined. I had a good time overall.

It was great feeling normal again even though I am paying for it dearly today. This is what usually happens to those of us that live a life of chronic pain. When we have a “good day” we usually take advantage of it. For one moment, I almost felt a bit sad that it couldn’t be like this all the time. I miss my old life. But, I decided to just enjoy this moment and day. This was a day that the Lord had made, I rejoiced and was glad in it. When you count your blessings, you can count it all joy.

~Nikki

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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

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

Food Confetti: Sweet Potato Baby: Memphis Black Restaurant Week

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This week is Memphis Black Restaurant Week 2017. I chose Sweet Potato Baby to start my week off. Sweet Potato Baby is owned and operated by executive Chef Aryen Moore-Alston, former 2014 competitor on Food Network Star. I ordered the Uptown Grill Cheese which consisted of bacon and a sweet onion relish. The combination of that with cheese was so delicious I savored every bite and I wish it never ended. There were three different type of fries and I chose the garlic parmesan fries. Included in this weeks lunch special (each restaurant participating has a two course lunch special and a three course dinner special for $25 this week) was the choice of a salad, soup, or dessert. I chose the Whipped Vanilla Dream Cake and it was a dream! You know it was the perfect sweet. What I mean by that is, it was not too sweet but right on the edge, just enough, perfect! It did not go over board. What I like about Memphis Black Restaurant you get the diversity of African American owned restaurants and they get the exposure they deserve. It’s a real economic boost that helps the city and the restaurants.

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~Nikki

Weekend Confetti: Memphis Good Eats

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The Memphis Barbecue Company has some of the best barbecue around. Granted, it’s in Horn Lake, MS it’s still on my list of the best barbecue “near” Memphis. Award winning and to be exact 10 World Championships to boast! The Pitmaster is World BBQ Champ Melissa Cookman.

They have three other locations. We went here Saturday to celebrate the birthdays of two brothers and a nephew. I ordered the seasoned baby back ribs and I could only eat three ribs it was so meaty. The greens and mac n cheese was delicious and so was the cornbread.

https://www.memphisbbqco.com/

 

SUNDAY BRUNCH: OWEN BRENNAN’S 

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This place is a staple and a favorite of Memphians. You can enjoy it any day, but especially their brunch buffet on a Sunday. A jazz trio is playing and the patio is open. Its New Orleans style right in Memphis! My favorites are many, but the bread pudding and the catfish with crawfish sauce on the buffet! Oh and the cheesecake…wait…let’s not forget the peach cobbler or the fresh fruit…well, what about the omelets made to order and the waffles??? Oh let me tell you about the Cocktails Menu…fresh mimosas, hurricanes and bellinis for everyone! However, I like them all!

http://www.brennansmemphis.com/

~Nikki