Sunday, October 31, 2010

Recipe in honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month #4

Best Carrot Cake adapted from Southern Living magazine

(it's the best carrot cake you'll ever taste!)

You will need:
2 cups all purpose flour or mixture with white whole wheat flour/whole wheat pastry flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk (or substitute)
2 t vanilla extract
2 overflowing cups grated carrot (ready-made grated carrot will not suffice, as the pieces are too large) I grate the carrots into small and extra small pieces.
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
3 1/2 oz flaked coconut
handful of raisins (optional)
1 cup chooped walnuts or pecans
Buttermilk Glaze
Cream Cheese Frosting

Line 3 9-inch rond cakepans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside. Heat oven to 350.

Stir together the first 4 ingredients.

Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot, coconut, nuts and raisins. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 min or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. While they are baking, make your Buttermilk Glaze.

Buttermilk Glaze
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk (or substitute)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 t vanilla extract

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Boil, stiring often for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla

Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over each pan; cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
about 11 oz of cream cheese, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar (I add to taste, which ends up as a little less)
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.

Spread Cream Cheese frosting between layers, on top & sides.

Notes: if you normally cut down sugar in recipes, note the orginal called for 2 cups in the cake mix. Also, the frosting called for 3/4 cups of butter. Buttermilk substitute: For each cup of buttermilk, you can use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk or soy milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes. You can also use 1 cup of plain yogurt or 1-3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar plus 1 cup milk.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recipe in honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month #3

Razmi (Red Kidney Bean Curry) adapted from Beverly D.

2 cans red beans, drained & rinsed (orginal recipe calls for kidney beans)
3 TB olive or canola oil
1 onion, chopped

1 cinnamon stick or 3/4 t ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 t grated ginger or ground ginger
1 t minced garlic
1 t chili powder
1 t ground coriander
1 t garam masala (if you have it)
1/4 t ground tumeric
2 cans crushed tomatos
salt to taste

2 TB green chilis (if you have it)
2 sprigs fresh, chopped coriander (if you have it)

Saute the onion in oil in a large frying pan or wok for about 2-3 min. Add the spices, tomatoes and salt and continue to cook on medium heat, stiring often for another 2-3 minutes. Add the beans and 1/2 cup water and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if mixture becomes too thick. Add coriander and chilis and cook another 5 or so minutes.

Serve over rice if desired.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

African Burial Ground off exit 356

Have you ever seen the "African Burial Ground" sign from Interstate 40 at exit 356 (Kingston) and wondered what it was? We have, and we once even took Highway 58 in to Oak Ridge, but we didn't find anything then.

This past weekend, however, we took a ride on the Secret City train, and there it was--a cemetery--less than a mile south of the Wheat Train Station. Though there was no reason to get all emotional and start crying, my heart still skipped a beat just as it did when I saw my first cotton field up close.

When the United States Government chose the Oak Ridge area to develop the atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project during World War II, the farming community of Wheat (one of four communities) in Roane Co. was displaced. The Welcker family owned and operated the Laurel Banks Plantation in Wheat from the early 19th century until 1840 when George Hamilton Gallaher purchased the property, and it became the Gallaher-Stone Plantation. Slaves from the plantation are buried here, and a monument marks their lives, which is legible in the photo below. According to the Roane County Heritage Commission, slaves built much of Roane County, and this cemetery may well be the largest such cemetery in East Tennessee. In 1979, a Wheat resident counted between 90-100 graves. 

According to the 1860 Census Slave Schedule, there were 583 slaves in Anderson County, 1,338 in Roane County, 2,347 in Knoxville County (as called at the time) and a total of 275,719 slaves and 7,300 free African Americans in Tennessee.

I wasn't exactly prepared to visit a cemetery that day, but I just so happened to be able to leave a twig of artificial lavender flowers to honor them. I'll definitely stop in again and pay my respects to this extraordinary group of people in our history--because to live and survive in slavery conditions meant you were extraordinary.


Directions from Knoxville: Take 1-40 West headed toward Nashville. At Exit 356, go north toward Oak Ridge approximately 5 miles. After you cross the Clinch River, the cemetery will be on the right.

For more information (my sources), visit: (this site has text from another monument stone at the cemetery) (fascinating info about slavery history in Roane Co., has a newspaper article about "Mattie" Gallaher who was age 95 in 1934.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Free burrito at Salsaritas 5-8 p.m. Oct 25

Here's a deal I couldn't pass up posting about today: free burritos at Salsartitas locations in Knoxville in celebration of 10 years in Knoxville--tonight only! 5-8 p.m. One small burrito per person. Thanks Coupon Katie!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recipe in honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month #2

Apple Crisp

This simple dish is a favorite at our house, which I've never used a recipe for.

Fruit such as sliced sweet apples (Golden Delicious, etc)
Applesause (optional)
Cranberries or raisins (optional)
water or fruit juice
canola oil (or other oil)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
oats, quick or rolled
sugar or other sweetener as desired

Fill a 9x9 inch casserole dish with the fruit to about 1/2 to 2/3 the height of the dish. If you use applesause, add about 1/2 cup and count it as part of your fruit. Add aproximately 2/3 cup of liquid (from the fruit used) or water. Liquid should come up to about half the height of the fruit. Add 1-2 teaspoons of oil and 2/3 cup of sugar and the cinnamon. Stir.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/4 cups of oats, 1-2 TB of sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of canola oil, 2 heaping TB of coconut flakes and 2 TB of chopped pecans. Mix, then spread on top of your fruit. Bake at 350 for 45 min.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No need to pay for cable TV if you have a Wii or Playstation 3

Recently, my husband (who is really excited about this) and I learned about a way to save money on entertainment. You pay a small monthly fee to Netflix and say goodbye to the cable company. You'll also need to own a Wii or Playstation 3. Trent has the scoop over at The Simple Dollar.

We don't currently use cable, but we plan to use this set up when we move sometime next year.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Burlington Branch Library book sale

On Monday, October 18 the Burlington Branch Library, in cooperation with the Friends of the Library, will hold its annual book sale to raise funds for the Asheville Highway branch. Sale hours are from 4-8 p.m.

Proceeds will help fund special programs held at the branch.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Recipe in honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month

Since it's Vegetarian Awareness Month, I've decided to post a few of my most favorite recipes. The following one is vegan.

West African Sweet Potato Supper adapted from "May All Be Fed"

1-2 Tb vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter*

1/2 t ground ginger

1 t chili powder

1/4 t ground red pepper (cayenne)

1 clove garlic, chopped

salt to taste

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cans diced or crushed tomatoes with juice/sauce

1 can great northern beans

Cooked couscous or rice

Heat oil in 4 quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onion in oil, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients (except couscous/ rice). Heat to boiling; cover, reduce heat and simmer 30-35 min, stirring occasionally, until potatoes aer tender. Serve over rice or coucous. Add salt to taste and/or serve with soy sauce or liquid aminos and fresh tomato slices (if desired).

Note: to make cooking sweet potatos easier, I often cut them into large pieces and steam or boil them until they are about 1/2 done. Then, I cut them up a bit, add them to the onions and cook as directed. I also tend to use more ginger and chili powder than called for... cause I'm crazy like that.

*Be sure your brand of peanut butter is vegan.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Festival at Knoxville Botanical Garden

Join the fun at Knoxville Botanical Garden on Saturday, October 16th from 10:00am until 4:00pm for a day of fun, fall festivities!! (rain or shine)

From their site--Come and enjoy:

Local plant, food and craft vendors
Demonstrations & Workshops
Pumpkin Painting
Children's Crafts & Activities
Hayride Tours
Circle G Ranch Petting Zoo
Marshmallow Roasting..... and MORE!!

Kids: FREE (12 yrs. and under)
Adults: $5.00 (Kids 13+)

Participating Local Vendors:
Beaver Creek Nursery, Chadwick's Churn, Corum Farm, Countryside Gardens, East Fork Nursery, Erin's Meadow Herb Farm, Flower Hill Botanicals, Gorgeous Gourds Galore, Greenbriar Farm and Nursery for Edible Landscaping, Hillside Bakery, Honeyberry Farm, In the Stix Studio, King's Hydrofarm, Kira's Kids Dairy, Mountain View Farms Pottery, Mountain View Orchard, Mr. T's Outdoor Diner, Overhill Gardens,
Poverty Barn, Rainwater Farm, Riverdale Nursery, Smokey Ridge Apiaries, Smoky Mtn. Kettle Korn, Sweetwater Valley Farm, Sunlight Gardens, The Appalachain Shed, The Golden Bough, Two Sister's Sandwiches and Sweets, Whippoorwill Ridge Farm

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Best place to feed ducks

One of my favorite spots to feed ducks is Volunteer Landing park on the Tennessee River waterfront. At times, it's overrun with ravenous Canadian Geese, and once I was lucky enough to feed a swan. Most often, you'll see three geese who I was once told by a frequent feeder, are named Larry, Curly and Moe. They generally come out at the beginning of a feeding, and then once full, they go about their business.

I mention this spot as a great place to feed ducks because if you've been to Fountain City Duck Pond looking for feeding fun, you probably left feeling disappointed and carrying a mostly full loaf of leftover bread. That won't happen at Volunteer landing. They're always hungry, and I've never had enough to feed them until they're full. Perhaps that's because ducks and geese aren't the only ones eating--large, hungry carp will delight you or your little ones when they start coming up to feed. 

Get too close, and you might get splashed!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trip to Big Lots

On my trip to Big Lots to use my 20% coupon (join the buzz club next time you're in the store) and stock back up on whole wheat bread, I found the following interesting items:

Kashi go-lean bars in three varieties for $0.80 each and Nature's Path organic, non-GMO, etc 6-packs of chewy granola bars in six vararities--well, actually now only four because I cleared out two of the extra delicious flavors at the Broadway store. 

You could find better deals on both these items, but for an every day price, you should snag these up if you normally use them. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Just Ripe" to open a store front on Union

Just Ripe, a farmer's market favorite is opening a store front at 513 Union Street in Knoxville.

According to their Website, Just Ripe "creates prepared foods from natural ingredients, providing convenient, healthful (sometimes indulgent) options for our customers," and offers "seasonally driven foods, crafted from local and regionally sourced ingredients when possible."

For more information, visit their, and see the below from their blog:

[the concise story - for those who like it short & sweet]

This November, Just Ripe will open a retail space in the Daylight Building at 513 Union Avenue, across from Pete’s Coffee Shop. We will expand our prepared food selections already offered at the Market Square Farmers’ Market. In addition to these Grab & Go items, we will offer a menu of meals made to order, as well as a casual seating area for those choosing to dine-in with us.

You’ll be able to shop for local and regional groceries at Just Ripe! Our storefront will also be a small grocery, featuring local and regional products. We’ll offer pantry basics, including a bulk department, seasonal produce, refrigerated and frozen groceries, locally-baked goods, regionally-produced cheeses, locally-roasted coffees, and micro-brewed beers. We will be open 8 am – 8 pm every day.

We will also offer special events to connect with our community. We’ll host tastings with regional cheese-makers and farmers, screen food films and have periodic family-style and farm meal events.

--text and photos from

I'll definitely be visiting their new store and hope you will too!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Free batteries forever? Office Depot

*I had to update this previously posted blog. See below.

I'm not sure if I've written about Office Depot in the past, but basically what you need to know is that you must, must, must check out every store's loyalty program. So, for example, Office Depot has a "worklife rewards" club. This week, they are giving you 100% of your money spent back to you in the form of a gift card when you purchase certain advertised items, such as printer paper and batteries. Check out the items in weekly sales ad. So, sign up for an account, buy your items, then you'll receive an Office Depot gift card (reward) a few months later. Check Office Depot for all the details about worklife rewards.

I began this store's program in the spring of this year, and it seemed like forever before I received my gift card, but it finally came, and I used it to purchase printer ink.... and more batteries, for which I will receive yet another gift card since AA and AAA batteries are 100% back this week. By the time I need batteries again, I'll have another gift card for the same initial investment I made in the spring of this year.

*Or, so I thought! In actuality, if you use your reward card to buy more items that have rewards, you'll won't receive the reward. I looked through the FAQs when I signed up and didn't notice that important detail. I'm a little bummed, but it's not too big of a deal since I buy ink and occasional other items with coupons as it is. Now, It'll just be like getting free batteries with my ink purchase, which is still a great deal.
Also note that rechargeable batteries are another way to save on batteries and are better for the environment, so if you're able to not lose them, that might be a better route for you.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Smart Shoppers to meet Monday

The Smart Shoppers couponing series continues Monday, Oct 11 at 6 p.m. Piller, who leads the class, will be teaching about coupon policies and price matching at WalMart and Target.

Meet at Burlington Branch Library, and don't forget to bring coupons to swap with others!
Please contact the library at 525-5431 or email to let her know you're coming.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

evolution of smooth at Walgreens
This week, evolution of smooth (eos) lip balm is free with register rewards at Walgreens. I've been waiting eagerly for this one. Why post about it? It's organic, not tested on animals, has cute packaging and except for the lip balm (contain's bees wax), eos products contain no animal by-products (vegan). I'm already stocked up on eos shaving cream, and hopefully, Walgreens will soon carry eos hand & body lotion. Once they do, I'll be watching for a register reward deal!

Join eos on facebook.