Monday, February 18, 2019

Cracker Barrel Restaurant Review - Sanford, NC


3212 NC 87 Hwy S
Sanford, NC  27330
(919) 718-0033



Exterior View


Interior Decor


Old Country Store


French Toast with Maple Syrup - $7.69


Cute Maple Syrup Bottle


Double Meat Breakfast - $8.79


Biscuits & Gravy


Blueberry Muffin - $2.59


This is a review of a franchise restaurant called Cracker Barrel Old Country Store specifically for the one located in Sanford, North Carolina. Most people have heard of this restaurant since they are advertised all along major highways and they are located within a mile of the highway exits. They cater to travelers with a home cooked meal and a homey atmosphere which is welcome on a long drive. We have eaten at several locations on road trips and we occasionally drive to locations near our home. 

I woke up really hungry last Sunday and we were out of eggs and bacon so I asked Hubby if he wanted to have breakfast at a nearby Cracker Barrel. He thought it would be a nice change, so off we went. I decided the one in Sanford would be good since there is a new Lidl across the street and we needed to pick up some groceries. I wrote a review of the Sanford Lidl, so be sure to check it out next. 

We arrived at 10:30 am and I thought perhaps I'd order lunch but they don't serve it until 11 am. When you enter this restaurant you'll need to walk through the store toward the left rear corner to find the reception station. Their health inspection score is 99.5 which is excellent. There was no wait so we were immediately escorted to a table near the fireplace. It was a rare cold and rainy day so we thought it would be nice and warm since the fire was roaring, but it wasn't. It felt like they had the air conditioning on which they may have a few days prior when it was thirty degrees warmer. Maybe someone forgot to switch it to heat. There was an awful draft from the ceiling fans and employees constantly rushing past our table. Though we were near the fireplace we couldn't see it since the people in the tables nearest it were blocking the view. Almost every table was occupied. Every time we visit a Cracker Barrel they are packed with people. Between the travelers and the locals, it's always busy. The waitress took our drink order while passing by and then we waited for about five minutes to place our entree orders. The drinks were brought out in a timely manner though the food and drinks aren't brought out by the waitresses. They have many employees that just deliver food and drinks to the tables. My Orange Juice was cold and tasty though it did have pulp in it which I'm not a fan of. It took twenty-five long minutes for our food to arrive and it didn't arrive hot. Both our meals were either warm or barely warm and with the cold breeze from the fans, it was cold by the time we were finished eating. I ordered the French Toast which was tasty, but the syrup quickly gave me a stomach ache so I couldn't finish it. On the menu, it said 100% Pure Maple Syrup, but the bottle in fine print actually says "55% Pure Maple Syrup & 45% Cane Syrup". I was happy to see that they warmed up the glass bottle so the syrup was warm though it would have been nice it was hot instead. I purchased a blueberry muffin that I planned to take home and have for breakfast the next day. As shown above, it's not very appetizing, it was served on its side and part of the top is the proper color for a muffin while the other part looks burned. It tasted ok and it had lots of blueberries in it, but it didn't have the texture that I like.  My favorite blueberry muffin is from Winstons. Oh my, they are so incredibly scrumptious and I crave them all the time. Next time I'll just skip the muffin and purchase a nicer looking one at Lidl. Hubby ordered the Double Meat Breakfast with bacon, eggs, sausage, biscuits, and grits. I took home the biscuits and had them for two snacks. They were tasty, but I prefer a more flakey biscuit and I found they needed some salt. Hubby's eggs were cooked just as he asked but the sausage patties were so small and the bacon wasn't crisp. Strangely the food was placed on the plate to one side so it looked like a bunch of food was missing. The menu photo looks so much more appetizing and the slice of orange was missing. He said the grits were barely warm, grits are supposed to be served hot. The waitress wasn't very attentive, we had to flag her down several times. 

Our bill was brought when I was about halfway through eating my food, that's a pet peeve of mine, I hate to be rushed. Not that you have to go back to the store to pay a cashier. I checked out what they had to offer in the store on the way out. I didn't find anything I fancied though I have bought some adorable home decor in the past. There was a line for lunch when we left around 11:30 am. While we give the food only three out of five stars, we plan to return for lunch instead of breakfast. We really enjoy the homey atmosphere and the lunch entrees are tastier. Plus they offer cornbread to eat while you are waiting for your entrees to arrive so the wait doesn't feel so long. I absolutely love their Wednesday Special Chicken Pot Pie. Sadly, I'm rarely able to get there early enough prior to them selling out. On the other days of the week, I order the Chef Salad, Fried Chicken Salad or the Catfish Platter. Are you a fan of Cracker Barrel, what's your favorite entree?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There are over one hundred of them listed on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board. Please do me a favor and share this restaurant review blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook. Sharing would be most appreciated:

Follow this blog via Facebook
&
Have a PEACEful Day!

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato




Saturday, February 16, 2019

Intro to Cooking for Your Dog - Cod & Green Beans Recipe


Maltese Leo's Green Beans & Cod Dinner


I've always cooked either meat and or vegetables for our dogs and placed it on top of their dry dog food. When one of our Maltese dogs, Leo, started to have skin problems due to a food allergy I started making the complete meal for him and of course, I had to do it for our other three also. I've also been making them homemade dog cookies for many years when Shih-Tzu Harvey couldn't eat any wheat due to bowel issues. For Leo, with the guidance of a dermatologist vet, I started cooking different meats and vegetables and by process of elimination determining which foods he was allergic to. It takes serving each combination for three months to determine if there is an allergic reaction. The only foods he doesn't have a reaction to are whitefish and green beans. He's even tried exotic meats from a butcher. Leo can have a limited amount of sweet potato, so I give him Sweet Potato Dogs Treats that I also make. After many visits to several different regular vets, a holistic one and even a dermatologist vet, I learned the process of cooking for dogs and I've been cooking for our dogs for over four years now. Leo's skin has cleared up and it remains so as long as I don't stray from his diet. I thought I'd share my knowledge with you so you could give it a try too. Even if your dog isn't having health issues, you should consider home cooking for him or her since home cooking has so many health benefits.

First, determine what you want to cook for your dog based on your dog's health needs, preferences, what's in your budget and easy to find in your area. Use the website Balance IT to determine quantities. Click on the ingredients you will use, then chose the recipe with the least amount of deficiencies, click adjust for your dog, enter your dog's weight, then click rerun and view. You'll need to convert ounces to cups. I use this website as a basic guideline. If your dog has health issues you want to address you can have your vet approve a special diet via the website. This recipe is for Leo who has a slower metabolism than other dogs so I don't feed as much as recommended. They recommend more green beans, but keep in mind I also give him treats that make up for it. You'll need to adjust your recipe after seeing how your dog does. Closely monitor him or her in the beginning. If they gain weight feed less and if they lose weight then feed more unless they need to lose or gain weight. Also, if they don't eat it all of the food served, use less or place it in the frig for later. You can also tell if they act hungry later in the day then they'll need more. I feed Leo his home cooked food in the early afternoon and his dry dog food late at night. I have found he does well on 1/2 a cup of cod with 1/2 a cup of green beans at lunch along with the addition of 1/3 of a cup of his dry dog food at dinner. My choice for his dry dog food is Orijen Six Fish. He also gets the cookie version for snacks and Polka Dog Cod Skins and Polka Dog Cod Chips as treats and my homemade dog cookies. I only use a few ingredients since Leo has an allergy to so many foods, but you'll want to use more ingredients and/or change the diet up every few days keeping something the same so as not to irritate their system. For instance, you could change up the vegetables and/or grains but keep the same meat or change up the meat but keep the same grains and vegetables. Note that I do not recommend this cod recipe for daily use unless it's due to allergy issues. There may be mercury issues from eating fish daily. Leo's health issue trump that since this is the only diet that keeps his skin infection away. Without this diet, he has to be on antibiotics and that's not healthy. I recommend this recipe 3 days a week, alternate with lamb, beef, bison or chicken the other days. You can purchase vitamins from the Balance IT website or do as I and just use a bit of dry dog food or a vitamin supplement from a different company. Ask your dog's vet for recommendations for their specific health needs. Now let's move on to Leo's dinner recipe:

Cod & Green Beans Recipe

Ingredients

2.5 lbs of Fresh Wild Caught Cod

Makes 10 dinners for toy breeds 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Pour some olive oil on a baking sheet, place the cod on the sheet and sprinkle with turmeric, a sprinkle of pink salt, and some more olive oil. 



Costco Wild Caught Cod


Himalayan Pink Salt, Ground Tumeric & Extra Virgin Olive Oil



Place cod in a preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. While the fish is cooking, cook the green beans via your preferred cooking method. If boiling or steaming use filtered water and salt the water. Leo prefers french cut green beans:



Take the fish out of the oven and make sure it's thoroughly cooked with a cooking thermometer. Place it on a plate to cool for about five minutes. 



Place it in a food processor and grind for several seconds. Notice it's consistency:



Grind the green beans also until they are very small pieces as shown in the photo at the very top of this post. Serve 1/2 a cup of green beans and 1/2 a cup of cod daily. Mix in any supplements into the green beans then sprinkle with parsley.

I stir into his green beans 1/2 a tablet of refrigerated probiotic (recommended by dermatologist vet) from Whole Foods cut up with kitchen scissors, 1 scoop of Plaque Off Powder for teeth, and 1/2 tablet of Cosequin for joints. Decide what supplements are best for your dog with the aid of your veterinarian. 



I serve Leo 1/3 cup of Orijen Six Fish kibbles at night:




Grab 9 freezer Ziploc bags. Place 1/2 a cup of cod and 1/2 a cup of green beans in each Ziploc. Feed one dinner that day on a plate or bowl. Keep three days worth of dinners in the refrigerator for the next 3 dinners. Place the remaining  6 Ziplocs into the freezer. For the next 3 days serve the refrigerated food. On the fourth day take one Ziploc out of the freezer and place it in the frig 24 hours prior to serving and make sure it is thoroughly defrosted before serving. You may warm the food, but make sure it's cool enough prior to serving. Do not warm any supplements, add them after warming the food. I prefer to cook fresh food so that I can freeze it, I don't think it's healthy to refreeze food. If you are using frozen food make enough for 4 days, serving one that day and keeping 3 in the frig. It takes about 5 frozen individual serving cod pieces for 4 days of dinners. I found that frozen cod wasn't any cheaper than fresh cod at Costco, so I use fresh when available. This process takes me about 1 1/2 hours, of course, you could cook daily instead but that would be more time consuming and I find my dogs are very impatient when I'm cooking! Somehow they know when I'm cooking for them.

The food must be ground up in a food processor to ensure that your dog will absorb the nutrition from the food. Dogs can't process the food if you simply serve it cut up or feed whole. If you don't believe me, feed your dog a whole uncooked carrot and check his stool afterward, it will be intact! You will find your dog will drink less water on a home cooked diet. My vet assures me this is ok and it's because they aren't eating salty dehydrated food. Please offer your dog filtered or spring water only, this will help avoid tear stains and it's healthier. I add more salt if they aren't drinking enough. You could always add more salt after cooking, so don't over salt the food before cooking. I prefer pink Himalayan salt because it has 84 minerals and it's healthier. I use turmeric because Maltese dogs tend to have joint issues and this helps and it tastes good. I add parsley on top for fresh breath. You could do some research and chose spices that are best for your dog's health but make sure it's not a spice that is unhealthy for dogs.

Stay tuned for another dog food recipe that I make for Maltese Bentley and our Shih-Tzus. Have you tried cooking for your dog or even a raw diet, what has your experience been like? If you haven't what is stopping you? If the cost is an issue, remember that home cooking will reduce your vet bills and in the long run be less expensive. It also makes your dog happier and increases their life span.  Shih-Tzu Harvey is 16 and Isabella is about to turn 16 in May. If you have any questions about our dogs' home cooking journey or how to accommodate yours, just comment below. Be sure to check out my Dog Cookie Recipes Pinterest Board for many healthy dog cookie recipes and check out photos of our dogs on Instagram. Happy Cooking!

I invite you to follow my blog via FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle +Instagram or Bloglovin'. Please help me out by sharing this post via Twitter & Facebook:



Have a PEACEful Day!



Thursday, February 14, 2019

Isn't It Romantic Movie Review - February 2019



Isn't It Romanic

Starring:

Rebel Wilson
Liam Hemsworth
Adam Devine
Priyanka Chopra
Betty Gilpin
Brandon Scott Jones
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 


This is a review of a movie called Isn't It Romantic that was released in theaters yesterday, February 13th. It is rated PG-13 and it's one hour and twenty-eight minutes long. I wish it had been about thirty minutes longer, it seemed so short. I gave it four out of five stars. Immediately after watching it, I wanted to watch it again which I hate to admit since it was a really silly movie. If I had rented it on DVD I would have watched it again immediately. I found it to be a fun, happy, silly movie rather than a laughing out loud one though many of the other theatergoers were laughing. For instance, the main character, Natalie played by Rebel Wilson had a lot of physical comedy and I didn't find it funny when she fell down or got hurt. Her best friend played by Betty Gilpin was made to look frumpy and I couldn't place where I knew her from. So I looked it up when I got home and she played a very pretty doctor on Nurse Jackie which is where I know her from. Wow, they did a great job of making her not look as attractive and she did a great job acting like a different character which seems rare in Hollywood these days. It seems so many actors just play the same character over and over. I must say though I prefer her personality on Nurse Jackie rather than in this movie. All of the characters had very simple backgrounds that seriously lacked complexity and the plot was predictable. The most entertaining parts were the dancing scenes. It's not really worth seeing in the theatre since most of the scenes were clearly done on a set and not on location which brought down the value of the movie. It appeared that all of the indoor scenes were done on a set. This movie could easily be made into a musical on Broadway. There are a lot of supporting characters, the three main male actors were really fun to watch. Her neighbor, co-worker friend, and the dreamy guy all did a great job, so the casting was well done. Check out the trailer to see if it's a movie for you:



I recommend this movie for Rebel Wilson fans, those who like movies with lots of dancing and those that like physical comedy. Thankfully, Rebel didn't do any of her usual crude jokes which I can't stand and all of her cursings were bleeped which really frustrated her character. It's the perfect movie to see solo or with your girlfriends. I don't recommend dragging your boyfriend or husband to see this one unless he's gay, the payback could be brutal. Send a link to this blog post to your girlfriend to invite her to see this movie, it will be fun! The bar scene was my favorite part. If you saw this movie, which was your favorite?

What movies have you seen lately? Next movie on my list is What Men WantFeel free to browse around my blog before you leave. Take a look at my Movie Reviews Pinterest Board to see what other movies I have reviewed. Be a pal and share this blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook:

Follow this blog via Facebook
&
Have a PEACEful Day!




Sunday, February 10, 2019

31st Hello Fresh Subscription Box Review


Amazing Apricot Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes and Green Beans


Ingredients


Shake It Up Pork Cutlets with Garlic Bread and an Apple and Sunflower Seed Salad


Ingredients


Cherry Ancho Duck Breasts with Pistachio Rice and Roasted Carrots


Ingredients


This is a review of our 31st delivery from a weekly food subscription box called Hello Fresh. This week we gave two recipes five out of five stars and one recipe three stars. Calories range from 560 to 950 and the preparation time stated on the recipe cards ranges from 20 to 40 minutes. Actual preparation time was 50 to 60 minutes.

Amazing Apricot Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes and Green Beans

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. The apricot sauce was tart. The fingerling potatoes and the green beans were yummy. The chicken didn't seem to be up to its normal quality. The recipe card states it will take 35 minutes to prepare while it took Hubby 50 minutes. It has only 560 calories and it was a generous and filling portion.

Shake It Up Pork Cutlets with Garlic Bread and an Apple and Sunflower Seed Salad

We gave this recipe five out of five stars. It was absolutely scrumptious! I had never had fried pork before so I was amazed at how tasty it was. The seasoning was garlic, paprika, and onion it was delicious on the pork. Panko is my favorite batter for frying. The garlic bread was yummy and I'm quite picky about garlic bread. The salad was very tasty, we had leftover salad and bread so it was an overly generous portion. The recipe card states it will take 20 minutes to prepare while it actually took 60 minutes. It comes in high in calories at 900, but it makes for the perfect cheat meal, definitely cheat worthy!

Cherry Ancho Duck Breasts with Pistachio Rice and Roasted Carrots

We gave this recipe 5 out of 5 stars. Every single duck breast recipe we have made from Hello Fresh has been stupendous. The baby carrots were tender and delicious. The cherry sauce was awesome. I'm not crazy about pistachios in my rice, that's the only thing I'd change. The duck was tender, moist and scrumptious. The recipe card states it will take 40 minutes to prepare while it actually took 55 minutes. It has 950 calories which is high so it makes for the perfect cheat meal. It was a filling portion.

If you haven't given Hello Fresh a try I recommend you grab the $40 coupon below, pick the week to ship and pick which recipes you want to try today! They are my current favorite meal kit service. Be sure to visit my Hello Fresh Pinterest Board to check out the other recipes we have made so far. Feel free to put your feet up, grab a cup of coffee or tea and browse around my blog. I'm sure you'll find other reviews that you fancy.

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh - $40 off 
Home Chef - $30 Off 

I invite you to follow my blog via FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle +Instagram or Bloglovin'. Please help me out by sharing this post via Twitter & Facebook:

Have a PEACEful Day!


Friday, February 8, 2019

22nd Plated Subscription Box Review



Broccolini and White Cheddar Soup in Sourdough Bread Bowls


Ingredients


Pimiento Cheeseburger Sliders with Pretzel Buns and Arugula


Ingredients


Fontina Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts


Ingredients


This is a review of our 22nd delivery from a weekly food subscription box called Plated. This week we gave one recipe five out of five stars, one recipe three stars and one recipe two stars. Calories ranged from 530 to 1220 and the preparation time stated on the recipe cards ranges from 20 to 50 minutes. The actual preparation time was 47 to 60 minutes. Our favorite recipe this week was the Broccolini & White Cheddar Soup. 

Broccolini and White Cheddar Soup in Sourdough Bread Bowls

Oh my gosh, this recipe was to die for, it was insanely delicious. We gave it five out of five stars. Yeah, the calories are really high coming in at 1220, but most people don't eat all of the bread which brings down the calorie count. This is a cheat worthy meal for sure! I tend to shy away from creamy dishes since they usually upset my stomach, but this one was made with milk instead of heavy cream so it was fine. Hubby added some red chili pepper and thyme to the broccolini, carrots, salt, and pepper when he roasted them. We chose to chop the vegetables rather than blend them since we prefer our soup chunky. It was a generous and filling portion. The recipe card states that it takes 35 to 45 minutes to prepare while the actual preparation time was 55 minutes. We don't like to rush making soup since it tastes better when you let the flavors blend together while on the stove top.

Pimiento Cheeseburger Sliders with Pretzel Buns and Arugula

We didn't care for this recipe, the beef didn't seem to be up to our standards, it was tough. Neither of us cared for the flavor of the pimiento cheese. The buns were of low quality or they weren't fresh, I'm not sure which. The dressing was made with white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and it really needed some spice, lemon juice or something to liven it up. This recipe has 890 calories and it states it will take 20 to 30 minutes to prepare. It was a filling portion which I did not finish. Actual preparation time was 47 minutes.

Fontina Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. The recipe had us cook the leeks too long so they weren't as tasty as they could have been nor did they have the proper texture. The cheese had a sour taste neither of us cared for. The brussels sprouts didn't have an appetizing scent. Normally we love brussels sprouts. This one has only 530 calories and it was a large and filling portion. The recipe card states it will take 40 to 50 minutes to prepare while it actually took Hubby an hour.

It was a mostly disappointing week of recipes, I'm finding that Plated's recipes aren't as tasty as they use to be in previous years. The previous box we ordered was during the holidays and FedEx took too long to deliver it so once it got here it was ruined. Plated gave us a store credit. We are expecting another shipment in March since I liked the look of the recipes and the other meal kit services didn't have anything I wanted to order. Our favorite meal kit company is currently Hello Fresh. Which one is your favorite? If you haven't tried a meal kit service before, snag one of the coupons below and give one a try. Check out my many reviews to determine which one suits your family best. Be sure to check out the rest of the recipes I reviewed via my Pinterest Plated Subscription Box Board

Bargain Alert:

Green Chef 66% off (Buy 2 meals get 4 free!)
Hello Fresh - $40 off
Home Chef $30 off
Sunbasket $60 off ($40 1st + $20 2nd box)*
Terra's Kitchen $40 Off

I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin'Networked Blogs and Facebook. Be a pal and share this post with friends via Twitter & Facebook:

Have a PEACEful Day!




Thursday, February 7, 2019

69th Home Chef Review & Giveaway




Jerk Chicken Thigh-Stuffed Poblanos with Pineapple and Pickled Red Onion


Ingredients


Creamy Piccata Chicken with Cheesy Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots


Ingredients


Pork Tenderloin with Garlic Rosemary Cream Sauce


Ingredients


This is a review of our 69th delivery from a weekly food subscription box called Home Chef. This week we gave one recipe 4 out of 5 stars and two recipes three stars. Calorie range from 493 to 555 and carbs range from 23 to 33. Preparation time stated on the recipe cards ranges from 35 to 55 minutes. Actual preparation time was 45 to 60 minutes. Our favorite recipe this week was the Creamy Piccata Chicken. Scroll down if you are only here to enter the giveaway.

Jerk Chicken Thigh-Stuffed Poblanos with Pineapple and Pickled Red Onion

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. It tasted like sweet & sour chicken while I was expecting something spicy. I guess I should have looked at the recipe card because it states it's a mild dish. The jerk sauce wasn't flavorful enough. The chicken was very moist and tender. Hubby added more mozzarella since we like more cheese. I know they like to keep the calorie count down, but we prefer a few more calories and lots of cheese instead. The recipe card states it will take 35 to 45 minutes to prepare while it took Hubby 60 minutes. The calories are coming in at only 483 and the carbs are 33 g. It was a very generous portion, I couldn't eat it all.

Creamy Piccata Chicken with Cheesy Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

We gave this recipe four out of five stars and it's our favorite recipe for the week. The sauce was awesome, carrots tasty, but the Brussels spouts needed something extra to come in at five stars. This is a low calorie and low carb meal coming in at only 554 calories and 25 g of carbs. It was a very filling meal that took 45 minutes to prepare just as stated on the recipe card.

Pork Tenderloin with Garlic Rosemary Cream Sauce

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. It was just too simple for our taste. Normally their pork tenderloin is very tasty, this one wasn't as good. There wasn't enough sauce and I wasn't crazy about its flavor. The green beans were tasty. It took 60 minutes to prepare while the recipe card states up to 45 minutes. This one has only 555 calories and 23 g. of carbohydrates. 

Check out my Home Chef Pinterest Board to see all the recipes we have made over the years. Tomorrow we are expecting a box from Hello Fresh. I haven't been purchasing as many meals from Home Chef lately since Hello Fresh is our current favorite meal kit service. I have 5 different meal kit service coupons ready to be snagged below. Time to make cooking fun again and give them a try. Click on the link, chose which week you would like it delivered and chose your recipes today! Let the fun begin!


If you would like to enter to win a free Home Chef box, enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner must be over 18 years old, have never subscribed to Home Chef, provide me with their email address, provide Home Chef their credit card number in case they want to continue with the service past the first box and live in the US (not in Hawaii & Alaska). Winner will be sent an email from Home Chef & simply need to click on the link to redeem their free box online. To cancel future shipments: visit their website and go to account info, then chose "pause subscription".

Bargain Alert:

Green Chef 66% off (Buy 2 meals get 4 free!)
Hello Fresh - $40 off
Home Chef $30 off
Sunbasket $60 off ($40 1st + $20 2nd box)*
Terra's Kitchen $40 Off

I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin'Networked Blogs and Facebook. Be a pal and share this post with friends via Twitter & Facebook:


Have a PEACEful Day!