Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day Hike at Harpeth River State Park

Harpeth River State Park

We parked near the Narrows of the Harpeth, as can be roughly seen in this Google Maps Directions from Nashville. Once there we had to walk away from the river back down the one-way street we had just drive down (if you get to the AdventureWorks course you have gone too far) until you see the trail head marker on the left hand side. Once you get to the trail head there are three route choices that are all one way, there and back. We initially took the climb to the left, described as a moderate-steep ascent to a bluff overlook of the Harpeth River (Trail 1). Then we took the middle trail into a lush valley filled with hydrangeas and a variety of other wildflowers, despite the oncoming of fall. We took this hike in September so the leaves hadn't started to change just yet. This trail led a half mile alongside the limestone bluffs we had previously hiked up, to the site of Montgomery Bell's Forge where you can view a small waterfall (Trail 2). Lastly, another half mile trail led to the Harris Street Bridge Access Area, where you get yet another view of the river and a bridge (Trial 3). There are also a few picnic tables available here. We were able to complete this hike without snacks as it was not very strenuous, hiking a total of just a couple miles. 
Following we ate lunch at a small barbecue place in Dickson, TN called Fossie's Bar-B-Que, where we each had pulled pork sandwiches and my husband fell in love with the sides. He raved about the cole slaw, potato salad, and baked beans saying they were some of the best he had ever had. This place is primarily a drive through or order out, but they also have a couple of picnic tables that you can eat at if you happen to walk up to the window to order. He has a real weakness for barbecue needless to say.   

Trail 1

Trail 2

Trail 3

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

mini pumpkin cheesecake recipe & a pumpkin carving party

I am not necessarily Halloween obsessed, but as with most people there are some traditions that I love about it. For instance the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate on holiday reese's is far superior. My husband and I often have Harry Potter movie marathons this time of year, in addition to some other favorites, such as Hocus Pocus and the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. We have carved pumpkins nearly every year as well, most often using the templates you can buy in the store. 
This year I painted a white pumpkin with Martha Stewart metallic acrylic paint for all surfaces in Champagne in a birch tree design, then carved a crow (which ended up being way to large due to the thickness of my pumpkin)  for the pumpkin carving party that we went to at a friends. It was a great time with excellent fall weather, a fire pit, chili, and awesome friends!  

mini pumpkin cheesecakes with gingersnap cookie crust

adapted from A Beautiful Mess

crunchy gingersnap cookies
unsalted butter
4 packages of low-fat cream cheese, softened
1C sugar
1/4C brown sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1C canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie puree)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp all spice
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 eggs

1. Heat the oven to 350. I placed whole gingersnap cookies in the bottom of muffin liners, then placed a small pat of butter in with the cookie. I baked for a few minutes until butter was melted into the cookie, then removed from the oven.
2. Reduce oven heat to 300. Combine softened cream cheese and sugars in a mixer til blended. Add in flour and pumpkin. Next add in the spices, vanilla, and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended.
3. I filled the muffin cups approximately 2/3rds full then baked for approximately 30 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick.
4. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Then I garnished with homemade whipped cream, dash of cinnamon, and part of a gingersnap cookie.