Sunday, June 23, 2019

Walland Rally - Day 1 Monday - Heritage Center and Cades Cove

We began Monday morning with a continental breakfast of pastries, bagels, fruit and drinks then headed to Townsend to see the sights beginning with the Smokey Mtn Heritage Center.

The center is a history of the early settlers to the area and the native Americans who preceded them by several thousand years.  The center includes several Cades Cove buildings.  Compared to our easy modern lives, these folks just existed, working daylight to dark to eek out a meager living.

That evening we went to the Black Bear Café for supper and I believe everyone enjoyed their meals, they were out of the trout I wanted so I had a grouper dinner and Bev had the grouper sandwich.  My fish was good but the baked potato was obviously a leftover but I would eat there again - no food porn.

From there we headed up into Cades Cove for a drive around the 11 mile loop road but before we got to it, we pulled over where others were stopped and discovered a mama black bear with two cubs and our neighbor Steve got these shots.

When we first went to the cove many years ago, the fields were used to graze cattle so the grass was short and we might see 100 deer during the trip around the loop but since the park has decided to let it revert back to its native grasses they are much harder to spot unless near the road.

I really enjoyed riding around the cove with our neighbor Steve because as a Townsend native he grew up with many descendants of the family’s who had settled the cove and he know lot’s of info about them plus he and his wife spend a lot of time riding their bikes around the loop road.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


6/17/19 event date

Friday, June 21, 2019

Walland Rally – Preparation Days & Campground

Once again, we are camping with our Tennessee Travelers Chapter of the FMCA and this time Bev and I are the rally hosts.  Since we went as far as Savannah, GA for the previous rally, we opted to stay closer to home for this one and go to Walland, TN, which was where we first participated with this group.  We returned to the same campground except it now has new ownership and a new name – Whispering River Resort. 

The campground has three cabins and 74 RV sites with those on one side of the campground as pull-ins facing the Little River and we have one of those – site E11.  As you can see there is a large open area between us and the river which is at the trees.

Notice that I called it a campground rather than a resort and they have a long way to go to meet my resort definition beginning with paving the roads and sites and eventually looking like Anchor Down which is a true resort.

I got this from another website and it fits with my few– “I consider it deceptive advertising to brand a campground a resort if it doesn’t offer: · An on-site food option · Escorts to the campsite · At least one open pool · Working internet connections · 50-amp service · Paved roads · Paved and level sites · At least 25 feet between campsites · A well-stocked camp store · More than one working washer and dryer · Organized activities · Amenities beyond horseshoes · Attractive landscaping.”

And while not yet a resort, I was pleased with their nice office and club room, which we used without charge, and since our shower was having an issue, I used the ones at the campground and thought they were very nice.

The WiFi had a strong signal and it was plenty fast.  The utilities all worked well but the water pressure was way too high at 110psi and it tasted pretty bad.
The rally began on Sunday night but Bev & I came up on Sat morning to have time to get the lay of the land, get things organized, and do some shoppingOn Sunday night we had 17 for a meal of store bought rotisserie chicken and member prepared sides and dessert followed by some card games which most participated in. 

Tune back latter for some more of our trip.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


6/15 - 6/16/19 event date

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Pan Fried Italian Halibut With Lemon Cream And Caper Sauce

Cindy has a client who regularly gives her fish fillets when they go fishing in Alaska so we had three nice pieces of Halibut in the freezer.  When I recently saw the recipe for Grilled Italian Swordfish With Lemon Cream And Caper Sauce on Roz’s  La Bella Vita Cucina blog, which uses our favorite fish sauce, I had to wonder how it would go with our Halibut.  Cindy and Bev agreed that we should give it a try but I decided to pan-fry rather than grill it.  I changed the ingredient amounts for our three pieces and changed the fish cooking directions so check please Roz’s blog for her original recipe and some great shots of her pretty presentation.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Grilled Chicken Thighs With Mango Salsa

Cindy recently returned from a family visit in Florida and brought us a gift of three salsas, one of which was Mango, and I decided to give it a try on grilled chicken thighs.  We had six thighs and I decided to use BBQ sauce on three and mango salsa on the others – since it was chunky, I blended up some for brushing. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Open Faced Sloppy Joe’s Ala Pam

Bev had bought some ground chuck on sale about the same time that Pam posted the recipe for Open Faced Italian Sloppy Joe’s on her "For The Love Of Cooking" blog so I decided to give it a try.  Bev has said that a friends Sloppy Joe’s are the only ones she’s ever liked so this was a little bit of a risk to make.  I followed the recipe except I salted at each step, added a good shake of Italian Seasoning after tasting the assembled mixture, and changed the garlic toast as noted.  Check Pam’s blog for her original recipe and photo’s like this one below of her dish.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Baked White Fish

After getting both knees replaced, I believed I was good to go for the rest of my life until I developed a left hip issue late last year and when a steroid shot in March only relieved the pain for three weeks I knew what I had to do.  I had hobbled around for a couple of years before dealing with my knees and have learned not to wait for a miracle cure and just get things replaced so I went to see the surgeon this week.  It was confirmed that my hip was indeed in bad shape and needed replacement but I needed to lose 40 pounds before the surgery could be done.  Since I need to lose more than that anyway this will hopefully provide the incentive I’ve needed.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Beer Can Chicken Ala Brenda

I’d been wanting to make beer can chicken and I was unable to find where I had posted about it on my blog so I went in search of a recipe.  I found one I liked on Brenda’s “A Farmgirl’sDabbles” blog that got my attention with two statements - “This easy beer can chicken recipe guarantees moist, fall-off-the-bone meat and crispy, ultra flavorful skin” and “WE’VE PERFECTED THE BEER CAN CHICKEN.”  Here is a pic from her blog which I suggest you pay a visit to for more pics and comments.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Ham, Asparagus, And Mushroom Frittata

Our neighbors had given us some fresh asparagus and Bev suggested we make a frittata from it and the mushrooms we had on hand.  Since we also had some Kentucky Legends ham in the fridge, I went in search of a recipe that used all three ingredients and liked the one from Marcie’s Flavor The Moment blog.   Please check out her site for comments, the original recipe, and more pics like this one that I borrowed from her.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Homemade Southern Red Beans and Rice Ala Mary

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may recall my commenting often about reducing the amount of food in our freezer and I’m happy to report that I’ve made some significant progress and actually now know what’s in there.  I’ve had a package of andouille in there for a while and decided it needed to be used with the first half going to a shrimp dish.  When I discovered some red beans in the pantry, I decided that I’d make red beans and rice.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Pepperoni Rolls

Pepperoni rolls were invented in 1927 by the Country Club Bakery in my home town of Fairmont, WV as a food that coal miners could buy in the morning or previous evening and take in their lunch for a ready to eat meal.  Later on, a beer joint (Colaessano’s), about a half mile from my house, took them to the next level by splitting the baked rolls, adding peppers, pizza sauce, and cheese then re-warming to melt the cheese before serving – they were famous throughout northern WV.  Colaessano’s has long since changed from a beer joint to a carry-out/eat-in restaurant and the family is no longer involved.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Carne Adovada Ala Chef Lea Ann

When we were in Las Cruces, NM this past winter, I tried my first ever Carne Adovada and really enjoyed it, thinking I would make it when we got home but hadn’t gotten around to it.  So while at a Mexican restaurant in Ashville, NC during our recent RV Club rally, I ordered it and what I got looked nothing like what I was expecting.

Now it was time to make it using Chef Lea Ann’s recipe from her Cooking On The Ranch blog – I doubled her recipe to get the one below and after cooking the meat and the sauce I froze half (meat and sauce in separate bags) and cooked half per the directions for this meal.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Three Stop RV Rally – Days 16-18 – Grove Park Inn, Moose Café & Trip Home

We had visited the Grove Park Inn during a rally a couple of years ago but this time we decided to eat at the Sunset Terrace Restaurant looking out over the mountains.  I could almost see the wealthy southern ladies and gents in their fine clothing in this same setting 100 years ago sipping their beverages and discussing the topics of the day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Three Stop RV Rally – Days 13-15 – Oak Plantation And Moving To Asheville, NC, Trolley

Before I discuss our move, a few comments about Oak Plantation Campground on John’s Island, SC (Charleston).  I believe this is just a campground and not up to an RV Park or Resort, but it is a nice campground and we would stay there again.  I base my ratings on their sites being just gravel or grass and gravel although their roads were paved.  We didn’t use any of fixed facilities, but the WiFi was very good, the water pressure was a little low, and everything else was normal.  Check in was friendly and efficient. Depending upon traffic and how many red lights you hit, it’s 15-30 minutes into downtown.  A big negative was the traffic that backs up in front of the entrance due to the nearby traffic light and heavy traffic.  Since it is for sale for $31 million, there seem to be no improvements being made.  

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Three Stop RV Rally – Days 11& 12 – Downtown Charleston, Harbor Cruise, and Pages

On Thursday, I drove the ladies downtown so they could shop at the HistoricCharleston City Market then I came back to the campground to check on the dogs and when I picked the ladies up later we drove to the Maritime Center for a harbor cruise on the CarolinaBelle.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Three Stop RV Rally – Days 9 -11 – Onward to Charleston, Gilligan's, Angel Oak, Old Friend

We closed up shop and got on the road about 10:15 for 105 mile run from Savannah up to the Charleston area but first some thoughts on Savannah's Creek Fire Motor Ranch.  They refer to themselves as a resort but they have a way to go to get there but I believe they will.  The place has only been open for about 18 months and they mostly concrete pads with all good utilities except for a terrible WiFi.  Check in was friendly and efficient and they provided a nice packet of information.  The pool area was nice but the hot tub was nearly unusable due to the chlorine amount in the water.  They don’t offer cable TV but some sites have a Direct TV dish that requires using a box provided by them – not an issue since we have our own dish.  It’s about a 25 minute drive into downtown via I-95 and I-16 but there are many stores and restaurants near the resort - if ever again in the area I would stay there.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Three Stop RV Rally – Day 7&8 – Savannah Historic Area and 8th AF Museum

Warning - Lot's of photos.

Saturday was a pretty laid back day with lunch at the Pirate House being the major event.  The front part of the restaurant was established in 1753 and is in the oldest building in Georgia. A large brick addition was built in the mid 1900’s but the inside was built to match the old original part of the restaurant.  

Monday, May 6, 2019

Three Stop RV Rally – Day 6 – Savannah - Melody's

Our plan for the first day with our club was to go back to Pauls Deen’s Creekhouse Seafood & Grill then drive on out to Tybee Island but with a couple of events happening on the island, there was lots of traffic clear back to the campground so I knew it would take a long time to get to the restaurant and nearly impossible to get to the island.  So we made a u-turn and headed south to the town of Richmond Hill and Melody’s Coastal Café.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Three Stop RV Rally – Day 5 - Savannah - Tubby's

Our neighbors had to return home on Thursday but since they were not in a big hurry to leave, we decided to head back down to E. River St. for another fish meal at Tubby’sSeafood which we picked due to the big line to get in the other day we were there.  No waiting today so we were escorted upstairs thru the outside dining area and into the dining room. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

On The Road For A Three Stop RV Club Rally – Day 4 - Paula Deen's

On of Cindy’s desires while in Savannah was to eat at a Paula Deen restaurant and we opted for Paula Deen’s Creekhouse Seafood & Grill which was Uncle Bubba’s (owned by Paula and her brother) when we ate there many years ago.  It's located on the way to Tybee so it doesn't get any drop in business and it was pretty empty for this visit.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

On The Road For A Three Stop RV Club Rally – Day 3 - Trolley

On Tuesday, we decided to learn about Savannah by hopping aboard the Old Town Trolley for the very informative tour around the historic downtown areas.  Savannah (and the GA colony) was founded by General James Oglethorpe in 1733 and the city was laid out to contain 24 green area squares with houses and buildings around them (22 squares still remain).

Sunday, April 28, 2019

On The Road For A Three Stop RV Club Rally – Days 1-2

After just a five week down period, during which we had to get a seal replaced on the coach engine, we are back on the road and headed for our first of three stops in Savannah, GA – followed by Charleston, SC and Asheville, NC.  Pat, Cindy, Bev, three dogs, and I departed about 11:30 am for the 260 mile drive to the Forsythe, GA. KOA – the 450 mile trip all the way to Savannah is more than I want to drive in one day. 

About two hours into the trip the low engine coolant alarm came on so I stopped at a truck stop and made sure everything was full but it shortly came on again when I got up to 63 mph followed by the stop engine light.  So I pulled over to the side of the road, stopped the engine for a few minutes then started it back up and ran the remainder of the days trip at 58 mph without incident – but not sure why the speed made a difference but very happy that it did.  I spoke with my diesel mechanic at home and he suggested it was likely a failing sensor since the engine temperature was running fine.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Grilled Sausage Again – So Simple And Easy

We had some peppers we needed to use and some sausages is the freezer so we whipped up a normal sausage, pepper, and onion dish and we decided to grill everything.

The main reason for this post is to brag about these sausages from our favorite Wurst Kitchen in Aurora, IL.  Up to now our favorites have been the white brats and the Lithuanian sausages but we now have a third one to add to the list – it’s called T.P.O. which stands for Tomato, Pepper, and Onion and it worked very well with the veggies.  This is one of our favorite meals and a good one for quick and easy.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


4/13/19 event date

Monday, April 22, 2019

Pam’s French Onion Smothered Pork Chops

When I saw this recipe on Pam’s For The Love Of Cooking blog and knowing I really enjoy both pork chops and French Onion Soup, I knew this recipe had to be tried soon before it got lost in my recipe files.  I changed it up a little for our three chops but you can go to her website for the original recipe and great pics.

French Onion Smothered Pork Chops – Adapted from For The Love Of Cooking

3 thick boneless pork chops
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Dried thyme, to taste
2 tbsp butter
1½ yellow onions, sliced (Red onion is what we had on hand)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ tsp fresh thyme leaves
 tbsp flour
¼ cup red wine
1¼ cups beef (or chicken) broth
¾ tsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
¾ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded (more if desired)
Fresh thyme sprigs, garnish
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped, garnish

1. Pat the pork chops dry then season them with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, garlic powder, and fresh thyme, to taste, on both sides; set aside.
2. Heat the butter in a large oven proof cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes, until softened and golden brown and caramelized.

Side Note: If the skillet gets dry while cooking and the onions are getting burned add a bit of water, you want them to cook slowly, not get charred.

3. Remove the caramelized onions from the skillet and set aside.
4. Drizzle the olive oil in the skillet and heat over high heat. Add the seasoned pork chops and cook for about for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown then flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown; remove from the skillet and set on a plate. At this point, the pork is not cooked through.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Ham and Asparagus Strata

The asparagus is coming in and Bev went in search of something to make with it and searched for an asparagus strata finding a recipe for Ham and Asparagus Strata on the Simply Recipes site and this is their photo.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini Ala Lea Ann

When our neighbor, Pat, asked if we could cook supper for a group of about 10 at her church, I went in search of a casserole that might be different than what they usually get and I came upon Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini from Chef Lea Ann on her Cooking On The Ranch blog.  Since I know they like leftovers and I wanted some for us, I doubled most of the recipe to get the one shown below.  The peas and olives weren’t quite double as I only used them in two thirds of recipe – we made a smaller pan for the kids who may not like them.  I forgot to take pics so here is one from Lea Ann’s blog but check it out for the original recipe and more pics.

3 medium boneless chicken breasts about 24 ounces, cooked and shredded
9 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
48-ounce package fresh white mushrooms sliced
1 large onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cup hot liquid from cooked pasta
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 pound linguine (Larry used shaped pasta)
2 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup sliced pimento stuffed green olives or more if you'd like
2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a lasagna pan with Pam.
3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to a baking dish and bake covered with foil for 40 minutes or until juices run clear. Once cooled, coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Turn up heat on oven to 400 degrees.
4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large deep nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. 5. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Lightly salt and pepper and transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the shredded chicken.
6. Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, nutmeg, and lightly salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium. Bring to a boil. Simmer, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
7. In a large Dutch oven bring salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Before draining, with a measuring cup, dip out 1 cup of the hot pasta water. Drain pasta. Return pasta to the Dutch oven. Add sauce, mushroom and chicken mixtures, peas and sliced olives. Stir gently until well mixed. Add the pasta water a little at a time until you have a soupy consistency. Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared lasagna pan.
8. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.

I did remember the plated pic.

Pat said the dish was a big hit with her church group and we really enjoyed our small pan full – thanks Lea Ann for a delicious meal.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


4/14/19 event date