Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Tin Roof Cafe Closes

Hello friends, 
I'm about to go in for the last day at The Tin Roof Cafe, and wanted to write a minute just to say Thank You! Several times, I've asked guests after their meal, "Was it all you hoped and dreamed?"  And, for me, after my time at the cafe, the answer is most definitely YES, and then some! :)
When I first walked into the farmhouse, I saw in my mind a cheerful, colorful cafe where friends could gather over food, kids could play inside and out, and people would leave with a smile.  And it worked!
I had to go back this morning and read some of my first blog posts.  Here is the first post from April 2008:
If you read to the bottom of that post, then look under it and click on "Newer Post" you can read through some of those first months.  You can see how much younger the cafe (and I) looked, but I hope you can also see how much fun this experience has been for me and what an answered prayer!
Several people thought I was crazy to open a cafe having no idea how to cook or run a business. Now, almost 4 successful years later, several people think I'm crazy to close the cafe.  And, they are probably all correct- I may be a little crazy, but it certainly keeps life interesting. 
I'm a list person, so when I start to feel sad about how my life will change without the cafe, I work on these lists in my head:

Things I can do if I don't work in the cafe:
1) Wear nail polish
2) Wear my hair down
3) Wear jewelry
4) Buy a pair of pretty shoes instead of comfortable shoes
5) Wear "dry clean only" clothes
6) Smell like "Cashmere Mist" instead of "Eau de Bacon"
7) Enjoy other restaurants

Things I never thought about before opening the cafe:
1) Having to wash and dry the tea urns Every Single Night.
2) Mopping Every Single Night.
3) Anything on the first list
4) Cooking soup
5) Bacon is expensive

Okay- these are just a few silly lists to keep in my head to get me through today- There are many more happy lists to come about the past days at the cafe and how it changed my life. 

I saw this quote on Pinterest this week and it couldn't have come at a better time:
"You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one."

This last chapter has been my favorite, but I believe the best is yet to come!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Please stay in touch, friends, and Thank you so much for encouraging, supporting, and believing in me and the cafe.  I am so grateful!   

Opening Day June 25, 2008 with my niece, Lizi.  She's 5 now!   

Last week- Too tired to stand up- just kidding.  :) 

Love y'all,

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicken Mushroom Soup and Laughter on Fox43/WBIR Morning News

Here's the printed recipe:

This was a fun(ny) morning, y'all! Thank you for watching! :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

The sky is the limit!

Or,rather, the mason jar is the limit for root expansion. In an effort to squelch the debate, one of our rosemary sprigs shot up over the past week, ending tens of days of speculation regarding whether or not the sticks would live and sprout or go the way of the do-do bird. The good news is ten percent of our crop lived! Of course we only planted ten rosemary sprigs, so we will enjoy this one little survivor until I forget to water it or remember to plant it outside!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pinterest and Egg Salad

I am trying out Pinterest, and I love it!  There is so much inspiration for not only new food, but everything else in life too...But let's talk about food.  Today I saw a link for World's Easiest Boiled Eggs. Here it is: , and it works!  Did you know I took the Cobb Salad off the menu because I am so bad at boiling eggs?  The peel stuck to the egg everytime, and half the egg white would tear off, and it just was not presentable.  Well, not anymore! Look at these glorious boiled and peeled eggs:

And the insides look perfect:

I learned something new from Chef Brent today.  You know the grey/green ring that can appear around the egg yolk?  That means they are over-cooked.  I'm very familiar with that ring.  These eggs, on the other hand- fantastico!
So I went to work, and if you are wondering what the missing ingredient was on this Facebook picture:

It was the beautiful eggs for Egg Salad!
That's better.
I used mayo, mustard powder, whole-grain mustard, chopped celery, chopped red onion (and then I added some red onion slices), paprika, and some fresh parsley making a random appearance in our warm January garden.  
Then, I put the egg salad on Wheat with mustard, lettuce, tomato, and provolone cheese.  I think I made this one too messy to put on the panini press, but it was certainly good as a cold sandwich!  

So, thank you Mom on a Mission for sharing your hard-boiled egg instructions and thank you person who pinned it on Pinterest. I have finally learned how to easily boil my favorite food!  
...Cobb Salad reappearing soon at The Tin Roof Cafe... 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How do you root a rosemary sprig?

I wasn't sure if the Rosemary plants outside would last all winter, so I wanted to see if I could get some sprigs to grow inside.  So December 7, I planted these:

10 Lovely Little Rosemary Sprigs
I just pulled some random sprigs, dipped them in rooting powder from our local Co-op, and stuck them in glass jars with soil from a bag and a little cardboard for drainage purposes.  As a fairly new gardener, I was completely naive and optimistic enough to think this may work! Obviously, I have a lot to learn.

As the weeks passed, some green sprigs starting turning a little brown. I kept checking on them until I was certain they were brown as in dead, and not brown as in "just processing the new environment, but surely they'll pull through."  And, sure enough, I would pull the rosemary stick out, and it was just that- a dead stick- not even a trace of root. They started decreasing in number. 
One day, we did find an exciting new development: Mushrooms growing around one of the sticks. 
So we moved it into the back room by the mop bucket and let it grow just to see what would develop. It was very interesting until I forgot to water it, and then the mushrooms died too. 

So, we are now down to 2 plants. 
But I think one of them is going to make it!! It seems like there is some new growth on the plant on the right.  I can't tell you how badly I want to dig it up just to see if a root really did grow.  But I'll just leave it be until it stops being green.  As for the plant (planted stick?) on the left,  I don't think it will live, but it has stayed impressively green for a good 6 weeks now, so there's a chance!
Okay, in full disclosure, the left sprig may have had a better chance if I had not pulled it out to see if there was a root.  And we couldn't tell if it was fuzzy dirt or a new root, so I stuck it back in.  That's why I think only one of these may live. 
Have you grown plants from a sprig?  Any advice appreciated!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Challenge: Curry Chicken Salad!

So the results are in....and...Curry Chicken Salad A won!  Whose is it, you ask??  Well, it didn't have this:

Nice cuts and cubes of red onion, chicken, celery, green apple, heated curry powder, etc.. So the winner's didn't look like this:
So pretty and creamy...
But the winner's Curry Chicken Salad did start like this:

And finish like this:

Raisins, Shredded Chicken, Almonds, etc...

Can you tell whose is whose?? 
The contest went like this:
Each curry was tested anonymously.  Testers then had to drop a penny into the correlating jar for their favorite Curry Chicken Salad.  Oh, this was a suspenseful day!! 
Especially after I had issued this taunting Facebook Challenge:
We're having a Challenge: Curry Chicken Salad. Brent made his version. I made my version. We need samplers tomorrow. There will be a vote- and a pronounced winner. Not that we're competitive or anything...but on the (far off) chance that I win, I will ridicule him about his culinary school tuition. lol!

Curry Chicken Salad A and Curry Chicken Salad B

And the winner is:::
Like I mentioned above...And guess what? 
I WIN!  i win, i win, i win!!  lol!!  Oh, I'm going to be hard to work with the rest of the week!!   I won!! Thank you, friends.  The vote was 14-7 for Curry Chicken Salad A!! As in, Curry Chicken Salad Awesome.  Curry Chicken Salad Absolutely fantastic!  Curry Chicken Salad And that's why i love our guests.  Enough?   Nope. Not yet.  But I won't make you suffer through more gloating.  After all, Chef Brent is the one who didn't win today!  Now, he gets to make Breakfast for my Sunday School class on Super Bowl Sunday!!  woo hoo!!  I'm happy all over again!! 

I'm being so not nice!  So here comes the friendly sportsmanlike part:  Even though I won (Big time!),  I think our final Curry Chicken Salad will have elements from both recipes.  I learn stuff from Chef Brent every day because I didn't graduate from culinary school, therefore I have a ton of questions about food!  And it definitely makes it easier to experiment with food when you have a trained chef on standby.  For example, who knew you were supposed to heat curry powder a little before using? I mean you don't have to, but it kind of makes the flavor better.  And while I don't like cubed chicken in my chicken salad, I might like the little bitty bits of red onion and celery, chopped to perfection.  Anyway, we'll iron out the details and look forward to serving this Curry Chicken Salad as our February special! Thank you again for catching up with us and sharing in the fun!  
Curry Chicken Salad Champion (aka Summer)

P.S. If you would like to visit our Sunday School class at 9:30 on Sunday, February 5 at FBC, Sevierville...breakfast will be French Toast Bread Pudding and Yogurt & Granola Parfaits.  Yum! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Resolution Jars

Did you make a New Years Resolution? How's it going for you? I didn't make one, but then I found out Chef Brent had 3- impressive. His biggest resolution is to quit smoking, then there was drink 8 glasses of water a day and eat salad at least once a day. So I decided I needed a resolution: No dessert except for Sunday. And in an effort to encourage him to break up with nicotine, I came up with resolution jars. For every time we broke our resolution, we put $1 in the other person's jar.

Empty Jars = a Great Start to the game.
But I've had an unfortunate realization since we started.  The cafe is a fantastic place for Brent to work with his resolutions- no smoking, lots of salad and water.  This makes him smarter than me.  Because it is not so easy to work here and not eat Dessert!  Seriously??  I really didn't think this one through.

And it cost me.  3 painful dollars to be exact. So far.  :/ 
And then C.J. came in Saturday, and asked about the jars, so look what we have now:

The only problem C.J. has is that he's such a good kid, he doesn't have a vice to resolve against! Thus, he cannot break his resolution. Thus, no money for him.  But that didn't stop him from teaming up with Brent yesterday, and look what I found this morning in my jar:

Hershey bar, sugar packet, Coke bottle cap- they are really trying to get more money from me!  But Im into day 2 without dessert now.  This is ridiculous.  Why would I say no to dessert of all things? 
Oh, I now have to warn you of 2 things:
1) I get a little fussy when I'm staring at cake all day and can't have it.
2) If you come into the cafe one day this week and it smells like cigarette smoke, it's because I stooped to their low, low level and lit one up and blew smoke in Brent's direction. 
This brings to mind another warning:
3) If I try to smoke, I will probably start choking for hours.  
Oh, and 4) This is a non-smoking restaurant, so it's not allowed anyway. 
In conclusion, Chef Brent seems to be very good at resolutions.  Would someone please remind me of this when 2013 rolls around?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Arugula Pesto and Winter Garden

We have certainly had a mild winter so far!  I'm not sure if that's why our arugula is prospering or if this is just typical.  But I like it! I went out to check on it yesterday:
Growing like crazy!  And this makes me laugh- Do you remember the neat little rows it started in?  And then the kiddos were playing in the dirt one day and "rearranged" some of the seeds.  You could really see it here:
This was late October.  And the good news is that after a few months, it doesn't seem to matter where the seeds landed- the whole bed is full.  Because I am new to gardening and expecting everything to freeze up and die any day now...I went ahead and started trimming it some. 
I'm not the best trimmer.  Here is my sweet Lucy-bear after her latest trim:

I know it looks tragic, but as long as she feels beautiful, that's what matters, right?  And I repeatedly remind her what a gorgeous little girl-dog she is, so her self-esteem hasn't suffered.  Bless her little doggie heart.  Trip to the groomer coming soon...
Back to the garden, though...

I chopped and chopped and chopped, completely filled my basket, and there is still quite a bit out there for another day!  And the basket is deceiving- it holds A Lot of Arugula. 
Let's break for story-time.  It was Christmas morning and I sat down beside my momma in church.
This is my momma: 
With her sister Glenda many moons ago. Before she ever could imagine she would have a daughter as talkative as me.  Just kidding.   (Glenda's on the left. Mom's on the right.)   
Back to Christmas morning this year.  She looked exhausted. 
Me: Are you okay?
Mom:  Yes, I've just been so busy getting ready for Christmas dinner with this, and this, and looking the spinach, and this.
Me: What the spinach?
Mom: Looking the spinach.
Me: What the spinach?
Mom: Looking the Spinach! You know- washing every spinach leaf to make sure there's no sand- looking at it and washing it! I can't stand gritty stuff in my spinach.
Me: Bahahahahaha!! What about looking At the spinach, Over the spinach, Through the spinach, or just Washing the spinach?
Mom:  (laughing a lot too)  I just call it Looking, I've always called it Looking. It's Looking the spinach.
Me: I love you Mom. :D
And I do.  She has always cleaned and cooked our food this thoroughly! But that conversation struck me as so funny that day!  Maybe from lack of sleep myself?  I don't know, but it was funny.  Having said that, I completely agree that nobody wants dirt or grit in their salad greens.  So I thoroughly looked the arugula over as I washed and dried it.  It's clean.
So, what to do with good, clean, fresh from the garden arugula? 
I had gotten a tweet from The Food Network with links to some really great pestos.  So instead of having to figure out how to use all of it today, we made pesto to use over the next couple of months!
And I'm not planning to eat all of it today, but it was so, so good on ciabatta with bacon and gruyere cheese. Oh my. I'll save you some!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Snow Day in the Smokies!

I woke up, looked out the window, and said,"yep- no snow." So I went about my routine of coffee and morning news as I mentally prepared for what was to be my first post-holiday workout. When I finally felt ready to face the day, I opened the door to a driveway full of snow!! How did I not see this earlier? I don't know, but look who was loving it:
Rufus, the Wonder Dog ;)

After letting Rufus and Lucy run around for a bit (don't eat the yellow snow!), my husband and I strapped on our stocking gifts- Yak Traks!  Have you ever used these?  They came highly-recommended from my sister.
Ok- you can't really see them here, but they have metal rings on the bottom- kind of like snow-chains for the feet.  And we started out for a morning walk! 

My little camera phone doesn't show the sky as beautiful and snowy-gray as it was this morning. It was really lovely with the clouds settling around the mountains and a good dusting of snow all around.
Here is another view of the roads around the hill we live on.  Not going to drive anytime soon! 
After a good look at the snow and getting our fingers sufficiently frozen, we headed back coffee and french toast.  Yum!  I tried to go to the gym- I really did!  There's always tomorrow.
I will be at work today thanks to my awesome new shoe supplements, so if you're out and about, come see us!  We'll be there 11-4.  Happy Snow Day! :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cooking on Fox43 Morning Show...take 2!

Today was a really exciting day! The fabulous folks at WBIR asked me to come back for another cooking segment on their Fox43 Morning News program.  I barely slept last night- maybe it was the nerves, the excitement, or the comforting cup of coffee I had just before bedtime.  My husband advised against it, but I Needed it. Oh well, I was prepared and early, and if you know me, you know that's kind of a miracle.  (As is the fact I have a cafe.  Never ask my friend Courtney about the fudge incident of 1998. The incident that turned us both against my cooking for many, many years.) (Ok, it wasn't That bad...)(Now that I think about it, Courtney, have you eaten my cooking since then?;)

Anyhoo,  today I made a Loaded Potato Panini, and it will be our January Feature!  I will post the video soon, but here are some photos from the morning:

Prepping for the segment

The prepared panini ready to go on the press

A super-quick photo with WBIR's Brittany Bailey, Abby Ham, and Mike Witcher. 
Do you ever wonder what people are like when the cameras aren't rolling?  No? Me either... 
In entirely unrelated news, these people are So friendly!  And they seem to have a lot of fun at work.  It's fantastic to be around people who love what they do, because that means we have at least one thing in common. :)  Because it certainly isn't height. I think God made me freakishly tall so I could eat more.  I do love to eat...Thank you, God!
Speaking of food, it's supper time. Gooood night y'all. :) 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Christmas Gift :)

I've been waiting... for a day like this... to come into my life...
So I have a reason to indulge! 

In full- and somewhat sheepish- disclosure, I've eaten several red velvet cupcakes this week. :/ The good news is the extra cushioning made the fall from the diet-wagon a little softer on my derriere.  I'll get back on the wagon soon. As soon as 2012 gets here.  One more week of cupcakes before the new year should last me at least another few months of good dieting, right? (Just smile and nod if you need to.) 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


When I started this game, I was nervous about the bazillions of gallons of milk we would be going through here at the cafe. All you have to do is come in and sing your favorite Christmas carol for a FREE 12 oz Frosted Mint White Chocolate Mocha or 12 oz Hot Chocolate. But it turns out, not everyone likes to sing in front of a crowd...or in front of a whopping staff of 2.  However, we did have some Carollers- full of Christmas cheer- who took us up on it!  Thank you everyone who is carolling for your coffee (and chocolate)!  Only 2 more days of this super-fun (especially for me) game! ;)  Here are some of the videos:

Great song!
Not only did they carol for their coffee, but they enjoyed their FREE holiday drinks over a lovely game of Scrabble- what a fun family! :)

Some of our CNB crew enjoyed FREE Hot Chocolates and Frosted Mint Mochas!

But, how could you not enjoy all that peppermint-y, whipped cream-y goodness? 

Then, what to our wondering eyes and ears did appear!

What a fun surprise!
And look who got a free Frosted Mint, White Chocolate Mocha! :)

And, of course, I took the opportunity to remind Santa how good I've been this year- what with giving away coffee and chocolate for a song and all... 

2 Days Left to Carol for your Coffee!!  We'll be closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday!  Merry Christmas!! :)