Sunday, September 21, 2014

Red Pony Restaurant

Red Pony Restaurant calls itself "sophisticated Southern", and I would have to agree.  It is a solid favorite on the Franklin restaurant scene, conveniently located on our town's historic Main Street.  It is one of Jason McConnell's restaurants (see also: 55 South, Cork & Cow, and The McConnell House venue), and it has a seasonal menu that changes about six times a year to present the freshest fare.  I love that it's right across the street from the Franklin Theatre; from where I sat on the upper floor, I had a great view of the adorable marquee!

image from Nashville Originals

WARNING: I did not get good photos of the meal.  Argh!  I was there with a group from work, so I tried to stealthily snap iPhone pics without looking conspicuous.  Fail.  So please look at some of the beautiful food photos on the restaurant website to get a better look.  Because lately, when it comes to snapping bad food photos, I'm a regular Martha Stewart.  The restaurant has an eclectic and beautiful interior, lots of wood and vintage accents.  I wish I'd captured a bit of it, but again, work events make me a little self-conscious when it comes to taking photos.

I started the night with a delicious cocktail, the Ditzy Blonde, which was grapefruit vodka, pomegranate juice, aperol, and lemon.  So good, I had TWO!  I like "girly" cocktails that many people find a bit too sweet, but there is something for everyone on Red Pony's bar menu.

To kick off the meal, we were so busy munching on appetizers, I didn't take photos!  We had hummus and pita chips, chips and housemade guacamole, flatbread pizzas... holy cow.  It was all I could do not to fill up before our meal.

For my main couse, I chose the wood-grilled beef tenderloin, which came with mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and lemon butter.  The steak was so tender, I could cut it with a regular knife!  I love the entire meal; definitely one of the best steaks I have had in the Franklin area!

Blurry photo... did the cocktails get to me?

Dessert was my absolute favorite, though.  Vanilla creme brûlée, with fresh fruit...  so good I had eaten half of it before I snapped a photo.


Overall, I'd have to say Red Pony is one of my favorite higher-end restaurants in the Franklin area.  Its food is tasty, and the drinks are great.  It is on the pricier side, so it won't be someplace I eat at frequently, but once or twice a year I think it would be worth splurging at this local gem... or during Restaurant Week!

Red Pony is open daily for dinner (closed Sundays), and reservations are accepted.  It's perfect for a cocktail before a show at Franklin Theatre, or for a special occasion dinner.

Red Pony on Urbanspoon

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Slow Cooker Spicy Macaroni & Cheese with Red Gold *Giveaways!*

Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post. I received a beautiful package from Red Gold with cans of tomatoes, a wooden spoon to mix all the goodness, and a tomato red apron to give away...  in order to taste and make the recipe featured in this post, but all opinions are 100% my own!  This post contains links to Red Gold websites.

As a proud Hoosier, I love to use Red Gold tomato products, knowing the company is based in Indiana, sources its tomatoes in and near Indiana, and produces their goods in my home state!  So when Red Gold asked me if I would share their Red Gold 2-a-day Crock-pot Give-a-way promotion (running on their Facebook page September 17th through October 8th), as well as cook up some one of their featured slow cooker recipes, I was game.

I chose the recipe below because I didn't have to cook the pasta (score!) and that felt like a win in itself.  It took me literally 5 minutes to combine the ingredients in the morning, and when Dan and I got home, dinner was ready to go.  Although, you will note that I was half-asleep apparently when I did this, because the yogurt cup in my "ingredients" photo does NOT belong!  That was breakfast.  Oops.  Unfortunately, my "after" photos did not turn out due to lighting/phone issues, but you get the idea... it was a cheesy, delicious meal, and the pasta did cook itself!  (Ugh, blogger photo fails...)  I used spicy mustard because Dan always has like 3-4 varieties in the fridge like the connoisseur he is.  I like that Red Gold adds peppers to some of their products to really add flavor.  I would mix this mix into different sauces, or even into pulled pork for example, to add a kick!

I love adding diced tomatoes to meals, because it add texture and flavor at the same time.  I totally make tomato sauce from a jar feel more "homemade" by adding diced tomatoes to it, a trick my Mom taught me growing up.  No one will be able to tell!

Bourbon the cat is not included in the recipe...

Slow Cooker Spicy Macaroni & Cheese
Servings: 8    |    Preparation Time: 15 minutes    |    Cook Time: 240 minutes

Image from Red Gold

2 cups pasta of choice, uncooked
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces processed American cheese, cut into cubes
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14.5 ounce) can Red Gold® Petite Diced Tomatoes With Green Chilies, drained or 2 (10 ounce) cans Red Gold® Petite Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies (10 Oz), drained

Place the uncooked pasta in the bottom of a 3.5-qt. crock pot that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Add the remaining ingredients, except RED GOLD® PETITE DICED TOMATOES with GREEN CHILIES, to the slow cooker and stir until well combined. Cook on LOW for 4 hours.

Just before serving add RED GOLD® PETITE DICED TOMATOES with GREEN CHILIES; stir to combine.

You can find this recipe and more slow cooker meals on Red Gold's website, here.

Lastly, because Red Gold is awesome, you can not only enter their crock-pot giveaway, but I'm hosting a giveaway HERE on my blog!  You can win a Red Gold apron, plus a comfort food cookbook I've thrown in as well: Back Home with the Neelys: Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours.  Just enter to win in the Rafflecopter below!  The giveaway will run for two weeks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to enter Red Gold's giveaway too, now through October 8th!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post. I received a beautiful package from Red Gold with cans of tomatoes, a wooden spoon to mix all the goodness, and a tomato red apron to give away...  in order to taste and make the recipe featured in this post, but all opinions are 100% my own!  This post contains links to Red Gold websites.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Out of Office

Hey y'all.  Just a heads up I'm taking a week off from blogging to catch up on work, homework, and get my apartment shipshape after a week of traveling!  I'll be back on September 17th with a fun recipe and giveaway, so stay tuned.


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