Summer with McDonald’s & Southern Belle Farm

Peach season is in full swing here in Georgia and I’m super excited! Honestly I look forward to peach season every year, and can not wait to savor that first juicy bite each summer! Over the weekend Tammie (Talking with Tami) and I ventured down to Southern Belle Farm to check out McDonald’s new summer treat: a sweet peach slushie!

McDonald's Peach Slushie / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Limited time this July sweet treat from McDonalds

Available for a limited time in July you should definitely take the kids through the drive thru for this peachy taste of summer because we all need something refreshing as this heat wave rolls on!

Peach Slushie from McDonalds / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

You’re a peach!

The event with McDonald’s at Southern Belle Farm was so enjoyable. Y’all know I’m a country girl at heart so I enjoyed every moment we spent on the farm. This beautiful place is operated by the 5th generation of the Carter family in Henry County, Georgia.

Silos at Southern Belle Farm / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Once a dairy farm, Southern Belle Farm is now a gorgeous picture of agriculture here in Georgia and a huge proponent of agritourism in the state. Supporting local farms and business is something I’m truly passionate about. Let’s face it y’all, our nation was built by farmers, and they are who keep us fed today! I love Georgia is promoting agritourism and definitely enjoy the fruits and veggies that have been locally raised.

Southern Belle Farm tour / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Daniel from SBF explaining the best peaches to pick

Southern Belle Farm / Of Fiddle Dee Dee

Growing peaches, berries, muscadines and corn, the farm is open for u-pick as well as maintaining a market filled with fresh produce, delicious jams and jellies, the best peach cobbler and homemade ice cream you’ve ever put in your mouth!

Southern Belle Farm Market / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Tammie and I were able to pick our own peaches on Saturday as well as tour the farm via hayride.

Southern Belle Farm Peaches / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Picking Peaches / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Peach Picking at Southern Belle Farm / Of Fiddle Dee Dee

Talking with Tami / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Picking Peaches / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

I’m planning to whip up a little peach salsa this week and then a pie or two for Independence Day, so hang on for some recipes you’ll want to keep!

Visiting Southern Belle Farm / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Have a Peachy week y’all!!

Old-Fashioned Vanilla-Laced Blueberry Jam

Summer is passing quickly, but thanks to a little time in the kitchen we’ll be enjoying some of our favorite summer flavors well into winter!

Preserving food has nearly become a lost art as the busyness of life has consumed every aspect of our being, but there is something so simple about slowing down, diving into traditions of the past, and savoring simple flavors all year long.  Making jams and jellies, canning fresh veggies; these are things that remind me of my childhood and my mother spending hours a day all summer putting away fresh food we could enjoy all year long.  She still does this and I love being able to have that bit of her in myself, even if so many think it’s out-of-date or old-fashioned.

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I would much rather savor old-fashioned traditions with my family, than get lost in the sad hustle and bustle of this modern world.  Y’all, we all need a little old-fashioned goodness in our lives to keep us sane and connected to all the amazing women in our lives from generations before.

Recently, after spending an afternoon picking blueberries with Madeline at Washington Farm in Bogart, Georgia, I took the time to do more than just freeze berries for cobblers, pies, pancakes, and smoothies; I also whipped up a batch of scrumptiously rich vanilla laced blueberry jam.

There are a couple of ways to make jam, from the simple very few ingredient SureJell recipe (don’t knock it, it’s absolutely delicious), to spending just a little longer on your recipe and relying on the natural pectin in the fruit for the gelling process.  While not using pectin does take longer when making jam, the longer time is going bring really bring out the flavor of the blueberries and give you a richer tasting jam.

I’m sharing my four ingredient blueberry jam recipe today using the fresh sweet berries  we picked which were just right for this method.  All you need is sweet juicy blueberries, sugar, a whole vanilla bean, fresh lemon juice, and time to relax, pretending its a simpler time so many want to forget!

Making the jam is time consuming, but actually pretty easy.  Wash your berries using a colander so they will drain, picking out any bad ones. Transfer your drained berries to a large bowl. I use a potato masher, but you can use whatever to have to squish the berries and release their juices, then measure out the exact amount of berries you will need for the recipe and add to the stockpot you will be using to cook the jam.  This particular recipe calls for 10 cups. Add the sugar you’ve measured and toss together.  This will sit for a couple of hours.  During this time you can make sure you have all your jar sterilized and the equipment you need to preserve the jam ready to go.

After a couple of hours you will begin to cook the mixture on medium-high heat.  During this process you’ll slice open the vanilla bean and scrape it into the blueberry mixture, and throw the bean itself in as well! The cooking requires your full attention as the jam comes to a boil, so do not leave the stove and stir the pot continuously.  When it is cooked to the cosistancy you desire (anywhere from 30-45 minutes) add the lemon juice and finish cooking.

When you’ve made this delectible treat, bake up some fresh buscuits and dig in!  Youre not going to want to wait!  The complete recipe for my jam can be printed here by clicking Vanilla-Laced Blueberry Jam.

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What are your favorite things to preserve in the summer months?

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Photo Journal: Traveling Missouri’s Route 66

“Will Rogers Highway”, “Main Street America”, “the Mother Road”, …. No matter what you call it, historic Route 66 has etched itself in history and Americans for generations now. Movies like Thelma & Louise, The Grapes of Wrath, Easy Rider, and even Disney’s Cars have only added to the lore and mystique of this slice of Americana, even in 2019.

Missouri Route 66 / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

An original US highway, historic Route 66 officially became a highway in November 1926. Running 2,448 miles, Route 66 originates in Chicago, Illinois and runs through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California; ending first in LA and later on in Santa Monica.

If Route 66 could talk it would tell the stories of migrants with cars loaded down with families and as many possessions as possible headed west during the dust bowl looking for better opportunities. It would tell stories of families just after World War II as times had vastly improved, loading up to see all the sights across our beautiful nation. Mom and Pop hotels and restaurants flourished as did little towns along the route and they saw many prosperous days. When President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act in 1956, newer routes began serving travelers with a more direct path, among other amenities, leaving the small towns who had been booming to fade away as they were bypassed. In 1985 the Mother Road was decommissioned and Route 66 lost its highway status along with its traffic.

It may be nostalgia, a longing for simpler times, and even a group or two that values and wants to preserve history, but a resurgence of travel has occurred along Route 66 in the past several years. You won’t find it marked on a map or even as a route anymore when traveling west, but there are plenty of ways to map it out yourself, merge of the interstate and discover some of the United States most scenic and historic byways.

Recently while traveling in Missouri we mapped out a part of our trip to drive a portion of Route 66. We turned off of I-44 E in Lebanon, Missouri and headed east to St Louis about 160 miles. Much of the Route is country roads, some of it has been completely closed off and other areas merged with the interstate, we still enjoyed many a vintage stop filled with a slice of Americana and photo ops you don’t want to miss.

What to See Route 66 Missouri / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Here are some of our favorite highlights mapped out for you!

Munger Moss Motel / oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Lebanon, Missouri’s Moss Munger Motel has been a fixture and serving guests since 1945.

Munger-Moss Motel Route 66 / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Sunset view on Route 66 / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

How fitting to see this sight as we were passing through the backroads of Route 66

Bowling Pin Route 66  / oh Fiddle Dee Dee

While not an original Route 66 fixture, this bowling pin has attracted plenty of attention and stood outside the Buckhorn Bowling Ally in Waynesville, Missouri for years!

Unlike today restaurants when traveling were a splurge and a treat for most families.  Roadside parks were plentiful along main travel routes and were perfect for picnicking and stretching your legs!  I loved seeing this park preserved in St Robert, Missouri.

George M Reed Roadside Park / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Route 66 Roadside Park / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Route 66 Diner in St Robert was built in the last 20 years, but designed as a throwback to the 50’s, where kids might have hung out or a family treated to hamburgers and fries.

Route 66 Diner

Also built more recently, the Uranus Fudge Factory uses nostalgia (and humor) to encourage weary travelers to venture off the interstate for a few moments on Route 66.

Uranus Fudge Factory / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Route 66 Uranus Fudge Factory / Oh Fiddle Dee DeeFudge Factory / Of Fiddle Dee Dee

Country Roads along Route 66 / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Country Views as we continued traveling along Route 66

Devil’s Elbow and its bridge crossing the Big Piney River in Pulaski County has had cars crossing since 1923.

Route 66 Devil's Elbow / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Devil's Elbow Pulaski County Missouri / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Historic 66 Pulaski County Missouri / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Cuba, Missouri has preserved a lot of it’s history, and added it’s own touches to keep visitors interested in passing through the quaint little town.  Known as mural city, there are murals painting on several businesses and buildings throughout the area that share some history of this little town.

Cuba Missouri / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Besides a gas station turned restaurant, Cuba has also preserved the old Wagon Wheel Motel.

The Fourway Cuba Missouri / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

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Mural City / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Wagon Wheel Motel Cuba Missouri / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Cuba Missouri / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Historic Wagon Wheel Motel / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

 When the Gateway Arch was completed in 1965, as a new a uniquely designed monument, the Arch would’ve been a huge stop for families as they made their way through St Louis.

Saint Louis Missouri / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Gateway Arch / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

St Louis / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Have you ever traveled Historic Route 66?  What unique things have you seen?  I would love to hear your adventures!

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Get Your Foodie Fix on Route 66

Happy Foodie Friday y’all!

A few weeks back as we traveled out to Missouri to see Bradley, we left plenty of time in our schedule for dawdling and meandering the back roads. Now traveling through the Ozark Mountains was beautiful, but as soon as it was possible we hopped over to travel the historic Route 66 for a little time travel.

We passed old signage and motels and roadside parks; remnants of an era that has been pushed aside in the name of progress, but we also passed trough towns where folks are trying to preserve this historic highway.

The FourWay Cuba Missouri / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Family owned and operated The FourWay is a former filling station on the Mother Road that has been turned into a local and absolutely delightful diner.

The FourWay Rote 66 / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

I’ll get to the food in a minute, but we must talk history first!

Historic Route 66 Marker / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

First built in 1932, the Phillips 66 station owned by Paul T Carr was in the ideal location right on Route 66 as people traveled from Chicago towards Cali. It would have been a full-service station back in the day where attendants would pump your gas, wash the windows and even grab you a map if you asked.

Via Google Images

A whole different experience than we have now.

After Mr Carr passed in the mid-1960’s, the station was bought by the Wallis family and turned into a Mobil gas station and the offices for their new oil company venture. The Wallis family outgrew the little filling station and it sat empty for a while after a brief stint as a bakery. In 2005 with the help of a preservation grant for Route 66 history and using resources from the archives of Phillips 66 oil company, the outside of the building was restored to its original cottage appearance. Despite the renovation It sat empty until 2015, when an interior restoration was started. This time the historic gas station became the home of The FourWay Restaurant; a Mediterranean themed restaurant with a Missouri twist owned by restaurant veteran, Joanie Weir.

The FourWay Mural / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

The FourWay Dining Room / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

We arrived to this cozy spot for a late lunch and a quiet restaurant, which is perfect when you’re wanting to pull your camera out at lunch and don’t want to feel judged. It was a weekday and 2:00 pm, so I didn’t expect a crowd. Our waitress was sweet as could be and seated us by the window where we could enjoy the gorgeous day while we dined.

The FourWay Menu / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

We started off our meal with the FourWay Fries… steak fries topped with feta, tzatziki and a house made hot sauce. Sounds weird, but it was just delicious!

FourWay Fries / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Since it was just lunchtime, and we still had traveling to do, we didn’t get too crazy with ordering.

Madeline and Audley both chose the Leroy burger, adding cheese and bacon, while I had a fantastic BLT sandwich.

The FourWay Leroy Burger / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

The FourWay Burger / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

The FourWay BLT / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

BLT / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

All of the ingredients are fresh and local when possible. BTW… the house pickles are fantastic!! We were so full from lunch we couldn’t order dessert. It was so hard to say no.

I loved the eclectic decor of the FourWay; the food pairs with it perfectly. A simple menu; a simply decorated restaurant. A meal that reminds you of home; cozy decor that doesn’t make you feel out of touch.

The FourWay Decor / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

 

Window Views from the FourWay / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

The FourWay / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

If you’re traveling through Missouri, venture off the interstate into Cuba and check out the FourWay. You’ll love the glimpse of history in this progressive world.

The FourWay

102 W. Washington Ave.

Cuba, Missouri