Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Let It Snow

Another record of snow! Seems like everywhere we live there has to be a record of some kind set for the weather people to carry on and on about for a good while. And, for a good while in Central Arkansas we have a record snow on the ground! So, I just say...(sorry for the other 37 videos, must have been an operator error on my part when I retrieved the embed code from my YouTube account, however I am leaving them in so my kids, grand kids, and future grand kids will be able to view them here as well!)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

On A Quest For a Fried Chicken Frenzy...

Had a 3 piece with fries, fried chicken wing frenzy today when I stopped in at Sharks Fish & Chicken. Only $3.99! I have been enjoying Sharks in the North Little Rock area for a couple of years and now they have at least three locations (including the Little Rock area) to Shark frenzy these days. Sharks has got the formula:

Good Food + Good Service + Reasonable Prices = Great Place to Eat!

Sharks Fish & Chicken on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 5, 2012

On A Quest For A Healthier Way of Eating

Stopped in at the Root Café the other day just to get a small snack. I chose the Sweet Potato Fries for a sweet $3.50 and this really hit my snack spot! The fries were not real crispy but, that was OK, they were delicious!! This large order of hand-cut sweet potatoes with a spicy Hickory Chip mayo was to Di for. Maybe the fries lost a little healthy when they got fried, but at least it's a step in the eating better and locally direction.

The Root Café is truly a wonderful place to support. Since 2008, they have connected "individuals, families, organizations and businesses of Central Arkansas by offering a focal point for sustainable activities in the area." Going with the shop local ideology, the Root Café uses locally grown or produced items such as meats, breads, and cheeses and makes everything a delicious experience!

Stop by the old dairy bar place on South Main and experience an eclectic "turn-of-the-century" decor and a certified green roof!

Root Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On A Quest For...Always Looking For Something New

You never know what you're missing out on, if you don't try something new every once in a while. Always looking for something new led me straight to Hardin Farms and Market Too out Hwy 165 toward Scott, AR yesterday. Sandwiches, BBQ, fresh vegetables, homemade goodies, ironwork, country store items, and catering seem to be just a few of their spectacular specialties. I tried the Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich ($7.99) which was served on sourdough along with a pickle slice and soon forgot how I had thought the price seemed a little steep. Delicious! Also, brought home some of Mee Mee Deb's Pimento Cheese ($5.99) which I haven't been able to stop snacking on since I bought it. Another impulse splurge was various soup packets ($6.99) that are great for gift giving! The mums were beautiful and the pumpkins were priced way under 40cents/lb and it's just too bad I bought mine for 48cents/lb at Wal-Mart the other day.  This is a sweet lil hole in the wall you might want to visit now that autumn has finally made it's way to the Natural State, and it's always nice to find something new as you ramble down the back roads of Arkansas!

Hardin Farms & Market Too on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So That's What The Problem Was At The AR Arts Center This Summer...

Read in the newspaper this morning that the Arkansas Arts Center laid off three marketing staff employees this past Monday and hired Stone Ward Advertising to help them out of their 'unfortunate' situation. The article went on to say that the Arts Center had laid off two staff members in June as well.

Hummm.....I knew something was really wrong at the Arts Center because I had read about their financial hardship from a low performance of the 2009-10 Pharaoh's exhibit. I also read where Alice Walton (THANKS AGAIN, ALICE) gave a whopping $1 million to help them out. And on a more personal note, I had taken an art class there this summer and had a heck of a time getting them to take my money for the class. Finally after two months, numerous phone calls, conversations, and emails, they deposited my check of $204. Didn't realize they were working as a skeleton crew.

I do hope the Arts Center turns itself around with the innovative ideas of Millie Ward, co-owner of Stone Ward who plans a lot of new happenings such as:

  • Transforming the gallery experience
  • Making the atrium and box-office areas more welcoming
  • Designing a mobile app (YEA)
  • Using e-mail, texts, Facebook, and Twitter (YEA)
  • Creating events during lunchtime (YEA)
  • Creating a Pinterest following and Google Art (online) Project (YEA)
  • Offering online sign ups for classes (the present one is a nightmare to maneuver) 
  • Efforts to reach the younger crowd
Hard to believe this fine organization hasn't (ALREADY) done some of the things mentioned above...oh well, best wishes Arts Center...I don't want my grandkids (or me) to grow up without you!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

On A Quest For...Sprucing UP A FB Timeline

Found these great places online to spruce up a FB timeline. Sure, baby pics, grade schools shots, and vases of flowers are fine for a while but, for more creative ways to express your most inner thoughts and feelings (surely by now your sharing every ounce of your persona [hopefully not non grata] to all other online creatures), check out these cool websites!
  1. http://www.fbcoverpix.com/
  2. http://covercanvas.com/
  3. http://coverjunction.com/
  4. http://www.faceitpages.com/
I'm very pleased with my new FB timeline...and, I can't wait to change it (fickle, fickle)...so many options!! Remember, maneuver the web carefully, it is your friend...

Friday, August 31, 2012

On A Quest For...Letting Go of Stuff

According to an anthropological study of 32 California families, Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, the average home contained 438 books and magazines and 139 toys! I understand...

Just recently sold a home I've had for ten years...a lot of stuff accumulates in ten years. Most of this (excess baggage) is in my garage at the moment because I have a whole houseful of other stuff I already live with. This new garage stuff is waiting for sorting, labeling, tossing, keeping, and eventually SELLING!

Tired of accumulating stuff...too much stuff...high stress levels just taking care of all of this stuff...need to quit buying more stuff...need to quit trying to keep up with those darn Kardashians! See you at the garage sale...I'm sure you need more stuff...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On A Quest For My Yin and My Yang

While recently philosophizing (is this a word) with my beautiful, hippie/guru daughter (product of the 60s...late 60s I might add), I realized there have been many control freaks (still are) in my life (as hers). I use to be one...a CF, that is...but gladly gave that up about thirteen years ago (long story/later blog). However, to this very day, I must confess, there is a dilemma (inside my whole self) about giving in to my Yin (dark side) and staying a CF or going forward to the Yang (light side), thus, becoming a leader.

Oh, you say...leader...how presumptuousness...well, somebody has to make a #?*! decision. Sorry, my Yang side, oops, Yin side came out for a brief moment ( #?*! dyslexic, too). Anyway, I learned that the opposite of CF is leader, and I am always in a struggle to let the two forces interact, consequently hoping to form a HAPPY MEDIUM...which is what I have always been On A Quest For in the #?*! first place. Hope you're having less trouble with your Yin and your Yang...Peace, Love, and Joy to you...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

(Almost New) Greek Haven In Sherwood

Found this great little hole in the wall on Kiehl Avenue which serves a variety of cultures including Middle Eastern, Greek, and American appetites. Actually, I have been to a restaurant at this same location a couple of years ago (named Mama's something or other) however, upon returning this past month, this is not the same Mama it used to be. This (almost) new place is run by a group of guys who really know how to cook authentic Greek food and pretty good American fare as well.

The Hummus Dip w/Pita Chips was really good as were the Shrimp Souvlaki (on pita bread with onions, tomatoes, and tzaziki sauce) and Falafel Sandwiches (chick pea patties with tomatoes, pickle slice, and tahini sauce on pita bread)! Mama's even knows how to make a delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs with Garlic Bread on Wednesday and Thursday. Gotta get there early for the Italian food...goes really fast! Mama has this place in top condition with clean surroundings, reasonable prices, friendly service, and delicious homemade delicacies (don't forget the Baklava)!

Mama's Gyros on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 13, 2012

On A Quest...For the Big One!

This past weekend we went to our favorite trout fishing place in Arkansas, Rose's Trout Dock in the  Norfork area right outside of the quaint little town of Calico Rock, AR. This little hole in the wall area is truly a hidden jewel on the White River! The bluffs and river are breathtakingly beautiful, as well as, loaded with a lots of rainbow, cut throat, and brown trout. Unlike the Red River in the Heber Springs area, the trout up North are well, thriving, and not in any danger of hot waters due to extreme drought and rain conditions experienced in Arkansas this year.

We go a couple of times a year, stay in the fully equipped cabins, rent the boats from Rose's, and have never gone away empty handed! This year I really didn't pull my weight (caught one) but our party did come away with a nice catch for one day of 10 good sized rainbows. No big one yet, maybe someday...will pan fry tonight with a great recipe from Just Trout by Ray Horn.

How to make Calico Rock's Fried Trout:
6 trout, about 12 inches each
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon tarragon, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
one lemon, thinly sliced (optional)
Rinse trout under cold running water; pat dry with paper toweling. Pour buttermilk into a medium size bowl or shallow baking dish and dip trout in the buttermilk, coating well. In a small bowl combine the mustard, tomato paste, tarragon, salt and pepper. coat trout with mixture on both sides. Combine the flour and sesame seeds in a clean baking dish or pie plate and press the trout into the mixture to coat all over.  Place the trout on a rack and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes to make the coating stick.
In a large heavy skillet heat the vegetable oil. Place trout in hot oil and be sure not to crowd them. Cook for 5 minutes on each side or until trout flakes easily with a fork.  Transfer trout to a heated platter. Garnish with lemon slices; serve immediately.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Cure For These HOT Southern Summertime Blues...or Back To The 60s (The Good Ole Days)

Back in the good ole days, summer was always the best season of the year! Sleeping late, cooling off in the lakes, hanging with your friends, and letting the cares of the world (parents/school) not upset your summertime joy. Things do change when you're an adult...and, the summer of 2012 has really been a hard one to enjoy (as an almost elderly adult) in the Natural State. This summer our Arkansas weather will go down in history (just like the summers of '54 and '80) as a record breaking heat and drought nightmare!

Gee, I miss those summers of old (the good ole days) for many reasons. And, I'm aching to leave these triple digits and return to those glorious upper 90s along with thunderous rainfalls that always bring about our famous and unbearable Arkansas humidity. Oh well, this heat and drought shall pass and in the meantime, I've discovered a few amazingly fun indoor outlets...

  1. Buying cool shoes at the mall.
  2. Posting on all my blogs.
  3. Chatting, reconnecting, and emailing with my real sisters.
  4. Digging into good reads like, B. R. Fleming's, Summertime Blues. On my second reading because it is so expertly written about those awkward years from teenager to young adult (along with tons of fun, sex, rock & roll) and is situated in a small Southern town in the 60s. Hummm...been there, done that, bought many tie dye t-shirts, and now I'm reading the book! 
  5. Enjoying simpler recipes like Beef Enchilada Casserole.  
I may be time traveling back to the 60s and beating the heat inside for now, but certainly looking forward returning soon to the great Arkansas outdoors, more normal temps, and life as an almost elderly adult (with days that just don't seem like the good ole days)...and, what pray tell are you doing to beat these HOT Summertime Blues?


Friday, August 3, 2012

On A Quest For...the best vet in Central Arkansas or Dash Goes To The Doctor

I know I haven't been to all the vets in the Central Arkansas area but, I think I've found a Pet Angel in the animal care department. Dr. Lee Misak, DVM in Jacksonville, AR has got to be the nicest and most compassionate caring doc for animals, not only in Central Arkansas, but in the whole world! He's also pretty great with diagnosing, surgeries, and plain ole routine office visits. And, he's the most affordable vet I've ever used.

I found Dr. Misak back in 1987 when I lived way over in west Little Rock but would travel to Jacksonville and Dr. Misak for all my animal needs. I have remained a faithful follower all these years. OK, I did have to drop off when I moved to the NWArkansas area but, Dr. Misak was always my back up if I ever needed him.

This Monday, Dr. Misak will do a minor benign lumpectomy on Dash (pictured below anxiously awaiting his diagnosis in Dr. Misak's waiting room). Nice to have a Pet Angel when you need one! Thanks, Dr. Misak and all your staff, for all you do in the animal world and thanks for making Jacksonville Animal Hospital a great place to visit! Oh, BTW your waiting room (STAY, SIT, Doctor Will Be With You Shortly) full of doggie and kitty cat owners are just as special and nice as you and your wonderful wife, Nikki are!

On A Quest For...National Sister's Day 08.15.12

No sisters...no problem! You don't have to have real sisters to celebrate National Sister's Day, just have a memorable day with the real sisters who are in your life. I want to thank those special sisters who are always there for me through thick and thin, who think I'm a good egg even though I'm really half cracked, who hold our friendship with both hands, and who, like myself, finally know who really matters, who never did, and who always will. You are all like different shades of roses from the same magical garden. Thanks for making every day a blooming special day. Love you, sisters!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dejá Vu on the Buffalo

We are so fortunate to have the Buffalo River in our own backyard! And, 2012 is the Buffalo's 40th anniversary as the very first national river appointed by Congress in 1972. And, because they didn't dam the Buffalo way back then, this river's natural beauty will be forever unchanged and always enjoyed by me (since long before 1972) and those who love it for generations to come. So, while enjoying the pristine areas of the Buffalo the other day (for the umpteenth time),  I certainly wasn't prepared for the dejá vu moment that jumped on me like green on a bean...

At the Pruitt Landing on Hwy 7 in the Jasper area, I stopped for a closer look at a beautiful opening on the Buffalo, and as I slowly drove down toward the swimmers splashing in the river, I realized immediately that it had long ago been an overnight camping area (now a swimming and picnic day park) that a friend and I had visited in 1958! 55 years can put some serious strain on your memory and although I had always remembered the trip, I was way too young to remember where, in Jasper, my third grade friend, Rita, her parents, and I  had stopped for the week end, pulled out the tent, cooked over an open fire, and swam below the bridge off Hwy 7. Rita and I even met a cute boy that weekend... Some things you never forget, some things you certainly want to, and some things jump out at you in a dejá vu moment that you get to experience all over again just as good (well, almost) as the first time...

Monday, July 23, 2012

On A Quest For...Who's Keeping Up Appearances in Your Circles?

You have to love (or hate) this character who seems way too REAL for me! Hyacinth Bucket  constantly thinks herself superior to all others, she's forever embellishing her common social status, she's repeatedly struggling to keep up with the Jones (these day the Kardashians), she has no real friends or anyone who is able to tolerate her for an extended period of time (except her husband Richard), and above all she is overly positive while consistently oblivious to all the negativity she creates in her life. I've got a few Hyacinths in my circles, don't you?

Friday, July 20, 2012

On A Quest For...The Lost Art of Thank You Notes

"Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other."
                                            Randy Pausch ~ The Last Lecture

So, when was the last time you sent an old fashioned, simple yet powerful, one of a kind gesture of thoughtful appreciation to someone who did something really nice for you ~ like a hand written thank you note? Well, that's too long.

Don't be one of those to loose such a beautiful thing in your life (along with other lost arts such as letter writing, secret keeping, or reading a real book to name a few). Choose to send notes of praise to family, friends, or even strangers who go out of their way to maybe buy a gift, donate some food, give some of their time, loan you some money. Choose not to be one of the ungrateful...send a note to someone today! And, yes...emails, phone calls, and IMs  (maybe not as eloquent) do count!!


Monday, July 16, 2012

On A Quest For...the best soul food in Arkansas

Just had lunch today at the best soul food café in the whole state of Arkansas! Hands down the Hole in the Wall Café at the Old Gin in Conway, Arkansas will soon be famous (if it isn't already.) People will drive from all over the state (and even beyond) to try this cozy lil' hole in the wall at 1016 Markham Street smack in the heart of Conway.  They will be seeking out that soon to be famous (if it isn't already) crispy, round, fried cornbread! I honestly can't describe how good it was. The scrumptious food line was filled with tons of choices such as made from scratch veggies, smothered chicken, broccoli casserole, fried okra, sweet tea, coconut cream pie, etc. Nice salad bar as well. Two meals with one pie and two teas came to around $20 bucks with tip extra. Open only on weekdays unless you rent the big room for events.

Thought I knew how to cook cornbread until I ate here today...even the young kid who encouraged us to fill out a comment card on the table (no matter what), was absolutely perfect with his pitch for this simply delightful place!

Hole In The Wall on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On A Quest For...the best BBQ in Arkansas

For many years I have been On A Quest For some really good, finger licking BBQ entrés in the Natural State. And, what I've discovered is that Memphis has nothing on us Arkies when it comes to BBQ! So catch me if you can as I keep lookin', eatin', and bloggin' for the most succulent, delicious, meaty, BBQ in Arkansas! If you have a favorite, please tell me in the comment section below and I will travel far and wide to see if you know what you're blabbin' about!

My first quest is here at home in the Central Arkansas area. There are lots of these joints all over Arkansas and the Whole Hog Café in North Little Rock has certainly got plenty of delicious, award winning BBQ to choose from. My favorite choice is the 4 Rib Pork Plate butt besides those tender, tasty, wonderfully spiced smoked pork ribs, I love Whole Hog Café because:

  • No standing around waiting for a freshly bused table after I place my order. Now of course there might be a short time in the order line, but time goes very quickly and these pork connoisseurs even have trash mags for me to catch up on if I get bored. Plenty of tables to handle lots of folks!
  • 7 Magnificent choices of BBQ sauce: #1 Classic Sweet & Mild, #2 Tangy, Sweet, Spicy, & Tomato, #3 Same as #2 only spicier, #4 Traditional Southern Vinegar & Spice, #5 Sweet, Dark, Bold, & Molasses, #6 Rich Mustard & Vinegar, and #7 Volcano. Guess my favorite, be the first to email the answer to diannehocut@live.com before August 1, 2012, and win a Whole Hog Café gift card from me!!
  • Homemade desserts such as my favorite, Sweet Potato Pie!
I do have a problem with Whole Hog Café...am I the only one in Arkansas who dislikes that sour cream based potato salad? The beans and slaw will do nicely for my two sides whenever I'm there to enjoy the 4 Bone Rib Plate and Sweet Potato Pie!

Whole Hog Cafe (North Little Rock) on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 7, 2012

On A Quest For Dairy and Gluten Free Delights...

The other day, lunch at the Dempsey Bakery was such a wonderful dairy and gluten free experience! I actually went overboard and tried just about one of everything and then bought a few take home items, as well. Pricey but soooo worth it! With plenty of samples, lots of friendly smiles, and sparkling surroundings this place is the new healthy spot in Little Rock for special needs people and those who just love good food. The Avocado Veggie Sandwich and Tomato Basil Soup were pleasantly filling and left plenty of room for the phenomenal Key Lime Tart and Milk Cake to take home. There is something to this health craze...don't be the last one to experience it!

Dempsey Bakery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On A Quest For Being More Flexible...

I do not know for the life of me why I continue to try new things. Oh yes, now it's coming back. I'm attempting to learn fun things I've never done before, I'm being more flexible and less rigid, and I'm never saying never in this 'harder than heck to live in' world of ours.

Yesterday I attempted a Beginner Pastel Class at the Arkansas Arts Center and I did not last the entire class time before I went crying to the instructor, begging her not to take it personally, as I couldn't flee to the office fast enough in an attempt to salvage my $239 and get into some other class (which they more than happily obliged me with.) However, to save the next old dog who thinks they can learn new tricks the pain, suffering, and embarrassment, I wished I had told them that the meaning of  'beginner' has to do with something as new, not experienced, basics, primer...reminds me of the time as a mom with two kids I attempted to take a Beginner Tap Class at UALR. I'll never do that again.  Oops, did I say never...

Believe it or not, when you're not changing, trying something new, or moving forward, you might just be done in this 'harder than heck to live in' world of ours. Wish me luck with my new Beginner Drawing Class...