Jackson, WY: Granite Hot Springs & Granite Creek Falls

Jackson, WY: Granite Hot Springs & Granite Creek Falls

Quick Little Disclaimer: Most of these pictures are from last year. We did visit again this year, but it was raining, so I left my camera in the car. But it’s still lovely in the rain! Granite Hot Springs is in Brider-Teton National Forest, and it’s way up a mountain trail, and it’s only accessible in the Winter by Snow Cat, and hardly anyone knows about it (best kind of springs!), and it’s beautiful! And I would like to mention that I was terrified of two things this trip: 1. A bear. This was the day after we saw the bear and I was having none of that Bears-In-Nature crap. 2. The eco toilets. Am I the only one who is freaked out by peeing into a black hole? When you go there, after you drive up the mountain, on your right side there will be a little pull off and you can visit Granite Falls. It’s very pretty and you could go up and stand in it if you wanted to! And then you go a little farther, and there’s a parking area, so you can park and then walk the rest of the way (not that far) up to the pool. Once you’re there you’ll see some bathrooms, a few picnic tables, and the pool itself. You can go through the gates and pay your fee (it’s cheap, like $6 per person or something), and then there are dressing rooms. Once you’re in, it’s amazing. It’s warm (last year was HOT, this year was warm, thinking it may have had to do with the time of year),...
Iowa State Fair Grinder Sandwich

Iowa State Fair Grinder Sandwich

These are also known as Guinea Grinders by MOST people who have had the pleasure of eating these sandwiches at the fair. But calling them “Guinea” grinders is a bit of a racial slur against Italians. So the original stand changed it’s name to Jennie Grinder. And actually these are more of a Gizmo which comes from the Carl’s Gizmo stand. I always eat from Jennie’s stand at the fair. But I like sauce and broiled cheese. Sue me, okay? Confused yet? Yes. Okay! These contain Graziano’s sausage, as any good grinder does. But unless you either live in Des Moines or have an unlimited supply straight from there, you’ll need to use regular italian sausage from the grocery store. Here’s a secret. And seriously, don’t tell ANYONE I told you. It all tastes pretty much the same in the end! These also contain “award winning” garlic. I’m not sure if it ACTUALLY tastes better. But I feel like it does. It does smell better. Garlicy but not smelly. So that’s something, right? But really, you need to try these as soon as you possibly can! The fair is over for the year, but luckily I’m posting this recipe so you can try them whenever you want! I do recommend going to get a grinder at the fair. And a pickle dawg, and a red velvet funnel cake, and a turkey leg, and some bacon wrapped smokies, and a lemonade shakeup, and and and…. Just, promise me you’ll eat your way through the fair, okay? Actually, the Iowa state fair is the best. I live in Nebraska, and our fair suuccckkkksssss....
Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

It is painful to me how many people have not tried this Southern American delicacy. I’m not even from the South and I am scrambling to my grandma’s tomato garden every year to get some green ones. (Even if she would rather I let her get some red ones!) I could eat these for every meal. When I was a vegetarian, I ate them in place of bacon on BLT sandwiches. Unfortunately, unless you have access to a summer tomato garden, these are not so easy to make since they don’t sell unripened tomatoes in the store. But if you have absolutely no other choice, or it’s the middle of winter and you just can’t stand to wait any longer, you can look for the green-ish pink tomatoes and use those. You want as little juice as possible. Because I’m here to tell you that water + hot grease = explosion. Normally I don’t take you through step-by-step pictures. But it is VERY IMPORTANT (as in, life or death) that these are right! So slice up some tomatoes. Not too thin, not too thick. You want heirlooms or beefsteaks. Romas do not work for this. They need to have enough juice that the coating sticks to them. Then you make a spice blend and an egg wash not pictured because there’s no pretty way to photograph an egg wash). Then you dip the tomato slice into the egg and then cover it in flour. It’s now ready to fry. Then you fry them until they’re golden brown, and then take them out of the oil and put them on...
Jackson, WY: Thai Me Up

Jackson, WY: Thai Me Up

This was not the first time we had come to Thai Me Up in Jackson. We actually were here last year when we vacationed for a week in Jackson. If you’ve never been there, it’s a cool little western-y town. Lots of restaurants, and gift shops, and expensive boutiques for skiing and backcountry hiking gear. Everything is made out of wood and super picture-esque. It’s right south of the Grand Tetons, and you can see mountains on all sides of it. There’s also an overabundance very expensive of furniture stores. But if you’re like us, it’s the restaurants that REALLY matter. Thai Me Up is an uber-trendy restaurant and microbrewery. Their food is good, and this year they had an abbreviated menu which was actually a nice surprise since there was no decision making. And since I had just driven about 7 hours from the Southeast corner of Wyoming, that was welcome. Their beer list is longer than their food menu, and a lot of their brews are Wu-Tang named (Joel would be disappointed in me if I failed to mention that). We got the tempura shrimp skewer for an appetizer since they were super busy and our food was going to take awhile. It was expensive, but it was so good. Actually, it’s on my list of things that I need to figure out and learn to make at home. If nothing else, THE SAUCE. Also, I swear there were 5, but we ate 3 before I stopped to take a picture. They were actually pretty mess-free. Which was surprising, considering, haha. And for dinner, we both got the...
Vegetarian Sloppy Joe (Grilled Cheese Edition)

Vegetarian Sloppy Joe (Grilled Cheese Edition)

You can put these on a hamburger bun like a regular sloppy joe if you want to. You can eat them with no bread, if that’s your jam. You can also make them 1/2 meat and 1/2 lentil. Or add a can of beans if you’re low on lentils. Or you can make them all meat. I like lentils. I don’t like ground beef. But I am here to tell you that making these into a grilled cheese is the best decision ever. They’re melty and cheesy and sloppy joe-y (is that a word?). If you don’t know lentils, they are a similar (notice I said similar and not identical) texture to meat, and are super easy to make. They are also around $1.50 per pound versus about $6 per pound for ground beef (prices obviously depending on where you live). And one pound of lentils is more than enough for dinner for a family of 6, or a meal, and 2 leftover meals for 2 people. If your family is unsure about lentils, try half and half for the first time! Just, please make sure you pick through them a bit. Sometimes there are twigs and pebbles in them, just like in rice. Up until I made this batch I had never found any non-lentil material, but I always check and this time I found a twig! After you pick through them, just toss them in a strainer and rinse them off! Here’s the printable recipe card! Vegetarian Sloppy Joe (Grilled Cheese Edition) Recipe Type: Dinner Cuisine: American Author: Sam (Sizzling Mess) Serves: 6 Ingredients 1 pound lentils...