Mini-Getaway to Leiper’s Fork

Two of my friends and I have talked about taking a day trip to Leiper’s Fork for months. Leiper’s Fork is a teeny town 25 minutes South of Nashville in Williamson County. We delayed the trip again and again for one reason or another then two weeks ago we decided to take off and go for a late lunch and to spend Friday afternoon exploring. It was SUCH a fun little escape.    

We started with lunch at Joe Natural’s, They have plenty of outside seating in the front and back and a dining room inside as well. We found a picnic table out back, sat down and persued the menu. Their menu changes daily, everything is made right then and made to order so it might take a while, but they will take good care of you during your wait. They graciously brought us frozen grapes and smoked Gouda popovers while we waited just to be accommodating.

We ordered two of their salads and their cheeseburger (which was more like a patty melt, yum!) to split. The burger was tasty, but I cannot talk enough about their amazing  salads! I’ve thought about them several times since our visit and will definitely be going back for just one of these.    

Joe Natural’s is only open from Friday-Sunday from 11am – 3pm, Saturday nights by reservation only. They’ve also just started doing a songwriters night on Thursdays that is BYOB, and they serve tapas and desserts. Puckett’s also has a Thursday night songwriter night as well so it sounds like it would basically a music filled block party on Thursday’s. Cannot wait to go back for this!

Other restaurant options that looked good are the original Puckett’s Grocery and Fly South (it’s owned by the folks who have Firefly in Greenhills).      


After lunch we browsed through antique shops, art galleries and independent boutiques. Some of the shops were affordable and some were not (well, not for me), but take time to look and be inspired. My favorite shops and galleries were:

Davis Arms – this is his gallery but also a very well curated shop of Southern goodness.        

The Copper Fox  

Leiper’s Creek Gallery – Exquisite art gallery; many types and all of which I would have loved to come home with me.  

West & Company – When you walk into West & Co you smell leather and goodness. This shop has a little bit of everything and is somewhere I know my husband or father would like to spend serious time (and money).  

Serenite Maison – This store reminds me a little bit of bigger version of White’s Mercantile in Nashville. Everything from fabulous smelling candles and lotions to French antiques to funky signs and leather goods.  

It was such a treat to feel like we were in the middle of nowhere, Mayberry. There are Adirondacks set up over looking rolling hills of green just inviting you to sit and slow down.      Take 1/2 of a day and lose yourself in this one block, gem of a town. You will not regret it.    



Cali-Style Chopped Salad with Shrimp and Creamy Cilantro, Avocado Dressing

This salad was dreamt up last night based on the things that I had in my fridge, freezer and pantry. Living in Nashville fresh seafood is tough so I am a firm believer in buying the best Gulf caught frozen shrimp to keep on hand.

This is one of the easiest salads ever! Presentation is key, but even if everything were tossed together it would still look and taste amazing. Most importantly you only need to make two of the components: the shrimp and the dressing

Cali-Style Chopped Salad with Shrimp and Creamy Cilantro Dressing:

Shrimp –


I used apprx. 3/4 of a pound for two of us 

1 tsp Chili Powder

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 Tbs. Olive Oil

Thaw and Pat Dry then toss with spices and oil

Heat, non-stick pan; add shrimp; cook about two minutes per side

Remeber, shrimp cook SO very quickly and the worst thing you can do is over cook them. My shrimp needed just less than two minutes on each side, flipping once. Watch them fairly closely and once they start to turn white/opaque on the first side flip them over.

These would also be great on a grill pan or on the grill.

Truly these guys can be marinated and cooked in 5 minutes!

Creamy Cilantro Avocado Dressing – 


Plain, Non Fat Greek Yogurt – one cup/little carton

2 Tbs. Canola Oil

1 tsp. White Wine Vinegar

Two handfuls of Cilantro (1/2 of a bunch)

Juice of one lime

1 clove of garlic (or 1 tsp of minced garlic)

1/4 of avocado (not pictured bc I used the only bit of a very ugly avocado that was still green — make use of what you can, folks!)

1 tsp. salt

2 little pinches of sugar

Throw everything in a mini food processor and then you’re done! 

Dressing will make enough for 6+ salads.. I have put mine in a small Tupperware container in my fridge and it will keep until the expiration of the yogurt you used… Be sure to check that before discarding.

Salad –  

Chopped Romaine Lettuce

One can of black beans, drained and rinsed

One can of shoepeg corn, drained and rinsed

Chopped tomatoes

Feta Cheese

For a chopped salad layer your romaine first then add your rows of corn and black beans, tomatoes, dressing, feta and shrimp!

This salad is one that any guy is happy to eat because there is enough to it i.e. it’s satisfying and the flavors are great! Guys don’t have to know the base of the creamy dressing is Greek yogurt.

Side note, I have left over corn, beans and dressing since I only made two salads last night so I’m already looking forward to putting them to use somehow this weekend.

Enjoy this salad AND the LONG weekend my friends!!! 

Mahi Tacos with Mango Salsa and Mexican Slaw

Fish tacos are always one of my favorite things. I feel like I make them throughout the Spring and Summer. Honestly should starting making them in the middle of January when I am wishing for any taste of Summer (will try to remember this next year).

You can make so many different variations making these an easy dish depending on what you already have at home.



Mango Salsa:




Red Onion



Peel mango with vegetable peeler. Hold mango carefully as you slice away from the pit as it will be quite slippery once peeled; then dice and add to small bowl

Chop avocado. Add to mango.

Finely dice 1/2 of a red onion, add to bowl.

Add the juice AND zest of one lime

Add freshly washed, chopped cilantro (I LOVE cilantro so I use a lot but even just a little bit will do the trick)

Sprinkle sea salt on top and stir. Set aside until ready to top your fish tacos.



Mexican-y Slaw:

Cabbage – Either one bag of store bought angel hair slaw or 1/2 of a cabbage thrown in the food processor

Chopped Cilantro

1 Tbs. Mayonnaise

1 Tbs. Vegetable Oil

Juice AND Zest of 1/2 of a lime (for this whole meal buy two limes; one for mango salsa; 1/2 for this; 1/2 to squeeze on tacos before serving or in your water.. or beer)

1 Tbs. Sea Salt

Pinch of Sugar (1/2 tsp. ish)


Cayenne Pepper


Combine bottom 9 ingredients in a bowl to create a dressing, season with cumin, red pepper and paprika according to your taste. It will be a strong flavor but is needed to give a boost to the cabbage.

Toss the cabbage with the dressing, cover and place in the fridge to season. Could be made ahead of time.



Regardless of which white fish I find at the grocery or have in my freezer I use the same seasoning before I saute/grill the fish.

Fish Taco Seasoning:

2 tsp – Paprika

1 tsp – Cumin

1 tsp – Garlic Powder

1/4 – 1/2 tsp – Red Pepper (depending on the level of heat you like)

Salt and Pepper

Once fish is patted dry and seasoned on both sides, heat a small bit of vegetable oil in a skillet (or send these outside to be grilled). Add fish and cook for 3 minutes per side, until the fish is white and you cannot see through it.

For a more traditional tacos use corn tortillas, for an Americanized version use flour tortillas. Or really just use whatever you have. If you have a gas range run the tortillas over the flame to char them a bit, if not place them on a plate, dampen a paper towel and put on top of tortillas; place in microwave for 20 seconds. Both of these if just to add some warmth to the tortilla and neither of these are necessary.

This is all best served with a cerveza or a marg. 






Taco Night

I would happily eat Mexican food every day of my life.  Not only is it delicious, but the Tex-Mex version is quick to make and inexpensive.  My fiance William and I have tacos about once a week because of all of these winning qualities, and here’s how we do it.

Chicken Tacos

-2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces

-2 Tbsp. canola oil

-2 tsp. cumin

-1 tsp. coriander

-1 dash garlic powder

-1 pinch salt

-corn tortillas

Optional Toppings


-green onions


-red onion

-corn and black bean salsa*

Combine the canola oil, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, and salt in a Ziploc bag and add your chicken.  Let this marinade overnight or for at least a couple of hours.  Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat, and add your chicken.  Allow this to cook without moving it around very often.  This will result in a nice char on the outside.  In the mean time, heat your tortillas over a gas range or you can warm them in your microwave.  Let everyone top their tacos how they please and enjoy!

*I made my corn and black bean salsa by combining 1 can of black beans (drained), 1 can of sweet corn (drained), 1 carton of cherry tomatoes (chopped), 1 green onion (chopped), a little red onion (diced), and a vinaigrette that I made with olive oil, lime juice, salt, crushed red pepper flake, and a pinch of sugar.  This was delicious to eat with tortilla chips too!