Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

When you think of Thanksgiving, you think of cranberries. Maybe it’s that jellied cranberry from a can, or maybe your family has a famous cranberry and orange relish recipe that shows up on the table, or maybe it’s a cranberry martini. No matter what, cranberries in some form or another show up each year on your Thanksgiving table., so why not add cranberries as part of your Thanksgiving decorating? Here are some great ideas.

Create a centerpiece using a glass vase (or Mason jar), some store-bought flowers and fresh cranberries. Set the arrangement in the center of your table or serving area.

Use martini glasses, fresh cranberries and floating candles to make a decorative arrangement. Arrange the martini glasses on your table.                                           

Create decorative floating candles using tall, inexpensive glass vases. Fill with orange slices and cranberries, then add a small floating candle. Not only is this decoration attractive, when the water gets warm, the scent of oranges and cranberries fill the air.

 

Kumquats, cranberries and walnut or chestnuts placed in a large glass vase with a votive candle (put the candle in a small glass votive holder for safety reasons) make a cheerful center piece for your dining or buffet table.

 

 

 

Best Soul Food Restaurants in Nashville, TN

Best Soul Food in Nashville, TN

It’s your turn to host Thanksgiving in your ParkCentral apartment, and you want it to be perfect. Whether this is your first turkey or your 50th, these tips will ensure that your turkey is perfect this Thanksgiving.

 Selecting the Right Turkey – There are a lot of choices when it comes to buying a turkey. Your grocery store has fresh, frozen and thawed turkeys at reasonable prices. These turkeys are good choices, but with the recent concern over antibiotics, hormones and more humane treatment of birds and animals, you may want to consider other options. Organic turkeys with no hormones or antibiotics (or additives) are a good healthy choice. They will cost you a bit more, but many feel it is worth it. Many local farmers produce Heritage turkeys, which are an old-fashioned breed and are often leaner and more flavorful. No cage or free-range turkeys are available means they lived outside of a cage, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they were fed organic or vegetarian diets.

  1. Size Matters – You will need between 1 and 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person. Add a few pounds for the bones and don’t forget leftovers.
  2. Brining your Turkey – Brining has risen in popularity over the years and typically entails soaking your turkey in a solution that contains a liquid (water or wine), salt, sugar and spices. You also can dry brine.
  3. Trussing your Turkey – Trussing or tying your turkey up helps ensure that the turkey cooks evenly, plus makes you look like a pro. Simply tuck the wings of the turkey under the body and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Warning: It makes it hard for the cook to steal a wing ahead of time.
  4. Cook on a Rack of Vegetables – Before placing your turkey in the pan, peel and cut vegetables to make a bed for your turkey to sit on. Turnip, celery, carrots and parsnips are perfect choices. This will allow the turkey to sit higher in the pan allowing for better circulation, and it also mean that your turkey doesn’t stick to the pan. Lastly the vegetables will add flavor to your gravy.
  5. Stuffing your Turkey – How we all love stuffing, whether it is corn bread stuffing, traditional bread stuffing, meat stuffing or oyster stuffing. A stuffed turkey takes longer to cook, which means that it could be drier, but nothing beats the flavor of stuffing with the turkey juices, so you decide.
  6. Rub the Turkey with Butter or Oil – OK, you are ready to get the turkey in the oven, but before you do, dry the turkey skin, rub the turkey with butter or oil and place aromatics and butter under the skin. If you aren’t going to stuff the turkey, add herbs to the cavity.
  7. Don’t Baste – You remember Mom’s big baster? Well, many say that this actually slows down the process and can result in a dry bird. Instead leave the oven closed and if you must baste, do it only after the turkey is ¾ of the way cooked.
  8. What Temperature – There are a number of recipes out there with different cooking temperatures, but the reality is that a turkey takes time and an oven set at 325/350 degrees consistently seems to work best. Others (like me) start the turkey at a high temperature and then turn it down. Your turkey should be at 165 degrees F when it is done, so investing in a good thermometer is a good idea. Also remember that it will continue to cook once it is out of the oven.
  9. Let it Rest – The hard work is done, so take a few minutes and enjoy some wine with your guests. Once the turkey is done, take it out and cover it loosely with tinfoil and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tips for Cooking the Perfect Turkey

turkey

 

It’s your turn to host Thanksgiving in your ParkCentral apartment, and you want it to be perfect. Whether this is your first turkey or your 50th, these tips will ensure that your turkey is perfect this Thanksgiving.

  1.  Selecting the Right Turkey – There are a lot of choices when it comes to buying a turkey. Your grocery store has fresh, frozen and thawed turkeys at reasonable prices. These turkeys are good choices, but with the recent concern over antibiotics, hormones and more humane treatment of birds and animals, you may want to consider other options. Organic turkeys with no hormones or antibiotics (or additives) are a good healthy choice. They will cost you a bit more, but many feel it is worth it. Many local farmers produce Heritage turkeys, which are an old-fashioned breed and are often leaner and more flavorful. No cage or free-range turkeys are available means they lived outside of a cage, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they were fed organic or vegetarian diets.
  1. Size Matters – You will need between 1 and 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person. Add a few pounds for the bones and don’t forget leftovers.
  2. Brining your Turkey – Brining has risen in popularity over the years and typically entails soaking your turkey in a solution that contains a liquid (water or wine), salt, sugar and spices. You also can dry brine.
  3. Trussing your Turkey – Trussing or tying your turkey up helps ensure that the turkey cooks evenly, plus makes you look like a pro. Simply tuck the wings of the turkey under the body and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Warning: It makes it hard for the cook to steal a wing ahead of time.
  4. Cook on a Rack of Vegetables – Before placing your turkey in the pan, peel and cut vegetables to make a bed for your turkey to sit on. Turnip, celery, carrots and parsnips are perfect choices. This will allow the turkey to sit higher in the pan allowing for better circulation, and it also mean that your turkey doesn’t stick to the pan. Lastly the vegetables will add flavor to your gravy.
  5. Stuffing your Turkey – How we all love stuffing, whether it is corn bread stuffing, traditional bread stuffing, meat stuffing or oyster stuffing. A stuffed turkey takes longer to cook, which means that it could be drier, but nothing beats the flavor of stuffing with the turkey juices, so you decide.
  6. Rub the Turkey with Butter or Oil – OK, you are ready to get the turkey in the oven, but before you do, dry the turkey skin, rub the turkey with butter or oil and place aromatics and butter under the skin. If you aren’t going to stuff the turkey, add herbs to the cavity.
  7. Don’t Baste – You remember Mom’s big baster? Well, many say that this actually slows down the process and can result in a dry bird. Instead leave the oven closed and if you must baste, do it only after the turkey is ¾ of the way cooked.
  8. What Temperature – There are a number of recipes out there with different cooking temperatures, but the reality is that a turkey takes time and an oven set at 325/350 degrees consistently seems to work best. Others (like me) start the turkey at a high temperature and then turn it down. Your turkey should be at 165 degrees F when it is done, so investing in a good thermometer is a good idea. Also remember that it will continue to cook once it is out of the oven.
  9. Let it Rest – The hard work is done, so take a few minutes and enjoy some wine with your guests. Once the turkey is done, take it out and cover it loosely with tinfoil and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Ultimate Guide to Halloween in Nashville

It’s almost here, that most magical time of the year – not that holiday, HALLOWEEN! And this year it falls on a weekend, so that means Halloween in Nashville will be more fun than ever.

Here is a list of Halloween parties, mazes and haunts …

Nashville’s Hottest Halloween Parties

This coming Saturday check out Spellbound on M Street at the Rosewall. From 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. you will be mesmerized by aerialists, dancers and the area’s hottest DJs keeping the party going long after the bewitching hour. There will be drink specials, multiple bars, dancing and a costume contest, so grab your friends (groups of five or more get a discount) and have a blast.

Get more information or purchase tickets online. 

You’ll find four floors of haunted madness at Acme’s Halloween Haunted House Party! This Saturday check out Nashville’s biggest Halloween party from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. There will be dancing, music, drink specials, a photo booth and more.

Each floor has its own haunted happenings:

  • 1st Floor – Funky Monster mash
  • 2nd Floor – Haunted Social Lounge
  • 3rd Floor – Sister Sprouse & Suprise Guests
  • Rooftop – Rise from the Dead with Acme Radio.

Presale tickets are sold out, but get there early for tickets at the door.

Combine Halloween fun with FREE and you have Rippy’s on Broadway’s 4th Annual Halloween party this Saturday starting at 10 p.m.

This is Nashville’s Hottest Dance Party with DJ Cru, killer Fireball drink specials, no cover and a cash prize costume contest. Don’t miss this annual Halloween tradition, located at 429 Broad Street in downtown Nashville.

Where to Get Seafood in Nashville

Seafood in Nashville TN

Date night, girls night or family night – they are all perfect occasions to discover the best seafood restaurants in Nashville.

Seafood Sensation

2719 Jefferson St
Ste E
Nashville, TN 37208

Only a few miles from your apartment complex, this small family-owned seafood restaurant is nothing fancy, but the seafood sure is good. The dining room has plastic tables and the food is served in Styrofoam, eat in or take out, but be sure to try the Alaskan crab, grilled or fried shrimp, whiting or lobster and shrimp with corn.

Urban Grub

2506 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

This restaurant has it all: great atmosphere, wonderful pork and beef entrees, brunch, chicken and waffles, full bar and some of the freshest and inspirational seafood in Nashville. Favorites include: wood oven trout, shrimp and grits, raw oysters, crab spaghetti and grouper tartar.

Batter’d & Fried Seafood (Boston Seafood House)

1008-A Woodland St
Nashville, TN 37206

As the name would indicate, this restaurant LOVES its battered and fried seafood, but they also have seared, grilled and blackened options. They feature New England classics, too, such as Whole Belly Clams, North Atlantic Haddock, and Creamy Clam Chowder.

 

The Best Sandwiches in Nashville

You hear others rave about their city’s official sandwich –  New Orleans has muffalettas and po’boys, Philadelphia has the cheese steak and Maine has the lobster roll, but what about Nashville? What is our official sandwich?  As far as we can tell, we don’t have an official sandwich, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a great place to grab a meal in a bun.

We have compiled a list of some of the city’s best sandwiches.  This list won’t include hot dogs, wraps, subs, or burgers. Instead we are going to feature some of the city’s most unique sandwich choices and they are all under $10.

 

Best Sandwiches in Nashville

Love Peace & Pho – Veggie Banh mi

Love, Peace and Po

2112 8th Ave S Nashville

 When you think of Vietnamese food, you probably don’t think of sandwiches, but Banh mi is a delicious sandwich that you just have to try.  A Banh mi is a lightly toasted French baguette typically filled with a protein (usually pork) and native Vietnamese ingredients such as cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon.

Love, Peace and Po includes a vegetarian Banh mi and are all under $7.00.

 

Best Sandwiches in Nashville

Bakersfield Milanese Torta

Bakersfield

201 3rd Ave S Nashville

Bakersfield is a hip Mexican restaurant that serves Mexican street fare including tacos and tortas.  You might not be familiar with this wonderful Mexican sandwich, the torta, but once you try it you will love it! This sandwich is served on a 6 to 8 inch sandwich roll called a telera and filled with meats, cojita cheese, tomatoes, a salsa and avocado. Bakersfield has two on their menu; the Milanesa, which is made with chicken cutlet, black beans, salsa verde and arugula. The other sandwich is the short rib tort that is served with caramelized onions, Chihuahua cheese, black beans, arugula and tomatillo salsa.

Best Sandwiches in Nashville

The Grilled Cheeserie Food Truck

The Grilled Cheeserie

Our next choice is not a restaurant, but a food truck that serves delicious, ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwiches.   We are not talking about the kind Mom used to make with two pieces of white bread and Kraft cheese slices. These are grilled cheese masterpieces.   You can “make” your own by selecting the bread, the cheese and the fillings. You can choose the B&B Tennessee with buttermilk cheese, bacon, or the Buffalo with pulled chicken, Buffalo sauce and blue cheese on sour dough bread.

Check their website to find out where they will be located.  They have won many awards and have been featured on a number of national food shows!

Best Sandwich in Nashville

Back to Cuba – Traditional Cuban Sandwich

 

Back to Cuba

4683 Trousdale Dr Nashville

Who would have thought that you could find a good Cuban sandwich so far from Miami. Back to Cuba serves up one of the best Cuban sandwiches around.  If you aren’t familiar with Cuban sandwiches, they are a combination of ham, roasted pork, cheese, pickles and mustard served on  Cuban bread.  They were brought to this country by Cuban exiles and expatriates to Miami and found their way to Nashville.  Back to Cuba serves a great Cuban sandwich large enough to share.

So no fret Nashvillians, we may not have our signature sandwich, but Nashville has some amazing options!

 

Fun Ways to Get Fit in Nashville TN

You didn’t choose an ordinary apartment complex in Nashville, so we wouldn’t expect you to choose an ordinary exercise routine.  Here are some fun and great ways to shape up in Nashville.

There is a new fitness regime sweeping across America (and the Kardashian clan apparently) called Lagree Fitness.  It uses a machine called the Megaformer and combines strength, endurance, core, cardio, balance and flexibility training in EVERY move.  Results can be seen quickly and men and women both report long, lean toned muscles as a result of this regime.

Lagree Fitness Nashville TN

Lagree Fitness Nashville TN

Studio Novo in Nashville offers Lagree Fitness programs, one is even called Happy Hour.

Vinyasa, Power and Hot Yoga have all stepped up the yoga “game”.  Check out these studios to try this new trends in exercise.

Vinyasa Yoga Nashville TN

Vinyasa Yoga

Sanctuary Yoga in Nashville, Hot Yoga Plus and Shatki Power Yoga both of Nashville.

We all know Zumba or we think we do, a bunch of middle aged women in really bad two piece jump suits dancing around to songs from Flash Dance.  No, Zumba is fun and is for everyone, it is a great way to burn calories while having fun.  Vanderbilt Dayani Center on Medical Center Drive in Nashville offers an aqua version of this exercise with all the benefits with none of the stress on your joints.

Pole Exercising  Nashville TN

Pole Exercising

Alright this next one may be a bit out there, like gravity defying, circus performing, pole dancing out there, but The Chrome Bar on Lafayette Street in Nashville offers a variety of classes that are fun and provide cardio, aerobic, muscle toning benefits.  Try their Fly Gym class which incorporates yoga, Pilates and aerial dance.  You exercise on supportive fabric slings.

 

Anti Gravity Exercising Nashville TN

Anti Gravity Exercising

Sky High Sports located on Harding Place in Nashville offers a variety of fun ways to get in shape.  Try airobics, dodge ball and other gravity lifting ways to exercise.

Try these fun ways to get in shape.

Please note that this images are not from the fitness centers mentioned in this article.

Great Spots to Catch a Game in Nashville

football

Nashville isn’t all about music, we love football too.  Whether it is college, semi-pro or the NFL,  Nashvillians are fanatical about their teams, but finding a really good bar to watch our favorite team isn’t easy. We have compiled a list of some of Nashville’s best spots to watch a game.

Jed’s Sports Bar & Grille

This bar is less than 1/2 mile from ParkCentral and a great place to watch a game.  There are several TVs, two levels, two patios with TVs so you can watch the game outside. Plus a cornhole (you have to love a bar with cornhole), a great beer selection and a lively vibe for young professionals.  They don’t get the best reviews for their food, but it would be hard to beat the location and the party atmosphere.

Sam’s Sports Bar and Grill

Consistently named the best sports bar in Nashville, this is a good spot to catch a game, but get there early, it fills up.  Sams is located at 1803 21st Ave S and is about 1.5 miles from your Nashville apartment.   There is free parking in the back, lots of TVs, good beer selection, good food, plenty of seating and a patio.  The crowds can be quite lively on Saturdays for college games, Sunday for NFL (even if Titans aren’t playing) and Monday nights.

Dawghouse Saloon

This saloon is only 1.5 miles from ParkCentral and has convenient seating so large or small groups can watch their favorite team.  They have an outdoor patio with a TV and a Sunday brunch.  Good pub fare and a lively atmosphere.

A really good bar to watch sports can be hard to find. Some distinguish themselves as “sports bars” while others just have a great vibe and a bunch of TVs ideal for watching sports. It took a lot of sports watching and drinking to come up with the list of the best sports bars in Nashville, but someone had to do it.

All of these locations have great beer selections, numerous televisions and cozy seating. You better not pre-game for too long to get a spot at these top sports bars — they fill up quickly on game days.

Good luck to whatever team you may be supporting. Cheers!

Don’t see your favorite bar to belly-up to for a fantastic sports watching experience? Let us know in the comments section!