Donuts to Dancing: Fundraiser for the United Way of Sevier County

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I was running late for a noon appointment in Knoxville, but had just enough time to run into Courthouse Donuts and check up on two contestants in their fundraiser for the United Way of Sevier County in advance of the Dancing With the Stars competition next month.

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The competition, as I understand it, has two parts. Fund raising and dancing. This a lot for someone to take on so I wanted to stop by and help these two hard working members of the community who have a long history supporting the United Way of Sevier County.

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Parking is so easy on Saturday mornings. I parked in front of the new yoga studio and walked around the corner to Courthouse Donuts for the fundraiser. Courthouse Donuts is the heart of downtown Sevierville, in my opinion, so that was a good place to be this morning.

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When I arrived around 11:00 a.m., the competitors were a whirlwind of energy. Pictured left to right: Marcie Shrandt with dance contestants Mike Comer, and Jaclyn Kile.

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I knew that $5 from each order of a dozen doughnuts went to the fundraiser so I looked at the menu to make a decision. An assortment was the easy option. I just looked at the last line on the menu and will order that next time!

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Jennifer Dyer was busy preparing the treats for all customers. She is a strong supporter of multiple organizations in Sevier County.

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Amy Barnett showing her support for the Comer/Kile team at the fundraiser.

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As I picked up my order, many people were starting to line up for their donuts too.

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Team Kile/Comer supporters from left to right: Amy Barnett, Amy Harper, Jodie Everhart, and Marcie Schrandt.

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It was time for me to run so I took one last look at the activity behind the counter. I asked the team if they have danced before. Mike Comer replied, “hell, no!” Asked if he would do it again? The same answer! For those reasons alone, I think that it would be great fun to attend the main event next month!

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Jaclyn Kile and Mike Comer have been practicing for their performance 2-3 times a week in addition to fund raising for the United Way. I can’t think of anyone better to win the mirror ball for dancing or the fundraising award for the United Way of Sevier County.

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A Visit to Wanderlust Salon and Spa

I have several spas that I like in this area. They are special in different ways. However,  when Jennifer messaged me yesterday about Wanderlust Salon and Spa then I knew that I had to visit soon. In fact, I was lucky enough to be there just a couple of of hours later. If you don’t know about this place then follow along for a quick overview until you can make your own appointment. This is another ‘don’t miss’ place that should be on your radar. Come with me to Wanderlust Salon and Spa.

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According to this sign, it would meet almost any spa need. I already know the location because I use A+ Alterations next door. It is on the right on the way to Walmart, before the Pilot station.

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I like this sign and am sure that there is a story behind it. I asked about how the salon got started and understand that it was opened by a lady who was working somewhere else but had a dream to open her own business. There is a lot more to the story, but I will wait to hear more next time. I had booked a 25 minute massage right before closing time so time was of the essence!

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I was excited to see that this is an Aveda Salon. My hair has been in the care of Aveda salons over the years and I like their products.

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I loved the sparkly floors and cute foot rests for the shampoo bowls. Cute!

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The vibe is unique and you will enjoy the visuals and decorations. Also, I heard Oasis playing in the background so that was a good start for my visit.

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The salon is quite spacious. The next picture will show what really caught me by surprise.

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The spa part of the business is actually upstairs. You walk up a cool “Harry Potter” kind of stairway to the spa. It gives you the feeling that you are going to a special place!

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The hallway contains at least 12 different rooms. It is quite spacious and I love the ceiling lighting.

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I liked the robes hanging in the dressing room. Just lock the door, change, put valuables in a locker, take the key and go across the hall into a relaxation room.

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The lighting creates a nice ambiance in the hallway. Hot and cold beverages were available so come a little early or stay a little late to unwind.

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My time in the relaxation room was brief so I will unwind a little longer there on my next visit to the spa.

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I had a wonderful 25 minute massage and can’t wait to go back for at least an hour. I remembered the massage therapist from another spa in town and was delighted to see her. She was wonderful!

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All too soon, my massage was done and it was time to go. I found a hair finishing product that I needed and added it to my total. Certainly, I was glad not to have to drive to Knoxvegas to get it. The ladies were very friendly and helpful making the visit easy and relaxing, making you want to return soon.

Here is link to the Wanderlust Salon and Spa website. https://wanderlustsalonspa.com/hours

Wanderlust Salon and Spa

1338 Parkway, Ste 5, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 366-3100

Hours

Mon

Closed

Tue

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Wed

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Thu

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Fri

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sat

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sun

Closed

 

Or, check the Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/Wanderlustsalonspa/

Both the website and Facebook page have a lot of photos. If you want a salon cut with a modern edge then this may be the place to go in Sevierville. I loved the color work in the photos as well.

I am always glad to get tips from friends in regard to new places to visit in Sevierville. In this case, I could tell by the way that Jennifer described the Wanderlust Salon and Spa that it would be special and the massage would be divine. As luck would have it, they fit me in before the day was over. It is a new place that I recommend when you are out and about in Severville. 

Pastry Heaven at the Wildflour Bakehouse

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During the holidays, I allow myself to have a couple of pastries so last week was the perfect time to visit the Wildflour Bakehouse on the Parkway. It is located almost across the street from the K-mart shopping center, behind McDonalds and Long John Silver’s restaurant. You can also access the back of the building from Court Avenue. Come along with us for a holiday lunch to the Wildflour Bakehouse.

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First, you will notice that it is spacious and has a variety of seating areas.

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I liked the vintage sectional sofa on the left side of the room, under the flat screen TV that plays the Food Network. It is clearly the right color!

IMG_1995There is also a room to the right for sipping  coffee or relaxing. We loved the deep purple.

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Next, you will notice the abundance of pastries in the case. The owner and her friend will tell you the specials of the day and how things are made, if you like. They are very friendly and will tell you how their friendship and working situation actually began in Knox County when they worked together at the 911 Center.

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It can get a little busy during the lunch hour. David Verble works downtown and is a happy return customer.

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Several of us ordered the chicken salad sandwich on cranberry bread. You also receive a cookie with your lunch. We really enjoyed the mini cookie trays which were used to serve our lunches. So cute!

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That day, soup choices were tomato basil or chicken pot pie soup. Both were very good.

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Someone said that their cinnamon bun eaten later at home was very, very good!

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I actually returned to the Bakehouse with a friend a few days later for lunch. Here were the specials that day.

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I ordered the avocado toast and it was wonderful.

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A beautiful gold cake!

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Wildflour Bakehouse was ready for New Year’s Eve customers with these cute sugar cookies. During lunch about 8 people were in line to order so it was a busy.

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A special holiday cookie with peppermint—what a good idea !

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They make everything at the Wildflour Bakehouse, even scones!

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The shelves were freshly stocked with breads and other pastries for the New Year’s Eve and Day holidays.

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The Bakehouse also has a private room that can be used for different events. Talk to them about that when you visit. If you order a cake from them then you may get a very good deal on using the room for the first hour.

We really enjoyed our lunch(es) at the Wildflour Bakehouse and will return again soon. I was glad that we were there during our holiday and didn’t have to rush through lunch. You will want to linger a little with friends, but maybe sit a little farther from the pastry booth if your willpower is weak. There are many tempting treats at the Wildflour Bakehouse and you will want to try them all!

See you out and about in Sevierville.

The Best of 2018 in Photos: Out and About in Sevierville

Here is the best of 2018 while out and about in Sevierville. I’ll let the photos tell the stories, and there are many. What a year! (Because of the great amount of photos, I recommend using a desktop or tablet for quicker photo loading.)

Sevierville, it has been my pleasure…

January 2018

 

February 2018

 

March 2018

 

April 2018

 

May 2018 

 

June 2018 

 

July 2018 

 

August 2018 

 

September 2018

 

October 2018

 

 

November 2018 

 

December 2018 

 

Today Makes 200 Blog Stories!

I glanced at the analytics and noticed there are now 200 blog stories on this website—a milestone—so time out for a quick celebration!

This blog is mainly about a little town in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. I write about people, places, and events that are interesting to me, and maybe to locals and visitors too. My goal for the blog was to have a creative outlet while supporting the local art scene, charities, and small businesses. It has forced me to be more outgoing and less of an introvert. Consequently, I have met some remarkable people out and about in Sevierville and made some new friends. It has been quite a fun project.

Many of my stories have had a series: farmers markets, Sevierville Commons Arts Council Art Happenings, and KaTom cooking demonstrations. Other stories are special one-time things: Sims Barbershop, Frank Allen’s Market, the American Eagle Foundation.

Here are some statistics screenshots that are interesting.

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Can anyone guess which event prompted the all time best views on May 23, 2016? Who ever guesses correctly wins a free coffee! 

 

More people read stories in 2018 than the past two years so that is a growing readership, whether locals or tourists.

Look below for some of the top stories of the year. 

The story that I just published yesterday rocketed up to number 5 most read story this year! Crust and Crumb Opens Downtown!

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I am not sure why, but readers look up the story on Dumplin Creek Critter Care almost daily. If you go to her Facebook page then you get to see some delightful pet pictures each day. That story just keeps going! 

If I write about a business or event and they share the blog story then the story can go viral for about 48 hours. I watch the story analytics several times during the day so it is fun for me to watch the numbers increase. So share away! 

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Bloggers are busy with their own writings so I appreciate the support of 30 other WordPress writers. Also, 362 friends on Facebook from which I usually launch stories. Also, several readers opt to subscribe by email.

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This shows a break down of which search engines are used most for this blog. I have the blog linked to two Instagram accounts so I can tell that is working well to attract new readers.

 

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The screenshot above shows that people are clicking the links in the stories. It also shows that Reality Break Massage is quite a popular business since the links have been clicked over 68 times. That reminds me—I need to make my own appointment for next week!

 

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Over 55 countries have clicked on the Out and About in Sevierville blog. The screenshot above shows the top countries. I am not sure why someone from the Ivory Coast, Gibraltar, or American Samoa would be interested in reading it…but welcome to Sevierville!

Here’s to a good year in 2019. I may give it one more year and see how it goes. Cheers to our little town!

See you out and about in Sevierville. 

 

Crust and Crumb Opens Downtown!

 

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I got a chance to visit Crust and Crumb early Christmas Eve morning. This is a new place downtown and it is going to be a great addition to the businesses there. Located beside 20/20 Optical on Bruce Street, the Crust and Crumb is bringing New York style sandwiches, an Italian bakery, and gourmet coffee to downtown.

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Crust and Crumb has a location in Gatlinburg and opened the Sevierville business last Wednesday. Only in business a few days, I think that they are off to a great start.

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They make all their own pastries. I wanted one of each.

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You may recognize Jackie Diaz because she sells bagels and other delights during the summers at the Sevierville Downtown Farmer’s Market. They most often sell out so I expect bagels to be an ‘in demand item’ at Crust and Crumb.

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I arrived just after 7:00 a.m. and opening time for the Crust and Crumb so I got a quick glimpse of kitchen creations. Tony Diaz was icing a Red Velvet cake and Jackie Diaz was creating some Black Forest Brownies.

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I can’t wait to try one of these some day!

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I regretted not buying a Cannoli on my last trip to New York City. Now, we can get them in Sevierville! Unbelievable.

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There is a beautiful espresso machine to make specialty coffees. My skim latte was superb!

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Brittany is an excellent barista and can create your favorite caffeine delight.

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In addition, there are some ‘grab and go’ cafe Americano coffees as well. They were good blends too. I know these things….

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Tony Diaz with the finished Red Velvet cake, beautifully finished. I think that you can buy a cake or buy a slice.

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Downtown workers and visitors can grab a coffee and a newspaper to-go at the Crust and Crumb.

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Those looking for lunch can order New York style sandwiches piled high with Boar’s Head meat. Specialties will be corned beef, Ruebens, and the High Rise sandwich piled with one pound of roast beef on rye.

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There is a nice assortment of beverages for breakfast and for lunch.

Tony Diaz said that after 4 months of work, the business is open and things are going well. He said, ” The community has been very welcoming and we appreciate it.”  After things settle down, they plan to offer home made breads and possibly a delivery service downtown. Free Wi-Fi is also on the list.

The New York artwork on the walls adds to the charm and will transport you to the Empire State.

 

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I have a feeling that the Crust and Crumb will become a popular addition to downtown Sevierville. Certainly, the food and coffees will provide a taste of New York that we don’t get a lot of in our town. This is an exciting addition to our breakfast and lunch scene and I can’t wait to return with friends. It adds another great place to be out and about in Sevierville. 

 

 

 

Polar Bear Claws Candy Demo at KaTom with Barbara Tenney

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It was the last holiday candy demo of 2018 at KaTom so I was looking forward to the Polar Bear Claws at KaTom with local celebrity chef, Barbara Tenney. I was running a few minutes late, but was lucky to find a seat at the counter with some more Tenney fans. Here is a pictorial tour of the Polar Bear Claws demo.

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First of all, you can buy Polar Bear Claws, but they are a little pricey. However, you can follow a recipe and make it yourself more economically.

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You can find a bag of caramel bits at Wal-mart or other food stores. I had never seen them before, but noted how much quicker they may melt in a pan. This is a good tip.

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Melt white chocolate wafers rather than chocolate itself because you will not need to use paraffin in the recipe.

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Melt the caramel and peanuts for the main part of the candy.

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Make the candy orbs.

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Next, dip into the white chocolate mixture.

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We added crushed peanuts on top and it added a salty, savory flavor. I usually do not like white chocolate, but these Polar Bear Claws were very good! Someone said that the taste reminded them of a Zero Bar.

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Voila!

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Today’s coffee selection was Capuccino. Very good too!

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Hands on helpers are always welcome in the Saturday KaTom kitchen.

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We have enjoyed the candy demos and making new friends. These are Barbara Tenney’s new fans. It was sweet fun!

I would like to see more demos in January and February. Maybe breakfast or brunch items? Soups and more! KaTom cooking classes are a fun way to be out and about in Sevierville. 

The Sweetest Thing! Caramels Demo by Barbara Tenney at KaTom.

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One of my favorite candies as a child was found in a bag of Kraft Caramels. I loved the brown ones and would search for the few chocolate ones hiding within. However, those caramels seemed a little hard and stuck to the teeth. The ones that we had last Saturday were too soft to imagine and had a wonderful buttery flavor. The caramels may have been my favorite holiday demo of them all.

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I arrived just in time to catch the demo from the beginning.

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The candy thermometer at work.

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We were ready to see how to make this candy favorite.

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The mixture starts out this color.

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When it is almost ready to pour, the mixture becomes this rich…caramel color.

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Parchment paper lining the pan is a must. Even then, be sure to butter it quite well so it will release from the pan when finished.

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Voila!

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Because the candy was so warm and soft, it was easy to cut into large bites.

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You can buy pretty wrappers from cooking supply stores to add the final touch.

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This cooking demo was kid approved!

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Some shoppers also got to try a sample caramel. They agreed it was some of the best that they had ever had.

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The nice bags made our samples look holiday ready. We took several samples home!

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Always get your picture with the celebrity chef!

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The last holiday cooking demo will be this Saturday with Barbara Tenney creating Polar Bear Claws. I am not exactly sure what they are yet, but I am positive that they will be wonderful. Arrive at 11:00 to see the whole demonstration. It is a great (free) way to get out and about in Sevierville. 

Save me a seat at the counter!

 

December Art Happening 2018: Featured Artist, Pete Alcott

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I had to stay late at work due to a huge event and regretted arriving late to the Art Happening because it was an Open House and Chamber of Commerce After-Hours event. This was going to be a good one. Nonetheless, I was able to catch a little of the December Art Happening.

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I first ran into David Stanfill, membership Director for the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, and Rich Wilson. They said that there were about 60-65 people in attendance, including over 50 Chamber of Commerce members.

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It was nice meeting Jolanta Didenko and Marilyn Davenport. Marilyn was the most recent artist honored at an Art Happening. Gallant owns a business downtown called Piano Lessons and More on Bruce Street. Her Facebook page is called Music and Arts in the Smokies. Here is a link

https://www.facebook.com/Music-and-Arts-in-the-Smokies-210491729027186/

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It is always nice meeting Tom and Kathy Kiewitt and Mary Ruden at the Art Happenings. I told Kathy that I have been admiring her macrame Christmas trees in the gallery. Mary’s creations are extraordinary and several are for sale in the Arts in Common Gallery.

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Also attending the December Art Happening were Faye Speck, Eme VanNus, Kaye Peltier, and Chris Myers.

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Andrea Wilson was manning a busy front desk.

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Jack and Sharon Mellor enjoyed the Art Happening. They are pictured here with the featured artist, Pete Alcott.

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Pete Alcott prefers to work with fused glass. The color and shine of these objects were extraordinary. Alcott lives in Gatlinburg and has a home studio. I always think that it is interesting to learn where artists do their work. Come to the Arts in Common Gallery to see these beautiful creations by Pete Alcott. IMG_1125.jpg

Unfortunately, my Art Happening visit was more brief than usual because I had to attend another event, but I thoroughly enjoyed the time that I had there. Get ready for new Art Happenings in 2019!

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Truffles in the making! Barbara Tenney at KaTom.

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I had always thought that candy truffles were difficult to make—but I was wrong. The cooking demo at KaTom on Saturday proved that they could be one of the more easy holiday candies. Even better, you can make a variety of flavors. Here is how it went…

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First, there was some excitement due to an incoming weather system and the possibility of snow, a holiday surprise to come later on Sunday evening.

We looked up truffle prices online and found that this candy can be quite pricey.

 

Consequently, it can be a good idea to make your own truffles.

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The recipe is straightforward and not too difficult.

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We approve of this ingredient!

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Necessary if you want the best truffles possible.

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I arrived at the best part—scraping the chocolate mix to create the individual candies.

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Line up the candies on parchment paper before applying the coating.

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We also enjoy this ingredient.

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Time for a coffee break!

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Yes, they were wonderful with such rich flavor.

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Some of us volunteered to help with the coatings: powdered sugar, cocoa, or pecans.

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Holiday ready!

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I will say that the first bite transported me to another place. Divine!

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Voila!

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We were invited to take some samples home from the truffles demonstration so this was my reward for the drive out to KaTom. They will keep in the fridge for weeks.

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Barbara had a young fan in attendance who really enjoys cooking. I predict that Lillie may be on the Food Network some day. We enjoyed spending the session with her and her grandmother. These demos are great for children who enjoy cooking and food preparation.

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Always get your picture with the cook!

Look out for next week…

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The demo will be homemade caramels! Save me a place at the counter!