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An Open Letter To My Fat-Shamer

Hi.

You don’t know my name – but, my goodness… you sure do think that you have a grasp on my life!

You probably thought that you were being discreet at dinner when you were talking about me.

Unfortunately for you – and for me – the wine was a little deceiving. You’re not the most soft-spoken of ladies; that and the fact that we were sitting five feet apart. That might’ve been a clue, hunny.

And I quote you, “There are so many fat, disgusting people on this trip. I mean, look at that guy in the glasses right over there.”

(note, dear reader: my left side was turned to their table; we were not facing each other)

“Look at his profile. Wait, he doesn’t have one. There’s too much fat. It’s disgusting!”

Do you remember when you said that?

Maybe the wine will make you forget.

Maybe you are simply a horrible person and this is the norm for you.

If that’s the case, you live in a sad, sad world.

However, trust — I’ll remember.

I’ll remember when you questioned my worth — whether I was worthy of taking of the space that I do.

I’ll remember when you judged me from the onset — labeling yourself and other smaller counterparts as superior.

I’ll remember you ruining my Crème Brûlée — and girl, let me tell you… that’s hard to do.

I’ll remember those stinging, hate-filled, disgusting words.

I’ll remember those stares.

I’ll remember.

Do you remember that you kept slandering my very existence from there?

“How can he comfortably walk around?”

“Does he fit in bathrooms or public areas?”

“Where can he buy clothes that big?”

“Does he realize that his life is a ticking time bomb?”

Since I was raised better, I didn’t turn around and answer any of the questions you posed for your three table companions at the time.

However, let me do so now.

 I am, believe it or not, fully capable of walking. In fact, I do it more than most. There’s a preconceived notion that fat people don’t move, don’t exercise, don’t exert energy. If you truly knew me – or took the time to do so before making assumptions – you’d know that I am an avid golfer. You’d also know that I take 6-10 trips/year; in each city, state, country I do a lot of moving – trust.

Do I fit in public areas or private areas, such as restrooms? Well, of course, yes. Thank you for asking. If I feel that I cannot be accommodated in a public area, guess what? I purchase two tickets. An unfair disadvantage to me, sure – but, I do it so I don’t have to deal with people like you.

That’s the world we live in, unfortunately.

Where can I buy clothes? Girl, let’s go shopping! My closet needs to be purged every other week; believe you me, I experience no scarcity in the fashion department.

Do I realize that my life is a ticking time bomb? Well, isn’t that the case for all of us? However, before you judge, you should know that my medical history is private. I will say this though — looks can be deceiving and I’m doing just fine. How are you doing?

Now, nameless lady, I must say — you probably feel sorry for me (if you are capable of feeling, that is).

Well, I must confess — I, too, feel sorry for you.

I am sorry that your life is so lacking that you feel the need to impose rude comments on others.

I am sorry that you have likely not received an adequate amount of love in your life. The absence of love and care has most likely catalyzed the omission of those from your repertoire.

I am sorry that you feel that some individuals are more deserving of taking up space. Opposite from the cross that was dangling from your neck, I think you need to pick the book back up and reevaluate. If you’re ever in Louisville, join me at Eucharist – I’ll let you sit with me!

I am sorry that aesthetics mean everything to you. There is so much to life — so much you are missing. I feel for you, I really do. Life is beautiful, wild, crazy, exciting; the thought of living in such a close-minded shell really makes me tearful.

Most importantly, I’m sorry that we didn’t get the chance to meet.

Let me formally introduce myself, since you didn’t give me a chance to do so.

My name is JC Phelps.

I have suffered from eating disorders my entire life – three, to be exact.

Body acceptance has been a journey for me. I’m doing a lot better, though I still fail at times. I try to love myself more today than I did yesterday.

I’m really a nice guy — a little eccentric, a little country, but I promise I’ll always extend my most sincere southern hospitality.

I am fat.

You’re not telling me anything that I don’t know.

But, nameless lady, do you know what else I am?

I am an entrepreneur.

A Kentuckian.

A college grad.

A MBA grad.

A son.

A brother.

An uncle.

A friend.

A confidant.

A golfer.

A world traveler.

A dreamer.

A proud gay man.

Most importantly – I am, without apology and unabashedly, myself.

A wise drag queen once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

I hope, more than anything, that you can learn to love yourself, nameless lady.

However, I implore that you must first forgive yourself.

And by the way — I forgive you.

Bless your black, black heart.

My best,

JCP

The fat guy you were making fun of.

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My Experience With Top Chef Kentucky

Hey, y’all!

Each day, I am thankful for my job – however, some days prove to be better than others. As I am sure all of you know, this season of BRAVO’s Top Chef was filmed in Kentucky – my home.

I was honored to be in attendance (both in and behind the scenes) for TWO episodes of Top Chef Kentucky. As a huge fan of the show, it was an honor to see the production of it. Y’all, let me tell you – after working a show for 16 seasons, it is a well-oiled machine. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement.

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While we do very different things in the food industry, I couldn’t help but to have immense pride towards each and every contestant. To have made it, as some did, from a lower level chef, to the higher ranks of the restaurant ladder, to a nationally-broadcasted phenomenon — I can’t imagine how much excitement they must feel.

After tasting their food on two occasions, I can also attest to the fact that the pride they have in their craft is well-deserved. These are some seriously talented chefs!

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Photo Credit: Michael Hickey/Bravo Media

On set of Episode 2, which was filmed at Maker’s Mark in Loretto, Kentucky, I had the chance to interview two integral parts of the Top Chef Team. I’ll include some excerpts here for y’all!

First was Matt Reichman, Vice President, Current Production, Bravo Media. I couldn’t wait to pick his brain about both Top Chef and his Kentucky experience!

Q: Since y’all have done a lot of filming in the south, what’s your favorite southern dish? Also, what dishes are you looking forward to here in Kentucky? 

A: My favorite southern dish is fried chicken and biscuits — my favorite things on the planet.

A Kentucky dish that excites me — mutton and frog legs!

Q: Have you ever been frog giggin’?

A: (laughs) I have never been myself.

Q: In choosing the locations for Top Chef Kentucky, what all went into the process? While I am a Louisvillian now, I am a born and raised Southern Kentuckian; thus, I was tickled to see Lake Cumberland as one of the features!

A: Cities are often the destination of Top Chef – like Charleston or New Orleans. Kentucky, I think, gives us the flexibility to explore the entire state. We are going all over the place – we could easily see 100 challenge ideas around the Commonwealth, which is exciting. As for Lake Cumberland, it highlights a different type of food — fish — and brings the spotlight to different subcultures of Kentucky.

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My second interview of the day was with Sandee Birdsong, Supervising Culinary Producer, Top Chef. 

Q: Let’s talk about Kentucky food. Have you ever heard of wilted lettuce?

A: Never!

JCP: (Shocked!) It’s a type of lettuce that you harvest from your garden (once or twice/year) that’s served covered in bacon grease — that’s why it wilts. It’s heaven on a plate!

Q: We’ve been chatting about country ham, may I give you a recommendation?

A: Of course!

JCP: As a signature meat of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, people will argue that the some of the best varieties in rural Kentucky are found in gas stations. I implore that you explore these; gas station eatin’ is a big part of our culture. Be sure to get your country ham fix while you’re here!

Q: Where do y’all get the ingredients to stock the kitchen for the chefs?

A: Whole Foods! We source a lot there, because that is our sponsor. However, we also pick from the individual areas that we are in — it provides an authentic flavor profile and culinary experience.

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Photo Credit: Michael Hickey/Bravo Media

I cannot thank the team at NBC Universal & Bravo enough for having me on set. From dining to being in the kitchen, this was truly an experience of a lifetime. But, more than anything else, I’m so thankful that Top Chef was based in Kentucky this year.

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Photo Credit: Michael Hickey/Bravo Media

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — we are a deeply underrated state. Our culture is deep, our food is rich, and our people are unrivaled. It’s exciting to see us in the national spotlight.

Keep watching Top Chef Kentucky on Bravo — and tell me what y’all think!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

My best,

JCP

FTC: NBC Universal and Bravo hosted me on two occasions to attend filming; however, this post is not commissioned and is authentic to my experience.

 

 

 

 

The Cynthiana, Kentucky Experience

Hey, y’all!

I am so excited to bring the next installment of my guides to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to you today!

I recently had the privilege of spending two nights with my friends at Cynthiana Tourism. While I was familiar with Harrison County on a surface level, I was honored to have the chance to get to know the community through the eyes of the locals.

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Home to many notable Kentuckians — such as Joe B. Hall, a famed University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Coach, and Robert Kirkman, co-creator of the Walking Dead — Cynthiana has permanently placed itself on the radar of all Kentuckians. Upon visiting, you will find that the community has every ounce of small town Kentucky charm that one would imagine it would. Maybe even more, y’all.

I arrived to Cynthiana on Sunday evening. Luckily, my Grandmother Jude and I had the privilege of staying at the Ashford Acres Inn. There’s more information coming soon on Ashford Acres (watch out for that post!); however, I’ll say this — it is a first-rate experience. The setting, charm, details, and food were all spectacular. It was my first time staying at a true bed and breakfast; to say that it was a treat would be a hyperbolic understatement.

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You can visit Ashford Acres Inn at 1801 KY-36, Cynthiana, KY 41031.

The Trip, Day 1: 

Upon waking up on Monday morning, my nose was immediately greeted by glorious smells coming from the kitchen. The meal started with scones and fresh-squeezed orange juice – what a treat (one that you don’t see often enough in Kentucky)! Upon finishing the first installment, the chef at Ashford Acres Inn bought out a dreamy plate of chicken and waffles. A southern classic, it is one of my favorites. However, this was an elevated take on the dish. The chicken was prepared via a three-day process – and it was smack your MeeMaw good. The waffles were herb-infused, which was a first for me. It took a simple, often bland food into a new realm of flavor. Two thumbs up!

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After breakfast, I led a two-hour, intensive Social Media course at the Harrison County Extension Office. This class was brought to the county in collaboration with the Harrison County Tourism Commission and the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce. Seeing each seat filled warmed my heart; attendees were, by and large, business owners in town  — I can’t wait to see what all they will do with their social media presence!

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Post-teaching, I had worked up quite an appetite! Enter: Leono’s. This is your classic local, at-home pizza joint from first glance; however the product that is produced is much, much better. Known for their pan crust pizza, diners having been patronizing this institution for years — and for good reason.

Crispy, nearly fried on the bottom; thick and soft in the middle — that’s what makes pan-crust pizza so special.

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You can visit Leono’s at 253 S Church St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

Directly after leaving Leono’s, I did a portion of the Historic Church Tour. Cynthiana is proud of their religious history – and for good reason. Their churches are stunning and have so much history! From the tour, I learned a lot about architecture from parishioners; furthermore, the churches were especially beautiful this time of year, since they were decorated for Christmas.

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The Methodist Church is located at 302 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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The Cynthiana Christian Church is located at 202 N. Main St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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The Episcopal Church (my favorite stop – I’m Episcopalian!) is located at 118 N. Walnut St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

Next was the Cynthiana Museum. An overarching theme of this trip is the devotion that locals have towards Harrison County. That, to me, is what makes small towns so very special. Inside the doors of the museum, visitors are able to see almost 3,000 community artifacts! This includes items from Cynthiana’s religious, educational, and agricultural history. There are also rooms dedicated to childhood in Cynthiana, daily life, local industries, and more. This is an awesome resource for Harrison County!

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The museum can be visited at 124 S Walnut St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

My final tour stop of the day was the Rohs Opera House – a stop that I was very much looking forward to! Originally built in 1871 as Aeolian Hall, the modern day Rohs Opera House is a weekend theatre + performance venue for shows from the Rohs Theatre Company. However, the best part? It’s haunted! Having been featured on many “Most Haunted” lists, ghost hunting enthusiasts come from all over to experience the paranormal activity inside the doors of Rohs.

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You can visit Rohs Opera House at 133 E Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

After a long day of touring, I had to visit my friends at Maiden City Brewing for a beer (or two!). Brewed in Downtown Cynthiana, Maiden City Brewing is a newer addition to the local scene, yet a very special one. Established in 2016, this is the craft beer destination for all beer aficionados. Do not miss it!

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You can visit Maiden City Brewing at 123 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

Dinner was at Biancke’s, arguably the most known restaurant in the county. Serving up family-style meals for over a decade, Biancke’s is one of Cynthiana’s most beloved, historic businesses. Established in 1894 by Italian immigrants, this is the spot to go to if you want to interact with locals. And, trust me on this – get the fried green tomatoes and a pie topped with their famous meringue!

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Biancke’s is located at 102 S. Main St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

The Trip, Day 2: 

Breakfast was, once again, held at Ashford Acres Inn. The chef had mentioned the day before that he was going to be pulling out some tricks to make the meal extra special, since it was my last there. What he brought out exceeded any form of preconceived notion that I had. In all honesty, it’s one of the best breakfasts that I have ever had in my life.

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Jude and I started with an open-face omelette with foie gras and truffles. It was as decadent, luxurious, and rich as it sounds – I assure you. A showstopper!

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Next was Eggs Benedict – but, with a twist. Instead of the traditional bacon or ham, the chef used Alaskan King Crab meat. It was gorgeous and finger-lickin’ good, y’all.

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Post-breakfast, my social media tour continued at WCYN. I spent thirty minuets on air with the mayor talking about my class, all things JCP Eats, Kentucky culture, and more. It was my first time doing a live radio show and it was a blast!

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To fuel up for the rest of the day, I then visited the Main Cup. A new coffee shop in town, it has a fantastic mission tied to the neighboring Presbyterian Church. Previously used as their parsonage, I love what they did to the building. It’s quirky, yet cozy – and they are serving up some delicious coffee and treats.

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Be sure to check out the Main Cup at 105 N. Main St., Cynthiana, Kentucky 4103.

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Though it was chilly, I quickly headed off to the Quiet Trails State Nature Preserve. Quiet Trails is a 165 acre area of ridges and ravines – and it’s absolutely stunning. Full of birds, trees, and wildlife, one can truly experience the fauna and flora of the Commonwealth of Kentucky here. For nature enthusiasts, this is a must-see!

Directions:

From Cynthiana, take U.S. 27 north approximately 10 miles. Turn right onto KY 1284, which leads into Sunrise. Continue on Pugh’s Ferry Road after crossing the four-way intersection. The preserve is located on the right, 1.8 miles from the intersection.

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After a morning in nature, I decided to spend the afternoon shopping. The thing that impressed me most with Cynthiana was the robust downtown scene they have. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — there’s nothing like a small town downtown; Cynthiana executes this with high precision. Full of eateries and boutiques, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon visiting all of the stores.

I used this opportunity to do a lot of my Christmas shopping. This holiday season, do not forget to shop local, y’all. It’s so important!

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Abstract Distractions, 129 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031. (Love my new copper bracelet, y’all!)

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Inspired Designs, 134 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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Emerson Steel Boutique, 135 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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Molly B’s Boutique, 208 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, KY 41031.

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I love to gift Candleberry candles during the holiday (Hot Maple Toddy is my favorite); furthermore, local honey makes a great holiday hostess gift!

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Flower Depot, 208 S. Main St, Cynthiana, KY 41031.

Last, but certainly not least, I had to finish my time in Cynthiana with the Mural Tour. They are plentiful around town, though some of the highlights include the Joe B. Hall Mural, the Mural of Distillery History, and, of course, the Walking Dead Mural.

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These are fantastic photo opportunities to commemorate your trip to Harrison County, y’all.

I cannot thank my friends at Cynthiana Tourism enough for a fabulous trip. If you haven’t been to Cynthiana, or if you aren’t currently planning you’re next trip there, what are you waiting for? Adventure awaits!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions, however, are my own.

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CRÚ Food and Wine Bar

Hey, y’all!

Long time, no chat. I spent last week in New York City getting in the holiday spirit! I’ll be heading to Central and South America at the end of the week, so I needed some cooler temps + Christmas cheer in my system before I leave!

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Since I will be gone many of the days leading up to Christmas, shopping for everyone on my ever-growing list has been stressing me out. Luckily, I had the opportunity to go to The Summit at Fritz Farm this week – in a matter of a couple of hours, I was loaded down with amazing gifts! What a relief, y’all.

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What is The Summit at Fritz Farm?

The Summit at Fritz Farm is a $156 million mixed-use development at the crossroads of Nicholasville Road and Man O’ War Boulevard. From amazing dining, to shopping, to living – this is the place to be in Lexington, KY!

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The iconic part of shopping at The Summit at Fritz Farm is that it is a one-stop destination. They have it all!

After shopping, Jude and I had worked up a mean appetite; we decided to check out CRÚ Food and Wine Bar for the first time.

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I left questioning myself.

Why?

I had to know — how on Earth was this my first time at CRÚ? It was delicious! Jude and I both gave it two thumbs up.

Now — the food!

I must say, first and foremost, that I was very impressed by the wine selection at CRÚ; to say that they stood up to their reputation would be an understatement. Overwhelmed by the many pours I wanted to try, I opted for a flight (or two!). This was the perfect way to sample six of the wines. Apart from gorgeous table-side presentation, they were simply divine! I found several new favorites that I cannot wait to serve at dinner parties.

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We started with the cheese fondue. Fontina + Truffle Tartufo + Apple + Pear + Herb Flatbread + Brussels Sprouts + Haricot Verts.

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It was then time for Steamed Prince Edward Mussels (lemongrass + white wine + tomatoes + basil).

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Next were the Lobster + Shrimp Potstickers (roasted Fresno chiles + spicy lemon sauce).

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No night at CRÚ is complete without chocolate fondue. Be still, my heart.

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The next time you are in Lexington, be sure to head over to The Summit at Fritz Farm and visit my friends at CRÚ – tell ’em that I sent ya!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a sponsored post; however, all opinions are my own.

 

First Anniversary Party!

Hey, y’all!

I am SO proud to say that, alongside forty friends and family members, I celebrated my one year anniversary here on www.jcpeats.com. To say that it has been a journey, a rollercoaster, and an interesting ride would be a hyperbolic understatement.

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However, I’m not afraid of a walk on the wild side.

JCP Eats, as many of you know, started out of eating disorder recovery. It was a private Instagram account that I used to post photos of my food; this, in effect, was changing the way in which I looked at food.

Food photography became just that — photography. A form of art. It no longer represented a struggle on a plate; it was a subject — one that I eventually found to be both beautiful and therapeutic.

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That Instagram page became this online community. Fast forward one year and SO much has happened. My passion became my job – and for that, I will always be grateful. I owe that to each of you. Those of you that read, like, comment, and share my posts — it’s all because of you. Thank you, for the bottom of my heart, for making one of my dreams come true.

In true JCP fashion, I couldn’t let the momentous event pass without a proper party. For that, I have several people to thank.

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To my friends at Kroger: thank you for being the corporate sponsor of the event.

To my friends at Taziki’s: thank you for catering the fabulous food. It was a hit!

Side note: Lisa and Jeff at Taziki’s make catering an event SO easy. I simply emailed my order and Lisa arrived (early, might I add!) with a smile and all of the goodies. She set everything up beautifully and ensured that food/setup would not be something that I had to worry about. I can’t recommend them enough!

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To my friends at Yes Louisville/Yes Working: thank you for the event space and for helping me orchestrate it all.

To Mr. Lemaster, my bestie’s Dad: thank you for being the DJ and for keeping the party going!

To Becky: thank you for being a fabulous bartender!

To Jude: thank you for all you did the day of!

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And to each of my friends and family members that showed up to shower me with love: thank you. I owe so much of this to y’all.

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In the coming year, I hope to take y’all around the world with me, around the US, and most importantly, around more of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I want to explore new regions, new cuisines, and new restaurants with you. I want to continue chasing this dream – and I hope y’all will stay along for the ride.

Cheers!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a sponsored post; however, all opinions are my own.

 

Kentucky Deviled Eggs with Happy Egg

“This post is sponsored by Happy Egg Co., but all opinions are my own.”

Hey, y’all!

Many of you know that I am from rural Kentucky. This means that potlucks, church dinners, and various community luncheons were key parts to my growing up (let alone my introduction to the culinary world). These meals all had one thing in common: deviled eggs. From childhood, this Southern classic has been one of my very favorite foods – one that I avidly crave.

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I believe strongly that all eggs are not created equal. As a home cook, I value where my food is sourced from, the ethics behind the production, and the morals of the company.

Having been raised by a family with a history in farming, I am very interested in agricultural techniques. That is, hands down, where Happy Egg impresses me the most. Established in 1949, the Happy Egg Company is a trailblazer of the industry. They stand deeply behind their product and their methodology; this, in their opinion, should change how confident we should be, as consumers, in their eggs. To say that I agree would be a hyperbolic understatement.

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I feel that there are several misconceptions in the egg industry due to misleading marketing and framing. When an egg brand claims that they are “Organic”, hens have access to the outdoors. However, that can mean that they have access to a tiny door inside a crowded barn. When they claim to be “Standard Free Range”, to adhere to HFAC standards, the required minimum outdoor space is merely two square feet per bird. When brands are sold as “Cage Free”, hens do not live inside a wire cage, but this does not mean they go outside. It also doesn’t guarantee that conditions are cruelty-free. Lastly, unless packaging says otherwise, your eggs are coming from caged chickens. In this case, hens spend their entire lives indoors, shoved in overcrowded wire cages, without enough space to stretch their wings.

When I became fully aware of all of this, I got sick to my stomach. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about that as a Happy Egg customer. Their guarantee is that their eggs are the “Free-est of the Free Range” — each farm has over eight acres of outdoor access for their hens to forage freely each and every day. That is, for example, ten-times more square feet per bird, as compared to the average “Standard Free Range” eggs.

After buying a product that I believe in, it was time to head to the kitchen!

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Kentucky Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 12 Happy Eggs
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1/3 c. mayo
  • 3 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
  • 3 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • tabasco, to taste
  • paprika (garnish)

Directions:

  • Boil eggs, peel, cut in half, place yellows in a separate bowl.
  • Cook bacon until crispy, chop, sit aside.
  • Add mayo, sweet pickle relish, dijon mustard, yellow mustard, and sugar in the bowl with the yellows. Mix thoroughly.
  • Add salt, pepper, and tobasco to the mixture according to taste.preferences.
  • Spoon in the mixture to each halved egg white. For a cleaner presentation, you can use a piping bag, as if the deviled egg mixture was icing.
  • Garnish each egg with paprika and a slice (or two!) or chopped bacon.
  • Enjoy!

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I hope y’all love this recipe as much as I do. It is a tried and true crowd pleaser!

If you are in the Louisville area, you find them at Meijer (look for the iconic yellow packaging!); otherwise, use the store locator to find the closest Happy Eggs retailer to you! Happy Eggs can be purchased in two varieties: the “Free-est of Free” and the “Organic Free-est of Free.”

Be sure to follow @thehappyeggco on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

Thanksgiving Recipes: Cranberry Orange Muffins & Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Honey + Brown Sugar Butter

Hey, y’all!

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and it is time to get your menus in order! What is often a stressful time for cooks and for hosts/hostesses should, in all reality, be a time of ease and celebration. It is for this reason that I elect to use foolproof, simple, yet elegant dishes for my spread.

I’m so excited to be teaming up with my friends at The Summit at Fritz Farm and Whole Foods to bring you two of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes!

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What is The Summit at Fritz Farm? 

The Summit at Fritz Farm is a $156 million mixed-use development at the crossroads of Nicholasville Road and Man O’ War Boulevard. From amazing dining, to shopping, to living – this is the place to be in Lexington, KY!

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Whole Foods is a fantastic location to pick up all of your holiday recipe needs. Conveniently located in The Summit at Fritz Farm, it is one of my favorite places to get inspired for the kitchen. One of the best parts? I love eating there, too! They have a fantastic ready-to-eat bar and great seating. I can’t resist it, y’all – be sure to try it out on your next visit!

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Thanksgiving Day, for me, is just what the name suggests – it’s an entire day. My festivities start in the early morning with family traditions, such as watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. However, most importantly, we are up cooking. To energize us, I like to start the day off with my Cranberry Orange Muffins. There are few natural pairings that I enjoy more than cranberry and orange; trust me when I say that these will be a hit! Once the flavor erupts in your mouth, you’ll be inspired to cook up a storm for the day’s festivities!

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Cranberry Orange Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1.33 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 4 oranges, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. orange zest
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c. fresh cranberries

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Grease/butter bottom and sides of muffin pan.
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar) until thoroughly mixed.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, milk, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.
  • Combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients, adding 1/3 of the dry ingredients at a time. Mix well.
  • Add cranberries to batter and fold them in evenly.
  • Bake for roughly 20-25 minutes, using a toothpick to test the inside of the muffin. It should come out clean. Let muffins cool on a wire rack.
  • Enjoy!

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While meat is often important at dinner – especially on Thanksgiving – I’m a side dish kind of guy. My plate is always full of them. That’s where you can impress me if I am your guest; likewise, it’s where you can really set your meal apart for those dining with you. Thanksgiving is casserole-heavy – and believe me, I love them. To offset that, I love serving my Roasted Rainbow Carrots topped with a homemade Honey + Brown Sugar Butter. These are gorgeous and truly have a “Wow!” factor, y’all.

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Roasted Rainbow Carrots + Homemade Honey & Brown Sugar Butter

Ingredients (Roasted Rainbow Carrots):

  • 1-2 bunches of rainbow carrots
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Wash rainbow carrots thoroughly.
  • Chop off tops and ends of rainbow carrots; additionally, I usually smooth them by shaving off the top layer.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Toss in olive oil, coating well.
  • Bake rainbow carrots in the oven, flipping once, until tender. This should take roughly 15 minutes.
  • Top with homemade Honey + Brown Sugar Butter, allowing butter to melt and coat the carrots.
  • Enjoy!

Ingredients (Honey + Brown Sugar Butter):

*note: this will be a large portion of butter and will leave some for you to keep for other uses.

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened.
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. local honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • Mix ingredients together until uniformly combined – creamy and smooth.
  • Refrigerate excess.
  • Enjoy!

You can find all of the ingredients to make these recipes at Whole Foods at The Summit At Fritz Farm. Be sure to stop there for all of your holiday needs – and tell ’em that I sent ya!

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As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a sponsored post; however, all opinions are my own.

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