Tag Archives: travel ideas

50 Recipes, 50 States, 1 Very Hungry Blogger

A few weeks ago, I tried Nashville Hot Chicken for the first time. I have been to Nashville before and never heard of it…it took a trip to a local chain restaurant to learn about this amazing, comforting, soul-southing dish that would eventually inspire today’s blog post (it was The Yard House, if you’re curious! If there’s one by you, I highly suggest trying it). I mean, look at this. LOOK AT THIS DISH. Hot chicken, sweet potato pancakes (which could be a meal just by themselves)…this is happiness. Pure happiness.

Image result for yard house, nashville hot chicken

So today’s post is mostly inspired by the discovery of this Nashville delight, as well as a game my dad and I talked about playing several times (but actually never did…but I’m bound and determined to do it with my kids!).

So here’s what ya do. Get a map of the United States (or the world for adventurous eaters!)…like, a big one. Big enough to cover your kitchen table. Then use dice, a penny, or any small object you and your kids can easily toss and use the state or country it lands on to inspire your cuisine. Isn’t that fun?! It’s a great way to travel without spending a ton of money and a fun and clever way to introduce kids to new flavors and cultures.

Best of all, I’ve done some of the work for you! Below you’ll find 50 amazing recipes representing each state in the US (just click the picture to see the recipe!). So whether you land on Utah or Florida, you’ll have a tasty recipe you can make to get a feel and taste for every state in the US!

Happy Travels!


One Recipe for Each State in the US

Alabama:  Fried Green Tomatoes
The Irondale Cafe, located in Irondale, Alabama was the inspiration for the Whistlestop Cafe in the film, Fried Green Tomatoes...and just like in the film, the Irondale Cafe is still known for whipping up some awesome fried green tomatoes.


Alaska:  Roasted Maple Salmon
Salmon can be found almost anywhere along the coastlines of the United States, but no state gets better, fresher salmon than Alaska.  With natives who have created unique and flavorful recipes that you can’t find anywhere else (salmon candy, anyone?) Alaska is the place to go for fresh, delicious, healthy salmon dishes.


Arizona:  Chimichangas
According to lore, the founder of the Tuscan, Arizona restaurant El Charro accidentally dropped a pastry in a deep fryer in 1922.  She supposedly yelled “chimichanga!” when it dropped, eventually inspiring the name of this popular dish.


Arkansas:  Catfish Sandwich
Catfish abound along the banks of the Mississippi River, and the locals of Arkansas know how to turn this bottom-dwelling fish into a stand-out sandwich.  Fried, baked, or broiled, catfish dishes make Arkansas a unique destination for seafood lovers.


California:  Avocado and Kale Toast
The health craze has hit California hard!  Basically anything containing avocado or kale can be considered “Californian”, and when you combine the two, dude…that’s like, totally bitchin’.


Colorado:  Rocky Mountain Green Chili
Chili is a Colorado favorite.  Call it the cold weather or the fact that it shares space with some other wild west towns, but Colorado is home to some of the best green chili cooks in the US.


Connecticut:  Steamed Cheeseburgers
A true Connecticut thing, steamed burgers and cheeseburgers use hot steam to cook the patties, resulting in a juicy burger that’s unlike anything you’ve ever eaten!  While you can make these at home, be sure to get yourself an authentic steamed burger next time you’re on the east coast!


Delaware:  Vinegar Fries
You can find vinegar fries in other places, but no one does it quite like Delaware.  The unique flavor of these fries makes them a great side dish to fish.


Florida:  Key Lime Pie
Created and imported from Florida, Key Limes are a product of the Florida Keys and are often used in creating key lime pie.  Much smaller than a traditional lime, these limes pack a sour punch!


Georgia:  Peach and Bourbon Cobbler
Lovingly named “The Peach State”, Georgia is home to these sweet and tasty fruits, and you can get a taste of this southern state with almost any peach recipe…but this one also features another southern favorite:  Bourbon!  Serve with cinnamon ice cream for a tasty treat any southern belle would love!


Hawaii:  Spam Sliders
Spam is the chicken of Hawaii.  Used in practically every savory Hawaiian recipe, spam is a flavor that island dwellers love.  It’s a great pairing to pineapple and is tasty just as is after a few seconds on the grill.


Idaho:  Finger Steaks
Often served with potatoes of some kind (shocker), finger steaks are just what they sound like.  Small pieces of steak are battered and fried and served like chicken nuggets.  A true Idaho favorite, these little finger steaks are fun and tasty to eat.


Illinois:  Deep Dish Pizza
There’s a running joke that Chicago people don’t eat deep dish…only out-of-towners who come to Chicago for the first time.  I am living proof that this is not true.  I’m a born and raised Chicagoian who loves deep dish, but it’s not for everyone.  More like a pie with a thick crust and lots of sauce, this pizza is not for the faint of heart!  But it is a tasty treat that takes me home every time I eat it!


Indiana:  Creme-Filled Doughnuts
Indiana is home to tons of doughnut shops (I WANT TO GO TO THERE) with each shop claiming they have the best doughnuts in town.  Skip all the drama and make your own at home!  Best of all, your kitchen is going to smell amazing!


Iowa:  Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Iowa is true farmland…and pork is abundant here in the midwest.  Fry it up and serve it on a bun and you’ve got yourself a midwestern staple that is comically satisfying (I mean look at the size of that meat).


Kansas:  Kansas BBQ Chicken
Every southern state wants to make their claim to delicious BBQ…and every one of those states has their own style.  Kansas style is sweet and spicy and great on chicken.  Make your own Kansas BBQ sauce and see if you can go back to the dry rubs of Texas!


Kentucky:  Hot Brown Sandwich
Born at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, this sandwich features turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce, a Bechamel sauce made of Gruyere cheese.  Served on a piece of crispy bread, this is stick-to-your-ribs comfort food right here.


Louisiana:  Beignets
It’s no surprise that the French had a large influence on Louisiana…and these light and fluffy beignets are a product of this influence.  Pieces of dough are fried up and covered…COVERED…with confectioners’ sugar and served up nice and hot.


Maine:  Lobster Rolls
I feel like this doesn’t even need an explanation.  If you’re in Maine and you DON’T get a lobster roll, you’ve missed out on one tasty experience!


Maryland:  Baltimore Crab Cakes
Granted you can easily find crab cakes in any east coast state, but Maryland takes crab cakes seriously.  For the freshest and best-tasting crab cakes, look no further than Boston.


Massachusetts:  Ultimate Clam Chowder
Whether you call it chowda’ or chowder, there’s no denying that Massachusetts is home to come of the best chow on the planet.  Often served with potatoes and bacon, this soup will warm your insides on those cold northeastern winter nights.


Michigan:  Easy Beef Pasties
Containing meat, a veggie, and potatoes all in one pastry, the Michigan pasty really is a meal all in itself.  Originally used by miners and laborers as a way to essentially eat on the job, these meals are hardy, filling, and comforting.  You can find authentic pasty shops all over Michigan, particularly in the northern parts of the state.


Minnesota:  Minnesota Hot Dish
If Fargo taught me anything, it’s that Minnesota does not mess around when it comes to winter blizzards.  Since weather in Minnesota can be very sketchy, sometimes people are stuck with making a casserole from whatever is on-hand…thus, the Minnesota Hot Dish.  Often served with hash browns or tater tots, this is one casserole that will satisfy every guilty pleasure.


Mississippi:  Mississippi Mud Pie
Chocolate lovers rejoice!  This ooey gooey pie is a slice of heaven.  Thought to have originated in Mississippi, this pie often is served with ice cream and is the perfect ending to a light summer meal.


Missouri:  Toasted Ravioli
St. Louis holds claim on the creation of toasted ravioli.  A delicious appetizer or snack, toasted ravioli is often made with cheese-filled pasta, seasoned and baked and served with fresh marinara sauce.


Montana:  Huckleberry Buckle
Montana and Idaho are great places to find the tasty huckleberry.  Similar in taste to the blueberry, the huckleberry is used to make everything from medicines to jams.


Nebraska:  Classic Ruben
Thought to have come from Omaha, the Ruben is a popular sandwich consisting of corned beef and sauerkraut.  Often grilled on buttered rye bread, this sandwich can be found in several restaurants across the country…but a homemade one is always best!


Nevada:  Shrimp Cocktail
Though Nevada doesn’t have a traditional food, the shrimp cocktail is somewhat symbolic of the Vegas culture.  A great appetizer or light dinner, the shrimp cocktail can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like it to be!


New Hampshire:  Slow Cooker Apple Maple Pork Tenderloin
Known for apples and maple syrup, New Hampshire is the place to go for hearty and tasty dishes…and this yummy recipe combines them both.  Served with potatoes and peas, this dinner will fill your kitchen with delectable aromas.


New Jersey:  Italian Hoagie
A large Italian population makes New Jersey the place to go for great Italian food in the US…and the hoagie (or hero or sub) is a New Jersey staple!  Filled with meat and cheese and delicious Italian spices, this sandwich is worthy of at least a few fist pumps!


New Mexico:  Green Chili Stew
New Mexico is home to the green chili pepper, and this stew is a great way to highlight the flavors of this tasty ingredient.  Use whatever meat you’d like in this stew and serve alongside tortillas or cornbread for a dinner your family will love.


New York:  New York Style Cheesecake
Cheesecake may look light and fluffy, but this dessert is anything but!  Decedent and creamy, New York style cheesecake often features a simple strawberry glaze and garnish to finish it off.


North Carolina:  Pulled Pork (or Chicken) Sandwiches
Another state trying to lay claim to amazing BBQ, North Carolina has it’s own style of treating pork and chicken.  Featuring a tangy sauce made from a few spices and vinegar, North Carolina BBQ is a unique and delicious take on this southern favorite.


North Dakota:  Plum Kuchen
Kuchen comes from the large German influences in North Dakota.  You can make it with almost any fruit you’d like, and every Dakota grandma has her own go-to recipe.  Served in bar form or as pie slices, this dessert is a Dakota claim to fame.


Ohio:  Buckeye Peanut Butter Balls
These Buckeye candies are an Ohio favorite.  Featuring two of my favorite flavors, chocolate and peanut butter, you can find these tasty treats at almost any Ohio football game.


Oklahoma:  Stuffed Fried Okra
Part of the state meal of Oklahoma (yes, that’s a real thing), fried okra is a southern favorite.  Sometimes battered and fried, sometimes stuffed and battered and fried, because–why not?–fried okra makes a great side dish if you can find it in your local grocery store.


Oregon:  Beer Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
Oregon is home to several amazing breweries, making these beer marinated drumsticks a wonderful taste of the west coast.  Serve with an ice cold IPA for a true Portland experience.


Pennsylvania:  Cheese Steak Sandwich
Pennsylvania dwellers take their cheese steak sammies seriously.  With several restaurants offering up the same sandwich, each spot has loyal customers that swear that their restaurant offers the best option.  Thankfully, you can avoid all the back and forth and just make amazing cheese steak sandwiches right from the comfort of your own home!
PS – How come no one on The Office ever ate a cheese steak sandwich?  Not even Kevin!!  Missed opportunity, NBC.  😉


Rhode Island:  Spicy Calamari
Another popular east coast snack, calamari is best served in Rhode Island.  Rhode Island calamari features a lighter coating and sometimes has a little spicy kick.


South Carolina:  Shrimp and Grits
A true South Carolina stable, shrimp and grits can be found at almost any restaurant in the south.  Rich and comforting, this dish is just as comforting as it is delicious.


South Dakota:  Chislic
Featuring cubed red meat served on a skewer, chislic is a dish commonly served in South Dakota.  The meat is often grilled or fried and can be anything from beef to lamb.


Tennessee:  Nashville Hot Chicken
A local specialty of Nashville, hot chicken is basically fried chicken with a spicy batter.  Often served with a side of ranch dressing, this spicy chicken is a serious game changer!


Texas:  True Texas Brisket
There’s no better place to get beef brisket than Texas.  I mean, look at that slice!!  Served just as is or piled high on a sandwich, Texas brisket is a meathead’s happy place.


Utah:  Funeral Potatoes
A popular Mormon dish usually served at after-funeral dinners, Funeral Potatoes feature all the things that make your soul happy:  potatoes, cheese, cream, and butter.  These potatoes are great if you need a little pick-me-up, no matter what the reason!


Vermont:  No-Bake Vermont Maple Syrup Cookies
Do yourself a favor and throw out any syrup you have that’s not directly from Vermont…because once you taste the real thing, you’re not gonna go back.  These no-bake cookies allow the real flavor of Vermont maple syrup to shine through and they’re sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.


Virginia:  Peanut Soup
Yes, it sounds weird…but peanut soup is a Virginia staple, and has been since the days of colonial Williamsburg.  Thick and satisfying, this soup is great for cold winters and is also a popular staple in African cooking.


Washington:  Sweet Rainier Cherry Pie
Cherry pie may seem pretty universal, but pie made with Sweet Rainier cherries…that’s 100% Washington state!  Sweet and beautiful in coloring, Sweet Rainier cherries grow in Washington state and are tasty baked, cooked, or fresh off the tree!


West Virginia:  Pepperoni Rolls
A strange, yet satisfying food, pepperoni rolls can be found all over West Virginia.  They all feature pepperoni slices baked inside loaves of fresh bread and can come with any variety of cheeses or other additions.


Wisconsin:  Bratwurst Beer Cheddar Pretzel Pot Pie
I think I’d be hard-pressed to find a more Wisconsin-themed recipe.  Bratwurst…beer….cheese…pretzels….this pot pie features all the amazing flavors of this dairy state…and served with a nice stout, this pot pie will help you get through even the toughest midwestern winter.


Wyoming:  Cowboy Chili
The cowboy state deserves a proper cowboy recipe.  Bursting with bold and strong flavors in a hearty stew, this cowboy chili is a guaranteed winner the whole crew is sure to enjoy.


Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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7 of the Best Breweries in the Midwest

Besides sports and snow, the Midwest is king in beer. With new breweries popping up every day, the Midwest has claim on some of the best beers in the nation. As a brewer’s wife, I have had my fair share of hoppy, malty, delicious beverages, and I’ve gathered for you a few of my favorite must-see breweries.


The great thing about the breweries listed here is that they all can and distribute, and you should be able to find most of these at your local liquor store…but nothing quite beats getting a fresh beer at the tap room!

You could easily hit up all of these on an epic beer-cation (we did 3 Floyds, Founders, New Glarus, and New Holland in one trip), or make a short weekend of it and visit a couple breweries in a given region. Ale Asylum and New Glarus are somewhat close to each other, as are Revolution and Half Acre. Founders and New Holland are a short drive from each other and 3 Floyds is easily reached in a few hours from Chicago.

And if you decide to travel to any of these breweries, do yourself a favor and take a tour! The New Glarus Hard Hat Tour is well worth the $30…and the tour at Revolution will excite beer nerds of all kinds. Most also offer food, so gather up your friends, jump in the car, and enjoy a beautiful summer day at one of these fine Midwest brewpubs!


Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
Popular Brews: All Day IPA, Dirty Bastard, Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Tours: Brewery Tours are offered Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Founders also offers a dinner series, beer tastings, and classes in beer making and evaluating.
Food Served: Yes.
Website: www.foundersbrewing.com

If you’re making a trip out to the Founders Brewery, do yourself a favor and go on a guided tour. See how the beer is made, packaged, and promoted in their amazing state-of-the-art facility. There’s also stunning artwork that decorates their workspace, including beer bottle chandeliers and living wall art made of hops. After your tour, stop into the Founders taproom (it’s beautiful!) and have a snack and a tasty libation.


Revolution Brewing, Chicago, IL
Popular Brews: Anti-Hero IPA, Eugene Porter, Bottom Up Wit, A Little Crazy
Tours: Brewery Tours are offered Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. You can also organize private tours for groups up to 30 people.
Food Served: Yes.
Website: www.revbrew.com

A Chicago favorite, Revolution Brewing is a popular hang out for locals. A huge taproom make this a great place for parties and gatherings, and beer is almost on a constant rotation so there’s new stuff quite often. It was also the filming location for the 2013 movie, Drinking Buddies. With several award-winning brews and an awesome location to boot, Revolution Brewing is a must-see brewery for hop heads.


New Glarus Brewing, New Glarus, WI
Popular Brews: Spotted Cow, Moon Man, Serendipity, Fat Squirrel, Totally Naked
Tours: New Glarus offers free self-guided tours during operation hours. For the real deal though, sign up for the Hard Hat Tour, a near 3-hour behind-the-scenes tour of this amazing world-class brewery. The Hard Hat Tour fills up fast though, since it’s only offered on Fridays…so plan ahead. If you can get tickets, believe me, it’s well worth it!
Food Served: No. But you can take your beer out to the hop garden and enjoy a lovely view of New Glarus.
Website: www.newglarusbrewing.com

I have been to this brewery several times and it still amazes me every time we visit. Besides the fact that the beer is probably some of the best in the country, the brewery itself looks like it was dropped into Wisconsin straight out of Germany. With lovely scenic views and a facility that is sure to impress, a visit to New Glarus Brewing is well worth the trip this summer!


3 Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, IN
Popular Brews: Zombie Dust, Alpha King, Gumballhead, Robert the Bruce
Tours: Brewery Tours are offered on Saturdays.
Food Served: Yes. (and it’s AMAZING!)
Website: www.3floyds.com

A true treasure in Munster, 3 Floyds is, in a word, eclectic. Their brewpub is tiny and they don’t accept reservations, so plan ahead if you’re on a tight schedule. However, their food is some of the best I’ve had in a while and well worth the wait. If you need to grab and go, you can visit the Beer To Go station and grab your favorite brews that may be hard to find at liquor stores. 3 Floyds also hosts the infamous Dark Lord Day, a one-day festival that is the golden ticket for many beer enthusiasts.


Half Acre Beer, Chicago, IL
Popular Brews: Daisy Cutter, Gone Away IPA, Space (taproom only)
Tours: Brewery Tours are offered every Saturday. A small fee gets you in the tour, three beer samples, and a pint glass.
Food Served: Yes.
Website: www.halfacrebeer.com

With two facilities in Chicago, Half Acre is quickly expanding and growing into a popular location for beer fans. A recent decision to offer food at the brewery has helped increase foot traffic, especially in the summer months. Not unlike other breweries, Half Acre also offers beers you can only get at the taproom, including Space, one of the best IPA’s I’ve ever had.


Ale Asylum, Madison, WI
Popular Brews: Hopalicious, Bedlam!, Ambergeddon, Madtown Nutbrown
Tours: Brewery Tours are offered every Sunday. Includes a special sampling and a free pint of your choice.
Food Served: Yes.
Website: www.aleasylum.com

One of many breweries in Madison, Ale Asylum is a favorite for hop heads and chips and salsa fans. Strong and bold IPA’s and tasty late-night snacks make this a favorite hang out for visitors and locals alike. When you’re done there, head on down the street to Karben4 Brewing, another great brew pub pumping out tasty Wisconsin brews.


New Holland Brewing, Holland, MI
Popular Brews: Dragon’s Milk, the Hatter series
Tours: Joint tours of the brewery and distillery are offered every Saturday.
Food Served: Yes.
Website: www.newhollandbrew.com

A nice brewpub in a sweet little town, New Holland Brewing offers good drinks and good food. Located in the sweet and quaint town of Holland, MI, this large-scale brewery produces beers that are big in flavor. With seasonal offerings and beers to appeal to more refined tastes (session beers, high gravity beers, barrel aged, and funky and sour beers, for example), this brewpub aims to challenge the pallet and present new and unique flavors on an ever-growing beer list.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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9 Clever Ways to Keep Your Food Cold in the Summer


If you’re a citizen of ‘MURICA, chances are you’re donning your red, white, and blue attire and heading to your local firework display or BBQ cookout, picnic basket in hand. And if you’re traveling with fruit, deli salads, meats, cheeses, desserts, or the like, you’re probably wondering how to keep your food cold, despite boiling July temperatures. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re just trying to keep your edibles cold in transit or you need them cold for outdoor entertaining, these picnic and entertaining hacks will help you keep your cool and refreshing treats, well, cool and refreshing.

Summertime Hacks!
How to Keep Your Food Cold


Place bottles of water in the freezer and use them to keep food cold when traveling. If frozen at least a week in advance, the bottles could stay frozen for up to a day, much more economical than that gas station ice that lasts about 2 seconds.

Keep drinks cold by placing them in a mixture of water and ice. Using just ice won’t distribute the cold as evenly as water will, so placing your drinks in an ice bath will keep them colder longer.

Full coolers tend to stay cold longer, so if your cooler has empty space, fill it with ice.

If traveling by car, keep your food/cooler in the passenger area. The temperature is usually cooler inside the car than it is in the trunk.

Create an ice bowl by putting a medium-sized bowl inside a larger bowl, then fill the larger bowl with water and freeze. Serve your salad or fruit in the insulated bowls.

If possible, freeze part of your dish. If you’re serving a fruit salad, mix in frozen blueberries before you head out the door. They should defrost in about 30 minutes.

Fill small water balloons with water and pop them in the freezer. Use them around your food to keep your table cold and decorative!
Side note, add some food coloring to the water before you freeze it. Peel the balloon off the frozen water for an amazing winter (or summer) decoration.

If you’re traveling a long distance, consider waiting to assemble your dish until you arrive at your destination. Mayonnaise, for example, can be kept at room temperature until the container is opened. It might also allow for easier travel if you don’t have to worry about your bowl tipping over. Just cut and package everything and assemble when ready.

Like your fridge, a cooler will stay colder if the lid stays closed. Avoid opening and closing the lid of your food cooler by keeping drinks and food in separate coolers, if possible.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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12 Weird and Wacky Museums

For some reason, the human race is hell bent on paying homage to weird and wacky things. Creative minds have turned trash into treasure and have collected, gathered, and displayed some bizarre oddities, including hair, bananas, toys, trash, and yes, even some certain male reproductive organs…


If touring the country for The World’s Largest Things isn’t your bag, perhaps a trip to the Banana Museum is more up your alley…or if you’re feeling adventurous, perhaps a trip to the Mutter Museum to see some weird and wacky medical wonders is for you…

From the east to the west, the coast to the coast, here are 12 of the weirdest, wackiest, and best museums in the US!


The Hammer Museum
Haines, Alaska
Dedicated to the history of man’s first tool, the Hammer Museum houses roughly 1,500 hammers, dating back to the cave man days.


The Museum of Miniatures
Tucson, Arizona
The Museum of Miniatures features 300 miniature houses and room boxes, as well as other collectables. This museum also houses the country’s oldest mini house, created in 1775.


Devil’s Rope Barbed Wire Museum
McLean, Texas
Featuring 2,000 variations of wire, this museum gives visitors an inside look at fencing, wire tools, and historical memorabilia. And with two giant spheres of barbed wire greeting visitors on the way in, this is one museum where you want to tread carefully.


International Banana Museum
Mecca, California
Yup, it’s just what it sounds like. Salt n’ pepper shakers, hangers, ties, staplers, candles, toys, harmonicas, cookie jars, ash trays, squirt guns, videos and so much more…all banana themed! There are so many things in this museum that you’re sure to find something new each time you’re there.


Morbid Anatomy Museum
Brooklyn, New York
There is a certain beauty in death, and the Morbid Anatomy Museum prides itself on finding it. Medical journals, embryological models, natural history specimens, and more are housed here, and a variety of exhibits keep the morbidly minded coming back time and again.


The Vacuum Cleaner Museum
St. James, Missouri
Clean freaks rejoice! The Vacuum Museum is home to more than 600 vacuums, all in working condition. Starting in the early 1900s and working up to today, this museum even houses some celebrity vacuums, too!


The Mutter Museum
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Crowned America’s finest museum of medical history, the Mutter Museum contains preserved collections of anatomical specimens, medical instruments, and medical oddities. Popular artifacts include Dr. Joseph Hyrtl’s human skull collection, jaw tumor of President Grover Cleveland, and Einstein’s brain.


The Circus World Museum
Baraboo, Wisconsin
I’m not a huge circus person, but this museum is awesome! Located on the site of the original Ringling Bros. Circus, this museum features wagons and vehicles from international circuses and also puts on a show here and there for the kids.


The Kazoo Museum
Beaufort, South Carolina
One of America’s only homegrown instruments, the kazoo has a history beginning in the 1800s. With nearly 200 kazoos on display, the Kazoo Museum is a fascinating adventure for kids and adults alike.


National Museum of Funeral History
Houston, Texas
One of man’s oldest traditions is celebrated at the National Museum of Funeral History. Discover what funerals are like for Popes, explore the amazing cultural traditions of De Los Muertos, learn about various embalming techniques, visit Presidential funerals, and check out the amazing collections of coffins, caskets, and hearses.


The National Mustard Museum
Middleton, Wisconsin
Wisconsinites know their mustard. With more than 5,600 mustards from all 50 states and more than 70 countries, this one-of-a-kind museum is truly the king of condiments.


Leila’s Hair Museum
Independence, Missouri
Founded by a former hair dresser, Leila’s Hair Museum features an impressive collection of part pieces made entirely from human hair. Jewelry, wreaths, and brooches make up the majority of the collection, and visitors can also see rare collectables with locks of celebrities’ hair.



BONUS! If you think the US has weird public displays of collections, you should see what the world has to offer:

The Dog Collar Museum
Kent, United Kingdom
Featuring 130 historic pieces, the Dog Collar Museum has artifacts dating back to the late 15th century.


The Hair Museum
Avanos, Turkey
Thousands of strands of hair lines the walls of this museum…most accompanied by notes and images. In fact, visitors are encouraged to add a few strands of their own hair to the expansive collection before leaving.


Sulabh International Museum of Toilets
Delhi, India
With models dating back to 25,000 B.C.E., the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets is truly a wonder to behold. Just make sure you know which ones work!


Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Explore once-used torture devices on display at the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments, accompanied by historical engravings of real-life events.


Icelandic Phallological Museum
Reykjavik, Iceland
This museum is dedicated to all things penile. With more than 215 members standing erect, this museum is truly one-of-a-kind.


The Museum of Broken Relationships
Zagreb, Croatia
Revolving around the concept of failed relationships and their ruins, this museum houses rings, clothing, Valentine’s Day gifts, and many more.


Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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9 of the Best Zoos in the US

Once school was out for the summer for my siblings and myself, my dad would pile the family in the car and drive us up to the Milwaukee Zoo at least 3 or 4 times a month. We’d pack a picnic, fill the car with all my dad’s favorite Tom Waits albums, and spend the day walking around the zoo, taking pictures, going to various animal shows, and chasing the peacocks and geese around the premises.

In the winter we’d head up for the Zoo Lights, a tradition several zoos have adopted around the holiday time, and even got to tour the zoo on those swanky “Members Only” days.


My family loved our zoo trips, and if you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your kids or your friends this summer, a zoo getaway is a great idea! Several zoos now cater to adults, hosting after hour parties with food and drink, and some even offer the opportunity to camp at the zoo overnight!

No matter where you are in the country, there’s bound to be an awesome zoo just a road trip away from you. Here are a few of the best ones I could find:


Memphis Zoo


Rated America’s No. 1 zoo by TripAdvisor.com in 2008 and Top Zoo in the Country the following year, the Memphis Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals, representing more than 500 different species. It’s one of the only four zoos in the country to exhibit giant pandas and is home to giant pandas Ya Ya and Le Le. A daily schedule keeps visitors on task and occupied, highlighting a multitude of feeding times, discussions, and stage shows. Plus, their website is pretty awesome!

St. Louis Zoo


The St. Louis Zoo stands out for its commitment to sustainable preservation of animals and natural, humane exhibits. Visit Sea Lion Sound, the Insectarium, the Bird House, or visit Kali, an 850-pound polar bear who makes his home in a $16 million, 40,000 square-foot environment. Wanna get a little closer to the action? Book a behind-the-scenes tour!

Houston Zoo


A trip to the Houston Zoo is so much more than animal observation. With attractions like a Wildlife Carousel and a water park, this zoo is fun for the whole family. With webcams to view gorillas, elephants, flamingos, giraffes and more, the Houston Zoo brings visitors right up to the front lines. A dinosaur exhibit and an area where kids can feed the giraffes also help make the Houston Zoo a great destination.

San Diego Zoo

Photo Caravan Safari

Take a trip to the Skyfari Aerial Tram to glide over this animal kingdom and get a lay of the land. Home to more than 3,700 animals, the San Diego Zoo is a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. Besides animals, the San Diego Zoo is also home to more than 700,000 exotic plants. A wildlife refuge that is at the forefront of environmental protection, the San Diego Zoo is making strides to keep animals safe and healthy. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to go on one of their many safari rides to get up close and personal with all kinds of wildlife!

Zoo Miami


Embark on a tropical adventure at Zoo Miami! The great thing about this zoo is that it offers the extremely rare opportunity to feed Jaunpar and Suru, to male Indian rhinos, for just under $5.00. Visitors can also feed tropical parrots, take camel rides, feed the giraffes, and visit the waterpark and playground.

The Bronx Zoo


Ranked as one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world, the Bronx Zoo stretches for 265 acres and is home to an astounding 6,000 animals. Popular exhibits include a 4-D movie experience, the snow leopard exhibit, and peaceful Butterfly Garden.

Brookfield Zoo


Operated by the Chicago Zoological Society, the Brookfield Zoo is home to all kinds of fun animals. The Brookfield Zoo has also been recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for its outstanding educational programs and events. There is a recycling drop-off center, a tree planting event, adult classes and lectures, and backstage adventures for the whole family.

Henry Doorly Zoo


Located in Nebraska, this zoo features an aquarium, IMAX theater, driveable (or hikeable) wildlife safari park, the world’s largest indoor desert environment and the country’s largest indoor rainforest. Get up close and personal with desert dwellers in the Desert Dome or relax with nature in the butterfly exhibit.

Cincinnati Zoo


No stranger to top 10 lists, the Cincinnati Zoo prides itself on great programs for visitors. Nocturnal Adventures lets families pitch a tent and camp out at the zoo, and the Spaulding Children’s Zoo lets kids get up close and personal with the zoo’s newest arrivals. It is also home to events like Zoo La La, Wild About Wine, and Zoo Brew, a collection of fun evenings for adults to come and enjoy some beverages without worrying about the kids.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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12 Popular Hot Dog Styles from Across the US

On this day in 1933 in the town of Camden, New Jersey, eager motorists parked their automobiles on the grounds of Park-In Theaters, excited for the opening of the first ever drive-in movie theater. Advertised as entertainment for the whole family, he charged $0.25 per car and $0.25 cents per person, with no group paying more than one dollar, which is about $18.00 in today’s money.


Drive-in’s quickly became a very popular destination for families all over the country. The largest drive-in, located in Copiague, New York, was big enough to hold 2,500 cars. It also had a kid’s playground and a full-service restaurant.

Showing mainly B-movies and monster movies, drive-in’s really hit their stride after World War II. Around 1960, there were nearly 5,000 drive-in theaters across the country. They became an icon of American culture, a weekend destination for families, teens, and groups of friends.


As the price of real estate increased and more convenient forms of entertainment became popular (movie rentals, mainly), drive-ins saw a huge decline in popularity. Today, you’re lucky to find a working drive-in theater, as there are only about 500 left in the US.

One of the great things about drive-ins was the double feature. Most theaters would show two movies for the price of one and encourage patrons to visit the restaurants and snack bars in between pictures to fuel up.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of drive-in, I think hot dogs. Maybe it’s because of this fun little dancing dog I see every time I go to the theater:

But a hot dog just screams outdoor entertainment.

As most of you know, each region of the US, and even some international countries, pride themselves on their style of dog. This is no game, people. Hot dog toppings are real business and should be taken seriously (just try ordering a hot dog with ketchup in Chicago…just try).

So to celebrate the anniversary of the drive-in theater, here is a collection of awesome hot dog styles to bring to your next trip to the drive-in! If you are lucky enough to find one near you, you should absolutely check it out. I have been to a couple myself and I love them. Most charge by the car now, so pile your friends and family in the station wagon and take a nostalgic trip back to the good ol’ days!


  • New York Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with mustard, sauerkraut, and onion sauce
  • Carolina Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with chili, chopped onions, and cole slaw
  • Coney Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with chili, chopped onions, and finely shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Chicago Style: Hot dog in a poppy seed bun, topped with pickle spear, celery salt, tomatoes, whole pickled peppers, chopped onions, green relish, and mustard
  • Kansas City Style: Hot dog in sesame seed bun, topped with sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese
  • Brazil Style: Hot dog in split roll, topped with pico de gallo, corn, grated Parmesan, shredded carrots, diced ham, cilantro, and shoestring fries
  • Chile Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, mashed avocado, and mayonnaise
  • Guatemala Style: Bacon-wrapped hot dog in an avocado-coated corn tortilla, topped with shredded lettuce, cabbage, mayonnaise, and chopped onions
  • Denmark Style: Long hot dog in a bun, topped with pickle chips, remoulade, ketchup, mustard, fried onions, and chopped onions
  • Denver Style: Hot dog in a bun, topped with chopped red onion, green chile sauce, sour cream, and chopped jalapenos
  • Memphis Style: Bacon-wrapped hot dog in a bun, topped with barbecue sauce, chopped scallions, and shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Cleveland Style: Kielbasa in a bun, topped with French fries, hot sauce, and cole slaw

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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50 of the World’s Largest Things

My family never went camping. We never went to theme parks or beaches. We never took cruises or flew to far off exotic locations. Nope, my family was a road trip family.

Every summer we’d all pack up in my dad’s Toyota Camry, fill the trunk with luggage and snacks, and head out on an adventure to find weird abandoned cemeteries, strange historical markers, and our favorite, the World’s Largest things.

I don’t know what the magic was about us finding and seeing the World’s Largest Indian, Ketchup Bottle, Can of Beans, Ball of Yarn, or Penny, among so many others, but we loved it. As is often the case with traveling, it was really about the journey, not the destination, but knowing that the largest turkey in the world was waiting for us at the end of our road trip to Minnesota, well, somehow that made it all the more fun.

If you’re thinking of taking a road trip this summer, I highly suggest you go off the beaten path a little bit and check out these ridiculous roadside attractions. There’s at least one in every state, so no excuses!

What other attractions are out there? Let me know where we should travel next in the comments below!


So let’s plan a road trip, shall we?

Alabama – Georgia

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  1. World’s Largest Boll Weevil, Enterprise, Alabama
  2. World’s Largest Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska
  3. World’s Largest Cow Skull, Amado, Arizona
  4. World’s Largest Spinach Can, Alma, Arkansas
  5. World’s Largest Monk, Hillsborough, California
  6. World’s Largest Fork, Creede, Colorado
  7. World’s Largest Jack-in-the-Box, Middletown, Connecticut
  8. World’s Largest Frying Pan, Wilmington, Delaware
  9. World’s Largest Bowling Pin, Tampa, Florida
  10. World’s Largest Peanut, Ashburn, Georgia

Hawaii – Maryland

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  1. World’s Largest Telescope, Mauna Kea, Hawaii
  2. World’s Largest Potato Chip, Pocatello, Idaho
  3. World’s Largest Wind Chime, Casey, Illinois
  4. World’s Largest Preserved Steer, Kokomo, Indiana
  5. World’s Largest Popcorn Ball, Sac City, Iowa
  6. World’s Largest Hairball, Garden City, Kansas
  7. World’s Largest Baseball Bat, Louisville, Kentucky
  8. World’s Largest Ronald Reagan Statue, Covington, Lousiana
  9. World’s Largest Revolving and Rotating Globe, Yarmouth, Maine
  10. World’s Largest Decoy Collection, Salisbury, Maryland

Massachusetts – New Jersey

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  1. World’s Largest Clam Box, Ipswich, Massachusetts
  2. World’s Largest Indian, Ironwood, Michigan
  3. World’s Largest Turkey, Frazee, Minnesota
  4. World’s Largest Rocking Chair, Gulfport, Mississippi
  5. World’s Largest Underwear, St. Louis, Missouri
  6. World’s Largest Penguin, Cut Bank, Montana
  7. World’s Largest Porch Swing, Hebron, Nebraska
  8. World’s Largest Firecracker, Amargosa Valley, Nevada
  9. World’s Largest Candy Counter, Littleton, New Hampshire
  10. World’s Largest Tooth, Trenton, New Jersey

New Mexico – South Carolina

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  1. World’s Largest Pistachio, Alamogordo, New Mexico
  2. World’s Largest Kaleidoscope, Mount Tremper, New York
  3. World’s Largest Bureau, High Point, North Carolina
  4. World’s Largest Buffalo, Jamestown, North Dakota
  5. World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock, Sugarcreek, Ohio
  6. World’s Largest Driller Statue, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  7. World’s Largest Caveman, Grants Pass, Oregon
  8. World’s Largest Shoe, Hellam, Pennsylvania
  9. World’s Largest Termite, Providence, Rhode Island
  10. World’s Largest Peach, Columbia, South Carolina

South Dakota – Wyoming

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  1. World’s Largest Pheasant, Huron, South Dakota
  2. World’s Largest Rubik’s Cube, Knoxville, Tennessee
  3. World’s Largest Rattlesnake, Freer, Texas
  4. World’s Largest Fishing Fly, Logan, Utah
  5. World’s Largest Filing Cabinet, Burlington, Vermont
  6. World’s Largest Gorilla, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  7. World’s Largest Lava Lamp, Soap Lake, Washington
  8. World’s Largest Tea Pot, Chester, West Virginia
  9. World’s Largest Penny, Woodruff, Wisconsin
  10. World’s Largest Jackalope, Douglas, Wyoming

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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