I love celebrating St. Patrick's day. I think part of it is because I'm Irish and it falls about a week after my birthday, so I usually end up doing some sort of combo St. Patrick's Day/Birthday celebration. I like to make Irish food while listening to Irish music and drinking some sort of Irish beverage (or just playing up anything green). This year is a little different because I am in Texas with my family but we are still celebrating by having friends come over and eating Irish (and/or green) food and having some drinks.
If you are hosting a party, going to one or just want to make festive food at home while still eating healthy, look no further! Try out these delicious green recipes this weekend and get in the spirit! Bonus: They are also all gluten-free and dairy-free!
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If you are looking for a unique park to run, walk and play with your kids and/or dogs, this is it! The Park at Harlinsdale Farm is a historic treasure right across from The Factory and near downtown Franklin. The 200-acre property of rolling farmland was a working horse farm for 7 decades before eventually being turned into a passive park. It has kept its open spaces, plenty of areas for picnicking and throwing frisbees or flying kites, a canoe launch to the Harpeth River, 3-acre pond with catch and release fishing (fishing license required), 4-acre dog park, an arena area, plenty of space to ride horses and my favorite - miles of trails! The park even hosts polo matches, concerts, festivals and 4th of July fireworks!
The park is located at 239 Franklin Rd, Franklin, TN 37064. There is a South entrance (directly across from The Factory) that takes you to the main entrance where the barn and arenas are. There is plenty of parking and a water fountain for you and your dog. If you keep driving down the gravel road on the left you will get to the canoe launch. The North entrance is a little further up Franklin road and will take you to another large parking lot and to the dog park. There is also a porta potty, potable water source, and an area to park trailers.
The majority of the trails are turf/grass with a tiny portion going up into the wooded trails to an overlook and you can even include some of the park roads, depending on how much mileage you are looking for. You can get about 5.25 miles without repeating anything. There is a total ascent of about 194 ft and is mainly rolling fields except for the short, steep trail to the overlook. If you just want the turf/grass and wooded trail, stick to the first 3 miles. This is similar to the path (opposite direction though) that the free Walk Across Williamson Trail 5k normally follows. The park will eventually connect to downtown Franklin by a sidewalk and to the Chestnut Bend Bend subdivision with a bridge over the Harpeth which will add miles and miles of more paths and trails!
I usually just park on the South side and take off in a clock-wise direction, mainly sticking to the outer areas of the park and then winding through in the middle (the first 3 miles). By going this direction you begin on the gravel road that starts by the arenas, takes you past the canoe launch area and then into the fields. The trail is basically just a large mowed path through the grass that borders the park and the Harpeth River in the back. You eventually come around the pond and a tree farm and can choose to go through the wooded trails with a scenic overlook (a little steep but a short distance before coming back out into the fields again) or just straight through to the North entrance fields. After getting back into the field you still keep to the border of the park and will pass by some nice houses before running close to Franklin Rd and winding through across the North entrance, by Franklin Rd again but still on the rolling fields before getting back to the main entrance. You can then follow the small arrow signs across the fields, back to the gravel road and to where you began. If you want to do the 5.25 miles just follow the trail back to the field on the left and around, back past the barn and then loop through the road by the dog park, around the parking lot, behind the dog park, around the lake and back down the gravel road to where you started. My favorite thing to do though is go without a plan and just explore (as I like to do with most trails so I don't have to remember specific directions). I encourage you to take this approach if you have the time!
While I absolutely love running here, some things to keep in mind are that there is not much shade to protect you from the blazing sun during the summer, you are in a field so beware of bugs and mud, and while it is relatively flat and fast, you might want to wear trail shoes and watch for holes and uneven ground so you don't twist your ankles or fall. Other than that, bring your picnics, frisbees, bathing suit (for the river), fishing gear (for the pond and river), dogs, and family to experience everything this wonderful park has to offer!
Checkout Williamson County, TN Paths, Trails and Parks for more places to explore around town!
It was one of my friend's birthday last week and I asked him what his favorite cookie was. His response was - sugar cookies from Kroger. I then asked if he would prefer a homemade one and he said "If it can be done in the healthiest way possible, yep!" With the name "sugar cookie", it is a little hard to make something like that healthy, so I decided do a different take on one with elevated flavors - knowing that I wouldn't really be able to recreate the normal flavor. I chose almond flour and coconut sugar for the base of the cookie which created a deeper, brown sugar-caramel type flavor. I decided to stick with a similar flavor for the frosting as well. I consider this to be the healthier, brown sugar-ish cousin to the sugar cookie, lol!
They were chewy on the outside and soft on the inside after they came out of the oven and cooled for a bit. I stored them in a container on the counter for a day before I frosted them and brought them over to my friend. They got softer as they sat in the container but were still awesome. Just make sure to store them on parchment paper and not directly on top of each other or they might stick. You might want to try storing them in the fridge or a baggie to see if one of those ways would keep them chewier if you like them better like that. Either way, they are a fun, new, naturally gluten-free cookie to try out with a great flavor, frosted or not! Also, while this might be healthier than a sugar cookie, coconut sugar is still sugar and should be enjoyed as a treat, in moderation.
Servings: 24 cookies
Prep/Total Time: 25 minutes (not including time to cool and frost)
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I had wanted to run the Hot Chocolate 15k for the last several years but I never registered. I think I procrastinated because I noticed it either always rained, was super cold or was super cold AND rainy on the day of the race (mid February). I decided to run the race this year because it is a big one for Team Beef and my Franklin Road Runners group, plus I just wanted to finally do it! I was really excited once I registered and even more excited that my husband decided to register as well!
I was still running pretty consistently since my last race in October but had scaled down a little bit. I was averaging about 25 miles a week and started training with my husband on the weekends. Since the weather has been a little crazy this winter I decided that I didn't want to focus on speed training but just running to do well, to feel good and not have any pressure or stress before, during or after the race. I truly just wanted to enjoy the experience!
We got to the race expo on Thursday night (Valentine's Day) about 15 minutes before it was over thanks to traffic and parking, picked up our bibs and jackets and walked around to the different vendors, got some free samples - hot chocolate, marshmallows, jelly beans and more, and then drove home. We were glad that we went down there to get an idea for how it was going to be on race morning. We figured out where would be best to park, got our gear ready to go and made our plans for Saturday.
The night before the race we wanted to take it easy and relax. We had my typical pre-race meal - chicken, green beans and sweet potatoes and stayed in to do our Crated with Love date night box, had a glass of red wine and tried to go to bed early (never happens). We woke up at 5 am to get ready, take the dogs out and leave by 5:45. We made it to the Nashville Public Library (our favorite place to park, it is never full and only costs $10 in the evenings and on the weekend) by 6:15. We jogged to Centennial Park, met up with Team Beef and the Franklin Road Runners and got ready to start!
Oh, I forgot to mention...it wasn't raining! I was so happy that the weather turned out to be pretty good racing weather that day! It was cold, low 30s, so I just wore long tights and a long sleeve shirt and gloves (I brought an old, free pair that I had planned to take off and throw away when I warmed up but I never did). We did start to get too cold after we were done and had to hurry back to the car since I couldn't feel my hands, but all-in-all, it was perfect weather for running.
I was supposed to be in a different corral than Josh but I decided since we trained for this thing together that I wanted to at least start together! We had originally decided to just do our own race and if we ran together - great, and if not, that was fine too, we just didn't want to stress each other out if we weren't going to be at the same pace. For the first 1/2 - 1 mile we separated to get through the crowd and adjusted to the pace we wanted to be at. It turns out, we were running the same pace so we stayed together throughout the entire run and I absolutely loved it! The course was hilly but not too awful if you normally train on them and I did like how the streets were blocked off so we could space out and weren't running too close with other people. We looked at the elevation ahead of time and knew that it was a slight uphill for the first half of the race and since it was an out and back (with a loop in the middle) that halfway through when we turned around it was going to start back downhill. I had originally planned on eating the chocolate and goodies along the course but the thought of that made me want to die as I was actually running. I stuck with my norm - water and my banana baby food pouch (at the halfway point). We sped it up a bit more on the way back and ended up with a 8:27 average for the 9.3 miles. I finished 242nd out of 1,966 overall, 89th of 1,324 females and 12th of 195 in my age group. I felt really good during the whole thing and so did Josh. I was so proud of him, he did amazing, especially with this being the first race he ever trained for!
We grabbed some free jelly beans and our chocolate goodies (hot chocolate, melted chocolate, a banana, rice krispie treat and marshmallows), walked through the Nashville Farmers' Market since it was right next to where we were and then had to hurry back to the car since we were getting so cold! It was a great race, we felt good and it was so nice to run together. I think this was the first race I wasn't super nervous for and I owe that to Josh! His support and the comfort of knowing he would be close to me throughout the race took my normal pre-race anxiety away and I can't wait to do more races with him. This one was so fun since it was around Valentine's Day, we love the jackets we were given and the goodies at the end topped it all off! You can't go wrong with chocolate.
Pinkerton Park is a 34-acre municipal park located east of the Harpeth River, near downtown Franklin with a 1-mile paved path. Fort Granger is a 1-mile trail located on 14.5 acres and was built in 1862 by Union troops as a federal post and signaling station and is set above and behind Pinkerton Park. It consists of a 1-mile trail with a boardwalk and stairs to reach the overlook.
The trails and paths connect so you can choose to explore them together or on their own. Just keep in mind that the paths/trails are very different from each other. Pinkerton is paved and flat and Fort Granger has a steep, rocky climb with an unpaved trail. It will definitely keep your walk/hike/run interesting!
Starting with Pinkerton, there are four entrances; two are right off of Hwy 96/Murfreesboro Road (405 Murfreesboro Rd, Franklin, TN 37064) with a huge parking lot, one from downtown Franklin through the Sue Douglas Berry Memorial pedestrian bridge and the other off of Eddy Ln (with a parking lot), through the Fort Granger trail. If you are driving, the most direct option is to park in the parking lot accessible by Hwy 96/Murfreesboro Road. You can’t miss it!
There are 3 large pavilions, multiple picnic tables and benches to rest, stretch or enjoy your picnic on. There are also water fountains located around the park; one at the pavilion closest to the river, one by the playground and one by the bathrooms. All important things to know if running at the park or planning to run through it! You could also pack a hammock to relax on after your run, a Frisbee to throw on one of the fields or ping pong paddles to play on the new concrete ping pong table. Don’t forget 25 cents to buy a ball! If you are bringing your family to get some exercise you can take your kids and dogs (or just yourself) along the storybook trail and read a story about forest animals at 20 stops along the way for an interactive walking experience. Another bonus for the kids is a Read Box, a community library box where you can take a book and share a book. There are also several play areas around the park for kids and exercise equipment located at various points along the path with 3 different modifications and options for those in wheelchairs. If fishing or canoeing/kayaking is more your thing you are in luck, there is a public access point to the Harpeth River as soon as you enter the park on the left!
As for running or walking the wide, 1-mile paved path takes you around the perimeter of the park, looping through the fields and along the trees. It is an easy to follow loop with a 22 ft. elevation gain. This makes for a fast course…mile repeats anyone? It is normally pretty busy with other runners, walkers or kids riding bikes on it since it is such a popular park. You can easily add more mileage by starting your run off here and going through downtown to Bicentennial Park (more info on this path in a later post), down the new Hwy 96/Murfreesboro Road sidewalk or just behind the park to the connecting Fort Granger Trail.
The easiest way to get to Fort Granger is off of Eddy Rd (113 Fort Granger Dr, Franklin, TN 37064), you will see a Fort Granger sign with a parking lot down the drive. You could also access it through the back of Pinkerton Park on foot. There is a new pavilion in the parking lot and a Franklin Historic Parks Cell Phone Audio Tour option for those who are interested! If you want water or a bathroom you will need to go through the trail and down to Pinkerton Park. There are several placards located throughout the trail with important information on the history of Fort Granger. Starting in the parking lot you will enter through the boardwalk and can go to the right on the trail loop with the placards (stopping for the beautiful views) and then back onto the boardwalk to the highest lookout point, down the stairs and then back onto a steep, rocky trail that takes you down through the trees and across a little field, by the river and to Pinkerton Park. Turn around and head back where you came from to make 1-mile total, or add in the Pinkerton Park loop for an extra mile. Remember, you will now have to go back up the steep climb (a total elevation gain of about 50 ft.)! There were some extra little trails I found that were connected to the top trail section, one took me to an overlook and the other down to the train tracks. Not quite sure if something else will happen with these eventually but they were still nice to explore and added a tiny bit more mileage.
Both of these paths/trails are dog-friendly but must be kept on a leash. While they are not super long, they make for a fun, safe, quick workout or great family outing with something for everyone! They are also in such convenient locations and make great stops before or after visiting downtown Franklin! There is no excuse to visit these paths and trails and get active!
Checkout Williamson County, TN Paths, Trails and Parks for more places to explore around town!
I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
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