Bacon Ranch Eggplant Burgers

I know some people are already talking about being anxious for Fall but even with the Mississippi humidity being close to unbearable, I am still soaking up every ounce of summer!  If you are still loving "cook-out season", this recipe is a must try!  Lots of flavor from local, seasonal ingredients with none of the guilt.  I adapted this recipe and added a little pizzazz to the original from the Fixate cookbook.
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I make a big batch of the ranch dressing on Sundays and use it throughout the week but feel free to cut the recipe in half (or even 1/4) if you are just using it for the burgers!  As much as I love ranch, I hate all the yucky ingredients in your normal store bought kind.  This is a great balance with no artificial ingredients or chemical junk!

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Bacon Ranch Eggplant Burgers
Adapted from Fixate 
Serves 2-3
1 Eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1 inch rounds
1/2 lb Ground Beef (or Ground Turkey!)
1/4 Onion, thickly sliced
2 Slices Bacon
Olive Oil
Homemade Ranch** (Recipe below)

Peel eggplant and slice into 1 inch rounds.
Brush with olive oil and set aside.
Form beef into burger patties, similar in size to your eggplant rounds.  (You will want two eggplant rounds for each patty.  Number of burgers will depend on size of your eggplant!)
Season burgers as desired and grill until done, ~5 minutes on each side.
Add bacon, eggplant and onions to the grill.
Grill eggplant ~4 minutes on each side.
Stack your burger: eggplant, burger, ranch, bacon, onion, eggplant and enjoy!

21 Day Fix Container equivalents: 1 Red, 1 Green

Homemade Ranch
1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese
2 TBS Greek Yogurt
1 1/2 TBS Almond Milk, unsweetened
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Parsley
1 TBS Green Onion, finely chopped

Place cottage cheese, greek yogurt, almond milk and lemon juice in the blender and blend until smooth.
Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until well mixed.
Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container (I use a mason jar)

21 Day Fix Container equivalents: Red OR Orange

Life in Mississippi: Ralph Morgan Rodeo

Our time in Meridian, Mississippi has given us lots of first and this weekend was no exception: first trip to the rodeo!  Last time the rodeo was in town we already had plans so when we saw it was back, I knew we had to make it.
redneck rodeo girl outfits
flight school meridian ms
We invited a couple friends over for a little "Redneck Rodeo" pre-game before the rodeo.  Redneck attire was highly encouraged and the outfits did not disappoint!  We drank spiked sweet tea from mason jars and had some redneck snacks.
redneck party food
white trash party food
ralph morgan rodeo meridian ms
I was the designated driver so in typical Mississippi fashion (where it is legal!), we piled 11 adults and one baby into Rob's truck and headed down some back roads to the rodeo.  Crazy fact -- do you know that drinking while driving is technically legal in the state of Mississippi?  "In Mississippi, the driver and passengers in a vehicle are actually permitted to drink, but the driver may not be intoxicated beyond the legal blood-alcohol content level of .08 percent."  Legal or not, I promise I stuck to just plain sweet tea all night! things to do at nas merdian
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I have to admit, I had NO IDEA what to expect when it came to the rodeo but I definitely didn't expect it to be so dangerous!  I was impressed!  I was also impressed by the tiny future cowboys -- they invited the children to chase the baby calves and kids as young as 5, decked out in cowboy boots of course, would climb up this 10 foot fence and hop over to chase the calves like it was no big deal.  Maybe next year, that will be me ;)
meridian mississippi rodeo

Mississippi's Giant Houseparty - the Neshoba County Fair!

This weekend, we had the opportunity to experience one of Mississippi's finest attractions: The Neshoba County Fair!  I don't know about you but I am never one to turn down a trip to the fair.  I love the bright lights and colors, I love fair food, I love the rides, I love everything about it.  But the Neshoba County Fair, also known as Mississippi's Giant Houseparty, takes the fair to a whole new level!
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neshoba county fair
things to do in meridian mississippi
The fair itself is pretty much what you would expect - rides, food vendors, games, but where this southern gem really gets interesting is the front porch sittin' at the fair cabins!  The fair covers 60 acres of land in Philadelphia, MS and has been a Mississippi tradition since 1889.  Around the racetrack, there are close to 900 fair cabins, all brightly painted and colorfully lit up, separated into "neighborhoods" with names like Happy Hollows, Sunset Boulevard, and Bourbon Street.  Pictures cannot do these cabins justice!  The fair cabins are passed down from generation to generation and the families lucky enough to be in on one will come into town and live on the fair grounds for the week.
mississippi fair in philadelphia ms
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I was so intrigued by everything I had to ask a few locals for all of the details!  The power to the fair cabins is turned on from April to August but most people only stay in the cabins for the nine days that the fair is in town.  Several of these fair cabins cost half a million dollars and are considered some of the most prime real estate in the entire state of Mississippi!  The fair grounds are like a self-contained city during this week, even opening their own post office for the nine days!  Southern literary icon Willie Morris called it a “combination camp meeting, picnic, recital, amusement park, music jamboree, race track, and political rally...[with] no institution quite like it in America.”  Ronald Reagan announced his run presidency here and many famous people including John Glen have given political speeches at the Neshoba County Fair.
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fair cabins at the neshoba county fairFriday when the guys got off of work, we piled into the car to make the hour trip from Meridian to Philadelphia.  We rode rides, ate our weight in corn dogs and deep fried moonpies, sang along to some old favorites at the Phil Vassar concert, and walked through the fair cabins, daydreaming about which house we would go in on for next year's fair.  It was a blast and an absolute Mississippi must-do if you are in the area!
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what to do in meridian ms this weekend
Details:  16800 State 21 South, Philadelphia, MS 39350;  Day tickets, $15; season tickets, $30 ages 10 and up.

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