Top Dog

Inspired by Blog Honestlyyum

What could be better than fall and hot dogs? We’ve managed to find a way to blend the two and make the best tailgate hot dog recipes you can find. With these top dogs you’ll have the most popular charcoal grill in town. Make sure you have extra for the parking lot wanderers who will sniff their way to you!


4 bratwursts (chicken apple brats are great with this recipe)

3/4 c. of beer

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 head of cabbage, shredded

2 green apples, cut into matchsticks

8 green onions, thinly sliced

1 c. flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1/4 c. of apple cider vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

Sea or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



Slaw: Use your hand and sprinkle some salt over the head of cabbage and gently massage. This will loosen up the leaves so they are not so firm. To make the vinaigrette, whisk apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and slowly pour in the extra-virgin olive oil until it blends together to a light yellow. Whisk in mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Mix parsley, apples and green onions and thinly sliced cabbage. Pour the vinaigrette over the slaw and set aside.


Brats: Heat a cast iron skillet over an open flame. A charcoal grill will work just fine or you can make these inside over the stove. Heat bratwurst in the pan with a little bit of oil over a medium high heat until brown. Once brown, remove from heat and seat aside. Add onions to pan and caramelize until soft and golden brown. Add the beer to the pan to pull off the little yummy remnants of the onion and deglaze. Add the brats back to the pan and cover for 5-7 minutes.


Put onion and brat on a pretzel bun, top with slaw and feast away!


Inspired by blog HonestlyYum


A New Era of Agriculture: Hops Farm

By Stacy Vanzant & Contributor Tyler Lohr

Vast rolling hills of tobacco, sweet potatoes, and cotton once roamed this land. Our landscape used to be filled with buildings curing tobacco, farmers picking cotton to send to the manufacturing companies, and plows digging fresh sweet potatoes. Some of those landscapes have changed over the years as agriculture demands have transitioned. One new form of agriculture breaching the fields of Davidson County and the East Coast is hops. Hops are used in making beer and in the preservation of beer.

Prior to 1850, hops were cultivated throughout the Eastern seaboard. After disease and market pressure caused the depletion of hops on the East Coast, all hops cultivation was pushed to the upper Pacific Northwest.

hopsfarmAs the growing need for new agriculture in our area has started to expand, so have several hops farms. Local farmer Tyler Forrest planted his hops farm, Lohr Land Farms, this year. Forrest became interested in hops farming because of the boom in the craft beer industry.

“With the decline of the tobacco industry, many farmers have to look outside the box for new uses of their land,” says Forrest. “Asheville is the capital of craft beer on the East Coast and North Carolina does not have enough farms to meet even an eighth of local demand. One of the greatest benefits of hops agriculture is that many local farmers can afford to grow hops because they do not require a lot of land to yield a good crop,” he adds.

However, there are 20 different hops varieties that grow in the US and only five or six can grow in North Carolina. A recent study by North Carolina State University called “The NC Hops Project” studied different types of hops grown on various types of North Carolina soils to determine which would grow best.

North Carolina is just outside of the ideal growing zone, and due to the humid climate and varying soil types in Davidson County, hops can be a difficult and labor intensive crop to grow. “Hops need soil that easily drains, which makes clay soils a challenge when cultivating hops,” according to Forrest.

Hops farms are a unique type of farming because hops grow vertically up to 18 feet in the air. When you look at a hops farm you might think that telephone poles have been placed with wire between them throughout the property.

lohrfarmsForrest’s hops farm, encompassing 24 acres, is the largest that he’s aware of in Davidson County. There are at least two others in the area, but it requires a lot of patience and labor to make hops farming a profitable business.

Lohr Land Farms grows Cascade hops. They’re more resilient to disease and a humid climate. Based on our local climate, approximately one pound of hops per plant is a good harvest rate. “Most hops farms are harvested by hand for small size yards — that’s up to half an acre,” says Forrest. “For that size yard it could take up to two days to harvest with two or three people working.”

That’s very important to Forrest and his production because he has an agreement with various local microbreweries in the Piedmont area for wet hops. “Wet hops typically have to be at the brewery within 48 hours of harvest,” says Forrest. Wet hops are not dried or processed before being used in the beer making process. Cascade hops have a floral flavor and are often used to make IPA (India Pale Ale) styles of beer.

Wet hops impart a fantastic additional flavor profile that is lost through the standard brewing process, according to Virginia hops farm, Kelly Ridge Farms. It’s like comparing fresh, green aromatic herbs from your garden to dried herbs from the store.

When asked if anyone can grow hops, Forrest responded, “With a little reading, persistence and sweat, just about anyone can grow hops.” According to Forrest, “When local breweries are looking for local barley and hops it’s extremely challenging, but as the market demands more, farmers will produce more and help build a growing agriculture need. The future really is bright!”


7th Annual Sportsmen’s Saturday

By Les Gura Wake Forest Baptist HealthWire

Tracy Nunn, manager of Rehabilitation Services at Wake Forest Baptist Health Lexington Medical Center, described her newest piece of equipment as being “like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

The “Neo” machine allows Rehab Services therapists—at the touch of a screen—to provide electrical stimulation, ultrasound, EMG biofeedback, EMG-triggered stimulation and laser to treat patients’ pain and direct their rehabilitation programs.

Rehab Services obtained the machine thanks in part to money raised at the 2015 Sportsmen’s Saturday, the annual raffle for big-ticket prizes and cash. Early bird tickets are now on sale for the 2016 Sportsmen’s Saturday, set for Oct. 29.

Each year, the proceeds of Sportsmen’s Saturday are targeted for one major improvement at Lexington Medical Center. Last year’s proceeds went toward new equipment at Rehab Services, one of the busiest departments at the medical center. As many as 150 patients a day and more than 25,000 a year visit Rehab Services for physical, occupational, and speech therapies.

Another important change being made at Rehab Services thanks to proceeds from the 2015 Sportsmen’s Saturday is a covered drop-off area. By November, patients in wheelchairs or using walkers or crutches will have a protected passage from their vehicles to enter Rehab Services.

“We value any help we can get,’’ said Nunn, thanking community members. “To have something that allows us to see more patients, to be more efficient with our patient care, and to provide better patient care just makes our day; that’s why we’re here.”

Growth and Community Connection

 Sportsmen’s Saturday has grown tremendously since it began in 2010. The first event sold 1,200 tickets and $60,000 worth of prizes were given away. A total of 2,000 tickets are available for this year’s 7th Annual Sportsmen’s Saturday. More than $100,000 in cash and prizes—as well as an auction—will be offered.

To date, the event has raised $628,700. Including matching money from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, more than $1 million has gone toward improvement projects at Lexington Medical Center.

Besides Rehab Services, previous community donations through Sportsmen’s Saturday have led to major improvements at the Cancer Center, and expansion of the Emergency Department and other facilities at the medical center. In each case, improvements have increased patient access and comfort, as well as offering new care technologies.

Bill James, president of Lexington Medical Center, said the event is a special one for the community and the medical center.

“Sportsmen’s Saturday is an opportunity for people to have fun and enjoy good food in an exciting atmosphere,’’ he said. “But it’s also a very important fundraiser for Lexington Medical Center that has resulted in tremendous benefit for our patients.

“We look forward to continuing to offer improvements that provide better care and comfort for our patients thanks to the generosity of this community.”

Biggest event yet

This year’s raffle will again be held at the Historic Southern Railway Freight Depot. Early bird tickets are available through Sept. 12 at 19 locations around Davidson County, as well as online. Those who buy early are eligible for five special cash drawings.

Nina Smith, chair of the Lexington Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors, said she expects Oct. 29 to be the biggest Sportsmen’s Saturday yet.

“We have five auction items this year, which is more than in past years, to go with all 18 of the prizes and a dozen cash awards,’’ Smith said. “With a maximum of 2,000 tickets being sold, you have a great chance to win amazing gifts’’.

The high-end, sports-themed prizes include a Sea-Doo Spark with trailer, an Avalon Pontoon, a Harley-Davidson Low Rider® and a Chevy Silverado 4X4.

Among the items to be auctioned are tickets to a NASCAR race with pit and suite passes donated by the honorary chairman of Sportsmen’s Saturday, Richard Childress. Also set for auction are tickets to a Charlotte Panthers football game and a wildlife carving by Davidson County artist Keith “Bub” Wright.

Sportsmen’s Saturday will begin at noon on Oct. 29; gates open at the Southern Railway depot at 11 a.m. For a complete list of prizes and to purchase tickets, visit




Agility Training for the Non-Athlete

By Stacy Vanzant Certified Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor

We all remember the fun games of tag that we played as kids. We would chase after our friends trying to tag each and every one of them as they bobbed, weaved, and shuffled out of our way. It was a game of speed, accuracy, and agility.

You’re probably thinking the same thing as I am: “That was years ago when I had a youthful frame, loads of energy, and flexible joints.” Yes, you’re right, but agility training has come back into popularity for a variety of reasons that don’t including playing sports.

Sports Agility Training (SAT) is breaking the molds of traditional exercise routines and climbing in popularity fast. SAT is a form of fitness that builds speed, agility, reactivity, and quickness. Many levels of play from youth, collegiate, amateur, and professional competitive arenas are encouraging their athletes to incorporate agility fitness exercises into their training programs.

Sports Agility Training is a form of exercise that’s done with a specific task in mind for a short period of time. For example, running back and forth from a series of cones, weaving feet over and back of an agility ladder, or even running weighted sprints are a few examples of SAT.

Because of its ability to improve the body’s reactions and break performance plateaus, the intrigue and interest are bringing common, weekly fitness enthusiasts into the mix and they are practicing SAT on a regular basis.

Agility drills increase your balance, dynamic flexibility, functional core strength, control, and reduce your risk of physical injury by improving body mechanics. These benefits are allowing adults to stay active longer, enhance reflexes, improve coordination, and maintain balance and muscle mass to support the skeletal structure.

FUN is back in Fitness! After years of repetition in popular fitness routines on treadmills, bikes, and even in the weight room, you can stop your boring workout that sometimes keeps you from exercising.  Let’s face it, if you like what you’re doing you’re more likely to continue. Each SAT routine is unique and offers a wide variety of exercises keeping you engaged and excited to perform each exercise.

Motivation for Measurable Results. We all want to see results of our efforts. Agility training is an excellent form of fitness that’s easily measured each time it’s performed. A drill like a three-cone shuttle run, often performed at professional football try-outs, is a good example. Perform the drill and time yourself. Record the time and after a week or so of training, do the drill again and time yourself. You will be amazed at how quickly you can see measurable results after only a few exercise routines.

High-Intensity Interval Training. Agility training is a form of HIIT which is an effective way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Running very fast for a short period of time (10-30 seconds) and then allowing the body to recover before repeating the exercise is a great way to burn calories fast! HIIT training also carries over after the workout to continue a high caloric burn hours after your exercise routine is over.

Prevent Injury. Changing movement patterns quickly allows you to train the body to make modifications in a split second. Training your body to change directions in movement and speed allows your muscles to improve upon the strength and resiliency of connective tissue. If you have been training in agility and trip stepping onto a curb, it’s likely your body will be more responsive and prevent a fall.

Warm-up Is a Must. Unlike other exercise methods that allow you to slowly warm-up the muscle and connective tissue, agility training requires your body be fully warm before starting any of the exercises. Agility training requires a longer warm-up to ensure the body is fully ready to train. If you’re not fully prepared to start the workout it’s likely you can become injured. You wouldn’t hop out of the car and go into a full 50 meter sprint, so please get warm before starting any agility drills.

Most Calibers of Fitness Can Enjoy SAT. If you can’t run then jog. If you can’t jog then speed walk! Modifications are perfectly acceptable with any form of fitness, so give it a try! As with any fitness routine, consult with your doctor.

Perform 3 to 5 reps of each exercise to your fastest and fullest ability and have fun!

Hop Scotch Drills (if you do not have an agility ladder, grab some chalk and the kids and get moving).

1 In Forward:

Start with both feet outside of the ladder. Hop one foot at a time in each block of the ladder until you reach the end keeping the opposite foot off the ground. Then hop back one foot at a time until you’ve completed the whole ladder. Down and back is 1 rep. Remember speed is key!

2 in Forward:

Working your way back down the ladder, one foot and then the other will enter each section of the ladder. Keep the count of 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 as quick as you can down.

2 in Lateral:

Working down the ladder laterally, run, jog placing each foot in each ladder slot. Add high knees to this drill for a high intensity calorie burn. Run, Run!

Hopscotch Forward:

Starting with both feet outside of the ladder jump with both feet into the ladder then jump to straddle the outside of the slot on the ladder. Hop into the next slot and then straddle and so forth. For an increase drill add a squat when jumping outside the ladder.

In-In, Out-Out:

Alternate feet and in and out of the ladder as you work your way down the length of the ladder. Again, add a high knee move to elevate this exercise intensity.

Three-Cone Drill:

Place three cones (or other markers) in a triangle pattern eight feet apart. Sprint from the first cone to the second. Circle that cone, then run backward to the first. Circle the first cone, then sprint to the third cone; circle it, then run backward to the first cone. Repeat as quickly as you can three times. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat three more times.

Weaving Sprint:

Line up five cones (or other markers) in a row, about 18 inches apart (a bit less than your average stride). Start at one end and weave through the cones, running as fast as possible without knocking them over. At the end, turn around and jog back. Do four reps, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat the sequence three times.

Compass Drill: