Today, we are in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It's nice here and really hot too, hence the post about Jalapeño Popper Chicken Bake. The actual Hot Springs are 143° F!! Can you even believe that? One of the most natural waters I have ever touched or drank. There was a guy sitting with his legs knee-deep in the water by a fountain that flowed the springs and I actually asked him, "Are you crazy, sir?" LOL, he laughed with me but I was nervous for him. We walked through all the bathhouses on Bathhouse Row and we learned about the history and each and every single one of them. Boy, there sure our stories to tell about Bathhouse Row! Have you ever been there? We loved the Hot Springs Nat’l Park, too. I loved reading the stories all along the streets as the lineup along each individual bathhouse. There's one that still operating but I'm not sure that I would actually be willing to take a dip and pay for it. Just so I can pay to plummet to my death? No, thank you. I don't mean to insult anyone who would find this appealing, I am just saying.
We absolutely love the Garvan Woodland Gardens! They are beautiful. There's so much to see there and the staff are just so sweet! It's been amazing so far taking the boys with us everywhere. He's a service animal (for emotional support) so it makes it easy to bring him along while were in it for the ride. Regardless of this and having the proper identification, people are just so darn sweet in Arkansas. The boy is so lovable and he loves people to love on him, as well. Most people asked the famous question, "Can I pet him? I know you're not supposed to touch service animals." We always chuckle and say, "Of course! He be so mad if you didn't...", which couldn't be more true. His new thing is that if you make direct eye contact with him for longer than 30 seconds and don't pet him, he goes ballistic! It's quite funny because it went from being asked to pet him to asking them to pet him so that he will just relax a bit. He doesn't quite understand why anyone would walk past him and not want to show him some love. And, sincerely, we don't get it either! He's just so sweet and so adorable and he's our son. I don't think we've ever loved Bentley-Mac more than we do right now as we get to know him even better than we knew him before. This trip has been nothing but the best days of my life.
Our faith in humanity has been restored while being here! We went to a Mexican restaurant across the street from the hotel last night called Salsa's and we met the most amazing people who work there. They were a nice very couple, Gerardo & Destiny, and we hung out with them at the restaurant with the boy. They absolutely fell in love with him, because everyone does like we've said before, haha. We had such a good time hanging out. We basically shut down the place with them.
G is the manager of the restaurant and Destiny is one of the servers/does absolutely everything that they can possibly ask her to do. God is so good that He made the perfect opportunity for us to meet them. Being that we were at a Mexican restaurant, we asked our server about their top notch tequilas. She didn't seem to know much about the topic so she had G come out and talk to us a bit. I would just about call him a tequila expert after hearing the way he talks about tequila. He's so passionate about it, his culture and his heritage. He even brought us out the most expensive tequila there is out there right now on the market and gave us a shot of it on the house. I might as well just add that me and Destiny got pretty tipsy on those yummy drinks G made us once she got off the clock. Memories of moments that we will never forget!
After we parted ways and exchanged numbers vowing to stay friends forever, I got a text from Destiny asking us for our room number. I had no idea why but I simply gave it to her because we already built trust with them and knew they must have good reason. Give or take about 20 to 30 minutes later, we got a knock on the door and it was Destiny with her daughter, Eva, while Gerardo waited in the car. We greeted her & she came out with two huge, amazing toys for the boy. We are humbled and just oh so blessed! We made friends of a lifetime and will always have a piece of our heart here in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
It's going to be really sad to let go and say goodbye tomorrow to this beautiful place but we're on to bigger and better days in this wonderful journey called.
P.S. I am still great friends with Destiny. We talk everyday and I've changed her name, unofficially but officially for me, to Desty.
Jalapeño Popper Chicken Bake
For the jalapeño popper lover, this Jalapeño Popper Chicken Bake is for you! All the flavors of the original jalapeño popper in a beautiful bake.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line a casserole dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
Cut your jalapeño peppers and remove the seeds. Line them along the casserole dish.
In a microwavable safe bowl, add cream cheese and milk. Heat up for 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from the microwave, add the seasoning and mix thoroughly.
Pour your cream cheese sauce on the jalapeño peppers. Top with chicken thighs.
Season the chicken. Slather on some bacon jam. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Drizzle on the desired amount of olive oil. Pop in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Serve with your favorite lettuce or greens.