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memorial day weekend

10 Unique Foods to Grill for the Best Cookout on the Block

by Advance Financial | May 26th, 2016


For most Memorial Day cookouts it can be expected that two items will always be present. Hamburgers and hotdogs – the staple food used for grilling. Don’t get us wrong, we love some juicy burgers and mustard drenched hotdogs, but what if you kicked it up a notch this year and got creative with your cookout. To help you throw the most memorable Memorial Day cookout ever, we have created a list of foods you might not have considered to throw on the grill. Enjoy.

Ice Cream

Grill something that easily melts if not in the freezer? That’s right, simply scoop out your favorite ice cream into medium sized balls, coat them with a mixture of egg batter and coconut shavings, and place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. Once frozen throw them on the grill for one to two minutes and BAM! Grilled ice cream.


It’s a burger’s favorite companion, just without the deep fryer. Cut up potato slices into wedges and mix in a bowl with olive oil and seasoning. Grill each side 5 to 10 minutes and they’re ready to be served. If you’re looking for a more health conscience version, try using sweet potatoes.


Bring a little Italian flare to the cookout by grilling pizza. Buy some pre-made pizza dough, coat it with olive oil and place it on the grill. Take off the grill once you see grill marks, and add desired toppings to the grilled side of the dough. Place pizza back on the grill for two to three minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble.


This is a simple one. Just mix up your favorite meatball recipe and put uncooked meatball on the grill for about 7 minutes. Meatballs should be brown with a crispy shell. Enjoy in pasta or on a sub.


Ditch the apron and put on a sombrero. Brush tortillas with olive oil and place on the grill. Place toppings on the tortilla and cover grill. In about 7 minutes you will be ready to remove and fold over for the perfect Quesadilla.


Is there ever a reason not to add Avocado to a meal? When it comes to grilling simply cut in half (the skin stays on), take out the seed, and coat with olive oil. Place the cut side down on the grill and let cook for about 5 minutes. Fill with salsa or cheese and enjoy.


Have no fear, the bacon is here. But if you do fear the mess of frying bacon then grilling it is your key to a grease-free clean up. And since it won’t be sitting in it’s own fat, it will be a healthier version. Cook each slice of bacon for five to six minutes on medium-high heat, crumble it up and add it to your hotdog.


Grilled fruit as a dessert, now that sounds just peachy! Cut peach in half , leaving the skin on and removing the seed. Place peach on the grill, skin side up, for about four minutes or until peach is softened and charred. Pair it with some ice cream and you’ve got the perfect grilled dessert.

Banana Split

While we’re on this grilled fruit and ice cream thing, let’s just add the most famous ice cream and fruit combo, the banana split. Take a ripe and firm banana and cut lengthwise with the peel still on. Grill cut-side down for 2-3 minutes, and then remove from heat. Remove the peel and add all the good stuff (ice cream, nuts, chocolate syrup, etc.).


Nothing kicks off the beginning of summer better than a good slice of watermelon. Cover with olive oil and grill each side for three minutes. Sprinkle with salt or sugar and add some lemon juice for a non-traditional version of everyone’s favorite summer snack.


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Paying our Employees to Give back to the Community Through Volunteering

by Advance Financial | May 24th, 2016


Think of the word community. What comes to mind? Is it your church group, the neighbors on your street, or the members of the PTO? A community can be described as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. We at Advance Financial are part of our customers’ communities; therefore we also share many common goals and interests with those that use our service, which is shown through our charity and volunteer work.

Because giving back to the communities we serve is so important to us, we allot 40 paid volunteer hours a year to each of our employees. Whether it be one of our many scheduled volunteer events, or a specific organization that is important to an employee, we make sure the opportunity to make a difference and give back to our neighborhoods is always available.

278 Volunteer Hours for April

April was a big month for our volunteer efforts, with 278 logged hours. Below are some of the charity events that our team participated in. Great job to everyone who volunteered!

Junior Achievement


Our Knoxville volunteers taught some kids at Anderson County about financial literacy. We were happy to partner with Junior Achievement for the day to educate the students from a real world perspective.


McMinnville Kids Funfest & Safety Day


Volunteers from our Gallatin store helped out for the McMinnville Kids Funfest & Safety Day by passing out first-aid kits to the kids.


JDRF One Walk


One Saturday afternoon our Chattanooga team banned together to volunteer for the JDRF One Walk fundraiser. JDRF One Walk is the largest type 1 diabetes fundraiser event in the world. The team helped register runners and pass out shirts.


Clean and Green


Some of our AF ladies joined the Clean and Green organization to pick up trash around the downtown area of Nashville in an effort to keep the city of Nashville beautiful.

If you feel strongly about our volunteering efforts and think you would be a good fit for the environment we try to create at Advance Financial, click here to find out how to join our team.

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Avoid the Crowds: Best Places to Go this Memorial Day Weekend

by Advance Financial | May 17th, 2016


Since 1971, the last Monday in May has been recognized as Memorial Day, a federal holiday to remember those who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Most people end up getting a 3-day weekend because of the holiday, which in turn means a lot of traveling. According to AAA Travel, last year 37.2 million Americans took a trip 50 miles or more for Memorial Day weekend. 37.2 million travelers means a lot of traffic and crowds to fight, and that stress is not something you want to be part of your 3-day vacation.

To help you in your quest for a crowd-free Memorial weekend we have compiled a list of the best places to go to lessen the stress of planning a trip. And if price is another stressor, we can help there as well. Advance Financial can get you the money you need fast with our FLEX Loan. Even if you’re planning your trip last minute, we are open 24/7 so you can come in or go online anytime.

Colonial Beach, Virginia

If it’s the beach you want, you’re going to have to accept a couple extra people to be crowding around you on the sand. Colonial Beach will still have an influx of vacationers grabbing a spot on the sandy shoreline, but it won’t be nearly as bad as some of the more popular destinations like Myrtle Beach or Destin.

 Buffalo National River, Arkansas

So you’ve decided that the beach is just too much of a gamble, but you still need to be close to a body of water. The Buffalo River is your ticket to low crowd relaxing while floating on an inner tube. The River flows freely for 135 miles and is a combination of fast-flowing rapids and quiet pool.

Saint Louis, Missouri

Memorial Weekend for Saint Louis means the local residents are fleeing to the southern shores, making it the perfect time to visit. The city is filled with tons of entertainment where you won’t have to wait in lines. From theme parks to live music shows, the city has lots of options to choose from to ensure your Memorial Weekend will be memorable.

New York, New York

Memorial weekend is one of the calmest times of the year for New York. Locals are rushing to get out to the beaches, which leaves the city a lot less crowded. New York also has a lower rate of tourist during this time due to the weather and people wanting to kick off their summer close to the beach.


Yep that’s right, stay home. If you live anywhere that a beach is not present then the crowds are likely to be low. Even just going an hour away to a closer city with more to offer can be an option. There are loads of things to do in your own neck of the woods, you just got to get out and explore. An essential tool for a staycation is an app like Living Social to help make all your activity possibilities a little more visible.

Photo Credit:Liz Lawley

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