Friday, October 30, 2009
Tomorrow we fly home! I am looking forward to flying on Halloween to see if there are any travelers in costume. Should be interesting. We are going to Voodoo Music Festival Saturday and will be capping off our Halloween with a late night outdoor performance by KISS!! How cool is that!
Sunday we will be heading to my favorite place - Commander's Palace - for the world's greatest brunch. I love how celebratory Commander's feels. There's balloons on all of the tables at brunch and the jazz band that strolls through the restaurant is wonderful. I cannot wait to be there!
And of course, there's Monday - the actual day! We will be having lunch with my family and then strolling around the Quarter to soak up all of the energy and excitement that is in the air with our undefeated Saints playing on Monday Night Football! A MNF game versus the Falcons is always exciting, but the thought of beating them to go 7-0 is just too much to take in. I've been listening to interviews on NFL radio all week, and the Falcons' players have said they are preparing to play in a very noisy, very hostile environment. Saints fans - we need to bring it. I hope you all tune in to see just how excited this city is about our team. Since 2006 it has always felt that they play for us and for the city, not for themselves. It is truly an amazing team to watch play football. The best gift ever would be a Saints victory on Monday night!!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Devil With a Blue Dress On! I am going to wear this cute little blue dress and devil accessories. Cute and a little funny too. I can't pull off the sexy "fill in the blank" costumes. I prefer something a little witty!!
YAY! Halloween anxiety DONE!
1. What are you going to be for Halloween? Good question! We are going home this weekend and actually flying out on Halloween. I have to find something that I can pack. Any good ideas? I may just go to Walmart and get a couple of yards or pretty fabric, make a toga, and take my costume back to the good old days of frat parties.
2. Have you ever been on television? No, but I should have been! Four years ago, on the Halloween after Katrina, I met our local sports anchor (Lee Zurich) and told him I was going to the Saints game as a refrigerator. You see, at that time, everyone in NOLA has to throw out their yucky moldy fridges so on every street there were tons of fridges with duct tape all over them. People started spraying painting phrases on them and one of those phrases was "Don't Open Tom Benson Inside." He is the Saints owner who everyone hated that year b/c he wanted to move the team. So with hopes of being on tv, I constructed a Frigidaire refrigerator out of poster board, duct tape, and spray paint and wore it to the game. I never made it onto tv, but I took some pictures with random Saints fans who appreciated the humor.
3. Do you have a toilet paper preference? I like the super soft really cushy stuff.
4. When you’re pregnant, will you find out the sex of the baby? I really want to b/c I am a planner and don't like surprises. However, Mark really does not want to find out. He doesn't ask for much, so I might give in on this one. Plus my friend Anna said the cutest thing on this subject. She said so often women are the ones who are at the center of big events - the engagement, the wedding day, the whole pregnancy. She wanted her husband to have his moment when he got to open the waiting room door and announce to the world "It's a girl!" I thought that was a really sweet sentiment.
5. What are three items that every kitchen must have? A bottle of wine, a cast iron skillet, and a sharp eight inch chef's knife.
6. Do you enjoy Christmas shopping? LOVE it! I love the hustle and bustle and the Christmas songs played over and over. I love planning the perfect gift for someone and watching it get wrapped all nice and pretty. I love shopping, but I really love Christmas shopping!
7. What is your go-to recipe? Cheeseburger Pie or Roast Beef Po-Boys - they feed a crowd, are simple to prepare, and are delish!
8. Do you sleep on your back, belly, or side? Belly!
9. How do you feel about Tom Cruise? I was in love with Tom Cruise in the Top Gun days. Now - I just think he's a self centered weirdo.
10. What books are in your “books to read” stack? I am trying to finish My Life in France right now. Also, our book club book is Same Kind of Different As Me, so that too.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Tory Burch Jelly Reva that was $95 is now $57!!
The adorable BCBG floral applique party dress that was $288 is now $216. It is worth every penny. I have never gotten more complements on a dress before!!
Do you know of any good sales?? Or do you have a tip about a finding good deals online??
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
4 bananas, unpeeled
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, put them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Toss the bananas into the pan and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, until both the bananas and potatoes are very soft. Remove the pan from the oven but don't turn the oven off.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Peel the bananas and add them to the bowl along with 1 stick of the butter, and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Season with salt and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until everything's well combined and the mixture is fluffy. Spoon into an oven-proof serving bowl and smooth the top.
In a separate mixing bowl, use your fingers to rub together the remaining stick of butter, the brown sugar, flour, and pecans until the mixture is the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the sweet potatoes and return to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the crumbs are golden. Serve hot
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
- Chicken Stock - Anytime I read a Martha Stewart recipe that calls for homemade chicken stock, I feel like Martha is taunting me with her superior commitment to producing better food than me. I don't know why I have avoided making my own broth, it seems easy enough to do, but I am constantly wondering - who has time for this, Martha? So i will set aside one Sunday to make a nice chicken broth that I can freeze and use when needed!
- Gumbo Ya-Ya, Mr. B's Style - I have always felt that Mr. B's makes the best Gumbo Ya-Ya I have ever tasted . The roux they use is so dark that the gumbo takes on the color of mahogany. I have attempted many times to perfect this dish, even using their recipe, but I always get pooped out from stirring my roux for an hour. It has never turned much darker than caramel and it lacks the deep nutty flavor that theirs has. This year, I will patiently stir my roux until it is Mr. B's perfect. (And I'll use my homemade chicken stock too!).
- Gnocchi - I absolutely adore gnocchi. There is this amazing restaurant in Houma, LA called Christiano's that makes their own gnocchi everyday. They change the preparation nightly, so you always get something new and innovative. I have watched this treat being prepared on several cooking shows, and I will admit, it makes me very nervous. It seems like if you add just a little too much of any one thing - done. But I will try!
- A Crawfish Boil - Although crawfish boils might be my favorite pastime, I have never actually manned the boil. I think it's something every New Orleanian should know how to do.
- A Great Burger - Even though Mark has shown me a trillion times, I still don't think I could use our grill if he wasn't home. If there is one thing I cannot stand it is gender stereotyping, so I refuse to fall into the category of a girl who can't grill. So I would like to figure out how to come up with the perfect home-cooked burger. I mean one that makes you say "Port of Call has nothing on me!"
- Bearnaise Sauce - I could dip almost anything in Bearnaise. My favorite dish paired with Bearnaise is the fried eggplant dusted in powdered sugar from Galatoire's. Mmmmm... I find French sauces delicious but so scary to prepare. There are a ton of steps and raw eggs and what if mine separates?? But just imagine that burger topped with Bearnaise!
- Pasta - There is a guy who comes to the Habersham farmers market on Fridays who makes his own breads, flavored butters, cheese spreads, and pastas. They are all absolutely delish, but at $11 for two servings of pasta, your wallet starts to cry out for help. Last week he had a roasted tomato linguine with black pepper and sage. Mmmm... I would like to be able to take my favorite combination of flavors and bring them to life in my pasta creations just like he does.
- A Three Tiered Cake - I have attempted many times to assemble the perfect birthday cake, but I have always walked away with a big crumbly mess. I never wait long enough for the cake to cool so the cake breaks apart and I spend a half hour trying to glue it together using icing. Not pretty. I want to be able to slice into my cake and see three perfectly even layers of cake separated my a lovely buttercream filling!
- Pie Dough - This is another dish that makes me feel less than stellar in the kitchen. I have considered trying to make my own dough many times, but I always opt for the easy substitute - Pillsbury deep dish pie. I convince myself that it's just as good, but really is there anything better than homemade pie dough?
- Boeuf Bourguignon - The dish that Julia Child made accessible and Julie Powell made us all want to try. I have Julia Child's cookbook on the bookshelf in our kitchen, and I can tell you that as of today, it might as well be in a library because it has never been used. I have read almost half of it, and I find it more of an encyclopedia than a cookbook with it's laborious preparations. However, if there is one thing that I will make from that book, it will be this dish!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I love the cut and color of this pair of PRVCY jeans. Can't figure out your size, you can watch a handy little video to help you! PRVCY donates 10% of all profits to breast cancer research. Pretty amazing!
To my dear mentor DB, you taught me more than you could ever know about how to face life's greatest challenges. You fought your battle with courage and grace and a little dash of humor. I am a better CPA, wife, citizen, volunteer, and future mom because I know you. I am so grateful that you are a part of the brave women who make up the sorority of survivors.
But for now, I must share that we have just purchased our plane tickets to Paris. We'll be going at the end of May! I really can't believe it's actually happening!!!!!!! This is such a great day.
If you have any tips on Paris (especially on where you prefer to stay), please pass them along.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I have made this recipe for chicken posole a few times, and it always comes out great. It has a wonderful flavor, and the hominy is very filling. I suggest using a bit of chipotle chili powder for the nice smokiness it would bring to the dish. A little bit packs quite a punch, so add it cautiously and taste as you go to make sure it's not too spicy. Also, a store bought rotisserie chicken works well for this dish, and it saves you a ton of time!! I would garnish with cilantro and a slice of lime to add a little acid and some color. It would be perfect paired with some warm cornbread. An body have any favorite cornbread recipes?
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cans (15 ounces each) white hominy, drained
6 3/4 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey meat (2 pounds)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Assorted garnishes, such as diced avocado, thinly sliced radishes, and crumbled tortilla chips (optional)
Heat oil in a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, and oregano; cook, stirring constantly, until evenly distributed.
Add 4 cups water, broth, and hominy. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until fragrant, about 30 minutes.
Stir in chicken; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until heated through. (When freezing, cool completely before transferring to airtight containers.)
To serve, divide among bowls, and garnish as desired.
Monday, October 19, 2009
What a weekend. We have the best time at the Blues and BBQ festival. We had some cold frosty beers and some cochon de lait po-boys (yes the kind they sell at Jazzfest!) and heard the best music. It was such an absolutely beautiful day. My parents came with us, and we enjoyed getting to spend time together in such a festive atmosphere.
We were able to catch up with some friends who just had a new baby, and baby Kate is adorable, as is her brother Max. Saturday night the whole family spent the evening celebrating my dear friend Beth. Her family really is our family, so it was wonderful to be together and see Beth and her new fiance John so happy. Her dad gave a sweet toast, and her aunts put together this adorable slide show of pictures or Beth and John through the years. It brought back some lovely memories.
Sunday was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! We had breakfast at this cute little place in Mid-City called Huevos. Yum - house made chorizo. Then we were off to the Superdome where we tailgated with our good friends. Who knew we'd be in for such a special treat. The Saints played the best game I have ever seen them play. The atmosphere was electric! So electric in fact that I have absolutely NO voice today. Seriously, I cannot talk without sounding like a 13 year old boy. It was all worth it. The Giants defense as well as sportscasters around the league have credited the Saints crowd with causing havoc on the Giants D. Job well done Saints fans! We were so happy for Jeremy Shockey for his outstanding performance yesterday. He was a great teammate all week never focusing attention on himself, so props to Jeremy. And all hail Drew Brees. If he isn't the epitome of an MVP, I don't know who is. Under his offensive leadership, SEVEN Saints players scored yesterday. He makes everyone who plays with him excel. He is truly a joy to watch.
So much so that we are booking tickets to Miami on Southwest this afternoon for the weekend of February 6th-8th. I feel like just writing this I am jinxing our chances of going to Miami for the Superbowl, but after what we saw yesterday, this year is looking pretty special. So why not live in the moment and take a chance on Drew Brees. After all, it's pretty fitting - three years ago he turned down an opportunity to play for the Miami Dolphins and took a chance on New Orleans to come and lead a franchise looking to rebuild itself and its city.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
- Soooo - Drew Brees (our Saints QB) had dinner at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse last night with his family. I think this is good football karma, after all eating there has before games has had a pretty good track record. Plus, we're hoping he tried my sister's coconut cake!
- We are absolutely loving having Maggie's Pub and Patois in our neighborhood. Yesterday Mark and I met over there for a drink after work and ended up chatting with a neighbor. We stayed had a few more rounds and had dinner at Patois. Awesome!!
- We have the sweetest little gift shop in our neighborhood called Jolie. They sell this brand of soaps and lotions called Olivina. You will LOVE it. I like the original Olive scent because it is fresh and clean, but they also have Fig, Meyer Lemon, and Lavender.
- All flights appear to be on time! So we're off. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!!!!
Friday, October 16, 2009
- The smell of burning leaves - I have to admit this one only takes me back to our first fall in Beaufort. I don't remember burning leaves growing up in New Orleans - I think there is a city-wide burn ban. Man, I didn't know what I was missing. When we first moved to Beaufort, we didn't know anyone, and I spent our hot September weekends moping about missing home. But our first October weekend made me fall in love with Beaufort. We woke up to crisp weather and I watched Mark run in the Shrimp Run. We met a few new people and made plans for dinner with our new friends Matt and Jaime. I remember the drive over to their house and how the smokiness of the burning leaves was just the greatest thing. It was the first weekend we had here where I thought - "this will be alright." And it has been way better than that!
- Halloween - I have always loved Halloween. It is my dad's birthday, and he used to tell us how it was always so nice of the stores to decorate for him and celebrate his birthday. Then he would ask us why all of these kids were coming over asking him for something when they should have been bringing him presents. I always thought that was the funniest thing! My dad and I are the only people in the fam who really enjoy Chinese food, so we didn't eat it much, but every year on his birthday, we would have Shrimp with Lobster Sauce and Egg Drop Soup and Eggrolls. It felt so special.
- Pumpkin Pie - Speaking of birthdays, my birthday is in early November and growing up I didn't like chocolate or cake (unless it was covered in my dad's buttercream frosting). So every year at my birthday parties we would have pie. I love the smell of a baking pumpkin pie - the butter in the crust and the cinnamon in the filling. Delish! I highly recommend the Pecan Pumpkin Butter from Williams Sonoma!
- Cool Breezes - We went to daycare at a very special place called Buster Bear. The family who ran it is like our second family and most of my best childhood memories exist there. They had this great swing set and I can completely remember swinging as high as I could and feeling the first winds of fall brush through my hair. There was an excitement and anticipation that you could feel with the change of the seasons. It was like nature's way of welcoming us into this special time of year.
- A Gas Furnace - That is truly the best smell in the world. Growing up we had a gas heater in our den. My parents would eventually change it out to central air and heat and fall was never quite the same after that. You always knew fall had arrived when you needed to click the switch on the gas heater. The smell crept into every crevice of the house. It was warm and comforting like a big blanket wrapped around you. I remember that it made a funny sound too. It's funny how it's the simplest of things that you treasure the most. I loved that darn heater.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Ten on Thursday
Here are 10 random questions:
1. If you won the lottery, what would be your one random, off-the-wall purchase? So if I won the local lottery and it was like a million dollars, I would buy my mom an Hermes Birkin bag. It's something she's talked about wanting but that no normal person can actually get. They're fab!! But if we ever won the BIG lottery where you don't actually know if you could spend all the money I would buy a Gulfstream jet - no doubt in my mind!
2. What is popular now that you just don’t get? American Idol. I know, I know. I just don't like reality competition shows where America gets to vote. I think it weeds out the people who are incredibly talented but not picture perfect.
3. What would your last meal, you know, if you were ever about to be executed and you got to choose that sort of thing? Ok, this is one of my favorite driving trip games!! It's so hard to decide though. Appetizer - turtle soup from Upperline; Dinner - Filet Mignon covered in Bernaise from Emeril's Delmonico; Starches - Pommes Frites from Rue de Jean and my dad's Fettucini Alfredo; Veggie - Green Bean Casserole with French's Crunchy Onions; Dessert - my sister's Banana Bread Pudding with Banans Foster Sauce and the Butterscotch Pudding from 112 Eatery.
4. When is it okay to start listening to Christmas music? The week of Thanksgiving, but my dad will gladly sing "Oh the weather outside is frightful" any time of year!!
5. How do you feel about facial hair on men? It depends.
6. McDonald’s or Burger King? I know it's PC to say you hate fast food, but I could play the "what would your last meal be" game with fast food too. I don't eat it unless we're in an airport, but I do love it. I would say McDonald's for sure!! Those fries!!!!! PS - Popeyes is considered a bona fide restaurant in New Olreans, so it doesn't count as fast food in my book!!
7. What kind of soap do you use? I like the liquid Dove soap because it smells so good. I also really admire the Dove campaign on improving the concept of beauty an body image among young girls - so buy Dove!!
8. What movie can you watch over and over and never get tired of? The Holiday, Serendipity, Sex and the City, Dead Poets Society, Miracle, Cool Runnings
9. Favorite beverage? Mojitos and Coke Zero!!
10. What do you want for Christmas? We are planning a 5 year anniversary trip to Paris in June and there is this amazing culinary experience I am dying for. Your day begins at 9:00 am where you meet the tour leader (Paule) at her home and she takes you on a tour of the open air markets of Paris. You select the freshest products to use in making a 3 course lunch. Returning to her kitchen, you attend a cooking class and learn the basics of preparing a French meal using your ingredients. After lunch you go for a three hour food tour of the area. AMAZING! We have been emailing and she seems wonderful. I am hoping Santa knows about Paule and her amazing Parisian foodie day.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
This pair of cream and black oxfords is simply adorable. It reminds of something the girls would have worn in The Notebook - the best romantic movie ever!!!
This pair of "Winding Ruffle Boots" is a great way to add a little interest to your winter outfits.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
2 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
4 ounces uncooked ziti (whole wheat ziti works very well)
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
6 tablespoons half-and-half (I used fat-free)
3 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh spinach
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add cherry tomatoes, salt, crushed red pepper, and minced garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in half-and-half and Gorgonzola cheese; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in spinach and pasta; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, tossing occasionally.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I love this pair from Anthropologie. They come in five colors, but the mustard is my fave!
This Alice and Olivia pair from Nordstrom is a little pricey, but I love the length and the button detail!!!
These Juicy denim leggings would be perfect over pumps, but they would also be great for tucking into boots!
2 cups confectionery sugar
Sunday, October 4, 2009
The Saints are four and "o" for the first time since 1991. I truly couldn't be more excited!!!!!!!!!
WHO DAT, BABY. WHO DATTTTTTTT!!!
So that you know that I'm really not crazy and am just your average Saints fan, here is a bit of an article talking about the hundreds of Saints fans who met the team at the airport last Sunday after their plane landed from Buffalo well after midnight...
The passion was evident Sunday around midnight, when hundreds of Who Dats greeted the team upon its return to New Orleans. Clad head to toe in black and gold, they lined the entrance road to General Aviation in Kenner, chanted and brandished signs of support.
"It was insane, " said reserve quarterback Chase Daniel, a rookie. "You could hardly get your truck down the road."
"It reminded me of the Vol walk, " cornerback Jabari Greer said of the cherished game-day tradition at his alma mater, Tennessee. "It was amazing."
"That just showed us how excited our fans are, and how excited they are early, " Saints safety Pierson Prioleau said. "It's special."