Monday, March 28, 2011

Busy Bee

This time of year there is so much going on.  There's weddings and showers and festivals and golf tournaments, and of course tax season.  I have found myself with that familiar feeling of having more to do in one day than there are hours to get everything done.  Do you know what I mean?  I am adding "make a to do list" to my to do list just to have one thing that I can officially scratch through.  I'm really not complaining because I enjoy being on the go.  I tend to over commit and over join, but I am also happiest when I feel totally plugged in to my work, my community, my family, and my friends.  Life as a busy bee is hectic, but it's also sweet as honey.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

In Full Bloom

We had a lovely Sunday morning doing some of our favorite Uptown things.  We had breakfast at Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar.  Mark had the Costa Rican (a bowl filled with rice, black beans, eggs, cheese, avocado, and chorizo) and I had the banana pancake with peanut butter and homemade lemonade.  It was deeelish!  I highly recommend Surrey's.  There's two locations.  One is further downtown on Magazine in the Muses street neighborhood, and the one we went to today is closer to our house.  Both locations are in renovated homes and feature the works of local artists.  They have a very authentic and eclectic feel to them.  It was a great way to start off the morning.

When we got home, we decided to take Beignet for a walk.  We started off walking down Magazine St.  It was packed with other walkers and those just enjoying a cup of coffee at a corner coffee shop.  I think everyone is trying to take in as many pretty spring days as we can before it gets to hot to really enjoy being outside.  The neighborhood is truly in full bloom.  Everywhere you look are the colors of spring.  Reds and pinks and yellows and greens.  Right now the flowers are as beautiful as they are fragrant.  We even literally took time to stop and smell the roses.  About a block from our front door, there is a house with the most beautiful rose garden.  So we decided to slow down our stroll and smell their amazing scent.  Absolutely lovely!
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I hope you get to take a minute today to enjoy the lovely scent of spring!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tastiest Tuesday Yet - Skinny Taste's Puerto Rican Pork

Photo and Recipe Courtesy of Skinny Taste

Who doesn't love a good slow cooker recipe.  They come in handy when life's got you on the go.  During tax season I exhaust just about every slow cooker recipe I know of.  Well, not anymore.  Last night Mark, got all of the ingredients together to prepare one of the tastiest dishes I have eaten in a LONG time.  It was salty and rich and absolutely delightful!  We served over Zatarain's chicken flavored rice and black beans.  I had to make myself stop at one plate.  And I'm already looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  

You absolutely must try this recipe!!!

Skinny Slow Cooked Pernil (Puerto Rican Pork)
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 6 • Serving Size: 4 oz   Old Points: 4 pts  Points+: 4 pts 
Calories: 176 • Fat: 7.2 g  Protein: 24.4 g  Carb: 3.6 g  Fiber: 0.2 g

  3 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
3 oranges, juice of (1/2 cup)
2 limes, juice of
    Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the pork and stuff holes with half of the crushed garlic. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over pork. Place in the ceramic part of the crock pot, cover and refrigerate, turning pork occasionally so the marinade covers all of pork.

    The next day, remove the crock pot and cook on low, 8 hours.

    After 8 hours, remove pork andshred using two forks. Removeliquid from crock pot and addpork back to crock. Add about 1 cup of the liquid back and adjust salt, pepper and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Supper Club Inspiration - Paris

    We have scheduled our second New Orleans supper club, and this month's host is considering a garden party if the weather is nice.  I started thinking about where I would draw my inspiration for the next time we host.  A friend of mine who was married last week is in Paris on her honeymoon, and I have been living vicariously through her facebook updates.  And I thought, what better inspiration that the amazing meals we ate in Paris!

    I am thinking about starting with mini-Croque Monsiuers.  That is my absolute favorite sandwich in the world.  Imagine how cute they will be!  I think we might have Inz Garten's lemon chicken with croutons over a bed of field greens in a mustard vinaigrette.  Maybe we'll end the night with Meringues Chantilly.   Also in Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris, this dish is composed of baked meringue, raspberry sauce, whipped cream, and fresh berries.  Deeeelish!

    I really can't think of a better place to find inspiration...

    All images from my trip with Mark to Paris last May.  

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Date Night

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    It has been such a busy couple of weeks, that I feel like Mark and I haven't really seen each other.  Don't get me wrong, we've spent a ton of time together, but it was at parades or concerts or parties or weddings.  So tonight we've set aside a bit of time for a date night.  We're going to a great little neighborhood restaurant, Patois, that reminds me of our trip to Paris.  It is the New Orleans version of a French bistro.  We've only been for brunch (which is amazing and very affordable), but we've been dying to get there for dinner.  So tonight's the night! 

    The menu is extensive and the options all look incredible.  For starters, I am between the Moules Frites served in a smoky creole tomato broth with saffron aioli and the gnocchi with mushrooms, jumbo lump crab, edamame, and parmigiano-reggiano.  I make it a point to order gnocchi or sweetbreads at every NOLA restaurant we go to.  My current favorite for gnocchi is Restaurant August and for sweetbreads it would be Upperline.

    For my main course, I'm leaning toward the hanger steak with red wine and marrow reduction, red onion marmalade, and fries (I know Mark will get this and I will be jealous if I don't) or the almond crusted gulf fish with roasted potato galettes, buttered green beans, and a satsuma menieure (mmm!).

    I can't imagine having room left, but the dessert menu is very intriguing.  I'd have to get the carmelized pain perdu.  It comes with bacon ice cream and candied pork belly.  Sweet and salty is my favorite way to enjoy a dessert!


    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Tasty Tuesdays: Lowfat Turkey Chili Taco Soup

    Photo Courtesy of Skinny Taste

    It's hard to believe that Mardi Gras was one week ago.  It seems like just yesterday, but it also seems like ages ago.  It's funny how you can plan all year for an event, and in just an instant, it's over.  With Mardi Gras behind us, tax season is in full swing.  That means late nights for this Nola Girl.  

    I like having home cooked meals during tax season rather than staying late and eating dinner at the office.  It's nice to spend time with Mark, and eating takeout every night is no good for my hips (especially when work out time is limited).

    This soup recipe is one of my favorites!  It's quick and easy and filled with ingredients you likely have in your pantry.  I like to add a little fresh cilantro and some lime juice, but it really is good just as it is.  

    Turkey Chili Taco Soup
    Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
    Servings: 9  Size: 1-1/4 cups  Old Points: 3 pts  Points+: 5 pts
    Calories: 198.8 • Fat: 1.4 g • Carb: 29.7 g • Fiber: 7.0 g  • Protein: 19.5 g
    • 1.3 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped
    • 10 oz can rotel tomatoes with green chilies
    • 15 oz canned or frozen corn, drained
    • 15 oz kidney beans, drained
    • 8 oz tomato sauce
    • 16 oz fat free refried beans
    • 1 packet taco seasoning (you can use 40& less sodium)
    • 2 1/2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth

    In a large pot, brown turkey on medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, add onions and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes. Addtomatoes, corn, beans, tomato sauce, refried beans, taco seasoning and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10-15 minutes.

    Serve with a few baked tortilla chips and your favorite toppings such as low fat sour cream, jalapeƱos, reduced fat cheese, chopped scallions,  onions, or chopped fresh cilantro. Freeze leftovers in individual portions for future meals.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Happy Mardi Gras

    We started our day off very early.  I didn't have any creative energy to put together an actual costume, so I threw on Roxy added some gold glitter for eye shadow and green glitter lips.  The little girl who lives next door said I made a great Mardi Gras Maniac.  Tis the season!

    My sister, Mark and I went down to the Quarter to look at all of the fabulous costumes.  I would say that the most popular choice this year was the black swan.  There were some really great versions on Bourbon and Royal today.  We met up with some friends and watched as the Krewe of St. Ann made its way down Royal.  What an eclectic group of revelers.  It's so fun to see all of the varied ways people celebrate Fat Tuesday.

    As Carnival 2011 comes to an end, I have to say it has been the best one in years.  And while I am sad to see night fall on St. Charles Ave., I am ready to pack away the glitter and the beads and the fake eyelashes and, yes, even Roxy.  Tomorrow we will begin the season of Lent.  We will get our ashes and give up our favorite things and begin a season of sacrifice.

    For now, there are still a few hours left.  I will spend them watching Carnival documentaries and the Rex ball on WYES.  

    Happy Mardi Gras, yall!

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Oh What a Night!

    It has been a full 24 hours since the Krewe of Muses hit the streets of New Orleans.  What a fabulous day we had!  I'll have more pictures to post later once they're all downloaded, but I thought I'd give you a sneak peak into our day.

    Sarah and I on the Float 19 party bus!  It was awesome.  It came with a Snookie pole, if you know what I mean, a fog machine, and a sweet stereo!  I started the day in my new purple wig named Foxy!  I'm in love with it!!

    This wasn't the first time a bunch of blue haired ladies dined at Galatoire's, but non have ever looked this fab!  

    We entered the pre-party led by our float lieutenants and our amazing sign!

    Sarah and me on the dance floor!!!  We did enough "rain" dancing to keep the bad weather away!

    There were two amazing announcements made at the preparty.

    The first - we were the winners of the headdress contest!!!!!!!!  This means we get to ride in float one, the title float, in 2011.  I think we screamed for five solid minutes when they made the announcement!!!

    Second - You know how much I love the HBO show Treme.  Well.....  they set up three locations along the route to film the parade for one of their upcoming episodes.  How flattering!!!  They know a good thing!

    I saw so many of you on the route.  It was truly amazing!  I hope you enjoyed the parade as much as I did!!!

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Krewe of Muses 2011 Theme Revealed


    Parade day is finally here!  As you read this, I am putting on my purple wig named Foxy, fabulously long and glittery fake eyelashes, goddess costume, and readying myself for our party bus that will take us to our luncheon at Galatoire's that leads us into our pre-party where we will load our floats that will parade down St. Charled Ave. and drop us off at the CAC for the afterparty featuring Trombone Shorty and the Orleans Avenue.  Whew!  Catch all that?  It's going to be a LONG day, but it will certainly be a fun one.

    As you know, Muses theme changes annually and remains a secret until the day of the parade.  Ready?!?!

    Krewe of Muses 2011 - Dancing With the Muses

    Each of our floats has a title that corresponds with a socially and politically satirical version of your favorite dances.  

    This is the drawing of my float...  Cokey Pokey.  We are representing Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Amy Winehouse and their dirty little secrets.
    In no particular order here are the others...


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