Monday, January 31, 2011

Your Place or Mine?

Had a busy day? Need a quick, easy and delicious idea for dinner? This dish is great for every day or on the weekend with Margaritas!

Fish Tacos & Yellow Rice

This installment of Your Place or Mine is really an idea post more than a recipe post because this dish is so easy there isn't much prep or instructions. I made this over the weekend but thought it would be a great easy dinner during the week. But don't under estimate it's impact...your family will think you spent all day in the kitchen!

You will need:

Fish fillets of your choice, I used Speckle Trout. Redfish, Talapia, Mahi-Mahi or Catfish  would all work well. I cut the fillets in small strips to fit better in the taco.

Prepare and season the fillets to your liking...Grill or Fry.

Flour Tortillas...I used the small Mission brand. Warm in foil for 10-15 mins.

Toppings of your choice...I used chopped green onion, tomato, shredded lettuce and Remoulade Sauce. 

Yellow Rice Mix...I added a small can of mushrooms and LeSueur Peas.

Alexa and I enjoyed this dish with Abita's Strawberry Harvest...YUM!



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Finally something SWEET about the Sweetgum Tree!

A rainy Sunday and thinking outside the box!

Well another first! Didn't think I would ever have something "sweet" to say about our Sweetgum trees. We are blessed to have a line of these trees along the side of our home for privacy and a beautiful fall color scene but cursed in winter with thousands of "spiky balls" all over the yard and gutters.

 And what starting off as a joke with JT about doing something creative with these little annoying fruits (yes, starts off on the tree as fruit), I received my February issue of Southern Living. And as I was relishing in my new issue as I do every month, I came across a cute heart wreath craft project. The article suggest that you use natural items such as berry twigs from your yard to decorate a grapevine heart wreath. I don't have such berries but had one of my ah-ha moments and thought I have just the thing! Turns out I made a inexpensive but very cute wreath for Valentine's Day...what's the old saying..."turn lemons into lemonade?"

So on a very dreary rainy Sunday by myself (Umm, sometimes heaven!) I made it outside  between the rain and gathered up some. I then laid them out on newspaper to dry but found myself looking at them in a whole new light! 

Drum Roll Please...

I plan to use this on my back patio area outside so I wanted it to be on the rustic side. I actually love the texture of it...that is as long as you are not stepping on them in the yard! Ouch!

Hobby Lobby Trip:

 Grapevine Wreath...$6.99, but they are currently 50% off so paid $3.49

Super Thick Tacky Glue...$3.49, used my 40% off coupon so paid $2.09 

Organza Ribbon...leftover from Christmas

Grand Total...$5.58 

So even though my new craft project didn't make a dent in cleaning up the yard, I think JT will love the wreath!  

Oh and Martha Stewart..."Call Me"...:)



Saturday, January 29, 2011

Your Place or Mine?

Well as planned and promised I made the family some Shrimp and Corn Bisque. This is my daughter's favorite soup but because you basically have to "make a date" with the treadmill after eating it I only make it once in a while!

Shrimp and Corn Bisque

You will need:

¼ Cup of Green Onion
1 Tbs. of Cajun Seasoning
1 Tsp. of Tarragon
1 Stick of Butter
1 Pt. Half and Half
2 Cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 Cans of Evaporated Milk
1 Can of Cream Corn
1 lb or more of small shrimp, deveined and peeled

(This recipe freezes well, so if you have leftovers (NOT) or if you would like to double the recipe and have extra for another time it will be fine!)  

Melt butter in a large pot. Chop green onions and soften in melted butter.
Add evaporated milk, cream of mushroom soup and cream corn. Set stove to low heat.
While mixing these ingredients, boil shrimp for three minutes.
Rinse shrimp in cool water and let drain well. Add Cajun seasoning, tarragon and shrimp to the pot.
Slowly pour half and half, stirring as you pour.
Cook on low heat for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't let the bisque boil or it will be scorched and ruined.

Serve it up with some hot french bread since you already have that appointment scheduled at the!



Friday, January 28, 2011

Is it Crawfish season yet?

It's Friday, and seafood is very traditional here on Fridays and now I'm dreaming about crawfish! Well we have about a month before the "mud bugs" are ready but it couldn't come soon enough for me. Before I met my husband I could relate to this cute story below, but I have to admit that now I can hang with the best of them and five pounds is no problem!

Crawfish consuming confusion
Laurie Kleinpeter Laville says, “The comment of the Northerner asking for a ‘grit’ reminded me of another case of mistaken numbers.

“We lived near Tampa, Fla., when we were first married, and connected with a bunch of other Louisianians.
“We decided to have a crawfish boil at the home of one of our fellow LSU alumni.
“When we were planning for the boil, one of their neighbors was there.
“We were talking about how many pounds of crawfish per person to boil, thinking the guys might want five pounds apiece and the girls three pounds each.
“Since I love crawfish, I said, ‘I think I can handle five.’
“The neighbor lady said, ‘And I will take seven.’
“We all said, ‘Whoa, you must really like crawfish!’
“She replied, ‘Never tried them before.’
“We said, ‘And you want seven pounds on your first try?’
“She said, ‘Pounds! I thought you meant crawfish! I think I could eat seven crawfish.’
“We ordered a pound for her.”

Check out Tony's Seafood in Baton Rouge, they ship!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday!

Find your Joy, and share it with others!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

They start 'em young here!

Too cute for words...


(check-out his crawfish accordion!)

Très Bonne!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Some Hospitality Potion...

Cure for a cold...Louisiana style!

  • Brandon McGhee says he was in Jazz Daddy’s Po-boys on Jefferson Highway picking up an order his fiancée had called in, and told the owner she was home nursing a cold:
    “The owner told me she sounded sick on the phone. Then he went into the kitchen, brought out some shrimp and corn soup, and said, ‘This should help her feel better”.
    Brandon says they both appreciate the extra effort.

     The story has inspired me to make shrimp and corn soup for the family this weekend, especially for my daughter, who has been begging for it all winter!

    I'll be sure to post my recipe and pics...


    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    In the words of my daughter...OMG! In my words...LOL!

    ‘Twilight’ fans brave cold in hopes of glimpsing stars
    • Advocate staff writer
    • Published: Jan 22, 2011 
    Jamie Ryan, 28, said it was her first time visiting Baton Rouge as she peered over the ledge of the State Capitol building’s observation deck on Friday afternoon, bundled up against the cold wind that whipped her hair around.
    She’d flown in from Lubbock, Texas, on Thursday and had been perched on the lookout post for more than four hours with brand-new binoculars pressed to her face.
    But Ryan wasn’t interested in the sights of the capital city — her eyes were locked on the enormous green screen erected in Arsenal Park, trying to catch sight of the stars of the “Twilight” movie filming there.
    “I’m staying right here,” she said of her spot, where at least five other fans lingered around her. “I am determined to see something.”
    “Twilight” mania hit the streets of downtown Baton Rouge this week when the movie’s crew began building a massive green backdrop near the State Capitol building that sent the local rumor mill and online forums into a frenzy.
    “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” is the final installment in the blockbuster vampire film series that has 16-year-old girls and 50-year-old men alike lining up at theaters for each movie’s premiere.
    Information on what producers were shooting at the location or how long crews will film in front of the green screen was unavailable.
    “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” began shooting in Baton Rouge in October at Celtic Media Center. Security at the studio has been tight, much to the chagrin of fans trying to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars.
    Security was equally extensive at Friday’s outdoor filming, but people lined the street by a downtown parking lot near Arsenal Park, where a tent marked “hair and makeup” had their cameras flashing.
    A crowd of about seven people lingered where the trees, bushes and production vans parted just enough to allow a view into the makeup tent. A catering truck that later pulled right into the group’s line of sight was met with a collective groan. ‘
    Cindy Colson, 40, of Columbus, Ga., had driven to Baton Rouge so her son Wesley Moore, 17, could tour LSU. Colson, being a hard-core “Twilight” fan, said arriving in Baton Rouge on one of the only days of outdoor filming was just a happy coincidence.
    Colson said her love of the “Twilight” books began two years ago when she fell into a coma after having heart surgery and her daughter read Colson the novels.
    “When I finally work up, I asked my daughter, ‘Who’s Edward?’ ” Colson said, referring to one of the main characters of the books.
    “The doctors had told my family to make funeral arrangements, but I survived. So going to see the premiere of the first movie with my daughter was very special because I wasn’t supposed to be here,” she said.
    The fans that gathered Friday were just a few of the hundreds of people who have become enamored by the film’s production, often flocking to local restaurants or stores if word gets out that a star was spotted there.
    Nicole Sloane runs a Facebook group dedicated to tracking “Twilight” celebrity sightings in Baton Rouge and giving fans updates on the production. The group has grown to nearly 10,000 members.
    Sloane, of West Baton Rouge, said fans of the “Twilight” saga include men and women of all ages who have come to Baton Rouge from throughout the country, and even two fans from France, in hopes of spotting the film’s stars.
    “We went from having five fans the first day to 1,000 the second,” Sloane said. “The feedback from these fans is just amazing. It’s the story, the cast, everything together that just ensnares people.”
    While filming will be wrapping up in the coming weeks, those involved with the production say the fans will continue to flock to Baton Rouge.
    “We have only scratched the surface on what this production could ultimately mean to the local economy,” said Patrick Mulhearn, director of studio operations at Celtic. “(These) fans are so incredibly passionate, it is likely that 10 years from now they will still be coming to Baton Rouge to see where scenes were filmed and where the cast lived and hung out.”
    Sloane said many of the members of her group visited Baton Rouge for the first time during the filming but “completely fell in love” with the city.
    “They’ve met other fans and made friendships,” Sloane said. “They always tell me they’re definitely coming back.”


    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    First installment of...Bless Our Nest!

    My Mom (or Mama, as they say here) always taught me to share so...

    If you will allow me to indulge myself, I would like to share some of my southern finds that I have incorporated in our home for the past couple of years and those I will look forward to treasuring in the future in a post I will call "Bless Our Nest". I learned a long time ago the hard way that it is best to wait for that special something for that special spot. Instead of rushing the process, I now wait for that special find to find me!

    One of the first rooms that I wanted to spend special attention to was the guest bedroom. We imagined since we walked into our home that we would entertain guests here since we moved here with no family or friends in the area. I wanted it to be warm and cozy for our guests but I also wanted the room to represent some of Louisiana's tradition. I had the iron bed already but added some of the other touches shown below from a day JT and I spent in a town called Ponchatoula, LA. The little town is full of amazing antique shops and is also home to the famous Strawberry Festival, but that's a post for another day! 

    I hope you will enjoy today's first installment...

    The Guest Bedroom

    Pineapple Clock (given to me) and a stack of vintage Louisiana history books from JT's parent's home.

    Vintage Magnolia flower painting...the State flower.  

    Vintage Secretary Desk


    Friday, January 21, 2011

    American Idol in New Orleans!

    And the next American Idol is...Paris Tasmin!

    I didn't hold out much hope for American Idol without Simon but my curiosity got the best of me. Plus tonight's episode was the auditions from New Orleans and I had time to kill before the finale of The Housewives of Beverly! There were several good ones from New Orleans but I have a hometown favorite, Paris Tasmin and for the first time I am motivated to actually vote instead of just screaming at the TV!

    Paris has an amazing voice but more impressive is her amazing story as a young mother of a  special needs daughter.  


    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Brad's Thanksgiving Initiation!

    I wanted to post these pictures of my son Brad and JT back in November but the holiday's overwhelmed me. Brad came for a Thanksgiving visit and along with some family bonding he went to the camp with JT for his first "coon-*ss" bonding experience. He had heard all the stories from the past but was ready to experience it for himself. Unfortunately they didn't have the best of weather but the gang showed Brad a great time and they were able to bring some nice fish home for the freezer. Note to self...plan a fish fry! 

    Thoughtful Thursday!

    Better to do something imperfectly than do nothing flawlessly!


    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Your Place or Mine?

    In need of some comfort food?

    We are still dealing with up and down temperatures, mostly down and rainy! And in the tradition of hibernation we are all about the comfort food these days. And with all the rainy weather we just wanted to stay in. Shortly after we moved here 3 years ago, my husband re-discovered Blue Runner beans in the grocery store. Not only do they make life easier, the company is right here in Ascension Parish and we love that! So for the record I received permission from JT to use this handy and delicious short-cut. In fact, because red beans and rice is such a traditional dish here I often make it for our guest visiting from out of town as a "taste of Louisiana". We have had several family members take cans back with them in their suitcase or have them shipped to their doorstep from the website. It's traditionally a Monday dish in Louisiana but we enjoy them anytime! 

    Red Beans and Rice
    You will need:

    27 oz. can of Blue Runner Creole Style Red Beans
    1 cup of frozen seasoning blend (in the freezer section: chopped onion, bell pepper & celery)
    2 cups of smoked sausage, cut in small chunks (I used turkey sausage)
    1 tsp. of oil (I used E.V.O.O)
    Cajun seasoning, to taste
    1 cup of cooked rice (I did use white rice this time, but I have used brown rice in the past and it was great and much better for you!)

     Brown off the sausage in the oil, then add the veggies and saute till soft. Add the can of beans and mix well. Sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15-20 mins. You want the beans to be a creamy gravy type consistency so add a little water while cooking if needed.  

    Cook your rice as directed while the beans simmer.

    Pour the beans over a scoop of rice. Add hot sauce, if desired.

    Garnish with chopped parsley and red or green onion. 

    It will serve 4 hearty portions or up to 6 as a side dish.


    If you would like to order Blue Runner Beans here is the link:



    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Your Place or Mine?...and a special birthday!

    This week's post is a special one as we celebrated JT's birthday at home with family. I planned the menu around some of his favorite dishes but prepared them as more of a casual atmosphere. In addition to the menu, I made a special video for JT. It includes his childhood love of fishing along with his current "pa-doo's" (a word my husband uses to describe his friends)....enjoy!

    The Menu:

    Antipasto Skewers
    Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms
    Cajun Filet Sliders
    Olive Oil & Rosemary French Fries
    Blackberry-Apple Upside Down Cake

    Antipasto Skewers

    Alternate Peperoncini peppers, grape tomatoes, canned quartered artichoke hearts, mozzarella squares wrapped with Genoa salami and kalamata olives on a wood skewer. Place in plastic bag, pour a balsamic-vinaigrette dressing over skewers and let marinate for at least 8 hours.

    Cajun Filet Sliders

    Grill a beef tenderloin filet to medium rare. Let sit for 5 minutes then slice thinly. Saute small cocktail shrimp in a little butter and chopped green onion, put aside. Prepare sauce by combining mayonnaise, A-1 steak sauce, creole mustard and ketchup. Spread the sauce on each half of the small rolls. Stack sliced steak on each bottom half of roll, top with 2 small shrimp, then top shrimp with small slice of provolone cheese. Wrap sandwiches in foil and heat till cheese melts. I had a small pint of oysters in the fridge so I fried them off with Louisiana fish fry and stuck an oyster on top of each sandwich with a toothpick for added presentation. You could also put the fried oyster in the bun with the shrimp. I served with Alexia's Olive Oil, Rosemary and Garlic steak fries right from the freezer section in the grocery store! 

       Blackberry-Apple Upside Down Cake

    This cake recipe is straight from Southern Living recipes on-line. JT loves blackberries and apples so I thought what I great combo for his birthday cake. It is an easy recipe, and would be excellent for a breakfast or brunch cake. I used frozen blackberries, they were huge, fresh, gorgeous and way more affordable! But keep them frozen till you put them in the batter!! I added a little dollop of Cool Whip on each slice...Yum!

    Click on the link below and get the entire recipe:

     The Birthday Boy!  



    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Thoughtful Thursday!

    Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life!


    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Country Strong is stronger than I thought it would be!

    My daughter and I decided to plan a diversion from a cold and gloomy day and go to the movies to see Country Strong this afternoon. We have both been waiting to see the movie since the previews started and I am a huge Gwyneth Paltrow fan and hoped the movie would do the Oscar winner justice. Well the movie did not disappoint! The entire cast including Gwyneth's movie husband Tim McGraw were fantastic but it wasn't much of a stretch for him. The break-out star in the movie is supporting actor Garrett Hedlund who portrays a rising country music song-writer that becomes close with Gwyneth while working at the rehab facility where she is in recovery. But it wouldn't be a true country drama without a few tears so don't forget the tissues. And for all you country music fans, the movie was filled with a lot of original music and one of Gwyneth's performances "Coming Home" is up for best original song at the Golden Globes this weekend!   

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    A New Year and a Very Special Cookie!

    Hello Again,

    It's been a while since my last post. A lot has happened since then and until now I haven't been emotionally available to commit to my blog. We learned that my Mom's courageous battle with cancer was coming to an end. I took this surreal time to spend time with her, stay in touch with her daily and pray for strength to see this through. As you know from my past post on "Your Place or Mine" my Mom was a huge lover of cooking and baking and she made a huge impact on me! She was an amazing mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She left us on her terms 10-10-10, very fitting for such a treasure....

    Much to my surprise, one of the things that gave me the most comfort over the holidays was making a very special Portuguese cookie for my family. I had never made this cookie before because it was important to me to save the enjoyment for when my Mom made them. I thought if I learn to make the cookies then it would take away from the experience. But as I was organizing and searching for special memento's from Mom's house I came across her original recipe card. The card is worn, stained and has her notes in the of my favorite finds! So I made the decision to make the cookies and compelled to carry on the tradition for my family. But as I started to make the cookies I realized that I had never even seen her make them. If I had just watched her once so I would know what to do! I knew the wonderful taste and all the special shapes that mom would make (candy canes for Christmas)  but not the technique. But as if my Mom was "nudging" me along and pushing me not to be a quitter I proceeded. I combined all the ingredients carefully and using a hand mixer I was on my way. That was until the cookie batter started to clump and jam the hand mixer to the point of disaster! I thought, "well this is it"! It's over! Then as if my mom took my shaking hand and led me to my pantry where I had safely put her Kitchen Aid mixer away for my daughter I realized there was still hope. I took it out of the storage box, it still had flour and dried batter on it that represented my mother's fingerprints from all the times she used it and the last time right before she became ill. As I cleaned it up and felt guilty about washing it, it occurred to me that it would make my Mom very happy that I used her mixer and she wanted me to now leave my own fingerprints...
    I baked only one cookie sheet at first because I was very concerned they were not going to turn out. I wanted to see if they were going to taste good before I wasted my time and oven heat. I removed the first batch from the oven, tried to give them a little time to cool but anxious to test them. They filled the house with that so familiar wonderful smell that I remember from Mom's house. As I took my first bite, JT came out of his office drawn in from the smell only to find me speechless and sobbing. He tried to console me as he thought they had come out horrible and that is why I was upset. The truth is they were everything I had hoped for, I had done it! The tradition is not lost! Silly to think that a "cookie" could mean so wasn't just the cookie but that I had finally baked them with my Mom!

    R.I.P Mom.....we miss you so much!!  

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