Sore Fingers and Stocked Freezers

The flip flops have been exchanged for Ugg boots, and cold weather is here to stay for the next several months.  As much as I’ve complained about the looming cold weather’s effects on my Summer garden, the dip in temperatures has given me an opportunity to practice one of my favorite Fall activities…..

Squirreling everything possible away like a crazy and deranged food hoarder!

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I have no idea why, but I love getting everything squared away for winter.  I guess it’s just nice to make the best use of everything.  Somewhere between Labor Day and Halloween I start to act like an old time-y prairie grandma, and I feel an overwhelming responsibility to “put everything up” for the winter…..and I don’t feel bad about that at all!

One of my least favorite tasks of pre-winter hoarding is sorting out all the herbs.  It’s easy, and so important because I do cook with them all winter long, but it does lead to cold, damp, and slightly sore fingers.  My preferred way of preserving my herbs is to freeze them.  It works quite well, and is faster than drying I think.  Plus, I have a secret tip that really saves a ton of prep work time when you need to use the herbs.

First, you’ll need to gather up all your herbs.  I had thyme, oregano, and cilantro that needed to be dealt with this year.  The cilantro was the easiest.  Just cut off near the soil, wash well, and freeze on a cookie sheet.  Once the cilantro is frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and try and remove as much air as possible.  Pull out as needed for Mexican nights or game day guacamole.  I find the beauty of freezing them is that they tend to behave very similar to fresh once you add them into recipes.

The thyme and oregano takes a bit more work, but it isn’t hard.  If you have a delicate, wispy thyme plant you might be able to get away with freezing everything whole.  I am apparently some sort of thyme miracle worker and managed to grow a small herb tree.  No one wants twigs in their tomato sauce, so I have to pluck all the leaves off the stalks.

I like to place a freezer bag into a quart sized, wide mouth canning jar, and then just strip the leaves off directly into the bag.  Pinch the base of each twig and gently pull towards the thinner end.  For large, multi branched stems you will need to probably pluck each stem singularly.  With a little practice and patience you should end up with a bunch of tiny thyme leaves in the bag and a garbage can full of naked….or nearly naked mini trees.  Close the bag, leaving some air in, and toss in the freezer.  Once the leaves have frozen, crumple them slightly to break them up and remove the air from the bag.

Follow the same process for the oregano as you do for the thyme.  Here comes the time saving secret!  Once the leaves have frozen…..give them a really good crumpling and crunching.  Ta da…..instant chopped oregano leaves!  Thyme is so small it doesn’t matter, but basil and oregano leaves can get quite large and in charge.  The post freeze crumple is much faster than chopping everything before freezing!

If you’re looking for a tasty and filling way to use up some of your frozen herbs, might I suggest Chicken Pot Pie Soup!  I made it this week and it was a massive success….AND I DON’T EVEN LKE POT PIES!

Soup is one of The Engineer’s favorites, and even though he would eat soup when it’s 100 degrees outside, I refuse to make it.  This chicken pot pie soup will certainly become a standard in our winter rotation, and it’s easy enough to whip up quickly on a school night!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

  • 8 oz butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp fresh frozen thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh frozen oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups half and half or milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups rotisserie chicken meat, cubed
  • 1/4 pound deli ham. sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Once melted, add the garlic and onion, cooking until fragrant and translucent.  Slowly add in the flour, whisking vigorously to form a smooth rue.  Cook the flour for a few minutes being careful to stir so the mixture doesn’t burn.  We need to cook out the raw flour taste, so just keep an eye on it and let it go a bit golden brown. Whisk the chicken stock into the rue being sure to get out any lumps.  Add the potato, carrots, and spices and cook until the veggies are tender.

Once you potato and carrot are tender, add the peas, ham, chicken, and half and half.  Drop the temperature to simmer, and just let everything warm through.

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Serve up hearty bowls of this you’re sure to keep the chilly temps at bay.  For regular nights I would serve it up with a nice loaf of crusty bread for dipping.  Or, if you’re feeling extra fancy….or like me, you have some spare pie crust sitting in the freezer…..you can make some crust crisps to give it a more traditional “pot pie” feeling.

I just rolled my dough into a large rectangle, cut thin strips, and twisted into fun little pie sticks.  I topped with a bit of sea salt and baked at 375 for 20 minutes.  Some of them did come untwisted in the oven, but they were still flakey and delish!

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Herby, warm, and delicious!

Find Something that Works: Part 2

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my journey into Intermittent Fasting.  When I eat is just one small part of my new adventure into weight loss and jeans fitting.  Drastically more important than WHEN I eat….is WHAT I eat.  I’ve only been working on fasting since January 22nd.  I know it’s only been 2 MONTHS, but I can already see and feel a big difference.  Nothing is set in stone, and life is about living and being flexible.  Mental flexibility is something I’ve always struggled with, but learning and working through diet and nutrition has taught me a ton about being flexible with myself.

I briefly mentioned the other week that I’m trying to eat a ketogenic style of diet.  Trying would be the key word here, but let’s dive into exactly what a ketogenic diet means.  In it’s simplest terms, a ketogenic diet involves getting the majority of your daily calories from fat sources.  Typically, 70ish% of your daily calories should come from fat.  The next largest percentage is protein, with carbohydrates make up a very small percentage of a strict keto diet.  The goal of the diet is to force your body into using fat for fuel.  The lower you keep your carbohydrate intake, the more your body is forced to use fat, both consumed and stored, for an energy source.

Now, I’m just a normal girl, trying to live my best life, fit into my jeans without looking like a can of Pillsbury biscuits, and keep my booty looking good in yoga pants.  I’m not a fitness model, an Instagram influencer, or a liscensed nutritionist.  Eating well and looking good is important to me, but my life and livelihood doesn’t depend on it!!  I’ve done some research online, made myself an action plan, and I’m just trying to live my best life…..WHILE STILL LIVING MY LIFE!  As with anything, there’s a serious way and a casual way to pursue things.  Some follows of the ketogenic diet go all out, buy urine test stripes to test for ketones, and run in the opposite direction at the mere sight of bread and noodles.  I, am not one of those people.

Do I sometimes eat more carbs than I should….yuppers!  Do I usually not manage to eat a high enough percentage of fats…….mostly everyday.  Do I skimp on my protein…..rarely!  I am trying to take all my research and work out and tweak a system that works for me.  I care less about the style of dieting I’m doing and more about the results I’m seeing and achieving.  I’ll show you some average days of my eating….you’ll see that I’m far from perfect, but it’s a journey!

I have the macro settings in my app, My Fitness Pal, set up as ketogenic percentages.  Even though I almost always eat more than 20 grams of carbs…..I like leaving the settings that low.  I find it helpful because when I enter foods that are higher in carbohydrate percentages the app flags up an alert.  I rarely change what I’m going to be eating, but it helps me be mindful of things.  If I’m having something carbohydrate heavy for lunch then I will eat something fat and protein heavy for dinner and snacks.  As far as my workouts go, I feel much better and stronger if I make sure I am at or very near my protein requirements every day.

I also don’t make a ton of restrictions to what I’m eating.  If The Engineer and I make burgers at home, I just skip the bun….but I still eat all the rest of the toppings!  If we make tacos at home I will have one regular, on a tortilla, and if I’m still hungry I’ll make one salad style with just a extra bit of lettuce.  Easy peasey and low stress and effort!  I just try to not eat processed carbohydrates.  That means generally avoiding buns and noodles, but occasionally The Engineer wants raviolis…..so we have raviolis!  Life is no fun without the occasional drink and sauce covered noodle……and I like living my life!  As far as restrictions, that’s really all I do.  I don’t feel like I’ve had to change the way I eat  or adjust to a whole new style of eating.  I try not to make it too hard on myself, and I also try to not stress if things don’t always line up for a day or a weekend.  Stress can cause you to hold belly fat…..so don’t get too caught up and worried!

As far as my daily goals, I try and keep my carbohydrate consumption to under 100 grams, and I try and keep those sources natural…..fruits, veggies, those sorts of things.  I also try to be very conscious of my sugar consumption.  The app currently allows me 60 grams a day, but typically I consume 30 or less grams.  Carbs, protein, and sugar…..that’s all I focus on and it’s easy and manageable.  I do also track calories, but that takes some researching and finding out what your body needs, so I’ll cover that in part 3.

So far all seems good in the hood!  I have been able to slightly increase my weights at the gym, all my jeans button, and I’m feeling much better overall.  There may come a time when I bump my calories up higher and try to gain more muscle.  To really gain muscle you have to eat more calories than you burn, but that process is a ways off in the future for me.  The more you google the more you realize that there’s no easy or set way to navigate any of this, but as of right now I feel pretty good on the track I’m on.  I’ll post some links below to some of the websites I’ve used to help figure out my macro percentages, what I use to track my food, and some other links that have been helpful on getting me started.

Adding in your favorite recipes and workouts is also very easy, and you can customize your macros to suit whatever your needs are….ALL FOR FREE!  There is a subscription version, but I just use the basic free one!!

 

 

Roadtrips, Runza, and Mules

Before we get into the bulk of this week’s blog, I’d like to brag about where I’m writing this from.  I’m currently plunked out on my patio, having coffee and brunch with my Scout-a-Roo, and writing.  Thank goodness warmer weather seems like it’s here to stay.  Spring on the prairie can be a roller coaster ride of 80 degree days followed by mini blizzards…..waking up each day is like opening Forest Gump’s box of chocolates…..you never know what you’re going to get!

At least for this weekend anyway, spring seems to have finally sprung, and that means I can have a lazy weekend breakfast with my little one before we pack up and head to Momma’s for chores and Mother’s Day things!  Brunch this morning consists of coffee….obviously, some watermelon that’s on its last few good days, and a mini potato, cheddar, and chirzo quiche that I picked up yesterday from the fancy bakery downtown.  Seriously, things are looking fancy as fuck around here this morning….minus that fact that I’m in a hoodie and sweatpants.  It’s early enough that the sun hasn’t quite reached my patio…..so at least for the moment, warmer clothes are required.

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Now that you’re all…..I’m sure….jealous of my super posh lifestyle, let’s move on to the main event.

Last weekend The Engineer took me home to meet the family!!

It’s been a long time since anyone I’ve dated has taken me to meet their family, and apparently it had been several years since he has taken anyone home.  I had apparently been the topic of some Facebook creeping before we arrived….which is totally fine.  That’s the age we live in, you generally have a good idea about people, at least how they look, before you even meet them.  I was sort of amused however because they thought I would be shorter in person.  This is really only amusing because if you were to dig through most of my Facebook pictures,…..I’m the tallest one in every picture!  Maybe they just assumed that girls from SoDak are extra short?!

I should back up a little bit and start the weekend at the beginning I suppose.  It may or may not have been discussed on the blog, but I was a dancer growing up.  I danced until I graduated and moved off to college.  Technically I was on my college dance team, but that’s not really the same sort of thing, at least at my college.  Momma still works the front desk at the studio I grew up attending, so we usually attend performances.  Last Friday happened to be the start of their annual recital weekend……so I made The Engineer go!  “Made” really isn’t the right word, he did sort of offer to come with.  I know that recitals can drag on a bit, especially if you don’t know any of the dancers, but there were enough tiny puff tutus on tiny ballerinas to keep us amused and entertained for the couple hours a performance takes.

Saturday morning we got up and headed down into Nebraska.  Now, maybe it’s just something that’s engrained in us “born on the river, SoDak kids,” but Nebraska isn’t really a place we like.  No one from there can drive, they make fun of our none existent accents, and they come to our drive throughs and attempt to place no less than 18 individual orders over the rumbling of their mud coated diesel dually trucks.  We get it….you’re from the country……ughs!  It’s important to note that the rumblings that people like me produce are lessened ten fold if you take us into Nebraska the sneaky way….like down the interstate and over into Omaha to shop for example.  However, if you cross us directly over the river…….the grumbling begins.  I don’t care that you put an extra “r” in Norfolk so that unlike the apparently civilized people of Virginia who have Nor-Fuck…..I have to suffer through Nor-Fork.  Don’t make fun of my accent when you’re just adding in letters willy nilly!  Also!!!!….Did you know that apparently in Nebraska they are taught that the capital of SoDak, Pierre, is Pee-Air?!!?  What?!  No….it’s Pier….like where you put a boat.  Seriously Nebraska….get it together down there!

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When you take a SoDak girl across The River weird things happen!

As much as I like to hate on Nebraska, they do have a couple things of note.  Husker football….if you’re into that sort of thing, Trader Joe’s, Lush, and Runza.  Runza is a preferred snack/meal of mine….mostly because I get it on such a limited basis.  Now, for those who are unaware, runzas are basically a bread tube stuffed with beef, cabbage, and spices.  There are variations, such as a mushroom and swiss runza, but in it’s purest form thats what it is.

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They might actually be the state dish of Nebraska.  I know plenty of families that make them homestyle style in their own kitchens.  Clearly, it’s a thing……

I had actually never had a runza, because initially I was confused and overwhelmed in the drive through with the varieties one could purchase.  I had no idea options were going to be available to me, and I got a little freaked out.  Not wanting to be one of those people who holds up the drive through line, I panicked and ordered chicken strips….which are amazeballs….and that’s been my standard order every time I got to a Runza.  Life doesn’t get much better than actual chicken made into deliciously huge stripes, thick and potatoey crinkle fries, and honey mustard.  Honestly, Runza honey mustard might be the best thing that Nebraska has ever created, and is the standard by how I judge all other honey mustards……here’s looking at you Sonic and Arby’s with your crappy honey mustard!

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That good honey mustard feeling!!!

Anyway, The Engineer has learned that the best and fastest way to turn my mood is with a snack.  Like, I’m not saying he got his Costco membership just to get me guacamole…..but that’s mostly what it’s been used for so far! 🙂

After nearly an hour of listening to me bemoan the horrors of dually trucks in drive throughs and debating the proper pronunciation of Norfolk, we stopped and got Runza.  It was decided that I’d get chicken, he’d get a runza, and we would just share.  Now, I’d been informed by several people that I would like runza.  After all, I like all the things that go into a runza, so it seemed logical that I would like it.  However, logic apparently doesn’t always apply.  Dislike isn’t really the word I would use, I mean I’d eat one and be sorta happy about it.  They have a flavor that vaguely reminds of me when Dad used to be in charge of dinner if Momma was gone for something.  These dinners occasionally would be canned Dinty Moore beef stew on a couple slices of bread.  It’s not a bad flavor, but certainly not one I’d want all the time.

Realistically, I don’t see myself changing my standard order anytime soon.  Why would I get a runza when I know how glorious the chicken stripes are?!  Also, I’m not much of a fan of their onion rings…..#BurgerKingRingsforLife…..however, should you be unable to decide between rings and fries, Runza has revolutionized the food scene by allowing you to get Frings……half fry, half ring.  If you were say….in the business of trying to hunt a Nebraskan, I’m fairly sure that a trap baited with an order of Frings and a Busch Light would get the job done every time!

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The snackies make me happy!!  Yes, I take these embarrassing SnapChat pics….I feel no shame!

We spent a nice weekend with his family doing mostly lazy outdoor things like sunning and drinking.  I’m generally totally on board with lazy summertime drinking so this worked out just fine for me.  His brother in law eventually made a whole series of super yummy thin crust pizzas….honestly I couldn’t even tell you the flavors.  Cheesy, saucy, deliciousness that was most definitely needed after a day of drinking and attempting to discover the glory that is the moscow mule.  They are apparently, a “mulie” family.  I had never really had one before, maybe just the occasional sip off of The Engineer’s.  Even he doesn’t drink them often when he’s with me.  Usually around the house we are beer people, margaritas if we are feeling extra fancy!  Apparently, the vodka makes the mule….and I have to say that Svedka Blue Raspberry makes a fairly delicious drink.  Personally…..I’d probably be more onboard with Jalapeño Grapefruit….but that’s just cuz i’m zesty like that!

Decisions, Decisions!

All in all, it was a good weekend in “The Good Life” country.  I left sunburned and happy having had my honey mustard fix.  I even survived a brief escapade into the small town, downtown bar scene.  I call his home town small…..it’s actually twice the size of my hometown……but that’s irrelevant!

I Know this is Late, But Hear Me Out

Yes, yes, yes I know what you’re thinking……”You’re not even in school anymore girl….get your shit together!”  Okay, I get that, but I had a lot going on this weekend, I’ve worked late every night this week, and there was no way that this was going to get put together on time.  Epic things happened that deserved time and dedication!

On a totally random side note, I bought a cute keyboard cover for the MacBook….so I’m typing this out all stealthy and silent.  You wouldn’t even know I’m working, it’s amazing!

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Okay….so….onto the main event.

LIL B’ CAME TO VISIT AND WE HAD A HOUSE PARTY!

She got here Friday afternoon and it was basically all the food and all the drinks all weekend long.  Sometimes you’ve gotta let it all go I guess.  Friday night we all had dinner at the BFB and Hubby in Law’s house.  Then of course BFB made dipped strawberries….cuz that’s just how we roll…..FANCY!

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I take only the best pictures of my friends….it’s how they know I love them!

Post dinner we played board games….cuz we are adults!  #sorrynotsorry…..but literally, we played Sorry.  Does anyone else remember that game taking hours?!  I think we must have been doing it wrong cuz it took forever!  Also, everyone discovered that I have problems when Skittles are in my presence…..like black tar heroin level addiction problems if they appear within arms reach of me!

Saturday morning we had “Crepe Bar” at the BFB’s….like I’m really not sure you’re really grasping the level of fancy we roll with when we are together!

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This plus bacon and Crepe Bar….what could even go wrong?!  BFB even bought fresh flowers!

We girls went to the mall  after breakfast.  The mall on a Saturday is always a bad idea, but we did get through Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, and Pink.  If you’re wondering why we had to go to both Victoria’s Secret and Pink…..it’s because I’m a diva and insisted on it.  Under roos are cheaper at Pink, and this is important to me since the Scout a Roo continues to eat them given even the smallest oppertunity.  It’s a bit of a problem, but she’s old now so I doubt it’s going to change anytime soon honestly.  Plus side, I guess she is always keeping me in the season’s latest fashions, under roo wise anyway!

After shopping it was time to start cooking.  The cooking started with maybe the best question quote that has ever left Lil B’s mouth…..

Is your tomato sauce…..tomatoey?!  Like does it taste like tomatoes?  Is it like Prego?!”

WE…MADE…SO…MUCH…FOOD!!

I had 7 friends over for Pasta, Pino, and Pizza.  We opened up Maximus, the 5 liter bottle of wine I received for Christmas, and all went to town.  Between us, we drank most of it.  Probably about half of a normal sized bottle was all that remained the next morning when I was cleaning up.  To go along with Maximus….we made way too much food….which is a thing we tend to do every time.

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A busy stove top is a happy stove top!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The party begins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alright, the run down!

  • Erik’s Homemade Alfredo Sauce with Chicken
  • Red Sauce with Hamburger…..homemade by me!  (Yes, it’s tomatoey)
  • Chicken and Pesto Pizza
  • Pepperoni Pizza with Onions and Green Peppers
  • 2 Pounds of Dry Pasta
  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • A Whole Loaf of Garlic Bread
  • Gluten Free Pasta for the BFB

After we all got silent and shoved our faces full of yummy Italian and wine, we basically just bummed around, chatted and caught up with each other, and played a couple rounds of Cards Against Humanity.

Yes, you saw that picture right, Maximus required buddy system pours for probably the first half of the bottle.  He was just so heavy, it wasn’t a one man job.  Also, uncorking him wasn’t a one man job either.  Lil B had to help hold the base of the corkscrew while I leveraged the arm up.  Once the cork got started it went alright, but the initial part seemed a little questionable.  There was even a brief discussion of whether or not power tools might be necessary.  We were all maybe a little concerned about the quality of Maximus, but all things considered he wasn’t half bad at all!  The night was another successful dinner and booze party!

Sunday morning I made breakfast and we had our “Girl’s Morning Coffee Sesh”.  Sometimes it’s the littlest things you miss when your besties aren’t around all the time, and for us….morning coffee is that thing.  We also learned that pancakes made with coconut are delicious, but literally pancake flat!  They don’t puff up at all….and yes, before you ask, I did add plenty of baking powder.

After breakfast, we decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and go wander the boutiques downtown.  Between breakfast, the bakery, and lunch….we basically ate all morning long….and I’m totally ok with that!

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Macaroons and Ham Croissants anyone?!

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Jalapeño margaritas at my favorite downtown restaurant with my favorite people!

All in all it was an amazeballs weekend, and given the amount of alcohol consumed over the three days….it’s a Christmas miracle that no one woke up with a hangover!  I’ll take that as a win and get to planning the next bestie weekend.  Actually, the next bestie weekend is gonna be in a couple weeks, except that we will be short the BFB. :/

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Takes A Lot of Water….To Wash Away New Orleans

I know I missed last week’s blog…..but I was on vacation!  We took a trip to New Orleans with my Daddy’s side of the family.

I have some….thoughts…..about NOLA, but let me show you some of the sights we saw around the city.

We stayed in a large rental home on the North side of the Gentilly area on an inlet from Lake Pontchartrain.  The Wi-Fi was non existent unless you were at the bar, and it was quite far away from the French Quarter so we had to Uber in and out everyday, but it was a lovely house with plenty of room for all nine of us.

Stop one on morning one was Cafe du Monde.  Wait in line and commune with the pigeons while you shove steaming hot beignets covered in powdered sugar into your mouth.  This is the way every morning should start.  Coffee and sugar covered beignets can never be a bad life choice.

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We maybe went to Cafe Du Monde……a few times……..

The French Quarter is beautiful….if you can get around the overwhelming amount of people and ickiness that that many people in a small space create.  There were small glimmers of time when there would be on one else on the streets and you could see the buildings for the beauties that they are, but the crowds and craziness takes a lot away from it.

Most of the food we ate was underwhelming.  Maybe we all just had really high expectations of what Cajun and Creole food was supposed to be.  Even Momma, who isn’t widely known for her love of spicy food, was adding hot sauce to most of her dishes.  One place I would go back to anytime if given the chance was Jacque-Imo’s!  It’s a ways out of the French Quarter but still easy to walk to using the Green street car line through the Garden District.  Also, apparently dessert is complimentary!?  We had no idea, but even though we were all exploding with food we did manage to power through creme brûlées and bread pudding.  I don’t even really like bread pudding, but I’d willing eat huge plates full of theirs any day!

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Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake

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Duck and Andouille Gumbo

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Seriously…..get in my belly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s vacation without a few selfies?!?!  Most of them include alcohol because you can drink anywhere you want in the city.  Most restaurants and bars have tables or shelves of plastic cups by the exits for you to transfer your drinks into when you leave.  This probably contributes to some of the ickiness of the city, but I guess it’s all part of the vibe that is New Orleans.

 

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The humidity was surprisingly fine.  I was expecting much worse but my hair has seen much worse days!

The trips out to the plantations were maybe my favorite part of the trip, but I just like that sort of thing.  It was a little weird to learn that the plantations weren’t as wide apart and open as the idea everyone has in their brain.  The plantations were all located on the river, so most were quite thin areas of land that extended back from the river several hundred acres.  It’s very possible that you would have been able to see your neighbors from you house, which wasn’t the vision I had in my brain.

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The Whitney Plantation—Photo by my Sister

Exterior stairways are also something you’d never see in the North!  The Whitney is only one room deep!  Large doors on the front and back of each room can be opened to allow the strong river breezes to blow through and cool the house.

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The Laura Plantation

Raised up almost 6 feet off the ground to protect the living areas from the nearly continuous floods of the Mississippi River…..again, something you could never do in the North….you’d never be able to keep it heated!

Oh the crowds!!  We were all told this parade would be very risqué and worth the crowds.  Once again, I think we were all just a little bit underwhelmed.  It was a good experience and we all had a good time, but I think it was a bit over hyped.  Maybe this is just what happened when you’re hanging out in a high tourist destination??

We took a cemetery tour, and more to the credit of our guide than anything else, learned quite a bit about the history and founding of the city.  Not that the cemeteries themselves are all that interesting, but they are an interesting thing to see.  That’s probably confusing, but wandering cemeteries where you don’t “know” anyone isn’t necessarily the most interesting.  However, seeing the different styles of burials and frankly the totally random layouts of the old cemetery was interesting.  Also, we saw Nicholas Cage’s purchased eternal resting place…..a white pyramid…so that was a thing I guess!

We also swung through a few famous locations through out the Quarter.  We had drinks at the Carnival bar, although the bar was too full for us to sit and spin around.  We caught some local jazz and zydeco music at The Spotted Cat, and had drinks at the oldest bar in the country, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.  On a side note…. the Carnival Bar hotel had these flowers planted outside in their window boxes…..anyone know what they might be!?!?!

 

The whole French Quarter was full of these gorgeous gas lanterns.  I had never seen anything like this, but I’m quite sure that at some point in my future I’m going to have these!

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While I was away seeing new sights, Scout-a-Roo was staying with the BFB and the Hubby in Law.  I’m so lucky that they don’t mind having her and that she’s comfortable staying there.  I’ll leave you with some pics of my nugget in her home away from home!

Things to be Thankful For

As we wrap up the Thanksgiving festivities and rev up for the holiday season, I think it’s important to spend some time reflecting on friends and family.  In an unfortunate turn of events, my Dad’s whole family had to gather together and bury my Grandpa.  Maybe he had it all planned out that way, because traditionally we wouldn’t all be together as a family for Thanksgiving, especially since everyone has gotten older and most of the grandkids have started families of their own.

We have always been fortunate to be able to take family vacations.  We’ve been to Alaska, Europe, Disney World, and San Francisco.  However, one vacation destination that has always been the go to has been Williamsburg Virginia.  I’m not sure why we ever started going there, I just know that now when we “need” to go on vacation, if no where else is decided, Williamsburg is really the answer.

In celebration of Thanksgiving, and being thankful for family, and because Williamsburg always feels particularly festive….I present to you:

Williamsburg Through the Decades

There are no photos of infant Mishappenings enjoying the colonial capital of 18th century Virginia.  The camera or the film didn’t cooperate and all the pictures came out black.  My very first vacation, and there’s no evidence I was even there!

These photos were from a trip we made in 1992.  There are still plenty of overly friendly and carefree squirrels and gingerbread cookies to be had, and it’s good to know that sometimes things don’t change.  Somethings, like traveling with our baby blankets, have changed.  Also, luckily for me, my fashion choices have changed….some…..

 

1997 was the trip of hats and bonnets.  When enjoying the capital city, it’s important to be fashionable and on trend.

 

2000:  Someone was still trying to embrace colonial fashions, I had maybe outgrown that need by now.

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We went in December of 2004 shortly after my birthday and were there for the start of the Christmas season.  I had just been given this sweater for my birthday and as you can see I was quite please with it.  This was also my phase where I was pretty convinced that my green hi-top Converse All-Stars went perfectly with any and all outfits!

Sadly, the gentlemen in the photo passed away a few years ago, but he had been a familiar presence on all our previous trips.

 

2009 was the last time we all travelled to the colonial city as a whole family.  I believe it was in the spring.  It was the first time that I had to fly separately and meet my family there because I was away at college.  I also recall that I had to fly with several text books in my suitcase because lab reports don’t stop being due because you’re on vacation!

 

 

2016: Our first big family trip without Dad.  We decided that something familiar might be nice, so we headed back to Williamsburg.

 

Other things that never change are my love of the apothecary shop, and the need for my parents to take slightly posed photos of me in the shop.  I present to you the difference that 16 years can make!  I think it’s important to note that that jacket still fits me….so I’ve been basically this same size my entire life!

 

Another change is they now have beer….and I’m old enough to have it!  

Colonial Williamsburg now offers a selection of beers that you can purchase throughout the historic area.  We also tried out a modern restaurant right on the edge of the Historic District that had one of the largest beer menus I’ve ever seen!  If you’re ever in town I would recommend the DoG Street Pub.  It’s loud but the building is a nice blend of colonial and modern, and the food was delicious and huge in portion.  Easy to find right on the corner of Duke of Gloucester street between the Historic District and the campus of William and Mary.

If you aren’t into beer and American fare, then Sal’s by Victor needs to by on your to do list.  Again, I’m not sure how we ever found it, but it was a favorite of Daddy Mishappenings and we ate there often.  In fact, we ate there twice on our most recent trip….because why mess with a good thing!?

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Yes….I ate the whole thing……TWICE….on our trip!

 

We don’t always get along, but when we do…we take snapchat pictures and embarrass my mother in public.  The face swap photo is probably hands down the worst picture of both of us that has ever….and probably will ever exist!

 

 

These are just some pictures of my favorite places and spaces around the Historic District for your viewing pleasure.

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Chapter 14 : Naked Burrito Dude

Now that I’m a single twenty something again, I can return to writing about all my dating adventures.  Apparently……this is something that’s frowned upon in relationships.  I’m not sure why, because my past relationships are what shaped me into who am I and brought me to this point in my life.  But, I suppose on the other hand I can understand how being confronted with your person’s past all the time could be awkward.  When you get to be this age, we all know everyone has dated someone else before……we just collectively don’t acknowledge this fact and pretend it’s not a thing that’s happened.  It’s just one of the unwritten laws of being a single twenty something.

 

For this particular chapter, we are going way back on the dating scale.  Back many moons ago when I was merely a middle aged twenty something in search of a quality drunk weekend with friends.  Ok, so I’m still generally in favor of a good old fashioned drinking weekend…..but the point is I was younger and life generally seemed better!

I mean, would you just look at us?!?  Babies!  Infants!  

Blissfully still unaware of how much being an adult can suck.  I had strings of pink tinsel in my hair!!!  So, there I was all done up with a fresh hair cut, dye job, and tinsel……in a silver mini dress….wearing spanx and two bras (to shove the girls way up there fake boob style)…….and 5 inch silver heels.  I’m going to be honest when I saw that plenty of guys talked to me that night, but all of them were short and not really all that great.  I was also the subject of a fight between a married couple at one point because he was sure my boobs were fake, and she was sure they were real.  I’m not sure what happened to them, or how the fight ended….it was sorta weird and I mostly just exited their area.  Things were going along as they do most party nights at a bar, and then up walked Burrito Dude.

I remember taking off my heels and standing in the sawdust at the Saloon 10 to verify the fact that Burrito Dude was taller than me.  I tend to put people through this check before I invest any sorta energy into them…..does that make me shallow?!  It probably does, but to be fair I don’t think it’s changing anytime soon.

I was fairly drunk that night and I don’t remember a ton of details, but I do know that in trying to dance with me, he unzipped my wristlet and sent my poor little slider phone flying across the dance floor where it landed and broke apart.  The phone and I survived the night….barely, and the night ended with Bitch Faced Bestie yelling at Lil B about being a lady because she was sitting on the sawdust covered floor trying to find us a ride home.  We did get a safe ride home, but we still haven’t let her live down “the sawdust event”.

Next day, in the middle of hangover lounging with the BFB, Burrito Dude sent a text asking if I wanted to go to dinner.  I didn’t really want to, as the hangover was becoming pretty real, but I did eventually agree to go with him.  He ate steak tips and I sipped a Diet Coke….I’m sure I was a great date….although I think I probably did munch a couple of his fries.  He went home, I passed out to sleep off the weekend, and drove home the next day not really thinking much of it honestly.

A few weeks come and go and Burrito Dude decides that he wants to come see me.  He does, but I don’t even know what we really did.  I do recall that before he left town we went to Ihop and I had cheesecake pancakes.  I think it must say something about my priorities in life that I remember that I had cheesecake pancakes, but I can’t honestly tell you what he and I even did other than that.

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They have chunks of cheesecake in them…..who wouldn’t want these!?!?!

I did end up making a trip back out to the hills Valentine’s Day weekend.  Now, don’t get any ultra mushy, romantic ideas.  I mean I did see him, but mostly I went because The Girls and I had planned to go to a fancy masquerade party.  I don’t think we went…..I think we instead ended up drinking downtown again, as we usually do.  He was in town with his parents for some fundraiser activity, and he ended up driving me and my car back to his house in Rapid City.  I’m pretty sure I passed out in the passenger seat.  (Don’t judge me…I was younger and partied harder back in the day!)

Once again, I don’t think we did anything all that exciting, but at some point he decided we needed food and we went to Qdoba.  Just as I was getting all ready to show my chicken burrito who was boss, he chirped in with the fun fact that if I had gotten a naked burrito bowl I would have saved myself 300 calories.  In response to my dismay at why he would even know that sort of information he replied,

It’s just more calories to work off at the gym.

That was really the beginning of the end for us!  I also ended up making him taco casserole…..which is amazing, and he said it would be better if it had less cheese and sour cream…….(cue cricket noise of shock)…….

The actual end was when he basically kicked me out of his house later that weekend so that he could go skiing.  Nothing says, “I’m into you” like waking a girl up and kicking her out of your house so you can go hit the slopes.  I went to Philly Ted’s, picked up my traditional order of cajun chicken sandwiches to bring home, hit the road, and basically never looked back!

Shortly after me, he met a girl that he still is currently dating.  Actually, I saw them the other weekend when I was out in the hills for the concert weekend with the besties.  I was pretty sure that he didn’t know who I was, but BFB was pretty sure that he did.  Who knows really, but it wouldn’t have worked out anyway.  The only things I remember about hanging out with him was what I ate….and probably he was secretly judging me the entire time.  

……Plus, he’s a cat person….and I’m sure you’ve all figured out by now that I am not a cat person.