2.27.2008

SUMMER ADVENTURES

So I was thinking about the Summer today and all the things I want to do ... I started a list when Kaitlyn left last year of all the things we needed to do and places we needed to see when she got back. So these are some of the adventures I want to go on this Summer!



1. Try a new Church every week until we have seen them all. Nola has so many beautiful churches I want/need to see.

2. Visit the Cemeteries especially Marie Laveau.

3. Go to the Beach, since I didn't go last year.

4. Visit some Plantations, esp. Oak Alley and the Myrtles

5. Take Kickboxing classes ... for exercise and self-defense

6. Bring Oscar to the park more. Hopefully it won't rain too much this Summer

8. Show Kaitlyn LSU

9. Eat at:

- Jacque Imos

- Camellia Grill

- Ole College Inn

- Bourbon House (its my new fav.)

- The Gumbo Room

- and so many more ...

10. Learn to Sew

11. Re-Learn to Knit

12. Finish my room (father permitting)

13. Visit Houston

14.  Visit Austin ... with family and friends if I am lucky!

15.  Re-finish my dresser and maybe the couch

16.  Make my cookbook 

17.  Make a wine book ... maybe I can steal Terry's to get ideas ... she has been keeping one for years and she definitely knows her wine.

18.  Learn to shoot a gun ... as strange as that may seem. I just think it would be nice to know and experience.

19. Watch old movies ... like old black and whites.

20. Go to a wine tasting

21.  Beat Ashley at Guitar Hero 3 

2.25.2008

PLANTS AGAINST POLLUTION

I found this very interesting article on Earthsavers website, while shopping for a facial. I think I am going to go buy some plants myself.


plants against pollution

want the air you breathe at home or at work to be cleaner? 
when NASA scientists were looking for ways to clean the air in space stations, they made a remarkable discovery. They learned that houseplants remove pollutants from the air! 

indoor air often contains formaldehyde, benzene and tri-chloroethylene. these chemicals all come from treated wood furnishings, carpeting, clothing and household cleaning products. also, our gas stoves and furnaces give off carbon monoxide. 

the NASA scientists found that in addition to adding life-giving oxygen to the air, certain house plants actually removed the above mentioned pollutants from the air we breathe! 

spider plants, one of the hardiest of all house plants performed the best. english ivy, philodendron, bamboo palm, daisies, chrysanthemums and golden pothos, however, were very effective too. 

they also found that the potting soil in which these plants live removes pollutants from the air. 

we learned what combats the air pollution is not just one element, but the chemical interaction among soil, roots and leaves. 

the EPA suggests keeping these plants in homes and offices. putting plants around the house is not only esthetically pleasing, but an easy, in-expensive way that you and your family can reduce air pollution and breathe fresher, cleaner air! 

this is just another example of how many of our ills can be remedied if we just look to the source of all life - the natural world. 

researchers suggest putting one or two plants in each room. most importantly, place them in the bedrooms where you and your family sleep. 

run down to the local nursery, or ask your neighbor for some cuttings and start breathing cleaner air right now!

WRITING CREDITS

by Orisia Haas 

NO EXPLANATION NECESSARY

Hope this makes yall laugh as much as it did when it happened!!




THE BEST 21st BIRTHDAY EVER!!!

I had the best birthday weekend ever!!! It all started Friday when I got to work and my desk was all decorated!! Then lunch with a cake "shot." Dinner at Bourbon House with my cousins! Then the surprise party! I was so beyond surprised. I heard screaming and just thought it was some idiots yelling on a balcony ... just typical Bourbon. Then I saw Lacey looking up, so I looked up and realized that I knew all those people yelling! It was perfect!! Yall are amazing, I am so lucky to have such awesome friends and family! Saturday the family just hung out and we got sushi. Sunday we had party #2 at the house with friends and family ... made Maw Maw's gumbo and just hung out. I just wish I had more pictures ... so I will have to collect everyone else's ... that way I can remember this PERFECT BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!! Here are just a few. 











Special Thanks goes out to ... Mom, Dad, Ashley, Kelli, Jessica, Dante, Lacey, Leigh, Liz, and Meg!!!!!!  YALL ARE THE BEST!!! It was the best birthday present anyone could of given me! I hope everyone had at least 1/2 as much fun as I did!

SUNDAY DINNER ... CHINESE

Our newest kitchen adventure was 2 sundays ago ... and this time it was china style. My family has a serious love affair with all Asian food. Inspiration for this particular Sunday's Dinner was P.F. Chang's. We have been cooking fried rice and won-tons for a long time, but this time we decided to add Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Honey Crispy Chicken. And it went something like this ....

The Ingredients (sadly minus some)


The Shiitake Mushroom!! This little mushroom amazes me ... and this is why. Ancient Oriental healers have used it for centuries to help with a host of ailments (I would go into all of that but some are not table friendly and we are talking about cooking and eating food ... so we won't go there). But this little mushroom is great for your skin, it has even been called the Fountain of Youth. It has also been proven to help with cholesterol, blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, viral infections and even AIDS. Researchers are pumping major cash into this little mushroom to really see how much it can do. Pretty amazing. 
And they are really cute! haha


WON-TONS

This recipe isn’t really formal … we just kinda add until it tastes right. We use shrimp or crawfish that we put into a food processor then add it to cream cheese. We put some green onions in the mix and then add (of course) Tony chachere ‘s until it tastes right. As the pictures depict … 

1. Lay out the won-ton wraps 

2. Add a spoon full of the stuffing 

3. Rub a scrambles egg onto 2 sides

 4. Fold and fry

These are soooo good. The great thing about this recipe and the Fried Rice is that they are great recipes that are easy and for us are usually made from left-overs. Left-over boiled shrimp and left over rice.







SHRIMP FRIED RICE

This recipe is also just made up as we go along, it’s the kinda thing you can pretty much add whatever to (whatever is in the fridge). We also use onions, egg, soy sauce and rice of course. The best is day old rice. We start with the egg, then add the onions and whatever else we are throwing in there (such as the shrimp). Let everything cook down, then add the rice and soy until its browned and tastes just right. Quick, easy and oh so good!





PF CHANG'S CHINA BISTRO CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

INGREDIENTS:
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons water
salt and pepper
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, minced
5 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
2 small dried chilis (optional)
1 8 oz. can bamboo shoots, minced
1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, minced
1 package cellophane Chinese rice noodles, fried in oil for a minute or two, until they puff nicely.

COOKING SAUCE:
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Lettuce of your choice to make lettuce "cups" (Butter or Bibb lettuce is my choice.)

DIRECTIONS:
Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain.
Cut and discard woody stems. Mince mushrooms. Set aside. 
Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in bowl, and set aside. 
In medium bowl, combine cornstarch, sherry, water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chicken. 
Stir to coat chicken thoroughly. 
Stir in 1 teaspoon oil and let sit 15 minutes to marinate. 
Heat wok or large skillet over medium high heat.
When the pan smokes a bit, add 3 tablespoons oil, then add chicken and stir fry for about 3-4 minuts. Set aside. 
Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan. 
Add ginger, garlic, chilis (if desired), and onion. 
Stir- fry about a minute or so. 
Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry an additional 2 minutes. 
Return chicken to pan. 
Add mixed cooking sauce to pan. 
Cook until thickened and hot. 
Break the cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces, and cover bottom of serving dish with them. 
Then pour chicken mixture on top of noodles. 
Spoon into lettuce leaf "cups" and roll.



P.F. CHANG'S CHINA BISTRO CRISPY HONEY CHICKEN

FOR THE BATTER:
4 oz. all purpose flour
2 1/2 oz. cornstarch
1 egg
6 oz. water
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda

FOR THE CHICKEN SEASONING:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into medium size chunks
1 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. corn starch

FOR THE SAUCE:
1/2 cup sake or rice wine
1/2 cup honey
3 oz. rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
6 Tbsp. sugar

TO COOK THE CHICKEN:
Vegetable oil for frying (plus 2 tbsp for finishing sauce)

TO FINISH THE SAUCE:
cornstarch slurry (1/4 cup corn starch mixed with 1/4 cup water)
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
red bell pepper and/or scallions, julienne

TO SERVE:
Crispy noodles, rice or egg noodles or steamed rice

TO MAKE THE BATTER:
Mix ingredients for the batter together till just combined. Let rest in refrigerator for a couple of hours. 

TO PREPARE THE CHICKEN:
Coat chicken well with seasonings and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. 

TO PREPARE THE SAUCE:
Combine sauce ingredients, mix thoroughly and reserve for serving.

TO COOK THE CHICKEN:
Pour vegetable oil into fryer or heavy bottomed sauce pot. Heat slowly to 340-350 degrees. 

Put 1/4 of the marinated chicken in a clean bowl and pour enough batter over to coat. Remove a few pieces at a time from the batter, using slotted spoon or large fork. Shake off excess batter. Carefully lower chicken into the hot oil. Suspend the chicken until the batter "sets," 20-30 seconds. Chicken is done when golden to light brown and crisp. Remove to platter with paper towels to drain. Repeat for all the chicken. Remember to check the oil temperature, it must remain hot.

TO FINISH THE SAUCE:
Heat the reserved sauce in sauce pan, bring to a boil. Add cornstarch slurry, a little at a time. The sauce will thicken, let it come to a thickness of "loose honey." Let cook for a minute or two.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok and add some minced garlic, red bell pepper and scallions and stir-fry briefly. 

Add 1/3 to 1/2 of the chicken (depending on pan size) and stir-fry briefly. Add enough sauce to just coat chicken. Stir-fry again briefly. 

TO SERVE:
Serve over noodles or rice.




THE RESULT



2.16.2008

ELIJAH "ELI" BRADLEY

Speaking of little ones ... this is the newest addition Elijah "Eli" Bradley born Feb. 13th at 10:40, 7 lbs 15 oz, 20 in. I'm so proud of Leigh, she is going to be an awesome mom.





He sleeps with his mouth wide open, just like daddy and paw paw! He fits right in!


Momma's boy! Momma looked awesome for just giving birth if I do say so myself!

The little Family.

I LOVE THIS ONE!!!


Nanny Lacey





DEAD ON

So I was checking out my horoscope and it really freaked me out because it is soooo dead on ....

The problem with children is they are expensive. You're finding that out this week,   aren't you? Even if you have no kids of your own, you are likely to be finding that a niece, nephew or younger sibling is emptying your pockets nearly as fast as you fill them. 

In the past 2 weeks I have bought gifts for Paige, Parker, Eli and Addison! I have spent a small fortune, but its worth it for my favorite little ones! Its so strange that a horoscope that is so specific would be dead on.

2.11.2008

BABY PUMBA aka Paige Frances

In june of last year, my little cousin Parker (4 yr old) threw a penny into a fountain and wish for a little sister. Two weeks later his mother, my cousin Dede (who had been trying to get pregnant for almost 2 years), found out she was pregnant!! When Parker was asked what he wanted to name "his baby," he thought about it for a second and replied PUMBA MONKEY! Since that day forward the baby has been called Pumba. Dede wanted the sex of the baby to be a surprise this time, which was killing all of us and deep down I think everyone was hoping for a girl. Parker definitely wanted a girl and sure enough he got what he wished for!  Pumba aka Paige Frances was born Jan. 24th, 7 lb, 19 in! So I spent the last six days in Houston visiting. It was so hard to leave, I miss them so much already and who knows when I'll get to see them next. Its so weird to think Dede use to live around the corner and come over for dinner almost every night. She use to pick us up from school all the time and get french fries and frosties to dip them in! Then she moved to Lafayette, which was kinda cool when I was at LSU because I visited a lot and got to babysit Parker every once in awhile! Now they are just soooo far away!!! I know they are happy though, and miss us too ... so its all good!  So here are some pictures, most of the pictures I took were on Dede's camera ... so I will put those up when she posts them. We got some really cute ones of Pumba on her camera.




She was tired of the Paparazzi

 


He is so excited about his little pumba baby


Parker's favorite things to do was torture Oscar ... he was definitely ready to go home!


    Of course we took pictures right before we left ... my mom and ash would die if they knew I posted these! haha ... oh well ... its the only ones of us and pumba.


This is the closest to normal picture I got, he has stalling techniques! Once in Lafayette, I was trying to rush out to get to class and I turn around to find him bringing my bag back inside! This is why I almost cried when we left ... he kills me and the thought that Paige is going to be so big when I see her next!