Happy Valentine’s Day!
Love Much 🙂
Looking for a delicious and easy treat for Valentine’s Day? What could fit the bill better than some buttery, garlicky chargrilled oysters. Oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac, are they not? Okay, the garlic may cancel a bit of that quality out. But, these are delicious to share with your sweetie or even to enjoy on your own.
Serve these with some hot, crusty French bread and a salad, and you’ve got a fabulous meal.
It seems that I never “finish” decorating for any holiday. I am constantly moving things around and adding and taking away. Do you do that? I’ll probably be doing that until it is time to take everything down. Oh well, I am definitely feeling the Christmas season! We have had beautiful weather here.
With the help of CaliCat, we have been busily decorating for Christmas in New Orleans. Welcome to my home . . .
We decorated the tree:
Something pretty on the top:
Wreaths and greenery were added:
A little on the mirror. . .
And, some on the doors to the porch . . .
Then a little decoration on the dining table . . .
The weather has been mild which allows us to spend time on the porch, so of course, that has to be decorated as well . . .
When the evenings are warm, we can enjoy the lights on the porch . . .
Time to sit back and enjoy the season! Hope you enjoyed the tour. Wish you could join me on my porch.
New Orleans is a city that embraces the macabre. Not just on Halloween, but all year long. Our cemeteries are tourists attractions. Any day (or night) of the week, you can take a haunted history tour or a ghost tour or a vampire tour. Some of the properties for sale even feature “Haunted” or “Not Haunted” signs along with the other information.
On any given day, you can find people in costume – people in tutus, vampire costumes and Mardi Gras Indians are common sights.
I personally believe there really is spiritual warfare going on, so I’m not really looking to hook up with any “spirits” or the “undead,” whatever that is. That being said, it is certainly fascinating and even mesmerizing to see the decorations that pop up this time of year.
Here is a sampling (click for larger pics):
Here is a spooky boneyard:
We have lots of folks of Irish ancestry in New Orleans. Irish immigrants in the 19th century dug the canals that drain the city, and we will forever be grateful for their backbreaking contributions. It is no surprise that we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with not one, but four parades – Uptown (starting in the Irish Channel), Metairie (an adjacent suburb), and two in the French Quarter/Downtown area. Yesterday I put on my green T-shirt and fuzzy headband with shamrocks on springs and headed for a party in the ‘burbs.
These parades are not known for their artistic merit. They are a great place to watch the antics of the marchers (who typically have consumed a bit of beer), hang out with friends, and most importantly, to catch the complements to your corned beef.
New Orleans is in for a busy holiday period, with Valentine’s Day coming just two days after Mardi Gras. My friend Sherry, a talented designer, gave an inspiring presentation today on festive table ideas.
Sherry had great advice for us novice decorators. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Shop from your closets and attics first, and think of new uses for your old objects. Discount stores such as Target and Tuesday morning – or even drugstores – can be inexpensive sources of novel accessories. Let’s look at some of her tablescapes to get the creative juices flowing.
Mardi Gras décor does not have to be gaudy – astromania and lilacs combine to provide a pleasing purple theme for this table.
The same principal is seen here, where pastels carry out the purple, green and gold theme. Note the crown, one of our favorite carnival symbols. Read More→
Okay, I showed you a lot of the houses with their fun Halloween decorations yesterday. Today, I want to show you a really fun house on the corner of St. Charles Avenue and State Street. It is the Boneyard. There is an article in on the Tulane News site that tells about the family that puts up these fun decorations.
There are more than 50 cleverly displayed skeletons to entertain you. Here is a shot from the local Uptown Messenger at night, showing how fun they look all lit up:
Let’s take a closer look at some of these:
Click on “show as slideshow” to see full size.
Oh, I almost forgot this picture. The sun was shining brightly and, even though you can’t see the bones very well, I thought this picture was great. Do you see beautiful sunrays or spooky ghosts?
Need something to sip as you are greeting the trick or treaters tonight? How about some Caramel Apple Cider?
Today’s Lagniappe: Caramel Apple Cider
1 Gallon apple cider
6 cinnamon sticks
3/4 cups jarred caramel sauce
Heat apple cider, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Before serving, stir in caramel sauce. Serve topped with whipped cream and a shake of cinnamon and a drizzle of additional caramel sauce. This can be made in a slow cooker as well to make your house smell all Autumn-y.
I don’t think it is possible to get all of what I have to show you in one post, so this is one of those episodes to be continued . . .
Halloween in New Orleans is a BIG deal to put it mildly. In terms of celebration, it is second only to Mardi Gras. Lots of decorations, parties and fun. Now, me, I’m not so big into decorating for Halloween as I am for Fall in general. My one nod to Halloween is this Jack-O-Lantern:
Pretty scary, huh? I do have a lot of Fall decorations, just not so much with the ghosts and goblins. I do love seeing those things around town though. They are lots of fun and, of course, New Orleans is supposed to be one of the most haunted cities in America. Personally, I’m not looking for any ghosts!
Here are some pictures from Uptown and in the Garden District:
Click “show as a slideshow” for a better view and some pithy commentary. 🙂
Here is a cute spider that I thought would be fun to do with kids:
This was made with a black trash bag, some construction paper cutouts for eyes that had been drawn upon and then some black plastic plumber thingy’s (or whatever those things are called) for legs. How cute is that?
There are lots more pictures to show – particularly the “Bone House” that deserves its own post. Tune in for that tomorrow. In the meantime, here is a preview:
You know you are going to have to have something to munch on while you are looking through those pictures. How about some Butterscotch Haystacks?
Looks like Bailey the wonder dog would like a bite. Sooo easy to make and they only take about 5 minutes to put together:
Today’s’ Lagniappe: Butterscotch Haystacks
Makes 12 large or 24 small “haystacks”
Melt 1 package of butterscotch morsels in the microwave (microwave in 30 second increments stirring in between until smooth). Add 2 – 3 cups of chow mien noodles to the melted butterscotch along with 1/2 cup of spanish peanuts. Stir to combine.
Using 2 spoons, drop “stacks” of the mixture onto wax paper or parchment paper or tin foil, or whatever you have handy. Let cool until set and then enjoy!
The dogwoods are blooming beautifully here. Love dogwoods and how inspirational they are.
Have you hear the Easter legend of the dogwood?
When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
It branches were strong and interwoven
And for Christ’s cross its timbers were chosen.
Being distressed at the use of the wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good.
Not ever again shall the dogwood grow
To be large enough for such a tree, and so,
Slender and twisted it shall always be,
With cross shaped blossoms for all to see.
Petals shall have bloodstains marked in brown,
And in all the blossom centers a thorny crown.
All who see it shall think of me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.
Protected and cherished the tree shall be
A reflection to all of my agony.
Happy and blessed Easter Season to all!
I am so enjoying Spring. Everything is such a pretty green. The flowers and trees are blooming and now we have the Robin’s nest on the porch. The sweet robing laid her 4th egg today. Now we’ll wait for 14 to 16 days until the babies hatch. So many blessings!
Of course, this is holy week which is a good time to remember all of our blessings. Especially, the blessing of salvation through Jesus Christ. And then there is Passover to celebrate the end of Israel’s Egyptian captivity. So much celebration in one week that is topped off by Easter!
Passover starts on Tuesday, April 19th. However, the celebration starts at sundown on Monday, April 18th. That is tonight! I’m not that familiar with the Passover meal (Seder). However, I am fascinated by the ritual of the Seder and the food involved. One of the tastiest elements looks like the Charoset.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Passover and Holy Week!
Today’s Lagniappe: Passover Charoset
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced
1 – 1/2 cups walnut halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sweet red wine
1 – 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
In large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Store, covered, at room temperature until ready to serve.
I’m back! Have missed everyone soooo much. Been busy then sick then busy again. Busy is very good – except when it means I neglect all my wonderful blog friends.
Next Monday is the sweetheart day of Valentine’s. Mr. Southern Gentleman and I will be celebrating this weekend. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate – a ton of snow in Arkansas today. It was pretty but I’m just not really cut out for dealing with all this snow!
Anyway, here is a Valentine Tablescape for you for Tablescape Thursday. Follow the link at the end of the post and see all the wonderful tables with Susan and friends.
Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! Check out all the fabulous tablescapes today at
Today’s Lagniappe: Savory Coeur a la Creme
A fabulous recipe by Ina Garten that is perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip until it is firm like whipped cream. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick.
Line a 6-inch coeur a la creme mold or 6-inch sieve with a few layers of cheesecloth, allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Fold the excess cheesecloth over the top of the cream. Place the mold on a plate or suspend the sieve over a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, unmold the creme upside down onto a plate and pour the chutney over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. Serve chilled with crackers.
Just a little more Mardi Gras color around here.
It has the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Just a grapevine wreath draped with purple ribbon and adorned with a big gold bow and a fun Mardi Gras mask. Couldn’t be easier!
Today’s Lagniappe: Cajun Catfish
From Betty Crocker something a little spicy and fun for catfish. Do you think Betty Crocker was Cajun? LOL!
2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons Cajun Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 pounds catfish nuggets, skin removed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1. In heavy 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat to 375°F.
2. In shallow dish, stir together flour, cornmeal, Creole seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and red pepper. In another shallow dish, beat egg with fork until foamy.
3. Sprinkle catfish nuggets with salt and lemon juice. Dip each nugget into beaten egg, then roll in flour mixture to coat. Drop 4 to 6 nuggets at a time into hot oil. Cook 2 minutes; turn and cook 1 minute longer or until deep golden brown. Remove from oil; drain on paper towels.
Makes 8 servings
You know I always use the word “Southern” in my post titles, but not today. Just didn’t seem right. Today is Independence Day in the United States. God Bless the USA!
It is also Sunday so we will join Chari at Happy to Design for Sunday favorites and Charlotte and Ginger at Blogger Spirit for Spiritual Sunday. Enjoy your Sunday and Happy Independence Day!
Oh, and before we get to the post, I want to add another link:
As I sat down to do this post, I noticed that my Saturday post was not correct 🙁 I posted a draft instead of the completed post that did not include Beverly’s link – So sorry! I have corrected the Saturday post and am also adding her link here as well. Beverly, please forgive me – I wouldn’t want anyone to miss your wonderful Pink Saturday party!!
Okay, so now on to the post – a Sunday Favorite that does double duty as an entry for Spiritual Sunday. Last year I posted the Declaration of Independence. I am doing the same this year. If you have never read it, please read it now! Also, I am re-posting the YouTube video we made from the grand finale of our local fireworks show. Set to the National Anthem, it is a great show! Enjoy!
From July 4th 2009:
Wishing all of you a happy and safe 4th of July. Please take a moment to read the Declaration of Independence.
Of all of the text of this document one of my favorite lines is, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
The courage of our founding fathers is evident in those words. They risked death to declare our independence. When Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got – a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”* It’s up to us to keep it!
Here is the text of the Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
* ATTRIBUTION: The response is attributed to BENJAMIN FRANKLIN—at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation—in the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention.
And then the fireworks from June 29, 2010:
And from May 4th 2009:
Today’s Lagniappe: Mama’s Southern Fried Chicken
Mama tells me that to get it really crispy you need to fry it in shortening or lard.
shortening or lard
1 chicken, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds, cut up
2 cups flour
Salt the chicken. Heat the shortening or lard in a large skillet. Combine the flour with seasoning salt and pepper. Roll each piece of chicken in flour and place in the hot fat (about 370° F). Put the largest pieces in first, in the hottest part of the skillet. Arrange the chicken pieces in the fat, making sure not to overcrowd. Fry the chicken until outside is golden brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once to brown both sides. Reduce heat and fry until cooked through golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Turn once. Drain chicken on brown paper or paper towels
The fat should be deep enough to cover the pieces when it boils up, but make sure you use a deep skillet, preferably one made for frying chicken, and watch carefully.
It is that time of year. Hear all of the snap, crackle and pops? We just had our fabulous Red, White and Blue Festival here. Here are some pics from the event (thank you to Christy Keirn for some of the great pics – we forgot to put a card in our camera. Video of fireworks were taken from our phone!).
And then . . . there were the fireworks!
Some fun for Outdoor Wednesday!
Today’s Lagniappe: Cucumber Tip
Thanks to Wehoney on the Southern Living board for this great tip!
Cut a small piece off the end of the cucumber, and then rub it on the cut end, cut sides together, until a foam appears…rinse it off, with the cut end facing downward, repeat on the other end…this is suppose to take the gas out of the cucumbers.
Is that a great tip or what???
This past weekend, our community celebrated it’s 11th annual Red, White and Blue Festival. One of the fun events leading up to the festival was a decorating contest. People were encouraged to decorate their homes, businesses, cars, etc. in red, white and blue and submit photos to our local newspaper where readers could vote for their favorites. The contest was called “Paint the Town – Red, White and Blue.” Here are some of the fun results:
The contest was a great way for everyone to get in the mood for the festival which is always held the last weekend in June. I’ll be sharing some other great photos this week. Can’t wait to show you the monkeys riding the dogs!
How are you transforming your place with red, white and blue this week? Bet you can get some great ideas at:
Today’s Lagniappe: Red White and Blue Pastry Cups
Something easy peasy and delicious!
Pepperidge Farms puff pastry shells, baked according to directions on box
Blueberries and sliced strawberries tossed with a little sugar or Splenda
Place the blueberries and strawberries in the baked pastry shells and top with cool whip. Can it get any easier than that?