New Orleans

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I headed to New Orleans early Thursday morning for a conference.  I spent all day at the conference on Thursday.  Thursday evening, I had the pleasure having dinner with a friend who lives in New Orleans, followed by an impromptu tour led by her.  It was great!  I saw Brad and Angelina’s house (although there was nothing really special about it) and also saw a movie being filmed.  Sweet.  Friday morning was more conference festivities, then that afternoon, I had a few hours before my flight, so I strolled around the French Quarter and took the following pictures.







First, I headed to Jackson Square to see the St. Louis Cathedral.  Here is a view from the fence just outside Jackson square.  There were lots of street vendors here with misc. artwork and horse and donkey drawn carriages available to rent.












You can’t get to the cathedral without passing by this famous statue of Andrew Jackson (right) or this fountain right in front (left)





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From inside the cathedral.  If you know me, you know I’m obsessed with pipe organs (left).  To the right is a view from the back of the church.












I left the church and found these creepy babies in a shop in the square.
















Then, I headed to the famous Cafe du Monde for famous beignets and famous cafe au lait.  Mmmmm!  First, I thought I should knock some of the sugar off those, but I learned that you really ought to try to keep every bit of sugar on those things.














I found the homeless people hanging out by the river enjoying a song by some other people who may or may not be homeless, but decidedly could NOT sing well.  I finished my coffee, waited for a train to pass, and continued my stroll.









I came across the State Supreme Court building (left) and thought, like many other court houses across the country, it was OK to go in and take a look.  I was met with an airport-style security setup, and they said it was OK for me to come in, so I went through and let Big Brother document my visit with a picture (right).


Once inside, it wasn’t all that thrilling.  I got yelled at by a security guard for trying to open a closed door, and I did briefly view the actual Supreme Court room for a minute or two before leaving.  Pros: got to use the restroom and got a cool official looking visitor badge that the security guard let me keep.

I was pretty pooped at that point, and my feet were KILLING me in my dress shoes, so I headed slowly back to the hotel for the airport shuttle to pick me up.  I browsed through some antique shops on the way.  The flight home was uneventful, but the Cruzan rum bar at the airport was pretty alright.  ;-)

Coming soon, one day, I will blog with our snow pics!  Maybe I should save them for a hot summer day.

You know how I do it...

In my constant quest to balance my love of cooking and my love of eating with my desire to be SMALLER, as you probably know from reading here, I'm kind of on a "whole foods" kick courtesy of famous people such as Jillian Michaels and Michael Pollan. Credit is also due to non-famous people (at least by my standards) like Paul Prichford, whose book Healing With Whole Foods, I must admit, is where this really all started for me. Not counting whatever life experiences led me to purchase that book in the first place.

Two mottos have stuck with me. Jillian's, "If it didn't come from the ground or have a mother, don't eat it," is one. Michael Pollan has inspired a new way for Tom and I to categorize food - food and nonfood. Where my fake powdered coffee creamer is "nonfood" and my creamer is food. Food? Spinach, oranges, beans, chicken, rice, oatmeal. Nonfood that has graced my pantry regularly? Meal-replacement bar of the moment, splenda, white bread/tortillas, Frosted Shredded Mini Wheats, Blue Bell ice cream, Diet DP, most salad dressings (including Miracle Whip). Just to name a few.

Tom and I have crossed into overweight BMI range in the last couple of months. This all happened very slowly. I went to New Orleans for a conference this week, and sort of like the week after Christmas, I feel like this week will go right as far as eating right. So, with all that build-up, I'd like to present our meal plan for the week. Not much emphasis on dieting, just eating real food.

BTW, this is my first week to link this to Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie's blog, something I have wanted to do for quite a while!

For breakfast everyday, Oatmeal Breakfast bars and fruit (oranges or bananas).

For lunch, we have some ham leftover from last week (which probably falls closer to the nonfood category, but alas, it's lean and it's in the fridge), some tuna salad (with real mayo, onion, and celery), or some homemade peanut butter (and banana, optional) sandwiches, on whole wheat bread I'm making today.

Snacks: oranges, bananas, cashews, carrots and celery. Might make some hummus today (a can of drained, rinsed chickpeas, a tbsp of tahini paste, a clove of garlic, a splash of lemon juice, some salt and cumin, and a roasted red bell pepper, processed til smooth in the food processor.)

Sunday - a "scramble" with a roasted diced potato, a little onion, some diced ham, and some eggs. Really excited to have received some fresh eggs from my mother-in-law's chickens yesterday! We must have about 25 small eggs, equivalent to a dozen. Woo hoo!

Monday - Salsa roast from Kalyn's Kitchen (except I've started making it in the dutch oven on the stove and only cooking it for a few hours), with roasted brussels sprouts

Tuesday - leftover roast with salad.

Wednesday - Smoked ribs ala Tom (rubbed with this rub from Alton Brown) with roasted potato wedges and some kind of green, maybe broccoli

Thursday - whole roasted chicken and roasted cauliflower (I'm a little obsessed with roasting at the moment)

Friday - Vegetable soup

Saturday - leftover vegetable soup

Countdown time!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I don't know if anyone likes reading the countdowns, but this blog is really all about me anyway, and I LOVE countdowns!

1 day til my sister's 15th wedding anniversary. Dang!
1.5 days til I'm in New Orleans (but only for one night)
4 days til the McNair conference where I'm moderating in the morning. Awesome breakfast and lunch included. Woo hoo! Got MIL's birthday dinner that night.
5 days til I recover from jetsetting. I'm such a wuss.
8 days til my friend's dissertation defense. Big deal for her!
10 days til a poster presentation at UNT. Kinda nervous about having my project out on display for people I actually have to see everyday.
14 days til a fun happy hour with friends.
23 days til our spring break camping trip
26 days until the time changes and we get an extra hour of daylight. Thank goodness!
27 days til we come home from our camping trip and still have SIX whole days left in spring break
32 days til the day before I go back to school after spring break and realize that I should've accomplished a lot more over the break.
39 days til HBO starts showing True Blood season 2 again (in preparation for the new season starting in the summer)
72 days til I leave for the AERA conference in Denver, where I get to stay 3 nights. Woot!
76 days til the 10th Sookie Stackhouse novel is released (Southern Vampire Mysteries that True Blood is based on)
82 days til finals week. Seriously.

Then it's summer! OMG I can't wait to get some sun!!

Another Focus Challenge - Reading

Monday, February 15, 2010

Well, I managed to write for one hour undistracted a couple weeks ago, and now I'm moving on to reading. Can I sit and read a textbook for one hour without doing anything else? I've probably picked a terrible day to do this because my allergies are awful, but oh well, there is never a GOOD time to sit and read for one hour. Much like with writing, I need to up my game in grad school, and reading is part of that. I rarely had to crack a textbook as an undergrad, just going to class and taking notes works for most courses.

I'm going to get a glass of water, some kleenex, and start the reading frenzy at noon. I will report back with my success or failure later.

Edit: I succeeded. 45 pages read in 1 hour. I read carefully but didn't take notes or highlight, just read like a novel. So, at that rate, it should take me about 15 hours to read the 678 page book. Probably longer since the content becomes more complicated as I go. That's not bad...

Valentine's Day Menu

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Well, I am making our own Valentine's Day dinner tonight instead of going out. Because it's cheaper, just as delicious if not better, and I don't have to wear a bra.

We're having:

2 grilled ribeyes, with this rub. $8

2 grilled lobster tails. $10

Potatoes au gratin. I don't know, maybe $5 total for a bag of cheese, a few potatoes, some heavy cream, and an onion?

Roasted brussels sprouts. $5

Chocolate fondue with pears, strawberries, cheesecake, and poundcake to dip in. Let's see - $1 +$2+$4+$1+$2 = $10

1 bottle red wine = $10

1 bottle pink champagne = $6

$54 for an awesome Valentine's Day dinner for two complete with booze and ridiculous dessert. And, add $8 more and we got two extra steaks, so we'll have Valentine's Day dinner for two, two days in the row.

I see lots of salads in my future next week.

Whether you're staying in or going out, I hope everyone enjoys celebrating or not celebrating. Whatever you want! It IS kind of a silly holiday. I mean, anytime the grocery stores set up special valentine's day tents outside so shopping is quick and convenient, that takes the fun and thoughtfulness out of it. I love the way we're celebrating this year.

I'll post snow pics later. :-)

I'm that girl who...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Stolen from Jessica!

I'm that girl who...

Still catches General Hospital when possible, since I watched it with my mom starting in 5th grade.

Takes things way too seriously but seriously can't help it.

Is drinking a mini bottle of champagne as I type. ;-)

Naively expects that everyone has good intentions and doesn't bounce back easily when proved wrong.

Has a guilty conscience!

LOVES food and cooking.

Is always surprised when people describe me as sweet because I would describe myself as kinda depressing and weird. ;-)

Is never surprised if people don't like me because I know I wasn't blessed with a talkative, fun loving personality, but that just makes me all the more grateful for the people who love me for who I am, for whatever reason they do!

Really hates shaving.

Wants my future baby's room decorated with a sky of airplanes and a landscape of dinosaurs, regardless of gender.

Is ridiculously introspective, and majoring in psychology just made it worse.

Will shallowly consider myself successful when I have an awesome pool and can afford someone to clean it.

Has a husband with a sincerely good heart, which is the bottom line for me despite the challenging year we have had.

Is not-so-patiently waiting for her cats to croak so we can get new furniture. Seriously.

Can justify making a spreadsheet for any situation.

Keeps forgetting to ask Jessica how much they put down on their cruise to book it.

Hopes to one day be an expert in SOMETHING.

Doesn't expect that "something" to be life.

Hopes that my other girlfriends will post this. :-) What kind of girl are you?

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