Monthly Archives: August 2011

Road Trip: Hot Springs, Arkansas

This weekend we decided to explore the neighboring state of Arkansas and visit Hot Springs.

Some fast facts on this sleepy southern town:

  • It is the hometown of President Clinton
  • It is famous for its hot springs (duh)
  • Home to Lake Ouchita and the surrounding mountains
  • Proud of its gangster roots. (It’s documented that Al Capone, Frank Costello, Bugs Moran, and Lucky Luciano ran the gambling scene and used the town as a safe haven).

From left to right: A challenging search for a working gasoline pump, interesting billboards, the scenic car ride, warning signs to avoid dirt roads, fudge!, sunbathing, and wave runner rentals (we did take a picture but it was the most unflattering image that I have ever taken in my entire life so it is not included).

Not shown: Fried Cheesecake for dessert and the popular hot spring bath houses.

And, for all of my Jersey girls and Bruce fans, you will be thrilled to know that this exists:

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Hottest summer. Ever.

I’m beginning to think record-breaking weather  follows me like a dark cloud. A few years ago during my first winter in Washington, D.C., we experienced the famous “Snowpocalypse” that crippled the city (and the government) for a solid two weeks. There was snow up to my eyeballs.

Now after a month and a half of non-stop sweating and heat headaches, Shreveport has officially shattered the previously held heat record from the 1800s.

“This will go down as the hottest summer on record,” he said.So far this year, the area has experienced 48 days of over-100-degree weather, breaking the all-time record number of days at or above the century mark. The last record was 47 days, set in 1881.” – Shreveport Times.

I know I usually exaggerate but I’m not making this up. You can read the full story here.

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What’s for dinner?

The very last time I turned on my oven in Washington, D.C. was about a year ago. It was a feeble attempt to make a real dinner and the smoke alarm went off so many times that I had to disconnect it from the wall – including the one in the bedroom. After that, I relied entirely on obtaining dinners from Whole Foods, practically living in the prepared foods section and relishing the fact that I never had to stand over a steaming pot of water or scrub dirty dishes.

This ideal was short-lived because Whole Foods is nonexistent in Shreveport and I panicked at the thought of having to learn how to cook. For real.

But I have learned. Kind of.

I’m not going to write about how I failed miserably at trying to bake a potato. Twice (true story). Or how I botched a batch of vegetables trying to roast them. Or how I learned the importance of a corn brush other than being a seemingly useless kitchen tool that couples put on their wedding registry. Instead I will share the stories of success that prove even the most domestically challenged can channel their inner Barefoot Contessa.

Behold, my masterpieces:

1. “Chicken Marsala Pinot Grigio” – I tried this recipe from HowSweetEats.com but I couldn’t find marsala wine. The Pinot Grigio worked just fine!

2. Spice Lamb Chops – I finally used one of my Real Simple cookbooks. This was easily one of the top 5 meals I’ve ever made.

3. Homemade Lasagana – I used the Kraft recipe and I burned the edges a little, hence the reason for showing you the before picture.

4. Homemade Guacamole – The. best. guacamole. ever. Take that, Cactus Cantina!

Not shown above: The best turkey burgers ever from HowSweetEats along with spicy sweet potatoes; Chicken Parmigiana; Flatbread pizzas; and pancakes from scratch!

Bon Apetito!

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Summer sunsets

Aren’t the colors gorgeous? No Photoshop filters were used. Promise.

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Back to School

And another school year officially begins : )

from The New Yorker.

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Satisfying a sweet tooth: Part 2

The good thing about Shreveport is that there will never be a shortage on treats. Yesterday I visited the Cupcake Gallery on Youree Drive. The name is a bit misleading and I was expecting dozens of cupcakes to be on display in some sort of elaborate showcase.

I was disappointed to discover that Cupcake Gallery is less of a cupcake shop and more of a cafe and coffee shop with a drive-thru.

But that didn’t stop me from indulging in a chocolate cupcake and experiencing the kind of sugar rush that makes your teeth hurt.

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Charlotte’s (not-so-friendly) Web

I know that every other post on this blog mentions the gargantuan insects but I still cannot get over how much bigger and more ferocious the insects are in the South. There is a giant spider (about the size of a large walnut) that lives above a nearby pathway and comes out every single night and spins a web that spans at least 15-inches. It could easily be mistaken for a terrifying Halloween display and it has taken me almost a month to muster up the courage to snag this close-up. Arachnophobics, beware.

 

 

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