Monthly Archives: November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was a momentous occasion. I cooked my first turkey and I didn’t burn the building down. I didn’t even set off the smoke alarm. Not even once.

I started preparing everything on Wednesday night and almost vowed vegetarianism in the process. Note to readers: If you order an organic turkey from Williams-Sonoma, it will arrive with the giblets and gizzards and the NECK still in tact. As well as a few feathers. It took every ounce of resolve to unwrap the turkey and put it in my Alton Brown brine. Yuck.

Here is a recap in photos from the very first Southern Thanksgiving cooked by someone who should not be allowed near an oven.

My little helper. NOT. While I brined the turkey and mashed yams the night before in preparation for Thursday, Gidget passed out at about 6:30pm on Wednesday evening.

Basting the bird on Thursday afternoon. Almost ready for meal time while Gidget contemplates jumping in the oven to have a quick taste…

The digital thermometer says it’s done so it must be done, right?

My proudest moment, channeling a Norman Rockwell scene.

No, seriously. It’s perfect.

So perfect that I refuse to let anyone else touch it. Hands off. I’m carving the turkey. Don’t argue with the crazy lady holding a sharp knife.

Our makeshift Thanksgiving banquet table. Tres chic.

First course: Mixed greens salad. Yum.

Followed by… Corn bread stuffing, a Southern tradition. Although in the South they don’t call it stuffing, it’s “dressing.” Even Paula Deen calls her Corn Bread Stuffing a “dressing.”  It took me forever to figure this out. I still don’t fully understand.

Sautéed Green Beans.

Yams. With marshmallows. Is there any other way?

The carved turkey. Did I mention that I cooked this and the smoke alarm didn’t go off? It was quite a Thanksgiving feast.

Afterward, Gidget helped with the dishes.

I’m not sure if it was the 70° weather, the tryptophan, the food coma or a combination of all three, but we all found ourselves incapable of moving from the couch after dinner.

I surprised myself (and others) with how great everything tasted. Really. It was a perfect Thanksgiving.

I hope that everyone else enjoyed theirs as thoroughly 🙂 We have so much to be thankful for this year.



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A visit to St. Thomas

The great thing about a long Thanksgiving Break is that you have time to travel and visit family. It’s even better when you have a brother who lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to stay longer! Here are some photos from the trip:

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The Louisiana State Fair

The state fair has been in town for a few weeks and we finally found the time to experience it in all its deep-fried glory this weekend. Here are some highlights:


Deep-fried Kool-Aid Balls: Proof that you really can fry anything. Of course the vendors sold the standard fried foods you would expect, such as corn dogs and funnel cake, but then there were the fried foods you didn’t think were scientifically possible such as frying a childhood juice drink.

I wasn’t brave enough to try the Kool-Aid balls for fear of the havoc they would wreak on my insides but everyone else described them as Kool-Aid flavored funnel cake balls. Yuck.

Jumbo turkey legs. They are so large and juicy that it is impossible to eat this and not resemeble a caveman.

Alligator Boudin and Sausage Po-Boys. A traditional Louisisana delicatessen.

Texas Tater Twisters. While it’s basically just a greasy hybrid of a french fry / potato chip, I bought it because I thought it looked cool. It was also the only thing that a health-nut like myself could stomach (no pun intended). At least it’s a vegetable, right?

Hot Beef Sundae. Yep. This exists. An all-beef sundae made out of beef and mashed potatoes.

The tomato as the “cherry on top” is hilarious to me.

The Beef Sundae is the ultimate man-treat.

Fried Oreos and Fried Candy Bars. The oreos are the little dough balls and the snickers is the wooden stick in the case to the right. For the record, I have had one fried-oreo in my life and it was in Seaside, NJ. It sat in my stomach like a little brick for days and therefore, I didn’t feel compelled to repeat the experience this time around. Although, they did smell really good.


No fair is complete without a freak show. This was an exhibit of preserved animals in glass jars (like the pigs in your freshman year bio class) with bizarre deformities (extra legs, two heads, etc.). I’m not a PETA activist but this made me sad.

Same goes for this guy. This was a horse with really tiny legs. I asked the attendant if he lives a good life outside of the fair and if he gets to run around. She said “He sure does,” and I’m hoping she didn’t just say that to make me feel better.

The fair lights up as the sun goes down.

Good night, Louisiana.



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Dorothy and Toto: Our first real tornado warning

On Monday, the weathermen were predicting that conditions on Tuesday would be optimal for the formation of tornadoes.

Tuesday arrived and they were right.

This is what the sky looked like around 4pm before the storm hit Shreveport.

And about an hour later all programming was interrupted on the TV as the reporter told viewers to “take cover” in a room without windows or exterior walls. The storm lasted about 45 minutes (and so did my panic attack) while I said Hail Marys in the bathtub.

The next day everyone else acted like I was the crazy one (okay, a valid accusation) and said, “It doesn’t storm like this on the East Coast? Well, you’ll get used to it.”

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God, Guns, Guts

It’s unfortunate that I didn’t have my camera with me while grocery shopping today because I came across a blog-worthy bumper sticker adorning the side mirror of someone’s pickup.

This is all I could manage to capture on my outdated blackberry camera.

It was an image of an American flag with what looked like illustrated bullet holes through it stating:

God, Guns, Guts

Made America Free.

I wonder if any Yankees have a similar message on their car. I’m guessing probably not.

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The most anticipated game of the season

This is funny because prior to moving here, LSU and BAMA weren’t even on my radar but oddly enough I find myself a little nervous about tomorrow’s game…


And on the flip side, I’m also feeling better about Notre Dame’s season, considering this recent article in WSJ, NCAA: Why Notre Dame – Wake Forest is the real game of the century.

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Autumn in Louisiana

For some reason my inbox today was filled with emails about happenings in DC and for a bit of the afternoon I felt a pang of homesickness for city life.

There’s something about fall in a city. Boots. Crunchy leaves. Coffee shops. Hot chocolate. Scarves. Trench coats and cashmere mittens… Sigh.

But there’s also something majestic about fall in the country. Like really awe-inspiring. The rich colors, open skies, and cooler temperatures (70° is considered “cool” here) have transformed Shreveport from a brutally hot, dusty desert into a gorgeous, lush countryside.

Here are some photos from this afternoon’s walk with Gidget around the “neighborhood,” where the neighborhood is really just open land with some swamps.

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