01.02.16 17 Louisiana foods we miss when we are on the road

luhSaturday, January 2, 2016 – I came across the information below recently. It perfectly depicts why Roy and I always put on weight when we are home. It also fits into the blog posts I’ve been writing about things I love in New Orleans.

Folks around this country do not know what they are missing! louisiana cravings Even though I did not write this blog,  I changed photos to ones I liked better and added and changed information I wanted you to know.  I invite all of you to come down south and partake of all these wonderfully delicious dishes that are so very Louisiana!

There were originally 28 things on the list by Markita Lewis, but I removed the ones I don’t care passionately about so Rosalyn’s list is only 17 things!  I guarantee this blog post will leave you quite hungry and possibly even planning a trip to Southern Louisiana to check it all out!!

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28 Things Everyone From Louisiana Misses When They’re Out of State

You thought that leaving Louisiana would be a good idea to avoid the humidity and the heat and to see what else is going in the world. Within a week of moving to a different state, however, you realized that you might starve to death.

There are only a few (if any) restaurants that serve the types of foods you’ve eaten your entire life. You can’t make groceries (yes, make groceries) because the shelves of the grocery store are missing items that are essential to your pantry. And no one knows what a roux is! It’s a bigger culture shock than what you were expecting.

I moved from the Jambalaya Capital of the World to Georgia a year and a half ago, and I still can’t get over how different things are over here, even in a relatively close southern state. I am fortunate enough to have found some other Louisiana natives in the Peach State and though we do cook up some good food, we also talk at length about the foods we wish we had from back home.

While we’re all patiently awaiting the next time we can visit the Boot State and gain approximately 10 pounds, let’s appreciate the unique culture of Louisiana and all of the food that we took for granted.

1. Gumbo

Gumbo is the best soup ever invented, and it’s so good that it was made the official state cuisine of Louisiana in 2004. Finding good gumbo made by a non-native in a different state is extremely difficult, and we often leave disappointed after tasting someone else’s attempt. Time to start working on that gumbo recipe, y’all.

2. Andouille Sausage

Every Louisianan knows that not all sausage is created equal. We are very particular about the types of sausage we use because the sausage makes the dish.

When we can’t find good Andouille or hot sausage, it’s not uncommon for us to lament at length about our lack of good sausage options.

3. Jambalaya
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It’s probably one of the only dishes that you’ll see commonly made in a giant cast iron pot reminiscent of a witch’s cauldron. And if you could, you would buy a jambalaya plate from somebody’s fundraiser right now.

4. Étouffée

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Translated into English, this dish’s name literally means “smothered.” It is best described as a stew containing seafood (commonly shrimp or crawfish) and smothered with “the holy trinity” ( onions, bell pepper, and celery) in a roux served over rice. Eating this dish is an experience.

5. Po’boys

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Originally coming from the name “poor boys,” this is a simple, yet tasty sandwich on toasted French bread. You can order it fully dressed (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and condiments), or keep it simple with your meat of choice and some Tabasco hot sauce. My personal favorite is a fried shrimp po’boy.  Sloppy roast beef po’boys are my second favorite!

6. Muffulettas

muffalettaThis Italian sandwich from New Orleans is bigger than your head and is made with layers of deli-style meats and cheeses and a special olive salad. We might not be able to agree on how to spell or pronounce it, but we can agree that it’s an amazing sandwich.

7. Beignets

A warm, fried, melt-in-your-mouth French doughnut with ample amounts of powdered sugar on top. What’s not to love? And although millions of tourists flock to Café du Monde or Morning Call very year for their famed beignets, Louisiana natives know the local cafes that deliver the same taste (with a much shorter line).

8. King Cake

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Everyone is always happy to see king cake because the appearance of king cake marks the beginning of Mardi Gras season. Alternatively, not seeing king cake is a bitter reminder that most other states don’t celebrate Mardi Gras, and yes, you do have to go to work or school on that Tuesday.

9. Seafood Platters

The seafood platters at our Louisiana restaurants put places like Joe’s Crab Shack and Red Lobster to shame. Nothing beats going to a restaurant and receiving a plate of well-seasoned fried and/or boiled catfish, shrimp, crawfish, crab, and frog legs (on occasion).

Even the sides are great accompaniments, with restaurants offering hushpuppies, boiled potatoes or corn, or Cajun fries (Olive Garden can keep its breadsticks).

10. Bananas Foster

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A dessert made with bananas, rum, and ice cream? Sign me up! Paul Blangé had the right idea when he created this dish at Brennan’s restaurant in 1951.

11. Crawfish

crawfish

King Crawfish. Known as crayfish, crawdads, or mudbugs, crawfish is a versatile crustacean that can go into any dish. You can put it in etouffeé, creole, gumbo, mac and cheese, potatoes, fish, crab cakes — the sky’s the limit.

It baffles us that people in other parts of the world find it a nuisance or use it as bait, and it saddens us that we can’t find any during crawfish season.

12. Boiled Seafood

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Too late. Imagine boiled and seasoned crawfish, crabs, shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes that you can eat until your stomach hurts. Beautiful, isn’t it?

It’s common to have a seafood boil during spring or summer events like graduation, family gatherings, and national holidays. You know you’re going to have a good time when someone busts out old newspapers, cardboard boxes, and a roll of industrial paper towels.

13. Shrimp Creole

shrim creoleThis dish involves cooked shrimp, the holy trinity, and a spiced tomato sauce over rice. It’s got a nice tangy flavor, and it’s light enough that you can go back for seconds. And trust me, you’ll want to.

14. Pralines

Pralines are a decadent candy made up of mostly caramelized sugar and pecans. Pralines seem deceptively easy to make, but one false move turns everything into sugar, effectively ruining your candy.

If you’re in New Orleans, you can find many praline makers including Aunt Sally’s or the Magnolia Praline Company. Pro tip: It’s pronounced “praw-leen.”

15. Snowballs

SNOWBALL FLAVORS

In a place where it often gets to 100% humidity and temperatures in the lower 100s during the summer, we need something to stay cool. Snowballs are a perfect blend of shaved ice, syrup, and interesting additions (including candy and condensed milk), and many Louisiana natives know exactly where to go to get their fix.  The snowballs in Louisiana have creative names and flavors, and the shaved ice that is used is much finer than other parts of the country.

It just doesn’t feel like summer without one.

16. Red Beans and Rice

red beans

We eat beans and rice on Monday, or really any day!  Before washing machines, women in New Orleans would do laundry by hand — using a crank and wringer, sometimes boiling the clothes.  And on laundry day, they needed to prepare a dinner that didn’t need a lot of TLC. Thus the tradition of making red beans on washday, Monday.  New Orleans red beans always includes plenty of sausage (or andouille) and/or pickled pork.

That wraps up all the yummy foods we miss most when not in Louisiana.  I still cook some of this while we’re on the road and I always make sure I’m stocked up on the ingredients I need to make those food taste like  Louisiana cook made them!!

One last thing that isn’t a food, but involves food, are our food festivals.  Louisiana has numerous festivals dedicated to food including the Strawberry Festival, Oyster Festival, Catfish Festival, Jambalaya Festival, Crawfish Festival and many more!

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12.10.15 Part Two of Christmas Family Time in City Park

Thursday, December 20, 2015 – After enjoying Cafe au Lait and Beignets with the powdered sugar covering everything around us and the girls enjoying playing at one of the playgrounds, we strolled the area and saw many cool sites! The younger girls had their faces painted.  Madisyn got a peace symbol painted on her cheek and Haylee got her nose and face painted like Rudolph!   All the girls crawled up on the Christmas Alligator Santa which is dear to the heart of every Southern Louisianian.  We even ran across some Star War warriors who posed with Madisyn and Haylee!20151205_161043 20151205_161410 20151205_162256 20151205_163240 20151205_164221 20151205_164244

When we made our way inside Celebration in the Oaks we found out there was more to see than we could have imagined.  Lots of local vendors are featured throughout the Celebration.  One was he makers of the soaps shown below.  The ladies running Earth Lotions handmake their soaps and can be contacted at: Imamena5@yahoo.com.  They offer way more than I photographed!

20151205_184450 20151205_184645 Down one of the outdoor walkways was a beautiful Nativity Scene 20151205_185314

Inside the big white tent near the entrance to Celebration in the Oats were children’s choirs taking turns singing precious Christmas songs and putting big smiles on everyone’s face!

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A Holiday miniature train was featured in one part of the park.20151205_193946 20151205_193950

Then there was Mr. Bingle, the long time New Orleans tradition.  Mr. Bingle will get his own post but here’s the very large version of Mr. Bingle we enjoyed at the Celeration!20151205_194109

The line for the train ride was 45 minutes long (which is mostly why I recommend not going on a Saturday night) but the ride itself was very nice.  It took us all throughout the park and we got to see a lot more than we could have walked to see.

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The Carousel in City Park is an antique wooden carousel. The Carousel is often called the ‘Flying Horses’ by New Orleans locals. For more than 100 years, visitors have enjoyed this unique marvel – a beauty featuring “flying horses” and one of only 100 such carousels in the country. The Carousel is the masterwork of famed carvers Loof and Carmel, and has drawn praise from the National Historic Preservation Society. The Carousel is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Some interesting facts about the Carousel:

-The horses have real horse hair tails.
-Thirty of the horses move up and down and are called ‘flyers’ (thus the Flying Horses nickname).
-The Carousel still uses the original motor.
-The circular platform on which the animals ‘ride’ is suspended off the ground by 40 metal rods.
-The lion weighs 500 lbs.

Madisyn and Paw Paw enjoyed some fun time on the Carousel, same one I rode as a child! The older girls road rides Madisyn couldn’t so we’re glad she really enjoyed the Carousel!

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These photos are some of ours and since most of mine didn’t come out too well I grabbed some from the internet to share some of the sites at Celebration in the Oaks!

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Roy, Chip, Misty, Madisyn, Kallie, Haylee, Pam and I enjoyed our time seeing all the beauty, riding rides , riding the train, listening to the children sing and just being together!  It was a very long day but all in all it was totally great!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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12.04.15 Quartsite, Arizona and lots of Chauvin updates

Friday, December 4, 2015 –  Wow, wow, wow!  Just watched a couple of videos about a famous RVing site called Quartsite, Arizona.  We did not visit this area, but we should have!  For those who RV and for those who would love to RV here are the videos so you can increase your knowledge of great places to visit.  Here’s a brief summary of what Quartsite is all about:

Quartzsite, AZ is a sleepy town of about 3,000 residents during the hot summer months but when the temperatures cool down to the 70’s, hordes of RV’ers from the north and vendors following potential customers swell the number to around 500,000. The RV’ers stay in the various private campgrounds and more in the open desert managed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Then it becomes the largest flea market in the U.S. and has the feel of a boom town. A big RV show is held annually and several gem and mineral shows can be found around town. When the temperatures climb back to the 80’s and higher in April and May, the northerners migrate back and the town goes back to sleep.

If you have time to view only one video I’d watch the first one.

What a wonderful week this has been!  On Monday we went to Chip’s girlfriend’s birthday party at his house and Chip popped the big “Will you marry me?” question and she said Yes!  Here’s the new little family,  Chip, Misty, Kallie and Madisyn.

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And here’s the whole family that gathered for the party plus Misty’s boss Pam who was kind enough to take this photo for us.

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Tuesday through Friday we’ve been working around the RV.  We’ve raked up dirt, planted rye grass and bermuda grass seed around the RV.  Daily watering has the new grass sprouting like crazy.

I’ve been busy this week with extra RVillage work and loving every minute of it.  My favorite part of the job is when I make the phone call (at the previously booked time) to walk an RV park 11012704_10206435908670848_7416352627122687934_nthrough the process of “claiming their park” which is how they can customize their RV Park’s space on RVillage.  I get to teach them about all of the amazing resources that RVillage provides FOR FREE to their park.  Seems like the word is getting out to more parks because every day there are parks requesting to claim their park.  We have over 38,000 RVillage members now and it’s growing every day!

Roy spent most of yesterday and this morning on pressure washing our rental house.  The moisture from the pond and the dust created by people driving too fast down the dirt road created a brownish appearance to parts of our yellow and white house!

20151204_122958You may remember when we were selling our house and everything in it one of the things we sold was our pressure washer.  We’ve borrowed Elizabeth’s (the one we sold her!) and my brother in law George’s since then but Roy decided no more borrowing so we purchased one from Sam’s this week.  What a difference pressure washing has already made to the looks of the house and he’s still working on it.  Next he’ll pressure wash Dora, our RV, the patio outside the RV, and the storage building Roy built.

All that remaining pressure washing will wait until next week because tomorrow, Saturday, we are joining Misty, Kallie, Madisyn and Haylee (Kallie’s cousin) at City Park to enjoy all the great park has to offer at Christmas including Celebration in the Oaks.  What a wonderful day we have planned and I’ll be sharing when I can.

20151204_115053It’s that wonderful time of year (said quite sarcastically) when I switch out our summer clothes for our winter clothes.  While we have a nice size closet we choose to only keep one seasons clothing in the closet and the other is stored in plastic containers in the storage bins under the RV.  This is what I’ve been working on the last two days and still working on it.  All of the clothes coming out of storage need to be washed and while our wonderful little Splendide washer/dryer is perfect for most days wash, it works overtime when we switch out clothing for days on end!!!

Our Christmas decorations are now set up on our dashboard with a few decorations outside.  I took a second photo with the curtain open but all the decorations were too dark.  Maybe a photo taken later in the day, we’ll see!

Roy replaced the four sets of exterior house lights with LED lights.  It’s sad that the original ones we purchased already needed to be replaced.  The moral of this story is buy the best possible for longer life!

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NEW LED LIGHTS
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OLD LIGHTS

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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11.06.15 Grand Canyon South Rim Photos – Part Two

Friday, November 6, 2015 – Finally the last of the million Grand Canyon photos have been filtered through and these last ones remain to be shared!

Again I’ll say this was a blessing to get to see God’s amazing creations throughout the western United States!  We would definitely like to go back to see more of it when time permits. Here’s the photos folks!

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Now for some time of rest at our home in Amite, working around the yard and reconnecting with family and friends! Our current plan is to stay home until after January 1st. We’ll travel to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina in January and February coming home in March for Madisyn’s birthday! After that who knows! We’re not for sure going to travel in January and February but that’s the plan for now!

I’m working more hours with RVillage now so there is not a lot of resting going on but it is certainly nice to be home! The cows have been by to visit a couple of times and we enjoyed that! Sitting down by the pond and enjoying what we worked so hard to get set up earlier in the year is wonderful! Roy has some daily projects around here and we’ll once again try to get some grass to grow between our RV patio and the flower garden by the fence.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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11.04.15 Grand Canyon South Rim Photos – Part One

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 – Seems we took way more photos of the South Rim than I first thought. Here are the first of those I selected to share!

If you remember from a past post I shared that the South Rim has many more viewing sites than the North Rim 20151003_171702 (Medium)and is not as cold or as many lush green trees. Many more yellow flowered bushes were found on the South Rim and lots more animals! The crowds are huge on the South Rim with almost 10 different huge parking areas and a bus system to pick you up from your parking space and deliver you to other Grand Canyon viewing locations along the route. The viewing areas that run along the South Rim cover 10 miles, closer to 20 miles long. Here’s a graphic showing all the places you can view it from. We saw it from the three central view points. It would take a week of several hours a day to see all of the views on the South Rim.

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10.27.15 Grand Canyon North Rim Photos – Part One

Tuesday, October 26, 2015 – Finally the Grand Canyon North Rim photos!   I selected 65 out of 400 North Rim photos to share.

So this doesn’t take so long to load on your computer I will post 30 plus in this post and 30 plus in the next.   Enjoy the sights and feel free to save any of them on your computer as screensavers!

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10.27.15 Kroger’s Grocery, yes really Kroger’s Grocery!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 – First let me tell you that we really like this town we’re in, Willis, TX. The RV park is on a lake and is great! The city has lots of things we like such as Popeyes, Dollar General, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, and other of our favorites!  Their gas is the one I showed a picture of their price in a previous post.

Most of all they have a Kroger’s Grocery!

Roy shopped there a couple of days ago and came home so happy saying we need to move to Willis, TX! Today we both went there and now we’re both happy!

We’ve never been to a Kroger before. Not only is it the largest grocery I’ve ever been in but it is just amazing in all it has in it. The varieties of everything from produce to fruit to everything else was huge!

We took a few pictures (yes of a grocery store!) and even one of some employees there!
20151027_134848 20151027_134935One of probably ten cold or hot food bars where you can scoop up food to take home!20151027_135000

This is the variety of just olives they have!  20151027_135015 20151027_135047

These are small pies like you can purchase at Walmart but I think these taste much better. 20151027_135302

Below is poor Roy trying out one of those scooter carts since his knee was hurting.  He looked so funny to me but he said it helped him make it through the whole store without being in pain. 20151027_140947

This is the store he got Blue Bell at.  These three doors are just half of all their Blue Bell.  Notice the sign below asking everyone not to hog up on the Blue Bell!  20151027_141020 20151027_141155

I am enjoying coloring but found that my small box wasn’t enough variety so I upgraded to this box.  If anyone has children with colors that they don’t need or they got a new box please consider letting me have them!  There is a bigger box than this but it wasn’t cheap so I’m upgrading a bit but not the whole way!20151027_153601We will definitely make our way back here to Willis in the future and while here will definitely shop at Krogers.  We even got a Kroger’s discount card today and saved $10 off the total bill!

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10.26.15 Traveling through New Mexico and Texas

Monday, October 26, 2015 – We saw many interesting and some odd sights while traveling through New Mexico and Texas.  Since no where in Louisiana looks like what we saw I wanted to include those sights here for ya’ll to enjoy and for us to look back on!

20151018_110651 (Medium) 20151018_111717 (Medium) 20151018_114640 (Medium) 20151018_114852 (Medium) We crossed the New Mexico state line 20151018_114949 (Medium) 20151018_115358 (Medium)

We found this Cacti for sale in Walmart.  They actually cook it and eat it!20151018_135831 (Medium) 20151018_145446 (Medium) 20151018_170629 (Medium) 20151018_171858 (Medium) 20151020_120805 (Medium) 20151020_120811 (Medium) 20151020_120834 (Medium) 20151020_120854 (Medium) 20151020_121011 (Medium) 20151020_121154 (Medium) 20151020_140852 (Medium) 20151021_070729 (Medium) 20151021_074456 (Medium) 20151021_111602 (Medium)

This was the most amazing rest area.  The clouds in the mountains were a very neat sight!20151021_111811 (Medium) 20151021_112434 (Medium) 20151021_112547 (Medium) 20151021_112814 (Medium) 20151021_113322 (Medium) 20151021_113338 (Medium) 20151021_114740 (Medium)

This odd looking plant is seen in abundance in New Mexico.  It’s got spindly branches covered with green tiny leaves and some we’ve seen with a purple flower on top.20151021_120302 (Medium) 20151021_120315 (Medium)

As we drove down the road I kept seeing these round green things along the highway for miles.  Begging Roy to stop because you know how I am about potential free produce he finally caved and we stopped.  They are watermelon vines just roaming wild!  I was so excited until we opened one and they are not nearly ripe.  We could have had watermelon for a month if they were ripe!!!20151022_155151 (Medium) 20151022_155207 (Medium)

Cotton fields all along the highway.  These big rectangular packages are picked cotton.20151022_160517 (Medium) 20151022_160521 (Medium)

When we got to Texas the rains poured down and soon we came to Corsicana Texas where the highways were beginning to flood.  Since this time both lanes have gone way under water with many cars under water.  The traffic on the side that was flooded when we passed backed up at least 5 miles.  Those poor people must not have gotten out of that for hours.20151023_155013 (Medium) 20151023_155216 (Medium) 20151023_155537 (Medium)

This is the absolute lowest we have seen Diesel and Gas prices in three years.  We filled Dora and Boots up quick!!20151023_182433 (Medium)

That’s it for our Travels from New Mexico to Texas.  Next we’ll be traveling to Louisiana, Home Sweet Home!!

The rains here in Texas have stopped and the sun came out for an hour earlier!  Praise the Lord!  We’ve heard many reports of high winds and high waters from rain in Louisiana.  It just amazes me that a storm that came into Mexico could still carry such a punch when it made it’s way to Louisiana.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!30differentfontyellowmumwithjas317_123066_224207_579x