Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Well, isn’t this yummy

WARNING: Do not consume unless you plan on drinking six glasses of water with one cup of soup. ;)

Kyle and I are a bit masochistic, sometimes unintentionally. We moved to New Orleans a month before Katrina. We both are working on our Ph.D. degrees (Have I mentioned that? Yep, hubby’s just started his classes!). And we both really, REALLY love spicy foods. How spicy? So spicy that tears spring up in your eyes and your nose starts running. THAT spicy.

What can I say? We’re south Louisianans born in north Louisiana.

So I found this recipe online for a crawfish and corn soup that I adapted to fit our spice needs. The great thing about this recipe (other than it’s mouth-watering taste) is that you can make it as spicy as you want – just depends on what you like! Seriously, you've got to try it. It was immediately designated a staple in our household after one spicy bite.

First off, the grocery list:

2 TBS butter
1 bell pepper
¼ cup of frozen seasoning mix (because the bell pepper just isn’t enough)
1 can rotel (I used the hot rotel, of course)
Tony’s (naturally)
Old Bay seasoning (again, naturally)
Dash of pepper
2 cans corn
1 can creamed corn
1 pound crawfish
1 can evaporated milk

Now…time for magic!

Start by sautéing the bell pepper in the butter.

While I was sautéing, I decided that one bell pepper wasn’t enough, so I pulled out our frozen seasoning mix and tossed somewhere between ¼ of a cup to ½ of a cup in. I added Tony’s and Old Bay and let the ingredients sizzle and tossed in the rotel.

By this point, the kitchen smelled magnificent. My stomach began to growl, and Kyle called from upstairs, “Is it ready yet?” Oh, no. Sadly, no. This is a quick soup to make, but, unfortunately, it’s not ready in 10 minutes. Takes more like 20.

After about five minutes after adding the rotel, I tossed in the corn, crawfish, and evaporated milk. And some more Tony’s and Old Bay. Right here, let me go ahead and add that if you're going to buy crawfish, PLEASE buy Louisiana crawfish, not China crawfish. Yes, it is more expensive, but it's fresher and supports our state economy. Help out a Cajun, y'all.

After adding the remaining ingredients, I let the soup come to a boil and kept it there for about 10 minutes. Then, frankly, I couldn’t wait any longer. It was time for dinner.

So for those of you hunkered down for Isaac (or for those of you in north La or higher who are anticipating rains and cooler weather), this is a great warm-up soup. Again, prepare for the heat. It’s coming.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


If I were a smoker, I’d need a smoke right about now. As it is, I’m a nerd with asthma, so there’s no way I’ll be around cigarette smoke.

What’s causing this craziness, you ask? Bathroom renovations.

*breathes heavily into a paper bag*

I cannot WAIT until the bathroom is done, for more than one reason. First, it’s going to be GAW-GEOUS. Seriously, this is my dream guest bathroom. Unfortunately for guests who will use it in the future, it will also eventually wind up as the kid bathroom. Secondly, I don’t do chaos in my house. I’m not necessarily the cleanest or tidiest person, but, as I told a friend yesterday, if you spend the night at my house, you don’t have to wonder if you should wear shower shoes in the tub. It’s clean. Promise.

Gulp. Was clean.

The demolition started yesterday, and, because I’m crazy, I have to avoid the bathroom area. I try to ignore it, which, frankly, is a little difficult, as there is visqueen along my carpet going down the stairs. The poor pooch hates the tarp. She’s very finicky about different textures, and, while she hates my super soft Bath and Body Works robe, she also hates the texture of the visqueen. I’ve finally convinced her to walk down the stairs on her on, but there were a few hours last night when she refused to walk on it.

See? Dog’s crazy, too.

The awful pink tile is almost gone. It’s completely gone from surrounding the bathtub, which means there’s a whhhooolllleee lot of broken tile on my bathroom floor. But, no, wait. We’re not going to focus on that here. =) This is a happy blog, so I’m going to focus on what the bathroom is going to look like in a few weeks.

The light fixture:

I’m trying to go for a romantic mood here, and I like copper, so that’s why I went with that choice. I also like neutral colors, so it’s all a win. However, let me be the first to say that picking out a shower faucet to match my sink (just wait) was ridiculously time-consuming.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, my favorite part of the new bathroom – the sink. I splurged a bit because, hey, it is a remodel, and if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right.

Ahhh…I love this sink.

This is why I’m going to be okay with the current chaos of my guest bathroom: for the sink, ha! Kyle’s already said that he might want to switch bathrooms (we both share the master bath currently) because he knows this one is going to be fantastic.

The process is started, and it will be complete. I just have to be a little patient. Just a little.

**All photos from Lowes.com.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I don’t care what you’re political ideologies are. You will get chill bumps watching troops who have been overseas more than a year come home.

We had a double doozy – our friend Chris was coming home, as was Kyle’s cousin and his new wife, who married right before shipping off, so we hadn’t even met her before Saturday morning. We arrived at the airport around 9:15 a.m. and joined the crowd of more than 200 individuals who had come to welcome these brave men and women home.

Signs thanking the troops 
Angie is to the left, looking (somewhat) at the camera. She was ecstatic! 
Young and old came to greet Chris. =)
The plane touched down, and as soon as the doors opened, the crowd released a deafening cheer. We knew which one Chris would be, and we quickly picked out Kyle’s cousin and his wife as they stepped off the plane with more than 100 other soldiers. Men and women who protected our freedom, who fought overseas, living away from loved ones and family. And, for Chris, being away from his beautiful wife and adorable daughter.

Chris is coming off the plane! 

You can barely make out Angie, holding her daughter, who rushes out to greet her husband.

But this, even though it’s not the best quality photo, is my favorite.

Daddy and his girl

God bless our country and the men and women who serve.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Oooh, sometimessss…I get a good feelin’

It’s strange when the students are away. On one hand, I’m psyched because it’s quiet in the office, and it’s nice to be very relaxed during the day. On the other hand…I miss them!!! Sad, isn’t it?

I miss them running in my office with the latest university news…miss how they always keep me full of funny student quotes…miss how they make the day go by faster. I really like my job. I love teaching college students.

However, in the fall, I may not like them quite as much, seeing as I’m teaching an overload of courses – one being a class I’ve never taught before! But the more I think about it, the more I’m okay with it. The department chair is really helping me out with the lecture notes, and a lot of what I’m teaching in one class is what I’m teaching in the other. And neither class is so large that I feel like I will be too overwhelmed.

Though with teaching both classes in one day and finishing up my doctorate, I may quickly feel overwhelmed.

But there are so many great things going on this fall, including my students. A lot of them I taught in the spring, and I just absolutely love this class. They’re so bright and inquisitive (sometimes too much so, ha!), and I hope our freshmen class steps up to the plate. But other things this fall that will be awesome…

·      COOLER WEATHER. Oh my gosh, I am so sick of this summer heat. August hasn’t been nearly as bad as I anticipated with triple-digit degree heat waves in July, but I’ll be so glad when I can run outside and feel the chill in the air.
·      Football. Can’t wait to see my alma mater play (against my other alma mater, too, lol, but that’ll be next year) and my Saints play.
·      Food. Fall brings awesome food – chili, gumbo, jambalaya, hot chocolate, hot apple cider…yum!!! I must admit, though, I am making gumbo this week. What can I say? 94 degrees coming sounds like a cold front!
·      Being done with this silly dissertation!!! We’re looking for an October finish, woo hoo! 
·      Décor! Sadly, I usually sweat like crazy when I put up my fall decorations (you know, right on Sept. 1), but maybe I’ll just turn the AC down and make it feel like fall.
·      Races!!! Ones on the radar that we’re looking into…The ACS Relay for Life is usually a yearly event, as is Bark in the Park (though Vicki does not run), the Autumn Breeze (where you get a really awesome hoodie), and maybe the Warrior Dash. We gotta check dates on that one for conflicts.
·      A new bathroom! Renovations start NEXT WEEK. I’ll have to take some before pictures, because that bathroom is going to be awesome. My husband already has plans to use that as his own bathroom, ha!

Did I miss anything? I’m sure I did, but you tell me what it is! :-)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beachy Beach No. 2

I have an obsession with the beach. Just fyi, my retirement plans include living on the beach and catching fish to eat. And making Kyle clean them. Because I don't do that. Ewww!!

We went to the beach again this past week with our Sunday School class, and, as Kyle likes to brag, he managed to stay off of the beach two years in a row. Myself? I hit up the beach, the outdoor pool, the indoor pool, the hot tub, and the sauna. Basically, I stayed in my swim suit the whole time.

First, though, we had a semi-adventure getting to the beach -- we took a ferry!! I had never ridden on a ferry before, and we got VERY lucky, as we were the last car on the ferry. If we hadn't gotten on that ferry, we would have had to wait for 45 minutes for the next one.

At the back of the boat, cheering our good luck.
Dark storm clouds. Luckily, it only rained on the ferry. =)

And we arrived at our condo, which was amazing! It had a balcony overlooking the city...

..and overlooking the beach! Best of both worlds!

And every morning I woke up with this little cutie staring out the glass door at the waves.

And this sweetheart -- and my own sweetheart -- worked on music techniques. He had such cute quotes this weekend!

J: Do you have an iPad?
Me: Yes, we do.
J: Does it have games on it?
Me: Not fun games.
J: Oh...Then what do you call it?

J: (while watching Paula Deen) What is her making??

J: Do you know the zoo?

And, of course, there was the eating. Seriously, between Wednesday night and Thursday night, three of my four meals involved shrimp. Boiled shrimp. Shrimp poboy. Fried shrimp and flounder. And it didn't get much better the following days, either. Seafood omelet. Flounder. Snapper.

And I'm having salmon tonight. I do love some seafood!

As do these guys...

Husband and Richard with their Royal Reds

Note: While taking this picture, my husband is actually stealing a potato from my plate...

Ridiculously adorable.
We came back a day earlier than everybody else, and while I hated to say goodbye to the beach, I am happy to be home in my super comfortable bed with my sweet puppy and guard cat. And, frankly, as much as I do enjoy summer, with last night's Saints game and seeing all the back-to-school sales, I am looking forward to the fall!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I’m two pounds up this week from what I weighed last week. Ugh.

Granted, before everyone stones me, I understand that’s really not a lot, and it is very possibly attributed to water weight. But, ladies, I think we all know that when we see those numbers go up on the scale, we get irritated. And then we try to justify it. “Well, it’s later in the day, so that’s why the weight went up” or “I ate ridiculously poor last night, so that’s why.”

And when the numbers go down, we pat ourselves on the back, whether it’s deserved or not. “Look what I did!” we think excitedly. Or maybe this is just me. Is it just me?

As I told a friend last night, last week the cupcakes did me in. It’s not good for me to have such a close delicious bakery. With salted caramel cupcakes. Or s’more cupcakes. Seriously, how do I turn that down?

This week, however, it’s the leftover Snickers dip from the party. I don’t have the willpower to throw it, so I guess I should eat it as fast as possible! Right? That makes sense, right?


I’m trying to eat healthier. Tomorrow. I started reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” in hopes that learning a bit more about where our food comes from will encourage me to make wiser decisions. After I watched the documentary, “Food, Inc.,” I was a vegetarian for a month. And I still hate McDonald’s. Except for their fries. Those are delicious.

However, I have to tell you about my friend Jana, the writer of wholefoodista.com. Check out her page. She is such an amazing cook and one of the sweetest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. Every week at Bible study, she’s provided some snack that has been mouthwatering – and healthy! Grape skewers and fruit dip (which I made for Kyle’s party and used the leftovers to make smoothies this week) – delicious! I also made her salsa for Kyle’s party, and it was mistaken for Over the Border salsa.

My favorite of her recipes, though, has been this little gem. Seriously, you HAVE to try it. I was a little hesitant at first; I mean, who would normally mix sweet potatoes, salsa, and black beans? Okay, maybe you do, but I don’t. But it is now one of my favorite ways to make sweet potatoes.

And as I plan to eat fresh seafood for the next few days, maybe I can jumpstart my healthy eating and use her website and others to encourage me to eat better. Granted, one of the reasons I run is to eat bad (ice cream, greasy burgers, etc.), but I also enjoy a good run. And one of the ways to have a good run is to eat well.

Happy healthy eating! Check out Jana’s website and let me know of any healthy food sites you visit regularly!