Monday, November 30, 2009

Feastcation 2009 - The Food

So we have arrived home after our wonderful vacation which was mostly planned around restaurants! Here is a sampling of what we enjoyed during our 2971.4 miles, 12 state tour.

Neely's Bar-B-Que - Memphis

Our first stop on the cuisine adventure landed us at Neely's. We enjoyed the sausage and cheese appetizer followed by a sampler of their bar-b-que which included pulled pork, ribs, beef brisket, and turkey. Hubby liked the brisket and I enjoyed the fall off the bone ribs. The turkey was just okay and we both thought hubby's pulled pork was better. The coleslaw had a spicy taste that was very different and good. The atmosphere was not what we had expected but it was clearly their original restaurant, functional and no fuss. I'm glad we went so that we can say we've been there, I would probably not go back for a second visit.

Emeril's - New Orleans

This was undoubtedly the best meal we've ever eaten. Everything was perfect. The food was amazing in both taste and presentation. The service and atmosphere were excellent. I the Baby Spinach Salad with Fresh Strawberries, Goat Cheese, Spiced Almonds, Crisp Potato and Warm Chourice-Pimenton Vinaigrettefollowed by Pan Seared Filet of Beef with Creamy Mascarpone Polenta, Slow Roasted Pork Belly, Wilted Swiss Chard, Confit Tomato and Goat Cheese. Delicious doesn't even begin to describe it. A regular at the restaurant suggested the pork chop to hubby explaining that it was the dish that the chefs all tried to outdo each other on. It was the thickest pork chop I have ever seen and hubby thoroughly enjoyed it. For dessert I had the dark chocolate torte and hubby had the pecan pie with bourbon chocolate ice cream. All I can say is that if you ever get to New Orleans Emeril's flagship restaurant is not to be missed!

The Court of Two Sister - New Orleans

On Sunday morning we decided to check out this jazz brunch. It was delightful. The music was enjoyable and the food was delicious and plentiful. Eggs Benedict and omelets were made to order and the rest of the food was served buffet style. It included multiple types of meats, veggies, salads, and desserts. The sweet potatoes were to die for and the rolls melted in your mouth. There was a chicken salad that was unlike anything I've ever tasted and I'd love to have the recipe.

Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse - New Orleans

This restaurant was recommended to us and was our first big disappointment. I chose the special, which I ordered medium and received a steak that was somewhere between medium well and well done. Other than dessert, we've had better meals at chain steakhouses for a third of the price. The service was adequate but nothing special and the atmosphere was very dark and heavy. There are numerous restaurants to pick from in New Orleans so I wouldn't suggest picking this one.

Mothers - New Orleans

We were anxious to try this diner after seeing it on TV. The show was clear that this was a small family owned eatery so we knew what to expect. It was everything we expected and more. The sandwiches were ginormous and very tasty. I had the "Ferdi" and enjoyed every bite of it that I could manage to eat. We were fortunate to be visiting in the slow tourist season so we only had to wait in a short line - not the usual "out the door and around the corner" line. The service was highly efficient and friendly. This is definitely on my "places to eat" on a return visit list.

Cafe du Monde - New Orleans

This is on everyones "must visit" list and I agree, it is a must. The beignets are wonderful, although messy, and hubby enjoyed the cafe au late. I tried it but since I'm not a coffee drinker I'm sure I didn't properly appreciate it. It was fun to eat in the outdoor cafe and just enjoy the weather and people watching.

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Shotts - Florida

The next meal worth noting was Thanksgiving dinner with family at my niece's house. The food was good, the weather was nice, and the company was great! I'm afraid you won't be able to try this particular stop on our feastcation so you'll just have to take my word on it that it was delicious - especially the pecan pumpkin pie.

Paula Deen's - Savannah

This was our last official feastcation stop and it did not disappoint. We had the buffet lunch and also ordered the fried green tomato appetizer off the menu. The tomatoes were absolutely scrumptious! The buffet was basic home cookin' comfort food, nothing fancy, but all well prepared and tasty. Hubby and I each picked a different dessert so we could share both of them. I chose the banana pudding and it was the 2nd best I've ever had. Hubby got the sweet potato butter cake and it was heavenly!

The trip was great fun and we look forward to planning feastcation 2010. However, I do need to figure out how to make the trip without gaining almost five pounds!

I think our next adventure we will be heading to the east coast, the Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire area, so if you have any great restaurants to suggest please feel free to do so in the comments.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Photo Hunt - Birds

I rarely take photos of birds but here is a shot from last winter of the birds feasting in the snow.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sky Watch Friday #70

"Hello darkness my old friend..."

Go here to join in!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Dozen -Dozen

1. If you could master one sport, what would it be?

I think golf. I used to play at it some and really enjoyed it but was never very good. I'd like to at least be good enough to golf with hubby and it be enjoyable for both of us, not him standing around waiting for me to catch up.

2. When you make a major purchase, do you go with your gut instinct, or do you do research to make an informed decision?

Yes! I actually just made two major purchases and one I researched and researched and made myself crazy over. The other I went "wow, that's a great price and a brand I know so it should be fine". I'll try to remember to report back in a few months as to which process ended up causing the better decision.

3. There is an old kids' game that says you can find out what your movie star name would be by using your middle name as your first name and the name of the street you grew up on as your last. What is your movie star name?

They call me Jo, Jo Kettner.

4. Would you rather give up your favorite music or your favorite food?

I'm going with music, mostly because I like almost any kind of music so I might miss a specific kind/artist less. Although I like almost any kind of food too I can't think of any acceptable substitute for chocolate or pizza!

5. There are two types of banana preferences. One is pristine yellow, almost to the point of being green; the other is spotty and more ripe. Which is your preference?

Yellow with just a tinge of green at the base please.

6. Your favorite tree is?

And before I get all kinds of crazy comments, this is last year's tree.

7. On a scale of 1-10, how tech savvy are you?

Maybe a 5? Although both my son-in-law and my good friend, Norm, one of whom I call with every computer crisis, might give me a 2...

8. Has H1N1 touched your family?

Flu, yes. Tested and confirmed as H1N1, no. However, I'm pretty sure that's what it was.

9. Are you an analytical person, or do you just accept things the way they are without questioning or scrutinizing?

Oh, I'm the unquestioning type - pick your jaw up off your computer Lid - I'm being extremely sarcastic.

10. Is your personality more like that of a dog, cat, or Koala?

Definitely dog. I'm very loyal, like to play, and like my Gracie, want lots of attention or I might pout.

11. Do you keep in touch with friends you made years ago?

Until recently there were only a few that I kept in touch with. However, thanks to Facebook I'm in touch with a lot more of them now.

12. You are checking out at a grocery store. In the express lane, there are more people than the regular lanes, but of course, their load is less than those in the regular lanes. Which lane do you choose (assuming you qualify for the express lane) and why?

The self-check lane! It's always faster unless someone has coupons, or hasn't ever used it before, or doesn't know how to look up produce, or... Regardless of which lane I choose I know that if I am actually in a hurry the lane that I choose will ultimately be the slower one. Murphy's law is strongest in the grocery store.

Want to join in? Just click on the donuts at the top!

Wordless Wednesday - Weather Prediction

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sermon in a Sentence



In (our own)



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random Dozen

1. What was the last song you listened to?

There is usually music in the background no matter what I'm doing so I'm answering this specifically as "listened to" and not just heard. The words to this song touched me as I can think of someone I know in almost every one of these situations.

Please listen to He is With You by Mandisa

2. Have you ever had “buyer’s remorse” over anything?

Yes, a few times. It usually has to do with shoes that look so cute but hurt so bad!

3. What is something in your life that you are thankful for now that you didn’t think you would be at the time of the event? (Something that seemed ill-timed, inconvenient or hurtful which turned out to be a good thing)

So many choices! I think the need to break things off with a guy I was engaged to who couldn't/wouldn't actually set a wedding date - and knowing that in doing so I was not only losing the relationship with him but also with his family and specifically his young daughter. It was very difficult at the time and I still wonder about her (what she's like now as a teenager) but ultimately it led me to my wonderful hubby and it had provided me with lessons that I would need to make our blended family work.

4. Do you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade every year? If so, do you have a favorite float or balloon?

Watching the parade, with the smell of turkey baking in the background, is part of my Thanksgiving Day tradition. I look forward to seeing all the different balloons and have had different favorites over the years. Since I'm often doing things in the kitchen at the same time, the "don't miss" parts of the parade are the Rockettes and Santa Claus!

5. Share a quote, scripture, poem or lyric which has been an inspiration to you lately.

I share lots of these in my Sermon in a Sentence posts but the scripture that has always inspired me for as long as I can remember is Philippians 4:13 NKJV "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

6. This is meant to be a fun question, and this is a G-rated blog, but please share a “guilty pleasure,” something that you enjoy that’s probably not the most edifying, time-worthy or healthy thing you could be indulging in. Did I mention--G rating?

Okay, anymore I'm not sure this is G rated but it would be Days of Our Lives. I know, I know...

7. What Thanksgiving food are you looking forward to?

um... all of it!

8. What is your favorite book to read to children, or what was your favorite childhood book?

Easy question - "Alexander and Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst

9. Do you collect anything? (Feel free to post a photo.)

Roses and ladybugs. You can see pictures of my ladybug collection here

10. Gift bags or wrapping paper?

Bags during the year but a little of both for Christmas. The ex and I used to have wrapping challenges at Christmas to see who could make the prettiest package with the fanciest bow. I have to admit, he usually won.

11. Share an after-school memory from when you were younger. What was your routine like on an average day?

Do you know how many years ago that was??? I seriously can't think of an answer for this one.

12. True story: Once, in a job interview, I was asked this question and told there would be no clarifying; I simply had to answer the question: “When you’re fishing, do you feel for the fish?” So what about you? When you're fishing, do you feel for the fish??

Nope, seems to work better if you just let them come to the worm. Feeling around for them is counterproductive.

Veteran's Day

In honor of our Veterans and our Soldiers

The following is a poem written by my uncle, George Vise. It was written during WWII and is an eye opening reminder to all of us.

When bugles sound their final notes
And bombs explode no more
And we return to what we did
Before we went to war
The sudden shift of status
On the ladder of success
Will make some worthy gentlemen
Feel like an awful mess.

Just think of some poor captain
Minus all his silver bars
Standing behind a counter
Selling peanuts and cigars
And think of all the majors
When their oak leaf's far behind
And the uniform they're wearing
Is the Western Union kind.

Shed tears for some poor colonel
If he doesn't feel himself
Jerking sodas isn't easy
When the eagle's on the shelf
'Tis a bitter pill to swallow
'Tis a matter of despair
Being messengers and clerks again
A mighty cross to bear.

So be kind to working people
That you meet where'er you go
For that guy who's washing dishes
May have been your old C.O.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sermon in a Sentence

Our strength is seen in the things we stand for - our weakness in the things we fall for.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Photo Hunt Veterans- Remembering Daddy

Here is a WWII photo of my Dad and one of he and my Mom.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Fall Colors

A week ago - bright orange.

A day ago - rich red.

Go here to join in!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Randon Dozen

1. It's early morning, about 2:00AM, and you're driving home. You come to a red light and sit there. There is no one in sight for miles around. Do you wait it out or run the light?

I'll wait it out. However, I have run a light in a similar situation where you weren't supposed to turn left without the arrow and the light changed three different times without ever giving a left turn arrow.

2. If you had the chance to re-do the last 24 hours, would you change anything?

There are several 24 hour periods in my life where the answer would be a definite "yes" but the last 24 hours have been okay. I've accomplished a few things and I don't think I've offended anyone or been offended by anyone.

3. When you reply to someone's comment on your blog, do you reply in your comments or go to her blog and comment? (Or email her)

Usually I reply in my comments unless the answer is of a more personal nature and then I'll email.

4. Your favorite Disney movie is:


Copyright Disney Studios LLC

5. Do you recycle?

Yep! Reduce, reuse and recycle! Among other things we've changed to cloth napkins and often reuse aluminum foil and baggies just like people used to.

6. Games of strategy or games of chance?

My favorites are ones that incorporate a little of both- for example, Scrabble where the letters you choose are by chance but then strategy and skill our required. I am not a fan of games that are purely chance. I get bored with those pretty quickly.

7. Do you have any recurring dreams?


8. What did you learn from your first real job?

I learned that working with the public can be fun, funny, interesting, and very challenging.

9. Do you buy or borrow most books?

I buy them although I'm not opposed to buying used ones. It's just that ever since college I've had a bad habit of highlighting anything I want to remember from a book or that I want to share with someone else.

10. What fashion trend of the past did you say you'd never wear again but did?

That would be the current top styles that look a lot like maternity clothes. They were trendy when I was in high school and I loved them even though they teneded to cause rumors every other week that someone was pregnant! After two babies worth of maternity clothes it was a style I never thought I'd wear again but it seems almost unavoidable if you want something that isn't a T-shirt/sweatshirt or a very dressy blouse or sweater.

11. When do you start Christmas shopping?

You mean DID. I start in January - really.

12. Have you ever been so happy that you literally jumped up and down for a few seconds? If so, what was the occasion?

Okay, I feel really silly sharing this but the only time I remember doing that was many years ago when I went Russian Roulette bowling with my "then" husband and some friends. The head pin came up a red pin which meant that if you got a strike you won money (I think it was $5 or $10). I got the strike and jumped up and down for a couple of seconds until my friends reminded me that I was very pregnant and maybe shouldn't be doing that.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sermon in a Sentence

The more you focus on your own needs and failures, the more distant Father(God) will seem to you.

- from So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore by Jacobsen & Coleman