Thursday, June 30, 2011

As Promised...

For those friends and followers who requested I post the recipe for a classic Cafe Rio/Costa Vida Sweet Pork Salad, this post is just a temptation and reminder to check back tomorrow. For then will I post the gamut of recipes which comprise such a perfect dish. (That sounded a bit like Yoda/something biblical. Hmmm...) Anyway, this dish is pretty much the bomb. Anything that has a little Dr. Pepper in it, then slow cooks upwards of 6 hours is the bomb in my mind. 

As I said before, I will share all the goods with you tomorrow. Don't forget to stop by!

Wheaty Welcome Bread

I've been pretty busy with baking and scrounging up new recipes as of late. This is mostly because, well, I have nothing else to do right now. I do not have a job, and have been in active search for something since coming back from LA, but nothing. It is kind of difficult because I don't know how much longer Michael and I will be in Utah, thus the hesitation to get a job for only what could be 2-4 months. If it was only 2, I'd be less concerned with finding work and more with finding an apartment in Tallahassee and getting things set up for that. But, I don't know. It's really all up in the air right now. So...I have a lot of time on my hands. And I've been frequenting Pinterest a lot also, finding inspiration for recipes, future home, and such. It is addicting!

But, I digress and now return to the point of this post. Homemade wheaty sandwich bread, just like your momma baked and you could smell when you came home from school (or just how you dreamed that would happen!). Michael and I love this recipe from Cook's Illustrated. As always, it is the best out there. Their method for testing different amounts, ingredients, and cooking procedures is what makes all of their recipes foolproof. I've never made one of their recipes and had it turn out badly. Instead, I've made numerous recipes from other sources, then turned to Cook's Illustrated to try it again and reach perfection. They're that good.

You can bake up a loaf for easy and filling sandwiches for your kids, or just to snack on with some butter and jam. But for this particular baking adventure, I doubled the recipe so I could make 2 loaves for some new neighbors.

Our little apartment complex just had 2 new move-ins and Michael and I always like to take a loaf over and introduce ourselves. We prefer bread over cookies and cupcakes. Probably because we've always had people bring us those things as new move-ins and they're just so sugary. We need something of substance after a long days work of moving/organizing etc. This is where the perfect house-welcoming gift comes in! Moving is crazy and you may not have had time to go to the grocery store to pick up a loaf of bread just to make sandwiches for lunch or even dinner. And then you have some thoughtful neighbors surprise you with a warm and homey loaf of wheat bread. Perfect!

So, next time you have new neighbors and need to introduce yourself, maybe try this yummy, hearty, and filling loaf of bread. Tie it up in some pretty ribbon and slip a little note in there with contact info and a sweet message. It surely will NOT dissapoint!

Wheaty Welcome Bread
(Adapted from Cook's Illustrated American Sandwich Bread)

1 cup warm whole milk (110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for brushing
3 tablespoons honey
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 envelope instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons salt

  1. Whisk the milk, water, butter, and honey together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If after 4 minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gently press it into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf, seam side down, in the prepared pan. Mist the load with vegetable oil spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size and the dough barely springs back when poked with a knuckle, 45 to 75 minutes. 
  5. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the loaf lightly with melted butter, then spray lightly with water. Bake until golden and the center of the bread registers 200 degrees on and instant-read thermometer, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the loaf halfway through baking. Cool the loaf in the pan for 15 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before serving. 
- Sometimes when you use whole wheat flour, you have to add a bit more all-purpose flour than the recipe calls for to make sure the dough is not too sticky. Whole wheat flour is denser and doesn't soak up the moisture as well as all-purpose flour.
- It is extremely important to get your water and milk WARM not scalding. This will ensure that the yeast stays alive and you won't have to start all over.
- Cooling the butter after it melts is essential; you don't want it to curdle once you add it to the other wet ingredients.

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    An Evening Up The Canyon

    We went down to Salt Lake this past weekend to spend some time with Michael's family. Normally, we would be going down anyway for the once-a-month Sunday dinner with the family, but Michael's parents are currently in Israel. Even though they weren't there we still needed a little time with family and break from Logan, so we headed down and enjoyed some summer festivities.

    Apart from making cake balls with Janessa (which were so rich and something I will share later this week), and just lounging around the house, soaking up the free AC and food; we tagged along with Michael's sister Tina and her family up Millcreek Canyon on Saturday night. We had a little campfire, and roasted some marshmallows to make s'mores. It was relaxing and fun. And seeing as I had never been up that canyon before, I was able to take in all the beauty. It truly is gorgeous up there!

    Here's my first example of beauty: my man chopping up some firewood. He's so good...looking!

     We also made a few discoveries along the way, like this awesome ant carrying a leaf that was easily twice it's size. I always marvel at the sheer strength and determination of God's little creatures. I'm pretty sure R. and I stared at this ant for a good 5 minutes while others were packing things up to go home.

    Isn't she just so fun and cute? This is my youngest niece, Baby S., and she is a hoot! Mommy and Daddy had bought McDonald's for easy eating up the canyon, and she was just enjoying walking around with her cup, sucking on that straw. When she wasn't taking sips, she was exploring all around the campsite. The two of us girls actually went on a little hike up some stairs and into other people's campgrounds. She'd run up to them and look all excited, then stop dead in her tracks because she didn't know anybody. But we'd wave and move on to check out the "wahdah", which is "water". This girl is just so cute. She cracks me up!

    Michael's amazing fire, which he made with only "one match". That actually translates into he actually made it with only one flick of the lighter. Good job hubby. :)

    And lastly, Leland (Michael's youngest brother) helped these girls climb up the mountain just by our campsite. The ground was a little unstable and I'm pretty sure Leland was thinking "What did I get myself into?" when the girls wanted to climb up again and again. Janessa was a huge help getting them down safely. R. was so proud of herself for climbing up to this really high spot and holding on. Of course we had to take a picture because these little girls were giggling the whole time!

    It was so much fun and we loved just spending a simple evening out in nature with family. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I love the summertime!

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    $1 Sub Day...Yay!

    Michael and I scored a great lunch today. All the Jimmy John's in Northern Utah were selling their Subs #1-6 for $1.00 each. It was wonderful. I'm not even sure why they were doing it, but we took advantage of it, nonetheless! And even though the line was out the door and around the side of the building, we were in and out in less than 30 minutes!

    Yay for great deals and good food. Yay for a pretty day full of sunshine to enjoy our super cheap lunch in. Yay for a hubby who took me on a little lunch date. I love days like this!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Just doing a little gardening...

     Since we didn't do a vegetable garden this year at my mother's because of weather and the possibility that we might move away and not be able to take care of it, I just have to enjoy my little flowers and herbs at our apartment. We've got a pretty little variety in our back porch/yard area and I'm proud. It makes me happy to look outside and see everything growing and blooming.

    For the back patio flowers, we have marigold, zinnias, and a little petunia. The lone petunia is leftover from a pack that we used for the front flower bed. He had to go somewhere!

     I'm afraid I won't be showing you pictures of the other petunias just yet. They have struggled this year with all the rain we are having and the fact that there are no rain gutters on the front of our apartment. So all the water pours down into the flower bed and wreaks havoc on the flowers and their root systems. Bummer. They are thriving pretty well despite their less than ideal situation.

    And I'm also sad to say my beautiful bright pink geranium on our front porch looks like it may have taken a tumble in our absence to Louisiana. All the buds were broken off and the soil mixed around like it had fallen over, then been put back in an effort to save the pot. But there are a few new buds appearing. So maybe my front of the apartment flowers will bounce back and I can share pictures with you later this summer!

    Moving on to the herbs, which are a different story:

     Cilantro. I'm just trying to keep picking it frequently so it will grow, produce lots of leaves, and hopefully not flower too early. I want to get a lot out of this plant for salsas if I can!

     Rosemary. This little guy is doing fabulously and smells wonderful. 

     Chives. A new endeavor. I've already used their light onion-y flavor a couple times in recipes.

    Parsley. Nestled next to the Basil. Which, I'm afraid also happens to be taking a beating from some terrible insect. I remember a couple persistent grasshoppers last summer attacking my parsley and I think they are back (notice the chewed leaves on the upper right). I've got to fight them because the reason I planted basil in ground this year is so it will grow to be big, strong, and super leafy for many batches of pesto. 

    Anybody have any great suggestions for natural pesticides? I've read about dish soap in water with baking soda. Does that work? Please help a girl out here!

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Peppery Chicken Fajitas

    It's the first day of summer! And what better way to celebrate than with fajitas. These are super simple, fresh, light, and just what the doctor ordered on a summer day. They don't take too long, so you're not slaving over a stove, heating up the kitchen temperature-wise. Instead, you can heat up the temperature in your mouth with some peppery goodness.

    Personally, I like to use just a few key ingredients as the base, then experiment with seasonings to achieve a different result every time. That's the beauty of add a little of this and a little of that, and you've created something new and exciting every time you make them. 

    As I mentioned in my tortilla post last night, I was scolded by the hubby for making such good food. He said, "You know, I'm not really hungry, but these taste so good! That's why weight gain happens. You always cook food that is so yummy, I don't want to stop eating!" Ultimate compliment. But that's also why we're really trying to exercise portion control in this house as of late. Too much delicious food can lead to too much extra weight!
    Anyway, I usually like to serve these with some black beans, seasoned with a little garlic and chili powder, then topped with a light sprinkling of cheese, and maybe some avocado for good measure. Nothing too extravagant here. We're all about simple good food in our house. And this doesn't disappoint. Enjoy playing around with this recipe and making it your own!

    Peppery Chicken Fajitas

    1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
    1/2 large onion
    1/2 medium red bell pepper
    1/2 medium green bell pepper
    onion powder
    chili powderground black pepper
    crushed red pepper
    your favorite salsa

    1. Slice chicken, onion, and bell peppers into think strips. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat with 1 tsp. olive oil. Add chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
    2. Add onions, peppers, and seasonings. (I rarely measure my seasonings, but if I had to put a number on it; I use about 1/2-1 tsp. each of them. Except less red pepper unless you really like it spicy!)
    3. Saute everything together until the onions and peppers start showing a little color. Add about 1/4 cup of your favorite salsa and let everything meld together. 
    4. Serve inside homemade flour tortillas with sour cream, beans, cheese, guacamole, or whatever you like best in your fajitas!
    Makes enough for 8-10 fajitas.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Homemade Flour Tortillas

    These homemade flour tortillas are the easiest and tastiest tortillas you will ever eat in your kitchen. The hubby and I have tried to make our own from a family recipe for quite some time, and they just never came out right. We struggled with them being too crispy and falling apart, and experimented with different ratios of flour to shortening, yet nothing ever seemed to work.

    So, I decided to give up on our old recipe and try a new one. Everything I have tried from Our Best Bites has been yummy and a success. So it only made sense to try the tortilla recipe from their cookbook. First attempt, they were perfect. Soft, pliable, flavorful, and even just as good the next day. We have made the shift over to the better and easier side of homemade flour tortillas!

    Extra good news about this recipe, it is such a good base, that it can be adapted to your own personal tastes. Michael and I like to add a little whole wheat flour to most of our "breads" and we did that here also (see note at end of recipe). And I know this sounds cliché, but trust me when I say that you will NEVER go back to store-bought tortillas again. These are cheap, easy and fun to make, and so much better than those nasty processed tortillas from the grocery store. Consider your life changed!

    And stay tuned for what went inside these tortillas for tonight's dinner! It was delish, trust me. The hubby actually scolded me for making it so tasty, but more on that later ;)

    Homemade Flour Tortillas
    (Adapted from Our Best Bites)

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. shortening
    3/4-1 cup hot water

    1. In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Add the shortening and combine until crumbly.
    2. With the mixer running, slowly add 3/4 cup of hot water. Mix until the dough starts to come together, adding more water if necessary; the dough should be about the consistency of Play-Doh.
    3. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. While the pan is heating, divide the dough evenly into 8-10 balls. With a rolling pin and on a generously floured surface, roll the balls as thinly as possible into circles.
    4. Place a raw tortilla onto the hot skillet and cook until large bubbles appear and the tortilla looks slightly oily, about a minute. Flip and cook another 30 seconds to a minute or until the tortilla is cooked through but not brown or burned. Repeat with remaining tortillas, keeping the cooked tortillas under a clean kitchen towel. Serve immediately.
    - I like to substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Makes the tortillas a bit healthier and adds a more complex flavor. 
    - Here in Utah, where it is dry, I use the entire 1 cup of water. In more humid climates, I would suggest using less. 
    -Store leftovers in plastic sealed bag in fridge. 

    New Look and New Recipes Tab!

    What do you think?

    I know I like to play with the design of this blog quite a bit, blame it on my perfectionism/OCD, but I think I've found a little something I'd like to stick with. At least for now. ;)

     Apart from the little facelift, I've also added a new "Recipes" tab up top. It's just to the right of "Our Top Ten". I decided it was time to compile and organize all my recipes in to one convenient location. This way, not only I, but you can look up a specific recipe liked and find it much easier than searching through my archives. 

    It took a little while, but I really like it and think it's worth it. Now whenever I make something new, I can just pop over and catalog it in a super organized location. OCD coming back again?!? Probably. Hope you enjoy it and the new look. 

    By the way, I'm sure you also noticed that I changed the name from "Michael and Rebecca's Playground" to "La Famille Noir". I think it's a bit more eclectic and reflective of us (with the French heritage and background) and we still have a little "playground" thrown in there. I may change the domain name here in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled and ears open for that announcement. Anyway, hope you're all having a great start to the week and Happy Monday!

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    A Father's Day in Remembrance

    This is the first Father's Day that I am without my dad on this earth. I have many mixed feelings about today. I'm grateful that my father is not in pain, and in a place of happiness not on this Earth, but there are many days I still really miss him. Some days I think a lot about him, and others are a bit less. But every day at least one thought comes in to my mind regarding him.

    I especially miss him in the summertime, when it's gardening season. He knew everything about plants and how to make them grow big, strong, and fruitful. That was his profession and obsession for basically his entire life. Luckily, I grew up around his brilliance, assisting him in the garden every year that I can remember, whether it was watering, weeding, planting, putting up bean poles, picking, shucking, snapping, pruning, or eating. He'd pick a fresh tomato off the vine, or an apple off the tree and eat it right there. There is nothing better than a tomato still warm from the sunshine, right after you've picked it. Even though I picked up his green thumb, there are still days when I wish he were here to tell me what to do to get my plants to reach their full potential. Mostly, I just wish I could pick up the phone whenever I want and talk to him.

     Now he may not look that young and spry in these photos, because these are the only ones I have on my computer of him, but I promise you, up until a couple years ago people always said he never looked his age. Glad I got some good genes there. I wish I had pictures to show you of him in his army uniform, all pressed and dressed. He was the looker, I must say!

    Recently, my memories of him have been when he would get out in the middle of the driveway and do a "rain dance" accompanied with "Native American" song to try and make it rain. We'd always laugh and say things like, "Daaaaaad!" Those embarrassing moments are some of the things I look back on with most fondness. I also remember him doing handstands in the middle of the living room floor. Or riding on his back like he was a horse. He'd buck and neigh and we'd try to hold on for dear life. Neighing, that's another thing. The man could talk to horses. I'm not kidding. He'd neigh and they'd neigh back. They'd carry on a conversation for at least 5 minutes. Don't have a clue what the heck they were saying to each other, and I doubt my dad did either, but it was still fun. (I think my brother Michael has inherited the talking to animals talent: He can bleat and goats will bleat right back to him. He developed this on his mission to Jamaica where there are LOTS of goats. It's hilarious.)

    Even after my parents' divorce, he was still super supportive of me and Michael. My relationship actually improved with him greatly as a result. Dad would always make sure he knew when and where I was performing. Whether it be for violin or voice, he was there. And he was always proud of me. Even when I'd come home from UT to LA those first couple years, he'd want me to sing in church so he could brag about me even more. And I can still remember his face when he saw me in my wedding dress. He just hugged me and looked at me, telling me I was pretty. And I did feel pretty, and proud to be his baby girl.

    I miss him today. I love him forever.

     And even though my dad is no longer with me on this Earth, I have a really kind and loving father-in-law who is a great influence in my life. Michael's father, Randy (driving the famous "Red Jeep"), is a good man in every sense of the word. He works hard, provides for his family in many ways, and shows his love for children and ancestors every time I'm around him. I'm grateful to be a part of the Black family.

    And I'm grateful to my Father in Heaven who is always there, no matter what. He provides comfort and inspiration when I need it the most. He watches out for my dad, and I'm sure he's keeping him busy on the other side of the veil. I know that my family is eternal and that is the greatest blessing I can remember on this Father's Day!

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Wild Poppies

     What a find! Michael and I were invited by our friends the Satchwells to attend their ward campout for dinner last night. The drive up to the site was out near Tremonton and as we were passing one home, we saw that the entire yard was filled with these pretty red tulip-looking flowers!

    On our way back home, we noticed another huge patch of them off the side of the road and so we stopped to pick some. Turns out they are wild poppies! Dani and I gathered huge handfuls to put in vases on our tables. Aren't they just beautiful?

    I have never seen wild poppies anywhere, and I would have never thought they would make an appearance in Cache Valley Utah. Maybe all the rain we've had has something to do with it? But maybe it happens every year up in the mountains. All I know is that I'd love to live in that house we passed by, an entire yard full of bright red-orange poppies. Talk about happiness every time you look out the window or step on your porch!

    Anyway, here's a little color to brighten your day. It sure has made mine that much more cheerful. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who places such beauty on the earth and little surprises like this to remind me of His love. Have a wonderful Saturday and weekend!

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Unlikely and Unusual

    Just a little something to show you how the wedding reception went down this past weekend. Erika of DRY Ink Photography was there to take some rather interesting pictures in a makeshift photo booth. As you can see, our little group of 4 took advantage of the props and you now have this picture before you.

    I can't begin to imagine what kind of story could be created from this photo. Michael is the guitar playing "Dick Tracy" type. I'm a makeshift matador/amigo. Morgan looks Californian and almost Jason Mraz-ish. And Hunter is the happily lost looking pilot from one of the World Wars.

    I love this photo so much because it's our entire crew of crazy people that drove over 27 hours from Utah to Louisiana for the blessed event. I think our expressions and costumes accurately depict what a week's worth of driving, eating on the road, sleeping on air mattresses/futons, and getting in a fight with a bunch of bamboo will do to you.

    In the words of Morgan, Michael, Hunter and me as we constantly repeated to stay awake..."Yeehaw. Oh dear, DEER! Blah blah blah. There once was a farmer...sweet violets! Dang straight. Yeeeah Girl, You know! Roll Tide." (That last statement was in reference to Alabama, but from Hunter, not myself. Geaux Tigers.)

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    The Wedding of Natalie and Michael ROUGEAU

     Aren't they beautiful?!? The wonderful Jane Egan Huddleston (of Janey Pie Photography), who happens to be the bride's sister, took all the photos and she did an amazing job as usual.

    I love all these photos. It makes me so proud to have our family grow and be connected to such a wonderful, talented, and beautiful family. Not only do I have one new Rougeau sister, but I also feel like I have 3 new sisters in the Egans! And the fact that Emily is one of them is a super bonus.

     "Sisters...sisters...there were never such devoted sisters...!"

     Such a manly picture.

     The classic jump shot. Man, those boys (especially my man) can sure get some air!

    They are such a cute and happy couple. It was just perfect being able to spend so much time around the both of them this past week and see more of their love and relationship continuing to grow and strengthen. I know they will be happy together, video games, Lord of the Rings, and all.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Louisiana Fun Fun Fun Fun...

    We have returned from our grand trip to Louisiana! Now we will commence with the picture sharing, which some of you may find interesting, and others...well you may not. But nonetheless, here, in photo form, are some of the things we did whilst down in the South.

    Beginning of the trip, all packed in the car. Here's how we look all cozy after a few hours of driving through Wyoming.

    We kept seeing signs for Taco John's. Which surely sounded authentically Mexican.

    And then there was this huge statue of a buffalo on the top of a hill. We thought it was worth documenting.
    We stayed with my best friend Heather and took a little swim on our last day in Alexandria. It was relaxing and so fun to cool off in the pool!

    We also visited my father's grave. Can't believe it's been 6 months since the funeral. There is now a headstone up and I really think it looks nice, except for the fact that they didn't actually write out his middle name of Wilburn. Oh well, I love that it says "Families are Forever". 

    I had to take a picture of the pretty trees with Spanish Moss that are near his grave. Love how pretty that cemetery is.

    I love Heather! She is my best friend from high school. Staying with her for a few days was sublime. That was the largest stint of time I've been able to spend with her for a few years. 

    We eventually made it to New Orleans and had a great time eating beignets, hiding under porches through a torrential downpour, then a hail storm, and listening to some good New Orleans Jazz.

     Going to Cafe Du Monde and eating beignets was the first thing we did when we got in to town. Hunter was anxious because of the 2 times he'd been to the Crescent City before, he was never able to eat them. Look how happy he is!

      HUGE pieces of hail! We kept making jokes about the rapture and then not two minutes later, some street musician started playing "Taps" on the trumpet. It was hilarious!

    Finally, this shop opened up on the street we were confined to, so we went in and looked around for a half hour or so to get out of the weather. You can see we tried on some hats and Mardi Gras masks during this time. I think the store owner wanted us out of there after a while, but there was nowhere else for us to go!

    Once the rain cleared and the sun came back out, we went to Bourbon street and walked along its tawdry steps. Really, it's not that bad. The boys and I laughed as guys tried to get us to come into their "brothels" telling us that we would get free lunch. 

    I had to have my picture taken in front of this restaurant. It was featured on an episode of "Kitchen Nightmares". If you haven't ever watched the show, you should Hulu it right now. It's intense and full of drama as restaurants are torn apart because they do not know how to run a business and the food is terrible. Needless to say, it was a really crazy episode featuring Oceana, and even though they did their best to make it better, I was still skeptical to eat there, so we found another restaurant for lunch.

    Oh my, let's take a moment to remember the wonderfulness of The Creole Creamery. I just recently discovered it through a friend on facebook and decided that we needed to get ice cream from the shop once we were in the NO. Look at the uniqueness of that menu! They create so many different combinations of flavors, it's unbelievable. I sampled the Goat Cheese and Mission Fig and it really tasted exactly like that! Michael and I got a 6 scoop sampler of Red Velvet Cake, Cookie Monster, Blueberry Pie, Strawberry Jalapeno Cheesecake, Cotton Candy, and Thai Basil Coconut. Amazing! I would definitely recommend going there for some of the best ice cream I've ever had.

    And lastly, we took a tour of Myrtles Plantation, proposed to be the most haunted plantation in all of Louisiana. We heard stories about hangings, ears being cut off, children and mother being poisoned, and all sort of superstitious stories. It was fun and worth the $8! I only wish we could have done the mystery tour which happens on Friday and Saturday nights, but I'm afraid our schedule just didn't permit that. Guess we'll just have to save that for another trip down South!


    We enjoyed ourselves immensely on this trip and I haven't even shared the details about my brother's wedding! More on that to come later. The weather was not too hot, and we loved the thunderstorms that kept rolling in. I'm all for rain when it's warm out. There is just something about Louisiana rainstorms that relaxes me and makes me happy. Mmmmm...I feel all happy just thinking about it. Good times!