Mardi Gras Party Good Time

Louisiana is often referred to as the Boot due to its shape.  I think that’s an appropriate observation seeing how we do love to kick up our heels and pass a Mardi Gras party good time.

beads-doubloonsPurple, Green, and Gold Beads and Doubloons

Louisiana loves to throw a party, and what makes a good party is great food, drink, and conversations about great Mardi Gras food and drink.  Last Wednesday I got a call from my nephew on just this subject.

Dong Phuong Bakeshop

The Mardi Gras king cake is a Carnival staple, and people do have their favorites.

My favorite?

I thought the chocolate cinnamon king cake from a local market the one that takes the king cake, but that was until my nephew gifted the Places In The Home gang with a cinnamon king cake from Dong Phuong Bakeshop.

A king cake connoisseur in his own right, he too thought he had a chosen favorite until his coworker brought a cinnamon king cake from Dong Phuong Bakeshop in east New Orleans to the office for a Mardi Gras party good time king cake celebration.

It was king cake love at first bite.

You know how it is when you discover a new whatever and you like/love it so much you want to show and tell it with your inner circle, gang, tribe, or Mardi Gras krewe?

That’s exactly the case in this king cake scenario.

He placed an order for twelve cinnamon king cakes from Dong Phuong Bakeshop.  The window for shipment had just closed, so he drove from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to pick up the order.

When you’ve got a craving for king cake, you do what you have to do to get one.

Or twelve.

His friend happened to be driving up to Central Louisiana the following day, so my nephew asked him if he would make a king cake delivery to Places In The Home.

cinnamon-king-cake

Now the Places In The Home gang knows what all the Dong Phuong cinnamon king cake excitement is about.

dong phuong king cake

Right off the bat, I was impressed with the artwork and the font used on the cake box.

share-the-joy-of-Mardi-Gras

It’s the same exact font I use for the Places In The Home header and sidebar.

DP-Bakeshop-East-NOLA

Love the font.

king-cake-colors

Love the king cake!

King cake is a Mardi Gras must have, a tradition beginning on January 6th and ending on Fat Tuesday.

The entire season and celebration of Carnival is a Mardi Gras party good time process.

second-line

Not all Mardi Gras celebrations are created equal.  From parish to parish, Louisiana is truly a melting pot of customs, traditions, and cultures.

However, all Louisianians celebrate Mardi Gras on a local purple, green, and gold grand scale.

Mardi-Gras-porchNew Orleans Today

Throughout the state, Mardi Gras revelers and Carnival decoristas bedeck the halls, doors, porches, fences, and facades.

Mardi Gras parade prep

Parade route positions are prime real estate, staked out and claimed for optimum viewing and catching prized throws.

Plutocrat Second LinePlutocrat Second Line

Krewe floats stand ready to roll, and neighborhood block parties are planned, prepped, and positioned  for a Mardi Gras promenade.

beignets at Cafe du Monde

Beignets at Café du Monde

It’s hard not to find yourself in a Mardi Gras party good time state of mind when you have a cup of café au lait in hand.

cafe au lait

A traditional crawfish boil brings the flavor to the Mardi Gras party good time celebration.

The sweetness of the king cake complements the robust spice and heat that flavors a crawfish boil.

C’est si bon!

boiled-crawfish

This time of year blended with the taste of Mardi Gras keeps the calls from the Canadian snowbirds coming.

Cooking up a pot of Louisiana gumbo and a traditional King Cake from this recipe from Southern Living will satisfy the craving, please the sweet tooth, and feed the soul.

traditional king cake

Southern Living Magazine – Photo by Beth Dreiling

Traditional King Cake

Ingredients

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream

1/3 cup sugar

¼  cup butter

1 teaspoon salt

2 (¼-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast

½  cup warm water (100° to 110°)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 to 6 ½ cups bread flour*

1/3 cup butter, softened

½  cup sugar

1 ½  teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts.  Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.

Stir together yeast, ½ cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.

Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth.  Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 ½ cups) until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).   Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle.  Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border.  Stir together ½ cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.

Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side.  Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal.  Repeat with second dough roll.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden.  Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes).  Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.

Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed.  Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon.  Increase ½ cup sugar to ¾ cup sugar.  Beat ¾  cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders.  Proceed with recipe as directed.

*6 to 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour may be substituted.

Creamy Glaze

Purple, green, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles

-Southern Living

The weather is not wanting to cooperate, but Louisiana doesn’t let a little rain dampen the Mardi Gras spirit.   The parades are rolling, the party atmosphere is intoxicating, and time-honored traditions and customs will be well represented.

The Boot is kicking up its heels in Mardi Gras party good time style.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

love your style

 

Home Sweet Holiday Home: Our Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Home Sweet Holiday Home is all about our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes.  Delicious anticipation over our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes builds all year long, and inquiring minds and holiday appetites drive family and friends home to break bread and give thanks for these favorite thanksgiving side dish recipes.

home-sweet-home-holidays-blog-1

Our holiday dinner menu is influenced by traditional, new traditional, and regional Thanksgiving side dish recipes.  Family is well represented through the memorable dishes found on our Southern family dinner table.

antique-silver-salt-pepper-shakers

Here’s two of our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes full of Louisiana flavor for the season.

inseason564-2

Creole Baked Oyster Dressing

Ingredients

2 (16-ounce) containers shucked oysters, drained, liquor reserved

6 tablespoons butter

1½ cups chopped onion

⅓ cup chopped green onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 garlic cloves, minced

12 ounces day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

½ cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1½ teaspoons Creole seasoning

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.   Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Coarsely chop any large oysters.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Remove 2 tablespoons butter and reserve.  Add onions, celery, and bell pepper; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add sage, parsley, thyme, and garlic; cook 1 minute. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, bread, bread crumbs, lemon juice, Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper; stir until combined.  Add oysters and 1 cup of reserved oyster liquor; stir gently.  Spoon into prepared pan.  Drizzle with reserved 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Bake, lightly covered, 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until bread is lightly browned and oysters are curled around the edges, about 25 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Louisiana Cookin’

asparagus-with-crawfish-hollandaise

Asparagus with Crawfish Hollandaise

Ingredients

2 pounds green asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

4 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ cup butter, melted

½ (16-ounce) package crawfish tails

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and add asparagus.  Top with canola oil, salt, and pepper, and brush evenly with basting brush. Bake until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add water to a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer. In a stainless steel bowl, add egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne.  Hold bowl over simmering water making sure bottom of bowl does not touch water, and whisk vigorously until volume of egg mixture doubles.  Slowly whisk in melted butter until sauce is thick and combined.  Remove from heat, and stir in crawfish.  Serve immediately over asparagus.

Louisiana Cookin’

sweet-potato-casserole-1

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup milk

½ cup melted butter

Topping:

½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top.  Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.  Serves 6 to 8.

Southern Food

tees-corn-pudding

Tee’s Corn Pudding

Ingredients

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

1 package (8-½ ounces) corn bread/muffin mix

½ cup 2% milk

1 can (15-¼ ounces) whole kernel corn, drained

1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°.   In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in sour cream.  Gradually add muffin mix alternately with milk.  Fold in corn.

Pour into a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes or until set and lightly browned.  Makes 8 servings.

Southern Living

favorite thanksgiving side dish recipes

Click on the links below for full recipe

Juniper-Marinated Mushrooms and Onions

Lemony Green Beans

Mashed Sweet Potato with Melted Leeks

Simply Scalloped Potatoes

buttermilk-cornbreadLook at that crispy edge perfection- the hallmark of Southern buttermilk cornbread.

Good cornbread is the base ingredient of great dressing.  I’ve enjoyed bread dressing, oyster dressing, and sausage dressing.  All are quite delicious in their own right, but our traditional holiday turkey dinner is not complete without Southern buttermilk cornbread dressing.  Here is my recipe for the cornbread:

Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons oil

2 cups buttermilk self -rising white corn meal mix

1 cup self-rising flour

½ Tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup milk

Directions

Set oven to 425 degrees. Preheat oven while preparing cornbread mix. Mix corn meal and flour into mixing bowl. Stir in milk and eggs and mix well. Batter should be a medium thick consistency. Thin by adding additional milk until desired consistency is reached.  Grease baking pan or oven safe skillet(preferably a black cast iron skillet) with 3 Tablespoons cooking oil. Bottom of pan or skillet should be coated well but not swimming in oil.  Place pan in oven to heat oil.  Once oil is heated, remove pan from oven.  Pour batter into greased pan. Return pan or skillet to oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Buttermilk Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients

crumbled cornbread

¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning, optional

*We are in a sage free zone here at Places In The Home.  If you want to add this seasoning/herb to the recipe, I suggest ¼ teaspoon sage.

1 medium bunch green onions, chopped

1 cup celery, finely chopped

3 eggs, beaten

4-6 cups chicken(canned is fine) or turkey broth, or more as preferred

Directions

One skillet of crumbled cornbread will make approximately 6 servings.  For dressing, crumble cooled cornbread by hand to a fine consistency with no lumps.  Place crumbled cornbread in large mixing bowl. Add poultry seasoning, green onions, celery, beaten eggs and broth (½ cup at the time). Mix well.  You want the consistency of your dressing to be soupy.  Pour into lightly greased roasting pan or deep casserole dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour until top is lightly browned and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

enjoy

Making Louisiana Gumbo: A Lesson In Flavors From Home

Making Louisiana gumbo is what’s cookin’ in the Places In The Home kitchen today.  Our son wants to master the art of the roux and the flavor ya ya of my gumbo recipe.  The plan is to introduce his Canadian friends and co-workers to Cajun cuisine.  A lesson in flavors from home far transcends roux and filé.

output_dyhnht

“Cajun cuisine is a technique-driven cuisine, because it’s a very humble style of cooking.  It’s about what can you do with humble ingredients like onions, celery, bell peppers, oil, and flour.  How can you intensify flavors and create meals that are satisfying and hearty and make you happy.”

-Frank Brigsten

roux-gumbo

flour-sifter

Roux

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Heat oil in a black skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add flour in gradually, stirring well.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir/whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches a rich brown color, approximately 30-40 minutes. You must stir/whisk constantly to prevent the roux from burning. Black flakes indicate burned roux, and burned roux tastes horrible.  If you burn it, throw it out and start over.

Start over?

Start over.

 It’s worth it.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

Ingredients

8  cups water

3 chicken bouillon cubes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 lb. package smoked sausage

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped onions

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped bell peppers

3 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon fine black pepper, or to taste*

OR in place of salt and pepper season with 1 teaspoon Créole seasoning, or to taste*

1 cup white wine

cooked rice

Directions

Slice sausage into ½ inch pieces. Using a seasoned skillet for optimum taste results, cook the sliced sausage over medium-high heat until browned. Transfer cooked sausage to plate lined with paper towels, allowing excess grease to drain.  Set aside.

peppers-onions

Place chicken breasts in Dutch oven or stock pot, add water, and bring to a boil.  Season for broth with ½ teaspoon celery salt ½ black pepper. Stir and reduce heat to medium low, cooking chicken breasts until done, about 1 hour.  Transfer chicken breasts from pot to large mixing bowl.  Slice chicken breasts into strips and add back to broth.

sausage-chicken-onions

Turn heat back to high and bring to boil.  Add prepared roux to broth and chicken mixture, whisking until roux dissolves.  Reduce heat to medium and add minced garlic, chopped onions, chopped bell pepper, bay leaves, chicken bouillon cubes, remaining celery salt and pepper (or Créole seasoning).   Carefully pour in white wine.  Stir to blend and incorporate.

boiling-gumbo

Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered for approximately 2 hours, allowing all flavors to marry.  Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off the top of gumbo.  Add chopped green onions and continue to simmer for additional 5 minutes.

gumbo-file

Serve gumbo over rice.  Top with a sprinkle of filé, more green onions, and hot sauce to taste, if desired.  Gumbo is delicious on the first day, and flavor filled filé fantastic the next day.

gumbo-bowl

cest-si-bon

An Afternoon Drive: Houses of The Historic Garden District

George Clooney’s character in the movie Michael Clayton works for a prominent law firm in the capacity of janitor, a lean, mean cleaner of situations gone askew. Have you ever Googled the word askew?  This page alone proves the gang over at Google has quite a sense of humor.  Getting back to the George Clooney reference.  I am the Michael Clayton here at Places In The Home.  Keeping these home fires burning, running smooth and in balance comes with a certain amount of stress.  Being stressed is not good.  Stressed is desserts spelled backwards, but my backwards is big enough, if you know what I mean.  Enter a fat-free, stress-free and well, free Rx for the mind, body and soul.  An afternoon drive viewing houses of the historic Garden District clears away the cobwebs and reminds me how much I love what I do.

houses of the historic Garden DistrictCorinthian Columns

“Architecture mirrors eternal harmony….music echoes it.”  

Otto Van Simpon

Smooth jazz provides the background music while arches, and columns, and pillars (oh, my!) provide architectural eye candy.  A self-guided tour along brick-lined streets and Louisiana bayous sets a serene scene.

bungalow

My Louisiana Parade of Homes series was a labor of love, and today’s post featuring local residential properties near and dear to my architectural and historical home loving heart is no different.

cold-front-cloud

A cold front rolling across the area is to blame for the dark lighting in some of the images.

ES-garden-districtSpanish Colonial

Spanish-garden-district

A-line-roof

Colonial Revival. Craftsman. Bungalow.

arched-front-door-1

Italianate. Palladian. Georgian. Just to name a few architectural styles of the houses of the historic Garden District.

magnolia-tree

Modern architectural elements stand out among the grounds of these stately homes and manicured gardens.   The blooms of spring will make a grand statement and give me yet another reason to visit the Garden District.

Queen-Anne

One of several antique horse head hitching posts in the neighborhood.

brick-single

The curb appeal allure is first found in the brick-lined street fronting the detailed brickwork of this single family stunner.

stack

Have a wonderful weekend!

Love your style!

A Taste of Home: Mardi Gras Food Edition

I am an information junkie.  My travel journal is full of fascinating foodie factoids and regional fare ratings.  One never knows when the need for a conversation starter or trivia answer round the water cooler, dinner table or game board will present itself.  “The United Sweets of America” takes the reader on a culinary state-by-state road trip with a map of official and not-so-official desserts. Louisianians love their Mardi Gras food, and one of our absolute most delicious regional dishes came in as the state favorite. Curious to see what sweet treat sensation is deliciously associated with what state?  Click on the image below and the magic of link love will take you right on over to “The United Sweets of America”, a fun read by Slate associate editor L.V. Anderson.  By the way, the dessert ranked number one in Louisiana is, drum roll please, Bananas Foster.

mardi gras foodSlate

Speaking of which regional sweet treat your state is known for, when the calendar points to Mardi Gras season Mardi Gras food is the topic of Carnival culinary conversation. The Louisiana Loyal are finding themselves with a hankering for a taste of sweet home Louisiana. Phone calls, text messages and email requests for Mardi Gras food recipes come fast and furious during Mardi Gras season. Our Canadian snowbird son. The Missouri snow shoveling nephew.  Floridian flamingos and Don’t Mess with Texas cousins.  East Tennessean hills friends.  Chicago suburbs aunts and uncles.  I guess what they say is true- you can take the boy or the girl out of Louisiana but you can’t take Louisiana out of the boy or the girl.  The proof is in the bread pudding!  Gosh, does that sound good! Wondering what Mardi Gras food recipes inspire the masses to phone home?  Here’s a look at the Mardi Gras food and recipe requests thus far:

Bananas Foster

This legendary Louisiana dessert is the stuff flamboyant flambé tableside preparation and presentation culinary dreams are made of.  Bananas, melted butter and brown sugar dance the dance of caramelization awaiting generous pours of banana liqueur and dark rum.  The grand finale of flame and circumstance showcases the art of tableside exhibition, the lagniappe of New Orleans tradition.  The recipe for my version of Bananas Foster takes the top slot on our Mardi Gras food desserts menu.

Mardi-Gras-bananas-foster

King Cake

A King Cake is a sweet traditional cinnamon filled coffee cake style pastry glazed with topping and sprinkled with sugar in the Royal colors of purple, green, and gold. King Cake parties rule the Carnival season. Tradition dictates Mardi Gras revelers love the tradition of eating this Carnival confection during Mardi Gras season. The custom of the plastic baby baked into the cake is steeped in culinary Carnival tradition, and if you are the lucky reveler who gets the piece of King Cake with the baby you are named “King for a Day”.  With great King Cake power comes great King Cake responsibility.  Tradition dictates the “King for a Day” is obligated to host the next King Cake party.

Mardi-Gras-food

Hoppin’ John Grits

Hoppin’ John Grits,  a Southern with a kick recipe of black eyed peas seasoned with chopped onions, bell peppers and celery (the Cajun trinity) and ham served atop white grits is low country goodness wrapped in Louisiana c’est si bon flavor. This recipe for Hoppin’ John Grits is another Mardi Gras food favorite.

hoppin'-john

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

gumbo-bowlClick on the link to view the recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

This is the  email I received from the Canadian snowbird that kicked off this post:

Re: Mardi Gras Mambo Gumbo

Mom,

Thanks for the King Cake recipe!

Could you send me your chicken and sausage gumbo and Creole~Cajun Seasoning recipes by chance?

Creole-seasoning

Creole-Cajun Seasoning

1/3  cup paprika

3 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dried basil

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated onion

4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons granulated garlic

In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, dried thyme, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.

Mardi Gras food is the taste of home.

cest-si-bon

Louisiana Parade Of Homes

Part II of our Louisiana Parade of Homes features local residential properties reminiscent of Louisiana history and culture.

bayou-shot

Bayous and stately homes line the brick streets of the historic Garden District.

French-architecture

Louisiana history is a melange of varied cultures and influences. The accent mark is well placed over the French and Spanish influence that frames our architectural elements, Créole and Cajun cuisine and the law of the Louisiana land. Louisiana law is different from the other 49 states.

cp-concrete

Our state Civil Code is adopted from the Napoleonic Code. Originally based on ancient Roman law, the Napoleonic Code deals in civil law with French and Spanish codes.  What is known as counties in the other 49 are known as parishes here in Louisiana.  You say antiquated, I say unique.  History and tradition holds a court of a different kind here in Louisiana.

DFH

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  

  Charles Caleb Colton

CP-creole

Neighborhoods are replete with Acadian, Southern Colonial, Spanish, Créole and French Louisiana architectural styles.

CP-stately

CP-acadian

Southern opulence, historical influence and phenomenal curb appeal brings it all home.

Love your style!

Parade of Homes

This parade of homes is a love letter, a visual note of appreciation to the architects of modern marvels.

mid-century-modern-war

“Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet.  He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.” 

Frank Lloyd Wright

park

Mid-century modern architecture is the prominent feature of the local post-war suburbs historic district.  The houses of post-World War II subdivisions typically sit in the middle of large lots.   A notable design feature widely considered an essential architectural element, the expansive front lawn fashions suburbia whilst living city proper.

architecture-post-war

Fast forward 30+ years when contemporary came to town.

parade of homes

CP-b

CP-modern

Dave the Builder and I have taken to the city streets with cameras and devices in hand, photographing local residential properties that exemplify distinctive architecture.  I will share our finds and favorites next week.

Love your style!

Not Too Far But Far Enough Away From Home: Travels to Small Southern Towns

August was a busy month of celebrations and milestones around Places In The Home.  Our son’s graduation from Louisiana State University, commencement ceremony and subsequent celebration(s) made for a busy first part of the month. When Dave the Builder suggested a regroup and recovery getaway for two I could not make reservations fast enough.  I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the not too far but far enough away from home travels to small Southern towns.  These travel gems brimming with history, old houses, antiques and townsfolk who invite you to take in and be a part of the local flavor make a great weekend getaway destination perfect for recharging one’s battery.

St.-John's-Episcopal-ChurchSt. John’s Episcopal Church – Washington, Louisiana

Our long and winding road travels (well, our straight line I-49 travels) placed us center stage among the small Southern towns of Washington, Scott and Lafayette, Louisiana.  I learned a long time ago not to categorize our close to home jaunts as a non-vacation.  Trust me, these  just roll with the flow discovery excursions can pass a good time and pass for a real vacation.

Travels to Small Southern Towns

Washington, Louisiana is as sleepy as it is Southern, a small town full of history from steamboat days gone by.  Narrow streets shaded by mature oaks, magnolia trees, historical architecture, quintessential Southern homes ranging from the wow to the weathered, and an old high school full to the gills with antiques and vintage goodies seasons the local flavor.

old-houseBeauty does not always strike a pristine pose. This abandoned abode on a shaded street in a small Southern town piqued my interest, struck an architectural chord and became the subject of a subjective experience.  

You know you love antiquing when the indoor temperature almost matches the oppressive outdoor temperature ( 95+ degrees).  Note to self: antiquing in old buildings, warehouses, outdoors and in old high schools is an activity best enjoyed in the fall.  On this particular Louisiana summer Saturday, the Old Antique School Mall was full of hot air and hot finds priced fairly and in shop or home ready condition.  I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for, but something told me I would know it when, and if, I saw it.

Antique-School-Mall

Our visit to the school was timed just right for a super sale.  I have been working on a kitchen gallery wall, and no respectable kitchen gallery wall is complete without the all important touch of copper.

copper-kitchen-wares-finds

I couldn’t resist the lidded copper pan and mold.  Grand total: $10 for both.

gallery-1

That ladies and gentlemen is a copper bargain of the very best kind.

PM-corbel Dear Santa…

The method to my retail madness is simple- pop into shops, boutiques, markets and retail outlets not available in the retail deficient corner of the world I call home.

The Haul~

Lafayette-goodies

A familiar sign became a beacon of biscuits and cornbread in the South Louisiana night.

Cracker-Barrel-signIt was a biscuit and cornbread kind of evening. 

I planned our next trip the Southern life fantastic on the drive home. November can’t get here soon enough.

Love your style!