Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Creative Cooking...Easy Baked Egg Rolls

Have you ever just wanted to try to make something you have eaten, but not sure how it would turn out? I do that mess all the time. I like cooking. In fact, dare I say I love to cook, although reading will always be my favorite past-time? I decided to make egg rolls, but I didn’t want them fried. Since, I am trying to increase my metabolism, what better way than with a healthy snack enriched with protein and veggies?

So I scoured the Internet in search of an easy and the optimum word is easy, baked egg roll recipe. Once that was done, I knew I was in for an adventure in finding egg roll wrappers, because living in Montgomery; folks ain’t making their own egg rolls. We aren’t talking about fried chicken, corn bread or greens, we are talking about egg rolls. I knew not to check my usual grocery store, so I went to my local Publix and for a reasonable price I got my first package of Nasoya Egg Roll Wrappers.

Easy Baked Egg Rolls as adapted from Joyful

Egg roll wrappers

Bag of coleslaw mix

1 cup of chopped fresh mushrooms

½ cup of chopped carrots

½ cup of chopped onions

½ tsp of dry ginger

1 tsp of minced garlic

2 tbs of soy sauce

1 tsp of oyster sauce

3 chicken tenders

1 tbs of olive oil

Pinch of sugar

1 tsp of cornstarch

Cup of water

Sauteed cabbage w/carrotts, mushrooms and chicken

First I sautéed my seasoned chopped up chicken tenders, mushrooms, onions, garlic and carrots until soft in a tbs of olive oil. Then I added my bag of cole slaw and toss in the pan until they were softened and then added my soy sauce and oyster sauce in which I mixed in my dry ginger and pinch of sugar. Toss and coat and then set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I did this at this time because I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to roll these suckers up.

With my cornstarch and water mix in a small bowl, I laid out my first wrapper moistening all the edges and had it done in a diamond fashion and placed the cooled filling directly across the wrapper. First I rolled up the bottom and pulled it back on the filling then brought in the two sides and rolled. Not hard to do just a bit labor intensive. LOL! As my sister says, I be doing the most!

I placed my egg rolls seam side down on a greased pan and sprayed the top of my egg rolls as well. Placed in the oven and baked about 25 minutes and turning over half-way through so the other side could brown.

As for my dipping sauce:

Just soy sauce

Two squirts of Srirachia chili sauce

Rice wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar
Close up of the tasty insides of these easy baked egg rolls.  And yes they were crispy!

VERDICT: I do not care what the hell my sister says; doing the most has some great benefits! The egg rolls are flavorful and great the next day. You should be able to freeze and cook as needed if you don’t want to have as many as I had, because I used the entire package of egg roll wrappers. These little nuggets of goodness are my snacks this week.  The only changes would be to not cook my cabbage as long, add a bit more seasoning and use ground chicken, but seriously they are really good as they are.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

My Brother's Home

I am happy!

For the last 24 hours I have been in overdrive. I have been so excited and happy I haven’t been able to contain it. My sister asked if I had been smoking or something because I am so excited, but it is all natural this exuberant feeling is pure and unadulterated happiness.

After 17 years, 17 long years my brother is finally coming home. As nonchalant as I have been about his incarceration, in reality I have never been that nonchalant about it. It has always been in the compartmentalized area of my heart and mind where I store things I can’t and will not put too much effort into dealing with, because there is nothing I can do to change the situation. To this day, I will not forget him calling me one Thursday night and although the conversation was pleasant, something in my heart knew something was wrong. The next morning on my way to work I had a complete meltdown and all I could contribute to it was something was wrong with my brother. And less than a month later, I was finally told, after being kept in the dark for a week or so about it, what was wrong.

Over the last 17 years, our contact has been sporadic and for the last two years it has only been the Christmas cards I send to him. Um, he is Muslim now and maybe I will not accept that part of him fully, but the cards were the only way I could let him know I am still his sister and he is still my brother. No matter what he did it never changed the fact we were bonded by blood and unconditional love, because that is how family loves or supposed to, unconditionally. I never condoned what he did, and I always blamed it on the fact he never had to accept consequences when he was a child, because he was the baby and the only boy. I never denied having a brother and I never disowned him. The last two years of quiet was because I was hurt and angered by his last letter to me. It took me a few weeks to let go of that anger, because he has a right to his feelings and no matter what I could say his memories are his truths and I can’t change that. I accepted it and made sure to keep up with what he was doing through my sister and his stepmom. Not once, did my love waver.

I have just been so giddy. When my sister contacted me Friday saying the “folks” were messing with his head I was like he betta get his ass in the car and go home and forget about those people. He did his time; it is time for to learn to live again. Yesterday, I was just plain happy and today I am ecstatic. My brother is home. I think even the guy was shocked at how excited I have been the last two days. I can’t help it. My brother is home. After 17 years, he is home. He was 17 years old when he was arrested and he is now 34. Half his life now you think about that and take it in?

I have been acknowledging my blessings for a while. And this is one of them; I can’t praise Him enough for all he has done for me, when I am so not worthy most of the time. Hearing my brother’s voice as he laughed and laughed was just plain beautiful. He’s home. He said he didn’t even know what to do. He has a long road ahead of him as he reintegrates into society, transitions and works hard to move forward in life. When I hung up the phone, I sat at my desk and cried because you cannot fathom 17 years when someone is locked up. My brother didn’t kill anyone, but you would never know it from his sentence. My brother is intelligent, incredibly talented artistically, he writes amazingly, he is a voracious reader like my sister and I and he deserves a chance to improve his life. My only prayer is he can make this transition smoothly and he is able to live out his dreams, because he does have them. Welcome home, Christopher. My Brother is HOME!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Creative Cooking...Chocolate Mint Candy Cookies

The kids on my second job guilted me into making these Chocolate Mint Candy Cookies as adapted from I had no intentions of making anything sweet right now, but one Friday night the part-time assistant manager said, “It would be nice if we got a treat cooked for us tomorrow.” When I hemmed and hawed he called me Selfish! Whatever, but I haven’t made them anything since July. So here is another item I used the kids on my second job as guinea pigs. They loved them. The Manager loved so much she had left the building, after I told her to get her a couple more cookies because they will be gone when she returns, she said she had plenty, but she got to the traffic light and had to turn around and come back and get her a few more. They must have been really good.

Chocolate Mint Candy Cookies (Think about Thin Mints from the Girl Scouts, but different) Adapted from

 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter

 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed

 2 Tbsp water

 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

 2 large eggs

 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

 1 1/4 tsp baking soda

 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

 1 10-oz package Andes Crème de Menthe Baking Chips

 1 tsp of Vanilla extract ***

1. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter, brown sugar, and water. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

2. Transfer the chocolate mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Slowly add to chocolate mixture, mixing until just incorporated.

4. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in the Andes Crème de Menthe Baking Chips.

5. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a medium cookie scoop, portion out the dough on the cookie sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.

8. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Don’t worry if they don’t look all the way done when you take them out; they finish baking outside the oven. Leave on cookie sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

9. I followed the recipe to the letter except I added the vanilla extract, cookies with out vanilla don’t seem right.

I will say this food blogger is onto something because her directions were spot on and the cookies looked undone, but as they sat out, they harden up and still remained chewy in the middle. I really liked how easy she made her directions.
VERDICT: Loved them. My sister wants me to mail them to her ASAP. And the kids at my second job loved them. They are rich, however, and I may add a nut like a pecan or walnut, because they are so rich. If you like the GS, Thin Mints you will love these. They are easy to make and don’t take too much time. Yeah, you have to cool your chocolate and put the dough in the refrigerator for an hour, but it is well worth it.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

The Hair...

What is my hair doing?  Absolutely nothing.  I still need to wash it, because looking cute and asking folks to help you isn't working, so I will buckle down and wash it sometime this week which means I must blow dry it.  Then I need to retighten it, because between the workouts and this little growth spurt, I have no choice.

A little bit about my regimine.  I started using Greg's Juice and their Honey Dew Moisturizer back in August.  Lawdy,  these product have made my hair so soft I do not know how I missed having the in my life.  My hair is no longer suffering from dryness.  I also got my Sisterlock Green Tea Shampoo with the reconstructor and moisture treatment, so my hair will be given some good tenderloving care.  When I finally wash it.

So I wanted to let you know I found some products which keep my hair moisturized. 

I hope you had a great weekend, I know I did.  Enjoy the pics!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Busy October Randoms...

I know it has been a while. Life has been busy and I was in the proverbial dumps last week as I tried to wade through reliving the transitioning of my aunt. By the end of the week I was feeling better, but baby on Tuesday I was done. Of course other family members were dealing with the same thing, some of us better than others. My cousin who does the Thanksgiving dinner, yeah the one, who doesn’t use seasoning on her turkey, said sometimes you can be in a room full of people and still be lonely and the same can be said about grief. Some folks when dealing with death, surround themselves with people and activities but don’t take the time to truly grieve and begin the healing process. I allowed myself a moment to be sad, but I wrote about it on my anonymous blog and shook it off. My aunt would beat my azz to not see me moving oh and living life.

But I have a few randoms to throw out here into the Internet land…

• Speaking of Thanksgiving, my sister has ruined Thanksgiving for me. You can send her an email her about messing up things for me and my nieces later. Seems my sister decided to be on bed rest until her baby is born in January. Don’t side-eye me! She didn’t tell me until a week ago. Yeah. What? I told her she knows I cannot afford to take care of 3 kids, so she needs to make better arrangements. Talking about the oldest will be gone in two years. Unless she has a contract with God, she better find someone who can take all three because just because one goes to college doesn’t negate your responsibility towards them.

• How did she ruin Thanksgiving? Who the hell is going to go shopping with me on Black Friday? I asked one of my friends and she said she had to pray on it? Really? Why prayer? SMH!

• Now I got to figure out how to mail cookies to Virginia. I got to make sure Hunny Bunny gets her sugar cookies because you know she is going to retire me right?

• Oh, but the universe is sending my cousin, his wife and his baby (the baby who came Mother’s day and wasn’t due to June or July) will be here. So Andrea, let’s go! She likes to shop. Loves it!

• I might as well go shopping with her because maybe she will allow me to touch the baby. Talking about she don’t trust me around her child because I keep threatening to still him on Facebook. What?

• Reed Between The Lines is premiering on BET. I wonder if I will watch it. I love Tracy. I just don’t love watching BET.

• I want Satellite television but do not know which one to go with.

• I still want a yorkie, but I just don’t have time right now.

• Fantasia. I am so done. Stupid. She needs therapy.

• My hair is interesting this week. I need to wash it. I should have done that this weekend, but I didn’t. I asked the guy and he laughed. What the hell is so funny about washing my damn hair?!
Side bun, which are my numerous twists I rolled into a bun.  Looks like a cinnamon roll.  LOL!
• The weather is cooler here and it has been raining off and on for the last few days. All I really want to do is curl up in my bed and sleep. But I did that Sunday and realized I wasted the entire day. Not again!

• Best Man 2 is coming. Are you excited? Me, not so. I disliked that movie. I really did. I only liked Terrance Howard and his grimy behind. I hated the concept that the groom could not get over his bride having slept with someone else. Go so where with that, when you have been with numerous other folks, while with her, but she gets with one guy. One guy and you can’t marry her. Yeah, he was your best friend, but you didn’t care so much about that as she gave it to someone else. Ugh! Please do not get me started on this.

• I have several Creative Cooking posts scheduled. Go me!

• It is time for some winter shoes. Let’s go!

• I have already started my Christmas shopping. I am limiting myself this year. I am giving away a lot of cookies that is for sure.

• I hired two people last week on my second job because I am tired of interviewing and waiting on folks to do the reference follow ups. I need to go to work and do so in peace. This Friday is going to be a mess, because I will have a cashier who is only this week training on the register and I will not have a full staff on that day because everyone and there mama wants to be off.

• I had a mother call me to interview her son. I listened to her on the phone and in my head I was like this boy will not be interviewed by me, because his mama is going to think she works here and tell me how to do my job. If your child is seeking a job, parents do not call for them. Why? It means he doesn’t want to work and it makes prospective employers angry. Plus, when your child has on his application he won a spelling bee and he spells Unkle and Ant like this, somebody is lying or he won the spelling bee when he was in kindergarten.

• Have a great short week!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Creative Cooking...

Yes, I have been cooking some. I have laid off the sweets for a month or so because I want to lose a few pounds before the holidays and as you know when you are testing recipes you taste too. I will be testing a coconut cupcake and a chocolate candy mint cookie before the holidays officially commence. One thing about keeping the weight off is eating complete meals. Although I have gained about 10 pounds back since I lost 70 pounds in the last two years, I am always mindful of the things I put in my mouth. I also notice I do better in the weight game when I eat complete meals. So recently I decided to try a new chicken recipe and see if I could perfect Piccadilly’s carrot soufflé that I love so much.

Carrot Soufflé adapted from Allrecipes

2 lbs of cleaned carrots

1 stick of butter

½ cup of sugar

3 tbs of all purpose flour

1 ½ baking powder

1 ½ vanilla extract

3 eggs

Confectioner’s sugar

I steamed my already cleaned baby carrots for about an hour. It took that long for them to get as soft as I needed them to be. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In my mixer I placed the still warmed carrots, melted butter and sugar and mixed on medium until they were smooth. Then I added my flour, baking powder and vanilla extract and as it was being incorporated I added the eggs one at a time. One of the things I notices when reviewing differing recipes, some folks found the soufflé to be extremely egg tasting and you know I have an allergy so I just hoped this wouldn’t be the case. Once everything was incorporated I sprayed my pan lightly with cooking spray and poured my mixture in and let bake for an hour. I wanted it crisp around the edges.

You will notice that it will rise, but it will surely flatten when it is removed from the oven. Once removed from the oven I sprinkled Confectioner’s sugar on the top and hoped this tasted a little back like what I crave from Piccadilly’s.
All incorporated and ready to bake.
All done!
Finished product

Verdict: I loved it. I mean it was crispy around the edges and it was firm and not overly sweet. The one you get from the restaurant is bit sweeter than mine, but I like it this way because the original recipe I saw the soufflé has over 400 calories for a serving. No egg taste either This one is half the calories.

Spicy Honey Balsamic Vinegar Chicken adapted from The Girl Who Didn’t Eat Everything blog

Chicken wings, breast or thighs


2 tsp of garlic powder

2 tsp of chili powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp seasoning salt

1 tsp of cumin

½ cayenne pepper

1 tbs of olive oil


½ cup of honey

¾ cup of Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375. Clean and dry your chicken. I used chicken wings and one chicken breast. After combining the rub mixture I rubbed the chicken down in the oil and the rub. Prior to this I tasted the rub and it reminded me of Lay’s BBQ potato chips. You know I am going to make my own chips soon, right? I then placed in the oven on a rack with a pan underneath. I know ingenious, but I can’t take credit for it I found it on a cooking blog and thought, yes. In a sauce pan, place your honey and balsamic vinegar and cook until thicken. Cooked the chicken for about 15 minutes and turn over and start basting. Reserve a small amount to cover chicken with when done. Baste the other side after about 15 minutes and then turn your oven to broil and cook for about 10 more minutes to darken and caramelize your chicken.
Almost done, basting.

Verdict: The chicken is okay. It needed more salt and more spice. The sauce is good, but I think this recipe works better if you grill your chicken so the sauce can really caramelized on the chicken. I will try again but using a real grill and more salt and cayenne!

Looks yummy!


Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Finale of New Orleans...
Canal Street from our Hotel room at night

Besides our community service commitment, we were also having a destination book club meeting. We had been discussing this since last year and made plans in April to make it happen. Everyone was excited about going and some like me, haven’t visited the city since Hurricane Katrina. So it was a bit disappointing that the week of departure so many of my members were unable to go due to some unforeseen circumstances. If I learned anything from this last trip I learned, have folks do a deposit with only a portion of it refundable should they be unable to go, set a date and do not change it – because we will never do something trying to make everyone happy and always have a contingency plan in place so we aren’t homeless for a couple hours before our arrival. LOL!

We were hoping to have our meeting the lobby area of the hotel, but hell I forgot about the college football games and the area was full, plus it was happy hour. So we met in our room and discussed Some Sing, Some Cry by Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza, maybe I should say I discuss with a little participation from those who managed to read a bit of the story. LOL! Sad, I know, but the book was well over 500 pages and really could have been shorter, but I did encourage them to finish it because although the length was daunting the story itself was really interesting. And we finished the meeting with another bottle of wine.

We decided to go to Mother’s for dinner. Can I say New Orleans finally redeemed itself with food? Thank goodness because I was really sadden by the food this go round. I tried their famous Ferdi sandwich, and it didn’t disappoint and the much raved about by Sunny Anderson bread pudding, which was okay, but not something I would order again. The sandwich is a ham, roast beef, debris and gravy with cabbage, mayo and pickles. I loved the sandwich because it was flavorful, moist and just an explosion of food contrasts that went well together. But it was too much to eat in one sitting. Their bread pudding isn’t typical because they make it with fruit cocktail. I wanted some raisins and if you are a texture person, this will not work for you, very mushy. It was tasty, but not something I really want to try again. Folks enjoyed the etoufee and fried chicken as well. We were all satisfied up leaving. In fact, that is probably why seeing the lady who was walking around topless, but painted was nothing to get up in arms about.
Famous Ferdi Special Sandwich.  Look at that juice!

 From there to walk off some of that food, we did some more shopping and I found a Fedora to fit my big head. Yes! We headed back to the hotel and drank some more wine and talked until we all fell asleep.
We saw a lot of these guys out performing.  No money, no dancing.  Money and they move.  LOL!

Sunday we headed home at check out to try and miss the traffic for the Saint’s game. We should have planned a bit better and maybe tried to attend since it was an early game. We all had a wonderful time bonding and just loving on a city that has had its share of hard times. Although everything wasn’t perfect, I think we it was perfect we were able to go and fulfill our community service commitment and bond. Fini!

Back home safe and sound.  I finally took my braidout down Sunday before our depature.  Hair looked good too.  

Bread Pudding.  Tasty, but no something I would try again.  Oh, I ate all of it I think I like the sauce more than the bread pudding.

Blurry picture of etoufee.

Fried Chicken and turnip greens. 

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Part 5 - New Orleans:  Some things change, some things stay the same

Some things stay the same, but most things change is how I would describe New Orleans right now. Saturday after a good work out, I ventured out onto Canal Street to people watch. Yes, there are still panhandlers, but they basically walk up to you and ask for a cigarette if they see you smoking or money. I was asked for money but since I had just finished working out and had my cup of coffee from Starbucks, I didn’t have any on me. Plus, I do not give folks money on the street. However, this guy was really nice and we chatted for a few about how beautiful it was outside and our blessings. The street was coming alive with people and transit, so I knew the day would be quite interesting.

On our agenda was shopping because some folks needed shoes much more comfortable than what they had with them. We did eat at the IHOP down from our hotel, where I proceeded to eat an egg substitute that ignited a nice little allergic reaction from me making my eyes look like Quasimodo’s. Someone should have explained it thoroughly to me that egg substitutes have eggs in them, just not yolks. FYI – I am allergic to eggs and can only consume them cooked in food items. After, the shopping on Canal Street we took the trolley to the French Market. New Orleans temperature was quite mild and I have been there when you are sweltering. So it was pleasant outside.
Famous Cafe Du Monde

We went through the French Market and shopped along the streets as well. What we found was that I remember when things in the French Market were reasonable prices, but I purchased nothing because I could get the same things cheaper in other places. I wanted some Shea butter and the tub I wanted was $10, but I can get the same tub here in Alabama for $5. So things truly changed. What I noticed while people watching, was that the fashion trend is to wear boots, mostly tall ones, with dresses and short shorts. I said the temperature was mild, but it wasn’t cold or cool enough for me to even consider sweating my feet. Ugh! But that didn’t seem to stop the fashionistas I witnessed in that attire. Cute, but a mess.
Along the Art's District

From the French Market we headed to lunch at Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant. A word of advice, drinking beer and walking a mile to eat ain’t fun or comfortable. Luckily, I didn’t do that but I saw the effects on those who did. LOL! We were immediately seated and when I opened up the menu I was trying to find their famous boil, which I did but of course it didn’t have a price on it because you had to ask the waiter. When Harrison arrived, he brought to our table some boiled potatoes. Um, that was different. Initially, I didn’t know what the hell they were. I thought they were hushpuppies. Anyway, I did inquire about the boil and he told me the individual prices for the shrimp and crab. I found that interesting and odd. We all ordered and were blown away with their fried seafood platters, which were huge. I personally do not care for much of my seafood fried except for catfish because the batter can be overbearing and caused the seafood flavor to disappear. After our orders were placed, Harrison came back to the table and told me that they were out of crabs. A seafood restaurant in New Orleans was out of crabs, yeah okay. He wanted to know if I wanted to change my order or get additional boiled shrimp. Mind you he was standing beside me with a plate of boil shrimp. Remember I ordered their seafood boil and when I think of boil I think of shrimp, crab, corn, potatoes and sausage. I got a plate of boiled shrimp. I couldn’t concentrate on what the hell he was saying because before me set a plate of about 8 jumbo shrimp. I just said I would just eat the shrimp, at this point thoroughly disappointed. One of my book club members ordered one of their salads and although she prefers vinaigrette the only one they had was sweet fig balsamic vinaigrette, which was on the side. Harrison assured her it was very tasty. Well, it was too sweet for her and when she asked about additional dressings this was the only vinaigrette they offered. She didn’t eat her salad and it sat there while she read from her Kindle. Harrison returned to the table and asked if she was finished with her salad and then he took it away and he charged her for it. I found the food and service at Deanie’s Seafood to be deplorable. As a waiter, when Harrison noticed his customer was not eating her food, he should have offered an alternative or suggested another meal option he did neither and he should not have charged her for the salad, but he did and said, “There wasn’t anything wrong with the salad.” Yes it was. You recommended a dressing that was deplorable and you had no viable options, so yes something was wrong with the salad. She didn’t argue but the rest of us knew it couldn’t be us. So far all the food in New Orleans was blah. I have always enjoyed my food in New Orleans and to find that Katrina took away the flavor too was a bit much. So some things did change, but at least the people, the history and ambiance hadn’t.
My Famous Deanie's Seafood Boil...yeah right!

Next up: Book club meeting and finally some good eats and we say goodbye!

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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Part 4 - Lost looking for Dinner...

Our young mother recommended as well as other folks we consulted with recommended we try Deanie’s Seafood in the Quarter. According, to the directions we were very close to the restaurant. Hey, we all saw the street when we were going to our hotel. Please tell me how we missed the street and were on our way to the hood? Not only were we lost, but folks were whining about the walking, the heat, can’t we take the trolley, yada yada yada. Needless to day, I was at my breaking point. One, I do not like to be lost. Two, I can’t deal with folks complaining. When you visit New Orleans you prepare to walk, riding the trolley is cute, but you miss the sights and sounds of the Quarter when you do that. And the weather in New Orleans was wonderful. We were hot because we had already started drinking. Some of us can handle our liquor, and some of can’t. I ain’t calling no names.

My 1/2 dozen raw oysters, they were yummy, but no one else wanted to taste them.
Shrimp Po Boy.  Which was flavor

One of my members Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
Anyway, they stopped and asked a woman passing us, who politely instructed us to go back the way we came because we were heading into hood territory. I was already walking back. I wasn’t waiting on a trolley; hell I was ready to eat something. We finally made it back to Dauphine and would you believe when we turned on Dauphine; there was Deanie’s Seafood on the corner and a long as line to get in. Of course that was a no go. We took a walk down Bourbon and ate at Desire’s Oyster Bar. I have eaten there plenty of times and I was truly disappointed in the food and service. My oysters were phenomenal and my shrimp po boy was okay, but my usual hurricane was horrible. I couldn’t taste any liquor and normally one will make life right, this time I just drank a glass of orange juice. No one was completely satisfied. One member liked her gumbo, but most everyone was talking about the lack of flavor. Oh well.
This horse was so beautiful and fiesty as hell.  He kept an eye on me.

Then we proceeded to venture down Bourbon Street. It was still early around 9ish or so. Bourbon Street hasn’t changed much. Still smelly and a disgusting street, but the party atmosphere was still quintessential New Orleans partying. I did notice a lot more “gentlemen” clubs. You couldn’t miss them because the scantily dressed workers were in the doorways and on balconies tried to entice customers to come in. I didn’t see the female impersonators club though. You can still get a tall daiquiri, but I suggest you pay the extra money for an additional shot of liquor, because those were weak too. All the liquor on Friday night was weak. No buzz and no one got tipsy, well almost no one. I did do what I do almost every time I go to New Orleans, and that was to pat the police horses. I love how majestic they are and usually the officer on its back isn’t too bad to look at either. LOL!

You should have seen what drunk folks were doing to this art piece.  Because he wasn't real and the artist showed us that he wasn't by emptying the bucket of money and placing him on his bike.  Some folks let liquor go to their heads.
Sights of New Orleans...

As we went back to our hotel on Canal Street, there was a band on the corner doing its thing. I loved it. And it reminded me why I love New Orleans, the culture; the music, the art and the people make it a city worth visiting often.

Next up: Some things stay the same but most change…

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Part 3 - New Orleans...Meeting our family

The young lady we decided to help has two children, females. So as we were on our way I called her to touch bases with her and find out the location of the uniform place to set up an account for her. She then begins to tell me she had to take her kids out of the charter school because they were so unhappy and they were being stagnated in the school. They weren’t learning anything. However, she had found an African centered school that they both loved and she has seen a complete change in their attitude and wanting to learn. In other words, they were finally being challenged. Although they are not in the same expensive uniforms, they still are in uniforms which consist of dashikis. She then begins to tell us how hard it has been to garner school supplies and when she finishes paying bills she only has a few hundred dollars to live out of and she doesn’t qualify for food stamps. She was literally crying on the phone. I felt for her because here she is working and trying to make sure her kids are giving a chance, but the struggle makes you have to make difficult choices. In fact her oldest daughter had a school project to do and she couldn’t afford the supplies needed. I listened because I do that pretty well, but I knew I was just going to give her the money we had for her and she could do what she needed it with it. It wasn’t a heaping whole lot, but at least she could get a couple more uniforms and the school supplies she needed. I told her we would call her when we got closer to New Orleans so we could meet. But the closer we got to NOLA, is when we find out we were homeless. Initially, when we decided to give the family a gift card to use where needed, but a month before we left members were like they could give more items than actual money, but you see how that turned out. I am a believer if I give money to someone for good, then it is on them to do right by it because if they do wrong it is on them. My thoughts.

Lucky for us, she called us and left a message hoping we were okay and safe. Once we got settled into the hotel we called her, or rather another member did. I can’t handle crying on the phone. Don’t ask. Anyway, we agreed to meet her at our hotel about 6:30 pm, unfortunately her kids had to go out of town after school with a family member so we wouldn’t be meeting them.

I am so glad we were able to meet her because first of all she loved my hair. Vain, I know. However, she showed us pictures of her daughters, she talked about her work and she offered us ideas for dinner and fun in her home town. She was so gracious and so humble. Life is hard for her, but she is trying and in my book that is pure strength. We talked for a bit and took pictures. And I am glad we fulfilled our commitment, because I really do believe the more you give the more you receive and it doesn’t have to be monetary, but it can just be spiritual.

The whole time we were in NOLA, she checked on us and wanted to insure we had a good time in her city.

Next up…Dinner and how we got lost…walking…

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