Wednesday, April 23, 2014

24

This Monday I turned 24. 24! It was all very exciting. We celebrated the weekend in true Haley-style: movie marathons, crafts, beer floats, minimal studying, and a bajillion naps.

We started it all off with some Dat Dog on Freret. It was my first time but it definitely won't be my last. James and I both went with the chef's special (Jim got the Guinness dog; I got the hot sausage). We also got house-made sodas with a side of Poppy Tooker fries. It was totally tasty.

After lunch, we went to Target for the next phase of birthday weekend: birthday craft adventure! James had it all planned out. This summer, I'm working as the director for a small summer camp, and he knew that I wanted some funky shoes for all of my summer fun (have I ever told you that I love camp? Because I do, I do!). So, when we got to Target, we loaded up on shoes, fabric markers, and a couple of awesome movies, and then went home to get to work! This was so much fun. Is that nerdy? Probably. But I loved it! And I am so happy with how my crazy shoes turned out. I feel like my campers are going to dig them. And I am so, so happy that I have a husband who will plan and participate in craft adventures :)

Throughout the weekend we engaged in some serious movie time: About Time (new favorite!), Dallas Buyer's Club, Blow Dry, The Fifth Element, Along Came a Spider, Tucker and Dale v. Evil--it was lovely. We also drank some strawberry beer floats, and you definitely need to try that sometime. On Easter Sunday, we spent some time at Gerri's family's camp (delicious food, wonderful company, and a little fishing, too), and then at midnight we lit 24 candles on top of the last slice of cheesecake and toasted to another year.

It was such a nice birthday. Hands down, one of my best birthdays yet. I felt so loved--through cards, phone calls, text messages, crafts, and ice cream; birthday wishes from all corners of the country. It was simple and homey, and it was a great way to kick off my 24th year.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

lately

Reading: I am slowly, every so slowly, making my way through Dune. It is great and interesting and engaging, but I have been a slacker reader. Dune is Jim's favorite book, and I know he has been itching to discuss it with me...I need to step it up! So far Lady Jessica is my fave.

Watching: Game of Thrones! I love it so much, I can't even talk about it. Except that I can, and I will talk about it (a lot) to anyone who is up for it. I'm finishing up the third audiobook, and James and I are officially obsessed with Sunday nights (thank you, HBOgo). Oh, and I'm also still binging on Shonda Rimes. I finished every single Grey's episode on Netflix, and now I'm working my way through Private Practice. I am slightly embarrassed because both shows are super silly, but I can't help it. I'm hooked on the drama (and the Taye Diggs).

Eating: Last week James and I took the street car down to Boucherie with some med school friends. We loved it! The restaurant is teensy tiny, and we had to wait for about an hour before we could sit down at a table, but the staff was super accommodating. They set us up on the sidewalk with some chairs, drinks, and fries, and we spent our wait time chatting and indulging (I had a Pimm's Cup for the first time and loved, loved it). For our meal, I went with the pho and James got the Saint Louis style ribs (delicious). For dessert we split the Thai chili chocolate chess pie (double delicious). It was a tasty evening filled with excellent company. So happy to have our fellow food-loving med school friends.

Loving: This recipe (imploding honey cake--say what?!); this quote via etsy; this tanktop; this fille; and this Ben Shahn print. I'm also loving Cadbury eggs, visiting friends' classrooms, and running around City Park jamming to This American Life.

past lately posts found here

Monday, April 14, 2014

egg hunt 2014

My parents and little brother Tom were in Baton Rouge last week and it was lovely to have everyone in one place! We enjoyed a lot of time together--time filled with mom's famous cookies, Lovey cuddles, spirited movie and television discussions, dinner with friends, dad's cooking, and, of course, our annual Easter egg hunt. It was basically perfect.

On Saturday morning, we drove out to the country for some time with nana and our aunt and uncle's fantastic farm animals. We all bonded with their sweet calf, and I fell hard for their little calico kittens. (I need one of those in my life, for real). We spent the better part of the morning outside, enjoying the warm weather and each other's company, going inside only for some Stelly's burgers and egg hunt preparation.

This year the hunt featured our favorite candies (Reese's and Cadbury eggs) and, of course, the infamous cash prizes. We were all determined that my little brother Will wasn't going to kick our butts again...but despite some serious running and hunting, he still wiped the floor with us. How is that possible?! He has a serious talent for this egg hunting business. And even though I placed last (womp, womp), the annual egg hunt is still my favorite family tradition. (past hunts here and here).

That night we celebrated Tom and Will's 20th birthday (a little late) and my 24th birthday (a little early). My dad grilled steaks and roasted asparagus, and my mom made the most insanely tasty double chocolate cheesecake. We also played beer pong (well, I mostly just cheered while Gerri beat all of the boys) and we topped off the night with Vanilla Ice's home improvement show (yes, that's a thing). So, like I said...basically perfect.

Every time we all get together I am struck by how lucky we are--lucky to be so close, lucky to have so much fun together, lucky to be a family. Even though we sometimes drive each other crazy, those Boves are my best friends. Can't wait to see them all again.

Monday, April 7, 2014

langlois

This weekend, James and I finally cashed in one of our Christmas gifts: a cooking class for two at Langlois Culinary Crossroads. We were so excited when we received the gift from Jim's dad and stepmom, and we were even more excited to finally get in there and get our hands dirty! After studying Jim's test schedule and all of the menus, we finally landed on Saturday's late lunch. So, Saturday afternoon, we headed out to the Marigny for some food, history, and lots of fun.

We got a little lost on our way there, and we were worried about holding everyone up, but as it turned out, we had the place to ourselves! Our own private lesson--it was pretty fancy. When we got there, Chef Tess had snacks and aprons waiting and we dove right in--pickled cucumbers and fennel, smoked eggs, spinach pesto, head cheese in pepper jelly (not actual cheese, by the way, but pretty tasty), and some fresh bread. Oh, and a pitcher of mimosas, too. After some munching and introductions, we got started with preparing our dessert for the day: cream cheese stuffed French toast. Oh, man--large pieces of brioche, filled with sweetened cream cheese, fried to crispy perfection in butter, topped with orange scented caramel--oh, man, oh, man. But before we got to eat all of that goodness, we left the bread to soak in our egg mixture and moved onto our main course, artichokes stuffed with cornbread dressing, and salad.

For the main course, we sweated a little Holy Trinity (celery, bell pepper, onion) in a pan with the Pope (garlic), and andouille. This sounds pretty basic, but oh my goodness--it smelled glorious. Once things were good and sweaty, we mixed it all together with fresh cornbread, smoked gouda, and a little Cajun spice. Next, we stuffed this cornbread mixture into some big, beautiful artichokes and popped the final, flower-like creations into the oven to get all warm and bubbly. In the meantime, we indulged in some more mimosas and a simple but delicious salad: baby greens, goat cheese, spiced pecans, dressed with Langlois' signature cane syrup and mustard vinaigrette. Tasty.

When the artichokes came out of the oven, we topped them with a lemon vinaigrette and some parsley oil. They were gorgeous! And, yes, of course, delicious. Messy. But delicious. While we were eating, Chef Tess made some caramel (complete with flames and rum shots) and fried up our toast. Between eating our artichokes and French toast, we helped the chef whip up some pecan praline bites. Two desserts?! Score! They were more like pecan cookies than the traditional candy pralines, and they were quite lovely. When they came out of the oven and we sat down for our last course, we were both seriously full. But, don't worry--we made room. That French toast was out of this world, and James and I both can't wait to make it at home.

After eating as much as we possibly could, we thanked our chef and headed home for a serious nap. It was such a wonderful experience. Not only was it fun to do something a little different with James, but we actually learned a ton during our time at Langlois. Chef Tess was a fount of local cultural and historical information. We learned about some of the history behind Cajun and Creole cuisine, some stellar kitchen tips and tricks, and even a little about Langlois' namesake, Madame Langlois. While we are pretty much Louisiana and Nola "locals" at this point, we still learned so many new things about our area. Big thumbs up.

Plus, the stuffed French toast. I mean, for real.

Thank you again, Ken and Glenda! Next time y'all are down here, we'll all have to go back together!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

happiness is...


Lakeside walking with Lovey and James. 

The first ice cream cones of spring (cookie monster for me, peanut butter fudge pie for him). 

Sunday brunch dates. 

Flowers and treats and visiting brand new, snuggly twins.

Stir-fry night. 

The end of a test cycle, Futurama and Red Vines in bed, and sundress weather, too. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

swirl + lola's

A couple of weeks ago, James and I hit up a couple of new-to-us spots with friends: Swirl and Lola's. I sometimes rag on New Orleans...like this morning when I got caught in terrible parade traffic (I should have known St. Patrick/St. Joseph festivities last for multiple weekends!) or when I am bumping through baby pool size potholes in Lakeview or, you know, basically anytime I'm driving...but there really are some wonderful little spots sprinkled throughout this city. Swirl and Lola's are definitely two prime examples.

Swirl is a little wine shop and bar that hosts a weekly, themed party for its patrons. The week we were there the theme was oysters and champagne. So, it was basically heaven. We ordered a dozen oysters on the half-shell, sipped some bubbly, and bought a few bottles of wine to split. Delicious. The shop itself is pretty tiny, and it was jam packed with people and tons of eclectic, New Orleans-inspired artwork. Typically, I'm not one for crowds, but it was so much fun. Everyone was so happy and friendly and helpful, too (likely thanks to all of that delicious wine), and I definitely hope to go back soon.

After our oysters and aperitifs, we wandered over to Lola's, a little Spanish hole-in-the-wall specializing in paella. We had to wait a little bit, but it was almost better that way. The host uncorked one of recently purchased bottles, and we sipped and enjoyed the beautiful weather on the restaurant's patio. When we were seated, we dove right into some delicious appetizers (calamari, cheeses, salad, bread with an amazing garlic spread), seafood paella, and a little flan to finish. This was my first foray into Spanish cuisine and I loved it, and I loved that it was all family-style.

I have said it before, but I am really happy to have a little group of Med School comrades. It was so nice to decompress a little with them and share a meal together. We laughed a lot, and it was such a beautiful night all around. I am definitely looking forward to many more shared meals (and glasses of wine) over these next two years.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

mardi gras 2014

Another Mardi Gras season is officially over! And I think it was our best one yet. Here is a glimpse at what we did:
During the first official weekend of Mardi Gras season, we hit up Manhattan Jack's for treats and study time. I got my favorite cookie (the dot cookie), James got some salted caramels, and we split a crawfish roll--a decadent southern take on the lobster roll. Yum. We also had some very nice patrons take our picture in the silly king and queen cut-outs, because we just had to do that. You know how it is.

The next week, I worked on shoe box floats with all of the kiddos at school. They turned out wonderfully! We had some (like the one above) covered in googly eyes and beads, others had flowers and sparkly stickers, and one included a princess crown and a monster truck and that one might have been my favorite. On Friday afternoon, the kids walked their float creations through the school and yard as their parents watched and cheered. It was a really fun way to get into the carnival spirit, and I think the kids definitely enjoyed it!


That same afternoon, James and I did a little bit of celebrating (good things coming down the pipe!). We walked to City Park and made a beeline for Morning Call for some beignets. The weather was seriously perfect and it was great to people watch, chat, and get a little sun, too.

On Saturday, we met up with Jim's sweet mama for some parading. She and her good friend, Varina, drove down from Illinois for the holiday and it was so lovely to have them here! We loved showing them our stomping grounds and sharing our little shotgun for the night. I am thankful for the chance to get to know Jim's mom a bit more, and I know he loved having her here, too. Come back soon, Becky! We owe you some cookies!

So, anyhoo, Becky and Varina did it big for Mardi Gras, and they started it off with us and Mid City's Endymion. We went to this same parade last year, too, and it is still a good time. I feel really lucky to be within walking distance of Endymion. It is during the day, pretty family friendly, and so full of color and fun. It also provides us with just the right amount of carnival while giving us an easy escape route once we have had our fill. So, thumbs up all around! This year, we caught some good beads, did lots of walking, and maybe had a couple of margaritas, too.

The next day, we took Becky and Varina to see the ducks (and traffic) at Audubon Park before they met up with some friends in the Bywater for more parades and excitement. That afternoon, James and I shared a pineapple pizza, watched multiple episodes of House of Cards, and took a four-hour nap. So, yes. It was kind of the perfect day.

Fat Tuesday itself was cold and rainy, so, we didn't do too much. We did meet up with Becky and Varina one more time before they headed north. We shared a meal at one of the only open restaurants in town (and won a slice of king cake in the process) and decided that Mardi Gras 2014 was, all in all, a big (tasty) success.

Mardi Gras has never been my favorite holiday. Actually, a lot of it is kind of lost on me. But I do love that it brings this wacky city together. It is totally weird that we all decide to take a month out of the year to wander around in costumes, catch beads, and party, but it is pretty fun, too. So, until next year, Carnival! Laissez les bons temps rouler!