Thursday, May 16, 2013

Amtrak Crescent to New Orleans

The Bassman surprised me with a long weekend trip for our anniversary.   Now this was a surprise and a treat because I usually get the travel planner title around here!  I admit I was a little nervous about it too!  Not that I'm a control freak or anything...maybe a little.

We often talked about taking the train to New Orleans and we finally did it!   We boarded the Amtrak Crescent in Tuscaloosa.  The train station itself is old, yet clean, and has a lot of character.

We had never taken a passenger train before so this was a new and exciting experience.

Shortly out of Tuscaloosa, we passed Moundville, AL

We stopped at several stations, each with their own character, to board more passengers.  If the stop wasn't your final destination, you're not allowed to get off the train.

There is evidence in some cities that business was good at one time around the train stations.  But sadly, many of the buildings along the route are empty.

Entering Louisiana, you get a great view of wetlands.

Whew, we had just missed a storm!  This was the sunset after the storm over Lake Pontchartrain.  It was a very impressive site.

And on the train ride back to Alabama, we ran into a special friend.   You see our area, as well as others, opened their arms and hearts to those who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.  One of those ladies stayed here for a long time until she felt the need to reunite with her family.  She says this is her home away from home and comes back to visit when she can.  Today, she will tell you how God was working in her life through all of this.  You can imagine our surprise to run into her taking the same train back home!

More later on our trip and how a local blogger gave me some great tips!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The kitchen is closed

The kitchen is closed due to illness.  I'm sick of it.

The pans won't fit in the cabinets.  It's not that the cabinets are full (which they are), but they physically will not fit into the narrow door openings!  So they must sit on top of the stove ALL the time.  The taupe countertop has got to go as well as that corner sink.  A corner sink?  Yes.  Sounds and looks neat but put more than one person in there ... well that is the can't get more than one person at the sink!

The tile floor is cracked and the grout is gradually crumbling away.

It's been 2 months since I've talked about anything except to share a recipe experience with the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club.   No painting projects, no craftiness, no crochet, no sewing.  No project of any kind has received any attention except this one:  the cabinet layout for the kitchen redesign.

Goodbye old kitchen!

Goodbye sunroom floor.

After week 1, the house is a mess with the contents of 3 rooms being shoved into 2 rooms and out in the garage.

The cabinet install started today and I am getting excited to see it come together!

More to come!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

InSPIREd in Cades Cove

When I saw my friend, whose beautiful photos can be found at Rose Street Reflections, has been linking to a meme called inSPIREd, I decided to pull out the photos from our trip earlier this year to Gatlinburg and Cades Cove.

There are several historic places of worship in Cades Cove.

This one is the Baptist church.

They are all rustic, open air and well maintained except for the occasional graffiti from disrespectful tourists.

The grave yards in the back are currently used as family grave sites.

This is the Methodist church.

The wood floors are solid and dusty.

 The wood pews are worn smooth.

"I rejoiced with those who said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”  Psalms 122:1

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spring Break: Great Smoky Mountains

We took advantage of spring break this year by spending a few days in Gatlinburg, TN and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  

It had just snowed a few days before and the scenary was beautiful!!

The snow was fun....

and dangerous...!

We're all squinty eyed the glare was so bright!

This is our family selfie with the cellphone camera.

Then onto Cades Cove where we explored several of the rustic preserved structures.

I just wonder what stories that these buildings could tell.

And while we're here...get a family photo.

and a silly one or two!

Of course, I had to search out the non-chain local restaurants.  I found this article helpful to find a few local places.  We had a late breakfast a couple of mornings at Log Cabin Pancake House and enjoyed dinner at The Peddler Steakhouse.   We'll just have to go back and try the others!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Haricots Verts a la Provencale

Haricots Verts a la Provencale.  

I don't know French so I can't pronounce it, but apparently it means green beans with tomatoes and herbs.  The Sweet As Pie Cooking Club gave me a peek into a Julia Child recipe with this one.

This recipe makes a lot!  I served these green beans along with grilled steak one night and again for lunch at the big family gathering after church the next day.  

I've never cooked with a herb bouquet before so this was an interesting and pretty step!

And even with just 2 or 3 cloves in the bouquet, you can taste them in this big pot of green beans.  

The recipe calls for 2-4 cloves of garlic, choose 4 just because more is better!

I just love the smell of onions cooking, you know there's something good going on.

The recipe calls for fresh tomatoes.  But the "fresh" tomatoes in the store still have that apple texture and not much tomato taste.   So I thawed a bag of frozen garden tomatoes from my freezer and they worked great in this dish!

After a few minutes, remove the herb bouquet and add the green beans...3 pounds.  That's a lot of green beans!.  I used Publix frozen green beans, they're good and have the freshest taste for a frozen vege.

Let the green beans heat up with the tomato mixture for about 10 minutes.

So there, now I can say I made a Julia Child recipe.  This was a great way to change up a regular side of green beans and it's low fat and healthy, too!

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