Thursday, March 18, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

One of my favorite Louisiana dishes is red beans and rice. Perhaps that is because it is the Louisiana dish I remember my mom cooking most often growing up. There is something really comforting about a bowl of steaming rice, beans, and sausage (or if recollection serves me, in my mom's case, smoked ham hocks). I came across this little blog post today on the subject and it made me wish I had a bowl of beans soaking at home.

And, for the record, I'm in complete agreement with him on the Camellia beans. I had never even tasted canned red beans in red beans and rice until very recently. There's nothing wrong with them per se, but for some reason they just lack something. Hours soaking in a bowl on the counter, another few hours cooking low and slow in a cast iron pot, it all adds up to a bowl that tastes more like home.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dinning with Royalty

One of the many highlights of the trip for Caroline was meeting the princesses. Caroline has a love (obsession?) with the Disney princesses. She loves their movies, their songs, their dresses, their tiaras. So for her, meeting the objects of her affection was like nothing else she's ever experienced.
We had three character meals that involved princesses (and for the record, we had to cancel all character meals with Mickey and friends, Winnie the Pooh, and any other costumed character, but that's another story). The second day we were in Disney World, we ate breakfast at Cinderella's castle. As we went into the part of the castle with the restaurant, we got to meet Cinderella herself and take pictures right away. After we were shown to to our table in the dinning room, we were treated to having the other princesses come to our table to sign Caroline's autograph book and take a picture. Here are the pictures from that morning:

The next meal we had with princesses was again a Cinderella themed dinner, but this time Prince Charming and the Stepmother, Lady Tremaine, joined her. Caroline was petrified of the stepmother and I thought we might have to ask her to move on to the next table, but after I told her that Caroline was a bit afraid, she didn't miss a beat. Lady Tremaine had a seat at our table and had a little conversation with Caroline that left Caroline very pleased with the old stepmother. After she left our table, Caroline said, "I think she really likes me!" Caroline also enjoyed meeting the prince and said that they were "in love".

Our Lady Tremaine encounter ended up being one of our favorite moments from the trip. She was such a great character and Caroline was over the moon that she wasn't afraid of her anymore.

Our final princess meal was at Epcot in Norway with the host of princesses yet again. First we met Belle in her yellow gown this time. After that we were seated and the rest of the princesses made their way away the restaurant as dessert was being served. Caroline was especially enthralled with Aurora at this dinner. We had bought her Aurora's crown earlier in the day to match her Aurora dress that had become the favorite one over the course of the trip. Aurora took a little extra time at our table and she and Caroline had a great little conversation about singing and forest animals.

The Snow White at this dinner was exceptional. She sounded exactly like Snow White from the movie.

Finally, we met several other princesses and Cinderella's Fairy Godmother in the park at different times. Here is Caroline meeting the Fairy Godmother on our last day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth!

Early this week, we returned from a week at Disney World. It was my first trip there and I think I enjoyed it just as much as Caroline. Jeff loved every moment of it too; he said that it puts a different perspective on it when you get to see the joy in your child's face when she experiences it! The trip was fantastic in every sense. Caroline was a trooper on the drive and was so caught up in the magic of it all when we were at the parks. The weather was great and the crowds were non-existent. Pictures won't quite do it justice, but words most certainly wouldn't, so I'll let the pictures tell most of the story!

Breakfast at Cinderella's castle (and at the best table in the house) was a great way to start the trip!

This was actually our first glimpse at the castle!

This is just the first batch of pictures, I'll be back with plenty more!