Aug 26, 2015

LuniTECTS: University of Memphis Health Sciences Building

Last week Bryan, Charlie and I toured the newest building on the University of Memphis South Campus. It will be used by the nursing department as well as the speech and hearing program.

Our first stop was the anechoic room, a totally sound-proof room that will be used for research.

Above is the floor. It was a wire floor suspended over more of the sound-proof panels.

Charlie was probably the first infant in the infant testing room.

One of the labs for nurse training. These mannequins were pretty freaky.

On the third floor there was a roof top terrace looking out onto Park and Audubon Park.

Charlie enjoyed being the center of attention for a few minutes while we were in the library.

A play/research room in the speech and hearing department.

Initially I was not excited about this tour, but it ended up being a pretty interesting experience.

Aug 19, 2015

Porcellino's Butcher Box

For a couple of months now we've been receiving and cooking meals from a local restaurants "butcher box." On Mondays when we opt in, I head to Porcellino's and pick up a bag of prepared or partially prepared items. Each week they provide the ingredients and sometimes the completed dish with instructions. There is usually enough food for a meal or two and a dessert item. I took some pictures from a recent box.

This week's bag was lamb ragu, lyonnaise salad, and monkey bread for dessert.

I started off making confit chicken for the salad because it took the longest. For this portion I seasoned the chicken and then put the provided ingredients in the pan. There was a ton of lard for this (that's the white stuff.)

And after two hours of cooking:

Holy shit, ya'll. This was the tastiest chicken I've ever eaten. I mean seriously. I died. Then I licked my fingers and told Bryan not to touch it.

One of the great things about the butcher box is that it teaches you methods of cooking that you might not have tried yourself. Like confit, which is cooking in fat. It will be happening again soon.

This is the finished lamb ragu. Sometimes the boxes are more hands on. This dish was all made by me. Other weeks all I have to do is heat up the sauce and cook some pasta.

Here is the finished lyonnaise salad. I shredded the confit chicken and then browned it in a skillet. I also had to make the dressing and poach an egg.

This bag was definitely one of the more intensive bags, but it was also the most rewarding. Oh dear Lord, what I wouldn't give to eat both dishes again.

For dessert they sent us monkey bread with a bourbon butterscotch sauce. We had it for breakfast the next morning.  Yum yum!

If you are interested in signing up for the Butcher Box, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the right person.

Aug 18, 2015

New Orleans without the Kid

Last week Bryan and I were able to get away just the two of us. My mom was kind enough to take Charlie off our hands so I could accompany Bryan to the Crescent City. He had a few events and a sales call to make, which gave me some much needed alone time.

We stopped at Brent's Drug Store in Jackson on the way down. It's an old pharmacy soda shop. Best decision ever: getting a banana nutella shake to go.

Bryan had to make a sales call at 5 pm, so I did this. Glory!

Once he was finished with his meeting he came back for me. We decided to walk around the Quarter and get a bite to eat before our dinner reservations.

Gotta have the Southern Antipasta plate at Sylvain. I think this is the third or fourth time we've had it. Always a winner.

Pro tip: when you see a couple taking a selfie offer to take their picture for them. Nine times out of ten they are willing to do the same for you. We have about two pictures of just the two of us so far this year.

We had dinner at Peche the first evening. We ordered a sampler dozen oysters. They offer oysters from five different areas and it was fun to try them all and decide which was our favorites. Mine: Champagne Bay, Louisiana.  Bryan: Daulphin Island, Alabama.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel which was delicious. After showers and getting dressed at our own pace we headed to St. Roch Market.

This market reopened in April of this year, although it was originally opened in 1875. They had 15 different vendors selling various things you could consume.

We consumed these and boudin from Skank.

And the shrimp egg rolls and fried gulf shrimp tacos from Koreole.

Bryan had an event and was busy most of the afternoon. I read in the hotel room for a couple of hours then took the streetcar down to the Garden District.

No trip at New Orleans is complete without a trip to St. James Cheese in my mind. And also a meal at Cochon where we had dinner.

It was a great trip. A little walking, tried a new place, but also visited our favorites. Most importantly we had our first trip away from Charlie.

Don't get us wrong, we love this kid and missed him. But it's good to get a break too.

Aug 17, 2015

Garden update Monday

The garden is at the sweet spot of late summer. Finally producing tomatoes and peppers! The heat has eased up a little bit which enables me to spend some enjoyable time exploring and playing. And doesn't require a constant water vigilance. In other words things are pretty great right now. Here are a few photos. 


Sweet peppers

Can you spot the cucumber hanging from the tree? 

Aug 12, 2015

North Mississippi Day Trip

Last week Bryan needed to call on a store in Oxford. Charlie and I decided to accompany him because a) we needed to get out of the house, b) we love Oxford, and c) we could use this as a little test to see how Charlie does in the car for long periods.  Once Charlie was up, changed, and fed we hit the road.

Oxford is just over an hour from Memphis and is one of our favorite places to visit. They have great shopping on the Square and amazing food for such a small town.

First stop was breakfast at Big Bad Breakfast. Charlie tried a few bites of my grits and didn't hate it! Bryan declared that they had the best bacon he's ever eaten.

After visiting with Matt at Full Motion Running and Cycling, Charlie had his lunch on the Square. It was a rainy day so we stopped under an awning to wait out a rain shower and feed Charlie. Not a bad way to kill some time.

The rain and cranky baby didn't stop us from doing a little shopping. We got our first Christmas present at Nielson's. Bryan also got some swanky boat shoes there 70% off! Then we went to Square Books, Jr. to look around. Charlie got two books and I picked up another Christmas gift. Tis the season! My only regret is that we never made it into the original Square Books. Probably better for our wallet.

Bryan and I were still feeling full from breakfast so we drove to Water Valley, MS to check it out and have lunch. After last month's feature in Garden and Gun we were intrigued. It was about a 25 minute drive from Oxford along back country roads.

We had lunch at BTC Grocery.

I ordered the daily special which included a garden salad, crawfish ettouffe, fried squash, and tea. Ya'll, the garden salad was truely a garden salad. It had fresh blackberries (not pictured because I ate them all), cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers from a local garden. I loved the addition of grapes and the homemade dressing. Mmmm... The fried yellow squash was also really good. I didn't eat much of the etouffee because I was still full, but we brought it home and Bryan enjoyed it the next day. The locals were super sweet and doted on Charlie.

Charlie did okay in the car. On the way back I moved to the back seat mid ride to help entertain him. He napped twice for thirty minutes. Not great when he normally naps for an hour and half two times a day. But he did pretty well and we can't complain too much.

Aug 4, 2015

Charlie: 6 months

Ugh, how do I have a six month old?!  For some reason when I thought about life with a baby, I sort of pictured him always staying pretty much a baby. Everyday he's growing and changing and it's starting to not be as baby-ish. He can sit up mostly on his own now. He can drink from his sippy cup on his own, if he wants to. Which usually he doesn't. He's wearing 12-18 month clothing. He owns shoes. He eats a variety of vegetables and fruit. He can, but doesn't always, sleep through the night.

Here are a few favorite photos from the last month:

This was the time he tried water for the first time. More came out than went in.

That one time when he won a race and made the paper.

At his six month check up. Weighed 22 lbs and 27" long.

We mostly eat in the high chair now.

Aug 3, 2015

Monday Garden Update

We had a low humidity weekend and I was able to get out and actually do some work in the garden! The last few weeks its just been too hot to do anything other than water.

I cleared out the remnants of edamame plants and added some compost. My hope is to plant some beet seeds there in the next week or so. I also dumped the buckets of potatoes to disappointing, but not surprising results. And cleared out the lettuce pots which had gone to seed.

I'm finally starting to see some fruits (literally) of my labor. Cherry roma tomatoes are starting to turn. I've picked three already. Maybe soon we'll see some larger tomatoes!