NOLA Bound!

nolaEven though I am from New Orleans, I am a total tourist when I go back. I’m heading there today and these are the things I will do just like every time I visit. We will head down to the French Quarter and find Tropical Isle to get their famous Hand Grenades, no matter what time of day it is. Then we’ll go shopping through the French Market and buy lots of things we don’t need just because it’s fun negotiating with the vendors. Last time, I bought a ring that was $45 for $20 and the guy kept saying he wasn’t making any money selling to me. I walked away at least five times and when he finally caved in, he was so angry I thought he was going to punch me. For lunch, I love to go to Café Maspero because they have the best roast beef po boys. The rest of my family disagrees but I love the place and its cozy atmosphere. You can’t go to NOLA without getting beignets at the famous Café Dumonde. The line is always ridiculously long but it’s worth the wait. In between all of this, we check out the street performers and enjoy the art along the sidewalks. New Orleans has something no other place has. If you haven’t been yet, plan a trip! Or come join DisasterJuice this weekend.    ~Dutch

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Reward Yourself!

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Sometimes the best motivation is a reward. But since we are adults now, your mom isn’t going to give you ice cream when you eat all your veggies. You are probably in a routine where you eat dessert when you want it and if you want to splurge while shopping, you just do it. Here is something I like to try. If there is something I want to bake, I could say if I make it to the gym 4 days this week, I can bake on Saturday. Or if I really want frozen yogurt, I have to do 30 minutes of stair climbing that day. You just have to be committed to the deal. You can get other people in on it too. Like I tell the husband if I say something unnecessarily mean about someone, I have to give him a dollar. Then I can work on being nicer and it’s a total pain since I never have cash. Luckily, he forgets after a few days too. These ideas may sound silly, but it makes you more aware of what you are doing. When I had to cut back on caffeine, I saved $1 every day I went without it which went towards a purchase I really wanted. Eventually, you get used to working out 4 days and not having caffeine. I thought of today’s post because Cwall and I keep talking about cutting back on drinking. I’ll say ok, I won’t drink for a month. But then you go somewhere and you’re the only one without a glass of wine. Not that big of a deal until people are like, “You could have ONE glass.” The pressure! So I’m going to use today’s tip and come up with a reward big enough to help me reach my goal. Share your ideas with us! ~Dutch

Doughnuts!

Every town has that great doughnut shop that keeps odd hours and sells amazing inventive doughnuts. Just ask Dutch, there is a Donut Hole bakery and diner almost walking distance from her door. I have to drive a bit further for something creative, living in the city we are overrun with chain shops calling at you from the street with that glowing red neon “Hot Now” sign. Currently Knoxville is in what I like to call a cupcake renaissance, selling overpriced designer cupcakes that are smaller than a regular slice of cake. Bigger cities are catching on to this boutique doughnut movement though and Chicago is no different, The Doughnut Vault keeps with tradition opening early and closing when they sell out. Click the more link for a short film on the shop. Continue reading

Leons Full Service

While I was looking through the slide show of the current top 50 bars in the U.S., not so surprisingly I had been to one of them. Living in Knoxville doesn’t always lend itself to superior watering holes, however it is getting better. The one I had been to was The Patterson House in Nashville, a cool little speakeasy that’s well hidden. More about Knoxville, and The Patterson House some other time.

There were a couple on the list though in Atlanta, so I  decided to check another establishment off the list of places I’ve been. This past weekend I made my way to Leon’s Full Service just outside of Atlanta in Decatur. They don’t take reservations, however on a Saturday night the wait was only about 20 minutes.

The bar is first come first serve and it was packed. We did manage to find a couple empty stools while we waited for our table. I ordered a couple of the evening’s special cocktail, a mix of bourbon, citrus and absinthe.  It was good however the absinthe gave the bourbon too much of a Sazerac type flavor.

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Pumpkin.Chocolate Chip.Brownies

I know. So sick of hearing about pumpkin everything. But who doesn’t love brownies? So now that the cold weather is here, we need tasty treats that are simple to make while we curl up in front of the internet. I found this recipe and have made it a few times. Unless you are a huge pumpkin fan, go easy on that ingredient. I put a little less than it called for and found that was perfect for me. Here’s the recipe.            ~Dutch