Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Cherry Blossoms {The Blog} Shares New Orleans

Mardi Gras may have been last week but New Orleans is a treat any time of the year.  Our guest blogger, Kiley Smith shares about her family’s recent trip, some favorites things and **star** sightings!

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This past summer my family and I went to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.

We had an absolute blast (despite it being SO humid and SO hot)! We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel-located walking distance from the french quarter, it was clean and gorgeous.  New Orleans is a great place to go celebrity watching! While staying at our hotel we met Ryan Gosling-(gasp!). He told us he was on ‘vacation’ so we don’t have photos of us actually meeting him but thankfully before we ‘met’ him my sister managed to take some sneaky photos of him walking through the hotel lobby. Later on that day we saw Forest Whitaker at the Aquarium with his daughter. I thought our TWO celebrity run-ins in the same day were pretty cool!

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Planning a trip to NOLA anytime soon? Here are the things you MUST do (and some pointers too)!

  • Bring really good walking shoes and if you are going in June, July, August bring REALLY good deodorant. It gets humid (and when I say humid-I mean it is like you took a shower in your own sweat-gross but true!).
  • Eat at Muriels, Jackson Square-worth the splurge.
  • Go in at least one Vodoo shop
  • Eat at Sucre!-You will want to order EVERYTHING!
  • Take a trip to the Garden District-this is where many of the celebrities live–and the homes are to die for! The downtown area is really cute. Lots of fun shops!
  • Cafe DuMonde-Beignets are a must! 
  • Eat at Mother’s. It is old and grungy but the food is good and cheap
  • There are children all around the French Quarter who tap, clap, and sing. Do not stop and watch–they will hassle you for money or worse yet…you could be pick pocketed. 
  • Trashy Diva is a fun shop you will find in the French District on Magazine Street.

Can’t take a trip to New Orleans this year?

Have your own Mardi Gras party at home! We did and it was a blast!

Here is a great recipe that I made tonight (we had an early celebration!)-it is a delicious dish and makes a 4 star restaurant quality meal!

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Chicken and Andouille Cajun Pasta

by: Cherry Blossoms {the blog}

3/4 box dry penne pasta

olive oil

2 tbsp creole seasoning/cajun seasoning

1 lb boneless chicken breast, 1-inch diced

3/4 lb andouille sausage, 1/4 inch slices

medium onion diced

small green pepper, diced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 C. water

1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomato (do not drain)

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

black pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Boil Chicken breasts (thawed) for 20 minutes.Remove from heat and set aside to let cool. In pan cook garlic until fragrant then add onion and peppers and cook until soft. Stir in chicken stock, water, can of tomato, cajun (or creole seasoning), sausage and thyme. (At this time put pot on stove with water and bring to a bowl-this is the water for your pasta).  Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till liquid reduces halfway. Shred your chicken breasts and then add to pot, stir in cream and continue cooking until sauce begins to thicken a little. Finish by adding pasta, basil, pepper to taste and parmesan. Put pasta in boiling water and cook for 11 minutes or till al dente (and then drain). Mix sauce and pasta together and serve.

Oh and don’t forget your Mardi Gras beads!

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Our THANKS to Kiley Smith and Cherry Blossoms {The Blog} for this great insight to New Orleans.