Monday, December 27, 2010

Decked out in Victorian style

General (Alexandre) Mouton House
National Registry of Historic Places
Lafayette Museum

Caretaker - greyhaired lady - heard a squeak from floors above as I entered & so she mentioned she thought there was a ghost visiting today - also adding that her husband had passed 3 yrs ago so maybe he was visiting her for the holidays, I said I guess you'll know when he taps you on the shoulder...

But as I walked around , inside & outside, downstairs & upstairs I soon found out the real non-ghostly cause of the the children's room, a smoke detector needed it's battery changed - I knew I'd heard that sound before in other houses I'd lived in, knew also it wasn't her other idea either that the heater was flowing air up thru the floorboard vents making the squeak possibly...

Well, the house was build about 1800 so it could indeed be haunted by a ghost--but not today, it was only decked out in Victorian style for the Christmastime spirit...

I loved the evergreens all over the old house, the smell together with the old wood in the house was lovely, & especially liked the garland over the fireplace mantle mirror hung with 3 or 4 red paper horns of flowers like you might do on a doorknob for May Day instead (which is also an old tradition...)

Another natural decoration I liked were the centerpieces - one of stacked apples, another of stacked fruits with a pineapple on top & one more of the gum ball seed pods from a certain tree that grows here (now I've forgotten the name of it - must relearn these things, having lived here 2 times before in the past...)

Of course there was a Mardi Gras room upstairs, where they'd taken over a bedroom to put behind glass past glorious King & Queen plus Page gowns/costumes with their crowns & septers...

Next to another room in honor of the Carmelite Nuns - Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart - where you could find what looked like a floral design framed inside a shadow box, which was curious until I read that when a girl became a nun they cut all her hair off & then if the family could afford it her hair would be sent off to some place where it was then made into these designs they'd frame & return to hang in either the family or the new nun's room (still curious that, even after reading what it was...)

Suppose in the future if they want Victorian DNA could they possibly tap into these real hair designs of girls who would become nuns?! hmmm...(for another writing idea that?!)

There is a Music room in the old house too, as that was their only form of entertainment back in those days around the 1800's (other then making 12 children with the first wife & 6 more with the second wife - for at least 1 of the owners of the big old house, no wonder they added rooms & floors) - complete with not just a piano, but a harp & I think it would of been great fun to have a recording play music from that time when you stepped into the room (maybe I'm asking too much of these old caretakers...)

Different owners of the house would sometimes (of all the things) etch names or dates into the window panes of the house - on one is a whole poem, the oldest such etching & it reads...

"Around me will hover
 in grief or in glee
'Til life's dream be over
Sweet memories of thee."

by Rosa Mills, 1855

Again find it interesting to note the times & use of language, how that changes in prose or in poetry over the years & am guessing from one region to another just within the US - as we are talking Louisiana here where this house is located, but folks here too have a long history of being influenced by the French...

During the years the house evolved from the original 1 little room, once called a Sunday house, (yes you may have guesssed it - a 2nd house used to come to town from the country & usually to go to church on Sundays, were popular in the 1800's) that still stands in the backyard - which you can step into that little square floor space with the small fireplace inside & look out the windows there & ponder how in the world they raised 12 children in that teeny tiny house....we guessed they must of spent a lot of time outdoors?!

To the house's next evolution which was into a 1 story bigger house in the front with a separate kitchen (would later burn down, it seems they all did that) & smoke house in the back, (which it's still there though) then they added a 2nd story & a cupola on top - that reminds me of a gazebo, only not in the backyard but up on the rooftop...

Sadly you cannot go up to the 2nd floor, nor the cupola - due to insurance reasons, which back in the day you could go all over the house...that's the time I miss, when you could do all sorts of fun things not to be in fear of being sued?!

Of course the caretaker lady was old enough to remember when she use to could take the boyscouts up to the roof for a grand view up there in the cupola...

As I walked out the front doors I looked into the entry hall mirror one last time & imagined I was checking out my long petticoats in the full length mirror there behind the table (since it is called a petticoat mirror afterall, as I watched in the intro video on coming into the house) - thinking again that I would never have survived in such times & always do when I visit these old Victorian houses...

1122 Lafayette Street
Lafayette, LA

Tues - Sat 10 - 4:00 pm

Read more about the Carmelite Nuns on Wiki...
Note: Carmelite Nun in habit - Teresa of Avila with John, painting borrowed from

Borrowed photo at top of house - to see this & more Photos of Alexandre Mouton House click link below...

Borrowed photo in middle of the Sunday house & below of the petticoat mirror - at Acadians in Gray link...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

By any other name a grocery store

Rouses Market, The Fresh Market, (The) Farmers Markets, Fresh Pickin's...
by any other name a grocery store

First Rouses Market in Acadiana -
the Youngsville store opened in 2009...
JP Rouse, the founder lived to see it at 79 yrs old - as all of the family's, to date 36, stores reflect "his values of supporting his community, the local farmers and fishermen, and giving his customers the best quality product at the best price will forever resonate within the company that he built."
He started back in 1923 with the City Produce Company in Thibodaux, LA & it's been a family & local produce company ever since...

There is nothing old fashioned about this supermarket at all, I delightfully discovered on my first visit - am always up for a shopping adventure, even better a foodie one...

Cajun Specialties section, from the webpage states, are handcrafted small batches made in the instore sausage kitchen or smokehouse using exclusive family recipes & include: fresh pork sausage, smoked sausage, stuffed turduchen, marinated/seasoned meats, stuffed whole chickens/breasts/pork chops, stuffed meat & veggies....

Note: I realize this is "not" a vegetarian's delight, but there is also a produce section that's as full as the fields of Louisiana in the store & you can avoid the meat eating animals - both of these sections are a huge part of Cajun living, so hopefully you can get a balance & maybe add some fish or seafood to the diet if you live here trying not to eat meat?!

Best foodie fun yet under online shopping you can order King Cakes...
Mardi Gras King Cakes (aka Fat Tuesday or Carnival) & "Who Dat" King Cakes (that's The Saints by the way, if you've been living under a rock?!) or Christmas King Cakes

Webpage link...

What is a Cajun you might ask?

What are King Cakes you might ask too?

Note: I cannot wait to eat these most delish cakes again & hopefully not find the baby inside to have to buy the next one, which is the tradition--King Cakes...mmm...purple & gold & green sugared icing with cream cheese filling will be my order number one, day one their out in all the local bakeries here in Lafayette or New Orleans or anywheres else in Louisiana (then the search to find the best will be on?!)

What is Mardi Gras you might ask if you've asked the other 2 questions?
(I'll bet you thought I was going to quote Wikipedia again right?!)

Note: the date for the next Mardi Gras is March 8, 2011

(More on this in March, which is a big month in our family - it's nearly all our B-days so why not a Parade inbetween...I'm feeling a King Cake or 2 or 3 coming on for everybody's Spring B-day next year too?!)

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The Fresh Market or TFM

About their company (from their webpage)

"In 1982, Ray Berry and his wife, Beverly, opened a small store dedicated to providing quality foods in a friendly atmosphere.
Over the past 25 years, The Fresh Market has grown because of our dedication to our customers who enjoy the same high quality and amiable service we do.
With a growing national market, we continue to focus on stellar customer service and strive to keep the specialty neighborhood grocer feeling that our customers have grown to love."

October opened their 100th Store - in St. Petersberg, FL
(note: of all the places, where I grew up?!)

You can shop their brands online,  but I think it's way more fun to wander around the inside of the real market - after having a cup of the coffee sample on hand, first visit in it was Pumpkin Spice & this last trip in it was Jamaican Blue Mountain (I'm sure it was blend?!) Plus they leave a basket of choc's to take one to go with your coffee while you wander the chocolate...I am sooo in trouble?!

The Fresh Market Webpage link...
(newsletters, guides, even on Facebook?!)

Holiday Survival Guide direct link...

My Pick for a Spectacular Dessert on your Holiday Table...
The Recipe for: Clementine Trifle with Grand Marnier Sabayon:

Clementine Trifle with Grand Marnier Sabayon


2 tablespoons corn starch
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier
12 TFM egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Clementine zest
2 loaves TFM French Vanilla pound cakes, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 - 10 clementines, peeled and separated
2 (10 ounce) containers Truwhip topping, thawed

TO MAKE THE SABAYON: In a small bowl combine corn starch and Grand Marnier; set aside. In a large heat-safe bowl combine egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. Set bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and whisk constantly to 140°F. Add corn starch mixture and continue to stir until thickened. Remove from heat and add zest. Continue to stir until mixture begins to cool.

BUILD THE TRIFLE: Lay 1/3 of sabayon into bottom of a large trifle dish. Layer 1/3 of pound cake on top of sabayon and top with 1/3 of the clementines and 1/3 of the Truwhip. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with a layer of clementines.
Source: 2010 Holiday Catalog

Answer to the Question - What is a Sabayon?
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The Farmer's Markets - Lafayette

Acadiana Farmers Market
801 Foreman Drive
Lafayette, LA 70506
337 - 948 - 8812

Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday
5:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m

Downtown Farmers Market
538 Jefferson Street
Lafayette, LA 70501
337 - 233 - 2589


Note: Farmers Markets not noted for webpages, but here's a blurb about Lafayette organic local food & it lists Acadian Farmers Market on

I cannot wait to buy fresh corn again & to grill a batch for sure...
I really/Really missed being able to buy fresh corn on the cob while living in Stavanger, Norway - you could some of the year buy a few packaged cobs, like around Thanksgiving, if you were lucky...after that you had to buy vacuum packed nubs that were a mushy wet mess before you even tried to boil them to cook them to have warm corn - I gave up after attempt number one?!

photo credit from Google Search & - until I can take a photo for myself, on & off the grill?!

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Fresh Pickin's - 14 carrot produce

Started up in Baton Rouge by 2 friends, this open air New Orleans style produce market - fresh produce, low prices, local farmers & of course Cajun items...

Have been in for a wander, it is covered uptop & has tent walls with plastic windows in them & open walkways, cement floor, lots of fresh & frozen items, as well as all those Cajun specialties & some garden plants out front too...

I think will shop this place especially since it's going to be close to my new home, could I walk to it with my basket over my arm like I saw the old ladies in Stavanger, Norway do? I'm doubting that, but will be great to go get fresh American or Louisiana grown produce nearly in my backyard--but someone else has done the pickin for me...

Next have to check out their webpage under What's Ripe - for the Seasonal Produce Calendar, since I haven't a clue what's growing when, like is it a summer veggie or a fall harvest one?!

Apparently November is Peak season for: apples, cabbage, citrus (like those famous Satsumas,) mustard greens, persimmons & pomegranates...(now I have to remember what a persimmon is, hmmm...)

 Note: so this is a persimmon, must of just not eaten any of these growing up - nor anywhere else I've lived I guess, mentions somewhere a cross between a tomato & a both so may have to give ém a try one day when they're in season again?!

And November is about the same, only there's a new crop of Pecans & I know what to do with those for sure?! There is not just Pecan pie to be bakes or Pralines to make, there are seasonal shops here for the holidays especially that roast, glaze, sugar & cover them in everything you can think of, from sweet to spicey - I like honey roasted or of course chocolate covered?! mmm...

One of them I drove by off Johnston Street - OK, so I didn't drive by, went in to get a little bag & look see... Classic Golden Pecan shop - if you go in take a peek at the Gauteau Na Na, looks like a pie but am guessing it's chocked full of pecans in there somewheres (another on my list of yummy looking foodie items to try one day too?!)

Note: yes it's 2 layers of buttery dough, it's described as on their webpage, pecan praline torte stuffed into these buttery layers - a recipe from France, Brittany...

Oh my just another reason to love French food (or to go visit my friend to her house in Southern France, now am wondering too how far is Pomerols from Brittany?! I feel some Google Map search time coming on soon...) The monster 9 inch pie or cake or torte or cookie weighs in at 2.6 lbs or 1.18 kg - they did have it for sale by the slice too in the shop...

Classic Golden Pecan shop link..

4303 Johnston Street
Lafayette, LA 70503

Fresh Pickin's webpage link...

907 Kaliste Saloom Road
Lafayette, LA 70508
Tel: 337-261-2607

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Courtyard? Garden? Tin Roof? Pool?!

week 1 was car shopping...
week 2 was house shopping...

So--not a New Orleans Courtyard Garden...

or an Acadian with a tin roof...

nor a full out Plantation either...

But did find a house with a pool in Southern Louisiana so it's all good?!
And of all the things on a street named Aberdeen--as in Scotland, only it's in Louisiana instead?!
Calls to my deep Scottish roots...

Credit photo one: Brooke Giannetti webpage design for Thomas
Credit photo two: Acadiana Village
Credit photo three: Oak Alley Plantation

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sharon in a Volvo Again, but not a house--yet?!

SharoninaVolvo Again
only a green one
and a different model
here's what a typical one looks like...

And before anyone asks, No--not our house in the background, not even close (we're talking Lafayette here not a house in the country of the UK or some such place where houses look like this?!)

Next on is the house hunting for real, at least finding choices so far--but not this big?!

Also found out last week that our Air Shipment has been delayed due to the Cargo Ban, coming into the US - you know after the 'printer bomber' so this means maybe our Air Shipment will show up the same time our Sea Shipment does?!

Back in the USA & experiencing re-culture shock, but especially since Lafayette, LA is like moving to another country compared to some other states in the US?! French Cajuns here, just speak/eat/do things differently--also it's not counties here in this State either it's Parishes, so gives you can idea of the influences going on & then some...

Though it's exciting for us to go to the gas station or the grocery store or the books store or the mall or to go eating out - or just remembering how to write a check again on our bank account - but Oh what a difference in the prices, of everything & anything (it will take awhile for the smiles to come off our faces everytime we pay for something here now too?!)

Currently in Corp Apt (that look amazingly like our Houston Corp Apt when we came back from Doha, Qatar to Houston, TX) after spending a week with friends in Lafayette (only good friends would put up with us & our heavy duty luggage?!)

So until we get a house, we'll just have to enjoy the salt water swimming pool, exercise room, tanning rooms, walks around the pond (complete with reeds or cats of nine tails) & also free coffee from the capsule coffee machine (wanna be Nespresso machine?!) in the community center - along with fresh baked cookies, or popcorn in the TV room or out by the pool is a grill to use & really don't know what else is going on here yet?!

Living Large in Lafayette, Week One... ;o)

writing blog post from: