Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Change

Life as she knew it changed on the day we welcomed her baby sister into this world!

My poor little niece Esme was used to having ALL the attention to herself and really believed that she was the center of everyone’s heart until the pesky day that her baby sister made her debut! lol Can you see, by the look on her face, that her world is about to change? This was June 4, 2012. The change has not fared well for poor Esme but I believe that there’s hope and she’ll learn to adjust before she turns 18! lol PLEASE God, let there be hope!

This quote really could have been written for Esme’. She follows NOBODY’S rules and has no respect for authority. I guess that can be a good thing if channeled in the right way and TRUST me, we’re ALL working on it. It really does take a village to raise a child in the way she should go and she’s got the love and attention of not only her parents and older sisters, but her extended family. Most especially her old doting Auntie / Godmother Michelle ūüėČ Maybe she’ll be the next Steve Jobs?

‚ÄúHere’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Apple Inc.

Bonding with the nieces :-)

Having the pleasure of my 4 year old niece, Esme’, who spent the day and night with me. ¬†God I love this kid. ¬†I wish I could describe her personality to you but my words aren’t colorful enough. ¬†There simply is NO personality like hers. ¬†She’s almost, a little TOO old for her 4 years. ¬†An old soul. ¬†She just KNOWS things that she hasn’t ever been taught. ¬†Like, this morning, she told me, as she was helping me scramble some eggs, “I don’t PRECISELY like when you let the egg get on my hand, Aunt Michele”. ¬†Okay, so she didn’t maybe use the word “precisely” in the correct context BUT she used it and what 4 year old says “precisely”? ¬†She has an imaginary friend named Charlotte, who is a spider and she tells me that once, when Charlotte was just a baby, I stepped on her and killed her but Esme’ brought her back to life. ¬†Charlotte is busy in the kitchen now, and she’s raising a family of her own. ¬†LOT’S of little baby spiders. ¬†lol ¬†I once had an imaginary friend, but it was a boy named Charlie NOT a spider! Oh and Esme’ isn’t allowed to watch TV but somehow she knows ALL about zombies. ¬†She chased me around the house yesterday pretending to be a zombie who wanted to eat me! ¬†I obliged her by falling to the ground so she could take a chunk out of me ūüôā

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I also had her baby sister, Ireland, who I swear is the reincarnation of my brother, J. ¬†She is the SPITTING image of him. ¬†I started calling her “Uncle J”. ¬†lol ¬†Esme’ LOUDLY explains to me that Ireland is NOT Uncle J! ¬†I wish these girls could REALLY know who their Uncle J is. ¬†They only have pictures though. ¬†Anyway, Ireland is my little lover and wants me to hold and snuggle her all day, and I will. ¬†Sadly, her mommy came to pick her up last night. ¬†My sister in law says she doesn’t share well… and she doesn’t! ¬†Ah well, I’m blessed to have these kids as much as I do and I’m EXTREMELY happy that they have such a good mommy who doesn’t like to be without her girls. ¬†That’s the way it SHOULD be.

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Today, I’ll be picking Esme’ and Ireland’s older sister Aubrie up from school. ¬†I don’t get to see Aubrie much because she’s involved in SO many sports and other school activities. ¬†I cherish even these sad times. ¬†I’m taking Esme’ and Aubrie shopping for funeral clothes. ¬†It’s a sad occasion but I’ll try to make it as fun as I can. ¬†Besides, NOBODY does fashion the way Aunt Michelle does fashion! ¬†lol ¬†That’s really the only reason my sister in law asked me to take the girls shopping! ¬†lol

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One of the only pictures of me Esme’ and Aubrie ūüôā

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A more recent pic of me Aubrie and Ireland ūüôā

Now… ¬†I’m off to do some serious girl bonding! ¬†Here we come mall !!!

On Lent, Catholic Guilt and Shrimp Etouffee’…

Fridays during Lent, for a Catholic usually mean dinner without meat. ¬†Or fish fries. ¬†For some reason, it’s okay to eat fish, just not meat. ¬†It’s no secret that I HATE eating fish. ¬†I’m not a picky eater but I can’t think of any one food that will actually make me gag more than fish. ¬†I can eat shell fish all day long (especially crab legs drenched in butter or shrimp scampi) just not the kind of fish that you have to “scale”. ¬†lol ¬†NOT a good Catholic. ¬†I was raised very strict Catholic and we upheld the Lenten rules. ¬†We were told that it was a way of “fasting” to show Jesus that we appreciate his dying on the cross so that we can go to heaven. ¬†I’ve fallen away from the Catholic church for the most part but I still DO observe some of their teachings. ¬†The “Catholic Guilt” has never left me though.

All my adult life, I’ve not observed Lent. ¬†I just felt like it was stupid to believe that Jesus wanted us to eat fish only on Friday’s during Lent. ¬†Another thing we do is “give up” or sacrifice something that we really enjoy all through the week (again, only during Lent) but we get it back on Sundays. ¬†Who comes up with this stuff? ¬†I feel like a good “fast” is fine and even can be productive but why do we do this kind of thing only during Lent? ¬†IDK… ¬†I’m not knocking it for other people but it just didn’t make sense for me. ¬†So yeah, I’m a very bad Catholic. ¬†AND I feel guilty about it. ¬†lol

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Crazy girl Esme’

Tonight, my 4 year old niece is coming over to spend the night with her adoring Aunt Michelle (me) and she is being raised very strict Catholic, just like my brother and I were. ¬†Did I mention that I’m also her Godmother? ¬†That means that I’ve promised before God and our family and friends to help raise little Esme’ Catholic. ¬†It’s Friday so we’re not allowed to feed her meat so what do I do? ¬†I consult the Great Paula Deen is what I do! ¬†lol ¬†I’m going to make Creole style shrimp etouffee for the second time in my life! ¬†It’s actually delicious! ¬†What makes it Creole and not Cajun? ¬†The fact that tomatoes are added. ¬†True Cajun Etouffee’ does not have tomatoes and it calls for crawfish, not shrimp. ¬†Originally, I mean. ¬†Now days, they throw a little of everything in the pot. ¬†Etouffee is the French word for “smothered”. ¬†Anything smothered.

Food historians trace back Louisiana crawfish etouffee to the crawfish capital of the world, Breaux Bridges, Louisiana. According to culinary history, etouffee was first served in the Hebert Hotel in the early 1920s when Mrs. Hebert, along with her daughters, Yoli and Marie, made crawfish etouffee using crawfish tails, crawfish fat, onions and pepper. Later on, the Heberts shared their recipe with their friend, Aline Guidry Champagne. Ms. Champagne later opened a restaurant, the RendezVous Café, and began serving the dish there.  Now days, the recipe has been altered.  We use a thicker sauce and we use oil and NOT crawfish fat.  Yuk.  We also use other types of shellfish.

Here’s the recipe:

Shrimp Etouffee (Creole Style)

Adapted from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 large yellow onion (I always use Vidallia or sweet)

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped celery

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp Creole seasoning

1/2 cup finely chopped scallions (green onions) (plus extra for garnish)

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)

2 or 3 dashes of hot sauce (or more if you like more heat)

1 8 oz bottle clam juice

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies

salt

2 lbs small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 TBSP (1/2 stick) butter

6 cups cooked rice (for serving)

Directions:

1.  In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan (or Dutch oven), combine the oil and flour over low heat to prepare the roux.  Whisk the flour into the oil to form a paste.  Continue cooking over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture turns a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma.  15 to 20 minutes.

2.  Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic and cook over low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the black pepper, white pepper and cayenne pepper, Creole seasoning, 1/2 cup green onions, parsley and hot sauce.  Pour in the clam juice and diced tomatoes, stirring to blend. Add salt, starting with 1 teaspoon, then add more if you like.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. ¬†Add the shrimp and stir. It will take only about 3 minutes for the shrimp to cook, so be sure you don’t overcook them (they’ll be rubbery if you do). ¬†Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the butter. ¬†The heat from the dish will melt the butter. ¬†Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Serves 6 to 8 as a main course

Happy Friday and enjoy YOUR fish during this Lent season!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the details

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Lost in the details

Esme’ getting lost in the detail. Who care’s about the cookies when you can have cookie dough, right?

“To create something exceptional, your mind must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail”
Giorgio Armani