ME

ME

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New Orleans (Day Three), Faulkner Cookout AND The Pioneer Woman's Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

Good Monday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - New Orleans - Day Three - Mike had meetings all day Thursday, so my original plan was to spend the day at the Audubon Zoo. Usually by Day Three of any little trip, I can find my way to one or two attractions. I am not officially directionally-challenged, but I need to practice before heading out in a new city alone...

Even with a GPS.

It didn't take long to discover New Orleans is a little different. We were staying on the edge of the French Quarter and the Zoo was located in the Garden District. In my mind, that meant if I walked three or four blocks in one direction I would be exactly where I wanted to be...

Because in my mind, every town, city, province, etc., is the size of Gardendale.

That isn't always the case.

Also, I am accustomed to Birmingham and a couple of cities in Tennessee which are on a "grid" system.

Gatlinburg is one lovely, long street.

Disney and Universal are designed in giant circles.

New Orleans is not on a "grid" system...

Or a giant circle system.

Or a nice long street.

Nay.

It is built on a crescent.

As far as I can tell, that means the closer you get to the Mississippi River, the more the streets follow the curve of the Mississippi River and NOT a nice, square grid.

The crescent.

The crescent changed my plans greatly.

Instead of heading to the Audubon Zoo, I decided to walk several blocks to the water's edge and visit the Audubon Aquarium.

I could see it from the hotel.

It was definitely doable.

Definitely.

So after a lovely breakfast, I headed out on my own little adventure.


Here is the obligatory picture of the outside of the building with the name prominently displayed.

While there were no sharks or whales or whale sharks present, let me just say this is an excellent aquarium. There are plenty of exhibits, hands-on and otherwise, and an indoor playground and a very nice food court.

The Gift Shop is one of the best I have ever seen...

And when I say "best I have ever seen," I do not mean there are bargains in this Gift Shop.

Just A LOT of really good merchandise.


There was a great Rain Forest Exhibit, and while I am a fan of the Rain Forest Exhibit, the humidity gets me every single time.

This Exhibit was no exception.


I had four favorite exhibits.

The Penguin Exhibit was fairly small, but the penguins were numerous and very active. They each had a name displayed on an arm band. They swam, ate, dove, ran, waddled, etc. the entire time.

Loved them.


The Seahorse Exhibit was tranquil. There were four large oval aquariums (almost floor to ceiling), and the seahorses were mesmerizing.

Lots of laughter at the Penguin Exhibit. (Laughter from the kids. I didn't want you to think there were laughing penguins. Although, that would be pretty cool, too.)

Lots of "oohs" and "aahs" at the Seahorse Exhibit. (Again, from the kids.)


Just for the record, the Eel Exhibit was not a favorite.

Not by a longshot.

However, this picture came out pretty good, so I included it with the others.


The Parakeet Exhibit was by far my MOST favorite.


There were hundreds of these beautiful birds flying all over the place. I stayed in the exhibit over 20 minutes, and I had to make myself leave.

Not pictured were the two Otter Exhibits. They ate, played, swam and ate some more. They were actually SO active, I couldn't get a good picture of them although I tried for quite a while.

As you may or may not be able to tell, I highly recommend visiting the Aquarium if you are ever in New Orleans...

With or without kids.

RANDOMNESS #2 - We had a cookout at Mr. and Mrs. Faulkner's this past weekend. The weather was excellent, as was the food and all of the kiddos.

A good time was had by all, I think.


I LOVE baby sandals.


I love how Melia and Courtney play with all the babies.

They do not hold back...


Not even a little bit.


Uncle Austin and Judith post-hamburger/post-hotdog.


Austin and Melia.


Papa Guy and Micah. Micah will be one next month, so birthday pictures will be forthcoming on the blog.


Mrs. Faulkner and Judith discussing the pros and cons of summer hats.

The Pioneer Woman's Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

I've posted this once before, but it's worth posting again.

You will need the following for the meatloaf:

1 cup whole milk
6 slices white sandwich bread
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
4 eggs, beaten
8 to 12 thin bacon slices

You will need the following for the tomato sauce:

3/4 cup ketchup
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Several dashes hot sauce (more if you like)
Dash or two of Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pour milk over the bread and allow it to soak in for several minutes. Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, salt, some pepper, seasoned salt and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the eggs.

3. With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.

4. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a foil-lined broiler pan, which will allow the fat from the meat to drain.

5. Lay the bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf to give the meatloaf some support.

6. Next, make the tomato sauce. Pour the ketchup into a bowl. Add the brown sugar and dry mustard, and splash in the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

7. Stir the mixture until well combined. Pour one-third of the sauce over the top of the meatloaf.

8. Bake for 45 minutes, and then pour another one-third of the remaining tomato sauce over the meatloaf. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes; the meatloaf should no longer be pink in the middle. Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving.

9. Serve with the remaining tomato sauce on the side as a dipping sauce.

The last two times I have prepared this recipe, I have made double tomato sauce. It is just that good.

Also, if you don't own ALL of The Pioneer Woman's cookbooks, you need to remedy that.

Not only are they beautiful, but they are extremely usable.

And Mother's Day is quickly approaching.

Just sayin'.

Have a great Tuesday. I'll be back in a day or so with other things to discuss.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Here is one more from Roxie's Greek Sing.


I liked all of the EYES.

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