I soaked up the rays on the short walk back to OLS to make it in time for the Parent Blessing that Mikayla's class held. She did fabulously, praying for all the parents, singing with her friends and presenting Grant and I with our 'awards' and adorable gift she made. In case you wanted to know, Mikayla 'voted' me "Best Painter of Nails!" and Grant "Best Fixer of Broken Things". It made me smile that she acknowledged that one on one girlie bond we have - so much so that I repainted hers for her when we got home. She also made us an adorable gift with pictures and her handprint. I can't believe the school year is almost over for her - only 2 weeks left!
Amid painting nails I also managed to put together tonight's dinner of Natchitoches Meat Pies. There were SO MANY Louisiana recipes to choose from (I even had to scrap two that I really wanted to do, but I will share them over the weekend), but before my research I'd never heard of these before. Turns out they are quite the northern Louisiana specialty and it is even an official state food of Louisiana! If you're interested, you can read more about the history of the meat pie here. I was a little leery of making them, but glad in the end that I tried it out. I made them a little smaller than the recipe called for (and only made a half batch) and got so many that I only fried up half of them and froze the other half. I also decided to use up the rest of the okra from the other night with this recipe for Oven Fried Okra. Um, it was like popcorn in vegetable form - who knew! And healthy, too!
For dessert tonight I made Ms. Kay's Banana Pudding. Though I have never seen it, Duck Dynasty follows the lives of the Robertson family who live in West Monroe, Louisiana. This is a recipe from the matriarch of the family, Ms. Kay. My crew decided they didn't care who made it, they loved it! I decided this was yet another example of how you just don't rush Louisiana cooking, as I stood stirring the homemade pudding for over 20 minutes! They're right though, it was worth every single stir.
After walking home in the beautiful sunshine the kiddos headed out on the deck to work on their state map coloring. Any guesses as to what they drew? Check it out below!
We also put together our "We've Been There" state tonight - with the older half of the Gatchel clan being able to add stickers. Earlier in the week my Mom commented on the length of my Louisiana intro blog on Monday and that it seemed that I was really taken with Louisiana - she's right! I adored it when I was there (in 2001 on my high school class trip) and have fallen even further in love with it during my research the past few weeks. The diversity, the food, the music, the differences in the land from the North to the South - the BLEND of it all together definitely makes Louisiana one of my favorites so far. I've been wanting to go back (especially to New Orleans) and would really like to take the kids eventually too. Something to be thinking about...
Noah doesn't have school tomorrow because it's kindergarten orientation at Beechview, so depending on the weather we'll be up to all kinds of fun tomorrow I'm sure. Plus I'm going to satisfy Kayla's seafood love with jambalaya and am so excited to make some authentic beignets! So until then...
Excited for her program
Praying for the parents
Squishing up her baby bumble bee
A well deserved bow
She's all mine!
But she's Daddy's girl, too
Making meat pies (I felt like I should be listening to the Sweeny Todd soundtrack...)
Because I am the best painter of nails, you know
This is the finished product of what I was helping his class with the other day
Mikayla's Louisiana - this is the tree growing in the bayou
Noah's Louisiana - he drew the state tree (bald cypress) growing next to the Superdome. All the blue is due to the flooding from Hurricane Katrina
Oven Fried Okra
Natichotches Meat Pies
I was blown away by the dough on these - nice and crisp on the outside but tender, flaking and light on the outside after frying them up
Miss Kay's Banana Pudding
Grant and I have been there