A Valentine Sweet for a Sweet Valentine

Mister NOLA and I are horrible at celebrating Valentine’s Day…I guess because everyday is Valentine’s Day. We try to be pretty religious about having “date nights” around here. Are we the most romantic couple on earth???? ….NOT AT ALL, but we both believe that it’s important we spend time together without our kids.  This particular night, we usually try to avoid going to dinner because restaurants are usually so crowded. I usually get the kids a sweet treat and call it a day.

With that being said, you can imagine my surprise when my husband called the other day and said that we had a reservation for Friday night. I was puzzled to say the least. What about our usual Friday night dinner with the kids at Popeyes Fried Chicken?????   His good friend actually made the reservation for us. We will be double dating with he and his new girlfriend. It wasn’t Mister NOLA’s idea, but I’m okay the with that.  It’s dinner out to a nice restaurant……. I’ll take it.  It also had me thinking that maybe I should be a little more thoughtful myself on this day that is known to be full of romance.

I just filled a Valentine tin with homemade candy.  He will love it.  I have only done this one other Valentine’s Day in the past 22 years of being together (dating and married).  I’ve done a few other little things through these years, but this one I know will go straight to his heart via his lips and stomach.

With the redoing of my kitchen being my main focus these days, I do not have the time, energy or space to make pralines (my new favorite candy to make…only took my years to master how to make pralines).  I took a  few minutes to make White Chocolate Pecan Clusters.  I think I made these in under 30 minutes.  It’s taking me longer to write about them than it took to make them.  I thought I’d share them if you need something delicious and quick, these might be your Valentine answer…..

You need:

  • 1 bag of white chocolate candy melts (I used Ghirardelli Candy Making and Dipping White Melting Wafers found in the baking section of the grocery.)
  • 2 cups of roasted pecan halves



 I placed my pecan halves on pan and roasted them in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes.

Once they were finished I set them on the side to cool while I melted my chocolate.  If you use melting wafers, the instructions on different ways to melt the wafers are usually on the bag.

I was going for the quickest route so I put my wafers in a microwavable bowl and heated them for 30 seconds on medium power.  I stirred them and returned them for 15 second intervals until they were completely melted.  (Stir the chocolate between each 15 second interval.)

After the chocolate was nice and smooth, I added the pecans to the bowl.  I mixed well so all of the pecan halves were coated in the chocolate.  I then dropped the mixture by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet that was lined with wax paper.  I then put them in the  refrigerator for about       15 minutes to set up and cool.



 



Once they were set, I was able to fill a Valentine tin with them.  I picked up this Valentine tin for 1.00 at the Dollar Tree. (YES…I am cheap!)



My White Chocolate Pecan Clusters will stay nice and fresh in the tin until Valentine’s Day.   Of course they will stay fresh for days after that, but will they last that long????

Hugs and kisses this Valentine’s Day, y’all!!

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Local FAVS….

I know you are probably expecting this post to be about food.  That would make sense since most of you know I LOVE to eat.  LOL!

It’s not about favorite foods, but since I mentioned food look at what long- lost, local favorite my family has been eating.  You’re not seeing things.  It is a REAL McKenzie’s King Cake.  It is not our favorite Randazzo’s King Cake, but it was a nice throw back goodie.  There is a Tastee/McKenzie’s Bakery on Harrison Ave. in New Orleans just a few blocks off of Canal Blvd.  It’s about a 10 minute drive for me from NOCCA after I drop off Reed. CAN YOU SAY DANGEROUS????

They have the buttermilk drop donuts there too.  I did get a dozen, but spared you the photo.  No need for  you to be drooling on your smartphone.   I threw the French Market coffee k-cup in the photo too because if you have not tried it, try it!   I enjoy it much more than CC’s.   I’m not getting paid for that plug either…LOL!

The local favorites I am blogging about are Drew, Harry, and  John.  Drew and Harry were heavily in the spotlight last week which made me start thinking………….

Drew was in NYC for the SuperBowl activities (the actual game NOT being one of those as you know…sigh!).  He appeared on almost every talk show that films in the area and them some.  I could not help notice the amount of cheers he received on these shows from folks in the audience.  The audiences were going NUTS!!  I know they have little signs that flash which tells the audience when to applaud, but I  really believe  the Who Dat Nation stretches across the country, and that Drew has that many fans.  If you disagree, please don’t tell me.

Don’t you just love how I used a picture of Drew decked out in Mardi Gras beads.

He and his wife also announced last week that they are expecting baby number four.  Congratulations to the Brees family.  My friend, Lisa, and I were just talking a few weeks ago how it was probably time for Brittany to be pregnant again.  Pink is probably due for their family, but something tells me that it will be a boy.  Which, I love boys! I have two of my own.  There is just something about the little spark of pink that was added to our family that makes me believe that every family needs a little pink in their lives.  So if you have only boys…..keep trying!!! LOL!!!

 

Harry Connick Jr……. If the world did not know who he was before American Idol, they do now.  He no longer lives in the New Orleans area, but will always be a New Orleans boy to me and fellow Louisianans.  I think it was a New Orleans transplant (Chris Rose)  that said something like … “You can live anywhere in the world, but New Orleans is the only city that lives in you.”  There is just something that happens when you are from New Orleans or even visit her.   She  becomes part of your soul. If you don’t believe me, ask the Texas born  Drew Brees.


I have a friend who as a teenager was given a photo from Harry of himself. She was at a Mardi Gras parade, and he was on a float.  He handed her his photo…….or at least that is the story I remember her telling.   I guess then he knew he was destin to be famous.  I don’t know about you, but I would love for Harry to hand me his picture today off of a float.  Sure would be better than beads.   He has his own Mardi Gras Krewe/Parade today…Krewe of Orpheus.  It rolls down the parade route on Lundi Gras (the Monday for Mardi Gras).

 

The social medias are buzzing with how much the everyone has fallen in love with this New Orleans boy.  Just as the audiences were hoopin’ and hollerin’ over Drew, the Facebook post and tweets have been being blowing up with Harry.  Have you noticed?  AND if it’s just me posting about him and creating this in my own mind, please don’t tell me.

John Besh…..This local fav is literally a local fav to me.  I grew up in the same town as John.  Still to this day live in the same town as John.  As teenagers, we cruised our local boulevard on the same nights; hanging out in the same parking lot.  As parents, our sons have played on the same soccer team.  Can I say that I personally know him?  Not really.  My teenage years were long ago.  Our town was small and most of us teenagers in town knew each other regardless of the high school we attended, but I don’t ever really remember speaking to him.  A few years ago when our boys played soccer together, we may have said a few words to each other.   I tried respecting his family time which you know if you read his cookbook,  My Family Table, his family time is very valuable to him.  I will admit that deep inside I was just burning with the desire to ask him about recipes.  He is such a nice guy, he probably would not have minded.  I did ask his wife a question: “What did they eat for dinner at night?”  I was curious…was it fancy restaurant food or things that I might cook.  She is awesome herself.  I guess it’s true about what they say….”Behind every successful man is a wonderful woman.”  Is that what they say?  Or maybe that is just what I say since I like to think that my husband is successful in his own way….LOL!!! If it’s not what they say, please don’t tell me.


John was not necessarily in the national spotlight last week like my other local favs with the passing away of his father.  (My deepest sympathy to the entire Besh family.)  So….as he may not have been lighting up social media or the talk shows, he and his family have been in my family’s thoughts and prayers.  He had also been the topic of a few discussions we had…..

 

My oldest boy who attends NOCCA (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) had for his weekly art assignment to draw food, restaurants or chef from Louisiana.  Reed  chose to draw our favorite chef, Chef John Besh.  I thought I’d share with you Reed’s drawing.  I’m so proud, and he is so modest that I almost did not get this photo of the drawing.  He may likely make me remove this photo from my post when he discovers I shared it.  He doesn’t subscribe (not many do)  to my blog so it may take him a while to discover….LOL!



I am so proud that these well-loved and respected men are the voices and faces of New Orleans.  Just as she has her own great charm and character so do they.  Have you ever known anyone to visit New Orleans and not have fallen in love with her?  Have you ever come across anyone who hasn’t loved Harry, Drew or John?  I have NOT!! If  you have, please don’t tell me.

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