live & laugh: jambalaya and hush puppies

I don’t know what it is, but it seems like lately New Orleans is the place to be. My younger brother, Eric, was just there for his spring break; my good friend Katie, was there about a month after that. Now with Jazz Fest going on, I’m sure to hear of even more NOLA trips.

Actually, some of my work friends and I were hoping to plan a New Orleans trip for Mardi Gras this year, but unfortunately that didn’t work out as planned.  Even so, we got together and made some NOLA inspired food: chicken, sausage and shrimp jambalaya and hush puppies!

Jambalaya is a great dish to make, because a) it’s yum and b) it’s, more or less, a one-pot meal.  You don’t need to worry about dirtying a million pots and pans, which is always a plus for any recipe!

The hush puppies add for a couple more dirty dishes at the end of the meal, but trust me — it’s worth it. They are fluffy little balls of cornmeal, flour and buttermilk; this recipe in particular also had onion, jalapeño and cheese. They. Were. Awesomeeee.

Hush puppies
Hush puppies

The food inspired by New Orleans was as satisfying as it was delicious, but sometimes, the food just isn’t enough.

I tried to think of some fun activities you could do with friends and/or family that would expand on a New Orleans-like experience.  So, using my brother’s trip photo album, I was inspired and came up with this list of ideas:

NOLA  (Photos by: Eric Brizuela)
(Photos by: Eric Brizuela)
  • Explore: sometimes when you live in a big city, you take for granted all that it has to offer. Take some time to head to known popular streets or town squares/ circles on a beautiful weekend day. You are bound to run into street artists or musicians of some variety.Do you live in a small city, or far from a major one?  Try to find a local art museum in your area and spend the day perusing.
  • Find Live Music: whether it be a big or small venue, there’s bound to be some live music playing in your area (hopefully good music). If you can find something outdoors on a warmer day, that’s the best!  If not, look for bands playing at local restaurants or other venues.There’s just something about the combination of live music, good food and great friends that it’s worth seeking out from time to time.
  • Book a Trip: if all else fails, why not just book a trip for the real thing? I have heard such amazing things about New Orleans, and I hope to get there someday soon.

Hopefully between the food and this list, you can have a little New Orleans inspired fun!

Have you been to New Orleans before?

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