Monday, July 20, 2015

Emeril Lagasse's Talent Shines in Vegas

Only in Vegas do you get to choose from so many fine restaurants.  Hotels specialize in famous chefs to get customers to pick their dining experience.  We weren't disappointed in Emeril Lagasse's New American eatery, Table 10 and Delmonico Steak House at the Venetian.

"Las Vegas has truly become the world's restaurant capital," said Emeril.  "Las Vegas has the best collection of celebrity restaurants and chefs of any city in the world."

Emeril began in Las Vegas in 1995 at  MGM Grand with the Fish House.  Now he has 13 award wining restaurants, with three in Louisiana,  He specializes in New Orleans cuisine with a creative approach to Creole.  How does a Massachusetts native learn how to cook excellent seafood?  Lagesse was executive head chef at the honored New Orleans restaurant, Commander's Palace from 1982 to 1990. He was only 23 years old when he started.   I have a self to text connection with the restaurant because I dined with my husband in the late 80's.  I remember every sight and sound of the magical night.  It was one of the finest places I've ever dined.  I even purchased the cookbook. So I was surprised to see Emeril was responsible for such wonderful food. 

 He passed his knowledge to Table Ten in Vegas. 

 Our service was excellent.

I ordered Crab Cakes because they are my favorite.  The menu said it was Emeril's specialty.  I was not disappointed because they were cooked to perfection.  It was just the appetizer but it was so rich I ate it as a meal.  I savored every bite of mouth watering perfection.  I have attempted to create crab cakes at home but they were nothing like this. 

We shared Emeril's New Orleans BBQ Shrimp with a rosemary biscuit.  He must have flown the Gulf Shrimp from Louisiana, it was so fresh.  Tim Doolittle, executive chef at Table 10 has mastered the art of creating wonderful dishes.  
Lagasse opened his first restaurant called Emeril's in 1990 located in the underdeveloped Warehouse District.  The menu had a combined flavor of French, Spanish, Caribbean, Asian, and Lagasse's native Portuguese cuisine.  His mother was from Portugal so I think a lot of who he is came from his mom. He worked in a Portuguese bakery as a teenager and discovered his talent for cooking.  He passed up a scholarship playing percussion because of his love for creating dishes as an art.  

  Emeril's was named best new restaurant of the year by Esquire magazine in 1992.  Then he created his first cookbook in 1993 called Emeril's NEW New Orleans Cooking.  This caught the eye of Food Network and launched his series Essence of Emeril.  It was the beginning of famous chefs becoming movie star status.   I grew up with Julia Child who was a favorite of mine as a teenager.  My mom and I watched together.  Emeril revealed his own personality by saying catch phrases like, "Bam," and "Kick it up a notch!"  

The next evening we ate at Delmonico Steakhouse at the Venetian. 

 It was a classic steakhouse with a Creole flair.  I had the fabulous Salmon with assorted peppers and crispy onions on top.  It had a unique blend of flavors with a fresh citrus sang.  My husband had the traditional steak.

He said it was tender and delicious with just the right seasonings.  

I took a pic of the elegant china to make the evening more special.

Cooking I believe comes from the heart and he seems to have a big one.   Emeril Lagasse's Foundation has distributed more than 6 million in grants for children's charities.  He started an outdoor classroom with gardens and fresh foods cafeteria.  It would be so fun for my students to have a field trip to sample fresh vegetables. There is a teaching kitchen at Edible Schoolyard in New Orleans.  Liberty's Kitchen trains at risk youth in the hospitality industry.  Each fall the foundation hosts a fundraiser called Carnivale du Vin.  Wish I could fly to New Orleans to attend and help in his endeavors.  He even contributed several recipes to the meal selection on the international Space Station. 

 Emeril Lagasse seems to have energy to try new endeavors with creativity and flair. It shows in the smallest of details in everything he is a part of.  Look at this marvelous light fixture at Table Ten, so unique and distinctive, just like Emeril.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers 2015 Conference in Vegas

I just got back from a wonderful Teachers Pay Teachers Conference in Las Vegas.  It was a fantastic opportunity to connect with great teachers from across the country.  Each teacher had their own store of creativity.  It was fun seeing familiar faces with the store I had been purchasing from.  Over a thousand teachers came to collaborate with others.

A sign greeted us with a friendly, welcome.  They called us Teacher-Authors.  It felt good to be identified in that way.  Teachers do so much every day to meet their student's needs so sharing how to help students grow academically is a win win.

The first session was a meet and greet according to grade levels.  It was a chance to share ideas and meet other teachers.  
Everyone had a business card to share with one another.  It was a way for others to remember your store and visit it in the future.  

I met these teachers from Louisiana, and California. They were very sweet and eager to share information to help along the way.   Nita Marie's Classroom Creations has over 160 products.  She said her husband encouraged her to start using her talents on TPT.  

 The Kenney Korral Store said it's important to categorize clip art so it's easy to find when it's time to create your product.  
The first session I picked was The SuperPowers of Powerpoint.  The teachers were enthusiastic presenters who dressed in superhero outfits.  Most teachers had their laptops so they could follow along with the presentation.  

I use my own photographs for a lot of my products but many teachers are like artists when it comes to creating a page to explode learning ideas.  They choose a background and make layers of colorful displays.  As you can see it seemed easy for them to follow the teacher.
We took a break for lunch and went to the 5th floor to see vendors selling products for reading, math, social studies, and science.  I couldn't resist and purchased 50 percent off books for my second grade class.
I purchased some unique materials from Faceing Math enhancing math vocabulary.  
It was time to pick another session of learning.  There was so much to choose from, it was difficult to choose.  I decided to go to the session about blogging since its what I like to do. 
The panel gave many personal testimonials about their own blogging experience.  I remember a teacher said she blogs every Saturday because its a way to reflect about the week with students.  She seemed like a natural writer who needs to write as a way of expression.  Blogging is a way to market your store but it's also something fun to do.  

After a busy day of networking it was time to do something fun with my husband.  Now I know why there are so many conferences in Las Vegas, there's so much to do in the evening.
Just walking around the Venetian was a treat in itself.  It was so much like Italy I felt I was in Rome.  
We met this lovely couple who just got married.  They said I could take a pic so I captured their special moment of just starting the journey of partnership.  In Las Vegas there's a new story at each corner.
The stores are incredible to shop in.  This store sold glass items as a work of art.  
This statue from a store reminded me of my students and how I want them to be free to discover their  talents.
We dined at Table Ten, Emeril's restaurant with famous signature dishes.
I had the most delicious crab cakes I've ever had in my life.  The delicious crab meat was cooked to perfection.

After dinner we walked again to see life in action.

The next day it was a little harder getting up but I was eager to learn new things.  I went to the session about learning to draw digitally like a master.  I was interested to see what teachers could do and I wasn't  disappointed.
Many teachers design their own clip art to sell.  It takes layers of each stroke to design one picture.  
After the session teachers came up to ask questions.  It was a way to collaborate and share information.  
The next session was learning about instagram.  I am very new at this but I understand it's becoming like a new facebook.  It's going to take a while to get the  hand of it but at least I learned how to use a hashtag and shared some pictures.  I just prefer using a camera than a phone to take photographs. 

The session about taxes and copyright was very interesting.  The discussion became lively when people started giving personal experiences.  Teachers Pay Teachers is a community that wants to treat each other with respect.  If you  help someone else you help the community.  What a great spirit of collaboration.
To finish our Las Vegas experience we watched the Rat Pack.  They were a great way to end our trip.  They sang their hearts out and gave us a free CD so we can dance to  the tunes at home.  Las Vegas is a magical place to attend a convention.  I hope to go next year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Won Art and Seek Flickr Photo Contest for Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

I won Art and Seek Flickr  Photo Contest.   I had a lot of help from above because the light shone just at the right time.  I always take a lot of pictures if I like something so I took several shots.  See where the sun hits the last flower just at the right place.

Here is the link to the contest.  

Art and Seek is a part of KERA, a channel that informs the public of art, music and theater in the community.  It captures the culture of North Texas in its weekly articles.

The picture that won is from the Fabulous Sagrada Familia, a Church found in Barcelona, Spain.

La Familia Radience.

Gaudi was a genius when he designed the magnificent church.  I'd like to stay for a week, sitting in a pew,  just to see how the light shines at different times of the day.  Here is just a glimpse of it's glory.  

Saturday, July 4, 2015

History Behind 4th of July Traditions

Our country's birthday is celebrated with traditions dating back to 1776, the year the original 13 colonies declared their independence from England.   
 Families gather to say we love our country and want it to be strong and bold. 
Our neighborhood holds a parade of bikes and decorated wagons.

Children dress in red white and blue to represent our flag's colors.
The 13 stars represent the first colonies to settle on the eastern coast.  They formed a circle with a backdrop of blue.  The circle symbolized unity to show not one state had more power.  Balance of powers was the building block our our constitution.

Everyone loves fireworks on 4th of July.  We celebrate a day early at the Farmers Branch Historical Park open to the public for free at 6:30.  
It's a community affair Farmers Branch puts together with a tractor ride to take you to your destination.
Many people donate their time so Americans can have a great 4th of July.
A concert is held before the fabulous firework display of colors.  Everyone dances to their favorite tunes.  It unites young and old.

Loud explosions of light dates back to America's one year commemoration on July 4th 1777.  The country had a year to plan for a party.  It was John Adams idea to Abigail in one of his many letters he sent to her.  They were a power couple and got the job done.  Adman's wrote:
"independence day ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God almighty."


In our family its a tradition to have homemade strawberry cake with fresh strawberries on top. Picnics are part of 4th of July with grilled hotdogs topped with a swirl of yellow mustard.
My sons grill a great bratworst with hamburgers 
and chicken.  They invite friends over to share.

On the first day of independence John Adams and wife Abigail slurped turtle soup, poached salmon, boiled potatoes, peas for a veggie.  and pandowdy or apple cobbler for dessert.

In Texas, Mexican food is a favorite 4th of July and all year round.

Founding Fathers
  Let's say thank you to America's founding fathers;George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and James Monroe.  For a history lesson children can check out books from the library about their amazing lives and learn without them there wouldn't be an Independence Day to celebrate.  John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4th  in 1826, the 50th anniversary of our country.  

 Happy 239th Birthday USA!!