January 18, 2017

Soup for Sal (Heart healthy low carb Ribollita with white beans and chicken sausage)

My best friend for over 30 years Toni lives in Alabama.  We see each other whenever we can.  We pretty much grew up together as you can imagine and it helped that she lived about 6 blocks from me. Her daddy is a big hearted Italian man that sometimes scared the you know what out of us, and sometimes made us cry at how sweet he was.  He famously came and picked me up across town very late one New Year's Eve because I lost the group, and my daddy would have killed me for staying out after curfew. 

Big Sal as we call him recently had a heart attack and Toni was feeling hopeless so far away to help. He has recovered nicely, but he needs to make some changes in his diet.  Toni's mom is the kind of cook like my mom is, a stressed out working mom who isn't into making gourmet meals.  They grew up like us on Rice a Roni and margarine, but had the occasional awesome homemade dish.  Her mom's was ratatouille.  When Big Sal had his heart attack, Toni asked me if there was healthy grocery and food delivery in New Orleans and I said, "Yeah, me!"

I went to Costco and got them some frozen Salmon, Avocado Oil and tupperware.  Then I decided to make him some hearty, yet heart healthy soup for lunch for his first week back at work.  I wanted to ease him into healthy eating and soup seemed to be the best way.  When I dropped it off, he asked if is was gluten free.  I told him I didn't know.  It probably is.  In any event, they had some for dinner the night I dropped it off and they loved it.  Like raved!  Mission accomplished!

I only had a little bite for tasting purposes, but I concur it was great!  Try this, it is a healthy way to start the new year off!  And good for your heart!  Full recipe after the montage.

Doesn't that look great!

January 17, 2017

Somebody Stop Me! (Low carb spinach and artichoke chicken casserole)

I needed to stop myself.

I allowed myself off the normal healthy eating train I normally ride sometime around Thanksgiving. Mostly because I wanted to allow myself to enjoy the full experience of the French Laundry (boo) but also because, hello, it is the holidays.  Well that allowed me to gain 7 pounds.  Isn't being a woman over 30 awesome?  I need the pounds to go stat.  I need to replace jeans because they were stolen not because I need to size up!

I was looking for little to no carb recipes that could use up some stuff I had at my house. Enter Budget Bytes.  I have always looked to Budget Bytes for recipes.  And we shop at the same grocery stores apparently (Rouses #29 and the Whole Foods on Broad, I need to meet this lady, we probably live in the same neighborhood!) I saw her recipe for chicken with artichokes and tomatoes on Instagram and I had to make it, but with a few changes.  I decided to make it a one pot wonder without need for a side and added spinach, which I had on hand for my smoothies keeping with the theme of things around the house.  I also had to add onions and garlic since I love them.  And I always use boneless thighs instead of breasts.  

The changes made it delicious, but I am sure it was just fine the original way too.  I let my coworkers try this leftover and they were hooked.  It was way better hot and fresh out of the oven.  A lovely flavor combination, filling with nary a purposeful carb and just damned delicious.  You should for sure make this.  And if you are not a fan of garlic, leave it completely out, it is prevalent. I love garlic so I did not mind. Full recipe to follow the montage. 

Yay new camera!  Look at that melty goodness!

Such a pretty dish!  And so yummy.

January 13, 2017

Five For Friday, another long weekend ahead!

Hello all!  Happy Friday!  I am ready for a three day weekend again, it is hard to get back to the grind still!  Linking up with Amanda for Friday Favorites.  Here we go!

One day I will have this many likes on one of my photos when I post it!

I got a repost on instagram from a New Orleans account from some hashtagging I did.  I totally get the power of the hashtag now, I got a good amount of new followers and likes!


I am having some overnight guests Saturday night!  My nephew and baby niece are sleeping over, it and a trip to Peche is what I gave their parents for Christmas.  Just call me sister of the year right? We have a play date scheduled and beignets and fun at City Park Sunday!  I cannot wait!


Make sure you make the sauce too!
I usually don't re tout my own posts but y'all these Buffalo chicken burgers are a must make.  I hope I don't jinx you and you hate them, but I am mad I ran out of them and can't have one today for lunch! Try them!


I had no idea the Limited was closing!  My friends and I were discussing this week and apparently there is nothing left online but small sizes?  This is sad.  I grew up on Limited Too and the Limited when I got old enough and I just can't believe it.  It is true though,  pretty much the only physical store I go to is TJ Maxx/Marshalls and it is probably because I can't do it online!


I have been bad about it this week but I am trying to keep a happiness jar this year.  I am trying to write one happy for each day down and place them in a vase.  At the end of the year I am going to read them and remember what a great year it was even if it feels like it at the end, much like 2016 was.

Well that's all I have.  Heading to some Mardi Gras fun this evening and have a jam packed Saturday before I start babysitting.  I hope y'all have a great weekend!  What is on your radar?

Happy Cooking!


January 12, 2017

Run, do not walk to your kitchen (Buffalo chicken burgers with a lettuce wrap and buffalo ranch)

I came up with this idea in my head because I was craving a burger.  I remembered those Moroccan chicken burgers I  made a few months ago (wow that feels like yesterday) and wanted to do something similar.  I thought, why not make it according to the rules of my obsession with Buffalo sauce!?  I thought right.

Y'all,  I had to rush to draft this post because you needed these burgers in your life stat!  They were so good I ate them for lunch all this week and even had one for dinner because they were that good.  I know I am a buffalo lover, but I didn't even love these so much just because of the buffalo flavor.  It was because it was a "fake burger" that was so burgery!  Missing from these pictures (I plated them ahead of time just for a pic so you wouldn't see my messy desk and an iPhone photo!)  is the buffalo ranch I topped them with.  This is NOT optional, so delicious!  

Make these little to no carb lifestyle beauties for lunch or dinner, you will not regret it!  Full recipe to follow the montage.

How you doin?

January 10, 2017

Letting someone else pick what's for dinner (Turnips with roasted garlic goat cheese)

I love it one someone else takes charge sometimes.  I am a type A lawyer, a sorority alum president, live alone and get to make food decisions for my Hogs for the Cause team.  I make a lot of decisions and am in charge, a lot.  Especially around here, I am in charge of what is for dinner (not as much anymore, but still often enough) and what goes on this blog.

I got a box from Hollygrove Market as I am wont to to and sat down to meal plan. These days I subscribe to their newsletter, and they link recipes to match the produce.  I had some turnips and I wanted to do something fun and different with them. Lo and behold there was just the recipe linked on the email for turnips.  With sumac!  I had some of that in my pantry for a now forgotten recipe I was planning to make long ago and never did.  It was perfect!

The flavors of this are so complex and interesting.  And since turnips are, for lack of a better term, bland, they really allow the flavors to shine.  It is like the Middle East met the Southwest and decided to have a party in your mouth, but your mouth is in France.  That may sound weird, but you won't know until you try it!  If nothing, just make the roasted garlic goat cheese.  Holy cow that would be good on a cracker!  Full recipe to follow the montage.

Such a pretty plate!  I was glad to add some colorful garnish, like I do that when I have plain food!

January 9, 2017

Recapping the weekend, getting ready for a good year.

Hello my dear readers!  Welcome to a new week that is a full one. It was hard to get back to reality last week but having a low key weekend this weekend helped to be better prepared for this week. Hope you had a great one!  Linking up with Biana for weekending.  Let's get into it!

Friday was 12th Night, aka the Epiphany, aka king's day, aka the end of Christmas and start of Carnival, aka Mardi Gras! 

We had some yummy king cake at work to celebrate!
I took down all the Christmas decorations, made some homemade pizza and relaxed.  This is a montage of relaxation:
It was so cold I was so glad I did not leave the house!
Saturday I went to pure barre and decided to skip errands for another day at home.  I did an all day project...authentic cassoulet.  I quit before the regular time because I was hungry!  I watched the Crown and cannot wait to finish the season!  So good!

Worth the effort for sure.  Post to come!

Sunday we had book club brunch,  we were good and tried not to be a shit show like we can sometimes be.  That worked for some people...

But three of us took it to the bar after to Bayou Wine Garden.  Wow my hair is getting dark...
It was such a great productive weekend and I am ready to tackle the new year!  Hope you all had great ones! What was your highlight?

Happy Cooking!


January 6, 2017

Five For Friday, back to the grind!

Man this week has been a killer!  Getting back to work this week was hard enough and it was such a busy week there,  and I had plans every night except last night.  So much for the year of no!  Linking up with the fabulous Amanda for Friday Favorites.  Here we go!


Our last book club was so long ago!

I have my fabulous Book Club this weekend!  We finally are getting around to discussing Crazy Rich Asians.  My other, more serious book club already discussed over Singapore Slings, but this debaucherous one is not having them this time because we are all trying to be good in 2017. Apparently we all overdid the holidays.  We have never not had a wild meeting...we shall see.


I went to see LA LA LAND Wednesday! It was so good!  It reminded me of an old movie, in a good way.  It was beautifully shot, not too "musical-ly"  Back when I had cable and more free time on my hands I used to love 30 days of Oscar and watch all the old movies.  This made me want to watch Casablanca again!


Did anyone catch the special on the Menendez Brothers last night on ABC?  I was like 9 when all of that went down so it was something I always knew of, but never really knew about.  It was so fascinating.  Catch it if you can.  I am going to go on a Wikipedia rabbit hole about it now!


This is the last King Cake I had at work last year.  Guess I need to bring one!

Today is the feast of the Epiphany which means it is the official start of Carnival (Mardi Gras) season and King Cake time!  I will be taking down Christmas and putting up Mardi Gras this weekend.  And hopefully having a little king cake.  It is a marathon, not a sprint living here in New Orleans!


This post about making your life a place you like to be is so spot on.  I struggled with that until I flipped my script and moved to Austin and it has been such a joy to be alive ever since no matter what happens.  Life does not always hand us bowls of cherries (this I know well) and when you make your life a great place to be, when the lemons come, the lemonade comes easier!  If you aren't following Chelsea you should, she is a little ray of sunshine on the internet!

This is a low key weekend besides book club!  That never happens!  What do you have going on?  Hope this Friday flies by!

Happy Cooking!


January 5, 2017

Standing in for the French Laundry and still having other purposes (A review of Ad Hoc in Napa)

Well this is a long overdue post about Napa!  We did not go to the French Laundry as we had planned due to some unforeseen circumstances and I was pretty devastated.  However, some lovely people swooped in and got us a reservation at another Thomas Keller Restaurant, Ad Hoc in a pinch.  

Ad Hoc is more casual and the meals are served family style.  There is a fixed menu, with some add ons (supplements as they call them) and a vegetarian option.  Jen, our trip planner, did her internship while in culinary school at Ad Hoc, so it turned out to be a very special part of the trip for her and for us.  She is also a vegetarian so we got the vegetarian option in addition to the normal main course. The main course was lamb.  Lamb is on my short list of foods I hate (shrimp, scallops, pickles, mayo, salmon, blue cheese and lamb) so I had to be the picky lady and insist we get the supplement of Chicken Katsu.  Then the waiter alerted us that there was a New York strip option instead of lamb.  I jumped at my chance!

In the end I tried the lamb.  I spit it out and said, "ew, that tastes like lamb!"  My friend Laura tried the steak after and could not understand how I could tell such a difference between the two.  I explained the fact that I have a crazy palate.  I can tell when there is a bay leaf in something even if you take it out!  We also were lucky enough to get a kitchen tour at the end of dinner.  It made Jen nostalgic and me regretful that I never went to culinary school.  I know there is still time, but I like my day job and that is why I blog!  

Without further adieu, one of the bright spots on the non vacation, Ad Hoc. Sorry for the dark iPhone pics.

We had drinks at the hotel before.  Check out our Target fashion finds!

Ad Hoc was supposed to be a temporary place but people liked it so much it stayed!

January 4, 2017

Making something out of nothing (Copycat Alice Springs Chicken)

I usually work out after work these days and need quick easy meals.  I also leave certain days open for dates and impromptu social plans without need for a meal plan.  I usually have some leftovers to repurpose or some great staples laying around just in case I need dinner on the fly. This meal is a result of one of those nights.

I made mustard greens for a lunch experiment (coming soon) and had some leftovers for a side.  But what for the protein?  I had leftover mushrooms from enchiladas and bacon from meat bombs and I always have chicken, cheese and onions laying around.  What should I make? And then I was inspired by a memory.

I grew up in the suburbs and most of the time when we went out to eat, it was at a chain.  As an aside, you may know that I am in a group that goes to Chain Restaurants to relive our childhood!  My mom fell in love with Outback Steakhouse when we got one in our city and we went there a lot as a result. One of my favorite dishes there was Alice Springs Chicken! And it had all of those ingredients! I can make that!  

This was not as good as I remember Alice Springs being at Outback, but they probably use a lot "worse for you" things than I did.  And as I learned at Red Lobster for chain gang, my palate is ruined with all the good food I eat now.  But it was still a great quick low carb dinner!  Try it, just don't overcook your cheese like I did.  Full recipe after the montage.

The cheese got really hard instead of melty.  I don't know what I did to cause that!

January 3, 2017

You ain't never seen nothin prettier! (Watermelon radish and avocado salad)

I love pretty food.  And you will be hard pressed to find something prettier than watermelon radishes in my book.  I had a Hollygrove market box with them in it and I immediately went to the google to figure out what I could make for lunch with them.  I couldn't find anything so I took my dog for a walk.  And stumbled across an avocado.  Turns out there is an avocado tree in the neighborhood.  I took it as a sign to add that to my plan.  

And what my plan ended up being for was a salad.  I had lettuce in the box too, why not.  This was the week before the Napa trip and not on the stretch my pants and stomach diet, but in hindsight, I am really glad I made this healthy tasty salad for lunch.  The avocado and the dressing really are the star of the dish, and that creaminess combined with the crispy radishes is such a good match.  I did not use them all up, so I put the extra ones in my Trader Joes spicy pickled vegetables to soak up some good stuff.  Hmm,  I need to make tacos now!  No I need to make this salad again to start the year off clean and healthy!

Have you had watermelon radishes before?  Aren't they pretty?  Full recipe to follow the montage.

A beautiful healthy lunch!