March 24, 2017

Five for Friday, life is killing the blog!

Hi friends. Happy Friday! It's been a long one and I have never been so ready for a weekend! Linking up with the lovely Amanda for Friday Favorites!


As you can tell last week I was MIA.  Work, fun and general life has been so busy the blog has been suffering.  While I was drafting this, I looked back at a post around this same time that explains it, this is just a busy time of year! I said this was the year of no, and I have not been living that way lately. 

And y'all,  Blogger is killing me.  It takes forever for my photos to upload. Are you having the same issues Blogger peeps? Is it wordpress time?  Is it blog quitting time?  Hopefully I will be catching back up to normal after Hogs for the Cause. I need a break and April is just as crazy!

Speaking of Amanda, I am loving my fashion this weekend that she inspired! My good friend Laura is getting married Saturday and I cannot wait! I will be sporting pink shoes, a floral dress and a fascinator!  Last Friday we had a day of bachelorette fun for Laura.   We had a lovely lunch at Commander's Palace and then bar hopped in the French Quarter.  

Laura is in the Chef hat.  I could not be happier for her!

While all the food was amazing, the shortcake was so good!

I had a lovely day of volunteering for the Southern Eye Bank at Audubon Park last weekend too.  It was such a good event. It matched eye and cornea donor families and those that received the gift of sight for a picnic and fun.

The shirt, so pretty!


I cancelled Sirius XM.  It is not official until today but I took all the presets off and pretended it happened already earlier in the week.  I cancelled that, and one other $15 a month non necessity.  I am going to direct debit the savings into my Capital One 360 account and voila, in a year, I will have saved $400.  I think I can live without fancy radio!


Hogs for the Cause is next weekend!  It is a fabulous event benefitting families fighting pediatric brain cancer.  I am the head chef and will be grilling up a storm.  You can read my recap of last year here.  This year it is at a different location and I am in a much better place in my life so I cannot wait! Luckily  had some time this week to draft blog posts that had been waiting so I can be MIA, but not really!

Hope y'all have fantastic weekends!  I sure am with all the wedding festivities!  What are you up to? Let me know!

Happy Cooking!


March 22, 2017

Yum yum come get you some! (Easy jambalaya with the Jambalaya Girl)

When you live in Louisiana, you are surrounded by good food.  Ask anyone where the best red beans, gumbo, jambalaya or etouffee can be found and usually you will get "My mama's house" and not a restaurant.  My momma is not a great cook, but in my book she makes the best red beans.  My ex used to make the best gumbo, but I dare say mine is now the best since I learned from him and practiced harder to make it better.  And when anyone asks me where the best jambalaya is, I will always say, "it comes out of a box!"

My close friend Kristen is the Jambalaya Girl.  I have introduced her before.  Her mix is so good, most people cannot tell it is a mix.  I made it for the Super Bowl when I lived in Austin, and everyone wanted to know how long it took me.  Well, with the help of the Jambalaya Girl, about 30 minutes! It is so good, so easy and such a treat.  I hadn't had jambalaya in a while and I picked up some of her mix at my Rouses.  As it turned out I ended up cooking dinner with the gentleman caller and his children and made it for them.  Everyone, except for the super picky 8 year old eater that subsists on peanut butter sandwiches and apples, loved it. I am a recovering picky eater so I, and the Jambalaya Girl, understood. She prides herself on flavor, not spice, and the 6, 36 and 37 year old testers appreciated it!

You out there in non New Orleans land can have this dish in your life!  The Jambalaya Girl is on Amazon!  But also if you order from her website and sign up for emails, you also get 10% off your first order. And she makes gumbo too if you don't have a recipe handy, and I can vouch that it is delish!  Check out how easy it is below!

The best and easiest jambalaya you will ever make!
So good, so good!  You have to come get you some!

March 21, 2017

No greens for that new baby! (Roasted root vegetables with smokey seasoning)

I showed you what I made my sister for dinner the other day and this is the other component.  When she is breastfeeding there is no time for the foods we normally love in her diet.  No greens, beans or noodle swaps, just straight meat and potatoes for my nieces when they are babies and growing! I decided to try and roast some veggies and not just make mashed potatoes.  I was having a particularly (I say was, still am) busy week at work and decided to take a break and grocery shop at the fancy Rouses by my office.  I could take a quick break, walk, get my groceries and be happy.

Well my bags split on the way back.  Right at the exit to the big fancy building across the street. I looked ridiculous scooting all the elements of the meal out of the way of a stockbroker's Yukon sneaking out early.  So for the rest of the day I had turnips in my purse!

In any event, this was so yummy!  The spices were just right and the veggies had so much flavor due to the roasting.  No one turned up their noses at the turnips!  Although, it was four adults having this with pretty unpicky palates.  Make this yummy side with roasted chicken, pan seared pork chops, flank steak, or with fish like I did.  You will not regret it.  Full recipe to follow the montage.

Roasted root vegetables with smokey seasoning
I forgot to get a finished product picture, but they look good going into the oven too!

March 14, 2017

A sister birthday dinner (Pan seared Tilapia with strawberry avocado salsa)

I always cook my middle sister a yummy dinner for her birthday.  Last year it was some delicious duck and a random veggie concoction.  This year I was going to do her favorite, lamb, which is not my favorite (that's what a good sister I am!).  Turns out, her birthday was on Ash Wednesday.  Being the good Catholic she is, she requested seafood.  I wanted to opt for vegetarian since I am not a seafood person, but she is breastfeeding and Ruby is averse to most green veggies and beans, so seafood it was.  

I tear out recipes all the time from the magazines to which I subscribe, namely, Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens and Food and Wine.  I had one on my fridge for tilapia and salsa from Real Simple and I decided to make that.  But to make it more local with some local strawberries instead of grapefruit. I figured avocado, cilantro and green onions were not as agitating as most greens, and I was not wrong. This was so simple, fresh and delicious, a really easy weeknight meal! I served it with roasted non green veggies which will be forthcoming.

Make this, you will not be disappointed. It made the birthday girl, brother in law and gentleman caller all happy as well as me! The salsa is probably great with chicken or steak too or just on its own.  Full recipe to follow the montage.

Pan Seared Tilapia with Strawberry Avocado Salsa
A colorful light meal perfect for lent and when you are dreaming of summer

March 13, 2017

Recapping the weekend, crawfish everywhere!

Hi friends, happy Monday.  Hope you had a fantastic weekend!  I sure did.  Linking up with the lovely birthday girl, Biana for weekending.  Lots of fun here, let's get into it!

Friday night I had dinner with my high school besties.  We had not all gotten together since our fun trip in August to Mississippi.  We had an even better time this time!  Dinner at the amazing Marcellos and a wonderful catch up.  So luck to be friends for 25 years!

The waiter was not a good photo taker so a selfie had to work
Saturday was the St. Patrick's Day Parade at my friend Rebecca's.  They had crawfish and so much fun.  Long day and so worth it!

March 10, 2017

Five for Friday A sneak peak at St. Patrick's Day!

Hello my gentle readers, Happy Friday! It was a long week and I am ready for Friday!  I was lucky enough to to watch two episodes of This is Us this week, cannot wait for the finale next week! Are you watching? Linking up with Amanda for Friday Favorites.  Here we go!


Speaking of Amanda...These shoes y'all!  She has had them on heavy repeat and I was drooling over them.  They were out out of my price point and I kept dreaming of them.  Then somehow I stumbled across them on mega sale from Nordstrom!  They are no longer on sale, sorry, but keep checking!  I will be wearing them on heavy repeat this spring for sure!  Thank you for stocking my closet yet again, Amanda!

Also used my new tripod for this one!!

March 9, 2017

Lessons on investing in spices (Curried Chicken and Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner)

I love trying out new spins on low carb diners.  First, some housekeeping.  I call my lifestyle the little to no carb lifestyle but to some of you strict low carbers, that is probably a misnomer.  I don't really count carbs unless something comes in packaging.  Which usually I do not buy.  But what I do is, I try not to have an processed or added carbs (think rice, pasta, white potatoes, bread) and stick to lean meats and veggies. This has helped me lose all of my quitting smoking weight and keep most of it off.  I went on a bit of an eat what I want bender lately and have been trying to get back on track!

I saw this on my Pinterest for a curried sheet pan and thought it would be a great little to no carb and exotic treat.  I had turnips leftover from a previous Hollygrove Box that I thought would be a great sub for butternut squash and stopped in at the market to pick up some fresh local Brussels Sprouts.  It was good, but, next time I think I will go to a spice shop and get good curry powder. Or at least get some that is not just to its expiration date. Mine is too celery based and did not have a good depth of flavor.  That is my fault, not this recipe's.  I also think that the butternut squash would have been really good, or even a sweet potato.  In any event, I ate the leftover veggies like a banshee and reused the leftover chicken to make a quick leftovers recipe that is coming.

Make this, you will love how easy and how little cleaning you have after!  Do you make sheet pan dinners? What are some of your favorites?  Full recipe to follow the montage.

Curried Chicken and veggies sheet pan dinner
The cast.  That is a really large onion!  Don't use that curry powder!

March 7, 2017

It takes a village (Slow Cooker Healthy Chicken Cacciatore)

My cousin Chelsea lives in LA, as in Los Angeles.  She is too cute and sent me a recipe a while back that she had made for dinner for herself and her man.  I pinned it and forgot about it.  Now that I have photography class on Wednesday nights, that is a night I desperately need a slow cooker recipe I can eat before class in a rush or I will resort to picking up Bud's Broiler  (#4 with hickory Sauce) on the way home after class like a ravenous fool.

I also have been on a weight gaining spree and needed to slow my roll and get back to my little to no carb lifestyle.  This recipe was perfect for that goal as I would just serve it as is with no rice or noodles, kind of like a soup.  I added some of those marinated veggies from Costco I like to add to everything and they were an excellent addition!  Try this, it is really good, lots of depth of flavor, set it and forget it and healthy!  Everyone wins!  Full recipe to follow the montage.

Slow Cooker Crock Pot healthy Chicken Cacciatore
A hearty bowl of delicious!

March 6, 2017

Recapping the weekend, recovery and restoring!

Hello friends!  Hope you had a great weekend!  I sure did, lots of family time, date night, cleaning and purging and fundraising,  it was so good to get a break for Mardi Gras, although the social calendar is ramping up!  Linking up with the lovely Biana for weekending.  Let's get to it!

Friday I took a half day and hung out with two of my favorite munchkins.  They were off school all week and my new momma sister, tax season having momma, newly retired dad and hard working other sister had their fill of taking days.  It was my turn.  I took them to the Louisiana Children's Museum.  It was a good choice, they had a blast!

Captaining a ship was their favorite!

We went to Tutti Frutti after for froyo. Aunt life is the best, it was good to give them back after a long day!

March 2, 2017

A recipe from my files, or lack thereof (Tender juicy pork tenderloin with onion pan sauce)

I love when pork tenderloin tastes good.  But man is it hard to do!  They come out dry sometimes. Flavorless.  Chewy.  Ew!  I made a delicious version of a pork tenderloin a million years ago when I used to email my friends yummy meals I made so they could recreate them.  (How did I not see this blog coming!?)  I looked through my emails and couldn't find it.  I vaguely remembered what I did but not exactly.  Time to recreate!

I was cleaning out my pantry and came across a packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix, which was the only ingredient I remember about that tenderloin.  I bet myself it would go great with a mustard rub and a white wine pan sauce.  Yup, it sure did!  I brined the tenderloin before cooking, and I have to say that is the best thing to do to ensure they are moist and tender.  Even just a 10 minute brine will do you some good.  I like to do about a half hour.

I paired this with some leftover risotto I made previously and a steamed artichoke, which is one of my favorite things.  The pork was so delicious, and great leftover in some tacos! Try this, you will not regret it!  Full recipe to follow the montage.

tender juicy pork tenderloin with onion pan sauce
That sauce y'all, it is so good!