March 31, 2016

A Fancy Schmancy Birthday dinner (Weeknight duck breast and roasted shiitakes, garlic and Brussels sprouts with spicy sauce)

My middle sister is my oldest friend.  I don't know what I would do without her.  She is beautiful, smart, thoughtful, crazy in a good way and a wonderful woman.  She is also VERY hard to shop for since she buys herself whatever she wants.  She had a birthday recently (If you know us you will now know how long it takes me to draft a blog post!) and I wanted to make her a fancy meal for it and get her a great gift.  I broke her big casserole dish over the summer cooking at her house so I decided to replace it with this
I wanted to make her something we would never have at home and something that she loves.  It also had to me little to no carb as she lives the lifestyle like me.  I wanted to make cous cous, but she is not a fan so I decided to make quinoa as the starch.  I had a Hollygrove box that week with shiitake mushrooms and green garlic, both things she loves.  I found this recipe that I knew I could adapt.  I ended up having to adapt a lot as I didn't have enough of the ingredients and we had a time crunch due to an unforeseen family obligation.  

Speaking of time crunch, for some strange reason I had a hankering to make duck.  If you know me, if there is duck or Brussels sprouts on the menu I am probably getting it.  My sister is the same way but sub Chilean sea bass for duck.  But I know she and my brother in law love it.  I thought it would be hard to make duck on a weeknight, so I googled "weeknight duck" and found the perfect recipe.

Man was this meal delicious.  We ate a bit late but that did not matter. The kids were in bed, we had wine and talked about adult things over a gourmet meal.  I had to get the duck frozen at whole foods. I was tricked, I thought only one breast was in each package, but apparently two were and I need to remind my sister she has two duck breasts in her freezer!  I kind of made up my version of the mushrooms and didn't take notes so I will try my absolute best to recreate.  Full recipe to follow!

This was taken in the daylight way before I cooked.
You had to see the finished product first. It was so good!

March 30, 2016

I should have trusted my gut (Citrus Cilantro pork and too spicy bok choy)

I got a Hollygrove Market Box recently and I was making several recipes from it.  In this installment I used cilantro to marinate a pork loin and bok choy to make a very anticipated yet terribly untasty side dish.  Since I hate having fail only posts, you get two for the price of one!

Pork tenderloins are always in need of some love and care before you cook them.  They are so lean and mean and great, however lean means dry and unflavorful.  Hence why I switched to boneless chicken thighs from chicken breasts about two years ago.  This marinade was great!  The acid in the tangerines and pickling juice really tenderized the meat and the cilantro flavor came through!  It was still a tiny bit dry as usual, but nothing that made it not delicious.  This would be really good in tacos or over a salad but it really was good on its own.

Now on to the bok choy. Too much spice!  And I like spice.  I am going to give you some measurements to make something edible.  Roasted bok choy with just a little bit of seasoning is always delicious too.  The flavors had such promise and as usual, in all aspects of life, I should have gone with my gut.  I knew it was too much spice.  Try this pork marinade and grill it or sear it like I did, it is great!  Full recipe after the momtage.

This is the saddest little cast we have had in awhile!
Farm fresh organic locally grown cilantro!
Popped the pork on in for a bath in the yumminess.
Another Hollygrove haul recipe ensued for Spicy bok choy.  Emphasis on spice.
Pretty maidens in a row
That really looks like a lot of pepper flakes...
Yeah that is a lot of pepper flakes.
Looking good coming out of the marinade.
Sear it on both sides
Look at that crust, delish!
Maybe mine shrunk too much and that's why the sauce was so overpowering.
Looking good and not unlike a hammerhead shark, amirite?
That's a pretty plate regardless!
Citrus Cilantro Pork Tenderloin:

one bunch of cilantro, chopped
juice of 3 satsumas or two oranges (or any citrus of your choice)
1/4 cup liquid from jar of pickled jalepenos (Can sub 1/4 cup vinegar with a tablespoon of hot sauce)
1 2 lb pork tenderloin

Add all marinade ingredients into a plastic zip top bag.  Place pork tenderloin inside.  Marinate for a half hour to 8 hours.  Preheat oven to 350.  Heat oil of your choice to a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Sear pork on each side for 5 minutes then place into heated oven.  Cook for 20 minutes or until pork registers at 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Too Spicy Bok Choy:(Adapted from the Wheatless Kitchen)

1 large head of bok choy
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sesame oil
2-3 tbsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don't want it too spicy)
2 tsp sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the bok choy into quarters lengthwise. In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.
Place bok choy on a large baking sheet and pour the marinade all over the wedges. Gently rub the bok choy with your fingers to make sure the marinade gets under some of those layers.
Roast for 6-7 minutes, until wilted and tender-crisp.

Happy Cooking!

March 29, 2016

It's Spamalicious! (pork tenderloin stuffed with green apple and arugula)

I get a lot of emails from various outlets on my "alternate mail" (aka my spam mail aka not my gmail).  Mostly because I use that address for checking out for online purchases and for entering giveaways.  I am a giveaway junkie and have won quite a few things, most of them useful.  Such as a great pair of Le Cruset pans and a $100 gift card to Homegoods from the Grits Blog! In that inbox recently was an email from Food 52.  I don't remember what the email said, or even signing up for it. But when I opened it, I saw a recipe for an apple and baby arugula stuffed pork tenderloin and was glad it was in my inbox.  Um yeah!

I pinned it, and as usual, the time arose when I remembered a pin when I saw some meat.  My sister and I went to Costco together and split a pork tenderloin pack.  It had four so we each got two.  I had them in my freezer and forgot about them for a little while. I had some apple and arugula leftover from my Smitten Kitchen Mustard Milanese.  I had greek yogurt leftover from something that I could not remember.  I remembered this recipe and decided to improvise!

This was really delicious.  The pan sauce was great.  I served it with sauteed green beans and it was perfect for this little to no carb lady.  Add a starchy side if you have a man in your life or aren't little to no carb like I am.  Try it out and let me know what you think!  Full recipe after the montage.

The cast of characters, what a great leftover crowd!

March 28, 2016

Recapping the weekend, Happy Easter!

Hello Hello!  I feel like my weekend started on Wednesday of last week, how about you?  I had a great weekend of food, friends and family, hope yours was similar!  I started off my day off Friday with an amazing Pure Barre class and headed to my pal Laura's after for a vegetarian Good Friday lunch. I apologize for the sloppiness of this post, my iPhone 5c needs to be retired and stat!

Quinoa with veggies, fresh and pickled, how yum!
We also grilled some artichokes,  You can find my method here.
She and her hubby had this big pile of dirt blocking the gate, they had planned a long weekend project of leveling the yard to put down sod
Me being the good friend I am, I helped.  I also got a very bad tan line since I wore my pure barre clothes.  #thanksfabletics
I worked up an appetite for these beauties at my parents' house with my sisters and their families.  I only wish I would have picked up some Abita Strawberry to go with them!
Saturday morning was my nieces' birthday parties at the Monkey Room.  It was a zoo! They had a blast.  I ate too many chips and pizza.
Saturday night we ate Taqueria Corona and painted Easter eggs with all the cousins...Easter egging has gotten way fancier than when I was doing it in the 80's!
I had a serious fail Sunday morning with my Hot Cross Buns.  I have bad pans, a crappy oven and ran out of powdered sugar. I threw the pans away and ordered new ones to at least fix something.
My lovely friend Jen hosted Easter brunch at her beautiful new home.  It was also her birthday!
The Greek Section with falafel, baba ganoush, hummus, pita and buffalo sauce! This woman is a girl after my heart with that buffalo sauce!
I had to take a pretty picture of my worst nightmare.  Not pictured, Adele singing "Hello"
We had birthday cake for the pretty Birthday girl!
Hope everyone had a great Easter like we did!
I tried Plated last night and am scurrying to write a post to get it up soon.  I am a crazy loon this week with work and Hogs for the Cause prep though so don't hold your breath!  Hope everyone had a fun filled weekend with people and food you love.  Back to a full food post tomorrow.

Happy Cooking!


March 25, 2016

Five for Friday, a day off for me!

Woot it is the weekend and I am off today!  Looking forward to a hippity hoppity Easter Weekend! Hope you all enjoy your holiday!  Linking up with Amanda and the other ladies below for Five for Friday!



Not happy about this one.  I got scheduled for 2 week jury duty right when I was planning my birthday road trip.  Unfortunately that reads planning, not planned, I hadn't booked it yet.  So I hurried and booked a flight to cut the trip short and will beg the judge to let me out the last day.  Who would want a lawyer on their jury anyway...not me!

I got a sample of this Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum and I am loving it! My face feels so good when I wake up and I have a noticeable difference in wrinkles.  I am going to be sad when I am done with it because I am not sure it is in my budget.


I'm trying Plated next week for the first time.  My friend sent me a free week and since I am doing way to much to prepare for Hogs for the Cause, I thought I would take a break from meal planning and shopping.  Although of course I will still blog about it!  Have you tried it?  I plan on trying Blue Apron soon too!


My pup Ginger got another round of teeth pulled at the vet last week.  She has had 21 total teeth pulled and the vet said i really needed to get serious if she wants to keep her teeth.  My friend's mom suggested Petsmile.  You don;t have to brush!  Ginger freaks out if you try to brush her teeth so I just put some of this on a cotton swab, put it where I can in her mouth and she does all the work! Hopefully we can save what is left of her teeth!


Thumbnail Image of Color Swatch 5767 Image of Floral Jacquard Riviera Shorts with 4" Inseam

I took a mental health day this week to get a massage, have a nice lunch and do a little in store browsing.  It was heavenly.  I popped into the Loft for the first time in ages (I used to work there while I was waiting on my first lawyer job!) and picked up these super cute shorts!  They look so cute on!  Everything is on sale over there, check it out!  

What is happening with you, what are your Easter plans?

Happy Cooking!


March 24, 2016

Sometimes I even create recipes at restaurants! (buffalo chicken garden salad)

There are a lot of new restaurants popping up around work these days as we are a hotbed of construction in downtown New Orelans.  We can never decide which one to try sometimes, and then end up at our default place, Walk on's.  They are not known for their gourmet delicacies but we make it work.  What they are known for is their waitresses in skimpy outfits and awesome happy hour. Who can pass up 2 for one beers?

I used to go a lot in college and law school at the original location near LSU's campus.  That was when I could eat whatever I wanted without a care and would go post game tailgate and take advantage of their cheap drinks.  Now I am a mid-thirties lady who is watching her figure and fried food intake and can't drink draft beer all the time.  The first time I went again at the location right down the street from work I struggled to find something to eat as I was new into the little to carb lifestyle.

I decided to make my own modifications to what they have.  As you may have noticed, I love Buffalo flavored things.  They have a BBQ chicken salad on the menu.  And they have buffalo wings and tenders.  I decided to ask if I could have a buffalo chicken salad instead.  Barbecue sauces are usually loaded with sugar and buffalo sauce is not.  They also put some tortilla strips on top that add a nice crunch, but serve no nutritional purpose except to add fat and calories that  I asked to leave out.  The result was so delicious I have my coworkers ordering it too!  I feel like they should probably put it on the menu ;)

I made some baked chicken tenders and had some leftover so I decided to recreate my created salad at home for lunch!  It seemed easy to do and it was.  This salad is a bit spicy, feel free to leave out the jalapenos if this is too spicy for you.  The new Bolthouse farms Salsa Verde avocado dressing is my new favorite.  It is made with yogurt, so it is healthier, and it tastes delicious! They did not pay me to say that, I just really enjoy it! I heated up the chicken before making the salad at work and I had a lot of gawkers come by and ask me what the fabulous smell was! Full recipe after the montage.

The cast.  I left out the avocado as it was leftover from something else and already at work!

March 22, 2016

Three for one, like drinks should be (homemade no lard Bisquick, ultimate chicken fingers and sweet potato fries)

As a family of one, I love a cook once and eat three times recipe.  Especially when that recipe is changeable and customizable to make it not the same every time!  I saw a recipe on Plain Chicken for the ultimate chicken tenders that were baked.  I hadn't had a chicken tender in ages and I immediately had a craving.  And I thought it would be a good recipe for all the momma's who read that like to feed the kids healthy versions of such things.  

It called for Bisquick.  I am not a fan, I like to make my pancakes and waffles from scratch.  And I looked at what was in Bisquick and thought I should just make my own.  But how to do that?  I scoured the internet and found this great recipe.  I especially liked that there was a recipe for a big batch as well as a small batch which was exactly what I needed!  I am so glad I did, it was so easy and I have some more stored in my freezer.

I also decided to make my own sweet potato fries to go on the side to make it a healthy dupe of chicken fingers and french fries.   I had some sweet potatoes in a Hollygrove Market box so it was perfect!  I scoured the internet again to find some ones that could be crispy in the oven.  Enter this recipe from Cookie and Kate.  Corn starch, the answer to my prayers!

The chicken fingers were so freaking good!  Adults and children will love them.  The sweet potato fries were also awesome.  And the homemade Bisquick was a fabulous swap.  I can't wait to make waffles with it very soon!  Check back tomorrow for what I made with the leftovers!  Full recipe after the montage.

The cast for the Bisquick.  I love that it has some whole wheat in it!

Comfort in a bowl real quick (Ina Garten's weeknight bolongese with zoodles)

I pinned this awhile ago with hopes to make it sometime.  I then went on the little to carb lifestyle and saved my cheat days for egg noodles! Enter the zoodle.  I never thought I would love eating zucchini noodles so much!  If you are new to the game and don't want to invest in a big bulky one, try the Kitchen Active Spiralizer Spiral Slicer.  It is super cheap, tiny, easy and I love it.  

I was at Trader Joe's recently and saw the shelf stable whipping cream and was intrigued.  I made an impulse buy to get it which is totally unlike me.  I researched it after I got home and realized it was not going to useful as whipped cream in a pinch.  You have to refrigerate it for quite a bit prior to whipping.  

Then I had an idea.  Weeknight bolognese with the shelf stable cream and zoodles!  It was like fate!  I really thoroughly enjoyed this.  I ran out of zoodles and ate the sauce by itself!  The tomato paste and wine really give it that cooked all day taste and and the cream makes is so smooth and velvety!  I used tomato sauce instead of crushed tomatoes as I had some on hand it turned out just fine.  you can never go wrong with a Barefoot Contessa recipe!  Full recipe to follow the montage,

The cast ready for its close up!

March 21, 2016

Recapping the weekend Mid March

Hello everyone! Hope all had a great weekend! I sure did. Relaxing, purging, fun and food always make for a good one! It was the last before the marathon of Easter and April begin!

Saturday I did Platform again. After burning all those calories I deserved this hella delish sandwich!

That is ham, avocado and pepper co-jack on 9 grain bread with spicy sweet mustard.  I just pressed it, no butter, so not actual grilled cheese. But felt like it!

March 18, 2016

Five for Friday-Cheers to the end of a long week!

Hello Weekend!  Hope everyone had a great week!  I am linking up with The lovely Amanda and some other fabulous ladies for Friday loves.  Show them some love and visit!


Now for what has been on my radar this week, which apparently has been not that exciting...


Women's dv Tia Espadrilles
These shoes.  I am sure you have heard about them enough, but if you haven't, run do not walk to Target and get them.  They are so cute, so in style and so damn comfortable.  I cannot recommend them enough.  I am lucky to have gotten mine for free.  They run a little small  and my sister couldn't fit in the size she ordered and gave me the smaller size.  Score!


This book y'all.  If you are into a deep character study, healing old wounds, a long yarn of a tale and beautiful writing, this book is for you.  I will warn you, I cried my eyes out, but that is due to some of the subject matter making me reopen old wounds.  It was a good, needed cry anyway!  This was my "serious" book club's book.  They have been picking some serious tear jerkers lately! Read it, it is so good!


Now that I have read that, I can move on to my "fun" book club's book, Eating The Cheshire Cat: A Novel.  I am hosting so I have to plan the menu around it.  The girls have been reading already and I it has been suggested to me to serve spiked punch, "finger" sandwiches and booty cake. Should be an interesting read indeed. Last book club we had a glitter party after reading about a drag queen so I hope this time will be at least as half as fun!


I am beyond excited to have NOTHING to do on Sunday for once. Well,  I mean out of the house things to do.  On the agenda: smoking a pork butt and ribs for Hogs for the Cause practice, cleaning out the closet, paring down work out clothes, organizing my jewelry and getting the house in order. And maybe finally getting started on House of Cards, Fuller House or something else fun on Netflix. Suggestions?

I'm thinking of trying out this protein powder.  I make a green smoothie every morning and I am almost out of my usual powder and am looking to try a new one.  Have you tried this one?  Or do you have a recommendation?  I like vegan and all natural personally, meaning no soy or whey!  Help me out!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  I will see you Monday back with a food post unless the weekend is fun and documented enough to recap it.

Happy Cooking!