December 30, 2016

Five for Friday: 2017-The Year of No

If you have checked out my recap posts of my weekends this past year, I think you can tell that this has been a year of saying yes.  I became the president of my Sorority alumnae chapter and went to Orlando for convention, I went to see LSU play at Lambeau Field, I  went to Napa and got all my luggage stolen, have been to countless concerts, went ziplining over a half mile gorge, babysat children, and went on blind dates.  I moved, twice.  I found a nice man I let into my heart after it hurt so much. It has been quite a year.

Relaxation and sunsets are in order
But you know what?  I'm tired.  I feel like I get pulled in a million directions for so many different things.  I always feel bad when I say no to people and things.   Since 2017 is starting and it's time for starting anew, I am making this the year of NO!  In a good way.  I am going to start saying no for me. I am going to take pressure off myself and my finances by allowing myself to skip things without having FOMO.  I feel like I started this whirlwind affair with living life to the fullest-to a fault- because I hated being single so much.  It worked for awhile, but man it is exhausting.  And I like being single now, even if I am not anymore. Funny how that happens!

So from now on, no, I cannot add that thing to my calendar because I already have something every other night that week.  No, I cannot go on that trip because I do not have the proper savings for it. No, I cannot buy that not on-sale top because I did not make a contribution to my rainy day fund this month. No I don't want to go to your fancy party,  I am spending New Year's Eve at home by myself for the first time ever and I am totally okay with that.

It is not going to be boring around here because I am still fun and want to have some.  But saying no will free me up to saying yes to other things, like a photography class (!I start in two weeks!), taking the stairs at work, making some fancy weekend dishes, making my house more organized, getting my backyard ready for action and visitors and just having more me time and time for the people that count and deserve a spot in my life.

This turned out a bit ranty and I apologize for that!  Are you down for making next year a year of yes, or a year of no? What are your New Year's resolutions?  I've loved 10/12ths of 2016, but the last 2/12th need to exit and not let the door hit them where the Lord split em! Here's to 2017, may she bring love, laughter and happiness to all of us!

Happy New Year to You and Yours!


December 29, 2016

Comfort food for the soul overnight! (Slow cooker Vegetable beef soup in a Crock Pot)

I love vegetable beef soup.  My grandmother always made it, and my sister's best friend's mom (say that three times fast) made it all the time as well.  Many will tell you their recipe and no two are alike. I made my own one up from a combination of several recipes and my own preferences.  It is chock full of veggies, pretty easy to make and so comforting.  

I was craving the soup the weekend of Christmas, but it tends to take all day and my schedule did not permit for it.  But I had an idea...what if I let it cook overnight in the slow cooker and then I can just scoop some out for lunch!  It was a great idea.  I will be doing this more often for lunch after a busy weekend!  I think this would be just fine if you skipped the step of pre cooking the meat and mirepoix, try it that way if you are in a pinch.  I just like the depth of flavor that comes with pre cooking them.

By the way, I always call it a slow cooker because I was an advertising major and we were taught to call things by their names and not their brand names.  Just doing my part to help out the marketers! Do you love this kind of soup as much as I do?  Have you made it in the slow cooker?  Let me know! Full recipe to follow the montage

What a great sight and smell to wake up to!

December 28, 2016

A tale of kumquat weaponry, and Muffins (Whole Wheat kumquat muffins)

My last Hollygrove box had kumquats in it.  Kumquats are like tiny oranges.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them.  The only thing I know about kumquats is that they can be used as a weapon.

One lovely afternoon many years ago, my friends and I were sitting in my friend Laura's backyard day drinking and making party cups for our annual girls beach trip (R.I.P.)  All of a sudden, we started getting pelted with these tiny orange balls.  Turns out there was an unattended 8 year old boy with a kumquat tree in the neighboring yard.  We memorialized the attack on a paper plate with a sharpie like any memory should be properly preserved.

So anyway, I had these kumquats and googled, "what do I make with kumquats" and found a recipe for these muffins from my local paper.  I had everything on hand but the cherries and I decided against making a special trip just for them.  I am sure they would have been a nice addition, but these were just fine the way they are.  I gave some to each of my sister's family and some to my gentleman caller and all had good things to report except the 5 6 year old nephew.  I also got a "Is this healthy?" from the oldest niece.  So I say they were healthy and delicious!  You should try them if you ever have kumquats in your possession.  Is this just a New Orleans thing?  Do you know kumquats?  What do you do with them if so?  Full recipe to follow the montage.

This did not make a dozen as advertised.  Story of my life!

December 23, 2016

Five for Friday-Merry Christmas!

It has been so good to be back here in the blogosphere.  Blogging has become a part of my life.  It started as a coping mechanism and in light of the recent events, I found it was hard to cope without it as all the stuff I use for it was stolen.  It is good to have my favorite things back and upgraded.  I also realize how lucky I am to be able to do that!

I'm not really doing five for Friday today just throwing out a few things.

My pledge sisters in DG and I had our annual Jingle Bell Lunch at Brennan's this week.  It was so fun to catch up and celebrate together.  Next year will make 20 years since we pledged DG.  It really was a decision for life, and I am so glad I did it!
Courtney, Me, M'liss, Katie and Becca (Who has been my friend for 32 years!) We are all wearing Kismet Lipstick!

For Christmas Day, I am making Uncle David's Mac and Cheese (Which I shared with you last week)

And twice cooked cabbage, which is creeping up my most popular posts list because it is THAT good!

It has been a bit of a rough month with getting burglarized and scammed in a 10 day span but this has been such an amazing year!  While I would never trade it for the world; I would have liked for it to end on Halloween, lol.

I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.  This is such a special time of year and so many magical memories will be made! See you next week with some fun, food and family!  Enjoy yours!

Happy Cooking!


December 22, 2016

Leftovers made right (Leftover turkey and broccoli cheese casserole)

I am the queen of leftovers and making something out of nothing,  I got it from my grandma.  She is such a frugal lady and an excellent cook and I am so lucky to still have her around and to have inherited some of her skills through my Dad.  I was inspired by Thanksgiving to make this and also because I accidentally bought a 6 pack of cream cheese and I needed to use it up.

I was playing around on Pinterest, or maybe it was just food and wine and I came across this recipe for Chicken and broccoli casserole.  I was going to make it with a rotisserie chicken like they suggest and then I realized, duh, leftover turkey!  I am posting this now so you can make it with leftover Christmas chicken or turkey!

This was really good, but I think the meat was a little dry.  I waited a few days to make this so that is probably why.  If you make the next day that will clear it up.  Also I decided at the last minute to add bread crumbs to suck up some of the excess liquid.  I had that because I was improvising and did not have the exact measure of other ingredients.  It was a welcome addition regardless, I will add it to the recipe below.  What are your favorite leftover creations?  Full recipe to follow the montage.

The finished product. Leftovers are not always pretty.

December 20, 2016

The most delicious dish made by an uncle (Uncle David's Mac and Cheese)

Y'all this dish is delish!  My friends Hannah, Kelly and Cary all share an Uncle David.  He is known for his architecture in out Nation's Capital and this Mac and Cheese.  I am not sure which is his better masterpiece. Kelly would make this mac and cheese  for our annual Faux Thanksgiving celebration and we would all rejoice at how delicious it is.  My family never had mac and cheese at Thanksgiving and I decided a few years back that we should.  And we should have Uncle David's!  I asked Kelly for the recipe and shocked when I got it.  Velveeta!?  How could something so delicious be so fake?!  Oh well, I decided to give it a whirl.  And boy was it a hit! 

Everyone in my family was so impressed and wondered why we had never had Mac n Cheese before. They all asked for the recipe.  I told them I had to keep it secret so no one could replicate it.  I just didn't want to let anyone know about my non healthy cooking secrets!  Well now, we can all see how this is made!

This is so easy, so cheesy and delicious.  Sometimes you just need some old school comfort food with some Velveeta, a can, crisco, or whatever around the holidays to make us feel nostalgic and warm. Make this sometime and reminisce or make a new memory.  It is so good! Mac and Cheese for President!  Full recipe to follow.

The finished lovely casserole. We always use throw away dishes to make clean up easier!

December 19, 2016

Necessity is the mother of stepping out of your comfort zone(green beans with citrus butter sauce)

Hey guys! I'm back. Well kind of. Still no computer or camera but here's a post I had drafted before the Napa trip. This is a great healthy side for Christmas and is so different! Enjoy! 

I love getting a box from Hollygrove Market as I am sure you have noticed.  It is full of local produce, a great deal, and makes me be more creative and spontaneous in my meal planning.  This is kind of a necessity when you have a food blog!

There were green beans in the box a few weeks ago.  My favorite way to prepare fresh green beans is in the crock pot with bacon, onions and broth.  Every now and then I'll add a potato too, but only on special occasions when I am indulging in luxurious carbs.  I know that has been done before in the blogosphere, although, funnily enough, not here.  I had an orange in the box as well and thought maybe that would be a good combo.  Enter this lovely recipe that sounded like music to my ears for Green Beans with Citrus Butter Sauce.

It was the perfect recipe for what I had on hand, which was every ingredient.  And they were delicious.  And even more delicious when I roasted them in the oven the next day to have them leftover!  The sauce is rich and bright at the same time due to the broth (especially since I used homemade!) butter and citrus and the green beans were nice and crunchy which is a change from my usual recipe.  Try this, it is really different and sure to please!  Full recipe after the montage.

Looking good and saucy!

December 12, 2016

Recapping the Napa trip part one, with crime.

 Hey y'all. I'm still in the hot crime bed of Oakland. If you didn't deduce it from social media, our rental car was broken into while we had dinner there before heading to Napa and all of our luggage was stolen. Including my laptop and camera. And all my clothes, make up and jewelry. So we went to  Target and Marshalls and Ulta in lieu of the French Laundry. We had a good trip anyway! Here is. Recap of the crime and first day in pics. I am doing this on my phone in the browser as the blogger app keeps shutting down. 

Hope you all had wonderful weekends! I don't know when I'll be back and fully operational, but enjoy this!

December 7, 2016

Truffle oil, meet carbless noodles! (Shirataki noodles with bacon, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts)

I am not quite sure why this dish did not photograph well.  I had taken a few days off cooking while I was letting my social life and packing get in the way of the blog and I guess my camera skills had lapsed.  As they say, you have to use it or lose it!  Here is one of my last few posts from my interim house!

I was playing around on food and wine and stumbled across this intriguing recipe for a warm mushroom bacon vinaigrette over noodles.  It also called for truffle oil.  My sweet roomie at the time brought me back some from France and I was dying to use it in some way.  Lo and behold this recipe called for a dash, score!  I had some Brussels Sprouts laying around too so I decided to incorporate them into the dish. 

I also used one of my favorite low carb secrets, Shirataki carbless noodles instead of regular pasta.  I have told you before, they are not going to completely fool anyone, but with proper rinsing and pairing, you won't mind the swap if you are a relatively healthy eater.  Try this, even with regular pasta!  Full recipe to follow the montage.

I miss natural light when I get home from work.

December 6, 2016

How to get Google to find you (bacon onion meat bombs)

Yes, that's right...MEAT BOMBS 💣!  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and I could not contain myself.  I had to make it. Anything with the name bomb in it, right?  Although I better watch how many times I write the word bombs on the internets.  I promise, I am talking about meat, bacon and deliciousness!  

The barbecue sauce and bacon serve to keep the meet moist and juicy.  the onion soaks up all of the flavor and is a delicious treat.  That is right folks, you are meant to eat the onion!  I used my favorite non traditional Cajun style barbecue sauce, Pig Stand, and it imparted a distinct tomato and onion flavor that really complimented the onion and bacon.  I think any Memphis style or vinegar based sauce would mimic this well, but any barbecue sauce will do.  

I also did not have an egg.  Instead I added a teaspoon of honey mustard to the meat mixture to help bind it.  This gave it some great flavor as well and I highly recommend it.  But the egg is probably a better binder.  I will give both options in the full recipe. a bonus, I had some leftover roasted garlic that I stuffed each meatball with and it was delicious.  They sell marinated garlic at most grocery stores that have a salad or antipasti bar and I know they always have it at Whole Foods.  A good other treat would be a small cube of cheese. Mmm, why did I not think of that?  Make these, you, and whoever eats with you will love you more for it!  Full recipe to follow the montage.  Linking up for Meal Plan Monday!

The bomb was so decadent I just served it with a simple veggie.

December 5, 2016

Recapping the Weekend- Fun times with the girls!

Hello friends!  Welcome to a new week! Mine is going to be chock full of meetings and then off to Napa Thursday!  Hope you had a fabulous weekend and this week feels short.  I had a great weekend full of times with my favorite girls, I have a recap for you today so let's get into it! Linking up with Biana!

My friend Laura hosted us for our annual Ladies Dirty Santa Party.  Her house was so festive and it was a fabulous time as usual. I got home very late after too much wine and a lovely Lyft ride.  

I have dining room table envy!
We had a lovely spread of fancy and cheap wine.  There's a 2 buck Chuck back there!
I wonder what are in these!  The Gift game is always the best part!
Laura made short ribs and grits, mmmm!
These were the highlight of the gift swap.  I ended up with some gorgeous earrings.

Saturday was an adventure in dog pee clean up and I got myself a box from Hollygrove Market!
Saturday night was a fun night with niece and nephew and others at Shogun for Hibachi!

I just love this little cutie, we had a great date!
We saw Home Alone in the theater with a live orchestra!  It was so cool!
Kate and her friend Luke were as well behaved as two six year olds with m&m's could be!
Sunday I meal planned with the produce haul and started packing for Napa.  It was the perfect day to do it since it was dreary outside.  But these rainbow radishes sure weren't dreary!  Can't wait to show you what I whip up with these!  

That is all I have for you, hit me up with your highlights.  Have a great day!

Happy Cooking!


December 2, 2016

Five For Friday-Hectic times before Napa!!

Hello my dears, Happy Friday!  This has been a fun, busy short week for me. I know next week will not be the same because I leave for Napa next Thursday!  It is going to feel so long.  I am linking up with Amanda for Friday Favorites.  Let's get into it!


I went to see Dolly Parton Wednesday night!  She was so adorable.  She told such great stories and looked like a million dollars.  She was so sparkly that when I tried to zoom in on her, she looked like a hologram!  

December 1, 2016

Restaurant Review- N7, New Orleans (It's new and exciting!)

I have a new dining companion in my life these days.  He shall remain anonymous for now as he cannot decide on what we shall call him but he may be popping into my stories here and there. Maybe we should nickname him! For now he will be he who is not nicknamed.  If you know me well, this may make you giggle.  Anywho, we went to try a yummy place a few weeks back and I just had to share it.  

N7 is kind of new and in an up and coming part of town.  I had been wanting to try it, but the concept just weirded me out. Lots of canned seafood.  Yuck!  But like a good foodie, I had to try it.  And I am so glad I did.  I didn't even have to try any canned food.  Well kind of, I believe old what's his name's dish was out of a can or at least that is what the menu on yelp says.  Anyway, on to my limited and can't do it justice review.  If you are a New Orleans local, try it!  Perfect romantic date night or easy girl's night.

That is an ominous front door!