June 28, 2017

Trying new things leads to deliciousness (Eggplant and Fennel Salad with Goat Cheese)

It took me a long time to appreciate fennel.  It was not until I was forced to cook with it way back when I tried Plated the first time.  Because of that recipe, I now know you can tame down that licorice taste and enjoy how well it works with others.  

I have been participating in the Eat Local Challenge during the month of June.  Every week I get a box of random local produce from Hollygrove market and Farm and make some creative recipes from whatever is in there.  

A few weeks ago, it had two semi unfamiliar ingredients, eggplant and fennel.  I have only made ratatouille and this beautiful eggplant Parmesan with eggplant so I need to branch out.  I found this gorgeous salad with both of them, so I decided to try it.  Gentleman caller and I were going to a dinner party and I thought it would be perfect.  It started to rain so I could not grill and I don't use a mandolin because I like my fingers, so I changed it up a bit.  It was so delicious.  Everyone loved it and so will you.  Full recipe to follow the montage

Eggplant and Fennel Salad with goat cheese
Just so pretty, delicious and different!

June 27, 2017

Let them eat scones! (Semi Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Scones)

I love scones.  As does my middle sister.  Back when we were in college and had college richness and the metabolisms to match, we would always get one at Starbucks.  Since I have started living the little to no carb lifestyle, I miss things like scones.  The point is to live a lifestyle, and allow yourself some treats sometimes, and sometimes make them a bit healthier.  This was one of those times.

I am in a weird breakfast experimentation time in my life and I am always looking for new things to try.  I wanted to make scones with the blueberries that were in my Hollygrove box, but I wanted to make them kind of healthy.  I stumbled upon this recipe for scones with whole wheat flour and oatmeal and I was sold!  As it turns out, scones are really not hard to make!  This took a lot less time than I thought!

These are really yummy, don't feel or taste like they have been healthified and were a hit with my sister, Gentleman Caller and my coworkers.  They are still a treat, but a good one to have when you want something good but don't want to be too bad.  Make them yourself, you will see! Full recipe to follow the montage.

Semi Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Scones
They don't even look like they have been healthified!

June 26, 2017

Recapping the weekend- Friend Fun in Fairhope

Hi friends!  Welcome to a new week!  I had a great weekend visiting my best friend in her cute town of Fairhope, Alabama.  We have been friends since the second grade, so basically forever!  We had some pool and grill time, yummy food, worked out, got pedi's and did some shopping.  It was a full crammed weekend!  Here we go with a recap!

I was so happy her hubby let us have a girls' night out Saturday night!

June 23, 2017

Five for Friday-Tropical Storm of car ownership edition

Hello friends!  Happy Friday!  This was a weird week with Tropical Storm Cindy closing a lot of stuff without really doing much damage, thank goodness.  I did not get a hurricane day so it was still a long week for me!  Linking up with the lovely new homeowner, Amanda, for Friday Favorites. Let's get to it!


Well I completed my Sunday Riley Power Couple experiment.  I can tell you who is excited... Gentleman Caller. He was so turned off by the smell.  Y'all it smells really bad and it is really strong. I liked what they did to my face while they were on it, but I see no results that last once it is washed off.  No one commented on how good my skin looked, unlike last summer when everyone noticed that I was using the cheap Vitamin C serum from Amazon.  I will stick to that and my retinol I get from my dermatologist.  It is combined almost half the price, produces lasting results, and won't turn off my man!


We had a Delta Gamma happy hour last night with a T shirt swap and share.  I was supposed to go and coordinate it, but alas I got food poisoning at lunch with my boss at our favorite place to get salads.  I came home from work early and started the Handmaid's Tale on Hulu intermittently when I was feeling okay.  Have you seen it?  It is scary (in a non scary movie way) and so addictive!  I really want to finish the series soon and read the book.  I am not sure how it happened that I did not read it. Oh, and I am feeling better now, thank goodness!


Um, a shark lagoon and multiple kitchens?  Sign me up for wishing I had the money to buy Lil' Wayne's house!


A lot was wrong with my Audi and it is still at the dealership. The apparently had to order a bunch of parts, but it was all under warranty! More money in the budget for the two tires I know I need soon.  I got to drive the 2017 model of my car around all week, complete with XM.  I kind of want it again now that they have Yacht Rock again!  Do you have Sirius XM?  What's your favorite channel?


I hope to be heading to Alabama to visit my best friend this weekend! That is if they let me drive the loaner there or give me my car back.  We have been friends for 32 years! We plan on a lot of fun and I can't wait to get on the road this afternoon!  We had a lot of fun last time I visited!

Well that's what I have,  what do you have going on this weekend?  Hope it is full of fun!

Happy Cooking!


June 22, 2017

Look ma, no flies! (Crock Pot Shredded Italian Beef Cabbage Rolls)

I love when a plan comes together by accident.  I was saving some chuck roast in my freezer for the next time I watched my nieces and cooked Stephen Gurley Gravy.  We have not had a time where my services were necessary at night since my sister had a new baby and does not leave the house much anymore. It was getting to be time for the meat to spoil so I decided to throw it in my crock pot with some items from my Hollygrove box and go from there.  

Then I got a text that the pool party I was planning on making beet and cabbage slaw for was cancelled and I suddenly had a head of cabbage I had no use for.  Bingo!  Cabbage rolls!  I had made some very delicious philly cheese steak ones before that kind of pleased my picky mom (that is a funny post!) and I made some deconstructed ones that brought all the flies to my house .  Now I would make some true ones, albeit without rice because I like to deprive myself.

This was too easy, very delicious, made a ton and I saved the rest of the meat for tacos, which were even better.  I ate the whole batch I was so hungry!  There was a bit or excess liquid that was only annoying because it messed up my photos.  And I am sure adding a cup of rice to the crockpot would cure that, but I'd rather drink my carbs!  Make this, you will not be disappointed!  Full recipe to follow the montage. Linking up with Meal Plan Monday over at Southern Plate and others!

Crock Pot Shredded Italian Beef Cabbage Rolls
Rolls of delicious!

June 20, 2017

Beets for Beet Haters (Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting)

I hate beets.  They are not on my about me page list of disclaimers of things I hate, but I make a really odd face everytime I try to force them down.  I am doing the Eat Local Challenge and get a Hollygrove Market Box each week to make fun recipes from it.  

One week there was an amazing box that was filled of awesome things I loved, however it contained beets.  I was trying to make slaw with them for other people for a pool party; that was cancelled. I let them sit in the fridge, I tried to give them away and it was all to no avail; I was stuck with them.  So I headed to the google and asked it for "beet recipes for people that hate beets."  And the result was cupcakes from Southern Living.

I was shocked that you really could not taste the beets.  I had a lot of testers and not one of them tasted beets either! The cupcakes were so moist, so fluffy and so delicious.  And what is not good with cream cheese frosting?  Well probably plain old beets for one, hee hee.  This recipe is so great and no food coloring! Try these sometime, just make sure you aren't wearing white, beets stain! Also, if you are making them ahead of time, I would store them in the fridge. Full recipe to follow the montage. Linking up with Meal Plan Monday over at Southern Plate and others!

Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Hello Cupcake!

June 19, 2017

Recapping the Weekend- Father's day Fun

Hi friends!  Happy new week!  Hope you had a great weekend celebrating the dads in your life if you have them or just celebrating life in general if you don't.  It was a weekend that was full of no plans that turned into plans for me.  Funny how that happens.  Linking up with the lovely Biana for weekending.

Friday after work we went to one of my favorite watering holes, the Rusty Nail, to say goodbye to my coworker Matt.  He is heading to law firm life and we sent him off with a proper government lawyer goodbye of shots and fun.  

So sad to see this guy go, especially to go back to billing hours! Glad I get to keep the rest of these clowns!
Saturday morning I went to Platform  with two of my high school besties to make up for skipping out 20 year reunion last weekend.  Toni was in from Alabama and had never been, she was sore the next day!  I needed it after all the beers the night before.

Saturday night was an unexpected night off of daddy duty for Gentleman Caller so we met up with some friends to check out the new tiki bar his friends opened up called Portside.    It was really cool and dark with fun drinks and music as a tiki bar should be!

I got the punch of the day, it was delightful.
After we had a nice dinner at Chais Delachaise, the place of our first date, and then went to an old favorite, Madigans, for some more fun.  

This guy kicked my butt at pool.  In my defense, it is the only time in life I am ambidextrous.  My first shot he asked if I was secretly left handed!
Sunday we went over to my grandparents' house on the Northshore and celebrated Father's Day.  As usual there was yummy food and some fun nostalgia!

My grandparents at their 30th anniversary.  We celebrated their 65th last year.
Guess which dish the family food blogger made? Ratatouille was so pretty and delish and coming your way soon!
I've taught my dad how to look in the right place for selfies finally!
Well the rain kind of ruined any outdoorsy fun like the grilling I planned to do but that gave me time to catch up on blogging!  I'm off the the Audi dealership this morning to see about a light that keeps coming on, wish me luck!

How was your weekend?  Hope it was fantastic!  See you tomorrow for more culinary adventures!

Happy Cooking!


June 14, 2017

A Pinterest rant turns into breakfast (Overnight Cake Batter Protein Oats)

I've been hating Pinterest ever since they went to the new model.  I can say this as a person who used it way back when when it was an exclusive club.  I get barraged with ads, sponsored and promoted pins and I can't just find the normal people I am following.  Okay rant over.

What it does is flood you with suggested recipes that everyone sees.  Such as the pretty zoodles.  And these Overnight Cake Batter Protein Oats.  Since I am having a hard time being excited about my green smoothies these days, I decided to try my hand at them.  Well I decided to use what I had on hand, which was steel cut oats instead of regular, which changed the texture a bit. I also used different extracts and had no sprinkles since I'm a kid free household.

These were good, but only after warmed up.  When eaten cold I felt like I was stuck in Orange is the New Black.  Heated up, I just felt like I was at work.  I will make this again and next time I will use old fashioned oats.  That and heating the first time will be all it needs.  Full recipe after the montage. Linking up with Meal Plan Monday over at Southern Plate and others!

Overnight Cake Batter Protein Oats
My photography teacher would not like this photo but I do!

June 13, 2017

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner again! (Authentic Jerk Chicken Thighs)

I told y'all recently that I participated in a "Jerk Off" with Gentleman Caller and some of his friends. My chicken was jerkolicious! I have to give credit where credit is due, I found this on a new blog that I plan on frequenting now, Christina's Cucina. She is scottish and Italian and loves to travel and cook, it sounds perfect!  She had a recipe for Jerk Chicken that sounded good, so I decided to try it!

I went to the Ideal Market (it is a local chain of Hispanic Grocery Stores) near my house after work on the hunt for hot Scotch Bonnet peppers. Apparently they are super hard to find in this town because no one at the party could find them! I improvised with serrano peppers and added more than called for.  I went on down the road to Whole Foods too to see if they had them and no luck.  But I did pick up extra hot dried cayenne to make up the difference.  It was perfect!

I think the key to this is marinating it overnight.  I did it for about 18 hours.  The sauce is so good and I can't wait to use the leftovers!  I think you can use boneless thighs, but the bone in chicken keeps it juicy.  This is not as spicy as you think, very addictive, and a foodie party winner!  You must try it! Full recipe after the montage. Linking up with Meal Plan Monday over at Southern Plate and others!

Authentic Jerk Chicken Thighs
Fired up and ready for competition!

June 12, 2017

Recapping the weekend-Yay food!

Hi friends! Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend!  Summer is in full swing and I am loving it.  It may be hot and we may have a lot of crime because the kids are out of school.  But it's still lazy, slow and still full of fun.  Linking up with Biana for weekending.

Friday night I went to dinner at Meril with my sisters and Mom and Dad and then Dad dropped us girls off at the Saenger Theater for Mamma Mia!  The company was lovely, the food was amazing and the show was so good!

The girls and their daddy.  Mom was in the bathroom, sorry mom!
Saturday I ran a bunch of errands and picked up some yummy produce at Hollygrove Market.  I am still trying to participate in the Eat local challenge.  It is so easy in the summer, so much great produce!
Heirloom tomatoes are great but the whole box was amazing!

Gentleman Caller and I headed to the French Quarter after on the bus (his first time!) to catch the Pride Parade and try a new place for dinner, St. Cecilia.

We ate family style and split everything.
He was not feeling well so we called it a night early. Meaning I stayed up and drank wine and watched the LSU baseball game. Geaux Tigers!

Sunday was low key and I made some treats that will be appearing on the blog soon.  Red Velvet Cupcakes!  Cannot wait to share!

Hope you had a fabulous weekend full of things you love!  See you tomorrow with more yumminess!

Happy Cooking!


June 8, 2017

Two of my favorite things combine for deliciousness (Buffalo Pineapple grilled chicken)

It's grilling season!  I got my fabulous new PK Grills smoker and grill with my tax refund and I am loving it.  I will be able to practice for Hogs for the Cause when that comes around and make my backyard feel a little bit more like summer.  And try all the grilling recipes I've pinned and never been able to make!

Such as this one for Buffalo Pineapple Chicken from Plain Chicken.  I mean, this recipe sounded made for me, but also a little weird...Buffalo sauce and pineapple?  I decided to try it anyway, and man am I glad I did!  The flavor was really intense in the chicken because of the pineapple.  And that made it stay moist in the grilling process too.  I had this with some veggies and had the leftovers in a salad the next day and it was just delightful.

Make this!  Don't let the odd ingredients scare you off.  And you can always bake this in the oven or sear in the cast iron skillet too.  It was so delicious.  What is your go to chicken marinade? Have you ever heard of PK Grills?  Full recipe to follow the montage.  Linking up with Meal Plan Monday over at Southern Plate and others!

Buffalo Pineapple grilled chicken
I just love barbecued chicken!

June 6, 2017

Fake rice is just as good as real rice! (Cauliflower Risotto and Roasted Root Vegetables)

The Trader Joe's riced cauliflower is just life changing.  I love it in place of rice with my red beans, I made that pizza casserole with it and now I love making risotto with it!

I was intending on making this barley risotto with roasted root vegetables, since I bought barley a million years ago and never made it.  I bought the cauliflower rice and know it would go bad, so I decided to improvise and make cauliflower risotto with the cauliflower rice.  It was a great decision, because I got to eat more!

The roasted veggies are incredible and would be so lovely on their own with any protein.  This vegetarian meal really satisfied my previously vegetarian and now fully meat eating heart.  You should try it!  Use it as a side, a lunch, a dinner or a snack!  You will not be disappointed!  Full recipe to follow the montage! Linking up with Meal Plan Monday over at Southern Plate and others!

Cauliflower risotto with roasted root veggies
If you squint hard, it looks like arborio rice!

June 5, 2017

Recapping the weekend, what a jerk!

Hi friends!  Happy new week!  I hope you had a fabulous weekend full of fun and friends!  I sure did! Linking up with Biana for weekending.  

Friday night was low key.  I prepped for Saturday (more to come on that below) made cabbage rolls and watched a few episodes of A Chef's Life, which I have been slowly binge watching the past few months.  I have been kind of sick this week so it was nice to relax and go to bed early.

Saturday the weather cancelled plans for a pool party for my Hogs for the Cause team, so we ventured out to check out Port Orleans Brewery.  I am loving all the breweries popping up now!

Wagyu Beef tacos and a Riverfront lager

The beautiful ladies of Sweet Swine O' Mine
The group ventured over to Nola Distillery, also so excited about all the distilleries popping up too!  I only stayed for the group picture.  I had to get home to grill...

I bought the red stripe for the BBQ sauce and I got to drink the leftovers!
I was heading to a "Jerk Off"!  Gentleman Caller's friends hosted a party where the guests were to bring their best jerk flavored anything.  I decided to go simple and make Jerk chicken thighs.  And guess what?  I am pretty sure I was the fan favorite!  I was so honored when people raved about them.  I will be posting the recipe soon, it was amazing!

I didn't get a picture before everyone dug in.
There was jerk chicken pizza, jerked red fish, jerk pork tenderloin and cooling sides to soothe our burnt tongues!

My sampling of the deliciousness.
Sunday was a fun morning of bagels and coffee with my sweet friend who now has a job out of town during  the week, Pure Barre, Hollygrove Market and cleaning the house. While cleaning, I did my sink disinfectant recipe.  It feels so good to have a sanitized sink I must share it with you!

The left is already done, the right is mid way.

How to really clean your stainless steel sink:

What you need:
drain stopper
hard sponge
A powdered cleaner (I use Bon Ami)
Paper towels

Place drain stopper in drain of one side of your sink. Fill it with hot water.  Add one cup of bleach to the water and let sit for one hour.  Drain.  Sprinkle some powdered cleaner in the drained sink and scrub with hard sponge.  Then use the toothbrush to clean out the drain and to scrap up gunk in hard to reach crevices.  Rinse the sink and then dry with paper towels.  Spray with windex and wipe to a shine! Repeat on other side.

Hope you had a great weekend!  What did you get into?  See you tomorrow with more food, glorious food!

June 1, 2017

A ladylike burger not just for ladies (Chipotle Ranch Chicken burgers)

I just got a new grill.  With it being summer, get ready for some grilling recipes.  For all of them a good old fashioned cast iron skillet on the stove will work too, I promise.  But nothing gives meat flavor like charcoal in my book!   I love a good burger, but I try not to have too much red meat in my life after a high cholesterol number a few years ago.  Whenever I crave a burger, I always make myself a fancy chicken burger first and if it doesn't satisfy it, then I go and get me some meat.  In the past I have made Buffalo Burgers and Moroccan Burgers.  Now, behold the Chipotle Burger.  

I picked up some chipotle peppers in a squeeze tube and let me tell you, this is life changing!  In any event, this recipe would use most of a can of them so you won't feel wasteful.  The combination of the smoky chipotle and the grill flavor are amazing.  And the sharp cheddar, sour cream (or greek yogurt if you want) and avocado tamp down the spiciness of the chipotle.  The lettuce wrap gives it such a great crunch, you won't want a bun to replace it!

Try this!  And don't be afraid to cook it inside, the chipotle gives you smoke flavor!  What are your favorite alternative burgers?  Full recipe after the montage. Linking up with Meal Plan Monday.

Chipotle Chicken Burgers
Yes, this burger looks feminine.  But it tastes like something even a man could love.