Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mardi Gras Party!

Happy Mardi Gras!

I am in a woman's supper club that meets once a month. Every month we go to a different person's house and enjoy a nice dinner and the fellowship of friends. Last night, I hosted. Typically we don't have themes, but I decided to go out on a limb and have a Mardi Gras theme. I had fun decorating the house with beads, confetti, etc. I also had fun making GUMBO for the first time EVER. I was a little nervous as to how this would turn out, since it was my first time making it and I was cooking for 13 girls, ahh! Thankfully I had the hubs taste it since he knows a good gumbo. I am happy to say that he loooooved it...and so did the ladies. I have to say, I'm a little proud of myself. :)

I got the recipe off I followed the recipe, except I increased the servings to 15...I also left out all of the shell fish since a couple girls are allergic, and I used chicken instead of beef and kept the sausage (gotta have sausage in gumbo!). It was delish. I served it over white mouth is watering thinking of the leftovers that we will have tonight. horray!

Prep Time:
30 Min

Cook Time:
3 Hrs 30 Min

Ready In:
4 Hrs

Original Recipe Yield 10 servings


2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 pound okra, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 pound cubed beef stew meat (optional)
8 cups water (I used much less water than this...start with 4 cups and wait to see if you need more)
1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 pound crabmeat, flaked
1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 lemon
file powder


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, onions, celery and okra, stirring constantly until golden brown. Set aside.
In a large heavy bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat, combine 1/4 cup of butter and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux becomes chocolate brown. Stir in the vegetable mixture, and stew meat. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, and meat is evenly brown. Stir in water, tomatoes and sugar. Season with parsley, thyme, bay leaves, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add shrimp, crabmeat and andouille to stock pot. Stir in hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Remove seeds from lemon and squeeze juice into stock pot. Simmer an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves, sprinkle with file powder, and serve.

****Daniel and I would like to have a Mardi Gras party next year (we would love to make this an annual tradition)...we hope you can make it!****

Monday, February 14, 2011

Srirarcha Marinara and Meatballs!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!!!!!!

Last night we had my parents over for a Valentines dinner. I made Srirarcha Marinara and Meatballs and cream cheese biscuits. My Mom brought a delicious salad with spinach, strawberries, pomogranete seeds, and almonds in a poppy seed dressing. For dessert we had chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate chip bar cookies that I made. It was a delish pre-Valentines meal! We all really enjoyed this different take on sphajetti...if you like hot things, you will love this dish...if not, stay away. I will definetly be making this again!

Sriracha Marinara & Meatballs

For the meatballs:
1 lb lean ground pork
1 lb lean ground white-meat turkey
1 16 oz bag frozen chopped spinach (or 1 1/2 10 oz pkgs), thawed & squeezed dry
2 egg whites
1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
3/4 tsp dried oregano
corse salt & pepper
nonstick cooking spray

For the sauce:
2 tsps olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
1 box whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Heat broiler, with rack in top position. Place pork, turkey, spinach, breadcrumbs, egg whites, oregano, 1 1/2 tsps salt & 1/2 tsp pepper in a large bowl.

With your hands, mix to combine. Roll into 1 - 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil for 5 minutes. Turn meatballs and broil another 5 minutes, until golden brown.

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and Sriracha and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and simmer at least 10 minutes. (To store, let cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 1 week, or freeze, up to 3 months).

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, add to pot with meatballs and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Happy eating!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Beef Roast and travel craziness

This past Friday was one of those days were I went non-stop from 6 am until 6 pm. We were having a guest in town for dinner, so thought a crock-pot meal would be the best way to go. My sweet friend, Holly, sent me this crock pot recipe and I decided to give it a try. It was great and SUPER SIMPLE! Beef pot roast in the crock pot...pretty much can't go wrong with that. Lots of meat for good fuel since we went skiing the next morning. The only thing that I would change for this recipe would be to add some veggies. I would probably add carrots, onions, and maybe peas at the end of the cooking. Otherwise it was great...lots of good flavor. When I got home from my long day I shredded the beef, then cooked brown rice in our rice-cooker. We had the roast over brown rice with broccoli on the side. Delish! (I forgot to take a pic)

Crock Pot Beef Roast

2 boneless beef chuck roasts ( 2 1/2 pounds each)
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 envelope italian salad dressing mix
1 envelope brown gravy mix
1/2 cup water

put the chuck roast in a crock pot. in another bowl, combine the salad dressing and gravy mixes; stir in water. pour over meat. cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until tender.

*So I will probably be MIA for the next couple months. My travel schedule is absolutely INSANE...I'm slightly freaking out about it b/c I so cherish my weekends at home getting a million things done, relaxing and doing what I want. It makes my heart beat fast just the thought that I won't have a weekend home until basically late April. yikes, stress. Deep breathe...thankfully all the events will be fun and I am excited about them! Here is my schedule...

Feb. 18-20th: Asheville, NC for Charlotte's wedding shower!
Feb. 24-27th: St. Louis, MO for a girls get together and birthday celebrations with my Mom, Great Aunt, Grandmother and Aunt! It wlll be a special time for since I rarely get to see these loved family members.
Feb. 28th: My 28th b-day!
March 5-9th: Colorado for skiing in Breckenridge w/the hubs, family friends and my parents!
March 12-13th: Baltimore, MD for Charlotte's bachelorette party! Wooohoo!
March 19-20th: VA Beach, VA for the 1/2 marathon...wahoo!
March 25-27th: Charlotte, NC for Annie's bachelorette!
April 2nd: Richmond, VA (can we get a whoop whoop!) Monument Ave. 10K!
April 8-10th: Greenville, SC for Annie and Brent's wedding!!!!!
April 11-14th: Pawleys Island, SC for a mini-beach break between weddings
April 15-17th: Kiawah Island, SC for Charlotte and Ty's wedding!!!!!!!!!!
April 22-24th: HOME HOME AND's Easter weekend, but I will be HOMMMMMMEEEE
April 30th: Baby James' 1st Birthday...probably a big celebration...

And I'll stop here b/c life will stop to calm down...well so I hope. Ah. Anyways, if I'm a bad friend/blogger in the next couple know why. I'll try to post as much as humanly possible.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I found this on my friend, Katie's blog and just had to share it. Click on the words to make it appear larger so that you can actually read it. Sums up what we should all be reminded of every single day. Even though life isn't's pretty close to perfect and we are all so blessed. Hope you have a great week! :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Easy peasy, heart healthy chicken

I knew it would be a late night when I got home from work tonight, so I wanted something quick, easy and satisfying. Last night I threw together a marinade of low-sodium teriyaki sauce (about 3 T.), rice vinegar (about 1 T.) and a bunch of chopped up garlic into a large ziplock bag and put two chicken breasts in the bag. This marinaded in the fridge all night and all day today. When I got home I instantly cooked brown rice in our rice maker (LOVE this thing, makes my life so much easier!), chopped up the chicken, then threw the chicken in the fry pan and stir fried it (maybe I'm on a stir fry kick?). Once the chicken was cooked, I added edamame and pecans to the chicken and let them all cook together in the pan. I know you're thinking...this is an odd combination of ingredients! It is, but the flavors all work great together...a surprise in every bite.

Next, in a separate bowl, I mixed together about 1 T. of cornstarch and about 2 T. of water together. I then put this into the fry pan (with the chicken and other ingredients)...the cornstarch is used as a thickener and is so important for stir fry type dishes...really makes the dish. Done! Served this over brown rice with peas and a salad on the side. Another yummy yourself a favor and go give this a won't be disappointed :)

P.S.- How's this picture for ya??! I'm trying and learning!


This past Friday night we had...can you guess? Stir fry! I love me some stir fry's...easy, quick meal loaded with lean protein, good fats, lots of veggies and delish. This certain stir fry was a total hit, I will def. be making this again soon. I think it was the peanut butter that made it so out of this world delicious. I am a sucker for anything invovled with peanut butter! Oh, and the leftovers were just as amazing...they didn't last long in this house!


1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tblsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tblsp rice vinegar
1 tblsp water
fresh ginger (about 1 tblsp, sliced)
2 tsp sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large bunch of fresh green beans (I didn't slice these in smaller pieces, but will next time)
about 1 cup (or more if desired) mushrooms
4 chicken breasts, cut up into bite sized pieces
sprinkle of red pepper flakes


-Put a small amount of olive oil in a pan and saute the mushrooms, onions, green beans and red pepper until tender.
-Take the mushrooms, onions, green beans and red pepper off the stove and place in a separate bowl.
-Put cut up chicken in fry pan (with small amount of olive oil) and stir fry.
-Add all other ingredients to chicken.
-Last, add mushrooms, onions, green beans, red pepper.
-Let flavors combine and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
-Serve over brown rice, enjoy!

*To round out the meal and it's flavors, I served with a side of fresh pineapple...mmm...

P.S.- My picture taking totally stinks, so I am working on this "art" and learning my new the meantime, try to imagine a better picture!