December 15, 2017

Hey Y'all! - 10 Cookie Bar recipes that save MAJOR time with holiday baking


No scooping, no eye-balling and no manning the oven to rotate pans.

Why we should never let comparison take away our joy (and why am I wearing baseball socks?!)

Things that made me ugly-laugh or otherwise occupied my attention, mind or heart this week.

Recipes (not my own) I came across this week that REALLY caught my eye.

My weeknight meal plan for feeding my busy family. Because we all need ideas.
And yes, we eat fish sticks too.

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December 5, 2017

Shrimp & Sausage 15 Bean Gumbo

What the what is bean gumbo?? I know that’s what you’re asking. And maybe even shouting. And maybe you asked it and then spit on the floor like my nanny would have done if someone had implied you could make chicken and dumplin’s with tofu.

But it’s a thing! It really is! I had a Red Bean Gumbo in a little dive in Shreveport and it really left an impression on me so I decided to try my own version of it. Y'all know I love me some beans. I’d made gumbo before with the traditional dark roux and okra but I would never consider myself an expert on Cajun cuisine so I did a little research and learned some interesting stuff about gumbo.

The traditional gumbo ingredients: okra, roux and often filé powder (a spice made from finely ground sassafras leaves) are used to thicken the gumbo. I knew the roux would obviously do this but I didn’t know that’s why okra and filé powder were originally used. Interesting. On their own, roux (just cooked oil and flour) and okra don’t have a ton of flavor so knowing the beans would naturally thicken things up on their own as well as provide a beautiful dark base, I decided not to use either the roux or the okra (though you could certainly add okra!).

This dish is like all my favorite Cajun dishes in one! I’m not 100% sure exactly which spices are included in the seasoning packet of the Hurst’s Cajun 15-Bean Soup mix but whatever they are, they are PERFECT for this gumbo. I added a little thyme, pepper and garlic for good measure but I probably didn’t even have to do that. Hurst’s has NAILED it on this one.

If you can’t find Hurst’s Cajun 15 Bean Soup mix in your local grocery store, ask for it! My grocery store now carries all sorts of products they didn’t have before simply because I asked for them. Just ask the cashier who to talk to to request a product and s/he will point you in the right direction. My store has a list at the Customer Service desk where they notate products their customers' request.

Shrimp & Sausage 15 Bean Gumbo! A rich gumbo thickened with Cajun beans chocked full of spicy shrimp and smoky sausage.

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November 28, 2017

Easy Chicken & Rice Soup

This rich and creamy homemade soup only takes 30 minutes to make but will make you feel warm and cozy all day long!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of College Inn®. The opinions and text are all mine.
Easy Chicken & Rice Soup! Creamy homemade chicken soup in just 30 minutes

When I was growing up, if someone got sick at our house, Mama or Daddy made chicken soup. I can still see the pot on the stove with the whole chicken in it with celery stalks and bay leaves bobbing around. And it always made me feel better.

I always thought it was just an old wives’ tale that chicken soup helped you get over a cold or flu but there really are medicinal elements to the soup! Studies have found that chicken soup helps ALL SORTS of ways to ease your symptoms (see details at the very bottom of the post). While nothing will cure a viral cold or flu, getting some relief from the symptoms while you’re letting it run its course is what we need the most, right?

Even if it didn’t actually do anything to help (which how cool is it that it does??!) just knowing that someone took the time to make something just to comfort you does wonders for the soul. That rich, hot broth soothes and coats a sore throat better than anything in my book!

Now, the way I grew up, we always used whole chickens for everything. We made our own stock, low and slow, getting all the flavor and richness from the skin and bones but, if you’re like me, you don’t always have time for that so THANK GOODNESS there are a few really good ready-made broths out there that have all that homemade taste – and y’all know College Inn is my go-to brand.

Because I’m a working mom who doesn’t often have the time to love on a pot of soup all day – and if someone’s sick, I need to act quick! – I came up with this quick and easy recipe using College Inn broth that has all the same layers of flavor as the all-day soup but cooks up in a fraction of the time!

This recipe makes a BIG BATCH so it’s perfect to stock the freezer with. I’m all about not wasting food, time or money so recipes like this are perfect for my family. And it’s always nice to have a little extra in the freezer to get through the fall and winter seasons. You might be the one who gets sick so you better stock up! I know for sure my husband wouldn’t make me soup from scratch – even if it is this quick and easy.

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