Mardi Gras…Lent…& Jambalaya

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping youself, the other for helping others.”

-Audrey Hepburn

Hello, sweet friend…

How are you today?

In the midst of a pandemic going from Valentine’s Day to Lent with a Mardi Gras thrown in the middle…Love…Pleasure…Penance… all within a few days…has really given me a lot to think about and is quite the “catch up adventure“

That being said today I thought I would focus on love and pleasure… putting off the penance…since I’ll have plenty of time for pondering that…well…at least the next 40 days.🌟


Here’s a delightful recipe that I enjoyed preparing and Joe loved eating!

JAMBALAYA

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 small onions, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2-3 serrano peppers, chopped (optional)

2-3 jalapeno peppers, chopped (optional)

2 stalks celery, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped ( I substituted a plant-based chicken)

½ pound andouille sausage chopped –(I substituted a plant based hot sausage… if you want to get REALLY meaty, add a whole pound!)

3-4 tomatoes chopped – about a pound

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

8 ounces tomato sauce

1 cup chicken stock (vegetable stock is good, too)

1 cup white rice 

½ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 teaspoons spicy Cajun seasoning (or more, as desired)

1 teaspoon olive oil

Chopped parsley for garnish

Your favorite hot sauce for serving

DIRECTIONS

First, heat a large pan or Dutch oven to medium high heat. Add oil with onions, peppers and celery. Cook them down about 6-7 minutes, until they soften up.

Add garlic, chicken and andouille sausage. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the chicken is no longer pink and the sausage starts to cook through.

Add tomatoes and stir to break apart. Crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes are good here, too. Cook for 3 minutes. Add oregano, basil, salt and pepper, tomato sauce and chicken stock. Stir.

Stir in the white rice. Long grain white rice is good. Bring to a quick boil then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and tender, to your preference. It could take 25 minutes to 30 minutes. Cooking time can vary, so keep an eye on it and test.

Heat a small pan to medium heat and add oil. For the shrimp, season with salt, black pepper and Cajun seasoning and saute a couple minutes each side, until cooked through. Stir them into the Jambalaya pot and remove from heat.

Serve your amazing Jambalaya into bowls and garnish with parsley or chopped green onions. Add in extra hot sauce if you’d like. Enjoy!

Marcia
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Valentine’s Day Prep…Keto Blueberry/Lemon Scones…& A Garden Tea Cart

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hello, sweet friends…

Happy almost Valentine’s Day!

I’ve always loved Valentines Day…

all the pinks…reds…hearts…chocolate…

just an adorable day…

This year I’m planning on preparing a sweet little tea just for Joe & I. Here’s the scone recipe…it’s truly delightful!

Keto Blueberry/Lemon Scones

INGREDIENTS

For the Scones

2 cups almond flour

⅔ cup fresh blueberries

⅓ cup Swerve Confectioners

½ teaspoon Baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup unsalted butter melted

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

For the Glaze

¼ cup Swerve confectioners

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1-2 teaspoons heavy cream or as needed

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with Parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, Swerve, baking powder, and sea salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, lemon zest, vanilla, and egg.

Stir the wet mixture into the almond flour mixture, pressing with a spoon or spatula, until a uniform dough forms.

The dough should be pliable and dense, but not crumbly add a little more butter, a teaspoon at a time, if it’s very dry.

Stir and press the blueberries into the dough.

Place the dough onto the lined baking sheet and form a disc shape, about 1 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter.

Cut into 8 wedges, like a pie or pizza. Move the pieces about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until golden. Cool completely on the pan to firm up. Scones will fall apart if you move them before cooling. (of course if you eat them…no worries)

Mix the ¼ cup of Swerve, lemon juice and start with 1 teaspoon of the heavy cream, adding more as needed to get the right consistency for the glaze.

Drizzle over the tops and serve.

and now let me show you what I did for a bit of fun this week…

Marcia
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Home Sweet Gnome & A Cottage Pie Recipe

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”

-C.S.Lewis

Hello, sweet friend…

Happy February!

Or

Originally I planned for this week’s post to be about the transformation of our upstairs guest room into a multi-purpose craft/guest room…

However something made me change my mind…

and I will save that story for another time…

Today I will share about the new friends I just made literally.

Recently I came across the cutest Gnomes…and thought…golly gee…I think I can make those!


So after gathering up a few items…

I got to work…

SUPPLIES FOR NO SEW GNOMES MADE WITH SOCKS:

Plain, old sock to hold rice

Sock for body

Stuffing for bulk in body

Faux fur for beard

Rubber bands 

Hot glue gun / hot glue

Rice

Scissors

Foam ball for nose

Stickers, buttons, ribbons for embellishments

DIRECTIONS (simplified)

Put 1-3 cups of rice into the white sock (make it bigger or smaller according to your preference).

Pounce the sock so that all rice falls down.

1. FILL PLAIN SOCK WITH RICE POLY-FILL

2. INSERT SMALL FOAM BALL & FORM NOSE…ON OUTSIDE WRAP SMALL RUBBER BAND

3. CLOSE TOP OF SOCK WITH RUBBER BAND

4. BODY
(cover plain sock with complementary sock…heel on back)

(freehand drawing the beard works just fine…You can’t make a mistake and definitely don’t overthink this. Simply measure from one side to the other of the sock and the length and depending on how wide and high you want the beard is where you cut it. For the beard in half and cut a small V at the top for the new nose. Glue the beard onto the body.

5. MAKE THE HAT
(using another complimentary sock cover top of body…heel in back)

6. EMBELLISH



👩‍🍳

WHAT’S COOKING?

After you spend an afternoon making gnomes you might be hungry. This cottage pie also known as Shepard’s pie is so easy to throw together and the ultimate comfort food!

Cottage Pie


Ground beef (I use plant based)

Onion

Salt and pepper

Beef gravy

Frozen mixed vegetables

Mashed potatoes

We like 1/4 – 1/2 cup parmesan cheese on top

Casserole dish

a 9×13″ baking dish

First add the ground beef into a pan with diced onions and cook over medium high heat. Break up and take off the burner once meat is no longer pink.

Get mashed potatoes cooked and prepared at this time so they’re ready.

Stir in your frozen vegetables with your meat. You can do this right in the pan or in a bowl.

Pour this mixture into your casserole dish and spread out evenly across the pan.

I like to taste a bite of it now and see if I want to season with salt a bit more now.🥰

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Spoon on prepared mashed potatoes and bake. make sure to smooth it on the top of your beef mixture so it’s the same thickness across the dish.

Marcia
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A Curtain Hack & Sugary Bites of Bliss

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello, sweet friends…



I hope the day finds you well…


We have had the usual amount of rain this month…


so naturally I’ve been doing lots of nesting…(aka online surfing)


which is how I serendipitously discovered a sewing hack for curtains…



actually a curtain valance…

(and truth be told) It’s a small hack…

but definitely share worthy…

When I came across an adorable table runner I wondered what it would look like as a curtain valance over the kitchen window…

The width measurements were perfect (86”) and with just a bit of sewing…I hemmed the length 1”

it would fit nicely over the window…

I was so pleased with the results that I ordered 2 more table runners for dressing another window in the kitchen…

and dining alcove…
I just love nesting.

What’s Cooking?

December is usually when all the baking begins…however January is when I bake those cookies I didn’t get around to in December. One of my favorite cookies is what I will refer to as sugary bites of bliss... I confess that I love the dough too!


SOFT JAM THUMBPRINT COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter (2 sticks, at room temperature)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

Jam ( my favorite is raspberry)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. 

Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add flour and salt and mix until incorporated and dough comes together in a ball. If desired, chill for 30 minutes.

Form dough into 1-inch balls (make sure they’re perfectly round), and arrange on prepared cookie sheet. Use a 1/2 tsp. to create perfectly circular craters in the center. 

Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven. If indentations look shallow, further define them again and fill each with a bit of jam.

Bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until jam melts slightly and edges of cookies are lightly golden.

.


Marcia
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A Tuscan Soup & Baguette Recipe

How wonderful it is that nobody need to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

-Anne Frank

Hello, sweet friends…

I hope you are hungry today because this post is all about food…










Keto Tuscan Soup

I had to laugh when I received the recipe for this soup. It was shared by a new friend whom I met in an online bible study. There were no measurements just the ingredients. That being said I sort of experimented with how much to measure. Also…my friend is Italian and I’ve never met an Italian that isn’t a natural chef. btw.. this soup was fabulous!

INGREDIENTS

Hot sausage or just regular ground pork (I used 4 hot Italian veggie sausage links)

onion (I didn’t use)
garlic (3 diced cloves)
chicken broth (I used about 8 cups)

frozen chopped spinach (or fresh chopped spinach) I used 1 box frozen

sun-dried tomatoes (I used 1 jar)

cut up cauliflower (I used about a cup)

heavy whipping cream

Parmesan cheese (I used half of package)

Italian herb seasoning (to taste

Brown sausage in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onions & garlic as the meat is almost cooked. While the sausage is browning steam the spinach. Cook for a minute or two before stirring the broth into the mixture. Add the tomatoes, spinach, more broth (if necessary) and Italian seasoning. Add cut cauliflower for more texture. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the heavy whipping cream and Parmesan cheese… measure as needed (I used almost the entire creamer) Stir until melted… simmer until ready to eat, or turn off the heat and cover until ready to eat.

Homemade Baguettes

I’ve become quite efficient at bread making so I decided to give baguettes a try. They are actually a bit trickier…not really sure why. However, they were fun to make and I’m sure I’ll be baking them up again soon!


Ingredients

6 cup flour  (depending on a brand, you may need to add more flour)

3 cups  lukewarm water

2 tsp yeast

2 tsp salt

The night before, combine all ingredients together. First mix the dry ingredients together and then add water. Mix the ingredients until the dough comes together. Cover it with a plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-20 hours on the countertop.

The following day, the dough should be wet, sticky and bubbly. Generously flour your hands and the baking sheet.

Take the dough (if it sticks, apply more flour to your hands) and form a baguette shape. Place it on a baking sheet and sprinkle a generous amount of flour on it. Cover it with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 °F. You will need to have 2 shelves in an oven. Fill a deep cooking sheet with 2 cups of hot boiled water, and place it on a lower level, inside your oven. This will make the bread crispy on the outside. Place the bread on the top rack. Remove water from the oven after 10 minutes. Keep on baking the bread for another 30 minutes or until golden crispy brown.


Naturally I had to add a bit of decorating…

Marcia
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