Momee’s spiced tea and a cup of comfort

Growing up and well into adulthood I was blessed with 2 of the best grandmothers a girl could have. Momee and Momou or Narcille and Beulah Mae, depending on who you ask. They were always there and they were the best cooks. They also truly loved one another. They were pals. They were different in many ways, but their love and their passion for family and holding it all together was the same. 

Momou (left), me, momee (right) after my college graduation. Can you tell they were proud?

Not a big moment happened in my life without one or both of them there. I was a lucky girl. I got some amazing recipes from them and lots of substance and maybe just a little style from them. Heavens knows both of them had it in spades. The older I get, the more I cling to their recipes and their strong sense of tradition. Having lost Momou in September, I admit I feel a little lost some days. Just a tad. But I am far more rooted in what they left behind then I am lost. I know that for sure. So I cling to who I am because of them instead of who I am without them on Earth anymore. I hold close to my heart the fact that I was so super lucky to have them at all much less into adulthood. 

Momou (left), my mom and momee at a boucherie in the late 90’s

So today we got a real cold snap. Like legit fall like weather. It’s about time being as though it is less than a week until Thanksgiving…anyway, it popped into my head that I HAD to make a batch of Momee’s spiced tea! It just came over me and I wanted some right away. So I did. And I made a cup and it was perfect. Just like Momee had made it. I distinctly remember being about 9 or 10 years old and Momee coming into our old house with a jar of her spiced tea mix. My mom fixed a cup for me and I fell in love. Oh it’s just like winter in a cup and I’m so not even kidding. I am so glad I remembered that spiced tea because it had been a while since I had a cup. Like a long while. Before kids, a while. And I’m also glad that she wrote that recipe down for my mom all those years ago. Those are the things that keep me grounded during times that I might feel a little lost. Momee passed in 2002, but it was her recipe today that comforted me and brought me warmth at a time I was feeling a little cold and alone after Momou’s passing. She’s still helping out years after she’s been gone and filling in a gap that Momou left behind. Beulah and Nar (as she was known) always had one another’s back. Same team. I guess it would be #teamgrandma these days. Makes me smile. 
Those 2 really loved one another. I know they are having a cup of coffee and making a visit in Heaven.

Yes I hope you enjoy this spiced tea and it brings you just a little warmth and comfort on a chilly day. The smell of that hot cup of tea was just what I needed today. It’s almost like it was 1984 and my daddy was in the woods and my mom made me a special cup of spiced tea just for me. I needed that today. 

Momee’s spiced tea 

Stuff you need~

2 cups of Tang mix 

6 tablespoons lemonade mix 

1 cup sugar 

1 cup instant tea mix 

1 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/2 teaspoon all spice 


What to do with the stuff~

Mix all ingredients together in an air tight container. I tried to be all cute and transfer mine from a perfectly acceptable Tupperware bowl with a lid to a super cute jar…learn from your friend and keep it simple. 🙄
It says add 1-2 teaspoons of the mix to hot water. I put 2 teaspoons in a mug and then got water from the Keurig. I used the middle button and it was perfect!! Spiced tea in 2016….love it!!! 


Winter in a cup I tell you!!!!

Mrs. Lou’s meatball stew and flavorful peas~the perfect Fall meal

We’ve been in Fall mode around here. So ready for the change of the seasons.  There’s been football…

Pumpkins and pumpkin decorating…

I have 4 kids, not just these 2, but as you can see these 2 are my hams
Getting ready for Halloween…


And of course hearty perfect for Fall soups and stews! This recipe right here is something else. It is perfect. It is hearty. It is delicious! It is truly the quintessential Fall meal. It is all good things rolled into one. Mrs. Lou is my dear friend Betsy’s mother in law. She is the same woman who birthed Dr. Boudreaux of the famous (at least to my blog readers) Dr. Boudreaux’s gumbo  ! Also where the wonderful pastalaya recipe  comes from. So if you follow my blog at all, you know how tasty those recipes are and you should be excited to try this meatball stew. If you are not familiar with either of those recipes, well first of all, that’s sad. You should be. Fix that ASAP. And then try this meatball stew recipe. Betsy had given me this meatball stew recipe several years ago when she and Matt and the kids still lived in Shreveport. Aka the golden years. (I miss my friend living in town) and I made it once or twice. It was a hit with Big Daddy and I don’t think the kids hated it but it’s been while. Funny how a few years change things. I made this recipe again for the first time in several years a few weeks ago and it was a hit with everyone. Actually better than that. My oldest aka the garbage disposal cleared all the meatballs and most of the gravy out before the whole family could eat. I was outside finishing a phone conversation with a friend and came back in…big daddy had served 3 of the 4 kids and then apparently my oldest (he’s 13) went back for seconds. He thought it was all fair game and just indulged himself. I laugh now but that night I was none too happy. I worked it out and no one went to bed hungry. Just know that most people love this meatball stew and you might need to double the meatball recipe. Betsy made sure to text me that she doubled the gravy recipe (the gravy is the bomb) and I would suggest that as well. Served over hot cooked rice alongside some warm rolls and you have the perfect Fall meal! Now, because my teenager devoured what was left before I could get a picture of the finished product, sadly there is no picture of this fabulous meal. Let that be a testament to how delicious this meal really is. So let me go on and give y’all this recipe so you can make up a (double) batch and get a little Fall in your life. Now if only the weather  would comply (I’m looking at you Mother Nature!!) 

Mrs. Lou’s meatball stew 

Stuff you need~

1 pound ground beef 

1 pound ground pork 

1 egg 

Soy sauce 

Tony’s 

1/2 envelope of onion soup mix 

Italian bread crumbs 

(For gravy) 

1 beef boullion cube 
1/4 cup Flour

2 tablespoons canola Oil 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

Kitchen bouquet 

What to do with the stuff 

Add ground pork and ground beef to a large mixing bowl. The original recipe did not have exact amounts so Betsy clued me in that you just shake enough breadcrumbs, Tony’s and soy sauce to cover the meat. 


Also sprinkle the 1/2 package of onion soup mix over this mixture. Add your egg. Now get your hands in there and mix it up good. Or use spoons. But make sure the mixture is good and mixed up. Now I used a medium size scoop to make uniform balls. You can also eyeball it. Just make your meatballs the same size. Ok now the the recipe says to bake your meatballs at 325 for 30-40 minutes. You can do that. I actually cook my meatballs in the gravy. So if you are going to bake them, do that at this point or set aside and get your gravy going. 

*Add one inch of water to a large pot. Bring it to a boil and add a beef bouillon cube. Reduce heat to a simmer and make your roux. Mix 1/4 flour with 2 tablespoons of flour in a microwave safe bowl.


 Microwave for 2-3 minutes in 30 second increments, stirring  in between. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the roux into the simmering water. 


Stir in the minced garlic and a little kitchen bouquet…the recipe did not give a specific amount but I start with 1/2-1 tablespoon and go from there.

At this point, add your meatballs whether cooked or not. If they are cooked you will just simmer this for a shorter time. If uncooked, you’ll want to simmer them longer (until cooked) at a slower pace. 

The only picture I have of the elusive meatball stew…gone too soon thanks to my teenage son

*again Betsy recommends doubling the gravy recipe. So 2 inches of water, 2 boullion cubes and so on…you’ll be glad you did. The recipe I gave above is for a regular recipe. 

Flavorful peas 

Stuff you need~

1 can petite pois (Lesuer or Dubois are perfect…as my kids call them silver can peas), slightly drained 

1/2 can cream of celery soup 

Tablespoon or 2 of onion soup mix 

Stir together in a medium size pot and cook over medium heat. Serve alongside meatball stew and hot cooked rice. Enjoy!!


Creamy tomato basil tortellini and my can do attitude 

Oh it’s been a long few weeks. The kiddos all started school and we started out strong! We really did! Spirits were high. Hopes were higher. It’s gonna be awesome! Back to school. Back to a routine. We can so do this!! 


And then the first Friday my oldest started running fever because of a fever virus and it snowballed from there. Two of my other kiddos got sick and then again on Friday, my oldest was running fever…AGAIN! Back to the doctor’s office we went. This time it was a sinus infection. Sometimes being a mom means feeling like maybe I just cannot win. I know, I know, allowing myself to get defeated is not the answer. But oh it’s easy to slip into that frame of mind when there is a sick child at home every other day. Not sure what I thought would happen when I had 4 kiddos back to back, but days like that were not anywhere on my radar. Ah the innocence of new motherhood. Then there’s been adjustment to new schools and the back to school routine. I have 3 kiddos at new schools this year and it’s been so wonderful, but even good change is change none the less. It’s all a matter of adjusting. And we are. Throw in some home repair disasters, leaking air conditioner, an aching back and just LIFE…and that leads to a big ole case of TGIF! I was in that frame of mind when I decided to cook up today’s recipe. I had seen it is floating around Facebook (my friends know good food!) and I knew I had to make it. Creamy, basil, pasta, can make at home so going out is unnecessary. Which is good because I was over being around a bunch of people and also taking 6 people out to dinner is not cost effective. At all. It’s pretty dang pricey actually. So this was right up my ally. And oh it was creamy delicious perfection. Comfort food at its very carbolicious best! But on the upside it is chock full of spinach and tomatoes. So at least it packs a nutritional punch (ah silver lining!!). I am so glad I decided to make this. You will not be disappointed! Yum. Just yum! Now if I can just get back in the back to school, take the bull by the horns attitude….kind of like my younger two in this pic…

they have the world by the tail…wish I could bottle that confidence

Creamy tomato basil tortellini (recipe adapted from http://www.tiphero.com

Stuff you need~

2 tablespoons butter 

1 small onion diced 

4 cloves (or more!!) garlic, minced 

3 tablespoons flour 

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream 

6 ounce package of baby spinach 

1 14 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, juice and all  

3 tablespoons basil 

3/4 finely shredded Parmesan 

20 ounce package tortellini (I used Italian sausage but use whatever kind you want) 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Red pepper flakes 

What to do with the stuff~k

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and then set aside. 

Melt butter in a large skillet. Sauté onion in butter until tender. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Now you will make a kind of sort of roux. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Pour in the milk and half and half. Whisk or stir over low heat until it begins to simmer. 

Toss in the baby spinach, tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper. 


Stir until spinach is wilted and sauce is thickened. 


Stir in Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Remove sauce from heat. Toss tortellini with sauce. Garnish with chili pepper flakes and Parmesan. 


Yum. Just yum. Enjoy! Here’s to another week coming…I can do this!!

McDonald’s new chicken nuggets are the real deal…and just another day with my posse 

Some of you may remember that last year the kiddos and I got to test drive the all day breakfast at McDonald’s right before they launched it. It was a huge hit and I got to blog about it. It was a good experience for the kiddos and I. Well not too long ago, Katherine contacted me about the kids (and I) test driving the new chicken nuggets. Or test eating I suppose would be more like it. New chicken nuggets you say?! They’ve been around forever. Yes they have, but they have been revamped y’all. And the end result is pretty dang tasty. What they have done is removed all artificial ingredients in those little nuggets of happiness. They took out many of the  unnecessary things (like food additives) and what remains is simple, more wholesome ingredients. That’s right…chicken McNuggets more the way nature intended them. The result is…wow!! I could taste the difference right away! They are using a better oil to fry them in and even that small difference is noticeable to the most untrained pallet. The taste is cleaner and just pure chicken McNugget delight. My kiddos had a blast!



 And we all got to visit with Katherine with Garrison Advertising and Mrs. Jean at McDonald’s in the area we live in. My bunch had the red carpet rolled out for them and these ladies are just as precious as can be.

It’s a great time every time we visit our local McDonald’s! If you have not had a chance to try the new chicken McNuggets, I highly suggest you stop in and give them a try yourself. You know I love to cook and believe in cooking at home, but knowing when we do decide to have some Micky d’s, that my kids favorite nuggets are tastier and I can know what they are eating is a better option than before, pulling into the drive thru sounds better than ever. 

Now I must talk about my oldest, BHB, aka Ben, aka our wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics, McDonald’s included. The boy loves to eat and is not ashamed to tell you about it. He is a bottomless pit, has a hollow leg, and shows no signs of stopping. He knew about the changes McDonald’s were making to their nuggets before Katherine even contacted me. So when she called, he was all about trying them out and giving his opinion. The kid does love to share his opinions. No clue where he gets that. (Ha ha)  He had a great time eating and chatting Katherine and Mrs. Jean up about the exciting things happening with McDonald’s and giving his two cents. 



It was a great time and the new nuggets (and the company) were amazing. Thanks so much to our local McDonald’s, Mrs. Jean and Katherine for a great experience. 

Crawfish Fettucine…like seriously the best stuff ever 

OOk this is one of my most favorite, tried and true, best recipes. This is the one I trot out when I want to impress and  have my friends begging for more. It’s creamy, it is just spicy enough, it is fabulous. I will be honest and say I don’t remember who I got this recipe from. Maybe my friend Leia, aka Ned, the one who gave me the crawfish pie recipe but maybe it was my sister? I truly cannot remember and if you know me at all, you know how rare that is.  I have a memory like an elephant. I remember it was in college, maybe grad school, and I made it a whole bunch. Anytime my friends and I cooked supper together, this was usually one of the menu items. My friend Cara and I and her roommate Nicole would have this every other week one summer. At the time it seemed like the best recipe in the whole world and so elegant…in some ways it is still that way to me. My little girl, ADB, has loved this for a while and it is probably one of her favorites. So the tradition continues. This recipe deserves all the props it gets, I promise. It’s just that good. I don’t even know where this recipe is written down on paper! I just know it by heart. I guess all important things that have special memories attached to them are etched on your heart.  This recipe certainly qualifies. If you gave me this recipe and you read this post please give me a shout out. I love to give credit where credit is due and y’all know I love to share stories about friends who the recipe comes from.  None the less, just make this crawfish fettucine  and enjoy! This pairs beautifully with a green salad and some garlic bread. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as I have for the longest time now. Grab a good bottle of wine, make this recipe and toast to good friends, wonderful memories, and great food! Nothing better!  

Stuff you need~

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter 

1 small onion, diced 

1 medium bell pepper, diced 

2 stalks celery, diced 

Cajun seasoning (Tony’s…do I have to specify?) 

1 pound crawfish tails *

1 can cream of chicken soup 

1 can cream of mushroom soup 

16 ounces (about half of a big block) queso blanco velveeta with jalapeños (or mexican velveeta…whatever you can find)

half and half 

Cooked fettucine noodles 

What to do with the stuff~

Melt your butter in a big ole skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, and celery in the butter until tender. Sprinkle in a little Tony’s at this point. I read somewhere a while back that adding seasoning at the beginning of the sautéing process tends to deepen the flavor of the seasoning. Works for me! 

Add the minced garlic and sauté another minute or two. Next add your soups and crawfish tails. 

Add your cubed up velveeta and cook over low heat, stirring frequently. Next, add a splash of half and half to make this luscious concoction that much creamier. Add a little more because it makes it that much better. Stir, stir, stir. Continue to cook over low heat until the sauce is the consistency you prefer. It will continue to thicken some after you remove it from the heat. Keep that in mind. 


Serve over some cooked fettucine noodles along side some garlic bread to sop up all that sauce the noodles forget. Best. Stuff. Ever!!!!! 

speaking of favorites from my grad school days…still love these ladies. blessed to call them friends.

New Orleans red beans and rice

Ok now I have given y’all the crockpot red beans recipe that I grew up making. Here is the link in case you need it.  Please let me say right now, I am in no way discounting this recipe by posting a new one. No siree Bob! This is my tried and true way to cook red beans. But I am not so stuck in my ways that I cannot say I love this new recipe as well.  Some of the best red beans and rice I have ever had were in NOLA so this recipe is approve painterly named.  I am loyal to a fault, but I also accept new things when they are FABULOUS. This recipe is just that…fabulous.   Knock your socks off, slap your mama delicious.  I found this recipe on the Camellia website and if you are familiar with my blog at all, you know I only use Camellia beans. Here’s a link to their recipe. I got the envie to make a new red beans recipe while big daddy was out of town a few weeks ago and as much as I hated to make them without him, sometimes the show just has to go on. But I did save him some and he was blown away. I made them again the other day and again this recipe was met with rave reviews. They are that good. Now the bad thing is that I don’t have a crockpot version of these yet but they are really not all that high maintainence. The best news is that they are even better the next day, so you can totally make them on a Sunday and then eat them on a Monday…which is only right. Mondays and red beans go together like…well…red beans and rice. So do yourself a favor and make these as soon as possible. And then let me know what you think. Oh and you’re welcome in advance. 

New Orleans Red beans and rice 

Stuff you need~

1  package Camellia red kidney beans 

1 (32-ounce) container no-sodium chicken broth

Water (if needed) 

1 large onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley (I use the stuff in the tube and it is wonderful) 

4 celery stalks, chopped

1-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound of tasso, smoked ham, or salted pork, chopped and or

1 package Eckrich skinless sausage (I used this and some salt pork bacon I found at Walmart)

1/4 cup sugar 

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Hot sauce, to taste 

Tony’s seasoning,  to taste

Salt and pepper to taste (you will not need much especially if you use the salt pork!) 

What to do with the stuff~

Soak beans overnight. 

Add your soaked beans to a large stew pot and then pour the chicken broth over the beans. You should have a ratio of one part beans to two parts liquid. You add water to make up the difference. I just added more chicken broth. 

Bring the beans to a rolling boil over medium high heat and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the beans simmer on low for an hour or two, until beans are tender. I just let them simmer for 2 hours on very low heat and gave them a stir from time to time. Beans tend to stick at times.

Now while the beans are simmering on low heat…you are going to add your cut up salted pork meat of choice to a warmed skillet. 


now that’s some pretty fat…things Cajun women say

You are going to cook this meat on medium low hear until it is nice and browned and you have rendered all the lovely fat from it. Oh yes I said that. It’s a beautiful thing when you can say the words render the fat because that means something is about to taste extra wonderful. Once the meat (I used salted pork bacon and it was just so wonderful), and perfect. And yes I do know I am discussing salted pork bacon. You’ll see. Now set that browned meat aside. I sautéed my sliced sausage at this point so do that if you are using sausage. My kids have to have their sausage in their red beans. Then set it aside as well.  Now you will add your chopped onion, celery and bell peppers to this skillet of rendered fat. Now sauté them until tender. Add your parsley and garlic towards the end and get them in the mix. 

Now you will add the sautéed veggies and  the browned salted pork and sausage to your beans that have been simmering. Also toss in the bay leaves and sugar (if you trust me…you will add it. It is the icing on this cake). Add the dried thyme I used dried oregano because that is what I had. Ah improvisation is a beautiful thing!! Please add your salt sparingly. I added maybe a teaspoon and that was for a double batch. The salt pork and sausage adds so much salty flavor. 

Now continue to let those beans simmer to let all of those flavors combine. You can let them simmer for another 1-3 hours. Just make sure you stir them from time to time. Now Momou always told me to smash a few beans up against the side of your pot with your spoon to make them a little creamy. I do this a few times and the beans have the perfect consistency. Momou is wise yeah Cher!! Serve over rice alongside some cornbread and you will know my truth!!! So much yum in one pot of beans!! 

do you hear angels singing?

French Onion Chicken Noodle casserole and faith, love and good food

A few things here. It’s been a few months since I have posted a new recipe and for that I am apologetic. I find it hard to believe that anyone cares that much about my blathering and rambling and yet, I feel tremendous guilt when I have been away too long. I call it good ole Catholic guilt but it’s for sure a catch 22.  I admit I feel a certain level of responsibility to you all. Though I am well aware no one is basing their entire life or menu on me posting a recipe or not, I consider my readers to be my friends and I do feel responsible for my friends. So since we are friends I will apologize for being so absent lately but I will hope you allow me some grace because you know how deep we can sink into life without even knowing it. And I have been thigh deep in LIFE. Here’s a little glimpse into what we’ve been doing and that’s not the half of it…

4 kiddos means lots going on sometimes

This is just the stuff going on that you can see. That I can even verbalize. There have been other things that just come with life. I lost my aunt in April (my cousin Robin’s mom, my mom’s sister) and that was hard.

from left to right…my mom, momee, and aunt rebecca (circa 2003)

 When I sit down and consider all the things that have happened, it is a little hard to believe some of it actually is real. And I forgive myself for not sitting down to write about a recipe because I have been doing good to get supper on the table.

 But here I am, and I am going to give you a recipe that fits the bill for the ultimate comfort dish. No matter the season, no matter the day…this dish aims to please. My friend Amy from my hometown (there are lots of Aimee/Amys  from Alex…and I proudly call a bunch of them my friends.) One day she shared this recipe via Facebook and it looked so good I just had to try it. Now I could just share that recipe but I like to write about the recipes that I love on my blog and that in no way makes them my recipes. This recipe can be found here…http://www.plainchicken.com/2014/09/french-onion-chicken-noodle-casserole.html#CEeoggWZZxhI7sqZ.99

It’s a real winner my friends. I think the actual phrase is winner, winner chicken dinner! It is so good. Now I kind of tweaked it a little to make it suit our tastes but it is just the bomb. The stuff as my good friend Lisa is fond of saying. This is the stuff! You make some field peas with it and some warm buttered King’s Hawaiian rolls and you have yourself one heck of a supper. Big Daddy went bananas. He loved it and I did too. It’s one of those dishes you think about and have to make it. It’s that good. 

French Onion Chicken Noodle Casserole 

Stuff you need~

4 cups cooked chopped chicken

2 cans cream of chicken soup

12 ounces container French Onion Dip

4 ounces sour cream 

1 cup cheddar cheese (I used the Kraft triple cheddar with a touch of cream cheese) 

12 ounces egg noodles

1 cup crushed French fried onions

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cook your noodles until they are cooked al dente. So they are cooked but not mushy. No one wants that. 

Now stir the soup, the dip, the sour cream, your chicken (insert rotisserie chicken here), and cheese. 


Now combine this mixture with the cooked noodles. Add all of this to your 9’x 13 dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Top with French fried onions. Bake 25-30 minutes. 

creamy, filling, savory…this dish has it all!!

Most of all, I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did. I want you to know how much I appreciate you continuing to read my posts, for sharing my posts, for commenting and interacting, for waiting for me to come back around. Life is so full of lessons and I am on a journey to learn them. Difficult or not. And man some of them have been difficult here larely. I am grateful to be able to share my journey of faith, hope and good food with all of you. Much love and many good meals to you all.~AMB 

life is a journey and that is fine as long as some of it can be on a boat on the Sabine River

And because I just love our dogs…let me share what they have been up to…our pups, Roy and Idaho are a big part of our fam!! 


Dill pickle soup 

So a while back, I got a bug up my butt that I had to try this dill pickle soup recipe I found on http://www.noblepig.com. I get like that ya’ll. I am not a super adventurous gal (unless you consider living life with 4 kids and this wild man of mine an adventure…then I totally am). But my thrill seeking comes out when I cook. Dill pickle soup? Sounds like it could be really good or really bad. Sure! Let’s try it! Why not? And so I did. I mean I think at one point the site crashed because so many people were checking out the recipe.  At least I could not access the recipe for quite a while. I had to know. How can a soup that tastes like dill pickles be good? Plus ya’ll know I love me a good soup. Any day, any time, any weather. Not to mention, ya’ll know where I come from we eat all sorts of stuff, so who am I to judge? People hear me now…this soup is legit. It’s pretty fantastic and worth your time. Unless you don’t like dill pickles. If you don’t, keep on going because this soup could be called cream of pickle soup. But in a good way. I promise. I have had friends ask when in the world I planned to post this recipe on my blog and I have been putting it off. Life has just been so hectic (read normal) and I guess I got lost in it. As I have said before, that is not likely going to get better anytime soon. I just have to adapt to the madness and blog when I can. So I do. But this recipe is worth sharing and kudos to the mastermind at the Noble Pig that came up with this recipe. It is inspired! 

Dill pickle soup (it makes a bunch)

Stuff you need~

5 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 3/4 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and diced 

2 cups carrots, cut into a smaller dice 

1 cup dill pickle (about 3 large whole dill pickles), chopped into a smaller dice 

1/2 unsalted butter

1 cup sour cream

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup water 

2 cups pickle juice 

1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (depending on how salty your pickle juice is…they can vary apparently so taste and see before you add salt)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

What to do with the stuff~

In a stock pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Add pickles and continue to boil. 

 

I have pictures for this post!!!
 
In a medium size bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste. 

  
Now vigorously whisk the sour cream paste into the boiling liquid, 2 tablespoons at a time. You will have to whisk somewhat vigorously to get the paste to be incorporated into the liquid. It may break up into some little flour balls and that is ok. They will go away during the cooking process. 

Whisk in pickle juice and the seasonings. 

  
Cook another 30 minutes over medium heat and then serve immediately. Garnish with some dill pickle slices if you really need more pickles at this point. Let me know what you think! Is this complete nonsense or totally inspired? I lean toward the latter! Yummy and definitely a break from the norm! 

Enjoy ya pickle soup, ma Cher! 

in our family, we are almost always ready to let the good times roll! parade or pickle soup, just whenever!

Slow cooker chicken chili and isn’t it ironic?

 So everywhere I look here lately on social media are recipe videos. They are neat to look at but if you are any kind of a cook, you know very well no recipe is that simple. Pretending it is by making a time lapsed video is not going to make it so. While I appreciate being up with the times and rolling with what is popular, I am mostly all about tried and true. At the end of the day, I want a recipe. Not a video. Real recipes, no matter how simple, require real effort. I suppose what I am saying is that those videos are somewhat of a pet peeve of mine. I am a cook. I do cook. I take it seriously and I also know that most recipes require some effort. It would be lovely for it to be that simplified and my vegetables are chopped with a hit of a fist like one video showed and my spaghetti boiled in 2 seconds. I really hope anyone out there knows that is not happening. BUT, many of those dishes they prepare on those lala land videos look amazing! I will not lie. Mouth watering. So I get the attraction. And this chicken chili did not disappoint!! No sir-y Bob! But it take me longer than 5 minutes to prepare. Ha ha!! My friend Misty is a Norwex distributor and she came to my house to show us the awesomeness that is Norwex. I had a few friends that came and I made a crockpot full of this chili. It was amazingly tasty. No doubt! 

If you have any interest in cleaning your home faster and with less product, you can check out Misty’s business page here…http://mistylee.norwex.biz. My favorite products are the envirocloth (you have to see it to believe it!), the window cloth, and the envirowand. Anyway, there is nothing I love more than a fun party, some good friends over and feeding them some delish food!! We had a good time even with just a few of us there. Then again, most times in Cajun Mama’s kitchen are good times, if I say so myself!! 

Ok so here’s the super easy crockpot chicken chili recipe. You will love it, your kids will love it, your friends will love it, even if it takes longer than 5 minutes to make. It comes from http://www.12tomatoes.com and they actually had a written recipe conveniently attached, so that’s the best of both worlds!! And I went to look on my phone for pictures of this delish dish and I did not find any! I feel positive I took some but somehow they are not there. So that means I either did not take any (rare) and I am losing my mind OR I took some and they got deleted from my phone. Either explanation is plausible. So I apologize for this rare occurrence but this recipe is worth posting even without pictures. I just know many of my readers are visual people and like some pretty pictures accompanying their recipes. It won’t happen again…until it does. Because I have 4 kids and they get ahold of my phone sometimes and who knows what happens. But luckily the link I gave you has some pictures and a video. Oh the irony…I dislike recipes that come as a video only and I have no pictures.  😂😂😂 I guess Alanis Morisette was right. Isn’t it ironic? 

Slow cooker chicken chili 

stuff you need~

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts 

2 (14 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes 

1 (14 ounce) can corn, rinsed and drained 

1 (14 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained *

1 cup chicken broth 

1 red bel pepper, seeded and finely chopped 

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped (I used 1/2 because I knew kids would be eating it and there was not much heat)

1/2 yellow onion, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoon of the jarred stuff)

3/4 tablespoon cumin 

1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

4 ounces, cream cheese 

 Fresh cilantro for garnish 

Crushed Tortilla chips for garnish

Shredded cheese and sour cream, for garnish 

* I always ALWAYS get reduced sodium canned beans because the regular have a ton of sodium. Just FYI 

What to do with the stuff~

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Pour chicken broth over chicken breasts. Add the tomatoes, corn and black beans. Toss the chopped jalapeños, onion, garlic, and red bel pepper on top of this. Sprinkle the cumin, chili powder, oregano, kosher salt and black pepper over the top of this colorful concoction. A picture would be nice here wouldn’t it? Sigh. 

Ok cook this on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. As I always say, it depends on your slow cooker. Once the chicken is cooked and tender, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred with 2 forks. Place back in slow cooker. Give it all a good stir and then add your cream cheese. Cook for another 20 minutes or so on low. At the end, stir to make sure the cream cheese is evenly distributed. 

Add a big heaping scoop to a bowl along with crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, cilantro and sour cream. Oh so good!!! You can’t eat a picture anyway. But this…oh yeah my baby, dig in. 

Crockpot Chicken bacon ranch pasta and the joy of the little things 

Well…The holidays are over now and we have to find a way to go on. Sigh. I love the holidays. The anticipation of it all is what makes me the happiest. Must be the Catholic in me. I love the whole build up of Advent, the build up to the big event and even afterward as we wait for the epiphany. So after it is all said and done…I feel a little let down. Yes, I know that what was supposed to happen has happened. But it’s a little like “blah. Now what?” My sweet Madame toot (9 years old) said it perfectly on Christmas night. “Christmas is over. How can I go on?” I about died laughing because I could so understand how she felt. So now the kids are back in school and life is back to “normal” (lol! As if!) and it’s all about establishing routine. Getting back into our groove. But still…in the humdrum, cold and wet weather, a mama needs a little something to look forward to. A little treat here and there. But after the buffet of gifts and food and indulgence at Christmas…who has money for that? We are all looking to make resolutions, cut corners, get stuff in order, organize…and the list goes on. Well here comes me. And my gang of pals who always know which direction to point me in. I met a new friend recently…well she is married to an old friend and we finally “met.” She is hilarious and apparently knows good things when she sees them. She did marry Wade  after all.   

  
Yes this. She was so dead on. Posting a picture on Facebook with a thumbs up sign. Yes Connie. So much yes. I know, I know…this is instant cappuccino. To that I say, maybe…but this is a treat! It’s not expensive and it’s a small what my mom would call…happy. Let’s face it ya’ll…finding little things to break the monotony, help us survive the crazy, brighten up the middle…well those are things to hold on to. A Starbucks coffee a day habit is not in my budget lately. But this…this I can do. On the same note, while at Walmart picking up a report cover for my daughter’s science fair project and my Hills Brothers cappuccino in a tub… I found some super cute Henley’s in a bunch of fun bright colors. Guess what?! These super sassy, won’t break the bank, 3/4 length and feel great on tops,  look as cute with yoga pants as they do with jeans or dress pant. Can you say score?! It is truly the little things. 

So to get on with the story that is leading to a recipe…I promise. On my mind as I entered Wally World today was what am I gonna make for supper? You know that question. Yesterday I saw this on Facebook and since then I have had bacon on the brain. It made me giggle and want bacon. BACON!!!! 

  
 This is what I googled…creamy bacon chicken in the crockpot. And this recipe popped up…http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-bacon-ranch-chicken-and-pasta/997c0a46-b7d8-481e-8919-5f563b1dde66.  I wanted to try it a while back and well…who knows why but I never did make it. But today it is happening. As I wait in carpool to pick up my oldest from middle school before heading to the other school to fetch the other 3…it is cooking away in my little crockpot. Or big red as she has been dubbed. She has a timer and is set for greatness. Chicken bacon ranch pasta. Happening tonight. Making something indulgent for supper that I did not have to slave over is definitely on my list of little things that make a big HAPPY difference in my life. 

So to sum it up…things that make me happy…instant cappuccino, colorful versatile shirts, and a good easy creamy pasta recipe. Throw in my soft cozy flannel dachshund sheets on my head and a nice cold snap and this chick is HAPPY! This pasta dish made me oh so happy!!! It is absolutely fantastic. The flavor is simply divine. It is super indulgent, yes. But after all the delicious rich foods we indulged in during Christmas, we cannot send our bodies into shock. A little indulgence here and there is necessary. In my humble pasta loving opinion. You know how some recipes don’t live up to the hype? And like the after holidays let down, you just feel a little empty inside? Yeah this is not like that. I had to force myself to stop eating it. I am hoping the leftovers will be even better since the flavors have had time to blend. We shall see. But for tonight…I am a happy happy girl!  The kiddos truly enjoyed it! Victory! 

Crockpot Creamy bacon ranch pasta 

Stuff you need~

1 pound chicken breasts (about 2)

6 strips of bacon, fried until crispy and crumbled 

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing  

1 1/2 teaspoons of minced garlic 

1 cup sour cream 

1 can cream of chicken soup 

1/2 cup water 

Black pepper 

8 ounces cooked angel hair (about 1/2 box)  

What to do with the stuff~

well if you have not yet, fry your bacon. Bacon good. 

  
Then you want to spray your 4 quart crockpot with cooking spray. Then lay your chicken breasts in the crockpot. Tell them to sit tight. Then combine all ingredients except pasta in a bowl. Mix well. 

  
Then you want to pour this mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or so. I let mine just turn off and then it was on low until I was ready to add pasta. Also, shred the chicken breasts before adding the pasta. Once pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the delicious sauce in the crockpot and gently stir to combine. Then just serve it warm. My crockpot has a warm button, so I just it on until we were ready to eat, even once I added pasta. 

  Simply delicious!!! 

so much yum!!

  

Delicious food that is simple and real.