Crawfish stew, cheesy potatoes and my sister is awesome

I believe I have told y’all before that I have 3 sisters. I am the oldest of 4 girls. It is something about me that defines me as much as I am Catholic, I am Cajun, my name is Aimee Marie. Their names are Jenny, Lisa, and Claire. They are all beautiful, spectacular, smart women. It’s crazy for me say that. My little sisters are now grown women. Jenny is 5 years younger than me and has always been my partner in crime. She is beyond gorgeous and has always been wiser than me in the ways of the world. Even though she is younger, she takes care of me sometimes. She is so much fun and loves to laugh. She can be my challenger, my support, my sounding board, my soft place to land and my protector. I really cannot go into how much our relationship means to me for fear of bawling like a baby. I have not had enough coffee for all that. I will say now that she has kids it is even better, because it is like she has multiplied. She is a teacher now, has 3 kiddos, is married to a man from Bazille (my precious brother in law Matt) and has a wonderful family by marriage. They are hardcore coonass, just like our family. In fact her sister in law once told me that I may as well be from Texas living all the way up in Shreveport. Yeah, they wear their Cajun with pride.

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our daughters look so much alike it is crazy business. It makes me smile. Big. And they love each other a ton.

Jenny’s mother in law, Mrs. Georgie, gave Jenny an awesome recipe for crawfish stew at her bridal shower several years ago. I was not made aware of this or somehow missed this fact because I had a baby with me who cried during most of the shower. But truthfully, it would not have done me much good until recently because I was up to my ears in baby until a few years ago. All in God’s timing and that includes recipes too I suppose. But thankfully, a few months ago I put a picture of Tony’s instant roux in the can. Several people commented that no way would they use that (Jennifer and Amanda I am looking at you both. Ha ha!!) but here comes my sister saying she uses it in her crawfish stew. I am all what is this crawfish stew you speak of sister? She sends me the handwritten recipe in Mrs. Georgie’s handwriting (that’s her mother in law). She also tells me to make these devilish sounding cheesy potatoes to go with it.

Jenny has always had a knack for knowing what would taste good. I think it is her adventurous nature that allows for this. She is not afraid to try things. She is as adventurous as I am cautious. She turned me on to baked sweet potatoes with butter, cinnamon and Tony’s. Oh yes and don’t knock it till you have tried it. When we have boiled crawfish she makes the best dipping sauces, hands down. She also has a knack for doing fantastic hair. She has this long beautiful hair that I cannot even imagine dealing with having 3 kids much less making it look lovely and glamorous. (Hush jenny you know it’s true!) Jenny used to give her best friend hair trims when they were probably 11 or 12 and I tell you she did a good job!! She is very special to me as you can tell and I am so proud she shared this recipe with me.

I cannot say I have always been the best sister in the world. I have often times been caught up in being a mom or had my head so far up my butt I could not see anything else but sick kids, dirty diapers, and breast milk. I think mostly she understands. I am definitely grateful for the connection we will always have. And recipes are just one of the many things that connect us. Our memories and stuff we laugh hysterically about that no one else would get as well. Even though she is 5 years younger, she teaches me so much. Like leftover crawfish stew can be served over grilled steaks the next night and that these cheesy potatoes are amazing with crawfish stew. Also, that laughter and tears have a place on the same page. And that most importantly, a sister is forever, no matter what. Your sister is someone who you can always come home too, no matter what has happened or what has been said. I hope she feels the same. Home is wherever your sister is.

I hope you will give Mrs. Georgie’s crawfish stew a try and whip up a batch of these cheesy potatoes. Don’t let this recipe intimidate you. Cajun cooking for the most part is not fancy. If you has ever hung with a Cajun gal, or cajun folks, you know that there is no room for pretense. Just fun. And laid back chats. We just want you to eat and enjoy yourself. Anyone can make this meal. So do it! For now, I have to be going, I need to call my sister. Cause she is sort of awesome and I miss her.~AMB

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back before we were Mrs. Or mommy. Getting a good picture was quick and easy

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now it is difficult to take a picture without some sort of circus drama ha ha

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isn’t she just beautiful?

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our whole circus, I mean crew.

Mrs. Georgie’s crawfish stew

Stuff you need~

1 stick butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 heaping teaspoons of Tony’s instant roux
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can of chicken broth
1/2 can of water
1 pound crawfish tails

What to do with the stuff

In a Dutch oven or medium size sauce pan, Sauté onions and celery in butter until almost tender. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about 2
minutes letting the garlic flavor work itself through the onions and celery mixture. Add the crawfish tails, cook for about 5 minutes. Add the instant roux, stirring continuously. Whisk the broth and water into the roux mixture. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until it thickens a bit. Sprinkle in some Tony’s seasoning to taste. Serve over rice. You can garnish with sliced green onions (my fave!) and some chopped parsley if you want. Serve with some of the cheesy potatoes on the side (recipe to follow), a nice green salad and some garlic bread and you have yourself a nice meal fit coonass royalty!!
*Jenn’s side note-always double this recipe because it is amazing and people cannot get enough of it. Also any leftovers are delicious over a grilled steak the next night. Don’t argue…my sister is always (almost) right.

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this is what the can of instant roux looks like (warning…some
People make take offense to you using this. Ignore them. Momou is all about a shortcut. I think all smart cajun women are!!

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Oh yes! My sister is the smartest woman alive!!

Jenn’s cheesy potatoes

Stuff you need~

1 small bag of red potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 8 ounce block of Velveeta
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Sliced Green onion for garnish

what to do wit h the stuff~

In a large pot, boil your potatoes (or as voice text puts when I say it “ball your potatoes.” Seriously) in some salted water. Boil until they are tender and you can easily stick a fork in them. Drain and set aside. In a large pot, sauté the onion in the butter. Add the cubed up Velveeta and stir frequently as it melts. Add bacon and green onions (if you love them like I do). Now stir the tender potatoes into the cheesy golden sauce. Stir gently until those potatoes are coated with that luscious cheesy bacony (is that a word?) sauce. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. So damn delicious. Enjoy!!!

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the picture does not do them justice

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No words. So good.

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Jenn and Mrs. Georgie at Jenny’s bridal shower. May 2005. That baby is my sweet Kayla Ann.

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the actual handwritten recipe. Awesome

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Homemade taco/burrito seasoning, the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and low expectations

Today has been one of those days where I woke up tired and cranky. I talked to one of best friends and my cousin. Via text, but still, we connected, so you think that it would have been a great day. Especially considering that I try really hard to keep my expectations low. Or at least reasonable. Sometimes, it is so easy for me to get caught up in how things should be. The picture in my head of how things SHOULD go takes over every practical thought I have. Do you ever do that? Yeah well I do despite my best efforts to not do it! I have had this discussion before with y’all but I think it warrants revisiting. Because I think so many of us get caught up in what we think SHOULD be. Dr. Vicki Bowman, my beloved graduate school professor who was a wise gal beyond her years would call this “shoulding all over yourself.” And friends, it is easy to do. It can ruin the best of moments. That one word…should. Should is a lot like “fair” or the phrase “it’s not fair”. As a therapist I would be all over that phrase if a client said it. I would have to ask “what is fair?” Because let’s just face it. Life is not always fair. Somedays it seems it is not fair at all. As my friend Teresa says, the fair comes in October and they show pigs there. Oh so true. And yet, today, I got caught up in that evil word…should. Anyway, none of my plans for the day worked out. And ya know, I really don’t question that stuff. If it is part of God’s plan, I can roll with it. But sometimes it is the little stuff getting messed up that gets us. And that is where we find me today. My column for Red River Moms was due today. I got my stuff sent in to my editor and I wanted a new picture for my column. Most of the ones I have used have been fun spontaneous selfies of the kids and I. Like this one
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Cute enough but geez I have been doing this for a year, maybe it is time to get a real picture taken. No not professional, but a step up from selfie maybe? Yeah. So I get it in my head that we are going to get this done. BD was home for a little while and he was up for the task. I knew better than to get any high browed ideas about what kind of pictures I wanted. Just keep it simple, Aimee. Just get the kids in there and snap a few. No big deal. Oh yeah right. Once again, I shoulded all over myself. Dr. Vicki, God rest her soul, is somewhere shaking her head at me. I just know it. So I won’t go into any details, but needless to say, I set myself up for disappointment. I got all cocky and thought, we will do some staged pictures. We will have some fun with it. It will be so perfect. Wait. What? I have 4 kids and nothing is ever going to be perfect again. With so many people to factor in, perfection is even harder to attain then when I was childless. Curse me and my stupid high expectations. Cut to later, there was flour everywhere (don’t ask…I was making cookies and thought oh how fun…we will all bake cookies and he can capture that…yeah…), there were tears (mostly mine) and we had no useable pictures. Why? Because of the picture in my head of how things SHOULD have been. So we just said mission abort and everyone washed the flour off of themselves (again…don’t ask) and we were chilling. I was not dressed cute anymore. Makeup was gone. The kids were laying in our bed with me. I gave BD my phone and said “I have an idea. Go with it.” And low and behold…after all that, my original non complicated plan to get a picture worked just fine. Life lessons 1, Cajun mama 0. I will show y’all the pictures below. And I ended up getting those cookies baked and none of it is on camera. Just some delicious chocolate chip cookies. And expanding on the whole keeping it simple, not getting caught up in expectations, I made some nice simple burritos tonight. I had the ground meat defrosted but no seasoning. No problem. I found a recipe and made my own…original post is here…http://www.food.com/recipe/taco-seasoning-budget-friendly-seasoning-for-tacos-burritos-166030. Take that life lessons. I made cookies and my own taco/burrito seasoning and it just was. No expectations of what should be. It is what it is. It was what it was. We all survived. We got the pictures and had supper and dessert and maybe I took the long way home, but I did make it. I guess that is what counts. Now if only I can remember this lesson of letting go of what SHOULD be and letting it be what it will be, I will be a much happier mama all the time and world peace will be achieved. Well…I will settle for peace in our home. So, today, I have a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies in the world (in my opinion) …link herehttp://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/10813/best-chocolate-chip-cookies and homemade taco/burrito seasoning. No matter what you start thinking life should be, having these two recipes in your arsenal will make what is so much easier to accept. Peace, love, and low expectations…AMB

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see simple can be beautiful

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me and my joy, my circus, my reason for living and losing my mind

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my favorite picture from today

Homemade taco/burrito seasoning</strong

makes enough for several batches

2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2-2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons minced onion flakes or 1 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder (feel free to omit this)
Kosher salt (I added about 1 teaspoon but add more or less to your taste)

Mix all these spices together in a bowl. 7 teaspoons equals once of those store bought taco seasoning packets. So 7 teaspoons to one pound ground beef. Stir it into browned and drained ground meat and then add 3/4 cup water per pound of ground beef. Simmer over low heat until the liquid has evaporated. It is really perfect y’all!
Store the rest in an air tight storage container. This is how I did mine…

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airtight glad ware thank you so much!

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Mixing all of those spices together made me feel like a scientist

Perfect chocolate chip cookies (says me)

makes about 3 dozen cookies

Stuff you need
1 cup of butter, softened (that’s 2 sticks of the real stuff y’all)
1 cup of sugar (the white stuff)
1 cup of packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons HOT water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups of flour
2 cups chocolate chips

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix hot water and baking soda together and set aside.
In a standing mixer, add softened butter, sugar and brown sugar. Cream together until well combined and smooth. Stir in vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add baking soda water mixture and salt. Beat until combined. Now, add flour one cup at a time. Next, add chocolate chips. Beat until combined.
Line a large baking sheet or cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat (they are awesome and totally worth the purchase. Amazon has great prices on them.)
Using a medium cookie scoop, place a scoops of cookie dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until slightly golden on top. I bake mine in batches of 12 because that is how many my baking sheet fits. Let cool if your family will allow it and then set them out with some glasses of ice cold milk. Sure to make the stinkiest of days better!

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consistently delicious cookies every time! Enjoy!