Copycat boudin king cake

So about a week ago a picture came across my Facebook newsfeed about a boudin king cake. I was all like “hold the phone! A king cake with boudin in it?! Mama needs that!!” So I read the little blurb about the king cakes and the man behind the idea. So let me make sure you all hear me…this boudin king cake is NOT my idea. This is a copycat recipe that I came up with from the description that was in the blurb. I did email the guy asking how to buy one at cake@boudinlink.com as the article suggested. He responded quickly saying he could not handle all the orders and was turning the recipe over to a local bakery to make them. He said he would get back to me. Here is a link to the original article so you can read all about it http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/entertainment/food/2015/01/23/bites-boudin-king-cake-steens-cracklin-now-available/22218135/. But once you tempt a Cajun with boudin king cake, you cannot say “I will get back with you” because well…the damage has been done. It’s out there. Boudin. Inside of dough. It’s all I could think about. I was obsessed. So luck would have it, we were already headed down to Baton Rouge last weekend and my favorite place in the world is on the way. Yeah. Borques. We went on down to Baton Rouge because Big Daddy and several other Farm Bureau agents were being honored for being part of the 200 auto club. That’s an amazing achievement and I was happy to drop them kiddos off with their BB and Poppy in Alex. And head south. A night out at a hotel?! Sign me up! And we got to stay in the Renaissance Hotel that has the wallpaper in the bathroom I have been dying to get my hands on! No really, I have emailed the company who makes it. A friend stayed there and posted a pic on Facebook and I have been pining after it ever since. So I was stupid excited to stay there. Big daddy was like “yeah ok you want to stay here because of the wallpaper in the bathroom…whatever makes you happy babe.” (I know in his head he was like “I married a crazy lady.”)

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it has Cajun colloquialisms written on it! I need that!

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me and my main squeeze all gussied up to celebrate!!

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so proud of Big Daddy!! He works for a great company that rewards their agents for their hard work.

Ok…so we had our night out and then it was time to head home to have lunch at my mom and dad’s. Bernie made smothered chicken and rice and gravy. My favorite! My mom is an amazing cook I must say. So we headed north but on the way home Big Daddy surprised me with a detour through Port Barre to go to Borque’s Supermarket. You can check them out online at http://www.bourquespecialties.com. I truly love this place and it always feels a little like going home. Funny thing is, while we were there getting our boudin, I tell the woman at the counter that I was making a copycat boudin king cake and she says she had just answered a phone call from someone asking to order one. She said the person calling thought they had them. Lol!! But they do have boudin dip in case anyone wants to know that. That place is my Disneyland.

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oh that’s a happy sight to me

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me with my loot. Some boudin for the king cake (and a few links for the road!), some cracklins and a Mr. Pibb. I was a happy girl!!

So we made it home with our posse in tow. I love getting away but I sure do love coming home, especially to these little faces…

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Ok…to get to this copycat recipe. The one I made was not hard and I am sure a very simplified version of the original. I do not claim that mine tastes like the original. I am just trying to figure out to get some since I could not order one. This recipe is not hard and requires few (though specialty) ingredients. I did not use steen’s syrup because I had some Lambert’s cane syrup from our summer trip to the beach. Also, I used frozen store bought dough because I don’t do yeast. If you have been reading along , you are aware that I summon a demon when I try to use Yeast.
This boudin king cake was off the chain and I can only imagine how the original recipe must taste. But…for a Cajun girl living in Shreveport, this recipe will definitely get me by. If I make another one, I will head to Bergeron’s Boudin and Cajun meats. We got one in Shreveport a few years ago and while my heart belongs to Borque’s, I am totally down with the saying “if you can’t be with the one you love, honey love the one your with…” Especially when it comes to boudin. They have cracklins too so that’s a good option for those too. If you are so inclined, try your hand at this culinary delicacy. It’s just in time for Mardi Gras season!!

Copycat Boudin King Cake

stuff you need~

One roll of frozen dough (it comes in a package of 3)
4-5 links of boudin
Cane syrup
A few cracklins run through the food processor

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the dough I used

what to do with the stuff~

Night before, take the dough out of the freezer. Lay it out to defrost.

Ok…the next morning…preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle a bit of flour on a rolling mat.

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Next roll it out into a semi square. I was not picky here, I just kind of made sure it was big enough to encompass all the boudin. I would say about 6 ” by 12″ or round about. Cut a slit in the boudin and scoop out all the boudin.

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Lay all that boudin in the middle of your rolled out dough. I laid the boudin almost the length of the dough. Next time I will likely use a link or two more.

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Now, bring the dough at the top toward the boudin. And then roll again.

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Roll towards you until you have a roll of dough. And then bend it into an almost closed circle. Like the shape of a King cake.

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Next lay your king cake on a baking dish. I used by Pampered Chef baking stone and it did not disappoint.

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Slip it into your preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes. While it is baking, place your cracklins in your food processor. I just tossed the whole cracklin (several of them) in the processor. It made a lot of noise but it did a good job at knocking the crumbly parts off and processing them into bits. I pulled the still solid parts out and then pulsed a few more times. You don’t need a bunch of the cracklin crumbs.

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Now, after the first 20 minutes of cooking, pull your King cake out and baste with the cane syrup. Really coat it well. Your King cake is depending on you!!

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Bake another 20-30 minutes or until the King cake is well browned and that cane syrup is sticky and baked to a nice golden brown. Pull from oven and sprinkle those tasty cracklin crumbs all over the cake. Hot damn we did it!!!

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Big Daddy’s request: Lemon blueberry layered pie and I aim to please

The other day Big Daddy, love of my life, man who drives me bananas, my partner in crime and my babies’ daddy was thumbing through my All Recipes Magazine and came across a recipe that looked good to him. He rarely does this and just gladly eats whatever I make. Now in the past he has mentioned in passing that he had the envie for a blackberry cobbler, I make it and he forgets to eat it. Yeah that has happened. But still, he’s big daddy and I aim to please my man. Sometimes. When he is not annoying me. Which really could depend on the day or hour, because we are married and I am tired and we don’t live in a bubble. Ha ha!!! Truthfully I do aim to please when I can and he does not usually ask for much. He works so hard and takes good care of us and he deserves a pie if that is what he wants. So of course I was all over making him that pie asap. He cut that recipe out and I stuck it in my purse so I could get the ingredients on my weekly (ok triweekly…ok dang it sometimes daily) trip to Target. I collected the stuff I needed and a few days later (there was a delay called life) I set out to make my man a pie!! It was a success and he LOVED it! He raved about it. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, he is mine all mine forever.
It was super easy to put together and the colors make it a shoe in for your upcoming spring soirees. So make someone happy today and make them a really effortless pie that will yield high praise for you. Also you make someone feel loved and valued. And that’s how you stay married. Lol! I wish it was all that easy but it dang sure cannot hurt.

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we kiss and it amuses or disgusts our kids. I am just glad to have him as a partner on this journey through life.

Lemony blueberry layered pie

Stuff you need~

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 (21 ounce) can blueberry pie filling
1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie crust

What to do with the stuff~

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, condensed milk and powdered sugar. Mix in with your standing mixer or electric mixer for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
Blend in pudding mix, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Spread half of the blueberry pie filling into the bottom of the pie crust. Spoon the lemon cream cheese filling on top and spread to cover the pie filling. Speed the rest of the pie filling over the lemon cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Overnight is best. Enjoy!!!

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the way to a man’s heart…

Copycat Taco Bell Mexican Pizza and it all matters…

I know, I know…another recipe for Mexican food!! I told ya’ll we likey our cuisine de Mexicana around here in Cajun mama’s kitchen. Since the Taco Bell in Alexandria opened more than I care to count years ago, the Mexican pizza has been a favorite of mine. Not something I indulge in often, but I love them. My oldest (aka the picky one) is getting into trying different kinds of foods and loves a copycat recipe. He is into restaurant chains and I knew recreating this recipe at home would peak his interest. I know I make it seem like we never eat out and bless our hearts, we have to eat at home, but the truth is, I prefer to save our out to eats for big restaurants. The little fast food splurges here and there add up fast with 4 kiddos to feed. Plus I really like to challenge myself to try new recipes so this was a win win. Oh ya’ll this recipe is so good. So dead on. So close to the actual Taco Bell Mexican pizza that you will swear you can hear the Taco Bell chihuahua whisper “yo quiero Taco Bell”. And I after you try this recipe, you will want Taco Bell Mexican pizza more often.
It has been a regular week around our household. I got a new hairdo…which is really no big feat except when you figure everyone has been sick and finding a time when my amazing hair stylist can fit me in that I am not needed elsewhere and I can still make it to carpool in time…well it’s like trying to reinvent the wheel. The kiddos had their awards ceremonies at school for the 9 weeks. I am so proud of them and am glad I get to be there for them, but I was literally at their school from drop off at 8 until 11. I really cannot remember what all else this week entailed, I just know many times I was short on patience, long on exhaustion and in need of space for creativity. Time to think my thoughts, get a few recipes together and maybe even bang out a few blog posts. Big Daddy has been busy at work and that has meant little help on the Homefront, but you know…that comes with the territory.
And that’s where I get to the meat of this post. The taco meat that is…he he he. This is my calling, part of my path. Raising kiddos to become productive members of society is a big job and sometimes I lose sight. I get swept up in $$$$. What I do does not really hold importance because there is no money in it. Then I see the light. I get stopped in a moment on the way to school, I catch a glimpse of my oldest’s son’s face filled with empathy and pride as he talks about a situation at school that he handled and processed the deeper meaning all on his own. My daughter as she expresses satisfaction with who she is. Picking up my sweet girl and her telling me about reaching her AR goal. Seeing the recognition dawn on my little one’s face as he gets that math problem. Man these kiddos…they are really learning and growing. I lose sight that though my little ole cooking blog is small potatoes compared to another, it matters to some people. When someone comments on my blog and expresses excitement about a recipe that I posted, I smile because maybe my words made a difference to someone. Or when Big daddy finds a recipe for a pie he would like me to make and I do make it for him. Sure, I know moms everywhere who work 9-5 jobs and manage to do all of those things. This is not about that. This is about me fulfilling my purpose that God has laid out for me. I am working on remembering that I am in no competition with anyone but myself because I am my own worst enemy. Aren’t we all? So for me, deciding to make something for supper I know one of my kids or all of my kids will love, maybe that’s my calling. Being me. It’s so important that we all stop and breathe and realize where we are is where are meant to be. It’s always changing, evolving, but in this moment is where we are supposed to be. It’s all divine. It’s all a part of a bigger picture that maybe we cannot see right now. Those copycat Mexican pizzas made on a Friday night might become that memory my kids cherish forever. What I do matters. What you do matters. We just have to do it. It all comes back eventually and the puzzle pieces will fit
together. Just my two cents…for what it’s
worth.
Back to Mexican pizzas…this recipe is awesome. I found it on http://www.food.com and tweaked it a bit…seriously a yum filled experience people. Add it to your culinary bucket list. Here is the recipe for your viewing pleasure…make up a batch and maybe even make a memory. In the end it’s the little moments that matter… What you do matters. Make the most of what YOU have!!!

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Stuck in carpool traffic on a rainy day selfie. I love these kiddos

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new hairdo and a lovely photobomb by two of my favorite people

Copycat Taco Bell Mexican pizza adapted from food.com

makes 4 pizzas

Stuff you need~

1 pound lean ground beef
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 tablespoons water
8 small flour tortillas
Cooking oil
1 16 ounce can of refried beans, warmed*
Taco sauce or picante sauce
I cup Shredded cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack or any blend you like
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup green onions
Small can sliced black olives (I absolutely love black olives so I added them…totally optional)

*I used the leftover homemade refried beans I made using the recipe from my last post. I happened to have some and it was a good way to use them up. Here is the link to that post…
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2015/01/22/cheesy-spanish-rice-casserole-and-the-best-refried-beans-and/

what to do with the stuff~

Ok, first add your ground meat to a large skillet. Sprinkle in the seasoning mix and your 2 tablespoons of water. Using a spoon kind of mix that together and then brown the ground beef until completely cooked. Set aside.

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Now, add enough to cooking oil to your skillet to cover the bottom and then a little more. Your oil should be about an inch deep. You don’t need much. Heat the oil over medium hear and then cook each tortilla for about 30-45 seconds on each side. Take special care to keep tortillas as flat as possible while cooking and pop any bubbles that may form. I laid a few paper towels on a cookie sheet and laid each freshly cooked tortilla flat once it was done.

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Now, this is the easiest part. Turn your broiler on the lowest setting. Or you can use a toaster oven. On a large baking sheet, lay out 4 cooked tortillas . Spread some refried beans on each, then ground beef and add some taco sauce on top for good measure. Pretty sure Taco Bell uses this pretty liberally on their Mexican pizzas. Yum.

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Follow up by laying a cooked tortilla on top of each of these half assembled pieces of heaven. Top each pizza with a nice smattering of cheese and then add a sprinkling of your choice of tomatoes, olives and green onions. The great thing is that each person can make it their own. Take the cooking sheet filled with Mexican pizzas and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes or until the cheese is melted.

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yo quiero homemade Mexican pizzas!

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I found this at a local grocery store and figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. Very good. Just the right blend of spices (said Benny Boo, my 11 year old food critic)

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If Benny boo likes it, you can rest assured your picky eater likely will too. This meal is 11 year old approved.

Cheesy Spanish rice casserole and the best refried beans…and for the love of Mexican

So around our house we are Mexican food fanatics. No really. Every birthday dinner my Goosie girl has had has been celebrated at her favorite local Mexican restaurant since she was…oh about 3.

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the Goose’s 6th birthday. celebrating over Mexican food.

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new cowgirl boots, a doll, and Trejo’s…she turned 7 in style!!

And the rest of them are just as bad. It’s the one thing our opinionated, loud mouth family of 6 can agree on. We love Mexican food. It’s a no brainer that I would want to recreate some of our fave Mexican dishes at home. With 6 people in our family and me being a stay at home mom, eating out is not a regular occurrence in our home. I mean…we do eat out, don’t get me wrong, just not weekly. I found these amazing recipes while scanning through Pinterest and I am so glad I listened when I said to myself “self, you should make these recipes!!”. I am smart and clever and have really good ideas…when I actually am able am able to finish a thought. And then retain it long enough to make use of it. And the moon is blue. See what I mean? Anyway, enough about my bad memory due to popping out all these kiddos. Let’s get back to Mexican food. Yum. This Spanish rice casserole from http://www.mommyskitchen.net came to together so dang fast it was almost criminal and the refried beans from http://moneysavingmom.com were seriously so easy and the best I have EVA tasted and mama knows her refried beans. I can tell ya’ll this….my two oldest kiddos had science fair projects due and we’re finishing their boards and while the meltdowns and hissy fits (mostly mine) ensued, I was able to get this meal on the table. Yeah…that makes it so tops in my book. If you adore Mexican food and long for that authentic Mexican flavor without having to go out (except to buy ingredients now)…give these two recipes a go.

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working on science fair project boards…this was earlier in the day when we all had our composure.

Homemade Refried Beans (adapted from Money Saving Mom)

stuff you need~

1 bag of dry pinto beans, that have been soaked in water overnight)
3 tablespoons of butter
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced (2 1/2 teaspoons of the jarred stuff)
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

what to do with the stuff

Okay, assuming that you have soaked the beans overnight in your crockpot …drain the water you soaked them in and then add fresh water to cover the beans. Cook on low for about 6 hours or so. I used my smaller crockpot for this and this was fine.
Now, after the beans have cooked and are soft….in a heavy bottomed large saucepan, melt the butter. Sauté the onions until translucent and then add garlic towards the end. Next, using a ladle, ladle your cooked beans (about 4 cups) Into the saucepan, along with some of the liquid.

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Sprinkle in all of the seasonings so crucial to giving these beans that authentic, straight from your favorite Mexican restaurant flavor. Allow them to simmer for about 20 minutes. Now…I used my immersion blender to get the texture I wanted. At this point you can do the same, just stick that immersion blender in your pot O’ beans or you can put them in the blender or you can use a good ole masher. I like some texture to my refried beans so I did not blend them much. Do your thing and make them the way you want.

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You can serve these beans with some warned tortillas on the side and a good green salad or you can go all out (aka full Mexican) and prepare this cheesy Spanish rice casserole…

Cheesy Mexican rice casserole (adapted from Mommy’s kitchen)

stuff you need

1 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups of long grain white rice
1 can chili ready diced tomatoes
1/2 cup salsa or picante sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano (I used regular dried oregano and it was just fine)
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey (I used ground turkey…yum!)
1 small onion, diced
1 clove minced garlic
1 8 ounce package shredded Mexican cheese blend
Fresh cilantro for serving (crucial! It made this dish for me!)

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add in rice and stir constantly as it turns a golden brown color. You want most of the grains of rice to be a toasty brown. This takes about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salsa, chicken broth and all of those spices. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and allow to simmer for 15- 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. It will look just like this…

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Meanwhile, while the rice is simmering in those spices and liquid, brown your ground meat and onion and garlic in a large skillet until onions are translucent and meat is fully cooked.

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Stir the meat into the rice skillet. Cover with shredded cheese blend and bake until the cheese is all bubbly and yummy looking (you know what I mean right?). Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro. So good ya’ll…I mean seriously Mexican restaurant worthy.

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“have mercy!!” said in Uncle Jesse’s voice from Full House

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now she is 8 and likes to kick back while mama makes up some Mexican dishes. That’s how sister rolls!

Crockpot Cheeseburger soup and give me comfort

So first off, let me explain the reasons for my 2 week hiatus from blogging. I could go into details about the where’s and whys of it all…but truthfully it’s about what you would expect from a mom. But most of all, there have been no recipes to blog because I have not been cooking and I have just been stupid busy with child rearing and carpool and trying to keep it all together. And frankly, I am barely managing even now. Sure, I get by. We all do most days, right? But man, these days I feel like I am running through the woods with my pants on fire, being beaten with reeds. (Yes that is totally a line from my all time favorite show…Designing Women.) Anyway, finding time to sit down and blog a recipe is a challenge sometimes and it is an even bigger challenge when mama ain’t cookin. But…I’m back!!! I hope you are ready to get in the kitchen and cook up some hella good recipes. The ones I have coming do not disappoint!!!

Now today, I have a DELICIOUS soup recipe.
I found it on http://lecremedelacrumb.com.
Ya’ll know I love soup right? I am seeing more and more that I may or may not have an addiction. I am intrinsically drawn to soup recipes. I am not sure why that is. I guess because it is relatively uncomplicated. Maybe it’s the comfort a bowl of soup provides, especially one a blustery winter day? Make some cornbread or rolls and you have supper!! Chili and a pot of beans definitely fall in that same category in my heart. I guess it’s no mystery that I would crave a meal that is simple and comforting. No wonder why I would fix things for supper that lead to feel good, warm fuzzies. Life gets crazy and chaotic, goes at warp speed and I am constantly looking for ways to soften the blow. My life is by no means awful, so let me make it clear…I am not complaining. But I am above all practical and realistic. I have people who need to be fed every evening and what I feed them may as well taste good and maybe even pack a nutritional punch, without reinventing the wheel or require I dirty 10 pots and pans (though Lord knows I do that too sometimes). And maybe that is the reason in the nutshell I simply ADORE soups. They are practical. And this recipe is a real pleaser from the ease of getting it started (which for me is the biggest challenge sometimes) to the taste it delivers…it is pretty wonderful. So maybe if you are looking for a good recipe to try, out this one on your “to try” list.

Crockpot cheeseburger soup adapted from Cream de la Crumb

stuff you need~

3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, diced
4 cups chopped and peeled potatoes (I used steam and mash potatoes from ore Ida)
1 stalk celery, chopped
3/4 cup shredded carrot (about 1 carrot)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 pound ground beef
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups half and half or heavy cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar

Optional…bacon bits or green onions for serving.

what to do with the stuff~

In a slow cooker, add potatoes, celery, carrot, basil and parsley and chicken broth. Give it a stir and then cook it on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4.

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my trusty ole steam and mash…I ❤️ them

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how they start out

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after they cook down. A little visual never hurts…

Ok! Now, about 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, brown your ground meat (which you can ABSOLUTELY do ahead of time). In a separate skillet, melt your butter. Whisk in the flour and stir until the flour and butter are combined…a nice light roux or blond roux if you will. Whisk in the half and half OR heavy cream. Let it come to a bubbling simmer and simmer until the mixture is thick, creamy and luscious. Remove from heat. Stir in the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Now, add the sour cream to the mix. Mmmmmm….

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oh creamy goodness…you will make this soup so yummy.
Now you are almost at the homestretch!! Stir in the browned ground beef and the creamy mixture into your crockpot. Stir in the shredded cheddar.

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are you picking up on how delish this looks?!

Now, put the lid on the crockpot and let it cook on low for about 30 minutes. I served this soup with some frozen rolls that I just thawed and allowed to rise and then baked. My precious 9 year old aka my sugar cookie, absolutely devoured this. I loved it and found it to be as comforting and yummy as I wanted it to be. I hope your peeps love it as well!! Enjoy my friends!!!

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Honey chicken and honey embrace where you are

The other day I was walking through Target BD says if anyone ever wants to find me they can go wait in the Target parking lot and eventually they will find me…I think he is exaggerating a little but whatever. Anyway, I am walking through and see a sweet little baby girl sitting in the buggy and smiling at me as her mama shops. I smile at her and she hides her face. So sweet. Her mama smiles at me and says “oh she likes you!” I smile and say “well I have 4 of my own. My youngest is 6 now and my oldest is 11. We are doing things like science fair projects and stuff”. I am careful not to say to her “enjoy it because it goes by so quickly.” I know she has heard it 1000 times and it always made a little sad and irritated when someone said that to me. Still does. Sure does go by fast but no point in dwelling on that. She says, a bit wistfully or regretfully (I could not tell) “oh we will be there one day.”But I tell her “oh enjoy this part but there is a lot to look forward to as they get older. We actually all go to a movie now! We have fun.” She looks relieved and says “oh wow. That sounds nice.”
And I realized how much I used to dread my kids getting older. As if somehow it was wrong, but truth is it is so right. Just right. I enjoyed their babyhood but it was a CR-aaaaaazzzzzzy time in my life.

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such a sweet time but it was wild and crazy

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can you say sleep deprived?

Now it may be because I had them back to back. Literally. It was a sweet time in my life and I enjoyed it as much as my exhausted mind would allow me to…but this time is pretty precious too. I am enjoying this stage more than I imagined I would, but to be honest I have never thought much about having older kids. I have had to take it one day at a time. Living in the trenches can do that to you.

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that’s some good times ya’ll. we are like a posse. A crew. Maybe a force to be reckoned with…lol.

This brings me to a new thing I am digging about my kids growing up some. I am sure ya’ll have heard it said “and the teacher becomes the student…” and I can definitely apply that to parenting, especially in this new place we are in. They teach me just by doing. I am usually the one who decides what will he made for supper because well…if I don’t make a decision early in the day and get my stuff together, we would end up eating cereal or take out pizza every single night. To be honest though, sometimes deciding what to fix for supper gets a bit redundant and well…exhausting. Especially when I try to keep it interesting but also make sure most of the family will like it. My head spins sometimes. The kids or BD will make a suggestion from time to time, but for the most part, the buck…or menu…stops here. But the other day, my 9 year old, who has recently discovered a passion for honey chicken at a local Chinese buffet (shout to Sumo…holla!!), googled honey chicken and found a recipe for me. She wanted me to try to recreate it at home. Now, I am all about experimentation in the kitchen, but on my schedule. See…I want help but I want it when I want it. Ah…the plight of motherhood…or is it womanhood?? I am workinSo I took the recipe and said I would get around to it. The next day, I thought to myself, why not? Why not try to make honey chicken at home?? My child is brilliant!! (She really is) And while I am at it, why not try my hand at my favorite, won ton soup. I had been meaning to get around to it but I never had. Why not indeed? So I got the ingredients and last Friday night I set out to recreate some of our Chinese food favorites at home. I guess if I tell the truth, it turned out well. Me taking off down that path with my daughter was fun and it definitely yielded some yummy results in the kitchen. This just goes to demonstrate that though the days of me being head honcho in the kitchen all the time might be over, we are coming to a fun new place where my kiddos are having a say, finding what they like and finding their voice. They are, whether meaning to or not, encouraging me to try new things. Just another thing to relish about these precious humans I birthed getting a little older. There is more to it, we all know that, but it shows me that this part of the journey can be fun. Not that them growing up some means that they will wash their own laundry yet, or take care of themselves when they are sick…and that’s ok. I am not ready for all that. We are moving into new territory, but we will ease into it. As Shelby says in Steel Magnolias, “There are still good times to be had Miss Claree!!” but I will embrace where I am headed rather than wish it away, but mostly I will enjoy my honey chicken loving kids and do the only thing a mama can do…make some more of this mind blowing, über delish honey chicken.
Honey chicken lovers delight. This recipe from http://www.damndelicious.net is easy to follow, pretty straight forward and yields some tasty honey chicken. So here’s to braving new territory, accepting life as is, and some really good honey chicken. Enjoy!!!

Honey Chicken

Stuff you need~

1 pound of chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup Vegetable oil
1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup flour

for the sauce~

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste

what to do with the stuff~

Heat your oil in a skillet. Add your buttermilk to a bowl. Put your flour in another bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water. Set aside.

Now…your oil should be getting ready to fry. One piece at a time, dredge the chicken in flour then put in buttermilk and then back in flour again. Press to coat well with flour. Working in batches, add the battered chicken to the hot oil and cook until crispy. About 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a large baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain the chicken.
Ok…in a small saucepan, add Apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and red pepper flakes. Over medium heat, bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce heat. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook until mixture has thickened up some. 2-3 minutes should do it. Drizzle this luscious stuff all over those little fried chicken pieces. This turns them into heaven. Heavenly honey chicken. Amen.

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Boudin dip and the truth of it all

So many many years ago, more than I care to count, I was in graduate school at Northwestern State University (fork ’em Demons!!). I had a graduate supervisor named Laurie Ann. Aka Lolly. I absolutely thought she was the cat’s meow. She was a special person who I longed to get to know better. She was beautiful, an amazing counselor, smart, and just had this way about her that set me at ease. No easy feat for my over anxious self I tell you. So one night she invites BD and I over for dinner. We met her husband Marc, she made the BEST quesadillas and we all just hit it off big time. The rest as they say is history. I usually leave it up to God to keep the people who need to be in my life and the people who are not meant to be there forever, well he takes care of that too. Well, thankfully, the good Lord and I agree that Marc and Lolly are lifers. They now have 4 kids, 2 who are right around two of my kids’ ages, but for all of them, they have just always been a part of one another’s lives. Lolly is still beautiful and smart and always sets me at ease. She and Marcus are probably our best couple friends and if we have a chance to hang out with someone, it will be them. Our kids rejoice when it is time for Marc and Lolly, Nigel and Finn to come over. It’s just an amazing partnership and it just works. We have spent every New Year’s Eve and or day together since I cannot remember when. Lolly is an amazing cook and brings all sorts of treats and goodies with her. It looks like she is moving in and I am always hopeful that she will. Marcus, or MR, as Lolly calls him, is from Eunice and is an amazing cook as well. The man can do things to a roast and rice and gravy that make it taste like the best thing you have ever put in your mouth. He is a wonderful husband, father and cook. He is also my Tootie girl’s Godfather as well. Can’t beat that! If you can’t tell, I love him just a little. I love them all so much. They are more than friends. They are our family. And I am so lucky that God has made sure they stayed in our lives. Some things are meant to be, and our friendship is definitely one of those things I am blessed to be a part of. Sealing that deal, solidifying what is already in cement, making me just a little extra grateful for my best friend and her precious coonass husband and family. Boudin dip. Boudin dip yes. Boudin. Dip. Say it with me. Let it roll around on your tongue. Bou-din dip. It is as an amazing concoction as it sounds. I just finished the rest of what was left at my house and I am a little sad now. But it was so good while it lasted.

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me and my lolly.

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MR aka uncle Marc with 2 of our boys

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Marc and Lolly

I am going to take a guess and say there is someone out there reading this who does not know what boudin is…I will spare those who do know what it is (and those who don’t) the extended version. I wish I was able to say I had no clues of the ins and outs of the making of boudin…but I would be lying. I know too much. Have seen things my eyes cannot ever unsee. The short and sweet version is that boudin is a seasoned blend of ground pork meat and rice stuffed inside of casing. It is some delicious stuff and can vary in spiciness and flavor, depending on who makes it. It can be bought in supermarkets (around here at least) but the best stuff comes from cajun supermarkets down in south Louisiana. Well, wait. The best stuff is found at actual boucheries that you attend at people’s homes.
Growing up that was pretty common place for me. During the months of February and March, we attended several of them at my grandparents’ houses or the homes of other family members. I did not appreciate how privileged I was to grow up with that sort of experience but I really was. My kids have attended a few boucheries but they are not nearly as common place for them. At a boucherie the pig that has been raised for this specific reason is slaughtered and from the pig, cracklins, boudin, grillades and hog head cheese are made. I won’t get into any more of the specifics but a boucherie is the real deal and if you ever have the opportunity to attend one, you should. You will never eat better boudin, I promise you. But for the purpose of this recipe, we will say you will use store bought boudin. It can be ordered online and my favorite place to get boudin from is Borques in Port Barre, LA. This is their website if you want to check it out and maybe order some boudin or their amazing jalapeño cheese bread…http://www.bourquespecialties.com. Funny story, when I was pregnant with my youngest I could not get enough of this boudin. BD would go down to Baton Rouge for a Farm Bureau meeting and bring me home a few pounds. I would eat it all and he was left to fear this beast I was growing inside of me. Lol! Sure enough, my little LMB is a cajun force to be reckoned with. Anyway, this is some serious good boudin. But you will find every cajun has their favorite and they feel strongly about it. Marc has his favorite boudin spot (actually he has his top 3) with Don’s Speciality Meats at the top of his list. Now, store bought wise, Richards is not bad. I really like it best grilled. Try a few brands If you are so inclined, best research of your life. So that is kind of the low down on boudin. I am being rather long winded because well…I freaking LOVE boudin and because well, you need boudin for this dip. So let’s get down to business here and get this boudin dip recipe on the books…or blog. I know ya’ll are not wanting to listen to me go on and on about the wonder that is boudin.

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me and one of my favorite Cajuns. MR in the flesh (well…in the picture)

Boudin Dip

Stuff you need~

4-5 pounds of boudin
1 container whipped cream cheese (or 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, whipped
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
4 tablespoons mayonnaise (ya’ll know I use Duke’s)
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese
Lots of cayenne pepper (red pepper….same thing)

*recipe notes say that this recipe makes 3 8 x 8″ pans of this dip. So you can cut it in half easily. also the recipe says shredded pepper jack can be used in place of the Colby Monterey Jack cheese to amp up the heat. They did not put much cayenne in the dip they brought so that it would be more kid friendly. So just add according to you and your family’s personal preference.

What to do with the stuff~

Remove boudin from casing. Recipe notes say to use cold boudin as it mixes better. Add the boudin to a standing mixer. Add in other ingredients, reserving some of the shredded cheese for topping and mix until well combined. Like so…

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photo courtesy of Marc and Laurie Richard

If you are making the full recipe, divide the mixture among your prepared dishes. Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 until cheese is melted and bubbly and you seriously cannot wait to have some. It’s done then. Serve with chips or crackers. We made some garlic bread on NYE and proceeded to pile that hot yummy dip on top of slices of that warmed garlic bread and I wanted to pass out from how good it is. So, warmed garlic bread obviously works well. Consider whatever you use simply a vessel to get that amazing dip into your mouth. Repeat. Cest si Bon ma cher. Now ya’ll ready for the Mardi Gras season. Ooooo weeee you gonna be the hit of the party ma petite. Enjoy my friends!

**special thanks to our besties Marc and Lolly for this dip recipe and the many years of precious friendship, past, present and future. Love ya’ll more than this dip. ❤️❤️❤️

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Madame Toot and her godfather and special godmother