Real Neat Blogger Award

Hi everyone! Sorry I have been absent from blogging this week. I just finished my taxes and I’m still traumatized. Traumatized from the act of doing taxes and traumatized because I waited until the last minute. But now that it’s over, I can go back to my favorite pastime – blogging.

I was nominated for “The Real Neat Blogging Award” by The Go To Girl. She is just one of the many cool bloggers I have had the pleasure of meeting since I started blogging in January.

I am really grateful to The Go To Girl and everyone on WordPress. I hope everyone stays active and inspiring.

My answers:

1. Who do you admire? My mom – she is such a hardworking and caring person. She’d give you the purse off her shoulder if you needed it (and because she actually can since she may have over 100) LOL 😂

2. Are you a dog or cat person? I’m a dog person. Dogs have an amazing capacity for unconditional love. I have the sweetest (my husband would say dumbest) two dogs in the world 🌎

3. Do you like city or countryside living? I’m a city person. I grew up in a big city and could not live without hustle and bustle.

4. Are you an inside or outside person? I’m both. I am happy lying in the sun or binging on Netflix at home. My favorite show is forensic files on HLN. I watch the show so much, my husband thinks I’m secretly planning his demise. I actually love how forensic science can solve cold cases and bring closure to families.

5. Do you still see people from your childhood? I don’t and it makes me sad. My husband still hangs out with his friends from kindergarten. So jealous.

6. Facebook Heaven or Hell? I’m not a facebooker. I jumped on the bandwagon too late and missed the boat. Who knew it would still be around.

7. Do you like your holidays hot or cold? I grew up in the Midwest and dealt with cold weather most of my life. I was miserable. I love ❤️ the heat. The hotter the better!

Now that I’ve answered my questions, I’m nominating the following bloggers:

Eartha Cooks

The Pajama Chef

God Inspired Art

When Women Inspire

Red Letters

Militant Negro

Don’t Give a Jam

Eat Some Choi

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2018?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favorite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

Happy Blogging!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

 

Hi everyone! This week I made corned beef and cabbage and now I have leftovers. I had to make corned beef hash.  Corned beef hash is very special to me.  My mom would make it for breakfast growing up and I would devour it.  Growing up, my mom would open a can of hash and cook it until it was crispy.  I loved it.
Fast forward twenty-something years later, I went to a breakfast restaurant and I saw corned beef hash on the menu.  I ordered it expecting corned beef in a can.  To my surprise, there was real corned beef in my hash.  It was so good.  I savored every bite.
The experience ruined me.  I can never eat corned beef hash in a can again.  Having homemade corned beef takes this traditional meal to a whole new level.  Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

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Corned Beef Hash Ingredients:

1 tbs butter

8 ounces cooked corned beef, diced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 bell pepper, finely chopped

(2) medium baking potatoes or (4) baby red potatoes, peeled and shredded

pepper, to taste

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Corned Beef Hash Directions:

1. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the diced red potatoes. Cook till browned.

2. Add shredded corned beef, diced onions and diced bell peppers. Cook, stirring with a spatula until all ingredients are mixed.

3. Add pepper.  No need to add salt, as corned beef can be naturally salty.

4. Pat down, undisturbed, until brown and crisp on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Continue cooking, turning the corned beef hash as it browns evenly, about 15 more minutes.

5. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the corned beef hash and let it melt, about 1 minute.

6. Add an optional fried egg to serve.

7. Enjoy the corned beef hash

 

 

 

Corned Beef and Cabbage

 

Hi everyone! This week I made corned beef and cabbage.  I know, I know, I should have made this for Saint Patrick’s Day but I didn’t. Never mind that the dish is rarely eaten in Ireland.  I have had a craving for corned beef since March and I finally got around to making it.   
 
My mom used to bake corned beef in the oven and it always came out delicious.  I remember one of my first cooking lessons was my mom teaching me how to properly cut corned beef.  Such an important tip – I cut it the wrong way once and it was tough.  You’ve gotta cut against the grain.
The traditional way to cook corned beef is to boil it, both the beef and the cabbage.  I like it best in the oven – hand’s down.  But, I don’t have time for that anymore.  I always put it in a crockpot.  I used a pressure cooker once and it was good, but not amazing.  On a side note, the pressure cooker disintegrated my cabbage.  The experience traumatized me and now I cook my cabbage in a pan.
 
Try this recipe and let me know what you think. 

 

 

 

 

Corned Beef and Cabbage Ingredients:

1-2 lbs Corned Beef

1 peppercorn spice packet (comes with corned beef)

1 Onion

4 medium Red Potatoes

1 12 Ounce Bottle of Dark Beer

1 cup of beef Broth

2 tbs cinnamon

1 tbs dry mustard

1 tbs allspice

1 tbs nutmeg,

1 tbs pepper

1 tbs clove

3 garlic cloves

1 tsp melted butter

1 head Cabbage, chopped

Corned Beef Cabbage Directions:

1. Quarter the potatoes. No need to peel

2. Slice the onion thinly.

3. In a large slow cooker, place the potatoes and onions on the bottom of the slow cooker

4. Add the corned beef on top of the potatoes and onions.

5. Sprinkle the peppercorns on top of the corned beef. Sprinkle other spices ( half of cinnamon) on top of the corned beef. No salt is necessary as corned beef can be naturally salty.

6. Pour the beer and broth over the ingredients.

7. Set on low and cook for 6-8 hours.

8. Quarter cabbage and then slice thinly. In a separate pan, add butter and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add sliced cabbage.

9. Add 1tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of juice from corn beef, and salt and pepper. Stir and let cabbage simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.

10. Slice the Corned Beef against the grain and serve with cabbage, potatoes and onions.

11. Enjoy this corned beef and cabbage recipe.

 

 

Fried Catfish Po’Boy

Hi Everyone! Today I am posting about a fried catfish po’boy sandwich I made for dinner. I love po’boy’s. It is not a dish I grew up with but I have grown to love po’boys.
 

This dish is native to New Orleans, originating in the late 1920s during a railcar strike. While the origins of the sandwich are under debate, the best story revolves around a restaurant that provided the strikers or “poor boys” sandwiches.  Whether it is true or not, I like this story!

You can make a po’boy with just about any meat.  My favorite is the fried oyster po’boy. In fact, I was originally going to make a fried oyster po’boy but none of the stores in my area had oysters.  It was for the best.  I have never made oysters so it would have been an interesting experiment.  When I couldn’t find oysters, I saw some fresh catfish that I knew would work.
 
Actually, as a kid, I hated catfish. If you think about it, they are not very attractive and they are bottom feeders.
 
I have grown to appreciate catfish, especially when done right. There is nothing like biting into warm french bread filled with pan-fried goodness. The tangy remoulade paired with crunchy catfish made for an easy, satisfying dinner. 
 

Enjoy this recipe and let me know what you think.

Catfish PO’BOY ingredients:

– 2-3 fresh catfish fillets
– 1/2 cup cornmeal Salt and pepper, to taste
– 1-2 loaves of French bread

Cajun Remoulade Ingredients:

– 1/2 cups mayonnaise
– 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
– 1/2 tablespoons creole mustard
– 1/4 tablespoon parsley
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
– 1 garlic cloves
– 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
– 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Catfish PO’BOY Directions:

1. Season both sides of the catfish fillets with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a bag, add cornmeal and dip the catfish in the batter, then dredge in the dry; being sure to cover the fillets completely.
2. Gently drop the catfish in the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes and then drain on a platter lined with paper towels.
3. Add all the Cajun Remoulade ingredients in a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed.
4. To assemble the sandwich, spread the remoulade across the bottom 1/2 of the bread, then add lettuce and tomatoes. Next, lay the fried catfish on top. Close up the sandwich with the top 1/2 of the bread. Cut into portions and serve immediately with lemon on the side. Enjoy the catfish PO’BOY!!!

One Pot Jambalaya

I’ll be the first to admit that my husband is the New Orleans food cook in the house.  His family is from New Orleans and he takes pride in his traditional New Orleans dishes.  He has been making Jambalaya for a while now, usually with fresh shrimp.

Jambalaya Video:

Today my husband made Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, my favorite.  I always think it is like gumbo, a meal that takes a ton of time to cook, but that is far from true.  Jambalaya is easy to prepare and ready in under an hour.  My kind of meal.
 
To start Jambalaya, chop your bell peppers, celery and onions, and sauté the veggies until they’re nice and soft.  Next, add meat.  My husband went with chicken and andouille sausage for this meal but you can use any protein. You can even use the meat from those grocery store roasted chickens. You save so much time with pre-roasted meat.
 
The last step is to pour in crushed tomatoes, broth, seasonings, and rice, and give it a good stir.  Once mixed, cover the Jambalaya and let it simmer on medium-low for about 30 minutes. Then VOILA, a one pot meal.

Jambalaya Ingredients:

* 1 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
* 10 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
* 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
* 1 onion, diced
* 3 garlic cloves
* 3 bay leaves
* 1 small green bell pepper, diced
* 2 stalks celery, diced
* 1 (16 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 tsp salt and pepper
* 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
* 1 1/4 cups uncooked white rice
* 2 1/2 cups chicken broth

 

Jambalaya Directions:

1. Cut onions, bell peppers and celery. Set aside.

2. Cut chicken and andouille. Set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy cast iron pot over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning. Saute until browned. Remove with wooden spoon, and set aside. Leave drippings.

4. In the same cast iron pot, saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves and celery until tender. Stir in crushed tomatoes, and season with pepper, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in chicken and sausage. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Stir in the rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

6. When rice is done, spoon jambalaya into a dish.

7. Flavor the jambalaya with additional seasonings to get the right taste/spice/heat level.

8. Enjoy the jambalaya!

Monday Red Beans and Rice

Hi Everyone!  I’m back this week with some great classic New Orleans recipes. I have always loved traditional New Orleans recipes but I have yet to cook a single meal. Every time I mention New Orleans food, my husband (who is from New Orleans), puts his apron on and starts to cook. He won’t even let me in the kitchen. He has mastered many of these recipes, while I have mastered eating them.
 
We made red beans and rice this Monday.  Not sure why, but my husband feels like we can only eat this dish on Monday. To find out why, I went to Google.
Google said red beans and rice is a Monday meal because Mondays used to be the traditional “wash day” of the week. Homemakers would cook red beans while doing laundry because the dish was effortless. The beans, seasoned by leftover hambone, added tons of flavor from the previous night’s dinner.
 
Even though we don’t eat ham on Sunday or do laundry on Monday, my husband still only wants to eat this dish on Monday. It was very hard for me to wait when I had the idea to make this on a Tuesday.

Red Beans and Rice Ingredients:

– 1 pound of dried, red kidney beans
– 2 cups of chopped onion
– 1 cup of chopped bell pepper
– 1/2 cup of chopped celery
– salt and pepper, to taste
– 1 teaspoon dried basil
– 1 tsp of garlic powder
– 1 tsp onion powder
– 1 tsp oregano
– 1 tsp thyme
– 1 tsp parsley flakes
– 2 large bay leaves
– 1/2 pound of andouille, cut into 1/4-inch slices
– 5 cups of chicken broth
– Cajun seasonings, to taste (optional)
– Hot, cooked rice

Red Beans and Rice Directions:

1. Soak beans overnight. Rinse and sort beans before adding them to the slow cooker. Transfer to a slow cooker.
2. On a cutting board, cut onion, celery, and bell pepper and put in a bowl. You have the option to cook the veggies in butter or bacon grease for added flavor. In this instance, you would add the onion, bell pepper, and celery to a pan and sauté until the veggies are tender and then transfer to the slow cooker.
3. Add the chicken stock, veggies, and seasonings to the crockpot. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, or until beans are tender and cooked through completely.
4. **You can do this before or after the step 3** Cut and sauté the sausage until browned. Transfer to the slow cooker. You can mash the beans in the slow cooker to thicken the red beans and rice recipe. Mash the beans to your desired thickness level.
5. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Add Cajun seasonings, if desired.
6. Scoop red beans and rice over hot, cooked rice, and serve with bread.

Honey Barbecue Pulled Pork Sliders

 

Hi Everyone!  I’m back with my final pulled pork recipe for the week.  Earlier this week I featured Pulled Pork Nachos and Pork Loin Tacos on my blog. With these three recipes, my family and I ate an entire pork loin. And it wasn’t a struggle!
I wanted to make pulled pork sandwiches because they are a family favorite and an easy meal.  We only eat them when I have spare pork loin because it takes a lot of time to make juicy pulled pork to go in those buns.
I’ve been trying to make the perfect marinade for pulled pork for a while and I finally got it right this time.  I’ve always made it too sweet.  I was looking for a sweet, but  smokey sauce to simmer my pulled pork in.  After many, many, many tries – I’ve finally created the PERFECT pulled pork marinade.  Sweet, but smokey.
I adjusted my recipe to incorporate liquid smoke.  I also added apple cider vinegar and honey for sweetness.  After mixing all three ingredients in a pan, I added the pork to infuse the flavor.  It had everything I was looking for!
I have made pulled pork sliders before, but this time, my husband loved it!  I was so excited to get good marks from him.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of liquid smoke
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs onion powder
1/2 cup of honey
1 lb pulled pork
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 cup of beef broth

Directions:

1.  Add pulled pork and broth in a pan and stir for 5-10 minutes until warmed through.  Add more or less depending on how much pork loin you have.  The pork loin should soak up the broth and make it juicy.
2.  Whisk together Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic powder and onion powder in the same pan as the pulled pork loin and simmer until flavors are combined.
3.  Add marinated pork loins to buns.
4.  Add optional toppings (lettuce, slaw, pickles etc.) to buns and enjoy!

Restaurant Review: NOFO @ the Pig

Yes, you read it correctly – that is the name of the restaurant my family and I ate at this weekend.  I was looking for a great place to eat in Raleigh and I chose this place squarely on the name. It was a unique find in the city.  The owners transformed an old piggly wiggly into a quirky southern restaurant and shopping venue filled with beautifully made items and pigs.

 
The upstairs was a quaint pig themed shop and the downstairs restaurant featured many cute pigs as well. It was a very visually inviting place.

 

We each had a really good meal.  I had the filet minion, my husband had the pork chops and the kids had shrimp.  All of the meals were good but my husband’s pork chops were to die for.  The pork chops were extremely moist and came with collards and macaroni and cheese.  I liked the shape of the macaroni and cheese.  It looked like they baked it in a muffin pan.  I may try that!!!

My other favorite thing about this restaurant were the kids drinks.  My daughter ordered a drink called Zombie Brain Juice from “Always Ask for Avery’s” line of totally gross sodas.  Even though the name sounded gross, the drink was a really good old fashioned soda.

After dinner we browsed the shop.  I couldn’t fully enjoy the shop because I had to keep an eye out for my kids touching breakables.  Browsing gave us some good laughs and even a few purchases. We bought some after dinner deserts that were fabulous.  I would definitely recommend this place if you are in Raleigh and love PIGS.

Pulled Pork Nachos

Hi everyone! I am back with more blog posts. This week I decided to try some new pork loin recipes. I had a pork loin in the freezer I needed to get rid of.
As a food blogger and busy mom, I am always thinking about food and how to get dinner on the table fast. Because of this, pork loin is a staple at my house. You can put it in the crockpot before you go to work and finish it when you get home. If you are not careful it may get boring.
Today I thought I would try pulled pork nachos. The pork loin was moist but bland when it came out of the crockpot so I made a brown sugar glaze to jazz it up. I pulled the pork out of the crockpot and layed it on a foil-lined baking sheet. I poured my glaze over the pork and broiled it for about 5 minutes.  The brown glaze gave it so much flavor.
 
I tried to make pita nachos again (I did this with my Super Bowl nachos) but I burned them. My multi-tasking skills were not working on this particular day. After I aired out the house, I ran to the store and bought some scoops. While not as healthy as the homemade version, it did add great texture to the nachos.
Everyone in the family enjoyed the nachos. What’s great about nachos is you can add so many optional toppings.
 
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I made pulled pork tacos earlier this week and my family loved them. About a month ago and perfected my taco recipe if you want to take a peak.
Ingredients:
– 2-3 pounds pork loin
– salt & pepper to taste
– ½ cup Water
– 1 cup Brown sugar
– 1-2 tablespoon Cornstarch
– ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
– ½ cup Water
– 4 tablespoons Soy sauce
– 1 avocado
– 1 bell pepper
– 1 cup shredded cheese
– 1 cup diced tomatoes
– nachos
Directions:
1. Put pork loin in a crockpot for 6-8 hours on low.  When done, set aside.
2. in medium saucepan mix together ½ cup water, brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce together. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low and stir until the glaze thickens.
3. Shred the pork loin with a knife and fork on a foil-lined baking sheet. Add glaze to the shredded pork loin and mix well. Put the glazed pork loin under a broiler for 5 minutes on high.
4. When the pork loin is done, add glazed pork loin, avocado, red bell peppers, cheese, tomatoes and nachos to a bowl and enjoy.

 

Happy Waffle Day: Mint Chocolate Chip Waffles

Hi everyone! Sorry for the late post but I was reading some of my favorite blogs today and I noticed several people paid homage to National Waffle Day. There is a day for everything! Since I love waffles so much, I decided to partake in this special day.

I had some mint left over from my Mint Aioli recipe I posted last week so I decided to make mint chocolate chip waffles.

The only thing I had to work out was how to mix real mint into waffle batter. I decided to mix the mint, vanilla extract and milk in my ninja. The ninja did the trick, cutting the mint into tiny indistinguishable pieces.

I thought it came out great. It had a real mint flavor that was perfect for dinner time. It was actually a beautiful green color until I mixed in the chocolate chips. Check out my recipe below and have a happy waffle day!

Waffle Ingredients:

• 2 cups flour

• 1/4 cup honey

• 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder

• 1 tbsp cocoa powder

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1 3/4 cups milk

• 1/3 cup butter melted

• 2 large eggs

• 2 tsp vanilla extract

• 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

• 1/4 cup of mint

• 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Waffle Directions:

1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt in a large bowl.

2. Take the mint, 3/4 cup of milk and vanilla extract and place it in a blender. Blend until you can no longer see the mint. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, whisk the remaining milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, honey, mint mixture, chocolate chips and vinegar.

4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Wisk until barely smooth.

5. Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturers instructions. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and then pour batter into the center of the waffle iron. Let it cook until crispy.