Archive | Cooking

A Recipe Post for Great Beach Meals

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Dauphin Island has some restaurants, but there’s just one grocery store and no fast food restaurants. And Lawson is at that awful little boy age of 22 months old that means he HATES sitting at a restaurant for more than thirty minutes (he honestly hates any sort of high chair all the time) so I decided to cook dinner every nightĀ at the beach house instead of going through the hassle of getting everyone showered and ready just to wait on a table at a restaurant while my youngest loses his mind.

I’m smart like that. šŸ˜‰

The only downside is having to use someone else’s kitchen. No food processor (so I made biscuits in a blender), no liquid measuring cups and only 2/3 and 1 cup dry measuring cups (which meant most things I just guessed at), no chopping board, no grater, only one big bowl, etc. Buuuuut it all came together in the end.

Please note these are photos from my phone and are horrible quality and are not staged at all…but I had 8 hungry mouths (including myself) ready to eat, ha!

The first night we had spinach linguine with cream sauce and sautƩed Ruby Red shrimp (all our seafood came from Skinner Seafood Market on the island or caught by us).

We found these homemade dry pastas at the Mobile Farmers Market the day we drove down and bought a pound or so of the spinach angel hair (you can even buy it online here!). It was delicious! I paired it with a homemade alfredo sauce and sautƩed shrimp. C. liked it so much he ate leftovers for lunch two days in a row (and he never ever ever eats leftovers!).

The next night I madeĀ homemade crab cakes with remoulade sauce, chive biscuits, and coleslaw.

A pound of lump crab meat made about a dozen crab cakes.

Note: Make the remoulade sauce before you go to the beach (it requires the most pantry items) and stick in your cooler (I also do that with my homemade ranch). For the biscuits I made my own buttermilk.

Oh and these crab cakes? BEST I’VE EVER HAD.

On the third night we hadĀ low country boil.

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What would a trip to the beach be without a low country boil, right?! Ā I should note I always add vinegar to the pot of water–I saw the hint on the back of the Old Bay seasoning can years ago. I researched it and the vinegar acts like a lemon–it heightens/brightens the seafoodĀ (and nothing tastes like vinegar so no worries).

These may look like red snapper at first glance, but they are actually vermilion snapper. And y’all, they make some of the tastiest fried fish tacos I’ve ever had. Actually, not “some of”. They are THE BEST fried fish tacos.

I used this beer batter recipe. I love how simple the ingredient list is since we didn’t have a fully stocked pantry at the beach. For what’s it’s worth, I used non-alcoholic beer (all we had on hand) and it tasted great.

I served the fish with warm tortillas, lettuce, homegrown tomatoes, avocado, poblano slaw, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. I also made some spanish rice out of a packet and cooked some fresh corn with a little butter and some chopped poblano.

(This was this best dinner in my opinion.)

The next night was our last night at the beach so we did a clean-the-pantry out dinner. We used more of the vermillion snapper, but this time I cooked it in the oven. I added steam broccoli, mac n cheese (theĀ kids areĀ not big fan of broccoli and baked fish, who would’ve thought?! HA!!), creamy corn-cucumber-tomato-onion salad (that’s the bomb dot com), and corn bread muffins.

And that was we ate for dinner at the beach. Just posting these recipes makes me want to go back again. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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Two Keto Recipes

People will message me and ask about Keto all the time. And usually it revolves around what to eat.

And I get that.

I always believe in keeping it simple at first (or forever). Ā I don’t count macros (but highly recommend MyFitnessPal if you want to!) and I didn’t really count calories until a couple of weeks into it. Ā I did pay attention to my carbs though, I should add–this is super important.

I think keeping on hand proteins and fats like deli meat, cooked chicken or steak, tuna, nuts, cheese, dressings, etc. ready to go is so important, as well as getting rid of any trigger foods (ice cream and Oreos, for example).

When you’re a mom it’s a little harder to do Keto unless your whole family does it–I mean, I already feel like a short order cook as it is since Moseby is the pickiest eater on the planet!–so I make some meals to trick them ’cause I’m sneaky like that. šŸ˜‰

Here’s one of my favorite recipes: Steaks in Mushroom Cream SauceĀ (there’s the nutrition on the page too). Y’all, it is SO GOOD.

You cook the steaks 4-5 minutes on each side (for medium).

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Once cooked to your liking you put them on a plate. Do not clean the skillet. Add some mushrooms that look like this.

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And that somehow turn into this amazing gorgeous sight.

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You’ll add your cream and broth and put atop the steaks. YUM.

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You can serve with vegetables or a salad or cauliflower rice or cauliflower mashed “potatoes”, etc.

Another winner is a wedge salad with steak. This is not a true wedge–I like romaine lettuce, but that’s just me.

I add purple onion, a bit of tomato, bleu cheese crumbles, crumbled bacon, and homemade ranch dressing (best dressing ever), then I top with steak.

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MMMMMMM. Makes my Keto loving heart so happy.

Are Keto recipes something you’re interested in? I wasn’t sure if people would want to hear about this or not.

Hope you all have a great weekend! We’re leaving today to go to the beach (ALL the kids first time to see the Gulf!) for a week and I’m already worried about the 6 hour car ride. Lawson can be an absolute angel…or, well, the absolute opposite. I never know which one I’m going to get!

 

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Chewy Granola Bars–Totally Delicious!

My friend Darby was a blogger for years over at her site, Fly Through Our Window, and one of my favorite recipes of hers was her Homemade Chewy Granola Bars {click on the link and scroll halfway down the post to see the recipe}.

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I make them a few times a year and they never disappoint.

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{Just to note I only use sunflower seeds and not any coconut because the coconut oil leaves enough coconut flavor (in my opinion) as it is. I also put peanut butter chips & extra chocolate chips ’cause that’s just how I roll.}

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Lawson is a huge fan, but he does make one heck of a mess.

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I use this brownie pan and I can’t say enough good things about it! I use it at least once a week and it’s perfect for getting perfect size brownies/bars.

Hope you all have a great week!

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Dill Pickles {Water Bath Canning}

I talked on Monday about my affinity for pickles.

And C.’s lack thereof. Actually he hates them. If I even make him smell vinegar he starts gagging and says he’s going to puke.

And yet I still married the man. I even surprise myself.

Thankfully, all three of my kiddos LOVE pickles. Well, technically Moseby only eats the center, but they all just gobble them up. Makes my pickle-loving heart smile (and makes it say, ‘Na-Na Na-Na Boo-Boo!’ to C.).

On Wednesday I made 2.5 dozen pints of dill pickles using 18 pounds of pickles that my parents picked up for me in the mountains this past weekend. I like to use a “canning cucumber”–they’re 4-6″ long and the seeds are small. I tried a new recipe I found this year calledĀ Pop’s Dill Pickles Recipe (which can be found by clicking here). I did add a fresh clove of garlic to each jar because I think it adds another dimension to the pickle. I also didn’t get rid of the pickling spice (the recipe says to put the three tablespoons of pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag and to take it out before you put the brine (vinegar mixture) in the jars), I think a little bit of the pickling spice in each job keeps the pickles from being too bland. But that’s just my preference. šŸ™‚

Step 1: Cut your pickles up however you want (I divide them in fourth length-wise).

Step 2: Cover with ice. Minimum of 2 hours, maximum of 8 hours. I cut mine up before I took the kids to summer camp (MM is going to cooking camp and Moseby is going to dinosaur camp this week) and to the gym so mine sat for about four hours in the ice. Drain thoroughly when you’re ready to start canning (this is also when you’ll need to turn the heat on your water bath canner (big pot) and a smaller pot of water for your lids and throw them in there (DO NOT BOIL THIS WATER). Sterilize your jars–this recipe calls for pint jars–if you have not already done so (I like running mine through a sterilization cycle of the dishwasher a couple of hours before and then put them in a 200 degree oven on a baking sheet until I’m ready for them). )

Step 3: Get your brine going. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes or so (notice I am not keeping my pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag).

Step 4: While the brine is cooking go ahead and pack your jars. Put the garlic and some dill in the bottom and then put the cucumbers on top. Pack them as tight as you can (it’s an art form).

Step 5: Pour the brine in with a canning funnel leaving 1/2″ head space and put on lids and rings. Place in a hot water bath for 5 minutes (this changes depending on the recipe, by the way). Once finished place on the counter (jars at least 1/2″ part) and cover with a kitchen towel. Check periodically to make sure the jars are sealed (you shouldn’t be able to press down the center). If they don’t seal for some reason just place them in the refrigerator and eat within two weeks. If they do seal (which they totally should!) they can keep in a cool, dry place for up to a year. I think these pickles taste best after sitting at least a month, but I know some pickle lovers who just can’t wait. šŸ˜‰

Here are the materials I use for canning (and have used for 10+ years–I’ve never had to replace them–it’s an investment that lasts a lifetime!):

Water-Bath Canner (with rack) for only $16 shipped.

Six Piece Canning Tool Set for $13 shipped (You’ve GOT TO have this to can)

Happy canning, friends! Feel free to ask any questions about canning–I’ll be more than happy to answer. šŸ™‚

Past Pickle Canning Fun on the Old Blog:

2008 (Onion-Garlic Pickles, Dill Pickles, Bread & ButterĀ Pickles)

2010 (Garlic Dill Pickles)

2017 (Ice Box Pickles)

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Sweeties for Some Special Dads {Pound Cake & Oatmeal Raisin Cookies}

I believe the whole “a way to a man’s heart is through hist stomach” is kinda true.

At least for some daddy-o’s in my life. šŸ˜‰

This past Sunday in addition to a gift or two {my dad got this portable car jump starter and C. got a bottle opener for his Yeti Hopper} they each got their favorite dessert.

For my dad it would be oatmeal raisin cookies {I can’t stand raisins so I never ever make them}.

Click here for the recipe I used. I didn’t try them, ’cause ewwwww raisins, but Daddy said they were really good. You’ll have to take his word for it. I used my trusty cookie scoop ($3!) and it made exactly five dozen cookies.

C.’s favorite dessert is plain old pound cake with vanilla ice cream. I don’t really make plain pound cake but maybe once or twice a year–I’m just not a plain girl, you know?

For the recipe I used click here. It was very tasty and super moist (there’s nothing worse than a dry cake, am I right?!).

And C. was one happy pappy, let me tell you.

Hope you are all having a tasty week! I canned 19 pounds of cucumbers yesterday and can’t wait to share them with you on Friday!

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Beware: A Week of Food {Today is on Icebox Pickles}

So, I’m going to go ahead and say:

Sorry, but not sorry.

Because this week on the old blog I’m focusing on food.

Today and Friday I’m talking pickles. Pickles that you keep in the fridge and pickles that you can. On Wednesday I’m going to show y’all the sweets I made for our dads on Father’s Day.

Well, let’s get to it then:

Icebox Pickles

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If you follow me on Instagram you saw me post about these a week and half or so ago. And y’all, they are GOOD. I think it takes about 24 hours before they’re really tasty and then they keep so well in the refrigerator.

You can find the recipe here. It’s from one of my favorite cookbooks, Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love (less than $13 shipped), and was the sole reason I bought the cookbook. I have always loved the icebox pickles they serve with their sandwiches at lunch and when they told me the recipe was coming out in their new cookbook I was on cloud nine.

‘Cause y’all, I am a pickle LOVER.

{I think there are two kinds of people: pickle lovers and pickle haters. There is no middle ground. I married the latter and everyday I feel sorry for him and what he’s missing. Poor soul.}

icebox pickles

Now, if you’re like me you’ll need to go ahead and triple the recipe so you won’t run out. Take me word on it, folks, they’re that good.

You’re welcome. šŸ˜‰

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An All Around Sweet Friday

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Not one, but THREE, of three tasty sweet treats I’ve made lately.

And a sweet girls’ weekend to a Georgia winery.

And a sweetie pie kiddo.

First up, sweets!

FlourlessĀ Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know they don’t look like much, but they were good (albeit a little crumbly). So good in fact all 2.5 dozen were eaten in 24 hours by my crew. The recipe is The Southern Baker, but you can find the recipe here.

Mary Kay Andrews’ Butterscotch Brownies (scroll to the bottom of article for recipe)

This picture doesn’t really do them justice, but these were good (especially so right out of the oven). Usually I’m not a fan of a dessert unless it contains chocolate, but this one was definitely an exception.

The recipe is part of her new cookbook out called The Beach House Cookbook and it’s a great cookbook. Mom & I met her and got ourĀ cookbooks signed at her book launch party in AtlantaĀ at the end of April.

And finally, Peach Cake

Earlier this week we went to Jaemor Farms because we had a hankering for some homemade peach soft serve ice cream (June – August is peach season in Georgia and I swear as soon as the calendar flips to June 1st I want peach everything).

After the kids were asleep on Wednesday I made this peach cake from Back in the Day Bakery: Made With Love Cookbook. (I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but it’s a great cookbook and it’s now on sale for less than $13 shipped)

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One note on the recipe: it says to cut up ten peaches and I did. Honestly 3 peaches would have been enough for the cake. I had so many extra peaches that I tripled the recipe to accommodate all those extra peaches from the first step! (‘Cause lord knows, you CANNOT waste Georgia peaches!)


When does a “girls’ trip” officially turn into “middle-aged women’s trip”?

Just asking for a friend.

‘Cause we’re definitely not old…even though we all pledged the same sorority EIGHTEEN YEARS ago. Lordy.

We went to Helen last weekend and did a little hiking, a little gossiping, a whole lotta eating, and spent quite a few hours at Yonah Mountain Winery.

It was good. So good to be with these girls…ladies…middle-aged gals…who get me. Who knew me as I was finding myself, before I ever met C. (by a good five years!), and before I was a mama. They know me better than I even know myself. I love these ladies something fierce.


And last but not least, this cutie.

Being the third child means he doesn’t get as much one-on-one time as the other two have had in their lives. This past week the oldest two had VBS at night so it was just the two of us hanging out and it was so fun to watch his curious, goofy, funny personality come through.

Wednesday night he spent over thirty minutes hauling this giant blanket to the couch and getting himself all settled in just right with his lovey and sippy cup. Then he sat there giggling. I think he liked being an only child for a bit.

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Hope y’all have a great weekend. It’s supposed to be low 80s and sunny and absolutely perfect for being on the boat and sleeping in tomorrow. Can’t wait!

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A Week With Two Chocolate Cakes

…and could that be any better?!

Last Friday night I was craving a chocolate cake that I had seen on a blog earlier that day. It was called Chocolate Sprinkle Snack Cake and looked dark, rich, and decadent. Basically, just how I like my chocolate.

I made it that afternoon–half with sprinkles, half without (Moseby is not a fan–crazy, huh?).

And here’s my verdict:

The cake itself was hands-down the best cake I’ve ever made. Moist and rich, and devils food-like. It was perfect. The icing was meh. Something about it just wasn’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe it wasn’t sweet enough? (And I love dark chocolate so that says a lot!)

So yes, I would definitely make the cake again, but would use my tried and true chocolate frosting recipe.

On Monday afternoon Moseby and I made my dad his favorite cake for his birthday–a chocolate pound cake. My whole life my Ā mom would periodically make my dad a chocolate pound cake and he would nibble on it throughout the week. I didn’t use her recipe, but one I found here.

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And here’s my verdict:

It’s GOOD. Dare say, even better than my mom’s (sacrilege, I know!). I think it’s the buttermilk and the bit of coffee–they both really bring out the chocolate. I will say, you need to grease (I used Crisco) and flour your pan. I made a large bundt cake and a small one. With the large cake pan I greased and floured it, but with the small one I just used Baker’s Joy. Uhm no, it stuck. Big time. This is one of those recipes where a spray will just not work. And honestly, it’s not that pretty of a cake…but looks aren’t everything, right?

So would I make it again?

You betcha! (And Deddy says I better–he ate *three* pieces on his birthday!)

 

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Tour Georgia Series: Washington Farms Strawberry Picking {’17}

I mentioned last week that we are doing something fun with my dad every week for the month leading up to his 70th birthday on May 17th. Last week we went to a Gwinnett Braves game and today we went strawberry picking (so I could make him a strawberry cobbler!)…who knows where we’ll end up next week! šŸ˜‰

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And just because I had people ask on Facebook (’cause I personally think I look like a hot mess express post-workout here) here’s links to my gym clothes: top. sports bra. compression leggings. tennis shoes (different color).Ā 

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Lawson had a blast picking berries. Well, he’d pick one, squish it all in his hands, and then stuff his mouth with it. ‘Cause that’s how you’re supposed to pick them, right?

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Mary Margaret and Moseby are old pros of course.

They grabbed their buckets and started picking right away.

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And after we picked these gorgeous ladies we headed over to the picnic tables and had our fill of strawberry ice cream.

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When we got back to my parents’ house I made dinner {spaghetti and meatballs because that’s my dad’s favorite} and homemade strawberry cobbler. I used this recipe and it was PERFECT. The crust was almost cake-like and delicious.

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Definitely can’t recommend Washington Farms enough (they have TONS of berries right now!) or this cobbler enough…or my dad enough. He’s one terrific guy.


This is the fourth time you will find me talking about Washington Farms on the blog. The first was in 2011 when MM was 2. We took her again in 2012 when she was 3. Ā And again I wrote about it in 2014 when we took her and Moseby (she was 5, he was 2).

 

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Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze

I’m always weary of recipes I see on Pinterest because you don’t know WHY they look the way they do. Is it because of good food photography? Have they altered the recipe they’re posting? What exactly is going on? I think we’ve all had a Pinterest fail or two in our lives, am I right?!

I usually go to Allrecipes or Food Network where I can see tons of ratings and comments.

But not this time. This time I went with a peanut butter-chocolate chip pound cake with peanut butter glazeĀ (click on the link to go to the recipe) that I found on Pinterest. And it’s GOOD.

My glaze came out a little thicker than I think it should, but I was a hurry and didn’t add any more milk (maybe try 1/3 cup instead of a 1/4 cup milk if you make it?). I also added some chopped up leftover from Easter Reese’s Eggs to the top because…well, why not?!

Y’all should definitely try it. Trust me and my cake loving self–I won’t steer you wrong. šŸ˜‰

Peanut butter chocolate chip pound cake with peanut butter glaze

And these are mini bundt cakes from my favorite pans (they hold about 2.25 cups each) that you see over and over on the blog. And here is a link to Amazon’s version of Silpat bakingĀ linersĀ that I use daily.

Peanut butter chocolate chip pound cake with peanut butter glaze

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