Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jambalaya..My Version

”My Version”

I’d like to start out by saying, I’m not Creole and if I offend anyone for slaughtering this down home dish, I’m sorry. This is my version and since I do live in Louisiana now, it’s time for me to take a stab making some of the native cuisines.
There are many types of Jambalaya, and even Pastalaya, with different bases, meats, etc. Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence.
Through three or four trial and errors, I’ve compiled my favorite.


  • 1 Bell Pepper - Diced (I don't like bell pepper, so I put mine in the food processor to fine dice.)

  • 5 Stalks of Celery - Diced

  • 1 Large Onion - Diced

  • 1 Bunch of Flat Leaf Parsley

  • 1 Package of Smoke Sausage

  • 1 Pound of Gulf Shrimp

  • 1 Large Chicken Breast

  • 1 TBSP (adjust to your taste) Tony's Cajun Seasoning  (not pictured)

  • 1 Large Can of Diced Tomatoes

  • 1 Medium Can of Tomato Sauce

  • 2 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth

  • 2 1/2 Cups Rice (I use  1 1/2 cups white, 1 cup brown) I also use Minute Rice.  Traditional recipes call for long grain rice, but I just don't have the time.

 I use a huge cast iron skillet (14 inch) to make my Jambalaya.  

1.   Start out by browning the sausage. The sausage has enough oil in it that you won't have to add any additional oil. If you find that isn't the case, add a little canola or even olive oil.
2.   When sausage is browned, add celery, onion, pepper, and cubed chicken breast.  Cook until the chicken is browned and veggies are translucent.

3.    Add can of tomatoes, tomato sauce, half of parsley, chicken broth, Tony's seasoning, and rice.  Stir well.  Cook until the rice is tender and "most" of the juice/stock is absorbed.

5.    Add shrimp and remaining parsley the last 5-7 minutes of cooking.

Serve with Louisiana Hot Sauce 

We love this dish and now make if for everyone that comes and visits.  It's definitely the best on day 2 or 3!! Hope you enjoy:)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jambalaya Splashpark

We're so excited that the Jambalaya Splashpark opened.  We've heard it was a "cool" place to hang out and we got to enjoy it today.  It was the perfect day for it too.  It was 85 degrees at noon, so we only lasted about a hour.  When I say "we", I really mean us adults:)

Click here to view these pictures larger

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fruit & Nut Bars

My favorite magazine these days has been Family Fun.  It has tons of craft and recipe ideas for families with small children.  I always take the recipes and "tweak" them a little and lately I've been adding ground flax seeds to baked goods.  The latest studies on flax seeds show they may help fight everything from heart disease and diabetes to breast cancer.  Chloe did like these, but I think these will end up being more of a mamma pick me up snack.  

1/3 cup pecans (can use any nut of your choice.  Almonds would be yummy too.)                                                                    

1/3 cup walnuts (recipe only called for one type of nut)

2 TBSP milled flax seeds

1/3 cup dates (figs or prunes would be great too)

1/3 cup dried fruit

2 TBSP water (adjust depending on fruit moisture)

Sprinkle of cinnamon

Put nuts in processor until mostly smooth. Mill flax seeds or use a coffee grinder and add to nut mixture. Transfer to a bowl.

Put dates and dried fruit in food processor adding one tablespoon of water at a time until it looks “gooey.” Sprinkle mixture with cinnamon and add nuts. Pulse until well combined. Makes approximately 6 bars.

*To mold bars, lay a piece of wax paper flat, spoon 1/6 of the mixture onto the paper, fold the wax paper over and form bars.


Wrap individual bars and put in Tupperware. These will last about a week in the fridge. I haven’t tried freezing them yet.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I've been saving egg cartons for the last few months.  Not only to makes some fun crafts but also so Chloe and I can start some flower seeds.  We planted some seeds, but it seemed like the weather just wasn't on our side.  One night it rained and mommy left the seeds in the rain and um mm, they flooded.  So there I stood in a downpour trying to poke a hole in the cartons so water could drain.  That seemed to do the trick, well, until the winds.  Then the wind swept the poor egg carton and it was up and away.  Luckily one out of the three survived.  We babied our little seedlings (Cosmos) the next few weeks until they were finally big enough to plant in the ground. 
Only about 6 or 7 survived, so Chloe and I picked
out some more seeds to plant with it.  I'll admit it
was really me that picked out the next seeds to plant. 

I have fond childhood memories of picking
Cornflowers (Bachelor Buttons) for my grandma and bringing them inside so proud as if I "found" them and didn't actually just pick them out of her garden.  She would humor me everyday by acting like it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen and putting them in a little glass right by the sink.  They require warm temperatures and since it's getting down right hot here, it was the perfect time to get them going.   

We found the perfect spot to plant our seeding and
seedlings, in a strip of ugly dirt between the fence
and the driveway.  Chloe and I started pulling
up the weeds, mixing topsoil with the existing
dirt, and digging a little trench for our seeds. 
Chloe is definitely in the "I DO IT" stage.  She
insisted that she knew exactly what to do and I
was pretty amazed that she wasn't just throwing
the seeds around, but actually putting them in the
hole we dug for them.  To our amazement, those seeds that we purchased for 5/$1 sprouted in 3 days!!  We now have little plants about 2 inches tall, we that was until yesterday...


Ugg....So this little ugly creature must have been stirring during the night looking for food when it saw our freshly watered beautiful plants, all in a row and decided that it was the perfect place to look for some grub worms.  He dug up our entire bed!!!  I noticed it at about 630am when I went out to water so I replanted it as well as I could before Chloe woke up.  Okay, so I didn't know it was Armadillo right.  I assumed Jimmy drove over our poor little babies when he was backing out of the driveway until I remember he parked outside of our temporary gate.  My aunt was the one that clued me in on these icky creatures and Jimmy told me later that morning he had actually saw one, not in our yard, but by the gate.

Although I have been around Armadillo's before, I don't like them and they freak me out.  They're ugly like a possum with a creepy shell.  The only things I like with a shell are cute little turtles and of course Crab, which is mighty tasty.  So please, shell creature, leave our baby seedlings alone.  I know you don't understand, but this has been a mighty long process and I don't want to explain to a 2 year old that some ugly creature destroyed her plants, again...

Monday, May 10, 2010

What to do next....

I loved...LOVED..doing my window projects in Portland. 
The supply of old windows were abundant and people
would rather give them away then take them to the
dump. I got many of my old windows for free
from craiglist, but here...it's another story.  I cannot find them anywhere for less than $30!  I just can't justify spending that much for a broke down old window. 

So, I'm sad, hoping that one day I'll hit
the window jackpot so I can get back into it.

So lately I've been "trying" to sew.  I think that I've done pretty well for a beginner, but it's hard to measure up to all the crafty women in my family.  My grandma is a seamstress that made all of my aunts gowns for pageants, all my barbie clothes, upholsters furniture, crochets and paints.  My mom can sew very well too and made all my dresses for the dances in high school, used to decorate cakes (quite well if I do say so), and can refinish a piece of furniture like a pro.  So, as my husband always says, I just need the right tools:)

Off to Home Depot to build a sewing station. 

I discovered the scrap wood box in the back and the manager in the department made me an incredible deal.  I spent about $30 and made myself a sewing table that will eventually be dual purpose for scrapbooking and a couple of pegboards, one for above my "craft station" and one for tools so my dear husband can find his screwdrivers and such.  

So now I have the right tools, well location that is, to start sewing.  Now, to only find the time....hummmm?

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful beautiful women in my life, whether you're a mother, grandmother, or fabulous auntie, I love you and you are all inspiration to me:) Whether we consider ourselves to have had a great childhood or a not so great childhood, remember the women in your life that helped you grow into the person you are today.

I read a beautiful quote:
“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one” - Jill Churchill

Chloe and I decided to make my present for my mom. I got the idea from my aunt and ran with it. It resembles the stargazer lawn ornaments that you find in the stores, but of course it's way better since it's homemade:) I posted an ad on freecycle.com for a bowling ball. If you've never heard of freecycle.com, it's a wonderful yahoo community where you can give items away or search for items. It has a moderator, so I feel it's far better than craigslist in that aspect. I received the bowling ball almost 2 hours after I posted the ad and the lady met me at Walmart. YEAH!!! 1st step complete. The second thing that we had to do is get glass beads, the type that you put in flower pots or fish aquariums. The Dollar Tree is our best friend. We found all colors, shapes, and sizes. I wanted to follow a blue/green color scheme, and wouldn't you know, that's all they carried!!

We got it home and cleaned it really good. We use an all Simple Green all purpose cleaner. All I got to say is YUCK. This bowling ball must have been old and waxed a few too many times.

Then let the gluing begin. I started on the top, which I now know that I would have started on the bottom (where the finger holes are) next time.

I had to make a little brace (I made mine out of foil) to keep the beads from slipping while drying. I did about 2 rows and then let it sit for a bit (made and ate dinner, then went back, etc..)

Once it's was about 1/3 done and dried, I flipped it over, put it on the stand (that I purchased at Hobby Lobby) and the gluing was far more easier. No need to use a brace to hold them it place.

I was able to finish it in about an hour!! We're thrilled with the finished product and it only cost $5 but we put a lot of heart into it.
Glistening in the Sun!!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

April & May Fun

Welcome to our NEW blog!!!

Welcome to our new blog...With the aboutmybaby website closing soon, I thought it was time to get off my rump and get a new one going. I hope you all still want to "follow" us through this thing we call LIFE!

This new blog will be a little different.  I'm "hopefully" going to post more ramblings from me (I have a lot on my mind) and will be able to update more often.  We'll have pictures of some crafts we do and maybe some homemaking stuff (recipes, decorating, etc). 

Swimming in May? YOU BET!

So, it's now May, and many of you know that we are use to crappy weather until about July in the Northwest.  It's pretty unreliable.  It'll be sunny and 70 one day and a full on snow storm the next.  One of the best thing about living in the south is the weather!!! It's been 90 for the last few days. 

We went over to my parents house and we were going to let Chloe and CJ cool off in the pool.  We looked down at the little pool that Chloe had so much fun in last Spring/Summer and it literally looked like a tea cup saucer!!! So we were off to find something bigger!  I went into Walmart and pretty much picked up the 1st one we saw, got it home, and while looking at it we decided it was way too small.  Mom was on a mission!  She came home with a 3 1/2 ft by 12ft pool that holds 1500 gallons of water.  Not only can the babies be in, but we can too! Chloe was even able to entice her Nana (well, it didn't take too much persuasion) to get in the pool as it was filling and then proceeded to hose her down!! I haven't laughed that hard for a very long time!!  

We spent all day yesterday in the pool splashing around.  CJ sat on a little floaty turtle and Chloe wore one of those swimsuits with a life jacket built right in.  She wasn't so sure about floating at first.  In fact she freaked when I started laying her on her back to float, but after about 1/2 of coaching and encouraging she had a death grip around her princess ring and was kicking around the pool like a pro!

So, when it's in the 90's, you'll know where me and the kids will be.  Now if I could only get mom to serve me Margarita's pool side..
Bring on the POOL!!!  Chloe swimming in 2 inches of water.

I can't believe I'm posting a picture of me in a swimsuit!! UGGGHHH...Don't judge:)