30 Days of Meals: Jambalaya

After the best intentions of blogging meals every day, I totally failed at it last week. I was out at work events and grabbing things at home. Though, Gray made a delicious pasta and mushroom dish one night and we also had leftover stuffed peppers.

I tried to rebound this weekend.

We had friends over for dinner Saturday that resulted in a delicious jambalaya (recipe courtesy of Southern Living). Our friends also brought a Greek custard pie for dessert. So good. Also not shown: Pinot Grigio.


Sunday meant salmon for dinner. Not shown: Salad and unsweet peach tea.



30 Days of Meals: Ribs on the Grill

Day 2 of my self-imposed challenge started off pretty much the same way as the first.

Two slices of peanut butter toast on Ezekial bread (Plus a multivitamin)


This was followed by a 90-minute walk with my friend Lynn and lunch as Jason’s Deli. I had the California club (minus the mayo and cheese, which cut the calories almost in half) and a side of fruit and ice tea.

For dinner, my husband charred some delicious ribs on the grill. He made a rib with brown sugar, ground mustard, cayenne pepper and salt. There may have been a few other things in there, but he says he was making it up as he went along.


I added some veggies.


Not pictured: An obscene amount of peach tea that I consumed while finishing the book Fates & Furies, which is awesome.

30 Days of Meals: Bourbon-honey shrimp

I kicked off the first day of my 30 days of meal blogging with a pretty good concoction of meals.

IMG_0467Ezekial toast with chunky peanut butter

IMG_0471Amy’s dairy free burrito, kale salad and unsweetened applesauce

IMG_0475Burbon-honey shrimp and asparagus

Not pictured: St. Pauli Girl beer, almonds, string cheese

Blogging can equal healthy habits

Blogging regularly about cooking had one big benefit. It had me cooking regularly and healthily.

Let me tell you what happened when I stopped blogging several times per week. The scale started to show some different numbers than I’d gotten used to seeing.

Blogging — of lack thereof — wasn’t the only thing behind this weight gain, which has happened over two years. I switched to a more sedentary job that had me mostly in an office instead of walking to and from the state capitol building every day. I also fell off the wagon of regular exercise and began eating lunch out almost every day. Those lunches generally fell into the category of sandwich and chips or french fries. Not good.

So, where does that leave us? Well, 20 lbs heavier for one.

I listed to a three-minute TED talk the other day about doing something every day for 30 days. Though I find some TED talks to be overblown, I liked the simplicity of this one. How hard is it to do something for 30 days?

So, my goal is to blog every day for 30 days about my meals, which I’ll also be tracking on MyFitnessPal. And hopefully, this will get me back on a healthier track.


Dollars & Cents of Batch Cooking

My house is filled with frozen meals right now.

No, not Lean Cuisine or Publix frozen pizza. But, all sorts of delicious homemade dinners.

My mom, who just left on her return trip to Pittsburgh about 90 minutes ago, spent hours with me yesterday cooking all of those meals. I had been a little frustrated lately trying to make sure Gray and I ate decent meals (i.e. not pasta or items from the frozen food section) with busy schedules. Unfortunately, many nights we were coming home tired and not really wanting to make food. So, it would be frozen pizza or pasta or food that one of us picked up on the way home from some fast casual spot.

In terms of our waistlines and pocketbooks, this way of living wasn’t really working.

My mom gently reminded me that we could cook a lot of stuff and freeze it, which is what she has done for years. So, we went to the neighborhood Publix to stock up on ingredients and set to work.

We made:

This is my freezer right now:


So, here’s the financial breakdown of this trip. I spent about $111 at the store — it was probably closer to $100 if we take out the bug spray and crackers I got for my mom to have on her drive home.  If you take just the broccoli cheese soup, tacos, sausage dish and sloppy joes, that makes about 20-24 servings, depending on how big your serving size is.  That means, we were looking at anywhere from $4.69 to $5.55 per meal (using the $111 figure). But, that figure doesn’t even include 40 sausage balls and 27 energy bites.

It’s a pretty good deal. And though I wouldn’t refer to any of these meals as super healthy, it’s always healthier to eat at home than in a restaurant.

Also, because I’ve never posted it before, here’s my mom’s recipe for sloppy joes.

Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef, 1 large onion diced, 1 green pepper diced, 1 cup celery diced, 1 cup ketchup, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp salt

Directions: Brown meat and drain; add onion, pepper and celery. Cook for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Simmer for at least 30 minutes and serve.

Deliciousness in a bowl

There’s a little beach shack near my mother-in-law’s house that makes the most delicious chicken-black bean-rice bowls.

Not only are they delicious, but they are filling and healthy too.



I can’t replicate it exactly, but I can come pretty close.

Ingredients: 1 lb chicken cutlets, 1 can black beans, 90-second jasmine rice, green onions, 1 can diced chilies, chili pepper, salt and pepper, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lime juice

Directions: Season chicken with salt, pepper and chili pepper. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and cook chicken. Add in lime juice while cooking. Make rice according to directions. Reduce heat to low, stir black beans, rice, green onions and chilies into the pan.

Serve in bowls and eat!


Hello Fall!

Dear  blog,

I’ve neglected you greatly in the last year. I got married and then got caught up in work  and buying a house, and I stopped posting. My deepest apologies.

But a change in the weather has me feeling a little more motivated and eager to get back into the kitchen.

Here are some of my favorite fall recipes to kick us off.

  1. Pumpkin bread: I first made this delicious recipe about six years ago. It quickly became a favorite. I seriously think it is the most delicious recipe for pumpkin bread ever. I could eat it and eat it and eat it. That’s why I make it and take it to work.

2. Apple-sausage risotto: When I first started my little cooking blog, this was one of my first posts. This delicious apple-sausage risotto is the perfect fall recipe. It’s also really filling and goes perfectly with a spinach salad.

3. Homemade applesauce: This recipe became such a hit with my husband’s family that it is now expected. Homemade applesauce is good any time, but particularly good with your holiday meals.

Happy cooking. I promise to write more.