Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Stroud's Gumbo

One of my New Years Resolutions is to really work on my recipes.
I renamed Seafood Gumbo, Stroud's Gumbo because my Dad loved to make Gumbo
and his was the best, complete with crab claws in it.  Soo good, such good memories too!

I have boys growing up and leaving the house.  
It is really nice that they can go to the blog and look up a family favorite to make. 

I love to prepare these foods and share them with 
all the people I love the most in this world.

It is most definitely my love language.  

Stroud's Gumbo:
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3 bunches celery, diced
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup flour
1 bay leaf
2 TBS Creole or Cajun Seasoning
1/2 tbs. Old Bay Seasoning
Kosher salt/pepper to taste
2 lbs shrimp - peeled, tails removed
1 lb scallops
any white fish - usually 3 lbs
if you can - large package lump crab meat
1 package chopped small smoked sausage
1 package frozen cut up okra
2 large cans crushed tomatoes (YES, I know this is breaking Gumbo rules)
parsley - use your discretion - I never measure
3 boxes chicken broth

In large stock pot, add vegetable/coconut oil and flour.  Whisk together until smooth, turn heat to medium/medium high.  You are going to constantly whisk this until the color becomes copper...just like copper penny.  This is your roux.
In a separate saute pan, melt butter and add onions, celery, and pepper.  Saute until tender.  Sprinkle in the Old Bay Seasoning to this and mix well.  Let sit until the Roux is ready.

To copper roux, add saute'd veggies, all the chicken broth and seasonings but bay leaf.  Let cook until bubbly and then add crushed tomatoes, bay leaf and the seafood, and sausage. Let simmer for several hours with lid off - this allows it to reduce and thicken.  Once the white fish (I add it whole) is cooked it will begin to flake apart in the Gumbo.  Sometimes I use the spoon to help it along when I check on the Gumbo during the simmer process and stir to let the flavors marry.

Serve over hot Basmati rice.  YUM!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Aunt Kathryn's Chicken Soup

I love to cook.  I am especially good at making soups and stews.  I love building them up and then watching everyone enjoy it.  

When I make my chicken soup, I always start with the same chicken stock and I ALWAYS add fresh ginger.  Ginger is the key to making this soup go from yum, to YUM!

Aunt Kathryn's Chicken Soup:

Start with chicken stock.  I usually have about  4 quarts of it ready to go.
To the chicken stock I add:
Option 1:  chopped up frozen veggies (2 bags worth)
Option 2:  2 cups peeled/chopped carrots
                  1 cup chopped celery
                  2 cups frozen corn
                  2 cups frozen green peas
I shred the chicken from when I made the stock, to add the chicken meat to the soup.
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. poultry seasoning
1/2 cup chives
1/8 cup diced fresh ginger
4 Tbs parsley
salt/pepper to taste
about 2 handfuls of thin spaghetti broken into 3rds
Sometimes I add a little paprika, or extra sage.
It can be what you want it to be regarding veggies or seasonings - the key is the ginger.  If the flavor is still to bland for you the punch it up by adding some chicken baste or bouillon.

Let simmer on low for several hours to bring out the ginger and then enjoy.  Be sure to make a double batch so that you can share with someone who may not be feeling well.  This is the soup I take to friends or family when they are sick.

Coming soon.....

Jonah came home for Christmas, so I made him one of his favorite breakfasts.  
Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

I get such a kick out of seeing how excited they get about a good breakfast.

and Seafood Gumbo.  I'm keeping my camera in the kitchen and trying to record what I do so that I can share the recipes.  
I hope you are all enjoying this last week of Advent and preparing for Thursday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Birthday Weekend

Our Linus was born on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Linus's birth story is pretty amazing, I shared a little bit here.  His Great Grandmother died the day he was born, minutes apart.  We had already decided on his name prior to his birth but our beautiful nurse, Agatha insisted we had to honor his Grandmother with his name (and if you could have heard her voice, Jamaican and deep - just lovely... you would not have argued).  So, we asked what Grandma's middle name was since we'd already used her last name as one of our middle names for a different child.  Pauline was the name and we had already named him Linus Paul after Pete's brother - so it was meant to be!

You can tell in the pictures but he is sick on his birthday.  It was his first fever free day but he was still not quite himself.  He wanted a cookie cake and since we'd been in and out of the Dr.'s office and had sick children still - I went the easy route and bought him one from Sams.  He didn't mind at all, thank goodness.

We got our traditional tamales from our favorite place, Lupe's but they hardly got touched due to everyone still feeling under the weather. They made for the very best breakfast the next morning though, served with scrambled eggs and salsa - yum!  

He actually went to bed shortly after this, just worn out from a big day + he was looking forward to spending the next day with his Grandparents and did NOT want to be sick and miss it.

He did fine on Saturday, except for a cough.  The cough grew worse on Sunday and we are now administering breathing treatments and steroids to hopefully keep pneumonia away.  He seems to have always been sensitive to catching respiratory illnesses after a bad case of RSV as an infant.
Despite the flu, he really did have a great birthday - got an art set and a new Mixel set.

~On Saturday~
We opened up one of the puzzles we got last year after seeing some fun puzzles
 over at Shower of Roses.

~On Sunday~
*I think this is hilarious*
*not sorry*

We love these cookies and I made some to enjoy while decorating the tree.  We usually decorate near Gaudate Sunday.

Samwise doesn't know what to make of the tree - 
he has been pretty good though and mostly ignored it.

Playing with settings on my camera - cutting off the top of the tree in the process.

The psychedelic picture I took and didn't realize it.  I love playing with my camera and seeing what comes of it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in every day life~
~Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

This past Saturday was our Run Run Rudolph event with our local Catholic School.
We brought Samwise because apparently it is VERY important to socialize German Shepherd puppies.   We took him and he did great, was overwhelmed but did really awesome.
 I think he would fall under the heading 'handsome' but Faith will keep it 'pretty'.

How could you not be happy seeing Santa in a sidecar motorcycle???

This is one of our favorite events, it is so much fun.
The happiness in the air is tangible, you really do get a vibe of utter joy!

Happy, Happy, Happy.

Funny story from Jonah.  He is out of the country right now and where he is there are lots of iguana's, or lizards of some kind.  The other day he got off duty and went to get himself a Tuna Sub Sandwich.  He was starving.  While eating his sandwich, out of nowhere a lizard charged him (he said it was about the size of his leg) and tried to take his sandwich.  I guess the lizard thought a sneak attack would help him win the sandwich.  Jonah said, not only am I a Marine, but I was raised with 7 brothers so I'm well trained in keeping my food, LOL!  The lizard did not win the sandwich.

Thinking about this a lot lately, and reading, reading, reading to my children.

For this week's P,H,F,R please visit LMLD.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This Years Catholic Christmas T's

Catholic to the Max Men's Get Holy or Die Tryin' XXL Black
(click the link to see the back of this one, it lists Martyrs)





*Amazon Affiliate Links*

I still need to get a few, so if anyone knows of other sources please share.  

Turtle Shell Mode

When my days start to feel more like this...

and I identify more and more with this...

It is time to re-evaluate because this is what I want....

but lately we've had lots and lots of this....

We need more and more of this....

and I crave scenes like this...

So, Pete and I are working through many tear (my tears) filled talks about what can we do, what can we change, what will help.  When I remove excess from my plate this time, it isn't because I want to step away from my commitments, it is because I have a larger one to my family.
A good friend recently shared that by saying 'no' to something, you are saying 'yes' to those moments you don't want to dismiss or overlook.  
We are going to put that into practice, but that is very hard for me because I can only imagine my letting others down.  
Slow down.

Recognizing limits, I think that will be the theme of 2015.

*Katie Daisy*

*Holly Hill Pond by Susan Wheeler are Bunny Photos*

Monday, December 8, 2014

Supper With Santa & Sherman Parade

My children look forward to this weekend all year.  It is a whirlwind of fun.  Last year we had icepocolypse on this same weekend, remember...
and everything got cancelled. 

This year we kicked the weekend off right by helping out
Supper with Santa!
We didn't do much, our youth director had it all ready to go but we enjoyed pitching in a little.
We sure made up for this year what we missed out on last year.  

There were chili dogs, and Frito Pie....

Cookie decorating and hot chocolate.

 Supper with Santa is always in conjunction with our downtown Christmas Parade

 We had the best time, and the parade was fantastic.
I wish I had taken more photos, but I was enjoying the event so much.

Once the crowds got there, Pete and I took turns helping Benjamin enjoy the event and check out when he needed to.  We made a great team, the difference was in accepting that this might be hard for Ben before we even got there.  Pete stayed at the back, I stayed at the front and we were surrounded by good friends.  Ben easily went back and forth between us, when it got loud he ventured to Pete and when he was ready he came back up to me.  I love how our friends helped us watch over him without our even asking them to.  When I say we are blessed, I cannot emphasize it enough.

Our little town of Sherman makes for the best, family fun entertainment.  
We love, love, love our community and all it offers!
Plus, it is tons of fun to see your friends and family IN the parade!  What a great night!

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