Tag Archives: in the kitchen

January favorites.

January Favorites

With the turning of the calendar page from January to February, it’s time to bundle together the best products, places, media and everything in between from the last month. Here are 9 things I found myself loving in January…

1. Punjammies

Pajamas ranked pretty high on my Christmas list this year because I take my comfies seriously. Lucky for me my mom delivered! She gifted me with a gorgeous pair of pajama pants from the company Sudara. I’ve mentioned Sudara’s punjammies in a blog post before but basically they’re pajamas created by women in India who wish to remain free from sex-slavery. The idea was sparked by International Princess Project as a way to offer an alternative occupation to the women physically, emotionally and economically enslaved in the brothels in India’s red light districts. They are exceptionally comfy and I would be happy to wear them 24-7.

2. Food processor

This one is another Christmas gift from my mom. While I still believe that with an immersion blender and a half gallon mason jar I’ll never need a blender, I was sick of passing up recipes which definitely called for a food processor. I find that a lot of really simple healthy recipes especially call for a few pulses in one of these kitchen gadgets. Since receiving my own I’ve made smoothie bowls, sauces, hummus, and soup. Best part? Chucking all the parts in the dishwasher for easy clean up. Oh, and the delicious food!

3. Herkimer diamond necklace

And keeping with the Christmas theme, my sister gave me this gorgeous herkimer diamond necklace. A friend of hers makes lovely and unique jewelry pieces and I’m so thrilled to give this particular piece a loving home. It’s a great every day necklace and looks cute with t-shirts and dresses alike.

4. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Sometimes I forget how much I love historical fiction but I love when I read something that makes me remember! This book is about a young Irish girl whose parents pass away on her journey across the Atlantic to America. A plantation owner takes her on as an indentured servant as payment for her crossing. Thus begins her life in the American South where she works side by side with the slaves who are also working in the “big home.” Set in the decades before the Civil War, the story tackles themes of class and race, but ultimately leaves you with a sense that feelings of family can transcend both. I would highly recommend this book.

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Leading up to seeing this film, Chet and I re-watched the original Star Wars movies so I was really looking forward to keeping the story going. While I wouldn’t say I’m a huge Star Wars fan, I really liked this movie. Rey and Finn were super likable, BB8 was adorable, and Kylo Ren was perfectly troubled and scary. Not to mention all those original cast-members! Overall, a super fun trip to the movie theater. I’m sure you’ve already seen it but just in case–go check it out while it’s still on the big screen.

6. Alba Botanica Hawaiian – Pineapple Enzyme Facial Scrub

Alba Botanica is one of my favorite brands of skincare. This scrub, which I use once a week, is a fantastic exfoliator. The gentle buffing granules leave my skin feeling smooth and glow-y. It is also free from parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. Always a good thing when slathering something onto your skin!

7. PicMonkey 

I’ve been having a blast playing around with this free photo editing website this past month. While they have a premium option, which costs $4.99/mo, there’s still tons of opportunity to create neat images totally for free! I had way too much fun creating (way too many) Save the Date options. (I think I’ll write a blog post later in February to show you how I did these, if you’d like.) Adobe can get pricey so it’s nice to find an affordable alternative.

8. 30 Day Yoga Camp

Hi, I’m a Yoga with Adriene fangirl, nice to meet ya! In all seriousness, this 30 day series of yoga videos is perfection. Each class is between 20-40 minutes. Not only do they provide a fantastic, sometimes butt-kicking flow but the focus on breath and mind was a refreshing change for an “exercise challenge.” The sessions centered around a daily mantra which I found really helpful to focus on, not just for the length of the practice, but throughout the rest of the day. I will definitely return to this yoga camp in the future! And I will carry the daily mantra practice with me through the rest of 2016.

9. Reading My Tea Leaves

Do you ever find a new-to-you blogger and then start binge reading all their backlog of posts? This was totally me this month with Erin Boyle’s blog, Reading My Tea Leaves. With a focus on simple, sustainable living, this blog is beautifully written and accompanied by pitch perfect photography. She recently published a book which, if it’s anything like the blog, I’d love to get my hands on soon.

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Recipe: Chicken and Sausage

Emotional ties to food have long been of interest to me. The way Chet talked about this dish; pining for it before he cooked it, savoring it while he gobbled it up, and re-hashing it’s glory long after the last drop was gone; I knew I wanted to share it with y’all. So that those who would like to can recreate it, yes, but also to share a small piece of what shaped him into the person he is. For him, the memories and comfort tied to this dish are just as important as ingredient ratios. This dinner may not be your jam but it’s creation is universal….a person, longing for a taste of home, steps into the kitchen…


 

Rice and gravy has been a staple of Cajuns since we started farming rice after arriving in Louisiana in the 1700s. It’s something I ate at least once a week growing up, and it’s a popular dish because of its simplicity and affordability. The method and cook time of the dish is good for turning otherwise tough or less desirable cuts of meat into an amazing meal that can feed a whole family This is a good Sunday meal because of the cook time involved, though the prep is simple.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large chicken thighs with bones and skin removed
  • 1 lb of smoked sausage
  • 1 Large onion, diced
  • 1 Large bell pepper
  • Cajun/Creole seasoning (Tony’s or any similar brand should work fine, but you can also make your own by combining salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper)
  • 2 TBSP Oil of your choice
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1 Cup of rice

Bring oil to medium high In a large pot (preferably cast iron). Add chicken and brown thoroughly. I usually do this for around a half hour. Keep moving the meat around and it won’t burn. If the meat is sticking to the pot too much, add a little water.

chicken and sausage 1

After the chicken is browned, remove it and add veggies. Let the veggies cook down for about another thirty minutes. If they start to stick, add a little more water. Around 15 minutes in, your kitchen should be smelling really, really good. You should also begin to notice a nice yellow broth forming in the pot. That’s your signal to add the sausage.

chicken and sausage 2

Keep cooking down the mixture and adding water as needed. Once your veggies are soft and you have a fair amount of that yellow juice, return your chicken to the pot, add enough water to cover the meat, and reduce heat to low (if you’re using a cast iron pot, you could even set your range to warm).

chicken and sausage 3

Let it cook on low for a good 5-6 hours, stirring one every half hour. It’s going to reduce quite a bit, and that’s fine. Just add water as needed and let the meat cook down. Season to taste about halfway through.

chicken and sausage 4

It will be significantly darker when it’s finished, and there should be some oil accumulating on top. Skim off what you can and then serve over rice.

chicken and sausage 5

This dish is traditionally served with corn, and most folks like to toss it right in with the gravy. Enjoy!

Nostalgia aside this dinner was DELICIOUS. While I consider this dish pretty quintessential Cajun, there are similar meals and methods in many cultures. Do you prepare something like this? What dishes call up memories of home for you? What meals will you continue to pass down and keep cooking for years to come? Share below!