Easy Southern Gumbo

Submitted by Christi

One week to Mardi Gras! Can’t wait. We love gumbo around here, however on a weeknight, it is a bit much to get it all together. So, we take a shortcut!

Luzianne GumboWith a little help this gumbo in a box from Luzianne this can be a really tasty dinner! We start with some andouille sausage then follow the directions from there with a few minor changes.

When adding the mix, we omit the cayenne but add additional garlic powder, some Cajun seasoning (like Emeril’s Essense or Slap Yo Mama), and some hot sauce (I add Chrystals and then my husband adds additional Tabasco when just before he eats). We also cook it longer than it calls for by about 10 minutes so it gets a little thicker. About 5 minutes until it is done, we add Gulf Shrimp.

You can add other seafood like crab meat and crawfish at this point. Up here in our neck or the woods it is hard to find these kinds of products that are not from Asia. We occasionally special order these products but remember, don’t be bamboozled!

Anyway, we have tried different mixes and this tastes the closest to the way I make it homemade and it is quick and easy. Gotta love that!

Did you know that Luzianne also makes Blue Plate Mayonnaise?

blue plate mayonnaise

My friend Christy Keirn over at Miles to Go is from Mississippi and she swears Blue Plate Mayonnaise is her secret to making the best pimiento cheese. Check out her blog for her recipe.

Get in the Mardi Gras mood and make some of gumbo this week. With this easy shortcut, there is no excuse not to 😉

Laissez les bon temps rouler

Today’s Lagniappe:  Salade De Tomatoes Avec Sauce Re
If you’re going to get some Blue Plate mayonnaise, you may as well have another recipe to use it in. This is from the Luzianne website.

Makes approximately 1 ¼ cups

1 cup Blue Plate Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons minced scallions
½ tablespoon dried tarragon leaves

In a small bowl stir all ingredients until smooth. Keep refrigerated. Serve over sliced tomato arranged on a bed of lettuce leaves.


Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Surviving the Winter!

Submitted by Christi

If you have been around here awhile you may remember my past attempts at trying to keep my beautiful summer ferns alive inside through the winter.

Dead Ferns

NOT a pretty site! Well, I have tried it again this year and, guess what? So far, I’m successful!

Living Ferns

If you are really successful keeping ferns through the winter, you may wonder what the big deal is, but this is really big for me. I have tried for years and ALWAYS end up with dead ferns. I am pretty good with house plants and have many that have been around for years. And, I am usually successful and keeping other plants inside for the winter, but never the ferns.

As you can see from the picture above, they are outside today. That is because it is 70 degrees and humid and we are supposed to have storms later. This has been my trick. Even though it gets cold here and we have had a few snowfalls, we also have some mild days. When we have the mild days, I take the ferns outside and water them really well and let them enjoy being outdoors.

When they are inside, I have a spray bottle of water that I mist them with every few days. Woo Hoo!

Here is my lemon tree that has done beautifully inside for many years. Hasn’t given me one lemon yet, but it has pretty citrusy smelling leaves.

Lemon Tree

I guess that is my next plant challenge – getting that lemon tree to give me some lemons! Considering the price of lemons these days that would be another big woo hoo moment.

Hope your before and afters make you feel as great as this one did me!

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe: Shrimp Boil
It’s almost time for Mardi Gras! This is a great dish to enjoy during Carnival season.

1 gallon water
1 package of Zatarain’s crab and shrimp boil
2 lemons, quartered
5 tablespoons sea salt
1 small onion cut in large pieces
1 celery stalks cut in large pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce such as Tabasco or Chrystal
1/2 lb. andouille sausage cut in bite size pieces
2 ears of corn, cut in half
3/4 to 1 lb. small red potatoes

Put water, crab boil, lemons & salt in a very large pot and bring to a boil. (Note: you may want to turn on your vent fan – that crab boil is strong stuff! Also, if you have a large basket that will fit in the pot that is helpful as well). Add onions, celery and red potatoes. Bring back to a boil and then cover and lower the heat. Simmer for around 15 minutes or until the potatoes start to get tender. Add the andouille sausage and the corn and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes more or until the corn starts to get tender. Add the shrimp and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until they turn pink and are done.

Carefully drain into a colander or remove the wire basket from the water. Place everything on a large platter. Serve with cocktail sauce, remaulade sauce, and hot French bread.

Makes 4 servings.


Southern Valentine’s Dinner

Submitted by Christi

So, Valentine’s Day is upon us. I’m thinking this would be the weekend to celebrate.

Are you planning something special? Shrimp, lobster, steak? I’m thinking the best plans would be reservations! Let someone else do the cooking!

Maybe a steak.

Filet of BeeOr maybe lobster.

lobster-tailAnd, of course, you must have dessert!

 Chocolate Mousse

Sounds delicious! Of course, you could go out and then come back home for dessert!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Chocolate Mousse
From Kraft – use sugar free if you want to make up for some of the dinner calories! If you want to leave out the Irish Liqueur, you can save even more calories. However, it is once a year so, go ahead!

1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1-1/4 cups  cold milk
1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur
2 cups  thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

BEAT pudding mix, milk and liqueur in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP.

SPOON into dessert dishes. Refrigerate 20 min.

TOP with remaining COOL WHIP and berries.

Foodie Friday

With Designs by Gollum

Southern Valentine’s Day

Submitted by Christi

I’m back! Have missed everyone soooo much. Been busy then sick then busy again. Busy is very good – except when it means I neglect all my wonderful blog friends.

Next Monday is the sweetheart day of Valentine’s. Mr. Southern Gentleman and I will be celebrating this weekend. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate – a ton of snow in Arkansas today. It was pretty but I’m just not really  cut out for dealing with all this snow!

Anyway, here is a Valentine Tablescape for you for Tablescape Thursday. Follow the link at the end of the post and see all the wonderful tables with Susan and friends.

Valentine Key

Valentine Key

A cozy table in front of the fireplace.

A cozy table in front of the fireplace.

A little candlelight.

A little candlelight.

Our wedding china with cut out hearts.

Our wedding china with cut out hearts.

Romantic layers.

Romantic layers.

Ready to dine with the love of my heart!

Ready to dine with the love of my heart!

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! Check out all the fabulous tablescapes today at

with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe: Savory Coeur a la Creme
A fabulous recipe by Ina Garten that is perfect for Valentine’s Day!

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle chutney (recommended: Cross and Blackwell Major Grey’s)
  • Crackers, for serving

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip until it is firm like whipped cream. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick.

Line a 6-inch coeur a la creme mold or 6-inch sieve with a few layers of cheesecloth, allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Fold the excess cheesecloth over the top of the cream. Place the mold on a plate or suspend the sieve over a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, unmold the creme upside down onto a plate and pour the chutney over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. Serve chilled with crackers.