No Regrets


Hey y’all.  I want to take a quick second to thank all of you for your heartfelt messages, emails and comments.  They mean so much to me.  I am overwhelmed by the number of adoptees who, because of my post, are reaching out to Search Angels.  I hope you find as much success, and comfort, as I have.  So, where did I leave off?  Oh yes. Last week, Daniel had begun unraveling my genealogy in hopes of finding my biological mother.  Well, are you ready?  He found her.  Truth be told, Daniel was pretty sure he had found her ten hours after he started my search.  TEN HOURS.  I mean, it’s unreal.  Answers to questions I had been mulling over for thirty seven years came to him in ten hours.  It’s still hard to believe.  Here are the specifics. Last week I received a text message from Daniel stating he was pretty sure he had found my biological mother but needed to do a little more research.  Thirty minutes later, he texted he was sure.  I was without words, and for those who know me, I am never without words.  My first question was, “Does she seem normal?” Daniel ( God love him, he already needs to pray for patience after dealing with me for ten hours) responded that she was alive and all signs pointed to stable. To tell you the truth, I was unbelievably calm.  I think it was just so surreal that I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around the whole thing.  Daniel asked if he could call me the following evening, so, for the next 20 hours, I was in a holding pattern.  I started to get extremely nervous about an hour before Daniel was set to call me.  Thank God my neighbors are my friends and allowed me to babble for 45 minutes straight.  I was about to receive information that would change my life, good or bad, forever.  My phone rang, and Daniel asked if I was ready.  First, he emailed me a copy of my grandfather’s obituary. Next, a picture of my biological mother’s engagement announcement.  When I opened the second email, I could not believe my eyes.  I felt as though I was looking at a picture of myself, minus the 80’s hair.  Words do not exist to describe such a moment. When you have spent your entire life wondering where your nose, eyes, chin, mouth – every single feature – comes from, and then, in one second, all of your questions are answered.  It’s earth-shattering.   From there, Daniel sent me my entire maternal family tree, dating back to 1742. He built my entire maternal family tree.  This stranger spent days searching for my relatives, just to give me something.  He has no idea what he has done, not just for me, but for my children and their children and their children’s children. There is so much more that transpired, but I know what you are waiting for.  Did I reach out and connect with her?  Well, yes and no.  I tried but no response thus far.  Everyone keeps telling me all of the rational things – she may not have received my messages or she may no longer have that address or she needs more time.  All of these are plausible and could certainly be true.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say some part of me believed as soon as I hit “send,” my phone would start ringing, and she would be on the other end of the line.  But, it didn’t, and that’s OK.  Just like with any other let down in life, I have to find the good in the situation.  And you know what, I don’t have to look far.  I am so blessed by all that Daniel has uncovered. I have names, pictures and stories.  Pieces of information I never thought I would have. But most importantly, I was given the opportunity to thank her.  To let her know she can be at peace knowing she made the right decision all of those years ago. So no, I don’t have any regrets about hitting “send” back in October.  It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but worth every single moment.  Adoption is the most incredible gift a human can give, in my humble opinion.  It is not something that happened to me, but something that happened for me.  I am the luckiest woman in the entire world, and I am more empowered than ever to try and not waste a single second of this unbelievable life an unbelievably strong woman gifted to me thirty seven years ago.  If anything changes, I will certainly let y’all know. Now, to the yummy stuff!

Meal Plan for the Week of 1/27/19

Photo Cred ~ Blue Apron

Sunday, January 27th – Spiced Shrimp and Pearl Cousous – I adore pearl couscous. It’s one of my favorite foods. Not quite sure why, but I just really love it. I will not have verjus rouge but no doubt will have some kind of red wine on hand to sub instead!!!

Monday, January 28th – Sriracha Tuna Salad Wrap – If I survive this week I will be pleasantly surprised. The girls have a performance this evening so I will have zero minutes to cook. My plan is to throw this super easy tuna salad recipe together Sunday so all I have to do is throw it in a wrap, or on top of lettuce, when we get home. Feel free to double if more than two are eating:

1 can of tuna, 2 tablespoons greek yogurt or mayo, 1 tsp of soy, 2 tsp sriracha (or more depending on your heat meter). Mix it all together and that’s all she wrote. I will top mine with avocado because everything is better with avo.

Tuesday, January 29th – Lemon & Dill Baked Cod – I have a HUGE work event on Saturday so I need really easy recipes. This one is just that and obviously healthy to boot. Feel free to sub any white, flaky, fish!

Wednesday, January 30th – One Pan Sausage, Potato & Asparagus Bake – Super straight forward, family friendly option y’all. You can use green beans if you don’t like asparagus – honestly, you can do you in this dish. I love the idea of sausage, potatoes and asparagus so I’ll keep mine as is.

Thursday, January 31st – Roast Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans – This is a spice rubbed tenderloin, which can be hit or miss, but I really enjoy the flavors in this one. Even better that you don’t have to marinate the thing. I always forget to marinate.

Friday, February 1st – Super Easy Stir-Fry – I will sub chicken for the turkey breast peeps. I have my Costco chicken in my freezer so no sense buying something I don’t need. Love a good stir-fry!! Is it seriously February?

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.


Search Angel

Hi everyone. SO, when I sat down to write this week’s post, a few days ago, it was going to be all about my frustration with the summer camp process. Well, summer in general. But then something really unbelievable happened and I can’t imagine not sharing it. It’s a bit personal but what the hell. It’s just me and my computer screen, right? For those of you who are not my lifelong besties, you would have no reason to know I’m adopted. Yep, I’m adopted. I was adopted when I was something like a day old so basically from birth. Mine is a really interesting story, involving a huge LSU football fan, but it’s a little long. Another story for another time. Any who, so I’m adopted and have always been so incredibly grateful to the stranger who decided to give me a chance. Seems so insignificant, saying it that way, when in actuality it’s the most precious gift. Life. Can’t imagine anything topping that one. I have only ever felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to this selfless human being who made the ultimate sacrifice to give me a shot. How powerful is that? Gets me every time.
So, rewind to October. My hair dresser was talking to me about how she helped a friend find her biological family and referenced this group, Search Angels. What is “Search Angels” you ask? Well they are a non-profit organization that helps you unravel your DNA testing results if you’ve done an Ancestry or a 23 and me. Side note – if you are looking for your biological family, this is the best place to start. Only, it’s not as simple as sending in your spit. I did the Ancestry test two years ago, learned a lot about my ancestors place of origin and had a cousin contact me, but that was as far as I got. BUT, that was then. Wait, let me back up just a wee bit. SO, hairdresser tells me about Search Angels and I think, why not? It’s free. So, I sat down and filled out the form. But then I started to second guess this whole thing. If I send in this email I am opening Pandora’s Box, plain and simple. I am putting myself out there to accept all the things, good and bad, that could come with finding out the answers. I’ve always struggled with this. Do I really want to know? Will it change me? What if they are horrible people? What if they say “no” and on and on and on. But, I had a pep talk, with myself, singing my favorite song lyrics ever, “I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be. This is me.” I can do this. I’m strong enough to survive whatever answers, or lack there of, come my way. I am not only me because of my DNA. I am me because of my parents, my aunts, uncles, cousins and Lord knows, my friends. Nothing can change who I am. So, I hit send. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. Honest to God. Until my search angel was assigned to me two days ago. Then things got real, crazy fast. Y’all, in less than three hours he had already uncovered great grandparents, and great great grandparents. Information just started flowing. There are no words to describe the power of a name. Just one family name. It literally took me down. I ugly cried in my car for what felt like an hour. And this wasn’t even necessarily the name, name, but it was the name of a person who shares my blood. There I go again. Waterworks. Daniel, my incredible Search Angel is on to something. He and Ancestry are building out my family tree and I know in my gut he’s going to find even more. I think next week is going to be huge. The only thing Daniel, my for real angel, asked of me was to pay it forward. Part of me feels like by sharing my story, I am honoring his request. If one person finds comfort or encouragement from this post then I’ve done my job. Being adopted is the greatest gift but it can be a lonely one at times. I hope putting this out into the blogosphere helps at least one person. Feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you!

P.S. My childhood best friends have been on this journey with me since I can remember. I want to thank them, here, for loving me so deeply and truly. They are ready to jump on the next plan, to God knows where, just to be present if/when there is ever a meeting. If I had one wish in life it would be for every single person to have this same family of friends. They are unstoppable. Thank you Boones Farm.

It’s hard to go from adoption to food but I know it’s what you are really here for!! So, meal plan for the week of 1/20!

Sunday, January 20th – ONE POT Italian Chicken and Orzo – ONE POT. ORZO. PESTO. CHEESE. Do I need to say anything else? Oh, yes. Purchase a good loaf of bread. That is all.

Monday, January 21st – Veggie Packed Hamburger Soup – It’s supposed to be bananas cold here on Monday. Like in the 30’s which is ridiculous for Charleston. I’m making this delicious Whole 30 soup and I’m going to park my tush in front of the fire.

Tuesday, January 22nd – Sizzlin Spicy Szechaun Stir-Fry – I have three flank steaks in my freezer from Costco that I totally forgot about so I’m putting those babies to use. This a gussied up stir fry but loaded with yummy flavors. You can purchase the szechaun sauce, or make it from the recipe!

Wednesday, January 23rd – Classic Egg Salad – I’ve shared a number of egg salad recipes and this is a favorite of mine. This Skinnytaste dish calls for mayo and not greek yogurt but feel free to sub if you prefer greek yogurt. I may do a slice of sourdough with mine, depending on what else I’ve inhaled this day!!

Thursday, January 24th – Taco Salad – This is similar to some others but it’s hard to pass these up. Flavorful, healthy, filling and low calorie. Checks all of the boxes. And it’s family friendly!

Friday, January 25th – Greek Chicken Bake – A one pan’er here y’all. I love a sheet dinner. And this one is full of veggies and goodness. Except I will not eat the olives. I do not do olives. Feel free to add artichokes if you are feeling silly!!

Happy Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly


Hello Newbies!

It’s Thursday, y’all. One more day.  One. I believe I can make it but I’m not 100% certain. I’m exhausted. I must have some kind of deficiency because I sleep for eight + hours a night.  Eight.  Some nights more.  It is not rare for me to be in bed by 8:45 and asleep by 9 but when my alarm goes off, 8.5 hours later, I can barely get out of bed.  Well, Sunday – Friday that is.  Come Saturday morning my lids pop open like champagne corks and then my eyes start darting around like laser beams.  And then my brain takes off:

“Laundry? Activities today? Groceries? I’m hungry. What should I eat? Have the girls eaten? Coffee. Dog needs to go out.  What should I cook for dinner? Exercise? Is it cold? Sunny? Do I have food for lunch? What day is it?”

Its bananas.  I try my hardest to shut it down but it’s no use.  If only my brain would function this way during the week. Can you imagine what I would accomplish? Eyelids open, brain moving at the speed of sound, jumping out of bed to do all of the things and crushing it. But alas, not my life. Not sure when my brain got the signals mixed up but if one of you has a solution, hit me up.  The funny thing is, my husband doesn’t seem to share my week/weekend sleep issues.  Don’t get me wrong, he struggles to get out of bed, during the week, just as much as I do but come the weekend his brain doesn’t switch from comatose to firecracker.  Nope.  He just sleeps, and sleeps and sleeps. At 11 AM last weekend I was literally vacuuming in the same room he was sleeping in and he never woke up.  Didn’t even roll over.  I had to put my hand on his chest to see if he was breathing.  He was.  No words.  If one of my girls sneezes, in the middle of the night, I sit straight up as if a UFO has just crash landed into my living room. Patrick, out like a light. Mars and Venus I tell ya.  And it’s not just the sleep thing.  Have you ever noticed how your husband/significant other, if he/she is a sports fan, can recall the first and last name of every single player that has ever played the sport going back to the inception of said sport? My husband knows the full name, height, weight, eye color and hobbies of every single person who has ever played Clemson football.  Ever.  He can sit there and rattle off useless information for hours on end.  BUT, when I ask him to grab milk and bread from the grocery store he tells me he needs to make a list?  What is that? Sports information goes into his brain, gets processed and filed neatly away.  Things to be done as told from his wife don’t make it down the ear canal. Sigh.  It’s a good thing he’s cute.

I’d like to say a quick “welcome” to all the new DwtD followers. There are so many of you since the 1st of the year. Thank you for following along. I have made a few adjustments, to the site, that I hope will help everyone. The weekly meal plan will be posted, same as always, under “blog” but I’ve organized past recipes by main ingredient. I hope this will make it easier to go back and find one of your favorites. It’s not perfect, or pretty, and I hope to add pics and make it even more flawless at some point. When Dinner with the Duffys really takes off, and I’m solely focused on this endeavor, I will create a much prettier site but until then, I think this will suffice.  Keep sharing and our dreams will come true y’all!! P.S – To those of you are new, go back and read my first post. So much of my meal planning success has to do with Harris Teeter Home Shop.

Meal Plan for the Week of 1/13/19

Sunday, January 13th – Baked Chicken Quesadillas – You all know I have a love affair with @themodernproper so it’s no surprise I use their recipes whenever I can. This is the perfect cheat Sunday meal because it’s really adaptable and super easy to whip together. I plan on being super lazy this Sunday so this dish will fit right in. Plus, Ava LOVES guac, as do I, so any excuse to make the fresh stuff is good with me. Love this Guacamole recipe.

Monday, January 14th Cauliflower Rice Chicken Biryani – Apologies if you are screaming “enough with the cauli rice already” but I’m kind of addicted at the moment. I have been noticing more of a cauli taste recently but I keep eating it. The key is to make sure you really incorporate the flavors, of whatever you are cooking, into the “rice.” If you are way over it, just sub your fav. It’s been a while since I’ve made an Indian dish so I’m craving the flavors!!

Tuesday, January 15thBaked Beef and Cheese Manicotti (Cannelloni) – OK, this will be an experience for all of us. Super easy ingredient list here and it’s pasta for under 450 calories a serving. But, we are going to have to pipe the ricotta into the shells. We can do this and it will not take long. After we’ve completed this task we can all switch out our middle names out to “Martha.”

Wednesday – January 16th – Turkey Burgers with a simple Arugula Salad – I’m going back to basics. Frozen basics that is. I have gotten away from my “easy peasy hump days” so I’m bringing them back . I use Bubba Burger frozen turkey burgers and they are perfect. Incorporating a “down day” makes the week that much easier to survive.

Thursday, January 17th Italian Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms – I love all the things this dish is made of. Tomatoes, chicken and wine. It doesn’t get any better. Oh wait, it does because it’s only 218 calories a serving. Silly me. You can serve this over cauli rice, orzo…whatever floats your boat!

Friday, January 18th – Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup This may not be everyone’s fav – no hurt feelings if you bypass this guy. I on the other hand get giddy about tomato soup – especially when you serve it with orzo. Low calorie & comforting seems like the perfect combo for a chilly Friday night in!

There you have it. Meal plan for the week of 1/13. Bananas how time flies. PLEASE follow my crazy on Instagram – @dinnerwiththeduffys – for pics and more tips as I cook along with you!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.

XO ~ Kelly D


Coming in Hot





As promised, my dinner meal plan for the week of 1/6. I will keep from blabbing since I did that, like three days ago. I’ll save up for Thursday! Trying to stay lean on both fronts this week – financially and calorically. Gotta get back on track. I made a huge Costco run so I’m stocked with all things chicken, pork, steak, & shakes.

Sunday, January 6th – Oven Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes – Go big or go home people. It’s Sunday and we are gearing up for the first full week back, in almost three weeks, so we need something warm and filling in our bellies. This recipe is everything my family needs to go to bed early and sleep soundly. Plus, Sundays are cheat days.

Monday, January 7th – Taco Chicken Salad – Oh Lord in heaven. Today is the first day back for my kiddos. It’s going to be rough. I will probably cook them something super quick and put them to bed as early as they will allow – 6:30 too early? For the grown-ups, I’m going to make this super simple, low fat, salad. P.S. – GO TIGERS. BEAT BAMA!!!!

  • 2 1/2 cups of chicken – I will use a rotisserie
  • 1 1/2 cups non fat greek yogurt
  • Package of taco seasoning
  • Lettuce – any will do
  • 1/2 cup of red onion, red tomato, red bell pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Cilantro & Green Onion for garnish

Combine greek yogurt with package of taco seasoning. Mix in the chicken and veggies. Squeeze lime, top with cilantro and green onion and you are finished people. I will put mine over lettuce but you do what you do!

Tuesday, January 8th – Sweet Chili Coconut Lime Chicken w/Cauli Rice – I told y’all I liked cauli rice. Big Fan. HUGE. I can not get over how much it does not taste like cauliflower. Best starch substitute I have ever come across. Again, I will buy the frozen, pre-shredded, cauli and let it thaw or nuke it for a bit. Then proceed with instructions.

Wednesday, January 9th – Brown Sugar Spiced Tenderloin with Chimichurri – Yes, this does call for you to put a few ingredients into a blender or food processor but you can do this ahead of time. I will probably pulse mine together, the night of, while the tenderloin is cooking. And, I will sear mine and then bake. I don’t really grill, y’all. Serve this with some asparagus.

Thursday, January 10th – Easy, Grilled Mahi with Avocado and Corn Salsa – Avocado may just be one of my favorite foods but the hubs can’t stand it. Sigh. I will omit the avocado, while mixing together the other ingredients, and add the avocado to my dish before serving. I will also make this in the pan – just cook mahi about three minutes, per side, over medium to high heat! Last thing – I will not be shucking corn, y’all. It’s January. I will use frozen corn and just let it come to room temp or, nuke it! PS – mahi is on sale at the Teeter this week!

Friday, January 11th – Slow Cooker Sausage, Spinach and White Bean Soup – We have an oyster roast to attend this evening so I won’t be cooking. I will make this on Saturday for lunch/dinner. If I was making it, during the week, I would chop everything ahead of time to dump and go Friday AM. Perfect to come home to after the longest week ever!

I promised I would share my Ceasar Salad Fillo Cup Recipe so here goes:

  • 2 boxes of frozen fillo cups
  • 7 oz Romaine lettuce, chopped ( I didn’t use it all but that’s how the kind I like is packaged)
  • 1.5 cups rotisserie chicken finely chopped
  • 8 pieces of bacon chopped
  • 3 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese


Dressing

  • Garlic clove
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 2 tbsp Whole Milk to drizzle
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black pepper

Bake Fillo cups as directed. Let cool. Cook bacon. I like to bake my bacon in the oven at 375 for around 15 – 18 minutes. Flip halfway. Place all dressing ingredients, minus the milk, into a blender of food processor and pulse until smooth. IF the dressing is too think, splash in a tablespoon or two of milk. Place chicken, bacon and lettuce in a bowl and mix with 8 tablespoons ( or more if you’d like) of dressing. ( Lucky for you, there will be plenty of dressing leftover) Divide the salad, among the fillo cups, sprinkle with fresh parm and serve!

I hope everyone has a fabulous first week back. What am I saying? Just survive people. We can do this.
XO ~ Kelly D.


Lifestyle vs Diethood





Happy New Year, Y’all! I can’t believe the holidays are officially behind us. Lord it goes by fast. This year was especially daunting for my family of four. We had something every single night. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. I’m exhausted. It was fun, no doubt, but I’m ready to trade in the social for some peace and quiet at home. My apologies for not meal planning over the past week and a half but really, what’s the point? I can’t tell you the last time I cooked a meal. I’ve made many an appetizer ( my chicken Caesar salad cups are the bomb.com) and plenty of side dishes but when it comes to an actual meal I’m 0 for who knows how many. And that’s A OK – it was fun while it lasted. But y’all, I’m ready for a change. Bring on the meal planning/sharing. It’s time. I know many of you have already started a New Years cleanse, no carb, no dairy, no meat, no food diet and I feel you. Lord knows “my back is aching, my belts too tight and my hips are shaking from left to right” but you won’t find me cutting out anything except alcohol during the dreaded “J” month. I’ve done that before and it never pans out. What does seem to be more sustainable, from my experience, is a calorie awareness and portion control plan. I love food – ALL food – but I’ve learned to eat smarter so I can indulge in all the deliciousness. Being calorie conscientious has made keeping my weight in check that much easier and it’s something I can do forever. I choose a lifestyle over a diet every single time. It’s the whole idea behind Dinner with the Duffys. Cook delicious, yet healthy, family friendly food for a healthier, happier you. Now, I will confess I have not been so great about my portions lately. It’s amazing how quickly the calories can add up, even when you are eating something super healthy. So be aware. I use the My Fitness Pal app ( FREE) and will stick to a certain caloric intake daily in order to get back on track. This effort, in conjunction with exercise, will make a HUGE difference. Exercise…..the dreaded word. I hesitate to bring up exercise as it seems like everyone on the planet has an opinion on what we should be doing. I board the “to each his own” train but I do strongly encourage everyone of you to MOVE daily. I don’t care if you run, walk, bike or hike – just MOVE. Me, I am a Tracy Anderson for lifer – TAM is my JAM – but you do you. Last PSA for the week – if you are a female pick up those weights. Strength Training is something women absolutely need to be doing weekly. Why? A number of reasons but here are the top three:

  1. Preserves Muscle Mass – Muscle mass diminishes with age. If you don’t strength train then the loss of muscle mass gets replaced with fat. Yep, fat. Listening now??
  2. Osteoporosis – Adding weight training (just light weights) can slow bone deterioration and actually help strengthen your bones. Stronger bones = delayed or NO osteoporosis.
  3. Controls Weight – Yep, picking up as little as three pounds helps burn more calories. So grab light hand weights before you walk around your hood. Or, do like my gal pal and strap those ankle weights on to run your errands!

Because of the holidays, I’m all out of whack when it comes to my meal plan. This is what I’m thinking. I will share three recipes for this week and then on Saturday/Sunday I will send out a full meal plan for next week. Not sure I can go out ten days. Maybe by then I will have a New Year’s Resolution. So many to choose from……



Wednesday, January 2nd – Weeknight Healthy Turkey Bolognese – This is kind of like my Sunday y’all. I start back work tomorrow so I need to treat tonight’s dinner like Sunday Supper. I’m a little depressed if I’m being honest. I will be OK once I get thru tomorrow but I’m definitely doom and gloom today. Nothing a good Bolognese won’t fix!!

Thursday, January 3rd Sweet Paprika Chicken and Cauli Bowl – I know, I totally made fun of the cauliflower rice substitute but once I found it in the freezer section, pre-shredded, I became a fan. It’s pretty tasty and so easy to prepare. Definitely buy it frozen. Try it!!

Friday, January 4th – Mediterranean White Chicken Enchiladas – A healthy enchilada dish under 400 calories a serving? Yes please. I will so need this dish come Friday. Everything about this dish screams comfort. I can’t wait.

Short week, I know. I promise to get you a full meal plan for next week before Monday! Oh, and I will share my Caesar app cups too. We can do this people. Just a few more days until the weekend. Let’s rock it!

XO ~ Kelly D.