Year in Review

The next time you read one of my blog posts I will be one year older. Yep, my “day of me” is 4/18 and I will be thirty eight years young. Hard to believe, honestly. As of now, numbers don’t bother me so much. As long as I’m alive and kicking I’ll take it. I’m trying to think back to this time last year and to tell you the truth, I can’t really remember much up until I started the blog. Not sure what that says about my 37th year from April – August but oh well. Now from August to current, that I remember. I was gifted two huge surprises during my 37th year – my blog and my family. Let’s start with the blog. I can not put into words, although I will certainly try, how exhilarating, terrifying, frustrating, time-consuming, rewarding and powerful Dinner with the Duffys has been for me. I never in a million years would have imagined I would have the courage to put my thoughts on paper for all of you to read. A gift I hadn’t realized I so badly needed. Something just for me. Something that was only mine. And not a new dress or a piece of jewelry, no. Something to help me grow from the inside out. Blogging has been such an adventure and it will most definitely go down as my number two all time from my 37th year. On to number one – family. My family grew quite a bit during my 37th year. As most of you know, I located and connected with my biological family a few months back. Hands down the best thing that happened to me this year. I started my 37th as an only child, not knowing a thing about myself, biologically, but will close with three half siblings, more familial knowledge than I could have dreamed of and a family that has welcomed me with open arms. What a gift. Love. I was gifted additional love this year, y’all. For those dying to know, I have made a real connection with my maternal fam and we are all meeting up this summer. Wild, right? You just never know. #1 thing I learned in my 37th year – you have to learn to leap if you really want to live. I’m so damn glad I leaped.

365 days y’all. Each year we are gifted 365 days of wonder. How spectacular. What will you do with yours? I plan to challenge myself a bit in my 38th year. I want to be bolder, stronger, less concerned with what people think – hell, not concerned at ALL about what people think. I want to take more risks. Live in the moment. Dance in the rain…all of that stuff. My birthday wishes for myself. Let’s just hope I can blow out all of the candles!

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 4/14

Sunday, April 14th – Mediterranean Tuna Salad – My mom broker her back last week – she’s OK now, thank God, but I need to make her something that will travel well and please a crowd. Enter this recipe! I have been waiting for a good reason to make this – awesome twist on your typical tuna noodle cass.

Monday, April 15th – Pepper Steak Stir-Fry – Perfect Monday meal. Crazy easy to throw together and NO marinating necessary. My favorite kind of meat dish. Serve with brown rice!

Tuesday, April 16th – Mediterranean Grilled Chicken + Dill Greek Yogurt Sauce – I love dill. Weird because I don’t love pickles. Go figure. This recipe does require you to marinate – sorry. Try to do it the night before and make the sauce too. I’ll serve ours over lettuce!

Wednesday, April 17th – Skinnytaste Turkey Meatloaf – Skinnytaste does everything delicious. Honestly. Gina Homolka is a genius. Great family friendly option here. Serve with a veg and call it a day.

Thursday, APRIL 18TH – (AKA -BEST DAY OF THE YEAR) – Cajun Asparagus and Sausage Skillet – No, I’m not cooking tonight. My friends are taking me out for a night on the town. P will be home cooking and enjoying this healthy and hearty dish!

Friday, April 19th – Chopped Turkey Burger with Thousand Island Dressing – I can’t get that light Caesar, from last week, off of the brain, y’all. It was bananas good. I’m giving this burger salad a try – will sub greek yogurt for mayo.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends. Cheers to you!

XO ~ Kelly D.

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Mandatory Appraisals?

This was a busy week, y’all. I know, every week is a busy week but this one was particularly busy for me. It was supposed to be a short week, as my office was closed on Monday, but Regs had a field trip so instead of sleeping in until 8, I was walking the streets of downtown Charleston with twenty-five 4th graders. Am I coming across as bitter? Apologies. Truth is it was a fantastic field trip and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my oldest but a “me” day would have been equally as nice. Probably a wee bit better if I’m being honest. Any who, field trip on Monday, two work events and our appraisal this week sent me into a tizzy. Really, it was the appraisal. I’ve had my entire family on clean lockdown for a week or so. I know appraisals have nothing to do with how clean ones house is but I wasn’t taking any chances. I realized I went way overboard when Regan and Ava purposefully woke at 5:15, the morning of the appraisal, to do last minute cleaning. I kid you not. I felt awful until I saw they had cleaned off their dressers, which I’ve been asking them to do for years. Ava asked if this “appraiser dude” was going to search her drawers and if she needed to clean those out too? I’m kind of wishing I had said yes. Maybe I’m really onto something here. I mean, even Patrick bought in. He planted plants, put out pine straw, had the house power washed AND cleaned his bed side table area which always looks like an explosion of shoes and I’m not quite sure what else. I even ventured into the playroom to clean well enough to dust. DUST. Not sure that room has been dusted….ever. Hopefully the cleaning worked and this dream kitchen of mine can become a reality in the next eight to twelve weeks. In the meantime, I’m starting to think bi-annual appraisals aren’t a bad idea. I could get used to checking off some of my honey-do’s…..

Photo Cred ~ EatWell101

Meal Plan For The Week of 4/7

Sunday, April 7th – Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas – My best friends little girl is being baptized this morning so we are heading to brunch with them and then to dinner to celebrate my cousins 37th bday. My point – no cooking for Kelly today. BUT, if I was, I would be making these quesadillas. Not exactly “cheaty” but they take a little longer to prep so it’s a perfect Sunday meal. This is one of my very favorite recipes because it’s extremely unassuming but overwhelmingly delicious!

Monday, April 8th – Cajun Baked Salmon – I have been craving salmon ever since I snuck a piece of my neighbor, Randy’s, perfectly cooked dinner the other night. He has yet to send me his recipe but this Cajun spiced option looks pretty yummy! We will serve ours with quinoa or whatever else I have in the house.

Tuesday, April 9th – Chicken Casserole with Pickled Chili, Mozzarella and Pepper Jack – Stay with me. This is the dish pictured above. Don’t freak because of the pickled chili piece. You use banana peppers, not spicy peppers. You can certainly sub for spicy peppers but the bananas offer the perfect tang! I’ll serve over cauli rice.

Wednesday, April 10th – One Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies – This is a good re-set meal for mid week. Crazy easy and healthy. If you find you need more bulk, add some potatoes. You can’t mess this one up.

Thursday, April 11th – Kale Caesar Salad – Don’t get angry. I promise this is delicious. And so much healthier than your typical caesar because the dressing isn’t mayo based – but still crazy yummy. I’ll add chicken to ours and loose the croutons!!

Friday, April 12th – Sirloin Skillet with Vegetables – Just meat and veggies, y’all. This site gives a great explanation on how to “shave” your sirloin but it requires extra steps. I’m just slicing and cooking.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!!

XO ~ Kelly D.


One Fish, Toadfish

I’m super stoked to be teaming up with my current company obsession Toadfish Outfitters, for this post and a sweet Instagram giveaway starting next week. (Be sure to follow me on Instagram for details ~ @dinnerwiththeduffys) So you know, I have the kind of personality that when I find a new product that works (facial, kitchen, home, whatever), I become immediately obsessed. It’s all I can think, talk and write about. Enter Toadfish and their amazing products. I first noticed their gear online and was immediately sucked in to their products, their story, and their passion.  The Toadfish Frogmore Shrimp Cleaner, Put ‘Em Back Oyster Knife and Crab Claw Cutter are just three of their best selling products.  They all look great and perform even better.  As you know, here at Dinner with the Duffys, we are all about eating and cooking healthy, family friendly, foods that do not require a whole lot of time and focus in the kitchen.  Seafood tends to be one of my go-to’s because it’s healthy, adaptable and quick to cook. But, the prep can be a pain – like peeling and deveining a pound of shrimp.  This is why I LOVE the Toadfish guys. Their products make cooking and eating seafood that much easier.  Peeling and deveining shrimp is no longer a tedious task.  It took me no time to peel AND DEVEIN a pound of shrimp.  Let’s be honest – we all know we should devein the shrimp but when it comes down to it, most of us don’t because it takes so much effort – we just eat the poop and tell ourselves it’s nutritious.  But is it?  Really?  Probably not. 

My next favorite tool is the Crab Claw Cutter. Growing up in the Lowcountry, some of my favorite memories are of sitting at a news papered table, covered in steaming blue crabs .  Back then we used the backs of butter knives to crack those suckers.  We would spend hours picking through the whacked shells to get what little meat would could get.  My girls won’t have that same problem.  The Toadfish Cutter “was designed to cut evenly around crab claws in one step, keeping meat intact and shell fragments out. It allows you to create stunning presentations with lobster, blue, king, and dungeness crab claws.”

Beyond creating tools that will save you beau cops of time, these products actually do a hell of a lot of good.  I recently interviewed Thor Rhodin, CMO of ToadFish Outfitters and was blown away by the true heartfelt desire this company has to make a huge difference in improving our waters. When asked how the Toadfish guys got started Rhodin stated, “We all grew up in Beaufort since we were little kids, so the water was ingrained in us whether it was surfing, fishing and just being outside. From a young age we all realized the massive amount of strain that the explosive population growth and urban development put on the waterways we loved and considered our back yards.” From that point on the seed of conservation and preserving what these guys loved was planted. Rhodin continued, “The wheels started spinning and we started thinking of ways we could positively impact water quality and that’s where the oyster came in. The oyster was the perfect solution considering that a single one can filter up to 50 gallons a day removing all the toxins and pollutants we put in as a society. Without oysters we would be in a water quality crisis much like the Chesapeake and New York harbor. When we started Toadfish, SC was harvesting a 150,000 bushels of oysters a year and was only replanting 40,000 bushels of shell a year so we wanted to bridge that gap. So far we have planted close to 70,000 square feet of new oyster reefs throughout the country and are on a mission to continue our efforts.” ToadFish products, which have been featured in national media like Garden & Gun, Coastal Living, Food & Wine, Real Simple, are sold both online at toadfishoutfitters.com and in stores across the country including Sur La Table stores. Do yourself a favor and purchase a Toadfish Outfitters product.  Whether it’s an oyster knife, Toadfish Inshore fishing rod or their “Toad You So” hat, you won’t regret investing in what they are offering.  I know I haven’t. Well, my husband hasn’t seeing as he’s snatched everything I’ve purchased! I’ll deal with him later. 

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 3/31

Sunday, March 31st – Crock-Pot Tuscan Garlic Chicken – I can’t even put into words how excited I am that today is the last day of March. Everyone knows April is by far the best month of all of the months. It has nothing to do with the fact that my special day falls on the 18th – nothing at all. Because it’s Sunday and technically a “splurge day” we will put this over orzo or pearled couscous!

Monday, APRIL 1st – Smoked Sausage and Peppers – A little Cajun spice for you in this dish but you can adjust to your preference. Also, I will serve this over cauli rice to cut down on calories and carbs.

Tuesday, April 2nd – Chicken Jalapeno Burgers – Again with the spice, but you can absolutely remove the jalapeno if you need to. Just use as a garnish instead of in the mix. I will sauté some frozen okra to serve as a side!!

Wednesday, April 3rd – Low Carb Creamy Chicken Stuffed Peppers – You can use a rotisserie chicken for this dish which is perfect for hump day. Just remember to pick your chicken when it’s warm. I made the mistake of picking mine cold, the other night, and it was awful.

Thursday, April 4th – Buffalo Chicken Salad – I know, again with the buffalo chicken but y’all I love buffalo flavored anything. This is not a creamy buffalo chicken salad like last week so chill your jets.

Friday – April 5th – Flank Steak Caprese – Such a perfect Friday night meal. This will take no time to make but looks, and tastes, divine. Serve over lettuce, with a side salad or with whatever you are craving.

BE SURE to follow along via Instagram @Dinner with the Duffys, so you don’t miss the chance to win $100 to Toadfish Outfitters next week!!!!

Healthy, Happy Eating Y’all!

XO ~ Kelly D.


Kitchen Renovation??!!

I’m sure you are wondering why I posted the above picture of a random kitchen. Well, this is what I hope our current kitchen will look like here in a few months. (Not this exactly, just one of the four thousand kitchen photos I’ve pinned from Pinterest) For the past month or two, any free time I’ve had has been spent comparing appliances, flooring options, faucets, etc. Hence the blog posts rolling out late! I have been dreaming about re-doing our kitchen since the moment we moved in, over fourteen years ago, but I never thought it would actually happen. I think my husband actually said, “not until college and weddings have been paid for.” But God intervened, on my behalf, and we ended up having a bit of a leak, under the kitchen sink, and now it’s either replace or re-do. Not to mention, our utensil drawer ripped out of it’s casing (no clue what it’s actually called but casing sounds right) last May and our floors are coming up. The kitchen is a hot mess. But technically it’s still usable so Patrick thinks the whole re-do is a waste of money. Well, that’s not completely true. He just thinks it’s more money than we need to be spending at the present time. And he’s right (don’t tell him I typed this) but I can’t help myself. The idea of a little more kitchen, cabinet, cooking space gives me goose bumps. I keep telling him it will all work out while secretly crossing my fingers and toes. But, we are in the final stages – just waiting on the bank to tell us we are allowed to go into more debt!!! Yippee. I’ve been working with Coastal Cabinets and King Construction, on this project, and I could not be happier. If you know me, you know anyone I work with requires a boat load of patience. I think I’ve made a million and a half changes in the last week. I’m exhausting. But these guys have been absolutely wonderful and I can not wait to see this project thru with them. If all goes well, we should have the green light to begin in about two weeks. Of course, that’s placing the cabinet order so real construction won’t start until May-ish. I will definitely do a “follow along” as soon as the project begins. And, if you have any slide in range, cabinet microwave suggestions, hit me up. I’m probably due for another change about now!

Meal Plan for the Week of 3/24

Sunday, March 24th – Baked Penne Alla Vodka – My plan is to clean, all weekend, to get the house ready to be appraised. Everyone keeps telling me not to worry about the appraisal but I worry about everything so cleaning it is. My point – after two days of straight cleaning, I’m going to want something delicious and this dish is it. I dream about recipes like this one. Perfect for a family Sunday. Nothing fussy but does require a little hands on kitchen time.

Monday, March 25th – Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde – I think everyone in the country is on spring break except for the Catholics. Most Catholic schools take spring break over Easter so this year, it’s April 18th! A MONTH away. I assume you spring breakers are cracking up at the idea of a meal plan. Instead, you are last minute packing for your sunny beach getaway. I get it. I’m just really jealous. Here is a crockpot meal so the rest of us can pretend like we are taking it easy this week!

Tuesday, March 26th – Mediterranean Shrimp with Zoodles – I’m not an olive person, y’all, but this dish will be delicious with or without. I will purchase pre-spiralized noodles to make life easier – remember, we are pretending to be on spring break!! The one extra I will do is to make my own, light, Tzatziki. I love this @skinnytaste recipe. Sometimes I strain the yogurt, but most of the time I do not.

Wednesday, March 27th – Parmesan Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Garlic & Herb Veggie Spirals – This is an overnight marinade, y’all. Just a heads up. Personally, I need the reminder as I can’t ever remember which ones require marinating. I’m excited to try this dish – new spin on a staple!

Thursday, March 28th – Buffalo Dill Chicken Salad – Doesn’t get much easier. Super adaptable. I will probably do a greek yogurt, mayo split but you do you, y’all.

Friday, March 29th – Moroccan Braised Chicken, Lentils, Smoked Paprika & Tomato – I love Moroccan food. The richness of the flavors are just out of this world. And for whatever reason, I really love lentils. Fridays are usually a little more laid back in our house so I’m going to grab a glass of wine, turn on my favorite Pandora station, Hipster Cocktail Party radio, and get to cooking in what will hopefully be my old kitchen in a few short months!!


Wrap, Baby Wrap

A few weeks ago a fun company, Criss Elite, asked me to try out one of their products – Beeswax Food Wraps. I was so excited and couldn’t wait for them to show up on my doorstep. The wraps arrived in this super cute packaging with cute little flamingos and flowers. I was kind of already sold at that point. I’m such a sucker for good packaging. Any way, these wraps are reusable, eco-friendly, plastic free and non-toxic. I gotta be honest real quick. I’m not usually sold on a product just because it’s eco-friendly, plastic free and non-toxic. I’m still asking for a straw every time I go to a restaurant so I guess some would put me in the “environment hater” category. It’s not true – I love the turtles and all of the creatures, but I am just not gung-ho enough to only purchase products that are plastic free, eco friendly and non-toxic. BUT, I am sold on this product mainly because I LOATHE plastic wrap. Like, I really, really hate plastic wrap. Why, the strong reaction to a simple product that has been around for decades? Happy to tell you. First, I almost always cut my finger while trying to rip the plastic. Not sure why as I don’t have an issue with the sharp cutter on a wrap of aluminum foil, but that cutter on the plastic wrap does it to me every single time. Second, it is a pain in the arse to try to keep it from sticking to itself. I pull out a beautiful sheet of plastic, start to cut it and all of a sudden my perfectly sized sheet is now half it’s size and has morphed into a ball, instead of a sheet. Third, it never sticks to the bowl or dish or whatever it is I’m trying to cover. It will stick to itself, all day long, but when I need it to stick to my dish, fat chance. So, you can see why I was excited to learn there was an alternative to this demon product. And the beeswax wraps work! For real. How, you ask? Well, first the beeswax wrap needs to be warmed up with your hands to take the shape of a piece of food or to cover a bowl. When you take them out of the packaging they are hard. (I was a bit worried at this point) As the beeswax cools, the wraps will seal and keep your food fresh naturally. You just pull one out, rub it in your hands and then cover what you need to cover. What next? Wash the wrap with little soap and water and hang dry. You can reuse them for up to a year. Crazy. Oh and the best part. Totally forgot. Because they are antibacterial and have antioxidant properties of beeswax and jojoba oil, your food will stay fresh longer and keep foods like avocados and bananas from browning as quickly!!! Y’all should totally try them. I will definitely be purchasing more of these Criss Elite Beeswax wraps. Bye Bye plastic wrap. Can’t say I’m sad to see you go.

Meal Plan for the Week of 4/17

Sunday, March 17th – Lightened Up Shephards Pie – Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all. This is one of my family’s favorite holidays so I had to find an appropriate recipe. I love this @skinnytaste shephards pie. You won’t even notice it’s lightened up. Super easy and tasty and totally family friendly. Slainte!

Monday, March 18th – Weight Watchers Tuna Noodle Casserole – Have I shared this recipe before? I don’t think I have but then again, maybe? I think I’ve shared something similar. Any who, this is a great family casserole that comes together super fast. Perfect for a Monday night.

Tuesday, March 19th – Ranch Pork Chops and Potatoes Sheet Pan – Yep, you read that right potatoes. There is nothing bad about a potato, y’all. This recipe is under 400 calories a serving so cool your jets. AND it’s a one pan wonder. You are welcome.

Wednesday, March 20th – Spicy Ground Turkey & Green Beans – It’s been a while since I pulled out my Costco frozen green beans. Feel like it’s time. Can’t mess this one up. Super straight forward and quick.

Thursday, March 21st – Chicken and Black Bean Burrito Skillet – So similar to others I have shared but so easy and tasty it’s hard not to keep putting these into the rotation. P and the kids (who am I kidding – the KID) will add shells while I put over lettuce. I will add some tomatillo salsa to my plate!

Friday, March 22nd – Sheet Pan Philly Cheese Steak – I’m super excited about this recipe. Sheet Pan, Cheese Steak – what’s not to love. This will run you around 550 calories BUT that number does include the bun so not too bad. Plus, it’s Friday so go crazy!! Update – if you are Catholic just switch Monday with Friday! I can’t ever remember to not eat meat on Fridays…. I guess that makes me an “environment hater” and a heathen. I’ve been called worse…..

There you have it. Healthy, Quick and Delicious meals for the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy Y’all.

XO ~ Kelly D.


Warmer Days Ahead

Well, after three full weeks of the Duffys being sick, I think we have finally turned a corner. It was a rough three weeks, y’all. I thought I was going to loose my marbles. I’m pretty sure I spent more time in the Dr.’s office than I did at work this past month. February is a complete blur. I apologize for not getting a meal plan out last week but I was sick as a dog and didn’t move for days. So….let’s see. What should we chat about? Oh, I know. I started cracking up the other day, thinking about horrid tan lines, so let’s talk weather. Spring is trying to “spring itself” here in Charleston but mother nature has thrown us a bit of a curve ball. This time of year is so funny. It will be consistently cool and then all of a sudden we will have two or three really warm days and everyone, I mean everyone, pulls out their shorts, t-shirts and Rainbow flip-flops. A few weeks ago, the high was around 70 so I took the girls, and Clare, to the beach. We were in long sleeve tee’s, pants and I think I had on a fleece. Y’all, everyone else on the beach was in a bathing suit. It was so comical because you know they had to be freezing. I was cold in layers. But, the weather guy said it was going to be above 68 so to the beach, to sun, they went. I can’t blame them. I crave the sun too. Our family gets so excited about this local festival, hosted by the James Island County Park, at the beginning of April. This is where the tan lines come in. Everyone always assumes it’s going to be warm, and it usually is, so they dress in their Charleston uniform – shorts, tank and Rainbow flips – but we totally forget to pack the sunscreen. Happens, without fail, every single year. It’s like our brains haven’t fully accepted it’s warm enough to burn. But burn we do. Everyone wakes up the next day with goggles around their eyes, thick tank straps on their shoulders and super straight tan lines right around mid-thigh. It’s awful and hilarious. Happens every year. I love it. How many more days until spring?

Meal Plan For the Week of 3/10

Sunday, March 10th – Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti – The St. Paddy’s Day festivities start early in our family. Like on this day. Patrick will be at a golf tournament all day long. I think it might just possibly be the longest golf tournament in the history of golf tournaments. So, I will make this yummy, comforting dish, for the Duffy girls and leave the leftovers on the stove for P. I think he gets fed at the tournament but Patrick is always hungry – yet he never gains a pound. Go figure.

Monday, March 11th – Sausage Taco Cauliflower Rice Skillet – I know – so many cauli rice recipes. Funny thing is I’m not a HUGE fan. I mean, I like it but I don’t LOVE it. As long as the other flavors dominate the dish I’m OK. And they do in this recipe. The sausage and taco seasoning are so powerful that you barely notice the cauli rice. Honest!!

Tuesday, March 12th – Mustard Chicken with Skillet Zucchini – Normally I can’t stand the thought of just chicken and a veg on a plate. It makes me a bit ill BUT not tonight. The marinade for this chicken is to die for. Recipe calls for you to grill the chicken but I’ll just cook mine in a pan. Oh, and the balsamic zucchini – so bloody good. If you don’t have time to make the balsamic glaze, you can just buy a bottle of it from the grocery store. Try to marinate the chicken overnight if you can fine the time!!

Wednesday, March 13th – Coconut Lime Chicken – I love coconut milk. Lord, it makes everything taste so good. This recipe calls for full fat coconut milk but I will sub light. Not as flavorful but that full fat coco milk is super high in calories. You do you. Pair with basmati, cauli or brown rice!

Thursday, March 14th – 10 Minute Pizza Zucchini Noodles – Call me crazy but this looks so good. When I was a kid, my Uncle Robert used to make homemade pizzas for us every Friday night. The best part was he would let us eat the extra pepperonis while he was making the pizzas. I could eat an entire package of pepperonis if you placed one in front of me. This recipe looks like a better option – since I’m trying to eat healthy and all.

Friday, March 15th – Shrimp, Smoked Sausage and Peppers – This is an instant pot recipe but you can totally adapt it to just be a one pot wonder. I will sauté the veggies and shrimp and then add the tomatoes – I will not add water if I do this on the stove. Healthy, quick and delicious!

I am reviewing a really cool product this week, Beeswax Food Wraps. I can’t wait to try them and let y’all know what I think. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!!! Here’s wishing that your heart be full of love and your life be blessed with good fortune, always. Slainte!

XO ~ Kelly D.


One Fine Day….

Well, I thought we had turned a corner last week but no such luck. Regan came down with the flu on Tuesday – she literally came down with the flu. Fainted in school and all. She’s fine, thank goodness, but my plan to get back on track has been pushed to God knows when. Taking care of children is exhausting but taking care of sick children is a whole different ball game. I’ve learned, this week, that I am not a natural caregiver. #OVERIT. I think I’ve cooked twice this week – twice. Exercise – two and a half times. I started yesterday, got distracted, and totally forgot to go back to my video. I’m so ready to get back into our routine. I need the structure. I really need the structure. If you follow along you know aside from the flu infestation at 111 Duffy Lane, I had other big life happenings this week. Huge happenings, actually. After what I thought was a shut adoption book, I made contact with BOTH biological parents. In the same week. To say I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster is a bit of an understatement. This is how it all went down………
My search angel ( now more like a family member), Daniel, messaged me last Tuesday saying he had located my biological father. I was beyond shocked. I did a little digging and turned up nothing. There was one individual on Facebook who seemed like she could be related to bio dad so I bit the bullet and private messaged her. A day went by and nothing. But, then on Thursday I had an email from one bio dad. Y’all he had no clue about my existence. It was crazy, but long story short, he is very kind and excited to learn more about me and my family.  After connecting with him, I felt like I had to exhaust all of my options and decided to call my biological mother.  Well, that’s not entirely true. I asked my best friend, who had done a little PI work on her own and found out where bio mom worked, to call her. I know, we are crazy – it’s why we are friends.  So, my friend called her.  At work.  And tried her hardest not to give away every detail as to why she was calling, but in the end, she was forced to reveal the real reason she had picked up the phone.  And guess what, the biological mom had never received any of my communication attempts. She had no idea I was trying to connect with her.  Quick lesson here folks – never assume anything.  I was truly functioning, and making decisions, under the idea that she had received and made a choice not to connect. I was wrong.  Life is so surprising.  You just never know what tomorrow will bring.  Two weeks ago I had no medical information, no family history, nada.  Today, I know medical history, the missing pieces of my adoption story and have multiple blood relatives that I never knew existed.  But here is the important part, especially for my fellow adoptees – it doesn’t change anything.  I am still Kelly Regan Duffy, the daughter of Patty and Steve.  The wife of Patrick and the mom of Regan and Ava.  I’m still only 5’1. I still love to cook, eat, drink and be merry. I’m still a very Irish Catholic Charlestonian. I still have the most incredible family and friends in the entire universe.  I’m still the luckiest girl in the world. Now I just have more people to share it all with. And that is truly the lens thru which I see all of this.  Will I get to meet this lovely family with whom I share DNA? I don’t know.  It’s still really early and there are many moving parts. But I think I would like that very much. We shall see.  One day….

Meal Plan for the week of 2/24

Photo Cred ~ Ashley Bakery

Sunday, Feb. 24th – “Fat Sunday” Celebration! We are doing a neighborhood “Fat Sunday” celebration this weekend so I will not be cooking dinner. Instead, I called my favorite, Ashley Bakery, and ordered a King Cake.  I’m hoping the rest of my neighbors are making something really delicious because they are on tap to feed the Duffy’s dinner.  I warned them but they may, or may not, have taken me seriously. So, we may just be eating cake.  IF I was cooking, I would definitely be making my favorite Slow Cooker Jambalaya. ( Make sure to test rice before you turn off crocker – it may need more time!)

Monday, Feb. 25th – Spicy Zucchini Cauliflower Rice – Not exactly family friendly but I have GOT to get my bum back in gear.  I am going on the assumption that everyone in my house will be healthy come Monday so I will be back to my routine, ready to cook, eat healthy and TAM! (Tracy Anderson, y’all. My exercise of choice) Don’t forget to purchase the frozen cauli rice! Oh, and I WILL add chicken, chicken sausage or flank steak to this recipe to beef it up. Pun intended.

Tuesday, Feb. 26th – Lemon Thyme Grilled Salmon – Again, purchase frozen cauli rice here. Will save you some much time and effort. Once you have microwaved your rice, add some fresh lemon juice and thyme to give it some additional flavor. Just a straight forward, healthy dish here, y’all. Oh, with avocado – if you want. I always want.

Wednesday, Feb. 27th – Teriyaki Chicken Bake – Super family friendly to make up for the spicy Monday meal. Feel free to sub out veggies and use what you have on hand – peppers, asparagus. Get crazy!

Thursday, Feb. 28th – Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa – Pretty straight forward blackened chicken recipe but the cilantro lime “crema” takes it to a whole new level! You can sub cauli rice for the quinoa or just serve with a veg or side salad.

Friday, MARCH 1st – Spicy Thai Chicken and Quinoa – Sorry for the quinoa overload this week. Just happened that way. It’s March y’all. MARCH. I’m so excited because we get to kick winter to the curb and bring on the spring. I hate the winter. Plus, spring in Charleston is just so good. Flavorful dish here people. Again, sorry for the spice. You can back down on the chili sauce if you need to.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends! Remember to follow along on Instagram – dinnerwiththeduffys!!!

XO – Kelly D.


Don’t Stop Believing

I’m so sorry friends. This week has been bananas. Ava had the flu, and a crazy high fever, up until Thursday so juggling work and illness proved to be exhausting. And there were other things. Actually, some pretty unbelievable things. I don’t have enough time to go into all of the details but I promise I will next week. Long story, very short, I have made contact with BOTH biological parents – this week. I have spoken to one and have emailed with the other. It’s insane as I truly had found peace in only every knowing what Daniel had found – which was so much more than I ever expected. I had packed up my emotions into a very neat suitcase and that was that. Or so I thought. Life is funny, y’all. As I said, I promise to share more of the details next week but time will not permit today. Just wanted to make sure you had your meal plan before Sunday Shopping!!

Stay Tuned!!

Sunday, Feb 17th – Chicken Wild Rice Cass – Not to get sappy but I can’t let this post pass without mentioning this Sunday is my Dad’s birthday. As you know, my Dad passed away almost four years ago. He was my person, y’all. I miss him every single day but truly believe he is now at peace. This Sunday I am making this comforting chicken and rice dish in his honor – we will gather around the table to eat, drink and be merry and toast to the best, my Daddy-O!

Monday, Feb 18th – Strawberry, Basil Chicken – My plan to be uber healthy last week didn’t exactly pan out. I HAVE to reign myself in this week people. This really light, chicken dish will help. You can add fresh mozzarella to this dish too – beef it up!

Tuesday, Feb 19th – Broccoli, Lemon and Browned Butter Pasta – A friend shared this Cooking Light recipe with me and it looks delicious. If you can’t find whole grained shell pasta, just sub any other whole grain pasta. Family friendly here, y’all.

Wednesday, Feb. 20th – Crockpot Carnitas with Pork Tenderloin – It’s been awhile since I pulled out my crocker but so happy to be doing so this week. There are a gazillion of these recipes but this one looks a little different so we will give it a try! Instant Pot will work here too! Note to self – still need to purchase one of those….

Thursday, Feb. 21st – Korean-Style Pork Chops – I need to hit up Costco this weekend mainly because I found this recipe and now I am dying to make it. I will probably just do some frozen veggies or some kind of quick veg with these!! Yum.

Friday, Feb 22nd – Chicken and Artichoke Quinoa Cass – I love artichokes – they add such a yummy, tangy flavor. Use a rotisserie chick with this dish to make it even easier. Perfect for a Friday!!!

That’s it! Can’t wait to chat next week. Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.


A Few of My Favorite Things

Happy Friday Y’all.  We made it! I have been looking forward to this day for what feels like an eternity. My HUGE work event is finally behind me and was, by all accounts, a great success.  I actually took off today to do, well, nothing.  I thought about going a number of places but eventually decided to do a few things around the house, exercise and then sit on my back porch and read.  We have had the most unbelievable weather in Charleston this week. Today it’s going to be 76 degrees. 76 in February. I’m in heaven.  I had planned on doing this great tag team post, with a local Charleston company, but we haven’t had a chance to meet up SO, I decided to blog about some random products that I’m LOVING lately and quite honestly, not sure how I lived without. Some have to do with food, and some don’t but they are ALL fabulous!

PDiddy and I usually give each other one gift, from Santa, at Christmas. This year Santa brought us this gorgeous @All-Clad Non-Stick all in one pan and I’m in love. I may give more care to this pan than I do my children – no judgement. It’s not an inexpensive purchase but if you enjoy cooking, it’s so worth it. One of the keys to cooking is to make sure you NEVER overcrowd your pan. NEVER. This beauty is big enough to handle any dish! P.S. – thanks @Williams-Sonoma Charleston for your help! P.P.S. – it’s HALF OFF right now. Click HERE

My name is Kelly and I have oily, acne prone skin. I have dealt with skin issues since I was in middle school. As I age, I have to fight controlling the break-outs with anti-aging and it’s not a party people. But, thankfully brilliant folks are creating brilliant products that combat both! Like this Green Cure Mask. One of my favorite peeps, Brittany @ Gwynns, turned me onto this CBD line a few weeks ago. This mask calms, clarifies, evens and improves the skin. I LOVE it. Not too pricey either. Perfect for any skin type! Go see Brittany and check out the entire Lab to Beauty line!

Every now and then I get obsessed with a new product and it’s all I can talk, and think about. The @Toadfish Shrimp Cleaner is one of those. The genius dudes behind Toadfish are well, genius. This little tool allows you to peel, devein, and butterfly your shrimp in one single movement. Obsessed.

Meal Plan for the week of 2/10/19

Sunday, February 10th – Cajun Shrimp Casserole – Pull out your @toadfish shrimp cleaner people, you are going to need it for this beauty. One of my all time favorite casseroles. I’m not quite sure there are words for how much I love this recipe. Not healthy but SO worth it. The flavors are binge worthy.

Monday February 11th – Healthy One Pan, Baked, Smothered Chicken – You had me at “one pan” but then you had me again at “smothered”. I’m pretty sure I would make anything that had “smothered” in the title, regardless of what is was smothered in. Lots of veggies in this one. Serve with cauli, brown or white rice.

Tuesday, February 12th – Green Curry Salmon – Super healthy, delicious and quick recipe from @themodernproper. The salmon cooks in the curry, in the oven, so technically it’s a one pan wonder. Serve with cauli rice! (remember to buy it frozen)

Wednesday, February 13th – Tuna, White Bean Salad – Sorry, not sorry, for the seafood heavy week! Dump, mix and pour – that’s about the extent of it for this one, y’all. I may even have my 10 year old make this for me. I’ll probably have some cooked chicken on hand, for Patrick, if he feels the need to bulk his up. I’m excited because it’s super easy and light, perfect for mid week.

Thursday, February 14th – Chimichurri Steak with Asparagus – Happy Valentine’s Day lovers!! I know some of you will not be home to cook this evening but here is a fabulous steak recipe just in case. Patrick and I most always stay in for V-Day. We celebrate with the kids and cook a delicious meal. But this year we are heading out. One of my favorite bands is playing in Charleston, Taj Mahal, and I can’t wait! If they were not playing, I’d be home, eating this delicious steak, in my pjs. You can use whatever cut of beef you like!

Friday, February 15th – One Pot Jambalaya – I’m excited to try out this recipe as the creator, @ThymeandJoy, is from Charleston. She is a whole30 partner and all of what she makes looks delicious. Can’t wait to test this one!

There you have it. I told you eating healthy can be tasty. You just have to follow me for the goods!! As long as you are following, follow along on Instagram @dinnerwiththeduffys for night of tips & tricks.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly


Out of Time

Well, unlike the past few posts, this weeks will be short and sweet. I have a HUGE work event this weekend and ALL of my focus needs to live there. I feel like the Super bowl is a party planned just for me for surviving this event. I guess I must survive first. Note to self : survive. Got it. I almost decided to just can this weeks post but then I realized I would have nothing to eat next week. My lunch choices for today showed me this is not an option. Left to my own devices, i.e., no meal plan, I eat like a mad woman. Today’s lunch – chicken sausage, ice cream with chocolate sauce, tortilla chips, salsa and potato chips. No lie. And not in that order. So, here’s the meal plan for the week of 2/3!!!

Photo Cred to my food blogger favorite @The Modern Proper

Sunday 2/3 – Sausage, Parmesan Cream Cheese Soup – Most peeps will be eating appetizers with friends and family so I get this might be a waste. We will definitely spend some time hanging out with friends, but I will make my way back home in time to eat this delicious soup. It’s basically rotel dip in soup form, but so much better than I just made it sound.

Monday 2/4 – Apple Crunch Salad with Rotisserie Chicken – I need a serious re-set y’all. I meant to do this in January but then January got really crazy and I kind of forgot. I’m hoping life calms down and I can refocus. Thinking this easy, healthy, salad will steer me in the right direction. Top with whatever you want – I prefer less work, hence the rotisserie chicken.

Tuesday 2/5 – Quinoa and Black Beans – Healthy, cheap and quick. I mean, come on y’all. This ones a beaut.

Wednesday 2/6 – Fish Florentine – I have been craving white fish ever since I ate that delicious dill fish we made the other night. Great day that was easy and good. If you haven’t made it, make it. So, here’s the thing. I love fresh spinach, but not a huge fan of wilted spinach. I don’t like cooked lettuce. BUT, with the half and half, cream cheese etc. for 351 calories, I think I’ll survive.

Thursday 2/7 – Creamy Sausage Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash – Stay with me – don’t roll your eyes. I have not made this recipe BUT, it looks tasty and pretty easy BECAUSE we will use frozen, spiralized, spaghetti squash. Just thaw the squash the day of – leave it on your counter. No need to roast and scrape. The reviews are great so let’s give it a try!!

Friday 2/8 – Green Chicken Enchilada Soup – You are gonna need TWO rotisseries this week! This makes me happy. REMEMBER – pick your chicks while they are warm. SO MUCH EASIER. I kick myself when I wait to pick those things. Not a crock pot. Just a simmer soup. Perfect for a February Friday.

I need to apologize to the kind follower who I met last Saturday night. It was loud, I couldn’t hear and I had been dancing for God knows how long. BUT, thank you for coming up to me and thank you for following along. I think I told you but you made my year!!!!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.