App, App, Baby

My high school friends and I have our first supper club this Saturday. There are finally enough of us, back in Charleston, to organize such a fun event.  My insanely talented photographer friend, @KristenLequire, is hosting our first gathering so I only need to bring an app.  No big deal, right?  Not true.  The struggle to come up with an app that travels well, eats well and tastes good is real.  I find the “what app should I bring” question is the most common I’m asked by followers.  So, this week I’m giving you a list of my favorites, by category, and a few tips to boot.

Cold Appetizers ~ By far the easiest appetizer option.  Want to make it and forget about it?  These apps are for you.  Most cold apps can sit at room temperature, for around two hours, including apps made with meat, dairy or eggs.  After that, you may want to put them back in the fridge for a bit unless you are OK with being sick the next day.  My favorites:

Goat Cheese, Basil Dip with Honey; Avocado Yogurt Dip w/ Veggies; Neiman Marcus Dip; The BEST Black Bean Hummus; Herbed Goat Cheese; Big T’s Crab Dip; Spicy Tuna Poke and Avocado Cups; Caesar Salad Cups; Boiled Old Bay Shrimp; Antipasto Salad Kabobs; Ceviche;

Hot Appetizers – These can be tricky if you are taking your app on the road. Make sure, when bringing a hot app, it will still be tasty at room temp – some wilt or get straight up nasty after they cool down. Opt for an appetizer that can live in a crockpot or place your app on a warming tray. I really need to convince the peeps @yeti to create some cookware!! Hot apps are perfect if you are hosting – you can pull them out of the oven just as your guests arrive. Below are my favs (P.S. – I have a slight obsession with wonton wrappers. They used to frighten me but no more. Super easy to work with and have made apps a game changer in my world. Use them)

Hot Ham Sammies; Crab Rangoon Dip; Cheesy Sausage Dip; Hot Corn Dip Wonton Cups; Spinach, Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip; Baked Brie; Crack Dip; Gruyere, Bacon & Caramelized Onion Dip; The BEST Hot Artichoke Dip; DwtD Buffalo Chicken Taco Cups (Recipe Below):

For 12 Cups:

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/3 cup ( up to ½ cup depending on how buffalo-y you like your chicken) Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • Wonton Wrappers – 24
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400. Melt cream cheese, butter and hot sauce together on low heat, stirring frequently until fully incorporated.  Fold in picked rotisserie chicken, salt, pepper and paprika to the melted mixture.  Set aside. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.  Place one wonton wrapper in the bottom of each muffin cup.  Place about one tablespoon of the buffalo chicken mixture into each cup.  Top with 2 tsp of shredded cheese.  Place a second wonton wrapper on top of the cheese then add the remaining chicken mixture and cheese across all the muffin cups. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until wonton edges are browned and cheese is melted. Top each cup with a dollop of sour cream, tomatoes and green onions – or whatever your heart desires!! Serve immediately.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 5/12

Sunday, May 12th – Happy Mother’s Day. I’m not even going to pretend I’m cooking today. No Mom should. Go out. Order pizza. Have your partner cook for you. Relax and enjoy.

Monday, May 13th – Greek Burger Salad – I’m only linking out the tzatziki because I plan to use a @bubbaburger and since the instructions are on the box, I’m pretty sure you can manage. I’m going to chop my burger, add some veggies and top with this delicious tzatziki. Don’t worry about squeezing the cucumber – it’s not a big deal.

Tuesday, May 14th – Everything Bagel Chicken with Asparagus – I apologize but you will need @TraderJoes Everything Bagel spice for this recipe. You won’t regret it as it’s the most amazing spice, ever. Amazon also sells! I went to put on a pair of shorts Friday night that were HUGE last summer only to find they had shrunk. I swear clothing shrinks if it’s sits for too long. That’s a thing, right? I’ll just eat super healthy in case I’m wrong. This recipe will help!!

Wednesday, May 15th – BBQ Pork Tenderloin in the Crocker – By this point in time my kitchen should be pretty packed up. Hopefully I was smart enough to put a few items towards the front of the chaos for accessibility. My crocker should be one of those items as I will be using the bejesus out of it for the next few weeks. I’ll nuke some green beans and call it a day. Oh wait, will I have a microwave? Hmmmmmmm

Ava’s written message on our kitchen wall. Not sure what is above said message?? I really think it’s a dragon, y’all!!

Thursday, May 16th – One Pan Baked Smothered Chicken – Just chopping and mixing here peeps. Family favorite in my house. Well, Regs doesn’t vote unless it’s grilled cheese, chicken fingers, steak or dessert. 3 out of 4 ain’t so bad. Serve with brown rice, salad – whatever you have on hand.

Friday, May 17th – Salmon and Summer Veggies – Well, I’m pretty sure my kitchen will be dust at this point so I’m hoping my neighbors were for real when they told me I could use their kitchens. Mandy, if you are reading this, I’m coming over. Hopefully I can put these easy packets together in my living room and then bake them at the Reids. Light, summery dish, perfect for a Friday in May!!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends! Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram – @dinnerwiththeduffys!! Kitchen updates coming soon.

XO ~ Kelly D.


Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hi y’all!! Apologies for not posting last week but I just didn’t have it in me. The girls and I have been on spring break, since the 18th, and I have been doing a whole lot of nothing and loving it. I just felt like I needed to allow myself the opportunity to disconnect from all the things, including Dinner with the Duffys. This is my last day of nothingness and I’m a little down in the dumps if I’m being honest. For the past seven days, I have been sleeping until 9AM, drinking my coffee on the back porch, by myself, and relaxing in the sun. It has been magical. I was supposed to be switching out winter/spring wardrobes, packing up my china cabinet and other monotonous tasks but none of it happened and honestly, I could care less. Sadly, it’s coming to a screeching hault – reality will hit like a ton of bricks come Monday. Patrick will be out for most of the week and we have a gazillion tennis, soccer, swim, school and work things that just happen to fall in the one week he can be of no assistance. I hear you loud and clear universe – I’m getting off my arse. This coming week also happens to be a tough one for me, emotionally. Tuesday marks the four year anniversary of my dad’s suicide. In the past, I’ve tried to ignore this day because quite frankly, who wants to acknowledge the day of a loved one’s death? But here’s the thing – I have found pretending this anniversary is no big deal makes it an even bigger deal and does me no good. Surprise, surprise. So this year I’m going to allow myself the space to grieve because honestly, it’s what I believe I need. I think of my dad often but between work, the kids and all of the other things, there is just not enough time to miss him and feel the impact of his loss in my soul. And I need to feel the impact of his loss even if it is only once a year. I think my brain has been telling me this for four years but I just never stopped long enough to listen. Well, I’m listening this year.

If you are struggling with depression, or know someone who is, call the number below. It’s never too late.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 4/28

Sunday, April 28th – Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Tacos – I do not need a cheat day this week people BUT, it’s Sunday and my family needs a family Sunday meal. Just sets us up for the week. These tacos are fuss free and super tasty. Cut back on hot sauce if your kids do not like spicy food – or just add hot sauce to your tacos after they cook.

Monday, April 29th – One Pan Italian Chicken Skillet – Veggies and chicken but in a not so boring way. Balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning kick this super healthy dish up a notch. I have a late work meeting and Ava has a soccer game so I will be meal prepping on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 30th – Sheet Pan Roast Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes – Here’s the thing – I plan to cook tonight but I may end up throwing the girls into the car and having a picnic on the beach, or something equally as out of the ordinary. If I do decide to cook this sheet pan option is fantastic and should provide enough leftovers for lunch or Wednesdays dinner.

Wednesday, May 1st – Healthy Burger Bowl – I love this recipe link as it gives you a multitude of options for this one dish. I will make turkey burgers for the family – by make I mean pull out frozen turkey Bubba burgers – and serve mine in a bowl and theirs between buns. I’m leaning towards the pickled onion, avocado and balsamic option myself.

Thursday, May 2nd – Warm Chicken Salad – No, my kids will not eat this as a salad – Ava might but never Regs. I will use a rotisserie chicken, give them the drumsticks, potatoes and a little lettuce on the side. Everyone is happy – sort of.

Friday, May 3rd – Baked Garlic and Onion Chicken Wings – Y’all, I have never made chicken wings. Isn’t that bananas? I don’t know why – I like them but I guess I just never thought to make them. Well, all of that changes today. I’ll serve these with my go to Costco green beans and call it a night.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.