Adoption Story Update!

First, thank you for all of the love and support after last week’s post. I am seriously overwhelmed by your kindness. Second, I have no idea how to write this week’s post. I’ve started, erased, stopped and picked back up at least thirty times. There just aren’t enough descriptive words in the English language. For those of you who are just jumping on the DwtD train, I met my maternal, biological family this past weekend. I started my biological family search, back in October, and it all came to fruition, in Atlanta, five days ago. And honestly, I’m still processing and will continue processing for quite some time. I don’t think my head, and heart, can fully wrap themselves around what has happened. I mean, I met my maternal biological mother. The extraordinary woman who gave me a chance at life. Six months ago she was a figment of my imagination – just a person I thought about every now and again when I had to have a check-up or, on my birthday. Fast forward to last weekend and there she was, knocking on my hotel door. To say I was nervous would be the understatement of the year. I was terrified. I think I downed two glasses of chardonnay in two minutes. But then she was in our hotel room, with my incredible half sister, and all of a sudden the nerves were gone, the anxiety lifted and all was as it should be. There were no awkward moments or uncomfortable silences – well, Patrick was silent but only because he was the only male which meant he had no chance of getting a word in!! We all spent the weekend just getting to know one another and laying the framework for our future relationships. Will we see each other again? Definitely. All in good time. For now, I’m just so happy I forced myself to leap. I have been on a carousel of emotions, for the last nine months, but it was 100% worth it . And I truly believe it would have been worth it regardless of whether or not my bio mom ever engaged. The journey alone brought me peace. By starting the search I allowed myself to control the fear so many adoptees struggle with – the fear of the unknown. We choose not to search, in part, because we are scared of what we will find and how what we find might change who we are. But the opposite happened to me. As soon as I submitted my Search Angels application, I felt like I was in control. I was no longer sitting on the sidelines too nervous to try. I made myself work through every, possible, scenario and tried my best to find peace with each potential outcome. And I believe I did. “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Meal Plan for the Week of 6/23

Sunday, June 23rd – Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Crust Buffalo Chicken Pizza – I have never tried cauliflower pizza crust but I’m really curious so let’s do this people. Use whatever toppings float your boat!!

Monday, June 24th – Southwest Turkey, Vegetable and Rice Skillet – This guy has it all – one dish wonder, family friendly, ready in under 20. Doesn’t get any better, especially on a Monday.

Tuesday, June 25th – Salmon, Avocado Salad – Patrick hates avocado but this recipe will be delicious with or without – it will just be better with. Light and flavorful – exactly what I need after weeks of overindulging.

Wednesday, June 26th – Asparagus Salad with Chicken or Shrimp – Our most recent swim meet was cancelled, due to weather, and I think the make-up will be this evening. Thankfully, this here recipe is easy to make and travels well. I will add some kind of protein to make this a meal, not a side!!

Thursday, June 27th – Chicken Chimichangas – I honestly don’t know how these differ from burritos but I honestly don’t care. Any Mexican dish that is under 400 calories is a winner in my book.

Friday, June 28th – Skinny Shrimp Alfredo Pasta Bake – Sorry for the seafood heavy recipes these week – just happened that way. I love a Friday night dish I can make ahead of time and this one is worth it. You won’t even know it’s “light.” Enjoy!!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.

XO ~ Kelly D.


LEAP

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I hate taking risks. I should be the poster child for playing it safe. Normally I avoid risk at all costs but recently it seems I’ve put myself at it’s epicenter. Maybe some would label that growth? I think I’m just so discombobulated with the kitchen renovation that I didn’t realize what was happening. So what did I do? Well, I signed on with a PR firm to commit to growing the Dinner with the Duffys brand. No big, you say? Not so. In taking this step, no LEAP, I’m opening myself up to failure. The fall on your face kind of failure. I don’t like to fail – probably why I don’t like taking risks. But here’s the thing – I really believe DwtD’s has a shot; a long shot, sure, but a shot. And I know I will regret it, for the rest of my life, if I don’t take this chance. Over the next few months, I will be plugging away creating varied meal plans, grocery lists, my own recipes and who knows what else – any and everything to make this dream a reality. It’s all very exciting and I hope you will continue to follow along and ride this rollercoaster with me. I would not be here without all of you and I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. P.S. – I meet my biological family in t-minus 24 hours. P.P.S – I’m freaking out.

Meal Plan for the Week of 6/16

Sunday, June 16th – Skinnytaste Chicken Parmesan Lasagna – I’m already drooling over this recipe that has very few calories but BIG time flavor. Perfect Sunday Supper option.

Monday, June 17th – Grilled Chicken Skewers – Dear God, please let my kitchen be finished by this day. At the very least, please let there be furniture in my living room. And no, a beach chair does not constitute furniture. On to the recipe – y’all know I hate a skewer- such a pain in the arse – BUT I’m giving this recipe a go because there’s a pretty awesome hack that may make it worth our while. You use peeled plum, CANNED, tomatoes. Just pick them out of the can and thread them onto the stick. Along with some chicken. And that’s pretty much it. Serve with rice, side salad – whatever gets you thru this Monday.

Tuesday, June 18th – Crockpot Chicken Tacos with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce – The sauce in this recipe is divine because of the vinegar. I love vinegar – just adds the perfect tang. Omit the jalapeno if your people aren’t spice people. Happy Taco Tuesday!!

Wednesday, June 19th – Flank Steak with Zhoug Sauce – So, you really don’t need to click out for this recipe but, the marinade is good so use it for that. Don’t feel like making homemade zhoug? Grab a bottle of the pre-made stuff from Trader Joe’s. It’s delicious – on all of the things. Might be too spicy for the kids but they can eat there’s without. Serve with some roasted veggies or, sautéed okra!

Thursday, June 20th – Creamy Coconut Lime Salmon – Lots of flavor and super easy, y’all. I will sub light coconut milk and serve over jasmine rice. I might also add in some sautéed peppers, and maybe, snap peas!

Friday, June 21st – Skinnytaste Inside Out Turkey Cheeseburgers with Cucumber, Tomato Salad – This screams summer to me. Can’t quite think of anything better. The fact that it’s low cal is bananas with a capital B. Just saying.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.

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.


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