Well, I fell down on the job. SO sorry folks. I was hoping I’d have the “I was too busy packing to work” excuse but that’s not entirely accurate seeing as I only packed for about an hour. It took an hour to pack up our china and glassware. How does one accumulate so much glassware? None of it matches and I honestly can’t remember purchasing like 80% of what we have. So odd. We left around ten cups in the cabinet, to just survive over the next few weeks, and you would have thought we had left one for all four of us to fight over. The girls were freaking out. I can’t wait until we pack up the plates. Meanwhile, the thought of not having to wash plates, cups and utensils, for the next four weeks, has me kind of giddy. I feel like I’m hitting the jack pot. People can’t believe we are choosing to stay in our house, during the work, and I’m over here like, “are you kidding?” You want me to leave just about the time my responsibilities will go from 100 to 10? You crazy. No vacuuming, mopping, dusting, 409-ing, windexing, pledging, or cleaning after cooking? I mean, it might as well be vacation. So I have to live in a dust infested house with no sink or stove for a few weeks. Meh, just minor inconveniences compared to being a cleaning lady, short order cook, dry cleaner and uber driver. Dropping two of the four ain’t so bad. I’ll be armed with my arsenal of Costco paper products, a toaster oven and a grill. My meal plan may be a bit odd from the 19th to the first of June but I will get creative. I mean, I’ll have oodles of time, right? This entire post is going to come back to bite me in the arse, isn’t it? IS IT? I can hear you laughing…..
Meal Plan For The Week of 5/6
Monday, May 6th – Shrimp, Arugula White Bean Salad – On top of all of the packing, swim team practice starts for my girls today. For those who don’t know, summer swim team controls your life for about two months. It’s every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Healthy, delicious and quick will be my strict moto for the next 8 weeks. This one is perfect.
No Sunday meal plan as it’s Monday so I’ve already missed that boat. Plus, our Sunday night meal was Sonic. I needed the grease if you catch my drift. Too much fun, the night before, at Cinco de Derby!! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram ~ @Dinnerwiththeduffys
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…..
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.
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!!
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!
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!!!!
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.
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!!
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!
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.
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!
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
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.
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!!!