Well, “D” day has come and gone and we are still alive and living in our house. Aside from the layer of dust that now covers every inch of our home, we are OK. Not having a sink is by far the biggest inconvenience but thankful for neighbors and their dishwashers. And paper products. Y’all, we worked so hard this weekend. I mean, we are probably going to die, before this project is complete due to all of the dust we inhaled, but oh well. Our children will enjoy it. I can not wait to see the end result! I’ll post updates as things should start moving pretty quickly. ( All the contractors in all of the world are laughing at me right now!) This weeks meal plan is going to be a bit tool heavy as I’m having to rely on the crocker, grill and sous vide to make it all work. Challenging but I’m always up for a challenge.
Meal Plan For The Week of 5/19
Sunday, May 19th – Greek Lemon Chicken Bowls– I am not quite sure where I’m going to chop all the things necessary for this recipe, but I’ll figure it out. Y’all know how I feel about skewers – too much work – so we will just grill our chicken breasts whole. This yummy recipe screams summer. Orzo, grilled chicken, feta – #drooling.
Monday, May 20th – Super Easy Skinny Veggie Crockpot Lasagna – She had me at super easy & crockpot. I’m not totally sold on the meatless lasagna idea BUT for under 400 calories a serving, I’ll give it a try. Make sure to read the directions well as she suggests letting the lasagna sit for an hour AFTER cooking to absorb all of the liquid.
Tuesday, May 21st – Sous Vide Korean BBQ Chicken – If you don’t have a sous vide, not to worry, although you should definitely consider purchasing one – check out my favorite here! You can totally marinate these and throw on the grill. We will serve ours with microwavable green beans!! Thank God we still have a microwave.
Friday, May 24th – Camp, Baby Camp – No, that’s not a recipe but it’s where I will be all weekend. We are heading to the beach to camp for Memorial Day, with our good friends, and I can’t wait. It’s my favorite weekend of the year. It’s actually glamping but whatever. I’ll report back on all of the yumminess – the food is always the best part!!!
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!!!!
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!!!
It’s Thursday, y’all. One more day. One. I believe I can make it but I’m not 100% certain. I’m exhausted. I must have some kind of deficiency because I sleep for eight + hours a night. Eight. Some nights more. It is not rare for me
to be in bed by 8:45 and asleep by 9 but when my alarm goes off, 8.5 hours later, I can barely get out of bed. Well, Sunday – Friday that is. Come Saturday morning my lids pop open like champagne corks and then my eyes start darting around like laser beams.
And then my brain takes off:
“Laundry? Activities today? Groceries? I’m hungry. What should I eat? Have the girls eaten? Coffee. Dog needs to go out. What should I cook for dinner? Exercise? Is it cold? Sunny? Do I have food for lunch? What day is it?”
Its bananas. I try my hardest to shut it down but it’s no use. If only my brain would function this way during the week. Can you imagine what I would accomplish? Eyelids open, brain moving at the speed of sound, jumping out of bed to do all of the things and crushing it. But alas, not my life. Not sure when my brain got the signals mixed up but if one of you has a solution, hit me up. The funny thing is, my husband doesn’t seem to share my week/weekend sleep issues. Don’t get me wrong, he struggles to get out of bed, during the week, just as much as I do but come the weekend his brain doesn’t switch from comatose to firecracker. Nope. He just sleeps, and sleeps and sleeps. At 11 AM last weekend I was literally vacuuming in the same room he was sleeping in and he never woke up. Didn’t even roll over. I had to put my hand on his chest to see if he was breathing. He was. No words. If one of my girls sneezes, in the middle of the night, I sit straight up as if a UFO has just crash landed into my living room. Patrick, out like a light. Mars and Venus I tell ya. And it’s not just the sleep thing. Have you ever noticed how your husband/significant other, if he/she is a sports fan, can recall the first and last name of every single player that has ever played the sport going back to the inception of said sport? My husband knows the full name, height, weight, eye color and hobbies of every single person who has ever played Clemson football. Ever. He can sit there and rattle off useless information for hours on end. BUT, when I ask him to grab milk and bread from the grocery store he tells me he needs to make a list? What is that? Sports information goes into his brain, gets processed and filed neatly away. Things to be done as told from his wife don’t make it down the ear canal. Sigh. It’s a good thing he’s cute.
I’d like to say a quick “welcome” to all the new DwtD followers. There are so many of you since the 1st of the year. Thank you for following along. I have made a few adjustments, to the site, that I hope will help everyone. The weekly meal plan will be posted, same as always, under “blog” but I’ve organized past recipes by main ingredient. I hope this will make it easier to go back and find one of your favorites. It’s not perfect, or pretty, and I hope to add pics and make it even more flawless at some point. When Dinner with the Duffys really takes off, and I’m solely focused on this endeavor, I will create a much prettier site but until then, I think this will suffice. Keep sharing and our dreams will come true y’all!! P.S – To those of you are new, go back and read my first post. So much of my meal planning success has to do with Harris Teeter Home Shop.
Meal Plan for the Week of 1/13/19
Sunday, January 13th – Baked Chicken Quesadillas– You all know I have a love affair with @themodernproper so it’s no surprise I use their recipes whenever I can. This is the perfect cheat Sunday meal because it’s really adaptable and super easy to whip together. I plan on being super lazy this Sunday so this dish will fit right in. Plus, Ava LOVES guac, as do I, so any excuse to make the fresh stuff is good with me. Love this Guacamole recipe.
Monday, January 14th – Cauliflower Rice Chicken Biryani – Apologies if you are screaming “enough with the cauli rice already” but I’m kind of addicted at the moment. I have been noticing more of a cauli taste recently but I keep eating it. The key is to make sure you really incorporate the flavors, of whatever you are cooking, into the “rice.” If you are way over it, just sub your fav. It’s been a while since I’ve made an Indian dish so I’m craving the flavors!!
Tuesday, January 15th – Baked Beef and Cheese Manicotti (Cannelloni) – OK, this will be an experience for all of us. Super easy ingredient list here and it’s pasta for under 450 calories a serving. But, we are going to have to pipe the ricotta into the shells. We can do this and it will not take long. After we’ve completed this task we can all switch out our middle names out to “Martha.”
Wednesday – January 16th – Turkey Burgers with a simpleArugula Salad – I’m going back to basics. Frozen basics that is. I have gotten away from my “easy peasy hump days” so I’m bringing them back . I use Bubba Burger frozen turkey burgers and they are perfect. Incorporating a “down day” makes the week that much easier to survive.
Thursday, January 17th –Italian Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms– I love all the things this dish is made of. Tomatoes, chicken and wine. It doesn’t get any better. Oh wait, it does because it’s only 218 calories a serving. Silly me. You can serve this over cauli rice, orzo…whatever floats your boat!
Friday, January 18th – Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup – This may not be everyone’s fav – no hurt feelings if you bypass this guy. I on the other hand get giddy about tomato soup – especially when you serve it with orzo. Low calorie & comforting seems like the perfect combo for a chilly Friday night in!
There you have it. Meal plan for the week of 1/13. Bananas how time flies. PLEASE follow my crazy on Instagram – @dinnerwiththeduffys – for pics and more tips as I cook along with you!
Happy 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 Andersonfor 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:
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??
Osteoporosis – Adding weight training (just light weights) can slow bone deterioration and actually help strengthen your bones. Stronger bones = delayed or NO osteoporosis.
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!
Four days people. Four days until the BIG Day. I am no where near ready. I haven’t wrapped a single gift – not one. My house looks like an Amazon sorting facility – there are boxes everywhere. I am still waiting on a few things to arrive and I just pray to God I can remember where I hid everything. It’s the most wonderful time of year, right??? Oh and tonight is our neighborhood Christmas party. We do a progressive dinner every year and it’s so much fun. This year’s theme is “Pemberton Country Club” so the courses are all very sophisticated dishes except for the Duffys. We got the last house in the rotation so we are the “after party” house. Think Caddyshack. I’m pretty stoked as we are serving McDonalds hamburgers, Taco Bell tacos, potato chips, in the bag, with French onion dip, out of the can. Now if I can just find three hours to clean my house…..
Tip of the Week : OK so obviously I’m not meal planning this week. There is no point as we will be here, there and everywhere. Any meal I plan will most definitely go to waste. Instead, I will keep the items I mentioned last week on hand as well as some Boars Head deli meat, good quality bread, pesto and the ingredients for a white chicken lasagna. Random but it works. Trust me – you need something in your house for lunch people. I love white chicken lasagna and for some reason it seems like the perfect after Christmas dish – don’t ask me why. You can make this ahead of time and put it in the freezer. Then when your family or friends pop over, unexpectedly, you can feed them. I just like knowing I have something in my fridge. Just in case. Plus, I know my family will pop over unexpectedly so this is a necessity for me!
That’s a wrap people. Short & sweet this week. Here’s wishing you a Very Merry Christmas. Sit back, relax, eat all the food and drink all the wine. That’s my motto for the next five days! Cheers!!!
Well, it’s official y’all. The Holidays are upon us. I seriously love the Christmas Season; Christmas cards, wrapping presents, Christmas music on the radio, decorating the house, decorating the tree, taking kids to see all the lights, parades, being off of work for an extended period of time – I love it all. Unfortunately, you have to be Wonder Woman in order to do it all. Just for giggles I researched “Christmas To-Do List” and was FLOORED with all of the results Google came up with. Honestly, I thought one might pop up but oh, no. There were SO many and the number of things you needed “to-do” went on forever. At first I got all panicky, reading all of the things, but then I quickly reminded myself I didn’t actually need to complete any of them. For example, item #3 – Purchase Plane Tickets. For a second I convinced myself I needed to do this – wth? My family lives ten minutes away. And it gets better. #15 – Have all your Christmas cards labeled and ready to send by Dec. 2. NOPE. # 21 – Make a homemade gift. DEFINITELY NOPE. # 5021 – Go to a local Christmas Festival. Maybe. Chances go up if they serve food and wine. My point here is to simply say the expectations surrounding the holidays are just bananas. And you know what? Up until three years ago, I was that insane person trying to complete all the wacky Christmas “to-do’s” on that wacky “to-do” list. For whatever reason I made myself believe Christmas would not be complete or “merry” if I didn’t bake homemade cookies with my children, take them to see The Nutcracker, do the gingerbread house, send out the most perfect photo of our “perfect” family by the 1st of Dec., have all the gifts ordered, wrapped and under the tree by the 5th and on and on and on. The worst part was I did this to myself. My kids and hubs weren’t asking to do all of these things. Nope, this was all on me. I was trying to keep up with the Christmas Joneses and I was losing my mind because of it. But then something awful happened and my world flipped upside down and I no longer had the time to try to be the Pinterest version of Mrs. Claus. And you know what? I like this me SO much better. Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t state that I still struggle to say “no thank you” to invites and quiet the “guilty mom” chorus in my head. I’m a work in progress. But, I absolutely know I’m a much better wife, mother and friend because I was forced to let go of the things that just don’t matter. And Christmas is merrier in my house because the only people I’m trying to impress are the people that live there. So friends, don’t get offended when our four Duffy faces don’t show up on a Christmas card, in your mailbox, this Christmas. I’m not sending one this year – it didn’t make MY “to-do” list!!!
Tip of the Week: I know I said I’m not sending X-Mas cards but please, don’t stop sending them to me!! In years past, I struggled with what to do with all of the cute cards as you hate to just throw them away. And putting them in a pile on your kitchen counter is no good either. Then I found this easy idea on Pinterest that took me all of five minutes to engineer. Cut as many pieces of ribbon as you have kitchen cabinets, long enough to run the length of the door. Open the cabinet, slap some tape at the top and some tape at the bottom – scotch tape will do!When cards come in just clothespin those babies to the ribbon. See my empty ribbons above. By the end of Dec. they will be full of all the faces I love. Such a fun way to display the cards, keep the clutter off your counter and add a simple decoration to your kitchen. Make sure to save the ribbon – I’m going on four years with the same pieces!!
There you have it peeps. My thoughts for the week of 12/2!!! Now, let’s talk food!!
Meal Plan for the Week of 12/2
Sunday December 2nd – Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole: I’m excited about this dish peeps. I have like ten cans of tuna in my cabinet, taking up way too much space. Simple to throw together and super family friendly. Should have leftovers unless you are married to my husband who eats eighteen servings and never gains a pound – what is up with that?
Wednesday, December 5th – Pollo in Potacchio (Italian Braised Chicken with Tomatoes for those of us who don’t speak Italian) – Yum Yum Yum. I love love love this dish. I want to eat this curled up under a cozy blanket, sitting by the fire. The reality is I will be standing in my kitchen, eating this out of the pot. To each her own.
Friday, December 7th – Spicy Turkey and Zucchini Burgers – Get excited people. It’s Friday. And burgers are on the menu. I love this turkey burger recipe – super moist and full of spice. This is not your normal boring turkey burger. Make the sour cream “sauce” – too good not to. I plan to serve this with a side salad unless my kids talk me into French fries!!!
And that was all she wrote. I hope everyone has a fabulous first week of December. Cheers to food, family & friends.
Holy Mother of God. Y’all, I have been in a food coma since Thursday. I actually ate more on Friday than I did on Thursday and became ill. I think I consumed an entire five pound bag of potatoes by my lonesome. But it was so good and SO worth it. My apologies I never got around to sharing creative ideas on what to do with all of the leftovers but I was too full and too tired to make it to the computer. And, since I’m two days behind in getting out my weekly meal plan I’m going to cut this blog super short so you can get to your home shop shopping. OH – one more thing before I go. I’m partnering up with some amazing females this week on Instagram for an unbelievable giveaway. I think the value is over $400. Just follow me on Insta, by tomorrow, for all of the deets – DinnerwiththeDuffys!!
Sunday – Lemon Chicken Stew – I had a recent request for my favorite chicken soup recipe and I didn’t have to think twice to come up with this goodie. Now, I’m sure you are thinking, “it’s just chicken soup so I’ll pass on this one” but don’t you dare. This is the most satisfying chicken soup you will ever eat. The tarragon, lemon and leeks are a triple threat in this one. Perfect for a Sunday.
Monday – Shrimp, Arugula, White Bean Salad – I need the biggest metabolism reset button of my life this week and this little salad is gonna kick it off right. Nothing complicated or fancy here but really good flavor, low cal and easy peasy.
Wednesday – Balsamic Chickpea, Avocado, Feta Salad– I told y’all I was going light this week. I wasn’t kidding when I said I ate myself sick. But, I will add chicken to this one as my husband doesn’t count a chickpea as a protein – more like a garnish. Super quick hump day dish.
Thursday – Grilled Zucchini & Sausage Kabobs – You know how I feel about kabobs (such a waste of time) so I will just stir-fry the sausage and veggies. PDiddy will eat his over rice but I’m going lean this week so no whites.
Friday – Steak and Asparagus Quinoa Bowl – Last day in November peeps. How is this possible? Our Elf on the Shelf, Carter, arrives tonight so I need a quick, easy Friday dish as all of my energy will be sucked up trying to remember to do something with him. Feel free to start taking bets on what time I will sit straight up in the bed, panicked, because I forgot to move him.
There you have it friends. My shortest blog post ever!!! Enjoy!!
Y’all, I know most of the Thanksgiving discussion revolves around the bird but let’s be real – we all know the most delicious part of t-day is the sides. I could skip the turkey, make a meal out of the sides and be one happy human. My mouth is watering just thinking about all of the deliciousness. Last week I supplied you with multiple turkey roasting recipes so this week I’m gonna share my fav T-day sides. You ready? Oh, make sure to read down to this weeks meal plan. I know it’s a funky week but we still have to eat!!
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes – So here’s the thing. I know I’m from the south and I’m supposed to prefer rice and gravy to potatoes but y’all, I just don’t. How can one prefer the seed of a grass species to a starchy crop? (Thank you Wikipedia for making my case) BUT – there’s always a but – cooking mashed potatoes for t-day is a pain in the arse. I know there are a gazillion mashed “p” recipes that tell you it’s OK to make this dish ahead of time but they are wrong – mashed potatoes don’t sit well and they damn sure don’t reheat well. Is it impossible, no. Of course not. But mp’s (can we do this for short) are so much better straight out of the pot – or, in this case, the crockpot!! I found this beauty last year and y’all, it made my turkey day. I think I talked about this recipe for weeks after whatever Thursday t-day fell on. My husband can vouch for me. Just make sure you take into account these mp’s need 3 – 4 hours to cook. Best part – they won’t take up oven/stove space! You can push these bad boys into the corner of your kitchen and forget about them. My kind of dish!!
Paula Deen’s Squash Casserole – I gotta be honest (I looove being honest), a few years ago I would have quickly passed by this cheesy wonder. If I happened to be getting low on plate real estate, this would have been the dish I walked right on by. But, no more. I love this squash casserole. I mean, let’s be real – this is less a squash dish and more a cheese and ritz cracker dish but damn it’s yummy. I know there are plenty of other squash recipes out there, that are more veg than cheese, but I prefer this one. Plus, anything Paula D. puts her name on is good enough for me!!
Stuffing – Gracious there is so much talk about stuffing vs dressing and sausage vs traditional. Makes my head spin. The truth is this – I could honestly eat Stovetop stuffing and be a happy camper. I think we are all trying to re-create our childhood version of this dish which for most of us WAS Stovetop. Am I wrong? What I do know is I love any version of stuffing/dressing and usually alternate between the two recipes below. One is traditional and one calls for sausage. You pick – both are delicious! ( Or just grab a box of Stovetop!!) Simple is Best Dressing or Sausage and Sage Stuffing.
Balsamic Roasted Carrots– You all know I have a love affair with balsamic vinegar. I’m convinced it has magical properties. In my humble opinion, roasting carrots is the only way to go as the process releases the sweetness of this veg. Cook these beauts as soon as your turkey comes out of the oven. The bird will need to rest so you should have time to pop these in and then serve immediately.
Creamy Baked Corn – If you’ve been following along since my first post back in August then this one should look familiar. I think I shared it as a Labor Day side. My sister-in-law is from Pennsylvania and they take their corn very seriously. Who knew? She makes a killer corn cass but uses corn from her hometown, that I can’t find it in CHS, so I found this amazing recipe instead. And it is legit – a real crowd pleaser. It’s perfectly creamy and light all at the same time. And it travels really well too.
Green Beans with Bacon – Nothing against the traditional Campbells green bean casserole but I kind of like my green beans simple. And guess what you can use in this dish, y’all??? Costco frozen green beans. That’s right!!!!! I mean, how fabulous is that? Sometimes simple really is best!!!
Patti Labelles Macaroni and Cheese – Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without macaroni and cheese and this is the most southern mac n’ cheese on the market. Doesn’t get much better than this, y’all!!
Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad – I’m certain some of you are rolling your eyeballs at me for putting a salad on the menu but get over it. This is a gorgeous, easy dish that will impress your guests. Everything about this salad screams fall. Plus, you can make it ahead of time and it doesn’t need to cook in the oven!!!!
Drop Biscuits – So, my go to drop biscuit recipe is in my favorite cookbook (I will be giving one away via Instagram in the next week ,along with other goodies, so make sure to follow me ASAP) and not available online. BUT, I found a similar, super easy, drop biscuit recipe you will love! This is a Pioneer Woman recipe and everything she does is fabulous!! You can freeze these ahead of time and pop them into the oven right before you sit down to dig in!!
Pumpkin Pecan Torte – No, I don’t bake this. I call Ashley Bakery. There are just some things you really should leave to the professionals. Not sure if they ship but if you live in and around the Charleston area, I’d suggest ordering this decadent dessert ASAP.
There you have it. My Turkey Day side favorites. I know I’ve left off a number of yummy staples but these are my tried and true t-day go-to’s…. And one last piece of advice – relax. Thanksgiving is solely about being with friends and family. If the food stinks, that’s OK. Just drink wine, eat cake and laugh with the ones you love. Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Quick Meal Plan for the week of 11/19
Sunday – Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast – Does it get anymore Sunday Supper than a roast? I think not. This will kick your turkey week off right, y’all. The perfect comfort, family, meal. You may even have leftovers so you can skip cooking on Monday!!!