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!!!
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:
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)
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
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.
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 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!!
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!!!
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!!
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!
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.
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!!!
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.
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!!!!
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!
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.
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?
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. IfI 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!
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!!