Mandatory Appraisals?

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…..

Photo Cred ~ EatWell101

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.

Tuesday, April 9th – Chicken Casserole with Pickled Chili, Mozzarella and Pepper Jack – Stay with me. This is the dish pictured above. Don’t freak because of the pickled chili piece. You use banana peppers, not spicy peppers. You can certainly sub for spicy peppers but the bananas offer the perfect tang! I’ll serve over cauli rice.

Wednesday, April 10th – One Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies – This is a good re-set meal for mid week. Crazy easy and healthy. If you find you need more bulk, add some potatoes. You can’t mess this one up.

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!!

Friday, April 12th – Sirloin Skillet with Vegetables – Just meat and veggies, y’all. This site gives a great explanation on how to “shave” your sirloin but it requires extra steps. I’m just slicing and cooking.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!!

XO ~ Kelly D.


One Fish, Toadfish

I’m super stoked to be teaming up with my current company obsession Toadfish Outfitters, for this post and a sweet Instagram giveaway starting next week. (Be sure to follow me on Instagram for details ~ @dinnerwiththeduffys) So you know, I have the kind of personality that when I find a new product that works (facial, kitchen, home, whatever), I become immediately obsessed. It’s all I can think, talk and write about. Enter Toadfish and their amazing products. I first noticed their gear online and was immediately sucked in to their products, their story, and their passion.  The Toadfish Frogmore Shrimp Cleaner, Put ‘Em Back Oyster Knife and Crab Claw Cutter are just three of their best selling products.  They all look great and perform even better.  As you know, here at Dinner with the Duffys, we are all about eating and cooking healthy, family friendly, foods that do not require a whole lot of time and focus in the kitchen.  Seafood tends to be one of my go-to’s because it’s healthy, adaptable and quick to cook. But, the prep can be a pain – like peeling and deveining a pound of shrimp.  This is why I LOVE the Toadfish guys. Their products make cooking and eating seafood that much easier.  Peeling and deveining shrimp is no longer a tedious task.  It took me no time to peel AND DEVEIN a pound of shrimp.  Let’s be honest – we all know we should devein the shrimp but when it comes down to it, most of us don’t because it takes so much effort – we just eat the poop and tell ourselves it’s nutritious.  But is it?  Really?  Probably not. 

My next favorite tool is the Crab Claw Cutter. Growing up in the Lowcountry, some of my favorite memories are of sitting at a news papered table, covered in steaming blue crabs .  Back then we used the backs of butter knives to crack those suckers.  We would spend hours picking through the whacked shells to get what little meat would could get.  My girls won’t have that same problem.  The Toadfish Cutter “was designed to cut evenly around crab claws in one step, keeping meat intact and shell fragments out. It allows you to create stunning presentations with lobster, blue, king, and dungeness crab claws.”

Beyond creating tools that will save you beau cops of time, these products actually do a hell of a lot of good.  I recently interviewed Thor Rhodin, CMO of ToadFish Outfitters and was blown away by the true heartfelt desire this company has to make a huge difference in improving our waters. When asked how the Toadfish guys got started Rhodin stated, “We all grew up in Beaufort since we were little kids, so the water was ingrained in us whether it was surfing, fishing and just being outside. From a young age we all realized the massive amount of strain that the explosive population growth and urban development put on the waterways we loved and considered our back yards.” From that point on the seed of conservation and preserving what these guys loved was planted. Rhodin continued, “The wheels started spinning and we started thinking of ways we could positively impact water quality and that’s where the oyster came in. The oyster was the perfect solution considering that a single one can filter up to 50 gallons a day removing all the toxins and pollutants we put in as a society. Without oysters we would be in a water quality crisis much like the Chesapeake and New York harbor. When we started Toadfish, SC was harvesting a 150,000 bushels of oysters a year and was only replanting 40,000 bushels of shell a year so we wanted to bridge that gap. So far we have planted close to 70,000 square feet of new oyster reefs throughout the country and are on a mission to continue our efforts.” ToadFish products, which have been featured in national media like Garden & Gun, Coastal Living, Food & Wine, Real Simple, are sold both online at toadfishoutfitters.com and in stores across the country including Sur La Table stores. Do yourself a favor and purchase a Toadfish Outfitters product.  Whether it’s an oyster knife, Toadfish Inshore fishing rod or their “Toad You So” hat, you won’t regret investing in what they are offering.  I know I haven’t. Well, my husband hasn’t seeing as he’s snatched everything I’ve purchased! I’ll deal with him later. 

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 3/31

Sunday, March 31st – Crock-Pot Tuscan Garlic Chicken – I can’t even put into words how excited I am that today is the last day of March. Everyone knows April is by far the best month of all of the months. It has nothing to do with the fact that my special day falls on the 18th – nothing at all. Because it’s Sunday and technically a “splurge day” we will put this over orzo or pearled couscous!

Monday, APRIL 1st – Smoked Sausage and Peppers – A little Cajun spice for you in this dish but you can adjust to your preference. Also, I will serve this over cauli rice to cut down on calories and carbs.

Tuesday, April 2nd – Chicken Jalapeno Burgers – Again with the spice, but you can absolutely remove the jalapeno if you need to. Just use as a garnish instead of in the mix. I will sauté some frozen okra to serve as a side!!

Wednesday, April 3rd – Low Carb Creamy Chicken Stuffed Peppers – You can use a rotisserie chicken for this dish which is perfect for hump day. Just remember to pick your chicken when it’s warm. I made the mistake of picking mine cold, the other night, and it was awful.

Thursday, April 4th – Buffalo Chicken Salad – I know, again with the buffalo chicken but y’all I love buffalo flavored anything. This is not a creamy buffalo chicken salad like last week so chill your jets.

Friday – April 5th – Flank Steak Caprese – Such a perfect Friday night meal. This will take no time to make but looks, and tastes, divine. Serve over lettuce, with a side salad or with whatever you are craving.

BE SURE to follow along via Instagram @Dinner with the Duffys, so you don’t miss the chance to win $100 to Toadfish Outfitters next week!!!!

Healthy, Happy Eating Y’all!

XO ~ Kelly D.


One Fine Day….

Well, I thought we had turned a corner last week but no such luck. Regan came down with the flu on Tuesday – she literally came down with the flu. Fainted in school and all. She’s fine, thank goodness, but my plan to get back on track has been pushed to God knows when. Taking care of children is exhausting but taking care of sick children is a whole different ball game. I’ve learned, this week, that I am not a natural caregiver. #OVERIT. I think I’ve cooked twice this week – twice. Exercise – two and a half times. I started yesterday, got distracted, and totally forgot to go back to my video. I’m so ready to get back into our routine. I need the structure. I really need the structure. If you follow along you know aside from the flu infestation at 111 Duffy Lane, I had other big life happenings this week. Huge happenings, actually. After what I thought was a shut adoption book, I made contact with BOTH biological parents. In the same week. To say I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster is a bit of an understatement. This is how it all went down………
My search angel ( now more like a family member), Daniel, messaged me last Tuesday saying he had located my biological father. I was beyond shocked. I did a little digging and turned up nothing. There was one individual on Facebook who seemed like she could be related to bio dad so I bit the bullet and private messaged her. A day went by and nothing. But, then on Thursday I had an email from one bio dad. Y’all he had no clue about my existence. It was crazy, but long story short, he is very kind and excited to learn more about me and my family.  After connecting with him, I felt like I had to exhaust all of my options and decided to call my biological mother.  Well, that’s not entirely true. I asked my best friend, who had done a little PI work on her own and found out where bio mom worked, to call her. I know, we are crazy – it’s why we are friends.  So, my friend called her.  At work.  And tried her hardest not to give away every detail as to why she was calling, but in the end, she was forced to reveal the real reason she had picked up the phone.  And guess what, the biological mom had never received any of my communication attempts. She had no idea I was trying to connect with her.  Quick lesson here folks – never assume anything.  I was truly functioning, and making decisions, under the idea that she had received and made a choice not to connect. I was wrong.  Life is so surprising.  You just never know what tomorrow will bring.  Two weeks ago I had no medical information, no family history, nada.  Today, I know medical history, the missing pieces of my adoption story and have multiple blood relatives that I never knew existed.  But here is the important part, especially for my fellow adoptees – it doesn’t change anything.  I am still Kelly Regan Duffy, the daughter of Patty and Steve.  The wife of Patrick and the mom of Regan and Ava.  I’m still only 5’1. I still love to cook, eat, drink and be merry. I’m still a very Irish Catholic Charlestonian. I still have the most incredible family and friends in the entire universe.  I’m still the luckiest girl in the world. Now I just have more people to share it all with. And that is truly the lens thru which I see all of this.  Will I get to meet this lovely family with whom I share DNA? I don’t know.  It’s still really early and there are many moving parts. But I think I would like that very much. We shall see.  One day….

Meal Plan for the week of 2/24

Photo Cred ~ Ashley Bakery

Sunday, Feb. 24th – “Fat Sunday” Celebration! We are doing a neighborhood “Fat Sunday” celebration this weekend so I will not be cooking dinner. Instead, I called my favorite, Ashley Bakery, and ordered a King Cake.  I’m hoping the rest of my neighbors are making something really delicious because they are on tap to feed the Duffy’s dinner.  I warned them but they may, or may not, have taken me seriously. So, we may just be eating cake.  IF I was cooking, I would definitely be making my favorite Slow Cooker Jambalaya. ( Make sure to test rice before you turn off crocker – it may need more time!)

Monday, Feb. 25th – Spicy Zucchini Cauliflower Rice – Not exactly family friendly but I have GOT to get my bum back in gear.  I am going on the assumption that everyone in my house will be healthy come Monday so I will be back to my routine, ready to cook, eat healthy and TAM! (Tracy Anderson, y’all. My exercise of choice) Don’t forget to purchase the frozen cauli rice! Oh, and I WILL add chicken, chicken sausage or flank steak to this recipe to beef it up. Pun intended.

Tuesday, Feb. 26th – Lemon Thyme Grilled Salmon – Again, purchase frozen cauli rice here. Will save you some much time and effort. Once you have microwaved your rice, add some fresh lemon juice and thyme to give it some additional flavor. Just a straight forward, healthy dish here, y’all. Oh, with avocado – if you want. I always want.

Wednesday, Feb. 27th – Teriyaki Chicken Bake – Super family friendly to make up for the spicy Monday meal. Feel free to sub out veggies and use what you have on hand – peppers, asparagus. Get crazy!

Thursday, Feb. 28th – Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa – Pretty straight forward blackened chicken recipe but the cilantro lime “crema” takes it to a whole new level! You can sub cauli rice for the quinoa or just serve with a veg or side salad.

Friday, MARCH 1st – Spicy Thai Chicken and Quinoa – Sorry for the quinoa overload this week. Just happened that way. It’s March y’all. MARCH. I’m so excited because we get to kick winter to the curb and bring on the spring. I hate the winter. Plus, spring in Charleston is just so good. Flavorful dish here people. Again, sorry for the spice. You can back down on the chili sauce if you need to.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends! Remember to follow along on Instagram – dinnerwiththeduffys!!!

XO – Kelly D.


Don’t Stop Believing

I’m so sorry friends. This week has been bananas. Ava had the flu, and a crazy high fever, up until Thursday so juggling work and illness proved to be exhausting. And there were other things. Actually, some pretty unbelievable things. I don’t have enough time to go into all of the details but I promise I will next week. Long story, very short, I have made contact with BOTH biological parents – this week. I have spoken to one and have emailed with the other. It’s insane as I truly had found peace in only every knowing what Daniel had found – which was so much more than I ever expected. I had packed up my emotions into a very neat suitcase and that was that. Or so I thought. Life is funny, y’all. As I said, I promise to share more of the details next week but time will not permit today. Just wanted to make sure you had your meal plan before Sunday Shopping!!

Stay Tuned!!

Sunday, Feb 17th – Chicken Wild Rice Cass – Not to get sappy but I can’t let this post pass without mentioning this Sunday is my Dad’s birthday. As you know, my Dad passed away almost four years ago. He was my person, y’all. I miss him every single day but truly believe he is now at peace. This Sunday I am making this comforting chicken and rice dish in his honor – we will gather around the table to eat, drink and be merry and toast to the best, my Daddy-O!

Monday, Feb 18th – Strawberry, Basil Chicken – My plan to be uber healthy last week didn’t exactly pan out. I HAVE to reign myself in this week people. This really light, chicken dish will help. You can add fresh mozzarella to this dish too – beef it up!

Tuesday, Feb 19th – Broccoli, Lemon and Browned Butter Pasta – A friend shared this Cooking Light recipe with me and it looks delicious. If you can’t find whole grained shell pasta, just sub any other whole grain pasta. Family friendly here, y’all.

Wednesday, Feb. 20th – Crockpot Carnitas with Pork Tenderloin – It’s been awhile since I pulled out my crocker but so happy to be doing so this week. There are a gazillion of these recipes but this one looks a little different so we will give it a try! Instant Pot will work here too! Note to self – still need to purchase one of those….

Thursday, Feb. 21st – Korean-Style Pork Chops – I need to hit up Costco this weekend mainly because I found this recipe and now I am dying to make it. I will probably just do some frozen veggies or some kind of quick veg with these!! Yum.

Friday, Feb 22nd – Chicken and Artichoke Quinoa Cass – I love artichokes – they add such a yummy, tangy flavor. Use a rotisserie chick with this dish to make it even easier. Perfect for a Friday!!!

That’s it! Can’t wait to chat next week. Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.