Life Lately

Nat King Cole only had it partially correct when he sang about those “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” – the crazy part. There has been nothing lazy or hazy about our 2019 summer. I’m not complaining – the not having to do homework or get to bed at a certain time is fabulous. But, the quintessential “summer pic” of a mom, sipping on a cool glass of lemonade while watching her kids play in the pool, is just hilarious!! Patrick and I did get a little break last week. We dropped our two off at Camp St. Christopher and they had a blast. I can’t tell you what we did – I honestly can’t remember!!

Not sure about where you reside, but here in Charleston, it’s getting too hot to eat anything but cold soups and salads. There aren’t enough cold soups I enjoy so I’m opting for salad options this week. Don’t worry – they aren’t your typical boring lettuce and protein mixtures – healthy, flavorful and simple is where it’s at this week! Enjoy!

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 7/14

Sunday, July 14th – One Pot Summer Pasta: This recipe is adapted from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Everyday is Saturday, by Sarah Copeland. You have a ton of room to play with this recipe as you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. I used zucchini, tomatoes and kale but any combo will be divine. I know, I said all salads, but pasta and veggies is kind of salad-y, right?

Monday, July 15th – Summer Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes and Zucchini: Again with the pasta but this @Skinnytaste recipe is crazy low in calories and full of flavor. To make this a meal, instead of a side, I tossed in some sautéed shrimp but I think I will do grilled chicken, or rotisserie chicken, the next time I make this one. ( Chicken Sausage would be great too!) I also added a half a cup of yellow and red chopped bell pepper for added crunch. Kid Tip – the beauty of this recipe is all the veggies are raw so you can add them in at any point. One of mine is a veggie eater, and the other a Chick-fil-a eater, so I pulled some plain pasta salad out for her, prior to adding the veggies.

Tuesday, July 16th – Spicy Tomato – Cucumber Salad: Spice + Salad = the perfect combo in my book. I love turning up the heat on lettuce. I added steak bites to my salad but any grilled protein will do. Kid Tip – Spice and kids don’t usually mix so I chopped extra cucumbers and tomatoes and served them plain, with a dippy sauce, and the steak bites!

Wednesday, July 17th – Chicken Zucchini Casserole – Have ten free minutes? You have the time to make this guy. I would let Regan make this recipe if I trusted she wouldn’t lick her fingers after touching the raw chicken. I suggest using chicken tenderloins, instead of breasts, or cube your chicken as the full breast takes too long to cook. If you opt to cube or use tenderloins, check this dish after 25 minutes. And play around with this one – I added tomatoes but artichokes would be awesome too.

Thursday, July 18th – Turkey Taco Bowls: This is a meal prep, lunch, recipe but it’s perfect for a family dinner. I served the adults over romaine lettuce – having a serious love affair with romaine lettuce these days – and put the taco meat in tortilla shells for the girls. I also used the pre-packaged taco seasoning instead of making my own because, well, it’s easier. If you use the pre-packaged stuff do not add water. The turkey will cook down and create enough liquid on it’s own!

Friday, July 19th – Hamburger Skillet with Thousand Island Dressing: I think I’ve shared some version of this recipe before but THIS @thymeandjoy guy is my favorite. The thousand island is on point. A few things – I subbed non-fat greek yogurt for the mayo, in the dressing, and I used soy sauce, not coconut aminos. KID TIP – serve the meat mixture on hamburger buns for a “sloppy joe.”

I hope you and your family have a wonderful week! Please tag and share your Dinner with the Duffy food pics on Instagram!

Cheers! XO ~ Kelly D.


App, App, Baby

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:

Goat Cheese, Basil Dip with Honey; Avocado Yogurt Dip w/ Veggies; Neiman Marcus Dip; The BEST Black Bean Hummus; Herbed Goat Cheese; Big T’s Crab Dip; Spicy Tuna Poke and Avocado Cups; Caesar Salad Cups; Boiled Old Bay Shrimp; Antipasto Salad Kabobs; Ceviche;

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)

Hot Ham Sammies; Crab Rangoon Dip; Cheesy Sausage Dip; Hot Corn Dip Wonton Cups; Spinach, Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip; Baked Brie; Crack Dip; Gruyere, Bacon & Caramelized Onion Dip; The BEST Hot Artichoke Dip; DwtD Buffalo Chicken Taco Cups (Recipe Below):

For 12 Cups:

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 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

Ava’s written message on our kitchen wall. Not sure what is above said message?? I really think it’s a dragon, y’all!!

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.

XO ~ Kelly D.


Worth the Wait??

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…..

Photo Cred ~ @Simply Recipes

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.

Tuesday, May 7th – Steak and Asparagus Quinoa – Straight forward. Easy. Filling. Go.

Wednesday, May 8th – Weight Watchers Goulash – One of my favorites. Family friendly and low cal – takes no time to throw together.

Thursday, May 9th – Balsamic Chicken and Asparagus – I am always shocked at how flavorful, yet simple, this recipe is. It is one of my favorite chicken and veg dishes, hands down.

Friday, May 10th – Skinnytaste Tuna Noodle Casserole – All of the Friday night, family feels, in this one. Not only low calorie, but it cost about $10 to make. My kind of recipe.

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

Happy, Healthy Eating Y’all.

XO ~ Kelly D.


Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hi y’all!! Apologies for not posting last week but I just didn’t have it in me. The girls and I have been on spring break, since the 18th, and I have been doing a whole lot of nothing and loving it. I just felt like I needed to allow myself the opportunity to disconnect from all the things, including Dinner with the Duffys. This is my last day of nothingness and I’m a little down in the dumps if I’m being honest. For the past seven days, I have been sleeping until 9AM, drinking my coffee on the back porch, by myself, and relaxing in the sun. It has been magical. I was supposed to be switching out winter/spring wardrobes, packing up my china cabinet and other monotonous tasks but none of it happened and honestly, I could care less. Sadly, it’s coming to a screeching hault – reality will hit like a ton of bricks come Monday. Patrick will be out for most of the week and we have a gazillion tennis, soccer, swim, school and work things that just happen to fall in the one week he can be of no assistance. I hear you loud and clear universe – I’m getting off my arse. This coming week also happens to be a tough one for me, emotionally. Tuesday marks the four year anniversary of my dad’s suicide. In the past, I’ve tried to ignore this day because quite frankly, who wants to acknowledge the day of a loved one’s death? But here’s the thing – I have found pretending this anniversary is no big deal makes it an even bigger deal and does me no good. Surprise, surprise. So this year I’m going to allow myself the space to grieve because honestly, it’s what I believe I need. I think of my dad often but between work, the kids and all of the other things, there is just not enough time to miss him and feel the impact of his loss in my soul. And I need to feel the impact of his loss even if it is only once a year. I think my brain has been telling me this for four years but I just never stopped long enough to listen. Well, I’m listening this year.

If you are struggling with depression, or know someone who is, call the number below. It’s never too late.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 4/28

Sunday, April 28th – Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Tacos – I do not need a cheat day this week people BUT, it’s Sunday and my family needs a family Sunday meal. Just sets us up for the week. These tacos are fuss free and super tasty. Cut back on hot sauce if your kids do not like spicy food – or just add hot sauce to your tacos after they cook.

Monday, April 29th – One Pan Italian Chicken Skillet – Veggies and chicken but in a not so boring way. Balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning kick this super healthy dish up a notch. I have a late work meeting and Ava has a soccer game so I will be meal prepping on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 30th – Sheet Pan Roast Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes – Here’s the thing – I plan to cook tonight but I may end up throwing the girls into the car and having a picnic on the beach, or something equally as out of the ordinary. If I do decide to cook this sheet pan option is fantastic and should provide enough leftovers for lunch or Wednesdays dinner.

Wednesday, May 1st – Healthy Burger Bowl – I love this recipe link as it gives you a multitude of options for this one dish. I will make turkey burgers for the family – by make I mean pull out frozen turkey Bubba burgers – and serve mine in a bowl and theirs between buns. I’m leaning towards the pickled onion, avocado and balsamic option myself.

Thursday, May 2nd – Warm Chicken Salad – No, my kids will not eat this as a salad – Ava might but never Regs. I will use a rotisserie chicken, give them the drumsticks, potatoes and a little lettuce on the side. Everyone is happy – sort of.

Friday, May 3rd – Baked Garlic and Onion Chicken Wings – Y’all, I have never made chicken wings. Isn’t that bananas? I don’t know why – I like them but I guess I just never thought to make them. Well, all of that changes today. I’ll serve these with my go to Costco green beans and call it a night.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.


Year in Review

The next time you read one of my blog posts I will be one year older. Yep, my “day of me” is 4/18 and I will be thirty eight years young. Hard to believe, honestly. As of now, numbers don’t bother me so much. As long as I’m alive and kicking I’ll take it. I’m trying to think back to this time last year and to tell you the truth, I can’t really remember much up until I started the blog. Not sure what that says about my 37th year from April – August but oh well. Now from August to current, that I remember. I was gifted two huge surprises during my 37th year – my blog and my family. Let’s start with the blog. I can not put into words, although I will certainly try, how exhilarating, terrifying, frustrating, time-consuming, rewarding and powerful Dinner with the Duffys has been for me. I never in a million years would have imagined I would have the courage to put my thoughts on paper for all of you to read. A gift I hadn’t realized I so badly needed. Something just for me. Something that was only mine. And not a new dress or a piece of jewelry, no. Something to help me grow from the inside out. Blogging has been such an adventure and it will most definitely go down as my number two all time from my 37th year. On to number one – family. My family grew quite a bit during my 37th year. As most of you know, I located and connected with my biological family a few months back. Hands down the best thing that happened to me this year. I started my 37th as an only child, not knowing a thing about myself, biologically, but will close with three half siblings, more familial knowledge than I could have dreamed of and a family that has welcomed me with open arms. What a gift. Love. I was gifted additional love this year, y’all. For those dying to know, I have made a real connection with my maternal fam and we are all meeting up this summer. Wild, right? You just never know. #1 thing I learned in my 37th year – you have to learn to leap if you really want to live. I’m so damn glad I leaped.

365 days y’all. Each year we are gifted 365 days of wonder. How spectacular. What will you do with yours? I plan to challenge myself a bit in my 38th year. I want to be bolder, stronger, less concerned with what people think – hell, not concerned at ALL about what people think. I want to take more risks. Live in the moment. Dance in the rain…all of that stuff. My birthday wishes for myself. Let’s just hope I can blow out all of the candles!

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 4/14

Sunday, April 14th – Mediterranean Tuna Salad – My mom broker her back last week – she’s OK now, thank God, but I need to make her something that will travel well and please a crowd. Enter this recipe! I have been waiting for a good reason to make this – awesome twist on your typical tuna noodle cass.

Monday, April 15th – Pepper Steak Stir-Fry – Perfect Monday meal. Crazy easy to throw together and NO marinating necessary. My favorite kind of meat dish. Serve with brown rice!

Tuesday, April 16th – Mediterranean Grilled Chicken + Dill Greek Yogurt Sauce – I love dill. Weird because I don’t love pickles. Go figure. This recipe does require you to marinate – sorry. Try to do it the night before and make the sauce too. I’ll serve ours over lettuce!

Wednesday, April 17th – Skinnytaste Turkey Meatloaf – Skinnytaste does everything delicious. Honestly. Gina Homolka is a genius. Great family friendly option here. Serve with a veg and call it a day.

Thursday, APRIL 18TH – (AKA -BEST DAY OF THE YEAR) – Cajun Asparagus and Sausage Skillet – No, I’m not cooking tonight. My friends are taking me out for a night on the town. P will be home cooking and enjoying this healthy and hearty dish!

Friday, April 19th – Chopped Turkey Burger with Thousand Island Dressing – I can’t get that light Caesar, from last week, off of the brain, y’all. It was bananas good. I’m giving this burger salad a try – will sub greek yogurt for mayo.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends. Cheers to you!

XO ~ Kelly D.


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.


Kitchen Renovation??!!

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.

Wednesday, March 27th – Parmesan Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Garlic & Herb Veggie Spirals – This is an overnight marinade, y’all. Just a heads up. Personally, I need the reminder as I can’t ever remember which ones require marinating. I’m excited to try this dish – new spin on a staple!

Thursday, March 28th – Buffalo Dill Chicken Salad – Doesn’t get much easier. Super adaptable. I will probably do a greek yogurt, mayo split but you do you, y’all.

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!!


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.


No Regrets


Hey y’all.  I want to take a quick second to thank all of you for your heartfelt messages, emails and comments.  They mean so much to me.  I am overwhelmed by the number of adoptees who, because of my post, are reaching out to Search Angels.  I hope you find as much success, and comfort, as I have.  So, where did I leave off?  Oh yes. Last week, Daniel had begun unraveling my genealogy in hopes of finding my biological mother.  Well, are you ready?  He found her.  Truth be told, Daniel was pretty sure he had found her ten hours after he started my search.  TEN HOURS.  I mean, it’s unreal.  Answers to questions I had been mulling over for thirty seven years came to him in ten hours.  It’s still hard to believe.  Here are the specifics. Last week I received a text message from Daniel stating he was pretty sure he had found my biological mother but needed to do a little more research.  Thirty minutes later, he texted he was sure.  I was without words, and for those who know me, I am never without words.  My first question was, “Does she seem normal?” Daniel ( God love him, he already needs to pray for patience after dealing with me for ten hours) responded that she was alive and all signs pointed to stable. To tell you the truth, I was unbelievably calm.  I think it was just so surreal that I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around the whole thing.  Daniel asked if he could call me the following evening, so, for the next 20 hours, I was in a holding pattern.  I started to get extremely nervous about an hour before Daniel was set to call me.  Thank God my neighbors are my friends and allowed me to babble for 45 minutes straight.  I was about to receive information that would change my life, good or bad, forever.  My phone rang, and Daniel asked if I was ready.  First, he emailed me a copy of my grandfather’s obituary. Next, a picture of my biological mother’s engagement announcement.  When I opened the second email, I could not believe my eyes.  I felt as though I was looking at a picture of myself, minus the 80’s hair.  Words do not exist to describe such a moment. When you have spent your entire life wondering where your nose, eyes, chin, mouth – every single feature – comes from, and then, in one second, all of your questions are answered.  It’s earth-shattering.   From there, Daniel sent me my entire maternal family tree, dating back to 1742. He built my entire maternal family tree.  This stranger spent days searching for my relatives, just to give me something.  He has no idea what he has done, not just for me, but for my children and their children and their children’s children. There is so much more that transpired, but I know what you are waiting for.  Did I reach out and connect with her?  Well, yes and no.  I tried but no response thus far.  Everyone keeps telling me all of the rational things – she may not have received my messages or she may no longer have that address or she needs more time.  All of these are plausible and could certainly be true.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say some part of me believed as soon as I hit “send,” my phone would start ringing, and she would be on the other end of the line.  But, it didn’t, and that’s OK.  Just like with any other let down in life, I have to find the good in the situation.  And you know what, I don’t have to look far.  I am so blessed by all that Daniel has uncovered. I have names, pictures and stories.  Pieces of information I never thought I would have. But most importantly, I was given the opportunity to thank her.  To let her know she can be at peace knowing she made the right decision all of those years ago. So no, I don’t have any regrets about hitting “send” back in October.  It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but worth every single moment.  Adoption is the most incredible gift a human can give, in my humble opinion.  It is not something that happened to me, but something that happened for me.  I am the luckiest woman in the entire world, and I am more empowered than ever to try and not waste a single second of this unbelievable life an unbelievably strong woman gifted to me thirty seven years ago.  If anything changes, I will certainly let y’all know. Now, to the yummy stuff!

Meal Plan for the Week of 1/27/19

Photo Cred ~ Blue Apron

Sunday, January 27th – Spiced Shrimp and Pearl Cousous – I adore pearl couscous. It’s one of my favorite foods. Not quite sure why, but I just really love it. I will not have verjus rouge but no doubt will have some kind of red wine on hand to sub instead!!!

Monday, January 28th – Sriracha Tuna Salad Wrap – If I survive this week I will be pleasantly surprised. The girls have a performance this evening so I will have zero minutes to cook. My plan is to throw this super easy tuna salad recipe together Sunday so all I have to do is throw it in a wrap, or on top of lettuce, when we get home. Feel free to double if more than two are eating:

1 can of tuna, 2 tablespoons greek yogurt or mayo, 1 tsp of soy, 2 tsp sriracha (or more depending on your heat meter). Mix it all together and that’s all she wrote. I will top mine with avocado because everything is better with avo.

Tuesday, January 29th – Lemon & Dill Baked Cod – I have a HUGE work event on Saturday so I need really easy recipes. This one is just that and obviously healthy to boot. Feel free to sub any white, flaky, fish!

Wednesday, January 30th – One Pan Sausage, Potato & Asparagus Bake – Super straight forward, family friendly option y’all. You can use green beans if you don’t like asparagus – honestly, you can do you in this dish. I love the idea of sausage, potatoes and asparagus so I’ll keep mine as is.

Thursday, January 31st – Roast Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans – This is a spice rubbed tenderloin, which can be hit or miss, but I really enjoy the flavors in this one. Even better that you don’t have to marinate the thing. I always forget to marinate.

Friday, February 1st – Super Easy Stir-Fry – I will sub chicken for the turkey breast peeps. I have my Costco chicken in my freezer so no sense buying something I don’t need. Love a good stir-fry!! Is it seriously February?

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.