8.04.2014

Back to School with $500 to Zulily!

I don't share a lot of sponsored posts or giveaways, but this was one I thought everyone would enjoy!  zulily is having a back to school giveaway where you could win $500 in Zulily credit!  


Even if you don't have school age children, this is a great giveaway, and I just couldn't pass up the chance to share with y'all!  We're big fans of zulily in this house, I think just about every pair of shoes H has ever owned have come from Keens, TOMs, and StrideRite sales on zulily.  They have such great stuff for kids, mamas, and home at really great prices!  If you're currently a nursing mama, they're also celebrating World Breastfeeding Week: Lamaze Maternity & Nursing Intimates on sale at zulily!


Here are the details about the giveaway:


**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.  I never use affiliate links for companies I don't use myself.**


This week enter to win the zulily Back to School Giveaway where both you and I can each win $500 in zulily credits!  While you're back-to-school shopping on zulily  from 8/4-8/11, pick out your favorite item, (apparel, shoes, accessories, gear, and more), and post a link to that item in the comments section below.  zulily will announce their winner on 8/12, and if we win, I'll announce who my winner is on 8/13!  

Some of my current favorites:

How cute is this outfit for the first day of school?!


I'm a sucker for coordinating outfits for kids, and just love this smocked jon jon and dress for fall!

 



This Bucket Top Construction Train Set.  Oh my gracious, there is a little boy in my house who would absolutely L.O.V.E. this.  He is obsessed with trains and construction equipment, and this would be the best of both worlds colliding for him! 



We're huge fans of Halo Sleepsacks in this house, (I even included them in our list of favorite newborn baby essentials a few weeks ago), and there is a big selection on zulily this week.  We've had to stop swaddling recently because our little lady can roll over now, but I love this sweet Pink Daisy Ruffle SleepSack to keep her warm at night without using a blanket since she's still not great at removing things that cover her face.  The Blue & Green Alligator SleepSack is super cute too!



H got this Rockabye Colt the Pony Rocker for his 1st birthday, and it's still a favorite in our house.  I've seen these rockers, (there are lots of different animals to choose from, and they're all adorable), on daily deal sites several times in the past couple years, and zulily's current price is honestly the lowest I've ever seen.  Great toy at a great price!  If you're shopping for a 1 year old this Christmas, this would be a great toy to buy now and put up for the holidays!

Today is also the last day for the Huge zulily BLOW OUT! Toys, books, girls and boys apparel, plus-size, kitchen gifts and gadgets and much more on sale at zulily!

Ok, I could do add pictures and links of cute stuff all day, but I'll stop there. ;)

Don't forget to pick out your favorite item, (apparel, shoes, accessories, gear, and more), and post a link to that item in the comments section below before 8/11 for your chance to win $500 in zulily credit!

Good luck everyone!

And Happy Back-to-School shopping! :)

Jennifer

7.09.2014

Easy Jambalaya


Anyone else feel like they're still recovering from 4th of July weekend?

We had a wonderful holiday with lots of family time, but having a 2 1/2 year old and a 3 month old thrown off their schedule for 5 days, has been a little rough to recover from.  I made this dish for dinner last week and am just now getting a chance to sit at the computer and write it up-a full week later!

This jambalaya a quick and easy weeknight dinner, and it's all cooked in one pot, (fewer dishes to wash!).  This is a recipe that I've been meaning to share for probably a year and-a-half at least.  While I was cooking it one night, I wrote it out on the back of an old envelope months ago, and have been trying to follow the recipe the last few times we've made it.  If you've ever made our Crock-Pot Red Beans and Rice this has a lot of similar ingredients.

The proteins are easily substituted, we just use whatever we have in the house.  Feel free to sub in chicken thighs for the chicken breasts, add shrimp or other seafood, switch out the sausage, (*I use andouille sausage, but if you can't find it at your market, or don't like the spice, you can use regular smoked sausage), it still works!

There is no measurement on the Creole seasoning because it is so dependent on the ingredients you use and personal taste!  I've made this several times while trying to write up this recipe and have never been able to come up with a consistent measurement for the Creole seasoning.  When we used smoked sausage from the grocery store I used a lot of Creole seasoning, when we used andouille sausage from the grocery store we used a fair amount of Creole seasoning, but when we used some locally made fresh andouille we didn't use any Creole seasoning and it was still spicier than we normally make!  Delicious, but spicy!

This also freezes really well if you have leftovers! :)


Jambalaya
(4 servings)

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 pound andouille sausage* sliced
1-2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 cup white rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Creole seasoning (to taste)


Directions
In a dutch oven, or other large covered pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add sausage and cook until browned. Remove sausage from pan to a plate covered with paper towels.  Drain all but 2 tablespoons of grease from pot.  Season chicken with a little Creole seasoning, (or just salt and pepper if you prefer less spicy food), and add to pot.  Saute chicken for 3-4 minutes, until no longer pink.  The chicken doesn't have to be cooked through at this point.  Remove chicken from pot to plate with sausage.

If the pot looks dry after removing chicken, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, if there is still oil in the pan, skip the extra olive oil.  Add chopped onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until onion starts to turn clear.  Add chopped bell pepper and celery and saute an additional 3-4 minutes.  Add minced garlic and saute 1 minute longer.


In the pot with all the vegetables add in rice and continue stirring until rice turns clear.  Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and dried thyme.  Stir to combine.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, (medium low), and cover.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is almost all absorbed and rice is cooked through.  Season with Creole seasoning to taste and serve.



Enjoy!

Jennifer


Used in this recipe:


6.30.2014

Best Homemade Biscuits {Freezer Friendly}


Growing up we ate a LOT of homemade biscuits.  I have probably eaten biscuits for breakfast on Sunday morning for at least 3/4s of my life.

I love homemade biscuits.

My brothers and I have always been firmly convinced our family makes the best homemade biscuits, they even won a blue ribbon in a four states fair one year.  Needless to say, I have high expectations for homemade biscuits.  That's why I never make them. ha!

After I grew up and moved out of my parents house I didn't really eat breakfast, but the whole having kids thing threw that out of the water.  When you're up at the crack of dawn, it's kind of essential.  My first-born is rotten and refuses to eat anything easy: store-bought bread and jelly, canned biscuits, yogurt, oatmeal, granola, cereal, etc., so he gets a full homemade breakfast every. single. morning.  We're talking toasted homemade bread, homemade jam, eggs, and fruit.  Every day.  I told you, spoiled rotten.

At some point this spring, we got tired of eating toast day after day, (except Saturday, that's pancake day!).  Husband started the search for a good homemade biscuit recipe.  He found this Martha Stewart recipe, and after making it a few times he's switched it up a little and we're now convinced that this is THE best biscuit recipe ever!

These biscuits are flaky and have those amazing layers of a store-bought canned or frozen biscuit, but the flavor of a homemade biscuit.  They're amazing!  As an added bonus, they freeze really well.  So on the weekends husband will make a double batch, (which is really a triple - quadruple batch for our little family), and stick the majority of them in the freezer.  During the week I can stick 3 in the oven for breakfast for me and little man, and 16 minutes later they're done.  It's wonderful!

I realize these aren't the super healthy food we try to eat 90% of the time.  They're not full of junk and ingredients you can't pronounce like store-bought biscuits, but they are full of white flour and good ole butter, (do NOT try to substitute margarine!).  These aren't something we eat every day, but for us born and bred southerners, they're the ultimate comfort food.  Slather on a pat of butter or some homemade jam when the biscuits are straight out of the oven and there's not much out there that'll be 'em.

Just a little note before we get started, this dough is a lot wetter than some, and as such, it's pretty difficult to roll out.  Instead of using a rolling pin, we just pat the dough out and kind of half it and turn it over onto itself instead.  This in combination with using real butter is what leaves those glorious layers and produces a super airy and light biscuit.

Also, when I decided I would continue blogging a couple weeks ago, I decided to not be obsessive about taking food blogger style photos.  Taking pictures of food is really difficult, and I just don't have the time, energy, or skills to make our food look picture perfect.  I snapped these pictures of my plate in less than a minute because I was hungry!  I haven't posted recipes in a while because I can't ever get the food to look as beautiful as some people can in their photos, but I just decided to get over it.  I started sharing recipes on here just to share with my family, and that's the approach I'll continue to take.  I know the food tastes good, I hope I can at least get a photo good enough to show that, but if not, oh well!



Best Homemade Biscuits
(Makes 12 small biscuits)

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 Tablespoons (3/4 of a stick) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup whole milk

Directions
1  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.


2  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Using a Pastry Blender or a fork, combine the butter and flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal.  Slowly add the milk, stirring as you go.


3  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, pat until flat, then fold dough over onto itself and press flat 5-6 times, (see photos).


Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut about 12 biscuits.


4  Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden.



*To make freezer biscuits, follow steps 1-3, place biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer.  Allow to freeze for a few hours, then remove biscuits to a freezer safe Ziploc bag for storage.   To bake freezer biscuits preheat oven to 425, put baking sheet in the oven for 1 minute to preheat, remove from oven, add biscuits and put baking sheet back in the oven to cook for 15-17 minutes.

Enjoy!

biscuits with homemade cherry and apricot jam, scrambled eggs, and bacon - YUM! 
for the record, not my plate! ;)

Hope y'all had a great weekend!  Ours was full of lots of painting!  But more on that later...

Jennifer

Used in this recipe: