Monthly Archives: February 2016

FREE Valentine’s Day Printable!

Free Printable for Starbucks ViaPin
Free Printable for Starbucks Via

My kids gave these cards to their teachers this year for Valentine’s Day.  I was looking for a cute way to give a cup of coffee to my children’s teachers in a new and unique way.  I didn’t want to give a gift card, again.  I remembered that Starbucks makes instant coffee packs and if you’ve read Bob Goff’s book, Love Does you know an interesting story about those via packs.   By the way, it is a good book and definitely worth the read and great for Valentine’s Day.

After looking on Pinterest, I couldn’t find any Starbucks Via Valentine’s Day ideas. So I made my own complete with a cute coffee cup drawing I made.
I hope you enjoy them!

Click here for your free printable!

The Easiest King Cake Ever!

King Cake Edited2Pin

One of the things I miss about not living on the Alabama Gulf Coast any longer is Mardi Gras season.  The revelry and excitement in the air are almost electric.  It is one of the few things that can make a gloomy winter bright and fanciful.  The parades warm the nights with bright colors and lights and equally bright personalities from almost everyone you see.  Even the day parades make the sun seem a little bit brighter and warmer.  For this girl who lives for the life and vitality of summertime, it is a great break in the cold doldrums of winter.

Even the food seems brighter.  The locals break out their best Cajun recipes like Red Beans & Rice (check out my recipe here) Crawfish Etoueffe, Gumbo, or Shrimp and Grits.  The flavors are rich, bold and bright and for the most part so are the colors because they include a handful of wonderful ingredients.  Let’s not forget cayenne pepper which makes everything feel warm!

King Cake is one of those iconic desserts of Mardi Gras.  No carnival season is complete without one and don’t even think of having a party that doesn’t serve one.  Anyone who lives within driving distance of New Orleans or Mobile has at least one grocery store that sells King Cake.  Our Publix, Kroger and Walmart shopping centers all carried them this year.  And my town is at least 357 miles from Government Street.  Not only that, my daughter’s peanut and tree nut allergy means no bakery items.  So, I decided to make my own.

I must admit that I had visions of grandeur and I thought I would make one from scratch using this recipe from Sucre courtesy of Sucre New Orleans.  But my yeast didn’t rise, my butter was too cold and didn’t incorporate well so I threw that dough away much to the dismay of my children.  Once you tell the kids you are doing something fun and different if you don’t follow through it just makes life more difficult.  Knowing that I still had to produce a King Cake, I decided to use a cheat and with wonderful success!

Here is the recipe for my cheater Quick and Easy King Cake!

1 package of Pillsbury Flakey Cinnamon Twists

Green, Yellow and Purple Sanding Sugar

Preheat oven according to package directions.

Open package and set icing aside.

Unroll twists.

Take two and roll into one long piece of dough, preferably with the cinnamon on the inside.

After that twist two of the dough ropes loosely together.  Do this twice.  You will end up with two big rope pieces of dough.

Place these in a circle on a greased cookie sheet and press the ends together to connect both sections of the circle.

It will take a little longer than the 10 minutes the instructions on package direct because you have increased the density of the dough.  It took mine about 14 minutes to bake completely.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 4 minutes.  Meanwhile, open the icing and stir it.  Mine was very thick so I added a drop or two of pure Vanilla Extract and a drop of milk.

Remove the cooled King Cake Circle, to a platter and a pour icing onto the cake.  Sprinkle the colored sanding sugar in blocks of purple, yellow, and green.  Don’t forget to place the baby underneath the cake!






Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie 1(edited)Pin

Green Smoothie 2 (e)Pin

Green Smoothie 3(e)Pin

I do not consider myself a health nut, although my husband who thinks vegetables are the scourge of the earth might not agree. Lately I have been making green smoothies for either breakfast or lunch and have added some ingredients that are even strange and different to me.

About a year ago, I was diagnosed as being anemic. It really came as a surprise but totally explained my need for an afternoon nap and other nagging issues.  It also explained my cravings for steaks, spinach salad and I would say bacon but who really needs a medical reason to crave bacon?

Iron supplements helped but I really wanted to boost my progress nutritionally.  I have a friend who is using diet to help with her seasonal allergies and asthma so I thought that diet might also help me.

I have never been a big eater or a morning person so I have found that this smoothie as a breakfast or lunch alternative meal is very helpful.  I have also discovered that I am not nearly as tired in the afternoons as I once was.

Surprisingly enough I prefer the fruity smoothies without the chocolate.  (I cannot believe I just admitted that!)  When we lived in another state, I was a member of a spa and gym facility.  The juice bar offered the best chocolate peanut butter smoothie I have ever had.  I have no idea what was in it, and my own experiment to recreate it has failed miserably, so at this juncture I will stick to the fruity ones.

Here is my favorite recipe so far…

1 cup Almond milk

1 Banana peeled and cut into half

1/2 cup fresh Baby Spinach

1/4 cup fresh Raspberries

2 tablespoons of Greek Yogurt

1 teaspoon Chia Seeds

Add all ingredients in a blender, puree or blend well.  Enjoy!


Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

Red Beans & Rice edited 2Pin

Happy Fat Tuesday, y’all!

I am so excited that it is Fat Tuesday! I love the Mardi Gras season! Ever since I moved to Mobile, Alabama as a teenager I embraced Carnival and she has loved me back, even as I have traveled and moved away. She lives in my heart and as many in Mobile and New Orleans can attest, will always stay.
Even though I cannot be in my beloved town tonight, my family and I will celebrate and commemorate while having Red Beans and Rice.

I fancy the idea that my husband’s very Cajun family would have loved this dish!

If you, too, are missing Mardi Gras, your roots or hometown, this meal will bring you comfort and a satisfied belly.

Please enjoy Cibbit’s Cajun Red Beans and Rice!

1 large yellow or sweet onion chopped

2 ribs of celery finely copped

1 pack smoked sausage sliced (I used Hillshire Farms Beef)

1 can Hunts Diced Tomatoes

1 large 14-15 oz. can Red Beans, drained and rinsed

1 large 14-15 oz. can Light Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups chicken stock

8 oz of beer or white wine

4 servings of cooked rice (following package directions)

Salt to taste

¼ teaspoon of black pepper       

½ teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon File Gumbo Seasoning

Minced garlic

½ teaspoon onion powder

2 Bay Leaves

In a large pot, (I use my Le Creuset 2 quart Dutch oven) heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil then add chopped onion and celery until well sautéed.  When vegetables are softend, add minced garlic.  Allow to cook for one minute and then add beer, tomatoes with juice, and both cans of beans and chicken stock.  Add all seasoning, stir, cover and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve over rice and with McIlhenny’s Tabasco Sauce, if desired.   

Revelers, Stephanie & Caren, at the Mystic Stripers Society BallPin
Revelers, Stephanie & Caren, at the Mystic Stripers Society Ball