Gift Ideas for Foodies

Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 | 0 comments

It is the final countdown! Christmas is less than two weeks away! We moved out of our house and we are officially “homeless” until we move at the beginning of January. Luckily,  I decided to get a jumpstart on my Christmas shopping this year. I only have one more gift to buy and a few left to wrap. But I wanted to share a few of my favorite things for food lovers in case your still looking for a few more ideas!

GOOD EGGS NOLA

Good Eggs

Give the gift of local food this holiday season. Good Eggs NOLA allows you to order fresh produce, meat, and dairy directly from the farmer. You can pick-up your order from one of their many pick-up locations or they will deliver it to you for $3.99. You know exactly where your food is coming from and you can shop from a variety of growers and local shops in your community online. Lately, I haven’t been making it to the farmer’s market, because Saturday mornings seem to either be packed with lots of things to do or we are spending the time being lazy at home. Good Eggs offers gift cards which can be used in any of their regions: San Francisco Bay Area, Brooklyn, Los Angeles & New Orleans. They also have amazing gift baskets filled with local products for the holiday season.

 

DELCIOUSLY ORGANIC COOKBOOK

Deliciously Organic

Who doesn’t love a great new cookbook? My husband gave me this cookbook for a our one year wedding anniversary (Since paper is a traditional first year gift). If you haven’t heard of Carrie, be sure to check out her blog. She is actually a fellow southerner and she has some amazing recipes on her blog and in the cookbook. Right now, if you purchase her cookbook on the blog, you will get a 3-month meal subscription for free! She also has great grain-free adaptations for anyone who is following the paleo diet.

VITAMIX BLENDER

Vitamix

This one is a bit of a splurge…but I promise you won’t regret it. We actually got our Vitamix from my husband’s grandmother who had decided to buy a new blender. You should have seen my face when she said she was going to give us hers. I was so stinking excited! This thing is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It makes the best smoothies in the world and it can practically blend anything. I’ve also used it to make yogurt in a tube, and most recently to make baby food for Weston.

 

CAST IRON SKILLET

Lodge

I received this cast iron skillet as a wedding gift from a very dear family friend. If you are going to cook southern food, you NEED a cast iron skillet. I use my skillet when cooking deer, rice and gravy, and southern cornbread. When using my skillet, the meat browns to perfection and the gravy develops a rich flavor.

HOMEMADE GIFTS

Granola

And don’t forget about our homemade holiday granola from last year. You can print labels for a mason jar and wrap up your granola with a simple bow. It is super tasty too!

I would love to hear your other gift ideas for food lovers! Has anyone else tried Carrie’s cookbook or ordered from Good Eggs NOLA? What about a cast iron skillet? What is your favorite thing to make in yours? We would love to hear about it!

 

 

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Canada, Eh?

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 | 0 comments

This southern girl is moving to Canada. Yes, I said CANADA. Pretty much the polar opposite of the south. Alberta, Canada to be a little more specific. Even though the move has been in the works for about 8 months, I can hardly believe it myself. At this point, it pretty much seems like a fun vacation. The movers will be here on Friday to pack our house and my usual type A personality has taken a little vacation of it’s own. There is so much to do to prepare for the move and the holidays but somehow I keep coming up with excuses to delay packing and prepping. Our house is one giant wreck with boxes and suitcases everywhere. It is pretty bitter sweet for us because this is the first house we moved into after getting married and this was Weston’s first house. We have so many great memories here. Plus, we are moving very far from all of our friends and family. Even though we are moving out of our house on Friday, we aren’t moving to Canada until the beginning of January. We will be spending some time with both of our families before the big move. I am pretty excited about spending the holidays with our families but packing for a 7-month old for 5 weeks should be pretty interesting.

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I love to travel and I pretty much take every opportunity to see a new part of the world. So, another part of me is very excited about this little adventure. I am already planning trips for us to take to see different parts of Canada and the northwestern part of the United States. I also think that it is going to be quite the adventure learning to live in the extreme weather of Canada. I’ve been trying to find Weston, my husband and I the warmest clothes imaginable but the selection is pretty slim in southern Louisiana. My husband has a few colleagues who are from the area, and they have been sending us pictures of the snow, and the temperature readings from their cars. They are pretty much laughing at us because they know we have no idea what we are in for. We’ve heard that the temperatures can get as low as minus 40 degrees fahrenheit (Yes, I am serious!!)!!!! But I am determined for us to learn to adjust because I do not want Weston and I to stay cooped up in the house all the time. Any northerners want to give me some advice? :)

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Never in my life have I been so thankful for my cooking skills. I have to say that one of the things I will miss the most is the AMAZING food in New Orleans. My husband and I are big time foodies and we love the flavorful food here. You pretty much can’t go wrong when picking a place to eat. But don’t worry, I will be cooking up some white beans, shrimp and corn bisque, and gumbo while we are in Canada. I hope to play around a bit and master a few other classic southern dishes.

I will try to keep posting during the holidays and as we settle into Canada. But no promises….

Fingers crossed for a “warm” winter! Ha!

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 | 0 comments

Brussel sprouts are one of those foods that most people turn their nose up to without even trying. I have a theory that most people who say they don’t like vegetables, just haven’t had them cooked to pure deliciousness (Yes, that is a word!). So many people don’t know where to start with cooking vegetables. While heating up a can of vegetables and adding some salt and pepper has it’s place, I promise it is not the same as roasting winter squash  or stewing fresh okra. My husband used to think that he didn’t like any vegetables. He wouldn’t touch anything that was green! Now, he will tell you that green beans and roasted carrots are some of his favorite things to eat. Brussel sprouts are one of those things I used to think I didn’t like. Until I was studying abroad in Spain during college and my host family made brussel sprouts with a vinegar dressing. This is my sweetened variation on that recipe. If you think you do not like brussel sprouts, please give this recipe a try! They roast until golden and crispy in the oven and then they are topped with an amazing honey vinaigrette.

Start by trimming the ends off of the brussel sprouts, cutting them in half, and removing the outer leaves. Then, be sure to rinse them.

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Next, transfer the brussel sprouts to a bowl and drizzle them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.

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Add them to a baking pan and roast in the oven on 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes. While the brussel sprouts are roasting, make your honey vinaigrette. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey to a bowl. Whisk together.  After the brussel sprouts have roasted for 15 – 20 minutes, toss them in the vinaigrette.

Add the coated brussel sprouts back to the pan and continue roasting for another 5 – 10 minutes until crispy and golden.

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Roasted winter vegetables are making me ready for Thanksgiving next week! We have our first Thanksgiving celebration this weekend and I can’t wait to eat some turkey. What are you guys cooking up for your thanksgiving feast? Any Naturally Southern Food recipes?

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 | 0 comments

My little guy will be 6 months this week and like every other new mom, I am completely beside myself. Where did the time go? I had him in his highchair this morning and I couldn’t get over how big he is! He was sitting up in the highchair, playing with the toys I laid out for him and grabbing whichever one caught his attention. I remember when I was amazed that he was starting to make eye contact with toys. We get to experience another big milestone this week. Solid food. I’ve heard from many other moms that it is not always as exciting as it sounds because it can be a fight to get any food into their mouth and it can also be quite messy. But we are still pretty excited. I have been dying to make baby food for my little one since I babysat for a family during graduate school. The family gave their baby fresh avocado, butternut squash, figs, peas and other fresh fruits and vegetables they had on hand. And since I love to spend time in the kitchen, it looked like so much fun! I am really hoping to expose Weston to many different fruits and vegetables as a baby.

I decided that I am going to give Weston butternut squash as his first food. It is in season right now and I’ve also read that babies love the sweet taste of squash. When I picked up some squash from the farmer’s market, I couldn’t help but crave some butternut squash soup for myself.

 

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I made the soup using only butternut squash, but you could easily add some roasted apples, carrots, and/or pears to add in a few more fall vegetables. Even though the squash has to roast for 40-50 minutes, there isn’t much hands-on time required to make this recipe. I ate the soup with a grilled cheese sandwich and it was the perfect meal for the beautiful fall day we had last week. There is something about the smell of butternut squash that finally made it feel like fall around here. I’ll keep you guys posted on how Weston likes squash. Wish us luck! :)

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 medium butternut squash
  • 1 small onion
  • Olive Oil
  • 2-3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (depending on the consistency you want)
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
  3. Drizzle butternut squash with olive oil.
  4. Roast squash for 40-50 minutes or until soft.
  5. While squash is cooling, heat olive oil in a pot.
  6. Simmer onions for a few minutes until soft (about 3-5 minutes).
  7. Scoop out the roasted squash and place in the pot.
  8. Add stock and seasonings.
  9. Simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to mix.
  10. Blend using an immersion blender (or regular blender) until soup reaches desired consistency.

 

 

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Enchilada Sauce

Posted by on Nov 3, 2013 | 0 comments

Enchilada sauce is a great way to add quick flavor to anything!  The problem is all the extra ingredients most canned enchilada sauces contain. I have found some versions that only have a few ingredients, but they are usually pretty pricey.  The solution, of course, is to make your own!This recipe is for a single serving, but you could easily double, triple, or even quadruple it and freeze the extras.  I like to do this so that when its 6pm and I am trying to figure out what’s for dinner, I can just grab a bag out the freezer and make tacos (or whatever else…)

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Enchilada Sauce
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Recipe type: Tex Mex
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1½ tsp cumin
  • 1½ tsp minced onion
  • 3 cloves smashed garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp oregano
Instructions
  1. Melt coconut oil in a pot
  2. Add flour, tomato sauce, and water.
  3. Cook on low heat while whisking until it cooks (about 5 minutes)
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook about 5 more minutes on low heat.
  5. If you are freezing it, let it cool to room temperature before transferring to bags to freeze.

 

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Sauteed Kale

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 | 0 comments

The fall temperatures are FINALLY starting to arrive down here. Weston and I have spent almost every afternoon on a picnic blanket in our backyard soaking up this wonderful weather. I could literally spend every minute outside right now.  He’s been a little on the fussy side lately. I’m not sure what’s going on. Allergies? Teething? Separation Anxiety? Who knows? But outside is one of the only places he is happy and we are definitely taking advantage of the weather.

With Weston being extra fussy, I have had little time to prepare dinner lately. Kale is finally starting to pop up at the farmer’s market and organic kale was on sale for $1.99 a bunch last week at Whole Foods. One of the most versatile ways I like to prepare kale is to simple sauté it. Now this isn’t rocket science or anything but I thought I would share because I think so many people think the only way to eat it is in a salad or as kale chips (which are amazing by the way). You can serve the sauteed kale as a side dish, with some quinoa or add in some basil and parsley and serve it on top of pasta.

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Sauteed Kale
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Wash the kale and remove the large stalks.
  2. Tear or cut kale into smaller pieces.
  3. Heat oil in pan.
  4. Add onions and sauté until soft.
  5. Add kale and saute for about 5 minutes or until it reaches desired tenderness.

 

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Real Food in my Real Life

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 | 1 comment

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.  A long while.  I haven’t managed to finish anything but I am going to right now.  Here goes.

I loved starting this blog with Kasie and I love the idea of real food.  While Kasie was eating real food before we began this blog, I wasn’t (although I like to think I was eating well). And even though I strive to have good and nutritious food for my family, reality is that I have three kids between 7 and 3.  And they don’t always love whole-wheat things or anything for that matter.  My reality is also that I am at home and my husband works full time and is in the Navy Reserves.  Although it sounds like I have a ton of time to myself to cook and write, I spend most of the three hours my youngest two kids are in preschool working out, running errands, and in the carpool line.   If I’m lucky I can unload the dishwasher.  I spend the rest of the time refereeing my two boys to make sure no one loses an eye. So since I couldn’t adhere to the real food rules, I was having a hard time posting.

My reality doesn’t lend itself to real food- whether we are talking about time or money- I can’t seem to find enough of either.

So I’ve talked with Kasie and decided that my input will be from my real life.  Not the life I wish I had where I make all our food from scratch and my kids eat vegetables.  That’s not where I am.   I am here- in my life.  So here goes.

Tonight I made baked pork chops with mashed potatoes and roasted okra.  As we were eating, I realized that I unintentionally made a real food meal!  See how easy that was?  I am working on my baked pork chops- I will share it soon.

Its nice to be back on Naturally Southern Food.  I’ll see you soon!

 

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