Bring the Coast Home with a Low Country Boil

So you want to go to the coast , but it’s not really doable right now?

How about bringing the coast home to you by throwing a southern low country boil?!

This is exactly what Audley & I did last weekend with Jonathan & Madeline. We set the mood, incorporated just a little themed decor & enjoyed a lovely night in.

I just love seafood, so a low country boil is one of my favorite ways to serve it up. Plus it’s so easy to pull together as you can make it as fancy or simple as you like! While dining outside is preferable, you can always bring this taste of the southern coast indoors. The best part of preparing a low country boil is it’s a one pot deal!

Yep, you read that correctly; one pot!

So how did we set up for our low country boil?

First, we hit up the market for fresh, coastal Georgia seafood. I love being able to support our fisherman, and nothing beats the taste of fresh seafood. If you don’t have access to locally sourced seafood you can use frozen, but try to find things that are wild caught; not farmed.

For our seafood pot we used shrimp, crab legs and littleneck clams. Sticking to tradition we also added andouille sausage, small, red potatoes and corn-on-the-cob.

The beauty of a low country boil is there is no set recipe or required ingredients! We’ve enjoyed occasions where crawfish was the main ingredient and I’ve known folks who added scallops or lobster! It’s all so delicious.

After shopping for all the ingredients, we set up a cozy little spot in the backyard. Our yard is a huge hill, so it’s not the most conducive for entertaining, but we still enjoy our time out back.

We lit up the fire pit, set up the Adirondack chairs, laid out a few blankets, decorated the table with what I call coastal Americana vibes, and hit play on our favorite playlist.

Of course a playlist is completely optional, but if you choose to have one, make it something you enjoy. For me it’s the smooth sounds of 70’s and early 80’s soft rock. About 90% of the music came out before I was old enough to establish my musical tastes, but classic Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4, Steely Dan’s Deacon Blues, Atlanta Rhythm Section’s So Into You, or Christopher Cross’s Sailing is hard to beat in 2020!

Once you have the mood set through you decor and music it’s time to boil up your seafood feast! You can do this indoors or out, over a fire or on the stovetop. The key to this dish is the seasonings & properly cooking everything. I’m all about Old Bay Seasoning or even some Zaterains seafood boil. By far, those two brands are my favorite.

There really isn’t a recipe to follow here: heat up a huge pot of water to boiling. Add several lemons you have sliced as well as the seafood boil of your choice. Add your potatoes, cooking until nearly done, then toss in the corn and sliced andouille sausage. Once those two items are cooked to your liking, add your seafood to the mix (check cooking times so you’re not overcooking your shrimp). It doesn’t take long to cook seafood at all! The entire dish should be ready to eat in under 30 minutes!

There are so many ways to serve up a Low Country boil; the most common one just dumping the cooked pot of food on newspaper. Since I was using a wooden table (not really made for outdoor use), we opted for another method of serving.

A great big serving board!

We added cocktail sauce and melted butter for dipping and our one pot dinner was a one platter delight!

Pile your plate up or eat off the tray; it doesn’t matter! Just dig in and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Nachos

“Eat at home” they say; “you’ll lose weight because it’s healthier than eating out.”

Quarantine weight gain has commenced.

Really, it’s not been too bad since I’ve kept most all junk food of the house, but I’ve given up a lot of my tuna and grilled chicken for full on sit down at the dinner table and savor every bite meals. Madeline is working less and home more, and there are no post workout sushi dates (or a an abundance of workouts), etc, so I’m actually cooking/prepping more food than normal. I try to keep weekend meals exciting while we are staying in right now.

I’m also trying to be more creative which is how I came up with this yummy recipe that’s a knock-off from a healthy restaurant (Clean Eatz) we like to visit in Nashville or Greenville when we’re traveling.

Sweet Potato Nachos, while taking a little time to prep (you need to prepare your chicken and all before the sweet potatoes), are so delicious and healthy which makes them a repeat meal in our home!

Sweet Potato Nachos

Keeping it Healthy at Home

To make these you will need sweet potatoes (one for each person), roasted or grilled chicken seasoned with a TexMex spice (I used the Protein Snack Shop’s taco seasoning), shredded lettuce, onion, jalapeño, limes, salsa and avocado cream (you will have to make this, too).

I highly recommend you use a good knife to cut your sweet potatoes into chips. You will want them thin and even so the slices to cook at the same pace. You’ll need to turn them about 8 minutes into cooking. It won’t take long for them to cook (around 15-20 minutes), so you’ll want to have your other ingredients ready to assemble as soon as the chips are ready.

Sweet Potato Chips

The avocado cream is super easy to make & to keep a pretty green color, make it while the potatoes are cooking. It’s one ripe avocado (under-ripe avocados will be more difficult to process), juice of one lime & 3/4 cup quality Greek yogurt (I like FAGE). Blend until smooth in a food processor.

Healthy Sweet Potato Nachos

Assembling the nachos is just like any others you might make: a layer of sweet potato chips, then arrange your chicken, & veggies. Squeeze a little lime juice over the stack and top with a little salsa and avocado cream.

Sweet Potato Nacho for a Healthy Lunch / ohfiddledeedee.com

You shouldn’t need sides with this, but Mexican Street Corn (as unhealthy as it is) would be so delicious! It’s all about keeping balance!

Click here for the full & printable Sweet Potato Nachos recipe.

What all have you been eating while staying in these last few weeks?

20 Ways to Make “Sheltering In Place” a Little More Sane

Who would’ve ever imagined 2020 would go in this crazy direction when we woke up January 1.  We are 3 1/2 months into the year and I’m ready to return to sender or leap to the future!

Seriously though, we are living in a strange and unprecedented time that honestly I never thought we could or would experience.  There is no doubt that COVID-19 is very dangerous, but everything surrounding it has left so many of us with mixed emotions and a lot of questions.

With schools, business and other things closed and everyone “sheltered in place” life is different for the majority of our nation and other countries around the world.  We’ve seen so many ways people are handling this situation: from freaking out and hoarding, to acting oblivious to everything.  There is nothing wrong with being afraid and worrying, whether it be of the illness itself or the consequences the country is facing because of government orders.  How we express those feelings does make a huge difference though.  At the end of the day, I do know that God is in control and I try to leave my fears and worries to Him.

Trying to keep life as normal as possible is important to me as it offers a sense of security, keeps our home running smoothly, promotes calmness, eases fear, and I want to set an example for my now grown children.

Today I’m sharing 20 ways to “Shelter In Place” that have helped keep me sane and less stressed.

  1.  Open your curtains and blinds each morning to let in the natural light.  I know, we’ve had a lot of rainy days, but even the light on a rainy day is better than living in cave!
  2. Make your bed everyday.  Audley laughs at me on the weekends, because “we’re just going back to bed this evening, why bother?”  But, seriously, walking past my room with a made up bed during the day just makes me feel good and the house feels just a touch more clean, despite the pile of laundry on the chair.img_4633
  3. Change from your nighttime to daytime PJ’s (or hubby’s t-shirts) everyday, and brighten up those jammies by doing your make-up a couple days a week.  You’ll feel so much better!
  4. Catch up on your reading.  Whether you have kids at home, or are an empty nester, use this time to read for pleasure!  Tell the kids you have school work, too.img_3778
  5. Workout.  Yep, all that time you never had for working out, shouldn’t be an issue now.  You may discover after a couple of weeks of walking, jogging, or body weight training that you will want to continue when things return to normal.  Rest assured you will be glad you’ve added exercise to your daily routine! I know different states have different rules right now, but you should be able to stroll around your neighborhood, or hit a trail at a local park.  If you have children, take them with you to let them run.  Just be courteous to those who have the same idea and keep your distance.img_3307
  6. Try a new recipe …. or twelve.  I cook a lot anyway, but good grief since midMarch I have about wore my stove and oven out!  Our grocery bill has increased as well, but I guess that’s off-setting how much we were eating out.7a123289-9022-4a37-9797-5cfffdc28901
  7. Eat cereal for supper.  Just do it.  The kids would love to have Capt’n Crunch while you indulge in some Chocolaty Special K.
  8. Plant flowers. In most states Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware all have curbside pickup. Use it & stop by when you’re getting your groceries.  You can also order things from online from various resources and have them in a few days.  If those options don’t work for you, weed your flower beds, do a little transplanting and trimming.img_3875
  9. Clean out the pantry and spice cabinet.  This pairs well with trying a new recipe as ingredients that are about to expire can be whipped into something unique.  Organize things to that you can easily find items you need: turn labels so they can be read, combine duplicate spice bottles, organize veggies together, etc..
  10. Finish a crafty project you’ve started and put aside. We’ve all got a  cross stitch project only 1/8 of the way completed sitting in a drawer in the living room project sitting around I’m sure.
  11. Refinish a piece of furniture.  That dresser you painted ten years ago and now dislike? Strip it, sand it and stain it! You’ve got a new showpiece and spent little to make it happen.img_3836img_3835
  12. Eat an entire bag of Cadbury Mini eggs in Royal dark edition.  Not that I’ve done that….. Y’all, they are the best!
  13. Set the table.  It doesn’t matter if you use plastic, Tupperware, glass or paper plates; set the table, then enjoy all of your meals together as a family if possible.  This will become a habit you might find you’ve missed.img_4192
  14. Clean out the garage, storage room, or closets.  I know.  A lot of cleaning, but some of us have a wee bit more time on our hands than normal, so use it to your advantage.  This maybe time to plan that yard sale you’ve wanted to have or just haul things off to a donation center.
  15. Picnic in the yard.  I love a good picnic y’all, and with spring arrived here in the south we have had several gorgeous days for dining outdoors!img_4630
  16. Try a family campout in the backyard.  Build a fire, roast hot dogs, make smores, tell silly stories or ask your kids or spouse questions about their dreams and goals.  When the TV is turned off a whole new world opens up!
  17. Organize your photos.  If you’ve got 10 years worth of digital pictures you need to print off, upload them to Shutterfly or some other online service and have them in a matter of days.  You can order albums if you need and never have to leave the house.
  18. Bake.  Yeah, thats a dangerous one for our waistlines, but oh so good!
  19. Build a birdhouse.  Scraps from other projects are perfect for this!  Let your kids paint it and mount on a tree.  See who comes to visit.
  20. Make homemade cards or write notes to friends and family you can’t see write now.  FaceTime is so easy to use, but I an assure you that a piece of old-fashioned mail will truly brighten someone’s day!

 

How are you all handling things right now?  Is it business as usual or has you life completely changed over the last four weeks?  Just know you aren’t a lone and we’re all trying to get through this together!

img_7150

My Hallmark Movie Baking Moment Gone Wrong

Ah… the joys of fall!

I try to savor every one of them; a little at a time as not to burn out on pumpkin spice and of course the traditional autumn bucket list.

It doesn’t always work out the way I wanted and mistakes are generally made.

I suppose I could stress and fret over things, but as parenting four kids taught me, what is the point!?!

Sometime’s you just have to go with the flow.

Last week, Tammie (Talking With Tami) and I headed up to Elijay, Georgia in the north Georgia mountains to pick apples at the beautiful BJ Reece Orchards.

Aren’t we so cute?

It was the perfect 65° Autumn day in Georgia with lots of Rome Beauties to pick from and a gorgeous drive as well!

Girlfriend days are always valued and treasured, as well as much needed, and picking apples is so much fun and most relaxing!

Tammie and I decided we would use the fresh apples we picked to make a yummy apple crisp to enjoy over the weekend.

Gathering together all the ingredients like apples, oatmeal, butter, cream, flour and brown sugar we prepared two pans in the kitchen for our apple crisp.

Everything went so smoothly and seemingly perfect as we sliced and melted and mixed and crumbled the ingredients.

It was truly picture perfect.

As I said, not everything always goes as planned, despite how well you prepare.

If you recall, I mentioned having everything I needed, plus two pans. Tammie and I were just going to split the recipe, so I added more apples. About six more apples to be exact, so our pans were full.

The crisp baked up nicely, and was so pretty when done.

Tammie and I sat down to taste it all served up in autumn bowls, the fresh baked crisp topped with whipped cream…

And y’all…. it was so very, awfully dry!

Oh you could taste the tart crisp apples, but My picture perfect, Hallmark, apple picking and making dessert moment was ruined.

My Apple crisp was dry!

Then I remembered the extra Apple I added so we had enough in each of our dishes…. I didn’t compensate by adding extra of the other ingredients.

So what do you do when you have a dish you want to serve, and no time to make a new one?!

{There was an actual purpose in choosing this dessert}

You Improvise of course.

Heavy cream is what makes this dish so juicy and yummy, so I drizzled heavy cream over the top, sliced a few pieces of butter and popped it back in the oven until heated through again.

Definitely not as good as making it correctly the first time, but still good enough to share, and with no leftovers.

So here is your Lesson of the day: As holiday baking commences pay attention when you are baking, embrace your failures, improvise and pretend you did everything absolutely correct the first time as you set it on the table (after traveling with it to Tennessee) for your Momma to eat as part of her birthday weekend celebration.

Here is my Deep Dish Apple Crisp recipe in full so you can print it off! Keep some extra cream & even butter on hand for emergencies.

Happy Monday y’all!!