Louisiana Bride: December 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Spicy Ranch Almonds

When it comes to recipes, my favorites include the most unhealthy appetizers you can muster up. I just love a good app. 

Jeremy's step mother Sandra makes the most amazing Spicy Ranch Crackers, y'all these things are addicting. Like hide and don't share addicting. 

Hence my need to healthy them up a bit. 


I decided to take the flavors she uses, but make this favorite snack of mine less guilty by taking out the cracker and oil and replacing it with egg white and raw almonds.

The first time I had these amazing crackers was after our horrible wreck that totaled my favorite car of all time, leaving us to get Sandra to drive us the 9 hours back to the Deep South to our tiny apartment.

The only thing that made my sad little car situation better were those crackers, I just snacked away until the whip lash was no longer in the front of my mind.

Mmmm, crackers.


Like I said though, you just can't eat those crackers very often without needing to live the remainder of your day at the gym.

Considering how much I love almonds, and the amount of Cocoa Almonds I've been known to consume, it was high time to take that delectable cracker and place it on an almond.


Spicy Ranch Almonds


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups raw salt-free almonds
1 egg white
several dashes of ground cayenne pepper (as spicy as you want them)
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Mix

Directions:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a small bowl beat egg. Add almonds to mixture and toss to coat. In a separate bowl combine all other ingredients. Remove almonds from egg white mixture with a slotted spoon and add to dry ingredients. Toss almonds in ranch mixture and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 275 for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.


What other almond flavors should I make? 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Meal Pinning Monday

Holiday food is finally coming to an end and it's time to detox from all that candy. 

But we won't be doing that just yet. 



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Monday - Eating out

Tuesday - New's Years Eve App Night >>> Best Cheese Ball Ever, Spicy Meat Ball Sandwiches, and Apple & Poppy Seed Coleslaw

Wednesday - Pork Chops with BBQ Beans, and Fried Cabbage

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - It's time again for the annual 2 Day Cleanse. 

Saturday - 2 Day Cleanse

Sunday - Nanny's recipe, not sure which one just yet

Now it's your turn! Link up and share what you're cooking the first week of 2014! 

Friday, December 27, 2013

High Five For Friday

It's Friday, which means break is nearly over... hot dang. 

We're headed to the chilly land above the deep south, so next week's H54F will be a lot more interesting. 


1. We rarely get Starbucks, but Jeremy made traveling a special occasion and let me get a Gingerbread Latte. It was so, so good. However the cane trucks swarming the roads gave me enough anxiety that the only thing keeping me sane was the coffee. Oh dear, sweet, coffee.

2. Once we got into my hometown we were able to hit up my favorite BBQ restaurant on earth, Pig Out Inn. If you are ever in Natchez (where I'm from) or Canton (near Jackson) be sure to hit it up. You won't regret it. We even had Pig Out Inn as our rehearsal dinner.

3. Mama Chia snack pack, go get you one. It's those little applesauce things for adults. With chia seed. Holy happiness chia pack!

4. Have you taken the NY Times dialect quiz? I'm thinking it hit me spot on considering I grew in right by Natchez, MS and lived in Monroe forever for college.

5. Tamales. We haven't had tamales in years, seriously. Nanny hadn't made them in forever, so when it came time to make them I thought it would be best to do it with the whole crowd around. Especially since Pop warned me that rolling them was intense. I happily rolled my heart out with the whole family and then stuffed my face to make up for the 5 or so years without a single Nanny made tamale.

How was your Christmas week? 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 13 Recipes in 2013

The year is coming to an end, and there is only room for one more recipe post before 2014!

2013 has definitely been a recipe heavy year for Louisiana Bride, and I have to say I've enjoyed finding my niche. Here is a little recap of our most popular recipes from the past year, plus a few of my favorites that barely missed the mark.

Top 13 Recipes in 2013


1. Ginger Cucumber Detox Juice


2. Clean Eating Green Pancakes


3. Clean Eating Pancakes


4. Healthier Chicken Spaghetti


5. Honey Maple BBQ Grilled Pork Loin


6. Jeremy's Iced Coffee


7. Almond Joy Coffee Creamer


 8. Beet Carrot Apple & Spinach Juice


9. Gluten Free Peanut Butter Pumpkin Brownies


 10. Cantaloupe Carrot & Orange Juice


11. Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding


12. BBQ Kale Chips


13. S'mores Cake


Now for my top 3 favorite that barely missed the list!

Saltine Cracker Toffee






What recipes should I make in 2014? 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wishing You a Merry Christmas

... and a Happy New Ear!

Wait, you don't say New Ear?

Just kidding, that's how the 3 year old was singing it last night while looking at lights.

We wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy New Ear!


I hope you all have a wonderful, family filled, Christ centered holiday!

Full of goodies and treats, lights, laughter, jokes... and hopefully not any of the candy I burned yesterday.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Mother's Chili

Sometime last year I posted my mother's Chili recipe for the first time, without the photos though.

So the other night when I was making chili for the 10,000th time I thought I'd break out the camera and attach a photo to the post.

I'm chili picky, and not traditional Texas chili picky. I want beans in mine. Almost like a Taco Soup with different seasonings.

A few weeks ago I had planned to make or beloved chili recipe that takes all day in the crock-pot, but got to work and realized I never put it together. So when I got home I quickly defrosted the meat and tossed it in the pressure cooker.

Same amazing chili, in less than 30 minutes.


To start brown your saute your onions and brown the meat. I used turkey this time.

I know a lot of people like to do these seperate, I however have always started the onion and then tossed the meat in to save time. I can't tell a difference in taste. Don't forget to add the garlic right before the meat is browned all the way, and don't let it burn.


After your meat and onions are cooked through toss in everything else... like you see in the first photo. Attach your pressure cooker lid, correctly or you'll regret it. Turn the heat up to high and let it go until you begin to see steam and the little bobble thing (that's what I call it, I know it's not correct terminology) bobbling around.


Once you get the cooker going and the cooker has locked itself, that's something mine does, turn the heat down between medium and medium high. You may have to adjust throughout to keep the temp high enough to had your bobble gauge jumping around and squealing the whole time. 

Once you're set, set the timer for 15 minutes and let it go. 

Aftert 15, unscrew the steam bobble thing and let the steam release, quickly lowering the pressure. Do not open the lid before the pressure is completely down, it's be a hot mess. Also remember, even though the pressure is down there is still a lot of steam, open the lid away from your face. 

Serve this up with rice, sour cream, cheese, green onions, and enjoy! 

Lisa's Chili

What you need:
1 lb of ground beef (or turkey)
1 large yellow onoin
1 clove of garlic
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 can of Rotel
1  1/2 tbsp chili powder
salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste

What to do:
Brown meat with onions and garlic. Drain off fat. Mix with the rest of the ingredients in a crock pot and 8-10 hours, or follow the directions above to make in less than 30 minutes in a pressure cooker. Serve with rice, green onions, sour cream, and shredded cheese (optional). 


This recipe can easily be doubled! To save money you can reduce the beef to half a pound and add more red beans or other types of beans to the mix. This is another recipe that will go a long way when served with rice and bread ( I usually make Jiffy corn muffins). The only real expensive ingredient is the beef and optional toppings...and that is why they are optional. I only use them if I have them on hand or if I feel like spending the money on another overly priced bad of shredded cheese. We ate this a lot during the fall and winter as kids and it went a long way for a family of 4 with a lot of rice involved. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sometimes the Internet is an ugly place.

Back when blogs meant nothing, we had no advertising, no one was sponsoring jack, photos were awful or totally nonexistent, and your only readers were you mother and grandmother....people said what they wanted to.

Oh I know I did, I vented.


I would verbally throw up whatever garbage happened in my day at work, and it was totally okay... because social media was barely existent and nobody read.

Anyone remember that 6 months I lived in Monroe finishing graduate school while Jeremy was in South Louisiana starting grad school?

Well for the LA Bride newbies here, those were the days when I said what came to mind. Completely unfiltered.

The only roommates we could muster up were two of Jeremy's guy friends, they are great guys and probably made life a lot safer for me, but I was highly irritated one night and nearly crucified a good friend over the internet.

Did any good come from my explosive comments about living with two guys? Nope. It just caused more arguing and bickering. Let's face it opposite sexes who have no interest in dating each other and basically treat each other like siblings will tear each other apart.

I took the post down within a day, but three years later I still regret writing it.


A long time ago I came to the realization with blogging that the world was a nasty enough place and I wanted the bloggers I read and became friends with to be positive and influential (in a good way).

I wanted to walk away from reading a post and think, "Wow that's such a good idea!"

There are enough mean spirited writers looking to knock someone down on the ever famous GOMI, and the dozen Mckmama and PW hating blogs. There are also more superficial materialistic touting crazies out there that if I were to be sucked into their realm I would trash our lifesavings just to "keep up with the bloggers."

Y'all have bad days too, I'm sure that just like me you have no desire to read the negatives. Work is hard. Kids are hard. Let's face it, marriage is hard.

So why be negative and look to tear each other apart?

Why jump on the crazy bandwagon and spend your energy and reputation on, well.... crazy?

Over the summer I had the chance to work with a big blogger as part of their intern team. One of our biggie deal breakers was that they didn't want us trashing talking on our blogs and social media and people relating that to their site.

It made sense, if everyone linking to your site verbally flies off the handle Google will eventually decide that you do too.

I guess I just don't get why people act so crazy, so publicly.

3 am. In a small crowd of trusted friends. Yeah, I'll say whatever I want.

On the internet. Where I could lose my job. Potentially have other teachers or parents reading this mess. Um, heck no you won't get any crazy thoughts out of me. It's just not worth it.

Besides, the amount of personal information bloggers post (myself being guilty of it) has the potential to make readers think that they "really" know you. To the point of running into people out in pubic and they make comments about things you said and totally taking it out of context.

This little internet in just a slight window into the soul, and just like text messages... you can't hear tone all that well.

So before we put something out there maybe we should consider a few things.

1. Not everyone shares the same views. Don't intentionally put things out there that are explosive in a negative way. Is what you're sharing nice, does it help someones, what good does it do?

2. You can't really read tone. I may mean one things and you take it another way. A post meant to be funny and sarcastic could easily be taken as mean spirited.

3. Don't be so quick to judge and attack everyone. Putting out a nice, encouraging vibe is so much merrier than snarky and sour.

Just be nice people.

Meal Pinning Monday

This week we are at the beginning of the Christmas road trip, also known as my hubby's family is super spread out. The only meals I'm sure of is what we are cooking this week at my parent's house... one meal I've promised a certain three year old he could help cook!



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Monday - Pioneer Woman Meatballs with Rigatoni and Cherry Limeade 
(the 3 year old picked this out... luckily I convinced him to not go for donuts and limeade like he originally wanted)


Tuesday - Nanny's Hot Tamales, Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip, PW Salsa
(Christmas Eve is the appetizer day, then we get hot chocolate and go look at lights that night. This year we are spending the day with my Pop making Nanny's amazing tamales, y'all will see the recipes soon!)


Wednesday - The Christmas Spread! Mom's Marshmallow Fudge, Cracker Toffee, Cinder Toffee, Turkey, Stuffing, Rolls, Green Beans, and Hashbrown Casserole




For the turkey every year Mom uses the PW turkey brine with a few changes, this stuff is the most amazing poultry brine on earth people! 


I'll also be sure to take a picture of the fudge and post it, Mom has the best fudge, but I just can't seem to make it myself. 

Now it's your turn to share your recipes this week! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

High Five for Friday

It's Friday!

Let's recap:)


1. I made this amazing Saltine Cracker Toffee and posted it here... it went quick. I'm about to try out a recipe for Honeycomb Toffee next.

2. My Timehop has been full of pics from when we went to Italy 2 years ago, and I'm desperately missing the travel. Luckily we are wandering about over the summer. I seriously need a plane ride every once in awhile just to keep my travel bug at ease.

3. The week is ending, and my Christmas teas are in full swig. Grades aren't due until January... but I plan on having this all done before I leave work today.

4. Driving through town with Jeremy we noticed a car with a 140 mile marathon sticker on their truck. Y'all, who the mess actually thinks running that far is necessary? I don't have the attention span to drive that far without getting irritated.

5. I promised my kids I would bring The Muppets Christmas Carol and even went so far as to have it put on hold at the Library to make sure I could get it. Well at 5:30, half way through yoga, I noticed that I had yet to go by the library and had to run there looking like a sweaty nut in hipster glasses since my decided to disappear. Story of my life. People probably think I'm homeless ha!

What's everyone's Christmas plans? 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our 2013 Christmas Card

Since everyone has received out cards this year... I should have ordered more than I did, I thought I'd share it here with our bloggy friends.

I loved where we took it this year and my sister did a great job of taking the pics, in case you're wondering it's at the Elizabeth Academy on the Natchez Trace.

I took screen shots from Minted, so the quality isn't that great.



I went with post cards this year and was so glad I did. The paper quality from Minted was great and it saved money not having to buy more expensive stamps. 

Considering I did post cards for our Save-the-Dates years ago, I loved the idea of doing them again. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tacky Sweater Party 2013

This is going to be more of a throwback blogger post "Wordless Wednesday" than anything else. 

Or a hodge podge of our friends making werid faces. 

Or their own faces, however you want to take it.



This past weekend we went back to ole Thibodaux to hang out with our close friends and have the annual Tacky Sweater Party. 


There was some Cajun Christmas that went down, and I may have come out lucky as a dog on it!

Every present I opened was stolen, so I got to keep opening. 

Right up until I pulled my own present...

Then no one battled me for the purple Camelbak water bottle. 

Score!

(all of our guys work out so if I got a neutral color they would have taken it... and I melted my Nalgene bottle and needed a new one lol)


The pics came out kind of grainy until I gave in an used flash, oh well. 



Jeremy scored Wuggle Pets, I think our grown men had more fun than our resident 4 year old.





Word on the street is that Gavin made the bottom fall out, that didn't stop anyone from consuming s'mores. 

Then again I don't think much would stop our crowd from sitting around fire... even a the smoke being trapped over us. 


 Remember that toffee recipe from yesterday, it makes a great s'more. 


Sarah in the smoke haze, from where we were sitting and the way the wind was blowing, we were trapped under a smoke cloud. No bueno. 


Those Wubble Pets? 

Turns out Sarah loves them... so much so they were sitting on the couch wearing her antlers.


It was so good to hang out with our little group again. There is just something to be said about hanging out until 3am with friends that know everything about you and let it all hang out. 

I just love that I can say whatever comes to mind and the girls just laugh and carry on. 

Seriously, it was a great night... but we have gotten too old to pull all nighters.

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