The Only GOOD Thing About This Cold Weather...WARM FOOD!

Not being a fan of the cold weather and having WAY too much of it here in the south this year, I have not only built fires and piled on the layers of clothes but also done my fair share of cooking "warm meals".  These mostly come in the form of soups and chilis and often times that comes with getting into a "food rut".   Therefore,  I tried a little different twist on my chili the other night that I thought you might also like to try!

I don't eat red meat so I always make my chili a Turkey Chili, however, you can use whatever type of meat you prefer.  The first thing I did was to chop up a bell pepper and onion, pour a little olive oil into my pot and begin to let them slowly sautee'.

After the onions and bell pepper had been sauteing for a while, I opened a can of corn, drained it and poured it in also.  After this had cooked together for a while, I then added my ground turkey (seasoned with salt and pepper) and started browning it with the vegetables.
After the turkey had browned, I drained off the excess liquid and sprinkled on some chili powder, a can of chili beans and one can each of regular diced tomatoes and Ro-Tel tomatoes, along with a little water.  Stirring this all together, I left it to simmer while I made my bread.

I decided to make a corn waffle to pour the chili over.  It was actually very simple but just the little twist I needed to change up my plain chili...
                         Just make your cornbread mix up using the directions on the package.
Heat your waffle iron up to the highest setting and then pour some of the mixture in to fill it up.  Let it cook until golden brown...
                                                And then pop it out and place it in a bowl.
Spoon the steaming hot chili over your cornbread waffle and top with shredded mild cheddar cheese and sliced avocados (a spoonful of sour cream and even a few sliced black olives would be good too!) and there you have it..."Chili with a Twist"!  Ummm...This was SO good and the perfect meal to serve on a cold winter night.


It's My "Birthday Month"

February is my "Birthday Month" and I decided this year that I would celebrate the entire month.  HEY...don't judge; I like to celebrate!  Down south, February is a pretty special month.  Most years it marks the last month of winter for us but apparently Mother Nature got a little confused this year and has dumped more cold weather, along with ice and snow than we are used to.  It is also the month that crawfish season begins and Kings Cakes are baked and Mardi Gras balls abound.  And let's not forget the holiday of love, Valentine's Day.  So, with my birthday fit perfectly in there,  on the 19th, I decided to declare the entire month mine and celebrate a little every chance I got.

I was in Cleveland for the first of February and indeed had plans to celebrate the entrance of the month, however, I got that terrible cold and had to wait a couple of days.  But celebrate with my girls eventually, I did.  The first thing we did was to go have pedicures.  Now, pedicures with a baby in tow may not sound like much fun to some people, but Holli is the perfect baby to take to something like that because she is the "Rocking Baby" of our family.  She likes to cuddle and rock so I figured that she would be OK at the nail spa.  And as it turned out, she climbed right up in my lap and went to sleep. Perfect relaxation for all!

With snow on the ground and our toenails freshly polished, we then zipped across the road to a quaint little restaurant and sat by the fire while eating our dinner.  Looking over the menu, I decided that we would order dessert that evening (something I rarely do) and all three share celebration of my "Birthday Month", of course!
This dessert was called, "S'mores".  Two HUGE toasted marshmallows sat upon melted chocolate, garnished with graham crackers and fresh sliced strawberries.  DELICIOUS!

Once back in New Orleans, the first thing Robby did was take me down to Saks to look for a birthday present.  Saks?!  OH My GOODNESS!  He had his mind set on getting me a new pair of shoes.  And everyone knows that I LOVE shoe shopping.  The kids met us down there and the salesman brought out tons of beautiful shoes that I tried on and modeled for Robby and the kids.  The best part?  I didn't look at the brand or price of them...they were going to be a present!

            After a good deal of trying on the most FABULOUS shoes, THESE were the WINNER!

Saturday morning, Ryan made us all a brunch reservation at a restaurant we had never been to before, Atchafalaya...
There's nothing like brunch in New Orleans; they just know how to do dining "Right"!  I had the 2 eggs over easy, atop 2 jalapeno corn cakes, topped with a Hollandaise sauce.  This was also served with Crystal Hot Sauce potatoes and another side of alligator sausage (which I chose not to get).  One word for this meal...YUMMY!

And Saturday afternoon, I got to see one of my favorite Broadway plays, "Beauty and the Beast"...
All I can say is, Disney just knows how to do EVERYTHING right!  No matter how many times one sees this show, it is still "Magical"!

We finished up the weekend by ordering out for pizza and having my first taste of a Randazzo's King Cake for the season and, of course playing with my sweet Beckett.

                          Pretty good start to a "BIRTHDAY MONTH", don't you think?!
                                      Yes...It's my "Birthday Month".  I get to wear the crown!


Why YES...I WILL Be Your Valentine!

I made it home on a Wednesday and then as fate would have it we had snow blow through our sleepy little southern town on Friday for the third time in as many weeks!  Have I mentioned how "Over" the white stuff I am lately?!  It didn't snow for long and didn't stick either so I suppose that made it OK.  I was not only anxious to get out of the northern climate but was also looking forward to a weekend trip to New Orleans to see my "Littlest Grand", Beckett!
So when I opened my mail to find this, all I could do was SMILE and say, "Why YES...I WILL Be Your Valentine"!

It had been a month since I had seen Beckett in person; what would we ever do without Face Time?!  He had his own "sleep over" at Poppi and YaYa's in early January but since that time OH, the things he had learned to do!  Almost crawling while he was here, he had now taken off and was into everything!
He now can follow people around whenever they leave the room.  He especially liked to follow Uncle Ryan Poo around to play with him this weekend.
And if you hadn't noticed, although he seems to be the "Best Dressed" little boy around, he prefers to be without clothes!

Here is a video I got the other day that proves a kid really doesn't have to have a lot of toys to play with; just give them the boxes and paper...or in this case a clothes basket!  I'm glad they caught this moment, however,  because I'm pretty sure a laundry basket can't contain this growing boy any more.

And when we visited this weekend, I found that David and Codi have also found many other uses for a laundry basket than for clothes.  I personally think it's pretty inventive to use it for bath time!

 Beckett's crawling skills were followed very quickly by pulling up too...

While we were in New Orleans, we did a good bit of dining out.  I know I might be prejudice but this is one really well behaved little boy while in a restaurant; much better than his daddy was!(he he)
                                         Beckett and Poppi having some laughs over brunch. 
                                   OH...How could anyone resist those BIG BROWN EYES?!
      And so how could I NOT say YES to being this little SWEETHEART'S VALENTINE?


A Cold In The Cold...Not Cool!

Well, I made it to Cleveland and back but could not find the energy to blog at all while I was there.  It wasn't just the cold that got me, it was the fact that by the time I arrived in that Arctic weather, my "sniffle, sniffle, cough, cough" had turned into a full blown cold that has still not gone away.  Yea...having a cold in the Arctic cold was really NOT cool!

 This is what Caitlin's front yard looked like the day I arrived  See...I told you I needed some boots that came up to my knees!
And this is the view from my room.  I opened the blinds each day to see if it was snowing or perhaps even if the sun was out (By the way I don't think I saw it the whole time I was there...).  However, notice that the street can actually be seen in this photo; I'm told that's a good thing.

Anyway, I went to Cleveland to keep Caitlin and Holli company while Kevin worked a week of nights shifts.  When I visit, I usually help her cook and clean, along with getting her out of the house to shop and dine out some.  Well, the day I got there, we did get out to go to the yarn shop and out to eat that evening.  However, when I awoke the next day, I knew that I was getting pretty sick and needed to get even more medicine in my body before things got out of hand.  I ended up getting an antibiotic called in and also picked up some Tylenol, cough syrup and cough drops while I was there.  Unfortunately, Caitlin ended up cooking breakfast for me the first few days I was there and one day I didn't even get out of my pajamas until 5 that evening when I ventured out to grocery shop with her.
This is the day we drove to Sam's to get more medicine at the pharmacy.  When we got out to go in, the snow had just begun to fall again (sigh...).

I was determined to keep going no matter how I felt because I don't get to spend much time with my girls and I wanted to make the best of things no matter what. 
  We just bundled up with warm clothes every day (Yes...those are my ski pants I'm wearing there!),
                                    And ate out every day instead of cooking this time around.
We even got a pedicure one day.  And Holli took a little nap while we did so (Just call me the Baby Whisperer...He-He!).
                   And, of course, Holli and I did a good bit of snuggling every day too.

As it grew closer to the day when I would be leaving, the news began talking about another winter storm that would be heading our way...the night before I was to fly home (ugh...).  I called Robby and got him to check that report out and he said he thought I would be OK.  I wasn't so sure about that.
When I opened my blinds the next morning, this is what I found!  (Notice you can't see the street any more...).  Not only had it snowed all night, it was STILL snowing.  I was getting pretty worried for sure now and immediately turned on the news to see what they were saying.  I also called Robby again to get him to check things out.  The news said that there had been about 2,000 flights cancelled due to this storm; I just hoped that mine wasn't one of them. 
When I saw planes flying over Caitlin's neighborhood, I guessed that my flight would be OK.  But once we got on the road to head to the airport, I was a little scared about that.  This is one of the roads that we had to drive on to get to the highway.
                                             This was the highway that led us to the airport.
                                                      And this was the airport runway!

I couldn't believe that we were going to actually take off in that weather.  All I could see in the distance was snow plows continually running back and forth.  But board that plane,  we did.  We then taxied out and sat there for about an additional  15-20 minutes while they de-iced the plane.  At that point I was just praying that we got out of there safely and I got back to the south.  I needed to be back in the south.  I needed to see the sun again. 

Well, I made it hope with no problems at all this time and was so happy to see not only my hubby but grass and roads without ice and snow on them.  But I was sad that Caitlin and Holli had to stay there in that Arctic Tundra.  No problem...we just scheduled them a flight to come south themselves in about a week and a half so they can hopefully enjoy some warmer weather, the sun...AND some crawfish and king cake!  HEY...I've said it many times before..."There's no place like HOME...And the south!"