Tuesday, April 22, 2014

J Gumbo's Inspired Spinach & Mushroom Etouffe

As you know, my family LOVES food with flavor and my guys LOVE LOVE LOVE spicy food.  This being said, my guys are partial to Cajun food.  In fact, I don't think there's a Cajun food that they don't like...well, except my youngest.  He prefers his vegetables to be highly processed......processed in the form of cow, pig, etc.  Yes, as much as I adore veggies, he steers clear of them

Sorry, I'm digressing.  Back on topic.  With this amazing love affair with Cajun food, my boys all time favorite restaurant in town is J Gumbo's.  To bring a bit of this flavor home, I previously shared with you my recipe for J Gumbo's Inspired Drunken Chicken.  Well, during Lent, J Gumbo's has a meat-free treat, Spinach & Mushroom Etouffe, that my husband and I adore.  It's a "limited time only" offering so that meant I needed to head to the kitchen and create my own version of....

J Gumbo's Inspired 

Spinach & Mushroom Etouffe

J Gumbo's Inspired Recipes

Trust me, if you like flavorful,spicy foods and are looking for a vegetarian option, you'll LOVE this.  My recipe makes a HUGE batch so you can enjoy some tonight and freeze some for dinner later.  Are you ready for the recipe?    Here you go!


  • 1/2 cup coconut or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers diced (or two green bell peppers)
  • 3 ribs celery diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 4 oz. white mushrooms cleaned and chopped
  • 1 pound fresh kale, thick stems removed and torn into pieces
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, cut/torn into bite sized pieces (remove all thick stems)
  • 8 - 10 cups water
  • 6 Tbsp chicken soup base
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1-2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp file powder, optional

  1. In a large stock pot, place the kale, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Cook until the kale is soft (approx 20 minutes).  Turn off the heat, remove the kale and place in a blender.  Add 1 cup of cooking liquid to the kale and process until smooth.  Set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, make a roux by cooking the oil and flour together. Cook until your roux is the color of peanut butter
  3. Add the onions, peppers, and celery to your roux and cook about 10 minutes or so (until your vegetables have softened).  Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Add the water (to cover), pureed kale, spinach, chicken soup base, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cayenne, white & black peppers, and file powder.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Then, turn the heat down, cover, and simmer 1 hour or so.
  5. Taste and add salt if desired.  Serve over rice and if you'd like, top with some steamed shrimp or crawdads.

My husband and I LOVED this recipe and I hope you enjoy it as well!  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gro-ables from Miracle-Gro Really Make Gardening Easy

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gro-ables for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

A few weeks ago, I shared with you a new product that will helpfully cure me of my black thumb: Gro-ables from Miracle-Gro.  These pods take all the guesswork out of gardening and are guaranteed to grow when used as directed. They only cost $1.29-$1.45 per seed pod (depending on the market) so Gro-ables are a great way to try growing something new! 

Well, winter really hung on around here and so the only way I could plant my new Gro-ables pods would be in a pot.  There was just one catch. I was going to be in Cleveland, OH for a week+ due to my husband's open heart surgery....I was afraid I wouldn't be able to give my newly started seeds the attention they deserved to give these Gro-ables a try.

Well, I'm finally settled back at home and I am so ready to begin my gardening season.  So, I gathered up my supplies:

  • 3 Gro-ables:  one tomato, one spinach and one basil
  • 3 Terracotta Pots
  • My favorite potting soil:  Miracle-Gro Moisture Control

Now I really want to do this correctly so I watched the following video before I planted my Gro-ables pods.

Wow, planting  Gro-ables really is easy.  I just covered the drainage hole with a stone (to keep all the soil from draining out), added some potting soil, removed the label from the Gro-able pod and placed it in the soil, and then watered each pot.

Can it get any easier than this?  But that's not all.  Check out how well these really work. 

Yup, in just 5 days, my seeds are sprouting!  I really am going to have some amazing home grown food from my garden this year!

I can't tell you just how psyched I am.  I'm off to pick up some more Gro-ables so I can create an amazing Salad and Herb Garden.  There are so many  different types of gardens that you can create with Gro-ables and you can find some great inspiration at Sprout It.

I can't wait until these plants are mature and ready for harvesting so I can make my white pizza and share my recipe with you.  Why don't you pick up some tomato, basil and spinach Gro-ables too?  This way you can make some white pizza too!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Project Stash & 5 Tips for Bloggers

I am super psyched!  Tonight is not only The Project Stash Party night but it's also the beginning of a.....

Facebook Flash Giveaway!

If you've never participated in a Facebook Flash giveaway, here's the skinny.

18 bloggers each have a giveaway item that they have posted on their Facebook Page. Just visit each blogger, like their Facebook Page, and answer the question that they posted.  I'm giving away a $15 Hobby Lobby gift card.  There are all sorts of items like gift cards to Starbucks & Amazon.  To get started, just click HERE.  Oh, you have to act fast.  This giveaway only last 24 hours!

Now let's check out the features from last week's Project Stash.

The Easiest Way to Map Images from Pretty Scraps Studio Designs
Password Organizer from Petals to Picots
Glitter Digital Tape from A Typical English Home
Google+ Tips and Tricks from Krafty Cards Etc

I found a lot of great tips for my blog with these link ups.....I hope you find some goodies as well!

Okay, now are you wondering how you can be part of next week's round up of features?  It's easy, just link up at this week's Project Stash Link Party.  If you're new around here, let me introduce you to the wonderful co-hosts.

on Twitter
on Twitter
on Twitter
on Twitter

Your projects and weekly features are shown on all 4 blogs.  And we pin all features to our Project Stash Features Board for all of our followers see.  Talk about exposure!  If you'd like, take a moment to add  our button to your blog somewhere (it's on my side bar) - the more the merrier! Or, follow our hosts so you don't miss out on all the great features each week!


  • No shops, please. Giveaways and projects are welcome.
  • Feel free to link more than one.
  • Visit a couple other links and share some comment happiness.
  • By linking up, you are giving us permission to feature you on round-ups and social media.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A HoneyBaked Easter Dinner is a Definite Winner Plus a $50 Giveaway!

This is a sponsored post for HoneyBaked Ham & Business2Blogger.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Have you ever noticed that family holidays always have a wonderful meal as a focal point?  It's not just the food, it's also the time spent around the table enjoying each other's company.  These are truly special times that create special memories.

My older son is in his third year at Ohio University (a semester school) which means this is his first year living in an apartment.  Since Easter is later this year, it lands smack in the middle of my son's end of term projects which means he is unable to come home for Easter.  I realize that neither he nor his roommate have time to prepare a big fancy feast for Easter but I do want him (and his friends) to be able to take some time to create that special holiday time, enjoying a nice meal and enjoying each other's company.

Well, I came up with the perfect solution!

Easter Dinner for College Students

I stopped by my nearest HoneyBaked Store located at 6630 Sawmill Road in Columbus, OH, and I picked up some great goodies for his #HoneyBakedEaster Dinner!  Did you know that HoneyBaked is more than just a "ham store"?  They have all sorts of main dishes to choose from including things like turkey and meat loaf.  I selected a boneless half ham and a boneless half turkey breast.  I don't know if you can tell in my photos but both cuts of meat are already cooked and sliced!  Hopefully there will be something for each of his friends to enjoy.

Now every amazing dinner has some wonderful sides to compliment the main dish.  HoneyBaked has a lot of delicious frozen sides to choose from.  I chose the Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Cinnamon Apple Slices, and Broccoli Rice Casserole.  As you can see, there is nutritional info along with easy heating directions on the back of each package.

And finally, to round out the meal, I picked up some King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and a wonderful Cheesecake Sampler.

So, I'm pretty psyched.  I think my son will have enough food to celebrate Easter with quite a few of his friends and with almost no work.

Now, I'm super excited to share with you that HoneyBaked wants YOU....yes YOU to have a delicious Easter diner without the work!  First check out these amazing limited-time offers (Click HERE to download coupons for these offers)

      • $5 off Any Size Half/Whole Ham
      • $3 off Any Size Quarter Ham
      • $2 off Sliced and Glazed Whole Turkey
      • $1 off Any 2 Frozen Sides
      • $3 off 3 Frozen Sides

Offers valid only at:

Participating Retail Locations: Forestville, Silver Spring, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fields Ertel, Beechmont, Kenwood, Colerain, Florence, Salem, Centerville, Sawmill Road, McNaughten, Louisville, Lexington, Fern Creek, Glendale, Paradise Valley, Superstition, Tolleson, Chandler, Tucson East, Tucson North, Overland Park, Independence, Barry Road, Norristown, Parma, Willoughby, Rocky River, Strongsville, Maple Heights, Canton, Fairlawn, Chapel Hill and Boardman.

But wait, there's more!  HoneyBaked is giving away twenty....yes TWENTY $50 gift cards to help 20 people have a delicious, hassle free Easter dinner.  Wouldn't you like to have an Easter filled with time spent with family and friends rather than time spent in the kitchen?  Well, what are you waiting for?  To enter complete the Rafflecopter below before April 13, 2014.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Whipped Sugar Scrub @ The NY Melrose Family

Good morning, everyone!  I wanted to let you know that I'm a contributor over at The NY Melrose Family today.  Look at what I'm sharing.

So stop on over and see how you can make this amazing treat today!  Oh, and while you're there, take a moment to see some of Jenny Melrose's amazing posts and projects like her Social Media Tips (Jenny's a G+ guru), yummy recipesparty planning and oh so much more!