Rock the Lunchbox {GIVEAWAY} #ad #rockthelunchbox

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

Rock the Lunchbox #ad

Are you beginning to fall back into a school time routine? Or just about to go back to school? How are lunches going? Falling back into the same old routine with those too? Kids complaining about not wanting yet another pb&j tomorrow? Hey, it’s ok. We’ve all been there! We want our kids to eat well while they are away at school, however the options can just seem so limited. Not anymore! Rock the Lunchbox is here to help. Rock the Lunchbox is a nation wide campaign ready to help you jump start the school with fresh and tasty lunchbox ideas. They’re here to help you find a match between what our kids want and what’s healthy for our kids to eat.

As we started to plan for back to school lunches, I asked each of them to draw me a picture of their perfect meal. This is what they gave me.

Rock the Lunchbox #ad

Not bad. I see some grains, fruit, veggies and meat in there. Guess what I don’t see? Yup, I don’t see a boring pb&j or other “standard” lunchbox additions. My kids actually want to see good tasting and good for them food in their lunches. So after taking a look at their idea of the perfect lunch, together we set out to come up with a fresh meal plan that made everybody happy.

Rock the Lunchbox #ad

First, my daughter said that she wanted to see pizza in her lunch pail. That can certainly be done by easily toasting together some cheese, marinara, olives and pepperoni between two tortillas. They’re easy to eat with little to no mess. Second she wanted some fruit. With this super cute bento style lunchbox provided by Laptop Lunches, I was easily able to fill the provided compartments with her favorite fresh fruits. The lunchbox compartments even came with their own lids so our applesauce wouldn’t spill out!  The best part is that everything is re-usable and dishwasher safe! Plus, we added in our favorite juicebox from Honest Kids. #organic

Rock the Lunchbox #ad

In order to get more ideas, beyond the ones my daughter and I came up with, I headed on over to the Rock the Lunchbox website where I found tons of valuable information. Here you can find reader submitted images of lunchbox ideas, plus money saving coupons for some of your favorite organic food brands to help you get your school year started right.

#ad Rock the Lunchbox

Enter below to win your own Rock the Lunchbox gift set and get ready to make your lunch rock! Prize package includes: 

–          Free product coupons from Annie’s Homegrown, Applegate Organic & Natural Meals,                  Honest Kids, Organic Valley, Rudi’s Organic Bakery and Stonyfield
–          Free lunch containers from Laptop Lunches, U•Konserve and Blue Avocado 
–          Free Crayons

Be sure to go to the Rock the Lunchbox website and submit your own idea of the perfect lunch (and have a great year everybody!!). 

Can the Butterflies Last? The Importance of Feeling Wanted in Marriage

I don’t normally write about things I don’t know very well and marriage to me (even though I have been married for over 9 years) is still something I just don’t feel like I’m a pro at. There is so much emotion, conflict, changes and decisions involved in marriage. Each one is different and constantly evolving. How do you talk about something “as a matter of fact” that is so complex? You can’t. So today I wanted to open my blog up to a conversation about marriage. I am hoping to share with you a story and have you share with me your thoughts. Since every marriage is different, there is no right way or right answer. However, maybe, just maybe we can learn from each other and find new ways to internalize some of the thoughts presented here.

Do you remember what it felt like when you first met your spouse? That feeling of passion and the feeling of wanting to be with them all of the time? The rush of emotions you felt when they entered the room? How do you hold on to those feelings AFTER you’ve said “I do”? How do you make that feeling of being wanted last? By being “wanted” I mean having the feeling that someone still wants to be with you and hang out with you, even when they don’t have to.

It seems that all to often when I speak with my friends about marriage their main complaint is that they no longer feel wanted by their spouse. That feeling that they had before marriage of wanting to hang out with each other was gone and they somehow find themselves feeling pushed away.

My thoughts on this is that you can’t expect to feel the same way about your spouse throughout your entire marriage the same way as you did during courtship. We grow older, maybe have kids, get jobs and life inevitably changes. Therefore, we inevitably will change as well. I believe that we simply wont be able to hold on to that feeling that we had in the beginning of marriage, however I don’t think it is completely gone, it just changes. As marriage grows and evolves so does our feeling of “love”. It changes focus from “I want to have you right now!” to “I love this life that we are building together and the future that we have.”. We become content in our relationships and our feelings of love evolve and deepen. We learn more about each other and that person that we married truly does becomes our other half. However, sometimes during this growth we also forget to keep sharing our admiration for each other. As before we might have told each other how much we loved them on a daily basis, we might now just think that the other person already know’s our feelings. When we see someone every day, and have seen them at their worst, we might also forget to tell them how beautiful they are. We no longer swoon over them and gush about them to our friends. We become lax at opening doors, making their favorite treats, and simply just holding their hand. And all the while, undisclosed to us as we think they should just “know by now”, our spouse may be feeling unwanted. In a nutshell, as we begin to treat them as a part of ourselves we often forget that they are a separate being who still needs our attention.

(Just so you know before you watch this video, it does contain one explicit word.
Please don’t watch it if this will offend you.)

So here is where you all come in. Have you ever felt this way? How do you keep your spouse from feeling unwanted and what do you do if you are feeling unwanted yourself? Do you believe that the feelings you had during courtship could last? What are your thoughts?

Mommy’s Back to School List with TMobile Free Data #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias

Mommy's back to school list #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #shop
This is it, back to school time. Time to get supplies purchased, clothes ready and start trying to go to bed at a reasonable time again. Back to school time for most kids means excitement about seeing their friends, joining up with sports teams and the beginning again of after school get togethers. However, what back to school time means for me (a mother) is that my laid back summer schedule is now gone. Here comes the hectic mornings, fast paced days and what am I going to make for dinner nights. This year, however, while the kids were all picking out their back to school supplies at Walmart, I made my way over to the tech counter and picked up my own “back to school supplies”. I decided that what I needed this year was a way to keep up on top of my work/blog while being everywhere that I needed to be, especially now that my kids are getting older and more active and my blog is becoming more of a lifestyle for me. So while I was at the tech counter at Walmart I decided to purchase the new TMobile 4G tablet. Have you seen this tablet yet? It is super cool. 
#TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #shop

When I first thought about finding a way to make my lifestyle more “mobile”, I had the impression that a laptop would be my best bet. However, after using a laptop for a while I was not impressed. I found that it was bulky, heavy and not very easy to travel with. Plus, I could only get online when I was in a WiFi zone. Turns out, it wasn’t very practical. I needed something that I could use to stay on top of my writing, emails, and socializing while I traveled to conferences, waited in the pick up line at school, and a mobile way to share my ideas with clients over lunch. What I’ve chosen to do for a living is a very “on the go job” and I needed something that could keep up with me. When I found out about the TMobile Trio AXS 7.85″ 4G Tablet with free 200MB of data each month I knew that it was perfect for me. Not only did it come with an awesome price tag of only $179.00, but it can be used in WiFi or anywhere else with the free data plan and purchasable extra broadband minutes. Plus, the best part is that there is no contract to sign up for! The 200MB monthly minutes are free and if you run out of minutes you can purchase a refill card to load it back up with (still with no monthly contract)! I think I should be able to stay within my free data range every month because of the free WiFi, however I still decided to pick up a $35 refill card which gives me unlimited data for a full week (1GB up to 4G speeds) when I need it. I wanted to be prepared since I already know that we have some travel plans coming up and I know I will want to use my tablet while we are on the road and out of any WiFi signals. 
TMobile Broadband Refill Card #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #shop

Once I got my tablet home from the store and started playing with my new tablet I was smitten. It had all of the apps that I already use on my phone, but was much easier to use due to it’s larger size (but still not as large as my heavy laptop). It also had some apps that I wasn’t expecting to find on a tablet such as a word document, power point and spreadsheet creator. The only thing that I found missing from this tablet that my laptop currently has was a keyboard, because writing out a blog post without one would not be so easy. Guess what? I was easily able to find a storage case with a detachable wireless keyboard that will connect to my TMobile tablet via Bluetooth!  It’s a win! I absolutely love that this tablet is super light and fits perfectly into my purse, plus has all of the ease of use and connect-ability that I was looking for. Best of all, I have found this tablet to be efficient, helpful and easy to travel with. It does everything that I need it to do and more.

Mommy on the go #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #shop
 Tmobile Trio AXS Tablet 4G #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #shop

Being a mommy on the go is hard work, having a “work at home” job that needs to be done during that time makes it even harder, then add in kids schedules, meal planning, pick up’s and drop off’s and wow. Being a mom is crazy busy! Truthfully though, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I wouldn’t want to be tied down to a work station. I love my adventurous life with my kids and I am so glad that I have found a way to get work done anywhere at any time. It is so much better than being stuck in an office missing it all!

#TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #shop

My kids have also fallen for my new tablet because they can play games, read stories and secretly I love that they are learning while having fun. This tablet comes with Google Play so there are tons and tons of great apps to choose from and the tablet can hold quite a few with its 1GB DDR of system memory. Plus it is easy to navigate with its Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system so my kids have no trouble using it too. I also like that I can look up recipes and plan them while I am grocery shopping. Gee, I just feel like I am getting so efficient! Moral of the story: I love this new tablet. 

Be sure to remember to pick up something for yourself while you are back to school shopping and I recommend the TMobile Trio AXS tablet. It’s great. 

Find the tablet and data tablet featured in today’s post at your local Walmart store. 
#TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #shop
Have any questions about this new tablet or anything else? Leave me a comment below and I would be happy to help! 

How To Re-Create My 1950’s Bandanna Hairstyle

I get asked all the time HOW I pull my hair up into a bandanna like I do and honestly it’s super easy. Actually, if you see me with my hair like this it is probably because I just didn’t feel like flat ironing my hair that day. 🙂

So, I figured that the easiest way to tell you how to do this hairstyle is to actually show you. I hope you enjoy my little YouTube video and please be kind. . . It’s not like I make video’s like this everyday.

How To Re-Create My 1950’s Bandanna Hairstyle

I don’t have many video’s on my YouTube channel yet, but if you like this video be sure to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my page. If you guys like this then I will try and make some more like it. 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

5 Awesome Uses for Dish Soap #Palmolive25Ways #cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
5 NEW uses for dish soap #shop  #Palmolive25Ways  #cbias
#Palmolive25Ways #CollectiveBias
I have gotten to the point where I am basically using dish soap to clean everything in my home. The more I find out what dish soap can do, the more I fall in love with it. Basically I have two main reasons why I like to use dish soap all around my home. Number one, it’s tough on grease but soft on hands. I mean, seriously, some of the household cleaners I’ve used in the past are way too harsh. This is why I have switched to dish soap to wipe down my counter tops, clean my baseboards and scrub up everywhere around my home, even my outdoor furniture. I can easily just fill up the sink, plop in a wash rag and get to work. No gloves needed and my hands come out softer than before I even started cleaning! The second reason I love using dish soap to clean is because there are no harsh chemical smells. I have found that dish soap is able to clean and sanitize just the same as other more harsh cleaners however the dish soap smells SO much better.
When you take a look at all of the amazing things you can do with dish soap, there is no reason not to make it your number one household cleaner! So what exactly do I use dish soap for BESIDES washing dishes? Here are a few of my favorite dish soap uses that are actually awesome, plus one super cute and stylish way that I like to display my dish soap. 
5 NEW uses for dish soap #shop  #Palmolive25Ways  #cbias


This first dish soap use is actually new to me, but so far I am loving it. One thing that I really wanted to get away from in my house was my old tub and shower cleaner. I hated how strong it smelled and in my little bathroom the fumes would always start to gag me. This little mixture of dish soap and vinegar doesn’t stink up my bathroom and is actually pretty good at removing stains and leaving my bathtub nice and clean white. To use this method I simply combine half white vinegar and half dish soap into a scrub brush. Then I just scrub down my shower with the soapy mixture, let it set for about an hour and then rinse it off. Works like a charm.

Dish soap to kill fruit flies  #shop  #Palmolive25Ways  #cbias

Second, this is one of my all time favorite uses for dish soap.  I actually use it quite often. Especially in the summer months when my kids “forget” that they shouldn’t take their juice cups into their bedrooms and then accidentally “forget” to bring them back out later. . . YEP! “Face palm”.

Dish soap to kill fruit flies  #shop  #Palmolive25Ways  #cbias

In order to create this fruit fly cocktail of doom, simply fill a glass with apple cider vinegar and place a dollop of dish soap on your finger which you will then gently apply to just the surface of the vinegar. The vinegar attracts the fruit flies for a drink and then the soap makes them slip through the liquid’s surface (which they otherwise would be able to perch on). Needless to say, no more fruit flies.

5 NEW uses for dish soap #shop  #Palmolive25Ways  #cbias
This next use for dish soap you may have heard of before, but what I love about using Palmolive for making homemade bubbles is that Palmolive has a dish soap that is made especially for cleaning baby bottles and toys. This soap is made hypoallergenic and with no unnecessary ingredients, so I like to use it for making bubbles better than other brands. 
  
Homemade dish soap bubbles #shop  #Palmolive25Ways  #cbias
We go through a lot of bubbles in our house. My kids love them. Once the first bottle of bubbles that comes with the blowers is gone, I just hate to throw them away. Such a waste. So instead I just create a refill of bubble solution by combining 1 cup of water with 1/4 cup of dish soap and 1 tablespoon of corn syrup. Simply fill the containers back up and you can keep on playing! 
5 NEW uses for dish soap #shop  #Palmolive25Ways  #cbias

This next use is a fun one! A few years back I went to a pottery store for a fun day of crafting and painting. While I was there I watched as some of the other patrons were mixing together a paint concoction in a cup and blowing bubbles into it with a straw. Obviously I was mesmerized by what they were doing, so I went over to watch this strange painting technique. What we found was that the bubbles that they blew into the paint would leave the coolest design on the pottery when they placed the two of them together.

5 NEW uses for dish soap #shop  #Palmolive25Ways  #cbias
(This craft is posted for Adults Only. Kids have a tendency to accidentally suck in instead of blowing out which can be dangerous. Also, be sure to use non-toxic paints or food coloring only.)

Bubble painting is an easy method of painting that will leave you with a design that cannot be replicated. Here’s how I do it: Mix together in a cup or bowl about 1 squeeze of non toxic paint (or food coloring), 1 teaspoon of water (just enough to thin it out) and a dollop of dish soap. I sometimes need to add more water or paint until I get the right consistency for blowing bubbles. Next, I take a straw and blow bubbles into the paint.  By simply touching the bubbles with the surface that I want to paint, the bubbles will pop and leave me with a really cool design. By combining more than one color on a surface I can create a really cool and unique piece of art.
5 NEW uses for dish soap #shop  #Palmolive25Ways  #cbias

Now that your soap bottle is empty, grab that top, screw it to your water spout and fill up some water balloons for a big family water fight! You’ve cleaned enough today, time to have some fun!

All of these awesome Palmolive scents are available at your local Walmart. Just look for the rainbow of colors in the cleaning section.

#shop #cbias
What are you favorite uses for dish soap? Share with me in the comments. 

Adventure Bites: Wildlife Rehab Center {Howell, MI}

Sometimes you happen across things that you never knew existed, or things that you find to be really cool and unique somewhere along the back roads and interstates of travel. These small points of interest, while not an entire means for travel or destination, are still quite fun to visit on your way through anyways. I like to search out these small adventures, points of interest and quirky roadside finds.

Today I wanted to share with you a quaint, small town zoo found just on the border of Howell and Pinckney, Michigan. This zoo is unlike any other zoo I have ever been to because it hosts only animals which have been rescued and rehabilitated locally. When animals are found hurt or in distress, these are the people who take them in and nurse them back to health. When animals are found illegally owned, they are brought here to be cared for properly. Once the animals are healed, they are evaluated on whether or not they could be re-released into nature. The ones that can be safely re-released, are. The one’s who can not, now find their homes among the natural forestry of the Wild Wonders Wildlife Park.

As you walk through the park you are surrounded by a natural landscape with plants, vegetation, trees and fresh air. The animals live here too, beneath the trees’ canopies and within carefully constructed barriers. They are well cared for, but allowed to live life as close to their natural habitats as possible. Here you won’t find polar bears or lions, but you will find local animals such as turtles, groundhogs, eagles, owls and coyotes. Each animal has a story and has been given a second chance at life.

Among the park you will also find natural art, nature paths and a super cool natural playground for kids.

Have you ever wanted your kids to use their imaginations and play outdoors? Apparently so does this park. Within a gated play area you will find ropes tied to trees for climbing, sand to sit and play in, tree stumps for jumping across, large laid down dress for climbing on and perfect sized tree limbs for building forts.

Do a little bit of exploring back in the trails coming off of the playground and you might also find a fairy village, complete with a toadstool table and fairy homes!

This zoo is something to be seen and explored first hand. Find out more information on their website at http://howellnaturecenter.org/wildlife/wild-wonders-wildlife-park/ . Admission is donation style, but $5 per adults and $3 per child is suggested. Donations go towards helping to care for sick and injured animals.

Do you know of a really cool roadside find I should check out? Share your ideas with me here. I’m always looking for a new adventure. 🙂

Be Careful What You Pretend to Be

When I started this blog a few years back, I had the idea that somehow I would inspire people, somehow I would challenge others to look at the world in a different way and somehow I would share love, kindness and hope in a world obsessed with sharing negativity. And all the while, as I have been working towards my goals and purposefully looking for ways to be of an inspiration to you, something funny happened. I inspired myself.

It’s funny how just a simple change of thinking can alter your entire aspect on life. By re-directing my focus, I have had more opportunities arise in my own life to show kindness and to help. Because of this blog, I am more aware of the people around me and their needs and I feel more deeply connected as a whole.

So thank you. Sometime you will find that in trying to help others, you will accidentally help yourself. 🙂

SNICKERS® Cream Cheese Dip: Our Game Day Favorite #Chocolate4TheWin

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  
#Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias
Snickers® Cream Cheese Party Dip #shop #Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias

Who’s ready for some football?? It’s almost time! Pre-season has started and I am sure many of you are already joining up into your favorite fantasy football leagues. Me? I never really have liked to watch the games, but what I DO love about football season is the weekly game watching parties and the food!! Having to create a potluck dish to join in the fun gives me the opportunity to get in my chocolate fix and make my all time favorite party snack, Snickers® Cream Cheese Dip. It’s a real crowd pleaser (and super easy to make)! My friends ask for it every time.

Snickers® Cream Cheese Party Dip #shop #Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias

Between this party dish and another one that I also make often, I go through quite a lot of Snickers® bars during the party seasons. Therefore, I find it more convenient to go to Sam’s Club and buy a 48 count box. Saves me a lot of $$ that way! Sam’s club also sells a 105 count bag of mixed treats which I picked up for easy snacking at our viewing party.

Snickers® Cream Cheese Party Dip #shop #Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias

Curious how I make my crowd asked for dish? It’s super easy.

What you will need: 

5 Snickers® bars – large, cut up
2 bars of cream cheese, softened
6 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. caramel sauce
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions: 

Begin by chopping up your large Snickers® candy bars into smaller bite sized pieces.

Snickers® Cream Cheese Party Dip #shop #Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias

In a large mixer, combine your cream cheese, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and Snickers® pieces. Mix on med/high speed until thoroughly combined. Once combined, turn mixer to low and add in your caramel sauce. You just want your caramel to ribbon through the mix, but not completely mix in.

Snickers® Cream Cheese Party Dip #shop #Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias

Once your dip is combined, transfer it to a serving dish and sprinkle the top with a mixture of chopped nuts and mini chocolate chips. Cover your mixture with parchment paper or foil and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours to thicken.

Snickers® Cream Cheese Party Dip #shop #Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias

After the mixture has chilled, drizzle extra caramel sauce on the top and serve with graham crackers, vanilla wafers or pretzels. This treat is the perfect combination of sweet and salty! Just be sure to remember to share! 🙂 This dish is easy to eat all by yourself. . . with a spoon. Just sayin’ . . .

Snickers® Cream Cheese Party Dip #shop #Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias

You can find the large packs of Snickers® at Sam’s Club. Be sure to check them out there.  
Snickers® Cream Cheese Party Dip #shop #Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias
What is YOUR most requested party dish? Add a link to your recipe in the comments! 

Better for You Desserts: Chocolate & Cranberry Fruit Parfaits

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias
#shop Indulgent Dove® Fruit Chocolate Parfait  #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias
This morning, from the moment my eyes opened in bed, I knew that it was going to be a doozy of a day. The screeching and yelling between my kids had already started in the living room and I honestly just really wanted to close my eyes and go back to sleep. But, I couldn’t, could I? Up and at ’em sunshine! Time to be momma. So this morning, as I was already expecting the worse, I decided to just go ahead and have chocolate for breakfast. For breakfast? Yes, that’s what I said. Chocolate is my favorite little indulgent. It calms me down and relaxes me when my world is being flipped upside down, or all of my couch cushions (and probably everything else in my house) for that matter. On these days, when I know I will be pushed to my limits, I make myself a special indulgent parfait with Dove® new chocolate and fruit pairings
#shop Indulgent Dove® Fruit Chocolate Parfait  #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias

These little chocolate balls are amazing! Decadent chocolate on the outside, tart real cranberries on the inside. Um, yes! I just found these the other day at Sam’s club and I am already hooked. Now I can make myself an indulgent breakfast, snack and sometimes even a late night snack when I have a hankerin’ for chocolate and not feel so guilty about it in the morning. But be careful because you won’t be the only one who will get hooked on these tasty little treats. For example, exhibit A happened as I was trying to photograph my bag of Dove® Fruit for this article. That hand is not mine, but that of a young child thief trying to sneak some of mommy’s “candy” while she was looking into her camera.  🙂

#shop Indulgent Dove® Fruit Chocolate Parfait  #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias
So where are all of my late night, closet eating chocoholics? You, ladies, will want to give this super easy and delectable treat a try. I mean, even though it’s got chocolate in it, it also has real fruit and yogurt. So I like to think of it as a “better for you” dessert
Here is what you will need (but you can always be spontaneous and add different ingredients, but keep the Dove fruit. . that’s the best part.) 
1 container of vanilla/plain yogurt
1 handful of Dove® fruit – cranberry, chopped up
1 handful of fresh blueberries, washed
1 handful of fresh strawberries, cut up & washed
#shop Indulgent Dove® Fruit Chocolate Parfait  #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias
To make this pretty and a real mom deserved treat, create layers of yogurt, then fruit, then yogurt, then chocolate fruit and so on until you reach the top of your glass. Then take a mommy time out, relax and enjoy. You can even sit by a breezy window and pretend you’re on the beach if it helps. Just sayin’. 
#shop Indulgent Dove® Fruit Chocolate Parfait  #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias
Remember, you can only buy these at Sam’s club for a limited time and I hear that a cherry version will also be available soon! I’m gonna have to check that out too! 
#shop Indulgent Dove® Fruit Chocolate Parfait  #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias
Now, I want to hear from you.  Since I bought these at Sam’s club, you know I’ve got a BIG bag of them. Besides my fruit parfaits, and eating them strait, what other recipe ideas can you think of to use these in? I’d love to hear your input! 
Happy Thoughts, 
Mary

{SUPER EASY} Spicy Sausage Jambalaya

Sausage Jambalaya Recipe

Yep, it’s another recipe post, but that’s only because I have totally been in the bakin’ and makin’ mood lately. It doesn’t happen all that often, so let’s just run with it. 🙂 Even if your not jumping for joy about it, my family definitely is.

This recipe, that I made for my family last night, is a real crowd pleaser and I love it too because it’s so super easy to make (but looks like I put a lot of effort into it). Seriously, you might think you do, but you don’t need a box mix to make jambalaya . . you can easily make it from scratch in about 45 minutes and 20 minutes of that time your letting it simmer on the stove! So come on, give this Louisiana treat a try. I’ll be here to walk you through it. 🙂

Here is what you will need to prepare this dish.

Ingredients: 

1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
3 cloves of garlic
3 stalks of celery
2 pkg. of smoked sausage (or 1 pkg sausage & 1 pkg chicken)
1 can of spicy diced tomatoes
3 cups of chicken stock
1/4 tsp. each – chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika
dash of black pepper
3 cups white or brown rice
2 TBS olive oil

I know it may look like a lot, but its super easy. Ok, here we go.

Homemade Jambalaya Easy

Begin by adding the olive oil to a large skillet over med/high heat. To the oil add in your chopped peppers, garlic and celery. Saute’ the veggie mix for about 5 minutes and then toss in your sliced sausage and saute’ another 5 minutes or until browned and veggies are tender (almost cooked all the way). If you are adding chicken, this is the time you would want to do that too. Be sure to cook the chicken until it is no longer pink.

Next, pour your chicken stock, diced tomatoes, spices and rice directly into the large skillet atop the meats and veggies. Stir. Reduce heat to med/low. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until the rice in cooked.

Remember to stir your pot occasionally to avoid the rice burning to the bottom of the pan. Once rice is tender and sauce has thickened down, your ready to serve.

Simple Fresh Ingredient Jambalaya #slowfood

See? Easy! Give it a try and let me know how you liked it. Also, the spices can be adjusted dependent on how spicy or mild you like your foods. My husband likes to add a kick of hot sauce in the end to his, but this mixture is hot enough for me just how it is. So my advice would be to taste test it before serving and adjust the flavoring at the end. Remember, you can always add too but you can’t take away flavor.

Do you know of a culture inspired dish that you think we should try? Post a link to the recipe below.

<3 Dick and Jane