I have pretty much hit the point of this pregnancy where cooking is super limited. I have made a few simple things this week like BLT’s and grilled cheese, but I just can't do anything more than that right now.
I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I have plenty of recipes and photos that I haven’t published yet. Good because I have some things to work on while I rest and wait for baby’s arrival. Bad because why on earth does it take me so long to write about and publish recipes? One of my recipes I still haven’t blogged is a year and a half old. I guess I need to focus a lot more.
Although, as I mentioned in this post, blogging is not the most important thing in my life. I try to put God and family first which means I might have an amazing dinner on the table, but I might not get the recipe written and edited for several months. So even though I would love to get more traffic from posting recipes more frequently, I run a one-woman blog (no paid team here) and a household with 3, almost 4 beautiful children. My husband is amazing and somehow finds time to read to the kids almost everyday, play with them everyday, help with homework, etc., but it’s still a lot for this busy, pregnant, tired, Mama.
I am hoping to bring you several of the recipes I have been working on for the past year in the near future, but if it takes longer, then it takes longer.
As Doris Day so beautifully sang,
Que sera, sera
On with the recipe…
We love love love this Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo. It’s a real treat in our house. I make it with just ¼ tsp. hot paprika so that it isn’t too spicy for the boys. They love it! My husband on the other hand, adds hot sauce and really enjoys it with a little more kick. It is mildly spicy as is, which is plenty spicy for the boys and I, but if you want more kick to it simply add more hot paprika, cayenne, maybe a ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, or like my hubby add some hot sauce. Either way, it’s delicious and if you like gumbo, you will love this recipe.
I use raw shrimp when making this gumbo so I don’t risk over-cooking the shrimp and giving them an undesirable texture. You will see raw and cooked shrimp in the grocery store. Choose the raw shrimp and it will cook up perfectly.
I know beer might seem a little unusual in a gumbo recipe, but it accentuates the delicious flavor of the broth and gives more depth to the gumbo. You can’t taste the beer, but it combines with the other ingredients to create an amazing meld of flavors. If you are adverse to cooking with alcohol, simply substitute broth for the beer. You could use beef or chicken broth, whatever you have on hand.
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
1 lb. medium or large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Fresh ground salt and pepper
½ tsp. dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, minced or 3 tsp. jarred minced garlic
4 T. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 to 2 bell peppers, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 T. flour
1 T. ketchup
¼ to ½ tsp. hot paprika (depending on how spicy you want it)
¼ tsp. cayenne
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
6 oz. smoked andouille or smoked sausage, sliced into ½ inch rounds
4 C. chicken broth
12 oz. beer
1 C. frozen okra, sliced into rounds
Cooked rice for serving
1. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, dried thyme, and 1 clove garlic minced or ½ tsp. jarred minced garlic. Set aside and refrigerate until needed.
2. Heat a heavy large pot to medium-high on the stove. Add the olive oil. Then add onion, bell peppers, and celery and stir-fry until golden brown. Sprinkle in flour and stir. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes until this mixture is lightly browned. Add ketchup, hot paprika, cayenne, and the rest of the garlic. Cook and stir for another minute, then add tomatoes and sausage cooking for a couple of more minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
3. Stir in broth and beer. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes.
4. Add okra and cook for about 5 more minutes. Then add shrimp and heat until shrimp curls and turns white.
5. Scoop rice into bowls then add gumbo. Enjoy!
Heavily adapted from Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage.
If you are a blogger, you know there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into maintaining your blog and growing your blog readership and social stats. You also understand the importance of this for earning potential be it through sponsored posts, affiliate sales, direct sales or advertising. Generally speaking, the more readers you have, the more money you make. However, for many of us bloggers, (myself included) this blogging gig is very part-time. Which is ok, I want to spend time making homemade meals for my family and helping my kids with their homework, etc. I have to remember that there are more important things in life than being the most popular blogger on the planet. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this when I read very popular blogs with lots of traffic and social shares and comments. I've even read about blogger envy on other blogs including blogs I would consider at the height of popularity.
So today I decided to do something I have had on my mind to do for a long time. I updated my main photo on my Home Ec @ Home facebook page. The old photo was a single photo of dough slices stacked with butter and cinnamon and sugar to make cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread. Compared to newer photos, I have taken over the past year and a half since reading Tasty Food Photography, the old photo was terrible and yet I left it there on my facebook page for the whole world to see. Then finally today I took all of about 10 minutes to upload some of my favorite photos to create a photo collage on picmonkey, then uploaded the collage as my new facebook photo. I think it looks about a million times better and should do a lot more for my facebook page than my old photo. It gives a broader picture of my recipes and food photography.
Such a simple thing and yet I put it off for so long. So if you sometimes feel a little blog envy, do something productive for your blog instead of feeling sorry for yourself. However, if you don't have time to do it at that moment, don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Write it on your to-do list and save it for later. Take care of your family, yourself, your career, whatever it is that needs your attention at the moment.
Some other posts you might enjoy about improving your blog:
How to Increase Traffic to Your Food Blog
How I Am Improving my Food Photography and I Finally Made it onto Food Gawker and Taste Spotting!
Read my guest post at Blogelina: 3 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Food Blog
And if you have a moment, like my facebook page, tweet this post, stumble it, pin it on pinterest, share it on facebook, etc. because it really does matter to bloggers like myself. Thank you! I appreciate it!
I am on instagram now too! You can follow me here.
Linking up at Share the Wealth, Create with Joy
Last week my doctor told me I had to slow down and reduce my activities in order to keep baby in a few more weeks. I am not on bed rest, but I have to slow things down a bit which means no more walking the boys to school and no more lifting. I am listening to my body and resting throughout the day as needed and have now made it to 34 weeks. We are feeling good about this progress and will continue to rest and pray and thank God for his blessings for our growing family.
After an entire 3-day weekend of restaurants and take-out, we really needed a light home-cooked meal. And I needed an easy meal that I could throw together quickly without much effort. I planned on making a modified version of my balsamic grilled chicken, strawberry and feta salad. Modified because we still have to buy a new grill after our recent move so I was going to cook the chicken in the skillet. Then I decided to go a more savory route and make crispy Italian chicken instead.
I used the same idea to bread and fry the chicken cutlets as when I have made Italian Chicken strips. This is so simple you really don't even need a recipe.
Crispy Italian Chicken Salad: Serves 4
4 Chicken breast cutlets (these are thinner than regular boneless chicken breasts)
rich milk or cream
Italian flavored panko crumbs
salt and/or pepper
olive or coconut oil or a mix of both
1. Make three bowls for dipping the chicken before cooking. In the first bowl mix some flour with a little salt and/or pepper. In the second bowl pour in some milk or cream (about a cup). Put some Italian flavored panko crumbs in the third bowl.
2. Heat about 1/4 inch of olive oil or coconut oil (I mix both) in a skillet (I use my trusty old iron skillet.) at medium heat. Dip each chicken strip first into the flour mixture, then into the milk, then into the panko crumbs. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side. The chicken will take a few minutes to cook on each side, but cutlets cook faster than thicker breasts. You can test the chicken with a meat thermometer if you have trouble knowing when it is done. When you cut through the meat it should be white when cooked through.
1 large head red leaf lettuce, torn into pieces
1 (8 oz.) ball fresh mozzarella, cut up
2 tomatoes, chunked
Balsamic vinegar glaze or your favorite salad dressing
Layer salad ingredients topping each salad with sliced crispy Italian chicken. Enjoy this simple and delicious meal.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned food blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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