Monday, February 27, 2012

Easy Crockpot Red Beans and Rice

With Mardi Gras being last week, several people asked me about my Red Beans and Rice. I have a super easy way to make them using the crockpot. A friend of mine showed me this way while we were down in Louisiana a couple months back and it’s turned out to be my favorite way to make them. Of course, I’ve adapted, but the concept is the same and they are delicious this way!  What you see is the Red Beans and Rice with a very unique way of making cornbread, which I’ll have to share later. We always eat ours with cornbread, so make some to go along with it! This is also not the traditional recipe using tomato paste, because I can't stand it like that, to be quite honest. So here you have it:

What you'll need:
  • 1 pound of red beans
  • 1 med chopped (minced, or however you like) white onion
  • 1 pound cooked Andoille sausage (you'll see me with smoked sausage because Andoille can only be found in one place here and at the time it was sold out. So in a pinch, yes, you can use smoked sausage)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Tony Cachere's seasoning (or if you can't find it, use soul seasoning)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Instant Brown Gravy (powdered. If you can't find the jar, you can use packets)
  • Brown or White Rice

What you're gonna do:
  • First you need to rinse and throw out any funky looking beans. Pour in your crockpot. I use a 6 qt for this one, but it works fine on 4 qts as well. 
  • Add your chopped onion, sausage, bay leaf and season to your preference. If you aren't used to Tony's, then I'd suggest going light at first until the end when you can taste test to preference.
  •  Cover with water at least one inch. If you are going to be leaving them, I'd suggest adding to cover about 3 inches to ensure they don't dry out. You can always remove water if you need to later. However, you can't unburn your beans. Just sayin'.
  • Turn on low for approximately 6 hours or high for 4 hours. 
  • Keep an eye on the water level, and add as necessary. Don't let it dry out!! Keep it to where there is plenty of room for the beans and sausage to flow freely because you are going to make a gravy with it next.
  • About an hour before it is time,  add the instant brown gravy. I don't have an exact number for you, but I would start with 6 tablespoons. Check after 15 minutes and add more brown gravy mix if it's not thickening. Remember, you need to have enough water in there for this!! If you need more water, add it. If you have too much water, remove some. If you want more gravy, add more water and more mix. Easy fix!
  • Once your gravy is the consistency you want it, let it simmer for another 30-45 minutes or so. 
  • This is where I like to prepare my rice. This is a good opportunity to use brown rice because you really cannot tell the difference. 
  • Once it's ready, remove bay leaf and taste test to determine if you need more salt, pepper, or Tony's.
  • Add rice to a bowl and top with red beans and rice. Sorry, I already mixed mine up!

Hope ya'll enjoy! If you have any questions, ask!!

Sharing with: 
Photobucketmop it up mondays

Debbie Does Creations

ThankfulThursdayMiz Helen’s Country Cottage

Ladybird Ln

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Liebster Award!! (Plus a few things that made me happy!)

This past week a couple nice surprises came my way for my little blog. Yes, I get excited about these things! J First of all, Miz Helen @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage chose my Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits to be featured on her Full Plate Thursday. Then, @ last weeks Pomp Party over at Joy in the Jumble, my biscuits were featured as the most viewed! So thank you to all ya’ll that have taken the time to stop by and check out my biscuits J Hopefully the my other goodies are just as great for you! I’m so impressed and thankful for how much this little section of my world has grown in the past month. And that’s all thanks to ya’ll!!

Another awesome thing that happened was the Cookin' Cowgirl (you'll know her for those damn Thin Mint Truffles so many of my friends have pinned that will be the death of me! She's killing me this week with Butterfinger Oatmeal Cookies. Um, how many different language of delicious does this translate to?!?!) awarded me with the Liebster Blog Award!  The great thing about it, is that it is for blogs with 200 followers or less. (I’d love for you to follow along, though, if you stop by! And let me know if you do because that has been how I’ve discovered some of my favorite blogs and I love learning/trying new things!! You can follow through GFC if you have it, by email or RSS, Facebook, and Linky. All can be found on the right-hand side here ààààààààà)

 The word “liebster” is German for “dearest” and I’m so very excited that she even thought of me and my blog for it! Thank you so much! I’m so happy you enjoy what you see enough to consider me J

Now, for a little housekeeping. In order to accept the award, you have to do a couple things.
          1) Thank the person that nominated you on your blog and link back to them.
          2)    Nominate up to 5 other blogs for the award.
          3)    Let them know via comment on their blog
          4)    Post the award on your blog
That’s it!

So for my 5 Liebstar Blog Awards, I’d like to give them to:

1) Jacinta @ My Beauty Boxes: She is a friend of mine who has a very unique blog that most of you will LOVE!! She has monthly subscriptions to “Beauty Boxes”.  These are monthly beauty samples through different companies. They are awesome! I have two of them (Birchbox and Beauty Army). Jacinta is excellent about giving a non-biased review on the company and products, therefore letting us know which are worth it, or not! Love, love, love this! You definitely won’t be disappointed with this one!

2) Kelsey @Illuminations in Orbit: This girl is a lot like me in the fact that she enjoys all things creative. So it’s a lot of fun to follow along with a like mind. Some of things that make her blog unique are Gluten-Free ideas, a section she features deemed “soul searching”, and she enjoys fashion-forward AND vintage (win-win)! How can you go wrong with a little bit of everything?

3) Anna @ Universal Gibberish: The title says it all! You never know what you are going to find here, but it is sure to be entertaining. Anna is such a sweetheart and I LOVE her random posts! You can count on her to speak her mind and give honest opinions. She loves writing and is a big movie buff, and that's part of what makes this one so fun!

4) Veronica and Daniel @ Adventures of D and V: It’s definitely always an adventure here! With glimpses into their lives and interests, along with some delicious recipes, you can’t go wrong with this one! Some of my favorites include the Gluten-Free ideas, Devotional ideas, and the random chuckle-worthy posts. Love this one!

5) Kim @ American Honey: This is a little unorthodox. I’m including this one because it’s very real. This is a friend who is going through a very tough, emotional time in her life and she speaks with words of raw emotion through the ups and downs. It’s very encouraging, actually and I’m sure this could show a lot of people they are not alone. Or if you’ve been there, I’m sure she could use the positive reinforcement. She deserves it!

Well, there you have it! This was actually pretty hard for me to do and I wish I could choose at least 10!! Hope ya’ll enjoy and check all these fun folks out!!! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Disney and Inspiration

So in two weeks we are leaving for Disney world. I am pretty sure I am more excited than anyone else in the house, but I’m okay with that. I’m going to start next week on our tshirts so we can be that crazy family this year! :D I’m also excited because a friend sent me an article today with Disney tips and although I had already prepared for most of them, one I didn’t know about saved me a ton of money! See, we got rid of our double stroller this year so now I don’t have one. However, I don’t think I’d take it if I did have it because it takes up so much room and there is no way I’m strapping anything on the top of my car that isn’t made for hooking directly up to it! Anywho, there was a part about stroller rentals and how expensive it is. For multiple days for a double stroller it is 27 dollars through Disney. And that’s those funky uncomfortable ones. Well I found a company with much more comfortable and compact strollers. Instead of paying what would have been 130 something dollars plus the 100.00 for the deposit with Disney, we are paying 65.00. score for me J
I guess I can go out of Disney font for the rest of this. But how fun was that? Seriously.  This week I took an exam for my nursing clinicals and got a 92. You only have to have a 60. So I was happy, but that was short lived when I remembered that this program isn’t competitive and as long as you meet the requirements, you can apply and be drawn from a hat for 20 slots. Which is kind of interesting because I’m eligible for advanced placement, depending on how much I test out of over the summer. I really am irked by this process.
So to get back in a better mood, two awesome things happened today. My exhaust came in for my car (yes,  that excites me) and the rest of my parts for it should be here by Monday. The other thing had to do with my writing. Most people that know me well, know I love to write and I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I have an issue with my writing, though. I don’t want anyone to see it. I take that back, I don’t mind people reading, but I don’t think I could ever publish.  Why? Because I have such a personal attachment to my characters, I don’t want to give them up for interpretation. Yeah, I’m selfish J So I haven’t gotten to write much in these past two weeks on my current piece, so today I read through it (even though I jump scenes like crazy. I write as it comes to me. Even if it’s out of order) and at the end I was left wanting more. Of my OWN writing. I thought it was pretty awesome that I had the feeling that I do when books end and you are thinking, “What the hell? That’s it? No!” So today I found inspiration in myself. I’m just so transfixed by my characters right now that I just want to know what happens myself at this point! So I’ve allured myself into my own story. Pretty self-absorbed of me, but I’m impressed none-the-less. J

Monday, February 20, 2012

Garlic Three-Cheese Mashed Potatoes-Yeah, I'm going there.

No, this is not a joke. I'm seriously posting about mashed potatoes. Sounds too simple. Think about this, though: Whose mashed potatoes do you like? Maybe one or two people's, right? Or am I the only complete food snob? Let me tell you whose mashed potatoes I like. A combination of both of my grandmothers'. Thus comes forth my rendition of some pretty amazing, savory potatoes. I mean, if my husband will eat them, then they must be pretty phenomenal. You couldn't pay him enough money to touch some foods and mashed potatoes is on that list. Perfect mashed potatoes is not only about a few key ingredients, but also about the METHOD in which you employ to make potatoes mashed. If my mashed potatoes are running across my plate, then I'm not a happy camper. I like mashed potatoes, not potato soup. No, wait-I lie. I LOVE potato soup, but that's another story altogether.

Here are the ingredients that you'll see me working with in these pics:

1) 5 medium potatoes (these are russet)
2) stick and a half of butter
3) 1/3 package of cream cheese (8 oz pkg)
4) 1/2-3/4 cup sour cream
5) 1/2 cup finely shredded mild cheddar
6) 1/3 cup parmesan
7) 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or more to taste)
8) salt and pepper to taste

Notice what you don't see? I'll give you a hint: This is me sinking into a depression when I learn you are putting it into your potatoes.
Seriously. Leave it in your cereal.

First, peel (or not, if you like the peeling) and cube. Rinse well and place in a pan of water covering the potatoes. Throw in some salt, pepper, and a couple tablespoons of butter and boil until done. I use a fork to test doneness. Don't wait until you see the the potatoes falling apart in the pan, or potato soup may ensue. 
Drain and pour into a large bowl.

Next, cube butter (starting with a stick) and cream cheese. Place it in the potatoes with the sour cream (starting with 1/2 cup). Add garlic powder, salt and pepper and it's time to mash.

This is a big No, No. Not saying it isn't possible. Just saying everyone I  have watched use it, over does it. If you don't get it right the first time, you'll be have (once again) mashed potato soup. Can you tell I loathe runny taties?

You may get away with this if you are proficient enough with it. However, if you don't even know which attachment you should use, I wouldn't touch that one either. 

Here's the heavenly mashed potato utensil: Let the trumpets play! 

Don't overmash because you will have to do a taste test before the next step to determine if you need to add anymore butter, sour cream, or seasonings.

Once you have the sour cream, butter, and cream cheese mainly mashed in, stir in the  remaining cheeses.

And here you have it. Creamy, savory, still a bit of a chunk, light and holds its form. And if you are wondering why it's on bread, it's because we had Manhattan's.

Hope ya'll enjoy!

Sharing with: 

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage


Sunday, February 19, 2012

A New Facebook Page!!

Well, a few days ago I decided to go ahead and open up a Facebook page for Southern Belle. I’ve been wanting to open one for a while, not only for the page, but also for some of my other goodies. Now that my audience and traffic has picked up quite unexpectantly and pretty dramatically these past few weeks, I’ve decided it’s time. So head on over to my page! I’ll have a ton of pics up there shortly, along with some homemade goodies that I do! Hope to see ya’ll there and thanks so much for the support J

You can go up to the top right hand of this page and click the little red FB banner, or you can follow this link: Southern Belle As An Army Wife Facebook 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Make-up, Books, Fire, and Jewelry, Oh My!

I mentioned last week that I had a pretty busy week. I accomplished a lot of things that I wanted to get done while fighting through some sickness and really having to focus on my WOTY J Anywho, it was my birthday last week and on top of that, I got a lot of cool stuff in I want to share!  First off, I entered a giveaway over at Babblings and More for a set of their earrings for Valentine’s Day and on my birthday, they emailed me and told me I had won! I was so excited! I never win anything! Wait—I lie. A couple years ago, I did win some tickets to a comedy show and a home & garden show on my birthday. My husband and I got ready to go, dropped the kids off at the sitter, and headed out only to discover that we never picked up the tickets L My kind of luck. Back on subject, I received my earrings a couple days ago and they even sent me the ring that I mentioned  I liked on their  page as well! Are these not the cutest?!

You should check them out because they have some really cute things! They had also sent me a sample of a natural candy that one of them makes that was delicious. You can find out all the details on their blog.

Next up is something that I showed a couple weeks ago that I wanted. A culinary torch, which I’m super excited about. I’ll try not to go completely pyro and burn down the house, but I can’t promise anything! My aunt sent it to me with the stipulation that I make an awesome Crème Brulee when they get to come out. Works for me!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, I’m not really sure what the way to a woman’s heart is, but if you ask me, I’d tell you it’s through books. Of course, diamonds are always nice, too However, you can’t escape from reality with diamonds.  My amazing husband got me six (one is sitting on my ottoman) new books for my birthday. Yes, he’s pretty perfect. Along with several other little goodies, I think I made out pretty good!

Something I’m super excited about is the fact that my Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog came in! I can’t wait to go to the store/farm that’s here and get all my seeds for our garden. Yes, we WILL have a garden this year! No excuses this year!

Lastly, my Birchbox came in yesterday. If you’ve never heard of it, it is a monthly subscription that costs 10 dollars for a box of “high-end” beauty samples. They send 4-5 samples each month and normally they are pretty good. Here’s a little walkthrough:

Here is the outside of the box it comes in every month...

Then on the inside is a card introducing you to the samples...

Silver and gold wrapping this month!

So my contents this month are as follows: LaFresh Eco-Beauty Acetone -Free Nail Polish Remover pads, Eye Rock eyeliner strips, BLK DNM perfume, Lifestyle Extra Nailfile, Six free downloads from Green River Ordinance (yes!), and Exude lip creme

I haven't been able to try everything yet to review, but I can already tell you my absolute favorite and what made this month worth it is the Exude lip creme. Amazing! It has a crystal applicator that dispenses how much you want. They have several cute shades. They also have lip glosses as well. The formula doesn't feel heavy on my lips (which is a big deal for my lipsticks) and I love the shimmer in them! Will definitely be purchasing this one!

I also receive another box every month called Beauty Army. The thing I like about that box is that you can pick the samples. The samples from them tend to be of more substantial size too. I'll probably periodically go over my boxes and review, but a friend of mine has a blog not only about these two boxes, but also other boxes as well. You can find her over at My Beauty Boxes. She goes over every box every month, so check her out!! We've also planned for her to come over here to review some of the products occasionally. So if you are into this kind of thing, stay tuned! It's great for us Moms that don't get to get out  to try different beauty products as much thanks to hectic schedules! Or if you are stuck in the middle of no where like I happen to be, it's great for that too! ;)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

There's a certain chain of restaurants of the seafood type that has some pretty amazing biscuits that they serve before and with meals, instead of rolls. We all know what I'm talking about here. Then I come across someone who says, "Oh, this is the recipe, blah, blah, blah". One taste and it never fails that it's a disappointment. However, I have something that we, around our house, think is much better. Enter, Garlic Cheddar Biscuits:

Or as I think of them as, Savory, Fluffy Heaven on a Cooling Rack. I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite cooking magazine's baking cookbook. It can be found here. Like I said, I adapted this recipe. Something I tend to do with about every recipe for some reason. So here is what will get you this wonderful pictured biscuit.

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp garlic powder, divided
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp chicken bouillon granules (this, my friends, is the "secret" ingredient)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (cold)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 to 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I highly recommend buying buttermilk, as opposed to subbing sour milk. I've done it both ways and get a much better turnout with buttermilk)
3 T butter-melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
Combine flour, 2 tsp garlic powder, baking powder, baking soda, and chicken bouillon granules in a bowl. Cut in cold butter to resemble coarse crumbs.

Add cheese and blend in.

Make a well in the middle and pour in 1 cup of the buttermilk

Stir in buttermilk, just until moistened. This may be where the other fourth cup of buttermilk is needed. Add by the tablespoon until it's moistened.
Drop by the heaping tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. While baking, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and stir in 1 tsp garlic powder. After 10 minutes, brush with butter/garlic and return to oven for another 2-4 minutes or tops are just starting to turn a golden brown. With my oven, it's usually closer to 4.
Pull from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Serve warm. (My husband will eat them cold)

Sharing with: 
PhotobucketLadybird Ln