Kumbaya Jambalaya

Are you sitting down? If you’re a mom, I know you’re not sitting down..unless you’re in the bathroom for a few minutes of privacy, and maybe you’ll spend extra time in there so you can quickly catch up on life on the outside. Or, if you’re a mom you might be hiding in the laundry room eating some chocolate from the now opened Halloween bags. Not that I have experience with either of these scenarios.


Whatever you’re doing, I know you will be SHOCKED to see I am posting again! I have been INSANELY busy over the past few months starting and GROWING my Beautycounter business, working my other job, trying to be a wife and trying to keep children in somewhat clean clothes (I didn’t say wrinkle free) and fed. Check out this pic of me at a vendor event!



We’ve also been at the beach nearly every weekend, until this weekend where it is finally too “chilly” to be in the water. But a lot of our meals have been munchy food either at the beach or a picnic at home.

Johnson's Beach

Pensacola Beach

With all those things I’ve had ZERO time for hobbies, including this blog. Plus, I haven’t made time to do any real meal planning in months so that means our dinners have been a series of broken records – grilled chicken, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, chicken and pasta – rinse and repeat. A few times I’ve snapped a photo of a clever dinner for Instagram, which I am totally obsessed with (follow me @beautycountermolly), but that’s about it. Tonight, the kids are in bed, husband is out with work buddies, I’m at a good spot with Beautycounter, and we had a yummy dinner that I’d like to share!

Last night I made time for proper meal planning, and for this week not a single quesadilla! Although one night we will have bbq chicken sandwiches and nachos, but yeah, quesadillas are on sabbatical for now. I was trying to figure out an exciting way to cook the 2 cups of shredded, frozen chicken and jambalaya popped into my head. I planned to go food shopping in the morning (I do every Saturday or Sunday morning) and I decided to pick up the items for jambalaya, and get the shrimp at our fish market later in the day. My family has a joke about jambalaya. My grandfather used to get jambalaya and kumbaya mixed up. I think the story goes, he was talking about a baptism at church where the priest dipped the naked baby into the baptismal pool, and raised him up for everyone to sing jambalaya! (kumbaya) We all know his story was embellished, but it lives in our memories.

I did a quick search for jambalaya and my favorite blog popped up, Gimme Some Oven! Several of her recipes are on rotation in our house, especially the enchilada sauce.

My mods

-I used brown rice, which takes FOREVERRRRR to cook. Like, an hour people.

-I used my own homemade chicken stock. Yay!

-Andouille sausage = Aidell’s cajun sausage, precooked, nitrate free

-I bought headless, deveined shrimp from the local fish market and threw in the pot with tails ON

-I used petite diced tomatoes so we didn’t have chunks of tomatoes (thereby increasing the chances the kids would eat a taste).

The Result

Success! It’s by no means the kids’ favorite, but I didn’t hear any obnoxious comments. I served with fresh mango slices and french bread with fresh rosemary olive oil dipping sauce. And, there’s enough for tomorrow – win! AND it was a super cheap way to stretch only a pound of shrimp and maybe a cup of chicken!

HealthyKitchenHealthyBudget Jambalaya







Week 1 Round-up

Wondering how our first week was under the 100 Days of Real Food mini-pledge? Overall, it was pretty easy to fit two fruits/veggies into every meal because by default most of our meals already had at least one! So, we didn’t have to change much. Continue reading “Week 1 Round-up”

The Lost Blogger Returneth

Woa. It’s been a whopping TWO MONTHS since my last post! Usually I don’t know where the time goes, this time I know it was spent making baked goods for teachers, stressing over how to stretch the Christmas gift budget, lots of work and a vacation.

After my year anniversary post we only had two short weeks before we packed up and went back to my home in Northern VA for two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Before my vacation I was working like a mad woman, in both my paid and unpaid jobs. I’m pretty sure we ate lots of quesadillas, nachos and meatballs during that time.  Continue reading “The Lost Blogger Returneth”

Meal Plan 8.2 – 8.8

Our family was away on vacation the past few days so my food planning and buying is a little different this week. The next couple of days I am going to rely on my trusty crockpot. It’s always a great way to stretch our dinner dollar, and reduce my daily cooking and dish cleaning activities. Later this month I am excited to try out my new-to-me Toastmaster bread machine that I bought on VarageSale for $10! Continue reading “Meal Plan 8.2 – 8.8”

Homemade Gifts

I know this is a cooking/meal planning blog, but here’s a post about some baking and gift giving I’ve been doing.

I think I started thinking about Christmas gifts for our teachers back in November. This year we have eight teachers (four for each kiddo), and other people at school I wanted to thank. As much as I wanted to give everyone gifts, I was a little worried about the cost. So, I started looking at crafty blogs and getting ideas.

I decided to make bath salts and put them in a decorative mason jar. I bought epsom salts from my trusty Publix and used a recipe of 3 cups epsom salt, 1 cup baking soda, and a few drops of the essential oil blend “Stress Away” from Young Living. I did some experimenting with fizzy bath salts, but the fizz seemed to leave the salts after a day or two. The recipe I used gave me enough to fill eight, 4-oz mason jars. I still have an extra bag of epsom so I may experiment with a recipe from Martha Stewart that has coarse salt added. http://www.marthastewart.com/270270/homemade-bath-salts. I printed out the tags from a website, http://www.plumadorable.com/pamper-yourself-gift-jars-free-printable-tags/.

I also made peppermint fudge thanks to the Pioneer Woman. Chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. I’m not exactly sure what condensed milk is, but I do know this fudge was incredibly easy to make (I had a make-shift double boiler with a stock pot and aluminum bowl), and it’s really yummy! I used the EZ foil 8×8 pans lined with aluminum foil. I’ll let you see pretty pictures of fudge making on her site. Peppermint Fudge.



Welcome to the Blog!

Welcome to Good Lookin’ Home Cookin’, a blog dedicated to outlining our weekly meals, and recipes I try for other meals and snacks. It will describe my triumphs and failures in the experimental kitchen.

I have been meal planning off and on for years throughout my marriage, but it has become increasingly more important as food prices go up, I opt for pricier organic/non-GMO food, and my two boys and husband continue having hearty appetites. Watching my 10 month baby eat more than I do made me realize I need to consistently plan meals for four, and make extra for a lunch or two. Since the beginning of November 2014 I have been consistently meal planning every Wednesday after the Publix store circular comes out (I do 95% of our food shopping at Publix because it’s a beautiful store, I know where everything is, I like their store brand and the people there are wonderful). I plan on Wednesday evening, and shop on Thursday evening, or later in the week if I’m head of schedule food-wise. I try hard to be organized, but I have a love hate relationship with menu planning. I don’t like planning, but taking 30 minutes to plan and write my grocery list saves me stress and time later. My goal is always to do one big shopping trip a week, but usually I end up making another trip to get diapers, OJ, or bananas. Or beer. And milk. And oh yeah, we need cheese. So, the once a week trip usually doesn’t happen, but it’s always my goal.

This isn’t a “food blog” full of pretty pictures and witty language. I probably won’t have pictures, unless I am particularly proud of something. Or, if I want to document an epic fail so I can laugh later. So what’s the point of this blog? First, over the last month I have found I can’t remember what recipes I’ve tried, which ones I liked, and which ones I want to do again with modifications. This will serve as a memory jog for me. Second, I thought it might be fun years from now to look back and see what I cooked when the kids were little and we were both working. Finally, I hope this blog will be helpful to someone who is looking for some new recipes or meal planning ideas. I know I’m always searching for new things to try. Each week I will post our menu and include the links to the recipes, since 70% of my recipes come from online sources. I probably won’t post our sides, unless I try something new. Mostly our sides consist of a combination of fruit/salad/rice/potatoes/garlic bread. I will try to avoid using the term “real food.” I hate that term, even though we generally adhere to that…genre? Theory? Whatever. I use a lot of organic ingredients and when I use short cuts I use things with the fewest ingredients as possible, and I pay attention to those ingredients.

So, now to get my blog on!