Monday, May 25, 2015

My Family's Chicken Sausage Gumbo SECRET Recipe. Don't Tell Anyone about this, OK?

Hi Friends!

It seems that this blog is heading off in a new direction! Today I am giving you another recipe and this one is special!

I taught my family's recipe for Chicken Sausage Gumbo to my friends on Meerkat in my second ever live cooking show last night! I promised you that I would write the recipe down for them, and so here it is!

Lovenailpolish's Family Secret Chicken Sausage Gumbo

3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 bell pepper
2 stalks celery
12 oz. Andouille Sausage or other sausage
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
4 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon canola oil

ROUX ingredients
1/2 cup canola or high temp oil
1/2 cup flour

Chop garlic, onion, bell pepper, and celery. Set aside.

Slice sausage and chicken into bite sized pieces. Set aside

Make ROUX. Here is the big secret! A shortcut technique to making the roux! The traditional way involves stirring at the stove for thirty minutes, cooking the roux slowly over a low fire.  My family's secret method updates this technique to our modern era using Chef Mike, the microwave.

Combine oil and flour in a 2 cup heatproof glass measuring cup.

Place cup in microwave and heat on full power for 30 seconds. Using extreme caution, stir the mixture in the cup and microwave for a further 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Repeat until the roux barely turns caramel and forms a grainy appearance.  This process requires the roux to cook for about four or five minutes total, so you will need to open the microwave and stir eight to ten times. Stirring is important to avoid burning the flour, PLEASE use caution with the lava hot roux!

Once the roux is caramel colored, it may be placed in a heavy bottomed large soup pot.  Turn on heat to medium high and add vegetables to the roux and stir and cook for five minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and cook.

Set the vegetables and roux aside while browning the sausage to avoid burning the roux.  Place the slices of sausage into a skillet over medium high heat (6/10). Stir and cook for approximately five minutes until the sausage begins to show color and brown,  Remove from the skillet and add to the vegetable/roux mixture. Add the raw chicken to the sausage drippings and stir and cook over medium heat until the chicken is no longer pink.  Add to the roux mixture.

Add 4.5 cups of water to the pot, place over heat, cover and bring briefly to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook covered at a simmer for 20 minutes. Serve in bowls with a half cup of fluffy cooked rice on top. If you want to get all fancy, put you some chopped green onions on top sha*, for garnish!

Season to taste with Tony Chachere's or Zatarain's seasoning.

If this is not available, I suggest seasoning with a generous pinch of salt, black pepper to taste, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or for extra heat, your favorite hot sauce from Louisiana. Awww yeah baby!

Suggested side dishes: Salad, French Bread

Wine suggestion. I enjoyed a Cabernet Sauvignon by Forestville. I am not picky when it comes to wine, I think either a white or a red goes pretty well with this gumbo myself!

I need a new computer, I can not load up pictures right now on the one I have. Mine died and I am using my husband's, but I will fix this situation soon!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recipe and a Return to Blogging! Smooth Healthy and Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Hi everyone!

I have been away a while it is true.  I have been enjoying life, completing my treatment and recovering from my bout with the big C. Life has been treating me well this year, and I am fulfilling many dreams I have long held, such as hiking to the top of a nearby hill, refurbishing my home by painting and replacing flooring myself, caring for my home and garden, spending time with family.

I am so grateful for all my friends who helped me out along the way, my online friends especially are included! Thank you for being a friend by supporting me in any way here, on twitter or wherever our interaction space happens to be.

One thing I have adopted since my diagnosis two years ago this week is healthier eating. I try to eat organic food and make as much from scratch as possible. I learned about nutrition through my journey and it's role in healing and now I firmly believe that our diet is critical to our healing from surgery, chemo and radiation. Soup can be such a wonderful nutritional healing powerhouse, and it is easy to eat when you do not feel well, or just when it is cold out!

I adapted this recipe from a carrot and coriander soup recipe I found. I have been working on it over the last month or so and am happy to share it with you. I had never tried Butternut Squash before, I never knew how luscious and creamy and buttery it is! Ok, duh, so that is why it is called Butter nut! If you have never eaten it before, consider trying it some time, you might like it! I am very confident if you tasted my soup recipe below you would love it at first taste, like I did.

Smooth Healthy and Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 large or 2 small Butternut Squash
2 medium onions
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger or 1 tsp powdered
2 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable if desired
2 tbsp olive oil
Cilantro leaves to serve

PREHEAT oven to 300 degrees

  1.  Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with a spoon. Drizzle with a teaspoon to a tablespoon of olive oil and coat the squash well.
  2.  Place on a cookie sheet cut side down, bake for 40-45 minutes, check for doneness by inserting a knife into the thickest part of the squash, if it goes in easily, the squash is done.
  3.  While the squash bakes, chop onion and garlic finely and sauté in 1 tbsp  olive oil over medium low heat for five minutes until translucent and beginning to brown. Add spices and cilantro and stir and sauté one more minutes.
  4.  Remove from heat until the squash is finished baking.
  5. When squash is finished baking and has cooled enough to handle, remove the peel by scraping with a knife, it should slip off fairly easily at this point. Chop squash into cubes.
  6.   Place baked squash in the pot, add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
  7.  Puree by placing in a blender or with an immersion blender.
  8. Serve with a few cilantro leaves on top.


Please let me know if you try this, I would love any feedback on this recipe.

I will be going to the oncologist next month for a two year follow up, and I anticipate being declared cancer free.  Currently I am not on any treatments, am totally loving life right now, staying super busy picking up my life where I left it off two years ago.

Lately I have been broadcasting live manicures on the new app Meerkat. My handle is @lovenailpolish3, same as twitter. The great thing about Meerkat is that you can ask questions and interact with the person broadcasting. People are broadcasting themselves at work, teaching things, and giving tours, you never know. The troll population is kept in check, so it is a welcoming and friendly space.  I am loving it right now!  Maybe I will see you there!

Thank you for visiting me!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hi Sweet Hearts! An Update

Hi lovely.

Just a quick update to say hi. And where is the time going? February is here already! Next thing I know it will be Easter!

I finished chemo and am trying to choose between radiation to complete my treatment or a mastectomy (I had a successful lumpectomy last year). I plan to choose very soon, it has been one of the hardest choices I have ever made. There is no right or wrong choice, only my preference, from what the doctors tell me at this point.

I have not wanted to photograph  my hands much because they were in a dry cracked condition after chemo and during the last months of 2013.  Now, five weeks after finishing chemo, the middle nail on my left hand (swatching hand) has lifted from the nail bed almost 60% down toward the base of the nail. And three others have begun to lift as well.

I just noticed this last Wednesday, after my nail felt broken.  It was solid, so I ignored it until I peeped under the nail and saw it had come apart from my finger! I do not know how it happened so fast, I did my nails one day, they were perfect, two days later I removed the polish and I could see from a slight discoloration that the nail lifted almost completely off the nail bed. I attribute this to the chemotherapy medication Taxotere, after reading reports of patients online. It is aptly named, it taxes your system and makes you want to cry, but it is better than not having the medication, in my situation. That is the theory anyway.

Happily, I am still polishing my pinkies and my toesies.  They seem to be okay so far. It is weird to open a new bottle of polish and only polish two nails, only two tiny pinkies usually now.

I am not complaining because it could be much much worse, just reporting what is going on with the nails now.

I need to have my third outpatient surgery in a year soon, to remove my chemo port. Then I hope to complete the next steps in my treatment, I have a few more, radiation or mastectomy, eight more Herceptin infusions and five years of medications.

I have seen some people indicate that cancer patients are not heroic, but I have to say I am inspired to see the courage of the other patients in treatment, they are heroic to me. It helps me so much to know that others have beaten breast cancer and other cancers, so maybe I can too..

I so hope that we can find a cure soon so no one has to die from cancer anymore.

I totally plan  to return to this photography and this blog as soon as I can manage, just to show you polish on my one pinkie or some fake nails, just to get some comparison swatches out there of some recent dupes I have acquired.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Essie On A Silver Platter

Happy New Year!!

Here I present to you a Christmas polish gift I was lucky enough to receive, Essie On a Silver Platter. This polish is part of Essie's Encrusted Treasures collection and  judging from the bottles and reviews I have seen, this is a stand out star of the bunch! I have tried two so far, this one and Lots of Lux, and this one is the favorite of the two for me.

This polish is a mix of small warm golden shimmers and beautiful small and medium blue holo hex glitters. The holos shine through the shimmers, although they are embedded in and covered in parts by them. This mixture of glitter and shimmer particles layers smoothly and applies easily. This is a unique finish in my collection. This is three coats for full dimension.  I apologize but I can not remember if I used topcoat here : (  Bad blogger!

Chemo is completed as of today!! I am happy to have made it through this stage of the game. Maybe next year will see me all healed and back up to full strength again.

Thank you for reading this and for being here supporting me through this blog. I appreciate you so much! THANK YOU! I wish for all of us everything we dream of in this new year!