Saturday, August 29, 2015

spanish cod is whats for supper.

i have entered a phase of life where i want to try new things. i literally will walk around the store in the veggie section & look at everything that i have never heard of & wonder, what can i do with thisssssss. this is coming from a person who doesn't eat too many cooked veggies- i am a raw veggie girl. so i was on pinterest the other day & saw this -- this blog has some amazing recipes so take a few minutes & wonder about their page.

i had bought some cod at the local kroger the other day so i knew i wanted to make a dinner with it, but i had no idea it was going to be this good. like for real good & it is easy. i made a few changes to the recipe bc i had to work with what i had & what my grocery store allowed me to get.

here is what you will need:

  • 2 chunky cod fillets (you could use haddock or pollock if you prefer)
  • 100g diced cooking chorizo
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 large glass white wine
  •  1 small box visconti crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large  onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Knorr chicken stock pot cheats in 31/2 cups boiled water
  • Juice of 2 juicy lemons
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Extra virgin olive oil for finishing
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • rice to serve with


*big thanks to my husband for sharpening knives & cutting stuff for me. 

step 1.

fry chorizo in some olive oil until edges are a little crispy - when it is done put it to the side in a bowl

step 2.

pour yourself a glass of the wine you will be using. you really need to make sure it is going to work for you. 

i usually use cheaper wine if i am cooking with it unless it is a dessert. you can't go cheap on dessert you guys. 

step 3. 

add your onion to the oil left from the chorizzo & then add garlic.

let the onion cook for a minute or two before you add the garlic.

this smell makes me the happiest person in the world. 

step 4.

now add your saffron, your wine, your stock, your box of visconti, & your sugar- bring to a simmer. 

taste & add your salt & pepper to taste. i did a lot of tasting, bc it was so good. 

step 5. 

add your can of drainer & rinsed chickpeas, lemon juice & cook for about 5-6 minutes. 

step 6.

add your cod filets, & chorizzo- put the lid on & let simmer for 8-10 minutes. 

step 7. 

sprinkle dish with fresh parsley

* i grow my own- its such a good feeling to go outside & cut your own, or pick your own veggies. 

step 8.


i served this straight from the pan & with rice. 

i love one pot meals. 

cory loved it. 

i loved it. 

you will love it.

thank you to the kitchen alchemist for getting my creative brain going with this dish. you are the bomb. 

happy cooking. 


Friday, August 21, 2015

cold brew joe.

i love it. you love it. we all love it. if you don't like it, well we need to have a talk & i will change your mind.

i was a barista for about 3 years of my life & i really & truly miss it. i miss leaving the coffee house & smelling like espresso, i miss the people you meet & how you remember the regulars drinks just by the sound of their voice or their familiar face. the atmosphere in a coffee shop is a little addicting to say the least. i met one of my best friends working in a coffee shop & to this day we have regular dates at some of my favorite coffee shops.

octane & dancing goats would have to be my favorite. if you are ever in atlanta GIVE THEM A TRY.

now onto the good stuff: this might come as a big shocker to you but YOU can make your OWN cold brew right from the comfort of your home & its EASY!

what will you need:

coffee bag-  i got mine from amazon here
container - depending on how much you want to make
water- free from the sink

now step 1: if you get pre ground coffee you can use a 1 pound bag which is about 5 1/2 cups

i grind my own & this time i used this coffee below

i used 8 cups of coffee & like i said i grind my own

now pour use coffee into the bag

mine has a draw string like most of them do- so just pull it tightly & drop the bag in the container you are using. 

now fill your container up with water.

for 8 cups of coffee i used 16 quarts of water

now the boring part: waiting.

i let mine sit for about 30 hours. best thing to do is make it in the afternoon when you get home from work & then when you get back the next day it is DONE. 

best way to drink this is anytime of the day any place. 



"friday meetups" -- samantha plank.

this girl is one of a kind. i met her through "instagram" a while back & from there our relationship sort of turned into this random texting of encouraging words to each other. she sent me a card when i was living in atlanta on a day when i needed it most & now i view her as a kindred spirit. it's the little things like that, that show how big our father is. that card has encouraged my on numerous days & it is a constant reminder that he pays attention. God is so intentional with his feelings for us & his thoughts for us, it truly amazes me.

it is crazy how small this world is & how things like social media can put your feet on a path to someone that can change your life in small ways & in big ways. i feel like this young woman is going to change many lives & recently she has started changing her own. 

i am so happy to share her interview with you & i know you will fall in love with her just as much as i have. she is also a fellow blogger and you can follow along with her -------> here

 Describe yourself in 3 words?

Hmm.. this is a tough one because usually my answers would be: bubbly, loud, and sweet. But honestly when I dig deeper they would be: compassionate, loving, and spiritually encouraging.

We all see how inspiring you are with your incredible healthy lifestyle transformation, but what & who inspires you?

Honestly what inspired me to start taking care of myself was true love. I was being controlled by so many things in my life. My image has been a huge thing since I was a teenager. I allowed what others thought about me to mess with my emotions, which led to me over eating and not taking care of my body. So I decided one day that I was done with all of that, and now I'm here on day 121 and I've lost 60 lbs! I honestly never believed in myself enough to keep going, and I've accomplished so much. I'm definitely motivated everyday to be the best Samantha that i can be possible. Specially for my future husband. lol

** you can follow her on her fitness instagram  or her regular instagram

Do you have a plan you follow or are do you just go for it? 
I always thought I had to have a plan i needed to follow before I could start, which led to me waiting day after day after day. So I just decided eat as clean as possible and as little carbs as possible. I love veggies so it wasn't that hard to switch. 

Favorite songs to jam out too? like the ones you sing to the top of your lungs in the car when you think no one is watching? 

I'm pretty sure you are going to laugh after I tell you which songs they are. 
A whole new world, from Aladdin
Should've been us- tori kelly
Chains break-Austin Admec 
and oh my gosh, Let it go from frozen. Ive never even seen the movie (i have a 7 year old sister)
Definitely get weird looks when singing that song haha 

Favorite childhood memory?
My favorite memory would be the times when I was younger and my brothers and I would dance and sing for my parents in our living room. lol cheesy but unforgettable. 

Favorite homemade recipe?
Hmm..definitely,  Cuisine a la Samantha haha Homemade mac and cheese 

Best advice you have ever been given?

Don't ever settle for less than what God has for you in this life. -Mommy

if you could go anywhere today, where would you go?

I would love to say where I really want to drive right now but I'll have to leave that to myself. (someone special is not in my state right now) 
instead i guess i would love to be on beach beach getting a tan enjoying the sun and not having a care in the world. 
favorite quote?
Don't shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him.

if you were given a few minutes to share with a room full of strangers what's on your heart at this very moment, what would you say?
Don't ever think that what you have to offer isn't enough. We need to stop looking at ourselves and thinking so negatively. Don't settle for anything less than what The Father has for you. We all have a past, and a lot of us tend to look down upon ourselves, but God isn't so why should we. He has so much love for us, and it covers all the stuff we have done or will do. We are not the sins we commit, we are not what the enemy calls us, and we are not what the people in our lives call us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Jesus! Nothing you have done or will do can ever separate you from the love of Jesus. Giving my life to Jesus was the greatest decision I could ever make and I am so thankful for His love and how I can share it with everyone around me. 

who do you look up to & why?

I look up to my mom so much. She is the most amazing mother/wife/friend I've ever known. She is a pure example of the woman I want to be every day. She loves God with all of her heart, and a prayer warrior. She has taught me to be all God has called me to be, along with how to love people. She is my best friend and someone I know I can always count on to be my biggest cheerleader. She's the type of woman people write books about. I am so thankful for her and seriously don't know what I would do without her in my life. I'd be lost. 

funny thing about this sweet girl is that we have never even met in person, (we need to change that one day)

please follow along with her if you need to be encouraged, if you just want to see her pretty little face more often or if you simply want to put more positive in your life. this world has so much negativity & there is such a need for people like samantha. she is a light in this world & she doesn't even know how many lives she is touching or will touch. my prayer for samantha is that everyday when she wakes up she knows where her worth comes from, that she knows how much the father truly loves her & that God re-energizes her fresh so she can go out & be the light that she already is every single day. 

samantha thank you for being willing to let me interview you, you are truly one-of-a-kind

last weeks meetup with wilderson is here

happy friday!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

pop-tarts are my JAM.

get it? well probably not yet, bc you have no idea what i am talking about at the moment. todays post is about homemade pop-tarts & homemade... wait for it.... JAM.  a little play on words action to get this sunday going.

i love a good pop-tart. blueberry pop-tarts to be exact. they remind me of simple times when i was getting ready for school & i would just grab a pop-tart- open that silver plastic & then magic. if i was feeling really crazy i would break up the pop-tart into pieces, put them into a bowl & then pour milk on top & eat it like cereal. #sugarproblems. i don't really keep things like that in my house anymore. i don't have chips. cookies. chocolate. none of it. i make everything homemade or try to at least.

i love fresh herbs & this week i scored big time at our kroger bc their herbs they put into those plastic containers were like 20 cents. so i take them home & hang them upside down & let them dry out. as i get older my taste buds have been finding their way to new flavors & i am happy about that.

can you believe all this was 40 cents? thank you kroger. 

so this dough recipe i found here

now usually i would use something that my mom has given me but they just moved & everything they own is basically in boxes so she couldn't find it, but HEY that just means i will need to make these again & again right?


2 cups AP flour
2 TB sugar
1 ts salt
1 1/2  sticks unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk + 1 TB divided

first step: combine all your dry ingredients. 

i used a cheese grater & grated my cold butter right on top of the flour mixture.

then using my hands i mixed it all together until it looked like this picture below. 

now in a separate bowl beat the egg & milk together & add to mixture. 

i had to add a TB or 2 of milk to get the dough to the right texture. 

now flour your surface- i have a stainless steel table in my kitchen that is perfect for all these recipes i have been trying lately. did i mention this was my first time making pop-tarts?

knead your dough on floured surface until it's the shape of a mound.

now divide the dough into 2 equal little balls. 

they looked so pretty i took 3 pictures. 

now wrap them with plastic & let them hang out in the fridge for an hour or so or even until the next morning which is what i did. this was very hard for me- all i could think about was how this recipe was going to turn out, or how good the smell coming from my kitchen would be. i am probably becoming impatient in my older age. anxious and impatient. 

when you are ready to assemble these, i literally rolled out of bed & headed straight to the kitchen, take your little dough balls out & we are going to work with them one at a time. 

flour your workspace & roll the ball into about 1/8 inch. now the directions said this but i have no idea about measuring this stuff. i literally just rolled it out until it felt right, whatever that means. 

now you have complete control over the shapes you want. the husband is really good about buying me cute little things for the kitchen or just cute things in general. if i say i am interested in something he is the first to invest in those interests. #blessed.

i did normal little rectangles. 

see that cute little tool. one of my interests he invested in.

now i swayed from the directions at this point & did my own things. 

i just made as many rectangles as i could with matching bottoms & tops. i did some small & some big ones. his & hers is what i am calling them. 

so when you have your bottoms you are going to brush them with your egg wash- 1 egg & a splash of milk.

now i spread the jam i made on top & then put the top on.

blueberry on the left. raspberry on the right. 

i used a fork for the edges & then poked some holes in the top to let the steam out. 

now this is where i made the mistake of not making sure they went all the way through so my pop-tarts were a little fluffy. next time i know. 

now put these in the fridge for about 25 minutes & then right before you put them in the oven brush the egg wash on top. 

bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. 

now for the JAM.

i had fresh local blueberries i got from the littler farmers market on the square her in carrollton & some blackberries i got from trader joes. 

for a thing of blueberries you will need.

1/2 cup sugar
your container of blueberries
2 TB cornstarch
4 TB water
1 tsp vanilla (haitian of course)
1 tsp mint- this is something i added at the last minute
a sprinkle of salt

in a medium sauce pan on medium heat put your blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, & water.

the little blueberries will start to bubble & burst & your entire house will smell like you could eat everything. the chairs. lamps. tables. sofa. everything is at risk.

after cooking for about 10 minutes i added my mint. my 40 cent mint from kroger. 

when it looks like this picture above i then put it through a strainer to make sure i didn't have any skins. i wanted everything smooth. 

i tasted this many times, which is why i had so much anxiety about waiting to make these for the next morning. i made the JAM yesterday & it was just sitting in my fridge begging to be put on something.

i used this same process with the blackberries too. 

these are easy to put in a container & cory can grab one on the way to work in the morning. zap it in the microwave for about 10 seconds & you have yourself a warm homemade nostalgic breakfast. 

when my mom finds her recipe i will be sure to post it. 

hope you guys enjoy making these for your family like i did. 

-- mrs. estes