Thursday, August 29, 2013

NOLA Crawfish Pies

Hello, my blogosphere friends!

Have things ever been so busy lately. With only ten weeks left in my pregnancy, it is starting to feel like it is flying by; in addition, school has started back full swing, our small group has started meeting again, and we are trying to finish prepping in the meantime for baby's arrival. Needless to say, it hasn't left time for much extra, particularly posting for my blog. I have some great posts coming up, though. I have received the fabric I ordered from Carousel Designs (It is gorgeous!) and will be making a baby blanket tutorial soon. We are also getting close to nursery decorating mode, and I can't wait to document our progress.

In the meantime, I have prepared a post for you about one of my other passions: cooking! I have featured a classic Mississippi dish, Peach Cobbler, so I decided to put a little NOLA in your repertoire this week: Crawfish Pie. One of the best things about being a NOLA transplanted Mississippi girl is having all of my favorite family recipes from the hospitality state while learning classic New Orleans recipes from Prince Charming's family in the Big Easy.

These pies are delicious and incredibly easy to make. They are a great appetizer,  entree, or side item. They are a show-stopper at parties and showers, and look elegant enough to really spruce up any table spread. I hope you enjoy these crawfish pies as much as I do! 

Crawfish Pies

Chop up some green onion, green bell pepper, yellow onion, and celery. You want to make your dice pretty small if you are doing mini-pies like I am. You can do this ahead of time to save time on cooking day.

Next, finely mince about two tablespoon of garlic. (I am making a double recipe in these pics for our small group; feel free to half everything you see for a smaller batch.)

In a large skillet, melt down two sticks of butter. (It makes it oh so yummy!)

Throw in your chopped vegetables and sauté until tender. Sprinkle in a bit of salt (not too much here as we have more ingredients to add) and some black pepper as the veggies cook.

While the veggies get happy, grab a pound of Mexican Velveeta. (If you can't find Mexican Velveeta, a jalapeño cheese roll would work. You might even get away with a pound of regular Velveeta with a can of well drained Rotel.)

Chop the Velveeta into small cubes. This will help it melt quicker and more evenly when we add it to our veggies soon. 

Next, open two cans of cream of celery soup. This adds some body and extra flavor to the pies.

When your veggies are tender, throw in your two cans of cream of celery soup...

and the Velveeta cubes. Stir this frequently until the cheese has melted and everything is combined.

Now comes the star of the show: Louisiana crawfish tails. I have two pounds here (again, this is a double recipe), and I bought these in the freezer section at Sam's. I always try to buy local crawfish instead of that stuff from across the Pacific, but use what you can find! After a boil, we like to peel all the extra crawfish and freeze the tails ourselves for future use. :)

We will also be adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce with the tails.

Once the soup and cheese are all combined, throw in your crawfish tails and your Worcestershire. I also added a couple big dashes of hot sauce and a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning. Can't hurt, right?

Stir it all up and cook it together for about ten minutes. This is a glorious mixture! You may be tempted to pour it over pasta. Feel free; I won't tell!

Next, layout your mini-pie/tart shells. I buy the freezer section kind, but if you are an incredibly talented baker or just have the time on your hands, knock yourself out making your own. I also want to add here that I lined the baking sheet with foil in case of any spill-over. (You will see it in the next pie pic.)

I have to make mention that my Mississippi-NOLA collided life even spills into recipes. That's right...these pie shells are made in Natchez, Mississippi. 

Fill up your pie shells with the filling. This double batch made two baking sheets full! 

I think in all, I ended up with 28 mini pies. Not a bad showing for such a simple recipe, and don't they look so professional! You can stop here a day ahead and just pop these in the oven the day of your party.

Place the pies in a 350 degree Farenheit oven for 20-30 minutes or until pies are bubbly and starting to brown on top. I like to turn on my convection oven for these babies just to keep cooking even. check on them about half-way theough and turn the pan if needed for even cooking. Pull out and let cool. That's it! You are ready to serve. 

These go great with salad and French bread, jambalaya, gumbo, or even stand alone! Trust me on this; this recipe is a keeper! 

I hope y'all enjoy! Y'all come back now, ya hear?


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Floors Are In!!!

Hello, my Blogosphere friends!
I am super excited about being able to finally put up the post that the flooring in our three bedrooms has officially been changed! This is something that Prince Charming and I have talked about for a couple of years now. We knew in our heads what we wanted to do, but we never really could find the time to set aside to get it done. With baby still well on the way (rockin' 28 weeks now, woohoo!) we finally found the motivation to get to it.
I have a really sensitive allergy to dust and dustmites, so we have known for quite some time that we would eventually change out the carpet in our house. Don't get me wrong, our carpet was great; it was a fantastic, affordable option when we were remodeling our house back in 2009. However, we knew from the first day it went in that it wasn't a permanent installment for our home.
Over the past few years, I have been in love with the idea of procelain tiles that look like wood floors. Who wouldn't want the beauty of a wood floor with the easy upkeep of tile? No worries about not cleaning it with the right worries about damaging its worries about scratching it everytime a piece of furniture moves. Heavenly! Unfortunately, when we first started thinking about this option, the wood tile market was slim and the options weren't very appealing. Fast forward to now, and we found a great tile that truly looked like planks of hard wood. So, without further ado...let's check out some pics!
These are the "BEFORE" pictures:
This is the room that will be the nursery. Notice the lovely dark stains. Thanks to dogs, Max and Molly! (I swear they were cleaned...the spots just wouldn't come up!)

This image gives a truer version of the colors of everything, and you get to see Prince Charming's lovely legs. ;)

This is our guest room, minus carpet.

 Here is the nursery minus carpet.
And here is our master bedroom with the carpet removed.

Special shout out to my friend Ashley from Our Happily Ever Afters for the art on the wall. It was a wedding gift, and I love it! (I also have to say how much I love our bedroom color. If you are ever looking for a dramatic, dark gray, this color is from Benjamin Moore and is called Sparrow.) With the rooms cleared, we were ready for the new floors to arrive!

I had to add a picture of our makeshift bedroom. All of the furniture from those three emptied rooms was moved into the dining room and den. While not the most awesome thing to look at all the time, I kind of liked camping out with Prince Charming in the living room for a few nights. It felt like we had a huge master bedroom! But I was ready for the floors to be done. After just a couple of days of laying and grouting, a couple of days of cutting and nailing shoe molding, and a good day of cleaning, they were in and stunning!
Here are the AFTER pics:

The guest room.
The nursery. (Special shout out to my Father-in-Law laying shoe molding.)
Our master bedroom
 As excited as I had been, I was certainly worried about that moment after feeling of "it is good but not all I thought it would be," but that moment never came. I was truly thrilled with how they turned out. Even Prince Charming said he couldn't believe just how much they truly looked like hardwood floors. I will post some pics of the rooms all put back together soon, but I couldn't wait to share the result of a week's worth of hard work with you guys. I hope y'all like it as much as I do, and feel free to ask any questions you may have about the products or process. :) Until then, be a blessing!
Y'all Come Back Now, Ya Hear?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mississippi Classic: Peach Cobbler

I hope you are ready for this! As promised in my last post, I am sharing with you my Big Mama's recipe for peach cobbler. This stuff is so fine, so simple, and so classically comforting. Anyone who has ever seen the classic Southern woman film Steel Magnolias can recite the classic "cuppa-cuppa-cuppa" recipe. This one starts with that same principal. I hope you make it and love it as much as I do! Serve it up hot out the oven with some vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or just some heavy cream poured over top. Hey, you can even eat it in all of its simple goodness with no additional treats and have a brief love affair with your spoon...and probably your bowl, too, when you finish. :)
Big Mama's Peach Cobbler
1 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar, divided in half, plus 2 T of sugar
1 cup of milk (whole or low fat work best, but skim will do in a pinch)
1 stick of butter, melted
1 t cinammon
1 t nutmeg
2 14 oz cans of peaches, mostly drained (feel free to sub in fresh peaches - about 2 cups)
(Do you see where the cuppa-cuppa-cuppa fits in?)
Step one, in your baking dish, put in your flour and a 1/2 cup of sugar and combine.

Next, add in your cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
Now, pour in your cup of milk...

and your melted butter. Stir until combined, but don't overwork it. You don't want to beat it to death.
In a bowl, add your mostly strained peaches and the other 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir them around and pour them over the top of your mixed batter.

Pop your pan into a 375 degree preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes until it starts to brown on top. This is where I add an awesome Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond's blackberry cobbler trick to my Big Mama's recipe. At the end of the cooking time, I sprinkle evenly over the top of the cobbler about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Then, I pop it back in the oven for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking time. You could also put it under the broiler for a minute or two, but keep the door cracked and an eye on it so it doesn't go too far. This makes a delicious, crispy, carmelized crust over the top of the cobbler.

I wish I could add a final picture of the very final product, but I made this for company and it was inhaled right after emerging from the oven. The smell of this cooking in my kitchen and the taste of it when it is done brings me back to my Big Mama's trailer in the backwoods of Yazoo City, Mississippi. It truly comforts and warms me heart and soul, and I hope it will be for you, too!

Y'all Come Back Now, Ya Hear?