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The Sabbath is almost here again and Lord knows I'm anticipating it like a kid going to Disney. After a busy week, it's such a joy preparing our house for a great day of REST! Despite all the work I put in on Friday, I know that by Saturday morning my house, namely the boys' room, will look like Katrina hit. It's OK though. I'm sure I'm not the only one who experiences that. It comes with the territory of having boys. Either way, I try to make the actual preparation as stress free as possible. We do a good bit of cleaning on Thursday so that we can enter into our rest more relaxed and calm. That may be a great option for those of y'all who have to work outside the house as well. Splitting the workload up by days makes it easier to have everything completed by Friday evening. Here's a list, organized by room, of all the things I do before Shabbat. I usually pick something quick and easy to cook for Friday and also make sure we have bread, fruit and PB&J for Saturdays meals. This week we're having good ol' spaghetti for dinner. :)


 
 
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There are so many dishes I "can't eat" without cornbread. I mean, I'm sure could eat them but they just don't feel complete without some homemade, box-free, sweet cornbread. It's so easy to make you wouldn't believe it, and considering the sometimes unclean ingredients included in box mixes, it's definitely a healthier option. My kids would eat a whole pan of this recipe if I let them and my grandmother has put her "stamp" on it too! :)
Now be warned, I like my cornbread sweet, almost cake-like, so if that's not your taste, feel free to change it up to your liking. :)


 
 
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Being from a city like New Orleans gives you no choice but to learn, early, how to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. Hustle is not an option in our city, it's a lifestyle. Even the wealthy of New Orleans are full of passion and fire for whatever it is that's keeping food on their table. It's a city that teaches and ,more importantly, allows you to "love the life you live and live the life you love".  It takes nothing more than an idea to make enough money to live here. With the luxury of tropical weather and year round planting, it takes nothing more than the will to work the thick clay soil to grown some of the best fruits and vegetables you'll ever taste. It is a city of entrepreneurs, artists, independents, chefs, bakers, movers and shakers. Mostly self taught and heavily learned in the school of hard knocks. But at the end of the day it's still "laissez le bon temps rouler". I mean, a short walk through the French quarters and you'll count at least ten painters, silver-painted men posing as statues, clowns twisting balloons, street musicians, food vendors, street dancers, the list could go on and on. This city doesn't teach us what impossible means...we learn to be limitless. We learn that if we keep moving, eventually "sum'n gon' shake". 

Yes, for every thing there is an equal and opposite. When the poverty level in this city was exposed it became the shame of the entire nation (see Katrina). But in a city as free hearted and generous as New Orleans, poverty can be seen as a choice and a mind set. Chosen by those who let what their eyes could see determine what their outcome would be. Excuses fall short here. The fittest always survive here. Every week I see a brother in a wheelchair passing the hat with the brass band, gyrating his shoulders and "second linin" right from his chair, earning his keep. Children as young as five glue bottle tops and tin can lids to their tennis shoes [sneakers] and tap dance on the curb for money. And no, the cops don't stop 'em.

Everybody understands the hustle in New Orleans. From the top brass politicians to the bum on the corner singing his heart out for a beer.  I'm so grateful for all that this city has taught me about getting up and getting it. I'm thankful to be from a place where self employment is an everyday way of life; acceptable and encouraged through the entire population....and easy as a pot of beans. I'm glad to be at home in the space of getting it on my own. Slow motion is better than no motion when you're from the Big Easy.

There's no place like it on earth ;)

#ThankfulThursday #NolaNspiyahd

 
 
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So I've been nursing my mother in law through a spell of pneumonia for the last few days. Usually she just goes to the ER but this time when her chest got tight and she couldn't breathe I rushed to go fix it. She's an elder now and I figure if the doctors haven't fixed her up by now, it's my turn. lol! So yeah, I made a quick essential oil mixture that (she says) really helped her breathe and she just called requesting more of it. I know this time of year brings about all kinds of difficulties for our respiratory systems so I figured sharing the recipe might help some of y'all too. :)
I didn't have a carrier oil on hand at the time so I dropped the essential oils into an oil burner/ warmer filled with water. It doesn't last as long that way but it got the job done. In the mix I sent her this morning, I used coconut oil as the carrier because of it's high smoke point. She should be able to burn it for some hours without refilling. Here's the recipe and a few more tips on decongesting naturally.

SN: Essential oils are very strong so only use them drop by drop and with a carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, etc)


 
 
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I hope ya'll knew I wasn't gonna leave yall hangin on #TastyTuesday ! lol
We tried this recipe earlier in the week and it definitely tastes authentic! This is one of my mom's favorite dishes from the Chinese restaurant so I had to find out how to make it at home. It's quick and easy, the meat needs to marinate for only about 30 minutes. You can substitute the meat for a lighter fare like chicken or even vegetarian options like tofu for a very versatile and delicious dinner that can be made from scratch right quick.


 
 
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I think I do pretty well tho :)
But I think any mom, especially of boys, can agree that the stanky laundry never ends!

Well, I have no remedy for those piles (if you do, let me know)...but I do have a solution for your pockets. Buying cleaning products can add up quickly but it's a necessary spend to keep the family clean and germ-free....But you can make an easy switch that will ease the budget and keep a little change in your bank, while also being environmentally friendly and safe for all ages and skin types.

This naturally deep cleaning detergent is the only laundry detergent we've used for over a year now so I know it works :) (If it works on dirty cloth diapers, it works on ANYTHING) It's easy and inexpensive and you can make it with or without adding any other liquid detergent. It's made with a few simple ingredients that can be found on the laundry aisle of most grocery and superstores.

This recipe is repeated about a million times all over the internet but I'm sharing it here in case you haven't found it yet. Ya welcome! :)

You'll need:
1 cup baking soda
1 cup Super Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
1 bar Fels-Naptha soap (grated or chopped into small pieces)
3 1/2 gallons of water
1 bottle of your favorite liquid detergent (optional)
a squeaky clean five gallon bucket

Bring a big pot of water to a boil (approx. 8 qts), add chopped soap and let it boil until all the soap is dissolved. Pour soap solution and all remaining ingredients into a five gallon bucket. Stir well and cover. Move it to an area where it wont be disturbed and let it sit. I'd say 4 hours  minimum but I usually let mine sit over night. Stir it up again, it'll be thick and clumpy at first. Some clumps may remain and that's ok. Use it just like you'd use regular liquid detergent. I use a 1/2 cup size measuring cup as a scoop.

Enjoy not having to purchase laundry detergent for a few months :)

P.S. The ingredients cost under $10 and will make more than one batch, so you wont have to keep buying these items either. (The soap is the only exception but it's only about .97/bar....I have used other soaps in a pinch but Fels is specifically for laundry so I like it better :))

 
 
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Tasty Tuesday has made its way back around and I'm glad because after cooking this for dinner last night, I HAD to share! It was soooo good I'm making more for lunch! :)
Don't let the title fool you, it's a quick and easy dish....and while "stewed fish" isn't typical to the American diet, the flavors alone will have you craving an island vacation.
 Normally, whole or fresh caught fish is used but I had tilapia so that's what I used and it was still on point!

Here's the recipe...


 
 
The game is on but I can't leave you ladies hanging :)

When it comes to naturally cleaning my house, one everyday item that I simply CANNOT live without is baking soda. (and lemons too!) Sodium Carbonate is one of the most versatile items in any kitchen pantry. Here's a link to all the wonderful uses for this staple that can be purchased at just about ANY store for about .50 cents a box....can't beat that with a stick!

http://lifehackery.com/2008/07/22/home-4/
 
 
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This was my first pot of gumbo EVER! I'm so proud of it, I had to share it! My husband has been bugging me for gumbo for weeks now and I was too scared to try it. I never tell him no for real so I had to bite the bullet and I'm so glad I did! The results were so delicious and the method was so easy I was kinda upset that I'd been a chicken before! We've given up shellfish for a cleaner, kosher diet so this isn't a traditional seafood gumbo (and God knows I'm not sacrilegious enough to put FISH in my gumbo!!) But the chicken and sausage play together so well we didn't even miss the extras! This is NOT an okra gumbo recipe, none of us eat it. But feel free to try the okra variation because it is very popular, and I hear it's delicious.

This recipe comes with a few bonuses too! If you've never made homemade stock or a roux from scratch, you're about to learn. It's easy, no worries!


 
 
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This is an authentic New Orleans dish! This classic is light and delicious! A great soup to keep you and yours warm on these chilly winter nights without overloading your system. It's made from scratch with very little effort and ingredients that most of us have on hand. If your family is anything like mine, it'll disappear in no time, everytime! Of course, this recipe is suited to my family's taste, and the traditional flavor of yaka mein, but feel free to adust the seasonings as you wish. It's a pretty hard soup to mess up, so don't worry ;) There isn't a vegetarian version that I know of. Sorry my no-meat eaters, I'll be posting something soon for you guys!