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The Importance of Moderation

Moderation is key.

You’ve probably been hearing that for years now from your parents, gym teachers, on TV, etc. In a country that’s known for being obese thanks to its love of fried, fatty foods, the health trend is all around us.

In the wake of my girl Paula Deen’s announcement about having type 2 Diabetes, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss the importance of moderation.

I know I don’t always post the healthiest of recipes. What with: Oreo Balls,

Sriracha Mac and Cheese,

and Baked Potato Dip.

But, like Paula has also stated since her announcement, I don’t eat like that all day every day. Why? Because moderation is key.

People like Anthony Bourdain have commented saying things like “No wonder she has diabetes with the way she cooks,” to which she has responded the same way. Moderation. You can’t eat chicken fingers and french fries with honey mustard dipping sauce 5 days a week. Sure, I’d love to but I’d also probably have a heart attack by the age of 30. Not on my list of things to do.

You have to find a balance between what you love to eat and what your body needs you to eat. The human body thrives on balanced meals that do not consist of processed foods. Obviously that’s not to say you’re never going to eat fast food again or have a slice of pizza. If you completely cut out your favorite foods you’ll end up binging on them and counter acting what you’re going for. However, if you have them in moderation, you can still have your cake and eat it too.

I’m not trying to be the food police here but as many of you know, good Southern cooking is not the healthiest. And while I love to recreate the food I grew up on, I do not by any means eat this way all week long. Sometimes I’ll take my leftovers from a recipe to work, sometimes to a friends house, etc. All so I don’t end up eating my weight in cookies, stuffed shells, and pumpkin cake.

I’ll get off my soap box now but I just wanted to share my thoughts with y’all.

And, of course, to support my girl Paula.

Tomorrow is Friday. Yay!

Chunky Guacamole

Can we talk for a quick sec? I went by Target on my way home tonight to pick up a few things with a gift card I had. Small problem, I literally wanted to come home with the whole store. So much for the gift card. I wouldn’t even allow myself to venture into the bathing suits because I know I would have wanted all of them and it’s still January and that’s just wrong.

But the people that design their stores are smart. Very, very smart. Putting that dollar aisle (even though not everything is a dollar) is freaking genius. And today also happened to be a food blogger’s dream because they had cute valentine’s day dishes and towels for $2.50. I die. You’d think I’d be smart enough to know not to fall for those traps since I was a Marketing major and know they put that stuff there on purpose…but clearly I’m not.

Oh, and I bought these. They’re just like the ones from Victoria’s Secret but cheaper and you don’t have to pay shipping. You just have to be ok with the awesome prints. I kinda feel like I should be on Jersey Shore with the sweet pink cheetah print.

But enough about that, on to the good stuff.

Guacamole. Only your favorite Mexican dip ever.

I started making this dip a few years back and used to make it for every occasion possible. I think I made it so much that I OD’d on it and haven’t made it in forever. After a few conversations about guacamole at work, I decided it was time to finally make it again.

I personally prefer chunky guacamole so I like to roughly chop everything so you can easily see the different components. Smooth guacamole is just…weird to me. May as well just be straight avocadoes. No thank you.

Chunky Guacamole

  • 6 haas avocados, mashed
  • 4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Slice avocados in half, remove the seed and scoop into a bowl. Mash with a fork or mashed potato masher until lightly chunky.

Squeeze in lime juice. (this will help the avocados from browning)

Remove seeds from the tomatoes and dice.

Chop onion into large chunks and place into a food processor to finely chop.

Pull cilantro leaves from stems and finely chop.

Add all ingredients into bowl.

Add in salt and cayenne and mix well to combine all ingredients.

Refrigerate for an hour.

I assure you, if this lasts long enough for you to share this with others, you will be asked to make this again. The key here is to eat this with the Tostitos Hint of Jalapeno chips. These are easily my favorite tortilla chip ever. Like the name says, they just have a hint of jalapeno flavor so they’re not overly spicy but still have a bit of a kick. Delicious.

Now, time to clean out the DVR and then get to bed early to keep up with my new morning treadmill routine! I will get myself one of these once I’m where I want to me. Everyone needs a little motivation!

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

Have I mentioned I’m obsessed with all things crock pot these days? Meals have never been easier. I know I’m probably overloading you with crock pot recipes lately but they’re perfect for weeknight meals so I can’t promise that I’ll slow down with them anytime soon. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. Whoops.

There are somethings that just don’t photograph well and this dish happens to be one of them.

I promise it tastes delicious and not like cat food. For real though, it’s really good.

This recipe is one that was passed on to me by a coworker and has quickly become an office favorite. I made it last week and two of my other coworkers have made it so far this week.

Needless to say, we’re a crock pot friendly work place. ๐Ÿ™‚

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

Add meat, mushroom soup, and mushroom pieces to crock pot. Stir so that the meat is fully covered in the sauce.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Add in sour cream and stir to combine.

Serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

The meat ends up tender and easily falls apart with your fork. My favorite way of enjoying this is to break up all of the meat with my fork and stir it all up into one big, mashed potatoey mess on my plate so you get everything all in one bite. But that may just be my inner 5 year old talking…

Now, time to finish up my shows before hitting the sack early. Today may have been Tuesday but it sure felt like Monday to me so I will be very glad to kiss this day goodbye. Goodnight y’all! ๐Ÿ™‚

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

This might be the most creative take on traditional monkey bread EVER. No, really.

This is cheesy and savory unlike the traditional sticky and sweet breakfast/brunch version of monkey bread. It would be a great addition to any Super Bowl party menu. This is definitely great finger food as you just pull off a pepperoni pizza bite, dip in marinara, and be taken to garlicy-pizza heaven!

When it comes out, it will look something like this. Check out all of that bubbly, cheesy goodness!

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread
Adapted from BlogHungry

  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cans refrigerated pizza dough (I used Pilsbury)
  • 6 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (you’ll need ~48 pieces)
  • 48 slices ofย  pepperoni (from 1 package)
  • marinara sauce, warmed, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit.

Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan with garlic butter.

Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten (I worked this out with my fingers similar to how you would with a hand-tossed pizza). Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.

Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal. Repeat until all of the dough is used.

Bake for 35 minutes, until the top is very brown.

Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Once you pop it out of the pan it will look like this. The garlic butter acts as the perfect coating to the pan and allows this to just slide right out without having to run a spatula around the edges.

This was a big hit at our football party yesterday and was gobbled up very quickly! Which of course resulted in a run on the treadmill this morning after all of the junk I ate. Why does everything that tastes so good have to be so bad?? Riddle me that.

I promise the next batch of recipes will be more figure friendly…

Sriracha Mac and Cheese

I know I’ve shared my love of Pinterest with y’all before but in case I hadn’t impressed it upon you before, I have a problem. Probably 75% of my recipes come from there.

While I browse the bajillion (don’t worry, that just became a word) different recipes, I run across an overwhelming amount of mac and cheese recipes. Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese, Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese and Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese just to name a few. And you better believe that last one is on my list of recipes to make soon.

Have I mentioned I love mac and cheese? It just screams comfort to me. I’m typically a Shells and Cheese kind of girl but that cheese is incredibly processed and just…gross if you think about it.

In addition to my love of mac and cheese, I think I’ve also shared my love of Sriracha with y’all before. Like, I love it so much that I tried to put some on a piece of bread the other night while dinner to be finished and Tyler stopped me and goes “No, no way. This is where I put my foot down.” It just tastes so good!

Anyway, mac and cheese for me isn’t complete without Sriracha so I figured, “Why not combine the two?”

So I did.

Sriracha Mac and Cheese

  • 16 oz shells pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups mac and cheese blend cheese (sharp cheddar, american and swiss)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.

Preheat oven to 375.

After draining pasta, add back into the pot. Add half and half, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, garlic powder, Sriracha and butter and stir to fully combine. Adjust to seasonings to taste.

Pour into a greased baking dish and top mac and cheese with remaining cheese and panko bread crumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese and bread crumbs are golden brown.

I read over the mac and cheese recipe on the back of the Mac and Cheese mix I bought and it called for 4 cups of cheese. FOUR CUPS OF CHEESE! And sour cream. AND heavy cream.

While that sounds incredible, my arteries started clogging at the thought of it so I cut it back. Trust me, I love cheese with the best of them and this was just right.

If I had to describe this in one word, it would be: Delicious. Now you need to make it. Go on, get moving!

Shrimp Scampi

Yesterday was craaaazy. Ok, maybe not that crazy at all but I was in a bit of a tizzy when I walked out of the grocery store in the rain and my car decided it didn’t want to start. It was just great.

But of course, Tyler was my knight in shining armor and came and saved the day. But I got it all squared away with some help from my wonderful parents and am back in business. So, I apologize for my absence but never fear, Spicy Richmond is here.

Too cheesy?

In other news, a few nights ago I shared with y’all via Facebook that Chef Tyler was cooking me dinner and I’m finally getting around to sharing it with you.ย  It’s always such a nice treat to hand over the reigns and let him cook for the night! ๐Ÿ™‚

It wasn’t even something easy like spaghetti or anything either. He made Shrimp Scampi! He’s awesome, I know. Sorry ladies, he’s taken.

Typically Shrimp Scampi would be served over linguine or angel hair pasta but, in an effort to cut back on some carbs, we opted to eat it sans noodles and man was it delish!

Shrimp Scampi
Adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.

Saute garlic and red pepper flakes for about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm.

Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

This reheated wonderfully the next day and I had it over a salad which was great. Since I had a good amount of shrimp left, some of my co-workers enjoyed it too! And of course they were all jealous of how awesome of a cook Tyler is.

Buffalo Chicken Roll-ups

How is it that weekends always go by so quickly?? I feel like it just started. Oh well, nothing like wrapping up the weekend watching some football and grazing over your standard tailgating food with friends! ๐Ÿ™‚

I wanted to try out something different today so I made these babies.

These really were babies though. I used wonton wrappers instead of egg roll wrappers so they’re perfect, bite sized snacks.

Fill ’em up with chicken that has been coated in buffalo sauce, cole slaw mix and crumbled blue cheese. Roll ’em and seal them with a bit of water.

Pop them in the oven and let them get all good and crispy and you’re in business.

Buffalo Chicken Roll-ups
Adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner?

  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • 12 oz cooked and shredded chicken
  • 1/2- 2/3 cup Frankโ€™s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 cup cole slaw mix
  • Small bowl of water
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Blue cheese or Ranch dressing, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay wonton wrappers on a clean work surface. In a small bowl, stir chicken and hot sauce until well coated, using more or less sauce depending on your spice preference.

Place chicken, slaw, and blue cheese on wrappers. Wet the edges of the wrappers with a bit of water and roll them up and seal the edges.

Place the rolls on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the rolls crisp and turn a light golden brown.

These were a huge hit with the crowd and were super easy. You could also do these with egg roll wrappers for more of a meal-sized portion but these were a great finger food option.

Hope y’all are having a great weekend!

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