Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Janessa!

Today is one of my dearest friend’s birthday! Janessa!!!

Last time I saw her she was preggers, but now she is all mommy like!

I last saw her in California last year….here is some of the proof!


Yay Janessa! You made it to 21! Congrats on being so young. Smile


I can’t wait to see you (when? I have no idea) and meet your little munchkin!

I love you lots!

Love and Hugs, Lizzie

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lizzie’s 1st place Chili Cook-off recipe and Lizzie’s 1st place Strawberry short cake recipe!


I have been asked to post the chili cook off recipe! I merged three different recipes I found. Here goes!2015-03-07-13-30-44_IMG_7824

1.5 lbs short rib (ground once)
1.5 lbs brisket (ground once)
6 slices of thick bacon, cubed
2 tbs vegetable oil, divided
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno (seeded and diced)
1 red bell pepper (roasted, seeded and diced)
2 poblano chilis (roasted, seeded and diced)
2.5 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1.5 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (China)
2 cups diced tomatoes (I used my moms canned tomatoes)
1.5 6 oz cans tomato paste
12 oz water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 chicken bouillon cubes
1 15 oz can pino beans, with juices
1 15 oz can kidney beans, with juices
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
Garnish: Cheddar cheese (and crispy bacon, but I did not have time)

1. In a large cast iron pot over medium heat and add oil. Season short ribs with salt and pepper and brown meat about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain meat.

2. Add ground brisket to pot and brown about 3 minutes. Put meat in strainer with short ribs – let drain. Set aside.

3. Put bacon in pot and cook to desired consistency. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add peppers and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes.

4. Pour drained meats back into pot, add spices and sauté for 5 minutes.

5. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and stir. Reduce heat and add water, bouillon cubes and simmer for 1 hour. Add beans into the pot. Stir and adjust seasonings. (I did not add any more seasonings.)

6. Allow chili to simmer for 30 minutes (to 2 hours), adjust seasonings and serve. (I did not add more seasonings.)


And now…Lizzie (and Alton’s) 1st place Strawberry Shortcake Recipe!2015-03-07-20-34-04_IMG_7870

So I took Alton Brown’s recipe and made some minor changes. Here is what I did.


2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (I made vanilla bean infused sugar….well, Doug did!)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup half and half
Melted butter to brush shortcakes
Strawberries (sliced and sugar soaked, refrigerated)

1. Heat oven 450 degrees.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in butter and shortening. Mix in half-and-half. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.

3. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. (I used large granules of brown sugar flavored with vanilla beans)

4. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown. Cool.

5. Whip up some whipped cream. Add vanilla flavored sugar to taste.

6. Combine whipped cream, shortcake and strawberries to make your mouth happy! I topped mine with a little more whipped cream and a strawberry!)



I hope this inspires you. I was honored to win both cook off categories! Pretty sure that will never happen again!

Love and Hugs, Lizzie

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The 5th of March

In all the birthday business, I forgot to post the photo from the 5th!


The Cinco streak lives!

Little did I know what was about to hit me with birthday celebrations!

I will share the chili recipe I made tomorrow! Hope you are all having a great week!

Love and Hugs, Lizzie

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lizzie’s Birthday Family Day!

Clearly, birthdays are big in my family. We had 3 straight days of celebrating!

The Sunday of my Birthday Weekend, we headed to Hammond to celebrate with my parents. Once we got there, we google chatted Alex and Janice in From Boston and I opened their gifts. (Thank you both for being so sweet and taking the time to chat while cooking breakfast!)2015-03-08-13-46-44_photo (6)

2015-03-10-10-07-55_hangout_snapshot_2 (2)

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Then we at a delicious lasagna lunch. My Favorite.

Mom then ushered me to the birthday throne…



I was clearly excited!2015-03-08-13-12-58_IMG_7888

Mom and Dad got me some awesome birthday gifts. They are so generous and amazing. 2015-03-08-13-13-08_IMG_7889

I clearly have some fun faces….especially openings socks! ha. 2015-03-08-13-13-47_IMG_78912015-03-08-13-13-48_IMG_7892

They got me some new perfume…2015-03-08-13-14-55_IMG_7895

Dad said he picked it out himself…2015-03-08-13-15-39_IMG_7896

testing the product. ha.2015-03-08-13-16-05_IMG_7898



Then the came my favorite pie ever made….my mom’s fresh blueberry pie!2015-03-08-13-26-12_IMG_7903

They sang to me and we dove into the pie!2015-03-08-13-26-26_IMG_7905

Then we spent some time out in the sunshine…2015-03-08-15-58-46_IMG_0046

I think Doug was worn out from my birthday weekend….what do you think?

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We moved inside and all hung out. It was a pretty relaxing day and exactly what we all needed. We eventually headed back to Nola to de-birthday the house. It really was an amazing birthday weekend.

Thank you again to Mom, Dad, Ashley, Doug, Sarah and Andrew. You truly outdid yourselves. I love you all very, very  much!

Love and Hugs, Lizzie

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chili Cook Off!- Saturday, March 7, 2015

The day had finally arrived! It was time for the annual cook off! There had been trash talk going on in our house for DAYS and DAYS. Doug was making an all meat chili and I was making a meat and bean chili. It was on! We had 7 chili’s competing this year and a few strawberry shortcakes. I planned to compete in both.

Here is the list of past categories and past winners…2015-03-07-20-34-28_IMG_7872

Doug got up to run 10 miles that Saturday morning while I went to get meat at Rare Cuts (Uptown). Those people know their meat! I got ground short rib ground, ground brisket and bacon for my chili. When I got home I found Doug had just arrived back and had been stung in the face by a bee. That bee just missed his right eye. His face was a bit swollen, but went ahead with our plans for the day. What a champ.

We headed to Rouses to get our last minute items for the night.


Once we got home, it was cooking time! Here is Doug’s meat…2015-03-07-12-51-20_IMG_7813

And here is mine…2015-03-07-12-51-28_IMG_7814

It was on!2015-03-07-13-17-16_IMG_7818

Doug roasted peppers and made his own paste…2015-03-07-13-17-22_IMG_78202015-03-07-14-11-34_IMG_7826



Doug had made a double batch so his pot was HUGE.


Once my chili was on the stove, I started making my strawberry shortcake biscuits…It took a few tries to make the dough, but I finally got it. Doug made my vanilla flavored whipped cream. I made my JoJo style strawberries. Doug aslo made me vanilla sugar to use in the biscuits and to top the biscuits. Yeah Doug!2015-03-07-15-46-50_IMG_7835

Here is a time lapse of Doug cooking his chili!

Doug Cooks chili in 3 minutes….

Here they are ready for the party!


Samantha, Shawn and Lauren came early to hang with us as Sam has an early bedtime. 2015-03-07-19-00-21_IMG_7840


Then it was 7 pm and all the chili arrived to be tasted!


Time lapse of the tastings!

Less than 3 minutes of tastings…

All the people were there…2015-03-07-20-32-49_IMG_7851






and we tasted and ate! Everyone voted for their favorite chili and then moved on to taste the strawberry shortcakes!2015-03-07-20-33-28_IMG_7860

After all the votes were tallied, the winner was announced…


Shockingly, I won BOTH categories! I won the Chili and Strawberry Shortcake cook offs! I was shocked. All the chili entries were so different. We had an orange one, a white one and many dark ones. My personal favorite was Shawn and Jamie’s sweet meaty chili.


Then we played some running charades and bad a blast. Thank you to everyone who came, entered, tasted and celebrated my birthday with me. I really had a blast!2015-03-07-20-34-19_IMG_7871

The only thing left was the clean up…here is DB hard at work…


Here are the final photo from the night:

2015-03-08-01-04-27_IMG_7883 2015-03-08-01-04-04_IMG_7880 (Large)

The past and the future! Next year will be Lasagna and Bread Pudding. I am excited about it already!

Love and Hugs, Lizzie

P.S. I will post the recipes in a few days for BOTH dishes!