OoOooo Spicy!!  

Posted by: Savari

*slinks back in the door hoping no one has paid attention to how long she has been away*

Sidetracks, sickness, kids, general unpleasantness, etc. aside, I finally managed to find time to sit down and spend some time on my personal blogs. I'll try to be more consistent. Try being the operative word. Anyways, on to the goodies.

As many, if not most, of you already know, in the south we will fry anything. Well, we also tend to like spicy foods. MmMMmm, fried spicy foods, wait...what?! Back on track. Personally, I even go so far as to put hot sauce on my french fries. Hey, it's good, don't knock it til you try it. :p This dish is something that has been a staple in my house for a long time and is a good go to when I can't come up with anything else to cook. Hope ya'll enjoy it as much as we do. Sorry in advance for the lack of pictures, Mini Me and Red destroy this stuff as soon as it's done.


2 boxes of the family sized Zatarains Jambalaya mix (yes I cheat, don't judge me :p)
1-2 lbs. shrimp
smoked sausage (I use a package)
crayfish (you can get this in the frozen section of the meat department of WalMart)

I make this one of two ways. If I'm boiling the sausage, I do that part first and while that's going on I peel the shrimp and hose 'em down with hot sauce and creole seasoning, stick 'em on a plate and shove 'em in the fridge. By the time I'm done with the shrimp, the sausage should be boiled to my liking. Take the sausage out, let it cool up some on a cutting board. Go ahead and start the Jambalaya according to the directions on the box. Get out a skillet and dice up an onion or two, saute the onion with butter and at the last minute go ahead and add the shrimp and crayfish. Turn the heat off on that mixture and cut up the sausage into rounds...toss it all into the pot with the rice mixture and let it finish cooking. The other way I do this is I don't boil the sausage, but cut it into rounds and throw it into the skillet with the onions, butter, shrimp and crayfish. Either way it turns out fine and tastes amazing. :D


Another Tasty Tuesday: Fried Pickles.  

Posted by: Savari in ,

I think I've said it before, but I should probably say it again. Southerners will fry anything. Twinkies, mushrooms, onions, chicken, ice cream, Snicker's candy bars, etc. Not only will southerners fry anything, they will eat most anything that is fried.

I love pickles. Always have. And yep, in typical southern fashion, I love them even more when they are fried. I can't count how many recipes I tried for fried pickles before I finally just came up with one on my own. Just a bit of forewarning for y'all. I am the worlds worst about measuring stuff when I'm doing a recipe. I just add stuff until it looks right, so for any of the recipes you may find here, you'll have to work with them to get them to taste the way you want them.

Fried Pickles
Vlasic sliced dill pickles (I like the taste Vlasic pickles have and they also retain their crunch through frying)
1 cup self rising flour
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
Garlic salt and pepper (The garlic salt I have already has the pepper in it)

I warned y'all before hand that I don't measure stuff, hence not having an amount of creole seasoning or garlic salt or water and I'm guessing on the flour. What I do is put the flour in a smallish mixing bowl and sprinkle the garlic salt and pepper over the top, generously. Then I sprinkle the creole seasoning over the top, again generously. (Keep in mind that Tony Chachere's creole seasoning is SALTY!!!) I then add water to the bowl until the mixtures forms a sort of loose paste. Not runny and not biscuit dough thick but somewhere in between. I throw a couple handfuls of pickles in the strainer and let them sit for a minute or two then dump them in the bowl with the batter and stir them in until they are all covered. Heat up your oil (I have a deep fryer) and throw them in. I recommend, if you are using the deep fryer method, you put the basket down in the oil before dropping the pickles in, that way they don't stick together. I drop them in one at a time. They will float and you may need to turn them over with a fork once while frying. You will be able to tell when they are done, the crust will turn a golden brown.

If there is any confusion on my madness..err methods...please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch with me by email or Facebook or Twitter. All my links are on the right hand side of the page. Enjoy!!!

Tasty Tuesday: Eat More Chicken!!!  

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I'm not a steak eater, don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a big, juicy still mooing steak (Yep, you heard me correctly, still mooing. I want to chase that bad boy around ) on a plate with a baked potato every now and then, but for one I can't afford steak that often and for two I'm just not much of a red meat eater. We eat a lot of chicken and pork, though.

So for this week's Tasty Tuesday I decided to post my two newest recipes for chicken. I say newest because they are ones I had never tried before. I'm sure many of you have heard of Chicken Cordon Bleu, so it won't be new to you. That's the first recipe. Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the results, they didn't last long enough to get any.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices of ham (I used those really thin slices that you can get at most grocery stores for $.99)
8 slices swiss cheese (I used provolone and it tasted just as good as swiss)
bread crumbs (I got enough out of one slice of bread. I made my own but I know a lot of people like the Panko brand.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Pound the chicken breasts. 1/4 to 1/2 inch works best. Once you've pounded the chicken to the desired thickness, lay 2 slices of ham and cheese on top of the breasts. I put the ham slices down first, then the cheese. Stagger the slices as well so they cover the whole breast or as much of it as possible from end to end. Once you have your ham and cheese situated on the breasts, start with one end of the chicken breast and start rolling it all up together. Once you have it rolled pin it in the middle with a toothpick and place it in the pan you plan on baking it in. Once you have all your chicken rolled and placed in the pan, sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly across the tops of the breasts. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes.

The next recipe was my own concoction and even though it gave us all some serious heartburn afterwards, it was amazing. I literally used what I found in my fridge to make the stuffing.

Bacon Wrapped Mozzarella Jalapeno Stuffed Chicken Breasts
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Half a package of uncooked bacon
Half a bag of shredded mozzarella
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (The Old World kind you get in a jar)
1 Tbsp. jalapenos (you may want to cut back on the amount since that's what gave us all heartburn. LOL)
1 tsp. Tony ChaChere's Creole Seasoning
1 tsp. garlic salt w/pepper (The garlic salt I have already has the pepper in it)

Preheat oven to 350F. Pound the chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness. Mix cheese, garlic, jalapenos, creole seasoning and garlic salt in a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of each chicken breast. Roll the chicken breast and pin it in the center with a toothpick. Wrap two slices of bacon around each breast and pin the ends with toothpicks. Put them in the pan you plan to bake them in. (I put butter in the bottom of the pan.) Bake for approximately 1 hour.

Both of these recipes turned out really well and I will definitely be making them again. Hope you enjoy this week's Tasty Tuesday. :D

New Year's Resolutions  

Posted by: Savari in , , ,

So, I've been slacking off yet again. I actually made a New Year's resolution, that I would blog more and do so consistently. Here we are in the second week of January and this is my first post of the New Year. Sad huh? I never said I was GOOD with resolutions and actually sticking to them but I am definitely going to try to keep up with my blogging.

Anyways, let me start this resolution by saying Happy New Year and I hope 2012 is an amazing year for each and every one of you.

The Camper Queen Series - Tight Spaces  

Posted by: Savari in , , , ,

I currently live in a camper in my parents backyard. Fun right? Not so much. At 30 years old, it's never fun to have to go to your parents and beg them for a place to live. Especially not with 2 kids and a small zoo. In this new blog series, The Camper Queen, I explain how we get by.

Normally, when I tell someone we live in a camper, they automatically assume it's one of those really big, nice RV type things. Sadly, I have to burst their bubble. We are talking a late 80's early 90's throwback here. One of those smallish campers that one person starts feeling claustrophobic in, much less an entire family. It's tight and cramped at the best of times.

Let me explain how we came to live in said camper. In April of 2009, I broke my ankle. At the time I worked for an animal hospital and being around dogs that were extremely rambunctious more than half the time was not such a good place to find someone with broken limbs of any kind. The break didn't occur at work, but as soon as it happened I became a liability. If I got hurt at work, they would become liable for any further medical treatment, so basically, I lost my job. Not that I could work anyways, being on crutches for almost 6 months. (My ankle refused to heal.) So, we were down to only my husband's salary, which wasn't much, to get the bills paid. Around September of 2009 it got to the point where we just couldn't afford the rent anymore, so to my parents I went, thinking we will only need to live in a camper for a few months. Yea, well, I was wrong. Here it is November of 2011 and here we still are. The economy is shot so finding a decent job is hard enough in itself, but add in not having a vehicle and I'm pretty much S.O.L. Trying to find anything to do online is even harder because either you have to pay out what you don't have to start up something online or the jobs aren't legit to start with.

We've learned to deal with it on a day to day basis. The pros of living in such a confined area is it's super easy to keep clean, I don't lose stuff nearly as often as I did before, and I always know what the kids are doing at any given time. LOL. The cons are I'm slowly being overrun by my animals. With a Ball Python and her food taking up quite a bit of space, I'm constantly trying to make room and the kids are just as horrible here about keeping their stuff put up as they were in the house we lived in before. There is almost no counter space and the stove doesn't work.

It's certainly been a trying year to say the least, but we keep managing to look up and hope for the best. Be sure to look for next week's Camper Queen post on how to manage good meals in cramped spaces with no stove.

Wordless Wednesday - Avoidance Edition  

Posted by: Savari in , ,

The Loss Of A Friend  

Posted by: Savari in , ,

A couple of weeks ago, for Wordless Wednesday, I posted a picture of my Great Dane, Missy. She went over the Rainbow Bridge a year ago, today. Talking about this a year later isn't any easier than it was a day after she passed. In my humble opinion, for any true animal lover and pet owner, losing a beloved pet is very much like losing a family member. The pain never quite goes away. So in memory of Missy here is her story.

I worked as a vet tech and a volunteer for a local animal rescue when I first met Missy's owner. The rescue I worked with went to the local PetSmart every weekend to do adoptions. This guy was there every weekend with the most beautiful male Harlequin Great Dane. After a couple of months, he came up to me one morning as we were setting up and asked if we had any room for a female Great Dane. Being in a rush to get everything in order, I told him I would find out for him and went on about my business. After everything calmed down a bit, later in the day, I got to thinking about his request. I knew the shelter would gladly take her in, but I had always wanted a Dane. So I thought about it all that next week and when Friday came around and he showed up, I told him that I would take her. I asked that he bring her up the next day for me to see her. He showed up the next morning and came and got me. As I rounded the corner of the building, I stopped dead in my tracks. In the back of this man's truck was the skinniest dog I had ever seen in my life. As I got closer, I noticed she was missing large amounts of fur from her feet to her shoulders. Being in the business I was in, I immediately started asking questions. How old is she? How long have YOU had her? But the top most question in my mind was "How in the HELL could anyone let any animal get in the shape Missy was in?" I soon got all my answers. It turned out the guy was a breeder who had purchased Missy from another breeder basically site unseen. He had only seen pictures of the dog he was supposedly buying and had his daughter pick her up. Once he actually received Missy he realized his mistake. The "breeder" was a backyard breeder, according to his daughter. She said that when she got there, there were dogs everywhere and several were tied to their dog houses. Missy being one of those. Her tail was broken near the end from when she wagged it, it would hit her house. I don't know how many of you have ever been thwacked by a Great Dane's tail, but it has some serious force behind it and most have "happy tail syndrome", as in they wag their tails ALL the time at an alarming rate of speed. So, now every time her tail would wag it would crack and bleed and her skin was horrible.

He couldn't in good conscious return the dog to her previous owner so he kept her. Despite the fact that she was in horrible condition.  He took her to the vet and the end of her tail docked off to alleviate the pain of it basically rebreaking every time she bumped it on something and had her skin scraped. It turned out she had Demodex. Demodex is a hereditary mange that 99% of dogs carry. The mange presents itself due to a low immune system or poor living conditions and sometimes even changes in the weather. Stress can also cause demodectic mange to break. He got the medicines he needed to treat her and she started improving. Then he lost his job. The costs kept getting higher and higher to treat her skin conditions and it came down to finding her a home with someone who could afford to care for her or having her put to sleep.

Missy the day she came to live with me.

Here's where I come in. I couldn't say no. I realize that yes, I do probably have sucker tattooed across my forehead and everything he told me very well could have been a lie. But I could NOT let that dog suffer. I had a good job, my husband worked, everything would be fine. So, I took her home with me that day. Actually I took her straight to the vet office where I worked and had her weighed, her shots updated and scraped her skin again just to make sure that demodex was all she had. The poor thing weighed 117 lbs. (for a Dane of her bone structure and being 5 years old she should have been at LEAST 150), she was covered in fleas and her skin was just horrible. I got her on antibiotics, flea meds (the treatment for demodex is actually a flea med called ProMeris) and took her home and started feeding her.

Much improved.
In a month, she had gained up to 165 lbs. and her skin was excellent. She loved to ride in the back of my truck and play with the kids and my other dogs. She was the most well mannered, best behaved dog I had ever had, even though she liked to try to push me out of the bed. She loved to play and run and just thoroughly enjoyed being a dog. 2 months later, I broke my ankle and lost my job. No big deal, the hubby was still working and Missy was still making drastic improvements. Then the weather started to warm up and the skin treatments started failing. Where before she was only missing hair on her feet and legs, it was now on her feet, legs, chest, shoulders and face. And it wasn't just missing hair, it was turning into raw spots. I took her back to the vet. Skin scraping revealed nothing, no demodex, no mites at all actually. The vet decided to try her on some different antibiotics and see if that would clear it up. It worked. For awhile. Another 2 months later and her improvement was slow but steady. I kept thinking this is great, she's doing better, her skin is getting better, she's still putting on weight, awesome. 

September came and we had to move in with my parents. That is another story in and of itself. Missy was the only one of our dogs that didn't have to be fenced because she always stayed with me. She didn't run off or go near the road and she minded extremely well. For the first month we lived here, she was great, her skin had cleared up almost all the way. Then one day I noticed a small spot of hair missing on one of her front feet. It wasn't large by any means so I didn't much worry about it. Little did I know, that tiny spot would signify the end. As the week progressed, I noticed the spot growing and a few more had popped up. I started to worry then. Took her back to the vet, more antibiotics, more worrying. This time there was no improvement. It just kept getting progressively worse. The raw spots were now oozing sores. I took her to 4 different vets trying to find out exactly what was wrong with her. No one I took her to could give me any answers. They just kept pumping her full of meds, hoping for the best. By the first week of November, after all the medicines and treatments and everything else she was a shell of her former self. She would still willingly walk with me anywhere but her feet were so swollen that they would crack when she walked. I spent most of my days on the phone with different vets trying my hardest to figure out what was wrong with her. November 13th rolled around and she stopped eating, the vet said no big deal, dogs do that. November 14th came and she stopped drinking water, the vet said that is normal. November 15th arrived and she passed away. I remember knowing that she wouldn't make it through the day and that there was nothing I could do. I had no way to take her to the vet and the one vet that could make it out to the house wouldn't be able to make it until late in the afternoon. She passed away around lunch time. It turns out she had developed pneumonia due to the raging infection running through her body that no antibiotic would treat. Her immune system was so depleted from her earlier life, she never stood a chance.

Missy was my pet for less than a year, but she became my best friend from the moment I saw her. It took me months to be able to really talk about her without breaking down. She went everywhere with me, slept with me, listened to me rant and rave but loved me just the same. No judgement, no shame. I realize I've written a  novel but I felt the need to share and to just remember. Thanks for taking the time to read my diatribe and I'm sorry in advance for any typos that spell checker didn't catch. Can't read very well with blurry eyes.

Missy's favorite spot. The WHOLE couch.