Easy Shrimp Jambalaya

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cool Foods available at Publix. The opinions and text are my own.

I am a huge fan of quick and easy meals to feed my family, especially meals that are easy on the wallet. If you’ve never checked out the fantastic Cool Foods Promotion at Publix, put that on your shopping to do list! There are so many great products offered within this promotion for amazing sale prices.  

I’m a food blogger, and I spend quite a bit of money on food, so, I tend to rely on budget-friendly promotions. Hands down, Publix is my very favorite grocery store because of the excellent quality of their products and amazing customer service. 


I’m always looking for new dinner recipes to feed my family, especially when the ingredients are budget friendly. 

So, a few days ago while doing my regular grocery shopping at my local Publix, I picked up a couple of packages of Sea Pak Shrimp because shrimp is always a hit at my house, and it was a part of their Cool Foods Promotion. They’re on sale for $6.99 from 3/16/19 – 3/29/19!


I paired it with a box of dirty rice mix and a couple of my favorite herbs to make a delicious Creole inspired dinner!

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This quick dinner was seriously so good. It definitely tasted like something you would have at a great restaurant; we were really happy with how it turned out! I’m for sure making this again based on ease and how great it tasted. I also have other ideas on my mind!

This meal was easily put together in a minimal amount of time. This would also be easy enough for the kids to help because it’s always important to try to get children involved in family meal time preparation.

They love to make dips!

I absolutely love how Publix makes it so easy to find great products at really fantastic prices.

Making food at home is always better than going out and waiting on a table, overpaying for cocktails and food that YOU can make better at home! 

Since I try to keep my freezer stocked, Publix showcases great products at really great prices. That makes it easy for me, both as a food blogger and a mom, to make sure I keep things on hand that I typically need.

Below is your printable for this dinner that’s a cinch to get on the table. To round it out, pick up some Häagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert!


Easy Shrimp Jambalaya

Easy Shrimp Jambalaya


  • 1 pkg Sea Pak Butterfly Shrimp - 20 oz.
  • 1 box dirty rice mix
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 green onions, chopped


  • Bake or fry shrimp according to package directions.
  • Prepare dirty rice according to package directions, toss with fresh thyme and sprinkle with green onion.
  • Serve.

Here’s your pinnable!!

Easy Shrimp Jambalaya

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Shamrock Shots

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day!

How stinkin’ cute are these little mason jars?? I had no idea they even existed until I saw them at Target. 

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These are so easy and so much fun to make. You can also let the kids be involved and leave out the alcohol. 

The only time consuming thing about making these cute little things is making the jello and allowing them to set in the shot glasses. 

The rainbows are Airhead sour candy strips that I easily curved. The pots of gold are tiny little pots that I found at Hobby Lobby for very cheap, and I cut burlap to wrap around the top of the pots. You could use the plastic shot cups; those would work just as well!

Obviously, I used Lucky Charms to decorate my little scene, and if you’re having a St. Patty’s Day party your guests will love this until they get too hammered to really pay attention to it.

Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, I have lots of corned beef recipes. Since Reubens are my absolute favorite sandwich, I tend to use that taste profile to make unique dishes like Reuben Eggrolls, Reuben Stuffed Meatballs, Reuben Burger. <–Those are the shit, just sayin’.

Here’s your printable –

Shamrock Shots

Shamrock Shots
St. Patrick's Day Grown Up Jello Shots


  • 2 – 3 ounce boxes of berry blue flavored Jello
  • 2 – 3 ounce boxes of cherry flavored Jello
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 – 1 ounce box of Knox gelatine
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • Lemon Drops candies
  • [Airhead Sour Extreme Candy Strips|https://tinyurl.com/yyvtfdtr], cut into thin strips


Make blue Jello according to package directions, adding 1/4 cup vodka.

Fill cup 1/4 of the way, refrigerate for two hours.

Repeat with cherry flavored jello.

In a large bowl pour 2 envelopes of gelatine, ¾ cup hot water, ¼ cup cold water. 

Mix to combine. 

In a separate bowl add sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup hot water. Whisk to combine. 

Very carefully pour milk mixture into gelatine mixture. Mix to combine. 

Pour white layer on top of set layers. 

Return to refrigerator to completely set; about 2 hours.

Fill another shot cup with lemon drops.

Bend the sour candy into rainbows; place one side into the jello shot and link by placing the other end of candy into cup containing lemon drops.

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Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

You’re going to love these.
IMGP8759 Ok, so first let me tell you about my first experience eating at a food truck.

I had been craving not only fish, but fish tacos for whatever reason. So, when I found out that three of B’ham food trucks were making a stop at the hospital where I work I was so excited. The anticipation I had was probably not even on a normal level.

Finally 12:00 came and it was lunchtime – Cantina on Wheels is here!

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I can’t wait to see the menu!

Oh, look, they have fish tacos!!

My 12 hour shift just became beautiful!

Wait, what? The fish is fried? Shit. The fish is fried. I know, I know a lot of you enjoy them. I guess I’m weird about that. Kind of like the quirky thing I have about rice being in a burrito – it makes me want to hurl. I don’t know why because I love burritos and I love many types of rice. But I can’t stand the two together. And you all know I’m not a picky eater.

To me, fried fish just doesn’t seem to go with a soft flour tortilla. That’s just my opinion, and, again, maybe it’s quirky. I want it to be nice and light, lots of pico, grilled seafood, fresh cilantro, jalapenos, maybe some slaw or lettuce. Not deep fried. Please don’t think I’m knocking this food truck – or fried food for that matter (I’ve deep fried many things). The service was fantastic, they’re just as sweet as they could be. That sounded so Southern, didn’t it? (Bless their hearts).

I ended up ordering the fish tacos with grilled chicken instead, which was topped with their cilantro slaw – off the chizain. And their Pico – so fresh.

I have since continued to crave fish tacos, so I made them myself.
IMGP8776 Because damnit, if you want something done right (or at least your way), you just have to do it yourself.

Right? Right.

This is the taco I had in mind – grilled tilapia, fresh mango salsa, guacamole, bibb lettuce, Cholula hot sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. And more Cholula.

I’m making them again (I have many different versions in mind) but this time I’m gonna top them with cilantro slaw and grilled jalapenos! I’ll probably think of more things to stuff in there by the time I make them.

Here’s your printable-

Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa


    For the Mango Salsa and Guacamole
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced (divided)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • For the Tacos
  • 1 lb. Tilapia fillets
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 1 handful Bibb lettuce, washed and chopped
  • Cholula hot sauce


  • To make the salsa, combine mango through salt; taste and adjust seasonings if you need to; refrigerate.
  • Make guacamole by mashing avocado with 1 cup of mango salsa; refrigerate.
  • Drizzle olive oil over fish and sprinkle with Old Bay. Grill or bake until done.
  • Wrap flour tortillas in paper towels and microwave for about 20 seconds to soften.
  • Assemble tacos by adding fish, salsa, guacamole, lettuce and hot sauce.
  • Oh, and add more hot sauce 😉

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Keeping the Cooking Fire Burning

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.

You can love cooking as much as you want, but if you have a family to feed day in and day out, things can get a bit repetitive and boring. Cooking can, ultimately, become more a chore than a joy, which is such a shame.

Y’all know how much I adore my time in the kitchen, but sometimes livening things up or changing my cooking repertoire can be a much needed refresher.

It’s quite common, especially when you need to be mindful of food expenses for a family. Sticking to tried and tested recipes not only gives you confidence in being able to put a tasty meal on the table, but it also brings along certain predictability of cost.
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When you try out new recipes, there is usually always that element of buying a bit too much of a specific ingredient or not enough. Produce is an entirely different issue. I can’t tell you how much produce I’ve wasted because it goes bad before I use it – not to mention produce can be very expensive.

Here are some tips to help you balance the of cooking while sticking to a budget.

Planning is key. This cannot be stressed enough, preparation is everything. You could set yourself a goal of trying at least one new meal per week. If you plan carefully, you will still have the reliability of predicting your budget while being able to explore something new.

Nothing throws a monkey wrench in the whole operation than deciding on meals while you are shopping for groceries. For some of us (especially yours truly!), online grocery shopping is ideal and soooo convenient, as it prevents us from being distracted and seduced by daily specials. And for sure, NEVER, ever go grocery shopping while you’re hungry. Stay on task, and definitely a shopping list helps, whether you’re shopping in person, or shopping online. 

Bring in variety with a purpose. What really could make things fun is tying your weekly menu to things like world pancake day or a vegetarian month (or week if you are surrounded by carnivores). If you weren’t aware, everyday of the month has a food theme, which can always be a source of inspiration.

You could also think of doing an ‘around the world’ cycle with a different country or continent each week. For example, if you wanted pasta twice a week, do your research. You will be surprised how many different variations you could find on even a simple dish like spaghetti, without even having to change the pasta itself. Think of a Bolognese sauce versus an arrabbiata. Pestos are always an easy and delicious way to add a different flavor profile to a simple steak or pasta dish. 

Get challenged each week. What if you take out all the planning and shopping? The process of shopping and finding new recipes could not be easier with any of the many meal box services out. Every week you will get recipes and a box full of ingredients to whip together new and exciting meals. Not only does it take away the time planning and hunting down ingredients, but it’s also a bit like a treasure trove with associated excitement of not knowing what you will get next. A good example is the Sun Basket, which is all about organic and healthy food choices. After using a couple of these services, you’ll probably find yourself making notes about some of the dishes you enjoyed to put your own spin on them, or completely recreating them. 

Always try to think outside of the box when it comes to cooking, especially when you find yourself in a creative rut.

Absolutely nothing is more satisfying than cooking a great meal and seeing your loved ones enjoying it. That’s probably my favorite aspect that stems from my love of cooking. Sitting down at the dinner table is sometimes the only time you can get everyone together, without further distractions (ban phones) and talk about their day and have a moment of family zen. Just make sure you don’t end up doing the dishes by yourself, as you deserve some rest after all that cooking – get the family involved in the clean up process.

After all, they reaped the benefit of your hard work in the kitchen.


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DIY Moving Blog Workstation

Y’all, I’m gonna be completely transparent here.  I started this post 7 years ago. SEVEN.YEARS.AGO. For some reason, I just kept procrastinating. Maybe because it wasn’t food? I honestly have no idea, but it’s happening today, my dear www friends.

THIS is something that has completely changed how I work from a photography standpoint. My (now) ex-husband made this based on what I told him I needed. I absolutely adore this thing. 

This all-in-one workstation has wheels, storage space on the bottom, interchangeable wood slats in different colors, and metal pipe poles on the back holding interchangeable backdrops. I wanted to share this will y’all because I get so many inquiries regarding it. I’m going to show you photos, and give you a list of materials at the end of this post. The only thing I would have done differently is use wheels (casters) with brakes. 

Now, what you see below looks a bit different than what it looks like today. Not only have my prop and photography collections grown, but this handmade piece of furniture is so important to me and my work.

2013 – 
Blog Workstation on Wheels
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2019 – 

Notice the difference here; we added galvanized pipes on the back side to hold interchangeable backdrops.

Where’s the little photog props on the bottom you ask?

They’re right here – 

Now I have shelving to hold my props, and that’s not even ALL of it. This is what 9 years into food blogging looks like!

Mark named my rolling station a BWOW (blog workstation on wheels). Now, he just calls it my WOW. If there’s one thing I could say about Mark – he just loves to make shit. If I mention something I have in mind that will make life easier for me, typically he’ll make it happen.

“THIS is something that has completely changed how I work from a photography standpoint.”


If he doesn’t know how to do something, he’ll figure it out. At that point it becomes personal for him and the end result is usually better than what I had in mind to begin with. Needless to say, he’s type A and a little OCD.


I wanted something that I could use as a photo shoot table, that would store most of my blog props (yeah, right), and be portable. I was sick of the whole setting up and taking down job in the middle of my kitchen floor by the windows.

This is really no big deal if you’re comfortable using a table saw. You won’t catch my ass using it, but I’m fortunate that he’s a skilled man.

This is Mark cutting the boards to make the frame.


Frame built.


IMGP6826 He made interchangeable wooden planks that he sanded down for a distressed finish after painting, however, this is optional.  IMGP6793


Planks before sanding.


Planks after sanding.


The wheels on the bottom are 4″ Carlisle casters. The only thing I would have done differently is to buy the casters with locks.

Remember when I told y’all that he’s my Sparky? Look – he really is…


sparky Ha!

Here’s your list for Home Depot!

1 sheet 3/4″ plywood
4 2x4x8 framing studs
10 feet 1 inch molding
2 4x4x8 posts
1 box 1/2 in wood screws
1 box 2 1/2 in wood screws
9 1x4x8 pine boards
4  4″ casters
2  3′ x 1/2″ round threaded galvanized pipes
2 1/2″ pipe flanges

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