Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dreamfields October #HealthyPastaMonth Receipe and Giveaway!

October is National Pasta Month so I'm super-excited to have been
selected by Dreamfields to promote their #HealthyPastaMonth campaign
and to be able to share with you my recipe for my favorite Olive Garden dish...
Chicken Scampi, featuring Dreamfields' Angel Hair Pasta! Since I
began eating better a year and a half ago, I refuse to eat food
prepared by anyone else but me! And, since I also refuse to give up
the dishes I love, I am perfectly happy to create them on my own!
As you might know, I was introduced to Dreamfields at my very
first MIXED conference and since then, it is my go-to pasta!
Why? Because Dreamfields is made right here in the United States and it
has a great texture and phenomenal taste not often found in other pasta
brands. Plus, with seven grams of protein and five grams of fiber in
every serving, Dreamfields is simply better for me and my family!
So let's get started on this chicken scampi recipe, shall
we? Yes, I know... My sad little garden is on its way
to hibernation, which doesn't make me happy either!
Nevertheless, nothing from our garden goes to waste so I am going
to add this pepper to some I just bought and make it work for us!
Blistering peppers is an easy and quick way to
deepen their flavor. So please don't skip this step!
After peppers are nice and charred, wipe away charred
skin with a dry paper towel - Then, slice peppers into strips...
Now, set them aside and slice one medium red onion into rings. Sauté
onion in olive oil and when rings are soft, add them to your sliced peppers...
Like this! Now, in the same skillet, add a bit more oil, reheat over medium
heat, add chicken and sliced garlic... Gosh! I wish you could smell this!
It smells so good! And, the best part is knowing exactly
who touched my food and how it was prepared!
When chicken is browned on both sides and cooked
through, move it to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm...
Now, to make the scampi sauce. Add some butter
to the pan where you just cooked the chicken...
More garlic. Because more garlic is better!
And then add a splash or three of heavy cream! As you can
see, I watered mine down a bit to save calories for dessert!
Whisk the mixture together just until it bubbles;
then, add chicken, peppers and onion slices!
Cook one package of Dreamfields pasta according to the instructions
on the box. Drain, reserving one cup of pasta water to add back into the
bowl with a pat of butter to keep your pasta loose. Then, salt and pepper!
Nothing adds sunshine to a gloomy, almost-November day like a
beautiful bowl of Dreamfields pasta... So I hope you have some ready for
your family this weekend, after the kids have finished trick-or-treating!
Because this delicious pasta beats even the best Halloween candy-binge!

Now for the fun part... The Giveaway!

CONTEST CLOSED - The winner is... Paige!

Please send an e-mail to to claim your prize

See? There are rewards for those who read to the end! So... Courtesy of Dreamfields, I have a prize pack of their amazing pasta to give away, along with a $25 gift card to spend all in one place if you want to!

Entering to win is super-easy... All you have to do is share this recipe post via your Twitter or Facebook page with the hashtag, #HealthyPastaMonth - Then, pop back over here and leave a comment telling me that you did! One winner will be chosen at random and notified via e-mail. Contest ends November 13th.

Want more great October Pasta-month recipes? Well... You're in luck! Because all this month Dreamfields has featured Bloggers just like me who have been posting recipes every day this month - That's 31 fantastic recipes! Just click over to the Dreamfields site here and then, click here to view them all! Oh, and while you have your clicking finger all warmed up, do follow Dreamfields on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and be sure to check out their Instagram for incredible, mouth-watering photos as well as their Videos that are sure to make You an instant expert at pasta!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Road Trip Finale! New Orleans, Atlanta and, Finally Home!

Here we are! Finally on our way home and, I swear, after 4,000+
miles... Once I get out of this car, I'm never sitting down again!
We pushed ourselves way beyond our limits of patience and the need for sleep to get
to New Orleans in the evening so that we might have the whole next day to explore...
So by the time we made it, it was well after two o'clock in the morning!
And once again... We made the same mistake we made a lot during this
trip - We arrived into a new city in the dark and without a hotel reservation!
So I did the only thing I could do... I Googled, Luxury Hotel in New Orleans and
picked the first one with the words, "sumptuous bedding" in the description...
Sadly, Google is waaaaay outdated with regard to the Maison Dupuy!
I mean, after actually seeing New Orleans, I can sort of understand why
the room was filthy and un-sumptuous; but still... I wasn't happy at all!
After giving the manager a tour of all the hair we found on the sheets, in the
bathroom and the over-flowing garbage can that was missed in the room, we
accepted his offer of breakfast and a refund of $100 against the $214 we paid...
Yes! He should have comped the room! But, we were finally in New Orleans
and refused to allow the poor accommodations we fell into ruin the day!
Next time, we will just remember to sleep here... Outside by the pool!
Hotel disappointment aside, we couldn't wait to explore New Orleans!
Once again, as it had been throughout our entire Road-trip adventure...
The weather was perfect! Hot as hell... But at least it wasn't raining!
Everything we have ever seen or heard about this city was here!
Plus, aggressive beggars and the strong scent of
urine on every street and corner of the French Quarter!
Thankfully, we made it out of the urine soaked, narrow streets
and into the plaza, where we found the most beautiful church!
Where we couldn't wait to duck in!
I have never been so grateful for fresh, clean and air conditioned air!
Thank you, sweet Jesus!
The church was so quiet, peaceful and stunning!
We sat in this spot for a long, long time...
Saying prayers of thanks for our entire trip...
So very much to be thankful for...
Making it to Dallas, having my parents make it safely too...
To see Ranger doing well... Praying for safe returns.
Just a lot of emotions and grateful thoughts...
After I lit candles for all of us, it was sadly time
to screw up our courage to venture back outside...
I really didn't want to but the only way home was to finish this tour!
We started this trip with a tour of Mr. Jackson's Hermitage...
And, look! There he is again!
Is he following us or are we following him?
We are certainly not following selfie-boy, that is for sure!
The buildings around New Orleans are gorgeous!
Now, here is a spot that was on my must-see list!
No urine smell here! It's all sweet smelling coffee...
And, world-famous beignets!
Sadly, neither of us had much of an appetite to stand in a line that was
wrapped around the building in 90+ degree heat... So we skipped them!
And, off to the gift shops we went!
Waving at Joan as we passed!
Poor Joan...
I bought lots of t-shirts for William right here!
But mainly because they were the right kind of T-shirts!
I picked up a few other goodies too...
No cookie cutters though!
After hitting a few of the gift shops, we decided to
hop onto the street car and head out of town...
Because... They say that before you die, you must picnic in Lafayette Cemetery!
There's no driving in the French Quarter so the street car was the way to go!
It takes you everywhere you want to go!
And, here we are!
Hopefully this qualifies as a picnic; because in this heat, frozen lemonade,
ice cold water and a raspberry Linzer cookie was all we could manage!
The cemetery really is worth the effort to see!
It's hard to believe all of this was under water ten years ago...
Thankfully, everything seems to have survived and come back!
I have always enjoyed strolling through a good cemetery!
And, this one is probably about as good as they come!
So sad...
Cannot even imagine...
A good reminder that it is never over until it is really over!
We saw a lot of these creepy grave stones that
seemed to be being pushed on from the inside!
After our walk through the cemetery, we took the street car back into
the French Quarter and hustled our way back to the hotel for our car!
Our last stop in New Orleans was the new National WWII Museum!
It's a really cool, interactive museum! 
Your ticket gives you the chance to follow one soldier through his military journey...
I was following Frank Denius who was an artillery man... Just like my dad!
What are the chances of that?
Very cool!
Like the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, this one is very well done!
Take a look at what we saw and I will catch up with you further down...

I've long said that Chocolate is the
answer to everything... Including war!
This museum is possible because of Stephen Ambrose!

New Orleans is officially checked off our list!
After we found a post office to drop all the postcards I wrote...
It was time to set the GPS for Home Sweet Home!
Good-bye to you, New Orleans and Hello to Home by Sunset!
I never thought I would be so happy to see Atlanta! After all, when Ranger
left the Army, I said I would be happy never to see Atlanta ever again... 
But here we were...
Right back in Atlanta!
So with one more chance to eat at the Varsity, we finally took it!
We made 18 trips to Ft. Banning in the five years and seventeen weeks Ranger
was in the Army and, every time we said we would have lunch at the Varsity!
But we either got there too early, too late or arrived not hungry... So it never worked! 
Until this time! 
When it worked out just perfectly! 
God help me... I ate it all! 
And, even finished it off with ice cream! 
Oh, stop... You knew it was coming!
No trip home through Atlanta ever happens without a stop at
the Pottery Barn in Gaffney, South Carolina! And, just like many
of these stops, I found another amazing duvet I had to take home... 
This one was even monogrammed, J-H-T, which stands
for, Janet, Terry and Holy-Heck, this $200 duvet is only $20! 
Here is another classic example of why stopping is a must! 
This is going to look amazing out by our pool! 
You know you're back in North Carolina when you see this in October!
And, you know you have been away for nearly two weeks...
When your mail is stacked two-feet high! 
Ha! There's the post card I sent the man that
refused to get out of the car with me at Graceland
And, look at this...  My sweet mom sent me home with
some goodies she brought to Dallas, all the way from Monterey! 
The German cowbell that hung in our kitchen in Germany when I
was a little girl, my favorite German pickles and mustard and more! 
And, remember the candle lantern I picked up at the GHWBush library? 
It is perfectly at home with me now! 
As much as I miss my mom and dad and our Ranger... 
I was very happy to be back home! 
After so much road and restaurant food, I
couldn't wait to cook a meal in my own kitchen! 
And, bake! 
I baked a carrot cake with my own cream cheese icing! 
Of course, there is one more reason to be happy to be home too! 
Snuggling with our sweet Leo!