Fat Tuesday Fried Chicken





One of the best things about living on the Gulf coast was being introduced to Cajun food and Mardi Gras. One of the first things we did on the coast was to attend a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade. We were all caught up in the spirit of the celebration with moon pies and beads. We often visited Louisana while living in Pensacola, especially during the years that Wes played with a travel ice hockey team out of Baton Rouge. We enjoyed the people, their food, and their customs.

We do not celebrate Mardi Gras in a big way here in Georgia, but I say, there’s no better excuse to cook up some good Cajun food. I found this recipe on www.raisedonaroux.com, where I found many other recipes that I can’t wait to try!  This chicken marinates for 48 hours for a wonderful flavor. It’s cooks up wonderfully crispy with the addition of corn starch, and it is incredibly moist and juicy. Don’t let the hot sauce scare you because it isn’t hot at all. The marinade simply gives it an excellent taste.


Fat Tuesday Fried Chicken
  • Seasoning Mix:
  • 3 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. white pepper
  • 1 (3-lb.) whole chickens, cut into serving pieces
  • 4 c. buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Crystal hot sauce
  • 4 c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ c. corn starch
  • Peanut oil for frying
  1. In a small bowl, thoroughly combine seasoning mix. Season chicken with 6 tbsp. of the mix. Reserve remaining mix. Place chicken in 1 or 2 large resealable bags.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauces; pour over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for a least 4 hours or up to 48 hours, (the longer it soaks the better), turning occasionally.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and reserved seasoning mix.
  4. Set a rack on a large baking sheet.
  5. Working one piece at a time, remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into the bag. Dredge in flour mixture and shake off excess. Place on prepared rack.
  6. Pour oil halfway up the side of a large, deep skillet (preferably cast iron) and heat to 350° F.
  7. Prepare another large baking sheet lined with paper towels and a rack over top.
  8. Fry chicken in batches, starting skin side down. Do not overcrowd skillet. Once chicken is added to oil, the temperature will drop. Maintain cooking temperature of 315° F for ideal frying. Fry, turning, until golden brown and cooked through to reach an internal temperature of 165° F. Remove to rack and allow to drain. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.


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Nutella French Toast



When I sat down to write this article, I did not plan for it to become so personal. I mention friends and family a lot because they are part of what makes me who I am. Sometimes not all that great, I still need a lot of work, but mostly okay. Today’s article gives you a glimpse of just how ordinary my life is. I hope you don’t mind that I shared this with you.

Valentine’s Day, the day of love and romance, is just around the corner. Valentine’s day has certainly changed for me over the years. As a young married couple with limited funds for extravagances, Greg and I tried to make the day special. There were never any fancy meals in the budget, but we could usually swing a card, and Greg would always come home with a single rose for me.

Fast forward ten years and it became all about the kids. Buying Valentine’s for school and decorating shoe boxes. Making heart shaped pancakes and buying stuffed animals.

After 29 years of marriage, with grown kids, what will Valentine’s Day entail for us this year? I would say we are as romantic as the next couple. However, when I tell you how we will most likely spend Valentine’s day, you may wonder about that. We don’t usually buy cards or gifts. We will wish each other a Happy Valentine’s Day as I hand Greg his coffee, give him a kiss, and he walks out the door for work. We will probably use the day as an excuse to have dinner out if Greg gets home from work early enough. It will be nice and quite, and we will enjoy spending time together, whether we make it to a restaurant for or if we sit at home and watch a few Andy Griffith show reruns. It’s life, it’s not fancy, in fact, it’s mostly downright chaotic. It’s learning to be content and happy in those “not so fancy” times that has made this marriage work for 29 years, though.

So, Greg, if you happen to read my article (or blog) this week, I want you to know I love you and I love our life together. God blessed the kids and me by giving us you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you want to make more than a cup of coffee for your Valentine, this Nutella French Toast is a wonderful way to start any day. It is certainly simple enough to make on a weekday morning, but it’s fancy enough for a wonderful weekend treat as well. This French toast is delicious topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, or bananas.

Nutella French Toast
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 8 (1/2-inch) thick slices brioche or challah bread
  • 8 tbsp. Nutella spread, divided
  • Powdered sugar, divided
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and salt. Working in batches, melt some butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat. Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture and quickly transfer to the skillet. Cook 2 slices of the bread until golden brown, and then flip over and cook the other side. Spread approximately 2 tbsp. of the Nutella on 1 piece of bread and place the other piece of cooked bread on top to enclose the chocolate spread. Gently press so that the pieces stick together. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve with fresh fruit and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.



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Game Day Smoked Beef Brisket


This is an exciting week for those of us living in Georgia, as the Atlanta Falcons prepare for Super Bowl LI!  Especially for those of us that have been here through the “not so good” years!  This will be the second time in history that the Falcons have made it to the Super Bowl.  The last time being 18 years ago.  This has been their season to shine and my fingers are crossed that they will bring the Vince Lombardi trophy back to Atlanta this year!
I know that super bowl parties will be going on all over the state this Sunday!  Treat your friends and family to this fabulous Smoked Beef Brisket.  The trick to a tender beef brisket is to cook it “low and slow”.  You certainly need to plan ahead and do NOT rush the process!  Greg’s general rule of thumb is to plan on 90 minutes of cooking time per pound of brisket.  We cook on a Traeger grill and have terrific results every time!  However, if you cook on a ceramic grill, charcoal or even gas follow your grills manufacturer’s directions for adjusting the temperature.

Game Day Smoked Beef Brisket
  • 12 lb. beef brisket
  • Wide Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil
  • Rub:
  • 6 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. coarse salt
  • 4 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 tsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Mop:
  • 2 c. distilled white vinegar
  • 2 c. beer
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  1. Plan ahead. You will need to smoke the brisket approximately 90 minutes per pound.
  2. Trim fat to ¼-inch thick.
  3. Rinse the brisket under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir to mix. Rub this mixture onto the brisket on all sides. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator 4 to 6 hours. However, you can cook right away, if desired.
  4. Combine all ingredients for the mop sauce in a nonreactive bowl and stir until salt and brown sugar are dissolved.
  5. If using a charcoal grill set up grill for indirect grilling. If using gas set grill to low. If using any other grill follow manufacturers directions for preheating your grill to cook over indirect heat, low, or smoke.
  6. Place brisket directly on grate of preheated grill, fat side up. Smoke for 6 hours, mopping with mop sauce every hour for 8 hours. Raise grill temperature to 250 degrees F.
  7. When internal temperature of brisket reaches 160 degrees F, remove the brisket from the grill and wrap well in heavy duty foil. Return the foil wrapped brisket back to the grill. Lower the grill temperature to 120 degrees F to 150 degrees F and cook for 4 hours.
  8. Raise the grill temperature to 225 degrees F and cook until internal temperature of brisket reaches 204 degrees F. (This took approximately 3 hours on our grill.)
  9. Remove foil wrapped brisket from grill and rest in foil for 1 hour.
  10. Slice and serve.


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