Friday, September 2, 2016

"Happiness Is Like Jambalaya...Built On Balance"

Are any of us truly happy? I'm not talking about superficial happiness I am talking about deep down in your soul, demons harmoniously dancing with each other, while your angels are fornicating with your random devils kinda happy. I doubt many people can answer that truthfully because so few take the time to gaze into the vastness of their souls to find out what really makes them "happy".

I don't know which direction to take to find my happiness. I was in a huge funk until a good friend came to visit and I let my demons out to play for a few days and I was better for doing so. I guess when my demons arise I must give them their freedom or they will eat me up inside my own head. They sometimes have control of my happiness and I just can't refrain from taking them to the playground and watching them swing so high the swing set lifts from the ground and leaves you holding your breath as to whether they will come crashing down backwards or land safely on the ground. So is this the right kind of happiness I need in my life? I think if balance is put into the equation I could possibly control the hurt that lurks inside,

I have always been the chick that likes to have a good time and have learned to balance it out with the hippie little Suzie Homemaker inside but sometimes I fall off the see saw. It hurt immensely being discarded like a fired domestic and I realized that's all I was for a few years. I forgot who "I" was. Well I still hurt but it is not like it used to kill me inside to where I would pour myself into a bottle instead of pouring the pain out and down the sewer where it belonged. I have quite a few friends who helped put the pieces of me back together. The smile is even genuine now. I have my moments where I have to remind myself to force a happy face. Am I happy? All I can say is I am trying. I am my own warden and I must not things get to a riotous frenzy, I must have self control and maintain balance and then I may truly be happy. I must balance my work, my art, my writing my home life, my good times all to create my true recipe for happiness.

I think when I create I am at my happy point. I look at cooking as therapy and nothing like good soulful food to take me to my happy place.

Enter Jambalaya, a quintessential New Orleans classic. Built on a foundation of harmonious balance to create happiness.

There are two general kinds of jambalaya: Creole and Cajun. What’s the difference? The main difference is that Creole jambalaya, also called “red jambalaya” uses tomatoes, Cajun jambalaya does not. Another difference is the order in which the ingredients are prepared. But both utilize what’s referred to as the “holy trinity” – onion, celery, and bell pepper (usually green but I prefer red). This jambalaya is the Creole version my Happy Place.

An important element in this dish is the homemade Creole seasoning. The flavor will be fresher, bolder, better. If you have the herbs and spices on hand to make it, your taste buds will thank you and perform a perfect triple axle. If you must use store-bought, no worries: You’ll still get a double axle. Tender chicken, juicy shrimp and spicy andouille sausage and tossed with rice, bell peppers, onions, celery, tomatoes, and a generous dose of Creole seasoning. It’s comfort food with some kick (how much kick is up to you) and it’s sure to become a favorite. So come get your Creole on and laissez les bons temps rouler!
Tasty Tastings Everyone!!!!!
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ pound andouille sausage, sliced in ¼ inch slices
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green red pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 cup white long grain rice
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound medium raw shrimp, deveined (optional: tails removed)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • For the Creole Seasoning:
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika powder
  • 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Instructions
  • Combine all the spices in a coffee or spice grinder. Grind to a fine powder and store in an airtight jar until ready to use.
  1. Place the chicken in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the chicken on all sides. Add the andouille sausage and cook for another 3 minutes or so until the sausage begins to brown.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the rice, diced tomatoes, remaining tablespoon of Creole seasoning, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves.
  4. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, giving it one stir around the halfway point. Add the shrimp, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  5. Serve sprinkled with some sliced green onions.

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