Sweet & Savory Jambalaya

One of the highlights of my Mom 2.0 conference  in NOLA this year was winning a recipe contest sponsored by Zatarain’s.  For those not familiar with Zatarain’s, they make everything from frozen entrees, to spices, but are probably most well known for their boxed rice mixes (of which I’m a big fan).  When my husband was working in another state and I was juggling a baby, and working outside of the house FT, I loved this stuff because I could make a big batch and add lots of fresh veggies & protein, then eat it for a couple of days.  It’s filling, full of flavor, and the boxed mix gives me a nice base that I can be as creative as I want with, depending on how much time I have and what other ingredients I have on hand.  I knew a lot of people would be entering the contest, so I wanted to try something different.  I’ve been really into sweet & savory things lately, so I thought adding a little fruit to the dish would be a fun way to mix it up!  Here’s what you’ll need for this sweet & savory jambalaya that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package Zatarain’s Reduced Sodium Jambalaya Mix
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 package (12 ounces) Andouille sausage, cut into 1/4 inch clices (can use turkey sausage as a substitute)
  • 3 cups pineapple, cut into chunks (fresh is best, but I won’t judge)
  • 2 cups of craisins
  1. In large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion & peppers, cook and stir 5-7 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, Jambalaya Mix & water.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover & simmer about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in shrimp & sausage. Put the cover back on and cook for 8 more minutes.
  4. Finally, add pineapple & craisins. Cook for an additional 2 minutes with cover on.  Make sure shrimp is pinkish and rice and veggies are cooked, then remove from heat, let cool a little bit and serve.

Memorable Moments of Mom 2.0 (Part 1)

NOLA Ritz

NOLA Ritz, locale for Mom 2.0

 Life is about memorable moments. Creating them. Savoring them. Replicating them.  (It never hurts to try.) As Mom 2.0 approached, and the talk on twitter, facebook, and email peaked leading up to the 3 day conference,  my excitement increased. I knew I would learn a massive amount of information. The ingenuity, creativity, dedication, and passion of women like Kimberly Blaine, Jyl Pattee, Emily McKhann, Andrea Wishom, Liz Gumbinner, Beth Lemanach is knock your socks off inspiring. I honestly don’t know how you guys do it. While I only dropped named a few names, truth is—every single person I met during Mom 2.0 moved me in some way. I left every conversation thirsty for additional knowledge, empowered, and excited to do more. Faster. Better. Smarter. I wondered how on earth I was going to manage it all, plus a full time career as a TV Anchor.  The content at Mom 2.0 is top notch. I was often torn as to which breakout session to attend. The New Style: Bloggers, Brands and the Post Review & Giveaway Era or Video, Multimedia and Monetization: How Video Can Realistically Raise your Visibility and Credibility??   Creating and Building Influence or Personal Brand Building: Real-time Coaching and Brainstorming on Building Your Personal Brand and Where it Can Intersect with Big Brands??  Ultimately, I discovered it was the people BEHIND the message, more than the message itself that stayed with me…and THAT’S what making memorable moments is all about. The bonds you create with people. The lasting friendships, and partnerships. Conferences allow brands, bloggers, and PR folks to see the REAL you, not the person hiding behind the computer screen. On several of the headers on my site I have three words that I was happy to hear often throughout Mom 2.0. Authentic. Engaging. Approachable. More Mom 2.0 posts are to come, but if someone were to ask me to describe the people and discussions at the conference, I would describe them quite simply with the words we live by at  A Mom Knows Best.   Authentic. Engaging. Approachable.

Getting Bronzed for Mom 2.0 (Cancer Free)

I took the advice of my friend Carrie and decided to get a spray tan for Mom 2.0.  Not that I ever would have gone to a tanning booth…I mean, c’mon, my husband had cancer TWICE.  Melanoma is not something to mess with .  Trust me, waiting nearly six hours while your husband has his face operated on at the Cleveland Clinic is not fun.  Being the one to have to go through that surgery—wondering if you are going to survive—and being left with the scars is even less fun.

You know what is fun, though?  Walking into Airbrush Tanning in Cranston, as white as a ghost , and walking out like I just got back from a trip to Mexico. O.M.G.  This place rocks.  Seriously.  If you have a an airbrush tanning place around you, go check it out…and if you live in RI, you must stop by this place.

I’ll admit, it’s a little strange at first having someone else see your business.  Of course, you have the option of wearing your bathing suit, but since I am wearing a strapless dress this weekend, I went topless.  I figured there’s nothing she hasn’t seen.  She sprayed me by hand—let me dry—then sprayed me again. (I was thisclose to asking her if she could spray muscle definition in my arms and legs, but figured I shouldn’t push my luck.)  The whole process took about 20 minutes and was worth EVERY PENNY of the $25 I spent.  At the airport 6 people asked me if I just got back from vacation.  Nice.

I’ve had the spray done once before at Airbrush Tanning, before I was to host an Oscar show.  I loved the results that time as well.  I used a mild soap in the shower every day and cocoa butter as lotion and my tan lasted about 10 days.  Here’s to looking bronzed–cancer-free– into May!Bronzed with John Besh at Mom 2.0

Have you ever tried Airbrush tanning?  What did you think?

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