FROM ENDLESS SHRIMP TO TOFU GUMBO, MY WEEKEND OF GOOD EATIN’

Wow, I had a great weekend. This was the first weekend in a long time that I had no plans, and Ryan didn’t have any gigs or rehearsals. The plan was no plan, and it was wonderful. Although, I did try to plan out my weekend with no plans – when should we hike, what should we cook?

We started out the weekend with a trip to our ol’ standby, Red Lobster, which will from here on out before referred to as The Lob. We usually go for the Ultimate Feast, but we had a $25 gift card and it was Endless Shrimp! Usually during endless shrimp, the Lob lets you order 2 of the 5 selections, and when finished, you are able to order (and wait for) 2 more selections. We each order, and just after we are served, the waitress comes out and asks if we want more. She’s carrying a LARGE tray with probably 8 plates of different types of shrimp, which I assume she’s taking to another table. We say sure, we’d like to order . . . but she puts ALL of these plates down on our table. We probably have about 100 shrimp each on the table. Then, she brings more. So needless to say, she got a good tip, and we took home a lot of shrimp. We ate shrimp all day Saturday too.

On Saturday, we caught up on our fake Tivo, we took Izzie for a hike, we lounged around and ate leftover shrimp. It was great. I missed out on Stefania’s girls night party, but I’m hoping to catch the second installment. We also passed up going to the Keene Pumpkin Festival, but were glad we did, because the night turned out to be rainy and windy. It was the perfect night for sitting on the couch and watching old first season episodes of the X-Files.

Today, we ran some errands in the morning. We were returning some things to Old Navy and they were doing this promo where you got a scratch off type coupon when you walked in the door. The girl in front of us got the grand prize of $150 in free merchandise. I was bummed it wasn’t me. Ryan was sure to point out that if I’d hopped out of the car to go in a return the stuff (dog sweater) by myself, it would have been me who got the $150. Jerk. We did each get a $5 off coupon. We had Jenna, Brian, Luke, Cathy, Colleen & Dave over for our turn at the Sunday night revolving dinner party. Ryan made Chicken & Tofu Gumbo. I baked fresh bread, and made ice cream sandwiches with from scratch chocolate chip cookies and vanilla bean ice cream (not from scratch). They were to die for!

All in all, it was a very relaxing weekend. I finally didn’t feel like I had too much to do. I got a lot of good quality time with my husband. I need more weekends like this, but I’m also looking forward to next weekend when Gretchen, Graham & Amy come to visit for Halloween!

Chicken or Tofu Gumbo

1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1.5 lbs chicken or firm tofu
1 cup potatoes, cubed
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, finely grated
4 cloves garlic
2 stalks scallions
1 whole bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
1.2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp jalepeno pepper
1 cup okra sliced into 1/2 inch pieces (we used frozen, pre-sliced)

1. While preparing veggies, cook tofu or chicken in skillet with some oil.
2. Add oil to large pot – dutch oven works well
3. Heat pot over medium flame
4. Stir in Flour
5. Cook, stirring constantly, until flour becomes golden brown, and stir slowly with whisk until mixture is not lumpy.
6. Add all ingredients, except okra. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 mins.
7. Add okra and let cook for 15-20 mins.
8. Remove bay leaf
9. Serve in bowl or over white rice.

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