This week has been all about making comfort food, nursing a sick baby boy, watching trees grow, and getting ready for baby boy’s second birthday! That’s an exclamation full of emotion, folks. I’m so proud of the adorable bundle of sugar my baby boy has become at two. I’m also completely devastated that two years has passed so quickly. Anyone invented a machine to pause time yet? I’m mean, it is 2017. We can order toilet paper and lion costumes for our pets on demand, but no time machine? Get with it, Amazon.

corey douglas

Corey says that almost two year olds don’t have to use utensils. Except apparently he says it in a pirate voice with an “Arrrgggg” following it.

{Side Note: poor baby boy has bronchiolitis. It’s a wicked nasty cough, but he’s still in good spirits. We’re praying he recovers quickly so he can enjoy his party this weekend!}

corey douglas

Anywho… I’ve been making some serious [EASY] comfort food to get in the mood for fall weather (and holy cow – Thanksgiving is next week). I hear Houston will be slightly chilly, so you better believe I’ll be wearing layered fall clothes like I was in an L.L. Bean catalogue. Here’s what I’ve made this week:

Barefoot Contessa’s “Spanish” Pea Soup + Crispy Ham 

This delicious bowl of sweet, salty, creamy goodness takes literally 10 minutes to make. Okay, 15 tops. I made it while I was simultaneously getting Corey’s lunch ready – yes, it’s that easy! I only spilled pea soup on myself about 12 times. And then went to the UPS Store with said spilled soup on my shirt without noticing. You know, Mom Life. If you don’t want to go the “Crispy Ham” route, you can always substitute some bacon bits. I think this would also be yummy topped with some crumbled Feta or goat cheese. BONUS: it’s only 245 calories per serving, 21g protein, and 7g fat.

barefoot contessas spanish pea soup with crispy ham

I also made a HUGE batch of Pasta e Fagioli because well… comfort food. It’s got pancetta (hello, basically bacon), beans that make the soup thick and hearty, and pasta to send it over the Comfort Food Cliff. To top it off, throw on some fresh basil + freshly grated Parmesan. Holy Italian Happiness.

pasta e fagioli

Another major comfort food staple is my sister-in-law’s famous meatloaf. I’ll share the recipe soon! The best part about her recipe is that it freezes perfectly! I always make a double batch and freeze the pieces individually. We had our meatloaf this week with Cauliflower Mash.

On Monday, we had some purty trees planted in our backyard. I don’t know about you, but nature is my JAM, y’all. If I’m surrounded by too much concrete, I tend to get a little cranky. The house we lived at in Dallas had gorgeous, tall, full trees. Tons of them. I hated their leaves, but boy did I love seeing all that fabulous green in our backyard. These trees are starting to add more of a “home” feel to our new home.

maple tree houston

These trees have more than just a need-to-make-Mama-get-over-concrete value. They’re planted in memory of my sweet brother, Jimmy. I love the idea of looking out the window and seeing something tangible that can memorialize him. I think about Jimbo every day – I don’t need a reminder of him. I wanted a special something that was my own, happy thing that could represent life after death. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but that’s how my brain is working these days. Sometimes, you’ve got to actively seek your hope + joy.

Okay – enough sappy rambling. So, Jon Boy and I each chose the type of tree we wanted to plant. I went for a Maple tree that’s native to Houston because I think the leaves go “whishy-whishy” in the wind. Don’t know what I mean? Go watch a Maple tree’s leaves blowing around… they go “whishy-whishy”… I swear. It’s their official sound.

maple tree houston

Jon Boy opted for a Red Oak because that was his favorite tree from our home in Dallas. It’s sturdy, handsome, and full of colorful life (just like good ole Jon Boy himself).

red oak tree houston

I had to take a few pictures of our baby trees’ first birthday! I can’t wait to see how big they grow compared to the house. That’s like a botanist’s official version of a growth chart, right?

red oak tree houston

Here’s a Happy Monday for ya: I broke my stinkin’ Apple watch (had it for less than a year)!!! This is the punishment I get for doing dishes. As I was drying my hands, somehow my watch strap came undone and my whole piece of arm candy fell SMACK flat right onto the granite countertop. I told Jon Boy this was God’s way of saying dishes are solely a man’s job. He didn’t agree. Anyone have ideas for how to magically get this puppy back in working condition? Or should I try to get on the ‘Nice’ list this late in the Christmas game?

broken apple watch

And in honor of trying to get ready for a birthday party while having a sick toddler running around the house…

cleaning with toddlers

Happy Humpday, y’all!

Jon Boy loves him some shrimp. Shrimp poboy, shrimp gumbo, shrimp stew, shrimp soup, shrimp étoufée, coconut shrimp, lemon shrimp, shrimp and potatoes… you get the idea. [Also – great movie.] Jon Boy asks for this all the time, and I’m happy to oblige because it takes less than 10 minutes to make, it’s healthy, and it makes that hunk happy.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Here’s whatchya do:

Bring a biggo pot of water to a boil. Throw in some seasoning, the juice of 2 halved lemons, then throw the lemons in, too. Add your shrimp and boil for about 3 minutes or until they’re pink. Depending on the size of your shrimp, it could take more or less time.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Drain the shrimp and discard the lemons. Set aside for a bit.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

In the meantime (or beforehand – it’s better if you make the sauce ahead and let it chill in the fridge), make your homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. Okay – don’t stop reading and just buy the stuff from the store! I promise this sauce takes the dish over the top! Plus it takes no time to make, so you got no excuses, buddy. Make it.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Alls ya gotta do is mix everything together. Not so bad, right? I like to have mine chill in the fridge to let the flavors get better acquainted.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Just before serving, toss your cooked shrimp with a little EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) with some chopped flat-leaf parsley. It’s fine if you serve the shrimp warm, at room temperature, or cold. It’s completely up to you!

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Lemony Boiled Shrimp + Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Lemony Boiled Shrimp
1/4 cup Tony’s seasoning or Adobo all-purpose seasoning
2 lemons, halved
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (I use frozen and just thaw them overnight)
2 tbs. EVOO
2 tbs. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs. whole grain mustard
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. agave nectar (or honey)
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

To Make the Shrimp
In a large stockpot, bring about 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the seasoning, squeeze in the juice from the lemons, and throw the lemons into the pot. Return the water to a boil. Add the shrimp and simmer until pink and cooked through (about 3 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp).

Drain, discard lemons, and set shrimp in a bowl to cool. Just before serving, toss the shrimp with the EVOO and parsley.

To Make the Dipping Sauce
Whisk together all the ingredients until combined. Dipping sauce can be made up two 2 days ahead. Cover and store in the fridge.

Click Here for Printable Recipe: Lemony Boiled Shrimp with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce