So we all have those things of modern day life that we need to incorporate into our rooms that "just don't go." My case in poiont:

I mean really??!! What do you do with stuff like this? Be disciplined and put it away every time I use it in a day??? Put it in another container after I buy it so it can live on the counter? Really???!!!??? Those are beautiful thoughts but in my world I just know it won't happen. Plus I wanted something that would be close to little or no money.

SSooooooooo, I traveled to a land far far away that is home to a wonderful and generous fairy, the Graphics Fairy to be precise. I used her handy dandy little search tool and here's what I did:

I found these cutesy little labels, printed them out, and glued them on with some handy dandy tacky glue!!! See, everything is better with a little bit of fairy dust!!! OOOHHHHHH and lookey there the Graphics Fairy even stopped by to give her approval!!

So I think we're all familiar with Paula Deen and her love for butter!!! Lynne over at Happier Than a Pig In Mud is having a Paula Deen cookalong on May 15th. I decided to Make Paula's Gumbo recipe which calls for of course butter and oil!! When I read that I decided to remove some of that. "How," you say? WWWeeeelllllll---I decided that instead of all the butter and oil that I would replace it with--bacon grease. That's right, bacon grease!!! I have to say that I am not a petite girl nor a health food nut but sometimes Paula's use of butter even makes me cringe a little bit!! That of course was not the case with the Gumbo recipe. When my sister, the White Farmhouse, and I were kids we thought bacon grease was a seasoning. Our mom, a self respectin' bacon grease usin' southener, would put it in just about anything, including green beans. Yes, green beans!!! I just felt that bacon grease would be a lot better in the gumbo than butter. Here is Paula Deen's Gumbo Recipe . . .

Servings: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 2 hours 25 min
Difficulty: Moderate
Ingredients Add to grocery list
4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
Chopped fresh parsley
2 cup frozen sliced okra
1 14 ounce can stewed tomatoes with juice
1/2 lb small shrimp peeled, deveined and cooked
5 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves
3 stalks celery chopped
8 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Salt and pepper
3 large boneless chicken breast halves
4 cup hot water


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove. Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool.

Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, to taste and the 1/4 bunch parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add 4 cups hot water and bouillon cubes, whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the green onions, shrimp and chopped parsley.

Here is my version using the same ingredients but substituting bacon grease for the butter. The bulk of the variation I put on it is how I prepare the dish. Let me show you with some pics . . .

So you start with the bacon grease. Make note of the color, it will quickly change.
Once it is hot you throw in the chicken breasts and a whole bunch of seasoning. No, no, no---not more bacon grease!!! Actual seasonings!!! A whole bunch of garlic, onion powder, and celery salt. That's because I, like the White Farmhouse, forgot to buy celery.

Notice how the color of the bacon grease is already changing to a dark amber. Don't get too hysterical because before we are done it will get even darker!!!

See what I mean!!!!!

Next we saute the sausage . . .

See how dark the bacon grease is now?!? Once the sausage is cooked add the chicken back in. At this point you will want to add in some oil, I used olive oil. Let that get hot and then add in the flour . . .

At this point we are gonna stir in the flour, it should still be a little loose. We are then gonna just sit back and let it do it's thing for about ten minutes.
It will start out looking like this:

and end up looking like this, with all the yummy black stuff on the bottom of the pan:

Add in the shrimp and the other veggies and saute them altogether. Put in everything except for the tomatoes and the okra. I also use another variation. I use beef stock instead of the bouillon cubes. What you want to do is add about a cup of beef stock with the heat still turned up high. This will get all of those yummy tidbits off the bottom of the pan. Now you can add in the rest of the beef stock.

I used about two boxes of beef stock. You want it to still be thin because you will simmer it for about and hour and it will thicken up.

You really want to get in there and scrap the bottom of the pan and stir things up!! That is actually one of my specialties, stirring things up!!!

Your gonna bring this to a good boil and turn it down low and leave it for about an hour.

After an hour you will add in the okra . . .

. . . and then the tomatoes. Simmer that for about another 45 minutes . . .

Here is my last little tip for the Gumbo or any other soup/stew type dish that tends to get a little greasy. Instead of trying to scoop the excess grease off the top all you have to do is let it cool to room temp and then put it in the fridge. When you take it out in the morning all of the excess fat will have solidified on the top and you can easily remove it with a spoon . . .


This really makes a lip smackin . . . . .What's that noise??!! . . . Oh my gosh . . . I am so embarassed someone is at the door. BRB!

Well, my goodness!!! Look who's here!!!

It's Paula Deen!!! All the way from the White Farmhouse!!! (She must have gotten conned by the bitty one because she seems to have lost all of her clothes!!! HHHMMMMM!!!!) Paula, what's that in your hand?

A big basket of fried chicken??!!?? Well bless you heart!! But Paula, we don't need fried chicken. I made your Gumbo recipe. Come on in to the kitchen and take a gander.

I know it does look yummy!!! What d'ya say I make some rice and we plate this up?

MMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here Paula, have a bite . . .

I know!! It is lip smackin good!!!

See, Paula isn't the only one who thinks so!!!

. . . Ha Ha!!! Did I fool you White Farmhouse? W-e-e-e-llllll, it’s not quite ready yet, so you’re gonna have to wait just a little while longer!!!


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