Personal Blog

Shrimp Jambalaya! Say yeah yeah baby!

PaellaJambalaya is a New Orleans tradition that originated in the Caribbean  islands and it related to the dish known as paella. The many variations of this dish are a direct attempt by Spanish settlers to make paella in the new world where saffron was not readily available; tomatoes became a substitute for the costly seasonings traditionally used. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish.

Creole jambalaya, or red jambalaya as it is called by Cajuns, is found primarily in and around New Orleans, where it is simply known as ‘jambalaya’. Creole jambalaya includes tomatoes, whereas Cajun jambalaya does not.

Here’s how to make it!

1. Cook onions, garlic, green pepper and celery (trinity)  in bacon drippings or cooking oil until onion is browned.

2. Add parsley, ham, thyme, and bay leaves.

3. cook 5 minutes, stirring often.

4. Add salt, hot sauce, tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, and 2 cups of water.

5. Simmer 5 minutes.

6. Add rice.

7. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

8. Add shrimp and smoked sausage.

9. Cover and simmer 10 or 15 minutes longer or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

10. Season to taste with salt and more hot sauce.

This is one of my most favorite dishes to make for parties, or for the holidays – it’s a nice and more simple way to get a little cajun flavor when you are low on cash for seafood (cuz you can always add more rice!) or just don’t want to anger the creole gods by making a less than perfect gumbo. 😀

*edit: Some folks have brought to my attention this recipe lacks exact measurements…

Let me say this:  I don’t remember ever seeing grandma measure nothing, else she was baking (at which she was a *master*). This kind of cooking was just in her blood.

How much rice? Well, enough to “take care” of the water. How much garlic? How much you like, honey? That’s what she’d tell you if she was teaching you to make it; that’s pretty much the instructions I have in this old family cookbook. 🙂

Don’t worry, there is a ray of hope here. I will now provide for you a slightly different recipe (say hey to Ocean Springs, MS) .

1-2 quarts shrimp (peeled)

Chop: 1 large onion, 3-4 stalks celery, 1 small bell pepper, garlic.

Simmer in water until tender, no grease.

Add: 1 can tomato soup, sauce or paste, 1 can of water, 2-3 bay leaves, salt pepper to taste,1 teaspoon “cajun” seasoning

Simmer on low.

Add Shrimp.

Cook rice (2-3 cups?) and then add to simmering shrimp – add enough rice to take care of the liquid.

Stir ONLY once.

Keep on low.

That’s the only other recipe for it I know – hope it helps! – and if you make it send pictures!! Always love seeing other foodies dishes!

Next Time: Just in time for Christmas!
The Highly Awaited Turkey N Dumplin’s recipe!

Categories: FOOD, Personal Blog | Tags: , | 1 Comment

if the disease doesn’t kill me the doctors will…

Many of you have been wondering about my recent absence; well quite frankly I need to put some of this down in print for my own sake…

A couple weeks ago I started having chest pains at night before bed, accompanied by chills and cold sweats. I have known for some time that I had high blood pressure, but like a stubborn male fool I did nothing about it. Well, the closeness of the reaper finally got me to go.

At my first check in at urgent care that day my blood pressure was 200/110! They drew blood and scheduled me to see a doc the next day. Next day it was 216/130! Scary enough in its own right yeah? Doc put me on Lisinopril and Hydrochlorothiazide.

Well when the blood came back the doctor called to inform me that I was type 2 diabetic…my blood sugar was in the 300-390 range which is DEADLY. Those chest pains and chills at night weren’t necessarily my blood pressure, it was likely my blood sugar as well. He raised my dose of the first two meds and prescribed Metformin.

At that point I was drinking 3-4 sodas a day, sweet tea, mocha coffee,and eating whatever I wanted (altho I had cut back on food already as I was trying to get a little more healthy on my own). Essentially I was pouring sugar down my throat all day every day. [the average soda contains all the pure sugar you need for two days!!!]

First day on the double dose of the new meds and the Metformin I began reacting poorly. The Lisinopril was giving me a cough associated with ACE inhibitor reactions. I called the nurse line (was the weekend of course so no docs on call) and they said “oh thats normal don’t worry”. By 1pm that day the Metformin kicked in…turns out it has a HORRIBLE side effect of diarrhea…and also the Hydrochlorothiazide itself is a DIRUETIC! So double dose of the nasties. I was in the toilet every 20 mins, all day. By 11 that night I was cold, pouring sweat, and nearly incoherent. Bobbi took me to the ER. *SEVERE* dehydration which also made my blood sugar go through the roof. (see the doc just threw pills at me and didn’t point out the fact you have to EAT while taking them to avoid adverse reactions….being scared to death of this new disease I was starving myself and eating nothing).

The ER gave me fluids and gave me some insulin. The doc there changed my meds to Atenolol for blood pressure and Glyburide for the blood sugar. After I got the fluids and insulin I felt like a new man.

The first few days on the new meds went ok. Blood pressure was coming down to a safer range; so was blood sugar. Thursday went and had my stress test…did well, blood pressure was high but came down at the normal rate and ekg was fine. The heart doctor prescribed a new blood pressure med, and told me to double my Atenolol to the maximum dosage of 100mg a day plus to start taking Adacand (another blood pressure med) and Simavastitn (for my cholesterol which was a little high)….needless to say being broke kept me from getting the new meds and being SUSPICIOUS kept me from doubling my Atenolol. The regular doc called me that night and said to keep my Atenolol at 50mg (even tho earlier that day he too said to raise it to 75mg!)…so TOTAL confusion for this newly diagnosed diabetic who STILL has not received any meal planning info or anything….

I guess it took a few days for the Glyburide to fully settle in…Friday I had my first hypoglycemic episode. It was all I could do to get into the kitchen and get the apple sauce before I blacked out. Shaking all over, vision flashing and going dark. The SCARIEST thing I have EVER experienced.

The next day went fairly fine. Still learning what and how to eat – as the doctor had at that point provided NO dietary info or anything to me (I think they were expecting me to keep up my bad habits somehow!). Saturday night got major hypo again around 5pm because I hadn’t eaten for a while…even tho my blood sugar only read 120 that is about HALF of what my body is used to it being!!

It was after panicing and probably eating a little too much sugar (apple) my blood sugar went to the opposite end of the spectrum. Heart racing, head ache and general bad feeling. Almost went to the ER again I felt so bad, but I road it out.

Sunday I took initiative and cut my Glyburide down to half dose. Seemed to do alot better, got a little hypo in the evening but not too too bad. Monday went to see the doc to see what was going on. I have lost 16lbs in the last two weeks. He was shocked and amazed that I have cut out all sugar drinks and all my other bad habits. (from what I can figure I am eating about 900 cal a day now). Told me to go ahead and bump my Atenolol up to 100mg and start the Atacand and Simvastatin. Come back in a few weeks. Gave me a print out of some “diabetic” info that was even LESS helpful than the stuff I had been finding online. He referred me to the diabetic clinic but they have yet to call or offer any info/assistance…

I missed a snack between meals and didn’t eat quite enough. Didn’t eat much lunch. Come 5pm I was hypo even tho my blood sugar was only 140. I actually lost consciousness for a little while laying in bed before I had strength to call Bobbi in. Ate a slice of bread, a slice of cheese, 5 raisins, a dr atkins bar (fairly low carbs and good fiber [these have saved my life more than once in the last few days!!]), some veggie chips. Was feeling better. Thought I was fine. Well apparently I didn’t wait long enough for the kick back because my blood sugar went up to 220….which while not THAT high it was a good 80+ point jump. Made the BAD decision to try and walk around Walmart cuz we needed to get some groceries….felt like someone punching me in the chest if I went more than 20ft. You know those old people benches in Walmart? Yeah, I was thanking GOD for them. Sat down and started feeling better…I guess exercise after eating can really spike you out…

Got home, drank lots of water and relaxed and finally started coming back to normal. Went to bed blood sugar was 160, not so bad, sucked on a mint just to try and keep it up so I wouldn’t go hypo while alseep. My fasting sugar level in the morning was 170 so my liver was likely at work while I was sleeping to keep me from going hypo…this is sometimes referred to as “dawn syndrome”…

Woke up this morning, blood sugar was 170. Decent. While doing the morning constitutional I started to feel cold/shakey. Went and ate a banana, a little kashi cereal, part of an Atkins bar and some applesauce. Started to feel some better until the blood sugar high hit (240) and then it was back to being sluggish and unable to get up and walk around without sweating and chest pounding. Had to call in sick for work, no way I can drive like this. Bobbi, god bless her with so many health probs of her own is too bad off to drive me to work every day….

I have GOT to get off this blood sugar rollercoaster. I have GOT to be able to work. Today I took 75mg of my Atenolol because I know my blood pressure is still a little high…it’s pretty bad when you have to regulate your own medicine because the doctors don’t know what they are doing.

I feel like this has all just been thrown at me; do not know what I am supposed to be doing to take care of myself and feel NORMAL. Doc says there is a very good chance that once I drop enough weight my body will begin to regulate itself, and that is my sincerest hope – I just have to find a way to stay ALIVE and be FUNCTIONAL until then (which seems to mean going against the doctors recommendations at times and being SUPREMELY vigilant about my diet)….[it perplexes me tho because I never used to feel this way (super lows super highs on the blood sugar) until I started these meds]….as I research these meds more and more my confidence in doctors falls. The Metformin and Hydrochlorothiazide I was originally given have a BIG warning about combining them for instance…the Glyburide is of course known to cause hypo episodes (it basically tells your pancreas to make more insulin whether you need it or not!) but also almost DOUBLES ones likelihood of cardiac incident…

This has been a mixed blessing in some ways. Certainly it is getting me where I’ve needed to be for a LONG time, but in addition I am finding that many of the very bad feelings Bobbi has (including her feinting and falling) may in fact be related to her low blood sugar episodes. The down side is it almost seems to be putting my life MORE at risk at times; is of course ruining my ability to live a normal functional life…

Take care of yourselves everyone. Check your stats well and check them often, you will be AMAZED how much blood sugar can effect every single aspect of your physical body.

Categories: Personal Blog | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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