When I walked by and saw the GUMBO LOVE cookbook by Lucy Buffett sitting on the shelf, I was immediately drawn in by it's colorful cover. Then a flood of memories came over me. See, I grew up in South Florida and spent most of my weekends in The Keys with my family. My parents still have their home on Tarpon Basin in Key Largo and it will forever be one of my favorite places on earth. Every time I think about it, I can still hear my dad singing along to his favorite Jimmy Buffet songs and see my mom peeling shrimp on the patio. Take me back.......

I started flipping through the book and was overwhelmed by the amount of dishes I'd like to make. Everything looked so yummy! One recipe in particular stood out to me and that was the Spicy Shrimp Ceviche. It's one of those dishes I always order out, but have never made at home. I decided to be adventurous and loop off the cliff and try something I never done before.  And you know what..... it was delicious and easy! As a matter of fact I'm going to try her Silver Queen Corn Salad this weekend for my Memorial Day party. So, if you're into summer entertaining or you enjoy island Gulf Coast cooking, this book is for you! 




  • 2 pounds poached wild-caught Gulf Shrimp (recipe follows)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped  red onion 
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoons finely chopped seeded jalapeno
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro 
  • Juice of 5 limes (about 1 cup)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup) 
  • Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 avocado, pitted. peeled and sliced (optional) 
  • 2 limes, quartered or sliced for garnish


  1. Chop the shrimp into thirds or bite-size pieces, or leave them whole if you prefer, and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add the red onion, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, salt, white pepper, and sugar and stir well. 
  3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. While the mixture marinates, occasionally turn the container to evenly coat the shrimp in liquid. 
  4. Transfer the shrimp and liquid to a glass bowl to serve or divide among eight martini glasses. If desired, garnish with avocado, cilantro and lime. 



If you didn't grow up eating artichokes, then yes they can be quite intimating and you may feel more comfortable sticking to the can. But if you're willing to give it a whirl, this is an easy way to enjoy these delicious things. There are so many ways to prepare and so many sauces to enjoy them, but I like to stick to the basics and how I remember eating them. Although I'm always looking for new ways to serve. So, comment at the end of this post if you've got a way I must try next!  But for those of you newbies that like the sound and ease of this one, keep reading. 




Fill a saucepan large enough to accommodate all artichokes with 2 inches of water. Add salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil; bring to a simmer. Add artichokes, stem end up; cover saucepan. Steam until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Cool for 10 minutes. With a sharp knife, cut in half. Spread leaves to get easier access to choke (the fuzzy center) and remove. You may need to peel away a few purple layers of immature leaves. 


2 fresh lemons, squeezed
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
salt + pepper
8 gloves fresh garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and top the halved artichokes. Using the back of your spoon to spread in and out of every crevice. Sprinkle with a little more parm. Set on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the 400° oven for 20-25 minutes. 

Serve immediately, they won't last long.



Needing a quick appetizer? When I say quick, I mean like 5 minutes. It's one of my favorites to bring and serve at any gathering. People look forward to it. As a matter of fact I brought this last night to the 7th Grade Moms Night and it was a HUGE hit! Just 4 simple ingredients. Creamy goat cheese, topped with roasted pistachios and drowned in sweet honey and savory fig jam. Oh man, soooooooooo good. It also looks super fancy and is sure to be the talk of the party. They'll be asking......'who brought this?' 




  • 1 log of goat cheese (11 oz)
  • 1/4 cup roasted pistachios
  • 2 tbs fig spread
  • 3 table spoons of honey
  • crackers or bread for serving. I think it goes best with rosemary nut crackers, like pictured. 
  • fresh rosemary for garnish



  1. In a ziploc bag place whole pistachios. Using a rolling pin to break up nuts into smaller pieces. 
  2. Place goat cheese on a small plate or platter. 
  3. Drizzle honey over cheese, allowing it to pool around on the plate.
  4. Sprinkle with pistachio pieces
  5. In a microwave safe dish, nuke fig spread for about 10-15 seconds. This will make it easier to drizzle on top. 
  6. Spoon fig spread over top, then sprinkle a the last of the nuts on top. 
  7. Garnish with rosemary and arrange crackers on plate. 




Tradition in my house is serving appetizers on Christmas eve, sipping cocktails and playing board games. Fun for the whole family! I put of some of our faves and this Artichoke Spinach Dip hasn't missed a Christmas Eve yet! It's an easy one to whip together, even the night before. And I might mention, it travels well if you're asked to bring an app to a friends house. I serve mine with either  fresh bread +blue corn tortilla chips + or pita chips! Be forewarned, there will be nothing left in that dish. 



  • 10 oz box or bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 14oz can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2/3 sour cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • dash or two of red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix together spinach, artichoke and parmesan cheese.
  3. Using your hand mixer, combine the remaining ingredients. 
  4. Stir in spinach and artichokes.
  5. Spread in a medium sized baking dish.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. 

Makes about 4 cups. 




FOOTBALL is on TV and that means one thing, BUFFALO WING SEASON! Well, it means lot's of things, but that's what we really care about in this house! My husband is a HUGE wing fan. Loves people, loves. He's pretty convinced it should be it's own food group. Here are two recipes that I make on rotation all football season long. Both great for a crowd, or perfect for your own little cheering section. 

Go Team! 


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 12oz bottle Franks Red Hot buffalo wings sauce
  • 1  12pk mini buns
  • blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 bottle blue cheese dressing, your fave. I love Marie's best
  • celery stalks, cleaned + cut 

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Pour entire bottle of Frank's Red Hot buffalo sauce on chicken. Cook for 6-8 hrs on low. When done, shred chicken in slow cooker with fork. Pre-heat broiler. Pile chicken onto bun bottoms. Lay tops next to. Sprinkle chicken with blue cheese crumbles. Broil for 1-2 minutes, careful not to burn. Remove from broiler and assemble sandwiches. Serve with blue cheese dressing + celery. 

serves 6 


  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tsp Savory Spice Buffalo Wing Sauce Seasoning
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1  12oz bottle of Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • blue cheese dressing
  • blue cheese crumbles
  • celery

Preheat oven to 425°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl tossed together cauliflower pieces, olive oil and Savory Spice Buffalo Wing Seasoning. Spread out onto parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown in color. Remover from oven.  In a medium size bowl, gently toss cauliflower and buffalo sauce. Making sure to coat well. Place on serving dish and serve with mini bamboo skewers and a side of blue cheese dressing and celery. 

serves 4 (so good, maybe one)




I love hummus. I love this recipe. I mean LOVE. It's one of those things I could eat straight out of the bowl.
No pita chips necessary. Although, that crunchy + creamy combo makes me oh so happy.
My girlfriends mom gave me this one a long time ago and I've been tweaking it over the years. It's that good, and good for ya. Did I mention the best part... It's by far the simplest thing to make. Seriously, like throw it all in your Vita Mix or food processor and BAM, it's done. There are so many variations of this delicious Middle Eastern dip,
but the two versions I love best are lemon, shocker I know, and avocado.

Give this one a try next time you've got a craving for hummus or were asked to bring an appetizer to the party. 
Once you make your own, you'll never buy store bought again. NEVER. Trust me.
You'll taste the freshness + difference immediately. 


  • 2 Haas avocados, scooped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon tahini paste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil + garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • salt + pepper to taste


Put all ingredients into your vita mix or food processor and blend until creamy. That's it. Done.