This past weekend was one full of shopping for food, cooking of food, and of course, eating food- it was one of the best that we’ve had in a long time!

My parents took the kids for the weekend, so that automatically made this a great weekend- I mean, when you get the chance to sleep in past 7am, it’s always a good time!  Anyway, after a leisurely morning spent sleeping in and reading in bed, we made it out (in the freezing cold, snowy streets) to the farmer’s market- which was, in fact, still going on, despite the weather.  So fun!  This is definitely something I want to make a Saturday morning tradition, kids or no kids.  There were lots of candy vendors, as it was the day before Valentine’s Day, but there were lots still selling produce, meats, milk, breads, pastries…yum.  We bought way more than we needed- I was just trying to gather ingredients for a “secret” dinner I was planning, but we ended up buying a baguette (needed), plus a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, a bag of spinach, two enormous carrots, and breakfast pastries.

After that, we headed to the Reading Terminal Market, in search of a whole organic chicken.  That place is so much fun!  It was a Saturday afternoon, quite possibly the busiest time ever to go and try to shop the Market’s cramped quarters, but still, so much fun, too!  This was something I would definitely never try on a normal day, with a stroller, but for the two of us, the chaos made the outing more fun.  Sadly, though- the smallest organic chicken was nearly 7-lbs (and, $22.00!), so we opted for a regular one- at 2ish-lbs, and a dramatically reduced price.  I know that organic meat is pricey, but…$22?  For chicken?  Eesh.  And, the main dish I was preparing only had chicken bits in it, it wasn’t a roast chicken, so I didn’t think  I would use this occasion to splurge.

So, after a few more trips to other stalls (honey!), we headed home, where I settled in to some pretty serious cooking.  We were in charge of the breakfast for our Sunday School class, so, as it was Mardi Gras weekend, as well as Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a King Cake (complete with plastic baby) in the shape of a heart.  Turned out amazingly well, and despite a reduced class size (due to weather), we had no leftovers!

But, that was for Sunday.  Back to Saturday and the “secret” dinner- I wanted to make gumbo.  This is something I can make normally, it’s not a special dish really, but it was just fun being kid-free, to really take the time to enjoy all the stages of gumbo-making: roasting the chicken, cutting up the andouille sausage, chopping up tons of veggies, making the roux,…it took a while, but we had a fantastic gumbo dinner that night- by candlelight!

For the gumbo, I used a recipe that I love from recipezaar.com.  It’s a pretty easy to follow recipe, and there really aren’t exact figures- that’s not the way to make gumbo, anyway!  Once you have the roux done, it’s a meat/veggie free-for-all in the pot.  (Yum)

Hope you all had a great weekend, too! 🙂  Thanks for reading!

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