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CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Holiday road trippin’

Mules escorted me to a holiday spread featuring two hallway tables of just desserts. This made for a festive day in Warren. I’d just been wondering if I’d run into anyone I know when a stroll around the wrap-around porch revealed a passel of Port Arthur notables.

You can mix and mingle as much as you want during the season. If one of your regular events conflicts with another or has been on hiatus, there’s always one or two more that pop up. That holiday spirit is great for hospitality.

My mom died in November, and we’ve been blessed with several offers to make up for her Christmas Eve gumbo that we’ll miss. Family and ingredients are expected to meet in League City, then take a road trip to Sour Lake and then to Port Neches for midnight Mass.

I can’t imagine Christmas without gumbo, and I was tickled to stop at a Brookshire Brothers grocery store in East Texas to find a big display of what we need to make our gumbo. There was roux and rice and seasoning and boxes of saltines all at one spot.

I’ll dot the map of Southeast Texas, and I hope that translates into walking steps to work off those hospitality calories.

This will all wrap up

Why would I be bringing up a “health” cookbook at this time of year? Don’t worry. “Weeknight Keto” by Kristy Bernardo offers 75 quick and easy low-carb meals that I’m all about now. A platter of what looks like decadent fried chicken fooled her husband. That crunch comes from pork skins. What? And Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower turns into “nachos” just right for football game snacking.

The Port Arthur area’s flavor profiles of Mexican, Cajun and Seafood are all covered in this book with creamy, seasoned creations. I’ll be trying a Mexican Cauliflower Casserole, Cajun Jumbo Shrimp & Sausage Skillet and Cajun Chicken Alfredo.

This is the book that will make believers out of those who haven’t linked healthier versions of foods with great taste and presentation.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who wants to hear about your holiday indulgences as well as your plans for eating healthy in 2020. Reach her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com