I grew up in the deepest part of the Deep South…a place known for its good cooking, love for fried food, ability to prepare and eat almost any carnivorous thing that happens to cross our driveway(?!), a high propensity for eventually developing type 2 diabetes, and the list could go on and on and on…

Where I’m from there’s no questioning if you “might be a redneck or not”…even the lawyers and doctors in my hometown wove their redneck flags with pride…just wearing better quality and more expensive clothes than most of their other counterparts.

So I shoulda known that eventually the dreaded d-word “diabetes” would enter our daily planet. 

And I also shoulda know that changing a lifetime of bad eating habits and poor diet choices was not gonna take place overnight. I mean there are certain things that a redneck girl just can’t give up too willingly—such as barbecue pulled pork sandwiches.

Growing up two hours south of Memphis, I must have eaten BBQ pulled pork or chicken at least once a week…loved it then…love it now…and probably couldn’t imagine life without it.

So living without my BBQ pulled pork or chicken was not even an option.

When we first received the official stamp across our doorpost reading “diabetic family,” I switched from the family meal section of my emeals meal planning subscription to the vegetarian section.

One of the first meals that I made when we ventured into vegetarian or plant-based or whatever-else-you-wanna-call it eating was BBQ jackfruit.

I had never heard of jackfruit, but it was on the menu…so it was now on my grocery list…and in my grocery cart…and in my freezer…and on my list of meals to cook for that week.

I kinda dreaded pulling the package out of the freezer to make the meal that first day that I tried it. I am from the Deep South. Leave my perfectly awesome pulled meat world alone.

That perfectly awesome pulled meat world that can find pulled meat topping anything from tortillas, buns, taco shell, wrap, whatever…maybe a baked potato…heck, where I’m from we could all probably eat bbq pulled pork three meals a day, every single day of the week and never get tired of it….kinda like Elf and his maple syrup.

But out of a sense of obligation, I prepped the BBQ whatever-the-heck-jackfruit-is stuff…

And I liked it…and my husband liked it…and my kids liked it…and even my brother Sam liked it.

Honestly, there are times when the crockpot full of bbq pulled pork or chicken just waiting to be plopped onto a bun with some coleslaw and served with baked beans and potato salad and sweet iced tea just keeps calling out my name…to me, this is the ultimate comfort food…

From now I save that meal for special occassions…

And on a more “regular” basis, I am quite content to go with the flow and settle for bbq jackfruit instead.


BBQ Jackfruit

  • 2@14 oz cans green/unripe jackfruit packed in water
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • 1/3C chopped onion
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 1Tbsp paprika
  • 1Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2tsp chili powder
  • 1/2tsp onion powder
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4C BBQ sauce
  • Drain jackfruit. Shred the pieces apart hand. Heat 1Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook 5min. Stir together paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl. Add shredded jackfruit and spices to the skillet. Turn heat to low. Add BBQ sauce. Stir well so that all the jackfruit gets covered in the barbecue sauce. Cook for about five minutes.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Freezing the BBQ jackfruit will change its overall texture…so I wouldn’t recommend freezing it yourself…just grab some the next time you place your grocery order or stroll through the frozen food aisles.


Their Way

Black Beans

Even though we’re originally from Mississippi, my husband was active duty Army until he retired…so we have lived four different places in the last thirty-four years—Frankfurt, Germany…Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri…Fort Jackson, South Carolina…Fort Polk, Louisiana…and Dallas-Fort Worth, actually Arlington.

We have actually lived in the DFW area since 1992…and one thing I have learned—Texas is very different from the Deep South, states like Alabama and Mississippi.

And people here in Texas thing barbecue totally different from us…

The first time that I was invited to eat barbecue when we moved here, I was seriously disappointed to find that actually meant dried-out brisket…thankfully I’ve had much better barbecue here since…or have at least gotten used to brisket and acquired a taste for Tex-Mex food…as opposed to pulled pork barbecue sandwiches with coleslaw and potato salad and coleslaw…

Black Beans

1-1/2Tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1/2tsp paprika

1tsp cumin

14oz can drained and rinsed black beans


Put everything in saucepan. Heat…(kinda obvious, right?!)



4 medium avocados, scooped out and roughly chopped

1/2 small onion, diced

1/4tsp salt

2Tbsp lime juice

1 garlic clove

1/2 medium white onion, minced

cilantro and/or chives, optional

The key to making great guacamole is choosing the perfect avocados…avocados that are at that perfect stage of ripeness for making truly great guacamole. The avocados that you use to make your guacamole should have “give” all across its surface…in simple terms, should be mashable…

Just like using butter that has set out on the counter to reach room temperature before baking instead of simply using butter straight out of the fridge can make a huge difference in baking…choosing the right smooshability of avocados is important in making the perfect guacamole.

You also want to avoid any avocados that are past their prime. You can tell if this is the case by looking at how dark the skin has become. Trust me, there’s no telling how many overripe avocados I’ve reluctantly had to throw away.

But hey, I did learn a new fact today…I’ve always known to store them in a dark place or even in a paper bag to ripen them more quickly, but I’m gonna now start keeping mine in the fridge so that when my weekly supply of avocados arrives they will ripen less quickly. Just make sure that you set them out of the fridge and let them reach room temp before starting to make your guacamole.

  • Scoop the pit out of the avocado…Just be careful if you try to do this using the method I found on youtube where you pit the avocado using a tumbler or glass…My recent attempt at doing this ended up in two surgeries and lots of unpaid medical bills. Anyway, after you pit your avocados, use a potato masher or fork to mash them up until a few chunks still remain but most of the avocado is smooth—probably goes without saying, we’ve all eaten guac before, right?!
  • Once you finish smooshing up your avocado, add the onion and salt. Then drizzle lime juice over the top surface of the guacamole to prevent it from browning…waiting to stir the lime juice into the guac right before serving.

  • **************
  • Pico de gallo
  • 4 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1/4C finely chopped coriander
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 2Tbsp lime juice
  • Put tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit there draining like this for at least twenty minutes. This will allow any excess moisture to drain out. When you are ready to finish making your meal, gently press the tomatoes to squeeze out even more juice. Combine the tomatoes, onion, coriander, chili and lime juice.


Our Way


  • 1 head cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • ½C mayonnaise 
  • ⅓C white sugar 
  • ¼C milk
  • ¼C buttermilk
  • 2Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2Tbsp vinegar
  • ½tsp salt
  • ⅛tsp pepper 
  • Mix cabbage, carrots, and onion in a large salad bowl. Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and black pepper in a separate bowl until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover bowl and refrigerate slaw at least 2 hours (the longer the better). Mix again before serving.