Monday, February 28, 2011

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos 1

I get into these craving moods every once in awhile.

The last thing I was craving was stuffed cabbage. Still haven't made it cause no one in this house will eat it and I can't see making a whole pan just for me.

The next thing I was craving was fish tacos.

A girl I work with was talking about them. She's originally from California and was telling me that they are quite popular there. I thought it was funny that they weren't here. I mean I live in the Ocean State after all. There is an abundant amount of reasonably priced (sometimes downright cheap) seafood to be had here in Little Rhody. Why aren't fish tacos popular here?

So I set my mind on making them. Now I needed a recipe. A good recipe. If was going to make these for the first time and hopefully get my family to want me to make them again, they had to be good.

That's where Melissa comes in. I tend to call her Sweet Melissa, cause well, she is one of the sweetest people that I have met in the blog-o-sphere. She's one of those people that even though you haven't met in person, you just know that you would hit it off. She's one special lady in more ways then I ever could convey here.

Kind beyond measure, brave and inspiring, that is Melissa. She is also one helluva good cook, so when she suggested that I give her fish taco recipe a try, I was all over it.

I now have to tell you. It's official. My husband and kids just might like fish tacos more then the traditional meat or chicken. It's true. We all LOVED these! Loved them! I double the recipe and I'm so glad I did cause we ate them for dinner and then we ate them again for lunch the next day. So delicious! I added in some caramelized onions, cause you know I'm all about the onions.

Melissa has a great recipe for salsa on her site that she used with these tacos. I'm so not about the salsa or heat, I think you all know that by now. I also know that so many of you are all about the salsa so check it out here!

Like many of you, Melissa likes her food hot and spicy and she was really happy she made the salsa. I was really happy I made these tacos.

Fish Tacos 2

Fish Tacos
Twelve 1- to 1 1/2-ounce pieces of halibut or cod (I used cod and doubled the recipe, so glad I did!)
12 corn or flour tortillas
oil for deep frying (I used vegetable oil)

Beer Batter
1 cup flour
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups beer (I used Melissa's suggestion of Boddington's Pale Ale)
garlic powder, pepper, cayenne and salt, to taste

White Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup yogurt

Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet until oil temperature is about 375°F.

Mix flour with spices. Stir flour mixture into the beer and mix until well blended. Pat fish completely dry, then dip in batter until thoroughly coated. You don't want it too thick, but one nice goopy layer will do. You'll know the right consistency when you get it. Honest.

Place fish in hot oil in a single layer. Do not let pieces touch each other. Cook fish until batter is crispy and golden brown, a few minutes per side. Drain on a rack over paper towels.

For the sauce: Mix the mayo and yogurt together. Pretty easy stuff.

To assemble, heat the tortilla either over a gas flame, like we do, or in a hot skillet. Place a piece fish on each tortilla, drizzle with white sauce and top with salsa, lettuce or cabbage and a squeeze of lime, some caramelized onions, avocado.....whatever you like on your tacos. Fold and eat!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Right Now 2-24-11

Nov 09 lighed leaves

Time: 7:10 pm

In my mug: tea and honey.

In my belly: Eggs, toast and ham (we had breakfast supper).

Beside me: a snuggly Moose.

In my ears: the clicking of the keyboard.

On the nightstand: Latest issues of Cooking Light, Saveur, Food & Wine, lots of hair scrungies, box of tissue, Aquaphor and hand cream.

What I'm craving: Cadbury mini eggs. My absolute favorite thing about spring is knowing that these luscious morsels are coming out!

In my head: recipes, recipes, recipes! I'm making fish tacos this weekend. I've been craving them and I finally found a terrific recipe (thanks Sweet Melissa).

I'm thankful that: Moose is doing well. We are slowly getting into a routine with the shots and Moose's blood sugar is leveling out.

I'm grateful for: my cozy little house, my warm blanket, my snoring hubby on the couch, and getting to watch Steven Tyler twice a week on American Idol!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baked Mac & Cheese

Baked Mac & Cheese 1

It was almost 60 degrees here on Friday! 60! The college kids were in their shorts and there wasn't a jacket, or scarf of mittens to been found.

I actually rolled down my window in the car a bit for some fresh air! It was such a delightful treat, then came Saturday, and with it a burst of cold, cold air. Hello again hat, here I come to get ya mittens. *groan*. I should have known better then to think that the nice weather was here to stay. We're getting more snow today. Oh well, it was nice for the one day it lasted.

I'm used to cold weather having lived in New England my whole life. My birthday is actually on the first day of Spring most years, so I'm always ready to bid winter adieu after 3 month or so of the white stuff, just like everybody else around here.

What I will miss are all those hearty winter meals. The delicious soups, the bone warming casseroles, the homemade bread, the warm muffins eaten right outta the oven. I love it when the heat from my stove warms up the whole kitchen, or the when the smell of apple crisp, or cookies, or a stew fills the house. Those are things I will miss about winter.

Baked Mac & Cheese

I was on the search for a mac & cheese recipe. Not an easy thing to narrow down in the world of food bloggers. It seems like everyone has their own twist on this classic recipe. My head was actually spinning after I narrowed it down to about 6 recipes I thought would work. I ended up choosing this one from Lottie & Doof. I check this site out all the time. It's beautiful and is filled with scrumptious food and gorgeous images.

This mac & cheese recipe didn't let me down. It was cheesy without been "too cheesy" if you know what I mean. I love the crunchy topping. To me it's just not mac & cheese without that crunch.

This is now my "go to" mac & cheese recipe. If you make it, I bet it will be yours too.

Mac + Cheese (Lottie + Doof Style)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 slices bacon, diced
1 cup of finely chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less if you would like this with less spice)
2 small garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
3 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 ounces Mascarpone or cream cheese
3/4 cup panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound Penne (or pasta of your choice)

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Remove all but about 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, allow to melt, and then add the flour and stir for a minute. Gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk; simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 1/4 cups of cheddar and all of the Parmesan cheese and marscapone. Return bacon to sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add panko and stir until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in parsley.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly butter a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish or similarly sized gratin dish. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until very al dente. Drain well. Toss pasta and cheese sauce and season again with salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake until hot and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Baked Mac & Cheese 2

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pistachio Cake with Chocolate Espresso Glaze

Pistachio Cake with Espresso Glaze

I haven't made a cake in a long time.

A really long time.

I actually made this cake about a month ago. I baked it up, frosted it, photographed it and then it was happily eaten by my family and friends. After that, um, I kinda forgot about it. Yup, I left this post on the back burner so to speak. So, ta-da, a month later here it is. Please tell me that I'm not the only blogger who does this? If I go back into my edits, I will confess, I have about a dozen other posts just sittin' and waitin'. So I just treat these lost posts like little presents that I bought and tucked away, and then comes the day I discover them again, and it's like opening up that present all over again. Ok, maybe it's not that good, but I do "oooh and ahhh" and say "man that was yummy" a lot when I re-discover them. Then I have to force myself to remember details about the recipe that I really should have jotted down at the time. Such is the life of a busy blogging Mom.

So getting back to my cake's not that I don't like cake or that I don't like to make it, it's just one of those things that I don't think to make very often. Mostly saved for special occasions and birthdays, it's not on the top of my baking list, and that's just a shame isn't it?

I got this recipe from the Queen of the Blog-o-Sphere herself, the Pioneer Woman. One word totally got me...PISTACHIO. I love pistachio. I love the nuts. I love the ice cream. I love the pudding. Naturally I thought I'd love the cake.

I was right.

This recipe starts with a boxed cake mix I know, the horror of it all. Let me terrify you even more when I tell you that it uses boxed pudding mix as well!

Straight outta the cupboard and into the bowl.

That's the way I roll.

Pistachio Cake slice

I tried to marbleize my batter, but when it comes to marbleizing, I always seem to screw it up, so all I did was take a knife and swirled it ever so slightly. Not much marbleizing going on, but it's got a nice swirl.

I added an Espresso Glaze to my cake cause it looked a little naked to me and really who wouldn't want to bite into a moist piece of cake topped with that chocolaty goodness?

Pistachio Cake with Chocolate Espresso Glaze
1 box white cake mix
1 package (4oz) pistachio pudding mix
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 whole eggs
3/4 cup chocolate syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan.

Mix all ingredients but chocolate syrup and beat for two minutes on medium-high. Pour 3/4 of the batter into the bundt pan. Add chocolate syrup to the remaining batter and mix well. Pour chocolate-laced batter on top of the pistachio batter.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Note: You can use a knife to swirl chocolate batter into the pistachio batter for more of a marbled design.

Espresso Glaze
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee - you may need an additional tablespoon to get it to the consistency you need.

Whisk together the sugar , cocoa & espresso powder. Add coffee and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cake. You can put this in the fridge for a 1/2 hour or so to harden up a bit.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I almost forgot to post the winners of the Hefty Basic Paper Plates! Silly me.

The winners were picked in a very scientific manner.
I had my husband yell out 3 numbers.

Here are the winners:

Amy from Very Culinary - hey I won your giveaway and you won mine.
I swear this wasn't planned!

Gerilynne - Yeah!!! I'm so glad you won!

Roseanne from Unique Sweets!

Congrats ladies! I'll be mailing out your coupons this week!

Wordless Wednesday - Angry Birds

Winter birds 15

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trudging along..

Last Days of Summer - Moose hanging out

I had high hopes for February. Number one, it wasn’t January.

On February 1st we found out Moose now has diabetes most likely due to the prednisone that he’s been on for over 6 mths. We had been weaning him off the pred when we got this new diagnosis and have started him on 2 other meds since.

The first few days were a nightmare. He drank buckets of water and peed buckets too, often not being able to hold it. I can’t tell you how many times I have steam mopped my kitchen floor in the past 2 weeks, but lets just say, more than once a day on average.

We have to take his blood glucose every 4 hours, which means drawing blood. No fun. We also give him insulin every 8hrs, which means setting the alarm to get up at midnight to give him a dose, and letting him out again for the 12th time of the day, then getting a few more hours of sleep before he wakes us back up at 3am or 4am to pee again. We haven’t been getting much sleep.

The first few days of trying to get blood had me in tears. In desperation, I finally went on YouTube of all places and typed in “taking a blood sample from your dog” and lo and behold, I found lots and lots of videos and a new way to draw blood that is painless for Moose, which makes Mama very, very happy. We take his blood samples from inside his front lip and he doesn’t even flinch. I’m tellin’ ya, I have the most wonderful dog in the world. He’s been through so much and he’s still such a trooper.

So his glucose levels are finally coming down. We are breathing a huge sigh of relief.

This is going to be a lifestyle change for all of us, but we would do anything for our precious baby.

If you have a dog with diabetes, I'd love to hear from you. Any tips, suggestions, or just a few words to let me know it's going to be ok will really boost my spirits.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Roasted Parmesan Creamed Onions

Parmean & Cream Baked Onions

Most of you who have read this blog for any amount of time know what an onion freak I am.

Up until this point in my life caramelized onions were my nirvana. Sticky, sweet and golden brown goodness. I could sit with a pan full and eat them until they are gone. Better than any candy, or cookie in my book.

Then I came across these.


If you are an onion lover like me, YOU MUST MAKE THESE.

Creamy, sweet and caramelized. Melt in your mouth good. I ate them straight out of the pan, and then forced myself to stop when I looked down and realized half were gone.

I found this recipe on Proud Italian Cook. I love her site. Every time Marie posts a recipe the words "I have to make this" come out of my mouth. I have one file just filled with her recipes alone. If you haven't visited Marie's site I highly urge you to get your Italian on and try any of the deliciousness she makes.

I’m not a big red meat eater, but a few times a year John and I will get a nice rib eye and grill it up. I’m so looking forward to making these creamed onions to go with that big fat steak for Valentines Day. Red meat and onions for Valentines, yup, that's how we roll.

Parmean & Cream Baked Onions 2

Roasted Parmesan Creamed Onions
recipe from Proud Italian Cook
4 medium to large yellow onions
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup of white wine
Parmesan cheese

Peel and slice the onions into ¼ inch thick slices. Carefully place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, keeping the rings intact. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for about 15 minutes.

While the onions are roasting, place the heavy cream and wine in a small saucepan and simmer until it starts to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat and set aside.

After the onions are out of the oven, carefully transfer them to a shallow baking dish, again, keeping the rings intact. (I skip this step and keep them on the baking sheet). Slowly pour the cream sauce over all the onions. You can add more black pepper at this point if you’d like. Raise the oven temp to 450. Sprinkle each onion with grated or shaved Parmesan cheese.

Cover baking dish with foil and return to the oven for another 20 – 25 minutes. Remove foil and let the onions get nice and brown and caramelized for about 5 more minutes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Brownie Babies & a Giveaway

Peanut Butter Brownie Babies

We are a family that is all about composting. We have a big composter in the back yard, and even though my soil is frozen solid, we still save our scraps and I throw them on the pile or in one of the frozen raised beds.

Now you're probably wondering why I'm writing about composting when I have a post titled Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Brownie Babies huh?

Well the nice folks at Hefty sent me some Hefty Basics compostable dinnerware and some coupons for me to give away to 3 lucky blog followers. I know it seems silly to get excited about paper plates but I'm so happy to know that big companies like Hefty really care about the environment and designed a plate that I can rinse and thrown into the compost pile.

These plates are stronger than everyday plates. They are biodegradable and are free of inks, dyes and coatings. I think that's kinda cool, and if I'm going to buy disposable plates, I don't want them sitting in a landfill for 10 years. Hefty has also partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation on a quest to plant 10,000 trees for every 10 new likes on Facebook. They also sent me a cool cover letter printed on recycled paper embedded with wildflower seeds that I can plant whenever I can see the grass again!

So if you'd like to win a coupon for a free package of Hefty Basics Paper Plates, leave me a comment answering this question....

Do you compost?

If you're a follower, let me know, I'll give ya 2 chances to win instead of 1. Not a follower....well come on and join and you'll get 2 chances too.

I'll choose the 3 winners on Tuesday, February 15th by midnight EST.

I received this product to review and share. The 3 winning coupons were provided by Hefty.

Now on to the brownie babies!

Brownie Babies photographed on a Hefty basics plate no less. Huh, wonder how that happened???

I made these brownie bites for the Super Bowl. I thought they would be easy to just pick up and off you go.

I often make brownies in cupcake pans cause they are super transportable for the kids and cause, well they just look damn cute, the peanut butter filling doesn't hurt too much either.

You can top these anyway you like. I used whipped cream and cherries but feel free to put whatever you like on top.

Peanut Butter Brownie Babies 2

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Babies
recipe from Kraft Foods.
1 pkg (19 – 21oz brownie mix, 13x9 size) + ingredients to make the brownies.
1 – 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup peanut butter
½ teaspoon vanilla

Oven to 350. Prepare the brownie mix as directed on package. Spoon batter (about 2/3 of the way up) into 20 paper lined muffin cups.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, peanut butter and vanilla with a mixer until blended. Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon into the center of the batter in each cup, pressing it lightly into the batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until centers are set. Place on a rack to cool.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Veggie and Barley Soup

Veggie & barley Soup 1

It is so unbelievably hard for me to write down my soup recipes.

I don't know if you are like me, but soup is kind of a free form art for me.

I never really make it the same way twice.

I use up whatever veggies I have and throw in some frozen organic ones from Trader Joes. I just kinda make due with whatever I have on hand, so it's really a struggle for me to be able to blog a soup recipe, but I'm going to try to at least give you some direction, cause I think everyone should be able to make a decent soup.

Veggie & barley Soup

Since nothing is growing in the garden at this time of year (yeah there is still a good 2 feet of snow on the ground) I utilize frozen veggies in this soup.

Oh, I have to tell you one little secret that my family has no clue about. I've been doing it for years and they have no it is...I put diced turnips in my veggies soup and tell them all it's potato.

Veggie & barley Soup 1

They have no clue and eat it right up. I suppose if any of them read this post my secret is no more huh?

Veggie & Barley Soup
recipe from Lisa@ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
8 - 10 cups chicken broth or stock or a mixture of both
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, sliced thick
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/2 - 3/4 cup pearl barley
1/2 of a bag of frozen mixed vegetable
1/2 of a bag of frozen diced turnips
small handful of frozen peas
salt & pepper to taste

In a large stock pot heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the broth or stock to the pot. Add in the carrots and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Add in barley and frozen vegetables and simmer for an hour - hour and a half or so, or until the vegetables and barley are cooked.

Just a little footnote.....I have a very unhappy hubby this morning. Steelers lost. I want to say there is always next year but I'm sure that's the last thing he wants to hear today :(