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Fish Tacos

You might be thinking that I'm on some sort of Mexican food kick.  And in some ways you would be right.  Really it's just a matter of convenience.  I hate when ingredients go bad, so these two recipes had similar ingredients, so I made them close together.  But I promise you will enjoy both! When I first heard the term "fish taco" I thought, "Ew gross! Who would want fish in their tacos!"  My husband looked dismayed at my outburst.  BUT thanks to his prodding and poking, my tastes have expanded and I now love fish tacos.  And these were particularly fabulous.  This recipe is also from  I'm kinda stuck on them right now.

Again, this serving is for 2 people so you might want to double it up.  It took me roughly 30 mins! Yay for fast food!

First you want to make the Tomato Avocado Salsa.  Dice a large tomato, add 1/4 cup diced red onion, 1/2 jalapeno minced (or dried jalapeno), 2/3 tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 1/2 diced avocado, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, and cayenne to taste.

Next in a small bowl you want to combine 3 tbsp flour, 1/8 tsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp cayenne.  Whisk in 1/3 cup of beer to make batter.

Add two tsp oil to pan on medium high heat.  NOTE: This recipe calls for a nonstick pan and they mean a nonstick pan.  My first go at this I used a regular pan.  I had fish, but all the batter was stuck to the pan...not fun.  Dip your 1 inch strips of tilapia  into the batter, let the access drip into the bowl and then put the pieces in the oil.  Fry into golden on each side (doesn't take to0 long).  Place fish into warm corn tacos (I used flour tacos because I think they're tastier) and then add salsa on top!  That's it.  I added sour cream and hot sauce for a little extra flavor.  What I love about this recipe is it's tasty AND quick, just remember the non stick pan so your not doing dishes for the rest of the me.



Dish-o-the-Week: Barbecue Portobello Quesadillas

That's right friends!  It's been a long time, but there is finally another Dish-o-the-Week!  I think you will be particularly fond of this one, I know Speed Racer and I really enjoyed it.  It's an interesting combo, and of course I cannot take credit for it.  I found this recipe on  I changed just a few minor things here and there, but I think you'll like it.  ALSO, this is a two for one special, I'm also giving you my Green Green Guacamole recipe in honor of all the green grass outside and as a way of saying sorry it's been so long.  So now, less talk, more drooling.

Note: This recipe is for 2 servings, but I got 4 Quesadillas out of you may want to make more if you're cooking for a group.  It took me roughly 45 min.

Dice 1/2 pound of portobello mushrooms as well as 1/2 of a medium onion.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally.  The recipe says for 5 min, I did mine a little longer. Add onion and continue to stir until the onions are looking golden and translucent.

While the mushrooms and onions are sizzling away and making your mouth water, prepare your delicious sauce.  You will need.  1/4 cup barbecue sauce, we use Stubbs.  (Until I took this picture I never realized the moto was "My life is in these bottles."  It kinda creeps me out, just sayin'.)  Combine barbecue sauce with 1 1/2 teaspoons of tomato paste, 1 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar (I actually forgot to add this, still tasted good), 1/2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce.  Our grocery store doesn't have the best variety so I couldn't find the chile in adobo sauce, so I added green chiles instead and they added a great flavor to the sauce.

Mmmmm, yummy yum yum yuuuuuuum.  It looks like it's not a lot of sauce, I have to admit I was a little worried, but it's actually just the right amount.  Never fear!

Once your onions and tomato's are done, add them to your sauce and mix until they are coated.  Then lay out your whole wheat tortillas (8-10 inch kind).  On half of the tortilla add Monterey Jack shredded cheese and your mushroom mixture.  Fold the tortilla in half.  Add another teaspoon of oil to your pan and then lightly fry your quesadillas on each side.  Mine took about 3-4 min total.  Now all you have to do is enjoy the cheesy goodness.  That's it..the end...bye bye.....


Oh.  What's that?  I forgot the guacamole?  You MUST have the guacamole??  Okie dokie then.

This is my favorite guacamole recipe, it's so good! And one of the reasons I love it is that it's not a spicy guacamole, so it's nice for parties.  If you want to spice it up some though, you can.  Just add cayenne or red pepper flakes.

So! You will need 2 medium avocados, 1/4 cup of cream cheese (softened), 2 tbsp onion, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/8 tsp salt, dash of black pepper, and 2 tbsp cilantro.

Mix all ingredients well in large bowl.  Simple.  I just mash mine until it's the consistency I want, I like it a little chunky.  Also, I would definitely add fresh cilantro.  A friend of mine recommended this recently and it has changed my life.  Cilantro is Fan-freakin'-tastic.

Now go stop drooling and enjoy!



March Mischief

Last weekend was Speed Racer's birthday!  The Padre, Mr and Mrs Hokie, and even Mrs Miami and Little Miss came down for the weekend.  Our house was chock full of people but we wouldn't have had it any other way. Everyone got in on Friday and we had a great time staying up late and catching up.  Saturday the boys went off for a manly pancake breakfast, and we ladies slept in and started on cooking the desert for that evening...delicious delicious banana pudding!  Mrs Hokie brought the double boiler and stand mixer (so jealous!) needed for the recipe, apparently it's a Paula Deane recipe and I highly recommend it.


Little Miss helped out a lot and was a good sport because all the ladies did was talk, talk, and then talk a little more.

But we enjoyed catching up, it had been awhile since we had all been together.

Once we got all the cooking prepped and the pudding was in the fridge, we headed into town for a ladies lunch.

With all that girl time I think Little Miss was ready for the boys return.  She hung out with them outside while they got the brats and hamburgers ready.  She had them wrapped around her little finger though.  These next pictures of Little Miss and The Padre were all taken by Speed Racer.  I saw this out the window but was mashing up ALOT of potatoes for dinner, when Speed Racer walked by with his camera and starting shooting.  Great minds think alike, huh?

They were feeding this stray that has been around our house a lot.  She's suffered some abuse and we keep trying to get her to come to us.  She only will if you have food, and even then very hesitantly.  She's very sweet and I wish we could find her a good home.

Unfortunately, this is the last picture for the night though.  I had my hands pretty full for the rest of it.  So after this we dug in.  Speed Racer's special hamburgers, brats with sauerkraut, creamy mashed potatoes, and of course...banana pudding.  The girls and I put candles in the banana pudding and had Speed Racer blow them out.  Classic.  Soon after that Little Miss fell asleep on the couch, while the rest of us sat around the bonfire and enjoyed just being together.  All in all I think it was a good birthday, I know I had fun, and hopefully there will be many more like that to come.



Downtowner Fudge Pie

Friday night around midnight, I got in the mood to bake.  This happens more often than you would think.  So the only question was, what was I going to make?  The answer was simple.  My FAVORITE chocolate pie.  My mother had made it at Christmas but due to my bout of cluster headaches I was unable to partake ( chocolate + cluster headaches =  even more pain).  It was terrible, no chocolate a christmas!!  The horror.  So, I made up for it this weekend.  This recipe actually came from my Aunt which I'm sure she also got from somewhere.  It's one of those recipes that's just been passed along.  So I'm going to pass it on to you. In mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs until light, beat in 3 T. white caro syrup, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 t vanilla.  That right there is delicious.

Meanwhile, over low heat melt 1 stick of butter and 3 square of baking chocolate.  NOTE: I do this in the microwave just because it's simpler, but you can do this in a saucepan if you wish.  Also by "3 squares" it turns out that means 3 oz.  Hershey now sells bakers chocolate in 1/2 ounce squares so that can be a little confusing.  I also use unsweetened baker's chocolate.

Now at this point you may be tempted to lick this whole freakin' bowl, ahem, but remember this chocolate is unsweetened.  It will not taste as yummy as it looks.  Not yet.  Add slightly cooked chocolate mixture into mixing bowl.

Stir until combined.

Pour into 9" pie pan and bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.  Remember this is a chess pie, so be careful not to over bake.  When it is done it should still shake like a custard.

Mine was not very pretty but very very delicious.  I think the reason it fell and cracked was because instead of stirring in the chocolate mixture I beat it in, thus adding more air, so it puffed up a lot.  WARNING:  This chocolate pie is so good you (and maybe your husband) might just eat the whole thing before the weekend is out...and gain 3 pounds...might happen.  Just sayin'.


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Catching up

The holidays have been fantastic.  I really have enjoyed every minute, and I hate to say that I'm sad to see them go.  They've also been a whirlwind of presents, paper, food, traveling, family, and friends.  So as we head into the new year (can't believe it's going to be 2011) I'm going to try to do a little catching up. The week before Christmas we had all of Speed Racer's side of the family over for dinner and presents.  It was the first time since we really got a lot of work done on the house that everyone had been there at once.

So we pulled out my Grandmother's china, decorated with cheer, and cooked a ham.

The day of was a bit of fiasco until everyone got there.  I had been having terrible headaches every night the week before that were keeping me up at night (more on that later).  I was tired, moving slow, and just downright not thinking.  I was feeling so bad at work that I knocked off a little early and came home to take a nap, knowing that I had plenty of time to put the ham in before people got there.

Oh what a lie that was.  In my tiredness I had misread the cook times, and there was not enough time for ham.  So, I ran back to the the rain...and bought another, precooked, smaller ham.  As I started cooking everything became a disaster, the potatoes, the ham still wasn't cooking fast enough, things still had to be done...I was on the verge of giving up and going back to bed.  But who came to my rescue?  None other than my Speed Racer.

He kissed me.  Told me everything was going to work out, that the mash potatoes were bad but fixable...put on some Christmas music and got to work.  He ironed the table cloth, started the fire, and then helped me in the kitchen.  It was teamwork and just as people were arriving, we pulled a beautiful ham out of the oven.

Everyone started tearing into their presents, and the kitties were glad to play with all the paper.

It truly was a wonderful evening.  I love having family and friends in this house, it brings me complete joy and reminded me that this is what Christmas is all about.

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There's a Monster on our porch...

It's black, it's shiny, it's BIG, and it creates amazing delicious food.  Meet our new grill.  With a lot of help from a few elves, Mrs. Claus was able to surprise Speed Racer with this beautiful monstrosity...he didn't even see it coming. As I lugged Christmas presents up the stairs from the lower garage, having just arrived home from a lovely Christmas at my parents house, I heard a cry from upstairs.  "What's this??!"

"What's what??" I asked, trying really hard not to grin like a Cheshire cat.

"There's a big box in our''s...a grill??"

It's not often I get to truly truly blindside Speed Racer and I was enjoying every minute of it.  I began to grin remembering how he had "seen" the box of his decoy present (a poster tube, inevitably containing a rather cool poster, but pretty obvious) and had bragged for days before that he knew what it was.

He kept just looking at me, then looking at the grill, then looking at me.  After several more gapes, and silences as he let it sink in, I explained my evil plan and how many of our family members had been involved.

So last night, after setting it up the night before, Speed Racer treated me to a feast on his new grill.  And I have to admit folks, he showed me up.  It was AMAZING.  I may have to change "Dish-o-the-Week" to "Speed Racer's Grill of the Week."  I rather like the idea.

The New York Strips marinating...

Mushrooms filled with red pepper, mozzarella, and garlic filled green olives.

That's the love of my life right there.

The smell was out of this world I tell you.

The button on my jeans just popped at the mere memory.

Our delicious delicious meal, AND one of our awesome Christmas presents this year...

awesome beer glasses.

Now with my stomach rumbling, I'm going to have to go start dinner.  If only we had more steak.


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While Visions of Sugar Plums...

Last week my good ol' pal Stephanie and I did some Christmas baking.  It was such a great time!  We baked, we mixed...we washed lots of dishes. My messy kitchen...

Wonderful peanut butter fudge.  Mmmm.  We accidentally forgot to check how much the recipe made, so we doubled it.  And we made 6 heard me 6lbs of peanut butter fudge.  If you need a fudge fix, stop by my house.

Stephanie working away.

These cheesecake cookies are fantastic, like unbelievable!

Cashew Brittle!

What's that Stephanie?  Your apron is amazing and it's only been 6 hrs since we started cooking?  Whew.  I need some peanut butter fudge.

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Dish-o-the-Week: Awesome Chicken Tortilla Soup

I don't know where you are today, but where I am, it's snowing.  And it's COLD.  I don't like the cold, in fact I really don't like winter all that much.  I'm more of a beach and sun kinda gal.  But all complaining aside, I do love a day where I can curl up with a good bowl of soup.  And this soup my friends, is awesome. This recipe was given to me by my friend and fellow blogger, Renee.  For adventures of motherhood, money and everything else, you can check out her blog HERE.  One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it's all to taste.  If you like your soup with a kick, just add more...if you're a little more on the mild side (ahem, certain members of my family) then just leave it out or add less.

What you need:

1 lb. diced chicken breast

1 each of onion, red pepper, yellow pepper and jalapeno (I used dried jalapeno) cut into long strips.

28 oz of Fire Roasted Canned Tomatoes (Mine was just regular crushed tomatoes because my grocery store did not have the fire roasted.  BUT if you can find the fire roasted it is definitely worth it for the flavor.  Also depending on what consistency you like it's up to you if you want crushed, whole, diced...whatever floats your tomato boat).

32 oz of Chicken Broth

Coriander, Chili Powder, Garlic, and Thyme

Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, Avacado, and Tortilla Chips for the Fixin's.  Fixin's are very important.

First, cube and saute the chicken in a large stock pot.  Then cut the onion and peppers, and add to the pot.  Saute until the veggies are tender.  Next add seasonings to taste.  For this I started with a teaspoon of each and then added as I liked it.  I think I ended up with 4 tsp of garlic, because garlic is da-bomb.  I also added some cilantro, paprika, and pepper.  Then Speed Racer came in and added several tablespoons of hot sauce...he loves his with some kick.

Stir in tomatoes and chicken broth, and let simmer until soup reaches desired temp.

While your soup is simmering, get your fixin's ready.  Do not go without the avocado, I believe very firmly that the avocado makes it.  I'll know if you eat this without avocado...I'm and Santa.  Think about it.

Finally, FINALLY!  Ladle this deliciousness into bowls.  I like to put my cheese and tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl so it gets all gooey quick.  Then top it with the sour cream and avocado.

And there you have it, Chicken Tortilla Soup for a chilly night.  Hope this warms you up!

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Halloween Revisited

Yesterday I recapped on October just a bit and promised to share all the spooky recipes from our Halloween party.  Well I plan on doing just that, although I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures of the party itself!  I got lost in the moment, my blond wig was askew, I had mummies in the oven, and our guests showed up early...that's the best excuse I can give. The Halloween party was a lot of fun. Speed Racer and I (with the help of a couple of friends that came down) really got into decorating the house.  There were cobwebs, body parts, blood on the mirrors, spooky pictures, and much much more.  But my favorite was our front display.

Imagine this in our front yard, with spooky red lights on it and....

this guy jumping up at you from underneath the front wheel....terrifying.

Did I mention terrifying?  If your interested in scary stories involving trucks, check out Speed Racer's post HERE.

But if you made it past our terrifying display out front you were greeted with wonderful wonderful foods.  Without further ado, some spooky recipes.

Punch: 1 gallon orange juice, 1 gallon cranberry juice, sprite (amount that you desire), 1 cup raspberry sorbet, and if you choose for an alcoholic option, 1 bottle citrus vodka.

Rice Crispy Ghosts: You'll need 6 c. rice crispy cereal, 3 tbsp. butter, 1 bag regular marshmallows, coconut, and M&Ms.  Melt butter and marshmallows over low heat until completely melted.  Add 6 c. of cereal and stir until completely combined.  Let cool slightly and then form into ghost shapes, add M&Ms for eyes and mouth.  Place on coconut on bottom.

Bread stick Bones: This was a definite favorite of the night!  It smelled amazing while baking.  Take 2 cans of Pillsbury bread sticks and shape into bones.  Cover with Parmesan cheese and garlic, bake as directed on package.

Candy Apples: Clean and remove stems from about 10 apples (or however many people you are having).  Melt about 75 caramels with 2tbsp of water over medium low heat in a large sauce pan.  Once caramels are completely melted add 1 cup or chocolate morsels, and 1 tbsp of creamy peanut butter.  Dip apples in sauce, and then dip in bowl full of mini marshmallows, walnuts, and broken pretzels.  Place on wax paper and let cool.

Guacamole: Okay, so this one isn't spooky but it's delicious.  Peel and remove seed from two ripe avocados.  Mash avocados to desired consistency.  Add 1/4 c. cream cheese.  Add diced onion, tomato, and 2 tbsp garlic.  Finally add just a squirt of lime juice and mix.

Pizza Mummies: On mini bagels add pizza sauce, then two chopped black olives (these are the eyes).  Take cheese sticks and peel into long slices, placing them horizontally on the bagel below and above the "eyes" for the mummies wrappings.  Bake for about 10-12 min.

Carrot Fingers and Dip: Put ranch dip in a dip bowl.  Take several baby carrots and using a little bit of dip on the top, place sliced almonds on top of the dip (these are the finger nails).  Place fingers finger nail side up around the edge of the bowl.  Add more baby carrots on a plate for more dipping.

Mini Witch Brooms: Take pretzel sticks and fruit by the foot.  Cut fruit by the foot in about 2" sections and fray at the bottom.  Wet the top of the fruit roll up and attach to base of pretzel stick.  They are adorable.

Hallo-Bean Dip: Chop 1 onion and 2 orange peppers.  Drain can of black beans and add to onion and orange peppers.  In a bowl mix in balsamic vinaigrette to taste.

I also put out some jalapeno poppers just for another "normal" finger food.  I went a little over board with the food for the amount of people we were having but it was so much fun!  I couldn't have done it without our friends, thanks guys.

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Goodbye October

October is done and gone.  I feel like I say this every month but I'm so surprised that it's November already.  October was a hard month, but a lot of fun as well.  And since it's been awhile since I've been in the saddle, I thought I would do a little recap. October started off busy right from the start.  The first weekend I took some senior portraits for Shelbi in the UT Gardens and had a blast.  Speed Racer was off in California doing his thing, and I was also adjusting to my new part time job.  Like I said, it started off with a bang.

The second week in photography I had my tonsils removed.  I completely underestimated how long it would take me to recover or how much pain I would be in.  It was bad my friends, very bad. Speed Racer was a fabulous nurse, and so patient with every moment of the healing process from cuddle time to late night Popsicle runs.  I could not have done it without him, and I am so lucky to have a husband that cares about me so very much.  So over the past three weeks I have been in recovery.  Last week was my first week back at work, and although I went everyday, I was completely worn out.

I also got to spend a lovely weekend recovering with my mother.  She sped down from Virginia to spend a weekend with us, and we put her to work.  She and I spent that saturday planting bulbs for spring (and by she and I, I mean I pointed and she planted).  It was so good to have a chance to catch up.

Finally, I am feeling almost normal (as normal as I get!).  I can eat most regular foods, and I am not in pain.  Although I am still having difficulty swallowing with ease and it takes me awhile to eat my meals.  But all in all, a lot better.  Better enough that this past weekend Speed Racer and I were able to throw a Halloween party!  It was so much fun and I got so distracted getting ready that I actually did not take any pictures! Gasp!  I know, I'm a terrible blogger and photographer.  Actually, I'm just not so good at multitasking!  But it was really a great time and we got pretty crazy with the food.  Tomorrow I will post a few after party pics, as well as some of the spooky recipes I used to put in your arsenal for next year.

October was an unexpected month, but a good month.  I'm looking forward to what November will have in store...hopefully some Christmas shopping.

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